Tag Archives: angels

Christmas is a time when you get homesick — even when you’re home. ~Carol Nelson


As evident from this family photo of me and my three siblings, I was a big Christmas lover as a kid. ***Note. Hum Somewhere in My Memory from Home Alone as you read this.

From age three until not quite six, I lived in Taiwan with my parents and younger brother, John, where my mom and dad taught English at Tunghai University. Christmas gifts were hand-me-downs from other Missionary families, which John and I were ecstatic to receive. We knew no better than gently used toys, until our family returned to America and we discovered modern toy stores, television, and were bombarded with commercials. The stupendous merchandise wowed us, and we were ardent believers in everything Christmas.

My grandmother, called Mommom, prepared for the big day all year long and was a devotee of the holiday. She made Christmas a mystical blend of the Nativity and Santa Claus, which worked for me. The generous old guy in the red suit was equally devoted to Christmas and a great boon to a family with limited funds. However, I learned Santa could be touchy and kept a naughty list. I hoped he had absentmindedly omitted my name. Fortunately, I also learned the Christ Child forgave sins, and prayed Jesus gave Santa a heads-up on the forgiving Beth thing. A miracle transpired because I never got switches in my stocking as my ancestral Uncle Gus was said to have done. That horrifying tale struck fear into his descendants, and I was super good those last few days before Saint Nick’s timely arrival.

Visiting Mommom and my aunt, uncle, and five cousins at the old Virginia homeplace for Christmas was like being part of a Hallmark movie. Nothing could match the wonder I experienced there as a child. My uncle even reported seeing reindeer hoof prints in the snow on the roof, and one year a jovial neighbor dressed up as Santa–I recognized him– came to the house to delight us kids. I was concerned this facade might offend the REAL guy, and he’d stay away. But we heard the sleigh bells out in the meadow, as we did each Christmas Eve. The warning jingle sent us scrambling to bed before Santa’s arrival, and inspired the title of my holiday romance, Somewhere the Bells Ring. The home in this ghostly time slip Christmas romance was also inspired by the homeplace pictured below. Built in 1816, Chapel Hill, as it’s called, has been in the family for generations and is where I spent some magical holidays.

(Virginia Family homeplace in the Shenandoah Valley)

With such fantastic childhood memories, Christmas as a bigger kid/adult was a bit of a letdown. Maybe it is for everyone. Christmas really belongs to children, but I still cherish it in my heart. As Scrooge says after hard lessons learned, “I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.” And so I do.

My mantle is perpetually decorated with angels and lights. Also a Dalek Supreme and the Tardis…a little random, I suppose. Still, it’s festive year round. The holidays can be rather overwhelming. I try to keep our celebration simple but fun, especially for the small people in my life. I truly must love Christmas because I’ve written three romances with the holiday as a central theme and I’m pondering a fourth. Maybe with an angel in the story…I love angels. But not the weeping kind, thanks to the creepy ones in Doctor Who.

Don’t blink.

(My mantle)

(I especially love angels.)

Several years ago, my mother found a number of vintage Christmas cards in an old trunk. This marvelous find took us on a trip down memory lane, back to people who lived before I was born. I’m terrible about remembering to send cards, but these are great. I may have shared some of them before, but here’s another look at a few.

(Vintage Santa and a Norman Rockwell print on cards among Mom’s finds.)

Somewhere the Bells Ring (Somewhere in Time)

Blurb:

December 1968: Caught with pot in her dorm room, Bailey Randolph is exiled to a relative’s ancestral home in Virginia to straighten herself out. Banishment to Maple Hill is dismal, until a ghost appears requesting her help. Bailey is frightened but intrigued. Then her girlhood crush, Eric Burke, arrives and suddenly Maple Hill isn’t so bad.  To Eric, wounded in Vietnam, his military career shattered, this homecoming feels no less like exile. But when he finds Bailey at Maple Hill, her fairy-like beauty gives him reason to hope–until she tells him about the ghost haunting the house. Then he wonders if her one experiment with pot has made her crazy.
As Bailey and Eric draw closer, he agrees to help her find a long-forgotten Christmas gift the ghost wants. But will the magic of Christmas be enough to make Eric believe–in Bailey and the ghost–before the Christmas bells ring?~
I really think Hallmark is waiting for me with this story.

From Romancing the Book: “Ms. Trissel captivates her reader from the moment you start reading the first page. She has written a compelling love story that spans some fifty plus years and keeps you entertained every step of the way with the story within a story…I fell in love with her characters and look forward to the next delightful story ready with Kleenex box in hand. A must read for every romance fan.” ~Reviewed by Robin

Somewhere the Bells Ring is available in eBook from all online booksellers. Plus a smashing new audio version from Audible is out at Amazon. For the kindle and audio visit:

Follow my Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Beth-Trissel/e/B002BLLAJ6/

(Tag from the earlier 20th century)

“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.” ~Mary Ellen Chase


“Love came down at Christmas; love all lovely, love divine; love was born at Christmas, stars and angels gave the sign.” ~ Christina G. Rossetti

the-angel-from-on-high

“I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.” ~Charles Dickens

“Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.” ~Larry Wilde, The Merry Book of Christmas

“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.” ~Peg Bracken

Christmas ball in tree “The earth has grown old with its burden of care But at Christmas it always is young, The heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair And its soul full of music breaks the air, When the song of angels is sung.” ~ Phillips Brooks (1835-93), American Episcopal bishop, wrote ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem‘.

“Brew me a cup for a winter’s night.For the wind howls loud and the furies fight; Spice it with love and stir it with care, And I’ll toast our bright eyes, my sweetheart fair.” ~Minna Thomas Antrim

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
~Charles Dickens

Chritstmas Tree

“Let’s dance and sing and make good cheer, For Christmas comes but once a year.”
~Sir George Alexander Macfarren

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day; their old familiar carols play, and wild and sweet the word repeat of peace on earth, good-will to men!” ~ Henry Longfellow

“Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves.” ~Eric Sevareid

Victorian Christmas Tree“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.”
~ Alexander Smith

“Christmas is the keeping-place for memories of our innocence.” ~Joan Mills

‘“Christmas is a time when you get homesick – even when you’re home.” ~ Carol Nelson

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” ~Norman Vincent Peale

Christmas Sleigh Ride“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”~Roy L. Smith

“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.” ~Mary Ellen Chase

“Christmas is the gentlest, loveliest festival of the revolving year – and yet, for all that, when it speaks, its voice has strong authority.” ~W.J. Cameron

“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” ~Burton Hillis

Singers Glen, Virginia  Brick Church in Snow

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.” ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

“There has been only one Christmas – the rest are anniversaries.” ~W.J. Cameron

Touched by an Angel


Watching for Angels--Beth Trissel

I’m ever on the lookout for angels, pretty much anywhere. They can appear in the most unexpected guises and places, so you never know when you may encounter one. Angels may resemble ordinary people.  May be anyone. Possibly even us, if we deeply touch someone’s life in a good way. But back to the ‘real’ heavenly beings. There are innumerable accounts that range from the famous Biblical angels, like the heavenly host who appeared to the shepherds abiding in the field keeping watch over their flocks by night, proclaiming Christ’s birth, to those who appear to everyday people. These stories fill volumes of books.

Have you ever met an angel, even briefly? I know a few folk who have. For one grieving widow, that brief illumination transformed her life from dark despair to hope. Being touched by an angel can do that. Another story is from a college student who fell to the pavement–hard–after she was struck by a car. She recalls an older woman’s kind face and a hand reaching out. Onlookers were amazed when this girl sprang to her feet, as if aided, and asked for the old woman who helped her up. No one else saw her. An angel, we’re thinking.

Watching for Angels--Beth Trissel

Another incident comes from a friend remembering a childhood visitation when she awoke from a feverish sleep to find an angel seated at the edge of her bed. She describes the face as human-like but says the features were more angular than ours and silvery. The rest of its body was luminous and seemed neither male nor female, but she remembers the eyes, green, and the reassuring feeling of being watched over. You may think this divine visitation was the figment of a child’s fevered mind, or you may believe that she saw an angel. I believe. Once when I was asleep I heard a beloved voice call my name, a voice as familiar as my mother’s or husband’s and yet it was neither of them. I think this was an angel and someday I will see and instantly recognize this being as though meeting with an old friend, and understand that they have always been with me.

In these troubled times, seeking for angels is a good thing. Let me know if you meet one. Maybe you already have.

“Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.” ~Irish prayer


White Dove and Rainbow“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.” ~ From a headstone in Ireland

“In the night of death, hope sees a star, and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing.” ~Robert Ingersoll

“The death of someone we know always reminds us that we are still alive — perhaps for some purpose which we ought to re-examine.” ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960

God's hand reaching out to man

“Let life be as beautiful as summer flowers
And death as beautiful as autumn leaves.”
~Rabindranath Tagore

“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” ~Albert Pike

“He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“People living deeply have no fear of death.” ~Anaïs Nin, Diary, 1967

“If the people we love are stolen from us, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them. Buildings burn, people die, but real love is forever.” ~The Crow, written by James O’Barr, David J. Schow, and John Shirley, 1994

Heavenly light in white clouds and blue sky

“My soul is full of whispered song;
My blindness is my sight;
The shadows that I feared so long
Are all alive with light.”
~Alice Cary, Dying Hymn

“As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well used brings happy death.” ~Leonardo da Vinci


“Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life.” ~John Muir

cupped hands holding light in the sky

“He spake well who said that graves are the footprints of angels.”
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“The memory of a good person is a blessing.”
Proverbs 10:7

“Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”
Irish prayer

Young woman angel with wings

“Angels descending, bring from above,
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.”
~Fanny J. Crosby

Angels are all around us, all the time, in the very air we breathe.” ~Quoted in The Angels’ Little Instruction Book by Eileen Elias Freeman, 1994

This post is in honor of my brother-in-law David who died today. Dennis and I were with him when he passed. Peace filled the room.