Book Quotes

“but for my own part, if a book is well written, I always find it too short.”― Jane Austen

Friday, December 25, 2015

The Peace of Christmas



Peace I leave with you,
my peace I give unto you:
not as the world giveth,
give I unto you.
Let not your heart be troubled,
neither let it be afraid. 
John 14:27

You can find the above post in its entirety @
 Little Birdie Blessings.




Merry Christmas!!!


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

My Journey Through Grief Continues

…and will really never end. Losing a child is not something a parent ever gets over. There is no magic moment when we say, "Hey, I'm done grieving!"  In fact, the same holds true in the loss of a parent or sibling or spouse. But I'm speaking about the loss of a child; specifically my loss of Amy.

Sorrow has become my constant companion and can take many forms. It can feel like a thousand pound weight on my chest that literally takes my breath away, at other times it’s been a shadow of darkness inhibiting daily life, or sometimes it's a hitch in my heart each time I remember her.  But it's there. Every day. Especially on birthdays and holidays.

Whatever shape grief is taking in your life, I understand it isn't pretty. I understand your need to withdraw. To run. To hide. Even if it’s all on the inside, because we must look normal on the outside. No one mentions our loss. No one says our daughters name. No one asks how we are doing. It’s been three years, after all. Surely we’ve gotten over that and moved on. Nope. Not gonna happen. Not in this life anyway.

So the reason I am writing this today is because I want you to know I’m thinking about you. I know how bad it hurts. And I’m hurting with you and for you. I’m acknowledging  the pain always present in your heart and mine. The next two days are going to be tough but we can make it. Because I know one thing to be true. We are parents who fought the fight for and with our child. We don’t give up when the going gets tough. We fight! With every breath in our grief stricken bodies, we fight. And we win. Every day that we get out of bed, put one foot in front of the other, and keep going, we win. We are warriors!

Here’s a few quotes I found on Griefnet.org that I really like. –

"It has been said, 'time heals all wounds.' I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, (protecting its sanity), covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But, it is never gone." — Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

The best tribute you can make to a loved one is the life you live after the death.unknown  
                       
Have courage for the great sorrows in life, and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.— Victor Hugo

My words probably aren’t eloquent as these others but they are just as heartfelt. I sincerely wish each one of you grieving parents (or spouse, sibling, child) a Blessed Christmas!

May the hope we have in Christ be alive in your hearts today and give you peace.



Rivendell Resources grants anyone the right to reprint this information without request for compensation so long as the copy is not used for profit and so long as this paragraph is reprinted in its entirety with any copied portion. For further information contact: GriefNet
Grace happens.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Review ~ Flirting with Mistletoe by Dora Hiers

Published December 1st 2015 by Pelican Ventures, LLC
ebook, 99 pages
Free spirit Tori Stremme's only goal each day is to capture perfect photo opps and to torment Brody Rockford, the man who broke her heart with flimsy excuses of her missed dates and competitive spirit. Now, they just avoid each other, but that's not easy with two sets of parents who shove them together--and her gangly Great Dane pup, Mistletoe, appears to be a conniving matchmaker, too. Brody's days are scheduled to the last second. Volunteer firefighter, park ranger, and part-timer in his family's antique shop, he doesn't have a spare minute to worry about accident-prone Tori, but he can't seem to shake her sweet, generous spirit or dodge that rambunctious giant puppy of hers. When Tori is offered an opportunity to advance her career and shoot her name to international status in a DC gallery, will Brody's love be enough to convince her to stay or is he too late?"


My Thoughts

 Flirting with Mistletoe is a delightfully fun contemporary Christmas novella. The story moves with a fast pace. I thought the banter between Brody and Tori was engaging and the puppy kept a smile on  this readers face. If you have a spare hour or so and want some lighthearted reading, grab a nice cuppa and enjoy some time by a warm and cozy fire while reading Flirting with Mistletoe.

I received an electronic copy of this book from the author for review purposes. No compensation has been received. 


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Contributor Review ~ Step by Step (Crisis Team #2) by Candace Calvert


 Tyndale House Publishers, Feb 2016

Three years after a tragic accident left her a widow, ER nurse Taylor Cabot is determined to move on, checking off one item after another on her survival list. Her relationship with a handsome plastic surgeon even gives her hope for the last point—“fall in love again.” At least until crisis chaplain Seth Donovan steps back into her life, reawakening unanswered questions about her husband’s death.

While in San Diego to train community volunteers, Seth hopes to learn why Taylor is backing away from the crisis team and from their friendship. But nothing prepares him for the feelings that arise when he sees Taylor again . . . and sees her moving on with another man.

When a community crisis hits home and puts lives at risk, emotions run high and buried truths are unearthed. Will hope make the survival list?


Reviewed by Rebecca Maney
5 Stars

Taylor Cabot is nearing the finish line of her self imposed three year recovery plan, systematically taking steps to begin anew after the devastating loss of her husband. Arriving at the scene of an horrific local accident, her emergency room nursing skills and crisis counseling training push Taylor straight into the path of Seth Donavan; a mentor and friend, who happens upon the same tragedy. His temporary stay in San Diego places Seth in the unique position to renew his relationship with Taylor and quite possibly serve as a catalyst for further healing. That is, until Taylor dredges up new information about her husband's final hours, not to mention the fact that a handsome plastic surgeon seems to be a vital participant in Taylor's positive lifestyle.

As Taylor approaches the third anniversary of her grief, her beloved dog Hooper nears death, a co-worker whispers cruel insinuations regarding her husband's fatal accident, and Dr. Rob Halston oversteps his supposedly rigid boundaries; forcing Taylor's carefully constructed environment to forcefully implode. Anger, bitterness, jealousy and grief collide in "sorrow's house" once more. despite a seed of love that has been quietly planted. Will Taylor finally allow God to put the broken pieces of her life back into place, in His time and in His way or has her final aspiration, to "fall in love again" been lost forever?

"Step by Step" is beautifully written, with a story that flows as naturally as a mountain stream; winding, curving, cascading, ultimately arriving at its natural destination; a widening river of loveliness and truth. Suffocating grief is fought and conquered so realistically, that coupled with its underlying message of faith, hope and love, this outstanding book has earned a five star accolade!

I am grateful to the author for providing an advance copy in exchange for my honest opinion. 

: : :

Rebecca is a graduate of Bryan College with a degree in Christian Education, and is currently serving at the First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gastonia, North Carolina as the Director of Children's Ministry. With nearly 28 years of experience in her field, she has had many opportunities to use her love of reading and writing in creative ways across the generations. A wife, mother of four "nearly" grown children, and grandmother to four beautiful grandchildren, Rebecca has been able to return to her love of reading and more recently reviewing, with a renewed passion for the "beauty of story".

Thursday, December 10, 2015

WINNER!!!


You won an ebook of Pieces On Earth by Cathy Bryant!

~Happy Reading~

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Contributor Review ~ A Respectable Actress by Dorothy Love

  Thomas Nelson, Oct 2015

When the illustrious India Hartley is accused of murder, she has to uncover the deceptions of others to save herself.

India Hartley, the famous and beautiful actress, is now alone in the world after her father’s death and embarks upon a tour of theaters across the South. Her first stop is Savannah’s Southern Palace. On the eve of the second night’s performance, something goes horribly wrong. Her co-star, Arthur Sterling, is shot dead on stage in front of a packed house, and India is arrested and accused of the crime.

A benefactor hires Philip Sinclair, the best—and handsomest—lawyer in Savannah to defend India. A widower, Philip is struggling to reinvent his worn-out plantation on St. Simons Island. He needs to increase his income from his law practice in order to restore Indigo Point, and hardly anything will bring him more new clients than successfully defending a famous actress on a murder charge.

Because India can’t go anywhere in town without being mobbed, Philip persuades the judge handling her case to let him take her to Indigo Point until her trial date. India is charmed by the beauty of the Georgia low country and is increasingly drawn to Philip. But a locked room that appears to be a shrine to Philip’s dead wife and the unsolved disappearance of a former slave girl raise troubling questions. Piecing together clues in an abandoned boat and a burned-out chapel, India discovers a trail of dark secrets that lead back to Philip, secrets that ultimately may hold the key to her freedom. If only he will believe her.


Reviewed by Rebecca Maney
4 Stars

"Respectable" hardly describes the lovely India Hartley as she faces her accusers; the nationally acclaimed young actress has just experienced the horrible misfortune of a delivering a fatal wound upon a beloved local thespian, Arthur Sterling, during a crowded stage performance at Savannah's Southern Palace. Whisked away by law enforcement, she finds her very life in the hands of a talented young lawyer, Philip Sinclair, who has been hired by a kind and gracious theater patron, who staunchly believes in India's innocence.

Fortunately, Philip convinces the judge to release India into his custody while she awaits trial, and they travel to Philip's fledging post-war estate on St. Simon's Island. While residing there, India realizes that her circumstances are strangely and inextricably entangled with painful Sinclair secrets, the truth of which may save her life, but will most certainly prove devastating to Philip, a man who has shown her kindness, friendship, and possibly love, beyond measure.

Dorothy Love has written a fascinating fictional story to the tune of well researched historical personalities and the result is an intriguing book with numerous and surprising changes of pace and plot; making "A Respectable Actress" quite enjoyable to read!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. 

: : : 

Rebecca is a graduate of Bryan College with a degree in Christian Education, and is currently serving at the First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gastonia, North Carolina as the Director of Children's Ministry. With nearly 28 years of experience in her field, she has had many opportunities to use her love of reading and writing in creative ways across the generations. A wife, mother of four "nearly" grown children, and grandmother to four beautiful grandchildren, Rebecca has been able to return to her love of reading and more recently reviewing, with a renewed passion for the "beauty of story".

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Christmas Reading, and Pieces On Earth Blog Tour from author Cathy Bryant w/Giveaway

I don't know about y'all, but I'm gearing up for some Christmas reading! I've been collecting Christmas-themed novellas for over a month now. The first novella I read was Hope Under Mistletoe by Jessica R Patch.  I just finished Flirting with Mistletoe by Dora Hiers. I'll be reviewing that one soon. 

Now it's on to Pieces On Earth by Cathy Bryant. If you haven't read any of Cathy's books, I would encourage you to pick up a copy today. She is one of the sweetest and godliest women, and writes some beautiful stories of faith. I want to share a fabulous giveaway Cathy is having in celebration of her Christmas novella. Be sure and read all the way through to the end of this post. There's a surprise. ;)

Description:

As the wife of a naval aviator in sunny Pensacola, Florida, Liv Tulley eagerly anticipates the first Christmas in several years with her husband, daughter, and extended family. Then her husband is unexpectedly deployed for an undetermined amount of time, smashing her white Christmas dreams. Can she find God's peace in the midst of life's pieces?

Purchase Links:


Excerpt:

Liv finished filling out the necessary paperwork in the medical clinic waiting room, doing her best to keep her fears at bay.
She rose to her feet and carried the clipboard with the completed paperwork to the receptionist. The harried woman took the clipboard without so much as a glance her way. "Have a seat. A nurse will call you back momentarily."
Liv trudged back to the worn gray chairs and slumped into one of them, once more cognizant of her reason for being here. October marked her second month without her period. For most women her age, that would be a sign of promising things to come, but no such luck in her case. She'd known since her daughter's birth that having more children just wasn't in the cards for her. A fact that made Chesney's life even more miraculous.
She gnawed the inside of her lip and watched a little boy--probably about two years old--playing in the floor with a toy car. Without warning, the fear returned, bringing with it only one thought. Was it possible that she'd somehow inherited the gene that lead to the ovarian cancer that claimed her grandmother's life? Was that the reason for her current symptoms?
Liv pressed her lips together and forced her thoughts to happier ones. How wonderful it would be to add a fourth member to their clan. Chesney would make such a great big sister, and Jeff would be ecstatic to have another child. Since being promoted to lieutenant a few months ago, he had qualified for a stateside assignment as an instructor pilot at Pensacola NAS. How wonderful would it be to be able to raise a child with his or her parent actually around to help out? Even the few short months of having her daddy at home had made a huge difference in Chesney.
A pent-up sigh whooshed from her lungs. This current line of thought was landing her nowhere except in the dumps. There wouldn't be another baby. She grabbed her large sack of a purse and rummaged inside until she found an old envelope. Forcing the baby blues away, she started a to-do list of things to accomplish for her family's first Christmas together since before Chesney was born.
Get the Christmas shopping done. Well, that was a no-brainer. But this year it was especially important, since they'd also be buying gifts for nieces, nephews, siblings, aunts, and uncles. How fun it would be to have both sides of the family all together again in the mountain cabin vacation rental her mother had located online.
Now happy thoughts wound their way through her insides. Liv leaned her head back against the Plexiglas partition and allowed the happiness to wander unchecked. Warm sweaters, cups of cocoa, a gigantic tree stuffed with presents, laughter of loved ones, and fluffy white snow.
Though she loved the sunny weather of Pensacola where Jeff was stationed, during the holidays she always yearned for the cold weather and snow of her Colorado upbringing. This year it would finally become a reality.
She straightened in her seat, checked the clock above the receptionist window, and returned to her list. Buy Chesney some cold weather clothing. Hmm, maybe she could order a ski bib online, since there was very little to no chance that she'd find one in Pensacola.
One thought led to another, and Liv scribbled as quickly as possible, unwilling to let even the smallest detail escape. A few minutes later, she brushed some escaped frizzy hair from her face and once more scanned her list. Yeah, that should do it. Now if she could just get these health concerns out of the way so she could concentrate on more pleasant tasks.
Liv glanced at the clock once more. Unbelievable. She'd been here for a half hour already. At this rate, she'd never make it to Chesney's preschool in time to pick her up. She grabbed her cell phone and hit speed dial for Darcy, one of many military wives in her group who all looked out for each other.
Her friend picked up immediately. "Hi Liv. What's up?"
"My blood pressure."
Darcy's contagious giggle sounded through the phone. "Let me guess. You're still waiting to see the doctor."
"How'd you guess?"
"Umm, 'cause I've been there and done that. Need me to pick up Ches?"
"Yeah, if you don't mind. And if a miracle occurs and I get out of here in time, I'll shoot you a text."
"Sounds good."
Liv had just dropped the phone back into her purse, when a short blond nurse in pink scrubs called her name from the doorway that lead to the exam rooms. She followed the nurse through the door where the dreaded scales awaited. After getting off the scales, fresh resolve took root in Liv's mind to cut back on carbs and lose those ten extra pounds that had plagued her since Chesney was born. Four years was way too long to lug around the unwanted weight. She followed the woman down the hallway and dutifully entered the room to which she motioned.
The nurse smiled and pulled the door toward the closed position. "Dr. Amy will be with you soon."
Liv perched on the edge of the exam table, once more on pins and needles about the potential problem. Lord, please let me be okay, and please, please, please, don't let this affect our Christmas plans.

Author Bio:

Amazon best-selling author Cathy Bryant loves to write heart-stirring stories of God's life-changing The Upper Room devotional magazine. When she's not writing, you'll find her rummaging through thrift stores, romping in the great outdoors, or up to her elbows in yet another home improvement project in the mountain cabin she shares with her minister husband of over thirty years. You can connect with Cathy in the following online spots, including her website: http://www.CatBryant.com, where you can download a free eBook copy of one of her novels.
grace, and has done so through six Miller's Creek novels, two Bible studies, one Christmas novella, and two devotional books written in collaboration with other Christian authors. She's also written for


http://www.catbryant.com/win-a-200-amazon-gift-card/

PIECES ON EARTH $200 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway:

In celebration of the release of PIECES ON EARTH, Cathy is giving away a $200 Amazon Gift Card. The contest closes on December 21, 2015. Winner will be announced via social media channels on Cathy's Reader's Group Newsletter. Click here to enter: http://www.catbryant.com/win-a-200-amazon-gift-card/



In addition to the above giveaway, Cathy has generously offered an ebook (PDF) copy of Pieces On Earth to one of my blog followers! 

You MUST be a follower in order to be entered for the Ebook giveaway here @ Stuff & Nonsense. If you haven't already, sign up today! Leave me a comment letting me know how you follow and you'll be entered in the drawing for the ebook. 

Don't forget to leave your email address so I can contact you if you are the winner! (ex: jane[at]yahoo[dot]com) Leaving it in this type of format protects you against spammers. And we all dislike spammers. ;)

Giveaway ends on 12/9 and winner will be announced on 12/10. 

Open INTERNATIONALLY!!!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Review ~ Hope Under Mistletoe by Jessica R Patch



 About the Book

A rowdy bar owner. A widowed pastor’s wife. And Christmas hope that brings them together.

After widower Eden Snow’s church almost burns to the ground, she’s compelled to find a temporary place to hold services and Christmas cantata practices.

Has-been hockey player, Knox Everhart, has a reputation for being fast on the ice and with women. Except Eden. She’s always been a fascinating mystery to him, which is why he agrees to let her use the back room of his bar—with one rule: No converting his customers.

But when Eden brings the church to the bar, it offers something the bottle can’t. Hope. And he finds himself falling in love with a woman and a Savior he feels unworthy to pursue.


My Review

A charming novella set in the small town of Mistletoe shows that there is always hope when one puts their trust in Christ. From the rough and rowdy to the heartbroken, God can and does work miracles. 

Jessica R Patch has written a sometimes gritty but always poignant story of redemption that captured my attention from the beginning. Hope Under Mistletoe is Book One in a three book series. I’m looking forward to reading the next two.

I purchased this e-book (it was free) from Amazon and was not obligated to write a review.

Purchase: Amazon

About the Author

Jessica R. Patch lives in the mid-south where she pens inspirational contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. When she’s not hunched over her laptop or going on adventurous trips in the name of research with willing friends, you can find her sneaking off to movies with her husband, watching way too much Netflix with her daughter, dominating her son at board games, and collecting recipes to amazing dishes she'll probably never cook. Her debut novel with Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense will release in early 2016. She is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Management.


Connect with Jessica: 

This is my first Christmas story of the 2015 season and it started it off pretty good, Y'all! I have a few more lined up already and look forward to spending quite a few hours curled up with a hot cuppa and a good book. 

It's super windy and cold here on the bay this morning. I was thinking about venturing out to the craft store for some Christmas garland making supplies but my mind is quickly being changed. Perhaps I will dig into another book on my list, The Substitute Bride by Carrie Fancett Pagels or Flirting with Mistletoe by Dora Hiers. 

Do you have any books you can't wait to read during the Christmas season? Please share! I love book recommendations. :)

Happy Reading,

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thirty Days of Gratitude


I always sign up to take these challenges and then fall behind. Life gets messy and things take precedence over making blog posts, FB posts, Instagram posts, Pinterest pins, etc....

This month is no exception to that rule. It's been one thing after another. But I do take time daily to thank the Lord for specific things. I just might not post it for all the world (or my small corner of it) to see.

Let me say that while we (meaning most people) usually focus on what we determine to be 'good' things that we're thankful for, I want to focus for a moment on things that aren't considered to be 'good'.

Scripture says that all things are under His authority. That means good and bad. They are all for my benefit. They are to grow me and stretch me and refine me in my faith, love, trust and hope in HIM. Not in my circumstances, not in my abilities, not in my spouse, not in my children, not in anything but HIM, Jesus Christ, the One who laid down his life for my sin, who bore my punishment on the cross of Calvary so that I might be saved. His sacrifice wasn't to rescue me from hurt or pain or trials or tribulations but from eternal separation from God.

So as I sit here today reflecting on the 'bad' things that happen in life (losing a child, a parent, a spouse, a friend, a job, etc.) my prayer is that they push us to draw closer to the One who holds our heart above all others. The One who loves us like no other and brings us through every experience. Without Him, we would not be able to reach others with compassion and love and go about our day with their circumstances weighing on our heart, with their needs escaping our lips as we cry out to Abba Father for their comfort or healing.

Whatever our circumstance, whatever we have is enough if we have Him.

1 Thessalonians 5: 17-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happy Veterans Day


2 Timothy 1:7 
 “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”


Friday, November 6, 2015

Let Freedom Ring!


This AMAZING American Bald Eagle landed on the beach right in front of our condo the other day!

~Happy Snapping~
 

 Isaiah 40:28-31 (NASB)

Do you not know? Have you not heard? 
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth 
Does not become weary or tired. 
His understanding is inscrutable. 
He gives strength to the weary, 
And to him who lacks might He increases power. 
Though youths grow weary and tired, 
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the Lord 
Will gain new strength; 
They will mount up with wings like eagles, 
They will run and not get tired, 
They will walk and not become weary.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

By the Sea



Now that we are empty nesters, our weekend mornings are spent watching the sunrise and walking along the beach. All this free time together to explore and enjoy this next phase of life is a bit surprising as it seems like only yesterday that we were young and carefree, learning about life and each other. I'm often reminded of this Disney song we used to sing with our children when they were little.


"By the sea, by the beautiful sea, you and me, oh how happy we'll be."
  
Until next time,
Sharing with




Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Book Giveaway Opportunity for Reading Friends!

Hey Y'all!

Just a quick pop-in to let you know there is a great book being given away this week. Hurry on over and enter the contest, k? 

All you have to do is click on the image and it will take you to the blog that is having the giveaway.




In case y'all didn't know, Fiction Addiction Fix has TONS (okay, maybe not tons but there are a lot!) of book giveaways listed and there's a link under each book cover to click on that takes you to the giveaway! Easy peasy and only takes a few minutes to enter to win. 

It's time to get those books piled high for some winter time reading pleasure. :-)

create your own banner at mybannermaker.com!



~Happy Reading~

Sunday, October 25, 2015

{Sunday} Morning Worship & Praise


And beware not to lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. 
 
I can see why some people want to worship creation instead of the Creator.  It's a magnificent sight to behold. And for those who do not have a relationship with the Lord, they seek to worship something
 
But for me, when I see the sun rise each morning it just reiterates to me the awesomeness of God, his power and majesty, his ability to speak into existence this beautiful world we live in, his gift of the sun and moon and stars and heavens above. I don't have the slightest desire to worship what He has created, but to lift my hands and heart in praise to his glorious name. Many mornings my tears flow in continuing realization of his mercy toward me, his saving grace through Christ Jesus, and his continuing presence through his Holy Spirit.  
 
I am compelled to worship and praise HIM who sits on the throne!

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Sail Away


There was a sailing regatta on Sunday that we came upon by happenstance. My husband is used to me saying "Stop the car!" as I grab my camera, throw off my seat belt and open the car door to get out and snap a photo. Thankfully we were in an isolated parking lot this time so there was no chance of injury to a car or me. :) 

Of all the sailboats getting ready to set sail, this was the most colorful one out there. Of course it captured my full attention as it was rounding the jetty to head toward the open waters of the Chesapeake Bay. I could have taken a little time to get a better image but it was actually moving pretty fast--as you can see by the full sail the wind was really blowing.

After this delightful discovery, we stopped by Fort Monroe but having no idea how big it actually is, we were not prepared to tour the whole thing so we will go back another day. Okay, I wasn't prepared. I had on semi-high heels for the first time in almost two years. Now I know to wear my sneakers when we go anywhere because there's so much history to see in this area! I'm sure I will have plenty of miles on my Vivofit--and lots of photos to share-- in the coming weeks and months.

~Happily Snapping~
 Psalm 139:17-18
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them! 
 If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.