How to Write a Christmas Movie

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! The very busy month of November is now upon us. Can you believe it?

Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away and the air is filled with … Christmas music.

Are you a fan of Hallmark Christmas movies? I have to admit, I love watching some of them. Some. Of. Them.

I have to be careful not to overwatch because it eats up a lot of time that should be spent reading, writing, cleaning, cooking, etc.

There are benefits to watching Christmas movies. They can help you prepare mentally for the onslaught that we call “the holiday season.” They provide Christmas decorations so you don’t have to. Honestly, if I didn’t have grandkids, I wouldn’t bother.

I am not a Christmas fanatic. I tend to endure the holidays. Those roots run deep, and I really can’t tell you why.

But, I do enjoy the movies. Maybe I’ll write one someday, so you could call it research. 🙂

A pattern has emerged as I watch, and I’ve decided there must be a checklist involved in writing those things.

At some point in the story the couple:

  • Heads over the meadow and through the woods to cut down a tree (or maybe just the tree lot in town).
  • Puts up the tree.
  • Decorates the tree (may or may not involve the girl falling from a ladder into the guy’s arms).
  • There’s a snowball fight.
  • They build a snowman.
  • They create a gingerbread house, which may or may not involve a contest.
  • They make snow angels together.
  • Ice skating!
  • Enjoy hot chocolate together, often after ice skating or snowman building.
  • The “almost kiss”—that first kiss is always interrupted.
  • The small town they live in has a tree lighting, usually on Christmas Eve.
  • The town Santa is really Santa (in disguise). He knows things no one else could know and is often a matchmaker.
  • There’s mistletoe, often in unexpected places.
  • Snow falls, even in locations where it never snows, like Florida, or southern California (Christmas miracle!).

If I’ve left anything out, please feel free to comment!

And now, just so you’ll know I’m not a total grinch, my favorite Christmas movie among the Hallmark offerings is The Christmas Secret.

The casting is spot-on. I love the story and the small town of Wilsonville and Betty’s Bakery of course. I can almost smell those cinnamon rolls! Wilsonville is also the setting for another Hallmark Christmas movie, The Christmas Note.

Last-minute addition: A brand new movie this year, Two Turtle Doves, moves into my list of favorites. It’s heartwarming and intelligently written. I will be watching that one again.

Are you a reader or a watcher?

Would you rather read a holiday story, or see it in movie form?

What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

Have a blessed weekend!

Hello Halloween Harvest Homecoming

I opened my post and this beautiful white space greeted me. How I love the fresh newness of white space. 🙂

Hello, Thursday Morning and Happy Halloween. I don’t usually celebrate Halloween, but I do hand out candy and smiles to young neighbors. Then I pray for their parents who will have to endure hours of sugar-enhanced wall bouncing.

The last day of October is important to me for two reasons. It’s the beginning of the holiday season. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, closely followed by Christmas and New Year’s. All wonderful opportunities to celebrate with family.

Left-to-Right: Judy, Norma, and Me!

AND it’s my “sister-cousin’s” birthday! Happy Birthday, Judy! This is the day when she joins me in whatever number year we’re in. We’re only a few months apart. I always get there first, of course. *Sigh*

And this is the picture I love to show, one that includes our other “sister-cousin”, Norma. She was our big sister. I loved growing up in a close-knit family where cousins were like brothers and sisters.

You’ll notice I was wearing saddle oxfords and carrying a purse. I was quite stylish at two—or were we three? Whatever, we were cute.

Times have changed. A lot. But, we still love each other, and we’re still cute.

Halloween, Harvest, or Homecoming? However you choose to celebrate, I hope the fun includes family and loved ones.

He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. — Psalm 126:6

Tomorrow, I’ll be at Inspired Prompt – a multi-author blog dedicated to inspiring writers. I hope you’ll join me there!

 

In God’s Time

How often have I heard that phrase in my lifetime?

What does it mean?

Hello, Thursday Morning readers, and welcome. I hope you’ll join me in a cup of coffee or hot tea, or whatever is your preferred morning beverage.

It’s chilly this week, but the sun is shining. I love this time of year, brief as it is.

We’re nearing the end of October, and that means we’re entering the final couple of months of 2019. Can you believe it?

Another year will end soon, like day’s end as dusk approaches. Then comes the night, filled with twinkling stars and the depth of darkness before the dawn of a new day.

Hope tends to wane in those darkest hours.

When will I see the salvation of the Lord? When will my prayers be answered? How long must I wait?

“In God’s time,” my soul whispers, echoing words from my ancestors over the years. They knew, didn’t they? Those souls who had endured great sorrow, and waited for the dawn when hope would rekindle.

I know life ebbs and flows like the tide. Seasons come and go. Through the good, we rejoice. In bad times, we mourn. In the waiting, we grow impatient.

I stood outside a tiger’s compound at our local zoo and watched as that great creature paced back and forth, watching and waiting. His feral eyes seemed to register the movements of the onlookers. What was he thinking? Did I really want to know?

Sometimes I feel like that tiger when I’m in a time of waiting. My patience wears thin and I’m tempted to give up.

Psalm 13 describes a similar journey as David asks, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?”

He goes on for a few more stanzas, then he says, “Consider and answer me, O Lord my God, light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, ‘I have prevailed over him,’…”

David’s plight was much more difficult than anything I’ve endured, but knowing that doesn’t lessen my pain and anxiety. However, his next words raise the shade and allow the light of dawn to penetrate.

“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”

In those last couple of sentences, David lifts his eyes to the light of dawn and praises his way back into hope.

Awaiting God’s timing can be painful, but He provides light to guide us and renews our hope with a timely blessing.

In His time, may God crown your year with His bounty and overflow your path with abundance. [taken from Psalm 65:11]


[Click-to-Tweet] I know life ebbs and flows like the tide. Seasons come and go. Through the good we rejoice. In the bad times, we mourn. In the waiting, we grow impatient. In God’s Time #ThursdayThoughts #encouragement

Goodbye July Thoughts

Can you believe it? This is my final post for July! It seems summer only just arrived. In two or three weeks, depending on where you’re from, school will open and summer will officially end for families with children. I need to get busy having fun!

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! Thanks so much for stopping by.

I’m getting ready for a book launch! Amid all the work and excitement, I tend to turn retrospective. It’s not always a bad thing. I’ve read a lot of posts lately about self-esteem and self-image. Writers releasing books often have to put on their “happy in my skin” masks so they can market themselves with a positive image. After all, who wants to buy a book written by a depressed hermit? Not me.

Not that I’m depressed, or a hermit. My teen years were spent trying to hide the fact that an emotional trainwreck lived in my body. I had such low self-esteem, I wouldn’t even attend my senior prom. The real reason for that? All my friends would show up looking gorgeous, and I would look dowdy and ridiculous. You see, my opinion of myself did not match the image in the mirror.

I look back at photos taken of me in those days, and I wonder why I thought I was fat. Why could I not enjoy those years? What blocked my joy? Self image. Low self esteem.

I can’t blame my parents. I now know my mother’s lot was not much better. To this day, she tends to pick at herself. Too-big ears, ugly feet, unattractive legs, and unruly hair. Looking at her, I see none of those things. She is only twenty years my senior. In grade school, my teachers assumed she was my sister.

She was slender and beautiful and attracted attention everywhere we went, mostly because of her smile. Okay, maybe she IS the reason I felt so dowdy. I did not inherit her body type. I was not slender. I have normal ears and straight hair that was never difficult to arrange, but that wasn’t really enough to make me feel beautiful. I realize this is normal among teens in general and in teen girls especially. Over the years, I’ve come to accept those parts of myself that I can’t change. Even so, there are still times when I look in the mirror and cringe.

How do we overcome a negative self-image?

Maybe by moving our attention to others. Be a friend/wife/mother/etc., who loves at all times. Shoulder their burdens, be in the present with them. Laugh with them, cry with them. Maybe by not caring so much what others think about things like clothing choices or our ability with the comb and makeup brush. Or, how high that little needle points on the bathroom scale.

I mentioned above that I need to accept the things I can’t change but I do need to change the things I can.

I need to make good decisions when it comes to my health and what I take into my body.

I need to make sure I drink plenty of water and get the exercise I need.

Another thing I can change is my stress level. Sometimes I just need to breathe. I need to back away from things and take my hands off the steering wheel (but only when I’m not the driver!). Laugh and enjoy life in the moment (as in the above photo!).

I know I’m not alone in this, and things that work for me may not work for others. So, how do you cope with self image? What are your favorite scriptures to bolster those low times?

Sometimes I just need to breathe. I need to back away from things and take my hands off the steering wheel (but only when I’m not the driver!). Laugh and enjoy life in the moment–Click to Tweet


The official release date for Annabelle’s Joy is August 7, 2019. Meanwhile, join me on Facebook for the pre-release fun, activities and giveaways!

– AND –

You still have a few more days to enter to win a free year of reading from Kindle Unlimited. You can enter here: https://www.writeintegrity.com/sweepstakes