Tag Archive | abba father





Courage Cover

Her courage

and her heart

will be tested in ways

she never expected 

Beth Thatcher has spent her entire life in the safe, comfortable world of her family, her friends, and the social outings her father’s wealth provides. But Beth is about to leave it all behind to accept a teaching position in the rugged foothills of western Canada. Inspired by her aunt Elizabeth, who went west to teach school several years ago, and gently encouraged by her father, Beth resolves to put her trust in God and bravely face any challenge that comes her way.

But the conditions in Coal Valley are even worse than she’d feared. A recent mining accident has left the town grieving and at the mercy of the mining company. The children have had very little prior education, and many of the locals don’t even speak English. There isn’t even a proper schoolhouse. In addition, Beth’s heart is torn between two young men—both Mounties, one a lifelong friend and the other a kind, quiet man who comes to her aid more than once.

Despite the many challenges, Beth is determined to make a difference in the rustic frontier town. But when her sister visits from the East, reminding her of all the luxuries she’s had to give up, will Beth decide to return to her privileged life as soon as the school year is over?



While anticipating the honor of writing a review for Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan’s novel When Courage Calls, I pondered if my words could give proper merit to such creative teamwork from these two superb authors. As a long time reader of Janette Oke – often relating her skilled gift to Laura Ingalls Wilder, I perceive the same in Laurel Oke Logan. I am sincerely humbled to be reviewing this work of perfection


Beth Thatcher touched me deeply – she had the true heart of a missionary, with a spirit of kindness within a soul full of God’s Holy Word.  All those wonderful characteristics plus courage to venture into the unknown enabled her to face challenges with belief that she could be the impetus to change things through her deep faith in God.  Beth made a daring decision to accept a position as the school teacher in remote Coal Valley, an indigent mining area in Western Canada.  Beth finds herself in a bit of culture shock without the conveniences of home and wealth she had been privileged to know in Toronto. One of my favorite characters, Molly, the boarding house owner where Beth lived, was delightful and quite appropriately written into this beautiful story.  Oh, but then there is Frank…. and the children…..and the unlikely school room…and the Italian miners – there is no end to the unique quaintness versus durability of the people of Coal Valley.  When Beth played her violin and enthralled the community to envision the miracle of Christmas…. my heart felt the glory. When you read this story and find out why Beth’s violin played a part in a huge surprise, you will soon realize there are many surprises in store to keep the pages turning.


Edward Montclair and Beth were lifelong friends, however Beth considered him an annoyance and was not intending to gratify their mothers’ presumptuous plans that the two would one day marry.  Beth’s exhaustive train ride from Toronto to Coal Valley had some unpleasant and unpredicted surprises; in a bizarre way concerning Edward.  Beth envisioned no dreams of romance then or after arriving in Coal Valley.  However, this is a love story in my estimation about how God’s love can turn hopeless situations to promising.  It is no surprise that the authors created the characters of this story to breathe and come alive on the page.  Sensational writing includes the vindictive and evil side that plagues the community with mystery.  When the hint of romance comes into the story with Royal Canadian Mountie Jarrick (Jack) Thornton, my own heart palpitated a bit and wondered if Beth would have secret thoughts about this warm and charming Christian believer.


Before I forget myself and deluge too much – you can find out from the back cover an excellent synopsis of this solid story, as well as peruse many fine written reviews as to why you should acquire this book and read what’s between the covers for yourself.  Interestingly, I learned When Courage Calls is a special companion story to Hallmark Channel’s “When Calls the Heart” TV series.  You know you are getting the best when you see it on Hallmark.  Where have I heard something like that said before?  Unfortunately, I have not seen or read the prior episodes of this series on the Canadian West.  Through further information, I found this series of seven books was republished in 2005 with updated covers.  These novels will be added to my library as time permits.


It is my hope that the Ms. Janette Oke and Ms. Laurel Oke Logan will write another novel in this series continuing the story of Beth and answer all my questions about what happens next.  My curiosity is as real as my admiration for the authors.  Thank you ladies, for blessing your readers through Beth’s story.  I feel blessed having the pleasure of reading it.


Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.




Janette Oke Celebrated for her significant contribution to the Christian book industry, Janette Oke is the recipient of numerous awards. Her novels have sold more than 30 million copies and are beloved by readers around the world. Janette lives with her husband, Edward, in Alberta, Canada. 

Laurel Oke Logan is the daughter of Edward and Janette Oke, is the author of “Janette Oke: A Heart for the Prairie,” as well as the novel “Dana’s Valley,” which she co-wrote with her mom. Laurel and her husband have six children and two sons-in-law and live near Indianapolis, Indiana.















Spunky Allison McClare is determined to be a fearless, independent woman. But when she takes a notion to explore the wild Barbary Coast, she quickly discovers she’s no match for the unsavory characters that haunt the dark streets.
Detective Nick Barone would rather do almost anything than teach this petite socialite self-defense, but it seems he has little choice. Sparks fly every time the two meet until a grudging friendship develops into something deeper. But is he just a fraud like all the rest of the men Allison’s cared for? Or is he the one who will let her dare to love again?
Award-winning author Julie Lessman brings the glamour of Gilded Age San Francisco to vibrant life in this journey to find a love that never fails.
“With memorable characters and an effervescent plot that’s as buoyant as it is entertaining, Dare to Love Again is Julie Lessman at her zestful best.”–Tamera Alexander, bestselling author of A Lasting Impression and To Whisper Her Name
“Nobody pens a more splendid romance than Julie! The expert on dazzling dialogue, engaging characters, and wonderful romantic plots with a twist wins my heart over every time.”–Maggie Brendan, author of Heart of the West and The Blue Willow Brides series
“Julie’s ability to thread romance and longing, deception and forgiveness, and lots of humor are unparalleled by anyone else in the Christian market today.”–Rachel McRae, LifeWay Stores


♥♥♥♥♥  FIVE STARS  ♥♥♥♥♥

Applause!  Applause!!  Applause!!!  Julie Lessman just keeps on writing a new favorite to replace an older favorite and a yet older favorite.  Personally, I hope it never ends!  My recent visit with the McClare family in 1903 San Francisco was so much fun even though we faced some fiercely intense moments sitting together in the parlor on Caitlyn’s loveseat praying and waiting for one crisis to subside before facing whatever came along next. Reading one of Julie’s novels is a marvelous release mechanism…..all my giggles over Lessman-style humor released endorphins that caused me to feel great; or releasing pent up emotions through easy tears that flowed along with Caitlyn’s.  All those tears caused an enormous pile of tissues for Rosie the housekeeper to sweep up with an audible “tsk tsk,” and slight shake of her head.

Dare to Love Again is the perfect title for this Julie Lessman novel.  The title is a story in itself, so to speak, because Allison, the eldest daughter of Caitlyn McClare, has been jilted and left disappointed four times causing a jaundiced eye toward romantic love.  The hunky lead hero Detective Nick Barone becomes the big dare for Allison.  Nick will not allow himself to dare fall in love with a rich Nob Hill debutante.  Both characters are well equipped with mixed emotions about each other and their sparring is comical and typical of independent personalities.  Brother-in-law Logan McClare continues to dare hope that his widowed sister-in-law Caitlyn would dare love him as she did in their youth and accept his proposal of marriage.  Will Nick and Logan dare to believe in God?  Ms. Lessman brings her characters so close to taking the dares and so far away again; that I do not attempt to dare guess what happens next.  

Julie Lessman stories encompass everything from romance, danger, bad guys, good guys, secrets, smells, tastes, vivid scenery, laughter, mystery, trauma to a fascinating script.  Most importantly being the lessons learned through human error, confession, forgiveness, and accepting God’s love.  Warm feelings among some characters occur where negative attitudes had been the mode.  Certain new personalities added to the story are quite endearing….fall in love with La-di-da, and Miss Penny.  Who gets nauseous riding the streetcar?  What do animal crackers have to do with anything?  Some shocking information is revealed about members of the McClare Clan in this second episode of The Heart of San Francisco series.  Historical facts and location research appear as a natural part of Ms. Lessman’s innate writing gift to render the beauty in words meaningful.  She writes page turners for avid readers who would not dare put her book down.  There is no less in Julie Lessman.  She owns it all where word art is involved.    

It is not this reviewer’s intent to detail excess information about the characters and subject matter, the back and front cover is capable of drawing reader interest.  Revealing too much might prevent one from an intriguing read and my intent is for curiosity to take the dare and enjoy my personal recommendation. Julie Lessman has caused me to fall in love with San Francisco all over again.  

Through her faith in our loving Abba, Julie Lessman dares to write as she does.  Dare I ask Julie why she has won many awards and trophies?  She will give our Lord all the credit.  Ok, the dares are dropped….anyone taking bets that Julie’s next story will be the most read yet?  My bet is yes, it will….and winner take all! Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.


Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. Winner of the 2009 ACFW Debut Author of the Year and Holt Medallion Awards of Merit for Best First Book and Long Inspirational, Julie is also the recipient of 14 Romance Writers of America awards and was voted by readers as “Borders Best of 2009 So Far: Your Favorite Fiction.”

Chosen as the #1 Romance Fiction Author of the Year in the Family Fiction magazine 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie was also awarded #1 Historical Fiction Author of the Year in that same poll and #3 Author of the Year, #4 Novel of the Year and #3 Series of the year. She resides in Missouri with her husband, daughter, son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter and is the author of “The Daughters of Boston” series—A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. Book 1 in her “Winds of Change” series A Hope Undaunted ranked #5 on Booklist’s Top 10 Inspirational Fiction for 2010.




Angi Griffis, gave me a great idea. You see, she’s currently reading Dare to Love Again and asked me if I had any pix of celebrities I had pegged to play Alli and Nick. And, OF COURSE, I do and can hardly believe I haven’t posted them before now! So … without further ado, here are the shots I pictured while writing the story.

Allison McClare:  Alli McClare is petite with curly black hair in the typical Gibson Girl style of the day, usually up, as indicated in the 2nd pic below. She has eyes that are a very deep green with creamy, porcelain skin. She is fun and adventurous and has a flair for drama. She wants to be an independent woman so she learns jiu-jitsu and carries a large hat pin to protect herself when she takes a notion to explore the Barbary Coast. She has a dry sense of humor, is down to earth and doesn’t trust men because she’s been engaged and brokenhearted by three men who were fortune hunters and frauds.

The first pic is what I sent to Revell of a model whose name I do not know, and the next four model pics are the model Revell hired who actually appears on the cover of the book.

Visit Julie’s  Journal Jots to see the pictures   http://www.julielessman.com/journal-jots1/

Next … we have Detective Nick Barone, or as Alli calls him, Mr. Ga-roan! Nick Barone is a six-foot-four Italian and 30 years old with green, almost hazel eyes and dark hair that tends to curl. I see him as a the unnamed model below or a younger George Clooney. He is a no-nonsense, hard-nosed plain-clothes detective with a hair-trigger temper and an axe to grind with the upper class. He’s smart, good-looking and a bit on the grouchy side, but ALWAYS has his shoes polished and animal crackers in his pocket (and on his breath).




Happy Monday Friends & Neighbors!  

It’s my pleasure to share with you my friend Carol Round’s inspiration for this week.  This is fun to read and I’ve found a lot of humor to start my day on a happier note.  Not that I was unhappy…..but Monday is always a day that makes my brain a bit mushy.

And…..an the moment, I’m in big preparations to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference being held just a few minutes up the road from where I live at the DFW Hyatt Regency.  I’m so excited and a bit nervous…I’m a first timer to attend.  I am anticipating a joyous few days getting to know other author friends as well as filling my mind with more facts and information than it can hold…LOL…  One step closer to my dream of writing something meaningful about my walk with Jesus, my stumbles along the way, and the miracles dropped in my path to glorify Jesus and our Abba Father.  So, while I’m about my busy work…..enjoy Carol’s words

A Matter of Faith

Every Day is a Holiday



“This is the day that the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it”—Psalm 118:24 (ESV).


            Have you heard of National Hummingbird Day, National Cheese Pizza Day, Be Late for Something Day, National Iguana Awareness Day, Make Your Bed Day, and one of my favorites, Eat an Extra Dessert Day?


            Although most don’t celebrate these unusual days, I was intrigued by the list at the “Holidays for Everyday” website. Some I had never even heard of, but I might implement a few, like an extra dessert on September 4. Oops, I missed that one. Is there such a thing as celebrating belatedly?


            I’ll pass on the day to observe awareness of the iguana as I don’t care for lizards. I make my bed each morning so this means I celebrate this holiday daily. I love the hummingbirds who visit my feeder each morning but I don’t know how to make their day special. Be Late for Something Day was celebrated on September 5 but as of this writing, I have two appointments for which I cannot be tardy. I had to skip that one too. That leaves National Cheese Pizza Day, observed on September 4, which has already passed too. However, when I do eat pizza on a rare occasion, I like one loaded with extra veggies.


            According to this same website, September 13 is Positive Thinking Day. September 15 has been designated National Thank-You Day. The third Tuesday in September is the International Day of Peace and the 21st is World Gratitude Day. The fourth Sunday in September is a time to observe Good Neighbor Day, while September 28 is Family Health and Fitness Day. What do these six holidays have in common? If you think about it, you will see the connection between these celebrations and scripture.


            I located 64 Bible verses about positive thinking, 70 about thankfulness and 54 on gratitude. What about peace? I found 199 passages. I also discovered 90 verses about our neighbors. Looking up the word health, I found 44 verses and 12 about fitness. Verses about the family numbered 116.


            Another commonality they share is the relationship between our attitudes and the kind of day we experience when we are living it for God. Consider Psalm 118:24. “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”


            If we would begin each day recognizing, regardless of our circumstances, that it is a gift from God, our outlook on life would change. With a positive attitude, we would be grateful, giving thanks, not only to God but also to those He has placed in our lives, including those neighbors we might consider pesky. Think how peaceful our world would become if we observed these holidays, not just on calendar-specific days, but every day. The result would be healthier relationships within our families, within our communities, within our countries and within the world.


            We shouldn’t wait for a special day to celebrate but treat each day as one which the Lord has made. That’s a reason to rejoice.


Email your comments to the author at carolaround@yahoo.com. For more inspiration, check out her blog at www.carolaround.com.

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Blog: www.carolaround.com
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“Are you as close to God as you would like to be?” <*\\\\><


LOL….hope you enjoyed reading Carol’s encouragement and humor as much as I did.  So – have a great week and I’ll be back again soon to share some things that have touched my heart.  In the meantime I’m praying that you will continue to be blessed by grace!






This droopy blog was in need of changes and with the help of dear friend and author Pam Thibodeaux, it has happened!  I hope you will be as delighted as I am, it is so beautiful!  Two additional pages will allow ease to move around the blog and view your interests; including a GIVEAWAY page for author reviews, interviews and book giveaways.  There will be postings of interesting facts and other’s ideas more often and I hope to be exchanging information with other writers of blog and websites.

AUTHORS – please contact me if and when you’d like your book reviewed, author interview and giveaway at barbjan10@tx.rr.com.  IN FACT, I’ve already had a request from a notable author to have a review, interview and giveaway….and I’m thrilled!  No early announcements – just keep dropping in to “get the facts.”

BLOGGERS – If you would like to let readers know about an interview and giveaway on your site, please let me know how I can help direct them to your event to read and  make comments.  It would be a wonderful opportunity to exchange our news and giveaways and draw reader participation.  Please contact me at barbjan10@tx.rr.com





My intent is to share this space with authors wanting a review and publicity for their new books.  Sharing is the key word here with everyone, readers, websites, bloggers, Facebook friends, ministries and charitable causes.  If you want to share…..make others aware…hmmm, that rhymes…LOL!  Sharing with others about BLESSED BY GRACE and the good news here would help this endeavor of spreading God’s word grow…and grow….and grow!  Blessings for everyone.


Just a kind reminder about The Wordsmith Journal Magazine, owned/edited by Pamela S. Thibodeaux.  I am a reviewer for The Senior Perspective….Just Saying…..and review Christian novels to give my review from a senior perspective….it’s an age thing!  So far, I have reviewed Decision to Love by Michelle Sutton, The Visionary by Pamela S. Thibodeaux ( Both 5 Star recommended reads); and  already know of and am thrilled with well known upcoming authors and their books in the near future.


Speaking of The Wordsmith Journal Magazine, I respectfully want to add another encouraging plug about what’s going on there.  Courtesy of Pamela Thibodeaux, Owner and Editor, Pam said…”I just put together an Advertising Plan and Marketing Strategy document for  The Wordsmith Journal Magazine and all I can say is WOW!  We are going well!”

Authors if you want max exposure for min investment you need to check us out!


Feature Ad and Book Review on the Sr Perspective Page!
Full Ad (cover, blurb, buy links) + a review/commentary by our Sr Reviewer – Barb Shelton

Only 1 per page so your book will receive Maximum Exposure 
get a Newsletter Ad FREE!

The Wordsmith Journal Magazine

Is looking for an
Ad Sales Associate

Please email me at: twjadsales@gmail.com

If interested.  This is a commission based position – Thanks!

Pamela S Thibodeaux CEO

(What a great opportunity to receive valuable publicity for your novel.  I am sincerely hoping you will choose my review for your book in The Wordsmith Journal Magazine, I’m Just Sayin……..Barb)

My eye surgery went well and I’m doing great!  Seeing things differently now….as you can see!  Please give me some feedback on what you think of the new format.  It’s my goal to bless all of you through…………..


Please spread the word and join me here.

I’m Blessed by Grace,