Sunday, February 5, 2012

It's the Thought that Counts

Romancing the valentine giveaway hop

The Romancing Christmas Giveaway Hop is being hosted by Reading Romances!

Valentine's Day is a big day for gift giving -- but not just any old random gift. Flowers, jewelry, chocolate... mmm, chocolate. You know, the gifts that most say, "I love you."

I like getting flowers and jewelry (although my husband seems to think I don't like either of those things). And, naturally, I love chocolate. But the best part about any gift I receive is the thought behind it. I know it sounds cliche -- It's the thought that counts -- but for me that thought translates as time. And I always feel most loved when someone spends time with me, or in this case, spends time thinking of me.

My dad would buy gifts for us for Christmas and Valentine's Day. He went and picked them out himself. He didn't send Mom to do it. And when he handed the gifts to each of us, he had a great big smile, because he knew we would like them. He knew just what to do to make each of us feel special (and when you have a group of six daughters, that's not an easy feat.).

The best gifts are those that have meaning for both the giver and the receiver. And sometimes the gift isn't a thing at all, sometimes it's just a sentiment. Like when my son said to me, "When I grow up, I'm going to be a chef, so you'll never have to cook again!" See? Now, he knows the key to my heart!

In The Parting Gift, David Graham put a lot of thought into the gifts he chose for his loved ones, knowing it would be his last chance to offer them something of himself.

Here's the excerpt:

“Not hungry this morning, Mr. Graham?” Mara inquired, moving closer to him to check his pulse and other vital signs. He shook his head feebly. She was busy fussing over him, when he put his hand on her hand to settle her. She stopped abruptly and met his gaze. “What is it, Mr. Graham?” He pointed a weak finger toward the dresser by the door. “Do you need something from the drawer?” she asked. He nodded, his breath ragged.

Mara opened the drawer and pulled out two small packages wrapped in brown paper. Blaine recognized one of them as the one he had helped his father wrap a few days earlier. The same day they had visited his mother’s grave. David gestured for Mara to bring them to him, and then struggled to sit up further in his bed. Blaine supported him as Mara adjusted his pillows. His breaths were labored, and his voice was barely a whisper when he spoke. They both leaned in closer to hear his words.

“Mara, your gift to me was grace. I was angry and bitter and a wounded soul. You didn’t let me waste away like that. You gave me a second life. Thank you.” He took her hand and squeezed it gently. A tear slipped down her cheek, but she continued to smile at the dying man. He held her gaze a moment in silence.

When he turned toward Blaine, a knot formed in his chest, threatening to squeeze all the air from his lungs. “Son,” his voice rasped. Blaine remembered how he had reacted to that name when he had first arrived. “Your gift to me was forgiveness. My heart’s one wish. You reached past the years of pain and took my hand in spite of all my mistakes.” With his free hand he reached out and took his son’s left hand in a frail grasp.

“I know you would give me anything I asked for, but these are the only things I can take with me where I’m going.” He fell in to a weak coughing fit. At the end of it, he gave each of their hands a light squeeze. “I do ask one more thing,” he whispered as he sucked in another labored breath.

“Name it, Pop,” Blaine replied. He could feel the emotion building in his throat. Mara nodded her assent beside him.

“Promise me,” David started, then his voice seemed to catch behind another series of coughs. “I don’t want you to be angry about me dying.” Blaine shook his head.

“It’s gonna be fine, Pop.”

“I know. I know.” A big smile broke across his thin, frail face. “I get to see my wife today. I get to be with Emily.”

Blaine’s heart skipped a beat at his father’s words. “It’s okay, Dad. We don’t begrudge you that reunion.” He slipped his right arm around Mara’s shoulders for comfort. Her tears were flowing unashamedly now, though her smile was ever-present. To Blaine, her smile was like the sun shining through the clouds while it was raining. A perfect recipe for a rainbow. A promise of a future. Even here at the side of his father’s deathbed.

The packages were still lying on top of David’s blankets. He released his hold on their hands and took the packages from his lap. He handed one to each of them. “These are the gifts I want to give you… One for each of you… But I think… you’ll find… they may go together… someday.” His breaths were shallow now. “I love you both,” he sighed.

What is the best gift you've ever received?

For the giveaway: The Parting Gift by Rachel Van Dyken and Leah Sanders 
(heat level: sweet -- genre: Christian romance)

Blaine Graham lost his mother when he was the tender age of eleven. Grief over the loss drove a wedge between him and his father, and soon proved too difficult for him to deal with. At the age of sixteen, he falsified his papers and made the trip across the border into Canada with his best friend to join the Royal Canadian Air Force and enter the war in Europe as a pilot. Ten years later Captain Graham finds himself flying commercial jets in Boston -- his estranged father and his past life all but forgotten, until the day he receives a telegram from his dying father asking him to come home.

The persistent Mara Crawford, a live-in nurse, has experienced her fair share of loss as well. Her attachment to Blaine's father drives her desire to bring reconciliation between the two men before time runs out for her patient. But her best laid plans didn't include falling in love again.

I will randomly choose three winners from those who enter.Anyone who is interested may enter. To be eligible for your chance at a free copy of The Parting Gift leave me a comment with your contact email and follow my blog.

Good luck in the giveaway
and thanks for stopping by today...
Hop and enter the other giveaways!


  1. Thanks for the giveaway :)

  2. Loved that excerpt! Nice giveaway choice!

    Thanks for the opportunity.
    GFC: Sophia Rose
    FB: Sally Michele Shaw

  3. excited about your giveaway- thanks for the chance to win!

    catherine0807 at hotmail dot com

  4. Thanks for the great giveaway!
    GFC & networked blogs - Sara Kovach

  5. thanks so much!

    GFC reading mind

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

  6. This sounds so good! I love Rachel Van Dykens books. Id love to read this. Thank you for the giveaway and the chance to win!
    gfc- shadow_kohler

  7. wow that sound great book and t he cover look great
    desi the blondeat msn dot com

  8. Sounds like a great read! Thanks for offering it as a prize!!

    GFC-Mary @SweepingMe

    mary_reiss @

  9. Thanks for all the comments! I'll be posting and emailing our giveaway winners on Valentine's Day.

  10. Thanks for the book giveaway! Angie Adair

  11. Hi Leah!

    I enjoyed your post. It's the thought that counts for me too not the expense.

    Thanks for sharing that enticing blurb and chance to win a copy.

    pams00 @

  12. Would love to win ! Thanks for the great post, too!

    GFC: Kara D.