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African-American Children Adopted By Mennonite Families

December 27, 2011 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you’ll know that I’ve often posted about Amish, Mennonites, and other Plain sects. I found this article interesting – it’s about Mennonites adopting African-American Children.

If you read the article, let me know what you thought about it.

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Sunday Brunch – Merry Christmas! :-)

December 25, 2011 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

Merry Christmas, everyone! How will you be spending your holiday – both Christmas and New Year’s? Leave a comment!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Luke 2:1-20
Luke 2
Christ Born of Mary
1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “ Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

A Texas Christmas Mystery!

December 24, 2011 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

A Texas Christmas Mystery – currently only 99 cents on Kindle!

A lady Coastguardsman searches for a killer. An oil rig troubleshooter accused of murder races to clear his name. The murderer strives to silence them both.
Sparks fly as Amber Meredith seeks to arrest Derrick Darbonne. She needs to solve her first case, but the handsome Cajun suspect makes her heart race and her toes tingle.
Derrick has worked all his life for his high-paying, adventurous job. When the past threatens his future, will he endanger the woman he loves in order to save himself?

This was an enjoyable, intriguing and mysterious read. Amber is determined to solve her first case. She’s in the Coast Guard, and she’s very focused on making it in her career – she even has a five-year career plan and nothing, including romance, can cloud her dreams for success.

Derrick is struggling with hurt feelings from his childhood. Abandoned by his mother, he has not had a lot of female interaction over the years. He’s leery of love, but can’t resist his attraction to beautiful Amber.

Meanwhile a killer is on the loose, and it appears that Derrick is being framed for the murder. He’s forced to defend himself by trying to find the real culprit. However, his actions could place Amber in danger. Amber is stubborn, and she refuses to leave Derrick’s side as she attempts to solve the mystery.

Strong romantic tension as well as suspense make this a wonderful Christmas read!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Christmas – A Candid History – From The Blog Archives

December 23, 2011 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

Christmas – A Candid History

Do you know of any good books about the history of Christmas? If so, leave a comment with the book title.

I blogged about this book last year.

Since then I’ve managed to finish the book. If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you’ll know that I’m not a big fan of non-fiction books in general. It takes me a good while to finish a non-fiction book, if I ever finish it. So, the fact that it took me 2 Christmases to finish this book should in no way put a negative light on the author or the book. It’s a good, well-written book about the history of Christmas. If you’re curious about Santa Claus and why we celebrate Christmas the way we do today, then you should read this book. It’s a fairly short and to-the-point book.

I’ve always been interested in why we celebrate Christmas the way we do now. I guess my curiosity stems from the fact that I was raised not believing in Santa Claus and not celebrating Christmas. I was always taught about the pagan roots of the holiday, but, as I got older, I didn’t really understand how we came to celebrate Christmas the way we do today. For example, I knew Saint Nicolas existed, but, I didn’t know how he came to be known as Santa Claus. I did try to research this subject at the library when I was in my early twenties – all I found was an old, battered book about the early life of Saint Nicolas and that was it.

Anyway, here’s the most amazing facts that I found from this book:

1. Christmas was initially banned when the Pilgrims moved to America. Christmas was actually an extension of pagan worship of the sun god and people always had winter parties and festivals before Christ even came to earth. Winter was cold and dark, so parties using greenery and lights livened things up, but these winter parties were not the innocent Christmas parties that we know of today. People would participate in all kinds of lewd behavior, including drunkeness. That’s one reason why the Puritans did not want to celebrate Christmas when they came to America.

2. The key people who were involved in “sanitizing” Christmas into the celebration we know of today, lived in the 1800’s. We’ve only been celebrating Christmas as we know it today for about 150 years, give or take. These people included (but are not limited to):

Washington Irving
John Pintard
Clement Clarke Moore or Henry Livingston Jr.
Thomas Nast
Charles Dickens

Irving, Pintard and Moore were involved in an elite New York society. This society wanted to “sanitize” Christmas, making it a happy family time.

3. Santa Claus
The Saint Nicholas to Santa Claus transition occurred when Moore’s (or Livingston’s) poem, Twas The Night Before Christmas was published anonymously. The poem caught on and people came to associate Santa Claus with the giving of gifts on Christmas Eve.
Other things about Santa, like his living on the North Pole as well as other characteristics, can be attributed to the drawings made by Thomas Nast for Harper’s Weekly. Nast drew Santa as the plump, bearded man that we know of today. In Moore’s/Livingston’s poem, Santa is tiny, like an elf, not the big jolly man we admire today.

Anyway, that’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as the wealth of Christmas knowledge in this book. I highly recommend it to all who are curious about the roots of the Christmas traditions that we practice today. This book will definitely stay on my “keeper” shelf.

Another notable book that I read years ago is called Battle for Christmas. Although this book was good, too. I found it somewhat scholarly written and bit hard to read. I think Christmas – A Candid History is much easier to read. Not surprisingly, Christmas – A Candid History does use quotes from Battle For Christmas.

So, do you know of any good books about the history of Christmas? If so, leave a comment about the book and the title. I love reading books about this subject.

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Sunday Brunch – The Apostle Paul

December 18, 2011 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

Acts 28:8-10
8 And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him. 9 So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed. 10 They also honored us in many ways; and when we departed, they provided such things as were necessary.

I encourage you to read the entire chapters of Acts 27 and 28 – which I’ve copied and pasted below. I read this in my Bible recently, and I keep thinking about it.

This scripture really resonates with me because, well, I guess I keep thinking of the imagery involved. The Apostle Paul, a prisoner, was shipwrecked on the island of Malta with the rest of the crew and prisoners. I keep thinking of the vivid imagery of Malta. I know the winds and the storm were treacherous, but, I’m sure that after everything cleared up, Malta was quite beautiful to the shipwrecked – especially after struggling through that terrible storm.

I also think about what it must’ve looked like for Paul to build a fire and then a poisonous snake to pop out of the fire onto his hand, and he wasn’t harmed or anything. But, what’s kinda weird is, the Maltans thought that Paul was a god since he remained unharmed after being attacked by the poisonous snake. I suppose they thought like this since they were not yet aware of the Gospel.

However, what I find truly amazing is when Paul healed all on the entire island through his faith in Jesus. Isn’t that wonderfully amazing? If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you know how I’m kinda fixated on the miraculous healings in the Bible. I wish there were movie cameras back then so that it could be caught on film for me to watch. I’m sure it would’ve been an amazing sight to see.

When you read this scripture, what comes to your mind? How would you have reacted if that poisonous snake had attached himself to your hand? I’d have been screaming, scared, my heart would’ve been racing! I know we need to rely on God during those traumatic times, but, the first thing that would’ve popped into my mind was fear!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Acts 27
Shipwrecked on Malta

39 When it was day, they did not recognize the land; but they observed a bay with a beach, onto which they planned to run the ship if possible. 40 And they let go the anchors and left them in the sea, meanwhile loosing the rudder ropes; and they hoisted the mainsail to the wind and made for shore. 41 But striking a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the violence of the waves.
42 And the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim away and escape. 43 But the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from their purpose, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land, 44 and the rest, some on boards and some on parts of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.

Acts 28
Paul’s Ministry on Malta
1 Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta. 2 And the natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold. 3 But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. 4 So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.” 5 But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
7 In that region there was an estate of the leading citizen of the island, whose name was Publius, who received us and entertained us courteously for three days. 8 And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him. 9 So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed. 10 They also honored us in many ways; and when we departed, they provided such things as were necessary.

The Polar Express – On DVD – From The Blog Archives

December 17, 2011 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

I blogged about this movie last Christmas. Have you seen this movie? If so, did you like it?

When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.

This movie is incredible! The scenery is vivid and moving and the music is great! We watch this movie every year and we never grow tired of seeing it.

A young boy finds himself doubting the existence of Santa. A train pops up in his front yard on Christmas Eve – a train to the North Pole. On the train, he meets an interesting cast of characters, including a young girl and a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. A series of mishaps and life-threatening moments occur, giving this story an edge over the sweeter Christmas movies. This is a nice, enjoyable story and if you haven’t seen it, you should give it a try!

Have you seen The Polar Exress? If you have what did you like about it?
Merry Christmas, everybody!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Christmas Pearl By Robin Bayne

December 16, 2011 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

Christmas Pearl by Robin Bayne

Joe is still bitter after his messy divorce. Since his wife had a shrewd divorce lawyer, she managed to get most of their wealth and possessions during the divorce proceedings. Now Joe is single and he’s stunned when Elizabeth (his wife’s shrewd lawyer) shows up at a family/friends gathering. He can’t forgive Elizabeth (Liza) for the part that she played in his divorce from his wife. In spite of his negative feelings toward Liza, he finds himself attracted to the pretty lawyer.

Liza is stunned to run into Joe. Why can’t he forgive her for what she’s done in the past? Liza is a Christian now, plus, she’s changed her profession – she’s no longer a divorce lawyer. Can’t Joe see that their attraction might not be so bad after all?

Due to a mishap, Liza and Joe are forced to work together at Christmas parties during the holiday season. Can they learn to overcome their differences and fall in love with one another?

This was a cute, enjoyable, light story that I think a lot of people can relate to. Sometimes, when we’re angry with others in breaking up a relationship, our anger can be a bit misguided. I enjoyed reading about the Christmas parties and the holiday touches to the story make it a nice Christmas read.

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Book Giveaway Winner! :-)

December 15, 2011 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

The winner for the November Book Giveaway is:

Natasha Grist – Lowville, NY

Natasha, congrats! I plan on mailing you your books this Saturday! 🙂

I’ll be doing another giveaway sometime in the future! I encourage you to subscribe to my blog so that you can be updated about future book giveaways! 🙂

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Stocking Stuffer Idea – Chesapeake Weddings Only $1.99!

December 14, 2011 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

Do you need a stocking stuffer for the Holidays? Chesapeake Weddings is only $1.99 at!
I encourage you to order several copies to share with family and friends over the glorious Christmas season. It’d make a perfect gift for members of your book club or for ladies at your church. What an inexpensive way to spread Christmas cheer this year! 🙂

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Savanna’s Gift By Camille Eide

December 13, 2011 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

Savanna’s Gift by Camille Eide

I really enjoyed this short Christmas story. Savanna returns to the ski lodge where she worked a few years ago. She returns because she needs to drop off her god-daughter, Mylie, to Mylie’s grandparents for Christmas. She runs into Luke, her old flame and ex-fiancé. While Savanna worked at the ski lodge years ago, her and Luke were an item and he proposed and she accepted. However, Savanna broke off the engagement, leaving Luke believing that she didn’t love him because he was just a lowly lift operator. Luke thinks Savanna wants to marry a man who’s higher up on the corporate ladder than him.

However, Savanna had other reasons for breaking her engagement to Luke, and she’s determined to make him listen to her reasons. While they’re in the midst of a Christmas snowstorm and the roads are shut down, Luke and Savanna attempt to find their way to one another again.

I think I enjoyed this story because Luke and Savanna never forgot one another. In spite of their breakup, their love still ran deep. I also enjoyed the wonderful setting. I loved reading about the lodge and about the guests staying in the lodge, stranded during a Christmas snowstorm. The snow, the lodge, and the Christmas things (like decorations, traditions and such) gave this story a nice holiday appeal. A good, comforting read to enjoy during the cold winter holiday.

~Cecelia Dowdy~