Saturday, December 31, 2022

Rabbit, Rabbit by Pru Warren

I have a peculiar New Year’s Eve tradition that has earned me a very odd reputation in my neighborhood…

My mother taught her daughters: On the first day of the month, if the very first word out of your mouth is “rabbit,” then you will have good luck all month long.

(I’ve done some unofficial research among Facebook friends; people either look blank at the “rabbit” tradition or nod wisely. You either know it or you don’t. Some people have strange versions, like you have to say “WHITE rabbit,” which of course is ridiculous, as everyone knows.)

On the first of the month, Mom would wake up her three girls by shouting “It’s August first—say rabbit!” and then we’d scream “Rabbit!” from our beds with crap-of-dawn enthusiasm. Yay!

I’m not a morning person by nature, and over the years I’ve missed MANY a good-luck month because generally, the first thing I say when (for example) March turns into April is “God-damned alarm clock, shut UP.” It’s very hard to follow that up with an innocent and happy “Rabbit!” and believe that you’ve fooled fate.

Now, nighttime? Yeah—I’m smart at night. At some point in my teens, I decided that since March turned into April at MIDNIGHT (not at the moment I returned to consciousness the next morning), I could ensure my good luck by chanting “Rabbit” in the middle of the night.

Success! I’m the most fortunate person on the planet, so clearly my plan was working.

Eventually I married the highly-charismatic Jonathan and between us we popped out the always-busy Rusty and as my family grew, it got harder to secure the midnight hour to make sure I was saying “Rabbit” at the right time. (More often I was saying “Absolutely not; go back to bed, I’m not kidding.” Almost always to the son, but occasionally to the husband. Like you do.)

So I worked out a new short-cut. We were never big drinkers and not mad partiers, so our New Year’s Eve celebrations were almost always spent happily ensconced at home, marveling that THAT many people would want to stand in Times Square in the deepest wintertime freeze in order to watch an illuminated ball slowly descend a tower. Yay?

Wrapped cozily in blankets on our bed, I would watch the ball fall, kiss my husband silently, and then quietly chant “Rabbit” twelve times—one for each month of the coming year. There—all taken care of!

The kid got bigger over the years, as kids are wont to do, and my general calm was stretched by the realization that Bad Things might happen to him (or to Jonathan). I decided that it would not go amiss if I chanted a few “Rabbits” for each of them. (Jonathan refused to say his own “Rabbits.” Instead he just laughed at me, but who can blame him? I’ll admit that it is a VERY odd tradition, made weirder by my New Year’s Eve compulsion.)

So I had to do a dozen “Rabbits” for me. Then I’d point at Jonathan so he (and fate) would know I was ensuring HIS luck for the coming year and say twelve more “Rabbits” for him. Swivel and point at the kid, allowed to stay up until midnight for the occasion (as opposed to every other night when he’d stay up against express and stern parental demands, which generally fell on indifferent ears) and say a dozen “Rabbits” for him. By this time, both Jonathan and young Rusty were giggling with delight at my foolishness.

It was Rusty who found the glorious Grain family who live down the block. Nancy Grain is one of Those People; she knows everyone and loves everyone she meets. You could stop a stranger on the sidewalk anywhere within a fifty-mile radius of my house and ask “Do you know Nancy?” and they’d say “Oh God, I LOVE her!” Nancy is awesome, her husband Ed is the most acerbic wit in the world, and they have four adorable children—one of whom was in Rusty’s first grade. Nancy absorbed us into her vast extended family and we were so happy to be there. (Still are!)

Nancy and Ed have a neighborhood New Year’s Eve party. Everyone comes. Everyone. WE needed to come, too. The kids all get to stay up late and play in their kid-magnet basement. Come. You’ll have a wonderful time.

Bathed in the golden radiance of Nancy’s hospitable soul, we finally broke free of our stay-at-home rut and off we went, to meet neighbors and bask in the milk of human kindness.

But as the clock ticked closer and closer to midnight, I realized that I had a little problem. Um…what was I going to do about the “Rabbit” issue?

Was I going to bow to temporary social pressure? NOT ensure the luck of all those I loved by chanting “Rabbit” over and over again? Or would I hold to my values? (As if insanely repeating the word “Rabbit” could be considered a value. Yes, I always stand when the “Star Spangled Banner” is played, and I say “Rabbit” uselessly and foolishly first thing in the New Year. That’s a value, right?)

We got closer and closer to midnight. Jonathan was in the kitchen in joyous conversation with people he really enjoyed talking to. Rusty was downstairs in the basement shouting with joy along with all the neighborhood kids. I was in the corner of the living room, and the people around me were all agreeably tipsy. When midnight struck, no one would pay attention to ME. I could risk a few repetitions without being branded a total weirdo. Right?

The countdown came. Ten…nine…eight… the voices got louder and louder with excitement. (Is this any more rational or intelligent than saying “Rabbit?” Really—what sense does it make??) No one was listening. The final countdown—three…two…one! Cheers and screams and the inebriated kissing of cute neighbors because of course you can kiss people at midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Eyebrows up, I closed my eyes and started whispering. “Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit…” This requires me to count to twelve on one hand while pointing at the “Rabbit” recipient with the other. So—me, first. (When the air bags deploy on the plane, put YOUR mask on before helping others; a good life philosophy.)

A little pool of silence formed around me. I peeked from one eye and saw that a woman was looking at me, her brow drawn in confusion. I slammed my eye shut and kept going; you don’t want to lose count in the middle of a “Rabbit” request, and you certainly can’t stop to explain until the last “Rabbit” is said; these have to be the FIRST things you say.

My dozen done, I turned so I could point to Jonathan in the kitchen. “Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit…” The little pocket of silence had expanded, and in that vacuum, I nervously raised my volume. “Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit…” A quick peek proved that all the people nearest to me were now watching.

Jonathan done, I turned to point to where I assumed Rusty was in the basement. I took a breath and spoke out loud, determined to see this through. “Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit…” Then one more dozen for the dog, asleep at home over THERE.

The drunken revelry had died away with alarming quickness. Silence and confusion spread across the room and into the kitchen where I could hear Jonathan erupt into howls of laughter. Time to ensure the safety of my parents, both still alive at the time. Twelve “Rabbits” while pointing to where I assumed they were. And then for my older sister and her family, so I turned to the east and thrust out a long arm to point at her house, some ten miles away. “Rabbit,” I said loudly. “Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit.”

Next, my younger sister and her family, who live about ninety miles to the northwest. By this time, the only sound in the room was me shouting at full volume and Jonathan suffering a fit of hysterics in the kitchen. “Rabbit!” I yelled. “Rabbit! Rabbit!” (The “Rabbit” call is like a shotgun; the farther it has to go, the broader its range, so you can get an entire family with one dozen if they’re far enough away.) (My compulsion; my rules.)

Finally, as is my custom, I held my pointing hand over my head like the Pope dispensing a blessing, just in case I’d forgotten anyone. “Rabbit-rabbit-rabbit-rabbit-rabbit-rabbit-rabbit-rabbit-rabbit-rabbit-rabbit-rabbit!”

The entire neighborhood, slightly buzzed, watched me as I closed my eyes and whirled around in the corner, chanting the word “Rabbit” a total of ninety-six times at increasing volume.

I finished and opened my eyes. Every single one of them regarded me with astonishment, except for Jonathan who was having a hard time inhaling for laughing so hard.

What can you do? I shrugged and said, “Happy New Year.” Then I dragged Jonathan out of the kitchen, retrieved our son, and went home.

That was thirteen years ago. I don’t go out on New Year’s Eve anymore, and there are still people in the neighborhood who look at me funny. BUT THEY’RE ALL ENJOYING TREMENDOUS GOOD LUCK, so who’s laughing now?!

And they’ll have that next year, too (as will you) because I’ll be chanting “Rabbit” at midnight tonight, you can be sure. You’re welcome…and Happy New Year!

Pru Warren writes romcoms and gladly welcomes the new year in the silence of her own home! Her latest trilogy, The Surprise Heiress series, was published on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited on Dec. 25. Start with Breath of Fresh Heiress.
Breath of Fresh Heiress
Full of Hot Heiress
Vanished Into Thin Heiress

Friday, December 30, 2022

Regifting by Liz Flaherty

My mom always had a few pairs of new socks tucked back somewhere for unexpected guests at Christmas. I was embarrassed by that, as I thought we were the only family in the world who gave socks and underwear for Christmas. (We can add that to the plethora of things I've been wrong about.)

Many years later, I keep a bagful of bottles of foaming
hand soap and bars of handmade soap in different scents--enough to get me through a year of unexpected guests and add-on gifts because...well, doesn't everyone like soap? I wonder if my kids are embarrassed. I don't think I'll ask. I'll  just go on giving bottles and bars of soap. If the receivers don't care for them, they can give them to someone else. 

I'm not sure when regifting became a "thing." It's even in the dictionary. When I was younger, it was something you looked over your shoulder when you did, hoping against hope that you weren't giving something back to the person who gave it to you. You made sure the tags were off and that the gift was still in its original container. 

This year, because I was having so much fun making them, nearly everyone on my present list--and a few who weren't--got one or two potholders for Christmas. I gave them away with signed books, as add-ons instead of (or in addition to, sometimes) bottles of foaming soap. I was embarrassed again, because they're pretty obviously crafted by a person who's in no way a crafter. 

But people have been kind about receiving their soap and potholders. I hope they've come in handy, even if only as regifts for unexpected guests. 

What's important about regifting is that it is still giving. The person you're giving it to is important to you or you wouldn't bother, would you? If you still consider the gift yours after you've given it away and harbor resentment because it wasn't used the way you hoped, then you didn't really want it to be a gift anyway, did you?

Today, I'm your regift. (And if someone just said, What, again?...well, yeah, I don't blame you.) The person who was supposed to be on the Window today couldn't make it--it's the busiest time of year and she ran out of time, something we can all identify with--so I'm today's guest on the Window. 

Thanks for reading, for visiting through this Holiday Project of a post every day. And thanks to the guests who've come and shared pieces of their lives and memories and traditions with us. The Project isn't done yet, but we're winding down. As we go into the New Year, I wish you all so much happy. Have a great week. Be nice to somebody. 

Oh! I'm a guest today, so I get to do my little promo shot here at the end, too! No, don't go away--maybe you haven't read it.

A while back, I got the rights back to A Soft Place to Fall, one of my favorite stories. It's about Marriage Resurrected, one of my favorite plots; about quilting, one of my favorite things; and set in rural Kentucky, one of my favorite places. It's inspirational romance, although I write inspirational like my friend Pamela Thibodeaux, with a bit of an edge. If you haven't read it, I hope you try it now. I love its new cover, created by Nancy Fraser. It's available in both ebook and paperback. Although it can be gotten from bookstores, I know it's not there yet, so I'm giving you the Amazon and D2D links. 

Early McGrath doesn't want freedom from her thirty-year marriage to Nash, but when it's forced upon her, she does the only thing she knows to do - she goes home to the Ridge to reinvent herself.
Only what is someone who's spent her life taking care of other people supposed to do when no one needs her anymore? Even as the threads of her life unravel, she finds new ones - reconnecting with the church of her childhood, building the quilt shop that has been a long-time dream, and forging a new friendship with her former husband.
The definition of freedom changes when it's combined with faith, and through it all perhaps Early and Nash can find a Soft Place to Fall.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

The First Christmas Memory by Caroline Clemmons

What’s the first Christmas you remember? Mine is when I was three. We lived in Southern California, where—for some reason—the Christmas Eve family gathering was held at our house instead of at the home of my older half-sister, Elsie Reed. As soon as it was dark, my brother-in-law, Buster Reed (one of my all-time favorite relatives), said he had to go to the airport to pick up Santa, who had agreed to come early as a favor to Buster. I was so impressed that Buster knew Santa so well.

Buster returned with Santa, who came in the door laden with gifts and pushing a baby buggy for me. In the buggy was a life-size baby doll. Can you imagine how excited I was? Of course Santa knew my name and those of the other children in the room. We have an odd range of a blended family, so my niece Linda is only three years younger than me, and was six months at the time. I remember her sitting on the floor and staring at Santa with wide eyes. I’m certain mine were just as wide.

After Santa had handed out gifts to all the children present, he told Buster he’d have to get on his way or he’d be late getting back to the North Pole, where his elves were loading his sleigh. Years later, when other kids told me there was no Santa, I argued that there was because I’d seen him and my brother-in-law knew him personally.

Years later, I learned the real details. My sewing whiz half-sister, Clarice Camille (Linda’s mom), had created a realistic costume that was used many years. That year, Buster’s older brother, Roy, played Santa. After Roy retired from the job, my half-brother, Herschel Johnson, took the job. This tradition continued many years. I’m happy to say, my eldest daughter got to accept a doll from Santa when she was a year old.

I love holiday traditions. Our family numbers have dwindled now, but we still hold on to some traditions.

What are some beloved traditions in your family?

Thank you for having me here at Window Over The Sink.

Hello, I’m Caroline Clemmons. My Hero and I live in North Central Texas cowboy country where we ride herd on two rescued indoor cats: elderly and extremely clever Sebastian and lovely and shy Jasmine. Our rescued dog is an energetic young labradoodle named Baxter, that would play fetch all day if he could find a sucker someone to toss one of his toys. I write primarily romance but also an occasional cozy mystery. Most of my over 80 titles are from sweet to sensual historical westerns, but I also write contemporary and time travels. My cozy mysteries are contemporary. Most of my romances have mystery and/or adventure in them. I’m fortunate enough to write full-time in a tiny office my family refers to as my cave. Hero and I have two grown daughters who are, of course, perfect. When I’m not writing, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading my friends’ and others’ books, dining out, browsing antique malls, shopping online, dabbling with oil paints, researching genealogy, and taking the occasional nap.

You can find me at these links:


Newsletter Subscribe for a free historical novella about a humorous, disastrous wedding, HAPPY IS THE BRIDE.


About Jesse and the Mail Order Bride 

Sheriff Jesse Cameron is dedicated to uphold the law of his adopted country. After leaving Scotland, he came to Texas, and learned he liked the place and the people—at least, most of them. He keeps Harrigan County free of troublemakers with his “strict but fair” policy. Now that he has a steady job and has bought a house, he figures it’s time to find a wife and start a family. He and his best friend write to the same matchmaker, hoping their brides will be sisters or friends. Jesse hopes his wife will provide a peaceful home and welcome him each evening with a good meal and a warm smile.

Growing up in an orphanage left Rosalin Arnold too naïve to avoid being trapped in the clutches of an evil man who has her picking pockets. Those who’ve tried to escape him always fail, and are severely punished—or killed. Rosalin has been plotting to get away, and seizes her chance to escape. She takes her best friend with her, and also a boy of eight. All she and her friends want is a home where they can live honestly without constant fear. She prays she has successfully evaded the man who has tentacles everywhere.

What will happen when her lawman husband learns the truth about her criminal past? Have she and her friends escaped successfully?

You can learn the answers by reading the JESSE AND THE MAIL ORDER BRIDE at Amazon in e-book, print, and Free at Kindle Unlimited.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

A 1967 Christmas Story by Amy McVay Abbott

Christmastime brought magic to our rural Indiana town. Citizens visited the brick post office to mail cards and visit Postmaster Clarence Pook. Across the street at the library, Edna, the Story-Hour Lady, dressed in pioneer clothes, read holiday stories to children. The day after Thanksgiving, the volunteer firefighters hung giant red-and-white plastic candy canes from the lamps on State Street and displayed a life-size manger scene at the south end of town.

Snow came early and blanketed the ground until after the state boys’ basketball tournament in early spring. My father bought our real Christmas tree from a local farm every year. Our home lacked a fireplace, so my brother and I hung our red-and-white flannel stockings on the windowsills. Mom used Elmer’s glue and green glitter to paint our names on the furry white part of the Christmas stockings.

My father taught high-school science and agriculture and advised the Future Farmers of America chapter. The FFA chapter bought the high school a real Christmas tree decorated with blue, green, and red bulbs and fragile, sparkling glass ornaments. Students and teachers enjoyed the tree until the semester ended.

Tradition dictated that the FFA boys and my father take the tree and decorations to an impoverished family. Unfortunately, our 1965 Chevy Biscayne station wagon was inadequate to cart the nearly nine-foot tree to the family. So instead, dad borrowed the school’s World War II-era Army truck and told the family they would receive a large, fully decorated Christmas tree.

The three of them—the thirty-something schoolteacher and the two teenage boys in blue corduroy Future Farmer jackets—put the tree in the truck’s bed. They congratulated themselves on the good deed they were about to do for a large family with a father out of work. The truck traveled east on the state highway past well-manicured farms, freshly painted red barns, and white fences.

As the old truck jostled onto a county road, pieces of packed ice and gravel spit up from the truck’s worn tires. Finally, nearing the family’s home, Dad turned around and looked in the truck bed to check on the gift.

No tree. No lights. No decorations. No green and red metal tree stand. Nothing but an empty and scratched truck bed.

Horrified, Dad turned the truck around. He and the students retraced to town. The twinkle of holiday bulbs and the Evangelical United Brethren steeple lights signaled evening. Nothing could be found.

Dad thought about it. “What should I do? Should I go home and get our tree?”

He did not believe that was a good choice, with his two small children enjoying the tree, but he steeled himself for that option. If need be, he thought, his children could learn about sharing.

The gray truck and three not-so-wise men arrived back from the country as darkness fell. A tree lot at the used-car place was closing for the night. Dad reached into his wallet and bought the best tree on the lot. Then, off to the hardware store for lights, ornaments, and a new metal tree stand. The owner was closing his register for the day but recognized my father and let him in.

With a new tree in the bed of the beat-up gray truck, the group headed east again. They could spy children at each window as they tentatively approached the family’s large farmhouse. The older children greeted the group and set up the tree in their living room.

Dad noticed a stack of presents and bags of candy and fruit donated by the Lions Club and other community groups. The scent of anticipation and cinnamon apples hung in the air. The teacher and the teenagers left the family in happiness and wonder. Dad and those high-school students received a huge blessing when they saw the lights in the eyes of those children.

Several weeks after that Christmas, Dad went into the brick post office to pick up the mail and chat with Clarence, the postmaster. A man Dad did not know came in and began talking to Clarence loudly. “Clarence,” the stranger said. “It’s the oddest thing. I was driving east of town a few nights before Christmas, and you would not believe it. I found a completely decorated, beautiful, nine-foot Christmas tree that someone had thrown in a ditch!”

Amy McVay Abbott grew up in South Whitley, Indiana, and now lives in southwestern Indiana.

She's been writing since her late mother lent her her Royal portable typewriter when she was a first-grader. She had stories to tell at age six.

Now retired, she still dabbles in blogs and personal essays. She primarily focuses on books, with number seven recently finished. And there will be more. There’s always another book.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

The Time Between the Years by Sadira Stone

For those who celebrate, I hope you had a splendid Christmas. The roast beast (or your favorite holiday dish) has been consumed and the wrapping paper cleared away. Time to take a deep breath and enjoy a moment of quiet before the glitz and clamor of New Year’s Eve.

Though American by birth, I spent thirty years in Germany, where this period is called die Zeit zwischen den Jahren, or “the time between the years,” that quiet period between Christmas and New Year’s when we sit back, munch cookies, and reflect on the past year while planning our goals for the next. Read on for some fun Germans traditions for this time.

Why “between the years?” That has to do with the change to the Gregorian calendar. Attached to their old celebrations, Europeans took many years to accept this new start date for the year, since they were accustomed to celebrating in on December 25, or in some places, in March or even Easter.

Fun fact: This idea of a transitional time between the old year and the new one also exists in the Jewish tradition and even in Ancient Egypt, as this time marked the Nile’s annual flood, more or less.

Nowadays, the time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve (Silvester in Germany, named after the Saint’s day that falls on December 31st) is associated with predicting your fate and ensuring good luck for the coming year. For example, you can buy lead-pouring kits (Bleigießen), where you melt little lead ingots, pour a glop of molten lead into water, and interpret the resulting shape to predict what the new year has in store for you.   

In Austria and Southern Germany, this time of year brings noisy, rowdy parades of scary, costumed figures who drive away evil spirits. Did you know that’s why we bang pots and shoot off fireworks on NY Eve? Gotta scare away any demons who might pollute the new year.

At midnight on New Year’s Eve/Silverster, the whole neighborhood moves outside at midnight to drink champagne, holler, shoot off bottle rockets, and raise a ruckus. Prost Neu Jahr!

Other German superstition: Don’t hang laundry out to dry during this time, or wandering spirits might get caught in your sheets and wreak their revenge on the household. Also, for good luck eat lentil soup, sauerkraut, and fried carp during this time. People give gifts of Glücksbringer, lucky charms like chimney sweeps, ladybugs, lucky pigs, four-leaf clovers, and lucky pennies (1 Euro cent).

So if you want to celebrate the German way, give your friends a chocolate pig or ladybug and wish them “einen guten Rutsch”—a good slide (into the new year.)

And here’s my all-time favorite Germany New Year’s tradition—Germans love to watch a 1963 British comedy short called Dinner for One, with Freddie Finton and May Ward.  It’s just 18 minutes long. Watch it—you won’t be sorry!


Do you still have room for a little holiday fun? Try my Bangers Tavern Romance series, steamy contemporary romance set in a neighborhood bar in Tacoma, Washington, my former hometown. Christmas Rekindled offers Pacific Northwest holiday fun. And if you’re sick of Christmas, try Opposites Ignite, which centers around an Anti-Valentine’s Day party at Bangers Tavern, or Delicious Heat, which covers Bangers’ St. Patrick’s Day Bash and Cinco de Mayo fiesta. Sweet Slow Sizzle centers around Bangers Tavern’s Halloween bash. Only want a tiny taste? Try my Bangers Tavern novella Cupid’s Silver Spark, just 99 cents! I had so much run writing these holiday celebrations, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading them just as much!

All the Bangers Tavern books are available from your favorite eBook retailer.

Christmas Rekindled:

Opposites Ignite:

Delicious Heat:

Sweet Slow Sizzle:

Cupid’s Silver Spark:

Award-winning contemporary romance author Sadira Stone spins steamy, smoochy tales set in small businesses—a quirky bookstore, a neighborhood bar, a vintage boutique. Set in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, her stories highlight found family, friendship, and the sizzling chemistry that pulls unlikely partners together. When she emerges from her writing cave in Las Vegas, Nevada (which she seldom does), she can be found in dance class, strumming her ukulele, exploring the Western U.S. with her charming husband, cooking up a storm, and gobbling all the romance books. For a guaranteed HEA (and no cliffhangers!) visit Sadira at

Visit Sadira on All the Socials!

Monday, December 26, 2022

A Christmas Miracle by Pamela S. Thibodeaux

Photo from Crafts by Amanda
The ghost of Christmases past haunted our house again in 1993. To say we were poor, would be an untruth, but to say money was tight is an understatement. As in years before, funds seemed to vanish, leaving very little, if anything, for gifts. This year was one of the worst.

My husband, an outside salesman, hadn’t been paid since November, when his boss left town on an extended vacation from Thanksgiving through New Year, without paying his employees, and we were trying to make it on my meager salary as a State Civil Service Employee at the local Charity Hospital.

Two days before Christmas Eve, I was in the Emergency Clinic picking up charts when the topic of being ready for Christmas was opened for discussion. When asked if I was ready, I replied that I was waiting for my check (which would be available on 12/23 or 24) and that we didn’t even have a tree yet.

Knowing that I had three children at home, everyone was shocked!

As things were brought out in the open about my husband’s check, or rather, lack of one, I was encouraged to scrounge the barrels of toys that had been collected for needy children who came to the hospital and see if there was anything I could use for mine. Not knowing that this was allowed, I hesitated. After all, we’d been through this before and the kids were old enough to understand our finances. Continued support as well as the knowledge that other hospital employees often did this as Christmas got closer and the barrels empty save for the less desirable gifts that children didn’t seem to want anyway, encouraged me to check it out. I found things like Uno cards, regular playing cards, puzzles and other small gift items that could be found at any Dollar store. Still, it was better than nothing and I was able to pick out a couple of things for each of my children.

But the greatest gift came from an unexpected source.

Psalm 34:15 says that “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears hear their cry.” As a newly recommitted Christian, I knew the Lord would provide something, though I never imagined how He would do it.

Upon leaving the clinic area, I returned to my desk in Admitting to finish the necessary paperwork before returning the charts to Medical Records. I hadn’t been at my desk for more than a few minutes when I was called by a nurse to meet her in the nurses’ lounge.

Since this particular nurse was one of my favorite people to work with, I didn’t hesitate, not knowing that the incident would be one that would live in my heart forever.

Upon entering the lounge, I found her nearly in tears. “I hope I don’t embarrass or humiliate you,” she began. “But I’d like to give you something.” With that, she handed me a check. “When I was newly single, I needed tires for my car and a new friend, a stranger really, gave me fifty dollars to buy them,” she said, as I, too humbled and, yes, embarrassed to say anything, just looked at her; tears welling in my eyes.

“He told me not to pay him back,” she continued, “but to return the favor by doing something in kind for someone in need whenever I could.”

By this time, the tears were flowing freely between us. “I was going to give you the fifty, but I found a little extra. I don’t want you to pay me back either, but do the same for someone whenever you can,” she concluded

Without even looking at the check, I put it in my pocket. We embraced and returned to our perspective work stations. The next morning over coffee with my husband, I told him the story and we opened the check to find it in the amount of one-hundred-dollars.

One-hundred-dollars doesn’t buy a lot, even in 1993, but it was more than enough to share the miracle of Christmas with our children, and we were able to send a small gift to our daughter who lived out of state.

The very first thing I did was go out and buy a tree; a pitiful little display item that had been knocked over and kicked around but was the only one available anywhere. The kids and I strung popcorn, and they made ornaments called The Eye of Jesus (or God’s Eye) that they’d learned to create in Catechism.

It was one of the most memorable Christmases I’ve ever had.

The gift this dear lady gave was more than money, it was affirmation…proof that my God shall supply all of my needs according to his riches in glory through Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19).

Through all the years of change, I don’t have an Eye of Jesus ornament left, but the memory always reminds of the blessing and miracle of Christmas, of how God used this angel of mercy to impact the lives of a newly recommitted Christian and her family, and that the eye of the Lord is upon the righteous and His ears do hear their cry.

Learn to make God’s Eye (or Eye of Jesus) ornaments HERE.


Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.” Sign up to receive Pam’s newsletter and get a FREE short story! Website:

Controversy and Inconsistencies are thieves of holiday joy for there any hope for a happy holiday season?

For as long as she can remember, Keri Jackson has despised the hype and commercialism around Christmas—especially with the controversy over the time of Jesus’s birth. Will she get her wish and be free of the angst to truly enjoy Christmas this year?

Jeremy Hinton thinks Keri is a highly intelligent, deeply emotional, and intensely complex woman and he’s as fascinated by her aversion to Christmas as he is of the woman herself. A devout Christian at heart, he’s studied all of the world’s religions and homeopathic healing modalities. But when a rare bacterial infection threatens her life, will all of his faith and training be for naught?

Fans of near death experiences will enjoy this woman’s mystical journey into spiritual Truth.


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Sunday, December 25, 2022

Fullness by Liz Flaherty

I've so loved having guests every day through this season, and I'm grateful you've made them welcome. Isn't it fun reading their stories and connecting them to your own? I've been been both surprised and gratified by the reception the Window Holidays Project received. 

I've had this particular post started for days now. There is, if I'm honest about it, a bittersweetness to our Christmases anymore. Although I celebrate the birth of Jesus, and that hasn't changed--although my gratitude has grown, which is a good thing--I miss the way Christmas Days were when our kids were little. I miss the family members who aren't with us anymore. 

I miss fullness.

It's been a rough several years for most of us, hasn't it? We've dealt with Covid, with political unrest, with finding and learning to live with new normals. This is my first Christmas without the sister who was part of every day of my life until the one in April when she left us. Her daughters and grandchildren are finding their way without her. So are my brother and I and the astonishing number of people whose lives she touched. 

And there it is. Not the fact that she's gone, but the lives she touched while she was here. Loss is excruciating--a family at church and another family whose lives have touched ours are suffering that during these already emotion-packed days of the Christmas season. But before we lose, we have. Time may not heal wounds, because the scars are way too deep for that, but it gentles them. It gives us joy in memories. Laughter. Oh, yes, laughter. 

And there the fullness is. This post has been sort of...out there, hasn't it? But there's no more emotional time than this one. All of those who are dealing with loss, loneliness, or dark times, I wish you comfort and that joy and laughter will find you amid the grief. I wish you fullness. 

I'll be back a week from Saturday. Until then, enjoy the guests who will be at the Window every day through New Year's Eve. Thank you on their behalf for your support of them and of the Window Over the Sink. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Be blessed. And be nice to somebody. 

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Repeat the Sounding Joy... by Nan Reinhardt

I love to sing. I can’t sing. I mean I have a truly terrible voice, but I love to sing. Especially at Christmas. So Pandora’s Christmas Classics starts playing at our house before Thanksgiving and NPR gets switched to the Christmas station on the car radio as soon as B104.5 becomes all Christmas music all the time. I’ve played James Taylor’s holiday CD so many times I’m surprised it isn’t worn through and at least four times a week, I hunt for the Eagles version of “Please Come Home for Christmas” on YouTube and play it while I’m working.

Hello, I’m Nan and I am a Christmas music junkie.

It’s not just the holiday tunes that we all know and love—you know, the ones that send warm little snuggly hugs throughout your whole being? “Winter Wonderland.” “The Christmas Song” (Nat King Cole’s version, of course). “Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” “Jingle Bells.” Even the more up-to-date ones like “All I Want for Christmas” and Leonard Cohen’s haunting “Hallelujah,” make me happy.

But it’s the Advent singing that takes me into the holidays with the gladdest heart. All the lovely carols we sing as a part of Sunday worship in December and the special music. “Mary, Did You Know?” “Who Comes This Night?” “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” And of course, “Oh, Holy Night.” My Aunt Ruth Audrey used to sing that beautiful carol every Christmas Eve while my cousin Susie accompanied her on the piano. Aunt Ruth had a gorgeous contralto that sent shivers down your spine when she hit that first “Oh night divine…” As a kid, that’s when I knew it was truly, truly Christmas. 

I miss her. I miss those family Christmas Eves and the singing around the piano and lighting the advent candles and Mom reading to us from the second chapter of the gospel of Luke and my grandfather’s turkey dinner on Christmas day. I do what I can to make our Christmases as special as they felt when I was a kid, but even today, it’s the music—the carols, the songs about snow and pie and winter wonderlands and silver bells that truly bring the spirit of the holiday to life for me.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours and if you need a little holiday boost, turn on some Christmas music and sing along. Your heart will thank you.

Bio, Social Links for Author Nan Reinhardt

Nan Reinhardt is a USA Today bestselling author of sweet romantic fiction for Tule Publishing. Her day job is working as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader, however, writing is Nan’s first and most enduring passion. She can’t remember a time in her life when she wasn’t writing—she wrote her first romance novel at the age of ten and is still writing, but now from the viewpoint of a wiser, slightly rumpled, woman in her prime. Nan lives in the Midwest with her husband of 49 years, where they split their time between a house in the city and a cottage on a lake.

Talk to Nan at:




The Fireman’s Christmas Wish, Book 3 in the Lange Brothers Trilogy

Her heart is wide open, but he’s nailed his shut.

Preschool teacher Harley Cole has always viewed life through rose-colored glasses. With a career she loves, friends she enjoys, and a home that is her haven, there’s only one thing missing—finding her soul mate. As the holidays approach, Harley is inspired to help her former high school crush rediscover his holiday joy. It’s just a good deed...until the feelings she thought were gone come rushing back.

Fire Chief Becker Lange returns home to River’s Edge with a heavy heart. His divorce has emotionally ravaged him, leaving him more confused than ever about what women want. So to protect himself from another failure, he closes his heart. And then Harley Cole makes him a flirty dare that she can help him overcome the holiday blues. Beck’s not sure he wants to, but Harley’s a hard woman to tell no.

Can the magic of Christmas and a sweet stray kitten bring these two lonely souls together?

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Friday, December 23, 2022

Fairy Tale Favorites by Darlene DeLuca

For our December meeting, my book club always has a special holiday edition. We call it the Salmon Feast, and we celebrate all the winter holidays, our friendship, and our bond in books. We add a fun gift exchange, complete with the opportunity to “steal” gifts. Sometimes I enjoy that aspect of the gift giving. Other years, not so much! And we often do something a little different than our usual someone-pick-a-book.

This year, we’ve decided to discuss fairy tales. Our assignment is to re-read our favorite fairy tale from childhood and compare how we see it/feel about it now that we’re, um, well into adulthood. :-)

At first, I kind of rolled my eyes, not excited about the idea of spending my time reading a fairy tale at this extra-busy time of year. I still have some gifts to wrap, cookies to frost and, of course, several more trips to the grocery store! I don’t mind re-reading books occasionally. In fact, I have several books I enjoy re-reading, but those are my all-time faves. I’ve also been known to re-read some childhood books, Trixie Belden and Laura Ingalls Wilder books included. I still have my complete set of Laura Ingalls Wilder books. That collection goes down as my best childhood Christmas present ever!

Being the good sport, I started thinking about which fairy tale is my favorite. Honestly, I don’t remember reading any when I was a kid. But I know all the stories, so obviously I read them or watched the movie/TV versions.

I do remember being outraged at the meanness of the queen in "Snow White," the threatening deceitfulness of the wolf in "Little Red Riding Hood," and the jealousy of the stepmother and stepsisters in "Cinderella." I think of all of them, "Cinderella" is my favorite. I love that she got her magical night out. Not so much concerned about getting the prince, but happy that in the end good triumphed, and the evil stepmother and stepsisters got their comeuppance!

Turns out today my reaction is the same. Whether I’m reading fairy tales or contemporary novels, I like good to triumph over evil. I want the nice guys to finish first. I want good deeds to be rewarded. And I like happy, hopeful endings. Those, by the way, are also what I write. My books are by no means fairy tales. The characters face real-life dilemmas. They deal with loss and heartache and disappointment. There are no princes or royal kingdoms or glass slippers. But in each one, there’s growth, second chances, friendship, and love.

One of the things I realized while contemplating their significance is that most of the fairy tales I like are love stories: Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel. These stories show that love conquers jealousy, greed, and hate. Love redeems. Love changes lives. And that seems like a great conversation for the holiday season. I’m looking forward to my book club discussion—and contributing my two cents’ worth—after all! Happy holidays to each of you!

I’d love to know: what’s your favorite fairy tale or childhood Christmas gift?

Speaking of love stories, my newest novel, Christmas at Tall Pines, is a sweet holiday romance set in a cozy lodge tucked into the snowy mountains of Utah. It’s a quest for holiday magic.

-- Melanie Beck is searching for an idyllic Christmas like the ones her small family used to have. Traveling solo and still grieving the loss of her parents, she’s counting on cozy Tall Pines Lodge tucked into the mountains of Utah to provide the elusive holiday feels with merry music, stunning decorations and traditional Christmas feast in a beautiful frosty setting.

But a blizzard turns the winter wonderland into a hazard, and a chance encounter with a now-famous high school crush has her reeling with emotions she’s never quite gotten over.

Tyler Shaw, a Hollywood heartthrob and silver screen star, is so over a grueling film schedule and persistent paparazzi. In disguise and using a fake name, he comes to Tall Pines to escape the spotlight and get some much-needed rest. He’s hoping the adrenaline rush of downhill skiing at the nearby slopes will give him the reboot he’s looking for.

Instead, he’s stuck at the lodge and is shocked to run into an old high school friend that he left behind more than a decade ago. He’s even more surprised to discover how much he’s missed her.

As their past and present collide, can an old flame ignite some Christmas magic?—

Buy links:

Darlene Deluca writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction that explores relationships – what brings people together or keeps them apart.

Her intent is to bring to life interesting characters that readers can relate to in real-life situations that combine a little fun, plenty of drama (with perhaps a tear or two), and big helpings of friendship, love and self-discovery, and will leave readers either cheering or sighing with a satisfied smile as they turn the final page.

The Kansas City author enjoys getting lost in a good story with a glass of tea, a bit of dark chocolate and a warm, sunny beach.

To learn more about Darlene and her books, visit her website at or find her on social media at:

Thursday, December 22, 2022

New Christmas Traditions by Jana Richards

All my childhood Christmas memories center around food and family. My parents both came from large families, most of whom lived on farms or small towns close to us. Between Christmas Eve and New Year's day, we feasted at a different relative’s house every day. On Christmas Eve, after the children’s Christmas concert at the church, we ate at my maternal grandparents’ house. My grandmother wasn’t happy until we’d stuffed ourselves so full we could barely walk. I looked forward to strudel at Granny’s house every Christmas Eve. On Christmas day, we had another huge meal with my paternal grandmother and my Dad’s family. At least fifteen of us, probably more, crowded around my grandmother’s extended table and enjoyed the large turkey she always made. Once dinner was over, dishes were cleared away and card games played. How we didn’t immediately fall asleep after all the turkey we’d consumed, I have no idea.

When it was my family’s turn to host dinner, my mother roasted a goose. Goose wasn’t my favorite but Mom and Dad loved it, so we had it every year. My mother had been baking for weeks and had cookies, tarts and pies ready to be served. One of my favorite things she made at Christmas was steamed carrot pudding with sauce. I don’t know if she put any rum or brandy in the sauce, but it was delicious. For some reason, I’ve never made it myself, even though I enjoyed it so much as a child.

When I got older and had kids of my own, we lived some distance away from our parents, so every Christmas we bundled up the kids, packed presents and baked goods into the car, and drove to visit my husband’s parents on Christmas day, and then my parents on boxing day (December 26). I remember some very cold, and sometimes some very dicey winter driving conditions, but we always made the trip. Once we got there, we had lots of fun and plenty to eat. My kids and our nieces and nephews were young so there was always a lot of excitement about Santa’s visit and the gifts he’d bring. I was mostly excited about the food, like my mother-in-law’s perogies and my mother’s cabbage rolls. I used to grumble about those long, cold drives, but now that our parents are gone, I dearly miss those holidays.

My husband and I are now the oldest members of the family. Our first grandchild, a girl, Aubrey Catherine, was born in November, and we have new traditions to look forward to. We’ll have a baby to spoil and buy presents for and make Christmas goodies for. What I’ve missed most of all since my daughters were young was not having little kids around. Their excitement is what makes the holiday so much fun for all of us. With any luck, my daughter and son-in-law will fill their house with children and make me a grandmother many times over!

I have wonderful Christmas memories from days gone by, but as much as I cherish past Christmas celebrations, I can’t wait for these new traditions to begin with our precious new family member. I hope that when my granddaughter is grown, she’ll look back at Christmases spent with us and remember them with as much fondness as I remember Christmases with my grandparents.
Jana Richards has tried her hand at many writing projects over the years, from magazine articles and short stories to full-length contemporary romance, paranormal suspense and romantic comedy. She loves to create characters with a sense of humor, but also a serious side. She believes there’s nothing more interesting then peeling back the layers of a character to see what makes them tick.

When not writing up a storm or dealing with dust bunnies, Jana can be found pursuing hobbies such as golf (which she plays very badly) or reading (which she does much better).

Jana lives in Western Canada with her husband Warren and two senior cats named Layla and Leelou. You can reach her through her website at

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

The Gift of Giving by Holly Jacobs

I was born in August…despite my holiday name. My mom was thrilled that she’d found a name that wouldn’t have a nickname. Which explains why I’ve spent most of my life as Hall.  Maybe it’s my name, or maybe my love of glee…but I’ve always loved the holidays.

A few years ago, I started a tradition with the kids in my life—affectionately known as The Minions online. As part of their Christmas present, I give them all the gift of giving. Yes, I think giving is a gift. Their gift is sponsoring an animal at a local rescue. Each year, they choose their animal and then send their choice a card along with my sponsorship check. This last year, three of them got to go visit the rescue. Oh, the excitement as they were introduced to “their” animals. They brought an extra gift and got to find the joy in giving something more tangible than a check.

It’s been a beautiful way to teach them about the gift of giving. I have felt such pride as I see the lesson sink in. In the summer we play Holly’s Ice Cream. They ride their bikes up to me and ask for wild ice cream concoctions. And then most of the time as they “pay” me, they say, “And I’ll pay for that guy behind me.” I know it’s just a game, but oh, my heart.

When I started writing, I gravitated toward romance. Why? It was the people. I loved figuring out how two very different people found a way to build a relationship—a life—together. I loved throwing family and friends in the midst and adding a bit of havoc to that couple’s journey. I have a big family and I understand that they impact every part of my life.

I’ve also worked to add the gift of giving into my stories. I didn’t think of it that way at the beginning of my career, but now I do. It shows up time and time again in my books. Books like Signs of the Times where a single mom gives her “spare” time to her downtown business association. My three PTA Moms each had a holiday…Once Upon a Thanksgiving, Once Upon a Christmas and Once Upon a Valentine’s. They were three moms who spent their books giving what little spare time they have at their kids’ school. In A Hometown Christmas…a woman who reopens her small town’s library and keeps it running by sheer force of will. And…well, you get the point.

Whether it’s my name, or my love of glee, I write a lot of holiday (HOLLYday?) romances. I try to live up to my name in my real life as well. Whatever holiday you celebrate, I wish you all one that’s filled with the gift of giving.

Happy HOLLYdays!

Holly…aka Hall

PS Something Perfect is my story in Surprises in All Sizes: Secret Babies. The heroine lives a life that celebrates the gift of giving in so many ways! I'm so excited to have a story in a collection with so many friends...who happen to be amazing writers! I hope you'll check it out!

Award-winning author Holly Jacobs has over three million books in print worldwide. The first novel in her Everything But. . . series, Everything But a Groom, was named one of 2008's Best Romances by Booklist, and her books have been honored with many other accolades. She lives in Erie, Pennsylvania, with her family. You can visit her at