Tag Archive | Christmas

Bio for Pitch Wars 2016

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I’ll keep this short and sweet, since I’ve restarted this post umpteen times trying to sound witty and intriguing, and it ain’t happenin’ this morning. I’m a simple, low-maintenance girl whose Twitter blurb says it best: Jesus comes first, family second, passions third. I love writing, knitting, and recently discovered the joy in creating dioramas for my Tonner fashion dolls, Ellowyne Wilde. They have more fun on this blog than I do. 🙂

I also love Christmas, hence the manuscript I’m submitting to Pitch Wars this year, which incorporates my love for the fantasy side of Christmas, as well as a bit of my love for the German language. My elves wear dirndls and lederhosen, they live in northern Canada and adore ice hockey. The reindeer stables hold several secrets, Santa’s grandson suffers from an engorged ego, and my MC, Tinsel, stands two feet too tall among her fellow elves. With a trail of mishaps in her wake, she has a tough time fitting in. I wrote the first draft of this story a few years ago in an attempt to revive my joy for writing, so it has a light-hearted, whimsical feel to it, yet thanks to several revisions, it’s not without depth.

I’m a member of ACFW and submitted this manuscript through their rigorous critique loop over the last year. While I’ve polished it to a near shine (I hope), I know there’s always more to learn about the writing craft, so though my story might be good, I’d love some outside help to make it great. If the idea of hanging with a clumsy, determined elf, a team of spunky reindeer, and a Kringle in need of humility makes you smile, I hope you’ll consider mentoring me for Pitch Wars 2016. I can even promise there’ll be some kisses along the way–er, between my MCs, not me. 😉

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What is Christmas, anyway?

Picture courtesy of my sister at Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World

Picture courtesy of my sister at Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World

Merry Christmas.

Two simple words that generate not-so-simple responses.

To one heart, it brings joy; to another, it brings sorrow. One man smiles at the greeting, and another man gnashes his teeth. One house fills with excitement and gratitude while the house next door drowns in stress and envy.

Christmas once ushered in a time for rest and togetherness on dark winter days; warm drinks and once-a-year-treats enjoyed by the fire; laughter shared by families. Now the days of December overflow with busy schedules, haphazard visits to disconnected relatives “because we have to,” and the shout of advertisements pinging us on billboards, catalogues, FB, Twitter, email—all screaming for us to buy, buy, buy because, because, because.

Carols trill about peace and goodwill, yet people’s faces reflect frustration and strife. What was once considered the most wonderful time of the year has morphed into one of the worst times of the year.

Because ever so slowly, through the passing of decades and generations, we have taken Christ out of Christmas.

Take Christ out of Christmas and what do you have left? A day in late December where people buy stuff for other people because…that’s what you do on this holiday, right? People spend thousands of dollars and go into debt because…that’s what’s expected. Parents buy toys and electronics for their children, whose rooms already explode with under-appreciated “stuff,” because…that’s what society tells them to do. Why?

Take Christ out of Christmas and you have an empty, ridiculous day filled with wasting money on stuff we can get any other day of the year.

But keep Christ in Christmas and you have the next phase of God’s plan fulfilled. Done, because He loves us. Did you know that whole scene in the manger was planned before God breathed the world into being? Did you know He had you in mind when He sent His Son to live among us in a form with which we could identify? And touch. And hug. And look upon. See his eyes? They shine with unconditional love—for you. For me. See his smile? He smiles with patience and deep understanding—for you. For me.

God loved us before we even knew or acknowledged He existed. That miserly co-worker in the next cubicle? God loves him. That group that defies your morals and values? God loves them. Those terrorists with malicious intent in their hearts? God. Loves. them.

True, He doesn’t want them to stay that way. He doesn’t condone their selfish actions, their sin, any more than He condones mine. Yet He still loves us in spite of those things. And he yearns for us to know Him—not as a judge with hammer in hand; not as a genie to grant our wishes—but as a Father who wants the very best for His children.

Jesus gave up his deity for more than three decades to live among us so that we would have a visible picture reflecting in full the nature of the invisible God. And even though we can’t see Him with our human eyes, our spiritual eyes can experience His goodness, mercies, love, and presence every single day.

God's decorations on my decorations.

God’s decorations on my decorations in the form of hoarfrost.

Did you see the sunrise this morning? God did that. Did you notice the hoarfrost yesterday? God did that. Did you utilize some form of transportation on your way to work? Enjoy the game on your flatscreen TV? Text a friend on your smartphone? God blessed mankind with the minds to create those things. Did you take time to marvel at your child’s face before sending her off to school? Or wonder over your baby’s fingers before settling him down for a nap? God created those little ones, too. And they have worth–not because of what Hollywood says or what their friends think–but because God created them on purpose. And that which He creates, He loves.

Christmas represents God’s love for people when the Creator became the created—human limitations and all—knowing from the onset that His earthly path would take Him through the splinters of a cross before He could return to His rightful place of glory.

Because. He. Loves. Us.

That is Christmas. That is love.

Sacrificial. Selfless. Unconditional. “Even before he made the world, God loved us…” Ephesians 1:4a.

This Christmas season, may you somehow, in some way, through someone, encounter the joy, comfort, and peace that can only come from recognizing the Source of it all.

God Incarnate: Jesus Christ. Emmanuel: God with us.

“This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loves us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” 1 John 4:10 NLT; boldface mine

“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.” Ephesians 1:4-8 NLT; boldface mine

Just a little pre-holiday fun…

My brother-in-law can be very vocal about his displeasure in seeing Christmas paraphernalia hit the stores weeks before Thanksgiving (a sentiment shared by many, I know). But while he frowns, I can’t wipe the grin off my face, for I represent the other (and likely smaller) crowd that thrills at the sight of all that red and white making an appearance on retail shelves.

For the sake of my family, I try not to overexpose them to too many Christmas carols before Thanksgiving. On my own, however, I start filtering the uplifting songs into my repertoire by late August. For the sake of my family, I refrain from pulling out any Christmas decor until after Halloween. Yet for the sake of myself, I do begin the decorating process come November 1st. 🙂 I have always been that way, and no matter how society’s views change on this controversial holiday, I pray I will always find joy, comfort, and peace in my own corner of the Christmas world.

IMG_4680So for all of you out there who share my excitement at this time of year, here’s a little Christmas fun from my corner to yours. Look closely. Someone’s up to her usual mischief, hiding among those trees and those snowmen. Can you find her?

 

 

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Same picture…different position.

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It’s Christmastime in Ello-land…

Merry Christmas! Ellowyne Wilde here. So excited about the upcoming holidays! We’ve been busy decorating, wrapping presents, coiffing for parties, and anticipating the arrival of a new friend: Urban Legend Lizette!

Meet Lizette!

Meet Lizette!

Last week, we enfolded her into our family with as much enthusiasm as a pack of moody dolls can muster and Lizette wasted no time jumping into the mix of activities (her skills with a tube of icing are quite remarkable).

Decorating the gingerbread house.

Decorating the gingerbread house.

And while some of us affix candy to gingerbread houses, others of us affix ornaments to Christmas trees.

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How am I supposed to get this star all the way up there?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tori, bless her little heart, has been wrapping presents for days…

Keep up the good work!

Keep up the good work!

…and some of us could stand a little less primping and a little more productivity (oh, get to the party already, ladies!).

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Here are a few different snapshots of our lovely new front porch decked out for Christmas:

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Our loft railing…IMG_2227

And a pair enjoying a chilly rendezvous under a sparkling tree.IMG_2231

Yes, it’s quite festive around here right now, although I’m hoping Laurie will toss a disco ball our way for New Year’s Eve…

All we’re missing is a cozy fireplace hung with stockings, but I’m told that’s on Laurie’s To Do list for 2015. (And blurting out something like that on her blog is kind of like a binding contract, right? Now she’s obligated to make me—er, all of us—a fireplace. Aaah, I can feel the warmth already.)

We dolls hope everyone has a safe and joyous holiday season. Don’t forget to schedule in time amidst the busyness to rest and soak up the more delightful aspects of Christmas…such as driving through neighborhoods to look at lights, listening to favorite carols, watching favorite holiday movies, quality hours spent with family and friends, couch time with a mug of hot cocoa and a good book—

Oooo, now that last one sounds inviting. Say, girls, do any of you know where I put my reading glasses?