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.

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.