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"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house." Matthew 5:14-15

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." Matthew 13:45-46

Monday, November 30, 2015

Hope - Advent Series

May Your faithful love rest on us, Yahweh,
for we put our hope in You.
Psalm 33:22 (HCSB)

This is the first week in the Advent season. Yesterday at our church the first candle was lit in the Advent wreath - the candle of hope. When I think of hope, I think of a candle burning bright, dispelling the darkness surrounding it.

I believe I've heard once that a single candle burning in the night can be seen for miles. When I checked online it said 30 miles.

Our greatest hope is found in Christ. It's because of Him that we have hope. As we begin the holiday season be watching for the hope the Lord desires for you to see in the weeks ahead.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Guest Blogger Crystal Barnes

Today I'd like to welcome my friend, Crystal Barnes as she shares about her new book release.



The Story behind Win, Love, or Draw

Howdy y’all! Crystal L Barnes here. You’d think by now I’d be used to loaded questions, but do we ever get used to them? Really? I highly doubt it. And let me tell you sharing the story behind Win, Love, or Draw is no small tale. Why, you may ask? Well, you can ask, but that doesn’t mean I’ll tell you. LOL. No really, it’s no small tale because I poured so much of my life’s story into this book that’s it impossible to separate the two. 

Win, Love, or Draw is an inspirational western romance fraught with action and humor but has an interwoven theme of love, forgiveness, and reconciliation. You see, like Catherine, I know what it’s like to have the one you love walk out of your life and to hope and pray for years for that individual (and I’m still praying). I also relate to her little boy Benin, for I’ve been that little child who’s seen God heal a family that was broken. God is in the business of doing amazing and impossible things if we will let Him work in and through us. 

While writing this story, I learned so much about me and what really and truly was in my soul. As God worked the bitterness and unforgiveness out of my heart (things I’d thought had long since been taken care of), I began to share the experience and lessons learned through Catherine’s story, in the hopes that others could learn from my experiences and share in the freedom that Christ can bring.
If/when you read Catherine’s story, I hope you’ll share with me (and others) how her journey helped you. I don’t know about you, but helping others find the same comfort and help God provided me makes those hard experiences, the pain become worth it.

How about you? Have you comforted those with the comfort with which you’ve been comforted? Did you find a joy in doing so?

Want to read Catherine and Sam’s story? Order your copy today


Catherine McGarrett is a strong woman. Life in Texas demands such. For five years, she has built a growing horse ranch while praying for the return of the one man who stole her heart and shattered it in a million pieces when he left.
Now he’s back.
Samuel McGarrett rides into Cater Springs, Texas toting two six-shooters and too many scars. The trouble and pain from the past erupts around the couple. And not just in their marriage.
Can Sam win Catherine’s trust? Will their love survive? Or will his final draw be his last?

Crystal L Barnes is an award-winning author, who also happens to be a born-n-raised Texan and a
member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). She has a degree in Computing Science because she loves putting things into their proper place, and she enjoys writing because she gets to share her love of old-fashioned things and the Lord. When she's not writing or reading, Crystal enjoys knitting, sewing, or crocheting while watching old movies/sitcoms. I Love Lucy is one of her favorites. You can connect with Crystal here at her website, on her blog, her Amazon Author page, GoodreadsPinterestGoogle+, or on her Facebook author page. Want to be notified of her latest releases and other fun tidbits? Subscribe to her newsletter.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Who Am I?

Today I'd like to welcome a virtual guest.... one from history. Since we're about ready to celebrate Thanksgiving I thought we'd do something a little different today. See if you can figure out who in history I'm talking about. If you are right I'll add your name twice for the November drawing. :) How's that for incentive? :)

Welcome! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

There are so many things I'm not sure where to start. One fact that some may not know about me is that I once was captured and sold as a slave.

How awful. You must have been devastated. 

Chuckle. While it wasn't what I would have chosen, God used it for my good. In fact, I came to an understanding of who God is because of who I was sold to.

I love the way God works things out when we can't see any good coming out of our present situation. Were you enslaved for a long period?

About five years. Eventually I traveled back to my homeland. You see I had been taken across the ocean, far from my home when I was captured. Unfortunately when I arrived I discovered that none of my loved ones remained.

How awful! Wow. You have been through a lot. I hear you played a special role with the first Thanksgiving. Could you tell us a little more about it?

I wouldn't say I had a big part, I just did what God called me to do. I helped to show my new friends how to do things in the new land they had traveled to. Things like fishing, catching lobster and understanding how and when to plant. Well, I think I've given you enough clues.... can you figure out who I am?

Be sure to leave a comment with your guess. :) You only have a few more days to enter the contest for the November giveaway so be sure to leave a comment to be entered.

Next week tune in for an interview with Mary Ellis. You won't want to miss it. :)

Praying you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.


Monday, November 23, 2015

An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti

Katie Vale hadn't anticipated her boyfriend proposing as soon as they reached his grandparents' home and definitely not with his whole extended family watching in anticipation. What a way to start the holiday week together by telling him 'no'.

Micah Binder is determined to not let their Christmas celebrations be tainted despite Katie's refusal to marry him. He desires for her to experience the delight of a huge family crammed together, enjoying the holiday as if it were their last one together.

Katie hadn't planned on being changed by the attitude and joy the family shares but that might happen with An Endless Christmas.

This was my first time to read a book by Cynthia Ruchti, and I found it to be delightful. You won't want to miss this book as you prepare for the season. I give it a 4.5 for happily-ever-after endings.


For more information be sure to check this out: http://litfusegroup.com/author/cruchti


This book was provided free for review by Worthy Publishing Group - 2015.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Blessings





Welcome. Thank you for stopping by today for a visit, especially if you found me because of my post on Christian Devotions. :)

With Thanksgiving being only a few days away I thought it would be appropriate to share some things we are thankful for. I'm challenging you to come up with at least five things.

Here are mine:

  • My family - I have an incredible husband, wonderful sons and daughters-in-law and two beautiful granddaughters.
  • I'm blessed by some fantastic friends.
  • My church family.
  • The ability to walk each day.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY - JESUS.
 I'm praying you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Love of Story Welcomes Debbie Lynne Costello

I can hardly believe it's barely a week until Thanksgiving. Where has the month gone? But I digress. :) Today I'd like to welcome Debbie Lynne Costello. So tell us, Debbie, how did you develop a love of story?

It's hard for me to say how I developed my love of story because my earliest memories of writing anything were writing stories. Stories that I thought were long gone and lost until my mother handed me a manila envelope full of stories I'd written and illustrated as a young child and into my teens. We had all the Dr. Seuss books growing up and we received the Highlights books monthly. I loved to look at the books well before I could read them. So I guess I was pretty much born with the love of a good book. I didn't read as much in high school but I took every writing class offered. When I married and we had kids I was back to reading children's books. LOL But when my children got older and I was homeschooling, they didn't need my help as much but needed me there to keep them focused, so I read. That revived my love for a good story and sparked the desire to write again...with a little prompting from my hubby. :o)
It sounds like your love of stories came very early in your life. :) I know my love of story continued as I was homeschooling my boys. How does your faith and spirituality work in with your writing? 

I hope naturally! I don’t ever want to come across preachy, but at the same time I look at my writing as a ministry so I don’t want to water down the truth. I have to pray for God to only allow the words He wants me to write and not my own.  



I understand what you mean. What is your favorite Bible verse and why? 

Isaiah 40:31 Those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up like wings of eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.  A very familiar verse to everyone. I love this verse because in the busy life that I (like everyone else) live, it’s a great comfort to know that I don’t have to make things happen! I just need to wait on God, rest in His promise that He will take care of things. And when I do this, He gives me the energy to do the things I need to! We serve an awesome God!!!

Thank you for that. Your words really touched my heart at a time I needed to hear it.Where did you get the inspiration for your latest book? 

I love the medieval time period, so it was natural to gravitate to that period. I don’t know as I had inspiration from something as much as God put the story in my heart to write. I didn’t know where I was going with it when I penned the first line, but God gave me the words and day after day when I sat down to write the words were there before my mind’s eye.

Ohh! I love the cover! What is one thing you hope readers will take away from your story? 

I hope that above all they see how God is working in all of our lives. I hope that if they aren’t saved that my story will either plant a seed or water one that has already been planted. I love to write but if my stories don’t point people to God, I feel like I should be doing something else to further the kingdom.

I understand about writing being a ministry. What do you plan to work on next? 

My next release will be a 19th century Charleston, SC story set during the Charleston Earthquake. It comes out in late January or early February. And as that is getting ready to release, I am working on my sequel to Sword of Forgiveness

I'll have to be sure to check those both out. :) What does your writing space look like? 

I have a 3 piece bookcase that almost goes to the ceiling and covers one wall. I have a dark brown couch that I like to curl up on with my lap top, and and antique secretary for when I want to move to a desk. My room is decorated in medieval d├ęcor. I have a wall hanging, real swords, and a shield, hanging on my walls. But my favorite arrangement in my room is 3 paintings painted by my wonderful crit partner, Kathleen Maher. The arrangement consists of  Royce, my hero in full armor and on his trusty horse in front of the castle. Brithwin is in the second painting. She’s in a field of yellow flowers and with her horse. The third is the antagonist on his horse with sword raised. I also have a beautiful castle given to me by Kathy that adorns my writing room.

I can picture it. It sounds like a very creative space. If you are traveling to a deserted island for a month, what two items would you take along? 

I’m assuming items can’t be my hubby. So with him not a possibility, I’d have to say my horse and my computer. I know, and odd combination. But I need an animal around and not only I love my horses and riding, but he’d be more useful than one of my dogs. ;o)  

LOL, you're right, you aren't allowed to take your husband but you can take your horse. :) I've enjoyed our time together. Thanks again for stopping by today. Here's Debbie's bio if you wanted to learn a little bit more about her.


Debbie Lynne Costello has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina. She has worked in many capacities in her church and is currently the Children's Director. Debbie Lynne has shown and raised Shetland Sheepdogs for eighteen years and still enjoys litters now and then. In their spare time, she and her husband take pleasure in camping and riding their Arabian and Tennessee Walking horses.

Be sure to leave a comment for your chance to win her book.


  

Don't forget to leave a comment for your chance to win this month's giveaway. Next week we'll be doing things a little bit different and taking a special look at Thanksgiving. You won't want to miss it. :)