Monday, December 19, 2011

Wedding Bells and Christmas Bells

The month of December is especially joyous (and busy!) for my family this year. Earlier this month we were blessed to have my oldest daughter's Wedding, and the day was perfect! ~ Now we're preparing to celebrate Christmas---which is my most favorite holiday. Since I was so busy with wedding plans, I waited until after my daughter's wedding to really "dive into" my Christmas activities. But instead of feeling pressured and fretting about having everything done by a certain time, I've decided I'll keep doing the best I can, and really ENJOY the Christmas season. It really doesn't matter if some folks receive their Christmas cards a day or so after December 25, or if I don't get to bake quite as many cookies as I usually do. What matters is that I stay FOCUSED on the true meaning of this special time: Celebrating my Savior's birth! ~ And as I re-read the Christmas story from my Bible, I'm still in awe of what happened those many years ago---and so very thankful for that most precious Baby born in a stable. ~ For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Return unto Him!

As I was searching for a particular Bible verse this morning, another verse caught my eye and seemed to "jump out" at me! I read and re-read this verse, and couldn't help but think how so many Scripture verses apply directly to our world today. This is from II Chronicles 30:9: ...for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away His face from you, if ye return unto Him. ~ If you listen to the news, it can be downright frightening. Not only crime in your own city, but hearing about the strife among so many countries--and in particular--how certain countries are so against our U.S. ~ I feel very strongly that as Christians we need to pray earnestly for our country each day (and pray for our leaders!). And as the Scripture above states, we need to RETURN UNTO HIM!!! May I always do the best I can to pray for my country and live a life that honors my Lord.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Trivia Tuesday

I'm writing this late Tuesday night, but by the time I finish it will most likely be Wednesday! Below are a few more bits of trivia that I found interesting. I'm not sure why I've always enjoyed trivia---maybe because some of it is amazing, and some is downright silly! ~ Okay, here's another list of Trivia from CatMom:
A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.
Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.
In England, the Speaker of the House is not allowed to speak during a debate.
The average person's left hand does 56% of the typing on a keyboard.
Cats have over 100 vocal sounds, while dogs have only 10.
Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated. (Who knew? Haha)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

To Have and To Hold

Historical romance is my absolute favorite genre to read (and write!). So I want to share another wonderful book I've recently read written by two wonderful authors I've had the honor of meeting in person (and they are both precious!). To Have and To Hold, co-written by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller is set on the Georgia coast in the late 1800s. Since that happens to be my family's favorite vacation spot, this book was extra-special to me. The authors did a fabulous job of capturing the landscape of that area, and the characters "came alive" as I read the intriguing story set on a fictional island (near the real Jekyll Island). Tracie and Judy also did a fabulous job of providing a very good balance of action, romance, and even bits of suspense throughout the story. If you're a fan of historical fiction, be sure and look for To Have and To Hold (which has a GORGEOUS cover too!). Highly recommended!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Amazing Autumn (and some good books too!)

Even though each season is special, I must say that Autumn is my very favorite. Maybe because summers are so hot and humid where I live, and it feels so refreshing when the weather turns cool. Or it might be because the trees in my area turn beautiful shades of crimson, yellow and orange. But whatever the reason, I have to say that to me....Autumn is amazing! I'm always in awe of the Lord's handiwork in the Fall colors and the bright blue skies of October. ~ One thing I love to do in this season is read on my front porch. Feeling the crisp, cool breezes blowing and hearing my front-yard birds chirping create a relaxing atmosphere and I become totally immersed in a good book. Two good books I recently purchased are The Captain's Mission by author Debby Giusti, and Oklahoma Reunion by author Tina Radcliffe. Both of these are Love Inspired books, which releases new titles each month. Since these are October releases, they won't be around too long, so hurry to your local Walmart or bookstore to purchase them. Then find a relaxing spot and enjoy these books---and Autumn!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Trivia Tuesday

Do you enjoy reading trivia or playing trivia-related games? I do! For some reason, I've always enjoyed learning little tidbits of knowledge (well...some trivia might not actually be considered knowledge, LOL). But trivia has been interesting to me, and sometimes downright fascinating! I decided that I'll try posting some trivia on my little blog one Tuesday each month---just for fun. I hope any readers who stop by will enjoy these little bits of information! *Also, I obtained these from various sites on the internet, and am assuming them to be true.* TRIVIA FROM CATMOM:

Goldfish have a memory span of 3 seconds.

It's impossible to sneeze with your eyes open!

Almonds are a member of the peach family.

A cat's ears can pivot 180 degrees.

Maine is the only state whose name is just one


Over 20,000 books have been written on the

game of chess.

There are more chickens than people in the

world. * Hmmmm....I was a little skeptical

about this one!*

Friday, September 30, 2011

Author Sandra Orchard's First Book!

Christian author (and a dear friend of mine) Sandra Orchard has her debut novel out this month, and I'm so thrilled for her! Deep Cover is a romantic suspense published by Love Inspired and is available at many chain stores and bookstores (my local Walmart had several copies). I'm reading the book now and loving it! ~ Sandra is a wife, mother, and grandmother who lives in Ontario, and in addition to being an awesome author she's a sweetheart. She's also been (and continues to be) a wonderful encouragement to me in my own writing journey. ~ Look for Deep Cover now - - and also look for future Sandra Orchard suspense novels. CONGRATULATIONS Sandra!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Whisper of Peace

Christian author Kim Vogel Sawyer continues to be one of my VERY favorite authors, so I wanted to share a book I've just finished reading. A Whisper of Peace is an excellent read---especially if you enjoy historical romance. ~ This story is set in Alaska in the late 1800s, and was never dull. I don't want to give any "spoilers" but I'll say it follows a missionary and a native young woman and the trials they experience. The characters, action, and the message of sweet redemption made this a wonderful story, which I highly recommend!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fragrant Reminders

Isn't it amazing how a certain smell or scent can evoke memories for us? Of course, the happy memories are the ones we like (and the pleasant scents too!). Yesterday I was grocery-shopping and spied a loaf of cinnamon bread. I didn't purchase it, but had to pick it up and sniff it through the plastic--it looked sooo yummy. Sure enough, it smelled as yummy as it looked, and suddenly in my mind I was transported back to when my three children were little, and thoughts of the cozy house we lived in then. For some reason, that particular cinnamon-bread smell made me think of our kitchen and those happy times when my children were very young (I was blessed to be a "stay-at-home" Mom for a while). Maybe it's because I baked a good bit when the children and I were at home (which we were most of the time), but whatever the reason that's where my thoughts traveled as I stood in the middle of the bakery section of the store. When I realized I had tears in my eyes (*sigh* I'm such an emotional Mom) I hastily set the cinnamon bread back on the shelf and forced myself to focus on finishing my shopping. Thankfully no one I knew was in the store then, because they might've wondered why I had tears while shopping in the bakery! ~ Later yesterday I thought back to that very small incident in the store, and it made me realize just how powerful our senses can be. Is there a particular fragrance that makes you think of a sweet memory?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Surprise Seeds

Oh my! This summer has been zipping by way too quickly, and I cannot believe it's been over a month since I've posted a blog*sigh*. But I wanted to share about my "surprise seeds"---an old packet of seeds I found in May and decided to plant. Since they were old, I almost tossed the packet into the trash, but am SO glad I didn't! I planted them in an extra flower pot I had, watered them, and set them on my front steps so they'd receive lots of afternoon sun. A couple weeks later, I was thrilled to see tiny green plants peeking through the dirt. I continued to water them, and now--in late July--I'm very happy to say I have a lovely pot of bright yellow flowers! The picture above (a zinnia) is very similar to my flowers, so I'm thinking they must be in the zinnia family (I didn't save the packet they came in, but I remember the words "mixture" on the packet!). I've decided that these particular flowers have flourished in the bright sun on my front porch steps. As I thought about those words earlier today, it occurred to me that Christians can also flourish, but we "flourish in the SON"! If we strive to live the kind of life we should, and do what the Lord would have us to do, then we will surely flourish as we serve Him. So as I continue enjoying the lovely yellow flowers on my porch, I'll remember that I need to stay in the light of the Son, if I'm to truly flourish and live a fruitful life. a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. Psalm 103:15

Thursday, June 23, 2011

One Year Ago....

It's hard to believe it has been exactly one year ago that I entered a major Atlanta hospital for what was supposed to be three spinal surgeries. Due to some serious complications, my neurosurgeon had to bring me out of anesthesia during the 3rd procedure, let me rest for five days, and then finish correcting my spine (resulting in a total of 4 surgeries in an 8-day period!). Yes, it was truly the roughest time I've ever been through. BUT....I wasn't alone. The Lord was with me the entire time, and I felt His presence beside me even during long, agonizing nights. I also knew there were countless people praying for me---not only precious family and friends, but folks I didn't even know! I am convinced those prayers helped me through that ordeal and through the long healing process after I returned home. God is sooo GOOD! ~ As rough as that time was, I look back now and see so many blessings that came during (and after) that time in my life. The care and kindness of not only family and friends, but also the hospital staff helped to ease the pain and fear during my hospital stay and recuperation. ~ As I prepared myself for that experience, I clung to a verse from the book of Isaiah. That verse will always be special to me, and I praise the Lord for His protection and comfort in all the trials of life. ~ Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10

Friday, June 3, 2011

National Doughnut Day

YAY! At last, I have a legitimate excuse to eat my favorite: a creme-filled doughnut! Mmmmm.... ~ It's true that I've never met a doughnut I didn't like. Several years ago my husband made that comment about me, and although I laughed at the time, later I realized how very true his words were. ~ So if you're a doughnut-lover like me, go ahead and indulge today, and ENJOY every yummy bite!

Monday, May 30, 2011

May We Never Forget...

Since today is Memorial Day, I wanted to briefly share a thought that has been on my heart. So many of us (myself included) tend to take for granted our freedoms in this great country. We don't mean to, but we are so blessed with an excess of not only material possessions, but the freedoms we have everyday. As we honor the men and women who have served (and continue to serve) our United States of America, may we never forget the price so many have paid, so that we can continue to enjoy our freedoms and blessings. MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS AMERICA!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Officer's Secret

Christian author Debby Giusti has written a wonderful suspense book that I highly recommend! The Officer's Secret is a captivating story set at a fictional military base here in Georgia. Although I normally read historical and contemporary romance stories, I thoroughly enjoyed reading a suspense book. Debby Giusti's style of writing kept me turning pages and eager to see what happened next! ~ Even if you don't usually read suspense (and especially if you DO!) I'd encourage you to hurry and get this book while it's available (in my area the Walmart and Kroger stores carry it). The Officer's Secret is in the LOVE INSPIRED line of books, so should be easy to locate in your store. ~ On a personal note, Debby Giusti is not only a talented author but a precious lady (and prayer warrior!) as well. I look forward to reading many more of her books!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sunflowers and Squirrels

I LOVE sunflowers!! And (this may sound crazy, I know)....I LOVE squirrels! Well, maybe I shouldn't say "love"---but I think they're cute, and I feed them well on my deck. After all, they entertain me with their antics as they chase each other and sprawl on my deck railing as if they're sunbathing. ~ Last year I planted some sunflower seeds in a nice, sunny spot in my backyard. Sadly nothing ever happened. I decided that some of the squirrels must've dug up the seeds for a meal, and I accepted the fact that the only sunflowers I'd ever have would be the artificial ones in my home (I use a "sunflower" theme in my kitchen).

About six weeks ago I noticed a weed growing in a large discarded flower pot on my deck. The pot is filled with dirt and had once housed a plant that's no longer with us, but I'd figured the large flower pot would be useful one day. I started to go out and pull the weed out of the dirt, but was curious as to how tall it would grow, so I let it be. Each week the "weed" grew taller, the stem sturdier, and the large green leaves seemed to be quite healthy. Could it be a sunflower? I looked on the internet at different types of sunflowers and compared the leaves with the ones in the pot on my deck. A few days later a beautiful sunflower bloomed in that flower pot---not a weed, but a SUNFLOWER!!! Needless to say, I was thrilled! I decided that perhaps my squirrels felt guilty about digging up my seeds last year, so they planted some seeds for me in that discarded pot. ~ More blooms have appeared, and it's been an unexpected blessing as I've enjoyed the gorgeous bright yellow blooms from my kitchen window. ~ This has reminded me of how the Lord gives us unexpected blessings in life. Sometimes when we least expect it, He blesses us in a special way. May I always be thankful for ALL my blessings, and may I remember to give thanks to Him!

Monday, May 9, 2011

My Interview!

I am sooo excited and honored! Author Keli Gwyn has interviewed me for her blog: Romance Writers on the Journey, and my interview will be posted at 7 p.m. Eastern time on May 9. The link is: ~ I think it's wonderful that Keli interviews writers who are yet unpublished. Doing this has really made me feel special!! Thanks, Keli!! :)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Blessings

I've always loved Easter, and always will. For the Christian, this holiday is the most wondrous of all---because we are reminded of the most wonderful news we could ever hope to hear: Our Saviour conquered death, and lives forever!!! And.....we will live forever with Him! It just doesn't get any better than that. ~ So today as I dyed Easter eggs with my precious children (a tradition we love) and went about my usual "day before Easter" activities, I made certain to keep these thoughts at the forefront of my mind: Christ triumphed over death, He loves me and has forgiven all my sins, and I will live forever with Him. Praise the Lord for these most precious blessings! ~ He is not here: for He is risen. Matthew 28:6

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Christmas Cactus for Easter!

The first Christmas after my precious mother went to Heaven, some friends gave me a lovely Christmas Cactus. Since I love plants, I was thrilled (and had fond memories of the dozens and dozens of beautiful plants my mother had grown--including a Christmas Cactus). So, being determined to not only keep the plant alive but also get it to re-bloom, I made certain to keep it watered and have it setting in a prime spot to get the sun it needs. I was thrilled the first time it bloomed at Christmas, but then the plant went two years with no blooms. However, I was encouraged the next Thanksgiving when it again bloomed. ~ Now as we are in the Easter season, my Christmas Cactus has begun blooming again! I am thrilled, since the blooms are a gorgeous shade of fushia and are so pretty. (The picture I've included above isn't my plant, but mine is very similar---just a little larger!) ~ Every morning when I open the window blinds where that plant is setting, I praise the Lord for this little "unexpected gift" of beauty that brightens my day! ~ It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord....Psalm 92:1

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Highly Recommended Reading!

Bethany House Publishing company recently sent me some books to read and review, and I wanted to share them with others. The first one is a compilation of works that inspired the life of A.W. Tozer and is titled: From The Library of A.W. Tozer compiled by James Stuart Bell. After I received this book in the mail, I became SO excited---it was like getting a "treasure chest" in the mail! This book is filled with inspiring, thought-provoking writings by great Christians such as D.L. Moody, Martin Luther, and John Wesley, just to name a few. I cannot wait to tell my Pastor about this wonderful book! ~ The other book I received is The Whole Bible Story by Dr. William H. Marty. I'm also excited about this book, as it tells the Bible story in "plain, simple English." The author explains in the Introduction that he hopes this book will encourage people to read the Bible, and I really believe it will. From Creation to Revelation, the Bible story is clearly written in this book. I'm looking forward to sharing this with family and friends!

Monday, March 14, 2011

MARCHing into Spring!

It's mid-March and the Spring season is definitely making an appearance here in Georgia (although according to the calendar it's not officially Spring yet!). Even though I can truthfully say I enjoy ALL 4 seasons, it's always so nice when our bare trees start displaying buds and blooms--not to mention daffodils popping up in clusters, the forsythia (yellow bell) bushes covered with buttery-yellow blooms, and the birds greeting me with a chirpy concert everytime I'm outside. I LOVE it!! Now that I'm no longer teaching school, I have much more time to appreciate each season--and notice all the "little things" that make each one so special. Not that I didn't enjoy the seasons when my life was hectic, but it is nice now to be able to just stop and breathe in all the signs of Spring! ~ Wherever you live, I wish you a wonderful Spring season--with many reasons to feel renewed and joyful. ~ The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handiwork. Psalm 19:1

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tombstone, Arizona

I recently read another delightful book by Christian author Miralee Ferrell, and highly recommend it. Love Finds You in Tombstone, Arizona takes place in 1881, and is filled with plenty of action, excitement, and romance. The author makes it easy to visualize the characters and scenery in your mind, and the ending of the story is very satisfying. I've read Miralee Ferrell's other books and have certainly enjoyed them, but this one is definitely my favorite of her books! ~ If you're a fan of historical romance, be sure to read Love Finds You in Tombstone, Arizona by Miralee Ferrell. You won't be disappointed!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Courting Miss Amsel

Christian fiction author Kim Vogel Sawyer has written another wonderful historical novel that I highly recommend. Courting Miss Amsel is a delightful read that I thoroughly enjoyed! The story takes place in Nebraska in 1882, and follows a small-town schoolmarm as she strives to do the very best job she can. Her trials and victories come alive on the pages---as do all the characters. The ending of this wonderful story left me thinking (yet AGAIN!) how much I enjoy ALL of Kim Vogel Sawyer's writing. She truly brings the past alive for her readers, and that's why she remains at the top of my "Favorite Authors" list!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Winter Thoughts

There have been lots of comments lately about the Winter weather. Here in Georgia we've had our share of cold, rain, and even some snow and ice. But I'm sure folks in other areas of the country would consider our "bad" weather very mild! Something I've noticed---both in conversations and on Facebook postings---is that many folks are just TIRED of Winter. They're ready for nicer, warmer weather and Spring! And I must confess that I'm also really looking forward to seeing my trees have buds and green leaves, my azalea bushes flowering, and slightly warmer temperatures. ~ However, I'm reminded of my precious late Mama's words when I was younger: Don't wish your life away by being in such a hurry! ~ So I know it's fine to anticipate our lovely Georgia Springtime, but meanwhile I'll enjoy each day of Winter that remains---and know that God is in control and He has a purpose for each season. ~ To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Thanksgiving in January

Yesterday when writing a check in the grocery store, the date seemed to startle me: January 28! Already the month of January is almost gone for this year--how can that be? Didn't we just have Christmas? ~ Later in the day I once again thought about how quickly this month is zipping by, and I also thought about the different "types" of days I've experienced this month. There have been many "sunshine" days--when I've enjoyed special times with family or friends, or received a good report from my doctor. But there have also been "dreary" days--when my physical state and emotions seemed to match the gray, dreary weather we were having that day. But I always have to remember that if we never had those dreary days, we wouldn't fully appreciate the sunshine! ~ So I must remember to be thankful even for the dreary days and make the most of them, because every day is special and a gift from God. So I will try to greet each morning with a thankful heart and make the most of that day--whether the sun is shining or not!