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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Memories

I hope you all had a Thanksgiving that filled your hearts as much as your tummies!

Our Thanksgiving Day did not go as planned and for once that was a wonderful thing. We watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (I grew up calling it the Macy's Day Parade, but my hubby says Macy's Day is Friday, not Thursday.) and waved at the floats and giggled at the characters floating high in the sky. My fave is still Snoopy. ;-)

Then we did my favorite Thanksgiving Day thing~ we danced to Christmas music. It's a great way to work out energy and get ready for a yummy dinner.

And I actually cooked this year! Those of you who know me will appreciate that fact. My kiddos starred in their cooking debut too with a family recipe for cranberry sauce and a gluten and dairy-free pumpkin pie that turned out yummy.

Dinner was even more special because my in-laws were in town to celebrate with us.

One of our traditions at dinner is to have 3-5 corn kernels and at different times during the meal we go around the table and say something we're thankful for with each kernel.

Our youngest daughter's thanks were simple, but made me smile. She was thankful for a loving mommy (a miracle of forgiveness because it's not been an easy few weeks), an awesome daddy, and her grandparents being here for Thanksgiving.

It always warms my heart to hear thanks for relationships and God's protection. We ended our last round with thanks for the freedom to worship Christ this holiday season and a line from our favorite holiday movie, "God bless us everyone!"

As you prepare homes and hearts for Chrismas, I pray the memories of Thanksgiving Day and all the little and big things we have to give thanks for will fill your mind and help you savor this season.

If you're so inclined, join me in two activities that always slow me down and fill me with peace: dancing with a little one and sitting by Christmas tree light, surrounded by memories.

Wishing you a Christ-filled season of memories and moments knit together with love.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Nots

It's fun and heart-warming to read all the Thanksgiving thankful posts! I've done a few in years past too. But this year I started thinking about what I'm thankful I don't have.

So here’s my different sort of Thanksgiving list.

Things I'm thankful I don't have:

I'm thankful I don't have a cardboard box for a home, and I hope we'll all remember to pray for and help those who do.

I'm thankful I don't have sick or hospitalized family members, and I'm praying for friends and church family who do.

I'm thankful I don't have to sneak around to worship God, and am incredibly thankful for the freedoms we have in America. Let's all pray we continue to enjoy those and not forget our brothers and sisters in Christ who can't do that.

I'm thankful I don't have to spend the holidays alone. Please pray and reach out to someone who can't say that.

I'm thankful I don't have to leave grievances undealt with. Holidays are a time traditionally filled with the longing for Norman Rockwell family gatherings. Many of us have never had that. And no matter how close we might come, forgiveness is still a daily need. I know it is in the Wallace home. I hope this holiday season, as far as it depends on you, that you can offer and receive forgiveness from the heart.

I'm also thankful I don't have to worry about tomorrow, no matter what it holds.

What about you all? Anything you're thankful to not have?

From all the Wallaces... wishing you a Thanksgiving and Christmas season filled with moments to treasure and ponder in your heart.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Getting to know you Christmas style

A dear friend, Tori, sent me this Christmas style Q & A and I thought it would be fun to share. A week from now I'll be decorating the house from top to basement and loving the final outcome.

Unwrapping memories and smiles with each ornament is one of my all-time favorite things. Here are some other holiday fun facts...

Christmas questions:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both, but mostly gift bags for grown-ups and wrapping paper for kiddos

2. Real tree or Artificial? Real until my kiddos decided cutting down trees in Christmas sweaters and 70 degree weather didn't go together. Gotta love Atlanta where it'll be 30 one day and 70 the next... in December.

3. When do you put up the tree? It used to be the first weekend in November. But hubby said that eclipsed Thanksgiving. So I wait until Thanksgiving night to start hauling out boxes and smiling...I adore having the Christmas decorations up.

4. When do you take the tree down? Our tree comes down New Year's Day and it always makes me sad.

5. Do you like eggnog? Definitely, but this will be the first Christmas I won't drink much if any. I'm now allergic to dairy, eggs and wheat, which nixes most of the holiday fixes I look forward to each year. But there's always chocolate. ;-)

6. Favorite gift received as a child? An enormous teddy bear with a huge bow. He now belongs to my oldest and she adores in like I did.

7. Hardest person to buy for? My in-laws

8. Easiest person to buy for? My kiddos

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. We have a hearth covered with kid-friendly nativities. And I have my grandmother's nativity she collected from different places in Europe. That one is still hard to put up because it reminds me I won't be going home to Gram's for Christmas anymore.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I might be online a lot, but I'm a holiday traditionalist. Christmas cards all the way. In fact, we love getting cards because we pray for each person as a family before the card goes on our card wreath.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I could list a few, but I probably shouldn't.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Charlie Brown's Christmas. I have a soft spot for my writing hero -Snoopy.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Don't hate me... my Christmas shopping is done by October. I start Christmas shopping when I do spring birthday shopping.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Uhm... for white elephant gifts

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Marzipan

16. Lights on the tree? Twinkly white lights and lots of 'em

17. Favorite Christmas song? Mary Did You Know

18. Travel at Christmas or stay at home? We stay home and host a Christmas Eve celebration.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Only if I sing it... You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen. Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen. But do you recall the most famous reindeer of all....Rudolph.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Angel, and our girls have named it thanks to the book by Max Lucado called Alabaster's Song. Love that book!

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We open gifts with extended family on Christmas Eve and then it's our little family on Christmas morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? The Christmas Shoes song. Could live happily by never hearing that song again.

23. What theme or color are you using? I like maroon and gold colors and books, books and more books seems to be the theme around here. We used to have one basket packed with favorite Christmas tales. Now it's expanded to far more than that. But we read them all over and over and it's a favorite Christmas pastime.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Pot roast, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, and lots and lots of chocolate.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? An iPod, a Wii Fit, world peace and Jesus to come back.

What about you? What's your favorite part of Christmas?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Enduring Justice

I feel like a proud new momma, showing off her newborn! Here's my third book baby in all her cover glory. ;-)

Whadda ya think?



Hanna Kessler's childhood secret has remained buried for over two decades. But when the dark shadows of her past threaten to destroy those she loves, Hanna must face the summer that changed her life and the man who still haunts her memories.


As a Crimes Against Children FBI Agent, Michael Parker knows what it means to get knocked down. Difficult cases and broken relationships have plagued his entire year. But when the system fails and a white supremacist is set free, Michael's drive for retribution eclipses all else.


A racist's well-planned assault forces Hanna and Michael to decide between executing vengeance and pursuing justice. The dividing line is the choice to heal. But when the attack turns personal, is justice enough?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Just Enough Grace

I just returned from a trip to Louisville for my 20th high school reunion and book research. I truly love that city! More than that, I dearly love my family and friends there and miss them often.

But I'm thankful for the friends who have filled my life since high school too. One of them just had her first book published and I'd appreciate if you all would check it out.

Heather Nations is a dear friend who has loved me despite my rough edges, challenged me to grow, and always been there to cheer and offer an encouraging word.

Heather now has a book, Just Enough Grace: Reflections on Ordinary Miracles, a collection of amazing, thought-provoking blog posts that have been compiled into a beautiful, interactive devotional.

If you don't know about Heather's blog, you're missing a real treat. Heather is a Christ-centered woman who speaks the truth in love and shares from the depth of her heart.

She's also the master wordsmith who coined the term "Heart Chocolate" and applied it to one of my blog posts. Thankfully, she was so gracious and allowed me to utilize it for my work.

Here's a little more about Heather's new book, Just Enough Grace...

Just Enough Grace is more than just another devotional. It's one woman's journey through parenting, homeschooling, cancer, a cross-country move (in the midst of cancer treatments!), her husband's job loss, and the on-going changes and challenges of everyday life with four kids. Yet through it all, she sees God's hand and hears His still small voice. Come along with Heather as she shares the lessons that God is teaching her. One of the biggest is that God gives us just enough grace - just enough grace for the moment, for the specific situation that we're in right now. God gives us just enough grace to deal with whatever it is we face right now, although yesterday we could never have imagined being able to handle today's difficulties. And it's interactive! As you learn God's lessons along with Heather, take notes and write your own story in the journaling pages.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I need to confess something. It's been a rough few months. Most of it my fault. All because I chose to ignore something I've been taught over and over.

I forgot to HALT.

Do you know what that means? If you've listened to Dr. Charles Stanley for any length of time, you've probably heard about his HALT principle. Since we were members at FBA a very long time and my hubby worked at IN TOUCH, I should know this principle.

But I forgot.

Here's the gist of the HALT principle...

Don't get too:

H- hungry
A- angry
L- lonely
T- tired

If you neglect these areas of personal and spiritual health, things go badly. Thus my last few months.

If I'd have paid attention to the HALT principle and halted my words and actions and took care of my heart, I wouldn't be confessing to some rotten results.

I won't air all my mess, but suffice it to say I've not been a pleasant person to be around in real life. Ask my kids. And my husband. I've been snippy and too easily bothered and irritated.

All because I've stayed up WAY TOO LATE to read.

And I've tried and then stopped trimming my eating because my high school reunion is coming up. Stress is an easy excuse to eat and I've taken it and run. But when I get back on and then off the wagon, I'm hungry all time. Thankfully, when I stick with eating smart for a few days, that hungry goes away.

The angry and lonely go hand in hand for me. Anger is a default if I'm not dealing with the issues in my heart. And when I'm angry, nobody wants to share my space.

Except God is so very good to give my family and friends this unending ability to forgive. My children especially.

They're the reason I had anything intelligent to share here today. After a long discussion about Elijah and the prophets of Baal that led to talk on prayer, knowing God's will, and Him living through us, it clicked that I have to HALT and take care of my heart before I can be the wife, mom and friend I long to be.

So how about you all? I sure hope I'm not the only one needing to relearn some sage words from God's word or a wise pastor's sermon.

How has God turned you back around when you were headed the wrong direction?


I just found another fun time investor thanks to an amazing blog by Michael Hyatt on Seven Ways to Build Your Author Brand Online. Wise advice for writers!

And there's lots of fun to be had Twittering. It's not just for writers. Don't know what Twitter is? Well, check out Michael Hyatt's blog and you'll find some great articles about why to start Twittering and a beginner's guide to Twitter.

For me, it's a fun way to connect with folks. It helps writing not be such a solitary profession. And I'm a mom, so finding grown-up conversation in the midst of busy days is hard. Twitter makes it a little easier.

If you want to jump into the conversation, hop over to and see what's happening.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

America Has Chosen a President

Below is a great article for every Christian~ whether you voted for President-Elect Obama or not.

We did not.

But we will pray, as a family, for this man as he takes office and for our nation in the days ahead.

America Has Chosen a President
By Albert Mohler
Posted: Wednesday, November 05, 2008 at 5:04 am ET

The election of Sen. Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States came as a bang, not a whimper. The tremors had been perceptible for days, maybe even weeks. On Tuesday, America experienced nothing less than a political and cultural earthquake.

The margin of victory for the Democratic ticket was clear. Americans voted in record numbers and with tangible enthusiasm. By the end of the day, it was clear that Barack Obama would be elected with a majority of the popular vote and a near landslide in the Electoral College. When President-Elect Obama greeted the throngs of his supporters in Chicago's Grant Park, he basked in the glory of electoral energy.

For many of us, the end of the night brought disappointment. In this case, the disappointment is compounded by the sense that the issues that did not allow us to support Sen. Obama are matters of life and death -- not just political issues of heated debate. Furthermore, the margin of victory and sense of a shift in the political landscape point to greater disappointments ahead. We all knew that so much was at stake.

For others, the night was magical and momentous. Young and old cried tears of amazement and victory as America elected its first African-American President -- and elected him overwhelmingly. Just forty years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, an African-American stood to claim victory as President-Elect of the nation. As Sen. Obama assured the crowd in Chicago and the watching nation, "We will get there. We will get there." No one hearing those words could fail to hear the refrain of plaintive words spoken in Memphis four decades ago. President-Elect Obama would stand upon the mountaintop that Dr. King had foreseen.

That victory is a hallmark moment in history for all Americans -- not just for those who voted for Sen. Obama. As a nation, we will never think of ourselves the same way again. Americans rich and poor, black and white, old and young, will look to an African-American man and know him as President of the United States. The President. The only President. The elected President. Our President.

Every American should be moved by the sight of young African-Americans who -- for the first time -- now believe that they have a purchase in American democracy. Old men and old women, grandsons and granddaughters of slaves and slaveholders, will look to an African-American as President.

Regardless of politics, could anyone remain unmoved by the sight of Jesse Jackson crying alone amidst the crowd in Chicago? This dimension of Election Day transcends politics and touches the heart of the American people.

Yet, the issues and the politics remain. Given the scale of the Democratic victory, the political landscape will be completely reshaped. The fight for the dignity and sanctity of unborn human beings has been set back by a great loss, and by the election of a President who has announced his intention to sign the Freedom of Choice Act into law. The struggle to protect marriage against its destruction by redefinition is now complicated by the election of a President who has declared his aim to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. On issue after issue, we face a longer, harder, and more protracted struggle than ever before.

Still, we must press on as advocates for the unborn, for the elderly, for the infirm, and for the vulnerable. We must redouble our efforts to defend marriage and the integrity of the family. We must be vigilant to protect religious liberty and the freedom of the pulpit. We face awesome battles ahead.

At the same time, we must be honest and recognize that the political maps are being redrawn before our eyes. Will the Republican Party decide that conservative Christians are just too troublesome for the party and see the pro-life movement as a liability? There is the real danger that the Republicans, stung by this defeat, will adopt a libertarian approach to divisive moral issues and show conservative Christians the door.

Others will declare these struggles over, arguing that the election of Sen. Obama means that Americans in general -- and many younger Evangelicals in particular -- are ready to "move on" to other issues. This is no time for surrender or the abandonment of our core principles. We face a much harder struggle ahead, but we have no right to abandon the struggle.

We should look for opportunities to work with the new President and his administration where we can. We must hope that he will lead and govern as the bridge-builder he claimed to be in his campaign. We must confront and oppose the Obama administration where conscience demands, but work together where conscience allows.

Evangelical Christians face another challenge with the election of Sen. Obama, and a failure to rise to this challenge will bring disrepute upon the Gospel, as well as upon ourselves. There must be absolutely no denial of the legitimacy of President-Elect Obama's election and no failure to accord this new President the respect and honor due to anyone elected to that high office. Failure in this responsibility is disobedience to a clear biblical command.

Beyond this, we must commit ourselves to pray for this new President, for his wife and family, for his administration, and for the nation. We are commanded to pray for rulers, and this new President faces challenges that are not only daunting but potentially disastrous. May God grant him wisdom. He and his family will face new challenges and the pressures of this office. May God protect them, give them joy in their family life, and hold them close together.

We must pray that God will protect this nation even as the new President settles into his role as Commander in Chief, and that God will grant peace as he leads the nation through times of trial and international conflict and tension.

We must pray that God would change President-Elect Obama's mind and heart on issues of our crucial concern. May God change his heart and open his eyes to see abortion as the murder of the innocent unborn, to see marriage as an institution to be defended, and to see a host of issues in a new light. We must pray this from this day until the day he leaves office. God is sovereign, after all.

Without doubt, we face hard days ahead. Realistically, we must expect to be frustrated and disappointed. We may find ourselves to be defeated and discouraged. We must keep ever in mind that it is God who raises up nations and pulls them down, and who judges both nations and rulers. We must not act or think as unbelievers, or as those who do not trust God.

America has chosen a President. President-Elect Barack Obama is that choice, and he faces a breathtaking array of challenges and choices in days ahead. This is the time for Christians to begin praying in earnest for our new President. There is no time to lose.
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