Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Stock up on e-books!

Because it's release week for Christmas Kisses and we're all so excited, we decided to organize a multi-author book sale. Talk about the perfect time to stock your Kindle!! All the books featured on this sale are only $.99 and they are all amazing! Don't forget to enter the rafflecopter giveaway for $200 in Christmas Cash found at the bottom of the post. Happy book shopping!

Christmas Kisses: An Echo Ridge Anthology Christmas Kisses is a collection from five bestselling and award-winning authors. Set in the snowy town of Echo Ridge in upstate New York, these inspirational romances are sure to delight while you sip cocoa by the fire and listen to Christmas carols. Amazon * iTunes * Barnes & Noble * Smashwords * Kobo * Goodreads
Brownies & Betrayal by Heather Justesen Pastry chef Tess Crawford thought moving from Chicago to quiet Silver Springs, Arizona would simplify her life. That was before she found the body of a woman with whom she had traded heated words the previous night, left her fingerprints on the murder weapon, and came under attack for trying to clear her name. When her cheating ex-fiance shows up, intent on convincing her to come back to work for him, Tess—armed with an extra batch of éclairs—decides to take control and solve the mystery herself, with the help of friends and frenemies alike. But will that be enough to save her when she gets too close and the killer decides it’s safer to get her out of the way?
Simplify & Savor the Season by Connie E. Sokol
Ready to enjoy the holidays again? Use this two-part holiday organizer to help you savor the celebrations. In the first half of the book, brainstorm the Big Four; then, detail the To Dos including menu, gift-planning, etc. with success tips on how to eliminate the unnecessary and focus on the essential. Wrap up with "5 Holiday Juicers" to make life joyful. Keep your notes handy in the companion Simplify & Savor Take-along Planner.
With the second half of the book. curl up with a cup of cocoa and read "Savory Suggestions and Stories," a collection of laugh-out-loud anecdotal stories including "Let Go of the Cookie Cutter Christmas" and "Thankful for Turkey Warbling". Make this holiday season one you remember and enjoy!
Diamond Rings are Deadly Things by Rachelle J. Christensen
Adrielle Pyper knows how to plan a wedding, and she's especially good at pleasing bridezillas. But when her biggest client and best friend is murdered just three days before the wedding, Adri's world falls apart. She moves to the resort town of Sun Valley, Idaho, and starts from scratch. Thanks to Adri's impeccable taste and unique style, she lands two celebrity clients, and her business seems headed for success—until someone vandalizes the specialty wedding dresses she imported from overseas. Adri must race to uncover the secret hidden within the yards of satin and lace before she becomes the next victim.
With a delightful blend of mystery, toe-curling kisses, humor, and spine-tingling thrills, Diamond Rings are Deadly Things will keep you turning pages long into the night.
A Baker's Dozen by Lucy McConnell
Tempt your sweet tooth with 13 delicious, easy, and beautiful dessert recipes. Each recipe has been time-tested and found irresistible. You’ll horde the Lemon Brownies but you might be willing to share the Rock and Roll Cake—with a good friend.
Recipes include: Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Cookies, Pumpkin Bunt Cake, S’mores Cheesecake, No-Fail Lemon Bars
Impress your coworkers, family, friends, and even the guys at the car repair shop with these recipes. They’re sure to become favorites in your recipe box, lunch box, and ice box.

The Colony by Cami Checketts
To protect her sons from the mistakes of her past, Brinlee Trapper escapes to a secluded mountain home. But there are dangers lurking in the mountains she has never encountered. The little family is saved from injury by Jed, a mysterious hunter. Brinlee is drawn to him, but she worries about his involvement with a peaceful commune hidden deep in the mountains behind her property.
Lance, Brinlee's attentive neighbor, has his own troubled history. Between his obvious attraction to Brinlee and his developing love for her children, Brinlee finds it more than difficult to guard her heart against this tender intrusion.
While Jed offers a life of excitement and freedom, Lance holds the key to the family Brinlee always wanted. When it comes time to choose, she learns that both men have secrets that could shatter her fledgling trust in men and the wrong decision could leave more than her heart exposed to danger.

Torn Canvas by Donna K. Weaver
Modern-day pirates took more than Jori Virtanen’s friends; they stole his face. Not only does the twenty-four-year-old former model have to confront months of reconstructive surgery, he discovers his previous life was as superficial as his looks. Up-and-coming talk show host Olivia Howard wants an interview. She, like the rest of the press, expects a hero, but Jori knows the truth. His beauty masks a beast.
In seclusion and evading the press, Jori struggles to make a new life as an artist. But he can’t hide from himself; more than his face is damaged. How can Jori possibly make amends for all that he’s broken? When Olivia finally tracks him down, he must decide if he can trust her. Could this unlikely woman be a key to freeing his heart and healing the beast?
Amazon * Audible * iTunes
 The audiobook is only $1.99 with the purchase of the ebook.

Son of War Daughter of Chaos by Janette Rallison
Aislynn is accustomed to watching for the enemy. Her parents instructed her from the time she was young to look for people with the signs: greater than normal strength, eyes that can glow green, and the ability to jump long distances. Over the years, Aislynn has come to view her parents' fears as quirks-things that get in the way of having a normal high school life. When Aislynn's mother dies under suspicious conditions, her father doubles his restrictions. But all his precautions can't stop the boy with glowing green eyes from finding Aislynn. She realizes too late she's been drafted into an ancient Egyptian war, whether she's prepared or not.

Vocal Crush by Lisa Swinton
Can you ever out run a broken heart?
Lexi Court spent seven years traveling the world, living the nomadic Broadway life, in an attempt to outrun the broken heart Nick Rivers gave her. Now, there’s nowhere left to go.
When she accepted a position as a high school drama teacher in Las Vegas, Lexi hoped to get over Nick, find a nice guy, and settle down. But what should be a quiet summer gets turned upside down when Lexi's best friend, Taffy, drafts her to be an emergency replacement coach on a televised vocal competition.
Feeling out of her league among the other three celebrity coaches, Lexi fights for the most promising contestants to be on her team. One note from a single voice shatters her summer. Nick unexpectedly auditions and joins Lexi's team. With her vocal crush on him raging as strong as ever, she has nowhere to run from Nick’s dreamy looks or siren voice.
Lexi has no doubt that Nick can win the competition. The question is does he want to win her heart as well or will he damage it beyond repair?
Think television reality show The Voice meets Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

Picture Perfect by U.S.A. Today Bestseller Heather B. Moore
Gemma has never done anything out of the ordinary, until her boyfriend Randy starts to ignore her. But even cutting and dyeing her hair doesn’t get his attention. She decides to join her old high school friends for spring vacation, only to be faced with Drew, her best friend who suddenly seems interested in her as more than a friend. Gemma must determine if her heart is on the rebound or if it’s finally met its true match.

Endless Modern Cinderella by Jaclyn Weist
Sydney lives her nightmares every night. While other teenagers are dreaming of boys or traveling to exotic places, she must run a staircase with no beginning or no end, or a terrible debt will never be paid.
Just before her seventeenth birthday, the dreams change. She is no longer alone.
But her nightmares don’t end when she wakes up. Her stepmother and stepsisters threaten to ruin everything she holds dear. She must protect the secret that both she and her father have magic or they will use it to their advantage.
As Sydney learns to control her magic, what seemed impossible before—escaping her stepmother and those ever-present stairs—is now at her fingertips. When she learns the ultimate plan of her evil captor, Sydney must stop her at all costs, or she will forever be trapped inside her nightmares.

Cookie Girl Christmas by Christene Houston
Molly Hayes has one more job before Christmas and then she can put her plans for a storefront bakery of her own in motion. What she doesn't bargain for is the handsome young Scrooge who insults her cookies and makes her blood boil. Toss in a heaping helping of snowstorm and a pinch of romantic old Inn and you've got yourself the perfect recipe for a not-so-silent-night.

And Something Blue by Paige Timothy
Bridal consultant Laurie Fletcher spends all her time helping others prepare for the most special day of their lives. Logan Reese is easily the most irritating man on the planet, and for some reason, he's made annoying Laurie his mission in life. Will true love ever come Laurie's way, or is she doomed to watch others get their happily ever after while she sits on the sidelines?

Six Days of Christmas by Kaylee Baldwin
When Natalie goes home with her best friend for Christmas, she expects plenty of quiet time to work on a winning ad so she can turn her dream internship into her dream job. Instead, she gets time-consuming Christmas festivities, a house full of children who seem to be multiplying, and Jimmy, her best friend’s brother—someone who makes her question everything she’s always thought she wanted.

Ring Around the Rosie by Julie Coulter Bellon
As the ex-wife of a law enforcement officer, Sarah Reed has known loneliness and loss. In order to cope, she makes a life for herself that's full of routine while building a wall of ice around her heart. Everything about her is as predictable as she can make it until a tiny detour for her ex-husband, Ron, changes her life forever. Caught in a bomb crisis, Sarah is taken hostage by a man who wants Ron and everyone around him to suffer---and his idea of suffering is more terrible than Sarah had ever dreamed.
Captain Ron Reed has seen the worst of humanity in his job with the Hostage Negotiation Team, but he never expected his past to come back with a vengeance---literally. Aaron Starks, a criminal explosives expert, has stolen next-gen bomb technology. He uses it to force Ron to bargain for the lives of his team and his ex-wife, Sarah, the woman he still loves. But the situation escalates when Ron discovers that Starks has an even bigger objective in mind---using the bomb to show how vulnerable America and her people truly are.
Ron is willing to risk everything to save his country and those he loves, but when negotiations break down, will his sacrifice be too little too late?
Yesterday by Amanda Tru
Her yesterday was five years ago. What will her tomorrow bring?
When Hannah Kraeger saves a family injured in a car accident, she has no idea she has changed events in the past. Waking the next morning, Hannah discovers her yesterday was really five years ago.
Each trip Hannah takes through time changes the timeline and her own life. With help from Dr. Seth McAllister, Hannah must unravel the mystery of why she time travels and who she actually is before the strange ability costs her future, the man she loves, and even her life.
YESTERDAY is a thrilling Christian Romantic Suspense filled with unexpected twists, mystery, and romance.
My One and Only by Shannon Guymon
Meredith Jensen has seen her share of ups and downs. She’s found love twice already and lost it in spectacularly traumatic ways. Now? She just wants a peaceful life, free from love and drama. Meredith’s plans for the future center around planning other people’s weddings and her new online dating website. Just because she works to help other people find love doesn’t mean she wants any part of it though. Unfortunately for Meredith’s plans, Asher Murphy is determined to get her to give love another chance. But then again, so is Pule Matafeo. Meredith has never denied that she’s stubborn and feisty so it might take the combined forces of all their friends in Fircrest to get her heart back on track in time for Valentine’s Day.

Stealing Adda by Tamara Leigh
WRITER’S BLOCK, NIBBLED NAILS, PLAGIARISM, OH MY! AND DID I MENTION ROMANCE? Life for Adda Sinclaire, New York Times best-selling author and historical romance writer extraordinaire, reads more like a country song than a breathless, bodice-bursting affair. For starters, she has no romance in her own life. That might have something to do with the fact that her husband—correction, ex-husband—ran off with Stick Woman, whom everyone knew would never be more than a mid-list author anyway. To add insult to injury (and another verse to the country song), her ex not only took their dog but gave it to Stick Woman. If that isn't enough, Adda has come down with a horrible case of writer's block, finds herself gifted with a Bible that is determined to speak to her, and is the unwitting target of a romance cover model's misdirected advances. Just when she catches her breath—and quite possibly the eye of a certain fabulously good-looking man (ahem…her new editor)—her arch-nemesis gives the pot one final stir.

Spy by Night by Jordan McCollum
After watching her parents’ marriage crash and burn, CIA operative Talia Reynolds doesn’t believe in “happily ever afters.” Besides, her job entails eighty-hour weeks, juggling a dozen covers and disguises, and tracking down a dangerous Russian spy ring. She hardly has time for romantic entanglements, even if she could let her guard down enough to get close to anyone.But all the rules she lives by could be broken when she meets aerospace engineer Danny Fluker.
Danny moved to Canada for a great job — and a chance to start over after a bad breakup. Dating definitely isn’t in his plans . . . until beautiful and enigmatic Talia throws a perfect storm right in his flight path. When he catches a glimpse of the real woman behind her façade, he has to get to know her better.
Talia has to find a Russian spymaster before he figures out she’s not who she claims, and failing to keep her two lives separate in the process could mean the death of more than just her budding relationship. Danny has to decide if a future with Talia — and facing the past — is worth the risk of getting hurt again. If they can break through the barriers keeping them apart (and avoid a major international catastrophe), they just might have a chance at being happy together.

Saving Grace by Michele Paige Holmes
From #2 Amazon Bestselling Historical Romance Author and Whitney Award Winner, Michele Paige Holmes, comes SAVING GRACE, a regency romance from the Hearthfire Romance series:
After the death of her grandfather, the Duke of Salisbury, Grace Thatcher wants nothing more than to live quietly in the country with her younger siblings. Her father’s debts thwart those plans, and to protect her sister, Helen, Grace must marry a man of her father’s choosing.
As each suitor proves less than desirable, Grace comes up with clever schemes, causing each to reject her. While staying at the mysterious Sutherland Hall, a middle-of-the-night mishap sends Grace into the arms of a stranger, Nicholas Sutherland—and provides inspiration for her grandest plan yet—one that will leave her reputation in tatters yet free both her and Helen from all possibility of marriage.
Too late Grace regrets her rash actions when her father’s last choice, Mr. Samuel Preston, proves to be a gentleman and a friend. But Samuel is the sworn enemy of Nicholas Sutherland, the man responsible for her “ruin.” Now instead of being free, Grace is caught between two men—each with his own agenda.

An Unexpected Proposal by Annette Lyon While working at a wood camp in the Logan canyon during the winter of 1880, Caroline Simpson is forced to thwart the aggressive advances of Mr. Butch Larson, and in the process discovers that her long-time friend James has genuine affection for her. But as stubborn as Caroline is, she minimizes the emotions James has awakened in her, and it takes almost losing him to admit her true feelings.
An Unexpected Proposal was introduced in the first volume of the bestselling and award-winning Timeless Romance Anthology series, Winter Collection:
Amazon #1 Bestselling *New Release* in Clean Romance, Top 10 in Regency Romance, Top 5 in Victorian Romance
Paris Cravings by Amazon #1 Best Selling Author for Clean Romance, Kimberley Montpetit Can life really turn on a dime, a missed bus—or a stuck pastry shop door? Chloe Dillard's life has always been complicated. Her mother is a neurotic romance novelist and her boyfriend, Mathew, has been pressuring her to go "all the way". But after The Worst Night of Her Life, Chloe escapes on her Senior Class trip to the swoon-worthy city of Paris which takes her mind off her troubles—temporarily. On the final leg of her dream trip, Chloe squeezes in one final run for a last-minute box of decadent pastries. Add a broken shop door, subtract a broken four-inch heel from her cute strappy sandals, and Chloe ends up one stuck girl on the bakery shop floor with a sprained ankle. Rescued by the shop owner’s dreamy son with chocolate-syrup eyes, the beautiful city of Paris suddenly becomes Chloe’s personal secret adventure. And even though Jean-Paul, the oh-so-kind La Patisserie shop boy is the gentlemanly guy Chloe has always dreamed of, even he has a girlfriend. The police are tracking her down as a run-away, Mom’s having a nervous breakdown over her daughter’s “disappearance”, and Chloe’s just trying to have a Happily-Ever-After even as her dreams with Matt are swirling down the drain. What’s a girl to do in the most romantic city in the world? Easy Pastry Recipe in the back of the book!

$200 Giveaway

Click below to enter the giveaway for $200 of Christmas cash. Good luck!!! a Rafflecopter giveaway //

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

One Day Poll - Vote for Your Favorite Cover!

I'm so excited to have my readers be a part of the A Christmas of Hope publishing process! Check out these gorgeous covers and vote for your favorite one! Remember, these are mock-ups with sample cover art, which is why there are watermarks over the images. The final cover will be beautiful and watermark free!

Cover #1 - The Christmas Tree in a Mug cover

 Cover #2 - The Fairy Lights Jar cover

Cover #3 - The Hot Cocoa and Candy Cane Mug cover

Monday, September 28, 2015

How I Made My Husband Cry

So, there we were, Mr. Ferguson and I, in steamy Palm Springs, California enjoying a little vacation just the two of us. Well, actually, it was a business trip combined with some 'us' time, but the desert was definitely hotter than Kansas City! My sweet hubby took some time off work to help me at the InD'Scribe Author and Reader Conference, where my book, Sweet Confections, was up for a RONE Award.

It was a great weekend! We met so many wonderful authors and readaholics and made some fantastic new friends. But I'm going to skip ahead to the good stuff - making Mr. Ferguson cry.

We were at the RONE Awards - Mr. Ferguson looking quite dapper in his tux and I admit, I was feeling gorgeous in my deep purple chiffon gown. I had the honor of accepting two awards on behalf of my friends, Sarah Eden (Best American Historical) and Donna Weaver (Best New Adult). The awards had this fun thing going on with some of their male cover models. When the winner stood, one model met the winner and escorted her up to the stage, another model gave her the award, then yet another model escorted her back to her seat after the acceptance speech. So, having done this twice, hubby leaned over to me and said, "I think it would be really funny if I escorted you up if they call your name. Kind of a, 'I got this one' nod to the models." I agreed, but honestly, it had more to do with wanting my hubby by my side to share the moment.

So we had a little plan *just in case* my name was actually called for the award.

Then the amazing Anne Perry was called up to announce the award in my genre. I remember leaning over to Mr. Ferguson and telling him that if she called my name, I was just gonna die, right there. #FanGirlMoment

Those were the longest five minutes . . . A blurb about the category, a fun slide show of the finalist's covers and author photos, then . . .

and the winner is . . . .SWEET CONFECTIONS by Danyelle Ferguson!!!

What did I do? Cry, of course. Then Mr. Ferguson urged me to my feet and escorted me up to the front.

Okay, this is where it was overwhelming for me. Remember all those new friends we just met? There was this roar of cheers from all those amazing, sweet authors and readers. Friends who just filled my heart. Side note: Waterproof mascara isn't as waterproof as they want you to think it is.

So there I am, Model Guy is handing me this gorgeous crystal award and holy smokes - it has MY name on it! Someone gave me tissues. One of the models? Maybe Catherine Bybee? I honestly don't remember. And then, I pulled out my speech.

First, I'd like to thank InD'Tale Magazine, the RONE Awards committee and my readers for nominating Sweet Confections for this awards. I am so honored that you love Rachel and Graydon's story as much as I do.

Every writer has a story, a journey they traveled to get to the moment they hold their first book in their hands. My story has lots of twists and turns, just like proper novel should. There's even a love story moment involved.

About 14 years ago, our oldest son was diagnosed with autism. I set aside my dreams and goals and jumped into therapy programs and the all consuming disabilities world to give our son the best chance to grow. After several years, my hubby gifted me with a writing themed Christmas and encouraged me to put something I once loved back into my life. He attended my first writers conference with me and took notes in all the classes I couldn't get to. When I'm in editing mode and think I suck, he's my cheerleader. When I want to binge watch Netflix, he nudges me back in to being productive. He even reads romance novels and has studied the craft of writing to support me. Of all the love stories out there, I'm so grateful he's mine. Thank you, sweetie. I love you more.

On this writing journey, I was reminded that challenges make us stronger, to not waste the gift of storytelling Heavenly Father blessed us with, and that there really are love conquers all moments. To all my writing friends here this evening, I challenge each of you to keep dreaming, to keep reaching for that goal that seems impossible. To show the world that it is, in fact, possible and that you totally rocked accomplishing it. 

Thank you for this beautiful award!

The only other things I remember are Catherine Bybee hugging me and whispering that I had mascara all smudged under my right eye (love that woman!) and my hubby wiping his eyes as he escorted me back to our seats. I believe Mr. Ferguson made some type of comment about me sabotaging him and making him cry. He had no clue what was in my acceptance speech.  My head just spun and was all fuzzy for the remainder of the awards ceremony. I remember I kept squeezing my hubby's hand and saying, "I can't believe it." The awards ceremony was followed by a dance party and so many hugs from the RONE Awards attendees.

It took me until mid-morning the next day to fully process everything that happened. The thing I felt so strongly was gratitude.

Gratitude for all my supportive, amazing readers who love Sweet Confections and keep hounding me for the next book (which is coming, promise!). For my new friends who, even though we had just met, truly felt like ladies and gents I had known for a long time. Gratitude for all the hard work the InD'Tale and InD'Scribe staff put into the event, for their bubbly personalities. So thankful for my friend, Heather, who stayed in the Land of Oz to take care of my children so my hubby could attend with me. A heart full of love for my best friend, Mr. Ferguson. I am so incredibly grateful he was there by my side.

Now, a week later, I'm thankful for the blessing of jumping right back into a busy family routine. There's no time for my head to swell when I'm back to being the carpool queen, refereeing squabbles and prepping for homecoming.  Ah, the lovely real-life of a mama/award-winning author.

If you'd like to see more pics from the Con or the RONE Awards, hop over to my author Facebook page!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Book Spotlight: Vocal Crush by Lisa Swinton

Welcome to the Vocal Crush Blog Tour!

Can you ever out run a broken heart?
Lexi Court spent seven years traveling the world, living the nomadic Broadway life, in an attempt to outrun the broken heart Nick Rivers gave her. Now, there’s nowhere left to go.

When she accepted a position as a high school drama teacher in Las Vegas, Lexi hoped to get over Nick, find a nice guy, and settle down. But what should be a quiet summer gets turned upside down when Lexi's best friend, Taffy, drafts her to be an emergency replacement coach on a televised vocal competition.

Feeling out of her league among the other three celebrity coaches, Lexi fights for the most promising contestants to be on her team. One note from a single voice shatters her summer. Nick unexpectedly auditions and joins Lexi's team. With her vocal crush on him raging as strong as ever, she has nowhere to run from Nick’s dreamy looks or siren voice.

Lexi has no doubt that Nick can win the competition. The question is does he want to win her heart as well or will he damage it beyond repair? 


 Get Lisa's other books. Ring on Her Finger and Fallen Angel, are also discounted for a limited time. 
Ring on Her Finger on Amazon
 Fallen Angel on Amazon
 Find me on Goodreads

 Be sure to enter the GIVEAWAY

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

InD'Scribe Con & RONE Awards Gala Schedule!

I'm super excited to see everyone at the InD'Scribe Authors & Reader Con this week. If you'd like to catch up with me, here's my signing & presenter schedule:

Friday - I'll be signing books  from 11 am - 12 noon, then again from 3:30 - 4:30 pm. 

Saturday - I'm a presenter on the Let's Talk About Sex panel at 11:45 am in the Pueblo room.  Following the panel, I'll be signing books from 1-2 pm.  I hope to see you at the RONE Awards Gala where Sweet Confections is a finalist in the Sweet Romance category.

Want a signed copy of Sweet Confections but won't be in the signing room during the times I listed? Stop by my table and visit with my hubby. He'll be selling books & setting them aside for me to sign. You just need to stop by again before the book store closes at 2 pm on Saturday.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

New Inspirational Romance by the Amazing Liz Isaacson!

Today I have a fabulous spotlight for a new book! SECOND CHANCE RANCH by Liz Isaacson is a Western inspirational romance, and it hits shelves on Tuesday, September 15!

About Second Chance Ranch: After his deployment, injured and discharged Major Squire Ackerman returns to Three Rivers Ranch, anxious to prove himself capable of running the cattle operation so his parents can retire. Things would be easier if the ranch wasn’t missing 1.6 million dollars, which forces Squire to hire Kelly, the girl who rejected his high school prom invitation, as his accountant. She’s back in town with her four-year-old son, living in her parent’s basement until she can get her life back together. With fresh ink on her divorce papers and open gashes on her heart, she’s not ready for much beyond her new job on the ranch. Squire wants to forgive Kelly for ignoring him a decade ago. He’d like to provide the stable life she needs, but with old wounds opening and a ranch on the brink of financial collapse, it will take patience and faith to make their second chance possible.

For fans of inspirational western romance authors Kimberly Krey, Becky Wade, and Denise Hunter. 

 Add on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon

About Liz Isaacson: Liz Isaacson writes inspirational romance, usually in a Western setting because of her love of horses and cowboys. In her real life, she is Elana Johnson, hybrid author of several YA and adult romance novels. She is a teacher of technology and she wants to travel the world. Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Liz is giving away $10 Paypal cash for helping to spread the word about her new release. Check out the options in the Rafflecopter and enter to win!

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

17 Things I Love About Us

Look at those two innocent 20-somethings. The world before them all bright and glorious. The sweetness of young love . . .

Fast forward a few years to today . . . . Mr. Ferguson and I celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary. To mark the occasion, I thought I'd make a list. Mr. Ferguson and I love lists.

17 Things I Love About Us

17.  The Real Us. On the way to school today, my daughter asked if we could listen to a song on my iPod. It was actually back at home, so we decided to try the radio. A song came on I never heard before, but part of the lyrics jumped out and grabbed me.

"If I showed you my flaws, If I couldn't be strong, Would you still love me the same?"

Other than God, my hubby is the only person I've ever been able to share the real me with. My weird quirks, annoying traits, etc.  It was a gradual thing, little bit by little bit when we were dating. He was the first guy I felt like I could be honest with who didn't get scared away. He stuck. Now I tease him that he's mega super glued to me and is never allowed to unstick.  =)

16.  Talk, Talk, Talk. We don't really fight - as in yell at each other.  We just talk. Sometimes we get annoyed with each other and need to take a short break. But then we come back together to talk some more until we figure things out.

15. Listen, Listen, Listen. I am so totally not a computer person, but Mr. Ferguson is the geek of geeks. He works all day with technology I can't even begin to understand, but we still share our day with each other. I may not understand the ins and outs of his job, but I get that he has deadlines, projects, and coworkers. I listen, ask questions, and yes, he can totally tell when he's gotten too techy and my mind went mushy. He just smiles, dials the tech talk back and hugs me. I love that.

14. Giving Advice . . . Or Not. Mr. Ferguson listens to me too. All. Day. Long. Oh the joys of working from home together. Something will happen - an email from a reader, the kids forgot their lunch again, someone annoyed me, a hilarious video I discovered on Facebook, and the list goes on. I pop into his office to see if he's on a conference call. If he's not, then he's fair game for a quick conversation. Usually, it's a fast "Guess what?" or "Watch this!" But when I'm annoyed, he patiently sits, lets me vent, then evaluates my openness about receiving advice or staying quiet until later. It took several years to fine tune this amazing gift, but master it he has. Note: Reining in my tidbits of wisdom is still a work in progress. It may take another ten or so years.

13. Staying Connected.  Speaking of working from home together - I absolutely adore it. We've worked this way through most of our marriage. When he actually has to go into the office, I miss him dreadfully. When the kids were still at home, he took lots of 10 minute play breaks throughout the day to spend time with us. Once the munchkins were all in school, we started using the breaks to go on walks, have lunch together, and just chat for a few minutes here and there.

12. PDA. I love that my hubby gets embarrassed by PDA (public displays of affection - outside of our home). Holding hands, hugs, arms around the waist - that's all okay. I give him a kiss and the man is on the verge of blushing. Of course, I take advantage of that and tease him as sneakily as I can, as often as possible.

11. Teasing Our Children. Yep, this counts as things I love about us. When it comes to teasing, we keep it gentle and follow up with hugs. Lately, my teens think affection between mom and dad is gross. Which totally means we do things like, "Oh sweetie, come here. I need a big smoochy kiss," while the kids cover their eyes, gag or melt to the floor in agony. Parenting together is so much fun. (Well, most of the time.)

10. Hey You Sexy Thang! I'm no longer the little 96 lb, size two, 20-something from the day we got married. In fact, I haven't seen that size since about six months after our wedding when I was prego. Over the years, I've fluctuated up to size 20 and down and up and down. It's a never ending battle of frustration, health and fitness. The one thing that's helped me to stay positive is my hubby consistently telling me that I'm beautiful and sexy. The number on the pants don't matter to him. He loves my smile, my hugs, and yes, everything about my body. I thank God for Mr. Ferguson's attitude every single day.

9. Chasing Dreams. When hubby wanted to run his own software contracting company, we figured out how and made it work. When I wanted to go back to college, he adjusted his work schedule so I could attend classes and he could take care of the kids. One year, Mr. Ferguson did a themed Christmas. He had been thinking about the things I loved to do, but gave up when our oldest son was diagnosed with autism so I could be active in therapy programs, etc. The theme he chose was writing. He wrote me a beautiful letter, gave me all sorts of supplies and even a briefcase to organize it all into. Then he pushed me back into my love of writing. Look where we are today. We're each doing work we love, with people we admire. We wouldn't be here without the dreams, and most especially, each other's support.

8. Play Time. Board games have always been a big part of our marriage. As newlyweds, we didn't have a kitchen table, chairs or a couch. So we cooked dinner, then sat on the living room floor and played Sorry or card games. And let me tell you, I'm competitive. We weren't allowed to stop playing until I sufficiently kicked his butt. Mr. Ferguson was competitive enough to not give in and let me win, no matter how late it got. We had so much fun in that little living room. Our game collection has expanded and our kids share our love of board games with us. It's not an every day thing, but school breaks are guaranteed to be kicked off with a huge stack of games to make our way through.

7. Try New Things. Over the years, we've tried a lot of new things together. 5K's with the kids (he ran, I jogged down the hills and walked the rest), home projects, planting flower beds (sadly, my black thumb caused my plant deaths), geek cons, writing conferences, pallet projects and so much more. Last year, it was a Jane Austen ball. Mr. Ferguson was hesitant at first, but we both had a fabulous time! We keep a running list of things we think would be interesting to learn about, travel to, or try. Some turn out to be one time disasters, others we enjoy and do again. But I really like that we do it together.

6. Holding Hands. We dated for a while before Mr. Ferguson first asked if he could hold my hand. When our hands met, they shifted one way, then another, until they settled together into an unique lock, with our pinky fingers twined around each other. It makes me feel safe and loved and just ours.

5. Mr. Ferguson Cooks and Does Laundry. 'Nuff said.

4. Sense of Humor. It's gotten us through A LOT of rough times. For instance, one year just before Thanksgiving and in the middle of NaNoWriMo (I was less than 5K words from finishing), Mr. Ferguson's appendix decided it was done with his body and wanted out. Right before going into surgery, Mr. Ferguson said 2 things - 1) Go to the waiting room, get to work on your book and finish your word count before I'm done, and 2) I always thought it would be cool to have your author friends kill me off in all sorts of interesting ways in their books. We could have a "John got killed off" bookshelf collection. Yeah. I think the drugs had kicked in by then. But I did go to the waiting room and write. Then I sat in his hospital room and wrote a whole bunch more. He'd wake up for a few minutes, ask about my word count, then conk back out. A very stressful time for us both, but is something we laughed about then and now. Looking for a different point of view than the most obvious really does help in tough situations.

3. Praying Together. There's nothing sweeter than hearing your spouse pray for you, your family, and specific things we need help with or that he wishes for us. Prayer also helps us to find calm when we aren't connecting and are annoyed with each other. It heals and brings us together.

2. Ending the Day Together. Each night, we fall asleep holding hands. I hope we're still doing that when he's lost every single hair on his head and I'm a chubby, wrinkly gray haired grandma.

1. Forever. I'm grateful we have a perspective of loving each other and being best friends so that we want to be together forever.

I'm so grateful for the 17 years that have turned our initial sweet young love into a stronger, more enduring love filled with friendship, respect, laughter, hugs, empathy and support. We've shared many beautiful moments, a bucketful of challenges I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, and oh so many tears, laughter, and joy. Neither of us are perfect, but together we are an incredible team. I can't help but think that this is what love really is. But there's a little niggling something in my mind that says after another 17 years of life together, I'll say again, "This is what love really is."
Review Disclaimer: Sometimes a book I review has been sent to me for free by a publisher or an author. This in no way effects my review, which is my own opinion about whether the book was a good read for me, fit my tastes, and if I would recommend it to others. Other than possibly a free book, I am not compensated in any way for posting a review.