Monday, January 28, 2013

Can you believe?

Can you believe our yards looked like this last Monday
and today we wore shorts???

Mississippi weather is very CRAZY!

Father/Son Weekend



Hubs and Big Guy drove to Atlanta for their annual Father/Son weekend this past weekend.     One of Big Guy's favorite bands was performing a concert.   Every time I look at a picture of him I can't believe that young man looking back at me is my son.   He is so much taller than me.   He is almost as tall as his Dad.  

As much fun as the weekend was for them, by far their favorite part was surprising our best friends.    They drove to a local Papa John's pizza.   They asked the manager to call our friends and tell them they had won a contest and ask them what kind of pizzas they wanted.    Hubs and Big Guy acted as pizza delivery guys and took them the pizzas.   Hubs said my friend was totally shocked when she opened the door and saw Big Guy standing there with the pizzas.   

Each weekend, family night and vacation is becoming more and more precious because I know my sweet guy will soon leave home.   Oh man... I think I better go get some tissue.

Ashton Park

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Ashton Park
Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2013)
by
Murray Pura


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Murray Pura was born and raised in Manitoba, just north of Minnesota and the Dakotas. He has published several novels and short story collections in Canada, and has been short-listed for a number of awards. His first books to be published in the United States are the inspirational works Rooted and Streams (both by Zondervan in 2010). His first novel to debut in the USA is A Bride’s Flight from Virginia City, Montana (Barbour), which was released January 2012. The second, The Wings of Morning, will be published by Harvest House on February 1. Both of these novels center around the Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.



ABOUT THE BOOK

For fans of the hugely popular Downton Abbey series, comes this equally enthralling story of the Danforth family of Ashton Park. Among the green hills and trees of Lancashire, only a few miles from the sea, lies the beautiful and ancient estate of Ashton Park. The year is 1916. The First World War has engulfed Europe and Sir William's and Lady Elizabeth's three sons are all in uniform--and their four daughters are involved in various pursuits of the heart and soul.

As the head of a strong Church of England family for generations, Sir William insists the Danforth estate hold morning devotions that include both family and staff. However, he is also an MP and away at Westminster in London whenever Parliament is sitting. During his long absences, Lady Elizabeth discreetly spends time in the company of the head cook of the manor, Mrs. Longstaff, who is her best friend and confidante. This friendship includes visits to a small Baptist church in Liverpool that exposes Lady Elizabeth to a less formal approach to Christian worship and preaching than she is used to and which she comes to enjoy.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Ashton Park, go HERE.

Book Review

I am addicted to Downton Abbey so I was really excited to read this book.    If you watch Downton Abbey then you know that there can be multiple story lines and a lot of conflict going on all at the same time.   I found the same to be true with this book as well.   Of course, it would be hard not to have a lot of conflict when you are not only dealing with William and Elizabeth Danforth, but also their seven children and their entire Ashton Park staff. 

I wish I could tell you that I loved this book, but I haven't finished it yet.   There were so many different story lines that I became confused while reading it and had to put it down.    I picked it up to read several other times, but it seemed more work than enjoyment.  

(Thank you to the CFBA for providing this complimentary book to read.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

OUTSHINE

This past weekend was 180 Weekend for the youth of our church.   It is a huge discipleship weekend.   We had 250 students come from across the Jackson Metro area for this amazing weekend.  

Hubs and I personally hosted fifteen amazing 10th grade guys.    We do not have a large house so they were everywhere.   They slept in the living room, the dining room and even in the front entry way.    It was crazy.  Even crazier was trying to feed all of these guys.    Here is a portion of our guys (the rest of them were at a soccer game for a little while.)   They are dressed silly like this for the mega relay which we had on Saturday afternoon.






Of course, our own sweet boys enjoyed the weekend too.    Little Guy walked up to me at the mega relay and I did not know who he was.   See?...   The picture below is Little Guy's group for the weekend.





And my sweet Big Guy and his group of friends for the weekend...
















The best part of weekend was definitely the worship.  Our theme for the weekend was focusing on the glory of God.













Grace Given

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Grace Given
Realms (January 8, 2013)
by
Beth Shriver


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Childhood memories of her grandfather's ranch came alive as Beth wrote her first Amish story. Her parents grew up in the country, so she appreciates pastoral life and respects those who make a living off the land. She visits a nearby Amish community just south of Fort-Worth for an occasional church service or brunch with the bishop and his wife. And on the way home she stops at the community store to get some plum jam!

Beth received a degree in social work and psychology from the University of Nebraska. She worked as a caseworker for Boulder County Department of Social Services before starting a family. Beth and her husband, two children, along with two cats and a beagle live in Texas after moving from their first home in Colorado. She freelances for the local papers in her area and writes columns, devotionals for magazines, and novels in a variety of genres in both fiction and nonfiction. Beth is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Literary Agency.



ABOUT THE BOOK

“Never doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the light.” —Amish Proverb

Elsie Kline can’t forgive her sister for leaving the community. Gideon Lapp helps Elsie through her bitterness by studying the Martyr’s Mirror book that is centuries old, describing their ancestors’ sacrifice for their faith. But he feels there is something more. When the community moved to Texas, they were not welcomed by some of the locals. They have told Katie and Elsie that harm will come to their community if don’t go back up north where they came from. Gideon stays by Elsie’s side as she learns to give grace and to humble herself to accept grace as well. “Beth has a heart for helping others, whether through her nonfiction and fiction writing or in other capacities. It has been my pleasure to read and respond to her work during the past few years of knowing her.” —Leanna Ellis, Author of Facelift and Forsaken and winner of the National Readers Choice Award.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Grace Given, go HERE.

Mystery of the Heart

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Mystery of the Heart
Realms (January 8, 2013)
by
Jillian Kent


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jillian Kent is a busy writer and the alter ego of Jill Nutter, a full-time counselor.

Jill spent the first semester of her senior year of college at Oxford studying British Literature, where she fell in love with England. During this season, she came to appreciate the written word, the rich imagery of romantic poetry like The Highwayman, and historical novels of many types, including Jane Austen and all things Regency.

Jill received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Bethany College in West Virginia, and her Masters Degree in Social Work from WVU, and she brings her fascination with different cultures and societies into her writing.

Jill has always been a romantic at heart, so readers will find a good dose of romance woven through each of her novels. Jill, her husband Randy, and children Katie and Meghan are animal lovers. They currently own two dogs, Boo-Boo and Bandit and a menagerie of cats, Lucky, Yuma, Snow, and Holden. Critters of all assortments make their appearance in her stories.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Lord Eden is intrigued when he discovers Lady Mercy Grayson’s secret, but how can he hope to gain her heart when he is forced to betray her?

Lady Mercy Grayson longs be a physician like her big brother, Devlin, Lord Ravensmoore. However, society would never tolerate a female physician, let alone one who is a noblewoman. So Mercy takes matters into her own hands, disguising herself as a man to get through medical school. But then a male colleague discovers her secret, which is only the beginning of Mercy’s problems that could destroy her dreams forever.

The Prince Regent is awaiting the return of Vincent St. Lyons, Lord Eden, whom he sent on a secret voyage to locate and bring back a relic that some believe possesses the power to heal. St. Lyons discovers Mercy washed up on England’s shore upon his return and agrees to give her safe passage to London aboard a ship of men practicing African Vodun. Both must face treacherous circumstances, difficult decisions, and a growing attraction to one another that could forever change the course of their lives.

As the final installment in the series, the theme of this book is God’s plans for our lives. “Whatever the hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might” (Eccles. 9:10).

If you would like to read the first chapter of Mystery of the Heart, go HERE.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Path of Freedom

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Path of Freedom
Abingdon Press (January 2013)
by
Jennifer Hudson Taylor


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Jennifer Hudson Taylor is an award winning author of historical Christian fiction set in Europe and the Carolinas and a speaker on topics of faith, writing and publishing. Her debut novel, Highland Blessings, won the 2011 Holt Medallion award for Best First Book. Jennifer's work has appeared in national publications, such as Guideposts, Heritage Quest Magazine, Romantic Times Book Reviews, and The Military Trader. She serves as the in-house Publicist at Hartline Literary Agency and co-owns Upon the Rock Publicist. Jennifer graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Communications. When she isn't writing, she enjoys spending time with family, long walks, traveling, touring historical sites, hanging out at bookstores with coffee shops, genealogy, and reading.



ABOUT THE BOOK

2nd in the Quilts of Love series

When Quakers Flora Saferight and Bruce Millikan embark on the Underground Railroad, they agree to put their differences aside to save the lives of a pregnant slave couple. With only her mother’s quilt as a secret guide, the foursome follows the stitches through unknown treachery.

As they embark on their perilous journey, they hope and pray that their path is one of promise where love sustains them, courage builds faith, and forgiveness leads to freedom.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Path of Freedom, go HERE.

Watch the book trailer:

Hurt

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Hurt
David C. Cook; New edition (January 1, 2013)
by
Travis Thrasher


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

After college, he targeted working in the publishing industry and was fortunate to find a job early after graduation. He worked as Author Relations Manager for Tyndale House Publishers, the publisher of his first two novels.

The thirteen years he spent working in author relations taught him the business of publishing as well as the psyche of writers.

Early on, he made a deliberate choice of not wanting to be boxed in by a brand or a genre. Instead, Travis has chosen time and time again to write the stories that mean something to him at that moment. He views his first ten years of being published as training and practice. Those novels in many ways were written for himself.

The four years of writing full time have taught him the discipline and determination necessary to make it as a novelist. They’ve also served to close the chapter on what is hopefully just one era in his writing journey.

The stories continue to fill his head like they did when he was in third grade. The only difference is that Travis now knows what to do with those stories. His goal continues to be to tell stories that move him as well as his readers. He wants to continue to experiment and take risks, but more than anything he wants to provide readers a satisfying experience.

The dream remains the same. To try and write something magnificent. To make up wild worlds full of wonderfully rich characters. To make sense of the world through the stories he tells. And to try and inspire hope with the words he writes.

ABOUT THE BOOK



His Rebellion Will Soon Turn to Hope

When Chris Buckley first encountered the mysteries of creepy Solitary, North Carolina, he had little idea how far he would fall into the town’s shadows. After losing the love of his life, Chris tried to do things his way. He hunted answers. Then he gave up trying to find them.

But now Chris comes back to Solitary knowing there’s a purpose for his being there. As he watches his place in a twisted and evil bloodline become clear, Chris waits for the last battle—and wonders who will be left when he finally makes his stand.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Hurt, go HERE

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Doctor to the Rescue

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Doctor To The Rescue
Love Inspired (December 18, 2012)
by
Cheryl Wyatt


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born Valentine’s Day on a Navy base, Cheryl Wyatt writes military romance. Her Steeple Hill debuts earned RT Top Picks plus #1 and #4 on eHarlequin's Top 10 Most-Blogged-About-Books, lists including NYT Bestsellers. Cheryl loves interacting with her readers and can be found almost daily on Facebook.

Word from the Author:
I do regular giveaways including a Kindle for every 250 people who join (aka "Like) my Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/CherylWyattAuthor and I'd LOVE for word to spread about that. We have a lot of fun there as I ask for frequent reader input on current books, with helpers being mentioned in the acknowledgements and fun stuff like that.


ABOUT THE BOOK



Combat doctor Ian Shupe returns home from overseas with his most important mission: to raise his little girl. But Ian's a single dad, and working at Eagle Point's trauma center means having to find child care. When bighearted, struggling lodge owner Bri Landis offers babysitting in exchange for construction work, Ian accepts. He vows to keep his emotional distance from Bri, yet can't deny that his daughter is blossoming under her tender care. But is he ready to believe that his heart's deepest prayer may finally be answered? If you would like to read the first chapter of Doctor To The Rescue, go HERE.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Our Family Christmas (Part 2)

Saturday morning we started the day with a big brunch.   Let me say, when you are planning a brunch you just can't wrong making a huge batch of Pioneer Woman's homemade cinnamon rolls.   Add to that hashbrown casserole, grits, sausage and cream cheese crescents, ham and cheese quiche... and we were a full family.

After breakfast my Daddy read the Christmas story (one of my favorite things ever) and then Little Guy surprised everybody by playing "Silent Night" on his guitar.   He has been taking lessons for the past nine weeks.    I was so proud of him for playing.

The rest of the day was spent watching football, playing games and decorating gingerbread houses.   It was a wonderful time with my sweet family.   I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did.







Our Family Christmas (Part 1)

We hosted family Christmas at our house this year.    We took a trip up to Canton to see the lights and enjoy beignets and hot chocolate.    Looking at lights is something we used to always do, but has become quite the challenge since our family has gotten so large.    We came up with the idea of getting a van so that we could all ride together.   It really was fun to all be able to ride together.

Here are some photos we took while walking around Canton.   The beautiful young woman in these photos is my niece.   Before you ask... yes, she is just that photogenic in every photo she takes.   Gorgeous isn't she?




Flight of the Earls

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Flight of the Earls
B&H Books (January 1, 2013)
by
Michael Reynolds


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Michael K. Reynolds is the writer and producer of Emmy and Telly Award-winning film campaigns and has more than two decades of experience in fiction, journalism, copywriting, and documentary production. He owns Global Studio, a marketing agency, and is also an active leader in church and business, speaking in both ministry and corporate settings. Michael lives with his wife and three children in Reno, Nevada.


ABOUT THE BOOK



It’s 1846 in Ireland. When her family’s small farm is struck by famine, Clare Hanley and her younger brother, Seamus, set out across the ocean to the Promised Land of America. Five years prior, Clare’s older sister Margaret and her Uncle Tomas emigrated in similar fashion and were not to be heard from again. But Clare must face her fears as she lands in the coming-of-age city of New York. There she discovers love, adventure, tragedy, and a terrible secret which threatens to destroy her family and all she believes. Flight of the Earls is the first book in a historical novel trilogy based on Irish immigration in the 1840s.


If you'd like to read the first chapter of Flight of the Earls, go HERE