Monday, May 23, 2016

Counting Our Blessings - LinkUp!


First, let me apologize for missing last week's linkup. I have been so tired, I couldn't even muster up the energy to write the linkup. I appreciate so much all of you that participate and feel so bad when I miss a week. Hopefully, it won't happen very often.

I haven't recovered, it seems, from all the activity surrounding my son's graduation. I am having a hard time admitting that I'm still recovering from the "horrible year", as I refer to it. There are days when all I do is read, watch tv, and sleep. Not exactly living an exciting life, am I? lol Things will get better and that's what counting our blessings is all about.

57. I'm loving the Bible study I told you about. Here is the S.O.A.P. page I did

and here are two of the coloring pages I did


I really like that this study is good yet not too intense for me right now. Such a blessing to find this.

58. The girls got groomed last week and they are so beautiful. I can't tell you what a blessing these two are - especially when you're not feeling your best. They love to give sweet cuddles and they never hesitate to take a nap. Here's Miss Cookie

and here's Miss Mitzi

They bless me so much! Plus, aren't they adorable?

What are your blessings? Please share on the linkup or in the comments!


Blessings - Julie

Friday, May 20, 2016

Book Review -Silence in the Dark

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Bailey Adams is running for her life . . . again.

 When Bailey Adams left Logan Point two years ago she thought she was getting away from her problems. Running into her ex-fiancĂ© Danny Maxwell was not part of the plan--neither was being chased through the city by the local drug cartel, the Calatrava. Now despite her best efforts, Danny is her only chance of escaping the people chasing her and getting back to Logan Point safely. Can Bailey find the strength to face what's coming? And in the midst of the chaos, can she keep herself from falling in love with her rescuer all over again?

 With lean, fast-paced prose that will keep you turning the pages, Patricia Bradley pens a superb story of suspense and second chances.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Patricia Bradley is the author of Shadows of the Past, A Promise to Protect, and Gone without a Trace. Bradley has been a finalist for the Genesis Award, winner of a Daphne du Maurier Award, and winner of a Touched by Love Award. Bradley is a published short story writer and cofounder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America, and makes her home in Mississippi. Learn more at www.ptbradley.com.



MY REVIEW:

This is an excellent mystery/thriller. It was a little slow, I thought, in the beginning pages and at first i thought the romance was going to be typical, but I was wrong. If you find yourself thinking this is too slow for you in the beginning, don't give up! Once it picks up, it really picks up and it's a great story!

Bailey is caring person who has believed for too long the lies she was told as a child. She also lives with a horrible childhood incident that continues to haunt her. She seems to keep on running from things that feel uncomfortable, including love. She has been in Mexico working at a school and is on her way back to the states with one of the children from the school to visit her grandparents when the bullets start flying and her life, and the child's life, is in danger.

Danny is Bailey's ex-fiance and they run into each other in Mexico. Through the dangerous circumstances, they are thrown together again. I really like Danny because he is a man of principle and loyalty. His faith is very strong and a real part of who he is.

There are a lot of people in this book that bring it to life. I was never sure who the main bad character was and was amazed at who it was in the end. I love a book that keeps me guessing. I read this book into the night and lost a lot of sleep because it is that good. If you love a good mystery with some good romance, this is definitely the book for you! I highly recommend it!

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by Revell Reads


Blessings - Julie

Book Review - Hunting Hope

ABOUT THE BOOK:


Hope is not an accident. Sometimes it has to be hunted, and hunting it takes courage.

Hope hunters know how to excavate hope from hardship. There is dirt underneath their fingernails and sweat on their shirts. They rake through the rubble of an unwanted situation, digging into difficult circumstances because they have come to expect that adversity will produce good. They believe that light always triumphs over darkness. They have learned to walk through winter with their eyes on spring.
Whether you or someone you know is going through a situation that feels hopeless, you will find encouragement in Hunting Hope. Whether you are experiencing a medical trauma, a financial hardship, or a relational crisis, you will find empowerment in Hunting Hope. As you read, you will cling to 20 truths about God's character and practice 5 daily disciplines that will develop your own character in crisis.

You will become a hope hunter.

Maybe it doesn't matter what causes suffering in our lives as much as it matters what suffering causes in our lives. Maybe we were all meant to be hope hunters.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR - NIKA MAPLES:

When I was 20 years old, my plans for my life, career, family, and future fell apart. One day I was an active sophomore in college, the next I was quadriplegic in the Intensive Care Unit, having suffered a massive brainstem stroke. I could not speak, swallow, or blink. Because I could hear, I listened as doctors warned my family that I had as little as 48 hours to live. There was nothing for us to do but pray. My faith sustained me in ways I can hardly explain, and a year later I walked back onto my college campus on my own two feet.

Eventually, I earned a B.S. in mass communication from Texas Wesleyan University, along with a Texas teaching certificate in English in 2002. Then in 2010, I earned an M.A. in English education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Currently, I am pursuing an M.Div. at the King's University in Southlake, Texas.

I taught public high school and intermediate grade English for ten years. In 2007, the Texas Education Agency awarded me the distinguished honor of Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year. Currently, I write and speak full time, sharing messages of hope and endurance with education, business, and church groups across the country. Almost everyone walks away with a renewed sense of purpose.

I write and speak on hope and endurance because if there is one thing I know, it is how to keep going.

hunting hope-enter

MY REVIEW:

 If you're looking for a book that will encourage you - remind you of who God truly is - this is the book! I haven't read a book that has touched my heart more, encouraged me more, or given me more hope (besides the Bible) . I think because the author has gone through so many health issues, like me, I could really relate and believe her when she said that there is hope!

I love the stories and analogies that she shares in this book. I could go from laughing out loud to crying in a matter of minutes because her writing touches my heart that much. I love that everything, everything, she shares is Biblical. She shows us who God really is by using His Word to show us. She encourages us not to give up even when we aren't sure that God is listening by reminding us, through Scripture, that He is.

My book is so highlighted! I knew right away that this book was going to need a highlighter so I could refer back to the passages that encouraged me and reminded me of that hope that needs to be hunted. I think my favorite story was about her mother and the circus. That reminded me to always be tenacious in praying to God about the things. He gives far more than we can even imagine!

This book really should be in everyone's hands! It's such a wonderful book, written from someone who knows what it's like to need hope. I related so much to Nika and how she thinks and feels. This book spoke to my heart like no other book has in a very long time. I love this book!!

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


Blessings - Julie

Monday, May 16, 2016

Book Review - Sister Dear

ABOUT THE BOOK:

All Allie Marshall wants is a fresh start. But when dark secrets refuse to stay buried, will her chance at a new life be shattered forever?

Convicted of a crime she didn't commit, Allie watched a decade of her life vanish --- time that can never be recovered. Now, out on parole, Allie is determined to clear her name, rebuild her life, and reconnect with the daughter she barely knows.

But Allie's return home shatters the quaint, coastal community of Brunswick, Georgia. Even her own daughter Caroline, now a teenager, bristles at Allie's claims of innocence. Refusing defeat, a stronger, smarter Allie launches a battle for the truth, digging deeply into the past even if it threatens her parole status, personal safety, and the already-fragile bond with family.

As her commitment to finding the truth intensifies, what Allie ultimately uncovers is far worse than she imagined. Her own sister has been hiding a dark secret---one that holds the key to Allie's freedom.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Laura McNeill is a writer, web geek, travel enthusiast, and coffee drinker. In her former life, she was a television news anchor for CBS News affiliates in New York and Alabama. Laura holds a master's degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and is completing a graduate program in interactive technology at the University of Alabama. When she's not writing and doing homework, she enjoys running, yoga, and spending time at the beach. She lives in Mobile, AL with her family.


MY REVIEW:

Wow! This book was exactly what a mystery/suspense novel should be. It kept me guessing until the end and made my heart race a few time and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. 

This book is set on the coast of Georgia and the author did such a beautiful job of describing this area. It really made you feel like you were right there! I loved the great characters and how I really felt like I knew them. Some of them I wouldn't want to know, however!

Allie has been released from prison for a crime she didn't commit and all she wants is to return to her life and have a fresh start. Unfortunately, the people from  her hometown are less than welcoming and some do not want the truth to come out. Allie is coping with her daughter who doesn't want her mother back and a sister who has raised her daughter as her own and this creates a real turmoil.

I loved all the twists and turns in this story and how the author throws you little tidbits without giving away the ending. This book is a wonderful psychological thriller and I loved every page of it! I highly recommend this book but be ready for a spine-tingling ride!

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

Blessings - Julie

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sunday Thoughts


I would love to have something really profound to share with you on this beautiful Sunday, but I'm afraid I don't. I'm still recovering from my week of fun with my son's graduation and, while it was worth it, my body is screaming at me for doing so much.

However, like Paul, I am learning to be content whatever my situation is.

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. - Philippians 4:11-13

This hasn't come over night. I have struggled so much with everything and have fought God numerous times about why all this has happened to me. I have been depressed, angry and sad. I have been lonely and isolated. But now, I am content. I think when something happens in our life that wasn't expected, we have to go through all these emotions to get to the content part. I felt guilty for my feelings for the longest time but now I understand it was all normal. When I still have days like that, I allow myself to feel it and then I'm able to move on to contentment again.

I haven't done this alone by any means. Like Paul says in Philippians 4:13, I am able to do what I do because God gives me strength. I have to pray and talk to Him and ask for this strength. I have to be in His Word to gain this strength. It's only by knowing God that we can pull strength from Him. 

If you're going through a troubling time or facing a hardship that feels overwhelming, please talk to God about it. He will honor your prayers by helping you face your struggles. You are not alone. Jesus went through everything we go through and He has sympathy for us. He knows how hard it is to live this life. He is waiting to hear from you. 

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. - Hebrews 4:15

God bless you on this gorgeous day (I hope it's just as beautiful where you are) and know that you are not alone.

Blessings - Julie