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 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


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. ;)


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:


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:, 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

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:

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.