31 December 2011

Out With The Old, In With The New...

It is that time of the year again...
So here are a few wishes for each and everyone of you...
Happiness deep down within,
Serenity with each sunrise,
Success in every facet of your life
Family beside you,
Close and caring friends.
Health, inside you,
Love that never ends. 
Special memories of all the yesterdays.
A bright today with much to be thankful for,
A path that leads to beautiful tomorrows...
Dreams that do their best to come true...
Appreciation of all the wonderful things about you!

(author unknown)

Out with the old, in with the new...May everything you wish for come true...


 Blessings to all and see you in January!

30 December 2011

Edge Of Apocalypse, Book review

Book description:

Edge of Apocalypse pulls you into an adrenaline-fueled political thriller laced with End Times prophecy. From Tim LaHaye, creator and co-author of the world-renowned Left Behind series---the most successful adult fiction series ever written---and Craig Parshall comes an epic story ripped from the headlines of world events and filtered through Scriptural prophecy. Set in the near future, Edge of Apocalypse chronicles the beginning of The End---the earth-shattering events leading up to the Apocalypse foretold in Revelation. Joshua Jordan, former U.S. spy-plane hero turned weapons designer, creates the world's most sophisticated missile defense system, a laser shield code-named Return to Sender. Even as Jordan hopes to secure America against a brazen array of new enemies, he finds himself trapped between international as well as domestic assailants. Global forces conspire to steal the defense weapon even as U.S. government leaders will do anything to stop the nation's impending economic catastrophe---including selling-out Jordan and his weapon. With help from a group of powerfully connected Christian leaders known as The Patriots, Jordan works to save the nation from economic and moral collapse---and to clear his name. As world events begin setting the stage for the 'end of days' foretold in Revelation, Jordan must consider not only the biblical prophecies preached by his wife's pastor, but the personal price he must pay if he is to save the nation he loves.

My review:

Tim Lahaye is a familiar name in most Christian households. After all his Left behind series alone counts many fans throughout the world. We are human and we tend to wonder about 'what if' and 'after'. 
In his novels, Tim Lahaye leads us to imagine a very plausible future, linking his plots to many current events. What makes it so successful, is the author's knack for realism! No one who reads Tim Lahaye's novels can deny you feel a chill when the eventual plot is uncovered. He does it well! 

With fascinating characters and fast paced action, this first novel of the End Times series written by Tim Lahaye and co-author Craig Parshall is so believable it reads more like an actual news report. National security, Global alignment and political intrigues are woven in a scary scenario all too probable with the present world's unrest. 
Together Craig Parshall and Tim Lahaye offers us an excellent debut to a new series complete with end times prophecies and the threat of another world war. You will find yourself engrossed in the plot from the first chapter and this is another book hard to put down!

Anyone who does not experience some tremulation at the sheer uncanny plot obviously missed the point!
This is an excellent novel inspired by faith to be shared by any Christian! 
I can only give this one 5 stars!

Note to readers: Negative reviews of such novels are always surprising to me...The label 'Christian fiction' is after all very clear! 
Be sure to check out # 2 inthe series, Thunder of Heaven! (I am halfway through reading it and will review it here in early January 2012)

Meet the authors:

'Tim LaHaye has written more than 60 non-fiction books on a wide range of subjects such as: family life, temperaments, sexual adjustment, Bible prophecy, the will of God, Jesus Christ, and secular humanism with over 14 million in print, some of which have been translated into thirty-two foreign languages. His writings are best noted for their easy-to-understand and scripturally based application of biblical principles that assist in facing and handling the challenges of life'. 
Visit his website (here) 

Craig Parshall is a highly successful lawyer from the Washington D.C. area and the author of the of legal thrillers, Chamber of Justice series. He has also co-authored three books with his wife Janet including their new Thistle and Cross Series. 

...'Aristotle made the astoundingly obvious declaration that a story contains a beginning, a middle, and an end. But his observation was true – look at the structure of the Bible, and the entire plan of human redemption – from 'in the beginning, God …' in Genesis to 'I am coming...'  in Revelation. 
Story telling, in this light, is a holy work. It is powerful calling. 
One literary critic once said that the story educates the imagination to higher moral resolve. But I say, that Spirit-filled writing can illuminate the soul, and impact eternity. 
God could have laid out His plan for salvation in a ten-volume theological treatise and then could have required all of us to read it. Instead, he told us a story – a true story – and wonder of wonders, we are in it. 
How great is that!' ...

I received this book free from ZONDERVAN Publishers as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not asked to write a positive review and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

28 December 2011

Wonderland Creek, Book review

Book description:

Alice Grace Ripley lives in a dream world, her nose stuck in a book. But happily-ever-after life she's planned on suddenly falls apart when her boyfriend, Gordon, breaks up with her, accusing her of living in a world of fiction instead of the real world. Then to top it off, Alice loses her beloved job at the library because of cutbacks due to the Great Depression.

Fleeing small-town gossip, Alice heads to the mountains of eastern Kentucky to deliver five boxes of donated books to the library in the tiny coal-mining village of Acorn. Dropped off by her relatives, Alice volunteers to stay for two weeks to help the librarian, Leslie McDougal.

But the librarian turns out to be far different than she anticipated--not to mention the four lady librarians who travel to the remote homes to deliver the much-desired books. While Alice is trapped in Acorn against her will, she soon finds that real-life adventure and mystery--and especially romance--are far better than her humble dreams could have imagined.

My review:

'I was perfectly content with my life - that is, until the pages of my story were ripped out before I had a chance to live happily ever after.' 
An excellent debut I felt as I was really looking for something relaxing to read and I have always believed in faery tales! This was just the right novel for a cold, blustery and rainy evening!
'Three days later, when Lillie was sure that Mack would live, she started planning his funeral.' is only the beginning of Chapter 8...I forgot the time and just kept on reading!

Lynn Austin once again delivers an enticing story which is sure to have you alternate betwixt laughing bouts and tears!
There is something almost magical in Lynn Austin's writing and I have yet to read anything I did not like by this author so I will heartily recommend her novels. 
Just short of spellbinding, each page of her Christian novels allows you to step in a different time frame and her characters beckons readers to immerse themselves in her stories. 

In her latest book we discover a little coal mining town in Kentucky during the Great Depression, a young librarian, a one hundred and one year old woman once a plantation slave, a writer and to top all this, there is a mysterious buried treasure...

In Wonderland Creek we discover the harsh lives led by the proud mountain people of Kentucky whom with much determination survived the Great Depression. You find yourself almost envious of the simple lifestyle, the traditions, the intricate families connections and above all, the beauty of the surroundings!
As is customary with Lynn Austin's novels, you will find a marvelous balance betwixt history lessons, rich settings, amazing and often gripping characters and of course a good dose of Christian wisdom.

When all is said and done, this is one author's writings worth every 5 stars given! 

Note to readers: I was not asked to review this novel and all opinions expressed are entirely my own!

26 December 2011

Boxing Day...

Did you know...Tenbury Wells, an ancient market town in north-west Worcestershire, is just a few miles from Birmingham yet surrounded by the beautiful countryside of the Teme valley
It is also the mistletoe capital of Britain – much of the UK's mistletoe grows in this part of the Midlands, and the parasitic plant thrives on the fruit trees in the many orchards dotted around town. 
Mistletoe auctions have been held there for more than 100 years, and they still survive today, alongside a host of other mistletoe-themed events. So go for a romantic stroll (you do not have to be back in Old UK!) and kiss under the mistletoe!


25 December 2011

Christmas Day...

(Painting by Lori Preusch)

For Madeline...

The Legend of the Christmas Rose speaks of a young girl named Madelon who wanted to come worship the Christ Child. Seeing the gold, frankincense and myrrh brought by others who were drawn to the humble birthplace, she despaired that she had no gift to bring, for Madelon was poor indeed.
In vain she searched the countryside for a flower that she might bring, but the winter had been cold and harsh – and there were no flowers to be found. Saddened, the girl began to weep. An angel passing over her stopped to provide comfort and smote the ground that was wet from her tears. There did spring a beautiful bush that bloomed of white roses.

"Nor myrrh, nor frankincense, nor gold," said the angel, "is offering more meet for the Christ Child than these pure Christmas Roses." And thus young Madelon went her way and worshipped the Prince of Peace, bearing the gift of her heart and tears.

I love this story and Lori Preusch's painting seemed the perfect  illustration!

Here is the legend of the White Rose...
(Translated from the early 15th century German poem "Es ist ein Ros' Entsprungen." Author unknown.)

A Rose has sprung from a tender root,
From Jesus, as those of old have sung,
And it bore a flower,
In the middle of a cold winter,

When half spent was the night.
Isaiah foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
Is Mary the pure, the little flower has brought us.
From God's eternal wisdom, she bore a child,
And remained pure.

The Flower, so small, whose sweet fragrance fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
True man and truer God, helps us out of all sorrows,
Saves from sin and death.

Oh Jesus, until we leave this misery,
Let your help guide us into joy,
In Your Father's Kingdom, where we eternally praise You.
Oh God, allow us this.

 Jesus, the Reason behind the Season...

24 December 2011

Christmas Eve...All Is Quiet...Not A Creature Is Stiring...

Christmas Eve is here and the island is very quiet...It will not be a white Christmas...Weather forecast calls for rain, lots of it, and a mild temperature...Christmas on the Pacific North West coast...I miss the snow and the church bells tolls at midnight...

Memories have a tendency to sneak up on us, especially at this time of the year...The smells of roasted chestnuts on the street corner, the vendors of greens and mistletoe in the market place, the shoppes windows all decorated for this blessed Season...
Like many I look forward to Christmas months ahead, perhaps as it really out to be, year around...

Today especially as we gather together around the Christmas tree with loved ones, let's remember the reason for the Season...Two thousand years ago a Child was born, bringing in our lives Love and Hope...

I have so enjoyed reading posts on blogs around the world, some I follow, some I have delivered to my inbox so as not to miss any of them...I treasure each one, the news from faraway, the hopes and dreams, the antics of some and their pets, the good and the sad times and the wonderful photos taken by some amazing photographers...
To each and everyone, thank you for sharing!

I think the Season is perfect to share also a special thank you to two bloggers who have inspired me by uplifting my spirits many times by their actions and their love for others...

If you have not yet, please stop by 'A Dime In The Sun' and discover a very special family...

Thomas, Mika, you are indeed two very special people! Merry Christmas to you and your family and thank you for sharing with us all that is in your heart!

The second award  is the 'KINDRED SPIRIT AWARD' and this one is going to a blogger who always amazes me with her insights, her thoughtfulness and love for others! I have learned so much from Ann! 
Just stop by her blog, 'The Priest's Housekeeper' and discover this kindred spirit!
Merry Christmas Ann (and you too Canon)! May His light shine upon you always!

There should be many more awards...The world of bloggers is a wonderful place and I constantly discover new faces and places! I would miss each and everyone if the world went suddenly dark and we had no Internet! 

I cannot close without mentioning just one more...Take a moment to glance at the elegance of Madelief's site...She brings a touch of a world filled with little treasures and good taste...Discover it for yourself and enjoy!
Moge de vreugde van kerst altijd met u en de uwen Madelief!

May the Joy of the Season be with all of you always! 


23 December 2011

Remembering Christmas, Book review

Book description:

Rick Denton lives his life on his terms. He works hard, plays hard, and answers to no one. So when his mother calls begging him to come home after his stepfather has an aneurysm, Rick is more than a little reluctant. 
What was supposed to be just a couple days helping out at the family bookstore turns into weeks of cashing out old ladies and dealing with the homeless guy who keeps hanging around the store. The one bright spot is the lovely and intriguing young woman who works at his side each day. 
As Christmas nears, Rick's old life beckons, the hurts from his past loom large, and the decisions he makes will determine more than just where he spends Christmas Eve.  

My review:

I almost did not see this book on our local library shelves...But one glance and the cover just called to me!
You could almost step in the photo and Dan Walsh's writing always promises a good tale!
'Remembering Christmas' is the warm story of one man's change of heart and the lives he touches along the way!

Dan Walsh gives us a delightful tale of forgiveness and love set in the 1980's in this classic and you will love to discover each character's personality! This is after all Christmastime Folks and anything is possible!

'The old wooden bench was still there, sagging a bit in the middle. Rick felt like standing anyway. He leaned against the rail. A gentle breeze blew against his face, with just enough chill to feel refreshing. It was so peaceful and calm. Tiny river waves slapped against the wooden pilings. Across the river, the black silhouette of hundreds of palm trees rose up to meet the deep blue sky. The dock was, perhaps, a mile north of all the mansions that lined both sides of the river leading back into town. Rick was glad the town progress had slowed in his absence, leaving this place alone. He needed this place to be here. Just as it was.'

Set in a basement bookstore, the amazing kindness of two loving people, the quaint but very faithful customers, the helpless homeless hanging around, a loving but struggling Mum and her little girl and a very successful man are some of the protagonists in this unforgettable story just in time for Christmas!

The author uses careful details to remind us of times gone by and you might chuckle (groan maybe?) a time or two at the mention of a gallon of gas for i.e.!

This is a story that radiates warmth and reminds us that kindness is the reason for this season!
With a few strokes of a pen (keypad) Dan Walsh reaches out to everyone and I am certain you will have a hard time to put this book down!

I give this one 5 stars of course!

Meet the author:

"Several of my novels are considered historical fiction. When I was young, I used to hate history. Years later, I discovered some non-fiction history books that read like page-turning novels. They made history come alive.
Reading became a joy.

That's my goal now, whether I'm writing historical or contemporary novels. I hope my readers get inspired
and thoroughly enjoy themselves, while we also explore some of the themes in life that matter most'.

For more on Dan Walsh, visit his website: http://danwalshbooks.com/
Note to readers: I was not asked to review this book and any opinion reflected is entirely my own!

22 December 2011

Today is Winter Solstice...

Today many celebrate Solstice or 'Sun stands still'. This astronomical event coincides with the Holidays and is celebrated by many different cultures deeply rooted in ancient religions! The seasonal milestone marks the rebirth of sunlight after the darkest period of the yearly calendar.

For us here in the Pacific Northwest coastal region or the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice occurs in Decembre when the tilting of the Earth makes the Sun appear to be furthest to the south and furthest away. In the Southern Hemisphere as in Australia, both the seasons and solstices are reversed.

In Celtic lands winters are harsh and Winter Solstice was celebrated by all in Ancient times. The growing season was over,  the cold weather would last many months until the next planting....Fires would be lit and burned throughout the long nights...

Perhaps we should all pray today...

The food is put away for the winter, the crops are set aside to feed us, the cattle are come down from their fields, and the sheep are in from the pasture. The land is cold, the sea is stormy, the sky is gray. The nights are dark, but we have our family, kin and clan around the hearth, staying warm in the midst of darkness, our spirit and love a flame a beacon burning brightly in the night. 
Thank you God!

 Blessings to all,

21 December 2011

Chimney sweep and Christmas tradition...

Did you know there are several legends about Chimney sweeps? A Chimney Sweep is said to be "The" harbinger of good luck. 
One legend has it's origins in old England, where King George was riding horseback in a royal procession. A dog ran from the crowd, barking and nipping at the King's horse. The horse reared, and to the horror of the crowd, almost threw the King! A lone figure, shabbily dressed and filthy, stepped into the road. He caught the horse's halter and calmed the animal.

As quickly as he appeared, the man faded back into crowd. The King, wishing to reward the man, asked his name. No-one knew the man's name, but many told the King that he was just a Chimney Sweep. The King declared that from that day that Chimney Sweeps should be regarded as Lucky! 

To this day we hang in our tree at Chrismastime a Chimney Sweep figure...Just one of our many traditions!
How about you? Do you have a special tradition?

Enjoy this blessed Season!

20 December 2011

For Anyone Who Has Not Seen This Yet... Christmas Story, DVD Review

This being the Christmas Season we have a rule in our household: all movies selected for viewing must be about the Holidays! Thus we take turns to select one or more of our favourites such as 'A Christmas Carol', 'Joyeux Noel', 'The Christmas Card', 'The Forgotten Carols', etc...

Winter will soon be here and the days are getting much shorter and the nights are long...hence we like to get together around the table for something warm to eat and once the dishwasher is loaded, we settle down for a movie...This year (would you believe this is our first time?) we discovered 'It's A Wonderful Life', an amazing story sure to be become one of our favourites and then....'Christmas Story' or how Santa became Santa!

Here is the actual description of the DVD contents:

This Christmas, a great secret will be revealed. Have you ever wonder how Santa Claus came to be Santa?
A long time ago, the world's greatest story was born when a young boy named Nikolas took on a mysterious
mission and created a legend that would be carried on from generation to generation. This magical and
heartwarming tale of how the gift giving tradition was created will bring holiday joy to the entire family!

My review:

'Joulutarina' or 'Christmas Story' is a Finnish movie of how Santa...became Santa! 
Filmed against the stark but beautiful landscape of Lapland this is the long ago story of a young Finn named Nicholas whom a village adopts after he becomes an orphan. 
Each family in the fishing village commits to open their home to Nicholas for one year...Years are going by, Nicholas is growing and shares their lives, always helping by day, and carving small toys at nights with his father's knife...When Christmas comes, he leaves these wooden carvings outside of children homes...
Six years are going by and Nicholas must find a new home...

If you have not seen this beautiful movie, please take a moment and check your local library or another venue! It is 76 minutes short, perfect for little viewers!
A magical tale of this Santa we each still believe in no matter our age!

I give this one 5 stars!

Christmas Story or the joy of giving! A must see for anyone who still believes in Santa! (Me, me, me!)

Note to readers: I was not asked to review this DVD and all comments reflects entirely my own opinion!

Blessings to all,

19 December 2011

The Christmas Season , What Better Time For ATouch Of Kindness...

 Old man beneath a lamp post stood
ragged collar turned against the wind
yesterday’s news tucked between feet and snow
at least the news now served some good
people by the old man passed
too in a hurry to notice him
so much to do so little time
for Christmas Eve had come at last
but still the old man stood and waited
frayed hat across his eyes
as soft snow began to fall
but still no one stopped to see at all
at the old man’s feet a metal cup
waiting for a kindness coin
a soul might notice the old tin cup
So at last the man might sup
but still the hours slowly passed
and did the hurried feet of strangers
but no one yet had paid him notice
until a a small boy stopped at last
and to the old man he did say
into your cup I have no pay
but would you like my chocolate hot
to warm you here as you must stay
at that the old man lifted gaze
pulling hat back from his face
and to the boy did show true self
revealing wounds in hands and feet
and to the boy he did speak
tonight my son God saw your act
in kindness to one you did not know
not thinking heaven’s gate you seek
and you and I will meet again
in a blink of times quick eye
for it was  you who saw me wait
here by the lamp post and the gate

(Poem by Dan Sanders)

I came across this poem and just loved it!
There is no better time to share a touch of kindness than the Christmas Season... 

Blessings to all,

18 December 2011

This Being The Fourth Sunday Of Advent....

At midnight Liturgy this Christmas eve, we will hear the angels say to the shepherds:
"Do not be afraid; for behold, 
  I proclaim to you good news of great joy
  that will be for all the people."

All of us, at one time or another, have felt heart-sick about the war in the Middle East.  Apart from all the politics, we know that war is a failure of peace.  No matter how evil the enemy, or how critically necessary it might be to remove him, war is simply tragic and results in the death of thousands of innocent people, and scars thousands more - if not all of us in some way.

Part of our Advent longing should be to grow in our desire for peace - hunger and thirst for it!

Let's let a desire for the Good News of Christmas grow in our hearts each day now.  Let's feel the pain of "hostility" and fear and anxiety of all those who are in the middle of the terror of war - civilians, soldiers, and all of us.  And as we feel this tremendous longing and hope, let's turn to God and ask for peace in our own hearts.  In these precious days of preparation, we can all be peace-makers at home, with our friends and relatives, in our parishes and faith communities and where we work.

Two thousand years ago the angels announced to the shepherds:

"Glory to God in the highest 
  and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." 
Let us all continue to pray for peace in our world.  Let's pray that hearts might be transformed, to find the path of peace together.  But, as we pray, let's let peace have a chance in our own hearts, in our own world, close at home.  The peace-making begins with God's work in us.  This is truly Advent longing.

 Let there be Peace on Earth,
and let it begin with us!

 "Taken from Praying Advent, on Creighton University's Online Ministries web site:
Used with permission."

17 December 2011

One Hundred And One Nights, Book review

Book description:

After 13 years in America, Abu Saheeh has returned to his native Iraq, a nation transformed by the American military presence. Alone in a new city, he has exactly what he wants: freedom from his past. Then he meets Layla, a whimsical fourteen-year-old girl who enchants him with her love of American pop culture. Enchanted by Layla's stories and her company, Abu Saheeh settles into the city's rhythm and begins rebuilding his life. But two sudden developments--his alliance with a powerful merchant and his employment of a hot-headed young assistant--reawaken painful memories, and not even Layla may be able to save Abu Saheeh from careening out of control and endangering all around them.

A breathtaking tale of friendship, love, and betrayal,
One Hundred and One Nights is an unforgettable novel about the struggle for salvation and the power of family.

My review:

I stand in awe for this story is not only hauntingly a part of actuality in Iraq, but as written by a Westerner, it is breathtaking! 
For his very first novel Benjamin Buchholtz introduces readers to a foreign world we have very little knowledge of yet he seduces us with tales of love, friendship and betrayals leaving us to find out more about Iraq.  Families have seen their loved ones departing to serve numerous missions in this country which was once called after all 'The Garden Of Eden' a country with many secrets!
As we welcome back many servicemen and women who have served in Iraq it is fitting we are given an idea of what life is truly like for its citizens, then and now, and the author excels in his descriptions!

Benjamin Buchholtz' approach is to introduce us to a man who is seemingly rebuilding his life in a country unlike the one he grew up in. The present for Abu Saheeh is like a mirage...There are flashbacks which helps us to understand what Iraq once was, what has been lost after years of war and its subsequent ravages. It is a window of opportunity in discovering the other side...and his use of the present tense makes it even more vivid!

The continuity described in the beginning of each chapter tells us something of the human stamina in surviving  oppressed regimes and invasions of one's country. It is survival of the fittest and we have seen enough photos to let us imagine if only for a moment what it does to man, woman and child.

Imagine for a moment the intricate invasion of sand following a storm...It infiltrates everything and leaves a sticky gritty residue. The Muslim world the author so well described is thoroughly unknown to us yet it intrigues and leaves us wondering...What life could we rebuild for ourselves shadowed by foreign powers with the limited resources allowed? What damages are hidden below the surface for so many and should it surface, which form will it take?

 (Photo taken in Safwan by B.Buchholtz)

This is not an easy book to read but I will highly recommend it! One Hundred and One Nights is told from a perspective other than the American point of view yet we soon discover Abu Saheeh has lived in America for thirteen years and the past, his past is haunting him! 
I will add a caution as this is after all a story about the aftermath of war and as such should be labeled for 'mature readers'.
It is however a story which will stay with you, it holds so many emotions! 

About the author:

In 2005, U.S. soldier Benjamin Buchholtz deployed to Iraq as a civil affairs officer, a liaison to the local community in the border town of Safwan. His impression of that war-ravaged country is encapsulated in this "cathartic" debut novel.
After recently completing an additional assignment in Oman, Buchholz is currently working on a master's degree in Near Eastern studies at Princeton. He also writes a Middle East culture blog, Not Quite Right, and is drafting his second novel.

This story is worth every 5 stars I have given it and I am looking forward to read Benjamin Buchholtz next novel (Taxi to Queen Alia) a tale revolving around the assassination of an American diplomat and his wife outside the US Embassy in Amman, Jordan leaving two children seat belted into the backseat of a taxi whilst their parents are killed. The taxi driver panics, flees the scene and we are to discover how two American children survives in a foreign culture.

I received this book free from HACHETTE BOOK GROUP as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not asked to write a positive review and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

16 December 2011

A Christmas Message From Author Tricia Goyer (and Giveaway!)

I usually do not like to post anything 'forwarded' but this is the exception to the rule: I not only recently discovered this author (Thanks to Sarah Sundin!) but I have greatly enjoyed reading her work! So far I have indulged in 3 of her books, (Arms of Deliverance, Dawn of a Thousand Nights,and From Dust and Ashes) I find each very hard to put down (and I convinced ex-RAF flyboy to read one)!

Tricia Goyer LIVES her faith and it truly inspires her writing! Add to this, she writes about a time period I am fascinated with, WW2, and you have a winning combination!  In fact it is a testament to my ability to multi task (almost) as I still manage to bake my own bread and pastries (every other day), clean the house (somewhat) and feed the troops (albeit only four of them unless you count the Corgi and the kitty!) and read, my favourite pastime! Oh and blog!

So here Tricia Goyer's heartfelt message! Read on, there is a surprise giveaway included!

'If I could, I'd invite you into my living room and we'd sit in front of my Christmas tree. On the branches you'll see mostly homemade ornaments that my kids have made over the years. Around the house there are also candle holders made from tin cans and doilies made from cut-out felt pieces. I take greater joy in these simple mementos than fancy decorations and a house that looks as if could be on display in Better Homes and Gardens

Of course that wasn't always the case. As a young(er) wife and mom I'd want to display a certain image. I'd want everything to look, "Just so." I can't really say when things changed; it happened slowly over time. The more I wrote and shared what was really going on inside me, the more I understood that I wasn't the only one facing the same obstacles and struggles. The more real I became, the more others responded. I built connections not by being perfect but by offering my true self as a present to others. 

This Christmas remember that life isn't all about the tinsel, and bows, and bling. It's the simple things--like handmade snowflakes--that can bring the biggest smiles. And sharing what's really in our hearts--what's really in there down deep--is the best present we can give to those we love. 

My latest book, Remembering You, is a story about a girl and her grandpa (and well, there's much more to the story,  we'll leave it at that!) and what better way to give a shout-out to our elderly relatives this holiday than sharing our thoughts about them!

A Remembering You Holiday MEME (a chance to win one of 10 four book prize packs)! 
 'It's Christmas and I feel like giving away presents!  
In a comment answer the questions listed below on this blog and if your name is chosen (by Random.org) you will be entered in the giveaway!'

Here are Tricia Goyer's questions:

1. What's your favorite holiday song?

2. What's your favorite holiday tradition?

3. If you could travel one place with an elderly family member where would you go?

4. What questions would you ask?

5. What is a non-tangible gift have you received from an elderly relative?

6. What is the best/worst/strangest gift you've received from an elderly relative?

Alright Readers, here are my answers:

1. What's your favorite holiday song?
'I'll be home for Christmas'!

2. What's your favorite holiday tradition?
The Yule Log! Each year I hesitate baking it but this authentic recipe is worth the time and it would not be the same for my children without it!

3. If you could travel one place with an elderly family member where would you go?
Heyst-sur-Mer! Granny left her heart overthere!

4. What questions would you ask?
Everything under the sun! I still have so many questions unanswered!

5. What is a non-tangible gift have you received from an elderly relative?
 Granny's love for the Sea! I can live just about anywhere as long as I hear the waves crashing on the shore!

6. What is the best/worst/strangest gift you've received from an elderly relative?
Granny's thirst for life! She lived to be 93, always looking to discover a new place, meet new people and enjoy life!

Okay! Now it is your turn and be sure to answer all the questions in a comment no later than the 21st of Decembre for a chance to win!
Please remember to leave your email address in the comment for contact in the following format: 
cbrown1 at yahoo period com!


Blessings to all, 

15 December 2011

The Best Of News For Christmas!

On Wednesday 14 Decembre 2011 members of the 18th Airborne arrived at Fort Bragg after being deployed in Iraq! We heard the good news as we prepared to cross on the ferry!

'President Barack Obama saluted troops returning from Iraq, asserting that the nearly nine-year conflict was ending honorably, "not with a final battle, but with a final march toward home."

This is a fight that has cost nearly 4,500 American lives and more than 100,000 Iraqi lives...
"The war in Iraq will soon belong to history, and your service belongs to the ages," he said, applauding their "extraordinary achievement."

"Your will proved stronger than the terror of those who tried to break it," he said.'
 (Erica Werner -AP)

The return of these troops are the best news their families could receive for Christmas!

Until the last one comes home!!!!


Blessings to all,

And The Winner of BAKER/REVELL Giveaway Is....

In the Spirit of Christmas BAKER/REVELL offered one reader of (Live and) Dream a little dream a copy of My Favorite Bible and the winner is....


Gisele Alv said... Please count me in! :)


I will be contacting you shortly to confirm you are indeed a winner and for your snail mail address! I will then contact BAKER REVELL and let them know. 
Your gift will be sent directly from the Publisher and ALL IN THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS!


12 December 2011


I am reminded everyday how blessed we are to live on an island inhabited by deer...

This buck  is the leader of the herd...

Tamed they know how to ask for a treat or two...

We have lived for many years on this Pacific Northwest island but we still feel awed...

There is something in their bearing that commands respect...

Majestic is the only way to describe this creature of God...

On a friendly note to all hunters...This private island has a NO firearms/bows discharge law...
The welcome mat does not extend to you!

Blessings to all,

Benny's Angel Giveaway Winner!

KCWC has announced today the Grand Prize Winner for Benny's Angel so here it is:

The Grandprize winner for the Benny’s Angel Blog Tour is:

GrandaMa Carol B
who left a comment at

Congratulations to the Winner and thank you to all that entered!  
Be sure to check back for more reviews and other giveaways this coming year including (Live and)
Dream a little dream FIRST TIME EVER BLOG GIVEAWAY! (Psst...in January!)
Blessings to all,

11 December 2011

Third Week Of Advent...

Prepare our hearts
and remove the sadness
that hinders us from feeling
the joy and hope
which his presence
will bestow.

This third week of Advent begins with “Gaudete Sunday.” Gaudete means “rejoice” in Latin.  It comes from the first word of the Entrance antiphon on Sunday.  The spirit of joy that begins this week comes from the words of Paul, “The Lord is near.”  This joyful spirit is marked by the third candle of our Advent wreath, which is rose colored, and the rose colored vestments often used at the Eucharist.

Blessings to all,

"Taken from Praying Advent, on Creighton University's Online Ministries web site:
Used with permission."

10 December 2011

The Grace Effect, Book review

(Les Miserables, Victor Hugo)

Book description:

"Simply defined, the 'grace effect' is an observable phenomenon-that life is demonstrably better where authentic Christianity flourishes."
What does Christianity give us beyond televangelists, potlucks, and bad basketball leagues?  Not much, according to the secular Left.  The world, they say, would be a better place without it. 
Historian and Christian apologist Larry Taunton has spent much of his career refuting just this sort of thinking, but when he encounters Sasha, a golden-haired Ukrainian orphan girl whose life has been shaped by atheistic theorists, he discovers an unlikely champion for the transforming power of grace. 
Through the narrative of Sasha's redemption, we see the false promises of socialism; the soul-destroying influence of unbelief; and how a society cultivates its own demise when it rejects the ultimate source of grace.  We see, in short, the kind of world the atheists would give us: a world without Christianity-cold, pitiless, and graceless.
And yet, as Sasha shows us, it is a world that is not beyond the healing power of "the grace effect."  Occasionally infuriating, often amusing, but always inspiring, The Grace Effect will have you cheering for the courageous little girl who shamed the academic elitists of our day.
"This highly readable book is a collection of powerful insights into the long-term consequences of spiritual indifference and, above all, a remarkable example of how to conquer it."
- Dr. Olivera Petrovich - 

"What would a world without Christianity look like? We don't have to guess because such a world does exist: it exists in the current and former Communist bloc. Through the inspiring story of a little girl born in Eastern Europe and now living in America, Larry Taunton draws a sharp contrast between the life-giving influence of Christianity and the worn out theories of atheism and radical secularism.  The effect--The Grace Effect--is nothing less than powerful and moving."
- Dinesh D'Souza -

And now my review:

A picture, a line or paragraph, even the cover of a book can compel us to reach out and find out more about its history and such was 'The Grace Effect' for me!

Larry Alex Taunton is the author of 'The Grace Effect' but also the founder and executive director of
Fixed Point Foundation, best described as a bridge between the sacred and the secular.

Debates with Christian scholars argues that society as a whole would be better off if Christianity and therefore Christian morality were all together abandoned and here is Larry Taunton's answer:

"That's been tried." "The 20th century was an expansion in secularism that left no less than 60 million dead. What is the result? Human beings are treated like commodities. That's the result of decades of an anti-Christian, godless mindset, where human beings are seen as less valuable than the state. It necessarily leads to a view of life that is devaluing. I'm trying to give a glimpse of where our own society will go." 

The Tauntons glimpsed all this and more whilst spending 36 days in Ukraine, to adopt daughter Sasha from an orphanage! Let me start by saying ANYONE who says they are Christian and loves children should read their story. It certainly opened my eyes to the evils of corrupted regimes!
The Grace Effect tells us Sasha's story but also of the many debates and discussions of Mr. Taunton with Atheists, some even personal friends.

Deftly weaving a heart gripping recount of his family adoption of a special needs ten year old girl from Ukraine, their trials and tribulations, the corrupted regime and the lack of Christian love displayed throughout it all, Taunton reaches out with an unforgettable explanation for the grace effect! 

An amazing book, beautifully written and worth every 5 stars I am giving it! 
Read, come and witness as a true Christian and never forget!

Meet the Author and his daughter:

Larry Taunton is founder and executive director of Fixed Point Foundation, an initiative dedicated to defending and promoting Christianity in the public square.  In that role, he has engaged some of the most vociferous critics of the Christian faith.
More (here)

I received this book free from BOOKSNEEZE as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not asked to write a positive review and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

09 December 2011

The Sounds Of Night, Book APP Blog Tour Promotion And Giveaway


The Sounds of Night is a book app that helps put a child's mind at ease when the lights go out at bedtime. This book addresses one of the primary feelings young children face; fear. The Sounds of Night reinforces the principle that God is the Creator of every creature. Since God makes all the animals that scurry and screech at night, children can lie down and sleep in peace.

FEATURES: The Sounds of Night has over 75 touch points/interactions. It has rich illustrations and 4 Bible verses on fear that kids can learn with their parents and share with their friends.
DEVELOPMENT: Jessica Kirkland is a member of Moms with Apps. She recently launched Christian Apps 4 Kids, which seeks to draw kids closer to Christ one app at a time. Her inaugural app is a result of the fear that was such a part of her life:
In every season of life, the Enemy would whisper the lie that I would “never make it” to the next. I believed it. Time and time again, I thought his words held power. As a young child, I never thought I would live to see my school years. Once I entered school, I never thought I would live to see the next day, next grade, or milestone in life. I listened to a very real enemy, even though I didn’t want to. Even though I came from a strong, Christian family, I felt powerless to stop the lies. Fear gripped me, stole from me, and taunted every careful step I took.
Jessica believes the only way to be free from fear, as an adult or child, is to replace fearful thoughts with God's Word. Her desire for each book project is that they not only build character, but help set kids free.
The book app was developed in partnership with ROAR.   
About the Author:

Jessica Kirkland lives in Southeast Texas with her husband, Robb, and five-year-old triplets. She is an author and speaker whose greatest passion in life is to see young families grow deeper in their walk with God. Jessica's newest adventure includes launching Christian Apps 4 Kids, which seeks to draw kids closer to Christ one app at a time. A recent release is a book app that addresses fear and scary nighttime sounds called The Sounds of Night, designed for kids ages 2-8. When Jessica isn't writing, you can find her cheering her boys on at the soccer field, or watching her little girl at the dance studio.
To find out more about her current writing projects, connect with her at: www.christianapps4kids.com or on her personal blog: www.jessicakirkland.com

Also coming soon:

The Lonely Stable is a book app that reminds children that it's never too late to live out God's plan for their lives. Told from the stable's perspective, this intriguing Christmas book tells the story of Jesus' birth. From time to time, we all wonder about our purpose in life. The Lonely Stable wondered why he was still standing, for he was weathered and old. As time passed, he began to question his purpose. This remarkable tale is a lesson that both parents and children can hold on to when they ask questions like, "Why am I here?" or "Does God care about my life?" This book shows us that God has made each of us for a special purpose. The Lonely Stable is aimed at kids ages 2-10 years old. 

Here is a chance for readers to win a $75.00 GIFT CARD!

All you have to do is place a comment on this post by the 15th of Decembre. A winner will be selected by Random.org and his/her name will be send to the Publisher for a chance to win the Grand Prize!

(Don't forget to include your email address for contact in the following format: chbrown at yahoo period com) 

Note to Readers: Unfortunately I did not have the opportunity to review personally this APP. However Jessica Kirkland is to be recommended for this new approach and I am all for progress when it comes to little ones! Please visit her site for further information!

All information listed in this blog tour was provided by KCWC and author. I received no compensation for mentioning this blog tour/giveaway. However like all readers, I have the opportunity to enter the giveaway!