Monday, December 22, 2014

Brandy Vallance | Spread the Christmas Joy


When I was six years old we had a silver tinsel tree with a retro color wheel. I remember lying on the carpet and watching the tree turn colors. Red, green, yellow, and blue reflected on the walls and ceiling. While the room sparkled, I’d let my imagination roam. Pans rattled in the kitchen—my grandpa making fudge. My grandmother’s voice joined his in low tones of conversation. The rise and fall of those moments stay with me to this day.

A second predominant Christmas memory comes from the seventh grade. My family and I had moved to Mecca, Ohio. After living in the city my entire life, this place was magical. We had ten acres by a lake. Our driveway was a path through the forest, flanked by forsythia bushes that turned yellow in the spring. Almost every day I climbed massive trees, walked in the woods, or played in the creek. We had three dogs and two pet goats that followed me everywhere. I started writing my first story that year. Winter came, and the snow that fell was like something out of Narnia. On Christmas Eve, I bundled up and snuck outside.

Sometimes snow brings silence, like the world is new again. Or sometimes that silence makes you feel the age of the world, but it’s like it’s letting you in on the mystery. I was alone in the field that night, my boot prints deep. I walked further and further away from the lights of the house until the hush was all around. I remember taking a deep breath and feeling like anything was possible. Like the white-blue moonlight was just the beginning. I opened my arms to the thick snowflakes and turned my face into the Christmas sky.

As I think about these two memories it occurs to me that there’s a correlation. Although I’ve had many Christmas memories, I picked these. They were the memories that begged to be told. Why? I think in both instances life was a perfect span of possibility. There was only safety, and the freedom to dream.

The joy of Christmas for me is like that. As we celebrate the most precious gift of Jesus—God’s love to the world—let’s make space for dreams. Give yourself the permission to let your mind roam. And may the Lord fill you with His blessed hope, and His peace which passes all understanding.

Here’s a song that lends itself to winter dreaming: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwStDK2_qpw
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Brandy is offering up to copies of her novel The Covered Deep. Leave a comment to enter to win!



SOME DREAMS ARE WORTH SEARCHING FOR

Bianca Marshal is looking for a man who can quote both Jesus and Shakespeare. Not surprisingly, that man is hard to find in the small Appalachian town where she lives. Her mother insists that Bianca lower her standards. One the eve of her twenty-fifth birthday, even Bianca wonders if her mother is right.

Still set on experiencing love, or at least a little adventure, Bianca wins an essay contest that propels her into a whirlwind search for the perfect hero. Via the opulence of London and the mysteries of Palestine, Bianca's true love will be revealed—but not without a price that might be too heavy to pay.



Brandy Vallance fell in love with the Victorian time period at a young age, loving the customs, manners, and especially the intricate rules of love. Since time travel is theoretically impossible, she lives in the nineteenth century vicariously through her novels. Unaccountable amounts of black tea have fueled this ambition. Brandy's love of tea can only be paralleled by her love of Masterpiece Theater Classics, deep conversations, and a good book. Brandy is the 2013 Operation First Novel winner and the 2012 winner of the ACFW Genesis Contest for historical romance. You can connect with Brandy via her website www.brandyvallance.com, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, YouTube, or Twitter @BrandyVallance.