Let’s Chat! Linda Brooks Davis


Christmas
Welcome, Everyone! Have a “Mary” Christmas!

I’m grateful for a couple of open slots on my blog calendar because I get to chat with you about Christmas. My novellas. And the word remember.

Numerous readers of The Calling of Ella McFarland commented that they wanted to hear more about Ella’s and Andrew’s love story. So in 2016 I wrote A Christmas to Remember as a sequel. 

A Christmas to Remember and A Christmas Measure of Love, two novellas tucked between two novels, The Calling of Ella McFarland and The Mending of Lillian Cathleen. Together they comprise the first four components of The Women of Rock Creek series.  

Both novellas transport readers back to Oklahoma and the banks of Rock Creek. Yes, we take a peek into the Evans cottage and learn a bit about six darling girls. But mainly these stories do what we celebrants invariably do at Christmas time—remember.

A Christmas to Remember

Christmas is coming to Oklahoma, and expectations are knocking on Ella Evans’s front door.

She and Andrew married three years ago. They took 5 orphaned sisters, ages 2 to 6, into their home and hearts. Celebrated the birth of their own daughter two years past and grieved at the grave of their infant son. They have experienced great joy and deep heartache that challenge their assumptions about life and love.

Determined to care for her family with help from no one, Ella is worn to a frazzle. From the kitchen to the school room, chores are piling up. Yet Christmas won’t wait.

What set Ella’s feet onto the path of perfection? How is her pursuit affecting her husband, children, and calling? And what will it take to redirect Ella to the way of grace?

It’s Christmas, 1908, and Ella’s life is about to be transformed. Again.

A Time for Remembering

Christmas
I
i
dentify with Ella. Unfortunately, I can remember some nights of no more than two or three hours sleep in my days of mothering and housekeeping and holiday celebrating—while working full time as a special education teacher. I recall dragging myself to work in a daze many mornings and arriving home with zero energy for my family.

Why I thought I had to keep a perfect home and make Christmas “perfect” (whatever that is) and assure my kids were perfect too I’ll never know. If I could do it again, I’d cut my To-Do List in half. And enjoy my family  more.

I‘d sift through my decorations and decide which five or six main items I’d use and set the others aside for the following year. I’d ask my children to join in the decorating and let them do it the way they want. Who cares if the ornaments are all on the lower half of the tree? Or the garland hangs uneven everywhere I look? Why did I care more about the fluff than the substance of Christmas? 

The answer sort of hurts.

A Word From Jesus

Christmas
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his subject brings my thoughts to a passage in Mark 2 where Pharisees criticized Jesus for allowing his disciples to pick grain on the Sabbath. His answer in verse 27 returns to me nowadays at Christmas time. “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

For purposes of making my point, I’m taking some liberty with that sacred verse and switching it up a bit and pray the Lord approves: “Christmas was made for Christians, not Christians for Christmas.”

When I lay that verse over my Christmas To-Do List, I have to tell you: I’m convicted. Oh, I know Christmas isn’t an ordained day you’ll find chapter and verse for, but I believe the principle of Christian freedom Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 10 fits Christmas. “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (including the days we celebrate) and “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (that includes Christmas.)

So . . . Back to my original question to myself: Why did I think I had to make things  perfect for Christmas? Was it for the glory of God? Ouch! I have to admit it was more for my own … if not glory, then self-satisfaction and a bit of pride.

A “Mary” Christmas

christmas
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here’s so much evil in this world. It takes many shapes. At times it’s as plain as day. But at other times, it hides behind masks of goodness, slips in the back door, through cracks in our walls, and down our perfectly adorned chimneys. In a way, isn’t that the worst kind of evil—the kind that slips in unnoticed?

I‘m trying now to take more of a “Mary” approach to Christmas. Not Mary, the mother of Jesus. But Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. I confess I’ve lived my life a whole lot closer to ever-busy Martha than to sitting-at-Jesus’-feet Mary. But I’m trying to do better.

want Christmas to bring God glory. This year that means foregoing the garland, outside lights, and seven course meal. And a long list of other “have-to”s from long ago. And I hope with every ornament hung, batch of cookies baked, string of lights strung, I’ll offer my labor to Jesus and place them at His feet.

May you and yours will have the most joyous and blessed Christmas in a month o’ Sundays.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary chose what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:41-42

Share your thoughts on overdoing it at Christmas—or anytime. I’m giving away both novellas in ebook format in A Rock Creek Christmas Novella Collection to someone who joins our chat. 

“Mary” Christmas, ya’ll!

19 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Linda Brooks Davis

  1. Marilyn R

    Linda, your post is beautiful about “Mary Christmas.” I’ve kept my decorations simple for several years and not over doing with baking. I want to honor the Savior we celebrate on the day Know as Christmas. The wonder of his birth and sacrifice for me, you and all mankind.
    A blessed Christmas to you.

     
     
    1. Good for you, Marilyn. I didn’t learn this lesson for many years. I meant to add that we can have a “Mary” mindset as we go about our Christmas tasks too. Have a beautiful day tomorrow. May it be filled with love and joy.

       
       
  2. Deanne Patterson

    I have enjoyed reading your thoughts, Linda. I used to be a Martha but have I now notice the smaller things and their importance. I take more time to talk and really listen to what people say
    I am now more of a caring Mary. Mary Christmas to you, Linda.

     
     
    1. Thank you, Deanne. May you be filled with the light of the glory in the face of Christ.

       
       
  3. Barbara Raymond

    I love this idea. Right now I feel more like Mary as I get to sit and watch my husband and daughter do most of the work around the house. I can help with some things but tire easily. But I don’t want to forget to sit at Jesus feet when things are going great.

     
     
    1. Bless you, Barbara. May you be filled with the light of the glory in the face of Christ.

       
       
  4. Luanna Lane

    Love u Cousin! Can’t wait to read your books!

     
     
    1. Consider yourself hugged, Cousin! So glad we share DNA 🙂 May God bless you real good!

       
       
  5. Pat

    I am enjoying reading your blog. Thank you for inviting me! This means I not getting anything done but oh well!!

     
     
    1. Busy bees deserve time to reflect. (Just ask Mary) May you be filled with the light of the glory in the face of Christ.

       
       
  6. I love your idea of “Mary” Christmas. It will surely be the best way to celebrate it. I too used to be a “Martha” type but now in my older years I have slowed down and try to enjoy every moment of every day the Lord gives me. Blessings and “Mary” Christmas to you.

     
     
    1. Thank you, Leona. (I love your name. My mother was Goldie Leona. She said she always felt like her mother had given her a dancehall girl’s name – but I didn’t agree. I love both names.) May you be filled with the light of the glory in the face of Christ.

       
       
  7. Love your thoughts and books. I have all that you have written and have enjoyed them thoroughly. Keep up the great writing and love of our Lord.

     
     
    1. Thank you, Jane! “Mary” Christmas to you and your family!

       
       
  8. Linda I loved reading your blog and we all need that reminder about the Sabbath
    I also loved the Christmas pictures you added
    I would love to meet Ella.
    Have a Merry Christmas!!

     
     
    1. Thank you, Lori. “Mary” Christmas to you and yours!

       
       
  9. Patricia Bennett Barber

    Love your comments..my daughter is 23 now and sometimes I wish I did things different at Christmas for her. I was a single parent and always worried about the money for her presents. But as I look at her today, she is a person who is not looking at the lable, but the bargain..

     
     
  10. Susan Wallace

    Linda I enjoyed reading your blog. You are on the right track. Keep it more simple and focused on Jesus. I wish you a peaceful, memorable Christmas. Love ya cuz

     
     
    1. Love you! Merry, joyous, love-filled Christmas to you and your loved ones!

       
       

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Let’s Chat! Mending Lily

Welcome to Readers! And Lily!

Lily The Mending of Lillian Cathleen Linda Brooks DavisLily, my latest heroine, stars in my soon-to-be-released novel, The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, Book 2 in The Women of Rock Creek series. (The working title, Where Healing Waters Flow, faded into the woodwork when The Mending of Lillian Cathleen showed up.) Watch for a fresh, new cover for The Calling of Ella McFarland, an equally lovely cover for The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, and news about the series in weeks to come. Here’s a smorgasbord of tidbits from this story that touched my heart.

Setting

Lily Great War The Mending of Lillian Cathleen friends Linda Brooks Davis1914: The Great War has just broken out in Europe.

Needham, Oklahoma—an imaginary town with real-life characteristics

Fort Worth, Texas—otherwise known as Cowtown (or Where the West Begins)—known for its stockyards and infamous Hell’s Half Acre with its illicit business transactions conducted in saloons and brothels.

Characters

Lily The Mending of Lillian Cathleen friends Linda Brooks Davis shantyOur heroine Lily appeared as an abused thirteen-year-old girl in The Calling of Ella McFarland. She grew up in a shanty on a horseshoe of land created by two hairpin curves in Rock Creek. Thickets and brambles obscured the property from the curious stares of Needham’s townsfolk. Lily’s father Walter conducted his unholy business and took out his drunken rage on his daughter and wife Ruby on the five-acre piece of sod. Rock Creek has come to be known as the dividing line between prosperity and poverty and our heroine, as “the girl from the other side of Rock Creek.”

Now twenty-two and setting out as a woman in her own right, Lily faces life-altering choices that force her to evaluate her values, faith, and aspirations. She’s swept into Fort Worth’s underworld of saloons and brothels where she confronts evil and uncovers mysteries about her past.

The men who love—and hate—Lily

Lily The Mending of Lillian Cathleen friends enemies Linda Brooks DavisLily doesn’t understand why her father Walter has never loved her. She can’t remember a time when she wrapped her arms around his neck. Or crawled onto his lap. She never heard “Well done” or “I’m proud of you.” Certainly, never “I love you.”

Why? She can only guess. (However, answers are coming.)

But Cade McFarland—her friend Ella’s twin brother—has loved Lily since they were children. A prince in Lily’s eyes, Cade is big and brawny and voices his opinions in as big and burly a voice—with everyone but Lily. He handles her like a fragile lamb. He tends a flock of sheep and looks at Lily with such love and tenderness that she finds herself looking away—for reasons she keeps to herself.

The women who love and hate Lily

Lily The Mending of Lillian Cathleen friendsElla McFarland Evans loves Lily and always has—since the first time she caught sight of her in a McFarland cotton patch. Lily drew Ella like a moth to a flame, and Ella’s wings scorched a few years ago. But their friendship endured, deepened, and strengthened. That friendship plays a part in our heroine’s journey of discovery and healing.

Adelaide Fitzgerald, a wealthy heiress whose grand property—Broadview—borders Rock Creek and McFarland property—dreams of an opera career in Italy. She postponed her dream nine years ago when Lily needed her, but she believes her time has come at last.

Maggie Gallagher, Addie’s former wet-nurse and lifelong housekeeper, serves as a mother figure to Addie and Lily both. She emigrated from Ireland and brought her Irish bromides with her. Maggie is a rock of faith and good sense in a household in need of both.

But Sabina Gallagher, Maggie’s daughter, despises Lily. Is there no limit to her spite? Perhaps … and perhaps not.

Why?

The characters’ motivations vary as surely as the characters themselves. The players and the forces that drive them develop over time and through unique experiences that sculpt the characters into who they are in 1914.

Watch for the release of The Mending of Lillian Cathleen in the next few months to learn more about Lillian Cathleen, her loved ones, and her fascinating discoveries that send her world spiraling.

~ ~ ~

Dear Lord, I thank you for the power of words and story. Yours is the greatest story ever told, but You’ve given us stories, as well. I pray You’ll bless each word authors write for You and that You’ll multiply their power for good in the lives of readers everywhere.
~ For Jesus’ sake

10 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Mending Lily

  1. Marilyn R

    Linda, The Mending of Lillian Cathleen is going to be a wonderful story to read. Thank you for sharing. With Lily’s abuse history, I want to see how she has blossom into a lovely lady. I know God has given you inspiration plus all the hours of research you’ve done. God’s continued inspiration, blessings and guidance with your writing. Hugs

     
     
    1. Thank you so much, Marilyn. I can’t wait to share Lily’s story.

       
       
  2. Linda Davis

    Oh my goodness, Linda! Even your reminder of the story of the first book… Even your synopsys is so intriguing. You have been so richly blessed with a way with words. Your talent is absolutely amazing gift. Don’t send me a gift card. I’m so excited I can hardly wait to read your new book. Love you!

     
     
    1. You gave me chills, Linda. Thank you.

       
       
  3. Alison Boss

    Thank you, Linda, for sharing about your upcoming book, The Mending of Lillian Cathleen! You’ve painted a vivid picture to whet your readers appetite 🙂 You can tell you have put alot of work and research into this story. The love story between Cade McFarland and Lily sounds so sweet!

     
     
    1. You’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head, Alison. I have poured myself into this story. Better said, it captured me! I’m looking forward to sharing it with readers. But I need to be patient. P.S. And you’re right—the love story between Cade and Lily gives me chills. 🙂

       
       
  4. Linda, thank you for praying for me. I love your story, and I can’t wait to read it!

     
     
    1. I can’t wait to share it, Gail. It comes from a deep place in my heart. Waiting is so hard.

       
       
  5. Perrianne Askew

    I love the old farmhouse. It looks like a painting (or something my Dad would like to paint). You stories sound very interesting.

     
     
    1. Thank you, Perrianne. A freshened-up version of The Calling of Ella McFarland is on the horizon. And close on its heels … Lily’s story.

       
       

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