If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Giving Thanks Challenge

http://southbreezefarm.blogspot.com/2010/10/2010-giving-thanks-challenge.html

I am so thankful for:
01 - Jesus, my Lord and Savior - who daily tries to make me more like Christ.
02 - My wonderful husband - who always loves me, no matter what.
03 - My beautiful daughters - who definitely keep me hopping.

04 - My job - which keeps me busy and mostly out of trouble.

05 - Good books to read.
06 - Saturdays - Relaxing Family Days
07 - Sundays - Blessed day to worship Jesus with family and friends.
08 - Girlfriends
09 - Good Music - It lifts my spirits and I love it!
10 - My Church - I love these brothers and sisters in Christ.
11 - My dog Lily - She loves me no matter what.
12 - Chocolate
13 - Disney (You didn't think I'd skip this did you?)
14 - Piano - I love to play and listen to others play.
15 - My mom and dad.
16 - Health
17 - My brothers and sisters
18 - My home
19 - Peace
20 - Sleep
21 - Christmas Carols
22 - Christmas Specials
23 - Christmas Lights
24 - Homemade chocolate chip cookies - I'll be making them tonight for Thanksgiving with the family tomorrow.
25 - The opportunity to be with my family today.
26 - Shopping with my hubby and youngest
27 - Christmas Tree
28 - Going to lunch after church with my hubby's family! Love them all!
29 - Jesus!
30 - Christmas!


Linda at Mocha with Linda gave me the ideal to post the completed challenge in a post so I'll be able to refer back to them when I need to county my many blessings.  I am also thankful to Leah at South Breeze Farm for giving us this challenge.  It's been a good thing to deliberately think about the things I'm thankful for.

Hallelujah!



Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman

"The Pirate Queen" by Patricia Hickman

Back Cover:  Treasure is found in the most unlikely places.

The envy of all her friends, wife and mother Saphora Warren is the model of southern gentility and accomplishment. She lives in a beautiful Lake Norman home, and has raised three capable adult children. Her husband is a successful plastic surgeon--and a philanderer. It is for that reason that, after hosting a garden party for Southern Living magazine, Saphora packs her bags to escape the trappings of the picturesque-but-vacant life.

Saphora’s departure is interrupted by her husband Bender’s early arrival home, and his words that change her life forever: I’m dying.

Against her desires, Saphora agrees to take care of Bender as he fights his illness. They relocate, at his insistance, to their coastal home in Oriental—the same house she had chosen for her private getaway. When her idyllic retreat is overrun by her grown children, grandchildren, townspeople, relatives, and a precocious neighbor child, Saphora’s escape to paradise is anything but the life she had imagined. As she gropes for evidence of God's presence amid the turmoil, can she discover that the richest treasures come in surprising packages?

Patty cropped_editedAuthor Bio from her website http://patriciahickman.com/ :  
“. . . engaging characters–quirky, flawed, but endearing–a vivid sense of place, and a wonderfully droll, tell-it-like-it-is narrator. . . the ideal book to lose yourself in on a rainy–or any day.”  ~ NAEEM MURR, author of The Boy, The Genius of the Sea, and The Perfect Man.

“I write about family life and the emotional lives of women. My writing is influenced by the music, nature, and culture of the South with its mountain-walled valleys and impulsive rivers.  I tell the stories of a people shaped by the yen of land and shorelines. As a girl, I nursed an innate curiosity for finding extraordinary stories in the lives of ordinary people, as was evidenced in my asking each new person I met to tell me their story.” ~ Patricia Hickman

Patricia Hickman, M.F.A., is an award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction whose work has been praised by critics and readers alike.  Patricia first studied creative writing at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and then went on to do graduate studies in creative writing at Queens University. She writes for major publishers and is currently at work on her eighteenth book, a novel set in the North Carolina Piedmont. Her next novel,The Pirate Queen, will release Summer 2010, a story that takes readers journeying from suburban Lake Norman to the sailing villages of the Outer Banks.  She has served as a writing professor at UNCC and taught in writing workshops across the country offering her popular “Creating Characters–Giving Story People Life” workshops and courses on fiction. She, along with her hubby, founded a non-profit charity that benefits moms and children with HIV called The Secret Angels Project.  Her fiction is known for its depth of understanding of the human condition underscored by redemptive themes.

My thoughts:  I really enjoyed each of the characters in this book a lot.  The main character, Saphora was a southern lady that was ready to make a big change in her life.  She was very strong (although she didn't think she was) and she was always doing for her family.  Now she had decided to take care of herself.

In the beginning several of the characters (including her children and grandchildren) were people I didn't think I would like, but the effects of events in their lives made them more than they started out being. 

I love Pastor Mims and Tobias is such a really neat kid (kind of an old soul).  If you're looking for a book that depicts how a family going through a crisis can come together and help each other, this is a book you may want to read.  This book also can show you how you may have things all planned out, but life can change drastically in just a few minutes time.  Ms. Hickman did an awesome job of developing the characters and I think I'm really going to miss them now that I'm finished with the book.

FTC disclaimer: This book was provided for review by Blogging for Books.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Press book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday Hodgepodge



Click here to go to visit Joyce at From This Side of the Pond to join in with all the fun of Wednesday Hodgepodge.
1. If you had known what they knew then, would you have boarded the Mayflower?
Probably not...I would be too chicken.  I wish I was that brave, but alas...I'm not.


2. How far have you traveled on a boat and how do you feel about boats in general?
I've been on 2 cruises.  One to the Bahamas and one to the Virgin Islands.  Got a little nauseaus on both, but that passed after the first evening and the rest of the cruise was awesome!

3. What traditions have you kept, acquired thru marriage, and/or tossed? If you're single what are some of your family's favorite Thanksgiving traditions?
I still get with my family for Thanksgiving...Things have had to change (mom can no longer do it all), but we still all get together for Thanksgiving lunch. We do Thanksgiving with my family and Christmas Day with hubby's family.  That is my favorite tradition, just being with family for the holidays.



4. What time is dinner and how many will be round your table? And what is the one side dish you cannot do without on Thanksgiving day?
Dinner is at 1:00pm and there will be 16 I think.  My oldest won't be there though.  I hate that, but we'll see her in a couple weeks.  Yay!!!!   Dumplins are one of the things I can't do without.


5. Have you ever used a fire extinguisher? Do tell....
No

6. Tell about a situation that caused you dreadful trepidation and feet dragging, only to realize later it was a true blessing.
Facilitating my first Beth Moore Bible Study.  It scared me to death.



7. Baked, sweet, mashed, hash browned or french fried...which one's your favorite?
If it's a potato, it can't be bad.  They are all awesome!


8. Insert your own random thought here.
I can't wait for Christmas! 


Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Never Knew.

Something to think about.

"I NEVER KNEW" The Extent of One Man's "Limited" Ministry
While in a large East Coast city on business, Dan had spent the evening drinking in the hotel bar. Having sworn that this trip would be different, he was feeling pretty disgusted with himself the next morning. He decided a long walk might clear his head and his mood, so he struck out and soon found himself on a narrow residential street. The houses were small but clean, and well kept, and Dan sensed that he had chosen a good direction.
About halfway down the block, an elderly gentleman looked up from his chore of raking leaves, and greeted Dan warmly. "Good morning to you," he smiled. "Looks like the Lord has put together another beautiful day, doesn't it?"
The old man looked at Dan's bleary eyes and rumpled clothing. "You know, son, Jesus Christ could make this the best day of your life, if you'll let Him." He reached into his pocket and handed Dan a small tract. "Why don't you look this over and stop by and see me again?"
Dan half-heartedly thanked his benefactor, stuck the tract into his jacket pocket, and went on his way. He didn't read the tract, but somehow he never quite managed to throw it away. A year later, on another business trip, Dan found himself frantically pacing his hotel room. He was at the end of his rope, spiritually, financially, emotionally, and physically.
By habit, he threw on his jacket and started for the door. But as he shoved his hand into his pocket, that persistent little tract touched his fingers. He pulled it out, went to his bed, and read through its entirety. He opened his nightstand and found the Gideon Bible he knew would be there, and carefully researched the verses the tract had referenced. He was not familiar with God's Word, and was grateful to have a copy readily available to him for just this purpose. After satisfying himself that all the verses listed in the Gospel tract were real, and feeling as if he had reached a point of decision in his life, he then fell to his knees and, at that very moment, ended his old life and began a brand new one in Christ.
The following years of Dan's life were a whirlwind of joy and struggle. He became a minister of the Gospel and was invited to city after city, country after country, to share his love for the Lord and the miraculous way in which the Lord had changed him. Time after time, as Dan shared his message, people would come to him and say, "That's amazing! You know, I was in that same city, took a wrong turn, and stopped in front of a house to ask directions. An old man was working in a flower bed and gave me a Gospel tract."
Each story was different, and yet each story told how people from all over the globe, people who had for many different reasons come to that city, had found themselves drawn to a narrow residential street where an old man worked in his yard.
---
Some time later, Dan returned to the city where his new life had begun. But this time he was there to preach a revival in a local church. Remembering the old man who had given him the tract, he made his way back to the tiny white house. Seeing no one outside, he knocked on the door. A slow shuffle of feet could be heard, and finally the door cracked open.
"Sir, you probably don't remember me," Dan began, "but you gave me a Gospel tract several years ago, and I wanted you to know that it's because of your faithful witness that I now stand here before you as a minister ofthe Gospel of Jesus Christ."
The old man swung the door open wide, revealing a metal walker before his bent and feeble body. "Come in, come in," he told Dan as the tears streamed down both their faces. Dan followed him into a tiny living room.
"Praise God, praise God!" The elderly gentleman's voice shook with age and emotion. "All these years I wondered if I was making a difference. You see, my wife -she's gone now, God rest her soul -was an invalid, and I couldn't get out except to work in the yard. For her last eighteen years, I had to be here all the time, so I prayed every day for the Lord to send me people who needed to hear the Word. What a blessing to know about you, son."
"Oh, sir," Dan told him, moving to his side and taking his hand, "I've heard about you all over the world." And as Dan told of the many people who had come to know the Lord through the witness of this silver-haired believer, the man wept uncontrollably.
"Thank you, Jesus," the faithful old witness kept repeating, "I never knew. I just wanted to be faithful to my Lord!"
"So shall my word be that goeth forth out ofmy mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. J) Isaiah 55: 11, KN.
"Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." 1 Corinthians 4:2, KN.
Reprinted from The Gideon, June 2004

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday Hodgepodge



Click here to go to visit Joyce at From This Side of the Pond to join in with all the fun of Wednesday Hodgepodge.

1. What is the most amazing weather you've ever seen?
I don't know really.  But some of my favorite weather is about 70-75 degrees on a sunny day with blue skies and big fluffy white clouds.

2. What is a sound or noise you love?
A little child's sweet laughter

3. Do you like seafood? What's your favorite seafood dish?
Fried Shrimp or broiled orange roughy

4. What part of your day requires the most patience?
When I first get home from work on a day that I'm really tired and having to face dinner and all the things that hit when you first walk in the door.  Give me about 20 minutes of rest and then I'm ready to do it.

5. What's your favorite shade of blue?
Royal blue 

6. Do people underestimate you?
I don't know (do you?)

7. When was the last time you had butterflies in your stomach?
I'm not sure the last time, but anytime I have a doctor's appointment.

8. Insert your own random thought here, and remember...I have a wooden spoon and I'm not afraid to use it.
I just got a Kindle and I think I'm gonna love it!

Monday, November 15, 2010

He Maketh No Mistake

He Maketh No Mistake
-A. M. Overton



My Father’s way may twist and turn,
My heart may throb and ache,
But in my soul I’m glad I know,
He maketh no mistake.

My cherished plan may go astray,
My hopes may fade away,
But still I’ll trust in my Lord to lead,
For He doth know the way.

Tho’ night be dark and it may seem,
That day will never break,
I’ll pin my faith, my all in Him,
He maketh no mistake.

There’s so much now I cannot see,
My eyesight far too dim,
But come what may, I’ll simply trust
And leave it all to Him.

For by and by the mist will lift,
And plain it all He’ll make.
Through all the way, tho’ dark to me,
He made not one mistake.

My husband used this poem in his sermon Sunday and I realize once again that it all comes down to "Do we trust Him or not?"  I choose to trust Him, even in the hard times because my God makes no mistake.  What about you?


Saturday, November 13, 2010

There is Nothing Greater Than Grace

Click here to join in with Then Sings My Soul Saturdays


Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

SkyWatch Friday

It's time again for SkyWatch Friday. Click here to join in the fun and/or to see beautiful sky photos from all over the world.

I took this picture one morning last week from my driveway.  I love these great big white clouds.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday Hodgepodge



Click the button above to go and join up to play Wednesday Hodgepodge with From This Side of the Pond.

1. Do you think you're more like your mom or your dad?
My mom...I look like her (sort of) and I act a lot like here too.  Personnally, I think that's a good thing.  I love my mom and she's a really cool person.

2. Do you like roller coasters?
Yes I do.  They scare me to death, but I love them anyway!  ha

3. How did you name your blog and do you now wish you'd thought about it maybe another five minutes before you hit publish? Would you change your blog title if it were not a huge pain in the derriere? (French makes everything sound a little nicer doesn't it?)
TCKK is the first initial of hubby, me and the girls.  Sometimes I think about changing it, but I don't think I will.

4. What is the best wedding gift you received? Not married? Didn't get any gifts? Then what is the best wedding gift you've given?
I loved them all just because people took time to think about us.

5. What is the one bill you most hate to pay?
Credit card

6. Is the glass half full or half empty?
It depends on what we're talking about.  I want to be a glass half full type person, but I don't always succeed.  

7. What is your favorite word? Okay okay. Calm down. How about one of your favorite words?
Joy

8. My thought for this is:  Thank you Joyce for starting this.  I've been missing Random Dozen.  Love the name and the button.

A Path Less Traveled by Cathy Bryant


A Path Less Traveled by Cathy Bryant


Back Cover:  Trish James is tired of being rescued.  When a spooked horse claims her husband's life, she's determined to blaze a path for herself and her traumatized son without outside help.  But will that mean leaving the place etched on her heart?

Andy Tyler has had to struggle for everything, and starting a new law practice in Miller's Creek, Texas is no different.  Though prepared for business challenges, he's not prepared to fall in love--especially with yet another woman who will probably abandon him for her career.

Will Andy and Trish be able to see past their limited human understanding to take a path less traveled?

Author:  Cathy Bryant is a former public school teacher who handed in her chalk for a private music studio and writing career.  Her passion is to write heart-stirring stories that show God's life-changing grace.  Her debut novel, Texas Roads (a 2009 ACFW Genesis finalist) released in early 2010.  A Path Less Traveled, the second book in the Miller's Creek novels, was launched in the fall of 2010.  The Way of Grace (book three in the series) will be available in 2011.

Cathy is the owner and editor of the popular blog, WordVessel, and has written devotions for the Upper Room devotional magazine, and for two devotional books, Spirit & Heart: A 30-Day Devotional Journey and Faith & Finance:  In God We Trust.  She's the wife of a music minister, the mother of two grown sons and a beautiful daughter-in-love, and the Nana of Harrisen.  A Texas gal since birth, she lives in a century-old Texas farmhouse with her husband and a phobia-ridden cat.  Visit her website at www.CatBryant.com

A Path Less Traveled Trailer:




My Thoughts:  This book was totally and completely enjoyable to read.  I received the book on Friday and finished reading it on Sunday.  I could hardly put it down.  The storyline is very well written and grabbed my attention in the first chapter and never let me go.  I wish it could go on and on.  The two main characters have both been hurt in life and are kind of afraid to trust someone again.  Trish has a son called Little Bo and I just wanted to grab him up and give him a great big hug.  He was totally adorable.

One of my favorite lines in the book is this:  "God doesn't waste any hurt you endure, Trish.  What he allows into your life--even something as painful as Doc's death--He'll use for the days ahead..."  I believe this is so true and have seen it played out in my life.  I love it when I can read a really good fiction book and learn more about my relationship with Christ.  I recommend this book to anyone looking for a good story to read.  I can't wait until Book 3 in the series comes out next year.

Disclaimer:    I received this book for free from the author and these thoughts and opinions are my own and I am not required to to give a positive review.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Amazing Love

This was kinda fun.  My daughter had this on her FB, so I decided to grab it and try it myself.  Why don't you try it.

1. Put Your iTunes/ipod on shuffle
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. You must write down the name of the song, no matter how silly it sounds!


If someone says, “Is this okay?” You say?
Place in This World -Michael W. Smith
How would you describe yourself?
Tell Me the Story of Jesus -Gaither
What do you like in a guy/girl?
Wholly Yours -David Crowder Band
How do you feel today?
Have You Had a Gethsemane? - Homecoming Friends
What is your life’s purpose?
Right Here -Jeremy Camp
What is your motto?
American Dream -Casting Crowns
What do your friends think of you?
Amazing Grace -Billy Ray Cyrus  (I hope this is what they see when they see me)
What do you think of your parents?
My Redeemer Lives -Phillips, Craig & Dean  (This is what my parents raised me to know)
What do you think about very often?
Redeemer - Nicole C. Mullen (So true)
What is 2 + 2?
Chim Chim Cheree - Dick Van Dyke
What do you think of your best friend?
Worship the Lord - Ron Kenoly
What do you think of the person you like?
Welcome Home (You) -Brian Littrell
What is your life story?
God of Wonders -Caedon's Call/Third Day
What do you want to be when you grow up?
The Baptism of Jesse Taylor -Gaither
What do you think of when you see the person you like?
I Saw the Light - Gaither  (Well, at least when I saw my hubby.  lol)
What will you dance to at your wedding?
Great is the Lord -Michael W. Smith (could be at the wedding of the church (which I'm part of) and Jesus)
What will they play at your funeral?
The Least I Can Do -Gaither  (Hope that doesn't me that's what people think I've done...the least.  lol)
What is your hobby/interest?
We Shall Behold Him -Sandi Patty  (Not a bad hobby, looking for the Lord)
What is your biggest fear?
Beauty and the Beast -Angela Lansbury
What is your biggest secret?
Here I am to Worship -Plus One
What do you think of your friends?
More Than Wonderful -Larnelle Harris and Sandi Patty  (Yep they are)
What will you post this as?
Amazing Love (You Are My King) -Chris Rice

Monday, November 8, 2010

Girls in My Circle

I received this as an e-mail from a friend and I just wanted to share it with all my girlfriends.

Girls in My Circle

When I was little,
I used to believe in the concept of one best friend,
And then I started to become a woman.
And then I found out that if you allow your heart to open up,
God would show you the best in many friends.

One friend is needed when you're going through things with your man.
Another friend is needed when you're going through things with your mom.
Another will sit beside you in the bleachers as you delight in your children and their activities.
Another when you want to shop, share, heal, hurt, joke, or just be.
One friend will say, 'Let's cry together,'
Another , 'Let's fight together,'
Another , 'Let's walk away together.'

One friend will meet your spiritual need,
Another your shoe fetish,
Another your love for movies,
Another will be with you in your season of confusion,
Another will be your clarifier,
Another the wind beneath your wings.

But whatever their assignment in your life,
On whatever the occasion,
On whatever the day,
Or wherever you need them to meet you with their gym shoes on and hair pulled back,
Or to hold you back from making a complete fool of yourself ..
Those are your best friends.

It may all be wrapped up in one woman, But for many, it's wrapped up in several..
One from 7th grade,
One from high school,
Several from the college years,
a couple from old jobs,
On some days your mother,
On some days your neighbor,
On others, your sisters,
And on some days, your daughters.

So whether they've been your friend for 20 minutes or 20 years,
share this with the women that God has placed in your life
to make a difference.

To all my women friends, both "In Real Life Friends" and my "Blogging Friends", I appreciate all you do and mean to me.

May God richly bless each one of you.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

No More Nights - TSMSS

Why not click here and join Amy at Signs, Miracles, and Wonders for Then Sings My Soul Saturdays.
I'm looking forward to the time when they'll be no more tears and no more dying, just praising the Lamb of God!



The timeless theme, Earth and Heaven will pass away.
It’s not a dream, God will make all things new that day.
Gone is the curse from which I stumbled and fell.
Evil is banished to eternal hell.

No more night. No more pain.

No more tears. Never crying again.
And praises to the great "I AM."
We will live in the light of the risen Lamb.

See all around, now the nations bow down to sing.

The only sound is the praises to Christ, our King.
Slowly the names from the book are read.
I know the King, so there’s no need to dread.

No more night. No more pain.

No more tears. Never crying again.
And praises to the great "I AM."
We will live in the light of the risen Lamb.

See over there, there’s a mansion, oh, that’s prepared just for me,

Where I will live with my savior eternally.

No more night. No more pain.

No more tears. Never crying again.
And praises to the great "I AM."
We will live in the light of the risen Lamb.

All praises to the great "I AM."

We’re gonna live in the light of the risen Lamb.

I hope you have a great Saturday!

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Perfect Blend by Trish Perry

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (September 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to Karri James of Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Trish Perry is an award-winning writer and editor of Ink and the Spirit, a quarterly newsletter of the Capital Christian Writers organization in the Washington DC area. She has published numerous short stories, essays, devotionals, and poetry in Christian and general market media, and she is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers group.


Visit the author's website.




Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (September 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736930159
ISBN-13: 978-0736930154

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Steph Vandergrift was jilted in a truly beautiful place.

She focused on her surroundings so she wouldn’t break down and openly sob in front of people passing her on their way to work. Eyes blinking and chin quivering, she desperately sought distraction in the old stone buildings, lush spring greenery, and fragrant wisteria and lavender from the well-tended landscape nearby.

Rick told her she would love Middleburg, one of the most charming little towns in northern Virginia. When he proposed—

She breathed deeply against the urge to wail as if she were at an ancient European funeral.

When Rick proposed, he said she would even love his law firm’s stately, historic building. This was where she sat now, her dark bangs in her eyes. Despite the warm spring air, she huddled outside on the front steps, certain her brain—or surely her heart—would burst if she didn’t stop and collect herself.

A sudden leave of absence. That’s what the receptionist told her. Rick had taken a sudden leave of absence. And Steph knew she was whom he had suddenly left.

She swallowed hard. She stood and dusted off her short flared skirt in an attempt to look nonchalant while she sized up her situation. Where was she going to go? Where? She wiped away a tear, but another one swiftly took its place. She needed to not do this here, in the middle of this quaint old town.

God, what do I do now? Please tell me.

Distraction. She needed another distraction right now.

Across the street a middle-aged woman stepped out the front door of a small building, the white-painted stone of which was gorgeously weathered. She bent to lift a watering can, and her loose blond curls fell forward. She tended to the flower boxes that hung, moss-laden, from green-shuttered front windows. Then she seemed to sense someone watching her. She turned around and smiled at Steph before calling out to her.

“Good morning, dear. Are you all right over there?”

Steph took a few steps away from Rick’s building and tried to look purposeful. She managed to say, “Yes, I—” before her throat seized and then released a torrent of weeping and incoherent babbling.

So much for her stoic resolve.

Within seconds the woman was across the street and at Steph’s side. She smelled like vanilla and strawberries.

“You poor girl. Whatever is the matter?”

Steph tried to speak between heaving sobs. “…were s’posed to elope…left everything…job, family, friends…he’s not here…leave of absence…what…gonna do?” And then full-on wailing obliterated any further at-tempts at communication.

The woman enveloped Steph with her free arm, the other still holding the watering can, and steered her toward the little stone house across the street.

“You just come with me this instant. You mustn’t stand out here all alone like this.”

Yes. That was it. She was all alone. Rick had lured her away from everyone she loved. Everything she knew. She had left them all to marry him. It seemed like such a romantic notion, to elope after her parents had expressed their disapproval of Rick. And then what did the dirtbag do but desert her here?

The enticing smell of fresh-baked bread wafted all around them when they entered the little shop. Despite her anguish Steph sensed a rumble in her stomach. She thought she must be more beast than damsel to actually harbor hope for a pastry or two in the middle of this catastrophe.

“You have a seat right there.” The woman coaxed her into a wicker chair at one of the lace-covered tables in the dining area. “What you need is a nice, soothing cup of chamomile. Just give me a moment.” Before she went too far away, she stepped back to the table and placed a box of tissues within Steph’s reach.

Once Steph was alone again, reality descended. What was she going to do? Granted, she hadn’t walked out on a stellar career. She could get another job selling men’s suits in just about any department store, she supposed. But she didn’t know anyone here in Middleburg. Should she hang her head and drag herself back home to Baltimore? Why had she made such a scene before leaving? She hadn’t quietly sneaked away. No, she had to pull an all-out, in-your-face confrontation with her parents. A dramatic disconnect with her friends and roommates. And all of them had simply been trying to save her from exactly what just happened.

As she had always feared, her judgment was completely whacked. She had forgotten plans for any long-term career once she and Rick became serious. She thought she would spend the rest of her life married to an up-and-coming real estate attorney and raise their two perfect children and faithful dog in this adorable, classy town. Why had she believed that would happen simply because Rick said it would?

“Here we go, dear.”

It finally dawned on Steph that the woman had a faint accent. British? That would fit with this cute little shop, with its delicately flowered wall-paper and elegant china cabinets. The small, framed paintings hanging here and there looked like scenes of the British countryside.

The woman set a serving tray on the table and placed each item in front of Steph. A white porcelain china pot, painted with miniature violets, from which she poured tea into a delicate rose-covered cup and saucer. A plate with a couple of triangular biscuits on it. They smelled like butter and sweetness. And two dainty bowls: one holding strawberry preserves, and the other holding what looked like sour cream.

Steph realized she was able to stop crying as long as she stopped focusing on herself for a moment. She looked up and pressed a tissue against her nose. “Thank you so much. You didn’t have to—”

“No need for that. Go on, now.” The woman gestured at the food and tea and sat down across from Steph. Her gentle blue eyes reminded Steph of her mother during better times. “You’ll feel better if you have a bit to eat and some nice, relaxing tea.”

As soon as Steph lifted one of the biscuits, the woman said, “I’m Millicent Ashford Jewell. Everyone calls me Milly.”

“Steph.” She spoke around an absolutely delicious bite. She rubbed crumbs from her fingers and shook Milly’s hand. “Steph Vandergrift. Thank you for being so kind.”

Milly smiled and put a spoon of the cream on Steph’s plate for her. “Clotted cream. One of God’s great gifts, in my opinion. Marvelous on the scones.”

Clotted cream. Now that sounded downright nasty. But Steph was a self-admitted people pleaser, and she had never been one to ignore God’s great gifts. So she put a little of the cream on her next bite of scone. And then nearly moaned, it was so fantastic.

“But that’s just really thick whipped cream!”

Milly said, “I think you like it, right?”

“I love it.”

Milly stood. “I have a few matters to tend to in the kitchen. Feel free to walk back and get me if you need me. We don’t stand on ceremony around here.”

The shop door opened as Steph swallowed a sip of tea. She followed Milly’s delighted gaze toward the door and took another nibble of scone. Mmm. “Absolutely yummy.”

A crooked smile spread across the face of the young man who walked through the door. He looked directly at Steph and acted as if her comment were all about him. With a lift of his eyebrows and a tilt of the head, he said, “Well, thank you very much.”

Milly laughed and approached him. They hugged each other.

“Welcome back, stranger,” Milly said. “How was vacation?”

Steph didn’t pay much attention to their conversation after that. The man seemed to be in a hurry, which was fine by her. Otherwise she feared Milly might want to introduce them. She’d rather a man that attractive not look at her too closely right now.

Steph watched his warm brown eyes, which never seemed to lose their smile. She noticed he never once messed with his short, tousled blond hair or fussed with anything else about his looks. Yet, when he walked with Milly toward the kitchen, Steph saw how perfectly, yet casually, he was dressed and groomed.

Her heart was broken, thanks to Rick’s wimpy, childish retreat from her life. But Milly’s chamomile tea and warm scones made her feel a little better. And despite her circumstances and the many question marks in her immediate future, she was still able to appreciate a good-looking man. She leaned sideways to watch him at the kitchen door until he disappeared from view. He and Milly were out of earshot, so Steph surprised only herself when she whispered it again.

“Absolutely yummy.”

My Thoughts:  I loved this book a lot.  It's a light-hearted fun book and just a great book to relax and read. There is a lot of good humor in this book.  Steph, the main character is a little clumsy and gets herself in some pretty funny situations.  It's fun to read a book where the heroine isn't always perfect.  I really liked the character, Millie of Millicent's Tea Shop.  She is what I would call an encourager and I think everyone needs a Millie in their life. Her Tea Shop (and I don't even like tea) sounds like a great place to spend time with your friends.  If you're looking for a really good, enjoyable, humorous book to read, this one could be it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

2010 Giving Thanks Challenge

http://southbreezefarm.blogspot.com/2010/10/2010-giving-thanks-challenge.html


I've decided to join in with South Breeze Farm for the 2010 Giving Thanks Challenge. I've noticed several of my blogging friends playing along and decided to join in too (even though I'm a little late starting). I want to become very deliberately thankful and I think this will be a good way to do it. I believe when we are thankful we also become more joyful. There may be hard things we are going through, but there is always something to be thankful for.

I will be adding mine each day to the top right of my sidebar. Thank you Leah for letting me participate too. Why don't you click on the button above or in my sidebar and join in with Leah at South Breeze Farm.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hard Worker



Hey man, I wish my kids worked this hard! I wonder if treats would work?!?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Time to Retire?

Seniors - As soon as this happens... Retire with dignity.

I think it's getting close to this for me some days!  How about you?

Monday, November 1, 2010

College Girl

Please go here and check out my daughter's blog post. Sometimes I am so amazed at what she's thinking.  I do believe God is and will continue to use this girl!  She has such a heart for God.  I know she'd appreciate a little comment encouragement.