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text 2019-12-28 22:48
24 Festive Tasks: Door 13 - Advent: Task 1

I didn't have an Advent calendar of my own this year, so I'm going to share a picture of my city's traditional one, in the windows of the historic city hall:



(Task: Share a picture of your advent calendar.)


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text 2019-12-03 01:37
24 Festive Tasks 2019 - Update #12


Door 1- Dia De Los Muetos (Task 1): Compose a limerick or short poem in honor of a favorite book character.

Door 1- Dia De Los Muetos (Task 2)If you like Mexican food, treat yourself to a favorite dish – and / or make yourself a margarita – and share a photo

Door 1- Dia De Los Muetos (Task 3): Write an epitaph for the book you most disliked this year.

Door 1- Dia De Los Muertos (Task 4): Do you have any traditions or mementos of happy memories of a loved one that you feel like sharing?


Door 2- Japanese Culture Day (Task 1)Tell us about a cultural festival or event in the area where you live.

Door 2- Japanese Culture Day (Task 3)Try your hand at folding a paper crane. Instructions: https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-a-Paper-Crane-1/


Door 3 - Melbourne Cup Day (Task 1)Pick your Ponies (Il Paradiso placed 3rd) - one of the horses I picked. (+1 Bonus Point)

Door 3 - Melbourne Cup Day (Task 2): Roses are the official flower of Flemington Race Track; write your own “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue” poem for one of your favorite or most hated books of all time.

Door 3 - Melbourne Cup Day (Task 3)Aussies shorten everything, so Melbourne Cup Day is just called “Cup Day” – post a picture of your favorite cup or mug for your daily fix of coffee, tea or chocolate.

Door 3 - Melbourne Cup Day (Task 4)Prepare your favorite dessert – in a cup! Post a photo of it for us to enjoy vicariously.


Door 4 - Guy Fawkes Night (Task 1)Make a list of the top 3 treasonous crimes against books that an author can commit.

Door 4 - Guy Fawkes Night (Task 2)Start a revolution: What one thing would you change about the book reading world? (Be it publishing, distribution, editing, cover art, bookstores – anything having to do with books.)

Door 4 - Guy Fawkes Night (Task 4)How do you order the books on your shelves?


Door 5 - Bon Om Touk (Task 1)List / tell us about your favorite rainy day reads.


Door 6 - Veterans / Armistice Day (Task 1)Sunrise services are a staple of this day: Take a picture of the sunrise where you live and share it with us.


Door 8 - International Children’s Day (Book): Read a children’s or YA book or a book where children or teenagers play a significant role, or written by an author who was under the age of 18 at the time of publication.


Door 9 - World Philosophy Day (Task 1): Share your reading philosophy with us – do you DNF? If so, do you have a page minimum to read before you declare it a DNF?

Door 9 - World Philosophy Day (Task 2): Share your reviewing philosophy with us – how do you rate a book? Do you have a mental template for reviewing? Rules you try to follow, or rules you try to break?

Door 9 - World Philosophy Day (Task 3): How do you stay zen / sane over the holidays or in other stressful periods?

Door 9 - World Philosophy Day (Task 4): Did you love or hate the books you had to read for school? Looking back, which ones (good or bad) stand out to you the most?


Door 11 - Thanksgiving Day (Book): Read a book with an autumnal cover, set in New England, where a turkey shows up in the story, with a turkey or pumpkin on the cover, or with the theme of coming together to help a community or family in need.


Door 12 - St. Andrew's Day (Task 1): Tell us: Who is your favorite Scottish (or Scots-born / -descendant) writer?


Door 13 - Advent (Task 2): Tell us: What is your favorite holiday tradition?


Door 17 - Winter Solstice (Book): Read a book that takes place in December, with ice or snow on the cover, where all events take place in a single day or night, that revolves around the solstice, set in Persia / Iran, China or the American Southwest or prominently featuring Persian / Iranian, Chinese or Native American characters, or a collection of poetry.



Door 18 - Hanukkah (Book): Read a book about light, miracles, featuring Jewish characters, set in Israel, that is the second book in a series, with the word “two” in the title, or with a light on the cover.



Door 20 - Christmas (Book): Read a Christmas book.


Total Points: 27 Points

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text 2019-12-02 23:00
24 Festive Task - Door 13: Advent (Task 2)

Task 2: Tell us: What is your favorite holiday tradition?


My favorite holiday Tradition is putting up my Christmas Tree. We do this after my birthday. So a good time to put it up on the weekend after my birthday or maybe even before my birthday a like a day or the weekend before. I really depends one when my birthday falls so see when it will be done.


It really something we do yearly and it had become a tradition to put it up around my birthday or before or after my birthday. I started asking a little after Thanksgiving about it when will put it up this year.

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review 2019-11-11 10:00
Before Christmas Review and GIVEAWAY!

About the Book


Book: Before Christmas

Author: Bill Crowder

Genre: RELIGION / Holidays/Christmas & Advent

Release Date: October, 2019

Embrace the majesty of the Messiah
Bill Crowder invites you to explore the backstory of the first advent. He brings you on a journey into the very heart of God, to a greater understanding of what it means that “the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14).

 Walk through Scripture to see and know Jesus in a richer way. Examine His character as God, His relationship with the Father, His appearances in the Old Testament, and more. Understand how these pre-Bethlehem truths lead into the Savior’s birth and the events of that first Christmas—and, most importantly, how it all comes together in God’s great story of redemption and rescue.
You’ll embrace the majesty of the Messiah and celebrate Christ’s birth with renewed joy and wonder.
Click HERE to get your copy.

About the Author


Bill Crowder, who spent over twenty years in the pastorate, is vice president of ministry content at Our Daily Bread Ministries. He is a contributor to Our Daily Bread and the author of nine books, including My Hope Is in You, Seeing the Heart of Christ, and For This He Came. He and his wife, Marlene, have five children.




More from Bill


During my years as a pastor, I found Christmas and Easter to be challenging. Certainly I love those seasons (for very different reasons), but finding creative ways to retell these important stories was often difficult. But, at one such season I realized that the story we tell at Christmas is not really the whole story. By entering the story at Nazareth or Bethlehem, we enter too late. We can’t simply start with the Baby in the manger—we need to go back. Before time began. To the eternal Christ. Unless we seek to understand Him, we’ll never fully appreciate who He was and why He came. That is the Christmas story.  – Bill Crowder

My Review


What I find most interesting about Bill Crowder’s “Before Christmas” is the interspersing of insights regarding God and the Christmas story. Rather than concentrating solely on the story of Jesus’ birth, Crowder expands the focus to encompass the backstory as well, mirroring how Jesus’ life on earth is recounted in the Gospels but is nevertheless the mainstay of the entire Bible, both the Old and New Testament. As Crowder explains in his introduction, “That is why the Christmas backstory is so important. It adds eternal value to the coming of Jesus by unveiling His truest identity.” Speaking for myself, I have to admit that too often the account of Jesus’ birth becomes rote. That is what I consider to be the value of this short but thought-provoking book.

Using the nested story technique characterized in the Bible, Crowder demonstrates how the Christmas story is one of many concentric rings of God’s story from before creation. The more I learn how interconnected every Biblical event is, the more awestruck I become at our Creator. Fresh appreciation and understanding dawns. For instance, although God knew even before creating the first man and woman that they would rebel and cause the Fall, He still chose to give us free will because only then could we be made in His image. And his foreknowledge also means that He knew that Jesus, God in the flesh, would have to die on the cross to make us right with Him again. He loves us that much! And, Crowder asserts, “that redemptive mission would also be the perfect expression of the mutual love between the Father and the Son.” Furthermore, Jesus’ deity is established immediately by the angel Gabriel when he tells Mary that Jesus will be “the Son of the Most High” because in the Jewish tradition, a son took on the qualities of his father. Even though as Christians we know that Jesus was, is, and always will be God, learning how each and every part of the Bible reinforces itself as God’s Word is incredibly affirming and fascinating.

While this is a small, short book, “Before Christmas” should be savored. Each chapter contains concise information taken from Scripture, with a deeper look into the cultural and personal implications thereof. While this is obviously a read well-suited for the Advent season, it can just as easily be explored at any time. Crowder writes in an easily understood manner, using lists to highlight his points and to make this a quick and straightforward reference for anyone looking to dig deeper into Jesus’ story.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

Blog Stops





To celebrate his tour, Bill is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of the book, Starbucks Holiday Blend Coffee, and $10 Amazon card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


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text 2019-01-01 04:42
24 Festive Tasks: Advent - Task #1

Task 1: Post a picture of your advent calendar - store bought or homemade.


My family didn't follow this tradition when I was growing up, and I didn't consider doing an advent calendar until recently. I found this inexpensive Victorian style one on Amazon and got it for this holiday season. The doors have tiny little Christmas pictures behind them that are reminiscent of Victorian times. If I get really ambitious next year, I might try making a Victorian themed one myself.





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