One Imperfect Christmas

5 Dec

imperfectChristmas

One Imperfect Christmas by Myra Johnson

Synopsis:

Only Love Makes a Christmas Perfect.

Graphic designer Natalie Pearce faces the most difficult Christmas of her life. For almost a year, her mother has lain in a nursing home, the victim of a massive stroke, and Natalie blames herself for not being there when it happened. Worse, she’s allowed the monstrous load of guilt to drive a wedge between her and everyone she loves—most of all her husband Daniel. Her marriage is on the verge of dissolving, her prayer life is suffering, and she’s one Christmas away from hitting rock bottom.

Junior-high basketball coach Daniel Pearce is at his wit’s end. Nothing he’s done has been able to break through the wall Natalie has erected between them. And their daughter Lissa’s adolescent rebellion isn’t helping matters. As Daniel’s hope reaches its lowest ebb, he wonders if this Christmas will spell the end of his marriage and the loss of everything he holds dear.

Thoughts:

One Imperfect Christmas is a unique Christmas story that realistically portrays the struggles and imperfections of life.  Natalie Pearce grapples with the guilt she feels over the stroke her mother suffered.  Unable to let go of this burden, Natalie’s relationship with her family begins to suffer.

Christmas has always been a time of great celebration for Natalie and her family.  Each year, they gather together to enjoy several special traditions.  With her mother in the nursing home and her own family falling apart, Natalie soon realizes that this Christmas may not be perfect after all.  Can an imperfect Christmas bring this family back together again?

Myra Johnson has penned a Christmas story full of rich layers that will stir your emotions.  While I didn’t always agree with Natalie’s choices, she was a very believable character.  One Perfect Christmas illustrates the importance of faith, family and forgiveness.  Most importantly, it is a reminder that we must always rely on God and cling to hope and faith in the face of adversity!

Click to enjoy an excerpt from One Imperfect Christmas.
 
 

Myra has graciously answered a few of my questions.  Please read the interview below.

 
JohnsonMyra
 

1. One Imperfect Christmas is a realistic look at the struggles and imperfections of life.  What inspired this unique storyline?   The original inspiration for the story came from a dream I had after overdosing on Hallmark and Lifetime holiday movies one year. All I had was a vague idea about a couple about to celebrate their fiftieth Christmas together, only something stood in the way. After much brainstorming, I came up with the character of Natalie, the couple’s daughter, and imagined how her own experience of the Christmas season might be altered if something tragic happened to one of her parents.

2. Natalie Pearce, as well as the rest of her family, certainly endured an imperfect Christmas.  Have you ever experienced an imperfect holiday?  If so, will you share with us a bit about it?   Lots of things can make a holiday seem “imperfect.” You burn the turkey. The kids start picking on each other and it turns into a brawl. A gift you were absolutely certain would be under the tree is conspicuously absent.

But looking at the big picture, those are minor issues. My most “imperfect” holiday was the first time neither of our daughters came home for Christmas. Our married daughter was spending Christmas with her husband’s family, and our daughter at college decided that was the year she’d fully assert her independence by spending Christmas with her best friend’s family near campus. I was a total grump that year, because for me, Christmas just isn’t Christmas without family around to share it with.

3. Christmas was celebrated with several traditions in One Imperfect Christmas.  What are some Christmas traditions that you and your family enjoy?   Sometime during the holidays, my husband and I snuggle on the double recliner and watch our DVD of White Christmas. We also love attending Christmas Eve worship service, and usually afterward we drive around to admire the neighborhood holiday decorations. Then it’s home to cookies and eggnog, and if the grandkids are visiting, we send them to bed before setting to work filling stockings and bringing out last-minute gifts to place under the tree.

4. What can we look forward to reading from you next?   My latest release from Abingdon Press is When the Clouds Roll By, book 1 in my post-WWI historical romance series Till We Meet Again. Books 2 and 3 will be out in 2014. Readers can learn more about my books by visiting my website, www.MyraJohnson.com, or my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/MyraJohnsonAuthor . I Tweet as @MyraJohnson and @TheGrammarQueen, and you can also find me in Seekerville, www.seekerville.net, where I blog with 12 other Christian novelists.

 

As a special treat, Myra has shared a character post with us.  The following is a post from Bram Morgan, Natalie Pearce’s father. 

Natalie Morgan Pearce is her mother’s daughter, no forty-seven ways to Sunday about that. Now, I admit I have a mule-headed streak of my own, especially when it comes to keeping my family together. But that girl—all the time she wasted carrying the guilt for her mother’s stroke when the blame could just as easily have fallen on me.

I lived with the woman, after all. I should have seen the signs something wasn’t right with my Belinda. She’d mentioned a headache or two, maybe didn’t have the energy she usually did. But I just had to go to that dad-blamed horse auction, leaving Belinda home alone all day.

And naturally, my sweet wife insisted on hauling out boxes and packing up the Christmas decorations all by herself. Just wouldn’t do to have dried-up evergreen needles all over the carpet when her book club came over the next day. Like those fussy women didn’t have their own houses to un-decorate after the holidays.

Ah, well, no use bemoaning what can’t be undone. Which was what the whole family tried to tell Natalie. Instead, all we could do was stand by and watch her slowly come undone. Buried herself in her work, let her marriage fall apart, pulled away from all of us—emotionally, anyway.

But I will say Natalie took real good care of me, especially in those first few months when I was at loose ends, myself. Belinda and I were going on fifty years of marriage, and I could no more imagine living without her than I could cut off my right hand.

Thank the good Lord for Natalie’s brother, Hart. He’s a real fine veterinarian, so he saw to horses and generally kept an eye on the farm while I spent as much time as possible at the convalescent home with Belinda.

And don’t you know we did a whole lot of praying that year. Praying for my sweet Belinda. Praying for Natalie. Praying for Daniel and Lissa, Natalie’s husband and daughter, to just keep loving her and have patience till the healing could begin so they could be a family once more.

There’s a lot more to the story—parts Natalie and Daniel and Lissa are better off telling you themselves, so I’ll leave the details to them. But you can rest assured, God’s plans are always far and above anything we mere mortals can dream up, and you could sure see His mighty hand at work that Christmas.

So my message to you folks is this: You may not understand or even appreciate what God’s doing in your life until you’re farther on down the road—or maybe not in this life at all. But no matter what trials you’re facing, no matter how hopeless your life may appear, God’s got your back. Give Him a chance, and He’ll give you a joy deep down in your heart to outlast all the “Merry Christmas” wishes in the world.

 

It’s been delightful, Britney. Thanks for hosting me on your blog today!

Thank you, Myra!  It has been my pleasure.  Happy holidays to you and your family!

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Abingdon Press.  All thoughts expressed are my own and no monetary compensation was received.

2 Responses to “One Imperfect Christmas”

  1. Melanie Backus December 5, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

    Great,great review and interview. I would love to read this one. Thank you, Britney!

  2. Myra Johnson December 6, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful review and for featuring me on your blog today!

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