Sunday, December 31, 2017

Fiction Review: Oath of Honor (Blue Justice, book 1) by Lynette Eason

Book Description:
Police officer Isabelle St. John loves her crazy, loud, law-enforcement family. With three brothers and two sisters, she's never without someone to hang out with--or fight with. And she knows they'll be there for her when things get tough. Like when her partner is murdered and she barely escapes with her own life.

Determined to discover exactly what happened, Izzy's investigation sends her headfirst into a criminal organization, possibly with cops on the payroll--including someone from her own family. With her dead partner's handsome homicide detective brother Ryan shadowing her every move, Izzy's head is spinning. How can she secure justice for her partner when doing so could mean sending someone she loves to prison? And how will she guard her heart when the man she's had a secret crush on for years won't leave her side?

With her signature fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat action, Lynette Eason invites readers into a captivating new series where justice is a family affair.

My Review:
I love a good heroes versus villain story. And that's what you get in Oath of Honor, a gripping book and the first installment of the Blue Justice series. This book sets the stage for what looks to be an excellent series. The big family working together in law-enforcement  remind me of the television show Blue Bloods, with a few twists. Throughout the story, I could easily picture this large family getting together for Sunday dinner and ribbing each other, off the job. Izzy is, as you'd expect, a strong female character who can take care of herself, yet has a tender side. I enjoyed the underlying romance theme between Izzy and her secret crush. But that's not the best part. From the beginning, the book is filled with twists, turns, and unexpected moments. Eason's writing offers action, suspense, and edge-of-your-seat excitement. I received this book from Revell Publishing. 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Kindness in the New Year

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

It's that time of year when the excitement of Christmas is rolled up and put away. I have mixed feeling about the week after Christmas. Being off work with a few days to do whatever I want makes me happy. But my heart breaks a little that Christmas is over. Although it took months to prepare for, I love this time of year. In the next week or so, I'll pack away the Christmas tree and decorations. The stores will pull out their Valentine items and maybe even Easter. I'll go back to work and life will be "normal" again.

Even though much of the holidays will be tucked away. I hope a few things continue. Christmas time brings out the kindness and thoughtfulness in people. Dare I say the magic of Christmas sprinkles over people and makes them more aware of helping others, perhaps. But I truly believe people recognize the reason for the season. No one on this earth showed kindness the way Jesus did. He healed the hurting, gave to the needy, and shared with his friends and family. Jesus showed more compassion than anyone. So much so, he gave his life for sinners like me. Whether we want to believe this or not, Christmas draws attention to the kind of man Jesus lived as. He gave kindness and compassion, forgiveness, and hope. So no, kindness and compassion don't grow from magic. Instead they spread because of Jesus. So while we put away Christmas, let's keep the spirit of kindness out and pour it over the people around us. In 2018, share kindness and compassion as part of the everyday. Love God, love people.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Calm and Bright

The day after Christmas—a day to re-coop, relax and reflect. For three days we had a whirlwind of family gatherings. Saturday, we spent time with Tim's family and my family. The older I get, the more I enjoy visiting with my nieces and nephews, catching up with their lives and seeing the little ones grow and change. Sunday was a quiet day, as we traveled to Columbus to spend time with Kati. On the way there, we stopped by the Rivers Crossing church for the Christmas service. We were blessed by an excellent message and a beautiful candlelit moment. Being with Kati reminds us how thankful we are for her health and fitness. We about lost her a few years ago, praise God for her recovery and resurgence. Monday, we traveled to Adam's and shared gifts with him and Brenda and four of our grandkids. What a delight! Sara, Maggie, and Hannah and their families spent the evening at our home. We had so much fun.

After months of preparation, Christmas has come and gone, again. And I feel good. God gave me great health to celebrate his birth. Even though Tim was a bit under the weather on Christmas Day, he enjoyed most of the weekend activities. God gave us a beautiful family to share life with, good food and people who cooked it, and the spirit of gratitude. Every Christmas I pray my family sees Jesus in me. I hope this year was the same.  Some years, Christmas brings on a lot of added stress. I think that's why I can appreciate the holiday seasons that are calm, like this one.

This morning I dropped off our youngest daughter, who caught a ride back to South Carolina. Many times I cry when she goes back. But today, I just felt peace. We had a great visit, and I know God has wonderful things in store.
I pray 2018 is a year of serenity, if not in the world then at least in my soul.  

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Wonder and Celebration!

Luke 2:11
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Celebration and wonder. Two words I think of at Christmas.

I tend to wonder if all the celebration I generate glorifies Jesus. This year, I started in September. Since I create some of my gifts by hand, I have to get an early start. I make my lists, I search for bargains (we have a big family!) and I wrap. For two days, I wrap. The tree sparkles in the corner (thanks to Maggie) and the manger scenes are scattered around the house.  I make fudge, cookie dough, pizza dip, cheeseball, and cranberry cake. And oh yes, a birthday cake for Jesus. I clean my housecompany's coming. The cards are in the mail and the Facebook greetings are posted. Did I miss something? Probably.

So much celebration for a tiny King.

Are you exhausted after reading my Christmas to do list? I am. Until I remember why I overextend myself this time of year. Jesus walked on earth for me. He came as a baby, grew into a man, then sacrificed his life for my sin. He did all of that for me and for you. What I do to honor his birth is minuscule compared to what he has done for me.
The hustle and bustle can be overwhelming. But for me, every cookie I bake, package I wrap, gift I buy reminds me of Jesus and his love for me. Yes I can get caught up in the chaos and forget the reason for the season. But I've learnedand it's taken yearsto stop, even for a moment and think about why I celebrate my Savior's birth as I do. I want to  let the pure intention of showing Jesus to the world shine through my traditions. I want everyone to know how much Jesus loves them.

 Jesus is why I celebrate Christmas, I want to let that be known in all I do.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas filled with joy, peace, hope, and wonder!

Christmas Celebration