Free book by Lynn Dean!

Each month from now until March 2024, I’ll give you a link to a free book by another author. During one month of that time, one of my books will become free for my subscribers. Scroll down to find out more about this month’s free book: More Precious Than Gold by Lynn Dean. You’ll also find links to two of my books that are in Kindle Unlimited and the price reductions that are available until after Christmas.

I’ll be home for Christmas – for a change.

This Christmas we will do something that we haven’t done since 1999. We will be with our daughters and family for Christmas for the second year in a row! Since we are full time missionaries in New Zealand and they live in the States, we’ve only been able to be with them at Christmas every 3 or 4 years or so. This year, however, we’ve bought our first one-way ticket from New Zealand. We will arrive in Iowa homeless, preparing to buy a home to retire in. Even though we spent last Christmas with family, and had a great time, we get to spend Christmas with them again. We may now have many Christmases together. What a treat!

From 1980 to 1999 we had daughters at home, but were usually away from parents and extended family. Art and I and our two daughters followed many simple traditions that made the season special. I asked my daughters for help in writing this blog, and I realize that, for us, crafts were the biggest part of the fun. We cut out snowflakes, decorated cut-out cookies, decorated the house and the tree. Special ornaments and music added to the fun.

As missionaries, we were prepared to leave our parents and live in some far-off country. Years later we had to be prepared to have our own children leave us. So how did we keep the joy in our Christmas when we were away from home and family?

My daughter Lisa nailed the answer to the wall. “I think a big part of what made separation from family okay for us,” she writes, “was that you chose to be happy at Christmas time and serve others whether or not we were able to visit family that year or not. I think Lori (her sister) and I have both inherited that attitude. Also, Christmas is a family holiday because we’ve made it that way. But it is certainly in keeping with the real meaning of the holiday to be apart from family because of where you serve Him or to use being apart as a chance to reach to others.”

Choose to be happy at Christmastime.

Wow! That made me think. She was right. Over the years, we chose to make Christmas fun as well as meaningful.  There were a couple difficult years, however, when being happy at Christmas was a definite choice. Before she was married, Lisa spent many Christmases apart from family. How did she cope as a young adult?

“Other favorite things” she writes, “include going caroling, singing in choirs, sending and receiving cards,” she writes. “I look forward to hearing recordings of Handel’s Messiah each Christmas. I try to reflect on the Christmas story and perhaps write a little reflection for myself. I send cards to people who have blessed me that year. I get involved at my church. When I do all that stuff, it’s hard to find time to be lonely at Christmas. (This was true even in my single days.) I like to think back to the various places I have spent Christmas and who I’ve spent them with. I appreciated the hospitality of others, several of whom were also MK’s before me. I like the years I’ve been hosted by other family members or friends, but I think I enjoy even more thinking about years I’ve been the hostess.”

During her single years, Lisa reached out to international students or lonely people with simple holiday dinners or invitations. She continues to do this as a married woman.

Jesus was away from home on His first Christmas too.

Jesus left His home in heaven where he was worshiped and adored to begin the life of a servant on earth. He gave up so much to provide salvation for us. If serving him takes us far from home, is that too much for Him to ask? I would never want my desire to be close to family keep me from serving Him. His birth is certainly the main reason for Christmas. But I think he is also pleased when we use the occasion to build family memories and enjoy the many good gifts He gives us.

What are you doing this Christmas? Whether you are far away from home or with family and friends, I hope you can find a good way to celebrate. If the Christmas season is a difficult time for you, may you draw close to Jesus and find comfort and encouragement. Whatever your situation is, you can still choose to make it a happy time. And making good choices is an important key to living the Christian life.

 As a teen, I lived near the beautiful Sangre de Christo mountains in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. “Sangre de Christo” means “blood of Christ,” something that is precious to me. So, when I saw a series of Christian historical novels with the same name, that really piqued my interest.

Growing up in Texas, Lynn dictated her first stories to her mama before she was old enough to write them down herself. She’s been telling stories in one form or another ever since. After her children were grown, Lynn found she had a slew of characters living in her head, all clamoring to tell their stories and insisting that she write them! Now she writes about the things she knows and loves–God, family, history–and how those things fit together to demonstrate timeless truths.

The bullet that killed Eliza Gentry’s fiance shattered her dreams as well. Clinging to her battered faith, she heads west to escape her grief and runs headlong into the man who caused it. Tall and headstrong, Eliza expected to remain an “unclaimed treasure.” Devastated in the wake of the Civil War, she leaves her home in Texas and sets out for New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo mountains in search of peace and new purpose but discovers a wild western frontier where former enemies–Yankees and Rebels, Freedmen and Indians–square off in the quest for land and gold. Eliza must confront her prejudices and fears, and Jacob Craig embodies that conflict. The mountain man wins her trust with his gentle strength, but he harbors a secret. As a Union sharp-shooter, he met her fiance on the field of battle and cost him his life. Can she forgive him? To find peace and the future she yearns for, Eliza must first find in God a faith more precious than gold. A real ghost town comes to life in this award-winning story of love, forgiveness, and the sovereignty of God. Christian historical fiction readers will love the way this story combines the adventure of classic historical western fiction with a dash of romance.

Get More Precious than Gold, in exchange for subscription to her newsletter.

Last month I told you about the 10th anniversary of Edges of Truth: The Mary Weaver Story and its companion Bible study, I Survived! Both books can be used as stand-alone books. Now that Christmas is just around the corner, let me remind you that some editions of this book are on sale until after Christmas.

Get Edges of Truth: The Mary Weaver Story

  • Free on Kindle Unlimited
  • $2.99 for Kindle (price reduced 40%)
  • $11.95 for paperback (price reduced 15%)


Get I Survived! – the companion Bible Study

  • Free on Kindle Unlimited
  • $ .99 for Kindle
  • $6.95 for paperback

Forget what these books are about?

Edges of Truth is the true story of Mary Weaver. When a baby in her care had a seizure, Mary called 9-1-1 and did CPR, but later in the day, the baby died. Mary was charged with first degree murder and had to fight to clear her name.

I Survived! looks at 5 Bible characters who survived disasters. Each of the 11 chapters uses an illustration from Edges of Truth, but can also be used independently.

If you’ve actually read all the way to the bottom of this post, I hope you have a wonderful, Christ-filled Christmas.




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