Are you blessed by reminders of God’s love? #ThursdayThoughts

September 19th, 2019
Wildflowers

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” ~~ Luke 12:27 (NIV)

While gazing at a scenic view, how can one not be amazed at the wonderful world God has created?

The wildflowers in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado were glorious this summer. Snowfall was plentiful during the past winter, so the vegetation received enough moisture for abundant wildflowers. My husband and I are blessed to live close enough to visit this forest often and to be able to hike in these mountains.

While we trek along the trails through meadows and forests, the bright colors of the flower blossoms catch our attention. Each bloom is a reminder of the intricate detail God included in His creations. And He designed His world to have an infinite variety.

As we are restored with the refreshing power of nature, I’m reminded of God’s love for us. If He planned the amazing majesty of all these flowers, doesn’t He have an even greater plan for us, His beloved children?

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” ~~ Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Just look at these perfect flowers I photographed while hiking the San Juan Mountains this summer, each one colorful and unique. Enjoy their beauty and know that you are loved by God!

Dear Heavenly Father,

We thank You for loving us, for providing for our needs, and letting us refresh in Your glorious creation. Please help us remember to release our fears and know You have the ultimate plan for our good. Like the flowers You have adorned, we trust in You to take care of us.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thank you for joining me for #ThursdayThoughts. We know proof of God’s love surrounds us…everywhere we look. Where do you find reminders of our Heavenly Father’s love?

With blessings and prayers always,

Sherida

*Comments are appreciated and will appear after moderation. I apologize for delays in posting.

#TuesdayTea review of A Mother for His Twins by Jill Weatherholt

September 10th, 2019

Welcome to my #TuesdayTea review of Jill Weatherholt’s newest Shenandoah Valley romance, A Mother for His Twins, a September release by Love Inspired Books. This story of forgiveness and acceptance touched my emotions in deep ways. I’m serving chocolate cake with coconut frosting, one of the hero’s specialties. Help yourself to the peppermint tea or a cup of coffee to enjoy while you read about the story. At the end of this post, I share some thoughts about why I personally feel this particular story is important to read.

A Mother for His Twins by Jill Weatherholt

THE BLURB

First-grade teacher Joy Kelliher has two new students–twin boys who belong to her high school sweetheart. If teaching Nick Capello’s sons wasn’t difficult enough, the widower’s also her neighbor…and competing for the principal job she wants. Now with little matchmakers drawing Joy and Nick together, can they overcome a painful past to build the family Joy’s always wanted?

MY REVIEW ON GOODREADS

A Mother for His Twins

A Mother for His Twins by Jill Weatherholt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A heart-tugging second chance romance!

Second chance romances are always fun….former sweethearts reconnecting after life has taken the couple in different directions. Author Jill Weatherholt’s newest book, A Mother for His Twins, touched my emotions on so many levels.

Teacher Joy Kelliher must confront a trauma from her past when her high school boyfriend returns to town with his two young sons. Widower Nick Capello is returning to his hometown to provide a new beginning for his twin boys. He is surprised to find his high school sweetheart has remained in Whispering Slopes and is applying for the same principal job he wants.

I enjoyed the characters in this story, especially the darling little twins who have such different personalities. The romance, with such a self-sacrificing hero trying to learn from his mistakes, is tender as the former sweethearts must work through the issues keeping them apart. The emotional pain Joy carries is difficult to admit, but she works hard to overcome her past. The last line of the story is one of the best I’ve read, followed by a perfect epilogue. I loved A Mother for His Twins!

Favorite quote: “You can’t change the past, but moving forward, you can do things differently.”

*I was given a copy of this book with no requirement to write a review. I’m delighted to offer my honest opinion.


ABOUT JILL WEATHERHOLT

Weekdays, Jill Weatherholt works for the City of Charlotte. On the weekend, she writes contemporary stories about love, faith and forgiveness. Raised in the suburbs of Washington, DC, she now resides in North Carolina. She holds a degree in psychology from George Mason University and a paralegal studies certification from Duke University. She shares her life with her real-life hero and number one supporter. Jill loves connecting with readers.

Jill is also an author in the new collection, Autumn Hearts, five stories of romance during the fall season. Please visit Jill’s website at www.JillWeatherholt.com to order any of her books. “Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey.” I like her Facebook page which includes inspiring hummingbird photos. I also suggest signing up for her email newsletter!

THANK YOU FOR JOINING ME FOR TEA AND CHOCOLATE CAKE. I hope you enjoyed this review and a moment of virtual refreshment. If you want to read more thoughts on why A Mother for His Twins especially touches my heart, continuing reading. One of the reasons storytellers are important is their ability to give readers glimpses into different life situations. This allows us to appreciate and empathize with the emotions of others. I thank Jill for writing such a story. There are spoilers ahead, so come back AFTER you read the book if you don’t want any further details about this story and how it connects to my personal experience. Isn’t trusting Him with answered prayers… and unanswered prayers…. a deep walk of faith?

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. ~~1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV)

When you read A Mother for His Twins, you will note my fun surprise on page 62. *smile* Thank you, Jill Weatherholt!


With prayers and blessings always,
Sherida


*Your thoughts are appreciated. I apologize for delays in moderating and posting comments.


CAUTION: SOME SPOILERS AHEAD!

My thoughts on the value of storytelling……
This is a difficult post to write, but it is important to thank authors for writing about difficult topics. Reading helps us understand and have empathy for others who have faced challenges different from our own experience. Jill Weatherholt’s book, A Mother for His Twins, touched a subject dear to my heart…infertility.


After graduating from the same Connecticut high school, my boyfriend and I both headed to Colorado colleges, our chosen universities several miles from each other. Our relationship continued to develop despite the distance between our schools. We tried to arrange Saturday dates as often as we could coordinate our plans. At the end of one special date, the guy I’d fallen for in high school began to propose to me….making sweet declarations of love and saying he wanted me to be the mother of his children. He was stunned when I burst into tears, crying uncontrollably. As my confused boyfriend tried to console me, I explained…between sobs….a doctor had recently told me I had a medical condition making it difficult to conceive a baby. I might not ever be able to have his children. Now that he knew my problem, would he reject me? Stop loving me? After calming me down, my hero said he wanted me to be his wife, no matter what our future held. After I graduated from college with a degree in elementary education, we said our vows in my grandparents’ little Kansas church.


Our married life was full. My husband received his diploma, then did some Army training as a 2nd Lieutenant in Washington. We moved to Chicago, then Guam for a few weeks, then New Mexico, then back to Colorado for his graduate school. Finally we settled down, bought our first home in a tiny mountain town, and I was happily teaching young children. But despite years of infertility tests and treatments, we didn’t have a baby. My desire to have a child consumed my thoughts and emotions. The testing was expensive, painful at times, and extremely frustrating. The medications caused wild emotional turmoil.

Anguish. What was wrong with me that I couldn’t be a normal woman?

Despair. How could something I wanted with all my heart be impossible for me?

Envy. Why were other women so easily able to become pregnant….seeming to take their motherhood for granted?

Anger. How could some women discard a precious life?

Doubt. Why didn’t God answer our prayers?


Eleven years had passed after our wedding day. We began to look into other options to become parents, but at that time, adoption was a difficult process with a long waitlist. Resigned that our life would be without children, we accepted we could be happy as a childless couple. We’d focus on our rewarding careers, but a piece of our hearts would miss the babies we’d never have.


Miracles do happen! Finally I got the news I was pregnant! We were ecstatic to find we going to have the child we had prayed so long for!

Because of complications which threatened the baby, I took a leave of absence from my kindergarten teaching job so I could have complete bed rest for the next five months. We prayed for the safe arrival of our child. Finally our son was delivered by C-section….a healthy baby boy!


Two years later, I was pregnant again…with twins. However, an ultrasound showed one baby didn’t have a heartbeat. The doctor cautioned I might not be able to carry the remaining baby long enough for him to survive. We prayed. And miracles really do happen! With another emergency C-section, our second son arrived, full-term.…healthy and strong.


However, not all prayers are answered the way we’d like them to be. For the third time, I found I was pregnant. This time God had a different plan. That unexpected child joined the sibling in heaven. I’ll have two babies to rock and cuddle when I get there someday.


Through everything, we are forever grateful for our two miracles who are now outstanding men. Additionally, we now have three precious grandsweeties!


Why did my husband and I receive these miracles when other couples struggle and never become parents? I don’t have answers. God loves us all equally, so why we have children and others don’t is a mystery only He knows. Since I’ve walked awhile in the infertility path, I have empathy for women who don’t become pregnant, but I can’t truly know the feeling of loss they have.

Thank you, Jill, for writing a book I hope will help others understand the consuming emotions of the highly personal and difficult situation some women face when trying to become mothers. May we always support one another with love and compassion.

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another…. ~~ 1 Thessalonians 3:12 (KJV)

You’re invited to my #TuesdayTea review of LORD OF HER HEART by @Sherrinda Ketchersid!

May 21st, 2019


If you enjoy fast action tales of knights, intrigue, and hidden identities, this book will delight you. I was completely captivated by Sherrinda Ketchersid’s medieval debut novel…..Lord of Her Heart.

Isn’t this cover amazing?

Lord of Her Heart by Sherrinda Ketchersid

ABOUT THE BOOK

Lady Jocelyn Ashburne suspects something is amiss at her family’s castle because her father ceases to write to her. When she overhears a plot to force her into vows—either to the church or a husband—she disguises herself and flees the convent in desperation to discover the truth. 

Malcolm Castillon of Berkham is determined to win the next tournament and be granted a manor of his own. After years of proving his worth on the jousting field, he yearns for a life of peace. Rescuing a scrawny lad who turns out to be a beautiful woman is not what he bargained for. Still, he cannot deny that she stirs his heart like no other, in spite of her conniving ways.Chaos, deception, and treachery threaten their goals, but both are determined to succeed. Learning to trust each other might be the only way either of them survives.

MY REVIEW ON GOODREADS

Lord of Her Heart

Lord of Her Heart by Sherrinda Ketchersid

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Hero Malcolm melted my heart!

I was captivated by this medieval romance. This book has it all! The story includes intrigue in a fortified castle, chivalrous knights facing danger, a fierce maiden hiding her identity …and most importantly, a hero who will melt your heart….not perfect, mind you, but a strong protector striving to do his best.

I enjoyed the nonstop action as tournament champion Malcom Castillon and feisty damsel Jocelyn Ashburne raced to reach their dreams. He desires his own land, and she wants to return home. However, difficulties await the couple. They must survive various threats and learn to trust before they have a chance for happiness. The twists and turns along the way keep the excitement high. And the exchange of tender kisses keep the romantic moments heated. sigh

I loved this story! The details provide a glimpse into life during the medieval times…a fascinating historical period. Faith-filled advice on the requirements of a good marriage are thoughtfully included.

Author Sherrinda Ketchersid’s debut is a skillfully written novel. I’m anticipating more heart-gripping books by this author! If you like fast-paced storytelling, with hidden identities, swoon-worthy knights, and intriguing maidens, this tale is for you!

Favorite quote: Jocelyn had known from the beginning of her escape that her life would be in danger. She had not thought her heart might be as well.

*I was given an ecopy of this book with no requirement to write a positive review. I’m delighted to offer my honest opinion.



ABOUT AUTHOR SHERRINDA KETCHERSID

Sherrinda Ketchersid is a lover of stories with happily-ever-after endings. Whether set in the past or present, romance is what she writes and where her dreams reside.

Sherrinda lives in north-central Texas with her preacher husband. With four grown children, three guys and a gal, she has more time and energy to spin tales of faith, fun, and forever love. Visit Sherrinda at http://www.sherrinda.com.

TEATIME TREATS

For our treats today, I made Sweet Honey Cakes as mentioned in the story. I’m serving a Scottish Highlands blend tea…a good strong brew to fortify your day.

Sweet honey cake.



Here’s the recipe I used for this cake. If you look closely, you’ll see I need to adjust the proportions for baking at my high altitude. Even with a depression in the middle, it still tastes good. https://prettysimplesweet.com/honey-cake/

A highland tea celebration.

Thank you for joining me for #TuesdayTea. Have you read a Medieval Period romance? If so, what do you like about this historical time?

Blessings and prayers always,

Sherida

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


Ready for a virtual beach retreat? See my #TuesdayTea review of IN TUNE WITH ROMANCE by Patti Jo Moore!

April 30th, 2019

Welcome to my Tuesday Tea review of Patti Jo Moore’s third book in her Emerald Coast romance series, In Tune With Romance. Today we’re celebrating this inspirational romance book with a springtime tea treat of Lemon Scones. I’ll serve you a scone and a cup of lemon tea while we chat about this engaging book filled with the charming characters living in Coastal Breeze, Florida.

Teatime with lemon scones.

In her books, Patti Jo Moore creates wonderful characters. You feel like all the residents of Coastal Breeze, Florida, are your friends. Each book in her Emerald Coast Romance series features a different couple negotiating the way to a happily ever after. The charming beach town comes to life through perfect details. I definitely feel like I’m vacationing with friends when reading one of her stories. In this third book, we meet outgoing Meg Mills and introvert Todd Davis. “Can two people who are polar opposites help each other and find romance in the process?”

MY REVIEW

In Tune With Romance

In Tune With Romance by Patti Jo Moore

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The amazing characters in this touching story held my heart as they faced their fears!!

Introvert Todd Davis is a music teacher and a piano tuner. He is trying to put his life back together after difficulties in the past and a hurtful divorce. Compassionate Meg Mills is reaching for a different dream after her husband passed away two years ago. To move forward, they both must overcome fears. While they help each other, tension builds between these two opposite personalities (with a shared love of cats!) as they become aware of their mutual attraction.

What a dramatic ending as the hero must face his biggest fear! Then the epilogue is lovely! *sigh*

Author Patti Jo Moore has a special way of making me fall in love with all the folks in this charming beach town of Coastal Breeze, Florida. This book is a stand alone, but revisiting the sweet people from her other books is always fun. Hopefully there will be more trips to this special place! If you like virtual vacations and engaging characters, I highly recommend this inspirational romance of second chances and facing fears.

Favorite quotes:
“Lord, I can’t do this alone. I need Your help.”

“If she was ever going to move forward, she had to take those first steps. And trust.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Patti Jo Moore writes “Sweet Southern Stories” and has lived in Georgia all her life. She loves the Lord, her family, and cats, and always has a mug of coffee close by. The other books in the series are A Seaside Romance and An Unexpected Romance, all published by Forget Me Not Romances. Patti Jo is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and the Faith, Hope, and Love Chapter. She posts each month on the Seriously Write blog. See her personal blog at: http://www.catmomscorner.blogspot.com

RECIPE FOR “AMAZING LEMON SCONES” from All Recipes

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/229571/amazing-lemon-scones

I decorated my scones with lemon drizzle, adding sparkly sugar and edible pearls. Lemon is a refreshing flavor for springtime tea.

In Tune With Romance by Patti Jo Moore

Thank you so much for joining me for tea treats and talking about this sweet romance and the cute town of Coastal Breeze. Where would you travel for a virtual….or real…..vacation escape this spring?

I pray you are blessed by your journeys each day, near or far, real or virtual.

Blessings and prayers always,

Sherida

*Your comments are appreciated. I apologize for delays in posting.

Are you blessed by waiting for the LIGHT? April Easter devotional

April 17th, 2019
JESUS-THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. ~~John 8:12 (KJV)

As we wait for the glorious celebration of our Savior’s supreme act of love, do you have a special memory of anticipating Easter? Maybe you joined with family for church, looking forward to a feast at Grandma’s house afterward. Maybe as a child you eagerly awaited the search to find surprise eggs for your Easter basket. Maybe on an Easter morning you admired a peaceful scenic view while waiting to hear His voice during a private worship time. I have all those special memories, but one experience stands above all the others.

Many years ago in the predawn darkness, my husband-to-be and I joined a hushed crowd gathered along a favorite East coast beach. All were silent. No one spoke as we stood quietly in the sand, the scents of the ocean drifting on a light breeze. The only sounds came from the waves lapping along the shoreline. We were reverent, filled with expectation. We all knew why we were there. Heads bowed in prayer, we waited. The sky gradually lightened with colors of pink and orange. Then the sun rose over the horizon, filling the day with glorious light. Our joyful hymns of praise filled the air for the Easter sunrise service. The wait was over. The tomb was empty. Our Savior had risen.

JESUS IS RISEN!

As Christians, we celebrate this moment, this proof of the promise…the tomb is empty! After the agonizing days of remembering Jesus’ suffering, God’s plan is revealed in the blazing glory of the morning light. He is risen that we might be saved. We are forgiven and offered eternal life.

The angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here; for he is risen.

Matthew 28:5-6 (KJV)

PRAYER

Dear God,

Thank you for the sacrifice of Your beloved Son, the LIGHT of the world, who offers us the ultimate gift of eternal life. As we wait for the Easter celebration to begin, help us BE THE LIGHT….to bring Your message of forgiveness to others, to give encouragement to those needing hope, and to walk more closely with You as Christian examples of love.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

Thank you for joining me for this Easter devotional. What are your treasured memories of Easter? As you celebrate our risen Lord, may you walk in His LIGHT….forever reflecting His love and grace.

Blessings and prayers always,

Sherida

*Your thoughts are truly appreciated. I apologize for delays in posting your comments.

Are you blessed by challenges? #TuesdayTea March devotional

March 12th, 2019
Dressed in full armor, ready to accept the challenge.

BIBLE VERSE

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

Ephesians 6:11 NIV

Are you facing challenges? Health issues? Work-related stresses? Relationship issues?

When we must work through difficult times, we don’t usually see the reason or meaning for the struggles we endure. After we’ve gone through the fire, we can reflect back on what we’ve gained. Strength. Confidence. Humility. Empathy. Gratefulness.

Bright red cast and crutches

Recently I had complicated foot surgery. If you know me, you know hiking is integral to my well-being….physically, emotionally and spiritually. Four weeks and counting with no weight bearing. Crutches are a pain…literally! Then I’ll face a couple of months with an “orthopedic boot” and then intensive physical therapy. No hiking or neighborhood walks. The hardest challenge is accepting I’m dependent on my husband for many daily tasks. He’s great about helping, but I don’t like limits on my abilities.

Even though this recovery is not the worst health challenge my husband and I have faced, this time of waiting is giving me plenty of opportunity to trust my faith…to stay positive and hopeful about the ultimate outcome. After this, I’ll deeply appreciate being able to walk across a room without the aid (hinderance?) of crutches. I’m clinging to the message in one of the Bible passages I think of when I need strength….fortitude for any and every challenge faced.

BIBLE VERSE

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:13-17

Doesn’t this passage fill you with hope and confidence? No matter the challenge before you, these words give strength to face the difficulty ahead. To pass through the fire….of pain, despair and fear. Our Lord prepares us to do battle with truth, righteousness, faith, salvation and His Word.

Put on the full armor of God. ~Ephesians 6:11 NIV

TRAVEL

We enjoy attending Renaissance festivals, a little taste of the sights and sounds of the past. The jousting knights are the perfect example of putting on armor before the battle. At the Arizona Renaissance Festival near Phoenix, many attendees wear elaborate costumes. Colorful wares are offered in cute shoppes. Tunes from bagpipes and beating drums can be heard. The air has scents of wood fires and roasting turkey legs. There was even a cute tea shop, perfect for my tea-loving self.

Tea shop and apothecary

So today I’m serving Shakespeare’s Romance Tea—white tea, raspberry leaf, hibiscus and peach.

Various jars of teas sold at the Renaissance Faire.

If you’re interested in Renaissance fairs, I recommend the elaborate Arizona Renaissance Festival held on weekends during February and March. For details, visit http://www.arizonarenfestinfo.com.

BOOK NEWS

Some of my author friends have books releasing soon.

LORD OF HER HEART by Sherrinda Ketchersid

Fitting in with the theme of jousting knights, Sherrinda Ketchersid’s debut, Lord of Her Heart, is available May 14, published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. To escape an evil plot, Lady Jocelyn dons a disguise, hoping to find out the truth about her father’s situation. Jousting tournament champion Malcolm, who desires a peaceful life on his own manor, discovers her deception. They must learn to trust each other in this story of romance set in medieval times. Sounds intriguing!

Patti Jo Moore’s third book in her Emerald Coast Romance series, In Tune With Romance, releases later this month with Forget Me Not Romances. We can anticipate another sweet romance as we visit the charming beach town of Coastal Breeze. We’re all ready for some warm breezes, I imagine!

A MOST INCONVENIENT LOVE by Ruth Logan Herne

Currently I’m reading A Most Inconvenient Love, by Ruth Logan Herne. This historical, set on the prairies of South Dakota, is engaging as a school marm and a lumber baron find their way to a happy ever after. I always enjoy this author’s style of sprinkling wisdom among the pages of a great story.

PRAYER

Dear Lord, we thank you for the courage you give us for face the challenges in our lives. Your Word fortifies us with truth, righteousness, faith and salvation. Please be with us as we walk toward the light with joy. In Jesus’ name, Amen

Are you facing challenges? May we pray for you? Have you walked a challenging path and come through stronger because of your experience? What Scriptures do you treasure when faced with difficulties?

I’ve felt the prayers of those of you praying for my surgery. I’d appreciate continuing prayers for my foot to heal completely so I’ll be out on the mountain trails this summer. Thank you for prayers, sharing and joining me for Tuesday Tea.

With blessings and prayers always,

Sherida

*Comments are appreciated and will appear after moderation. I apologize for delays in posting.

Are you blessed by LOVE? A #TuesdayTea February devotional with a review and giveaway!

February 19th, 2019

Welcome to Tuesday Tea with a review of Tina Radcliffe’s newest book, Her Last Chance Cowboy, the final story in the Big Heart Ranch series. I’m serving White Chocolate Chip Cookies and a special tea, Book Hangover from Riddle’s Book and Tea Company….”Being a bold hazelnut blend to recuperate after a book bender.”

February is the month of LOVE! I LOVE inspirational romance stories, so this is a perfect month to share one of my favorite authors with you….Tina Radcliffe. I LOVE her amazing faith-filled books about romantic LOVE and the LOVE of families. If she’s a new-to-you author, I hope you’ll read one of her stories. I think you’ll be hooked!

And because I LOVE my blog readers, I’m giving away one Kindle ecopy of Her Last Chance Cowboy to a reader. See the details below.

Her Last Chance Cowboy with White Chocolate Chip Cookies.

MY REVIEW OF HER LAST CHANCE COWBOY

Her Last Chance Cowboy (Big Heart Ranch)

Her Last Chance Cowboy by Tina Radcliffe

Her Last Chance Cowboy is a book I could not put down! REALLY GOOD!

When two hurting hearts collide, the sparks fly! I think I held my breath for the whole story, praying these two could find a way to happiness.

Quiet, stay-in-the-background Tripp Walker tugged my heart in earlier books, so I was excited to read his story….and what a story it is! He is handsome, protective and hurting. He believes he can’t have a relationship.

Hannah Vincent has secrets from a past life where she was manipulated. She’s trying to hide by staying on the run to protect her adorable daughter, Clementine. Hannah is strong, fiercely independent, and searching for a home.

I loved the emotional roller coaster of escalating tension between Tripp and Hannah. Just when I thought all would work out….BOOM…the crash of two strong personalities happened. Can Hannah and Tripp find it within themselves to trust and forgive? Hang on tight! You’ll love the ending….soooo much!

Each the four stories centered at Big Heart Ranch have touched me….”a ranch that healed so many hearts.” This is a special place of second chances…for children and wounded people. Author Tina Radcliffe know how to bring the reader into the lives of the characters to feel their emotions and understand their thoughts. In this story, Dutch and Rue were special friends to the couple as they sought the path to happiness. We all need friends like them for help along the way!

If you like warm, humorous stories of faith and second chances, you will definitely like Her Last Chance Cowboy…plus there’s chili, red velvet cake and Sonic cherry limeades! I loved this book!

Favorite quotes:

“When a door opens, you have to walk through. Big Heart Ranch didn’t get to be where it is without us stepping out in faith.”
“My teacher says you have to be silent sometimes so you can hear God.”

*I was given a copy of this book with no requirement to write a review. These are my honest opinions.

GIVEAWAY

Leave a comment and enter the Rafflecopter form for a chance to win a Kindle ecopy of Her Last Chance Cowboy to be delivered after the Kindle release date of March 1, 2019. By entering, you accept the legal terms as stated on the Legal Page of my website. US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DEVOTIONAL

In last month’s post, I mentioned my 2019 One Word…JOY! This month I’m focusing on joyful LOVE. Today’s Bible verse combines LOVE and JOY. February is the month we celebrate LOVE….the many facets of LOVE…..for romantic love, love of our precious families, for our special friends, for our sweet pets, and for all we hold dear. Most important is God’s LOVE for us, as He shows us in so many ways. He promises we will find JOY if we embrace the LOVE He extends to us.

SCRIPTURE

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,…

Galatians 5:22 KJV

LOVE & JOY Galatians 5:22 KJV

PRAYER

Dear God,

Thank you for loving us and giving us second chances. Thank you for surrounding us with so many expressions of love. Thank you for loving us enough to offer eternal life with You. Help us to reflect Your love so others will come to know You…to rejoice in Your enduring love and grace.

We ask this in Jesus’ name,

Amen

Thank you for joining me for tea, treats, and my review of Her Last Chance Cowboy. May you walk in LOVE AND JOY, receiving these treasured blessings from our Lord.

Blessings and prayers always,

Sherida

I just had to include a photo of these LOVABLE pets, our granddogs, rescue Shelties, Gumshoe and Bitsy. Aren’t they adorable?

*Comments are appreciated and will be visible after moderation. I apologize for delays in posting.

Are you blessed to “consider it pure” JOY? My #OneWord2019 #TuesdayTea devotional.

January 22nd, 2019

But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. ~~Psalm 68:3 (NIV)

Walking among the mountaintops.

For awhile now, I’ve joined others in contemplating a One Word for the new year….. searching for the exact word which would focus my heart for a whole year. During 2018, my word was APPRECIATE. I did give thanks for most of the experiences I encountered during the year.


However, 2018 was a year of up and down emotions….many beautiful sunlit mountain tops, but some dark valleys for friends and dear ones to travel. With the arrival of wintery gray skies, seasonal affective disorder descended around our place. Bouts of depression hit. God does walk alongside us, but some trails are gloomy. I do appreciate that my life is good, so why did I have ungrateful thoughts? I was weak….humbled….trying to listen to Him. But still I asked.

Why did these things happen? Why do Christians struggle with difficulties? It’s the old question: Why do bad things happen to good people?

As I prayed about my One Word for the year, I desired the return to joy. I wanted contentment for everyone. I wanted to be positive. Optimistic. Our Heavenly Father wants His children to be happy…to rejoice….,but that doesn’t mean life will be the proverbial walk in the park. We will face uphill climbs, but He promises the journey will be worth it.

As I continued to pray for guidance, the word JOY kept touching my heart. Then, I searched for my verse….and found….

Consider it pure joy, my brother’s and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

~~James 1:2-3 (NIV)

Could these troubles, these rocky paths, have a purpose? Tough experiences teach us empathy for others who face similar challenges. When we walk through a dark time with faith, we realize our strength. Patience must be learned…step by very hard step. Most importantly, we are rewarded if we trust God as we trod through the sadness. He will take us to the Light!

REMEMBER: God is with us, even when we don’t know where the trail ahead is going…..

We don’t always know where the trail leads….

We may not understand “why” we face challenges, but we know He is there. He has a plan for us. We must trust His wisdom…His faithfulness….His grace.

Trust. He is there.

For 2019, I want to focus on JOY! My challenge is to extend JOY to others….speaking with kindness, cheering in celebration, smiling in friendship, and offering a hand for support during the difficult walks….surrounding all with love.

It’s important to thank our Lord for the JOYS which make our hearts sing. I’m grateful for the JOY of family times, such as my husband and I had with our grandchildren over the Christmas holiday.

For our tea treat today, I’m serving birthday cake. We celebrated Jesus’ birthday with a cake decorated by the grandsweeties.

Jesus’ birthday cake decorated by the grandsweeties!

I’m pouring tea into a mug designed by my eight-year-old granddaughter. She painted this design for me….knowing I love mountains and that the title of my first story, written when I was twelve-years-old, was “ The Mystery of the Diamond Mountain Men.”

Didn’t she create a perfect gift? Perfect JOY!

A mountain for Grammy!
Mug designed by my oldest granddaughter.


MY PRAYER FOR YOU:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  ~~Romans 15:13 (NIV)

What is your ONE WORD for 2019? Where do you find JOY?

Thank you for joining me for #TuesdayTea. May your 2019 be filled with the treasured blessing of JOY!

Blessings and prayers always,

Sherida

*Comments are appreciated and will appear after moderation. I apologize for delays in posting.

Have you experienced UNEXPECTED blessings? #TuesdayTea December devotional.

December 18th, 2018
Fruit medley and an apple turnover.

Treasuring the unexpected ….

Welcome to my December #TuesdayTea devotional. I have warm mugs of tea, coffee, hot chocolate and spiced cider to sip while eating today’s treat of fresh fruit with apple turnovers as served for breakfast at a charming B & B during an unexpected travel delay a couple of years ago.

Two years ago this December, we found ourselves in a frightening snow and ice storm. We’d traveled to Denver to attend my husband’s PhD graduation ceremony. The day after, we were attempting to drive home to New Mexico on I-25 in the midst of a winter storm. We’d delayed leaving that morning, hoping the weather would improve or the road conditions would get better. Wanting to get back before the holiday traffic began, we decided take a chance and started the eight-hour (usually) trek to home.

With a blizzard swirling across the highway, we crept along for many tense hours. We’d lost count of how many accidents we’d seen and how many cars had slid off the road. With darkness deepening, we finally realized this was not the night to drive the many more icy miles to reach home. For everyone’s safety, it was wise to get off the highway. But would there even be a place to spend the night or would we freeze trying wait it out in our car?

We were not hopeful about finding a hotel as we took the next exit into the tiny town of Walsenburg, Colorado. Even if we found a place, would there be a vacancy?

But the unexpected happened!

My husband inquired at this Art Deco place we stumbled upon just off the main road through town. He was told they had only one room left. We got the last room available that night!

A welcoming sight as we arrived on a snowy evening.
La Plaza Hotel and Restaurant…a B &B Inn

After grabbing our suitcases from the car and entering the lobby, I was delighted to see the unexpected beauty of the Christmas decorations filling the inn.

Elaborate nativity set in an elegant antique curio cabinet.


Fortunately, the restaurant was still serving a delicious prime rib dinner…an unexpected romantic meal after our stressful travels.

Our charming accommodations….the only room available.
Breakfast the next morning was in the library, where a fascinating collection of nutcrackers filled the shelves.



As we left the inn after breakfast the next morning, we found the skies to be clear….so different from the night before. The roads were snowpacked and we still had mountain passes to negotiate on the drive home, but the unexpected blessing of a night spent safe and warm in a welcoming Christmas atmosphere filled our hearts with peace.

THE UNEXPECTED OF THE FIRST CHRISTMAS

As Christmas Day approaches, we reflect on the events leading up to the first Christmas. The unexpected happened. Our Savior’s mother would find herself pregnant. As an author friend, Ruth Logan Herne, posted recently, this pregnancy was not unplanned. God had the plan for the gift of Christ’s arrival all along. But to the young virgin Mary, the message of her place in this event was quite unexpected. It’s hard to know her thoughts as the angel appeared before her with a startling message….certainly an unexpected announcement.

And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus…..Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be? Luke 1:31-34 (KJV)

A nativity ornament painted by my mother.

Yes, we can be blessed by unexpected treasures. May you find many unexpected joys this Christmas season and be surrounded by love and peace.

Blessings and prayers always,

Sherida

*Comments are appreciated and will appear after moderation. I apologize for delays.

#TuesdayTea review of NORTHERN DECEPTION by Laurie Wood

December 4th, 2018

Welcome to my #TuesdayTea review of author Laurie Wood’s debut…NORTHERN DECEPTION. In keeping with the setting for this book…the arctic area of Canada…glittering with white snow…I’m serving Sparkling White Chocolate Scones. Please help yourself to a couple of treats while I pour you a cup of Twinings Buttermint tea, perfect with these seasonal scones.

Sparkling White Chocolate Scones

A cute little polar bear cub visitor!

NOW LET’S CHAT ABOUT THE BOOK!

NORTHERN DECEPTION by Laurie Wood

Isn’t this a stunning cover? The pages inside are just as thrilling.

ABOUT THE BOOK 

Reunions can be deadly.

After a savage attack in university, Kira Summers fled to the safety of northern Canada and her work as a polar bear scientists. But when her whistleblower brother dies in a mysterious car crash, she must return home to bury him and pack his belongings. Unaware she’s carrying explosive evidence someone’s willing to kill for, she has no choice but to rely on the one person she never thought she’d see again.

Lukas Tanner, a widowed single father of a special needs toddler, moved to Churchill five years ago. As the proud owner of Guiding Star Enterprises, a wilderness tour company, he and his daughter lead a simple life. But when Kira comes back into his world, he realizes God has other plans. Now Lukas and Kira must confront a merciless killer as their past and present collide in a deadly race—a race they must win if they have any hope of a future together.

 

MY REVIEW OF NORTHERN DECEPTION 

A fast-paced story filled with exciting action as this couple’s safety is threatened…..and strong romantic feelings between them are rekindled!

When polar bear research scientist Kira Summers finds out her old boyfriend, arctic rover tour operator Lukas Tanner, lives in the same remote Canadian town, she finds her heart at risk again, as well as her life. Can Kira survive the threats and be given the second chance at love she wishes she could have?

NORTHERN DECEPTION is packed with heart-thrilling moments as Lukas tries to keep Kira safe. Author Laurie Wood knows how to create great suspense to keep us reading into the night. The tension escalated as I tried to figure out who was trying to harm Kira…and why. This book, with its interesting details, provided a fascinating virtual visit to the polar bear land of Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. I was shivering, not just from the freezing temperature, but also from fear of the huge northern bears. The characters were all believable, and I especially liked precious little Sophie. The romance between the couple is sweetly portrayed, with one of the absolutely cutest proposals I’ve ever read…..the perfect ending.

If you like romance with strong suspense elements and woven with threads of faith, I highly recommend NORTHERN DECEPTION. I’m counting on more great stories about Heroes of the Tundra from author Laurie Wood.

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

This little guy just makes me makes me smile.

To find out more about Laurie, to sign up for her newsletter, and to get information on ordering Northern Deception, visit Laurie Wood Author website.

RECIPE:SPARKLING WHITE CHOCOLATE SCONES

In a large bowl, cut together with a pastry cutter or fork until blended:
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup butter

Add and cut together until mixed:
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Stir in:
1 cup white chocolate baking chips

Whisk together then stir into dough:
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup milk

Turn onto a flour dusted board and knead slightly until dough sticks together. Add more milk if too dry. Form the dough into two balls, then pat into discs roughly 1-inch thick. Cut each round into 8 wedges. Sprinkle with white sparkling decorator sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until slightly golden.These can be iced with powdered sugar glaze and more sprinkles added for decoration.

Thank you for joining me for #TuesdayTea and celebrating Laurie Wood’s debut book. I hope your week is filled with a bit of time for reading and with many sweet treats as we prepare for the Christmas season!

Blessings and prayers always,

Sherida

*Comments are appreciated and will appear after moderation. I apologize for delays.