This year we celebrated early so that some of us can hit the road for Utah and celebrate with the rest of the family.
2019 was a great year for the Symonds family! I thought it would be fun to share a little bit of our lovely chaos with you. Funny, when the noise in the room is made by people I love, it is music to my ears.
I was raised in a large and very close family. We are still very connected through Lassie Hame, our family home on the beach. We text, chat and visit often. Christmas was a time of chaos, good food, and cousins everywhere. I loved it.
Then, later in life, we moved our family to our first home on the Oregon Coast. Although we were just down the road from the beach house, we had quiet Christmases. Traveling to the coast from Utah and even Portland is difficult in winter. Even though we had six children, I missed the constant party atmosphere of my youth.
As we celebrated our early Christmas, I realized I had recreated the big family of my youth. Even though we only had half of our grandchildren and four of our children, it was – in the words of little Maddy, “Glorious Chaos!”
Whether you have a small family, chosen family, a church family, or spend your Christmas in the service of others – I wish you a day of glorious chaos and love!
For those of you who are thinking life at the beach is sand and sun, I thought you might enjoy a little authentic Seaside, Oregon travel conditions! We started out for the airport yesterday! After a three hour drive, a night with my cousins (the best!) we arrived at the airport this morning. Here is a little peek at our drive. Please don’t judge the backseat driver in the passenger seat (me) wearing her lucky Uggs and giving the driver absolutely sound advice.
Shannon’s List of Favorite Holiday Reads, Fun, and Family Stuff!
Here are a few things I am LOVING this Christmas season.
Each morning, I love to ground myself by starting the day with quiet study. I highly recommend the non-denominational group, Multiply Goodness.Their current study, Advent, O Come Let Us Adore Him
I am a huge fan of, Don’t Miss This, with Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler. They have partnered with LDS Living to provide daily video inspiration and study ideas for families. Do you want to introduce your children to the characters in their nativity scene? Check this out!
#LightTheWorld Check the Hashtag! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has created some beautiful content to help you and your family feel closer to Christ during the Christmas Season. You can find #LightTheWorld here. Here is a beautiful video of the nativity.
I have also been enjoying Emily Belle Freeman’s, Inklings, studyguide for women who want to know more about their role in the Priesthood in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Last of all! Have you ever wanted a Life Coach? Meet Lisa Lewis. She has been guiding participants through their 40-day Journey to the New Year. It still isn’t too late to take the journey with us.
Favorite Christmas Movies in 2019
Take a look inside my head! This movie tells the story of how Charles Dickens wrote the Christmas Carol. It is like taking a walk through an author’s mind. I LOVE it! The Man Who Invented Christmas on Amazon.
REVIEW COPIES FREE. For reading all the way to the end of this LONG, LONG, List, if you would like to join my review crew and receive a free copy of Safe House and Finding Hope for an honest and fair review on Goodreads AND Amazon, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Put review crew in the subject line. I will reply ASAP with Kindle versions of my books for the first 20 people who ask.
And don’t forget! My birthday is coming! So until then, I am giving away 100 Kindle Copies of Finding Hope on Goodreads. No hook and a great chance of winning since I am a small town beach author who knows almost no one! Enter here.
I asked Kimber King, author of "The Trouble With Fairy Godmothers," why she was committed to writing clean novels and she said, "I believe that books should inspire people to becoming better versions of themselves, and to..."
Watch "Brother's Keeper" ~a powerful book trailer by Christa Jaussi
Sharing this book is a sincere pleasure. I don't know anyone who hasn't been touched by suicide in their lives. The joyful holidays can lead some of us to compare ourselves to others or to feel alone, pressured. This holiday, I hope Christa Jaussi's book reminds you that connection and loves ones are priceless, and that you matter. Every
Thursday I feature an author committed to writing clean or inspirational books. Each time, I am moved by the quality of authors and the importance of their work. This book, Brother's Keeper-a fictional novel based on author's experience of losing brother to suicide-, by Christa Jaussi has important content for our times. We are losing too many of our young people. Although it is fiction, it can start conversations and open dialogues with family members about suicide.
Christa Jaussi lost her brother to suicide in 2005...
She’s hiding in her present.
With nothing but her guitar and a few belongings, Hope Flanagan escapes the abuse and negligence from her mother’s boyfriend. Hope’s lucky enough to find a warm exhaust vent in an alley of her coastal town and blessed with help from a coffee-shop employee who sees her desperate situation. But Hope is determined to stay under the radar from social services and the other homeless kids, who seem to go missing once they fall under the notice of the local homeless tough girl.
She’s hiding from her past.
Grace James works with the police to help survivors of abuse while desperately fighting to keep her own family safe from her vindictive ex-husband. News of her husband’s release from prison pushes her to accept help from the handsome and secretive Officer Joe Hart. But then her mother brings home a stray from her coffee shop, and Grace finds herself catapulting through her fears to do for Hope what she just might not be able to do for herself—find out who she really is to save her before it’s too late.You can find "Finding Hope" on Amazon:Paperback, OR Kindle, Kindle Unlimited
Thursdays, I like to feature authors committed to writing clean or inspirational books like T.K. Perry, author of Elissa Blue: Book One of The Winged, Published by Scarlet Note Publishing. But, I rarely get to go to lunch with the author!
T.K. Perry was among a group of Oregon and Washington authors I met for lunch at Hawthorns Fish house. Although we were all meeting for the first time, it was like meeting old friends. Authors... I am learning to spot them, even when they aren't in a convenient group. Predictably we all read a ton. We also think constantly about our stories and the characters that haunt us. But, I wouldn't have predicted that four of the five authors at the table would be gluten and dairy-free! T.K. Perry is creative, hilarious, and as pretty as her picture inside and out. She has common sense and a writer's soul. She lives a life of adventure, seeking the most beautiful spots in Oregon and Washington to raise her family, and her daughter is evidence of what a great mother she is.
I have to take a moment to say what a pleasure it was to meet a young person who was invested in her education, and lit up like a Christmas tree when she talked about what she was writing. Someday, in the future, I hope I get to feature a book by T.K. Jr. She was a credit to her mother.
About T.K. Perry, Author
T.K. Perry lives with her husband and daughter in a lovely Oregon forest filled with wildlife (there is probably a house, too, but that's less picturesque). When she isn't writing or watching said wildlife, she enjoys making jewelry, pretending to be a photographer, and trying to save the world (a frustrating task since she lacks both superpowers and a costume). T.K. received a B.A. in International Relations from Brigham Young University, an M.A. in International Politics from the University of Denver Graduate School of International Studies, and a J.D. from the University of Denver College of Law. She is currently working on Book Three of The Winged series.
Molly has authored two colorful children's books for the littlest members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Guess Who's in the Book of Mormon and Guess Who's the Latter Day Prophet. I asked Molly why she is committed to writing clean and inspiring books. She said:
"Books have played a huge role in my life. I have laughed, cried, learned and explored through their pages. Because of this, my dream has always been to contribute my writing to the world of books. I believe in looking for light in many different areas and know that good, clean books can bless our lives in so many ways!
When you use your dollars to purchase books, movies, or any other form of entertainment you influence the world. Do you check your social media to see how many friends liked your friend night out silly selfie or social media posts? Well, guess what? So does big business, entertainment, and authors. Our purchases of clean and inspirational work coupled with well told stories and inspirational books can create change.
Every Thursday, I like to feature authors like Aspen Hadley, who chooses light and is committed to create clean or inspirational books. Aspen is the author of two romantic comedies. She recently released, Blind Dates, Bridesmaids, and Other Disasters. She released, Simply Starstruck, in 2018. Both books have 5-star reviews on Amazon. I asked Aspen why she is committed to writing clean fiction. She said:
"I want to write books that make people happy and that give readers a fun break from life. I'm committed to writing clean, uplifting novels that I can share with
While my next release, FINDING HOPE, is in the hands of a very capable proofreader (I guess it needs a lot of proof), this writers gotta write. I thought it would be fun to write a MG or YA Fantasy.Confession? I am a die-hard Harry Potter fan. I kept my daughter awake to make the midnight release parties. I have always wanted to build a world. Infact, I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want to design their own world.I have outlined a series called, Other Worlds. The first book is called, The Forgetting.
This Thursday's world changer, Deb Goodman's novel, "Billionaire Doctor" was the #1 Bestseller on Amazon! Deb is more than a prolific author of fun and romantic novels. She also writes articles, edits for authors like me, and is a regular member of our Storymakers Critique group! I asked Deb why she is committed to writing only sweet, and clean fiction. She said,"I want to be sure my books reflect God’s love for his children. I wouldn’t ever want to write something that...