30 Things About Me . . . Day 18 - What Is The Most Difficult Thing You've Had To Forgive?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Forgiving . . .

First let me say that forgiveness is for you not for those who have hurt you. Not forgiving just hurts you and affects every part of who you are.


The most difficult thing, was not a thing, it was my former husband and his cheating, and the abuse he did to me and my children. With this came forgiving myself for not getting my girls out sooner.

I can't tell you how freeing it was to forgive him and the woman he cheated with. I no longer have that monkey on my back or the pain in my heart. God has it.

If The Shoe Fits - Sandie Bricker

Monday, April 29, 2013

























                                                                                     
For more than a decade, Sandra D. Bricker lived in Los Angeles. While honing her chosen craft of screenwriting in every spare moment, she worked as a personal assistant and publicist to some of daytime television's hottest stars. When her mother became ill in Florida, she put Southern California in her rearview mirror and moved across the country to take on a new role: Caregiver.

"I guess most people would see my career as a publicist as a sort of dream job. But giving it up turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me!" she declares. "Not only was I given the gift of getting to know my mother as an adult woman before she passed away, but I was also afforded the blessing of being able to focus completely on my dream of a writing career."



You can read more about her at her website http://www.sandradbricker.com







My Thoughts: 

Julianne is like every girl, looking for their Prince Charming riding in on his white horse to take her away. When she is on her way to court and sees a construction worker stop for a dog whose been hit she thinks she's found her man. He's not only a hunk, he's an animal lover, at least that is what she believes. His boot is left behind and so she goes on a hunt to find him. She does and believes she has found her Prince Charming. 
What Julianne doesn't realize is what she has been looking for all along is been right beside her the whole time.
In true Sandie Bricker style she has written a book that is full of laughter, fun, and Christian precepts. 

I was given an advanced copy by Sandie to read and review. If you enjoy laughter and fun, I would highly recommend you pre-order this book before it releases.

30 Things About Me Day 17 - What Do You Wish You Were Good At . . .

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sorry I haven't kept up with this.  I have had a horrible cold.

Day 17 . . . What Do I Wish I Were Good At? Hmm . . .

I would have to say consistency. Is that even a thing to aspire to? I desire to publish a book, however I am not consistent in writing daily, outside of blogging.

So, I would say I wish I was good at consistency of writing daily.

A Cowboy At Heart

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books.  A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured.  The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between!  Enjoy your free peek into the book!




You never know when I might play a wild card on you!









Today's Wild Card author is:







and the book:





Harvest House Publishers (April 1, 2013)




***Special thanks to Ginger Chen for sending me a review copy.***




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:





 Lori Copeland is the author of more than 90 titles, both historical and contemporary fiction. With more than 3 million copies of her books in print, she has developed a loyal following among her rapidly growing fans in the inspirational market. She has been honored with the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award, The Holt Medallion, and Walden Books' Best Seller award. In 2000, Lori was inducted into the Missouri Writers Hall of Fame. She lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband, Lance, and their three children and five grandchildren.



Visit the author's website.








Virginia Smith is the author of more than a dozen inspirational novels and more than fifty articles and short stories. An avid reader with ecclectic tastes in fiction, Ginny writes in a variety of styles, from lighthearted relationship stories to breath-snatching suspense.





Visit the author's website.




SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:









When an unscrupulous cattle baron tries to steal Amish land, a brave cowboy intervenes and is wounded. Lovely Katie Miller, the young healer in the district, attends to him while trying to guard her heart. Could there possibly be a future with Jesse Montgomery only God can bring about?











Product Details:

List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (April 1, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736953418

ISBN-13: 978-0736953412







AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:







Apple Grove, Kansas

May 1886



 The first fingers of sunlight danced across the tips of tender wheat plants that had poked through the rich Kansas soil only two weeks before. Jonas Switzer stood on the western border of the field, his face to the rising sun, and marveled once again at this evidence of the Almighty’s provision. Last fall he had sown this wheat into ground prepared to accept it, and throughout the long winter months it laid dormant with no visible sign of the planting. But now it rose from its earthy bed to bask in the warmth of the sun.



Jonas knelt to inspect a single plant barely taller than his finger. Though he was not normally given to poetic comparisons, something about the crisp morning air and the smell of the soil turned his thoughts toward symbolic expression. His life was much like the single grain of wheat from which this plant had sprung. How many times had he felt dried and shriveled, a tiny kernel buried in a barren field? When his beloved wife passed eighteen years ago, something died inside him. If not for the blessing of his daughters he would have sunk into the earth and disappeared forever, his life smothered by a grief he thought he might never throw off. But as they grew, the joy they gave him showered his parched world. He learned to trust that somewhere above the trench in which he was buried, sunshine warmed the earth and rains fell to nourish it.



Then they left the Amish. Jonas closed his eyes against a wave of sorrow. First his Emma and then his Rebecca had chosen to build their lives outside the faith in which they were raised.



It is their right. Their choice.



That he knew, but still his heart grieved that the children he loved had not found the same contentment in the Plain ways he clung to. That his grandchildren were being raised in a lifestyle foreign to his.



“Pride it is that makes you think yours is the only way. At least they are Christian. Gott sei Dank!”



His mother’s voice rang in his head, and a smile tugged at his lips. Her attitude toward the Plain way of life had been forever skewed by the few years she had spent with her Englisch husband. And yet he did thank Gott that his children and their husbands professed a Christian faith, though Bishop Miller would argue that their way was not enough because they did not separate themselves completely from a sinful world.



Jonas stood with a sigh. All he knew was that his daughters were happy and they lived their Englisch lives in service to the Almighty and to their families. They had showered his life once again with blessings, with fine, strong sons-in-law and happy, smiling grandchildren. With a full heart he formed a silent prayer of gratitude for Emma and Luke’s two, Lucas and Rachel, and for the baby Rebecca and Colin were expecting, who would be born before summer’s end.



His gaze swept the sun-bathed field. A breeze rustled the fledgling plants, creating waves that swept from one end of the field to another. He was but one small plant, but at least he had broken free of the soil and could feel the warmth of sunlight once again.



A movement in the distance caught his attention. Beyond the wheatfield he spied a pair of horses standing on the slight rise that separated this field from the wide creek that watered his small herd of cattle and goats. Wild horses, perhaps? Squinting, he stretched his gaze. Were those saddle pommels on their backs? Not wild, then. But where were their riders? With a glance toward the house in the opposite direction, where Mader no doubt waited for him with a hearty breakfast, he headed toward the horses.



When he was halfway around the wheatfield, something else came into focus. What was that post sticking up from the ground? Yesterday there had been no post. He scanned the area around his farm, alarm tickling his stomach when he realized there were many posts, strung out as far as he could see. And was that a wire strung between them? His eyes were not so good today. Sound drifted to him from the location of the horses. Men’s deep voices.



Slapping a hand on the top of his straw hat to keep it on his head, Jonas hurried toward the horses at a trot.



As he neared the rise, men came into view… Englisch men, four of them in their buttoned shirts and snug trousers held up by leather belts cinched around their waists. They worked at some activity. It took Jonas only a moment to identify what they were doing. Two of them were digging while the other two wrestled a large roll of barbed wire off a wagon. The wagon’s bed was filled with sturdy wooden posts.



He could hardly believe his eyes. These men were building a fence. On his property!



Jonas stood on the top of the rise, watching them work with his hands hanging uselessly at his sides. Someone had made a grave mistake, one that must be corrected.



One of the men with the wire caught sight of him and straightened. “Woodard, we got company.”



Woodard stopped digging and looked up. He planted his shovel in the soil and hooked a palm across the handle, staring at Jonas with a measuring look. “Howdy.”



The man managed to turn the word into a threat. Jonas kept his face impassive, but an alarm rang inside his ears. The four Englischers wore menacing scowls, and their rough appearance hinted at a familiarity with violence. An ugly scar ran down Woodard’s unshaven face from cheekbone to chin.



“Pardon me.” Jonas spoke in the same soft manner he would use to greet any stranger. “There has been a mistake. This fence is misplaced.”



Woodard held Jonas’s gaze while he turned his head to spit. “No mistake. This here fence belongs to Mr. Andrew Littlefield. Heard of him?”



The name meant nothing to Jonas. He shook his head.



“Whew, doggie,” said his digging partner. “Them Amish really are backward, ain’t they?”



The others chuckled. Jonas gave no outward sign that the insult had affected him, though inside his nerves stretched taut. A man who would insult another would be quick to injure as well.



A smirk twisted Woodard’s features. “Mr. Littlefield’s a powerful man in these parts. He’s your neighbor to the north. Moved up here from Texas to start him a ranch a while back. Gonna bring a herd of Texas Longhorns up from Amarillo.”



“We will make him welcome.”



“Welcome him, will you?” Woodard barked a harsh laugh, and the other men joined in. “Well, I’ll tell you right now that the best welcome you can offer him is to get your livestock off of his land.”



Jonas looked in the direction in which the man jerked his head. A little to the east, beyond the thorny hedge he’d planted to border the wheatfield, a few of his cattle were making their way toward the creek for a drink.



“Pardon, please, but it is my farm the cows are on.”



“Now, that’s where you’re wrong.” Woodard pushed his oblong Englisch hat back on his head with a finger. “See this fence?” He pointed out the length of wire that stretched to the west as far as Jonas could see. “This here’s Mr. Littlefield’s property. He’s filed a homestead claim to this land. The boys and me been working all night to get this fence in place.”



“But this is my farm, my home.” Jonas waved both hands to encompass the land that surrounded them.



“Yeah? I don’t see no sign.” He glanced at his companions. “You fellas see a sign?”



With their smirking gazes fixed on Jonas, they shook their heads. “Not a one.”



“Well, there you go.” Woodard’s smile did nothing to veil his scorn. “Looks to me like this fence is the only thing marking the boundary.” He waved to the area behind him, including the creek. “That means this part belongs to Mr. Littlefield. And that part,” he gestured toward the wheatfield and house behind Jonas, “must be yorn.”



A flicker erupted in the back of Jonas’s brain. Did they mean to take his farm, his home? The area on his side of the barbed wire was a fraction of his property. What, then, of the field beyond the creek, the one he and Big Ed had plowed only a few days ago in preparation for planting corn? What of the pasture where his cattle and goats grazed? Angry heat suffused his face, but he took care to pitch his voice so that none of the anger might escape.



“The land belongs to me. Almost twenty years have I lived here. A trench I dug all around, as I was told to do.”



Woodard’s eyes narrowed to mere slits. He tossed his shovel aside and closed the distance between them with a menacing stride, stopping only when he was close enough that Jonas could smell the rank odor of his breath. The others also moved. They went to the wagon and each picked up a rifle before coming to stand behind their leader.



“I don’t think you heard me, Amish man,” Woodard said, his voice as low as Jonas’s. “This property belongs to Mr. Andrew Littlefield. If you want to go on breathing, you’ll keep to your side of that fence.”



A cold lump of fear cooled Jonas’s burning anger. The message was clear. If he or his livestock crossed that fence, they would be shot.



Injustice churned like acid in his stomach. It was because he was Amish that these men did this. They knew he would not retaliate.



They are right.



Did Jesus not forbid His followers all revenge and resistance? He has thereby commanded them not to return evil for evil, nor railing for railing. The words rose from deep inside, placed there by years of repetition of the Confession that all Amish professed. Though his sinful self would love to rail against these rough men, he could not.



Maintaining his silence was the only way Jonas could keep his anger in check. Without a reply, he turned away from Woodard and began the trek around the wheatfield and back to his house. Behind him, derisive laughter rose from four throats into the morning sky. Jonas kept his head up, though his back burned from the weight of their scornful stares.



I will not rail against them. I will not dishonor the faith to which I have pledged my life.



The laughter stopped, and soon he heard the sound of shovels carving into fresh soil.



But neither will I give up my home. I will stand my ground, but peacefully, with my friends at my side.



He lengthened his stride, a sense of purpose giving him fresh energy. He would hook Big Ed up to the buggy and go to his Amish brothers for help.



-



“Ow, stop! It hurts, Katie.”



Katie Miller looked calmly into a pair of reproachful blue eyes belonging to her young sister-in-law. “The bandage must come off, Hannah, else how can I see if the wound is healing properly? Hold still. I will be gentle.”



Eight-year-old Hannah studied her with a measuring look, as though deciding whether or not to trust her. Finally, with a brief nod, she placed her bandaged hand again into Katie’s waiting one. She turned her head away, face screwed up and eyes shut tight, her muscles tense. Seated next to Hannah at the sturdy kitchen table, Ella Miller held her daughter’s uninjured hand, worry lines carving crevasses in the smooth forehead beneath her prayer kapp.



And well she might worry. The injury to Hannah’s hand had not been serious until infection set in. By the time they sent for Katie, it had swollen to twice normal size, and angry red lines stretched halfway up the child’s arm.



Katie unwound layers of cotton bandages, a half-formed prayer for the girl running through her mind. When she pulled the last strip gently away from the wound, she let out a pent-up breath.



“Das ist gut,” she told Mader Miller.



A relieved smile washed the worry from the woman’s face. “See you there, Hannah. The smelly salve that angered you so has worked.”



Katie pressed the skin around the wound with a gentle finger. Thank goodness the swelling was greatly reduced from two days ago, and the red lines had all but disappeared. “Wiggle your thumb and finger.”



The girl did, and Katie breathed a prayer of thanksgiving.



“By the good Lord’s grace, she will recover fully,” she announced, and then she turned a serious look on Hannah. “But you must be more careful when playing around your papa’s plow. You could have lost your hand, and then where would you be?”



A dimple appeared in one peachy cheek. “I would not have to milk cows.”



“Ach, what a girl!” Mader Miller swatted at Hannah with a tea towel. “Indeed you would, but twice as long it would take you. In fact, you can return to your chore tomorrow and see how you like working as a one-handed dairymaid.”



Scowling, Hannah slumped in her chair and remained silent while Katie cleaned the wound and slathered it with a layer of ointment. When a fresh bandage had been put in place, the little girl tested the tightness by gingerly clenching her hand into a loose fist.



Satisfied with the result, she bobbed her head. “Danki, Katie.” She looked shyly up. “Maybe if I hurt my other hand you will come more often. I miss you.”



The words twisted Katie’s heart. Since she’d returned to her parents’ home four months ago, she had only seen her family-by-marriage a few times outside of the district’s twice-monthly church services. But though she loved them, there were too many re-

minders here. She and Samuel had lived in this house during the five years of their marriage. At this very table they had sat side by side for meals with Hannah and Mader and Fader Miller. In the room at the top of the stairs, they had slept as husband and wife. A sense of grief threatened to overwhelm her.



She shook it off and tugged playfully at one of the laces dangling from Hannah’s kapp. “If you do, next time I shall make the ointment doubly smelly just to plague you.”



Hannah wrinkled her nose, and Katie tweaked it.



“Off with you, now.” Mader Miller snatched a basket off of the counter and pressed it into Hannah’s hands. “The hens have waited long enough for their breakfast, and the eggs need to be gathered.”



When the child had skipped out the door, the older woman set a mug of coffee on the table in front of Katie. “It is good to see you, daughter. Too long has it been since you visited.”



Unable to meet her mother-in-law’s eyes, Katie stared at the steam rising from the mug. “I know. I am sorry.”



Silence fell. Katie glanced up to see Mader Miller’s unfocused gaze fixed on something visible only to her. A sad smile tugged at one corner of her mouth. With a rush of guilt, Katie realized she wasn’t the only one whose memories of Samuel wedged like thorns in her heart.



She broke the silence with a whisper. “I miss him.”



Mader Miller nodded. “As do I.” Her eyes focused on the window. “And so does John.”



At the mention of Fader Miller, an uncomfortable knot formed in Katie’s stomach. Though she and Mader Miller had grieved Samuel’s passing as only a wife and mother could, their grief combined could not touch that of his father’s. In the span of a few months, Katie had watched the man go from mourning to near-obsession with his son’s death. A mournful cloud hovered over him, and instead of dispersing with time, it grew darker and denser and more distressful for those around him. Though he continued to administer his duties as bishop to the Amish community of Apple Grove, grief had made him rigid. Because he found no comfort for his pain, how could he give comfort to the families who looked to him for leadership? The community of Apple Grove sympathized with the devastating loss of a son, but they whispered that their bishop should attempt to put the tragedy behind him instead of wallowing in his grief. Thus would he advise others, but he seemed unable to heed his own advice. At home every conversation centered on Samuel until finally, unable to bear the constant reminder of her loss, Katie had moved back to her parents’ home. There she had been able to begin to let go of the pain of Samuel’s death, and more and more remembered the joy of his life.



Until today. Coming back here tinged all her memories with pain.



Mader Miller reached across the table and laid a hand on her arm. The touch was brief, only a moment, but Katie drew strength from the contact.



“Life is not meant to be lived in sorrow. You are young, daughter. One day the Lord will guide you into happier times.”



Katie looked up into eyes glazed with tears. Much time these past months had been spent asking the Lord what the future held in store for her. Surely love such as she and Samuel had shared came only once in a lifetime. Had the Lord not given her a task to occupy her lonely days? She had begun to learn the ways of doctoring and birthing, and through that had discovered the deep satisfaction of tending to those whose hurts were physical and therefore easier to heal. And yet…



She squeezed her eyes shut. Was she to always remain a widow, forever denied love and happiness until she quit this world for the next?



Mader Miller’s hand pulled away. Katie opened her eyes to see her staring through the window. “A visitor has come.”



“This early?” Katie twisted around to look through the glass. An Amish buggy approached, clouds of dust from the road rising beneath the wheels.



The buggy rolled past the house and continued toward the barn.



“That is Jonas Switzer.” The older woman rose. “I will put on more coffee and warm some rolls. Go, daughter, and invite him in when he has finished his business with the bishop.”



Obediently, Katie rose and headed toward the door.



The morning sun still hung low on the horizon, its brilliant rays shafting through the leaves of the apple trees that bordered the Millers’  yard. Mr. Switzer’s buggy had come to a stop, and Fader Miller emerged from the barn. He stood erect, waiting for Mr. Switzer to climb down from the bench and stand before him. Mr. Switzer began to talk, calmly at first. Then he waved his arms, churning the air around him. Clearly something had upset the normally unruffled man.



I hope Emma and Rebecca are well.



Jonas’s daughters had been Katie’s friends since childhood. Though she rarely saw them now that they had both left the Amish and lived almost two hours’ ride away, Katie stayed informed through their grandmother.



She slowed her approach, unwilling to eavesdrop on the men’s conversation. But Mr. Switzer was so upset that his voice rose and fell, and she couldn’t help but overhear a few snatches.



“…weapons…fence…shoot me on my own land!”



Oh, dear. Someone had shot at him?



Because Fader Miller faced her way, she heard his answer more clearly.



“You must go to this Mr. Littlefield and explain to him the mistake. Perhaps he will listen and respond honorably.”



Katie stopped several yards away and politely turned her back, though she could still hear.



“You will go with me? I fear to go alone will result in violence.”



A stern note crept into the bishop’s voice. “You threaten violence?”



“From me, no. From them? They are Englisch. Their honor is different from ours. If two of us go—”



“If two go, they will see a threat. If one man calls upon his neighbor to discuss a shared problem, it is a friendly visit. Have Marta bake a snitz pie.”



Jonas’s voice grew loud. “You would send me to the home of an Englisch man with rifles armed with a pie?”



Katie winced. Mr. Switzer must be distraught indeed to raise his voice to the bishop. She would never have the nerve.



Fader Miller’s reply was low, alarmingly so. She couldn’t make out the words, but the tone was one that would have set her knees to shaking if it had been directed at her. The sound of retreating footsteps followed.



Katie turned in time to see the bishop disappear into the barn, his back rigid. Mr. Switzer stared after him, shoulders slumped and arms hanging at his sides. Moving cautiously, she stepped toward him, and he turned at her approach. A struggle lay plain on his creased brow and troubled eyes.



She bobbed a quick curtsey. “Mader Miller says won’t you come in for coffee and warm rolls?”



For a moment she thought he must not have heard her. He stared at her without answering. Then he set his jaw.



“Danki, no. I must go.”



She stepped back and watched him climb into his buggy. Seated, he picked up the reins and then stopped. He looked at her as though seeing her for the first time. “Katie Miller. A favor you would do for me?”



“Ja. If I can.”



“Take a message to my house. Tell my mader I have gone to Rebecca and Emma, and will return after the noon meal.” He tossed a glance toward the barn, and his chin jutted forward. “I go to see my son-in-law, the Englisch sheriff.”



Without waiting for an answer, he flicked the reins. Katie stepped back as his buggy rolled forward. She almost called after him, “Give my greetings to Emma and Rebecca,” but somehow she doubted he would remember.

The Gate

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


















About

Every life is a story. Schuyler Hunt is about to come face-to-face with the author of his.
When a planned getaway with his wife turns into a shopping trip for the girls, Schuyler Hunt finds himself looking for something else to do. An ad for a vacation cottage catches his eye, and he sets off in search of a much-needed break. When he arrives, he finds something far different from the typical summer home experience. In fact, he may have found a little slice of heaven.
The proprietor-along with a number of unexpected and yet familiar guests-welcomes him with food, rest, and conversation, until what started out as an escape from everyday life turns into something much, much more . .



Dann A. Stouten

Dann A. Stouten is senior pastor of Community Reformed Church in Zeeland, Michigan, one of the fastest-growing churches on the West Michigan lakeshore. After a highly successful career in the auto industry, Dann returned to school and earned his DMin in narrative...
Continue reading about Dann A. Stouten 



My Thoughts:

When Sky arrives at the cottage, one he didn't book, he is met with several people from his past to guide him during his stay at the cottage.
He gets a glimpse into heaven. This book has been compared to The Shack, which it is clearly not! I read The Shack and hated it for many reasons. This book is more than any thing William P Young could even think to write. Dann writes a book that is definitely ministering and comforting.
He has a great way with words and imagery.
I highly recommend this book!

Healing Hearts




This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


A Healing Heart


Abingdon Press (April 1, 2013)


by


Angela Breidenbach





ABOUT THE AUTHOR:










Angela Breidenbach is a speaker/coach in mental and physical health, author of A Healing Heart April 2013 from Abingdon Press in the Quilts of Love series, Gems of Wisdom: For a Treasure-filled Life, Creative Cooking for Simple Elegance, and Creative Cooking for Colitis. Other works by Angela include compilation books and devotionals from Guidepost, Group, and articles in magazines, ezines, and newspapers. She is certified in mentor/peer counseling as a CTA life coach, as a Stephen Minister, and a weight loss/nutrition coach. Angela serves as an assisting minister (worship/prayer leader) for her congregation in Missoula, MT. Not only did she walk the hard line of deciding to donate her mom’s brain for the study of schizophrenia, but she’s also on the brain donation list at the Brain Bank-Harvard McLean Hospital.




ABOUT THE BOOK










Mara Keegan is an uber-successful mother and a widow of three years. She's been chasing success and all the "good things in life" for her family to make up for the cruel whim God played on them by taking her husband. In an effort to be the perfect mom, she decides to make a photo memory quilt, a graduation present for her daughter, Cadence.




She’s not yet finished when she experiences a heart attack. While Mara recuperates, she revisits the choices she's made that led to this physically and spiritually broken heart. The memory quilt must be finished in time for Cadence's big day, but Mara struggles with her burgeoning feelings for the man who must keep Mara's business going during her recovery, Joel Ryan. Can Joel find his way into Mara's heart and onto Cadence's quilt?




If you would like to read the first chapter of A Healing Heart, go HERE



This was my first read by Angela and it won't be my last. This was a very touching book that made me cherish the quilts that I have from my gramma. Whether you have quilts or enjoy quilting, this is a great read!

Jesus Wept - Bodie & Brock Thoene

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


















Book 1 in the Thoene's new Jerusalem Chronicles.
 Lazarus occupies a surprising position in the Gospel accounts. Widely known as the man Jesus raised from the dead, his story is actually much broader and richer than that. Living as he did at Bethany, near Jerusalem, Lazarus was uniquely placed to witness the swirl of events around Jesus. When Jesus Wept, the first novel in The Jerusalem Chronicles series by bestselling authors Bodie and Brock Thoene, unfolds the turbulent times in Judea during Jesus' ministry, centering on the friendship between Jesus and Lazarus. With rich insights from vineyard owners and vine dressers, the Thoenes explore the metaphor of Jesus as the True Vine, harvesting the ancient secrets found in the Old Testament. Weaving the life of Lazarus, who owned a vineyard, into the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ will help you understand it is the hand of Love Divine that holds the knife, that cuts and breaks with such tender and loving touch, and that we who have born some fruit, after the pruning, can bear much more. 


Link to buy the book: http://ow.ly/jubpF      
                                                                                                      

Meet the Thoenes:  
  
 Bodie and Brock Thoene (pronounced Tay-nee) are bestselling authors of over sixty-five works of historical fiction. Their timeless classics have sold more than thirty-five million copies and won eight ECPA Gold Medallion Awards. The Thoenes have four grown children and eight grandchildren. They divide their time between Hawaii, London, and Nevada.
Find out more about Bodie and Brock at http://www.thoenebooks.com/
Blog Tour Schedule 
Landing page: 

http://litfusegroup.com/author/BThoene


My Thoughts:  

When Jesus Wept. The shortest and most poignant piece of scripture. In Bodie and Brock's latest historical fiction they speculate what may have happened between Jesus and Lazarus. Lazarus is a vinedresser and after he sees Jesus turn water into wine in Cana he is curious about this teacher from Galilee. Jesus and Lazarus talk among his vines and become friends, Jesus using the vines as an example of His Father being the vine dresser, pruning the branches so that there would be new growth. Lazarus understood that. 
 

Brock and Bodie have written a beautiful book that grabs your heart and doesn't let go.  I highly recommend this book!

Tonight is the Facebook Party!!! Don't Miss It!  
 

30 Things About Me - Day 16 . . . My 5 Greatest Accomplishments

Saturday, April 20, 2013

My 5 Greatest Accomplishments

1. My beautiful daughters! They are all mine and
     I love them!


2.  My marriage to Mark. Being 
 married to your best friend is
     such a blessing & Fun!


3.  Being a mother! Raising 3 children to adulthood, without any deaths is an accomplishment. : )

4.  Living on my own after my divorce. I went straight from high school, did two years of college, and then married my first husband and had never lived on my own, so living on my own for the first time was a HUGE step. I really enjoyed it and found that I had more confidence than I thought I did.

5.  My walk with Christ. Each day that I lean on Him more, allow Him more control in my life is an accomplishment. He is my Abba Father, my guide, I need Him for everything I do. I would be nothing without Him.

30 Things About Me - Day 15 - If I Where An Animal - What Would I Be and Why . . .

Thursday, April 18, 2013







If I was to choose an animal, I would say a hummingbird. They are absolutely gorgeous and they are God's little helicopters. Just hovering over flowers to get nectar, and the feeders people put out for them.

I have always loved them and think it would be fun to be able to hover and fly from place to place.

Love At Any Cost by Julie Lessman

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


                                  
                                     






 

 

 

About

He’s looking to take care of his family. She’s looking to take care of her heart. Trouble is . . . love’s looking to take care of them both.
Cassidy McClare is a spunky Texas oil heiress without a fortune who would just as soon hogtie a man as look at him. Jilted by a fortune hunter, Cassidy travels west hoping a summer visit with her wealthy cousins in San Francisco will help her forget her heartache. But no sooner is she settled in beautiful California than Jamie McKenna, a handsome pauper looking to marry well, captures her heart. Can love prevail when Jamie discovers that Cassidy is poorer than he is? And can Cassidy ever learn to fully trust her heart to a man?


Julie Lessman

Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of "Passion with a Purpose" underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. Winner of the 2009 ACFW Debut Author of the Year and Holt Medallion Awards of Merit for Best First Book and Long...
Continue reading about Julie Lessma






My Thoughts:

When spunky Cassidy McClare rolls into town she is figuratively and literally knocked on her backside by "pretty-boy" Jamie McKenna. "Sweet Thunderation! Not a pretty boy! That is the last thing she wants. If she had her lasso out she would've hog-tied him right then and there, or branded him with her branding iron. Little did she know that he would become a fixture around her Aunt Cait's place.
Cass has come to San Francisco from Texas in the summer of 1902, to heal her heart from "pretty boy" Mark who broke her heart in Texas, and to begin a teaching career with her cousin Alli.
All would be fine if that is what happens, but Jamie McKenna has other plans. He plans on courting Cass, but his reasons aren't so ethical and when Cass puts him to the test sparks start flying, and that is putting it mildly.
In true Julie Lessman form, this book is centered right where it needs to be and that is on God.
There is a cast of great characters, that you will fall in love with.

Julie has out done herself with the Cass and Jamie. These two are memorable. You may find yourself using new phrases like "Sweet Thunderation", "Flea infested mongrel", "polecat."  Don't say you haven't been warned.

I highly recommend this and give this book a Lighthouse for pointing a path to God.

30 Things About Me - List 5 Strengths

Monday, April 15, 2013

My 5 Strengths . . .




1. Listening to others. Being able to listen without giving advice. Letting someone pour out their heart.











2. Loving, unconditionally, no matter who, what their circumstance.










3. Praying for someone, whether in person or not. My favorite is to write and give it to them so they have it to look at for encouragement.  











4. Reviewing books. I wouldn't have called that a strength a few years ago, but it has become a strength, and I love it!
 







5.  Being a Mom. I was born to be a mother and I am really good at it. I have six kids, three that I gave birth to, and three that I share with my husband, Mark and I love them all to pieces.

Character Spotlight Cassidy McClare & Jamie MacKenna from Love At Any Cost by Julie Lessman with Giveaway

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Please join me in welcoming Julie Lessman to my blog! She is my absolute favorite, and I am thrilled to have her here!


 Spotlighting Cassidy McClare




Describe Cassidy McClare. 
Cassie is a sweet and sassy Texas oil heiress whose daddy’s wells have run dry, leaving her high and dry when her “pretty boy” fiancé dumps her. But that tough Texas veneer of hers hides a vulnerable and tender heart inside this quirky but lovable cowgirl who’s as natural and down to earth as cow patties in a field of Texas wildflowers.

Here’s a clip from the book where we see this lasso-loving heroine through the eyes of our handsome hero Jamie MacKenna:

At twenty-five and newly graduated from Stanford Law, he was used to a warmer reception from women—a lot warmer, as a matter of fact—and although the petite blond was pretty in a cute and clumsy kind of way, she certainly didn’t compare to some of the women who vied for his attention. A slow exhale breezed over his lips. Although never had he seen more unusual eyes—the color of his favorite green agate marble as a boy—like pale green jade, hypnotic, mesmerizing, fringed with honeyed lashes as thick as her Texas drawl.

Does she have a passion for something?

You mean besides hogtying pretty boys and sending them packing?? Yes! Cassie has a passion for the underdog, those people who have been ostracized and ridiculed by others. Because of her commitment to teach on the local Indian reservation and her close friendship with two young women who are Indians, Cassie is shunned by the prissy debutantes and their upper-crust mothers, never quite fitting into the high society of Humble, Texas. Which is why her Aunt Cait’s Hand of Hope School for disadvantaged young women in the Barbary Coast is so appealing to her, to once again be a teacher there who can reach out to the underdog.

Is there something that gets on her nerves?

HA! The hero Jamie MacKenna, BIG TIME!! Not only does he remind her of the “pretty boy” who just jilted her back in Texas, but she sees him as nothing more than a “yellow-bellied snake of a womanizer” after he steals a kiss.

Does she have a quirk?

Well, she’s rather fond of electric cattle prods—especially when Jamie gives her problems, but she also packs her lasso in her suitcase wherever she goes, along with her boots and spurs. More cowgirl than wealthy oil heiress over the years, Cassie was the type of little girl who slept with her lasso rather than a bear.

What drew you to make her a pool shark and a cowgirl?

Well, I wanted a quirky heroine, someone who was down-home and natural beneath the Gibson Girl hairstyle and stylish clothes that mama forces her to wear when she visits her wealthy and proper San Francisco cousins. Cassie’s basically a tomboy, the only child of a formerly prosperous Texas oilman and rancher, so her daddy teaching her to be proficient at the three “p’s,”—poker, pinochle and pool—gave her the quirky edge I needed when she trounces Jamie at all three. I chose pool as the main pursuit for several scenes because it was a sport that requires skill and movement, which made the scene more fun and lively than a simple card game.

Did you have someone in mind as you wrote her? If so, who?

I really didn’t have anyone particular in mind when I wrote Cassie’s personality, although I did send Revell a picture of a blonde Rachel McAdams, which is how I pictured her to look.

 Back Cover Blurb:
Fooled by a pretty boy once, shame on him.
Fooled by a pretty boy twice, shame on me.
Jilted by a fortune hunter, cowgirl Cassady McClare is a spunky Texas oil heiress without a fortune who just as soon hogtie a man as look at him … until Jamie MacKenna, a handsome pauper looking to marry well lassoes her heart. But when Jamie discovers the woman he loves is poorer than him, Cassie finds herself bucked by love a second time, sending her back to Texas to lick her wounds and heal her heart. In her absence, Jamie discovers money can’t buy love, but love built on faith can set a heart free, a truth he discovers a little too late … or is it?
Here is the book trailer: 
Spotlighting Jamie MacKenna




                                        








Mmmm … how ‘bout I describe him through Cassie’s eyes when he “bowls” her over at the train station in their first meeting?

“Are you okay?” Nudging the boater up, he held out a blunt hand attached to a muscled arm that strained beneath a crisp, white pinstripe shirt, its casually rolled sleeves in stark contrast to a meticulous four-in-hand tie and a high starched collar. He could have walked off the pages of Men’s Wear Magazine, easily six foot one with a boyish smile that lent a roguish air Cassie recognized all too well. A thick curl of dark brown hair that was almost black toppled over his forehead, obviously a stray from the slicked-back style of the day. Hazel eyes the color of coffee with cream assessed her with a crimp of concern wedged between thick, dark brows, reminding her so much of Mark, she cringed.
Make that cold, bitter coffee.
Hand still extended, he eased into a smile that at one time would have generated as much heat as the platform beneath her body, a gleam of white in a chiseled face that sported a California tan. “I beg your pardon, miss, but I never even saw you.” A sparkle warmed his gaze as it slowly trailed down the upturned brim of her hat, past renegade curls from her upswept hair to her white silk shirtwaist, hesitating long enough to prompt a blush in her cheeks. “Which is pretty hard to believe,” he mumbled, almost to himself. His bold look continued to roam her gored navy skirt only to halt with several blinks at the peek of her forbidden cowboy boots—the ones she’d put on after Mama and Daddy left the station. A grin inched across his face as his eyes slowly trailed back up as naturally as his dimples deepened with the lift of his smile. Heat suffused her cheeks, as much from the obscene number of petticoats Mother had insisted she wear as the Romeo’s frank perusal. Flattery will get you nowhere, mister. Her lips took a slant. Though it’d certainly gotten Mark’s ring on her finger. She issued a silent grunt. A history lesson unto itself, she thought, the smell of horse manure from buggies lining the terminal oddly comforting.
And appropriate.

Does he have a passion for something?

Ah, yes—as a street rat who grew up in a brothel on the Barbary Coast, Jamie’s passion is to afford a surgery for his crippled sister whose infirmity he blames on himself, and to see both is mother and sister living in the lap of luxury on Nob Hill.

Is there something that annoys him?

Actually Jamie is pretty easy-going, but he does get miffed when anyone mistreats the prostitutes who used to be his neighbors or the young street urchins who roam the streets of the Coast. He also gets rather ticked at Cassie mid-book when she agrees to consider courting him only if he goes to church twice a week, reads Pilgrim’s Progress with her, and keeps his hands to himself. :)

Does he have a quirk?

Not a “quirk,” per se, but a definite mindset about marrying well, taking great pains to pursue only wealthy young women with political connections so he can afford an operation for his sister. The illegitimate son of a 15-year-old girl who worked in a dance hall to avoid starving, Jamie is also determined to become a senator so he can legislate productive change in the Barbary Coast, making sure young women aren’t trapped in the same vicious lifestyle as his mother had been.

Did you have someone in mind as you wrote him? If so, who?

Oh, yes! I pictured Jamie and his personality a lot like this picture of Matt Bomer (from White Collar TV show). Gorgeous, mischievously handsome, and the type of man who sets a girl’s pulse a-pumping at first sight.








 

AUTHOR BIO:
Award-winning author of “The Daughters of Boston” and “Winds of Change” series, Julie Lessman was ACFW’s 2009 Debut Author of the Year and voted #1 Romance Author of the year in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, #1 Historical Fiction Author, #3 Author, #4 Novel, #3 Series, as well as Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction and recipient of 14 RWA awards. Contact Julie and read excerpts from her books at www.julielessman.com.



 


Thanks SO much, Andie, for this wonderful opportunity! I LOVE to hear from reader friends, so if they like, they can contact me through my website at http://www.julielessman.com, either by sending an e-mail via my site or by signing up for my newsletter at http://www.julielessman.com/sign-up-for-newsletter/.

Also, I am running a HUGE contest on my Journal Jots blog right now where entrants can win a Kindle, have a character named after them in my next book, win a signed copy of that book, and five top, brand-new CBA books from library.” Here’s the link: http://www.julielessman.com/journal-jots1/.

Readers can also check out my favorite romantic and spiritual scenes from each of my books on the “Excerpts” tab of my website at http://www.julielessman.com/excerpts/. Finally, I can be found daily at The Seekers blog at http://seekerville.blogspot.com/, a group blog devoted to encouraging and helping aspiring writers on the road to publication.

And just as an FYI for your readers:

CURRENT GIVEAWAYS/SALES GOING ON RIGHT NOW: For those interested in reading my books, I have a number of fun things going on, so I hope they’ll take advantage of these opportunities:

SALE!! My Irish love story, A Light in the Window is almost half price at $3.99 at Amazon and B&N.

FREE DOWNLOAD!! A Hope Undaunted, book 1 in Julie's "Winds of Change" series is currently available for FREE DOWNLOAD on Amazon, B&N or CBD.

5 GIVEAWAYS ON GOODREADS: “Sweet Thunderation," my publisher Revell is giving away five free copies of my upcoming release, Love at Any Cost, book 1 in my brand-new “Heart of San Francisco” series. All you have to do is click on the Goodreads link below and enter—it’s that’s easy! Good luck and here’s to a win!
 http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/46424-love-at-any-cost

Julie is being gracious and will giveaway a copy of Love At Any Cost to one of my readers.

a Rafflecopter giveaway






30 Things About Me - Day 12 - 5 Weakness I Have

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Day 12 - 5 Weakness I Have . . .

1. Weather Frustration - I am a true blue sun bunny who was born in Cali, lived in Florida and Hawaii, and I now live in Idaho. I don't do well with cold weather, and I get grumpy with cold weather. I am learning to be happy in every season.

2. Family Claustrophobia - As a former navy wife, and navy brat who didn't live near any family, and enjoyed the distance as long as it wasn't TOO far, I am now learning how to live near family, and enjoy it! It's a new experience for me.

3. Consistent in Bible reading and Prayer - I get in a good groove for awhile and then I slack off. God is so good to gently nudge me back into fellowship with Him.

4.  Writing - I want to be a published author, yet I get off track and don't write daily like I should.

5.  Books - I am a true blue bookaholic and I get myself in over my head and I am up reading late meet all the deadlines for reviews. I am learning how to say no.

Roses Have Thorns


















Sandra Byrd has attracted countless fans for evoking the complexity, grandeur, and brutality of the Tudor period. In her latest tour de force, she poses the question: What happens when serving a queen may cost you your marriage—or your life?

In 1565, seventeen-year-old Elin von Snakenborg leaves Sweden on a treacherous journey to England. Her fiance has fallen in love with her sister and her dowry money has been gambled away, but ahead of her lies an adventure that will take her to the dizzying heights of Tudor power. Transformed through marriage into Helena, the Marchioness of Northampton, she becomes the highest-ranking woman in Elizabeth’s circle. But in a court that is surrounded by Catholic enemies who plot the queen’s downfall, Helena is forced to choose between an unyielding monarch and the husband she’s not sure she can trust—a choice that will provoke catastrophic consequences.

Vividly conjuring the years leading up to the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots, Roses Have Thorns is a brilliant exploration of treason, both to the realm and to the heart.


My Thoughts:

Elin leaves Sweden traveling with Princess Cecelia to England. It is a cold journey and while it is prestigious to go and be in the queen's court. Elin was leaving her fiance`, Philip, and her sister who has set her eyes on him. 
When Elin arrives in England she finds out that her dowry has been gambled away and that her sister has indeed taken her fiance`. She decides to stay in England, which may or may not be a good choice. She uses her knowledge of herbs and oils to become the queen's personal perfumer. This gives her the perfect opportunity to gain what she wants when the timing is right. She may gain what she desires, yet it may be her downfall.

I am a huge Tudor fan and Sandra Byrd never leaves me disappointed. If you enjoy the Tudors this is a must read!

30 Things About Me - Day 11 - Describe A Typical Day . . .

Monday, April 8, 2013

Day 11 . . . A Typical Day -

I don't know that I have a "Typical Day" LOL

We're in the process of looking for a home so when we get an email for a listing everything seems to stop so we can go and look at the home.

Reading and writing reviews are definitely apart of my daily activity.

My husband is a route driver for a medical waste company, and so I do load of laundry daily.

I am doing Jillian Michael's 30 day shred so 30 minutes of exercise is part of my day.

Daily cleaning, and picking up of the home. Which isn't much since it's just the two of us.

Cooking dinner, which is something I enjoy doing.

Checking email.

Nothing special or extra ordinary. :)

Free E-book . . . Sacred Treason

Sourcebooks will giveaway a free ebook of Sacred Treason by James Forrester





1563: Anyone could be a suspect; any Catholic could be accused of plotting against the throne. Clarenceux keeps his head down and his religion quiet. But when a friend desperately pleads with Clarenceux to hide a manuscript for him, he is drawn into a web of treachery and conspiracy he may never untangle. Is there no refuge if your faith is your enemy?

Bestselling author Dr. Ian Mortimer, writing as James Forrester, has crafted a chilling, brilliant story that re-imagines how the explosive mix of faith and fear can tear a country apart. Sacred Treason tells a thrilling story of murder, betrayal, and loyalty--and the power of the written word.


Here is my review of this book:  http://frommipov.blogspot.com/2012/10/sacred-treason-reviewed-with-interview.html

From now until April 30th when you pre-order book 2  . . .




1564: Catholic herald William Harley, Clarenceaux King of Arms, is the custodian of a highly dangerous document. When it is stolen, Clarenceaux immediately suspects a group of Catholic sympathisers, the self-styled Knights of the Round Table.
Francis Walsingham, the ruthless protégé of the queen's Principal Secretary, Sir William Cecil, intercepts a coded message from the Knights to a Countess known to have Catholic leanings. He is convinced that Clarenceaux is trying to use the document to advance the cause of the Catholic Queen.
And soon Clarenceaux enters a nightmare of suspicion, deception and conspiracy. Conflict and fear, compounded by the religious doubts of the time, conceal a persistent mystery. Where has the document gone? Who has it and who really took it? And why? The roots of betrayal are deep and shocking: and Clarenceaux's journey towards the truth entails not just the discovery of clues and signs, but also the discovery of himself.


To get the free ebook, readers can email proof of preorder to sbpublicity@sourcebooks.com anytime in April, and will receive a code to download the book through our website, Sourcebooks.com. 

You don't want to miss these two books! This is a great series about the Tudors. Take advantage of this great offer by Sourcebooks!!!! 



 
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