Monday, February 27, 2017

Scripture Graphics 28

"Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation." Habakkuk 3:17-18
Basically, though all livelihood was destroyed, he rejoiced in the Lord and His salvation. How often do menial things keep us from rejoicing in God? Things that, in a month, we'll forget about -- yet today we allow it to steal our joy and keep us from rejoicing.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Pinned Up! | Writing Article on WordQuill

I am honored to be a part of the new writers' group, WordQuill (seriously, you need to go check it out; it's going to be amazing!). Today, I posted my first article there--I'll admit, it was super fun to write cause I got to share all about my Pinterest boards. ;) Here's a peek...


I was not going to get Pinterest. So many people were addicted to it, and I’ll admit, I didn’t quite “get” it. But…when I was asked to photograph a few family pictures, I needed ideas. Pinterest was amazing! Fast-forward to today…I’m not hooked. I promise. I’m not. I can go a week without looking at Pinterest (okay, let’s be honest: I do have weak days where I just sit and browse…). But the best thing is that when I need it, I have a world of ideas at my fingertips.

It wasn’t until last year that I began seriously using Pinterest to help my writing. I was writing “Journey to Love” and needed a creek to describe. I consider my creative mind as one that didn’t come naturally but needed training and help. Sometimes, a lot of help...

Friday, February 24, 2017

Savior, Like a Shepherd | Book Tour and Giveaway!

Have you ever wondered what it was like for orphans born in the Wild West? Faith Blum has a new book that explores the life of three orphans born during that time. She’s with us today to tell us a little about her book. Make sure you read to the end to see the super fun giveaway she has going on, too!

About the Book

The ground shook and a rumble sounded through the air as the train squealed to a stop. Maybe, just maybe, I could carry someone’s bags without the porter taking notice. And then there was the even bigger maybe: Maybe I could get enough money to at least buy a crust of bread for Trevor and Tabitha to share.

I hid behind the boxes in the freight yard and kept one eye on the porter, and the other on the second class passenger car. The porter had his attention on the first class car, so I slipped into the gathering crowd.

Titus Hine has always taken care of others. First in protecting his brother and sister from the men his mother entertained. Even more so after her death, when the townspeople refused to help the orphans of a town prostitute. He’s been protector and provider, despite the hardships. He’s learned that no one will help, no one cares and if he wants to survive he’ll have to rely on his own strength not just for himself but his family as well.
Then a stranger shows him the kindness and help no one else seems willing to. Between her kindness and the lecture she gives the Christian Leaders, Titus’s life takes an unexpected turn for the better. With help and provision from the local believers things should be easier, his burdens are lifted. So why does it feel like life is spinning out of control?

Can Titus learn that while man may fail him there is One who will never fail? Can he learn to allow God to be the Shepherd of his life and lead him? Or will life continue to push him every which way?

Note: 50% of my income from this series will go to the World Orphans organization.

Buy now on your favorite eBook platform:

My Review
3.5 stars

As with many of Faith's books, I love making the connections from one story to another. Being introduced to Titus, I was happy to read his story. The incorporation of the hymn completely warmed me. I loved how Faith portrayed Titus first hearing it! The sibling/family story was very sweet.

I had a hard time finding Titus' purpose throughout the novel. It seemed more of story just following Titus' life, as his goals changed throughout the novel. There were also a few subplots thrown in there that took a second for me to get adjusted to. Which, if you like that style, isn't a problem.

As always, I appreciated the spiritual aspects in this book. Very solid. And, there was very little romance mentioned in this book. More match-making than anything (which, I thought was kinda cute).

*I received an eBook from the author and happily gave my review*

Faith is generously giving away EIGHT prizes! She has two paperbacks and two eBooks of Savior, Like a Shepherd up for grabs as well as one paperback and three eBooks of her Hymns of the West Novellas: Volume Two. The novella collection contains the novella that inspired her latest series as well as her new novel. Fill out the rafflecopter for the chance to win one of the prizes:

Free Book
Do you want to read the story that inspired Savior, Like a Shepherd? Faith has made it available for free February 23-27. You can get your copy here:

About the Author
Faith Blum is a 20-something author of multiple books in various genres. She loves to write, read, play piano, knit, crochet, sew, watch movies, and play games with her family. She lives in Wisconsin with her family on a small family farm where they raise goats, chickens, turkeys, ducks, and have 2 dogs and a varying number of cats.

Faith’s goal in her writing is to encourage Christians in their walk with Christ. If you want to know when her latest book comes out, go to her website to sign up for her New Releases Newsletter so you can get an email when her next book in the series comes out. You will also find links to her other Social Media sites on her website. She loves to hear from her readers, so feel free to contact her.

All too soon, I got to the station and knocked on the door with three quick raps, then paused and did four slow taps.
Trevor opened the door, a frown on his face. “What took you so long?”
I went in and sat in the middle of the darkening room. “Pastor Barnes stopped me. He’s offered us a place to stay. He claims it’s forever. I told him we’d give them a week and see what happens. After that, if we decide to stay, we’ll stay; but if they ever try to do something real bad, we’ll leave.”
“Why would we leave?” Tabitha asked.
Trevor put a hand on her arm. “I know a lot of people seem nice, but not everyone is. We have to look out for ourselves. Like with those people who throw things at us.”
I sighed. Everything Trevor had said was true, but oh how I wished it could be different for Trevor and Tabitha. That they wouldn’t have to do what I did, see what I’d seen, hear what I’d heard. I swallowed hard and pushed the sudden memories forcefully back into the deepest, darkest corners of my mind.
With a slightly shaky hand, I started folding the blankets.
“Should we write Mr. Hodges a note telling him why we aren’t here anymore?” Trevor asked.
I glanced at the desk. The pen and ink bottle sat there, an imposing force taunting me. “No,” I said more harshly than I intended. I softened my voice. “No, I’ll stop by in the morning and tell him.”
I picked up the blankets and headed for the door. “Let’s go.”
Trevor opened and held the door for Tabitha and me and then made sure it latched securely. A pang of regret and longing hit me suddenly. Despite the office feel to the place, it had been our home for almost a month. Would we ever have a place that would always feel like home? If the Barneses kept their promises, Trevor and Tabitha might. Me? I doubted I would ever find a permanent home.

Tour Schedule

Bonus Post from February 10
Petticoats and Pistols – The History of Paint (Note: the giveaway on that post is closed)

February 16
Bookish Orchestrations-Tour Introduction
Peggy's Hope 4U- Character Spotlight of Titus

February 17
Leah's Bookshelf- Book Spotlight
Rebekah Lyn Books- Character Spotlight of Tabitha

February 18
Zerina Blossom's Books- Guest Post – About the Town

February 20
Sarah Allerding- Author Interview

February 21
Tara Ellis Author- Book Spotlight
Melanie D. Snitker, Author – Character Spotlight of Trevor

February 22

February 23
Reveries Reviews- Character Spotlight of Titus Hine
Kelsey's Notebook- Guest Post – My Kind of Romance

February 24
With a Joyful Noise- Book Review

February 25
Writing Dreams- Guest Post – Why Orphans?
Zerina Blossom's Books – Book Review

February 27
God's Peculiar Treasure Rae- Character Spotlight of Trevor Hine

February 28
Homeschooled Authors- Author Interview

Rachel Rossano's Words- Guest Post – What’s the Inspiration and song connection?

First Line Fridays | 2.24.17

I'm starting yet another new thing on my blog! :) I noticed one of the blogs I followed had this "First Line Fridays." You know me and books. If it has to do with books I like, I'm in. ;) The group has cheerfully added me and I'm excited to start joining in the fun!

So... my first day. I have to acknowledge what is probably my favorite first-line of all...

Makes me smile every time.

What is one of your favorite first lines?

Also, be sure to hop along to all of these other blogs and see what First Lines they have to share!

Rachel - Bookworm Mama
Lauraine - Lauraine's Notes
Robin - Robin's Nest
Kathleen - Kathleen Denly

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Fairest Lord Jesus | Music Video

One of my favorite hymns to really dwell on the lyrics is "Fairest Lord Jesus." It is not the most popular hymn, but it is so beautiful! Many people are missing out by not knowing it!

Sheet music available here.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Scripture Graphics 27

This verse still applies to us as believers. We can make the right choice and choose to hear God's Word (through preaching and daily Bible reading), but unless we take the next step and keep/apply it, we will never see change in our lives (note: the fruit isn't always visible; it may be the fruit of the Spirit, working in our hearts and bringing love, joy, peace, etc.).

Are our eyes truly fixed on Christ? Or have we let our eyes wander, where our focus is on ourselves, our problems, our struggles, our inadequacies? Looking there will lead us only to be destitute. But looking to Christ and *fixing* our eyes on Him will bring the renewal that only He can.

Friday, February 17, 2017

A Couple of Bookish Things

Two bookish things I wanted to mention to you lovelies today...

First, you can get a free book! :) My friend, A.M. Heath, has her first book, Where Can I Flee, free on Kindle! I'm not sure how long, so grab it before it goes back to list price! I gave it five stars when I read it in December 2015 (see my review here).

Where Can I Flee (Ancient Words Series Book 1) by [Heath, A.M.]

And then, another author friend, Faith Blum, is having a book party on FaceBook today (1:30-5:30 central time). I'll be chatting on there 2:40-3:00, so if you're on FB, I'd love to see you there (PM me on FB if you need an invite)

Image may contain: text and outdoor

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

In the Sweet, By and By | Music Video

I originally arranged this piece for my younger sister... adapted it a little to make it longer for publication. :) This is one of those simple pieces that is slightly repetitive, which makes my students happy. ;)

Sheet music available here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Secret Slipper | Cover Reveal 01

I got an idea from a fellow author's cover reveal and have been itching to play with it! :) So, I have a cover for "The Secret Slipper" ... but you'll only get it one piece at a time. ;) And it's gonna take a few weeks. Be patient! ;)

First piece...
First quote...

Monday, February 13, 2017

Scripture Graphics 26

What kind of "child" are we? Submissive and obedient to our father?
What kind of "clay" are we? Soft and moldable in the hands of our maker?

Praise the Lord that He extended His salvation to the Gentiles so that we, also, can have light!

"And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." Luke 4:6-8
Jesus didn't deny satan's reign over the world's power and kingdom, but He didn't get involved in a debate. He silenced satan on the authority of God's superseding power. is amazing to read Jesus' response to satan, realizing that this was the very reason satan rebelled against God.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Grace and the Preacher | Book Review

30659096I enjoyed almost every aspect of this book. Sure, parts of it made me go, "No! Ohhhh no!" because I predicted what was happening, but of course, I didn't want the characters to make such unwise choices. But I even enjoyed that, from a writers' point of view.

I'd say it wasn't fully predictable. It's hard to discern that, as I study plot and so guess from the writer's brain, not just as a reader.

I loved all of the characters. I identified with Grace and the way she viewed/processed things. Theo and Bess probably tied as my favorite characters (even though when Bess first came as a character highlight it made me slightly confused why she was there). Though I also really like Philemon and Earl. Okay, I liked Earl a lot too. His character growth was one of my favorites.

For some reason, in several books I've read recently, it's confusing if the struggling characters are saved DURING the novel, or if they were previous saved and during the novel, turn back to Christ after wandering. This was such with Theo. By the end, he definitely was following God, but it's unclear if he was truly born-again in the beginning of the novel or not.

Spiritually... five stars hands down! This is why I liked Bess SO much. She was the perfect older, wiser woman whose counsel was solid, Biblical, and right on. There were so many times during the novel that I applauded her for her counsel. Very much NOT a "follow your heart" read! And the conclusion of the book's message...yeah. It was just so very good! was there, but it wasn't all mushy, gushy. In fact, I don't remember a single kiss. Like I said, I came away from the book with the message of, "Follow God, not love."

Not to rave, but I really liked this book. Like a lot. Like, it's re-readable worth it. And I don't say that about many books that I read. ;) Just an extra piece of endorsement there. ;)

*I received this book from Blogging for Books and happily gave my honest review*

About Grace and the Preacher
At the age of twenty-four, postmistress Grace Cristler has all but given up hope of finding a husband among the narrowing group of eligible men in her town of Fairland, Kansas. But when her uncle decides to retire from the pulpit, Grace is responsible for corresponding with the new preacher set to take his place. She can’t deny the affection growing in her heart for Reverend Rufus Dille—a man she deeply admires, but has only met through his letters.

Theophil Garrison is on the run from a past and a label he’s desperate to escape. Ten years ago, his outlaw cousins convinced him to take part in a train robbery, but Theo fled the scene, leaving his cousins to face imprisonment. Now their sentence is complete, but the plan for vengeance has only just begun. Branded a coward and running for his life, a chance encounter could provide Theo with the escape he needs.

But the young man’s desperate con might come at an enormous price for the tenderhearted Grace—and the entire town. Will Grace’s undeserved affection and God’s mercy make something beautiful from the ashes of Theo’s past?

About Kim Vogel Sawyer
With over 40 titles on library shelves and more than 1.5 copies of her books in print worldwide, Kim Vogel Sawyer enjoys a full-time writing and speaking ministry. Empty-nesters, Kim and her retired military husband, Don, are active in their church’s music ministry. Additionally, Kim helps lead women’s fellowship and enjoys teaching at writing conferences and spiritual retreats. When she isn't writing, Kim enjoys quilting, traveling, and spoiling her granddarlings.

Purchase the book here

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

What if... | Writing Update

As I'm working on editing "The Secret Slipper," I'm getting more and more excited about it!!! I absolutely cannot wait to predict a release date for y'all!!

Just last week, I was facing the end of the story. Praise the Lord, He gave me what I needed! (rough draft form) It was one of those writing times when I could sit down and write. So... I moved from writing to editing. If you follow me on Instagram, you already saw this. ;)

'Cause some days you feel like earning a badge. Or a check mark. ;)
I really and truly don't mind editing all that much. It's kind of fun. As I edited, here is one thing I reminded myself of...

For example:
Lia grit her teeth and let her hands pound the dough.

I find myself doing that a lot. I "let" my characters do something. But it's much more powerful to just do it like so...

Lia grit her teeth and pounded the dough.

Note to self; keep it active, not passive. Sure, it's "fewer words," but we can't worry about word count. Quality counts. :)

Back to Slippers...
As I've been editing, I've been thinking about ways to summarize my story to easily explain it to others (isn't it just easier to say, "It's... a story... read it for yourself!" ? ;). 

When I first started writing Raoul's part, it was so that I could get to Lia's part. I'll admit. I liked Lia better. However, with some wonderful advice from friends, I completely rewrote Raoul's part. And now, I really like his side of the story just as much as Lia's. One of the things I like best is the big "what if..."

Does your story have a "what if?" If so, what is it?
Are you in the editing process of your story?

Monday, February 6, 2017

Scripture Graphics 25

What a blessed assurance of God's faithfulness!

We tend to turn to this passage when we don't understand what is happening. But does this passage ever urge us to better study God's Word so that we are not ignorant of *all* His ways? His ways are past finding out (Rom 11:33), yet God has revealed some things to us in His Word -- have we sought to understand what we could?

In our human minds, this is a paradox: to dwell high and holy, one must be contrite and humble.
Also, we see a key to revival here -- because as long as we are anything but contrite and humble, God cannot revive us; we would not see our need for revival.

If we need good tidings -- turn to Christ. If our broken hearts need binding -- turn to Christ. If our prison needs opening -- turn to Christ.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Roses | Photography

I'll admit, I have gotten lazy in my photography lately. Well, either I have gotten lazy, or there is just too much going on in my brain to think about this third hobby (that's actually closer to the honest truth). Sometimes, though, I do take a few minutes to capture something.

In December, one of my sisters had given Mom some roses. I noticed that they were dried out and mostly dead, but they were still beautiful. I spent a few minutes with my iPhone (4s) to snap a few pictures. I like taking pictures with my iPhone, just because it shows that you don't have to have a fancy DSLR to still get good shots.

Here are the pictures, completely unedited.

What do you usually use to take pictures?

Friday, February 3, 2017

Books I Read - January 2017

The first month in 2017... and I'm nine books ahead of my reading goal of 52 books in 2017! That means... *gulp* ... I've already read 13 books this year. Wait... *looks back* ... Okay, so four of those I started in December. That just means I read 9 books this month. How in the world did I find time for that? (because seriously, January was crazy!) Well... we had two Louisiana trips, in which we had between 16-20 hours on the road. According to my log, I read/finished five books in the van. And then... this past weekend, I'll admit: I binge-read. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Non-Fiction Books


I picked this one up at a thrift store, recognizing the author from Lady in Waiting (my review of that one). I was not disappointed at all!! Read my full review here.


Yep! Another Elizabeth George book. :) It's the last one I have on my bookshelf, though. :/ I greatly enjoyed this one! It seemed to be slightly more in-depth than some of her other studies. More of my thoughts here.


Writers? This book is great. That's the short of it. The long of it is here. Seriously, if you feel like you're drowning in novel-writing and planning, this book has some amazing tips! I know I won't use everything there, but there is a lot of great help!


Short, but truly amazing! I read this in about forty-five minutes. You can see some of my favorite quotes here.


This was a cool book! Seriously... beautifully put-together, well-organized... and clean. I mean yeah, it's a Civil War book, there is death and prisons mentioned, but for a CW book, it was very clean. I didn't have the exact book pictured above, as I didn't have the CD, but just the book itself was rich in history. Yeah... I think I liked it. ;) Review here (cause that was a rave, not a review... ;) )

Children's Books

You probably saw this cute cover pop up on my blog a few weeks ago. Yeah. it was cute.


Okay, I'm not much into fan-girling... but seriously... I have waited to read these books TEN whole years. When one of my friends texted me if I knew anything about a Christian viking series, I slammed her with, "By Lois Walfrid Johnson?!?! GET THEM!!!!" She did. ;) And then she lent them to me, like the good friend she is. :D I grew up reading Lois Walfrid Johnson's Northwood Series, and when I realized our library had The Riverboat Series (now called The Freedom Seekers series), I grabbed them up. They both had a little more boy/girl stuff than I liked, and because the kids were thirteen, I seriously rolled my eyes at them. But, there is something about Mrs. Johnson's style that I love. Maybe it's childhood memories. At any rate, I probably liked the viking series best... largely due to the fact that there is NOT all of the boy/girl stuff. There is a hint of romance, but mainly in the last book, and I thought it mature and well-handled.

But, for my reviews of each book, click on the titles.

Oh, and that binge-reading weekend? Yeah... *guilty grin* The Viking Quest was the culprit...


The reading of this book actually has a little story to go with it. I had read all of the rest of Mateer's books 2015-2016 and when this one went on sale for Kindle last year, I grabbed it, but hadn't found time to read it yet. Well, on one of our trips home from Louisiana, I had read all of the books I brought to read, and was just going to sleep the rest of the way home (after all, it was close to midnight). My brother who was driving home ahead of us by a few miles hit a deer on the interstate. My brother is okay, but he totaled his car. We sat on the side of the road for about an hour with Dad talking to road-side assistance. Now fully awake, I decided to look on my Kindle app and see what I had. This one had been on my to-read list for so long, I picked it to read, and finished it that night. Now that you've read my story of WHY I read this book, you can see my thoughts of it in my review. ;)

Coming up for the month of February... I've agreed to review-read two books by author friends, plus one of my friends gave me a book for Christmas I want to read... but those are all fiction. I like to balance out my reading diet, so I have a few books on writing on my shelf, and I already started reading a book on flash photography. I doubt thirteen books will be my February book-count, but with another Louisiana trip...we'll see!

What's on your reading shelf right now?
Did January see more books than you expected to read, or fewer?
Can you read in the car?

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Flower Mug Cozy | Crochet

Turns out I do have another craft project to share this week. ;) I decided to try my hand at a mug cozy. I half-invented the pattern for two reasons...

1) The pattern I found was a slip-over cozy and I wanted it to tie onto a coffee mug.

2) I accidentally did the basket stitch wrong (first time... give me a slight break, okay? ;) ). For those of you who know crochet, you're supposed to do two rows one direction, then flip it. I flipped it after one row. ;)

So... the cozy!!!

Oh yeah, and the flower... this was the first attempt at it...

Yeah. It didn't turn out like the pattern (I though I had the pattern saved to my crochet Pinterest board, but apparently I don't; sorry I can't share it!). Thankfully, this whimsical octopus-looking-flower pleased my youngest sister as a hair band. So it wasn't a wasted practice. ;)

My second attempt went way better... It's still not as perfect as the pattern-picture (of course), but blocking it helped some. ;)

Have you worked on any projects this week?
What color combinations do you like?

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