Saturday, December 14, 2013

Countdown to Christmas | Interview & Giveaway w/ Jolene Navarro


Today is the last day of the Countdown to Christmas Party and we have two authors to help us close this party out.! I'm excited to share about Lone Star Holiday by Jolene Navarro. Plus, Jolene is chatting about some of her most wonderful Christmas memories! Come back this afternoon for the final author interview and giveaway. (If you've missed other stops along the way, you can check them out here.)


ib4b: Hi Jolene! Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by for a Christmas interview! What is your most memorable Christmas and why?

Jolene Navarro: I asked my kids which Christmas stood out most in their memory. I was surprised by their answer. The time we were broken down in the middle of nowhere. Christmas morning was spent with my husband’s family and as we started packing the four kids (ages nine, twelve, fourteen and sixteen) in the SUV we noticed a flat tire. Thankfully it happened there and not on the road, right? So now we are running behind schedule, but with the tire replaced we hit the farm to market road singing Christmas songs. I called my youngest sister to let her know we were running late and asked if she would pick up one last gift I needed to get for one of my nephews. Well, about 15 miles into a 90 mile trip we had a blow out and no spare tire. There was not a building in site…just fields of hay rounds. Luckily my brother-in-laws are always willing to drop everything and help out. While we waited for them a couple of people stopped to offer help. Each giving the kids something to eat. One woman gave them books to pass the time. I took out the camera and the kids started making Hay Angels (No snow in the Texas Hill Country). We watched the sun set as we waited for my husband to return with a new tire and thanked God for all his wondrous gifts that can’t be bought in stores or online.
 
ib4b: I love that you asked your kids! Being stranded in the middle of nowhere would probably stand out to me as well! Name three words that you associate with Christmas.

JN: Joy, Tamales, Miracle

My Granner telling the Christmas story before we open gifts.
ib4b: Tamales is the most unusual answer I've seen so far. :) How will your family celebrate Christmas this year?

JN: My Husband, I and our four kids will head to the heart of the Hill Country to my aunt’s ranch to celebrate Christmas Eve where everyone yells Christmas Eve Gift in greeting! Growing up I’ve always spent Christmas Eve with my Mom’s family, her mother, sisters and brother with most of their kids. In forty-five years I have only missed one. This is a great evening loaded with so, so many memories. From plays we performed as kids while waiting for the sun to go down, to my Grandmother reading about the night of Jesus’ birth to the third generation. Then we all open gifts and play crazy games. Somewhere around midnight, we will head over the hills to the ranch my little sister lives on. Santa will be up late laying out the Christmas morning gifts and stuffing hand painted stockings for the ten grandkids. Christmas morning we will have a big breakfast with my two sisters and their families. Around noon, we head to my husband’s family in Leakey.  Even though he has 10 siblings, they are a quiet family, peaceful with a great deal of food and prayer and a few games- Loteria (Mexican Bingo).

ib4b: What is the best gift you’ve ever given? 

JN: This is a hard one. When I asked my kids about it, they said, LIFE!  I told them that didn’t count because they are all summer babies. I love giving gifts. One year I created a nativity scene from fabric for my sister. I hung it over the fireplace in clear view. Then when she opened her box it was a riddle taking her to the refrigerator, where another riddle sent her to another place. About five riddles later she stood in front of the art work. She was so excited, and the scavenger hunt was fun for everyone.

ib4b: Oh, that's a great gift! Who gave you the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received? What was it? 

JN: When I was ten, I got a horse. That one is hard to beat. Three years ago my husband surprised me with a week writing conference with Jodi Thomas and Alexandra Sokoloff which changed my writing.

Part of the fifteen piece nativity scene, hand crafted by my mother.
ib4b: Tell me about the Christmas tradition that means the most to you.

JN: Decorating for Christmas. Right after we lost my father (seventeen years ago) my mother started giving out our family treasures. One of my favorites had always been a ceramic nativity scene she had fired and glazed herself. We lost her suddenly seven years ago and it has become even more precious to my family. Along with all the angels for my tree she gave me each year. My kids and husband have carried on the tradition and my Christmas tree is full of memories.





ib4b: That's a beautiful nativity! Your mother was very talented. How do you keep your focus on Christ during this hectic but wondrous time of year?

JN: I take time to read the word and make sure I stay in prayer. I collect nativity scenes and remember the reason for the season is what makes this time of year so special.
This or That ...
  • White or colorful lights? White
  • Turkey or ham? Juicy Turkey Breast 
  • Tree - real or fake? Real is romantic but fake is so much easier.
  • Hot cocoa or apple cider? Hot cocoa with tiny marshmallows
  • Frosty or Rudolph? They both scare me.
  • Wrapping paper or gift bag? Brown craft paper then paint and draw on it.

About Lone Star Holiday
The Prodigal Returns  
Twelve years ago, Lorrie Ann Ortega left the tiny town of Clear Water with stars in her eyes. Now she's back home—trying to live right and put her mistakes in the past. Even so, she'll never be the kind of woman who would make a good wife for the handsome widowed pastor, John Levi. But when she agrees to be nanny to his two sweet daughters, she's thrown constantly in his path. And she can't keep herself from dreaming that a man like John could one day love her. Can a prodigal daughter turn into a pastor's wife?

About Jolene Navarro
Jolene, a seventh generation Texan, knows that, as much as the world changes, people stay the same. Good and evil. Vow-keepers and heart breakers. Jolene married a vow-keeper who showed her that sweet kisses and dancing in the rain never gets old. 


Her life, much like her stories, are filled with faith, football, laughter, dirty dishes and all of life's wonderful messiness.  Jolene teaches art at an inner city high school. When she's not chauffeuring and refereeing her four kids, she loves creating her own world of family and love. Her depute book, Lone Star Holiday is currently available and her second book will be out in August.
Connect with Jolene Navarro Online
Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest

Giveaway
Jolene is giving away a copy of Lone Star Holiday and a handmade, ceramic ornament! Giveaway is open to US residents only and ends December 19. 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. ***

24 comments:

  1. LOL! Funny question! I don't know. I have four kids and the oldest two know the truth about Santa. But they still get "Santa" presents. Hadn't thought about when that would stop!
    Brittany McEuen

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  2. My oldest says never. I think I was about 19 but I was engaged by then and my parents aren't around to ask. I'm telling her time is running out. :)

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  3. I must be doing something wrong, I can't find the question. But Brittany, my mother still marks some of her presents to me "From Santa" and I'm... old enough that I just started my second career.

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    1. Gail, it is under the Leave a comment entry - but you figured it out - I'm thinking my 20 and 22 year old have out grown Santa's list, but they say no. In our house we give out gifts Christmas eve then after everyone goes to bed Santa leaves more gifts in front of the fireplace - they are not wrapped. Now that you mention that - my Grandfather always had gifts under his tree from Santa...he was from the north.

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  4. Hey Jolene. I enjoyed reading about your Holiday traditions. Your story about getting a flat tire en route to Christmas festivities with your relatives is heartwarming. It just goes to show that one we're surrounded with love, that takes precedence over everything else. And there's no need to be afraid of Frosty or Rudolph....they're the good guys.

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    1. It's the claymation....shudder...not sure why but I hated watching them but it was a family tradition.

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  5. My kids are now in their early forties!! Just finally told them a few years ago that I think they have outgrown Santa! Such a sad day for them!!!

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    1. haha Ruby - so I have about 20 more years!

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  6. Hi, Jolene. So nice to learn more about you, and what memorable Christmas memories. Tamales have grown on me--when I was a Georgia turned Laredoan they weren't something I embraced, but times, and family, change us. Loved the shared memories. Wishing you much success in your writing, and another blessed Christmas with your loved ones.

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    1. Thanks Leslie. I tend to stick with the bean tamales - growing up in Texas I thought everyone ate tamales for Christmas eve - When I met my husband it was thrilling to discover his mother and sister actually made them by hand - pure bliss!

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  7. I don't have children, but my Mom said me and my brother were not too upset finding out about Santa as long as we kept receiving Christmas gifts.

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    1. It has been many years since mine "found out" about the truth of Santa - they just don't want the gifts to stop - haha - so I guess that is all that matters.

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  8. Not sure what age. Mine are grown, but I still have a couple of gifts from "Santa".

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    1. SO who is your Santa - or is it a secret? Hope you have a good one!

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  9. Our kids always knew that we were Santa but we put 'Santa" on their presents. It worked for me as a kid and I used it with our kids. They are adults now and seem fine about the whole thing. They did tell one of their friends when they were in grade1 that there wasn't a real Santa and the kids got all upset! sharon,CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. We have never really kept it a secret about Santa - didn't want to confuse them about the reason we celebrated - LOL - I guess we can still give the gifts under Santa's name until the grand-kids start arriving.

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  10. I was 13. I knew there was no real Santa except mom and dad, but wasn't about to voice it, for then wouldn't have the extra gift under the tree. My older sister
    had a job and bought my little brother a bicycle, but took me aside on Christmas Eve day to tell me she was doing this so I wouldn't think it was for me. I was hurt never having had a gift like this, so just told them I would help put the stuff under the tree because I knew there wasn't a Santa. And, I was never able to ride a bike. oh, i could ride but never could go straight. lol As for my kids, I put gifts under they were in their teens, because of the little one who was expecting the surprise under our tree on Christmas. Now days kids know way too soon because some kids just have to make fun and tell. When I was growing up we had very little, but no ads on TV to see everyday. But didn't have the money anyway. I would love to win this give-away.
    Thanks for a chance. MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com (use this email if needed.)



















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    1. Maude - little brothers! Hope you have merry Christmas and good luck!

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  11. Hi, Jolene. I enjoyed reading about your Christmas memories. We retired Santa gifts under the Christmas tree (finally) last year when our children were 32 and 24. Our daughter is getting married in March 2014 so I'm sure in a few years we will see the return of Santa leaving gifts under out tree again.

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    1. That sounds like where we are going - I figure by the time grandkids arrive Santa will be dropping gifts down our chimney again. Thanks and have a bless holiday.

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  12. It was when they quit believing. Never judged them that way but they were always worried! :)

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  13. My oldest (22) says she still believes therefore he will continue to leave gift for her on Christmas morning. Haha - Not sure I'm buying it. :) Have a very Merry Christmas.

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  14. Love Christmas and love the giveaways! God bless you!!

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  15. I was taken off of Santa's list when I was 9 years old...I still remember the name of the boy in my class who ruined it for me lol. My older daughter is 11, and she hasn't said anything one way or the other, though I think she may not still believe. ;) My younger daughter is 2.

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