Friday, November 15, 2019

Fall Findings Friday: Bittersweet

My mom gathered bittersweet every autumn. 
She'd arrange a beautiful bouquet of this colorful berry in 
a pitcher and bowl and place it on our dining room table

That's when I knew Thanksgiving was around the corner.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Fiction Review: Lake Season by Denise Hunter

Book Description:
A lost letter, a new love, and old secrets beckon this summer at the Bluebell Inn.

When their parents die in a tragic accident, Molly Bennett and her siblings pull together to fulfill their parents’ dream: turning their historic Bluebell, North Carolina home back into an inn. The situation would just be temporary—three years at the most—then they would sell the inn and Molly could get back to chasing her own dreams.

Adam Bradford (aka bestselling author Nathanial Grey) is a reclusive novelist with a bad case of writer’s block. Desperate for inspiration as his deadline approaches, he travels to the setting of his next book, a North Carolina lake town. There he immediately meets his muse, a young innkeeper who fancies herself in love with his alter ego.

Molly and Adam strike up an instant friendship. When Molly finds a long-lost letter in the walls of her inn she embarks on a mission with Adam to find the star-crossed lovers and bring them the closure they deserve. But Adam has secrets of his own. Past and present collide as truths are revealed, and Molly and Adam will have to decide if love is worth trusting.


My Review:
Lake Season is such a wonderful story. I enjoyed the camaraderie between the siblings as they attempt to fulfill their parents' dream of opening the inn. When their first customer stops in to book a room the scene is so funny. Molly's vulnerability is revealed and Adam's sweet side shines. I love how Molly fancies herself in love with a famous author and the joy she finds in reading his novels. But when Molly finds the old letter in the wall the story really takes off. As they work to solve an old mystery, a beautiful story unfolds. Denise Hunter has written another lovely story filled with delightful characters. If you are looking for a great read, check out Lake Season. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


Monday, November 11, 2019

Thank You

Veterans Day is a day to honor those who have served in the armed forces. 
The folks who fought to give us freedom. 
I'm thankful for the sacrifices of the vets and their families. 
Recently, a little boy told me his dad is a veteran and his brother is in the service now. 
With heartfelt respect he honored his dad and brother. 

I lift up the families of those who serve and have served. Thank you!

My dad served in WW2. Love this photo my daughter, Maggie, snapped.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Gratitude Brings Joy!

Colossians 3:15-17
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Christmas decorations have hit the stores before November 1. Hallmark launched their holiday movies, October 25. Radio stations are already blasting Christmas cheer.

I admit, I'm watching the Christmas movies and listening to the music. I'm making gifts and have a running holiday list.

In the midst of this holiday flurry, my husband asked, "What happened to Thanksgiving?"

I've pondered Tim's question for a few days now. What did happen to Thanksgiving? Not just the holiday, but the earnest, sincere act of thankfulness. When I volunteer at school, it does my heart good when I hear a child say thank you. Let's model this simple act of appreciation for children so they might pass it on. 

The apostle Paul penned a letter to the people of Colossians. He urged them to give thanks to God in everything. How much better would the day be if we lived with a grateful heart? As we prepare for the holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, let's stop and praise God. A grateful heart spills joy and hope onto others.
Let's thank God for his love and grace and revive the practice of saying thank you to the people around us.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Fall Findings Friday: A Little Country in the City

Stacked on bales of straw and complimented by a purple mum, I caught this little taste of fall at Newport on the Levee. We'd visited a book festival, Books by the Banks, in Cincinnati, then stopped by Tom & Chee for lunch. 

I grew up in the country and love the fall decorations that echo our agricultural heritage. 
Pumpkins, corn, and chrysanthemum all reflect the beauty of the season.


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Historical Fiction Review: When Silence Sings by Sarah Loudin Thomas


Book Description:
Colman Harpe works for the C&O in the Appalachian rail town of Thurmond, West Virginia, but he'd rather be a preacher and lead his own congregation. When a member of the rival McLean clan guns down his cousin and the clan matriarch, Serepta McLean, taunts the Harpes by coming to a tent revival in their territory, Colman chooses peace over seeking revenge with the rest of his family.

Colman, known for an unnaturally keen sense of hearing, is shocked when he hears God tell him to preach to the McLeans. A failed attempt to run away leaves Colman sick and suffering in the last place he wanted to be--McLean territory. Nursed by herbalist Ivy Gordon--a woman whose birthmark has made her an outcast--he's hindered in his calling by Serepta's iron grip on the region and his uncle's desire to break that grip. But appearances can be deceiving, and he soon learns that the face of evil doesn't look like he expected.

My Review:
I requested to review When Silence Sings because I enjoy historical fiction set in the Appalachian Mountains. I'm so glad I did. Sarah Loudin Thomas has written a stunning story that encompasses so much of what life looks like when we listen to God. In the time of feuding families, Colman Harpe hears God's call. He wants to run away. As a matter of fact he tries. But after wrestling with angels, a beautiful story unfolds. I loved the journey of Coleman's character. Then there is Ivy. She's just lovely. A sweet woman with a huge heart. I can't forget Serepta. What an interesting character. She brings a dose of apprehension to the story. But in the midst of all the feuding, fear, and family there is faith. Sprinkled with mountain folktales and anecdotes, When Silence Sings is an excellent novel. Cozy up by the fire and soak in this hopeful tale. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Fiction Book Review: Chasing Dreams by Deborah Raney


Book Description:
Joanna Chandler always dreamed of becoming an attorney. But when she left law school to help care for her dying mother, stepping away from her single-minded pursuit gave her space to reconsider. The only question is, if not law, what should she do with her life?

To keep her mind off an uncertain future, Joanna helps her older sister, Phylicia, throw an amazing outdoor wedding on the charming Missouri property the three Chandler sisters own together. That's when she realizes wedding planning could be a thriving business of its own. And Lukas Blaine, the handsome wedding DJ, opens her mind to the possibility of love on the horizon.

But there's more to Luke than meets the eye. The young boy he's been mentoring has lost his mother and become Luke's ward. Mateo is sullen and angry and needs constant attention. How can Luke possibly find the time to start a new relationship or saddle someone else with a wounded child? He may have to let go of the woman of his dreams--and crush her dreams at the same time.

My Review:
I love Deb Raney's books because she delves into the heart of life. Her books dig deep and deal with real struggles as the characters find the desire of their heart. In Chasing Dreams, Jo, the main character, lays out her feelings and fears. She's honest with herself, which brings her great angst. Luke is a sweetheart who has dedicated himself to Mateo. He's a gentleman who wants to draw Jo into his life, yet hesitates because he cares so much. As always, Deb takes the reader through the struggle with the characters and shows how they confront themselves before God. If you enjoy great fiction with an inspirational thread, read Deb's books. Chasing Dreams is book two in the Chandler Sisters' series. Read Phylicia and Quinn's story in book one, Reason to Breathe. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Publications. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Two Plates

James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Sometimes on my morning walk God hits me with a thought.
As I admired the orange and red leaves on the trees in our neighborhood, they reminded me of the many people I wanted to pray for. When I wandered through my mental list of friends and family and sought God's attention, I pictured two ordinary white plates. One empty and one full. The full one was piled with slips of paper where I'd scribbled the needs of the folks I wanted to pray for. Some had more writing than others. The empty plate showed me I had taken the needs before the Father.

But, here's what sometimes happens. I say "Yes, I'll pray for you." Then I mentally place the prayer request on the serving dish to offer up to Jesus later. Then I forget about the plate and it piles up. Some might even fall off. That's a fail for me.

On my walk, God reminded me to empty my plate. Kind of like when a you're kid and your parents tell you to clean your plate. In James, we're told as Christians to pray for one another. Prayers for our friends, family, or enemy will be heard by God. Our prayers are fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I don't know about you, but I want my prayer plate to be empty. I desire a prayer life that pours the needs of people out to the heavenly Father. He wants to hear our simple and humble words. Seek him and speak from the heart. He's all ears.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Fall Findings Friday: Whoooo???

I found this little owl, Jack-o-lantern, on my neighbor's porch. How cute! I've loved owls for as long as I can remember. I'm not sure if I admired them because they are associated with wisdom, or I just thought they were adorable creatures. I was blessed to see a baby owl in the woods one time. What a joy! God's creation amazes me everyday. 
What's your favorite animal?