Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Way in a Manger

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole empire should be registered. This first registration took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town.

And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough—because there was no room for them at the lodging place.

In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”

Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to people He favors!

When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”

They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough. After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard, just as they had been told.



Merry Christmas from all of us at Pix-N-Pens!


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Keeping Christ in Christmas

Every year, commercialism takes over the holidays. We asked some of our authors to share with us, "How do you keep Christ in Christmas at your house?" 

Keeping Christ in Christmas takes different forms every year. This year we've all taken a part in our church's musical, Two From Galilee. This is a huge, free outreach to our community to share the love of Christ who came to shine His Light on our dark world. But I have to tell you that keeping Christ in Christmas for me is really a case of making sure He's part of my life all the time. When I have a habit of inviting Him into my daily days, I don't really have to think about offering Him a special invitation for Christmas.  ~ Marji Laine [editor's note: Two from Galilee was recorded and can currently be viewed on Marji's church's website.]

We keep Christ in Christmas with a Jesus gift box under the tree. Each year, we put inside the box, written in a journal, those gifts we offer to Jesus. For instance, one member of the family wrote, "be more generous," or "increase my giving", etc. Before we write the new year's gifts, we reflect on the gifts or promises from the previous year. Then we say a prayer asking for strength and grace to fulfill the written promise that our heart desires. After this "ritual" we open presents from each other.

We also go through a box called "What Does God Want For Christmas?" We role-play the characters of Christmas in scenes from the Christmas story and a piece of the nativity is set in place. For instance, I dress as Mary and my hubby acts as Gabriel and announces that I will be with child ... Then Gabriel is set in the nativity. The next day, Mary recites her words of obedience and a Mary figurine is set in the nativity. The role play is over on day 7 when we open a small gift box with a mirror in it. Guess what God wants for Christmas? You! The kids never get tired of this game. I also have pics of the kids dressed up I can send you. 

Jesus birthday cake is another one we do with chocolate cake to represent our sin, white frosting to show Jesus makes us white as snow, red candles to symbolize the blood. The round cake shows his love never ends, etc. 

We also sing carols. It's a full busy day. But, you know as much as we try to make it about Christ, I'm becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the battle with materialism. I told my hubby I'm about ready to get radical with Christmas! ~ Theresa Anderson


There is one tradition my family has for years and years. My father started when my siblings and I were little, and then when I married and had children of my own my husband continued that tradition.

All kids are excited on Christmas morning and can’t wait to dig into the gifts. The rule at my house growing up and the rule at our house with our children growing up was that the kids can get up early and get into the stockings but not touch the presents. Once everyone is awake, we all gather in the living room and read the Christmas story from the Bible before any present is touched. This is one way we have been able to put Christ first and to remind our children the true meaning of the holiday.

Now that my oldest daughter is planning on getting married in the spring, I have to wonder if a new generation of my family will be beginning soon. I pray that all of my children and their future spouses will continue reading the Christmas story from the Bible each Christmas morning so that they can teach their own children the true meaning of Christmas and keep Christ as the center.  ~ Ruth O’Neil

When Tracy asked us this question, my mind drifted automatically to the nativity scenes I display at Christmas. In the past, two main scenes decorate our house amidst the many snowmen I collect. This year I’m also adding a third. Let me tell you about them and what they mean to me.

First is my silver-plated set given to me by my mother and step-dad. It’s an elegant rendition of that first Christmas, each piece handcrafted and detailed. It reminds me of all that is beautiful during this season. From decorations, to selfless acts to large choirs singing songs of adoration, at Christmas time, beauty is on display.

My second set came from a local department store during a sale after Christmas. This ceramic set is more down-to-earth, a closer portrayal of the reality of a stable, hay and animals that surrounded the Savior’s birth. This set reminds me of the reality of life, the hurry, the bad mixed amongst the good during a season full of people with faults and failures, people a lot like me.

I received my third set this year, a gift from my brother and his wife for my fiftieth birthday. Handcrafted in Talkeetna, Alaska, near where they live, this set has two spruce trees and an igloo. Some might think it odd knowing Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but I see symbolism in it as well. Jesus came to earth to save us all from the Eskimo in Alaska to the Aborigines in Australia to the Native Americans in the western United States.

So as I decorate for Christmas and watch my granddaughters carry around baby Jesus and ask me questions about these different renditions of Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus, once again Jesus is lifted up in the Hallmark household. ~ Jennifer Hallmark








All of us at Pix-N-Pens and Write Integrity Press wish all of you
Merry Christmas!

May Jesus always be the center of your holidays - 
and your every day.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Introducing Magnificent Hope's Sister

Last year, we introduced you to Magnificent Hope who soon became Write Integrity Press's mascot.

In December 2012, I was praying about what our word of the year would be from the Lord, and He gave me the word JOY. I wasn't sure how that would unfold during the year, but as we began plotting and exploring ideas for the summer, Magnificent Hope jumped to the forefront again, and told us about her SISTER!! She was sure tight-lipped about her last year, but today, I'd like to introduce you to RADIANT JOY.

Isn't she lovely? And yes, she is expecting! Radiant Joy is expectant of JOY, of

HOPE, of the fulfillment of Scripture.

She will become our mascot for Pix-N-Pens, and she's already planning a fun summer for all of us.

Today, she's here to ask for your help! Write Integrity and Pix-N-Pens want to
send five of our authors to the world's largest trade show for Christian books. ICRS gives us an opportunity to put our books in front of book buyers and book store owners - an opportunity that's not easy or affordable for most small publishers. So we're having a fundraiser.

One of the rewards we're offering in exchange for your donation to our Faithfunder campaign is fun merchandise featuring Magnificent Hope and Radiant Joy (Radiant Joy's merchandise is still being designed, but we've got some examples below with Magnificent Hope.) For a $20 donation, you'll receive a beautiful, sturdy mug, a fun and colorful mousepad, and some other goodies featuring these delightful sisters. And you'll provide some magnificent hope and radiant joy for five authors and their publisher.



We're also offering critiques, Skype sessions with authors for book clubs and writing groups, book bundles (print or digital packages available), individual books (including new releases for only $5 digital, $10 print!), lunch with the publisher in St. Louis during ICRS or the Atlanta area all summer long. One of our authors' favorite rewards is a dinner in St. Louis, with all five authors, the publisher, and up to 4 contributors (and their guests). It promises to be a fun-filled evening!

Can you help us get there?


Monday, April 15, 2013

Exciting News!!

We received an e-mail from the Christian Small Publishers Association on Thursday, and had to sit on this news all weekend!


Congratulations!

Renee Gray-Wilburn and Dianne E. Butts
Pix-N-Pens Publishing

has won the 
2013 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award 
in the Relationships / Family category.







Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Costly Mistake Saves You Money

Last week, I ordered books for conference. The printer shipped two orders. I don't know if I placed two orders (I don't think I did) or if they had a glitch in their system (printer's words, actually) that caused the duplicate, but I'll soon be in possession of more books than I'll sell at conference.

Since we operate on a limited budget around here, I'm going to sell the extras at a pre-conference price just for YOU!

We have limited copies of these at this price so if you want to take advantage of the sale price snag them NOW. I'll take the books off the order button when they're gone. The books will be available at this price until they're sold or next Wednesday 3/13/13, whichever comes first.

Parenting on Your Knees
by Vicki Tiede
Paperback regularly $14.99, now only $9!

Really Rare Rabbits
by Peggy Cunningham
Paperback regularly $12.99, now only $9!

A Familiar Shore
by Jennifer Fromke
Paperback regularly $14.99, now only $9!

Grandparenting Through Obstacles 
by Renee Gray-Wilburn and Dianne E. Butts
Paperback regularly $15.99, now only $9!

Jake and the Buggy Melee
by Darryl E. Green
Paperback regularly $9.99, now only $8.00!

We're also offering a Pre-Conference Bundle - get all five books for $44, and pay only $6 shipping for the entire bundle.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Celebrate Read an E-book With Us!

I've never been one to need an excuse to read a book - or cereal box or toilet paper wrapper or even instruction manuals - but in case you're not like me, I now have the perfect excuse for you - it's "Read an E-book Week"!

If you don't have an e-reader, you can snag - for FREE - a copy of Kindle for PC or Kindle for Mac, OR Nook for PC or Nook for Mac. You just download the software onto your computer and then download e-books straight to your computer and read them there. You can also download the Kindle apps for your smart phones! Here's the Kindle link - just choose which option you want and get started. Barnes & Noble also offers a similar program - you can grab one of the free reader apps here.

To help you get started, we're offering some great discounts on several of our e-books. Check them out and grab a copy or two!

Grandparenting Through Obstacles: Overcoming Family Challenges to Reach Your Grandchildren for Christ
by Renee Gray-Wilburn and Dianne E. Butts

Kindle
Nook


***Named 2012 Book of the Year by The Book Club Network***

***One of GRAND Magazine's Top 25 Books for Grandparents for 2012***

"Grandparenting in today's world is very different from what it was only one generation ago, ReneƩ Gray-Wilburn and Dianne E. Butts understand that fact. Numerous obstacles - from raising grandchildren to long-distance grandparenting - face many grandparents today. The authors have assembled a collage of life stories from grandparents who live where you live and who know what you're facing.

These stories will encourage you, stir you, and inspire you in your won journey. Above all, these stories will fill your grandparenting toolbox with some exciting new tools for impacting your own grandchildren and families with the reality of the Gospel."

~ Cavin T. Harper
Executive Director, Christian Grandparent Network


A Familiar Shore
by Jennifer Fromke

Kindle
Nook

**Won 2nd Place in the Reader's Choice Book of the Year Award from The Book Club Network**

Meg Marks is a young lawyer raised off the coast of the Carolinas. An anonymous client hires her to arrange his will, and sends her to meet his estranged family at their lake home in northern Michigan. After a shocking discovery, she finds herself caught between his suspicious family and a deathbed promise her conscience demands that she keep. Will she sacrifice her own dreams for revenge? Or will she seek something more?


Parenting on Your Knees: Prayers and Practical Guidance for the Preschool Years
by Vicki Tiede

Exclusively on Kindle

Strap on your sense of humor and don some knee pads as you prepare to be equipped for/by Parenting on Your Knees: Prayers and Practical Guidance for the Preschool Years. Vicki Tiede provides parents of preschoolers tools and strategies for parenting and praying when sleep and alone time are at a minimum. You will find hope and encouragement to nurture and pray for your child’s character, behavior, social skills, development, and spiritual growth.



Prophecies Fulfilled in the Birth of Jesus
by Dianne E. Butts

Kindle
Nook


Travel through time to the first Christmas and your future Christmases will never be the same.

Travel back in time and discover the original prophecies written hundreds or thousands of years, or only months or moments, before they were fulfilled. Then travel forward in time to see them fulfilled in the birth of Jesus.

Explore 35 prophecies including the Virgin Birth, the Star, the birthplace of Bethlehem, the angel’s message to the shepherds guarding the temple sheep, and Mary and Joseph presenting Jesus to the LORD at the Temple just in time to meet Simeon and Anna.

In every chapter you’ll find:

*a “Key Verse” highlighting the prophecy
*Where in the Bible the prophecy is found
*Who originally wrote it
*When it was written, including the date if possible
*The context the prophecy was written in
*a “Prophecy Fulfilled Bible Reading” to read from your own Bible
*“Apply it to Your Life” questions
*a “Final Thought”
*a suggested “Prayer”
*“For more, read” Scripture verses on related topics

Discover the prophecies that predict, prove, and proclaim Jesus the Christ.


Most of our other books are available on Kindle and Nook, too, so if you want clean, wholesome Christian books, check them out. Just look at the "Our Books" tab at the top of this page and on the Write Integrity Press website.

Thank you for reading our books and supporting our authors. We appreciate each and every one of you!

Don't forget to tell all your friends it's:

Read an E-book Week!





Friday, February 15, 2013

Heart Bouquets: Stephanie Craig

In celebration of the release of Heart Bouquets, the authors have all created Top 5 romantic lists. Marji Laine gave us her Top 5 Romantic Couples (and those who didn't make the list!); Jennifer Fromke teased us with the Top 5 Romantic Destinations (when do we leave?); Lynda Schab shared her Top 5 Romantic Comedies; Traci Tyne Hilton provided a helpful Top 5 Romantic Gifts on a Budget (I think her titles fluctuated between "for College Sweethearts" and "for When You're Broke! - I think they all apply!); and Peggy Cunningham lists her Top 5 Romantic Movies in General (as opposed to Romantic Comedies.

Today, Stephanie Craig shares her Top 5 Romantic Songs with us.

(And don't forget, Heart Bouquets is FREE for only a few more hours, so grab it while you can!)


I love music.  In fact, when I was growing up I dreamed of being a musician.  No, I didn’t want to be a singer like Madonna or Olivia Newton John.  My dream was to be a member of the Boston Pops Orchestra.  Well, life took me in another direction.  I never went beyond playing music in college.  I became a writer instead.  But I still love music.  In fact, when I try to get into my characters’ heads, I choose a theme song for them.  I even choose a love song for the couples in my stories.

 

One thing I’ve noticed when I choose songs for couples in my writing is that there are many songs for couples in a beginning of a relationship.  They explore the newness of feelings and the excitement of what may be.  But the selections for long-time married couples are limited.  However limited in selection, the songs for married couples are beautiful.  They sing about the love and commitment we all hope for when we think about marriage.  Today, I have my Top Five Picks for Romantic Songs for Married Couples.

 

#5 When I Said I Do by Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black – In a world of disposable marriages, Clint and Lisa sing about really meaning what they said when they took their marriage vows.  It’s a country song, so you may not like the music if you don’t like country.  But take a look at the lyrics anyway.  They are beautiful.  Here’s a sample:  “Only you and I can undo all that we became.  That makes us so much more than a woman and a man.”  And the great news is that the Blacks are still together.  This song debuted in 1999 and in 2013, you can still believe in the song and couple who sang it. 

 

#4 One-Eyed Cat by Jenny & Tyler – Yes, that’s right.  I have a song called One-Eyed Cat on Top Five Romantic Songs for Married Couples.  This song is not one made for slow dancing because it’s upbeat with a fun melody.  What’s so great about this song is that married couple Jenny & Tyler list the things that the other has done or given up for each other.  Take a look at your friends with marriages in trouble and you will see that many of them do the opposite.  They list what the other has done wrong instead of the sacrifices or the good things their spouse gave them.  The first line of the song gives you a taste of what the rest is like: “You gave up your one up your one-eyed cat, still makes you sad, but I’m allergic.”  But the part of the song that first caught my attention is in the chorus:  “And our love may not look much like Hollywood’s but I’ll love you with all of my heart.”  The chorus sounds like it was made for my marriage.  My husband and I don’t have a picture perfect marriage.   It’s not one anyone would write a movie about or would use as an example at a marriage seminar.  But it’s perfect for us.  I have a feeling many couples are in the same situation. 

 

#3 Then by Brad Paisley – Brad takes listeners on a journey of a relationship from the first time a couple met, the engagement, and looking forward to when they grow old together.  After each memory, he sings “And I thought I loved you then.”  It’s a song where he keeps thinking he couldn’t love the woman anymore than at that moment, but he keeps finding a way. I don’t think a woman can listen to the song and not swoon at the lyrics.  I enjoy this song because I know my husband loves me the same way, although he could never sing or write a song about it, and every time I listen, I resolve to make sure my husband knows I love more and more as time goes by. 

 

#2 As Long as Our Hearts are Beating by Jenny & Tyler – This is not a song for single people.  The lyrics are about the physical side of a married relationship.  The side many married couples don’t talk about, but hopefully are all experiencing.  The melody and the way Jenny & Tyler sing to each other is very passionate.  What’s wonderful about the song is that a married couple’s physical relationship is sang about in a beautiful and truthful way and not in way that will make you squirm or blush. 

 

#1 I Will Be Here by Steven Curtis Chapman – This song sums up what women are hoping for in a marriage.  They want someone who is willing to go through all the up and downs of life with them, even when life goes wrong.  Steven wrote this song for his wife after seeing his parents go through a divorce.  He wanted to assure her that he would be there even when life seemed unbearable.  And if you know the story of Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman, you know that this is true.  Going through horrendous situations, Steven and Mary Beth are still together, still loving each other.  They are still there for each other just as promised over two decades ago.

 

Those are my Top Five.  Do you have any on your list that I haven’t mentioned?  Even if you aren’t married, what love songs do you enjoy?  I can’t wait to hear about them.  Don’t forget to pick up a copy of our book Heart Bouquets.  It’s still free today.  My story Flowers for Katie is about a hopeful wife and a clueless husband who can still find the time for romance. 
 
 
 
About Stephanie:
 
Stephanie is a freelance writer from Michigan.  She is a wife and a mother of two young boys.  She has written articles on many subjects ranging from Christian living to pediatric cancer.  Currently she is the FlintChristian Fiction Examiner and shares her love of Christian books and the NOOK on her blog Christian Booksfor your NOOK.  When she’s not writing you can find her reading, crocheting, scrapbooking, or enjoying time with her family.  Stephanie loves romance and wonders why most stories stop when the character gets married.  She believes that is where true love and fun begins.