Last weekend [12/2013], I had the joy of spending time with so many incredible people! We dodged snowstorms to come together from all corners of the country, and God’s Spirit made us instant friends as only He can do.

Today I bought milk that expires after Christmas, so I guess it’s time to get started on my Christmas shopping.

May I introduce you to my wonderful friends, and suggest a few items for the folks on your “nice” list?

Tricia Goyer & Lisa Troyer

Tricia Goyer writes Amish fiction, and Lisa Troyer lives in Amish country – a match made in heaven! These women have been such a blessing to my faith and ministry.

(l-r) Tricia Goyer, Lisa Troyer, Amy Lively

(l-r) Tricia Goyer, Lisa Troyer, Amy Lively

Tricia was in Ohio for a book signing for her newest release, A Christmas Gift for Rose. Tricia is the author of over 40 books ranging from historical fiction to family leadership. Shop her library, there’s something for everyone! My dad is enjoying her World War II fiction, especially since learning that all of her stories are woven with real people she has met. Tricia joined me and my neighbors at my Neighborhood Cafe and graced us all with stories and gifts. I write for her blog, Not Quite Amish Living.

Lisa is the musical talent on the Macchiato Moments music CD in the Cafe Kit – worship music set to a cool coffee shop vibe. She is also the author of our current free bonus book, A Place to Belong.We used Lisa’s book at a Neighborhood Cafe last summer, and every single woman was affected by our need for relationships steeped in acceptance, authenticity, affirmation, accountability and action. Through Lisa I am learning about generosity, persistence and faithfulness. Our friendship is a gift from God!

Observing the cheesemaking process.

Observing the cheesemaking process.

Say “Cheese!” My mom (and favorite traveling companion) made the trip with us.

 We were happily stranded at Berlin Hotel & Suites during a snow storm.

We were happily stranded at Berlin Hotel & Suites during a snow storm.

 

A common sight in Holmes County, Ohio.

Lisa's Macchiato Moment's music CD, Neighborhood Cafe edition.

Lisa’s Macchiato Moment’s music CD, Neighborhood Cafe edition.

 

Mom Squad Christmas Luncheon

(l-r) Brooke Taylor, Amy Lively, Courtney Joseph, Aaron Shust

(l-r) Brooke Taylor, Amy Lively, Courtney Joseph, Aaron Shust

Brooke Taylor cohosts the Family Friendly Morning Show on 95.5 The Fish in Cleveland. I met Brooke at a conference last year, and for some reason she remembered me! Mom of five, Brooke is definitely equipped to lead the Mom Squad. She blogs at The Sacred Sink, meeting the divine in the dirt and grime. Her holiday survival bag had everything from an apron to a plunger, with a prayer to accompany each (yes, even the plunger!).

Courtney Joseph is an energetic mom, engaged wife and enthusiastic lover of Jesus! She blogs at Good Morning Girls and Women Living Well, and her book of the same name was just released. Please put a few copies of Women Living Well: Find Your Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids and Your Home under the tree this Christmas! Courtney holds “vintage values in a modern world, starting with the keys to protecting our walk with God.” She ever so kindly invited me to share the Neighborhood Cafe on her blog this Friday (December 13), so be on the lookout!

Gifted musician Aaron Shust was accompanied by his beautiful wife and one of their adorable sons. I downloaded a few of his songs before the event… but now I’m buying everything I can get (and he signed my t-shirt!). Aaron’s songs are “worshipful, life-affirming and absolutely celebratory.” Anyone who finds a Morning Rises CD in their stocking will have a very merry Christmas!

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Don’t I have good genes?! My mom has also given me a beautiful spiritual legacy.

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Another Cafe Kit winner who is going to make a difference in her neighborhood. What a thrill it was to meet these Hostesses in person!

The Mom Squad Luncheon was a beautiful, delicious treat!

I was honored to share my heart with these lovely women.

I was honored to share my heart with these lovely women.

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