Archive for the ‘Food and Treats’ Category

#TuesdayTea-LOVE’S DREAM SONG with Sandra Leesmith

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

We’re having tea…or Chocolate Velvet coffee….today with author Sandra Leesmith as we talk about her amazing new book, Love’s Dream Song, a romantic suspense set in the Navajo area of northern Arizona.

Since I have lived near the eastern edge of the Navajo Nation, it is especially fun to read a suspenseful adventure set in this beautiful desert country ….. along with the passionate romance story of Autumn and Jess. Sandra does settings so well…..you feel you are there! An example from the book:

Nature entertained them with a display of sunset color. Bright magenta deepened to red and then turned fluorescent orange. The jagged outline of cliffs was silhouetted like black sentinels against the vermillion brilliance.

This is a great romantic adventure with realistic heart-racing excitement.

Quote from LOVE'S DREAM SONG.

Quote from LOVE’S DREAM SONG.

A few more of my favorite lines from the book:

“Know your heart. Walk in the way of your dreams.”

“But I refuse to be bowed by the hatred. Real Tall Man taught me that when you let hatred affect your life, it then exists.”

“Being alone in the wilderness makes you face up to yourself. I’ve grown to love the desert country.”

This book releases October 17 and is available to pre-order. You can pre-order Love’s Dream Song HERE  .  So please have a piece of pumpkin bread as you read the blurb and my review of Love’s Dream Song. The giveaway form is near the end of this post.

BLURB

Autumn O’Neill came to Arizona on an archeological dig hoping to find out what happened to the ancient Anasazi tribes, but her true desire was to discover her own Navajo roots. It didn’t help that the dig was located on Jess Barron’s ranch and that the handsome rancher scorned his own native American heritage and believed Autumn was part of a drug ring operating on his land. When the dig is compromised and danger threatens their lives, Jess and Autumn can no longer fight their attraction for each other. They both come to understand that finding answers means listening to the voices of their ancestors and the longings of their hearts.

My review of Love’s Dream Song:

Love's Dream SongLove’s Dream Song by Sandra Leesmith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A blend of suspense and romance with an adventure in the Navajo cultural world…a great story!

I was completely engaged with this suspenseful book. Archeologist Autumn O’Neill is assisting with a trouble-plagued exploration of Anasazi ruins on the northern Arizona ranch of Jess Barron.

The suspense in this book is developed well, with many possible motives and suspects. I was definitely guessing until the end. The reunion romance between beautiful Autumn and undercover agent Jess is touching, yet complicated because of both their past relationship and their feelings about their Native American heritages. Both are interesting, complex characters.

The well-researched Navajo cultural elements added interesting flavor to the story, with tribal customs and bits of Navajo language included. Additionally, I liked this book because of its vivid and accurate depiction of the red rock country of Arizona….a uniquely stunning desert. Sandra Leesmith is an author who excels at bringing to life the settings of her books. You feel you are right there in the experience. I have lived near the Navajo country of Love’s Dream Song and find the sense of this amazing place is very realistically presented.

Author Sandra Leesmith has balanced suspense and passionate romance perfectly in Love’s Dream Song to bring readers a great adventure in the desert southwest. I highly recommend Love’s Dream Song!

*I was given an electronic review copy of this book. I’m delighted to post my honest thoughts about this story.

TREATS and the THREE SISTERS

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread

The pumpkin bread ( PUMPKIN BREAD RECIPE from All Recipes ) seemed appropriate to serve as a treat while talking about this Navajo-inspired story because of the importance of squash to native people in this southwest region. The Three Sisters- squash, corn and beans- have been important food sources for the native people. The Three Sisters are crops which are mutually beneficial, so are planted together in mounds of dirt…the corn stalks provide a climbing trellis for the bean plants which provide the soil with nitrogen, enabling the squash plants to thrive and shade the base of the plants for water retention and to crowd out weeds. For more information, you can read about the Three Sisters here.

INTERVIEW:  If you didn’t read my interview with Sandra during the cover reveal post, you might enjoy learning about her research through the following questions.
SHERIDAHow did you get the idea for this story?

SANDRA:  My husband and I have traveled many times in Northern Arizona Color Country. We have explored many of the ancient Anasazi ruins in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. Being a writer with a vivid imagination, I’ve always been fascinated with the history of these people.

It has always been a mystery as to what happened to the very advanced and flourishing Anasazi people. They are the native Americans who lived in the ancient cliff dwellings found in the Southwest. Hundreds of years ago, they suddenly disappeared and archeologists are not certain as to why. I used one of the less popular, but more intriguing speculations as part of the premise in Love’s Dream Song.

The summer I started this story, my hubby and I were hiking around a lot of the Anasazi ruins so the story evolved from the interesting facts we were learning about the ancient culture.

SHERIDA:  What is your connection to the setting?

SANDRA:  I have lived in Arizona most of my adult life. Most weekends and holidays were spent hiking and exploring the beautiful deserts in this colorful state. I love the variety and color, so describing the setting and bringing it alive is easy for me. I love sharing the beauty with others.

The cover is a photo of Monument Valley. It is one of the most popular areas. But all of Color Country is gorgeous. My husband is a scientist and very knowledgeable about the geology. In Color Country, which is a term that refers to the red rock areas of Northern Arizona, Southern Utah and Norwestern New Mexico, you can see so much of the geological features in vivid colors.

SHERIDA:  How did you research the topics covered in Love’s Dream Song?

SANDRA:  As mentioned above, my hubby is a scientist so we whenever we travel to an area, we study the geology and explore the historical aspects of the locale. Consequently, I am very familiar with the geological and historical elements presented within the story.

Being a teacher in Arizona, I was required to know the anthropological history as well. I love studying about ancient cultures. I love learning about different cultures.

When I finished writing this novel, I happened to be invited (through my work with ASU) to the Navajo nation to present educational workshops to the teachers on the reservation. Several women I met helped me with many aspects of the culture of Dineh (The People).

Author Sandra Leesmith

Author Sandra Leesmith

ABOUT AUTHOR SANDRA LEESMITH

Sandra Leesmith writes romance designed to warm the heart and make you smile. Sandra loves to play pickleball, hike, read, bicycle and write. A retired teacher, she lives in Arizona with her husband. During the hot summers she and her husband travel throughout the United States in their motorhome, where she enjoys the outdoors and finds wonderful ideas for her next writing project.

You can connect with Sandra through her website, Sandra Leesmith website.

Her books are available through Amazon:  Sandra’s books.

GIVEAWAY:

Sandra has generously offered a copy to a reader. Thank you, Sandra! Please fill out the Rafflecopter entry form below to enter. Be sure to make a comment in the blog comments with your thoughts about Love’s Dream Song and whether you want an ebook or print version if you win.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

We’d love to hear your thoughts about Love’s Dream Song. Do you enjoy romantic suspense? Do you like to learn about diverse cultures through reading stories? Have you traveled to the desert Southwest?

Thank you so much for having teatime with us today! May your days be blessed with God’s abundant treasures!

A very special teatime! #TUESDAYTEA

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

 

Ginger Scones

Ginger Scones

We love our tea celebrations!

Recently we were blessed to take care of our grandsweeties for a few days while our son and daughter-in-law had a weekend away attending a wedding in New York City. Granddaughter and I made blueberry muffins one afternoon for an after nap teatime. Fun!

While in New York City, our daughter-in-law had tea at Alice’s Tea Cup, a very special tea house. (Visit Alice’s Tea Cup.) Knowing our mutual love of tea celebrations, she thoughtfully returned with a gift for me of Alice’s Tea, a delightful floral blend. Then she baked Ginger Scones (as pictured above), so the whole family could enjoy a lovely afternoon tea together. ( Basic scone recipe from All Recipes. Add 1/2 cup chopped candied ginger to dough. )

Tea from Alice's Tea Cup, NYC

Tea from Alice’s Tea Cup, NYC. Thank you, DIL!

BOOKS

One of the many books we read to the grandsweeties while we were visiting was My Very First Tea Party by Michal Sparks. This book is published by Christian book publisher, Harvest House Publishers. I especially liked the thoughtful blessing included as part of teatime.

My review on Goodreads:

My Very First Tea PartyMy Very First Tea Party by Michal Sparks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a sweet book! This is a cute gift for a toddler (the board book) or preschool child (the hardback version). Adding a tea set would be a perfect combination. My granddaughter and I love to have teatime together, and this rhyming book details all the elements of a tea celebration, complete with invitation, blessing and thank you note. Charming!

ART

Not only are the grandsweeties lovers of books, but art is also a favorite activity. Here is a picture painted by Grandson. He knows what Grammy likes!

"MOOSE" by a favorite artist

“MOOSE” by a favorite artist!

We are thankful for the treasured blessing of our family and the sparkling times we spend together.

May you be blessed with God’s abundant treasures.

Tuesday Tea with Refuge of the Heart by Ruth Logan Herne

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015
REFUGE OF THE HEART by Ruth Logan Herne

REFUGE OF THE HEART by Ruth Logan Herne

Welcome to Tuesday Tea! Please join me for some Cinnamon Cake served with spiced cider as we chat about an amazing book, Refuge of the Heart, by Ruth Logan Herne. I was honored and blessed to read this book before its official release.

THIS IS A STUNNING BOOK! Isn’t the cover simply BEAUTIFUL?! And as much as the cover glows, the story inside is even more illuminating.

Ruth Logan Herne is a favorite author who often writes about difficult topics in her inspirational romance books, and the story in Refuge of the Heart is no exception. The horrors of war and the courage and faith necessary to survive these terrible situations are topics of this new release by Franciscan Media. (This publisher’s tag line is “Live in love. Grow in faith.”……perfect for the books they publish.)

Ruth Logan Herne’s writing touches my heart with compassion for Magdalena Serida, a struggling refugee from the war in Chechnya. Mitchell Sanderson is a District Attorney with his own sorrows to overcome, as he tries to live his Christian faith. The story is compelling, the characters engaging, and the message of faith brilliantly composed. I highly recommend this book …….which may change your heart in the same way my heart was touched……to have the courage to live my faith in a more complete way. I pray you will be blessed by this book as I have been.

Just to highlight a few of the many passages which touched my heart as I read this book:

“We move forward because we have to. Not because it is easy.”

Maybe God had put her in this place, with this church, to let her light shine unto the heavens.

“Remember to trust God’s love, his timing, his grace.”

 

ABOUT REFUGE OF THE HEART

District Attorney Mitchell Sanderson wanted for nothing and lost everything in a tragic accident. a dogged worker, Mitch’s conviction rate earned him respect and trust. Now up for reelection, Mitch’s law-and-order persona makes him a shoo-in candidate. But when faith, conscience, and love of a troubled refugee ripple the smooth waters of his existence, can Mitch risk everything for love?

Magdalena Serida fought her way out of the terrors of a government-quelled insurgent uprising in Chechnya . The church-sponsored refugee knows the horrors of war firsthand. Now in America with her five-year-old sister, Lena is uncertain who to trust. Her Christian faith has maintained her through the loss of her family, but when Mitch Sanderson shows interest, Lena longs to take a chance. Should she open herself up to this man of law and order, a man who imprisons women like her? Or slip quietly back into the shadowed fringe of anonymity?

But choices slip away when Mitch’s friend spews half-truths about Lena, rumors that cost Mitch his new love and possibly the election. Can he find his way to a faith deep enough to love again, and to offer Lena the refuge of his heart?

My review on Goodreads:

Refuge of the HeartRefuge of the Heart by Ruth Logan Herne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A heart-touching book!

My heart was so affected by Refuge of the Heart, a story filled with hope, forgiveness, and sweet romance. I loved Lena Serida from the moment she struggled with a grocery cart in a snowy parking lot. She shines as a bright light living her Christian faith to such an amazing level. Mitch Sanderson, as a tender, yet strong, trying-to-be-good man, is struggling with complex issues. His personality glows as he realizes his weaknesses and strives to become a better man. I raced to the end of this book, cheering for Mitch and Lena, as they faced many challenges they needed to overcome. In addition, there are so many wonderful characters, but Anna, Lena’s five-year-old sister, is a complete delight of positive joy….I just wanted to hug her…..and make cookies with her. Anna convicted me with the realization I can do more for children’s safety and comfort where I live.

Refuge of the Heart is a profound and thoughtful book on many levels, changing the way I look at the world and at how I live my faith. Filled with so many perfect moments of enlightenment, for both the characters and me, I highly recommend this book to all, but especially those who desire a story of amazing faith. Thank you, Ruth Logan Herne, for writing such a heart-touching book!

* I won this book, but was under no obligation to write a review. It is my honor to express my honest opinion about this book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, RUTH LOGAN HERNE: Born into poverty, Ruth Logan Herne is the mother of six and grandmother to thirteen. She and her husband, Dave, live on a small farm in upstate New York. She works full time but carves a few hours each day to write the kind of stories she likes to read, filled with poignancy, warmth, and delightful characters. She is a 2011 award winner from the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

Ruthy can be found on her website www.RuthLoganHerne.com, chatting and giving wise advice in Seekerville, or cooking up goodies at the Yankee Belle Cafe.

TODAY’S TEA TREATS

Sister Mariel is remembered in Ruth Logan Herne’s dedication of this book as a very special teacher. In the story, Sister Mariel bakes a delicious cinnamon cake for Mitch and Lena, so this seems to be the perfect treat to offer with the review of Refuge of the Heart. The characters enjoy the cake with coffee, but Mitch’s cider or a cup of tea would also go well with this snack.

Cinnamon Cake and Spiced Cider (two versions)

This is the easy version. 🙂  I was planning to bake this mix for our tea today and display a stunning, mouth-watering photo. However, it is too hot here (no air conditioning) to even think about turning on the oven, so I hope you’ll understand. Here is the photo of what I intended to mix up for you:

Easy Cinnamon Cake and Spiced Cider

Easy Cinnamon Cake and Spiced Cider

Then I also have a second version to present….a yummy sounding recipe for Cinnamon-Laced Coffee Cake from Allrecipes.com.

Cinnamon-Laced Coffee Cake

And here is my recipe for Spiced Cider:

Combine the following ingredients in a saucepan.

4 cups of cider

2 Tablespoons of brown sugar

1 stick of cinnamon

4 whole cloves

Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

Strain out the spices, then pour into 4 mugs. Float a small pat of butter (Yes, real BUTTER!) on each serving.

Thank you for joining me for Tuesday Tea. I hope you enjoyed my thoughts about this amazing story, Refuge of the Heart.

Please help yourself to a slice of cinnamon cake and a cup of cider (tea or coffee, if you prefer) and share your thoughts about this book and it’s BEAUTIFUL cover in the comments. May each of your days be filled with God’s treasured blessings!

 

 

#TUESDAYTEA with CROSSROADS author Cathy Bryant–devotional message and giveaway!

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

 

Author Cathy Bryant

Author Cathy Bryant

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.

1 Peter 3:15 KJV 

I’m delighted to welcome contemporary Christian romance author Cathy Bryant to our tea time today. Cathy has written a devotional message titled “Does God Really Exist?” to help us be ready to share God’s message with unbelievers and answer their hard questions. She also has some details about her newest book, CROSSROADS,  her upcoming Facebook party, and a recipe for crab dip. Please see the link below to RSVP for the Facebook party and join in the fun. Cathy is also offering an ebook copy of CROSSROADS. Please see the Rafflecopter entry form below.

DEVOTIONAL MESSAGE BY CROSSROADS AUTHOR CATHY BRYANT

Does God Really Exist?

Every one of the Miller’s Creek novels (Christian romance and romantic suspense) took root in my head because of a spiritual theme. The latest book CROSSROADS took on even more importance because of its theme of winning back those who have defected from the faith.

We all know someone–maybe a friend, co-worker, or even a family member–who has turned away from the faith in Christ they once professed.

During the course of the story, I tried to examine their objections to the faith as well as the tough questions we’re often asked by unbelievers. This devotional guest post attempts to answer one of the most frequent questions: Does God really exist?

Not at all for the sake of argument, I hope instead that my research on this topic provides each of us with answers we need to “…make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15).

Proof of God – Man’s Innate Moral Code

Within each of us is a universal moral code that exists despite differences in culture, socioeconomic status, and upbringing.

Think about it for a second. Every person, regardless of whether they are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or where or how they grew up, have a sense of right and wrong behavior. Though we don’t always live by this unwritten code of ethics, we can attest to it. We all have a sense of fairness or justice that’s somehow embedded deep within us.

So where does this ethical or moral code come from? Does it originate with man? Hardly.

The very fact that men are incapable of keeping this code proves that it originates outside of us. Therefore it can only be assumed that Someone or Something bigger than us created the code or at least created us with the code buried deep within the fiber of our being.

To me, this is evidence exhibit number one in the case for God’s existence and superiority to mankind.

Proof of God – Creation

Another proof lies in Creation itself. And no surprise, but this very point is illustrated and confirmed in God’s Word.

The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world. -Psalm 19:1-4 (NASB)

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. -Romans 1:20 (NASB)

Notice that the heavens are continuing to express God’s glory and His role as Creator. And across the globe and around the planet, all men have seen it. This leaves us all without excuse.

Proof of God – Arguments and Answers

There will be those who take the position of the big bang theory and evolution as a way of denying God. My answer to either of those theories is that it takes a lot more faith to believe either one than it does to believe in the existence of God. In addition, if they’re right and I’m wrong, then I’m no worse off. However, if I’m right and they’re wrong, for them it means a life of eternal separation from the presence and power of God.

And as stated above, our evidence for God’s existence is two-fold: the moral code within each man and the glory of God’s created universe. May we equip ourselves with this Truth so we might better answer those who have tough questions.

Thank you, Cathy, for sharing your thoughts with us!

 

CROSSROADS by Cathy Bryant

CROSSROADS by Cathy Bryant

 

About the Book

CROSSROADS-a Miller’s Creek novel and Christian contemporary romance

A former soldier battles for the soul of a prodigal…

After a devastating divorce, a bitter single mom and atheist starts her own real estate company in the nostalgic and picturesque town of Miller’s Creek, Texas. Then her young daughter’s disturbing symptoms lead doctors to discover that her leukemia has relapsed. With her new life now turned upside down, Mara Hedwig struggles to keep her business afloat. And her daughter’s worsening condition forces her to rethink her beliefs about Carter Callahan and his God. Will Mara make the return to Christian faith in the face of life’s greatest challenge?

An ex-military operative struggles with the return to civilian life while coping with his rebellious teen-aged daughter. During a house-search, Carter meets Mara, a headstrong Realtor who wants nothing to do with his God. But when Mara’s little girl is diagnosed with leukemia, the clock begins ticking for him to convince Mara to return to a life of faith. Just as he seems to be making headway, circumstances beyond his control throw his efforts into a tailspin. Can Carter learn to rest in the sovereignty of God?

==========================================================================

CROSSROADS Facebook Launch Party & Kindle Fire HD6 Giveaway!

YOU’RE INVITED!

What: CROSSROADS Book Launch Party

Where: Facebook (from the comfort & convenience of your own home)

When: April 30, 2015 ~ 7:00-8:30 p.m. (Central time)

Why: To celebrate the book launch of CROSSROADS (a Miller’s Creek novel and Christian Romance by Cathy Bryant)

LOTS of Fun, Games and Prizes!

Prizes Include: Miller’s Creek pens, tote bags, t-shirts, mugs, digital books, autographed print books, Amazon gift cards, and

an Amazon Kindle Fire HD6!

Click here to RSVP and enter the Kindle Fire drawing.

==========================================================================

About Cathy Bryant

Amazon best-selling author Cathy Bryant writes Christian fiction set in the heart of Texas. Her popular romance and romantic suspense novels take place in the fictional town of Miller’s Creek, where folks are friendly, the iced tea is sweet, and Mama Beth’s front porch beckons. All the Miller’s Creek novels have been on the Amazon Best-Seller list and are rated at 4.5 stars or higher on Amazon. Her debut novel, TEXAS ROADS, was a 2009 ACFW Genesis finalist. Since then five other stand-alone novels have been added to the series, one of which was a reader-nominated 2013 Grace Award nominee (PILGRIMAGE OF PROMISE). Readers have compared her work to that of Karen Kingsbury and Nicholas Sparks.  A native Texan, Cathy currently resides in the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountains of northern New Mexico with her minister husband of over thirty years. She’s written devotions for The Upper Room devotional magazine, two devotional books in collaboration with other Christian authors, and for online sites. She also has released a Bible study book, THE FRAGRANCE OF CRUSHED VIOLETS. In addition to her writing, she enjoys thrift store shopping, romping in the great outdoors, and mini-farming. To learn more about Cathy and her books, visit her website at www.CatBryant.com or make contact with her in these places:

|Facebook| Twitter | Pinterest | GoodreadsAmazon | YouTube | Google+|

TEA TREAT RECIPE

For our tea treat, I’m serving a recipe Cathy shares with us…..Carter’s Crab Dip, which was inspired by the brawny soldier-turned-policeman and hero of CROSSROADS. He uncovers the heroine’s penchant for seafood and creates this special seafood dip for a picnic lunch the two share. Please have a cup of lemon tea, which goes wonderfully well with the crab tea sandwiches.

Crab dip served on toast triangles.

Crab dip served on toast triangles.

INGREDIENTS:

1 8-oz. cream cheese and 1 3-oz. cream cheese, softened

1 T. Worcestershire sauce

1 T. lemon juice

2 T. mayonnaise

1/2 small finely chopped white onion

1 7-oz. can of crab meat

garlic powder and salt to taste

1/2 bottle of cocktail sauce on top (can substitute Tabasco sauce if you want the heat)

fresh or dried parsley

cocktail crackers

DIRECTIONS:

1. Blend the first seven ingredients together well, and spread on a serving dish.

2. Spread the cocktail sauce on top as a sort of icing.

3. Garnish with fresh or dried parsley.

4. Chill in the refrigerator, and serve with cocktail crackers.

RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY-

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

I hope you enjoyed #TUESDAYTEA with Cathy Bryant! Please join in the fun of her CROSSROADS Facebook party on April 30.

#TUESDAYTEA with Travel & Treats!

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Just a quick post featuring some tea treats we found during our recent travels….

This cute little teapot is in a display at the Hill Air Force Museum in Utah….a little spitfire replica.

Spitfire Teapot, WW II era--Hill Air Force Museum, UT

Spitfire Teapot, WW II era–Hill Air Force Museum, UT

We had a delightful brunch at a Scandinavian cafe in Portland, Oregon, which featured these DELICIOUS aeppleskivers.

Yummy aeppleskivers served in a Portland, Oregon, cafe.

Yummy aeppleskivers served in a Portland, Oregon, cafe.

And the tea was served with this unique infuser.

Interesting tea infuser at a Scandinavian cafe.

Then we made a stop at my husband’s favorite cookie bakery, Big Moe’s, in Price, Utah. He loves their double chocolate chip cookies.

COOKIES! Double chocolate chip from Big Moe's bakery in Price, UT.

COOKIES! Double chocolate chip from Big Moe’s bakery in Price, UT.

We had a perfect trip, visiting family and going to Easter church services with four generations of my family. A very special treasured time together. And we enjoyed treats along the way. Hope your spring travels-near or far–are filled with great treats and God’s treasured blessings!

#TUESDAYTEA…just a sip with LOVINGKINDNESS.

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

This is just a quick post today, since I’m participating in #SPEEDBO, with many of you. For those who don’t know about #Speedbo, this is a writing challenge offered in SEEKERVILLE (www.seekerville.net) where writers are encouraged to set their own writing goals for the month of March. The Seekers offer advice and encouragement to those hoping to sail off Unpublished Island. Great experience!

It is well into the new year, but I wanted to share MY ONE WORD for 2015. At the beginning of the year, Seekerville suggests you choose ONE WORD to be your thought for the year. I’ve done this three years now. Past words for me have been LIGHT and HIKING. For 2015, my word is LOVINGKINDNESS. I want to live with LOVINGKINDNESS in my heart….and yes, it has already been a challenge at times, but thinking of MY word has calmed my reactions to some situations…..so this is a good word for this year.

LOVINGKINDNESS

LOVINGKINDNESS

Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.

Psalm 107:43 KJV

Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.

Psalm 63:3 KJV

Since I am writing, we’ll just have a quick snack for our tea today……a local group was selling baked goods for a good cause….Pediatric Cancer, so I picked up some perfect scones for us…and double chocolate cookies for hubby. This group of young people shows LOVINGKINDNESS through their good works for others. LOVINGKINDNESS is a treasure in our lives. Please enjoy a blueberry scone with me….and please share your thoughts on LOVINGKINDNESS or your ONE WORD for 2015. Thanks for visiting! Blessings to you!

Blueberry scone+good works=great!

#TuesdayTea and SPEEDBO!

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

WOW! It’s hard to believe we’re almost at the end of February! A busy start to the year has delayed my posts…..a delightfully busy time, filled with blessings! We had some special time with our grandchildren. My granddaughter helped make PINK Cotton Candy Cupcakes (her favorite color), and we had a lovely afternoon tea, filled with smiles and chatting. Our families are among God’s most treasured blessings!

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea

In writing news, I invite all writers to join the group in SEEKERVILLE to participate in SPEEDBO. During March, writers are encouraged to establish their own goals for the month. There are no rules and no limits. You can get more information here:  SEEKERVILLE

2015 SPEEDBO participant

2015 SPEEDBO participant

So I’m cleaning house, freezing meals, and working on an outline for my book. Then I’ll be ready to WRITE, WRITE, WRITE, in March.

I plan to make progress because of the encouraging fellowship during SPEEDBO. Hope you will join us! Do you have writing or reading plans for March?

#TUESDAYTEA for Christmas with reviews of some Christmas e-novellas

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Please join me for a Christmas tea as I serve Biscochitos with our tea. I’ve decorated our party with this year’s addition to our nativity collection, a gift from my husband. And we’ll chat about a few e-book Christmas novellas–which make quick gifts, if you need a few more ideas. Let’s celebrate!

And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11 KJV

Nativities are a passion of mine. Some sets I display throughout the year, but others come out for the Christmas season. This year we added this special treasure made by a Jemez Pueblo artist. A deer is included among the gathered animals since deer are an important animal to the pueblo. Rather than the traditional gifts, the wise men bring corn, a blanket, and a drum.

Pueblo Nativity

Pueblo Nativity

Biscochitos are the state cookie of New Mexico, traditionally served at Christmas. There are many different recipes for this cookie, which also is made in a variety of shapes. This is my mother-in-law’s recipe. She always made these for our Christmas festivities. They make lovely tea cookies.

Biscochitos Recipe 

1/2 cup shortening

2/3 cup sugar

1-1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

1 tbsp orange juice

Cinnamon-sugar mix

 

Cream sugar and shortening.

Add flour, anise seed, baking powder, and salt.

Combine egg and orange juice, then beat into creamed mixture to make a moist dough.

Form dough into a long roll, about 1-1/4 inch in diameter, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm.

Remove from the refrigerator and slice cookies 1/4 inch thick.

Sprinkle one side with cinnamon-sugar mixture, then place on a cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 12 minutes until lightly browned.

Biscochitos

Biscochitos

If you’re looking for a last minute e-gift book, I’d recommend some of the faith-filled Christmas novellas available.

The Evergreen Bride by Pam Hillman

The Evergreen Bride (12 Brides of Christmas #3)The Evergreen Bride by Pam Hillman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a delightful Christmas story!

This historical romance set in 1887 in Sipsey Creek, Mississippi, is filled with sweet love.

I liked the enthusiastic school teacher, Annabelle Denson, who is determined to fulfill her dream of a white Christmas by traveling over her holiday to visit her cousin in Chicago, Illinois.

Sawmill owner, Samuel Frazier, is my kind of hero, with his gentleness, quiet manner, and sincere desire to make Annabelle happy.

Lovely surprises and touches of a country Christmas make this novella a charming story—a perfect story to feel the warmth of Christmas love!

View all my reviews

There are twelve books in this collection of Christmas Bride novellas, each sold separately for 99 cents.

 

Hope for the Holidays-both the contemporary and historical collections by best-selling inspirational authors would be good ideas for e-stocking stuffers.

Hope for the Holiday Contemporary CollectionHope for the Holiday Contemporary Collection by Mary Connealy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a collection of great authors!

I’ve just finished I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, and I smiled through the whole story. Author Tina Radcliffe has a gift for creating heart-touching characters through sparkling dialogue. Matt and Patience discover true understanding of perfect love as they move towards their Happily Ever After. The romantic tension, the interesting plot, and the touches of Christmas make this a great feel-good romance.

I’m excited to read all the other stories in this contemporary collection, as well as the stories in the historical collection, because these are all FAVORITE authors. The HOPE FOR THE HOLIDAYS collections are just right for enjoying the sparkling spirit of Christmas!

View all my reviews

Thank you for joining me for a Christmas TUESDAY TEA! I wish you a treasured Christmas filled with the blessings of hope, faith, and love!

#TUESDAYTEA: Review of SNOWFLAKE TIARA

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Welcome!

Please join me for a #TUESDAYTEA review of Snowflake Tiara, a two-novella collection of inspirational romance by Angela Breidenbach and Valerie Comer. Since Valerie’s book features farm-fresh foods, I’m serving Christmas mini-quiches made with organic sun-dried tomatoes and locally sourced Animas River green chilies. (My recipe is below.) I’ll pour you a cup of Ginger-Cinnamon tea while we discuss Snowflake Tiara, with its two stories-The Debutante Queen by Angela and More Than a Tiara by Valerie.

 

Christmas mini-quiches (green chile and dried tomato)

Christmas mini-quiches (green chile and dried tomato)

About Snowflake Tiara

The Debutante Queen by Angela Breidenbach–1889 (Helena, MT)

Calista Blythe enters the first Miss Snowflake Pageant celebrating Montana statehood to expose the plight of street urchins. But if her hidden indentured orphan is discovered, Calista’s reputation and her budding romance with pageant organizer, Albert Shanahan, could both unravel. Will love or law prevail?

More Than a Tiara by Valerie Comer–2014 (Helena, MT)

Marisa Hiller’s interest in competing in Miss Snowflake Pageant for the city of Helen’s 150th anniversary is at zip zero zilch when she discovers the official photographer is Jase Mackie. Can Jase make amends for past mistakes and offer her, not only a tiara, but a partner in her crusade to help needy children and families? 

My review

 

Snowflake TiaraSnowflake Tiara by Angela Breidenbach

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A glittering duet of holiday romance—set 125 years apart!

Angela Breidenbach and Valerie Comer have paired together to create two different Christmas stories. Both share the setting of Helena, Montana, but Debutante Queen is historical and More Than a Tiara is contemporary. Both involve competing in pageants and providing for needy children. I enjoyed the description of life in historical Helena and the charming first Miss Snowflake Pageant details, as Calista and Albert fall in love. In the contemporary, I liked the way the relationship between Marisa and Jase was repaired and then strengthened.

The caring spirit and warm love shining from both stories, makes the sparkle of Snowflake Tiara glow! 🙂 I recommend this book to those who want to read two delightful Christmas romances.

View all my reviews

Recipe: Christmas Mini-Quiches

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Using premade pie crust, cut circles of pastry to place in tart pans or the bottom of muffin tins.

In each tart, put in a tablespoon of grated cheese (Swiss or other white cheese).

Sprinkle chopped sun-dried tomatoes and chopped green chiles in each tart.

Mix 1 cup of whipping cream with 4 egg yolks. Season with salt and pepper.

Slowly pour spoonfuls of this mixture into the tarts until filled.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes until lightly browned.

 

Since Angela’s The Debutante Queen features a gingerbread village, I’ll share you with these sweet gingerbread houses.

Gingerbread house

Gingerbread house

Thank you for joining me for #TUESDAYTEA! I wish you a sparkling Christmas season filled with God’s treasured blessings of hope, peace, and forgiveness!

And the Angel said unto them, “Fear not : For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” Luke 2:10 KJ

 

 

TUESDAY TEA-The Warrior’s Vow by Christina Rich with a giveaway!

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Please join me in my garden to discuss The Warrior’s Vow by Christina Rich. I’m serving Raisin Cake and your choice of chamomile or mint tea. Christina has generously offered to giveaway one copy of The Warrior’s Vow to one commenter! Please see the information about the giveaway at the end of this post. The cover is absolutely stunning!

 

The Warrior's Vow by Christina Rich. Please enjoy some Raisin Cake!

The Warrior’s Vow by Christina Rich. Please enjoy some Raisin Cake!

About The Warrior’s Vow:

He Was Hers to Command

Swept away from her home and into the desert, Abigail is as much a prisoner as she is a princess. A ruthlessly ambitious captain of the palace guard intends to force her into marriage and rule Judah through her. Yet the badly beaten soldier Abigail rescues offers another choice—if she dares trust him.

She is royalty, yet Jesse is surprised by the gentle compassion Abigail shows him as he heals. In return, he will help her escape to Jerusalem, protecting her life with his own. But Abigail’s rank and Jesse’s deadly past makes any future impossible, unless forgiveness forged by love can triumph over all.

MY THOUGHTS:

What an enjoyable book! It was interesting to see these delightful characters develop in their journeys toward truth and understanding.

Though romance is my favorite genre, this is the first time I’ve read a romance novel set during the historical times of the Bible. The Warrior’s Vow, by Christina Rich, brought the people of that period alive for me. It is interesting to get a sense of life during those times through the well-chosen words used by the author.

This is a well-developed story, emphasizing that the choices people make defines their characters. I enjoyed the progression of Abigail’s evolving strength, belief in God, and commitment to Jesse. Jesse is such an honorable man…my kind of hero. A great story!

After reading this book, sunrises will be even more meaningful to me. I’ll definitely be reading more books by Christina Rich. Her debut novel, The Guardian’s Promise, is on my to-be-read stack, and I will be reading it soon! I don’t think this reverse order will detracted from the stories, though characters from the first book are mentioned in the second.

My favorite quote from The Warrior’s Vow: “I cannot see the plans God has for me. All I can do is seek His guidance and trust that He is faithful in all things.”

A link to The Warrior’s Vow on Amazon

*The author generously gave me a copy of this book. This review is my honest opinion.

Now for the recipe……I did top the cake with a cream cheese frosting (mixed with a touch of honey, because that seemed fitting with Biblical foods). I put the walnuts on top rather than mixing them in with the batter. Click below to see the recipe.

Raisin Cake 

 

My husband is great help with finding recipes for me. He is my taste tester, and he gives this cake a “thumbs up.” He found this recipe at www.cookingwiththeBible.com, a site that has many interesting recipes and information about foods mentioned in the Bible. Though I picture the Raisin Cake mentioned many times in the Bible to be raisins pressed together to allow for storage, this Raisin Cake from Cooking With The Bible seems more appropriate for serving at our tea celebration.

THANK YOU for celebrating Christina Rich’s newest novel, The Warrior’s Vow, with me today on #TUESDAYTEA! Hope you try both the book and the Raisin Cake!

GIVEAWAY: To enter this giveaway for one copy of The Warrior’s Vow, please include your email address in your comment so that I can contact you about where to send the book if your name is drawn. The winning name will be drawn from the submitted names from a tea cup. The giveaway is open from July 8, 2014, until midnight on Sunday, July 13, 2014. Please check the Legal Page of this blog for the legal requirements.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, CHRISTINA!  You can read more about Christina on her blog/website.