Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thirteen Blessings 2013 Brought

1. A Trip to Ireland!
    The mister and I were blessed to be able to make a return trip to Ireland in April.

2. Our Youngest Son Got Married!
    Finally we have a daughter. :) It was a beautiful day!

3. My First Novel in Seven Years Was Published.
    It was a long wait, but finally Grace's Pictures was released.

4. My Mother-in-law Got a Clean Bill of Health.
    No signs of the cancer she had removed the year before and she's feeling great!

5. Our Kitchen Renovation Began in Earnest!
    Which means it should be finished in 2014.

6. We Enjoyed a Visit From our Great Niece this Summer.
    And I got to introduce her to the Dublin Irish Festival. She and her sister were able to visit us this         Christmas as well.

7. I Had the Opportunity to Meet Lots of New Readers This Year.
   At various events including the Dublin Irish Festival, the Indy Irish Fest, The Buckeye Book Festival, and my two book launches at the Heights Cafe and the Nutcracker Restaurant.

8. I Completed Another Novel.
   Annie's Stories will release next July. I am super-excited about this one!

9. I Enjoyed Another Girlfriend Getaway with my High School Friends.
    Really treasure these and also a get together recently for Classic Pizza with some high school buds.

10. I Was Able to Attend ACFW this fall, which is the writers conference where I get to meet up with lots of old friends. I also got to meet with my agent, my editors, and my cousin Linda who walked to the Indy Irish Fest with me!

11. Took a Trip to Vermont with My Mom and My Sister.
      My mom always wanted to go there. It was a special trip and lots of people got maple syrup for Christmas!

12. I Was Able to Attend Another Marketing Seminar Put on by my Literary Agency.
     And, while there I got to meet up with one from #9 on her birthday!

13. Attended Several Reds Games.
     Most with another from #9 and her husband. Lots of fun, including Reds Fest a few weeks ago.

Oh, I'm at 13 already and there certainly are more, including the family time we've enjoyed this Christmas. This was a great activity for me because I sometimes forget many of my blessings. And I shouldn't. I think everyone should try it! :)

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Irish Fireside Reviews the Year 2013

There is one of my recent blog posts on here. I love this recap. If you don't follow the Irish Fireside, you are missing out!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

What if Christmas Didn't Happen Like We Thought?

Several years ago I attended a program at an observatory where I learned that Christmas, meaning the birth of Christ, mostly likely did not take place on December 25th. First of all, the calendars have changed over the eras. But more than likely the star the wise men followed appeared in the sky sometime during our month of March. So for centuries we've celebrated on the wrong date? Looking back it seems Christ's birthday was not even celebrated for the first few hundred years after His death, according to this article.

If you are wondering how this happened, it's not really that hard to uncover. From what I understand about church history, it was the practice of the church to take over pagan festivals and turn them into ones that have meaning for Christians. This likely happened with the observance of the winter solstice, the coming of light becomes the coming of Light.

So maybe Christmas is not really Jesus' birthday. Does it matter? I don't think so. What matters is that He was born.

My publisher gave me Ann Voskamp's new book, The Greatest Gift, Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas. It's an advent devotional beautifully written with plenty of inspiring quotes I could pull out for you. Here is one: "Love had to get to you. Love had to come back for you. The Love that has been coming for you since the beginning…this is the truest love story of history…"

God With Us! Yes, the birth is important, life-changing, ground-breaking, startling. The actual date, not a big deal.

Why do we do it, then? Give presents, cook, wish every stranger a Merry Christmas (and really mean it, unlike the everyday "Have a nice day.") Because of Him. Because God is with us. Because He lives in us and we see Him in the face of every stranger. That is the important thing about what happened when Jesus was born.

Merry Christmas!!