Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Buried Secrets: A Novel (Men of Valor) by Irene Hannon

Book Description:
After seven years as a Chicago homicide detective, Lisa Grant has hit a wall. Ready for a kinder, gentler life, she takes a job as a small-town police chief. But the discovery of a human skeleton by a construction crew at the edge of town taxes the resources of her department. A call for assistance brings detective Mac McGregor, an ex-Navy SEAL, to her doorstep. As they work to solve the mystery behind the unmarked grave, danger begins to shadow them. Someone doesn't want this dead person telling any tales--and will stop at nothing to make certain a life-shattering secret stays buried.

My Review:
Buried Secrets, the first book in the Men of Valor series, has a strong main character in Chief of Police Lisa Grant. I enjoyed her relationship with Detective Mac McGregor as much as the case the two join together to solve. Irene Hannon writes a seamless suspenseful story that kept me up reading way too late. The evilness of the perpetrator bleed through the pages. If you enjoy suspense and intelligent mysteries, you'll like Buried Secrets.

I received a free copy of Buried Secrets from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my honest review.

A Gem in the Woods

I found this beauty on my walk today. The star shaped white trout-lily popped up through the remnants of autumn. Take a peek at the mottled leaves.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Cement and Grace

1 Corinthians 3:10-11
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 

Down the street from our condominium, construction workers have been digging in the dirt. They’ve scooped, smoothed, and moved the sod and soil with shovels and backhoes. A cement truck roared into action this week as the workers laid block. Like the home we live in, the new structure will have a solid base to stand on. I’ve seen houses that don’t have a firm foundation. They’re unsettled, crumble and fall.

Penny Frost McGinnis
Much like a house, life needs a firm foundation. I could’ve built my life on my love of books, my job, my family, money, or my fondness for nature. Instead I chose to stand on the foundation God gave in his Son, Jesus. He’s my rock. As long as I stand on him, I stand firm. I love Jesus and praise him for his sacrifice. Like the cement truck that pours concrete for the house to stand, God pours his grace under me. Praise God for his Son!

Is your foundation solid?

Monday, March 23, 2015

National Puppy Day

I heard today is National Puppy Day. I'm not sure who made up the day, but I bet they love their dogs as much as we love ours.

When we got Tater as a puppy, he was a sweet furry bundle of joy. He laid in my lap when I was sick and followed us faithfully from room to room. He's been a blessing. He's about eight years old now, seventy-five pounds and still a joy.

Olive came to us as an adult. She's a rescue dog found with eight puppies. Poor thing had physical problems from her previous life. She's been a bit of challenge, yet a soothing little dog.

Do you have dogs who are part of your family?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Ash & Eish

I love living near a small town. The other day as I drove home, I noticed a new business had popped up. Ash & Eish Boutique, at 120 North Market Street in Batavia is a cute little shop filled with unique clothing and accessories for women and girls. The ladies who own the shop specialize in refreshing used clothing. Tucked in one corner hang patchwork items. In another, colorful accessories. Stop in and visit Ash & Eish. 

While you're out, a couple other new businesses sprouted over the winter. An antique shop on Kilgore Avenue and a shop on Main Street with prom dresses and artwork. I'm hoping this is the beginning of some great shops in Batavia.

Friday, March 20, 2015

They Offer Hope

Matthew 6:19-21
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” –Jesus

I’ve been reading the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. A friend gave it to me with a sweet “I’m thankful for you” bookmark. Ann set a goal to write a list of one thousand things she’s thankful for so that she can live a life closer to Jesus. As I’ve followed her story, she shares through heartache, grief, joy and pain the simple things she’s grateful for. Here are a few I’d put on my list—daffodils waiting to bloom, bluebirds, celebrating a child’s birthday, my grandchild’s smile, peanut butter toast.

Should I tuck these in my heart? I think so. I strive for the simplicity of Ann’s journey, to appreciate the true treasures of life on earth. Along with the natural wonders and the beautiful moments, I want to store the words of Jesus and the blessings of God in my heart. So many times when I’ve been anxious or distressed, the Bible’s words have come to me and calmed me. They offer hope. Praise God for the true treasures of life.

Early Bloomers

I found these spring beauties at Sycamore Park. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Are You a Nature Nut?

Does anyone else see the cushion used to lean on and study?
I've decided to find at least one moment of beauty in every day. I'm convinced I'll find more. But I won't find any if I don't look. Tim and I took a walk in our neighborhood and I saw several things I consider beautiful. 

I've always been a bit of a nature nut. Dragging (not literally) my kids into the woods, through parks and fields and teaching them names of flowers and trees. So it's no surprise to me to find the lovely even in the unlovely at times. 

Love the bird nest.
I hope you enjoy a few of my nature shots.

Share the beautiful you found in today.

Monday, March 16, 2015

A Little Easter Flower

I posted a while back that I was up to my elbows in ruffles. 

Here's the finished project on my sweet little granddaughter. She'll be a beautiful little flower for Easter. I used the scraps to make a bow tie for her big brother. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Have Courage and Be Kind

Any little girl who dreams of being a princess knows the story of Cinderella. A lovely young lady who lived a golden childhood is cast into the unexpected role of servant to some cold-hearted people. Fortunately for her, her mother presented her with a piece of wisdom that would carry her through life. "Have courage and be kind."

Some of my favorite princesses joined me at the theater to see the new Cinderella movie. All girls, 8-108 will fall in love with this magical story once again. The detail is amazing, the setting perfect, the costumes gorgeous, and the characters delightful. Lily James sweetness shined through Ella's misfortune. Cate Blanchett played the evil step-mother to a tee. Holliday Grainger and Sophia McShera's rendition of the step-sisters left me laughing out loud. And the prince, Richard Madden, was certainly charming. Disney did a fantastic job bringing this timeless tale to life.

After the movie, my daughter's were talking about there favorite Disney princesses. I had to admit I'd not really picked a favorite. I like Snow White, but I believe after seeing Cinderella defy the odds with courage and kindness, I've found a new favorite princess. I'll be buying this one.

Who is your favorite princess?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Servant's Heart

Galatians 5:13
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 

Have you ever been involved in planning and implementing an event? At work, I’ve joined with a team to put together a retreat, author visit, or conference day. In my experience there are usually one or two people in the background who tie up loose ends, pick up pieces, make food, and make the execution of the event look seamless. If you’ve ever gone to a theater production you know someone created the backgrounds, sewed the costumes, and developed the marketing. At the end of a movie, a long list of folks who work in the background scrolls across the screen.

God loves the servant’s heart. In Galatians 5, people argued over the old laws. Paul said, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” He encouraged the people to stop arguing and start serving. The Lord wants his followers to meet the needs of others with a humble heart, without drawing attention to themselves, while glorifying Jesus. What a great blessing to meet needs without limelight. Praise God for freedom and grace that give opportunity to serve.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Spring has Sprung

My daughter sends me a picture of the first crocus she finds, every spring.
 I look forward to it each year. Spring has sprung!
Maggie Wickline

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Good Day

Sixty-one degrees drew me outside. I walked a path through the woods that later wound around sidewalks in our community. The sun shined from a blue sky. Birds called to one another that spring weather had arrived. Children played, rode bikes, and skateboards. As I ambled along, a book by one of my favorite authors came to mind.
A Good Day by Kevin Henkes follows the trail of things lost and found. His vibrant illustrations embody a happy feeling, much like the sunny day gave me. This is a perfect book to read to a baby or toddler. The story is sweet and filled with hope for a good day.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spring Beauty

Penny Frost McGinnis
I delight in discovering beauty. Since we moved into our new home in August I had no idea what plants might pop up in the landscape. We've lived several places and each spring I'd find lovely green sprouts pushing through the soil. This place is no exception. Yesterday, once all the snow melted away, the beginnings of grape hyacinths poked their little heads up. I am excited to see the full grown flower. Hopefully they'll stretch into themselves by Easter. 

What spring flowers do you have?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Tea for Two by Trish Perry

I’d love to have a tea shop like Millie’s to visit in my town. Mille’s Tea Shop is the place where friends meet, problems get solved and scones are eaten. Perry’s delightful follow up to The Perfect Blend put a smile on my face and warmth in my heart. I enjoyed rooting for the main characters, Zach and Tina. Tea for Two is a sweet faith-filled story, but not without conflict and resolution. I loved the setting and the interesting array of characters. Perry’s humor made me laugh while I reflected on what it means to trust God.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Friday, March 6, 2015

Even the Moon Praises Him

Psalm 148:3-6
Praise him, sun and moon;
    praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skie
 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for at his command they were created,
and he established them forever and ever—
    he issued a decree that will never pass away.

A heavy blanket of snow covered the fields as we drove along the country road. The sky graduated to an inky black and the moon, as round as a bright golden ball, cast its light. No matter where we traveled, it seemed the moon followed us. The brightness made us look to the heavens and admire the work of God. He created the round orb to reflect light on the earth at night. One more way He cared for us.

The Psalm says God created all the heavenly bodies. The sun, moon, and stars each praise Him. If these objects can light the world and show God glory, what keeps us from praising Him daily. God made so much for us to enjoy. When I saw the low hanging moon I stood in awe. And the sun and the stars…they’re just as fascinating. As winter gives way to spring (it will come, I promise) look at God’s creation and rejoice with him. Praise the Lord for the beauty he gives each day.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Up to My Elbows in Ruffles

A few weeks ago I wrote about my daughter asking me to make my granddaughter an Easter dress. Today (a snowday) I pulled out the pattern, fabric, pins and scissors and set to work. The pattern challenged me. I won't say how many times I had to unsew  and resew some of the pieces in the bodice. But I loved stitching the pieces together, like a puzzle, and seeing how the fabrics complemented each other.

Gathering the ruffles took some patience. I've never seen so many ruffles on such a small dress. But they turned out beautiful. Now I just have buttons to sew on the back and bloomers to make.

I love being a grandma!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

An Eerie Fog

Penny Frost McGinnis
Yesterday as I drove to my daughter's house, I encountered fog. With snow on the ground and warm temperatures, the clouds hung close to the ground. I was fascinated by the eerie evening. When I passed a small cemetery I couldn't help but stop and snap a photo. I loved the way the fog kissed the snowy ground and the splash of pink teased with the reminder that spring's around the corner.