Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Counting Our Blessings - Link Up!

I wasn't sure I would be doing my link up this week because I've been sick for over 2 weeks. However, these are the times it's so important to think about what the Lord has done for me. Plus, I'm always so encouraged by your link-ups and your comments! I didn't want to miss out on that. I don't have any pictures this time, so I apologize for that ahead of time.

85.  I was so blessed this week by my son! He went to WalMart and found Composition Notebooks for 25 cents each! I use these little notebooks for everything! I use them for prayer journals, praise journals, I write my book in them, and more! They are always so expensive just for the cardboard covered ones - usually about $3.00 each - but these have the plastic cover (which is so nice) and to get them for 25 cents is such a huge blessing! I have a huge stack of them now and will probably never need to buy another one again. Score!

86.  I'm finally going to get my knee shot in my knee. Since my surgery, I've been putting a lot more stress on my other bad knee (I was supposed to get them both replaced, but you know how that all went) so it's really been hurting. I will be getting the shots in them to replace the cushioning and I'm so thankful for this. I'm praying that it helps as I should have had it done a long time ago, but of course, with all I've been through, it wasn't possible. Such a blessing to know I'm going to get some help with the other knee!

87.  I'm so thankful that my two poodles are now getting along great! They play together and chase each other through the house. My new little one loves to give Cookie kisses and they are becoming good friends. It's so fun to see them play together and it's been good for Cookie as she now has a little friend to play with. Mitzi has been such a blessing to me and now for Cookie, too!

Now it's your turn! Share your blessings on the link up below. Please grab my button to share on your blog. You'll find it under the tab "Grab My Buttons" at the top. I really appreciate this as I would love for this link-up to really take off! I think it's so important to share and focus on our blessings.

 


Blessings - Julie

Book Review - The Daughter of Highland Hall

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Strong-willed and beautiful, debutante Katherine Ramsey feels ready to take the London social season by storm, and she must. Her family estate, Highland Hall, has been passed to older male cousin Sir William Ramsey, and her only means of securing her future is to make a strong debut and find a proper husband. With her all-knowing and meddling aunt as a guide, Katherine is certain to attract suitors at the lavish gatherings, sparkling with Great Britain's elite.

When a shocking family scandal sidelines Katherine, forcing her out of the social spotlight, she keeps a low profile, volunteering with the poor in London's East End. Here Katherine feels free from her predictable future, and even more so as a friendship with medical student Jonathan Foster deepens and her faith in God grows. But when Katherine is courted anew by a man of wealth and position, dreams of the life she always thought she wanted surface again. Torn between tradition and the stirrings in her heart for a different path, she must decide whom she can trust and love---and if she will choose a life serving others over one where she is served.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Carrie Turansky is an award-winning author of more than a dozen novels and novellas. She has written contemporary and historical romances, women's fiction, short stories, articles, and devotionals. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, Scott, and they have five adult children and four grandchildren.

Find Carrie online: website, Facebook, Twitter

MY REVIEW:

This is book two in the Edwardian Brides series. I did not read the first book in the series (although I intend to now) and was never lost or left to wonder what was going on. It stands alone as it's own story, which I'm always so glad of.  This book is set in Britain during the early 1900's and I just love this time period. The author does a wonderful job of setting the scenes and giving us background for this time period.

Katherine comes from a prosperous family and because the estate has passed to her cousin, she needs to find a husband from the high society she is from to insure that her future is secure. Her aunt is very much a part of this search for just the right suitor and, hopefully, husband for Katherine. Everything in her life is about parties, money, and being with the right people at the right time.

Suddenly, everything is changed in Katherine's life when a family member is thrust into a scandal Suddenly, all the invitations to society parties and events stop coming for Katherine and she is forced to rethink and do something else to keep a low profile.
 
She has met Jon Foster and is very intrigued with him. He is a medical student who is volunteering in the poorest neighborhoods  where people live in complete contrast to what she is used to. Katherine decides to volunteer in these clinics for the poor and hope that the family scandal blows over. What she learns and gets from this experience is far more than she imagined. She realizes that the things she has been focused on don't matter and she feels a calling from God to do this. Her faith grows and we see her mature in so many ways.

I really like this book because it does focus on faith and doing for others. I love seeing the growth in Katherine as she gives her life over to God's will. I really enjoyed this book and give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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

You can read more review of this book HERE




Blessings - Julie

Book Review - A. D. 30

ABOUT THE BOOK:

The outcase daughter of one of the most powerful Bedouin sheikhs and Arabia, Maviah is called on to protect the very people who rejected her. When their enemies launch a sudden attack with devastating consequences, Maviah escapes with the help of two of her father's warriors - Saba, who speaks more with his sword than his voice, and Judah, a Jew who comes from a tribe that can read the stars. Their journey will be fraught with terrible danger. If they can survive the vast forbidding sands of a desert that is deadly to most, they will reach a brutal world subjugated by kings and emperors. There Maviah must secure an unlikely alliance with King Herod of the Jews.

But Maviah's path leads her unexpectedly to another man. An enigmatic teacher who speaks of a way in this life that offers greater power than any kingdom. His name is Yeshua, and his words turn everything known on its head. Though following him may present even greater danger, his may be the only way for Maviah to save her people and herself.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ted Dekker is a New York Times best-selling author of more than twenty novels. He is best known for stories which could be broadly described as suspense thrillers with major twists and unforgettable characters, though he has also made a name for himself among fantasy fans.

Dekker was born to missionaries who lived among the headhunter tribes of Indonesia. Because his parents’ work often included extended periods of time away from their children, Dekker describes his early life in a culture to which he was a stranger as both fascinating and lonely. It is this unique upbringing that forced him to rely on his own imagination to create a world in which he belonged.

After leaving Indonesia, Dekker graduated from a multi-cultural high school and took up permanent residence in the United States to study Philosophy and Religion. Upon earning his Bachelor’s Degree, he entered the corporate world and proceeded to climb the proverbial ladder. But his personal drive left him restless and, after many successful years, he traded corporate life for wide range of entrepreneurial pursuits that included buying and selling businesses, healthcare services, and marketing.

In the early nineties while visiting a friend who had just written a book, Dekker decided to pursue a long held desire to be a novelist. Over the course of two years he wrote two full length novels before starting from scratch and rewriting both. Now fully enamored by the the process and the stories, he realized that storytelling was in his blood and a new obsession to explore truth through story gripped him anew.

He sold his business, moved his family to the mountains of Western Colorado and began writing full-time on his third novel. Two years and three novels later his first novel was published.
Dekker’s novels have sold over 5 million copies worldwide. Two of his novels, Thr3e and House, have been made into movies with more in production. Dekker resides in Austin, Texas with his wife Lee Ann and two of their daughters.

MY REVIEW:

I had never read a Ted Dekker novel before but I am now a huge fan!

This story is set during the time when Jesus is at the height of his teaching and his name is known far and wide for his teaching, especially to the Jews.

The novel follows the story of Maviah, a woman who has been rejected by her father and sold into slavery as a young girl. When she has a child of her own, she returns to her father's house where his wife takes her under her wing and protects her. Her marriage to Maviah's father also forms an alliance that protects them. When she dies, their household is attacked and her father turns to her to go to King Herod for help.

She goes on this journey, across the dangerous desert, with the help of two of her father's trusted warriors, Saba and Judah. Judah is captivated by Maviah and calls her the queen of the desert. This touched Maviah's heart as she has always thought so little of herself because others always did.

The story takes us across the desert, into the palaces, and on to the hillsides where Jesus is teaching. Truly, This story is so well written, you feel as though you are on the camels, trekking across the deserts and making your way through this story with Maviah. You feel the eyes of Yeshua and the words of his teachings truly touch your heart as you feel as though you are there at his feet.

I can't say enough wonderful things about this book! The only thing that I didn't like was I was left wanting more of the story! Thankfully, Mr. Dekker is writing a second book to continue the story called A. D. 33. I devoured this book and had a hard time putting it down. I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a wonderful story full of action and beautiful relationships. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars!

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by Shelton Interactive

Blessings - Julie

 


Friday, October 24, 2014

Book Review - The Hardest Peace

ABOUT THE BOOK:

A young mother battling cancer invites readers to embrace grace in every season of life.

Kara Tippetts knows the mundane but rich days of mothering four kids, the joy of watching her children grow.and the devastating reality of stage-four cancer.

In The Hardest Peace, she invites readers to see the grace of the everyday in all seasons of life and to live well even when the living is hard. As the thousands of readers of her blog know, Tippetts explores the hardest questions of life with rare beauty and honesty. Most of all, she draws them back to the God who is present, in the ordinary and the suffering, and shapes every life into the best story of all.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kara Tippetts and her husband, Jason, have four children and lead a church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Cancer is only part of Kara's story. Her real fight is to truly live while facing a crushing reality.
Find Kara online: website, Facebook, Twitter

MY REVIEW:

This book has affected me in so many ways and I can't put it or Kara out of my mind. Her faith and her strength will inspire you!

Kara is a young mom of four children who gets the diagnosis that we all fear - terminal cancer. She gets breast cancer and, while they thought she had it beat, it comes back with a vengeance. How does she reconcile this diagnosis with the loving God that she and her husband have so faithfully served? Her answers will amaze you and also grow your faith like nothing has before. 

I sat and read this book in two sittings and I intend on reading it again. To realize that this is her story, that the Author of her life, has chosen to allow this in her life and to see her faith and believe in God's grace through it all is truly humbling. I have been dealing with my own health issues (although nothing like Kara's!) and it gave me a new perspective of how my walk with the Lord should look and how He truly blesses us even in the hard places.

I love how Kara is so open and honest and shares her heart. She tells us that she has hard days where she doesn't want to leave this life and not see her children grow up. She shares about how hard the procedures have been but then she shares how God has been with her through it all and how she sees so much good that has come from this diagnosis. It's hard to realize that this amazing woman of God may not be with us much longer but she has made such an impact for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in her life!

At the end of each chapter, Kara invites us to answer the questions she poses that really make us take a good look at our outlook and our faith. These are very thought provoking questions that will make you truly take a good look at your thought processes and your faith. Here are a couple of examples of some questions that she would ask:

 · Who has God sent to walk with you through your pain? Has He asked you to walk with someone else in his or her journey?

 · When you pray for God to lift you out of fear and dread, do you truly believe He can and will? Why or why not? What is an example of when He did, and what is an example of when you felt He didn't? How did He show you His goodness in both answers?

I would love to have you share your thoughts on these questions in the comment section!

Although this book would be great for anyone struggling with cancer or other health issues, in my opinion it is a must read for all Christians (and especially non-Christians!) who want to see what it is to live out your life in faith and believe the in the grace of God even through the hard places in life. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars. 

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



Blessings - Julie

Monday, October 20, 2014

Counting Our Blessings - Link Up!

It's such a joy to count our blessings! It really helps my attitude when I stop to thank the Lord for all He has done. Little blessings or big blessings - they all make me joyful and thankful!

 79. I am so blessed that I get to read and review some of the latest books, CD's, DVD's, Bible studies and more. I have always loved doing this, but it has blessed me abundantly since I've been home-bound and can't go anywhere. It gives me a life-line to the outside world and allows me to read or watch the latest in Christian entertainment or studies. I am so blessed to be able to do this and I never, ever take it for granted!

80. I had a friend come by to visit me and she brought us lunch to share. We had soup, cheese crackers, Italian Soda and muffins. Delish! She also brought me these



 Aren't they beautiful? They also lasted a full two weeks! Plus, the little green flowers you see in the second picture are going to dry beautifully and I have them in a little white vase and will enjoy them forever. What a blessing it was to see my friend! We talked and talked and it helped me to feel so much better and loved...What is better than that? I am so thankful for my friend, Kim!

81. I am feeling a bit better over the past two days. I know it's because of all your prayers! You all bless me so much with your sweet comments, emails and prayers! Keep praying - it works - and it blesses me SO much! Thank you!

82.  A package was left on my porch and look what was inside

Isn't it adorable? It was made by my friend, Molly, I love her work because it's so cheerful and cute! It's done on a canvas and will be placed next to the other picture she gave me. I just love this and it so blessed me to have a surprise gift left for me to find!

83. I have been wanting one of these since they came out in Spring. I just didn't want to pay the price! I told my husband that I was sure if I waited, they would go on sale at the end of Summer. Sure enough! My son went to WalMart and they were on sale! Plus, this is a much larger one than the ones I had seen in Spring. I love it! It's perfect for my iced tea!! What a blessing to have one of these fun cups and for my son to remember that I wanted one!


84. We can't forget Miss Mitzi! She continues to grow - 3 whole pounds now! - and she is so smart! She blesses my life beyond measure and I am so thankful for this little ball of fluff!


Please share your own link to your blessings!! It's so easy and fun and it blesses me and my readers to read about how God has blessed you. You can grab my button from the page of buttons to share on your blog. As always - thank you - you bless me more than you can know!




Blessings - Julie