Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Keeper Of The Stars

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About The Book:  Keeper of the Stars (Thomas Nelson, January 2016).  Because it's not always love at first sight.  When her mother died from pneumonia, Penny Cartwright was heartbroken. But now, after burying her younger brother just 12 years later, she is devastated. Anger, guilt, and sorrow cloud Penny's mind, and the last thing she wants is to be reminded of her pain---but that's exactly what happens when a stranger comes to town. Trevor Reynolds has been chasing fame for more than a dozen years, but his musical career can't get off the ground. While on the road, an accident kills his young drummer, Brad Cartwright. Trevor wasn't behind the wheel, but he still blames himself . . . and so does Brad's sister, Penny. Now Trevor finds himself in Kings Meadow, determined to follow through on his final promise to his friend. Still feeling the pain of Brad's death, Penny and Trevor must learn that forgiveness is the only thing that can heal their hearts. And if they do forgive, something beautiful may rise from the ashes of heartbreak. Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/20EmYLy  Read a sample chapter: http://bit.ly/1X0pYQ6
About The Author:   Best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heart-warming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, two RT Career Achievement Awards, and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over sixty novels.  Connect with Robin: website, Twitter, Facebook
My Thoughts On The Book:  Robin Lee Hatcher has become one of my most favorite authors and she has done it again with this sweet final story of the Kings Meadow Romance Series. Keeper of the Stars was such a touching love story that dealt with grief and loss.  I don't want to spoil the story for the reader.  I will say that Robin Hatcher is a Queen wordsmith when it comes to writing a sweet, wholesome, and beautiful love story that is romantic but not sickeningly sappy.  I love the faith elements that are present and I love how she portrays the grace of God.  I cannot wait to get my hands on her next book.  This is a must read.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from Litfuse as part of their Blogging Review program.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!  
 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Son's Vow

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About The Book:  A Son's Vow (Avon Inspire, January 2016)
Three months ago, everything changed for Darla Kurtz and her family.  Darla's father was responsible for a terrible fire at Charm's lumber mill which killed five Amish men. And though he, too, lost his life, the town of Charm hasn't looked at her family the same since. Even Lukas Kinsinger---with whom Darla used to have a close friendship.  Now her brother's anger at the town is spilling over onto Darla, and she has the bruises to prove it. The accident already cost five lives, but if something doesn't change soon, Darla fears it will cost her---and her family---even more.  Lukas Kinsinger wants to mourn the loss of his father, but he can hardly find the time to breathe. Suddenly the head of his father's lumber mill and responsible for taking care of his three siblings, he's feeling the pressure. He has also never felt more alone---especially with the new tension between he and Darla. But when he learns of her troubles at home, Lukas knows he can't simply stand by and watch. Someone has to help her before another tragedy occurs.  As Lukas and Darla attempt to repair their families, they discover something deeper than friendship growing between them. But will Lukas and Darla's love be accepted after so much loss? Or will the pain of the past overcome any chance of future happiness?  Shelley Shepard Gray's first book in her Charmed Amish Life series is set in the quaint Amish village of Charm, Ohio, and tells the stories of the Kinsinger siblings who are each struggling to find both forgiveness and love in the face of tragedy.  Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1TnOt9W
About The Author:  Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.  Connect with Sherri: website, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest
My Thoughts On The Book:  I enjoy reading Shelley Shepard Gray and so I was not disappointed with this new book in her The Charmed Amish Life series.  I started reading it as soon as the book arrived at the house and did not put it down until I was finished.  Once you begin reading the story it draws you in and holds you fast. The characters were not your traditional everything is perfect in our world Amish family.  Darla's brother Aaron had some issues with anger management and as a reader you sat anxiously ready for the big explosion.  This book was filled with a lot of anger, judgement, forgiveness, handling of grief that all centered around a fire that killed five men at the mill.    Each character in the story interlocks with all the other characters of the story in their personal journey through the grief that accompanies tragic deaths. The characters emotions were raw and real and the characters came alive on the page, which is the mark of a great writer.   If you enjoy reading Amish fiction, this is definitely a “must read”. 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from Litfuse as part of their Blogging Review program.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!  
 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wet Wednesday Hodge Podge

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! Can you believe this time next week we'll be in to the second month of the year? January did not linger. If you've answered the questions here today, add your link at the end of Joyce's post by clicking here. Do your best to drop by and say hi to the blogger who linked before you, because comments make the world go round. The blog world anyway.
Also, Joyce is very wordy today. Some days are like that on From This Side of the Pond.

 

1. Share a winter memory from your childhood.
I grew up in South Florida.  We went to the beach on Christmas day.  I do remember one year when I was in the 6th grade that it got so cold the bird bath in front of the school froze.  Somewhere I have a picture of me as a school Safety Patrol blowing into my hands because it was so cold. The first time we came to Alabama to see my grandparents for Christmas I did not even own a coat and had to borrow one from my cousin.  It actually snowed enough to make a small snowman and some snowballs.
2. What was on your blog this time last year? (Besides the Hodgepodge of course!) If you weren't blogging, what in the world were you doing with all that free time?


3.Ellen Goodman is quoted as saying, 'We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.  Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives...not looking for flaws, but for potential.'  Do you see more flaws or potential in your life at the start of a new year? Have you done anything specific this month to address either one? Does the new year truly begin for you on January 1, or is there some other month of the year that feels like a fresh start and new beginning?  For me the beginning of the school year has always felt like the time for a  fresh start, clean beginning. There's something about  a new school year that always makes me feel positive and hopeful. I watched War Room over the holiday time.  If you haven't seen it ....DO!  It really challenged me to improve my prayer life.  I am actually working on a War Room for myself.
4.Who's an athlete you admire or respect and why?  I do not usually admire or respect athletes because of all their misbehavior.  However,  Tim Tebow, the Manning brothers, Phil Mickleson, and Cam Newton would be on my list....if I had one. 
5.Do you like cream in your coffee? Whipped cream on your pumpkin pie? Cream cheese on a bagel? Sour cream on a baked potato? Cream of wheat for breakfast? Have you ever had a scone with clotted cream? Of all the creamy foods mentioned, which one sounds most appealing to you right this very minute?  I love cream in my coffee, but just a splash and only the good stuff please. I do love SOME flavored whiteners....but just some.  Whipped cream on my pumpkin pie? Why Yes, please! I am very much like Joyce....and in my case too it might make more sense to ask if I like pie with my whipped cream.  Yes to sour cream on a baked potato, yes to the cream of wheat, and a yes to the scone with clotted cream. While clotted cream doesn't sound all that appetizing, it is so yummy! 

6.Where were you last kept waiting for 'hours on end'? Or for what felt like hours on end? How well did you cope? I can't think of anything recently, but I do have a doctor's appointment this morning.....and it will probably take an eternity.  I read to keep my blood pressure from sky rocketing.
7.Believe it or not, when next week's Hodgepodge rolls around it will be February. Huh?!? Bid adieu here to January in seven words or less. Two months until Spring Break!
8. Insert your own random thought here.  I am copying Joyce's random thought because, I too am participating again this year, in the April A-Z blog challenge and wonder if anyone else here is doing the same? I love doing this!  For those of you who aren't familiar with the challenge, it's a writing exercise where you blog every day in the month of April (except Sundays), using one letter of the alphabet as your daily prompt. April 1 is Letter A and April 30 Letter Z, which is perfect because when you remove Sundays in April you're left with 26 days and 26 letters. For more info or to sign up, click the link posted here.   I will tell you up front, there is everything under the sun in terms of content in the blog world, and you figure that out pretty quickly in this challenge. In the past couple of years the organizers have very helpfully created categories, so when bloggers sign up they can select one to identity their blog genre...humor, photography, travel, book reviews, memoir, zombies... 
I have chosen themes each year....travel, etc....but this year I think I too am going to fly by the seat of my pants.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Bronner


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About The Book:  Bronner: A Journey to Understand (New Hope Publishers, January 2016). God teaches and refines us through pain and suffering. Author Sherri Burgess, wife of Rick Burgess of The Rick and Bubba Show, knows this to be true. After the earthly death of her youngest son, Bronner, Burgess asked, "Why?" And God answered.  Journey with her through this powerful testimony of healing to understand the purpose behind the pain. An empowering resource for book-club discussion or small-group Bible study, this is much more than simply a retelling of an inspiring story. It is a call to action beckoning us to know our Holy God like never before.   Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1nlL3rK
About The Author:  Sherri Burgess' life is a beckoning for you to know a Holy God like you have never known Him before. The wife of Rick Burgess of The Rick and Bubba Show, a nationally syndicated talk radio show, Sherri is someone who now passionately pursues holiness and inspires others to do the same. A seasoned Bible teacher, writer and blogger, she has in recent years answered God's call as a women's ministry speaker. This mother of five stays active with her family in Birmingham, Alabama.  Connect with Sherri: website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
My Thoughts On The Book:  I am a huge Rick and Bubba fan and I remember when this tragedy took place.  I remember sitting at my work desk and crying for this family.  When I had the chance to review this book I knew I had to because this story had touched my life.  This is one of those books that once you pick it up you cannot put it down.  Sherri Burgess's writes a touching story about losing her son and how she/they survive.   It was the kind of book that makes you feel as if Sherri is talking to you personally over a cup of coffee.  The book has the capability to touch hurting people of all kinds.  Sherri Burgess is an amazing person and writer to be able to work through her own pain in this very personal account of loss.  I believe everyone should pick this up and read it.  I guarantee you will not be the same once you are finished. It would be an awesome gift for someone who has lost a child.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from Litfuse as part of their Blogging Review program.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!  


 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Cold And Blustery Hodge Podge

Well that was quick! It's once again time for the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog then skate back over to Joyce's blog post by clicking here to share answers with the universe.  See you there!  Be sure to visit some of the other bloggers posts and leave some bloggy love. 


 1.  Speaking of skating...when did you last 'skate on thin ice', 'skate over the details', 'encounter a cheapskate', or just plain skate?  I was in the line at Walmart.  The elderly lady who was two in front of me lacked a quarter having enough to pay her bill. The man between us told her rather nastily to just put something back.  I could tell she had stuff she needed so I moved behind her and gave the checker a ten dollar bill.  When she pulled out the change I nodded to the elder lady and let her know that I wanted her to give her the change.  I got such a blessing....the man in front of me showed the store what a cheapskate he was.
2. What would you say is the biggest problem of people your age?  Retirement, social security,...health insurance.

3. What's your favorite accessory? Is it something you wear every day, often, or only on special occasions?  My engagement ring.  Before we got serious, Frank asked me if I would rather have an heirloom ring....or something new.  I told him that the heirloom would definitely win hands down.  He took me at my word.  The diamond I wear was my husbands mothers and I love it. She was thrilled when he gave it to me and I accepted it.   It is very simple but full of so many memories.
4. January 20th is National Cheese Lover's Day. Are you a lover of cheese? What's your favorite dish made with cheese? Last thing you ate that contained some kind of cheese?  I am not a huge cheese lover....but when I eat it on a sandwich I love Colby jack.  I do think that mac and cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods.  I had some from lunch last Friday.

5. What's something guaranteed to make you roll your eyes? Political comments and when people talk about the school system....like they work there and know what is going on.
6. Your favorite book seriesI am not a huge series fan....Nancy Drew when I was young would have to be my choice....I could not wait for the next installment to come in the mail.

7. Why did you choose your profession?  Funny you should ask.....If you had known me before I became a teacher you would have never believed it....people I know from my past still shake their heads.  I hated high school and could not wait to get out.  I wanted to be a Social Worker....but back in the day they were a dime a dozen and you could not find a job.  A friend of mine suggested I look in to teaching because I had a great rapport with kids.  I took a few more classes and voila!  I love my job.  I have been doing this for nearly 30 years and look forward to every single day.

8. Insert your own random thought here. When I was young we had Family Game Night at the Sasser house every Thursday night.  Each week someone would pick a board or card game and we would play as a family.  Friends were always welcome to come and participate.  My friends loved it.  I tried to establish the ritual when my children were small....but it did not work well.  We still took time to play board games.  I still love to play board games...especially trivia ones.  How about you?  Do you play board games?  What is your favorite one?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Color My World With Hodge Podge

January is rolling right along, which means it's time for another edition of the Hodgepodge. Please only link to Joyce's post on Wednesdays if you've answered the questions. Thanks! Also, there are not a lot of rules associated with this meme, but I do ask if you link your answers that you take a minute to visit the blogger who linked before you. Everybody needs somebody, right? Here we go-


1. Share one thing that really makes your day.
A Skype from Kat or even a message out of the blue.  It makes me smile.
2.  Lots of these kinds of lists out there, but one found here says the fifteen most colorful places on earth are:  Vernazza, Cinque Terre, italy~Burano, Italy~Havana, Cuba~Rio de Janiero, Brazil~Chefchaouen, Morocco~Balat, Istanbul, Turkey~Menton, France~Jodhpur, india~La Baca, Buenos Aires, Argentina~Guanajuato, Mexico~Capetown, South Africa~Valparaiso, Chile~Wroclaw, Poland~San Francisco, California~and Pelourhino, Salvador, Brazil.
Of those listed which would you most like to see up close and in person? Of all the places you've seen or traveled in your own life, what would you say was one of the most colorful?  Cuba, Rio de Janiero, La Boca in Buenos Aires, Valparaiso in Chile would be on my to see list.  I have been to San Francisco and the painted ladies there are amazing.  Guanajuato is also absolutely gorgeous and a must if  you have never seen it.  Italy is Italy and anywhere you go is breathtaking.   If you cannot afford an expensive trip out of the country there are many places in the U.S. that a filled with gorgeous colors.  How about when the blue bonnets bloom in Texas, or the lavender in Oregan, if you like more earthy tones...how about the Painted Dessert.  Rainbow Row in Charleston is another colorful grand lady. 
3. "Everything you want is on the other side of fear." Jack Canfield In general, would you agree or disagree with that statement? Why?  There is a good bit of truth to that....but the word "everything" tends to make me hesitate.  I truly want for nothing.  I can truly say, "It is Well With My Soul."  I have everything I could ever want.....so how can I fear something that does not exist.4. Imagine you're stranded on a desert island and dessert appears...what do you hope it is? Do you ever struggle to remember which spelling is desert and which is dessert?
Bread pudding with either praline sauce, hard sauce, or a wonderfully tart lemon curd.
Joyce and I must have had the same teacher when we were in school.  I also learned the sweet as sugar trick and never have a problem remembering which is which. 
5.  What song almost always makes you cry?  I am with Joyce again.  I can hear The Star Spangled Banner, sung as it should be...and well....and cry like a baby.  . The same is true of a beautiful rendition of It Is Well With My Soul,  The Dance by Garth Brooks, The Christmas Shoes song, Christmas Carol (about the little orphaned girl),  I'll Be Home for Christmas by Rascal Flatts, Lee Greenwood's God Bless The U.S.A, ...oh and Angel by Sarah McLaughlin....especially if they show puppies and kitties.....yep, you can say I am a sap.
6.  January is National Soup Month.  Everything from soup to nuts, in the soup, thick as pea soup, souped up...which saying most recently applies to your life in some way? Explain.
Thick as pea soup right now....I have driven to school just about every morning in thick fog.
7. Write a two word note to your younger self. What does it say.
Keep Striving!
8.  Insert your own random thought here.  My brother was born on January 21st in 1957.  He died on January 5th in 1663.  Next year he would be 60.  I don't usually dwell on these kinds of facts....but for some reason this year they seem to be popping up in conversations everywhere.  It is kind of weird.  Do things like that ever happen to you?


Monday, January 11, 2016

Mermaid Moon (A Sunset Cove Novel)




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About The Book:  Mallory’s mother died fifteen years ago. But her father’s last words on the phone were unmistakable: “Find . . . mother.”  Shame and confusion have kept Mallory Davis from her home for the last fifteen years, but when her dad mysteriously dies on his mail boat route, she doesn’t have any choice but to go back to Mermaid Point.  Mallory believes her father was murdered and childhood sweetheart Kevin O’Connor, game warden in Downeast Maine, confirms her suspicions. But Kevin is wary of helping Mallory in her search. She broke his heart—and left—without a word, years ago.  When Mallory begins receiving threats on her own life—and her beloved teenage daughter, Haylie—their search intensifies. There’s a tangled web within the supposed murder, and it involves much more than what meets the eye.  As answers begin to fall into place, Mallory realizes her search is about more than finding her father’s killer—it is also about finding herself again . . . and possibly about healing what was broken so long ago with Kevin. She just has to stay alive long enough to put all the pieces together.
About The Author:  USA Today bestselling author Colleen Coble has written several romantic suspense novels including Tidewater InnRosemary Cottage, and the Mercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series. Visit her website at www.colleencoble.com Twitter: @colleencoble Facebook: colleencoblebooks
My Thoughts On The Book:  I am a huge fan of Colleen Coble and this book did not disappoint.  I loved it!  It is one of those that grabs you from the very beginning and does not let you go until the last word on the last page.  I could not put it down.  The story line is filled with nail-biting suspense, mystery with a dab of romance.  It was a thriller and such a pleasure to read a clean book without  violence, sex, and foul language.  I gave this to one of my church teens to read and she loved it too. 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from  Net Galley, and Thomas Nelson as part of their Blogging Review program.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!