Monday, September 11, 2017

Seriously Write: When I Hated Writing—Passion Renewed

Seriously Write: When I Hated Writing—Passion Renewed: by Peter Leavell @peterleavell I had lost my love of words. And I'm an award-winning author. The twist of a phrase, the meaning of a...

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Open Review

Have you ever wondered if the Bible is still relevant? If it's relevant to your personally; maybe in a specific situation? What does the story about Martha and Mary really mean to my life?
Have you ever secretly thought:

"I'm told only Jesus can satisfy all of my deepest longings but that doesn't seem to "work" for me." so...
"I read the Bible every day, I'm faithful to tithe, and I serve in a soup kitchen every week but I still feel like I'm missing something..."

The Bible is full of stories. What can they possibly signify of us today in our modern generations?
David Gregory in his short book "Open" illustrates the Good news gloriously for us. Wouldn't it be something to be able to see Jesus face-to-face and ask Him some questions? What if we could be a fly on the wall during the major stories in the gospel accounts as they were happening?

In Open we follow along on an adventure of a lifetime with Emma, as she does exactly that. As she walks and learns one-on-one with Jesus, Emma gets to ask Jesus Himself to clarify His teachings and her heart is opened to the reality of what Jesus really accomplished on the cross and what we gained by it.

I related to Emma in that I struggle with trying to discipline myself to do what only abiding in Jesus can accomplish. What a beautiful way to show us the heart of the Father. 
In church this morning the Pastor said, "Jesus is the Logos. He is the Word. He not only knows content but intent." I thought that was profound, and perfectly complimented the message of Open.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in order to write an unbiased review.


Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Tea Planter's Wife (Enthralling)

It's fall, and that means cool temperatures and cozy reading begins. It's also hunting season which means my husband is busy and I have more evenings to escape into a good book.

The Tea Planter's Wife by international bestselling author Dinah Jeffries was luscious. (I made the author's name a link to her website for the book so you can enjoy the extra goodies)

The setting is Sri Lanka when it was Ceylon in the 1920's and 30's. The characters are so well developed that I am profoundly disappointed they aren't real people. You can practically taste how the air smelled in the descriptions in this novel. Rich, lush, and romantic and mysterious...this is just the kind of book I love to carry me away for awhile. There was also dramatic heartbreak, wrenching really. You see so clearly by the end of the story how damaging secrets and prejudice can be." If only...!" You will think! 

There was just enough nail-biting suspense to keep me turning pages too late at night, reluctant to let go of the story- I just had to see what was going to happen next, and afraid to miss something, then I'd realize, it's a book. Thank goodness. It's always there for me, right where I left off. The story is written in such a way to become real and draw you in.
A complete escape because it's one of those ravishing books that you don't want to leave. Forget a night out or a movie-
"thanks but I've got a good book." It's one of those. Really a morsel of a read-captivating.
About the book:

#1 International bestselling novel set in 1920s Ceylon, about a young Englishwoman who marries a charming tea plantation owner and widower, only to discover he's keeping terrible secrets about his past, including what happened to his first wife, that lead to devastating consequences

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Mental Health Day

Much like everyone these days I feel like I have a never ending list of to-do's. Some days I don't want to do any of it because it feels so crushing I want out from under- I want an escape. I'm sure you feel the same sometimes.

A couple of days ago I decided to scrap all my responsibilities and take an afternoon off. I live surrounded by beauty and I am blessed to have two gorgeous horses, but I rarely ride them. I rarely take the time to enjoy the scenery for long enough to really unwind; observe the Redtail Hawks, listen to the doves and see the ground squirrels scamper around straight lines of quail.

I texted my neighbor and friend and asked her if she wanted to ride out after lunch. She was as happy as me to have the chance. She has a nice mare and just lives across the road and about a half mile from my place. The truth is we have several friends in the neighborhood who own horses and we could ride with.

I document everything- obviously writing and photos of most things get logged somewhere. I spend a lot of my horseback time snapping pictures.

My friend's family owns the surrounding apple and pear orchards so we rode those 90 acres. It's apple picking season and we happened on a section of just picked apples in the huge Apple bins waiting for pick up by the semi trucks that come through.

Before I rode out I took my paint mare next door and lounged her so she would be too tired for any shenanigans. For a green broke horse that gets ridden a handful of times a year she does really well as long as she's with another horse on the trails.
She and I could both stand to lose a little weight and lots more rides.
Now you know where your apples come from :)

We have miles of orchards and dirt roads to ride through. I freely admit to being amazingly blessed to live here and have the luxury of horses and so much room to ride them.

We all enjoyed a long afternoon ride. The weather was perfect and I felt my mental health had been amply restored for awhile. But I sure am looking forward to the next ride.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Miniature Nubians & Worn Out hands

I have hand milked my goats for 13 years's been a time I treasured. Time I was able to sit quietly in the barn with my animals; the goats of course, barn cats, geese, chickens, and my dogs and horses. It's been therapeutic really.
Sadly, it has to mostly come to an end. My hands have hurt terribly this year and I finally went and saw a hand specialist. I have a genetic predisposition for arthritis and joint breakdown, and the more I milk the worse it gets. He said I need a new hobby, because this one isn't kind to me.

I can't see my life without them, and I believe the raw goat milk really is the healthiest choice. I enjoy making cheese and soap. I guess I'll just do it on a much smaller scale. So...that leads me to this post- I am selling quite a few of my goats. I already have. I will be keeping 2 milkers and my new buck, besides the older girls I wish to keep as pets because they deserve their retirement.

Cowboy is an amazing buck, and he did good work for me here. He sired 14 kids, all gorgeous and not one birthing problem. He is a beautiful animal and it pains me to sell him, but I will just no longer have a use for him here and he's young. See his page here:

The other goat is also a 3rd generation Miniature Nubian. This little doe was a first freshener this year. She kidded independently and without a hitch. Her little doeling was drop dead pretty and Bella Anna was a fabulous and loving mother. She had quite a lot of milk for such a small girl. Milk genetics are a strong point. Her faults are that she isn't friendly (but she stands perfectly still for milking on the stanchion) and her teats are very long.

See her page here:

Thank you

Friday, September 2, 2016

Saffire: Fascinating

This is my second Sigmund Brouwer novel. I read "Thief of Glory" last year and was spellbound. Saffire didn't have quite the punch as the first book in my opinion, but it's still a great read. Mr. Brouwer is masterful at creating page-turners that leave you dying to know something- details of a character's past for instance. He is a wonderful writer and I enjoyed this story with it's many mysteries to unravel.  It's fun to see if I can unravel something before the author finally reveals it.

Here's a bit from the book:

I reminded myself that once you start to defend someone, it’s difficult to find a place to stop. But I went ahead and took that first step anyway. . .  
For President Teddy Roosevelt, controlling the east-west passage between two oceans mattered so much that he orchestrated a revolution to control it. His command was to ‘let the dirt fly’ and for years, the American Zone of the Panama Canal mesmerized the world, working in uneasy co-existence with the Panamanian aristocrats. 

It’s in this buffered Zone where, in 1909, James Holt begins to protect a defenseless girl named Saffire, expecting a short and simple search for her mother. Instead it draws him away from safety, into a land haunted by a history of pirates, gold runners, and plantation owners, all leaving behind ghosts of their interwoven desires sins and ambitions, ghosts that create the web of deceit and intrigue of a new generation of revolutionary politics.  It will also bring him together with a woman who will change his course—or bring an end to it.

The story setting is historical and factual. Some of the characters are real. This made it all the better for me.  The romantic part of the storyline didn't draw me in, but the main character, James Holt became as real as a character ever could. The development of this guy was deep and rich. I was fully engaged in the life of this "Americano Cowboy".  But I wish more time were spent developing the other characters- it's a nice thing to be lost in a story and emotionally involved. I was for sure with James Holt, but I would have liked to get to know Saffire better. Mr. Miskimon, a character based on a real man, was fascinating. I found the back-and-forth banter and relationship between these two main characters to be wonderful fun. I find Sigmund B.'s stories to be deliciously good for an escape from my daily world. His insight into people and their machinations and motivations make for solid characters. I' waiting for the next one!
*I received an advance uncorrected proof copy of this title for free in order to review it for the publisher.

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