Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Essential OIls Rant

Essential oils are the latest fad.  My facebook and twitter feed are filled with people trying to get people to try them.    Let me say I am not against essential oils.  We have tried peppermint oil to help Little Guy's migraines.   I even add a little lavender or vanilla oil to our sheets.   However, for the most part I have ignored it until recently some people decided to make ridiculous claims.

"Essential oils will kill/cure/prevent cancer."

"Essential oils will cure/prevent chronic illness."

That was when I began to notice just how crazy this had gotten.   Let's be real.  All of these esssential oil companies are multi-level marketing companies.  For the most part, the people who sell these products know nothing about medicine.   

I have a friend who is a certified aromatherapist and ER nurse.   She says you should never ingest essential oils or apply them full strength direct to your skin.   I trust her a lot more than I do some housewife who is trying to sell me products from some multi-level marketing company.

Next time you see someone talking about these oils.   Pay attention to what you see.  They not only use and ingest these oils, they are giving them to their children.  

I recently went to a family event where one of our family members was diffusing essential oils.   A diffuser doesn't just stay in the room you are using it.  It wafts all over the house.  We all had to endure those disgusting smells for the entire time we were there.   

I am not sure who started this fad, but someone somewhere is making a lot of money.   Eventually it will fade away just like every other bandwagon that people like to jump on.   Hopefully this one will fade away sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014



We spent our second Thanksgiving in Wears Valley, Tennessee with my husband's family.   Wears Valley is tucked between Townsend and Pigeon Forge.  It is quiet and beautiful and out of all the tourist craziness.  

My brother and sister-in-law made all the arrangements and were waiting for us when we arrived.   We could spend days with just them.  We are more than family.  We are friends.   It was fun to have our nephew and his wife join us for the week also.   My nephew is a successful architect and they are busy completing gutting and renovating their new home.   To say their schedule is insane is an understatement.    I was more than thrilled to have my sister-in-law's dad join us.   He and I have a "partners in crime" type relationship.   We pick on each other and tease each other like crazy.  

My partner in crime, Ron, and I


One night while we were there he had been teasing and I decided to get him back.   Ron is a big coffee fan so I pretended to take him coffee.  However, the cup was filled with confetti.  Just as I got to him I "spilled" his coffee in his lap.   It was so funny, but now he is planning his revenge.   *insert mysterious music here*

One of our goals while at the cabin was to get some pictures.   We do not have photos of the grandparents with their boys or grandchildren so we wanted to make that a priority.  Of course it was snowing/raining the morning we planning our photo session so it was quite a challenge, but we did manage to get a few.  




Thanks to my amazing sister-in-law's organizational skills we had incredible meals. In fact, my boys are still talking about her chicken tetrazzini.   I organized myself to help with breakfast and snacks; however, the mystery of what happened to my silver freezer bag may never be solved.   I packed it and after that it disappeared.  It has never been seen again.   Our best guess is that an animal took it off.   I guess they enjoyed all those sausage cheddar muffins and ingredients for other food.









We definitely did not stay in the cabin the entire time.   It is just too beautiful not to explore the surrounding areas.   The boys went hiking.  We also enjoyed riding the downhill alpine coaster which is basically a go-cart on a roller coaster track.   There was go-carts, shopping, movies, pizza, and lots of football!



Waiting to ride the alpine coaster.  It was cold!!
Uncle Larry and Big Guy share a love of music and vinyl records

Big Guy exploring Laurel Falls
Little Guy ... King of the world!

I realized after I got home that I didn't get a picture of my husband and boys together.  But I did get a couple of my boys.    Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  














Swept Away

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Swept Away
Abingdon Press (November 18, 2014)
by
Laura V. Hilton
and
Cindy Loven


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Award winning author Laura V. Hilton has penned many novels, including the Amish of Seymour series, the Amish of Webster County series, and the forthcoming Amish of Jamesport series. A member of ACFW, Laura is also a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with over a thousand book reviews published at various online review sites. A pastor’s wife, stay-at-home mom, and home school teacher, Laura and her family make their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.

A lifelong reader, Cindy Loven is an active church wife of a minister and mother to one son who is a home school graduate. Cindy and her family reside in Conway, Arkansas.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Sara Jane Morgan is trying to balance teaching with caring for her ailing, stubborn grandmother. When school lets out for the summer, the plans are for Grandma to teach Sara Jane to quilt as they finish up the Appalachian Ballad quilt Grandma started as a teenager. But things don’t always go as planned. Andrew Stevenson is hiding from his past—and his future. He works as a handyman to pay the bills, but also as an artisan, designing homemade brooms. When Sara Jane’s grandmother hires him to renovate her home, sparks fly between him and his new employer’s granddaughter. Still, it doesn’t take Sara Jane long to see Drew isn’t what he seems. Questions arise, and she starts online researching him. What she discovers could change her life—and her heart—forever.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Swept Away, go HERE.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thankful for Thanksgiving break





Thanksgiving break... oh how we need you!   Just a few days of down time from this crazy, busy, mind draining schedule of school.   Physics, physical science, Apologetics, trigonometry, research writing, study skills, economics, digital design class... those are just a few of the classes that keep us moving day to day.  By far, 8th and 12th grade has been our most challenging year.  





So for the next week we will tuck away all things "school" and enjoy relaxing with our family.   Thank you, Lord, for these down times and this time called Thanksgiving!   We have so much to be thankful for in our life. 

Promises to Cherish

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Promises to Cherish
Howard Books (October 7, 2014)
by
Elizabeth Yount


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Elizabeth Byler Younts is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers. She is an Air Force officer’s wife and a homeschooling mom with two young daughters. She makes her home wherever her family is stationed. Elizabeth was Amish as a child and after her parents left the church she still grew up among her Amish family and continues to speak Pennsylvania Dutch.



ABOUT THE BOOK

As World War II draws to a close, nurse Christine falls in love with roguish Amish boy Eli and must choose between a new, uncertain life in the Amish faith or face the judgment of a conservative postwar American society for her past mistakes.

It’s 1945, and Christine Freeman is a nurse at Hudson River State Hospital, where she works alongside members of a Civilian Public Service unit. Eli is one of the conscies—conscientious objectors to the war—and he is doing his best to become a man of character instead of the immature heartbreaker he used to be back home in his Amish community.

Christine and Eli are friendly, but when an old acquaintance, Jack, returns home from the war, Christine’s world is violently turned upside down. Eli, heartbroken to see his friend so hurt, offers her an escape within his Amish community. Despite her misgivings, Christine is fully embraced by Eli’s community. She slowly begins to feel valued and loved as she learns the Amish way of life.

Christine finds herself falling for Eli. But soon, the abusive Jack discovers Christine in her Amish hideaway and starts causing trouble for the quiet community. Christine can’t see herself becoming Amish, and she knows that if Eli leaves the church to be with her, he will be shunned. Will she escape Jack and possibly have to give up the one thing she holds most dear, or will she follow her heart and promise to cherish the Amish man who loves her?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Promises to Cherish , go HERE.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dreaming on Daisies

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Dreaming on Daisies
David C. Cook (October 1, 2014)
by
Miralee Ferrell



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Miralee and her husband, Allen, live on 11 acres in Washington State. She loves to minister to women (as a certified Lay Counselor with the AACC) or through her writing, riding her horse, working in her flower beds and playing with her dogs—her 7 lb, long-haired Chihuahua, Lacey, spends a lot of time on her lap while Miralee is writing. Miralee speak at various women’s functions and has taught at writers’ conferences. She’s been writing since 2005, and her first book released in 2007. Since then, she’s had 10 more books release, both in women’s contemporary fiction and historical romance, and she’s had the honor of being a best-selling and award-winning author.



ABOUT THE BOOK

When her father's debts, brought on by heavy drinking, threaten Leah Carlson's family ranch, she fights to save it. When handsome banker Steven Harding must decline her loan request, he determines to do what he can to help. Just as he arrives to serve as a much-needed ranch hand, Leah's family secrets—and the pain of her past—come to a head. They could destroy everything she's fought for. And they could keep her from ever opening her heart again.

This is western historical romance that offers hope and healing to the deepest wounds in a woman's past.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Dreaming on Daisies, go HERE.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Saved by the Fireman

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Saved by the Fireman
Love Inspired (October 21, 2014)
by
Allie Pleiter


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and nonfiction. An avid knitter, harp player and non-reformed chocoholic, she spends her days writing books, doing laundry, running carpools and finding new ways to avoid housework. Allie grew up in Connecticut, holds a BS in speech from Northwestern University and currently lives in suburban Chicago, Illinois. The "dare from a friend" to begin writing eight years ago has blossomed into a career that includes numerous public speaking engagements, two books on parenting; Becoming a Chief Home Officer and Facing Every Mom's Fears and now novels for Steeple Hill Books. She is the mother of two children and, most recently, a Havanese dog named Bella.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Building their future

Charlotte Taylor isn't good at playing it safe. Reeling from the sudden loss of her job and her beloved grandmother, Charlotte knows buying a dilapidated cottage in Gordon Falls isn't exactly practical. Especially since she just hired the one man who may love the property more than she does to help renovate it. Volunteer firefighter and part-time contractor Jesse Sykes can't stay mad at Charlotte for very long. Though she snatched up the home he'd planned on purchasing, Charlotte's dreams are big enough for both of them…if only she'd let him in. Charlotte promised she'd never fall for a first responder, but is it already too late?

Gordon Falls: Hearts ablaze in a small town

If you would like to read the first chapter of Saved by the Fireman, go HERE

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Quilted by Christmas

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Quilted by Christmas
Abingdon Press (October 21, 2014)
by
Jodie Bailey


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A note from the Author: Well, I’m a regular ol’ person. Who just happens to write. A lot. Probably more than I should. I firmly believe that God created me to be a writer. From the time I learned how to string letters together into words I’ve been making up stories. Believe me… I have a very rich imagination. I used to think I was weird; now I know God just put me together that way. I can’t even watch commercials without expanding them into stories in my head. I am humbled and honored all at the same time that God looked down from heaven on me and said, “Jodie, do what you love.” Wow… how awesome is that?

I have always loved to write. I have stories that I wrote when I was in first grade. I used to sit at my grandmother’s yellow electric typewriter for hours, banging out my own little stories. When I was eleven, she bought me a typewriter of my own (It was 1984, okay?) and I would write and write on it. I wrote stories out by hand, and they ran to hundreds of pages. I got my first computer when I was eighteen, and the first thing I did was write a story on it. I wrote for school. I wrote for fun. I wrote for my friends. I’d get them on the phone and make up stories for them. (I earned the nickname “Dreamweaver” for that one. Nobody calls me that anymore, but it still stands as the coolest nickname I ever had.)

ABOUT THE BOOK

Taryn McKenna believes she’s easy to forget. Abandoned by her parents and left behind when her high school sweetheart joined the army, she vows to never love again and throws herself into her love for the outdoors and the pursuit of a college degree—something no one else in her family has ever accomplished. Her goal, as a young teacher in the hills of North Carolina, is to leave a legacy in the lives of the middle-schoolers she teaches. When Taryn’s grandmother Jemma, the only other person who ever held her close, has a heart attack that reveals a fatal medical condition, Taryn is corralled into helping Grandma work on a final project—an Irish chain quilt that tells the story of her history and the love Jemma knows is out there for Taryn. As the pieces of the quilt come together, Taryn begins to see her value. Can she learn to believe that God will never leave her behind even though others have?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Quilted by Christmas, go
HERE.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Finding Mercy

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Finding Mercy
David C. Cook (October 1, 2014)
by
Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Michael Landon Jr., son of television legend Michael Landon, is an award-winning storyteller, first in television and film, and now in books. His print works include One More Sunrise co-written with Tracie Peterson.
****
Cindy Kelley is the co-author of the novel The Silent Gift, and Traces of Mercy. Her career as a screenwriter with long-time writing partner, Michael Landon, Jr., began with the adaptation of Margery Williams’ classic story, The Velveteen Rabbit, which had a theatrical release. Several television movies followed, most notably Love Comes Softly, (based on Janette Oke’s novel) which won a CAMIE Award and the Epiphany Prize for Movie Guide’s most inspirational television movie of 2003. Cindy and her husband, Jim, make their home in the Southwest; have three adorable grandchildren and four big dogs who rule the house.

ABOUT THE BOOK

When Mercy abandons Captain Elijah Hale to search for her true identity, he goes after her. With the threat that bounty hunters might be hot on her trail, Mercy does all she can to stay ahead of the danger, frustrating both the bad men who are after her—and Captain Hale who wants to find her and escort her safely home. But when she stumbles upon clues that help her learn who she is and where she's from, the danger escalates and she has to learn to keep her friends close and her enemies even closer—if she can determine which is which!

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Finding Mercy, go HERE.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Senior Lock-In

Schools were out for a fall holiday this past Monday so Big Guy and his senior friends thought it would be a great time to do something fun.   They planned a Lock-In and convinced our awesome worship pastor to let them stay overnight at their house.   They all promised to come to the three hour Christmas rehearsal if he would let them so I think it turned out to be a good trade off.  *smile*


All crashed in the living room watching movies.


Waffle House


A great group of Senior friends!

When everyone else left church for the evening the kids played "capture the flag" and "sardines" in the church.   So much fun.  I know my youth group had the best time playing "sardines" in our church and it was tiny compared to our church.  

They all piled up in their cars and went to the late showing of "Mazerunner".  When that let out they were hungry so they went to one of the only places open after midnight... Waffle House.   From what I heard they put away a TON of food!

After that they went over to the pastor's house to crash in their living room where they would talk and laugh all night.    Another great senior memory made for sure!



Molding and Shaping

A deep voice is coming from the dining room.  It is familiar, but also so unfamiliar.  Something so new to me. 

It is my oldest son.   Talking with his study group about an assignment they are trying to complete for his Apologetics class.    My son is very quiet, reserved and introverted.  However, I have quickly come to realize that the entire group has given him the leadership reigns.   I know he did not volunteer for this because this is not his nature.   However, I am listening to him confidently facilitate this discussion.   

I would like to point out that I am not eavesdropping on him.  We are in our normal routine.  Since he works in the dining room whatever he does is pretty open.  

Still, it is unique to see this new side of him.   One of the members of their group has answered the question wrong.   He is the only one.   It would be easy to say, "You need to correct yours." but  I hear my son say, "I would like to hear more about what you are saying.  Clearly your opinion is different which means we all clearly have something to think about before we make our final submission."   In the end they guide this one around to realizing where he misunderstood.   However, it would have been so easy to dismiss him as wrong and go on.

Senior year have had so many moments where I have wanted to cry.  Today has been one of those days when I have seen how God is molding and shaping him in the man He wants to be.    Today was such a surprise.  I can't wait to see what else God uncovers in this amazing young man He has blessed me with. 

Thunder (Stone Braide Chronicles)

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Thunder (Stone Braide Chronicles)
Revell (October 7, 2014)
by
Bonnie S. Calhoun


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Bonnie S. Calhoun is Owner/Director of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, owner/publisher of Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Northeast Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and the ACFW ‘2011 Mentor of the Year.”

She loves to write, but it doesn't make her happy unless there are the three B's...body count, blood, and blowing things up. She also has mad skills at coding HTML, and website design. And she lives in a log cabin in the woods with fifteen acres and a pond full of bass, though she'd rather buy fish at the grocery store. Bonnie shares her domain with a husband, a dog, and two cats, all of whom think she’s waitstaff!

Her sites are:
http://bonniescalhoun.com
https://www.facebook.com/bscalhoun
https://www.facebook.com/bonniescalhoun
https://www.goodreads.com/BonnieSCalhoun
http://www.pinterest.com/bonniecalhoun/
https://www.youtube.com/user/BonnieCalhoun

ABOUT THE BOOK

In post-apocalyptic America, Selah Chavez is crouched in long grass on a shore littered with the rusted metal remnants of a once-great city. It is the day before her eighteenth Born Remembrance, and she is hunting, though many people refuse to eat animal flesh, tainted by radiation during the Time of Sorrows. What Selah's really after are Landers, mysterious people from a land across the big water who survive the delirium-inducing passage in small boats that occasionally crash against the shoreline. She knows she should leave the capture to the men, but Landers bring a good price from the Company and are especially prized if they keep the markings they arrive with.

Everything falls to pieces when the Lander Selah catches is stolen by her brothers--and Selah wakes up the next morning to find the Lander's distinctive mark has suddenly appeared on her own flesh. Once the hunter, Selah is now one of the hunted, and she knows only one person who can help her--Bohdi Locke, the Lander her brothers hope to sell.

With evocative descriptions of a strange new world that combines elements of scientific advances, political intrigue, and wilderness survival, Bonnie S. Calhoun weaves a captivating tale of a world more like our own than we may want to admit.

You can read Tremors, the prequel to the series for FREE on Amazon HERE.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Thunder (Stone Braide Chronicles), go HERE



Book Review


I read the preview to this book which was excellent!   I did not receive this actual book, but I have read all of Bonnie's other books and she is an incredible writer.   If you love this type of genre I have no doubt you will not be disappointed. 

Days Like This Remind Me

Sipping my coffee watching the sweet family of deer nibble their morning feast.

All the windows are open to let in the crisp refreshing air that we are experiencing today.

The smell of freshly cooked sausage and biscuits are wafting through the house hopefully tempting my breakfast hesitant boys to eat.


It is quiet. 

We have no outside appointments on our agenda today.  

Church is tonight, but that is such a natural part of our life that it is not considered a check on our list, but as natural as breathing. 



We will study, talk, laugh, read, have lunch together, study some more and enjoy the day with no interruptions.   If we decide at some point to hop in the car to go to the library to research or get ice cream, we can.  With no guilt or worry.

Days like today are why I love the beauty of homeschooling.  

Thank you, Lord, for giving me days like today in the midst of our busy schedule to remind me of why I love this so much.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Operation Mighty Men

I woke up this morning excited about football.  I wandered into the kitchen to grab my coffee and and flipped on Game Day.  As I was waiting for my brain to catch up to the caffeine I was reading a few emails and Twitter.  

All of a sudden I was awake.  I saw a message from Cliff.   Here is what it said:

"The largest child sex trafficking bust in law enforcement history is about to begin.  Prayers are appreciated."

Wait?  What?  What did I miss?

I began reading through Cliff's other messages and found what I had missed in his other messages.   Cliff had put together a group of men to execute what would be the largest sex trafficking bust in law enforcement history.   They nicknamed their group after David's warriors from the Bible. 

For months they not only had prepared physically and mentally, but they had prepared spiritually for this mission.  A mission to rescue kids as young as 10 and as old as 14.  Ten year olds.  They are worth more Cliff says because they are virgins.   Which makes me sick to my stomach because it insinuates that the 14 year olds are not.   Oh the horrors they have already seen.  

They arranged take downs in three cities simultaneously.   They arranged with these evil men to have these children brought in for "parties" as the men posed as clients.   Once there they would rescue them.  

Not long after the sting began Cliff messaged that they had been introduced to an 11 year old boy that they were willing to sell for sex.   After that introduction, the team loaded up with five trafficking chiefs to the sting house.    Those of us being kept informed were praying and waiting for updates.  My stomach ached for Cliff and his team, but especially for those children.   Over 100 children who were within minutes of freedom.   They had no idea.  They were literally about to be set free.   Please, Lord, allow it to all go smoothly and flawlessly.

When they reached their destination they sat down to eat and broker their deal.  Imagine sitting down to eat and talk about how much you were going to pay for a child's life.   To rescue them like these men were doing I would pay anything.  To do what most people would do with these children.... sick, unbelievable, evil.   My stomach hurt.

Soon they had an entire notepad listing the children and how much they were worth.   Five young ten year old girls wept as they thought they were being sold for $1,000 because of their status as  virgins.   I weep for the thought of all the ten year olds today who aren't being rescued and will be sold.   Oh, God.  How can you stand this evil world?

I felt grounded again as Cliff messaged us their purpose. It came from Psalm 82:4, "Rescue the weak and the needy. Deliver them from the hand of the wicked."  

My coffee is cold and football means nothing to me as I sit here waiting for Cliff's next update.  Waiting to see if that crucial moment when they announce that they are law enforcement has gone well.   I am praying God's light will shine in the midst of all that evil darkness.   That those precious children will see these Warriors for what they are.  A extension of God's saving grace.   Hope.  A future.  

I cannot imagine what it feels like to be that team as each minute that passes seems like an eternity.  One hour passes and I pray that no news means that they have taken the traffickers captive and are comforting those children.   I pray as I wait.

Finally he posts and says, "They are safe!  100 children have been saved."


I weep.  I laugh.  I am so relieved.  

I also know this fight isn't over.  It is so far from over.   These 100 children are only a tiny portion of the sex trafficking problem around the world.  

How did I become aware of this problem?  Through an incredible man named Cliff Graham and an organization, Operation Underground Railroad.








Get involved.  Pray.  Donate.  Tell someone.  But don't pretend this problem doesn't exist.   You know now and you are accountable... to God.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Blue Cards and Forgiveness

I am going to physical therapy three times a week for my feet.   If it isn't one thing it is another, you know? 

Anyway, physical therapy lasts about an hour and while they are working on my feet I usually chat with the people around me or the therapists working.    I have had some great talks.   It amazes me that every moment of every day is a mission field. 

Today, a woman who works in another department, came in.   She needed to talk with my therapist, but stood around to chat.   Someone asked her if she were married.   She responded by saying, "I have done that once, but never again.   I just play around and save up my blue cards for Sunday."   I had no idea what she meant so I asked her.  

"Oh I just write my sins on the blue cards and turn them in."  

I was surprised.   I was also curious.  I asked her what church she went to and she told me.   After a little more discussion I discovered that the "blue" card was pretty much a prayer request card, but apparently one slot said "do you want to be forgiven of your sins?"  

I asked her if she felt turning in her blue card gave her forgiveness of her sins.    She wasn't sure.   In fact, she said right now she was so determined to sin that she was "saving them up" until she was ready to turn them all in at one time.  

I wish I could tell you that we had a great coming to Jesus moment together.   We didn't. However, we did have some great time of discussion.  I tried to just listen to her and tell her that God was such a forgiving God.   He didn't care about blue cards.  He just cared about our heart.  

I had to walk around for another part of my therapy, but when I came back she was waiting.   She told me goodbye and thank you.  

I hope I get to see her again.  I hope I get the chance to talk, but if not I pray God continues to whisper in her ear that He loves her and that He is there to offer forgiveness willingly.  

A Love Undone

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Love Undone
WaterBrook Press (September 9, 2014)
by
Cindy Woodsmall


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA best-selling author who has written fifteen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as one of the top three Amish fiction writers.

She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings’ Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.

Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest. (Since that last line sounds sad and bare, I thought I’d add an “epilogue” of sorts. Our two oldest sons are married and live only a couple of miles from my empty nest, and below are my three adorable grandchildren! ♥)

ABOUT THE BOOK

A husband and son abandoned to forge a path alone.
A young woman who sacrificed her dreams.
How will the God of grace and hope help them find their way?


At nineteen years old, Old Order Amish Jolene Keim was on the brink of happily-ever-after when everything changed, stealing the future she expected and burdening her with an unbearable decision. For the next ten years, Jolene throws herself into family life—and then she meets Andy Fisher. The horse trainer and father to a sweet nine year-old challenges her and holds up a mirror to issues Jolene has been unwilling to face.

Andy is cautious about his deepening friendship with Jolene, but he believes she knows the truth about him – that he is a grass widower. As a man whose wife has abandoned him six years past, he is unable to divorce or remarry according to the Amish ways. Andy has wrestled with God concerning his reality, and he had found peace with the solitary future facing him…until he met Jolene.

As Andy and Jolene find themselves confronted by difficult choices, will they trust in God's guidance—or will the allure of their deepening friendship only lead to further temptation?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Love Undone, go HERE.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Catalyst 2014

Catalyst has been going on in Atlanta.  I wish I had been there, but I have been following the Catalyst hashtag (#Catalyst14) on Twitter like a stalker.  

Here are some of my favorite quotes from just two of the amazing speakers.



Christine Caine
Twitter
Website

“The pain of recovery is sometimes worse than the pain of the injury. Allow Jesus Christ to heal your soul.”
“We have a lot of leaders that want to change the world, but don’t want to change themselves!”
“We must refute the lies of the enemy with the truth of God’s Word.”
“If Jesus is not enough for the Church/Christians, how can we claim He is enough for the world?”
“The church isn’t reaching the world because it’s too busy keeping Christians on life support.”
“If we don’t build our Spiritual Core our world is going to collapse.”
“Praying the sinners prayer does not heal you. It saves you…”
“We need to replace the lies of the enemy with the truth of God; to do so we need to know the truth of God.”

Andy Stanley
Twitter
Website

“The church must capture and keep the minds and hearts of students.”
“If we start to dumb down what has been made clear, where does that stop?”
“The church must stop expecting outsiders to act like insiders, while insiders act like outsiders.”
“The church should be the safest place on the planet to talk about anything, including same-sex attraction.”
“Jesus doesn’t take sides; He takes over.”
“Christians need to be known not for what we’re against, but for Who and what we are for.”
“Why create churches for 50-year-olds and let culture have the students?”
“What is this generation of students worth? EVERYTHING!”


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Precious Seconds





I spent almost three hours this weekend going through all the photos that I had boxed up.  You know the ones.  Photos BD (Before Digital).   Tons of pictures that I had taken when the boys were younger, but never got around to scrapbooking.  I had great intentions, but I was just the worst scrapbooker ever.   But that is a different story.  *sigh*  I am preparing them to be scanned. 

Looking at all those reminding how fast time has gone.  My boys have grown up so quickly.   I am so thankful for every second I have had with them.    All the laughter, tears, growing, learning, and playing.    They have grown up a lot since they were my sweet little skateboarding guys, but every day is still precious.  I have a feeling every day will always be.



Hidden in the Stars

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Hidden in the Stars
Abingdon Press (September 16, 2014)
by
Robin Caroll


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. Robin’s mother, bless her heart, is a genealogist who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage—two aspects Robin weaves into each of her books.

When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty-plus years, her 3 beautiful daughters, 2 precious grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home—in the South, where else?

ABOUT THE BOOK

Following an attack that killed her mother and stole her ability to speak, 21-year-old Sophia Montgomery has no choice but to accept her estranged grandmother’s offer to return to their family home. Although detective Julian Frazier is working hard on the case, Sophia unknowingly frustrates him because her inability to speak thwarts her eyewitness evidence. The fact that Julian is undeniably attracted to Sophia doesn’t help either, so Julian hides his feelings as concern for a trauma victim and focuses instead on finding the killer.

Little do they know, the clues to solving the case may be right in front of them, displayed in Sophia’s mother’s “special” quilt design. Who will realize the secret Sophia’s unwittingly been hiding in plain sight? When the truth comes to light, will Sophia find her voice again? Or will the murderer—still at large—silence her forever?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Hidden in the Stars, go HERE.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Curious Case of the Missing Figurehead

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Curious Case of the Missing Figurehead
David C. Cook (September 1, 2014)
by
Diane Noble


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Award-winning novelist Diane Noble writes stories that tap into the secrets of the heart.

With more than a quarter million books in print, Diane feels incredibly blessed to be doing what she loves best—writing the stories of her heart.

For the last three years Diane has been honored to be lead author for the popular Guideposts series, Mystery and the Minister’s Wife (Through the Fire, Angels Undercover), and has recently returned to writing historical fiction. She recently finished writing book two of her new historical series, The Brides of Gabriel. Book one, The Sister Wife, and book 2, The Betrayal, which are published by Harper Collins/Avon Inspire, are now in bookstores.

Now empty nesters, Diane and her husband live in the Southern California low desert, near a place known for the lush and beautiful gated communities of the rich and famous.

ABOUT THE BOOK

She’s Passionate about Solving the Case ... with the Town’s Life-Long Bachelor

El Littllefield runs The Butler Did It catering. It’s the perfect cover for her to solve “who-done-its” (nothing too dangerous, please!) in this small university town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. While catering her most important event yet—a fancy retirement dinner for Dr. Max Haverhill, life-long bachelor and history dean—countless guests fall ill, a 200 year-old relic is stolen, and her best friend vanishes. All in the first hour.

As El and Max race to solve the mystery, they discover there’s more to their relationship than simply solving the case. Welcome to Eden’s Bridge—the perfect small town setting for big intrigue, romance, and humor.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Curious Case of the Missing Figurehead, go HERE

Book Review

I thought this book had the oddest name and cover when I picked it up.  Being a "judge a book by its cover" kind of girl, I didn't know what to think.   I was pleasantly surprised because I sat up and read it for almost two and a half hours the first night.  That wasn't good since I started reading at 11:30 and had to be up at 6:00 the next morning. 

El Littllefield runs "The Butler Did It" catering business which also doubles as a secret detective agency.    Unfortunately in this book her catering business becomes the source of scene of the crime and she has to put her skills to work to prove that she wasn't the one who "did it"!

There is also a thread of romance running through this book with El's friend, Max, who is a life long bachelor.  I loved this very sweet and appropriate romance.   This says it is a "Professor and Mrs. Littlefield Mystery" so I am hoping that there will be many more books in this series.  I can see this shaping up to be something kindred to the Mitford series, but in a more adventurous way.

Thank you to CFBA for providing me a complimentary copy of this book to read so I could review.