Saturday, November 21, 2020

Sunrise---Sunset

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Linus, of Charlie Brown fame, starts each day with a fresh blanket.

Photo by Maggie Wickline-Jowers
I don't often wake up in time to witness the sunrise. Yet, I know every day that bright star lights our world from dawn until dusk. With the morning I'm given the gift of a new day, an opportunity to start fresh on my journey with Jesus. While I attempt to follow the Holy Spirit's lead each day, some days I fumble through on my own and make a mess.

On the days I fail miserably, I bow my head as the sun sets and ask God to forgive me.

And he does.

The Lord gives second chances. His patience amazes me. I would have been done with me a long time ago. Not God. He calls me to repent when sin strangles me and drags me to the ground. He reminds me how much he loves me and wants me to understand I'm not alone. Instead I'm loved and accepted as his child.

I'm thankful for sunrise, a new beginning every morning. I'm even more thankful for sunset, a time to reflect on my day and seek God's grace.

Jesus calls everyone to repent, to throw off the burden of sin, and follow him.

If you haven't accepted Jesus love and grace, he asks us to hear his word (or read it), believe he is the son of God who died and rose to life, confess our sins, repent (turn away from a life chasing sinful things toward a life of hope and joy), be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit (our comfort and guide,) and be obedient.

 Jesus loves us and wants us to live a life of abundance.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

A Quiet Joy

As we approach Thanksgiving,
think back on 2020 and capture the good moments.
Find those times of quiet thankfulness.

Let go of the sorrow, frustration, and grief
and hold onto the peace and joy.



 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Historical Fiction Review: A Castaway in Cornwall by Julie Klassen

Book Description:
Set adrift on the tides of fate by the deaths of her parents and left wanting answers, Laura Callaway now lives with her uncle and his disapproving wife in North Cornwall. There she feels like a castaway, always viewed as an outsider even as she yearns to belong.

While wreckers search for valuables along the windswept Cornwall coast--known for its many shipwrecks but few survivors--Laura searches for clues to the lives lost so she can write letters to next of kin and return keepsakes to rightful owners. When a man is washed ashore after a wreck, Laura acts quickly to protect him from a local smuggler determined to destroy him.

As Laura and a neighbor care for the survivor, they discover he has curious wounds and, although he speaks in careful, educated English, his accent seems odd. Other clues wash ashore, and Laura soon realizes he is not who he seems to be. Despite the evidence against him, the mysterious man might provide her only chance to discover the truth about her parents' fate. With danger pursuing them from every side, and an unexpected attraction growing between them, will Laura ever find the answers she seeks?

My Review:
Cornwall's coast is fascinating, especially to Laura Callaway. Although she feels like an outsider in her new home, she fills her days helping others and working to return lost flotsam and jetsam to the rightful owners. On the day she discovers a man who has washed ashore, her life changes. Julie Klassen has done her research in this interesting story of love and loss. I found the characters compelling and the setting remarkable. Although the book was a bit slow, the story is well written. Klassen goes into detail to make the reader feel the chilly coast and the heartache Laura carries. If you enjoy historical fiction set in England, this is the book for you. I received a complimentary copy of this item. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Thanks for Music!

Psalm 95:1-2

Come, let us sing joy to the Lord;
            let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving and
            extol him with music and song.

Raise a hallelujah!

In the fall of 1975, I joined several other 18 and 19 year-olds on the campus of Kentucky Christian College. Fresh out of high school, we prepared to join the ranks of freshmen in higher education. I knew a few of my fellow classmates and met a slew of new friends. We gathered at least twice a week for campus worship, where we heard preaching and raised our voices together in praise. One song touched our class more than any other, It is Well With my Soul. To this day it's my all-time favorite hymn.

Fast forward 40 yearsseveral from our class gathered for a reunion. What a joy to meet with these longtime friends. We ate and chatted, then had a time of worship. And guess which song we all wanted to sing. It is Well, because even after all these years, we know whatever life brings, our souls rest in the Lord.

The words of the hymn may seem old fashioned, but they translate into peace, hope, and joy for our troubled souls today. With all the grief, frustration, discontent, doubt, and temptation, God is still watching out for us. Jesus still offers grace and salvation. The Holy Spirit still lives and breathes in the souls of Jesus' followers.

When I feel down, I plug into music that praises the Lord, and then I sing like nobody's listening. I'm thankful for the music written to praise the Lord, whether a psalm, a hymn, or a contemporary piece. Thank you, Lord for musicians.

Come before him with thanksgiving and song!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Thank you!

 I am thankful to the men and women
who have put their lives on the line
so we may live in freedom.

Thank you Veterans for your sacrifices!







Monday, November 9, 2020

Gift Item Review: Whatever Is Lovely Postcard Book: Twenty-Four Inspirational Cards to Color and Send: Postcards by Ink & Willow

Item Description:
Spread joy and inspiration with twenty-four colorable postcards to send to friends and family (or enjoy yourself!), from the creators of the Whatever Is Lovely coloring book.

Featuring inspirational quotes and beautiful artwork from the award-winning Whatever Is Lovely coloring book, this set of twenty-four detachable, colorable postcards offers a peaceful escape from the stress and busyness of everyday life. Quotes from contemporary voices, familiar hymns, and Scripture are included on the back of the cards.

Each card has a splash of metallic ink, so they are pretty enough to send before being colored. That way, you can color them yourself or let the recipient have all the fun! You might even decide to keep them yourself to display in your home!

Artists of all ages will enjoy coloring and displaying these beautiful cards!

My Review:
The Ink & Willow postcards come in a cute book where they can be removed one-at-a-time or kept to enjoy. Although the cards have designs that can be colored with pencil or markers, the touches of gold make them beautiful on their own. Each card is beautifully designed with a drawing and an inspiring quote. I'll enjoy sending these to friends and family. These would make a lovely gift or a sweet surprise, with each postcard sent. The paper is high quality and great to color on. The back of the card continues the sentiment with room for an address and a message. I received a complimentary copy of this item. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Historical Fiction Review: The Dress Shop on King Street (Heirloom Secrets Book #1) by Ashley Clark

Book Description:
Harper Dupree has pinned all her hopes on a future in fashion design. But when it comes crashing down around her, she returns home to Fairhope, Alabama, and to Millie, the woman who first taught her how to sew. As Harper rethinks her own future, long-hidden secrets about Millie's past are brought to light.

In 1946, Millie Middleton--the daughter of an Italian man and a Black woman--boarded a train and left Charleston to keep half of her heritage hidden. She carried with her two heirloom buttons and the dream of owning a dress store. She never expected to meet a charming train jumper who changed her life forever . . . and led her yet again to a heartbreaking choice about which heritage would define her future.

Now, together, Harper and Millie return to Charleston to find the man who may hold the answers they seek . . . and a chance at the dress shop they've both dreamed of. But it's not until all appears lost that they see the unexpected ways to mend what frayed between the seams.

My Review:
Wow! What a wonderful story. The Dress Shop on King Street captures the tension of the time period in the 1940s-60s, then slips on to modern day to tell an incredible story of courage, despair, and hope. I absolutely love Millie and Franklin's story as Millie traverses the world of a white person, whose heritage speaks differently. At times Millie's story breaks my heart and makes me angry because of the unfair world she lives in, but she perseveres. Harper's search for the future she dreams of leads Millie and her into Peter's life. The story that tumbles out of the past and crashes into the future is one filled with untold secrets, regrets, and hope, always hope. I also enjoyed the sewing references and the tale of the buttons. I'd love to see Harper's gorgeous creations. Ashley Clark did a beautiful job stitching the eras together and giving Harper a clear understanding of what it takes to follow your dreams. 5+ stars. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

When is Enough, Enough?

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Into the woods we go.

Beyond the forest we trekked through, Lake Erie roared. Leaves scattered across the trail, under an overcast sky. We dodged puddles as we hiked along the North Loop on Kelleys Island. From an opening in the woods, we spotted the alvar, a rare ecosystem along the coast, made of limestone, very thin soil, and scant vegetation.

After we climbed over roots and rocks, we stepped onto the limestone and watched the angry waves tumble in. At first the alvar looked barren. Then I noticed plants and moss growing out of what appeared to be nothing. The environment provided just enough soil and nutrients for plants to grow. I'd read that the northern bog violet grew there in the spring. Even in late October, with the water crashing in, the autumn plants thrived.

I've experienced times in my life when resources were thin like the soil on the alvar. Other times my physical being felt weak or my spiritual life fell short. In all of those times, the Holy Spirit reminded me God is enough. Trust me, I struggled. I didn't just glide through without doubt and fear, but my Lord provided the resources, the strength, and the desire to plant my spiritual roots deeper.

With faith and hope, I believe with all my heart—God is enough. When I fall on my knees and seek his forgiveness—God is enough. When I worry and fret—God is enough. He provides all my needs, if I am willing to ask him and trust him.

Believe God is enough, even in times of doubt and despair. He loves us more than we understand.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Cozy Mystery Review: Bag of Bones: A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery by Jackie Layton

Book Description:

Does one good turn deserve a murder?

Despite all her good intentions to focus on a healthy lifestyle and leave crime solving to the professionals, Andi Grace Scott has run right smack into another investigation--literally. Who’d have thought caring for stray cats and a healthy morning beach run could lead to murder?

Andi Grace has found another body and a young woman who needs help. Solving this puzzle will come with a cost. This time, catching the killer will require Andi Grace to confront her past relationships and truths about her deceased mother.

My Review:
I love Andi Grace Scott. Despite wanting to live a simple life, she winds up in the middle of a murder investigation, again, and helps a young woman with a rough past. And who wouldn't love Marc Williams, Andi's patient and attentive boyfriend. There were some surprises and twists I didn't expect, which makes the book that much more appealing. Bag of Bones, the third Low Country Dog Walker mystery is a great story. It's one of those series, when I finish reading, I miss the characters and hope there's another book coming. I have enjoyed all of Jackie Layton's Low Country Dog Walker books. If you enjoy cozy mysteries, you'll love Jackie Layton's books. I purchased this copy, and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Enough

I am blessed beyond measure.
Am I rich? No.
Am I poor? No.
Do I have what I need? Yes.
Who provides? God

Years ago, when I was a single parent, we didn't have much money or material things. 
But we had enough.
I prayed, and God provided. 
He met every need, and he still does.

For that I am grateful.


 

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Fiction Review: The Sowing Season: A Novel by Katie Powner

Book Description:

After he's forced to sell the family farm he's labored on his whole life, 63-year-old Gerrit Laninga doesn't know what to do with himself. He sacrificed everything for the land--his time, his health, his family--with nothing to show for it but bitterness, regret, and two grown children who want nothing to do with him.

Fifteen-year-old Rae Walters has growing doubts and fears about The Plan--the detailed blueprint for high school that will help her follow in her lawyer father's footsteps. She's always been committed to The Plan, but now that the pressure to succeed is building, what was supposed to unite her family in purpose, may end up tearing it apart.

When their paths cross just as they each need a friend the most, Gerrit's and Rae's lives begin to change in unexpected ways. Can they discover together what really matters in life and learn it's never too late for a second chance?

My Review:
I love this heartwarming story of hope and forgiveness. Gerrit Laninga spent years working the family dairy. The whole time he carried guilt. When he finally lets go of the farm, he's faced with what to do with his life. He loves his wife Hannie, but lots of mending needs to be done. In comes Rae Walters, a self-driven teenager who needs to stick with The Plan. These two go on a path that leads them to self-examination and discovery. Katie Powner's debut is beautiful. This is a great read as we go into the season of thanksgiving. I enjoyed the country setting and all the characters who matter to Gerrit and Rae. If you enjoy books with a redemptive thread and a family/community theme, you'll love The Sowing Season. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.