Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Gaither Homecoming Bible, ©2012; New King James Version

Psalm 100

New King James Version (NKJV)

A Song of Praise for the Lord’s Faithfulness to His People

A Psalm of Thanksgiving.

  Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;^
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.
100:3 ^Following Kethib, Septuagint, and Vulgate; Qere, many Hebrew manuscripts, and Targum read we are His.

My Review

God's Word is so dynamic, reaching the heart and soul of man, revealed by the Holy Spirit into our lives.

New King James Version, The Gaither Homecoming Bible Inspiring Hope Through Scripture, Song, and Story.  Edited by Gloria Gaither and Bill Gaither. Published by Thomas Nelson, available October 9, 2012.

"We have found the Word of God to be a living, vital force in our real, walking-around lives. It is our hope that the stories and experiences we and the Homecoming family of singers, writers, and musicians share will encourage and inspire you to take seriously the Bible's claim to be a light for your path, a shield from negative forces, a sharp sword when you feel attacked, sweet honey in your mouth,  and a dependable guide for life's journey. Most of all, we hope a developing love for the Scriptures will lead you to the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life."  ―Bill & Gloria Gaither

The Gaither Homecoming Bible includes inspiring devotional articles by Bill, Gloria, and their friends. Included are 64 Gaither Homecoming contributors. I on-the-spot opened to this page and am including one for you here, followed by the next page side insert to give you an example. (Pages 878-880, Isaiah 52:10-53:12.)

REBA RAMBO-McGUIRE • Songwriter, Homecoming Artist, Daughter of Buck and Dottie Rambo, The Rambos
"No weapon forged against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and the righteousness is from Me," says the LORD. | ISAIAH 54:17
My prayer closet carpet was soaked and stained with mascara tears. We were having unusual financial challenges in our ministry, and the pressure was overwhelming. I had prayed until my knees ached, yet it seemed the heavens were brass and God was obviously vacationing in Maui, I finally sighed myself up off the floor, languishing into our bedroom.
     The TV was on, and a minister I didn't particularly like was speaking. Even though I couldn't stand to watch him, I would occasionally check him out for a few minutes just to see how off he was. Suddenly, he stopped what he was saying and blurted out, "Father, I thank You for the privilege of praying every day that no weapon forged against me shall prosper!"
     I froze in my tracks.
     "Reba, that's the problem," the Voice whispered. "You have become a weapon forged against this man." He is praying Isaiah 54:17 every day, so I can't prosper you!"
     The truth hit me right in the center of my soul.
     "But, Father, I haven't spoken against him on a stage or television or written about him in a magazine. I haven't talked about him to anybody!" I cried. "Well, except I did mention how I felt about him to Dony once or twice, and come to think of it, I might have told Suzan Speer or maybe Judy ..."
     Don't you hate it when you get busted? Of course, a lot of us women's idea of keeping a secret is to tell one person at a time!
     I was standing there blubbering when Dony walked in, so I shared what I felt God was speaking to my heart. "Maybe you should call him and repent," Dony smiled.
     "But I don't have a clue how to reach him," I pouted.
     That moment, his ministry phone number scrolled across the bottom of the screen. I called and miraculously got him on the phone and began my pathetic attempt at apologizing.
     Do you want to hear the worst part? He was so forgiving and nice!
     "I was just listening to Dony and you sing this morning before the broadcast," he said. "You two just seem to get me fired up to minister! As a matter of fact, would you consider coming and sharing a platform with me?"
     Isn't God hysterical?
     Yes, we went and sang at one of his services. I quickly realized that he was, as my mama used to say, an acquired taste. He was so kind and gracious to us, and I began to realize that he would reach people I could never effectively touch. He spoke a spiritual language that communicated to a particular people; we are one nation, but many tribes.
     Dony and I repented over any and everyone against whom our words had become weapons. We made some phone calls and wrote letters when it was appropriate. Basically, we plucked the weeds out of our garden so the good seed of words we had planted could blossom. We learned the power of agreement could work not only for us but against us. When we agreed in repentant prayer on negative words against others in the body of Christ, they returned multiplied to us.
     Would you like to guess who Father used to bless us and heal our wounded finances?
     Yep, it was that TV minister.
~*~  ~*~  ~*~
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, ... so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I send  it."  ISAIAH 55:8-11
When God sends His Word―His commandments, His promises, His blessings, His warnings―it is always to prosper us. But God's definition and our definition of "prosper" couldn't be farther apart. We define "prosper" in earth terms; He defines it in eternal terms. Sometimes, just the fallout of what He's after in us brings with it the tangible, good things of earth because often integrity, honesty, and trustworthiness, and the like are valuable in many "earth enterprises." But be assured, those things are never the end result God is after. His Word will always prosper in the thing for which He sent it.
     Even our propensity to disobedience is a gift of sorts―so that we would never be able to take credit for our so-called virtue, but come to Him for mercy, grace, joy, forgiveness, and, most important of all, the true love that is the deepest longing of the human―and the divine―heart.

Footnote example:

Isaiah 53:9
And they^ made His grave with the
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth.

Isaiah 53:11
He shall see the labor of His soul,^ and
   be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous
   Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities. ______________________________________________________________________________________
53:9  ^Literally he or He   53:11 ^Following Masoretic Text, Targum, and Vulgate: Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint read From the labor of His soul He shall see light.

The Holy Scriptures are placed within two columns a page in very readable type and spacing with footnotes at the bottom, as shown above. Insert text under Scripture is offset in different type upon a light-colored background. Page numbers and Scripture content are placed at the top. Chapter headings are in a cranberry color which sets off text content very nicely. Drawings of God's sky and landscape creations around us are portrayed in a light color behind inserts and tops of pages and are very soothing. The print is a soft-black shade on off-white paper and is crisp and easy to read.

Included in the front of the Bible is a presentation page, "From our Family to Yours ... Bill & Gloria Gaither," photo and overview of the Contributors, a section for Our Family Records: Husband's Family, Wife's Family, Our Children, Our Grandchildren; and Significant Events. 


• Hymns and Gospel Songs: Why We Need Them
• Preface to the New King James Version
• Welcome to the Gaither Homecoming Bible
• Old Testament Books of the Holy Bible with page numbers
New Testament Books of the Holy Bible with page numbers
• Index to Songs (75)
• Acknowledgments
•  60-Day Gaither Homecoming Bible Reading Plan
   A two-month overview of the Scriptures, including Homecoming devotions for every day.

Features include:

• Inspirational and insightful Scripture devotions by the Gaithers and other Homecoming artists
• Beloved hymns, gospel songs, and Gaither classics and the stories that inspired them
• Original, inspiring poems by Gloria Gaither (Do You Know I Love You?, page 1363)
• Quotes by greats of the faith reflecting on the importance of music in the life of believers
• Presentation section featuring photos of the Homecoming family

Do You Know I Love You?
  ©Gloria Gaither

Oh daughter, did you know how much
   I loved you?
Through all the voices did you hear
   me say
That you are my great heart's
   dearly beloved?
When every road was gone, I was
   the Way.
Through all the fires of hell I came to
   find you.
Pursued you down the corridors
   of time―
Though satan sold you cheap and
   stole your virtue
I bought you with my life and you
   are mine.

I love you with a love that has no limit;
You're flesh of my flesh, bone of
   my bone.
I love you with a love that has
   no limit―
I will not rest a moment till
   you're home.

Oh, son, in your rebellion did you
   hear me?
Hear my love song ringing in the night?
When acid tears of guilt burned hot to
   blind you,
I was the soothing balm that gave
   you sight
When fast and far you ran
   pursuing pleasure,
I was the hound of heaven faster still―
I could not let you go because I
   loved you,
Loved you all that time and love
   you still.

I love you with a love that has
   no limit;
You're flesh of my flesh, bone of
   my bone.
I love you with a love that has
   no limit―
I will not rest a moment till
   you're home.

Book Description

The Gaither Homecoming Bible will make the Bible come alive for those seeking truth in the twenty-first century, even for those who think they already know it. For years, Bill and Gloria Gaither have reached millions of people across generations with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Their music of joy, thanksgiving, and praise ushers people into the presence of God so that He can do His wondrous work in their lives. Featuring inspirational and insightful Scripture devotions by the Gaithers and other favorite Homecoming artists; articles on beloved hymns, gospel songs, and Gaither classics and the inspiration behind them; original poetry by Gloria Gaither to enlighten and inspire; and quotes by greats of the faith, reflecting on the importance of music in the life of believers, this beautiful Bible featuring the New King James Version® (NKJV) is one that readers will treasure for years to come.

• special offer from Homecoming Magazine
• Bible study tools digital download

This hardcover Bible has a protective paper covering on it with endorsements on the front flyleaf and the names of the Homecoming contributors on the back flyleaf. The beautiful hardcover beneath is in deep forest green with gold lettering. GUARANTEED FOR LIFE. "Thomas Nelson guarantees the quality of this Bible. To learn about the care of your Bible, register for your lifetime guarantee, and receive free offers, visit our website today." 

Thank you to BookSneeze for this beautiful Bible in exchange for this review of the Bible content in my own words.

Releases October 23, 2012: Tricia Goyer's novel The Memory Jar

In The Memory Jar, part of the Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series, we visit a small Amish community in West Kootenai, Montana, where for the past ten years, Sarah Shelter has been passed over by the young Amish men that arrive there each year. A tragedy has closed her heart … until she meets Jathan Schrock.

Tricia Goyer is the best-selling author of 32 books, include two novels that have won ACFW's Book of the Year award. Her co-authored novel The Swiss Courier was also a Christy Award nominee. Tricia loves to travel and research for her fiction, and believes real life inspires great fiction. Tricia and her husband John live in Little Rock, Arkansas. They have four children ages 2 to 23-years-old.

The Memory Jar
Series: Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors
eBook, ePub
Every year, 30–40 young Amish men descend on the cozy little town of West Kootenai, Montana, arriving in the spring to live there for six months and receive “resident” status for the hunting season in the fall. They arrive as bachelors, but go home with brides!
Sarah Shelter has lived in West Kootenai for the last ten years and wonders if she will ever fall in love. Since the tragic death of her best friend, she carries her memories in a jar along with the small items connected to them. For just as long, she’s also been carrying around her emotions instead of allowing them to penetrate deep into her heart.
Now she’s met a kind and gentle man who may be able to break down the wall. But can Sarah risk her heart to finally achieve her dreams?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Unstoppable by Nick Vujicic © 2012

Unstoppable by Nick Vujicic (Chapter 1 Excerpt)

Nick Vujicic
Nick and his wife Kanae
Unstoppable, a brand new book by Nick Vujicic. It’s an incredibly powerful and inspiring message.

Monday, September 17, 2012

With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin, c2012

At Last Lyrics by Etta James
At last, my love has come along
My lonely days are over
And life is like a song
Oh, yeah, at last
The skies above are blue
My heart was wrapped up in clovers
The night I looked at you
I found a dream that I could speak to
A dream that I can call my own
I found a thrill to rest my cheek to
A thrill that I have never known
Oh, yeah when you smile, you smile
Oh, and then the spell was cast
And here we are in heaven
For you are mine
At last
Page 1 ~*~ With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin

Walter Reed General Hospital
Army Medical Center
Washington DC
October 2, 1942

Lt. Philomela Blake believed mornings should start gently, with the nighttime melting into golden sunshine and birdsong luring to wakefulness.
   Most nurses on the morning shift assaulted the patients with electric light and harsh voices, but not Mellie.
   She pulled the cord of the blackout curtain and sang "At Last," and the volume of her tune built with the intensity of light. Hurting and healing men deserved a soft hand.
   On the nearest bed, Corporal Sloan shifted under the blankets. He'd undergone an appendectomy late last night. "Any dame ..." He cleared his throat, his voice raspy from the ether. "Any dame with the voice of an angel must have a face to match."
   Mellie's song and her hands stilled. How many soldiers dreamed of a beautiful nurse who might fall in love with them?
   He rubbed his eyes, looked at her, and his smile flickered.
   Papa called Mellie his exotic orchid, but American men seemed to prefer roses.
And so opens With Every Letter as our leading lady protagonist, Lieutenant Mellie Blake, begins her soft morning awakenings at Walter Reed General Hospital with soft sunlight and a tune, gently to wakefulness. Ether was the common choice of inhalant anesthetics to induce unconsciousness for general surgeries. I was the recipient of it as a child for a surgery and can still remember the awful nauseating sweet-smelling odor all its own placed over my nose, "count to 10," and the hallucinating nightmare and respiratory tract soreness it caused. Thankfully, other intravenous administration ingredients are used today!

Mellie is asked to join a letter-writing campaign to officers in an Engineer Aviation Battalion unit headed by the chief nurse's husband based in Liverpool, England. One letter? Anonymously written; no photos, no life-long assignment. One Letter. Having been the only child on her Papa's botanical expeditions, shy Mellie has not had friendships beyond her scrapbook cutouts of magazine and catalog "children," and added newspaper photographs of children she has been praying for. One letter to ease his fears, his worries, his loneliness? She could write one letter. A friend. A friend on paper.

Enter, Tom, Lt. Thomas MacGilliver Jr., who has had to live down his father's name that follows him everywhere. He retrieves Mellie's letter, tossed by a platoon commander who mocked her first paragraph in front of everyone. [I like her letter!!]  ~*~ Tom agrees. He likes it too!

Mellie is transferred to Bowman Field, an Army Air Force base in Kentucky, to be trained for air evacuation as a flight nurse. She has been hoping to join this group to be nearer to her father. No news had come about his whereabouts in the Philippines.
Back Cover
Lt. Mellie Blake is looking forward to beginning her training as a flight nurse. She is not looking forward to writing a letter to a man she's never met--even if it is anonymous and part of a morale-buildilng program. Lt. Tom MacGilliver, an officer stationed in North Africa, welcomes the idea of an anonymous correspondence--he's been trying to escape his infamous name for years.
   As their letters crisscross the Atlantic, Tom and Mellie develop a unique friendship despite not knowing the other's true identity. When both are transferred to Algeria, the two are poised to meet face-to-face for the first time. Will they overcome their fears and reveal who they are, or will their future be held hostage by their pasts?
   Combining a flair for romance with excellent research and attention to detail, Sarah Sundin vividly brings to life the perilous challenges of WWII aviation, nursing--and true love.

Thank you to Baker Publishing Group for this copy of With Every Letter in exchange for my review in my own words.
One more thing! You don't want to miss this!!
Product Details
Paperback: 425 pages
Publisher: Revell (September 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0800720814
ISBN-13: 978-0800720810
With Every Letter, first book in the
Wings of the Nightingale series


Other Historical Fiction by Sarah Sundin: Wings of Glory series, a three-book series of historical romances, follows the three Novak brothers, B-17 bomber pilots with the US Eighth Air Force in World War II.:

A Distant Melody: (book 1) available from Revell at your local bookstore or on-line at Amazon,, or Barnes and Noble.
Allie Miller is promised to a man she doesn’t love, but Lt. Walter Novak, a furloughed B-17 bomber pilot, captures her heart. Will she honor her family’s wishes or take a chance on true love?

A Memory Between Us (book 2) available from Revell at your local bookstore or on-line at Amazon,, or Barnes & Noble. Maj. Jack Novak has never failed to meet a challenge until he meets Lt. Ruth Doherty, a striking nurse with a shameful secret. Can Jack break down her defenses? Or are they destined to go their separate ways?
2011 Finalist in the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Awards
On Booklist's 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction List

Blue Skies Tomorrow (book 3): available from Revell at your local bookstore or on-line at Amazon,, or Barnes & Noble.
Young widow Helen Carlisle buries her pain in volunteer work, but the sparks of her romance with Lt. Raymond Novak fling them both into peril. Can they find the courage they need to face their trials?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Be Still My Soul by Joanne Bischof, c2012

Be Still My Soul: A Novel

Be Still My SoulNight’s chill tickled her skin. Lonnie pressed her hands together and glanced up. He was even more handsome up close. Having grown up the shy, awkward daughter of Joel Sawyer, she’d hardly spoken to any boy, let alone the one who had mothers whispering warnings in their daughter’s ears and fathers loading shotguns.

Pretty Lonnie Sawyer is shy and innocent—she's used to fading into the background within her family and among the creeks and hollows of the Appalachian hills. Though they are poor and her father abusive, she clings to a quiet faith. But when handsome ladies’ man and bluegrass musician Gideon O’Riley steals a kiss, that one action seals her fate. 
    Her father forces her into a hasty marriage with Gideon—a man she barely knows and does not love. Equally frustrated and confused by his new responsibilities, Gideon yearns for a fresh start, forcing  Lonnie on an arduous journey away from her home in Rocky Knob.
    Her distant groom can’t seem to surrender his rage at the injustice of the forced matrimony or give Lonnie any claim in his life. What will it take for Gideon to give up his past, embrace Lonnie’s God, and discover a hope that can heal their two fractured hearts?

My Review 
Lonnie Sawyer prayed for peace to the One who could give it, as she approached the makeshift porch stage.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,
whose mind is stayed on thee:
because he trusteth in thee.
—Isaiah 26:3
 Why tonight of all nights must she sing in front of this crowd that would rather be waiting to hear her momma sing? Under the stars so perfect ~ Lord, help me.
♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ •♥•.¸¸.•♥•.¸ Laurie Lewis - Is the Blue Moon Still Shining?
♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ •♥•.¸¸.•♥•.¸
So! Do you know our author plays the mandolin??
Miss Joanne, I would have loved to have found one of your songs! Liked this one written by Bill Monroe's daughter, Melissa (1936-1990), though not 1901 Appalachian!

Forgetting words she was able to sing at home, "Gid" O'Riley shows his stuff on the mandolin to cover for her. After her nervous performance, her brother stays to ask questions about playing music and offers Gideon to take her home. She lives an hour away by foot up the mountain. An hour because Gideon isn't as sure-footed on the unknown paths. Lonnie points out where a fork in the trail leads to her aunt Sarah's cabin. She could have saved herself a turn in events if she had parted ways there! Instead, her father confronts her the next morning about seeing her farewell to Gideon and adding a few of his own interpretations. Before long Gideon and Lonnie go across the mountains again, but in another direction... and wed, not of their own choosing. Seems his mother bids them farewell because of being set aside by Lonnie's father in her youth, or so local talk goes.

Join their adventure as it is now, and how Jeremiah 29:11 is becoming real in their lives. I like Gideon beneath his hard protective exterior and Lonnie with her trust in the Lord. Both of them are going to find out who they really are in all they have experienced in life. Thankful for the direction and wisdom they receive from those who have been there, from older couples along the way, and their listening.

Joanne Bischof has a beautiful writing style. She portrays emotion and the scenery along the way. I love the descriptiveness. You feel like you are right there with them and want to lend a hand. Very comfortable and able to relate to Gideon and Lonnie from both sides. Wouldn't that be great if it were so in life? Hindsight is sometimes, usually, 20/20. They are real people you could meet, or be. Historical fiction is my very favorite. Learn to not repeat, or to correct where you are now.

Have you ever put your hand over part of a page so you wouldn't read ahead to find out until you got there? I don't read the back of the book, nor skip ahead, but I found myself twice covering part of a page as I read so as not to stumble on what was coming on the opposite page, spoiling the suspense. I like how the story moves into the next sequence so naturally and you are in a different place before you realize it is changing so effortlessly!
A beautiful story of human nature ~*~ hurt, despair, withheld feelings because of fear of not being received turning to growth, yearning for real life with self exposed. Learning to trust in the cadence of grace with lives redeemed.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. (1 Peter 5:10)

Buy now from Waterbrook Multnomah

  • Be Still My Soul: A Novel ~ Book 1, The Cadence of Grace series

  • Written by Joanne Bischof
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • ISBN: 9781601424211
  • Our Price: $14.99
  • Quantity:

...Or Choose Another Retailer

Be Still My Soul will be released on October 2, 2012. Also available as an eBook.

Historical Romance set in Appalachia
* Marital conflict
* Life change events
* Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia

Joanne Bischof

About the Author

Married to her first sweetheart, Joanne Bischof lives in the mountains of Southern California where she keeps busy making messes with their home-schooled children. When she’s not weaving Appalachian romance, she’s blogging about faith, writing, and the adventures of country living that bring her stories to life. Be Still My Soul is her first novel. 

Author Joanne Bischof shares the behind the scenes process to her Appalachian Romance "Be Still My Soul" coming from WaterBrook Press, Oct. 2012. For more information, visit

Blue Ridge Mountains

~*~ Thank you to WaterBrook Multnomah blogging for Books for sending this advance reading copy of Be Still My Soul: A Novel in exchange for a review in my own words. Thank you, Joanne Bischof, for a beautiful story of hope and redemption! ~*~

Weeping may endure for a night,
but joy cometh in the morning.
—Psalm 30:5

Be Still My Soul Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The night air brushed her arms, and Lonnie prayed autumn’s cool breath could whisper her off—carry her into another life. Lord, help me. She looked up at her pa and forced a tight smile. With his broad back to the moonlit sky, his scruffy face was hidden beneath the shadow of a floppy hat. Chestnut hair swirled against her cheeks, and she blinked, willing the breeze to calm her nerves.
     Joel Sawyer arched a bushy eyebrow. "Don’t see what’s gotten ya so shaken up all a sudden."
     She lifted her chin. "I ain’t shaken." Her eyes dared him to say otherwise. "I just don’t see why…" She bit her tongue at the tremble in her voice. Her thumb traced the fresh bruises on her wrist—each small dent the same size as her pa’s fingers.
     "Because your ma’s got a headache." Her pa’s growl was for her ears alone. His eyes bored into hers, even through the lie. "Can’t go lettin’ Samson down." Sour breath hit her face. "Now get on up there and sing for these people."
     Lonnie swallowed and eyed the crowd that had gathered for an evening of dancing. With the first autumn leaves blanketing the forest floor, it was sure to be the last of the summer. She’d never sung for a crowd before and, at seventeen, felt foolish when her heart pounded in her ears and her skin tingled with fear. If only Samson hadn’t asked that her ma sing this night.
     Her pa had made it clear. No wife of his was gonna snuggle up that close to Samson Brown. Over his dead body, or so he’d said. Lonnie watched her pa descend the steps, shoulders hunched.
     "Sorry about your mama’s headache," Samson whispered. He smiled and his eyes crinkled.
     Lonnie nodded, certain he knew the truth, yet fighting the urge to make a liar out of the man who’d just deposited her at the stage as if she were no more than a pawn.
Lonnie glanced to the sky, and even as night’s chill crept past her faded gingham dress, she prayed for a peace from the One who could help her through this. Her ma was the songbird. Not her. Folks were always going on about how Maggie Sawyer had the prettiest voice on any Sunday morning.
     A gray spotted dog tipped his ears when Lonnie stepped over him onto the makeshift stage. Her bare feet skirted around a pair of lanterns at the stage edge. Samson Brown, eyes twinkling, raised a banjo onto his lap. Lonnie took her place beside the trio’s mandolin player, Gideon O’Riley, and when their shoulders touched, she stepped sideways, nearly tripping as she did.
     Gideon glanced at her, his expression unreadable until amusement flitted through his green eyes. Lonnie chided herself for blushing so easily. The fiddler tilted his instrument to his chin. The creases in his blacksmith hands were stained dark as coal. He nodded and waited, bow poised. Reluctantly, Lonnie returned the nod.
     The hollow sound of his tapping boot echoed through the cracks of the porch. The bow slid across the strings slower than a cat stretching after a good, long nap. Gideon struck the strings of his mandolin, and Samson’s banjo twanged, rambling as free as a holler. Lonnie watched in awe, bewildered by their confidence.
     She clung to the shadows from the eaves overhead, but when her pa motioned for her to step into the moonlight, she scooted forward. Her bare toes reached the edge of the porch, and she glanced away from her pa’s smug stare. When the fiddle’s strings thickened in harmonies, Lonnie sang out the words. Her heart quickened, stunned by the sound of her own voice belting out a song she’d learned at her ma’s knee. She stared into the blur of faces as feet stomped and calico skirts swirled, revealing dozens of homemade petticoats and faded stockings. She forced her foot to tap in rhythm as men spun their girls around. Those without girls jigged up enough dust to make a body need a good bath.
     About to round into the third verse, the words snagged in her throat. She blinked, her mind suddenly blank. Lonnie, you know this! With his shoulders hunched, Gideon’s hands flew over the fret board, and the fiddler played louder than ever. After clearing her throat, Lonnie readied herself for the last verse.
     But Gideon sped up, leaving the rest of the band behind.
     When the crowd bellowed and cheered, Lonnie bit her lip. Gideon played faster, an impish grin lighting his face. She clapped trembling hands and glanced to the musician beside her. Shaking his head, Samson rose slowly from his chair and, still plucking the strings of his banjo, crossed the porch. He flashed a twisted smile.
     Cheers swarmed from the crowd. With slow movements, Samson reached out his boot and kicked Gideon’s stool so hard it flew out from under him. Gideon stumbled but did not fall. His hand fell from the fret board, and after throwing a glare at Samson, he grabbed the stool and sat.
      "C’mon, Gid! Lighten up a bit, would ya?" Samson yelled over the noise.
Gideon rushed in with a few last strums until only his vibrations remained, bouncing through the woods. Folks whistled and cheered so loudly Lonnie could no longer hear the pounding of her heart. Clapping along, she stepped back. Never again would her pa talk her into singing in front of folks. No sir. Her place was in the back of the crowd.
     Gideon held his mandolin over his head and bowed. As cocky as he was, Lonnie couldn’t help but smile. He walked toward her and, without hesitation, draped an arm over her shoulders. He smelled of smoke and cedar. Heat grew in the back of her neck and tingled into her cheeks. She needn’t look down to see the flame in her pa’s face as well— she knew it was there.
     When the applause mellowed, she slid away and scurried down the steps, her legs weak and head light with relief. She brushed past a nuzzling couple and ducked under a thick arm that clutched a pint of cider, finally spotting her aunt Sarah beneath a scarlet maple. Enough moonlight danced through the leaves to make the woman’s ginger bun shine. Rushing over, Lonnie clasped her cool hands, the rough skin worn and familiar.
     "Why, you’re tremblin’ som’n awful." Sarah squeezed her hand. "Don’t think for one moment you don’t belong up there. You’da made your ma proud."
     Lonnie fought to catch her breath. "That was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done in my life."
     She felt a shadow behind her. Lonnie didn’t need to glance over her shoulder when rough fingertips clutched her elbow. "We’ll be leaving now." Her pa’s voice was gruff.
     She glanced at her aunt, then peered up at him. "Mind if I stay a bit longer?"
     His eyes flinched, but then he sighed. The smell of moonshine hung thick. "Walk home with Oliver. He’s stayin’ too."
     "Yessir. Thank you, Pa." Her words seemed to fall on nothing but the breeze as he strode from the clearing. Lonnie knew her ma would be up waiting, the littlest ones already tucked into bed. With a sigh, she let the last of her worry melt into the cool night air and turned to her aunt, pleased to have her company for at least a little while longer.     
     "So…" Sarah’s whimsical voice nearly sang the single word.
     "Don’t say it." Lonnie wagged a finger with little authority, knowing full well what her aunt was itching to say. Sarah sobered, the lines around her eyes smoothing.
     But Lonnie knew her mother’s sister well. "I blush too easily," she blurted.
     A smile lifted her aunt’s round cheeks. Twice Lonnie’s age and with skin a shade paler, she was as dear a friend as Lonnie had ever had. When Sarah’s gaze moved past her, Lonnie tossed a glance over her shoulder and saw the blacksmith run a cloth over his fiddle. Samson lowered his banjo into a sack. Gideon had moved on. His shoulder was pressed to the bark of a hundred-year-old chestnut, and his arms lay folded over his chest. The girl he was wooing looked more than willing to have his undivided attention.
     "Seems like every girl in Rocky Knob wants to steal that boy’s heart." Sarah shook her head. "Don’t you pay it no never mind."
     Forcing a shrug, Lonnie tugged at a pinch of her faded dress. The fabric, different shades of blue, had seen better days. She suddenly wished she hadn’t been so eager to stay behind.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ 
2013, Paperback: Though My Heart Is Torn by Joanne Bischof ~ Book 2, The Cadence of Grace series

Monday, September 10, 2012

At Every Turn by Anne Mateer, c2012

Author, Anne Mateer!! Yay!!!

I was amazed at her spunk! Her unassumingness! I liked Alyce Benson right away!!
Surprisingly, Alyce thinks her father will hand over her offer of commitment money! He doesn't have the zeal and fortitude she has!! Goodness. She sets out to earn the money herself. After all, they need her!!

Join Alyce in her adventure as she pivots around coming up with more adventure than you could ever imagine possible for her. Is she harebrained, or does she really stand up to win her hasty promise?
She's off to the races!
I loved the excitement before ever opening the cover~~
Caught up in a whirlwind of religious fervor when two missionaries speak at her church, Alyce Benson impetuously pledges three thousand dollars to mission work in Africa. She’s certain her wealthy father will simply hand her the money. But when he refuses, she must either stand up in front of the congregation and admit failure, or raise the money herself.
   Alyce harbors a secret passion for speed and automobiles. It’s 1916, and the latest advancements in car engines allow some to post speeds upwards of seventy miles per hour! When she discovers her father’s company has sponsored a racing car that will compete in several upcoming events–races in which the driver will be paid and could win as much as five thousand dollars in prize money–she conspires with her father’s mechanic, Webster, to secretly train and compete.
   But as Alyce comes across needs in her own community, money slips through her fingers faster than she can earn it. And when her friends cast aspersions on Webster’s past, she believes she might have trusted the wrong man with her secret. Will Alyce come up with the money in time, or will she have to choose between her promise and the man who holds a piece of her heart?

Alyce is spontaneous. She sees a need and fills it! She has contacts, after all, doesn't she? But... not this time! She is on her own. Alyce loves her little spunky automobile that matches her to a T! Her father ought to have known!!

Shouldn't have he? His little girl will figure it out! But... will he? I am getting ahead of myself. Listen to what Aylce is seeing and hearing ~*~ and the exuberant edge-of-the-seat feel!
My heartbeat quickened. Oh, to be called to be such a vital part of God's work! He wouldn't even have to send me to Africa, though the thought sent a shiver of excitement down my spine. No, I'd be content to work for Him here in Indiana. I glimpsed Mrs. Tillman closer to the front. Her face reflected the same rapture that pulsed through my veins.
   "Thanks to a friend who secured some photographic equipment, you can see some of those who are part of our work in Africa." Mr. McConnell slipped several photographs from the pages of his Bible. He stepped to the front row and handed two to Pastor Swan and two to Mr. Tillman on the opposite end of the front pew. --At Every Turn, page 13
Oh! They have an Irish cook! Clarissa! How will he be able to refuse Aylce's request during a wonderful Monday morning Irish breakfast??

But, alas... he does. Malarkey, indeed!

A clue for you!
These cars are racing on a board track in Maywood, IL, on the outskirts of Chicago, in 1916.

Paperback: 320 pages ~*~ Also Available in ebooks ~*~
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (September 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764209043
ISBN-13: 978-0764209048

Thank you to Anne Mateer and Bethany House Publishers for this review copy of At Every Turn in exchange for my review in my own words.

Anne Mateer is a three-time Genesis Contest finalist who has long had a passion for history and historical fiction. She and her husband live near Dallas, Texas, and are the parents of three young adults. Visit for more information.

Chapters 1-3 for you:

Band of Sisters by Cathy Gohlke, c2012

My ancestry is 100% Irish grandparents and father! Ready to read Band of Sisters by Cathy Gohlke. I was wondering what coming through Ellis Island was like? My Norwegian maternal grandmother came with her parents and siblings when she was sixteen. Coming to America, she met my German grandfather. He passed away before I was born. I wonder if her parents were as excited about this. And... were they, in turn, when my musician Irish father wed their debutante daughter? I am named after both grandmothers. My maternal Irish grandmother died too before I was born. Rich heritage. My toes tap when I hear "The Irish Washerwoman." Can't keep them still, nor my clapping hands. My body in motion. My Irish insides are alive!

"Band of Sisters is a unique story. Written with a distinct purpose in mind, it goes out with the prayer that it will inspire, even challenge readers to a new course of action.
In the weeks ahead I’ll share some of my research, insights, my journey and hopes for this book, as well as portions of the story and how this historical (1910-1911) impacts today’s world.  I hope you’ll join me." --

Thank you to Tyndale Blog Network Tour for inviting me to join the Band of Sisters tour. I was sent a paperback copy in exchange for a review in my own words.
Chapter One of Band of Sisters, related photos, and further information on Human Trafficking Resources:
Band of Sisters is a story of turbulent historical enslavement which continues in this modern-day. Broken trust. Upheaval. Fleeing their homeland to the Land of the Free, Maureen and Katie Rose O'Reilly are encumbered far beyond what their earnest searching hopes to find. From Ireland to New York City, to the Home of the Brave they come. Immigrants coming with a purpose only to be striving for their lives. The story opens as their mother is being buried. She is the last link in holding Maureen and Katie Rose to their enslaved life to the landowner. But wait! There is more to the story. Their deceased father gave up his farmland to travel to America. But illness and waiting took all he had. Except his transport money, kept in hiding by Maureen's aunt. She is given the money for passage for herself and her sister. They, too, must wait for passage and most of their money is used up before they can board. They arrive at Ellis Island, with Katie Rose ill within their shared steerage. Is history repeating itself for their family?
   Olivia Wakefield, is the daughter of the man who furnished the transport money to Maureen's father for saving his life while they were soldiers in the American Civil War. Her father took a bullet aimed at Olivia's father. Maureen is turned away from the obligation extended between the now deceased men. Olivia tries to find Maureen to keep his vow. There is underground human trafficking exposed, and people involved from all walks of life. Who can be trusted? Olivia sets out to help as best she can with her friends, reading the challenge in Charles M. Sheldon's book, In His Steps;  “Do not do anything without first asking, ‘What would Jesus do?’”
   Continuing today, traffickers are intimidating and controlling their victims.

   Invisible: Slavery Today is a permanent Slavery Today exhibition at The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.
"Slavery Defined:
While definitions differ of what constitutes slavery in contemporary society, these factors are typically present:
* The victim is induced into slave-like exploitation through fraud, force or coercion
* The enslaved are subject to physical abuse and/or psychological intimidation
* Victims are not readily able to free themselves from their situation
"However, there are some crucial differences between historical and modern forms of slavery:
* There's no longer a need for legal ownership
* People can be bought, sold and bartered among "owners" who take temporary possession
* People caught up in slavery today can be purchased and sold for as little as $100 (compared to 10 times that much in the 1850s). As a result, people become "disposable;" i.e., easily replaceable.
* Slavery cuts across nationality, race, ethnicity, gender, age, class, education-level, and other demographic features
* Slavery's business side --- human trafficking --- is a global enterprise that can involve not just criminal gangs, but also corrupt law enforcement, drug dealers, and even families."

The Reunion by Dan Walsh, c2012

Coming alongside, a life lived well.
Reconciliation. Lives restored into right relationship.

His past comes calling.
In helping others, we help ourselves. A life redeemed. A life on hold. Choices. Will we open our hearts to heal misconceptions? 

Timing!! How important we are in another person's life. Aaron Miller is more than a groundskeeper and handyman. He is valuable beyond what he ever dreams. His prior life, his experiences, his knowing. So much in a life that is transferable by compassion, understanding, listening. Do we know or recognize how much we have to give to another? Just by our presence?

It is a sleepy morning in Florida, and Aaron has ten minutes before his shift begins. He is having his morning quiet time and receives a page from his employer asking if he would start a few minutes early. But... Aaron is always "just-on-time."

Intercepting Lot 31, his kindness opens up hope. Beginning his daily chores, his repairs halt further destruction... of a life. Boards aren't all that are rotting at Lot 28. Despair lives there.

I once was lost but now am found. Was blind, but now, I see. --Amazing Grace, John Newton (1725-1807) Last Stanza anon., possibly added version by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call'd me here below,
Will be forever mine.

When we've been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

Everything lost can be found.

Aaron Miller knows a thing or two about loss. He's lost love. Dignity. Second, and even third, chances. Once honored for his heroism, he now lives in near obscurity, working as a handyman in a humble trailer park.

   But God is a master at finding and redeeming the lost things of life. Unbeknownst to Aaron, someone is searching for him.

   With deep insight into the human, consummate storyteller Dan Walsh gently weaves a tale of a life spent in the shadows but meant for the light. Through tense scenes of war and tender moments of romance, The Reunion will make you believe that everyone can get a second chance at life and love.

Thank you to Baker Publishing Blog Tour for inviting me to come along for The Reunion. I received a print copy of this book in exchange for a review in my own words. Available September 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


About the Author
Dan Walsh is the award-winning author of several books, including The Unfinished Gift, The Deepest Waters, and The Discovery. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for 25 years. He lives with his wife in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching his next novel. Coming Soon from Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley, The Dance. Meet Dan Walsh at Learn more interesting facts, read Dan's blog, and so much more.

And this just in!!
For the next week, starting today and running until next Monday, September 17th, Dan Walsh is celebrating the release of his new novel, The Reunion, with a 10-book giveaway contest! Five winners will each receive a signed copy of The Reunion, as well as his third novel, The Deepest Waters. (He’s  including this book because it was named a finalist for an ACFW Carol Award for book-of-the-year.) Click on the link below to see how easily you can enter the contest!

Heartwarming Tales of Love and Loss, The Unfinished Gift, and The Homecoming.

    The Unfinished Gift. Patrick Collins is seven years old, and on his Christmas list are only three items. He wants the army to find his father. He wants to leave his grandfather's house. And, for reasons even he doesn't understand, he wants the soldier that's tucked away in his grandfather's attic. Set at Christmastime in 1943, The Unfinished Gift tells in an engaging, simple style the story of a family, and reminds us of the surprising things that affect powerful change in our hearts--like a young boy's prayers, a shoebox full of love letters, and even an old wooden soldier, long forgotten. This nostalgic story of forgiveness will engage readers everywhere.


    The Homecoming. No sooner is Shawn Collins home from the fighting in Europe than he's called upon to serve his country as a war hero on a USO bond tour. Others might jump at the chance to travel all around the country with attractive Hollywood starlets. But not Shawn. He just wants to stay home with his son Patrick, his aging father and to grieve the loss of his wife in private. When Shawn asks Katherine Townsend, Patrick's former social worker, to be Patrick's nanny while he's on the road, he has no idea how this decision will impact his life. Could it be the key to his future happiness and the mending of his heart? Or will the war once again threaten his chances for a new start?


   The Deepest Waters skillfully tells an epic story through an intimate focus on two lost lovers. Inspired by real events, this moving novel will capture the hearts of all who dive into its pages.
What began as a fairytale honeymoon in 1857 for John and Laura Foster aboard the steamship SS Vandervere becomes a nightmare when a hurricane causes their ship to sink into the murky depths of the Atlantic. Laura finds herself with the other women and children aboard a sailing ship while John and a hundred other men drift on the open sea on anything they could grab as the Vandervere went down. Suspecting her John is gone but still daring to hope for a miracle, Laura must face the possibility of life alone--and meeting her new in-laws without their son if she ever reaches New York.
Readers will be holding their breath as they sail through this emotional and honest story of hope, faith, and love in the face of uncertainty.

    Remembering Christmas. Rick Denton lives his life on his terms. He works hard, plays hard, and answers to no one. So when his mother calls on Thanksgiving weekend begging him to come home after his stepfather has a stroke, Rick is more than a little reluctant. He's never liked Art and resents the man's presence in his life, despite the fact that his own father abandoned the family when Rick was just twelve. When what was supposed to be just a couple days helping out at the family bookstore turns into weeks of cashing out old ladies and running off the homeless man who keep hanging about, Rick's attitude sours even more.
Still, slowly but surely, the little bookstore and its quirky patrons--as well as the lovely young woman who works at his side each day--work their magic on him, revealing to Rick the truth about his family, his own life, and the true meaning of Christmas. With skillful storytelling, Dan Walsh creates a Christmas story will have readers remembering every good and perfect gift of Christmas.

   Laced with suspense and intrigue, The Discovery is a richly woven novel that explores the incredible sacrifices that must be made to forge the love of a lifetime.
Gerard Warner was not only a literary giant whose suspense novels sold in the millions, he was also a man devoted to his family, especially his wife of nearly 60 years. When he dies he leaves his Charleston estate to his grandson, Michael, an aspiring writer himself. Michael settles in to write his own first novel and discovers an unpublished manuscript his grandfather had written, something he'd kept hidden from everyone but clearly intended Michael to find. Michael begins to read an exciting tale about Nazi spies and sabotage, but something about this story is different from all of Gerard Warner's other books. It's actually a love story. As Michael delves deeper into the story he discovers something that has the power to change not only his future but his past as well.

   The Dance ~ Book 1 in the Restoration Series. New series following the Anderson family through their family troubles, love and heartbreak, and the legacy the family will leave.
Jim Anderson is a successful businessman, and his wife, Marilyn, is the perfect wife. And why wouldn't she be? He gives her everything she needs. That's why Jim never expected to come home one day and find Marilyn gone.
After 27 years of marriage, Marilyn has had enough of feeling unloved and neglected. She wants to experience some measure of happiness before she's too old to enjoy it, even signing up for dance lessons, something Jim would never do. What will it take for Jim to finally become the man Marilyn needs him to be?
Combining the literary talents of bestselling author Dan Walsh and the relationship expertise of bestselling author Gary Smalley, The Dance is the romantic first novel in The Restoration Series. Readers will get caught up in these flawed but earnest characters as they rediscover genuine love and start a transformation that will ultimately affect their whole family.