Friday, December 31, 2010

December Monthly News


BOOKS:
1. My Everyday Promise Bible - Phil A. Smouse (childrens) (recommend)
2. Almost Human: The First Trilogy: Lost Reflections - Melanie Nowak
3. Self Sufficiency for the 21st Century - Dick & James Strawbridge
4. Brodie & The Yeti - Dennis Robert Komick (childrens) (recommend)
5. Cemetery of Dreams - S. Mostofi
6. Magel's Daughter - Nancy Baker
7. Dear Austin: A Letter to My Son - David M. Perkins (recommend)
8. This Side of Crazy - Kimmie Thomas
9. The Falling Away - T.L. Hines (recommend)
10. How Animals Work
11. A Shore Thing - Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi (HIGHLY recommend)
12. Elephant Milk - Diane Sherry Case
13. Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits and other curious things - Cate Gardner (recommend)
14. The Season of Risks - Susan Hubbard (recommend)
15. Your Astrology Guide 2010 - Rick Levine & Jeff Jawer
16. Hearing From God Each Morning - Joyce Meyer
17. The One Year Devotional for Preschoolers 2 - Carla Brunhill



TV:
1. Community (recommend)



YEARLY TOTAL:
253 Books, 12 Products, 1 CD, 6 DVDs & 1 TV Show


FAVORITE BOOK OF DECEMBER:




FAVORITE BOOK OF THE YEAR:





Things have been great for 2010, and next year I hope it to be even better. I will be changing up the format of my reviews, just a little, and maybe the look too.

May God Bless Each and Every One of You in 2011!

100 Books In A Year Reading Challenge 2011! (COMPLETED)





Rules:

* Timeline: 01 Jan 2011 - 31 Dec 2011

* Rules - Read 100 or more books in 2011

* All books can crossover into other challenges you have on the go.

* Only print books and ebooks count (no audiobooks).

* You can join anytime between now and the later part of next year.


This is my kind of challenge!


1. The Wolf of Tebron - C.S. Lakin
2. The Potluck Club - Linda Evans Shepherd & Eva Marie Everson
3. Smithsonian Natural History
4. John Lennon: Life Is What Happens - John M. Borack
5. The Adventures of Sherlock Homes - Arthur Conan Doyle
6. THR3E - Ted Dekker
7. My Immortal Assassin - Carolyn Jewel
8. Choker - Elizabeth Woods
9. Stuck In The Middle - Virginia Smith
10. Traveler's Rest - James Enge
11. Unexpected Comfort - Kelly Ferjutz
12. Shade - Jeri Smith-Ready
13. Blue - Lou Aronica
14. Cat Calls - Cynthia Leitich Smith
15. The Swan Thieves - Elizabeth Kostova
16. India Black - Carol K. Carr
17. Miss Hildreth Wore Brown - Olivia deBelle Byrd
18. Lucas Taylor: The Time Traveler - Kelvin O'Ralph
19. Pilates Practice Companion - Alycea Ungaro
20. Reaper - Rachel Vincent
21. Me, Myself & Paris - Ruth Yunker
22. Rough Cut - Mari Carr
23. Free For All Cooking - Jules E. Dowler Shepard
24. The History Book
25. The Illustrated Step By Step Cook
26. A New Birth of Freedom - Robert G. Pielke
27. Sima's Undergarments for Women - Ilana Stanger-Ross
28. A Billion Reasons Why - Kristin Billerbeck
29. Tattoo's & Tequila - Vince Neil
30. House of Dark Shadows - Robert Liparulo
31. The Postcard Killers - James Patterson
32. A Tiny Bit Marvellous - Dawn French
33. The Year I Turned Sixteen - Dianne Schwemm
34. The Rough Guide to the Future - Jon Turney
35. Coming Back Stronger - Drew Brees
36. Ten Little Zombies: A Love Story - Andy Rash
37. Rombies - Tom Taylor
38. Rock Bottom - Erin Brockovich
39. Miss Scarlet's School of Patternless Sewing - Kathy Cano-Murillo
40. Flavors - Emily Sue Harvey
41. After the Leaves Fall - Nicole Baart
42. Letters From Home - Kristina McMorris
43. Confucius Jade - Frederick Fisher
44. Welcome to Last Chance - Hope Ramsay
45. The Breath of God - Jeffrey Small
46. The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady - Elizabeth Stuckey-French
47. The Best Laid Plans - Sarah Mayberry
48. The Sweetest Thing - Jill Shalvis
49. Letters From Wheatfield - Patrick Shannon
50. An Apple A Day - Caroline Taggart
51. The Poison Eaters - Holly Black
52. The Rough Guide to the Energy Crisis - David Bachan
53. Silver Phoenix - Cindy Pon
54. Rainforest - Thomas Marent
55. The Priest's Graveyard - Ted Dekker
56. The Sandalwood Tree - Elle Newmark
57. Cake Boss - Buddy Valastro
58. It's Okay To Be A Zombie - Lambert & Evarts
59. I Am Going Where I Belong - Hans Lindor
60. The Beatles Discography Vol 1: The 60's - Stephen E. Connelly
61. Shiver of Fear - Roxanne St. Claire
62. Face of Danger - Roxanne St. Claire
63. The Chimp Who Loved Me - Annie Greer & Tim Vandehey
64. Never Knowing - Chevy Stevens
65. Butterfly - Thomas Marent
66. Beyond Beautiful - Jan Bornstein
67. Private - James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
68. The Guardian - Margaret Mallory
69. The Hypnotist - M.J. Rose
70. My Wife's Affair - Nancy Woodruff
71. Shoulder Bags and Shootings - Dorothy Howell
72. Snowflake Obsidian - The Hippie
73. Look Now: The World in Facts, Stats, and Graphs
74. Treasures from the Attic - Mirjam Pressler
75. Darkness Becomes Her - Kelly Keaton
76. Pride in a Prayer - Charles Soto
77. I Used to Know That - Caroline Taggart
78. Enclave - Ann Aguirre
79. Ideas that Changed the World
80. Chicken Soup for the Soul: True Love
81. Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Book of Miracles
82. The Fine Art of Insincerity - Angela Hunt
83. The Bedtime Book for Dogs - Bruce Littlefield
84. I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl - Kelle Groom
85. The Memoir of Marilyn Monroe - Sandi Gelles-Cole
86. My Foolish Heart - Susan May Warren
87. You Can Do A Graphic Novel - Barbara Slate
88. The Unsuspecting Mage - Brian S. Pratt
89. Beg for Mercy - Jami Alden
90. A Reluctant Queen - Joan Wolf
91. Tabloid City - Pete Hamill
92. The Adventures of Joe-Joe Nut & Biscuit Bill: Case #2 - Renee Hand
93. Men and Their Childish Head Games - Jessica V.
94. First Grave on the Right - Darynda Jones
95. 13 Little Blue Envelopes - Maureen Johnson
96. The Rough Guide to Psychology - Dr. Christian Jarrett
97. Soldier of Rome - James Mace
98. 187 Pain and Bliss - Wade J. Halverson
99. The Immortality Virus - Christine Amsden
100. Shattered - Melody Carlson

The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers 2 - Carla Barnhill


Synopsis:
Although you’re young, just a wee beginner, God made you a one-of-a-kind winner!
The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers 2 is full of more easy-to-understand devotions for your little one, and pairs each day’s lesson with beautiful Little Blessings art. Your preschooler will join Kaitlyn, Zöe, Parker, and Jack—and together they will learn to walk with God in everything they do each day!
Little Blessings features the endearing art of Elena Kucharik, artist for Care Bears.
Do-able. Daily. Devotions. Start any day the One Year way:
Do-able. Your child can just pick up this book and start on today’s date.
Daily. Kids can learn about God and what’s really important, a little bit each day.
Devotions. Kids can experience firsthand how to connect with God.
Your child can grow with God the One Year way.


©2001


My Opinion:
This devotional is geared for parents to read to their small children. It gives them some idea of what people should act like, the things we should do for one another, and how we should strive to be good people.
There is so many wonderful illustrations to keep the kids interested, but the impact of what you are teaching them from the book, is what matters.
I would recommend a devotional such as this, to any and all parents of kids under 5 years. This is a great tool to help you in all the things we all try to instill in our kids.


5/5


~I received a copy from Tyndale. I was not compensated for my opinion.~

Hearing From God Each Morning - Joyce Meyer (365 Daily Devotional)


Synopsis:
In the hustle and bustle of today's busy world, sometimes it's hard enough to hear yourself think, much less take a minute to stop and listen for the voice of God. But learning to recognize God's voice and the many ways in which He speaks is vital for following His plan. This devotional; drawing from How to Hear From God, Knowing God Intimately, and The Power Of Simple Prayer shows the reader through a daily reminder, how God speaks through their own thoughts and feelings, their dreams, and the words of other people. Joyce Meyer reveals the ways in which God delivers His word and the benefits of asking God for the sensitivity to hear His voice. Joyce asks the question, "Are you listening?" and shares how to do just that...on a daily basis.


Author Bio:
Joyce Meyer is one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. A #1 New York Times bestselling author, she has written more than eighty inspirational books, including Never Give Up!, The Secret to True Happiness, 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life, the entire Battlefield of the Mind family of books, her first venture into fiction with The Penny, and many others. She has also released thousands of audio teachings, as well as a complete video library. Joyce's Enjoying Everyday Life radio and television programs are broadcast around the world, and she travels extensively conducting conferences. Joyce and her husband, Dave, are the parents of four grown children and make their home in St. Louis, Missouri.



©2010



My Opinion:
This is a great book to start each day, delivering a piece of God into your life every morning. At least that's when I would read.
I start my day reading the devotional, and then my bible. It always lifts me up to talk with God each morning. The devotional helps to put things into perspective, like knowing when to turn the other cheek, or when to step in and take over, or when to just be alone and let God lead the way.
Look, I'm not a person to go to church every week, or preach gospel every time I see someone, but I do indeed have a mass amount of faith in God, and prayer. I have been through a lot in my life, that lead me to my bible, but all the while helping me everyday to live the life I long for.
This devotional book is fantastic! It gives you a snippet of faith each day. Joyce has a way of making you really sit and think, when you read a page from the devotional.
I highly recommend any devotional, to get yourself into a practice of faith. Especially if you are shied from churches, though I think someone like Joyce Meyer is a great person to help get you started.


5/5



~I received a copy from Hachette Book Group. I was not compensated for my opinion.~

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Friday 56


Welcome to Week 9 with me!
Happy 2011!


Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Link it here.

It's that simple.


The Wolf of TeBron - C.S. Lakin


Page 56:

Joran looked over at Ruyah, hoping a philosophy-spouting wolf would agree.


Colorful Reading Challenge (DID NOT FINISH)



Hosted by: http://imlostinbooks.blogspot.com/2009/11/colorful-reading-challenge-2010.html

The point of the challenge is to read 9 books with 9 different colors in the title. Books may be overlapped with other challenges (I always love that rule so I always have that rule for my challenges. :) At least 6 of the books should be new to you (doesn't matter which 6).



1. Men with RED ties - Nastya Polikarpova Review
2. GOLD Digger Nation - Hal Roback Review
3. LEMON Tart - Josi S. Kilpack Review
4. My Little RED Book - Rachel Kauder Nalebuff Review
5. Low RED Moon - Ivy Devlin Review


It doesn't matter what color, as long as there is a color in the title.

There is no need to make a list of books and if you do you may change it at any time. The challenge runs from January 1- December 31, 2010.



I couldn't get this done. Sad but true. I could try for next year but haven't seen it posted. So I guess I won't think about it.

Your Astrology Guide 2010 - Rick Levine & Jeff Jawer


Synopsis:
Rick Levine and Jeff Jawer—astrology’s fastest-rising stars—go beyond mere prediction; they offer a cosmic weather report that explains planetary events and energies in a way that anyone can understand…and use. Their big bestselling guide covers a full 17 months instead of 12, with spreads for each sign from August 2009 to December 2010 featuring a summary and mini calendar for each month. The duo looks closely at the 2010 forecast for all 12 signs, providing an enlightening perspective on every crucial aspect of your world. Every month receives easy-to-follow coverage that makes it simple to keep track of what will unfold during the year.


©2009


My Opinion:
This is a book that you have to read all year long, in order to feel the full effect of it.
It is an astrological look at your entire year, and a pretty accurate one at that.
I felt like the words I read happened every time, and not only was this book a heads up as to how I should react, but also keep reminding me what I'm going through will not last.
I honestly wish I had another book to forecast this year.
I cannot recommend a book that is for a past calendar year, but what I can recommend is the new book for 2011, I am sure it will be as good as this past book.

5/5


~I received a copy from FSB Associates. I was not compensated for my opinion.~

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Season of Risks - Susan Hubbard


Synopsis:
My name is Ariella Montero, and I know a secret. Telling it will change everything.
Half-human and half-vampire, Ari confronts the darker sides of vampirism, and herself, as the sects deploy new technologies to battle for influence and power.
But beyond these challenges lie greater risks: Ari's relationship with Neil Cameron, the first vampire to run for the U.S. presidency, must be kept under wraps from even those she trusts most. When scandal inevitably erupts, Ari is forced to face the consequences of her actions, learning the hard way that love demands delicate negotiations between memory and desire.


Book 1: The Society of S
Book 2: The Year of Disappearances


©2010


My Opinion:
I read the first two books in the series, no, devoured, before I started blogging, so I can't refer you to how this set of characters captured me.
I was really drawn into this all in the first book. The second book draws us into the world of a girl that is born from the characters in the first book. This third book brings it all to a close with the girl all grown and learning how to adjust to herself.
No romance, no fluff. Just pure storytelling.
I really liked this series.
I am also hoping the author goes with her idea of continuing this series but with the extra characters in it. I like learning more about this set of characters, even the ones that played really small parts.
I have to admit, this book was the slowest of the three.
So if you looking for vampire action that has nothing to do with Bella and Jacob, check this series out. Be sure to read in order though.


4/5



~I received my copy as a gift. Thank you Velvet! I was not compensated for my opinion.~

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Teaser Tuesday




* Grab your current read.
* Let the book fall open to a random page.
* Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
* You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from…that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given.
* Please avoid spoilers!


My Teaser:


He said he'd had the impression I was younger, that he'd been surprised when he checked my records and found out I was twenty-two.
I said I guessed I was a late bloomer.

~ Page 168, The Season of Risks - Susan Hubbard

Monday, December 27, 2010

ARC Challenge 2011

I didn't think I'd see another challenge that would flip my switch, and then I saw this one. We all read ARC's, it's part of why we blog, but a challenge for it... splendid!






RULES:
* To sign up, leave a direct link to your blog post about this challenge. Please leave a comment as well.

* You don't have to make a list of which ARC's you plan to read, but you can if you want.

* If you choose a lower level, you can always change it to a higher level if you like. However, you cannot go from a higher level back down to a lower level.

* Crossovers with other challenges are allowed and Audio-books and ebooks are allowed as long as they are ARC's.

* Read the books and review them on your blog. If you don't have a blog, you can post your review on sites like Powells, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.

* Subscribe to host blog for monthly Linky.

* Have fun!


The Levels:
Level Bronze: .a. All of us who have or will have less than 12 ARCS must read all of the ARCS we have. Note, that if you have 11 ARC's and then receive a 12th one you will be bumped up to catagory b.
b. All of us who have or will have 12 or more than 12 ARCS must read and review at least 12.
Level Silver: Read 24 ARCS
Level Gold: Read 25 ARCS
Level Platinum: Read 30 or more ARCS


I am going big with 30+, since I read over 200 books this year, most being ARC's, I am sure I can do it.


1. My Immortal Assassin - Carolyn Jewel
2. Shade - Jeri Smith-Ready
3. A Tiny Bit Marvellous - Dawn French
4. Rock Bottom - Erin Brockovich
5. Miss Scarlet's School of Patternless Sewing - Kathy Cano-Murillo
6. Letters From Home - Kristina McMorris
7. The Breath of God - Jeffrey Small
8. The Sweetest Thing - Jill Shalvis
9. The Sandalwood Tree - Elle Newmark
10. Shiver of Fear - Roxanne St. Claire
11. Face of Danger - Roxanne St. Claire
12. Never Knowing - Chevy Stevens
13. The Guardian - Margaret Mallory
14. The Memoir of Marilyn Monroe - Sandi Gelles-Cole
15. Beg for Mercy - Jami Alden
16. The Immortality Virus - Christine Amsden
17. Desperate Souls - Gregory Lamberson
18. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making - Cathrynne M. Valente

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits and other curious things - Cate Gardner


Synopsis:
Zombies, robots, and dragons, oh my! A collection of strange, surreal, and magical short fiction from Cate Gardner.


©2010


My Opinion:
For a collection of short stories, this has to be one of the best I've read!
There were so many different stories, werewolves, zombies, and even stranger still. This book was captivating from beginning to end.
The difference in stories didn't bother me at all. Each one had a start, middle and end, so it all fell together nicely.
In the end my lasting impression is: groovy!

4.5/5


~I won my copy. I was not compensated for my opinion.~

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Elephant Milk - Diane Sherry Case


Synopsis:
Sean Hayes is driving a lime green dune buggy that a friend of hers traded from Elvis Presley for angel dust. A major motion picture is about to be released with Sean's accidentally naked breasts in it and she has just watched her best girlfriend shoot heroin, while Keith Richards nodded on the couch. Sean parks the dune buggy on Coldwater Canyon, walks down the hill, and lights a joint to calm down. There she finds a pile of black clothes, wet with blood. The Tate murders? It is 1969 and things are starting to get really icky.
Meanwhile, Sean's first boyfriend has taken off to Mexico and she has no idea exactly where he is. But a girl has to follow her heart. Sean leaves Beverly Hills determined to find her lover, even if it means joining a traveling circus and getting lost in a world of drum rolls and lions and Mayan glyphs. Even it means having knives thrown at her for a living, and facing a loaded machine gun in the hands of her rival. Somehow, she will find Frank, even if means going deep into the jungle, just in time to view a total eclipse, on the back of her favorite elephant.


©2010


My Opinion:
This turned out to be one of those situations where you should not judge a book by its cover.
There's so many things going on in this cover that you get a sense of confusion. Not at all what came across the page when reading the story of Sean.
This girl came to life immediately for me, and I couldn't help wondering where would her story would lead. I really became mesmerized by her strong nature, as wild as it was.
I was baffled and disappointed in the ending. It just became too much about something the story didn't need.
Still a good solid read.


3.5/5


~I received a copy from the author. I was not compensated for my opinion.~

12 Pearls of Christmas Giveaway

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas! Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom"! Please follow along through Christmas day as each post shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year. AND BEST OF ALL ... there's also a giveaway!!!! Fill out the quick form at the link located at the bottom of this post to be entered to win a PEARL NECKLACE, BRACELET AND EARRINGS!  Pearls - a tangible reminder of God's grace to us all.


~~~


Love
by Lauraine Snelling


When asked to write a Christmas message, one of my first thoughts was Do I climb up on my soapbox regarding changing the words in Christmas songs, using only holiday, etc. I thought about it and decided no. After all, they’re only words and what difference does a word make---really make after all?

Then I kept on thinking. If they’re only words… But we as writers know the power of words, as do readers. When the wrong word is used, it jars, while the right word can be most powerful. Take one highly overused and under practiced word---Love. Four letters is all. We toss it around so glibly, saying love ya and luv and love. But think about the power in I love you. Three of the most precious words in our language when put together. Those of us who write romances or books with romance in them, understand the power when one of our characters tells another, I love you. As humans we can never hear that enough or too much.

Christmas is about love. The greatest love story ever told, that of God for us humans, and it never changes. Customs change, politics change, the years change but God’s love never, ever does. At Christmas we are invited to share that love, to give it away, to pass it around. To find wonder again and joy in simple acts of love. We make contact with people we might never see or talk with through the year. That says I love you. We buy and make gifts to give, we reach out to strangers in need, we try to make sure everyone has a special dinner and every child a present. By giving, we receive.

So, let’s use the power words, but more so, put feet on those words and pass the love around. Let’s look for and find the wonder, the joy and the peace, maybe in small bits and pieces and perhaps in an avalanche of blessings. Make your days brighter with the simple gift of a smile, a kind word, a touch, for every single one that you give away, will come back to you multiplied. As you give, so shall you receive. Merry Christmas my friends. May we all recognize our blessings----and let an attitude of gratitude permeate this holiday and every day. With love and joy on this day, Lauraine!


 ~~~







About Lauraine: Lauraine Snelling is the award-winning author of more than sixty books, with sales of over 2 million copies. She also writes for a wide range of magazines, and helps others reach their writing dreams by teaching at writer’s conferences across the country. Lauraine and her husband, Wayne, have two grown sons, and live in the Tehachapi Mountains with a cockatiel named Bidley, and a watchdog Basset named Chewy.

For more information please visit Lauraine's website: www.laurainesnelling.com.



~~~


A three strand pearl necklace will be given away on New Year's Day. All you need to do to have a chance of winning is {FILL OUT THIS QUICK ENTRY FORM}. One entry per person, per day. The winner will be announced on the Pearl Girls Blog (http://margaretmcsweeney.blogspot.com) on New Years Day!

12 Pearls of Christmas Series and contest sponsored by Pearl Girls®. For more information, please visit www.pearlgirls.info

Friday, December 24, 2010

12 Pearls of Christmas Giveaway




Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas! Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom"! Please follow along through Christmas day as each post shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year. AND BEST OF ALL ... there's also a giveaway!!!! Fill out the quick form at the link located at the bottom of this post to be entered to win a PEARL NECKLACE, BRACELET AND EARRINGS!  Pearls - a tangible reminder of God's grace to us all.


~~~


An Unforgettable Gift
by Karen O'Connor


On Christmas morning, 1912, in Paducah, Kentucky, fourteen-year-old Charlie Flowers and his three brothers and two sisters huddled in their beds, fully dressed, trying to keep warm as the wind howled outside their small frame house.
      
It was a desperate time for the family. Earlier that year the children's father had died. And their mother had not found work. The coal had run out and there was little money––none for gifts. Their scrawny tree with decorations made from scraps of colored paper had been given to them the night before by a local merchant.

"Can't sell this one," the man said with a nod of his head before handing it over to the eager children.
  
To pass the time, the siblings joked and shouted stories from their bedrooms across the hallway from one another. Then suddenly a racket from the alley at the rear of the house broke into their games.
      
"Charlie," his mother called, "would you see what's going on out there?"
     
Charlie pulled on his shoes, grabbed a thick overcoat from the hook by the door, and ran out back.

There stood a man in a wagon bent over a load of coal, shoveling it into the shed as fast as he could.
      
"Hey Mister, we didn't order any coal," Charlie shouted. "You're delivering it to the wrong house."
      
"Your name's Flowers, isn't it?" the man asked, still shoveling. 
      
Charlie nodded yes.
      
"Well then, there's no mistake.  I've been asked to deliver this to your family on Christmas morning." He looked the awe-struck boy square in the eye. "And I'm under strict orders not to tell who sent it," he teased.
      
Charlie ran into the house, his coattail flapping in the cold morning wind.  He could hardly wait to tell his mother and brothers and sisters. God had provided––just as he had on that first Christmas morning so long ago when He sent his only son to a needy world.
      
Charlie Flowers died in 1994 at age 96. And right up to the last year of his life, not a Christmas went by that he didn't tell the story of that sub-zero Christmas morning of his boyhood when two men gave his family an unforgettable gift.
      
It wasn't the coal that was remembered or cherished, Charlie often said––welcome as it was––but rather what two men brought to his desperate family. One, for his gift of recognizing their great need and taking the time to do something about it. And the other, for being willing to give up part of his own Christmas morning to deliver it.
      
That gift of so long ago has continued to warm the Flowers family from one generation to another, as Charlie's son––my husband, Charles––calls to mind these two unknown men each Christmas morning and whispers a prayer of thanks.


 ~~~







About Karen: Karen O'Connor is an award-winning author and writing mentor living in Watsonville, California with her husband, Charles Flowers. Karen’s latest book is 365 Reasons Why Gettin’ Old Ain’t So Bad (Harvest House 2010).

For more information, please visit Karen on the web at www.karenoconnor.com.



~~~


A three strand pearl necklace will be given away on New Year's Day. All you need to do to have a chance of winning is {FILL OUT THIS QUICK ENTRY FORM}. One entry per person, per day. The winner will be announced on the Pearl Girls Blog (http://margaretmcsweeney.blogspot.com) on New Years Day!

12 Pearls of Christmas Series and contest sponsored by Pearl Girls®. For more information, please visit www.pearlgirls.info

The Friday 56


Welcome to Week 8 with me!
Merry CHRISTmas and Happy 2011!


Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Link it here.

It's that simple.


Elephant Milk - Diane Sherry Case

Page 56:

The only clear vision was that dreamy goodbye kiss and the postcard from Mazatlan with my two favorite words: Love, Frank.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

12 Pearls of Christmas Giveaway




Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas! Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom"! Please follow along through Christmas day as each post shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year. AND BEST OF ALL ... there's also a giveaway!!!! Fill out the quick form at the link located at the bottom of this post to be entered to win a PEARL NECKLACE, BRACELET AND EARRINGS!  Pearls - a tangible reminder of God's grace to us all.


~~~


All I Want for Christmas…
Is to be able to have Christmas this Year
by
Melissa Mashburn

This is a simple request, isn’t it? In the previous years, we had great big bountiful Christmases with our family. Gifts, goodies and general Christmas cheer but this year it was different. The year before has been chock full of disappointments, failing businesses and severe cutbacks for our family. 

Sitting with my husband one night we hammered out the bare minimum that we could spend that year for Christmas and even still the total was four hundred dollars. It does not sound like a whole lot compared to what we’ve spent on Christmas before, but this year it could have been four thousand dollars because we just did not have it.

We prayed, I cried, we prayed some more and decided that we would cut back anything else that we could that year so we could have Christmas for our kids. We did not know how we would make this happen, but we knew that we needed to step forward in faith that it would happen.

Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you? Don't these things happen among you just as they happened with Abraham? He believed God, and that act of belief was turned into a life that was right with God. Galatians 3:5 the Message

Not even two days later, we hear a knock on our front door. We open the door to see some friends of ours from church. With tears in their eyes, they handed us an envelope and said that the felt they needed to give us this. We opened the envelope and inside there was four hundred dollars cash.

Shocked, stunned and with tears flowing down our face we just sat there in a state of crying and laughing at what God had done. We never shared with anyone that year what we needed, how bad it was, what was going on or what that number was for us to have Christmas for the kids, but God knew.

“And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.”  2 Corinthians 9:8 NLT

He took a willing servant, led them to our front door and changed Christmas for us that year. After many years of being in full time ministry we knew that God would provide, but when He shows up just at the right moment, you know that it was all a part of His plan to show how much He loves, provides and cares for His people.

Father God, thank you that after all the years of serving and loving you in ministry that you continue to teach, guide, love, shepherd and care for us.  You, Father, are abundantly gracious and kind, thank you for showing up for us at just the right moment every time, forgive us when we forget that.  In Jesus name, Amen.


 ~~~







About Melissa: Melissa is the founder of the blog Mel’s World Ministry, co-founder of the Praise and Coffee Nights Ministry with Sue Cramer, Kids Ministry Director at her church.  Just last year she launched a new weekly series called Godly Gals ~ Real Women, Real Life, Real Faith where we meet new women each week who are “Taking their everyday, ordinary lives and placing it as their offering to God.” Romans 12:1 the Message. You can find her on twitter and at her blog. She loves encouraging women to live with an authentic faith by being transparent, renewed and transformed. ~ Romans 12:2.


~~~


A three strand pearl necklace will be given away on New Year's Day. All you need to do to have a chance of winning is {FILL OUT THIS QUICK ENTRY FORM}. One entry per person, per day. The winner will be announced on the Pearl Girls Blog (http://margaretmcsweeney.blogspot.com) on New Years Day!

12 Pearls of Christmas Series and contest sponsored by Pearl Girls®. For more information, please visit www.pearlgirls.info

A Shore Thing - Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi


Synopsis:
It’s a summer to remember . . . at the Jersey Shore.
Giovanna “Gia” Spumanti and her cousin Isabella “Bella” Rizzoli are going to have the sexiest summer ever. While they couldn’t be more different—pint-size Gia is a carefree, outspoken party girl and Bella is a tall, slender athlete who always holds her tongue—for the next month they’re ready to pouf up their hair, put on their stilettos, and soak up all that Seaside Heights, New Jersey, has to offer: hot guidos, cool clubs, fried Oreos, and lots of tequila.
So far, Gia’s summer is on fire. Between nearly burning down their rented bungalow, inventing the popular “tan-tags” at the Tantastic Salon where she works, and rescuing a shark on the beach, she becomes a local celebrity overnight. Luckily, she meets the perfect guy to help her keep the flames under control. Firefighter Frank Rossi is exactly her type: big, tan, and Italian. But is he tough enough to handle Gia when things really heat up?
Bella is more than ready for some fun in the sun. Finally free of her bonehead ex-boyfriend, she left home in Brooklyn with one goal in mind: hooking up with a sexy gorilla for a no-strings-attached summer fling. In no time, she lands a job leading “Beat Up the Beat” dance classes at a local gym, and is scooped up by Beemer-driving, preppy Bender Newberry. Only problem: Bella can’t get her romantic and ripped boss Tony “Trouble” Troublino out of her head. He’s relationship material. Suddenly, Bella’s not sure what she wants.
The cousins soon realize that for every friend they make on the boardwalk, there are also rivals, slummers, and frenemies who will do anything to ruin their summer—and try their relationship. Before July ends, the bonds of family and friendship will be stretched to the breaking point. Will the haters prevail, or will Gia and Bella find love at the Shore?
For everyone who loves MTV’s hit reality show, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi’s sweet, funny, and sexy novel perfectly captures the heat, the energy, the fun, and the drama of Jersey Shore.


©2010


My Opinion:
I'm a huge fan of Jersey Shore, so when I heard about this book I immediately contacted the publisher's to see about reviewing Snooki's book. I honestly thought it would be a memoir, and I was completely wrong!
I will admit, at times while reading this book, it felt like I was watching a season of Jersey Shore, but in reality you don't have to know a thing about Jersey Shore to enjoy the book. You just have to be a fan of contemporary fiction really.
I thought it was a great read! I flew through each page, laughing along in all the right spots!
There is some sex and language in the book, so be warned.
A surprisingly huge recommendation for the reading list!


5/5


~I received a copy from Simon & Schuster Canada. I was not compensated for my opinion.~

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

12 Pearls of Christmas Giveaway




Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas! Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom"! Please follow along through Christmas day as each post shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year. AND BEST OF ALL ... there's also a giveaway!!!! Fill out the quick form at the link located at the bottom of this post to be entered to win a PEARL NECKLACE, BRACELET AND EARRINGS!  Pearls - a tangible reminder of God's grace to us all.


~~~

What’s the best thing about Christmas?
by Maureen Lang


The answer to that question will undoubtedly be different depending on the age and the faith of the person being asked. Most children will say it’s all about the gifts. Adults, even if they secretly still enjoy the gifts, will probably strive to sound more mature and say the holiday is all about friends and family. Still others might say it’s about tradition, or memories or the music or even the special food we connect to this time of year. The scrooges among us might say this season is just another marketing gimmick, or materialism gone awry. The faithful will say it’s all about Jesus, a reminder of why He shed the glory of Heaven to step into human skin and frailty.

I’m not here to defend or attack any answer to this question, but rather to ponder those possible answers.

Gifts: They touch us in personal ways, as tangible evidence of someone else’s thought and affection. Even if we don’t get exactly what we hoped, there’s something to be said about the thought behind a gift being the important part. Why wouldn’t gifts be an important and valid part of this holiday in which we celebrate God’s gift of salvation?

Holiday Gatherings: Parties might be a lot of work, forcing some out of their comfort zone, but at the core they’re all about human connection. Isn’t that what most people want?

Traditions and memories: They remind us of the past, of who we are, with the hope that even as we look forward to an unknown future we still hold some things worthy enough to repeat every year. We might find ourselves letting go of some traditions, or we might want to start some new ones.

The music: This is the only time of the year when even secular radio stations welcome songs about a baby born in Bethlehem. As a nation we may be getting stringent about separation of church as state, but the lines blur just a bit with old favorites that reflect this season.

Scrooges: The holiday season is probably a time to endure rather than enjoy, but even the scroogiest-scrooge might admit the lights of the season are pretty to behold. They’re free to look at, after all.

As for the food, the busyness, the expense and all the other things that make up this season: keep in mind that it’s all temporary. This, too, shall pass. Until next year, of course.

I’ll leave you with this thought: we are all made in God’s image, whether we believe that or not. Part of that image is the ability to give—and to receive. So here’s my thought for the day: stop a moment and dwell on all the gifts of the season. From the little mementos that say we haven’t forgotten someone or been forgotten by others, to the costliest gift of all: what God did for us in the form of Christ. As you enjoy the sounds, the sights, the scents and the tastes of this season, may your only trouble be in choosing just one thing among so many best things about Christmas.


 ~~~







About Maureen: Maureen Lang is the author of ten books, her most recent from Tyndale House is The Great War Series which are full of romance, adventure and spiritual journeys. She lives in the Midwest with her husband, two sons and their lovable Labrador Retriever.

For more information please visit Maureen at her website, www.maureenlang.com.


~~~


A three strand pearl necklace will be given away on New Year's Day. All you need to do to have a chance of winning is {FILL OUT THIS QUICK ENTRY FORM}. One entry per person, per day. The winner will be announced on the Pearl Girls Blog (http://margaretmcsweeney.blogspot.com) on New Years Day!

12 Pearls of Christmas Series and contest sponsored by Pearl Girls®. For more information, please visit www.pearlgirls.info

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Teaser Tuesday





* Grab your current read.
* Let the book fall open to a random page.
* Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
* You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from…that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given.
* Please avoid spoilers!


My Teaser:

In frustration, she reverted to her old style and threw a massive haymaker at him. He could have seen it coming from space.

~ Page 134, A Shore Thing - Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi

12 Pearls of Christmas Giveaway




Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas! Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom"! Please follow along through Christmas day as each post shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year. AND BEST OF ALL ... there's also a giveaway!!!! Fill out the quick form at the link located at the bottom of this post to be entered to win a PEARL NECKLACE, BRACELET AND EARRINGS!  Pearls - a tangible reminder of God's grace to us all.


~~~

Good News!
by Deb Kalmbach


The first Christmas card of the season arrived in my mailbox way back in August. How could anyone be that organized? Then I noticed my friend, Nita, had sent me a card I had written to her more than 20 years ago!
 
Memories rushed back as I read the words penned in my familiar handwriting. It was Christmas, 1991, and my world had unraveled. I could almost pretend everything was all right at this most wonderful time of the year—but not that year.
 
My husband Randy’s drinking problem had escalated to the point where his job and career were on the line. He had already been through two alcohol treatment programs and managed to stay sober for short periods of time. Then he slipped back into old, familiar patterns. His ongoing relapses were a crushing disappointment for our family.
 
I had looked forward to Christmas Eve and our family traditions; making homemade lasagna, singing carols around the piano, attending the candlelight service at church, and then coming home to open one token Christmas Eve present.     
 
“Randy, are you ready to crank out the pasta?” I called to him over the Christmas music I was playing to lift my spirits.
 
I peered into the living room to see what was keeping him. My heart froze. Randy sat on the couch, trance-like, watching a basketball game while sipping a drink.
 
No, not on Christmas Eve, I screamed inwardly. I felt like I was suffocating. Usually Randy pulled himself together but it didn’t happen that night. He drank vodka all evening while I finished holiday preparations on autopilot. None of us felt like eating lasagna or celebrating.
 
Only a few days earlier, I had written these words on the Christmas card to my friend, Nita. I don’t know God’s plans, his timing or his ways in accomplishing his purposes, but I am learning to trust him. He is faithful!
 
I suspect Nita kept my card all those years because she saw a small seed of faith and it encouraged her heart. I didn’t know it at the time, but it would be eight more Christmas seasons before Randy experienced the miraculous breakthrough of finding freedom from alcoholism.
 
As I read the card I had written so long ago, I felt awed by God’s faithfulness to us—even when our situation looked completely hopeless.
 
You may be facing great difficulty as the holidays approach. The last thing you feel like is celebrating. And that’s O.K. The Good News of Christmas isn’t about picture perfect holidays where our homes are decorated a la Martha Stewart and tables are laden with holiday delicacies. Your days may not be merry and bright. You may be grieving the loss of a loved one or the loss of a relationship through divorce or estrangement. Your world has unraveled.

That’s exactly why the message of Christmas is Good News. The Savior is born! The One who came to set you free, to give you peace and hope and help beyond anything you could ever imagine is as near as your next breath. Today you might not be able to see how God’s purposes are unfolding for your future, but you can be assured that He is working all things for good in your life. A twenty year-old Christmas card came on a summer day as an unexpected gift and gentle reminder of God’s presence—especially in the worst of times.



 ~~~







About Deb: Deb Kalmbach is the coauthor of Because I Said Forever: Embracing Hope in a Not-So- Perfect Marriage and the author of a book for children, Corey’s Dad Drinks Too Much. She has contributed to The New Women’s Devotional Bible, Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace, and other anthologies. She is a vibrant and engaging speaker who gives hope and practical solutions to those who struggle with difficult relationships. Deb and her husband, Randy, live in a tiny town in Eastern Washington. Visit Deb at: www.debkalmbach.com, or on Facebook and Twitter.


~~~


A three strand pearl necklace will be given away on New Year's Day. All you need to do to have a chance of winning is {FILL OUT THIS QUICK ENTRY FORM}. One entry per person, per day. The winner will be announced on the Pearl Girls Blog (http://margaretmcsweeney.blogspot.com) on New Years Day!

12 Pearls of Christmas Series and contest sponsored by Pearl Girls®. For more information, please visit www.pearlgirls.info

Monday, December 20, 2010

How Animals Work


Synopsis:
Have you ever wondered how fish breathe underwater, how caterpillars transform into butterflies, why deer grow cumbersome antlers every year, or how snakes slither? How Animals Work explains the structures and systems of animal bodies, using photographs and diagrams to show how animals use their anatomy to move, communicate, hunt, and feed, and how their bodies enhance their chances in the struggle for survival.

Awards and Notable lists:
2010 California Reading Association’s Eureka! Nonfiction Children’s Book Awards- Silver Honor


©2010


My Opinion:
This was a great look at the animal kingdom from every angle. Worms, Spiders, Lobsters, Fish, Monkeys to Whales all brought together in one book. Fantastic photos accompany great information on each type of species.
This would be a great book for kids learning about the animal kingdom and its different groups.
I highly recommend this selection for schools and teachers.

5/5


~I received a copy from DK Canada. I was not compensated for my opinion.~

The Falling Away - T.L. Hines


Synopsis:
In this tightly paced work, Supernatural Thriller meets the Twilight Zone.
Native American Dylan runs Ahead is running away. He ran from the Crow Reservation where he grew up because he felt responsible for his sister's disappearance. He ran to the Army, but after his leg was mangled and his buddy was killed when a bomb exploded, he had to escape from those memories too. Now he's gotten mixed up in the wrong line of business and he's running from people who would prefer him dead.
But then he meets a woman named Quinn. She claims to see things that others don't and tells him that he's "chosen." Oddly enough, his buddy in Iraq kept telling him the same thing. Before Dylan Runs Ahead can figure out what that really means, though, he's going to have to stop and face the demons--both literal and figurative--that he's been running from.


©2010


My Opinion:
When I read the description I knew this story was going to be decent, but I had no idea how much I would enjoy it. Once I got started, I had a very hard time putting this book down. I just had to find out what happened at the end, how it all came together.
I'm quite satisfied with what I got in the end. Actually better than expected.
A suspenseful page turner throughout, so I definitely recommend to all mystery lovers.

4/5


~I received a copy from BookSneeze. I was not compensated for my opinion.~

12 Pearls of Christmas Giveaway




Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas! Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom"! Please follow along through Christmas day as each post shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year. AND BEST OF ALL ... there's also a giveaway!!!! Fill out the quick form at the link located at the bottom of this post to be entered to win a PEARL NECKLACE, BRACELET AND EARRINGS!  Pearls - a tangible reminder of God's grace to us all.


~~~

Gift List
by Tricia Goyer


I've been thinking lately how hard it must be for Oprah to Christmas shop. I mean if you were on her "gift list" wouldn't you expect something really, really good? The woman gives away cars and trips to Australia on her television show for goodness sake! It seems by the end of Christmas Day her friends and family would look at the pile of presents and think, "Is that it?" I mean if you knew there was billions of dollars she could spend on you, would you ever feel satisfied?

Sometimes I think we approach God the same way. We look around at our home, our family, our job, our free time and we still aren't satisfied. We wish our body looked better, our clothes were more in style, our husband was more considerate and our kids were more ... well, like the perfect little people we picture in our mind. Our careers don't excel as quickly as we think they should and people don't give us the attention we feel we deserve. We're tired and anxious and the to-do list seems to be tacked to our hearts for all the pain it causes.

Often, we look around and don't speak the words out loud, but think them just the same. "Is that it?" I mean, You're the God of the universe and You have all things in Your hands and under Your control. Couldn't you provide a little more money to help those bills disappear or make me a bit more content with the man I've chosen to spend my life with? And I thought Oprah had it tough.

Is there ever a time when God doesn't hear the murmurs? Again, not with our mouths but in our heart.

I've been guilty of this--of not being satisfied with the gifts I've been given. Yes, there will always be more to want, but today--at this moment--I'm satisfied. And I look to Him with a grateful heart and whisper, "Thank you, it is enough. More than enough."



 ~~~







About Tricia: Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty-six books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife. For more information, please visit www.triciagoyer.com



~~~


A three strand pearl necklace will be given away on New Year's Day. All you need to do to have a chance of winning is {FILL OUT THIS QUICK ENTRY FORM}. One entry per person, per day. The winner will be announced on the Pearl Girls Blog (http://margaretmcsweeney.blogspot.com) on New Years Day!

12 Pearls of Christmas Series and contest sponsored by Pearl Girls®. For more information, please visit www.pearlgirls.info

Sunday, December 19, 2010

12 Pearls of Christmas Giveaway




Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas! Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom"! Please follow along through Christmas day as each post shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year. AND BEST OF ALL ... there's also a giveaway!!!! Fill out the quick form at the link located at the bottom of this post to be entered to win a PEARL NECKLACE, BRACELET AND EARRINGS!  Pearls - a tangible reminder of God's grace to us all.


~~~

Hurting Near Christmas? 10 Tips to Hope Again
by Stacie Ruth Stoelting


Feel sad this Christmas? Hey, I know the feeling. In fact, many programs have interviewed me to share about it! Last year, I tried particularly hard to share stories and tips on how to cope with grief during the holidays: I wrote a feature for CBN.com, Coping with Grief at Christmas, visited and counseled grieving people, etc.

Then irony hit: Near Christmas, two people I loved died within two days (December 15-16, 2009).

Are you or a loved one hurting during the holidays? I relate. But let me encourage you: Jesus remains faithful! As real as my pain, He met my needs and comforted me with peace unexplainable. I’m serious. He’s real.

Before I continue with tips, let me share this: If you feel suicidal, contact an emergency counseling service like the New Life Call Center at 1-800-NEW-LIFE(639-5433).

10 Tips for Hurting Hearts to Hope and Cope at Christmastime

1.    Realize and internalize it: God still loves you and wants to hear from you. He wants you to know that there is a Way out of your pit of despair. The Way is Jesus.

2.    Sometimes, our suffering causes us to forget His. Understand He understands you. He suffered more than any of us when we bore the weight of every sin and pain on the cross! In fact, Is. 53:3 describes Jesus: “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.” Think of it: He took your punishment and pain on the cross. He was your capital punishment Substitute! And your Deliverer -your Rescuer- wants to hear from you. His heart hurts with yours. Will you pour your heart out to Him now? He’ll pour His love in where the fear previously resided. Let Jesus inside. Do you know Jesus on a personal, one-to-One basis?  Visit here to learn why Jesus was born to die and how to be born again. (Hey, Jesus said it: "You must be born again.")

3.    Rather than mere gifts, make a Christmas prayer list of other hurting people. Then pray for them and request prayer for yourself, too. Contact your church. Tap into ministries (including CBN.com) that offer extra prayer support. And feel free to join my prayer e-group at www.PrayingPals.org or on Facebook by clicking here.

4.    End the Christmas comparison game. Don't compare your Christmas to your neighbor's. Don't compare your Christmas to past celebrations.

5.    Center on the Savior! This year, trade a superficial Christmas for a real one. Deepen your appreciation for the true Christmas: the arrival of Jesus Christ to banish the effects of sin and death!

6.    Whatever your loss or pain, open up and let God be your Gain. Maybe your pain comes from another cause: a divorce, a devastating diagnosis, a job loss...the list extends. God offers to be your Counselor, your Father, your Healer, your Provider. Let Him answer your heart’s cry.

7.    Love on people. Even if you don’t “feel” like it, prayerfully do something for someone else who is hurting.

8.    Remember: Feelings change. God doesn't. Loved ones' deaths never kill His love for you. God's immeasurable, unconditional love still flows to you! When you know Jesus, you know eternal love and security. Nothing separates you from His love! “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39, ESV).

9.    Realize the reality of the sudden reunion. Holidays exacerbate the feeling of long separation from our loved ones in Heaven. Does it feel like it will take forever for you to see your loved one in Heaven? Be encouraged: Jesus IS coming again and it will be a time you don't expect! So the fact that you feel like it won't happen soon is a good thing!  Once reunited, it will feel like no time transpired. All sadness will be entirely removed!

10.    When Jesus comes back to earth, it will be a celebration greater than any previous Christmas you've ever experienced!

For believers, losses hurt but never win. We will celebrate Jesus together -and it will be glorious "for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith" (I John 5:4, NIV). In that Day, all believers will be able to jubilantly say, “Merry Christmas to all and to all the true Light!”

Additional Help: Ready for some practical tips for coping with grief at Christmastime? Here’s one: Rearrange furniture to reduce absence reminders. To read this tip and others found in another of my CBN.com’s articles: “Coping with Grief at Christmas", visit www.CBN.com.

Going thru a rough time? Join Stacie Ruth’s prayer group at www.PrayingPals.org.



 ~~~







About Stacie: Stacie Ruth knows pain, but she also knows Jesus! After Stacie Ruth met Jesus, her life blossomed with true joy and purpose. Life’s blows hurt her, but Jesus heals and strengthens her. Now an author, actress, and recording artist, she laughs at the irony and praises God, who uses unlikely people...like herself.  Discover why she's written a book at age 15, sung/spoken for the 43rd President, been pictured in major media (i.e. The New York Times, USA Today), and keynoted conferences since she was a teenager. To watch video clips, worship Jesus with music from her album, or get in touch with her ministry for women, visit www.brightlightministries.com.


~~~


A three strand pearl necklace will be given away on New Year's Day. All you need to do to have a chance of winning is {FILL OUT THIS QUICK ENTRY FORM}. One entry per person, per day. The winner will be announced on the Pearl Girls Blog (http://margaretmcsweeney.blogspot.com) on New Years Day!

12 Pearls of Christmas Series and contest sponsored by Pearl Girls®. For more information, please visit www.pearlgirls.info

Saturday, December 18, 2010

12 Pearls of Christmas Giveaway




Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas! Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom"! Please follow along through Christmas day as each post shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year. AND BEST OF ALL ... there's also a giveaway!!!! Fill out the quick form at the link located at the bottom of this post to be entered to win a PEARL NECKLACE, BRACELET AND EARRINGS!  Pearls - a tangible reminder of God's grace to us all.


~~~

Wrapped in His Love
by Rebecca Ondov

The temperature is below zero and dropping quickly—probably to -15 or lower. Old Man Winter gusted in a couple days ago, leaving cold temperatures and a foot of snow behind. Moments ago I bundled up in my long johns and Carhartts to go out and feed. Of course I had a warm horse blanket draped over my arm. When it’s below zero I wrap Czar in two horse blankets.

Czar nickered as soon as he saw me coming. When I buckled up the blankets, it was as if I was wrapping him in my love. He buried his head in my chest. I snuggled him and stroked his long red winter hair. I pulled a couple icicles out of his black mane as my mind drifted through memories.  I’d bought Czar when he was a month old; it was love at first sight.  After he was weaned from his mother, I brought him home.

Czar leaned into me, almost as if he was hugging me. I patted his neck, “That was thirty years ago, Czar. Can you believe it?”  Czar had been my main saddle horse when I worked in the Bob Marshall Wilderness of Montana. I’d ridden him over 20,000 miles. Together we’d faced grizzly bears, mudslides, forest fires, and even fallen off a cliff. He’d saved my life more than once. With my finger, I traced a couple gray hairs that dotted his forehead. “You’ve earned your blankets, buddy.”

The icy breeze nipped at my cheeks and I thought how much his blankets resemble God’s love for us. God was there when we were born—and He loved us at first sight. He’s faithfully been with us through every step of our lives—through every joy and sorrow. He’s cried with us and laughed with us. He cheered when we’ve overcome. Most of all, when I’ve gone through tough times, it’s been God’s love which wrapped itself around me like a shield and pulled me through.

I glanced around me. The snowflakes glistened in the sun. His love surrounded me: the wind whispering in the pines, the chickadee that serenaded me this morning, the gurgling creek that flowed through the pasture. And His greatest love is manifested in the prize of His creation –you and me, the ones created in His image.

This Christmas season, I’m praying that you feel the God of the universe—the one who hung the stars in place—wrapping His loving arms around you and holding you tight (two horse blankets worth). And I pray that all of us experience the love He’s given us in Jesus.



 ~~~







About Rebecca: Rebecca Ondov is the author of Horse Tales from Heaven: Reflections along the Trail with God and Horse Tales from Heaven: Gift Edition. She was a contributing author in several books including Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace. She lives in Western Montana with her family, horses, mules, barn cat, and golden retriever. By day she works for Fox Lumber, brokering lumber throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. By night she forges ahead with her mission, writing stories which equip Christians to lead extraordinary lives. Join her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn by going to her Website: www.RebeccaOndov.com 



~~~


A three strand pearl necklace will be given away on New Year's Day. All you need to do to have a chance of winning is {FILL OUT THIS QUICK ENTRY FORM}. One entry per person, per day. The winner will be announced on the Pearl Girls Blog (http://margaretmcsweeney.blogspot.com) on New Years Day!

12 Pearls of Christmas Series and contest sponsored by Pearl Girls®. For more information, please visit www.pearlgirls.info

Friday, December 17, 2010

This Side of Crazy - Kimmie Thomas (TOUR)


Synopsis:
A fast paced story about Maxine Payne and her struggle to find inner peace. Maxine’s poor self-esteem lead her to marry the first man that shows any interest in her. After five years of marriage and misery she has nothing to show for it. Her sham of a marriage is falling apart and her dream of having a child is fading away each day. To make matters worst, she discovers that the people in her life are not there to love and help her as she has always believed.
She struggles to come to terms with her failing marriage and her sick mother as she watches her chance at a happy home with children slip away. Her two childhood girlfriends offer help and support but they have their own personal struggles. The old saying, “what’s done in the dark will eventually comes to light” has never been more true.
When tragedy strikes, Maxine will have to make the most important decision of her life. But will the lies and secrets her husband and friends harbor bring Maxine’s life crashing down around her?


Author Bio:
Kimmie Thomas is a native Detroiter. She is a writer, teacher, mother, and wife. Her first love has always been reading and writing. She has been motivated by writer such as Donald Goines, Maya Angelou, Zane and E. Lynn Harris. Kimmie has worked as a psychiatric nurse for more than 10 years. She uses her vast knowledge of mental health to make her characters real for her readers.






©2010


My Opinion:
Before finishing this book, I read someone else say they couldn't get past page 11. I'm glad I kept going, though I understand why they felt that way.
After reading the first chapter, I put the book down, looked at the hubster and said, "Whoa!" I couldn't believe how blunt the beginning is. I guess I also liked it because I picked the book back up and kept reading.
Then I found myself having a harder time putting it down. I really wanted to know what all the connections were to the story, and there were many.
At the end of the book, I'm actually eager to read the next in the series The Other Side of Crazy.
Not bad writing, though very graphic when exploring sexuality.
I recommend this book to erotica romance lovers who don't mind some swearing.


3/5


~I received a copy from the author. I was not compensated for my opinion.~

12 Pearls of Christmas Giveaway




Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas! Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom"! Please follow along through Christmas day as each post shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year. AND BEST OF ALL ... there's also a giveaway!!!! Fill out the quick form at the link located at the bottom of this post to be entered to win a PEARL NECKLACE, BRACELET AND EARRINGS!  Pearls - a tangible reminder of God's grace to us all.


~~~


There’s No Place Like….
by Melody Carlson


I grew up spending Christmases at my grandparents’ quaint Victorian home, surrounded by lots of relatives, laughter and love and really good food. For a little girl growing up in a single parent home, harried working mother, no church family, and TV dinners, these extended family holidays spent at my grandparents were like a real gift from God. But as a young adult, my grandfather passed on, the old house was sold, I grew up and eventually had a small family of my own.
  
Still I longed for those familiar kinds of “big” Christmases—I wanted that house full of relatives and fun times to go home to—I think the “child” in me thought I deserved it somehow. But my grandmother had gotten older and lived in a tiny apartment, and my mother and my husband’s parents were not comfortable hosting Christmas in their homes. For a while we went to my cousin’s, but I soon had to come to grips with reality. The days of going to Grandma’s for the perfect Christmas were a thing of the past.

In other words, it was time for me to grow up—time for me to start hosting our own Christmas celebrations. So biting the holiday bullet, I decided to just do it. With two very small children underfoot, I cooked my first turkey, made my first stuffing, invited some family, neighbors, and friends over, and we all crammed ourselves into our little house, balanced our plates on our knees, and had a very good time. Oh, I’m sure the turkey was dry and the gravy lumpy, but what I remember most is that everyone seemed truly happy to be there. And I realized that I wasn’t the only one longing for that sense of warmth and community—that longing to “go home again”—and I finally grasped that I could (with God’s grace) help to provide that for my family and others.
  
So for the next three decades we continued to host Christmas in our home. I got better at decorating, cooking, gifting…the works. Some years the place would be packed and crazy. A few years were thinner and quieter. But family, friends and neighbors could always count on the fact that the Carlson’s would be “doing something for Christmas.” It was a no-brainer.
  
Until this year. This year, for the first time in more than thirty years, my husband and I decided we’re going to take a pass on hosting Christmas—we are going to the beach. At first I felt terribly guilty, and even right now I’m a bit unsure—and wonder if I’ll end up changing my mind at the last minute. And yet, I believe it’s the right thing for us to do—for a lot of reasons. One being that my husband’s birthday is Christmas and he never gets to do what he wants on his birthday—this year will be different. But more than that, I hope that our stepping aside will encourage the younger members of our family to find and embrace some of their own traditions—to grow up and look for opportunities to stretch themselves a bit. Because, similar to how and oyster creates a pearl—or how a young mom learns to be a hostess—with some discomfort and distress a burnt turkeys, the end results are truly valuable.


 ~~~







About Melody: Melody Carlson lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Labrador Retriever. She’s the author of around 200 books including this year’s Christmas novella, Christmas at Harrington’s.Visit her website for more information, www.melodycarlson.com.


~~~


A three strand pearl necklace will be given away on New Year's Day. All you need to do to have a chance of winning is {FILL OUT THIS QUICK ENTRY FORM}. One entry per person, per day. The winner will be announced on the Pearl Girls Blog (http://margaretmcsweeney.blogspot.com) on New Years Day!

12 Pearls of Christmas Series and contest sponsored by Pearl Girls®. For more information, please visit www.pearlgirls.info

Stella & Dot

ManyBooks Email Subscription (CA/US/UK)

Blog Archive

Labels

100+ Book Challenge (39) 12 (16) 12 Pearls of Christams (1) 12 Pearls of Christmas (26) 18+ (4) 1st chapter reveal (2) 2009 (1) 2010 (1) 2010 TBR (6) 2011 (8) 2012 (11) 2013 (18) 2013 TBR (1) 2014 (22) 2014 Holiday Gift Guide Submissions (1) 2015 (18) 2016 (18) A (2) a to z blogging (25) a-z (1) A. Horror (1) aboriginal (1) about me (1) Academy Award for Best Director (1) Academy Award for Best Picture (1) accessories (2) acne (1) acrylic block (1) action (7) activism (1) activity sheets (1) actor (2) adaption (1) adult (7) adult coloring book (2) advanced readers copy (6) adventure (18) advertisement (1) affiliate links (756) African-American (1) Air conditioning (1) air freshener (1) alcohol (3) all-natural (1) alphabe (77) ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (1) Amazon (1) Amazon Vine (3) amish (12) animals (7) animated (5) animation (4) Anna Karenina (4) anniversary (1) anniversary edition (2) announcement (6) annual (1) Anson Williams (1) anthology (3) anti-aging (2) Apple compatible (1) ARC (23) architecture (2) Armchair BEA 2012 (5) Armchair BEA 2013 (12) Armchair BEA 2014 (6) ArmchairBEA2015 (3) art (5) article (55) arts and crafts (1) arts festival (1) artwork (1) astrology (3) audiobook (21) author guest post (58) author interview (39) Author Writing Tips (3) authors' movie star cast (1) autobiography (7) AUX cable (1) Avon Voices (1) baby (1) back-to-school (1) bags and purses (1) Bakescapades (1) baking (4) banned book list (1) based on book (2) based on comic book (1) based on film (1) Based On Real Cat. early review (1) based on true story (1) bath (1) BBAW (10) BDSM (1) beauty (12) beverage (2) bewitching (1) Bewitching Book Tours (1) bible study (2) biblezine (1) biblical (4) biography (15) birds (1) birthday (2) black history (1) bladder control (1) Blind Date With A Book (1) blitz (6) blog hop (3) blogoversary (5) blogradio (1) Blogsplash (1) Blue Jeans Go Green (1) blues (1) bluray (27) blurb (11) body lotion (2) Bolse (1) bon apettit recipe (1) Book 1 (9) book 10 (1) book 13 (1) book 2 (21) book 3 (14) book 4 (6) book 5 (2) book 6 (1) book beginnings (93) book blast (202) book blitz (5) book to film (10) book trailer (3) book-to-graphic novel (1) booking through (1) bookmark (1) bookshout (3) booktofilm (4) borrowed copy (1) bought (27) bread (1) bulletin (1) Bullying (1) business (2) calendar (1) calypso (1) Canada (3) Canada Beef Ambassador (2) Canadian (1) Canadian author (4) candy (1) CanvasPop (1) car charger (1) Cardiac Disease (1) cardio (1) Cardiovascular disease (2) cards (2) career (1) cartoon (1) Casino (1) cd (11) celebrity (12) Challenge (362) character interview (1) charity (1) ChickAdvisor (4) chicnova (1) children (40) Children's literature (2) China (1) christian (69) christmas (31) classic (4) classic literature (6) classical (1) cleaning product (2) cleanser (1) clips (1) clothes (16) clothing (4) cocktail recipe (1) coffee (2) coffee machine (1) collection (1) coloring sheet (1) comedy (18) comic (7) Comic book (4) Competition (1) complete challenge (1) computers (2) conditioner (2) confections (1) conspiracy theories (1) contemporary (10) Contemporary romance (1) cookbook (61) Cooking (1) cooking tool (1) copycat recipes (1) Coral reef (1) corset (1) Cosmetics (1) costume (4) costume jewelry (1) Cotton (1) Cotton Incorporated (1) Cotton's 24 Hour Fashion Show (1) coupon (2) cover reveal (21) cozy (4) crafts (1) Crafts by Freda (1) crime (4) CSN (1) cuba (1) culinary fiction (1) culinary mystery (1) culture (2) customized (2) cuticle conditioner (1) daily (6) dance (1) day planner (1) death (1) debut (2) decoration (2) dehumidifier (1) delivering (1) DeLonghi (1) devotional (19) diabetes (1) diamond (1) diaper (1) diary (3) digital copy (1) digital photo art (1) digital photo keychain (1) discography (1) discount (1) discussion (5) Disney (1) DIY (2) DK Canada (5) Dog training (1) dogs (2) doodle (1) doomsday (1) Dorm Ideas (1) drama (3) drawing (1) Dreamworks (1) dress (6) dress shirt (1) drink (4) drummer (1) dvd (14) dysotopian (8) dystopian (19) e-book (9) e-novella (1) eArc (15) early review (6) earphones (2) earplugs (1) Easter (1) easy listening (1) ebook (128) ecowear (1) education (11) educational (1) egift cards (1) electronics (4) Ellipsis (1) Emotional Health (1) encyclopedia (3) end-of-the-month wrap-up (1) EntangledTour (1) EPA (1) epic (1) erotica (9) eShakti (2) essays (1) estate planning (1) event (7) excerpt (68) exercise (2) expressions (1) Expresso Book Tour (3) external giveaway entry (1) eye shadow (1) Facebook Fans (1) facial butter (1) fairytale (7) fairytale retelling (14) family (8) fantasy (77) fashion (15) fashion related (1) Fathers Day (1) Favorite Author (5) Favorite Cookbook (12) favorite movie (2) Favorite Poetry (25) Favorite Read (38) feature (5) features (1) Febreeze (1) feminine hygiene (1) fiction (599) film (5) First Book of the Year (2) First Reads Program (1) Fisher-Price (1) fitness (3) flower centerpiece (1) food (12) food and drink (2) Food Network (5) Food Network TV (3) foot balm (1) For Men (1) Fox Pictures (6) Fox TV (1) Fragrance oil (1) Freda's Voice Challenge (4) free (1) free blogger event (2) freebie (9) FreeRead (80) friday (12) friday 56 (391) frosting (1) FSB Associates (1) Fuji Film (1) fun (1) fun stuff (1) FVHGG (1) FVMDGG (7) G (3) gadgets (2) game (2) garbage bags (1) Garnier Review Crew (1) gemstone (1) Get to Know Freda (52) ghosts (2) gift (6) Gift basket (1) Gift book (1) gift cards (1) gift ideas (1) girls (2) Giveaway (613) giveaway blitz (1) Gladys Knight (1) Glamulet (1) Gluten-free diet (1) Go-GURT (1) Gospel music (1) graphic (1) Graphic novel (7) green (1) greeting (3) grooming (1) Groupon (1) growing (2) Guest post (22) guitar (1) hachette book group (1) hair chalk (1) hair dryer (1) hair extensions (1) hair pieces (1) haircare (3) Halloween costume (1) hand mixer (1) harlequin (2) harlequin presents (2) harlequin super romance (1) headphones (2) health (23) Heart disease (1) herbs (2) historical (33) history (7) holiday (5) Holiday Gift Guide 2014 (12) Holiday Gift Guide 2015 (1) Holidays (1) home (4) home decor (5) Hometown Author (1) horror (15) Hotel (1) household supplies (1) how to for writers (6) how-to (3) how-to advice (1) hubby review (3) humanitarian (1) humor (21) Hurricane Katrina (1) hygiene (4) I Am A Writer Tours (5) I.O Book Tours (1) IAARNAW (1) IAmAReaderTours (2) Iams (1) ID tags (1) idiot's guides (1) illustrated (2) illustrations (1) Influenster (1) infographic (1) inspirational (13) Instagram 56 (103) instructional (2) insurance (1) internet (2) interview (75) intro (20) iPad case (1) ipad compatible (1) iphone compatible (2) ipod compatible (1) Italian (1) Italy Book Tours (1) J. Crew (1) James Bond in film (1) Japan Funbox (1) Japanese Foods (1) Japanese Mythology (2) Japanese Proverbs (1) jewelry (8) jokes (1) Joni Mitchell (1) jumper (1) keychain (1) kids activities (1) Kids Toys (1) Kindle (21) kindle freebie (5) KitchenAid (1) kitchenware (1) lajupette (1) Lampe Berger (2) language (3) Larry the Cable Guy (1) launch party (1) launch team (7) leggings (1) legit lit book tour (1) leisure (1) Lent (1) letter from editor (1) LGBT (1) LinkVehicle (2) literary fiction (1) literature (1) LitFuse (2) Louisiana (1) Love Lessons Learned (5) lunch ideas (1) Lunch Makeover (1) luxury (1) M/F/M theme (1) magazine (1) make up (4) map (1) marine biology (1) Marvel (1) mash up (2) mathematics (1) Maybelline (1) Meat Cookbook (1) meditation (1) MEGA (1) Mega Brands (1) meme (1) memoir (49) memorabilia (1) memorium (1) Men's wear (1) menopause (1) menstruation (1) Mental Health (1) Mermaids (1) MG (5) MG/YA (1) Middle East (1) middle grade (18) mind and body (1) mineral make up (1) mini-review (7) miniseries (1) Mobile App (1) model (1) moisturizer (1) Monday (3) monthly (87) monthly box subscription (1) MONTHLY LINKY (36) mother of pearl (9) mothers day gift guide 2014 (5) motivational (2) movie (90) movie #2 (1) movie trailer (1) movies (2) MP3 player (1) Multi-Grain Cheerios (1) music (16) music accesories (1) music videos (1) musical (1) musician (2) my book list (1) my guest review (3) my interviews (1) My Pacific Pearl (1) mystery (65) myths (1) nail art (1) nails (3) Namefully (1) Natural product (3) natural remedy (1) Neil Peart (1) Nestlé Waters North America (1) Netflix Original Programming (1) NetGalley (19) new release (1) new years (2) New York City (1) news (6) Nigerian Entertainment Website (1) Noise-cancelling headphones (1) non-fiction (186) novella (29) nutrition (2) Oasap (4) office chair (1) office supplies (1) One2One (10) online (1) online ordering services (1) Online Read (1) online shopping (3) online store (4) oprah book club (1) oral health (1) OrangeberryTours (2) ornament (2) orthotics (1) pain remedy (1) painting (1) paranormal (75) Paranormal romance (1) paranorml (1) parenting (2) partnered post (1) Party Favor (1) party planning (1) PC Nutrition First (2) pearl girls mothers day (9) pearls (1) perks (1) personal event (2) personal growth (1) Personal Story (2) personalized (1) pet clothing (1) pets (5) PG (39) philosophy (2) photo printing (4) photography (9) picture book (5) picture-book (1) pilates (1) pirates (1) plants (2) Playlist (4) poetry (13) poetry by Freda (9) pop culture (2) Portable Printer (1) poster (1) Posterjack (6) prayer (1) prehistoric (1) prequel (3) prescreening (2) preserves (1) press release (2) printables (1) Printer (1) printing (1) product (103) progress cards (1) prologue (1) promo stop (45) proverbs (1) psychology (1) puberty (2) PulseIt (7) PumpUpYourBook (1) purchased (1) Purifier (1) PUYB (3) puzzle (1) Q. A (6) quickie giveaway (37) quotations (1) quotes (2) R (16) Racetrack (1) Random Acts of Kindness (1) re-read (1) re-review (1) read-a-long (4) recipe (28) recipes (9) recycling program (1) Reebok (12) reference (32) relationships (3) release day (1) religious (19) remake (2) rented (1) Restaurant (1) restaurants (1) retail concept store (1) retelling (4) review (1206) Ridley Scott (1) Riveted Reads (5) roaster (1) rock (1) romance (108) Romwe (1) rough guide (1) Round-Up (1) rules (1) Rush (band) (1) Safety (1) sale (1) sampler (1) Samsung compatible (1) Samsung phone cover (1) saving (2) SC Johnson (1) Scent (1) school (1) school lunch (1) sci-fi (22) science (4) screener (40) season 1 (3) self help (1) self-help (26) selling (1) series (129) service (2) sex (2) Shakespearean (1) shampoo (2) shelving (1) shoes (1) Shogasm (1) shopping (1) short stories (32) short story (26) shorts (6) sign up (2) Simpsons (1) Single Jo Coffee (1) Skin (2) skin care (4) skin cream (2) sleuth (1) slideshow (2) small appliance (1) Smartphone Accessories (1) snacks (1) soap (1) socks (1) soft rock (1) software (1) sonnets (1) southern (2) special clothing (1) special deal (1) special post (27) spiritual (1) sponsored giveaway (101) sponsored post (100) sports (2) spotlight (12) stain remoner (1) staples (2) Star Wars (1) Stars On Ice (3) State Farm (2) SteamPunk (4) Stella & Dot (9) stimulants (1) stocking stuffers (2) summer festival (1) supplement (1) suspense (37) swagbucks (2) Sydney Festival (1) Sydney Festival 2014 Program (1) tablet case (1) take out (1) tank top (1) Tassimo (1) tbr checkpoint (1) TBR PILE (3) Tdiscs (1) teaser (314) technology (5) technology accessories (1) teen (4) television (2) Thanksgiving (1) The New York Times Best Seller list (1) theatre (1) thriller (36) Throw Back Thursday (1) Thyroid cancer (1) tie (1) time travel (1) timer (1) tips (3) tomoson (2) toothbrush (1) tour (110) tour dates (1) towel (1) toys (1) travel (5) Tribute Book Tour (1) trilogy (1) true crime (1) tshirt (8) Tuesday (15) tv (7) tv movie (1) tv show (4) TV shows (1) twitter party (1) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1) unauthorized (1) undershirt (1) United States (1) United States Environmental Protection Agency (1) universal charger (1) update (1) Urban fantasy (1) Valentine's Day (2) vampire (2) video (3) videogame-to-film (1) vignettes (1) virtual author tours (1) visual arts (1) VoxBox (1) walking cane (1) Warby Parker (1) website (4) wedding (1) wedding anniversary (1) WeekendAssignment (2) weight loss (3) weight management (2) werewolves (2) wigs (1) will (1) winner (7) wishlist (5) Witchcraft (1) women (4) women's health (1) women's lit (7) won (78) words (1) workout (1) Worst Cooks in America (2) Wrap Up Linky (2) wrap-up (1) wristband (1) written for (1) WWII (1) XOXO Reads (3) YA (122) yoga (1) Yogurt (1) Yoplait (1) Yoplait Go-GURT (1) young adult (54) Zazen Bear (1)
© Freda's Voice 2012 | Blogger Template by Enny Law - Ngetik Dot Com - Nulis