This guest blog by Kandi J. Wyatt details her own story and what it takes to keep love alive.
Keeping Love Alive, by Kandi J. Wyatt
The day before our anniversary I remember talking with my mom and saying I thought my husband had forgotten the date. We had always discussed at least something to celebrate even if it wasn't on the exact day. That year I hadn't heard a single thing about our anniversary. I was close to tears when I chatted with Mom on the phone.
The next day, Eric, my husband, left for work as usual around 5:30 in the morning. I went back to sleep and was surprised when the alarm went off at 7:00. I hadn't set it. I debated getting up, but with a one-, six-, seven-, nine-, and fourteen-year-old to look after, I decided to stay in bed for a few moments longer. I must have dozed off, because a knock on the door woke me up. Putting on my robe, I went to see who was there. Two friends, AJ and Sara, greeted me. Sara was wearing my Irish dress! AJ held a video camcorder and was dressed in a blue outfit complete with Shakespearean style floppy hat! Sara handed me a roll of paper. Curious, I took a look. The wax seal came off easily enough, but the thread around it was another matter. Finally, I was able to unroll it, careful that none of the burnt edges fell off onto the floor.
If you still hold true to your promise of love,
I would love to hear any of your special days or how you keep your love alive. Let me know in the comments below.
About Kandi J. Wyatt
Kandi J Wyatt is a wife, mother of five, teacher, artist, and author. In her free time, she enjoys writing fantasy stories and Christmas programs, and drawing with graphite and colored pencils. Portraits are her specialty. Kandi also enjoys photography, thanks to her photographer husband who has let her join his journey as both his model and apprentice, and she occasionally serves as his assistant when he needs a “light stand with feet.” To learn more, visit kandijwyatt.wordpress.com.
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Read more from Kandi in The One Who Sees Me
Teenage slave girl Faru’s life has been turned upside down when she discovers she’s been traded to a new master, forcing her to leave all she‘s ever known. Upon her arrival, Faru meets a friend, Cailean, who helps her adjust to life in the strange location. Life settles into a new pattern, and romance blossoms between the young friends. But as soon as they plan to get married, another proposal comes about – one that cannot be ignored. Being a slave means not always marrying who you love.
On a daring journey to heal her heart, Faru encounters the Existing One. Will she trust Him and do His bidding even if what He requests is so hard?
Follow Faru’s tale in author Kandi J Wyatt’s retelling of a Biblical story found in the Old Testament book of Genesis, showing that when things don’t make sense, God will guide the way.
Get it here: Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Goodreads
This guest blog post from Jennifer J. Chow is a beautiful reminder that our treasure lies in our hearts. The love we have for one another, passed down from generation to generation, is far more valuable than any diamond.
Real Treasure, by Jennifer J. Chow
When I was a kid, I would sneak into the walk-in closet in my parents’ master bedroom. If I tiptoed just right, I could reach the top of the dresser where my mom kept her jewelry box. At the time, I thought it was a treasure chest. I opened it up and there would be rings, bracelets, earrings. All of them glittered and sparkled in the light.
As a child, I thought my mom’s treasure was something tangible. It was in the value of her jewels, all the gold and shiny things in her box.
I grew older and revisited my mom’s jewelry box. Beyond the original sparkling treasure, I saw new ones. Necklaces made out of beads and macaroni. She had kept every one of my homemade Mother’s Day’s gifts to her.
As a young adult, I figured out that my mother’s treasure was more intangible. What was treasure was how she cherished me.
At last I had my own kids. One recent summer, my parents took my girls on an Amtrak trip. On this special occasion, my mom gave my older daughter a necklace to wear. I had forgotten about this particular treasure from her jewelry box. It was a stretchy necklace composed of beads—they were roses of different pastel colors. I remember really enjoying wearing it as a kid. In fact, it was just the right size for a child to wear. And why? I only recently found out that it had been given to her from her mother.
As a parent, I realized that my mom’s treasure was a comprehensive love. This necklace, a token of affection, had been passed down from her mother to her, then down to me, and now to my daughter. My mom’s love looked ahead to the future and connected generations.
When all is said and done, I realize that I was wrong about the jewelry box. Because what determines what treasure goes into a box? It’s the person. It was my mom who hand-selected all the pieces. She’s the real treasure.
About Jennifer J. Chow
Jennifer J. Chow writes multicultural fiction with intergenerational drama. She lives in Los Angeles, California.
Her short fiction has most recently appeared in Hyphen Magazine and Yay! LA Magazine. Her Asian-American novels include Dragonfly Dreams, The 228 Legacy, and Seniors Sleuth. Visit her author website: www.jenniferjchow.com
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Read more from Jennifer in Dragonfly Dreams
From Jennifer J. Chow, author of the award-winning The 228 Legacy, comes a young adult novel about immigrant struggles and family conflict. It’s 1880 in Fresno, California when 17-year-old Topaz Woo dies after giving birth. She can get an extension in a non-physical body—if she uses The Ten Commandments to influence her newborn. Over the course of ten years, she finds herself stymied in parenting by intergenerational drama and spiritual battle. Will she adjust to an otherworldly existence and give her daughter a solid foundation? Or will she become mired in family disputes and forfeit her soul to evil?
Get it here: Amazon * Barnes & Noble * iTunes
This guest blog is from one of my all-time favorite people. You've seen me talk about her often—she's my inspiration, my mentor, my managing director at Vox Dei, but most importantly, my friend. I am so blessed to know her, and after you read her work, and especially her words about her own love story, you'll want to know her, too.
I Choose Love in the Minefield, by Heather Huffman
As a romance novelist, I love love. I never get tired of watching, reading, or writing that journey from stranger to being each other’s world. People read my books and assume they see my own love story in them. And to some extent, there are pieces of my great romance hidden in the pages, but the reality of choosing love forever is something vastly different than anything I could fit into 200 pages.
When I was 19, I was roommates with my best friend from high school. Once we were out on our own and working a billion hours a week at opposite schedules to pay for all that freedom, chances to see each other were coveted. We’d met for coffee at our favorite restaurant and had just settled in for good girl time when a guy from across the room called out “Hey, coffee wench, can I get a refill here?”
It took me a second to realize he was talking to my roommate. I looked at him with disdain, then back at Anne. “Who is that fool?”
I didn’t know it then, but the fool was the love of my life. As it turned out, he was a regular customer at the little diner where Anne worked. I eventually went to work there, too, and it didn’t take long for the fool to graduate to charming nuisance and on to best friend. We were inseparable as friends. So much so that the rest of the world saw it before we did. Nobody was surprised when we started dating, though it caused quite a stir when he dropped to one knee in the diner parking lot three weeks later. (That same diner showed up in my first novel, Throwaway.)
Our love had all the makings of a good romance novel. He swept me off my feet, bad guys and exes conspired to keep us apart, and we even had more than our fair share of humorous antics. (Like spending our wedding night in a no-tell motel because we’d locked our keys and the majority of our money in our new apartment.)
And like any love story, there was pain. Some of it was caused by life; most of it we caused each other. It was oh-so-hard holding that love together when it seemed like everything in the universe was working to pull it apart. The pain of losing babies, the reality of raising babies, the neverending lack of money, and perpetual bad luck all played their part. It all nearly tore us apart when our oldest son was two. We pulled it together only to come completely undone when I was pregnant with baby number two. By baby number three, I told him we were staying together whether he liked it or not because I wasn’t raising three boys alone.
It was a dark time for me, though. I felt trapped and so certain I’d made the wrong choice, that my great love story had passed me by and I couldn’t fathom ever feeling that way again. Somewhere along the way, I realized something that doesn’t often make it into books: being in love comes and goes. Loving someone, I mean really loving them, means sticking it out when you’d rather shove them into traffic. It means staying when the flutters have dissipated and rejoicing when they return. Real love means choosing love, even when it’s the last thing you want.
About Heather Huffman
Heather Huffman calls the beautiful Missouri Ozarks home. When not writing, she's busy raising three boys or tending the family's myriad of animals, which includes goats, chickens, dogs - and a few horses for good measure. Huffman's optimistic and somewhat quirky view of life often finds its way into her novels. Heather is the author of ten novels, including Throwaway and Jailbird. Find out more about her family's adventures, as well as her writing and charitable work, on www.heatherhuffman.net.
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I've decided to create a month of blogs to celebrate love. Yes, I know it's not February, the typical month for all things love-related. But coming off a very tough year, it's been important to me to celebrate what we have, and the greatest of these is love. 2015 was all about sickness and sadness. I'm determined to make 2016 all about love and happiness.
So.........without further ado: #IChooseLove
You've seen me post about it before, but this year I'm making a conscious effort to dwell in the love that surrounds us all. We have the love of family (even if we have our moments with them), the love of our friends, co-workers and neighbors. But the greatest love story ever told has been God's love story to man--the Bible.
I firmly believe that the Bible was created for the sole purpose of showing the gift of love. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." Isn't that beautiful? That God sent His Son from heaven to lead people into the gates of heaven, and deliver us from evil? Isn't it beautiful that Jesus died for us, knowing the pain he'd endure, so that we could be saved?
I've enlisted many Booktrope authors and other creative team members to help show the world what love means to them. They can write about anything, so long as it involves love. Some stories may be fictional, some may be from their own lives, and some may write out their testimony.
I did something similar to this with the second edition of Breathless. I put out a Valentine's edition in 2012 with love stories from my family, friends and fans. My favorite of these will always be my parents' love story, told from both perspectives.
About Becki Brannen
Becki Brannen is a thirty-something writer born and raised in the heart of Georgia. Her debut novel, Breathless, is the result of NaNoWriMo 2011, having been written in just twenty-nine days. Becki primarily writes “chick lit with a Christian twist,” marrying one of her favorite genres with her Christian faith. Her life verses are Jeremiah 29:11 and Isaiah 41:10. Becki and her husband have twin daughters and a poodle, Sophie.
Find Becki online: Website * Facebook * Twitter
The book that started it all
What happens when an ordinary girl meets the man of everyone’s dreams?
Keeping secrets is never easy, especially since Ryan Spalding is on the cover of every magazine and this year’s “Hottest Hunk under 30.” Good thing busy lawyer Carly Sparks is so out of the loop when it comes to celebrity affairs, or she’d realize she was in one!
Leading man Ryan Spalding tempts Carly Sparks in ways she’s only ever seen in the movies. She’s drifted away from a promise she made to God as a teenager, but Carly must rely on her faith when her relationship with Ryan is put to the test. Will it be enough to keep them together, or will theirs be just another failed Hollywood romance?
Get it here: Amazon
It’s hard to celebrate much this year. After all, my Daddy died July 19th, and my world was changed forever. I didn’t realize it would affect me so deeply, but it has. It’s hard to feel like celebrating anything. Not Thanksgiving, not Christmas, not his upcoming birthday.
It feels wrong. I know it’s wrong to not celebrate Jesus’s birthday, to Bah Humbug the season rather than rejoice in all that I have and in all my blessings, but I find myself wishing it was over rather than getting excited about the presents and family time and thanking God for sending his Son to die for my sins.
And then my daughters talk about their Papa. They excitedly chatter about the presents under the tree—maybe a few more than I’d planned so they look back on this Christmas for how bountiful it was, not the family member missing from our annual brunch. My girls talk about how we celebrate Jesus’s birthday, singing Christmas carols in the car and begging to go to Chick-Fil-A so we can drive under the lit arch. They shout about “lights on the left,” eagerly pointing out the meager lights as if the entire neighborhood was lit up and viewable from space. They opened a gift my Daddy bought for them two years ago, but thought them too young for, last night. One last gift from their Papa. While it’s a toy they will tire of at some point, I know it’s one I will treasure for the rest of my life.
My daughters remind me that Christmas is about Jesus—not me. They remind me that it’s about giving, not receiving. It’s not about having my dad at my breakfast table, but about having him in my heart. It’s about what we have to look forward to—a heavenly homecoming—not the pain of loss. I’m so unbelievably blessed to have my little girls to remind me what this time is really about, and what life is really about. Yes, this Christmas is hard. It’s full of pain and tears and longing to have my dad back for just one hug. But it’s also a reminder of how much my Heavenly Father loves me and cares for me, just as he sent my Daddy here to do on earth. My gift has already been received, and no present under the tree could compare.
When we settle down to Christmas brunch this year, there will be a seat for my Daddy. I think it will be a great way to honor him and his life.
Have you made a place for your Father in your heart and in your life? If ever there is a time we are reminded of God’s love for us, it’s at Christmastime, as we celebrate God sending His only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. As for me and my house, we will save Him a place at our table.
That's right! The only catch—you're winning for a friend!