Thursday, February 24, 2011

Card #2 – FTL 128 – Just Saying Hello

So of course once I decide to do something I have a hard time with all the “documentation” involved.  Back in January I shared about the 52 Weeks, 52 Letters for 2011 and how great an idea I thought it was. Well I’m running behind on sharing the cards online, but that’s ok.  I also realized that if I send a “store bought card” (*GASP!*) that I’m not going to say anything about that on the blog, so my numbers might not look right online at the end of the year.  And that’s ok.

Moving on….

Every now and then when making a card you just feel it. That’s what happened with this card and equally wonderful was being with two girlfriends while making the card.  Great afternoon, even though this is really all I have to show for it.  Smile


This is my Card #2 and it’s using the FTL128 layout from the Clean & Simple Stamping blog. Keith and I were just saying at dinner tonight that sometimes sending a card for no reason can be even more important than a card for an occasion. We never really know what other people are going through and this jaunty little bird stopping by to say hello might be just what somebody needs to hear/see.

  • Stamps – a set from Hero Arts (I bought it at a scrapping/stamping garage sale and it didn’t have the outer envelope with the stamp set name on it)
  • Ink – Stampin’ Up Chocolate Chip
  • Paper – Stampin’ Up cardstock
  • Size – 4.25 x 5.5

** Linking to Clean & Simple Stamping

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Review–Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones


Save the Date
by Jenny B. Jones
Thomas Nelson Publisher
304 pages

ABOUT THE BOOK: You’re invited to the engagement of the most unlikely couple of the year.

When the funding for Lucy’s non-profit job is pulled, she is determined to find out why. Enter Alex Sinclair, former professional football star and heir of Sinclair Enterprises—the primary donor to Lucy’s Saving Grace organization. Alex Sinclair has it all . . . except for the votes he needs to win his bid for Congress. Both Lucy and Alex have something the other wants. Despite their mutual dislike, Alex makes Lucy a proposition: pose as his fiancée in return for the money she desperately needs. Bound to a man who isn’t quite what he seems, Lucy finds her heart – and her future – on the line.

Save the Date is a spunky romance that will have readers laughing out loud as this dubious pair try to save their careers, their dreams . . . and maybe even a date.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Save The Date, go HERE.

MY REVIEW: This book was so much fun! A very light-hearted read that made me smile so many times.  I was a little worried when I first started reading that this book might be too “young” for me and I wouldn’t be able to relate.  But honestly that was not the case and I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

I think one of the things I loved was that Lucy, the main character, seemed so real.  Not only was she pouring her heart into the Saving Grace organization, but she had the same dreams and insecurities as so many women do.  Early in the book she attends a gala to try and secure funding for her organization and these are her thoughts:

“As she looked around the ballroom at the crème de la crème of South Carolina, she struggled to draw a deep breath. She was a cubic zirconium in a sea of diamonds.”

Really…how many of us have had similar thoughts in similar situations? Not that I’ve been to a lot of galas in my time, but most of us have had the fish out of water feel at least once.

I will definitely seek out more books by this author.  Her writing style was one that made me look forward to curling up with a book at the end of a long day.


I write Christian fiction with a few giggles, quite a bit of sass, and lots of crazy. My novels include the Katie Parker Production series and So Not Happening. I would also like to take credit for Twilight , but somewhere I think I read you’re not supposed to lie.
When I’m not typing my heart out (or checking email), I teach at a super-sized high school in Arkansas.
My students are constantly telling me how my teaching changes their lives and turned them away from drugs, gangs, and C-SPAN.
Okay, that’s not exactly true.
Some facts that are true include:
I've always been refined!
A. I got my camera confiscated by big boys with guns at the American Embassy in Europe this past summer. O la la!
B. I once worked in a seed mill office and cleaned out mice on a regular basis. Ew.
C. I’m a former drama teacher.
D. I didn’t pass my drivers test the first time. Or the second…
E. I attract stray animals like a magnet.
F. I used to assemble and test paint ball guns for a local factory...
Since my current job leaves me with very little free time, I believe in spending my spare hours in meaningful, intellectual pursuits such as:
-watching E!
-updating my status on Facebook
-catching Will Ferrell on YouTube and
-writing my name in the dust on my furniture
I’d love to hear about you, so drop me a note. Or check me out on Facebook.


** Thank you to CFBA for providing me with a review copy of the book for me to read and post my honest opinion about.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

And One And Two And…..


We finally faced the cold hard fact that we REALLY need to get back to exercising.  Last night was our first time doing Gilad’s Total Body Sculpt video together (it’s on Discovery Fit & Health channel if you want to find it – we’re recording it on our “VCR” to do later – yes we are that lame that we still have a VCR).

Today I could probably tell you exactly how many muscles I have in my back, thighs and abs because I can feel EVERY.SINGLE.ONE.OF.THEM!  I keep telling myself that it means I did GOOD last night!

And it is fun to laugh together.  I’m hoping this is the start of something good for us.  Smile

Monday, February 21, 2011

Brooklyn Says Ewe

Late last week my in-law’s came through town on their way elsewhere and we had the best evening.  All the kids were able to meet us for dinner and of course it’s just so wonderful to all get together.

Since we knew that Brooklyn would probably not want to sit and visit as long as what we’d like (what 3 year old would?) we bought her a My Little Pony the night before. It was so cute – came with a little saddle and puppy. At one point she asked me to play with her and she gave me the pony because she wanted the puppy. I got the better end of that deal because I love My Little Pony!

But when we told her that the Pony’s name was Applejack she started saying “ewe”, drawing the word out in true southern fashion. And at the end of the word she would twist her lips to the side and it was cracking us up! I pulled out my phone and managed to catch a little bit of it:


My mother-in-law brought along a picture of our son James when he was a wee lad and she showed it to Brooklyn.  “Brooklyn this is your daddy” she said.  “Noooo!” Brooklyn replied and of course we all laughed. I tried and tried to get her to pose with the picture up close to her face so we could see if she looked like her daddy or not, but she started getting the sillies and this is the best one I got:

photo (19)


We did get a great picture of James though, with his wonderful wife at his side:

photo (18)


Such a nice visit with everybody and then we went home and the in-law’s spent the night.  I so enjoy time with my family.  Smile

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Shawl for Samantha


The Dallas Hand Knitting Guild had a mystery shawl program that ran over several months.  Because knitting lace, especially lace with beads, was a totally new thing for me I opted to knit the doll size rather than a shawl for me.  The pattern, Sheryl’s Request,  was written by The Knitting Fairy and was a delight to knit.  I’m thrilled that I thought ahead enough to buy enough yarn and beads to also knit one for me.  Winking smile

(Do you see on the left side of the photo above that my cat was keeping an eye on this photo shoot?)



There’s something about American Girl dolls and I was shocked to hear that they retired Samantha.  I wanted to get one for my mom, so I started stalking Craigslist and eBay.  I was thrilled to find what I wanted.



The dress that Samantha is wearing was purchased at an Etsy shop (if you haven’t visited Etsy, you must!  So many fabulous handmade items) called Susiestitchit’s Sewing Shop.  I highly recommend this seller – quality sewing and fast delivery.

I am so happy with this shawl and am happy that I no longer fear knitting lace or knitting with beads.  I also got a little pep talk at the guild meeting from a friend and she convinced me to knit lace using a chart – and I haven’t looked back.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Review–The Life Ready Woman by Shaunti Feldhahn & Robert Lewis–And Giveaway!



Are you a ‘Doing it all’ or ‘Do what matters’ woman?

Whether a stay at home; or working mom, an airplane-hopping executive, an empty-nester caring for multiple generations or a single juggling high demands of career and personal life, today's fast-paced modern world leaves women gasping for balance. We as modern Christian women want to look to the Bible for guidance on how to manage our lives -- but because the world of women looks so different today than it did when the Bible was written, it is hard to find chapter and verse that seems to apply to our situation today.

Thankfully, God has given us exactly that timeless, unchanging guidance for how to find peace, clarity, and God's best for our lives once we know where to look! The Life Ready Woman: Thriving in a Do-It-All World, reveals a profound biblical roadmap for how each of us can find the abundant life we are longing for, rather than the stressful, torn, how-do-I-balance-it-all life we often feel like we are trying to keep up with today. Actually being a Life Ready Woman means that you are clear about your life, bold in your faith, and able to find God’s best for you, and the end result will be that you not only survive but thrive in our do-it-all world.

God has given every wonderfully unique woman different skills and abilities, different desires, and different temperaments -- and every woman around the planet and through the ages is certainly living in different circumstances. But no matter what a woman’s life looks like, the Bible says that God has an individual mission and plan that He’s carefully designed for each of us. And He wants us to find it. Starting January 2011, The Life Ready Woman and the Life Ready Woman Video Series will help every wonderfully unique woman to thrive as she identifies and courageously pursues God's unique design and callings for her. Life Ready Woman puts you on a roadmap to make decisions that will lead to relief, delight, and fulfillment instead of regret.


I always find it more difficult to review a non-fiction book, especially one that works to give us a Biblically based life path.  Seriously – who am I to say it is good or not?

Fortunately I did like this book and that makes it easier.  It addresses women in the many different life phases we find ourselves in.  There were real life examples and “road maps” to help us to look at things realistically.

I read this book much more slowly than I usually read and did it in small chunks rather than sitting and reading through an evening.  The chapters and examples were thought provoking and meant to be pondered rather than rushed through.  In fact, I have no doubt that I will reread this book several times through the years so that I can glean new pearls for new phases of life.

THE GIVEAWAY!  Litfuse generously sent an extra book so that I can give it away!  I promise you that you will not be disappointed in this book should you win.  The only requirement I have for entry is to leave a comment on this post.  I will draw a winner on March 3 at 6:00 in the evening, so plenty of time to enter.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shaunti Feldhahn is a former Wall Street analyst, best-selling author of the book For Women Only, national speaker, and regular commentator in the media. She has been featured on The Today Show, PBS, TNT and Fox News- to name a few. You can learn more about her many activities by visiting her website or get some great mom advice from her at She and her husband live with their two young children in Atlanta, Georgia and enjoy every minute of living at warp speed.

ABOUT MOMLIFE TODAY: At MomLife Today you will enjoy community with real moms experiencing every age and every stage of MomLife—right alongside you.

Moms need friends we can walk through life with, but more importantly we need friends who will encourage us and equip us in our role as moms in an honest and transparent way … and that’s just what you’ll find by becoming part of our MomLife Today community! We believe that every MOMent counts!

We admit it, being a mom 24/7 is not easy. Rather than lament the role of motherhood, however, we choose to embrace that role and learn from each other how to make it through each day with the right attitude. Come share the joys, sorrows, insanity, and special moments of motherhood with us as we live it and candidly write about it…we’ll have lots of fun along the way! Join us, and do tell… What’s happening in your MomLife Today?

MomLife Today's
Weekend To Remember Giveaway

In celebration of Shaunti Feldhahn’s Life Ready Woman, MomLife Today is giving away 2 Weekend To Remember Gift Packs and much more!

Not only, is MomLife Today helping promote Life Ready Woman, but they are thrilled to announce that Shaunti will be joining MomLife Today as a regular contributor!!! Weekend To Remember Get- Aways offer marriage-changing principles that you can take home and apply to your daily lives to strengthen your marriage. Whether you are newly engaged or have been married for 50 years, you will find value in the tools provided at the getaway.

Don’t miss this opportunity to receive a conference registration for you and your spouse … and more! MomLife Today will be randomly selecting NINE lucky recipients to receive one of these great gifts:
  1. 2 Weekend To Remember Get Away conference registrations for two. $259 value each pair (Two couples will receive this.)
  2. 2 Life Ready Woman DVD packs. $149 value each (Two different people will receive this gift.)
  3. 5 The Life Ready Woman books. (Book will go to 5 people.)
To enter click one of the icons below then tell your friends. Winner will be announced on March 2nd on the MomLife Today website.
Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via
MomLife Today provides encouragement, advice and resources to help YOU with your daily Momlife! Because…every MOMent counts!
** Thank you to Litfuse for sending me a review copy of this book.  In return I have provided an unbiased review.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Handmade Quilt from my Mother-In-Law


When this quilt was in the “making the blocks” stage I told my mother-in-law how much I loved it.  Little did I know that those words would mean she was going to gift it to me!  She is so precious and I *LOVE* this quilt!



This is a close-up of the blocks.  The flowers are all embroidered by hand, as well as the quilting around them.



I love the borders as well – the bright colors are so cheerful!



I love this quilt and especially love that it was made for me by my mother-in-law.  Unfortunately, since it will go on the bed in the guest room, that’s also where our geriatric cat spends the bulk of his time. And let’s just say that we are very familiar around here with hairballs.  Sad smile  Therefore, I’ve made the decision to not leave the quilt on the bed.  Instead, I’ve now decided that it will go on the bed when we have company and I’ll just shut the door to the room so that the cat can’t get in there.  This quilt is far too beautiful not to be on display.


** Linking to Show & Tell Friday

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

SSMT Week 4


“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”                2 Timothy 1:7 NIV

One of the most wondrous parts of this Bible memorization journey is having my eyes opened to a specific verse that I’m needing to read and know in my heart.

I’ve been preparing in my mind to begin a very concerted effort to start back to healthy eating and exercising. And yet that little voice inside keeps questioning whether I have what it takes.

This verse tells me straight out that I *DO* have what it takes and that the Spirit God Himself gave me gives me self-discipline.  I will cling to this verse when I start to feel like I can’t do it.

Isn’t the Bible grand?  I love that the very word of God is there any time we need it – and even when we sometimes think we don’t.


This is my Verse #4 for Beth Moore’s Siesta Scripture Memory Team.

Review–Lone Star Intrigue by Debra White Smith


Lone Star Intrigue
by Debra White Smith
Avon Inspire - Harper Collins Publishers
Each book approx. 218 pages

ABOUT THE BOOK:  In the small town of Bullard, Texas, the Mansfield brothers seem to have everything in order . . . except for their love lives. Jack is the lonely police chief still pining after Charli, his college girlfriend. Younger brother Sonny keeps busy on the road as a private investigator, and a secret from his past prevents him from finding someone to settle down with. But all that is about to change...
Read the two stories…

In Texas Heat, Charli is wrongly accused of a terrible crime. Now Jack must arrest the one woman he's ever loved and risk everything to prove her innocence and save her life.

In Texas Pursuit, a single mother is a target of a relentless stalker—and Sonny finds himself both the only man who can protect her and the one who inadvertently leads danger back into her world.

Page-turning novels of romance and suspense, the Lone Star Intrigue series will give you faith in the power of love, and remind you that having faith in a God who redeems our mistakes is the greatest love story of all.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Lone Star Intrigue, go HERE.

MY REVIEW: I was so excited to see a book set in Bullard, TX, as I have family there.  Thankfully this book didn’t disappoint one bit.  And how fun to have two novels bound together so that when you finish the first book you can immediately start the next, with characters you’ve already come to know and love.

While at times Lone Star Intrigue was somewhat predictable, other times the suspense and twists were absolutely unexpected. And lest anybody interpret predictable as being a negative, let me hasten to add that sometimes, especially at the end of a stressful day, a predictable book can be as calming as a close friend.  Rather than predictable maybe I should use the word dependable – I can depend on the author to get the characters out of a bad situation and make everything ok by the end.  And that’s a good thing.  Smile

I absolutely can recommend this book (or both books if you find them separately) as a great, light read.  And I’m looking forward to the final book with much anticipation!


Debra White Smith is a seasoned Christian author, speaker, and media personality who has been regularly publishing books for over a decade. In the last twelve years, she has accumulated over 50 books sales to her credit with over 1 million books in print. Her titles include such life-changing books as Romancing Your Husband, Romancing Your Wife, The Divine Romance: Developing Intimacy with God, the The Lonestar Intrigue fiction series, and The Jane Austen fiction series.

As a woman of God, Debra is committed to the highest standards of integrity and to spending hours a week being still before the Father, staying in tune with Him, and listening for His voice of direction in all she does. This commitment to romancing the Lord, coupled with her lifestyle of devouring, analyzing, and dissecting the Word of God has allowed God to bring about a miracle of deliverance and healing in Debra's spirit, mind, and soul. For you see, Debra holds a double Ph.D. from the toughest schools in the world. The first Ph.D. from the "School of Hard Knocks" and the second, from the "School of Very Hard Knocks." Aside from that, she holds an M.A. in English from the University of Texas.

Along with Debra's being voted a fiction-reader favorite several times, her book Romancing Your Husband was a finalist in the 2003 Gold Medallion Awards. And, her Austen Series novel First Impressions was a finalist in the 2005 Retailer's Choice Awards. Debra has been a popular media guest across the nation, including Fox TV, The 700 Club, ABC Radio, USA Radio Network, and Moody Broadcasting. Her favorite hobbies include fishing, bargain-hunting, and swimming with her family. Debra also vows she would walk 50 miles for a scoop of German Chocolate ice cream.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine Clipart Images

I hope that Happy Cupid visits your home today to help spread the love!

I’m not sure what we’ll be doing this evening.  We don’t really buy gifts for Valentine’s Day, but we do usually go out for dinner and spend some time gazing into each other’s eyes…even after all these years.  And that’s what love is all about!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday’s Fave Five #126

fff winter button

It’s Friday and time to find blessings in the past week!  Thanks to Susanne for always posting this for us.

1. Warmer Days – I’ve always known, but it’s been validated this week that I really do love the warmer seasons much better than the cold! Really the cold doesn’t bother me as much as the ice and snow on the roads does.  I’m a big chicken baby when it comes to driving on the stuff, so I hibernate instead.  Smile


However, Joe, our geriatric Golden Retriever, dearly LOVES the snow!  This goofball would go outside and just lay down in it and be happy as a clam.

2. Dark Chocolate Almond Milk – I am head over heals in love with this stuff!  It tastes so much like the thick chocolate milk that you buy in the stores and has so much going for it.  A one cup serving has 45% of your daily calcium needs and as we get older that becomes even more important for bone health.


3. Reading – Again this week I want to mention this because reading is truly my first love as far as hobbies go.  I love that I’m getting back to reading in the evenings, usually with a cup of hot tea next to me.  So relaxing.  (And only two more reviews to post and then I’m caught up and will slow down on them – thanks for your patience!)

I’ve also decided that I *need* a Kindle, but am waiting to see if there is a price drop before getting one.  While I do so love the feel – and smell – of a brand new book, I can also see the advantages of eBooks.  How nice to head out on a trip and have 5-10 books on the Kindle to choose from!  A person would never pack that many “real” books for a trip.

4. Safety – With all the ice and snow we’ve had the last two weeks I am so thankful that all of my family and friends have been safe.  So frightening to see all the wrecks on the news each day.

5. Food – Mom and I were talking about how strange it was to go to the grocery stores and see some empty shelves.  I suppose all the bad weather has kept the delivery trucks away, combined with the fact that when we were all finally able to get out and drive we descended on the stores like a herd of locusts!  We really are so spoiled with the availability of food in our country and really never have a problem.  This week has been quite the eye opener as to how fast that can change.  Thank you Lord for keeping us nourished, especially with food that we choose to eat!

Review–Promises To Keep by Ann Tatlock


Promises To Keep
by Ann Tatlock
Bethany House Publishers
343 pages

ABOUT THE BOOK: Eleven-year-old Roz (Rosalind) Anthony and her family have just moved to Mills River, Illinois, to escape an abusive situation. Only days after settling into their new home, they are surprised to find the previous owner, Tillie Monroe, on their front porch reading the newspaper.

Though her sons have sold the house and sent her to a facility for the aged, she is determined to die in the place she lived her life, and somehow manages to find her way "home" day after day. Feeling sympathy for the elderly woman, Roz's mother allows Tillie to move back in.

Mara Nightingale becomes Roz's first friend in Mills River. In spite of their many differences, the girls discover they have something in common that binds them together--both are hiding secrets. So they make a promise--"cross my heart and hope to die"--never to tell anyone else. When danger stalks the Anthony’s, Tillie exhibits unimaginable courage and selfless love in her determination to protect the family she has adopted as her own.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Promises to Keep, go HERE.

MY REVIEW: Promises To Keep is told from the point of view of eleven year old Roz Anthony.  I’m not usually a fan of books told from a young person’s point of view, but this book is done so very well I hardly even noticed.  Set in the ‘60’s, this book has brushes with domestic violence, racism, the Vietnam War, alcoholism and dealing with the “elderly”. 

Young Roz wants nothing more than her family to get back to her version of normal.  Her mother tried to shield her from some of the reasons the family left her father, but Roz does remember some scenes of how her father acted after he had been drinking. But she is convinced that he can be better and that they will all live happily ever after.

I fell in love with the character of Tillie in this book.  She was really the picture perfect representation of a grandmother and she won over the hearts of everybody.  And her sweet expectation of Heaven made me smile every time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ann Tatlock is the author of the Christy Award-winning novel All the Way Home. She has also won the Midwest Independent Publishers Association "Book of the Year" in fiction for both All the Way Home and I'll Watch the Moon. Her novel Things We Once Held Dear received a starred review from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly calls her "one of Christian fiction's better wordsmiths, and her lovely prose reminds readers why it is a joy to savor her stories." Ann lives with her husband and daughter in Asheville, North Carolina.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine Oven Decoration


And the Target Dollar Spot comes to the rescue again!  I bought the oven mitt and a little bag of pink plastic cookie cutters there over the weekend and really they didn’t have a purpose, other than being so cute.



I used some white grosgrain ribbon that I already had on hand and tied jaunty little bows, securing the cookie cutter and oven mitt to the front of my oven.



I’m pleased with how it came out – just a little hint of Valentine love in the kitchen – and so inexpensive!  I can see this as a great way to add a little something in the kitchen for each holiday.

Now I can’t wait for Keith to get home from work because I have a feeling he’ll roll his eyes at it.  Smile


** Linking to: SYS Blog Party (lots of fun Valentine ideas here!), Thrifty Thursday, Frugalicious Friday, Flaunt It Friday, Hodgepodge Friday, Sundae Scoop

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

WIP Wednesday


Right now this is the project I’m concentrating the most on.  I’m going on a knitting retreat with my mom to St. Louis at the end of April (Spring Fling with The Loopy Ewe!) and the KAL’s (knit alongs) have begun. 

This scarf pattern is la Novia by Anne Hanson and it’s a great pattern to knit.  The yarn is Dream In Color Classy – Into The Mystic colorway.

So about the color…..I bought this yarn online and my eyes saw it as a white yarn with red specks.  When I opened the package I was so disappointed and of course went back online and saw that yes, the picture was accurate online, but my brain must have interpreted the color as something totally different.  Rather than pout I decided to go ahead and cast on for the project it was intended for.  The yarn is *fabulous* to knit with, but it’s not a fun project to work on since I don’t love the color.

I did hold the yarn up against my coat and it will look great, so in the end all will work out.  Smile

Friday, February 04, 2011

Review–Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate


Larkspur Cove
by Lisa Wingate
Bethany House Publishers
355 pages

ABOUT THE BOOK: Adventure is the last thing on Andrea Henderson's mind when she moves to Moses Lake. After surviving the worst year of her life, she's struggling to build a new life for herself and her son as a social worker. Perhaps in doing a job that makes a difference, she can find some sense of purpose and solace in her shattered faith. For new Moses Lake game warden Mart McClendon, finding a sense of purpose in life isn't an issue. He took the job to get out of southwest Texas and the constant reminders of a tragedy for which he can't forgive himself. But when a little girl is seen with the town recluse, Mart and Andrea are drawn together in the search for her identity. The little girl offers them both a new chance at redemption and hope--and may bring them closer than either ever planned.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Larkspur Cove, go HERE.

MY REVIEW: After a messy divorce Andrea Henderson and her teenage son move to Andrea’s parents’ lake house to start a new life. She takes a job as a counselor for CPS and has to learn how to work and keep a home again.  But in doing so she starts to learn just how much she has to offer.

Mart McClendon moved to Moses Lake as a game warden to escape the memories of a tragedy in his life.  When he brings in a boatload of teenagers and waits to meet their parents he has no idea what the meeting with Andrea will mean to him.

This book is written in alternating point of view of Andrea and Mart and is definitely a favorite so far this year.  I loved how the church, the area residents and even government agencies all work together to solve a mystery.  As Andrea discovers some truths about herself, she becomes stronger as a person.  And we are right there to cheer her on – and hope she gets the man!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Wingate is an award-winning journalist, magazine columnist, popular inspirational speaker and a national bestselling author of sixteen books. Her first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, is in its eighteenth printing from Penguin Putnam. Tending Roses is a staple on the shelves of national bookstore chains as well as in many independent bookstores.
Recently, Lisa’s Blue Sky Hill Series, set in Dallas, received national attention with back-to-back nominations for American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award for A Month of Summer (2009) and The Summer Kitchen (2010). Pithy, emotional, and inspirational, her stories bring to life characters so real that readers often write to ask what is happening to them after the book ends.
Lisa is one of a select group of authors to find success in both the Christian and mainstream markets, writing for both Bethany House, a Christian publisher, and NAL Penguin Putnam, a general market publisher. Her bestselling books have become a hallmark of inspirational fiction. Her works have been featured by the National Reader's Club of America, AOL Book Picks, Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild, Crossings Book Club, American Profiles and have been chosen for numerous awards.
When not busy dreaming up stories, Lisa spends time on the road as a motivational speaker. Via internet, she shares with readers as far away as India, where her book, Tending Roses, has been used to promote women's literacy, and as close to home as Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the county library system has used Tending Roses to help volunteer mentors teach adults to read. Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.

Thank you to CFBA for providing me with a review copy of the book for me to read and post my honest opinion about.

Friday’s Fave Five #125

fff winter button

Funny – the picture above kind of looks like us in Dallas this week!  Smile  Thanks to Susanne for hosting the Friday Fave Five each week.

1. I have to say my #1 blessing this week is that I am able to work from home.  I came home from work on Monday, we got our ice storm and that was the last I left my house until last night…seriously.  I didn’t even go out to get the mail as I am clumsy at the best of times so I figure that trying to walk on a yard that more closely resembles a skating rink than a lawn right now might be a bit of a challenge.

2. With no commute I’ve had more time for knitting and reading and drinking wonderful cups of coffee.  You might notice a few more book reviews than usual the next few days as I get caught up.  Smile

3. And oh my word my craft room/office at home looks AWFUL right now!  I’ve pulled absolutely everything out of the closet so that I can organize and each evening I work on it.  I can see progress, but anybody else walking in here would see a hopeless mess as it always looks worse before it looks better.  But this time I’m actually going through things rather than just fluffing them and putting them back.  If I ever finish this project I’ll happily post pictures.

4. Really this should be blessing #1 – I am loving the Siesta Bible verse memorizing!  So far each verse I’m memorizing speaks to me personally and I love that.  Meditating on God’s word is such an awesome thing.

5. With the snow we got last night I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the neighbor kids.  There are few things that bring a smile of joy quite like listening to the laughter of children.  Sliding on plastic garbage can lids, making snow angels and  a toddler that has just barely learned to walk now learning to walk on snow – it’s all good and makes us laugh.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Review–The Rhythm of Secrets

Rhythm of Secrets Cover

The Rhythm of Secrets
by Patti Lacy
Kregel Publications
332 pages

About the book: Since 1955, Sheila Franklin, a talented musician, has perfectly performed the role of devout pastor’s wife, locking away her past as Sheba Alexander and Sylvia Allen. Her carefully constructed façade crumbles with a single phone call from a young Marine named Samuel, the illegitimate son she secretly put up for adoption. Samuel begs Sheila to use her government contacts to get his fiancé, Mali, a Thai prostitute, into America. A dangerous mixture of love and guilt spurs her to help her only child even though it devastates her husband Edward and exposes her questionable past. After a quarrel with Edward, Sheila and Samuel board a C-130 for Thailand and then search Bangkok’s steamy streets for a Madonna-faced prostitute. The two whisk Mali from a brothel but are seized by a warlord who considers Mali his “number one girl.” In a teak “ghost house,” Sheila discovers God’s grace and gains the freedom she needs to find her own identity—Sheila, Sylvia, and Sheba. A framed story, this novel has roots in the bohemian 1940s New Orleans French Quarter and spans three decades, including the turbulent Vietnam era.

About Patti: Baylor graduate, taught community college humanities until God called her to span seas and secrets in her novels, An Irishwoman's Tale and What the Bayou Saw. She has two grown children and a dog named Laura. She and her husband can be seen jog-walking the streets of Normal, Illinois, an amazing place to live for a woman born in a car. For more information, visit Patti's website at, her blog at, and her Facebook daily Artbites.

My Review: The opening pages of this book drew me in and held on.  Sheila Franklin’s carefully constructed life, completely built upon a secret (a lie?), comes down around her in the space of one phone call. When she hears the voice of her now grown son, the one she had given up for adoption when he was born, it sends her thoughts back to her past.

The book is told from her perspective and goes back and forth between the past and present.  We learn why the son contacted her and also what transpired in her life to force her to give him up for adoption.  All this leads up to the exciting final chapters, where in the midst of the events I found her faith thoughts so inspiring.  During some highly frightening times Sheila was about to hold on to her faith to get through.

This is the first book I’ve read by Patti Lacy, but her writing style is such that I will now happily search out her other books. My only “complaint” is that I read this book so quickly and wanted more!  Easily a favorite book of this year.


Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group for providing a review copy for me to read and post my honest opinion about.  If you’d like to see other reviews, follow the blog tour!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

January Vanilla Socks


Thanks to the Year of Stash Socks group on Ravelry I present to you my January “Vanilla” socks (well ok, there’s only one sock in the photo, but it really does have a mate)!  The group has two patterns we can choose from and if we don’t use one of those we are welcome to do a plain vanilla sock, which really is best when using some of the awesome self-patterning yarn.

The yarn I used is Marks & Kattens Clown yarn in colorway 1685, knit on size 2 dpn’s.  I’m thrilled with how they turned out and rather impressed with myself that I finished knitting a pair of socks in one month.  Smile

Take a look at the awesome sock blocker I now have!  So cute and I’ve wanted one forever.  Finally decided on the sheep blocker from The Loopy Ewe and couldn’t be happier.

And yes, that is ice my sock is resting on.  The Dallas area doesn’t get a lot of snow – or ice - , nor do we get it very often.  Unfortunately this storm dropped ice on us and all the area schools and most businesses were closed today…and most have announced closure tomorrow as well.  The funny part of it is that in the midst of all the weather related news coverage they seemed to be most upset over the fact that the Super Bowl will be here Sunday, and here it is cold and icy!  We do take our football seriously in the south.

SSMT Week 3


“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20 NIV

This has long been something I’ve strived for – slow to become angry.  I’ll admit though that it can sometimes be one of the hardest things in the world to do, especially if you’re like me and you wear your heart on your sleeve.  Many times “angry” is a reaction to hurt feelings and we just cannot help our knee-jerk female response.  Which is one of the reasons I believe that God pointed me in the direction of this verse.  Maybe by having it memorized I’ll remember it at crucial times and hopefully be more “slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

This is my Verse #3 for Beth Moore’s Siesta Scripture Memory Team.