Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Cheer

Dear Friends,

Today is Christmas 2013.  It is almost unbelievable that we are again celebrating Christmas. It seems 2013 flew by in record time!  I want to keep my post today simple. But I want to share the third verse of my favorite Christmas carol, "O, Holy Night."  The message in this beautiful song is the gospel.  May this Christmas find you loving God and others, from a heart overflowing with peace and hope. Merry Christmas, everyone!

"Truly he taught us to love one another;
His law is love and his gospel is peace; 
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother, 
And in his name, all oppression shall cease, 
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we; 
Let all within us praise his holy name! 

Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we! 
His pow'r and glory, evermore proclaim!
His pow'r and glory, evermore proclaim!" 

Monday, December 16, 2013

When Mockingbirds Sing: A Book Review

When I signed up to receive a free copy of "When Mockingbirds Sing" by Billy Coffey from Booksneeze's blogger program, I figured by the short description that it would be a unique book. And it was, in many respects!

Little Leah is a somewhat isolated girl. Due to her prominent stutter, her peers make fun of her.  Then, Leah and her parents move to a country home in the small town of Mattingly, far away from the city, where her father still works as a psychologist and struggles with his own inner "demons." Leah's parents are trying to make their way in a floundering marriage. But in this new town Leah meets new people, and some of the new people take a shine to Leah. Some of them do not.  It soon becomes apparent that Leah has a gift, or a talent, when it comes to painting.  A gift that had not shown itself so strikingly until her family moved to Mattingly, and a gift that will cause more than a stir in the previously stereotypically quiet small town.  The revealing of her gift coincides with some strange happenings around the town, as well, causing folks to take strongly to one side or the other in the debate surrounding Leah, her family, and the paintings.

What will the people of Mattingly, or for that matter, Leah's parents finally decide about Leah and her paintings?  What will they decide to believe about the Rainbow Man she insists sings songs to her that somehow direct what she paints?  You will want to finish this novel in order to find out!

I give this novel 4/5 stars.  I liked it for the most part, although in some respects it was dissimilar to some books I'd typically choose to read. However, I wanted to read it for that reason!

Thank you to Booksneeze for the review copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Forever Friday: A Poignant and Entertaining Novel of Love, Hope and Long Division

"Forever Friday" by Timothy Lewis is a truly heartwarming novel.  When a dear friend of mine gave raving reviews for this novel, I knew I had to request it and read it myself.  It is the story of a man, Adam Colby, who finds himself at the end of hope....or so he thinks. Then, he finds an old photo album full of hundreds of love poems written by a man named Gabe Alexander, for his true love and wife, Pearl better known as "Huck."  This novel takes the reader back in time to a Texas many of us living today have never old Galveston, Texas, Houston, Texas, and so on and invites us to explore these cities over time through the eyes and the love story of Gabe and Huck. Adam is fascinated by what Gabe termed "Long Division" in marriage, and the reader is able to learn what Gabe meant, as well.

The main theme of this book that I carried away is that of hope. "Hope has won wars, fed nations, conquered diseases. In the unquenchable human spirit, hope is the fire.  It is also different and the same for each one of us." (pg. 277) And I finished this book with a satisfied sigh.  It is a beautiful and true to life romance, and I highly recommend it!

Thank you to Blogging for Books for the free review copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...Ice Storm?!?!?

Dear Friends,

I feel that this post must be long (ahem should I say LONG) overdue.  Probably a good 1.5 months or more overdue.  However, I cannot apologize for spending time on things like being a mommy, being a wife, being a focused student, a dedicated counseling intern, or even more recently also a full time employee at a popular coffee shop (read: in my "free" time!! ahahaha! NOT!).  My life has been full, full to the max.  For the most part, I truly like it that way.  Sometimes I do not.  However, I am grateful for so many things as well as several people as we rapidly approach this special time of year, Christmas.

Speaking of which, it's beginning to look a lot like ICE STORM in my neck of the woods, friends!  Hence the title of this post.  No, I'm not one itsy bits teensy weensy bit excited about an ice storm. I was, however, very excited when I thought I spotted a possible snowstorm in the forecast! Snow is just so much prettier and so much easier to play in and....well....I guess ice can b pretty, but it's just not safe. And it causes power outages and angry, desperate people stuck in their homes without heat and such. Snow on the other hand, can be a nice little part of the winter season. And what could be more Christmas-y than snow, I must ask?? We will just have to wait and see the weather we get this coming weekend. But I will pray that it is snow and not the dreadful, dangerous and damaging ice!  What's the weather like where you live? Warm and sunny, temperate, dry?  Snowy or icy and cold, gray skies and gusts of wind? We've had several very gray days lately, as if the sun has decided to sulk for a while.  But the weather on and around Thanksgiving day was actually quite pleasant!

So today I'm thinking of Christmas songs, or carols.  There are so many I love.  The list of the songs or carols I enjoy is gargantuan compared to the tiny list of the few that quite honestly bug the bugs right out of me each and every year. Yes, I honestly have a few.  But it's because they are a few that the radio station where we live ALWAYS plays, over and over and over and over and . . . . well, you catch my drift!  I hear them and think to myself, I know there are a great deal of songs and carols with a wide variety of styles and rhythms and performers and lyrics. Could we not attempt to try a few of those and sprinkle the over-played, overused songs here and there a bit more artfully?  Alas, I am not in charge of the radio programming. If I was......well, that would be a different story!  ;-)

Anyhow, bringing myself back to the moment here.  I'd like to hear, what is your favorite Christmas song or carol? And since I despise being limited to just ONE favorite in basically any category, I will ask you instead, what are your top three favorites?  And for any particular reason?  And then, if you have one you really just are tired of hearing (as I can totally empathize and I am in no sense a Scrooge, so don't feel too bad if you do have one or two that you're just tired of hearing!), what is that one?  Don't worry....on the odd chance the one you're sick of is an especial favorite of my own, I won't take offense!! hahaha  :-)

Happy December, everyone! Thanks for stopping in!!  Stay warm and safe and Happy Happy Holidays!

p.s. (I realized after typing my post that I spoke not a word of my favorite carols or songs this lovely time of year. So, if you care to know my favorites or even my least-liked, please, tell me so when you comment!  Be a dear and comment, too!!! :-)  I'd love to read it! ta-ta-for-now!)