Christmas House Tour

IMG_0987Do you enjoy visiting friends at Christmas? I do, and I love to see how people decorate their homes for the Christmas Season. Recently I read an inspiring book called The Nesting Place, by Myquillyn Smith. She also writes a blog that shares ideas for repurposing furniture and decorating on a budget, emphisizing creativity and beauty, not perfection.

This month “The Nester” invited readers to post photos of their homes decorated for Christmas on her blog. That’s such a fun idea I decided to borrow it and invite my blog-reading friends over to our home for a virtual visit.


Welcome to our home! I like to gather evergreens and holly to fill the pots on our front steps and to make a swag to hang by the door.





One of the first things you’ll see when you come in the front door is this olive wood nativity set Scott and I brought back from our visit to Israel shortly after we were married. Joseph has lost his staff and the star has come down off the stable roof, but we still enjoy puting it out each year.
IMG_0992I like to bring out my Teddy Bear Collection each December. This year I placed them on our front landing at the top of the stairs so our young guests could enjoy them. The largest bear in the back, “Joshua Bear” was one we gave our son Josh when he was a baby 30 years ago.IMG_1021Each December I also bring out my basket of Christmas books. We’ve collected these over the years and read many of them aloud to our kids and grandkids. There are a lot of happy memories in that basket.IMG_1007Our living room is the gathering place in our home on Christmas and all year long. I try to make it cozy and inviting.
IMG_1008I found this pretty pillow online at Dayspring. I especially like the contrast of the bright red birds against the cream and gold background. This simple white nativity below was given to us by dear friends who are missionaries in Kenya. When I put it out it reminds me of them and the wonderful work they are doing there. The quilt table-topper was a gift from another good friend.
Since I’m from Oregon where we always cut down a fresh Christmas tree, we continue that tradition here in New Jersey. Scott and I visit a the McLaughlin Tree Farm in Robbinsville, near where our church meets.

IMG_1001Our dining room with just a peek at my corner desk. We’ll be eating Christmas brunch here before we open our gifts.IMG_1005These gold angles were given to me by my mom, Dorothy Swain. The Mitchell Tolle print of the grandmother teaching her granddaughter to quilt also reminds me of my mom who was a wonderful quilter and artist.

IMG_1003This colorful angel was given to me by my sister-in-law, Traci, and I enjoy bringing it out each December. IMG_1011We hope you enjoyed your visit. Scott and I wish you a very Merry Christmas. May you be blessed with God’s peace and joy as you celebrate the Savior’s birth.

Would you like to see some more homes decorated for Christmas? Visit the Nester’s Blog for the Christmas House Tour.

Blessings and Happy Reading!



Heartwarming Christmas Stories

Hi Friends, I enjoy reading novels set during the Christmas Season, and I’ve written a few too. Here are some I wanted to recomment to you, plus a few of my holiday novels and novellas. For more information just click on the covers.

Where Treetops GlistenWhere Treetops Glisten, By: Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman, Sarah Sundin:  Holiday romance blossoms during World War II! In White Christmas, Abigail helps Jackson care for his mother. In I’ll Be Home for Christmas, fighter pilot Pete gives a special gift to a widow and her daughter. And in Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, combat nurse Meredith wonders if the man who betrayed her has returned. Three heartwarming holiday novellas by three great authors!


Evergreen by Susan WarrenEvergreen, By Susan May Warren: An empty nest has Ingrid Christiansen dreading the upcoming holidays, but her husband, John, couldn’t be more excited about this new season of life. He even has a surprise trip abroad planned. He’s sure she’ll love it. What’s more romantic than Christmas in Paris? Before he can stop her, however, Ingrid agrees to spearhead a major church project. Then their faithful dog, Butterscotch, needs emergency surgery, draining their savings. And then-because disasters strike in threes-an unexpected guest arrives, dredging up old hurts. As a beautiful blanket of snow transforms the north woods into a winter wonderland, a deep chill settles over John and Ingrid’s marriage. With the holidays fast approaching, their only hope of keeping their love evergreen depends on turning the page on the past and embracing a new chapter of their future.

Christmas at Holly HillChristmas At Holly Hill, by Martha Rogers: It is October 1898, and Clayton Barlow has just returned home after serving time in prison for his part in a bank robbery. His family welcomes him, but the townspeople are skeptical. Bored with life in the small town but determined to make a new start, he goes to work with his father, hoping to regain the town’s trust. Clayton recognizes the schoolteacher at the Prairie Grove School as his childhood friend, Merry Lee Warner, and old feelings surface. Still, he doubts that he could ever get a woman like Merry to love him.  As the townspeople prepare for Christmas, their suspicions about Clayton lead to trouble. Will the trusting heart of an unlikely new friend be enough to restore Clayton’s relationships with his neighbors and reunite him with God and Merry?

Snowflake SweetheartsSnowflake Sweetheart, by Carrie Turansky: Bringing her daughters to the one place she feels safe, single mother Annie Romano returns to Fairhaven, Washington. Though hoping to start a new life as a personal chef, Annie accepts a different job, caring for an elderly friend. Alex Jameson, the handsome man she secretly loved as a teenager, needs a live-in caregiver for his ailing grandmother. A big-city workaholic in town temporarily, Alex doesn’t seem to realize how much he needs family-or love. But this holiday season, his grandmother’s matchmaking friends and one fatherless little girl start pulling at both Annie’s and Alex’s heartstrings. Just in time for the most special Christmas ever. Book 3 in the Bayside Treasures Series.

A Man To TrustA Man to Trust, by Carrie Turansky: After years spent helping run her family’s Christian bookstore, it’s time for Adrie Chandler to give her own dream a chance. But can she really trust the beloved shop to new manager Ross Peterson? The man is too handsome, too charming, too much a reminder of another dream Adrie had to let go of-marriage. Yet Ross surprises her by knowing a thing or two about making sacrifices. Suddenly, Adrie’s questioning what she really wants. And whether the dreams she once thought unlikely are within reach after all. Book 2 in the Bayside Treasures Series.


Christmas Mail-Order BridesChristmas Mail-Order Brides, By Carrie Turansky, Susan Page Davis, Vickie McDonough, and Therese Stenzel:  Ride the transcontinental railroad as marriage arrives by mail-order—and just in time for Christmas. Annika arrives in Wyoming to discover her intended is missing. Jolie’s journey to Nevada is derailed by disaster. Elizabeth carries a load of secrets to Nebraska. And Amelia travels to California to wrap up her final attempts at matchmaking. Will the holiday season be the ticket to spark love in unexpected ways? Carrie’s Novella: A Trusting Heart: Swedish immigrant Annika Bergstrom travels to Wyoming as a mail order bride, but when her prospective groom, Chase Simms, disappears, she finds herself falling in love with his brother Daniel. Will she take hold of her chance for love, or wait for the man she has promised to marry?

Happy Holiday Reading to All!