Christina Cole Romance

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The Best Part

cup-of-coffeeRight now I have a jingle playing in my head. You’ve heard it before, I’m sure.

The best part of waking up, is Folger’s in your cup.

No, this isn’t a commercial, and I’ll pass on the coffee and enjoy a zingy cup of herbal tea for my morning wake-up. Those of you who do enjoy a hot, freshly-brewed cup of java can grab one now as we sit and visit.

So why am I singing the Folger’s jingle today?

Blame it on my little Question and Answer a Day book. Today’s question is a delightful one:

What’s the best part of your life right now?

Oh, there are so many good things in my life. I hardly know where to begin. Before I answer the question I first want to express my joy in finding such a beautiful question in this little book. Although it may appear to be quite simple, it’s truly profound. It’s the sort of question that sneaks up on us and makes us think.

We need to think more about what’s good in life. Too often we’re surrounded by negativity — news reports, frustrations, problems to solve — and it rubs off on us. We can’t ignore problems, of course, but dwelling on what’s wrong doesn’t help us find solutions.

It’s wonderful to sit here this morning in MLWR (my little writing room) and think of all the good things around me. I invite each of you to do the same. Grab a cup of coffee, tea, or whatever your favorite morning libation might be, take a deep breath, and focus on what’s right in your world.

The best part of my life is…

Oh, it’s so hard to single out one particular piece of what makes my life so good and say “this is the best.” I’m going to have to find a way to draw it all together and include all the joyful moments.

The best part of my life is…having opportunities to live fully each day, to be able to learn new things and share them with others, to celebrate every moment with family and friends, and to enjoy being who I am.

Today’s question brings time for reflection. It offers us a moment of gratitude and thanksgiving. Yes, I am grateful, indeed, for the wonderful life I’m living. I’m grateful for my family, and I’m grateful to each of you who pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee, and visit here each day.

I’m going to revise that little jingle now and say:

The best part of waking up is not what’s in my cup. It’s the people I share it with.

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Thank you for letting me share my mornings with you.

 

 


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Count Your Blessings

count-blessingsIt’s another of those old bits of advice we hear all the time.  Maybe we should heed it. Maybe life is better when we focus on what’s right and what’s good instead of constantly dwelling on our problems. Maybe the simple act of counting our blessings can make a difference in our lives.

No maybe about it. Counting our blessings does work wonders. Blessings, in fact, tend to multiply as we start counting them each day.

While browsing around this morning, I found a lot of inspiring thoughts about blessings and the importance of counting them each day.

Perhaps the most thought-provoking one was this:

How would you feel if you woke up tomorrow

with only the things you were thankful for today?

Blessing jar

I also found this “blessing jar”. What a beautiful idea. I’m making one today, and each day I’ll add to it. My hope is that when life’s skies seem cloudy or storms arise, I can sit quietly with my blessing jar, take each out, and truly name my blessings one by one.

Life itself is a blessing. Today, let’s be grateful and give thanks at every opportunity.

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“You say grace before meals. All right.  But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”  

         – G.K. Chesterton –

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Thank you for visiting. Have a beautiful — and BLESSED day!

 


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Thank You

Yes, folks, I’m back, and I hope to continue posting regularly now. The last six weeks have been crazy ones, and I’ve learned a lot over that time. I’ve learned the importance of establishing priorities in our lives, the need for managing our time — and our emotions — and most of all, I’ve come to more fully understand the value of those simple words, “Thank you.”

Even during the bleakest, most challenging moments, at those times when the whole world seems to be crashing down around us, taking time to count our blessing and express our gratitude truly works wonders.

Does that message seem trite? It’s bandied about a lot, and because having “an attitude of gratitude” has become such a cliche “catch-phrase”, it’s easy to roll our eyes, mutter, “Yeah, yeah,” and go on.  After all, we’ve got problems to deal with. Real life isn’t so simple that a few little words will make a difference. Right?

Wrong.

Having an attitude of gratitude does make a difference in our lives. It affects not only us, but the people around us, especially when we show them — through words and deeds — how much we appreciate them.

Please, the next time your life turns chaotic, when problems seem to be flying at you from all directions and troubles are threatening to get you down, take a moment to step back. Look at all the good in your life. Look at the people who are there for you. Then, most of all, say those words aloud.

“Thank you. Thank you for being there. Thank you for all you do.”

 

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Today, as I return to the online world and begin blogging again, I want to say those words to every reader. Thank you. Thank you for understanding. Thank you for standing by me and showing your support. Thank you for all the thoughts, prayers, and good wishes you’ve sent to me and my family over these last few weeks. Please know that you are appreciated, even more than words can say.

 

 


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Today’s the Day!

At last, it’s here. Release day has arrived for the third book of my “Sunset” series. Please join me in celebrating as I do my little “happy dance.” As I log-on and write this post this morning, “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not” is holding the spot as #1 Best-Seller at Secret Cravings Publishing.

Best Sellers 01-28

Yep…time for the happy dance.

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Thanks, readers, for your show of support.  I’d also like to shout out a special thank you to two very special readers, and to the IWW — that’s the Internet Writers’ Workshop. Writers, you see, might work alone, but we’re surrounded by friends and family who help us at every step of the way. So, it is with gratitude and appreciation that I dedicate “He Loves Me, He Lovs Me Not” to these very special people.

 

He Loves Me, He Loves Me NotDedication

To my husband, Ken, the love of my life.

 

“There is no greater glory than love…”

 

– Lope de Vega –

 

I’d also like to acknowledge two very special friends and their contributions to the story. Debby Pence, thank you for giving a name to the character of Hattie Mae Richards, and Pamela Reveal, I love the name you came up with for Emily Sue’s horse. Thanks, too, to all the members of the “Lovestory” group of the Internet Writers’ Workshop. Your support and encouragement are appreciated.

For your copy of “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not”, please visit your favorite online bookseller.

Secret Cravings Publishing

All-Romance Ebooks

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Bookstrand

And please make plans to join me for the official Facebook release party.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

8:00 PM to 11:00 PM Eastern Standard Time


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There’s No Place Like Home

HomeOne of the most important concepts in romance novels, I think, is that of home. It’s more than just a house, a dwelling, a place to hang a hat. Home is part of who we are. It’s family, it’s friends, it’s the life we’ve created for ourselves. Home is where we’re comfortable, where we feel best. It is where we can be ourselves.

 

At least, that’s how it should be.

Romance novels often show us the importance of home by throwing characters into situations that threaten it, challenge it, or question it in some way.

Many stories are built around the premise of leaving home. We read tales of young women who are forced out into the world and who must struggle to find their own way in life, to establish their own identity, and thereby create their own home.

Other stories center around home and family situations that don’t measure up to the ideal. Heroines in romance novels often have difficult relationships with parents or siblings. They’re subjected to violence and abuse, or perhaps they’ve been thrust into the role of caregiver and must devote themselves to an ailing parent or take on the responsibilities of raising younger brothers and sisters.

Another popular theme in romance novels is that of saving a home. We’ve probably all read stories of war, hardship, or political upheaval, stories in which the heroine faces financial ruin and the threat of losing the home she loves.

Of course, coming home again is also a familiar premise for romance readers. Sometimes characters have been away, perhaps for many years. As a story begins, they’ve come home again. But as Thomas Wolfe put it, “You can’t go home again.” It’s never the same, really, once we’ve gone away. Most likely it’s because we’ve changed. The question is whether the changes are good. Have we grown? Have we become better individuals? Or have we strayed from the values and principles by which we were raised? Many times characters in romance novels must answer these questions.

In looking back at my own writing, I can see how clearly the concept of home has worked in my stories.

  • Irresistible, my first historical romance published with Secret Cravings Publishing, saw my heroine leaving home for the first time, being pushed from her narrow-minded — and somewhat pessimistic — attitudes and her simple way of life into a world of luxury, wealth, and unlimited possibilities. She was disoriented, of course. Stubborn, unsure of herself, and hurt by the realities of life, my heroine had much to learn. Falling in love helped her change her perspective. She learned to see herself in new ways, to re-define who she was, and to accept love.
  • In Happily  Ever After, my heroine was searching for a place to call home — figuratively, that is. She’d grown up in  an unhappy home, and she’d found ways to cope with the doubts and fears she’d known as a child. As the story unfolds, she’s able to help others find comfort and peace of mind, yet childhood memories still color her own perceptions. Sometimes it’s hard to break free from the past.
  • Summertime, set in rural Kansas, is very much a story of home. The heroine has been away for many years, has enjoyed a successful and glamorous career. She returns to Kansas not because she wants to go home, but because she must. For her, home represents everything she dislikes in life. Love helps her see herself — and the little town of Brookfield — with new eyes.
  • My heroine in The Wrong Woman is setting off to find a new home for herself after making some big mistakes in her life. She’s ashamed of what she’s done. Going away and making a new start is the best course of action, she thinks. Yet she carries with her the same beliefs and values of her childhood. For her, home was a place of strength, a place of happiness. That strength and her own deeply-held appreciation for life, enable her to not only make a home for herself wherever she goes, but to help the struggling hero create a true home for himself.
  • In my latest release, Not the Marrying Kind, the heroine truly loves her home at the Rocking P ranch. But life is throwing her a curve, and she’s about the lose everything she’s loved.  Adding to her woes is the fact that, like so many of us, she’s defined by her home. If she loses the land she loves, who will she be? How can she become something she’s not? Her fight to save her home is really a fight for acceptance, a struggle to win the right to be herself.

In looking over these stories and the characters who’ve lived them out in the pages of my novels, I can clearly see the concept of home as a synonym for acceptance.

Rise Childers must learn to accept what others have to give. Anne Hopkins must accept love. Coming home to Brookfield, Kansas, forces Linn Sparks to accept truths she’s refused to see, and Abigail Rose must accept forgiveness for the sins she believes she’s committed. And Kat Phillips, above all, needs acceptance, not only from her friends and family, but most of all, from herself.

These heroines learn a lot from love. They learn to see themselves in new ways, to open themselves up to new possibilities, to understand that home is truly “where the heart is.” In learning to love themselves, they’re also able to help others gain a greater understanding of what home is all about.

What does home mean to you?

 


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Thanks…For What?

I recently read an inspiring “letter” written by Reverend Robert Luckin. He creates workshops and is a popular speaker at many spiritual communities around the United States. In his letter, he spoke of many things for which he wanted to give thanks. He begins:

Thanks for all the times you have lifted me up and given me a smile, a fresh new idea, a new word, a new song, and your laughter. Thanks for your advice and the way you didn’t get mad when I didn’t use it.

He goes on to list many, many more things. A gentle touch. Respect. Encouragement.  All things for which we should be grateful, things for which we should give thanks.

I write often about the need for gratitude.  Life is far more rewarding when we take time to recognize our blessings and give thanks for all we’ve been given. Today, however, I want to take a slightly different perspective on gratitude.

Instead of thinking of all that we’ve been given, why not think of all we have to give to others?

With that thought, I returned to Luckin’s letter, looking at each blessing and thinking of how I might give that same blessing to someone else.

Gifts

WHAT CAN WE GIVE?

  • An emotional lift when a friend is feeling down.
  • A smile — always a welcome gift.
  • New ideas that someone might enjoy
  • New words that might bring inspiration or hope
  • A new song! Music is a special gift we can share.
  • Laughter. Nothing more needs to be said on this one.
  • Advice, when asked.
  • Understanding, at all times.
  • A gentle touch.
  • Respect for all.
  • Encouragement and praise.
  • Forgiveness for those who have wronged us.
  • Guidance for those who have lost their way.
  • The beauty of the earth.
  • A dare to live fully, to follow one’s dreams.
  • A helping hand when someone has fallen.
  • A willingness to love forever.
  • A light in the darkness.
  • An example for our children to follow.
  • A simple “Good morning,” to start the day.
  • A reminder to care for oneself.
  • Room to grow.
  • The right to make mistakes without censure.
  • A moment of our time — even when we have little to spare.

These are simple gifts. They cost little, are always available, and don’t require wrapping or mailing. We don’t have to worry about giving the wrong size, the wrong color, or the wrong style.

“Thanks…for what?”

When we meet someone who asks that question, maybe we can take a moment to give something of ourselves, something that might spark that wondrous sense of gratitude for another.

“Thanks…for everything!”