Gina Welborn wrote public service announcements for a news radio station until she fell in love with writing romances. She is the author of three short historicals and five novellas, including the 2014 Selah finalist “Mercy Mild” in the ECPA-bestselling Mistletoe Memories. She is honored to serve on the ACFW Foundation Board and help raise funds for scholarships. A moderately obsessive member of the Southwest Oklahoma Corvette Club, Gina lives in Oklahoma with her pastor-husband, their five Okie-Hokie children, a box-lab, two rabbits, four guinea pigs, and a fancy Russian dwarf hamster named Tom Bob Deucalion.
Sweeping Away the Past
My maternal grandmother is 96 years old. Amazing thing is Grandma isn’t the oldest living sibling in her family.
When I think back to my childhood, Grandma’s house was my favorite place to visit. Because my dad was in the army, our trips to visit my mother’s side of the family up in South Dakota were usually limited to once or twice a year. But my mom managed to make those trips as long as possible. At Grandma’s house, we had second breakfasts. Who knew my relatives were hobbits! Between 9:30 and 10:30, either a relative (okay, usually a relative) or a friend would stop in for coffee and a sweet. Grandma made the most amazing cookies. To me, they tasted like cookie donuts—flakey, crunchy, sugary sweet.
Grandma ironed our t-shirts. She had the coolest board games. Her basement was the creepiest and most awesome place I ever was in. Curtains covered her built-in shelves. What was behind them? I have no idea. I was too scared to look. Knowing Grandma, I’m sure she had canned goods, old books, and childhood momentos.
When I was in junior high, Grandma took a Greyhound bus all the way from South Dakota down to southwestern Oklahoma. Yes, I thought that was the coolest thing. She stayed with us for a week. Maybe two. My mom decided since I was a terrible sweeper, she would have Grandma give me lessons. And Grandma did. She never made me feel stupid or lazy. I look back on everything Grandma did for me and my sisters and realize how much she lived her love.
The morning Grandma was to leave to return home, she came in to give us all kisses. I wish I could remember what prompted my actions, but instead of acknowledging her, I just laid there. Like a snotty little 13-yr-old. I probably was angry at my mom and dad for something. Who knows. I remember Grandma crying and my mom consoling her. She hadn’t done anything wrong to me. Yet I rejected the love she’d offered.
I wish I could sweep away that moment from my memory, from my mom’s, from Grandma’s. I don’t want to be a person like that.
A.W. Tozer wrote, “We have not truly repented until our repentance has become a wound. Until that would has captured us, defeated us, taken the moral fight out of us, self-defense from us, and wounded us near death.”
I don’t know about you, but sometime I don’t really want to be that broken over my sin because, let’s face it, I’m not really that broken. I’m content to sweep my sin under the rug and forget it. But as I remember now how my selfishness hurt my Grandma, I fall on my knees in shame. In brokenness. In repentance. I don’t want to sweep under the rug anything. I don’t want to any skeletons in my closet. I don’t want to live in fear of someone discovering those things that bring me shame.
So I’m learning to pray, as Tozer did, “Oh, my God, wound me; wound me with the wound of contrition so I’ll never get over it, so we always will carry around with me the knowledge that I’ve been a sinner.” Only I can’t stop praying there. Nor should you. Because in Christ, we are made new. We’re saints. We’re holy, blameless, and beyond reproach.
And I rejoice in the memories of walking to church with my grandma, of sitting next to her and singing hymns, and holding her hand as we prayed. Grandma gave me a heritage that began with loving Jesus. One day my prayer is that my children will look at my life and say, “My mom loved Jesus.”
What about you? Is there something in your life—some hidden shame—that you’ve allowed to define, control, burden you? Today I challenge you to give it to God and claim, “I am holy, blames, and beyond reproach because Jesus made me so.”
You were once at oddswith God, wicked in your ways and evil in your minds; but now He has reconciled you in His body—in His flesh through His death—so that He can present you to God holy, blameless, andtotallyfree of imperfectionas long as you stay planted in the faith. So don’t venture away from what you have heardand taken to heart: thelivinghope of the good news that has been announced to all creation under heaven and has captured me, Paul, as its servant. ~Colossians 1:21-23
I have a confession to make. Back in the days of my youth, what seems like a century ago, I took the easy road and have regretted it ever since. My older sister was a double major—accounting and computer science. Two-inch-thick, hard-back textbooks? No thank you. Give me thin, paper-back ones filled mostly with pictures. Thus I majored in communications with an emphasis on radio and television. My heart’s desire, though, was either to major in English and/or History. But who majors in those? People who want to teach English or teach History. No thank you.
In Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, Dumbledore warns instructs Harry, “We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” Right should prevail over easy, shouldn’t it?
Jesus was quick to chastise the Pharisees because they were so focused on doing the “right” thing (aka, following the law) that following it had become an idol to them. They’d developed a sense of self-righteousness out of their rightness. There is a way that seems right unto man, but its way leads to death. Instead, let us do what is good.
In the stories I write you will see my heroes and heroines choosing to do what is good. Sometimes it takes them a while to get there. Maybe because we all have to learn to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God.
Choose good! ~Gina
Sometimes you fall in love with the wrong person.
That’s what happened the moment Renna Laurent meets the fire department’s most rakish fireman at the Wichita High School Alumni Carnival. Like most girls experiencing love-at-first-sight, she does the logical thing and gives Joe McDermott his winning cake . . . and a smile in hopes he, too, will profess his love. Naturally he does doesn’t. As months pass, Renna seeks solace in one courtship after another. Surely there’s a man out there who can woo her away from dreaming about Joe and about how glorious their future will be if only he would love her.
Sometimes you fall in love with the right person all along.
For Wichita fireman Joe McDermott, Renna is a fire he can’t contain or capture. Her beauty renders him speechless. Just when her current courtship ends and Joe finds the right words, she’s off on another whirlwind romance. Whatever type of man she’s looking isn’t him. Or so he thinks . . . until one fateful Yuletide Masquerade Ball changes everything. AMAZON
Scroll down to read the first chapter of The Marshal’s Pursuit!
What business did she have inside the police department? Socialite. Art patron. Rebuffer of Edwin Daly’s attentions. Nothing about Malia Vaccarelli was suspicious. Except this.
Malia Vaccarelli Needs a Place to Hide
When her brother is arrested for a gangster’s murder, Malia is plunged into danger. Her life in peril, she trusts no one—not even the special U.S. marshal assigned to protect her. But handsome Frank Louden isn’t what Malia expects.
Hiding Malia on his grandparents’ Tuxedo Park estate may not be the best idea, but Frank is determined to do anything to protect her…even if he’s soon unable to ignore his growing feelings for the beautiful woman. As their romance blossoms, will Malia’s criminal connections force her to choose between her family and her heart? AMAZON
Previously published by Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents
Love shouldn’t be something one could put on or take off as easily as a coat. It had to be more than a feeling of desire.
LIBERTY JUDD IS A RULE BREAKER
The Chicago heiress has shaken off the trappings of society—and the man who crushed her heart—to follow her artistic dreams. But when Gerrett Divine suddenly reappears in her life, she can’t ignore the way she still feels about him.
Architect Gerrett Divine IV has always been the dutiful son—that’s why he plans to marry a woman he doesn’t love. But when he meets Liberty again, that resolve is severely tested. Can he go through with an arranged marriage just to please his family, or will he make a leap of faith and choose the free-spirited woman who captivates him? AMAZON
Previously published by Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents
Autumn 1910 / Fort Worth, TX
Grieving widower Duke Baker needs to remarry. Thus his father invites twelve socialites from all over Texas to a weeklong house party in Fort Worth’s exclusive Quality Hill neighborhood. Duke doubts he’ll find a woman comparable to the wife he buried two years earlier, but his five-year-old daughter, Tabitha, needs a mother. Only Tabitha is more interested in hiding out in the kitchen with the cook than with helping Duke “connect” with any of the socialites.
After four years of studying at Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery, Irie LaCroix is back home and wants to open her own cooking school. What she needs is financing. So when Duke’s father offers her a chance to prove her cooking and teaching skills to a dozen socialites, she jumps on the chance. She never anticipated a child re-awaking a past she’s tried to forget. Will Duke and Irie allow God to heal their brokenness and restore their hearts to love? AMAZON
December 1890, Tumwater, Washington
Every week for the last two years, E.V. Renier has petitioned the local brewery magnate for permission to marry his daughter. Despite receiving a sound rejection each time, E.V. continues in hope of proving the faithfulness of his character. Heiress Larkin Whitworth has no idea of the quiet yet charming sawmiller’s devotion. Not until awful rumors about her rip through the town. As the annual Christmas soiree approaches, Larkin fears E.V.’s love might not be as strong as the shameful truth she’s trying to hide. AMAZON
When Scottish broker Finley Sinclair bargains he can sell Seran Cardew’s entire stock of candy for triple the selling price, she thinks he’s out of his newly-immigrated mind. But the struggling confectioner is desperate to make a go of her fledgling business. With little funds left after selling a treasured family heirloom, Seran knows Finley’s proposal is what’s needed to save her dream. But on the way, he might steal her stock. . . . and her heart. AMAZON
After a year of geological surveying northeastern Iowa, English paleontologist James Holly yearns to join a fossil dig in Colorado. Although amused by the town’s folklore and Christmas festivities, he doesn’t believe in superstitions or curses. Celebrating the holiday only reminds him of the family he lost. What goodwill he has for the townsfolk dissipates after someone steals one of his fossils. For once in his life he needs is a bit of luck on his side, and he’ll take it, even if it’s in the form of a charming lady.
Everyone knows fortune favors Lena Reinhardt. That’s why on St. Barbara’s Day since she turned eighteen, she’s the lucky one who places the cherry twig in the holy water. The town believes her good fortune causes the year’s windfall of crops and livestock, and it will continue as long as she stays unmarried. This year, though, Lena believes God sent James to change her luck. Now if she can only convince him… AMAZON
Experience sibling rivalry this Christmas in:
Hopes and Fears ~ O’ Little Town of Christmas Collection
Love Me, Laurel ~ The American State Flower Series
1910 Bethlehem, Connecticut
It all began in Baker’s Dozen.
Twelve prime heiresses from across the grand state of Texas arrive in Fort Worth on a beautiful October day to meet widower Duke Baker. Among those ladies is . . .
Georgia Sharp yearns for love, marriage, and babies. Against her brother Travis’s “good judgement,” she attends the Baker House Party, determined to make Fort Worth’s most-eligible bachelor fall in love. Per his usual behavior, Travis makes muck of her plans. Their parents are consoling. Travis isn’t. Travis insists Georgia’s desperation to marry pushes men away. Like him, most men aren’t going to fall in love until they’re good and ready. Georgia, though, believes love isn’t as much a choice as it is a consequence of circumstance and compulsion. So sure she’s right, she boasts that she can make Travis fall in love by Christmas. So sure she’s wrong, if she can accomplish the impossible, Travis agrees to never meddle in her love life again. All Georgia needs now is to find a girl her persnickety brother can’t resist, and if the girl breaks Travis’s Scroogish heart . . . well, all the merrier. This is one sibling competition Georgia isn’t going to lose.
HOPES AND FEARS
Finding her brother a bride is easy, especially with the help of a fun-loving Bethlehem councilman.
LOVE ME, LAUREL
Keeping his sister from falling in love with the wrong man is frustrating, made more so by an interferring Bethlehem confectioner.
CONNECTICUT COURTSHIPS – Hopes & Fears – Abigail’s story
Finding her brother a bride isn’t all that complicated, not with the help of a handsome Bethlehem tailor.
CONNECTICUT COURTSHIPS – Love Me, Laurel – Travis’s story
Keeping his sister from falling in love isn’t all that complicated, not with the help of a lovely Bethlehem spinster.