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!
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.
Fortunately, the restaurant was still serving a delicious prime rib dinner…an unexpected romantic meal after our stressful travels.
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)
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,
*Comments are appreciated and will appear after moderation. I apologize for delays.
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.
NOW LET’S CHAT ABOUT THE BOOK!
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.
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
1 cup white chocolate baking chips
Whisk together then stir into dough:
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,
*Comments are appreciated and will appear after moderation. I apologize for delays.
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.
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.
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)
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,
*Your comments are appreciated and will appear after moderation. I apologize for delays in posting responses.
Thank you for stopping by to sip tea, enjoy a treat and chat about Make-Believe Beau by Keli Gwyn. I found this August Love Inspired Historical release to be an entertaining visit to Placerville, California, during an interesting time period. The romance is sweet and the faith element provides an important reminder of forgiveness.
Today I’m serving Lemon Bars as served by the Gold Country Confections shop in this story. So please help yourself to a lemon bar, while I pour your choice of iced or hot lemon tea. We’re ready for a celebration of the end of summer as we review Make-Believe Beau.
What an entertaining story with an intriguing mix of history and romance!
In 1874, draftswoman Jessica Sinclair is a self-sufficient lady with a challenging new position in a male-dominated workplace. Determined engineer Flynt Kavanaugh is her hardworking and fair-minded boss. Both have secrets concerning their earlier situations, providing an interesting story as they try to keep the past hidden and try to be convincing in their pretend courtship.
Jessica warmed my heart with her attitude of believing the best of others and with her cheerful, courageous personality. I found myself sympathizing with Flynt as he struggles with his convictions and his attraction to Jessica. He thought he had his life well-planned until he becomes Jessica’s boss and pretend beau. It’s great fun to watch this couple navigate the awkward situation imposed on them as they try to understand each other and overcome past issues.
Author Keli Gwyn brings the historical setting of Placerville, California, to life as details of constructing the actual El Dorado Canal and of life in the charming town are sprinkled throughout the book. One of my favorite nostalgic scenes is of the couple during a roller-skating activity…very realistic. Most importantly, the romance builds with sweetness and the faith thread is touching, with many takeaways expressed perfectly. If you enjoy history mixed with the romance of an interesting couple, I think you’ll truly enjoy Make-Believe Beau.
“The Lord’s gifted you with a remarkable voice. It’s my belief that when He gifts us, He does so in the hope that we’ll share what we’ve been given with others.”
“Everyone bore stains of one kind or another. That was why the Lord had come. To pay the price for the mistakes of mankind. Through His sacrifice on the cross, He’d cleansed her.”
*I won a copy of this book with no requirement to write a review. It’s a pleasure to post my honest opinion of this book.
TEA TREAT RECIPE:
This is my mother’s recipe for Lemon Bars…a perfect end-of-summer treat with iced or hot lemon tea.
1 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour
Set aside 1 cup of this mixture, then pat the remaining mixture into the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
In a large bowl, beat 4 eggs until fluffy. Mix in 2 cups sugar, 6 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon lemon rind, 1 teaspoon baking powder and 4 tablespoons flour. (At high altitudes, use 6 tablespoons of flour.) Pour over the baked crust…no need to cool, then top with the reserved 1 cup of crumb mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. When cool, sprinkle with additional powdered sugar. Cut into squares.
“…Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…” Isaiah 1:18 (KJV)
We thank you for sending Your Son to wash us clean from our sins so we may live in your treasured forgiveness. Bless author Keli Gwyn as she writes stories to bless readers by spreading Your message of forgiveness and hope.
In Jesus’ name, Amen
You can learn more about author Keli Gwyn (and find tidbits about her writing journey) at her charming Victorian website: KELI GWYN
Thank you for stopping by for #TuesdayTea. May your end-of-summer days be filled with God’s treasured gifts!
Welcome to a HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAYcelebration for Back In the Saddle, by Ruth Logan Herne!!! This is the launch day for this newest book by a favorite author, so we’re celebrating with a tea from my favorite tea shop!
Ruthy’s newest book is a delight…full of handsome cowboys, strong family bonds, and sweet romance. Prepare to swoon as you take a look at this cover.
And the scenery is sigh-worthy, too. Washington is a beautiful state, especially the central valley setting of Back in the Saddle. Peaceful orchards dot the hillsides, amid ranches and small towns, with veggie farms tucked here and there. A very pleasant place to spend some time as you get to know the Stafford family of the Double S Ranch in Gray’s Glen.
BLURB for Back in the Saddle (Double S Ranch Book 1)
THE PRODIGAL is COMING HOME…..
It’s been a long time since Colt Stafford shrugged off his cowboy legacy for shiny Manhattan loafers and a promising career on Wall Street. But when stock market manipulations leave him financially strapped, the oldest son of legendary rancher Sam Stafford decides to return to the sprawling Double S ranch in Gray’s Glen, Washington. He’s broke, but not broken, and it’s time to get his legs back under him by climbing into the saddle again.
He doesn’t expect to come home to a stranger pointing a loaded gun at this chest–a tough yet beautiful woman Sam has hired as the house manager. Colt senses there’s more to Angelina Morales than meets the eye, and he’s determined to find out what she’s hiding…and why.
Colt’s return brings new challenges. Younger brother Nick, who’s long been Sam’s right-hand man, isn’t thrilled when Colt inserts himself into Double S affairs. And the ranch’s contentious relationship with the town’s people forces all the Stafford men to reconsider what it truly means to be a neighbor. As Wall Street recovers, will Colt succumb to the call of the financial district–or stay in the saddle for good?
Filled with humor, warm characters, and western wisdom, Back in the Saddle is an uplifting story of strong family bonds and of a couple discovering their relationship within a legacy of hard work and commitment.
Reading Back in the Saddle takes you out West…the West of today, with life around a modern ranch, with small town interactions and community problems, and with real-life cowboys who are dedicated and ruggedly handsome. This is a story about family…..the hurts, the mistakes, the understanding, and the love that weave through the bonds of family. Sam Stafford, the strong-willed patriarch of his family of three sons, is the owner of the Double S Ranch, located in the beautiful central valley area of Washington State. Oldest son, Colt, has returned home after his high-powered New York City financial career faced a major setback. Colt finds a perplexing and outspoken woman, Angelina Morales, running the ranch house and caring for his ailing father.
I loved every page of this book as Colt and Angelina strive to do the right thing for those they care for and as they struggle with their deepening attraction. Forgiveness and faith play a vital role in their decisions, as this prodigal son returns home and finds the place for his heart. Written with just the right pace, from a heart-stopping “click” at the beginning, with continually escalating tension, then building to plenty of excitement towards the end, and finally a tear-inducing last scene…..I truly enjoyed every moment of Back in the Saddle.
*I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book. It is a pleasure to post my honest review.
A FEW FAVORITE QUOTES FROM BACK IN THE SADDLE:
“This is, I think, our juncture. A time of looking back and moving forward. For some reason we are here, at this place, in these moments. God provides and we partake. Or we mess up.”
“Because that’s what neighbors do. They help each other.”
“For the first time in a long time, I had to put my trust in something other than myself.”
Now for a special treat. In Back in the Saddle, Angelina is the house manager, cooking for the family and ranch hands. One of the delights she serves is her own special Cherry Cake. Ruthy puts this recipe in the back of the book and also gave it out during post at the Yankee-Bell Café. She said I may share it with you, my #TuesdayTea readers. Click here for Angelina’s Cherry Cake recipe! Rather than the layer cake topped with whipped cream frosting Angelina uses, I decided to bake the recipe as cupcakes, with a simple sweet glaze, for our #TuesdayTea treat. I hope you enjoy!
Angelina’s mother, Isabo, previously lived in Seattle. I’m sure she enjoyed afternoon tea at the very popular Seattle tea shop, Queen Mary Tea Room. My daughter-in-law introduced me to this charming shop. If you are celebrating an event (birthday, contest entry, book published, job promotion, anything), you’re given a glittering tiara to wear while having tea. And you know how much I like my sparkles! The afternoon tea is amazing…..simply perfect! Click here to visit the Queen Mary Tea Room. For our tea today, I’m serving their Cherry Marzipan green tea….perfect with the cherry cupcakes, don’t you think?
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32 (KJV)
You know Ruthy so well and have blessed her with gifts beyond measure. Please continue to place the perfect words on her heart to reach others with Your Word as she writes of forgiveness and redemption. Thank you for giving her the spirit to inspire and encourage others….in so many ways. We ask for her continuing success as an author and as a generous faith-filled servant. Please bless all Christian writers as they spread the hopeful message of Your Word.
We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
SOME EXCITING NEWS: There will be two more Double S Ranch books featuring the other brothers. The next will be middle son Nick’s story and the last will be about Trey, the youngest, a country and western music star. Fun to anticipate! I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know the Stafford family and the Gray’s Glen area of Washington as much as I did.
Thank you for joining me for #TuesdayTea. May you be blessed with an abundance of God’s treasured blessings!
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.
We had a delightful brunch at a Scandinavian cafe in Portland, Oregon, which featured these DELICIOUS aeppleskivers.
And the tea was served with this unique infuser.
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.
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!