Tag Archives: Christmas

My story entry in Susanna Hill’s 4th Annual Holiday Contest

Yesterday I found out that Susanna Hill is hosting her 4th Annual Holiday Contest right now. The challenge is to write a story for children in no more than 350 words, the theme being wild weather that impacts the holidays in some way. I decided to give it a try, so this is my first attempt. Next I have to link back to Susanna’s blog so my story can be connected to the contest, and then the entries are narrowed down to a few finalists whose stories are posted next Monday or Tuesday (Dec. 15 or 16). Those stories are then voted on by anyone wanting to read them. I hope you will go to Susanna’s blog and add your vote, even if it isn’t for my story. You have from Dec. 15 or 16 till Dec. 18 at 5 PM EST to VOTE.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

Now, here’s my story in 349 words.

 Blizzard Blessings

Suzie frowned out the window, her chin resting on her hands. It was Christmas Eve day and it was snowing – a lot! “Daddy, can’t we go to the pet store anyway?”

“I’m sorry, Suzie; there’s too much snow. The wind is blowing so hard we could get stuck in a snowdrift and not get back home tonight. Remember, you have to be in bed for Santa to come.”

Suzie pouted. “But you said for Christmas I could get a pet to live in the cage I found in the attic. I have it all ready!”

“Pouting won’t make the blizzard go away, Suzie. You have to wait until after Christmas now,” Daddy said. “How about we stay safe inside and read the Christmas story together?”

In the meantime, at the North Pole the elves were helping Santa load his sleigh. Soon he would be on his way, bringing gifts to all the girls and boys while they slept.

Santa picked up his warm red hat to wear that stormy night. When he gave it a shake out dropped a sleepy, little white mouse. “Sylvester! Ho! Ho! Ho! You can’t live in my cozy hat,” said Santa.

The little mouse sadly scurried away. Every time he found a nice place to live he was told “No!” – not in the dollhouse, not in the red fire engine, not in the drum set, not even in Santa’s hat. Where could he go?

That night Santa climbed into his sleigh. “Ho! Ho! Ho! What blustery weather for old Santa!”

Everyone was sound asleep when Santa landed his sleigh at Suzie’s house. He reached into his pack. “What’s this!” He pulled out a little white mouse. “Ho! Ho! Ho! Sylvester mouse! You can’t live in my pack, and it’s too stormy for you outside.” He looked around. “Look here! I see just the place for you. Merry Christmas, Sylvester.” Sylvester’s whiskers twitched from excitement.

Christmas morning Suzie squealed, “Daddy! Daddy! Look what Santa brought me!”

Under the Christmas tree, in the old cage from the attic, sat a happy little white mouse.

PiBoIdMo has ended – my update

Today is the first day of December … already!! Where did the time go? Yikes! And I love that it’s snowing on my blog. :)  (Thanks, Word Press!)

Soon it will be Christmas Day; I have a lot to do at home and at Dad’s to even feel ready for this special time of year, but I have begun – with help. I appreciate the beauty of this season (not the intense cold that comes with it) and especially the true meaning of Christmas.

The writerly news is …

PiBoIdMo ended at midnight November 30 …

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Just at the last moment I came up with the cutest title which has me thinking of a story to go with it. The great news is I completed PiBoIdMo with a win. The goal was to have 30 ideas, be they ever so small or detailed, and I got almost 50. YAY!

vinvogel_piboldmo_winnerPicture Book Idea Month is truly helpful when one is pursuing creative writing goals. Now Tara Lazar has begun a week of Post-PiBo posts which are a fantastic way to end this month-long event. She is genius in her contribution to the world of writing for children, and I’ve been very encouraged along the way – thanks to her.

The next fun part is after all this ends Tara has the task of giving out prizes to those of us who completed the challenge. Of course, with so many of us signed on not everyone will win a prize, but we are all winners if we participated in this event and took in what all the authors, illustrators and agents shared with us. It’s been an especially good PiBoIdMo for me at a time when I really needed to put my mind on creative things.

Did you take part in PiBoIdMo; if so how did you do? OR … Do you have any other successes to share, or goals you wish to achieve?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 

Book Review: Cowboy Christmas by Rob Sanders

Cowboy Christmas by Rob Sanders
Book: Cowboy Christmas
Author: Rob Sanders
Illustrator: John Manders
Publisher: Golden Books-Random House
Date: September 11, 2012
Genre: picture book
Pages: 32
Price: $11.49 or less, in both hardcover and Kindle
My rating: A funny and colourful book that is enjoyable to read
 
 

 

I bought this book – Cowboy Christmas by Rob Sanders – as a Christmas gift for my grandson and borrowed it from him to review. He said he likes the book, and then enjoyed reading it to me.

Even though it currently is not in season, Cowboy Christmas is well worth the read anytime. Rob Sanders is expert with words, using some that will broaden a child’s vocabulary while enhancing the story. He has written such a cute twist on the idea of preparing for Christmas when things are not the same as one is used to having available.

Three days before Christmas four cowboys are in the desert – three are taking care of a herd of longhorn cattle and the fourth is the fatherly cook. The three worry that “Santy” won’t find them way out in the desert. They individually lament over being without a Christmas tree with decorations, yummy Christmas cookies to eat, and horses to dress up as reindeer to hitch to a wagon. Cookie (the cook) quietly convinces each that they can do that, and each makes the attempt – with hilarious results. For example, did you ever see a cactus Christmas tree with cans of corn hanging from it in lieu of popcorn? Rob Sanders wrote: Dub corralled cans of corn. “No corn popper,” he explained.

The surprise ending (for the young reader) is satisfying and yet leaves the reader imagining what is coming next beyond the end of the story. The illustrations by John Manders are colourful, funny, and well-matched to the story, adding great visuals to the descriptive words. 

Visit Rob Sanders’ very informative website (www.robsanderswrites.com) and check out the trailer for Cowboy Christmas, a book you may want to buy now for a young reader for Christmas – or anytime.

You can find Cowboy Christmas listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

Merry Christmas!

It’s minutes before the clock ticks into CHRISTMAS DAY!

Before that happens, I want to let you know that my husband’s surgery went well on the 18th, although it was a difficult post-surgery time for him. He is gaining strength and stamina each day. We are now waiting for his next appointment, December 28, when the bandages come off.  We don’t know if the test results will be available that day or if we’ll have to wait for a call from his local medical doctor sometime within the next two weeks.  He feels the results will be negative, but there is that little ‘what if’ in there.

On a lighter note, we are enjoying my week home while getting ready to celebrate Christmas with our family. Perhaps we can even “face time” with our daughter in Alberta.

Now I’ll end this short note with best wishes to YOU.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, my friends! May you find blessings of joy and peace this holiday season. For my Christian readers, may you rejoice in the Lord Jesus Christ, our Hope and Salvation!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

 

 

 

A B C’s: Alzheimer’s, Blogging, Cancer?

I have been missing in action again. Well, not really missing, but absent from blogging. It was not intentional. I just need sleep, I think.

Since NaNoWriMo ended I have been trying to do a little catch up on other things. This is my week home from caregiving (Alzheimer’s) and even though I have had some time, I’m finding it hard to accomplish much extra. My blogging has suffered (again!), and for that I apologize to you, my readers.  My stress level is climbing and I’m quite tired, but Christmas is coming and I have to get busy!

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The added stress is that recently my dear husband was diagnosed with level 2 melanoma, skin cancer. (I had to pause before typing out that hated word.) My husband told me he doesn’t care if I talk about it here; he says many people know anyway, and it is what it is and will likely become obvious. I am sharing this information in the hope that Believers will pray for him. He has had one minor surgery, and on December 18 he will be undergoing a more involved one. After that one and before doing reconstructive surgery the surgeon will be searching for lymph nodes in order to remove some for testing. This all will happen within six hours on the same day. Test results are to come back four weeks later.

That happens to be my week at Dad’s, so I am working out details to have someone there in my place while I am with my husband for two days. Once he is doing okay then I’m back to Dad’s for the rest of the week. Plus, it’s going to be crazy trying to get everything ready for Christmas during all this. We have been attempting to get our shopping completed in preparation, and I got my ‘away’ gifts all mailed yesterday.

A fun thing for me is that on Saturday I met a new author who is a bit of a celebrity. She signed her book for me and after I finish reading it I will be doing a review here .. after the others I have lined up.

** If I told you I would read and review your book, please send me a quick email and remind me. I must have misplaced my list (can’t imagine how!) and really have to get a better system together. I hope you understand it’s been difficult to get into reading and reviewing lately. There are some exciting books lined up for me to review, though, and a couple of giveaways are included. Please stay tuned! :)

I cannot end this post without saying that in the long line of people waiting for the signing of books on Saturday, three people behind me was none other than the lovely and talented author Laura Best! Remember my review of her book Bitter, Sweet and our interview? We had a chance to chat a little which was enjoyable for me, with comedy added since her husband was her “professional photographer” and quite a kidder.

I suppose most of this reads like a “woe is me” post. Admittedly, I’m feeling rather blue right now, but after a good sleep things should look a little better. Truly, I rely on the Lord although it may not seem like it right now. My human nature is to look at the situation and then have to remind myself to look to the One who knows all. One of my life verses is Romans 2:28: And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

I hope you are not stressing, but if you find life to be overwhelming … look to the One who knows all. :)

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

 

 

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

‘Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Immanuel, which being interpreted is God with us’ – Matthew 1:23

Pondering those words … God with us …

Only HE knows how grateful I am for His love (for me), His sacrifice (for me), His willingness to do what no man could do for us (even for me), His abiding Presence (with me).  (It’s okay to personalize it, you know.) For many reasons, without Him my life would not be worth living. Yes, I have so many blessings and precious people in my life, but … if you have ever felt that inner despair of worthlessness, that sense of hopelessness and lack of purpose, then you know what I mean. With Him life makes sense.

My heart overflows with gratitude today as we remember Jesus’ birth, coming as a humble baby to become our great overcoming King.

May I wish you the blessing of His joy, His Peace, His Presence in your life as you celebrate this day. May you enjoy the sweet company of family and friends – even strangers who need a friend today. Perhaps you are like us and often invite someone to join you for a festive meal. Appreciate it.

My day is starting out very quietly, but by 1:00 pm this festively decorated house will be full of family, plus an invited guest, for a hearty meal. Four people cannot be with us then (one being our daughter in Alberta), but there will be twelve seated around Dad’s table. Exchanging of some gifts will follow the main course, and then the dessert table comes under attack. :) There will be lots of joyful noise and laughter, especially with an excited six-year-old among us. As the day progresses, this house will be made tidy again and gradually it will dwindle down to a few people here as my husband and I move on to our house with our own family. There we will enjoy a wonderful time with our daughters, their guys and our grandson. I am excited about today with my family.

The Lord has put LIFE into my life — much more than gifts and festivity. :)

My prayer for you is that you too may experience the true joy of this season – God with us.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! :)

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Did you make resolutions?

Wow!  It is 2011 already!  HAPPY NEW YEAR to you!

First, thank you for your support in reading my ramblings here.  I appreciate you very much.  :)

I had intended to post here for Christmas and the New Year, but I got overwhelmed with life and ‘stuff’ and couldn’t fit everything in.  I was busy with all the usual things, but since this is the season I fight depression I had a bit of a struggle right around Christmas.  Same as last year our two youngest daughters did not get home, and our two oldest daughters didn’t come out either but met us at my dad’s in early afternoon for our combined family dinner – only ten of us this year.  It was very quiet here all morning with just my husband and our daughter’s little dog.  Very unusual … the first time in all our years together that it has been just the two of us for Christmas.  I missed our girls.

A sad time for us was that my aunt (Dad’s sister) was dying, and she passed away December 28, her funeral being January 1.  That made for a rather rough end of 2010 and beginning of 2011 for my family.  Not much unlike thirteen years ago when Mum passed away December 30, her funeral being January 2.  Some years I get through the ‘anniversary’ just fine, but this year was not as easy.  I think much of it was that I felt sorrow for my cousins, and it brought everything back more intensely for me.

How was the Christmas season for you?  How did you celebrate the ‘holidays’?

On a lighter note … much to-do is made over New Year’s resolutions.  Several years ago I gave up making them officially, but each new year I plan and hope to “do better”.  This time I determined to ‘go through’ my house one room at a time to ‘fine tune’ things, and I have done one room so far.  I also have business goals to achieve, writing aspirations to focus on, continued publishing of Christian newsletter Valley Sunshine and members’ correspondence to answer.

Last year I did resolve to read more, which you know by the page I set up here – My “have read” book list (Dec 1’09 – Dec 31’10) – where I kept track of my progress.  Since that fun thing went quite well I set up a page for this year, too.  I will finish reading the books of the Bible and add to my list as many more books as I possibly can.  For some I will write reviews and I plan to interview authors as well.

All these are things that interest me that I want to do.  But — I have to remember not to stress myself out when I can’t keep up.  Right?

How is your reading coming along?  Have you been inspired to read anything you have seen mentioned here?  If so, I would love to know about it.  :)

So, have you made any New Year’s resolutions/set any goals for 2011?

I wish for you a happy, healthy, accomplished 2011.

Thanks for reading, and .. Creative Musings!  :)