Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The 25 Days of Christmas Devotional

What's so special about this season that it needs its own book of devotions? Many of us get caught up in the commercialization of Christmas. One way to prevent that is to focus on the reason for the season. Taking a few minutes each day with this different kind of devotional book will help your family think of others. Each day focuses on one word and includes a story from Daniel and Holly's family, a Scripture reading with the devotional, the YouTube link to a Christmas Carol, and an activity that the entire family can be involved in.

Here's an excerpt, so you can "taste test" and see why this is such a great way for families to celebrate the season:



"I have a surprise for you kids," Mom said as soon as Daniel and Holly walked in the door after school.

"What?" They both wanted to know.

"Follow me," Mom requested as she walked toward the family room.

Two-year-old Evie followed along behind, clapping her hands and giggling.

"She must know what the secret is," Daniel commented to Holly.

Holly laughed when Evie shouted, "Sec-et! Sec-et!"

Mom smiled as well. "That's her new word for the day."

Then Mom held up a box that had a bunch of what looked like little doors. Twenty-five of them to be exact. They each had a number.

"What's that?" Daniel asked.

"It's an Advent calendar. Each day we'll open one. Behind each door is a treat for each of you and a word we can talk about to help us prepare for Christmas."

"Can we open one now?" Holly wanted to know.

"You may." Mom pointed to the first door.

"Advent," Holy read after she took out three small candies and handed one to Daniel and Evie.

"Advent is all about the days leading up to Christmas. We can talk about what Christmas really means and prepare our hearts to worship Christ."

"Why did Jesus have to come to earth as a baby? Why couldn't He come as a grown-up?" Daniel wondered as he picked up the baby Jesus from the Nativity set.

"Well, Jesus needed time to prepare, too. He needed to experience all the things we experience. He experienced what it was like to grow up, have a family and friends, and be tempted by sin just like the rest of us. No matter what problems we face in life, Jesus truly understands."

"But I thought Jesus was perfect and never sinned?" Holly questioned.

Mom nodded her head. "He was perfect. He didn't ever sin, but He still went through a lot of the same things we do. Because He lived a perfect and sinless life, that's what made Him a suitable sacrifice for our sins. Only a perfect Man could pay the price for us."

Daniel and Holly didn't say anything. For a few moments, the only sound heard was Evie slurping her candy and quietly repeating, "Sec-et."

Mom continued. "God had to prepare the world for Salvation to come in the form of His Son, Jesus. It wouldn't happen overnight. It would take Jesus' entire life time here on earth."

Daniel, always the one who wanted to learn more, said, "I think this will be interesting."

"I think this will be fun," Holly gave her opinion.

"I think it will help prepare us all and help us to understand Christmas just a little bit better."


Read Matthew 25:1-13
This man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Luke 2:25b-26

Advent is a time of preparation. The Christmas Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas. Many families, especially those with young children, have Advent calendars. Each day the children get to open a door, receive a little gift, or remove an object in the countdown for and in anticipation of Christmas.

Children, for the most part, look forward to Christmas because of the gifts they will receive. That’s not a bad thing, but we as adults, should have a much deeper anticipation of Christmas. We take the time to buy and wrap gifts, prepare food, clean the house for guests, buy new outfits, attend parties, etc. But how much time do we put into meditating on the actual birth of Christ and worshipping Him?

Many years, at least in our household, we spend time putting up the tree and decorating it, only to ignore it. We more often than not, sit in the room with the TV. Unfortunately, that’s often the way we are with God as well. We accept Him as Savior. We attend church on Sundays. Other than that, we pretty much ignore Him, too.

This Christmas, in anticipation of the celebration of His birth, let’s focus on Him a little more throughout the month. Let’s prepare our hearts by reflecting on why He came to earth.
Christmas will be that much more special when we focus on the true Reason for the Season.


This activity will take some extra planning. Get together as a family; you can even invite your extended family members to take part in this one as well. Choose a family that is in need; try to find a specific need if possible. Gather together money to give to that family for the specific need that they have. If possible, try not to let them know where their Christmas gift is coming from. That makes it all the more exciting for both them and you.

Song - The Twelve Days of Christmas (How I Want to Sing)

Buy the book! 

"The 25 Days of Christmas Family Devotional: Making Christmas More Meaningful" 

can be purchased on Amazon

About the author:
Ruth O’Neil has been a freelance writer for 20-plus years. She sees everything as a writing opportunity in disguise, whether it is an interesting character, setting, or situation. You can find her book series “What a Difference a Year Makes” on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or her website ( You can also visit her on her blog at When she’s not writing or homeschooling her kids, Ruth spends her time quilting, reading, scrapbooking, camping and hiking with her family. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday Fiction Friends - and Giveaway!

Today it is my pleasure to have Debbie Lynne Costello as a guest on my
blog. Debbie Lynne has written several books but today we will be treated to an interview with the hero of her newest release, SWORD OF THE MATCHMAKER. Debbie Lynne is offering a giveaway - leave a comment on this blog post, then follow along the blog tour to get more chances to win! (see below for dates and links) Don't forget to also enter the Rafflecopter giveaway at the bottom of this post. Debbie Lynne is giving away a Kindle Fire (with SWORD OF THE MATCHMAKER), a $15 Amazon gift card, and much more!

Before we meet Thomas, here's a little blurb about the novel:
purchase on Amazon

Penelope Beatty made up her mind long ago she would live and die a Scottish warrior not a wife. But when nearly all her clan is killed and she is betrayed, she loathes doing the unthinkable, but must seek the help of an Englishman who owed her father’s his life.

Thomas Godfrey never married, but when a Scottish warrior lass shows up needing his aid, he finds her both annoying and irresistible. But the last thing he wants is to marry a woman who fights alongside him. If he was going to marry—which he isn’t—it would be to a soft, submissive woman. But when the Lady Brithwin meets the Scottish lass, she’s sure she’s found the perfect match for Thomas and nothing is going to stop her from seeing a summer wedding.

I confess, now that I've met Thomas through this interview, he seems like the perfect hero (albeit reluctant!). Read on and see for yourself.

1) Thomas, tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? How did you get to be Master-At-Arms?

Greetings, Lady Tammy. I thank you for having me here today. This is a very fine way to kick off a blog tour. Your time period is much different than mine. Why if I was to correspond with you in the late 14th century it might take months for you to hear back from me and then if a tragedy befell the letter carrier, you may never hear back. This email and blogging is very interesting.

To answer your question, I am the oldest son of Hamon Godfrey. I was born in the Cumberland area in England and have lived here most of my life. During my page years and squire years I was sent to a keep south of Hawkwood where I tended that lord of the keep’s needs. But shortly after knighthood I was asked to come back to Hawkwood.

I became Master-at-arms at a fairly young age. The old lord saw that I had the respect from the other knights. They trusted me with their lives. So when the previous Master-at-Arms died in battle on the border lands, I filled his shoes to keep the men focused on our goal. The lord saw that the men would do as I told them and chose me to fill the Master-of-Arms position. Although, I have my suspicions that he may have had some influence from within. Many saw that I looked after Lady Brithwin, protecting her from her father whenever I could. And though I’m nearly twenty years older than her, she was like a daughter to me and I loved her as thus. Indeed, I suspect there were whispers in the lord’s ear that the job should go to me.

2) I imagine you are accustomed to being in charge. What impression do you make on people when they first meet you? Does that change after they've known you awhile?

Being in charge is an easy thing to become accustomed to. Much like the centurion in the bible, I tell a man to do something and he does it. I cannot imagine anything else. I hope they see I am an honest, God fearing man. I try to be fair in my dealings with those under me but I will not brook foolishness or disobedience. And because of that the first impression may not be favorable. They may see me as a hard, uncaring person. But I would say that yes, once they get to know me they realize there is another side to me.

3) What is your impression of Penelope when you first meet? What is your opinion of Lady Brithwin's impression of Penelope?

(Thomas grinned.)

My first impression of Penelope? Perhaps a bit of amusement. How else could I feel? Here
was this beautiful woman standing before me in men’s garb, demanding I take her to see Hamon—which of course I did. She made me smile, even laugh, which only made her angry. I didn’t have to say much to get her hackles up. I truly found her amusing. But at the same time I dinna like the way it made me feel inside. I’d never had feelings like that for a woman. And I didn’t want them now. Now lady Brithwin looked past the male garb and saw a woman in need of a husband. She fell in love with Penelope the minute she met her. I could see it in my lady’s eyes and knew I was in trouble.

4) Why do you not want to marry?

I am 35 years old! I am too old to train a wife and I have no patience for a weepy woman. I am use to a woman like Brithwin who is strong. I dinna want to deal with the problems that come with a wife. Royce has his hands full. Though I love my lady, she is a stubborn woman. I am a man who has no time for a woman’s foolishness.

5) Is there something you'd really like to accomplish in your lifetime?

I achieved my goal of master-of-arms at a young age, so on a personal basis I am happy. However, I have dreams of building my own place and having a home to call my own. And before you say something about needing a woman to keep my home clean, let me assure you that I am quite capable of keeping my abode clean.

(note from me: I would never say anything about needing a woman to keep a home clean! I might, however, suggest it isn't much of a home if there's no one to share it with.)

6) And just for fun, what's your favorite meal and what's your favorite food to have for that meal?

I enjoy the evening meal, though it’s not as large a meal as the dinner meal. My day is usually at end and I am able to sit and fellowship with my lord, knowing the day is behind me. Lady Brithwin always sees that a fine meal is prepared for the evening meal as well as the mid-day meal. My favorite thing to eat at the meal? Wardonys in Syrup. Nothing can finish off a meal better than sweet pears in syrup.
Wardonys in Syrup, photo found on
Give it Forth blog
Thank you, Thomas, for taking sometime to meet with my blog followers and Debbie Lynne's readers.

I thank you again, Lady Tammy. I will look forward to answering the questions of your followers.

Be sure to stop by Miralee Ferelle’s blog on May 19th for more ways to enter.
To purchase a copy of SWORD OF THE MATCHMAKER, pop over to Amazon

Debbie Lynne Costello has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina. She has worked in many capacities in her church and is currently the Children's Director. Debbie Lynne has shown and raised Shetland Sheepdogs for eighteen years and still enjoys litters now and then. In their spare time, she and her husband take pleasure in camping and riding their Arabian and Tennessee Walking horses. Find Debbie Lynne on Facebook Twitter
For more chances to win a Kindle Fire, Amazon gift card, and more, check out the rest of the blog tour: 
May 19                                                  May 29, 30, 31                    
June 2                                                   June 3                
June 4                                                   June 5
June 7                                                   June 9                        
June 12                                                 June 13
June 14                                                 June 15
June 16                                                 June 17

June 19                                                 June 20

June 21                                                 June 22

June 25                                                 June 27
June 28                                                  June 30

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Friday, April 14, 2017


Liberty Dryden!!

    Liberty will get her choice of one of my four books FREE. What a great Easter gift. No where near as fantastic as the gift our Lord gave when His son, Jesus Christ, died for us. We are saved from eternal damnation because of the incredible love of Jesus and our Father in Heaven.

Though Jesus' followers were most likely in abject depression when Jesus died on the cross, three days later they were able to rejoice. But even now, two thousand years later, it is difficult to fully grasp the amazing sacrifice and gift we were all given when Jesus died and later rose from the grave.

Happy Easter to all!