Holiday Cheer – J. D. Faver

by Anna on December 13, 2014

NOTE:  We had technical difficulties on Friday and J.D’s post didn’t make it up.  So if you went looking for it, so sorry for the problems.

Thanks so much for having me as your guest, Anna Kathryn,

I wanted to share a tradition in my family that is probably common to lots of folks. Now, my daughter is carrying on the tradition. For generations, the women in my family go into a baking frenzy at Christmas time. My daughter is getting all amped up. She went through our favorite recipes and made sure we have all the ingredients. We have to mail some, so we’re getting started early this year.

Here is a favorite cookie that is one of the most requested:

J.D. Faver’s Forgotten Cookies

These are light, but filled with chocolate chips and nuts.

2 egg whites

Pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped nuts

1 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with aluminum foil. Beat egg whites until foamy. Add salt and cream of tartar. Beat until stiff. Add sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla, nuts and chocolate morsels.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets. Put into oven and immediately turn off oven. Do not open oven door for at least eight hours. I usually make these at night and take them out the next morning. Carefully remove cookies from aluminum foil. Makes four dozen.

Sandcastle Dreams

To get you in the holiday mood, here’s an excerpt from A SANDCASTLE CHRISTMAS, #5 in the Edge of Texas series. This romantic suspense is set on the Texas Coast very close to the border with Mexico.

It’s almost Christmas, and Rafael, the local sheriff and his wife, Chloe, go by her mother’s house to pick up their two children after they had dinner with friends.


Rafael held Chloe’s hand as they climbed the wooden stairs in front of Sybil’s house. The frame structure was built on stilts as a precaution against a storm surge, since she lived so close to the water.

Sybil opened the door before they reached the landing and held her finger to her lips. “Daniel’s asleep. The little darling played so hard.”

Rafael held the door open for Chloe to step through and then entered behind her. Lacy ran to him and he swung her up into a high arc before settling her onto his hip. “How’s my girl? Were you good for your grandma?”

Lacy nodded against his shoulder.

“She’s always an angel,” Sybil said. “I swear, taking care of these two is the high point of my week.”

He saw a frown cross Chloe’s face, but she quickly replaced it with a warm smile. “Maybe you need to get out more, Mom. You should have come with us.”

Sybil smiled. “Maybe next time.”

“Don’t forget we have a date to go shopping tomorrow morning.”

“And lunch at the Asian place. Don’t worry. I’m looking forward to it.”

Chloe picked up Daniel and they trekked back down the wooden steps to the car. The wind had quieted a bit, but the night air was chilly.

They quickly got the children arranged in their car seats and Rafael started the motor. “I’m going to drive by the church,” he said. “I want to show Lacy the nativity scene all lit up.”

“Good idea.” Chloe gnawed her lower lip, signaling her apprehension.

“Stop it,” he said and reached across to take her hand. “Your mom just needs to have a chance to sort out her own emotional state. This is her first Christmas as a widow and it’s natural she would be feeling a sense of loss.”

“I know you’re right, but I wasn’t here for her the past few years. I wasn’t here when dad was killed, so I want to stand between her and the pain now.” She sent him a look that shredded his heart. “She’s my mom.”

He touched her cheek and she brushed a kiss across his palm. “I love you, baby.”

Heading for the Catholic Church, he reflected again on his great good fortune in having a second chance for a relationship with Chloe, and how happy he was as her husband and father to the two children. He slowed when he saw the church ahead.

Chloe pointed out the window. “See, Lacy. There’s the baby Jesus in the manger with Mary and Joseph.”

Lacy strained to see. She pointed to the brightly lit scene as well. “Baby!”

“I don’t think she can see.” Rafael turned off the motor and swung out of the car to open the door behind the driver’s seat.

“Be careful,” Chloe said. “Don’t let her get cold.”

“How about this?” Rafael took a blanket off the seat and wrapped it around Lacy. He carried her to the other side of the SUV so she could see the lighted nativity scene up close.

“Baby!” she exclaimed again, pointing to the manger.

“Yes, that’s the baby Jesus. And there is his mother, Mary.” He pointed to the freshly repainted star hovering over the manger. “There’s the star that guided the three wise men to the stable.”

Lacy leaned forward, reaching with both arms. “Baby!”

“Okay, let me see if we can get a better look at the baby.” Rafael rearranged the blanket around her and side-stepped the kneeling figure of a shepherd to get closer.

He swallowed hard and hurried back to Chloe. He opened her door and hastily put Lacy in her lap, but pulled the blanket away. “Take Lacy. Someone put a real baby there in the manger.”

Chloe’s face registered shock as his words sank in. “Are you kidding? Who would do something like that? It’s so cold.”

Rafael shut the door on anything else she might have added and hurried back to the manger with the blanket. He leaned inside, seeing an infant wrapped in a towel inside the rough wooden trough. Thankfully, the light shining down kept the temperature a little warmer and the overhang may have kept the wind away.

He wrapped the infant in the blanket and heard the soft kitten-like sound all newborns know how to make. Probably not a week old. He hustled back to the car.

Chloe had secured Lacy in her car seat. She reached for the infant as soon as he climbed inside.

“Oooh, this makes me so mad. What were they thinking?”

“I don’t know, but I’m taking it to the hospital right now. Trust me, when I find the parents, there will be hell to pay.”


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