I grew up in the little town of Arcola Illinois, population of just over 2000, and that is where I raised my three children. We moved to Florida in 1996. We were on vacation in Florida, visiting my in-laws, and we decided that we enjoyed Florida so much we just packed up the dog and my three teenagers and moved.
I had a day-care in my home and enjoyed reading to children. On day I thought, "I can do that!" So.... I got my laptop and started writing about kids... doing things that kids do. My daughters went to church camp when they were little, so I started writing about kids at camp. My youngest daughter had a hamster, so I threw a hamster into the story.
I wrote one book, 'Ridge Street Church Mouse,' then I wrote another, 'Ridge Street Home.' then... 'Ridge Street Prom,' then... 'Ridge Street Model,' now I am working on 'Ridge Street, Where's Amy?' .... It is like I can't stop writing about my character Amanda Anderson. It is like she has just come alive as I write. I hope you will enjoy reading about Amanda Anderson and her friends and family, as much as I like writing about them. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
My Favorite Christmas Story
I think we all have a favorite Christmas, you know, a Christmas that is branded in our head forever and we kind of relive this Christmas every Christmas for the rest of our lives. Well, I want to share mine.
One of my sisters, at the young age of thirty-two, passed away from colon cancer on January 4, 1972, just nine days after Christmas. She had four beautiful children. The youngest was only four years old at the time. It devastated our whole family. This totally destroyed my mother. Since this happened so close to Christmas she stopped putting up the Christmas tree and lost all hope in just about everything. A few years later, on a snowy Christmas Eve night. I put my son and my three month old daughter to bed. I only had two children at that time. I did my usual routine of bath, pajamas, all cozy in bed, but I tossed and I turned. I couldn't go to sleep. All I could think of was my mother.
The clock struck midnight! I sat up in bed and grabbed my husband's arm and shook him out of a peaceful sleep.
"Get your clothes on!" I said.
"What?" He looked at me like I had just lost it.
"Get your clothes on." I repeated. "We're going out to Mama and Daddy's house."
I dashed to the children's rooms and hurriedly dressed them, pajamas and all, in their snowsuits, mittens, and hats. "We're going to Grandma's house." I told them.
We piled into my husband's truck, with the big wide tires, and drove down the snow packed country roads, through the silent falling snow, to my mom and dad's house. We turned into the long lane and eased to a stop. I ran up to the door and knocked. No answer. The lights were on. I peeked in the window. Sure enough. There they were, all alone on Christmas Eve. My mom in her chair and my dad asleep in his recliner, with the television blaring.
I banged on the door harder this time.
My mom jolted awake. She scurried, sleepy eyed, to the door. "What are you doing here this late?" She asked. "Is something wrong?"
"We're going to put up the Christmas tree!" I announced.
And we did. We went upstairs and found the tree tucked into a back closet. We slid the boxed- up tree down the stairs and before long we had a tree in the corner of her living room, twinkling, red, blue, green, and yellow.
I went to the kitchen and made cups of hot chocolate with marshmallows floating on top. Cups in hand, I entered the living room to the sight of my Dad sitting on the foot stool, with my mom standing behind him, staring, their eyes big, reflecting the light from the twinkling lights and tinsel, a relaxed and peaceful expression on their faces, at the tree in the corner.
I held back a tear. Such a beautiful moment. A moment branded in my memory forever. A moment to remember that on Christmas Eve, long-long ago, on the night of our saviors' birth. Three Shepard's saw a twinkling in the sky. A twinkling that they followed. A twinkling that led them to a new hope. A hope of faith, love, and peace, for the future. A hope that will one day become a reality forever.