Christmas gifts

Whatcha Readin’ Wednesdays!

Whatcha Readin’ Wednesdays!

 

If you haven’t finished Christmas shopping for the young ones on your list, may I suggest a book series? I fell in love with the background of this series while taking a class from the author, Paula Mowery, at The Blue Ridge Christian Writer’s Conference this past May. I’m just “Tickled Pink” to share about this series with you today — just in time for Christmas!

In trying to get young children interested in reading and writing, she started a blog about a young girl the same age as the class she was teaching. It was a kindergarten class and so Miss Chloe Ann Parker was also a kindergartener. The kids would read all about the antics and issues Chloe Ann was going through as she acclimated to a new school. Mrs. Mowery said the kids got so into the story, they would even have their parents pull it up at home over the weekend on their smart phones so they could read the next part of the story. They didn’t want to wait until Monday’s class!

Mrs. Mowery would have conversations throughout the week with the children as they would tell her all about what “problems” they were having like someone pushing someone on the playground, somebody cutting in line or another person broke a pencil that didn’t belong to them. And low and behold, Miss Chloe Ann had some of those same problems as well.

It became such a hit that she has continued it on, with Chloe Ann Parker now being a third grader. The children still follow along and also give her more ideas, too!

I was fortunate to read the newest book to review for the author. Knowing the background of the book made it that much sweeter. The blog is still going for the children, too.

If you have young ones in your home — or maybe you have grandchildren, I think this series would be a great one to get and read along. Or if you’re like me (or my friend, Michelle) we enjoy young adult books, too! Christmas break would be a great time to read together under a cozy quilt with a side of hot chocolate!

 

Here’s the interview I had with Paula Mowery, author:

Where did the story of Chloe Ann come from for you?

Paula: For four and a half years before this school year (2017), I worked in a Title 1 school. I was visiting classrooms, doing writing lessons. I told the kids the best way to improve writing is through reading. Realizing many of our kids didn’t have access to reading material, I decided to create a character and have her story play out weekly on a blog. Thus, Chloe Ann Parker was born.

Do the students in your class ever ask you “which one is me?” in the stories?

Paula: Nope. The first grade teacher and I sent home permission slips for including first names. Now, normally it’s hard to get forms back, but I got every one of those papers back. Each week I would meet with that group and get their input on the story. When I returned the next week, before we jumped into creating the story for that week, I would read the post from the week before. They heard their names. When the first grade book came out, I marked with small post-it notes each name mentioned throughout the book. Each student signed their name on a page with their name mentioned.

The third book in the series came out this summer, is that Chloe’s second grade?

Paula: Actually, Chloe is still in first grade in the third book. She gets a little surprise in that book.

How many grades can we count on for the adventures of Miss Chloe Ann?

Paula: I hope to write her series at least through the elementary grades – fifth grade.

Do I remember correctly that you have color pages for the readers?

Paula: Yes, my illustrator has created a coloring page for each book that is out so far. They are located on the blog under the Chloe’s Stuff tab.

Where can others find your books?

Paula: The books are available in digital and print formats on Amazon. Also check out the blog, www.getkidswriting.blogspot.com to follow her story and be informed when another of her books releases.

 

Please add anything you would like others to know.

Paula: I wanted to make sure Chloe’s books were what the kids wanted to read and concerned them. That’s the reason I met with the kids and got their input. There’s much discussion on making children’s books appeal to parents because they buy them. But I’m happy to report that adults enjoy Chloe’s adventures too. My mother has passed the whole series up to this point around to her Sunday school class, and those women report they love Chloe too.

I just really want to encourage kids to read and write. It’s my fun!

 

Paula Mowery has always been an avid reader of Christian fiction, especially
romances of all sub-genres. She holds a Master of Education and taught
English/Language Arts in public school and then came home to educate her
own daughter, first through twelfth grades. She teaches at writing conferences
such as the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.
TAG,Tomorrow’s Author Guild, is a pilot program she is currently creating in which
she teaches and designs writing lessons to encourage young writers as well
as assisting teachers with writing instruction.
Paula is a published author in Christian fiction. One reviewer stated that her writing “thunders with emotion.” Her novella, Be The Blessing, won the 2014 Selah Award. Her story, The Prayer Shawl, from the book, Legacy and Love, was a finalist in The Carolyn Readers’ Choice Awards from North Texas Romance Writers of America. Her devotions have also been included in several devotional anthologies.
Connect with her on her blog — www.paulamowery.blogspot.com.
T. A. G. stands for Tomorrow’s Author Guild. The goal of this program is to encourage the writers of the future. Because lack of purpose can equal lack of motivation, writing lessons are created and taught with the aim of sparking interest in the student and providing a platform in which to practice good writing skills. The writing lessons are created to help alleviate some of the pressure and demands of teachers so that they can accomplish the writing objectives in fresh ways. www.getkidswriting.blogspot.com
The TAG blog is where Chloe Ann Parker was born. The story is set in West Elementary School
and includes people from the school as secondary characters. Chloe’s story has appeared in a
serialized and somewhat condensed fashion as weekly posts at www.getkidswriting.blogspot.com.
I hope you enjoyed the interview and getting to hear a little snippet of how Chloe Ann Parker began! Better yet, I hope you will start the series with a special young someone in your life. And maybe even follow along on the blog, too.
Keep reading!

Whatcha Readin’ Wednesdays!

 

Looking for a Christmas gift for the young adult in your life? You know I’ll ALWAYS suggest a book! And I have one for you today, The Coronation by Livy Jarmusch. Not only is this book for a young adult, it was written by a twenty something young lady — how cool is that? Besides sharing with you a bit about the author, I’m able to also share an excerpt of her book! Make sure you read all the way to the end as her publisher is offering a Giveaway for a $20 Amazon gift card. Fun!

 

 

Excerpt of — The Coronation:

At ten o’clock sharp, Prince Addison was summoned to a downstairs parlor, a space most popularly dubbed as ‘The Courting Room.’ Addison’s crystal eyes grew wide as he was ushered inside.

Standing before him was a line of twelve ladies, all varying heights, hair colors, shades of skin, and facial features. When Deborah told him a few, he’d only expected two or three; not an entire room full!

They all curtsied upon his entrance, and Addison smiled politely. He felt as though he had stepped into the middle of a bizarre game show, like the 1970’s phenomenon, The Dating Game. He shook his head. Dazzling white teeth flashed from each flawless girl. This was too much. He turned to Deborah with pleading eyes begging to find a way out of this mess. But Deborah had her orders. She was to issue a meeting with twelve of the most well-bred, educated, classy, and beautiful young women from the guest list. All the ladies selected were from wealthy families, and believed to be solid wife material. Each girl in the room stood in an honored position. If one of these could capture the heart of the Prince, she had the chance to become Queen.

The nervous energy in that room was unparalleled to anything these young women had ever experienced before. After receiving the mind-blowing phone call late last night, some screamed with excitement, and others fainted. Hands shook in anticipation as they prepared themselves for hours, with curling irons, flat irons, cosmetics, and last-minute, midnight shopping trips. But now, no matter what great stress and torture they had put themselves (and the rest of their households) through before their encounter with the Prince, it was now forgotten. Preparation time was over. This was their moment to shine.

Addison forced a smile onto his face and began making his rounds about the room, welcoming each young lady and properly thanking her for attending. Addison’s blonde hair gently brushed just above his ears, making it the perfect length for Tarsurella’s swoon-worthy Prince. His strong, chiseled jaw and charismatic grin was too much perfection presented in one package, for the spastic fangirls to handle. But the crowning jewel of Addison’s flawless appearance was his sapphire eyes.

“Welcome,” Addison shook hands with the first girl in line, “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

The girl smelled strongly of hairspray and some kind of putrid, gag-worthy perfume. Addison felt as though he may be sick. He held back the cough that was surfacing.

“Thank you!” she gushed. “I’m so excited to be here! I cannot wait for the Coronation. It’s all we’ve been talking about at home. Edward Stefanick is designing my gown, and it is stunning! I can’t wait for you to see it!”

Addison kept the fake grin plastered to his face, “Ah, yes!” He pretended that her words interested him, “I’m sure it’s lovely.”

He casually inched himself closer to a nearby window and hoped to open it up without appearing too obvious. Perhaps the fall breeze would help dissipate the choking smell.

“Excuse me,” Addison smiled at another girl who stood in front of the window, “Do you mind if I just reach in here and–”

The girl’s face suddenly turned pale. She grew light headed, tossed a hand over her mouth, another on her stomach, and bolted from the room.

Addison shot a concerned glance toward Deborah. Deborah hurried out after her. Addison sighed. He felt bad for the poor girl. So many of these ladies had lost their minds over him. As flattering as it was at times to have so much attention and adoration from his female citizens, it was mostly annoying and disturbing. He knew that it came with the territory of being a Royal celebrity, but he blamed pop-culture for all the extra hype. Magazines and the media enjoyed obsessing over the bland details of Addison’s life, and reported them on the daily. Did so many people really care about what he had for breakfast that morning? Or whether he was a “cat person,” or a “dog person”? Apparently so, because the Royal fangirls excitedly ate up anything published about him. The young ladies in his Kingdom had puffed him up in their minds to be some sort of glorious fantasy. The idea of meeting the Prince made some of them go weak in the knees and lose every ounce of common sense they possessed. It was ridiculous.

“Oh my goodness!” A third girl pushed herself into Addison’s personal space and started talking, “I can’t believe that I’m actually meeting you! This is like a dream come true! When Mother told me that I would be attending your ball, I totally freaked out! I’ve been to some of your other events, like races and polo matches, and I was even at your sixteenth birthday party, but you’ve always been so busy mingling with others that we never got the chance to meet! I’m Adaline Shortmyers!”

“Pleasure to meet you,” Addison shook her hand, then another girl hopped into the conversation who smelled just like the first girl. But she was short, with jet black hair and snow-white skin. The oriental beauty reminded Addison somewhat of the Disney Princess, Mulan. Of all the Princess movies his younger sisters forced him to watch, he actually enjoyed that one.

“My name is Mim,” she spoke with a slight bow. “Your Governess, Mrs. Gram, has served my family as well.”

The fifth girl spoke up. “I wasn’t aware that the practice of having in-home governesses was still a thing in Tarsurella.” Addison remembered her from the profiles. Her name was Sapphire, and Addison thought the name suited her well. Her dazzling blue eyes sparkled and danced as she spoke, and she didn’t throw her words around nervously like the others had. The British girl presented herself with elegance, and grace. Her accent was quite captivating.

“Of course!” Mim replied. “I would guess that everyone in this room has been greatly influenced by the perks of a governess. At least, those who know how to conduct themselves in the presence of Royalty.” Mim’s comment was throwing some serious shade at the girl who had nearly thrown-up on Addison’s shoes.

“Isn’t that comment a little harsh?” A brunette from the other side of the room spoke up. All eyes darted across to her. “I didn’t have a governess; does that mean I shouldn’t be here?” She spoke with a flicker of sass and passion. Addison was surprised by her casual attire. She was the only one in the room who wasn’t flaunting a designer dress, high heels, and diamond jewelry. Her simple summer dress looked like something a normal person would wear on any other regular old day. Addison found it refreshing.

“Oh, you poor dear!” Sapphire called to her. “However, then, did you learn to prepare for social events and gatherings such as these?”

The spunky brunette fought back a laugh, but her brown eyes still showed it. “I learned everything you could possibly need to know about attending Royal functions from watching the Princess Diaries. Queen Clarisse is like a Royal Jedi-Ninja Master. I took lots of notes.” She winked.

Only a few of the girls laughed. The rest of them frowned at her.

Addison cocked his head, not at all sure who this girl was. “Excuse me if I’m being rude,” he crossed the room to speak with her, “but I don’t think I recognize you from the guest list.”

“Oh no, you wouldn’t,” the girl quickly explained, “I’m actually just visiting Tarsurella. I’m here at the palace on a trip with my parents, as a graduation gift. A few days ago I heard about this fundraiser the King is doing, to open up tickets to the public for your ball, in order to raise money for the homeless in Tarsurella. I thought it would be a really, uh, interesting opportunity, so I bought a ticket. I was about to fly home this morning, when last night someone invited me to this little shindig. So, yeah, that’s my slightly long and uninteresting backstory.”

“Lovely accent,” Sapphire shot a sarcastic arrow in the girl’s direction. “Tarsurella is changing so swiftly; it’s hard to keep up, isn’t it? Apparently, now American tourists can buy a lucky lottery ticket to fawn over Prince Addison for a day– what a charming little marketing plan!”

The American was all too aware of the shot of venom coming from Sapphire’s ruthless jab. Several other girls in the room turned their slithery grins upward in agreement. The outnumbered American couldn’t help but feel that she had been thrown into a pit of sparkly snakes. “Personally, I thought that a benefit to raise money for the homeless community in Tarsurella was a great idea. I’m sure I’m not the only American who finds it bitterly ironic, that one of the wealthiest nations in the world tragically allows two-and-ahalf percent of their population to be homeless and hungry as they roam drug-infested streets. Meanwhile, an abundance of Tarsurellian teens are spending thousands of dollars on their newest designer dresses and paying their uppity governesses.”

Addison almost smiled. The young woman’s comment of retaliation was brilliant. Addison was presently surprised to hear the passion behind her complaint. “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name?”

“Vanessa.” Her hazel eyes met his gaze. She placed uncertain hands in her flowery pockets, then removed them again, trying to remain respectful. All at once she remembered to state her last name, “Bennett.”

“It sounds as if you’ve done a lot of research about our homeless crisis,” he marveled. “What sparked your interest in Tarsurella’s humanitarian work?”

“I wouldn’t say that I am intrigued by the work you guys are doing, but more like the shamefully embarrassing lack of it.” Vanessa’s reply was cold, “I’m puzzled by the fact that such a wealthy nation hasn’t done more to provide answers for and assist those who so vitally need them.”

“My, my!” Sapphire gasped, “Those are some lofty opinions from a girl who lives in a country that is nineteen-trillion dollars in debt.”

“Girls, please!” a girl named Lilly Chesterfield spoke up. Addison recognized her.

Lilly’s fair skin was sprinkled with freckles, and her blazing red hair framed her lovely face. “Let’s not get into a heated game of ‘my country is better than your country’,” Lilly laughed. “We are not the sum of the choices our countries make. But, I’m sure we are all confident of the fact that Prince Addison is going to do a fantastic job leading Tarsurella. In fact, let’s have a toast! To Prince Addison, and the beautiful future that is in store for him and his nation!”

Addison smiled at Lilly, impressed with the gentle yet firm way she changed the subject. Addison had known Lilly for many years. Their parents had been longtime friends. Lilly lived at Chesterfield Manner, a spectacular horse farm just several miles down the road. Their family was known for breeding the most beautiful and strongest thoroughbreds in all of Tarsurella. Lilly had chatted with Addison at many local horse events in the community, such as races and polo matches. Lilly possessed a certain zest and excitement for life, horses, and being outdoors. With a sudden pang, Addison realized that Lilly reminded him far too much of his late mother.

~*~

About the Author:

Livy Jarmusch is a twenty-something author, singer, and songwriter. She enjoys crafting YA Christian fiction that is pure, lovely, inspirational, and of course, entertaining! When she’s not writing, you can usually find her playing guitar, blogging, drinking peppermint tea, connecting with new friends, planning her next trip to Disney, or pinning images of Europe and Golden Retriever Puppies.

Website: http://www.livylynnblog.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/livylynnlibrary
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/livylynnglittergirl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/livylynnmusic
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/LivyJarmusch

BOOK LINKS:

The Coronation Amazon Link:
The Coronation

 

Make sure you enter the Giveaway below. Hope you win!

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY:                                          

Enter to win THE CORONATION giveaway! One person will win a $20 Amazon gift card. Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Whatcha Readin’ Wednesdays!

Whatcha Readin’ Wednesdays!

 

Happy Wednesday to you all! I hope you’ve had some time to sit and read this fall. I’m a little behind on my “To Be Read” pile myself. Today, I have something special for you. With everyone’s interest in essential oils for their many purposes and wonderful scents, I thought you’d like to know how they relate to the Bible. A brand new book, The Essense of Joy by Lynn Watson, shares all about the scents of the Bible. I’ve included the information about the book as well as a neat surprise at the end!

 

About The Book —The Essence of Joy:

 The scents of Christmas invite our imaginations into the holiday season. What emotions flood your heart when the holiday aromas waft your way?
         Did you know:
• Many favorite holiday scents like citrus, and cinnamon are found in the Bible?
• There is a rich heart connection attached to many of the plant essences found in Scripture?
• Myrrh is such an important essence, we can follow its trail from Genesis to Revelation with many significant
stops along the way?
• Women of the Bible have personal encounters with God bringing aromas of His love and joy into their lives?
• Palm branches are an important part of Biblical celebrations beginning in Genesis and ending in the ultimate beach party around the Crystal Sea? (Christmas at the beach, anyone?)
 In The Essence of Joy, you’ll meet women of the Bible and contemporary women like you and me who will encourage you to discover the refreshing essence of a life lived in the presence of Jesus. Let JOY fill your heart with the aromas of His nativity

About The Author:

Lynn Watson combines many years’ experience in women’s ministry, love of essential oils, and her passion for God’s word to bring her readers freshly inspired encouragement for their walk with Jesus. Her devotional, The Essence of Courage, was recognized as a ‘must read’ by regional publishing industry leaders. Married since 1973, Lynn and Steve have filled their Bartlett, Tennessee home with handmade treasures and lots of love for family, especially their five beautiful (of course) grandchildren. Aromas of freshly baked bread often fill Lynn’s kitchen. Jasmine, her tuxedo kitty, enjoys sleeping in Lynn’s lap while she writes .
Lynn ’ s Official Website: http://lynnuwatson.com/
Amazon & Social Media Links:

 

And to end this post on a sweet aroma – an interview with Lynn:

1. What inspired you to write Essence of Joy?
   Maybe the second question should be first. The answer to it provides insight into the inspiration for all three books in this inspirational collection. Upon completion of The Essence of Courage this one – The Essence of Joy – begged to be written. One more, The Essence of Love, is my WIP. I discovered a list of over 100 plants in the Bible. The first book,The Essence of Courage, included nine of them. The Essence of Joy introduces six more and adds further insight into frankincense, myrrh, and cinnamon. There was no way to leave those out of a Christmas devotional on aromas of the season. That makes fifteen, and leaves many others to choose from. Whichever nine are featured in The Essence of Love, I believe the third book will complete Cinnamah-Brosia’s Inspirational Collection for Women featuring the plants, spices, and oils of the Bible.
2. This is the second book in a devotional-series, what is your first book about, and why did you decide to do a sequel?
     My introduction to essential oils came thirteen years ago – way before they were cool and mainstream like they are today. The more I learned, the more fascinated I became with their connections in Scripture. God and I camped out in the locked garden verses from the Song of Solomon (Song 4:12-15) for twelve years before He released me to move forward with the book He had placed on my heart. In The Essence of Courage the attributes and aromatic influences of those nine fruits, spices, and essential oils in Solomon’s garden connect with the nine fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians, chapter five. He inspired me to create fictional characters (Cinnamah-Brosia and friends) whose stories of challenge and triumph emphasize lessons learned about the fruit of the Spirit. I invited women of the Bible who displayed the fruit of the Spirit in their lives to bring more clarity. Including other Scripture connections to each of the fruit, spices, and oils, a most unique devotional emerged.
   Once The Essence of Courage was completed, I believed more lessons awaited from other plants, fruits, spices, and oils in the Bible. We love the scents of Christmas, and often bask in nostalgic memories of Christmases past. That prompted looking into the scents of Christmas and how they may enrich our understanding of holiday traditions in light of the Bible and particularly focusing on the star of the manger, Jesus Himself.
3. In Essence of Joy, you talk a lot about scents and fragrances and the Biblical connections behind them. What is your all-time favorite scent, and why? 
   What a tough question for an aromatherapy lover! Aromas fill my home – always. . . my favorite would be a combination of orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, and spruce. Who knows? Next week it may be lemongrass.
 
4. What’s your least favorite fragrance? 
   Limburger cheese. My grandfather loved the stuff. I ran for cover when the lid came off the cheese dish. I looked it up today and learned the bacterium that creates limburger’s ‘distinctive’ odor is the same one causing body odor and particularly foot odor. Gross!
 
5. Do you have a favorite Christmas memory connected with a certain smell?
   Christmas tree – especially spruce! The smell brings back childhood memories of snow covered Christmas tree lots as our family searched for the perfect tree. I eagerly awaited our adventure each year. Like most families today, my husband and I have moved on from real trees to the artificial variety. Any opportunity to walk past a Christmas tree lot is like a breath of heaven.
 
6. What are you hoping readers will get out of Essence of Joy?
   Our sense of smell causes us to react before we think. All other senses we think first, then act. No surprise, the aromas of Christmas transport us to places and memories. I pray that readers will experience these scents in new ways – that they will smell Jesus in every one of them and be filled with His joy!
Enjoy!

On The Fifth Day Of Christmas

ON THE FIFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS
MY TRUE FRIEND GAVE TO ME:


A new picture frame!  I LOVE pictures and this will sit proudly on my desk! Now…to get a photo with her and I together to put in the frame, right?!

Stay tuned…there are still more sparkly PINK wrapped packages to come! I Can’t. Wait!

…and that’s all I have to say about that!

Tammy

On The Fourth Day Of Christmas

ON THE FOURTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS
MY TRUE FRIEND GAVE TO ME: 



A beautiful cross with very special meaning to her…and now to me. She brought it back from her trip to Israel. And I will truly treasure it.
How are all of you doing with your gift preparations this year? Are you making thoughtful purchases or even hand making gifts? In years past, I did a lot of gifts that I made myself. So, I am wondering…do any of you hand make gifts for the special people in your life? Please share…we would love to hear about it!
…and that’s all I have to say about that!
Tammy

On The Third Day Of Christmas

ON THE THIRD DAY OF CHRISTMAS
MY TRUE FRIEND GAVE TO ME:



Okay…true story – I had a semi-free day today and on my list was to shop for some Christmas color beads for my bracelet to swap out for the holidays. SCORE…I didn’t need to, my special little gift giver sent me a Christmas bracelet already done! Yay!!  How cool is that!
At Christmas in our house, we love putting lots of fun things in the stockings each year. It tends to be a highlight, well at least for me! How about at your house…what are some of your family’s favorite traditions. Let’s share in the comment section below.  Who knows, maybe if everyone shares, you may get a great idea or two of something new and fun to do with your family!
Are you getting excited for Christmas? I am!
…and that’s all I have to say about that!
Tammy

On The First Day Of Christmas…

Today is December 1st! I am quite certain you all know what that means…it’s Christmas month!
Well, you are not going to believe this, but my Christmas started today – well, yesterday to be exact.  A big huge box arrived by UPS on my doorstep yesterday.  Check it out:
Well, it did NOT say I couldn’t open it, so…of course I did. Let’s just say, when I opened the box, I was speechless. YES! ME! Speechless!  This box was loaded full of Christmas fun, all because a sweet dear friend wants to make sure that I LOVE Christmas! When she found out about how my past Christmas’ days growing up and a wonderful (cough-cough) manipulative mother-in-law made my Christmases less than happy – she decided that 2012 was the year to change that! 
And here is what was inside:
Twenty five presents wrapped in the best color ever! PINK!!!!! All this with instructions, too. I must open the package that corresponds to the date!
So – you are all going to enjoy this with me this December…because I LOVE CHRISTMAS…and I absolutely love my friend’s thoughtfulness! (And, you all still have time to copy this sweet idea for someone you know! I bet you have a friend, child or family member who could use a surprise like this!)
And here we go…..
ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS MY TRUE FRIEND GAVE TO ME:
(Feel free to sing along, you know that you know the song!)


See you tomorrow, for Day #2!
…and that’s all I have to say about that!
Tammy