Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

I know we’re still a few days out from the actual event, but specific dates have never been a big thing to me… We celebrate birthdays on the closest weekend and hold holidays loosely — we even do “Christmas in August” because it’s the only time we can get the entire Van Der Vliet clan together. So, though it may be early, it is heartfelt: Merry Christmas. 🙂

I have a few odds and ends to tie up before I disappear in a whirlwind of hot cocoa and Christmas carols followed by a mad dash to pack seventy-some pairs of kids shoes, twenty-four bottles of lotion, medical paraphernalia, and bio-clean cookstoves for Liberia into one piece of checked luggage per traveler. Anybody up for a game of Tetris? (Anybody besides me remember the game Tetris? Loved that game…) In case you can’t tell, my mind is a million different places, but I don’t want to leave you without a goodbye hug. And since I can’t hug you through my computer screen, here are a couple of things to make you smile this happy holiday week.

First off, TAMI NANTZ is the winner of my Christmas giveaway! Email me, Tami, and I’ll get your book in the mail ASAP. As for the rest of you, I’ll be hosting more giveaways when I get home from Africa. By the time I’m back on U.S. soil, it will be only one month until the release of Far From Here! Exciting stuff.

Next, I have to share this video because it’s so spectacular. Do you have a heart for adoption? You will after watching this video. Do yourself a favor, grab the tissue box before you hit play. And don’t forget to alert your spouse after you sign up to adopt a waiting child.

Be The Difference from Videos for AGCI on Vimeo.

Finally, this is more of a Christmas hug for me, but I thought I’d share with you all the same. Yesterday I received my very first review of Far From Here. Up until now, the only feedback I’ve received on the book has been from editors, publishers, agents, endorsers, and friends, so I’ve been waiting with bated breath to hear what real critics have to say (i.e. people who don’t know me and therefore don’t have to say nice things to me for fear they might make me cry). Nope, this lady could have been nasty, nasty, nasty. But she wasn’t. And oh, how I love her! Mary Ann Smyth is a precious, darling woman and I shall love her forever for writing such things as: “Far From Here is a not-to-be-missed novel… I loved this book. Baart’s use of words is enviable.” I love you, too, Sweetie.

Well, that’s it for me! If you think of it, shoot up a prayer for safe travels and that my kids still love me when I get home. I’m praying the same for you. Well, the safe travels part (if you’re traveling this holiday season). I imagine your kids love you just fine and their devotion is not in jeopardy… I hope.

Hugs!

Nicole

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