My True Love Gave to Me… Holiday stories from some of our favorites!

my true love


Rainbow Rowell? Stephanie Perkins? Ally Carter? Matt De La Pena? Gayle Forman? Jenny Han? ALL IN ONE BOOK? Yep!

Merry Christmas to us all.

I mostly loved this collection of short stories. Several of them were enough to put me in the Christmas spirit even back when I read it in early August, and the one from Rainbow Rowell is just purely magical. There’s so much to love here!

The ONLY thing keeping me from recommending it with all the power I have is that there were a few stories that seemed anti-holiday, and it made me hesitate to really go all in for this. I mean, if you’re asked to write a short story to be included with the YA giants that make up this collection, why put content in the stories that will fly in the face of some of those very holidays?

Of course, that’s just my opinion and others will most certainly disagree. Even with those few stories that made me uneasy, though, I believe that the good far outweighs the bad here and that the stories here that are good are REALLY good, perfect for the upcoming holiday season! If you’re a fan of any of these authors, you’ll want to own this. Check out My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories on Amazon or at your favorite local retailer.

Where the Wild Things Are: An Open Letter to my Sister for Christmas.

Wild Things


To Kerry,

You may be wondering why I’m giving you a picture book for Christmas. I’m well aware of the fact that you’re not a child. :)  I’m giving you this, though, because it is my very favorite book of all time – not because of the cool illustrations or the wild rumpus pages, but because it is a perfect metaphor for life. And family. And unconditional love.

Now, go ahead and read it. The whole thing. Before you finish my letter.

So Max messes up. He makes mistakes. He wore a wolf suit and threatened his mom, and so he was disciplined. But he was out there, right? Playing dress up, figuring it all out, and learning.

What I love about Max is that he doesn’t back down from life when it gets challenging. He perseveres and uses his imagination, traveling to the place where the wild things are. He doesn’t sit down and pout. He gets into the boat that shows up (God is like that – just when there’s nothing we can do on our own, He makes a way), and he goes. Instead of sitting still, he takes action and goes somewhere. And what does he do when he gets there? Does he back down when he sees the scary and intimidating wild things? No. He stands strong and firm and looks them straight in the eye.

We all face challenges and obstacles and moments when we feel stuck. All of us. And if you don’t feel that way right now, at this exact moment, you will soon. It’s just part of life. So when it happens, we have to keep our hope and imagination, step into whatever way out of the situation God provides with faith and determination, and look our monsters straight in the eye. Don’t back down and don’t ever give up hope.

So as good as that all is, it’s the end that makes it the greatest story. Because, in the end, Max goes home and sees his mom’s love and grace and compassion in the form of  still-hot meal. I love it. What a great reminder that our family, and more importantly our God, will always be there with open arms full of grace, welcoming us home.

I love you. I’m proud of the woman that you are. I can’t wait to see what your future holds. And I will always, always, always be ready with a still-hot meal cooked just for you.



Elf on a Shelf!


I avoided this book for a long time, not because I didn’t think it was a great idea, but because I didn’t want to read it to my kids and feel obligated to do something with the elf every night. I kept seeing all these pictures all over Facebook of crazy things people did to their family elves – dressing them up, staging tea parties, toilet papering Christmas trees – it was endless.

So last year after Christmas, I picked up an Elf on the Shelf kit for 50% off. When we pulled out our Christmas stuff this year, we found it, read it, named our elf Jingle Jack, and we’ve been having a blast ever since.

Now, my son is almost 8, and he’s been hesitant to believe Santa is real for the last year or two. However, he’s all about believing that Jingle Jack actually goes to the North Pole to report to Santa every night. He even caught me in the act of staging this “bubble bath” and just laughed, completely oblivious to the fact that I had been putting the finishing touches on the scene as he walked into the room.


The thing is, it doesn’t take too long to set up a scene. Even the bubble bath one took less than five minutes, and most of that time was just gathering the stuff from my daughter’s random doll junk. Toilet papering the Christmas tree? Thirty seconds. And it’s FUN.

So even if you’re not a parent with children, GO GET AN ELF ON THE SHELF. Rotate nights with your family members or dorm mates or whatever and have fun with it. It’s a great way to get into the holiday spirit, and it’s really neat to watch people react to what you’ve done.

Merry Christmas, and ENJOY this!