Andrew by Author Jennifer Beckstrand Celebrate Lit Book Tour and Giveaway

Hello!  Today is my stop on Celebrate Lit’s book tour and giveaway for Jennifer Beckstrand’s new Amish book “Andrew, A Lesson in Love”.  It is Book One in her new series the Petersheim Brothers.  Not only will you learn about the book, the author, her thoughts, the tour stops, and the giveaway, but the author has included a recipe for you.  It sounds yummy!  Let’s begin…

My Thoughts

I always enjoy a nice Amish fiction especially when it has an inspirational message.  Book one, Andrew, in author Beckstrand’s new series is an absolute delight!  This contemporary Amish novel is heavily laced with inspiration and life lessons.  It has light romance, humor, a bit of intrigue, and is so well written it is hard to put down.

Author Beckstrand is a storyteller deluxe.  The Petersheim Family was filled with older boys (men) and a pair of rambunctious eight year old twins.  Paternal grandparents had just moved in adding to the frenzy with an ever “helpful” mother-in-law.

I enjoyed the writer’s style.  The pace was great, not rush or sluggish.  The conversations sounded authentic.  There was plenty of dialog which I like.  The characters were so well described I felt like I knew them.   My heart went out to Mary and then to Andrew.  I could imagine them easily and feel their emotions.

The secondary characters were, well characters!  I could see a book being written about many of them.  Mammi was a typical mother-in-law wanting to help by setting things up her way.  Jerry was a fireman that has a secret, Aunt Bitsy has a bunch of cats and blue hair, and so many others.

This is very entertaining but it is also an inspiration book with life lessons.   It deals with choices, hypocrisy, judging, family issues, illness, love, trust, even abortion.  Scripture is heavily quoted and mention of what would Jesus do.  In fact, a lot of the book discusses the difference in helping someone verses judging them.  To say this was a thought provoking read is and understatement.  It has stayed with me weeks later.

I was astonished by how forthright the author was in taking on hypocrites.  It is a topic everyone should read about and address.  This book will give readers a lot to ponder.  It might even change some attitudes.

This gets a glowing recommendation from me.  Everyone should read this book.  I am eagerly awaiting book two and the issues it will tackle.  This book gets a 5 out of 5 stars for the lessons it teaches.  We should all take them to heart.  An Advanced Reader Copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but I was under no obligation to write a review.

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About the Book

Andrew

Book: Andrew

Author: Jennifer Beckstrand

Genre: Amish Romance

Release Date: June 25, 2019

Andrew, Abraham, and Austin Petersheim’s family business has earned them the nickname The Peanut Butter Brothers. But if their matchmaking younger siblings have their way, all three may soon bear another title: husband . . .

Handsome, hardworking, and godly, Andrew Petersheim has always been sure of his place in his Wisconsin Amish community. He’ll be a welcome catch for the local girl who finally captures his heart. Mary Coblenz certainly isn’t that girl. Two years after “jumping the fence” for the Englischer world, she’s returned, unmarried and pregnant. Yet instead of hiding in shame as others in the community expect, she’s working at the Honeybee Farm, ignoring the gossips—and winning over Andrew’s eight-year-old twin brothers . . .

For all Andrew’s certainty about right and wrong, it seems he has a lot to learn from Mary’s courage, grace, and resilience. She’s changing his notions about forgiveness and love, but will she in turn accept the challenge of starting over and choose to stay—with him?

Link to purchase book: https://amzn.to/3029xel

About the Author

Jennifer beckstrandJennifer Beckstrand is the two-time RITA-nominated, #1 Amazon bestselling Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hillseries, The Honeybee Sisters series, and The Petersheim Brothers series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer and Home on Huckleberry Hill were both nominated for the coveted RITA® Award from Romance Writers of America. Jennifer has written twenty-one Amish romances, a historical Western, Jessie and James, and the nonfiction book, Big Ideas. She and her husband have been married for thirty-four years, and she has six children and seven adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

 

More from Jennifer

If you enjoyed The Honeybee Sisters, you’re going to love The Petersheim Brothers, or the Peanut Butter Brothers as they’re known in their small Amish community of Bienenstock, Wisconsin. The Petersheim brothers work their small farm and make peanut butter. The idea for The Petersheim Brothers series came when two of my friends and I were creating The Honeybee Sisters Cookbook. My friend Alicia suggested I write a book about Peanut Butter Brothers, and the idea stuck.

One of my favorite characters in my Amish romances is Aunt Bitsy, the irrepressible, unconventional woman who raised the Honeybee Sisters, tried to chase off all their suitors, and then lit fireworks at their triple wedding. In Andrew, the first book in the Petersheim Brothers series, Aunt Bitsy takes in a girl who has jumped the fence and wants to come back to the Amish community to have her baby. Aunt Bitsy is still protecting her dandelions and her bees, still dyeing her hair all sorts of bright colors, and still praying to Gotte right out loud.

Andrew is about forgiveness, second chances, and learning to love. It will have you laughing and crying, and you might just fall in love with two of the most mischievous little boys in Wisconsin. Enjoy.

In honor of the Peanut Butter Brothers, I want to share one of our favorite family recipes. These bars are perfect for picnics, parties, and potlucks. They’re easy and delicious!

Peanut Butter Bars

Cream together:

1 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup sugar

Blend In:

2 unbeaten eggs

1 tsp. baking soda

2/3 cup peanut butter

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

Stir In:

2 cups flour

2 cups quick oats

Spread mixture in greased jelly-roll pan or large cookie sheet.

Bake: 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Do not overbake. Remove from oven.

Sprinkle on:

1 ¼ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Let stand five minutes.

For peanut butter mixture on top, combine:

½ cup sifted powdered sugar

¼ cup peanut butter

2 to 4 Tbs. evaporated milk

Mix well.

The chocolate chips will melt on the bars. Spread melted chocolate evenly. Drizzle peanut butter mixture on top. Cool completely. Cut into bars.

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, June 26

The Avid Reader, June 26

Moments, June 26

Lighthouse Academy, June 27

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, June 27

Blossoms and Blessings, June 28

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, June 28

Reading Is My SuperPower, June 29

Bigreadersite, June 29

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 30

Genesis 5020, July 1

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, July 1

Inklings and notions , July 1

Maureen’s Musings, July 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 2

Christian Bookaholic, July 3

Pause for Tales, July 3

Southern Gal Loves to Read, July 4

For Him and my family, July 4

A Reader’s Brain, July 4

Mary Hake, July 5

Splashesofjoy, July 5

Vicky Sluiter, July 5

Texas Book-aholic, July 6

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 6

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 7

janicesbookreviews, July 7

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, July 8

Older & Smarter?, July 8

Quiet Quilter, July 9

Jeanette’s Thoughts, July 9

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away a grand prize of a $20 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/e57a/andrew-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

The Refuge by Ann Gabhart, Book Review and Recipe

The Refuge by storyteller extraordinaire, author Ann Garbart, is a delicious serving of Christian historical romance.  Set in the Shaker Village at Harmony Hill, Kentucky in 1850’s, this 391 page paperback is wonderful!  I found it to be a page turning delight.

If you are not familiar with the Shaker religion, this book will give you a quick lesson.  I love fiction books that teach me new things.  However, this time I was well acquainted with the strange sect that believed in celibacy and did not believe in marriage.  I still shook my head in disbelief and was frustrated with them even though I knew what to expect.

Author Gabhart has a magical way with telling a tale.  Actually, it is a God given talent.  Her words are woven together and I am spellbound.  Within the first few paragraphs I am walking inside the book and captivated.  She teaches me things that I don’t know and always has a healthy dose of faith and inspiration included in the story.  These are two of my favorite things, actually must haves, in historical Christian fiction.

This book has been well researched.  The author knows a lot about the Shakers, and it is evident she has visited their historic village.  Characters are very well defined and easy to imagine.  I loved feisty Leatrice, daughter of widower Flynn.  Darcie caught my heart and my emotions.  At times I felt trapped like she did with the Shakers.  The variety of personalities in the Shaker sisters was delightful and true to life, I’m certain.

This is a book about romance, faith, trusting God, and friendship.  There are some twists and turns to keep readers on their toes.  Book Clubs will need to come up with their own discussion questions as it does not include any.

I highly recommend this well written novel.  Learning about the Shakers is worth reading it, but there is so much more to glean.  I rated it 5 out of 5 stars.

I received a copy from the publisher, but was under no obligation to write a review.  These are my own, honest thoughts.

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About the Book:

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When Darcie and Walter Goodwin hear of a new cholera epidemic sweeping the area, they join the Shakers whose villages seem immune to the disease. It’s meant to be a temporary stay, but Walter is killed in a riverboat accident. With no family and no money, Darcie has little choice but to stay with the Shakers. To complicate matters, she is expecting a baby conceived before she and her husband came to the Shaker village. Marital relationships are considered sinful in this celibate community, putting Darcie in a unique–and lonely–position. Can the arrival of widower Flynn Keller and his headstrong daughter offer Darcie the hope of happiness . . . and family?

Ann H. Gabhart returns to the enigmatic world of the Shakers in this emotional exploration of the power of love and the bond of family.

About the Author:

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Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several Shaker novels–The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted–as well as other historical novels, including Angel Sister, These Healing Hills, and River to Redemption. She and her husband live on a farm a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Ann enjoys discovering the everyday wonders of nature while hiking in her farm’s fields and woods with her grandchildren and her dog, Frankie. Learn more at http://www.annhgabhart.com.

Recipe Time by Nyla Kay:

My paternal grandparents lived near Shaker Town so I have many memories of going there to eat with them.  Among the recipes I accumulated is this one for Shaker Lemon Pie.  It is so tasty and very different.  The key is to slice your lemons extremely thin.

Shaker Lemon Pie

  • 2 lemons (about 9 oz. each), sliced paper thin (rind and all)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 double pie crust

Directions

Combine lemon slices and sugar in a shallow bowl; let stand until lemon slices are juicy, 4 hours or overnight. Remove any seeds that float to the surface.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Stir eggs into lemon mixture thoroughly.

Line a 9-inch pie plate with 1 pie crust. Pour lemon mixture into shell. Cover with top crust, and crimp edges. Cut decorative steam vents in top crust.

Bake at 450°F for 15 minutes. Without removing pie from oven, reduce temperature to 350°F. Bake until a knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cover pie crust edges with aluminum foil, if becoming too brown.

 

 

Yeast Rolls, The Bread of Life, and Auntie June

 

My family is blessed with bakers bakers and cooks.  Is yours?  Are you one of them?  We have so many on all the branches of my family tree that one year I decided it was time to corral all of the recipes into one large cookbook.  What a fun project!

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Going through the old recipes brought the treasured women and men that made or ate each delicacy to mind.  I journeyed back to childhood, to church dinners, and even some camping trips.  Holidays were relived along with weddings.  It’s funny how food and a certain time or person can be connected.

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Take yeast rolls and my sweet Aunt Eva June.  She has not one recipe in my cookbook for them but four!  Yes, she loves hot from the oven, light, fluffy yeast rolls.  Even the smell of them brings her to mind.  Bread is is absolute favorite treat, even above sweets.

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My Aunt is a strong woman of faith and has been blessed by Abba.   It would take pages to describe how exceptional she is.  She has overcome Breast Cancer in a miraculous way.  Only the touch of Jehovah Rapha, our God that heals could provide some of the news she has received.

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Yeast rolls aren’t the only bread she loves.  She loves Jesus, the Bread of Life and is not shy to enlighten anyone of His power.  When we chat she never fails to tell me that she prays daily for us, misses us, and loves us.  The goodness of God is always in our conversation, too.  Acknowledging His plan for her life she says “He must not be finished with me yet and I want to do what He wants.”

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What faith!  To fight cancer in her eighties and keep such a positive outlook.  She doesn’t need any encouragement from others but gladly gives it to everyone all for the glory of God.

 

                  Auntie June’s Best Rolls Ever


Ingredients: 2 pkg. active dry yeast
3/4 melted butter
2 eggs
3/4 sugar
2 1/2 c. warm water
8 to 9 c. flour
3 tsp. salt

Directions: Soften yeast in water. Add shortening, sugar, salt, eggs, and 4 cups flour. Stir and beat until smooth (about one minute). Stir in remaining flour. This will be a soft dough. Cover tightly and store in refrigerator overnight or until ready to use. When ready to use, work down and make into rolls, dipped into shortening or butter. Let rise until double in size and bake. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes.

Mammaw’s Forgotten Easter Cookies

Easter is rapidly approaching. We are at the ending stages of Lent.  It is the time to turn our hearts and minds to Jesus and His journey to the Cross. Being raised in a Christian family Easter was much more than egg hunts and baskets for me. It was Resurrection Sunday.

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I remember my maternal grandmother teaching me the Easter story over a cookie recipe one year. The cookies are good, but the story has stuck with me for decades.  Memories made in the kitchen are priceless and stay with people.

You might want to do an activity like this for yourself, children, grandchildren, or kids’ group. The message might just plant a seed that will grow into a bountiful harvest. Sometimes a visual makes the Easter story a little more memorable, too. Years down the road they might be recalling time spent with you and lessons from your kitchen.

Mammaw’s Forgotten Easter Cookies

2 egg whites

1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

2/3 c. sugar

1 c. nuts

pinch of salt

1 tsp. white vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place pecans in resealable plastic baggie. Crush pecans into small pieces with a rolling pin. Read John 19:1-3

“Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged Him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe, And said, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and they smote Him with their hands.”

Sprinkle salt into egg whites. Read Luke 23:27, 33

“And there followed Him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented Him.”

“When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified Him there, along with the criminals—one on His right, the other on His left.”

Put vanilla into a bowl. Read John 19:28-30. “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, ‘I thirst.’ Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to His mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, ‘It is finished’ and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.”

Right now this mixture doesn’t look yummy. Add sugar slowly. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16.  “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.”  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Beat with mixer until frothy and add cream of tartar. Then beat on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Add in vanilla close to the end. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3.

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that Thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with Him.’ Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto parchment paper lined baking sheet. Read Matthew 27:57-60.

“When the night was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and departed.”

Place cookies in the oven, close the door and turn the oven off. Read Matthew 27:65-66.

“Pilate said unto them, ‘Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.’ So they went, and made the tomb sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.”

Go to bed. Read John 16:20 and 22.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.”

“And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.”

In the morning open the oven and take out the cookies. 

Read Matthew 28:1-9.

“In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the tomb. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, ‘Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and, behold, He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him: lo, I have told you.’ And they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy; and did run to bring His disciples word. And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, ‘All hail. And they came and held Him by the feet, and worshipped Him.”

When you bite into the cookies notice they are hollow inside, empty, just like Jesus’ tomb.

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St. Patrick’s Day Musings and Recipe

Well, top of the mornin’ to ya and Happy St. Patty’s Day! ‘‘Tis the day everyone claims to be at least a wee bit Irish,  What about you?  Are you really of Irish decent or just Irish today?

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A sea of green will be flowing everywhere today because most everyone wears green clothes, Irish or not, on this day. It is the day many foods turn green on purpose.  Even the river in Chicago turns green.  This is also the one day of the year that we all put a “Mc” or “O” in front of our surname and become Irish. Yes, it’s St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick was a soul saver. IMG_1716A soldier for the Lord.  That is what we are really celebrating.  He used a three leaf clover to teach people about the trinity.  St. Patrick turned thousands of hearts, minds, and souls to the one true God.  Now, doesn’t that sound like cause to celebrate!  I think so, too.

It isn’t about having things green and being Irish. No fictional little leprechauns with rainbows and pots of gold were there.  This is about celebrating the vast number of Druids, pagans that were saved and became Christians.

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Irish are supposed to be lucky among a lot of other things. You’ve heard of the “luck of the Irish,” right? Hmm, I am not sure about that. Well, I guess you could say the ones that met St. Patrick were lucky, or could you? Was it luck that drew them to St. Patrick or something else?  Perhaps the Holy Spirit.

Do you believe in luck? Do you think there is gold at the end of the rainbow? Personally, I don’t really believe much in luck or leprechauns. Maybe if I keep losing when playing a game I say I have bad luck, but outside of that I don’t put belief in luck. My faith and trust are in Jesus. He is the one that guides and directs me just like He did St. Patrick.

When I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, He was the Way or rainbow to my riches. I followed Him. My gold happens to be where Jesus prepared a place for me at the end of my earthly life – in Heaven. IMG_3600That is where my heart is, too. In Heaven the Bible says there will be beautiful streets of gold.

My saved loved ones will be there. There will be no more sickness, no more death, no more tears. My Savior, Jesus, is there. Our Almighty God, my Maker, is there. Talk about hitting the jackpot or pot of gold! That is everything I could ever want. Wow, no riches can compare to that. None. So what about you? Where is your pot of gold?

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt. 6:19-21.

Traditional Irish St. Patrick’s Day Dish

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Irish Colcannon, an Irish Treasured Dish

1 lb. potatoes peeled white or unpeeled red potatoes
½ lb. bacon (cut into small 1-inch squares)
1 T. Kosher salt
6 cups thinly sliced cabbage (approximately a head)
6 T. butter (four for the cabbage and two for the potatoes)
½ cup whipping cream (or milk)
Fresh parsley chopped finely-a few sprigs will do
A large onion, chopped
5 or 6 scallions or a clump (handful) of chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Wash potatoes and peel if you’re using thick skinned.
Cut the potatoes in quarters and place in a large pot of boiling water.
Add the Kosher salt. Boil for approximately 25 minutes.
Stick one of the potatoes with a fork to see if they’re cooked. They should be tender and easy to penetrate with the prongs.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat.
When they’re finished cooking, add 4 T. butter.
Add the cabbage and onions.
Sauté the cabbage mixture until almost done, with the onions translucent and cabbage a bit crispy. Some people prefer to cook the mixture until everything is soft. It just depends on whether you like a bit of crunch or not. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and add the butter and cream or milk, mashing it to silky smoothness—unless you left the skins on, then almost silky smoothness.

Add the onion, cabbage mixture and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot. Enjoy this Irish classic dish.

 

 

 

Celebrate Giveaway & Review of “This Homeward Journey” by Misty M. Beller

About the Book

Title: This Homeward Journey  
Author: Misty M. Beller  
Genre: Christian historical romance  
Release date: January 1, 2019

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After her husband’s death, Rachel Gray is finally free from the turmoil his addictions caused. She wants nothing more than a new life with her twelve-year-old son. If she can reach her brother in the wilderness of the Canadian territories, they’ll have help to start over in peace. She knows better than to put her life in the hands of another man, but she never expected the Montana mountains to be so treacherous. When two brothers invite her to join their small group traveling to the same area, she refuses. After she and her son narrowly escape a bear attack, she’s forced to admit they need the safety of numbers in this untamed land. If the men prove dangerous, she can always leave with her son and strike out alone again. 

Seth Grant has made some bad choices in his life, but God healed him from the addiction that mired him in his sins. Now, he’s determined to live the life God called him to, starting with a journey northward to see the Canadian mountain both his brother and sister have fallen in love with. When he discovers the woman and boy who plan to travel the same mountain trail, he can’t fathom why she refuses to join in the safety of their larger group. Though her decision seems unwise, he has no other choice but to pray God provides her protection. 

Despite Rachel’s best efforts, she can’t seem to fight her attraction to the Seth—until a secret from his past proves he’s not at all the man she thought. When a new peril threatens her son’s life, she must choose between trusting in what she can control, or the man who her heart says is trustworthy, no matter his previous sins. The path she chooses just may determine whether she can step into the new life God has in store for them all.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review

This Homeward Journey by author Misty M. Beller is the fifth book in her Heart of the Mountains series, and it is a such a good novel.  No need to worry because it is Book 5 if you’ve missed the first four.  The author has written it in a way that you can easily understand and catch up. It is a beautiful and captivating story of unexpected love and the importance of learning to trust one’s heart again. 
The author has a pleasant writing style which makes her books a pleasure to read.  Her vivid descriptions, characters, and abundant conversation drew me in quickly.  She writes gracefully and allows her story to smoothly unfold.  Unlike the other four which are set in the harsh winter, this one is in the summer.  It is the tale of Rachel, a widow, and her young son traveling through the Montana territory to the Canadian mountains during the mid-1860s in search of her brother.
It is also the story of Seth.  A swoon worthy guide that can handle whatever the mountain tosses his way.  He has a heart for nature, outdoors, caring for others, and God.  This is an all around good guy.  
All of the characters were well written and developed to the point that they became my friends.  I was invested in their story and felt their emotions.  My heart broken when theirs did.  I smiled when something good happened.  I felt like I was on the mountain, too.  Only a good wordsmith can take me along with them.
The author has liberally laced the story with inspiration without sounding preachy.  There is no doubt it is a Christian fiction.  Thank you, Ms. Beller!  She has included what I can only imagine to be realistic trauma and action on this mountain adventure as Rachel encounters beasts of all kinds including ferocious bears, rattlesnakes, and dastardly kidnappers. 
Yes, I definitely recommend this book.  It is a story of hope, trust, love, and second chances.  It is a story of what God has planned for you even if you can’t see it.  If you enjoy historical Christian action fiction, you will love it.  It rates a 4.5 out of 5 from me.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit. A review was not required and opinions are my own honest ones.

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About the Author

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Misty M. Beller writes romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love. 

She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and daughters now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.  
God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

Guest Post from Misty

Why Christian Historical Romance? 

I don’t know about you, but my life can get crazy…busy…chaotic. Historical fiction gives me a haven, allowing me to immerse in a simpler time and place. Add in remote mountain settings—log cabins and horses and snow…what could be better? Sometimes I wish God had let me live a couple centuries ago, but then I remind myself He knew exactly what He was doing. I don’t do well without a shower every day. 😊 And He even lets me go back to that simpler time through stories! 

If you’re reading this, you probably enjoy immersing yourself in a good book, too. Story can be such a powerful thing! Becoming an intimate part of the characters’ lives, feeling their struggles—the desperation, the elation, the emotions, the love. 

I enjoy reading and writing Christian fiction because it provides a place where I don’t always have to be concerned about inappropriate language or too-graphic love scenes. It’s a “safe zone” where my imagination can escape, living out exciting times and experiencing God-orchestrated happily-ever-afters—without having to clean-up at the end of the day. Can you relate? 

I’m excited to share my latest Christian Historical Romance story with you, and hope you enjoy it as much as I loved writing it!

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Misty is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the image above or the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/d9bc/this-homeward-journey-celebration-tour-giveaway

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, December 29

Through the Fire Blogs, December 29

Carpe Diem, December 30

Splashes of Joy, December 30

A Baker’s Perspective, December 31

Mary Hake, December 31

Pause for Tales, January 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 1

Simple Harvest Reads, January 2 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Connie’s History Classroom, January 2

Among the Reads, January 3

For The Love of Books, January 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 4

Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 4

Connect in Fiction, January 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 5

Christian Author, J.E. Grace. January 6

Bibliophile Reviews, January 6

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, January 7

Inspiration Clothesline, January 7

Creating Romance, January 8

Texas Book-aholic, January 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 9

Janices book reviews, January 9

Wishful Endings, January 10

Cafinated Reads, January 10

Bigreadersite, January 11

Blossoms and Blessings, January 11

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Let’s Talk About it. . .

Well, top of the mornin’ to ya and Happy St. Patty’s Day! ‘‘Tis the day everyone claims to be at least a wee bit Irish,  What about you?  Are you really of Irish decent or just Irish today?

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A sea of green will be flowing everywhere today because most everyone wears green clothes, Irish or not, on this day. It is the day many foods turn green on purpose.  Even the river in Chicago turns green.  This is also the one day of the year that we all put a “Mc” or “O” in front of our surname and become Irish. Yes, it’s St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick was a soul saver. IMG_1716A soldier for the Lord.  That is what we are really celebrating.  He used a three leaf clover to teach people about the trinity.  St. Patrick turned thousands of hearts, minds, and souls to the one true God.  Now, doesn’t that sound like cause to celebrate!  I think so, too.

It isn’t about having things green and being Irish. No fictional little leprechauns with rainbows and pots of gold were there.  This is about celebrating the vast number of Druids, pagans that were saved and became Christians.

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Irish are supposed to be lucky among a lot of other things. You’ve heard of the “luck of the Irish,” right? Hmm, I am not sure about that. Well, I guess you could say the ones that met St. Patrick were lucky, or could you? Was it luck that drew them to St. Patrick or something else?  Perhaps the Holy Spirit.

Do you believe in luck? Do you think there is gold at the end of the rainbow? Personally, I don’t really believe much in luck or leprechauns. Maybe if I keep losing when playing a game I say I have bad luck, but outside of that I don’t put belief in luck. My faith and trust are in Jesus. He is the one that guides and directs me just like He did St. Patrick.

When I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, He was the Way or rainbow to my riches. I followed Him. My gold happens to be where Jesus prepared a place for me at the end of my earthly life – in Heaven. IMG_3600That is where my heart is, too. In Heaven the Bible says there will be beautiful streets of gold. My saved loved ones will be there. There will be no more sickness, no more death, no more tears. My Savior, Jesus, is there. Our Almighty God, my Maker, is there. Talk about hitting the jackpot or pot of gold! That is everything I could ever want. Wow, no riches can compare to that. None. So what about you? Where is your pot of gold?

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt. 6:19-21.

Traditional Irish St. Patrick’s Day Dish

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Irish Colcannon, an Irish Treasured Dish

1 lb. potatoes peeled white or unpeeled red potatoes
½ lb. bacon (cut into small 1-inch squares)
1 T. Kosher salt
6 cups thinly sliced cabbage (approximately a head)
6 T. butter (four for the cabbage and two for the potatoes)
½ cup whipping cream (or milk)
Fresh parsley chopped finely-a few sprigs will do
A large onion, chopped
5 or 6 scallions or a clump (handful) of chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Wash potatoes and peel if you’re using thick skinned.
Cut the potatoes in quarters and place in a large pot of boiling water.
Add the Kosher salt. Boil for approximately 25 minutes.
Stick one of the potatoes with a fork to see if they’re cooked. They should be tender and easy to penetrate with the prongs.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat.
When they’re finished cooking, add 4 T. butter.
Add the cabbage and onions.
Sauté the cabbage mixture until almost done, with the onions translucent and cabbage a bit crispy. Some people prefer to cook the mixture until everything is soft. It just depends on whether you like a bit of crunch or not. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and add the butter and cream or milk, mashing it to silky smoothness—unless you left the skins on, then almost silky smoothness.

Add the onion, cabbage mixture and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot. Enjoy this Irish classic dish.

 

 

 

Read a Book, Garden, and Cook: Amish Friends Harvest Cookbook by Wanda Brunstetter is Wonderful with Peach Pie Recipe

Do you like to cook?  How about garden?  What about reading a cookbook that has gardening tips, cooking tips, and Amish information.  There really is a book like that out there.  Wanda Brunstetter’s Amish Friends Harvest Cookbook is by far my favorite of all of her Amish cookbooks. However, I do love them all and her books. The cover of the book says : “Over 240 recipes for using and preserving the bounty of the land” and shows fresh produce, canned, and Amish at work. It is a delightful, eye catching cover. The cookbook itself is spiral which makes it easy to use. It will open flat for easy reading when using. Sprinkled with pictures, scripture and tips this cookbook is a treasure.IMG_3797

Divided into seven recipe sections, the book begins with a chapter entitled “Reflections on the Amish Family Garden”. This is like having a chat with an Amish friend about gardening. Next is a chapter “Advice from Amish Gardeners,” which I found very interesting. Egg shell booster, when to plant, how to fertilize and with what, and how to block weeds are a few of the many tips given. Then it discusses how to deal with garden bugs, diseases, harvesting, and how to take care of yourself. There are remedies for poison ivy, sore throats, sunburns, and others. So much information and we haven’t even gotten to a recipe yet.

The recipes are divided into the usual categories: salads, soups, main dishes, sides, desserts, snacks and extras, ending with preserving the harvest. An index of the Amish contributors is next, an index of recipes by section, and finally an index by key ingredients. You should be able to easily find recipes using one of these.

I found this to be a treasure trove of recipes. Some were extremely different like “Dandelion Gravy” or “Green Tomato Bars” made with finely chopped green tomatoes and blueberries. Others were familiar such as “Seasoned Potato Wedges,” “Zucchini Bars,” or “Fresh Peach Pie” and sounded like I needed to try that recipe now. (Too bad I had no peaches.) See what you think:IMG_3999

Author Brunstetter has put together a great cookbook. If you are a novice cook or chef, master gardener of acres or container deck gardener, you will enjoy all 208 pages of this fantastic book. The pictures are beautiful, the recipes delicious and tips helpful. There happen to be 243 recipes and 62 garden tips from over 150 contributors in this book. It will make you want to garden and cook.IMG_3798

I thoroughly enjoyed this gem of a book and would highly recommend it. It is certainly up there on my gift giving list. For a shower, birthday, new home, or Christmas this would be a perfect gift. Are you in a cooking or garden club? This book is for you.   This is definitely a buy one for a gift and one for yourself cookbook. I rated it 5 out of 5 stars but would love to rate it higher.   Yes, it’s that good!

“There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labor. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God”. Ecc. 2:24

Let’s Get Cookin’ Thursday: “Legend of the Cardinal” and Aunt Jean’s Cherry Delight Recipe

We have talked a lot about how God gives us signs in nature of His love for us. Did you know the Cardinal or Redbird was also one? Most people know about the dove representing the Holy Spirit. The pure white dove. The blood red of the cardinal is symbolic of the living blood of our Savior Jesus Christ, that saved us and gives us eternal life. The blood of love that provides hope and encourages us to have faith. Cardinals symbolize faith, hope, and love along with the precious blood of Jesus.

Cardinals are beautiful birds. The male has stunning red feathers while the female is muted to help keep her safer. They are monogamous and mate for life. Isn’t that awesome? No divorces or running around for them. The male takes his role seriously. He provides food and protection for his lady 24/7. He is no pushover but a fierce warrior ready to defend his wife against predators. The couple harmonizes perfectly making beautiful music together. What a great team.
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The other morning while my little dog was moseying around the yard, I caught a glimpse of Mr. & Mrs. Cardinal on a branch. They would sing to each other and then sat really close together. Their heads nuzzled and beaks pecked. Love was in the air. It was mesmerizing. Then Mr. C flew off to gather food or whatever male birds do while the Mrs. stayed home. She looked around for him and seemed restless. Instead of flying off Mrs. C chirped and sang. Voila! Mr. C was back. He sat beside her, comforted her, and nuzzled her a bit. This time she was fine when he left. Another reminder for me that God is alway near. He might be up in Heaven but always hears me when I call. He is just a prayer away to give me the comfort, guidance, or help that I need.

Cardinals and blood have long been symbols for life, and for Christians everlasting, eternal life. Also the cardinal is symbolic of faith, hope and love. These symbols connect the beautiful bird to living faith, and that is what we should do. Live our faith. When life gets depressing, dark, and lonely, there is always hope. We need to have faith in the One that loves us. We need to pray. He has sent many reminders to help us. Look around. It won’t be long until you see a cardinal. It is a symbol of Jesus’ precious, cleansing blood, of eternal life, of faith, hope, and love. Cardinals are paired for life. God loves you for eternity, too. Remember that when you see a redbird…….and even when you don’t.

“Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” IPeter 1:18-19 ESV

Thursday’s Red Recipe:

Aunt Jean’s Cherry Delight

1 pkg. graham crackers, crushed
1/2 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. sugar
1 pkg. Dream Whip*
1 c. powdered sugar
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 can cherry pie filling
*original recipe but now I use Cool Whip

Mix graham crackers, butter and sugar and put into 9 x 13 inch pan. Prepare Dream Whip as on package. Add sugar, vanilla, and cream cheese; spread over crust. Spread 1 can cherry pie filling on top and chill.
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Let’s Get Cookin’ Thursday, Drop Dumplings Recipe, “Man Cannot Live by Bread Alone”

Food carries not only taste and smell, but sometimes memories. Certain dishes remind me of a loved one, holiday, or place. It can also provide comfort. Do you have a favorite comfort food? How about a food that takes you back to your Mother’s table or the school cafeteria? Do you have one of your own?

My aunts each made dishes that were unique and special. Same with my two grandmothers and especially my Mother. No one could make the recipe quite as delicious as they could. Aunt K made the best sugar cookies and Red Velvet Cake. No one at all could hold a candle to Aunt M’s cobblers or ribbon salad. Aunt J did butterscotch meringue pie and noodles. Yes, the rolled out homemade ones. Aunt E made rolls that no one can duplicate. Light, fluffy rolls. My Mammaw made oatmeal cookies that were a winner with people that disliked oatmeal. Perplexing but true. She made sugared popcorn on the stove that tasted like love. Grandmother made Christmas candy to rival the kind you buy in fancy stores. She also made a cheese spread for celery or crackers that she made up herself. It was delicious and unduplicatible. My Mother would need a page, or book, all her own to list her best dishes. Comfort food for me is still anything she makes. Her Christmas Salad is phenomenal and apple dumplings simply out of this world. My kids love her drop dumplings, any flavor. Blackberry, peach, or cherry are all favorites with them but only if Grammy makes them. Actually my daughter says that about a lot of Mom’s recipes. “Did Grammy make this?” What about the ladies in your family? I would love to hear their specialties in the comments if you would share.

Our bodies need food to survive. Our mind sometimes wants food for comfort. What does our soul need? Do you ever think about feeding it? Scripture tells us in Matthew 4:4 that “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes from the mouth of God.’” So, our soul needs much more. It needs God and His Word, the Bible. Just as often as we eat food and drink something, we need to read our Bibles, worship Abba, and communicate with Him through prayer. We need spiritual food. Are you feeding your spirit?

Be careful what you feed into your mind, too. Lyrics from certain songs, scenes from some television shows or movies, and passages from magazines and books might not be the clean food your mind deserves. In fact it might be poison. A lot of sin is made acceptable and glamorous in the media. Just like we watch what we put in our mouths, we need to be mindful of what we put in our souls and brains. Then we will be healthy in all areas of our lives. Jesus is the Bread of Life. Choose Him. Choose life. Live for Him.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst.” John 6:35 ESV

Mom’s Blackberry Drop Dumplings

4-6 c. blackberries* & 1 c. sugar
Water to cover
Dumplings:
2 c. Bisquick baking mix
1/2 c. milk
2/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)

*or substitute another fruit or berry.

Place blackberries in large covered pot, add 1 c. sugar, and cover berries with water. Bring to a boil. Boil softly for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, in a small bowl, mix Bisquick, milk, vanilla and 1/2 c. sugar to form a dough, (not as thin as pancake and not as thick as biscuit dough).

Into boiling berries, drop dough by spoonful spacing over top of pot. Reduce heat immediately to medium low and cover. Steam for approximately 15 minute covered so dumplings will cook through. Serve topped with whipping cream or ice cream.