27 January 2015

The Matchmaker By Sarah Price



The Matchmaker by Sarah Price
Realms, Feb. 3, 2015

Reviewed By Diana Flowers
~5 stars~*****
Simply Delightful Amish Fiction!

In her own distinctive voice, Sarah Price has created a wealth of memorable, delightful characters in The Matchmaker. Readers will love this unique blend of the Amish and Jane Austen's classic tale, Emma -- the story of an opinionated young lady who must learn the hard way that best laid plans may sometimes go awry. 
 
Emma Weaver's heart is in the right place in spite of her meddlesome ways. Just because she has no desire to be burdened down with a husband and children does not mean she cannot help others find their way to wedded bliss. With her smile as her armor and her laughter as her shield, she is content to help the widows in her Amish community and her aged father as well. After all, Emma feels that there is a 'lid for every pot' so to speak (except herself), and it is her place to sort all that out. However, will all of Emma's well-meaning schemes backfire on her?...and does she ever learn that matchmaking is best left in the hands of God!?
 
To be quite honest with you, before I truly "met" Emma, I wanted to shake her. Filled with pride and a judgmental attitude, I felt that the good she did came from a pious self-righteous opinion of herself. But oh, how she finally endeared herself to me as she evolved throughout the story. Sarah Price portrays the Amish as human...who make mistakes and must own up to them, unlike many other Amish novels that portray them as being "perfect." I laughed out loud at some of Emma's antics and sayings, along with the secondary characters' as well. And I shed a few tears at the satisfying conclusion. With unpredictable twists and turns that Sarah Price is so well known for, and a charming main character that is not your typical Amish heroine -- this harmonious mix of contemporary and classic is truly a "match made" in heaven!
 
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This book may be purchased through Amazon, CBD, BAM, B&N, and your local bookstore.


Giveaway: Sarah Price is generously offering a paperback copy of The Matchmaker to one blessed commenter! International entrants--ebook only!


25 January 2015

GETTING THROUGH TIMES OF TRIAL - By Bonnie Roof


On one of his CD's, Christian vocalist Clint Brown tells of reserving a certain private Lear Jet plane and receiving a different one when he arrived at the airport. Since he believed in getting what he had paid for and the plane he reserved went 15 miles faster than the one he was given - he was upset and frustrated. Later that day, he heard a news report of a private plane, having left the same airport as he -  and of the kind he had originally reserved - crashing and killing all 6 people onboard, one a well-known sports figure. Upon investigation, he verified that the plane involved was, indeed, the very plane he had originally reserved. This is an example of a seemingly minor situation which God used to protect the life of one of His followers. We never know how many small, frustrating, time consuming happenings of inconvenience in our daily lives are actually God interceding for our protection and well-being - because of His goodness and love for us, His followers.

But - have you ever gone through trial after trial and wondered if God was even hearing your prayers and cries for help??

This week I found myself reflecting on the whirlwind of sickness and death that has surrounded me since the first week of December. I came down with a bad case of the flu which left me unable to do anything for 3 weeks and giving me no time to leisurely prepare for Christmas in the way I had planned. 

In the less than 30 days since Christmas: (1) a cousin thought to be in good health, died instantly, (2) another cousin found his wife dead (a nurse, younger than I, also thought to be in good health), (3) a friend, who had accompanied me to most of my doctor appointments and tests last year during my cancer diagnosis and surgery, was diagnosed with her 2nd cancer and had part of her lung removed; after being told the surgeon had removed all of the cancer - she was told 2 weeks later (last Thurs.) that yet another tumor of a totally different kind has been found on x-rays and doctors are to keep an eye on it for 3 months, to see if it continues to grow, (4) a church friend I have known since childhood went to be checked for memory issues (and seemingly, no other issues) this past Tues., was admitted to the hospital and 48 hours later - hospice was called in; testing revealed that her breast cancer of 15 years ago (which involved a double mastectomy) had returned with a vengeance and spread throughout her body, (5) 2 other members of my church passed away, one - instantly and also thought to be in good health, (6) another friend of 35 years was diagnosed with possible lung cancer and is facing serious surgery for partial lung removal - complicated by other serious health issues. Added to the sadness of these issues are the responsibilities of helping care for my mother (who is in the early stages of Alzheimer's - no longer able to monitor her meds, doctor appointments or numerous other things of importance, my brother and I are currently attending Alzheimer's seminars to obtain necessary info on her illness), my father who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer over a year ago, my aunt who is house-bound from a stroke and hip replacement in 2013 (and for whom I serve as P.O.A.) - as well as mobility and other health issues of my own and the continuous health issues of each of my sweet "sisters" on the OWG team. How much more (?) was the thought in my mind. 



I was reminded that none of us are not only - not guaranteed tomorrow -  but not even our next breath. We are here through the goodness and love of our God - to fulfill that purpose which He predestined for each of us. It is up to us to determine and meet that purpose through a continually deepening relationship with Him and make the most of the time He has given us - reaching out to help, show love and witness to as many others as possible, taking time to enjoy relationships with family and friends, appreciate the many blessings He bestows on each of us every day (even during those times of trial), and give thanks and praise to Him.

Jesus experienced trials also - the cross was no small thing, like us - He questioned and even asked God if that trial was necessary. When we're hurting, probably one of the hardest things for us to remember is that God is going to work it out for our good - even when our trials are caused by our own foolish mistakes or someone else brings pain and hurt into our lives, we can trust God to work it out. If God loves us enough to provide for and protect us during the lesser times/things of importance in our lives, will He not also protect and provide during those serious heart-breaking times?? If we love God and truly want His will for our life, we can trust Him to bring good from it - no matter what happens to us, just as He promised. Daily, we need to believe that when we go through trials, God will work it out - again and again. It's comforting to believe that things will work out OK and it's only through the trials that we grow because we go to a deeper relationship with Him - it's our only choice if we want to make it through. We have to endure the trial and outlast satan by remaining steadfast, not giving up and focusing on the victory at the end instead of the trial.


"Looking away (from all that will distract) to Jesus, Who is the Leader AND the Source of our faith (giving the first incentive for our belief) and is also it's Finisher (bringing it to maturity and perfection). He, for the joy (of obtaining the prize) that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising AND ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God". Hebrews 12:2 (Amplified).

Have you found comfort in your trials through your belief that He would work them out to your good??

GIVEAWAY: Please comment for the opportunity to win the Overcoming With God giveaway for the week.!! 
                

22 January 2015

Noela Nancarrow reviews LOVE UNEXPECTED by Jody Hedlund

Love Unexpected (Beacons of Hope, Book One)
Bethany House Publishers (November 25, 2014)

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
5 Stars *****

 Love Unexpected’ is an enchanting historical romance that unfolds on Presque Isle, Michigan in 1859, shining a light upon the rich history of the Presque Isle Lighthouse and the woman who became a Keeper there. It’s also a captivating tale of pirates and shipwrecks, the community of a small fishing village, and finding unexpected love and hope amidst tragedy and hopelessness.

When Emma Chambers and her brother are stranded on Presque Isle, Emma finds herself penniless and homeless. A traveling preacher who has just helped the local light-keeper Patrick to bury his wife, brings the two together as the solution to the now-widowed father of a small boy, and the destitute Emma. Inexperienced Emma is suddenly mother to a strong-willed child given to tantrums, as well as a wife with no domestic skills to an imposing albeit kind man. All she had ever really wanted was to have a home and family of her own, but as Emma begins to listen to gossip and dire warnings, along with her own suspicions mounting, it seems like her life might once again become capsized.  


I was extremely impressed at how deftly the author was able to express the frustrations and other emotions of the characters. Their fears, doubts, and longing for love and acceptance squeezed and tugged at my heart. Sublimely written, the very soul of the relationship between Emma and Patrick was tender yet intense, and dripping with romantic tension. And incorporated in ‘Love Unexpected’ was possibly the finest illustration and enlightenment on the pitfalls of gossip that I’ve ever read, illuminating a snare that has damaged or sunk many a relationship. ‘Love Unexpected’ is a beautiful and intriguing story that captures the reader right from the exciting onset!
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Available for purchase at these stores and others: Amazon; CBD; Barnes & Noble; BAM, and Book Depository

GIVEAWAY: Author Jody Hedlund is generously giving away a copy of Love Unexpected to one blessed commenter!!


20 January 2015

Diana Flowers Reviews Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund

Love Unexpected

Reviewed by Diana Flowers
(No Spoilers!)
Intrigue and Romance!
In Love Unexpected, author Jody Hedlund sweeps us away to Presque Isle, Michigan -- a remote fishing village where a lighthouse is strategically placed along the craggy shoreline to warn fishermen of imminent danger, the smell of pine trees and salty fish assault the readers' senses, and dangerous pirates lurk in the cold, murky, turbulent waters of Lake Huron!
 
When Emma and her brother, Ryan, are left for dead in their fishing boat by vicious pirates, Patrick Garrity comes to their rescue. Patrick is the widowed father of a toddler and the lighthouse keeper in a remote fishing village. Ryan is taken in by a family who does not want Emma, so she accepts the most practical solution available. Patrick needs a mother for Josiah, and Emma who longs to finally have a home of her own, enters into a marriage of convenience with this seemingly God-fearing man. It is not long, however, before she begins to have dreadful misgivings. Although Emma dearly loves Josiah he is given to terrible temper tantrums, she has no domestic skills, and to make matters worse Patrick carries deep secrets involving his past. Soon Emma begins to wonder if this man she is falling for is all that he appears to be. As the gossip swirls around her as thick and dark as the turbid waters of Lake Huron, will she sink once again -- this time with no beacon of hope to light her way?
 
Jody Hedlund has written a wonderfully descriptive, fiction-based-on-fact story about lighthouses, breathtaking romance, and.....pirates? Yes, indeed! Pirates on Lake Huron is something I was not aware of and totally intensified my interest in this book...as did my love of towering, majestic lighthouses. I really enjoyed the main characters (thumb sucking Josiah was adorable in spite of his temper), but poor Emma was so na├»ve I wanted to shake her and give her a big hug at the same time. The angst and romantic tension is so palatable it'll leave your heart racing erratically...ahhh, such exquisite torture. Along with plenty of descriptive imagery, a strong message of hope and forgiveness, and a few gnarly pirates thrown in the mix!...this novel makes for a very satisfying read!
 
This book may be purchased through Amazon, CBD, and your local bookstore.
 
Thank you to Net Galley for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion.


GIVEAWAY: Author Jody Hedlund is generously giving away a paperback copy of Love Unexpected to one blessed commenter!
 

18 January 2015



Whom Shall I Fear?
Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

This is the definition of the word FEAR found in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary; FEAR verb\'fir\ : to be afraid of (something or someone) : to expect or worry about (something bad or unpleasant): to be afraid and worried. FEAR noun : an unpleasant emotion caused by being aware of danger : a feeling of being afraid: a feeling of respect and wonder for something very powerful.

Fear; a tiny four letter word that packs a powerful punch; it's an emotion we have all known since the day we were born. Did you know that fear is part of our sinful-Adam nature and NOT something that GOD wants for our lives? 2Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. If we let satan instill fear in our lives he will use it to drive out the love of GOD and to torment us. 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

If Carlton and I had given in to the fear that satan tried to spew over our lives, neither one of us would be living in the favor GOD has for us. Does satan try to make me afraid and bring all kinds of "what-ifs" to my mind? Of course he does but do I dwell on them? NO, absolutely not! A few weeks ago, I was praising GOD for all He has done for us since June, when these thoughts came to mind;
when the Children of Israel were at the Red Sea and they thought that Pharaoh was coming to take them back to Egypt they were shaking in their tracks. Even when GOD rolled back the waters and made a dry path for them to walk through I am sure there were ones that could only focus on the fact that Pharaoh was hot on their heels and there was a huge wall of water surrounding them; they couldn't see the miracle GOD was performing or the salvation that awaited them on the other side. Even after Moses told them "...Fear ye not,stand still,and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever." Exodus 14:13, I'm sure some were still blinded by their dire circumstances.

This is exactly what satan wants us to do; focus on the circumstances that surround us and not focus on the way of escape that our Great and Mighty GOD has made for us. I have made up my mind that I serve a powerful GOD that is fully in charge of my life and there is absolutely no place in my life for fear. If we give place to fear we take our lives out of GOD's hands and it's like a slap to His face. Personally I want to know that GOD is taking care of me because He has seen every aspect of my life even before I was born and He definitely has my best interest at heart!

The only part of the definition of fear I want to work in my life is "a feeling of respect and wonder for something very powerful" which is a fear of my Heavenly Father...JEHOVAH JIREH my Provider, and JEHOVAH RAPHA, my healer!

Here are some scriptures that deal with fear. Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage , fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Psalm 34:7 The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

Psalm 115:11 Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.

Psalm 118:6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear : what can man do unto me?

Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed ; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Isaiah 41:13 For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry , Abba, Father.

Hebrews 13:5-6 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have : for he hath said , I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say , The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

1 Peter 3:13-14 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled ;
~TSM~

Update on Carlton
This past week has been a roller-coaster of emotions in the Mathews' household. We went to Charleston knowing Carlton was going to have a stem cell transplant in a few days. When we got there he had blood work and a bone marrow biopsy. He signed release after release, each sounding more ominous than the previous one. There were so many things that could go wrong but in the end If all went going to plan Carlton would be in remission and cancer free for at least 2-3 years, GOD willing even longer.

During the middle of the hubbub I asked the Nurse what his numbers were and when she looked them up we were all shocked to know they had risen over 300 points in a little over two weeks. After getting his bone marrow results back it was decided the transplant had to be postponed.

The question WHY kept coming to my mind. The answer from the Lord has been more than abundantly clear...it wasn't the right time. Scripture after Scripture has been brought to my attention, to remind us that GOD hasn't forgotten what we are going through. I want you all to know we are NOT giving up on Carlton's Divine Healing...We have given this to GOD to perform a miracle in HIS time! It may be through the use of this new chemo he started last week. It may be by another way that we haven't even thought about; either way I am STANDING FIRM on all the Scripture He has brought to my mind, and the peace that only HE can give!! Thank you once again for all the support and prayers that I know are going up for Carlton.
 ~~TSM~~

16 January 2015

Caryl McAdoo--2014 OWG "The Angel's Heart" Award Recipient

Overcoming With God's 2014 Angels' Heart Award Recipient - Caryl McAdoo
Last year we began our first ever "The Angel's Heart" award, which was won by Julie Lessman. She received a custom made plaque from Nashville artist, Beverly Mayes. We began with our first set of rules for recipients, which we are refining as we go, but the main thing the winner has to have done is to have ministered to our readers and to the bloggers. That earns them an initial "You Take the Cake" award for responding to our readers and to bloggers. This past year has been a very difficult one for the OWG bloggers and we take our ministry to our readers very seriously--but we also need to be ministered to by others. The OWG staff voted and our final decision was that Caryl McAdoo had not only come by regularly to encourage our readers but also us. And she's a stellar writer.
Caryl will receive our custom-made 2014 plaque from Beverly Mayes which will also bear the inscription of "The Angel's Heart Award, 2014 from Overcoming With God blog". 

CONGRATS to CARYL!!!


BIO:

Caryl McAdoo and her husband Ron—high school sweethearts—live with four grandsons in the woods south of Clarksville, the county seat of Red River County in Northeast Texas. She enjoys four-wheeling over the 916-acre McAdoo Ranch, horseback riding, and singing the new songs God gives her. For every blessing in her life, including ten children (counting in-loves) and fourteen grandsugars, Caryl credits her relationship with the Lord, and her heart’s desire is to glorify Him.


CFP: Caryl has a SLEW of books out in 2014, including my personal favorite for 2014, Vow Unbroken.  She has two sequels to the novel now available as well as other books.

13 January 2015

Noela Nancarrow reviews BRENTWOOD'S WARD by Michelle Griep

Brentwood's Ward

Brentwood's Ward
by Michelle Griep
Shiloh Run Press: Gld edition (January 1, 2015)

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
5 Stars *****


Michelle Griep pens an exquisite Regency novel that’s set in London 1807, incorporating shades of suspense, mystery, and romance in such an atmospheric story that it gives you the impression that you’ve just fallen into another era. And much like the misty rain blanketing London, a cloak of intrigue envelops this story, wholly enticing the reader to lose themselves within.

How difficult could guarding an heiress be? Lawman Nicholas Brentwood wonders this, especially after discovering that some of his colleagues had already turned down this lucrative assignment that was handed to him. Intent on earning enough to help his ailing sister, Nicholas takes on the challenging task of protecting the beautiful, although spoilt and headstrong heiress Emily Payne, and unwittingly lands in an evolving world of mystery and murder. Nicholas was as unprepared for that, as he was with the unraveling of his heart to Emily.

Emily Payne believes her entire future depends upon the upcoming ball, where she intends to garner a husband – and she has a particular man in mind! But is her new tag-along guardian going to mess up her plans in snaring a wealthy husband? However, as the grave danger around Emily increases, this may end up being the least of her troubles!

A master at words, author Michelle Griep adeptly molds her prose to bring life to every sentence in an invigorating story that serves up scads of suspense, peril, romance, and faith. I adored the richly-crafted characters such as the extremely perceptive hero Nicholas, and the self-indulgent Emily that has a penchant for hats, and found that these two inspired the most delightful dialogue. Woven throughout and tying this novel together, were the heartening messages on building trust and developing more positive attitudes in spite of circumstances, knowing that God is in charge.

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Purchase 'Brentwood's Ward' here: Amazon; CBD; Barnes & Noble; BAM; Book Depository..

GIVEAWAY: A $10 Amazon gift card will be given away to one blessed commenter!

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