As promised, three more interesting looking books, all from the author featured in the previous post. I’m more excited about these three as I’ve not yet been exposed to the two series they are part of.
I’ll start with the one that attracted me the most. The story line seemed to promise a depth I find attractive.
A Family for Easter: A Fresh-Start Family Romance (Rescue River Book 6)
Too different to fall in love?In Rescue River, anything can happen…
When wealthy single mom Fiona Farmingham rents her carriage house to widowed Eduardo Delgado, it’s purely in friendship. Insecure over her late husband’s betrayal, Fiona hides her attraction to the humble landscaper.
Between them they have six children, two dogs—and a world of differences. But with half a dozen little matchmakers involved, can they find the courage to reach for happiness once more?
The Soldier and the Single Mom: A Fresh-Start Family Romance (Rescue River Book 4)
When Buck Armstrong rescues Gina Patterson and her baby from a dark country road outside town, he intends to keep his distance. Gina and little Bobby remind the handsome veteran too much of all he’s lost. The vulnerable single mom seems equally wary of getting involved. But things change once Gina and her son settle into his sister’s boardinghouse.
Being with Gina and Bobby makes Buck question his plans to leave town for a fresh start. Suddenly he has dreams of forging a new family, even though it will mean risking his heart. But can he escape his past for a chance at a happy future?
The Soldier’s Redemption: A Fresh-Start Family Romance (Redemption Ranch Book 2)
Blaming himself for the accident that claimed his wife and son, ranch manager Finn Gallagher vows he’ll never remarry. Yet he’s drawn to his new rescue-dog caretaker, Kayla White, and her little boy.
The single mother’s running from something in her past. And as he begins wishing the little family could be his, Finn must convince her to trust him with her secret.
I haven’t decided how many of these I will go for but they are all under consideration.
If anything more wonderful shows up today I’ll let you know, for sure.
My favorite book so far this week is a parallel, modern and historical. The common denominator is a poignant painting with a checkered past and a complicated present.
I’m not always a fan of blending timelines but in this case it works. Probably the biggest reason, it allows for showing rather than telling. We need both time frames because they are intertwined and the present story only makes sense if we can understand the past.
There is an unforgettable painting with unknown origins. It appeared in the most terrible of circumstances and combining past and present stories adds the right amount of lightness to make the story relatable. The love stories play out in both time frames as the book moves along. The events are unpredictable and the resolution to the story is unexpected.
I would describe the unexpected but that would give away the ending which would never do.
I agree with the reviews quoted below. Unforgettable.
The Butterfly and the Violin (A Hidden Masterpiece Novel Book 1)
Fresh. Fascinating. Unforgettable. The Butterfly and the Violin is a masterpiece of a debut.” –Laura Frantz, author of Love’s Reckoning
“. . .impossible to put down.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 1/2 Stars, TOP PICK!
A Mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz–and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan. Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire fordistraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl–a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes. In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover–the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul–who maybe the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting’s subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.
A darling of the Austrian aristocracy of 1942, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.
As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: the grim camps of Auschwitz and the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.
I will admit, I lost sleep over this difficult to put down book.
Lots of meat to chew on with this read. T.D. Jakes always has many thought provoking things to add to any story and this was no exception. He gives us an in-depth look at four woman types and the hardest one for me to read was the one most like me. All of the women were hurting in one way or another, that’s the way life is. Difficult patches in life are inevitable. It’s what we do with them that will make or break us.
T.D. Jakes doesn’t hold back, he tells it raw and real. He doesn’t expose us and then leave us hanging out to dry. He leaves us with answers (not always the ones we want to hear but answers nevertheless) and points us to hope. Some people will tear us all apart pointing out the broken places then walking away. He doesn’t ever tear us apart, rather he sheds a light in the dark places to help us see the important things we are missing. His goal is to help us choose a better way.
The broken among us have bought into lies we’ve been told over and over. His novel is one more tool in the arsenal to help us break out of our prison of lies.
He is a great story teller. Everything he is trying to share is woven into the fabric of the story making it strong. The best kind.
Cover Girls by T.D. Jakes
This compelling novel follows four women as they learn to balance children, estranged husbands, boyfriends, and problems at work through their faith in God.
Michelle, Tonya, Mrs. Judson, and Miz Ida. African-American, white, rich, poor — they seemingly have nothing in common. Yet every day they face the complex realities of twenty-first-century urban life as they try to balance their needs with their belief in God. Through the course of a year, these women must come to terms with the past, discover their true identities, and recognize the unexpected miracles that reveal God’s all-encompassing love.
These four women entertain us and invite us to join in their lives. As they welcome us, they also introduce us to the men in their lives. The men play supporting roles, adding color and zest to the lives of the Cover Girls.
Bishop Jakes knows the struggles real women encounter and the losses that make it difficult to face the future. He brings compassionate insight and deep wisdom to this novel and proves that he is not only a gifted preacher, but a born storyteller.
Currently, I’m into a lighter read. It’s not fluffy by any means, just lighter by comparison.
Run With My Heart: Sweet, Christian Christmas Romance: (A Texas Tornadoes Single Author Sports Romance book 2) (Texas Tornados)
A football player who’s lost. A woman in danger of losing all she loves. Could he be the Christmas Miracle she’s been praying for?
Pro football player Tucker Jackson has a chip on his shoulder. His mother died when he was young, his father threw himself into his work, and the team he now plays for is in danger of losing their season.
His anger drives him to a bar where an ensuing fight earns him service at a community center. Can he find a way to tame his ire before it destroys his dreams forever?
Shelby Doll has a heart for kids, but the community center she runs is short on funds. Tucker Jackson is her last hope to keep the doors open, but will he leave her in a lurch when it matters the most?
I’m reminded today of Charles Martin, the well loved author of deep and engaging stories. My sister-in-law introduced me to his books. and I have to agree, they are everything she said they would be. More than a read they are an experience. To be honest, they have spoiled us. It’s not easy finding other authors with stories that move us the way his do.
One of his books came up as a suggestion this morning. It doesn’t qualify as a bargain but I decided to mention it anyway. Then I noticed the two books included in this collection can be purchased individually at a combined price that is lower than the price of this book. A good deal indeed.
Down Where My Love Lives
USA TODAY bestseller from the author of The Mountain Between Us, now a major motion picture!
Collected together for the first time—Dylan and Maggie’s love story.
Down Where My Love Lives is a bittersweet yet triumphant love story—a tale of one man’s spiritual journey through the darkness of despair into the light of hope.
The Dead Don’t Dance was New York Times best-selling author Charles Martin’s debut novel. Even then, the deep characters and emotional power for which he has become so well-known were apparent in his writing. Now, this story—and its sequel—are together in one volume.
The Dead Don’t Dance—A sleepy rural town in South Carolina. The end of summer and a baby about to be born. But in the midst of hope and celebration comes unexpected tragedy, and Dylan Styles must come to terms with both love and loss. Will the music of his heart be stilled forever—or will he choose to dance with life once more?
Maggie—Life began again for Dylan Styles when his beloved wife Maggie awoke from a coma. In this poignant love story that is redolent with Southern atmosphere, Dylan and Maggie must accept their past before they can embrace their future.
Podcasts. They have captured my attention and it would be safe to say I have been binge-watching often lately. Tonight was no exception and this is where the one-thing-lead-to-another comes in. And, in the end it led to books. I think that is quite awesome.
It’s no secret that there is abuse in my background. I’ve talked about it sparingly along the way and by the looks of it, will be sharing again.
As is often the case, the interviewee on the podcast has recently come out with a new book. Out of the six excellent videos watched tonight, the one to capture my interest the most was a story similar to mine. The ending in relation to her marriage was better than mine, aside from that though, the content was definitely helpful. Spoiler alert… the issue in the marriage was pornography, highly addictive and destructive. At the end of this post I’ll share the link for the podcast. Here is the book…
Choosing a Way Out: When the Bottom Isn’t the Bottom
Was it all a lie?
When the author heard her husband’s confession, it took her breath away. Looking back she realized her husband’s sin exposed the deception in her own life. This uninvited crisis proved to be the impetus for her ultimate healing.
Kirsten writes that for most of her adult life she believed:
• She wasn’t good enough, or pretty enough, or smart enough, or rich enough, or talented enough, or whatever enough.
• She wasn’t a good person. She was too stubborn, opinionated, and direct.
• She was a failure because she’d tried something bold and audacious and didn’t succeed like planned.
• She was invisible and forgettable.
In these pages, you’ll experience raw honesty and a clear path through the pain. You’ll realize that no depression is too dark and no lie too strong. Discover a powerful process where you exchange isolation for accountability and deception for deliverance. Today you can experience a way out, even in the bleakest of circumstances where the bottom doesn’t feel like the bottom. The truth is that God is greater than your pain.
In the suggestion strip at the bottom of the screen there was a book that appears to apply to me. The longer I looked at it, the more familiar it felt. I checked. I have two copies of it, gifted years ago by a concerned friend. I have read it and taken copious notes, it was that helpful. I have it but will tell you about it again anyway.
The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse
For those who have experienced childhood sexual abuse and those who love and care for them, The Wounded Heart offers a tender, compassionate window into the psychological effects of abuse and the theological foundations for healing.
Thirty years ago, with great courage and vision, Dan Allender brought Christians to the table to acknowledge, understand, and help victims heal from their experience of the evil of sexual abuse. His work continues to help victims and those who love them to honestly acknowledge their abuse, understand the unique challenge of repentance for victims of abuse, and learn to love boldly in defiance of their trauma. Ultimately Dan offers the bold assurance to sexual abuse victims that even they can find their way to joy and hope in the comforting embrace of a good God.
The Wounded Heart has sold over 400,000 copies and has been the first book family, friends, counselors, pastors, and victims have turned to in search of Christian answers to the calamity of sexual abuse. With a new introduction reflecting on the ongoing importance of the book, and a companion workbook for personal and group recovery, The Wounded Heart continues to offer an urgently needed word of grace in a world ravaged by sexual abuse.
So, further investigation led me to a newer book that I think is an updated version of The Wounded Heart. I think I need to read this one too.
Healing the Wounded Heart: The Heartache of Sexual Abuse and the Hope of Transformation
First published in 1989, Dan Allender’s The Wounded Heart has helped hundreds of thousands of people come to terms with sexual abuse in their past. Now, more than twenty-five years later, Allender has written a brand-new book on the subject that takes into account recent discoveries about the lasting physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual ramifications of sexual abuse.
With great compassion Allender offers hope for victims of rape, date rape, incest, molestation, sexting, sexual bullying, unwanted advances, pornography, and more, exposing the raw wounds that are left behind and clearing the path toward wholeness and healing. Never minimizing victims’ pain or offering pat spiritual answers that don’t truly address the problem, he instead calls evil evil and lights the way to renewed joy.
Counselors, pastors, and friends of those who have suffered sexual harm will find in this book the deep spiritual guidance they need to effectively minister to the sexually broken around them. Victims themselves will find here a sympathetic friend to walk alongside them on the road to healing.
One more for me from the suggestion strip.
For years I have been working on telling my story, looking for ways to express it more effectively. It’s important for several reasons. It’s therapeutic for me and affirming to those who hear it.
The percentages listed for those suffering as victims of abuse is high.
It looks like the numbers involved in addictions is even higher. Addicts leave victims, adding even more to the number of casualties. The importance of sharing our story is even greater now than it was when I started on this healing journey many years ago.
To Be Told: Know Your Story, Shape Your Future
God wants to reveal himself through your story. Discover how he has written your life so far, and how he is leading you into the rest of your story.
“This is a book worth reading. To make sense of your life. To discover the role God is giving you in his story.”—John Eldredge, bestselling author of Wild at Heart and Get Your Life Back
Everyone wants clearer guidance from God on what to do with their future. In this insightful book, therapist and professor Dan Allender shows you how to listen to the stories of your life and identify the themes that God has written there. As you begin to understand both the hope and the heartache, you will gain a clearer sense of the meaning that God has written into every detail of who you are. You’ll also see how he invites you to join him in coauthoring the rest of your story. God is your Author, and he is showing you how to follow him into the future.
In the above blurb the book Wild at Heart is mentioned. Excellent book. I have read my copy and highly recommend it. It’s written for men but gives helpful insight to the women in their lives.
Wild at Heart Expanded Edition: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul
God did not create men to be nice boys. He created us to live a life of passion, freedom and adventure. To be dangerous men living in a really big story.
God designed men to be powerful. Simply look at the dreams and desires written in the heart of every boy: to be a hero, a warrior, to love a beauty, to live a life of adventure.
But sometime between boyhood and the struggles of yesterday, most men lose heart. All those passions, dreams, and desires get buried under deadlines, pressures, and disappointments. Christianity feels irrelevant to the recovery of their heart. No wonder most men leads lives of quiet resignation, meanwhile looking for a little “life” on the side. In this provocative book, Eldredge invites men to wholeheartedness by
recovering their true masculine hearts;
healing the wounds and trauma in their stories; and
delighting in the strength and wildness they were created to offer the world.
In this updated and expanded edition of the timeless, bestselling classic, John Eldredge calls men—and the women who love them—to discover the true secret of a man’s soul and embrace the danger, passion, and freedom God intended for every man.
I didn’t plan for this post to go so long but it’s all good stuff.
As promised, here is the link for the podcast that started this ball rolling for me. The interview was in two parts and it was the second that impacted me the most. They were both good though.
It would probably be a good idea to watch part one first to give you context. Due to the length of this post I won’t include the link but it will show up for you when this one is opened.
I hope this will be as helpful to you on your journey as it has been to me on mine.
A short interview on a timely topic, for me anyway. It feels to me like this should be shared.
Coffee break is awesome today. This video is part of an interview series I’ve been following and this man is very wise. The series is based on a book he’s written, so there you go, we still have books to think about.
This resonates with me because past buried, horrendous, memories still plague me in the form of triggers. I’ve come a long way in the last decade but there is still more to be done and I appreciate any resource crossing my path.
I share because it touches me but also because someone else may need to hear this as well.
Wishing you the very best in your healing journey.
There is one thought running through my mind at this moment. It’s not new, I’ve been visiting variations of this thought off and on for awhile now. This morning it took a different turn and I feel like I need to explore it.
I’ve been judiciously watching many news type podcasts lately. Judiciously, because my mental and emotional health is in trouble if I don’t.
With limited exposure I can’t be quoted on who thinks what or what they plan to do about it if they think it. I am no expert on any of it.
I hear snippets. That’s kind of what started my thinking this morning. Putting two and two together, forming an idea. My idea.
The world is a complicated place, always has been. We think a certain action will gain a certain result but it never holds true with humans. For every expected reaction it is possible there will be an unexpected reaction. Maybe not in equal number as, hopefully, good reactions will outweigh the not-so-good ones. Besides, in the course of your lifetime have you ever seen unanimous agreement happen more than once or twice? Never is more likely.
I’m saying all this to acknowledge the exceptions. What makes one person strong destroys another and it hurts when things go badly.
So, getting back to my original train of thought.
The last few days I’ve heard news people using the term Reset. A Global Reset. I didn’t stick around long enough to hear much but I can imagine what they were thinking and planning. My whole life, I have been hearing about one world government and it is a scary thought. It always sounded like the forces wanting to form this government did not have our best interests at heart. It was all about need for power.
At the beginning of the covid pandemic, watching the way life was changing for all of us, I was thinking reset too. I wasn’t alone with this observation, I’ve heard many others express the same idea.
As a society, life has been easy for us in so many ways and we have become used to taking it for granted, that’s one part.
The other part is disconnectedness. Electronic devices, and all facets of them, have consumed us and our time. We have become isolated from one another in real time. We share physical spaces, yet we are like ships passing in the night. Each living a life in solitary.
Covid has changed all of this. Isolation of a different sort has forced us together for prolonged periods of time. We are discovering in-person relationships, some for the first time. Most, but not all, are thriving and life is enriched with good experiences, making new memories and connections to last a lifetime.
Then there is the hardship of restrictions and the downturn on the economic side. We’ve lost many of the things we took for granted. It’s been a year and life does not look like it will be going back to normal anytime soon. In fact whatever it goes back to is guaranteed to look quite different after all this time. Necessity with all it’s changes will have made going back impossible.
Considering all of this, I view reset as involving our priorities, values, and connections. And it would be a good thing. I think we will be a stronger people for having survived this storm. We will develop a protective awareness we didn’t have before. We were caught by surprise with covid but we won’t be as unaware as we would have been, if it happened again.
If it turns out the World Reset attempt is a reality we will be better equipped to survive, having lived through the personal reset. And if the World Reset never comes, we will still be in a better position to thrive and survive life in general.
In the end, I think the most important reset will be personal. There is no denying … we are already a much stronger people because of it. It’s not over yet, just think of where we will be, strength-wise, a year from now.
This is what I’m thinking today.
As I reach this point in the discussion I find this thought pattern gives me hope.
I’m also pretty sure this won’t be the last time I think about all this.
I just have to share this podcast episode. I love it, it makes so much sense.
Patrick Lencioni on How to Discover Your Working Genius
There are two reasons:
Carey Nieuwhof has a gift for asking insightful questions and then listening intently with great follow-up questions. It seems every interview ends with him saying this has been so good. And it has been, every time.
Today’s topic is about giftings in relation to work life. This is one of my favorite topics in the world and it has been for decades. Not just for work but life in general. The more I understand about myself and others the better life goes for me. Today focuses on work life and it makes so much sense.
If you want to know more, Patrick Lencioni has a website with testing material available and he is even offering a discounted price on orders resulting from this podcast. I’ll let him give you the details at the end of the podcast.
So here it is: I hope you find it as helpful and I did.
Another day already, when I have nothing much on my mind. No book suggestions or read books to share. Not a whole lot has been going on in my head either, although I will admit to a few persistent half thoughts. There are some sad parts to my musings but I promise this won’t be a downer conversation. At least I hope not.
I don’t know about you, but I find it takes me years sometimes (most times, actually) to realize I need to change some things. That’s kind of where I’m at right now. I’m gradually waking up to the need for action.
I know I’ve mentioned some of this thinking before but it’s all part of the lead-up to where I’m at today. Ready to make a New Years resolution. Something I rarely do. I hope it sticks and I follow through on it.
When I take an honest look back, I’ve been a loner my whole life. Most memories that come to mind easily are solo activities. Even the years when I had friends and boy friends. My role was always passive, never taking initiative in planning a get together or outing. As an adult I planned things now and then but they were usually group activities.
I’ve always accepted invitations if they were issued and spent time with people when we were thrown together in public gatherings. Through the years I’ve been a lot of places and seen a lot of faces (that’s from a song running through my head right now) and have a large number of people I can call friend, although you wouldn’t know that by the 91 friends I’ve allowed on Face Book.
Probably the underlying thought behind my hermit behavior is if you really knew me you wouldn’t like me. I will even admit, because of this mindset, I have been guilty of sabotaging friendships. Not that I was aware of it at the time. Hindsight sees things more clearly.
I’ve been on my own for a lot of years and I’ve been okay with it. At least I had convinced myself I was happy with it. Covid has changed so much of that thinking. Restrictions have caused pressure, kind of like turning up the heat until it’s unbearable. All of a sudden, emotionally, I’m not okay with it. I’m being forced to take a hard look at the way I do life.
There is an honest evaluation driving my resolution. I need to start taking a responsible role in maintaining friendships, instead of just letting life happen.
In a way this idea has already begun rolling, starting with Zoom type communication with family. Out of casual conversation I took pictures of my puzzle collection, that way my daughter and her friend can borrow what they like. My neighbor popped over, (can’t remember why now) saw the puzzles spread all over the floor and went home with an armful.
It’s Christmas. I’ve responded to some today but there are more neglected emails to answer, cards to send, and phone calls to make.
None of this will take place unless I care. Covid has turned up the heat with all it’s restrictions and now I care. I hope it lasts.
A lengthy telephone conversation with an elderly relative yesterday showed we are struggling with similar emotions. It was fun laughing together, it brightened both of our days. Must call her more often.