Have you ever wearied the Lord in prayer and wondered when he would answer your prayer, or if he would answer? Have those answers come in unexpected ways? I know I have. I have wanted more time for family and writing. I think I have my answer and it will mean more time to write.
I love to write stories about characters that have deep needs, face insurmountable odds, are tried during the storms of life, face destruction, and still find their happy ending. I write about unexpected heroes and heroines, who after the storm is over, realize the hand of God was at work the entire time. And the events they thought would annihilate them were actually the best thing that ever happened to them.
Why do I love to write stories about people who face impossible odds? Because that is the ongoing story in my life, and I would bet a few of you have been caught in the rain before. But I believe in miracles and I believe in happy endings, so here we go! New job and more writing.
Today, I found one more survivor. This afternoon, the sun was out, and I worked in the garden. I weeded and pulled out the plants that hadn’t made it through the wild coastal winter months. We have had snow, fierce winds, and record rainfalls. I opened the gate to put my tools away in the backyard and look what I found. While everything else turned brown and withered, this beautiful little plant flowered through the dark winter months on the north side of the house. It blossomed against all odds, just like the heroines of my stories.
A few weeks ago, I was asked to speak on Hope in church, while I was praying and working on making more space for family and writing. It was a great opportunity to explore one of my favorite words-hope.
More on hope later-for now, here is one of my favorite quotes:
Eve Marx of the Seaside Signal not only featured my newest novel, Finding Hope, she investigated trafficking in our small town and researched what it might look like in yours. Do you wonder if your kids are at risk? Do you want to know what to look for?
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 email@example.com. 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 don't know about your family, but kids all around me are getting out for Christmas Break. Parents everywhere are looking forward to baking cookies, sledding, package wrapping, and fun....right up until the kids have been home for days and you run out of things to do.
I am pleased to share this Thursday's author and all of her fun ideas for things to do with your kids, just in time for families everywhere to be snowed in. And trust me, Nina is an expert. She has eight children and still finds time to write children's books.Nina Harris, Author of a children's book called The Ten Leopards, not only has an adorable book, but she has a fun website!
Just in time for Christmas and 2020 Book of Mormon study!
Debbi Rollo, author of Book of Mormon Rhymes: A Companion for Family Scripture Study, an inspirational book for parents and families studying the Book of Mormon shared her reasons for a lifetime commitment to writing only clean or inspirational books. She said:
"I believe that this world needs as much clean, uplifting, and inspirational books and material as possible to counteract the darkness and negativity that seems to be increasing. I believe that wholesome entertainment in books and media helps us to feel more joy and uplifts our spirits so we can better fulfill our purposes in life. As an Author, I am happily committed to do my part.'
I am so excited to share this book with you! Marie Woodward, author of Goodbye, Nauvoo, a historical fiction, has a beautiful family history around the very subject of her book! Join me to learn why she is committed to writing clean and inspiration books, and the fascinating history behind her novel, including some family history, and a cherished recipe.
Check out this fun fact Marie shared."The picture of the Nauvoo temple image on the cover of my book was taken by my mother-in-law, Cindy Woodward. She was there on vacation and didn't realize a tornado was brewing in the background at the time she took the picture."
Marie recently had a baby. Marie shared this photo of her little family on the day they blessed the new addition to their family and her inspiration for writing clean novels.I asked Marie about her commitment to only produce clean books and she said:
" As a mother, I want to be an example to my children in writing clean and inspirational books. I want to uplift others and write books that people can be inspired by."
Marie carefully researched her own family history and Nauvoo for her beautiful novel. If you are not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and you know nothing of the history of Nauvoo (spoiler alert), members of the church built the beautiful city in swamp land. They were later driven violently and forced to leave behind their homes and their beautiful temple. It is such an important piece of our culture and history, our Church has rebuilt the temple and returned some of the city to its former glory. You can ...
In honor of the Savior’s Birthday, Christmas, and until my January 7th Birthday, I am giving away 100 kindle copies of Finding Hope on Goodreads. If you don’t use Goodreads, check it out. The Giveaways are a blast. And! As I only know about 100 people in a tiny town on the Oregon Coast, the odds are with you.
Merry Christmas to you and yours from me and mine!
Every Thursday, I feature authors who are committed to writing clean fiction, like Calie Schmidt, the author of, The Drummer Boy, published by Cedar Fort.
I asked Calie why she was committed to writing only clean or inspiring books. She said:"My kids are the reason I am committed to write clean, inspirational books. I want there to be more content in the world that parents do not have to worry about. Also, I want my kids to understand...