Kim Vogel Sawyer is a wife, mother, grandmother, author, speaker, singer of songs and lover of chocolate… but most importantly, she’s a born-again child of the King! A professional teacher, Kim recently closed her classroom door to follow God’s call on her heart to write and speak. Now blessed with multiple writing contracts with Bethany House and Barbour Publishing, Kim enjoys sharing her journey to publication as well as the miraculous story of her healing from a life-long burden of pain and shame. Kim’s gentle yet forthright testimony lends credence to the promise of Ps. 117:2–“Great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.”
Tell us about your first Christmas memory?
The Christmas right before my 8th birthday stands out in my mind because we were living in Mountain Lake, Minnesota. The snow that year was amazing! Drifts reached the peak of the roof at the back of our house, and my brother and I received a sled for Christmas. We would tug it clear onto the roof, then glide through our yard, over the neighbor’s fence, and into their yard. That ride seemed to last forever. I asked for a pair of ice skates that year, too, because the city flooded the park across from our house in the wintertime, but I didn’t get them. I spent the rest of the winter skidding over the ice in my boots (or on my bottom).
Growing up, did your family have Christmas traditions?
Every year we traveled to Hillsboro, Kansas, to spend part of Christmas day with my paternal grandfather and part of the day with my mom’s sister and her family. That spoke a message to me that Christmas is a family day. It is still important to me to be together on Christmas even though my older girls are married and have children of their own. We gather at my parents’ house for an early Christmas supper and packages. I can’t think of anything better than sitting with my family around the tree and listening to Daddy tell the Christmas story. I never tire of hearing it.
A tradition that started when my oldest daughter was kindergarten age was for us to play “Christmas elf.” We either take names from the Salvation Army tree and purchase presents, or adopt a family and make their Christmas a little brighter…anonymously, of course. I hope this instilled in my girls the joy of giving instead of getting caught up in the “gimme-gimme-gimme” mindset that can be so prevalent.
When do you put up your tree?
Traditionally, the tree goes up the day after Thanksgiving. This year, however, my husband is in Baghdad with the Air National Guard, and we will be celebrating Christmas late. To avoid leaving the tree up so long, my youngest daughter and I plan to put it up on Christmas Eve day. We cover our tree in my collection of Precious Moments ornaments, red and green glass balls, and snowmen as well as a handful of blown glass ornaments representing family memories. There is always a Precious Moments angel on top, smiling down at us.
What is your favorite Christmas song or album?
I have the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas CD, and I love listening to it. I also have several instrumental CDs of Christmas hymns. I enjoy singing along with those.
Christmas morning, my parents brother and I would head over to my grandparents’ house and open all our presents there. Or they’d come to our house … so we didn’t open them until we were up, dressed, showered and fed. Relive your childhood Christmas mornings for us.
I have vivid memories of sneaking down the hallway to my brother’s room and waking him long before the sun was ready to shine. Then, giggling and shushing each other, we would creep to the living room, hoping to have a few moments to snoop under the tree before Mom and Daddy heard us and awakened. Even now, I tend to wake long before everyone else. I get the coffee started, then sit beside the tree and wait for my family to join me. I’m still an inveterate snoop, so they never leave me alone for long. :o)
Seems to me snow and Christmas go together, and in Montana that’s almost a given! Tell us about your Christmas setting?
Kansas is incredibly unpredictable. My favorite Christmases are white, but there’s never a guarantee. We’ve had some Christmas days when all you needed was a light jacket to go outside! I’m crossing my fingers and hoping for snow this year.
It’s Christmas Eve… Describe your day and evening.
We usually attend the Christmas Eve service at our church. Supper is light–soup and sandwiches. A quiet, relaxed evening is my preference, getting a fire going in the fireplace and curling up on the couch to watch old videos like Miracle on 34th Street (the original version) or The Sound of Music. I always have my shopping done well ahead of time, so there’s no last minute rush to wrap things–it’s just a nice, peaceful time of togetherness.
Confession time. Shop on line or at the mall?
Neither, for the most part. :o) I gather things over the course of the year while I’m traveling, and I also like to make gifts. Hubby has a woodworking shop, and he’s crafted everything from quilt racks to a China hutch. When the girls were little, I made each of them a handcrafted doll every Christmas; now I’m more inclined to quilt a wall-hanging or frame a calligraphy project.
Christmas grows more and more commercial every year. Setting the hustle and bustle aside, what does Christmas really mean to you?
Giving is the first word that pops into mind. God gave us such an incredible gift when He sent Jesus to be our Savior. He gave us freedom from sin, His holy presence, and eternity with Him! I love to find the perfect gift for my friends and family; it’s my way of remembering how God gave His very best to us.
It’s Christmas day… what’s for dinner? Do you make cookies or other traditional foods?
At our house, Thanksgiving means turkey, Easter means ham, and Christmas means German sausage! Mom makes her unbeatable shredded fried potatoes, my sister-in-law Bev provides a scrumptious strawberry salad (recipe in the Newsletter at my website), and I bring the…ta-da!…green bean casserole. lol Homemade bread, tons of relishes (including Mom’s home-canned pickled beets), and enough desserts to carry us through to New Year bury the table. Mom is the traditional baker, and we all love her peppernuts (a nickel-sized, pecan-laden cookie). The girls and I bake nutbreads to give to the neighbors, and when they were younger we always made a gingerbread house. (I need to start that up again now with my grandsons!)
Tell us about your favorite Christmas memory.
I have to say my most recent favorite Christmas memory was Christmas 2005. Many years ago, my dad wrote a children’s story based on his childhood on the farm during the depression. I sneaked off with it, had one of his former students design a cover, then turned everything over to a P.O.D. company. On Christmas day, Daddy opened a box containing a dozen copies of Jimmy of Cottonwood Valley. I will never forget the look on his face.
What are you plans for this season? Admittedly, Christmas day will seem strange this year with Don gone. All of my girls and I will be with my parents, my brother, and my brother’s family on Christmas day, but our “Sawyer” family get-together is on hold until Don’s return.
This Christmas will be especially sweet when we’re all together again. :o)
AVAILABLE NOW: Montana Mistletoe; Beginnings, Book 2 of the Sommerfeld Trilogy
Merry Christmas Kim, thanks for sharing with us.