Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year Changes

Photo Courtesy

I love celebrating the new year cresting the midnight hour.

Tonight I'll drink lots of coffee and stay up with the family to celebrate. My son will set off his elaborate firework display he's been working on for months. Yes, safety is paramount.

This is so exciting.

Starting a new year is like opening a gift. Yah never know what is going to happen. I always hope for something amazing.

This year is no different.

I have my 2015 wish list. Do you? 

Here is your assignment: think about what you would like to have for your one-word for this year. I have mine...and the post to go with it, inspired by someone special. I'll post this next week.

ALSO--I'll make certificates again this year for any of you who want to play along.

We'll start the year with a book give away. I have so many wonderful books to share, so plan to stop by and enter. Tell your friends so we can get these books into readers hands.

AND I have some good news to share. My writing has grown deeper, stronger, and my desire to focus in this area has grown. I am falling into a delightful comfort zone, like having a cup of cocoa and sitting by a crackling fire each time I write on these winter days. Or a cool glass of iced tea sitting on a beach on summer days. 

To devote the necessary time to these works, I am changing my posting schedule for this blog. You have seen how faithful I am. My dedication will not change. I will continue to have weekend guests-see the schedule to the right to know who I've already scheduled and when they are coming. My personal post will be scheduled for Tuesdays. Check out the top of my blog. See? I've modified it to show you.

I am so excited for 2015 and what God has for all of us. 

May your new year be immersed in blessings. I'm praying for you.

So, as this year draws to an close, how can I pray for you?

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Gift Given to Jesus

Photo Courtesy

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

Perhaps the day had a few glitches: spilled beverages, Christmas trees knocked over by the cat, or Uncle Joe primed with the same jokes. All of these are sparkles to the stories we share about Christmas day.

Our family celebrated Jesus' birthday in a hotel room. Hubby drew the short stick and had to work the holiday. Two of our children made a festive Christmas meal and brought it to us. We hauled chairs from the hotel's breakfast area up to our room, cleared off the desk and spread out the meal. What a fun way to make Christmas unique and memorable.

The next morning, I sat in the breakfast area to people-watched. Only one family sat down, their laughter and fun conversation could be heard without trying. The dad shared the family Christmas experience with a phone call to "buddy." Later, I figured out this was his dad.

He talked about their gifts and reading the Christmas story, "And the kids wanted to hear the entire story, not just a few verses." 

A boy sitting at the table didn't correct him, so it seemed true.

The dad continued, "We sang happy birthday to Jesus and then the kids talked about what gift they wanted to give Jesus."

I listened intently. What gift did the kids say? Was it a physical gift they had given to a family member? What did this family mean by this phrase?"

The dad said, "Yeah, they both decided to set a goal to have devotions every day this year. Yeah--I thought so, too."

I thought this was an amazing idea. Teaching the children to giving a gift to Jesus. The Bible teaches that when something is done for the needy the task is considered done for Jesus. Many men and women offer services and/or finances to the needy knowing this pleases God, but the deed/gift actually means much more! This is an actual gift given to Jesus. The goal set to read the Bible everyday is an actual gift for Jesus.

True, doing these services for others or ourselves is expected because God's Word says He wants us to...but think about this--God considers it an exciting gift from you. One that makes Him proud to have you in His family. One that causes Him to put a token on a heavenly refrigerator to show the angels. One that causes Him to sing (Zephaniah 3:17).

You may have already given Jesus a gift this year. Maybe this is a new thought and ideas are flooding your mind of what you could give still give Jesus for His birthday. It's never too late. 

Also, God knows how to think outside the box, and He looks at our heart. So the idea that just popped in your head should be considered instead of rejected.

Perhaps some readers struggle to think of an idea of what to give Jesus. Let's list some ideas to help each other.

My present to Jesus this year was presented to my sister Christmas Eve. She has taken on the bulk of visiting my mom for my siblings and me. Mom is suffering from dementia. My sister was so busy running around getting gifts, mailing them to family, baking, working, visiting Mom, etc that she just seemed lonely and a bit tired. I thought back through our conversations and wanted to be Jesus' servant to her. I remembered she recently said she liked Hawaii. Do you know how hard it is to find things related to Hawaii this time of year?

God pulled out the creative stops for this mission. Step one: I found Hawaiian candies at a hardware store! God shared His happy tears while I drove through a deluge of rain to an outdoor mall. The angel helped a young man, the most unlikely store employee, direct my search for the crazy gift mission. He succeeded! A luau Yankee candle and a few other items. God's perfect timing showed when a grocery store employee happen to be loading the shelf with fresh pineapple the moment I went to the fruit section. Last step, I called my sister to see if she was home. She didn't answer. I drove to her house. All the lights were off. I slipped the gift bag full of Hawaiian goodies in between the screen and the door and walked toward my car. Suddenly, her front door opened. The burst of job well done made me feel good.

So, what gift can you or have you chosen to give Jesus this year? Remember, your idea may help someone else think of what they can give, so be sure to comment.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

I hope you have enjoyed the Christmas present story presented during these advent days. 

Scroll down if you missed any of the stories. You will find them on every Monday and Wednesday of the advent season.

Merry Christmas

May God Bless you

This Christmas season

Photo Courtesy

See you next week.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Christmas Card Mystery-Gift Six

Photo Courtesy-Christmas Gift Six

Here is gift six of the Christmas Card Mystery. You can read gift one by clicking here. Gift two here. Gift three here. Gift four here. Gift five here.

The story was posted as separate gifts for you on Mondays and Wednesdays during the advent season. 

May your Christmas bring a ray of shining hope and love to you and your family as you celebrate Jesus' Birthday.

Merry Christmas,
Mary Vee

The Christmas Card Mystery
By Mary Vee

Gift Six

Photo Courtesy

The hot chocolate warmed Anna's throat. She wanted to rip the seal to see what the next clue would be but had to tease her friends first.

"Open it!" Em tapped the red envelope sitting on the counter.

"K." She laughed and ran her finger under the flap. A beige card was inside. 

"What does it say?" Jessica leaned closer and practically tugged the card out of the envelope for Anna.

Anna and her friends read silently.

I can't share a love as deep as Jesus 
But I can share what I have
Nor name all the stars
But I'd like to sit with you and gaze at them
I wasn't with you during medical training 
You were in my every thought though
I can't even write a poem that rhymes
These words come from my heart

No more clues, the last stop for this Christmas game

Every person in this room has accepted the blame
They helped me give you the biggest present I could buy
That's what hometown friends and family do
For a guy who simply wants to say
I love you

"So you did know."

Em and Jessica curled their lips in, no doubt, a desperate attempt to stifle their smile. Guilty as charged.

"What is going on?"

Em and Jessica didn't help one bit with their shrugs. 

"He's here, isn't he?"

Their eyebrows raised. "Maybe," they said together.

"Who is he?"

Their giggles confirmed they obviously weren't going to be of help. She stood to look around the room.
Photo Courtesy

"Here's your order. Can I get you anything else?" The server set three plates of burgers in front of the girls. 

Anna looked back at the plate of food. This server had a different voice than the one who took their order. He stood there, as if waiting for a response. She looked up at his eyes. "You sat next to me on the train."

He grinned.

"You helped me with my suitcase." This was a cruel joke. From the first moment she spoke with him on the train he brought memories of Jess. But Jess was dead. His parents received a letter stating he was killed in battle. She's struggled with missing him all this time. How dare this man toy with her heart?


Stop it. Only Jess pronounced her name in that sing songy way. She looked back down at her food. Jessica and Em must think her a jerk. They couldn't possibly know what this was doing to her. Her stomach churned. All these people came to help give a gift. And all she wanted to do was run home to her TPed bedroom.

He gently set his hand on the counter. "Hook held me captive for a long time. I tried to get free. I tried for so long."

The light reflected a sparkle of blue. The same one Jess had. It can't be. He isn't Jess. Jess is dead.
Photo Courtesy - Peter Pan's Lost boys

"The lost boys found me and helped me escape."

It can't be.

"I didn't know who I was. They took me to a doctor and helped me remember. I needed medical treatment and plastic surgery. Time to realize who I was and who I am."

No. This is not Jess. "Tell me something only Jess would know."

He leaned on the counter and grinned. She accepted the challenge and didn't bolt no matter how much she wanted to. "Well?"

"You kissed Bobby in the first grade."

How did he know that? She'd kept it a secret. "How--"

"Bobby confessed in the eighth grade after I punched him in the nose."

She remembered. That was the day of their Christmas program. Bobby couldn't sing his solo.


He looked down at the card. "I know the words are corny. Never could write a decent poem. This was my first chance to come home. Everyone here agreed this would be the best way for me to break the news. You can't imagine how hard it was to sit by you on the train and not say anything. Not even, I love you."

She had loved him first. And had chosen to never love anyone else. Now he stood here, inches away--alive. So many words pinballed in her mind, none forming one cohesive sentence. Air jagged in and out. She pressed on her chest to slow the deafening heartbeats. 

He walked around the counter and stood beside her. His hand slipped into a pocket and drew out a small velvet covered box. His knee wobbled as he bent, but he safely knelt on the floor. "Anna. You are the only one I could every love. Will you marry me? I don't expect you to give up your medical career or office. I'll find work where ever to accommodate your needs." He took a long slow breath. "I love you. And always have."

Only the refrigerators in the back of the diner made a sound. 

What should she do? She'd made her plans. Had a career in place. Had an apartment. Moved on with her life prepared to be single forever. Because there could only be one Jess.

He blinked a lost boy look, the one that shared big dreams. The same one that begged her to pah-leeze say yes.

The silence in the room tickled. Jess was here, the real Jess, on one knee. All their friends came to see what would happen. She'd be a fool to say no to her hearts big desire. She squirmed off the chair and stood, the smile she couldn't be blamed for--it simply happened. "Yes. Yes. Yes!"

He pushed himself to a stand and embraced her, picking her of the ground. "I've missed you so much." 

"If you only knew how much I missed you." She couldn't help the tear flooding down her cheeks, nor keep up with wiping them away. He handed her a napkin, and she dabbed her eyes. "I love you Jess." 

Their friends and family burst to their feet shouting "Congratulations" and "Hurrah". The owner of the diner served a round of hot chocolate.

There have been similar celebrations in large cities, but none could compare to the town meeting that Christmas in the small town of Graysing where a Christmas card mystery solve bigger puzzles than any detective imagined.

Happy Birthday, Jesus
and Merry Christmas to you my friend.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Fabulous Friday Feature-Brenda Minton

Today we welcome author: 
Brenda Minton

To win a copy
of Brenda's new release:
A Rancher for Christmas

Scroll to the end of the post 
to see how to get your copy.

What amazed me the most about Brenda was her four books published by Love Inspired in 2014. A lot of writers can boast they had a book published in 2014 but not many can say they had 4 published by one publisher in one year. Amazing! To me, this says she has great stories that readers have enjoyed and the publisher knows it. I asked Brenda to share how God has led her on her writing journey. Here is what she said:

On Being Content

When I started writing, I had no idea where the journey or God would lead me. I did have plenty of my own ideas. I researched publishers. I studied the books I enjoyed. I found other authors to socialize with and learn from. And I found that God had a plan. A very distinct plan. I found that no amount of kicking doors on my part would make things happen any differently than they were intended to be.

Because God had a plan.

For eight very long years I wrote, I submitted, I got rejected. I learned. I grew. I continued to push on toward the goal. My first agent, Janet Benrey, always reminded me: Onward and upward.

I have likened the writing journey, in its worst moments, to cooking spaghetti-by tossing it at the wall to see what would stick. My uncle once told me if it sticks, its done. But in my desire to get published, I wasn't always waiting for it to be done, or God's timing.

For a while I gave up what I wanted to write and did what others thought I should do. I gave up what I wanted to write what the market said I should do. In the end I took a deep breath and went back to what was in my heart. When I settled down, took that deep breath, and stopped trying to kick down doors, God opened the door for me.

Every now and then I will have someone ask why I don't write something else, or for another publisher. Those questions can sow seeds of discontentment. When that happens, I have to remind myself that this is the door God opened for me. He has blessed me in this journey. He's given me wonderful readers, a great team of editors and stories that I love to write in a genre I love.

When God opens the door, don't spend your time wanting something else, a different journey, or something you think might be better. Be content. 

I think that is good advice for all of us, not just when writing books, but in life. Be content.


Brenda Minton grew up on a farm in the Missouri Ozarks where she had plenty of time to read books, imagine stories and dream. And one of the things she dreamed of on long bus rides to and from school was to be an author. The dream, planted in her heart, never went away. She took out on the journey and didn't give up. Now she lives a crazy busy life as a pastor's wife, mom to three kids, foster mom to three, dog trainer to four untrainable dogs, circus performer (not really, but her home does feel like a circus) and author of over two dozen books for Harlequin Love Inspired.

Connect with Brenda at: 
Twitter: @Brendaminton
her website:


Martin's Crossing: In this small Texas town, every heart finds a home.

Raised on the run, free-spirited Breezy Hernandez has never stayed in one place too long. But now that she has joint custody of her late brother's twin daughters, she's determined to give them a stable home. Even if it means cooperating with the twins' bossy uncle. Texas rancher Jake Martin learned the hard way that women can't be trusted. But as he and Breezy care for the orphaned girls, Jake begins to open his heart. Is Breezy ready to put down roots in Martin's Crossing, or will she run from the one thing she's always wanted: a family?

Brenda Minton's other 2014 releases are:
Click here to view His Montana Bride 9/14 release
Click here to view Single Dad Cowboy 5/14 release
Click here to view The Cowboy's Reunited Family 1/14 release

To enter the contest for a copy of 
Brenda Minton's  new release: 
"A Rancher for Christmas"
leave a comment (and email address)
AND become a follower of this site, 
OR sign up to receive posts by email
if you aren't already.

Sorry, U.S. only

Winner announced on my facebook page.

Thank you, Brenda, for Joining us This Weekend!

We love chatting with you and are looking forward to reading your comments and questions.

Thanks for stopping by!

Don't forget to comment!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Christmas Card Mystery-Gift Five

Photo Courtesy - Gift Five

Here is gift five of the Christmas Card Mystery. You can read gift one by clicking here. Gift two here.  Gift three here. Gift four here

The story is posted as separate gifts for you on Mondays and Wednesdays during the advent season. 

May your Christmas bring a ray of shining hope and love to you and your family as you celebrate Jesus' Birthday.

Merry Christmas,
Mary Vee

The Christmas Card Mystery
By Mary Vee

Gift Five

Photo Courtesy-site to buy Wonka Bar

The Willy Wonka Chocolate bar foil ripped when Anna pulled. "A piece for each of us." She handed Jessica and Em a piece. They savored the treat even though it didn't quite taste as creamy and intense as Lindt chocolate. 

Em pointed to the wrapper. "Is there a clue inside?"

Both sides of the the two wrapper parts only had the usual packaging marks. "No." She handed the wrapper to Jessica and Em. "I'm not sure what else the last clue could have meant. She checked the card again. It says, 'Charlie Bucket's prize will delight and satisfy.'" 

"Do you think we need to ask the cashier?" asked Jessica.

"Wouldn't hurt." Em walked over to the only employee in the customer area. "Did someone leave a card or a message for us?"

His eyebrows furrowed, puzzled with the question. He shuffled through some papers on the counter. "Nope. Nothing here. But I can ask my manager for you if you need.

"No thanks." 

Anna walked to the door. The diner across the street was packed. "We used to have hot chocolate there every Friday after the game, remember?"

"That's right," said Em. "I had extra cocoa in my mug."

"I had extra whipped cream," said Jessica.

Anna's eyes closed as she savored the rich chocolate memory. "And I had a piece of chocolate on the plate to stir in the cocoa. After standing out in the rain for a whole football game, the flavor warmed me from my head to my toes. Yum."

"You did mention hot chocolate earlier," said Em. "Maybe the clue is over there."

Wouldn't most families eat at home during the holidays? "Yes, but why is the diner packed? Why now?" 

Jessica checked the time on her cell phone. "It's dinnertime. Why not?"

Something sounded really fishy. Dinnertime. Clues. None of this added up as a good reason why the diner was packed when decorated, empty dining rooms waited. "One of you knows what's going on, don't you? C'mon. 'Fess up."

"I haven't a clue. Honest." Em shrugged.

Anna tried to figure out the truth from the look on their faces but couldn't. "My brothers conned you two into a practical joke, didn't they?" 

Jessica shook her head, innocence wrapped in the surprise pasted in her wide eyes. "You know I can't keep a secret from you. Look at my face."

"I can't keep one, either," said Em.

True. They never could keep a secret from her. One would smile or the other laugh and soon the secret would burst from their lips. But they didn't do that this time. They seemed as curious as she was.

They crowded at Chocolatier's front door window and looked across the street. "There are people standing in the aisles over there," said Jessica. 

"What say we crash the party and join the fun?" Anna opened the door. No more questions. Time to move on.

While they ran across the street, Anna's gut rumbled. Not a hungry or sick motion. Not even a concern. It was more of a something is up or is about to happen sensation. Hopefully it was a good sign.

Em opened the door, leading the way inside. The sign reading, "Seat Yourself" stood by the door. So many of their classmates and their families had squished into booths, their tables filled with burgers, fries, and soda. Em yanked Anna's arm. "There're three seats at the counter."

Jessica and Anna nodded. Talking over the din was an impossibility without shouting. Anna sat in the middle and handed out menus. She didn't know why she bothered to open hers, the choices hadn't changed in the last fifteen years she'd come. "I'm having a burger and hot chocolate."

"Me, too." Em closed her menu and set it on the counter.

"Me, three." Jessica set hers back in the holder.

While waiting for the server to take their order, Em scanned the room. "Did you see the latest couples over by the window? Eric and Ariel. Adam and Annabelle. Al and Jasmine."

"I knew they'd get together in time," said Jessica.

"Everyone knew it." Anna laughed with them. But it wasn't a genuine laugh. 

Like a nasty virus, a deep longing ate away the happiness that had bubbled in her heart since she stepped off the train. She closed her eyes. It was wrong to feel this way. This was her hometown and her friends. She graduated from med school and a fellowship with high marks. She had a full list of patients. She had no right to feel empty. 

Who else could boast of two ornery brothers working together to pull the best practical jokes and yet always managed to be there to change her tire or fight off a bully? Her parents encouraged every step of the medical school process sending care packages every week. She had so much.

But the longing grew. 

"What can I get you?" The server's question yanked her from her thoughts, surprising her.

"A burger, hold the onions, and hot chocolate, please."

Jessica placed her order then leaned toward their threesome. "Anna, you haven't told us much about your new office."

"There isn't much to tell. The building is old, but something I can afford as a starter. I really love seeing the kids...."

Their small town diner had a reputation for super fast service. The food wasn't gourmet, but it was fast and tasty. The server set three mugs of hot chocolate in front of the girls. Anna's, though, had a red envelope under hers. She looked up at the server. "For me?"

"I only do as I'm told." He wiped his hands on his apron and returned to his work.

Jessica and Em squealed. "Eeeeee! The next clue!"

Be sure to come back for gift six 
which will be posted Monday.

And feel free to invite others! This gift is for everyone :)

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Christmas Card Mystery-Gift Four

Photo Courtesy - Gift Four

Here is gift four of the Christmas Card Mystery. You can read gift one by clicking here. Gift two here.  Gift three here

The story is posted as separate gifts for you on Mondays and Wednesdays during the advent season. 

May your Christmas bring a ray of shining hope and love to you and your family as you celebrate Jesus' Birthday.

Merry Christmas,
Mary Vee

The Christmas Card Mystery
By Mary Vee

Gift Four

Photo by Mary Vee
Anna held the card out for Jessica and Em to see. "This is going to be a fun adventure."

"I'm driving." Em's car keys jingled when she pulled them from her pocket.

"The town is small and the final Christmas card mystery destination can't be that far. Let's walk." Leave it to Jessica, the hometown girl, to suggest a power walk through a foot of snow.

Anna and Em eyed each other and shrugged. "Okay," Anna said.

The key ring slipped back into Em's pocket and the three set off like Dorothy, Scarecrow, and Tin Man, arm in arm through the snowy path. 

"Where do we go first?" asked Jessica.
Photo by Mary Vee

Anna opened the card again. "Let's see--Mermaids swimming in the pond."

Em pulled them to the right. "This way. We need to go to the fountain at the water park in the middle of the city."

"That's right," said Anna. "There is a statue of Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid in the center of that fountain." 

Snowflakes tumbled from the sky as if the faucet to a storehouse of Christmas fun had been opened. They left the Disneyland woods and scrunched together to walk side-by-side on the walk for half a mile before reaching the park. 

Crossing the street, they met Mrs. Finchley and waved. She raised the collar of her coat and shivered. "Looks like we'll have a long winter this year, girls. Stay warm."

The weather didn't seem so cold. It had more of a festive joy with the sprinkling of snowflakes and laughter with friends. All they needed was hot cocoa. "We will, Mrs. Finchley. Merry Christmas," said Anna.

The snowplows had piled the snow from the street into the park for the kids to sled down. A towering heap blocked the short cut. "I'm not going try this way. Let's walk around the hill. It'll only added a couple of minutes," said Jessica. They dodged sleds and tires sailing past them on the way to the fountain. 

Em sat on the rim where only a thin sheet of ice lined the pool. "Where to next?"

Anna opened the card. "It says to circle around then to the second star."

She closed the card. "I know this one," said Anna. "Peter Pan. We need to turn right on Main Street, which is the next street then walk straight."

"How far do we walk straight?" asked Em. "Didn't the next line give a clue?"

"Yes. Here it is." Jessica pressed the card back open and pointed to the next line. "The number of lost boys is one block too far. All right, Peter Pan expert, how far?"

Anna had read the book and watched the movie a zillion time as a kid. Wendy, John, and Michael figurines lined the shelves in her patients' rooms back at the office. "There were six lost boys in Disney's version. So we need to go five blocks."

Their boots punched through unshoveled snow only a short ways when Anna burst into laughing. "Do you remember the day my brother Ray whined until my mom said we had to let him play with us?"

"The time he used the oak branch for a bed?" asked Em. "He must have been a good fifteen feet off the ground. And Peter Pan popped out from behind the birch shouting, 'Who wants to go to Neverland?'--"

"Right. And he stood up, ready to fly away with Peter--" Anna dabbed a happy/sad tear. Happy because Ray really did look funny. Sad because Jess made the best ever Peter Pan. 

"But tumbled down into the snowy fort we'd made." Jessica laughed. "We were lucky the fully loaded snowball artillery in the fort padded his fall."

"Then he ran home crying to Mom that Peter Pan left him behind."

"Poor kid," said Em.

"Poor kid nothing. That same poor kid short sheeted my bed and TP-ed my bedroom." Anna smirked. "I got Tom and him back, though."

Photo Courtesy from Disney's movie Tangled
At block number five, Anna pulled the card out and read, "Tangled, Terabithia, and Treasured Island is the next line."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get it," said Jessica. "Tangled is the hair salon right there." She pointed.

"Next we need to cross the bridge for the Terabithia clue," said Em.

The bridge's walkway to the right left plenty of room to stop midway and look at the frozen river below. They threw snowballs down, but didn't break the ice. "On the other side is Fredricksen's Jewelers, the answer to the Treasured Island clue. Did you two get your engagement rings from there?"

Jessica held up her left hand and smiled. The sun reflected sparkles from the surface. "Brian wanted it to be a secret, but the ring was loose. He took me there to have it sized. Carl, the owner, put a rush on the order and had it done in two days."

Em ran her right hand over her bare ring finger. "Ryan and I shopped there, too. The one we picked is simply gorgeous. White gold with diamonds laced to snuggle around the big diamond."

Times like this Anna could have been jealous. Of course she wished for a wedding date. Not today, though. Not this Christmas season. In her own little corner of the world, in her own hometown, she could be whatever she wanted to be--proud, happy, and thrilled for her friends. And no one would take that away.

Standing outside Fredricksen's Jewelers, Anna held the card up for them and read, "The last clue is: Charlie Bucket's prize will delight and satisfy."

Em had puzzled brows. Anna didn't know it either. She looked at the card and read the words out loud again. They turned a 350 looking at the businesses around them. 

"What's that delicious smell?" Em closed her eyes.

The three said together, "Chocolate."  

Photo Courtesy-site to buy Wonka Bar
Jessica pointed across the street. "In Willy Wonka, Charlie's chocolate bar wins the prize. Was Charlie's last name, Bucket?"

"It must have been," said Anna. "The next clue is in the Chocolatiers."

When the traffic cleared, they ran across the street and into the Chocolate shop. The cocoa aroma held them prisoners with the most delicious bonds. The sweet scent was so intense Anna could taste the confection.

"May I help you?" the store worker asked.

Anna reached in her pocket for some cash. "Yes. One Wonka Bar, please."

Jessica whispered, "How do you know the clue is in the bar?"

"I don't. I didn't know the other clues would be where they were either. So, I'm guessing. Do you have a suggestion?"

"Not really. But were gonna share the chocolate three ways. Right?"

Be sure to come back for gift five 
which will be posted Wednesday.

And feel free to invite others! This gift is for everyone :)