Monday Musings

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So last week was a very busy week around our home.  We were preparing for our Band and Strings concert.  Our youngest son was supposed to have a tennis class.  Plus, my husband and I went on a partial weekend date to San Antonio – primarily so we could pick up a produce order from Bountiful Baskets on Saturday morning before we rushed home to play in the concerts.  Here are some pictures of our Bountiful Baskets produce.

But before I write more about the concert I have to talk about our date weekend.  This weekend we went someplace we had never been before – which is Wimberley, Texas.  This place amazed and astounded us.  Having moved to Texas from the mountains of Pennsylvania, the views and scenery around Wimberly took our breath away.  Even though it rained and was cloudy, we were still able to take a short walk to see the river/stream in Wimberley.  Here are some pictures.

 

The problem with all of our family members being in the band and strings groups is that it makes it difficult to take pictures.  Also, because I am one of the moms who helps coordinate things like the food for after the performances, it is even harder to get pictures of our whole family.  This time I failed completely at getting any pictures at all.  Here is one picture another mom took of us during the beginner strings performance.

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So now the Homeschool Band and Strings program are both on break until after the first of the year, but Nathan, Dennis (my husband) and I still have two performances this coming Saturday with the Community Band.  So be watching for updates next week about how that goes.  This Thursday we have a Christmas party for the tennis group as long as the weather cooperates.  Then Dennis, Nathan and I will be heading to Austin/Round Rock to go to Ikea and more.

If you would like to read what other members of the Home School Review Crew are blogging about this week, click here or on the image below.

Review of “Shelter of the Most High

About the Book

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Book: Shelter of the Most High

Author: Connilyn Cossette

Genre: Christian Biblical Fiction

Release Date: October, 2018

The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean. But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan.

Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a city of refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood, yet chafing at the boundaries placed on him. He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past.

As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot. Can they uncover the betrayal in time to save their lives and the lives of those they love?

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

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Connilyn Cossette is the CBA bestselling author of the Out From Egypt series. Her debut novel, Counted with the Stars, was a finalist for the Christy Award, the INSPY Award, and the Christian Retailing’s Best Award. She lives in North Carolina with her husband of twenty years and a son and a daughter who fill her days with joy, inspiration, and laughter. Connect with her at www.ConnilynCossette.com.

Guest Post from Connilyn

Shelter of the Most High, the second book in my Cities of Refuge Series, will be the first I’ve written to have been influenced by my trip to Israel last year. When I started writing Biblical fiction almost nine years ago, I was limited to exploring the Land of Promise via Google Earth, books, and through a plethora of photos on the good ol’ world wide web, but of course nothing can compare to actually experiencing the atmosphere and scenery for yourself.

So although I’d already written Shelter of the Most High by the time I hopped on a plane to join fellow author Cliff Graham’s GoodBattle Tour, once I returned my editing was filtered through the sights and sounds I’d witnessed for myself. It had been a life-long dream to go to Israel and it did not disappoint, in fact it just went way too fast!

One of my greatest fears was that I would see the places I’d written about in my books and realize I totally messed up my descriptions, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that for the most part I’d been fairly accurate (although I did tweak a few things here and there).

Standing on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee I was able to envision Eitan, our hero in Shelter of the Most High, sitting on one of the black boulders there, defeated and weary as he searched for his love. I was able to look toward the snowy peaks of Mount Hermon in the north and over the fertile Hula Valley just below the ancient ruins of Kedesh, the city of refuge, and consider how Sofea must have felt as she experienced the landscape of her new home for the first time, both the fear and the awe.

One of my favorite sites was Tel Dan and although it does not feature in Shelter of the Most High it’s lush greenness and dense forest gave me a better sense of what Israel must have been in the past before deforestation, war, and shifts in climate have done to the fertile land God himself called a land of milk and honey. Since I was so affected by Tel Dan (or Laish in ancient times) that city will be one of the settings in my upcoming third installment of the Cities of Refuge Series, Until the Mountains Fall.

Being a super visual person who is highly sensitive to sensory input, I took great pleasure in absorbing with all my senses as we walked paths, climbed mountains (yes, mountains), slogged through a long, cold, and wet tunnel deep beneath Jerusalem, hiked up to the secret oasis of Ein Gedi where David hid from Saul, and rocked along on a boat over the glassy surface of the Galilee. I felt like a sponge just soaking up every little detail and every grand vista.

Smelling the salty breeze off the Mediterranean and hearing the waves crash against the sandy beach in Tel Aviv and Caesarea Phillipi made me imagine our heroine Sofea looking over that enormous, blue expanse and wondering what sort of god had control of such a powerful thing.

Feeling the timeworn cobblestones beneath my feet gave me a sense of what it must have been like for Eitan and Sofea to walk through the streets of Kedesh, their own sandals scuffing against the rough-hewn stone as they went about their daily activities.

Running my fingers along the pitted surfaces of ancient buildings and tracing the chisel marks from craftsmen of the Bronze Age wrapped me in a whirl of imagination about who the people were that hefted those same rocks into place and the ingenuity it took to create structures that have lasted so long.

Tasting the unique spices and flavors of the Middle East gave me a sense of the passion Moryiah (our hero’s mother) has for creating delicious new dishes to feed her growing family and the guests at her inn.

Although I write fiction, my stories are woven into Biblical accounts so going to Israel was a perfect reminder for me that the people that lived between the pages of Genesis to Revelations were real. They breathed, they cried, they loved, they mourned, they suffered, and they celebrated with their families. I am so grateful to have gleaned some great new insight into the Land and its resilient, vibrant people and hope that through Shelter of the Most High readers get a small sense of the beauty and wonder I experienced there. I cannot wait to go back!

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, November 20

The Power of Words, November 20

Among the Reads, November 21

Gensis 5020, November 21

God’s Little Bookworm, November 22

Book by Book, November 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 22

Remembrancy, November 23

Real World Bible Study, November 23

Inklings and notions, November 23

The Becca Files, November 24

Baker Kella, November 24

Bibliophile Reviews, November 25

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, November 25

By The Book, November 26

Reading Is My SuperPower, November 26

Aryn The Libraryan, November 27

All-of-a-kind Mom, November 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 27

Abbas Prayer Warrior Princess, November 28

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, November 28

Simple Harvest Reads, November 29 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

For the Love of Literature, November 29

Janices book reviews, November 29

The Lit Addict, November 30

Texas Book-aholic, November 30

Just the Write Escape, December 1

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 1

Connect in Fiction, December 2

The Christian Fiction Girl, December 2

Bigreadersite, December 2

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 3

Purposeful Learning, December 3

Carpe Diem, December 3

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Connilyn is giving away

Grand Prize: All five of Conni’s novels, including Shelter of the Most High, plus AHAVA Dead Sea Bath Salts

Three other winners will receive a copy of Shelter of the Most High!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d66d/shelter-of-the-most-high-celebration-tour-giveaway

My Thoughts

The violence, death, and destruction this book opens with from the very beginning may provide events that are too traumatic for some to read.  Some of the images are disturbing, to say the least.  To discover the entire village, except for two girls, show a tremendous need for revenge.  I was completely surprised when I found out the carnage was caused by a former member of their own village. Sofea and Perzi only have each other to rely on when they are pulled away from their homes and dead family members, friends and village members.

Only the kindness of Sofea’s mom to Seneturo, when he was a boy being traded from their village by Sofea’s father, resulted in their lives being spared.  While cold-hearted and murderous, Seneturo’s actions reflected the devastating life he lived once he left the village.  He displays one more show of kindness when he allows the two cousins to escape from the boat.

I learned a lot about the idea of sanctuary cities of Biblical times.  It was especially interesting to realize that not only could these cities provide a place of refuge, but also be a prison of sorts.  I appreciated how Eitan and his family and the other residents of their community accepted all who came there essentially without question.

From that point on, life changes for Sofea and Prezi, a group of men rescue the women taking them back to their village.  Over time, they come to know and trust the people who rescued them.  Eitan demonstrates the love of Christ to Sofea, even while other individuals try to discourage her from discovering the truth for herself.

Ultimately, Sofea and Prezi become followers of Yahweh and Sofea and Eitan ultimately fall in love with each other.  By the end of the book, I was glad I had read it.  So check out this book for yourself.

Disclaimer

 

Review of “Secrets” by Beckie Lindsey

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About the Book

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Book: Secrets

Author: Beckie Lindsey

Genre: Young Adult

Release Date: February, 2018

Every girl has a secret she hopes the light will never find–but the demons already have.

Four girls. Four sets of secrets. Four searching for answers.

Mackenzie is the shy, awkward new girl at school, depressed and desperate for a real friend. When she stumbles upon the deepest secret of a sarcastic, angry-at-the-world track star, Krystal, they become instant enemies-especially about the flirtatious baseball player, Bryce.

Tammi, a gloomy singer/musician who couldn’t care less about what others think of her, meets Sadie, a dancer and a people-pleaser with a cotton candy disposition. They have nothing in common until their lives begin to collide in more ways than one.

As the girls’ worlds begin to converge, their secrets rather than their similarities draw them together. Meanwhile, all that’s kept hidden has left them vulnerable to a battle in an invisible realm where demonic creatures fight to keep the girls chained to their pasts while angels of light work to free them.

Can good ever come from evil? Can beauty ever arise from ashes?

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

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Beckie Lindsey is an award-winning poet, author, blogger, and the editor of Southern California Christian Voice, a division of One Christian Voice, a national news syndicating agency. She is a major coffeeholic and enjoys a good book with a cat on her lap. She also loves to hike and hang out with family and friends. Beckie and her husband, Scott have three adult children, two adorable cats and live in California.

Guest Post from Beckie

Why I write YA and the BFA series

By Beckie Lindsey

I believe a teenager still exists inside each of us.

We hear a familiar tune from our “glory days” and are instantly tapping our toes. Mentally, we’re back in high school —poofy bangs, scrunchie, neon off-the-shoulder sweatshirt — and all. Oh, wait. That’s me back in the ‘80s!

Ah, yes. There is something wonderfully awful about those coming-of-age years.

From the first kiss to the first breakup, there are memories we cherish and some we don’t care to ever revisit. Being a teen can be exciting, confusing, painful, joyous, or even all of those things at once!

No matter how different your teenage experience was from mine, one thing is true for us all: these years have an enormous impact on who we become as adults. We can all sympathize with the plight of puberty and the longing for independence and acceptance. Yeah, there’s still a teenager in all of us!

These are the reasons I write YA.

My hope is to use the power of storytelling to move past barriers and open hearts to accept how much God loves and desires a personal relationship with us.

At every age, we all need the grace and love of Jesus.

In the Beauties from Ashes (BFA) series, I write about relatable characters with difficult issues and traumatic pasts to enlighten readers about the unseen spiritual battle referred to in Scripture. Each character has a secret that has left them vulnerable to the battle in an invisible realm where demonic creatures fight to keep them chained to their pasts and angels of light work to free them.

The characters and their issues are complex, just like real life. In fact, some of the topics are often considered too taboo to talk about openly. But what is left in the dark, festers and grows. It is only in the light that we can be free. In the BFA series, readers experience the character’s quest for truth, love, grace, and freedom while hopefully finding the same for themselves.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, November 13

Inklings and notions, November 14

Genesis 5020, November 15

Multifarious, November 16

Blogging With Carol, November 16

Carpe Diem, November 17

A Baker’s Perspective, November 18

Godly Book Reviews, November 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 19

Robin Is Bookish, November 20

Remembrancy, November 20

The Becca Files, November 21

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 22

Stephanie’s Life of Perseverance, November 22

One Emergent Life, November 23

amandainpa, November 23

Bibliophile Reviews, November 24

Janices book reviews, November 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 26

Bigreadersite, November 26

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Beckie is giving away a grand prize of a $30 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d56f/secrets-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

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What if you were a teenage girl who had experienced severe abuse, assault or other devastating horrors as a child and was currently living under attack from those experiences?  In the book Secrets by Beckie Lindsey, the author explores these exact circumstances.

I found it difficult to become interested in the book at first.  The story jumps from characters to characters, including the four teenage girls the story revolves around, the supporting family members, friends, and church members along with angels and demons.  But once I did get into the book, I wanted to keep reading.

The way the author jumps from storyline to storyline about the different girls made it difficult for me to stay interested.  It basically took until the end of the book to know how everything and everyone tied together.  But even so, I was not really satisfied with the ending of the book.

Like I just said previously, I take issue with this book because for me, I did not feel the book came to a satisfactory conclusion.  If one does not continue reading the series, I found the book lacked cohesion.

I would recommend if you have any past experiences with rape, incest, bulimia, or even bullying, this may not be an appropriate book for you to read.  But all in all, I found the book worth reading.

 

Disclaimer

 

 

 

 

Love Again, Live Again Review

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About the Book

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Book: Love Again, Live Again

Author: Joan Hunter

Genre: Non-Fiction; Christian Living, relationships

Release Date: November 6, 2018

Everyone gets their feelings hurt in life. As these wounds fester and compound throughout life, they become scars that affect our current relationships. Anyone suffering from a wounded heart feels a sense of separation from people, but the separation it creates from our heavenly Father is far worse for our mind, body and soul. “Broken Heart Syndrome” is a recognized medical condition. Tests show that the pain caused by relational stress or trauma releases stress hormones to circulate through the body. This causes the inner layers of the heart to shred, damaging the cardiac muscle and its capacity to pump blood throughout the body. The chest pain this can cause resembles a serious heart attack. Stents or angioplasty can treat blocked vessels, but modern medicine still has no quick fix for a broken heart. Joan Hunter reveals how to heal your heart from past hurts. To do this, you must be set free from the trauma of past relationships that prevent you from giving of yourself to those most important to you today. In doing so, you will also restore your most important relationship—the one with your heavenly Father.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

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Joan Hunter is an anointed healing evangelist, a dynamic teacher, and a best-selling author. She is the founder and president of Joan Hunter Ministries, Hearts 4 Him, and 4 Corners Foundation, and she is also the president of Hunter Ministries. Joan’s television appearances have been broadcast around the world on World Harvest Network, Inspiration Network, TBN, NRB Word Networks, Daystar, Faith TV, Cornerstone TV, The Church Channel, Total Christian Television, Christian Television Network, Watchmen Broadcasting, and God TV. Joan has also been the featured guest on many national television and radio shows, including Sid Roth’s It’s Supernatural!, It’s a New Day, The Miracle Channel, The Patricia King Show, Today with Marilyn and Sarah, and many others.Together, Joan and her powerful international healing ministry have conducted miracle services and healing schools throughout numerous countries in a world characterized by brokenness and pain. Her previous books with Whitaker House include Healing the Whole Man Handbook, Healing the Heart, Power to Heal, Supernatural Provision, Freedom Beyond Comprehension, and Miracle Maintenance. Joan lives with her husband, Kelley Murrell, in Magnolia, Texas. Together, they have eight children—four daughters and four sons—and seven grandchildren.

Guest Post from Joan

Everyone has had their feelings hurt by parents, siblings, spouse, children, teachers, friends, or coworkers. Whether you realize it or not, those wounds affect your current relationships. Anyone suffering with a wounded or broken heart feels a sense of separation. Often, you feel that the separation from “man” is the problem. But in reality, separation from your heavenly Father is what causes the worst pain in your mind, body, and soul.

After ministering and teaching about a “Broken Heart Syndrome” for several years, I discovered that there was an official medical diagnosis by that name. Tests have shown that the inner layers of the heart actually shred, which damages the cardiac muscle and its capacity to pump blood throughout the body. Any interruption of the electrical system imbedded in the muscle hinders the heart rhythm and can lead to death or permanent damage. Usually caused by extreme stress or trauma, which precipitates an excess of stress hormones to circulate throughout the body, the resulting chest pain can resemble a serious heart attack.

The diagnosis is made by ruling out a heart attack, which is caused by blocked or collapsed cardiac blood vessels. While stents or angioplasty can treat blocked vessels, there is no quick fix for a broken heart. Broken Heart Syndrome does not block blood vessels and it can sometimes heal within a month or so. It can be caused by an extreme stressful/traumatic situation such as the death of a loved one, divorce, severe sudden illness, injury, or extreme shock.

This book reveals how to heal your heart from those hurts. To do this, you must be set free from old relationships that prevent you from giving of yourself to those most important to you today. You will also see how these principles affect your most important relationship—your relationship with your heavenly Father.

Blog Stops

Just the Write Escape, November 15

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 16

Mary Hake, November 16

Bibliophile Reviews, November 17

A Baker’s Perspective, November 18

Inklings and notions, November 19

Real World Bible Study, November 20

TennTwo, November 21

Reading is my Super Power, November 21 (Interview)

Robin Is Bookish, November 22

Artistic Nobody, November 22 (Spotlight)

Stephanie’s Life of Perseverance, November 23

margaret kazmierczak, November 23 (Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, November 24

Janices book reviews, November 25

Carpe Diem, November 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 27

Bigreadersite, November 28

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Joan is giving away a grand prize of a $20 Starbucks gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d5ca/love-again-live-again-celebration-tour-giveaway

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As I started reading this book, I found a lot of different thoughts going through my mind.  While this is supposed to be a book for everyone, but I question that premise.  It seemed like this book left a lot out and did not really capture my attention.  If I was not sent a copy to read, I am not sure I would have picked this book up for myself.

This book supposedly illustrates how to be set free from old relationships that prevent you from giving of yourself to the individuals who are most important to you.  Yet I truly found it lacking in a lot of ways.  I can not necessarily say I agreed with everything I was reading.  And more specifically, I found myself struggling to finish the book.

I do agree that we can not do what God has called us to do if we keep a wall around our heart.  However, I am not sure the author actually does an excellent job of making those points.

You may want to check out this book for yourself.   Do not forget to enter for the chance to win the giveaway.

Review of the Unannounced Christmas Visitor by Patrick Higgins

About the Book

Book: The Unannounced Christmas Visitor

Author: Patrick Higgins

Genre: Christian fiction/Christmas

Release Date: November 18, 2014

What if angels really did come from the most unlikely of places? That’s exactly what happens in this heartwarming story, set in a homeless community in Anywhere USA. Sent to Planet Earth by his Maker, disguised as a homeless person, Enoch was on a mission: to rescue a man whose life was slowly but steadily spiraling out of control

Inspired by Hebrews 13:2, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it,” this story will stir your soul like never before, guaranteed! 2016 IPA (INTERNATIONAL PUBLISHER AWARDS) GOLD MEDAL AWARD WINNER.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Patrick Higgins is the author of “The Pelican Trees”, “Coffee In Manila”, the award-winning “The Unannounced Christmas Visitor”, and the award-winning prophetic end times series, “Chaos In The Blink Of An Eye.”

Guest Post from Patrick

Why I wrote the book: Inspired by Hebrews 13:2, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it,” this story will stir your soul like never before, guaranteed!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 10

Lighthouse Academy, November 10

The Power of Words, November 11

Christian Centered book Reviews, November 11

Genesis 5020, November 12

Bogging With Carol, November 12

God’s Little Bookworm, November 13

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, November 13

Girls in White Dresses, November 14

Moments, November 14

Mary Hake, November 15

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 15

For the Love of Literature, November 15

Inklings and notions, November 16

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 16

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, November 17

Bibliophile Reviews, November 17

Vicky Sluiter, November 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 18

Godly Book Reviews, November 19

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 19

Luv’N Lambert Life, November 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 20

Texas Book-aholic, November 21

Janices book reviews, November 21

Carpe Diem, November 22

Bigreadersite, November 22

amandainpa, November 23

A Baker’s Perspective, November 23

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Patrick is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d5c7/the-unannounced-christmas-visitor-tour-giveaway

Having been married for over 26 years, I know it takes a lot of work for a couple to stay together. Marriage requires dedication, determination and having the love of Christ. Add children to the mix and the challenge becomes more involved. A church has the ability to help bring a couple closer together or increase the distance between a couple exponentially. This book addresses both of these issues and more.

Lydia and John Jensen find themselves arguing and fighting more than they get along, Their children, Matthew and Grace suffer from the stress of their parents’ altercations. But during the busy weeks leading up to Christmas, something unexpected and miraculous happens. A stranger enters into their church and into their lives in a very unexpected way.

When an elderly black man in shabby clothes and with an unkempt appearance enters the church, Lydia and John witness how their fellow church members treat an elderly man who is obviously homeless. But through this stranger and his fellow homeless “parties”, the entire family learns the true meaning of Christmas and to love each other.

Truly this story made me laugh, cry, and want to continue reading the book. As we begin to approach the Christmas season, this book serves to remind the reader of what is truly important.

The passages of Scripture quoted throughout the book are some of my absolute favorites, including the passage from Hebrews about entertaining strangers since they may actually be angels. From the moment Enoch enters the story, I found myself wondering if he was an angel or Enoch from the Bible. I will leave that for you to find out by reading the book for yourself.

If you want to read an inspirational and thought-provoking story, check out this book for yourself.

Review of the (in)courage Devotional Bible

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I confess I am a Bible collector, so I am always on the lookout for new Bibles to add to my stash. Also, I have been following the (in)courage blog for quite a while. So when I found out about the (in)courage devotional Bible, I knew I wanted the opportunity to review it.

While I love the concept of the Bible and the features it contains, I found myself tremendously disappointed by the font used and the size used. In an ideal world, everyone would have perfect vision, however. I have not been blessed with perfect vision. So I struggled with being able to read the text in this Bible.

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As much as I really wanted to love this Bible, I just can not in good conscience say that I do.  If a company is going to print a Bible, they need to recognize that not everyone has perfect sight.  So font size and styles should take visual impairments into consideration.  I do have to say I love the feel of the hardback cover and the fabric used to cover it.  I also love the various features of the Bible, but I would have been happy to actually be able to read it.  Click on the banner below to enter to win a copy of The CSB (in)courage Devotional Bible.

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Review and Giveaway for Love’s Christmas Blessing

About the Book

Book: Love’s Christmas Blessings

Author: Laura V Hilton, Rachel J Good

Genre: Christian Fiction, Amish, Christmas

Release Date: November, 2018

Publisher: Celebrate Lit Publishing

Winter’s Treasure

Paris Kauffman believes she is about to embark on her family-tradition birthday treasure hunt, but for the first time ever, her daed is sending her to various businesses and homes in the community. Little does Paris expect that when she enters the bakery to collect her gift, the bus will drop off none other than her old crush, Aquila Stutzman, the man she’d done everything except cartwheels and handstands to get his attention. And failed. Of course, Quil doesn’t remember her.

Quil was offered employment working on his grandparents’ new tree farm in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Since he’s recovering from a broken heart when his longtime girlfriend Priscilla up and married his cousin, a move Quil never saw coming, he decides to take the job. This will give him time to separate himself from the hurt and maybe, eventually, move on.

Paris and Quil have sparks from the beginning, especially since his appearance causes a vicious rivalry between friends. But who can resist when a chance meeting beginning with donuts and coffee ends with a missing person, puppies, a skunk, and a sleigh ride—not to mention a trip the Amish young people plan to Niagara Falls. Could it also involve falling in love?

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Daniel Graber has spent years caring for his aging parents. Now Daed’s in rehab with a broken hip and a bad case of irritability. He snaps at the workers and complains about doing physical therapy, so Daniel is grateful for the new aide, Fern Chupp, who uses her sweetness and charm to convince Daed to cooperate. Turns out, Daed isn’t the only one she charms.

As a widow, Fern is grateful for her new job at Fairview Rehab Center, even though it meant relocating to Ephrata, Pennsylvania, with her nine-year-old daughter, Lyddie. But Lyddie is grieving the recent death of her grandfather and dislikes leaving her Ohio home. Lyddie’s shyness also makes it difficult to make friends or recite school lessons.

When her class goes to the rehab center to interview patients, Lyddie’s too scared to do her assignment, so she runs away. During the hunt for her missing daughter, independent Fern learns to accept and appreciate Daniel’s help and support. By the time they discover Lyddie, she’s made a very unusual friend, and Fern and Daniel have developed a . Can four lonely heart create special bonds to make it a Christmas to remember?

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Authors

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Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with over twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write.

Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children.

When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.

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Inspirational author Rachel J. Good writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. The author of several Amish romance series, she grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for many of her stories. Striving to be as authentic as possible, she spends time with her Amish friends, doing chores on their farm and attending family events.

Rachel’s Amish series include Sisters & Friends (Charisma House & Harlequin), Love & Promises (Hachette/Grand Central), Hearts of Amish Country (Annie’s Book Club), and the forthcoming Surprised by Love (Kensington). She also has several anthologies in print as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Book.

To learn more about Rachel, visit her at www.racheljgood.com.

Coconut Potato Fudge Recipe:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup plain, mashed potatoes, either instant or one medium potato, cooked

1/8 cup finely chopped (or crushed) almonds (optional)
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
give3 tablespoons butter

Instructions:

Beat powdered sugar and coconut into warm potatoes; then add the vanilla extract and almonds.

Press into a lightly-greased 8-inch square pan; set aside.

In a saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally. When melted, pour over top of the potato mixture.

Refrigerate until set and then cut into squares.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Blog Stops

Vicky Sluiter, November 11

The Avid Reader, November 11

Bigreadersite, November 11

Among the Reads, November 12

Wishful Endings, November 12

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 13

Britt Reads Fiction, November 13

Reading Is My SuperPower, November 14

Maureen’s Musings, November 14

Quiet Quilter, November 15

Blossoms and Blessings, November 15

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 16

Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 16

Random Thoughts From a Bookworm, November 17

Through the Lens of Scripture, November 17

Bibliophile Reviews, November 18

Splashes of Joy, November 18

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 19

Mary Hake, November 19

Miss Tina’s Amish Book Reviews, November 20

Just the Write Escape, November 20

Moments, November 21

Bukwurmzzz, November 21

Blogging With Carol, November 22

Texas Book-aholic, November 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 23

Janices book reviews, November 23

Carpe Diem, November 24

A Baker’s Perspective, November 24

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate the tour, Celebrate Lit Publishing is giving away

Grand prize of $25 Amazon gift card

1st place: Paperback copy of Love’s Christmas Blessings

2-4th place: eBook copy of Love’s Christmas Blessings!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d8a0/love-s-christmas-blessing-celebration-tour-giveaway

My Thoughts

This book contains two different stories – the first is Winter’s Treasure and the second is Mistletoe and Miracles. Of the two stories, I have to say I prefer the second one to the first one.

In Winter’s Treasure, I loved the idea of Paris’ parents sending her on a birthday treasure hunt. I know the memories she experienced were ones worth treasuring. Quil also demonstrates an amazing ability to show self-control and remarkable restraint. The back story of the two knowing each other when they were younger captured my interest and my heart. More importantly, I loved Quil’s grandparents.

I have to say I also found a deep respect for some of the other “youngies” meaning people who were Paris’ and Quil’s ages. The bishop and his wife provide great wisdom throughout parts of the book. I loved the bishop’s off-hand comments that sometimes caused Paris to wonder what he meant.

In the first story, I immediately and unapologetically developed an immediate dislike for Paris’s “supposed” best friend, Sarah. Sarah demonstrates her ability to manipulate people and her disregard for how people think or feel constantly. She consistently shows how fake and phony she is. Without Sarah, I realize the book would have lost something, but it does not mean I disliked her character any less.

The second book had no characters I disliked. Having a grandfather who lived for many years after my grandmother died and who could be quite a grump at times, I could relate to Moses. My heart broke for Fern and Lyddie, who had lost everyone they loved including Fern’s father most recently.

The setting of the rehabilitation facility captured my attention since my oldest son currently works as a Certified Nursing Assistant. The individuals at the facility in the book seemed incredibly realistic and caring to me. When Lyddie goes missing, the fact that everyone searches for her pulled at my heartstrings.

I also loved when Daniel provided snacks to both Lyddie and Fern without knowing they were mother and daughter. The Christian love demonstrated in the book pulled me in and kept me reading to find out how the story ended.

I recommend this book. I would love to hear from you if you decide to check it out for yourself.

Disclaimer

Weekly Wrap-Up for the week ending on November 4, 2018

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So this past week provided the close of another installment of Write 31 Days.  While I did not manage to get everything posted exactly on time, I did manage to write 31 posts for the month.  The posts were not necessarily as detailed as I wanted them to be, so do not be surprised to see me revisit some of them in the months to come.

This week also saw our family move into a new realm.  We became the proud owners of a Pioneer Woman Instant Pot, even if it did take two tries to get it right.  When we brought the first one home Wednesday night and took it out of the box, a large dent marred the otherwise beautiful perfection.  So we returned it the next day for another one, which we made sure to check in the store.  So even though we have not actually used it yet, we are excited to own it.

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This week also saw our youngest son enter the realm of tennis.  He joined a local homeschool class for tennis.  Even though it was his first time playing, he really enjoyed himself and was glad he had the opportunity to participate.

So what has been going on with your family?  I would love to hear from you.  Also, if you would like to read what other members of the Home School Review are posting about this week, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Miles from Where We Started

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About the Book

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Book Title: Miles from Where We Started

Author: Cynthia Ruchti

Genre: Christian Romance/Family life

Release date: October 16, 2018

These no-longer-newlyweds want out of this road trip—and their marriage. Too bad they can’t find the off ramp.

Weeks away from their one-year wedding anniversary, Mallory and Connor Duncan can’t even agree on how to end their marriage. But when a last-minute crisis lands them on a three-thousand-mile road trip together, Mallory wonders if their story may not be over after all.

The trip begins to unravel before the key is even in the ignition, and an at-risk, trouble-seeking missile of an eleven-year-old is unexpectedly launched into their travel plans. Close quarters get even tighter, and the couple believes this whole experience will spell disaster.

Their first year of marriage hasn’t been the arm-in-arm togetherness they expected. How can they find a new beginning when the road ends?

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

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Cynthia Ruchti tells stories of hope through novels, nonfiction, devotionals, and speaking events. She serves as the professional relations liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers and is a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences across the country. She married her grade school sweetheart, and the two live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five grandchildren.

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Guest Post from Cynthia

I have a confession to make. I heart millennials.

My other novels have had a few millennial characters. Some even played starring roles. But I knew there was more to the heart of millennials than I could gain from listening to the often unfair sighing or comedy routines about that generation. As a person, I wanted to know them better—what are they really like? What challenges do they face with which previous generations saddled them? What strengths to they offer our culture?

Until now, I hadn’t written a story about a millennial couple whose marriage was in crisis. Like, serious crisis. I-don’t-want-to-be-married-to-you-anymore. That kind of crisis.

As any good novelist knows, part of what we do to our characters is make the situation worse. So, millennial couple, approaching their one-year anniversary, ready to call it quits because “This marriage thing is really hard. Is it supposed to be so much work?” But what if…? What if they were forced to be together for three weeks…in a micro-camper…on America’s backroads…with an 11-year-old foster boy troublemaker…and both the husband’s AND the wife’s jobs depended on the trip’s success?

Plot idea in hand, I set off to write Miles from Where We Started, not entirely sure when I began the journey where they would end up or how they’d get there. It was an education for me in so many ways. The impact of the turning point of the story? In the words of my millennial friends, “That’s lit!”

Side note: I’m a big fan of a young teen musician at our church. The boy has mad skills as a keyboard artist. He approaches life as if it’s an endless game of Ninja Warrior. Why walk when you can vault into the room? Why walk up a flight of stairs when you can hop four at a time? He also sports a perpetual smile and is famous for his kindness, but his eyes give away that a little mischief may be hiding behind that smile. I asked Judah’s permission to use his name (and a little bit of his personality) as the foster child character in Miles from Where We Started. I can’t wait for him to read the part he inspired.

Can’t wait for you to read it, too.

Hemmed in Hope,

Cynthia

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 25

Reading Is My SuperPower, October 25

The Power of Words, October 25

All-of-a-kind Mom, October 26

Lighthouse Academy, October 26

Real World Bible Study, October 26

Quiet Quilter, October 27

Kristin’s Book Reviews, October 27

Christian Bookaholic, October 27

cherylbbookblog, October 28

Simple Harvest Reads, October 28 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Remembrancy, October 28

Godly Book Reviews, October 29

Captive Dreams Window, October 29

By The Book, October 29

Maureen’s Musings, October 30

Spoken from the Heart ,October 30

SusanLovesBooks, October 30

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, October 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 31

Mary Hake, November 1

Book by Book, November 1

amandainpa ,November 1

Pause for Tales, November 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 2

Just Commonly, November 2

Southern Gal Loves to Read, November 3

Baker Kella, November 3

Two Points of Interest, November 3

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 4

Inklings and Notions, November 4

Bibliophile Reviews, November 4

Texas Book-aholic, November 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 5

Janice’s Book Reviews, November 6

Carpe Diem, November 6

A Baker’s Perspective, November 6

A Diva’s Heart, November 7

Reader’s Cozy Corner, November 7

Bigreadersite, November 7

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Cynthia is giving away a grand prize of the Adventure begins” large tote bag, “This way to adventure” travel notebook, “Home is Where We Park It” metal wall hanging, a teardrop camper birdhouse, PLUS a $50 gift Visa gift card…to start your adventure fund!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d4ea/miles-from-where-we-started-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

My Thoughts

 

Mallory and Connor Duncan have not even been married a year, but their marriage seems headed for divorce.  But then circumstances force the two together on a trip of  a lifetime along with a 11-year-old boy named Judah.    Imagine traveling in a tear-drop trailer that really only fits two people, but there are three people who need to sleep.  They are taking this trip because Connor and his partner in a marketing firm represent RoadRave, the company making the camper.  The partner Nathan (and Judah’s uncle) unexpectedly gets summoned for jury duty, so Mallory and Connor plan to take the trip together before going in their own directions.  Connor feels he has a certain death sentence for his health and refuses to make Mallory go through the trauma of losing of watching him die.  On top of it, they agree to become temporary foster parents for the 11-year-old and agree to take him with them. The book is down-to-earth and easy to read.  I had a hard time putting it down.  I really loved all the adventures they had while traveling, including having only twenty dollars a day to feed the three of them.

One of my favorite parts of this book comes from the incredible people they meet along the journey.  From the older gentleman whom Judah believed was keeping the ashes of his dead wife on his fireplace mantle.  Instead they discover the ashes from cookies she had burnt on the numerous times she cooked them.

Another favorite part of mine was when they met the large family with the restaraunt and Mallory ended up helping deliver her baby because there was no time to get to the hospital.  I love how the family worked together and demonstrated their love for each other.

I also loved how they wound up in a tiny house community and ultimately found their way back to each other, while Judah stayed with a man and his father after Connor broke his leg.  All of the people, the three ran across in their adventures caused Connor to reunite with his parents and helped him realize he wanted to stay with Mallory.

Because of my own difficult relationship with my own father, I could appreciate Connor”s dilemma in dealing with his father.  Because I do not know whether my own father is dead or alive, I was glad Connor had the opportunity to make peace with his father.  Both Mallory and Connor come to the realization of what is important and where their focus needs to be.  I love how they are able to set aside their difficulties and focus on the future.

So if you are looking for a book with a grand adventure, check out Miles from Where We Strarted for yourself.

Our Daughter’s 16th Birthday

 

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Sixteen years ago today we welcomed our baby girl into the world. As the youngest of four children and the only girl, she has lived a rather pampered lifestyle. For a number of years, whenever we went anywhere Dad would carry her on his back or shoulders. Then when Dad could not handle it anymore, her oldest two brothers took up the cause and carried her. To this day, I often find her trying to catch rides on one of her brother’s backs. Of course, now it is not surprising to see her attempting to carry her on their backs.

Recently I have been reading and seeing a lot of posts regarding fathers and their daughters and I can not help but reflect on my daughter and husband’s relationship with each other. I think it is safe to say she truly is Daddy’s little girl and princess. She holds a privileged spot in the house. It is rare for her father to tell her no. He often will go out of the way for her. Through the years, he has bought her special clothes, special food and taken her places just for her. One of the first things he ever bought her was Ella Bella Bear. He had to go to a conference while we were stationed at a reserve center in North Carolina. The conference location was Raleigh. So he took my daughter and me with him. She was all of about two years old. Directly across from the hotel where the conference was, a mall could be found. We went in the mall and found a “Build-A-Bear Workshop” and of course, our daughter came out with a bear. Fourteen years later, Ella Bella Bear is still a vital and valuable member of our family. Boo rarely goes anywhere without her.

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Then while we were stationed in Pennsylvania, my husband once again had to go to a conference. Once again, he took my daughter and me with him. This time food was the important story. While we were there, we took her to several different places to eat. She was roughly 12 or 13 at the time. We had steak, Mexican, and one other type of food I can not remember. But she really enjoyed herself, especially with the chocolate cake that we ate.

Last year there was a day where our daughter stayed up all night and her dad and I woke up early. So we wound up going out to eat at IHOP and then driving to San Antonio to go grocery shopping. We ate lunch at Olive Garden and she had a fantastic time.

 

Since the beginning of the year, our daughter has been playing the violin while her father plays the violin and her oldest brother plays the cello.  Now her youngest brother has started playing the viola and I have begun playing the violin.  So we are having fun playing together.

So I want to wish a very happy birthday to my beautiful baby girl on her 16th birthday!

 

If you want to read what other members of the Home School Review are blogging about this week, click here or on the graphic below.

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