Monday, February 8, 2016

Counting Our Blessings - LinkUp


13. It's been a better week for me, thank the Lord!! I've felt so much better and to top it off, the weather has been absolutely gorgeous! I love the sunshine and it's so nice to open a window for a few hours to let the fresh air in. Little blessings that mean so much!!

14.  I've been enjoying my cross stitch tremendously! I finally relented and set up my needlework stand. The project for my son is quite large and doing it in a hoop was rather difficult so I put it on a scroll and set up the stand. I love my stand, but it's very large and so now it's like a maze getting to my chair! LOL Here's the stand I have in case you want to know.


This is the Ergo stand and you can find all about it HERE
(I'm not getting anything from sharing this - I just love the stand and want to tell you about it!)
One great thing about this stand is I can cross stitch really fast because I'm using two hands.

So here's the latest picture of my project


15. To take a break from this large project, I stitched up this ornament. This is another one from the
"Enjoy Cross Stitch" magazine from Britain.

Such fun little projects that stitch up so fast! I finished up this one while watching....

16. 
Yep! The Super Bowl! I'm a Denver Bronco fan so was thrilled to see them win yesterday. It was a great game and my son was so excited. It's fun to watch him watching the game. He gets so involved in it. He breathes football so he had a lot to say about the game and he was on his feet several times. I'm just glad they won or there would have been disappointment in this house for months! lol

17.  I've been working on my Faith Journal and decided to make a prayer pocket for it. I wanted a place I could put prayer requests in and pull out to pray over. I used cardstock and then painted it with watercolors.


I'm going to use tags to write out the prayer requests. I like the idea of having everything right in my Faith Journal.

I invite you to share your blog posts on the linkup! I have buttons for the link up available on the Grab My Buttons page. I always appreciate you sharing them on your blog. Thank you for sharing on the link-up!!

 

Blessings - Julie

Book Review - A Worthy Heart

ABOUT THE BOOK:

The answer to Maggie Montgomery's dream of seeing America has arrived at just the right time. Not only will she be reunited with her beloved brother Rylan, but she'll finally be able to escape Neill Fitzgerald and his increasingly unwanted attentions. She's intent on never returning to Ireland, hoping to build her future in the land of opportunity and perhaps find the love of her life.

While visiting Irish Meadows, she meets an intriguing man she thinks is a stable hand. Only when her brother demands she stay away from Adam O'Leary does she learn he's Rylan's brother-in-law, recently released from prison. Nonetheless, Maggie can't seem to make her stubborn heart conform to her brother's request.

Adam O'Leary has never felt worthy of his place in the family. Now a free man, Adam's only desire is to earn back his family's trust. Falling in love with the newly arrived Maggie, however, was never in his plans. Despite everyone's efforts to keep them apart, the two develop a bond it seems nothing can break--but they soon discover the past isn't easy to overcome.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Susan Anne Mason's debut historical novel, Irish Meadows, won the Fiction from the Heartland contest from the Mid-American Romance Authors Chapter of RWA. Also a member of ACFW, Susan lives outside of Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and two children. She can be found online at www.susanannemason.

MY REVIEW:

This is book two in the "Courage to Dream" series and it stood alone as it's own story so you aren't lost if you didn't read book one. However, I think you'll want to read book one, too!

This is a powerful story and full of strong characters that I really enjoyed. I especially liked Maggie because she is very wise and yet loving. I also liked Adam because although he had a past that made some reject him but he is finding his way to a new life and I loved that Maggie didn't reject him because of his past. I really liked the redemption theme of this story.

Maggie is only supposed to be visiting America from Ireland but has determined in her mind from the beginning to stay in America. I liked the complications that this causes in the story, too.

Not only is this a story of Maggie and Adam but there is the story line of  her brother, Gabe. I found his character very interesting as he's a fireman in Ireland and then finds work as one in New York City.  There are a couple of romance stories going on in the book and this makes the book move right along.

I really liked this story. I loved how faith played such an important part of some of the characters lives and the importance of forgiveness. It was a book that was hard to put down and I'm giving it 5 out of 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by Bethany House


Blessings - Julie

Book Review - Bronner

ABOUT THE BOOK:

 God teaches and refines us through pain and suffering. Author Sherri Burgess, wife of Rick Burgess of The Rick and Bubba Show, knows this to be true. After the earthly death of her youngest son, Bronner, Burgess asked, "Why?" And God answered.

Journey with her through this powerful testimony of healing to understand the purpose behind the pain. An empowering resource for book-club discussion or small-group Bible study, this is much more than simply a retelling of an inspiring story. It is a call to action beckoning us to know our Holy God like never before

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sherri Burgess' life is a beckoning for you to know a Holy God like you have never known Him before. The wife of Rick Burgess of The Rick and Bubba Show, a nationally syndicated talk radio show, Sherri is someone who now passionately pursues holiness and inspires others to do the same. A seasoned Bible teacher, writer and blogger, she has in recent years answered God's call as a women's ministry speaker. This mother of five stays active with her family in Birmingham, Alabama.

Connect with Sherri: website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram

MY REVIEW:

This book is one of the most heart-wrenching, inspiring, faith-filled books that I've read. I knew what the book was about but I never imagined the profound affect it would have on me and my faith.

Bronner was the light-filled child of Sherry and Rick Burgess whom everyone in and out of the family adored. There was something special about Bronner and when he was found in the family pool, and subsequently passed away, it was like a bit of the light in their lives went away.

How Sherri and her husband react to this whole situation is nothing but inspiring and their faith in God, despite this tragedy, is so amazing and touching. I was so encouraged in my Christian walk because they were still able to love, worship and serve God despite Bronner being taken to heaven.

I will be honest and tell you I had to read this book in little doses. It was so hard to read of the void that this child left in so many ways in their life. It was hard, as a mother, to imagine the pain that they went through with the loss of Bronner. Although it was very inspiring and uplifting, it was also hard and I had the tissue box sitting close by at all times.

I came away from this book with a deeper understanding of God's love and that, while His plans are not always our plans, He works everything out in really powerful ways. Our hearts have to be open to the Lord and allow His will so we will not completely fall apart when those tragedy's hit. I also love how she shares that Jesus understands our grief and our longing because He experienced those same things and He has sympathy for us.

I highly, highly recommend this book! Yes, it's difficult read at times, but the depth of faith that the author shares and encourages in us is totally work the tears we shed as we read it. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

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


Blessings - Julie

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Book Review - Beyond the Silence

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Lillian Porter has always wanted to fulfill her mother's dream of going west, so when she hears about a nanny position in Angels Camp, California, she defies her grandfather and takes a chance on a new future. But she quickly wonders if she made the right choice. Murky rumors swirl around Woodward Colton, her new employer, but the gossip doesn't match the man Lillian comes to know.

Still, something dark did happen in the family's past. Lillian's seven-year-old charge hasn't spoken in over a year. Gently, Lillian tries to coax him out of his shell, hoping he'll one day feel safe enough to share what scared him. But the Colton olive farm is no longer a safe place. Lillian encounters suspicious characters on their land and mysterious damage done to the farm. When the housekeeper is brutally attacked, the town once again suspects the worst. Will discovering the truth help Lillian clear the name of the man she has come to love---or will it endanger her even more?

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 novels. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Montana.

Connect with Tracie: website, Facebook

Kimberley Woodhouse is a multipublished author of fiction and nonfiction. A popular speaker/teacher, she's shared her theme of Joy Through Trials with over 150,000 people at more than a thousand venues across the country. She lives, writes, and homeschools with her husband of twenty-plus years and their two awesome teens live in Colorado.

Connect with Kimberley: website, Twitter, Facebook

MY REVIEW:

This book is a story of good versus evil. What's really compelling about it, is the authors don't try to whitewash the evilness of the evil character. He actually made me uncomfortable at times because he committed all types of atrocities. I thought the book started out a bit slow but it steadily gained my attention and, about mid way through, I was having a hard time putting it down.

Lillian is from a wealthy family and she feels the pull of the West because her mother wanted to go West. Her parents are both dead and she lives with her grandfather who doesn't understand her dream at all and disowns her when she chooses to accept a position as a nanny in California. 

Woody has recently been widowed after his wife was viciously murdered in her own home and her son, Jimmy, was in the house to witness it. Ever since this horrible thing happened, Jimmy hasn't spoken a word. Woody is hoping that hiring Lillian as a nanny will help his son. His housekeeper is very loving toward Jimmy, but she's older and Jimmy needs a younger person. 

It's really eye opening at how people will treat other people based on gossip. Woody is treated horribly after his wife's murder after the gossip mill starts the rumor that he actually killed her.  There's a lot of suspense in this  novel, too, because we know who the murderer is and we see the evilness of him as he does things just to be cruel and powerful. 

I think my favorite character is Harry. He's a child-like man whose heart is sweet but his evil brother is constantly making him do things he doesn't want to do. Harry loves his brother and wants to please him. I love seeing Harry blossom under the friendship of Lillian and Jimmy. 

This is a great story of love and suspense. Like I said, it seemed to start slow for me but it definitely redeemed itself as the story went a long and things because more complex. I really enjoyed this book over all and give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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



Blessings - Julie

Friday, February 5, 2016

Book Review - A Son's Vow

ABOUT THE BOOK:


Shelley Shepard Gray's first book in her Charmed Amish Life series is set in the quaint Amish village of Charm, Ohio, and tells the stories of the Kinsinger siblings who are each struggling to find both forgiveness and love in the face of tragedy.

Three months ago, everything changed for Darla Kurtz and her family. Darla's father was responsible for a terrible fire at Charm's lumber mill which killed five Amish men. And though he, too, lost his life, the town of Charm hasn't looked at her family the same since. Even Lukas Kinsinger---with whom Darla used to have a close friendship.

Now her brother's anger at the town is spilling over onto Darla, and she has the bruises to prove it. The accident already cost five lives, but if something doesn't change soon, Darla fears it will cost her---and her family---even more.

Lukas Kinsinger wants to mourn the loss of his father, but he can hardly find the time to breathe. Suddenly the head of his father's lumber mill and responsible for taking care of his three siblings, he's feeling the pressure. He has also never felt more alone---especially with the new tension between he and Darla. But when he learns of her troubles at home, Lukas knows he can't simply stand by and watch. Someone has to help her before another tragedy occurs.

As Lukas and Darla attempt to repair their families, they discover something deeper than friendship growing between them. But will Lukas and Darla's love be accepted after so much loss? Or will the pain of the past overcome any chance of future happiness?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Shelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.

MY REVIEW:

This is the first book in the series Charmed Amish Life and I'm really looking forward to the rest of the books in the series!

Darla is trying to start over after the death of her father. She gets treated poorly because the people in the community blame her and her family for the fire at the mill that killed 5 people. It has affected her family, especially her brother, in very bad ways. I was especially struck by the way one of the ladies in the community makes it her business to berate Darla every day as she works in the Post Office.

Darla is childhood friends with Lukas, who now runs the family mill after his father was killed in the fire, too. He hasn't known exactly how to go forward with his friendship with Darla after the fire but he misses her and tries to rekindle their friendship. 

This book deals with what happens when people are unforgiving. It also deals with domestic abuse and I especially liked how it was handled in a very Biblical way. There was protection for the abused and confrontation to the abuser. 

I read this book in one day. It was a nice cozy book with a lovely story. I liked how the romance developed naturally without being sappy sweet. Just a lovely, Amish story line. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

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



Blessings - Julie