Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Ho Ho Ho Harlequin Holiday Extravaganza - Nancy Robards Thompson - His Texas Christmas Bride **Giveaway**


Welcome to Nancy Robards Thompson's day on The Reading Frenzy. She's going down memory lane to share a very special trip home for Christmas. Enjoy the post and don't forget to enter her giveaway. I've also included my review of her Christmas Story His Texas Christmas Bride courtesy RT Magazine.
Enjoy!


In My Mind I'm Going To Carolina

By Nancy Robards Thompson

One of my best memories is when we packed up the family and drove to North Carolina to spend the holiday with my parents. Sounds normal, right? A lot of families travel so the clan can be together for Christmas.

However, my husband, daughter and I are a trio of homebodies by nature and necessity. Between my daughter's schoolwork and my husband's busy schedule, it was difficult for us to get away. Of course, I'm perpetually on deadline, which is a blessing. I'm not complaining, but as much as I wish I were one of those authors who could write anywhere, my muse doesn't travel well. She's a homebody, too.

It was tempting to say, "No, not this year. Maybe another time."

Still, after years of my parents asking the kids to come to them, my brothers - one from California, the other from Georgia -- and our family (including the dog) from Florida coordinated and converged on North Carolina that December five years ago.  
Christmas Eve was a scene grabbed from a Norman Rockwell print: fire in the fireplace, presents under the tree, the whole family gathered round a table laden with delicious food. My mom, Lynn, had printed the lyrics to favorite carols and we had a sing along. Each person had a part in The Twelve Days of Christmas and we had to sing it loud and proud and solo. Hahaha! It might have been excruciating if it hadn't so hilarious.
As if that weren't enough, when we woke up on Christmas morning, it was snowing. By midday, the ground was blanketed in pure white. It was the first time my daughter had seen snow. After we opened our gifts, sledding and snowball fights ensued. Talk about a snow globe perfect Christmas. It was one of those moments in time of which you can't grasp the magnitude until it's already a memory.

I'm going to digress for a moment. Lynn was actually my step-mom. My natural mom died (of breast cancer) when I was in my early twenties. My dad remarried. I've always maintained, I couldn't have hand-picked a more perfect person than Lynn for him and our family. She was such a lovely person inside and out. She saw me through my college graduation, my wedding, the birth of our daughter. She loved us all unconditionally and taught us a lot about kindness and acceptance. While she could never replace my natural mom (she never tried), she made us a family ( albeit, a family who grumbled about singing The Twelve Days of Christmas in its entirety, but had so much fun with every sharp, off-tempo squawk of the never-ending song). In so many ways, she made us whole again.

A few short weeks after our perfect Christmas, we learned that Lynn's cancer had returned. She had been diagnosed several years earlier, but she'd gone into remission and in true fashion seemed to be kicking cancer's butt. She was a multiple-decade breast cancer survivor, who was as fierce and strong as she was loving and kind. She seemed to be handling this newer cancer with the same resolute determination. It didn't slow her down. She didn't have time for such nonsense. So, it's no wonder that we believed it would never get the best of her. However, shortly after the first of the year (mere weeks after our snow globe Christmas) tests revealed that the cancer was back.  She died six months later, on a warm June day.

Let me be clear about something. She would have no part of anyone being sad over her death. She would want me to share this memory because it's a reminder of what's truly important - and not just during the holidays, but every single day of the year. While presents and snow and huge feasts may be symbols of the season, what really matters is how we spend these days with those we love. More than once I've thought about how I would've regretted it if we hadn't put life's unrelenting responsibilities on hold and gone to Carolina. But we did. That last perfect Christmas we had with Lynn is not only one of my fondest memories, but one of the greatest gifts I've ever received.   
   




Award winning author Nancy Robards Thompson lives and writes in Florida,
but her imagination transports her all over the world. She’s worked a myriad
of jobs including television show stand-in; production and extras casting for
movies; and several mind-numbing jobs in the fashion industry and public relations. She earned a degree in journalism only to realize reporting “just the facts” bored her silly. Much more content to report to her muse, Nancy has found Nirvana doing what she loves most – writing contemporary and historical womens fiction full-time. After hanging up her press pass, this two-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart struck gold in July 2002 when she won the award. Since then, she’s gone on to sell 30 books, which critics have deemed, “…funny, smart and observant.”


Nancy is giving away a special Christmas package to one
lucky entrant US ONLY!
Good Luck!




Don't forget to visit Gonereading this holiday season
They have everything you need for under the tree


47 comments:

  1. Oh what a blow, losing two amazing women to theBig C! Thanks for sharing this special memory with us :)

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    1. I know Braine, I thought the same thing and her poor dad. It's an especially touching memory to me because I'm also a step mom and hope that my step kids feel this way about me.

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    2. Talk and Deb, thanks for your kind words. Cancer is such an insidious monster. It's a shame anyone has to face it. But I'm so grateful for the memories I have of both my natural mom and Lynn. Happy holidays to both of you!

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  2. I live 3 hours from where I grew up..and I'm sorry for your double loss.. Hate cancer and miss the all the people I loved who I lost to it!

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    1. Oh how nice that you live relatively close to where you grew up. Yes I've also lost many special people to Cancer

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    2. GirlyGirl and Deb, I'm so sorry for your losses. GG, how wonderful that you live so close to home. <3 Merry Christmas!

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  3. I'm so glad that you were all able to get together and have a Rockwell Christmas before she passed, what a blessing!

    Loved this post and the true meaning of Christmas. ;)

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    1. I know Ali, it just brings tears to me too!

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    2. Hugs to both of you, Kindlemom and Deb! <3

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  4. I live an hour away from where I grew up. But, my parents moved 500 miles away, so there's no "anchor" in my hometown now.

    Denise

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    1. Denise, I hope you all are able to get together as much as possible. My daughter will graduate from college in the spring. My husband and I want to remain near, but we're not sure where grad school will take her. We've never been more than two hours away from her. I can't fathom the thought of being any farther away. Happy holidays!

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    2. Oh Denise I'm sorry that you lost your "anchor" maybe its time you took up the title. Merry Christmas!!

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  5. Nancy thank you for sharing such a beautiful memory.
    I love your holiday stories and they contain a great message and always have a HEA.

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    1. I totally agree Susan, thanks for stopping by!

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    2. Thank you Sue! Warm holiday wishes to you and Celeste. <3

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  6. I live near where I grew up! I love this story!

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  7. Wiping tears here. What a beautiful thing you all got to spend such a memorable time with her on such a special time of the year. Hugs Nancy and Deb❤️❤️

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    1. Thanks Lorelei, it also made me cry. I'm just glad that for whatever reason they all made the trip that fateful year.
      xo

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    2. Hugs to both of you, Lorelei and Deb. <3

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  8. Oh, forgot to answer the question, and I really had to think where I grew up because I've lived in so many places, so yes I live miles away, I would consider NJ where I'd call home. That's where my grandmother lives. ❤️

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    1. Ah yes home is always where Grandma is!!

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  9. I live very close to where I grew up! In fact, my kids go/went to my same high school!

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    1. Holdenj, my daughter went to my high school, too! :) My hubby and I moved back into the area so she could. Wasn't it fun to see the school through their eyes?

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    2. Oh Wow that's great holdenj. I went to the same High School as my mom too!

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  10. And this is why, we need to slow down, and make time for family. Wonderful story and aperfect memory.

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  11. As I mentioned on FB, that is truly a beautiful story and memory. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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    1. Hi Bertha, thanks for the sentiment on both venues :) and yes it is a very beautiful story

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  12. Thanks for sharing your memories of Christmas in N. Carolina. The last Christmas we had with our mom we already knew she was terminally ill. She never lost her sense of humor though. She had an enlarged heart and likened herself to The Grinch because his heart grew three times it's size. Now when I watch the old Grinch cartoon I think of my mom with a smile.

    I live in the same state I grew up in, but about 200 miles away. I'm a homebody, too. ;-)

    Marcy Shuler
    bmndshuler(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Oh Marcie that's a great memory of your mom. And I'm so sorry for your loss

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  13. A wonderful memory to have of such a wonderful woman. I've not been able to get home the last few years and I know I'm missing out on so much. I'm hoping to get home to see everyone this coming year :)

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  14. I am only about 1/2 hr. away from where I was born - the suburbs of Pittsburgh.

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    1. Good to be close to loved ones catslady

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  15. I live about 6 miles from where I grew up. I went away for college (about three hours) but came back :)

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  16. Most of the year, I do not live close to my hometown. The distance from Florida to Wisconsin is about 1500 miles away. In the summer for a couple of months I am only 125 miles away.

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  17. Your story reminds me of something my mom always said about making decisions about family- live without regret. Glad your family spent that wonderful Christmas together so you would have the memory of it in the tough times.

    I live across country from where I grew up, but my parents got restationed, too, and the last base is where they decided to retire so that is the new 'home' for the holidays. :)

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  18. I don't live where I grew up I'm a whole huge biggg continent away from where I grew up

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    1. Wow, do you ever travel back to visit family?

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