Are you blessed by IMPERFECTION? October #TuesdayTea devotional

October 30th, 2018

Are you blessed by imperfection? Or are you a perfectionist, waiting for that perfect something, as I am?

While looking through my photos of a recent fall hike, a scarlet leaf captured my attention. It wasn’t perfect. Two holes marred its surface. Despite its imperfection, I’d stopped to take the picture…..as a reminder of the colorful autumn trails we traveled.

That made me consider my desire to be PERFECT. Do you struggle with PERFECTIONISM?

My dream of being an author is stalled as I wait for the PERFECT time to write, the PERFECT system to revise my manuscript, and the PERFECT publishing option to appear. I’m frozen with indecision……waiting for PERFECT.

As I contemplated my perfectionist tendencies, God nudged me to think about certain blessings in my life. I realized treasures don’t require perfection.

Treasured gifts made by small hands.

My grandkids made special presents for me last Christmas. As I unwrapped the potholder my grandson had woven together, he sat beside me and said, “Grammy, I made a mistake here.” He pointed to a place where a loop was missed. Even though some might not considered them PERFECT, I’m sure you can imagine how much I treasure these! Each day, I delight in seeing their precious gifts displayed on my kitchen counter. My heart smiles.

Then there is the imperfection on my husband’s left leg. Twelve years ago, multiple surgeries left a large skin-grafted area of grayish-colored alligator-like skin covering the knotted and damaged muscles beneath. But that scar is beautiful to me! It is a reminder that he didn’t die in the underground coal mine where he was trapped for twenty-two hours. It is a miracle he survived. It is a miracle his leg wasn’t amputated. It is a miracle he is able to hike today while wearing a leg brace. I’m thankful for many miracles!

God reminded me of these things as I thought about being a perfectionist.

TREASURE THE IMPERFECT! WE ARE BLESSED!

Am I seeking perfection? Is my writing progress frozen by requiring perfection? Am I a perfect person? Yes. Yes. No.

I am truly blessed by imperfection, so I want to change my view of this writing journey. Our Father knows we are imperfect, but still He loves us. I believe He doesn’t want us to be frozen with the fear of not being perfect. We should still strive for doing our best by polishing our writing, but then we must move forward with courage. Rather than hiding our light, we want our writing to shine for God’s glory! He has a plan for each of us. We need to step out in faith and trust in the Lord.

SCRIPTURE 

Lord, you are my God: I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. Isaiah 25:1 (NIV)

TEA TREATS

To celebrate our October #TuesdayTea, I’m serving a trio of autumn inspired treats….creepy-crawly dirt cups, ghoulish salted caramel pudding and miniature pumpkin pie…plus your choice of tea, coffee or warm cider.

 

Do you have strategies to cope with being a perfectionist? Are you blessed by treasures of IMPERFECTION? 

Thank you for joining me for #TuesdayTea. For all of us, I pray we are able to set aside any paralyzing fears, trusting our Lord as we step out in faith to experience the life He has planned for us.

With prayers and blessings,

Sherida 

*Your comments are appreciated and will appear after moderation. I apologize for delays in posting responses.

Have you visited any Texas historical places? #TuesdayTea Review of REMEMBER TEXAS by Laura Conner Kestner

October 16th, 2018

Welcome to my #TuesdayTea review of an intriguing debut novel by Laura Conner Kestner. Isn’t the cover stunning? I completely enjoyed this visit to Moccasin Rock, Texas. The assorted characters are all so captivating. And following the journey of Caleb and Abby as they fall in love is fun and unpredictable.

REMEMBER TEXAS by Laura Conner Kestner

I’m serving POTATO Chip Cookies with warm spiced apple cider today….the cider because it’s autumn and you’ll find out why I’m offering POTATO chip cookies as you read Remember Texas. I’ll include my mother’s recipe for the cookies.

ABOUT REMEMBER TEXAS

Award-winning fiction. Abigail Horton’s life is turned upside down during the last night of a week-long revival when her father—believed dead—shows up in the custody of a Texas Ranger. Abby is thrilled to see him, and equally devastated to learn he’s been living the life of an outlaw. Texas Ranger Caleb Calhoun stops in Moccasin Rock to let his prisoner, Bob Horton, visit briefly with family before transporting him to Austin for trial. Caleb takes a room at the family’s boarding house, planning to be in and out of the small town by morning. But within hours he’s kissed Abby Horton, made an enemy of her naïve suitor, and let his prisoner escape. As Caleb searches for the missing outlaw, and Abby struggles to keep the man’s whereabouts a secret, they also battle a growing attraction to each other. Throw in a Calhoun family mystery, an elderly preacher on a mission, an old flame of Caleb’s, a secretive spinster, a team of surveyors, and Abby’s mother and brother—and you have a compelling story of faith, family and forgiveness.

MY REVIEW ON GOODREADS

Remember TexasRemember Texas by Laura Conner Kestner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Remember Texas is such an engaging story! I loved it!

Romance and intrigue fill the pages of a fast-paced historical book set in early Texas. This book is an award winner, and I certainly understand why!

Caleb Calhoun is a Texas Ranger on a mission to bring an outlaw to justice when he meets Abigail Horton in tiny Moccasin Rock, Texas. The town setting, with its interesting assortment of townsfolk, invites you into a place of warm relationships, intricate family bonds and some dangerous elements. The tangles of the situations the various characters find themselves in are all so believable. The story moves along quickly with plenty of action and lots of questions about unusual events surrounding the area and its residents.

The hero’s actions caused my heart to warm as he falls for the reluctant heroine during some lovely romantic moments. I really enjoyed all the fascinating characters as they transformed during the course of the story, some from quite unlikeable individuals turning into delightful additions to the group.

I especially like the way the author brings all the intriguing details together by the end for a very satisfying conclusion, including a lovely proposal and beautiful epilogue. More stories by author Laura Conner Kestner are much anticipated! If you enjoy faith-filled historical romance, I believe you will be truly engaged with Remember Texas, a fun book to read!

Favorite quotes:

“I do believe that sometimes what people call coincidences are really part of God’s grander plan for us.”
“The words don’t have to be fancy, son. Just tell God what’s on your mind and in your heart.”

MEET AUTHOR LAURA CONNER KESTNER

You’d enjoy visiting Laura’s website for more information about her writing journey (including many awards) and some interesting historical tidbits about her home state of Texas. LAURA CONNER KESTNER’S WEBSITE

MOM’S POTATO CHIP COOKIE RECIPE

Mix together until combined:

1 cup shortening

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup sugar

Add:

2 beaten eggs

Sift together:

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

Then add to the sugar/egg mixture.

Then mix in:

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups crushed potato chips

6 oz. butterscotch chips

Drop drop dough by tablespoonful-sized scoops on to an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Watch carefully so the cookies don’t burn. Enjoy!

 

Thank you for visiting with me today. May you be blessed with the treasure of encountering interesting places and books which bring the past alive.

 

Blessings and prayers always,

Sherida

*I appreciate comments. Your comment will appear after moderation. I apologize for delays.

A #TuesdayTea (or milkshake) celebrating Ruth Logan Herne books!

October 2nd, 2018

Welcome to my #TuesdayTea celebration of author Ruth Logan Herne’s newest release, At Home in Wishing Bridge. We’re also celebrating her Christy Award nominated book, Her Secret Daughter. The Christy Award honors the very best of Christian books. Congratulations, Ruthy!

At Home in Wishing Bridge by Ruth Logan Herne

Ice Cream Treats

In Wishing Bridge stories, there is a small town ice-cream stand where the villagers meet to satisfy their frozen treat cravings. Near her own town, Ruthy appreciates the selection from Abbott’s Frozen Custard. Knowing hometown shops are valued by the author, I’m serving milkshakes today (instead of tea) from the Vanilla Moose, our local spot for frozen treats. Choose any flavor you’d like with all kinds of mix-ins. Last weekend was closing day for the season, so my husband and I stopped by Saturday evening. I indulged in my favorite shake…..chocolate with brownie bits and almonds. Mmmm!

Our local go-to frosty treat spot…the Vanilla Moose.

My favorite shake…chocolate with brownie bits and almond pieces.

REVIEWS

Now to chat about Ruth Logan Herne’s heart-touching stories! The first review is of her newest book which RELEASES TODAY!

My review of At Home in Wishing Bridge

At Home in Wishing Bridge (Wishing Bridge #2)At Home in Wishing Bridge by Ruth Logan Herne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Such a delight to come back to Wishing Bridge…a village of faith, hope and love!

After three friends, brought together as teens in a home for troubled youth, find themselves reunited years later in the small village of Wishing Bridge, New York, their ties deepen as they help each other find happiness.

This second story in Ruth Logan Herne’s heart-touching series featuring this charming town finds nurse practitioner Thea Anastas offering her skills at a medical clinic where Ethan Brandenburg, the temporary doctor, has his hands full with both the patients and his recently orphaned niece and nephew. She’s ready to leave for the big city. He’s anxious to move to his promised research assignment in Chicago. However, “accidents of timing or God’s perfect timing” keep them working together in Wishing Bridge.

I completely enjoyed At Home in Wishing Bridge as this couple confronted their past issues, reluctantly becoming aware of their feelings for each other. They both had difficult childhoods, feeling unloved and worthless. It was interesting to see how they approached rising from extreme pain to lift themselves, with the help of friends, to carry on and grow in the right direction.

I felt like I was part of this community with lovable folks who struggle with issues we all face. Good solid advice is sprinkled throughout the pages, bringing your heart closer to each individual as you become involved with the challenges they face.

Max is an absolute angel as he generously offers help to others…. a great example of how we all should live, treating people with kindness and respect. Eight-year-old Mara tugged at me as she tried to cope with the loss of her parents, not understanding how her life could ever feel normal again. But as the story unfolds, each hurting person works toward a sweet resolution.

A beautiful story of hope…hope and second chances after difficult situations….the kind of story author Ruth Logan Herne does so well, bringing faith and love to people through her books.

Favorite quotes:
“If folks look out for each other, there’s a lot less trouble in the world.”
“Rusty prayers are often the best.”

Here’s my review of the first book in the series.

My review of Welcome to Wishing Bridge

Welcome to Wishing Bridge (Wishing Bridge, #1)Welcome to Wishing Bridge by Ruth Logan Herne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A comforting small-town story of second chances and trusting friendships….both old and new.

As Christmas approaches with a blinding blizzard, Kelsey McCleary’s arrival in the small town of Wishing Bridge, New York, is dramatic. Stranded in a tiny community with a new baby and limited funds, she is embraced by the warmth of the village and by the support of two dear friends who come to help after receiving her urgent S.O.S. call.

Police officer and rescuer Hale Jackson is a local guy who returned to his hometown after disappointments in his pro football career and in his personal life.

These two become involved amid the winter weather trials and the unraveling of a mystery. Why is the name of Wishing Bridge familiar to Kelsey? What will she find in this little community tucked into rural New York?

This new book by Ruth Logan Herne is a wonderful woman’s fiction story about the strength forged through difficult circumstances with the support of friends…both new and old. There is romance, along with the author’s signature style….small-town warmth, endearing characters, and perfect portrayals of children. Sweet baby Hayley is so huggable! Touches of faith and compassion are sprinkled throughout the pages, making Welcome to Wishing Bridge an engaging story of starting over and sparkling new beginnings.

I enjoy the endearing stories set in small town America with the values of helping others and of working hard to make the world better. I’m glad to know there will be more to come from this charming town….where wishes come true and prayers are answered.

Favorite quotes:
“Around here a lot of us like to write down our hopes and wishes. It makes them more real to see them in black and white.”
“Can’t change the wind, but the good Lord blessed us with the gumption to change up our sails. If we’re willin’ to put in the effort.”

This is my review of the Christy Award nominated book!

My review of Her Secret Daughter

Her Secret Daughter (Grace Haven)Her Secret Daughter by Ruth Logan Herne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is soooooo good…..filled with the beauty of loving sacrifice!

As with any book by author Ruth Logan Herne, keep a box of tissues nearby because there are moments of tears…..tears of empathy and tears of joy. Yes, a great book! Sacrificial love themes are a favorite of mine, and Her Secret Daughter is filled with that kind of love….giving up your own desires to choose the best situation for others.

Josie Gallagher has worked hard to put her difficult past behind her, returning to the town of Grace Haven to live her dream of operating her own barbecue restaurant. But all her careful plans are swept away when handsome Jacob Weatherly arrives in town with Addie, his adopted daughter.

My heart hurts for Josie, knowing she dealt with some hard issues as a young woman. She both accepts and gives grace as she builds a new life for herself. She is strong in her determination to make things right.

Jacob is my kind of wonderful….a caring daddy and a morally strong man. He works hard to balance his work as a development executive with his most important role of providing love and a normal life for his adopted daughter, his sister’s child. And this child, Addie, is so fun, bubbling with enthusiasm. She dances on the pages!

Her Secret Daughter is so engaging, with many surprises along the way, as Josie and Jacob show that the strength of love can make the world better….and open a path to an amazing happy ever after. Did I mention Kleenex is needed?

Favorite quotes:

And with God on their side, they’d make everything work out.

He’d recognized the precious gift from God right away, almost as if it was somehow meant to be…and he’d been cherishing that gift every day since.

Ruth also had a Love Inspired cowboy book published this year.

My review of Her Cowboy Reunion

Her Cowboy Reunion (Shepherd's Crossing, #1)Her Cowboy Reunion by Ruth Logan Herne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A gripping romance…..hearts are challenged and life is experienced on a beautiful western ranch!

In her books, author Ruth Logan Herne tackles emotionally difficult subjects with compassion and grace, and this series debut, Her Cowboy Reunion, is just such a story. Lizzie Fitzgerald and Heath Caufield had a past relationship. It didn’t end well. When they find themselves working together on an isolated Idaho ranch near the downtrodden community of Shepherd’s Crossing, tensions flare and hearts are challenged.

My heart and emotions were held captive by the difficult situation the couple faced as they struggled with trust and their feelings for each other. Adding to the deepening of the story, I was fascinated with the depiction of ranch life on a large western spread and enchanted by the exuberant little boy, Zeke, and by the dear woman, Corrie. As the author does so well, this book has touching offerings of family wisdom along with gentle guidance for reviving community spirit. But best of all, I love a romance where love can conquer overwhelming difficulties…with faith as the guide toward forgiveness….and this story takes a heaping portion of forgiveness for past hurts and misunderstandings, but a beautiful conclusion awaits at the end.

Since I’ve lived in many small towns of the west, I was immediately invested in the concerns of Shepherd’s Crossing and look forward to seeing the community develop as the town faces the challenges ahead. I’m sure we’re in for more delights as the folks come together in hope, faith and love….with the greatest of these being love….in all its various expressions. A heartwarming book!

Favorite quotes: (Don’t you love these classic Ruth Logan Herne writing wisdom-isms?)
~~It wasn’t about the money or the power of heading up a high-priced property. It was about taking the right trail to get where you were going.
~~“What we’ve got in mind and what the good Lord’s got planned don’t always agree, but that’s what makes life interesting. Sometimes it’s a collision course. Other times it’s a wide, beautiful curve.”

*I was given copies of all these books with no requirement to write reviews. I’m delighted to offer my honest opinions about these stories.

And in other book news, December brings a Love Inspired book duet by Linda Goodnight and Ruth Logan Herne…A Cowboy Christmas.

A Cowboy Christmas by Linda Goodnight and Ruth Logan Herne

Isn’t this cover overflowing with Christmas sparkle?

You can visit Ruthy at her website: Ruth Logan Herne’s Website

Thank you for joining me for #TuesdayTea….or….#TuesdayIceCream.

May you enjoy the treasured blessings of stories which warm your heart!

With prayers and blessings,

Sherida

Do you LOVE Christmas? Get ready for a ranch-style holiday with CHRISTMAS WITH THE COWBOY!

September 18th, 2018

Welcome to #TuesdayTea as we celebrate Christmas at Big Heart Ranch with the release of Christmas with the Cowboy by Tina Radcliffe!🎄 (Mass market available September 18 and Kindle available October 1.)

In honor of the newest Big Heart Ranch story, I’m serving Emma Maxwell Norman’s Chocolate Muffins with strong Arbuckle’s Ariosa cowboy coffee or a light peppermint tea. Please help yourself, as there’s plenty to go around.

Christmas with the Cowboy-Big Heart Ranch

From my earlier reviews of Tina Radcliffe’s Big Heart Ranch series, you know I love the children’s home setting for these books. And now with her newest release, Christmas with the Cowboy, I’m singing carols and baking goodies, all in preparation for our special holiday. In this treasured story, we’re celebrating a ranch-style Christmas at the Holiday Roundup!

ABOUT CHRISTMAS WITH THE COWBOY

Former navy SEAL Zach Norman has been avoiding his ranching roots—and the woman he couldn’t have. Back to visit his brother’s widow, Emma Maxwell Norman, and her adorable toddler twins, the bah-humbug cowboy is roped into helping prepare the ranch for the holidays. Working side by side, can Emma and Zach overcome their troubled past…and receive the greatest Christmas gift of all—love?

MY REVIEW

OH! OH! OH! THIS STORY IS SO GOOD!

Get ready for Christmas with this feel-good romance filled with the warm glow of the holiday spirit…children, snow and sparkling love.

What can I say? I loved EVERYTHING about Christmas with the Cowboy. Hero Zach Norman is amazing…*sigh*…my kind of quiet, self-sacrificing guy. As a single mom to twins, Emma Maxwell Norman is hardworking as she takes care of everyone with her organizational skills. The fast pace of getting the ranch ready for the Holiday Roundup keeps the couple busy as they learn to put the past in perspective and trust their feelings for each other.

Revisiting additional characters from previous books adds fun to the story. Lovable Dutch is a crusty, ol’ sweetheart. The two-year-old twins, Rachel and Elizabeth, are precious. The epilogue is Christmas perfection!

Author Tina Radcliffe knows how to make a reader laugh and cry as the conversations sparkle with humor and emotion. I want to spend Christmas at Big Heart Ranch enjoying cookies and chocolate muffins! This is definitely a story I didn’t want to end…and fortunately there will be another Big Heart Ranch book.

Favorite quote: “Big Heart Ranch is all about that. This is the place where we let go of our past. New beginnings. Like the birth of our Lord at Christmas.”

*I was given a copy of this book with no requirement to write a review. It is an honor to offer my honest opinion.

AUTHOR TINA RADCLIFFE

To get more information about one of my favorite authors, check out her website where you’ll find a place to order Christmas with the Cowboy and the precious books in the series, Claiming Her Cowboy and Falling for the Cowgirl. Also, I’d suggest signing up for her newsletters listed under the “Newsletters” tab. Time out with Tina is for readers, and the Writer’s Inside Edition has great information on publishing, contests and opportunities for writers.

TINA’S WEBSITE

TREATS

Please enjoy a muffin (these are SO good) and your choice of a mug of Arbuckle’s cowboy coffee or a cup of peppermint tea.

CHRISTMAS WITH THE COWBOY and chocolate muffins!

Of course we need a recipe for the chocolate deliciousness, so Tina has posted this recipe.

RECIPE FOR EMMA’S CHOCOLATE MUFFINS from Tina Radcliffe

Thank you for joining me for coffee or tea and MUFFINS! Even if it’s a bit early, I do wish you a Christmas filled with the warm glow of LOVE…a treasured blessing from God. ❤️

With blessings and prayers for you,

Sherida

*Your comments are appreciated and will be posted after moderation. I apologize for delays.

September! Do you need time to REFRESH? #TuesdayTea

September 10th, 2018

Welcome to #TuesdayTea…just a bit early! Today we’re celebrating REFRESH, so I’m pouring invigorating chai spice black tea by Stash or a calming herbal camomile by Celestial Seasonings.

September brings the beginning of autumn and the start of the new school year.

As a former kindergarten teacher, I have a collection of Caldecott Award books and alphabet picture books.

For many years, I was a teacher, both in early elementary levels and in preschools. The new school year always brought a refreshing new beginning. A new assortment of unique kids. The smell of wax crayons. Bulletin boards full of color. Shouts and laugher on the playground.

Fall colors along the road to the trailhead.

But now as September arrives, I have a quieter time to breathe in the refreshing cooler air, carrying hints of pine. During the start of autumn, the mountain hiking available near us is special. Colors of fall…reds, golds and maroon…paint the landscape and a chill touches the wind as we hike through forests, passing creeks and climbing hillsides.

Recently, we followed a trail up a mountainside to have lunch on Sharkstooth Pass at an elevation of 12,000 feet above sea level.

Majestic Mount Hesperus stood beside us as we traveled along the path.

Even though we were slow on the climb up, we were refreshed along the way by the little creeks we crossed and by the chilly breeze blowing along the rocky slopes above the tree line. When we reached the pass, we stopped for lunch and marveled at the valley below and how far we’d come.

View from near the top of Sharkstooth Pass

My husband and I both felt the presence of our Lord as we absorbed the beauty of His creation before us. We felt deeply refreshed.

To me, September is a time of refreshment after the heat and busy times of summer. I hope you are able to take time to refresh during this month.

VIDEO OF A REFRESHING LITTLE CREEK WE CROSSED.

SCRIPTURE 

That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed. Romans 15:32 (KJV)

PRAYER

Lord, we do get busy, pulled in so many directions. Help us appreciate the season of autumn as a time to breathe deeply, quiet our minds and refresh our spirits. Amen.

 BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS to refresh your heart….

Christmas with the Cowboy (Big Heart Ranch) by Tina Radcliffe (releases 9/18 and Kindle releases 10/1)

I’ve loved all the books featuring Big Heart Ranch, a home for forgotten children. Each story centers on one of the three siblings helping to run the ranch. Tina Radcliffe’s writing adds humor, along with faith, to create fun and inspiring romances. This latest book is filled with Christmas spirit. I love this story…and will post a review next week! 🎄

The Sound of Distant Thunder (The Amish of Weaver’s Creek) by Jan Drexler (releases 9/18)

Though I haven’t read this book, I always enjoy author Jan Drexler faith-touched historical stories. This is the first in a new series. From the description on Amazon, it sounds good.

”From the talented pen of Jan Drexler comes this brand new Amish series set against the backdrop of the Civil War. She puts her characters to the test as they struggle to reconcile their convictions and desires while the national conflict threatens to undermine and engulf their community.”

At Home in Wishing Bridge by Ruth Logan Herne (releases 10/2)

If you like small town stories with warm down home characters, you will like this contemporary romance. This second book set in Wishing Bridge, New York, brings Dr. Ethan Brandenburg and nurse practitioner Thea Anastas together to temporarily bring medical assistance to the small town. They did not plan to be stuck in the tiny rural area, but He has an even better future ahead for these two people. A faith-filled story of leaving the past behind for brighter tomorrows.

WRITING NEWS

After completing an online class titled Monster Revisions, I have many ideas for improving my manuscript as I work through the revising process. In another class, I learned about submitting short stories for magazine publication and find this smaller word count goal may work for me.

Thank you for joining me for #TuesdayTea! What ways or in what places do you feel refreshed? I hope you treasure being refreshed the by the start of a new season.

Blessings and prayers always,

Sherida

*I appreciate comments. Your comment will be visible after moderation. I apologize for delays.

August tea celebration of JOY! #TuesdayTea

August 14th, 2018

Welcome to my August #TuesdayTea celebration of JOY!

Granddaughter’s afternoon tea picture. ❤️

Recently, my husband and I stayed with our three grandchildren while their parents took a relaxing vacation trip. Our week with these amazing little ones was filled with treasured moments of JOY!

We played in the sand, splashed in the wading pool, baked cookies, drew pictures, harvested a cucumber, read stories, wrote books, walked to the park, watched movies and sipped homemade lemonade.

One of my favorite times was baking cherry scones with the little helpers, then enjoying a high tea luncheon.

We made cherry scones and cucumber sandwiches for afternoon tea!

The cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches were a surprise hit, along with the peanut butter finger sandwiches. A fruity herbal tea was the perfect beverage choice for our little group. Fresh strawberries provided the just-right dessert. All three grandkids loved the tea celebration, pleasing Grammy with their enthusiasm.

We made so many treasured memories! The eight-year-old delighted in creating scented soap for her parents, the five-year-old happily explained his amazing LEGO creations, and the baby reached for my hand as she settled in for her naps….perfect moments of JOY!

We are so thankful to be able to spend time with our grandchildren. It was a week filled with smiles and love…..treasured blessings of JOY!

WRITING NEWS:

I’m currently taking a class, Monster Revisions, to do an intensive edit of my historical romance manuscript. I’m filled with JOY to be working on this story again after completing it two years ago.

AUGUST BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

Are you looking for book recommendations to end your summer? I have some suggestions, as reading time always brings JOY.

If you like historical, Julie Lessman’s Love’s Silver Lining is a romance set in Virginia City,  Nevada, in 1885. As the author does so well, this story is filled with sweet passion and the blessing of faith. I love the strong family members and other characters in this story.

If you like contemporary, A Father for Bella by Jill Weatherholt, is a good choice. I’ve just started this book and already find it engaging. It features one of my favorite settings….a country inn bed and breakfast hotel. I love to imagine I’m staying in small inns, like a virtual vacation.

If you like a bit of both historical and contemporary, the novella collection Legacy of the Heart, by Danica Favorite, Stacy Henrie, Tina Radcliffe, Terri Reed and Sherri Shackelford, would be just right. An antique locket is the thread between these five stories. I enjoyed them all.

Forest hiking in the mountains brings me JOY.

THOUGHTS:

From my mid-August reflections of summer, I’m thankful to have enjoyed many moments of joy. I found the following scripture appropriate. The sounds of joyful grandchildren and the summer hiking sounds of birds singing filled my heart with the light of our Lord. I treasure these memories.

SCRIPTURE:

Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance. Psalm 89:15 (KJV)

Thank you for joining me for #TuesdayTea! Please try a sample of the goodies. I hope you enjoy the cucumber sandwiches as much as my grandson did. What joy-filled times did you treasure this summer?

May your life be filled with the treasures of smiles and love…and many moments of JOY!

Blessings and prayers always,

Sherida

*I appreciate your thoughts and apologize for the delay in approval and posting of your comments.

Can a woman do a cowboy’s job? #TuesdayTea

June 19th, 2018

Welcome to #TuesdayTea! I’m so glad you’ve stopped in because I’m reviewing the newest book by a favorite author, Tina Radcliffe, Falling for the Cowgirl.

Falling for the Cowgirl by Tina Radcliffe

Hold onto your saddle as you read Falling for the Cowgirl! You’ll find out if cowgirl AJ has what it takes to do a traditionally man’s job on my favorite ranch, Big Heart Ranch in Oklahoma.

AJ can also whip up yummy pies! So before I review this newest novel by Tina Radcliffe, take a slice of Three Berry Pie, fresh from the Timber Diner. I’ll pour you a cup of blackberry tea or a tall glass of iced tea with lemon if you prefer.

TRIPLE BERRY PIE-photo by Irina on Unsplash

BLURB

She won the job…

Can he win her heart?

Hiring Amanda “AJ” McAlester as his assistant at the Big Heart Ranch isn’t foreman Travis Maxwell’s first choice—but his sisters insist she’s perfect for the job. And AJ’s determined to prove she’s just as qualified as any man. But with money on the line, AJ and her innovative ideas could put him at risk of losing everything…including his heart.

My review of Falling for the Cowgirl by Tina Radcliffe

I LOVE this book….and everything about Big Heart Ranch!

While reading Falling for the Cowgirl, I laughed, I cried, and I delighted in every page!

At Big Heart Ranch, newly hired AJ McAlester finds working for her boss, foreman Travis Maxwell, to be challenging…in many ways. Watching these two strong-headed people clash provides for great entertainment as unexpected twists in their lives occur.

I like the strength AJ demonstrates as she strives to prove her abilities. I found grumpy Travis to be quite swoon-worthy as his true heart begins to shine. All the folks on the ranch are warm and welcoming, feeling like real friends, family and co-workers. The addition of various animals adds more feel-good fun to the story.

And what an inspiring place for the setting of this series! Big Heart Ranch is based on a real ranch that provides family-style homes for children who need second chances and plenty of love. Each book tugs at my heart.

Tina Radcliffe does sparky humor, tender romance and faith-weaving so well in all her novels. This story, with the touching surprises, just may be my favorite Tina Radcliffe book….and I’d love a slice of blackberry pie…and a pair of turquoise boots!

Favorite quote: “Love and the good Lord reign here.”

*I received a copy of this book from the author with no requirement to write a review. I’m delighted to offer my honest opinion about this story.

MY THOUGHTS

As I said in my review, I love the concept of Big Heart Ranch which offers hope and love to neglected children by using family-style homes. In the acknowledgements, Tina Radcliffe mentions her Big Heart Ranch was inspired by Big Oak Ranch, a home program for kids in Alabama.

Here in New Mexico is another organization helping children, Navajo Ministries. The children are grouped into three homes, each with a set of parents. Read more about the Navajo Ministries program HERE.

I’m grateful to those groups working to make life better for our children. I appreciate author Tina Radcliffe for bringing these efforts to our attention through her writing.

For more information about Tina Radcliffe, CLICK HERE. You can sign up for her fun newsletter and, if you’re a writer, don’t miss the “Inside Edition” tab where you can sign up for the (no-charge) writer information newsletter. I highly recommend both newsletters.

MY PRAYER FOR YOU

May you be touched by the treasured blessing of compassionate people, such as those who help suffering children and those who spread the word about these programs of God’s love in action.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV)

Thanks to Susan Snodgrass for creating this meme for Falling for the Cowgirl.

Blessings and prayers always,

Sherida Stewart

*Comments will appear after approval. I apologize for delays.

 

 

 

What’s your favorite summer activity? #TuesdayTea #Summer2018

June 12th, 2018

IT’S SUMMER!

Do you have a favorite thing to do when summer arrives? Something that really means summer to you? Summer seems to start a different routine. Swimming? Travel? Gardening? Hiking? How about relaxing and refreshing?

When our local farmers’s market opens, I feel like summer has truly begun since I can taste all the locally grown treats. I miss having my own veggie garden, so the stalls selling fresh produce delight my heart.

Look at the goodies I found at the first market of the season! The fresh salsa is perfect…with just the right amount of fire with New Mexico Chiles. Honey from Enchanted Bees, radishes, even New Mexico Sage soap!

Bounty from our local growers’ market!

Putting up some jars of apricot jam is on my summer schedule, along with a couple of short backpacking trips. Reading on our patio is planned for many warm afternoons.

Is reading on your summer to-do list?

Here’s a suggestion. Since some of my favorite romance authors released a collection of SUMMER cowboy novellas, I thought I’d share my review with you. So join me on the shaded patio with a glass of iced tea (sweetened with local honey from Enchanted Bees) while I tell you about this sweet romance collection.

COWBOYS OF SUMMER by Mary Connealy, Cheryl St, John, Tina Radcliffe, Missy Tippens, Lorna Seilstad and Sherri Shackelford

Cowboys of Summer-Kindle collection

What perfect romantic cowboy stories to enjoy during the summer!

I liked all these cute novellas by some favorite authors. Each one had great characters and fast pacing. I loved visiting the various communities with an emphasis on sweet summer romance…cowboy style.

Dr. Tess and the Cowboy by Mary Connealy

A fun-to-read story featuring enthusiastic paleontologist Tessa Rhoades searching for dinosaur bones on hard-working Joe Holt’s Nebraska ranch. His peace and quiet are disturbed by her exciting discovery. There is great entertainment as the couple must dig into their hearts to reveal their true passions.

Hometown Girl by Cheryl St. John

I always love a story with characters helping others, and Stevie Marshall is just such a woman as she helps teens through her garden market and 4-H activities. When her high school sweetheart, bull riding champion Justin Cooper, returns to town to help his father, summer fireworks flare. I enjoyed finding out if past regrets could be rectified to become something better for both of them.

Lake Effect by Tina Radcliffe

This is a fun story of leaving the past behind and forging ahead toward bright new beginnings. I enjoyed Jessica Richards’ experiences as she prepared to open Paradise Lake Bed and Breakfast. Rancher Tucker Jackson, with his work ethic and family priorities, is a strong hero. This summer visit to Paradise, Colorado, is filled with the beauty of the season and with plenty of friendly townsfolk to warm your heart.

His Lone Star Heart by Missy Tippens

Rancher Zeb West wants to buy his neighbor’s Double B Ranch, but the owner’s daughter, Beecher Brown, is hoping to keep her father’s ranch. To find true happiness, both face difficult struggles…Zeb to understand himself and Beecher to prove her abilities. I enjoyed the interesting conflict and the sweet romance. 

Great Strides by Lorna Seilstad

Lorna Seilstad is a new-to-me author. Since I’m a former special needs preschool teacher, Dana Etherton’s dream for her equine therapy ranch was of particular interest to me. I liked the second chance theme of hardworking Adam Malone’s situation. The pace of this story great, as is the perfect inclusion of small details…fragrance, color, and weather. I’ll definitely be reading more by this author.

The Decoy Bride by Sherri Shackelford

The trials of pretending to be someone else is a fun premise in this story. As an office assistant to a publicist, Paige Monroe is given a chance to try out being famous. During this experience, she meets rancher Sterling Tanner. It’s a wild ride as the two get to know each other and overcome their fears. “It had taken a brush with the very thing she feared to finally free her.” A laugh-out-loud sweet romance!

Five stars  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and highly recommended!

I hope you can fit some reading time into your summer days.

I pray you find some refreshment as you enjoy God’s treasured blessing of summer. Whatever you have planned, I pray it is fun, safe and filled with joy!

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”

Jeremiah 31:25 (NIV)

Blessings,

Sherida

 

A February #TuesdayTea book review—A Seaside Romance by Patti Jo Moore

February 27th, 2018

As we approach the last day of February, I welcome you to my Tuesday Tea review of the contemporary love story, A Seaside Romance, by Patti Jo Moore.

The month of February is a time to appreciate the treasured blessings of all types of LOVE…family, friends, romantic, and the love of our Lord.

My mother painted these bears to represent our family when our sons were cubs. With love, our family now includes 2 DILs and 3 grandsweeties.

***     ***     ***     ***     ***     ***

Frosty mornings still greet me as February comes to a close. I’m anticipating spring, but warm days aren’t quite here yet. Reading stories can provide us with a virtual trip by transporting us to someplace different from our current place. A Seaside Romance is exactly this kind of book. Patti Jo Moore’s novel takes us to the charming beach town of Coastal Breeze, Florida……exactly what I need while waiting for the warmer days of spring.

TREATS

Since it’s still the month of love, I’m serving Valentine’s Day treats. Please help yourself to chocolate heart brownies or raspberry jam-filled Linzer heart cookies. I’ll pour you a cup of fruity raspberry tea. Now we’re ready to delve into A Seaside Romance!

Chocolate LOVE brownies

Raspberry jam-filled Linzer Heart cookies

MY REVIEW

A Seaside RomanceA Seaside Romance by Patti Jo Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A sweet romance set in a charming beach town.

A Seaside Romance, by Patti Jo Moore, is a contemporary inspirational romance. Lovely Emma Hopkins is helping out at her aunt’s gift shop when she meets handsome traveling businessman Thomas Wilton. They both have secrets from their pasts which must be resolved before they can reach a romantic happily-ever-after.

Other interesting characters enliven the beachside village of Coastal Breeze, Florida, including compassionate Aunt Ginny, busybody Midge Weatherbee, and Thomas’ sister, Avril. I enjoyed the descriptions of the charming community and felt like I was shopping in the nautical themed gift shop featured in the story.

I especially liked the way prayer was realistically incorporated as a part of life, asking God for help and guidance. A great book for those who enjoy sweet romance!

Favorite quotes:
Yet what she could do was pray for strength to ignore those scars from the past, and also pray for strength and wisdom as she moved on with her life.

 

A BIT MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE AUTHOR

You might enjoy learning a bit more about author Patti Jo Moore and the inspiration for her newest book. Over at Laurie Wood’s blog, you can read a recent interview, however please note the giveaway has ended. Read the interview here.

As mentioned in the interview, Patti Jo has two more books to be released in her Emerald Coast Romances series set on the beautiful…and warm…Florida Gulf Coast. I’m looking forward to more sweet romances featuring this charming community. You can find Patti Jo’s Facebook page HERE.

BIBLE SCRIPTURE

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.

Proverbs 21 (NIV)

 

PRAYER

I pray you are surrounded by the treasured blessings of love …in an ever-increasing circle.

THANK YOU for joining me for Tuesday Tea! (The heart card above was created by one of my grandsweeties. All grandsweeties are treasured blessings of love!)

With blessings and love,

Sherida

Chocolate and #OneWord2018, a #TuesdayTea with #Treasured #Blessings!

January 30th, 2018

Welcome to a CHOCOLATE Tuesday Tea! Don’t these truffles look amazing? I’ll pour you a cup of tea, coffee or cocoa, while you select a few of these chocolate candies. These “Snakebite” truffles are from a favorite shop in Durango, Colorado, the Animas Chocolate Company. I haven’t sampled these particular delights, but the decorative colors are perfect for a Valentine’s Day treat, don’t you think? So glossy and pretty!

Snakebite Truffles-“Chile infused dark chocolate ganache”

What does chocolate have to do with MY ONE WORD?

For a few years now, I have embraced the concept of selecting One Word for the year, along with a Scripture reference for my motivation. In the past, I’ve selected LIGHT, LOVINGKINDNESS, REFLECT and SERVING….words which helped me focus on one thought rather than a mix of many resolutions.

Starting in December, I began to seek my 2018 word…mulling over possibilities, trying out different choices, and praying for the flashing sign. Which word would God give me for 2018?

None of the ideas popping into my head seemed to be THE sparkling One Word for the new year. But waiting was good. Near the end of the month, I received the glowing word God gave me!

THE BACKSTORY

After a rough 2016, the past year of 2017 was a great year! As it was my husband’s first year of retirement, we did plenty of traveling, even more than we’d planned. We were fortunate to have special times with our sons and their families, including celebrating the birth and baptism of our third grandchild. I was blessed to be included in an encouraging group of Writing Sisters seeking the mutual dream of Christian publishing. Hiking in the mountains filled our summer days with joy, a miracle after my husband’s life-changing severe leg injury of a few years ago. With all these activities, 2017 was an amazing year!

However, I realized I was frenetic…..rushing all the time, stressing to do everything, trying to make everything (and me) better…always thinking about my lengthening to-do list, planning the next fabulous trip, and continually revising my contest-finaling manuscript. I had plenty of blessings, but still….I found myself unsatisfied.

I wished for more writing time.

I wished for more time with family.

I wished for more places to visit.

I wished for more miles hiked.

I wished for more success toward my publishing dream.

I wished for more chocolate.

You get the picture. I wanted MORE!

I believe I’m always GRATEFUL for my blessings, praying each morning after our devotional time of lifting praises of thanksgiving and prayerful requests on behalf of those on our prayer list. I don’t like to think my desires for more are greedy or bad for me….well, maybe wanting more chocolate is not a good idea. I know my needs are ABUNDANTLY provided for by our Lord.

During late December conversation with my husband, I felt a glowing moment of realization. God gave me my One Word for 2018…….APPRECIATE.

My One Word 2018

APPRECIATE is more than being thankful….more than being grateful. God wants me to pause…… to take some quiet time to go deeper and truly APPRECIATE what I have been given…

to TREASURE the time I do have with family,

to be CONTENT with my writing accomplishments,

to REJOICE in the trails I can walk,

to IMMERSE myself in the places I visit,

even to SAVOR  the chocolate I eat,

and to APPRECIATE who I am……a flawed, sometimes self-involved, perfection-seeking child of God. He doesn’t want me to stop striving and planning for tomorrow, but to stop and APPRECIATE for a moment….what I do have and who I am….because of HIS LOVE and GRACE!

BIBLE VERSE

This is the Scripture He placed on my heart:

If you are really wise, you’ll think this over—it’s time you appreciate God’s deep love. Proverbs 107:42 (MSG)

MY THOUGHTS

At the beginning of the year, I start a new note on my iPhone, titled with my new One Word for the year. Right under the title, I include the new Scripture verse. During the year, this is where I jot down any important thoughts. This way, I see my One Word and Scripture often.

Has my One Word enlightened my 2018 path? Yes! Already in the first month of this new year, my attitude has changed because of my focus on APPRECIATE. I feel more relaxed. Contented. When I start to whine or complain, I stop, giving myself a moment to appreciate my situation. This puts a new light on my attitude. Even my husband has noted my “inner peace.” Thank you, Lord, for Your love and guidance!

TREATS

And speaking of chocolate, here’s a treat from a special place, Animas Chocolate Company, in Durango, Colorado. And, yes, I appreciated sharing the delicious and spicy El Bandito coffee and pure milk chocolate bar (inscribed with “LOVE”) with my husband for an early Valentine treat.  But the best part? Appreciating the blessing of spending some quiet time with my husband. Perfect!

El Bandito coffee….spicy!

Animas Chocolate Company shop in Durango, Colorado.

PRAYERS

There is no need to comment. Instead, take a moment to APPRECIATE your TREASURED BLESSINGS, especially the blessing of God’s deep love for you. Please know I appreciate you and pray for you, my friend.

Blessings and prayers always,

Sherida