Friday, November 28, 2008

Blog Tour!

In this sequel to Beloved Castaway, Emilie Gayarre is learning to accept her mixed race heritage while finding fulfillment in teaching children of the key. There is no denying the attraction between Emilie and the handsome young naval commander, Caleb Spencer, who is shadowed by his own flock of secrets. But if her heritage is found out, even greater things than his career are at risk. Enjoy this historical romance full of risk and redemption.

--I really enjoyed this book! I am going to give Beloved Captive to my best friend Alicia, I know she will really like it too! Beloved Captive is a fun book to read, and everyone will enjoy it.
~Elsa (Cheryl's daughter)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Getting Patience

Pearl lacks patience. She is a puppy; it's her job to seek out anything and everything she can get into and take apart. She loves yarn, and makes a point of sticking her nose into my purse to see if there's any in there, and is quite triumphant when she nabs a ball of worsted and runs through the house, until I eventually catch her and get it back, somewhat worse for the wear.

When we go on walks she wants to lead the way, full speed ahead. Yesterday we were walking, and Pearl was wearing her "gentle leader" collar that goes around her nose and prevents her from pulling me under a bus. It works this way- every time she wants to pull me and starts in that direction, the collar causes her to look at me, or at least toward me, so, unless she wants to go in circles, she must walk where I walk. This saves not only my arm socket, but gives me great satisfaction, knowing that I am "she who must be obeyed".

Patience is one of those fruits of the Spirit that makes me groan. "How long is THIS going to take?" I wonder. I see what I want and want to head full speed ahead into... what? My own way? I know how well that works, don't I? But here's the good news. Jesus has promised to be my gentle leader when he said, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

When we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, Jesus is there. Because fruit has to come from a tree. So when we pick a fruit, say... patience... He is there, and he is smiling.

Monday, November 17, 2008

White Christmas Pie:blog tour

White Christmas Pie is the first Wanda E. Brunstetter novel I've read to date, and I hope it won't be the last. The story is set in Indiana, in an Amish Community, in the present day. Will Henderson's father left him when he was only six with an Amish couple who were unable to have children of their own. The arrangement was supposed to be temporary, but circumstances happened which changed the lives of all involved.

Sixteen years later, Will is about to be married to a lovely Amish girl named Karen, and is surprised by feelings of anger, insecurity and jealousy that are popping up in his life and relationships.

Wanda E Brunstetter carefully constructs a prism through which we can see, how, if just one thing happened differently, life as we know it would be different. How often do I wish for things to have happened differently? White Christmas Pie uses the gentle, Amish way of life to give room for readers to ponder life and the past. She also delves into the concept of how people can only see things from their personal perspective. Other perspectives exist, but because of pain or loss suffered, bitterness can take root, clouding out the life and joy we could have if only we had the antidote. That is where the soft wisdom of the ages and the truth that sets us free comes into play- because the story's not over 'til it's over!

I was surprised that in spite of the kinder and gentler life of the Amish, they too face danger, and their lives have risks attached.

It is obvious that Wanda has a love for the Amish way of life as well as an in depth knowledge of the Amish culture of today. The message that I take with me is that regrets can be transformed into renewal of mind and spirit. Joy and new beginnings can take wing!

Many thanks to Barbour for publishing this lovely book.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Finding Rest for My Soul

I have been listening to Christian minister Graham Cooke's CD "Overcoming Negativity Through Rest" that my dear friend Carole Rosenfarb gave me when she saw that I was feeling stalled in my spiritual walk with the Lord. It's not that I wasn't praying, reading the Bible and believing God, I just wanted more.

I am happy to say that my life is changing from the inside out. I have peace and am finally getting what Jesus meant when he said "Take my yoke upon you; for my yoke is easy and my burden is light." He gives us the opportunity to walk beside him every minute of the day. That is the beginning of rest. And it keeps on getting better. Jesus offers a life free of anxiety and worry. After all, who can add one thing to his life through worrying about it?

Graham says that our place of greatest comfort is right where we are now, and that is where the Holy Spirit wants to come and kiss us.

There is so much more- like we can change the atmosphere around us for the better just because it's us, because it's you. You and Jesus together make a majority.

I have noticed a difference when I am walking in a spirit of gentleness, whether it's in yoga class or the grocery store,people respond to the love of Jesus in me. Self consciousness flees because it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the Holy Spirit.

I have been loving the opportunity to read and review Christian fiction because it always offers hope and comfort to my soul. I am still seeking out my "calling", trying to find my little piece that I can contribute. I can pray. I can be kind and gentle with myself and others. I think it's a pretty good start.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Until We Reach Home by Lynn Austin: blog tour

I really enjoyed this book about three sisters from Sweden, who came to America after suffering through the emotional pain of losing their mother through sickness, and their father through depression and suicide. Elin, the oldest sister, was being sexually abused by her uncle who had taken over the farm, and in order to protect her sisters from him, insisted that they leave everything and travel to America.

Lynn Austin's beautifully researched novel follows the sisters through every step of their journey. She describes the conditions affecting immigrants traveling in the steerage section of the White Star Line ship so clearly, that I felt like I was traveling right along with the girls, feeling their weariness and praying for them to stay safe in appalling conditions.

Until We Reach Home is a book about staying the course, finding and renewing faith, and through the process, receiving comfort and hope.

This book was personal to me because my great grandparents came to America from Sweden. In August of 2001 my husband and I visited Ellis Island, where the sisters were detained. I saw where my relatives waited to be admitted to our incredible country. Lynn Austin has an amazing gift for bringing places to life, and I could picture Sofia sitting on a bench, waiting to hear what their fate would be. I imagined not speaking English and relying solely on the kindness of the interpreters who were overworked, but served diligently.

This is one book that I promise will touch you. If you are at a stalled place in your personal journey, this story of love, hope, comfort, and finding a real home will encourage you.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Apres Everything

When all is said and done.... I still love Sarah Palin. I pray that she can stand, while those around her crawl out of the woodwork, and try to whisper into her brain. No, I'm not channelling Elton John.... or Nancy Reagan...
If she were such a detrement to the Republican nominee and party, why is the media still obsessed with her? It should be over. Right? I believe it's because she, and everything she stands for is a threat to their template of the modern woman. She has grace and dignity. She is pro-life on every level and I would rather have her shooting straight from the hip on my behalf than all the smooth talk, amounting to nothing, from the other side.
We have what we have, and as Sarah Palin said,"The people have spoken."
We have our king, but only One is sitting on the throne.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Rain Song blog tour

Rain Song is one of those books that makes me happy to be a reader. Alice J. Wisler's first novel has the feeling of a story that has been brewing for a long time, mellowing and developing from the heart with poignant characters that you can't help falling in love with.
Nicole Michelin is a respectable high school English teacher in Mount Olive, North Carolina whose passion is caring for her exotic fish tank. She writes a column for a website called "Pretty Fishy" where she meets Harrison Michaels on line, who turns out to be someone who knew her as a two year old child in Japan. Through their correspondence Harrison helps answer some questions that have been niggling at her for years, and invites her to visit the land of her birth. But Nicole's fear of flying and the unknown threatens to keep her from self-discovery and truly experiencing the freedom of being herself.
Ms.Wisler balances small town North Carolina, eccentric southern relatives and barbecued chicken with the serene culture of Japan and Harrison Michaels' Japanese cuisine and koi garden. Her graceful writing had me sighing and reading certain passages over again with pure delight.
This is one to give a special friend, Mom or sister if you are so blessed.
Highly recommended.