Author Roundtable: Garden Favorites

Did you know that the lovely bouquet you’re eying in the florist shop could actually contain a secret message?

Well, not today, maybe. These days, a rose is just a rose. But in the Victorian era, young people would use the commonly accepted meanings of flowers to express their feelings for each other. (Pity the poor suitor who didn’t know that yellow tulips meant “hopeless love” or that snapdragons meant “deception or presumption”!)

Here are a few of our authors’ favorite flowers and their corresponding Victorian symbolism.

Becky Wade: Geraniums

GeraniumMeaning: True friendship

Kimberley Woodhouse: Tulips

TulipsMeaning: Declaration of love

Jen Turano and Elizabeth Camden: Sunflowers

SunflowersMeaning: Loyalty

Ann Tatlock: Violets

VioletsMeaning: Faithfulness

Melissa Tagg:  Daisies

DaisiesMeaning: Innocence, hope

Nancy Mehl: Irises

IrisMeaning: Faith, wisdom

Ann Mateer: Gardenias

GardeniasMeaning: You’re lovely, secret love

Regina Jennings: Zinnias

zinniasMeaning: Thoughts of absent friends

Dee Henderson, Leslie Gould, Kate Breslin: Roses

RosesMeaning: Love

Mary Connealy: Daffodils

DaffodilsMeaning: Respect

Here’s a fun idea: Look at the meanings of certain flowers and think of friends who fit that description perfectly. Then buy seed packets of those flowers and mail them to your friends with a note about why this particular flower and meaning made you think of them. (Zinnias are always good for a “Thinking of You” card!)

What’s your favorite flower, and what does it mean? (There are some variations in meaning from place to place, but most of these I found here and here.)

Prayer for Authors: May 2014

Since it’s the first Sunday of the month, we’ll be continuing the Bethany House Fiction tradition of taking time to pray for authors who have new releases coming out this month. I’m Amy Green, the fiction publicist here, and I’m thankful for all of the readers who show their support for our authors in the way that matters most: by praying for them. To read more about the reasons behind this time of prayer, go to this post.

Authors with Books Releasing in May:

Victoria Bylin
Dee Henderson
Nancy Mehl
Robin Parrish
Dani Pettrey
Melissa Tagg
Becky Wade

Verse of the Month: Feel free to use the text of this verse to guide your prayers for these authors, as well as other people in your life who you want to remember in prayer today.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2, NIV

General Suggestions for Prayer:

  • For the ability to thank God for things that don’t seem like blessings (upcoming deadlines, difficult people, drains on time and attention).
  • For identities rooted in Christ and not the positive or negative comments found in reviews of the books.
  • For readers to come away from the novels with a better understanding of how to love God and others.

Thank you so much, readers, for taking a few moments to pray for these authors, and for everyone who picks up these books. I know it makes a difference, and that it matters a lot to the authors as well.

Operation We Three Kings: Nancy Mehl

Christmas is my favorite time of year. There’s something magical about it. I have special decorations I pull out every December. There’s the old nutcracker we bought right after we were married. The paint is chipping, and he doesn’t move the way he used to, but he still stands watch over our tree. Then there’s the little winter scene with the train that goes around and around. I also unpack Christmas ornaments given to me by people I love. Some are gone now, but every year I remember them when I hang their ornament on our tree.

My husband sets up our life-size deer in the yard. The head still moves, but his original lights burned out long ago. Hubby added new lights and even gave him blue eyes. Not too many blue-eyed reindeer in the world, but you can always find one in the front yard of the Mehl house at Christmas.

Then there are the foods I make only once a year: cheese balls and fudge from my mother’s recipes. “You must stir the fudge for six full minutes, Nancy,” she used to warn me. “Not a minute less. Not a minute more.”

We watch our favorite movies: It’s a Wonderful Life, The Bishop’s Wife, White Christmas, The Christmas Story, and Elf. All of these traditions help to pull me out of the world and remind me that we are actually celebrating the Greatest Gift ever given.

I’ve had many wonderful Christmases, but some of my very favorite happened many years ago. One year, in particular, I recall seeing my husband lying prone on someone’s lawn, closely resembling a dead body. Although this may not sound especially festive, it’s still one of my best Christmas memories. You see, my husband and I, along with a group of special friends, formed a group we called “We Three Kings.” Our idea was to represent the kings who brought gifts to the Christ child. My husband and I symbolized one king, our best friends, Jim and Jolene, signified the second king, and Jolene’s mother, Opal, was the third king. Continue reading