Monday, October 29, 2012

Here We Go Again


Monday Musings on This ‘N That

Words of a song from years ago keep running through my head. I’m certain the words “Here we go again” are in that song. The TV in my den stays on all day every day—but not for me. However, I do go through the den to get to other parts of the house.

For about a year as I walked through the den I’ve heard politics ad nauseam—here we go again. About eight more days to go and then no telling how long after the election we’ll still have something on TV about politics.

Now for a few days, and particularly yesterday and for many more days we’re hearing about Hurricane Sandy—here we go again. Just saw a graphic of New York City when the mass of water comes ashore on them. My friend in Vermont went yesterday to get gas for her car and for her generator and then went to the grocery. She says that's about all she can do.

Of course Sandy will not be a hurricane by the time it reaches as far as Vermont. Sandy is such a big broad storm and meeting with another front that will cause snow inland. All the folks on TV are saying the water will be the major concern. It already is on barrier islands and hasn’t hit the mainland yet—here we go again.

In the South we’ve experienced many hurricanes coming into the Gulf of Mexico. There’s nothing good you can say about a hurricane. But this one is probably going to affect more populations and commerce than those in the Gulf of Mexico. I pray for the safety of the people in the northeast. Some will prepare as best they can. Some will not. Time will tell what misery Hurricane Sandy brings.


The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a copy of A Merry Little Christmas by Anita Higman is Jes. I'll email you to get your mailing address and get the book out to you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.


Till next time … keep on smiling.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Win a Book!


Thursday Thoughts on Reading ‘N Writing

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, October 28, 2012 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of Anita Higman’s A Merry Little Christmas. If you mention in your comment that you’re a new or old follower (see in the left column “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I’ll add your name a second time in the drawing. You can read details about my book giveaways here.     


Today we have guest blogger Anita Higman talking to us about her new book, A Merry Little Christmas. Welcome, Anita.


Award-winning author, Anita Higman, has twenty-five books published (several coauthored) for adults and children, and she has been honored as a Barnes & Noble Author of the Month for Houston. Anita has a BA degree, combining communication, psychology, and art. Her favorite things include exotic teas, movies, and all things Jane Austen. To contact Anita or enter her monthly contest for a free signed book please visit her website at www.anitahigman.com. 


What inspired you to incorporate Jim Crow laws and segregation into your book?

Anita: Even though A Merry Little Christmas is really a love story, I felt it needed some additional conflict, and some of the racial struggles of the 60s seemed to be the right choice for this particular plot. I grew up in the 60s, and I was always interested in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. In some ways I feel I’ve waited my whole life to write this book. It came easily to me in that it’s been percolating in my imagination for a long time, but it was also hard to write because I had to consider more deeply the injustices of that era. Even though it sounds like a cliché, A Merry Little Christmas truly was the book of my heart.

The farm scenes seem pretty realistic. Did you grow up in the country?

Anita: I did. While the small towns in the book are totally fictitious I did grow up on a wheat, cattle, pig, and chicken farm in Western Oklahoma, and it was pretty much identical to the one in the novel. If the farm scenes seem realistic it’s because I got to know farm life quite well before I moved off to college at eighteen.

Franny and Charlie come from very different backgrounds, but are both looking for something very different from the way they've grown up. Do you think as humans, we all just have a "grass is always greener on the other side" mentality?

Anita: Yes, that is a human frailty that is easy to succumb to, and I’ve been guilty of it as well. But God is good about reminding me that he’s placed me on my own unique life-road, and it may have little to do with anyone else’s journey. Besides, in many cases when we get a closer look at someone else’s “lush green grass” it usually turns out to be turf.

Do you think that sometimes we don't pray for what we want because we are afraid of getting what we pray for?

Anita: Perhaps that’s true, which would explain why Franny is equally nervous and excited about the sudden answer to her prayers.

Was there a reason you added the themes of Christmas and music to the story?

Anita: My editor asked me to add those elements, and it was a blessing, since Christmas is my favorite time of year, and I love music. Also, female readers in general love novels that are set during the holidays, and I’m hoping the music adds a cozy feel to the overall Christmas theme.

What is your favorite Christmas song?

Anita: “The Holly and the Ivy.” The song has a melancholy feel to it, but it’s also beautifully sweet. I love the “Currier and Ives” style pictures my imagination conjures up when I’m listening to it.

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

Anita: I love to have my gal friends over for brunch around Christmastime. I have been collecting tea dishes for many years, and so when I do a brunch, I go all out. Women are usually in a service mode most of their lives so when they come to my house I want them to feel wonderfully pampered. And by the time they leave, I hope their hearts are a little merrier and they feel we’ve celebrated Christmas well!

Is Franny's character based on any "real life" person?

Anita: Franny is like me in some ways, but she has a lot more courage than I have and more laughter in her heart. So, really, I want to be Franny when I grow up.

Does the song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" have a special significance to you?

Anita: The song makes me swoon it’s so romantic and lovely. It makes me think of being snowed-in with the man I love. Of course, that scene also needs a mountain cabin with a crackling fire and two mugs of wassail.

You have written everything from romance to suspense/thrillers to nonfiction. What is your favorite genre to write?

Anita: I love inspirational romance. There’s just nothing else like it for writing and reading. It naturally makes you want to curl up on an overstuffed couch and read the day away.

Anita, thank you for being with us today and for the interesting interview. Anita has graciously offered a copy of A Merry Little Christmas for the winner of my drawing from commenters. The winner will  be announced in my Monday blog.

Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, October 28, 2012 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of A Merry Little Christmas by Anita Higman. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. Please, please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address.



Till next time … keep on smiling.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Moving Too Fast?


Monday Musings on This ‘N That

Do you dislike Mondays? If so, why? Is it because you hate the process of revving up your mind and muscle after an enjoyable weekend? On your Mondays do you make more mistakes than any other day of the week? What is it about Mondays we all seem to dread?

Maybe we just plain don’t want to go back to work at a job we don’t like. Could be. But at least we have a job. Right? You know, we can always look around us and see someone who has it worse than we do.

Any way on Wednesday of last week I make so many errors that I called that day Monday. One mistake I made took 3 times to try to correct it. After that I pushed away from the computer for a much needed and well timed rest. When I returned to my desk I was really careful, really, that I hit the correct keys.



 When we click the Send button it’s gone, really gone. It would be easy to send something to Siberia or wherever. Last Wednesday I think that was a big part of my problem—I was going too fast. And another thing I may have had my mind on more than one thing at a time—I think they call that multitasking. I’m not made for multitasking. So I’ve had my warning and I promise to slow down my brain and my fingers when at the keyboard.

Do you have Mondays you dislike? Want to share why?


The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a copy of Jewels for the Kingdom by Delia Latham is KayM. I'll email you to get your mailing address and get the book out to you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.


Till next time ... keep on smiling.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Win a Book!

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, October 21, 2012 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book I review below. If you mention in your comment that you’re a new or old follower (see in the left column “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I’ll add your name a second time in the drawing. You can read details about my book giveaways here.   

Jewels for the Kingdom by Delia Latham
Book One in
Heart’s Haven


Today we have guest blogger, Delia Latham to talk about her contribution to the book, Heart’s Haven. Delia is offering to the winner of my drawing a PDF copy, or if the winner prefers, a Nook or Kindle. Welcome, Delia.

What’s Real…and What’s Not?

Born and raised in Weedpatch, California, Delia Latham moved to Oklahoma in '08, making her a self-proclaimed California Okie. She loves to read and write in her country home, and gets a kick out of watching her husband play Farmer John. She's a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, but especially loves being a princess daughter to the King of Kings. She loves Dr. Pepper and hearing from her readers. Contact her through her website (www.delialatham.net), send an e-mail to deliaATdelialathamDOTnet, and/or “Like” her on Facebook. Delia writes inspirational romance and women's fiction, and is currently contracted through White Rose Publishing and Vinspire Publishing.




      Recent weeks have found me inundating cyber world with posts, interviews, “news articles,” excerpts—if I thought of it, it’s out there…all focused on Heart’s Haven.

What is Heart’s Haven?

Just a fictional community of rental cottages in a fictional town in a real state—Texas. It’s populated by fictional characters with fictional problems…either serving or learning to serve a very real God.

And that’s what makes these stories worth reading.

I find it amazing that God can make a wonderful, readable, enjoyable story out of absolutely anything. (Why does that amaze me? He did, after all, create an entire universe out of exactly nothing!) Trust me when I say that it is God who writes my stories. I have neither the imagination nor the talent—and certainly not the want-to—to write anything without Him.

As for Heart’s Haven, my contribution premieres the four-book collection. Jewels for the Kingdom is the story of a beautiful young woman whose unsavory past holds her in its condemnatory grip. She’s given her heart to God and serves Him by “adorning the bride of Christ.” She does so with beautiful, self-designed, “Spirit-filled” jewelry, along with the occasional “found” piece that speaks to her heart. Her business name is my title: Jewels for the Kingdom.

Pia Peretti serves Christ with her whole heart. But what is a sincere Christian woman supposed to do with a past that shames her, and for which she’s never forgiven herself? Pia thinks romance is out of the equation. She refuses to be unequally yoked with a non-believer. But what Christian man would yoke himself with her…a woman with a promiscuous past?

She’s convinced herself she’s perfectly happy living a life devoid of romance. But when she meets David Myers, the new minister at her church, and finds herself falling head over heels in love, misery comes calling. Not simply a godly Christian man, David is, of all things, a preacher. What preacher in his right mind is going to want a woman with no claims to purity?

Pia hasn’t quite grasped the extent of God’s forgiveness—the reality of what it means to be washed white as snow.

Sometimes I wonder if any of us have truly grasped that wondrous reality. Because it is real. Unlike we puny humans, who sometimes forgive, but rarely (never) forget, God does—completely. He covers all our ugly sins beneath the blood of Jesus Christ, and then He tosses the whole mess deep into the Sea of Forgetfulness. Eradicates it from His memory. When we sink into our pitiful human pits of despair and come crawling back to ask forgiveness again and again for past sins—sins for which we’ve already been forgiven—He has no idea what we’re talking about.

On the one hand there’s sin and shame, unhappiness and misery. Pasts that can’t be changed and people who never forget them. Sounds real enough, doesn’t it?

On the other hand, there’s God: love and happiness, perfect joy and peace, a future too bright to imagine or believe. Just too good to be true, right?

Or is it perhaps...completely unbelievable enough to be real?

I write fictional novels. I love fiction, love creating worlds to which my readers can escape and forget reality for a little while.

But I live for a God who seems too good to be true…but is!

I’m far from perfect, but I’ve been completely, uncategorically, absolutely forgiven by that God. My past is—well…what past?

I have only the very real promise of a bright and beautiful future—made by a very real God.

And so do you.

Micah 7:19—He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

Blurb from Jewels for the Kingdom:
Pia Peretti’s past could destroy her future. Thanks to her pre-Christian lifestyle, she can’t marry a believer, and she won’t marry a non-believer. Minister David Myers wants to help Pia release her guilt and trust that God has forgiven her...but the young minister is working through his own trial of faith. After a failed counseling session with a wounded soul, David's confidence is shaken. He accepts a new pastorate, and moves to Angel Falls to find a haven for his wounded heart. Is it possible these two hurting hearts are meant to mend each other’s brokenness with some divine intervention?


Jewels for the Kingdom is available through most online booksellers, including the following: Publisher-directBarnes & NobleAmazonChristian Book. Delia can digitally sign e-Books! Readers just need to visit kindlegraph.com and click on "Request Kindlegraph" under their choice. 

Note:  Heart’s Haven has its own Facebook page, as do each of the heroines from the collection, and Heart’s Haven’s owner, Andrew Hart. Come on over and stroll through this little place on the edge of The Angelina National Forest. Rumors abound, and angels…well, they seem to like this location. Maybe you’ll meet one of them…


Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, October 21, 2012 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of Jewels for the Kingdom by Delia Latham. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. Please, please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address.


Till next time … keep on smiling.

Monday, October 15, 2012

What Season Where You Are?



Monday Musings on This ‘N That

Fall is officially here. More so in some places than in others. It was in the lower 80s here yesterday and calling for the same today. Could this be the global warming some folks talk about? In my youth I spent a lot of time in the Smoky Mountains and the leaves changing color for fall was a treat for eyes to behold.

Of course in New England the leaves are probably already showing themselves. I would love to go up and see them, but I’m a chicken when it comes to cold weather. I grew up in the shadow of the Smoky Mountains and went to school farther north than that. I did fine with the cold weather then because I hadn’t experienced the almost subtropic temperatures we’re used to where we live now.

Today I’ll pretend I’m in Vermont (north enough you think?) and feast my eyes on the photos below. Might even help me to think it’s cooler here than it is. I could be happy to live someplace where daytime temps stayed in the 75-85 degree range. But, here take a look.

Location Unknown
Marion County, Oregon
Location Unknown

Just a Pretty Leaf
  


The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a copy of Christmas Roses by Amanda Cabot is Pam K. I'll email you to get your mailing address and get the book out to you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.


Till next time … keep on smiling.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Win a Book!


Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, October 14, 2012 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book I review below. If you mention in your comment that you’re a new or old follower (see in the left column “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I’ll add your name a second time in the drawing. You can read details about my book giveaways  here.     



Christmas Roses by Amanda Cabot


Amanda Cabot is a popular speaker and the author of Paper Roses, Scattered Petals, Tomorrow’s Garden, and Summer of Promise, as well as a number of novels under various pen names. She’s an avid traveler who finds inspiration for new stories in her travels and enjoys sharing new parts of the country with her readers. A former Easterner, she now lives in Wyoming.

From the book’s back cover:
Celia Anderson doesn’t have a husband on her Christmas wish list. But when a traveling carpenter finds lodging at her boardinghouse, she admits that she might remarry if she found the right man—the kind of man who would bring her roses for Christmas. It would take a miracle, though, to find roses during a harsh Wyoming winter.

But Christmas, after all, is the time for miracles . . .

From Jo:
Amanda Cabot gives us a sweet love story that takes a while for the parties to realize it. Celia Anderson, a widow for a year, receives advice from the parson’s wife and others that her baby needs a father and she needs a husband. But Celia has no desire or plan to remarry. To help her get by financially she turns her house into a boardinghouse but has few boarders. Her new boarder is mighty good looking but is not forthcoming about his anger and hate. Amanda's characters and story are memorable.


Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, October 14, 2012 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of Christmas Roses by Amanda Cabot. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. Please, please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address.


Till next time … keep on smiling.

Monday, October 8, 2012

This 'n That

Monday Musings on This 'N That

I want to share with you today some verse that I tucked away some fifty years ago in a small notebook and found a few days ago. I hope some will make you think and I'm almost sure some will make you smile.


"Psychiatrists say that girls tend to marry
men like their fathers. Now we know why
mothers cry at weddings."
Changing Times magazine
_____


"It is my joy in life to find 
At every turning of the road
The strong arm of a comrade kind
To help me onward with my load.
And, since I  have not gold to give 
And love alone must make amends
My only prayer is, while I live,
God, make me worthy of my friends."
Frank D. Sherman
_____


"Life is like an onion; you peel it off one layer
at a time, and sometimes you weep."
Henry David Thoreau

_____

"Remember that life is made up of loyalty:
loyalty to your friends; loyalty to things
beautiful and good; loyalty to the country in
which you life; and, above all, for this holds
all other loyalties together, loyalty to God."
Queen Mary to her granddaughter,
Queen Elizabeth II of England
_____


"Too poor to paint and too
proud to whitewash."
"Beverly Hillbillies" TV

_____

"I will govern my life and my thoughts, as if
the whole world were to see the one and
to read the other."
Seneca
_____


"Keeping house is like stringing beads
with no knot in the end of the string."
Citizen-Journal newspaper
Arlington, Texas
_____


"The miserable have no other medicine
but only hope."
Claudio in Measure for Measure
III, i, 2
_____


"A husband wants his wife to be
perfect and to understand why he isn't."
Knoxville Journal, TN newspaper
_____


"You may delay, but time will not."
Benjamin Franklin
_____

"And this, too, shall pass."
Favorite of Joanne Woodward
_____

"What is once loved
You will find
Is always yours
From that day.
Take it home
In your mind
And nothing ever
Can take it away."
Elizabeth Coatsworth
_____

"Make the most of yourself, for
that is all there is of you."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
_____

"Aim above morality. Be not
simply good; be good for something."
Henry David Thoreau
_____

"I would rather walk in the dark with
God Than go alone in the light;
I would rather walk with Him
by faith
Than to walk alone by sight."
Mary Gardner Brainard


I did it! I got my Jamie Lee Curtis haircut and forgot to show y'all my photo. So here's the before and after. Completely not professional photography. Of course I look more pleasant in the before because I'm at my favorite place to be--the beach. I have thick skin so please let me know which you like best, if you want to.

Before


After




The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a copy of A Heart Made New by Kelly Irvin is Wendy. I'll email you to get your mailing address and get the book out to you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.


Till  next time ... keep on smiling.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Win a Book!

Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing


When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, October 7, 2012 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book I review below. If you mention in your comment that you’re a new or old follower (see in the left column “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I’ll add your name a second time in the drawing. You can read details about my book giveaways here.


A Heart Made New by Kelly Irvin
Book Two in the Bliss Creek Amish series

Kelly Irvin is a Kansas native and has been writing professionally for 25 years. She and her husband, Tim, make their home in Texas. They have two children, three cats, and a tankful of fish. A public relations professional, Kelly is also the author of two romantic suspense novels and writes short stories in her spare time. To learn more about her work, visit her website.


From the book's back cover:
How Can You Wait on God's Plan When Heaven Seems Silent?

It's summertime in Bliss Creek, and Annie Shirack is trying to fight her feelings for David Plank, a young Amish man who's fighting an aggressive case of Hodgkin's lymphoma. David loves Annie too much to let her into his life, only, he fears, to leave her.

In the middle of her own struggles, Annie meets a homeless young woman named Charisma and her three-year-old daughter, Gracie. Annie welcomes the newcomers into the Shirack household and tries to help them establish a new life. But all the good deeds in the world can't change the ache in Annie's heart...or help her forget the man she loves.

From Jo:
This Amish story has twists and turns to keep you turning pages and also tangles to make you believe the characters are real. Several of the Amish in this story work in town where they are exposed to the local Englisch residents who don't understand Amish standards. This story gives the reader family, relationships, heartache, and forgiveness. A couple of the characters in the story you love at times and then at other times, you'd like to shake some sense into them. It's a good read with strong, memorable characters.


Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, October 7, 2012 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of A Heart Made New by Kelly Irvin. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. Please, please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address.


Till next time ... keep on smiling.

     

Monday, October 1, 2012

What's Your Favorite?


Monday Musings on This 'N That

Most of us know that birds migrate, moving from one location to another. Do you know that butterflies also migrate? Some butterflies can travel up to 2000 miles, from Canada to the coastal areas of the Gulf of Mexico and northern Caribbean spots. Butterflies west of the Rocky Mountains usually migrate to Texas and Central America and California. Those east of the Rocky Mountains migrate to the Gulf Coast and then to Mexico.

Monarch butterfly
If you live in the South U.S., October is a good month to see many of these yellow specimens. This year I began seeing them in September where I live. They don’t travel in great bunches or waves as do the Monarchs. They seem to move alone, slowly without purpose or direction.
Yellow butterfly

But they do have direction; they are migrating southward, usually to Mexico. As they reach the Gulf of Mexico coast they appear in larger numbers. They are good at following a course of travel as long as the coast is in sight, but still they go across the gulf waters toward Mexico. I’ve been told they rest along the journey on boats, ships, or even briefly on large fish that swim close to the water’s surface. They spend the winter in the moderate climate in Mexico and begin their trek back northward in early spring, somehow knowing that the temperatures will be favorable to them.
The butterfly is another one of God’s precious little creations. He watches over them even as they migrate with the aid of their own GPS gift from God. Just as merry-go-rounds can be enjoyed by adults, I never tire of watching butterflies, especially the little yellow ones.


The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a copy of Twice Promised by Maggie Brendan is Jes. I'll email you to get your mailing address and get the book out to you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.




Till next time … keep on smiling.