Thursday, December 18, 2014

When Night Comes by Dan Walsh

I am a huge Dan Walsh fan. I have loved every single book he has penned. This new gem is unlike all his other works. It's something vastly different, but magnificently still Dan Walsh. Love it when a writer takes a new avenue and does something totally opposite of their norm. Dan does't disappoint with this suspense novel. and to know there will be another coming has me excited to see where this new genre takes him.

I promise I will give nothing away about this novel. You won't get any details from me. I want you to pick up this novel and experience in the same way I did. Total excitement!!

The plot unfolds like a movie script on the big screen. Dan certainly takes us on a roller coaster ride. One that you will want to ride over again and again because the thrills just keep coming. 

I have to tell you I was over the top excited when Dan asked if I wanted to be a part of this blog tour introducing his newest gem. Of course I was going to join! I anticipated its arrival and when it finally arrived I couldn't wait to begin reading. I was absolutely captivated!

Once I was into the story I totally got the title. Oh, the things that happen at night. I must share that the history lover in me couldn't get enough. I wanted more of the history. Dan gives such a passionate vision that the reader has the illusion of being present. That's pretty outstanding! 

Fast paced, intriguing, surprising, suspense, friendship, betrayal, and a little romance makes this a novel that will keep you reading into the night. Past and present meet and within that realm lies the thickening plot that threads a story that leaves you wanting more. 

Happy Reading!

This novel was a gift from Dan Walsh for sharing my review with you. 

Dan Walsh is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than a dozen novels including The Unfinished Gift, The Discovery and What Follows After. His books have been  highly reviewed by USA Today and in magazines such as Publishers Weekly, RT Book Reviews and Library Journal. Dan lives and writes in the Daytona Beach area with his wife, Cindi. They have 2 grown children and 3 grandchildren. Find more about Dan at www.danwalshbooks.com 


Strand of Deception by Robin Caroll

"Strand of Deception" is an amazing finish to this outstanding series. I am in love with the Baxters! I have enjoyed getting to know each of them. Now they feel as if they are a family living down the street from me. To walk away from a series feeling such admiration for the characters is a true gift that Caroll has been blessed with. 

You can take a peek at my reviews of, "Injustice for All", and "To Write A Wrong". If you are a lover of suspense you do not want to pass up these unputdownables! 

Throughout this series Caroll gives the reader a quote as each chapter begins. These quotes about been about justice and the scripture she shares truly gets to ponder the Word. In this last addition to the series we get quotes from Elvis! Yes, you heard me right. The main character, Maddie Baxter sings her Elvis songs with passion and Caroll gives us a little of Elvis to ponder. A little quirky, but I'm a girl who loves quirky so it fit just perfect for me. 

We are now getting to know the last of the Baxters. Maddie is that girl who knows who she is and isn't afraid to stand in the truth of her faith. I love that about her. What an example to follow. I love characters given to us that take us on a heart journey. 

Once again we have suspense, love and faith. Caroll weaves it all together simply with perfection. This is a bit of NCIS, CSI, and Blue Bloods. So, if these are some of your favorites you are going to enjoy this novel! Something I love most about this novel is the relationship between the main characters, Maddie Baxter and Nick Hagar. To witness these characters grow as individuals and come together as a couple was beautiful and sweet. 

I mention beautiful and sweet, but this novel revolves around a murder of a young girl. Nothing sweet about that. Caroll is just so gifted. She brings the reader to care about the murdered girl. A girl that we don't get to meet until she has been murdered. Caroll brings the reader to want justice for her and her family. You gotta love seeing bad guys get put away. But before they are put away we are on the edge of our seat as Caroll unravels this novel.

The nerd in me loved this novel. Caroll did her homework before penning this gem. We have interrogations and courtrooms. Characters of all types. Once again the story is fast paced and flows with great energy. The reader is not only curious but involved at this point because you care so much about these characters, these people you have never met except on paper.

Happy Reading!!

This novel was a gift from B&H Publishing Group for sharing my review with you. 

Robin Caroll has authored twelve previous books including the Holt Medallion Award of Merit winner, Deliver Us From Evil. She gives back to the writing community by serving as Conference Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. A proud southerner, Robin lives with her husband, three daughters, and two precious grandsons in Arkansas.

To Write A Wrong by Robin Caroll

Wow! I cannot say that enough. I had started the series with, "Injustice For All", (take a peek at my review). It blew me away. Now I have read, "To Write A Wrong", and I have finished the third book in the series, "Strand of Deception". This has been one amazing series. Robin Caroll is outstanding! I'm so excited that I found her work and can't wait to continue reading her previous novels and catch up. 

We get to follow along with the Baxter family. In this novel we get to know Riley Baxter. Caroll writes in such a way that when you put the book down you feel as though you have found a new friend. She writes with such heart that she allows you to truly care about the characters. 

I loved and admired both of the main characters, Riley Baxter and Hayden Simpson. They stand for truth and are such determined people. They go beyond themselves and reach out to help others, whether it's family, as in Hayden's case, or total strangers, as in Riley's case. These two come together in a way that leaves the reader wanting to see more of them. Their story can only intensify. I just loved it!

In the story line we see Riley struggle with forgiveness. Hayden carries a load from his past, but his present is overtaken by always taking care of others. He feels responsible for being there for others. I think most readers can relate to both of these characters. I love it when a writer pushes me to ponder and especially when I can walk away with a challenge. Riley's character challenged me. Her family faced such devastating realities and she shows us there is a better way than bitterness. 

This was another novel that I didn't want to put down. The story has great fluidity and Caroll does a fantastic job at keeping the reader intrigued. Something I loved in this novel was how important family is. How important it is to come together and be there for one another. 

Riley is a writer and she is working hard to further her career. She gets the chance of a lifetime to write a story that people are going to notice. A front page kind of story. She is hit with a question that knocks her for a loop. She's asked the reason she wants to help in a situation. Is it to further her career or is it to truly help another no matter the cost? This was huge for me and a question for every heart. Our motivation for reaching out should be because of nothing less than love. 

Stay tuned for the final review of book three. If you enjoy suspense, romance and faith all intertwined you are going to love this series! Yes, each of these could be stand alones, but reading them as a series is going to give you so much more joy! 

Happy Reading!

This novel was a gift from B&H Publishing Group for sharing my review with you. 

Robin Caroll has authored twelve previous books including the Holt Medallion Award of Merit winner, Deliver Us From Evil. She gives back to the writing community by serving as Conference Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. A proud southerner, Robin lives with her husband, three daughters, and two precious grandsons in Arkansas.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Nineteen

If I look back at my life at the moment or the year that changed everything it would be when I was nineteen. It's a time in my life I don't share with everyone. I hear the Lord telling me, "It's time My daughter." Are you willing to travel back with me? If so, you just may find yourself within my story. 

At nineteen I didn't know the Lord as my Savior. I knew there was a God, but what I knew of Him wasn't much. As I turned 19 quite a few things happened in my life. My dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. I began attending cosmetology school and I met a man who would change my life forever. 

I was excited to be attending school. The artist in me was coming alive and I enjoyed creating and meeting new people. Making connections with others gives our lives such wonder. My dad was pretty excited for me as well. I often experimented on him as I gave him haircuts. They didn't always turn out the best, but to my dad, they were $100 cuts and he was always willing to praise me for the job I did. He carried my business card in his pocket and shared with everyone where they needed to go for their cuts. Just thinking back to that moment makes me smile. But not all of these moments are smiling moments for me. 

As I dad grew more ill I was falling apart. I was told he was getting better, but that wasn't to be. You know, a girl is always daddy's girl no matter what age she is. At nineteen I was just beginning to know my dad. During my teen years I was pretty much just all about me. But at nineteen I was getting to where I wanted to know more about my dad. We fished together and shared a bond that was unbreakable. 

But during this year of life I was going to be shaken to the core. All I wanted to do was escape. And here came my escape. A man much older. He was already in his thirties. Here is this man bringing roses and taking me to fancy restaurants. He was filling my heart with everything I was needing to escape. I would later marry this man and would be raped by him. For now, that's as much of that story as I can share. As you can imagine that pain still goes very deep. In this same year after being raped I would divorce this man and move back home to spend my dad's remaining months with him. Sadly, there were not enough months to catch up. 

I was broken and bruised and holding in every ounce of pain. I was told, "You have to be strong for your mother. She needs you now more than ever." And you can imagine all the one liners people gave. "In time you will heal and this will be past you." Oh mercy, if they only knew the tremendous amount of pain I was carrying. 

Being raped. I can still go back in the blink of an eye. That moment took something from me that will never be restored. My life would literally be changed by this man and his actions forevermore. I held this in and didn't share with anyone. The one I wanted to share with most of all was my dad and I couldn't. How could I possibly lay more upon him? No, I would be the daughter who would be there and close myself off to the world. 

I had my license now and was working. Visiting my dad daily at the hospital. Going home and doing laundry and endless chores for my mom and no one had a clue. I felt like each day a part of me was dying. How long could I keep up the charade I was living? I was so mixed up. 

I can tell you that the God I knew little of I hated and didn't want to know anymore about Him. If He was really God these things wouldn't be happening to me. At nineteen things should be blossoming. A girl is just becoming a woman, but in so many ways I was still a little girl. I began looking in all the wrong places for something to satisfy my empty heart. My dad now gone life was nothing what I expected it to be. I began making poor choices. Seems like one right after the other and there was nothing that could bring me to even feel something remotely happy. 

But there in a few years would be my girls and they would change my life in ways I never expected. Unexpected blessings that brought me to a new place in my life. Through my daughters I was growing. I was a momma and was so proud of my children. It was me and them and that was enough. But it wasn't. Something was missing. I would still ache. That emptiness still remained as it would creep in when I least expected it. 

At twenty-three I would marry my now husband of almost twenty-five years and He would share Jesus with me. At twenty-four I gave birth to our son and I would accept Christ as my Savior. I can tell you that coming to accept Jesus as my Savior changed my life forevermore in ways that I find hard to explain. I carried a new peace and a faith that I would grow into as each year passed. 

I still held questions about my past. I asked the hard questions to God. The biggest was, "God, why did all those things happen and why did You allow them?" As time has passed one thing I have learned and know with all my heart is that God didn't do those things to me. He didn't cause them. He didn't ordain them. Those were acts of Satan. I believe with all my heart Satan knew I would one day accept Jesus as my Savior and he didn't want that. He was trying to stop me, to destroy me in every possible way. 

But what I find amazing and as tears flow so easily now, even though I didn't know my Savior at nineteen, He knew me. He was near and He was present, guiding me and seeing me through to the place where I would one day accept Him as my Savior. 

Over the years God has given me glimpses of my past where He was with me. I don't have all the answers as to why things happened the way they did, but one thing I do is that God never overlooked me. He knows my entire days. I trust Him and know that if answers are important He will provide those in the perfect time. 

I believe when we share our stories, our intimate moments where life shakes us to the core, we can impact others. Not by anything I have done, but what my Jesus has done for me. I am not the same girl I was at nineteen. Through His forgiveness I am able to forgive the man who hurt me and changed my life forever. That isn't easy and it took me a long time to come to that place of forgiveness. I held anger for many years. But I believe that God understood that anger and in His perfect timing of healing over the years He has grown in me a place of forgiveness. 

God doesn't cause evil in our lives. Many times we blame God for what happens. We don't understand and we certainly don't have answers. Praise Jesus I am in a place of faith and walk with my Savior. I have His promises and His Word. I feel His presence and power. The Holy Spirit lives within me. At nineteen I didn't know Him. I didn't have a relationship with Him. The world sees heartache and trial much different than a Christian. We don't have all the answers, but we do have our Jesus and He is everything. He is enough. He is our hope. He has to be because without Him we have nothing. 

I know God did not ordain the things that has happened to me in my past. But through them He has brought beauty. He has given me an understanding and sympathetic heart. He has given me a heart of mercy and filled me with a desire to look beyond myself and serve the God who took my shame and brought forth a garden of blossoms that continue to grow. 

We have a God a restoration. He uses what Satan intends for evil and takes it to produce beauty. What God has done for me, He too can and will do for you. I don't know what you are facing today, but know that there is a God who wants to be a part of your life. Most of all, He wants you to be a part of His.

"For I know the plans I have for you-this is the Lord's declaration-plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-12


The Savior That Held My Sins Upon The Cross

I am in John 19:25 and following. Jesus is upon the cross. His mother and friend, John are before Him. When we go to the cross and when we read the words that give us explanation about the death of Jesus do we really stay there long? Do we give ourselves enough time there to truly see our Lord who gave Himself for us?

His mother is there. At this point Jesus is not recognizable. His mother knows it her son and her Savior. The sights before her pierced her soul. "And a sword will pierce your own soul-that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." Luke 2:35 This was a mother seeing her child come to His death at the hands of a world that refused to accept Him. This wasn't an easy picture for this mother. One she would never forget. But yet she knew before hand. Nothing could have prepared her for what she would witness.

So, here I am today at the cross. The message I want to share is the sin that Jesus beheld. He was perfect. Tempted, but never sinned. Upon the cross He held my sin. The sins of my past, present, and future. I cannot even comprehend that love. As I look back on my life the sin my life has beheld makes me sick. One man's sin would have been great to hold, but what's even greater and even more loving is that He not only took upon my sin, but the sins of every man and woman on this entire earth. Let that sink into your heart and stay there with me for a while. Every sin was upon Him at once. This is why the Father could not look upon Him, His only Son. The Father cannot look upon evil. And there was His Son filled with the sins of this world, giving up Himself so that we could find life eternal. That isn't something to hold lightly. The cross isn't a place just to spend a bit of time and leave feeling gratitude. It's a place to be broken before our Lord. He experienced the horrors of this world. He seen them before His own eyes. He was willing to not have the cup pass Him, but to drink it and be the Lamb that saved the world. His sacrifice gives us life. Don't miss the magnitude of His love.

Don't for a moment think that another's sin is greater than your own. Friends, our sin is sin. My sin covered my Savior and that breaks my heart. He gave His unconditional love for the world. A world who still refuses Him, but a world He remains to love.

All of us. All of our sins. The murderer, the rapist, the adulterer, the homosexual, the thief, the gossip, the judge and jury, we are all there. Sin is sin and it's all ugly. Shouldn't this change our lives? Shouldn't it change our walk and how we relate to others? Knowing the price of our life was Christ's life, isn't that enough?

We cannot reach Jesus without going to the cross. In His death He gave me life. Not just a life on this earth, but far greater. A life eternal if I accept Him, believe that He died for me and rose again on the third day. Yes, if I accept Jesus as my Savior and ask Him to forgive me of my sins it is then at that moment I become a child of the King, His adopted daughter, an heir to the King of kings, Lord of lords.

Spending time at the cross changes everything doesn't it? Doesn't it help us see that at the cross we are all on equal ground? There is no greater or lesser in us. It's the heart that matters. We either accept Him as Savior or we don't. But we are not going to get to heaven without first visiting the cross and spending time there.

"For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." John 3:16-17




Are You Ready To Jump?

Seven men in boat. Don't you love to picture the Word come to life before your eyes? I love reading the Word and imagining myself right there. Here in John 21 we get to see an image that is life changing. So many lessons jam-packed into one chapter! 

It's early morning. The disciples get the idea to head out and fish for a while. Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James and John, and two others all gather into the boat. Can you imagine the tight squeeze? Here they are with their nets expecting a big catch. Never expecting to see the sight before them. Don't you just love our Unexpecting God? He does the unexpected and we are left in awe of His greatness. 

They are putting in their nets and coming up with nothing. Empty nets do not make for happy fishermen. I can relate. Fishing takes patience. My dad loved to fish and I'm sure that's where I have gained my love for fishing as well. Have you been fishing? Friends gathering together to fish makes for a wonderful portrait. Imagine the conversation around them. Picture the images they must have seen. A cold early morning and there on the edge, feet in the sand, comes a sound. "Men, you don't have any fish, do you?" (John 21:5). "No", they answered."" (John 21:5). Can you imagine them as they are wondering who in the world is speaking to them on such an early morning? Then Jesus says, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat and you'll find some." (John 21:6). What do you their nets became heavy with fish! Jesus knew right where they should be fishing. He had their attention and they followed His command. When we follow Jesus never will be led astray. 

But the story grows. Jesus isn't finished. He has more to share. Always! Our Jesus always has more to share with us. Then John leans in and speaks to Peter. "It is the Lord."(John 21:7) Sometimes when we can't recognize what's right before us the one next to us can. You gotta love sweet friends. This is all Peter had to hear. It didn't take Peter long to plunge in and head for shore. (John 21:7)

This is what I love. Peter didn't care the water was cold. He didn't care if the others were going to follow. All he knew was that he was getting to His Savior as quick as possible. He jumps in with excitement! How often do we jump in? Too many times we are waiting for someone else to take the lead. We are too worried about what others are going to think about us. Peter had it right on this day. Nothing was standing between him and his Savior. He had already denied Him. He had already made mistakes. He wasn't about to make them again. He knew the love of the Savior. He knew His grace, mercy, and forgiveness. He was ready to see and touch his Savior, his friend, once again. 

The rest make it to shore and Jesus says, "Come and have breakfast."  (John 21:12) Breakfast the most important meal of the day. Friendship at its best. I love imagining this scene. They are once again seeing their Savior. Now they will break bread and enjoy fish together. What a beautiful sight for us to imagine. Jesus is still inviting. He is waiting to break bread with us and enjoy breakfast together. Sharing breakfast is intimate and wonderful. There is a closeness and a bond here that should stir our hearts. 

We next can envision the conversation between Jesus and Peter. (John 21:15-23) What I love is that this is John writing what he has witnessed. He sees his Savior and friend together, once again connecting in a way like never before. They are speaking about love and Peter is not denying his Savior here. He is accepting all of Him. Peter is ready for whatever is to come. He has grown so much as a man and an apostle. He is growing into his faith. A beautiful sight. Peter has come back to His Savior and isn't afraid of missing an opportunity to spend with Him. 

In John 21:20 the conversation begins to change. Peter sees John and looks to him as he asks his Savior, "Lord, what about him?" Another huge lesson for us!! Don't miss this life lesson that brings us to the very core of who we are. Jesus answers Peter and says, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is it to you? As for you, follow Me." (John 21:22) Peter was wondering about John and his mission, what was ahead for him. Peter wasn't to worry about anyone but himself! Can you see it? How often do we do this? We are so concerned with what others are doing or not doing that we miss our opportunities! We need to be concerned with our walk with Jesus and let Him take care of others. What a lesson for us to grasp along our journey with Jesus. 

These men were extraordinary. Some were fishers. Others had different occupations. Jesus met them right where they were and took them on a lifetime journey of change. Every time He got together with them He was teaching them. Preparing them and most of all loving them. 

His love for them was great, but let us not mistake that His love for us is just as great. He has fish for you to catch! He will show you where to release your net. But friends, we have to ready and willing to jump! Let us not be afraid or timid. Let us stand strong and grow into our faith. 

It doesn't matter who is in the boat with us. We have to be willing to jump to Jesus whether anyone else is willing to get wet with us. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Message Just For Me

I have been quite in my writing. Soul searching. Digging deep. Bible open and heart ready. "What is it, Lord? What do You want me to share?" I kept waiting for His answer. Nothing but quietness. I kept studying. Diving in deeper and deeper. Putting everything aside and calling out to Him again and again. "Okay, Lord, what am I to share? Give me something, please." 

My heart was aching to write. To share a message of hope. A message of calm and serenity. But this isn't what my heart was feeling. My heart has been in a roller coaster of emotion and what is it that I heard the Lord saying to me? "Not yet, My daughter. Some things are just meant for you." 

Once I heard from Him it all made sense to me. He knows my heart. He knows what I need most. I would be studying and I would immediately think, "This is it! This is good stuff." I could clearly see the message. But I would sit at the computer and nothing would come. It was in my head and heart, but it wasn't to be printed. At least not upon paper. This message He has been giving me was to be printed upon my heart only. God was radiantly changing my heart and it wasn't for the world. It was just for me. 

I was desperate to share something. I surrendered all to Him or so I thought. I lay it all down, but there always is Satan ready to remind me of all that's wrong. All the pain that I've let go, the anger that covered my heart. He knows it all well. He is the reminder to keep us held in chains. Don't ever think he doesn't know us. He knows us well. He lies in wait to distract us. To lie to us. He confuses the heart and creates a wedge where God has placed a bridge. 

I have been studying the life of Paul and David. I'm now studying the life of John. As you can imagine there is so much to share. How could the Lord not want me to share all I had been learning? Friends, there are times God gives us a message to share and there are many times He gives us a message just for us. We must be heart ready before we share with others. God's timing is always perfect. 

Our heart needs mended. We become bruised and angry. Emptiness is a real opponent. There is so much hurt around me. I have friends who are deeply wounded. My heart aches for them. This world around us grows more evil by the day. It's easy for our heart to become distracted when so much around us is out of sorts. 

Instead of me being in a place of wanting to share with others I needed to simply be asking God to reveal Himself to me. I don't want to simply read His Word. I want to experience it as the words roll off my tongue. I began reading His Word aloud and it became powerful to me. I could feel my heart connecting in ways as never before. 

That's why it's so important to remain in the Word. Be ready to hear from Him. He forever has a message for us. We have to willing to listen and then to use what He has given us as He directs. To be intentional gives God the room and time He needs to feed us what our heart so needs. When we inquire of the Lord He is good to give us exactly what we need when we need it. This is what He has been doing in my heart. Praise Jesus! 

It's a beautiful thing to be lost in the presence of the Lord.

"Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind, for He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things." Psalm 107:8-9

Dear Abba Father, thank You for meeting me right where I am. You know my heart and my every need. You supply all for me as if I were Your only only child. Your love sustains me and is enough. If I could never share another word with the world You would be enough. I desire You, Lord. I crave Your Word and never want to be out of Your company. I want my penned words to be from You. I never want to seek my own, but forever live for You. 

The Christmas Watch

At nineteen I was working in a salon. Next door was a jewelry shop. I had moved into the city. My parents still in our country home. 
A home filled with childhood memories. Now our memories would be treasured even more. In April my dad had been diagnosed with lung cancer. Life as we knew it had changed forever. Daddy's little girl wasn't ready to let go. I didn't believe it could happen. I knew our time would last forever. 

I wanted Christmas to be special. One we would never forget. I began thinking of the perfect gifts. I walked into the jewelry shop with the perfect plan. With a little help I designed the perfect gifts. My mom a family tree pendant colored with our birthstones. For her to remember family forever. For my dad a gold watch. Time was the gift he needed. Time remembered and time treasured. 

This was the first year I was away from home. I worked each day and saved all I could for these special treasures. Gifts that held such meaning. At nineteen I didn't yet have enough time. I needed more time. If the hands could only stand still. But that was not to happen.

Christmas day arrives. Show is thick on the country roads. Mom would rather I stay home. That isn't an option. This is a day I wouldn't miss for anything. Mom has the house decorated. The tree is covered is brilliant colors. Christmas was always our favorite holiday. I smell the turkey and pies. Mom has been busy. She is so tired and worn. A woman I admire.

While I was doing my gift planning my dad was doing a bit of his own. This is truly the first year neither of us went and did our own shopping. 

I went first. A small package wrapped in love. Inside the precious box is a heart pendant on a gold chain. I would wear this heart that would cover my broken one. Mom's turn. She opens her gift and adores her pendant. One that celebrates our life together. Now I hand my gift to my dad. He's already grinning from ear to ear. Nine months into his cancer he's very weak. I may have to have his gift re-sized. Something this daughter didn't even think about. Maybe it was a thought I chose to ignore. My dad was going to get better. "Rob, you didn't have to." "I wanted to, Dad. It's our favorite holiday of all. You deserve something special." He holds it in his hands for some time. Our usual gift unwrapping consisted of ripping and tearing. But he was enjoying this moment. He opens the gift. Paper in the floor. Box open. His eyes meet the treasure and they are smiling brighter than I have seen in a great while. 

Maybe it was the jeweler who knew. Maybe God's interceding. It fit perfectly. Tears in his eyes. Arms wrapped around his baby girl. He knew the message. This would be a Christmas I would treasure forever. For just a little while time stood still. Love covered this Christmas Day. It would be our last together. The hands never stopped short. Oh, how I wish we could have just had more. My dad's battle with cancer ended that April One year to the day. The doctors knew. I refused to believe. 

We celebrated our December birthdays and Christmas together. Me turning nineteen and Dad turning forty-six. I still have my gold heart pendant. I take it out every so often and remember that last Christmas together. 

I told my dad we would share many more Christmas' together. He and I knew that time would not permit. So this daddy's girl dreamed and refused to believe. But the day came that I had to say good-bye. There would be no more Christmas celebrations for us. At least not on this side of heaven. 

Today as I look back I treasure our times together. Memories of snowmen and opening gifts extra early. That drove my mother crazy. But it was dad and daughter sharing their favorite day together. See, at the time we thought of Christmas as a holiday. Nothing more. Just time spent together. Presents and snow. There wasn't a Jesus celebration in our home. No faith to hold us tight. But, today I know that two days before my dad died, a pastor came to visit. A friend had invited him to come. He shared Jesus with my dad.  My daddy received Jesus as his Savior. He would be heaven bound. 

At the time I didn't know the treasure that he beheld. Today I do. A few years later, when I would turn twenty-three, I would meet my husband, and he would share Jesus with me. I came to know my Savior at the age of twenty-four. Somehow I know that God's perfect timing planned it all. I once thought our time was counting down. Now I know our time together will be eternal. Just waiting for the other side of heaven for it to begin. Best of all I will see both my earthly daddy and my heavenly Father. Quite a gift. Christmas forever. The hands of time eternal. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Injustice For All by Robin Caroll

Wow!! Where have I been that I have missed Robin Caroll? I must have been under a rock. Unbelievable! I can tell you that I have a new favorite added to my list of unputdownable suspense novels! This woman can pen a story. Seriously, once I began reading I didn't want to put this book down. When you're stirring soup over the stove with a book in your hand you know it's not only good, it's fantastic! 

The plot is continuously building and perfectly timed. Caroll doesn't just pen a story. She allows the reader the privilege of feeling as though you're right there with a 9mm in your hand. The characters are not only believable, but you want them as friends. Well, not the bad guys. Caroll sets the scene and invites us in to join her. The story holds a bit of everything. Faith, hope, love, friendship and trust. These characters face all of these. Some believing and some angry at God. Some living in hope and others searching. We see that love is lasting and begins with friendship. With these characters trust isn't always easy, but at times needed more than ever. We learn that if we are going to allow love we must allow trust. If we are willing to love we must be willing to be wounded. 

I love the bonds of friendship that we see within these pages. Each character brings something unique and combined they make this a page turner. You are missing out if you haven't read a novel penned by Robin Caroll. This novel is part of A Justice Seekers series. The next book in this series is To Write A Wrong, and concludes with the final book, Strand of Deception. I have these copies and am so excited to continue with these characters and journey with new characters that we have met in this first book of this series. 

This novel was a gift from B&H Publishing Group for sharing my review with you. 

Robin Caroll has authored twelve previous books including the Holt Medallion Award of Merit winner, Deliver Us From Evil. She gives back to the writing community by serving as Conference Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. A proud southerner, Robin lives with her husband, three daughters, and two precious grandsons in Arkansas.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Christmas At Rose Hill Farm (An Amish Love Story) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Suzanne Woods Fisher is queen of Amish fiction! You can never go wrong with a novel penned by this gifted writer who shares her heart through each character and brings us to places with such solace and joy. She weaves a story of love with her gift of bringing the reader to Rose Hill. I love visiting Stoney Ridge!  

The cover is so inviting. The story warm and affectionate. I love the characters and the journey they are taking. We can never run too far from God. He's always there to turn us around so we can have a clear vision of where home is. And yes, He always has a the perfect plan to bring us to exactly where we are to be. 

Who doesn't want to read about Christmas miracles? This is heartwarming and such a story of beauty and letting go of fears and what we think others expect of us. The main characters have a bit of regret. They can't exactly go backward, and moving forward carries a fear of it's own. Moving quickly and making decisions that we are not quite sure of can alter life in ways that cannot be changed. It's always best to wait upon the Lord and hear His wisdom and direction. But as we see, we get in hurry and we tire of waiting on others to change. So we jump in head first and then we are left wishing we would have waited. 

Something I love is that the main characters are brought together by something they both love. A rose. Unique in every way. As they are trying to figure it out, God is giving them time to figure themselves out and we witness a blossom that will stir your heart. 

This is a short novel. A wonderful afternoon read. An easy read that will remind you that miracles do happen and embracing a  Christmas spirit is just what the heart needs. 

This novel is a gift from Revell for sharing my review with you. 

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The Letters, The Calling, the Lancaster County Secrets series, and the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, includingAmish Peace. She is also the coauthor of an Amish children's series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp. Suzanne is a Carol Award winner for The Search, a Carol Award finalist for The Choice, and a Christy Award finalist for The Waiting. She is also a columnist for Christian Post andCooking & Such magazines. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and connect with Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.
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