Flopping in the wind…

Today as I was waiting for my turn to pull out into traffic, I looked to the side of the van and noticed a butterfly flopping in the wind. It must have gotten injured on a bypassing car, but it kept trying to fly, in spite of the injury. It had purposeful movements, and I was tempted to get out and try to help it, but resisted.

As I watched it struggle, I was reminded of  the many pictures this could portray for us, in our lives and more particularly, my own life. 

This past weekend, I went to a writing retreat. I spent some time reflecting on my writing journey, my life and the future. There are so many things that frustrate, excite and yet also frighten me to my very core. I was reminded when I started to get frustrated with myself, that I was actually just beginning this journey. I know my road is going to be filled with lots of “cars” I am going to be bounced off of, and left floundering on the ground, struggling to fly, like the butterfly. 

 

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Some of the lovely people I spent the weekend with at the writing retreat. 

I know that also, it is going to be filled with other humans that will pick me up in an attempt to be encouraging. There will also be the times they will hurt me without meaning to as well. 

Today, I got two encouraging notes sent to me. They both came at a time when I really needed them.  One of the notes, let me know that my journey is not one I should be giving up on. It is a path that I am meant to be on and there is a purpose to it. 

I have a long way to go before my fiction that I want to write is publisher worthy, and every year, the book publishing business looks different. However, I am realizing that I am determined. I am not going to let being blown by the wind all over the road, after being knocked down by fast moving vehicles on the road of life, I will get up, and keep flying. 

 

I don’t know what knocked you down this week, and has left you reeling and flapping all over the road, but I will just encourage you. Let the hard things in your day make you better. Work to let them refine you and maybe write a book about the hard things. After all, remember the people in your life that are not the nicest give you great characters for stories. 

(See, there is always a silver lining in everything!)

I know that the poor butterfly likely didn’t live much longer after I saw him, but I am thankful that I was able to see it and learn a lesson from his short life. 

Have a wonderful day! 

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Tide Will Tell by Lesley McDaniel

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

Book description (from cover):
She’s been running, but the truth is bent on finding her…

Once a teenage runaway, Kate Jennings is finally getting her life together. She’s moving to picturesque Shaw Island, Washington to marry the man of her dreams—billionaire Chase Cole. Chase is everything she could want in a man. He’s handsome, smart, and funny…so what if he’s thirty years her senior? The only trouble is, the media won’t put to rest the disappearance of his previous wife. For Kate, the rumor that he might have had something to do with it pales in comparison to the dangerous past she’s on the run from. With Chase’s financial resources, she can stay safe. And alive.

Josh Collins thought he was visiting Shaw Island for a relaxing weekend with friends. Until he met beautiful, mysterious Kate, the unlikely fiancée of a notorious billionaire who’s old enough to be her father. Josh feels drawn to protect this woman from the loveless marriage she’s careening toward and the deadly secret she’s refusing to reveal.

Will real love find them in time to save her?

My Review:
Are you looking for a great mystery with lots of twists and turns, but don’t want it to be too long? Pick up this one by Lesley McDaniel. She does a great job sucking you into the story and you won’t want to put it down, until you have figured it out.
I have friends that live on Shaw Island, so it especially fascinated me since it is not as commonly know as some of the islands off the WA coast.

I found as with Lesley’s other books, she manages to tell a great story in the time she has or the pages she has. This story will not only make you want to solve the mystery, but you may also want to visit Shaw Island. Who knows? Maybe you will discover true love there as well? =)

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Preparation for Week #1 of school and the first day pictures!

I did not feel ready to start school really, but jumped in with both feet. I guess since I am going away for a week in Sept. and I know I will want to be done in April again with MFW, I was ready to go. 

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I bought a laminator last year, but was not able to get the laminating sheets until this year. What fun! This is something I am looking forward to using a lot! 

I laminated math drill sheets, check list charts and am ready to go when it comes to that. 

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I set up three different book baskets for the younger three children. The youngest one has several books that are more just empty books to encourage more reading, under his reading level as well as some above his level, but just trying to get more and more reading practice in. 

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Since we are working out of the living room most of the winter, I wanted to avoid the piles of books that end up all over the place. These are baskets where they will keep, not only their book basket books, but some of their workbooks as well, so they don’t get lost or so I am hoping. 

P1070988 My basket for my My Father’s world set of core books. We are doing 1850’s- Modern times this year and I am very excited about it. The book baskets are full of great literature, movies, and audio books to listen to. 

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The first day has arrived and while the boys are sleepy, we sing “What a friend we have in Jesus”. I am always so amazed at the absolutely horrible lives many of the hymn writers had. I am not sure that I would have reacted like they did. 

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Math drills and schedules all laid out ready for my students. 

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Here they are, hard at work. My oldest is not starting yet, because  number one, we don’t have all his stuff together yet, and number two, he is finishing up a job on a pole barn he is building. My second son joined him after lunch, and school was completed. 

IMG_1972 They have been working hard, but this nasty scrape was some of the evidence of the hard work they have been putting in. They are really tan as well! 

One day down, and many more to come! We are missing a few things still that will come in later this week and the computer for the boys was broken, so we are doing math review for two weeks or so, which from the morning we had over math, I think we need it. 

I am going to be working on personal finance, adding fractions and review of the basics with them for two weeks. 

 

 

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Summer days, school prep and other topics

This summer has been full of good times and as it is coming to an end, I am starting to think about school preparation and slightly freaking out!

I have been doing a bit of reading recently as you can see from some of the reviews I have posted!

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P1070891These are a few pictures of our visit to the water slides!

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Then we participated in a street basketball tournament this last week.

P1070934 P1070935 P1070936 P1070931 P1070932 P1070933 P1070929 It was a lot of good fun!

I also had a lot of work that I did with a breastfeeding event as well for World Breastfeeding week.

P1070880 P1070881 P1070882 We had play dough for the kids to play with!

This was a picture of our booth.

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We had a lot of fun! But it was a lot of work. I am hoping it helps generate some more awareness and education about doulas!

 

So, now, it is better for me to start with school preparation, it is really the last thing I really want to do, but I have to do that!

 

 

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Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Thomas

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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Book Description:
It’s 1954 and Perla Long’s arrival in the sleepy town of Wise, West Virginia, was supposed to go unnoticed. She just wants a quiet, safe place for her and her daughter, Sadie, where the mistakes of her past can stay hidden. But then drought comes to Wise, and Perla is pulled into the turmoil of a town desperately in need of a miracle.

Casewell Phillips has resigned himself to life as a bachelor…until he meets Perla. She’s everything he’s sought in a woman, but he can’t get past the sense that she’s hiding something. As the drought worsens, Perla’s unique gift divides the town in two, bringing both gratitude and condemnation, and placing the pair in the middle of a storm of anger and forgiveness, fear and faith.

My Review:

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I picked up this book. It was a new author to me, and Ms. Thomas tells a tale full of forgiveness. That is the best way to describe this book, it has a theme of forgiveness all through it. It is not just the main characters, but everyone learns that they have to forgive in some way or another in this book.
I found the history of the drought, the lack of food, water and how the town worked to pull together very unique, but the prejudices of the 1950’s something that somehow never really goes far away.

I was reminded today while reading the chapter in Hebrews of the heroes of the faith, and realized that almost every one of them had some major sins in their pasts. I was reminded of this again while reading this book, and realized that it is true that if we want to judge another, let those that are without sin first cast a stone. We all have shortcomings and sins. Some of them appear worse than others, and there are unrepentant ones (which was also discussed in this this book), but we all have them.

I felt like this unique book really drove a point home without pounding you over the head with it. The sweet, realistic romantic story of two people that learn to love and forgive themselves and each other during a dry season, was lovely to read and I savored every word.

This book was given to me for review by NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers. The thoughts contained herein are solely my own.

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Second Chance Cafe by Brandy Bruce

My Review:

When Ethan Carter comes into the ER, Isabella finds herself attracted, but aloof.  But then he pursues her in the sweetest way, with chocolate croissants and yummy food, she finds herself weakening!

This story is short and sweet as it is a short Heartsong book. That does not mean that it doesn’t have some great lines in it! I found myself enjoying the Italian family storyline, as I come from a large Italian family myself. Family gatherings are loud and crazy!

I could tell she did some research when it came to the medical parts of the book, and I really appreciated that. As someone that educates others on breastfeeding and preemies especially, I wish that part would have been a little more accurate, but it was not the main focus of the book, so it was not distracting.

The food descriptions alone will make your mouth water and want to get busy in the kitchen, or at least find a sweet cafe to visit.

This was a sweet, short romantic story, without anything adult related, if you are okay with some romance, it would be okay for a teen read.

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

 

 

and the book:

 

Heartsong Presents/Love Inspired (July 2014)
***Special thanks to the author for sending me a review copy.***

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Visit the author’s website.

Brandy Bruce was scribbling stories in spiral notebooks by the age of 12. Her love for books never left her. She graduated from Liberty University, married the one person she could never get enough of, then started working as a book editor for a publishing house. Brandy and her husband, Jeff, live in Colorado with their two children. She can be reached through her blog at http://www.brandybruce.blogspot.com.BrandyBruce

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:
ISABELLA ROMANO HAS GIVEN UP ON LOVE

Between her demanding work as a nurse and her father’s poor health, Isabella has no time for distractions. So when a handsome firefighter practically falls at her feet, she keeps him at arm’s length. But Ethan Carter is determined to win her over.Orphaned at a young age, Ethan longs for a family of his own—and he’s sure Isabella is his match. But when he opens a café near his firehouse, Isabella is less than thrilled. She knows firsthand the strain of being a restaurant owner, and she wants no part of that life. Can Ethan convince the busy nurse they can overcome any obstacle and have their happily ever after together?

Product Details:

List Price: $4.99

Publisher: Heartsong Presents/ Love Inspired

Language: English

ISBN-13: 978-0-373-48719-6

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Chapter One
“Okay, people. We’ve got a firefighter with possible fractures and trauma to the spine. ETA is five minutes.”
Nurse Isabella Romano’s ears perked up and her pulse quickened. The mood in the emergency room shifted to one of controlled urgency. Isabella slipped on gloves and followed the attending physician, Dr. Nichols, to the Denver Health Medical Center’s ER entrance. Sirens rang out in the distance, and within minutes, the familiar sight of flashing lights sped toward them.
The back doors of the ambulance flew open and the paramedics jumped out. “Male, late twenties, fell from second-story landing to first floor and landed on his back. Multiple burns on his arms and a laceration on his right thigh. Hypotensive. Tachycardic. We administered one liter of saline through an 18 gauge IV in his left AC. Patient has maintained a pulse ox of 96 percent on 10L of oxygen via facemask.”
Isabella grabbed the left side of the stretcher, helping push the gurney to trauma room 1. At the sound of a low moan, she looked down at the firefighter strapped to the backboard. A neck collar kept him immobile and an oxygen mask covered his mouth.
“What’s his name?” Isabella called out to the EMT across from her.
“Ethan Carter. Company 51. Those guys will be filling up the waiting room as soon as they clear the scene.”
“Ethan, I’m Isabella. Can you hear me?”
His gaze met hers and Isabella could see his intense pain.
“Ethan, you’re going to be okay. We’re going to take good care of you.”
“Okay, everyone, on three,” Dr. Nichols ordered.
Everyone stopped what they were doing at Dr. Nichols’s instruction and lifted the backboard with Ethan on it, transferring him and the backboard to the hospital bed. He moaned. “We’re going to need 50 mcg of fentanyl,” Dr. Nichols called out. Maggie, one of Isabella’s colleagues, began cutting off Ethan’s burned clothing.
“Let’s get some X-rays, Isa,” Dr. Nichols stated. “I want a CT scan. His thigh obviously needs stitches.”
“I’m on it,” Maggie said as she inspected the burns on Ethan’s arms. Isabella moved to order the X-rays but Ethan reached out for her. She stepped back toward him, preparing to explain to him that she’d be back and he was going to be all right. But the look in his blue eyes stopped her. He tried to reach for his oxygen mask, but Isabella shook her head.
“No, don’t move,” she said; then pulled away his mask for a moment.
“Don’t leave me,” he said, his voice dry and raspy. Isabella was pretty sure that even covered in dust and blood, with a brace around his neck, he was the most attractive man she’d ever seen. Her heart tugged. In that moment, he just seemed so alone.
She replaced his oxygen. “I have to go for a minute, Ethan, but I’ll be coming right back. And we’ll get through this together. I know you’re scared and I know you’re hurting. But it’s going to be okay.”
He just stared at her, his eyes pleading for her to stay. Isabella couldn’t help it; she reached down and brushed his brown hair from his forehead.
“I promise I’ll be back,” she told him.Ethan Carter’s eyes fluttered open and then shut again quickly.
Who in the world turned on that blinding light?
He could hear a voice, someone saying his name. He turned his head to the side.
What happened?
He heard that voice again, saying his name. Then it came back to him, playing through his mind like a movie reel. The house fire. The roaring sound of the blaze. The sensation that he was falling. The impact of the ground floor. The rush into the ER.
“Ethan?”
He opened his eyes and blinked, trying to focus on the woman’s face in front of him.
“Hi there,” she said. “It’s nice to see you again.”
He blinked again. “Nurse . . .”
“Isabella. We met under rather tragic circumstances, I know.”
She was teasing. He could hear it in her voice. Now that he could focus on her clearly, he remembered seeing her in the ER.
“Isabella,” he repeated. Dressed in blue scrubs, she stood next to the bed, her brown hair tied back in a knot. She smiled down at him and Ethan felt better at the sight of her smile. She checked the monitors, her eyes darting toward the door of the hospital room.
“Did they get the family out of the house?” Ethan asked. Isabella nodded.
“Yes. One of the other firefighters—I think his name was Blake—told me to let you know that everyone made it out safely.”
“Except me, I guess,” Ethan said grimly. But Isabella’s smile didn’t fade.
“C’mon, tough guy. You’ve got this.”
Ethan studied her warm smile and playful tone. “You’re right,” he conceded. “God was watching over me in that burning house. He won’t abandon me now.”
She blinked in surprise at his statement. “I suppose He was,” she agreed.
“When can I go home?” Ethan asked.
“I’m not sure,” Isabella answered. “Dr. Nichols will be here any minute to talk to you,” she said.
“Can you stay?” Ethan asked immediately. Her face softened.
“Sure, if you want me to. Is there anyone you want me to call for you? The guys from the firehouse were here all night, off and on, in the waiting room. There are a few guys out there now. They can come in as soon as Dr. Nichols speaks to you.”
Ethan nodded. “Thanks. But there’s no one else for you to call.”
Isabella frowned. “Your family?”
Ethan just shook his head, turning his attention to the gauze covering his forearms. “There’s no one. Just the guys.” He hoped she’d drop the topic. He hated the pitiful looks he got whenever he explained to people that other than a few distant relatives out in California, he had no one. It was part of why he’d joined Company 51. A whole firehouse with the brothers he’d never had. He wondered if the chief was in the waiting room.
The door slid open and a doctor wearing black rimmed glasses and holding a clipboard walked in. He looked to be in his mid-forties.
“Good morning, Ethan. How are we feeling today?”
We? I have a feeling you’re doing a lot better than I am, doc.
“I’m hurting, but I’m guessing that medication is dulling the real pain.”
Dr. Nichols nodded. “You had a bad fall, Ethan. You know that. There were second degree burns on your arms, and a gash on your thigh that took about twenty stitches. You lost some blood, but we’ve given you IV fluids and you’re vitals have stabilized. You’re pretty banged up and bruised all over, but unfortunately, your back took the impact of the fall.”
Ethan’s chest constricted with fear.
“How bad is it?”
Isabella stepped closer to his bedside.
“It could have been worse. You have a lumbar—lower back—spinal fracture. The X-ray showed an L4 compression fracture. The positive aspect of this is that you still have good movement and feeling. Also, there doesn’t seem to be any neurological damage.”
“Do I need surgery?” Ethan asked.
“I don’t think so. The X-rays indicate a clean fracture. I’m going to recommend we move forward with outpatient treatment. But you’ve got a long, arduous healing journey ahead of you.”
“How long until I can be back on active duty?”
Dr. Nichol’s eyebrows furrowed. “The spine is a tricky thing, Ethan. And everyone heals at a different pace. You’re going to need rest, pain medication, lots of therapy, a back brace—”
“How long?” Ethan insisted.
“We’re talking months, Ethan. And that’s assuming that everything heals as it should. While in a few weeks you’ll be able to continue with most day-to-day activities, I don’t see you going back to active duty for probably six months. It could be less; it could be more. Perhaps they can transfer you to a desk job until you’re ready. After a few weeks of therapy we could reevaluate and consider light duty. But as of right now, your life is going to look different. You need to understand and accept that. Your priority needs to be healing properly.”
Months? Desk job? Light duty? Ethan tried to swallow the boulder in his throat.
“But, eventually, I’ll be back to normal. I’ll be able to be on active duty, right?” Ethan pressed. Dr. Nichols folded his arms across his clipboard.
“If all goes as it should, I think you’ll make a full recovery. But as I said, this is going to be a one-day-at-a-time healing process. We’ll start with rest. I want you on complete bed rest for the next few days. No strenuous activity. We’ll fit you for a back brace, which I want you to wear for six to eight weeks. We’ll do an X-ray after six weeks and see if the bone has healed. Then, once the bone has healed, you’ll need to begin physical therapy.”
Ethan took a deep breath. He felt a soft hand squeeze his arm and he looked up at Isabella.
“Hey, it’s going to be okay,” she said, her voice encouraging. “You’re here, you’re alive, you can walk—those are all good things.” He stared at her, trying to hold on to the sense of calm emanating from her.
She’s right, Father, he prayed. But what am I going to do for months if I’m not fighting fires? And what if ‘the healing process’ doesn’t go as it should and I can’t go back? Company 51 is all I have.
That last thought was too much. Ethan felt tears welling up in his eyes. He blinked fast to keep them at bay, mortified that he might cry in front of this nurse who not only was kind and smart and had a great sense of humor, but also looked stunning in blue scrubs.
I will never leave you.
The words were just a whisper in his heart, but they were enough. He clung to them. It had only been six months since one of his brothers at the firehouse, Caleb, had lead Ethan to Christ. Six months of a changed life. He still struggled to accept that God loved him like a father. That he could turn to God at any time. But it got easier. Accepting Christ as his Savior had filled Ethan with something he’d known was missing since childhood. Now he treasured that faith more than anything else.
Ethan closed his eyes.
I have You, Father. Whatever comes, I have you. Help me through this.Isabella watched as Ethan closed his eyes. His lips moved silently, and she knew without a doubt that he was praying. She looked over at Dr. Nichols who stood waiting without a word. Prayers were common things in the hospital. Sometimes people cried out loudly for help. Sometimes it was a desperate whisper. And sometimes, like now, it was a silent request. She’d seen people blame God. She’d seen them beg for His comfort. She’d even seen them try to barter for what they wanted.
Isabella wondered which one Ethan was doing now.
She also considered the fact that without all the dust and blood, Ethan Carter was even more attractive than she’d found him to be in the ER.
He had no family to call. That’s odd. The firefighters have filled up the waiting room, of course. But no one else. No relatives. No girlfriend. No one.
Isabella stared at the handsome firefighter’s brown hair and dark brown eyebrows. His sturdy jaw and those lips. She watched him pray. She wasn’t sure if it was appropriate to think so or not—but the fact that he was praying made him even more attractive.
I was wrong. He’s not completely alone. He has faith.
Ethan drew a breath and opened his eyes. He looked at Isabella before turning his attention to Dr. Nichols.
“Okay, what’s my next step, doc?”
.

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In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

Sundin - In Perfect Time

Book Description: (From cover)

Bold, sophisticated, and flirtatious, Army Air Force flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she flies, leaving men pining in airfields all across Europe. So how can ruggedly handsome C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper be all but immune to her considerable charms? In fact, he seems to do everything he can to avoid her.

Still, as they cross the skies between Italy and southern France, evacuating the wounded and delivering paratroopers and supplies, every beat of their hearts draws them closer to where they don’t want to go. Can they confront the fears and misunderstandings in their pasts?

Sarah Sundin seamlessly weaves together emotion, action, and sweet romance into a tale that transcends time and calls us to believe in the power of love.

My Review:
I can never pick up a Sarah Sundin book without expecting something great! She takes characters that are imperfect, with flaws, and tells a story that almost everyone can relate to. They have pain in their pasts, they make mistakes or don’t believe they are worth more than what they already have to offer. She takes their stories and shows how God believes they are worth more than that.
She works the story, with the history of the time so that you learn a ton of history without realizing it. I have never been disappointed yet with a Sarah Sundin book and I know you will not be either.

I really related with Roger more than Kay, in this book, which is unusual for me, but Ms. Sundin captured the essence of someone that has a lot of talent, but has believed for so long they are not capable of reaching those dreams, that they just gave up.

You will want to read this book if you love historical fiction, and if you don’t love historical fiction, you have to try her books, because you will fall in love!

As far as if you are looking for a historical read for your teen, because Ms. Sundin does address some issues in her books, including the fact that Kay portrays herself as a flirt and “loose”, leads to some less than savory encounters which would need to be discussed with your teen if she reads it. I think it could be a great learning experience, both because of the history, but also in discussing how our parents words really can effect us in our lives. This story addresses a hard topic of how parents need to believe in their children and say encouraging words to build their children up to give them the best advantage in life.

So, in conclusion…don’t wait to buy this book! Head out and buy it now, and pick up her others if you haven’t read them either! I aim to own every book she writes!

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