What book should you read next? What words should you write next? Whether you're a reader, a writer, or both, you need look no further for ideas and pointers to help you make up your mind. You might even get your next book for free!

Sometimes I even give away my own novels. My Inspirational romances and devotionals are pictured below and are detailed on my Books page. You can always count on a trace of humor in my novels and nonfiction. Whether you're a teen or a woman mature in years, I think these stories will ring true.

Read on, and discover some of today's most appealing Inspirational novelists, their latest books, and their words of wisdom and imagination. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

MountainBrook Ink 2018 Holiday Blog Tour!

Welcome to Mountain Brook Ink’s 2018 Holiday Blog Tour! We’re so excited you’ve decided to join us on this journey of family, friends, traditions, and memories over the next month. You as our reader have done so much to pour into our lives, and this season we want to give back to you with insights into our lives AND some giveaways. The more days you follow, share, comment, and engage with us, the more entries you’ll have toward a Kindle Fire Grand Prize (for US entrants, only) or one of three Amazon Gift Cards!

Also, I’m giving away a paperback copy (for US entrants only) or a Kindle copy—winner’s choice—of In Love and War, a four-novella collection written by Miralee Ferrell, Kimberly Rose Johnson, Debby Mayne, and me! Each story involves a couple who begins a relationship as adversaries and eventually learns better things about each other, as often happens when we give each other a chance. Leave a comment below to be entered. As always, if you’re a subscriber, you’ll be entered in the drawing a second time—increases your chances of winning!

The Ever-Changing Shape of Christmas

I’ve been around for quite a few Christmases, and while my family has held on to a few traditional foods and practices, circumstances often remind us to remain flexible each year.

When I was five years old, my nine-year-old sister, Noreen, was in the hospital, having undergone very serious surgery. The doctors let her come home for Christmas day, and the rest of us (we were five kids, total) stayed in our pajamas and celebrated the day around her bed. It was one of the sweetest Christmas celebrations we’ve ever had.

Financial flexibility was often important, as well. During a few very lean years for me, as a single mother, my daughter and I handmade our gifts for each family member. One year we made each person a doll version of themselves, focusing on something characterizing them in some way.

In this picture the doll version of my literature professor brother holds serious novels, my cosmetics rep mother holds a bag full of perfume and makeup, my dad is dressed ready for a day on the links, and my film-loving brother holds a videotape and the glasses he couldn't forego when watching films. I know, I know. They all look thrilled to death, right?

Another year my daughter and I simply made goodies for everyone's gifts--their own personal batch of classic Chocolate Mint Brownie Bars. I would love to share my mother’s recipe with you here. But everything I own--including my cookbooks--is in storage, as I’ve only recently moved across the country to be closer to my kids and grandkids. So, I’ll encourage you to visit the following site and use the recipe that looks very close to what my mom used to make, at Sally's Baking Addiction.com/classic-mint-chocolate-brownies/ (a Pinterest-worthy site if ever there was one).

Along with those yummy bars, my daughter and I interviewed each family member, asking them to give us one sentence encapsulating why they loved each family member. Then in very shaky calligraphy, I put those comments together and framed the list for each family member. One for Dad, telling him what each family member said about him. One for Mom, etc. That Christmas turned out to be Noreen’s last with us. Not only was she brought to tears when she read the list of reasons we loved her, but we displayed that list as a succinct, physical testimony of our love for her at her memorial service several months later.

So Christmas has evolved into an occasion to remember loved ones who always made the day special but have moved on to join the Lord, like Mom, Dad, and Noreen.

It's a time to cherish my siblings, now spread all across the country, but dear to my heart. We may have to be flexible enough to celebrate Christmas during a different time of the year!

And it has become a time to revel in the joy of kids and grandkids who invigorate the festivities with their lust for life. Like my son, my daughter, my son-in-law, and my grandkids.

Family is family all year long, but the memories we make at Christmas emerge each year as lovely pieces in a lifelong puzzle. A puzzle that changes shape each year, held together by our love for one another, our appreciation of the precious nature of life, and our love for the One who makes this day truly worth celebrating.

How about you? Are there particular memories that become stronger for you at Christmas? Are there family members you especially miss?

Please note that the drawing is done by email, so leave your email address in your comment, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Now, here's a list of the other stops on the Mountain Brook Ink 2018 Holiday Blog Tour. As you can see, tomorrow's stop is Stop #23, Heather L.L. Fitzgerald. You can leave a comment on each stop to increase your chances with the Kindle Fire and the Amazon gift cards. And in most cases, subscribers are entered a second time.

Stop #1: October 28 – Kimberly Rose Johnson
Stop #2: October 29 - Christina Coryell
Stop #3: October 30 – Mary Davis
Stop #4: October 31 – Angela Ruth Strong
Stop #5: November 1 – Susan Page Davis
Stop #6: November 2 - Amy K. Rognlie
Stop #7: November 3 - Gayla K. Hiss
Stop #8: November 4 - Christa MacDonald
Stop #9: November 5 – Linda Hanna & Deborah Dulworth
Stop #10: November 6 - Richard Spillman
Stop #11: November 7 - Annette M. Irby
Stop #12: November 8 - Miralee Ferrell
Stop #13: November 9 - Jeanette-Marie Mirich
Stop #14: November 10 - Anna Zogg
Stop #15: November 11 - Teresa H. Morgan
Stop #16: November 12 - Kelsey Norman
Stop #17: November 13 - Barbara J. Scott
Stop #18: November 14 - Patricia Lee
Stop #19: November 15 – Linda Thompson
Stop #20: November 16 - Janalyn Voigt
Stop #21: November 17 – Cynthia Herron
Stop #22: November 18 – Trish Perry
Stop #23: November 19 – Heather L.L. Fitzgerald
Stop #24: November 20 – Sara Davison
Stop #25: November 21 – Taylor Bennett

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teena3940 said...

Hello! There were 6 kids in our family. We didn't get a lot for Christmas each one of us got something small and one big gift to share. We made these slips of paper that we have out to each other. One would say I will make your bed for a week things like that. But with our parents we always put our money that we had and bought them something. Even if it was something small they loved it. My mom and dad are in their 80's now. The other day our mom pulled out a box in her closet and inside was everything we got them Christmas. The memories we laughed and cried when we saw it.

Trish Perry said...

Oh, that's just lovely, Teena. You almost made ME cry with that story. Some of the best memories happen when we have very little to give materially.

Calliegh said...

I miss growing up and driving around to look at Christmas lights. It was nice because my parents did the driving. Now that I have to drive it isn't as fun Lol. No really I love looking at Christmas lights.

Shara said...

LOVED your post, Trish! What a beautiful testimony of the true meaning of Christmas—sharing our love for one another. Great photos too! And I love your homemade gift ideas. I believe those are the best kind of gifts. They make others feel so special. Your post is a great reminder to always cherish all the blessings that only God can give.

Trish Perry said...

I've updated my post, friends who commented above, because I failed to ask you to provide your email address (fractured, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com). I'll need that to notify you if you win any drawings. If any of the three names above are pulled, I'll do my best to notify you! But it's always best to have email info.

Trish Perry said...

Like you, Calliegh, I loved exploring the light displays at Christmas! When I lived on the East Coast, we visited a site in Maryland that had an entire land of lights. It was great for the kids (young and old).

Shara, I agree--the home-made gifts are always memorable and cherished.

teena3940 said...

My email is grandmatinaof2(at)gmail.com Teena3940

Linda R said...

I love Christmas, but now that my parents are both gone, it's a sad time too. I find myself re-creating traditions more and more to make Christmas like it was when I was growing up. I am thankful to have those precious memories.

Linda - rayorr[at]bellsouth[dot]com

Sparks of Ember said...

What great memories!!!

Lila said...

My family lives across the country. A couple of years ago my mom and dad and sister flew out to spend Christmas with us, and that was special. :) One Christmas I remember with fondness was when we had to go out of state for an uncle's funeral. I'd never met that uncle, so I wasn't sad. It was the first time we had Christmas with my extended family, my grandparents, aunts, and uncles. My aunt and uncle were empty nesters and much richer than us, so they spoiled us with presents I hadn't even dreamed of. The stuffed animals became my favorite toys for years after, and I still have kept them in a trunk for my daughters (probably granddaughters now, as I have only boys). ;) My email addres is liladiller78 {at} gmail {dot} com.

GrandaddyA said...

I enjoyed you sharing your memories of different gifts through the years. I can't think of anything in particular this evening. You mentioned some families may have to consider celebrating Christmas at a different time of year. My pastor's wife told me this morning they will be celebrating Christmas this coming Saturday with their daughter and her family because they live in another state and won't be able to get back here for Christmas.

Melanie Backus said...

Thank you for sharing your wonderful post. Christmas is such a special time. mauback55 at gmail dot com

Trish Perry said...

I love hearing about other people's memories and future plans for celebrating. Edward, it's always nice to hear of others having to celebrate at unorthodox times, like your pastor's family. It's a blessing just having family to celebrate with at all! Not everyone has that.

Caryl Kane said...

Wonderful post, Trish! I miss my Daddy. He's been in Heaven for 7 years and his birthday is December 26.


arletta said...

We were 7 kids growing up and my parents were not wealthy. We were thrilled with any gifts we got. Both of my parents have passed away now but I think I miss my oldest brother most at Christmas. He passed away in a snowmobile accident on Dec. 8 so each December is bittersweet.

Paula Shreckhise said...

I remember a favorite gift at Christmas was a book!
I enjoy giving books at Christmas, too.
Thanks for the post. paulams49ATsbcglobalDOTnet

Maria Dalmau said...

I remember my grandfather dressing up as Santa, the anticipation and being surrounded by family.




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