Pretending to Wed by Melissa Jagears

I am so excited to tell you about this new release from author Melissa Jagears.  She is a master storyteller and produces books that will delight Christian historical fans.  This one beckoned me to begin page one and hours later I bittersweetly finished it saying goodbye to my friends.

 

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It is another captivating novel by outstanding wordsmith Melissa Jagears.  Pretending to Wed is a Christian Historical Romance that had me turning pages to see where the story was going next.  I was immediately invested in the story.  Immediately.  I loved all of it.

 

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This is the story of Corinne is our heroine, a laundress.  She needs out of the laundry business due to health issues with her hands.  Doing laundry for hours each day takes a toil on a body’s health.  It is also the story of Nolan.  He lost a leg when he was younger and naturally this has affected his entire life. Nolan has always done his best but could never measure up to his cousin.  Now he and Corrine both need a spouse for very different reasons.   Corrine is strong, independent, and a bit sassy.  Nolan is sincere, sweet, and adorable.  They really do make a perfect couple even if they are fighting it.
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Characters are well rounded and believable.  The villains are despicable, but that was their job.  Expect a few familiar faces from her past book, Romancing the Bride, which is Book 1 in her Frontier Vows series.  If you haven’t read it you will be able to follow this one just fine.  It can be read as a stand alone.  The story is well planned and captivating.  The spiritual message is encouraging and certain to stir hearts.

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I absolutely love the writing style of this author.  Her mixture of historical information with Christian inspiration is a winning combination.  Conversations sound authentic and add tremendously to the story.  The author does her research well and has a fantastic sense of humor.  Life lessons are easily threaded throughout the story leaving readers much to ponder.  One of my favorite parts of the book is Nolan’s belief in Corrine. 

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This is a another winner from an author that is exemplary in writing tales that touch hearts.  I connected to the characters and felt their emotions right along with them.   I highly recommend this Christian fiction to everyone.  Reading groups would have fun and inspiration while discussing this book.  It gets 5 out of 5 stars from me.  I received a copy from the publisher but these are my honest words.

About the Author

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Biography

Don’t miss out on Melissa’s new releases and sales and specials. Sign up for her newsletter: https://bit.ly/2tzZEVS

Much to her introverted self’s delight, ACFW Award winner and double INSPY finalist Melissa Jagears hardly needs to leave her home to be a homeschooling mother and novelist. She lives in Kansas with her husband and three children and can be found online at http://www.melissajagears.com, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Refresh Your Faith Celebrate Lit Book Tour and Giveaway.

My Thoughts

Refresh your Faith, uncommon devotions from every book of the Bible, by author Lori Hatcher is a unique devotional.  The author uses scripture from each of the sixty-six books of the Bible and molds a refreshing, inspiring devotion around them.  Be prepared to become enlightened.

Most of the devotionals that I have read draw upon the same, favorite, and familiar scriptures.  This one is the exception.  It is a breath of fresh air.  I was given a sampling of lesser known books and scripture to help deepen my daily Walk.  The lessons stayed with me long after I had finished them.

The style of writing is personal and soothing.  It was easy to imagine discussing scripture and stories over a glass of iced tea with this author.  Her devotions are smooth and clear. They give insight and inspiration.  I will definitely read this book again.

This would make a lovely gift for anyone – man or woman, any age, no matter where you are in your Walk.  I highly recommend this.  Be sure to get a copy for yourself, too.  It is certainly different but in a good way.  I gladly give it a 5 out of 5 star rating.  A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words.

About the Book

Book:  Refresh Your Faith
Author: Lori Hatcher
Genre:  Devotional
Release Date: May 2020
Unfamiliar verses. Uncommon insights. Unlimited possibilities.
Move from biblical doldrums to dynamic discovery! While your favorite Scripture verses or stories may bring you comfort, if you’re feeling monotony in your time with God it’s time to shake it up a bit. Each of these 66 culturally relevant, story-driven devotions—one from each book of the Bible—spotlights an unusual verse or passage and takes only five minutes to read. If you have more time, you can dig a little deeper with an uncommon thought to ponder, unusual faith action step to take, and an unfamiliar passage suggestion that invites you to further explore the Bible’s hidden gems.
You’ll be challenged to think deeply, step out boldly, and grow dynamically, transforming your devotional time—and your life!
Praise for Lori Hatcher’s writing . . .
“Real-life inspiration and candid wit. These 5-minute devotions will change your life.” —Psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Kevin Leman
Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Lori Hatcher Head Shot
Lori Hatcher is a blogger, pastor’s wife, and women’s ministry speaker. She’s the editor of South Carolina’s Reach Out, Columbiamagazine, president of Columbia Toastmasters, and regular contributor to magazines such as Christian Living Today and websites like Crosswalk.com. Her book Hungry for God . . . Starving for Time, won the Christian Small Publisher 2016 book of the year. Find out more about Lori and her well-loved 5-minute devotions at lorihatcher.com.

Read a Teaser from Refresh Your Faith

The dirty little secret in Christian circles is that many of us are bored with our devotional time. We know we shouldn’t feel this way. It’s important to read our Bibles every day. After all, it’s God’s Word, the source of truth, and life, and hope.
While some have successfully built the discipline of Bible reading into their lives, others struggle. Even those who regularly read their Bibles find it a bit dry at times. Many of us also read devotionals, not to take the place of Bible reading, but to help us discover unfamiliar passages and stories and benefit from a godly writer’s perspective.
I wrote Refresh Your Faith because I was frustrated by many of the devotionals I read. They seemed to focus on the same basic verses I’d memorized with my children twenty years ago. John 3:16, Romans 8:28, Psalm 23, Matthew 3:5-6. Same with the Bible passages and stories. I treasure the familiar verses and stories. I’ve held them close to my heart during some of the darkest times of my life.
But I knew there was more to the Bible than these well-worn favorites.
I reached a point in my spiritual life when I needed something new. If something didn’t change, my spirit was going to wither up. My time with God shouldn’t be something I did out of duty. I wanted to delight in God and His Word.
So I asked God to help me. I needed something to refresh my faith and energize my Bible reading. Wow, did He answer. I’d been reading through the Bible every year for more than a decade, but all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to passages I’d never noticed before.
These uncommon verses sparkled like gems. The more I read, the more I spotted them, tucked into obscure stories and buried under genealogies and census reports. I found some hiding out in plain sight—golden nuances and nuggets in the shadows of the more familiar stories.
Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible is a collection of the treasure I unearthed during my year of searching. Each story-driven devotion contains an unusual verse, a real-life application, and an uncommon faith step.
I hope my book will energize your faith, inspire your devotional time, and make you say, “Wow, I’ve never seen that before!”

Blog Stops

Mary Hake, May 10
God is Love, May 17
Marilyn Ridgway, May 18 (Guest Review on Lighthouse Academy Blog)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Lori is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and autographed copy of Refresh Your Faith!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

God Sees Her Celebrate LitBook Tour and Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on Celebrate Lit’s book tour for God Sees Her.  Enjoy learning about today’s title. Make sure to enter the giveaway at the very end.  You might be the winner?

My Thoughts

This lovely daily devotional is a year long book of inspiration written by women for women.  From Our Daily Bread with the forward by Liz Curtis Higgs, I was positive this was going to be a daily dose of encouragement.  It truly was.

Each devotional is timely and relates to a woman’s life.  They are easy to read and understand.  Each day contains a scripture and relating message.  The daily offerings are meaningful yet short.  It is easy to fit this daily devotional into one’s day.

The book itself is compact with a lovely floral cover.  There is a ribbon bookmark to keep your place.  Devotionals are dated, January 1 through December 31, which makes it an easy yearly study regardless of when it is started.

I enjoyed the lessons in this devotional.  Some of them touched me more than others, but all of them were encouraging.  It would make a great gift for any woman, young or old.

This sweet book gets my recommendation.  It would make a lovely thoughtful gift that would be enjoyed all year long.  I rated it 5 out of 5 stars.  Celebrate Lit provided a copy but these are my honest words.

About the Book

Book:  God Sees Her

Author: Our Daily Bread

Genre:  Devotional

Release Date: March 3, 2020

God Sees HerFollowing the overwhelming success and rave reviews of God Hears Her, we’re bringing you another devotional written by women for women to reassure you that God is with you. God Sees Her is a beautifully styled gift book containing 366 meditations with accompanying Scripture that speak to the heart of women.

The title comes from a story in an Old Testament book of the Bible—Genesis—where Hagar is on the run, alone in the desert with nowhere to go. The angel of the Lord finds her and calls her by name. After this encounter, Hagar exclaimed, “You are the God who sees me” (Genesis 16:13). Women today need this same assurance . . . God sees you, God knows you by name, and God cares about every detail of your life.
Let these short Our Daily Bread devotionals written by women like you wash over your soul and remind you each day that God is near. The handy size, ribbon marker, and decorative cover make it perfect for gift giving to your girlfriends too.

 

Click here for your copy.

 

More about God Sees Her

This is a follow up to the successful 365-devotional, God Hears Her. So far, it’s moved more than 200,000 copies.

 

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, April 28

Girls in White Dresses, April 28

The Avid Reader, April 29

deb’s Book Review, April 29

For Him and My Family, April 30

Lighthouse Academy, April 30

Emily Yager, May 1

She Lives To Read, May 1

Remembrancy, May 2

Lis Loves Reading, May 2

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 3

Inklings and notions, May 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 4

Godly Book Reviews, May 4

Older & Smarter?, May 5

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 6

Genesis 5020, May 6

Blossoms and Blessings, May 7

amandainpa, May 7

For the Love of Literature, May 8

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, May 8

Splashes of Joy, May 9

Hallie Reads, May 9

Artistic Nobody, May 10

Nancy E Wood, May 10

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, May 11

Bookishly Beverly, May 11

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, Our Daily Bread is giving away the grand prize package of a God Sees Her hardcover, God Hears Her leather-like, God Hears Her journal, God Hears Her CD, God Hears Her pen, and God Hears Her Scripture & Encouragement cards!!

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/f983/god-sees-her-celebration-tour-giveaway

Prayers vs. Good Thoughts

Pet peeves.  We all have them.  Most of us have a long list of them.  I know I do.  Incorrect grammar drives me crazy.  Younger people being disrespectful always makes me want to correct them on the spot.  One of the biggies for me though is people saying “I am sending good (or positive) thoughts.”  What is that?  Explain it to me.

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How does one send a thought?  Do you put it in a box and send it?  No, that wouldn’t work.   I suppose in lieu of praying people believe this is the next best thing.  Perhaps for them it even is the best thing, but it is not for me.  I would much rather have and offer prayer.  In fact, scripture tells us to “Pray without ceasing.” in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

Do you believe a person’s thoughts are powerful enough to change someone else’s life?  I don’t.  Do I believe prayer is that powerful?  Pull up a chair and let me tell you some first hand experiences.  Yes, prayer is absolutely that powerful and effective.  Why, because God is powerful.

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Several years ago I had a stroke.  The doctors said there was damage done to my eyes and I would always see bright flashing lights, like strobe lights.  Always meaning every minute of every day for the rest of my life.  To the doctors’ baffling surprise my eyesight improved almost back to normal.  I had an army of faithful prayer warriors praying for me.  God heard and answered our prayers.  No positive thoughts or vibes sent my way could have healed me.

Family members have had cancer literally disappear thanks to our healing Heavenly Father answering our prayers.  Lives have been saved, jobs secured, and babies added to our family all because we prayed and God answered.   Money miraculously became available to pay for food or important bills, all because of answered prayers.  Accidents were avoided, injuries not as severe, and diagnoses not fatal where first thought, all due to faithful praying family and friends.  God heard and answered.  Prayer makes a difference, a big difference.

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I encourage you to pray for one another instead of merely saying you are sending thoughts.  It is not difficult.  There is no special way to pray.  It is a conversation between you and your Creator.  He knows everything about you already, even what you are going to say.  Open your heart and just talk to God.  The more you pray, the more you will want to pray and the easier it will become.

Don’t get me wrong.  Positive thinking is important.  It makes a huge difference in a person’s day.  We all awake each day with the choice to be happy and see life with the glass half full or we could be grumpy and negatively say the glass is half empty.  I do believe in positive thinking, but I just don’t believe in sending positive thoughts.

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Speaking of thoughts, I hope this has given you something to ponder if you ask for or offer good or positive thoughts.  Honestly, I would rather not have someone say that to me except for the fact that I can pray for them.   If they aren’t praying, they are missing such a blessing.  We all need blessings and prayers.  We all need God.

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Covid19: What it Has Taken and Given

In the matter of days our lives were turned upside down.  Normal ceased to exist.  Our daily routines changed.  Spring Break plans were disrupted.  Schools let scholars go home for the remainder of the year.  Seniors were cheated out of their final semester of High School or College.  People were quarantined at home.  Why?  A nasty extremely contagious, life threatening virus named Covid19.
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Parks were closed.  Sporting events were cancelled.  Businesses were shut down 
and only essential workers were employed.  Companies had employees work from home.  Grocery store shelves were bare.  Toilet paper became a rare item. Yes, stores were sold out of it everywhere.  Hand sanitizer disappeared along with it.  Health officials found it necessary to reteach us how to wash our hands.

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Since groceries were out of meat, groceries were selling their raw protein along with prepared menu items.  Delivery or curbside pick up were the only options since dining in had been banned. Gatherings were limited to ten people.  Weddings were rescheduled and funerals kept private.  Church doors were closed.  Masks were worn in public for protection.  Our world had completely changed.
Covid19 has taken our normal from us.  Our secure, everyday life is now gone. Healthcare and grocery workers are exhausted.  Parents are homeschooling and frustrated.  Family and friends are missing each other.  Children are frightened and do not understand.  Adults are, too.  This is a worldwide pandemic. What is a pandemic?  Webster’s dictionary says “Pandemic definition is – occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population.”

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Oh, but wait.  It is not all gloom and doom. Covid19 has also given to us.  Our priorities have been forced into perspective.  Family has risen to the top.  Those concerts and sporting events that we believed were essential have been replaced with family time.  Family dinners have made a huge comeback.  People are returning to the kitchen to prepare meals that will be eaten around a table with family.  The weather has turned nice and families are going outside.  We are rediscovering the treasure we have been taking for granted.
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Communities and the entire nation have joined together.  Meals are given to children
out of school and to healthcare workers. Restaurants are pitching where they can.   Protective masks are being made at home to help. Many are giving them away.  Neighbors are checking on each other.  Teenagers are doing yard work to help elderly.  Groceries are picked up for friends.  Kindness is manifesting itself through people across this nation. We are thinking of others and their needs.  America and mankind are pulling together to help win this war on Covid19.  We are standing together to assist others.  
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With so much time spent in self quarantine parents are spending quality time with their children.  Hiking, playing games, grilling or working in the kitchen, are just a few of the ways families are enjoying their time together.  They are becoming reacquainted with each other.  Families are doing more activities together and making lasting memories.  For the most part, this is a great thing.  Unfortunately there will be some children not blessed with a happy home.

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The best thing to come out of this is that people have turned their hearts and minds back to God.  Children are witnessing a revival in their homes.  Prayers are said at mealtime and bedtime now more than ever.  Bibles are being dusted off and opened.  God’s Word is being read.  We have more time now to begin our day with God’s Word and in prayer.  That excuse has been taken away.  Parents are able to set good examples for their children and teach them God’s Word.

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God’s children have hit the reset button on their lives.  We are putting things in proper order starting with Jesus, then others, and finally ourselves.  We will come through this battle victorious.  Always we need our Heavenly Father, but we need Him especially now.  This is an epic battle we are fighting with Covid19.  Fear not.  Nothing is impossible with God.  He is more powerful than anything, even this pandemic.  I hope the lessons that we learned during this time will stay with us.  I hope our world remains changed for the better.  Don’t you?
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Hope for New Beginnings Celebrate Lit Book Tour and Giveaway

My Thoughts

Hope for New Beginnings by authors Dr. Howard Eyrich and Shirley Crowder is a Christian devotional.  It is filled with a plethora of topics worthy of reflection.  There are thirty one devotions included in this inspirational book.

Each devotion contains a scripture, scripture observation, devotion, prayer, interaction, notes, thoughts, and questions sections.  The lesson is in-depth and subjects vary from Grief and Hurt to Forgiveness and Hope.  I found certain days spoke to me more than others, but that is normal for any devotional.

These devotional encourage deeper study of God’s Word.  The journal section made it easy to review what I had learned.  This was a well written and organized book.

The only negative I would point out is the cover.  I wish it had a more eye-catching, pleasing cover.  The sunshine breaking through dark clouds is symbolic but very gloomy.

I recommend this enlightening book.  Devotions may be done individually or as a group study.  They also may be done daily or stretched out into a week.  There is so much to ponder in each one.  Each lesson draws readers closer to God.  It receives 4 out of 5 stars as a rating from me.  I received a copy from Celebrate Lit, and these are my own, honest words.


About the Book

Book:  Hope for New Beginnings

Author: Shirley Crowder, Howard A. Eyrich

Genre: Non-fiction / Religion / Devotional

Release Date: November, 2018

Hope for New Beginnings CoverHope for New Beginnings: Devotions for the Adventure – Stepping into any new beginning not knowing what is ahead, is exciting and unsettling at the same time. Our Hope, as Christ-followers, rests in knowing that we do not move forward in our own strength, but in the strength of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. We pray these devotions will help prepare your heart to learn from the Lord as He affirms His steadfast love that gives the strength and hope needed to walk boldly into whatever new beginning the Lord has in store for you. These devotions will guide your thoughts toward the biblical truths presented in the background and focal Scripture passages. Each devotional has exercises (you will choose at least one to do each day) that lead you to interact with the biblical truths presented and gain a deeper understanding of the truths in each devotion. Biblical Counselors, when you are ready to dismiss a counselee, this makes a great assignment for the next thirty-one days, then have the counselee come back for a final check-up.

 

Click here to get your copy.

 

About the Authors

Eyrich_picDr. Howard A. Eyrich’s career has spanned more than sixty years. He has filled various roles including seminary professor and president, Pastor and church planter. He retired as the Director of Counseling Ministries at Briarwood Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, Alabama;

He has served on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Birmingham Theological Seminary, Trinity Seminary, the Biblical Counseling Coalition, and The Owen Center, as well as various Presbytery and Presbyterian Church in America denominational committees to name some of major roles.

His publishing efforts include two books as solo author, three books with a co-author, and numerous chapters in significant volumes in the biblical counseling field, as well as articles for The Journal of Biblical Counseling and several other magazines.

Dr. Eyrich and his wife Pamela have two grown children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Retirement for him is a time for ministry. He writes, teaches, preaches, and travels for the Kingdom. He also enjoys the hobbies of model railroading, hunting, and shooting.

Dr. Eyrich is available to speak in conferences, fill pulpits, and for intensive marriage interventions, especially with ministries couples.

 

Shirley CrowderShirley Crowder was born in a mission guest house under the shade of a mango tree in Nigeria, West Africa, where her parents served as missionaries. She and co-author Harriet E. Michael grew up together on the mission field and have been life-long friends. Shirley is passionate about disciple-making, which is manifested in and through a myriad of ministry opportunities including: biblical counseling, teaching Bible studies, writing, and music.

She is a biblical counselor and is commissioned by and serves on the national Advisory Team for The Addiction Connection. Several of her articles have appeared in “Paper Pulpit” in the Faith section of The Gadsden Times, and in a David C. Cook publication. She also writes articles for Life Bible Study, Woman’s Missionary Union, InspiredPrompt.com and TheAddictionConnection.org. She has authored, co-authored, or contributed to six published books, and she has a four-book devotional series she co-wrote that is scheduled for publication over the next couple of years.

Shirley has spiritual children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren serving the Lord in various ministry and secular positions throughout the world.

 

More from Shirley

New beginnings are a regular part of life. Sometimes they are well planned, and we eagerly anticipate the future. At other times, we are reticent to move forward into the new beginning. As we think about new beginnings it is appropriate for us to look at the beginning of God’s Word—the Bible.

In Genesis 1:1 ESV, we read, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Here God is the subject, as He is the subject of the entire Bible. From this verse we learn something very important about God—He existed before the universe was created. God has always been, is now, and will always be, present.

Next, we learn that from nothing God created the universe and everything within it. He is the holy, sovereign, majestic, powerful, all-knowing God.

Every time I read these first few verses of the Bible, I am amazed that with just four little words, Let there be light (verse 3), the Creator God spoke into existence light that drove away the darkness. What astounding power! From these verses, we learn that God is the Author of light. Other places in Scripture tell us that God is light itself (1 John 1:5), and James calls Him the Father of lights (James 1:17).

Think about it: here we are today, many years since God spoke those four little words, Let there be light, and as John tells us, The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5). The Light—God—brings clarity, order, and understanding, while darkness is seen as evil, void, and chaotic.

I watched the coverage of a solar eclipse on several websites. It was so interesting to listen as a myriad of scientists and others explained the wonders of the universe, and while the science behind it all was quite interesting to me, the coverage fell flat. Why? Because it was totally devoid of any mention of Creator God. Only one man explained the solar eclipse through the lens of God’s Word. As he explained the science behind the solar eclipse, he also explained that THE God of the Universe who created everything that we see, holds the entire universe in His hands, and controls everything that happens, including a solar eclipse.

In the midst of a new beginning or anything else going on in your life, the truths in these passages are wonderful reminders that we can step confidently into any new beginning as we trust in the God who was here in the beginning, is here with us now, and who will be with us always. And what a comfort it is to remember that the light of God dispels the darkness and chaos of sin.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, February 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 16

Older & Smarter?, February 17

Inklings and notions, February 18

For Him and My Family, February 19

deb’s Book Review, February 20

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 21

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 22 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, February 22

CarpeDiem, February 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 24

SPLASHES of Joy, February 25

Tell Tale Book Reviews, February 26 (Author Interview)

Artistic Nobody, February 27

Just the Write Escape, February 28

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, Shirley and Howard are giving away the grand prize package of a print copy of the book and a $25 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/f5c7/hope-for-new-beginnings-celebration-tour-giveaway

Simple Things Bring Joy

The night before I needed to run some errands my sweet daughter messaged me.  She volunteered to chauffeur me in case there were no parking places or just to spend time together.  Wow!  What an unexpected blessing for this mama.

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Sure enough at stop number one, there were no parking places at the doctor’s office.  After dropping me off at the front door my daughter proceeded to look for one farther away in where we dubbed “The South Forty.” By the time she sauntered through the door  I had signed in and was talking insurance.

The wait for the Lab took longer than usual.  Today it did not matter as mother and daughter chattered away.  She told me tales of her family and how a stranger praised my grandson for his manners and character.  The stranger went on to reaffirm my daughter was doing a good job in her mothering.  Even though I knew this it was a beautiful thing to hear someone else noticed it, too.

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Finally I was called back and my daughter adjusted her long stride to match that of my short one.  I dread having bloodwork done because I am what they call “a hard stick.”  Cheerful conversation helped take my mind off of this.  My usually temperamental veins were cooperative and yielded blood easily.  Prayers answered.  Leaving my daughter hurried to deliver her van right to the door.  What a thoughtful daughter.

The remaining errands were routine but still much nicer because they were shared.  I even felt better physically.  Since I was required to fast, she decided a trip through the coffee shop drive through as well as another was in order.  We couldn’t go inside because groceries filled the back of her van.

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All morning we laughed, giggled, shared, and had a lovely time.  Ending in my driveway we settled in the van, talked, drank coffee, and ate miniature biscuits which we dipped in gravy.  My daughter said “you know what would make this perfect? If a deer came into the yard.”  That happens often.  She loves seeing all of the wildlife that grace our land, but I believe deer are her favorite.

It was already perfect for me.  I was happy, peaceful, joyful, and felt loved by my daughter and my Heavenly Father.  He provided this day and time which I really needed.  It was hard to leave the sanctuary of her van and our quality time.

Joy can be found in so many places and things.  For me, joy is spending time with my daughter.  Apparently it was spending time with me for her.  Later that night she texted me to say how much she needed our time together.

She has no way of knowing that while we sipped our coffee that I traveled back in time.  I recalled how close we have always been, my hopes and prayers for her, and realized she is the extraordinary woman I wanted her to be.  She is a wonderful Christian woman and mother.

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Please think about who needs you to bring joy into their lives.  Bless them today.  It doesn’t need to cost you much or anything.  A phone call, offering to chauffeur them on errands, a coffee date, or even sitting in a car chatting might bring them much joy.  It did me.  I am thankful for my daughter everyday.  God is so good.  Isn’t He?

What Did You Say?

Growing up in a Christian family I rarely, if ever, heard profanity.  Expletives were often replaced with “doggone it” “for Pete’s Sake,” or “that honks me off”.  I was taught at an early age not to use “ugly” or vulgar words.

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Apparently I was a good student of what not to say growing up, because even now there are words I just cannot incorporate into conversation.  A certain word that easily flows off of the tongues of my grandchildren makes me cringe.  Before you think poorly of my sweet grands, it is not a horrible word.  Just one for a bodily function that my family never deemed proper for a young lady or gentleman to use.

When I was young television banned the use of four letter foul words and taking the Lord’s name in vain.  There was no cable and Prime Time was a lot more prim and proper.  Comparing shows we watched to those on now is like comparing soda pop and hard liquor.  It is astounding how low the regulations are now.

I can remember a time when men watched their words around ladies.  When a “bad” word slipped out it was quickly followed by an apology.  That is called respect.  Men respected themselves and women.

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So what exactly is the point in using cuss words?  Your sentence should still hold the same meaning.  You on the other hand will sound much smarter, kinder, and polished without them.  My grandmother often said a person’s perceived IQ dropped with each cuss word they said.  Makes sense when you think about it.

What does the Bible say about our words?  In Colossians 3:8 it says “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.”  That sounds very straightforward.  No filthy language should come from your lips.

One of the Ten Commandments, the third one, states clearly “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain.”  That is not a suggestion but a command.

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So many times I read something on Facebook that I would love to share, but there is a problem.  The message is great, but it contains profanity.  Really?!  A point would have been made without those extra words.  There are some darling shirts, also, until I get down to the last line.  Wham!  An ugly spoils an otherwise nice message.

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How about those shirts that advertise being a Christian and cuss, too?  Hmmm.  Why would anyone want to advertise that? I don’t think that is in scripture.  What is in scripture is “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” from Ephesians 5:4.   Listen to what James 3:10 says “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”

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Sure we all slip up.  I do at times and then wince.  Quickly I ask for forgiveness and try my best not to repeat it.  Like everything on this planet though I am a work in progress.  Aren’t you?  I challenge you to eliminate these “ugly” words from your vocabulary.  Teach you children and grandchildren that they do not need them either.  Lead by example.

Most importantly, I urge you not to take the Lord’s name in vain.  Too many people have forgotten it is a sin.  Let’s work together and not just act like Christians, but let’s talk like we should, too.  We can do this.  Are you with me?

 

 

 

The Missing Piece

Hello my friends!  Are you settling into 2020 and finding all of the pieces coming together or do you perhaps have a piece that is not here?  We have given the new year a week’s testing.  Have you found it measuring up or lacking?

Our answers will be as varied as we all are.  For some of us, this first week has been a delight.  Bring on 2030!  We are ready to see what this year holds.  Others of us find fault with anything.  Delight is found in complaining.  Nothing ever brings joy.  Do you know someone like that?

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I have a friend who was constantly searching for something.  There was a piece missing in his life, without whatever it was he could not be content.  He tried hard to buy that piece.

Cars were always being upgraded and replaced in hopes that one would finally please him.  Lexus, Jaguar, Porsche, and Mercedes Benz left him wanting.  Automobiles that most of us only dream about owning weren’t good enough.

Adult “boy toys” were purchased.  Boats, horses, helicopter, exotic dogs, and homes, but still there was something lacking.   True happiness eluded him.   He was a prominent professional with a high degree, but that did not satisfy him.  A more prestigious career with additional majors was earned.  Still no satisfaction was found.  His hunt continued.

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Yes, my friend was still looking for what would complete him.  He had a wife, in fact he had gone through a few, and had children.  Many people called him friend.  What he didn’t have was Jesus.

Psalm 34:10b says “Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”

After trying everything else, he turned to the Lord.  After a few Sundays at church he answered the pull on his heart.  The ache and emptiness was gone.  His half empty glass was now full.  The missing piece had been found and he was now complete.

What about you?  Do you feel like you are searching for something that is missing from your life?  Are you yearning for something?  Maybe that something is your Creator.  We were made by and for Him.

If you don’t have a relationship with Him or know someone who needs Him, reach out in prayer.  God will hear you.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

 

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Priceless: A Devotional Cookbook Based on Proverbs 31 Book Tour and Giveaway by Celebrate Lit

My Thoughts

Priceless: A Devotional Cookbook Based on Proverbs 31 is written by author Vickie Burns. It is a devotional, study on Proverbs 31, and cookbook all combined into one God glorifying book.  The author has written this to help women understand how precious we are to God and offer helpful kitchen recipes for the family.

I was immediately drawn to the beautiful cover.  It speaks more to the devotional side of the book.  The rich color and jewel are inviting so I wanted to see what was inside.

This 246 page book contains a variety of themes for the devotionals.  There are A Mother’s Love, Working Hands, and Be a Blessing along with three other weekly topics.  Each week contains five daily lessons and a weekend wrap-up.

The daily lesson opens with a one page devotional thought based on a topic from 31.  The next page follows with six questions to ponder and draw deeper.  The seventh question is an activity or question for life application along with space to journal.  Concluding the day is a menu with recipes.  The recipes are accompanied with a personal memory or story.

I extremely enjoyed this devotional.  The writing was nice and easy to understand.  It helped bring Proverbs 31 to  an attainable level.  I felt more self-worth after doing this study.

This would make a lovely women’s small group selection.  Women of all ages will benefit from reading this.  The recipes are an added bonus.  I highly recommend it. My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.  A copy was provided by a Celebrate Lit, but these are my honest words.

 

About the Book

Book:  Priceless

Author: Vickie Burns

Genre: Devotional/Cookbook

Release Date: November, 2019

Front cover Priceless

Priceless: A Devotional Cookbook Based on Proverbs 31 is a Bible study and cookbook combined. The author, Vickie Burns, takes the reader verse by verse through Proverbs 31, showing them how precious and loved they are. At the end of each day’s study, meal suggestions and recipes are provided to fill their homes with tantalizing aromas and great food. Even young children can help with meal preparation so they learn that dinner doesn’t just magically appear on the table.

For women who’ve read Proverbs 31 and felt inadequate, like they could not possibly live up to God’s description of the perfect woman, Priceless reveals that they have more in common with her than they ever imagined.

“Today’s busy mom rarely finds time to steal a few moments of peace and quiet to spend with the Lord each day,” Vickie says. “On top of that, she most likely does not take the time to flip through endless sections of cookbooks to plan a unique evening meal. Priceless encourages women to view their tasks as God’s call to an abundant life, empowers them by providing a daily word from Proverbs 31, and eases their minds by providing a full menu for the evening meal each day.”

 

Click here to get your copy.

 

About the Author

Vickie Burns is passionate about showing women how to love and live the abundant life that Jesus Christ offers. Through Bible study, public speaking, and writing inspirational cookbooks, Vickie inspires women to love the Lord with all their hearts, minds, souls, and strength; to see and love themselves as Christ does—PRICELESS; and to love others through genuine hospitality. She lives in Texas with the love of her life, Todd Burns, and they have two daughters.

 

More from Vickie

This book, Priceless, is not my story but it was birthed from it. I was raised in a single-parent Christian home after my parents divorced. I watched my mom handle everything: cooking, cleaning, bills, homework, a full-time job, etc. I had no idea until I became a wife and mother all that she must have been through while raising three children on her own. I do know that she had a strong relationship with the Lord and that she had friends and family support.

Today, I look back at my childhood with renewed respect for my mom. My husband, Todd and I did our best to raise our two girls to honor the Lord while we went to school for our master’s degrees and tried to keep our household running smoothly. I had the help of a husband and was still overwhelmed while working as a teacher, trainer, coach and administrator in public education. On top of that I was still a wife, mother, friend, sister, chef, chauffer, nurse and more. Over the years, as I have gotten to know other women, I realize that I am not alone. We all long for ways to balance work and family, cooking and cleaning, physical busyness and spiritual warfare.

As my heart broke for the busy women in my life (to whom I totally relate) I longed to try and make life a little easier for all of us. I began to study God’s Word for answers. As I studied, I learned that God created us for relationship with Himself and with others. I learned that sharing our burdens with one another is His design. I found out that love should drive every word and action as we relate to others. I discovered that the crazy life that we are trying to balance is actually our ministry to our families and communities. I also realized that hospitality isn’t just something that was dreamed up by Martha Stewart. God ordained hospitality from the beginning when He created Adam and Eve in His image and placed them in the garden of Eden. God touches the heart of mankind with a piece of His own. There are examples of this throughout scripture. The biggest deposit of God’s heart within us is the gift of His Spirit. This gift is what makes genuine hospitality possible today. When we touch another person’s heart with a piece of our own, we are showing hospitality, sharing the love of Christ, and making connections that impact our world. This revelation was the birth of my ministry. I call it The Heart of Hospitality. Through my writing and speaking engagements, I share with women how to see the tasks and responsibilities of our daily lives as a calling from God. Beyond that, I help women understand that viewing their lives in this way is what Jesus meant when He said He came to give us “abundant life”.

My prayer for you, as you read this book is:

  • that you will be touched with a piece of God’s heart.
  • that hospitality will come to mean something new to you.
  • that each devotion in this book exposes your pricelessness in Christ.
  • that you will know beyond the shadow of any doubt that you are rare, unique and have significant meaning to your Creator.

May God richly bless you and your household.

 

Blog Stops

Vicky Sluiter, January 1

For Him and My Family, January 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 3

Jacquelyn Lynn, January 3

Older & Smarter?, January 4

Texas Book-aholic, January 5

Mary Hake,January 5

janicesbookreviews, January 6

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 7

Inspiration Clothesline, January 7

Inklings and notions, January 8

Blossoms and Blessings, January 9

For the Love of Books, January 9

She Lives to Read, January 10

Quiet Workings, January 11

Godly Book Reviews, January 11

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 12

A Rup Life, January 13

Emily Yager, January 13

KarenSueHadley, January 14

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Vickie is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of Priceless and a $50 Amazon 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/f425/priceless-celebration-tour-giveaway