12 Days of Christmas

Christmas_Cover_for_Kindle

Click on cover to purchase

Christmas by Marcia Lee Laycock is a collection of short stories that will take you from the far reaches of the galaxy to the edge of the Arctic Circle and the streets of the inner city. The miracle of Christmas is transported from one unusual setting to another, and into your heart as you read.

Here’s an excerpt from Missing Christmas:

Missing Christmas

Sulking and soaking. For me, the two always go together. I know when I’m not fit to be around people, especially the people I’m mad at, so the bathtub is the best place to be. I run the water as hot as I can stand it and stay there until I feel like I can be civil again. That night, the night before Christmas, I thought I might be there till dawn.

Tim had dropped the bomb when he came home from work two days before we were to go home for the holidays. Somehow he’d managed to mess up making the flight reservations. How could he mess up something so important, so essential to my sanity? Bad enough he’d talked me into coming here, to the end of reason and any sign of civilization, just so he could have a “real northern experience.” Bad enough he didn’t once compliment me on how I’d bravely been enduring the minus fifty degree temperatures. Bad enough we still had five more months to live in this town on the edge of the universe. Now we were stuck here for Christmas. And what was his excuse? He thought he’d told the travel agent to book it, but he had only asked her to give him the details. When she didn’t hear back from him, she assumed we’d changed our minds but didn’t bother to check. There are too many people in this town who definitely aren’t the brightest bulbs on the tree.

And speaking of trees. To try and pacify me, Tim dragged a tree home the day before Christmas. I caught him going out the door, downed from neck to ankle, a touque on his head and wool scarf wrapped about six times around his face. When I asked him where on earth he was going, he said something unintelligible and walked out the door. Three hours later I heard him stomping around on the porch. I poked my head out, the cold hitting me like a slap, and all I could see were his eyes. They were laughing. He tugged the scarf down long enough to tell me to wrap up and come out for a minute. Curious, I pulled on my parka and went outside.

He stood there like a little boy who’d just bagged his first bird. Only it was a Christmas tree he held onto. Or rather, it had been a Christmas tree. My mouth fell open and I sputtered through a mouth full of scarf.

Tim pulled his away from his mouth and grinned. “Just call me Charlie Brown,” he said. The tree was almost bare. Tim described how the needles rained down with every blow of the axe. What else did he expect at fifty below?

Then we tried getting it inside. The few needles left on the branches showered the linoleum in the kitchen until it looked like a forest path. We stood it in a corner and stepped back. Tim glanced at me sideways just as I did the same and we both burst out laughing.

“I’ll go buy an artificial one,” I said. Tim didn’t argue.

I trudged off to the only store in town, but of course they were sold out of Christmas trees, artificial or otherwise. Then I went to the grocery store to buy a turkey. No turkeys left either. No cranberry sauce, no fresh vegetables. They had some Caribou steaks on special. Whoopdeedoo.

****

To purchase Christmas by Marcia Lee Laycock go to Amazon.com or Amazon.ca

Or, if you live in Canada, order directly from the author by emailing marcia@marcialeelaycock.com

Aug. 2015 hat croppedAbout Marcia

Marcia’s work has been published in magazines, newspapers and anthologies in both Canada and the U.S. and appears frequently on the world wide web. She currently writes a regular devotional column, The Spur, which appears in publications across Canada and goes out by e-mail to avid readers. Marcia’s writing has won many prizes, garnering praise from notable Christian writers like Janette Oke, Mark Buchanan, Phil Callaway and Sigmund Brouwer. She has published four devotional books, six novels and many short stories. Marcia won the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was short-listed for a Word award along with her fantasy novel, Journey to a Strong Tower. Marcia is also a sought-after speaker for women’s events. To learn more about Marcia’s writing and speaking ministry visit her online at www.marcialeelaycock.com

 

 

 

 

12 Days of Christmas Books

Thrim-cover-web-readyHow You Can Find Home When You Have Lost Your Way

By Janis Cox

 Have you had a time where you made a hasty decision?

Have you ever made financial decisions that were not good ones?

Do you listen to God on a daily basis?

We want our children to have a strong purposeful faith. We want them to trust and believe in God. We want to instil in them good values and faith disciplines.

The Kingdom of Thrim is packed full of valuable lessons – from money, to listening to God, to being creative and using your God-given gifts – to being content with what you have.

Created for ages 6 and up, The Kingdom of Thrim brings colour and excitement to a child’s life through vivid watercolour illustrations. The lessons learned are life lessons as one adult reader said:

“I needed this book. If you feel like you’ve lost your gift or wandered too far from home and aren’t sure if you can find your way back, you need it too.” Jeff Goins

Other happy readers have said,

“This is a delightful children’s book with a strong Biblical message. I loved the soft tone of the illustrations. It would make a wonderful story-book for those bedtime moments that are so important for bonding and teaching.” – Marcia Laycock

“Janis Cox is a beautiful storyteller and lovely illustrator and does an excellent job of presenting a story for both kids and adults that speaks to the very heart, no matter what age you may be. Highly recommended.” – Sally Meadows

To get a copy: Canadian Amazon 

US Amazon

Available in paperback or Kindle. Both of Janis’ books have children’s activities and research ideas in the back. Alternately you can contact me and I will send you one. Email Janis Cox.

Janis-web-readyJanis started writing in her journal as a way to learn more about her faith. She is an award -winning author/illustrator of Tadeo Turtle and The Kingdom of Thrim. She podcasts on Hope Stream Radio. Her talk Growing Through God’s Word can be heard each Tuesday. Janis is also an artist and her art is showcased in the Rails End Gallery, Haliburton Ontario. She is a creative catalyst who encourages Christians to study God’s word through creativity. Janis lives in Haliburton Ontario with her husband and her dog, Snowball.

http://www.janiscox.com

12 Days of Christmas Books

SummerOfThePhoenixCover_ColorPaperbackThe Secret Ingredient

PJ Paulson

In 2002, “it hit the fan,” as they say. I lost my job while a quirky medical condition progressed. My romance was on its last legs. I lived in town while pioneering my middle-of-nowhere ranchland – there was lots of driving back and forth. Outbuildings were burglarized. There was a severe drought. People in my life were behaving badly.

I couldn’t afford a move to Tuscany. A Spiritual Journey to Tibet was out of the question. Where could I go to awaken my True Soul…find a relief from pain (mental and physical)…make sense of the chaos…find the good in people…and just get by from day-to-day?

I needed to figure out why my life was falling apart, how to heal, and how to eventually get back in the game. I needed a sanctuary in which to look closely at life – both physically and mentally – and to heal.

I made the unconventional choice to forego my city apartment and embrace a simple, stripped-down, country life absent amenities such as plumbing, electricity, and central heat. I drew serenity and strength from Mother Nature to savor life off the grid. During my retreat, I contemplated my life philosophies and direction, eventually transforming a bleak outlook in the face of what appeared to have been a world gone mad.

Living in eastern Colorado is like having your soul lightly sandblasted. In a high wind it may be literal, but life here is just harsh enough to keep your spirit a little raw. While the subtle discomfort may be disregarded, you feel your environment more intensely. It’s inspirational, like nowhere else I’ve lived. The ever-present irritant of sand in the oyster creates the pearl.

My pearl was the inspiration to write. And one day, to understand what I loved so much about that summer here. Then to realize, too, that by practicing the little things that I appreciated so much, other people might learn how to heal in place, too.

Summer of the Phoenix is my story about that summer, how I coped, and how I turned my life around. Come along with me, and we’ll taste a sample….

The Secret Ingredient

The light changes as sunset approaches; the breeze stills. Shades of green in the field are touched with gold, then with salmon, before becoming dusky. The horizon far to the east turns from blue to blended watercolored bands of violet, salmon, and rose, fading upward to white, and reaching further upward to pale sky blue.

The waving fields of knee-high blue grama going to seed become still.

A Says Phoebe, quiet at this season of year, perches on a young Gravenstein apple tree, or on a leaning Autumn Blaze sapling now dead. Moths flit here and there. The phoebe darts out for a meal, and returns to its perch to dine before moving out of sight to another perch. He (or she) has been roosting, I think, in the little thicket of Rugosa roses outside the family room window.

It’s a soothing view, and I breathe deeply a few times and consciously relax.

As an exercise, I make a mental composite of the best bits of places I’ve lived, to imagine a place I might consider ideal.

The remoteness, the peace and quiet, the acreage of this place.

The love I felt for the home in which I was sheltered for the first thirteen years of my life. Surrounded by fields, woods, and a creek through which to roam and play, and by good friends and family, I had felt secure.

The creek, pond, and woods of the small farm where we lived when I was first married. Its little bird sanctuary along the pond outlet. There, trees overhung the little cliff east of the mound of shale and clay that had been dug and heaped up, many years before, to make the spring-fed pond.

The beauty, lushness, and fecundity of the farm on which we had lived in the hills of Pennsylvania. The dogwoods in spring bloom. The sandy beach at the swimming hole. Fresh trout. Raspberries. Wildlife and singing birds in abundance. Forest through which to wander and explore, and fields in which to grow gardens, crops, and fruit trees.

Put it all together, and set it on the shore of a small lake where I could have a little boat. A little wooden boat with a sail and a set of oars. The little boat would be moored at a wooden dock, patiently awaiting a still dawn, when I would take it out, beyond the majestic sheltering trees of the yard, to fish for breakfast trout.

I looked for a long time at my fields and trees, watching the light and colors change. I thought of times I’d spent among those trees and fields. I thought of that summer of 2002 when I had spent hour after hour, day after day in July watering those young trees. And it came to me that what I was doing now, in this moment, was what I had done all that summer: Savouring.

I was savouring my land and the trees I had planted and nurtured. I savoured the fields and the sky. The birds, the singing insects. I savoured Nature. I savoured Life. And I savoured Myself.

Then it struck me that that – the Savouring of Self, of Soul, of Nature, of Life, and of Spirit – was what made that year of 2002 so special. I had slowed down, taken a deep breath, and Savoured it all.

The sun has gone to bed, and a meadowlark sings to me his song, “Goodnight!

****

Summer of the Phoenix is available on Amazon in Kindle eBook (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KP927P4), black and white paperback (https://www.amazon.com/dp/0976323532 ), and color paperback (https://www.amazon.com/dp/0976323524 ).

PJPaulsonAuthorPhotoPJ Paulson lives on a small ranch in rural Colorado with cats, dogs, and cattle. She has been described as a benign non-conformist who lives life on her own terms, and is not overly concerned with how humankind at large may judge that life path. This assessment is certainly borne out as she turns around her life in Summer of the Phoenix!

12 Days of Christmas Books

Time_with_God_CoverEbookGrow Closer to God in 2019

The Time with God book by Kevin T. Cunningham, is designed to help us grow closer to God and to build confidence and consistency in our personal prayer lives. As we focus on God and spend time with him, we can bring our joys and needs to him. Then, we will be better able to partner with God in what he is looking to do in and through us.

At the heart of Time with God, is a desire to develop the habit of communing with God in practical, powerful, and personal ways. Practical, because we will balance four different aspects of prayer. Powerful, because we will use God’s Word as the basis for many of our prayers. This book is filled with Scripture verses translated from the original languages and reworded into prayers.  They are chosen to help us nurture and develop our focus on God and our love for him. Personal because you’ll find space each day to write (or draw) your own personal prayers. As you get more comfortable with the concept, it will revolutionize the way you read the Bible on your own.

You can learn more about Time with God: Develop Confidence and Consistency in Your Personal Prayer Life at www.TimeWithGodbook.com or on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017ETI8SK

Below are two portions from the Time with God explaining how to use the book and a sample day focusing on the love of God.

How to Use This Book

The main section of the book contains sets of daily prayers, each focusing on a different attribute of God. For each day, you will find:

  • A very brief statement about the attribute or characteristic of God for the day.
  • Four sections offering a suggested Scripture Prayer
  • Four sections offering space for your own Personal Prayers.

Each day will include four groups of prayers, as mentioned earlier, organized by the acronym of ACTS, standing for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.

Pray the suggested Scripture Prayer from each of the ACTS sections to God. It might help to read the prayer silently first. If you feel led, you can use the spaces for Personal Prayers to write your own prayers in each category.

Lastly, when praying in the Supplication (earnestly bringing our requests to God) sections, note that many of the verses are focused on the needs of the person praying. As you feel led, you can pray for other people by substituting their names in place of words like “me,” “we,” or “us.”

For example, in the Supplication section of the “God Is Love” chapter, we find this prayer:

Lord, since you loved us in this way, surely we should love one another. Please help me to pass on the love that I have received.

—Modified from 1 John 4:11

After praying that God helps you pass on the love you have received from God, you could then pray the same prayer for any of your family members, friends, or even your pastor. You could pray…

Lord, since you loved us in this way, surely we should love one another. Please help ______ to pass on the love that (he/she) has received.

—Modified from 1 John 4:11

This will become second nature after you do it the first few times.

Day 13: God Is Love

God proactively seeks the best for others even at great cost to himself.

Scripture Prayers

Adoration

Your unfailing love is better than life itself; my lips will praise you! So, I will bless you while I live. I will lift up my hands in your name.

—Modified from Psalm 63:3

Confession

Please forgive me for not allowing your love to flow through me. So often, I am not patient or kind. Forgive me for times when I envy, or brag, or am proud and seek my own way instead of what’s better for others.

—Modified from 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Thanksgiving

Lord Jesus, I thank you that you demonstrated your own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, you died for us.

—Modified from Romans 5:8

Supplication

(Pray this for yourself first. Then, pray it for someone else also.)

Lord, please help us remember that you are our God, and that you are the only God. Help us to love you as we should—with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength. Also, please help us to love others as you would.

—Modified from Mark 12:29-30

Personal Prayer

Adoration

Lord, I praise you because you are…

Confession

Lord, please forgive me for…

Thanksgiving

Lord, I thank you for…

Supplication

Lord, please…

 

Kevin4GoogleFull-1000px-72 dpi(1)About Kevin

Rock and roll was my life! I was a disc-jockey on radio and in night clubs. I used to entertain people for a night; now I can impact people for eternity.

My background includes Christian radio, church-planting in Milan, Italy and local pastoral ministry in the U.S. Kevin is currently serving as an Intentional Interim Pastor in Gloucester, MA.  I consider myself very blessed to be a Husband to Alesa for over thirty years and a Dad to Cathy, Grace & John

12 Days of Christmas Books

Front cover                                                        click on cover to purchase

Love in the Room by Marcia Lee Laycock

The symbols and images of Christmas can slip by us because they are so familiar. In Love In The Room, award winning author, Marcia Lee Laycock, brings those images into focus once again as she explores the true meaning of the season. These short devotionals will stir readers to ponder the Christ child with depth and clarity.

Here’s an excerpt from Love in the Room:

The Promise of Christmas

Chaos reigned supreme. That’s how it seemed as we rehearsed our Christmas play. The first rehearsal didn’t really happen. The second one was only a bit better, and three quarters of the cast didn’t make it to the third. Those of us who were supposedly “in control” wondered if we were going to have a play at all.

That was nothing new. Every year it seems to happen. Kids run helter-skelter, some don’t show up, some can’t find costumes or those made for them don’t fit. The choir director is tearing her hair out This year seemed a bit more chaotic than usual. But somehow it all came together in the end. The night of the performance seemed to go well. I say seemed, because I was too busy trying to keep my “cast” quiet and focused, to notice if the play was working. One of the magi discovered he could use one of the shepherd’s headbands as a slingshot to wing the beads off his crown clear across the front of the church. That delighted the kids in the front row who dashed out to pick them up. Mary couldn’t stop squirming because her costume was made of wool, and Joseph kept changing his mind about which robe fit best – right up until he walked out onto the ‘stage.’

I wasn’t sure it had really all come together until the audience stood to applaud at the end. When many congratulated us on a job well done, all I could say was, “It’s a miracle!”

And that’s the promise of Christmas – it all comes together in the end. I’m sure the followers of Jesus, watching the drama of His life and death, felt the same way we ‘directors’ did. To those who thought they were in control, it looked like chaos reigned. From the moment of His birth, He and His parents had to run from those who wanted to kill Him. As He performed miracles, religious leaders plotted against Him. Even the disciples themselves didn’t understand His message. They were disappointed that He didn’t chase the Romans out of the country; He never did set up an earthly kingdom. Then, the cross. It looked like everything they tried to accomplish was doomed to fail. But in the end …

In the end, the stone was rolled away. The baby born in a stable and crucified on a cross was raised glorified, to the glory of His Father.

And there is another promise yet to unfold. As the birth of Christ is overshadowed by the cross, which was blasted away by his resurrection, even that will be outdone by His return. One day, God has told us, “Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone are righteousness and strength’.” (Isaiah 45:23,24)

It will be a miracle and it really will all come together in the end.

****

To purchase Love in the Room by Marcia Lee Laycock go to Amazon.com or Amazon.ca

Or, if you live in Canada, order directly from the author by emailing marcia@marcialeelaycock.com

 

About Marcia Lee Laycock

Aug. 2015 hat croppedMarcia’s work has been published in magazines, newspapers and anthologies in both Canada and the U.S. and appears frequently on the world wide web. She currently writes a regular devotional column, The Spur, which appears in publications across Canada and goes out by e-mail to avid readers. Marcia’s writing has won many prizes, garnering praise from notable Christian writers like Janette Oke, Mark Buchanan, Phil Callaway and Sigmund Brouwer. She has published four devotional books, six novels and many short stories. Marcia won the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was short-listed for a Word award along with her fantasy novel, Journey to a Strong Tower. Marcia is also a sought-after speaker for women’s events. To learn more about Marcia’s writing and speaking ministry visit her online at www.marcialeelaycock.com

 

 

12 Days of Christmas Books

Tadeo-Won-Word-Awards-2012-web

How to Celebrate Who You Are By Janis Cox

Is there a time when you have felt unloved?
Have you felt that you are not good enough?
Or you have wanted to be or act like someone else?

Children have the same struggles. That’s how competition makes for hurt feelings and inadequacy.

Tadeo Turtle is a little colourful turtle who loves life – until he sees Sammy squirrel climbing a tree and starts to envy his way of life. Join Tadeo on his journey of self-discovery. He learns a lesson that we all need to learn – God loves us, just the way He made us.

Acceptance of who you are leads to many positive characteristics. So no matter what age you are this book has a lesson for you.

Created for ages newborn until 6, Tadeo Turtle has become a best-loved book.

There are children’s activities and research ideas in the back of the book.

Happy readers have said,

 “I bought these [Janis has 2 books] for my grand-nieces a couple of years ago. They’re not book kids, but they loved these. Their mom says they still read them!’ – Bobbi Junior

“May we accept this beautiful gift as Tadeo learned to do. This short book has a lesson for children and adults alike. How often do we wish we were like someone else or had things that others have? Tadeo Turtle is a simple rhyming story for the young. Janis Cox illustrated the animals and scenes in luscious, colorful watercolors. They are so beautifully painted.” Amazon customer

To get a copy: Canadian Amazon

US Amazon

Available in paperback or Kindle. Alternately you can contact me and I will send you one. Email Janis Cox.

Janis-web-ready

http://www.janiscox.com

Janis started writing in her journal as a way to learn more about her faith. She is an award-winning author/illustrator of Tadeo Turtle and The Kingdom of Thrim. She podcasts on Hope Stream Radio. Her talk Growing Through God’s Word can be heard each Tuesday. Janis is also an artist and her art is showcased in the Rails End Gallery, Haliburton, Ontario. She is a creative catalyst who encourages Christians to study God’s word through creativity. Janis lives in Haliburton with her husband and her dog, Snowball.

12 Days of Christmas Books

Bullet BossesGrab the Next Rung On Your Career Ladder

Bullets and Bosses Don’t Have Friends, How To Navigate Tough Challenges at Work  by Toni Crowe is a book about learning to be the best you can be at work.

Discover how to handle tough peers and tougher bosses from one of America’s top Executives.

With a honest, compelling look at relationships with peers and bosses alike, discover a pragmatic approach to mastering your trek through management. You will navigate common challenges in the workplace and conquer them with your personal style.

What Will YOU Learn

In Bullets and Bosses Don’t Have Friends, you’ll discover:

– A behind-the-scenes peek at corporate America that shows you what it’s really like at the top

– Which skills and attitudes you need to scale to the top of the business world

– How to cultivate a relationship with your boss that benefits both of you

– What you can do when confronted with difficult peers so you maintain control

– How you can and should deal with workplace treachery, and much, much more!

Bullets and Bosses Don’t Have Friends is a series of true stories from Toni Crowe’s life in the corporate world, each with a practical lesson and a set of exercises you can apply to your own career. If you like the personal approach of a mentor, tales of hard-won success, and real-world advice from a CEO with an amazing record of achievement, then you’ll love Toni Crowe’s latest book.  third installment in the five-part My Journey from a Lady of the Night to the Lady of the Boardroom memoir!

 

Excerpt from Bullets and Bosses ***

Many people believe that being the boss is easy. It is not. There are numerous activities that are hidden from the everyday employee that would shock them.

I was working for a toxic boss on a large, important project. The project involved castings, which are made by pouring liquid metal into a mold. Manufacturing parts with precision dimensions using this process is something of a magic trick. To add to the challenge, we didn’t have molds for this project.

Normally, from start to finish, a casting takes about thirty weeks. We had to make the part samples ourselves, check them, send them to a supplier for machining, check them again, and then send them to a supplier for painting.

We developed a plan for the parts to travel from one supplier to the next, cutting us out as the middleman and bringing the lead time down from thirty weeks to twenty-five. On this project, those five weeks could make a huge difference to the production team, which wanted to get the sample parts back in-house as fast as they could to build up, first, the production prototype and then the units themselves.

Both the production team and the parts procurement team reported directly to me. Despite enormous effort on my part and theirs, the parts did not come in at twenty-five weeks. They came in at twenty-six weeks.

They were one week late.

The day the parts were due but did not show up, my boss stormed into my office. His face was red, he was breathing hard, and his hands were clenched into tight fists. He walked straight toward me, and for a moment, I thought he might punch me.

He climbed up on my desk and started kicking. He kicked my phone off the desk, then my paper clips, then my calendar.

I didn’t get out of my seat. I just rolled my chair back against the wall while he was up on my desk kicking things around, hoping I didn’t get hit by anything. I was stunned into silence. He was not a skinny man. How upset was he to climb on my desk?

When he had finally kicked everything off, he stared at me. “What was the timeline for this project?”

I told him, “The schedule was thirty weeks.”

He didn’t like that answer. “What did you tell me you and your team could do?”

“I told you we could get it down to twenty-five weeks.”

“Did you get it down to twenty-five weeks?”

“No,” I told him, “I did not. I got it down to twenty-six weeks. I apologize for missing the plan by a week and only being four weeks ahead of the original schedule.”

This appeared to calm him down a bit. He climbed off my desk.

“Engineering is now behind twelve weeks, and you have only made up nine. I want you to see what you can do to make up the last three weeks we need to be on schedule for this project.”

I stood up and pretended that my desk items were not scattered about on the floor.

“Sure. I’ll make that happen.”

My ability to “make that happen” was one of the reasons I did so well in my career. My second ability to stay calm and take the heat was the second. If you work in manufacturing, operations, or supply chains, there are multiple problems you must solve every day. When you are responsible for all of the parts that are needed to produce revenue products, 99.9% is not good enough. If the plant needs one million parts and you and your team provide 999,999, you have failed.

Manufacturing and Operations are tough gigs. Sometimes, no matter what you achieve, it is never enough.

End Excerpt ***

Crowe

Toni Crowe, BSEE, MSM, CLA, PE is the bestselling author of the $7 Journey series.

She is an award winning and accomplished executive with 30 years of experience as a CEO/President, Vice-President, Director, Engineer, and Manager across multiple sectors including high tech, consumer and nuclear sensors, Aerospace,  film production and glass.

Toni has extensive experience in P&L, Manufacturing, Operations Management, and Lean.  She has participated in a number of mergers and acquisitions.

Toni is currently the CEO of  Just One,  her company which is dedicated to changing lives, one life at a time, by insuring that no one has to make the same mistakes she made.

 

Buy Bullets and Bosses Don’t Have Friends to grab hold of the next rung on your career ladder today. https://smile.amazon.com/Bullets-Bosses-Dont-Have-Friends-ebook/dp/B07JH6W8XH