Friday, September 28, 2012

Bookshelf Friday - Proof by Jordyn Redwood

While looking for a new thriller to read a couple of months back, I stumbled across this book. The fact that it was published by Kregel gave me a sense of security. A good suspense that would be clean. Intrigued, I picked it up and read through the first chapter, ready and willing to dig in. However, I was supposed to be doing other things and found I was laying those aside to read. So I put Proof down with a promise to pick it back up on my plane ride to ACFW as a reward for getting all my stuff prepared.

Only problem? It was on my Kindle. And somehow the nail-biting moments always coincided with that little announcement about turning off all electrical devices. REALLY? My Kindle? As if that's going to cause a problem.

I obeyed. Begrudgingly.

But every minute that I was allowed, I read Proof and I LOVED it! (did I already mention that?)

Now, I read a lot of suspense, and I watch a lot of suspense. I always have. So it's unusual for me to find one that stumps me as much as this book did. But Jordyn matched her medical background with her writing talent and created a well-carved story that keeps you on your toes. She even has the "bad-guy reveal" mid-way through the story and it only escalates the tension. Both the characters and the readers scratch their heads wondering HOW he got away with his crimes. 

Here's the back-cover blurb:

Dr. Lilly Reeves is a young, accomplished ER physician with her whole life ahead of her. But that life instantly changes when she becomes the fifth victim of a serial rapist. Believing it's the only way to recover her reputation and secure peace for herself, Lilly sets out to find--and punish--her assailant. Sporting a mysterious tattoo and unusually colored eyes, the rapist should be easy to identify. He even leaves what police would consider solid evidence. But when Lilly believes she has found him, DNA testing clears him as a suspect. How can she prove he is guilty, if science says he is not?

While the subject matter in Proof can at times create a hard read, Jordyn manages to weave her faith into the story in amazing ways. She gives her characters hope in the midst of difficult situations and delivers a thrilling ride to her readers. Just an FYI: This book is a bit on the edgier side of Christian Fiction, so if you mainly love sweet romances (here! here! I love those too!) then this may not be the book for you. But if you love suspense, mystery, or thrills, this is one you'll want to pick up.

Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Blessing Wednesday

Happy Wednesday everyone! I can barely believe it's been a week. The ACFW conference was amazing. With so many wonderful things offered, I completely lost track of what day it was or what hour for that matter. I'm still attempting to catch-up:)

It is Wednesday though, so time to put the catching-up on hold and count some blessings. I hope you're with me!

Today I am beyond thankful for:

~The amazing people who put in hours upon hours to produce the ACFW conference. It truly was a major blessing in my life.

~The new friends I made, the old friends I got to chat with, and the internet friends I finally got to meet!

~God's daily presence. Seriously. He didn't need to leave us the Holy Spirit, but He DID! It's because He loves us and desires to be with us. I so love His love.

~Brussel sprouts. Just because I like them:)

Our engagement photo - had to
dig deep to find this baby! 
~And Hubby. Today is our anniversary - FIFTEEN YEARS!  And we're still as in love as we were way back before we'd even admit it:)  Hubby's blessed me with his unconditional love and amazing friendship, and I thank God for him daily.

Come on now, your turn! Share the blessings your week has brought. I know for some you're bubbling over with them, others may be at a point where you have to dig for them. But they're there. Close your eyes and ask God to bring them to your mind. He will. I promise.

Praying you feel God's presence in a real and tangible way this week, friends!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Blessing Wednesday

Okay. This Wednesday is a little crazy as I'm getting ready for conference. But I couldn't leave without raising a little praise first. Normally I'd get a little nervous before doing something so BEYOND my comfort zone as this conference is, but God is BEYOND faithful and good, and I think He's got me covered. So, today I'm thankful for:

-God's perfect peace

-The amazing rainbow I saw last night!

-The color yellow

-The comfy feeling of being toasty-warm when it's cold and windy outside.

-Apples...especially when they're combined with cinnamon and sugar and baked in, well, anything,  or when they're used to make Caramel Apple Cider...oh pure yumminess!

Blessings my friends. I'll be gone from here until next Wednesday. Praying wonderful things for you while I'm gone and looking forward to filling you all in once I'm back. I'd love to hear some of your blessings this week, so please share!

Monday, September 17, 2012

He Loves You, He Really Loves You!

I was doing one of my most hated favorite things in the world last week—laundry—when God dropped by. Now, I gotta say, God’s presence is always around in my house. I invite Him in every morning over coffee. We have a sweet, sweet time, and I’m completely in love with Him. But this mid-morning, He gave me a glimpse of how much He completely loves me.

And I needed nearly an entire box of Kleenex.

See, all too often I spend my mornings with God,  and I pour out my heart to Him. He is the best listener and wisest counsel I have ever met. These past two years have been an amazing growing period in our relationship as I’ve allowed Him to stretch me in many, many ways. Each morning (okay, nearly each morning, some days my pillow still wins out) I’d get up and find a place to simply talk to Him. Seek out what step He wanted me to take next and do my best to take it. At times I’d pray the same prayer for weeks, just waiting. Other times I’d feel a quickening in my spirit to “leap now”. I was so focused on obedience that I never really stopped to soak in what was happening.

God did though.

And as I sat there doing my laundry last week, He decided to speak to me.

He’d been watching. He’d seen. And He was pleased. Beyond pleased. He was so totally, completely in love with me. See, I KNEW I was in love with Him, and I know He loves me, but when he pulled back that veil and let that love fall on me, it became more than a head-knowledge. It was like my own personal Sally Field's moment, only better.

You like me, You really like me! No….you LOVE me!

As He hugged me, He went down this list of “when you did this…I saw…and I was pleased. And when you did this…I saw…and I was pleased…you are precious to me…”

It's so fluffy!!
I felt squished by His love. He picked me up right where I was and loved me. (Remember Agnes from Despicable Me? Yeah. I felt like that unicorn she gets.) 

Someone out there today needs to hear this, because in life two things typically happen. You're focused on the work, too busy to stop and notice that God is completely in love with you. OR you only see your mistakes, too wrapped in your guilt and mess-ups to allow yourself to see God is head-over-heels, beyond crazy in love with you.

But He is.

And not just in a read-in-a-book, keep-in-your-head, untouchable sort of way.

But in a real, living-breathing, wrap-His-arms-around you, knock-your-socks-off kind of way.

You need to know--God sees you. He IS watching. He sees the steps you’re taking. Yes, sometimes those steps are more like stumbles (been there, done that, pretty sure I’ll go back), but He SEES how you’re trying. How your heart is focused on simple obedience, and He is so, SO pleased with you.

And He loves you with a love that is beyond anything you can imagine. It's beyond anything you can do or have done. It's a love that exists simply because you are His...

I pray you’re squished by His love today:)

Friday, September 14, 2012

DVD Shelf Friday - North & South

I've finally done it - I watched North & South! If you remember, back this summer I admitted to mixing up North & South and Downtown Abbey. Never again will that happen! While I have finished season one of DA, I still can't say I'm in love with it. The same cannot be said about North & South though. Not even possible.

After writing and editing for twelve hours straight one Saturday, I needed a little inspiration-filler-up, so I fired up my Netflix and settled in to watch the first part of the four-part miniseries.

I was only going to watch just the one.

Nearly four hours later I had a giddy smile on my face and tears in my eyes.

LOVED THIS MOVIE!

If you haven't seen it - you'll want to. Each character intrigued me. The entire story line pulled me in. And Mr. Thornton? Yeah. If you like Mr. Darcy, you're gonna love Mr. Thornton. And the last scene at the train station...I still sigh. Seriously. Watch it. It's the weekend. You can spare an hour...or four...right?

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Blessing Wednesday

Good morning, friends. It's Wednesday, and can I say this week is moving so fast I nearly missed that fact! God's good though, He made sure to wake me this morning and get me moving...so let's count some blessings:)

Today I am so thankful for:

~My body. I Zumba'd this week...now, I am not graceful, I'm completely uncoordinated, my knees hurt and so does my back...oh we all have things we can pick on--don't even get me started on my list that I see when I look in the mirror! BUT I'm working on changing this. Because we get to choose our attitudes, don't we? So I"m thankful today that I can move. I have all four limbs and they all work. And so does my laughter...and laughter is a great thing.

~Help from my dad who came over and tore the roof off our shed to fix it for us. HUGE blessing!

~peach tea

~cool, fall nights for perfect sleeping weather

~God's love. And I'm talking about those moments where He overpowers you with it. Reaches out and encompasses you with it. Gives you just a glimpse of how much He LOVES you, and you end up a blubbery mess. If you've never felt God's amazing love for YOU, ask Him to show you today, because it's the BIGGEST blessing of all:)

What blessings are you thankful for today?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Games We Play - Follow the Leader

In the last few weeks I’ve talked about Games We Play: Tag and Hide and Seek. Today I want to talk about Follow the Leader.

We all know how to play this game, right? You line up behind one person and follow them wherever they may go. Not only do you follow them, but you mimic them. This game has the potential to produce a lot of giggles…or a few tears.

It's really no different in our life walk. Except the game has higher stakes. We need to be incredibly careful who we are following. If we choose the wrong person, we’ll end up in places we never wanted to be, and quite possibly as a person we don’t want to be. I don’t know about you, but when I’m being an angry, grumpy mom, I don’t exactly like myself. Which is just one reason I need to choose Christ as my leader, because if I’m mimicking Him, here’s some of what I’ll get:

Slow to anger (Psalm 86:15)
Filled with joy (John 15:11)
Peace & kindness (Galatians 5:22)

Those are not qualities I possess when I follow my flesh.

See, in all areas of our lives—every nook & cranny—we need to be following Christ. We have addictions, mouths that run off, thoughts that shouldn’t be there, people that rub us the wrong way, insecurities…you name it, we have it. But when we’re following Him, we begin to take on His qualities. Not only that, but He leads us through our problems, all the while showing us not only the path to take but how to tackle it (and all our issues along the way).  Because in Christ we are more than conquerors. (Romans 8:37)

And what a testimony we create along the way.

Which is good, too, because we always have someone watching, don’t we? Kids. Co-workers. Friends...Strangers. When they look at me, I want them to see the One I’m following.

This hit home with me recently when I watched an episode of 19 Kids and Counting. I can’t say I watch it often, but this was one episode I caught. I’d actually watched it before, and they were replaying it. Hubby got up and left the room, but I stayed to re-watch. See. This episode impacted me. It was the one where they lost their latest pregnancy. If you haven’t seen it, you should, because it’s an amazing picture of faith. Like, faith that I want to possess when I grow up. Just grab a box of Kleenex if you do watch it.

The line that most impacted me was uttered by Michelle as she did her voice-over for the funeral:
“A multitude of emotions at that moment; gratefulness, gratitude, sorrow, grief. Not understanding now, but knowing that soon I’ll see face to face and I’ll understand later…”

Wow. I mean, I stopped. She said those words in the midst of her grief. That’s faith—blind faith. Not knowing now, yet still following. Understanding that your answer will not come, but trusting that God is still good…and still waiting on Him. Throughout the entire episode she repeated verses she’d learned, at some moments they are the only words she had. She hadn’t just learned these verses, she imprinted them on her heart. She wasn’t just looking to her Savior, she was following Him, even when the path was laid with pain.

And that’s what I want.

To follow the One who will lead me through anything my life may encounter so when others see me, they actually see the One who's leading me.

Who are you following today?

When Jesus spoke again to the people , he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Shoeshelf Friday

Yep. You heard right. Today is all about shoes.

BFF and I were shopping last night in attempt to find a few odds and ends to help my clothing wardrobe for the upcoming writing conference (ACFW) I'm attending in two weeks. But what I really wanted to purchase? Shoes. In every style, in every color. In fact, I believe I may have been heard uttering, "Can a girl really ever have too many shoes? Really?"

Before I had kids, back when it was just Hubby and I working full time, the answer was NO:) (I still think that's the answer, but reality sings a different tune;)  )

Today it's all about practicality. A fine trade-off for staying home with the kiddos. But I just gotta know. What do you love? Heels? Flats? Flip-flops? Fun colors or the basics?

Have a great weekend, friends!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Blessing Wednesday

So summer is over and school has begun! I had an amazingly awesome time with the family these last two weeks and grabbed every last bit of fun I could steal from summer. I gotta admit, fall is my favorite time of year by far, but this year, summer ran an even race:)

But vacation is over, today is Wednesday, and it's time to count some blessings--so let's go!

This doesn't even begin to touch our pile of books. I have
a 2nd grader, 5th grader, and 7th grader this year. Pray
for me:)
~A great start to our school year yesterday. Blessed to see smiles on my kids' faces as we hauled all the schoolbooks out. (okay. maybe not full smiles. but no frowns...so I'm taking it.) This is year seven of homeschooling for us!

~Coffee. It's been a bit since I listed this one, and with my mornings shifting back to early ones, I am beyond blessed again that God created this little bean for us.

~Our media department at church. When I'm not able to be there, I can still catch the sermon. I love my church!

~Christian Fiction. I am crazy about books...reading, writing, holding, sniffing, (I read e-books too but still love to hold that paper in my hands!)...I lose myself in stories and am beyond blessed to have an industry that gives me an outlet for this passion.

~And most of all, my Mama...who just happens to be celebrating a birthday today. She's ** years young :) Happy Birthday Mom-I LOVE YOU!!
Mom, my girls, and I at The Glass
Slipper in Destin, FL.

I hope you all had a blessed Holiday and are getting back into the swing of fall. Bring on sweatshirts, pumpkin donuts, and football!! Until then, what are you thankful for today??