Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Loving Luther - Book Review

A happy hello to you, 
friends, readers, and sweet followers!
Long time no chat and for that I am truly sorry.
You may have noticed things have been a little quiet around here. . .
life has been rather busy and unfortunately,
I have not been able to write any posts or visit your lovely blogs.
Thank you for your patience, my friends.
I will be "back up and running" very soon.
Until then, please know that you are greatly appreciated
and thought of often.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Loving Luther - Book Review

Germany, 1505
In the dark of night, 
Katharina von Bora says the bravest good-bye a six-year-old can muster 
and walks away as the heavy convent gate closes behind her.

Though the cold walls offer no comfort,
Katharina soon finds herself calling the convent her home. 
God, her father. 
This, her life. 
She takes her vows—a choice more practical than pious—
but in time, a seed of discontent is planted 
by the smuggled writings of a rebellious excommunicated priest named Martin Luther. 
Their message? 
That Katharina is subject to God, and no one else. 
Could the Lord truly desire more for her than this life of servitude?

In her first true step of faith, 
Katharina leaves the only life she has ever known. 
But the freedom she has craved comes with a price, 
and she finds she has traded one life of isolation for another. 
Without the security of the convent walls or a family of her own, 
Katharina must trust in both the God who saved her 
and the man who paved a way for rescue. 
Luther’s friends are quick to offer shelter, 
but Katharina longs for all Luther has promised: 
a home, a husband, perhaps even the chance to fall in love.

My Thoughts
I have always enjoyed Allison Pittman's writings
and once again she weaves a tale that is rich in history.
Because of the limited resources and information on Katharina von Bora,
Allison had to "fill in the blanks" concerning Katharina's life.
The author painted a picture. . .
a beautiful and inspiring picture. . . 
of a woman who is considered one of the most important participants 
of the Reformation. 
Katharina played a role in helping to define Protestant family life 
and she helped set the tone for clergy marriages.

"Do you know when I first heard your voice?"
Not from the confessional,
and not in that day in Togau,
when you asked about the women.
Not the sounds you make when you speak,
but your voice?
It was months before.
Years, even, when I held a scrap of paper with your writing.
'The Freedom of a Christian.'"
{Loving Luther - pg. 398}

The characters are courageous, bold, dauntless, and valiant
in the face of persecution all for the Lord Jesus Christ.
They are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure God's Truth
is proclaimed among the people.
Loving Luther goes deep into the history of the Reformation.

Read Loving Luther, my friends.
You will be inspired, encouraged, and emboldened
when you read about Martin Luther, Katharina von Bora,
and what the believers faced in the 1500's.
A five star book!

** I was given a free copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers for an honest review.
All thoughts are my own. No other compensation was received. **

About the Author
Award winning author Allison Pittman, 
a high-school English teacher who also serves 
as director of the theater arts group at her church. 
She is also the co-president of a dynamic Christian writers group in the Texas area, 
where she makes her home with her husband and their three boys.
Favorite Bible Verse: 
Lamentations 3:22-23 -
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, 
for his compassions never fail. 
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

An Inconvenient Beauty - Book Review

Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, 
and he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. 
He's certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, 
but while Frederica is strangely elusive, 
he can't seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, 
Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, 
but with her family in difficult circumstances, 
her uncle will only help them if she'll use her beauty 
to assist him in his political aims. 
Already uncomfortable with this agreement, 
the more she comes to know Griffith, 
the more she wishes to be free of her unfortunate obligation.

Will Griffith and Isabella be able to set aside their pride 
and face their fears in time to find their own happily-ever-after?

My Thoughts
Let me just say that I am still smiling
after reading the last page of this book.
It's sweet, it's humorous, it's captivating, and yes,
it's ever so endearing.
An Inconvenient Beauty 
is one of those stories that gives you a nice, warm feeling.
It's a story that will make you sigh with happiness.
Sounds cheesy, I know, 
but sometimes a book like that is just what you need.

When I requested this book to review
I was not aware that it was the 4th and final book in the Hawthorne House Series.
Yes, I should have paid closer attention when requesting this book
since I am one of those that likes to begin a series at the beginning.
With that being said, I did not have any trouble following along
and while it was apparent that several characters from the previous books were mentioned
it was not hard to connect the dots.
In all honesty I think An Inconvenient Beauty could be read as a stand alone.
But I will say that Kristi Ann Hunter is a very talented author
and by reading this book she has motivated or rather inspired me
to read the entire series.

The characters were flawless,
the history of the Regency Era was spot on,
and the Christian aspect was presented beautifully.
An Inconvenient Beauty is an all-around lovely book.

** I was given a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for an honest review.
All thoughts and opinions are my own. No other compensation was received. **

About the Author
Kristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech 
with a degree in computer science but always knew she wanted to write. 
Kristi is the author of the Hawthorne House series 
and a 2016 RITA Award winner and Christy Award finalist. 
She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia. 
Find her online at www.kristiannhunter.com

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Cutlery Pockets

The fondest memories are made
when gathered around the table.

My dear friends,
today I have a fun little project just for you. . .
cutlery pockets/silverware holders, whatever you want to call them.
These charming little pockets are a delight to whip up
and they will add the sweetest touch to your next dinner party.
And wouldn't they be lovely to use during the holidays?
You could tuck some extra gifts inside 
like a packet of hot cocoa, a bookmark, a candy cane, 
and whatever else you can think of,
and give the pockets away to each dinner guest.
How fun would that be!

Let's get started, shall we. . .

You will need:

fabric {I made this set with a bundle of 4 fat quarters}

batting or fusible fleece {whatever floats your boat}

sewing machine, thread, measuring tools, and all that jazz,

embellishments {if you so choose}

For one pocket you will need to cut two pieces of fabric that are
4 1/2-inches x 10 1/2-inches.

For the pocket you will need to cut one piece that measures
4 1/2-inches x 12-inches.
Fold the strip of fabric in half and press with an iron.

Iron on the fusible fleece to the backside 
of the front piece of fabric.

Place the pocket onto the top piece of fabric 
like so. . .

Now place the second piece of fabric right side down
on the pocket and other piece of fabric
and pin into place.

Sew along the edges with a 1/4-inch seam allowance.
Leave a small opening to turn right side out.

Turn right side our
and press with an iron.
Top stitch along all four edges.

Now have fun embellishing!
As you can see
I added coordinating fabric flowers to mine.
Four of them have fabric rosettes in the center
and the other four have sparkly buttons.

Be creative, my friends! 
Add lace and satin trim.
Don't be afraid to go with some bling!

Now simply tuck a fabric napkin inside the pocket
along with your silverware.

Place these sweet cutlery pockets beside china plates
and you're all ready to go for your next dinner party.

Dinner is better
when we eat together.

Thank you for visiting, lovely friends.
Have a glorious day!

If you like these particular pockets
you can find them in my ETSY SHOP.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Thy Word Is Like A Garden, Lord

For the child of God,
the daily reading of the Scriptures
is the nourishment to the soul.
- Kenneth W. Osbeck -

Thy Word is like a garden, Lord, with flowers bright and fair;
And every one who seeks may pluck a lovely cluster there.
Thy Word is like a deep, deep mine; and jewels rich and rare
Are hidden in its mighty depths for every searcher there.

Thy Word is like a starry host: a thousand rays of light
Are seen to guide the traveler and make his pathway bright.
Thy Word is like an armory, where soldiers may repair;
And find, for life’s long battle day, all needful weapons there.

O may I love Thy precious Word, may I explore the mine,
May I its fragrant flowers glean, may light upon me shine!
O may I find my armor there! Thy Word my trusty sword,
I’ll learn to fight with every foe the battle of the Lord.
- Edwin Hodder -

How sweet are thy words unto my taste! 
yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through thy precepts I get understanding: 
therefore I hate every false way.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, 
and a light unto my path.
- Psalm 119: 103 - 105 -

Open my eyes that I may see 
wonderful things in Your law.
 - Psalm 119:18 -

Search the scriptures; 
for in them ye think ye have eternal life: 
and they are they which testify of me.
- John 5:39 -

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, 
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, 
for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, 
thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17 -

The Bible's value has been described in many ways-
as the traveler's map, 
the pilgrim's staff,
the pilot's compass,
the soldier's sword,
and the Christian's charter.

Read it to be wise,
believe it to be safe,
and practice it to be holy.
Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully.
It is a mine of wealth,
a paradise of glory,
and a river of pleasure.
- Unknown -

Have a blessed Lord's Day, friends!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Coffee Cake Banana Muffins

SUGAR. . .

Hello, friends!
Today I have an oh-so-tasty coffee cake banana muffin recipe.
The crumb topping adds just the right amount of sweetness
to the traditional banana bread recipe.

3-4 medium or large bananas
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sour cream {or Greek yogurt}

Crumb Topping
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, cold

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
Place cupcake liners in a cupcake pan
{I got 18 muffins out of this recipe}

For the muffins. . .
In a small bowl, 
mash bananas, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add in eggs and beat until mixed.
To the wet ingredients, sift in flour, baking soda, and salt.
Stir until just combined. 
Add in sour cream and stir.
Pour in mashed bananas
and mix until combined.

For the tasty crumb topping. . .
Combine cinnamon, flour, and brown sugar. 
Cut in butter with a pastry cutter
and mix until the topping looks like coarse crumbs. 
Sprinkle coating evenly over the batter in both pans.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean 
with just a few moist crumbs stuck to it.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes
and then move to a wire cooling rack.


Kindness is like sugar,
it makes life taste a little sweeter.

As always, 
it's a real delight to have you pop in for a visit.
Have a most wonderful day, friends!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

These Healing Hills - Book Review

Francine Howard has her life all mapped out 
until the soldier she planned to marry at WWII's end writes to tell her 
he's in love with a woman in England. 
Devastated, Francine seeks a fresh start in the Appalachian Mountains, 
training to be a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Service.

Deeply affected by the horrors he witnessed at war, 
Ben Locke has never thought further ahead than making it home to Kentucky. 
His future shrouded in as much mist as his beloved mountains, 
he's at a loss when it comes to envisioning what's next for his life.

When Francine's and Ben's paths intersect, 
it's immediately clear that they are from different worlds and value different things. 
But love has a way of healing old wounds . . . 
and revealing tantalizing new possibilities.

My Thoughts
First let me just say, "WOW!"
These Healing Hills is an amazing story
that will first touch your heart and end with your soul.
If you don't read anymore of this review at least read this:
These Healing Hills is a winner
and a book I highly recommend!
And with that being said let's dive into this review.

The story is set in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains and the minute you begin reading 
you will feel as though you have been transported  to this beautiful and rugged place.
You can almost smell the fresh mountain air
and feel the warm sunshine as you read the words of These Healing Hills.
Ann H. Gabhart has a way with words
and in this book she does not disappoint.
She brings her characters to life 
and the images she paints in the reader's mind 
will stay with you long after you have read the last page.

Francine, the main female character,
had a heart of gold and a love for the mountain people...
a love that was contagious and oh-so-sweet.

Ben is a precious soul that can't wait to get home,
but is unsure of his place on the mountain when he does finally arrive.

Woody was an absolute delight
and anytime his name popped up on the pages I couldn't help but smile.
He was filled with energy and charisma.

Granny Em was ever so lovable
and someone with wisdom so deep it could go on for ages.

The characters and setting truly make this book
a work of art.
Ann H. Gabhart did an excellent job
and left me wanting more.
A 5-star review!

** I was given a free copy of this book from Revell Publishers for an honest review.
All thoughts are my own. No other compensation was received. 
Thank you Revell! **

About the Author
Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several Shaker novels--
The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted--
as well as Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, Love Comes Home, 
Words Spoken True, and The Heart of Hollyhill series.
 She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. 
Learn more at www.annhgabhart.com

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

**REMINDER** Last Two Days To Sign Up

Happy day to you, friends!

I wanted to let you know that 
today and tomorrow are the last two days to sign up
for the Tea Cup and Mug Exchange.

You can click on the link below
to read more about the exchange and to sign up:

I hope you're able to join the fun,
sweet friends.

Also, several of the handmade items in my Etsy Shop
have been marked down by 25% {no coupon necessary}.
A fun little end-of-summer sale so we can make room for new goodies.
Stop by for a peek:

Love, hugs, and blessings to you!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

11th Tea Cup and Mug Exchange Sign-Up

***Registration is now closed***

Tea is to the body
as music is to the soul.
- Earlene Grey -

Sweet friends,
it's time for the 11th Tea Cup and Mug Exchange!
If this is your first time participating in the exchange 
than let me warmly welcome you - I am so glad you are going to join the fun.
If you are a returning participant than let me just say "Welcome back!"

The past Tea Cup and Mug Exchanges have brought many women together
from all around the world and lasting friendships have been made.
The idea of this exchange formed one day while I was looking at my collection of tea cups
and I thought to myself that it would be a joy to bring ladies together over a cup of tea.
The first exchange was a success and soon mugs were included
since everyone has different tastes and styles.
At the end of this post you can visit the links to previous exchanges
and see what others have been blessed with.

Now, lets go over a few details 
and hopefully I will answer all of your questions concerning this exchange.

Please read this entire post for the complete details.

It's very easy to participate. . .

The exchange is open to everyone 
whether you're from America, England, Canada, Sweden, Australia, etc.
The more the merrier. . . 
and who doesn't love making friends from another country?

Also, you DO NOT need to have a blog in order to participate.

Let's go over a few rules . . .

{ 1 }
You will need to purchase a tea cup with a saucer or a mug, 
or you can send one from your own collection;
it's completely up to you.
If you send one from your own collection 
please make sure it's in good condition with no stains or chips.
Tea cups or mugs from antique or thrifts stores are also fine,
but again, please make sure they are in good condition.

{ 2 }
Please add tea or coffee 
at least one extra item to your tea cup or mug package.
It can be handmade treasures, doilies, linens, etc.
Some participants enjoy sending a package full of goodies
while others are only able to send a few items.
Either one is fine and acceptable.
You can look at the reveal post from the last exchange 
to see what other women have received.
The link will be at the end of the post.

You will send a tea cup/mug package to a special someone 
and you will receive a tea cup/mug package from a special someone else
so you will be making two friends in the process.

{ 3 }
You must fill out the registration form in order to participate.

All you have to do is click on the link below
and answer the questions.

Registration Closed

{ 4 }
PLEASE do not join the exchange only to receive something
and not send anything out - this is terrible etiquette!
If you sign up than you are committed to sending a tea cup/mug parcel.
I understand that life happens
and if you sign up, but then realize you cannot participate
please let me know before September 20th.

*** Whatever you sign up to exchange is what you will send and receive. ***
You can also sign up to exchange both a tea cup and mug.

Sign up for the tea cup exchange will start today, September 13th
and will go until Wednesday, September 20th.
so we have one week to sign up and spread the word.
I will email each one of you on either Saturday the 23rd or Sunday the 24th
with the information you need to send your special someone her tea cup or mug.

We have until Friday, October 6th
to get a tea cup/mug package together and shipped out.

I would advise those of you who choose to ship overseas to send your packages out
immediately after receiving the information of the person you are sending to
because shipping takes at least 2 - 4 weeks longer.

And finally. . . 
I will have a linky party on my blog the first or second week of November.
so that we can share our treasures with everyone.
The reason for having the link up later 
is because we want to make sure everyone has their tea cup or mug in hand.

If you do not have a blog you can send me pictures of your new tea cup or mug
and I will put them on my blog for all to see.

Does everything make sense, sweet friends?
You can email me with any questions that you might have:

For those of you that sign up I will be in touch periodically via email
with updates and reminders.

One more thing, I will also be giving your email address to the lady that is sending to you
so that if there are any issues with shipping you and the sender can work things out.
If you do not wish for me to give your email address out than please let me know.

The Tea Cup and Mug Exchanges in the past have been a tremendous blessing
and I know this one will be as well so please join us for some sweet fun.
You can see what others received from the last exchange by clicking on this link:

You can also read a few testimonials 
from ladies that joined the past exchanges by clicking on the link below:

Here is the button for the 11th Tea Cup and Mug Exchange.
Simply save the image and add it to your sidebar.
Copy and paste this code with the image
so that others can find the exchange and join the fun:

* *  * Remember * * *
Please fill out the form by clicking on the link below: 

Registration Closed

You must fill out the form in order to participate! 
If you have any issues with the form please email me at: 

Please keep in mind that the the next exchange will be in a year.
I will not be hosting this event in the spring,
but rather only during the autumn season.

 Love and hugs to you, dear friends! 
I hope you join the fun! 

Everything stops
for tea.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

I'll Be A Sunbeam

Let your light so shine before men, 
that they may see your good works, 
and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
- Matthew 5:16 -

Jesus wants me for a sunbeam,
To shine for Him each day;
In every way try to please Him,
At home, at school, at play.

Jesus wants me to be loving,
And kind to all I see;
Showing how pleasant and happy,
His little one can be.

I will ask Jesus to help me
To keep my heart from sin;
Ever reflecting His goodness,
And always shine for Him.

I’ll be a sunbeam for Jesus,
I can if I but try;
Serving Him moment by moment,
Then live for Him on high.

A sunbeam, a sunbeam,
Jesus wants me for a sunbeam;
A sunbeam, a sunbeam,
I’ll be a sunbeam for Him.
- Nellie Talbot -

I was looking through an old hymnal the other day
and I came across this beloved song.
I haven't thought of it in years and when I began reading the words 
I was taken back to my childhood and the many times I sang it 
in Sunday School or with my mom.
While this might be a "children's" song,
it is a good reminder to be a sunbeam for Jesus
in all areas of my life. . .
to please Him wherever I am. . .
to reflect His goodness. . . 
to serve Him moment by moment.

Have a blessed Lord's Day, dear friends!
{{{ hugs }}}

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Crisis Shot - Book Review

Tess O’Rourke dreams of becoming 
the first female chief of police in Long Beach, California. 
As commander of the East Division, she is well on her way . . . 
until the night she responds to an officer-needs-assistance call 
and fatally shoots an unarmed teenager. 
Despite being cleared of wrongdoing by a grand jury, 
Tess is so hounded by the public that she takes a job in Oregon to escape the bad press.

Winning over the residents of Rogue’s Hollow might be more difficult 
than adjusting to her new role as police chief in the small, backwater town. 
Especially when her closest friend, the pastor’s wife, 
goes missing and the woman’s cousin is found shot. 
Tess finds an ally in sheriff’s deputy Steve Logan, 
but as they track down Rogue’s Hollow’s first murderer, 
she worries that she’s breaking one of her rules and getting too close to him.

My Thoughts
Crisis Shot is my first book by Janice Cantore
and it certainly won't be my last.
This book is the first in the Line of Duty series
so if you're looking for an exciting series to follow and enjoy
than this one might be right up your alley.

Crisis Shot is set in a quaint little town in Oregon called Rogue's Hollow
and I must say that reading this story is like taking a mini vacation.
Janice does a wonderful job of describing the town and all that makes up the town
that it's like you have jumped into the very story you are reading.
Also, may I just mention that Janice Cantore
seems to breathe life into her characters
and their personalities flow effortlessly throughout the story.
Each character is portrayed in such a way
that makes you feel as if you've known them for years.

While I enjoyed this book
and I would recommend it to those who enjoy suspense,
I feel the need to mention that the book seemed a bit slow at first.
I confess that when I started the book
I figured it would be one that I couldn't put down,
but sadly, I did put it down
and it took a few days for me to get interested in picking it back up.
But with that said, once I got half way through the story picked up its pace
and oh, what a fantastic read!
I understand that the author is starting a new series
and it does take a little while to introduce the reader to the town and characters
so I am simply assuming that is why it was slow at the beginning.
So my friends, that is my only complaint
and it's not too serious of a complaint.
I think that is evidence that this book is one you might enjoy.

** I was provided a copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers
in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received. **

About the Author
Janice Cantore is a retired Long Beach police officer
who now writes suspense novels to keep readers engrossed
and leave them inspired.
Her twenty-two years of experience on the force
lend authenticity to her stories.
She has penned nine novels:
the Pacific Coast Series, Critical Pursuit, Visible Threat,
and the Cold Case Justice series.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Beautifully Sewn By Prairie Rose Sewing

A very happy Wednesday to you, friends!
How are you on this lovely day of September?

Today I have some delightful goodies to show you
that were handmade by my dear friend Sarah.

Sarah has her own Etsy shop
 where she sells modest clothing, 
handmade items such as quilts and wooden toys,
and vintage delights like tea cups and beautiful china.
I mentioned to Sarah that I had a pattern for a skirt
that I would never get around to making
so I asked if she would be interested in sewing one. . .or three for me.
She graciously said yes - what a dear!
I picked out the fabric,
took my measurements,
and sent everything her way.

This sweet floral print is perfect for summer.

Next up is this darling sunflower print
that shouts out autumn.

And the third skirt has lovely little dandelion puffs all over it.
I must confess that I am in love with this one.

A year ago Sarah made me a beautiful dress
which you can find HERE.
Sarah does beautiful work and you can tell she puts a lot of love and care
into her handmade creations.
She is happy to custom make items for her customers
and she would welcome an order from you.
You can visit her shop by clicking on the link below:
She also has a Facebook page which you can find HERE.

Sarah has kindly offered my friends and readers a discount.
Simply use the coupon code FRIENDS15
for 15% off your order.
Sarah also offers free shipping for USA residents.

And while we're on the subject of friends
I am very excited to share with you a new blog
that my friend Chas recently started called
Chas and I met through the tea cup and mug exchange
and then we, along with her daughter, had the pleasure of meeting over tea 
since we live only a few hours away from one another.
Chas is a very talented lady
and her blog is filled with wonderful tips and creations.
I encourage you to stop by for a little visit.

Today is the last day for you to enjoy 20% off you order
Get ahead on your Christmas shopping, sweet friends!

And may I remind you that next Wednesday
registration for the 11th Tea Cup and Mug Exchange will officially begin.
You can click HERE to read about this lovely event.

Hugs and love to you, friends!
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