White Christmas, 1954

Starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera Ellen, and Rosemary Clooney, this film shows a couple of song-and-dance men as they get to know a sister act. When the men stay at an inn in Vermont, they find out that it’s owned by their old army general who is having money problems. The men put their girl troubles aside for a moment to work out a plan to help him.

This is the movie made for the world’s most popular song, “White Christmas”. After the movie Holiday Inn made such a success of the song in 1942, they couldn’t help but make another movie they could use it in.

Many similarities existed between this film and Holiday Inn. For instance, the “Inn” set was the same in both movies. So when Irving Berlin wrote “Love, You Didn’t Do Right By Me”, sung by Rosemary Clooney, it was another way to separate the two movies.

In that performance, Clooney wore a gorgeous black gown. Knowing that the costumes were designed by Edith Head made this film even more fun to watch.

The success of this film was nearly guaranteed simply because Irving Berlin wrote the songs. Even though he was known as a Songwriter, he could not read music. He hired someone to transcribe his melodies. Berlin, talented enough to compose both the music and lyrics to his songs, was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.

Proving Himself

How has God proven Himself in your life?

Can you think of times past when you were spared the trauma of what could’ve been? Did God shelter you when others experienced one of life’s storms?

God has been in my life to guide and protect me through my journey’s twists and turns. He’s already shown me that He knows what He’s doing. I can trust Him.

I hope you will join me at Seek God With Me where I’ll continue reflecting on where God was when I’ve needed Him.

Romantic Roses: Winchester Cathedral

Bred by David Austin and introduced in 1988, this rose is a white version of Mary Rose, also a David Austin rose.

How could I pass up the chance to use this rose as my featured Christmas flower when it was named after a church and related to a rose named Mary? The white of this rose urges us to think of the innocence and purity of Christmas morning.

One of the finest cathedrals in Britain is the Winchester Cathedral. With a name that well-known, this David Austin rose had a lot to live up to. Not to worry. It has a very appealing Old Rose fragrance with honey and almond blossom mixed in.

This hardy, early flowering, medium sized shrub is bushy, but graceful. It can also be trained as a short climber. These English roses are prolific. You may see two or three rounds of flowers during the season.

Kathleen Y'Barbo's The Marrying Kind

I found this story in a collection called Texas Christmas Brides. Kathleen Y'Barbo and Cathy Marie Hake each contributed a story set in Cut Corners, Texas.

Peony Potter wants to start a new life away from her childhood home with all its tragedy. She might just be a success if she can get the sheriff to remove gamblers from the streets of her new home town.

Sheriff Rafe Wilson won’t be in town for much longer. He’s set on being a Texas Ranger just like his Pop. However, his Pop is acting like he doesn’t want him to leave town. He should be proud to have a son following in his footsteps.

Peony and Rafe get started off on the wrong foot. Peony complains about the scoundrels in the street. Rafe tries to keep the town as peaceful as possible while he waits for his time with the Rangers to come. What pulls this unlikely couple together is the meddling townsfolk – and a cat.

This book has been in my To Be Read pile for a long time. I should be reading her September release, Wild West Christmas (Romancing America: Texas). Or maybe I could pre-order her next romance, Beloved Castaway.

Kathleen Y’Barbo is a best-selling author of more than thirty award-winning novels, novellas, and young adult books. More than 850,000 copies of her books are currently in print in the US and abroad. This tenth-generation Texan is an author, speaker, and the exclusive publicist for Books & Such Literary Agency.


When I was younger, my family would occasionally put a box under the Christmas tree that was the first box in a gift search. The recipient would open Box 1 and find a note with instructions to Box 2 which had a note with instructions to Box 3… until the instructions led to the real gift. All the recipient had to do to get the gift was obey the instructions.

The battle of Jericho was like that in a way. That battle was a gift to the Hebrew people and a gift to Joshua, their leader at the time. They were given specific instructions to follow with the promise that the victory would be handed to them. All they had to do was obey.

They didn’t have a tank to protect them in the battle. They had God. The sheltering presence of God was part of the gift.

For more of this discussion, join me at Seek God With Me.

Mary Connealy's Cowboy Christmas

Oh! That awful Claude Leveque! You’ll want to string him up yourself once you read Mary Connealy’s Cowboy Christmas.

Annette Talbot needs help. Her life is in danger, but she doesn’t fear death. Claude Leveque has threatened to keep her alive and threatens a fate worse than death if she fights against him.

On a stagecoach ride back home to her father’s ranch, she meets Elijah Walker. His kindness almost makes her forget the other two on that stage, a wimpy lawyer and a quiet cowboy who won’t talk much. Elijah’s ma also shows Annette much kindness. It isn’t much of a surprise when the two women get along very well together.

Poor Elijah debates within himself whether to trust Annette since she reminds him of another woman in his recent past, a woman he believed was innocent and then proved to be evil. He must fight off the feelings he gets over this beautiful young woman who seems innocent, but can’t be trusted.

When Claude Leveque finds Annette after she manages to run away from him, he’s determined to take control of her once again. She hopes Elijah will help her stop Claude, but Claude could get away.

Mary Connealy’s characters brought a smile to my face as I read. I couldn’t help but cheer them on as they tried to help out lovely Annette. And I cheer for the author’s efforts in making me a fan – because she succeeded. You can imagine how excited I was to win Cowboy Christmas in one of Barbour’s Twitter contests.

Now I’m interested in finding Mary’s Lassoed in Texas series which includes Petticoat Ranch, Calico Canyon, and Gingham Mountain. For her list of available novels, check out her sites: MaryConnealy.com and MaryConnealy.blogspot.com. The Husband Tree is her January 2010 release.

I also love reading Mary’s blog posts for writers at Seekerville.

A Shelter For A Boy

1 Sam 3:7 “The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.”

Samuel ministered before the Lord under the instruction of Eli the priest. He learned about discipline, obedience, and religious traditions, but didn’t know the Lord. However, God didn’t hold that against him. God called him by name. Having never heard from God before, Samuel thought he was hearing the priest, and he went to Eli to ask why he called him. After a few responses of “I didn’t call you. Go back to bed,” Eli explained that it must be God calling him.

I find that story funny because Samuel kept going back to Eli to find out why he called him - and then Eli sent him away. I can imagine that those frustrating moments made the beginning of his journey with God quite memorable. Poor, confused Samuel had to start somewhere. We all have to start somewhere.

God wanted a relationship with Samuel. He wanted Samuel to know that He was the shelter that would protect Samuel. He protected him before Samuel knew him, and he would continue to protect him as he grew.

Today on my devotional blog, I’m exploring how God is our shelter. Check it out at Seek God With Me.

Romantic Roses: Iceberg

The Iceberg is classified as a floribunda. While it is disease resistant and a vigorous grower, its white blooms are only slightly fragrant. To produce more blooms, cut back the canes by about one-third in the Spring. It grows well in zone 4 and higher.

In 1983, it was voted the world’s most popular rose by the World Federation of Rose Societies.

My husband and I first saw this rose in the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden. We wanted to try it in the front of our house. Unfortunately, it was blocked from the morning sun and didn’t enjoy our oven-like late afternoon heat. Even though it’s struggling to perform under less than pleasant circumstances, it’s still producing beautiful blooms. We’ll have to find a better place for it in the back yard where there's shelter from the heat - if it can just hold on.

Holiday Inn, 1942

Starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, Holiday Inn is best known as the film that started the popularity of the song “White Christmas”. That song was the all-time best-selling music single for several decades and won Irving Berlin a 1942 Oscar in the Best Music-Original Song category. With music by Irving Berlin, gowns by Edith Head, and crooning and tapping by Crosby and Astaire, the movie was an absolute hit.

The movie begins on Christmas Eve with boys dancing on the sidewalk to raise money. Of course that catches the eye of Fred Astaire who dances with the boys and rings the bell with the Santa before going inside to see if his girlfriend has broken up with her fiancĂ© (Crosby). Of course, the first song Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby perform on stage reveals their true life problem - and the movie’s plot.

Bing Crosby retires to the life of a lonely farmer while the girl dances in big shows with Fred Astaire. After a year, Bing’s love of farm life gets the best of him, and he meets up with the other two to promote his idea of turning his farm into an inn that’s only open during holidays.

Fred Astaire did a bang up job and really brought on the fireworks with his dancing. Especially during his solo performance while his partner was still trying to get to the inn. That dance was filmed over two days, according to Imdb.com, and Astaire’s shoes for the fireworks dance were auctioned for $116,000 worth of war bonds. His “drunk” dance with his new partner is unparalleled. According to Imdb.com, Fred Astaire had eight drinks of bourbon during the filming of that dance.

Marjorie Reynolds’ acting was smooth and believable, but Martha Mears provided her singing voice. Louise Beavers is a treasure and had a small role in which she offered wisdom to those who would listen.

With lots of twists and turnabouts to keep us guessing, this film hops with rhythm and woos with graceful songs.


This month on my devotional blog, I’ll be visiting shelters in scripture. I like the warm feeling I get when I think about the nativity with all the animals sharing shelter with the newborn King.

I think of God as my shelter. He protects me on all sides. He sees me and sees what’s around me. I can run to him in times of trouble. I can sit in the shade of his presence.

Join me at Seek God With Me to see which Bible verse I’m using today.