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I'm most recently a writer.  In the six plus decades of my life, I've been a wife, mother, grandmother, Jill of all trades though mistress of but a few, and most of the time pretty content with my lot.  As a much younger person, I believed I was called to write, but life and living distracted me for most of those decades.  An unwilling transplant from the South,  twenty years ago I unintentionally landed in the geographical center of the US.  Writing came about in part due to the unwillingness, I expect.  When caring for family, gardening, and renovating a century-old house failed to provide sufficient creative outlets, I turned to the one thing I always intended to do.  Eight titles later, I'm grateful I found myself while Lost in the Plains!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Valley Rise Christmas Blog--Day One

 The holidays are upon us again. How many times have I heard and even said those words in my life? They seem to strike so many emotional chords in each of us. Excitement, dread, tearful memories and warm reassurance, all tied to holidays past. Last year I posted this series of scenes from the Valley Rise Series and such an amazing number of folks stopped by to read them, I decided to post them again this season. I hope they add a little something to your holiday preparations! 

It occurred to me that since there are so many Christmas-related scenes in the Miracle at Valley Rise books, I could share them with you here on the blog during December.
While I didn't set out to feature the holidays so prominently, it turned out that for Emily and Stani, Christmas took on very special significance from the beginning.  For all of us, there are certain memories attached to specific times of year, traditions we hold dear, and events we always revisit when the anniversaries roll around.  For the family at Valley Rise Farm, that seems to be especially true. 
So here we go.  I'll try to share some of these moments with you every few days, so I hope you'll tune in and enjoy the holiday season with the characters who live in the pages of my books.
In this scene from Hearts Unfold, Emily Haynes has secretly returned to her secluded farmhouse home in search of a way to retrieve what's left of the life she shared with her parents.  With her mother dead and her father in a nursing home, there doesn't appear to be much hope, until Emily decides to take control of her destiny.  Since it's almost Christmas, her first step is to bring a little holiday cheer to her home.

After some digging in the closet beneath the stairs, she retrieved the ornaments, garland and lights that had each year decorated a fresh evergreen.  At last she found the crèche, tucked in its own box, each china figurine wrapped in tissue paper.  She recalled packing it away, that first painful Christmas, when she and Pop had pretended not to notice the vast empty space where her mother should have been.  By the next year, they had given up pretending and barely allowed the holiday into the house.
Setting out on her mission to bring Christmas to the room, she eyed the mantel wall first.  The fireplace, flanked by glass-front cabinets and two high windows, would substitute for a tree, she decided.  Humming along with the music, adding a waltzing step every now and then as she worked, she spread silver garland and glowing colored lights across the mantel and the tops of the cabinets.  She added carefully spaced clusters of glass ornaments, shining spheres of red, green and gold, along with blown glass figurines of angels, stars and Father Christmas, all well-remembered from her childhood.  When she’d achieved just the desired effect, she hung the delicate gold star that had always topped the tree, in the center of the chimney.
Going to the other end of the room, she spread a shawl of fringed red velvet on the piano, just as her mother had done every year, and placed an open book of carols on the music rack.  Finally, she took her father's violin from its case and gently nestled it in the folds of the shawl, laying the bow carefully across the strings.  Stepping back, she let out a sigh of satisfaction.  She had paid tribute to the past, mindful of the obvious changes; but she’d also taken a step toward future Christmases.
Finally, she positioned the figurines facing the fireplace where the little wooden shed waited, well out of harm's way, on the hearth.  Mary and Joseph with the donkey near the front door, the shepherds and their flock of three sheep on the piano bench, and the wise men with their camel on the table next to Pop's chair.  The solitary ox rested in the stable, next to the tiny cross-legged manger filled with paper straw.  The figure of the newborn baby with his outstretched arms she tucked on the mantel near the heralding angel, hidden from sight for now.  Gazing back at the travelers journeying toward her, she laughed softly.  She was truly home for Christmas, as she had never expected to be again.


  1. Thank you, Karen, for very visual writing. I have posted the link on my Facebook page and hope many more begin reading your books.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you! I hope you'll give them a try!