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Category Archives: Holiday

February is ALL THE LOVE (giveaway!)

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IMG_0197.jpgCan you believe it’s already February!? It’s a busy month at my house. Valentine’s Day and the Daddy/Daughter Ball and our anniversary–PLUS my little sister is having her first baby and the whole family is so excited. I truly love Valentine’s Day. We don’t go too crazy over here, but chocolate is a MUST and there are cards and usually some stuffed animals and the kids love all of it.

One thing I always think of around this time of the year is my novel Looks Like Love. Maybe because the cover is pink and white. Maybe because it’s a story of a girl seeking out adventure, and stumbling across a little romance along the way. It’s a novel that digs into the question What does love look like?  The main character, Kasey, has been dumped by her long-time boyfriend, so she heads off to visit her best friend, who just happens to be British. London is calling! So Kasey embarks on a trip of self-discovery, a touch of romance, and a lot of fun. When she gets back, things at work get crazy. The advertising firm where she works has finally landed LETA, a cosmetics company branching out with their first fragrance, called Love. Kasey’s tasked with finding out what love looks like, and then finding a way to sell it. From double-decker tour buses to glamorous galas–you’ll want to join Kasey on her journey to find out the truth about love.

The picture above includes a little “Book of Days.” I dug that out this morning when working on an Instagram photo post. This is one of my treasures. It’s the journal I filled out on my Europe trip, way back in college. I’m so thankful I wrote down even snippets of every day I was there. It was a trip of a lifetime and that little book helps me remember the details. The month I spent in Europe was the inspiration behind Looks Like Love. The places that Kasey visits–such as Westminster Abbey, Stonehenge, Bath, and more–are places I went to on my tour and that were stamped on my heart forever. The last week of the month was spent in Paris and Rome and Florence with my dad. The next year I would get married, so those days of just the two of us were extra special. (Though, I will say that admiring the Statue of David with your dad is an interesting experience! Ha! But we made it through and had an amazing time, from exploring Paris, to traveling via train in a sleeper car on our way to Rome (two little grannies shared our cabin!), to dinner in Florence. Those are moments I cherish.)

So, in some ways, Looks Like Love is imprinted with the heart memories of that trip. It’s one of my favorites and I hope you’ll check it out. Hop over to Amazon and read the first chapter!

The fun of Valentine’s isn’t just romance, and that’s part of what I love about the book. (Though romance is wonderful of course!) It’s exploring the many ways we see love in our lives–family and friends and so much more. Being loved by the people closest to us, and loving them well in return, makes all the difference.

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I thought I would do a little giveaway as my Happy Hearts Day gift to you! I’m offering one free Kindle e-book download for Looks Like Love. All you have to do is leave a comment (click on the rafflecopter link) telling us a vacation spot that’s on your bucket list, and for an extra ticket (not required), hop over and like my Facebook page . Since I want you to have this before Valentine’s Day, the raffle will run until February 9th. So spread the news, grab some white chocolate (Kasey’s favorite), maybe a little pink champagne, click on the link below, and get ready!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Holiday Letter Writing by Susan Mathis (Guest Post!)

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714fDFjKCKL__UX250_Friends, I’m super excited to tell you that my wonderful author-friend Susan Mathis is stopping by today to talk about making Holiday Letter Writing fun. (I absolutely need this advice!) Susan, thank you SO much for visiting and sharing some ideas!

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Every year most of us read “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” I knew friends and family expected to hear from us at Christmas, but I was so busy. I knew that a simple Christmas card wouldn’t be enough. Then I had an idea. I simply changed the words and created “’Twas a Year of Adventure.” I rhymed a story of the whole year’s family events, and it was a hit.

I didn’t mean for it to become a tradition, but it did. A few years ago I grew tired of writing one more version of the poem, so instead I wrote a regular letter. Wrong move! There was mutiny in my Christmas card list—I had a dozen family and friends complain that reading the poem had become a tradition in their family! Now I know it has meaning to others, I take much more pleasure in writing it each year. You can, too.

Though it comes at a busy time in family life, writing your annual family letter doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be a fun family event, and become a family tradition. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Throughout the year, keep a family calendar that records events of the year. Then simply review it and form your ideas. If funny sayings are important to you, record them and use them as a basis of your letter. If sports, events, activities, growth milestones or achievements are highlights in your family life, record them.
  • Review the year as a special “Family Memory Night.” Read through your record and enjoy the power of sharing memories.
  • If you’re not a writer, don’t worry. People aren’t looking for polished works of art; they want to connect with you and know more about your family life.
  • Be sure to include information about every family member.
  • Save money. Use snapshots instead of expensive studio photography. Email your letter instead of snail mailing it. Remember, it’s the connection that matters.
  • Include an opening and a conclusion. It could be as simple as, “This Christmas we wanted to share more about our family by telling you about our ‘Family Firsts” as an introduction and “May the Lord bless you as you celebrate His birth” as a conclusion.

Tweak the timing

Too busy to even think about writing a letter at Christmastime? Make Thanksgiving, New Year’s, or even Valentine’s Day your special time to connect with family and friends. Establish it as a tradition, and your loved ones will look forward to it with love and anticipation.

Mix it up

There are lots of ways to format your letter. If your children are young, photos or simple drawings with captions may be a hit. A theme letter can be fun with older children. Choose a theme, let everyone contribute to the ideas and make it a family project.

A few ideas include:

  • Name Acrostic: Use the letters of your name to tell about your year
  • Family News: let everyone be a journalist and write an article for your newspaper.
  • The Top 10 Family events or funny sayings or moments to remember
  • Family Firsts
  • Family Statistics

History in the making

Whether you choose a different holiday, a certain format or both, try to stick to it. Not only will you make it easier and easier for you, your loved ones will look forward to it each year. Your letters will become a record of your family history, and maybe you’ll create a family tradition for others, too.

Susan G Mathis is a versatile writer and author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy. Susan has two Tyndale nonfiction books, Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage and The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Life of Love and Happiness. She is also the author of two published picture books, Lexie’s Adventure in Kenya: Love is Patient and Princess Madison’s Rainbow Adventure. Please visit www.SusanGMathis.com. 

P.S. Susan’s novel The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy released this year and I recommend it! A dual storyline weaves together a family’s past and present. Hop over to Amazon and check out Susan’s books. https://www.amazon.com/Susan-G.-Mathis/e/B001JP31DI/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1)

 

Talking Holidays with author Toni Shiloh!

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DSC01664.jpgQ: What’s one of your favorite aspects of the holiday season?
A: I love the kindness that permeates the air during the holiday season! People who are normally standoffish will offer a smile and a greeting. People seemed to stop and smell the roses and remember people are what it’s about.
Q: What’s your favorite holiday movie?
A:I love Home Alone and Home Alone 2. What’s even better is I can watch them with my boys and have a good laugh. It’s a great family moment.
Q: Cider or cocoa?
A: Depends on my mood. I’m all for apple cider but hazelnut hot chocolate is fantastic.
Q: Partial to Thanksgiving or Christmas and why?
A: I’m partial to Thanksgiving for two reasons: food and football. I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan and they always play on Thanksgiving so I get to eat and watch TV. 😊
makingspiritsbright.jpgTell us about your latest novel!
A Sidelined Christmas is one of the novellas in the Making Spirits Bright collection. I was honored to join the other ladies in the boxset. Once they asked me to join them, I started wondering what could happen during Christmas. Since I’m a football fan, I made my hero a wide receiver, only he gets injured during the Thanksgiving game. What could be worse? Sidelined with a career-ending injury, he goes home to Peachwood Bay to recover and runs into his high school sweetheart.
Thank you for stopping by, Toni!
Check out Making Spirits Bright on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0773TC1TR

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness. She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and president of the Virginia Chapter.

You can find her on her website at http://tonishiloh.wordpress.com.