I’d like to welcome my dear writing friend, Patti Shene, for my November blog. I purchased her Christmas novella, Cathy’s Christmas Confession, about a year ago, and I highly recommend it. I love Patti’s writing style, so great for grabbing a cup of coffee or tea and snuggling under a blanket throw on the sofa. I think you’ll enjoy what she shares about Christmas gifts in hiding!
Hidden Christmas Gifts by Patti Shene
Did you used to scope out your parents’ favorite hiding place for Christmas presents when you were a kid? Did you scheme to find your way into that secret closet or corner where you knew they kept the unwrapped gifts? Or were you the obedient child who waited for Christmas morning to discover the treasures hiding beneath the colorfully decorated packages?
I was always the latter. I sometimes thought I would burst as the hours ticked by much too slowly until time to open presents on Christmas Day. Still, I never felt the urge to go snooping ahead of time.
On a chilly mid-December day when I was in junior high, I sprinted across our yard after school and through the front door. The tantalizing smell of fresh baked cookies sweetened the air. Bing Crosby’s White Christmas played softly through the radio speakers.
I could see Mom sitting at the kitchen table, the telephone cradled against her chin as she peeled potatoes. I knew better than to disturb her deep conversation with the caller, so I plopped down on the couch in the living room.
An open box of typewriter paper caught my attention, evidence Mom had busied herself throughout the day with one of her frequent pastimes, writing letters. Mom’s correspondence with family and friends entertained the recipients with the humorous stories she told.
She had a habit of proofreading her letters about halfway down the page. If she discovered errors, she would rip the paper out of the machine and place it in the typewriter paper box top. This day, she had discarded four or five letters in progress.
I casually glanced at the pages, seeking out a paragraph or two describing in her clever words some antic of mine or my sister’s. Suddenly, a line jumped out at me as though typed in bold capital letters. “We got the kids a set of bunkbeds for Christmas.”
I tore my eyes away from the page and rushed into my bedroom. I held my churning stomach and threw myself across the bed. Tears dampened my pillow. I had ruined Mom and Dad’s big surprise gift to us, and there was no way I could confess.
A cloud hung over me the next few days as we prepared for Christmas with shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating the tree, and listening to Christmas music. I carried the burden of someone who had committed a crime. I couldn’t look either of my parents in the eye. Mom and Dad would be deeply disappointed if they knew I had found out about this special Christmas present.
Christmas morning, I was thrilled to see the new furniture, but I hid my guilt behind an act of complete surprise when my parents opened the bedroom door to reveal the gift.
I still remember what my curiosity cost me that Christmas.
Over the years, I’ve developed a more mature view of Christmas and Christmas presents.
The real meaning of this sacred holiday exemplifies the greatest gift of all, Our Savior Jesus, sent into the world from our Heavenly Father. Knowing the gift has already been given doesn’t dampen our annual celebration or diminish the spirit of the season.
The joy in receiving gifts lies not in the element of surprise, but in the love with which the gift is given.
Memories can bring happiness or heartache, depending on how and why we recall an event. In my Christmas novella, Cathy’s Christmas Confession, widower David Martin’s memories of his deceased wife bind him to the past, blocking him from envisioning a future. He sinks into an abyss of anger against God that hurls him deeper into despair. Cathy Fischer, a widow and acquaintance from his church family, reaches out to David with compassion and understanding. When David joins Cathy’s plan to bring Christmas joy to others, he finds hope rekindled in his own heart.
Purchase Cathy’s Christmas Confession at these links in Kindle or paperback format at this link:
also available on Kindle Unlimited
Patti’s Bio: Patti Shene Gonzales hosts Step Into the Light, a bimonthly interview style podcast, where guests share their journey out of darkness or ways they lead others out of darkness. She hosts writers on her two blogs, Patti’s Porch and The Over 50 Writer. Patti enjoyed a thirty-year career as a psychiatric nurse and has always harbored a desire to write. Cathy’s Christmas Confession (released in November 2022 on Kindle and March 2023 in print) is her first full-length published work. Patti enjoys writing, reading, critiquing, and spending time with family and friends. She lives in Colorado with her devoted feline companion, Duncan.
Back Cover Blurb for Cathy’s Christmas Confession
Christmas is not a time of joy for the hurting.
During a snowstorm, widow Cathy Fischer creams a stop sign on her way to work at the Christmas Ridge Community Church. Acquaintance David Martin stops to help. Cathy sees signs of deep grief in David, a recent widower. She reaches out with support in an attempt to help David through this most difficult first Christmas without his beloved wife.
David Martin struggles with grief over the death of his wife. He blames God for her rapid demise after her cancer diagnosis. Cathy reaches out to him with compassion and support and soon enlists him in her mission to bring joy to others at Christmas. Will their joint quest restore David’s faith?
David needs to turn loose of the past and embrace his future. Cathy has a confession to make to the entire community that may give David a different perspective of who she really is. Will her confession set her free?
Does God have plans in mind for the two of them they did not anticipate?
From Becky: Here is my Amazon review for Cathy’s Christmas Confession
If you like sweet romance with endearing elements as well as surprises, this novella is for you. This story will touch your heart as Shene interweaves hope, friendship, romance, and problems, all ending with inspiration and encouragement. So grab your cup of coffee and sit down with this one!