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Month: November 2017

Autism and Santa

Our daughter was 9 when our son Scott was born. Around that time, she learned that all of the magical beings in her life (Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy) were not real and she was devastated. Not because these magical creatures turned out false, but because we’d told her they were real.

It gave us a serious wake-up call as parents. I think a lot of it had to do with how well she could articulate how she felt about it, and how free she felt to come to us about it.

Not too long after, through a series of events and earth-shattering kind of happenings, Gregg and I turned our entire spiritual life around. We determined that we would love God with all of our hearts, all of our minds, all of our souls, and all of our strength. That took us out of a Sunday Christian with God over here on this peripheral plane and put Him right in the center of our cores. Because of that, so many things changed about the way that we eat, live life, pray, worship, spend, and definitely how we celebrate holidays.

As the boys (Scott now 11 and Jeb now 9) aged, they never had any of those magical beings in their dialogue, in their lives, in their focus. When a tooth comes out of a boy’s mouth, mom or dad hands him a dollar. Passover is celebrated as the Passover Lamb (Christ Yeshua/Jesus) was sacrificed for our sins, Good Friday is remembered and referenced back to Passover, Easter talks only of Resurrection and the fulfillment of the redemption. The Feast of Tabernacles brings us the celebration of the birth of Christ as well as God’s provision, and Christmas becomes only a time of the celebration of warm friendship and loving family and fellowship opportunities.

We host parties, decorate gingerbread houses (this year we’re doing gingerbread nativity scenes!), attend parties, exchange gifts, bake and bake and bake, and love on our family and friends. We do advent and light candles and teach about how Christ celebrated the Festival of Lights (Hanukah) and what that meant to Him.

There are no magical beings, no decorations depicting fantasy. There are gifts — but the kids each only get three, because Jesus only got three. (See what we did there, parents? HA!). And we don’t make it the most important time of the year, because to us, Christ conquering sin with His sacrifice tied into the Passover (the Last Supper) is indeed much more than the man-made holiday of Christmas.

So, we’re weird, and have been for years.

In the end, though, I think what happened in the timing of it all, in our daughter’s clear communication and our understanding of her feelings of betrayal and her emotions of anger and hurt, was that our shift away from traditional celebrations were one of the ways that God helped us protect our son Scott’s faith.

We don’t know if it’s Scott’s autism or his OCD tendencies, but he is unable to see the world with filters of gray. Everything is black and white. Santa falls into that category. Santa is a lie. Lies are bad, and are evil. Therefore, Santa is bad and evil.

He cannot shake this concept. To him, when he sees Santa, he feels anger. When he knows a child believes in Santa, he gets incredibly upset to the point of mournful tears that the parents lied to their child. He cannot separate any concept from that.

I was once in a mother’s group in a social media setting. We’d all been pregnant at the same time, due in the same month, and raised our kids online together.  One woman in this group of about 40 mothers told me a couple of years ago that if Scott felt that way, then it was because Gregg and I had taught that to him — that no child could possibly think that on their own.

Clearly, this woman (1) didn’t know me, and (2) had never had to deal with the way an autistic mind thinks. Of course we didn’t teach him that progressive line of thinking. However, we taught him that lying is bad, and that the Bible says it’s evil. And, we’ve taught him that Santa isn’t real. Everything else, he’s worked out on his own.

More to the point, though, is that we believe that our change of heart happened when he was an infant, because in the end, we know that we’ve protected his faith in God. Why?

The other day, I had a conversation with Scott and Jeb. Scott was desperately upset about his upcoming 5th grade musical “Jingle Bell Jukebox.” Apparently, “all” the songs are about Santa (the drama teacher assures me only one song mentions Santa), and he is refusing to participate (which the drama teacher and us are totally okay with.) During the conversation, Scott said that he was so sad for kids whose parents went to church and did Santa, because their lies were hurting their relationship with God. He actually went on to say, “When the kids find out that Santa isn’t real, don’t you think they’re going to think that God isn’t real, too?”

I closed my eyes and silently thanked God for the conviction that had us change so many things in our lives so early in his life — so that he never has to take that black and white mind and try to rationalize us telling him that a magical creature is real, but isn’t, and a God he can’t see is real, but is. It would destroy everything about how he believes, how he trusts, and what he knows to be true. It would chip away at the foundation of everything he believes in until his faith would be left dangling on a precipice with no rescue in sight.

He’s big into pulling the mannerisms and actions/reactions of fictional characters into his dialogue — it’s one of the ways he’s able to relate emotionally with the world around him. A YouTube host he regularly watches said that when she found out Santa wasn’t real, it ruined her life.

Scott came to me and crawled into my lap (even at 11) and thanked me for not ruining his life, because he won’t have to experience the same terror as this Youtuber.

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Interview with Author Marion Ueckermann and a Six-Book Giveaway!

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! It’s always fun to have an author who is a friend on my blog. I’ve been privileged to work with Marion Ueckermann in the box set Snowflakes and Mistletoe that we released two years ago, and now she’s here telling us about a new Christmas box set! This set comprises six heartwarming Christmas romances and includes her latest release, A Time to Love.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I come from a close-knit family and live in the eastern suburbs of the capital city of South Africa, Pretoria, with its beautiful purple jacaranda trees that burst into bloom in October/November. My hubby and I live in a not so empty nest as my eldest son lives in the house next door so our two grandsons visit every day. My youngest son and his wife live in Finland.

My published stories have been set in places like South Africa, Zambia, Australia, Finland, Lapland, Norway, Scotland, Ireland, England, and now Budapest—hence my tagline, A Novel Place to Fall in Love.

I have two multi-author series planned for 2018, and am busy turning book 1 of a 7-book series into an audiobook.

 Tell us about your current release: Book 2 (of 3) in my Under the Sun—Seasons of Change series, A Time to Love, releases on December 1st (available on preorder) in the box set “Snowflakes & Snuggles”. Most of the story takes place in the magnificent city of Budapest. It was exciting to bring two of the minor characters from Book 1, A Time to Laugh, into the limelight in this story. Best way to tell you a little more is to give you the blurb:

Everyday life for Dr. Melanie Kerr had consisted of happy deliveries and bundles of joy…until her worst nightmare became reality. The first deaths in her OR during an emergency C-section. Both mother and child, one month before Christmas. About to perform her first Caesarean since the tragedy, Melanie loses her nerve and flees the OR. She packs her bags and catches a flight to Budapest. Perhaps time spent in the city her lost patient hailed from, can help her find the healing and peace she desperately needs to be a good doctor again.

Since the filming of Jordan’s Journeys’ hit TV serial “Life Begins at Sixty” ended earlier in the year, journalist and TV host Jordan Stanson has gone from one assignment to the next. But before he can take a break, he has a final episode to film—“Zac’s First Christmas”. Not only is he looking forward to relaxing at his parents’ seaside home, he can’t wait to see his godchild, Zac, the baby born to the aging Dunhams. His boss, however, has squeezed in another documentary for him to complete before Christmas—uncovering the tragedy surrounding the doctor the country came to love on his show, the beautiful Dr. Kerr.

In order to chronicle her journey through grief and failure, Jordan has no choice but to get close to this woman. Something he has both tried and failed at in the past. He hopes through this assignment, he’ll be able to help her realize the tragedy wasn’t her fault. But even in a city so far away from home, work once again becomes the major catalyst to hinder romance between Jordan and Melanie.

That, and a thing called honesty.

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? Never. Jesus and the gospel are always part of my stories. That’s something I would never want to compromise on.

With all those characters in your head screaming to get out how do you write fast enough to get it all down? One word at a time!

How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher(or agent or audience if you self-publish)? I’m not sure I’ll ever get past that fear of my writing not being good enough. However, I know I’ve been called to write, so I keep on writing. And the great feedback I get from my beta readers and reviews reminds me that this fear, this insecurity, is only False Evidence Appearing Real.

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? I have a VERY basic framework before I start writing, but being a pantser, most everything develops as I write.

Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? I like writing in the 35-40K region, so generally I plan to write to around 35K. However, sometimes that doesn’t always go to plan. Like the last book I wrote, A Time to Love—when I started the story I thought it would probably be around 25K (short for me), however, by the time I got to the end, I’d written around 43600 words.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Just keep on writing, and don’t expect to publish that first masterpiece. I promise, one day you’ll look back on it and thank your lucky stars for the rejections because you’ll realise just how much you had to learn.

What is your preferred method of writing? (computer, pen & paper, etc.) Computer! If I had to use a pen and paper, I wouldn’t be able to read what I’d written.

Find Marion online:

Website , Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, PinterestBookbub

Preorder Marion’s upcoming box set!

Marion is giving away one copy of her Snowflakes & Snuggles box set! This set comprises six heartwarming Christmas romances and includes my latest release, A Time to Love. Enter below:

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I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
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Amazing Thanksgiving Weekend Sale!

ALL of my ebooks (that aren’t already free) are marked down to $0.99 through the Thanksgiving weekend. You can find all of my books at the following links:
amazon-kindle-logo_2 apple_buttonkobo google_play_logo nook-button

From now until Monday night at 11:59pm EST, all of my paperbacks sold directly from me will be 25% off. Click this link to go to my store. All of my books are available, including the complete Virtues and Valor Series.

Use the code CM2017 to get your 25% off.

*All orders have a $7.20 postage fee added for shipping Priority Mail.

Happy shopping!

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Monday Morning Chat – My Writing Testimony

Hello! Welcome to Monday morning coffee and chat!

I really appreciate all of the questions that I get from my readers. Today I’m answering he following question:

Why did you choose to self publish versus traditional publish?

That question opens the door to my writing testimony! I hope you learn more about me as a writer through my response:

 

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I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
You can also become a fan on Become a Facebook Fan Facebook or follow me on Follow me on Twitter Twitter. I would love to see more of you!


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All I Want for Christmas…

I am so excited to be part of an amazing book giveaway! If you follow this link, you can get any or all of these 12 contemporary Christian romance novels! What’s the catch? You’ll have to sign up for the author’s newsletter for whatever book(s) you choose. That’s it.

My book, Christmas Star Sapphire, is available! If you’re already a subscriber of my newsletter, don’t worry. My program won’t send you two emails – it will clean out the doubles.

Go get your free gifts! Twelve books by incredible authors!

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I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
You can also become a fan on Become a Facebook Fan Facebook or follow me on Follow me on Twitter Twitter. I would love to see more of you!


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Interview with Dyanne Gordon Green and a Free Book!

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I am bringing you Dyanne Gordon Green! After reading Dyanne’s interview, I have to say that I love meeting someone who met their husband in the pioneer days of the internet. I met my Gregg in one of those AOL chatrooms — on a dial-up connection! HA! Dyanne’s book Forecast: Stormy with a Chance of Love, is FREE through November 17th! So, grab it while you can.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I’m from San Francisco and currently live in North Carolina with my forever husband who’s also my best friend. We met online during the pioneer days of the Internet and have been together nearly 20 years. I’ve worked as a reporter, director for the literary program at an art center, and as a producer for a radio station where I would write, voice, and produce ad copy. I stopped writing for several years until God awakened the desire once again, this time to write sweet fiction with a strong Christian theme.

Tell us about your current release: Forecast: Foggy with a Chance of Goodbye is the third, and possibly the last book in the Forecast Series. God is in control of that! The main characters met and fell in love in their fifties, and their story continues in this book as they work through the most difficult challenge yet.

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Absolutely! In fact, someone very close to me who isn’t a believer yet, remarked on the first book in this series, Forecast: Stormy with a Chance of Love, how she could see God working even when a person isn’t inclined to pray. I silently thanked God and told him this was enough for me. My story had touched her and made her think about prayer and the Lord.

What do you think is lacking in Christian Fiction? There seems to be a trend for Christian fiction to be more edgy and relevant to current issues. As believers, we need to be the hands and feet of Christ in all things, especially our writing. I see many books labeled as “Christian” but they have sexual undertones, cursing, etc., which shows a lack of respect for God.

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? Just write through it! Working as a newspaper reporter, I didn’t have the luxury of waiting until I felt like writing. I had to meet deadlines or else. It taught me to write whenever and wherever and that spilled over into all areas of writing.

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? My love for writing began before I could actually write. I would dictate stories to my mom and she’d write them down for me. I would then ask that she read them back so I could make sure she had done a good job.

Have you always wanted to write a book? I have and I did write what I call my practice novel several years ago. I wasn’t a believer at the time and was in a difficult marriage. I never had plans to publish it, but I just wanted to see if I could do it. The story was about a woman who was serving a life sentence for killing her husband.

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? I’m what is referred to as a “pantser” since I prefer writing by the seat of my pants over outlining and planning. I do write character bios which helps in the development of the story. Even when I think I know exactly what’s going to happen, my characters will often head in a different direction. I follow their lead.

How did you make the initial step into writing your first novel. What were some of your major roadblocks and how did you overcome them? My first real novel was born of a National Novel Writing Month challenge.

Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Find Dyanne on her website.

Don’t forget that Dyanne’s book Forecast: Sunny with a Chance of Love is free on Amazon until November 17th!


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I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
You can also become a fan on Become a Facebook Fan Facebook or follow me on Follow me on Twitter Twitter. I would love to see more of you!


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