Friday, February 28, 2014

Book Report: Flight of the Earls by Michael Reynolds

Winner of last week's give-away for Julie Klassen's book: Kari Davidson!
Flight of the Earls by Michael Reynolds: 

~~Sweeping Saga
~~Authentic Immigration Account

If you love historical family sagas, you'll love Flight of the Earls that takes you, almost through the lens of a camera on this journey of hope.

I gained a new view of the 1840's Potato famine in Ireland, it's devastation and the hope the Irish people brought to the shores of America. With everything lost in the homeland, striking out in America was less risky than staying in Ireland.

If you love a plot driven historical, you'll enjoy this read. Personally, I prefer a more character driven novel. So, about half way through, I finally realized the reason I wasn't completely connecting with the characters was that this is much more of a sweeping saga than a deep point of view romance novel--although there is romance, never fear. Once I rearranged my perception to a plot driven story, I enjoyed this tale that could have been my own Irish ancestor's story. The stark determination of these immigrants will draw you deep into the story and won't let you go until they find the hope they searched for.

The plot centers around Clare Hanley and her younger brother, Seamus as they set sail for America's shores. Settling in New York City, Clare must face her fears, discover love, and adventure. But her new freedom is shadowed by a terrible secret that threatens to destroy her and her family.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael K. Reynolds’s debut novel, Flight of the Earls, about the Great Irish Potato Famine was recently nominated for RT Book Reviews 2013 novel of the year award in the category of Inspirational Romance. In Golden Splendor, set during the San Francisco Gold Rush, received similar high acclaim and Songs of the Shenandoah, the Civil War-era conclusion to the trilogy was just chosen as a Top Pick in RT Book Reviews.
 Michael is the author of a popular Christian Blog called Real Life. Real God. and he has been rated as one of the top 50 Christians on Twitter. He lives in Reno with his wife and three children. You can learn more at http://www.MichaelKReynolds.com.
Reader questions: Make comments for a chance to win a free copy--continental US only.
Have you ever been to NYC?
Do you have Irish roots? 
Is a visit to Ireland on your bucket list? Or have you already been?
_____________

Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Coffee Selfies!!!

I'm a bit of a junkie ... we all know this ... when it comes to coffee. I'm also a selfie junkie. I figure it's only right I document my enormously expensive habit and pathetic reason for smiling in the morning.

Here's my menu this week:

Monday: Hazelnut latte with 3 shots of espresso & 2 pumps of dark chocolate

Tuesday: Hazelnut latte with 3 shots of espresso but we went with a skinny to make up for Monday

Wednesday: Hazelnut latte with 3 shots of espresso and 1 pump of dark chocolate

Thursday.....hmmm...should I deviate from hazelnut today? I believe I shall. Heads up for a 3 shot almond mocha!! :)

What are you drinking today?



Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What Movies Give You the Heebie-Jeebies?

I know I'm stepping on the book cover of a beloved classic, and more recently on the face of Johnny Depp, but Alice in Wonderland is psycadellic. And, yes, I realize I spelled "psycadellic" wrong - but hey - it's Alice in Wonderland - anything goes, right? Alice has endeared herself to the generations as probably the only semi-normal character in a story or more specifically movie that models itself after a trip on speed. Yes, it's the great fairy tale, the child's jaunt into a world of stressed out rabbits, bi-polar queens, leering cats, and mad hatters border on the worst case of ADHD I've ever seen. Really, it's a schizophrenic trip into just about every psychological disorder known to man. Minus a really good therapist. Yes, Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter - now that's a face that will lull a child to sleep!

I had nightmares when I was a little girl after seeing Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland. It terrified me that I could fall into a rabbit hole and very possibly never get home. I loved cats - but the Cheshire cat just about ruined that for this eight-year-old. And don't get me started on a deck of cards. My goodness. I could hardly play Goldfish after seeing the King of Spades and Queen of Hearts (or whatever they were) dancing around and singing in voices that weren't going to make it on American Idol, that's for sure.

So why IS Alice in Wonderland a classic? Is it the trip of randomness that people like? Am I just too much of a control freak? But think about it: Lewis Carroll took every risk known to a writer. Just when the story got wierd, it got that much WIERDER. Ok, Ok, so it all gets resolved when we realize poor little Alice is dreaming ... but let me tell you why I really hate Alice in Wonderland...

Last night I dreamed there was a 6' tall plastic mannequin dressed in a thigh-length, green wool pea-coat chasing me. I was on an elevator with a young child from church and every time the door opened the mannequin was just outside. I kept slamming my finger onto a different button and the door would close just as she reached for me. Until finally ... Floor ELEVEN ... she reached BEFORE the doors closed. The only thing I could in my psychodellic world of techni-color pea coats was to launch myself forward to bite her hand off! Imagine my surprise when I awoke ... in bed ... as I launched myself forward snapping my teeth like a pirahna.

That's why I don't like Alice in Wonderland ... because I AM Alice in Wonderland. Needless to say, I've decided to dump the Historical Suspense genre in which I write and follow in the footsteps of thriller-horror writer, Ted Dekker. My new book title? Floor Eleven.

What movies give YOU the heebie-jeebies?

_________________________________

Jaime Wright - 

Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :) - Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

When I CAN Turns Into I AM

Wait for the Lord, be strong and wait for the Lord ...
I love that verse in all its beautiful simplicity. In some ways, it's like God gently saying to me "shut up", with a tender smile on His face. It goes hand in hand with "be still and know that I am God". I AM. When Moses asked who was sending him to Pharaoh, he was asking God to distinguish Himself from all the gods Moses knew. From the Egyptian gods and the Midianite gods. They all had a purpose.
So which one are you, God?
Who is sending me?
I Am.
I Am above all other gods. I supersede them in strength, in glory, in power, in might, in every way.
I Am.

And yet I somehow imagine that I Can do better than I AM. I Can is a sad little delusional piece of myself. Like the little engine that could, only it really couldn't ... like the Disney wish upon a star idea ... go ahead ... you Can ... but it won't work. Or the all to prevalent theology of today ... I Can ... I have the power within myself if I work hard enough ... I Can... oh, shucks ... I Can't.

I think I'm better off being I Can't today. Though it isn't always a relaxing place to be because I keep reaching out to catch myself. Like when we're driving on the edge of a cliff and there's a deep chasm, so I hold onto the car door because I Can.
What's the door gonna do for you if we fall? husband asks
I dunno.
Save you? he grins.
I dunno.
You're still going over, with the door or without. he states in all his simple logic.
I Can. I Can hold onto the door. Leave me alone.
Holding onto life is like holding onto a car door. You can do whatever you think You Can if you want to, but in the end, you're still going over the side, with or without your illusion of control.

I Am has distinguished Himself as higher than you. Did you know that? He supersedes you. He knows more than you. He doesn't act within your perimeters and He doesn't need your assistance.
Wait.
I can't.
Be strong.
I'm not.
Take heart.
How?
I Am.

Do you need to know any more??


_________________________________

Jaime Wright - 

Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :) - Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Book Report & #Giveaway : The Dancing Master, By Julie Klassen

I'm nothing if not a rabid fan of Julie Klassen. I was very excited to receive her latest book and very intrigued by the premise. That makes this book review a difficult one to write. My feelings are mixed.

Wonderful things about the book:


  • Pure Regency-- through and through. As I've come to expect, Julie Klassen delivered the flavor, the ambiance, the magic, and the sentiment of the era. It's Downton Abbey meets The Paradise in a clash of beauty, misplaced heroes, and entitled heroines.
  • The characters are all rich, stand a lone people who aren't clones of previous novels or boring little personages. They are lively, well thought out, and intriguing.
  • Content -- superb, as usual. Julie Klassen takes us into the world of dancing masters (something I never knew existed) and pulls back the layers one by one. Social standing, debonair, cultural, and ridiculously important to the day.

So what makes this book review difficult?

  • It took me a while to nail why I was having such a hard time becoming attached to the book. While well written and overall a good story, it wasn't one that kept me up until midnight or that page turner I've so come to expect. But I believe it finally dawned on me when I realized the majority of the story is written from the point of view of the HERO. The male counterpoint to the heroine, who interestingly enough, gets very little "alone" time in the book where I can attach myself to her emotionally. I was unattached and because her character is more like sandpaper to another woman (flirtatious, disrespectful, and vain), it was hard to wrap my heart around her and cheer for revolution in her world.
  • The hero's perspective was FANTASTIC, but nonetheless, I spent the vast majority of the book trying to muster up respect for him when he was crushing on the vain heroine and had beautiful, graceful, selfless other females around him equally as eligible. It almost made the dancing master himself a tad shallow.
  • While it all resolves itself in the end, I needed to be more invested in their inner struggles at the beginning and the plot revealed itself so slowly, by mid-way I was wondering when the story would start outside of the day to day life of a misplaced dancing master turned clerk.
I don't mean to give this a bad review because the writing quality is exceptional and I do believe this comes down to personal taste and not so much bad vs good book. It was too slow for my tastes and I would much rather have the main point of view be the female's. Although difficult in this context, because it really is HIS story. SO...kudos to Julie Klassen for trying something out of the box. I am STILL a rabid fan and WILL get her next book. Just be prepared for an open mind and a different read if you pick up the Dancing Master.

And I'll give away a copy too!! SO enter your comments below and let me know ... what's your thought on my rather melancholy book review?

Last week's winner of Dear Mr. Knightley is Heidi!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thursday's Coffee: When I Grow Old....

You may wear purple and red when you grow old...

...but when I grow old, I'm going to have one of these!

On one side will be coffee, on the other will be books and a fold out awning and patio for my chair.

I will pull it wherever I travel. I can sell the coffee, talk about books, OR drink the coffee and sell the books, OR drink the books and talk about coffee....you get the idea. Books. Coffee. Friends. Travel. A chair. Some sunshine. I'm good....
_____________

Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cabin Fever Treatment: 1939

This winter has been the coldest in my memory. When my husband paced a path in the floor beside the wood stove with subzero winds howling outside, I suggested as soon as the temperatures broke that he should go ice fishing. I even thawed some Blue Gill from the freezer and we had panfried fish for dinner. It made me think of my favorite fish story from my grandfather John Newswanger.

My mother grew up in Brutus, Michigan, about an hour's drive below Mackinaw Bridge. My grandfather John had always hunted and fished as did his father, and in the winter of 1939 he and three other men took his Model A Ford coup with a rumble seat and drove north to ice fish. They used an ice shanty that stayed out on the frozen waters of Lake Michigan for most of the month of February when the waters remained frozen over. Leaving it longer into the month of March was always chancy as the ice begins to break up by then.


My grandfather's Ford "ran cheap" and they loaded three men in the front, one in the rumble seat and packed it with wood, a cook stove and supplies for a week. The fishermen who accompanied him were Elias Martin, Elias Gregory, and Emerson Eby. They were able to drive all the way out the string of islands and beyond Waugoshance Island to the abandoned lighthouse which was unlocked for some reason. In the telling and retelling of this story, grandfather John seemed quite knowledgeable about the lighthouse. It was a good place to sleep as it had a living room and several rooms for the fellows to stay.


Their fish shanty was about a mile off the lighthouse. The plan was to leave it there the month of February. When they had fished a few days a strong east wind blew in and abruptly swung southwest, raising the water in the straits and they worried it would break up the ice. My great grandfather Elias Martin was sure it wouldn't break up, but the others prevailed and decided they shouldn't chance it. They had only the wind to go by when they made their decision (no weather channel.com), as the ice hadn't changed at all.

Preparing to leave, they returned to the lighthouse but the Model A Ford wasn't running properly. They had likely driven partly on the shore and partly on the ice to their destination and though they'd made it back in past an island or two, they decided to push the car up onto an island and walk the remaining distance to the mainland shore. My grandpa John looked up and saw a thin dark line ahead...

...as they got to it, they saw it was open water!! They were able to jump across the yawning gap of water as the ice they stood on was moving out into Lake Michigan! The fishermen walked eight miles to Carp Lake then another five to Levering where grandfather John gave a man at the gas station a fish to take them to Pellston.

The car was left behind on the island until spring when the water was lower and it could be driven along the shore safely. My great grandfather Elias Gregory had left his spear out in the shanty and sorely regretted it as it was a prized keepsake from my great great grandfather Frank who was a blacksmith and had made it. Elias later drove along the Mackinaw shoreline hoping to find his shanty but it was lost.

And though they regretted the loss, this tale has been told and retold many times and certainly solved their cabin fever in the winter of 1939! Thanks to my mother for preserving the details of this story.
_____________

Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

When Love Doesn't Make Sense

Love doesn't make sense when your newborn is taken from you to the NICU and placed on oxygen and other various forms of life support.

Love doesn't make sense when you find the incubator next to them empty the following day and you wonder if that little one passed on through eternal gates or went home in loving arms.

Love doesn't make sense when you spend an entire weekend nauseated because your four-year old daughter is four hours away, feverish, and suffering from a violent sinus infection.

Love doesn't make sense when you drag yourself from bed at three in the morning because your almost-two-year old is crying and thinks it's time to bond with mommy.

Love doesn't make sense when you visit your Gramma in the old folks' home and she struggles to remember who you are--not to mention completely forgets your mother is her daughter and instead thinks she's her sister.

Love doesn't make sensewhen your admin allows the coffee to run out and you go for a refill and hear that spitting sound of death, meaning the pump in the carafe has nothing more to pump out.

Love doesn't make sensewhen you spend all weekend organizing and cleaning before a hectic week at work and come home to Tornado Family having hit and no Red Cross relief available.

Love doesn't make sense when the word comes that your parents are putting your childhood home up for sale and needing to scale back...because they're older now.

Love doesn't make sense when you haven't had a date with your husband in over a year and a movie? What's that? You are ships passing in the night, feeling like you're giving all for others and so little seems to come back around.

Love doesn't make sense when you bury three lost babies in your soul and heart and never got to hold them but yet they're as alive to you as the day you discovered their new life--and you think of them every. single. day.

Love doesn't make sensewhen a Father gives His Son to save the lives of others and they never even notice.

Love doesn't make sense
But yet we do it anyway.
Because, that is love. 


Monday, February 17, 2014

I Lift My Eyes to the Hills







Psalms121 

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.

by permission: freedigitalphotos.net
This week I had my annual eye exam--and they always dilate my eyes. If you don't already feel old when the doctor comments about bifocals, you feel old when you leave the office squinting behind a pair of sunglasses. All the way home I realized I hadn't been thanking God for my sight. 

I was reminded of my grandmother's macular degeneration, and another woman I know who is legally blind. When I was five, I played the part of Fanny Crosby in a church play. She wrote hymns and my mother and I would always remember to point out the references she made to sight and seeing in her songs. When I was a senior in high school, I played the part of Helen Keller in our school play. I remember waking one morning during that time, with the realization that my fingers were signing in my sleep. On my way home from the eye doctor I realized I hadn't thought of this for years and suddenly I wondered... 

Am I thanking God for my sight?
Have I been asking Him for the visions He wants for me?
Do I see what He wants me to see?

I'm reminded of Miss Crosby's well known hymn:

"He Hideth My Soul"
Written by Crosby in 1890.

A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
A wonderful Savior to me;
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
Where rivers of pleasure I see.

Refrain

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life with the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.

We see through a glass darkly, but one day we shall see clearly...
I dropped my son off for a college visit tonight. I cannot see his future, but I know who hides his life in the depths of His love. I know Who I lift my eyes to...
Though we have sight, may we lift our eyes to Him. Though we see, may we trust our unseen future to Him.
_____________

Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Friday, February 14, 2014

(Valentine's Day) Book Report: Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

It's Jane Austen meets...Anne of Green Gables...and Dear Diary...and the Velveteen Rabbit...and...

It's raw and intimate

It's poignant and redemptive

It even has a bit of a Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants feel. While the sisters of the sisterhood must shed the magic of a pair of pants in order to step into their real uniqueness, Samantha Moore must shed her protective obsession with Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare in order to bloom into the real Sam.

If you've ever called yourself a bibliophile, bookworm, or LitPrincess--you haven't met your match until you've met Samantha Moore.

If you love period films and stories, you'll love Reay's romantic debut where "Samantha Moore has always hidden behind the words of others--namely, her favorite characters literature. Now, she will learn to write her own story--by giving that story to a complete stranger."

Namely--Mr. Knightley. 

Life for twenty-three-year-old orphan Sam gets stranger than fiction when an anonymous benefactor underwrites her full ride through Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. No strings attached--except for one thing. She must write frequent letters to the donor detailing her progress. As her writing to Mr. Knightley grows increasingly real and confessional, Sam mines the depths of her dark past while struggling to be the real Sam with her friends and the eligible novelist Alex Powell she runs into in the halls of NU. As she delves deeper into the pages of her real life, can Sam step out of the pages of her novels without their protective personas to hide behind? Can she step out as Samantha Moore?

FAITH THEME: The fatherless find a home in Christ. Orphans find hope, love, and forgiveness when they can release the ugly past long enough to grasp a future in Christ.

I read this book in one sitting. That is very unusual for me. Reay does an outstanding job of bearing Sam's soul and her struggle. I laughed. I cried. I smiled, and I rooted for Alex Powell to survive beyond the Austen-esque tragic love lost vs. love found. I rooted for him to stand up strong when it looked like it was all slipping away. And I celebrated as Samantha Moore finds her real role on the stage of her life.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy!

Reader Questions:
What's your favorite period film?
Who's your favorite period character?
How do you become the real you?
Happy Valentine's Day!!! :)
__________________________________


Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Starbucks Caramel Flan

Have you tried it??? The new caramel flan latte from Starbucks? My admin doesn't like it. I think she's nuts. This drink is like ... golden hot caramel slathered over rich egg-custard with a cup of coffee to wash it down. Seriously. It's UH MAZING. And only around until March 3rd. Why do they DO that? Seriously. It's cruel and heartless.

So I tip my caramel flan to you today. Drink up! Enjoy!

What's in your cup?



_________________________________

Jaime Wright - 

Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :) - Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Old Pictures Inspire New Stories

When you're a writer, you're always seeking new inspiration.  And my life isn't inspiring enough, so I'm forced to look outward. In spite of the plethora of ideas that come just from sitting in Starbucks and watching people, Pinterest has become my new fodder for story ideas.

I mean, switch to the "History" tab in Pinterest and your world comes alive. Ok. Here's an example of how my brain works. Picture to the left: The two women chatting are mother and daughter of a corner shop. The father recently passed, the daughter has big dreams but mother is coaching her on the necessity of devoting one's self to their store. It's all they have left afterall. However, the man in the shadows is the land lord. He's come to collect. If they don't have the money to pay their debts, he's fine taking the daughter as payment. Duhn Duhn Duhn. Enter suspense, blackmail, and potential for a knight in shining armor.


Or another example:

This man makes shoes. He's humble, the older brother of a family of orphan and he makes his way. He doesn't expect one of his tools to be stolen and found to be the weapon that took the life of the man who has designs to steal the most beautiful woman in town. He has to set out to prove his innocence and escape not only the murderer's vicious intent, but the entrapment this woman makes on his heart.

Oh GEE!!! Now I want to go write!!!

Can you see?? This is how a writer's mind works!

Ok. Your turn. What stories do these pictures shove into your brain? Or would you rather just read them?

____________________________________

Jaime Wright - 

Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :) - Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918

Isn't this a stunning photo?
These two ladies are most likely sporting a "fashionable" form of the mask worn to protect people from the spread of the 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic. I enlarged to photo to see the look of worry and concern in each of their eyes that is more striking than their lovely attire.

The worry in their eyes is there for good reason. 

The Spanish Flu pandemic is thought to have caused 50-100 million world wide deaths--3-5% of the world's population at the time. The first wave spread around the globe in 1918, while a deadlier mutated strain circled the globe again the following year. While flu virus most commonly increases mortality in the very young, the elderly, immune compromised, and in pregnant women, the Spanish Flu caused the highest death toll in the young and healthy ages twenty to forty. Strains from the deadly flu have been isolated and studied, revealing information that the reason the young and healthiest died was from an over active immune response that stormed out of control, reversing it's healthful affects, clogging the airways with swelling that became fatal.

The Spanish Flu pandemic is often called "the forgotten pandemic" because it was overshadowed by news of mortalities from WWI. It is hard to imagine how such a deadly epidemic could possibly be forgotten when it's estimated that it may have killed more than Black Death did in a century and more people in 24 weeks than AIDS has killed in 24 years. It gained its name because Spain was not in the war at the time of the outbreak and did not have news censorship due to the war. Thus, news of flu deaths hit the newspapers without regard for morale that censorship was meant to protect in other war torn countries in Europe.

My great grandfather died in the last stages of the flu epidemic after walking miles to town to purchase medicine for his ill family. He was 39 years old and left behind six children, the youngest was one year old. My grandfather was the oldest of the children and was left to run the farm at the age of thirteen. My great aunt retells that the rest of the family was so ill, that they brought his body to each of their bedsides to bid him farewell, because no one could get out of bed to attend the burial. 

How did the Spanish Flu affect your ancestors?
What strikes you most about this time in history?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Monday, February 10, 2014

Heart Stretching Worship

I'm not an arm-stretcher. You know, the person standing next to you in church on Sunday with their arms reaching so far to the roof you're afraid their arms are going to be dislocated? I was raised Baptist. You know the type. Arms down, hands folded properly in front of waist, hymnal balanced on the back of the pew in front of you, and enough of a poker face to win at least a few rounds and definitely not show off any spirit or rambunctious worship.

The first time I visited a church where a lady raised her arms so high and then waved them left to right, I thought maybe the people on either side should consider wearing helmets to church. I stared, all ten years of me, and wondered what on earth the woman was doing to try to bring so much attention to herself instead of to God.

It was in later years, I would discover the various forms of expressive worship. What I saw as a distraction and just outright rude, another saw as an open embracing of God's majesty and complete, utter abandon.

Psalm 95:6
Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

Worship. It's something that is so misconstrued from denomination to church to campfire to quiet place in our room. There's a right way--or a wrong way. My mom was confronted when I was a kid because she didn't speak in tongues and therefore had never and could never experience true worship. Heaven help us!

God calls us to kneel before Him. Worship is the act of utter submission and offering up glory to One more deserving than ourselves. Worship isn't a prescribed order, a litany of rules, uncontrolled abandon, or even necessarily the waving of ribbons and flags. Worship is coming into the THRONE ROOM of God. Joshua fell on his face, as did David, as did other heroes of the faith. In the end, I'd dare to challenge that the ultimate physical display of worship is face planting prostrate before GOD.

Have I learned to break the Baptist barrier and raise my hands in worship? Ok, maybe every now and then my fingertips hit the height of my chin. But I'm still comfortable poker-facing it, looking bored, and maybe a tad cranky. It's my way of worship...I CONCENTRATE hard. Which probably leaves people around them thinking I'm ready to club someone. I'm really not a hard core Baptist, just a hard core focused worshiper who doesn't crack a smile.

On the flip side, I've stood next to Anne, her arms popping out of their sockets, reaching for the face of God with everything in. And shockingly enough, she can hold that stretch for the duration of an entire worship song! Oh man, there's dedication to worship.

I dare to challenge us all, to enter worship unconcerned with anything but heart stretching worship. The kind of worship that internally takes you to your knees. (don't really fall to your knees in church because you'll probably crack your chin on the pew or chair in front of you and need stitches). The kind of worship that moves your arms up or sends your hands to your pockets. WHO CARES!!! Worship Him with your whole heart today...stretch it...hold him...and HONOR HIM!

____________________________________

Jaime Wright - 

Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :) - Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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Friday, February 7, 2014

Book Report & Sweepstakes: Love's Sweet Beginning, by Ann Shorey



I knew when I first met Cassie in Ann's "Sisters at Heart" trilogy, that I would LOVE her story. And it's finally here!!! Although, may I add, you certainly do NOT have to read the first two books to enjoy this one.

It isn't Cassie Haddon’s fault she's managed to reach the age of twenty-five without possessing any useful skills. Until the war, she always had servants to wait on her. After the war, she and her widowed mother moved from place to place, relying on family to care for them. Now she’s forced to find work to support them both. What isn’t in her plans is falling for Jacob West, a local restauranteur and grocer. She needs a job and he needs help. But can either of them see their need for love? Don't miss this tale of two people, from very different backgrounds, finding common ground and the hopes of a bright future together.

And! Ann offers a sample chapter to just to whet your appetite!

Book Info & Sample Chapter:
Can be found at http://www.annshorey.com/novels.html

This story was so good. I just adore Ann's writing. Her curl-up-with-a-cup-of-coffee, fireside reads. The woes of thwarted love in this book are intermixed with the tensions of racism, the duty of potential kinsman redeemers of the Old Testament, and a busy-body mother who is certain she knows God's will.  Not to mention Ann's characters are alive with vibrant personality, lovable wit and charm, and a hero who's awkward disposition hides an uncompromising strength.

To celebrate this heart warming historical romance, Ann and her publisher Revell is offering a fantastic prize giveaway. Please enter!!! And I hope one of our Coffee Cups and Camisoles faithful readers WINS!!


Summary:
In Love's Sweet Beginning, the third book in author Ann Shorey's Sisters at Heart series, 25-year-old Cassie Haddon doesn't have a single useful skill.
Until the war, she always had servants to wait on her. After the war, she and her widowed mother moved from place to place, relying on family to care for them.
When she's forced to seek work to support them both, Cassie must also reinvent herself to find her new beginning and the hope of love.
To celebrate the novel, author Ann Shorey and Revell Publishers are pleased to present theSWEET BEGINNINGS Sweepstakes, and your chance to win one of three marvelous prizes, all closely connected to the story.

Timeframe & Notifications:
This giveaway starts February 4, 2014 and ends February 20, 2014 @ 11:59 pm (PST). Entry is open to US residents only, age 18 and over.
Winners will be selected Friday, February 21, 2014, and announced at AnnShorey.com
   
Treasures of Norway Grand Prize

Baker's Bounty Pie-of-the-Month Club

When Cassie Haddon finds work in West & Riley's Restaurant, one of her first tasks is baking pies for a crew of rough workmen. She's never worked a day in her life, and has no kitchen skills, but really, how hard can it be to bake a pie? In honor of Cassie's baking trials (and eventual triumphs) our Grand Prize winner will receive a 6-month Pie of the Month Club Membership to the Grand Traverse Pie Company
       Treasures of Norway Second Prize

Timeless Treasures Prize Pack

Cassie doesn't have many luxuries, as she struggles to reinvent herself and make a life in Noble Springs, but a few small treasures brighten her cottage and lift her spirits. Our Second Prize winner will receive a prize pack filled with some of Cassie's favorite things: a delicate, rose-colored lace shawl, a pewter pen and ink set, and a bath set filled with lavender and lilac soaps and lotion
       Treasures of Norway Third Prize

Sisters at Heart Prize Pack

The women in Ann's Noble Springs series (Faith, Rosemary, and Cassie) are strong, resourceful, creative, and always looking for ways to give to others. To celebrate their giving hearts, our Third Prize winner will receive a complete, signed set of the Sisters at Heart series, to give to a friend, family member, or sister of the heart
     
How to Enter:
Go to http://www.annshorey.com/contest.html and complete the entry box, anytime between Februrary 4 and February 20.  


____________________________________

Jaime Wright - 

Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :) - Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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