Free and bargain books October 19, 2020

1531 Entertainment has an interesting offer for us.

I look forward to this is collection every year at this time, it’s becoming a tradition. And it’s always at a bargain price too. The stories are stand alone but connected in small ways. The final book ties them all together.

Five Gold Rings (Crossroads Collection Book 7)

Amazon quote:

Some of today’s best-selling Christian authors weave five completely new, unique, interconnected stories where once jilted lovers find worth more precious than gold.

Christmas Mercy by Jaycee Weaver
As the web of lies that kept Rob away from Vera and their daughter unravels, the months following his return test their capacity for mercy, forgiveness, and a second chance at love.

The Seven Year Glitch by Hallee Bridgeman
Seven years earlier, Timothy left Leanne at the altar stealing years of happiness. Leanne rescues him from a rooftop in a floodplain and it is clear there is much more to the story. Can their love redeem the hurts of the past to rescue their future?

Laughing All the Way by Lesley Ann McDaniel
When Jessica’s friends put her up to “fixing” their commitment phobic co-worker, Conner, she doesn’t take them very seriously. Conner doesn’t know whether to laugh at Jessica or tell her to mind her own business.

Ghosted at the Altar by Chautona Havig
After his fiancée, Brenna, abandons Mitchell on their wedding day, she insists she loves him and still wants to marry him. As truths come to light, her little sister, Lauren, turns sleuth to solve the mystery of why Brenna ghosted Mitchell at the altar.

Five Gold Rings by Amanda Tru
When three relationship-challenged couples wish for Christmas weddings, commitment coach, Oliver, teams up with a wedding planner, TeraLyn, to help make their marriage dreams come true.

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LPC Books has a few FREE and one bargain suggestion for us. I enjoy the first author and I’m looking forward to this. And the others … except for the two I’ve read.

Things We Once Held Dear 

Amazon quote:

New Yorker Neil Sadler returns to his hometown of Mason, Ohio, where the small-town was rocked by the suspicious death of Helen Syfert, the mother of Neil’s friend, Mary.

As the pair reconnects, Neil learns their once-close relationship hasn’t survived the tragedy of Mary’s loss. In time, though, the couple finds that what pushed them apart years ago now seems to be pulling them together. Still, Neil finds himself struggling to recover from a more recent loss, one he keeps tucked in his heart.

While the mystery of Helen’s death remains unsolved, finding closure will require opening old wounds, mending broken relationships, and facing new fears.

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Devil in the Dust 

Amazon quote:

June 1933: — Their small Oklahoma town is dying. Lillian remembers how acres and acres of wheat once waved under jewel-blue skies. Now the dirt stretches across the flat land as far as she can see.

Though Emma’s husband is missing, she keeps house — and keeps her five children fed as best as she can — even as her hopes fade. But when the days stretch to weeks, she considers the possibility that he will never come home. Left with the likelihood of losing their farm, and the ever-present pangs of hunger, she is forced to consider opportunities that, under normal circumstances, no woman should ever have to contemplate.

Jessie, Emma’s oldest daughter, completes her daily chores with tired repetition. Forced to wear her mother’s shoes to avoid the humiliation of bare feet, she watches the dead, dirt road for signs of life.

And then he arrives in his new car and shiny shoes and generous way with gifts and money. Much to the dismay of her mother he catches Jessie’s eye.

Lillian knows he’s too smooth, too willing to help, and much too eager to spend time with a girl less than half his age. But what’s to say he is not the miracle they all prayed for? In times of desperation the wind carries more than one kind of evil.

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The Last Summer

Amazon quote:

For twenty-something Sara Witherspoon and her group of friends, a perfect Southern summer includes lake-house getaways, wedding planning, outdoor concerts, and a dash of romance. But for these seven friends who love each other like family, this year, summer rolls in with changes for everyone.

Sara’s longtime crush, Luke, has been her best friend for as long as she has been a part of the group. When Luke begins seriously dating another of their friends, Sara’s forced to deal with her hurt and jealousy, while outwardly try to support them both.

While Sara comes to terms with her own heart and her friends’ relationships, an unexpected handsome pilot from North Carolina and an old flame are thrown into the mix. Knowing her heart suddenly becomes much more complicated.

But as time unfolds and friendships begin to unravel, Sara and the others are presented with the reality of what a season of change does to old friendships and new love interests.

Does growing older mean growing apart?

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This Quiet Sky

Amazon quote:

There is nothing extraordinary about Tucker O’Shay’s dreams.
Go to college. Become president. Fall in love.
And pretend like he has enough time to get it all done.

Sixteen-year-old Sarah Miller doesn’t expect anything out of the ordinary when she begins her first day at the one-room-school house in her new hometown of Rocky Knob. But when she meets seventeen-year-old Tucker O’Shay—the boy with the fatal illness who volunteers to tutor her in algebra—she finds herself swept up in a friendship that changes the way she sees the world and a love that changes her life.

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I know what I’m reading next. This Quiet Sky

That is, if I remember.

I’m currently reading an eight book collection but I’m only on book 2. That’s a lot of water under the bridge before I get to the next book.

Maybe when I finish book 2 I’ll have to take a little detour through the new book before going back to the collection. A little break could be a good thing.

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It’s been another awesome book day. I hope you are feeling as happy as I am over this new selection of good reads.

I haven’t had much reading time today so I’m off to see what’s happening in the world of murder and mayhem.

Happy Reading y’all

Podcasts about books – Bondi’s Brother

A popular podcast format these days: interview guests with recently released books. Most of my favorite podcasts use this method and they come up with amazing guests. Everytime.

Added to that, the hosts of these popular podcasts have well developed interview skills aided by talent for connection with insightful questions.

There are five or six regulars on my watch list and Eric Metaxas Radio Show is one of them. (I know, it says Radio Show but it actually shows up on YouTube as a podcast. That confused me for awhile too.)

Earlier this week Eric interviewed an amazing man about the memoir he’s written outlining his experiences as a teen during World War II. A subject high on my radar since my early twenties. This interview and book built on all of the information I’ve taken in over the years and it was amazing to hear a man speak about living through things I have only read about.

It’s good to hear a first hand account and be reminded it would not be outrageous to think such a terrible thing could happen in the world again… if we are not careful.

The overriding motive behind WWII was a terrible thirst for power. The lethargy and lack of concern among the citizenry of the world allowed the power hungry to seize opportunities and even to invent opportunities, with little resistance.

Our world is experiencing power struggles once again. God forbid that our citizenry would allow it to happen a second time. How could we ever live through it, if it were to get that far again?

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The book featured in this podcast – author Irving Roth

Bondi’s Brother: A Story of Love, Loss, Betrayal and Liberation

Amazon quote:

The Roth family lived in Slovakia, had a prosperous business and two young sons, Irving and his older brother Bondi. Irving’s earliest memories are of the Catholic maid who was like a mother to him. Soon though, all that changed as laws made it illegal for a non-Jew to work for a Jew. His father was also forced to sell his business and the whole family had to wear Star-of-David yellow patches on their clothes. The family fled to Hungary and the boys sent to a boarding school. Later, the two boys were picked up, put on a cattle car and sent to a concentration camp.

All the horrors of the camp are described in excruciating detail – the hunger, the hard work, the constant fear. Always though the boys had each other until after a couple of years they were separated.

In spite of these hardships, Irving survived. Perhaps it was because he was only 15 years old, young enough and strong enough to somehow make it through. Liberation though was bitter-sweet because he never saw his brother again.

The book makes the horror very real. And it’s hard to believe how bad it really was. However it’s also a testament to the positive human spirit and the will to live. I will never forget this book. It will haunt my memories for a long time. Yes, the specific time and place have dissolved into history. But its legacy lives on and teaches the lesson that we should never take our easy lives for granted and we should appreciate what we have. – Linda Linguvic

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Eric Metaxas podcast interview of Irving Roth

A must watch, we could easily find ourselves here again.

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It’s good to be reminded of the evil in the world. We don’t want to be caught unaware like the proverbial frog in the pot of hot water.

Read and enjoyed – middle of October 2020 edition

It`s time once again to clear out my read & enjoyed folder.

This first one was an excellent read and it is still a bargain, grab it quick before it goes away.

Rescued by the Hero: (Heroes of Freedom Ridge Book 1)

The hardest part about this fake relationship is hiding it from her brother. Especially when it doesn’t feel fake.

Joanna Drake can’t wait to escape to Freedom Ridge for the holidays. She needs to put hundreds of miles between her and her creepy coworker who won’t seem to take no for an answer. When she runs into her brother’s best friend at the ski resort, every relationship gets complicated.

Aiden Clark is shocked to find out that his best friend brought his little sister along on vacation, especially when he finds himself interested in getting to know her. When she asks him to play along as her boyfriend to ward off an unwanted pursuer, he wholeheartedly agrees despite his friend’s warnings to stay away from her.
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Another one thoroughly enjoyed.

Blue Columbine: (Grace Revealed Book 1)

Best friends—maybe more—until addiction shatters everything.
Andrew Harris needs a fresh start. His alleged drinking problem cost him his job, sending him back to his childhood home in Colorado. Discovering his childhood sweetheart is still there—and still the girl he’d adored—Andrew gains new confidence that he’ll overcome the failings that had caused his downfall before.

Jamie Carson values her faith above all else. However, the loss of her mother has opened a nagging loneliness. After reuniting with Andrew—a boy she thought she’d once loved—the ache of solitude subsides, though his rejection of the faith she thought they’d shared is troubling.

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One more favorite. It is still a bargain too.

Behind the Lies (The Northern Lights Book 2)

With nowhere else to go but a house bequeathed to her from an old friend, Olivia Morgan finds herself back in Oak River. The small town holds memories of abuse, neglect, and sorrow, but also stirs up longings she’d thought were long buried.

She thinks she can live in seclusion, but resisting the kindness of an elderly neighbor, her tenacious younger sister, and the magnetic attraction of the most handsome man she’s ever seen, is undoing the best of intentions.

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I have a large handful still needing to be mentioned but for space reasons we need to move right along. I`m really sorry about that. Covers only for these ones.

I really liked the first two, that`s why they are at the top of this section.

(please excuse the apostrophe, it is doing something weird and I do not know how to fix it.)

I enjoyed the rest of them too. Some a little more than others but….

I decided not to mention the few I didn`t like. The rest are all worth mentioning.

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I`m currently reading and enjoying a ten book collection and it is still a bargain. Grab it quick. I think you will like it.

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Happy Reading everyone.

Free and bargain books October 12, 2020

BookRunes has a FREE suggestion.

Catching the Cowgirl: Wyoming Legacy (Wind River Hearts Book 12)

Amazon quote:

Breanna White is a cowgirl to the bone. As the youngest adopted sibling—and the only girl—her protective older brothers have always told her that she’ll have to change her ways to attract a man. No thanks.

Adam Cartwright is the wealthy son of a Philadelphia businessman. He’s expected to marry well and run the newspaper his father has spent years building. But Adam doesn’t want a society marriage. He wants Breanna, whose independent spirit captivated him from the first moment they met.

When the city boy comes calling, Breanna falls hard. But there are family secrets in Philadelphia that could change the way that Adam feels about her. A first kiss sends her emotions into a tailspin, so she does what she does best—races away.

Will Adam chase after her and capture the cowgirl’s heart?

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One of my favorite authors has a bargain popping up for us.

Beneath Northern Lights: A Holiday Story (Northern Shore Intrigue Book 4)

Amazon quote:

Two wounded souls, a sweet puppy, Christmas coming and someone who’s out to destroy a man’s dream~

After a life-altering event, Nick Reynolds has one goal, to participate in the Apostle Islands Dog Sled Race with his beloved Alaskan husky, Maddie. But someone is dead-set against Nick achieving this goal. Who and why?
Megan Blair knows she isn’t doing what’s expected of a new college grad. She’s not sending out resumes and looking for her dream job. But this spring, life hit her with a painful setback. And she can’t bring herself to do what her mother and everyone else expects. After spending the summer working at her sister’s coffee shop, she decides to stay in Winfield for the winter. Will she ever feel whole again?

When Megan volunteers at the local vet to foster dogs, she meets Nick. He’s come to give up one of Maddie’s six-month-old puppies. Unexpectedly holding the small, furry Alaskan husky brings Megan an unexpected measure of peace and joy. She begins to consider adoption. How can this man just give this wonderful pup away? And why does he act like such a grump?
She’d like to steer clear of him. But within days it’s clear the man needs help with feeding and caring for his team of huskies. And there’s the fact that she needs a job for the winter. Neither is too happy with the other but necessity brings them together. As they both care for the dogs, a bond begins to form. But Megan is still hurting. And nearly a decade older, Nick thinks she needs time to heal. He doesn’t want to be her rebound relationship.

And almost immediately the nasty pranks begin. Each one aimed at Nick and his dogs. And each one worse than the one before. Who is out to get him, stop him from his dream of conquering the past? And more importantly, rob him of the joy of seeing Maddie do what she was born to do–race? As for Megan, as she peels back the layers of Nick’s complex situation and personality, can she allow herself to love again? And will one prank go too far? With unforeseen consequences?

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My current read is …

Blue Columbine: (Grace Revealed Book 1)

Best friends—maybe more—until addiction shatters everything.


Andrew Harris needs a fresh start. His alleged drinking problem cost him his job, sending him back to his childhood home in Colorado. Discovering his childhood sweetheart is still there—and still the girl he’d adored—Andrew gains new confidence that he’ll overcome the failings that had caused his downfall before.

Jamie Carson values her faith above all else. However, the loss of her mother has opened a nagging loneliness. After reuniting with Andrew—a boy she thought she’d once loved—the ache of solitude subsides, though his rejection of the faith she thought they’d shared is troubling.

With Jamie by his side, Andrew believes he can become a better man. Jamie feels the pull of Andrew’s affection, which is dangerous as she also sees that he is captive to an addiction he chooses not to acknowledge. She is as determined to remain his friend as he is set on in his attempt at self-reformation to win her heart.

As Andrew continues to pursue an intimacy Jamie knows she must guard against, blurring line between loyalty and love, things get complicated—until a devastating blow shatters their relationship.

For Jamie, one thing becomes clear: Andy needs a miracle, and she can’t be it.

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I’m a third of the way through and enjoying this although addiction and a life of struggles makes it a tough read.

Tough is realistic though. Most of us have hard places in our life. We need stories we can identify with and to be reminded there is always hope. Hope that we can survive the hard places.

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On the bright side, I’ve lived through a lot of hard places and survived. I feel grateful and blessed.

And … I feel blessed to find more good reads.

Happy Reading y’all

Free books October 05, 2020

LPC Books has FREE books for us this afternoon.

The Spindle Chair (The Barn Church Series Book 1)

Amazon quote:

“At once beautiful and haunting … a story you won’t soon forget”. ~ Ann Tatlock, Award-winning author of Once Beyond A Time, a Christy Award winner

Laurie Crane is happily married, yet she aches to have a child. During her husband’s moments of quiet sadness she senses a void she believes only a child can fill. Pierce wants a child, too and has spent years praying alongside his wife. But he has no idea that a “yes” from God will unearth long-buried memories and bring their marriage to the brink of catastrophe. What happens when “happily-ever-after” becomes more than you can bear?

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Among the Poppies 

Amazon quote:

The ideal lady wears lace, speaks quietly, and never—under any circumstances—fixes an automobile. But Gwyn Ruthers has never cared two snaps about being the ideal lady. With the war to end all wars exploding across the English Channel, she leaves behind her restrictive life as a chauffer’s daughter to serve in an all-female ambulance unit in France. She’s not about to let her social status or gender prevent her from serving her country. Not even a handsome captain can distract her from her mission. Most of the time.

Captain William Crawford wouldn’t wish the ravages of war on any man, much less the captivating woman who insists on driving into battle instead of staying safely at home. He can’t deny that the troops need more medical help, but not when it puts innocent women in danger. How can he lead his men against the Jerries while worrying about Gwyn’s safety?

Bound together by circumstances, Gwyn and William can’t stop the love growing between them. Can their relationship survive, or will it become another casualty of war?

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Chasing the Butterfly

Amazon quote:

From a vineyard in the south of France to the sophisticated city of Paris, Ella Moreau searches for the hope and love she lost as a young girl when her mother abandoned the family. Through a series of secret paintings, her art becomes the substitute for lost love—the metaphor of her life. But when her paintings are discovered, the intentions of those she loves are revealed.

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Thankfully, I’ve read & enjoyed all three of these FREE books. My TBR list is already struggling without adding any more. The upside is, I have lots of choices so I’m not complaining too loudly.

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Currently I’m on book two of a three book collection. This is a continued story series, definitely not stand alone, but I’m enjoying it.

The If I Run Series: If I Run, If I’m Found, If I Live 

Book 2

If I’m Found

In this riveting sequel to the USA TODAY bestseller If I Run, evil lurks, drawing Casey out of the shadows . . . but there is light shining in the darkness.

Casey Cox is still on the run, fleeing prosecution for a murder she didn’t commit. Dylan Roberts—her most relentless pursuer—is still on her trail, but his secret emails insist he knows the truth and wants to help her. He’s let her escape before when he had her in his grasp, but trust doesn’t come easily.

As Casey works to collect evidence about the real murderers, she stumbles on another unbearable injustice: an abused child and a suicidal man who’s also been falsely accused. Casey risks her own safety to right this wrong and protect the little girl from her tormenters. But doing so is risky and may result in her capture—and if she’s captured, she has no doubt she’ll be murdered before she ever steps foot in a jail cell.

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Happy Reading…

…from one happy lady. This day warmed up considerably after the cold snap we’ve been having the last while. It was a lovely day to get out and work on yard cleanup before the snow flies.

I haven’t heard any snow predicted yet for this year but we are remembering last year at this time. A gigantic winter storm blew through dumping huge piles of snow, taking out thousands of trees, and causing massive power outages.

The early frost we’ve been having this last week or so seems like a piece of cake compared to the weather we had this time last year.

Not knowing what the weather will do from one year to the next is actually a blessing sometimes.

Free and Bargain books September 17, 2020

This post has turned into an introduction to Michael Phillips, well known, eclectic, prolific author. I will admit – I’ve read and enjoyed Michael Phillips for years, decades. His stories do not qualify as light reading. But they are interesting and captivating to those who enjoy deeper subjects.

It all started with this morning’s FREE BookBub daily suggestion. I’ve read the author’s note and the first few pages and I’m hooked on this one. I don’t recall reading anything of his similar to this one so this will be a new experience for me.

Destiny Junction: Behind Every Door is a Life, and Behind Every Life is a Destiny 

Amazon quote:

Destiny Junction is a small town, not unlike any other small town in America. As its name implies, however, it becomes the place where many people’s lives meet destiny.


Through one young lady’s obedient Christian life and the work of the Holy Spirit subsequent to her murder, the lives of many people in the town of Destiny Junction are transformed.

This is their story…a story about life…and what it means…or what it ought to mean.

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Then the – Customers who bought this item also bought – string was the beginning of the abundance coming next. Most everything from this point on is at the bargain price of $0.99 each.

First is the three book historical series American Dreams. All three of these books follow the same family as they live through the American Civil War with the freeing of slaves in the southern states. This story is not for the faint of heart. The series needs to be read in sequence to get the full story but you could pick and choose and it would still be OK.

Dream of Freedom, Dream of Life, Dream of Love

Amazon quote:

Best-selling author Michael Phillips transports readers to the South, as the seeds of Civil War are sown—and those against slavery take a stand.

In the antebellum South, Richmond and Carolyn Davidson live lives of ease as wealthy plantation owners. But even though their prosperity and livelihood depend on slave ownership, their Christian consciences speak against the practice.

When the Davidsons decide to follow their own moral conviction and God’s will by freeing their slaves, they face consequences they never could have anticipated. Risking their lives as an important link in the Underground Railroad, helping runaway slaves escape to the northern states, the Davidsons must rely on their wits—and God’s protection—to stay alive.

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Next is the Secret of the Rose series set in Russia. Over the course of four books it follows the life of a single family from the 1930s pre-war Prussia to escaping divided, Berlin Wall, Germany, to America post cold war with Russia, Another story not for the faint of heart.

The Eleventh Hour, A Rose Remembered,  Escape to Freedom, Dawn of Liberty

Amazon quote:

In 1930s pre-war Prussia, Baron von Dortmann lives an idyllic life with his daughter Sabina. A devoted gardener and father, the Baron teaches his daughter powerful lessons about life, creation, and Gods love during treasured walks in the estate’s beautiful gardens.

But Sabina is growing up, and the Baron’s beloved Prussia is changing. Now a beautiful young woman, Sabina has caught the eye of a handsome young American, Matthew.

Meanwhile, a cloud is gathering on the horizon as the Nazis seize power in neighboring Germany. As he strives to protect his family and follow his own moral compass, Baron von Dortmann will face heart-wrenching decisions, with only Gods guidance to light the way.

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Next is the two book series The Green Hills of Snowdonia  set in Wales. This one also needs to be read in order. Judging by the reviews it will be an emotional experience

From Across the Ancient Waters, The Treasure of the Celtic Triangle

Amazon quote:

After being sent to his uncle’s estate, young Percy Drummond has no intention of letting the country atmosphere soften his rebellious ways. Then he meets a village girl, Gwyneth Barrie, and her friendship changes his life.

When Percy later returns, his intriguing friend has grown into a young woman. But by this time, Percy has caught the eye of his beautiful cousin Florilyn…who has also become Gwyneth’s friend. What will result of their threefold friendship? And what repercussions will his uncle’s surprising request have for them all?

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I’ve read many American Civil War stories over the years and since I don’t have a hope of reading all ten of today’s more than full length novels I’m gong to pass on the American Dreams series.

I have also read series by other authors, and maybe even this one too, set in Russia during the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, but not nearly as many as I have of American Civil War stories. There probably isn’t much hope of me making it through all four of these 600 – 700 page books either but …. I hate to break up the set when I have a good chance to get it all. I’m sitting here thinking I may have read this Secret of the Rose series before. If that’s true I’ll be finished sooner than expected. Good deal.

I’ve not read The Green Hills of Snowdonia series and it does look interesting.

I’m going home with seven new lengthy not-light-reading books. (smile)

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Happy Reading!

… on this brain foggy Thursday that feels like Friday. I’m hoping today’s rambling made sense.

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.

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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.

Free book August 15, 2020

Today is a browsing day, looking for strong stories I’ve not seen before.

I found one.

FREE

I’m mostly looking for FREE this month because I blew my book budget and then some last month. And since I’ve downloaded more books than I can probably keep up with anyway … I’d better stick to free for awhile.

#Lost (#NorthStarSeries) 

Lost

Amazon quote:

The Billionaire’s daughter and the man she left with! Will he get her back?

All billionaire Cyrus Black wants is a chance to spend a month in Paris and repair the fractured relationship with his wife and daughter. But things don’t go as planned. Frantic, he realizes his daughter has left without telling anyone where she’s going. When he finds her phone dumped in a garbage can, he grows even more frantic. Though the police assume it is a kidnapping, and tell him to wait for a ransom note, he calls in associates who might help him find her.

Teenager Marcella Black is looking forward to spending time with her parents, especially her father whom she’s hardly seen since her parents separated. But when her father is late—as usual—and her mother is having a melt-down, and she can’t face the fight that’s sure to come, she turns to the only person who understands her—@JamesKind. She met him briefly in Paris last year and has since fallen in love with him. When he asks her to come meet him, she happily goes. Because he loves her, too, right?

When the expected ransom note doesn’t arrive, Cyrus fears his daughter might be #lost—maybe forever. 

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I’m currently reading another strong, not-easy-to-read story. From a year ago.

A Place Called Morning

A Place Called Morning

Amazon quote:

“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.

 

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I’ve finished the current read from yesterday. It was a good book and I would like to tell you about it but rather than tack it on the end of this post I’ll put it in a separate post to give it the attention it deserves.

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The sun is shining brightly here this morning.

The lawn is happy after the abundance of stormy rain yesterday. I’m feeling energetic. Not looking for a cozy blanket, a cup of coffee and a good read, yet.

Maybe later.

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Wishing you a bright sunny day.

Happy Reading

Charles Martin bargain books July 26, 2020

It looks like this is Charles Martin night.

I stumbled across a bargain book by one of my favorite authors. Charles Martin is a awesome story teller and in this book he tells his own story. I’ve not read it but wanted to. It’s a bargain today at $1.99

What If It’s True?: A Storyteller’s Journey with Jesus

What if it's True

Amazon quote:

Years ago, Charles Martin cracked open his Bible and began wrestling with a few fundamental questions. He asked, “What if every single word of Scripture is absolutely true and I can trust it? How do I respond? Something in me should change, but what? How?” This book is the result of that exploration. 

In What If It’s True? he brings key moments from the life and ministry of Jesus to life through his descriptive, novelistic words. In addition, Martin shares key moments from his own journey as a disciple—and bondservant—of Christ and a mentor to others. The result is an exploration of truth that helps us not just think differently, but live differently. Today.

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More of Charles Martin at bargain prices $2.99, and $4.99 for a collection. All of these I have read,

Maggie: The Sequel to The Dead Don’t Dance (Awakening)

Maggie

Amazon quote:

“When Maggie opened her eyes that New Year’s Day some seventeen months ago, I felt like I could see again. The fog lifted off my soul, and for the first time since our son had died and she had gone to sleep—some four months, sixteen days, eighteen hours, and nineteen minutes earlier—I took a breath deep enough to fill both my lungs.”

Life began again for Dylan Styles when his beloved wife Maggie awoke from a coma. A coma brought on by the intense two-day labor that resulted in heartbreaking loss. In this poignant love story that is redolent with Southern atmosphere, Dylan and Maggie must come to terms with their past before they can embrace their future.

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The Dead Don’t Dance (Awakening Book 1) 

The Dead Don't Dance

Amazon quote:

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 how much he’s lost. Will the music of his heart be stilled forever—or will he choose to dance with life once more, in spite of sorrow and heartbreak?

The Dead Don’t Dance is a bittersweet yet triumphant love story—a tale of one man’s journey through the darkness of despair and into the light of hope.

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Or you can get them both in one book for $2.99 (The Dead Don’t Dance and Maggie )

Down Where My Love Lives 

Down Where My Love Lives

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And another collection at a bargain price.

A Charles Martin Collection: When Crickets Cry, Chasing Fireflies, and Wrapped in Rain  $4.99

Charles Martin Collection

Amazon quote:

When Crickets Cry

A man with a painful past. A child with a doubtful future. And a shared journey toward healing for both their hearts.

It begins on the shaded town square in a sleepy Southern town. A spirited seven-year-old has a brisk business at her lemonade stand. But the little girl’s pretty yellow dress can’t quite hide the ugly scar on her chest.

Her latest customer, a bearded stranger, drains his cup and heads to his car, his mind on a boat he’s restoring at a nearby lake. The stranger understands more about the scar than he wants to admit. And the beat-up bread truck careening around the corner with its radio blaring is about to change the trajectory of both their lives.

Before it’s over, they’ll both know there are painful reasons why crickets cry . . . and that miracles lurk around unexpected corners.

Chasing Fireflies

They have one summer to find what was lost long ago.

“Never settle for less than the truth,” she told him. But when you don’t even know your real name, the truth gets a little complicated. It can nestle so close to home it’s hard to see. It can even flourish inside a lie. And as Chase Walker discovered, learning the truth about who you are can be as elusive—and as magical—as chasing fireflies on a summer night.

A haunting story about fishing, baseball, home cooking, and other matters of life and death.

Wrapped in Rain

An internationally famous photographer, Tucker Mason, has traveled the world, capturing things other people don’t see. But what Tucker himself can’t see is how to let go of the past and forgive his father.

On a sprawling Southern estate, Tucker and his younger brother, Mutt, were raised by their housekeeper, Miss Ella Rain, who loved the motherless boys like her own. Hiring her to take care of Waverly Hall and the boys was the only good thing their father ever did.

When his brother escapes from a mental hospital and an old girlfriend appears with her son and a black eye, Tucker is forced to return home and face the agony of his own tragic past.

Though Miss Ella has been gone for many years, Tuck can still hear her voice—and her prayers. But finding peace and starting anew will take a measure of grace that Tucker scarcely believes in.

, Mutt, were raised by their housekeeper, Miss Ella Rain, who loved the motherless boys like her own. Hiring her to take care of Waverly Hall and the boys was the only good thing their father ever did.

When his brother escapes from a mental hospital and an old girlfriend appears with her son and a black eye, Tucker is forced to return home and face the agony of his own tragic past.

Though Miss Ella has been gone for many years, Tuck can still hear her voice—and her prayers. But finding peace and starting anew will take a measure of grace that Tucker scarcely believes in.

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 This author is a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. While many have read his books, many more haven’t and they need to discover this gem.

I hope you will be making the discovery.  His stories touch the heart and reading one of his books is an experience.

Happy Reading

Story prompt Skin

Disclaimer: Please do not read this post if difficult personal story is not your cup of tea, or if it could trigger or offend you.

This is week six in the Sunday Scribblings  prompt hosted by Peckapalooza: The Confusing Middle.

Normally I hook these challenges together to create an ongoing chapter story. It pleases me to get as much mileage as possible out of my writing attempts. I did have a plan in mind to work this week’s prompt into today’s chapter (6) while advancing my story. At least I did until yesterday’s post with reference to Father’s Day. Plans have changed.

I consider myself thick skinned when it comes to my personal history. Much of the time I can talk about most of it matter-of-factly while minimizing the truth of our abusive family life. No big deal.

Yesterday I made reference to abusive relationships because, just like there are many who find Mother’s Day traumatic, there are many who find Father’s Day a traumatic experience. The reasons are different but still painful.

Now, working my way emotionally through the aftermath of yesterday, I realize trauma related to Father’s day goes deeper than first thought. Generally, the deeper the trauma the less likely we are to speak about it. Many are vocal every year about their negative experiences surrounding Mother’s Day. Today for the first time, I realize we are hearing a complete lack of corresponding comments surrounding Father’s Day. The silence speaks loudly, if we happen to be listening.

Yesterday I wanted to acknowledge mostly-forgotten hurting hearts. To be seen and understood means a lot to those living with unimaginable pain. It felt like the right thing to do, to offer support and encouragement.

It’s no surprise to find, once again, my conscious mind can’t handle the truth of my own life. It has deeply buried the negative and bought into the never-happened, no-big-deal lies. My brothers insist I need to face the uncomfortable truth. I find I don’t want to/can’t remember. Inappropriate (not fitting the situation) triggered responses are the only evidence of truth.

The triggered reaction arising out of yesterday’s sharing was a shock to my system. The emotional upheaval I woke up to this morning was a shock too. As a result this has been a recovery day. As the day wears on I’m starting to feel better.

My skin appears to be thinner than I believe it is.

I’m sharing all this now because I feel compelled. Partly because I know the power of story to comfort and help others. Partly because I know the value of expression to release pent up emotions. I’m trusting that life will be incrementally better after acknowledging another sliver of truth. So far it always has been and I have great expectations for now too.

May life be better for you too, as you acknowledge the truth (as you are able) of your situation.

Next week will be soon enough for anther installment in my continued story about Carly, an exposed woman in Witness Protection.

Hoping this all made sense…

Janette