Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Parties…Festivities…and Deadlines! OH MY! by Beth Wiseman

Keeping order during the holidays is challenging no matter what your profession, so how can we juggle our work commitments with holiday festivities and still celebrate the season? Oh, how I wish I had the answer. But I am trying to incorporate a few things into my routine in hopes of keeping the holiday cheer in the forefront while not letting obligations fall behind.

I’ve never been much of an online shopper. Until now. I live in a rural area, so I have to travel at least an hour round trip to get to the nearest store, and that doesn’t include any malls, which is almost three hours of traveling time. So, in my effort to keep sane, I’ve bought some of my Christmas presents online and also supported our local businesses when I could.

I also participate in a reward program that I invented just for me. Write ‘X’ amount of words, then enjoy whatever reward I’ve promised myself. It’s particularly helpful this time of year, although I have been known to cheat, which is sometimes the flaw in this plan. But overall, I’m trying to stay disciplined with word count so I can enjoy time with family and friends when I’ve met that goal.

Now, here’s a biggie that I’m reminding myself of daily. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect. The house doesn’t have to be spotless. Hubby will survive without a home cooked meal if I need to work late. We have enough clothes to survive if the laundry doesn’t get done in as timely a manner as I would like. And, most importantly, I’m going to thank God every day for my many blessings.

My mom is eighty, and I’m so thankful that I’ll be able to spend Christmas with her. However, this is my first Christmas in twenty-nine years that I won’t be with my oldest son. He is working in Singapore, and he will be going to Thailand with his employer for the holidays. It’s a wonderful opportunity for him, a life experience he will always remember, but I sure will miss him.

I guess, in a nutshell, I’m trying to keep things in perspective and not get weighed down with things that really aren’t important. Five, ten, or fifteen years from now, no one will remember if my baseboards were clean. But I’ll remember quality time with my family.

This probably didn’t offer up any whirlwind advice, but I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. Cherish your family and friends. Everything else will fall into place.
Peace to you!

Award-winning, best-selling author Beth Wiseman is best known for her Amish novels, but her most recent novels, Need You Now and The House that Love Built, are contemporaries set in small Texas towns. Both have received glowing reviews. Beth's highly-anticipated novel, The Promise, is inspired by a true story.

An Amish Miracle, a collection of 3 novellas released December 3, 2013

"Always Beautiful" by Beth Wiseman
Becky Byler is eighteen and overweight. She is overwhelmed by the embarrassment she feels when comparing herself to other girls her age. Having lost all hope, she considers taking her own life. As she stands before rushing water, unable to swim, Becky begs God for a miracle. In just several months, Becky sees her prayers answered as food and temptation lose their hold over her. She’s finally pleased with how she looks, but does she like the person she has become? And has the man she has dreamed of been right beside her all along, loving her exactly as she is?

"Always His Providence" by Ruth Reid
Widow Rosa Hostetler has one month to pay her delinquent taxes before the county auctions her farm. She’s prepared to sell whatever is necessary to pay the lien, but she isn’t willing to request money from the community’s widow fund. She’s embarrassed and refuses to admit she needs help. Rosa depends on income from selling eggs, but when that income is threatened, only a miracle can help Rosa accept the kindness of a neighbor.

"Always in My Heart" by Mary Ellis
Hope Bowman believes God is punishing her for giving up her firstborn son when she was a teenager. She’s hidden this secret from her husband, who is thankful for their daughters but longs for a son. Hope prays desperately, but the son God sends her isn’t a new baby but the fifteen-year-old boy she gave up years ago.

Includes Reading Group Guide and Old-Order Amish Recipes
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