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.

****************************

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?

*********************

Happy Reading!

Free book April 11, 2021

BookBub has a FREE suggestion for us today. I have a lot of respect for this author. He has a tender heart filled with wisdom and has a gift for sharing encouragement. I don’t know his full story but he must have one the way he can relate to our pain. He has written many books and has a robust online presence. It adds a new dimension to the impact of his message if you can experience the visual version of his wisdom.

Naked and Not Ashamed: It’s Time to Reveal What God Longs to Heal 

Amazon quote:

Secrets to Healing and Wholeness

Can you present your hurts and failures to  God without shame?

In this classic bestseller, Bishop T.D. Jakes brings encouragement that casts out the fear of vulnerability before God. When you can stand before God, unashamed, you can receive the healing He freely offers.

From the pain of a sick body to the sadness of a dying relationship, from the crushing blow of betrayal to the mental torment of reliving past mistakes—God longs to set you free and release cleansing rivers of mercy, forgiveness, and restoration into every hurting part of your life!

Discover how to:

  • Rest in God’s healing power as you honestly give Him your pain, fear, and hurt.
  • Live your life with confidence because you’ve learned how to break the power of guilt and shame.
  • Boldly access the power of Jesus’ blood and apply it to every area of brokenness you are facing. 

When you open your failures and hurts to God, He will open the floodgates of healing over you!

***********************

T.D. Jakes has written many books, most of them non-fiction but there are a few novels mixed in. I’ve never read any of them but one caught my eye as I breezed past.

Cover Girls by T.D. Jakes

Amazon quote:

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 reading an engaging thriller. My favorite of the week from an author I’ve previously enjoyed at least four times. This experience has not disappointed and I am very happy. This book is still FREE so check it out if you enjoy thrillers and clean novels.

Mind Games (Kaely Quinn Profiler Book #1) 

Kaely Quinn’s talents as an FBI behavior analyst are impossible to ignore, no matter how unorthodox her methods. But when a reporter outs her as the daughter of an infamous serial killer, she’s demoted to field agent and transferred to St. Louis.

When the same reporter who ruined her career claims to have received an anonymous poem predicting a string of murders, ending with Kaely’s, the reporter’s ulterior motives bring his claim into question. But when a body is found that fits the poem’s predictions, the threat is undeniable, and the FBI sends Special Agent Noah Hunter to St. Louis.

Initially resentful of the assignment, Noah is surprised at how quickly his respect for Kaely grows, despite her oddities. But with a brazen serial killer who breaks all the normal patterns on the loose, Noah and Kaely are tested to their limits to catch the murderer before anyone else–including Kaely herself–is killed.

************************

This has definitely been a slow week for great book suggestions that fit my free or bargain criteria.

I use this criteria for several reasons and I can’t figure out which one is more important. It’s a tie, I think.

For one thing, I use it as the only unemotional way I can come up with to narrow down the possibilities. I use clean as a filter too but it still leaves far to many choices. To be honest I can’t keep up with all of the downloads as it is. I need a filter with muscle.

I suppose I could resort to not ordering every book I mention but that creates another problem. I want to offer books that I know are worth the read. I can’t do that if I don’t read them or know the authors from previous reads.

The other reason, for the most part, that I stick to free and bargain is budget. It would be really easy for me to go over board on spending without restrictions of some sort.

The other thing I like about free and bargain is that it gives me a chance to liberally experience unknown authors. This privilege has been a blessing in so many ways. My favorite authors list has grown to be unbelievably long.

I’m hoping by focusing on free and bargain suggestions it will give you a chance to read books you might not otherwise too. It is so much fun to discover new loves.

*************************

Happy reading y’all

A little this, a little that, at Christmas

This is story prompt Sunday. The word was Jolly. I feel happy and jolly, but totally pulled a blank when it came to anything jolly worth writing about. It’s not a great day for book suggestions either so it will be a this and that kind of a blog day.

I’m good with it. Many thoughts are busily floating through my mind at the moment. As usual, I don’t have any of this planned out. It will be another lets see where we end up post. I’m currently feeling upbeat and I’m pretty sure the post will sound that way too. I don’t want to take a chance with the good vibes I’ve got going on.

I will admit, briefly, that the lead up to this week was anything but jolly. There were a number of emotionally charged things going on and it all brought me to a place where, for days, I just wanted to cry. I couldn’t figure out why. I thought maybe if I gave in to the need the pressure would ease. There were no tears, so that idea was of no value. One thing did help, I counted up all the stresses over the previous week. That explained a lot. Once you get past a certain number a melt down is inevitable.

I worried that a lock-down covid Christmas would only make things worse. Thankfully the opposite happened.

It all began on the 21st when things started out sideways. My daughter-in-law talked about a video call at 4 pm, my eldest and his family. When it didn’t come at four as suggested I thought it wasn’t happening after all. Part way through a piece of blueberry pie my cell phone rang with a video call. No time for primping. I can laugh about it now.

Our whole family gets along well and has a lot of fun together but, scattered all over the country we don’t see each other very often. None of us are good with phone calls either. When we do talk though, it goes on for hours. After three hours I’d seen most of the house and talked with everyone in the house. It was just what I needed.

The next night we had scheduled a full family Zoom call. The first one we’ve ever had as a group and it was four hours of awesome. Nothing fancy or spectacular just the simple joy of being together and seeing each other. I think a few grandkids and a spouse or two may have checked out after awhile and left us to it.

I think part of the reason we were all fully in the moment was the recent loss of an extended family member. It reminded us of the fragility of life. Some of us are not getting any younger and the sudden, unexpected passing could have been any one of us. It sounds like we are going to commit to regular monthly visits while we still can. Just not four hours long. I’m couldn’t be happier about the promise of more visits.

Christmas Eve I delivered gifts to my daughter’s family in the city. I didn’t plan to stay long with covid restrictions in place but I was there long enough to see most of another family Zoom call with the extended side of the family. They enjoy each other immensely too and it was a treat to experience their interactions.

I enjoy all of the families my kids have married into. I feel very blessed. Most, if not all of us, find it easy to allow others into our family circles and it’s awesome.

So, aside from conversations I had fun with gifts this year.

I usually just give the teen-aged boys money. I’m a lousy shopper and I want them to be happy. I fully intended to use that method again this year but at the last minute changed my mind and ordered something. It wasn’t a new thought, I’ve been wanting to do it for awhile now but waffled.

I gave them a family Christmas card explaining that I decided to spend their money for them, the gift would be arriving before the 31st and it is a secret. I know they will love the gift. In the meantime curiosity is driving them crazy. It’s a good thing I’m not with them or they would be dragging it out of me. Anticipation is a good thing sometimes.

Included in the bag with the card was a couple of big bags of variety junk food, flavored chips, and three books. Big books.

Several years ago when their cousins (my other grandkids) were visiting I gifted them with a couple of full bags of books. My goal was to find stories they could get hooked on and from there develop a love of reading. I had selection help from a nerdy, teen-age book-lover sales clerk so I knew the options offered were good.

I held back three books (all part of a series with stand alone books) waiting for them to be in need of more reading material. Middle boy is the book lover, boys one and three – not so much… not yet anyway. The distress over the thought of such long books was hilarious. Their dad said he would give oldest boy fifty dollars if he read the whole 600 pages. (If dad was serious about the reward I think I will make a contribution to the incentive. Must check it out.)

Their reaction was no surprise and I didn’t take it personally. Reading is such an important skill, I wanted to do my part to provide tempting reading material. One day they will find a book they love. Aside from that, it gets easier with practice so any book they read will take them in the right direction.

I know they will be happy with the gift when it arrives, It will have them forgetting all about books, I’m sure.

I was unsure how I would feel about coming home to an empty house at this time of year. Usually I would stay with them for a few days to make the most of the season.

Once in a while, when I return from a family visit, grief at being alone will hit me like an unexpected tidal wave. It didn’t happen this time. I think there were several reasons. My emotional tank was refilled with the many hours spent with my family. (virtual works for me.) At the same time someone was praying for me. A friend mentioned I have been on her mind lately and she’s been praying for me even though she had no idea what the need was. I can still feel the comfort of her prayers wrapped all around me. I am grateful beyond words.

It was in answer to my prayers too. Earlier in the week I had cried out to God in my despair and he answered me. (there is a bible verse that says it like that). The change was so dramatic it feels like a miracle.

So, that’s my story. It has been an unexpectedly good Christmas and I still feel good.

(I hope the same for you)

A little of this and a little of that

This is one of those days. There’s a need to say something, anything at all, to fill the space. I’ve no idea where this is going but hopefully it’s somewhere good.

It crosses my mind that it helps that this isn’t live. I can keep going with the rewrites until I’m happy, sort of.

On second thought though, live could possibly be more fun.

So anyway, several weeks ago I put up my Christmas tree and I’ve been dying to talk about it. After at least two years of no tree, this year I had the urge to change all that. It felt a little weird to decide November was a good time to do this but everyone else in the neighborhood has lights up so I thought why not.

I’ve always loved sitting in a dim room with just the tree lights on. They are soft and pretty and make me feel happy somehow. This seemed like a good year to have pretty lights, with all the covid issues our country is experiencing right now. It turns out I’m onto something. They were talking about tree lights having a positive effect on our emotions. Endorphins or something like that.

*****************

I like keeping it close in this new spot for a few reasons.

With all the leaves off the trees I feel rather exposed sitting in front of the windows like I do. When I was moaning about this to my daughter she suggested putting the tree here beside me and it’s turned out to be a great idea. After a few more tweaks, (not shown here) it’s perfect to hide behind and it looks good to the neighbors across the fence.

(The tree looks short in this picture but it’s actually taller than I am.) (My brothers’ comment would be – that’s not saying much. They are soooo mean while they are looking down on the top of my head)

I used to put the tree in the front room for the neighbors on that side but I spend more time at this table. This way I see the lights more often. Especially if I get my nose out of a book long enough to notice my surroundings.

I’m not sure why I can spend hours sitting at this table to read. Maybe it’s because my feet touch the floor and the seat is padded.

************

Having mood lifting lights this year has turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Last Saturday, someone close to our family passed away very suddenly.

He stopped in at a friends before heading to the grocery store that morning. Once there he began to feel unwell. Some trouble breathing, some chest pain. He drove back to the friend who took him to the hospital. His vitals all looked good but they kept him for observation and the friend went home. An hour later the hospital called. He was gone, just like that.

No one knows why. He was seemingly a healthy man. I guess they will investigate because of the circumstances. We would all like to know what happened.

One thing out of it all is amazing to me, and a touching blessing.

He lived alone. I don’t think anyone ever went to his house, not very often anyway.

The awesome thing is – he didn’t die alone in his house or on the floor in the middle of a store. He died lying on a bed in the best and most appropriate place he could possibly be. His family knew where he was and were there quickly. If it had to happen it couldn’t had been planned any better than that.

Maybe this means a lot to me because I worry about such things. Probably more than I realize.

Somehow, the gentleness of the circumstances has made it easier to think of him as gone. Especially so close to Christmas. His family will miss him. We all will.

The shock is fading a little for me and that helps. I pray it is for his family too.

In the meantime, I buried my nose in a book most of the weekend and have more read books to share soon.

My current read is enjoyable and I’m looking forward to getting a few more pages in before lights out. (I’d best quit with the edits if I want that to happen)

Walk with Me: A Christian Faith Clean Romance (Faith and Love Book 1)

Amazon quote:

He just wants to help.
She is determined to do it all herself—and not fall in love.

Three years ago, Paige Kelly had to leave college to take care of her five younger siblings after their parents’ death. She has no time for romance and even less interest in her new boss and his curiosity about her life. Getting attached would only mean getting hurt.

Russell Pierce just returned to his hometown to become manager of the country club. He never planned on an office romance, but he can’t stop thinking about his alluring restaurant manager with the weight of the world on her shoulders. He wants to help, but she wants nothing to do with him. 

Paige can’t imagine starting a relationship with anyone, and Russell needs to focus on work. Despite their reluctance, their genuine connection and undeniable attraction grow harder to avoid when they collaborate on a new project, leaving them both to re-evaluate what they thought they wanted.

****************

Today was a slow day for new and interesting book suggestions, hopefully tomorrow will be better.

In the meantime ….

Happy Reading

and enjoy some Christmas lights.

Free and bargain books November 12, 2020

BookBub has a FREE suggestion for us this time.

Into the Darkness (Daring Escapes Book 1)

Amazon quote:

Adventure. Betrayal. Murder.
Dead? Kate Collier refuses to believe her brother and last remaining family member died in the Brazilian rainforest. Determined to find the missing biochemist, she launches an expedition to find him.

A.C. Slader’s past is as dark and turbulent as the Amazon. Consumed with his own problems, when Kate tries hiring him to find her no-doubt deceased brother, he turns her down cold. The last thing he needs is to fight his way through an impassable jungle for a woman who wouldn’t know a stick from a snake. Only when he narrowly rescues her from an attack before she’s even left the relative safety of the town does he realize that without his help, she’ll get herself killed.

Together, they begin a perilous journey that will test the limits of their faith and each other…

*****************

There were a couple of enjoyable new authors in the collections I mentioned yesterday. I was hoping to find more from them to see what a full novel would be like. There was one regular length book at a bargain price (my favorite way to try out unfamiliar authors) which is nice and I’m looking forward to it.

A Long Way to Run

Amazon quote:

Sometimes the path to love is a long way to run…

Olympic-caliber running hopeful Riley Dalton lost his left leg from the knee down in the noblest of ways: saving a trapped woman whose car was engulfed by fire. Years removed from that life-changing moment, he returns home to Dunberry, Michigan, searching for the pathway to a new life.

Riley’s high school sweetheart, Jennifer Bailey, understands the process of reinvention. Heartbreak and corporate theft sent her scampering from New York straight back to her small-town roots. In Dunberry, she’s established a clothing boutique that allows creativity to flow while she regroups.

Reunited, Riley and Jennifer spearhead the creation of a community sponsored running team while they chase demons both physical and emotional. As Riley trains for the Mobility Impaired division of the Boston Marathon, the past rises to haunt him, and a professional opportunity is presented to Jennifer that plays to her goals but endangers everything she’s reestablished with the only man she’s ever loved.

Will love be enough to cover the distance between them?

*******************

I’m currently reading and enjoying

A Scarlet Cord 

In the four years since her husband’s death, Melanie LaSalle’s life has been consumed with managing the family design firm and caring for her five-year-old daughter, Jerica. The possibility of a new relationship is the last thing on her mind. But when Melanie meets Joel Ellington, a new staff member at her church, she is instantly attracted to his warm spirit.
As their friendship deepens, however, Melanie is troubled by something she can’t quite understand or explain. Joel past seems to be off-limits, even to Melanie. Because of her growing feelings for him, Melanie pushes her doubts away. But when Joel disappears, along with the contents of a church bank account, she can no longer ignore her suspicions.
Now, torn between her feelings for Joel and the evidence mounting against him, Melanie faces a heart-wrenching decision: to forget the man who gave her reason to love again or to trust Joel enough to give him her heart.
Exploring themes of the importance of truth, loyalty, and trust, A Scarlet Cord illustrates that who we truly are depends little on outward appearances and solely on our relationship with God, and on the fact that through faith in Him, we can find places of comfort, healing, and selfless love.

********************

A Scarlet Cord is a big book, 360 pages, and Deborah Raney is one of the few authors I know who can write a long story and have enough to say to actually pull it off. No filler in her stories, to bulk them up.

It will be interesting to see if I make it through though.

Between work challenges and the disturbing things going on in the world right now it’s difficult to settle down enough to concentrate for any length of time.

Evil has a way of bullying victims into submission and it feels like that’s what’s going on in our world right now. I’m praying evil won’t win. I’m hoping many others are joining in praying this way too.

I don’t know where the threat is coming from or who is behind it but our lives and way of life could depend on the final outcome. We need to be aware and prayerful. I know it’s not just me thinking this way, I’m hearing other sane voices expressing the same concern.

Watch and pray.

If you’ve never prayed and don’t know how. The Creator of the Universe hears every prayer, without exception. Just say what’s in your heart.

******************

Until tomorrow

Happy Reading

This is a blog about books but …

This blog is about books, fiction books mostly, regular stories, nothing too heavy. Except for every now and then. Today’s featured book is a heavy topic and is to be read with caution. The authors stress this in the interview.

I’ve read many heavy topic books but don’t always share them, or if I do I do it quietly. This one I think should be shared a little more openly. I’m sure there is someone out there who needs to read it.

I’m including the link to an hour long interview podcast introducing you to this book and it’s authors. I found it very helpful to have background information before I read the book.

Mark Lowry has a way of asking insightful questions, keeping the interview moving along. The hour doesn’t drag or feel like it’s too long.

Brad Jersak pastored a small community church, meeting in the gym of my teenagers school a few decades ago when we lived in Abbotsford BC. I’ve never met him in person but knew of him. Over the years I’ve seen other interviews with him as he’s written a number of books.

Paul Young is author of one of my favorite books The Shack. I’ve followed him through the years as well.

Brad and Paul are friends and collaborated to produce The Pastor: A Crisis

This story is purely fiction and it’s been written to bring hope and healing to a desperate place where there’s little hope. With this type of subject it would be wrong to tell true stories.

The Pastor: A Crisis 

A weary fundamentalist pastor is stuck in a psychiatric ward, staring into the abyss of his own secret shame. Before he can be free, he must confront his demons and find Grace. But will he let go? Will he allow himself to be healed?

The Pastor explores the perilous human journey from self-will and striving through defeat and despair to hope and the redemption found only through surrender.

**************************

This book resonates with me, the adult child of an alcoholic sex addict.

I have my own personal journey with denial and triggers. Recognizing and acknowledging the event behind my trigger and facing it head on has taken the steam out. It’s been a healing experience though not an easy one.

I can relate to this book in a limited way because it was written for men. To me it feels like reading a foreign language where I only know a few words. It doesn’t matter if I get it as long as men do.

If you feel drawn to this book I hope you will read it and begin a journey to find healing.

************

I’ve forgiven my father and I’m working on forgiving you too. I can’t honestly ask you to read this book and heal if I’m unwilling to forgive.

More importantly: There’s nothing God can’t forgive if you truly want it.

It seems we have to soundly hit bottom before we are ready for surrender.

I’m praying that if you need to read this book you will.

God’s forgiveness and healing is amazing.

Grandma, I still miss her

I think I posted this tribute once before but can’t find it anywhere… so here it is again. Especially for my brother who is trying to find the blog he keeps hearing about.

I even mentioned he should follow me if he finds this. He claims he gets so many annoying notifications he’s not sure he wants more. I say as his favorite sister I’m entitled to special privileges. He pointed out I’m his only sister. No special privileges.

He loves me. He even called me for my birthday. A sweet guy.

He loves our grandma too. She holds a special place in the hearts of all three of us. I’m blessed with two sweet brothers.

*****************************************

I Still Miss Her

I think about my grandmother often. She was a major part of turning our broken lives around and we still marvel at how well things turned out for our family after such a horrible beginning.

Grandma was a strong, courageous lady. You couldn’t tell it by looking at her short little self but if you looked closely at the course of her life, you’d notice. She was loving and funny and, in my estimation, she was a saint to accept the three of us the way she did.

As mentioned, the circumstances of our childhood were not great. I don’t want to spoil this day by getting into all of that but referring to it helps to explain the reasoning behind Grandma’s desperate actions.

My mother was about to go to hospital for a second round of cancer treatment.

The first hospital visit had my brothers and I staying home with our dad while Grandma tried helping from a distance. I don’t remember much about it so can’t enlarge on exactly how things went for her but I’m guessing it did not go well. That would be why she declared an ultimatum the second time around.

If mom wanted her to look out for the three of us, we would have to stay with her. Somehow, we are not sure how, she managed to persuade our dad to agree. In later years, Mom told me Grandma’s courage was because she couldn’t bear to go home at night leaving us in the uncertainty of Dad’s care.

In today’s terms – we were removed from an unfit home and placed in foster care with Grandma as the caregiver. A huge undertaking when you think about it. In today’s world, we would have been removed but Grandma probably wouldn’t have been the one to take us. Not with modern day Social Services regulations.

Fifty-five years old with heart related health issues, married to an elderly man, nearly twenty years her senior, with serious heart issues of his own, I suspect she would have been disqualified. And while their house was amazing compared to ours, it was only a small single story with two bedrooms. Grandma was determined to make it work.

Taking in three hurting children ages twelve, ten, and seven, indefinitely, was life changing, on so many levels.

We never did go back. This move was for the long haul and I’m sure Grandma was relieved. Mom joined us after release from the hospital and Dad didn’t complain, not that I ever heard anyway. I’m sure there were many conversations my brothers and I were not privy to, so I guess we wouldn’t know, even if he did object.

The change in our life was like night and day. The most impactful difference for me was peace and stability. The provision most appreciated by my oldest brother was food – there was always plenty in the frig and we were allowed whatever we needed. We had to get used to regular baths, meals, bedtimes, and church attendance. None of us were not complaining about any of it. We loved our new life.

An undertaking like this meant extra work, and the three of us were required to help. I don’t remember feeling like it was a hardship although I’m sure there were times when I was reluctant to do what she asked. Grandma was a patient teacher and having to work with her provided skills that would set me up for life. I learned how to garden, mow lawns, can and freeze, make bread, pick fruit and vegetables. I learned how to wash clothes with a wringer washer, hang them on a clothes line to dry, iron starched white shirts, wash and wax floors, paint cupboards, and much more. In short – I learned how to work and found I liked it. Working with her was a special gift.

Life wasn’t all work and no play. Grandma was fun, deviously so sometimes. Her antics proved it. She was usually the mischief instigator, shooting watermelon seeds, cherry pits, or peas across the table at one of us, starting a war. It’s a good thing the kitchen was set up for easy cleaning.

Then there was one warm summer day with open windows, a perfect time to take a break from watering plants and shoot a little spray at the person doing dishes. Or one day throwing glasses of water through the space at top of the crooked bathroom door just when someone (my lucky mother) was drying off after a shower. Water everywhere was just part of the fun.

There were many more tricks – rubber sealer rings in bologna sandwiches, chocolate covered ants at church socials, disguising herself as a vagrant on Halloween night to fool the kids. That last one backfired when the army fellow next door noticed a shadowy figure and went striding out to challenge the scruffy trespasser. She revealed herself quickly, I think she was worried he would take her down with a tackle. So many good memories.

We always felt safe and loved at Grandma’s house. Her love wasn’t restricted to the three of us either. It extended to all her grandchildren, even her great grandchildren.

When my first child was born, we (baby and me) would pack up for the drive back home to spend time with her. She loved babies and was always thrilled to have us.

There are special moments in the memories of those days. Baby was six months old when we went shopping for a table and chairs for her new apartment. A set I inherited a few years later and eventually passed on to one of my kids. A few months ago, my daughter bought a new table and passed Grandma’s on to one of her friends who appreciates retro. Her memory lives on.

My second child was born three years after the first. By then Grandma was not doing well as her heart was giving out. She was determined. She was going to live long enough to see this new baby. And she did it. We were able to lay him in the bed beside her so she could look her fill. The next day she was gone.

I still miss her. She was mother to me through my teen years. She was grandma to my first born. The picture I have when I miss her most is the way she was on those visits with Gerald, my first boy. When the missing gets to be too much, I remember how weak and frail she was in those last days. I couldn’t wish her back.

She would be 119 years old this year. It tickles me to imagine what she would be like if she were alive and well today. I’m sure she would be serving bologna sandwiches with hidden sealer rings, while shooting us with cherry pits or watermelon seeds, enjoying every minute of it.

And she would have loved every future baby born to call her Great Grandma and beyond.

Recently Read & Enjoyed.

The books on my reading list lately have been a joy. They were interesting stories with captivating characters. My only complaint with some of them was an over abundance of detail. There were several with a few too many characters. Aside from that it’s been a memorable week of time spent with strong stories. There were more but I just want to share these three.

This was my favorite. An amazing woman with an equally amazing life. It was not easy but she rose to the challenge every time.

This is a book I would like to read again.

The Awakening of Miss Adelaide (The Women of Rock Creek Book 3)

The Awakening of Miss Adelaide

Orphaned as an infant, Oklahoma heiress Adelaide Fitzgerald has enjoyed every advantage. She possesses a unique gift for music and has excelled on the opera stage in Italy. As a philanthropist, she’s adored from America to Europe.

But Miss Adelaide is about to awaken in a 1918 nightmare.

When the “Great War” and the “Great Influenza” knock, Adelaide finds her uninvited guests more than unwelcome. They threaten her life and alter her identity and purpose.

Snatched from a quiet life in an Italian villa, Miss Adelaide is thrust into conflicts others have created. What battle scars will she sustain? And where will love lead her?

In The Awakening of Miss Adelaide, war and peace, laughter and heartache, love and loss come together to ignite a fresh fire that reveals one woman’s hidden needs and potentials.

What will gaining a fresh understanding of herself require of the Angel of the Opera?

*****************

This next one was not an easy read for me. It wasn’t, but it was life changing on a deep level. It took me a long time to find the courage to read it and when I finally did I was glad. It was a story of deep despair but it didn’t end that way.

A Place Called Morning 

A Place Called Morning

“Another incisive look at family life and secrets.” – Library Journal.

Mae Demaray retreats from life after her young grandson dies accidentally while under her care. What was once a quiet life in an old clapboard house on a quiet Minneapolis street, rich with the hues of security and love, is now shattered. But a decades-old family secret, based on an unlikely friendship over the years, brings redemption and restoration once it is revealed.

********************

 

One more.

This last story was special too. Life hasn’t been as dramatic for me as it was for these two characters but I can relate to listening to the still small voice. An amazing experience. I think Lorana Hoopes has done an excellent job in developing this complex story.

The Still Small Voice: Christian Speculative Fiction (Are You Listening Book 1)

The Still Small Voice

Would you give up everything to follow God?

Jordan Wright’s life was thrown upside down when she ended up pregnant in college. After giving up her son for adoption, she sought to find meaning in her life. As she gave her life to God, she began to receive visions and words to tell others. But can she trust God enough to take on the hardest mission of her life?

Kat Jameson had been a lukewarm Christian for years, but when her best friend died, her world was thrown into turmoil. Dreams haunt her evenings and a strange light began appearing around people. Kat believed she was going crazy until she met someone with a special message for her. Will she let go and finally let God use her?

*******************

There is more to share next time.

Happy Reading

Bargain books August 07, 2020 – Part two

Failing to look at the suggestions at the bottom of the page means I missed interesting offerings for the author of my current read. An author is new to me. I can’t pass up the opportunity to experience more of her so we have to have bargains Part Two.

I don’t know about you but I like what they call speculative fiction. One of these three new books is just that. I do like Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker. There are a number of their books shelved in my living room. They say Lorana Hoopes writes like them, I’m looking forward to finding out if it’s true.

The Still Small Voice: Christian Speculative Fiction (Are You Listening Book 1)

The Still Small Voice

Amazon quote:

Would you give up everything to follow God?

Jordan Wright’s life was thrown upside down when she ended up pregnant in college. After giving up her son for adoption, she sought to find meaning in her life. As she gave her life to God, she began to receive visions and words to tell others. But can she trust God enough to take on the hardest mission of her life?

Kat Jameson had been a lukewarm Christian for years, but when her best friend died, her world was thrown into turmoil. Dreams haunt her evenings and a strange light began appearing around people. Kat believed she was going crazy until she met someone with a special message for her. Will she let go and finally let God use her?

Fans of Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker will love this speculative fiction. Best-selling author Lorana Hoopes will challenge your faith in this heartwarming speculative fiction. Are you listening to God’s voice?

******************

This next one is a romance and is the beginning of a new series. A Prequel on Pre-order at a bargain price. I’m taking a chance.

Sealed With a Kiss: A Clean Inspirational Small Town Romance (Star Lake Book 1)

Sealed with a Kiss

Amazon quote:

He’s loved her for years. She’s never seen it. Will they ever get their chance?

Max has loved Layla since the moment he met her, but the time has never been right to tell her. When she breaks off her engagement, will he finally get the courage to tell her how he feels or will he lose his chance forever?

Layla has been using relationships to determine her worth, but when her latest one falls apart, she decides to give up on men all together. When she realizes Max has feelings for her, will she stand by her conviction or will she give love one more try?

Fans of Karen Kingsbury, Susan May Warren, and Colleen Coble will love this heart-warming prequel to the Star Lake series by best selling author Lorana Hoopes. 

****************

One more bargain, available without waiting.

Where It All Began: An Inspirational Christian Fiction (A Heartbeats Inspirational Romance Book 1)

Where it all Began

Amazon quote:

An impossible choice. An unforeseen consequence. The hand of God.

Sandra Baker thought her life was on the perfect track until she ended up pregnant. Her boyfriend, not wanting the baby, pushes her to have an abortion and though she doesn’t want one, she realizes she cannot support a baby alone.

After the procedure, Sandra’s life falls apart as the guilt creeps in. She turns to alcohol, her relationship ends, and she struggles to find meaning in her life.

When she meets Henry Dobbs, a strong Christian man, she begins to wonder if his God would accept her. Will she tell Henry her darkest secret? And will she ever be able to forgive herself and find healing? Find out in this emotional love story.

Fans of Colleen Coble, Lori Wick, and Karen Kingsbury will love this inspirational romance from best-selling author Lorana Hoopes.

***************

This has been a very good book day with strong representation from two genres. We are in good shape for the weekend!!

Happy Reading

….until tomorrow.