Monday 30 December 2013

Book Review: Chasing Hope

Cover Art
ISBN # 978 0 7642 0827 0

From the Back:

A Touching Story of Two Unlikely Friends.
The Power of Trust.
The Struggle of Pain.
And How, Sometimes, Following God Can Lead You to the Most Unexpected Places.

A talented runner determined to make the Olympics, Sabrina Rice had her dreams shattered by a devastating diagnosis. One forfeited scholarship and several years later, she's forged a new vision for her future that has nothing to do with running, which she's buried deep, intent on forgetting...

Until the day she sees Brandy Philip running across the college campus, easily outpacing security. Sabrina immediately recognizes world class potential, and it's all the more painful that it belongs to a troublemaking teen. When a chance encounter brings the two young women together, Sabrina realizes she's Brandy's best hope to salvage a life about to spiral out of control forever.

My Reflections:

An, oh.. so gripping story about dreams lost and unlikely friendships found!

This story had me running late for every appointment I had booked. Needless to say it is a fast paced read filled with passion and depth. Have you ever thought you knew exactly what God had in store for your life? You knew your calling, your gifts and your life's desires? This story will touch each and every one of us, in an inexplicable way.

We have all felt disappointments in life, a road that had a u turn thrown in. Personally, looking back on my life I see those u turns as events that were terribly painful, but ended in great joy and fulfillment. God is good and he always has a plan for our lives, it's just hard to see it sometimes.

This book makes you think, ponder and rejoice the goodness of a Savior who loves us in the little details, through the devastating life quaking events, that shape and grow us into mature Christians.

Sabrina Rice is a real to life character who's passion and strength flows through the pages. Brandy Philip is a force to be reckoned with...but,  her life is about to take a turn for the right...can these two forge a relationship and hang onto the promises God has for them?

This book was one of those rare books that I will be keeping, and rereading. Cushman is a favorite author of mine, and she sure didn't disappoint with this book. I highly recommend this book to young and old. The inspiring story line will have you rooting for the underdog and laughing as this mismatched pair forge an unshakable bond. A must read!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

About the author:
Kathryn CushmanKathryn Cushman is a graduate of Samford University with a degree in pharmacy. She is the author of five novels, including Leaving Yesterday and A Promise to Remember, which were both finalists for the Carol Award in Women's Fiction. She is also...
Continue reading about Kathryn Cushman

Sunday 29 December 2013

Book Review: Orchard of Hope

Cover Art
ISBN# 978 0 8007 3169 4

From the Back :

The smoldering embers of unrest are stirring--and even Jocie's sweet spirit can't put them out.
It's already been an eventful summer for Jocie Brooke. Little does she know, things have only just begun to heat up. Drought has gripped the quiet Kentucky town of Hollyhill and it seems as if everyone is waiting--for rain, for a fresh start, for the next step toward the future.

Into this tense haze of anticipation comes a new family, aiming to make a better life for themselves by planting an orchard on the outskirts of town. Fresh off the freedom train, Alex and Myra Hearndon are sensitive to what the color of their skin may mean in the segregated South. And even though Jocie quickly befriends the family, suspicion from both sides of the racial divide proves a formidable obstacle. Can Jocie help bridge the gap? Or will life in her quiet community fall apart at the seams?

Bestselling author Ann Gabhart invites you back to Hollyhill for a gripping tale of unexpected friendship, forgiveness, and the bright promise of a new beginning.

My Reflections:

I so enjoyed Gabhart's first book Scent of Lilacs, so revisiting characters in her new book Orchard of Hope along with a few new arrivals, felt to me like visiting long lost friends. This book is set in the tense times of the early 60's, when racism was rampant and many lives were in transition.

This is the second book in the Heart of Hollyhill series, and although it is a sequel it is written with enough detail and depth that it could be read as a standalone.

Jocie, the preacher's daughter is a character who is bold, tender and courageous. She knows what is right and is not afraid to stand up for it. It was so amazing to watch her character grow and learn in turn transforming from a girl to young adulthood. As with most people, this transition is rough, filled with heartache and trials.

David, Jocie's father is the unconventional pastor of his church. He is tentatively testing the deep waters of giving his love to another. Wes, the Jupitarian, and her sister Tabitha who awaits her baby out of wedlock, Myra Hearndon who has much to teach about love, acceptance and forgiveness. The cast is full the issues deep and meaningful.

This book is a savory read, I have to admit I found the first half of the novel a tad bit hard to get through, but that could have been that I was in full swing Christmas mode, so don't let that sway you. The last half of the book was very compelling, and let me warn you there may be a need for tissue.

I eagerly await the last book in this series "Summer of Joy".

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

 About the Author:

Ann H. Gabhart

Ann H. Gabhart

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, and Words Spoken True, as well as several Shaker novels--The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted--and...
Continue reading about Ann H. Gabhart

Thursday 26 December 2013

Christmas 2013

Well It has been a relaxing, Christmas and Boxing day season. My family and I enjoyed the real reason for the season this year opting to keep Christmas simple. We didn't ask for i pads, gaming systems or fancy vacations instead we decided to focus on family, faith and the reason we are celebrating.

We had some funny, crazy memory making moments yesterday some of them being the local musicals where the black sheep decided to pick her nose and scratch herself... instead of sing.
Another one was when we had the turkey to supper, that was one happy turkey! Crazy family thought it was hilarious..until it pooped..then he got kicked back out to the barnyard.
Obviously we didn't have turkey that night but we did manage Mexican, hey at least the turkey was happy.

Another memory maker was the Risk game that lasted for two days and turning our kitchen island into a ping pong table...I have to say.. I won....because well, I never win....just saying.

So today is Boxing day and so far we have loaded the truck and trailer with more of that dang boat, (I officially hate that boat)  taken down one of the Christmas trees (two to go) and watched a family movie together. I love Christmas, there are just so many memories to make and cherish.

So from my family to yours,
 Merry Christmas, May 2014 bless you with love, faith, friends and family!

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Book Review: Switch on your Brain

Cover Art

ISBN# 978 0 8010 1624 0

About the Book:

You are not a victim of your biology!
The vast majority of the illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our thought life. What we think about truly affects us both physically and emotionally. Today our culture is undergoing an epidemic of toxic thoughts that, left unchecked, create ideal conditions for illnesses.

Supported by current scientific and medical research, Dr. Caroline Leaf gives you a prescription for better health and wholeness through correct thinking patterns. She exposes the "switch" in your brain that will enable you to live a happier, healthier, more enjoyable life where you achieve your goals, get your thought life under control, and even become more intelligent. And her 21-Day Brain Detox Plan guides you step-by-step through the process of replacing toxic thoughts with healthy ones.

Ready to reap the benefits of a detoxed thought life? Read on . . .

My Reflections:

This book is featuring the 21 day brain detox plan is really one of a kind. When I decided it might be interesting to review, I never guessed that I would enjoy it so much. The fact based, research driven text, is backed up with scripture references and insightful and uplifting findings. Even though the book contains quite a lot of medical terminology it is presented in a way that the layman can easily grasp and understand.

I was thrilled to learn about how our brains are wired and the God designed path to a full and rewarding life, no matter if you are dyslexic, brain injured or just plain old. 

This book explains the medical science of neuroplasticity, the process of actually changing the brain by the way we think. The research Leaf has done and her finding are a subject that I found to be extremely uplifting. Just think baby neurons just waiting to be grown, new each and every morning. 

I especially felt overjoyed when I learned that genetic traits could be turned on and off by the way we view life the thoughts we have, and the effect our emotions have on our chemistry. So...darn..interesting, don't you think?

 Imagine not having to be defined by the diagnosis of a learning disability, or senior citizens sharpening their minds to the point where they can earn a degree. How about car accident patients labeled as vegetables, healing their brains enough to become contributing members of society. I mean wow!  I am not sure if these things are truly a reality, but the possibility sounds so amazing!

I enjoyed this book so much a friend and I are going to do the 21 day brain detox laid out in the back of the book for our New Year's resolution. I will let you know how it works out in a later blog!

 "Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from BakerBooks, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

About the Author:

Dr. Caroline Leaf  Dr. Caroline Leaf

Dr. Caroline Leaf is a communication pathologist and audiologist who has worked in the area of cognitive neuroscience since 1985. Her pioneering work on neuroplasticity--that changes in thinking actually change the brain and can effect behavioral change--paved...
Continue reading about Dr. Caroline Leaf

Friday 20 December 2013

Two of My Favorite Easy Gluten free Christmas Cookies

Christmas and baking go hand in hand in my world.

If you know me I am not in the Christmas spirit if I have not created Christmas delights. So having just arrived at feeling Christmas bliss, I decided to bless you with some dead easy recipes to make you feel like the super hero you are.

Here are two of my favorite Gluten free recipes that will earn you smiles from your gluten free kids and adults alike! They are so good Gluten eating people will not even know.

So let's not delay Christmas is less than a week away you know!

The easiest one for all of you "can't bake an edible thing" kind of people....Or the "what can I bake those freaky Gluten free people in my life?" folk, here you go three ingredients you CAN do it.

Peanut butter blossoms: we go!

2 cups peanut butter

2 cup sugar

2 eggs

Yep that easy, heck the kids can even manage that..

Mix it all together, drop by teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet sprinkle with sugar for a sparkly effect, and when you take them out after about 6-8 minutes plop a Hershey's kiss on top. Oh.. so simple, so easy, so perfectly perfect!

Cookie #2

Ginger sparkle Cookie

This one is from my best cookie making friend Raelene K (but she never reads my blog, so she won't know)..I have turned her gluten recipe into a Gluten free dream, this cookie is soft moist and spicy good!

1 1/2 cups of shortening (I like butter)
2 cups of sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup of molasses
4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cloves
3 cups rice flour
2/3 C potato starch
2/3 C Tapioca starch
2 TSP Xantham gum

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, molasses and spices. Mix in flours, chill for 1 hr (or not) roll into balls. Roll into sugar. Bake for 8-10 minutes. @ 350 degrees. Yields 6 dozen

Even gluten free can taste delicious!

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Enjoy my friends, and Merry Christmas!
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