Archive for December, 2008

Word Filled Wednesday

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I took this photo a few weeks ago of the sun setting and thought it was perfect for the last WFW photo of the year.
 

The verse…now that is something I hope we remember every day next year.  We have nothing to be fearful of because He has redeemed us.  But not only that but He has summoned us by name.  He knows my name, He knows your name.  And most importantly we are HIS.  As we embark on this New Year I can think of nothing better to remember.

 

I hope that your 2009  is full of His wondrous love and the knowledege that YOU ARE HIS.

For more WFW goodness visit Amy Deanne.

Much Love,

The Day After

December 26.
Bah Humbug!

I dislike the day after Christmas. There is such anticipation building up to Christmas….from the day after Thankgiving until Christmas Day we are overwhelmed with Christmas…movies, music, lights, decorations…stuff I love.

And then at midnight…no more movies, no more music, most people turn off their lights and start taking down their decorations until next year.

All that excitement and in one day…it’s gone until next year.

And yet I do it again and again every year… and I look forward to it!

I am not a fan of anticipation sometimes…because sometimes anticipation can come with disappointment.

It reminds me of my relationship with Christ sometimes. I pray and ask Him for something…sometimes something small and sometimes something I know He may say no, or even wait for.

And I let the anticipation build….I mean He is God right and He loves me and wants me happy…so of course He is going to give me what I want….Right?

And then the answer comes and I don’t like it. At all.

So I stop praying some and I may skip my time with Him…and slowly my relationship with Him starts to deteriorate.

I realized my pattern earlier this year and thought…Wow when did God become my wish granter instead of my Father who loves me.

I am not one to ask for something from God very often…I would just rather be thankful than request something. But when I did ask for something I expected God to cater to my whims.

So over the last few months I have had to change my prayer life. Umm wow is that hard. I get set in my ways and don’t want to change them.

But I have. I only want what He has for me. And I also have realized it is not about happiness but about contentedness. He has plans for me, wonderful plans, and I kept getting in the way.

Now I want His best as my best.

I, no We, are working on this, together. Just as it should be in a relationship.

And I must say… that relationship? It is getting sweeter every day.

So while I may be disappointed today it once again reminds me of how things could be and how they are now.

And I rejoice in knowing He is changing me….one day at a time.

To YOU…


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Favorite Christmas Ornament…

Kim over at Rainy Day Diamonds (don’t you just love that blog name!) had a fun idea to share your favorite Christmas ornament. I shared about one of my favorites last week so I thought I would share my other favorite this week. This is my favorite “fun” ornament!

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I am not sure where it came from but I love it. I adore anything with the Peanuts gang on it. I was thrilled to find Charlie Brown wrapping paper this year.

So now you know my favorite ornament now go join the fun HERE!

Word Filled Wednesday (on Tuesday!)

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This is not really what I had planned for this week but over and over the last few days the Words of John 1 have come to me. And then I could think of no better way to celebrate Christmas Word Filled Wednesday than with this verse. The Word that we so love and celebrate was also Jesus. I cannot think of anything more powerful to know about the Word of God than to know He became flesh and lived among us. He did not have to…but He did.

To know that the Word we celebrate every week was in the beginning and with God and was God.

I hope as we read the story of our Savior’s birth over the next few days we are reminded that the words we are reading are living and active…

For more WFW visit Amy Deanne!

God in the Small Stuff

At one point in my life I worked at a Christian bookstore. Today that sounds like a slice of heaven. At that time it was not. I had been running from God for a few years and the job just sort of fell in my lap…so I worked at a Christian bookstore without a real relationship with Christ. I remember constantly seeing these books called God is in The Small Stuff. By Bruce and Stan. There were several different books…and I remember thinking to my self…God in the small stuff….yeah right. Like He Cares.

And then we have this week. And this year.

God is an everyday presence and help in our lives and He is constantly around us. The leaf spinning down from the ground, the sunrise, the sunset. These are all beautiful things we can see.

He also gets personal in those small things. For me this week has been about the small things.

An unexpected Christmas card in the mail.
A last day of work that went so smoothly….i was worried it did go so smoothly…haha!
A sweet hug from a little girl with a big heart.
The teen girls I work with playing with photobooth on my computer…and laughing.
LAUGHTER!
A blog comment from someone who stumbled on my blog…it gave me HOPE.
Christmas music, Christmas movies.
Giving gifts to those I care about…and this is just the beginning of the gift giving.
A heartfelt wish of a Merry Christmas by a cashier.
A beautiful Cantata about the love of a Savior who came as a sweet baby
Lunch with some of my dearest friends

and the list could go on…

Oh the little things. They remind us we are loved and cared for by the Creator of the universe. He cares enough to be in the small things. If He cares so much for the small things imagine how much He cares for the big things in our lifes. If we give them Him…

He is faithful.

Always.

Before the Season Ends by Linore Rose Burkard

I was so excited to receive this book! I love Jane Austenesque romances! I have not had a chance to read it yet but I will over the next two weeks off from work…so look for a review soon :o)

It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book’s FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Before the Season Ends

Harvest House Publishers (December 1, 2008)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Linore Rose Burkard lives with her husband, five children, and ninety-year-old grandmother in southeastern Ohio. She homeschooled her children for ten years. Raised in New York, she graduated magna cum laude from the City University of New York (Queens College) with a Bachelor of Arts in English literature. Ms. Burkard wrote Before the Season Ends because she could not find a book like it anywhere. “There are Christian books that approach this genre,” she says, “but they fall short of being a genuine Regency. I finally gave up looking and wrote the book myself.” She has begun four other works of fiction in the category.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $ 12.99
Paperback: 348 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (December 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736925511
ISBN-13: 978-0736925518

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Chesterton, Hertfordshire

England

1813

Something would have to be done about Ariana.

All winter Miss Ariana Forsythe, aged nineteen, had been going about the house sighing.

“Mr. Hathaway is my lot in life!”

She spoke as though the prospect of that life was a great burden to bear, but one which she had properly reconciled herself to. When her declarations met with exasperation or reproach from her family—for no one else was convinced Mr. Hathaway, the rector, was her lot—she usually responded in a perplexed manner. Hadn’t they understood for an age that her calling was to wed a man of the cloth? Was there another man of God, other than their rector, available to her? No. It only stood to reason, therefore, that Mr. Hathaway was her lot in life. Their cold reception to the thought of the marriage was unfathomable.

When she was seventeen, (a perfectly respectable marrying age) she had romantic hopes about a young and brilliant assistant to the rector, one Mr. Stresham. It was shortly after meeting him, in fact, that she had formed the opinion the Almighty was calling her to marry a man of God. Mr. Stresham even had the approval of her parents. But the man took a situation in another parish without asking Ariana to accompany him as his wife. She was disappointed, but not one to give up easily, continued to speak of “the calling,” waiting in hope for another Mr. Stresham of sorts. But no man came. And now she had reached the conclusion that Mr. Hathaway–Mr. Hathaway, the rector, (approaching the age of sixty!) would have to do.

Her parents, Charles and Julia Forsythe, were sitting in their comfortably furnished morning room, Julia with a cup of tea before her, and Charles with his newspaper. A steady warmth was emanating from the hearth.

“What shall we do about Ariana?” Mrs. Forsythe, being an observant mama, had been growing in her conviction that the situation called for some action.

“What do you suggest, my dear?” Her husband reluctantly folded his paper; he knew his wife wanted a discussion of the matter and that he would get precious little reading done until she had got it.

She held up a folded piece of foolscap: the annual letter from Agatha Bentley, Charles’s sister, asking for Alberta, the eldest Forsythe daughter, for the season in London. It had arrived the day before.

Aunt Bentley was a childless wealthy widow and a hopeless socialite. For the past three years she had written annually to tell her brother and his wife why they ought to let her sponsor their eldest daughter for a London season. She owned a house in Mayfair (could anything be more respectable than that?) and knew a great deal of the big-wigs in society. She had, in fact, that most important of commodities which the Forsythes completely lacked: connexions. And as Charles’s family were her only living relatives, she was prepared–even anxious–to serve as chaperon for her niece.

Much to the lady’s frustration, Julia and Charles had annually extinguished her hopes, replying to her letters graciously but with the inevitable, “We cannot countenance a separation from our child at this time,” and so on. Charles was unflinching on this point, never doubting his girls would reap a greater benefit by remaining beneath his own roof. They knew full well, moreover, that Aunt Agatha could not hope, with all her money and connexions to find as suitable a husband for their offspring as was possible right in Chesterton.

Why not? For the profound reason that Aunt Bentley had no religion whatsoever.

And yet, due to the distressing state of affairs with Ariana, Julia wished to consider her latest offer. With the letter waving in her hand she said, “I think we ought to oblige your sister this year. She must be lonely, poor thing, and besides removing Ariana from the parish, a visit to the city could prove beneficial for her education.”

Ariana’s father silently considered the matter. His eldest daughter Alberta was as good as wed, having recently accepted an offer of marriage–to no one’s surprise–from John Norledge. Ariana, his second eldest, had been irksome in regard to the rector, but to pack her off to London? Surely the situation was not so dire as to warrant such a move.

“I think there is nothing else for it,” Mrs. Forsythe said emphatically. “Ariana is determined about Mr. Hathaway and, even though we can forbid her to speak to the man, she will pine and sigh and like as not drive me to distraction!”

Taking a pipe out of his waistcoat pocket (though he never smoked), Mr. Forsythe absently rubbed the polished wood in his fingers.

“I recall other fanciful notions of our daughter’s,” he said finally, “and they slipped away in time. Recall, if you will, when she was above certain her destiny was to be a missionary–to America. That desire faded. She fancies this, she fancies that; soon she will fancy another thing entirely, and we shan’t hear another word about the ‘wonderful rector’ again.”

Mrs. Forsythe’s countenance, still attractive in her forties, became fretful.

“I grant that she has had strong…affections before. But this time, my dear, it is a complicated affection for in this case it is the heart of the ah, affected, which we must consider. It has ideas of its own.”

“Of its own?”

Mrs. Forsythe looked about the room to be certain no one else had entered. The servants were so practiced at coming and going quietly, their presence might not be marked. But no, there was only the two of them. She lowered her voice anyway.

“The rector! I do not think he intends to lose her! What could delight him more than a young, healthy wife who might fill his table with offspring?”

Mr. Forsythe shook his head.”Our rector is not the man to think only of himself; he must agree with us on the obvious unsuitability of the match.”

The rector was Thaddeus Admonicus Hathaway, of the Church in the Village Square. Mr. Hathaway was a good man. His sermons were grounded in sound religion, which meant they were based on orthodox Christian teaching. He was clever, and a popular dinner guest of the gentry, including the Forsythes. If these had not been true of him, Mr. Forsythe might have been as concerned as his wife. Knowing Mr. Hathaway, however, Charles Forsythe did not think a drastic action such as sending his daughter to the bustling metropolis of London, was necessary.

Mrs. Forsythe chose not to argue with her spouse. She would simply commit the matter to prayer. If the Almighty decided that Ariana must be removed to Agatha’s house, then He would make it clear to her husband. In her years of marriage she had discovered that God was the Great Communicator, and she had no right to try and usurp that power. Her part was to pray, sincerely and earnestly.

Mr. Forsythe gave his judgment: “I fear that rather than exerting a godly influence upon her aunt, Ariana would be drawn astray by the ungodliness of London society.”

“Do you doubt her so much, Charles? This infatuation with Mr. Hathaway merely results from her youth, her admiration for his superior learning, and especially,” she said, leaning forward and giving him a meaningful look, “for lack of a young man who has your approval! Have you not frowned upon every male who has approached her in the past? Why, Mr. Hathaway is the first whom you have failed to frighten off and only because he is our rector! ‘Tis little wonder a young girl takes a fanciful notion into her head!”

When he made no answer, she added, while adjusting the frilly morning cap on her head, “Mr. Hathaway causes me concern!”

Mr. Forsythe’s countenance was sober. “’Tis my sister who warrants the concern. She will wish to make a match for our daughter–and she will not be content with just any mister I assure you. In addition to which, a girl as pretty as our daughter will undoubtedly attract attention of the wrong sort.”

Julia was flustered for a second, but countered, “Agatha is no threat to our child. We shall say we are sending Ariana to see the sights, take in the museums and so forth. Surely there is no harm in that. A dinner party here or there should not be of concern. And Ariana is too intelligent to allow herself to be foisted upon an unsuitable man for a fortune or title.”

Too intelligent? He thought of the aging minister that no one had had to “foist” her upon. Aloud he merely said, “I shall speak with her tonight. She shall be brought to reason, depend upon it. There will be no need to pack her off to London.”


It’s the 21st, time for the Teen FIRST blog tour! This is the very last Teen FIRST tour as Teen FIRST has merged with FIRST Wild Card Tours. If you wish to learn more about FIRST Wild Card, please go HERE.

and his book:

Amg Publishers (January 22, 2007)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mike Hamel is a seasoned storyteller who has honed his skill over theyears by telling tall tales to his four children. He is the author of several non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles.

Mike and his wife, Susan, live in Colorado Springs, CO. Their four children are now grown and their two grand children will soon be old enough for stories of their own.

From His Blog’s About Me:

I am a professional writer with sixteen books to my credit, including a trilogy of titles dealing with faith and business: The Entrepreneur’s Creed (Broadman, 2001), Executive Influence (NavPress, 2003), and Giving Back (NavPress, 2003). I also edited Serving Two Masters: Reflections on God and Profit, by Bill Pollard (Collins, 2006).


My most enjoyable project to date has been an eight-volume juvenile fiction series called Matterhorn the Brave. It’s based on variegated yarns I used to spin for my four children. They are now grown and my two grandchildren will soon be old enough for stories of their own.

I live in Colorado Springs, Colorado with my bride of 34 years, Susan.

As you read this blog, remember that I’m a professional. Don’t try this level of writing at home. You might suffer a dangling participle or accidentally split an infinitive and the grammarians will be all over you like shoe salesmen on a centipede.

BTW – I have been diagnosed with Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma, an aggressive but treatable form of cancer.

Mike’s Blog, Cells Behaving Badly, is an online diary about Wrestling with Lymphoma Cancer.

To order a signed edition of any of the 6 Matterhorn the Brave books, please visit the Matterhorn the Brave Website!

Product Details

List Price: 9.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 181 pages
Publisher: Amg Publishers (January 22, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0899578330
ISBN-13: 978-0899578330

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Emerald Isle

Aaron the Baron hit the ground like a paratrooper, bending his knees, keeping his balance.

Matterhorn landed like a 210-pound sack of dirt.

His stomach arrived a few seconds later.

He straightened his six-foot-four frame into a sitting position. In the noonday sun he saw they were near the edge of a sloping meadow. The velvet grass was dotted with purple and yellow flowers. Azaleas bloomed in rainbows around the green expanse. The black-faced sheep mowing the far end of the field paid no attention to the new arrivals.

“Are you okay?” the Baron asked. He looked as if he’d just stepped out of a Marines’ recruiting poster. “We’ll have to work on your landing technique.”

“How about warning me when we’re going somewhere,” Matterhorn grumbled.

The Baron helped him up and checked his pack to make sure nothing was damaged. He scanned the landscape in all directions from beneath the brim of his red corduroy baseball cap. “It makes no difference which way we go,” he said at last. “The horses will find us.”

“What horses?”

“The horses that will take us to the one we came to see,” the Baron answered.

“Are you always this vague or do you just not know what you’re doing?”

“I don’t know much, but I suspect this is somebody’s field. We don’t want to be caught trespassing. Let’s go.”

They left the meadow, walking single file through the tall azaleas up a narrow valley. Thorny bushes with loud yellow blossoms crowded the trail next to a clear brook. Pushing one of the prickly plants away, Matterhorn asked, “Do you know what these are?”

“Gorse, of course,” the Baron said without turning.

“Never heard of it.”

“Then I guess you haven’t been to Ireland before.”

“Ireland,” Matterhorn repeated. “My great-grandfather came from Ireland.”

“Your great-grandfather won’t be born for centuries yet.”

Matterhorn stepped over a tangle of exposed roots and said, “What do you mean?”

“I mean we’re in medieval Ireland, not modern Ireland.”

“How can that be!” Matterhorn cried, stopping in his tracks. “How can I be alive before my great-grandfather?”

The Baron shrugged. “That’s one of the paradoxes of time travel. No one’s been able to figure them all out. You’re welcome to try, but while you’re at it, keep a lookout for the horses.”

Matterhorn soon gave up on paradoxes and became absorbed in the paradise around him. The colors were so alive they hurt his eyes. He wished for a pair of sunglasses. Above the garish gorse he saw broom bushes and pine trees growing to the ridge where spectacular golden oaks crowned the slopes. Birdsongs whistled from their massive branches into the warm air. Small animals whispered in the underbrush while larger game watched the strangers from a distance.

The country flattened out and, at times, they glimpsed stone houses over the tops of hedgerows. They steered clear of these and any other signs of civilization. In a few hours, they reached the spring that fed the brook they had been following. They stopped to rest and wash up.

That’s where the horses found them.

There were five strikingly handsome animals. The leader of the pack was from ancient and noble stock. He stood a proud seventeen hands high—five-foot-eight-inches—at the shoulders. He had a classic Roman face with a white star on his wide forehead that matched the white socks on his forelegs. His straight back, sturdy body, and broad hindquarters suggested both power and speed. A rich coppery mane and tail complemented his sleek, chestnut coat.

The Baron held out an apple to the magnificent animal, but the horse showed no interest in the fruit or the man. Neither did the second horse. The third, a dappled stallion, took the apple and let the Baron pet his nose.

“These horses are free,” the Baron said as he stroked the stallion’s neck. “They choose their riders, which is as it should be. Grab an apple and find your mount.”

While Matterhorn searched for some fruit, the leader sauntered over and tried to stick his big nose into Matterhorn’s pack. When Matterhorn produced an apple, the horse pushed it aside and kept sniffing.

Did he want carrots, Matterhorn wondered? How about the peanut butter sandwich? Not until he produced a pocket-size Snickers bar did the horse whinny and nod his approval.

The Baron chuckled as Matterhorn peeled the bar and watched it disappear in a loud slurp. “That one’s got a sweet tooth,” he said.

The three other horses wandered off while the Baron and Matterhorn figured out how to secure their packs to the two that remained. “I take it we’re riding without saddles or bridles,” Matterhorn said. This made him nervous, as he had been on horseback only once before.

“Bridles aren’t necessary,” Aaron the Baron explained. “Just hold on to his mane and stay centered.” He boosted Matterhorn onto his mount. “The horses have been sent for us. They’ll make sure we get where we need to go.”

As they set off, Matterhorn grabbed two handfuls of long mane from the crest of the horse’s neck. He relaxed when he realized the horse was carrying him as carefully as if a carton of eggs was balanced on his back. Sitting upright, he patted the animal’s neck. “Hey, Baron; check out this birthmark.” He rubbed a dark knot of tufted hair on the chestnut’s right shoulder. “It looks like a piece of broccoli. I’m going to call him Broc.”

“Call him what you want,” the Baron said, “but you can’t name him. The Maker gives the animals their names. A name is like a label; it tells you what’s on the inside. Only the Maker knows that.”

Much later, and miles farther into the gentle hills, they made camp in a lea near a tangle of beech trees. “You get some wood,” Aaron the Baron said, “while I make a fire pit.” He loosened a piece of hollow tubing from the side of his pack and gave it a sharp twirl. Two flanges unrolled outward and clicked into place to form the blade of a short spade. Next, he pulled off the top section and stuck it back on at a ninety-degree angle to make a handle.

Matterhorn whistled. “Cool!”

“Cool is what we’ll be if you don’t get going.”

Matterhorn hurried into the forest. He was thankful to be alone for the first time since becoming an adult, something that happened in an instant earlier that day. Seizing a branch, he did a dozen chin-ups; then dropped and did fifty push-ups and a hundred sit-ups.

Afterward he rested against a tree trunk and encircled his right thigh with both hands. His fingertips didn’t touch. Reaching farther down, he squeezed a rock-hard calf muscle.

All this bulk was new to him, yet it didn’t feel strange. This was his body, grown up and fully developed. Flesh of his flesh; bone of his bone. Even hair of his hair, he thought, as he combed his fingers through the thick red ponytail.

He took the Sword hilt from his hip. The diamond blade extended and caught the late afternoon sun in a dazzling flash. This mysterious weapon was the reason he was looking for firewood in an Irish forest instead of sitting in the library at David R. Sanford Middle School.

Faith ‘n Fiction Saturday

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Hello fellow bloggy book readers….Am I glad to be back. I missed this fun meme but I have been taking care of my Mum who had surgery…all is well and she is recovering nicely.

So…

The lovely Amy’s question this week is:

So today’s topic, to wrap up the year…what are your favorite Christian fiction books that you read this year? You can compile your list anyway you like, by genre, ranking, or a favorite book of each month. Be as creative as you like the only requirements are that you read the books this year and that they are Christian fiction.

Well where do I start… so many great books this year it will be hard to narrow it down.

Jessie by Lori Wick...I have long been a fan of Lori Wick and is one of the few authors in which I have every book.

Peculiar Treasures and On A Whim by Robin Jones Gunn…another favorite author and I was so glad she created Katie’s story. I loved the Christy Miller series and am enjoying not only getting to know Katie but to also peek into Christy and Todd’s life as well!

The Ladies of Liberty series by Tracie Peterson. Great series and I have enjoyed reading the whole series this year.

Lessons from the Road by Nigel James. As a Third Day fan this was a must read but it was a fantastic book with a great deal of spiritual depth.

Cast of Characters by Max Lucado. This book is at the top of my list. It was a wonderful book and I will probably be rereading this one again and again.

Only Uni and Single Sashimi by Camy Tang. I was so sad to see this series end! I loved all three books…I will miss the crazy family in these books!

Get Cozy Josey by Susan May Warren. Another favorite author….I have enjoyed every single one of her books and Josey is my favorite character! I will miss Josey and Chase and their crazy adventures!

Love Starts with Elle by Rachel Hauck. I loved this book so much…Elle was such a real character and I really related to her. One of my most favorite reads!

And what was my favorite book of the year…well it was a tie…

A Passion Most Pure and A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman! Of course! Not only did I read two fabulous books but I made my first author friend in Julie. She is one of the sweetest friends and I adore her. Her books are beautifully written and most of all real. Real emotion, real faith, real with the characters bad choices, and real with the characters Redemption. She created flawed characters just as I am and showed that Redemption for the Savior is always possible.

Oh dear I could have kept going. I must say I have been so impressed with the quality of Christian fiction this year. I have read so wonderful books and I am so looking forward to 2009!

For more Faith ‘n Fiction Saturday visit Amy!

Merry Christmas!

Word Filled Wednesday

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I LOVE the book of Isaiah. One reason is that He tells us of our Savior before He was even born… From the Beginning to the End the WORD stands.

The ornament in the photo is one of 6 we have on our tree. Each one has a different word..

Lord, Jesus, Christ, Emmanuel, Redeemer, Savior.

I love to look at our tree and be reminded of my Jesus.

Born a baby, Emmanuel.
Lived as a common man, Jesus.
His blood shed, Redeemer.
Died on a Cross, Christ.
Conquered the grave, Savior.
Ascended to Heaven, LORD.

6 BEAUTIFUL words.

May you be reminded of HIS LOVE today.

For more Word Filled Wednesday please go visit the Lovely Amy Deanne.

Blessings,


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