Archive | December 2012

Shared from the GRACE AWARDS blog telling the true meaning of The TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS. Don’t miss learning this fascinating story and share it with others. You will be blessed as will those with whom you share it.

Grace Awards

Xmas, Bethlehem Star

Twenty-two authors, determined to enjoy the Christmas holiday to the max, are embarking on a GRACE FILLED 12-DAYS OF CHRISTMAS BOOK BLITZ. December 26th – January 6th.

These are the 22 authors of the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour, sponsored by the Grace Awards. And you bet, these writers most assuredly see the connection between Christmas and grace. ~~ At any rate, each author will share a few witty, tantalizing, exciting, scintillating, devastatingly charming, stop-you-in-your-tracks lines from their novels on each day of the 12-Days of Christmas. What fun! 

Keep an eye out on Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, Shoutlife, and all Ning sites for a blitz of  FABULOSO short excerpts from their novels.

Look For :  Nike Chillemi ~~ Shaunna Gonzales ~~ Naomi Musch ~~ Elaine Marie Cooper ~~ Meg Moseley ~~ Sharon Leaf ~~  Tracy Krauss ~~ Suzanne Williams ~~ Amanda Stephan ~~ Barbara E. Brink ~~ William D. Burt  ~~ Tammy Doherty ~~ Christina Freeburn ~~ BJ Robinson ~~ Carole Towriss ~~ Jean Thompson Kinsey…

View original post 735 more words

WISHING YOU A CHRISTMAS FULL OF JOY

AND A BLESSED NEW YEAR

Mariangela's Nativity

This beautiful nativity scene was created by our eleven year old granddaughter that covers a very large corner of the family room in their home.  After hours of laying the scene out just right…in great detail….she allows no one else to touch it but herself.  What an inspiration to others about the anticipation and joy of the soon arrival of the Christ Child.  Notice all the animals, birds, a rooster, a seal, turkey and the citizens going about their lives normally.  Excitement fills the air with the sparkle of the lights.  We sing about a silent night in the little town of Bethlehem and how the angels heard on high singing noel to the glory of the newborn child.  We three kings are approaching the stable, as the shepard boy looks on in awe.  I feel those joyous sounds can be heard and the images can be seen moving right before my eyes in her creation.  I hope you can see and hear these images as well.  Our granddaughter is just a little younger than Mary was when she was the chosen one.  Below is a story of a miracle….through a young woman named Mary who sang…..

My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.
For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden, For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm:
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree.
He has filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He sent empty away.
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy;
 As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.
 (Magnificat – Mary’s Song)

Glory be to God in the Highest!!!

Mary and Elizabeth“All generations shall call me Blessed.”

Mary Did You Know?

Beginnings in Endings:

by Phil Ware 

Mary’s simple life ended when she said, “Yes!” to God.
But most of God’s great beginnings are in endings.
And this was true of Mary and…. Joseph.

Mary was a simple girl in her early teens — not simple in mind or character, but simple in the sense of uncomplicated. Mary came from Nazareth, a simple little town in the hill country of Galilee. She had been born to simple parents.

While Mary may have had a few unrealistic dreams as a little girl growing up, by the time she turned twelve, she knew to hope for only simple, but important, things. Hopefully her parents would find her a simple man — good hearted and kind, who could earn a living with his hands and could provide for her and their children. If she was truly blessed, this man would love her, and most of all, love God. With God’s grace, they would have children who would love them and learn from them. They would honor the LORD and their parents and grandparents and their way of life.

When her marriage was arranged and Mary was betrothed, her parents had found a simple and good man. His name was Joseph, a righteous carpenter who was raised to love the LORD and honor family and keep Torah.

Then everything changed. Everything that was once simple became very complicated and risky and dangerous.

When Mary said yes to God, to this wild and scandalous plan of God for her to miraculously conceive a child as a virgin through the work of the Holy Spirit, Mary knew all things simple in her life would come to a crashing end. And they did!

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly (Matthew 1:18-19NIV).

Mary did you know?

No, of course Mary did not know… she could not know… but God would unfold it to her through the life of her son, because Mary couldn’t begin to imagine all that she would face as the mother of Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God.

Yet while Mary could not know all that she would experience, she did know a few simple things.

She knew that in her small little village, tongues would wag, rumors about her would spread, her name would be mud, her child would be whispered about, and her godly, simple, hardworking husband to be, Joseph, might actually break off their betrothal. And if Joseph chose to remain, Mary knew that he would bear the stigma and wear the shame of being abba to a boy he did not father.

Mary certainly knew that she could be alone to face a life that would never be simple again.

At the glorious moment that Mary accepted the Lord’s invitation to carry the Messiah in her young body, her simple life and simple dreams and simple answers all ended. Life and love became incredibly complicated and risky and uncertain.

Mary had no simple answers, no simple explanations, no simple reasons to give to those she loved most and cared about most deeply. Inside her body grew the Savior of the world, yet what that meant and how he came to be there were more than a mystery or a miracle; it was a challenge of faith and trust. For Joseph, a visit from the Angel of the Lord was necessary.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” … When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus (Matthew 1:20-25).

While our deliverance was beginning, Mary’s life as a simple girl was ending… forever. And she stepped off into the dark unknown because she loved God. And whether she knew it or not, Mary’s step of faith into the great unknown opened the door for our deliverance.

 Mary’s simple life ended when she said, “Yes!” to God. But most of God’s great beginnings are in endings.

While God’s plan to redeem us was growing in the womb of Mary, Joseph’s simple life as a carpenter from Nazareth came to a crashing halt. And he stepped out into the unknown, trusting God and trusting Mary, because he loved God more than his reputation, more than his career, and more than his place in the small community of Nazareth.

Like so many things in life, both good and bad, there is no beginning without an ending. And through the eyes of faith, we come to know that life’s best beginnings come from difficult endings.

So much in our lives is filled with uncertainty. So often, what we fear most, are the endings of things — the close of what we know and a step out into the wild unknown. Yet for us to be able to celebrate the birth of Jesus, there had to be an ending… a difficult, scary, and risky ending to the simple life, the only life, that Mary and Joseph could imagine or anticipate.

In many ways, Mary is not just the mother of our Lord, she is also the reminder that God’s greatest gifts for those who love him and know him are found in new beginnings that are preceded by difficult, scary, and risky endings.

In many ways, Joseph’s choice to play father to the Son of God, Immanuel, is a reminder of the risk of faith that we all must take as a step out into the wild unknown of living for God.

So no matter where we are and what ending we are facing, let’s remember the rest of this story, Mary and Joseph’s story, and be reminded: God’s greatest beginnings for us start with the ending of what we know and find comfortable.

Today, Mary and Joseph come and speak to us, and challenge us, to accept the call of God in our life.

We must not put it off. We must not think we are too young or too old. We don’t want to end life full of regret knowing that we wasted so much time that we could have used to make a difference that really mattered.

Mary and Joseph risked all of their simple dreams on the complicated reality of God’s will for them… on his promises for them… on his work in their lives… on something so big they really couldn’t begin to imagine or fully understand. But “such extraordinary risk is the expectation, not the exception, for any disciple of Jesus.”

So they took that risk, bore that rejection and scandal, because deep in their hearts they heard the call of God and followed regardless of the cost. And in the end, their choice made a difference — not just to their simple family and their simple village in their simple time; it made a difference for billions of people they could have never anticipated or known — people who would believe their impossible story and follow their son, Jesus.

Could this Christmas be your decision point… your moment of risk… your call to decision… to obey God’s call to believe the impossible and to take the risk of giving up everything to follow Mary and Joseph’s boy and God’s Son, Jesus?

The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.     (John 1:9-13).

My dear friends,

In the rush of the holiday season and the grab at getting and giving gifts, it is very important to remember that life is much more than even the most basic things we think we need. If we lose sight of God, his work and his will in our lives, then what do we have? Not much and it won’t last long!

My prayer for you, and for me, during this holiday season is that we are reminded of what is most important, most valuable, and most enduring.  Sweet and precious God, almighty and awesome in glory, yet so near and so concerned about my heart, thank you for knowing and loving me with an everlasting love. Please give me the wisdom to see beyond the transitory things of life and find you and your sustaining presence. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

My gift to you will appear as soon as you click the url below!

http://ecard.ashland.edu/2004admission/index.html

I hope you enjoyed the beautiful animated presentation and the lovely choral music singing Silent Night.  The night of miracles that led from the baby Jesus to you…and to me.  

Lights manger

Oh, what a holy night!

MY REVIEW OF “THE LEGACY OF DEER RUN” by ELAINE MARIE COOPER

Published from The December Issue of

The Wordsmith Journal Magazine

The Legacy of Deer Run
Elaine Marie Cooper

Picture

The Year is 1800.A young man makes weapons for the defense of America, still a fledgling nation. He also protects his heart from the allure of a young woman who seems so far above his station in life that he cannot win her.The lady fights her own war against loneliness and grief. Despite her finery and airs, she is drawn to the young armory worker, who is distant yet disarming.Love is the not the only entanglement. The nation’s enemies are afoot. They creep within the very walls where America’s defenses are being forged. Who are they? When will they strike? Who will survive their terrorism?Intrigue of the heart and intrigue of the times are only part of this compelling story—Book 3 of the Deer Run Saga. This series finale is a gripping mix of romance and deception, faith and forgiveness, transgression and trial.
Available now @ Amazon in print or on Kindle!

Just Sayin….

Elaine Marie Cooper begins her story on a sad note. The Lowe family of Deer Run had just lost Anne, the wife of James Lowe during childbirth leaving a baby girl in his distraught and loving arms. James’s twin brother Daniel Lowe, Jr. the Protagonist in this third book of The Saga of Deer Run, has made a rushed arduous trip home from the weapons armory in Springfield, Massachusetts for the funeral.  Daniel overhears ugly words of town gossip Mrs. Endicott proclaiming an old rumor that the Lowe family was under a curse because of Daniel Lowe, Sr having been an enemy soldier in the past bringing on tragic destiny for the Lowe family. Daniel began to question the idea that a loving relationship with a woman could bring a horrible destruction and end by victimizing any woman who fell in love with a male Lowe.  After all, it had happened to Daniel’s first love Deborah four years ago; and now to James’s wife, Anne. Were they rejected by God’s love because they fell in love with a Lowe? If this were so, twenty-one year old Daniel glumly construed during his long cold journey back to Springfield, then vowed he would never marry.  Daniel, on edge and miserable when he arrived back at the armory barracks, was soon greeted by the very one Daniel preferred not to see, Ezra Pritchard who coerced Danny into drowning his sorrows in ale at the tavern.  Danny finally agreed, not conscious that trying to drink away his problems would only add to his sorrows. 

While all of this was happening, we look in on the recently moved family from Boston to Springfield – the  Dobbins.  Nineteen year old Susannah Dobbins in her room crying and sobbing with outrage that she had left the only home she’d ever known.  She blamed her father for moving them from Boston when she had lost her mother to death eight months before as well as all her friends and especially Elias Hopkins who had won her romantic heart, or so she thought at that time.  She is telling God in a not so kind manner that it isn’t fair that He took her sweet mother away when her father, brother Stephen and she needed her mother so. Susannah hears the noise of revelers in the street below her window and looks down in distaste at seeing three drunk armory workers, one quite inebriated being held up by the other two men.  Daniel, being the most drunk of the three happened to raise his head in time to catch the unbelievable sight of Susannah leaning out the window showing much more busty loveliness than intended.  Daniel
 was in shock and awe as he gazed at the beautiful young woman, and Susannah was in shock and humiliation at realizing her chemise was pulled lower than it should have been.  She drew back in repugnance and took to her bed vowing never to mingle in society with such a rogue.  Although, she had noticed this young rogue was handsome with his dark hair and features, she preferred not to show notice of such.
Times were very difficult then during the 1800’s, with fear and fright always hanging above their heads.  Jobs were not to be found in the smaller populated villages, which forced the young men to find work at the Armory in Springfield making weapons for the defense of America.  Espionage happening in and about the armory and elsewhere caused suspicions and mistrust of anyone speaking a foreign language; as well as dishonest armory workers looking for a fast dollar in spying for the enemy. Daniel Lowe, Jr , is a valued worker there, as his honesty and good character were respected and noted by his superiors.  Susannah Dobbins. a beautiful young woman fighting her own battles with loneliness and the lack of a promised love for life.  She first comes across as selfish and self-centered, and let’s add snobbish to that description.  Both Daniel and Susannah are products of loving families, however the level of richness in the monetary sense was a wide spectrum.
The next chapters of Elaine Marie Cooper’s story brings about the actual meeting of Susannah and Daniel.  The morning after the three armory workers went out on the town and Daniel and Susannah saw each other, other dramatic events happened to keep my attention glued to this story.  In fact, not once in the entire story did my interest wane.  I disliked putting Ms. Cooper’s book down to catch a few winks at night.
At this point the characters we have met so far have been invited to a church raising.  Excuse my quick track back to the ferry boat trip across the river that morning, where Daniel and Susannah were both passengers; and of course looked upon each other in recognition each noticing alluring qualities of the other, like Daniel’s green eyes and Susannah’s lovely mane of light brown hair.  During the ferry trip, a gusty wind blew Daniel’s hat into the water, which is a very unique tie-in to a future meeting of the young couple.  I’m not giving away any spoilers, you’ll need to read this wonderful story yourself.  Once at the church raising, little did they realize that they would be formally introduced by a churchwoman who sat them at the same table to be served.  Hence we are hooked and settled for a great read.
The weaving and joining the romance between Daniel and Susannah is thoughtfully and delightfully written.  Times of illnesses and the families coming together to aid and show concern caused me to wish that we had today that same type of care and concern for others with many of today’s citizens.  From my reading of this era, things seemed simpler in some ways…but overshadowed with learning to cope with each situation during the hard circumstances of distance and dangers of travel.  Even twenty miles on horseback or carriage over rough dirt roads must have been exhausting and rigorous at least.
Elaine Marie Cooper has my utmost respect and admiration at the deep genealogical and history research she mastered to write this fine book.  Her love and enticement of writing comes through every page.  She has definitely written an historical romance of the deepest kind.  Family love and loyalty, deepening romantic love,  supporting love for troubled souls,  love for friends and learned love for self brings the drama alive.  There are unpredictable problems of the family members and family love and support sustains each travesty. Watching the true changes in the main characters through their faith in God and each other is heart rendering.  My own tears streamed watching Susannah’s metamorphosis into a caring and selfless young woman.  Daniel and Susannah’s romance, and the need of forgiveness and reconciliation of Daniel Lowe, Sr to his own mistakes where his daughter Polly and Jonathan were are brought about through the excellent writing of Elaine’s talented skills.
Even though love prevails throughout this story – many lessons are learned through bad choices, prejudices, deception, to God’s redemptive love reaching down from his heavenly abode to touch and turn situations for good.  There are family deaths and births in the same day that is supernaturally defined by our Lord’s blessings in only the way he can rain grace overall. Because so much of her story was based on actual fact endeared the book to me.
This reviewer is deeply touched having read Elaine Marie Cooper’s intelligent, sensitive and realistic writing of The Legacy of Deer Run.  It put me in a time and place I was fascinated to be a part of and wishing for more.  My personal involvement with the Lowe and Dobbins families were very real to me even though I haven’t as yet read books I and II of this series – I plan to do that forthwith and offer a subtle hint to Ms Cooper that I wish a fourth novel to be in the works.  Wouldn’t it be fun to watch the Lowe families spread across the space between Deer Run and Springfield with generations growing into the 1900’s?
My rating on this novel is a very high five for the superior story line, deep research and the working of actual facts into the story for an excellent and compelling historical romance novel far above the norm.  I am honored for Elaine Marie Cooper’s request for this review.  Thank you and I am blessed.
Picture

Picture

Meet our SR Reviewer ~ Barb Shelton!

Picture

Barb is married to Jack Shelton, a retired military officer and lives in Arlington, Texas. Having been married for thirty seven years, Barb and Jack share eight children between them, (His, Mine, Ours); 19 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Barb was born and raised in Enterprise, Kansas. She is musically inclined and is a retired church music director. A former Weight Watcher lecturer, she has had many interesting and unusual jobs, including working for a private detective, defense attorney, office manager for a video production company and administrative assistant to two different pastors. She is involved in volunteer and church activities, and describes herself as creative, friendly and can talk with anyone.“I am a Christian and love to spread God’s love and enjoy making others smile and lift up their day.”She wishes to write a book one day. “I’ve been through several soap operas in my lifetime and lived to tell about them.”Barb is the writer of two blogs, Passing it Forward and Blessed by Grace, both of which she invites you to drop by to visit one day.
Authors, email twjadsales@gmail.com for details on how to have your book reviewed by Barb!


*To purchase copy simply click on the cover or link!*