Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Book: Swept Away

Swept Away


Sara Jane Morgan is trying to balance teaching with caring for her ailing, stubborn grandmother. When school lets out for the summer, the plans are for Grandma to teach Sara Jane to quilt as they finish up the Appalachian Ballad quilt Grandma started as a teenager. But things don’t always go as planned.

Andrew Stevenson is hiding from his past—and his future. He works as a handyman to pay the bills, but also as an artisan, designing homemade brooms. When Sara Jane’s grandmother hires him to renovate her home, sparks fly between him and his new employer’s granddaughter.

Still, it doesn’t take Sara Jane long to see Drew isn’t what he seems. Questions arise, and she starts online researching him. What she discovers could change her life—and her heart—forever.


***

Hey look, the holidays are fast approaching and I've had time to read part of one book this whole month.  I'm hoping this one will be a fun read for road tripping over the break in December.

***

If you would like to read the first chapter of Swept Away, go HERE.



Award winning author Laura V. Hilton has penned many novels, including the Amish of Seymour series, the Amish of Webster County series, and the forthcoming Amish of Jamesport series. A member of ACFW, Laura is also a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with over a thousand book reviews published at various online review sites. A pastor’s wife, stay-at-home mom, and home school teacher, Laura and her family make their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.

A lifelong reader, Cindy Loven is an active church wife of a minister and mother to one son who is a home school graduate. Cindy and her family reside in Conway, Arkansas.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

I'm not sure I can remember the last time we got snow like this around here, wet enough to build a really big snowman!  Or course that means it was all melted by the next day, but it sure made me remember my childhood!


Noah making a snow angel


Hope eating snow


Noah eating snow


Joy eating snow, my children's favorite past time!


Daddy helped the kids make the snowman and it was so heavy they had a hard time getting the middle part up.


Twins eating more snow


Cory thought the bottom of the snowman was a good place to sit...


Hope learning to make a snow angel!


This girl wanted to eat ALL the snow, but after they'd been traipsing around in it for awhile I convinced her to only eat it off the tree branches because the stuff on the ground was getting kind of nasty.


Joy then had to try it off the tree...


Oh, but Hope found another untouched patch of snow on the ground


This is a cold face


Joy and the finished snowman.  The rock on top is a "laser" courtesy of Cory.


The Hope tongue getting snow


Oh, so this is where they learned it!


Daddy helping Joy learn the tricks of the trade!

Seeing as how last year the girls got to use their snow suits all of twice, it's promising that they've already used them once this year!  Here's hoping for lots more fun play time!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Still...

The first thing that pops into my head when I see the Five Minute Friday word is usually a song, or sometimes a verse.  Today it's both.  One of my all time favorite albums is Steven Curtis Chapman's Speechless and this song on it titled Be Still and Know.  Please give it a listen and if you can't, the lyrics are at the bottom.

I keep trying to write a post.  In my head I've titled it November Blues, but I can't even seem to find the time for that!

We've all been sick for the last two weeks with days off school and middle of the night visits out to see the moon and stars in the cold air so little lungs can breathe easier.  This week everyone seems to be on the mend except me.  The sinus pressure is giving me a headache and everything kind of seemed to implode yesterday.

We woke up to wet carpet in the hallway and discovered our water heater leaking, the inlet and outlet pipes all corroded by our hard water.  I also couldn't breath deeply in certain positions so I took myself off to the chiropractor to find out that I had a rib out of place, a by product of lifting toddlers all day apparently.

Thankfully by evening we had managed to fix the plumbing and I could more or less breathe again.  But I got to trade places with my husband and take the boys to Awana for the evening.  I screwed up a few things, but at least I remembered enough from years ago to be a little bit of a help I hope!  I even got to play dodgeball. *grin*

Unfortunately while Brian was fixing the plumbing he forgot that he was supposed to be giving the lesson to the 3rd and 4th graders.  My old friend Jeff, the director, took pity on me and didn't make me stand in, but did it himself last minute.

There's a reason we all are middle school teachers, but you know, things that are said to 3rd and 4th graders apply to adults too.  He asked the kids if they were ever anxious about anything and after that veered off severely into the territory of "I almost died when" with every story he finally brought it back to things that we can't control in our every day lives, like tests, and having to do lessons impromptu, and maybe even hot water heaters that leak.

What is the source of our anxiety? Well, thinking that we actually controlled these things to begin with.  Who really controls everything? God, of course. And the cure for our anxiety is letting go of the control (that we really don't have anyway) and trusting that HE knows what he's doing.

Which finally brings me back around to my favorite song.  Be still and know that He is God.  And be calmed, rested, and at peace!



Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is holy
Be still Oh restless heart of mine
Bow before the Prince of Peace
Let the noise and clamor cease

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is faithful
Consider all that He has done
Stand in awe and be amazed
And know that He will never change
Be still

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is God
Be still
Be speechless

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is our Father
Come and rest your head upon His breast
Listen to the rhythm of
His unfailing heart of love
Beating for his little ones
Calling each of us to come
Be still
Be still


Five minute Friday is now hosted over at Kate's place. As always please join in or leave a comment!

Friday, November 07, 2014

Book: Keepers of the Covenant

 Keepers of the Covenant, Book Two in the Restoration Chronicles

The Old Testament Comes to Thrilling Life in the Latest from Lynn Austin

In one life-changing moment, the lives of the Jewish exiles in Babylon are thrown into confusion and despair when a decree arrives from the king’s palace in Susa. It calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire on the thirteenth day of Adar, in less than one year. Ezra, a quiet Jewish scholar and teacher, is suddenly called upon to lead the community as they seek God for a reason for this catastrophe. When a second decree arrives, authorizing them to fight back, Ezra is thrust into the role of military leader as they defend themselves against their enemies.

When the battles come to an end, Ezra’s brother Jude is dead and Ezra is required by the Law he so diligently studies to marry Jude’s widow, Devorah, and provide an heir. Fatherhood changes Ezra, and he asks God to make a way for him and the other exiles to leave Babylon for good and return to Jerusalem. His prayers are answered and the exiles move to Judea to revitalize worship at the temple–but the fight to keep God’s Law is never easy. As more and more of his community are tempted, a new battle emerges…this one for the survival of God’s covenant and the souls of His chosen faithful.

***

As mentioned above this is the second in a series, but I think it could easily stand alone because it takes place 80 years after the first.

This is the story of Ezra, which I didn't realize essentially happens at the same time as the story of Esther.  Readers familiar with their Bible will recognize the events from the story of Esther, but it was fascinating to me to think about what it would have been like for the ordinary Jews during that time.  We all hear of Esther's bravery, but the common people were sentenced to death.  I'm sure their responses would have ranged from despair to fervent prayer to rejection of God as shown through the characters in this story.

I've read quite a few of Lynn Austin's books now and while they are very good, I have to be in a certain mood to read them because they are not usually a light read.  She does her research very well and other than one small thing at the beginning of this story (which I can't remember now) and the reference to their traveling in miles (which I know didn't exist back then, but also is a point of reference for current readers) the story really placed me in the time. 

Historical Biblical fiction can be tricky, but when done right, as I feel she does, it really helps me to place myself in the times.  They didn't know the future as we know how the story ends.  They had to live through it and it required more faith than I could possibly imagine right now.

Can't wait for the third one!

***

Read other reviews or purchase you own copy here.


Bestselling author Lynn Austin has sold more than one million copies of her books worldwide. She is an eight-time Christy Award winner for her historical novels, as well as a popular speaker at retreats and conventions. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and live near Chicago.


I received this book from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Playing in Jammies


Someone snuck into her brother's room and was enjoying playing with the "real" Legos!


Sisters love to read books, in bed, together.  This was legit, but I will often find them like this after lights out time when I hear the light flip on in their room.

Please vote for our above photo in the November Tea Collection contest!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Happy Halloween!



I won't show you the giant mess I made carving my pumpkin with a power drill... but it didn't even turn out the way I'd hoped!  Oh well.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Book: Quilted by Christmas

Quilted by Christmas


Taryn McKenna believes she’s easy to forget. Abandoned by her parents and left behind when her high school sweetheart joined the army, she vows to never love again and throws herself into her love for the outdoors and the pursuit of a college degree—something no one else in her family has ever accomplished. Her goal, as a young teacher in the hills of North Carolina, is to leave a legacy in the lives of the middle-schoolers she teaches. When Taryn’s grandmother Jemma, the only other person who ever held her close, has a heart attack that reveals a fatal medical condition, Taryn is corralled into helping Grandma work on a final project—an Irish chain quilt that tells the story of her history and the love Jemma knows is out there for Taryn. As the pieces of the quilt come together, Taryn begins to see her value. Can she learn to believe that God will never leave her behind even though others have?

***

I am so crazy busy this month that I haven't had time to read this one yet.  I'm loving all the books centered around quilts though!

***


If you would like to read the first chapter of Quilted by Christmas, go HERE.


A note from the Jodie Bailey: Well, I’m a regular ol’ person. Who just happens to write. A lot. Probably more than I should. I firmly believe that God created me to be a writer. From the time I learned how to string letters together into words I’ve been making up stories. Believe me… I have a very rich imagination. I used to think I was weird; now I know God just put me together that way. I can’t even watch commercials without expanding them into stories in my head. I am humbled and honored all at the same time that God looked down from heaven on me and said, “Jodie, do what you love.” Wow… how awesome is that?

I have always loved to write. I have stories that I wrote when I was in first grade. I used to sit at my grandmother’s yellow electric typewriter for hours, banging out my own little stories. When I was eleven, she bought me a typewriter of my own (It was 1984, okay?) and I would write and write on it. I wrote stories out by hand, and they ran to hundreds of pages. I got my first computer when I was eighteen, and the first thing I did was write a story on it. I wrote for school. I wrote for fun. I wrote for my friends. I’d get them on the phone and make up stories for them. (I earned the nickname “Dreamweaver” for that one. Nobody calls me that anymore, but it still stands as the coolest nickname I ever had.)