Friday, June 1, 2012

Project Me...Take Two

 (Picture from our second honeymoon in Carmel Highlands)

Wow! Talk about the best intentions kind of going down the toilet.  Wait...does anyone talk about that?  Or at least do they use that terminology?  I entered the new year with high hopes of changing my life, finding direction, gaining purpose and insight.  I wanted to do so much, some point, I kind of flopped.  Not in a drastic way, but my project of me was not something I could really keep up with on here.  Not good.

So hey, there are six more months left in this year.  How about we try that again?  Okay.  How about I try that again.  

No guilt and no condemnation.  Sometimes you make plans, and sometimes you slip out of them.  I have been working on myself, and I have been trying to make some headway with things.  I will get into that as I continue writing over the next few months.  

I am not going to make any grand predictions.  I do have some goals ahead.  These goals I have been working on.  Like I said, I haven't been exactly chronicling them, but I have been making efforts.  

One of the things that I have been truly trying to figure out is my place in this world.  My talent.  My gift.  What is it that God created me to do?  Is that a question that you wonder about?  I have spent hours and hours just trying to find direction.  I have friends who always just knew.  They had gifts and talents that were hard to miss.  Some are amazing organizers, teachers, and leaders.  I have a friend who has an incredible singing voice and who spent a time singing professionally in a very successful Christian group.  Her talent was in your face and amazing.  In your face as in it is something that is obvious like beauty.  You see someone tall and lithe and gorgeous and thing "she should be a model."  When you heard my friend sing, you knew she should do it for life.  And she did.  :)  My talents were not quite that open.

As a child I loved to draw.  I would pick up pencils and draw on everything I could get my hands on.  All scrap paper was handed to me.  I drew pictures and comics.  Then, my cousin began to draw.  She was incredible.  Everyone oohed and aahed over her work.  I slowly stopped.  I did move into stories though.  I wrote and wrote pages of stories.  Or I would take long walks where my grandma lived and tell myself stories.  I decided that it would be pretty neat to be a writer.  Then for some reason, I got it into my head that I wasn't bright enough to write.  The dream didn't completely die, but it fizzled out dramatically.  I figured I would go to college and figure it all out.  Something happened after that though, my family kept telling me I needed a fall-back plan.  I should focus on that, and then worry about doing something I would like.  Mainly I began to see my dreams as unreachable or at least saw myself as not up to par.  If I was, certainly I would be encouraged.  

This isn't about my family though, and I feel bad even writing that.  I just wish that I had a little more open direction.  I have felt for a time like I am not living the life God created me to live.  I don't want the talents He gave me to not be used for His glory.  I want to help others.  I want more than to just have a good job.  You know how they say that you should do what you love?  That is what I want.  Most of all, I want to silence the self doubt and open up to what God can do. 

This brings me to my new position.  I will actually get into it tomorrow.  I am stressing a bit much right now and really kind of need to pull focus off it and onto God. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bordeaux Candy Recipe


My favorite candy store in the world is See's.  Well, I haven't really been around the world to try EVERYTHING, but each time I try something new, it never compares to my favorite See's Candy Store.  When I lived in Rhode Island, I sorely missed See's and did my best to compensate with Godiva.  Not even close.  When I moved back to California, I was delighted to be near a See's though I'll be honest, I didn't head there too often as I was afraid I would grow to five times my size.

Today I almost ordered See's Dark Chocolate Bordeaux online, because sadly now I can only get it when the holidays roll around and they take up shop in our mall here in Prescott.  Since I am on a diet, I talked myself down from my strong desire, but not before looking to see if there were possible a recipe that I could follow.  And joy of joys!!!!!  I found it.  This came from Taste of Home.

from Taste of Home

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp instant coffee
pinch salt
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
12 oz dark or milk chocolate

Melt butter and brown sugar together in heavy pan. Bring to boil and boil for two minutes. Stir in cream, coffee, salt and bring to boil again. Stir constantly. Boil for 30 seconds and remove from heat. Let cool for 10 minutes. Add sifted powdered sugar to mixture. Stir in well. Chill until mixture holds shape of a small ball. Roll into 2-inch balls. Melt chocolate according to pkg instructions. Dip candy balls into melted chocolate. Sprinkle with cake sprinkles, if desired. Makes approx. 30 bon bons.

Now even though I am on a diet, I really think I am going to make this treat this weekend.  I'm really too excited to hold out.  :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jimmy Needham Free Song Download - I Will Find You - Nose Trade

What an amazing voice! I love Jimmy Needham. He is an incredible talent. You can download his song "I Will Find You" featuring LeCrae for FREE! Just spread the word. Thanks NoiseTrade!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Book Review - A Taste Of Murder by Virginia Smith


I have been working my way through one of the Love Inspired Suspense books by Virginia Smith titled "A Taste of Murder." Love Inspired Suspense is fabulous division by Steeple Hill. I like it more than the other Love Inspired stories, because I enjoy a little thrill with my inspiration, and I love me some mystery! Excuse me for not being very grammatically correct here. I am just sharing my shear joy. I first discovered Virginia Smith when I read "Murder By Mushroom" another Love Inspired Suspense book. At that point, I became an instant fan.

About The Book (From Goodreads):
Who murdered a small-town beauty-pageant judge--in a very strange way? Jasmine Delaney must find out. Because she's taken the victim's place. She came to the Kentucky Bar-B-Q festival for a wedding, eager to meet the bride's handsome brother, Derrick Rogers. Yet she's suddenly surrounded by pint-size contestants whose competitive parents will do anything to ensure the crown. Even kill? Derrick fears she's the killer's next target and promises to keep a close eye on her. Yet someone is already watching Jazzy's every move. Someone who's had a taste of murder. And is hungry for more.

My Review:

I was thrilled to get into another one of Virginia Smith's mysteries.  I have enjoyed her well-developed characters and attention to detail with settings.  She really fleshes out a book from top to bottom which allows a reader to get totally immersed in the story.  Also her humor totally shines through, and I love that.

Jazzy is part of a classical trio who have been hired to perform at a wedding that is taking place the same weekend as a colossal Kentucky B-B-Q festival.  The girls arrive at the hotel in the midst of pageant moms and beauty queen hopefuls.  The hotel is absolutely engulfed in chaos.  The girls are taken aback by the crowd and surprised at the wedding's timing, but they are professionals and more than ready for the task at hand.  Jazzy is also looking forward to meeting the bride's older brother Derrick whom she met via a Christian online community as he was looking for someone to perform at his sister's wedding.  

Jazzy has the slight idea of a little romance on the brain, and is completely blindsided when she and her friends find themselves stuck in the middle of a murder investigation and new commitments as judges for several activities that will be taking place during the B-B-Q festival weekend.  Add to that the fact that their host, Derrick is extremely attractive although not really the kind of guy Jazzy is usually interested in.

What ensues is a murder mystery with a little romance thrown in for good measure.  Jazzy feels as if she sees the killer at every turn and is convinced that it must be someone who would like to win one of the contests at any cost.  However, Jazzy behaves several times in ways that aren't terribly bright for someone who is concerned that a murderer is watching their every move.  I expected someone to call her out on this with a little more force though that did not happen.  

I quite enjoyed "A Taste Of Murder."  I felt like I was on a little vacation with just enough excitement and puzzle thrown in.  The romance to me was a little off with everyone and their mother being over-the-top pushy with Jazzy and Derrick, but I would not say that it is unbelievable.  I have a friend who met her husband when they were both in a wedding and they fell VERY quickly.  As for meeting the man of your dreams online...that happened to me and my husband and I are heading to our fifth year of wedded awesomeness.  My only head scratching was that with all the murder and worry going on, who really has time to think about courting?  Still that did not take me away from the story.  

I understand that there are more mysteries with these characters, and I plan to check out each and every one.  Oh, and if I ever find myself in Kentucky, I am hitting up some BBQ and looking for some burgoo!

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Top Five Free Kindle Books Today - February 17th


Who doesn't love a great deal?  I love my Kindle app and my Nook.  They are absolutely a must have for reading on the go.  I also love that Amazon and Barnes & Noble give you lots of opportunities to discover new authors through free eBook downloads.  Here are some goodies I'm looking forward to reading that are free right now.  Remember what is free today may not be free tomorrow so act fast.  Also, if you read a book for free and you really like the book, spread the word, write a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or both, and of course don't be shy see what else the author has that you might like to buy.  

Here are my top 5.  

Description from Amazon:  

They said, “He’s a nobody.”

They were dead wrong.

When reporter Hudson Ambrose hears an early morning call on his police scanner about an injured person at a bus stop on Las Vegas Boulevard, he rushes to the scene to get the scoop.
His world is blown off its axis when he discovers a murdered homeless man with a bankbook in his pocket showing a balance of almost one million dollars. Should he wait for the police, knowing the case will get lost in reams of red tape, or swipe the bankbook and take the investigation–and perhaps a chunk of the money–into his own hands?

Description from Amazon:

On Bernadine Brown's fifty-second birthday she received an unexpected gift—she caught her husband, Leo, cheating with his secretary. She was hurt—angry, too—but she didn't cry woe is me. Nope, she hired herself a top-notch lawyer and ended up with a cool $275 million. Having been raised in the church, she knew that when much is given much is expected, so she asked God to send her a purpose.

The purpose turned out to be a town: Henry Adams, Kansas, one of the last surviving townships founded by freed slaves after the Civil War. The failing town had put itself up for sale on the Internet, so Bernadine bought it. 

Trent July is the mayor, and watching the town of his birth slide into debt and foreclosure is about the hardest thing he's ever done. When the buyer comes to town, he's impressed by her vision, strength, and the hope she wants to offer not only to the town and its few remaining residents, but to a handful of kids in desperate need of a second chance. 

Not everyone in town wants to get on board though; they don't want change. But Bernadine and Trent, along with his first love, Lily Fontaine, are determined to preserve the town's legacy while ushering in a new era with ties to its unique past and its promising future.

Description from Amazon:

 Just a girl. The only one strong enough to break the cycle.

In Depression-era Mississippi, Millie Reynolds longs to escape the madness that marks her world. With an abusive father and a "nothing mama," she struggles to find a place where she really belongs.

For answers, Millie turns to the Gypsies who caravan through town each spring. The travelers lead Millie to a key that unlocks generations of shocking family secrets. When tragedy strikes, the mysterious contents of the box give Millie the tools she needs to break her family's longstanding cycle of madness and abuse.

Through it all, Millie experiences the thrill of first love while fighting to trust the God she believes has abandoned her. With the power of forgiveness, can Millie finally make her way into the free?

Saturated in Southern ambiance and written in the vein of other Southern literary bestsellers like
The Help by Kathryn Stockett and Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin, Julie Cantrell has created a story that will sweep you away long after the novel ends.

Description from Goodreads:

Olivia Wallace has a birthday curse . . . or so she thinks. It was a broken heart on her 16th, a car accident on her 21st, pneumonia on her 30th, and a fall down a flight of stairs on her 35th. There were Ohio blizzards on her 38th, 39th, and 40th; and six days before her 45th, she lost the love of her life to a heart attack. Numbing grief stole that birthday and a couple more to follow and, on the morning of her 48th birthday, she received the call she’d dreaded ever since losing her mom so many years ago…she was diagnosed with stage-3 ovarian cancer. The doctors didn’t hold out a lot of hope, but Liv survived and maintained her faith. Months of surgeries and chemotherapy and radiation treatments followed.

But now, as her 50th birthday creeps up the icy Ohio path toward her, her hair has grown back, her energy level is up, and she is officially cancer free. It makes her nervous. After everything she’s gone through, Liv hates the idea of driving on icy roads and returning to work as an O.R. nurse in a local Cincinnati hospital.

Her best friend Hallie knows just the thing to break Liv out of the winter doldrums, while providing a safe haven of warmth, sunshine, and a time to regroup: a holiday in the Florida sunshine!

Description from Goodreads:

Allie Whitman and Connor Norman loved making the devils of the corporate world pay. Now, it’s their turn. And the price could be their lives.

“I didn’t have a choice. I didn’t.” That’s what Allie Whitman tells herself every night as she lies awake. Sometimes she even believes it. But mostly she knows deep down that her inability to make a hard choice has put millions of lives at risk, including her own. Now the only one who can help her is her lawyer, Connor Norman. Unfortunately, Allie’s actions have destroyed Connor’s trust in her—and may destroy much, much more

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Life Book Movement

More Than 2 Million Students Receive Gospel in Public Schools
Christian students give The Life Book to their classmates
in public schools throughout the United States
For nearly five decades, religion has been consistently pushed out of the public school.As a result, studies show that only four-percent of today’s teenagers are Bible-believing Christians.  According to Carl Blunt, President and CEO of The Life Book Movement, “teenagers today represent the most Biblically illiterate generation ever in the history of the United States.”
Christian students are rising to the challenge to change that dynamic.  Through The Life Book Movement, over 75,000 Christian students in forty-seven states have given the gift of The Life Book to over 2 Million classmates, in school – during school.
Founded by The Gideons International, The Life Book Movement is an innovative strategy to reach high school students. The movement is a Christian mission centered on The Life Book, a unique presentation of Scripture designed to engage high school students with the truth of God’s Word created by Carl Blunt, president and CEO of The Life Book Movement. The Life Book presents a brief overview of the Old Testament and the Gospel of John using an interactive format with honest student comments and real-life questions in the margins. Readers are drawn into the only story that can change their lives forever.
For your church to request free copies of the Life Book
for your teens to give to their classmates in school,
view video and more, visit
The Life Book Movement works in collaboration with churches throughout the country to provide the books for free to students to “saturate” their schools with God’s Word. Blunt’s organization brilliantly threads a separation-of-church-and-state opening by getting his publication into the hands of Christian high school students and having thempass the books out as a gift to classmates at school—a practice within a student’s religious freedoms, as long as the books are not distributed by school staff or other adults.
Blunt says, “Working with local youth leaders, we help students take God’s Word into a closed country (public high schools) to reach an unreached people group because studies show that only 4% of today’s teenagers are Bible-believing Christians.” The goal is to ensure that every student in every high school in the United States has an opportunity to receive the gift of The Life Book. This approach presents a phenomenal opportunity to impact a generation with the good news of Jesus Christ. 
The Life Book Movement works with local church youth ministries to provide everything students need to offer The Life Book as a gift to their classmates. The churches receive the books at no cost from The Life Book Movement and provide the books, along with some training, to the students in their youth groups. The students then spend a week or two giving them as gifts to their friends and classmates at school.
Since January of 2010, more than 2 Million copies of The Life Book have been distributed. According to Blunt, over 3 million copies are being printed for distribution in the 2012-2013 school year.
Since 1987, The B & B Media Group, Inc. has provided specialized services that achieve the communications and public relations goals of each client.  The Barnabas Agency, a division of The B & B Media Group, Inc., continues to be a proven provider of exceptional services for authors, speakers, ministries and organizations.

Book Review - Lie Down In Green Pasures by Debbie Viguie


Back to the Nook for an awesome read. I actually downloaded "Lie Down In Green Pastures" with my Kindle app and my Nook. It was available free via Kindle first, and I was honestly really excited to get another book in this series. Of course I hadn't read even the first book in the series at the time, but because I had read other books by Debbie Viguie, I was more than sure I would enjoy this series. The opportunity to get several books in a series on Kindle or Nook for free was hard to pass up. 

ABOUT THE BOOK (From Goodreads):   
St. Patrick's Day brings a new murder mystery for the crime-solving duo of Cindy, a church secretary, and Jeremiah, a Reformed rabbi. Can they rush to save hundreds of teens and the man she's grown to care for before it's too late?

I was fortunate to get to read these books in order.  I cannot say that reading them out of order would have taken away from the story, but certainly because I had more time invested, I certainly have come to care for the characters more.  This is of course one of the reasons I really enjoy book series.  It is always like catching up with family. 

This time the series opens with Jeremiah heading off to work on his day off (never do this) when his car gets hit by another car right in front of Cindy's church.  Jeremiah, being very observant, is pretty sure that the driver of the other car was already dead before the impact.  Cindy contacts the police, and once again, Jeremiah and Cindy become involved in yet another murder mystery involving their small town.  

I liked that we got to know more about Mark (a police detective we have gotten to know throughout the series) and also focused more on Jeremiah and his abilities which shine further light into his past life before his life as a reformed rabbi.  Frankly it was nice seeing the focus go off of Cindy for a bit.  The part of the book that focused primarily on Jeremiah was very well written and interesting.  

All in all, I once again thoroughly enjoyed reading this latest book in the series.  There were really two sides of a story going on in this book, and I loved that.  I also enjoyed that this one didn't seem too focused on romance.  It really hasn't been heavy handed with romance, but of course with Cindy looking for love in another book, for me it was a concern.  This is not to say I don't like romance.  I do.  I just am fond of the way a cozy mystery can ease that in rather than make it the main focus.  I am liking that all the characters are developing friendships naturally rather than forcing thenm on us at light speed.  At least that is my take on it.  I do hope that Debbie Viguie writes more books for this series.  Free or not, I will definitely snap them up.