Review of THE REFUGE by Ann H. Gabhart

This is the first book that I have read by this author and I found it thoroughly enjoyable. It is the story of Darcie and her husband William finding shelter from the cholera epidemic in the Shaker community. When the unexpected happens and Darcie finds herself alone and pregnant in a community that does not allow any contact between men and women, Darcie has to learn to survive alone and to plot a route to a future that includes a newborn. When widower Flynn Kelly begins to work at the Shaker village with the horses, Darcie is drawn to him and his little girl who is lonely and motherless. The plot is predictable, but it is such a lovely story, with lots of twists along the path to wholeness that it is well worth reading. I found out a lot of information that I never knew about the Shakers, especially the fact that they are celibate. I enjoyed the various Shaker characters who helped Darcie in any way possible, like making her chores easier and giving her food that will help calm her queasy stomach. What a charming story this was! I am sure that fans of Anne H. Gabhart will enjoy it, but so will new readers of her books since it is a clean and well-crafted story of God’s work in the lives of men, even after tragedy.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

This new Harmony Hill novel is available today at your local bookseller or online retailer.

Review of ON A SUMMER TIDE by Suzanne Woods Fisher

I was very excited to receive this first book in a new series by Suzanne Woods Fisher. This is a story trying to find their roles and to function together. Paul is a widower who decides to make a major change in his life and bring his three daughters with him to an island that he bought in Maine. He renames the island The Three Sisters Island, and so the adventure begins. The old camp that Paul remembers in in total disrepair and will require that the three of them work together in order to make it successful again. With a purpose in mind to draw and keep tourists on the island year around, Paul, along with Camden, Maddie and Blaine, find out what their hidden talents are in order to save the island and give the townspeople a purpose, also. There is a school teacher on the island who is the love interest of one of the daughters, and there is also Cooper, Camden’s son who suffers from severe separation anxiety. The way Ms. Fisher unrolls the story for the reader is humorous and empathetic. I enjoyed the characterization that showed the weaknesses of the main characters because all of their deep problems were revealed slowly as was how they dealt with the weaknesses and changed them into strengths. This is a totally clean read with a really good story and many good lessons to teach.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Publishing. I was not required to post a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

This first book in a new series is available today at your favorite bookseller!

Become Like a Child

I’m in my late sixties now and I still recall some wonderful memories of my childhood. I recall sledding down a big hill on our street. I remember rolling down the grassy hill that led to our backyard. I remember sitting on the porch and playing or reading. Childhood is so innocent and full of wonder, isn’t it? I’m getting to see it again when I visit our grandchildren. Their wonder at the simple things that we take for granted is opening my eyes again to the wonders of God’s world that He created for us to enjoy. For a child, every day is an adventure, full of new things to explore and learn about.

Children are instinctively driven to explore and discover. They neither dwell in the past nor settle for the present, but look forward–with an unquenchable curiosity–to the future, fueled by wonder and an immense capacity for enjoyment. -Nicky Gumbel

This quotation was part of a Bible study that I did with Nicky Gumbel on the You Version App a couple of years ago. It touched me so much that I copied it into my nots and have thought about what it means to be a child. As I watch our grandchildren, particularly the younger ones, I see that each of them does have that since of curiosity that never goes away, always looking for something new to explore and enjoy. Perhaps that is part of what God meant when He told us to be like little children.

Instead of exploring our physical world though, I think that God wants us to explore and discover all of the truths that He is revealing to us about His spiritual world. We can only do that as we read His word, with eyes wide open to the wonder and majesty that is God. Children accept the truth that we tell them because we are the adults and are supposed to know things. What we should be presenting to children and to ourselves is the truth of God’s Word, the unchanging Word that has the plan of salvation for us. But to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we have to have the curiosity and the sense of wonder that a child has. We need to love others without question, and we need to forgive quickly, knowing like a child that our relationships with others depend on our keeping our hearts open to them. Just as we learn to live with others here on the earth, we also learn what it meant for Jesus to sacrifice and to forgive with His last words here on earth.

It’s a shame that as adults, we become so busy with our lives and our work and our hobbies that we forget the wonder that each day presents. Sometimes we forget to be thankful for the sunshine and the flowers, for the birds and the bees that fly around the garden. I don’t know about you, but God is speaking to me to become more childlike in my attitude…more full of wonder and thankfulness and forgiveness and love. I think that only then can we see more of God’s kingdom as He means for us to do. We need to open our eyes and hearts, just as a child does…open up to all that God has for us and then wait for Him to show us His majesty. Blessings for a wonderful day full of childlike exploration of the truths of God!

I’m Making the Decision to Thrive!

Well, readers, lately I have been a little self-absorbed and depressed because of this whole health thing and my diet that is so restrictive. But this morning in my devotion, God reminded me that He has created me to thrive, not just to exist. Every morning, I have been waking up, bemoaning another day with no bread, no cookies and nothing with salt or pepper or other spices. I tried an egg earlier this week and really hated it because I wasn’t allowed a piece of toast with it. So, planning my meals each day has been a chore. This morning, I looked out my window at the chickadees at our bird feeders and God reminded me that my husband has been making nutritious meals for me, much like he fills up the bird feeders. I just haven’t been very thankful because I’m not a fan of fish! So, first thing…I’m deciding to be thankful for every bite that I can put into my mouth! I’m singing praise to the Lord just as the little chickadees do!

I have also decided not to worry so much about the calories that I’m getting and the lack of protein. God knows what I need and is providing. I have been so focused lately on what I can’t have in my diet that I have been failing to be thankful for what I can have. Worrying each day about how I will get my calories and protein for the day is not what I am meant to do, so I plan to relax more, just look at my list of allowed foods and choose one or two.

I have really wanted to return to my swim aerobics class, but I haven’t been getting enough calories to have the energy to exercise. I have determined not to worry about when that will happen and just let God tell me when and what to eat. He made me so He can guide my decisions about what I need to nourish my body. Turning things over to Him makes my life easier. I can rest in Him and in His loving care for me! Meanwhile, I will tell others of His love and care for me, of His healing touch and how much stronger I am getting daily.

Thrive by Casting Crowns

This song really spoke to me this morning during my worship time. I was created to thrive…to show God to others and that is my decision today. I hope that it is your decision, also. Blessings!

Review of THE MOTHER IN LAW by Sally Hepworth

This was an absolutely perfectly written book that drew me into the story from the beginning! It is told from the viewpoints of Diana, the mother-in=law, and Lucy, the daughter-in-law. Since the novel is told from the time of the current and the past, the reader needs to pay attention to the title of each chapter which tells you when the action takes place. It is the story of a dysfunctional family into which a young motherless girl, Lucy, marries. She really loves Ollie and wants to have a great future with him, but the problem seems to be Diana who doesn’t seem to like Lucy at all. From the time Diana meets Lucy, Diana seems to be withdrawn from her, hiding her feelings behind her aristocratic demeanor and speech. The family relationships also include Nettie, Ollie’s sister, and her overbearing husband Patrick. The only character that seemed likable was Lucy, but I did applaud Diana for her work with charities. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and its portrayal of a broken family and the results that affect all of them forever. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys psychological suspense. I can’t really characterize it as a thriller, but definitely a suspense! This was the second book that I have read by this author, and she certainly does not disappoint her readers!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

Available now from your local bookseller!

I Am One of the Redeemed of the Lord

God has decided to lift up my face today to see Him in all of His glory and to look toward the future and not back at the past. Did you know that when you are looking backwards, you can’t look forward? I think that is why the manufacturers put mirrors on cars. You can quickly glance into them to see what is behind you, but you don’t focus on them all the time because then you would have a collision with what is in front of you. I think that recently I have been too focused on the past, on a time that is no more and will never be again. No matter how much I miss that time, I can’t call it back. But God has reminded me that He is the God of redemption and restoration, and although I cannot go back to the past when my children were small and living with us, I can go forward to a future filled with the laughter of grandchildren and the promise of a tomorrow with the Lord, for all of eternity. Is life going to be perfect now that I have come to this great revelation? No, of course not! And it is probably not a great revelation for anyone else. It is just something that God has spoken to me about, to pull me out of my pity party and the doldrums that I have been suffering lately. I even wanted to go back to before I had surgery, a time when I was on a restricted diet but nothing as restrictive as the one I am on now. However, God wants me to be thankful for today, regardless of what I am allowed to eat or drink. After all, life isn’t all about eating and drinking; it’s about serving God to the best of my ability, and trusting Him for my future. God has shown me the sunshine today and the birds outside my window. Why, a chickadee visited the bird feeder this morning! How beautiful he was in all of his yellow feathers with his startled look when he noticed my peering at him through the window! I’m not sure he realized how much pleasure he gave me, but I know that God knows how lifted my heart was to see such a pretty fellow right outside.

Photo from Pinterest.

I am one of the ransomed of the Lord and I am claiming today that all of the sorrow and sadness that I have been feeling will go away. I know that Jesus lives and that one day I will be with Him in the Courts of Glory. Until that time comes, I cannot go around with a long face and sighing about what was. I am to show Jesus to the world, with a smile on my face and ready to meet the needs of others.

Greater Things by Mack Brock

Let us all remember the words of this song today! Blessed to be a blessing!


This is absolutely the gift to give for Mother’s Day to grandmothers—new ones, veteran ones. It doesn’t matter because it is perfect gift. Told with truth and humor, this is the story of Anna Quindlen becoming a grandmother for the first time. She explores families with different nationalities and learning different languages. She offers her sage advice about when to butt out and when to give your two cents worth. This was a very fast read and enjoyable the entire time that I was reading. The vignettes were humorous as well as realistic which make the book very readable and enjoyable. I plan to purchase a hard copy for myself so that I can read it again and again when I need to remind myself of my true role as a “Nanna.” Loved it!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

This wonderful book is available TODAY from your local bookseller. Buy one for yourself and definitely get one for the grandmother in your life!

Beginnings and Endings

I read somewhere that about 360,000 babies are born daily. As I ponder the fact that I am attending the funeral of a dear friend today, I wonder how many die daily. No matter how many newborns come into the world, they cannot replace the hole in my heart where my friend lives, nor should they. The older I get, the more thankful I am for each day. I read a quotation this morning that is applicable to my life and may be suitable for yours, too.

We learn from what happened in our past, or at least that is the hope. Nevertheless, we cannot go back and repeat the past; instead, we have to continue forward in our lives. Living for today means to me to take every moment and live it to the fullest since we never know what may suddenly change. Or, in my case, who may suddenly disappear from our lives. This saying also has an inherent lesson in it for Christians. We are to be all that we can be on a daily basis. We should not put things off that the Holy Spirit has been prodding us to do because one day it may be too late to do it. Latin has a phrase for that: Carpe Diem, which means “Seize the day!” Make today the best that it can be for yourself and for those whose lives you touch!

I cannot make it a good day today or any other day if I don’t start with praise and thanksgiving. You may think that I’m being foolish or perhaps double-minded. How can I start today with thanksgiving and praise as well as grief? Because I know that the Lord who made me and gave me this day to live was my friend’s Lord also, so I rest in the fact that he is with the Lord and at peace. I will miss him dearly, for he was the only one in our church who graduated from my college alma mater, or at least the male part of my college since I attended the female school. Every Sunday, he would talk to my husband about how UVA was doing in sports. He was beyond delighted that “his boys” had won the national title in basketball, a feat that they accomplished a mere week before he passed away. So, that being said, I know that he is praising God in Heaven, so I will look for things to be thankful for here on earth, for as long as God chooses to leave me here.

Not worrying about anything is hard about me, because I am, honestly, a hand-wringer. If the sun comes up nice and bright, I inevitably refer to the weather report that says that bad storms are coming later. I call myself a realist, but really, in many ways, I am a pessimist. I have decided long ago that this was a learned behavior because I saw so many of my dreams for my life fall by the wayside as I actually went through my days and lived it. But then I read the Scriptures that tell me that God will restore all things to me and give me hope and a future. (Job 33:26 and Jer, 29:11 NIV)

I am disciplining myself to be joyful before the Lord and to praise Him with all of my heart and soul. I am learning to be thankful for the new day and trying hard to break old habits of looking at things in a negative light. I am working on myself, just as God works on me. I am a work in progress, so as today is an ending, a farewell to a friend, it is also a beginning. Today is a new day to praise the Lord and to thank Him for His goodness, grace and mercy to me, an imperfect and negative being who is working on being more positive.

10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman