Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I always feel blessed when I win anything, especially an autographed book. The only downfall is the pressure of whether or not I’m going to like the story, knowing the nice thing would be to later let the author know what I thought of it. Having never read any of Sharlene MacLaren’s books added to my worries.

I admired the front cover of HANNAH GRACE for a while before opening the book to the first page. It only took me HALF A PAGE to realize any fears of not liking Sharlene’s writing, to disappear. By the end of the first chapter I knew not only was she an amazing writer on so many levels, I was quickly falling in love with the characters.

I love to have a picture of the hero on the cover. It bothers me to not know what he looks like beyond the story description. The front cover of HANNA GRACE is wonderful, though I missed not having the hero on there as well. Upon day two into reading this wonderful book, I turned it over to study the back cover. To my utter surprise, there in the shadows was the hero! What a wonderful surprise that was.

As an aspiring writer, I was blown away by the great lines Sharlene delivered with humor that easily flowed rather then feeling forced and stiff. The hero and heroine were everything you’d want in a character, and so much more. You were even given a sense of who Hannah’s sisters were, leaving you wanting to read their story as well.

I’ll be ordering the other two books in this series, DAUGHTERS OF JACOB KANE, MAGIE ROSE and ABBIE ANN. I can’t wait to get started on them. Sharlene has now made my list of favorite authors for I’ll be looking for more of her great books in the future.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Book Review: GOD’S HEALING FOR LIFE’S LOSSES, How to Find Hope When You’re Hurting by Robert W Kellemen, PH.D.

GOD’S HEALING FOR LIFE’S LOSSES may be small in size but it’s packed full. As I held this little book in my hand and studied the cover, and the title I thought I knew what I’d find inside. Once I began to read, I quickly discovered this book was much more then a book on healing for life’s losses. It’s a book filled with knowledge, hope, love, and faith. A way of dealing with not only death but disappointment on many levels in a way that God desires.

In only a little over a hundred pages this book brought to light many things. It made me realize how human, and normal I am, and how God, and being a Christian plays into it. That what we go through is “normal” but how we handle it is a choice. We can either choose the wrong way/mans way, or the right way/God’s way.

How do you handle trials and tribulations that come your way? Do you suffer, or do you survive? I was able to reflect back on my life and realized that early on, when I was far from God, I chose to suffer alone. Now I chose to survive. I can think of many that are still choosing to suffer.

I believe this book would be an amazing tool for those stuck in suffering, and worthlessness, and despair. Those that have been struck down by addiction, or found themselves behind bars. They need to hear the good news this book has to offer.

One of the many things that stuck out to me was that not only are we given permission to “complain to God” but that we should. God wants us to come to Him in ALL things. So much of what I read is exactly what I’ve experienced in my own life. This book puts it into words, and reaffirms what I already knew deep down. What a blessings that is.

It isn’t often that I wish to be rich for as the Bible says, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” but after reading this book I wish I had the funds to purchase this wonderful book for those in my life, as well as all those that cross my path that I fear are hurt, and suffering.

Not only is this book filled with great information, it also has handy worksheets. Each and every one is packed with amazing questions. It’s not just a worksheet; it gives you questions to ponder within your own life, thus giving you the knowledge and tools to better your future.

Everyone’s grief journey is unique, yet we all have the same choice. To either choose to suffer in handling things mans way, or surviving, doing it God’s way. For me the choice is easy. I’ve learned over the years the rewards of doing it God’s way. Bless Mr. Kellemen for putting this book together to teach those that don’t know, and to remind those of us that do, the importance of it.

I was shocked by the words on page 43. I’d gone through this very thing without even realizing it. How wonderful it is to have a confirmation of what I’d gone through, other have as well, and how blessed I am to have chosen the surviving rout when so many others have not.

Here are just a few great quotes from this wonderful book.

“Faith looks back to the past recalling God’s mighty works. Hope looks ahead remembering God’s coming reward.”

“God is a ‘time God.’ He does not come before time. He does not come after time. He comes at just the right time.”

“Faith is entrusting myself to God’s larger purposes, good plans, and eternal perspective.”

“Every problem is an opportunity to know God better, and our primary battle is to know God well.”

I could certainly continue to quote the words written in this book that impacted, and inspired me but in doing so, I’d have written every word from front to cover.

Knowing the truth has a huge way of lifting the heavy burden of life from ones shoulder. This is truly one of those “must reads’ to be placed on your “to read list”.

To learn more about RPM Ministries, http://www.rpmministries.org/writing/gods-healing-for-lifes-losses/


Would you like to receive a complimentary copy of God’s Healing for Life’s Losses? Dr. Kellemen has offered to make 12 copies available to 12 random people who leave a comment on the blog at which they read the book review. Leave a comment below to give yourself an opportunity to receive a complimentary copy of GOD’S HEALING FOR LIFE’S LOSSES.

Please check back at a later date to see if you're a winner.
God bless, and good luck!


Sunday, June 20, 2010


Let me just say that God is not only good, He is AMAZING! I’m weeping because I’m so not deserving of the love God has shown me. This is no doubt in my mind a direct gift from God. He knows my heart like no other, and thus gave me exactly what I needed…and my daughters.

Last night was our little birdies first night back into the wild. I feared for him, knowing he’d be easy prey for predators being on the ground, even though he was amongst the brush. We were ecstatic yesterday when we went back not once but twice to find our little friend still safe and sound right where we’d left him.

I prayed for him last night, as well as this morning. Since I first laid eyes on him he hasn’t strayed far from my mind. All of our hearts were invested in this little guy. For me, I longed for confirmation that I’d done the right thing…and what better confirmation then to know he’s with his mom, and safe.

Today after lunch we headed over to the park to see if our little guy was still amongst the brush…he was not. I told myself that it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. He could very well be safe, and sound...somewhere. But something in me wanted to, needed to continue to search. To know that he was okay. We whistled and called out but nothing. Just when we were ready to give up and go home, we heard him! That sweet little tweet.

The excitement we felt at that moment was nothing compared to what was to follow. We searched as we heard his tweets, though inconsistent as they were. Soon we realized his tweets were coming from above the brush area. I suddenly realized he could have very well jumped and fluttered his way up the newly sprouting tree, making his way to the larger one.

After searching, and searching, all along the mother flying from one tree branch to another, we still couldn’t see him. But we could hear him! Filled with excitement we decided to head home and get our binoculars for a better look in hope of spotting him. Just in case, I decided to bring along the camera.

Back with the binoculars, all three of us searched the tree, all along calling out to him. Sometime later, right there on a lower branch, right in front of us was our little friend! Oh the joy! I can’t tell you the emotions that raced through us.

He was there! Only God could have done such an amazing thing. I can’t help but wonder if he heard, and spotted us, and then came down to let us know he was okay. Tears are escaping my eyes as I write, for the emotions are so fresh and strong.

I will never forget what God had done for us. The true miracle He gave us. After talking to the little bird, and taking several pictures, he started to make his way up the tree, climbing and jumping, and flying short distances at a time. He made it quite high before we watched with awe as he flew from one tree to another with his mother right by his side as if she were ready to help if needed.

I took several more pictures before deciding it was time to go. We could now leave with our hearts filled with joy, knowing he was truly going to be okay.

Thank you God, for we are so undeserving of this miracle you decided to bless us with this day.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


The other day we were out on our boat when suddenly the sky seemed to open up. We heard thunder, which concerned us but at the first crack of lightening, we were out of there. Before we even made it to our vehicles, we’d tuned to look at the water. What we saw made us high tail to the safety of our vehicles. It was like a sandstorm in a desert but instead a cloud of water racing across the river. I’ve never seen anything like it.

We hopped into our cars and waited for my husband and a friend as they attempted to cover the boat and bring in the raft. The rain was coming down in buckets, whipping around like the Wizard of Oz. My husband heard the trees from above crack, and that was it. They were out of there. They quickly tied the raft to the bike rack, hoping it would stay. There was no time for attaching it to the roof of his truck.

All accounted for in the vehicles, we left the parks, circling around. As we drove past where we’d just been parked, a huge branch now laid. Wow, that was close. Our truck would have suffered severe damage, and worse, one of the kids could have been hurt.

On the way home, less than a mile, we saw several large trees on the ground. Including one with a utility line down in my sister-in-laws front yard.

We waited at home for the storm to subside. Once it had, my husband and oldest daughter went back to retrieve the raft. Amongst the fallen branches my daughter spotted a baby bird perched on a tiny branch. She immediately called me, and of course I told her to bring it home.

The bird was a cute as can be. We put it in one of our cages we weren’t using, and then went to work researching the web for how to feed, and what to feed a baby bird. How contradictory information on the web can be. In the end we asked a neighbor for a can of cat food, and feed our new little friend, along with some water.

The next morning I woke up uncommonly early, relieved when I heard our little friend chirping. We fed him, and gave him water. Becoming more adventurous, we decided to pick him up. Of course my animal lover, my middle daughter was the first to do so and quickly bond to him. Before long he was flying from one person to the other.

After some talking, we decided we needed to take him to the Wild Bird Store in town and ask a few questions. The two woman that worked there were very helpful, and kind. Another woman, a customer, wasn’t so kind. She interrupted our conversation, letting me know who she was, and just what she thought of me taking the bird from his environment, along with the crime I’d be committing if I decided to keep it, and didn’t put it back immediately.

I wasn’t about to be intimidated by her, though. I respect her views but hey, the little thing was in a situation that if we hadn’t taken him that night, he may very well have been killed. The animal lover in me wouldn’t allow that to happen.

After our visit to the bird store we decided we’d take our little bird friend and place him in a safe spot near where we'd found him and wait and watch to see if his mother came around. We perched him on a limb on the ground near some brush, and waited. After some time a bird came around, swooping down and then back up into the trees. This went on for some time so after awhile we decided it must be the mother. At least we certainly hope so.

After making the very difficult decision to leave him there, we stuck him farther into the brush for safety. When it was time to leave there were many tears. In less than twenty-four-hours this little birdie had won all our hearts.

Sadly, we headed for home with an empty cage, still wondering if we'd done the right thing. The unknowing is the hardest part. I knew the best place for this little guy would be with him mother, in nature where God intended him to be. But if that was at the cost of his young life, I would have gladly stepped in to do whatever it took to save his little life. After all, how bad could it have been to live with people that would love and care for him?

After having lunch, and attending to a few things around the house, we went back to check on our little friend. As we circled the brush, we didn’t see or hear anything. We whistled, hoping he’d return the call. And sure enough our little friend called back to us. What a relief and joy that was! After searching for some time, my youngest daughter spotted him perched on a twig, safely resting and calling out to us.

This time when we left the park we were a little happier knowing he’d survive so far. We weren’t even in the door when the phone started to ring. It was the lady from the bird store. She was checking to see what happened and assured me she’d go and check on him, later.

So for now we are feeling pretty good, though a little emotional. I have to wonder if we'll ever look at a bird flying overhead without thinking of our little friend...even if he was only in our lives for twenty-four-hours.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Just as I had recently posted in my last blog post, a poorly written book can give me hope. Why? Because if that story can get published, then so can mine one day.

Once again this proves to be true.

One of my favorite writes is Linda Lael.Miller. I love her characters for their feistiness. To date I’ve read eighteen of her books…no make that eighteen and a portion. I was shocked after reading so many of her books to come across one that started out with her usual “bang” just to quickly dissipated. And I do mean quickly. I actually had to look at the cover several times to be sure it was one of her books. Sadly, I put it down and moved on to another book.

Since then I’ve read a few more, and to my relief they were the quick page turners I’d come to know and love. Hey, anyone can have a bad story once and awhile. Writing is not easy, and so much plays into it. In her defense it was a book written many years ago.

Several days ago I started another one of her books, and right away I sensed something was off…different. After a couple of chapters I looked to see what year it was published. 2000. That would make sense. Once again something early on in her career.

So now I’m struggling to make it through this book. I have about a hundred pages out of a little over three hundred to go. I feel as though I have too much time invested to quit now. Besides, I want to know how it turns out, and honestly, it’s giving me great hope so how can I abandon it.

It gives me hope in that I feel as though I’m reading all the mistakes I’ve been making in my own writing and to think that once Linda Lael Miller wasn’t the amazing writer she is today makes my heart sore. If she can go from where I believe I’m at, to where she is now…whoo hoo. So can I.

What an inspiration!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Writing is a huge part of my life and who I am…as well as reading, and music. But what some may find surprising is how they all intertwine.

When I read, I’m inspired to write.

Music often does the same.

Some of us are prompted to write after reading a not so well written book. I admit it does give me hope for my own, feeling that I could write a better book then the one I’d just read. But it’s a well written book that really inspires me.

A well written book teaches me how to write. It sends my insides tingling, wanting to create such a story. I want more then nothing to inspire, teach, bring light to, stir up feelings, and emotions in those that embrace my book in their hands as they read from beginning to end. To create a story that leaves one spellbound, in tears, emotionally satisfied, to look at life in a different way, rethinking their views, and morals.

As one that grew up around music, I would have to say it’s in my blood so why should I be surprised that it also inspires me to write. As I workout while listening to my ipod, song after song, often one triggers a story from within.

A movie is a story, and what accompanies a movie…music. How often do we associate a song with a movie? Or a movie with a song?

One of the stories I’m currently working on was initiated from an idea based on a trip I'd planned to take to Wyoming. Later listening to a song by the Dixie Chicks, COWBOY TAKE ME AWAY, I suddenly realized it was not only the alternative title, it was the very core of the story.

Now it’s impossible to listen to that song without thinking of my story. How wonderful that would be if one day others would do the same.

Friday, June 4, 2010


I won, I won, I won.

I just won an autograph copy of Sharlene MacLaen’s book, HANNAH GRACE.

It sounds wonderful! I can’t wait to get started on it.

For more about Sharlene and her books you can visit her sites.