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  • Christmas Scavenger Hunt Round Robin: Once Upon a Christmas

    Merry Christmas! Welcome to my website, and thank you for stopping by and participating in this Christmas Round Robin! At each author’s blog post, you will find a question that can be answered by checking out the free Amazon preview of their book. Provide the answer at this google form.

    Note: You must answer the questions for every author in the round -robin to be considered to win the $350 first place, $250 second place or $150 third place Amazon gift cards. [Note: these prizes are USD values. If you are not a U.S. resident, you will get a gift card from the Amazon store for your country; however, it will be valued at these USD amounts.)  At the end of my post is a link to the next blog, who will provide a link to the next blog, etc., to the very end.  

    I’m so excited to tell you about Once Upon a Christmas! This book is a Contemporary Inspirational Romance, and is very personal to me. Though it is labeled as book 3 in The Christmas Card series, it is a complete standalone book. It does not share any of the same characters, and the books can be read in any order. Their similar style and inspirational message within a heart-warming Christmas romance make this series one of my most beloved and popular.

    When her flight home is canceled a few days before Christmas, Moe Scott spontaneously agrees to spend a few hours sight-seeing with a fellow passenger. At the time, she doesn’t know the moments with James will change her life, nor does she know that before her plane takes off the next morning, she will turn around to find James gone.

    With no way to contact him, Moe returns home only to lose everything before the new year dawns. Completely alone, jobless, and faced with the news that she is going blind, Moe remembers her time with James and clings to the idea of embracing the moments of vision she has left.

    When opportunities for love and friendship come in the most unexpected places, Moe faces the choice of whether to continue to wait for the man who changed her life.

    Will Moe and James ever find each other again? Can she learn to appreciate the beauty in each moment God provides and inspire those beyond her own darkness, even if she never sees again?

    This book is one of the most meaningful books I have ever written, which is all the more fulfilling because the story is so personal to me. I include a lot of my own experiences and thoughts, fictionalized, of course! The author’s note in the book explains the story behind the story, revealing the truth in this unique work of fiction. The message of this book has been profound, and I’m continually amazed at how God has used it to touch others. I hope you end up being one of those touched, and I pray you are better for your “once” with me!

    Now it’s time for you to check it out! Go to the book on Amazon by clicking on this link to Once Upon a Christmas

    In the Look Inside feature, find the answer to this question:

    What does James order at dinner? When you find the answer, fill out this  form and hop over to the next blog! 

    Thank you so much for visiting! The next author on the tour is  Tori Higa, who is telling us all about her debut  picture book, The Christmas Color. You can find it by clicking this link: Tori’s Scavenger Hunt

    Remember that you must answer every question from all 36 authors in this collection and the round-robin will end on December 13th at 11:59 PM EST!


  • The Paper Bag Challenge!

    I’ve always believed that a compelling story can be written about anything, even a paper bag. After all, the quality of a story doesn’t depend on the topic as much as the writing. So I decided to take the challenge and put my paper bag theory to the test!

    So, here you go! Want to see if a paper bag can touch your heart? Make sure you read all the way to the end!

     

    The brown paper bag slid from her fingertips, the wind conspiring with icy snowflakes to whip it away from the open car window.

    Frantic cries of “Daddy, stop!” accompanied the bag’s exit, but the car sped away, the brake lights never flashing red.

    The bag flew behind the vehicle as if on wings for a few glorious seconds before plastering against the windshield of another car. The car swerved while the driver yelled insults at it and the world in general until the bag lost its grip, flinging away from the smooth glass and tumbling to a landing in the middle of the road.

    Snow continued to fall, dotting the bag with pinpricks of moisture until they joined together, transforming the once crisp brown paper into a soggy film that melted to the road.

    A cat darted across the street, stopping to sniff the bag and the faint aroma of Christmas cookies lingering on it. The cat startled, looking up as headlights spotlighted its glowing eyes. Waiting for the last second, it crouched over the bag, daring the approaching car closer. Suddenly, it took off, streaking across the road as the car weaved, trying to avoid the dark shadow.

    The bag waited patiently as traffic slowed with the night. Snowflakes no longer melted against it but formed a layer of ice, pinning it to the hard asphalt. Fluffy snow piled on top until the bag became part of the landscape, no longer distinguishable from the rest of winter.

    Finally, dawn peeked over the eastern hills and a pair of huge glowing beacons, brighter and louder than any others, came barreling toward the bag. With a loud scraping against the asphalt, they scooped the bag up in an avalanche and carried it down the road to join a massive wall of snow. The vehicle backed away, but the bag clung to its metal shovel until the unsteady grunting and jerking became too much. Reluctantly, it released its hold, once again falling to the ground.

    The sun chased away the last shadows of night. A speedy little car buzzed past, its tires running directly over the bag, imprinting its tread on the wet paper and carrying it along for the space of a dizzying merry-go-round ride until it stopped at a gas station. The bag escaped only to stand sentinel in the slush as a long line of cars stopped, pumped their gas, and left, no one seeing the brown paper bag beside them.

    A woman stepped out of her car and checked her watch. Her movements hurried as she pushed buttons on the pump. She stepped back, her foot landing directly on the bag. Like glue, the wet paper clung fiercely to her shoe, and when she stepped, the bag came with it.

    Grumbling, she reached down and ripped the bag from her shoe. With two disgusted fingers, she held the wet piece of trash away from her and marched it over to the garbage can where it belonged.

    Suddenly, she stopped.

    Thoughtfully, her now curious fingers carefully pried apart the gooey paper. She reached inside and pulled out a plastic sandwich bag. Nestled inside, kept safe from the bag’s obvious trauma, was a picture of a little boy with an ornament frame around it. The little frame had been painstakingly colored with a Christmas rainbow of markers. With the picture ornament was a note written in a child’s hand:

     

    Dear Mommy

    I made this for u. I hop God lets u hve

    Crismas preznts in heven.

    Love,

    Max

     

    The woman held the paper bag and its contents for a long time. Then she placed everything in her car, finished with the gas pump, and drove away. The paper bag spent all day on the passenger seat of the woman’s car. By the time she returned, the bag was dry and crinkly once again.

    They drove to a store. The woman got out and eventually returned with a large, helium-filled balloon. She then drove to a park with heavy drifts of snow resting against the trees. She took out her phone and snapped a picture of the boy’s little face smiling from the ornament. Then she gathered the balloon in one hand and the bag and its contents in the other and marched through the snow to the center of the park.

    With cold fingers, she tied the paper-framed ornament to the long string attached to the balloon and bowed her head. When her eyes opened again, she held the balloon outstretched. Then her fingers slowly parted and released it.

    She watched as the balloon lifted high in the leaden sky, the little gift swaying gently on the string below. She snapped a picture with her phone then opened an app. Her fingers numbing with cold, she quickly typed out a caption:

     

    Hey, Max, I don’t know you, but I found your paper bag with the present for your mom. Don’t worry. I sent it off to heaven. I know she’ll love it.

    Love,

    Lexi

     

    After posting, she looked back up in the sky, watching until she could see the balloon and its precious cargo no more. With a sigh, she turned and walked back to her car, still holding the crumpled, torn paper bag in one hand. Beside her car stood a trash can. She walked over to it. The paper hovered once again over the garbage, waiting for its release.

    But her hand drew back. She looked at the bag, and her fingers gently smoothed out the wrinkles that could never be erased.

    She got back into the car and placed the empty bag back on the passenger seat beside her.

    Maybe she’d throw it away later.

    After all, it was just a paper bag.

     

    The Paper Bag” has a longer “sequel,” and I’m offering it for free to newsletter subscribers! To subscribe and find out what happens next, click here.

    Amanda’s Newsletter

    If you enjoyed this mini story, please share with friends so they can enjoy it, too! You can share this website post or you can share this Facebook post of “The Paper Bag.”

    And to think it all started with a paper bag!


  • The Words You Need to Hear

     

    Last week was a rough one. Nobody was sick. No tragedy occurred. In fact, there really was little worth complaining about. It was just one of those weeks, like so many in typical 2020, where you get to the end and think, “Whew! That was rough!”

    Part of what made it tough for me was that it was tough for one of my kids. I remember my mom saying that when you have multiple kids in the house, every day is a bad day for somebody! Since my heart walks around on four different pairs of legs, the chances of it hurting are pretty high.

    In this case, some of the “tough” had to do with my son’s math test.. It’s been a tough math year so far this year, so he was pretty nervous about it. Don’t get me wrong, he’s extremely smart and good at math, which makes the challenge of this year even more frustrating. The night before his test, he reviewed and studied for about three hours. I sat beside him, checked his answers with my own work, and made sure he was understanding the steps of the oft-times complex algebra problems. At the end of the night, I was confident that he knew his stuff. I was wiped out tired and reaching back decades to remember how to graph little numbers and letters on a grid I could barely see. He ended up telling me what I did wrong when our answers didn’t match and understood the material inside out and backwards. I prayed with him before bed and called it good, feeling confident that there was nothing more he could have done to prepare.

    The next day, I got an email from my son while he was at school. Obviously very upset, he told me he’d gone in at lunch to finish his test and scored the lowest grade he’d ever gotten on a math test in his life. Honestly, my first inclination was to try to find out exactly what went wrong. Did you not check your answers? How exactly did you mess up? Fortunately, I read between the lines of his few words. My easy-going, Pollyanna boy was frustrated and saying things like “take me out of this class. I can’t do it.” I took a deep breath and a few minutes before responding. He was frustrated, upset, and worried about how I would react.

    What does he need to hear right now?

    Then, slowly, I typed only a few words in reply: “It will be okay. We will figure it out. I love you.” Then I clicked send.

    He soon replied with only two words: “Ok, thanks.” But even in those two words, I knew that the waters of his emotions were calmed. Because he believed me. He believed it would be okay. He believed I would help him figure it out. And he believed I loved him.

    As I drove to pick him up at the end of the day, I was reflecting and thought about how many times, even as adults, we just need someone to say those same words I spoke to him.

    Then I heard a gentle whisper. Don’t I always?

    I then realized that the Bible proclaims that very message in every page. God has written it there for all to see. But His message to us is even more beautiful and powerful than mine to my son. For God’s words say something slightly different.

    It will be okay. I have it figured out. I love you.

    We often feel like we’ve gotten ourselves into a hopeless situation that we can’t manage to get out of. And we’re probably right. But no situation, no screw up, no tragedy comes as a surprise to God. He knew it was coming, and He already has a plan to get us through it.

    One of the most frequently misinterpreted verses in the Bible is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” People often whip out this verse as a band aid when someone is going through something tough. However, if you read the context of the verse, you realize that God didn’t say this at the end of a tough time, but at the beginning. After those words were spoken, things went from bad to worse, at least if you were keeping tabs on the outside circumstances. But God doesn’t work the short game. Through that verse, He was telling His people that things are going to get bad. You’re going to face tragedy, persecution, and dark times. Not everyone was going to make it. But, I know the plans I have for you. They will bring about your eventual good.

    In many ways, this context should be even more comforting. Just because bad things happen doesn’t mean that God has abandoned you. Even if they go from bad to worse and your life gives Job’s a good competition, you can take comfort in knowing that God plays the long game. He has a plan, and His plan is good.

    I don’t know how my son’s math will turn out. I don’t know if he will manage to get a decent grade. But even if he doesn’t, I’ll be right there beside him to figure things out and help him through. And I am confident that whatever happens will be for his eventual good.

    It’s 2020. You pretty much never know what craziness tomorrow will bring. I do know that tomorrow is the election. People are very divided. No matter who wins, one set of people will be happy and celebrate while the other side will be upset and think that times are about to get very dark and tough. Let me encourage you that whatever your circumstances—if your candidate loses, if you’re crying tomorrow and convinced the world is ending, if you’re sick, if you’re facing tragedy, if 2020 has just been a tough one, or if you just bombed a math test…

    Listen to the gentle whisper that echoes an entire Bible of the same message:

    It will be okay. I already have it figured out. I love you.

    Then believe Him.


  • Available for Preorder!

    Preorder for 99 Cents!

    If I only see you once…

    When her flight home is canceled a few days before Christmas, Moe Scott spontaneously agrees to spend a few hours sight-seeing with a fellow passenger. At the time, she doesn’t know the moments with James will change her life, nor does she know that before her plane takes off the next morning, she will turn around to find James gone.

    With no way to contact him, Moe returns home only to lose everything before the new year dawns. Completely alone, jobless, and faced with the news that she is going blind, Moe remembers her time with James and clings to the idea of embracing the moments of vision she has left.

    When opportunities for love and friendship come in the most unexpected places, Moe faces the choice of whether to continue to wait for the man who changed her life.

    Will Moe and James ever find each other again? Can she learn to appreciate the beauty in each moment God provides and inspire those beyond her own darkness, even if she never sees again?

    A once upon a Christmas inspires her story. Her ever after changes the world.

     

    Please Note: While this is Book 3 in the Christmas Card Series, it does not share characters or storylines with the other two books in the series. The books are related only in that they are stand-alone, inspirational Christmas stories and can be read in any order. 

     

    Yay! This is the book that I actually wanted to release last year, but God had other plans! It took me over six months to write, which for me is a really long time! Several aspects of this book make it special. The other two books in the series have become so very popular and loved. God has used them in ways that continue to amaze me. With that comes a great deal of pressure. I don’t want to disappoint, even though I constantly tell myself that I write for him, and it’s only ever been in His hands.

    Further complicating things, The Christmas Card books tend to be my most personal and based on much of my own experiences. I explain in the Authors’s Note at the end of the book, as I did with the other books, what the “truth” of the story is and how it came to be. Writing in this way opens yourself, your thoughts, and your experiences up to the world in very scary way,  and after obsessing about this book for so long, I am quite worried that all of it actually stinks! 😉 While I am assured by others who have read it already that it is quite amazing, I can’t wait until you read it!

    Tip: This is one I would definitely not wait to order! 99 cents is the introductory price, and it is set to increase soon after its release!

    What do you think? Which of the Christmas Card books was your favorite so far (links below)? Any questions or ideas about what this one is like? Warning: Like many of my other books, this one is not going to end the way you think it will! 

    If you just can’t wait, check out or reread the other two books in the series. Though set at Christmas, their story and message is one for the whole year!

    The Christmas Card–Book 1

    A Cinderella Christmas–Book 2

     

    Please Note: Affiliate links may be used on this website. That means that if you purchase after clicking one of my links, I may get a small commission on that sale. A win for both of us! 🙂


  • For Such a Time as This

    I have a confession. I like to skip to the end of the book. Now, I don’t read the end of the book. I just scan it. Especially if it’s a really good, exciting book. I just take a peek—catch a line and a name here and there to make sure I’ll like it and it’s worth reading all the middle stuff to make it to the end. (BTW, this in no way gives any readers permission to skip ahead to the endings of my books.)

    These past few weeks, I have felt caught in a ridiculous plot that I didn’t like at all and made me wish I could fast forward to the end. Even a quick peek would be enough. Could I just scan for a date of when we get to leave our houses and do normal stuff?

    It’s so difficult not knowing. It’s overwhelming when we don’t know when the tunnel ends and we can’t see even a small light. Yet, this week, one thought has replayed over and over in my mind, and it’s helped me feel a little more peace in these present circumstances.

    The verse that keeps whispering to me is the one from the book of Esther. It isn’t even the complete verse, just “for such a time as this.” These were words spoken to Esther, and we seem to usually think of them as a summation to her calling—a banner to wave over her story proclaiming her success in saving her people. But actually, if you look at the verse in context, Esther may actually be being reprimanded!

    Here she is the queen. She had it made and could play life easy being pampered, eating delicacies, and not at all concerning herself with those outside the palace walls. To do anything would risk her life. Her message to Mordecai was telling him the reasons her hands were tied. His response was very near a rebuke, telling her that she just may be in her current position because this was what she was meant to do. If she chose not to do it, then God would save His people another way. But he asked her to consider that God had given her the tools and the position to do exactly what she was being asked to do in order to save her people. And now He was giving her the opportunity to do it.

    Esther’s response was to accept the purpose and risk her life to go to the king on behalf of the Jewish people, saying “If I perish, I perish.”

    Of course, the obvious question is what does this have to do with our present circumstances?

    Hopefully, one of my favorite verses will explain my thoughts:

    “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
    And in Your book they all were written,
    The days fashioned for me,
    When as yet there were none of them.” Psalm 139:16

    God knew what each day in April 2020 would bring for me. He didn’t just know, he planned it. And He gave me the tools and position to serve him on this day, just as He gave Esther on the day she appeared before the king. Who am I to say that, like Esther, God has not put me right where I am for such a time as this?

    I don’t have any plans to save a nation. But maybe my purpose doesn’t need to be one with a capital P. Maybe my purpose in serving God through this is to give comfort and encouragement to others. Maybe it is doing something kind that shows God’s love to someone else. Maybe it’s giving a listening ear to someone who is struggling. Maybe it is enduring something difficult and coming out stronger and more able to help others. Maybe it’s giving my kids extra snuggles and games in between the stress. Maybe it’s writing my thoughts down and pressing “post.”

    God knew we would go through this, He planned it for us, and He designed each of us individually so we could serve Him through it.

    Ok, so that sounds like pressure, and I really don’t like pressure right now. I can’t really handle any thought of purpose when the great expedition of the week is finding TP. I’d honestly rather sit back with my eyes closed and eat chocolate. But then I realized that it doesn’t really have anything to do with me; it has everything to do with God, and I get the benefit.

    Esther chose to step away from what she’d rather do and appear before the king, but God gave her the courage and tools to do it. God gave her favor with the king, when he caused him to extend his gold scepter to her and grant the bold request she made.

    I know that some people feel utterly lost right now and God seems silent. Locating a purpose seems more difficult than finding a needle in a large haystack of pointlessness. But a person is not in charge of purpose. God is. Put one foot in front of the other. Breathe in and out (with your mask in place) and wait for God to bring you an opportunity to serve. Remember, you don’t have to save a nation, purpose can wear infinite fashions. Maybe it’s a single conversation, desperately drawing close to God, taking care of others, spending time planting a garden that will later bless others, letting someone know you care or admire them, taking the time to earn a smile from a child, or even just enduring through a time when you don’t get to see God’s purpose until the end. The point is, God meant for you to be here. Right now. And He will not only get you through it, He will make you and others better for it.

    Why is it important to recognize we have purpose in this trial? Purpose changes attitude. It changed Esther. She went from timid to bold, recognizing that she would do what she was called to, even if it cost her life. If I know I am supposed to be here, that changes my perspective. I’m no longer wishing to skip to the end, but I’m looking for what I should do in the now. The Bible is full of countless examples of people who endured horrible things all because they knew they were where they were supposed to be. Noah built an ark when there was no rain. The apostles endured great persecution because they knew that sharing the gospel is what they were meant to do.

    My achievements won’t be preserved for all time, but I am just as convinced that I am meant to be here. I have purpose in this yuckiness, and I am eagerly looking for opportunities where I get to be a part of God’s larger Purpose in all of this.

    When I write books, I don’t include fluff. Every scene I write has a purpose, whether it has to do with furthering the plot or developing the characters. I write so that if a single scene is removed, the book isn’t the same. It’s pretty amazing to recognize that God is a much better author than I am. He doesn’t waste scenes either. Even when the world is crazy and we are stuck in our homes, God is not wasting this time. He has a dual purpose, one that will benefit us and benefit his kingdom through us.

    Every scene, every event in my life is there for a reason, even if I don’t recognize the why.

    After all of these thoughts, I’ve come to one conclusion:

    I want this chapter of my story to be a good one. I want to recognize how God has prepared me for “such a time as this,” and I want to step forward to serve God on this and every day.

    None of this means that I am required to like my present circumstances, that I won’t have my fair share of crying in the car episodes, or that I won’t eagerly look forward to the end of this storyline. However, it does mean that when I do get to the end of the chapter, hopefully I’ll be able to look back and see that, yes, I was created for such a time as this. And, just maybe, I’ll recognize God’s fingerprints on every page.


  • Christmas Scavenger Hunt Round-Robin: A Cinderella Christmas

    Merry Christmas! Welcome to my website, and thank you for stopping by and participating in this Christmas Round Robin! As a reminder, at each author’s blog post, you will find a question that can be answered by checking out the free Amazon preview of their book. Provide the answer in the Google form and then click the link at the bottom of the post to hop to the next blog. You must answer the questions for all of the authors in order to be considered to win. any of the Amazon gift card prizes! (1st place=$300, 2nd place=$150, 3rd place=$75)

    I’m so excited to feature A Cinderella Christmasfor this fun scavenger hunt! This book is a Contemporary Inspirational Romance, and is very personal to me. Though it is labeled as book 2 in The Christmas Card series. It is a complete standalone book and not related to the first book in any way except that they are both Inspirational Christmas Romances. In other words, you don’t need to read anything else to fully enjoy and appreciate this special book.

    After a traumatic accident that was entirely her fault, Emily Jansen struggles with guilt, anxiety, and the desire to prevent others from experiencing something similar. To help work through her issues, she writes in a notebook and prays that God will open her eyes to see those in need.

    When Grant Dillon’s wife passed away five years ago, he scaled back his successful journalism career to better raise his daughter. Now his boss wants him back in the game, and if he doesn’t produce a prize-winning article soon, he will be out of a job. After finding a mysterious notebook, Grant recognizes he’s found his story and now must find the woman he knows only by her inspirational writing.

    It’s just a simple notebook with a message that could change the world. As its message inspires Grant to act differently, it unknowingly produces a chain that changes lives forever.

    Will Grant write his story before his deadline, or will his boss take matters into her own hands? Most importantly, will Grant’s search for the writer of the notebook end with him finding his true Cinderella?

    This book is one of the most popular and meaningful books I have ever written, which is all the more fulfilling because the story is so personal to me. The author’s note in the book explains the story behind the story, revealing the truth in this unique work of fiction. The message of this book has been profound, and I’m continually amazed at how God has used it to touch others.

    Now it’s time for you to check it out! Go to the book on Amazon by clicking on this link: A Cinderella ChristmasWhat is the name of the dog Emily picks up from the vet? When you have the answer, fill out the form and hop over to the next blog! 

    Here is your link to Google form to fill out your answer:  https://forms.gle/KmpSxup17fhRStqd9

    Thank you so much for visiting! The next author on the tour is Linda Shenton Matchett, who is telling us all about her Christmas book, A Doctor in the House (The Hope of Christmas collection). You can find it by clicking this link: Linda’s Scavenger Hunt

    Remember that the round-robin will end on December 16th at 11:59 PM EST!

     


  • Ornament Giveaway

    The “Under the Christmas Star” Crossroads Collection authors are giving away Christmas Ornaments!

    As luck would have it, Emma Sheldon of Under the Christmas Star made these especially for you! 😉

     

        

    No purchase necessary. This is a super easy giveaway, No need to sign up or share anything. We just want your opinion! Simply read about our collection and answer one simple question below.

                                           Under the Christmas Star

    A Crossroads Collection

    Five of today’s Best-selling Christian Authors weave five unique, connected stories where handmade Christmas ornaments lead to miraculous answers to prayer.

    Comfort and Joy by Lesley Ann McDaniel

    Recently divorced from her cheating, narcissistic ex-husband, Joy Bennet has set a firm boundary against dating until her kids are grown. But when Kyle Montgomery brings his dog to her clinic for emergency surgery, her resolve is put to the test. 

    Brushed with Love by April Hayman

    An unlikely couple? Perhaps, but when Shelby Matthews and Beau Wright work together to reestablish the Wright family annual Christmas pageant, a beautiful picture of love, family, and commitment emerges in this modern retelling of Ruth and Boaz.

    Tangoed in Tinsel by Chautona Havig

    It took twenty years for Wayne Farrell to find the love of his life and only a sprained ankle to lose her. Still, when a new shot at romance presents itself, Wayne finds himself tangling and tangoing his life in unexpected directions.

    Shattered Pieces by Alana Terry 

    A young boy discovers the story of how his parents survived as an interracial couple in the American South during the Civil Rights movement.

    Under the Christmas Star by Amanda Tru

    When an autistic young woman’s car and handcrafted ornaments are stolen, she struggles to keep her business and doubts her future could include friendship, love, and answered prayer.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Please share and help spread the word about this giveaway and the Under the Christmas Star collection!

    Open to US residents only. Winners will be notified through email and will then be asked for an address to mail their prize. (Ornaments will arrive after Christmas)


  • A Few of My Favorite Things (Part 3)

    And here we are, at the end of my list of favorite things (for now). If you’re just tuning in, you can get caught up on the other posts in this series by clicking on these links for Part 1 and Part 2.

    This is a list of my not-so-ordinary favorite things. These are things that are unique, maybe a little strange and ridiculous, but when I encounter them, they give me a surge of joy for an almost unexplainable reason. Here are four more making the favorite things cut!

     

    * Thunderstorms *

    Now I only enjoy these from the inside. Definitely not from someplace like the middle of a river, in a float tube, when there is nowhere to get out. (Yes, that’s happened.) However, thunderstorms always remind me how big and powerful God is, and how small I am in comparison. The knowledge that little me is safe from the lightning and thunder fills me with a curious comfort and happiness.

     

    * Fresh Peaches *

    I love a lot of different kinds of fruit. Strawberries are some of my favorites, but nothing quite compares to a fresh peach. In August, we usually end up getting several boxes of peaches from a local orchard. I don’t can them or freeze them, or make jam (though I probably should). I eat them. Sweet, melt-in-your-mouth goodness that makes you think that happiness really does taste like peaches.

     

    * Mispronunciations*

    I have already mentioned that nearly everything to do with my children should technically be on my favorite things list. But this one is rather unique and specific, so I thought I’d go ahead and list it.

    I love it when my kids mispronounce something.

    With my older kids, it is usually because they have read something and just didn’t know how to pronounce what they knew how to read. With my 4-yea-old, it’s just because he’s learning, and cute, and his speech is still developing. His tongue just can’t quite get around on some words.

    When my oldest was little, I was “Monny,” and I loved it. My 2nd son had some great ones a well. He liked battalion (Italian) dressing on his salad, and he talked about lasterday (yesterday), which is how I acquired my pen name for my childrens’ books (J. Lasterday).

    A few weeks ago, we were making hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner. We made a hot dog for my 4-year-old, and he decided he didn’t want one. My husband asked me why I had made a hotdog for him, and I said I didn’t think he’d eat a hamburger. Then, said 4-year-old looked up at me with his big blue eyes and asked if he could have a ham-bo-burger. I then turned to my husband and said, “If I knew he was going to pronounce it like that, I would have told you to make him about ten of them!”

    I never correct my little ones on their pronunciation, though I will (reluctantly) tell the correct pronunciation to save my older kids the potential embarrassment. But for the younger ones, those cute little things are so very fleeting. Very soon, we won’t have hambobugers in our house, and I won’t even know when they’ll go away. So I will take as many hamboburgers as I can get him to eat and capture that thrill of hearing him, hoping it will last a little longer for when we have to eat plain old hamburgers.

     

    * Flowers *

    I love them. I love them outside. I love them when my husband surprises me with a bouquet. I love them when my 7-year-old picks dandelions and whatever he can find and puts them in a little vase I keep for him above my kitchen sink. I’ve loved them since I was a child and kept my mom and grandma supplied with roses, tulips, lilies, and lilacs, carefully picked and arranged for their dining tables, and I’ll probably still love them when I’m too old to remember why I love them so.

     

    This last one brings me to one of the projects I am working on. It is a book that has something to do with flowers. (Don’t you love how specific I am?) For some of the advertising and promotions I have planned, I need fun stories, jokes, or quotes that have to do with flowers. If you have any of these, let me know! I can hopefully share more about my “flower project” soon!

    What about you? Can you relate to my favorite things, or do you just think I’m really weird for liking things like crinkled potato chips and thunderstorms? Are there any strange things that you adore?