Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Countdown to Christmas | Interview & Giveaway w/ Myra Johnson

Thanks for hanging in with me over the past few weeks with all of this Countdown to Christmas craziness! (I know you just HATE giveaways, right?!) Some of the giveaways from last week ended yesterday and will be ending over the next few days. If you haven't already entered, you can see them all here.

Today, Myra Johnson is joining us to dish on Christmas! You may have heard of her most recent book, When the Clouds Roll By, which released this fall. But today, I'm featuring a Christmas book that released a couple of years ago called One Imperfect Christmas.

ib4b: Myra, welcome to i blog 4 books! Thank you so much for dropping by today! What is your most memorable Christmas and why?

Myra Johnson: The one that comes to mind is actually my least favorite. It was “memorable” because it was the first Christmas that we didn’t have at least one of our two daughters home for the holidays. Daughter #1 was spending Christmas with her in-laws that year, and our younger daughter elected to stay on campus and celebrate the holiday with one of her closest college friends. I was terribly grumpy. It was not a fun time.

ib4b: Oh, that doesn't sound fun at all. :( Name three words that you associate with Christmas.

MJ: family, Jesus, peace

ib4b: How will your family celebrate Christmas this year?

MJ: We’re delighted our missionary daughter and family are returning from Ethiopia on furlough in time to spend Christmas with us. With her sister and family also expected, we will have a houseful—two daughters and their husbands plus six grandkids ranging in age from 18 down to 3!

ib4b: I'm so glad that your daughter and her family will be home with you for Christmas this year! I know you'll all have a blast! What is the best gift you’ve ever given?

MJ: I don’t know if it’s the best gift, but maybe it’s the gift that most changed ME. Many years ago, my husband was offered a job assignment that we knew up front would require frequent travel. I always hated it when he had to go out of town, and—especially with two school-age children—I wasn’t looking forward to even more time without him. But this career move was important to him and for his desire to provide well for his family. So that Christmas I gave him a nice rolling suitcase with spaces for packing the suits, sports coats, and dress shirts he had to travel with. This gift was my way of letting him know I supported him and would make the best of things while he had to be away.

ib4b: Oh that's a great gift—support! Especially support of a big change that will be difficult for you (the giver)! Who gave you the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received? What was it?

MJ: My husband gave me the sweetest gift one year. Even as an adult, I love stuffed animals. He gave me a pastel blue stuffed teddy bear that was so soft and squishy and cuddly! The poor thing must be over 20 years old by now, and a lot of the fur has worn off from snuggling with me, but the little bear still occupies a place of honor next to my pillow every night!

ib4b: Tell me about the Christmas tradition that means the most to you.

MJ: A silly but favorite tradition is watching White Christmas every year. We’ve seen the movie so many times that we can almost recite the dialogue and sing the songs right along with the actors. The movie became even more special when our first granddaughter began singing and dancing to her favorite songs from the movie year-round. If you’ve never seen your four-year-old granddaughter performing “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing” while in her own little world in the middle of Bass Pro Shop, you’re really missing out!

ib4b: Haha! That sounds adorable. How do you keep your focus on Christ during this hectic but wondrous time of year?

MJ: We make every effort to attend Advent and Christmas Eve worship services. My husband and I also sing in the church choir, and the beautiful music always serves to remind us of why we celebrate Christmas. The heirloom Nativity scene we set up in our living room each year is another special reminder.

This or That ...
  • White or colorful lights? Our pre-lit tree has white lights, but I always love the pretty colors of our neighbors’ outdoor lights.
  • Turkey or ham? Good question. Depends what our daughters decide on when they come this year. I personally would go with whatever is easiest, so ham would be my choice. Or a restaurant!
  • Tree - real or fake? Fake! Too many allergies in our family. When the girls were growing up, we used to go out to a tree farm where we’d select and cut our own tree. Those were special times, but keeping a real tree watered and the falling needles vacuumed up is really a hassle.
  • Hot cocoa or apple cider? Both! (But not at the same time.)
  • Frosty or Rudolph? Rudolph. There’s nothing “snuggly” about snow. Give me a warm and furry animal anytime!
  • Wrapping paper or gift bag? Depends on the gift. Uniformly sized boxes call for wrapping paper and stick-on bows. An oddly shaped gift fits nicely into a bag with tissue paper.

About One Imperfect Christmas
Only Love Makes a Christmas Perfect.

Graphic designer Natalie Pearce faces the most difficult Christmas of her life. For almost a year, her mother has lain in a nursing home, the victim of a massive stroke, and Natalie blames herself  for not being there when it happened. Worse, she’s allowed the monstrous load of guilt to drive a wedge between her and everyone she loves—most of all her husband Daniel. Her marriage is on the verge of dissolving, her prayer life is suffering, and she’s one Christmas away from hitting rock bottom.

Junior-high basketball coach Daniel Pearce is at his wit’s end. Nothing he’s done has been able to break through the wall Natalie has erected between them. And their daughter Lissa’s adolescent rebellion isn’t helping matters. As Daniel’s hope reaches its lowest ebb, he wonders if this Christmas will spell the end of his marriage and the loss of everything he holds dear.

About Myra Johnson
Myra Johnson is the author of several books, including One Imperfect Christmas and the award-winning Autumn Rains, which received the 2005 RWA Golden Heart for Best Inspirational Romance Manuscript and was a 2010 ACFW Carol Award finalist. Myra and her husband, Jack, live in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Connect with Myra Johnson Online
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest

Abingdon Press has graciously offered to give a Myra Johnson prize pack to one reader! One reader will win a copy of each of the following books: One Imperfect Christmas and When the Clouds Roll By. Giveaway is open to US residents only and ends December 17. Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

*** All participants must be 18 years or older. The winner will be contacted via email. Once contacted the winner has 72 hours to respond with the required information. If the winner does not respond within the timeframe specified, another winner will be chosen. I am not responsible for shipping mishaps. Void where prohibited. ***


  1. Before we open presents, my brother reads the Christmas Story from the Bible. Then we each tell something we're thankful for and pray together.
    Barbara Thompson

  2. We read the Christmas Story out of the Family Bible.

  3. Baking and decorating sugar cookies before Christmas, and playing games around the table after a big holiday meal...

  4. The main thing we have carried over every year is we read the Christmas story from the Bible. After all it is the reason for the season.

  5. Just wanted to stop in and thank you for hosting me on your blog today! I hope everyone has a lovely Christmas!

  6. I would love to win. angelachesnut246@gmail.com

  7. I love Myra's books, but I have not gotten When the Clouds Roll By. The cover is beautiful!

  8. We all gather in one place and have an all day event for eating or whatever.

  9. My parents and grandparents come over to our house to watch our children see what Santa has brought. After presents, we all enjoy a breakfast buffet.

  10. Our Christmas is full of traditions! It's changed a little as we've gotten older but some things remain the same. Family who don't live at home come over, my grandma comes up, and a couple who don't have kids come too. My dad always reads the Christmas story from his KJV bible before a single present is touched, and we have breakfast. Then comes present time! Us siblings (there's 9 of us) exchange gifts then give our parents theirs. Then we open our gifts from them. And finally we do stockings!

    1. Sounds like a lovely time, Abbi! Sweet traditions!

  11. My family and I we read Luke 2 sing and pray. Then we open presents around our Christmas tree

  12. I love reading how so many of you start Christmas Day with a reading of the Christmas story from the Bible. It's so important we don't forget the reason for the season.

  13. We go to our churchs christmas eve candlelight service and look at christmas lights on the way home
    marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com

  14. Our tradition is for our families to take turns hosting Christmas . They furnish a nice atmosphere and some food and everyone else brings a dish of food, and a dessert. Then we have dinner, exchange gifts, and just visit and enjoy being together. Sometimes it included playing games, but we have a very large family so usually just visit.Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two times of the year when I get to see more of my family. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

  15. We go downtown [Chicago] to look at the lights and visit Christkindlmarket

  16. We enjoy driving around town to look at all the pretty lights.

  17. We go and see all the beautiful Christmas lights.

  18. Hallo, Hallo!

    My favourite traditions at Christmastime is selecting Angels off of trees for children in need, as much as filling a shoebox of Christmas gifts to give to migrant workers! I love getting to shop for someone who isn't expecting a gift and hopefully bring them a bit of a smile and a warm nod of love at the time of the year which celebrates both joy and love! :) Going out to see the festive neighbourhoods lit with twinkle lights & Christmas displays is pure glee, because you never know what you will find whilst your driving street to street! Just being with family is my favourite Christmas tradition! :)


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