Showing posts with label Hope for Today's Heart. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hope for Today's Heart. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Enter to Win!!!



I am excited to announce my book, Home Where She Belongs, is part of the Basketful of Books Giveaway. This giveaway runs 5/16 through 5/21, and the prize consists of twelve Christian books. The 1st place winner will receive all twelve books (authors' choice of format) and the 2nd place winner will receive three books (authors' choice of format) of their choosing. A variety of genres, from fantasy to historical romance to suspense and more, are featured.

You can enter to win here:

#basketfulofbooks #christianbookgiveaway #readingcommunity #freebooks


 

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Find the Tunnel

Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp for my feet,
    a light on my path.

Can you hold your breath through a tunnel?

On vacation or road trips, I remember a game where we tried to hold our breath while we crossed a bridge or drove through a tunnel. I think that was our parents' way of getting us quiet for a few minutes. Oh, wait, I was the parent, and yes, it was the perfect game for a moment of peace.

In my travels, I've never been a fan of crossing bridges, especially long ones. I remember on one trip we drove across a long curving bridge over water, and my stomach turned into ball of nerves. On other trips, we've traveled through tunnels, and I loved them. When Hannah lived in the Carolina's we drove through a couple of long tunnels that snaked under mountains, and I was always excited to see the light at the other end. There's something about the anticipation of seeing daylight shine on the way out.

While riding through a tunnel in a car with headlights can be fun, navigating life in the dark isn't. Depression, illness, sorrow, pain, and sin can all cause darkness to swallow the light. But I have good news. Jesus' light outshines all the darkness in the world.

For many years, I struggled with anxiety and some depression, but Jesus didn't leave me there. He guided me to find a doctor who could help, he answered prayers, and gave me hope. But in order to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I first had to find the tunnel. God's word, His voice of truth, lit my way through the place I needed to walk. On the other end, I found joy and hope.

Maybe you know the way to the tunnel that provides light, but haven't driven there yet. Maybe you're in the tunnel and well on your way to the light. Maybe you've missed the tunnel altogether. No matter what, keep moving toward Jesus and seek His light. He loves every one of us.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Hope of Spring!

One of my favorite signs of spring blooms in early May.

The dogwood offers her showy blossoms in white and pink. 
If you know me, you know I love pink.

God has given us so many beautiful plants, 
and they bring joy to my heart and hope to my soul.

As the creator of all things, He gave us beauty to encourage and lift our hearts.

When you see the glory of spring, have hope!


 

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Fiction Review: When the Meadow Blooms by Ann H. Gabhart

Book Description:
If any place on God's earth was designed to help one heal, it is Meadowland. Surely here, at her brother-in-law's Kentucky farm, Rose and her daughters can recover from the events of the recent past--the loss of her husband during the 1918 influenza epidemic, her struggle with tuberculosis that required a stay at a sanatorium, and her girls' experience in an orphanage during her illness. At Meadowland, hope blooms as their past troubles become rich soil in which their faith can grow.

Dirk Meadows may have opened his home to his late brother's widow and her girls, but he keeps his heart tightly closed. The roots of his pain run deep, and the evidence of it is written across his face. Badly scarred by a fire and abandoned by the woman he loved, Dirk fiercely guards his heart from being hurt again. But it may be that his visitors will bring light back into his world and unlock the secret to true healing.

My Thoughts:
I so connected with Rose's daughter Sienna. What a delightful child! I loved how she saw the wonder in everything. Calla, too. She was so conscientious and caring. As I read along and found out more about Meadowland, I wanted to live there. Gabhart took the heartbreak and suffering of Rose and Dirk and created a beautiful story of healing and hope, spun with a bit of mystery. If you enjoy a good story driven by strong characters with an amazing setting and a satisfying ending, you'll want to read Where the Meadow Blooms. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

See the Need

Philippians 2:1-4
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

I love the song by For King and Country called Relate. They asked the question of how we relate to a variety of people, and that we all experience heartache and joy even if it is in different ways.

When I worked at the college library, I met a lot of people who were different than me. Yet we all had many things in common. We all experienced heartache, joy, anxiety, stress, love, hope, and the list could go on. Our lives were varied, yet we could relate to one another in some way.

I remember a student who visited the library daily. He saw the world through a different lens than most of us. He didn't like his routine to be interrupted, and he wanted to sit at the same computer and stay on the track he created for himself. Fortunately for me, I got to know him and found he cared about life as much as I did. He may not have functioned the same as me, but he had similar feelings, dreams, and experiences.

In Philippians, Paul has written a letter to the church in Philippi. He is simply asking them to see each other through God's eyes as valuable contributors to the Kingdom of God. As a believer, I know God has called me to love others, to see souls, and to encourage where I can no matter who God places in my path. He asks me to be humble and place others burdens before mine. In our busy world, it's not easy to stay focused on the needs of others, but God wants me to cherish others and seek to help in any way I can.

Look beyond the outside of people, see them with God's eyes.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

See the Soul

Last week I posted a photo of the lily-of-the-valley,
still green, without full blooms.
A few days later, I caught this picture of the beautiful white bells.

What if I'd only noticed this sweet plant in all its glory, 
with bells on and beautiful.
I would have missed the wonderment of the stages of growth.

I love the words "If only we saw souls." 
I would see the heart of the person,
the stages of growth, or the need for encouragement.
I'd see the worth and the beauty of a soul struggling to make it through the day,
or the soul who reaches out and lifts others up.

Seek to look at the soul and see the true beauty.


 

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Ode to Olive

Losing a pet is hard. 
This little lady came to live with us when she was about six or seven years old.
By then she'd had several litters of puppies 
and been abandoned with her last litter of eight.

She was a survivor, determined to be a good mom, 
as she journeyed to a neighbor's farm
and ate cat food, then she would return to her pups and nurse them.
The farmer with the cat food followed her one day 
and found she'd been left behind, to fend for herself.
His sister took Olive to a dog rescue. 
After needed surgeries, Olive went up for adoption. 
By the time we met her at Petsmart, all her puppies 
but one were adopted. 
We fell in love with this cranky little dog 
and shared a home with her for more than eight years. 
We'll miss the clip-clop of her toes on the floor and her funny bark. 

Olive taught us to be patient and to share.
She loved eating toast with me :)

Is having a pet worth the grief you feel when they pass on? 
Yes, it is. 
RIP Miss Olive.


 

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Called Into Light

1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 

When I was a child, I was afraid of the dark.

My neighbors, cousins, and I played outside and caught fireflies. We played hide and seek while the adults chatted in their lawn chairs, and the light shined from the porch. I felt safe as long as a glow shined over the yard, and the sound of grown-up voices echoed through the air.

When the cousins, aunts, uncles, and neighbors left for home, the dark overwhelmed me. The porch light clicked off, and I made a bee line for the house. Even as a young adult, I didn't like being outside by myself in the dark cover of night.

As I've grown older, I've learned to appreciate the light of night, the stars overhead, and the moon, for those lights shine through the darkness.

As a believer and follower of Jesus, I'm called to God's light. He doesn't want me to be afraid of the dark or stay in the shadows. The King of Kings has called me to step out of the gloom and doom of the world and step into the beautiful, wonderful light of grace. God calls his children his special possession, a people he encourages, and loves. He guards our hearts and radiates His light as a guide away from the dark corners of the world.

My family experienced a great amount of loss the first three months of the year. Times were dark and sad. We clung to each other and to God, and His light and love have carried us through. Some days will still be rough, but peace comes from knowing the One who created the sun and moon and calls us to His light.

Seek God's light as He calls your name.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Book Launch Party with Prizes!

I hope you'll join me on Friday evening! 
I'll be giving away a signed copy of 
Home Where She Belongs, a fun book tote, 
and my publisher is giving away a $25 gift card.

Click the Zoom Link to join.


 

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Peace in Difficulties

Life is hard sometimes. 
Being a believer in God, a follower of Jesus, and receiver of the Holy Spirit
equips me with the tools I need to navigate this crazy life.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
 James 1:2-3

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.
Psalm 29:11


 

Monday, April 25, 2022

Book Review: Once Upon A Wardrobe by Patti Callahan

Book Description:
Megs Devonshire sets out to fulfill her younger brother George's last wish by uncovering the truth behind his favorite story. The answer provides hope and healing and a magical journey for anyone whose life has ever been changed by a book.

1950: Margaret Devonshire (Megs) is a seventeen-year-old student of

mathematics and physics at Oxford University. When her beloved eight-year-old brother asks Megs if Narnia is real, logical Megs tells him it’s just a book for children, and certainly not true. Homebound due to his illness, and remaining fixated on his favorite books, George presses her to ask the author of the recently released novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe a question: “Where did Narnia come from?”

Despite her fear about approaching the famous author, who is a professor at her school, Megs soon finds herself taking tea with C.S. Lewis and his own brother Warnie, begging them for answers.

Rather than directly telling her where Narnia came from, Lewis encourages Megs to form her own conclusion as he slowly tells her the little-known stories from his own life that led to his inspiration. As she takes these stories home to George, the little boy travels farther in his imagination than he ever could in real life.

Lewis’s answers will reveal to Megs and her family many truths that science and math cannot, and the gift she thought she was giving to her brother—the story behind Narnia—turns out to be his gift to her, instead: hope.

My Thoughts:
Once Upon a Wardrobe took me on the most amazing journey along with Megs and her endearing brother George. What a wonderful visit with C.S. Lewis and his brother Warnie. It's 1950 and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe has just been published and eight-year-old George requires answers to the questions he has about Narnia and Aslam, and Megs is determined to find them. Patti Callahan has penned a beautiful work of art with her storytelling, characters, and adaptation of C.S. Lewis world in Oxford. If you are a fan of Lewis, Narnia, or excellent literature, you'll love this story. I plan to read it again and to read Callahan's Becoming Mrs. Lewis. I highly recommend this lovely story. 5+ stars. I purchased my copy.
Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

One More Week!

Oh Wow! It's only one week until release day!
If you have preordered, your book should arrive on May 1 or soon after.

Deborah Raney was kind enough to read
Home Where She Belongs and share an endorsement.
If you haven't read her books, check out her stories. They are wonderful!



 

Saturday, April 23, 2022

A Season of Singing

 Song of Solomon 2:11-12

See! The winter is past;
    the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
    the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
    is heard in our land.

Raindrops glistened on tulips.

There is something about a flower garden just after the rain that brings joy to my soul. Whether the fresh smell of earth, or the magnification of the colors against the muted sky, the beauty of God's creation fills me with gratitude. I love the way the tulip blossoms cup above the stem. Each petal appears satiny soft. Beyond the simplicity of the outside, God created an incredible system inside the plant that assists in growth so the flowers return year after year.

Some of my friends are still experiencing snow where they live, and I'm sure they look forward to the rains and flowers. Even in southwest Ohio in mid-April, cold air lingers and weather folks speak of the threat of snowflakes. Yet, as the weather changes the flowers remain. They huddle to fight off the cold and stand against the storm until the time of singing returns. Much like believers. We need to stand together and show the world the love of our Lord and King.

I rejoice and glorify Him as color returns and fragrance bursts from flowers. In my tiny garden the daffodils nod their heads and the tulips stand tall. When I see the beauty of the spring flowers, I'm reminded of what is to come. Solomon calls the time after winter a season of singing. Birds chirp and tweet; just today I heard a robin's song.

As lovely as the spring blooms are, imagine the glorious beauty that awaits us in heaven. There will surely be a season of singing when the heavens open and time on this old earth is finished.

Take time to enjoy spring and sing praises to the King!

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

A Quiet Moment

My flower garden is tiny compared to ones I've had in the past,
yet this little plot brings me an abundance of joy.

Hyacinth, daffodils, and tulips raise their heads and 
nod to me to have a good day. 

The vibrant colors flood me with joy and remind me
Who created them.

A quiet moment in the garden blesses my soul.


 

Monday, April 18, 2022

Contemporary Romance Review: Sea Glass Cottage by Irene Hannon (A Hope Harbor Novel #8)

Book Description:
Christi Reece is desperate. The one-time golden girl's life has tarnished, and a cascade of setbacks has left her reeling. She needs help, and she's certain Jack Colby is in a position to provide it.

When she shows up in Hope Harbor, however, Jack wants nothing to do with the woman who betrayed him. He's built a new life on the Oregon coast--and there's no room in it for Christi, even after she takes refuge in a charming but mysterious cottage nearby. Yet it soon becomes apparent his opinion of her may need revising . . . especially when he ends up needing her help.


Can these two hurting souls make peace with their past and open their hearts to a new beginning?

Come home to Hope Harbor--where hearts heal . . . and love blooms.

My Review:
I love visiting Hope Harbor. This time around, Christi Reece has found her way to this lovely little town in search of her old boyfriend, Jack, but not for the reasons he thinks. Jack settled in Hope Harbor to put the past behind him, but Christi's arrival upsets his quiet world, along with an unexpected surprise. Oh, and I love the cottage with windows made of sea glass-it's kind of a magical place. One of the things I enjoy about Hannon's series is the reoccurring characters in Hope Harbor, especially Charlie the artist and taco maker. Charlie is a wise sage and plays an encouraging part in a young person's life in this story. If you enjoy clean romance with a thread of faith, you'll love this series, including Sea Glass Cottage.  I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

The Gift of Grace

Luke 34:1-8
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.

Sunrise reminds me of the glorious day Jesus defeated death.

When I attended college in Kentucky, they offered a special Easter sunrise service. That year I stayed on campus, and I looked forward to the idea of an outdoor time of observance and worship. Early Sunday morning, we gathered on a hill on campus, sat on the ground, and praised Jesus as the sun rose on the horizon. The experience has stuck with me all these years as a time to reflect on Jesus' sacrifice.

Easter, celebrated in the spring when new life sprouts from the earth, evokes a sense of renewal in me due to the love Jesus has for me. God's plan to give the life of His own Son for my sins, still blows me away. I don't deserve God's love or grace, yet He has cleaned my slate of sins with His blood.

God chose blood for sacrifice and throughout the Old Testament people presented their finest animals to God. In the New Testament, Jesus took the place of the animals and gave His life. What I love most is God breathed life back into Jesus, just as He breaths life back into me through his mercy and grace. When I seek his mercy, He pours His love over me.

This Easter, celebrate the gift of grace.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Celebrate Hope!

What a wonderful time to celebrate life!

Spring, milder weather, flowers blooming all give us hope, 
but Jesus offers the greatest hope of all.

As we contemplate Easter and the incredible gift of mercy God gave us,
let's celebrate Jesus and his grace.


 

Monday, April 11, 2022

Easter Books for Little Ones

Easter Egg Board Books, illustrated by Emily Emerson

Celebrate Easter with these sweet egg-shaped board books, perfect for tucking into Easter baskets. The multi-layered cover reveals illustrations of snuggly spring farm animals—baby chick, baby bunny, and baby lamb—as you read rhymes about Jesus’ resurrection, the true meaning of Easter, and all the joys of springtime. Chunky pages are durable and make turning the pages easy for little hands.

This Easter Egg Board Books, 3 Pack collection includes Happy Easter, A Prayer for Easter, and Spring Is Here.



Snuggle Time Easter Stories by Glenys Nellist, illustrated by Cee Biscoe

Snuggle up with your child and share the gift of God’s love as you read this delightful collection of beautifully-illustrated stories from bestselling author Glenys Nellist celebrating Easter and the coming of spring. 

Spring is almost here––the season of Hope, Joy, and Renewal! Filled with Glenys’s signature  rhymes and adorable animal illustrated by Cee Biscoe, Snuggle Time Easter Stories uses simple language to introduce even the youngest readers to the true meaning and hope of the first Easter, sharing Jesus is alive! 

This charming padded board book is the perfect gift to tuck in your little one’s Easter basket, or their car seat when you take them on the go, and is also a wonderful bedtime or naptime read. 

 

Bunny Finds Easter by Laura Sassi, illustrated by Ela Jarzabek

Easter may have many fun traditions, but Bunny wants to know: “What is Easter?” Little ones can enjoy learning the true meaning of Easter alongside Bunny, celebrating Jesus and his resurrection with Laura Sassi’s sweet and rhyming text.  

Easter is for coloring eggs, wearing a lovely bonnet, joining in an egg hunt, and attending church with family! But the most important thing about this holiest of seasons is to celebrate and focus on Jesus. Children will be introduced to the meaning of Easter through colorful illustrations and playful rhymes. 



Sunday, April 10, 2022

Contemporary Romance Review: In Search of a Prince by Toni Shiloh

Book Description:

It seems like a dream come true . . . until it forces her to question everything.


Brielle Adebayo is fully content teaching at a New York City public school and taking annual summer vacations with her mother to Martha's Vineyard. But everything changes when her mom drops a bombshell--Brielle is really a princess in the island kingdom of Ọlọrọ Ilé, off the coast of Africa, and she must immediately assume her royal position, since the health of her grandfather, the king, is failing.

Distraught by all the secrets her mother kept, Brielle is further left spinning when the Ọlọrọ Ilé Royal Council brings up an old edict that states she must marry before her coronation, or the crown will pass to another. Brielle is uncertain if she even wants the throne, and with her world totally shaken, where will she find the courage to take a chance on love and brave the perils a wrong decision may bring?

My Thoughts:
I can't say enough good things about this delightful book, In Search of a Prince. Can you imagine waking up to find out you're a princess and you had no idea? Brielle did exactly that. Her mom reveals a secret she's kept for over twenty years, and that's where the story blossoms. The island Brielle travels to is lush, beautiful, and filled with interesting characters, including the grandfather she's never met. Shiloh's writing is stellar. She takes the reader into life on the island with perfect description, wonderful characters (and some not so wonderful,) a satisfying romance, and the incredible journey of faith Brielle takes as she seeks God's plan for her. If you enjoy excellent writing and a wonderful story, you'll want to read In Search of a Prince.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Waffles or French Toast

Ephesians 4:32
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.

Tim and I stopped in for breakfast at a little diner near our home. The menu tempted me with so many choices. When a waitress stopped by our table, we both ordered coffee, then waited for her to return. With coffee in our cups, we placed our orders. "I would like to try the waffle with blueberries and a scrambled egg." I don't often ask for waffles, but I thought I'd give it a try, and with blueberries how could I go wrong. She came back to the table, head hanging, and told me, "We are out of the mix. I'm so sorry, what else would you like? We have French toast with blueberries."

I smiled and ordered the French toast. As we waited on our order, we sipped our coffee, and talked about the Reds, the book I'm working on, and what we planned for the rest of the day. Not long after, the waitress placed a plate of French toast and blueberries in front of me that looked heavenly. Again, she apologized, but I stopped her. "I love French toast and blueberries. I was getting the waffle just to try something different." She sighed with relief and hurried to the next table.

The waitress didn't know me, yet she wanted me to enjoy my breakfast. She had no idea French toast reminds me of my dad, who made it for us on Saturday mornings. Even though, she didn't know me, she was kind and wanted the best for me.

What if I passed along her caring attitude and her desire to make my day better? That's called kindness, folks. Simply caring for the people around me and considering their needs ahead of my own, both those I know and those I don't. Did I mention, she was the only one working the floor, clearing the tables, and taking orders? Yet she wore a smile and spread kindness all over the room.

Paul penned in his letter to the Ephesian church a segment about Christian living. One of the things he mentioned at the end, and I believe he did that to emphasize the point, was to be compassionate and kind to each other. As believers and followers of Jesus I want to show kindness to others, not simply because Paul said so, but because the act of caring creates a better environment for everyone and shares the love of Jesus.

Join me in finding ways to be kinder and more caring.