Please welcome my friend, author and special encourager, DiAnn Mills.
I met DiAnn in '97 at Write-To-Publish. She was pre-pubbed but about to sell her first Heartsong Presents. We hit it off and spent every evening (or was it morning) walking the track at Wheaton for exercise and conversation.
DiAnn has been a huge encouragement to me. I joined American Christian Ficiton Writers because of her and the rest as they say, is history.
Tell us about your first Christmas memory?
I know this sounds crazy, but I remember seeing Santa ride across the sky. Ok, let me back up. I was three-years-old. My parents kept a glass of orange juice in the refrigerator for those times when I was thirsty in the middle of the night. I don't do milk. Anyway, it was Christmas Eve, and I stood in front of a window drinking my orange juice. Then all of a sudden, I saw Santa in his sleigh and all of his reindeers ride across the sky!
(rh: This is the imagination of a GREAT writer. :)
Growing up, did your family have Christmas traditions? Tell us how you incorporated them into your family life. Or, how you created new ones.
We didn't tear into our gifts on Christmas morning. Each member of the family was respected and honored with their gift. I carried over the same tradition. We don't open a gift until the Christmas story is read.
For the past five years, I prepare a Holiday Brunch for about 22 friends. I love cooking, and this gives me an opportunity to serve others.
(rh: Sounds wonderful!)
When do you put up your tree? At my house, it goes up right after Thanksgiving. My husband works assembly and outside lights. I do the rest. Describe the decorating at your house.
We put up our tree the day after Thanksgiving. My husband does the tree, and I stay out of his way until it's done. He also does the outside. I do the rest!
What is your favorite Christmas song or album? I grew up with a Johnny Mathis Christmas CD and it's still one of my favorites. My other is a copy of Mel Torme singing his "Christmas Song."
I love Christmas music! I think "I'll be Home for Christmas" is one of my favorites. That takes me back to rural Ohio with snow and great memories. I also like "White Christmas." Actually, the season doesn't begin until I hear "Breath of Heaven."
Christmas morning, my parents didn't want us in the living room until the tree was plugged in. So, we'd wake up early, five a.m. or so, and bang on the floor to stir my parents awake. Relive your childhood Christmas mornings for us.
We could peek and see what Santa left, but we couldn't open gifts until my parents were up.
It's Christmas Eve, describe your day and evening.
Total anticipation of the event – as though Jesus is being born again. And He is in our hearts. I have music going constantly as my husband and I fill stockings and prepare food for the next day when the house will be filled with our adult children and friends. I look forward to Candlelight service at church and the singing of all the traditional hymns.
Confession time. Shop on line or at the mall?
Both! I like the touch and feel of the real thing! I like the music and the sound of the Salvation Army bell. But in Houston, there is no snow. But if I get frustrated, I’ll shop Online.
Christmas grows more and more commercial every year. Setting the hustle and bustle aside, what does Christmas really mean to you?
Giving of myself. Wondering about the first Christmas and the awe of all those who shared in the birth of Jesus. I like to reach out to those less fortunate. Talk to old friends and family. Making sure that the gifts I give are useful and given for a reason.
It's Christmas day, what's for dinner? Do you make cookies or other traditional foods?
Oh, I cook and bake all December. Dinner will be ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potato bar, vegetable casseroles, colorful salads. Did I say I love to cook? I ask each guest for their favorite dessert, then I make sure it's baked for them. And did I mention wassail? I make several cups of this hot, spicy drink - and not the mix kind either.
Tell us about your favorite Christmas memory.
That would be the Christmas that Santa brought me a pogo stick. I was excited! But I lived in Ohio, and we had snow. So I decided to jump on the front porch. I was jumping away and fell through the picture window beside the Christmas tree. My coat and gloves protected me, and thank goodness I missed the tree!
What are you plans for this season?
Awareness for the critical situation in Sudan and Africa. Giving to charities who assist the less fortunate. A big dinner for family and friends on Christmas.
Any final thoughts on Christmas?
Give where there is a need. We live in the richest country in the world, and I believe we all have a responsibility to take care of those who have far less.
The official word on DiAnn Mills
Award-winning author, DiAnn Mills, launched her career in 1998 with the publication of her first book. Currently she has over forty books in print and has sold more than a million copies.
DiAnn believes her readers should "Expect an Adventure." Her desire is to show characters solving real problems of today from a Christian perspective through a compelling story.
Six of her anthologies have appeared on the CBA Best Seller List. Three of her books have won the distinction of Best Historical of the Year by Heartsong Presents. Five of her books have won placements through American Christian Fiction Writer's Book of the Year Awards 2003 - 2007. She is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader's Choice award for 2005 and 2007.
DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Romance Writers of America's Faith, Hope and Love, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also a mentor for Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writer's Guild.
She lives in sunny Houston, Texas, the home of heat, humidity, and Harleys. In fact she'd own a Harley, but her legs are too short. DiAnn and her husband have four adult sons and are active members of Metropolitan Baptist Church.
Visit her website: www.diannmills.com