Month: November 2015

Thanksgiving Preparations: Thoughts on Comfort Food by Francine Rivers

Happy Monday, readers! During this season of thankfulness, we thought it might be fun to share some fun comfort food recipes from novelist Francine Rivers as well as some of my favorites. Share your favorite holiday treats in the comments below!


Certain foods bring back wonderful family memories of dinners.  Grandma Wulff always fixed “More” when I visited her at the farm.  The recipe calls for sautéed onions,  browned ground beef, cooked elbow pasta, corn, peas, chopped tomatoes and tomato sauce and spices all mixed together and then topped with cheese (or ketchup).  My brother and I called it “More” because we always wanted more.

Holiday food

Grandma also fixed “pull-apart” bread.  She made dough from scratch, let it rise, punch it down, let it rise again, took bits and roll them into balls, covered them with butter, cinnamon, chopped nuts and raisins and put them in a pan and let them rise again before baking.   We’d sit around the table talking as we pulled off hunks of gooey sweet bread.

My dad favored Grandma’s angel food cakes.  Mom loved her candied almonds.

Whenever I packed our three children into the car and headed north to Oregon for a visit with my parents, Mom had two things waiting for us upon arrival:  a jar full of tollhouse cookies and a big pot of thick stew.  I called it Mom’s Stone Soup because it had everything in it:  bits of meat rolled in seasoned flour and fried, diced potatoes, carrots, onions, tomatoes, turnips, parsnips, squash, celery — anything and everything she had grown in her garden or purchased at the Brookings-Harbor Ray’s Market.

Every Tuesday afternoon, you’ll find me in the kitchen baking chocolate chip cookies (with Heath Bar bits added) for our weekly Bible study.  It’s become a tradition – like Grandma’s “More” and Mom’s “Stone Soup”.


It’s always so fun to share some favorite holiday treats around this time.

Some holiday favorites from Shaina, #Crazy4Fiction team:

Harvest Chicken Skillet (great for day after Thanksgiving leftovers)

Great Blueberry and Lemon Granola

Chai Latte Cupcakes

What family recipes do you incorporate into your Thanksgiving meal? What family members/memories do these recipes elicit?

Making Amends: Things to Ponder from Francine Rivers

As we begin final preparations for Thanksgiving next week, we must also prepare to see loved ones from near and far. Often times, this task comes with baggage; whether as a result of past hurts, miscommunication, or, contrasting personalities, stresses can run high around the holidays as we each try to remember our blessings amidst the chaos of family drama. Below, novelist Francine Rivers shares some interesting insights on the complicated relationship between her mother and grandmother and how this relationship inspired one of her most acclaimed novels, sharing insight on what this fractured relationship has taught her about her own familial relationships.


Her Mother’s Hope started with something Mom said shortly after Grandma died.  After Grandma had a stroke, Mom and Dad drove south, speeding to be at her side. She died before they arrived, and Mom said, “I think she willed herself to die so we couldn’t talk things out.”

Mom and Grandma had been estranged because my parents wanted to retire in Oregon, and this meant selling their home and the cottage they had built where Grandma lived next door.  Grandma wanted things to stay the same.  Mom and Dad wanted a better quality and more affordable retirement.  They moved Grandma in with my aunt in Merced and headed north, “setting up camp” in a 16-foot trailer on their forty acre parcel of forest, which was choked with “slash” from previous lumbering.  They dug a well, cleared a building site and started work on their new home, building it from the ground up with their own hands.

It took eighteen months of hard work. The beautiful new home was designed with possible future disabilities in mind — wider halls and doorways and lower counter in case either of them -or Grandma – needed wheelchair access.   They invited Grandma to move in with them.  She said there was nothing in Oregon she wanted to see.  My mother took that to mean Grandma didn’t want to see her.

Words can wound the heart deeply.  Writing the story of Marta and Hildemara helped me look at other possibilities of why Grandma seemed so unforgiving, what deep hurts and fears and misunderstandings might have kept her away.  Family members don’t always share their life stories and the painful events that shaped their thinking.  And sometimes the next generation makes the same tragic mistakes.

Things to ponder: 

Do I need to make amends to anyone in my family?  Is there something in my past that I should share so my children can avoid the same mistakes?  Can I move past the hurt and fear, and extend grace without expectations?

Romans 5:8
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

Francine Rivers: A Letter to Veterans

New York Times best-selling author Francine Rivers has published numerous novels–all best sellers–and she has continued to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Today we welcome her to blog to talk about a holiday that is often overlooked.


One day a year is dedicated to Veterans.  Over the years, Rick has seldom had that day off, though he served as a Marine in Vietnam.  The companies he worked for didn’t recognize Veteran’s Day as a holiday.  When he was in his own business, he worked because most of his customers didn’t recognize Veterans Day as a holiday.  Now, that he’s retired, he takes the day off.  Shannon, our daughter, and Brendan, our grandson, took him over to Sonoma to see the Traveling Vietnam Wall listing all the men who died during the Vietnam War.  Rick has many friends on that wall.

Vietnam was a thankless war with men who risked their lives coming home to disrespect and heartbreak, during a time of national upheaval.  Rick, a Marine, was on R&R in Hong Kong when he stood on the street watching a television inside a store showing the assassination of Robert Kennedy.  He came home to a citizenry that hated the war and cast blame on the soldiers sent to fight it.  He went to college during a time when students burned the American flag and called Vietnam vets war mongers and murderers.

My brother served in the Army in Vietnam and became a captive of the North Vietnamese during the Tet Offensive.  Thankfully, he made it home alive.

My father served in World War II as a Captain and medic, third wave into Normandy.

My son-in-law served in the United State Air Force.  It was disheartening that in a nation who is so prosperous, he made so little, they qualified for the W.I.C. program.


We have close friends who had distinguished military careers and then worked in the private sector, others who are still serving in Afghanistan and Europe.

These men and women are heroes.  They serve our country at great personal and financial hardship.  Without them, we would not be a free nation.

To Veterans:

Thank you today, tomorrow and always for the sacrifices each of you have made for our country.

Every citizen, whether they acknowledge it or not, are indebted to your service.   May the Lord bless you.  May He shine His face upon you.  May he watch over and protect you.  May you know the peace of God which surpasses all understanding now and always.  And finally, may you experience the joy of your salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord  who will never leave you or forsake you.



#Crazy4Fiction is Celebrating #NaNoWriMo with ‪#‎writingtipWednesday‬!

Hey there, readers! Have you ever heard of National Novel Writing Month (commonly called NaNoWriMo)? Writers, both new, published, and in-between all try to write an entire novel is just ONE MONTH every November.

To support their efforts, there will be new writing tips from #Crazy4Fiction authors on our Facebook page every Wednesday in November, using the hashtag #writingtipWednesday.

This week, New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers shared her thoughts.


Stop by our page and get inspired!

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