Favorite Christmas Memory and Favorite Cookie Recipe

When I think back to Christmas as a child, I remember gathering at the home of one of my aunts on Christmas Eve. We would enjoy a potluck dinner and catch up on family news—coming babies, recent graduations and other milestones. Before the families separated to attend church services, the children anxiously awaited the arrival of one special guest—Santa Claus. My uncle would dress up in full costume and arrive with great fanfare down the staircase. He carried a velvet sack filled with gifts for good girls and boys from infants through college-aged. Since I was the youngest of my generation, I was the last child who still believed in Santa Claus. When I finally discovered the truth about the man-in-red, I played along with the subterfuge for years. I didn’t want to spoil the fun for my mother and aunts. Finally when I was in the sixth grade and Santa passed out his gifts, I said, “Hi, Uncle Louie. Thanks for the gift.” My mother and aunts looked broken-hearted, but all good things must come to an end.

Looking back, I’m grateful for the joy they preserved for me because of their love. And because of God’s unending love and the gift of His son…once again I have something to believe in. Merry Christmas! May God’s blessings rain down on your family during this special season.
Snickerdoodles
1 cup butter, softened (do not use margarine)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
¼ cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3 ¾ cups flour
¾ tsp. baking powder
cinnamon sugar
Cream together the butter and sugar. To this mixture add the eggs, milk, and vanilla, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together the flour and baking powder; then add the creamed mixture. Roll dough into little balls and then roll in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
   Need a Christmas novella to get you in the Christmas spirit? Sarah’s Christmas Miracle is available in all electronic formats for $2.99.
And don’t forget to enter the Suspense Sisters fabulous Christmas giveaway! One winner will walk away with a gorgeous quilt, plus books, candy, Christmas items and gift cards.  Winner will be drawn on Dec. 22nd. Scroll down to Dec. 1st to enter. Enter the contest by clicking this link an scrolling down at:  SUSPENSE SISTERS

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Christmas anthology of novellas available now

Amish Christmas MemoriesHappy Monday, Readers. I’m afraid I’ve been MIA of late due to putting the finishing touches on book 2 of the Secrets of the South mysteries, What Happened on Beale Street. But I’m happy to announce the release of an anthology of Christmas novellas with two friends of mine, Jerry Eicher and Murray Pura. Here’s what the back cover has to say:  Three delightful Christmas Amish novellas are now combined into one charming ebook! Amish Christmas Memories contains heartwarming holiday tales from three beloved authors.

From author Jerry Eicher comes the inspiring novella, Susanna’s Christmas

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Jerry Eicher

Wish. Susanna Byler wants to spend the holidays with the man of her dreams. But is that the plain Amishman she married for convenience, or her Englisha first love who recently reappeared in her life?

Sarah’s Christmas Miracle by Mary Ellis will add joy to the Christmas season. As Christmas approaches, Sarah Beachy searches for her brother who left the Order years ago. Sarah’s mother has been missing her son for so long…will she also lose her daughter to the English? Or will this family receive an unexpected miracle?

Murray PuraAuthor Murray Pura brings a tender story of reconciliation in An Amish Family Christmas. Naomi Miller’s friend Rebecca tries to help her recover from tragedy. Then Rebecca’s brother–Naomi’s husband–returns from the military and is shunned. An unexpected turn of events sets things right, bringing this Amish family and their community a truly joyous celebration.

Join Susanna, Sarah, and the Millers in these warm and tender Amish Christmas memories. Available now in all electronic formats, including Sony Reader, Kobo, Nook and Amazon.

Sleighride in Ohio's Amish CountryPhoto taken in Ohio’s beautiful Amish country at Christmastime. Hope you put Amish Christmas Memories on your holiday reading list.

See you next week,  Mary

Take a trip to Schoenbrunn Village for Christmas

Good morning, readers, here’s a post from my friend, Tamera Lynn Kraft, Christmas at Schoenbrunn in 1773

In the wilderness of Ohio in 1773, there were a band of missionaries and Lenape Indians celebrating Christmas at Schoenbrunn Village, the first settlement in Ohio. They’d come to this wilderness and started the village a year earlier to preach the Gospel to the Lenape, also known as the Deleware.IMG_1022

The missionaries, both white and native families moved from a town in Pennsylvania called Bethlehem. Moravians had come to Bethlehem years earlier when a preacher named John Wesley had donated the land to them. But the Lenape had been forced west as more white men had moved into the area, so the Moravians decided to move west with them.

Life was hard in Schoenbrunn. Cabins were quickly made and community gardens were planted that included beans, corn, and squash. Most villages also planted potatoes and turnips next to their cabins. The rest of their food came from hunting. But the real danger came from the many Indian tribes surrounding the village, some of them hostile.

They didn’t have time to build a fence to keep out varments and the first Ohio church until Spring, 1773, but they did manage to build a school, the first built in Ohio. The school taught both boys and girls, a first for the colonies, how to read the Scripture in their native language and in English. The Moravians printed a Bible in the Lenape language.

The village council was led by David Zeisberger and including white Moravians and Lenape converts. The rules for the village were established by the Lenape Christians. These missionaries did not consider the native converts to be beneath them but instead brothers in Christ.

After a year and a half in Schoenbrunn, the villagers were excited to celebrate their first Christmas. They IMG_1023had many traditions that we still use today. They would have a candlelight Christmas Eve service called a Lovefeast. During this service, they sang Christmas hymns, shared sweet rolls and coffee together, and prayed for each other. The service concluded when they gave each child a bleached beeswax candle and a scripture to hang on their trees at home. The white candle symbolized the purity of Christ and the flame showed that Jesus is the light of the world. A red ribbon would be wrapped around the candle to symbolize how Jesus shed His blood for a lost world.

In every home in Schoenbrunn, families decorated artificial Christmas trees with candles and papers with scriptures written on them. The trees were made by putting together a wood frame and decorating it with real pine branches. The family would also make a putz, a nativity village that included the nativity scene, the wise men, and other Biblical scenes and place it under the tree. Most Moravians gave small gifts at Christmas, but resources were so limited that the children in Schoenbrunn were happy with their candles they received at the church. After a Christmas feast, the family would read the verses hung on the tree and talk about God’s blessings at Christmas.

Schoenbrunn Village has been restored and is open to tourists. Find out more at this link (http://www.ohiosfirstvillage.com) .

AChristmasPromise_medA Christmas Promise By Tamera Lynn Kraft A Moravian Holiday Story, Circa 1773

During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away to help at another settlement two days before Christmas, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day.

When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas.

Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.

“Revel in the spirit of a Colonial Christmas with this achingly tender love story that will warm both your heart and your faith. With rich historical detail and characters who live and breathe on the page, Tamera Lynn Kraft has penned a haunting tale of Moravian missionaries who selflessly bring the promise of Christ to the Lenape Indians. A beautiful way to set your season aglow, A Christmas Promise is truly a promise kept for a heartwarming holiday tale.” – Julie Lessman

Available at these online stores:

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GM59GN4/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb

Pelican Book Group

http://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=37_47&products_id=512

Christian Books.com http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=48711EB&item_code=WW&netp_id=1206746&event=ESRCG&view=details

Bio:

Tamera KraftTamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures and writes Christian historical fiction set in America because there are so many adventures in American history. She is married to the love of her life, has two grown children, and lives in Akron, Ohio. Soldier’s Heart and A Christmas Promise are two of her historical novellas that have been published.

Tamera is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire For Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist. She has curriculum published and is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.

You can contact Tamera online at these sites.

Word Sharpeners Blog: http://tameralynnkraft.com

Revival Fire For Kids Blog: http://revivalfire4kids.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TameraLynnKraft

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tamerakraft

Home Thoughts Welcomes Tamera Kraft

Happy Monday, readers. Tamera Kraft

Please join me in welcoming Tamera Lynn Kraft to my blog. Tamera has a super novella out for the Christmas season.

Tamera has always loved adventures and writes Christian historical fiction set in America because there are so many adventures in American history. She is married to the love of her life, has two grown children, and lives in Akron, Ohio. Tamera is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire For Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist. She has curriculum published and is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.

Tell us about your novella A Christmas Promise  A Moravian Holiday Story, Circa 1773AChristmasPromise_med

During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away to help at another settlement two days before Christmas, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day. When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas. Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.

Moravian missionaries in the 18th century experienced danger, hardships, and unexpected twists of “fate” as they witnessed to and mentored Indians in the Ohio territory. This is a work of fiction, but so true to what these brave and dedicated missionaries could easily have experienced. This is a book that is inspirational in every sense of the word.   Anne Baxter Campbell, author of Roman Quest

Available at in digital format in these online stores:

AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GM59GN4/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb

PELICAN BOOK GROUP http://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=37_47&products_id=512

CHRISTIANBOOK

http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=48711EB&item_code=WW&netp_id=1206746&event=ESRCG&view=details

BARNES & NOBLE http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-christmas-promise-tamera-lynn-kraft/1117544822?ean=2940148951735

A Soldier’s Heart After returning home from the Civil War, will his soldier’s heart come between them?

Noah Andrews, a soldier with the Ohio Seventh Regiment can’t wait to get home now that his three year enlistment is coming to an end. He plans to start a new life with his young wife. Molly was only sixteen when she married her hero husband. She prayed every day for him to return home safe and take over the burden of running a farm. But they can’t keep the war from following Noah home. Can they build a life together when his soldier’s heart comes between them?

In Soldier’s Heart, Tamera Lynn Kraft weaves an uplifting story of the healing power of love and restoration. The historical details add notable authenticity. You won’t want this story to end.  ~ Ann Shorey, author of the Sisters at Heart series

Available at these stores in digital format: AMAZONSoldier's Heart

http://www.amazon.com/Murray-Puras-American-Civil-War-ebook/dp/B00FKNQLGE/ref=la_B00H9EW5XU_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1387124403&sr=1-4

BARNES & NOBLE

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/murray-puras-american-civil-war-series-cry-of-freedom-volume-13-soldiers-heart-murray-pura/1117191335?ean=2940148560067

Available at Amazon in Paperback:

http://www.amazon.com/Murray-Puras-American-Civil-Soldiers/dp/1622084667/ref=la_B00H9EW5XU_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1387124403&sr=1-1

You can contact Tamera online at these sites.

Website: http://tameralynnkraft.net

Word Sharpeners Blog: http://tameralynnkraft.com

Facebook: http://facebook/tameralynnkraft

Twitter: http://twitter/tamerakraft