This week we welcome Cara Lynn James to Author Memories.
and Virginia. Later she and her husband moved to Vermont where they raised
their two children. She homeschooled her daughter, worked as a teacher's aide and owned and managed a bookstore.
Cara now lives in northwest Florida with her husband, two grown children, a grandson and a precocious papillonin where she writes full time.
A New England Christmas
by Cara Lynn James
I grew up in a suburban Connecticut neighborhood with small, Cape Cod houses built close together on well manicured postage stamp lawns. During the winter we sledded down hills at the local park and ice skated on a bumpy pond while we fought for space among the wild hockey players.
On Christmas Eve my relatives came for dinner, we usually went to church and then we opened all our presents. Christmas Day we visited friends who lived across the road. It was lots of fun even though by the teenage years Christmas had lost some of its luster. The spiritual significance remained, of course, so it always had deep meaning. But my relatives moved away, and things changed.
Then just as I started my freshman year in high school, my aunt and uncle and three cousins moved from Illinois to Massachusetts, less than a two hour drive away. The kids were only a few years younger than me so I looked forward to spending Christmas with them on the farm they rented. Coming from Chicago my uncle wanted something different from the big city. My aunt—not so much! He found a one hundred year old farmhouse crowning a steep hill with acres and acres of rolling meadows bordered by a stone fence.
It snowed that year and we had a picture perfect Christmas. We tobogganed, had snowball fights, wrapped gifts together and listened to my uncle call “Ho! Ho! Ho!” for the benefit of his little son who of course recognized his voice. We hardly knew it was freezing cold outside. There were twelve of us staying at the farm for the holidays in a seven bedroom house with only one or two bathrooms!
After a few years my aunt and uncle bought a lovely colonial home in the country and we continued to spend snowy Christmases with them. But then during my junior year of college, my aunt hurt her back and my parents decided we should stay at home. Just the three of us. How boring. I was beyond disappointed, but I tried to make the best of it. Still, it was much more fun being together with my cousins enjoying a family holiday.
My dull Christmas changed within a few seconds. When my father bent down to take the turkey out of the oven for Christmas dinner, he suddenly gasped, put the golden brown bird on the stove and clutched his heart. My mother immediately called the doctor who told her to rush him to the hospital. I drove and we arrived in about ten minutes and in time to save his life. After a massive heart attack followed by a stroke, my father slowly recovered. He remained in the hospital for three months, but eventually he returned to work and lived for another twenty years.
So that was the worst of Christmases and the best of Christmases. I still thank the Lord that He made sure we stayed in Connecticut for a quiet holiday where the hospital was close by and my mother could continue to go to work every day. It would’ve been hard on everyone if we had to stay in Massachusetts for those three months. More than any other Christmas, I saw the Lord’s hand in our lives. Looking back, I’m more thankful for that Christmas than any of the other ones that I enjoyed so much.
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to be entered to win a copy of Cara's latest release,
Love by the Book.
Love by the Book, Thomas Nelson, available now
Melinda Hollister is a society lady, intent on finding a rich husband before her peers discover her quickly diminishing wealth. Nick Bryson is all business, focused on making a name for himself in his father’s steamship line. Despite the marriage of their siblings, they rarely gave each other a second glance—until a tragic accident results in Melinda and Nick being appointed as co-guardians of their three-year-old niece Nell.
In order to get better acquainted with Nell and one another, Melinda and Nick agree to spend the summer in their own private quarters of the Bryson family vacation home, Summerhill. As their love for Nell grows, so does their attraction to each other. And for the first time in their lives, they sense that God has a bigger plan in motion.
Yet old habits die hard – and Melinda and Nick each find it difficult to resist the pull of their former worlds.
When the unthinkable happens, they find themselves faced with seemingly impossible choices and a new understanding of God’s true love.
Ladies of Summerhill series:
Love on a Dime - Read Chapter One
Love on Assignment - Read Chapter One
Love by the Book - Read Chapter One
coming Aug 2012 - A Path to Love