Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Gift Of Christmas Past-Book Review-Litfuse Tour

About the book 
Arson wasn't the only fire that ignited between them.
Promises shattered.
Lies spoken.
She was arrested.
He returned to the safety of his wealthy parents.
Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialists in the field of speech therapy. They meet again . . . thrown together to help a four-year-old-girl rendered mute after being rescued from a fire.
Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized child and her family.
Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all?
Read an excerpt
Hadley’s mind reeled with disbelief as her foster mom shoved her clothes into an old suitcase. “But…but I’m innocent.”
“Maybe.” Dianna gave a half-hearted nod. “I hope so. It’d be an awful thing to squander the opportunities we’ve offered you.”
“I…I am. The investigation will prove it. I promise. You’ve got to believe me. Please.”
“Like I said, maybe you are innocent…of this incident. You had seemed to be making great strides since you went to anger-management classes. I’ll give you that, Hads.”
“Then don’t send me back. Please. My friends are here. Monroe is—”
“Decision’s made. You made it when you broke curfew for the third time.”
“But I was only a little late and for good reasons. You said so—”
“I’m aware.” Dianna didn’t pause her movements as she packed Hadley’s toothbrush.
Hadley bit back tears, hating any sign of being vulnerable. “Then why?”
“They’ve found two witnesses who place you in the Reeds’ yard.”
“What?” Hadley’s knee-jerk gasp was the totally wrong response. Stay cool. Remain calm.
“Yeah, apparently you were there.” Dianna released a slow sigh. “Imagine that.”
Regret twisted through Hadley. She never should’ve set foot on the Reeds’ property. “Okay, I was at their place, but I never—”
“Interesting.” Dianna stood up straight, the top of her head now even with Hadley’s nose. She yanked a beautiful red sweater off a hanger, a Christmas gift from Scott and her to Hadley a mere three weeks ago. “You’ve denied being anywhere near there until right now. They said they saw you start a fire using leaves, sticks, and what appeared to be some kind of accelerant.” She shoved the sweater into the suitcase with the other clothes as if it and Hadley no longer mattered.
Should she explain her actions? The moment the question came to her she knew the answer. No matter the subject or the situation, adults couldn’t be trusted. Anything Hadley said would be passed along to the authorities, distorted, and used against her.
Dianna jammed two pairs of wool socks into the suitcase. “Anyway, Scott and I think it’s in everyone’s best interest if you don’t live here anymore.”
“Please”—Hadley clasped her hands together—“don’t do this. I’m controlling my temper better. Ask Monroe’s parents. My few nights with them over Christmas break were good. They got to know me, and their word matters in this town and state.”
None of this mess was on the horizon then. Hadley and Monroe had enjoyed the most amazing Christmas, the very best in her entire seventeen years. They’d fallen even more in love if that was possible. She’d joined the Birch family—Monroe, his parents, and his college-age big sister, Nicole—for the Christmas Eve feast and unwrapping gifts covered in gorgeous paper and adorned with bright ribbons. It was an evening straight out of a fairy tale with the large family gathering she had always longed to have. His parents had finally seemed to accept her and her wayward past, and she’d stayed a few nights in their guest room.
And now?
Dianna plucked two keepsakes off the dresser—a pair of handblown-glass hummingbirds and a glass rainbow with Monroe’s and her initials inside a little heart. Monroe had it made for her, and he had given it to her for Christmas as a symbol of the covenant between the Creator and her and a symbol of the love between Monroe and her and his promise to always take care of her.
The hummingbirds were from her birth mother, given to her more than twelve years ago. Although she’d only been five years old, she remembered clearly the day. A social worker was at their house to take Hadley into foster care. Mom had packed Hadley’s suitcase and had knelt in front of her. She placed the hummingbird figurines in her hand, saying one was her and one was Hadley. Hadley was to hold on to them as a reminder that she and her mom would be together again one day, that it was a temporary separation. Mom promised she would get off the bad stuff and the courts would grant her custody again.
But that never happened. Despite years of her mom sporadically coming for supervised visits and occasionally getting close to being clean, she never managed to do so long enough to satisfy the courts. She also never signed over her parental rights, which would have allowed Hadley to be adopted.
Dianna stuffed the keepsakes in the suitcase.
Hadley jolted. “Hey, those will break.”
Dianna nodded, took them out, and gently placed them on top of the sweater. “We’ve tried to be fair, Hadley, but you’re just too much for us, and we have other foster kids to think about.”
“I was there, but I didn’t burn down their house!” Hadley pounded a fist into her palm. “I…I’m not an arsonist. I was trying to do something nice for them. I…” Hadley grabbed fistfuls of her thick curls. “I swear it! You’ve got to—”
“You’ll calm down.” Dianna pointed at her. “Now.”
Hadley released her hair, grew still, and nodded. Dianna had earned Hadley’s respect. Besides, as bad as going to the state-licensed group home would be, juvenile lockup would be much worse. Tears stung. She had a fierce temper and often impulsively lashed out against the unfairness of life. Dianna and Scott had dealt with her recklessness for years, helping her learn to cope with her emotions in a less destructive way. They’d even stayed by her when she had to go before a judge on a vandalism charge. She’d been reprimanded and sent to court-ordered anger-management therapy. But because of her past behavior, they were sure she was guilty, apparently convinced before seeing any proof.
Hadley’s heart seemed to weigh a hundred pounds. “But if I go there, it’ll mean a new school for the rest of my senior year. I’ll be separated from Monroe, and…”
Dianna barely glanced at her, and Dianna’s lack of reaction made it clear that Hadley’s boyfriend and what school she attended were not Dianna’s concern. But these things were everything to Hadley. She didn’t want to leave.
Dianna paused in jamming personal items into the side pockets of the suitcase just long enough to point at a framed picture on the wall. “Is that yours or Elliott’s?”
And I thought
A wonderful Christmas story of hope and healing.  And romance!
The story begins in 2003 filling us in with the backstory. 
Then we are brought up to date and the present and right into Hadley's kitchen.  
With real adult problems and obstacles from her past Hadley's character grows as she overcomes.  
The information about speech therapy was interesting and very informative. 
This was a fast read as the story develops quickly and keeps the readers interest.  

I enjoyed the The Gift Of Christmas Past.  I liked trying the recipes that were included in the end. 

I received a complimentary copy from Litfuse. 
This review will be posted on the retail sites listed below. 
This review will appear on Good Reads

Buy the book 
Visit the Litfuse tour
To read more reviews visit the tour.  Click Here

Monday, November 27, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday

Image result for my journey back happy homemaker monday

 The Weather
Beautiful Fall days.  The leaves have turned and are falling. 
We have sunshine everyday.

Right Now I  Am
Grateful for a mild Fall.  Hoping we have a mild Winter.  

In the kitchen
Lots of ideas and things to tray on my Pinterest Boards.  
Soups and Stews.  Cakes and Cookies.  I am in the mood to bake.
Maybe something Chocolate.  This is calling my name . . . 

Blackout Chocolate Cake is the best chocolate cake!! with a chocolate cream cheese frosting and chocolate chip exterior just to be a little OMG.  The recipe is here
Or I might make these tomorrow with my grandson . . . 
strawberry shortcake cupcakes
The recipe is Here

On the menu
Monday-Pan Seared Catfish, Broccoli/Rice Casserole,Sweet Potato Fries
Tuesday- Split Pea Soup and BLT's
Wednesday-Beef Stew and Crusty Bread
Thursday-Taco's, Rice and a Quesdilla for the short person
Friday-Spaghetti, Salad, Bread

In the garden
I need to take pics. I have planted Pansy's, Mums, a couple perennials I found on sale and a Butterfly Bush. 
I have bulbs to get in the ground today.
Over the long weekend I rearranged the pallets that I intend to plant in.  I had them laying flat but decided to stack to make raised beds.  Much easier to work!
I hope to get lettuces and spinach planted.  And another round of carrots. 

On my reading pile
Sharing one from the pile I can't wait to read.  Always ready for a good one with a horse theme!

Something fun to share
Free Printable 2018 Watercolor Animal Calendar

These are so cute.  I just had to share.  Click here

Fabulous Features
Features from the Fabulous Party . . . 

 Here's a couple from last week
Blogger Holiday Gift Swap Button
Click Here

Lesley over at Play Date Parties shared 17 Thanksgiving Leftovers I couldn't get the pic to load this morning but go over and check out the post!  Click Here.

On today's To Do List
Get post finished
Post Office
Lunch with mom
Stop at Dollar Tree look for wrapping paper
Finish the Christmas decorations
Plant bulbs

From the camera

Devo./ Scripture
Exodus 14:14 - The Lord will fight for you, all you need is to be still. Love love love!!

Linking with Happy Homemaker Monday and a few of my other favorites!

Thanks for spending part of your day with me!  
Until next time

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Simple Sunday-Fabulous Party

Simple Sunday
Exodus 14:14 - The Lord will fight for you, all you need is to be still. Love love love!!

The Party
Welcome to the Party!
Where every post is Fabulous.
Feel free to link all your family friendly posts. 
Share your post Thanksgiving posts 
Your Christmas posts.
Your DIY's 
Well you get the idea right?
Let's Party!
Every link is pinned.  
Two links are chosen to be featured on Monday at my Happy Homemaker

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Child Safeguarding Policy Guide-Book Review-Litfuse Tour

The Child Safeguarding Policy for Churches and Ministries

About the book 
The Child Safeguarding Policy for Churches and Ministries (New Growth Press, August 2017)
Churches have always sought to be a safe haven for children and families, but many today are dealing with the tragic reality of child sexual abuse.
This handbook, authored and edited by a multidisciplinary team of child abuse experts, is designed for use by a group th
viat will be formulating policies and procedures to protect children and deal with possible child abuse in their ministry, school, and/or church. Working through this book will assist churches and ministries to assess their current child abuse polices and then guide them through each step they need to take to address the safety of children under their care. It will cover vitally important topics including:
—Protecting the children in a Christian environment from child abuse
—The warning signs of child abuse
—Crafting and implement a child protection policy
—Responding to abuse allegations
—Caring for victims of child abuse
—The legal implications and requirements for churches and Christian ministries
Written by a GRACE team with multi-disciplinary knowledge, headed by Boz Tchividjian, a lawyer and former child abuse prosecutor, this handbook will be an invaluable resource to Christians who are seeking to educate themselves and others about child abuse and how to best protect the little ones under their care.
And I thought
The Child Safeguaring Policy Guide is a must read for anyone in ministry.  
If your a parent don't discount this book
Because you need to 'make sure' that your child care, preschool, day school or even church ministry is taking steps to insure the safety of your child.  
I wish that I had this book a few years ago when I founded a non-profit ministry for at-risk and incarcerated teens.  After working in full-time ministry I spent a few years working in a pre-school.  Although 
Our state mandates continuing education training and the school where I worked made great strides to provide adequate training I feel like I learned alot from this book. 

In hindsight I have absorbed much needed knowledge between the pages of this book. 
This book has been endorsed by many professionals in ministry as well as secular programs.  
Victor  Vieth the  director of a Child Protection Training Center.
Reknowed author Mary DeMuth (Author of over 30 books including Finding Hope and Healing after Sexual Abuse. 
And Anne Graham Lotz to name a few.  
The topics in the book include:
Defining Abuse, Indicators, Impact, Sexual Behaviors, 
Routine Protective Measures and many more.  
This is a book filled with knowledge and information. It is set up so that management of children's programs can use the resources to manage programs and to train workers.  
The Child Safeguarding Policy is a must read for anyone working with children.  Especially administrators.  
Parents check this one out too for the valuable information within these pages.   
 I received a complimentary copy from Litfuse.
This review will appear on retail sites where available and on Good Reads.  
Visit the tour  
to read more reviews. Click here

Buy the book 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Gift by Shelley Shepard Gray-Book Review-Litfuse Tour

The Gift

About the book 
The Gift: The Amish of Hart County(Avon Inspire, November 2017)
A special Christmas story about love and blessings in the next book in the Amish of Hart County series
The Schwartz family is happy to be spending Christmas on their new farm in Hart County. But when Susanna Schwartz hears gunshots that causes her buggy to overturn, and then her little sister falls through a wooden bridge into the icy creek, it becomes clear from these dangerous “accidents” that someone wants them gone.
Neil Vance has been heartbroken ever since his parents lost their family farm. He knows it’s not the Schwartz family’s fault, but he can’t help but be resentful. Until he meets Susanna. She is kind-hearted and bold, and Neil can’t stop thinking about her pretty green eyes.
Neil thinks the accidents are just that, but Susanna’s father is convinced the Vance family is responsible. Susanna refuses to believe Neil would do anything to harm her. She’s fallen in love with him and knows he is a good man. But her family is ready to pack up and move, and time is running out to uncover the truth before someone gets hurt . . . or worse.

The series

And I thought
They keep getting better.  I have enjoyed this series from book 1. 
Even if you missed the other two you won't be disappointed. 
Each book is written as a stand a lone.
Each book has some thriller element to it.  And some good 'ole 

There's always some issue that keeps the couple apart until they finally resolve things. Or things are resolved around them allowing them to commit to each other.  

Each of the characters are real and you'll feel like you want to cheer each of them on.

The Gift is a great story of romance, danger, forgiveness and healing.  

Shelley Shephard Gray is a pro at weaving a romantic story with a little bit of danger.  

If your a fan of a good clean book or know someone who is give this series a try!  

Buy the book 
Visit the Litfuse tour here

Monday, November 20, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday

Image result for happy homemaker monday
Welcome to my Happy Homemaker Monday post.
Thanks for stopping in. 
I am joining Sandra to share a glimpse at my weeks plans

The Weather 
 Balmy.  It is a beautiful day.  Thankful in our neck of the woods cold spells don't really last long.  Or rainy spells.  We have lovely fall weather. 
Our native trees aren't near as pretty as up North but many people are planting lovely trees and we are beginning to get some pretty fall color. 

Right Now I  Am
Writing this post and thinking about my plans for the week.  I write on Sunday night.  If I don't.  I don't get it done.  On occassion I can squeeze it on Monday afternoon but more times than not I end up missing the entire week.  

I am thinking
I am happy that I have made some schedule changes.  I have a new Wednesday client.  I ended my recent Wed/Fri job last week.  It's bitter sweet but I needed more time to myself.  That means a new easier house on Wednesday and only 1 job on Fridays. 
I will have so much more time and energy.  
Perfect timing to be Thankful this week!

On my reading pile
I always have a lot.  This weekend I busted this one out.  I am not reviewing till later in December but it was calling my name!
Twofer Murder by Lauren Carr
Read my next post today to learn all about this great book.  I am spotlighting it today for the I Read Book Tours. 

Here's part of my pile . . . 
Moved the pile over to my art table to smash down the post cards I am working on to mail by Friday!

On my "To Do" list
  1. Finish Christmas Post Cards
  2. Finish outside lights
  3. Finish trees/decor.
  4. Start on pillowcases to donate to Scottish Rite Hospital

On the menu
Monday- Split Pea Soup-Salad-Cornbread (for the stuffing)
Tuesday- Pan Seared Catfish- Oven Roasted Potato's- Green Beans
Wednesday- Nacho's (super simple)
Thursday-  3 dinners 'Oh My'
Friday - Leftovers from 3 dinners!
Saturday- Beef it's time.  We have some steaks in freezer hope we have nice weather!

In the kitchen
 Waiting to try this recipe.  Maybe next week!
Maple Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops | Tender, juicy, bone-in glazed pork chops are seared and coated in a lip-smacking maple balsamic vinegar sauce! |
I've tried a few Beef Balsamic recipes and really like them. 
Maybe this would be a nice change from the regular fried with cream gravy, rice and a veggie!
Click here for the recipe.

In the garden
My butterfly bush I mentioned a couple weeks ago and the mums. 
I am hoping to buy some pansy's tomorrow.  I had a short work week last week so no extra plant money
Today I was in the backyard around 3 with the dog and I was thinking I would love to put in a shade garden.  

Ohhh too many ideas and not enough bucks!  

I am focusing on as many perennials as I can and hopefully can find some folks around me that will give me some starts.  I would love an Iris bed. I am hoping to buy some bulbs!

Fabulous Features
 I loved this from Carol at Comfort Station.  I might just print one.  Click here to visit the post!

Fabulous Feature
There are some amazing weekly participants at the Fabulous Party.  Weekly Narrow Minded Woman shares a wonderful 
old Hymn.  I wanted to feature her this week because I am using a few in my daughters Christmas Journal.  Enjoy.
Psalms, Hymns, & Spiritual Songs: “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow” (Doxology)
Click here to visit the post. 

From the camera

Devo./ Scripture
Grateful, Thankful, Blessed.
Available on Etsy click here

Book Spotlight-A Must Read- Two Fer Murder by Lauren Carr

Have you eve read a Cozy Mystery?  I was introduced in the Fall of 2015 to Lauren Carr by the I Read Book Tours.  I am so glad that I accepted the assignment and read Candidate for Murder!

Do you know what a Cozy Mystery is? Click here for the Wiki Pedia definition and info.    Cozy's are genre of crime stories that take place in a small town.  Feature wanna be or new to sleuthing sleuths.   Many times women sleuths.  Are non graphic.  Very little or no language.  No bedroom scenes. And usually include an animal.  A pet cat or dog.  

A big ole German Shepherd named Gnarly in the case of the
Mac Faraday Mysteries by Lauren.  In Addition to  Mac Faraday and Gnarly Lauren writes The Throny Rose Series featuring Mac 
Faraday's daughter Jessica and Murphy Thornton the son of 
Joshua Thornton that is featured in the Lover's in Crime Series.

Today I am spotlighting the newest novel by Lauren Carr.
Twofer Murder by Lauren Carr
My self and alot of other readers asked and Lauren answered by bring all the characters together in this new book! 

Here's what the book is about . . . 
Twofer murder? What’s a twofer murder?
Twofer Murder is a treat for fans of best-selling author Lauren Carr’s fast-paced mysteries! Lauren’s latest novel contains the main characters from her three successful series: Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose mysteries. The guys go away for a fishing weekend only to get caught up in the murder of a journalist investigating fraud at a timber company. Meanwhile, the ladies are spending the weekend in the presidential suite at a posh resort where Jessica Faraday is to accept a lifetime achievement award for her late grandmother at a murder mystery writers conference. But before they have time to get their facials, they get wrapped up in their own real mystery when an up and coming author ends up dead!

Lauren Carr’s Twofer Murder is a 2-for-1—making it a must-read for any mystery fan!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Simple Sunday-Fabulous Party

Simply Blessed
Grateful, Thankful, Blessed.

Source Available on Etsy

On with the party!

Welcome to the party!   
I am a little behind.  I promise all your links will be pinned in the next couple of days. 
Feel free to link all your Thankful posts old or new!
We love to see your ideas!

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan-A Litfuse Tour

About the book 
In the biggest case of her career, attorney Kate Sullivan is tapped as lead counsel to take on Mason Pharmaceutical because of a corporate cover-up related to its newest drug. After a whistleblower dies, Kate knows the stakes are much higher than her other lawsuits.

Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James is still haunted by mistakes made while serving overseas. Trying to forget the past, he is hired by Kate to look into the whistleblower's allegation and soon suspects that the company may be engaging in a dangerous game for profit. He also soon finds himself falling for this passionate and earnest young lawyer. 

Determined not to make the same mistakes, he's intent on keeping Kate safe, but as the case deepens, it appears someone is willing to risk everything--even murder--to keep the case from going to trial.
And I thought 
I was offered to review Deadly Proof by Litfuse.  This is one I would have picked up because of the cover.  Read the back and put in my shopping cart.  
Just the kind of story I love.  A nice clean suspenseful thriller.  
With a little romance thrown in too!  

I loved the characters.  I was rooting for Kate and Landon.  

I loved his character.  A big strong military type determined to do his job.  But his heart softens toward Kate he does have a bit of a struggle.  

The romance angle added to the story and begged for this reader to turn the pages.  

I am looking forward to reading more in this series! 

I received a complimentary copy from Litfuse.  
This review will appear on websites where available. 
This review will appear on Good Reads.  

Wordless Wednesday-Leave A Caption

Wordless Wednesday Leave a Caption

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Pass it on A Proverbs Journal by Champ Thornton-Litfuse Tour-Review

Image 1
About the book 
Leave a lasting legacy of wisdom for the next generation by journaling and praying through Proverbs. The perfect gift for a special, older relative or friend who has wisdom, faith, and experience to share.
Pass It On is the perfect gift for an older member of your family who would like to leave a lasting legacy for someone younger. It includes questions for each chapter in Proverbs and also gives space for prayers, memories, and stories to pass on to the next generation. This beautiful journal will be valued by the person who receives it and also treasured as a lasting keepsake by whoever they choose to “pass it on” to! In Proverbs, God has left an amazing legacy of wisdom. It’s our privilege to pass that legacy on to the next generation. There are many different kinds of legacies to leave, but sharing yourself and your faith with the next generation will always stand the test of time.
As readers are guided through the book of Proverbs, they are asked to create their own personalized, wisdom journal with the aim of giving it to someone they love. Through answering questions on each chapter, writing prayers, and sharing personal stories, readers create a lasting keepsake for themselves and their families and friends. Created by Champ Thornton, best-selling author of The Radical Book for KidsPass It On is an innovative resource to strengthen families and help them grow in their love for God and each other. This is a perfect gift for an older and wiser friend or relative that will encourage them to share their life and faith with the next generation. 
  • An easy-to-accomplish devotional and journal allows users to go at their own pace through Proverbs.
  • Users create a personalized journal filled with God’s wisdom and their own faith story.
  • Encourages older and wiser friends and relatives to share their faith with the next generation.
  • The perfect gift that will be cherished and passed on from one generation to the next.
The fresh and careful translation provided comes from Dr. Bruce Waltke, who has devoted his life to the study of God’s Word, and especially the book of Proverbs. His two-volume work on Proverbs is considered by many as the premier commentary in the English language.
What Makes the Product Unique?
More than just a study of Proverbs, Pass It On provides users with a unique opportunity to reflect and record their own personal thoughts on God’s wisdom. Following careful study of each chapter of Proverbs, readers are asked questions that encourage deeper reflection on the Scripture, as well as to share their own personal stories and write a prayer for the journal’s next owner. After completing the journal, readers are then asked to take one final step—to pass it on to someone else and share their wisdom and faith with others!  The perfect combination of a Bible study and a gift book!
What Is the Product for?
The perfect gift for older and wiser friends and relatives, Pass It On allows readers to learn God’s wisdom and share wisdom and faith with the next generation. Through careful study of the book of Proverbs, as well as answering questions, writing prayers, and sharing personal stories, readers create their own personalized wisdom journal that will be a lasting keepsake cherished for generations to come. Champ Thornton has created an innovative resource for families that will not only strengthen their knowledge and love of God, but of each other as well.
Who Is the Product for?
Proverbs-filled children come from Proverbs-filled parents, and Pass It On is the perfect resource for parents or grandparents hoping to pass God’s wisdom on to the next generation. Older and wiser family members, friends, or mentors will also enjoy the opportunity to share their wisdom and faith with the people they love. A great gift idea for younger people to give to older people they respect and admire, Pass It On will become a cherished and lasting keepsake for both the reader and whoever is blessed to receive it.
And I thought 
 I wish I had been provided with a media kit that included an excerpt for this amazing book!
I am giving my copy to my future son in law for Christmas.      Pass It On is a personal devotional intended to be passed on from generation to generation. 
For me a perfect gift for my new son-in-law to pass on to my grandson. 
Pass it on is not an easy, simple devotional.  I found it rather deep.  But that is a good thing.  
As with most devotionals your given a scripture to read/study and then questions to dwell upon.  
The publisher New Growth Press provides the future customer with a great 34 page excerpt.  I was impressed.   I hope you'll visit the publisher and read the excerpt here
Pass it on is a great devotional study of the Proverbs.  Even if you don't have a special someone to Pass it on to please do not pass it up.  
You will be delighted with this amazing devotional. 
I received a complimentary copy from Litfuse.
This review will be posted on all retail sites where available.
This review will also appear on Good Reads and on Litfuse's tour page. 
Buy the book 

Visit the tour
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Click here