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.

HANDS…..What hands have blessed you? #TuesdayTea

November 27th, 2018

Welcome to my #TuedayTea devotional about HANDS. I’m thankful for caring, encouraging and helping hands.

A selection of doughnuts…or donuts….all delicious flavors!

Please grab a treat while I pour a cup of tea for you. When our sons were little, going to pick out donuts with Daddy was a Saturday family tradition. Recently, my grandsweeties were delighted to experience this yummy tradition. Love those little hands! 💖❤️💗

When I was considering a word for the thank-filled month of November, God placed the word HANDS on my heart. As I’m blessed by many hands, this is a perfect thought for my devotional for the month of November.

Hands together at our wedding.

When my husband joined his strong hands with mine during our wedding ceremony, we pledged to love, honor and cherish each other forever. I am thankful for our 47 years of holding hands during our marriage….helping during the tough times, comforting during times of sadness, and celebrating during joyful events….together.

My son’s handprint on a Mother’s Day card.

I’m thankful for little hands….for the children’s hands when I was a teacher, for my babies’ tiny hands as we were blessed by the miracles of their births, and now for my grandsweeties hands as I watch them write, draw and build with LEGO bricks.

Mom and Dad at their sixtieth wedding anniversary celebration.

I’m thankful for my parents’ hands. Their hands provided a loving home, where we learned from their example to follow God’s path and serve others. During this holiday time, I especially think of my mother’s hands. For the Thanksgiving services at church, she decorated the altar with a beautiful cornucopia overflowing with apples, squash and flowers. I recall my mother taking food and gifts she had made to folks who needed some help. She loved to do crafts, so donated countless handmade ornaments to churches for fundraising bazaars. She was the busy person who others called on to get things done. I treasure the memories of her hands decorating our home for Christmas and preparing all those favorite foods for our table…and the baking and packaging of an array of cookies for all our neighbors. Now reunited in heaven, Mom and Dad celebrate their 73rd anniversary this week in the presence of God’s glory.

CROSS OF GRACE

I’m thankful for the hands of Jesus. His hands were pierced on the cross to give us salvation and eternal life. We are all blessed by this greatest gift. As we extend our hands to encourage, comfort and help others, we show our gratefulness for God’s love. Hands placed together in thanksgiving and prayer are powerful.

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.~~2 Corinthians 4:15 – (NIV)

So many hands have helped me on this journey…..patting my back with encouragement, extending a hand to pull me up during a struggle, throwing confetti during a celebration, and hands lifting me up in prayer. I’m thankful for all those precious hands.

How are HANDS providing treasured blessings to you?

May our hearts be grateful and our hands be helpful as we bless others.

Blessings and prayers always,

Sherida

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

Let’s get ready for #Thanksgivng with my #TuesdayTea featuring maple scones, coffee and #reviews!

November 20th, 2018

Welcome to my Thanksgivng Tuesday Tea! We’re celebrating a few romance releases written by some of my favorite inspirational authors!

Maple scone with tea or coffee!

But first, a tea treat! I’m serving maple scones and your choice of coffee or tea. My husband and I recently had a date at a new coffee shop in town, so I wanted to share. Even though I’m still loving my seasonal pumpkin spice, this taste of maple added some variety to my autumn afternoon. Please enjoy these treats as I review these Christmas-flavored books!

REVIEWS

A COWBOY CHRISTMAS by Linda Goodnight and Ruth Logan Herne

A COWBOY CHRISTMAS by Linda Goodnight and Ruth Logan Herne

A double treat of warm Christmas stories by award-winning authors!

I just love reading books filled with the Christmas spirit of love and hope….and these stories by two amazing authors offer all the wonderful “feel goods” of the season.

SNOWBOUND CHRISTMAS by Linda Goodnight
When nurse Kristen Andrews returns to Refuge, Oklahoma, her unexpected reunion with rancher Caleb Girard leads to the warming of old feelings between the couple. Many years ago, Caleb was saved by a good man, Greg Girard, who opened his home years to the troubled youth. Greg now needs help as he deals with kidney failure. Kristen has been hurt by past rejection, so doesn’t want to risk being hurt again. She finds herself together with Caleb every day as she provides dialysis treatment for his dad.

I enjoyed the building attraction between Kristen and Caleb. She takes charge, but is vulnerable. He is quiet, but strongly protective. Their developing romance is tender and sweet. A lovely faith thread is woven beautifully through out the story. The Christmas season finds a unique tree gracing the ranch house, and many prayers for miracles are lifted up in the community. A special story!

Favorite quote: “Fact is, faith isn’t even about getting what we want from God. It’s about trusting Him no matter what.”

FALLING FOR THE CHRISTMAS COWBOY by Ruth Logan Herne
In delightful Ruth Logan Herne style, Falling for the Christmas Cowboy touches hearts as difficult situations are overcome by grace, hope, and a sweet romance. Graphic designer Jessica Lambert meets rancher Ty Carrington when she attempts to restart her life in tiny Shepherd’s Crossing, Idaho. But it’s an awkward meeting for them both. They each have experienced loss, but they handle the grief in different ways.

Jessica’s enthusiastic four-year-old daughter, Dovie, brings joy to the pages with her positive attitude. Then there’s the complicating twist I didn’t expect. I love when an author surprises me with a turn of events. And there’s a beautiful Christmas celebration, so full of the spirit of the season with a heartwarming gathering of the townsfolk and a moving candlelit church service. If you like stories of faith and second chances, you’ll be blessed by spending Christmas with the people of Shepherd’s Crossing.

A favorite quote: In the space of five minutes, conditions had changed from needy to blessed, and not by her hands. God’s hands. And the kindness of strangers.

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

A DREAM FULFILLED by Julie Lessman

A DREAM FULFILLED by Julie Lessman

A Dream Fulfilled, a passionate story of faith, marriage and friendship!

Author Julie Lessman really knows how to write romance….including the “just right” amounts of faith and passion! I enjoyed this story about married couple Katie and Luke McGee. Set in Boston in the 1930’s, the struggle to balance family life and work responsibilities is the same as today’s overwhelmed parents experience. The message of relying on faith, friendship, family and forgiveness to overcome difficulties is beautiful.

Young mother Katie befriends another mother she meets a nearby park. Their relationship is quite powerful….a test of strength and giving.

Besides working extremely hard to provide for his wife and two daughters, Luke tries to help street kids, especially one boy who appears to be going through what Luke did as a child.

The relationship between Katie and Luke is threaten by challenging circumstances. At times it seems their marriage could be at risk, but they have a strong bond of love and a passionate faith.

There are twists and turns as this story unfolds. The characters and lovely Christmas
celebration will touch your heart!

Favorite quote: “Weeping may endure for a night, Katie, but joy cometh in the morning. So let’s just embrace the joy, shall we? Let’s harvest the wheat from the tares by reveling in the blessing of family and friendship and a God who holds us both in the palm of His hand—all the days of our lives, no matter how long that may be.”

SNOW ANGEL by Davalynn Spencer

SNOW ANGEL by Davalynn Spencer

A charming…and delicious….historical Christmas story!

Spinster Lena Carver experienced a childhood accident, leaving her feeling undesirable as a potential wife. Generous and hardworking, she assists her brother, the town doctor, with his patients and maintains their home.

The doctor finds Wil Bergman along the roadside, unconscious with a broken leg, no possessions, and a dog watching over him. Since he doesn’t remember what happened to him, there is a mystery surrounding his situation.

I especially enjoyed all the wonderful characters in this story! Lena is compassionate as she cares for the people of the town, thoughtfully organizing a festive community dinner and preparing Christmas bags for the children. All the cooking and baking she does to nurture others make me hungry for her special treats.

Wil is a strong hero as he sweetly courts Lena. I love how the romance unfolds and reveals the hurts of the past, but promises beautiful hope for the future. With Christmas arriving, touching gifts sparkle with love, and acts of kindness bless many.

If you like faith-filled stories reflecting the spirit of Christmas, SNOW ANGEL, by Davalynn Spencer, will warm your heart as you experience the holiday during an earlier time.

Favorite quotes:

The Good Book was right. There was a time for everything.

The firelight danced on her cheeks and in her hair, and for just a heartbeat or two he thought she was the closest thing to a real angel that he’d ever seen.

PLUS I’LL ADD A COUPLE OF UPCOMING INSPIRATIONAL ROMANCES I’M ANTICIPATING….

NORTHERN DECEPTION by Laurie Wood is releasing December 4, 2018. This story, set in Canada’s polar bear region, is filled with exciting suspense. Watch for my upcoming review! You can find out more at Laurie Wood Author website.

NORTHERN DECEPTION by Laurie Wood

And be watching for HER HOPE DISCOVERED by Cynthia Herron. The small town of Ruby, Missouri, is guaranteed to warm your heart. Find out all the news by checking Cynthia’s website at Cynthia Herron author website.

Thank you for joining me for tea and treats. I hope your Thanksgiving…or your weekend for my out-of-country readers…is filled with blessings!

With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good: his love toward Israel endures forever.” ~~Ezra 3:11 NIV

Please join me next week for my November word-of-the-month devotional about HANDS.

Blessings and prayers always,

Sherida

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.