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Congratulations, Rachel Robertson!
January 5, 2009

Our Winner: Christmas Memory, Rachel Robertson

My favorite Christmas memory is last Christmas. My husband Peter was in Afghanistan with the Army and had been extended for 4 more months. I felt so lonely and sad as not only was he far away, but I was also far away from home and my parents. Our son Orion was born 4 months after he left and I was looking forward to the look on my husband's face when the two met for the first time. I put up a tree and put on Christmas music but my heart was not in it.

At 6:00 on Christmas morning, someone knocked on the door. My neighbor told me that her husband was playing Santa for their children and would we like to come over so Orion could see Santa too. I said all right and minutes later Orion and I went over. We knocked at the door and Santa answered. He started to say ho, ho but before he could go any further, tears ran down his cheeks. He pulled down his beard and there in front of me was my husband Peter! He had come in late the night before as he had been granted two weeks' leave at the last minute and had been flying for over 38 hours. He called our neighbor and they decided to surprise us.

What I thought would be the worst Christmas in my life turned out to be the best Christmas I can ever remember.

Finalists, Christmas Memories

C.A. Bryant's entry

I was 17, almost 18 years old and had decided that church was for suckers. To repay me, my foster family drove me to the nearest city (where I didn't know anyone) and simply dropped me off with a backpack.

Christmas was coming, and I was alone.

I managed through on my own until Christmas Eve, sleeping under bridges, in bus stations, on random couches of people who didn't mind a random teenager crashing there. December 24th rolled around, the day bitterly cold. I spent much of the day hiding in a bus terminal, trying to keep warm. I had a pair of gloves, I had a scarf. I had somehow lost my socks, and I remember clearly how cold my toes were in my shoes.

The sky clouded over, and I overheard people saying, "It's going to be a white Christmas." Afraid for my sockless feet, I asked around and found out where the nearest youth shelter was. I headed there on foot, and arrived right around dinner time.

They let me in with a smile. They served me a good, hot meal. They had a Christmas tree and a small stereo playing cheerful carols that could barely be heard over the sound of too many noisy, well fed street kids. When I asked to be allowed to sleep there, they had a bed available. I was safe, for the night.

I woke up in the morning and glanced out the window; it had snowed, and it had snowed a lot. My childhood delight of a white Christmas had been obliterated by my fear of being too cold for too long. I could smell hot cider coming from the kitchen. I got up, put my shoes back onto bare feet, and went out to greet the day.

To my surprise, there were presents under the tree that morning! Stockings thumbtacked to the walls! A breakfast of pancakes and eggs and bacon, hot cider, hot chocolate, and coffee! I nearly broke down and cried from joy.

I ate my fill. The staff at the shelter allowed all of us homeless, family-less kids to open presents and pick a stocking from the wall. I got candy, trail mix, a bottle of water. I got ponytail ties and a couple barrettes for my hair. I was gifted with scented lotion and a stick of deodorant and, miraculously, two new pairs of socks. Then the impractical gifts appeared; a hair dryer, and a large stuffed bunny that looked like it should have arrived on Easter, not Christmas.

I thanked the people at the shelter and made off with my gifts into the snow, clean socks on my feet and a smile on my face. The hair dryer was bartered away that day for another hot meal, but for some reason, I kept the bunny. Eight Christmases later, the big yellow bunny still greets me on Christmas morning to remind me that there are good people in the world, and to never ever take anything for granted.

Margaret Stevens' entry

Though we were very poor, my dad bought a couple bags of oranges and apples and candy and a couple of dimestore toys.He left them in a field about a quarter of a mile from our house as we lived in the country. He came in the door and told my sister and I that Santa Claus's sleigh had broken down and needed our help. Our shoes crunching on frozen snow, he led us out into the night. A quarter-mile away was the homemade sleigh Dad had made, with sacks of oranges, apples and candy plus even a toy for each of us. That made my Christmas come alive then and forever more.

Kathy Mullins' entry

My fondest Christmas memories are of my Uncle Bobby. This is my first Christmas without him, and I miss him terribly.

He was totally blind, and was a wonderful godfather as well as uncle. I used to pick him up on Christmas Eve, and he would treat me to lunch. During Christmas, his presence would light up a room with his sense of humor and quick smile. I then would bring him back the day after Christmas, to be spoiled yet again by being treated to a wonderful lunch and other Christmas treats. He would ask if we were going to CVS. That always meant that we both would get more candy for ourselves!

Christmas was magic for me whenever I had Uncle Bobby's smiling face around to keep me in the spirit of Christmas. This year, I remembered him by sharing memories I had of him with all of my friends and family.

This essay is written in loving memory of Robert W. Mullins, who died on Sept. 30, 2008. He may be gone but he's never forgotten.

Carrie Stewart's entry

This Christmas as absolutely wonderful. I had a new, big house to decorate. We were able to give the kids a nice Christmas, and we enjoyed spending time with our family. I was not drunk and resentful this Christmas. I was not full of shame and despair this Christmas. I did not cut my arms this Christmas. I am a recovering alcholic and this was my first sober Christmas in a long time. When I think of Christmas pasts, I begin to be haunted by guilt, shame, and remorse. Then God takes my hand and tells me that I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this moment, and that my experiences can and will benefit others. This Christmas was very special to me for that reason.

Yvonne Butler's entry

My best Christmas ever, although I didn't realize it at the time, was the Christmas before I lost Jackie, my oldest son, in a July diving accident. All our family on both sides were there. We packed into that two-bedroom trailer that was our home at the time. We feasted on ham and turkey and dumplings and dressing, 12-layer chocolate cake, red velvet cake, pecan pies,and so much more. All were his favorites.

The men sat around on the floors in front of the TV and the kids ran and chased each other even though they had no room to run. My son was 15 that next January but was already holding a job before school working in the bakery with his grandmother. Most boys at 4:00 a.m. were sleeping, but not Jackie. He was already rolling out dough for donuts. That year he seemed almost grown. He organized the kids to go to the bedroom and play board games, and when they were settled, he returned to watch ballgames with the men. I looked up from where I was finishing eating and he had the smallest baby in his arms getting him to sleep.

No one knew that that Christmas was so special for it would be his last and there would be no babies to carry on his name. God has a great child in heaven today and each time a small baby dies and I hear about it I picture him up there sitting on the floor of that mansion rocking them to sleep. I know he is God's helper now. He loved babies, so I know that he is the one God put to help the babies. Yes, I have great memories of that special Christmas and the love and joy our families have for each other.

Every Christmas we get together, he is remembered by someone who will remember that Christmas and something they remember about him. These are new and precious memories to add, each year.

Kirsten Kimball's entry

I was in an abusive marriage and my husband decided not to put Christmas lights up. We didn't have a lot of money but any lights would have made my little girl happy. A friend of his got mad and dug our lights out, strung them up while my husband was at work...While they weren't the nicest or the straightest, they were the best in my little girl's eyes. She was so thrilled to have lights on her house.

Cynthia Hagood's entry

Going to midnight mass with my family. My father sang a solo, "Oh, Holy Night," and it was so beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes.

Julia's entry

My favorite Christmas memory would be when my baby sister was two. Her play pen was set up in the living room, so we had Christmas in the basement! We put up a Christmas the tree (it was a cozy basement with a fireplace)and opened our presents next to the fire. The most fun, though, was watching my little sister play with the wrapping paper instead of the presents, which we had to unwrap for her. If we didn't help her along, she would have sat there all day, perplexed as to why there was a box with paper on it sitting in front of her. 

Hattie Norman's entry

My memory is getting dull. However, I am happy. Due to God's Grace, there is a Christmas Memory that is unforgettable in my mind.

It was Christmastime in Pennsylvania. The streets were deep in snow. Cars could not move, so neighbors and visitors walked through the streets to each others' homes. "Merry Christmas" and a smile was the welcome mat of the day.

I remember walking from my sister's house with Christmas gifts in our arms. My package wrapped in bright red gift paper covered with snowmen. Inside I hoped there might be a organ. My Christmas wish came true. I received an organ. It was placed on the dining room table. I tried to play Christmas carols all day.

I have never experienced another snowy Christmas. It is a memory I hold dear. Merry Christmas to all!

Autumn H's memory

My great-grandparents would hire a plane to fly over their house and all the kids would watch out the window (the red light from the plane was supposed to be Rudolph's nose). Then we'd hear a big bang and the jingle of bells downstairs. We'd run down and find our stockings filled. Oh, how I miss them!

Jane Squires' memory

I still have a picture of my favorite Christmas Memory. When I was young, we were poor and didn\'t have a lot. This particular Christmas, all we were going to have for dinner on Christmas was potato soup. We were happy with that. We didn't worry whether we had a large family meal or not. There were nine to feed with my Grandmother and a boarder in the house.

Christmas Eve around 8 P.M., a group of men from the church showed up with boxes for us five kids. They had brought ham and everything we would need for Christmas dinner - one like we had never had. We were excited because there was also candy, apples and oranges as well. I was in Jr. High at that time.

But that wasn't the end. Each one of us kids had a box with NEW clothes in them. It was the first new outfit we had ever had. We'd worn hand-me-downs from cousins. I keep that picture of us all in our new clothes.

Years later I learned the Sunday School Teacher I had when I was 8 turned our sizes in to a group of people at church who bought the clothes. That teacher was my friend for 45 years. She is now with Jesus.

Gayla Collins' memory

My family is very extended, but one Christmas when I lived on a ranch with my aunt and uncle, the whole crew joined us; my biological father, stepmom, half brother and sister, aunts, uncles, cousins. Snow had fallen heavily and it was cold so I remember Jello salads, cranberries, pies, being covered and stuck in the snow. Also all the beverages. We children made snow cones with the fresh snow and Kool-aid. The adults even made us snow ice cream.

Everyone was broke so presents weren't a big deal....it was about family chipping in together with what they could bring and enjoying time together. Several children to a bed.....only one bathroom. I don't even remember how we managed that, but as a child I don't think I was concerned.

My daddy had built a sleigh all the summer before and we hitched to horses and had sleigh rides down our country road while singing carols at the top of our lungs.

It was like a fairy tale Christmas. I haven't thought of it in so long. That is tragic as I have so many unhappy Christmas memories. Thank God for prompting me to remember a time that was pure and innocent.

***

Dear Readers, you overwhelmed me with such beautiful writing, such marvelous stories! I've included twenty MORE memories in condensed version on the Favorites/Lists section of the website. Please visit often!


Front Page Headlines
Sequel to "Tattooed by Jesus!"
January 24, 2017
2017 brings three research projects...and a new book!
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"Tattooed for Jesus" cover
March 23, 2015
A cover picked from Illinois State University's gifted Design Streak Studio class!
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December 18, 2014
The long-awaited day arrives!
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"Jessie's Pearls" Cover Choices
November 12, 2014
One release is nearly here!!!
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Heyworth Library Signing!
May 30, 2014
Book signing tomorrow!!! May 31 from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. See you at Heyworth Public Library!+
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Winter Writing
April 16, 2014
Snowdrfits and -19 temperatures = great winter writing!
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"Reclaiming Lily" giveaway!
February 18, 2014
Bethany House generosity soothes winter blues!!
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2014 Begins with a Blizzard!
January 27, 2014
New writing partner? Hercules, the Arctic Vortex!
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Phases and Stages...
October 26, 2013
Oh, the phases and stages of life! ! I've said good-bye to relatives and dear friends this year, partnered with a talented friend to capture the memoir of an extraordinary Louisiana lady, and set aside for the moment work on three fiction projects. Through it all, God has placed His Hand on my shoulder and still whispers the words, the themes, the approach.
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Four projects...and a swirl of gray matter!
January 23, 2013
First it was the Irishwoman, way back in 2008. Next came What the Bayou Saw, a story from my roots. 2011 brought two books in one year. What's new for 2013?
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Waiting
July 9, 2012
Jesus spoke of it often. Ha Jin novelized it. Waiting.
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It's in the Mail
June 11, 2012
Top-Secret Proposal Zips to Agent!
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It's SPRING???
April 5, 2012
Has it REALLY been THREE months???
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January 1, 2012
Happy New Year to all my readers and friends!
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Against the Wind & Up the Hills!
November 9, 2011
Lord willing, at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 12th, my daughter Sarah will goad me along the 13.1-mile Nashville Hard Rock Cafe half-marathon!!! Can i count on YOUR prayers????
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Reclaiming Lily has RELEASED!!
September 26, 2011
Hustle to your favorite bookstore or web store and take "Reclaiming Lily" into your custody!
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Finding Christ in Mistletoe, Frankincense, and Shattered Ornaments
August 31, 2011
Beautifully decorated tables at uptown Normal's lovely new Hyatt. A kick-off for Christmas with cherished sisters in Christ. Mark your calendar NOW for December 10th at 8:00 a.m.!!!!
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Summer 2011!!!
June 20, 2011
A supercharged summer for a Normal author!
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Reclaiming Lily!!!
April 12, 2011
Are you ready for a story about family? Faith? The agonies and ecstasies of adoption? Reclaiming Lily is the book for you!!!l
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Facebook Party
February 17, 2011
The Rhythm of Secrets Facebook party has come and gone!!
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The Rhythm of Secrets has released!
January 12, 2011
Celebrate with me Kregel's release of The Rhythm of Secrets!
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One-day vacation
November 23, 2010
After meeting two harrowing deadlines, I needed a vacation. Been there. Did that. Now I'm back to work.
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ZAP! It's GONE!
November 14, 2010
It's Gone...Or Will She Still Rise Before Dawn
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All-nighter AVOIDED!!
November 2, 2010
Somehow I staved off my first all-nighter since college!
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The Rhythm of Secrets on Amazon
August 18, 2010
Patti's third novel up on Amazon!
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Bethany House will publish Reclaiming Lily!
August 12, 2010
It's official! I signed a contract with Bethany House to write the latest story God laid on my heart, Reclaiming Lily.
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The Rhythm of Secrets
July 25, 2010
Look for the Rhythm of Secrets in January of 2011!
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The Rhythm of Secrets
February 23, 2010
Manuscript My Name is Sheba transformed into The Rhythm of Secrets
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Contract for My Name is Sheba
January 20, 2010
Kregel Publications has signed a contract to publish My Name is Sheba! Mardi Gras celebration going on here!!
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Even Old Dogs Learn New Tricks
December 1, 2009
This old dog has got a real-life blog! Why don't y'all come over and see me sometime??
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Give thanks with a grateful heart.
November 1, 2009
Give thanks with a grateful heart, Give thanks to the Holy One... In the spirit of Thanksgiving, share a blessing, and you will be entered in a random drawing for a $15 Barnes & Noble gift card
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Mascot WINNER!!
October 30, 2009
Becky Tidwell, CONGRATULATIONS! It was an IMPOSSIBLE task! How did I DO IT? Burp! Burp! Read on! P.S. Thanks for a month of laughs!!!
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Random drawing for nothing less than awesome!
October 16, 2009
Hey! Wanna visit my other blog? Read on! Or is that write on???
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Writer returns to Southern roots
October 15, 2009
Metarie rocked as friends, family, and N'Awlins bibliophiles swamped one of American's most gorgeous Barnes &Nobles stores Oct 10.
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Writer again returns to roots--in the classroom!
October 15, 2009
Bleachers filled with scrubbed, smiling students--and God--provided supernatural energy. What a blessing it was to share my passion for writing!
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Calling All Mascot-Lovers. Rah! Rah! Rah!
October 1, 2009
In a rare spirit of compromise, this sports disliker will send a $15 Target gift card to some lucky visitor! The catch? Just name your favorite team mascot.
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A Lose-Lose Situation!
September 30, 2009
Have you ever been in a lose-lose situation? Choosing ONE winner from this contest was IMPOSSIBLE--so I had my son pick a number from my "finalist" entries. The winner is.....Pat Grau! Read on about an amazing wedding gift...at an amazing wedding.
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Wonderful times at area bookstores
September 28, 2009
Dear friends, my heart pulses with gratitude at your enthusiastic support during my appearances at the Hoerr Berean Grand Openings this past weekend. As always, I gain much more by YOUR appearance than you ever do by mine!
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The Miraculous Moment Arrives
September 23, 2009
As long as my synapses fire, I will cherish the mind's image of my daughter, aglow in her ivory gown, floating down the aisle on the arm of my husband, more handsome than he was when WE walked down the aisle 32 years ago.
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HOW TO STAY BUSY PREWEDDING
September 14, 2009
Only FIVE MORE DAYS till we Lacys celebrate our FIRST WEDDING! What am I doing to stay busy??
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54-year-old learns to blog!
September 11, 2009
So you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!
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September contest
September 1, 2009
For a $15 Barnes & Noble gift card, share a wedding memory! It can tickle my funny bone, bring tears to my eyes. Why am I doing this? READ ON!!!
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August Contest Winner
August 31, 2009
Kudos to Carrie Turansky and Charity: water! You've won the August website contest! Read on, folks, to learn about a heroic group!
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Writer Returns to Scene of Crime
August 4, 2009
Oh, I had a blast whooping it up at Books A Million, scene of a former crime--I mean book signing--in Terre Haute.
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August contest
July 31, 2009
The unchurched in Bangladesh. An orphanage in the Ukraine. A soup kitchen in your own downtown. What organizations pull at your heart--and your billfold? For the August contest, I'm offering a $50 check to the registered charity of your choice AND a $10 Barnes & Noble gift card to the winning entrant.
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Saving the Best for Last
July 30, 2009
South Bend has been added to my list of the Midwest's favorite cities. Wanna know why?
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Congratulations, Virginia Campbell
July 30, 2009
Dear readers, thanks for lovely memories! It was harder to pick one name than it is to choose a truffle from a Godiva box. How I'd like to choose every entry! Here's the top choices. Enjoy!
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Leaving the best of me behind
July 25, 2009
I left the best of me in Marion...but it's time to move on
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Day three (continued)
July 24, 2009
Jamey Johnson's and Selah's music carry me onward and upward.
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Day three, Indiana trip
July 23, 2009
Uncommon persons of the Fort Wayne kind...
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Day two, Indiana trip
July 22, 2009
An author criss-crosses Indiana...and finds hospitality in the heart of Nagaland.
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Day one of Indiana Road Trip
July 20, 2009
Blessings about from the Hoosier state! Just for fun, I'm blogging about God-stops along the way. Read more...
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Another reason to write
July 14, 2009
God, you deliver new mercies with every morning. Oh, how I delight to see what's next...
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4th of July memories
July 1, 2009
For a $15 Barnes & Noble gift certificate, share your favorite Independence Day memory. Can't wait to hear from y'all!
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A Writer's Dream Day
June 30, 2009
Number of pages written? Zero. Value of twenty-four hour period? Priceless.
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Congratulations, Jeanne Graves!
June 30, 2009
Apparently quite a few of my readers are itching to get away, several to the Holy Land! Read on...
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Critique partner does it again!
June 26, 2009
Don't miss Dream Chasers, by Becky Melby and Cathy Wienke!
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Calling all readers!
June 25, 2009
Don't miss The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society!
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Don't Miss This Opportunity!
June 12, 2009
Calling all writers! Don't miss this chance to improve your writing...and your relationship with God!
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When the world caves in, head to Warrensburg
June 11, 2009
How can a small library in a town of 1,500 people make a difference? Read on...
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Wanna Get Away?
June 1, 2009
If you had unlimited time and money--yeah, we're summer dreaming--what getaway spot would you choose? Think big, think bold--and you just might win a $15 Barnes & Noble gift card! Now for a different take on summer vacation, read All That Chicago Has to Offer
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Perfumania winner!
May 31, 2009
Congratulations, Diana! YOU--and Estee Lauder--are the big winners of May's Perfumania winner. READ Diana's poignant story of perfume...and memory. Then check out the top ten fragrances!
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Why I Write
May 21, 2009
Bad reviews. Lonely early mornings...and late nights. Plummeting sales. Why DO I write?
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May flowers...and memories
May 1, 2009
I've always loved the season that brings perky daffodils, elegant tulips, shockingly orange poppies with their sassy black eye. But Daddy introduced me to a glorious world of flower fragrance--at the men's cologne counter of a department store! For a $15 Barnes & Noble gift card, name your favorite perfume, and describe it!
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Easter Memory contest winner
April 30, 2009
Congratulations to Gayla Collins, the winner of the Easter memory contest. Thanks to the many who shared from their treasure trove of Easters present...and past. Be sure to read all about 'em under Favorites/Lists!
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Easter memory contest!
April 1, 2009
For a $15 Barnes & Noble gift card, share YOUR most poignant Easter memory. Contest begins TODAY and will end on April 30.
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Winner, March contest!
April 1, 2009
Thanks, all of you who submitted heartwarming entries for the latest contest. Congratulations to Susanne Schurter, the winner of March's "Your Hero" contest! Read more for a poignant article by a wonderful young writer.
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Your hero
March 3, 2009
I have a new hero, my baby brother, who is159th Fighter Wing Commander of the Air Guard in New Orleans, Louisiana. He's fought against both human forces and the forces of nature who've tried to destroy us and recently gave this speech at the wing change of command ceremony. For the March contest, tell me your flesh-and-blood, modern-day hero. Winner receives a $15 Barnes & Noble gift card!
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Congratulations, Ariel!
March 2, 2009
Congratulations, Ariel! You won the February Memories contest. Read my five favorite memories!l And thanks, Readers, for sharing your romantic secrets!
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Valentine's memory contest!
February 1, 2009
Pull out old love cards, faded corsages, and empty chocolate boxes. For a $15 Barnes & Noble gift card, share your favorite Valentine's memory by February 29. Top entries will be posted under Headline News
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Congratulations, Kelly Ann Thuet!
January 31, 2009
Congratulations, Kelly Ann Thuet, for your winning entry! READ these entertaining and poignant snow stories! And don't miss Diane Baum's poignant Christmas memory, which got lost in my mass of files. Check out Favorites/Lists to see if YOUR entry made the Top Twenty!
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Congratulations, Rachel Robertson!
January 5, 2009
Congratulations, Rachel Robertson! You're December's contest winner! Read Rachel's poignant Christmas memory--and the finalists who wowed me and my son Thomas, the judges!
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December's Christmas Memories Contest
December 1, 2008
For a $15 Barnes & Noble gift card, share your favorite Christmas memory! May the peace of Christ Jesus wash over you as you ponder His glorious sacrifice for mankind. Feliz Navidad!
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November contest
November 30, 2008
Congratulations to Martha Artyomenko, winner of the November contest! Get ready to salivate as you read all about it!
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Winner, October Contest
October 30, 2008
Congratulations, Deb Cleveland, for winning a $15 Barnes & Noble gift certificate with your wonderful entry to the "It's Time for Revival Contest."
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It's Time for Revival!
October 1, 2008
October contest: "Revive us again, Lord. Revive us again." For a $15 Barnes and Noble gift card, read more!
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September contest: best school days memory
September 2, 2008
Congratulations to Christy Hawkes, winner of a $15 Barnes & Noble gift card. Thanks to all the wonderful entries--check out some of my favorites at the Favorites/Lists feature on this website. Now for Christy's entry...
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The Audience of One
August 9, 2008
Have you been slapped by a verbal rebuff from someone in the publishing industry? Spit upon by a rejection letter from that agent of your dreams? Perhaps this article is for you...
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August Contest winner: Deathbed memory
August 2, 2008
Congratulations to Jane Squires, winner of the August contest. Jane will receive a $15 Barnes & Noble card. Thanks for the fabulous entries!
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A Bit o' Irish in All of Us
March 1, 2008
Kregel Publications has recently announced the release date of my first novel, tentatively titled An Irishwoman's Tale, as August 31, 2008. To celebrate (and because March 17 is St. Patrick's Day), I'm honoring the Irish among us (or in us) for this month's contest!
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The 2007 ACFW National Convention in Dallas
October 17, 2007
Over five hundred writers gathered in Dallas to praise God, eat chocolate, fine-tune their writing craft, conduct a bit of business, socialize, did I mention eat chocolate? The keynote speaker, James Bell, admonished us to, "never stop learning, never stop writing, never stop reading."
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Archives
Patti's Writing News
September 17, 2007
An Irishwoman's Tale, Patti Lacy's first novel, will be published in the summer of 2008 by Kregel Publications. Unsettled Waters: A Story of Deception, is now complete! To read more...
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Freedom to Read, Even in Jail?
July 15, 2007
"Across the nation, religious texts are disappearing from America's prison libraries."
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Setting an Example
April 27, 2007
Ninety-six-year-old published for first time!
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The Raging Battle
April 22, 2007
A teacher's struggle to make a difference in the life of a student named Amber.
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A Slow Learner's Writing Plan
February 21, 2007
So you want to be a writer...What's your next step? If you've picked up a pen...
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