Friday, September 27, 2013

Random 5 Friday

1. Not sure if I posted this picture before or not, but I love Roses and don't think I could ever see enough photos of their blossoms or blooms! 

2. It's almost the end of September! Can you believe it?! Three months from now we will already have celebrated Christmas!!! Where has the year gone?

3. I must figure out a way to get in the kitchen. Pumpkin recipes are calling my name. 

4. On occasion, I have been in a hospital that served good food. Really good food. Hard to believe but it is true. The one I was in last week...not so much. Bleh!

5. Anyone see Castle on Monday night? No spoilers, but I think Beckett is going to bust out laughing and tell him she is pulling his leg. You know, to teach him a lesson. It could be funny :)

Any exciting plans this weekend?

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday Muse

Update on my surgery: Everything went well but there was more damage than expected. I now have a metal plate and two pins holding my heel bone together. Apparently there are large incisions on both sides of my foot that will leave a lot of scaring. No weight bearing on that leg for 10 weeks seems like an eternity but today marks one week, so only 9 to go!

Pain meds work some but not as effective as I thought they would be. They make me unbelievably loopy and woozy. I'm not able to stay on the computer for long, or do anything else for that matter, before I am dozing off or holding my head over the trash can. Yeah, it ain't pretty but the doctor thinks I will have a successful recovery and be able to walk normally in about 9-12 months. Here's hoping and praying he is right!

Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes. I would love to be able to get around to each individual blog and leave comments on your gorgeous images but I don't know that I will be able to this week.

Autumn is my favorite time of year! I know I have said this before but I am thoroughly enjoying the cooler temps and adding the comfy old quilt to the bed :) It's snuggle weather! 

My son mentioned he is ready for some Russian Tea....maybe I can talk him into making some this weekend. 

What's your favorite beverage when the weather starts to turn cooler? I bet some of y'all are getting close to having some snow, huh?

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Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a copy of The Governess of Highland Hall by clicking here.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Review and Giveaway ~ The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

Can a titled gentleman and a lowly governess find happiness together at Highland Hall?

With his inherited estate in serious financial distress, Sir William Ramsey is seeking ways to save his family inheritance and raise his two young children alone, since his wife's death two years earlier. He's also recently become guardian to his brother's teenage daughters, Katherine and Penelope. With little experience in managing an estate, let alone children, we see the struggles that William faces and how it effects his relationship with those he cares for.

Enter Julia Foster, missionary and now governess at Highland Hall. Julia is young in Williams' eyes and hired on a trial period. Julia shows an amazing restraint toward the teenage girls' rude and condescending behavior. Because her deep relationship with the Lord is evident, she instills trust and confidence in those she is surrounded by. Therefore, William seeks out her advice on managing the estate and its difficulties. Financial belts must be tightened and it is funny to see how the children and household staff respond to the new 'rules'. Upstairs and downstairs antics abound without any inappropriate behaviors. There are a lot of characters in the story but they're easy to keep up with.

Positive changes begin to happen at Highland Hall but a devious plan is hatched too. Who will take it upon themselves to try and undermine the budding relationship between William and Julia? I have to say, I was getting a bit nervous toward the end of the book. It was looking as if it was going to be a cliffhanger and I was not going to be happy with that. Of course, that enchanted me all the more with Carrie's writing ability. This story is intricately woven together to create a splendid family dynamic, both upstairs and down. Plus, seeing William grow into a more affectionate father, and desiring to spend more time with his children, was a precious thing to see. I was completely besotted with The Governess of Highland Hall for all 314 pages!

Overall, I think any Historical Fiction fan will enjoy this delightful blend of Edwardian Era mixed with a trifle of Jane Eyre. Thanks to the author for sending me a copy for review purposes. I wasn't required to write a positive review, just my honest opinion of the book.

Waterbrook Multnomah has graciously offered a copy to one of my blog readers.

Answer one of these questions from Carrie to be entered.

If you could visit England, what would you like to see? 
What is one of your favorite time periods for historical novels?

Simply saying "I want to win" will not count!

US ONLY. Complete giveaway rules here.

Giveaway ends Sept 30th. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Guest Post by Amanda Flower + Giveaway

What’s in a Pen Name?
By Amanda Flower/Isabella Alan

Authors choose pen names for many reasons to hide their true identities (like JK Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith), to distinguish their writing styles among multiple genres, and to fulfill contractual obligations.

In my case, I write under the pen name because my publisher for the Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries, Penguin, asked me to. A pen name was one of the conditions the house set in order for me to write the series. At first, I was daunted by the request. I like my real name. I always thought “Amanda Flower” has a nice authory sound to it, but I really wanted to write the Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries. I had to decide if having a pen name was enough reason to pass up this great story and opportunity. It wasn’t, and so I agreed.

I thought long and hard about what I wanted this new pen name to be. I had three criteria: it had to sound good when spoken aloud, look good in print, and have some significance to me.

I created an entire list of names and sent five to my publisher. Isabella Alan was number one for me from the start, and I told my editor that several times. None of the other names measured up. I liked how the name sounded when spoken, thought it looked nice in print, and of all the names I came up with, it had the most significance.

Isabella Alan is a name that honors two people I love dearly, one here on earth and one in heaven. Isabella is my niece’s first name, and Alan is my father’s middle name. In 2009, my niece was born, and my father passed away. The events happened within weeks of each other. By the time Isabella was born, we already knew my father was dying of cancer and he didn’t have much time left. I will always be grateful Isabella arrived before my father left this earth. It gave him an opportunity to say hello and good-bye to his first grandchild and promise her he’d wait for her in heaven.

They weren’t together long, but Isabella and my dad had a special bond, and I thought it was only fitting to pick a pen name that would honor the legacy and the future of the Flower name even if the name Flower is not on the cover of the book.

It’s SUPER SEPTEMBER! Amanda Flower (also writing as Isabella Alan) has three novels releasing in September 2013. To celebrate, she is giving away an authentic Amish Quilt hand-stitched by Amish in Holmes County, Ohio.

Enter to Win an Authentic Amish Quilt from author Amanda Flower! Click here to Enter!

Follow Amanda on Social Media at: Facebook Twitter Goodreads Pinterest
Follow Amanda’s alter ego Isabella on Facebook

*You cannot enter the giveaway on this post. You MUST follow the links above!

You can read my review of 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A New Name

Do you see that charcoal colored mark on Snow's head?
My husband says it looks like a smudge of dirt.

It has prompted a name change.
And it's official.
It's on her vet record...


She is a beautiful, feisty and loving kitty who likes to look out the window, 
especially when she hears the birds singing.
It's a good thing she is an indoor kitty.
For the birds' sake 

 I'm in the hospital having my foot surgery, 
so hopefully I will be able to check comments later in the week
and visit all the beautiful photos posted on...

Tuesday Muse

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Review ~ The Truth About Forgiveness by John MacArthur

"The greatest measuring rod of love in the life of a Christian may be forgiveness, because God showed His love to us in terms of forgiveness." ―John MacArthur
Does anyone really want to forgive? Or admit that we need forgiveness? Whether we're giving or receiving, forgiveness is hard. It seems unfair. It feels unnatural. And as best-selling author and pastor John MacArthur demonstrates, forgiveness apart from Christ is unnatural. It is only as we understand our need, Christ's power and example, and what it reallly means to love that we can embrace two of the most liberating acts of love: forgiving and being forgiven.
The Truth About Series
For decades MacArthur has encouraged countless Christians to develop a deeper understanding of the Bible and a greater respect for God's truth. In The Truth About series, he now gathers his landmark teachings about core aspects of the Christian faith in one place. These powerful books are designed to give readers a focused experience that centers on God's character and how it applies to their daily walk of faith. 

My Review

Pastor John MacArthur is renowned for his clear and precise teaching of God’s Word. Although this tiny, truth filled book is a tough one to swallow in the opening pages, I believe it is full of sound and true doctrinal statements about forgiveness.

Reiterating that we must first recognize sin as sin, and not gloss it over as a sickness, disease or disorder, The Truth About Forgiveness is hard hitting and convicting. The truth is…we must confess our sin and repent, turning away from that which has ensnared us, by the strength and victory that we receive through Christ Jesus.

The book gives solid evidence that God requires we forgive others. That’s not always easy to do, but it is necessary.  As Pastor MacArthur states, “The blood of Christ cries for forgiveness.” (Pg. 113) Contained within these seven short and decisive chapters are a raw and intimate look at God, Christ and the Holy Spirit, and how each plays a part in forgiveness.

The thing I love the most about John MacArthur’s books, especially this one, is his straight forward approach to the Gospel. There’s no glossing over, no making the Christian walk into a life of rainbows and lollipops, but showing me the way to have a deeper and more committed relationship with my Savior.

I received a copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation has been received.

If you use the product widget below to purchase a copy, I make a small commission form the sale of the of the book.

{Sunday} Morning ~ Worship & Praise

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, 
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23 ~

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning 
I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, 
my refuge in times of trouble.
~ Psalm 59:16 ~

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, 
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. 
~ Psalm 90:14 ~

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; 
where morning dawns, where evening fades, 
you call forth songs of joy. 
~ Psalm 65:8 ~

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 
~ Psalm 91:1 ~

Even though morning isn't mentioned, I chose the last verse because as soon as I saw the heart shaped leaf 'sheltering' the flower blossom, I thought of that verse. 

Blessed be the name of the Lord!

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Fun Summer Read!

Picture Perfect, (Weddings by Design Book One)  

Feisty wedding photographer Hannah McDermott has dealt with her share of difficult brides. But none can compare to the ultimate Bridezilla she's dealing with now. Still, she's trying desperately to impress Bella Neeley, Galveston Island's most sought-after wedding planner, so she can take the top spot in Bella's list of recommended photographers--a spot currently occupied by her arch-rival, Drew Kincaid. What she doesn't count on, however, is falling head over heels for the competition. 

With her contagious humor and cast of quirky characters, Janice Thompson gives readers more of the bridal business drama they want in a brand-new series all about those long-suffering people who make beautiful weddings happen. Readers are desperately waiting for more of Bella and this new series brings her back in a big way, while introducing new characters fans will love. Fans will laugh out loud as they experience this breezy and entertaining novel from a great storyteller.

My Thoughts (short but sweet)

I love weddings! This spectacular cover caught my eye and I couldn't resist purchasing the book. That, and I know that Janice Thompson always delivers a great story. It was fun and humorously engaging from beginning to end. I smiled and chuckled all the way through. It's a quick and light read, perfect for a few hours of wholesome diversion from the everyday stresses of life.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Random 5 Friday

Welcome to Random 5 Friday -- where you share 5 random facts about you, your day, your pets, your kids, whatever!

my photo submission for the CameraShy Take52 Photography Challenge - week 36/ theme: Old fashioned

1. I adore old fashioned looking jewelry. These gorgeous crystal-studded Victorian Inspired Blue Cameo earrings were made by my friend, Christy at Belle on a Budget. She owns her own Etsy shop....obviously J

2. This blog is turning into more of a photography blog than book blog. I really don't want to start another blog again. It was too much to keep up with. I guess I'd better get with it and get some reviews written and posted. I'll have plenty of time after next week.

3. Tonight the a/c will be turned off for the final time this summer season. We are looking forward to the cooler night temps and sleeping with the windows open. There are lots of night sounds out here in the country that lull us into a deep sleep.

4. The only thing right now keeping me from sleeping better is Snow. She decides to wake up after 9pm and play. And by play, I mean tearing through the house like something is chasing her, leaping onto the bed and springing up and around and then diving for my hair! 

5. Oh, one day this week we got a total of nine, yep NINE eggs! Each day or two we seem to get a new layer. It's so exciting but two of them still lay in the coop despite my son making an extra nest box and sitting it in there. L

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

An assortment of photos...

Sunday afternoon provided a plethora of photo opportunities, starting with this one. My first hummingbird at the feeder and also the first time I have taken a photo of one. Let me just's not easy! But she perched right up there and drank her fill, allowing me to get several shots. I was/am ecstatic!

Then this lovely Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly landed right on a flower in front of me. I held my breath because they're tough to get clear photos of, too!

After these two exciting captures, I decided to take advantage of the changing shades of light and try to get a couple of shots of the few flowers left in my yard. 

My old fashioned roses are still blooming. Pretty, huh?

As the sun was dipping further down toward the horizon, I couldn't resist capturing the golden light on these sunflowers.

I finally managed to get the natural sun flare! No need for Picmonkey in this one...

...or this one J

And in case you're wondering why there is an ugly pinwheel in the corner, it's there for my 2 yr old grandson. Every time he gets ready to leave he pulls it out of the ground, hides it behind his back, and tries to sneak it home with him. His parents make him put it back so it changes places frequently. I would let him have it but it's become a game now. J

The view from my front porch never gets old!

What do you see from your front porch?

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Rurality Blog Hop #31

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tuesday Muse

Meet Snow.

She's about 8 weeks old and full of crazy wild energy! 
My husband gave her to me yesterday as an early birthday present. 
Today's my birthday and I get to spend money taking her to the vet!

Do you have a cat or dog? Or any animal?

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Saturday, September 7, 2013


Praise the Lord, my soul
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Praise the Lord, all his works

    everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, my soul. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Big Contender

It's a literal fight all summer! 
Swatting at them, running from them...

While this fella might not seem daunting, in actuality he is about
1 1/2 inches long! And he bites!!! 

Hence the graininess of the photo 
because I zoomed from far away to get the shot.

We have to contend with these buggers all summer. 

We call them honkin' horse flies out here in the country J 

In case you've never heard of one, you can read more about them here:

Do you have any pesky summer bugs besides mosquitos? 
Which I can see absolutely no use for, by the way.

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Muted tones

I love the Sunflowers of summer and the colors & temperatures of autumn.

I am SO ready for it to cool down! We were spoiled with some really unusually
  low temperatures this summer. But for the past week or so it has been near 90, or above every day. One of our a/c's went out so we've had to resort to fans on high speed.

Maybe the heat has contributed a bit to my melancholy mood. It's been nigh impossible to go outside and I don't want to actually "go" anywhere. Of course, I need to go see my granddaughter today. She turns the big #1. That just might mean a stop at Sweet Frog for some yummy yogurt 

How's the weather where you are?

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**I apologize for not answering everyone's comments this past week or so. I appreciate each one of your visits and lovely comments! I have so much to get done before my surgery on the 17th.**

Sunday, September 1, 2013

{Sunday} Scripture, Photo Art and Journalling

Psalm 116:15-16

Precious in the sight of the Lord 
is the death of his faithful servants.
Truly I am your servant, Lord; 
I serve you just as my mother did; 
you have freed me from my chains.

My journal entry- August 31, 2013 

Sometimes I sit and stare, my surroundings fading away into a mist, 
my mind wandering through past and present, 
images of Amy as a child, young girl, and finally in death. 
At times these images pull me down, down into darkness 
where I feel there is no hope of ever seeing light again. 
Then just as quickly, I begin to feel tears well in my eyes, 
burning and seeking relief from their prison, 
and in that moment of despair 
I am reminded so vividly of my Father in heaven 
and how much more he loves my daughter than I do. 
How much more he loves his Son than I do. 
How much more he grieved his Son’s death than I do. 
How much more. 

Praising Him for his unfailing love, 
today and every day.

~Have a blessed Sabbath~