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Friday, December 5, 2014

December New Releases & Christmas Books Tea Party ~ Lovefeast at Schoenbrunn




At Schoenbrunn Village in the 1770s, in the heart of the Ohio wilderness, Moravians celebrate Christmas with a Lovefeast. They serve sweet buns, coffee or tea, and juice for the children. They are the first to have candlelight services and indoor decorated Christmas trees along with a Putz, a nativity scene with a whole village attached. The Moravians of that area love Christmas, so this year, we will join their Christmas celebration at Schoenbrunn Village.


Anna Brunner welcomes you to the Lovefeast where they are serving tea, coffee, and sweet buns at the church. It's the only building large enough for the party. They've decided to do something special for you and also serve a Moravian Christmas feast with roast turkey, corn bread, potatoes, beans, and for desert, squash pie. They always use the three sisters, corn, beans, and squash, in their celebrations.

Come by the fire and warm yourself. Our Ohio winters are much colder than your tepid Virginia weather. We Moravians are normally coffee drinkers, but we bought tea when the traders came around so we would have some for you visit. So which would you like to start with, coffee or tea?




Let's begin our celebration by introducing you to this wonderful array of Christmas novels and novellas from our Colonial Quills/CACW Authors with some fabulous GIVEAWAYS!

From
Tamera Lynn Kraft

A Christmas Promise


A Moravian Holiday Story


During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away to help at another settlement two days before Christmas, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day.

When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas.

Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.



“Revel in the spirit of a Colonial Christmas with this achingly tender love story that will warm both your heart and your faith. With rich historical detail and characters who live and breathe on the page, Tamera Lynn Kraft has penned a haunting tale of Moravian missionaries who selflessly bring the promise of Christ to the Lenape Indians. A beautiful way to set your season aglow, A Christmas Promise is truly a promise kept for a heartwarming holiday tale.” ~ Author Julie Lessman

From Susan F. Craft
Christmas Treasures
Anthology of Christmas Short Stories
My story, His Eye Is on the Sparrah, is the fictionalization of something that happened to my mother years ago.
It's among eighteen heartwarming stories of Christmas that will become favorites to read year after year. 
One of my favorite characters in my short story is my main character Eleanor Stevens' best friend Isabel Ravenel. Both in their late seventies, they've been friends for over fifty years. Isabel speaks in a Low Country Charleston, South Carolina drawl - an accent born of 300-year-old-family money, elongated by the Gullah dialect of former slaves who inhabited the sea islands, tempered by the stubborn pride of stiff-necked Secessionists, and softened by the whispers of Spanish-moss shawls draping from live oak trees.
Isabel often mixes up her theological metaphors: "Take heart, Sugah, the Lord always comes through and makes our lemons into lemonade."
When Eleanor resists praying to God for such a trivial thing as losing her walking cane, Isabel reminds her, "Not at all. Remembah, His eye is on the sparrah..."

Join us for a stroll through America, yesterday and today, where hearts are joined at Christmastime.
Susan F. Craft will offer a signed copy of Christmas Treasures to one commenter selected at random. Here is the link to Christmas Treasures on Amazon.

From J. M. Hochstetler
One Holy Night
J. M. Hochstetler
As on that night so long ago . . . in a world torn by sin and strife . . . to a family that has suffered heart-wrenching loss . . . there will be born a baby . . .

It’s 1967, and the Vietnam War is tearing the country apart, slicing through generations and shattering families. Because of Japanese atrocities he witnessed as a Marine in the South Pacific during WWII, Frank McRae despises all Asians. Now his son, Mike, is a grunt in Viet Nam, and his wife, Maggie, is fighting her own battle against cancer. 

When Mike falls in love with Thi Nhuong, a young Buddhist woman, and marries her in spite of his father’s objections, Frank disowns him. Then, as Christmas approaches, Frank’s world is torn apart, and he turns bitter, closing his heart to God and to his family.

But on this bleak Christmas Eve, God has in mind a miracle. As on that holy night so long ago, a baby will be born and laid in a manger—a baby who will bring forgiveness, healing, and peace to a family that has suffered heart-wrenching loss.

Christianbook | Amazon |B&N | iTunes

From Carla Olson Gade
Christmas stories that feature German and Dutch Christmas traditions.

 

Misteletoe Memories (ECPA Best seller)
’Tis the Season

Spend a heartfelt Christmas on Schooley’s Mountain as four generations make a house a home.(1820) Dutchman, Stephan Yost, resident carpenter of Schooley’s Mountain, New Jersey’s fashionable resort, spends off-season working on repairs, renovations, and constructing new buildings. When he is hired to build a permanent home for the resort's German physician and his spirited daughter, Annaliese Braun, in time for Christmas, Stephan finds himself enamored by the precocious spinster. But will he be able to compete for her affections against the advances of a manipulative iron baron?

Amazon: Paperback, Kindle only $1.99

A Cup of Christmas Cheer (2013)
Upon A Christmas Tree Schooner, A Cup of Christmas Cheer, Vol. 1 & 2 (Guideposts Books)

(1880) A ship’s captain takes his schooner upon icy Lake Michigan in his last haul of the season for Christmas trees for the German immigrants in his town.

Purchase directly from Guideposts BooksThe Memory Shop, A Cup of Christmas Cheer, Vol. 3 & 4 (Guideposts Books)
The proprietor of a Midwestern Main Street memorabilia shop finds his own cherished memories rekindled and relationships renewed at Christmastime.

Purchase directly from Guideposts Books



From Carrie Fancett Pagels
The Fruitcake Challenge, Book 3 in The Christmas Traditions Series
The Fruitcake Challenge by Carrie Fancett Pagels
(1890) Christmas set in a lumber camp outside of Mackinac City, Michigan. When new lumberjack, Tom Jeffries, tells the camp cook, Jo Christy, that he’ll marry her if she can make a fruitcake, “as good as the one my mother makes,” she rises to the occasion. After all, he’s the handsomest, smartest, and strongest axman her camp-boss father has ever had in his camp—and the cockiest. And she intends to bring this lumberjack down a notch or three by refusing his proposal. The fruitcake wars are on!


Snowed InA Cup of Christmas Cheer, Vol. 1 & 2 (Guideposts Books)
(1945) WWII veteran helps make a special Christmas for his girlfriend and her little sisters. His grandma and uncle keep them in their log cabin as a blizzard sets in. Set in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and inspired by Carrie's parents.

Giveaway: Pick either a set of the Guidepost Books or a paperback copy of The Fruitcake Challenge (or ebook of Carrie's new novella if preferred!) 



From Shannon McNear
A Pioneer Christmas Collection 9 Stories of Finding Shelter and Love in a Wintry Frontier

Defending Truth

(Note from CFP: Shannon is too modest to mention that her story was a RITA finalist!!! A huge honor!)


On the frontier of western North Carolina, which will someday become east Tennessee, Truth Bledsoe keeps her family fed while her father is away fighting the British. When she discovers a half-starved, fugitive Tory, she’s not above feeding him, but to go past simple Christian charity to forgiveness seems impossible. To love would be unthinkable. 

Micah Elliot has fled capture after the massacre at King’s Mountain, heartsick, battle weary, and ashamed of the cowardice that sent him westward over the mountains instead of eastward to home. Groping his way through a crisis of faith, he must discover and embrace what might finally be worth laying his life down for.

Shannon will be offering one signed print copy to a commenter selected at random. (Print copies are harder to find, but e-books are still widely available.)

Christianbook | Amazon | DeeperShopping.com

From Elaine Marie Cooper, A Different Story for Christmas...
Bethany's Calendar



While Christmas is often a celebration of joy, it can be a bittersweet time for those experiencing loss.

Colonial Quill's Elaine Marie Cooper usually writes historical fiction, but her book release this December is the memoir of her daughter who passed away from a brain tumor 11 years ago. She felt prompted to write about her daughter's diagnosis and journey through cancer, as well as the numerous insights gleaned from the most painful trial of the author's life.

Bethany's Calendar tells the story of Elaine and Bethany's journey and the many ways God helped their family to survive. It is a story of fear and faith, commitment and compassion, told with gut-wrenching honesty while sharing unwavering faith in God.

It is a memoir written to help those who are caregivers, cancer patients and anyone who knows someone struggling with a serious illness. It is a story that offers hope and help to those who are traveling uncharted territory.

"One might expect a book about the death of a child to be overwhelmingly sad, but Bethany’s Calendar is so much more. It is also a story of a family’s faith and the visible ways that they experienced God’s provision, power, and presence during and after this very difficult time in their lives." — CQ's Janet Grunst

Elaine will be offering a signed copy of Bethany's Calendar to one commenter who expresses a desire to read this memoir. 

Elaine's Website   You can order Bethany's Calendar  here 



 OUR CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAYS!!


We are celebrating at this tea party by giving away a digital copy of A Christmas Promise by Tamera Lynn Kraft along with a Schoenbrunn pewter ornament and a Schoenbrunn pouch to keep you valuables in.


Carla Olson Gade is also giving away a set of A Cup of Christmas Cheer, Vol. 3 & 4, featuring her story "The Memory Shop" to one winner. To another winner, a copy of Mistletoe Memories  with a pair of Dutch wooden shoes Christmas ornament.


To enter please leave a comment about your favorite part of the Christmas season or let us know if you have any ethnic Christmas traditions that you follow?


Please be sure to watch for replies to your comments as we always enjoy lively conversations at our tea parties!





156 comments:

  1. I would love a cup of coffee, please. It sure is chilly outside, but I'm not too unaccustomed to the cold being from Michigan. I love when the kids decorate the tree and talk about their ornaments.

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    1. Coffee coming right up, Becky! Although this is a tea party, coffee was quite patriotic during the American Revolution. :) A also love to watch the children's faces as they talk about the ornaments on the tree. The shine in their eyes is nearly as bright as the lights on the branches! Thanks for stopping by!

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    2. Even though tea was popular during Colonial times, you've come to the right place, Becky. Coffee was the preferred drink of the Moravians in Schoenbrunn.

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    3. Children - their joy is one of the things I most look forward to at Christmas. There is a heightened awareness of the Christ child at this time of the year, praying the awareness carries through during the coming year, as well as the joy!!

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    4. Isn't it wonderful to experience the joy of Christmas--and of life itself--through children's eyes? That's one of the things I treasure most about being a mother.

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  2. I love celebrating Christmas! I have so many ethnic backgrounds, but sadly I don't follow any of their traditions. Polish, German, Irish, British, Dutch. We celebrate personal family traditions. We put up an extensive Christmas village, a tree with ornaments we collect on our travels, and lots of yummy traditional food.

    Loved reading about all these lovely novellas! Can't wait to read them.

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    2. There is nothing like curling up with a cozy Christmas story to put one in the Christmas mood! I think it's wonderful that you have created many of your own traditions for the holiday. Have a very blessed Christmas!

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    3. Welcome, Gabrielle. Those fun Christmas villages are called Putz. Moravians, like those in Schoenbrunn, were the first to use Putz that always included a Nativity scene. Have some coffee and a sweet bun.

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    4. Elaine, I'm looking forward to reading "Bethany's Calendar" - it sounds very inspirational!! As a 2 time cancer survivor, myself, and having a father in stage 4 cancer, as well as 2 other senior family members ( home-bound aunt and mother with Alzheimer's ) which I help care for - I feel your book will speak to me, especially!! Thank you for writing it, blessings to you!!

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    5. Dear Bonnie, you carry a heavy burden. I pray that Bethany's Calendar blesses you. ((HUGS))

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    6. Thank you, Elaine!!

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  3. What a lovely party! And such great books! I'm going to get them all. Merry Christmas everyone!

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    1. And Merry Christmas to you, Cynthia! Do enjoy some tea and scones to start your day. :)

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    2. Merry Christmas, Cynthia. Have some coffee and a sweet bun. Or do you prefer tea?

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    3. Merry Christmas, Miss Cynthia! We've got squash pie, if you'd like some. And if I can keep the sweet whipped cream away from Tom Jeffries, you can have some! ~Jo Christy

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  4. Hello all, I am staying warm drinking my cup of Salted Caramel tea by the fire.
    I don't have just one favorite holiday thing so I'll list a few. I really enjoy going to the candle light church service on Christmas eve. If we ever forget how good people can be in this rough world this service can really remind us about all the good in the world. It's a feel good and spiritual time. The singing of Christmas stories always fills me with such joy.
    I always enjoy making crafts with my children, it's always such an expereince to see the wonder in their eyes. We bake alot of cookies and it's such a fun time. The putting up of the tree and the decorating inside and out is always such a great time. We play music and I pop corn and we string the popcorn for the tree as well. Christmas is such a happy feel good time for us.

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    1. As it should be, Deanne! It sounds like you have many lovely traditions that your family must appreciate so much! And yes, the candle light service on Christmas Eve is definitely one of my favorites as well. Such a blessed service to attend. I pray your Christmas in 2014 is filled with JOY!

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    2. Deanne, what lovely Christmas traditions. The Moravians, like those in Schoenbrunn, were the first to have candlelight services. They serve sweet buns and coffee, juice for the children, at the services, and gave each child a beeswax candle with a red ribbon and a verse written on a piece of paper. The children would decorate their home trees with these verses and candles. They were the first to have artificial trees in their homes.

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    3. The Moravians have such a wonderful history - interesting that they were the first to have candlelight services and artificial trees in their homes. I toured Lititz, Pa. a number of years ago, I wasn't aware at the time but have been told there is a strong Moravian presence in that area. Don't know if they are of the same group of which you speak, Tamera?? I believe there is a beautiful specially shaped star that has added significance for them at Christmas.

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    4. Deanne it sounds like you are enjoying the Christmas season!

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  5. Thanks so much for the invitation! I will have some coffee, please, as I am quite cold after traveling from MN. What a lovely place you have here, and everyone is so friendly.
    I suppose our first Christmas tradition is putting up the tree on Thanksgiving as the turkey cooks. We watch the Macy's parade at the same time. The decorating continues until the living room looks quite festive. Something new to our decorations is a garland strung with 25 tiny (about 4") mittens that I knit as an Advent calendar. We don't put anything In them, but they are a bright reminder of what is to come.
    The giveaways all look awesome. Would love to win :)
    bettimace at gmail dot com

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    1. Merry Christmas, Betti, and I would be happy to fill your coffee cup with warm brew! What a fun Thanksgiving to overlap the Christmas decorating while celebrating with thanks! And I love the mitten Advent calendar! So creative. :) I hope that you are indeed, one of our winners. Merry Christmas!

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    2. Merry Christmas, Betti. What fun to start celebrating Christmas on Thanksgiving.

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  6. Good morning ladies!
    I will take my cup of tea over by the fire and warm up.

    My grandson loves to come over and help put up our Christmas tree. I love to watch his excitement as he decorates the tree.

    All the novellas sound wonderful. Merry Christmas!!

    Blessings, Tina
    tfrice(at)comcast(dot)net

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    1. Welcome, Tina, and do sit by the fire with your cup of tea! We have lap quilts if you need extra warmth. :) What a wonderful grandson you must have to put your tree up for you! You are blessed. And I think you will love reading any one of these Christmas novellas. Be blessed and have a joyous Christmas!

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    2. Merry Christmas, Tina. The Moravian children in Schoenbrunn decorated their trees with candles and pieces of paper with verses written on them.

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  7. Greetings! I am looking forward to visiting with you and enjoy some Holiday Cheer. Since it's quite balmy here in Texas, I'll have some of Ms. Carrie's sweet tea. Everyone looks so lovely in their gowns.

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    1. I agree, Caryl! The gowns are exquisite. :) So happy you are not feeling the chill we have here in the north. I'd be happy to serve you some sweet tea. Have a blessed Christmas and enjoy that balmy weather.

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    2. Greeting, Caryl. Your weather is so different from the wilderness of Northern Ohio. We expect snow for Christmas.

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    3. Elaine, thank you so much for the tea! Yes, Tamera, Texas weather is vastly different than the far North. :)

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    4. Why I just show up from the lumber camp and I'm already tasked with serving tea, but that's alright Miss Caryl--makes me feel right at home! ~Jo Christy

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  8. How fun to have a Christmas tea. I would like a cup of orange spicey tea, please. I love decorating for Christmas and my favorite decorations are my nativities. I have thinned them out this year and donated several to our local ministry called WARM.

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    1. Ah, the joy of a giving heart! Bless you for sharing your Nativity scenes with those in need. And you share my love for orange spicey tea. Here is a fresh cup. I am serving scones if you would like some to go with this delicious brew!

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    2. How wonderful, Robin. Giving Nativities to those who need them is a great idea for Christmas.

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    3. Lady Victoria here, popping in to say "Hi". May I join you ladies? I too love orange spicy tea, especially, sitting near a crackling fire. If you don't mind, I think I will sit close to the fire as I sip my tea and continue reading about Ms.Jo's Fruitcake Challenge. (Smooths her skirt as she sits near the fire).

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    4. Robin, you've given me a wonderful idea. Over the years I collected nativity scenes and would place them throughout the house at Christmastime. I recently retired after working fulltime 45 years and decided to decorate more simply this year. Now I know what I can do with all my nativity scenes. It would be sad to leave them in boxes.

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  9. I would love a scone or two. jam???

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    1. We have strawberry and peach jam. Which would you like?

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    2. Scones? We've got biscuits in the lumber camp. They sure do have some fancy food here for the sweet Moravians, Robin! ~Jo Christy

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    3. Mmm--I will give those scones a try with some of that peach jam as well'

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  10. Wow! What a delightful smörgåsbord of new Christmas stories to choose from! Congrats on ALL the releases, Ladies!

    Hmmm...favorite tradition - Christmas Eve at home with the family, sharing snacks and watching our favorite movies! As the years have gone by, our family has gotten smaller on that eve but I still look forward to it. I guess soon it will be looking forward to all the children and grands coming home, which of course they do on Christmas Day but not on Christmas Eve anymore. We still have two at home to enjoy right now :)

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  11. And I would love a cup of coffee with some of that Moravian Czech Kolache that Carrie is talking about on the FB page! I'm not much into trying new recipes but this looks interesting.

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    1. Doesn't that look delicious, Anne? Jo Christy here. I don't think I could bake that many for all the men in the lumber camp but maybe. Let me think about how I'd go about doing that without them stealing them as soon as they are out of the oven!

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    2. Coffee and Czech Kolache coming right up, Anne. I hope you enjoy.

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    3. Well, I'm simply starving since I have my appetite back. I'm sure these treats will put those lost pounds right back on me ;)

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    4. Anne, have no fear. They will help you put on some weight for the winter months.

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    5. Oh, I have plenty of weight ;)

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  12. Carrie, ALWAYS serves the yummiest treats! :)

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    1. Well, this was Tamera's! I'm just a camp cook and I follow the recipe. She set up this great Moravian Love Feast celebration Caryl, but thank you for your kind words! The lumberjacks pretty much just grunt their thanks at me ~ Jo

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  13. (Chappy enters with a slight smile)
    Hello everyone! You all look so great and I would SO love to hang around, but alas I cannot. I have a full day with my buddy's therapies and stuff. Trust me, I REALLY would love to visit. I wanted to say congratulations to these wonderful authors! Have a great time....hugs to all!
    (Chappy leaves, blowing kisses)

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    1. I meant to type hubby, not buddy....ugh...auto correct.

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    2. Well, I'm sure your hubby is also your buddy... (smiling)

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    3. I'm not sure what autocorrect is. We don't have these modern devices in the wilderness. But do have a cup of tea before you rush off.

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    4. What would a Tea Party be without you stopping by Debbie? Many blessings!

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  14. Hello, ladies! Congratulations on all the new releases.

    The church is beautiful. There are so many lovely and festive gowns, and lovely ladies wearing them!

    It is a might chilly, but not too bad. I'm going over to the fireplace to rest and have a cup of hot tea!

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    1. We don't have a church at the lumber camp, Regina, so I'm happy to be able to enjoy this one for a change! You look lovely. I'm taking vittles around right now for lunch. Trying not to spill on my gown! Hugs! ~ Jo Christy

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    2. I have your tea right here, Regina. Your dress is lovely.

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    3. Thanks, ladies. The tea is perfect, Tamera! Thank you!!

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  15. Congrats on so many wonderful Christmas stories to all of you talented ladies. Thee are always so much wonderful food at these parties. I think I shall enjoy a plate of food for my lunch today.

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  16. I love hot cider and sitting by the Christmas tree with a good book.

    -Kelsey P.

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    1. Kelsey, a mix of tart cherry with apple cider heated up tastes delicious! Want to try some? I've brought some cherry juice from the North woods of Michigan. Blessings! ~Jo Christy

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  17. The decorations are so pretty! Thank you for the wonderful hospitality! :)

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  18. I hate it when you type something out, hit send and it goes out into cyber-world somewhere. UGH Let's try this again--they say three times is a charm. (cleas throat...)

    I love decking my house out wih Christmas decorations everywhere, even if it is just a candle with a sprrig of or pine. Seeing the sparkle in the grandchildren's eyes is such a precious memory each year--nothing lie seeing Christmas through the eyes if children!
    Vicki

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    1. I agree, Lady Victoria. Child make Christmas special.

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  19. So sorry I had to rush off this morning; so much to attend to with Christmas around the corner! I'd love to have a cup of something hot and maybe just a wee bit to eat as well. Trying so hard to get my corset tighter, if you know what I mean.

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    1. No corsets allowed at Christmas, Cynthia, with so many treats to sample.

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  20. Oh those sweet buns smell delicious! I'll just munch on one while I sit by the fire and people watch. Congrats on the stories - I have been blessed to read a few of them already and love them. You ladies are talented!

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    1. Thanks so much, Susan. Have another sweet bun.

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  21. Thank you for the invitation and the warm welcome, Mrs. Brunner! I have been exercising in the village and catching up on my correspondence this morning. "... a nativity scene with a whole village attached" That is wonderful! Of course; there was a lot of activity as there was no room in the inn and it was cozy in the stable with all the animals giving their soothing lowing and warmth. A perfect place for our Savior to be born; and it was private for this new family.
    Silent Night!
    We make stollen (Christollen, Christ's stollen) with frosting glaze and halved cherries on top and have it with hot chocolate while opening our Christmas morning gifts. One is opened at night after church ~ any one you want (with your name on it, to clarify)!
    I would indeed like some of your trader's tea you have kept special. A sweet bun and butter would be a treat while you are completing serving lunch to those already in attendance before me. How beautiful the church interior is ~ so welcoming. "What is that?"
    "Oh, yes, Miss Ravenel has invited me to sit with her and enjoy the music. She said Jo Christy would be rejoining when they can shoo her from the preparations!
    half-Irish Kathleen

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    1. Lane, I have some trader's tea right here for you. I'm so glad you like our church. We have art work on the walls to teach Bible stories to the Lenape. It does make the church more festive.

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    2. I would like to see the women's clothing with porcupine quills decorations and wild turkey feathers with their iridescent colors. That would be so beautiful and skillful. half-Irish Kathleen

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    3. KATHLEEN!!!! I'm here! And I see Tom Jeffries here, too. I feel terrible as I've overlooked him and he had to fend for himself and prepare his own plate of food. Christmas stollen is something I've enjoyed when the German lumberjacks shared their recipes! Delicious but not nearly as good as someone else's I know as far as fruited cakes go. Still yummy. Golly all those men have their own types of fruitcakes they enjoy! Great to see you here! ~Jo Christy

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  22. (Waving hello to everyone)
    I forgot to tell you our favorite Christmas tradition, over the last five years we buy a real tree. As a family we love doing this each year. Last year, we actually went to Christmas tree farm and cut our tree. This year there was no Christmas tree farms, so we purchased it in town. Amber and hubby picked out the tree this tree since I'm recuperating.

    Anyone want to sit and talk with me? I'm sitting here enjoying the nice, warm fire.

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    1. I would love to sit by the fire with you, Regina.

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    2. Hello, Regina. Yes, please come sit in the pew with Miss Ravenel too. She is so enjoyable with her smiles and southern drawl ~ just delightful to the soul. We are having tea and sweet buns while the bustle of the meal is well underway. The fare sounds delightful! half-Irish Kathleen

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    3. I'm highly allergic to Douglas fir trees, Regina, and PTL 20 years ago we discovered that I was. I had a reaction like poison ivy to being brushed by our tree. And I'd been sick for years every Christmas and had always had a live tree, being from Michigan.

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    4. Thank you, Kathleen and Tamera! It is always nice to meet new friends! The food is delicious, I cannot wait for this evenings meal!

      Carrie, I too, am allergic to Douglas, Frasier, and other trees. They have trees that are allergen free, this is what we did last year. Since we don't live in SC anymore we couldn't get the tree we bought last year. So I did some research and discovered White Pine is allergen free. I become sick with sinuses and headaches. I am glad you discovered that!

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    5. I would break out with a bright red rash on my arms from Christmas trees; even with a long-sleeved flannel shirt on ~ thankfully, my husband has been doing the set-up and decorating. Found an identifier:
      "White pine has 5 needles per bundle, are 3-5 inches long, but often one or two needles fall out."
      I am ready to eat! half-Irish Kathleen

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  23. Nice to see the party is still in full swing! Glad everyone is having a wonderful day. :)

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    1. I'm so grateful I don't have to cook the entire super being served here, Caryl. The ladies at the camp are feeding all the lumberjacks and Tamera has gotten that all taken care of for tonight. But I'm happy to tote the trays around to serve the lovely ladies in attendance (even if my apron does cover my pretty gown!) ~ Jo Christy

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    2. Miss Jo, I admire your servants heart! :)

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  24. I dont have specific Christmas traditions other than helping people but I do have a
    Moravian Wedding to go to in January..........
    May I wish all of you a terrific, wonderful God-blessed Christmas?
    Chris

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    1. Please be sure to post some pics for us Miss Chris. And was I ever surprised with the mail buggy rolled up to the house and I received a lovely box of pink surprises!!! The Oregon newspaper was a giveaway to the Secret Angel!

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  25. Hi and thank you for inviting me. All the books sounds like a great read. We read to our children about the birth of Jesus. We make hand made gifts. I love to see the kids faces when they open their gifts. This year our grand daughter will be old enough to get involved and open her gifts. I have crochet her some doll clothes and a doll blanket.Everyone have a Merry Christmas. Jesus is the reason for the season.

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    1. Well said, LeAnn. Jesus is the reason for the season.

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    2. That is so sweet Miss LeAnn! I'm in a position at the lumber camp where most of my gifts must be handmade. Pine cones are handy here of course in the north woods. Usually, though, I give away some of my baked goods. Blessings and yes He is the reason!!! ~Jo Christy

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  26. How exciting, Chris. Weddings are wonderful at this time of year.

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  27. Christmas greetings to everyone and congrats to all the authors of these wonderful books - such touching, heart-warming stories!!

    Would love to partake of the delicious Christmas feast - thank you!!

    Shared post!!

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    1. Christmas greeting to you too, Bonnie. Thanks for sharing.

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    2. Angel Bonnie, watch for the mail buggy at your home in lovely Kentucky. It is amazing how fast mail can get to people now that we have railroads criss crossing this land! ~Jo

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  28. Popping back for a few moments, and apologizing--it appears that while I was shopping for my gown, I failed to notice the tag that said something about Dracula on it. While I'm not sure who this Dracula is, I will be sure to return it after the party. It is however, a very beautiful Christmas red satin gwn. (walks away hiding the blush on her cheeks with a fan...)
    Lady Victoria.

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  29. My favorite part of the Christmas season is that the world is reminded about the meaning of True Love. Jesus is the greatest gift of all. <3

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  30. Christmas Eve service with my family. Our first grandchild,a girl,will be enjoying her first Christmas. Fun times.

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    1. Bonnie, I also enjoy Christmas Eve Service! Congrats on your new grand girl. :)

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    2. Congratulations, Bonnie. We have a lady here in Schoenbrunn who swears she can tell what gender a baby will be. She claims Sister Anna Brunner is having a boy.

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  31. We love Christmas Eve, we get together & take a ride around town enjoying the decorating & lights. Christmas morning we thank the Lord for all our many blessings and enjoy the family :)
    dkstevensne AT outlook DOTCOM

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    1. Every day I try to thank God for His blessings. And at Christmastime we are really aware of all the Lord did for us.

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    2. I agree Carrie, but there is just something in doing it together on Christ's birthday and spoken out loud that makes it so much more real...

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  32. We warmed up to the 50's today, I need an iced tea.. lovely day in Nebraska.
    I would enjoy having a signed copy of Bethany's Calendar, I've been a caretaker
    more than once & I know how the heart hurts..
    dkstevensne AT outlook DotCom

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    1. Deanna, come visit Texas! It's in to 70's. Great shorts and flip flop weather. :)

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    2. wouldn't that be wonderful! Even though here the 50's feels like a heat wave today. No 25 mile an hour winds today...

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  33. What a wonderful display of books, lovely covers & wonderful stories.. would love to add them all to my TBR pile... The dresses on FB are beautiful !
    The comments are fun to read & I wish you all a Merry Christmas ! !
    dkstevensne AT outlook dotCOM

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  34. Carrie--I would love to win a copy of the book with your Guidepost Christmas story...JS

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    1. There are TWO sets as options Vicki! The 2013 and the 2014 sets. I was in the first set and Carla was in both!

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  35. Hi, ladies (doing a curtsy)!! I am popping back in for a bit. The party seems like it is going well! I just adore these parties, and with it being Christmas time, everything looks so festive and beautiful!

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  36. Good afternoon, everyone! I was by here this morning and left a comment, but it seems blogger ate it. Bad blogger! Anyway. Wow! The church is beautifully decorated and the gowns are gorgeous! Congratulations to all of the authors whose Christmas books we are celebrating! They look wonderful. Some of my favorite Christmas traditions are decorating the Christmas tree, driving around to see the Christmas lights, watching Christmas movies, baking for Christmas day. And ever since I was a child, I always loved the Christmas programs at church on the Sunday morning before Christmas. It's just such a wonderful reminder of what Christmas is truly all about. Well, I think I'll wander over and see if there are any of those yummy looking sweet rolls left and a hot cup of coffee.

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    1. I forgot to add that this is my second trip to Schoenbrunn Village. My first trip was literal as my Uncle took my family to visit the village while we were visiting them back in the 90's. And of course, my second trip being today during this lovely Tea Party! :)

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  37. Hello ladies. So nice inside here. I am not much for cold, tho I lived in WYO. at one time. As I was growing up Christmas was so exciting. Daddy would go out and cut a tree. Meantime us kids would be very busy making paper decorations, Stars, Bells, and Balls. We made these by cutting two parts, folding down the middle, and gluing the fold parts together. We would also make popcorn chains for the tree. Also loop chains with paper. We were so proud when the tree was all done with the decorating. We always had to wait until Christmas morning to look at our gifts. Not much but proud of whatever it was. Had a little candy and fruit. We also sang Christmas songs. After I married we opened gifts on Christmas Eve and then had Santa gifts on Christmas morn.In later years live trees got so expensive so we had to get an artificial tree. I got something from remembering those days. Dad would put colored ropes(where we use foil now) from one corner across to the opposite corner. Then the other corners. And, Mistletoe in the center. I have always liked to decorate with foil in that way. And all other places filled with Christmas decorations. I have many from so many years. Some are homemade and old but I treasure them all. I am alone now and unlike many of my friends have to have my tree and decorate the room, tho not many see it. I love putting the many, many decorations on my tree. Our tradition is taking turns each year by all of the family gathering at one of the kids homes. I hate not having them come home but live in a mobile home in a Mobile Park. So not enough room in my house for such a big family and no extra parking space. Congratulations to you ladies on the new releases of your books. Elaine, I would be interested in reading Bethany's Calendar. Now, I would love a plate of that good lunch. Also some hot tea.
    GOD bless those Missionaries to go into unknown territory.
    to teach about Jesus MS. Maxie

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    1. Miss Maxie, Welcome! Tamera has had a wonderful meal prepared for us for this feast! Green tea or black? And honey or sugar? We're so happy the CQ ladies have been so blessed with new releases and all these lovely Christmas stories! Very grateful to have my Christmas novella go to #1 today on Amazon for Christian Historical Romance! Yes, God bless the brave missionaries who respond to God's call to service.

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    2. Maxie, my father used to cut a cedar tree off his farm, every year, for our Christmas tree. We had plenty of ornaments and lights and used to put the tinsel strands on - one by one. I always loved the bubble lights my grandmother used to have and her aluminum tree with the rotating color wheel on it. Most of us are indeed blessed at Christmas now - my mother said it was a big treat to get an orange and a couple of pieces of hard candy in her stocking when she was a child.

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    3. That is so true Bonnie. We didn't have any lights like you are talking about. We never had much at all, but tons of love and laughter. We were happy with the little we had.But then, I am probably much older than you. I will turn 80 in April. Maxie

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  38. Popping in for a moment on our travels through the wild, uncharted western lands! Such beautiful dresses! My gray and blue traveling costume seems plain by comparison, even with a bit of gold braid trim.

    Mmm, the coffee is delightful, and so are the sweet buns! My favorite part of Christmas, in addition to seeing the excitement of my family, is planning and scheming to find gifts for everyone. :-) And feeding them holiday delights.

    Lovely party. Christmas blessings to everyone!

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  39. My favorite part of Christmas is our candlelight service on Christmas Eve. There is something special about worshiping the Lord with fellow believers as we light the candles off of each other. Singing carols and celebrating Jesus' birth brings tears to my eyes.
    Just thinking about it has me choked up.

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    1. What a blessing, Cindi. The Holy Spirit must be strong during that celebration!

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    2. My church does that, too, Cindi. Also, on the Sunday before Christmas we have "Dogs and Carols" where people set up fire pits in the parking lot to roast hotdogs and make "somemores." We usually have a hay ride that circles the church, and then we all sit around the fire pits and sing carols. Nice, warm memories to cherish.

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    3. I've always loved the candlelight services, living nativities, special Christmas music programs/dinner theaters and singing in the Living Christmas Tree (although it got quite hot there, LOL)!!

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  40. I love spending the time with my family and friends at this wonderful time of year.
    I so love to see the living nativity at my in-laws church in Georgia. They do it up with all the animals including the camels.

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    1. They have one of those here at that one UM Church in Yorktown, Too, Cheryl, have you ever been to it?

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  41. I love Christmas novels. Curl up under a blanket with my book and a glass of sweet tea.

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    1. I need some more tea tonight, too, Miss Cheryl! Love Christmas stories. Come sit by the fire with this quilt my Ma made wrapped around you and you'll feel right at home! ~ Jo Christy

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    2. A treat every year - reading new Christmas novels/novellas,etc. under a blanket in my recliner with hot cider or tea and a snack nearby, even better if there is snow to view from the window by my recliner and the flames from my faux fireplace to watch. I always enjoy buying some new Christmas CD's and DVD's every year also.

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  42. Oh, my what nice treats.
    I would love a green tea with honey. Just what I need to warm up.
    Our fave tradition is to open one small Christmas gift on Christmas Eve after everyone is ready for bed. Then hot chocolate with peppermint canes or eggnog, Then off to bed we go!

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    1. We do that also, Robbye. We hand out one gift at Christmas Eve. It seems like their many traditions we do and don't realize it.

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    2. My German/Bohemian inlaws had the tradition of opening all the gifts on Christmas eve! I'm guessing that was so the gifts were mostly opened in front of the family who visited Christmas eve.

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    3. Robbye, our family has that tradition too. My children are adults, and up until last year when they moved away, I would purchase or make matching Christmas pajamas for everyone - including the Granddog! The pjs were always a big secret until Christmas Eve when we'd go to separate rooms to put them on, then gather in the kitchen where we would eat Chinese food. One year, we had glow in the dark shorts and T-shirts; another we had nightshirts (the men loved that year). But the year that I caught the most grief was when I bought bright red unit suits (long handles)!

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  43. Well, I'm ready for that coffee now, My daughter gave me some peppermint mocha creamer this afternoon...I see a few other comments about peppermint so I think this that is sounding so good. All those pretty dresses... I wonder if the seamstress who designed & made them was paid what SHE was worth ???

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    1. We bought some International creamer like that Deanna and it was delicious. Hmmm, I think Madame Pinterest was the couturier for most gowns!

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    2. Hi, Deanna. Peppermint mocha creamer - yum. Did you know that Colonial American women brewed teas with peppermint for medicinal purposes - for headaches, indigestion, heartburn, and insomnia?

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    3. I have used peppermint for heartburn & indigestion...Madame Pinterest is worth triple her weight in fabrics... LOL I'm drinking some peppermint mocha creamer & decaf coffee right now & I think I've found a new favorite... thanks for all the thumbs up on it ;) It's been a great party ladies... thanks to you all...

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  44. Hello ladies, I am arriving late, but it's been a busy day at my house. I just sat down with a glass of sweet iced tea to relax. My favorite part of the holiday has always decorating our tree. My children and I each share a memory of a family member as we hang an ornament. It's a good way to share family history or just to remember someone we've lost. After the tree is finished it's hot chocolate and cookies while watching the lights. It's a very special time for our family.

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    1. Merry Christmas to everyone. Wishing you a season filled with blessings.
      eppersonkatrina@yahoo.com

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    2. Katrina, so happy you're here. I'm late, too, as my family is coming this weekend for our get together. Some staying one night, some staying two -- lots of blow up mattresses. I like your family decorating tradition. What a lovely way to bring back special memories. Merry Christmas.

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    3. Merry Christmas to you, Katrina! This year my inlaws are going to decorate our tree with us! I'm excited about that!

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  45. Green tea would be lovely. The caffeine bothers me at this time of the night. Lovely party! So many great books and novellas to discuss. Busy reading Hope for the Holidays right now!

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    1. Hi, Mary. I like green tea, too. I have a Revolutionary War romantic suspense entitled, The Chamomile. When researching for the novel, I found lots of uses for chamomile tea and bought some to try it. And yes, it really works to soothe me before going to sleep. Colonial mothers rubbed it on the gums of their teething babies to take the soreness away.

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  46. All of these stories sound so good, and the book covers are lovely. You all are amazing. One of our family's favorite Christmas traditions is to fill up each other's stockings. Though my children are adults, I believe they'd rather have something in their stocking than something under the tree. My stocking is 55 years old. I treasure it.

    Merry Christmas!

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    1. Hey Johnnie! I really enjoyed being in the A Cup of Christmas Cheer collection 2013 with you! That is SO COOL you have your stocking!!! I try to get stuff for the adults, too. Way easier for the ladies!

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  47. I still get a filled stocking too Johnnie. From my baby daughter who lives in town. And used to get two when my oldest daughter lived in town. Pretty neat! I still put stockings out as part of the decorations. MS Maxie I love Christmas.

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    1. Maxie, you deserve a full socking!!! I'm so glad your daughter does that! Big hugs!!!

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  48. Strolling in late to the party. It looks like my post didn't take so I just want to say how thrilled I am to see you all here helping us celebrate our December and Christmastime books! You all are a blessing to us! Be sure to follow each of our authors online.

    Merry Christmas to all!

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    1. Merry Christmas, Carla, and congrats on your new home! Will keep you in prayer for the move!

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  49. The thing I like about Christmas is that everything about Christmas, the lights, trees and the Nativity. Makes you think of happy things and the past Christmases with your family.

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  50. I would love to read a copy of Bethany's Calendar. Sounds like a good read.

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    1. Tammy, I believe this book will bless many people! Merry Christmas!

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  51. My favorite thing about the season is spending time with our extended family on Christmas Eve, and then having a quiet day with our immediate family on Christmas Day.

    I have a new blog and I hope you'll check me out. http://bookreviewsbyjulie.blogspot.com

    Thank you for hosting the giveaway.

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    1. Hi Julie, I'll try to get the CQ ladies to all check out your blog. And if you end up reviewing any of our books, let us know!

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