Tag Archive | Christmas

New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions are really goals we set for ourselves. Yes, sometimes we set unreasonable goals that we can’t reach, but there are also those we can achieve as long as we remember to pay attention to all the little steps in-between where we are and where we want to be. Each year I try to look back and see what I actually accomplished and what I need to do next to get the rest of the job done. This last year my first book in the New Parish series was published. That was a wonderful goal to accomplish, but it took completing several other goals to actually get that one done. I know there have been lots of movies that romanticize the life of a writer, but in all actuality it’s really just a lot of hard work… Plotting on many different levels, character development of many different characters, research and more research, editing, and more editing… it goes on and on. Then when the book is finished, it’s not finished, there’s the copyright, ISBN numbers for each type of book you’re publishing, the book cover, the formatting, and the endless marketing once it’s out there. Then even before all that is done, you’re already writing the next book to go through all that process with again…

The gist of it is that we all have goals or resolutions, sometimes they are complicated, sometimes they’re simple, either way we have to take it step by step, paying attention to all the little steps as we go. In my book New Parish Sarah has what she thinks is a very simple goal. She wants to get married to a great guy, have loads of kids and be the quintessential soccer mom. Her goal turned out to be not so simple, it got a bit complicated and she had to think outside the box to actually achieve her goal.  

We can accomplish our goals, as long as we remember to work on each of the other goals – little steps – that will get us to the one we most desire. For me it was publishing my books, and still is, for Sarah it was getting married and being a mom, even if she had to do it a bit differently…  some of her little steps were actually quite big, moving to a whole new place, getting married a very different way, and having children even before she had one of her own.

Excerpt from New Parish:

Chapter 1 – Bad Date

          ““How am I supposed to know which guys to go out with and which ones to not go out with?” she groaned within herself.

            She pulled her long brown hair back into a ponytail and looked at herself in the mirror as she pulled on her pajamas. She scanned her bangs hanging over her forehead while some of the layered strands fell loosely around her face. The events of the evening were flashing through her mind like an old movie, as she thought to herself, “I’m not ugly… why can’t I find a good man? I have curves in all the right places, with ample endowments.” This had been a source of a pride with her as a girl and more especially as she got a little older. Sarah thought it was fun how boys would stutter and stammer at times if she wore a low cut blouse. Her five foot seven, somewhat athletic frame carried her very well, she thought, as she scanned for flaws. She looked at her face to check out what others would see when they looked at her. She had always thought her nose was a bit small but it looked okay, her brown eyes were a little big but they were okay too. “What’s wrong with me?” she asked aloud in frustration. 

            Sarah’s mind went to something her new friend Mary had said when they were working together at the children’s center. Mary had mentioned her home, a place called New Parish in Arizona. Sarah had known her for a few months. Mary was only going to be there for a while longer, just until she finished her degree in early childhood development with the work study program she was involved in at the children’s center.

           Sarah thought about the day she’d been complaining about the poor dating prospects and her dream of being a mom floating away from her, when Mary revealed to her that in the community she came from, the people did plural marriages. So, any girl could get a good man and not have to worry about missing out on being a mom. Mary’s descriptions of her home made it sound like a little piece of heaven, where people lived happy lives, and found their happily ever afters.

          Sarah sighed, thinking of the small rural community Mary had described, “Maybe…””

 

Want to see how she accomplished her goals? Get your copy of New Parish from any of the places below.

 

   

New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com

Also available at:

Barnesandnoble.com

Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park)

Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ

Coming soon to many new bookstores!

Cowboy Party

This time of year, there are many parties going on everywhere. Whether it’s a Christmas party, a New Year’s party or a just for fun party. Have you ever wondered what a cowboy party might be like? I think there would be a lot of good food, good music, some dancing, some horses – and yeah lots of cowboys!

I do love a good party… In New Parish there’s a fun cowboy party I want to share with you.

Excerpt from New Parish:

Chapter 8 – The Social

“It was a short trip in Brother Michael’s SUV to the edge of the community where Sarah saw a rustic archway made of rough cedar that said, Lucky A Ranch, with two horses on either side of the words. Sarah thought, “It looked like those ranches she used to see on the old westerns,” an automatic smile came across her lips. When the SUV was parked in what looked like a hayfield across from a huge pasture they walked toward the festivities that were already under way.

            “I feel like I’ve stepped into a Louis L’Amour novel,” Sarah said looking around at all the cowboys and horses.

            A cowboy band was playing and there was a square dance going, Mary said, “Come on let’s go!”

            Sarah said, “No way, I’ve never dosey doed in my life. I don’t know how,” trying to excuse herself from this activity.

            Mary grabbed her hand and pulled her toward the dance area in front of the wooden stage the band was on, “I’ll show you, it’s fun!” she said laughing.

            Sarah had an inner dread that she was not only going to dosey doe for the first time, but that Mary had much more confidence in her abilities than she did.

            Mary had her twirling around the grassy dance area in no time. They were both laughing at her many mistakes, and having so much fun. Then Sarah saw one of cowboys on the stage… it was Max, he was playing the guitar, and smiling at her. He was wearing a black cowboy hat with a silver and turquoise band around it, a white shirt with a bolo tie, and a black leather jacket. Her mind had inventoried him quickly and then lost all cohesiveness. After that she lost her footing, causing her right foot to trip over her left foot – she landed on the ground with a thud. “Oh, I hate him,” she thought picking herself up from the ground quickly. Mary tried to help her up while trying to hide the fact that she was almost doubling over laughing at her.

            “Seems you’re always falling for him,” Mary teased.

            Sarah was even more embarrassed to know that Mary had seen the cause of her fall, “Thanks, that helps,” she replied half way laughing too.

            “Food?” Mary suggested, trying to suppress her laughter. She was pointing to two long tables brimming with food across the driveway from where they were, “It’s on the other side of things.”  

            “Good,” said Sarah, “I need to be on the other side of things.”

 

If you’d like to visit New Parish for yourself and see what else happens the free autographed paper back contest will be going on all this month (December, see other post – Free Books, for details) or the ebook will be available for free today on amazon.com.

You can get a copy of New Parish here:

New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com

Also available at:

Barnesandnoble.com

Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park)

Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ

Coming soon to many new bookstores!

Free Books!!!

One free book each week in December. What better way to gear up for Christmas! Keep it for yourself or give it as a gift, either way get your very own copy of New Parish this month.

This is how it’ll work: all you have to do is use the contact form on my website – www.julieworthington.com to submit your name, address, and email. Each week one name will be drawn for the free book. You’ll receive an email from me letting you know that you’ve won and the free book will be autographed and sent to you free of charge.

Good luck! I hope you enjoy your visit to New Parish…

You can always get a copy of New Parish here:

New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com

Also available at:

Barnesandnoble.com

Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park)

Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ

Coming soon to many new bookstores!

 

Thanksgiving Jetlag

My son and I had loads of fun cooking this year. We made messes and cleaned them up while enjoying the fruits of our labors. We discussed the philosophy of peeling boiled eggs and deciding that sometimes it just doesn’t work out well. There was Christmas music playing in the background and many wonderful aromas to enjoy as the cooking progressed. There was lots of smiles and a bit of laughter…

Two days after Thanksgiving when the cooking is done, the eating is still going on, and the fatigue it still going on… it’s still not over. It’s only the beginning! I’ve always thought of Thanksgiving as a pre-Christmas celebration. I of course don’t mind if others feel differently about it, but to me it has always been that. Two days after Thanksgiving is a time for family and food, and making plans…

So now Christmas plans will be made, well, after the food is gone and we’ve recovered from all that fun…

Here’s a little bit of the end of Sarah’s Thanksgiving from my book New Parish. She’s making plans too…

Excerpt from New Parish:

Chapter 2 – Undecided

“All the food was ready by two o’clock and everyone was seated. Sarah’s father offered a prayer and the family feast began. The conversations were the completion of many different catch up stories for each of them. Sarah listened quietly and was glad the inquisition on her investigation of plural marriage wasn’t the main topic of their conversations.

            By the end of the meal, when everyone was trying to shove more desert down on top of all the other food Sarah’s dad said, “Sarah, your mom and I talked last night about what you are looking into.”        

            Sarah’s heart sank. She’d hoped the subject would be skipped over… She looked her dad in the eye and braced for impact.

            He continued, “We don’t think it’s a good idea at all, but we love you and always want to be a part of your life, and always want you to be in ours. So, we’ve decided to be conscientious objectors to your choice to live that way, if you choose to do so.”

            Sarah saw the resolve and concern in his face as he talked and was very grateful that he was willing to love her and not cut her off because she might want to be different. Her love and respect for her dad grew at that moment far beyond what it had ever been. With a tear in her eye she said, “Thanks Dad, that really means a lot to me.”

            He nodded and smiled warmly at her. The feast continued with lots of family stories past and present, then on to future goals and wishes. The rest of the time Sarah spent with her family was filled with feelings of uneasy calm. No one else said anymore about her plural marriage research, which was a relief, but for Sarah it had become a constant backburner thing in her mind.

            Trying to settle back into her apartment and routine in Atlanta, Sarah thought it all seemed very empty. Her thoughts turned more and more to New Parish and the things Brother Michael had told her. She was planning on going out there for a few days over the Christmas holidays but was still very unsure of what to expect.”

New Parish available now:

New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com

Also available at:

Barnesandnoble.com

Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park)

Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ

Coming soon to many new bookstores!

 

 

Changing Seasons

As Spring is rapidly approaching my thoughts wander off to the changing of the seasons. Everyone has their favorite season, mine is Fall or Autumn if one is formal. That’s where New Parish begins, I don’t think I planned it that way on purpose, but maybe that’s where it began because of my love of Fall. Oh, I like the other seasons too and they’re all present in my book New Parish, but I’ve always enjoyed Fall the best. Sarah enjoys Fall with her family in Savannah for Thanksgiving then the story moves on to Winter. Winter is nice, I like the cooler weather, but it can get too cold and have other challenges, such as wild winter storms. Sarah’s first visit to New Parish is in the winter, this visit, isn’t just fun, but very enlightening…  Sarah’s first winter in New Parish becomes an inner journey of winter changing into Spring. Spring is nice, it’s like life begins again, after a long time of barrenness… Sarah’s first Spring in New Parish is by far the most unique one she’s ever experienced, I won’t give spoilers… Spring is also a prelude to Summer. Summer can be nice in New Parish, early in the morning and late in the evening, after the sun goes down, but it can get too hot and has lots of insects that like to munch on a person. I don’t talk about the insects much in my book, New Parish, there’s way too many other things to be getting on with. As summer fades in New Parish the cycle begins again, and Fall returns with a whole new situation…

Of all the seasons we enjoy in New Parish or anywhere else I remain firm in my love of Fall, it’s cool but not too cold, there are still flowers hanging around, and it kicks off the holiday season, which if I’m honest is really my favorite season…

I hope everyone will enjoy all the seasons in Sarah’s journey to New Parish!

New Parish Coming Soon!!!!

Excerpt from New Parish: Winter was Sarah’s first season in New Parish

“The next day after breakfast Sarah and Mary decided to get out and explore some of the community and enjoy the snow that had fallen. Several of Mary’s little brothers and sisters tagged along with them. They were all bundled up in coats, scarves, gloves, and boots. Sarah laughed at herself and the rest of the gang, they were definitely prepared. Sarah had already decided that the community was quite beautiful but now with a blanket of snow it seemed like a picture postcard of a Christmas village from long ago. There was even a wooden wagon with red painted wheels going down the road pulled by two large chocolate brown horses, it was all very picturesque.”

Christmas in New Parish

My mind has been reflecting on Christmases past. There have been wonderfully happy times that will linger in my memories throughout eternity. Watching my children reach a level of joy that could only be associated with Christmas morning, reading the story of the first Christmas to them, and of course all the covert and sneaky activities throughout the year to create the Christmas morning that will last forever.

As I reflect on those Christmases past, my thoughts drift over to the Christmases I’ve written about in New Parish. These Christmases are filled with family, large families, and Christmas traditions that have been observed in these families for generations. Sarah’s first Christmas in New Parish is as a guest in her friend Mary’s home, as she investigates maybe moving west herself – she finds a Christmas morning that will linger in her memory forever…

New Parish Coming Soon!!!

Excerpt of New Parish:

            “On Christmas morning Sarah and Mary were up early because Mary said Sarah, “didn’t want to miss this!” Entering the main sitting room, it looked to Sarah like a magical place of happiness. The tree was full of colored lights and was filled to the brim with ornaments that depicted children, toys, and candy, and all sorts of Christmas happiness. The tree had been there when Sarah first arrived and she’d immediately loved it. Mary had complained that she missed the decorating and explained to Sarah that the whole family gets in on the event, they put the tree up together, place the lights together, hang the ornaments together, make homemade things like popcorn and cranberry garland together and put it on together. She’d given Sarah the whole run down on Christmas at her home.

            The presents that had been added over night were covering a third of the room and there was a table with hot chocolate, marshmallows, and cool-whip. The table, with hot chocolate, made Sarah think of that “incident” she had been trying not to think of, she quickly put that out of her mind. The room looked and felt like Christmas, the best part of Christmas, you could feel it when you walked in… the kids were all filing in with excitement in their eyes and big smiles on their faces. Everyone was in their pajamas. This made Sarah think of her own childhood and the wonderful feelings she had on Christmas morning. This made her both happy and sad, as a deep longing to share this type of experience with her own children filled her heart.

            Brother Michael came in last and as the kids excitedly jumped up and down pleading with him for permission to open presents he laughed and said, “Okay, have at it.” They did just that, there was a present opening frenzy the likes of which Sarah had never seen. She watched as Brother Michael slowly walked over and put his arms around two of his wives and kissed each on the cheek. Sarah smiled thinking she might like something like this, “It could really work… maybe,” she thought.”

Oh yeah, just wait till you read what happens at Christmas time in Return to New Parish… I can’t wait to share that with you too!

Merry Christmas!

 

Christmas!

Once again Christmas is upon us. There’s so much about this time of year that I love, the tree with colored lights, the presents that cause children to have anticipatory anxiety, and the feel of the whole thing. I remember when I was young, Christmas was what every kid waited for all year, you always watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, White Christmas, and The Little Drummer Boy, along with whatever other Christmas specials were on TV. It was a bit limited back then but we have a myriad of choices now. I’m still drawn to the old sentimental ones but I’ve found that some of the new stuff is okay too.

Just like when I was a kid, Christmas brings hope, happiness, and dreams of how wonderful things will be when our Christmas Wishes come true.

I hope that all our Christmas Wishes come true this year…

Christmas!

 

I love Christmas! It might even be an obsession… maybe. All year I’m thinking about Christmas, the tree, the Christmas Tree 2015-2presents, the decorations… the reason it’s celebrated…  Many people celebrate Christmas for many different reasons, I have my own reasons and super happiness for celebrating it and loving it.  

I hope everyone has the best holidays and new year ever!                                                                      Merry Christmas!