Saturday, January 31, 2015

Guest Post: It's January by Susan May Warren

It’s January. 

This is what my town looks like in January. 

Do you see the cold pallor? The icy streets? Right now, I am currently sitting under a blankie, with little half-gloves on to keep my fingers warm. 

I know, I know. WHY do we live here? 

Because it’s a gorgeous place to set a story. Located on the rocky shores of Lake Superior, It’s a little touch of Lake Woebegone – all the men are good-looking, all the women heroic. And it has the overtones of small town Cheers, where everyone knows your name. Which means that when you get into trouble, the entire town knows about it. Ack! 

Welcome to Deep Haven, the home of the Christiansen family! 

Their resort…Evergreen Outfitters and Cabin Rentals is located on an inland lake in the woods, nestled among the pines, serenaded by the call of the loons and the waves against the shore. 

And If you haven’t met the Christiansens, they’re a crazy, love big and live life out loud family who *might* be a little like my family. (and one that might feel like yours, too!) The 6 adult children and two parents, run a resort and try to figure out faith while living life (that often goes wrong). They make mistakes, but they love each other through them. 

Not unlike our family. (That’s us, not the Christiansens. Just in case you might be confused.) 

The Christiansen family series follows each one of the adult children through their trials and triumphs of falling in love and finding their way in the world. The next book hits the shelves in the next month – Always on My Mind, a story about Casper, brother #2, who just can’t get the wrong girl off his mind... 

Right now, I’m hunkered down writing book #6…The Day After Forever, the last story in the series, a story that asks…can Prodigals come home? (Um, I sure hope so!) 

I wanted to write a series about a family with adult children, learning what it meant to carry on the legacy of faith into their lives. And I wanted to write a series that would really let readers dig into the family, feel like they were a part of their journey. The first two books ignite the series not only by introducing us to Darek and Eden, the two oldest children, but also set up the series with the loss of the family resort to a forest fire. Book 3, When I Fall in Love brings us to Hawaii and back home and sends our prodigal on his way, and scatters the family.

 Book 4 picks up the pieces of the prodigal’s actions and brings home the family peace-maker, Casper in Always on My Mind, and Book 5 adds in a new twist, when daughter Amelia has to choose between a hometown boy and a rich European she met while overseas. (And hello – have you see the hunk on THAT cover? The Wonder of You, baby!)

And then there’s Owen. Troublemaker Owen who just might surprise them all when he comes home…just in time to save the day. Or not… (Cover still pending!) 

As the Christiansens rebuild their resort, the kids need to decide whether they want to carry on the family legacy…or if life and faith might bring them somewhere else. 

And, did I mention romance. Oh yeah – we have to have something to keep us warm up here during the chilly months. 

It’s a series full of family drama, community and…some really great food. 

That’s the news from Lake, um, Superior. 

Have a great January…and try to keep warm – Susie May the Siberian 

Always on my Mind by Susan May Warren

Book Description

After a failed dig in Honduras, aspiring archaeologist Casper Christiansen heads home to Minnesota to face his unresolved feelings for Raina Beaumont, the woman of his dreams. But when he arrives unannounced on her doorstep, he receives the shock of a lifetime: Raina is pregnant with someone else’s baby.

Heartbroken, especially when he discovers the identity of the baby’s father, Casper tables his dreams and determines to be dependable for once, helping his older brother, Darek, prepare the family resort for its grand reopening. Casper longs to be the hero of at least one family story, but a never-ending Deep Haven winter and costly repairs threaten their efforts—and the future of the resort.

Worse, one of Casper’s new jobs constantly brings him into contact with Raina, whom he can’t seem to forget. A tentative friendship begins to heal fresh wounds, but can they possibly overcome past mistakes and current choices to discover a future together?

My Review

I couldn't wait to wait to return to Deep Haven. But boy, was I in for a treat of a lifetime! This book had so much to give, I wish I could talk about it all day without wearing you down. Haha. 

Casper has runaway in search of a great treasure. That's been his life's passion; to find something that every one else over looks. In "When I Fall in Love", he thought he found that treasure in Raina, but when he discovered she had relations with his brother, Owen, she broke his heart. He ran away to escape her, his family, his feelings. But, he couldn't get her out of his mind even thousands of miles away. 

When he comes back to Deep Haven, he's shocked to see she's having a baby. Owen's baby. But she refuses to let the rest of his family know about the baby because she is giving the baby up for adoption. Rains believes it's the best thing to do for her daughter. But, truth is, she is afraid she will make a terrible mother, isn't good enough, and wants to give her baby the best. 

In the middle of all this, another Christiansen is having his own troubles. Darek is drowning with responsibilities, and feels he is failing his family in all directions.

Months after the baby, both Raina and Casper have new jobs. Raina an at antique shop and Casper at a Sport shop. But both are pulled together in a common mystery.

The legend of Duncan Rothe!

But what I found truly profound in this book was something Darek said when Casper became really upset over Raina and who she was dating, etc,.

"The fact is, when God brings Christians into the lives of the hurting, it's because he intends to use us to be light and truth to them. Not fix their problems but to point to the One [God] who can."

It just pinged to very the core of my heart. 

Watching Casper pray for Raina whenever he thought of her or passed by her, had an uplifting affect on me as a reader, not just in the story. 

At first, I thought the title "Always on My Mind" was the essence of the characters and their current story, but I saw something more. I felt, and saw, it's about God and how we are always on his mind. He never forgets us. He is always planning for us with us in mind. 

Really, this book has left me pretty speechless, which is terrible for writing reviews. But, it's a testimony to how beautiful this book, and series, truly is. You won't want to put it down once you start. It has a wonderful message and an amazing love story. 

By the way, I am so glad Casper kicked Monte's BUTT! Thank you Mrs. Susan!

For everything. 

I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars. Highly recommended to all. 

I received this book for free from the publisher’s in exchange for this honest and unbiased review as part of Tyndales Blogging Review program.

Friday, January 30, 2015

My-Day Friday #1: It's Not that Confusing!

I think it's so hilarious how one word can spark a memory and come back to life. As my sister and I are in Walmart the other night, a single word was said and it instantly turned into song.


Well that ignited us both into song throughout the store!
"A Heffalump or Woozle is very confusel. The Heffalump or woosel is very sly 
- sly - sly - sly"
Singing about confusing Heffalumps and Woozles, can you imagine? We continued warning the patrons around the women's department.

"Beware Beware Be a very wary bear
If honey is what you covet you'll find that they love it 
Because they guzzle up the thing you prize"

But, alas, they were too confuseled to heed our warnings.

My sister and I love singing songs in the store. We've done it so much that it's actually integrated into our very beings... We don't even think about it, we just do it like a normal person would start a conversation!

If only my other sister were with us that night, we would have had a chorus!

Singing is one of my fondest memories growing up with my sisters. We used to take our Disney and Veggie Tales tapes and turn on the caps; fast forwarding and rewinding for hours until we learned all the lyrics by heart. Then we'd act them out when we'd go outside to play on our bikes.

Yeah, singing and riding bikes at the same time equaled best time of my life! That, and I could ride standing up on one pedal. I felt like Supergirl, soaring in the air. Sometimes, I'd extend my other leg to look like an Ice Skater gliding on the smooth (though bumpy) surface.

Those were the days!

Whenever we do sing fun tunes in the store, it reminds me of when I was a kid, and it lets me be a kid again for a few minutes. Releasing that joy and freedom.
It also draws me and my sisters closer (no matter how awful we actually sound!) and keeps us in sync.

It's also just good laughter. And we all know that is medicine to your soul! {Proverbs 17:22 NLT}

Heffalumps and Woozles? Yeah, not so confuseling afterall. ;)

Have a wonderful and blessed Friday everyone!

DISCLAIMER: No patrons were exposed to our not-so-wonderful, yet talented voices. However, singing actually did occur at a lower tone than that of an actual singer belting it out on stage. We recommend that be done in the shower (unless you can actually sing!) or for private family and friend audiences only. Tootles!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Winter Delight!

I got a lovely package in the mail the other day! Evergreen, a Christiansen family novella by Susan May Warren! Check it out! Eeek!

I couldn't wait to share this with you guys. Wanna know how I came to get this little treasure? Through Tyndale Rewards! I'm serious. I didn't spend a penny on this book! 

This is actually the second item I've received from Tyndale Rewards. I can't tell you the other one (it's a surprise present for my sister!) but it looks just as wonderful as this! I redeemed it for 70 points a few days before Christmas and it came 3 weeks later in perfect, brand new condition! I truly love this program! 

Here's how it works, easy and simple: sign up!

Seriously, it's that easy. If you use my promo code when you sign up, you get an additional 25 points for signing up. I get 10, but I'd do this without any incentive. However, you guys get the better end of the rewards! Which is why I added my promo code to this post. Every 25 points counts!You can earn up to 50 points a month just for tweeting about it, sharing on your facebook, or blog. Then there's simple survey's that get you a pretty bunch of points. 

"Evergreen" was only 70! 

And there are so many more for that same price, some even a little lower. There's more than just fiction, too. There's Bibles, Non Fiction, Audio books. If you're careful and watch out, some books get featured that aren't normally on there (like Evergreen!) 

When I first started out with this program, I earned almost immediately 150. Spent 175 and then a couple months later earned another 150; spent 70. And then earned back more than half of it in the same hour just by tweeting! And, because they are Tyndale products, I can earn 10 per item I review as well. So, I will earn 10 points back (because you all know I love to share my books with you all!), which really only made it 60 points in the end!

I'm not hear to win more points. I'm sincerely sharing with anyone who's interested in this to sign up and really get some free (non hassle), Christian books. :) I am truly impressed with them and had to share about it.

Click the Tyndale Reward picture below. It will bring you straight to the signup with my promo code already set in. You just fill in your email address and zip code and your ready!

Incase the picture link doesn't work you can click here, too: 

God bless you this fine Thursday!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Don't Hate the Blind

"But he who hates (detests, despises) his brother [in Christ] is in darkness and walking (living) in the dark; he is straying and does not perceive or know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes." ~1 John 2:11 (AMP)

Reading this verse gives me courage. I know, your probably thinking, "How do you draw courage from a verse like that?" Maybe to some of you it sounds like, "If my brother/sister/friend hates me, then their not a real christian. They're choosing to walk in the shadows of their hatred, not me." Some might see it as a confirmation of their not having done wrong, its the other persons fault. Rather than making it about the blind man, we turn it around to be about ourselves.

That's not what I read when I see this verse. When I see this verse, I hear God whispering to me, "She doesn't know what she's doing, don't abandon her." And the verse rings out.
"If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble." ~Ecclesiastes 4:10 (NLT)
See, we're not their salvation, but by not abandoning them we are given the opportunity to show them the light through Jesus Christ. We're not always able to be with them in person; sometimes it doesn't matter if we're standing right beside them. Their still walking blind. So, what do you do?

You pray them through!

Jesus is the one and only Salvation. The light that can shatter any, and all, darkness and open the eyes of the blind.

I believe God takes us out of the picture, to gaze at it from a distance, so we can focus solely on praying for them. Because there is something going on in their life that need your complete focus and attention and that require stepping away to see to that need.

If you have a friend, brother, sister, relative, that has pushed you away, don't turn your back on them. Because, they still need you even if they don't see it. Through prayer you are still with them, in Jesus. Fighting for them, shielding them, blessing them, loving them.

I'd like to pray over your friend or family today. Leave a comment below with a name(s) (doesn't have to be full name if you don't wish to) and I'll put them in my prayer journal. Maybe even make a special post in prayer just for them.

God bless in Jesus name, Amen!

Prayer Request for my Best Friend

Christina Jamison. None of you probably know her, but she is my best friend, my sister, my twin. In the words of Anne Shirley: my bosom friend. We met online in a christian group about 5 years ago and we were instant friends. She knows everything about me. I keep nothing from her. I love her like my own sisters. Care about her. Text her whacky and crazy texts in the middle of the night (though she wasn't usually asleep... usually!) just to make her laugh and smile in the morning. When she hurt, I would hurt too. She felt the same. She stood by me when I was lost. She comforted me when I was down. She helped me when I didn't know what to do. We made each other laugh till we literally couldn't breathe, for hour 5 hours at a time.

I have never had a friend like her in my entire life. 

I was without internet for almost 3 months and unable to talk to her as frequently as we were used to, but we did call and chat about once a week. But then, around November 2014, she stopped taking my calls. Stopped answering my texts. I knew she'd been sick, so it made me worry when I didn't hear from her. Weeks dragged on, still no word from her but she was still reading my texts and listening to my voicemails. But, I still didn't know why she wasn't responding. Unless, she was so sick she couldn't respond and maybe it was just her mom looking at her texts.

Finally, she posted something on Facebook that I thought was meant for other people, people who didn't care about her or truly love her as friend, sister. As the caring and loving friend, I texted her yet again. I felt, in case I had offended her in some way I should apologize for it. I would never set out to hurt her. Still, no word back. So, I finally texted one last time that I would give her some space to breathe and wait for her to get back in touch with me. I conveyed to her one last time how I cared and loved her as my sister and that I would be here when she was ready.

Christmas Eve, she removed and blocked me from her facebook. And posted that she had removed me to all her other friends.

To this day, she still hasn't reached out to me or told me why she's mad at me. We didn't have a fall out of any kind, so I'm still in the dark.

She's really been on my heart this week, to pray for her. She's usually in a lot of pain, she has to get nerve blocks every month (sooner if she could afford it) and has had terrible migraines, etc,. She has a disorder that causes them.

I'm asking all of you, followers and passer-by, to pray over her. Not for our friendship to come back together (though that would be appreciated too. I miss her) but for her to get well. In spirit and body.

A friend shared this verse with me to prayer over her with and I've come to praying it over Christina as well.

"May the Lord bless you 
and protect you.  
May the Lord smile on you 
and be gracious to you.  
May the Lord show you his favor and give you peace." 
~Numbers 6:24

Thank you and God bless you for taking time out of your day to prayer for her.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Feeling Aimless?

I've been wondering a lot lately what part I play in the world; or what part I will play. Everyone stops and ask, wonders, what your doing with your life: job, school, marriage, etc,. I never know what to say because I don't know. All I can think is, "I'm taking it one day at a time; one step of faith at a time." But, sometimes it gets to me that I don't have an answer. People stare back at me, and I know what they're thinking.

"Your an adult, shouldn't you know?"

Here's the thing. God has my life planned out and sometimes he chooses not to let the right hand know what the left hand is doing. (Matthew 6:3) By that, I mean, he works ways in our lives that he chooses not to let us see in the moment he is working. Sometimes he chooses to make us wait until the project is finished and the time is right, for us and Him. And, to see if we will truly be patient and wait on him. (Psalm 27:14)

To have faith. To trust Him.

Sometimes, I have sat in my room and just cried out to God, "When?"

  • When will it be time? 
  • When can I stop wandering in this dessert? 
  • When can I stop feeling like a failure, a nuisance, a burden?
  • When can I start feeling like the princess?

Then I heard this song.

God answered my prayers with this song today; showed me that He is listening. That he hasn't forgotten.

Answers to When:

  • Soon, very soon
  • Keep your eyes on me, I will lead you, fill you up
  • I Love You
  • Now
We each have our roles to play out, whether we know them yet or not. Our biggest part is to seek more of Him and wait patiently for Him to fulfill our hopes and dreams. (Jeremiah 29:11-13) And, that's going to be my answer from now on. :) 

I hope you all can see what a beauty and treasure you are to God, our Father. Today, tomorrow, and forever. I'm still learning to own my title as a Princess in God's eternal Kingdom. May you see his light shine through your darkest clouds and fill you with love and peace. He is always with you, forever. Amen. 

God Bless!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Has It Been a Year Already?

I say that every year after the ball drops, announcing the new year; and every year is sounds just as corny as the last. LOL. But, occasionally I get a laugh or two. ;)

I am glad to be posting again. It's been quite an exhausting, but eventful, few months. Everything from moving, to near death experiences with Devine intervention, to saying goodbye to a dear friend and preparing to welcome new ones.

It's been a tough few months, but The Lord has always promised to be with me, always; that I'm never alone. And, in the last few weeks he's been showing me he is there. It's a remarkable thing, too.

In the next few months, I'll be trying out some new things. I'll be adding more to my blog; and not just more books. Things like:

  • Music
  • Movies
  • Daily Life
  • Reflections
  • Crafts
  • Story Writing Updates
  • Blog Tweaking
  • Bible Widgets (Like one of these: Matt 28:20Matthew 28:20; still testing!)
  • Nail Art 

You heard right, nail art. I've really gotten into the last 8 months! But I'll save all that for another post. I'm really excited to get up and going again. This year is going to be a fresh start and I hope you all enjoy and come to visit!

God bless!