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Sunday, December 30, 2012

That's A Wrap 2012

We've had a full couple of weeks.  I don't use the word "busy" because the fullness has been full of good times and sweet memories.  There have been lots of Christmas parties and things happening at school and church, shopping and birthday celebrations.

Mike led and Cecily sang in our church's Christmas program.
Cecily turned 15 on the 19th.  As has been her birthday tradition for the past several years, we had her birthday dinner at Olive Garden.
After dinner, we took her to Menchies for yogurt.  They have a chalkboard on one of the walls and JennaBeth was proud to write her name and Bentley drew a picture of his big sister holding a Christmas tree...strong sister he has!  In the top picture on the right, Cecily is proudly wearing her ring Bentley gave her for her birthday.  I think he paid all of $1.50 for it and was so proud to give it to her.

Cecily had a few girlfriends from church and school over to our home on the 21st for a birthday party.  I cooked chicken quesadillas and we had rotel and chips with a cupcake bar after for dessert.  The girls had a fun time playing CatchPhrase.  There were all manner of laughter and giggles and teenage girl squeals  It was a blessing to see them all having so much fun.
The cupcake bar was a you can tell from the pictures...
Our church always has a Christmas Eve candlelight service.  We come home after and have a "snack food" supper.  Bentley told us on the way home from the service that he was going to go straight to bed.  Funny how he never wants to do that on school nights!
That's the living room before the attack on presents.
The girls made Christmas cookies.
And the littlest of the bunch enjoyed her "little girl iPad" (V-Tech InnoTab2) until both she and the InnoTab ran out of batteries!
Bentley and JennaBeth wanted to show everyone their scooter moves:

Wishing you and yours a Happy and Blessed New Year,

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Kingsbury Collection

Karen Kingsbury is America’s favorite inspirational novelist. There are more than 20 million copies of her award-winning books in print, including several million copies sold in the past year. Karen’s recent dozen titles have all debuted at or near the top of the New York Times Bestseller’s list. She is also a public speaker, reaching more than 100,000 women annually through various national events. Karen lives and works outside Nashville, Tenn., with her husband, Don, and their five sons, three of whom were adopted from Haiti. Also living nearby is their only daughter, Kelsey, an actress in inspirational films and married to Christian recording artist Kyle Kupecky. For more information visit Karen is also on Facebook and Twitter, where she regularly interacts with nearly half a million reader friends.  (Short bio taken from Kingsbury's website.)
*Picture by Dan Davis Photography

Most recently, courtesy of Waterbrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books program, I was able to obtain a copy of A Kingsbury Collection for the purpose of review.

A Kingsbury Collection is a collection of three of Karen's stand alone novels.  The collection includes Where Yesterday Lives, When Joy Came to Stay, and On Every Side. 

Book Synopsis:
Where Yesterday Lives:  Ellen Barrett is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with an uncertain marriage, a forgotten faith, and haunting memories of her picturesque hometown and the love she left behind.  The eldest of five siblings, she longs for the time, long ago, when they were a happy family.  Now Ellen's beloved father is dead, and she returns to her childhood home to make peace - with the people who still live there, with the losses and changes that time has wrought and with the future God has set before her.
When Joy Came to Stay:  Maggie Stovall is one of the golden people.  She has it all least on the surface.  Ben Stovall is a godly husband and successful attorney.  He has no idea of the darkness about to overtake his life.  Amanda Joy is a child of society - abused, broken, thrown away.  But her trust in God is still alive.  Here is the heart-wrenching story of one woman's descent into the shadows of depression, her husband's search for understanding, and a precious child's unwavering faith.
On Every Side:  Faith Evans is an up-and-coming newscaster, a woman of honor and integrity who must take a stand against the one man she never imagined would be her enemy.  A beloved, hundred-year-old statue of Jesus stands in a small-town park - but some say it's a clear violation of separation of church and state that must come down.  Jordan Riley is a powerful attorney fighting for human rights and against God, but still reckoning with bitter boyhood losses.  Amid political intrigue, social injustice, and personal conflicts, will love be enough when the battle rages on every side?

What's better than having one Kingsbury novel to read?  Well, having three in your hand all at once!  In typical Kingsbury fashion, these three books touch on every conceivable human emotion - deep sadness, inconceivable joy, angst of family conflict, forgiveness, letting go, injustice, redemption and restoration.  I dare you to sit down with a Kingsbury story without a box of Kleenex!  I just dare you!

You immediately are drawn into the characters and their stories.  Kingsbury is a master at writing stories that are believable.  My favorite out of this collection was When Joy Came to Stay.  While in some cases Kingsbury's plot lines are a bit predictable, she is still a master story teller and you can't help but finish on the edge of your seat and heart to the last page.  Her "letters to the reader" at the end of each of her books are as good as the stories told.  She feels like a long time friend.  You'll be blessed by reading her writing!

If you will take just a quick second and rank this review as to how helpful it is to you, I would greatly appreciate it!  For doing so, you will be entered to win a free copy of this book for yourself from the publisher!

Blessings and Happy Reading,

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Every Perfect Gift

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."
James 1:17

 "An award-winning author of novels for preteens, young adults and adults,  Dorothy Love is currently at work on her 17th novel. She is the author of the Hickory Ridge series,  historical novels set in the beautiful Smoky Mountains region of  her native Tennessee.  Her well-researched, heartwarming stories of small town Southern life, faith, friends, and family reflect the emotions, concerns, and values of women everywhere. The Hickory Ridge series (Thomas Nelson Fiction)  marks her adult fiction debut."

*Taken from Love's website found at
  You can also connect with Love on her Facebook page by going HERE.

Every Perfect Gift is the final offering in Love's Hickory Ridge Romance series.  The previous books are Beyond All Measure and Beauty for Ashes.

In Every Perfect Gift, Ethan and Sophie long to share a future together. But the secrets they’re keeping could tear them apart.
Sophie Robillard Caldwell  has spent a lifetime guarding her heart…. and a life changing secret. Hoping to follow in the footsteps of the newspaperwomen she has come to admire, she returns to Hickory Ridge from Texas to revive the local paper, the Gazette.
Ethan Heyward, son of a Georgia planter has come to town to build and manage Blue Smoke, a luxury resort soon to open at the top of Hickory Ridge. He, too, is harboring a secret too painful to share with anyone…even Sophie.
It will take all of their trust and all of their faith to confront the past and embrace their future.

Love certainly embodies Southern History with Heart as her website tagline states.  I really enjoyed reading Every Perfect Gift.  Although the book read as a wonderful stand alone novel, I get the feeling the story would have been so much richer had I read the previous two books.  Love does a good job of "filling you in" on the characters from the previous books without overshadowing Sophie and Ethan's story.  I always read Christian fiction with a mind's eye toward whether the gospel is clearly shown within the story.  With confidence I can say that Love pulls this off expertly.  I will be looking to read more of Love's writing!  Absolutely phenomenal story!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson for the sole purpose of this review.

Happy Reading,

The Crimson River

The Crimson River is book four in a four part series called Mysterious Ways by Donna Westover Gallup.  The first three books of the Mysterious Ways series followed the adventures of Charlie Smith in the late 1800s, as he came of age, sought - and sometimes fought for - his fortune, and learned who to trust and who not to trust. Now, The Crimson River fast forwards to 21st-Century Denver, with Charlie Smith's descendent as a main character, and with flashbacks to the late 19th Century. The plot involves a hunt for buried treasure based on clues found in Charlie's diary. Beloved characters from the first three books enter the picture again. They struggle against greedy antagonists and their own conflicted motives. The reader is kept guessing with plot twists that provide suspense and intrigue as well as romance and inspiration.
Donna Westover Gallup is a poet and musician. She currently holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business/Pre-Law from Liberty University and an M.B.A. from the University of Pheonix. 
Donna says she is "the mother of three grown daughters, the mother-in-law of two wonderful men, and the grandmother of three of the world's sweetest boys." She and her husband, Don, live in Pueblo, Colorado with their boxer, Cheyenne. Donna enjoys living in the area where "Charlie lived." She has dedicated her time to her writing ministry; but in her free time, she likes to golf, go boating, and explore the colorful state of Colorado. Her desire is to convey God's love through her writing.


As a gift to readers, the publisher is offering White As Snow: A Christmas Story FREE on Kindle Dec. 4-8 !

Blessings and Happy Reading,

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Last Thursday evening, Bentley had his Christmas program at school.  The program was called "The Elf Factory".
Kindergarteners and First graders are just too cute!  He made a point of telling us several times, "You know mom, I'm standing by Ruby".  Ruby is a little girl in his class...her name comes up a lot!  While Bentley didn't have a major part in their little play, he was chosen as one of the first graders to play the violin before the program.
That pic is a little unfocused...I took it from the video of their violin performance.  Here's the video.  Bentley was so serious as he was playing:
At the end of the program, all the kids sang "We Wish You a Merry Christmas".  Their little voices were so sweet!

I may be the tinniest bit partial, but I thought my little guy sure was handsome and beginning to look more and more each day like a little man!
If only he can survive growing up with his two silly sisters :)