20 December 2010

Focus on Christmas with Penny Zeller with a giveaway

Please welcome Penny Zeller to my blog today to talk about Christmas. I read Penny's book McKenzie and loved it. 



Firstly thanks for coming to my blog to focus on christmas. 
Thank you so much for having me here, Jenny! 

1. What do you most associate with Christmas where you live? 
I love Christmas – it’s my favorite holiday! I most associate Christmas with Christ’s birth. God came to earth as a baby so that He could later die on the Cross for the salvation of mankind. Sadly, I’ve seen over the years how Christmas has become so commercialized. It’s our family’s goal to always remember – and celebrate – even in all the fun activities and memories - that Jesus is the real reason for the season.

2. Do you have any special family traditions you do at Christmas time?
 We love creating memories, especially at Christmastime. Years ago, my husband and I started three fun traditions with our children that we look forward to each Christmas season, in addition to attending Christmas Eve services at church. Each year…

We go “Lighting.” Everyone snuggles into their pajamas, then we head out in the car for a drive around town and a night of enjoying the creativity of those who use Christmas lights to decorate their houses. We then grab a bite to eat – since we’re in our PJs, we go through the drive-thru of course!
(Jenny Here we go looking at the lights also but not always bundled up although this year its cold)

Our second fun tradition is that our girls exchange “Gag Gifts.” These are presents that appear to be normal to the unsuspecting eye (and are wrapped beautifully), but inside contain wacky gifts, such as an empty milk jug for the daughter who loves milk or an old avocado seed for the daughter who detests avocados! We capture these hilarious moments on film and laugh about these gifts for months afterward.

Finally, our third yearly tradition takes place on Christmas night. We watch Christmas movies (The Nativity Story, etc.) and for dinner we eat popcorn, crackers with spray cheese, and other fun junk food items. My husband found some large football-shaped plates from the dollar store that we use only on this special night. Our daughters have commented that we are the “coolest” parents because we allow them to have an all-you-can-eat Christmas dinner with nothing nutritious!
  
3. Do you have a favourite christmas Carol and if so do you know why?
 I have two favorite Christmas carols.J “Little Town of Bethlehem” and “What Child Is This.” I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love listening to the music and taking in the words and their meanings of those beautiful songs. Now that my oldest daughter is taking piano lessons, I enjoy them even more when her little fingers play the notes and she and my younger daughter join their voices to sing.

4. If you could spend Christmas anyway you could how would you celebrate?
 A dream Christmas for me would be to spend it in the mountains in a cabin (a cabin with all the modern amenities, mind you! *grins*) with my family. There would be a fireplace and the snow would be coming down outside making for the perfect white Christmas. We would spend time with the Lord and take turns reading in the Bible the treasured story of Jesus’ birth as we lounge by the fireplace in our pajamas. We would sing Christmas carols and make some sugar cookies with thick red and green frosting and sprinkles. Later, we would venture outside to go sledding, to watch the wildlife, or to have a snowball fight before returning inside for some hot chocolate with marshmallows. In a nutshell, anywhere I am with my husband and two daughters is the perfect Christmas to me. J
( Jenny Here can I come join you it sounds cool in more ways than one.)

5. Do you have any special memories of Christmas? 
When I was a little girl we would climb into the car and drive the short distance down a dirt road to my grandma and grandpa (Nanie and Papa’s) house. My entire extended family lived within a two-hour’s drive so we would all meet at Nanie and Papa’s each year on Christmas Eve. Their house was so small, but there was something special about 20-some people cramming into their living room and enjoying each other’s company. Before dinner, Nanie made prayer cards for each one of us grandchildren and we would read from them when we prayed before our meal. The littlest grandchild at the time always said “amen” and I remember there being no place to walk in the kitchen and dining room because the table was so long to accommodate everyone and took up the entire space! Still, those were fond memories and ones I wouldn’t trade for anything!

6. What is a typical Christmas eve and or Christmas day for you.
 On Christmas Eve, we relax and enjoy each other’s company before heading to the Christmas Eve candlelight services at our church. If it has snowed, we sometimes venture out to build a snowman. On Christmas Day, my husband sets out a special unwrapped present for each one of his “girls” on the couch so it’s the first thing we see when we walk up the stairs. We then open presents before I whip up a mean batch of pancakes. All of our relatives live in other states, so we take turns calling them and wishing them a Merry Christmas. Later, we read from the Bible then watch a movie with our nutritious dinner (see question number two!)

7. Do you have any Christmas movies or Christmas books you like to see or read each year? 
Our family loves to watch “The Nativity Story”. Another movie we enjoy is “The Christmas Card” and “Christmas Child.” As for books, we always read the account of Jesus’ birth, usually from the Book of Luke.
(Jenny here again I do like the Christmas Card and Christmas Child I have bought both of them.)

8. Do you have a Christmas message for my readers?
 My message would be first and foremost to always remember Christ in Christmas. I would also like to encourage your readers to be on the lookout for someone who might be alone this time of year and to reach out to them and maybe even invite them to your home to celebrate Christmas with your family. We’ve done this before and it’s amazing how others can be blessed through this gesture.
(Jenny here Penny thanks for mentioning people who are alone as it really does mean alot be be asked)


Thank you so much for having me here, Jenny! Merry Christmas everyone and may the Lord bless you and keep you safe as we venture in to the New Year!

I love to hear from my readers and can be found on the web at www.pennyzeller.com (website)
www.pennyzeller.wordpress.com (my humor blog – a Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom, and Author)

Penny is offering one reader the chance to own McKenzie  and to enter tell us How you would like to spend Christmas. leave a way to contact you in your comment and with Christmas this week I will extend the dead line to Dec 31 6pm aussie time.


McKenzie
McKenzie (Whitaker House) is a Christian fiction historical romance and the first in a series of three in the Montana Skies Series. Release date: September 1, 2010

Read on for a synopsis of this touching and heartwarming novel:

"Desperate times call for desperate measures" is the reasoning that prompts McKenzie Worthington, a young lady of Boston’s high society, to respond to an ad for a mail-order bride for a man in the Montana Territory. McKenzie is desperate, after all, to save her beloved younger sister, Kaydie, from her evil, abusive husband, who robs banks for a living. And so, it is with reckless determination that McKenzie runs away from the comforts of home and hearth to head West and meet her new husband—whom she’ll divorce, of course, after she rescues her sister.

"Desperate times call for desperate measures" is the reasoning that also prompts Zachary Sawyer, a rugged rancher after God’s own heart, to post an ad for a mail-order bride in various newspapers across the country. Managing a ranch and caring for his adoptive son, Davey, has become more than one man can handle alone, and Zach prays for God to send him a wife with whom to build a life and share his dreams.

When McKenzie arrives at Zach’s ranch, she immediately puts her plan in motion, searching for her sister and doing all she can to keep her new husband from forming an attachment. But his persistent kindness and significant self-sacrifices begin to change her heart—and ruin her plans. God has a way of working things out to the good of those who love Him, though, as McKenzie will soon see.

Kaydie (Book #2 in the Montana Skies Series ~ Whitaker House)
For the first time in years, Kaydie Worthington Kraemer can breathe easily. Although she is still haunted by memories of her abusive husband, Darius, she takes comfort in knowing the man is dead. Staying with her sister McKenzie and brother-in-law Zach Sawyer at their ranch, Kaydie is still wary of men, especially now that she has another life inside of her to guard. As she looks forward to her baby’s birth, she builds a protective wall around herself that won’t be easy to tear down.
 
Ranch hand Jonah Dickenson views his boss, Zach, like a brother. He does not, however, envy Zach’s new role as a husband. Deserted by his mother at a young age and forever despised and rejected by his own father, Jonah has few close relationships. But there’s something about Kaydie that draws him to her and makes him question his decision to remain a bachelor. When Cedric Van Aulst, an old friend of Kaydie’s, comes to town, an unforeseen prospect of marriage arises. Cedric is someone Kaydie trusts. Will she settle for a safe union with him, or can she trust God to guard her heart and her life in the arms of Jonah?

77 Ways Your Family Can Make A Difference (Beacon Hill Press)
(from back cover)

Serving others - loving them the way we love ourselves - is the heartbeat of the Christian faith. As parents, we want to instill this virtue in our children, but simply telling our kids to love their neighbors isn't enough - they need to see and experience love in action.

Packed with 77 suggestions and activities designed to serve the different needs of people in your community, this fun and insightful book will help you cultivate love and compassion in your kids as you discover ways your family can make the world a better place by impacting the lives of others.

This practical and easy-to-use book includes:
  • Creative activities that can be adapted to fit your unique family
  • Service ideas for a variety of budgets
  • Bible verses tohelp children connect God's truth to their lives
  • Interactive discussion questions to help your family understand the importance of each activity and correlate it to God's Word

7 comments:

Gwen said...

I already own a copy of McKenzie - it was good and I really enjoyed reading it. I have even read it more than once and can't wait to buy (or win!) Kaydie. But I wanted to share how I spend Christmas...I spend it with my family opening presents, eating good food, caroling, reading the Bible, and having fun. It is a day of relaxation and reflection. Merry Christmas!

Wyn said...

Up to this year we have always traveled 8 hours west to my MIL's and spent Christmas in a hotel. This year we are home, with a tree, no baking so far, but it sure is a lot less stress :) I enjoyed McKenzie when I read it for the FIRST tour. Can't wait to read Kaydie.

wyndyc at gmail dot com
http://wynsbooks.blogspot.com

Ann Lee Miller said...

I'd like to spend Christmas with my husband and all my kids around me. Four are home now and the last one coming in on Thursday. So, I'll get my wish. :)
Ann_Lee_Miller@msn.com
AnnLeeMiller.com

Jo said...

I wish that we lived closer to our daughter and her family to be able to spend the holidays with them but G-d moved us from Florida back to Arizona. We do have one son and his wife here who we will spend the day with as well as Christmas Eve with some church family.

Blessings,
Jo
ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

by Pegg Thomas said...

I love spending Christmas at home. We have no extended family near by, so we "do Christmas" with them the week before. Christmas day is spent at home, in our PJs, playing games and just being together.

twinwillowsfarm at gmail dot com

Penny Zeller said...

Good Afternoon, Gwen, Wyn, Jo, Ann and Pegg! What fun to hear about how you will be spending Christmas.

Thank you Gwen and Wyn for your kind comments about my books! I'm waiting any day now for the "galleys" of Kaydie to arrive on my front door step. I've started to stalk the UPS man, *giggles*

Ann - I am so glad to hear you will be able to spend Christmas with your husband and your children.

Pegg - a relaxing day in jammies sounds fun! I'm heading over to your house :)

Jo - We will be spending Christmas Eve with church family as well at our candlelight service. I'm glad, too, that your son and his wife are nearby :)

Wyn - I am always for less stress! Your comment about Christmas in a hotel got my creative juices flowing - hmmm maybe some of my characters could have that experience...once upon a time... *grins*

Gwen - we love to go Christmas caroling too!

Have a Merry Christmas and God's blessings to you all!

Hugs,
Penny

Laetitia :-) said...

Christmas Eve service; lunch segueing into dinner at my in-laws; lots of family around to chat with - especially those whom we haven't seen for a while; a day warm enough to enjoy my in-laws' pool :-)

We got the first two on Christmas Eve / Day this year and part 3 yesterday. Today might fit part 4 but after weeks of rain we need to mow!

I'm pretty sure you know how to contact me Jenny. :-)

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