This author is giving away a copy of her new novel, Where Treasure Hides. To enter the contest for the drawing, answer this question: What treasured moments, family catchphrases, and legacies are important to you?
Johnnie Alexander is an author, freelance editor, and speaker. Her debut novel, Where Treasure Hides (Tyndale, eBook edition: 2013, print edition: summer 2015), won in the Historical Fiction category of the 2011 ACFW Genesis Contest. “Beneath the Christmas Star,” her first short story, appeared in the Guideposts anthology A Cup of Christmas Cheer—Tales of Joy and Wonder for the Holidays (2013).
She recently signed a contract with Revell for three contemporary romances. The first of these placed as a Bronze Medalist in the My Book Therapy Frasier Contest (2012). She also has won the Best Novel award at the 2010 Florida Christian Writers Conference and both the Best Novel and Writer of the Year awards at the 2009 FCWC.
Johnnie graduated from Rollins College (Orlando) with a Master of Liberal Studies degree. She treasures family memories, classic movies, road trips, and stacks of books. After raising her children in Florida, she has moved to the Memphis area where she enjoys farm life with a small herd of alpacas, her papillon Rugby, and her English shepherd Skye.
Life is a series of moments—most of them routine, most of them forgettable.
But we all experience moments that are anything but routine. Memorable moments. Life-changing moments.
Moments to treasure.
These kinds of moments often happen as part of everyday life. We celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, graduations and other personal achievements. Holidays, vacations, and special events.
These kinds of moments also happen when we least expect them. Treasured moments that do more than tug at our hearts. They burrow deep inside, make a home for themselves, and become cherished memories.
Let me share a couple of mine.
While visiting my grandsons, I asked four-year-old Josiah what he liked best about a bunch of different things.
My last question: What do you like best about . . . home?
His answer: You.
Oh, how much I love that boy.
Then there’s the time, the first time, my daughter Jill visited Disney World. After getting off the monorail, she and I walked hand-in-hand along Main Street. Only three-years-old, her eyes couldn’t seem to take in all the exciting sights.
Though we’d only been in the Magic Kingdom about five minutes, she slowly exclaimed, with awe in her voice:
“This is the most wonderful day.”
It’s now a catchphrase in our family.
I bet you have your own family catchphrases. Recite your favorite, and everyone in the family is transported back in time to its origin. The emotional “warm fuzzies” created at that first moment are revived, and another precious thread is woven into the family’s common tapestry.
That’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?
Living life in such a way that our remembered moments create joyful memories for those we love.
But you know, the routine, forgettable moments have value, too. Day by day, they create structure and an emotional equilibrium.
For example, I don’t remember very many specific moments of childhood days when I got off the school bus and entered our home.
But I remember that my mom was often reading when I walked in the door. And I remember that she immediately closed the book to talk to me about my day.
My mom loved to read. She still does. But she valued me even more, and she showed me that daily.
I’ve talked to Mom about that routine memory, and how much it meant to me.
She says, “The words will always be there.”
Another catchphrase and, even more important, an important parenting philosophy. (The pastimes, the hobbies we love will always be there. The children? They tend to grow up and move away.)
As a young mom, my childhood memories were important enough to me that I determined to ensure my children had a wealth of warm-fuzzy childhood memories of their own. I wasn’t as successful at that as I wished and yet . . .
My children prefer memories to presents.
For special occasions, they often give each other “a memory,” such as movie tickets or a dinner out together. Or they give memory-related gifts. For instance, on Christmas my son gave his sister framed photos of the two of them together at FSU football games.
The importance of treasured moments is the best legacy I could give them, and a legacy I know they’ll pass on to their children.
Legacies are important in my novels, too.
The heroine of my debut novel Where Treasure Hides is the descendent of a long-line of Dutch artists. Her legacy means so much to her that she risks her life to hide invaluable artwork from the Nazis. Unfortunately, a legacy can be a burden, too, because the Nazis are doing something more evil than stealing art. They’re also killing children.
The heroine of my latest novel Into a Spacious Place (releasing January 2016) wants only one thing: to raise her children in the Ohio farm home built by her ancestors in the mid-1800s. She’ll face the sometimes difficult truth that her grandparents’ spiritual legacy is of more value than their material one.
What treasured moments, family catchphrases, and legacies are important to you?
Please answer in the comments, and you’ll be entered in a drawing for one free e-book copy of Where Treasure Hides.
Artist Alison Schuyler spends her time working in her family’s renowned art gallery, determined to avoid the curse that has followed the Schuyler clan from the Netherlands to America and back again. She’s certain that true love will only lead to tragedy—that is, until a chance meeting at Waterloo station brings Ian Devlin into her life. Drawn to the bold and compassionate British Army captain, Alison begins to question her fear of love as World War II breaks out, separating the two and drawing each into their own battles. While Ian fights for freedom on the battlefield, Alison works with the Dutch Underground to find a safe haven for Jewish children and priceless pieces of art alike. But safety is a luxury war does not allow. As time, war, and human will struggle to keep them apart, will Alison and Ian have the faith to fight for their love, or is it their fate to be separated forever?