Ps 91 (NKJV)

3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from the perilous pestilence.4 He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day,6 nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Review: "Groom Wanted" by Debra Ullrick

Laughing with tears in your eyes is what you'll be doing when you read "Groom Wanted" by Debra Ullrick as Leah and Jake look for spouses in all the wrong places. Sometimes the things that are right in front of our eyes are the hardest to see.

I enjoyed this book immensely. Ms. Ullrick's writing pulled me in and held me until I found out Leah and Jake's happily-ever-after.

Backcover Blurb:
It's a perfect plan-best friends Leah Bowen and Jake Lure will each advertise for mail-order spouses in the papers, and then Jake will help select Leah's future husband, while Leah picks Jake's bride-to-be Surely the ads will find them what they seek: a wife who'll appreciate Jake's shy charm and a groom who'll take Leah away from the Idaho Territory she detests. When the responses to the postings pour in, it seems all Leah's and Jake's dreams will soon come true. But the closer they each get to the altar, the less appealing marrying a stranger becomes. Is it too late to turn back- or to turn around and find the happiness they truly seek together, at last?

Available at Amazon and other fine retailers.


Monday, July 23, 2012

A week to remember and the blessings I found

I opened this page to write a book review. But I just can't today. Instead I've decided to write last week in review and count my blessings.

Saturday, July 14, 2012 - I sent my oldest son and youngest daughter off to my in-laws 8 hours away. Four and half hours or so later, I get the dreaded call. They were in an accident. My heart dropped from my chest--and though Brandilyn Collins and Tracie Peterson (no I don't know them personally, but I have seen them in person--they're human, ya know--and have heard them speak on this subject) would call those floating body parts, at that moment it certainly FELT like it had hit the floor.

In our part of the country, it was raining. My son hit a dip in the road (found out later, it is a known accident area when it rains), and hydroplaned. Except it wasn't a normal hydroplane. He was in the left lane, did some sort of spin and slammed the center concrete barrier on the PASSENGER side (where my daughter was sitting). I think he kept spinning and faced forward again before stopping.

AFTER they worked on it.
Blessings: Neither of them are hurt. The truck is worthless--it was before--but drive-able. They finished the trip safely. An abundance of grapes picked.

Sunday, July 15 - Still recovering from my heart hitting the floor the previous day. Called my in-laws to make sure my children were not having any after effects from the accident.

Blessings: My church family. My in-laws. My children had no soreness or other injuries that didn't show up the day before.

Monday, July 16 - I get up at 6am to haul my oldest daughter and third son to our main church campus for youth camp. I wait until 8am for the parents' meeting to begin, and then head home to have breakfast and begin my day.

I, and my two youngest sons, go to the local farm supply store for electric fence accessories because my two dogs are scared of storms and keep escaping the backyard. We also stop at a pet store to buy a hamster. Sold out. This was such a disappointment for my son, I told him we'd go to a different store the next day.

We processed a bunch of green grapes into grape juice.

My husband and I worked on the fence.

Blessings: My father-in-law took my son, and his truck, to a friend and they banged out the bumpers and fender that was bent, so it is safer to drive. My husband ordered light replacements (they were busted) and had them sent to them. The children I sent to youth camp arrived at their destination without incident-that I know about. Grapes.

Tuesday, July 17 - A typical day, sort of. My two youngest and I traipse into town to pick up a gift for a wedding, and stop by the pet store and pick a hamster. Son is ecstatic. Finally, a pet for him that he can play with (fish are no fun). Swimming lessons in the afternoon.

More parts and fixing on my son's truck, but I'm not involved with any of it - just know about it.

Dogs find a new way to escape. Work on blocking that route, unsuccessfully.

By now, you must be wondering why I continue to write about my week if that's all that happened...hold on, it's not.

Blessings: The pool is open this year. It suffered in last years' tornadoes. Everyone is safe.

Wednesday, July 18 - Hamster bites my son. We decide to return him and get a different one. Dentist appointment and shopping. As we return home from these errands, a storm thunders in the distance.

I stopped at the end of the driveway to get the mail. Unfortunately, I left my car door open. The dogs, the ones that continue to escape, decide my car is a safe place and jump in. Oh, I forgot to mention they are both 40-60 lbs., not huge, but big enough. I get them out of the car, and one of them decides that under the car must be safe. Big drops of rain are now splattering me as I struggle to get this dog out from under my car, which is still RUNNING. Finally, I get them out. I jump and slam the door and inch forward into the garage, where the dogs have now decided is a safe place. SIGH

While we are still putting away groceries, a bolt of lightning strikes our house. It sounded like someone fired a gun inside. I didn't think much of it, really. Hugged a child who was frightened and then continued to put away groceries. UNTIL I went to my big chest freezer and realized it wasn't working. OH NO! I called my husband and started walking around the house. At this point, I think, is when I started freaking out and my heart hits the floor (yep, I said it), again. I hand the things I was trying to put in the big freezer to a child, I don't remember which one, and told him to find room in one of the other freezers.

When my husband got home, about 30-45 minutes later, he felt the need to check out the attic to see if we had a smoldering fire or anything up there to worry about. He found a gas leak. The lightning had traveled down our hot water heater vents and burned holes in the gas lines that fed the hot water heater. He quickly turned off the gas.

I will skip the frantic running around to figure out what got fried and what didn't.

Blessings (bear with me, there are a lot): My house did not blow up or catch on fire. My freezer did NOT get fried (it's full of MEAT), just the GFI it was plugged into. None of our computers were affected. Two of our three AC units are functional (it's still 90+ degrees outside in AL). My husband is handy and fixed the two burned gas lines, so I have hot water, and the two fried GFI's (after the storm passed), so I could plug my freezer back in. My family is safe. My husband called direct tv and ordered a service call (lost all receivers). That same brilliant husband hooks up an old router and modem, so I can have internet, since our new ones were fried.

Thursday, July 19 - I called the AC repair person and they promised to come out that afternoon. My husband decided to come home from work at lunch and converse with the man. Part ordered for AC unit, possible fix, but unsure at the time. Called Kitchenaide for my gas cook-top, I'm not real sure why it's not working.

Finally gave up on trying to keep the dogs in the backyard and let them roam. Will work on it again, soon, because I hate roaming dogs, mine or someone else's.

Went to the pool.

Blessings: Pool is open. :) I have a working gas grill that I can cook on (since my cook-top is broken). My oven works. My family is safe.

Friday, July 20 - 7am - sent my husband and two youngest sons off to my in-laws. The trip had been planned for several weeks and he needed to pick up my daughter as my oldest son was going elsewhere to visit friends. They also had a wedding to attend.

I got several hours of "me" time, but I was so strung out from the stressful week and feeling completely selfish   about feeling sorry for myself because the people in Colorado were dealing with so much more than me, that I couldn't enjoy it, so I made grape juice instead. The picture shows the cleaned ones. I probably threw equal that many away because I waited too long to process them.

Our abundance of purple grapes.
Kitchenaide repair guy shows up. He has no idea why the cook-top isn't working. Orders a part to see if that fixes it.

Direct TV guy shows up. He doesn't have enough receivers in his truck and asks to come back later in the afternoon. "Sure, I'm not going anywhere." Though I had hoped to do research, I knew it wasn't going to happen.

11:30 am - a different Direct TV guy shows up and spends two hours replacing our receivers and trying to hook up to the internet. Receivers work. Internet, not so much. He leaves disappointed. :)

1:30 pm - lunch. I feel bad eating in front of someone who's not eating.

Several more hours of "freedom."

3:30pm - Mother-in-law calls to let me know my husband and sons arrived safely and that he'll call me later.

In contact with third son (the one on the youth trip), figuring out an approximate time for their return.

Several more hours of quiet time. I actually have calmed down enough by this time to actually get some writing done. Yeah!

6'ish - leave for a mall close to where I will pick up my teens. Eat at Chik-fil-a. Chicken salty, yuck.

Around 8pm, I retrieve my third son and oldest daughter and their luggage from church, and head home.

Blessings: My family is safe. Our direct tv receivers work, not that I watch much TV. My house is relatively cool. I got some writing done. We now have about a gallon and a half of grape juice.

Now...if you've read all the way through this long post about my week, you are also a blessing to me. So I praise God for you too.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: "A Promise for Miriam" by Vannetta Chapman

Wow! And that still doesn't describe how wonderful A Promise for Miriam turned out to be. Vannetta did an awesome job pulling me into the lives of Miriam, Gabe, and Grace. I lived with them for a whole day--the amount of time it took me to read the book--and loved every minute of it. I especially loved the ending, so unexpected, but no spoilers here, so you'll have to read it to find out.  :)

Back cover blurb:

Amish schoolteacher Miriam King loves her students. At 26, most women her age are married with children of their own, but she hasn’t yet met anyone who can convince her to give up the Plain school that sits along the banks of Pebble Creek. Then newcomer Gabriel Miller steps into her life, bringing his daughter, an air of mystery, and challenges Miriam has never faced before.
Will Gabe be able to let go of the past that haunts him? He thinks he just wants to be left alone, but the loving and warm community he and his daughter have moved to has other plans for him. After a near tragedy is averted, he hesitantly returns offers of help and friendship, and he discovers he can make a difference to the people of Pebble Creek—and maybe find love again.

You can find out more about Vannetta and her books here.

This book can be purchased at Amazon or other fine retailers.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Review: "Firestorm" by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Firestorm is book six in the Full Circle Series. I enjoyed the novel even though I hadn't read any of the previous five. I didn't feel like I was missing information given in previous books, though I'm surprised I haven't gotten my hands on them before now. I like Ms. Bergren's writing style and I especially love happy endings (no spoilers because it is a romance).

Fires intrigue me (from a distance), so I liked learning more about what goes on at the scene of a fire and how the people are feeling, expected to perform, etc. As a fairly new writer, I am just learning how much time and effort goes into research and I expect Ms. Bergren did a fair amount of research to write this book, and probably the whole series. I appreciate her efforts.

Backcover Blurb:
As a smoke jumper, Reyne Oldre--friend to Rachel Tanner and Beth Morgan (Refuge)--once led a team of courageous firefighters into a blaze that ended in unspeakable tragedy. Now crippled by fear, she conducts fire research from a safe distance, determined not to risk that kind of pain again. But when the flames of love begin to flicker between her and smoke jumper Logan McCabe, Reyne must face the fearsome storms from her past and battle the raging Firestorm that burns in her soul.
Available at Amazon and other fine retailers.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Ack, ack, and double ack

I didn't get anything posted on here last week. It seems that instead of getting slower, my summer got busier.

I apologize and hope to update here more in the future. I have several books that need reviewing and I want to get them done this week, but that might not happen, so don't count on it.

A few weeks ago, I completed another set of revisions on one of my manuscripts. I'm putting it to rest for a little while and working on another--one I want to take to the ACFW conference this September.

Your prayer support is appreciated.