Corn dogs and Jesus

 

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Strange title, I know, but hopefully you’ll get the connection soon.

Last Thursday, my little boy cam home from school famished. I kindly told him he needed to wait for dinner. It wasn’t going to be long. An hour at most. He worked on his homework and then came back downstairs grasping at his stomach and in a whiny voice said, “Mom, I’m sooooo hungry. Can I at least have a corn dog?”

“Dinner is very soon. Like in ten minutes.” I replied, “Don’t settle for a corn dog when you can have steak.”

Steak is my son’s favorite meal in the universe. A huge smile split his face and he bounced back upstairs. He was happy to wait, because he knew something better would be on his plate.

But it had me thinking. How often do we settle for a corn dog when we’re so close to having steak? God has so much good planned for us. He prepares a table before us topped with everything we need and often desire, but the problem is we don’t want to wait. We want our spiritual bellies filled now. Our dreams to be reality now. We may be so super close to the very thing we desire, but our impatience gets the best of us and we settle for something that isn’t God’s best.

I heard a term long ago, “If it’s not quite, then it’s not right.” I referred to this phrase a lot when we were hunting for our first house. Before we viewed anything, my husband and I made a practical checklist of everything we wanted in our future home. We looked at so many places, but each property had at least one, maybe two, things missing from our list. Maybe it’d had a nice yard, but not enough storage space. Or it had a lot of kitchen cabinets, but the bedrooms were small. We grew impatient. Frustrated. Yet, we knew this was a major investment, and we couldn’t just settle for less than we need. So we waited. One day, our agent called us about a house that came on the market that very afternoon. When we got there and looked around, we knew it was ours. It had everything on our list. Great lay-out, large bedrooms, nice neighborhood, walk-in closets, fenced yard, etc. We put a bid on it that evening and we nabbed it.

We can apply this to many areas in our life. God wants the best for us, but He won’t force us to trust Him. No, it’s up to us to judge Him faithful who promised and choose to follow our hearts even when our impatient brains scream at us.

Rest and Trust. Two small words with huge rewards. So friend, don’t settle for a corn dog when Jesus wants you to have steak. 😉

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He Loves Me

 

 

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“He loves me. He loves me. He loves me.”

The sweet sound of my daughter’s voice filled my ears as she plucked petals from a daisy.  Moments before, I’d demonstrated to her one of my childhood pastimes with my favorite flower. (Although I purposefully refrained from mentioning that “he loves me not” is part of the original diversion.) The emphasis I was trying to make with this little object lesson is that no matter what He—God—loves me.

God loves me.

It’s easy to remember this beautiful fact when times are sunshiny golden, but what about when the storms roll in? When those clear blue skies that made you whistle and skip are now black, threatening? What do you do?

Remember that you’re not alone. God loves you.

There’s a dynamic force behind the word love. Love is what caused God to create man in the first place. He fashioned us in His very own image. Love is what caused Jesus to make the move from heaven to earth to redeem us when we were lost. Love is personal. Yes, He views galaxies and makes His throne among legions of angels, but His thoughts of me outnumber the sand. It’s hard to fathom, but it’s real nonetheless.

I’m coming to realize that the more I understand how much God loves me, the more my faith seems to grow. Being a parent has helped me comprehend way more. For instance, when my kids were younger I had rules for their protection. Like never go outside without Mommy or Daddy. Or never answer the door by yourself. Every rule was because I loved them and didn’t want any harm to come to them. Some may say the Bible is filled with rules, but I see it as breathing love. It’s a guide for our protection.

I heard someone say that you can put the tag – Because He loves me—after every scripture we read in the Bible. Mainly because God and His Word are one, and God is love. Like Matthew 19:26. With God all things are possible. . . because He loves me. God didn’t give me a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind. . . because He loves me. Even discipline scriptures like in Philippians where it tells us not to worry about anything. Why? Because He loves you. He’s there with you in the midst of your circumstance. And even add the tag to the verse—Do everything without murmuring and complaining. . .because He loves me. God knows that sin injures His children, separates them from Him and His precious love.

I know I was repetitive in this post, but believe me it was deliberate. I don’t think we could hear that enough. My husband tells me “I love you” all throughout the day. He texts it, ends phone conversations with it, whispers it to me before I drift asleep. I never tire of it. Ever. The same way it should be with us and God. We need to be reminded constantly that God loves us. Then when adverse situations appear, instead of lowering our head in defeat, we lift our chins to the One who loves us. It’s both comfort and strength.

He loves you, friend.

Never forget.

A Name Unknown Review & Giveaway!

Would you like to know what deception, romance, and redemption have in common? Curious? All elements are found in Roseanna White’s newest release titled A Name Unknown.

About the book:

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She’s out to steal his name. Will he steal her heart instead?
Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets-now they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary’s challenge of a lifetime comes when she’s assigned to determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?
Rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can’t help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the crown-so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his doorstop pretending to be a well- credentialed historian, Peter believes she’s the right person to help him dig through his family’s past.
Anger and danger continue to mount, though, and both realize they’re in a race against time to discover the truth-about Peter’s past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

My Thoughts:

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The quote above is one of my favorites from the story. A Name Unknown is a treasure of a novel. It’s enriched with gems that the reader unearths as the pages turn. And because I want stick with this treasure theme, I thought it’d be fun to assign each of my favorite factors with a precious metal, gem or something of the like. Here goes:

Rosemary Gresham: A pearl.

Rosemary is a thief, but a thief with a heart. I chose the pearl for her character equivalent because pearls are formed as a result of an oyster’s defense mechanism. Its beauty is formed because of layers and layers of defense. That’s Rosemary. She’s grown independent and wise only because of years and years of life on the harsh, aggressive streets of London. Her struggle for survival formed her inner core of strength and resilience. Yes, she has a tough shell, but when the rigid veneer is cracked open, a tender and precious heart is revealed. Oh, she has secrets. Hidden depths that go beyond the surface of her smile, but her love of family and blossoming affection for Peter is endearing and exquisite. I found myself rooting for her to see past her prejudice against the world and to trust in something, rather someone, other than herself for once.

Peter Holstein: Gold

Just as there is no known natural substance that can destroy gold, so it is with Peter Holstein. He’s loyal. He’s genuine. The world around him is changing, but his faith remains firm. What I love most about him is that at the time he meets Rosemary, he’s under the fiercest trial of his life, but still ministers to the intriguing librarian. When gold is placed in fire, it shines brighter, even to the point where it can reflect. Same with Peter. He’s in the midst of a test, and he reflects God to Rosemary. It’s all so very beautiful and touching.

The Plot: Tourmaline

Okay I chose this stone for the plot because of a couple factors. First of all, this rock is known as the “Electric Stone” because it holds an electric charge, and my oh my does this story carry some zing. The sparks between the two main characters ignite the page with a chemistry that is memorable. Also the tourmaline is highly magnetic! Ummm…yes!! This book magnetized my eyes to the page, keeping me turning the pages late into the night. Truly the twists and turns with this plot prompted a few gasps and several swoony sighs.

The Spiritual theme: Diamond

Like it could be anything else, right? The word diamond is derived from the ancient Greek word meaning unbreakable. Rosemary is introduced to the unbreakable love and mercy when she enters Cornwall, England. Peter is one of God’s prisms, refracting the light. It’s powerful. Strong. And flawlessly beautiful. I won’t give any spoilers away, because you need to read how Rosemary responds to not only Peter, but God.

A Name Unknown is a five-star read filled with intrigue, romance, and, best of all, grace.

*I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

About the author:

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of over a dozen historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels . . . to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring. She passes said boring life with her husband and kids in the beautiful mountains of eastern West Virginia.
Find out more about Roseanna M. at http://www.roseannamwhite.com.

You can also contact Roseanna:

For Facebook Click Here

For Twitter Click Here

For Pinterest Click Here

For Instagram Click Here

 Click on the image below for your chance to enter a giveaway!

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A Matter of Trust Review

 

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A Matter of Trust impressed me. Seriously. I had it in my mind that I was only going to read this story for the secondary characters—meaning Sierra and Ian, Jess and Pete—but as I began turning the pages, I was blown away by how quickly Gage and Ella captured my interest.

Here’s the blurb:

Champion backcountry snowboarder Gage Watson has left the limelight behind after the death of one of his fans. After being sued for negligence and stripped of his sponsorships, he’s remade his life as a ski patrol in Montana’s rugged mountains, as well as serving on the PEAK Rescue team. But he can’t seem to find his footing–or forget the woman he loved, who betrayed him.

Senator and former attorney Ella Blair spends much of her time in the limelight as the second-youngest senator in the country. But she has a secret–one that cost Gage his career. More than anything, she wants to atone for her betrayal of him in the courtroom and find a way to help him put his career back on track.

When Ella’s brother goes missing on one of Glacier National Park’s most dangerous peaks, Gage and his team are called in for the rescue. But Gage isn’t so sure he wants to help the woman who destroyed his life. More, when she insists on joining the search, he’ll have to keep her safe while finding her reckless brother, a recipe for disaster when a snowstorm hits the mountain.

But old sparks relight as they search for the missing snowboarder–and suddenly, they are faced with emotions neither can deny. But when Ella’s secret is revealed, can they learn to trust each other–even when disaster happens again?

My Thoughts

Chemistry! Chemistry! Chemistry! I can’t say it enough! Obviously, right? I was floored by the sparks between Gage and Ella. Plus, I’m a sucker for second chance love stories, and this was no exception. But, add in a suspense-laden setting and a grace-driven theme, and I’m abandoning myself to fangirl status.

Ella has secrets and Gage has regrets. Both are wounded by the past, but crave healing and a fresh start. What also enraptured my imagination was Ms. Warren’s vivid descriptions! I could almost hear the wind howling on the mountain and feel the biting air lashing me with snow. It was brilliantly done.

And what is a Susan May Warren novel without a strong spiritual element woven in like comfortable blanket, wrapping around your heart with warmth and life. Again I was spiritually uplifted by the irrepressible truth about God’s amazing grace. This story captured the flawed side of humanity and revealed the perfect side of a merciful Savior.

My favorite quote:

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And that, friends, is what makes a five-star read— a romance enveloped in grace.

About the author: Susan May Warren is the ECPA and CBA bestselling author of over fifty novels with more than one million books sold, including Wild Montana Skies and Rescue Me. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas. She can be found online at http://www.susanmaywarren.com, on Facebook at SusanMayWarrenFiction, and on Twitter @susanmaywarren.

To purchase your very own copy click here.

***I received A Matter of Trust from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

 

 

Author Interview with Sara Jane Jacobs & Giveaway!

 

Guess what guys! Today we have something different but oh-so-cool here on the blog. An  author interview! I want to introduce you to Sara Jane Jacobs and her debut book Season of Hope. 🙂

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR:



I began writing as a hobby while raising my two children. In 2015, I dusted
off my stories and my dreams to see if I could turn my hobby into a career. My
first story, Season of Hope, was inspired
by summer vacations which always included a trip to Franklin, North Carolina,
to visit family and explore The Smoky Mountains. When I’m not writing, I
enjoy spending time with family. I love most any activity that involves
being outdoors, especially camping, hiking and spontaneous excursions
to splash in the ocean. I currently live along the Emerald Coast of
Florida with my cat Selah and her delightful offspring, Colby, Jack
and Tuesday.

AUTHOR
CONTACT LINKS:
ABOUT THE BOOK:
 

 

 

When Amanda Jarvis prays that a special friend will move into the vacant house near her isolated mountain home, she isn’t upset when God sends a boy instead of a girl. But Amanda’s not the only one receiving unexpected answers to her prayers. After fleeing with his mother from an abusive father, Tyler Armstrong finds much-needed love and acceptance with Amanda’s family over the next few years.

As high school graduation nears, Tyler is
shocked when one carefree afternoon with Amanda churns up an inner turmoil he
would have never imagined; he’s crushing on his best friend. And for the first
time in his life he’s hiding a secret from Amanda. Convinced the timing is all
wrong, Tyler pushes his feelings aside as he and Amanda prepare for the future.
He will soon begin training to pursue his dream of becoming a Navy SEAL, while
Amanda makes plans to spend the summer in Manhattan with her aunt and then
return home to the community college.

When Amanda’s summer job catapults her into a
modeling career, she readily accepts the much-needed distraction. Tyler’s
impending deployment is turning her world upside down. Along with the fact that
she’s falling for her best friend. And, for the first time in her relationship
with Tyler, she’s hiding a secret, too.

Phoebe Garrison, Amanda’s controlling aunt, is
thrilled when she is given the power to act on behalf of her underage niece.
Bored with her Fortune 500 advertising agency, becoming Amanda’s manager is
just what she’s been looking for to rekindle her aspirations. But as Tyler
becomes aware of Phoebe’s obsession to push Amanda into supermodel status,
tensions rise. As the three of them become entangled in a mass of concealed
ambition and desire, each will make decisions that will send ripples of
turbulence across their futures.

BOOK LINKS:


 
GIVEAWAY:

 


                                           


Enter to win the SEASON OF HOPE giveaway! One person will
win the following items…

 

 

 

Enter below!       

 

 

Question time!
  1. When did you start writing? I
    started writing a few years after I graduated from high school (many,
    many years ago!) but I didn’t really start treating it as more than just a
    hobby until 20015. 
  2. What gave you the idea for your
    story?

    The second book in the series (which is scheduled for release on July
    25th) was the original story and came from an idea I had for a short story
    contest. One scene, which happens near the end of book two, grew into
    around 94,000 words. After an editor suggested I write some
    additional scenes about Tyler and Amanda’s childhood, book one was
    born.  
  3. What would you like the readers to
    take away from your story?
    Is there a certain theme? The coming
    together of these two families certainly has an impact on Tyler and his
    mother. The story covers more than ten years, and there is a very clear
    moment to me when Jessica Armstrong feels there is hope for
    her and her son. Our relationships are so important. It’s so great to
    have people in our lives who love us, believe in us and bring
    out the best in us!  
  4. What are you currently working on?
    What’s next? 
    I’m getting ready for the launch of
    book two in the series, which will bring some closure for everyone who is
    waiting to see how things turn out between Tyler and Amanda. I’m also
    working on book three, which tells the story of a couple of characters
    from book two.  
  5. What’s a fun fact about you? My daughter named
    two of my cats after cheese. She likes cheese (doesn’t everyone?) So, my
    two orange tabbys are Colby and Jack. And they were born on a
    Sunday and two days later their little sister decided to enter the world.
    My daughter named her Tuesday.  Sorry. That was more than one
    fact.

 






BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:
June 26 – Truth
to Shine
June 27
ASC Book Reviews
June 28
Meagan Davenport
June 30
Barbara
Brutt
July 7
Bookworm
Mama
July 10
Tell the World
July 11
2014
and Beyond
July 12
Tammy
Karasek
July 13
Rebecca DeMarino
July 14 –  Julie Arduini
July 17
Laura
Bennet
July 18
All Betts Are Off
July 21
Leslie L. Mckee
This blog tour was coordinated by A Latte of Literature Blog
Tour Services. Find out more:

 

A Letter to My Daughter on Her Tenth Birthday

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Oh Meg, I don’t even know where to begin. I’ve been both dreading and anticipating this day for awhile. Dreading because you’ve reached double digits and it signifies you’re out of the “little” stage. You’re growing up. But that’s also what I’ve been eager for—to watch you bloom from little girl to young lady. It’s been a struggle with conflicting emotions, but as always joyful expectation won out. I’m excited to see what God has in store for you. We’ve witnessed His hand on you from day one, watched Him perform miracles in you and through you. Meg, you’ve touched so many hearts, with your resilience and perseverance. I’m so proud of you.

When thinking about what to write to you, the story behind your name kept surfacing in my thoughts. Yes, I’m the queen of nicknames, and you’re so forbearing with me as I would call you everything from your dubbed superhero name Megatron, to Meggy, Miracle Meg, Megaphone (for when you’re loud) to the Beany. But your name has significance and here’s the story behind it.

When your dad and I discovered we were having a girl, immediately I conjured up the names I always loved—Audrey (after Audrey Hepburn of course 😉 ) , Eliana, and McKenna. Even though those ones sounded pretty, it just didn’t fit the precious tiny face on the sonogram picture. In the end, we had narrowed the names to three—Kelsey, Gabrielle, and Maegan. Kelsey meant warrior and Gabrielle meant God is my strength, but I couldn’t get past the meaning of Maegan which is pearl. Pearl. I loved the meaning so much. Even dug into what a truly pearl is. For centuries pearl has become a metaphor for something rare, admirable and valuable. And sweetheart that’s you! Your personality, your genuine affection for those around you is so priceless, so beautiful. And I learned that the very best pearls, most exquisite, have a mirror-like luster. They reflect. And Meg you reflect your Creator. You’re a breathing testimony of His faithfulness, His love. Your heart for scripture and worship blesses me more than words can describe.

So on this special day, let me tell you how much you are loved, cherished. So shine on, my pearl. Reflect your Savior, my pearl. And never stop challenging the impossible.

 

 

Review of The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck

 

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Anyone who knows me understands that I love both historical and contemporary romance stories, and guess what? The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck has both! Ms. Hauck is masterful at creating novels that combine both genres. Seriously, folks. It hurts my brain to think of all the plotting that she must’ve done to make this story flow-y and flawless. And who doesn’t love twice the romance a dual story has to offer?

Here’s the blurb about the book:

Tenley Roth’s first book was a runaway bestseller. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who has run out of inspiration?

With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer’s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart’s been missing.

A century earlier, another woman wrote at the same desk with hopes and fears of her own. Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she’ll marry. But Birdie has dreams she doesn’t know how to realize. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has taken extreme measures to manipulate her future, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.

Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds, but fate has bound them together in a way time cannot erase.

My take:

I honestly don’t know where to start about this story. First, let me say…I loved it! There were moments of laughter and sadness. It was a tale of dreams lost and gained.

Historical elements:

I love the Gilded Age. It’s a part of American history that’s unique from all other eras. The “class system” is still very much observed. Money. Prestige. And society placement. I experienced Birdie’s frustration with being manipulated by her mother and her struggle to find happiness in such a shallow environment. I rallied for her to follow her aspirations and not to close her heart to love. Not only was the historical scenes inspiring but also the blossoming romance shared between the characters was endearing to read.

Contemporary elements:

Tenley hooked me from the first few pages. She’s at the top of the literary world, so to speak, yet her heart’s empty. My own heart ached for her to get a glimpse of what her soul truly craved – redemption. And as a writer, I totally sympathized with Tenley’s writing block. Oh yes, sometimes the struggle is real. I was surprised by how much I loved Jonah’s character. He impressed me with his honorable and godly behavior. I could gush and gush about the vivid scenes with Tenley and Jonah, but I don’t want to give anything away 😉

The Writing Desk whispered to me through the pages of residual grace. Of His faithfulness to hold our hands as we reach for our dreams, but also of His steadfast presence when our desires slip through our fingers.

This truly is a must-read. The Writing Desk is set to release July 11th. Click here to get the special preorder price!

B1F6kf8zKYS._SY200_.jpgAbout the author:

Rachel Hauck is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY bestselling author of The Wedding Dress, which was also named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times and was a RITA finalist. Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and two pets and writes from her ivory tower. Visit her online at rachelhauck.com Facebook: rachelhauck Twitter: @RachelHauck

*I was provided a copy through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Now you tell me – what’s on your reading list for the summer?