Friday, December 30, 2016

To End the Year

To end this year I decided against a post. Instead, I am sharing 10 videos that I have come to love during the 2016 year. Each one tells a story and each one is unique. I hope you enjoy the music. 

The 2016 Top 10 Songs

 1: Lauren Daigle - Come Alive (Dry Bones)


2: The Afters - Live on Forever


3: Unspoken - Open the Clouds


4: Ryan Stevenson - Eye of the Storm


5: Skillet - Stars


6: Switchfoot - Live It Well


7: Need to Breathe - Happiness


8: Hawk Nelson - Diamonds


9: Capital Kings - Believer


10: For King & Country- Shoulders

 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmastime in Iowa

The snow has fallen. Wind chills have dipped to negative temperatures. And we still vacant our domiciles and venture into the shopping world. That is life in Iowa. A little snow (about a foot or more) won't hinder us a bit, maybe delay us, slow us down, but not hinder.

I think it is different for true Iowans rather than transplants; but we hang in there with the best of them (although sometimes we seem to be more layered clothing-wise than they).

Yesterday we spent a little time at the mall shopping for each other. With not a lot of money, wise choices had to be made. For some reason my husband thinks shopping for me is hard. That I don't understand. I appreciate any gift given. From rocks to books, from house shoes to a scarf, and anywhere in between. I like sparkles, the color white, psychedelic patterns and colors, books, music, little blankets or pillows, snowglobes/waterglobes/globes, and even maps. In other words, to me a gift from the heart is more priceless than the greatest ruby. 

I found a few things for my husband today, too. Hit a deal that scored a freebie item, one that was severely discounted, and another by using some rewards points that I had garnered.  Found exactly what I wanted to give to my son.

But Christmas isn't about presents under the tree. That is just a perk of the holiday. The ultimate present is Jesus. Born to die for us and to be set as King of all nations.
 
I love this holiday. The lights, the snow and weather, the tree, the warm cocoa, the music and art, but most of all, the love that this holiday has the ability to show.

As the year closes, and as I read my one book that I always love to read at this time of year, I can reflect that through the grace of Christ, born unto us as our Saviour, this year was a pretty good year.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Give the Gift of Books

Christmas has always been a wonderful time to me. I love the lights, the decorations, the music, and most of all the love. Even though it seems that each year the Christmas seems to become more commercialize, I have seen a resurgence of the true meaning of Christmas. 

When it comes to gifts, a lot of gifts are not needed nor should it be practiced. Instead, think of the wise men and how their three gifts were precious in the sight of God.

To help with choosing a few gifts, I am listing a few books that I have found that would be enjoyed. Click the link to connect with the author via social media. And help support an author this Christmas and buy one of the books. 

Romance:

Summer's Flame by Wendy Davy


Surrender to Peace by Rose Allen McCauley


Caged Dove by Andrea Rodgers


Tapestry of Trust by Mary Annslee Urban


From Dishes to Snow by Kathy M. Howard


Contemporary (some with a romance thread)

Flabbergasted by Ray Blackston


Mississippi Nights by D.M. Webb


Fixing Perfect by Therese M. Travis


The 17 by Clint Kelly


Futuristic/Speculative/YA/Supernatural

Wake the Dead by Victoria Buck


Vanquished by Katie Clark


The Watchman by V.B. Tenery


Historical/Historical Romance

The Madonna of Pisano by MaryAnn Diorio


Mail Order Surprise by Lucy Thompson


Lightning on a Quiet Night by Donn Taylor



These are just a few books selected from the reviews from Rebel Book Reviews. I hope you would choose at least one, if not more, for those special Christmas presents.
 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Christmas Excerpt from 30 Days: A Devotional Memoir

(Ambassador International 2013)
Luke 2:14
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

This is a story told by my mother to all of her children. This is a story that helped to make sense why every Christmas we had an orange. And no other orange would smell as sweet, taste as soothing, and feel as smooth as that Christmas orange.
 

~~~~~~~
The Christmas Orange by Betty Sue Tutor

I grew up in a large family. As a large, poor family we seldom had a Christmas tree, much less Christmas toys. We waited for Santa Claus, but usually we got an orange and a note promising presents "next year". The Christmas that always stood out in my mind was when I was around three years old.
I remember waking up on Christmas morning and seeing a lot of cars and trucks in the yard. We didn't own a vehicle, so even a few cars would seem like a lot to me back then. We had just moved into the community and had very few household items. I remember walking into a room that must have been a living room without furniture, and there were several people sitting around on the floor with boxes of food, toys, presents, fruit, and clothes in front of them.

My mom was sitting in a straight-back chair hold the baby, and someone asked, "Which one is Betty Sue?" My older sister pushed me towards the person, but I was reluctant to go as I was a very shy child. My mom encouraged me to go to them. The person who asked for me showed me a box with my name on it and said it was for me. The one thing that caught my eye was an orange. I grabbed the orange and bit into the peeling. Nothing else mattered but that orange.

The people who came that Christmas morning were from a local church. And they had heard of a poor family that had a lot of kids without a Christmas...and that was the best Christmas I ever had.

This memory had helped me understand missionaries, missions, and the true meaning of Christmas. These people were simple ordinary people going about the Lord's work, and none of them knew the impact they had on my life nor the influence they had on me as a Christian.

I shared this memory with my mom and older sister when I was eighteen years old. They were both surprised I could remember that Christmas, since I was only three years old. My mom filled me in on the circumstances: how the church had heard from the farmer, on whose land we were living, about how we were poor, without food and without winter clothing. She said she cried that day thanking God for sending those people to help us and told me to keep this memory, to share it with my kids...I did, and I have.

Every Christmas I look forward to my Christmas orange, and every Christmas I find my orange under the tree, even if I have to put it there myself on Christmas Eve. A bag of oranges can sit on my counter, but the one that tastes the best is the one I find under my Christmas tree on Christmas morning.

Praise God for ordinary people willing to go about doing the Lord's work, and thank God for Christmas morning and my Christmas orange.
~~~~~~~
 
This memory of my mom's happened in 1955. And I still do not tire of reading her words. I am reminded of how in our daily life we touch the lives of others. We may never know it and may never will, but if we live our lives as Christ-centered as possible, then good things will always happen. 
 
I love my Christmas orange and still like to put them under the tree for my family. What about you? Is there a Christmas memory that holds a special place in your memory?
 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Grace Marshall & Unexpected Allies and Recurring Warts

Some titles will jump out at me and this book is no exception. Curiosity overcame me and I had to learn more about this book and its author. And what a joy it was, too. I have a niece who loves horses and these books will bring her joy. (Glad she doesn't read my blog since I just gave away her Christmas present!)

Read more about Grace Marshall and her book, Unexpected Allies and Recurring Warts

Grace Marshall was born in Wisconsin, lived for some time in Illinois and Tennessee, and currently resides in Missouri. She juggles her time between her cat, her oversized dog, her business, writing, and her dashing husband. She believes in living life to the fullest and can't wait to see where God will take her or have her write next. She is the author of the "Horse Haven" series and Person of Faith, as well as an occasional contributor of articles to newspapers. 

Her second book in the Horse Haven series, Unexpected Allies and Recurring Warts, was released in September 2016.

Book blurb:

A spunky kitten on a daring rescue, a neglected mare full of love, and boys that recur like warts make teenager Ruth Deloach’s life far from boring. For every kind person that comes to the ranch there seem to be two warts. The attitudes and temperatures of southeast Missouri starkly contrast the suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but Ruth doesn’t have time to adjust before her father holds an open house for their horse ranch, Meredith Meadows. Ruth’s overbearing older brother seems to just add dangerous sparks to her frustration as she tries to figure out who she has to be nice to and who she actually wants to be nice to. At first, the horse lessons on the ranch start making Ruth feel as if she is back in her comfort zone until she gets tossed by one of the horses. Sometimes the best way through life is to laugh through the tears, warts, and her own attempts to mow the grass in a straight line.

Sounds great, doesn't it!! 

Let's read more about Unexpected Allies and Recurring Warts. 


[RBR] Your title is different and quite unique. How did you come by the title of your book?

[GM] The title emerged from the story. The first book in the series is No Pizza Delivery? and I wanted to continue along the same lines of having a fun and unique title. Both parts of the title are from scenes in the book.

[RBR] Your books are geared towards an younger audience, but yet it seems as though adults will enjoy it, too. Do you find writing for a younger audience challenging?

[GM] At times I find it somewhat difficult to find an appropriate balance between keeping the book from being too juvenile but also not too heavy or complicated with in depth material and difficult issues. I absolutely love writing for the age range of young adults to new adults, though. I hope my books can help and inspire people in those age ranges.

[RBR] What do you hope your readers will learn from your book? What is its main theme?

[GM] I hope readers will learn to laugh and shake things off when life comes at them. I hope they will learn that with God they are never alone and to keep moving forward because even if things are bad now, God has it under control.

[RBR] This is book 2 of the Horse Haven series, yes? Do you like having horses as a central part of your books? How do you incorporate the use of horses in your stories?

[GM] Yes, it is book two. I really enjoy having horses as a central part of my books. I have been horse crazy since I was a little girl. When I was a teenager I had a hard time finding good horse series for teens, so I am writing those books I was looking for. Horses are a very active part of the stories since they take place on a horse ranch and the main character, Ruth, is horse-crazy. She learns a lot about horses and spends time with different horse characters throughout the books.

Fun question:
[RBR] What is your favorite classic movie and why?

[GM] “It’s A Wonderful Life” because of the message. It really is a wonderful life, even when things are bad, don’t give up hope!

Grace, that is my favorite movie, too! It's been great hosting you on Pen, Paper, & a Keyboard.

To connect with Grace and learn more about her books, please use the links below.