I read many genres but one of my favorite is fantasy. DawnSinger by Janalyn Voigt is a delight for anyone who enjoys fantastic characters, dragons, and journeys through exotic lands. This one is a winner in my book…
The High Queen is dying… At the royal summons, Shae mounts a wingabeast and soars through the air to the high hold of Faeraven, where all is not as it seems. Visions warn her of danger, and a dark soul touches hers in the night. When she encounters an attractive but disturbing musician, her wayward heart awakens. But then there is Kai, a guardian of Faeraven and of Shae. Secrets bind him to her, and her safety lies at the center of every decision he makes.
On a desperate journey fraught with peril and the unknown, they battle warlike garns, waevens, ferocious raptors, and the wraiths of their own regrets. Yet, they must endure the campaign long enough to release the DawnKing’and the salvation he offers’into a divided land. To prevail, each must learn that sometimes victory comes only through surrender.
By Ellen Andersen
I lost my balance last week and stuck my left arm out break my fall. It was 10:30 at night, so I took some Tylenol and went to bed, even though it hurt a lot. The pain woke me up an hour before my alarm was to go off, so I knew I needed medical help. Not knowing how bad it was, I drove to the nearest urgent care center.
I did break my fall so my head didn’t hit the floor, but I broke my left wrist as well. I’m left-handed too. Fortunately I eat with my right hand. Otherwise, it’d be even harder. You don’t realize how much you use both hands until only one works. I know first-hand.
Even something as basic as getting dressed involves two hands. I can’t cook, water the garden, or drive (and that affects a LOT in life), until my wrist heals, which will take several weeks. I love my plants and flowers so I really hate that.
Thankfully, I have several people helping me. One of my neighbors brought dinner over the first week I injured myself. She volunteered to drive when we went to the theater last week too. Another friend has driven me to church.
My parents have been shopping for me, as well as watering my plants and cleaning around the house. Pushing a vacuum with only one hand just doesn’t work. And forget about dragging a hose.
I don’t like having to depend on other people, and I’m glad it’s temporary. But it does give them the blessing of helping me out, It always feels good to give of yourself to someone. I truly am blessed to have such loving, supportive family and friends.
How have you been blessed by someone’s generosity when you needed it? Or perhaps you’ve had the privilege of helping someone else. Share it here so we can all benefit from it.
The Prodigal: A Ragmuffin Story by Brennan Manning & Greg Garrett is another one of those books you can’t put down. The book evoked anger, pity, fear, and other emotions within the analogy and beautiful written words. Another good one…
Jack Chisholm is “the people’s pastor.” He leads a devoted and growing megachurch, has several best-selling books, and a memorable slogan, “We have got to do better.” Jack knows how to preach, and he understands how to chastise people into performing. What he doesn’t know is anything about grace.
This year, when it comes time for the Christmas sermon, the congregation at Grace Cathedral will look to the pulpit, and Jack will not be there. Of course, they will have seen plenty of him already–on the news.
After an evening of debauchery that leads to an affair with his beautiful assistant, Jack Chisholm finds himself deserted with chilling swiftness. The church elders remove him from his own pulpit. His publisher withholds the royalties from his books. Worst of all, his wife disappears with their eight-year-old daughter.
But just as Jack is hitting bottom, hopeless and penniless, drinking his way to oblivion, who should appear but his long-estranged father, imploring his prodigal son: “Come home.”
A true companion piece to The Ragamuffin Gospel, The Prodigal illustrates the power of grace through the story of a broken man who finally saw Jesus not because he preached his greatest sermon or wrote his most powerful book, but because he failed miserably. Jack Chisholm lost everything–his church, his family, his respect, and his old way of believing–but he found grace. It’s the same grace that Brennan Manning devoted his life to sharing: profound in nature and coming from a God who loves us just as we are, and not as we should be.
By Kathy Cheek
Jesus said to him,“ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ~ Matthew 22:37-39 NKJV
I learned a valuable lesson about being sensitive to the needs of lonely people while watching my husband one evening when a stranger walked into our yard. I was watering flowers on our front porch and Randy was doing yard work when an elderly woman he didn’t know or recognize from our neighborhood, approached him and asked if we had seen her missing cat. After my husband informed her we hadn’t seen the cat she described, the woman eagerly continued to speak with him, and kept talking for a very long time.
She told him she had been widowed eight years ago, and spoke of the life she shared with her husband that spanned half a century. She smiled and told of courting days, raising their family, and moving away from everyone she knew back east to follow his dream to live in the west. She told stories of their early years together and how they had weathered many storms together, but the storm she was weathering now was missing him.
She was lonely and God provided a listening ear. My husband stood there and patiently listened, although the mosquitoes were out and the sky was darkening and he wasn’t finished with his work. But he listened, and he could tell by her changed countenance that she walked back to her house with a lighter step and lighter heart.
Loving our neighbor as Jesus teaches should keep us attentive to the heavy hearts around us that are burdened by a depth of loneliness that we can help ease. Sometimes, all we have to do is provide a listening ear. All we have to do is care.
Kathy Cheek writes faith-filled devotions and is published in LifeWay’s Journey magazine and Mature Living, and also contributes to several devotional sites, including Thoughts About God, Christian Devotions, and CBN.com.
Her favorite subject to write about is the rich relationship God desires to have with us and the deep trust it takes to live it out. She and her husband of 33 years live in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas and they have two daughters and one son-in-law who also reside in the Dallas area. You can read more of her devotions at www.kathycheek.com.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis is actually a series of seven fantasy books: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, The Horse and His Boy, The Magician’s Nephew, and The Last Battle. They are full of allegory and I love books with those subtle or sometimes not so subtle hidden meanings. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is probably the best-known but my personal favorites are The Horse and His Boy and The Last Battle.
The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy novels by C. S. Lewis. It is considered a classic of children’s literature and is the author’s best-known work, having sold over 100 million copies in 47 languages. Written by Lewis, illustrated by Pauline Baynes, and originally published in London between 1950 and 1956, The Chronicles of Narnia has been adapted several times, complete or in part, for radio, television, the stage, and film.
Set in the fictional realm of Narnia, a fantasy world of magic, mythical beasts, and talking animals, the series narrates the adventures of various children who play central roles in the unfolding history of that world. Except in The Horse and His Boy, the protagonists are all children from the real world, magically transported to Narnia, where they are called upon by the lion Aslan to protect Narnia from evil and restore the throne to its rightful line. The books span the entire history of Narnia, from its creation in The Magician’s Nephew to its eventual destruction in The Last Battle.
This Fine Life is a well-written novel which I thoroughly enjoyed and it also takes place in the late 1950’s. Everson has a way of blending lovely descriptions with her use of the Southern dialect to make a story just right. You’ll love all of her books…
This Fine Life
It is the summer of 1959 and Mariette Puttnam has just graduated from boarding school. When she returns to her privileged life at home, she isn’t sure where life will take her. More schooling? A job? Marriage? Nothing feels right. How could she know that the answer is waiting for her within the narrow stairwell of her father’s apparel factory, exactly between the third and fourth floors?
In this unique and tender story of an unlikely romance, popular author Eva Marie Everson takes readers on a journey through the heart of a young woman bound for the unknown. Readers will experience the joys of new love, the perseverance of true friendship, and the gift of forgiveness that comes from a truly fine life.
Today, I’m spotlighting Unraveled, the newest release by author Jo Huddleston. Read on to find out all about it and if you leave a comment, you’ll be entered to win your own e-book copy…
In 1954, twenty-six-year-old Alice Patterson undergoes a pregnancy loss that affects everything and everyone she touches. Emotionally and physically drained, she must come to terms with her traumatic loss or risk losing her husband, her best friend, and her sanity.
Her best friend JayNell and her husband Paul offer Alice support and comfort. She persists in her grieving, which hinders her healing. The doctor advises there is no normal recovery period for what Alice has undergone. Time is her best ally.
In her small southern Mississippi town, her church Sewing Circle’s new project triggers an unsettling setback to Alice’s recovery. Afterward, she succumbs to suspicions of Paul’s infidelity that causes her collapse, from which she may not recover.
Paul’s unspoken goal is that they will recapture the love they held for one another on their wedding day. He’s hopeful that the approaching spring season will bring a reawakening of the Alice he married, as it brings a newness to all living things.
Jo Huddleston is a multi-published author who writes novels inspired by her fascination with the 1950s and her love of her native American South. Novels in her endearing Caney Creek series, her West Virginia Mountains series, as well as her stand-alone release, Tidewater Summer, are sweet Southern romance novels.
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN). Visit Jo at her website (www.johuddleston.com) where you can sign up for her mailing list and read the first chapters of her novels and novellas.
Website and blog (Read novel first chapters here): http://www.johuddleston.com
Sign up for Jo’s mailing list: http://bit.ly/1ZFaZwG
Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/2cfSroU
Facebook author page: http://bit.ly/2aqFEeT
Facebook personal page: http://on.fb.me/1Ubic69
Inspirational blog: http://bit.ly/2gttKVr
BookBub Profile: http://bit.ly/2liB0G3
Excerpt from Unraveled
Tuesday, March 2, 1954—Talasia, Mississippi
Alice Patterson bolted upright in the bed and listened for what had awakened her. She heard nothing out of the ordinary. Only the hushed, even snores from her husband Paul’s side of the bed. The black hole in her recurring nightmares must have invaded her subliminal mind—again. She had awakened before she sank into its depths. Paul still slept. Obviously, she hadn’t screamed out this time.
She eased from beneath the covers, pushed her feet into house slippers, and grabbed her pink terry cloth robe lying across the foot of the bed. After stepping into the hall and pulling the door shut, she stuffed her arms into her robe and tied the sash around her waist. She knew her house, even in the night, and walked to the darkened bedroom next to hers and Paul’s.
Pale light from the street lamp outside huddled beyond the curtains covering the lone window. Standing in the middle of the room, she peered toward the baby bed, then her gaze focused on the rocking chair with the golden cushions padding its back and seat. She went to the small chest placed against the wall across the room and opened the music box sitting atop it. The tiny box played its shrill rendition of “Brahms’ Lullaby.”
Alice sat in the rocking chair and idly moved it with one foot grazing the hardwood floor, her arms empty. She remained there even after the music box played its last note. Blinding light burst from the hall and pierced the darkness of the room to reveal the baby bed. Empty.
Paul’s voice reached her through the night. “You all right?”
Would she ever be all right again? She turned toward the open door where her husband’s silhouette stood in dark contrast to the brightness behind him. “I couldn’t sleep.”
“It’ll be daylight soon. Come on back to bed. If you can’t sleep, at least you can rest your body. You need to conserve your energy to help regain your strength.”
Paul repeated what Dr. Stallings had told her before he released her from the hospital ten days ago. But what did she need her strength for? She no longer carried the baby they’d both dreamed of. Her body was now empty like her arms and the baby bed.
By Jennifer Slattery
She sat off to the side and in the back. She was an older woman, and though I suspect she knew a good number of others attending this conference, she chose to sit by herself. I wondered if perhaps she didn’t want to be there, or maybe she wanted to be left alone.
I thought briefly of approaching her, of thanking her for coming, but soon I was swept into conversations and greeting as other women filled the church.
I soon forgot about the woman entirely.
I wonder how often that’s happened to her? I wonder how often, though she sat on the outskirts, she longed for someone to approach and invite her in. Or at the very least, let her know they saw her.
And maybe, as she sat there, in a church auditorium, to know that God saw her. And loved her.
I hope, through my talk that day, she heard He indeed did. That He always had and always would. As I spoke of a God who pursues us, who heals us, and who longs to bring us to a place of incredible freedom, I looked her way to find her crying. My heart gave a squeeze, and for a moment, I lost my words as a desire to speak with her, to pray with her, swept over me.
Obviously, I couldn’t do that, but as soon as I finished, I hurried to where she sat, knelt beside her, hand on her shoulder, and handed her a business card. “Please, email me,” I said.
She nodded, and sometime later, I’m not sure exactly when, she slipped out.
I haven’t heard from her but with each Wholly Loved Conference, I meet other women just like her. Women who are hurting, who’ve replaced the truth of who they are in Christ with all the lies our broken world continually throws at them. Lies like, “You’re not good enough,” or “You’re a failure,” or, “You’re unlovable.” Though the lies are different for each one, the anecdote is the same—love. God’s love. To live it, to own it, to believe in it. To rest in it.
My prayer for these women echoes Paul’s spoken in Ephesians 3:20, that we may “have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, how deep [God’s] love is. May [we] experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God” (NLT, emphasis mine).
Made complete, by love.
Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer Slattery writes for Crosswalk.com and is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She believes fiction has the power to transform lives and change the culture. Healing Love is her sixth novel, and it was birthed during a trip she and her family took to El Salvador that opened her eyes to the reality of generational poverty and sparked a love for orphans and all who’ve experienced loss.
Her deepest passion is to help women experience God’s love and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she travels with her team to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer. When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her and her Wholly Loved team at WhollyLoved.com.
Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the orphans’ eyes. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.
Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above.
When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of “missional tourists” full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?
Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073R1MY1C?ref_=pe_2427780_160035660
Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35380240-healing-love