Read and enjoyed middle of April 2021

It’s time to clear out some of the backlog of finished reads, once again.

This first one was a fun read. Definitely a different twist on a romance story. Autumn MacArthur does come up with well crafted stories regularly, always worth reading.

Forget Paris: Sweet and clean Valentine’s Day Christian romance in Paris and London with an anti-romance heroine! (Love In Store Book 5) 

Zoe’s determined to prove that romance is an illusion and love based on it doesn’t last. Though when she meets Gabe Ross, there to fulfil his mother’s dying wish by placing a lovelock on a bridge for her and his father, even she finds it hard to resist the most romantic city in the world on the most romantic day of the year.

An impulsive challenge to try a psychological experiment isn’t part of her research plan.

Especially when it feels like more, much more, for both of them.

Zoe tells herself their one wonderful day together proves nothing, only gives more evidence her theory is right.

But on her return to London, she discovers she needs Gabe’s help to learn the biggest lesson of all, that love does last.

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I really liked this next story too. It held my attention, was believable and was a story worth reading. It didn’t feel like any other story I’d read and that’s a very good thing.

Run With My Heart: Sweet, Christian Christmas Romance: (A Texas Tornadoes Single Author Sports Romance book 2) (Texas Tornados)

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?

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This next one is about the life of a young Jewish woman from the Bronx who found herself with a singing career back in the hippie days of the seventies, the child of Holocaust survivors.

Eventually she married into a bluegrass family and music became a lifelong way of life for her and her family.

Life is always affected by dramatic experiences of all family members and Lily’s was no different. She shares both the good and the painful, but mostly the good.

I enjoyed this book even more because I have closely followed her family’s career or the last decade or two.

You Don’t Cry Out Loud: The Lily Isaacs Story 

An unforgettable autobiography of Lily Isaac, the daughter of Holocaust survivors who rejected her Jewish heritage for a life with Jesus Christ and a music career.

Throughout her music and that of her children, who together form the beloved and multi-award winning group The Isaacs, you hear the resonating inspirational legacy of this family’s faith. Fans struggle to put the book down and are captivated by:

  • An autobiographical look at Lily’s life, from being a Jewish folk singer to serving as vocalist and matriarch of The Isaacs
  • The powerful account of her struggle with a once unknown faith and how she finally “cried her way to God from the church’s back pew”
  • The incredible insights behind heartbreaking moments which were her greatest opportunities of faith.

Whether surviving breast cancer or a challenging career, Lily’s steady refrain has been one of God’s constant love, comfort, and strength. Her story of survival is raw and compelling. It will inspire your Christian faith and help to put your own personal struggles in perspective.

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Now for a bunch that were read and enjoyed. It will be a just glimpse to fit them all it.

There’s more but I think this is enough for today.

Happy reading y’all

So much wisdom, so much empathy

This is a deeply touching interview filled with wisdom, understanding and empathy. And hope. So much hope. I have to share.

I hope you find it as comforting as I did. In these difficult days we need to hear voices filled with wisdom and hope.

Rick Warren has experienced unbelievable pain. Toward the end of the video he shares what it was like to live through it. He puts heavy emphasis on living through it.

This interview is posted by a gifted podcaster Carey Nieuwhof. He knows how to ask questions that will mine the depths and bring out the best in his guests. Always a blessing to the listener.

May you feel as blessed as I do right now.

Read and enjoyed April 12, 2021

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.

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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?

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Happy Reading!

A This & That kind of day.

This is going to be a this-and-that kind of day, mainly because I have nothing in mind I feel compelled to talk about. The usual suggestion sources have failed me, probably because it is Easter weekend. Browsing was not lucrative, either.

I could do a book review but the one just finished left me with no enthusiasm for sharing. It was actually more than one book, it was a collection. I think there twelve books spread over 2100 pages or so.

Some of the stories moved along better than others but overall it was a bit of a drag. There were many sections with action and dialogue that left the reader wondering what was the purpose? Sometimes it was overuse of an action or prop resulting in speed bumps on a road that wasn’t meant to have any. Needless to say the hop-skip-and-jump method was used to finish, just so I could say I did.

One the bright side, good reads are more normal that bad reads. Also I keep track to avoid similar situations in the future.

I could start another book except that it’s time to make the requested broccoli salad so it will be ready for tomorrow’s dinner at my daughters. I’m excited, it has been awhile since our last visit and I’m anxious to see them.

I went shopping on Wednesday for the salad ingredients hoping to find what I needed before it was all gone. They were already out of fresh broccoli. There was a big bag of pre-cut hiding in the back of the salad section, it was not my first choice but I took it anyway just in case it was my last chance. Wouldn’t you know, they did have a new supply of the good stuff today.

Now I have to figure out what to do with the big bag I won’t be using for tomorrow’s salad. It won’t look quite like this but you get the general idea.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Tomorrow is story prompt day, no promises but we will see.

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Here’s the read I’m checking out as the next book to conquer. I do know I like this author so that is encouraging. A heavy subject might be a little hard to handle today though, but we will see.

Glimmer in the Darkness: Page-turning suspense with a sprinkling of romance (Coventry Saga)

Nothing could get her home…but this.

Cassidy Leblanc worked hard to shake off her tragic childhood. As a foster child with a mother in prison for murder, she was an outcast in her small New Hampshire town until she met James. But she and James’s sister, whom she was babysitting, were kidnapped. She escaped, but Hallie didn’t survive, and everybody assumed Cassidy killed her. Like mother, like daughter, after all. With public opinion and the authorities united against her, young Cassidy fled. Now, a decade later, another little girl has been kidnapped, and Cassidy may be the only person who can find her. 

He doesn’t know who to trust.

James Sullivan never believed that Cassidy killed his sister, no matter what the authorities said. When his best friend’s daughter goes missing a decade after Hallie’s murder, James keeps his opinions on the matter to himself. But when he finds Cassidy sneaking around his property, his thoughts turn dark. If she’s not behind the recent kidnapping, what is she doing back in Coventry? Her answer—that she’s returned to find little Ella, and she needs his help—has him reeling. Can he trust Cassidy, despite what the police tell him? If there’s any chance he can save Ella, he has to try.

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Happy Reading folks

Free and bargain books March 22, 2021

BookBub has a FREE suggestion from one of our favorite authors.

Leaving November (Clayburn Novels Book 2)

Amazon quote:

There’s one thing she’s vowed to never abide in a man…
could the horrible rumors be true? Is her life repeating itself?

Eight years ago, Vienne Kenney moved away from Clayburn and all its gossip to pursue a law degree in California. But now she has failed the bar exam again. Is she destined to be stuck forever, a failure—just like her father—in this tiny Kansas town?

Nine months ago, Jackson Linder left Clayburn with no explanation to anybody. Now he, too, is back. He isn’t sure he’s ready to face the rumors and well-meaning questions of the town’s busybodies. Yet he’s determined, once more, to make his art gallery a success—despite the secret that haunts him every day...

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If you happen to be a fan of Steven Curtis Chapman and his long and successful music career, like I am, you will also be excited to find his story among today’s suggestions.

I’ve heard snippets of his story over the years and look forward to the opportunity of hearing more about the bigger picture.

Between Heaven and the Real World: My Story 

Amazon quote:

For decades, Steven Curtis Chapman’s music and message have brought hope and inspiration to millions around the world. Now, for the first time, Steven openly shares the experiences that have shaped him, his faith, and his music in a life that has included incredible highs and faith-shaking lows.

Readers will be captivated by this exclusive look into Steven’s childhood and challenging family dynamic growing up, how that led to music and early days on the road, his wild ride to the top of the charts, his relationship with wife Mary Beth, and the growth of their family through births and adoptions. In addition to inside stories from his days of youth to his notable career, including the background to some of his best-loved songs, readers will walk with Steven down the devastating road of loss after the tragic death of five-year-old daughter Maria. And they’ll experience his return to the stage after doubting he could ever sing again.

Poignant, gut-wrenchingly honest, yet always hopeful, Steven offers no sugary solutions to life’s toughest questions. Yet out of the brokenness, he continues to trust God to one day fix what is unfixable in this life. This backstage look at the down-to-earth superstar they’ve come to love will touch fans’ lives and fill their hearts with hope. Includes black-and-white photos throughout.

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1531 Entertainment has a FREE suggestion for us today. It looks intense, and interesting.

Knocking (New Beginnings Book 1) 

Amazon quote:

A disgraced spouse. A devastated daughter. Can one woman’s faith in the Almighty’s plan right a string of wrongs?

Tonya Mendell has really tried her best. Desperate to be a model pastor’s wife and mother, she’s shocked when her thirteen-year-old daughter pranks the reclusive woman next door. And when Tonya discovers her husband is having an affair, her heart sinks when her only child flees the house in response.

Knowing the scandal could rock the town and cost her husband his job, the faithful woman clings to the remnants of her tattered marriage. But seeing her relationship with her daughter and her own dignity at stake, Tonya’s only hope is to put her trust in God to make things right.

Can this tortured soul follow the path the Lord intends and discover the healing she needs?

Knocking is the heartfelt first book in the New Beginnings Christian Fiction series. If you like relatable women, strong believers, and tales of redemption, then you’ll love Robin Merrill’s uplifting story.

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I’m currently reading and enjoying …

The Soft Whisper of Roses … it’s still a bargain

Amazon quote:

Every blended family has its problems, but how do you build a future when the past won’t let go?

Rebecca Townsend has only been married six months and already doubts Gary’s promise of “till death do us part.” Betrayed by her first husband, she’s trying her hardest to get it right this time. But when her new husband’s unresolved family issues resurface, she’s afraid she and her son will be abandoned once again.

Just when Gary thought he’d found happiness with a woman who truly understood him, the death of his first wife blindsides him with unanticipated grief and guilt. After years of letting his career get in the way of being the husband and father he should’ve been, he must now live up to his new wife’s expectations while attempting to fit his resentful teenage daughter into the mix.

But high-pressure careers don’t leave much time for stopping to smell the roses, and this family is almost out of time. A radical plan conceived by Gary’s ex-wife before her death risks tearing them all apart…or will it finally bring them together as the family God meant them to be?

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This is a selection of books I feel excited about. Some days are a little bit ho-hum but not today.

I hope this is a good day for you too.

Happy Reading!

Love the Isaacs! – Bluegrass

If you love Bluegrass music, join me. I’m rewatching a live performance from their bus. The Isaacs, a highly popular and greatly talented family of singer/song writers, were on the road last November and found themselves with a free night due to a covid cancellation. The whole band was there and ready to sing so why not go for it. It’s a little tight in such a small space but they did a great job with their impromptu musical sharing. It was relaxed and fun.

Live on the Isaacs Tour Bus!!! November 21, 2020

If you aren’t sure about Bluegrass this is a great chance to hear it for the first time.

One bargain book March 17, 2021

One book, that’s all I have.

153 Entertainment is responsible for this worthwhile bargain suggestion.

The Soft Whisper of Roses

Amazon quote:

Every blended family has its problems, but how do you build a future when the past won’t let go?

Rebecca Townsend has only been married six months and already doubts Gary’s promise of “till death do us part.” Betrayed by her first husband, she’s trying her hardest to get it right this time. But when her new husband’s unresolved family issues resurface, she’s afraid she and her son will be abandoned once again.

Just when Gary thought he’d found happiness with a woman who truly understood him, the death of his first wife blindsides him with unanticipated grief and guilt. After years of letting his career get in the way of being the husband and father he should’ve been, he must now live up to his new wife’s expectations while attempting to fit his resentful teenage daughter into the mix.

But high-pressure careers don’t leave much time for stopping to smell the roses, and this family is almost out of time. A radical plan conceived by Gary’s ex-wife before her death risks tearing them all apart…or will it finally bring them together as the family God meant them to be?

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It’s funny what the brain does. I was looking through my pictures for the cover The Fragrance of Roses, but not seeing it. Going back to check, I found it was actually The Soft Whisper of Roses. Fragrance was the weekly story prompt appearing this morning.

I think my version of the title would make a great book. I’ll have to check to see if it’s been done. If not, someone should write the book.

Guess what…

It’s been done.

The Fragrance of Roses (Regalo Grande Book 3)

Amazon quote:

Their son is dying, and only a miracle can save him.

Crossing racial, economic, and cultural barriers, rising-star attorney Angelica Amante married migrant farm worker Antonio Perez, and soon gave up her career to be a stay-at-home mom to their two children, Manuel and Anica. Manuel, born with Downs Syndrome, was stricken with cancer as a baby, but the little family came through the crisis intact and now considers Manuel their miracle child. God had indeed blessed them.

Or had He? When the deadly disease returns with a vengeance, threatening to rip away all that is precious to them, Antonio is forced to return to Mexico to search among his family members for a compatible donor for Manuel. Angelica must stay behind to watch her young son deteriorate, as he suffers the ravages of chemotherapy and unexplained complications.

With only their faith in God and their love for each other to sustain them, Antonio and Angelica Perez face the greatest battle of their lives. Time is running out for their son. Will Antonio find the one person in all of Mexico who can save his life?

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The day is young, there could still be more things showing up. I’ll be sure to let you know if that happens.

Happy Reading y’all.

This guy makes a lot of sense

No book suggestions so far this morning but I need to post. I’m falling down on keeping my daily post promise. and that is tragic.

I don’t have a book to talk about but I did watch a podcast yesterday that made a lot of sense to me. I’ve lived through stuff he’s talking about and know he’s on the right track. Government can never make things better for us. We have to take our lives into our own hands and work to make things better. My dad didn’t do it for himself (or us) but my brothers and I did. It hasn’t always been easy but life has been good to our families.

Enjoy this man’s wisdom and maybe I will have book things to say later on.

Actually, this man has written books. Check him out.

Cheers

It isn’t that I can’t, it’s that I can’t.

This is one of those just say something kind of days. You know, those days when it’s time to write a post and you have nothing.

So, this title is the thought that’s been rolling around in my head all day. It’s entirely true, and to my mind, it’s hilarious. I love a good play on words.

Probably the reason why this idea is lodged securely in my mind, like a silly song that stays with you all day, is because I lived it over the weekend.

Saturday afternoon was the time for our regular monthly writer’s group. We take turns chairing the meeting and February was supposed to be my turn. It’s bad enough when we meet in person and I can look around the table to see everyone; make it a Zoom meeting and it is confusing and worse. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do a good job and decided to look for a fill-in. I felt the group deserved to have a better experience than I could give them.

Some time after arranging my replacement I read and enjoyed a book featured in a previous blog post here. This added a new element to the meeting as I shared my enjoyment with the rest of the executive. With the help of several of our group members who knew her personally, I was able to contact the author. She would love to read an excerpt for us from her short story. Once this was all settled the agenda came out for the meeting and I was surprised to find I was still on it. In a smaller capacity but still. No one said a word, they just snuck it in there.

It all worked out ok. I was ready with my part mapped out in my head and it went smoothly. Probably because concern for my newly assigned task overshadowed every other worry.

In the end, I had the ability. It wasn’t like I couldn’t do it before but now I could.

The best way to describe why I couldn’t do it would be disability. Something crippling my ability

At this point I can hear one of our best writers saying “when you make statements like that I want to hear details”

I can tell you that I have complex PTSD from ongoing childhood abuse. It started before I was born and ended when I was twelve. I can’t give you details because I don’t have memories. They talk about abuse victims compartmentalizing as a coping mechanism. That’s what my mind did. Ninety-eight percent of my childhood memories are locked in a sealed vault and even though I’ve given myself permission to bring some of them out, for the most part, it’s not happening. I was describing it to my daughter the other day, It’s like watching a room with small windows… every now and then a shadow goes past. That’s the extent of it.

I’ve been in heavy denial about all of this for most of my life. Up until about fifteen years ago when one of my brothers insisted that I own it and admit the truth. This admission was the beginning of a new dimension in my healing journey

One discovery along the way was this: My disability comes not from memories but from triggers rising out of memories buried deep inside me. The deep place that will never forget.

In the past I refused to even think about the shadowy memories I did have.

It turned out there was a better way. I could stop and examine the shadows. Ask questions. Try to understand family dynamics and recognize what was behind abusive actions. There were many well-that-explains-a-lot moments once I allowed myself to question, to take a honest look.

So, I guess the question is, how does this affect my ability to do or not to do? It’s this way… my survival response is to shut down.

Freeze. Panic attacks.

I’ve had many theories about why this is.

A break through moment tells me it’s all about feeling safe.

Why don’t I feel safe? Honestly, aside from rooted in old memories, I have no idea.

I think it will take more than my lifetime to heal from this.

Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. At least I’m making progress.

Maybe can’t could even turn into can someday.

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One thing I know for sure, I’m not alone on this journey. Many others walk a similar path.

Sharing our stories is an effective way to add support to our fellow travelers.

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I will admit this started with a light heart but didn’t end that way. That’s not a bad thing. Honesty is the good thing.

Thoughts running through my mind.

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.