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

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spring Pictures

Here are some pictures I have taken recently. Thought I would share them.  I love my camera, but I sure haven't been taking many pictures for the past several months.  I really need to take more.  I mean I always have my camera in my purse and I have a camera on my phone, but you wouldn't know by the amount of pictures I've taken lately.  Maybe this will start getting me back in the mood.  Here are some flowers from my yard and also a rainbow.  I hope you enjoy them.
Light pink magnolias.  These are in front of our house.

Here's a close up of one.

Darker Pink Magnolia

Close up.

  • "Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these."  Luke 12:27 NIV
We had a rainbow tonight.  This end is hiding behind the trees.

I love rainbows.
  • "Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."  Genesis 9:16 NIV

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge



Click the button above to go join in the fun with Joyce and the rest of us.

1. What is something that bothers you if it is not done perfectly?
At home, things don't have to be perfect, but I certainly like them to be done my way. lol  I'm learning to let that go some though.

2. What is one of your best childhood memories?
I remember my Aunt and Uncle getting tickets every year and taking us to Coney Island Amusement Park in Cincinnati every year.  That was always so fun.

3. Do you plan to watch the Royal Wedding and when was the last time you wore a hat?
No I don't plan to watch the wedding.  I'll be at work.  I wore a hat 2 years ago for Easter when all the ladies at church decided we should all wear Easter bonnets.  It was so fun.  Even some of the men wore hats that day too.
This is all of us with my mom and dad.


4. Where do you fall in the birth order in your family? Do you think this has influenced your personality?
I'm a middle child.  I have an older brother and sister and a younger brother and sister.  (My mom was a middle child too with an older brother and sister and a younger brother and sister)  Yes, I think it probably did influence it, but I think being the middle child is a good thing.
That's me in the middle.

5. Where do you think you spend most of your money?
House payment but I wish it was on travel.

6. When you need to confront someone would you rather communicate in person, on the phone, by email or by letter? Why?
None of them, because I don't like to confront. 

7. Dodge ball, freeze tag, kickball or jump rope? You have to pick one.
jump rope

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Kelli comes home next week and Kerri is doing awesome in school this year!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

In Grandma's Attic and More Stories From Grandma's Attic by Arleta Richardson

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:


In Grandma's Attic
AND
More Stories from Grandma's Attic

David C. Cook (April 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karen Davis, Assistant Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Arleta Richardson grew up in a Chicago hotel under her grandmother’s care. As they sat overlooking the shores of Lake Michigan, her grandmother shared memories of her childhood on a Michigan farm. These treasured family stories became the basis for the Grandma’s Attic Series.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Remember when you were a child, when the entire world was new, and the smallest object a thing of wonder? Arleta Richardson remembered: the funny wearable wire contraption hidden in the dusty attic, the century-old schoolchild’s slate that belonged to Grandma, an ancient trunk filled with quilt pieces—each with its own special story—and the button basket, a miracle of mysteries. But best of all she remembered her remarkable grandmother who made magic of all she touched, bringing the past alive as only a born storyteller could.

So step inside the attic of Richardson’s grandmother. These stories will keep you laughing while teaching you valuable lessons. These marvelous tales faithfully recalled for the delight of young and old alike are a touchstone to another day when life was simpler, perhaps richer, and when the treasures of family life and love were passed from generation to generation by a child’s questions and the legends that followed enlarged our faith. These timeless stories were originally released in 1974 and then revised in 1999. They are being re-released with new artwork that will appeal to a new generation of girls.


Product Details:

In Grandma's Attic:

List Price: $6.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (April 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0781403790
ISBN-13: 978-0781403795

More Stories from Grandma's Attic:

List Price: $6.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; 3 edition (April 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780781403801
ISBN-13: 978-0781403801
ASIN: 0781403804


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


In Grandma’s Attic – Chapter 1


Pride Goes Before a Fall

“Grandma, what is this?”


Grandma looked up from her work. “Good lands, child, where did you find that?”


“In the attic,” I replied. “What is it, Grandma?”


Grandma chuckled and answered, “That’s a hoop. The kind that ladies wore under their skirts when I was a little girl.”


“Did you ever wear one, Grandma?” I asked.


Grandma laughed. “Indeed I did,” she said. “In fact, I wore that very one.”


Here, I decided, must be a story. I pulled up the footstool and prepared to listen. Grandma looked at the old hoop fondly.


“I only wore it once,” she began. “But I kept it to remind me how painful pride can be.”


I was about eight years old when that hoop came into my life. For months I had been begging Ma to let me have a hoopskirt like the big girls wore. Of course that was out of the question. What would a little girl, not even out of calicoes, be doing with a hoopskirt? Nevertheless, I could envision myself walking haughtily to school with the hoopskirt and all the girls watching enviously as I took my seat in the front of the room.


This dream was shared by my best friend and seatmate, Sarah Jane. Together we spent many hours picturing ourselves as fashionable young ladies in ruffles and petticoats. But try as we would, we could not come up with a single plan for getting a hoopskirt of our very own.


Finally, one day in early spring, Sarah Jane met me at the school grounds with exciting news. An older cousin had come to their house to visit, and she had two old hoops that she didn’t want any longer. Sarah Jane and I could have them to play with, she said. Play with, indeed! Little did that cousin know that we didn’t want to play with them. Here was the answer to our dreams. All day, under cover of our books, Sarah Jane and I planned how we would wear those hoops to church on Sunday.


There was a small problem: How would I get that hoop into the house without Ma knowing about it? And how could either of us get out of the house with them on without anyone seeing us? It was finally decided that I would stop by Sarah Jane’s house on Sunday morning. We would have some excuse for walking to church, and after her family had left, we would put on our hoops and prepare to make a grand entrance at the church.


“Be sure to wear your fullest skirt,” Sarah Jane reminded me. “And be here early. They’re all sure to look at us this Sunday!”


If we had only known how true that would be! But of course, we were happily unaware of the disaster that lay ahead.


Sunday morning came at last, and I astonished my family by the speed with which I finished my chores and was ready to leave for church.


“I’m going with Sarah Jane this morning,” I announced, and set out quickly before anyone could protest.


All went according to plan. Sarah Jane’s family went on in the buggy, cautioning us to hurry and not be late for service. We did have a bit of trouble fastening the hoops around our waists and getting our skirts pulled down to cover them. But when we were finally ready, we agreed that there could not be two finer-looking young ladies in the county than us.


Quickly we set out for church, our hoopskirts swinging as we walked. Everyone had gone in when we arrived, so we were assured the grand entry we desired. Proudly, with small noses tipped up, we sauntered to the front of the church and took our seats.


Alas! No one had ever told us the hazards of sitting down in a hoopskirt without careful practice! The gasps we heard were not of admiration as we had anticipated—far from it! For when we sat down, those dreadful hoops flew straight up in the air! Our skirts covered our faces, and the startled minister was treated to the sight of two pairs of white pantalets and flying petticoats.


Sarah Jane and I were too startled to know how to disentangle ourselves, but our mothers were not. Ma quickly snatched me from the seat and marched me out the door.


The trip home was a silent one. My dread grew with each step. What terrible punishment would I receive at the hands of an embarrassed and upset parent? Although I didn’t dare look at her, I knew she was upset because she was shaking. It was to be many years before I learned that Ma was shaking from laughter, and not from anger!


Nevertheless, punishment was in order. My Sunday afternoon was spent with the big Bible and Pa’s concordance. My task was to copy each verse I could find that had to do with being proud. That day I was a sorry little girl who learned a lesson about pride going before a fall.


“And you were never proud again, Grandma?” I asked after she finished the story.


Grandma thought soberly for a moment. “Yes,” she replied. “I was proud again. Many times. It was not until I was a young lady and the Lord saved me that I had the pride taken from my heart. But many times when I am tempted to be proud, I remember that horrid hoopskirt and decide that a proud heart is an abomination to the Lord!”


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

More Stories From Grandma’s Attic

Chapter 1


The Nuisance in Ma’s Kitchen

When Grandma called from the backyard, I knew I was in for it. She was using her would-you-look-at-this voice, which usually meant I was responsible for something.


“What, Grandma?” I asked once I reached the spot where she was hanging up the washing.


“Would you look at this?” she asked. “I just went into the kitchen for more clothespins and came back out to find this.”


I looked where she was pointing. One of my kittens had crawled into the clothes basket and lay sound asleep on a clean sheet.


“If you’re going to have kittens around the house, you’ll have to keep an eye on them. Otherwise leave them in the barn where they belong. It’s hard enough to wash sheets once without doing them over again.”


Grandma headed toward the house with the soiled sheet, and I took the kitten back to the barn. But I didn’t agree that it belonged there. I would much rather have had the whole family of kittens in the house with me. Later I mentioned this to Grandma.


“I know,” she said. “I felt the same way when I was your age. If it had been up to me, I would have moved every animal on the place into the house every time it rained or snowed.”


“Didn’t your folks let any pets in the house?” I asked.


“Most of our animals weren’t pets,” Grandma admitted. “But there were a few times when they were allowed in. If an animal needed special care, it stayed in the kitchen. I really enjoyed those times, especially if it was one I could help with.”


“Tell me about one,” I said, encouraging her to tell me another story about her childhood.


“I remember one cold spring,” she began, “when Pa came in from the barn carrying a tiny goat.”


“I’m not sure we can save this one.” Pa held the baby goat up for us to see. “The nanny had twins last night, and she’ll only let one come near her. I’m afraid this one’s almost gone.”


Ma agreed and hurried to find an old blanket and a box for a bed. She opened the oven door, put the box on it, and gently took the little goat and laid it on the blanket. It didn’t move at all. It just lay there, barely breathing.


“Oh, Ma,” I said. “Do you think it will live? Shouldn’t we give it something to eat?”


“It’s too weak to eat right now,” Ma replied. “Let it rest and get warm. Then we’ll try to feed it.”


Fortunately it was Saturday, and I didn’t have to go to school. I sat on the floor next to the oven and watched the goat. Sometimes it seemed as though it had stopped breathing, and I would call Ma to look.


“It’s still alive,” she assured me. “It just isn’t strong enough to move yet. You wait there and watch if you want to, but don’t call me again unless it opens its eyes.”


When Pa and my brothers came in for dinner, Reuben stopped and looked down at the tiny animal. “Doesn’t look like much, does it?”


I burst into tears. “It does so!” I howled. “It looks just fine! Ma says it’s going to open its eyes. Don’t discourage it!”


Reuben backed off in surprise, and Pa came over to comfort me. “Now, Reuben wasn’t trying to harm that goat. He just meant that it doesn’t … look like a whole lot.”


I started to cry again, and Ma tried to soothe me. “Crying isn’t going to help that goat one bit,” she said. “When it gets stronger, it will want something to eat. I’ll put some milk on to heat while we have dinner.”


I couldn’t leave my post long enough to go to the table, so Ma let me hold my plate in my lap. I ate dinner watching the goat. Suddenly it quivered and opened its mouth. “It’s moving, Ma!” I shouted. “You’d better bring the milk!”


Ma soaked a rag in the milk, and I held it while the little goat sucked it greedily. By the time it had fallen asleep again, I was convinced that it would be just fine.


And it was! By evening the little goat was standing on its wobbly legs and began to baa loudly for more to eat. “Pa, maybe you’d better bring its box into my room,” I suggested at bedtime.


“Whatever for?” Pa asked. “It will keep warm right here by the stove. We’ll look after it during the night. Don’t worry.”


“And we aren’t bringing your bed out here,” Ma added, anticipating my next suggestion. “You’ll have enough to do, watching that goat during the day.”


Of course Ma was right. As the goat got stronger, he began to look for things to do. At first he was content to grab anything within reach and pull it. Dish towels, apron strings, and tablecloth corners all fascinated him. I kept busy trying to move things out of his way.


From the beginning the little goat took a special liking to Ma, but she was not flattered. “I can’t move six inches in this kitchen without stumbling over that animal,” she sputtered. “He can be sound asleep in his box one minute and sitting on my feet the next. I don’t know how much longer I can tolerate him in here.”


As it turned out, it wasn’t much longer. The next Monday, Ma prepared to do the washing in the washtub Pa had placed on two chairs near the woodpile. Ma always soaked the clothes in cold water first, then transferred them to the boiler on the stove.


I was in my room when I heard her shouting, “Now you put that down! Come back here!”


I ran to the kitchen door and watched as the goat circled the table with one of Pa’s shirts in his mouth. Ma was right behind him, but he managed to stay a few feet ahead of her.


“Step on the shirt, Ma!” I shouted as I ran into the room. “Then he’ll have to stop!”


I started around the table the other way, hoping to head him off. But the goat seemed to realize that he was outnumbered, for he suddenly turned and ran toward the chairs that held the washtub.


“Oh, no!” Ma cried. “Not that way!”


But it was too late! Tub, water, and clothes splashed to the floor. The goat danced stiff-legged through the soggy mess with a surprised look on his face.


“That’s enough!” Ma said. “I’ve had all I need of that goat. Take him out and tie him in the yard, Mabel. Then bring me the mop, please.”


I knew better than to say anything, but I was worried about what would happen to the goat. If he couldn’t come back in the kitchen, where would he sleep?


Pa had the answer to that. “He’ll go to the barn tonight.”


“But, Pa,” I protested, “he’s too little to sleep in the barn. Besides, he’ll think we don’t like him anymore!”


“He’ll think right,” Ma said. “He’s a menace, and he’s not staying in my kitchen another day.”


“But I like him,” I replied. “I feel sorry for him out there alone. If he has to sleep in the barn, let me go out and sleep with him!”


My two brothers looked at me in amazement.


“You?” Roy exclaimed. “You won’t even walk past the barn after dark, let alone go in!”


Everyone knew he was right. I had never been very brave about going outside after dark. But I was more concerned about the little goat than I was about myself.


“I don’t care,” I said stubbornly. “He’ll be scared out there, and he’s littler than I am.”


Ma didn’t say anything, probably because she thought I’d change my mind before dark. But I didn’t. When Pa started for the barn that evening, I was ready to go with him. Ma saw that I was determined, so she brought me a blanket.


“You’d better wrap up in this,” she said. “The hay is warm, but it’s pretty scratchy.”


I took the blanket and followed Pa and the goat out to the barn. The more I thought about the long, dark night, the less it seemed like a good idea, but I wasn’t going to give in or admit that I was afraid.


Pa found a good place for me to sleep. “This is nice and soft and out of the draft. You’ll be fine here.”


I rolled up in the blanket, hugging the goat close to me as I watched Pa check the animals. The light from the lantern cast long, scary shadows through the barn, and I thought about asking Pa if he would stay with me. I knew better, though, and all too soon he was ready to leave.


“Good night, Mabel. Sleep well,” he said as he closed the barn door behind him. I doubted that I would sleep at all. If it hadn’t been for the goat and my brothers who would laugh at me, I would have returned to the house at once. Instead I closed my eyes tightly and began to say my prayers. In a few moments the barn door opened, and Reuben’s voice called to me.


“Mabel,” he said, “it’s just me.” He came over to where I lay, and I saw that he had a blanket under his arm. “I thought I’d sleep out here tonight too. I haven’t slept in the barn for a long time. You don’t mind, do you?”


“Oh, no. That’s fine.” I turned over and fell asleep at once.


When I awoke in the morning, the goat and Reuben were both gone. Soon I found the goat curled up by his mother.


“Will you be sleeping in the barn again tonight?” Ma asked me at breakfast.


“No, I don’t think so,” I said. “I’ll take care of the goat during the day, but I guess his mother can watch him at night.”


Grandma laughed at the memory. “After I grew up, I told Reuben how grateful I was that he came out to stay with me. I wonder how my family ever put up with all my foolishness.”


Grandma went back into the house, and I wandered out to the barn to see the little kittens. I decided I wouldn’t be brave enough to spend the night there even if I had a big brother to keep me company!


My Thoughts: Both of these books were very fun to read. Light-hearted and easy reading. I think these books would make great bedtime story books, because each chapter is short and tells a very cute story from the memory of the grandma. She is a great storyteller. I definitely recommend these books to parents of children who like to be read to.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Not So Pretty Today

Yesterday I gave thanks for the beautiful blue skies and sunshine. Today, however is not so pretty. It's gray and rainy and we're supposed to get lots of rain today, tomorrow and Sunday with threats of flooding. But you know what? I'm going to thank Him anyway. Aren't we told to praise Him in the good times and bad, whether we feel good or not? No matter what, we are to choose to praise Him and give thanks to Him! My friend always says she chooses joy. So today, like my friend, I choose joy and I choose to praise Him and thank Him even for the rain!

Thank you Lord for giving me another day to live and thank you for dying on the cross for me and for raising up again on Easter morning! I praise you for Your awesomeness!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thankful Thursday


I'm joining in with Lynn this week for Thankful Thursday.

Blue skies and sunshine, oh, how I love you!
Thank you Lord!

Psalm 19:1 NIV
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge



1. What are your plans for Easter Day/weekend?
Going to my sister-in-law's for lunch Easter Day with my husband's family.


2. Besides Jesus, what one person from The Bible would you most like to meet and why?
Mary, the mother of Jesus.  I would love to hear what it must have been like to be Jesus' mother and to hear the stories she could tell about Him as a child and just see Jesus from a mother's view.


3. What is one modern day convenience you didn't have as a child that was easy to live without?
Cell phone.


4. Are you more right brained or left brained? If you don't know what that means there is an interesting little quiz here.
According to the test I'm more left brained.  Left 53%, Right 47%.  Is that good or bad?


5. What is something you intended to do today but didn't? Why?
I think I've done what I've planned so far.


6. Cadbury Creme Eggs or Reeses peanut butter?
Reeses Peanut Butter! 


7. Who was your favorite cartoon character when you were a child?
I don't know.  I think I probably just liked them all.  Maybe Casper, The Friendly Ghost.  You'd think Mickey Mouse wouldn't you.  But I don't really remember getting to watch him on TV.



8. Insert your own random thought here.
Christ the Lord is Risen Today by Charles Wesley

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!

Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!


Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where's thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!


Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia!


King of glory, soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing, and thus to love, Alleluia!


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Destination Disney



Once again I am participating in "Destination Disney". Why don't you play along? Here is the prompt for this week. This week’s Destination Disney topic is: 
Character Meet & Greets

Share with us your favorite locations to meet the characters, your best experiences with the characters, and (of course) pictures with the characters! Also, if you have a list of characters that you’d like to meet, or you have special tips on where to find some of those more elusive characters, do share!

My pictures are from our last 2 trips.  I do not have our earlier pictures scanned on this computer, so I can't show pictures from when the girls were younger or when they were really into getting character autographs.  But there are still some good ones because even still they love getting their pictures with them.

Beautiful Snow White.  We did not get in line to meet her, however I did snap a picture.  This was at EPCOT in the World Showcase.

Here are both girls with Mulan.  She was a very beautiful lady.

Kerri and Mrs. Incredible.  This was taken at Disney Studios.

Kerri and Frozone

Kelli and Mr. Incredible.

Kerri with Goofy and Max at Magic Kingdom.

Mulan and Mushu at EPCOT in World Showcase

Both girls with Prince Caspian at Disney Studios

Kelli has waited a lot of years to meet Ariel and finally did on our last trip.  She stood in the hot son for over an hour to meet her.  Kelli's holding one of her drawing books in which she had drawn some pictures of Ariel.  Ariel autographed it for her and she was thrilled.  See sometimes it's fun not to let ourselves act too old!


See personally, I believe you're never to old to enjoy the "Magic" of Disney World and all the wonderful characters!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Siesta Scripture Memory #8

Time for verse 8.  Click here to join in.  Verse #8 is:

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." Isaiah 40:29 NIV
Thank you Lord.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Journey by Wanda Brunstetter

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:


The Journey (Kentucky Brothers)

Barbour Books (April 5, 2011)

***Special thanks to Sharon Farnell, Director, Faith Division, Planned Television Arts for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Wanda E. Brunstetter is a bestselling author who enjoys writing Amish-themed, as well as historical novels. Descended from Anabaptists herself, Wanda became deeply interested in the Plain People when she married her husband, Richard who grew up in a Mennonite church in Pennsylvania. Wanda and her husband live in Washington State, but take every opportunity to visit their Amish friends in various communities across the country, gathering further information about the Amish way of life.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

This is the first book of the new Kentucky Brothers Series by
Wanda Brunstetter. Discover along with Titus Fisher how life can begin anew in Christian County, Kentucky. Moving from Pennsylvania, finding rewarding work, and leaving a broken romance behind is the best decision Titus ever made. But is he ready to consider love again when he meets two women: one who seems perfectly suited for any Amish man and one who challenges long held ideas of the woman’s role. Who will Titus chose, and will it be the right choice?



Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (April 5, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602606811
ISBN-13: 978-1602606814

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Paradise, Pennsylvania


Titus Fisher liked horses, dogs, and shoofly pie. What he didn’t like was a cat that scratched, and a woman he couldn’t trust. Today he’d dealt with both.

Gritting his teeth, he grabbed his horse’s bridle and led him into the barn, wishing he hadn’t gotten out of bed that morning. The day had started on a sour note when Titus had come to the barn to feed the horses and accidentally stepped on one of Mom’s cats. Five of the irksome critters lived in the barn, and every one of them liked to bite and scratch. Whiskers, the smallest of the five, was the most aggressive. The crazy cat had been so miffed when Titus stepped on her tail that she’d clawed her way right up his leg, hissing and yowling as she went. When Titus had tried to push Whiskers off, she’d let him have it—leaving a nasty scratch on his leg.

Titus pulled up his pant leg and stared at the wound, still red and swollen. It reminded him of the time when he and his twin brother, Timothy, were six years old and had found a wild cat in the woodpile behind their barn. !e mangy critter had bitten Titus’s hand, and when the bite became infected, he’d started running a fever. Mom had taken him to the doctor’s, where he’d been given a tetanus shot and an antibiotic. Ever since then, he’d had an aversion to cats.

“In my opinion, except for catching mice, cats are pretty much worthless,” Titus mumbled as he guided his horse into one of the stalls. When he patted the horse’s ebony-colored flanks, the gelding whinnied and flipped his head around to nuzzle Titus’s hand. “Not like you, Lightning. You’re worth every dollar I paid for you. You’re dependable and trustworthy.” He grimaced. “Wish I could say the same for Phoebe Stoltzfus.”

Titus poured some oats into a bucket, and as his horse ate, he replayed the conversation he’d had with Phoebe on his way home from work that afternoon. . . .



“I’m not ready to join the church yet, and I’m too young to get married.” Phoebe flipped the strings of her head covering over her shoulders and blinked her blue eyes. “Why do you have to put so much pressure on me, Titus?”

“I–I’m not,” he stammered, “but I’ve been waiting a long time for you, and I’d thought that when I joined the church two years ago, you’d join, too.”

“I wasn’t ready then. I was only sixteen and had other things on my mind.”

“How well I know that. You were too busy runnin’ around with your friends and tryin’ out all sorts of worldly things.” Titus groaned. “Figured you’d have all that out of your system by now and would be ready to settle down.”

She shook her head. “Maybe in a few years I’ll be ready.”

“You said that two years ago.”

“Things have changed.” She placed her hand gently on his arm. “My friend Darlene Mast is planning a trip to Los Angeles, and she’s leaving in a few days, so—”

He held up his hand. “Please don’t tell me you want to go with her.”

“I think it would be fun, and I’ve always wanted to see the Pacific Ocean.” She looked up at him and smiled. “You’re full of adventure and like to try new things. Wouldn’t you like to see California?”

He shrugged. “Maybe someday, but not right now. What I want is for you to join the church this fall so we can get married.”

She shook her head. “I just told you—I’m not ready for that.”

“Will you ever be ready?”

“I don’t know.” She pushed a wisp of soft, auburn hair under her white organdy head covering and turned her gaze away from him. “I—I might not join the church. I might decide to go English.”

“Are you kidding?”

“No, I’m not. I don’t know if I want to be Amish.”

Titus’s jaw tightened as the reality of the situation set in. If Phoebe went to California, she might never come back. If she didn’t join the church, they couldn’t get married. Titus had been in love with Phoebe since he was seventeen years old, but she’d been four years younger than him, and their parents had disapproved. He’d waited patiently until Phoebe turned sixteen. Even then, his folks had been opposed to him courting her because she seemed so unsettled and ran with a wild bunch of kids.

Now Titus, at the age of twenty-two, still wasn’t sure he and Phoebe would ever get married. If she did go English, the only way they could marry would be if he broke his vow to the Amish church, which he did not want to do.

“Can we talk about this later?” he asked. “After you’ve had a chance to think about this some more?”

“There’s nothing to think about. I’m going to California.” She tipped her head and stared up at him. “If you don’t want to come, then I guess it’s over between us.”

“You can’t do this, Phoebe. Are you just going to give up on us like this?”

She shrugged.

“Don’t you love me anymore?”

“I–I’m not sure. Maybe we’re not meant to be together.”

Titus flinched. He felt like he’d been kicked in the stomach by one of his dad’s stubborn mules. He had a sinking feeling that once Phoebe left home she’d never come back. All his years of waiting for her had been for nothing.


Titus’s horse whinnied and nudged his hand, pulling his thoughts back to the present.

“Stop it, Lightning. I’m not in the mood.” Titus kicked at a bale of straw and winced when Lightning whipped his head around and bumped his sore leg.

Lightning whinnied again and stomped his hoof. Then he moved to the other end of his stall and turned his backside toward Titus.

“It’s all right, boy. I’m not mad at you.” Titus stepped up to the horse and reached out his hand. “I’m upset with Phoebe, that’s all.”

As though accepting his apology, Lightning nuzzled Titus’s neck.

Horses and dogs—that’s about all that ever held my interest until Phoebe came along, Titus thought. If there was only some way to get her out of my system. If I could just tell myself that I don’t care anymore.


Pembroke, Kentucky


As Suzanne Yoder stared out the living room window, a sense of discontentment welled in her soul. She enjoyed living in Christian County, especially in the spring when the flowers and trees began to bloom.

I wish I could be outside right now, tilling the garden or even mowing the lawn, she thought with regret. It was too nice to be stuck indoors, yet she knew she needed to work on the quilt she’d started several months ago for her friend Esther Beiler’s twenty-fourth birthday, which was less than a month away.

Suzanne’s gaze shifted from the garden to the woodshop, where her grandfather and twenty-year-old brother, Nelson, worked. Due to painful arthritis, Grandpa’s fingers didn’t work well anymore, so he’d recently decided to look for someone else to help Nelson in the shop. Someone younger and more able-bodied. Someone who knew the woodworking trade.

Grandpa wasn’t one to sit around or take life easy while others did all the work, but Mom had convinced him that he could still have a hand in the business by ordering supplies, waiting on customers, and keeping the books. Grandpa wasn’t happy about it, but at least he wouldn’t be sitting on the porch in his rocking chair all day, wishing he could be in the shop.

“I thought you were supposed to be working on Esther’s birthday present,” Mom said when she joined Suzanne in the living room.

“I was, but my eyes needed a break. I was thinking about going out to the woodshop to see if there’s anything I can do to help out.”

Mom’s dark eyebrows furrowed as she slowly shook her head. “You’ll never get that quilt done if you keep procrastinating, and there’s no need for you to run out to the woodshop, because I’m sure you and Nelson would only end up in a disagreement. You know how he feels about you hanging around the shop.”

Suzanne frowned. No one in the family understood her desire to be in the woodshop, where she could enjoy the distinctive odors of wood being cut, sanded, or stained. It was a shame nobody took her interest in woodworking seriously. Not long ago, Suzanne had borrowed some of Grandpa’s tools so she could make a few birdhouses and feeders to put in their yard. She’d never gotten any encouragement in making them, though. She guessed compared to the cabinets, doors, and storage sheds Grandpa and Nelson made, the birdhouses and feeders were insignificant.

Mom touched Suzanne’s shoulder. “I’m going to plant some peas and lettuce this afternoon, so if you think you’ve worked long enough on the quilt today, I could use your help.”

Suzanne didn’t have to be asked twice. Any chore she could do outdoors would be better than being inside, where it was warm and stuffy. “I’ll meet you outside as soon as I put away my quilting supplies,” she said.

“That’ll be fine.” Mom gave Suzanne’s arm a light tap and disappeared into the kitchen.

Suzanne glanced out the window once more and sighed as her gaze came to rest on the woodshop. “Guess I won’t make it out there today—except to take the men their lunch.”


Paradise, Pennsylvania


Titus left the barn and was about to head for the house, when a dark blue pickup rumbled up the driveway. He didn’t recognize the vehicle or the young English man with dark curly hair who opened the cab door and stepped out.

“Is this where Zach Fisher lives?” the man asked as he approached Titus.

“Sort of. My dad owns this place, and Zach and his family live in the house behind ours.” Titus pointed in that direction.

“Oh, I see. Is Zach at home?”

“Nope, not yet. He’s up in Blue Ball, painting the outside of the bowling alley. Probably won’t be home till sometime after six.”

The man extended his hand. “I’m Allen Walters. I knew Zach when he lived in Puyallup, Washington.”

“That was when he thought his name was Jimmy Scott, huh?”

“That’s right.”

“Zach’s my half brother. My twin brother, Timothy, and I were born during the time Zach was missing. He was about six or seven then, I think.”

“My mother and the woman Zach thought was his mother became good friends, so Zach and I kind of grew up together.”

“Zach’s mentioned that,” Titus said. “Sure is somethin’ the way he was kidnapped when he was a baby and never located his real family until he was twenty-one.”

“I really missed Zach after he left Washington, but I’m glad he found his way home.” Allen folded his arms and leaned against the side of his truck. “The last time I saw Zach was before he got married, and that was seven years ago. We’ve kept in touch through letters and phone calls, though.”

“Did Zach know you were coming?”

Allen shook his head. “He doesn’t know I’ve moved from Washington State to Kentucky either.”

“You’re welcome to hang around here until he gets home, because I’m sure he’ll be pleased to see you.”

“Thanks, I’ll do that.”

Just then, Titus’s mother stepped out of the house and started across the yard toward them, her slightly plump figure shuffling through the grass.

“This is my mother, Fannie Fisher.” Titus motioned to Allen. “Mom, this is Zach’s old friend, Allen Walters. He used to live in Washington.”

Mom’s brown eyes brightened as she shook Allen’s hand. “It’s nice to finally meet you. Zach’s told us a lot about you and your family.”

“He’s talked to me about his family here, too.”

“I explained to Allen that Zach’s still at work and said he’s welcome to stay here until Zach gets home.”

Mom bobbed her head. “Why don’t you stay for supper? I’ll invite Zach and his family to join us. I think it would be nice for you to meet his wife and children.”

“I’d like that,” Allen said with an enthusiastic nod.

“If you need a place to spend the night, you’re more than welcome to stay here.” Mom smiled. “Since Titus is our only son still living at home, we have more than enough room to accommodate guests.”

“I appreciate the offer, but I’ve already reserved a room at a hotel in Bird-in-Hand.”

“That’s fine, but the offer’s open if you change your mind.” Mom turned toward the house. “I’d better go back inside and get supper going.”

As Mom headed to the house, Titus motioned to a couple of wooden chairs sitting beneath the maple tree on their lawn. “Why don’t we take a seat?” he said to Allen. “I’m real interested in hearing why you moved to Kentucky.”



My Thoughts: I enjoyed reading an Amish book as told from a male's viewpoint. It was very interesting to look into the thoughts of an Amish young man. Suzanne was a unique character. She was very sweet and loved the Amish lifestyle, but she loved working with wood, instead of being indoors cooking and doing typical Amish things. It was fun reading about Suzanne's and Titus' adventures. They both seemed to have a bit of a penchant for getting into some very humorous and sticky situations. Their story, has a little drama, excitement and even a little bit of downright laugh out loud fun. If you enjoy Amish fiction, then I highly recommend reading this book. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge



Be sure to go join in the fun by clicking on the button above.

1. Would you rather talk to everyone at a crowded party for a short time or have a significant conversation with two people?
Well, I'm not much for parties, but probably have significant conversation with 2 would fit my style better.


2. What objects do you remember from your parent's living room?
We had a piano, a red couch (which really was beautiful) and 2 cherry end tables with cabinets in them where we kept our piano music.


3. Do you hog the bed? Steal the covers? Snore?
Hog the bed-no.  Steal the covers-no because we each have our own.  Snore-Yes (well, you didn't expect me to be perfect did you?)


4. Speaking of Easter dinner....what is your favorite way to cook/eat lamb? Or does just the thought of that make you squeamish? If you're not cooking lamb what will be your entree du jour on Easter Sunday?
I have never cooked lamb and seldom have I ever eaten it.  Anything I can go out and eat.  I do not cook on Easter Sunday or rarely any Sunday.


5. Let's throw some politics into this week's mix-oooohhh...Do you know the whereabouts of your birth certificate and when was the last time you had to produce it to prove you're you?
I've never seen my actual birth certificate, but I have a certificate from the hospital of my birth that has always worked.  Probably the last time I used it had something to do with adoption.  I really can't remember.


6. As a child, how did people describe you?
Well the names I was called the most were Gigglebox, Chatty Cathy and Big Mouth!  You tell me.


7. What do you complain about the most?
Probably my weight.


8. Insert your own random thought here.
It's gonna be a beautiful day today!  Thank you Lord!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Cowboy's Touch by Denise Hunter

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:


A Cowboy's Touch

Thomas Nelson (March 29, 2011)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Wade's ranch home needs a woman's touch. Abigail's life needs a cowboy's touch.

Four years ago, rodeo celebrity Wade Ryan gave up his identity to protect his daughter. Now, settled on a ranch in Big Sky Country, he lives in obscurity, his heart guarded by a high, thick fence.

Abigail Jones isn’t sure how she went from big-city columnist to small-town nanny, but her new charge is growing on her, to say nothing of her ruggedly handsome boss. Love blossoms between Abigail and Wade--despite her better judgment. Will the secrets she brought with her to Moose Creek, Montana separate her from the cowboy who finally captured her heart?



Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 29, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595548017
ISBN-13: 978-1595548016

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Abigail Jones knew the truth. She frowned at the blinking curser on her monitor and tapped her fingers on the keyboard-what next?


Beyond the screen's glow, darkness washed the cubicles. Her computer hummed, and outside the office windows a screech of tires broke the relative stillness ofthe Chicago night.


She shuffled her note cards. The story had been long in coming, but it was finished now, all except the telling. She knew where she wanted to take it next.


Her fingers stirred into motion, dancing across the keys. This was her favorite part, exposingtruth to the world. Well, okay, not the world exactly, not with Viewpoint's paltry circulation. But now, during the writing, it felt like the world.


Four paragraphs later, the office had shrunk away, and all that existed were the words on the monitor and her memory playing in full color on the screen of her mind.


Something dropped onto her desk with a sudden thud. Abigail’s hand flew to her heart, and her chair darted from her desk. She looked up at her boss’s frowning face, then shared a frown of her own. “You scared me.”


“And you’re scaring me. It’s after midnight, Abigail—what are you doing here?” Marilyn Jones’s hand settled on her hip.


The blast of adrenaline settled into Abigail’s bloodstream, though her heart was still in overdrive. “Being an ambitious staffer?”


“You mean an obsessive workaholic.”


“Something wrong with that?”


“What’s wrong is my twenty-eight-year-old daughter is working all hours on a Saturday night instead of dating an eligible bachelor like all the other single women her age.” Her mom tossed her head, but her short brown hair hardly budged. “You could’ve at least gone out with your sister and me. We had a good time.”


“I’m down to the wire.”


“You’ve been here every night for two weeks.” Her mother rolled up a chair and sank into it. “Your father always thought you’d be a schoolteacher, did I ever tell you that?”


“About a million times.” Abigail settled into the chair, rubbed the ache in her temple. Her heart was still recovering, but she wanted to return to her column. She was just getting to the good part.


“You had a doctor’s appointment yesterday,” Mom said. Abigail sighed hard.


“Whatever happened to doctor-patient confidentiality?”


“Goes out the window when the doctor is your sister. Come on, Abigail, this is your health. Reagan prescribed rest—R-E-S-T—and yet here you are.”


“A couple more days and the story will be put to bed.”


“And then there’ll be another story.”


“That’s what I do, Mother.”


“You’ve had a headache for weeks, and the fact that you made an appointment with your sister is proof you’re not feeling well.”


Abigail pulled her hand from her temple. “I’m fine.”


“That’s what your father said the week before he collapsed.”


Compassion and frustration warred inside Abigail. “He was sixty-two.” And his pork habit hadn’t helped matters. Thin didn’t necessarily mean healthy. She skimmed her own long legs, encased in her favorite jeans . . . exhibit A.


“I’ve been thinking you should go visit your great-aunt.” Abigail already had a story in the works, but maybe her mom had a lead on something else. “New York sounds interesting. What’s the assignment?”


“Rest and relaxation. And I’m not talking about your Aunt Eloise—as if you’d get any rest there—I’m talking about your Aunt Lucy.”


Abigail’s spirits dropped to the basement. “Aunt Lucy lives in Montana.” Where cattle outnumbered people. She felt for the familiar ring on her right hand and began twisting.


“She seems a bit . . . confused lately.”


Abigail recalled the birthday gifts her great-aunt had sent over the years, and her lips twitched. “Aunt Lucy has always been confused.”


“Someone needs to check on her. Her latest letter was full of comments about some girls who live with her, when I know perfectly well she lives alone. I think it may be time for assisted living or a retirement community.”


Abigail’s eyes flashed to the screen. A series of nonsensical letters showed where she’d stopped in alarm at her mother’s appearance. She hit the delete button. “Let’s invite her to Chicago for a few weeks.”


“She needs to be observed in her own surroundings. Besides, that woman hasn’t set foot on a plane since Uncle Murray passed, and I sure wouldn’t trust her to travel across the country alone. You know what happened when she came out for your father’s funeral.”


“Dad always said she had a bad sense of direction.”


“Nevertheless, I don’t have time to hunt her down in Canada again. Now, come on, Abigail, it makes perfect sense for you to go. You need a break, and Aunt Lucy was your father’s favorite relative. It’s our job to look after her now, and if she’s incapable of making coherent decisions, we need to help her.”


Abigail’s conscience tweaked her. She had a soft spot for Aunt Lucy, and her mom knew it. Still, that identity theft story called her name, and she had a reliable source who might or might not be willing to talk in a couple weeks.


“Reagan should do it. I’ll need the full month for my column, and we can’t afford to scrap it. Distribution is down enough as it is. Just last month you were concerned—”


Her mother stood abruptly, the chair reeling backward into the aisle. She walked as far as the next cubicle, then turned. “Hypertension is nothing to mess with, Abigail. You’re so . . . rest- less. You need a break—a chance to find some peace in your life.” She cleared her throat, then her face took on that I’ve-made-up- my-mind look. “Whether you go to your aunt’s or not, I’m insisting you take a leave of absence.”


There was no point arguing once her mother took that tone. She could always do research online—and she wouldn’t mind visiting a part of the country she’d never seen. “Fine. I’ll finish this story, then go out to Montana for a week or so.”


“Finish the story, yes. But your leave of absence will last three months.”


“Three months!”



“It may take that long to make a decision about Aunt Lucy.”


“What about my apartment?”


“Reagan will look after it. You’re hardly there anyway. You need a break, and Moose Creek is the perfect place.”


Moose Creek. “I’ll say. Sounds like nothing more than a traffic signal with a gas pump on the corner.”


“Don’t be silly. Moose Creek has no traffic signal. Abigail, you have become wholly obsessed with—”


“So I’m a hard worker . . .” She lifted her shoulders.


Her mom’s lips compressed into a hard line. “Wholly obsessed with your job. Look, you know I admire hard work, but it feels like you’re always chasing something and never quite catching it. I want you to find some contentment, for your health if nothing else. There’s more to life than investigative reporting.”


“I’m the Truthseeker, Mom. That’s who I am.” Her fist found home over her heart.


Her mother shouldered her purse, then zipped her light sweater, her movements irritatingly slow. She tugged down the ribbed hem and smoothed the material of her pants. “Three months, Abigail. Not a day less.”



My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. I love reading romance books about cowboys and this one did not disappoint. There was a bit of mystery and it was just fun. Abigail had let her faith slip over the years but while she was visiting her Aunt Lucy and trying to figure out the hidden secrets of Wade, she gradually started getting in touch with God again. This was a good story and I would recommend reading it if you enjoy cowboy christian romances.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Barbie's 50th

Barbie's 50th Birthday! (Welcome to the real world Barbie!)

I received this in an e-mail and just had to share.  It's about time this happened to her!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Click above to join in the Hodgepodge Fun!

1. National Read a Road Map Day falls on April 5th. Would people say you have a good sense of direction? Do you rely on a GPS when you drive somewhere new? When was the last time you used a map?
I can follow directions well, however I do not have a good sense of direction.  Just used a map Monday when the boss and I were trying to figure out how close Philadelphia is to Gettysburg.

2. What's your favorite cookbook?
The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook I got as a wedding gift 22 years ago.  Love this cookbook!


3. What painting would you like to "walk into" and experience? Why?
Thomas Kinkade's "New Day at the Cinderella Castle." Why?  Well because it's Disney of course!

4. What annoys you more- misspellings or mispronunciations?
If I'm reading, misspellings and if I'm listening, mispronunciations!


5. What is something your mother or father considered important?
Jesus Christ


6. Do you like or dislike schedules?
I kinda like them because they keep me focused.

7. Let's have some fun with National Poetry Month (that would be April)...write your own ending to this poem-

"Roses are Red
Violets are blue..."
I'm glad I'm not dead,
How about you?

A poet I am not!


8. Insert your own random thought in this space.
My oldest comes home for summer break in just 4 weeks!  Yay!!!