Day 24


Every year, a handmade sign graces the center of our Thanksgiving buffet. If you look closely at the photo, you’ll see gloppy, whited-out letters after the words “Happy Thanks.”


My son Andrew made the sign in 2012 to welcome my sister Stacy, brother-in-law Mike and nieces Jordan and Madison to our home. We hadn’t seen them in over a year, and they were flying to Virginia to celebrate the holiday with my family.


When Andrew realized he couldn’t fit the word “Thanksgiving” on the small poster board, he could have given up, but he didn’t. Instead, he whited out everything after the word “Thanks” and embellished the sign with two turkeys and a pumpkin. I love this sign because it shows that, even though life doesn’t always go the way we planned, we can still persevere and make it beautiful.


My sister Stacy T. Simmons, author of Celebrate Lit’s Briar Creek Love series, unexpectedly passed away in October 2022. Like the word “Thanksgiving” on Andrew’s sign, Stacy’s time on earth was cut short. But while she was here with us, she made life beautiful for her family, friends, students, and readers.


Yesterday was my second Thanksgiving without her and I still miss Stacy more than words can express. I’m thankful for the years we shared together and the many wonderful memories we made. But I’m even more thankful for God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, because I know that I will see Stacy again in Heaven.





Stacy T. Simmons wrote uplifting fiction to delight the reader’s romantic sensibilities. She began writing at the age of fifty and was thrilled when her first Briar Creek Love novel, A Promise for Faith, was published in January 2022. Stacy passed away later that year, leaving her second complete novel, A Journey for Hope, and a partial manuscript for A Season for Grace.


As Stacy lay dying, her sister Beth Collins promised she would finish her final book. Through prayer and determination (and with help from Stacy’s publisher and critique group), she fulfilled that promise. A Season for Grace will be published in August 2024.


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