HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BRITTNEY!!

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:9)

I love telling funny stories about my relatives on their birthday. It’s a great way to reminisce about the fun times we’ve had over the years. Before I get into the jollification (LOL), here’s something I’ve never told anyone before . . .

The first time I saw Brittney was on printed photos my sister (her mother) sent from Gaeta, Italy. She was born in the late 80’s so we didn’t have smartphones, the internet, or even a digital camera. LOL I thought she was a cutie patootie and I couldn’t wait to see her in person.

I finally met Brittney in person six months later. Let me tell you, I thought she was the most beautiful little baby girl I had ever seen in my life. Here’s the part that I’ve never told anyone before:  My world at the time was very dim. I was very young and had no idea where my life was headed. I hadn’t received Jesus as my Lord and Savior, so all I knew was my reality. My life wasn’t horrible, but I was just existing. You know what I mean? Humdrum. Brittney brought joy into my life. 😀 A brighter side.

Here’s the funny . . . She was the cutest rollipoliest, deep voice having, all I wanna to do is draw, play by myself, pink wearing, take me to Baskin Robbins so I can get vanilla ice cream with sprinkles (but you can get that at home LOL),Veggie Tales and Jungle Jam and Friends listening, ham eating, bacon loving, Sims City Life building girl I’ve ever known. 😀

I hope you enjoyed your birthday, Brittney. I pray the Lord will bless you beyond your imagination. You already know, God has a specific purpose for your life. Focus on Him for guidance and don’t grow weary in well doing!! Keep moving forward. Love you!! 😀

Just blogging it out . . . Oh and please join me in wishing my niece a happy birthday!! 😀 (12/10)

Keep praying!!

 

 

A Quick Christmas Memory

16 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!! 23 DAYS UNTIL 2017!!!

home-aloneLOL

KOST 103.5 Los Angeles has been playing Christmas music since November and I absolutely LOVE IT!! 😀 This is my favorite time of year. Heck, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, which happens to be playing on the radio right now. 😀

As a child, I hoped to receive at least a few items on my gift list. I would spend hours looking through the mail order Christmas catalogs from various department stores. Let’s see, there was JcPenney, Sears, Service Merchandise, and Montgomery Ward. Do those catalogs still exist? 😀

Okay, here’s the quick Christmas memory:

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From the left to right: My brother, John, me, and my cousin, Terry. I believe this picture was taken on December 31, 1978.

This memory includes an embarrassing picture. LOL The year was 1978. My father had just passed away a week before Thanksgiving. My mother was a housewife raising four children before he died. Needless to say, there was some financial concerns. I remember her telling us there wouldn’t be many presents under the tree that year. Of course, Christmas isn’t about presents, but they are a significant part of this memory.

Many people gave us presents that year because they cared. I’m holding a few of the presents in the above pic:  My cousin, Barbara, gave me the Ernie doll; my cousin, Charlotte, gave me the clown; and the Pink Panther was one of the gifts from my mother. I don’t remember everyone who gave or what they gave, but I know it was quite a few people. I was so happy despite our circumstance.

I will be forever grateful for the generosity of those people. I will continue to pay it forward for the rest of my life.

Just blogging it out . . . OH and Happy Thursday Night! 😀

Keep praying!!

 

 

 

 

Choices

 

It’s been a little while since my last post. As I was sitting here in front of my laptop trying to figure out what to write, Deuteronomy 30:19-20 came to mind.

19 Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Choices!!

I’ve had an interesting month to say the least. We’ve all gone through difficult times, so I will spare you the details of mine. How I got through it is far more important than the what. We’re all different. What may be difficult for me, may not be difficult for someone else and vice versa. Right?

I was able to get through it by choosing to love God, to obey Him, and committing myself firmly to Him. What does that mean exactly? It means not doing things my way!! LOL Unless, of course, my way lines up with the word of God. 😀 I’m not ashamed to admit that on more than one occasion, I was a bit (A lot a bit. LOL I know that’s doesn’t make sense, but I think it’s funny.) off kilter. I like to call those occasions WHAT THE HECK?” moments. Usually, instant gratification is the main focus. There’s a sense of urgency to get out of the situation and rarely God focused.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to remind myself that God is ALWAYS with me. Even during difficult times, He’s right here! 😀 That’s enough to get me through anything.

Now, I’m not saying things will be perfect because as you know, God never promised us perfection. However, He promised to never leave us or forsake us. I’ll take that any day and twice on Sunday. 😀 I’m silly! LOL Also, I have a very small, but good support system. I call them my forever peeps. 😀 Those are the people you can COMPLETELY trust, who will give you godly advice or just a good listening ear. Voila! That difficult chapter is closed. 😀

Remember, nothing is bigger than God. He’s always with you; choose to stay focused on Him. Choose to focus on God before the challenge, stay in the word, and pray.

I’m not exempt, I’m . . .

Just blogging it out . . . OH and Happy Monday Night!! 😀

Don’t stop praying!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

 

About the Book

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Click picture to purchase

Four novellas in a variety of genres—that’s all they are. Just four stories to quiet your heart and soul as you embrace the beauty of the Christmas season. Inside, you’ll find Vikki Kestell’s historical romance and a reminder that the Lord’s plans are always just what we need. You’ll be introduced to Cathe Swanson’s unlikely romance about a woman who sets out to do one good deed and is drawn into the lives of a cast of eccentric elderly people. You’ll meet April Hayman‘s and her southern madcap mystery featuring an FBI agent, a con artist or two, and a few eccentric elderly people of her own. And you’ll find Chautona Havig’s Christian fiction novella that blends comedy, suspense, with a garnish of romance.

In the hope that through these Christmas stories your heart will be lightened and brightened, we offer you this collection. Merry Christmas! And a happy, light read!

MY REVIEW

Let me start by saying, I enjoyed reading all four stories. I am not familiar with any of the authors and had no idea what to expect. I am going to be completely honest with you, it took more pages than usual for me to get into one of the books because I’m not used to reading books in that genre. Exactly why I pushed myself to read it . . . for something new and beautiful.

Heart of Joy is such a beautiful story about a woman who is trying to live her life after a heartbreaking tragedy. Joy struggles with moving forward after a devastating loss. Is it right to love again? I found her inner thoughts about Mr. O’Dell hilarious. Who knew Historical fiction could be funny. LOL There were quite a few times I found myself clutching my chest. I don’t want to give a lot of detail, but tissue is a must. Thank you, Ms. Kestell. For helping me discover something new and beautiful.

Snow Angels is a story about Lisa, an introvert who is looking forward to 6 weeks of vacation after a, lets say, peculiar experience feeding the less fortunate on Thanksgiving. Amazing what we can learn about ourselves when we help others and vice versa. Ms. Swanson created a great mixture of Bible principles and humor, which to me, is an excellent way to make lessons stick.

Trip the Light Fantastic: God never promised us an easy life and you never know what may come out of a situation. Ms. Hayman does a great job of keeping the reader interested with lots of humor, Trip, Landry, and the other characters along with a great storyline.

Christmas Stalkings: This story made me laugh out loud many times. I absolutely loved Wendy and all her cats. (I think she lives across the street from me. LOL) I appreciated her honest thoughts even though they weren’t perfect. And the quirky neighbors were an added bonus. I was drawn into the story and felt just as desperate as Wendy, who had a hard time convincing the police that something fishy was going on. Awesome story, Ms. Havig.

I give this collection 5 stars. The stories are totally different, but the love of God is in each and every one of them. Must read. You won’t be disappointed.

 

About the Author

vikkiVikki Kestell: is the author of the acclaimed inspirational series, A Prairie Heritage—a compelling saga of family, faith, and great courage. Vikki’s contribution to this collection, The Heart of Joy, asks, “Can true, enduring love happen twice in a lifetime?”

 

 

catheimageCathe Swanson: Author of contemporary mystery and romantic suspense, Cathe brings us Snow Angels – an entertaining companion novella and introduction to her upcoming Great Lakes series.

 

 

 

april-portraitApril Hayman: Author of Heirlooms of Deception series, debuts with a novella featuring mystery, humor, and “divine intervention.”

 

 

 

 

chautonaChautona Havig: Author of the Amazon bestselling Aggie’s Inheritance, Past Forward, and HearthLand series, Chautona brings humor, stalkings, and stockings to this collection.

 Guest Post from the Authors

The Christmas Lights Collection formed in the spring of 2016 with the idea of bringing four novellas together with one unifying theme: light. After all, each author in this collection has one primary focus in life: Jesus.  And in the book of John, He is called the “Light of Men.”

We thought we’d share what inspired our novellas and pray that these books are a delight and encouragement to all.

 

The Heart of Joy:  This novella is a spin-off story from Vikki Kestell’s Prairie Heritage series and features one of her most beloved characters, Joy Thoresen, from book three, Joy on This Mountain. After three years of widowhood, Joy mourns not only the loss of her husband but the child someone has kidnapped as well.  Only her faith sustains her through difficult days.

Vikki’s goal in writing is to provide FaithFilledFiction to Christians, and this novella is no exception. She worked to show that even amid our sorrow, the Lord brings good, hope-filled gifts to us even when we think we’re not ready for them. She also desired to fill in small, time-veiled gaps in Joy’s story.  The Heart of Joy puts the finishing touches on Joy’s story.

 

Snow Angels:  The idea for Snow Angels came to Cathe in slow increments. The idea of using homeless veterans originally prompted research into homeless shelters and programs, but the scope of those became too much for a novella. Still, those characters had stories Cathe wanted to tell, so she continued her research and became increasingly concerned with the plight of homeless veterans—particularly the women. For some reason, we often forget that women serve, get PTSD, and end up on the streets just like the men.

Cathe wanted to combine those realities with other misconceptions that often blind us to the person behind the façade. She wanted to demonstrate how people in otherwise normal lives also can be thrust into situations that trigger PTSD and how those people work through it. Of course, with such a heavy topic, Cathe chose to write the story with a liberal dusting of humor to lighten the mood as you read.

As her debut novel, Cathe introduces readers to characters we’ll see more of in her Great Lakes series and paves the way for her upcoming novel, Baggage Claim, releasing in early 2017.

 

Trip the Light Fantastic: April has been working on a mystery surrounding, of all things, Shakespeare’s inkwell!  So, when she was invited to be a part of the Christmas Lights Collection, April decided to do an introductory novel to her Heirlooms of Deception series and Lance “Trip” Devereaux was “born.”

April admits to loving another character, Landry, just a little bit more than the others. Yet, he could never be a main character. He’s too much of a rascal and a mastermind, so he works best from the shadows. While this book wasn’t about him directly, it could be about someone similar—someone who works in the light but has lost his way and needs help from God and some new friends. Trip the Light Fantastic is a sideways introduction into a character that April hopes will entertain readers for more books to come.

April set her series in Mississippi where her grandparents lived, so the books are rich in southern manners, mannerisms, and manors!  Well, there’s one plantation belonging to her irascible but charming con-artist.  Watch for a book set at the Crawford house in Spilled Ink, releasing in December 2016.

 

Christmas Stalkings: A couple of years ago, Chautona was on a Facebook group and a young woman admitted to having seven Christmas trees.  Intrigued, she named it the “Seven Tree Obsession” and wondered what kind of character would have seven trees—and why.  Well, the more she thought about it, the more interesting it became. After all, what would happen if ornaments got moved around when she wasn’t looking?  Who would do that?  Why?  And what could she add to complicate it?

So, when the opportunity to do the Christmas Lights Collection came, Chautona decided she wanted to do that story.  It seemed easy enough to contain into forty-thousand words.  HA!  But she got in her car, turned on her trusty voice recorder, and in the three-hour trek to her ACFW meeting, she schemed, plotted, and laughed until her sides ached at the ideas she came up with.  Half never made it into the book, of course, but that’s okay. Chautona has a prequel/sequel planned for it.  Lord willing, New Year’s Revolutions will release on December 31.  It’s the “Paul Harvey” version—the “rest of the story.”

While Christmas Stalkings does stand alone, Chautona wanted to explore Neal’s side of things a bit.  So she is. It’ll be the fastest “write-to-publication” she’s ever done, but she just had to try.  So, for NaNoWriMo, Chautona is off to try to figure out what’s up with Neal and why he’s such a crusty curmudgeon.  He’s too young for that!  And maybe, just maybe, he’ll embrace a “new life” in the New Year.

Blog Stops

November 15: Bibliophile Reviews

November 16: blogging it out

November 16: God’s Little Bookworm

November 17: A Reader’s Brain

November 17: Blogging With Carol

November 18: Reading Is My SuperPower

November 18: Proud to be an Autism Mom

November 19: Daysong Reflections

November 19: Splashes of Joy

November 20: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

November 20: Christian Bookaholic

November 21: Bigreadersite

November 22: A Baker’s Perspective

November 22: A Greater Yes

November 23: Back Porch Reads

November 24: Blossoms and Blessings

November 25: Reviewing Novels Online

November 25: A Path of Joy

November 26: Bukwurmzzz

November 27: Raining Butterfly Kisses

November 27: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

November 28: Once upon a time

November 28: Carpe Diem

 Giveaway

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To celebrate their tour, the authors are giving away a $25 Amazon gift card! Click the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this blog post to claim nine extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/a8ae

Joy & Peace

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

There’s not much else to say after that scripture. LOL If you want joy and peace, you have to trust Him. I’m going to trust God no matter what. He’s always in control and He’s always with us. I think we forget that sometimes.

Here’s another . . .

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3)

Focus on Him and His word.

Just blogging it out . . . Oh, and make your weekend great by trusting Him! 😀

Happy or sad, don’t stop praying!

For Obvious Reasons

Well, tomorrow is Election Day here in the US. It’s quite an emotional time, to say the least. The FB newsfeed seems like a battleground between candidate supporters. Yes, Antoine and I voted by mail about a week ago. It was important for us to exercise our right to vote, for obvious reasons. But our hope isn’t in who becomes the next POTUS, also for obvious reasons. LOL Our hope is in the Lord.

Trust Him! FOR OBVIOUS REASONS.

I ran across Jeremiah 17:5-8 today. Take a gander.

This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,
    who rely on human strength
    and turn their hearts away from the Lord.
They are like stunted shrubs in the desert,
    with no hope for the future.
They will live in the barren wilderness,
    in an uninhabited salty land.

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
    and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
    with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
    or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
    and they never stop producing fruit.

Just blogging it out . . . Oh, and ALWAYS pray for our leaders.

Buying Love by Toni Shiloh

About the Book

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Click picture to purchase

Will money ruin everything?

Nina Warrenton is ready for the next step in her life plan—marriage, but no one has proposed. Taking matters into her hand, she places an ad in the newspaper hoping to entice a willing stranger. But when she begins to fall for the small-town chef, she realizes how much she wants him to love her and not her money.

Dwight Williams needs fast cash to save the family restaurant. When he sees Nina’s monetary offer for a husband, he goes for it. He’s determined to save the legacy his dad left him, but can he let it go to prove his love for her?

Can Nina and Dwight find true love, once money has entered the equation?

My Review

Toni Shiloh, author of A Life to Live, has done it again! Her new book, Buying Love, will keep you entertained, as you follow the characters in this refreshing story about faith, patience, and finding true love.

Nina Warrenton has managed to become a successful career woman despite her less than ideal childhood. She’s independent and used to doing everything for herself. Why should finding love be any different? She places an ad in the newspaper advertising her quest to find a husband, which catches Dwight Williams attention. Is he interested in marriage or the money? In true love or debt relief? Holy matrimony or financial freedom? Only time will tell.

Dwight’s protective family and other quirky characters such as Kandi added flavor to the story. In this contemporary Christian story, we follow Nina as she realizes how important it is to depend on God for everything, including love. Sometimes being self sufficient stands in our way of seeing God for who He really is.

There are many lessons sprinkled throughout Buying Love along with a heartfelt story about a girl who is desperately looking for true love and a family to call her own. If you’re looking for a sweet story to read, one you can share with your young daughter, Buying Love is the book for you. I give this book 5 stars for its clean Christian content that will warm your heart.

About the Author

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Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Before pursuing her dream as a writer, Toni served in the United States Air Force. It was there she met her husband. After countless moves, they ended up in Virginia, where they are raising their two boys. When she’s not typing in imagination land, Toni enjoys reading, playing video games, making jewelry, and spending time with her family. Toni is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) as well as the ACFW Virginia Chapter.

Guest Post From Toni Shiloh

Hi, Reader Friends!! I’m so excited to be here at Celebrate Lit for the kick off of my new release, Buying Love. I wrote this book last year for National November Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). In one month, I managed to write a little over 50,000 words. However, that’s not why this book holds a special place in my heart. No, it’s the message in the story.

Nina Warrenton has struggled with being alone in life. Thus, she decides to take matters into her own hand and places an ad for a husband, complete with a monetary offer. What seemed like an intelligent and simplistic way to get a husband, soon proves to have a multitude of complications. Not only that, but Nina has to discover who God is in her life and the body of Christ fits into that.

Y’all have you ever felt alone in a room full of people? Or felt isolated? Or maybe you’re an orphan…whatever your background, I hope that this book shows you that God loves you. He loves you so much, He’s adopted you into the body of Christ. So if you’re a believer, we’re family. As a person who always wanted a friend and lots of family, that’s music to my soul. It’s what I wanted Nina to discover and what I hope the readers discover.

Ephesians 1:4-6, “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved” (KJV).

 

Blog Stops

October 27: Bibliophile Reviews

October 27: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

October 28: Reading Is My SuperPower

October 29: Moments Dipped in Ink

October 30: Reviewing Novels Online

October 30: Artistic Nobody

October 31: A Baker’s Perspective

November 1: blogging it out

November 2: Christian Author: A.M. Heath

November 3: autism mom

November 3: Simple Harvest Reads (Spotlight)

November 4: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

November 5: inklings and notions

November 6: just the write escape

November 7: Carpe Diem

November 8: Quiet Quilter

November 9: Bukwurmzzz

November 9: The Power of Words

Giveaway

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In honor of her tour, Toni is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card! Click the link below to enter; be sure to comment on this post to claim your nine bonus entries for this giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/a650