31 October 2012

English-Dutch Review of A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander

A Lasting Impression
A Lasting Impression 
by Tamera Alexander
Bethany House, 2011

Reviewed by Marian Baay

4½ stars ****

I’ve read all of Tamera Alexander’s books and really loved the western settings. It’s a complete different world that Tamera is painting in this book, but her writing is excellent, as always!

It’s shortly after the Civil War. Claire Laurent used to forge paintings for her father and ‘uncle’. Determined to start a new life she leaves the place that her ‘uncle’ has send her to. She gets a job at the Belmont Mansion as Adelicia Acklen's personal liaison. Claire and Mrs. Acklen both enjoy art. Claire didn’t say anything about the forgery and soon it becomes a burden.

In her position as liaison she's able to use her talents to paint children's toys and gift boxes. But Claire biggest desire is to paint real paintings and make a name for herself.
Sutton Monroe is working as a lawyer and is manager at Belmont. His father was killed in the war. The government threatens to take his family property. If that is going to happen then Sutton will loose everything he has.

He is working on a big case for a client who bought a forged painting with documents. They are trying to get after the person who is behind the forgeries. If he is able to win this case he’ll get a lot of money and is his future secure.

Claire and Sutton both live at Belmont and share the meals with Mrs. Acklen and her children. They fall in love, but there are some obstacles that needs to be removed before there can be a future for them together.
What will happen with their love if Sutton finds out about Claire’s past?

I really liked Claire’s character--she was sweet, lovely, and humble. Sutton was the real gentleman and Mrs. Acklen was also a great character. I loved to see how she and Claire bonded. The servants--except for Mrs. Routh--were very nice too! I loved them all!

I enjoyed reading this book and looked a lot at the cover while reading, and tried to imagine myself in such a beautiful dress!
Although I prefer the settings of Tamera’s previous books, this book too is excellently written!

In Dutch:
Ik heb alle boeken van Tamera Alexander gelezen en heb genoten van de western settings. In dit boek schildert Tamera een geheel andere wereld, maar haar schrijfstijl is zoals gewoonlijk geweldig!
Het verhaal speelt af kort na de Burgeroorlog.

Claire vervalste schilderijen in opdracht van haar vader en ‘oom’. Ze is van plan om een nieuw leven te beginnen en verlaat de plaats waar haar oom haar naartoe gestuurd heeft. Ze vindt werk in het Belmont herenhuis. Ze werkt daar als Adelicia Acklen’s persoonlijke assistente. Claire en Mevr. Acklen houden allebei van kunst. Claire vertelt niet dat ze betrokken was bij het maken van vervalste schilderijen en al snel wordt dit een zware last voor haar.

In haar positie als persoonlijke assistente van Mevr. Acklen beschildert Claire kinderspeelgoed en geschenkdoosjes voor gasten. Maar Claire’s grootste droom is om echte schilderijen te schilderen en om naam te maken voor zichzelf.
Sutton Monroe is advocaat en manager van Belmont. Zijn vader is tijdens de oorlog vermoord en de overheid dreigt de grond van zijn familie af te nemen. Als dat gebeurt dan zal Sutton alles kwijt raken.

Hij werkt nu aan een grote zaak voor een cliƫnt die een vervalst schilderij met certificaten gekocht heeft. Ze proberen er achter te komen wie er achter het vervalsen zit. Als Sutton deze zaak kan winnen dan verdient hij een smak met geld en is zijn toekomst zeker.

Claire en Sutton wonen beiden op Belmont en nemen deel aan de maaltijden met Mevr. Acklen en haar kinderen. Ze worden verliefd, maar er zijn een aantal obstakels die uit de weg geruimd moeten worden voordat er een toekomst voor hen mogelijk is.
Wat zal er gebeuren als Sutton achter Claire’s verleden komt?

Ik vond Claire’s personage geweldig. Ze was lief en nederig. Sutton was de echte gentleman.
Mevr. Acklen was ook een aangename personage. Ik vond het geweldig om te zien hoe zij en Claire aan elkaar hechtten.
Ik vond de bedienden ook allemaal geweldig, behalve dan Mevr. Routh.

Ik heb echt genoten van dit boek en heb vaak naar de voorkant gekeken en probeerde mezelf voor te stellen in zo’n jurk!
Persoonlijk gaat mijn voorkeur uit naar de settings van Tamera’s voorgaande boeken, maar zoals gezegd is de schrijfstijl in dit boek geweldig!

Tamera's books can be purchased through Amazon, CBD, Lifeway and other bookstores.

GIVEAWAYS: Tamera is also doing a giveaway for us this week in addition to our giveaways of a book of choice plus one Tamera Alexander paperback that we are giving away ourselves--grand total of THREE giveaways this week. Leave a comment and your email to be entered in the contest. *International winners ebook only.

QUESTION: Do you also speak a second language?

30 October 2012

Diana Flowers Reviews To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander

To Whisper Her Name
To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander
Zondervan, 2012

Reviewed by Diana Flowers

5 stars*****

A Simply Amazing Read!

In To Whisper Her Name, Tamera Alexander weaves a riveting tale of love and betrayal set at Nashville's historic Belle Meade Plantation during the post-war South era; where passions run high as people struggle to rebuild their lives while others are just beginning a new one.

Olivia Aberdeen has lost it all--her good reputation and wealth, as her husband is branded a traitor to the South and is shot, leaving her a widow. Receiving an invitation from her "aunt" Elizabeth Harding to come to Belle Meade Plantation to become the head houskeeper there, she is disillusioned to find out the real reason General Harding wants her there. Although Olivia suffers from a crippling phobia which makes it difficult for her to stay at Belle Meade she has no choice but to do so. She has also suffered terrible physical and mental abuse at the hands of her late husband and vows never again to marry.

Ridley Cooper, a southerner who fought for the Union cause, shows up at Belle Meade Plantation, the most infamous thoroughbred farm in the South, to secure a position and learn all he can under the tutelage of the horse whisperer, Bob Green, an ex-slave. Ridley has many inward demons raging within resulting from the war, and is determined to fight them and earn enough money to start his own farm in the savage Colorado territory as soon as possible.

As Ridley and Olivia's lives intertwine can they help one another find healing from the torment raging in their hearts and minds? Many perils lie ahead as Olivia seeks to teach the ex-slaves to read, and dangers of the heart as well as she finds herself falling deeply in love. But when she learns of Ridley's dark secret...will her love turn to hatred? Will she learn that in spite of all she has been through, God has been there with her all the while? And will Ridley follow his dream and move to Colorado, knowing that he will never again be accepted in the South once his secret is revealed?

I have read most of Tamera Alexander's books, and in my opinion this is her best yet! It took her two years to pen this amazing novel and it appears she put her whole heart and soul into writing it. Her characters are very realistic and humanly flawed, having many issues to deal with-post traumatic stress disorder, spousal abuse, panic and phobias, guilt, and feelings of spiritual abandonment. This book was amazing and I literally burned the midnight oil reading this one! Very nicely done, Ms. Alexander!

      *I received a copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest opinion.   

Tamera's books can be purchased through AmazonCBDLifeway and other bookstores.

GIVEAWAYS: Tamera is also doing a giveaway for us this week in addition to our giveaways of a book of choice plus one Tamera Alexander paperback that we are giving away ourselves--grand total of THREE giveaways this week. 

Question: Have you ever visited a historic plantation (such as Belle Meade) or site that you feel would make an awesome setting for a book?

28 October 2012

Interview with Tamera Alexander

Tamera Alexander

Tamera Alexander is the author of A Lasting Impression, and also of Rekindled and The Inheritance, and is currently working on her tenth novel. Her fall 2012 release, To Whisper Her Name, showcases the history of the Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville, the most successful thoroughbred stud farm in American history. 

Tamera, welcome to Overcoming Through Time – With God’s Help.  We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers.  Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help?
One of the most difficult struggles in my life is also––through God’s grace––one of my greatest victories. But as we know, every victor bears the scars of struggle. Sometimes those scars are visible, sometimes they’re hidden, but they’re still there. I was sexually molested when I was a young girl. The incidents occurred over a two-year period. The perpetrator was not someone in my family. It was a family “friend.” As I matured, I grew to realize that none of what happened was my “fault.” But at the time, and for years following, I felt as though I’d done something wrong. I felt dirty. And somehow…less.
That feeling took root inside me and manifested itself in the form of deep insecurity and self-doubt. Even stuttering. When I was around the age of 13, someone I respected read a poem I’d written and told me, “You’ll be making an a** of yourself if you ever let anyone read what you’ve written.” Due to lingering childhood issues, I took that statement to heart and put away writing for many, many years.
In my teen years and through college, God filled my life with people who helped me work through my past issues and hurts. He healed me of so much of that pain. And through a turn of events later in life, he drew me back to the love of writing. With writing comes risk. Risk that can feed insecurity and self-doubt. Funny little twist, huh? But God never calls us to do something we could accomplish on our own. He calls us to God-sized tasks so we’ll learn to rely on his strength and not ours. And his strength––like his grace and healing––is immeasurable!

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
I love Jeremiah 29:11-13, a much-quoted promise and one that’s very familiar to us…

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”

Sounds great, huh? God has a plan for you and me. Plans for good, not for harm. Plans to give us a future and a hope. God will listen to our prayers. If we look for Him wholeheartedly, we’ll find him. This is all great stuff! But…

Are you familiar with verse 10 of that same chapter, and verse 14? The two verses that [bracket] the promise we love to quote? They’re not as frequently quoted, but they should be. Note verse 10 and 14 in bold below:

This is what the Lord says, “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you, says the Lord. I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your land.”

Captivity. God is promising captivity.

So yes, while verses 11-13 offer comfort and hope, don’t forget that God first promised his “chosen people” seventy years of struggle and hardship, circumstances they would never have chosen for themselves. Sound familiar?

These verses demonstrate to me that I should never judge God by my circumstances. They also remind me that sometimes, enduring a hurt or a painful circumstance is the best way for me to grow closer to God. And isn’t that the ultimate goal of my earthly journey, and God’s will for me here…to grow closer to him. To become more like Christ.
A Lasting Impression
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? 
Yes, A Lasting Impression is available in audio and large print and ebook, as are all my other novels.

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
As I write, I take steps closer to Christ. And it’s my deepest hope that readers––as they read my stories––will take steps closer to him too.

As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
I particularly enjoyed writing A Lasting Impression because Claire Laurent and Adelicia Acklen (the “real” woman who built the Belmont Mansion) were both strong women with internal struggles. Struggles they hid well, and that only a handful of people around them knew about. Struggles (and weaknesses) that God used to make them stronger.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?

I’ve received numerous letters from readers who have struggled with insecurity and self-doubt due to past hurts, and who found encouragement and hope as they read A Lasting Impression. A Lasting Impression is about authenticity. It’s about being real first with yourself, then with others. And ultimately with God. 

All of my stories grow from either a personal struggle or a question I’m wrestling with in my own life. For instance, as I was writing my book, Within My Heart, I’d just lost my precious mom to gallbladder cancer, so much of my “working through grief of loss” is in that story, as well as many of my last moments with Mom.

Anything else you’d like to share, Tamera?
Thanks so much for the chance to share how God has poured grace and healing into my life. I’ll be sure to visit back often during this week, so if anyone has any questions––or maybe if they want to share their stories in the hope of encouraging others––I’ll be visiting and reading!

Thank you, Tamera, for sharing part of your journey with us. Have a blessed day and keep on writing!

Tamera Alexander is a bestselling novelist whose works have been awarded and nominated for numerous honors, including the Christy Award, the RITA Award, and the Carol Award. After seventeen years in Colorado, Tamera and her husband have returned to their native South and live in Nashville, Tennessee, where they enjoy spending time with their two grown children, and a ten-pound silky terrier named Jack.

LINKS for purchases of all Tamera's books (click here.) 

October 2012 (November 2012 release but book starts shipping October 10th)To Whisper Her Name, a Belle Meade Plantation novel by Zondervan. (OTT: We got our copies from Amazon, yay!!!)

GIVEAWAYS: Tamera is also doing a giveaway for us this week in addition to our giveaways of a book of choice plus one Tamera Alexander paperback that we are giving away ourselves--grand total of THREE giveaways this week. 

QUESTION: Have you lost a parent to cancer? How did you cope?

27 October 2012

Guest Post by Melissa K. Norris Overcoming Miscarriage with God's Help

Overcoming Tough Times
How God Used My Miscarriage to Turn Me Back to Him
By Melissa K. Norris

I used to dread when the phone would ring late at night. When I was child, we received word via the telephone my beloved grandmother had passed away. Even without my mother saying the words out loud, I knew. And when she walked towards me, I backed away, hands up, trying to ward off the awful news.
As a young woman in my early twenties, I got the call that the test results on my pregnancy had come back low and they suspected an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.
Both times a cloud of denial shrouded me. If no one touches me, if no one speaks, then this will go away. And then a voice would shatter my denial and sobs clawed their way up my throat.
My heart cried, “Why, God? Why did You do this?”
When I could no longer shoulder the anger, brokenly, I turned to Him. When I was too weary to cry or speak, my bruised heart uttered this silent plea, Help me, Lord.
I sat in our rocking recliner, my hands clutched my Bible. My eyes burned, feeling as if any minute they’d swell shut, but I pried open the pages.
“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10
The truth of this verse rocked me. It was only in this time of exhaustion that I truly leaned on God.
 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  James 1:17
Every good and perfect is from God. Anything else is not.
God hadn’t done this to me. He hadn’t taken my grandmother or ripped my unborn child from my womb. God doesn’t cause hardships.
But He does use them. When we are weak, we allow Him to work. We realize we can’t do things on our own. We give Him the opportunity to show us His strength.
Why I don’t look forward to hardships, I no longer fear the ringing of the phone. Because I know that God is by my side. I know that if I chose to let Him, He can find good in any situation. I’d rather my suffering not be in vain.
So when trying times threaten to paralyze me, I turn to my Father. I ask Him to lift me up in His arms. And He does.
He used my miscarriage to turn my writing career to Him.  I was touched by this story of one women’s loss and her words, And God took all of our ashes and made something BEAUTIFUL out of them. You can read more from her story here.

26 October 2012

Diana Flowers Reviews An Uncommon Grace by Serena Miller

An Uncommon Grace

An Uncommon Grace - Serena B. Miller
Howard Books, 2012

Reviewed by Diana Flowers
5 stars~*****


Serena Miller takes the reader from the hot, dusty, war torn Afghanistan desert; laden with military helicopters and Taliban mines, to beautiful Holmes County, Ohio, where the scent of apple blossoms, honeysuckle, and homemade pies permeate the air!

Grace Connor, a military nurse in Afghanistan, is summoned to her grandmother's farm in Ohio, by her seventeen yr. old sister, Becky, to help her convalesce after heart surgery. Grace has never seen a more beautiful, peaceful place until tragedy strikes her grandma's kind Amish neighbors. Levi Troyer's pregnant mother is wounded and his stepfather murdered by an unknown intruder, and as Grace steps in to help, a forbidden attraction develops between the two of them.

Levi, a member of the strictest Amish sect, the Swartzentrubers, where no indoor plumbing is allowed, no orange reflector lights on the back of their buggies, and no books or phones are allowed, has begun to question their teachings. His thirst for knowledge must go unfulfilled, as also his attraction for Grace, for to disobey the orders of the Bishop will cause him to be shunned by his people. When thrust together with the bishop's vengeful, but beautiful daughter, Zillah, Levi's rejection of her causes false accusations to rise against him, and he is put under the ban.

Will the truth come out, and will Levi be exonerated, or will he be forced to marry Zillah? Will Grace reenlist and go back to Afganistan, knowing that nothing can ever come of her feelings for Levi? And who is stealing antiques out of her grandma's garage and why?...and how is her sister, Becky, involved? Is the murderer still in town putting all of their lives in jeopardy, or has he moved on?

I literally had a hard time putting this one down! Serena Miller has fast become one of my favorite authors of Christian fiction. Her excellent use of imagery and endearing characters drew me in and I loved the homey atmosphere of Holmes County, OH. With an element of suspense and a unique, unpredictable Amish storyline, I literally did not see how ANYTHING was going to work out...even when I was 80% into the book! Serena threw in her wonderful sense of humor that I so loved in her first book, and if you want to read about the billy goat prancing around wearing an old woman's underwear on his horns, you will have to order the book! :) Wunderbar (wonderful) job, Serena Miller!

I received a copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

You can get Serena's books through Amazon, CBD and other bookstores.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment and your email to be entered in this week's contest. Drawing will be late Saturday, your choice of author's books and choice of format*. Void where prohibited by law. *International winners will only receive the book in ebook format, not as a paperback.

25 October 2012

Diana Reviews A Promise To Love by Serena Miller

A Promise to Love by Serena B. Miller
A Promise To Love by Serena B. Miller
Revell, 2012

Reviewed by Diana Flowers
~5 stars *****

Truly A Heartwarming Story!

In A Promise To Love, Serena Miller sweeps us away to the wilds of Michigan in the late 1800s; a savage land both bold and beautiful--filled with majestic, white pine forests, the scent of cherry blossoms permeating the air, vast lumber camps, and the threat of horrific forest fires.

The Swedish born, Ingrid Larsen, arrives in Michigan to search for her brother, Hans, who has disappeared into the dangerous lumber camps, with nothing save the clothes on her back. In her desperation she proposes to Joshua Hunter, a newly widowed cherry farmer with five rambunctious children.

Joshua is determined to establish a lucrative cherry orchard, and after losing his wife under strange circumstances, agrees to marry Ingrid to help out with the farm and his motherless children. Ingrid finds herself in for the biggest battle of her life as she struggles to be a good mother to five needy children, and must also fight the ghost of her husband's dead wife as well.

Soon terrible secrets are unearthed concerning the death of Joshua's wife, and Ingrid is faced with some challenging decisions. Can she continue to be Joshua's wife in name only?...and how can she endure the many hardships that face her without his love? Where is Hans and is he dead or alive? And it's only as she seeks the face of the Lord for guidance and help that the answers to her angst-filled questions are ultimately revealed to her.

Serena Miller has fast become one of my favorite authors! This compelling, heartwarming fiction based on fact story, grabbed me from the first chapter and did not let go until the last! I loved her realistic main characters (Ingrid never lost her Swedish accent throughout the whole book):), and her irresistable secondary characters just as much. Never boring with a fast-paced, exciting conclusion, this is an absolute must read! Nicely done, Serena Miller!

You can get Serena's books through AmazonCBD, Barnes and Noble, Lifeway,  and other bookstores.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment and your email to be entered in this week's contest. Drawing will be late Saterday, your choice of author's books and choice of format*. Void where prohibited by law. *International winners will only receive the book in ebook format, not as a paperback.

Question:  Do you have a family member who served in the lumber industry?

24 October 2012

Noela Nancarrow's First Review on OTT--Hunter's Prize by Marcia Gruver!

Hunter's Prize

Barbour Publishing, 2012

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow

~5 stars *****

                                          This Is A Gem!
This is an intriguing and fascinating historical romance set in the early 1900's, beginning briefly in Pretoria, South Africa, and then travelling to Marshall, Texas where much of the story takes place. This story spotlights two swarthy, handsome, and sometimes cocky treasure hunters; a pretty, young woman leaving home for the first time to work as a governess in Marshall; an unusual and challenging boy of five years; and swindling ruthless villains who get more emboldened and dangerous as the story progresses. These and other various interesting and extremely likeable characters all possess incredible character depth in this story!

I loved experiencing the camaraderie and banter between Pearson Foster and best mate Theo, who are the story's treasure hunters. Pearson, having his heart set on searching for the shipwrecked steamer, Mittie Stephens, and her cargo of gold, ends up travelling to Caddo Lake with Theo to take up their search there.

Not long after arriving, Pearson first encountered Adelina (Addie) McRae upon her arrival in nearby Marshall with her mother, having just arrived there for the position of Cedric's (Ceddy's) governess. And from the very beginning the atmosphere between Pearson and Addie was electric! Addie found Pearson discomforting and yet intriguing, infuriating yet titillating, with odd hair yet handsome! I longed for more encounters between these two and I wasn't disappointed. The captivating and intense energy between these two leading characters continued throughout.

I also absolutely adored Ceddy, Addie's young charge, an unusual boy who was orphaned from his missionary parents and now living with his Aunt Priscilla in Marshall. He is actually autistic but because Autism wasn't a diagnosed condition back then, Ceddy was frightening at times, and his confronting behavior difficult for people to understand and accept. Having an autistic child myself, I was so impressed at how Marcia managed to portray this little autistic boy so insightfully and realistically. And I deeply felt little Ceddy's engulfing fear each time he saw or encountered the villains Denny and Charlie, as they attempted to get to him and his own personal secret treasure.

Hunter's Prize also explores the theme of communication... or lack thereof, and the resulting consequences. But then there's also a gentle but compelling message about finding your way back to God after a terrible tragedy and learning to trust in Him again.

This book is the third in the Backwoods Brides series, but can very much be read as a stand-alone book... although I hasten to add, you'd really be doing yourself a dis-service to miss out on Marcia's other two brilliant stories in the series! Marcia Gruver tells a story that keeps you reading, and even when you're not, it will cause you to think about it... until you give in and pick it up again!!

Marcia's books are available online at Lifeway, CBD, and in Christian book stores as well as other book stores such as Barnes and Noble.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment and your email to be entered in this week's contest. Drawing will be late Saturday, your choice of Marcia's books and choice of format*. Void where prohibited by law. *International winners will only receive the book in ebook format, not as a paperback.  (Extra bonus count will be done for everyone who also left a comment on Noela's post from this Monday--so if you leave a comment on all three Gruver posts from Sunday/Tuesday/Wednesday this week you will count as 4 entries not 3!)

23 October 2012

Teresa Mathews Reviews Hunter's Prize by Marcia Gruver

Hunter's Prize by Marcia Gruver

Hunter's Prize by Marcia Gruver
Barbour Publishing, 2012

Reviewed by Teresa Mathews
5 stars~*****

In book three of Marcia’s series Backwoods Brides, she takes us from the dusty ox trails of Pretoria, South Africa to the unpredictable weather of Marshall, Texas, to introduce us to a beautiful and challenging child by the name of Cedric Whitfield. Ceddy’s parents were missionaries to Africa that were recently killed, so Ceddy finds himself being transported back to the States to live with a spinster great-aunt, Priscilla Whitfield. Too bad no one realizes the evil that will follow dear little Ceddy all the way home.

When Priscilla realizes that Ceddy is going to be more than she can handle, she writes to an old friend in hopes that his granddaughter will come to live with her to be Ceddy’s governess. Knowing his granddaughter can’t take the position Dr. Thomas Mooney forwards the letter from Miss Whitfield to Addie McRae. Addie feels this is a job for her, as she has a way with children. Little does she know this will be a life changing experience for her.

When Addie and her mother arrive in Marshall they bump into two young men, Pearson Foster and Theodoro Bernardi, who are determined to help them with their bags. Addie is appalled to hear her mother accept the young men’s invitation to lunch. While eating Addie finds it hard to keep her eyes off Pearson, he is very handsome and there is something about him that appeals to her, but is he as good as her mother feels he is?

When Addie meets Ceddy for the first time, she realizes he has more problems than she feels she can handle, but her mother persuades Addie to stay for a while and try to help him. After a short time Addie begins to see an improvement in Ceddy’s disposition, until one afternoon he comes up missing and when they find him they discover a cut on his throat and various bruises on him. Who would dare to harm a child, especially one a sweet as Ceddy? Could the person be someone they know?

Pearson Foster, treasure hunter, feels he has finally found the girl of his dreams, if only she would return his feelings. But through a misunderstanding Addie believes Pearson is not worth wasting her time on. How will he persuade her that there is more to him than just an opportunist looking for treasure? When Pearson shows up at the same church as Addie, Priscilla and Ceddy attend will they see he really is a sincere person? When Priscilla allows him into her home will something happen that makes her change her mind about him and will she be horrified to think he may not be as harmless as she thought? When the evil that has followed Ceddy from halfway around world finally shows up will Pearson be the one who will lead it straight to Ceddy? Or will he be the one who will rescue Ceddy from it?

I was intrigued by the way Marcia described Ceddy’s Autism, which back then had not yet been named, and the way Addie interacted with Ceddy. I also loved the descriptions of the area where Pearson was searching for the treasure. This is the first book I have read in this series and now I want to go back and read the others. Thank you Marcia, a job well done!

Marcia's books are available online at Lifeway, CBD, and in Christian book stores as well as other book stores such as Barnes and Noble.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment and your email to be entered in this week's contest. Drawing will be late Saturday, your choice of Marcia's books and choice of format*. Void where prohibited by law. *International winners will only receive the book in ebook format, not as a paperback.

21 October 2012

Guest post - Noela Nancarrow Shares: Nathan's ASD Overcoming Testimony

Noela Nancarrow
Noela Nancarrow
INTRODUCING NOELA NANCARROW--Our newest contributor, from Australia.

Please welcome Noela with all of us here at Overcoming Through Time - With God's Help

In her recently released book ‘Hunter’s Prize’, Marcia Gruver writes about the difficulties a young Autistic boy called Ceddy faced, as well as the challenges it presented to those who cared for him. I have experienced some of those challenges myself with my son Nathan who was diagnosed with Asperger’s (a higher functioning type of Autism) when he was four years old. And it’s with much gratitude of God’s love and grace that I can share that he is now a 17 year old boy who has largely overcome the many obstacles and challenges from having Asperger’s Syndrome. He will be finishing High School soon with mostly A’s and numerous awards from over the years; has almost completed a 20 day Work Experience this year at a local Timber Sheeting store, proving that he can work hard and responsibly; and now has his Learner’s License and will be learning to drive soon. All are huge achievements for Nathan – and things that were too hard for us to even imagine when he was younger.
Hunter's Prize
Like Ceddy, Nathan had many obsessions during his younger years. As a baby, he was obsessed with cars, white goods, vacuum cleaners, and irons! So utterly entranced by cars, he would frequently watch them out the window. Or he would want to sit in our car or stand up on the seat holding the steering wheel, while it was in the driveway… for hours!! The clothes iron… would evoke widened eyes and cause his whole body to literally tremble with excitement whenever he saw it. Who knew an iron could produce such pleasure?!

But those obsessions weren’t particularly what I would call challenges… nor these ones when he was a toddler… that is, unless you would call it a challenge if you weren’t allowed to sit on your own lounge chair… because it was a ‘car park for a Shopping Centre’ or have to side-step a hall-way full of F1 toy cars on their ‘starting grid’, every day! Or side step his emptied Piggy Bank, with all of his coins spread out in an intricate and symmetrical pattern for him to count!

No, the greater difficulties that Nathan’s Asperger’s presented to us was the anxiety and stress that he would go through when trying to make sense of a world, that was not only confusing but filled with too much noise, too many smells, too many new changes and way too many people! In short, Nathan’s Asperger’s caused him to frequently have a ‘sensory overload’. These challenges were highlighted more so when he went to school. In the early years, any change to his routine made him anxious and upset. The noise in the classroom was a problem often and he sometimes resorted to hiding under his desk when it all became too much. Once he refused to go into the School Hall because of a smell (that only he could smell!) and many, many more instances such as these plagued his early learning years.

At home, his sensory problems were evident in his growing list of strong aversions to foods, and even simple things like cleaning his teeth or washing his hair were a source of stress for him.
One of his ‘obsessions’ was swinging on a strong rope tied to a large Torelliana tree in our backyard, but this particular activity was actually very therapeutic for him after a stressful day at school.

We are so grateful that we’ve been able to raise him up in a godly home… because he was then covered by prayer, God’s grace, and so much love! And those things, as we’ve found from experience, were the best foundation a child with Asperger’s could ever have! Through God’s amazing grace and abundant blessings, he was blessed with the best teacher for every year of his primary school years. Along with a parent’s guidance, school plays an extremely important part in these kids’ lives. And Nathan’s teachers all loved, understood and accepted him, while helping him to excel even more.

And over time through God’s help, both at school and at home, he’s grown more confident and less anxious every single year.  He may not be the most social person but he knows how to talk to both friends and adults well. I’m just amazed really, every time I look at him and see how far he’s come. He is now very strong emotionally and has developed an amazing sense of empathy, which is something Autistic people can be greatly lacking in. He makes me laugh every single day, and he can never do enough to help. He’s even incredibly chivalrous! In short, Nathan is my hero… but one I’m forever indebted to God for.

By Noela Nancarrow, Guest contributor

This was supposed to be Noela Nancarrow's first post with us as a guest.  But while we have been waiting for this guest post, we have gotten to know Noela pretty well and she is now an official member of the Overcoming Through Time - With God's Help team. Help us welcome Noela to the blog as a contributor!!!

GIVEAWAY: We have a giveaway box of treats this week including angels (e.g., a little white teddy bear angel with gold trim, angel ornament, and angel mantel sitter, Earl Gray tea packets, and some other goodies!)

20 October 2012

Guest Post by Eileen Rife--Misconceptions about Miscarriage

When Mourning Comes: Living Through Loss
Misconceptions about Miscarriage

October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month. If you or someone you know has experienced the loss of a baby, please know that my heart hurts with you. Often miscarriage is a misunderstood loss. Because the medical profession still does not fully know why miscarriages occur, the event is shrouded in mystery. When I experienced the loss of two babies at four months gestation, I experienced all the varying emotions of grief: shock, denial, anger, and sadness. 

A woman may succumb to several misconceptions surrounding her miscarriage. (CFP comments:  I believe this can apply to premature births, also.)

I did something to cause the miscarriage. 

Guilt is a common feeling among women who have miscarried. They tend to blame themselves for the event. If only I hadn't lifted that heavy box or painted the bedroom. If only I had eaten more vegetables. If only I hadn't jogged on Wednesday, this would not have happened. The truth is, in the majority of cases, the miscarriage or spontaneous abortion was beyond the woman's control. Her body expelled the baby because there was either an abnormality in the fetus, her uterus was malformed, an infection was present, or a host of other reasons the medical profession has not yet discovered. Blaming herself will only keep her stuck in the past and prolong her grieving.

I am a failure. 

A woman often suffers a lowered self-image due to her thoughts regarding the miscarriage. She mistakenly feels that she failed herself because of certain expectations she has concerning the pregnancy and motherhood in general. She feels she has failed her husband and family. This, of course, is untrue as she had no control over the response of her body. She may fear future pregnancies because she is uncertain as to how her body will react. She feels out of control.

Once the miscarriage is over, I can get on with life as usual.

I tried to do this after our first miscarriage, picking up with my housework and daily responsibilities as if nothing had happened. Underlying feelings of anger and sadness kept churning within me, affecting my relationship with my husband, Chuck, until months later I finally spewed them out before the Lord, which opened the door to my emotional healing. 

A woman needs to grieve her loss fully. Often the losses that occur suddenly with no warning, as with a miscarriage, are the hardest to deal with. She needs to talk her feelings out with God in prayer and in writing. She also need to share her feelings with her husband and with a trusted friend. Sometimes, another woman who has had a similar experience can be of help and comfort.  

A man does not feel any pain associated with the loss.

A woman needs to recognize that her husband is grieving in his own way, too. He may be hesitant to express his feelings, because he feels the need to be strong for his wife and keep the function of work and home going while she is recovering. During our first miscarriage, I was so absorbed in my own pain that I did not see Chuck's hurt. I even vented my anger on him, accusing him of not feeling the loss or caring about the baby. In truth, he was hurting, too. Since he was not physically attached to the baby as I was, he could not fully relate to the empty feeling of losing a part of himself. First, he grieved for my hurt and pain. Secondly, he grieved the loss of our child.

I (Chuck) shielded my feelings from Eileen in hopes of easing her discomfort when, in actuality, I needed to face the pain honestly and talk through the feelings with her. Honest sharing would eliminate the distance between us, pulling us together as we worked through a common grief. Since I lost my job two weeks before our second miscarriage, our grief was compounded. We had two major losses to grieve. As a man, my role as provider was threatened which affected my significance. I was busy re-establishing my identity when we were side-swiped by the miscarriage. When I saw Eileen in such physical pain at the hospital, I felt powerless and helpless. I was afraid she might die. There was nothing I could do but tell her I loved her and pray for her and the baby. Once she returned home from the hospital, I had to keep the household machinery running while she recovered physically and emotionally. I couldn’t give myself permission to fully grieve until I met the needs of the family in front of me.

Sometimes, a man needlessly shoulders the responsibility for the miscarriage and goes overboard trying to make things up to his wife. While kind deeds are helpful, open sharing is even more healing after the loss. He needs to express his fears and doubts so that their future relationship together will not be hampered. Sharing creates strength in the marriage and acts like a glue, bonding the couple together. Eileen and I have found that writing our thoughts and feelings down is an effective way of expressing grief when emotions are fresh and unrefined. 

In my (Eileen) novel, Chosen Ones, Yvonne and Dan experience the heartbreak of miscarriage with many of the dynamics mentioned above at play in their story.

Eileen's newest book Second Chance released in 2012.  

Giveaway: choice of any of Eileen's books to the winner. Must post the link to this post up on Facebook or Twitter (click on the title of the post up top and then go to the URL in the while line above on the computer and copy that and paste that onto your FB post.)

Google Analytics