Tag Archives: Christmas

Kudos & MoGo7000 Call-Outs, and Who Won Angie Martin’s Book?

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Well, can you believe it’s the first Tuesday of October? Time for call-outs. Let’s start with Kudos…

Hey there, writing friends. We want to know what you’ve been up to. Have you had something exciting happen recently in your writing or speaking life? Maybe you’ve had an article published, signed a book contract, released a new book, got an agent, or started a new blog. If so, we want to hear from you!

It’s really simple, but I do ask that you contact me with the info in this format and order ONLY:

**Your name
**Your state in two-letter abbreviation
**Link to your website or blog
**Your good news
**Link to your good news, if online (online bookstore, online article, etc)

PLEASE let me hear from you. We want to celebrate your successes!

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Who MoGo’d in September?

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in September, you can receive an entry in the drawing for the 2016 MoGo7000 $100 cash prize! It’s open to everyone who qualifies.

To report your September results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project in September. (Please do not send your totals by email or through the Contact page. Totals must be left as a comment here by next Sunday). 

Don’t have any entries yet? Don’t worry, there are three more opportunities left for you this year. Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge rules. All you have to do is write at least 7000 NEW words on a book project in any month and you’ll receive an entry into the end-of-the-year drawing for $100.

Get started now and you could have and extra $100 next year. And it doesn’t cost you a cent.

Angie Martin photo OBC~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And who won Angie Martin’s book?

The winner is…

Sally Matheny!


Congrats, Sally! Simply contact me with your email and snail mail addresses and Angie will get your book right out to you!

And readers, since I know you want you own copy of Angie’s book and materials, here’s your direct link to Angie’s ordering page. Get your copy of Operation Birthday Celebration—A Journey to the Manger here. You won’t be sorry!

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,


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Interview & Book Give-Away with Angie Martin & Operation Birthday Celebration

Angie Martin headshotIt’s the 4th Tuesday, and that means it’s book-give-away day! But today is especially special since we’re also looking ahead to Christmas for the kids!

Friends, what an honor it is to introduce Angie Martin to you today. Angie and I met at a writer’s conference and I was immediately impressed with her work. My goodness, just wait until you see what she has available for you and the children in your family!

Are you like me and hesitant to add another secular focus to the Christmas season? Then you’re exactly the kind of person who needs to meet Angie Martin and get to know her materials! Be sure to read her bio below, but for now, just trust me that this is something you want for kids in your realm of influence.

Be sure to leave a comment for Angie and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book! Don’t forget to check back next week to see if you’re the winner.

Okay, let’s get started. Angie, I’m going to state the obvious. It’s September, not December. Why are we talking about a children’s Christmas storybook now?

Operation Birthday Celebration—A Journey to the Manger is a storybook with interactive features. Jesse, a shepherd-drummer boy, and his feisty lamb, Bongo, are part of a drummer squad whisked away by the desert wind from Bethlehem on a special Christmas adventure—leading families to the manger andAngie Martin book photo the true meaning of the season. These adorable characters must be hand-crafted to “come to life” in time for their visit in December. Now is the perfect time to order! The storybook comes with instructions for crafting the character dolls (which could be as easy as repurposing dolls already available). An “Assignment Manual” suggests activities and teaching moments for twenty-five days, ending with a birthday celebration for baby Jesus. Because each book is personalized with the child’s (or children’s) name, city and state, deadline for ordering books is November 16 to ensure delivery by December 1.

This is such a great idea! What inspired you to write such a book?

The idea for Operation Birthday Celebration came during a conversation with my daughter. She and her husband had decided not to facilitate the Santa fantasy in their home, rather focusing on the birth of Jesus. Many of her mommy-friends posted on social media about family fun involving a popular secular children’s book and activities featuring a magical elf. Feeling sad that her two young sons were missing out, she said, “Mom, it’s just not fair!” She vented a frustration of many Christians living in a media-saturated world with strong secular influences. They’ve bought into the misconception that the “world” has captured the corner market on entertainment and believers are missing out. I wanted my grandsons to enjoy the holiday fun, but my main motivation for the book was to affirm our identity as children of God. He’s the Master Creator and since we’re created in His image, He endows us with the gift of creativity. We should be setting the standard for entertainment! I felt commissioned to create a faith-based alternative to that popular elf. What a surprise that God allowed me not only to write the story but also to illustrate the book!

Angie Martin book pageWhy do you think Operation Birthday Celebration is a better choice for Christian families?

Christian parents want creative resources that capture a child’s imagination and fuel curiosity while staying true to biblical teaching. Operation Birthday Celebration is entertaining while supporting Christian values and doctrine. Children enjoy the characters Jesse and Bongo as they learn about the birth of Jesus. Crafts and service projects help grow their faith and love for God’s Word. Although the book is designed for ages three to nine, older siblings can join the fun by crafting the Jesse and Bongo dolls and leading the daily adventures for the younger ones. Grandparents also love participating.

What’s in store for Jesse and Bongo in the future?

Initially, I conceived the story and characters as a gift to my grandsons. But writing colleagues believed Jesse and Bongo would be welcome in many more homes and encouraged me to consider a wider Angie Martin photo OBCaudience. I introduced the book and characters to a dozen test families, whose enthusiasm confirmed the book’s appeal and purpose. Through social media they connected and shared holiday excitement and fun. God is able to do more than we can ask or imagine—and Operation Birthday Celebration is making its public debut! Besides enriching family life during the Christmas season, this innovative educational tool is useful for children’s ministry leaders, Sunday School teachers, Christian pre-school and elementary school teachers, childcare providers, and the Christian home-school community. Anyone involved with the developmental growth of young children will appreciate this creative approach that brings Scripture to life and presents on a child’s level such concepts as sin, a need for a Savior, God’s grace, and the perfect gift of His Son Jesus. Wondering what’s next for Jesse and Bongo? New adventures are on the drawing board!

Angie Martin Jesse&BongoThis is exciting, Angie! Where can we get Operation Birthday Celebration?

Please visit www.JesseAndBongo.com. A little drummer boy and his spirited lamb are eager to make friends with you!

Oh, Angie, what a joy to hear more about your interactive book and products. And although my grandkids are teenagers and have outgrown such a gift, I know of other little ones who would love to have their own adventures with Jesse and Bongo! Thank you for working so hard to help parents teach their little ones the true meaning of Christmas!

And friends, remember to leave a comment and then come back next week to see if you’re the winner. What an awesome gift for the kids on your Christmas list this year!

Grace and peace,


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Parting Words From The WORD…Jesus is Born!

Christmas gifts FDP Feel Art

As we celebrate the Gift of Christmas today, let’s remember Him as

…the Son

…the Sacrifice

…the Resurrected Savior

…the Almighty God.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3:16

I pray God’s richest blessings as we celebrate the Gift and the Giver.


(Image courtesy of FeelArt/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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Sending a Little Christmas Fun From North Point Church iBand

Christmas gifts FDP Feel Art(Vonda here: I’m sorry this is late. Please pray for my precious 97yo father-in-love as he continues to decline and for our family as we care for him. What a sweet, sweet man.)

Merry Christmas, writing friends! What a joy to hear Christmas music during this special season, reminding me that yes, an innocent, helpless Baby came, but He grew to be our Sacrifice, and was raised from the dead to be our Savior! Oh, what a Savior!

And since I know everyone’s running around trying to get everything done (and NOBODY is interested in studying writing opps!), I thought I’d share another of my Christmas favorites with you today. Here’s another video I’ve shared the past several years, and I never grow tired of it!

I hope you enjoy North Point Community Church’s iBand entertainment. It was a gift to their church friends, and I love sharing the gift with you!

YouTube Preview Image


Christmas blessings as we celebrate the Gift and the Giver!


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Parting Words From The WORD…Happy Birthday, Jesus

Baby footI’ve heard and read many messages the past few weeks about Mary’s pondering. I even wrote one piece on it myself.

Before I studied the Bible for myself, I thought Mary had pondered the visit and the gifts of the Magi. Then I discovered the Wise Men didn’t even visit the manger!

Now that I’m a mother and grandmother, I personally know about pondering as I held those precious babies in my arms. What would they look like? What would they become? Of course, Mary had a little more insight than we do as new mothers. After all, an angel came to her and told her she would be the mother of the Christ-child.

But as she pondered that dark and chilly night, did she really understand that her baby would change the world? Did she understand that 2000 years later, we’d still be celebrating His birth?

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch precious little 4-year-old Avery Winter as she sings Happy Birthday to our Savior. Believe me, you’ve never seen it performed like this!

YouTube Preview Image

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  Luke 2:19

Happy birthday, Jesus…


(Photo courtesy of ChristianPhotos.net)

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Parting Words From The WORD…A Baby Changed Everything

During the Christmas season, it has become my Christian Writer’s Den tradition to post this beautiful video and the life-giving words it proclaims. I’ve done it now for several years, and each time I hear it, I still get chills and my eyes fill with tears.

When Jesus was born, everything was changed.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch the beautiful images from the film, The Nativity, and listen to the words of this powerful song sung by Faith Hill.

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For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:11-14 (KJV)

During this blessed Christmas season, I’m especially thankful a Baby changed everything for me. And He wants to change everything for you, too.

I was lost but now I’m found! Hallelujah!

Christmas blessings as we celebrate the Gift and the Giver,


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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opps, Conferences and Contests


(Vonda here: I’m sorry for the delay in today’s post. My internet has been down since yesterday and I’m just now up and running again. Hope like all the opportunities I found for you!)

Hello, Christian Writer’s Den friends! This is our big opportunities issue, so let’s see if we can help you get published! Let’s start with writing opportunities compiled just for you!

1.  Miraculous Answers to Prayer anthology
This new anthology by James Stuart Bell is looking for your stories. Here are the Miraculous Answers to Prayer Guidelines. But you must hurry–Deadline is now December 1, 2015.

2.  Adoptive Families Magazine
Adoptive Families is the leading information resource for families before, during, and after adoption.

3.  Blue Mountain Arts Greeting Cards
Seeks contemporary prose or poetry written from personal experience that reflects the thoughts and feelings people today want to communicate to one another, but don’t always know how to put into words. Does not need rhymed poetry, religious verse, one-liners or humor. Pays $300 for all rights and $50 for one-time rights for a book use.

4.  Colorado Central Magazine
To put our guidelines in a nutshell: We publish material we like to read about the area we live in. We’re not interested in it if it’s routine and boring, or if it’s not about this area. We serve Central Colorado and the San Luis Valley. On a map, that’s a swath from Leadville and Fairplay south to the New Mexico line. It’s the counties of Alamosa, Chaffee, Conejos, Costilla, Custer, Lake, Mineral, Rio Grande, and Saguache, along with the adjacent parts of Fremont, Gunnison, Huerfano and Park counties.

5.  Eating Well Magazine
EatingWell is the only national food magazine that focuses exclusively on eating healthfully (our motto: “Where Good Taste Meets Good Health”). We are the preeminent magazine resource for people who want to enjoy food that is delicious and good for them.

6.  Alaska Magazine Submission Guidelines for Freelance Writers

7.  The Cattleman Magazine – Guidelines for Writing for The Cattleman

8.  Better Homes and Gardens writers guidelines

9.  Backpacker Magazine guidelines

10. Southern Writers Magazine guidelines

Remember to follow the guidelines carefully and then let us celebrate with you when you have a publication!


If you’re serious about writing and/or speaking, you’ll be serious about attending conferences. Here are some awesome conferences you don’t want to miss!WritersBootcamp2016 logo

1. Weekend with the Writers: January 29-30, 2016, Greenville, SC

2. Writers Advance Boot Camp: February 19-21, 2016, Asheville, NC Scholarship deadline October 31, 2015 (I’ll see you there!)

3. Florida Christian Writers Conference: February 24-28, 2016, Leesburg, FL

4. Carolina Christian Writers Conference: March 11-12, 2016, Spartanburg, SC

5. Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference: March 18-22, 2016, Mount Hermon, CA

6. Mid-South Christian Writers Conference: March 19, 2016, Colliersville, TN

7. American Christian Writers Mentoring Retreats begin in April: Various locations and dates

brmcwc 20168. Write2Ignite for Writers of Children’s Literature: April 1-2, 2016, Tigerville, SC

9. Colorado Christian Writers Conference: May 11-14, 2016, Estes Park, CO

10. Northwest Christian Writers Renewal: May 13-14, 2016, Redmond, WA

11. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 22-26, 2016, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll see you there! Watch for details coming soon!)

12. Write to Publish: June 8-11, 2016, Chicago area

13. West Virginia Writers Conference: June 10-12, 2016, Ripley, WV

14. New England Christian Writers Retreat: June 17-19, 2016, Hamilton, MA

15. Christian Communicators Conference: Hold the date! August 24-28, 2016, The Billy Graham Trainingccclogosmall Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. Registration will open in early spring. (I’ll see you there!)

16. St. David’s Christian Writers Conference: June 22-26, 2016, Grove City, PA


And here are some writing contests you’ll want to look into…

1.  The Amy Awards for Christian-related pieces published in secular publications. Deadline January 15, 2016

2.  Fresh Voices Writing Contest is now open for submissions – Deadline December 31, 2015

3.  Writer’s Digest Short Short Story ContestDeadline December 14, 2015

4.  The Anagram Holiday Short Fiction ContestDeadline December 19, 2015

5.  NeoVerse Short Story Writing CompetitionDeadline December 20, 2015

Red Sale Bag pixabay~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Need some help with your Christmas list? I can help!

Yep, it’s time for my buy-one-get-one-half-price Christmas sale! That’s right, buy any product in my store and you’ll get the second item for half-price!

But here’s the catch: You’ll need to order it directly from me by email, or PayPal will charge you the full price! So, head on over to my store and decide what you’d like and who you’d like to have it personalize it to, and then contact me with your order. I’ll get in touch and you can either pay by check or by credit card. DO NOT ORDER THROUGH REGULAR PAYPAL or you won’t get the discount!

Whether you need downloadable writing workshops or books for kids or women, this sale is for you!


So that should keep you busy for a while. Don’t forget to let us know when you get that publication. We’ll want to celebrate with you.

Happy writing!


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Canceling Christmas (When You Have 22 Kids!)

Canceling Christmas, by Sue Badeau

Sue Badeau Laurie with her cookie tray“You have HOW MANY children?” Upon hearing that the answer is 22, 2 by birth and 20 adopted, the next statement many people make is “Christmas must be amazing in your house!”

Truly, Christmas IS amazing in our house. When my husband and I were first married 35 years ago, we began a tradition of doing something special on each day of advent to allow the anticipation to build, the light and joy of the season to grow day by day in the spirit of “Maranatha.” The activities ranged from baking special recipes, to making homemade ornaments, to reaching out and visiting a nursing home or prison. As each new child joined the family, these festivities also grew and traditions from each of their heritage, memory and culture were added to the mix. The whole month of December became a magnificent, chaotic cacophony of joyful noise and bustling energy.Sue Badeau Christmas_Short_Street_stockings

December in our house never included a moment of rest.

One year, things had been particularly stressful for months. Bad news, seemingly insurmountable challenges, illnesses, and even deaths were all piling up along with the endless stack of bills to be paid. Another blow was dealt to us just days after Thanksgiving and my husband and I had reached the breaking point. “That’s it!” We declared that we had just had enough and we were “canceling Christmas.” We held a family meeting and told the children that this year, there would be no Christmas. No activities, no cookies and eggnog, no lights, no tree, no stockings hung from the bannister. And most importantly, no gifts.Sue Badeau 2008Christmasphotocard

We needed a break from the action. We needed rest.

Three of our children – ages 11, 12 and 14 – had a different idea. They had a small after school job helping to deliver firewood. Secretly they decided to pool their pay and tips and buy gifts for the entire family. Stealthily they accomplished their mission with no one, not even mom and dad, catching on. Excitedly, they waited until after everyone had gone to bed on Christmas Eve and then tiptoed into the living room and filled every stocking and added a pile of wrapped gifts around the fireplace.

The astonished faces and tears of joy that graced our home that Christmas morning have never left my mind, or my heart. It was only by accident that I discovered who the 3 secret elves were, and I have kept their secret. Like the very first Christmas-mother, I too have “treasured up all these things and pondered them in (my) heart.” (Luke 2:19).Sue Badeau Stockings on Bannister

The dollar-store goodies that they provided were worth more than all the other gifts of Christmas past and future. We learned a simple and profound lesson that year. Christmas simply cannot be cancelled. Even in the darkest of times in our life and even in the darkest spaces in our world, the light of Christmas will not stay under the bushel-basket. The light will burst forth, spilling and spreading and dancing brighter and brighter as it is shared. The light of Christmas brings not only joy but refreshment and rest to the weary, and satisfies those who are feeling faint.

As the chaos and noisiness of the first festivities of Advent 2014 begin with rambunctious grandchildren excitedly setting out the decorations while others stir up the cookies and blend up the eggnog, I am bursting with gratitude and reminded that Christmas is ALWAYS amazing in our house!

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” Jeremiah 31:25


Sue Badeau CCCA 14Sue Badeau is a national inspirational speaker and writer and a graduate of both Christian Communicators and Christian Communicators ADVANCED. She and her husband Hector have raised 22 children of diverse backgrounds, many with disabilities, 3 with terminal illnesses who have passed away. They now enjoy 35 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.

Sue is the author of Are We There Yet? Adopting and Raising 22 KidsRoots and Wings at Loonstone Lake, The Christmas Primer, ‘Tis the Season in Sweetland, and Roots and Wings at Loonstone Lake, Volume 2.

The Badeaus understand that parents caring for children with special needs often need rest and refreshment, so while Sue continues to use her life experiences to inspire others through her speaking, they are also developing a ministry to open their home to provide rest, refreshment and care for caregivers. To learn more about their family and vision, or Sue’s speaking, visit www.badeaufamily.com and www.suebadeau.com . Maranatha!

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Parting Words From The WORD…His Kingdom Will Never End

Girl baby feetHis reign was foretold 700 years before His birth.

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.” Micah 5:2

And we still proclaim Him 2000 years after His death.

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:30-33

His kingdom will never end.

I pray God’s blessings as we celebrate the Gift and the Giver,


(Photo courtesy of ChristianPhotos.net)

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Parting Words From The WORD…Mary Claimed Peace

nativityEvery year about this time, chaos descends. There are presents to buy, baking to do, and gatherings to attend. But as I think back to the reason we celebrate, I see Mary’s first Christmas was very different from ours.

Luke 1:29 says that Mary was greatly troubled, and I had always thought she was troubled because she had been told she was going to have a baby. But when I studied the scripture, I realized she hadn’t even been told the news yet.

Instead, Mary was troubled because the angel had appeared to her. And I can see why—after all, it’s not everyday that you have an angel standing there talking to you! Yea, I think I would find that a little troubling. As a matter of fact, one Bible commentary for the book of Luke actually said people often responded with fear or awe when confronted with acts of God, like seeing an angel. (Ya think?)

Then the angel tells her “Christmas was coming” and it was going to take a little bit of work on her part. Now, granted, he didn’t say it in exactly those terms. But we can all agree Mary’s to-do list suddenly got bigger.

  • Get water from the well
  • Feed the goats
  • Grind the wheat
  • Bake the bread
  • Have a baby…huh?

Not only have a baby, but have a baby without the benefit of being married. A baby who would be the Savior of the world! Now, that could be a little frightening for any of us. But think about this: she not only wasn’t married, but it was physically impossible for her to be pregnant. Yea, I’d say that could be a little troubling.

But instead of panicking, what did Mary do?

  • She submitted to the plan. In Luke 1:35 it doesn’t say “the Holy Spirit has come over you,” it says “the Holy Spirit WILL come over you.” Yes, the angel had delivered the message, but it wasn’t a done deal until she submitted to the plan. (Of course, God knew what she would say.)
  • She trusted God. She trusted Him with her life! Even as a young girl carrying the Christ-child, she could have been killed because she wasn’t married. And yet, she didn’t say, “Who’s going to protect me? Who’s going to take care of me?” She simply said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”

In the midst of the fear, Mary claimed peace. Her life was about to turn upside down into chaos, and yet she claimed peace.

Do you feel that life is making your plans for Christmas? Do you feel like the burden is too great? I know sometimes I do. But that’s when we need to stop, submit to HIS plan, and then trust Him to work out the details. We can be like Mary, we can claim peace at a time when peace is hard to find. But we can’t do it until we agree to work on His plan and His timetable.

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said. Luke 1:38 (NIV)

Christmas blessings as we celebrate the Gift and the Giver,


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