Christmas Greetings by Pat Simmons
For every bad holiday memory, there are good ones waiting to be created. And maybe, just maybe, all it takes is a greeting card to mend broken hearts.
Saige Carter loves everything about Christmas: the shopping, the food, the lights, and of course, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without family and friends to share in the traditions they’ve created together.
Daniel Washington is no Scrooge, but he’d rather skip the holidays altogether than spend them with his estranged family. After one too many arguments around the dinner table one year, Daniel had enough and walked away from the drama. As one year has turned into many, no one seems willing to take the first step toward reconciliation.
Saige is extra excited about her line of Christmas greeting cards hitting store shelves right before the holiday. As Daniel reads one of her cards, he’s unsure if words are enough to erase the pain and bring about forgiveness. Daniel and Saige’s story will stay with you long after the tree is taken down and the Christmas lights are turned off.
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matthew 11:28-29
Sneak Peek from Christmas Greetings by Pat Simmons
“Okay, ladies, remember, we’re all are going undercover,” Saige Carter reminded her accomplices with glee at the thought of being scandalous. From her home computer, she stared at her five friends that were in the video chat room with her, one of them her childhood and closest—Maxi Winters.
They all had pledged their allegiance to her cause—staking out their area retails stores to spy on customers. “Remember, be subtle. Whatever you do don’t bring attention to yourself or our mission.” They were to target three cities, more if she had more commitment, but still Saige would take any volunteers she could get. At thirty years old, she was about to see her dream come true.
The covert operation would take place at three retail stores within the St. Louis area; the other two in their respective cities of Indianapolis and Kansas City. Saige noted the time, “We better get to our locations. Let’s get our party started!” She grinned and raised her arms in the air like a cheerleader.
“Let’s not get arrested,” Maxi countered.
This was the day she hoped to make her mark on the art world like Brenda Joysmith had with her figurines, Annie Lee with her paintings, and Harriet Rosebud with her stylish hats on miniature mannequin heads. True, Hallmark’s Mahogany greeting card line was one of the first choices for African-American cards, but she wanted her cards to have such a personal touch that people could pick them out in a line up, or in a bin with hundreds of others.
But this was more than about her. It had been the Lord Jesus who nudged her in this direction. Bowing her head, she whispered a quick prayer, “Thank you for this is a talent You’ve given me, but in the end let my work be a blessing to someone in need, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Shutting down her computer, Saige stood and surveyed her attire in her bedroom mirror. She had to dress the part just right. She wanted to look like any other consumer walking in off the street, so as not to draw attention to her subtle methods of persuasion. The black turtleneck always complemented her high cheek bones on her brown sugar skin tone whenever she brushed up her hair into a ball on top of her head. Saige smoothed down her long denim skirt, then slipped her stocking feet into leather boots that added a couple of inches to her five-feet-seven inch height.
With her car keys in hand, she put on her black jacket and wrapped a colorful scarf around her neck. “Ready.” She took a deep breath and left her second floor, two bedroom apartment that was twenty minutes from her parents’ spacious home in Hazelwood, Missouri, a suburb in St. Louis County.
Crossing Whispering Cove’s parking lot, she climbed into her Elantra. Although she loved living on her own, Saige hoped to be married one day and fill her home with children—three to be exact. Maybe it was wishful thinking as an only child. But the man-picking was in God’s hands. Until then, she had a mission.
She had memorized her schedule as she headed to her first destination: Walgreens, Target, then CVS. According to Sunshine Greetings, her company, those stores should have received their batches of new Christmas greeting cards that morning, which should include hers.
In less than thirty minutes, Saige had arrived at her first location. “Yes.” She smirked as she circled the crowded parking lot at Walgreens in North County. Hopefully, the greeting cards aisle would be swamped. Getting out of her car, she strolled through the automatic doors. She took a couple of glances down various aisles before making a beeline to her destination.
Walgreens should have twelve of her cards in various categories whether it was sympathy, anniversary or Merry Christmas—Saige had done them all. However, the Lord had led her.
If she did well, she would have a freelance commitment at Sunshine Greetings, a small, but top twenty greeting card line with Hallmark Cards and American Greetings dominating the market.
Despite the store teaming with customers, no one was milling around in the greeting card aisle. Her shoulders slumped and her steps slowed. Now, what? She couldn’t possibly go and drag people from the pharmacy or cosmetic section to the greeting card aisle.
Okay, regroup, Saige Adele Carter, she coaxed herself. Quickly shaking off the disappointment, Saige regrouped and began to browse through the cards for hers. Her eyes misted as she reached out and fingered the 3-D image on her card that served a dual purpose as a Christmas/birthday celebration. The artwork of a snow scene inside a snow globe seemed so real. Opening it, Saige stared at the words she had penned.
The world rejoiced when Jesus was born. God gave us a King on your birthday, so walk in royalty as the prince or princess you are. She turned the card over and stared at her name Saige Carter. She patted her chest in awe and mumbled a soft, “Thank You, Jesus” when she really wanted to commandeer the store’s PA system like in a Kmart commercial and direct everyone to her aisle as if there was a red tag sale on greeting cards.
( Continued... )
© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Pat Simmons. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.
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Meet the Author
Pat Simmons is the multi-published author of several single titles and eBook novellas, and is a two-time recipient of Emma Rodgers Award for Best Inspirational Romance. She has been a featured speaker and workshop presenter at various venues across the country.
As a self-proclaimed genealogy sleuth, Pat is passionate about researching her ancestors, then casting them in starring roles in her novels. She describes the evidence of the gift of the Holy Ghost as an amazing, unforgettable, life-altering experience. God is the Author who advances the stories she writes.
Currently, overseeing the media publicity for the annual RT Booklovers Conventions, Pat has a B.S. in mass communications from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts.
Pat has converted her sofa-strapped, sports fanatic husband into an amateur travel agent, untrained bodyguard, GPS-guided chauffeur, and her administrative assistant who is constantly on probation. They have a son and a daughter.