26 March 2017

Praying for One -- Bo Chancey Visit by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Rev. Bo Chancey & daughter
Our pastor, Rev. Larry Jones, at Northside Christian, has been doing a church-wide commitment to "Praying for One," an evangelical concept written about by Rev. Bo Chancey in his book of the same name.  What I was really wanting to blog about for some time has been on the notion of reciprocity, and I may still blog on that later, but the thing is -- when you're praying for one and outreaching to the lost, that's when notions of reciprocal treatment are set aside. Yes, I believe that in friendships, in relationships among believers, that something asking you to "do a favor" (and I get these requests all the time as I am sure many of you to, too) yet that same favor-asker never or rarely returns the favor, then they really aren't in relationship with you -- they  are simply abusing your goodwill. And that is not a Love Thy Neighbor moment, is it?

But let's go with the concept of Praying for One, reaching out to the lost. This is evangelism as its simplistic best. Trying to draw the unsaved to the Lord via a relationship that reflects His love. And that means setting aside SELF. Yes, I capitalized it because we can make SELF our GOD.  Another blog post there brewing, about narcissism. In any event, Pastor Chancey spoke with us about the simple message of God. Jesus loves us! Jesus loves you! He wants to meet your needs through His children, which is us. This isn't a reciprocal relationship at all. This is a conduit of God's love, via you, to someone who needs the Lord.

As we were leaving today, I got to greet Rev. Chancey (and his darling daughter!) and I got to share with him the special person God put on my heart to pray for, in my Pray for One, and the difference it has made. Yes, I got a little tearful. I'm so grateful that in this simple "focus upon" a special person who needed to be drawn back to Jesus, that we had results and I pray that continues.

How about you? Do you have people who need to know about God's love? Can you Pray for One?

GIVEAWAY: A copy of Bo Chancey's Pray for One in ebook or paperback (paperback USA only).

Pray for One is available for purchase on Amazon.

21 March 2017

Giveaway & Audiobook Review of Julianna Deering's "Rules of Murder"

Rules of Murder -- Brilliance Audio
by Julianna Deering

Five Stars ***** 

Get Reading the Drew Farthering Series!!!
Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels
I listened to this novel as a download from Audible.com. This is the first inspirational murder mystery story in the series. I can hardly wait for more to come out on audiobook!

What a delight! Wonderful narrator. Wonderful story and characters! Wonderful voice! This is a male POV from hero's perspective book, which is different but it works and for those readers out there who have been decrying the mainly heroine dominated POV books out there in CBA fiction, there will be cheers!

Drew is a wonderfully well-fleshedout and likable hero. He has his hands full -- both with his estate and with. . . well -- murders!!!  The set-up for this first story was remarkable. Deering/Dodson pulls you in and sets you up to settle down in your armchair (or recliner!) and read if you've got the paperback or ebook. In my case, I could do light housework while listening or lie down and listen while having one of my RA flares. What a nice way to deal with a flare, too, BTW!

You will be kept guessing and there are some super-cool twists in this story. Deering/Dodson's red herrings were perfect -- I usually feel like I "know" whodunit but in this case -- I was wrong, wrong, wrong and was happy to be so!
I love the 1930's setting of this story. It seems like there are few Christian fiction novels set in this time frame. I love murder mysteries and so finding a CBA murder mystery that is historical and set in Britain is a triple whammy for me as I love all three!

Grab a copy, whether it be the lovely audiobook or other format and get reading!!!

Rules of Murder is available from Amazon in multiple formats
also this series is on Barnes & Noble (you can even read it in German if you want!)
All five of the books in the Drew Fathering series are also available at CBD

You can find author Julianna Deering at www.juliannadeering.com or at http://www.deannajuliedodson.com

Giveaway: Winner's choice of format (audio, ebook, paperback). Leave a comment to enter. 

19 March 2017

Julianna Deering -- Overcoming the Loss of Beloved Pets


Julianna Deering, welcome to Overcoming With God.  We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers.  

Would you tell us about the one of the most difficult things in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help?   
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love my cats. I love most animals to tell the truth, but I keep cats because they’re so easy to take care of and so loving to have around. One of the most difficult things for me was when I lost three of them over a short period of time due to cancer. For me, losing one of my babies is as painful as losing a child. Losing three was very difficult. They each had a unique personality that can never be replaced.

CFP: I am sorry for your loss. I can't imagine losing all three of them so close together. 

What passages in the Bible have been most helpful to you in those times?
My very favorite verse for difficult times is Isaiah 41:13:  For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear. I will help you.” No matter what I’ve gone through, I have always found this to be true. I may not see it at first, but eventually I can see His hand guiding me and comforting me through whatever comes.
What helped you get through or helped you cope with this difficulty?
God’s help and comfort, of course. But getting new cats (especially the ones from the shelter who desperately need homes) always lets me know that life goes on and that He provides us with love and companionship if we just look for it.
CFP: I found that picture of a trio of adorable kittens on the internet and am sharing it here. There are so many pets looking for adoption -- and love!

Disability friendliness: Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?  Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print?  
At present, only the first book in the series, Rules of Murder, is available as an audiobook, however every book in the series is text-to-speech enabled and available in a large-print version.
CFP: My audiobook review will be up on Tuesday!

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?  
I’m not sure if this is the kind of situation you’re looking for, but I do happen to have someone in Murder on the Moor who is blind. I didn’t plan on her being blind originally. I didn’t even plan on having her in the book at all, but she appeared and fit into my plot just perfectly. I especially like her because her blindness doesn’t define her. 

BIO:
JULIANNA DEERING has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross-stitching and watching NHL hockey. Her series of Drew Farthering mysteries, set in 1930s England, debuted from Bethany House with Rules of Murder (2013) and is followed by Death by the Book and Murder at the Mikado (2014), Dressed for Death (2016), Murder on the Moor (2017) and Death at Thorburn Hall (coming Fall 2017). Also, as DeAnna Julie Dodson, she has written a trilogy of medieval romances (In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered) and six contemporary mysteries for Annie’s Fiction. She is represented by Wendy Lawton of the Books & Such Literary Agency (www.booksandsuch.biz).

Julianna’s Links:
On the web:
&

On Facebook:
On Twitter:

@DeAnnaJulDodson

On Goodreads: Julianna Deering

Book Links:
Christianbook.com: Drew Fathering


Barnes and Noble:

Books-A-Million:

Book blurb:
            At the urgent request of Drew's old school friend, Hubert "Beaky" Bloodworth, Drew and Madeline Farthering come to Bloodworth Park Lodge in the midst of the Yorkshire moors, a place as moody and mysterious as a Brontë hero. According to Beaky, there have been several incidents of mischief making out on the moor, property destroyed, fires started, streams dammed up, sheep and cattle scattered and, if local gossip is to be believed, the sighting of the shadowy figure of a great black hound. Worst of all, the vicar has been found dead on the steps of the church, and no one can imagine who would want to kill him.
            Beaky is obviously smitten with his wife of eight months, the gorgeous and vivacious Sabrina Bloodworth, though it's hard to imagine what she sees in a man as awkward and plain as he. Drew can't help wondering if Sabrina's affections lie more with Beaky's money than himself and, just perhaps, with the fiery Welsh gamekeeper, Rhys Delwyn. Delwyn says poachers are to blame for the recent trouble, Sabrina claims the moor is haunted, and Beaky suspects that Carter Gray, a neighboring landowner with a longstanding grudge against the Bloodworths, is behind the episodes. But when someone else is murdered and the troubling incidents grow more threatening, Drew begins to suspect local ne'er-do-well Jack Midgley of more than poaching. But just how does Midgley fit into the scheme and who is paying him? It's up to Drew to look past his own prejudices, determine what is really going on, and find the killer before it's too late.

GIVEAWAY: Juliana is giving away a paperback copy of Murder on the MoorAnswer this question: What would you like to see in cozy mystery that you haven’t seen before?

16 March 2017

Review by Bonnie Roof of Erica Vetsch's "The Bounty Hunter's Baby"


By Erica Vetsch

Here's the publisher's blurb:
Brought Together by a Baby 
Bounty hunter Thomas Beaufort has no problem handling outlaws, but when he's left with a criminal's baby to care for, he's in over his head. And the only person he can think of to ask for help is Esther Jensen, the woman whose heart he broke when he left town. But can he convince her to put aside the past until he tracks down the baby's outlaw father? 
Esther is ready to run Thomas off her Texas ranch—until she spies the abandoned newborn in his arms. Soon, working together to care for the precious babe stirs old hopes of a family. With trouble heading to their door, they could overcome it together—if she'll entrust her wary heart to this sweet, second-chance family…

Review by Bonnie Roof
5 Stars *****


1888 Texas
Since the death of her father, 5 years previous, Esther Jensen has struggled to single-handedly maintain their Texas ranch by taking in the laundry of cowboys. A former ranch hand for Esther's father, Thomas Beaufort broke her heart when he left to become a bounty hunter. When he reappears, her bitterness for Thomas resurfaces, but her conscience won't let her reject his plea for her help in caring for an abandoned newborn - while he tracks down the baby's outlaw father.

Surprised at the dilapidation of the ranch, Thomas holds some surprises of his own - for Esther. Two needy people - one struggling to prove his self-worth, the other harboring feelings against forgiveness.

The Bounty Hunter's Baby is a touching novel filled with romance, adventure, faith, descriptive settings, and realistic characters. I related to the pain of both Thomas and Esther, "rooted" for their happiness, and delighted in the transformations wrought in each of them as the story unfolded. I loved this beautiful story of redemption and hope by Erica Vetsch!


Note: I was provided a copy of The Bounty Hunter's Baby by the author. I was not required to give a positive review of it. This review is my honest opinion of The Bounty Hunter's Baby by Erica Vetsch.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this new short novel from Erica Vetsch! She's offering an ebook to one of our readers! (Can't read on ebook? --OWG will substitute a paperback if within USA.)

14 March 2017

Teresa S. Mathews Reviews Tea Shop Folly by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Tea Shop Folly, by Carrie Fancett Pagels
Tea Shop Folly

By Carrie Fancett Pagels

Reviewed by Teresa S. Mathews 

5 Stars*****


In this heartwarming story, talented author Carrie Fancett Pagels takes us to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Kentucky where she introduces us to Lillian "Lilly" Smith. Lilly is taking care of her beloved widowed mother that is deathly ill, and four younger sisters. Not only is food running low for the family but so is Lilly's faith, until she receives a mysterious letter beckoning her to Michigan.

After arriving in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and meeting with her Aunt Lillian's lawyer, Lilly finds she has been named the sole heir of her aunt's sizable estate. Thankfully her aunt has included a helpful list of suggestions for Lilly to follow; with going to the bank and buying new clothes at the top of that list. As Lilly goes into the local mercantile, she runs into the most handsome man she has ever seen.

Theodore Reynolds an engineer working on the Sault Ste Locks was suffering from the blinding pain of a migraine when he comes in contact with a slender auburn-haired young woman, as they both are entering the mercantile. Without his glasses on and in pain, he isn't able to tell much about her except that she is gracious and kind when she insists the store use her carriage to take him home with the suggestion for him to drink a cup of chamomile tea.

When Lilly gets to her aunt's house she is awed by the beauty and size of it but when she gets inside she is surprised at all of the beautiful teacups and saucers she finds. As Lilly sets about organizing the clutter, she is shocked to see the handsome young man from the mercantile at her door. It seems he wants to buy his mother one of her Aunt Lillian's old teacups. Stranger still, he asks her to brew him a cup of tea. Goodness, it's as though he thinks she has opened a Tea Shop!


Ms. Pagels has certainly penned an absolutely adorable tale. There is lots of history included from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the surrounding area and goodness there is plenty humorous scenes between Lilly and Theo. It made for quite a reprieve from the usual Saturday afternoon, I enjoyed every moment spent reading it.



Giveaway: Leave a comment to be entered for a chance to win an ebook or paperback copy of the book. Tea Shop Folly is also on sale this week on Amazon and available FREE for Kindle Unlimited subscribers!


12 March 2017

The Wreath -- Marking Time, by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Although I tried to "pretty up" this pitiful wreath, no matter how you look at it you can see it is falling apart. I left this Christmas wreath, which has gone up most of the past fifteen+ years, to remind me of how long I had been feeling truly awful. You see, it was there marking time. Time for me to do something about that awfulness of Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disorder.

When I first bought the wreath, we'd moved to Virginia and after a season of intense financial drought (see my testimony in God's Provision by Cynthia Howerter and LaTan Murphy). This wreath was COVERED with Christmas "floral picks" items hot-glued on by the student at the local school that offered a course on training for florist shops. I loved it! Truly over-the-top, the entire faux greenery pine was almost not even evident. That's how I felt about us getting moved up to Virginia -- covered with blessings all over! Over time, though, with the sun beating down through the glass door covering the wreath each Christmas, more and more of the goodies fell off the wreath. It was sad, but I didn't want to throw away the wreath.

The remnants of the wreath got a new task. I moved the wreath to the back door after Christmas 2015, right near the trash can, where this wreath it heading. I left it there to remind me to DO something about feeling so awful. I'd nearly died from the last biologic I was on, seven years ago, so I didn't want to try that route, but was getting desperate.  But I had a bunch of book deadlines to meet. Overtime I thought about going in to discuss this with my Rheumatologist nurse practitioner it seemed I was too swamped to figure out how to do that (plus I have a family to take care of.)

Finally, seven months after leaving that wreath up, in late summer, I did something about the situation -- because my autoimmune issues had persisted that long.  I acted. The wreath was a visual reminder of time passing and it prompted me to keep thinking about what I needed to do. I know I was hoping things would magically get better. But sometimes, Overcoming With God means we have to get help and not think all our woes will be lifted by God without us doing something ourselves. When we pray, and God urges us to call our doctor, it is still disobedience if we delay. And delay. And delay.

I wish I could report a happy ending -- that the medication change, after finally going in, has all things better. In fact, though, I had so much improvement on my new RX that I began to have a lot of hope about the things I might be able to do. Then I made a healthcare decision that I thought was a good idea, but which I think is responsible for a lot of the other physical issues I have had since. I don't know if it was a coincidence that the shot I had seemed to bring them on or not. But now I've slowed life down again and I have been taking action to try to figure out what is going on.

Question: Have you ever gotten so busy, so distracted by life, that you needed some kind of physical visual reminder to get you to act? (We have a giveaway this week for my re-release of Tea Shop Folly, under new cover. Leave a comment here and on Teresa's review to enter the contest for winner's choice of ebook or paperback copy! AND the ebook is FREE to Kindle Unlimited Readers and only 99 Cents on sale this week!!!)

09 March 2017

Dyslexia, Narcissism, and Redemption? -- An Audiobook Review of An Elegant Façade



An Audiobook Review of  An Elegant Façade
Tantor Audio

Book by Kristi Ann Hunter
Narration by Charlotte Anne Dore

Review by Carrie Fancett Pagels



Dyslexia, Narcissism, and Redemption? 
This audiobook has had me thinking about it long after I finished reading it. Start with a heroine who is more of an anti-heroine, who has a reading learning disability, or dyslexia. She's born into a family she perceives as perfectionists. Set during Regency England, the heroine reminds me of one of Jane Austin's antagonistic females. There was a movie sometime not too far back where a twist was done on an Austin novel, making the antagonist the heroine and giving her a happier outcome than the book had. This novel reminded me of that movie, to some extent.

As a psychologist of twenty-five years, one of the most difficult conditions to deal with was narcissism. Granted, today it is rampant in our culture. And it is a vice that Lady Georgina Hawthorne epitomizes well. The problem is -- we don't normally want to see that in our heroine! So I kept waiting and hoping that this well-written story would show progress for the heroine and I hung in there and kept listening.  The narrator, while sounding rather young and petulant in voice for this character really is quite perfect for Georgina.

Spolier Alert
The heroine, in contrast, is a lovable guy and kept me interested in the story. Colin McRae makes up for what Georgina lacks. And he draws her forward in her relationship with the Lord. And finally to making her own decision. The problem is, when someone is "ashamed" of their disability and hiding it, that doesn't excuse self-absorption and narcissism and even with redemption, the chance in the heroine is not so marked as to make the reader think -- there now, she'll go forward and stop all that. On the other hand, we shouldn't expect redemption to cure all our fleshly sins. So that is my struggle in reading this story and why it is memorable. One hopes for, wishes, and delights in the day of redemption yet those fleshly behaviors are likely to continue, and disturb others, as God slowly peels those layers away.  We aren't going to see that at the end of the story. We get a nice epilogue, and we can hope, but one can't help but wonder if all that self-centeredness and deception are going to be problematic in a marriage and family. My personal experience has been that narcissism is horrifically hard to excise from someone and overcome. It can be done, but only with God's help. Kristi Ann Hunter doesn't give a neat little package wrapped up with a bow at the end -- and maybe that is how this story needs to be. 

Question: Do you enjoy stories with an anti-hero who is restored? What is your favorite?


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