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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels

It has been a while since I posted a book review, but I don't want ANYONE to miss out on this debut novel by Erin Bartels.

If you love historical fiction, get your hands on this immediately.


I wasn't asked to post this review.   I have no connection to the author or the publisher.

When a book is this good, no one should miss it.  I feel that strongly after reading this.

This is one of the best historical fiction books that I can ever remember reading.

Just this morning, I told my friend who shared this with me, that you when you close a book and you're still thinking about it many days later, THAT is a good book.

It was eye-opening, and heart-wrenching and I couldn't put it down.

It was so well written that I just sank into it like a warm cozy bed that you don't want to get out of.

I had to tear myself away from the story, because life doesn't stop but I easily could have read this in one sitting.

The subject matter was handled so well.  Hard to believe this is a "debut" novel, but I have added Erin to my Goodreads list of authors and I cannot wait for her next book.

I am not going to spoil it for you, but if you are interested in American history, Michigan history, etc you will not be disappointed in this one.

You can read more about the subject matter over at Goodreads:

We Hope For Better Things

Read an excerpt of the book here

Or you can check out Erin's website here


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Country Life Conniptions

(No, sadly this is not where I live)

I have mentioned before that a few years ago we left the big brutal city behind and moved to the country.

We love where we live.  We don't love our living situation mind you, but we do love the area.

I've been converted, much to my own surprise.

Traveling to town (and yes its a haul to get there), I pass huge green fields with red barns and silos on my way to the grocery store.   It is like a picture on a postcard.  My heart soars every single time and I feel like I can breathe deep.

In the fall, those same green fields explode into amazing colors.  Horses graze peacefully on my way to town and in the winter, they are decked out in Christmas "sweaters" that make me smile, even on the most mundane days.

My favorite miniature donkey couple, who I have affectionately named Jack and Jackie, have no idea that I am their biggest fan.  They make me smile hard.  I can hardly stand their cuteness as I drive by, gawking like a typical city girl trying to reform.

But what this city girl was not prepared for was the not so cute creepy crawly kind of critters that also dwell out here in the country.  I am fine with the hawks, foxes, deer, and other wildlife that roam around our apartment complex.

I am not fine with the creepy creatures that think my apartment has an open vacancy.  Namely, spiders.

Country spiders are a whole other rodeo.   Trust me.

So after we moved here, the first one I saw caused quite a disturbance.  And being new, I felt bad for the screaming, stomping, shrieking and other sounds that traveled through the building as I waged war on the enemy.

I was just minding my own business, heading towards the coffee pot when a spider larger than I have ever seen before in my entire life, literally did a Usain Bolt maneuver across the living room floor.

Out of the corner of my eye, I first thought, "Was that a mouse?"   I'm not kidding.  It was that big.

And then my eyes adjusted fully and I nearly fainted, realizing I was going to have to handle this.

This is part of the actual email I sent my neighbor down the hall, so she wouldn't think the new people were hoodlums:

"My apologies if you heard a ruckus down in Z10 this morning. There was a black spider about the size of a golf ball galloping through the living room early this morning. It was not a good way to wake up.   When I went to kill it, it jumped on the front of my couch.  I finally got him, but it was terrible.  Hand to hand combat before I have my coffee, isn't my preferred way to start the day!  I will be spraying this apartment."

As I was waging war on the hideous "thing" trying to kill me in the living room, my son stumbled out and in a sleepy voice, asked what was going on.

My reply was................"Get something.  Find me something!  I don't want this thing on my shoe, oh my gosh, find me SOMETHING!!"

My son's response was..........."WHOA, mom.  That is a huge spider."

I was not about to take my eyes off of it, as it had now jumped on the front of the couch and was working its way up.  I knew if I lost sight of this thing, I would never sleep again or live in the apartment I had just signed a one year lease for.

Finally, my son rallied and brought me the vacuum.  Crisis averted, thank you suction hose attachments that are really really long.

I vacuumed every square inch of the apartment, got rid of the vacuum bag, and sprayed a "bug barrier", (thank you Ortho).

My neighbor?  Found this hilarious, as she has lived out here all of her life and is apparently used to arachnids the size of a dinner plate in her dwelling.  She found my reaction to be amusing and entertaining.   So glad I could brighten her day.

I had to be brave.

And since then, this city girl has learned to shoot.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Waiting For The Sun To Shine

The photo you see above, is the view from my bedroom window this morning.

The photo won't win any awards, but just go with me okay?

I hastily grabbed my camera (my phone was charging) when I opened the blinds, and saw this enormous sun coming up.  

I had just been thinking about the phrase, "God makes the sun shine at just the right angle."  (Taken from one of my favorite Sabbath Society letters)  

When I opened the blinds, there it was.   Faithfully coming up again, as it does everyday.  It was like a personal reminder to me from God, that indeed, He is in charge of it all and He will move us when it is time.

I've been waiting a long time for the upcoming move.  

I've mentioned it several times, and how hard waiting is.  Especially when what you are waiting for is more of a true need, than a want.

I have to remind myself that His timing is not my timing. 

He knows best, I don't.

So my goal is to wait peacefully, rather than in anxiety and fear.  

I want to wait with wonder and hope.   I want Him to find me expectant, trusting and calm when he says, "It's time to go."

I have a lot of work to do.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

While I'm Waiting

I listened to this song again last night. It's an old one, but the lyrics mean as much to me now as they did the first time I heard them.

I've been thinking a lot the past few weeks on the verses in Daniel 3, where the three Hebrew children are standing in faith waiting for God to show up. Their faith is so strong, they tell the King that they believe God will show up and there's no need for them to defend themselves.

But it is that last statement that gets me everytime I read it...

Daniel 3:18: "But even if he doesn't, we still won't worship your gods and the gold statue you have set up.”

Even if He doesn't.

Even if we never see the manifestation of what we fully believe was spoken to us a year and a half ago about our move.

Even if we never see complete healing this side of eternity.

Even if God never gives us exactly what we are praying for, believing for, or what we hope to see in our future, we will still love Him.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Worth Waiting For


The action of staying where one is or delaying action until a particular time or until something else happens.

To remain stationary in readiness or expectation

Almost a year ago, I wrote about the prompting we sensed, and that change was coming.   

And it has.     

But the change that has taken place so far, has been mostly inside of me.

I am learning that waiting on something you really want or need, is a test of sorts.

It can also be a time of character building, patience stretching, attitude adjusting, and heart softening.  

 God's timing isn't my timing.  In a world that screams speed, and the need to "instant" everything from coffee to pressure cookers, I find myself being directed to wait.  And it is so incredibly hard.  

I whisper to myself multiple times a day, "Isaac, not Ishmael", as my own personal reminder to be patient.

I have learned there are some blessings in the waiting, as far as my own personal journey is concerned.   It is possible to wait patiently, because scripture tells us so. Psalm 40:40 shows what happened when David waited patiently on the Lord:

Psalm 4021st Century King James Version (KJ21)

I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me and heard my cry.
 He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock and established my goings.
Waiting on God is worth it.  
Isaiah tells us that waiting on the Lord renews our strength.  Other scriptures show that waiting teaches us to draw near and get closer to God.  Waiting teaches us where to direct our hope and confidence (not in man!).  Waiting humbles us.
Waiting on God to move means that we have been brought to a place where in and of ourselves, we can't correct or improve whatever is going on.  We can't do this alone, and He doesn't want us to.
And so I continue to put my trust in Him, knowing that God is in control.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Love So True by Melissa Jagears

Jagears Delivers a Wonderfully Romantic Read with a Hero and Heroine to Cheer For

From Goodreads:

Evelyn Wisely has a heart for the orphans of Teaville and works at a local mansion that rescues children out of the town's red-light district and gives them a place to live. But her desire to help isn't limited to orphans. The owner of the mansion, Nicholas Lowe, is willing to help her try to get the women working in prostitution out of the district as well--if she can gain the cooperation and support of local businessmen to go against the rest of the community. 

David Kingsman has recently arrived in Teaville from Kansas City to help with one of his father's companies in town. While he plans on staying only long enough to prove his business merit to his father, he's shown interest in Evelyn's work and is intrigued enough by her to lend his support to her cause. 
They begin with the best of intentions, but soon the complications pile up and Evelyn and David's dreams look more unattainable every day. When the revelation of a long-held secret creates a seemingly insurmountable rift between them, can they trust God still has a good plan for them despite all that is stacked against them? 

Cafe Lily's Review:

I did not read the first book in this series, but the second book stood alone very well. I actually didn't realize this was part of a series, until I was well into A Love So True.

I enjoyed the storyline and characters, and as always, I am a huge fan of historical fiction. Make sure you read the author's note in the back of the book, regarding baby Hope.  I liked that the author researched her subject matter well, and knew what to include or leave out, based on the time period she was writing about.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Going Purple - Alzheimer's Awareness Month

June is Alzheimer's Awareness month.

Last year when I went "purple"  I wrote about the signs and warnings that I began noticing, regarding my Mom's battle.

During the month of June, many will share their story.   But the truth is, the awareness of this disease is every day for those of us affected by it.  

Every minute, every moment, every waking hour...we are painfully aware.

Not one day goes by that I don't think about my mom.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, who has many wonderful resources on their website:

 Alzheimer’s is fatal. It kills more than breast and prostate cancer combined. 

• Alzheimer’s is not normal aging. It’s a progressive brain disease without any cure. 

• Alzheimer’s is more than memory loss. It appears through a variety of signs and symptoms. 

During the month of June, the Alzheimer’s Association asks you to learn more about Alzheimer’s, share your story and take action.