Friday, February 24, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Dawn Comes Early

Dawn Comes Early
By: Margaret Brownley
Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Now, this is my kind of woman!  Kate Tenney is a girl with a good dose of determination, who fights for what she is after even when the odds are stacked against her.  And...she gets herself into so many laughable situations!  All in the name of proving herself worthy of becoming the heiress to Last Chance Ranch.  A ranch located in Arizona Territory, a very hot, ugly, dry area of the country.  Cactus that jumps up and literally bites you in the backside.  Dust storms.  Miserable heat.  Cattle rustlers.  Even a real, live local outlaw!  What is a girl to do?  Especially a girl with no experience except that she has written dime novels (one BANNED!) about being a rancher.  But Kate slowly grows to love the land and finds that there is beauty in the desert.  Not only in the desert of Arizona Territory, but beauty can also come out of the desert of the soul.  

Set in the late 1800s, Dawn Comes Early by Margaret Brownley is full of laughs and good clean fun.  Mrs. Brownley presents her heroine as a down-to-earth young woman who thinks she can do anything.  A woman who has a lot of drive and determination, even when some of the requirements for becoming the heiress of the ranch conflict with some of her newly awakened longings.  Woven through the book is the beautiful story of God's love and care.  Kate comes to realize that God is dependable, the only One in Whom she needs to place her faith and trust.

For more laughs and information on Mrs. Brownley and her books, you can visit her website:

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of  Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Unexpected, Gentle Reminders...

Everyone knows that yesterday was Valentine's Day, but I wasn't too concerned about the day because I am a sort-of-happily single gal.  I'm sure most of you married and attached women out there are going to say "no big deal", but I was absolutely moved (to tears!) yesterday afternoon when a gentleman (one of my boss' MARRIED business associates, so no chance of anything romantic) walked into my office carrying a bouquet of mixed daffodils from his garden. 

Okay, I know getting a bouquet of flowers normally wouldn't move a person to tears.  But you have to understand the circumstances.  Not an hour before my flowers arrived I had a very emotional, disturbing conversation.  One that left me quite shaken. One that actually gave me a much needed kick in the seat of the pants. Then in came those flowers carried by a grinning gentleman and ... I embarrassed myself by crying! 

I was pretty sharp yesterday and knew immediately that God sent that gentleman to my office with those flowers.  He used that simple bouquet to remind me He cares.  No matter what I go through, He is there.  He has a plan for my life, which has been in place since before I was born.

Think about it for a moment, how has God blessed you?


For I know that He careth for me...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Photos from Mom's Garden

Mom's daffodils

As you may have read previously, I live in Central Alabama where Spring comes very early.  I have had daffodils in my garden for a month now, and tulips are coming up.  The fragrance of hyacinths blooming by my front door is heavenly.  I have had a few azalea blossoms, but nothing like three years ago when my shrubs were covered in pink.  Of course pansies, the Winter standby,  have been in bloom since last Fall.

This past Saturday my sons and I went to my parents' place in the country.  I never go without my camera because there is always something to see.  And sure enough, mom had flowers blooming everywhere!  Jasmine was draped over and hanging off trellises, giving off their vanilla scent.  Roses were not blooming, but were putting out new leaves.  Azaleas were beginning to show flowers.  And the vinca!  Wow, it was growing everywhere! 

And look what was poking up through the mulch -- new ferns. 

It really looks like a miniature forest when you get down on their level.  

Isn't it amazing to see how "tied up" the new leaves look? 

You know, my mom transplanted this vinca (pictured below) a few years ago from a hidden cemetery not far from their home.  Now the area beside her patio is a blanket of blue and green.  

You can't say that God doesn't love design...

Hope you enjoyed the new Spring photos!  Oh, one of the best parts of going to the country is that I get to work in the garden.  Saturday was spent moving cannas from one area to another.  Plus I got to take home rose clippings which I potted Sunday afternoon, and elephant ears that mom no longer wanted. 

So glad that God makes all things new...

BOOK REVIEW: Lazarus Awakening

Lazarus Awakening
By: Joanna Weaver
Published by Multnomah Books
Copyright 2011, 2012

John chapters 11 and 12 give an interesting account of a man raised from the dead by Jesus. This was not just any man, but a man whom Jesus loved, along with his sisters Mary and Martha. Know who it was? Lazarus, of course! Who hasn't heard of the verse in the Bible that says "Jesus wept"? This is the man over whom Jesus wept. One of Jesus very good friends. However, not much is known about Lazarus; no words spoken by Lazarus are recorded, we don't know what he did for a living, we only know who his sisters were and where he lived, and that he was Jesus' friend.

Why did Jesus linger two days after receiving notice that Lazarus was sick, especially since Lazarus and his family were such good friends? Why did Jesus weep over Lazarus in light of the fact that He knew He was about to raise him up from the grave? Why did Jesus tell others to remove the stone from the tomb, or to unbind Lazarus from his grave clothes? All these questions and more are answered in Joanna Weaver's book Lazarus Awakening.

Mrs. Weaver's purpose is to share how we can apply the truths and principles learned from the true story of Lazarus to our own lives. God has wonderful plans for each of us, but He will not fulfill them unless we do what He requires of us, even though He is perfectly capable of doing so Himself. He could rid us of our own personal grave clothes and roll away the stones in our lives, but what would that benefit us? How would we grow as Christians?

Lazarus Awakening is beautifully ended with the story of Jesus' last dinner with His friends from Bethany. Just six days before that greatest Passover, Lazarus and his sisters give a dinner for Jesus, the same dinner where Lazarus' sister Mary anoints Jesus' feet with precious perfume and wipes them with her hair. Although she was criticized, Jesus knew of His approaching death and said "It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial" (John 12:7). Do you think she was thankful for what Jesus had done in her life and in the lives of her family?

I am looking forward to beginning the Bible study located in the appendix, scratching off my own grave clothes and learning how to help others with theirs, and then sharing this book. You won't be disappointed when you read Lazarus Awakening. Maybe you will be like me and have areas pointed out in your life that still need (in my case a lot of) work.

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Heart of Gold

Heart of Gold
By: Robin Lee Hatcher
Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Copyright 2012

Set during the Civil War era, Heart of Gold takes the reader from Virginia to Idaho when pastor Delaney Adair is called from his home to a gold rush town.  After much prayer the pastor decides to take his unmarried daughter Shannon with him. Unfortunately he is afraid he has spoiled his daughter, and prays that God will intervene and help her adjust to life away from the only home she has ever known, including helping her with her strong Southern prejudices.

Shannon Adair is a fiery spirit, loyal to the Southern Cause, and cannot understand why her pastor father would even consider leaving the South where she feels he is so needed.  Besides, she is needed at the hospital where she assists the doctors who must attend to the wounded and dying soldiers as well as their many other patients.  For Shannon, nursing is her passion, her calling.  What on earth is she going to do to occupy her time in Idaho?

Matthew Dubois is a stagecoach driver who asks his widowed sister Alice and her son Todd to come live with him while she recovers from what he thinks is a short term illness.  Matthew is unmarried, which means that he will have to give up driving for a while and take a job in a town and stay in one place for a while.  He never intends for it to be long term.  He is anxious to get back to driving. 

What happens when you throw all of these characters together in a gold rush town in Idaho is a work of God.  Ms. Hatcher takes the insecurities, the pride, the prejudice and shows how when a person allows God to lead in their lives, things work out much better than we expect. 

If you are like me, you will thoroughly enjoy this book.  Once I started reading, I was not able to put it down until I was finished.  This is another book which will be loaned out endlessly!  Enjoy...

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

TEENAGERS! The Fine Art of Being IGNORED

As any parent of teenagers knows, life with teens has you constantly on and off the love/hate list.  Most times you are on the hate list.  So it is with great joy that I take in and cherish every moment on the love list!  Okay, maybe that's taking it a bit far, but doesn't it feel like it sometimes?  Well, several times lately I feel like I might have moved a step or two towards that love list. I know, I know, it won't last long before the teen rules and regulations put me back on the sideline and I am the tough guy again; but really, lately I have ENJOYED being with my teens. 

Case in point -- this past Saturday our area sponsored a Home & Garden Show in which my dad and brothers participated.  I wanted to check out their booth and also take a couple of stools for them to sit on (three day event).  I told my dad that "we" would be there around 10:00 in the morning. If you have teenagers, you KNOW they are not keen on getting out of bed early, and especially not on a Saturday morning, because Saturdays are meant for sleeping in.  I fixed a special breakfast for the guys. The younger was not too much trouble.  It was the older one who was trouble.  Well, he just didn't want to get up.  His thoughts were: who wants to go to an old HOME AND GARDEN SHOW!  Man, that stuff's for GIRLS!  I should have pushed that "girl" point -- after all, he is SIXTEEN and likes girls...  Finally I told him it would be good driving practice and I needed a chauffeur. Plus it would probably mean eating out one meal, and if he didn't go he would have to eat a sandwich at home -- get 'em through their stomachs, it works just about every time!

Once at the show I turned the guys loose and let them roam the arena while I stayed with my family for a while, waiting for my sister to show up.  There was so much to see, so much to learn.  My guys, who did not want to even attend, were fascinated with the stuff going on.  My younger son was interested in the cooking demonstrations (he enjoys cooking and is considering becoming a chef) and even helped one of the participants for a while.  My older son was fascinated by the bee traps.  So fascinated in fact that once we got home, he researched them on the Internet and then spent several hours outside building his own.  I went outside to check on him once and he had his shirt off and was using a hand saw to cut through a 1" x 6" board.   He told me he thought he might like to go into contracting work (I think he needs a LOT more practice).

One of the shows the event hosted was about birds of prey, sponsored by the area's wild bird sanctuary.  Four birds of prey were featured, which we saw live and close up.  My guys were fascinated (so was I), and it turns out they want to take a day trip to the sanctuary to see more of these birds.  Hmm... they NEVER want to take trips, I'd better take advantage of this.

Looks like I'm off the bad list for a while, and I think I may be looking forward to that day trip about as much as my guys!

You know, as much as I love my sons and really dislike being ignored by them, how much more do we think the heavenly Father feels when His own children put Him on that ignore and "hate" list?  Much more than earthly parents He wants to give us what is best for us. He wants to spend time with us.  In fact, that's why we were created!  Instead we put Him on the back burner, the if I find time I'll spend time with You list.  Puts things into perspective, doesn't it?