Saturday, July 25, 2015

Book Review - Tattered and Mended


A crumbling statue. A torn tapestry. A discolored painting.

Artisans can reclaim exquisite beauty from the broken, frayed, and hopefully shattered---perhaps once thought beyond repair. But what about us? What of the wounds that keep us from living the life we want to live?

In Tattered and Mended, readers walk through a gallery of reclaimed and restored art as well as broken and restored lives of those who have gone before us. With a gentle touch and personable wisdom, Cynthia Ruchti shows how even the most threadbare soul can once again find healing and hope.


Cynthia Ruchti tells stories "hemmed in hope." She's the award-winning author of sixteen books and a frequent speaker for women's ministry events. She serves as the Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, where she helps retailers, libraries, and book clubs connect with the authors and books they love. She lives with her husband in Central Wisconsin.

Find Cynthia online: website, Twitter, Facebook


We all have times in our lives when we feel tattered - frayed around the edges - from what life hands us. We can feel like nothing can repair the hurts or make us feel whole again but, as Cynthia points out so beautifully in this book, God can take our battered selves and make something truly beautiful and artful.

I love the stories she shares in this book. Sometimes when we're going through things, we feel so alone, yet these stories reinforce to us that everyone goes through trouble and heartache and that God is there for us all. 

As in all her books, Cynthia shares Scriptures that reinforce what God tells us in His Word. I really like this as it helps me more than anything to have Scripture in my heart. I also really enjoyed the end of the book where she has suggestions to help us heal and mend when we're going through a hard experience. Some of it was obvious - eating right and getting enough rest - however, she also shares Scriptures and ideas for resting and restoring. I found this very helpful.

This is definitely a book that I will re-read and keep on hand for when those hard times come. It's a book that you want to sit with and really ponder as you read and let the truths of God's love and restoration sink into your heart. I highly recommend this book.  I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by LitFuse Publicity Group

You can read more reviews of this book HERE

Blessings - Julie

Thursday, July 23, 2015

My Happy Planner!

My hubby got me this wonderful planner called, "The Happy Planner" at Hobby Lobby. Oh, I love it! It has an amazing layout and I like how I can use it in the way that best suits me. It has a monthly layout and a daily layout and lots of little extras that are so fun.

I wanted to share a picture of one of my weeks and show how fun it is to work with and decorate.

On days that I don't have any appointments, I've been using it as a "things to do list".

I also use Washi tape and decorate with little cards and things I have. Did you see those two square cards on each page? They are vintage cards with Scripture written on them. They are one of my favorite things! By using the washi tape to put it in my planner, I can remove them and use them another day.

I love adding Scripture to my planners and my journals. It just makes for an excellent reminder throughout the day of what's really important!

Blessings - Julie

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Book Review - Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor


When Heather Toulson returns to her parents' cottage in the English countryside, she uncovers long-hidden secrets about her family history and stumbles onto the truth about a sixty-year-old murder.

Libby, a free spirit who can't be tamed by her parents, finds solace with her neighbor Oliver, the son of Lord Croft of Ladenbrooke Manor. Libby finds herself pregnant and alone when her father kicks her out and Oliver mysteriously drowns in a nearby river. Though theories spread across the English countryside, no one is ever held responsible for Oliver's death.

Sixty years later, Heather Toulson, returning to her family's cottage in the shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, is filled with mixed emotions. She's mourning her father's passing but can't let go of the anger and resentment over their strained relationship. Adding to her confusion, Heather has an uneasy reunion with her first love, all while sorting through her family's belongings left behind in the cottage. What she uncovers will change everything she thought she knew about her family's history.

Award-winning author Melanie Dobson seamlessly weaves the past and present together, fluidly unraveling the decades-old mystery and reveals how the characters are connected in shocking ways.

Set in a charming world of thatched cottages, lush gardens, and lovely summer evenings, this romantic and historical mystery brings to light the secrets and heartaches that have divided a family for generations.


Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of thirteen historical romance, suspense, and contemporary novels. Two of her novels won Carol Awards in 2011, and Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana won Best Novel of Indiana in 2010. Melanie lives with her husband Jon and two daughters near Portland, Oregon.

Find Melanie online: website, Twitter, Facebook


This book is one of he best books I've read in a long time! The story is so hauntingly beautiful and kept my attention the whole time and I hated for it to end. I loved these characters and they won't soon leave me.

The book goes between two different time lines and, surprisingly enough, it works very well and is not confusing at all. The author makes sure we understand what era we are in and you will very quickly fall into a rhythm with it. 

Maggie, Walter, Libby, and Heather form a little family with lots of secrets and these secrets trickle down through each of their lives. It affects their relationship with each other and with others. There is tragedy and surprises for the reader that keep you turning the pages well into the night! I know - I lost a lot of sleep because I didn't want to put the book down.

I loved the relationship between Libby and Oliver despite the tragedy that befalls them. It's beautiful how Maggie, Libby's mother, allows her daughter to be who she is. I thought the love she shows for her daughter is so beautiful and caring. Her artistic talents are not squashed by her mother but encouraged and we see Libby thrive because of it. 

I also love the relationship between Libby and Walter as it progresses from apathy to real caring on Walter's part. It's so heart-warming to see towards the end of the book all he has done for his daughter.

Heathr and Christopher have lived believing lies that their mother's told them in the effort to protect them as they felt they were too young to marry. There are secrets within their relationship, too, and we see what happens when the light is finally able to hit all these relationships and healing can begin.

The underlying theme of forgiveness and redemption is so beautiful in this book. Also, encouraging the gifts that God gives us, was a great reminder as it helped these characters to thrive in what God wanted them to be. I absolutely loved this book and it's one of the few fiction books that I will keep to read again. It really is a must-read for anyone who loves a great story! I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by LitFuse Publicity Group

You can read more reviews of this book HERE

Blessings - Julie

Monday, July 20, 2015

Counting Our Blessings - Link Up!

I'm sorry that it's been some time since I've done the link up. I always miss doing this but sometimes life gets in the way. However, here we are and I'm so happy to be so. Let's get started!!

51.  I was able to do a bit of "back to school" shopping a couple weeks ago. No, we don't homeschool anymore and I don't have smaller children but I love to shop for school supplies! There's always some really fun things this time of year and I found some adorable things! I went to Office Max specifically for highlighters but found this cute thing!

A poodle pencil case!! Can you stand it? I just adore this little thing and Mitzi seems to think that it's adorable, too, and has tried to steal it quite a few times. lol I have to make sure I keep it out of reach or she runs off with it. Both are so cute!!

52.  I did get my highlighters and was fortunate enough that I was at Office Max when they were having a big sale. See the mechanical pencils? They were only 14 cents! The Owl erasers and gold pens were from the Target Dollar Spot. See why I love this time of year?

53.  I made a tassel for my planner with this fun yarn. I know it's a bit large, but I just love it. When I showed it to my husband, he laughed because it was so big. lol One thing is for sure, I won't be losing it anytime soon!

54.  Our monsoon season has started here. We've had a lot of rain and, one day, we had quite a bit of  hail. Here's a picture after the hail storm. It looks like snow, doesn't it? I was quite worried that it was going to break one of our sky lights, but thankfully, it was fine.

55. Of course, my blessings wouldn't be complete without a photo of Mitzi! She is needing a grooming here but is going in next week, so please ignore her scruffy look. She's such a doll and blesses me beyond measure every day! This is her in the morning as she's just waking up. Of course, she has her Lamb Chop.

What are your blessings? I hope you'll share on the link-up! I would very much appreciate it if you shared my Counting Our Blessings button. As always, I'm so grateful you came by and for your sweet comments!

Blessings - Julie

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Book Review - A Heart's Promise


Emmie makes a promise to her friend that, if fulfilled, could mean the end to her dreams of a future with Isaac.

Emmie Croftner let Isaac Liddle go to avoid telling him about her past. But Isaac remains determined to win Emmie's heart and hand. Though Emmie resolves to keep her heart in check, it hurts when she sees that another woman has set
her bonnet for Isaac.

Then Emmie's dear friend extracts a costly promise: if anything happens to her in childbirth, Emmie will marry her widower and raise the baby herself. And it seems Emmie may have to fulfill that promise. But can she live happily without Isaac?


Colleen Coble has sold over 2 million novels worldwide. Seagrass Pier, the third installment in her acclaimed Hope Beach series, marks a new highpoint for emotion and complexity in Coble's addictive brand of romantic suspense.

Find Colleen online: website, Facebook, Twitter


This is book five of the "Journey of the Heart" series. It's an excellent story all on it's own, but you'll definitely want to read the first four volumes! 

I really enjoyed his book and the main character, Emmie. She's trying to get over the death of her husband and the secrets that were revealed after his death. She is pregnant and living with her friends on an Army Fort in Wyoming. Her friends, Sarah and Amelia, are also pregnant and she helps to care for them. However, they have given her something very precious - unconditional friendship.

As Amelia nears the birth of her child, she starts to have feelings that she may not live through childbirth and makes Emmie promise that she will take care of the baby and marry her husband if something happens to her. Against her better judgement, she agrees, even though her heart longs for Isaac. She keeps Isaac at arms length, though, because she fears that her secret about her dead husband will be revealed. 

In this volume, the nasty Jessica returns and starts creating havoc where ever she goes. When she wants something or someone, she will stop at nothing to get it. She's very disagreeable but she does add some spice to the story! I'm very anxious to read the next book and find out what happens next. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. 

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by LitFuse Publicity Group

You can read more reviews of this book HERE

Blessings - Julie