I am a Christian, a retired teacher, a mother and a grandmother. I love to read and I love the Lord Jesus Christ! Unless otherwise specified ,all visual illustrations are from the YOU VERSION APP of the Bible.
This was an epic tale of love, sacrifice, forgiveness, loss and new beginnings. The story’s main narrator was Zara Mitchell, a hospice nurse who loves dogs and who deals compassionately with those entering the last stage of life. When she returns home to Richmond, Virginia, because her grandmother Nonna is dying, Zara does not know what to expect. She is used to dealing with death, but not that of the family member who raised her. When Nonna insists that Zara clean out the attic and look for a particular treasure there, Zara pitches in quickly to the task, wanting to complete it before her Nonna dies. In the attic is a journal that tells the story of a young woman in Rome named Isabella, a courageous young woman who faced down the Nazis and did all she could to help the Resistance and those in danger to escape. The secrets of the attic drew me back to the book again and again. Yes, there was a love story involved, several of them, in fact. The time is from the past during WWII and to the present, with Zara having to cope with her own losses and inevitable changes that come with them. I cannot say enough good things about this book! It helped me to see the hardships of war more clearly and the sacrifices that the people in the land occupied by the Nazis had to make in order to continue to survive. The characters became real to me, like watching a movie on television and having the actors step out of the screen and talk to me as they related their life’s story. This is a book that I will long remember as more than a love story because it is a book that teaches the horrors of war and the triumph of love and compassion. Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author 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.”
Mary Ellen is also known nationally as New York Times and USA Today bestselling suspense novelist Mary Burton. Together, they have published forty-five novels and five novellas. Mary Burton’s latest, Near You, debuts April 2021.
When not traveling or holed up writing, Mary Ellen spends time with her husband enjoying their empty nest and spoiling their miniature dachshunds, Buddy, Bella and Tiki.
This amazing book will be available to read on July 20th, but you can pre-order it now! Purchase Links:
Sasha is a surgeon on a little Caribbean island where she grew up. There she meets Dr. Nate, a physician at an elite clinic on the island. Sasha assumes that Nate is rich and not worth her time since she already had an encounter with a rich guy who treated her badly. The plot is fun to read but predictable. I enjoyed the medical details in the book, including a disease that Sasha’s uncle was diagnosed with. I really enjoyed the interactions between Sasha and Nate as they discovered truths about each other. The main characters were very well-developed in such a way that I felt as if I knew them personally by the end of the book. Nate was caring and compassionate, a young man who put the needs of others above his own needs. Sasha was wary and hesitant and a skilled surgeon who wants to guard her heart. The way the two of them meet and how they pursue a relationship made for a fun read. There were definitely some steamy sex scenes, so this book may not be for all romance readers. Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Harlequin via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review.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.”
About the Author
A three-time Golden Heart® finalist, Tina Beckett is the product of a navy upbringing. Always on the move, her travels eventually took her outside of the United States, where English reading material was scarce. Her supply of books eventually ran out, and she started writing her own stories, fashioned after the romance novels she’d loved through the years. She finished that first book and moved on to the next. After the fourth manuscript, she realized there was no going back…she was officially a writer.
When not in the middle of her latest book, Tina enjoys crafting stained glass panels, riding horses and hiking with her family. Fluent in Portuguese, she divides her time between Brazil and the United States and loves to use exotic locales as the backdrop for many of her stories.
Nate Edwards stood on the tarmac, a tiny cloth doll clutched in his hand, awaiting the Medicine Around the World plane that would whisk him away from Saint Victoria and the aftermath of the hurricane that had wreaked havoc on the small Caribbean island. His thumb rubbed across the doll’s rough cloth, trying not to picture the tearstained eyes of her parents as they presented the gift to him. But their faces were forever burned into his memory. As was the dark-haired child who had been so very sick. And yet she’d managed the tiniest of smiles for him. With the island’s hospital obliterated by the fury of the storm, there had been little hope of saving her.
But God, how he’d wanted to. How he’d fought for her.
The phone in his pocket pinged.
Hell. His team had had only the most rudimentary supplies to work with during their stay. How, then, could cell phone signals still get through?
He pulled the phone out of his pocket, glad he’d charged it before packing for the trip home.
His mom’s name appeared at the top of the screen.
Glad you’re coming home today. We have a big surprise waiting for you! Your father and I can’t wait for you to see it.
A sense of dread filled his gut. He’d hoped by coming to the island he could circumvent their plans and buy himself a little more time to explain things to them. And then there was Tara, who had been hinting about settling down once he finished specializing. Except so much had changed. He tucked the doll under his arm as a bead of sweat rolled down his temple. He typed back.
Please don’t do anything until I get there.
He had no idea how he was going to tell them that he had no intention of joining their practice. After his trip to Saint Victoria—which they hadn’t approved of—the last thing he wanted to do was practice plastic surgery on the rich and famous.
One of his colleagues came up beside him. “Nate, we just got the results back on your patient’s mystery illness.”
Too late. Marie had already passed away. Still he forced himself to ask. “What was it?”
“Schistosomiasis. It must have damaged her liver and intestines beyond repair. That’s why she was so jaundiced. She had to have had it for a while.”
A parasite found in water had killed her? He closed his eyes. That possibility had never even crossed his mind. They’d had to send samples via water courier to a neighboring island, but he’d known in his heart it was too late. It should make him feel better to know there was nothing he could have done. Instead he just felt…empty. And now he had to go home and face his parents and Tara.
He forced himself to meet the eyes of his colleague. “Thanks for letting me know.”
“You’re welcome.” Peter clapped him on the back. “Not your fault.”
What else could he say?
Just then his phone pinged again, the screen lighting up and drawing his attention to the words that were printed there.
Too late. It’s already done.
Three smiley faces appeared at the end of the phrase.
This was a quick and entertaining Amish romance with what begins with a devastating action against an innocent young girl. Eve Summy goes to what she thinks will be a group singing and is assaulted by the young man who invited her. When she got home, her stern father demanded that she marry this attacker or be shunned. Since being Amish is all that she knows, Eve is devastated and inconsolable until a relative newcomer to the community steps up and says that he will marry her instead. Levi is like a hero sweeping in to save the day, even though Eve barely knows him. I thought that part of the plot was rather unbelievable but the way the author wove the simple wedding and then Eve moving to Delaware to be with his family into the story convinced me that it could actually happen. Levi was loving and kind and willing to sacrifice his future for the happiness of this young woman who had been so brutally treated, first by her attacker and then by her father. The first part of the story did not seem like an Amish romance to me since they are usually uplifting from the beginning. But it did set the stage for the rest of the book and was not presented in any way that was graphic in the details. The characters were well-developed, especially Eve, Levi and his family. I felt as though I got to know them well and I particularly liked Levi’s stepmother Rosemary, a woman who was wise and compassionate and kind, willing to become a mother to the young woman who desperately needed acceptance. Eve followed the family routine well and seemed to fit in, even though Levi’s father was not as accepting of the marriage as he seemed. He made assumptions about why Levi married Eve and that did present some difficulties for father and son. With themes of hope, forgiveness, trusting others and finding God’s will, this was a wonderful little book to read that ended up being an encouraging word to my heart and soul. Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Harlequin 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.”
About the Author:
Emma Miller lives quietly in her old farmhouse in rural Delaware amid fertile fields and lush woodlands. Fortunate enough to be born into a family of strong faith, she grew up on a dairy farm, surrounded by loving parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Emma was educated in local schools, and once taught in an Amish schoolhouse much like the one at Seven Poplars. When she’s not caring for her large family, reading and writing are her favorite pastimes.
Available on July 27th but available for pre-order now. Purchase Links:
Through the trees, Eve spotted her father’s windmill and ran faster, ignoring the branches and underbrush that tore at her hair and scratched her arms and face. She took in great gulps of air, sobbing with relief as she sprinted the final distance. She had prayed to God over and over throughout the night. She had begged Him to see her home safely. Now the sun was breaking over the horizon, and she had made it the more than ten miles home in the dark.
Bursting from the edge of the woods, she hitched up her dirty and torn dress, the hem wet from the dew, and climbed over the fence. In her father’s pasture, she hurried past the horses and sheep, her gaze fixed on the white farmhouse ahead. If she could just make it to the house, her father would be there. She would be safe at last, and he would know what to do.
Trying to calm her pounding heart, Eve inhaled deeply. At last, her breath was coming more evenly. She wiped at her eyes with the torn sleeve of her favorite dress. She was safe. She was home. Her father would protect her.
At the gate into the barnyard, she let herself through and slowed to a walk as she neared the back porch. Her father’s beagle trotted toward her, barking in greeting. Through the windows, she could see into the kitchen where a light glowed from an oil lamp that hung over the table. Her father and sisters and brothers would be there waiting for her. As she climbed the steps to the porch, her wet sneakers squeaked. Hours ago, she had crossed a low spot in the woods and soaked her canvas shoes.
She had almost reached the door when it swung open.
“Dat,” she cried, throwing herself at him, bursting into tears. “Oh, Dat.”
“Dochter.” Her father grasped her by the shoulders, but instead of embracing her, he pushed her back. “Where have you been?” he demanded in Pennsylvania Deitsch. He looked her up and down, not in relief that she was safely home, but in anger. “Where is your prayer kapp?”
Eve raised her hand to her hair to find it uncovered. “Oh,” she cried. “I must have… I must have lost it in the woods somewhere.” She brushed back her brown hair that had come loose from the neat bun at the nape of her neck to fall in hanks around her face. She pulled a twig from her hair. “Dat. Something terrible happened. I—”
“Where have you been all night?” he boomed, becoming angrier with her by the second. “Who have you been with?” he shouted. “To sneak out of my house after I forbade you to go? I should beat you!”
When she looked up at him, Eve realized she had made a terrible mistake. It had taken her hours to find her way home. She had walked and run all night, choosing the long way home because she had been afraid to follow any main roads for fear Jemuel would find her. She had climbed fences, been scratched by briars and been chased by a feral dog. At one point, she had been lost and worried she had walked too far, or in the wrong direction. But she hadn’t given up because she knew that if she could make it home safely, everything would be all right.
But looking at her father’s stern face, at his long, thick gray beard and his angry eyes that stared at her from behind his wire-frame glasses, she realized she was wrong. She wasn’t safe. And perhaps she would never be so again because she knew what her father was going to say before the words came out of his mouth.
He pointed an accusing finger. “You will marry that boy!” Amon Summy shouted, spittle flying from his mouth.
Eve lowered her head, tears streaming down her cheeks as she prayed fervently to God again to help her.
In my devotionals this week, I read about the word “Selah” that is in the Bible almost one hundred times. The writer of the devotional (entitled “Mornings with Jesus 2021”) said that this word really means to pause, focus and praise. I liked that, along with the suggestion that followed. I set my alarm for three different times during the day and each time my watch alarm went off, I paused what I was doing, focused on Jesus and praised Him for something specific. Simple, yet so profound!
The day that I started my “selah” moments, my husband and I had an appointment to see my ortho back specialist. It was just a routine follow-up, so not a really big deal. However, on the way there, we were in a car accident. We were shaken up but not injured, our car was towed from the scene and we are getting a rental car today. Praise God! We were okay! I had to climb over the seat into the back seat to get out because my door was jammed shut. The police officer and my husband assisted, so I got out okay. The other driver could not have been more concerned or kind. He even called yesterday to check on us and drove to his insurance office to expedite the claim and the rental car. That’s God’s mercy and grace at work, folks! My husband and I are fine except for a little soreness and I think that’s to be expected. I’m just so thankful! Life and its plans change so quickly, but God never changes and we were never out of His loving care.
As an added blessing, I talked to the other driver’s insurance agent and told her our dilemma. We have plans to visit our new grand baby next week and our grandson who graduates from high school the following week. She said to just take the rental car and go…we can worry about getting our car back when we return since it will likely take several weeks to get it back on the road again. God is good! All the time! Never have I ever been so glad to be totally dependent on God’s sovereign power. Honestly, I don’t know how anyone makes it one day without Him!
May the Lord of all grace and mercy bless and be with you today as you seek His face and how to be His ambassador.
This is a really sweet, feel-good contemporary romance. Ivey is a veterinarian and her assistant is Hope. Ivey has declared that this will be a summer without a long and complicated relationship. At least, that is what she believes until she meets the new man in town, Corbin. Corbin is a single dad to his young son Justin and is struggling with being a single parent and trying to work. Enter Corbin’s older brother Lang, a character who is like a guardian angel who is always “johnny on the spot” for him. He has come to town to help Corbin take care of Justin. Naturally, Corbin and Ivey start hanging out together and Lang starts to woo Hope away from her trust issues. Although I really enjoyed getting to know all of the characters, Justin captured my heart because of his deep love for animals and his need to be wanted and loved. This is a great summer read because of the characters who steal the show and the animals who are so endearing, too. As the characters discovered their inner strength and the ability to juggle family and friendships, I discovered that I was totally absorbed in reading their story. The plot just naturally flowed and was easy to read. This is a book that I will long remember for its characters and its lessons about depending on others. Disclaimer 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.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Since first publishing in January 1996, Lori Foster has become a New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author. She lives in Central Ohio where coffee helps her keep up with her cats and grandkids between writing books. For more about Lori, visit her website at http://www.lorifoster.com, like her on Facebook or find her on Twitter, @lorilfoster.
Ivey Anders shoved back a wayward curl and gently secured the dog against her body so it couldn’t move while her tech, Hope Mage, carefully clipped away the twisted wire. The poor thing, a stray by the looks of it, had gotten itself tangled pretty tightly and one hind leg was in bad shape. Ivey wanted to get it to the clinic where she could properly assess the damage.
Mud caked the fur, making it difficult to find any other injuries just yet, but there was one astounding fact Ivey couldn’t ignore.
Behind her, the homeowner groused that the dog had likely been stealing eggs from his chicken coop.
Voice calm, temper mostly in check, Ivey said, “You didn’t hesitate to call me, did you, Marty?” It was well-known that Marty was not a fan of dogs, or cats for that matter, and mostly considered them a nuisance. However, they’d come to an agreement some time ago. Marty, who owned a fair amount of wooded acreage, was supposed to call her if a stray showed up, and she, as the local vet, would take care of the “problem” for him.
Laura, his wife, was quick to say, “I called.” Defiant to Marty, she added, “Soon as I heard the poor thing, in fact.”
Which didn’t mean much. The animal might have been there for hours. Possibly more than a day, though Ivey couldn’t bear the thought of that.
“She’s pregnant, you know.” Refusing to take her eyes off the dog and unwilling to raise her voice since it might frighten the animal more, Ivey said, “If she took an egg, it would have been from starvation—and you already know I would have compensated you for it.”
Affronted, Marty grumbled, “I wasn’t worried about one egg, just don’t want to lose my chickens.” He cleared his throat. “If it helps any, I was out here this morning and she wasn’t caught then. Afternoon I watered my garden, and that’s why there’s so much mud. So I doubt she was hung up there more than a few hours.”
The fist around Ivey’s heart loosened just a little. “That helps tremendously, Marty. Thank you.”
More times than she could count, Ivey had taken on problems with stray animals who needed special love and care. It didn’t matter that she’d been working as a veterinarian for years now, seeing all manner of hurt, neglected or just plain ill animals. She still loved them all, and when one hurt, she hurt with it.
“No thanks necessary,” Marty complained, his tone gruff with insult. “Not like I’d let an animal suffer.”
Ivey had a feeling their definitions of suffer varied a bit, but she realized this mattered to him, and she was too grateful to quibble so she just nodded.
Almost got it,” Hope murmured, and with one last clip, the wire loosened. “There.” Fingers gentle, she disentangled the dog’s leg, exposing a painful wound.
Ivey murmured to the small animal all the while, cooing softly, petting and holding her secure. The second she was able to sit back on the muddy ground, she pulled the dog into her lap. With her face close to the top of the dog’s head, she whispered, “There now, that’s better, isn’t it? We’ll get you all fixed up, I promise.”
“Here.” Slipping off her zip-up hoodie, Hope offered it to Ivey to wrap around the dog. “Do you want me to get the carrier?”
Busy swaddling the dog, careful not to jar her, Ivey shook her head. “She doesn’t weigh more than ten or eleven pounds. I’ll carry her to the truck and we’ll see how it goes.” Feeling mud seep into the seat of her pants, she realized she couldn’t get up without letting go of the dog. Lifting a brow at Hope, she said, “A little help?”
“Oh sure.” Hope caught her under one elbow, and Laura hurried forward to take the other, giving her the leverage she needed.
Marty stepped back to avoid getting muddy.
Carefully, the two women got Ivey on her feet. The thick mud was heavy on the seat of her pants, dragging on her stretch jeans that had loosened throughout the day. At least her rubber boots wouldn’t be ruined. Since they treated all sorts of animals, including those on farms, she and Hope each kept a pair at the clinic.
“Let’s go.” Plodding forward, Ivey led the way to the truck. Halfway there, the dog started panting. Concerned, she hastened her step, not at all worried about getting mud on the truck seats. “No need for the crate. Just get us back to the clinic.”
Picking up on her angst, Hope ran around to the driver’s side and got the truck on the road in record time. “Everything okay?”
“Not really, no. Something’s wrong.”
“What should I do?”
Poor Hope. A sick cat had kept them an hour past closing, and then Marty had called… “I’m sorry.” Ivey barely took her gaze off the stressed dog. “Do you think you could assist me at the clinic?”
“Of course I will! You don’t even have to ask.” Frowning, Hope muttered, “Did you think I’d drop you off with a dog in distress? Tell you good luck?” She snorted. “Have I ever done that?”
She and Hope were close enough that Ivey knew she’d inadvertently insulted her. “No, you haven’t. But it’s Friday night after a very long day.”
“It’s Friday night for you, too, you know.”
“What a sad situation for us both.” Despite her worries, Ivey chuckled. “Most women would have plans, and yet we never do.”
“You have Geoff.”
Ivey made a face. “Lot of good that does me.” Likely Geoff was settled on the couch already, watching sports or playing a video game. The excitement had left their relationship a long time ago, so she doubted he’d even notice her absence.
For her part, Hope never dated. That bothered Ivey a lot, but she loved Hope enough that she would never pry.
Smiling at her friend, Ivey said, “I’m glad I won’t have to do this alone.”
“Not ever,” Hope vowed. “Even if by some miracle I ever do have something worthwhile lined up for the weekend, I’d still be here for you, okay?”
Her friendship with Hope meant so much more than any other relationship Ivey had, including her lackluster romance with Geoff. “Smartest thing I ever did was hire you.”
“I’m so glad you did,” Hope whispered. “Otherwise we might not have become friends, then where would I be?”
“Let’s just agree that we’re better off together.” Though Ivey was ten years older than Hope, they’d still hit it off from the start, meshing together as if they’d been lifelong friends. Where Ivey was take-charge and sometimes a little too outspoken, Hope was an intent listener with an enormous heart.
Ivey often wanted to challenge the world, and Hope, sadly, wanted to hide from it.
Or more accurate, she wanted to hide from any interested men.
Hope had an affinity with animals, plus a gentle but sure touch. She was never squeamish, but she exuded sympathy. Ivey valued her. The clients loved her. And the animals trusted her.
Unfortunately, they were still five minutes away from the clinic when the dog went into labor. “This is definitely happening,” Ivey said, doing what she could to make the animal comfortable.
Leaning closer to the steering wheel, Hope drove a little faster. “Be there soon.”
They’d barely gotten in the door when her water broke. Hope ran ahead to prepare an area, moving with practiced ease as she opened an already cleaned kennel and set up a whelping box, then filled it with bedding material. The box had three tall sides to contain the coming puppies, and one low side for the mother to step out for food and water.
Knowing Hope had it in hand, Ivey began cleaning the dog as quickly and efficiently as possible. She managed a cursory job, removing the worst of the mud, when Hope rejoined her. “We’re all set.”
“With luck we’ll have enough time to clean and wrap her leg before she gives birth.” Usually that happened within two hours after the animal’s water breaking, so they didn’t have a minute to spare.
A day that had already been long just turned entirely endless.
Fast-paced, uplifting and with lovable characters, this book was one of my favorites from this author. I really enjoyed the story of widowed Isabelle who has a big heart and takes in foster children. She needs a handyman around her ranch so she hires Mac, a man with a tragedy in his past that he can’t seem to let go. Getting to know these two main characters was a real pleasure, but I enjoyed even more getting to know the children. Katie was a real heart-tugger. I could just picture her gamine face and her adorable little smile each time she came on the scene. And baby Lily was a welcome addition to Isabelle’s growing family, just as she also captured my heart. The undercurrent on the ranch of constant danger to Lily and Isabelle had me wondering how it would all end. With a simple plot that turned more complex the more I delved into the story, this book was enjoyable and so heart warming that I just wanted it to never end. Fans of clean romance with suspense mixed in will love this book! Disclaimer 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.”
About the Author:
Lynette Eason lives in Simpsonville, SC with her husband and two children. She is an award-winning, best-selling author who spends her days writing when she’s not traveling around the country teaching at writing conferences. Lynette enjoys visits to the mountains, hanging out with family and brainstorming stories with her fellow writers. You can visit Lynette’s website to find out more at http://www.lynetteeason.com or like her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lynette.eason
Mac bolted from the truck just as the sun crested the horizon and spread light around the area. He raced around the side of the house to the back and skidded to a stop. The intruder the owner had mentioned had one foot inside the window and his gloved hands gripped the molding. Mac darted forward, placed his hands on the porch railing and vaulted over it. He landed on the wooden flooring with a thud and faced the frozen figure now half in and half out of the house. “Don’t do it, man,” Mac said. “Cops are on the way.”
His words seemed to send indecision sweeping through the guy. A pause Mac took advantage of. He lunged, grabbed two fistfuls of the hoodie material and pulled him away from the window. A heavy fist glanced off Mac’s cheek. He winced and jerked back, losing his grip. That gave the wiry figure the opening he needed, and he darted away from Mac to dash down the length of the porch, leap over the steps and head full-speed across the pasture. Mac pounded after him.
The guy broke through the tree line and disappeared into the woods. Mac did the same seconds later, only to stop when he realized he’d lost him. Mac turned, listening, his eyes searching. Finally, he heard the crunching of underbrush to his left and headed that way, hit a patch of mud and slid almost falling. He managed to catch his balance, but a second later, the roar of a motorcycle captured his attention. After one last push through tree limbs and vines, he found himself staring at the back of a disappearing bike. He didn’t know where the trail led, but there was no way he’d catch the guy on foot. With a sigh, he gave up the chase and retraced his steps.
When he came to the pasture beyond the tree line, he could see the woman who was, hopefully, his future boss. Isabelle Trent. She stood on the front porch, a little girl about five years old clutching Isabelle’s knee with one hand and a doll with her other. Isabelle cradled an infant in the crook of her right arm.
Dressed in jeans, boots and a long-sleeved red flannel shirt, she had her blond hair pulled into a messy ponytail. It struck him that she looked comfortable and completely in her element. If understandably shaken. Two police officers faced her. One wrote notes in a little black book while the other spoke into the radio on her shoulder. As Mac approached, Isabelle’s green eyes landed on him, and the officers turned. Mac made sure they could see his hands.
“That’s the man who came to the rescue,” Isabelle said.
What a delightful way to spend an afternoon! This book was a quick read, with an enjoyable look at small town life, including some very stubborn animals. Avery Hammons is a single mom of her ten year old daughter Quinn when Grayson Stone unexpectedly returns to town and wants to get to know Quinn. After all, he is her father. There were some really quirky and funny secondary characters that I enjoyed meeting in the pages of this book , but the main characters were ones that I was engaged with, rooting for them to learn how to trust again and to forgive each other. The anxiety faced by Avery, Grayson and even Quinn was realistically portrayed and made the story totally believable. There was the underlying faith element of the genre (Love Inspired Romance) as well as a spunky little girl who knows when to make demands and when to just step back and watch things unfold. I think that Quinn was my favorite character, next to the judge who is Grayson’s dad and who was involved in getting him back to town to begin with. The interactions between the characters made a fun read that entertained and uplifted. The genre is contemporary romance, featuring a second chance at love. Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Harlequin via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive book. 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 prayer was in Dr. Denison’s post this morning and it bears sharing.
Scottish minister John Baillie prayed: “Let me remember that my mortal body is only the servant of my immortal soul. Let me remember how uncertain my hold is on my own physical life. Let me remember that here I have no continuing city, but only a place for a brief stay and a time for testing and training.
“Let me understand the vanity of what is time bound and the glory of the eternal. Let my world be centered not in myself, but in you.”
My medical saga continued this week as I went for a follow up appointment with the foot and ankle specialist after the MRI last week. The news was not good because my only options seem to be to live with the pain or to have surgery. I fell nine months ago, in September, and after a month of constant pain back in the fall, I finally got in to see a specialist who found a break along the side of my foot. Thus, I ended up in what I called a robo-boot, then a laced-up stability boot and finally physical therapy for nine weeks. The first specialist proclaimed that my bone was healed and I should be able to resume normal activity after PT. Not so fast! My ankle continues to throb and swell and awaken me at night with the pain. So, I went to see the orthopedic specialist at the hospital closest to me. He ordered the MRI and the results are that I have a fractured heel bone and a torn tendon. I can’t take NSAIDS for inflammation because of allergies, I can’t take pain pills because of allergies, and I can’t walk well right now. Thus, I have now been referred to an orthopedic surgeon and have an appointment at the end of the month. My eyes filled with tears as the doctor explained my limited options, but I took the appointment slip and left discouraged. I had done what I was told to do. I have been hobbling around for the better part of a year already. I didn’t rail against God, but it just seemed to me that this little broken bone was hiding all along and I was unaware.
Look at the pain that this tiny fracture has caused me! I don’t know what I will do about the surgery yet, but I was praying and reading my Bible yesterday and God spoke to me about how little sins enter our lives like that little broken bone. The sin causes tremendous damage in the whole body, just as this little bone has. (Little sleep for months has definitely affected my well-being. I have found myself in desperate need of a nap almost daily these days.) But, I was unaware until the specialist did the test and pointed it out to me. Unless we spend time with God, our Great Physician, we are all unaware of the little sins that can overtake us and slowly destroy pieces of us, and perhaps ultimately destroying the relationship we have with God. Meeting with God regularly opens the door for His Spirit to speak to our hearts about where and how we have strayed and need to get back on the narrow path.
Today’s devotional was all about God encouraging me. I really needed today’s time with the Lord, I can tell you! I have had eight surgeries in the last three decades and each time is the same. I get afraid. I don’t think I’m afraid to die, but I honestly fear the pain. I cannot take any kind of pain pill at all, so whatever I have been through has been with the help of prayer and Tylenol. Lots and lots of prayers! So facing another surgery is a huge decision for me. As I was talking it over with my husband, I told him that I have already lived almost seventy years and don’t know how much longer I will live, telling him that I’m prepared to live out my days hobbling around and in pain. But is that God’s best for me? My husband wants me to be able to walk around and enjoy life, spending time having fun with grandchildren and enjoying our remaining years together.
These are the Scriptures that God gave me this morning during my devotional. I may be feeling weak (and my foot definitely is), but God is strong. He knows exactly what is happening and has the solution. Do I believe in His healing power? Absolutely! But I also know that sometimes the Great Physician uses doctors here on earth to accomplish His healing. We will see what the new surgeon says, and I will be listening carefully for that still, small voice that tells me that surgery is the choice that I should make.
As I said, fear of the pain has been taking over my brain lately. Not the fear of the current pain, but the fear of the pain after surgery. The fear of how in the world I will walk on a bandaged foot after surgery. I cannot walk on crutches as I am a klutz on terra firma. I have a walker and a quad cane and yet I still fell in September. You get the idea. So…FEAR. And the gracious Heavenly Father spoke one word to me…FAITH. I know that He stands beside me, no matter what I have to go though and He is protecting me daily. After all, I fell directly on my back with my foot curled under me, so I could have broken my back. But I didn’t. I broke a couple of small bones in my foot and tore a tendon (which according to my husband is probably what is causing most of my pain). Anyway, God is faithful and if I prayerfully decide to have the surgery, He will be with me in the OR and during recovery, too.
Finally, the third Scripture spoke directly to my discouragement. You know the kind. You sit in a little corner and say, “Poor me!” Then you wait for everyone who comes along to agree with you. That image brings to mind Job, a man greatly afflicted by Satan (with God’s permission) but who did not turn away from God. I’m not saying that I’m comparable to Job by any means, but I am saying that my tendency is to withdraw into the pain and just let it overtake me, crying out to God for a reason, a purpose for this new suffering. I know that God is there. I know that He is my strength and that I should not fear or be discouraged. I know that in my mind. Now, I have to meditate on it daily and get those words deep into my heart so that I truly believe them. It’s easy to preach to others about God’s control and His caring for us when all things are going well. It’s when the little bones break, the ones we walk on for months unaware that there is an injury there; it’s then that it’s imperative that we continue to cry out to God. He hasn’t changed. God hears and answers prayers.
I apologize if I have bored you with my current medical saga. I just want to testify right here and now that I am choosing to believe that God will take care of me, regardless of surgery or no surgery. God, who is no respecter of persons and does not think that I am any better or worthy of His love than any of you reading this, wants you to know that He will meet you wherever you are right now. In the middle of discouragement and fear? He is right there! Just be honest with Him and let Him know how you are feeling and how much you need Him. That’s what I’m doing and I feel better already. I’m ready to slay the giants of fear and discouragement and move on with the Lord.