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Friday, December 28, 2012

Review of Christmas in Apple Ridge by Cindy Woodsmall

  Picture from Cindy Woodsmall.com and synopsis from Amazon.com

Experience the holidays with the Plain folk of Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania, in these touching novellas centered around love, romance, heartache, and restoration from best-selling author Cindy Woodsmall.

The Sound of Sleigh Bells
Beth Hertzler is unable to let go of a past tragedy, but when she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds. Determined that her niece meet the gifted artist, her aunt tracks him down, but it’s not that simple – will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she’s always dreamed of and a second chance at real love?

The Christmas Singing
Mattie thought her childhood sweetheart adored her until he abruptly ended their engagement on Christmas Eve. Brokenhearted, Mattie moves away and pursues her longtime dream of becoming a cake decorator, and even finds a new beau. But when Mattie is forced to return home three years later, will learning the truth behind Gideon’s rejection restore her Christmas joy – or open the door to even deeper heartbreak?

The Dawn of Christmas
Sadie enjoys her freedom away from home and her mission trips to Peru, but after four years, her Old Order Amish family insists it’s time to come home and settle down. Levi, a bachelor who distrusts women after a family heartbreak, also has no desire for romance. To keep their families from meddling in their lives, Sadie and Levi devise a plan—but soon discover that the walls around their hearts are breaking down. Can they let go of their prejudices, learn to trust each other, and embrace a future together?
 
My Review:
 
I really enjoyed all three of these novellas.  They strongly show how GOD has a plan for your life even if you think otherwise. 
 
In the first story, The Sound of Sleigh Bells, Beth is in mourning for her fiance, but there is something she isn't telling everyone, so she immerses herself in her store and finding Amish made products for other stores.  Jonah is also healing, but from physical wounds.  They start corresponding, but they don't realize they are correpsonding with each other.  I won't reveal anymore, you'll have to read to find out what happens.
 
In the second story, The Christmas Singing, Mattie owns a bakery in Ohio where she moved three years ago after a breakup with Gideon.  There is a devastating accident, and she goes home, where she runs into Gideon again.  She has met someone else, and thinks she is happy, after all, Gideon betrayed her with someone else, or did  he.  Gideon has kept as secert from Mattie and let her go for her own good, but GOD has other plans.
 
In the final story, The Dawn of Christmas, Sadie was betrayed by her fiance Daniel a day before their wedding, so she doesn't want anything to do with men.  She immerses herself in mission trips and her job at a Mennonite store.  Levi doesn't want anything to do with women after his brother's wife walked out on him and his son and his business partner's finacee left him the day before their wedding.  What happens when Sadie and Levi meet.
 
As with all of Cindy's books this one was really good.  It was sweet and had a strong sense of family, faith and friendship, just what I like about Amish fiction.  Very well written.  This can be enjoyed anytime of year, not just at Christmas.  Charming, great job Cindy.
 
I received a copy of this book from Waterbrook Multanomah for my honest review.
 
Visist Cindy's website:  Cindy Woodsmall


Excerpt:
 
 Christmas in Apple Ridge by Cindy Woodsmall (Chapter 1 Excerpt)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Twelve Pearls of Christmas 12/24

Welcome to the12 Pearls of Christmas blog series!



Merry Christmas from Pearl Girls™! We hope you enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from the authors who were so kind to donate their time and talents! If you miss a few posts, you’ll be able go back through and read them on this blog throughout the next few days.



We’re giving away a pearl necklace in celebration of the holidays, as well as some items (books, a gift pack, music CDs) from the contributors! Enter now on Facebook or at the Pearl Girls blog. The winner will announced on January 2, 2013 at the Pearl Girls blog.



If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Mother of Pearl, Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.



***
Just Like Mary

By Carla Anne Coroy



Mary. Amazing Mary. Mother of Jesus. We marvel at her simple, faith-filled acceptance of God’s will for her life. There’s so little written about Mary in the Bible. We know almost nothing, really, about this woman that God chose to parent His Son.



Many have speculated about the exact age of Jesus’ mother. How old was she, really? What would it have been like to be greeted by an angel—and told you would become pregnant by the Spirit of God?



I wonder about other things sometimes, though. Like if she had morning sickness, or gained a lot of weight during her pregnancy. Was she overdue, or was baby Jesus born right on time? Did she mistake Braxton Hicks contractions for the real thing before labor really started? Was it a fast labor or did Joseph have eighteen hours to get that place into birthing readiness?



Most women who have ever given birth to a child have shared pregnancy stories. Everyone’s story is unique and interesting. Surely Mary’s was, too!



Then there are the stories of potty-training and conversations on how to get the baby to sleep through the night. Did Mary bounce Jesus on her knee while sharing recipes with other young moms?



We cannot find answers for these questions in Scripture. And as interesting as it might be to share pregnancy stories with Mary over a cup of coffee (maybe in heaven?) and get her tips on potty-training, we really don’t need to know any of that to love the Son she bore.



But Mary’s example raises questions about me and my own life that get under my skin.



Am I the kind of woman God will choose to be part of His plan? Do I trust and love my God enough to give faith-filled answers like she did? If there were just a few paragraphs written of my life for future generations to read, would those words reveal a heart of willing submission to God?



“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38, NIV)



God has not asked me to carry the burden of His Son in my womb. There are other burdens He is asking me, and you, to carry instead. Are we being the women He needs for the part of the plan we’re living in now? Am I saying to Jesus today, “May it be to me as you have said”?



During this Advent season, let’s prepare ourselves to be used by God, filled with faith and anticipating His grace—just like Mary.



***
Carla Anne Coroy is a Christian speaker and blogger, and the award-winning author of Married Mom, Solo Parent. She ministers to a wide audience through her website and blog at www.carlaanne.com. Carla Anne has served full-time with organizations such as Youth for Christ and Crown Financial Ministries, and is currently developing mentoring resources for women and an international mentoring organization for youth. She also serves as a staff writer for the online magazine Mentoring Moments for Christian Women and is a spokesperson for Faithbuddy.com. Carla Anne lives in Canada with her husband and four homeschooled children.

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!

Merry Christmas to all of my blog followers, may GOD bless you as you celebrate and remember the real meaning of the season: 





Photo

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Blog Tour for Christmas Magic

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Book desc & blurb:
Title: Christmas Magic
Publisher:
Still Moments Publishing
Release Date: December 4, 2012
Target Reader: Adult
Keywords: Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance

Beginning of Forever by Terri Rochenski
When Wayne Edwards moves to town, Lillian Davis experiences stirrings she thought were long dead. Guilt ridden over betraying her deceased husband and the feelings Wayne inspires, Lillian reluctantly lets him in. Secrets of the past – an old promise emerges, but will it threaten their forever?
 
There are also two other stories in this collection:
 
Wishes Come True by Linda Carroll-Bradd
 
Harbor Homecoming by Lindsay McFerrin
 
 
My Review:
 
 
I love to read Christmas stories and this collection did not disappoint.  I was asked by Terri Rochenski, and given my copy by her, to do this review, so I'll touch a little on the other two stories.
 
The first, Wishes Come True, was a very short read.  It was a kind of love at first sight kind of story.  Tora runs a bakery in a small town, and Ryan, the old high school sports star, comes back to live in town.  Tora wants to sell the bakery, so Ryan hatches a plan to get her to stay.
 
The second story, Harbor Homecoming, was a very charming read.  Cat wants to buy a house in a neighborhood she really likes, but the owner's dog is still there because the heir to the estate hasn't come to get him yet.  Lets just say, the dog decides what happens in this story.
 
The third story, Beginning Forever, is the story I'm asked to review.  I really liked it, first off, because it takes place in the late 1950's and early 1960's.  This is a time in history that really fasinates me, especially Christmas in this era.  Lillian gets a call on Christmas Eve, 1955 that her husband was in an accident.  She makes it to the hospital just in time.  She is left with a two month old son to raise on her own.  Six years later, her best friend, Marion, gets a new next-door neighbor.  Lillian trys to avoid him, but finds out her knew her husband.  This is a charming story that reinforces getting a second chance at love.  I really liked it.  Great job Terri.
 
I am so glad Terri gave me a copy of this book to review it is a fast read, you can read all three stories in one night.  It was charming, a great book to cuddle up with at this time of the year.  I'd give it five stars.
 
 
Excerpt:
I rubbed my fussing son’s back and stumbled down the hall to grab the phone. “Hello?”
“Mrs. Douglas?”
A glance at the clock and my stomach clenched. Ronnie was an hour late for our Christmas Eve dinner. “Y-yes?”
“There’s been an accident.”
Through Steven’s heightened cries and the ringing in my ears I heard my husband’s name and Anna Jacques hospital.
This isn’t real. I need to wake up.
“Mrs. Douglas?”
I swayed and slumped to my knees on the linoleum floor, struggling to keep Steven in my grasp.
The floor is cold. I’m not dreaming.
 
 
 
 
My bio:
Terri started writing stories in the 8th grade, when a little gnome whispered in her brain. Gundi’s Great Adventure never hit the best seller list, but it started a long love affair with storytelling. Today she enjoys an escape to Middle Earth during the rare ‘me’ moments her two young daughters allow.
 
Where to buy:
 

And HERE is the Goodreads link.
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



a Rafflecopter giveaway



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Blog Tour--The Blood Done Signed my Name By M. Ann Ricks








About The Book

Are the sins of the father and mother visited upon their sons and daughters?

Undoubtedly damaged, Honey Lamb, like many, is a descendant of an unfortunate legacy of molestation, addiction, murder and bad decisions. For as long as she could remember, she believed the unhappiness she experienced was somehow bequeathed to her. The blood that surged through her veins seemed to be tainted and she often wondered about the DNA she possessed. Experiencing more than her share of misery at the hands of her mother, an alcoholic; the source of all her woes, Honey believed she’d overcome her seemingly checkered path all by herself when she met and married, Mason; a man she loves beyond her own understanding. Unfortunately, unsettling memories emerge to crack the veneer of her seemingly happy existence. Feeling unable to escape what she believed to be her destiny, Honey makes a decision that may have ruined her life. Not realizing God places people in our lives for His purpose, she reluctantly embarks upon a journey that will open her heart to a divine inheritance. Will she accept what God has already given to her or will she shun the invitation of salvation and allow her familial carnal legacy to continue to the next generation? Will she come to understand that Jesus’ blood redeemed us from a self-defeating existence because He became the sinful inheritance for us while at the same time eradicating it forever, giving us a spiritual blood transfusion that would change us all?

My Review:

This book was truly amazing. It proves that GOD forgives anything and will redeem anybody; all they have to do is accept Jesus as their Savior and ask GOD’s forgiveness.

This is the story of Honey, whose husband has left her because of something she did to betray him. She lives in an apartment house beside of Miss Sadie and Miss Sadie has asked her to go to church with her. Honey isn’t sure if she wants to go or not, but it seems like everyone around her is getting saved; her sister-in-law, Morgan, and her co-worker, Shara. Miss Sadie goes away for a week to take care of family business when she comes back she asks Honey to accompany her as she has to go on more family business. What transpires are some amazing revelations for Honey as to who she is and who she has become. Again, this is an amazing book. I give it more than five stars and once I started reading it, I couldn’t hardly put it down. This is a book I think everyone should read.
 
 

About the Author
M. Ann Ricks, (Melissa Ann), is a Christian Fiction novelist residing in Bear, Delaware with her excellent husband and two awesome sons. She is a graduate of Rider University and formerly a national accounts insurance executive.
Using Jesus Christ as her example, as He shared many parables, she creates stories with fictional characters that contend with real life issues and inserts the Word of God to communicate the genuine and unfailing love of God while making it abundantly clear that Jesus is the ONLY answer. M. Ann is determined to tell the world how wonderfully awesome Jesus Christ is and can be in our lives if we just allow Him to be. She is honored to be used by God to spread His message with the stories she creates with the leading of the Holy Spirit, knowing that He will provide her with stories and the words that will lift up the name of Jesus as He promised that if He is lifted up, He will draw all men to Him.
M. Ann is also what one may consider a motivational/inspirational speaker but she prefers the term, “Godspirational” as one may only be truly inspired, transformed and receive true revelation when hearing the uncompromised word of God. M. Ann also continues to utilize her group insurance knowledge as a Benefits and Network Consultant. Lastly, M. Ann is a Group Fitness instructor as she is determined to keep her natural “temple” fit and ready for the Master’s use!
 
PROLOGUE
Northern Italy, 1918
He hadn’t washed in weeks. The countryside was crawling with “Kraut” and all he could do was think about the full lips that said his name with uninhibited desire. She made him feel invincible and he needed to believe he was. He would have done anything to have and to keep her.
Those eyes…
She moved over him like a cunning feline. Under her spell, he promised he would keep her brother Tanner quiet about everything. He had no idea how he was going to silence the man who had become his friend, but he wasn’t going to let anyone ruin their plans. As he walked back to camp after visiting a makeshift latrine, his thoughts took him back to their night together. Intoxicated by cheap wine, he’d agreed to the pact. She was beautiful, strong, and most of all, determined. He wanted to believe that they would have a good life once this useless war was over.
After settling into the muddy trench, he saw something almost imperceptibly move. Italy could have been a beautiful place if it wasn’t for this God forsaken war, he thought, rubbing his eyes. He was unbelievably fatigued; so much so that foliage seemed to be moving by itself. He closedhis eyes and opened them again to focus. Was there someone or something out there? He couldn’t wait until he was back in the U. S. of A. More importantly, he couldn’t wait to be with her. He could still smell her. She was a vision… a sweet temptress.














12 Pearls of Christmas-Day 5



Welcome to the12 Pearls of Christmas blog series!



Merry Christmas from Pearl Girls™! We hope you enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from the authors who were so kind to donate their time and talents! If you miss a few posts, you’ll be able go back through and read them on this blog throughout the next few days.



We’re giving away a pearl necklace in celebration of the holidays, as well as some items (books, a gift pack, music CDs) from the contributors! Enter now on Facebook or at the Pearl Girls blog. The winner will announced on January 2, 2013 at the Pearl Girls blog.



If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Mother of Pearl, Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.



***
Will They Know What it Cost?

By Glynnis Whitwer



My daughter Cathrine went on a field trip to the Grand Canyon when she was in fourth grade. As I picked her up upon her return, she couldn’t wait to show me an adorable little stuffed brown bear she’d bought as a gift. She started to say that it was for everyone—meaning her three brothers and sister—but then her words got jumbled. Tears welled in her eyes as she tried to explain how she ran out of money when trying to buy gifts. Her distress was obvious.



To understand fully, it might help to know that Cathrine was born in Africa and experienced deprivation of every sort for the first eleven years of her life. At thirteen years old, she was only in fourth grade. And although she has made remarkable gains, even now she struggles with communication and math—especially money.



Later that night I finally understood what Cathrine was trying to tell me about the bear. She had taken twenty dollars of her own money to buy herself a souvenir. But before buying herself something, she wanted to buy some small gifts. So she started with two of her teachers and bought them each a small ring with the first initial of their last names. I looked at the price on the rings and realized each was $3.99. Times that by two, add tax, and Cathrine would have been left with eleven dollars for other gifts and herself.



I imagine she stood at the gift store counter bewildered by what she had just done. She was probably embarrassed to ask any of her classmates for help. And maybe the teacher wasn't around. There she stood with just over half of her money, and three brothers and a sister left to buy for. She decided to get a group gift, and that’s where the bear came in.



Standing in our kitchen, looking at the three items she purchased, I smiled brightly and told her everyone was going to love their gifts and that she’d made wonderful purchases. She smiled back, and the night ended well.



The next morning as she wrapped up the little rings, I kept thinking about those two teachers who were going to receive a gift that day. All they would see is a little silver ring. I knew they would be very loving and appreciative. But would they truly understand the sacrifice Cathrine made?



Would they understand their gifts cost Cathrine half of what she had? Would they ever know the frustration and worry Cathrine felt as she realized she didn't have enough to buy her family any gifts? Would they treasure those little rings, or would they put them in a drawer with gifts from other students throughout the year?



As I pondered these thoughts, I considered a gift I was given two thousand years ago: Jesus. God sent His Son into the world as a baby, knowing He would die on a cross for me. The cost of this gift staggers me.



As I decorate my tree and shop for my family, I’m reminded of what my freedom cost my Heavenly Father. Do I truly understand the sacrifice of that gift? Do I understand the anguish God the Father must have felt sending His Son? Do I treasure this gift, or do I take it for granted?



Christmas is a time for celebration. But it’s also a time to remember God’s sacrifice. For it is in understanding the cost, that we fully appreciate the gift.



***
Glynnis Whitwer is an executive director with Proverbs 31 Ministries. She is one of the writers of Encouragement for Today, the Proverbs 31 e-mail devotions, with over 500,000 daily readers. Her newest book, I Used to be So Organized, was released last fall. Glynnis, her husband Tod, and their five children live in Glendale, Arizona. Visit www.GlynnisWhitwer.com for more information.

Promo for Unleashing God's Power

Reading Addiction Blog Tours





Christian/Non-Fiction
Date Published:11/6/12

An inspirational book for mid level to mature Christians. The book discusses eleven key steps to maximizing the power of God in a Christian's life. The author uses great analogies to connect things of the Spiritual to things of the natural. He also discusses deep uncommon truths about praise, prayer, Holy Spirit and faith. The book is definitely bound to empower and increase a Christian's faith, in turn, experience supernatural results in life.

Links to Buy 



EXCERPT

Chapter 1: Understanding and Strengthening Your Faith in God
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1
Belief is a by-product of faith. The following is a scenario that will shed light on belief and faith in God. If there is an empty house in front of you and I tell you that the house is owned by someone, although, you have not seen anyone in the house, will you not believe me? Yes, you will and this means you have faith in the law of nature. The law of nature says that every house built is owned by someone, even if not yet purchased, then in this case the builder or the bank owns the property. The same way we must believe and have faith in God.
What does it profit, my bretheren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?
If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food
And one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
James 2:14-17
It is written, faith without works is dead. Pay close attention to what is being said. Let’s look at an example of how putting your faith to works operates.
If I show you a strange house with a vicious dog barking in it, but you cannot see the dog but can hear its aggressive barks, if I tell you to go into that house, for sure, you will say No.


This shows two things:
1. Although, you cannot see the dog but you can hear it bark means that you believe and have faith that there is a harmful animal in the house. 
2. You have put your faith to works by rejecting to enter the house.
This can be likened to having faith in God and obeying his commandments. That is, the vicious dog can bite or harm us if we enter the house. The attack from the dog is compared to the consequences we will face for disobeying God’s commandments and principles. 
Believing in God’s commandments is likened to believing that the house has a dog in it. That is, we cannot physically see God but we hear his word and commandments which should give us faith in God. 
The same way you did not physically see the dog in the house but you heard its bark.
You not entering the house because you heard the dog’s barks is an act of putting your faith to work. That is, you know the dog is in the house but you cannot and did not see it. The same way you must put your faith to work by not seeing God physically but hearing his word and commandments and obeying them.










I am Jimi Akanbi. I am a Christian nonfiction author, who is sold out to God. I live in Atlanta, Georgia USA. I have an MBA in Finance from Mercer University, Atlanta Georgia. I am currently an active member of the prayer and intercessory team at my church. I have also served God as an usher and protocol officer at my previous church. I have undergone a formal ten week bible training course. My interests include writing, counseling, ministry, movies, sports, music and more. I was miraculously called by God to be in the writing ministry, and I am acting in obedience.








Excerpt



Introduction

Remember, when power of God fell on Jesus disciples, and He sent them out to do the work of God’s kingdom, they came back to Him amazed, saying, “Even demons obey us in your name.” Let me say this, Christians have the highest authority ever because the source of our authority is from God, who is omnipotent (all powerful). Our authority is more powerful than that of any government or monarchy in this world. Note we are in this world but not of this world. However, most Christians do not operate at this high level of power due to various factors, including:

* Lack of faith

* Lack of knowledge

* Lack of personally experiencing God

* Lack of time for God.



The power you receive from God can be likened to that of a computer; what you put in is what you get out, or as it is said, you reap what you sow. The more knowledge you have of God the more power you will grow.



Excerpt

Chapter 1: Understanding and Strengthening Your Faith in God


Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1

Belief is a by-product of faith. The following is a scenario that will shed light on belief and faith in God. If there is an empty house in front of you and I tell you that the house is owned by someone, although, you have not seen anyone in the house, will you not believe me? Yes, you will and this means you have faith in the law of nature. The law of nature says that every house built is owned by someone, even if not yet purchased, then in this case the builder or the bank owns the property. The same way we must believe and have faith in God.

What does it profit, my bretheren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?

If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food

And one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

James 2:14-17

It is written, faith without works is dead. Pay close attention to what is being said. Let’s look at an example of how putting your faith to works operates.

If I show you a strange house with a vicious dog barking in it, but you cannot see the dog but can hear its aggressive barks, if I tell you to go into that house, for sure, you will say No.





This shows two things:

1. Although, you cannot see the dog but you can hear it bark means that you believe and have faith that there is a harmful animal in the house.

2. You have put your faith to works by rejecting to enter the house.

This can be likened to having faith in God and obeying his commandments. That is, the vicious dog can bite or harm us if we enter the house. The attack from the dog is compared to the consequences we will face for disobeying God’s commandments and principles.

Believing in God’s commandments is likened to believing that the house has a dog in it. That is, we cannot physically see God but we hear his word and commandments which should give us faith in God.

The same way you did not physically see the dog in the house but you heard its bark.

You not entering the house because you heard the dog’s barks is an act of putting your faith to work. That is, you know the dog is in the house but you cannot and did not see it. The same way you must put your faith to work by not seeing God physically but hearing his word and commandments and obeying them.






Friday, December 14, 2012

Day 1-Twelve Pearls of Christmas

Welcome to the12 Pearls of Christmas blog series!



Merry Christmas from Pearl Girls™! We hope you enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from the authors who were so kind to donate their time and talents! If you miss a few posts, you’ll be able go back through and read them on this blog throughout the next few days.



We’re giving away a pearl necklace in celebration of the holidays, as well as some items (books, a gift pack, music CDs) from the contributors! Enter now on Facebook or at the Pearl Girls blog. The winner will announced on January 2, 2013 at the Pearl Girls blog.



If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Mother of Pearl, Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.



***
God with Us . . . And Us with Him

By: Susan May Warren



Every year over labor day weekend, the Warren family has a MWE. Mandatory Warren Event. It’s a call to come home and enjoy the long weekend with our favorite people. Since my children have left for college, I relish every second of this weekend—the laughter in the kitchen, the long conversations in the family room, the frenzy of backyard football, the quietness of the morning as we drink coffee on the deck and watch the sunrise. I cherish these people, and when they are with me, I drink in their presence.



I’ve been reading the prophecies about Christ this season and came across Isaiah 7:14, Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.



I am struck by the word Immanuel. God with us. The closest I get to comprehending this is reading about how Jesus’ loved his disciples. Surely they relished the time with him more profoundly after his resurrection, knowing he would soon leave.



Thankfully, he didn’t leave them for long and sent His Holy Spirit. God . . . still with them. 



As I consider the magnitude of this God who would come to earth, who would abide with the disciples, and then with me, I have to wonder not only do I relish God’s presence in my life, but does God relish time with me? Am I committed to embracing His entrance into my life? Am I even making the effort to see Him?



Imagine that during our MWE weekend, I ignored my children, and they, me? I would lose the joy of their presence.



It is not surprising to me that the Jewish people did not recognize their Savior. After all, who would guess that the Almighty might package himself as a baby and appear among them, fragile and dependent? But today, we know the story, we know the miracles, we know the truth, and God invites us into an abundant relationship, one that He wishes to relish, one that will change us. A relationship that will slake our thirsts and satisfy our hungers. One that reminds us that we are never alone.



Because every day we are a mandatory event to our Immanuel.



This season, look for the ways that God is your Immanuel, with you, every day.


***
Susan May Warren is the best-selling, award-winning author of over 40 novels. With over 750,000 books in print, her stories of family, romance and adventure have earned her acclaim and reader fans from around the world. Visit her website for upcoming books and sneak peeks!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review of children's book The Christian Alphabet by Tracy Sands

The Christian Alphabet Book    Book and synposis from Authors website:

Synopsis

Do you know your Christian ABC’s?

The Christian Alphabet Book by Tracy Sands is a unique, visual, and enjoyable way to learn the basics of Christianity. “Love”, the dove from above, guides you from A to Z with special Biblical lessons of love for all ages.

What is more important than a firm foundation of faith?

Similar to learning to read from knowing the regular ABC’s, one will be inspired to know, love, and serve God by learning The Christian Alphabet.

Share the Gospel with your Children

Jesus told Peter, in the gospel of John, to “feed my lambs.” The Christian Alphabet Book will help all teachers of children feed their little lambs spiritually. Give those you love this book to help spread the Good News about God’s everlasting love and life.
The Christian Alphabet Book is more than just a children’s book. It is a book that families can cherish together while sharing its timeless messages that give Glory to God.


My Review:

This is a great book for children with beautiful illistrations.  It has practicle verses that children can understand.  It gives a simple defention of each word in the "Christian Alaphabet".  This book will give kids a firm foundation of faith.  Some examples "C" for Chris, "G" for God, "R" is for resurrection, and "V" is for victory.  This book would be a blessing to any child.  Great job Tracy.
I received a copy of this book for a virtual tour for Pump Up Your Books.

About the Author:



Christian artist, Tracy Sands, created The Christian Alphabet in 1999. Since then, The Christian Alphabet has adorned thousands of family rooms and baby rooms with her name art prints, and has marked special Bible passages with her bookmarks. Today, The Christian Alphabet continues to spread the Word. Here is the story of a Christian artist and how her story began…'

“It came from Him, not me. This is what happened:
The Lord inspired me in 1999 one evening at a church choir event. As I sat in the back row, listening to the awesome Christian music, in the dark, an incredible urge to draw came over me. Being an art teacher for 10 years, I had experienced this feeling before, but NEVER had it been so intense. I “happened” to have a pen in my pocket, but the only paper around was the program that I got as I walked in the door. In the empty space of the margins I sketched like crazy. I felt like I would pop if I didn’t get the ideas out of my brain right then! I will never forget that feeling. I had never felt so peaceful yet energized at the same time. God was just getting started with me! Over the course of 9 months we created this alphabet.
Each letter is educational and deep in meaning to me. In them you will find ancient and modern images used in the past 2000 years to express the Christian Faith. I have hopes of sharing all of the basic aspects of Christianity with those who really look into “The Christian Alphabet”. (There is a word in each letter and many symbols that you might find if you take the time to focus on them.)
Special thanks go to my husband, Albert, my mother, Elaine, and my sisters, Tammy and Jenn, for their help and encouragement; however; Jesus Christ is my true inspiration. Without Him, I could not have created ”The Christian Alphabet” as my form of sharing the gospel with you.”
 
- Tracy Sands

Where to buy:  Amazon

Friday, December 7, 2012

GIVEAWAY and Review of Where God Finds You by Anita Higman



Synopsis from Amazon.com:

In forty devotional tales, Where God Finds You breathes new life into ancient Bible characters. Live with and learn about more than forty Bible men and women, including the wife of Pontius Pilate, Esther, John the Baptist, Delilah, Lazarus, and Mary Magdalene.

Through reflection on Scripture and prayer, you’ll discover a place in each of these lives of vulnerability, tenderness, truth, and love—a place where you can find God . . . and where God finds you.

Where God Finds You is unique among women’s devotional books in that it brings dozens of men and women of the Bible to life through dramatic short stories, connects biblical truths to today’s culture, and offers readers an opportunity to reflect on what they’ve learned. Each devotion features:

• A dramatic retelling of Scripture that allows the reader to crawl into the pages of the Bible.
• The Story from God's Word: a quote or paraphrase of the applicable Bible passage in a reader-friendly version.
• The Story—From Then to Now: a personal reflection from the author to help link the passage to life today.
• The Story—Questions to Think About: prompts for personal reflection or group discussion that lead to practical application

My Review:

This is a great devotional.  It will work for you if you want to study it in a group or alone.  Anita Higman chose characters out of the Bible, some major and some minor characters, some characters were not even given names in the Bible.  Each devotion is about a different character and Anita starts each devotion with a fictional account written from that characters perspective.  After that she gives the book, chapter and verses from the Bible of that Character or theme of that character.  Anita then tells "The Story--From Then to Now" in which see gives her views of the story and how it relates to now.  This devotional will bless you.  Anita has done a great job with it.  I give it 5 stars.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Buoyancy Public Relations for my honest review.

I'll be giving away a copy of this book, Buoyancy Public Relations has graciously provided me with an extra copy.  To enter to win, just follow my blog via GFC at the top right of the page and leave me a comment with your name and email address so I can get in contact with you if you win.  If you also have a blog, leave your blog address and I'll gladly check out your blog.  Good luck to all entrants.

About the Author:


Award-winning author, Anita Higman, has twenty-five books published (several coauthored) for adults and children, and she has been honored as a Barnes & Noble Author of the Month for Houston. Anita has a BA degree, combining communication, psychology, and art. Her favorite things include exotic teas, movies, and all things Jane Austen. To contact Anita or enter her monthly contest for a free signed book please visit her website at www.anitahigman.com


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Interview and Review--Teresa Trent Overdue for Murder




Overdue For Murder









Synopsis: 

Writing Can Be Murder!
When local writers present their books at the Pecan Bayou Library, one author gets a killer review. Betsy Livingston, there to talk about her own gripping book on helpful hints around the house, finds herself the prime suspect for the murder. Join Betsy in her second mystery as she tries to clear her own name in this hilarious tale of small town Texas life and murder.




My Review:

This is the first of Teresa's books that I've read and I was really impressed.  Betsy Livingston is a great character.  This book flowed so well, all of the characters were great and realistic.  I liked how it kept you guessing up till the very end, just the way a great mystery should.  I definitely can't wait to return to Pecan  Bayou.  I already have the first book in the series lined up to read.  Great job Teresa keep up the good work.  I give this book five stars. 

I received a complementary copy of this book for my honest review for VBT Cafe's Book Tour.


About the Author:



Teresa Trent wasn't born in Texas but after a few glasses of sweet tea and some exceptional barbecue she decided to stay. With a father in the Army, she found herself moved all over the world, settling down for a while in her teens in the state of Colorado. Her writing was influenced by all of the interesting people she found in small towns and the sense of family that seemed to be woven through them all. Teresa is a former high school teacher and received her degree from The University of Northern Colorado.  Teresa is presently working on the third book in her Pecan Bayou Series.  Her second book, Overdue For Murder, came out in June of 2012.  

 


 


 

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Publisher – Tightwad Tess Press

Release Date June 2012

 


 

Giveaway:

Prize Pack – Ebooks : A Dash of Murder, Overdue For Murder, Death Upon Me by B.K. Walker, $25 Gift Card to Crumbs Online Bakery Shop, $5 Amazon Gift Card. Open Internationally.


 

Tags/Labels

Teresa Trent, Overdue For Murder, cozy mystery, mystery novels, mystery writers,mystery stories,murder mystery, virtual book tour, virtual book tour café,book blog tours, blog book tour,authors on tour, authors website, book club books 



Rafflecopter:
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Excertp:


Overdue For Murder Excerpt

 

"Aunt Maggie, have you ever made one of these fancy cakes?"

 

"Like what? Like what you see at the grocery?" Maggie's voice rose at the end, exaggerating her Texas accent.

I propped up the book for her to see a cake titled "Undersea Fantasy," which featured crabs, turtles and dolphins all crafted out of what looked like marshmallows and licorice strings. She peered at it, adjusting her bifocals on her nose as I explained to her what Rocky had asked me to do for Creative Cooks Day.

"Gee, Betsy. I'm thinkin' you're in over your head this time. I remember when you tried to make Danny that smiley face cake. The black icing you used on the grin ran down the side and it about scared him to death. Surprised he made it to his next birthday without counselin'."

I scratched my head. "Oh, yeah. I forgot about that, no wonder on the video all the kids were screaming."

"Sure, and then there was the time you tried to make Judd that cake and forgot to put the eggs in."

"I should have caught that."

"Yeah, we had to put candles on a box of honey buns that day. You got a track record  for  bad baking, baby girl."

Zach and Danny ran into the kitchen. "Mama," Danny said. "We're going to break the world record."

"What world record?" Maggie asked.

"All of them!" Danny answered.

"We're still figuring out what incredible thing we're going to do, Aunt Maggie, so I'm glad you got your hair done." Zach stretched out his arms, imagining his future paparazzi. "There will probably be hundreds of reporters out on the lawn after we do it."

"Thanks for the warning," she smiled.

I paged through the glossy photos in the cookbook. There were cakes that looked like circuses, swimming pools, insects, hats, cartoon characters. I started having a case of baking terror. "You know, Aunt Maggie. I could always drive into Houston and buy something and bring it back. They'll never know."

"You'll know."

I sighed.

"You could make a cake out of rubber bands," suggested Zach.

I nodded. "That's original, but not too tasty." I turned the page and spotted the cake labeled "Beginner's Crocodile Cake." How kind of them to have a cake that was supposed to be easy enough for people like me. I grabbed a pen and started writing down the ingredients I would need. Surely I could stir up some green frosting and turn it into something.


Other books by Teresa:

A Mystery for Ghost Hunters!
When Betsy's Aunt Maggie wants to drag her along on a ghost hunting excursion at the local abandoned tuberculosis hospital she isn't sure if she quite believes in ghosts. When she comes upon a fresh spirit in the form of a body, she starts to rethink about what really is haunting the hospital.
 
Betsy must solve the murder in spite of her father, who is a lieutenant on the Pecan Bayou Police Force, town citizens worried about the effect of the occult on their children, and handsome stranger from Dallas. How do you get blood out of a silk blouse? Betsy Livingston can tell you in her newspaper column, "The Happy Hinter". When she's not writing, or taking care of her young son, she's busy solving mysteries in the tiny Texas town of Pecan Bayou.
 
 
 
My Interview:
 
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing since my twenties.  Like anything else it is a learning process.  It took me several years to figure out how to actually finish a novel!
 
 
What are your inspirations?
I am inspired by newspaper headlines and people.  I collect interesting incidents in the news and just keep my eyes open.  One day I was driving down the street and saw a bakery van.  The name of the baker would be a wonderful character name, so I wrote it down later! Also, I probably shouldn't admit this, but I love to watch reality tv like Survivor or Project Runway and watch the personalities clash.  There is so much of human nature that can be learned from observing these people. 
 
 
Is Pecan Bayou based on a certain place?
 
The geographic location is based on the string of small towns that exist from outside of Houston into the hill country of Texas.  The actual town is a composite of towns I've lived in along the way which in Illinois, Georgia and Colorado. 
 
 
You’ve lived in a lot of different places, what was your favorite?
I loved living in Colorado and sometimes actually miss the snow.  I figure if I ever went back it would take about a week of cold weather to get over that in a hurry.
 
 
Do you have plans for anymore cozy mysteries, Pecan Bayou or any other series?
Right now, I plan to write six books in the Pecan Bayou series.  Books three and four are both in the edit stage so I'm hoping to have them out in the first half of 2013.  The story of Betsy and Leo will continue as will the incredible amount of homicides in this tiny town in Texas.