Shannon here: I’m sharing a family tradition and new addition to our family. Comment or answer the question in the post to enter the drawing for a copy of Candy Cane Wishes and Saltwater Dreams, my five author novella collection. Deadline: Nov 12th, 11:59 pm central time.
For years, it was a tug-of war between my husband and I. Grant loves Christmas. He wants the tree up EARLY. Like before Thanksgiving early. For years, I made him wait until after Thanksgiving. About ten years ago, he started waiting until I was gone, then he’d put the tree up. Before Thanksgiving. Every year, it popped up earlier and earlier.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas. Finally, about five years ago, I examined myself. Why did it bother me for the tree to be up so early and stay up so long? It didn’t interfere with Thanksgiving. We counted our blessings with the tree up. But it was in the way and we always had to move furniture to put it up.
So, I fixed the problem. I bought a skinny tree. It barely takes up any space and we don’t have to move anything to put it up. And it doesn’t bother me at all for it to be up early and for a long time. Since I bought the skinny tree, it kept getting put up earlier and earlier. Finally, three years ago, we made a tradition of putting our tree up on Halloween. So, yes, my tree is up already. Sometimes, we don’t get it decorated until a few years later, but it’s up on October 31st, every year.
When our son was young, we’d put Transiberian Orchestra’s Christmas music on and decorate the tree. He quit enjoying that at about 7 years old. And even though Grant wants the tree up, he considers prelit decorated. So for the next 12 years, I decorated the tree by myself. We still listened to TSO, while I did it, but Grant and Logan watched me.
All that changed last year, when Hannah came into our lives. She blew into Logan’s world and turned his heart upside down. Back when I learned he was a boy in my tummy, I started praying for the perfect daughter-in-law. The list was long. But the main things – to love God, to love my son, to love our family. Hannah fits the bill. So when I was putting the Christmas tree up on October 31st last year and they’d only datied for a few weeks, she jumped right in and helped me.
Our threesome, quickly became a foursome. She fits right in and we love her. It’s hard to remember life before her. And now we have a new tradition. Hannah and I decorate the tree on Halloween while Logan and Grant watch, with Transiberian Orchestra playing. And this year, when we make our yearly trek to see our favorite Christmas concert, Hannah is going with us.
Back in May, Logan proposed. And the wedding is November 20th. So the next time you hear from me, I’ll have wedding pictures. In the meantime, here’s the proposal picture and one of their engagement pics.
I’ve always told people there are more cows than people where I live. Here’s the proof. And as an added bonus, Hannah is a photographer, so I finally got new headshots. Logan’s friend and her sister took the proposal and engagement pics with her professional input. She definitely has a photographer’s eye, even when she’s in the picture. I’m excited about the new traditions we’ll make and the picture memories we’ll take in the years to come.
Question for Readers: Do you have a family tradition? How has your family changed this past year?
About Shannon: Award-winning author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter writes contemporary Christian cowboy romance and has over a dozen published titles. A romance reader since her teens, she hopes to entertain Christian women and plant seeds in the non-believer’s heart as she demonstrates that love doesn’t conquer all—Jesus does.
She gleans fodder for her fiction in rural Arkansas where she spent her teenage summers working the concession stand with her rodeo announcing dad and married a Texan who morphed into a pastor. In her spare time, she loves hanging out with her husband and son, flea marketing, and doing craft projects. Learn more & connect:
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About the novella collection – Candy Cane Wishes and Saltwater Dreams by Amy Anguish, Hope Toler Dougherty, Linda Fulkerson, Regina Rudd Merrick and Shannon Taylor Vannatter
Mistletoe Make-believe by Amy Anguish – Charlie Hill’s family thinks his daughter Hailey needs a mom–to the point they won’t get off his back until he finds her one. Desperate to be free from their nagging, he asks a stranger to pretend she’s his girlfriend during the holidays. When romance author Samantha Arwine takes a working vacation to St. Simons Island over Christmas, she never dreamed she’d be involved in a real-life romance. Are the sparks between her and Charlie real? Or is her imagination over-acting … again?
A Hatteras Surprise by Hope Toler Dougherty – Ginny Stowe spent years tending a childhood hurt that dictated her college study and work. Can time with an island visitor with ties to her past heal lingering wounds and lead her toward a happy Christmas … and more? Ben Daniels intends to hire a new branch manager for a Hatteras Island bank, then hurry back to his promotion and Christmas in Charlotte. Spending time with a beautiful local, however, might force him to adjust his sails.
A Pennie for Your Thoughts by Linda Fulkerson – When the Lakeshore Homeowner’s Association threatens to condemn the cabin Pennie Vaughn inherited from her foster mother, her only hope of funding the needed repairs lies in winning a travel blog contest. Trouble is, Pennie never goes anywhere. Should she use the all-expenses paid Hawaiian vacation offered to her by her ex-fiancé? The trip that would have been their honeymoon?
Mr. Sandman by Regina Rudd Merrick – Events manager Taylor Fordham’s happily-ever-after was snatched from her, and she’s saying no to romance and Christmas. When she meets two new friends—the cute new chef at Pilot Oaks and a contributor on a sci-fi fan fiction website who enjoys debate—her resolve begins to waver. Just when she thinks she can loosen her grip on thoughts of love, a crisis pulls her back. There’s no way she’s going to risk her heart again.
Coastal Christmas Charade by Shannon Taylor Vannatter – Lark Pendleton is banking on a high-society wedding to make her grandparent’s inn at Surfside Beach, Texas the venue to attract buyers. Tasked with sprucing up the inn, she hires Jace Wilder, whose heart she once broke. When the bride and groom turn out to be Lark’s high school nemesis and ex-boyfriend, she and Jace embark on a pretend romance to save the wedding. But when real feelings emerge, can they overcome past hurts?
Check out the book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-spm0_wQcZ0
Can’t wait for the drawing? Worried you won’t win? Get your copy now!
Come back Nov 4th for Suzanne Bratcher!