Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Vannetta Chapman: A Christmas Memory of Timothy

Vannetta Chapman
 About Vannetta Chapman....

Vannetta Chapman holds a BA and MA degree in English and has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. Her first Amish novel with Abingdon Press, A Simple Amish Christmas, quickly became a Christian Books Distributor bestseller. She's also the author of the bestselling Shipshewana Amish Mystery series (Zondervan) and will soon release the Pebble Creek Series (Harvest House). She has four grown children and lives with her husband and a very large herd of deer in the Texas Hill Country.  It's our pleasure to welcome her to our blog.

                                A Christmas Memory

I'm sure I'll never forget the Christmas my father invited a current inmate from the Connecticut state prison to spend the holiday with us. I was more than a little frightened of TIMOTHY. After all, I was 8, and he was well over 6 feet. To me, he looked like a giant.

My mother explained to me that my dad had started a behavior/reward program for prisoners. They could earn weekends at home. The catch? Many had no "home" to go to. So Timothy came to us. Honest! I couldn't make this up. When my father found out how frightened I was, he sat me down and talked to me. He asked me how I would feel if I had no where to go at Christmas. I was fairly certain that I would never end up in prison to begin with, but that answer didn't satisfy dad. He pulled out the "What would Jesus do..."

So I hushed up, hoped Santa hadn't heard my whining, prayed Jesus would forgive my ungrateful heart, and slept in the same room as my sister that holiday.

You know, I don't remember what happened to Timothy after we moved away. I know dad was always bringing home "orphans" on the weekends. Sometimes they were widows. Sometimes they were people with no family in town. Sometimes they were just folks who'd lost their way for a while. When I think of Christmas, I think of dad ... and every now and then, I think of Timothy.

 Vannetta says friendship is a central theme of her recent release Falling to Pieces. It might seem odd for a murder mystery or  maybe not.San Francisco Book Review recently said, “A sweet story of friendship, Falling to Pieces is a fun read and the perfect gift for fans of strong female characters, mysteries, quilting, or Amish culture.” 4 stars.

Her books may be purchased at:                                   

  Barnes &NobleZondervan      amazon and


This isn't really a recipe. I'm always in charge of the vegetable tray at holiday dinners. Maybe because no one trusts me to cook.

But truthfully, with all that heavy food, I love fresh veggies. I make sure to add radishes, black olives, and fresh cheese. Plus some celery, different colors of sweet peppers, broccoli, cucumber, and cauliflower ... it makes for a beautiful addition to the table!
Thank you for stopping by. Please share your comments here.

8 comments: said...

I absolutely loved this story. I've never invited someone to my home on christmas like your dad. What a wonderful man he must have been to open his heart and home to strangers. But you know I started thinking about a woman I used to work with who always volunteered to work during the holidays. She didn't have any children and was divorced. Her family lived on the other side of the US. All of us with families were so relieved we didn't have to cover the holidays. As I look back on it, I see how selfish we were not to make her holidays a little happier.

Vannetta Chapman said...

THORNE, I'm glad you enjoyed this little piece about my family history. My dad was a bit eccentric, but I think we did learn from him. I made "cookie bags" when the kids were growing up and had them distribute them to the houses on our block. That sort of thing. Which reminds me of the Amish people I write about. They're very connected to the community around them.

Thanks for stopping by, and Merry Christmas!

Ruby Johnson said...

Thanks so much for sharing such a lovely memory.Your dad sounds like a great man. Holidays can be a lonely time for some people. I find Christmas a happy and sad time. I lost my husband a few years ago and I always remember how excited he got about buying presents for friends and relatives. He chose his presents with a great deal of care and thought. I look forward to reading your books. And thank you for sharing your memory on our blog.

Vannetta Chapman said...

Ruby, I'm so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you have lovely memories of your husband. I know holidays can be a tough time for people. That's such an important thing for us to remember--I was talking to my mom about it just yesterday.

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Carolyn Clemmons said...

Vanetta, you are a wonderful author and it's nice to learn more about you. I agree that a plate of fresh veggie nibbles is welcome at any holiday party. For Christmas Eve, we have TexMex (what else in Texas?)and always include a couple of dips with lots of veggies.

Vannetta Chapman said...

Ohhhh ... Carolyn, I love TexMex for Christmas Eve. THAT or Italian. : ) You are making me SO hungry! Have a wonderful Christmas. said...

We always have prime rib of beef, roasted small potatoes, green beans, and Yorkshire puddings on Christmas Eve. This is followed by lite holiday desserts. On christmas morning my mom always makes cream blueberry scones, served with Devon clotted cream, jams, then adds fruit, and yogurt. We top it off with hot tea, a special blend she buys from Harrods Store in London.

Vannetta Chapman said...

ANNE, that sounds like the most lovely dinner. Can I come? If I bring a vegetable tray? : )

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