Monthly Archives: December 2008

Christmas Lights

I love Christmas lights. The ones on my tree blink in a rhythm of colors. Off — on — off — on. Lights blaze from rooftops and lawns all over my town, and I drive slowly after dark reveling in the Santas, the sleighs, and Rudolf’s red nose. I light Christmas candles and watch the flickering flames. I remember my mother telling about old-fashioned Christmas trees lit with real candles. What a sight that must have been!

At my church, the walkways are lined with paper sacks weighted with sand and sheltering small candles. They are lanterns leading the way to a chapel filled with red poinsettias and more candlelight. At the end of the service, we hold individual candles stuck through paper lace doilies and light them, one from another, as we process out into the night.

I look into the winter sky and see Jupiter and Venus and search for the belt of Orion and think of that star that led the way so many years ago. I breathe deeply of the fresh night air as we sing Silent Night, Holy Night, All is calm, All is bright.

And I know that the brightest Christmas light of all is the light that shines within each of us, the light that comes from joy at our Savior’s birth. The light that continues throughout the year. The light that burns with an everlasting flame. That’s my favorite Christmas light.

Contributed by Marilyn Donahue

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A New Year Plan

Christmas is over. It’s time to relax. Or is it? With New Year’s just days away there is one main thing a writer needs to do: make a writing plan.

           

I’m not much into making personal resolutions for each New Year. I start off well with the best of intentions, but then I kind of fizzle. It’s probably because I don’t write anything down.

           

So to prepare for another year I’m going to take some time to transcribe a writing plan for 2009. It won’t be anything too outlandish like writing a 10,000 page epic in a year. It will include some practical straightforward goals to help increase my visibility, encourage my creativity, and extend the passion for my projects to keep my vision fresh.

           

What writing plans do you have for the New Year of 2009?

Contributed by Catherine L. Osornio

Merry Christmas!

“There were shepherds out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be to all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; his is Christ the Lord.”

A blessed Christmas to you all!

Thankful God sent us a Savior, Gloria

Watching and Waiting

Two days before the holy day.

The donkey has come many miles. His feet are sore. The woman on his back is weary, too. Her husband leads the donkey through the streets full of travelers who, like him, have come for the census. He knows his wife is about to deliver the child. The exceedingly special child. He hunts for a place to spend the night.

Searching, searching.

The old man wanders the temple courts, pondering when the time will be fulfilled that was promised him. He sees the widow who never leaves the temple, but worships and prays constantly. The old man stands and waits, searching the crowds who enter the temple.

Seeking, seeking.

The camels plod through the desert, wondering when they will return to their far home. The men riding them wonder too. Was the star a portent of evil, leading them to their destruction, and not the herald of a magnificent King as they had been led to believe? When night fell would they still see it before them, beckoning?

Looking, looking.

The angels hover unseen over the little town that lay unsuspecting of its place in history. The time is not quite right, but soon. Were the shepherds out in the fields with their sheep? Was the manger waiting where the innkeeper would offer a shelter? Were they about to glimpse the astounding appearance of the One they had seen in glory since their creation, yet had given up His place to be a human body beginning with helplessness and ending with suffering?

Heaven hushes. The universe holds its breath.

Watching, watching.

Contributed by Shirley Shibley—Waiting for His second appearance!

Chase After Your Dreams

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Do you want to write holiday-themed manuscripts? Chase after your dreams by getting a copy of the book, CHASE’S Calendar of Events.

This must-have tool for holiday writing lists the holidays for each day and month of the year. For instance, did you know that June 4th is the anniversary of the first free flight by a woman? July 7th is the “Father-Daughter Take a Walk Together Day.” And September is National Biscuit Month! Find all this, and more, about every holiday you could ever imagine. (And if there’s a holiday you celebrate but it isn’t in the book–contact them and they’ll be sure to add it to their pages!)

Go to your local library and look in their reference section for this book. A new and updated edition is printed every year. If you want your own copy, keep an eye out in the used bookstore section of your library. Chances are they’ll sell last year’s book for fifty cents when they pull it off the shelf for this year’s edition.

Go ahead! Write about the holidays! From the well-known to the obscure, CHASE’S Calendar of Events has it all.

-Contributed by Nancy I. Sanders

Jingle Bells, I Can’t Spellz

Jingle bells, I can’t spellz.
Too much on my mind!
Trying to write. Buy gifts tonight.
I hope I make my deadLINE!

Achoo! Sneeze. Tissue please.
Caught that winter cold.
Won’t stay in bed. Write instead.
Just ten more lines to go, OH!

Decorate. House looks great.
Music soothes my mind.
Don’t linger long on that song.
Thought of the perfect line, WRITE!

Cards to mail. Wreath to nail.
Computer screen just froze!
Writers block. Hang Christmas socks.
E-mail’s can’t be read…NO!

Stressing out. Time to shout…
“Deadlines don’t scare me!”
Computer off. Pencils down.
Let’s decorate the tree…WHEEEE!

Take a break. Eat fruitcake.
Feel the Christmas cheer.
New plan to help my writing goal…

Don’t write until next year, YEAH!

Sheryl Crawford

Recycling Christmas

Many years ago, when my children were quite young, we made the decision to invest in an artificial Christmas tree. These trees weren’t as popular then as they are now, and this was not an easy decision. However, the cost of “real” trees was continually rising, they had to be bought early to find a really nice one, and then, since the temperature in San Bernardino can sometimes be in the high 80’s in December, a real tree would dry out long before Christmas day—-with drooping branches, pine needles everywhere, and worst of all, a definite fire hazard. A “fake” tree was the only choice. This decision also involved a credit card, something we didn’t often use back then. And, after going through all the pros and cons and actually making this purchase, someone stole our Christmas tree out of the back of our car!! To say the whole family was dismayed is to put it mildly, but it turned out to be a memorable Christmas, mainly because of the creative thinking of our oldest child.

Sometime in the early 1980’s, when I was a few years into my writing career, I wrote an article on this momentous event in our lives, making it a “Christmas in California” story and telling it from a mom’s point of view. I was grateful that it was accepted the first time out and published in Liguorian, a leading Catholic magazine for adults. It was one of my first “big” sales.

Fast forward to this year, 2008. I re-wrote this story, cutting it considerably and telling it from our oldest child’s point of view. It was accepted by the online Christian children’s publication, My Light, and appears in the December issue. That editor cut it even more and thought it was a good idea to give it a universal theme by leaving out the “California part.” But the main idea of the story still holds up, and it can be seen at http://www.mylightmagazine.com.

Now, I’m planning to use this incident in a third way. I recently heard about an anthology, called “Christmas Miracles,” that is accepting submissions for a book that will be published next Christmas. My plan is to rewrite this story one more time, again from an adult’s perspective, keeping the main details and theme but using an entirely new slant.

Even though having our tree stolen was devastating at the time, the story has a happy, and uplifting, ending. Plus, it’s a family story we never grow tired of telling, and obviously, one that has given me plenty of material to write about.

Contributed by Marjorie Flathers

P.S. It also gave me the idea for this blog!