I should really save this post for December, but it is too good to wait.
For the names of some characters in Except for His Wings, I borrowed or adapted names of family members. I looked back through the family tree to find one or two of these. For example, Miss Missouri Venables is named for Missouri Venable, my great-great-grandmother on my father's side. Today I was perusing the old genealogy again and realized that I had not looked very far back along the branch that produced my mother. And I discovered to my delight that on my mother's side (through her own mother), my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother was one Mary Christmas, born in 1608 in Prestwold, Leicestershire, England. She seems to have come to Virginia in 1640 with her husband, Thomas Ray, and died in 1660. (The dates in her timeline are muddled and contradictory, but no need to bother you with the details.) One of her sons was named Christmas Ray and it is through him that her blood descends to me.
Speaking of fun names, my great-great-great-grandmother, Missouri's mother, was also named Missouri Venable, but prior to her marriage she had been Missouri Lavender.
It would seem that I am not only descended from Christmas but also from a Lavender line.
It explains so much!