Friday, July 8, 2016

The Rock

Psalm 9:9-10
The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed,
    a refuge in times of trouble.
 Those who know your name trust in you,
    for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.

As I got out of the car, I noticed the dark clouds looming. I'd heard on the radio that a thunderstorm was heading my way. Just after I ducked into a store to shop for bargains, the rain burst from the clouds while lightning and thunder ripped the sky. I was content to be in the shelter of the store as the downpour let loose.

As we live on this old earth, we face a lot of storms. Personal, spiritual, global. So many negative occurrences happen every day. Bad news, sad events, troubling times. Sometimes I want to crawl in bed and cover my head. But I can't. I have to live in the world. But, instead of hiding in my bed, I find shelter in my God. He's the true refuge, the secure harbor, the safe place to rest my heart. God is the safe haven in the midst of distress. Praise God for always being the rock in the storm.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

God's Creation: Beautiful Blue Birds

Wednesday seems like a good day to share a beautiful print from decades past.
Common Blue Bird by John James Audubon is so full of joy.

General Research Division, The New York Public Library. "Common Blue Bird. 1. Male. 2. Female. 3. Young. (Great Mullein. Verbascum Thapsus.)"The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1840 - 1844.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Fiction Book Review: A Haven on Orchard Lane by Lawana Blackwell

About the Book:
Fiction Book Review: A Haven on Orchard Lane by Lawana Blackwell
About the Book:
An urgent escape . . . a wounded heart . . .
Will Charlotte find the solace she longs for at the cottage on Orchard Lane?

Famed actress Charlotte Ward stepped away from the Victorian London stage five years ago. Now in desperate circumstances, she tries to restart her career--only to experience a complete collapse. Against her better judgment, Charlotte's estranged daughter, Rosalind, comes to her mother's rescue and moves her to a quiet English coastal village where her mother can evade the gossip columnists, at least for a time.

Charlotte is grateful to re-establish even tenuous family ties with Rosalind. As one with regrets over her own romantic past, she's happy to see love blossom for her daughter. For Rosalind, however, it's time away from teaching, and now she must care for the mother who wasn't there for her. And what could possibly be more complicated than romance?

But there can be no permanent escape from the threats of recent months. As the privacy they seek is threatened, mother and daughter must make some difficult decisions--ones that jeopardize those they care about most.

My Review:
A Haven on Orchard Lane is a pleasant read. I enjoyed going back in time to the sweet cottage on Orchard Lane, to a time of service, protocol, and decorum. As I read I felt like I was walking back in time to a slower paced era where people helped their neighbors and watched out for each other. There is a story within the story that touched my heart and made me want to continue reading. This is a relaxing summer read with interesting characters and story. Pick up a copy to read on the beach, by the pool, or on the front porch. I received this book in exchange for a fair review.

Gifts from the Master

2 Chronicles 2:13-14
“I am sending you a master craftsman named Huram-abi, who is extremely talented.  His mother is from the tribe of Dan in Israel, and his father is from Tyre. He is skillful at making things from gold, silver, bronze, and iron, and he also works with stone and wood. He can work with purple, blue, and scarlet cloth and fine linen. He is also an engraver and can follow any design given to him. He will work with your craftsmen and those appointed by my lord David, your father."

Throughout my life I've tried my hand at several different crafts. I've enjoyed most of them but none as much as embroidery. It broke my heart when arthritis started dominating my hands. Mostly the base of my thumbs. So I gave it up for awhile. In the interim I had a co-worker ask me about the how-tos. She wanted to learn a few stitches. I loaned her my books and gave her a few pointers. She did a great job, but as I looked at her work and that of others, I realized how much I missed running the floss through fabric to create beauty.

Long story short, I went to a hand doctor and got a cortisone shot that allows temporary relief so I can hand sew, again. When I showed my coworker the embroidery I'd been working on she gave me the best compliment. She called me a master of the craft. The truth is, the Master of life gave me the ability to stitch beauty out of thread and fabric. When we're born, God instills in us the talents we use throughout life. I'm thankful I've had the opportunity to develop my craft or master it, so to speak.

God has given each person gifts and abilities to use to serve others and Him. I appreciate the talents God has given me, in hand crafts and other areas of my life. I encourage you to take some time and discover your strengths. Explore your gifts and develop your passion. God created you as a unique soul with a purpose. Praise God for giving everyone different abilities and skills.

Fiction Book Review: The Ringmaster's Wife by Kristy Cambron

About the book: 
An ounce of courage. A split-second leap of faith. Together, they propel two young women to chase a new life---one that's reimagined from what they might have become.

In turn-of-the-century America, a young girl dreams of a world that stretches beyond the confines of a quiet life on the family farm. With little more than her wit and a cigar box of treasures to call her own, Mable steps away from all she knows, seeking the limitless marvels of the Chicago World's Fair. There, a chance encounter triggers her destiny---a life with a famed showman by the name of John Ringling.

A quarter of a century later, Lady Rosamund Easling of Yorkshire, England, boards a ship to America as a last adventure before her life is planned out for her. There, the twenties are roaring, and the rich and famous gather at opulent, Gatsby-esque parties in the grandest ballrooms the country has to offer. The Jazz Age has arrived, and with it, the golden era of the American circus, whose queen is none other than the enigmatic Mable Ringling.

When Rosamund's path crosses with Mable's and the Ringlings' glittering world, she makes the life-altering decision to leave behind a comfortable future of estates and propriety, instead choosing the nomadic life of a trick rider in the Ringling Brothers' circus.

A novel that is at once captivating, deeply poignant, and swirling with exquisite historical details of a bygone world, The Ringmaster's Wife will escort readers into the center ring, with its bright lights, exotic animals, and a dazzling performance that can only be described as the greatest show on earth!

My Review:
A few months ago my daughter and her two children invited me to tag along to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. I hadn't been to the circus in years. As we sat in the stands, I thought about how much practice and discipline the performers must have. When Kristy Cambron's latest novel, The Ringmaster's Wife, became available for review I was delighted to give it a read. Kristy does a beautiful job weaving history with fiction. I enjoyed the wide variety of characters and learning about life in the circus in the nineteen-twenties. The Ringling's home of  Ca d' Zan in Sarasota, Florida plays a backdrop for part of the story. What fun to read about Mabel's home and her generous heart. Without giving away anything, I want to say that I loved Rosamund's story. I am a fan of Downton Abbey. Following Rosamund's path reminded me of some of Downton's story lines in the last season, that of adventure and a new freedom for women. Kristy Cambron did an amazing job with research. I could tell she'd submerged herself into the era by the description and overall feel of the book.  If you enjoy historical fiction, the circus, or just a good story, give The Ringmaster's Wife a read. It's a book to be savored and enjoyed. I received this book in exchange for a fair review.

Purchase a copy:

About the author:
Kristy Cambron fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. Her second novel, A Sparrow in Terezin, was named Library Journal Reviews' "Pick of the Month (Christian Fiction)" for February 2015.

Cambron is an art/design manager at storytelling ministry. She holds a degree in art history from Indiana University and has nearly 15 years of experience in instructional design and communications for a Fortune-100 company. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good Christian fiction read.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Putting on the New

Once a month I post on the blog, Putting on the New. The blog was created to minister to women in various stages of life and faith. I love sharing with the ladies there.

Here is my latest share: 
Why Do We Do What We Do?