Friday, June 30, 2017

Month in Review: June

  • Wrote 155 words
  • Sculpted 0 babies
  • Tatted 3 crosses
  • Sewed 0 sock monkeys
  • Knit 0 hats
  • Exercised most days
  • Read in the Bible 28 days
  • Wrote up 0 backlogged book reviews 
  • Monday, June 26, 2017

    Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway: "None so Blind" by Chautona Havig

    About the Book

    Book title: None So Blind
    Author: Chautona Havig
    Release date: September 29, 2013
    Genre: Contemporary
    Dani and Ella Weeks–two women who share one thing in common. The same life, the same family, and the same body.
    When Dani wakes with no knowledge of who or where she is–no memories of her life at all–David and Dani Weeks discover that “til death do us part” takes on an entirely unexpected meaning. Practically speaking, Dani died. But she didn’t.
    What’s a gal to do?
    In a desperate attempt to separate the old life from the new, Dani insists on a new name, a twist of her old one–Ella.
    Ella’s doctors can’t explain what happened. Her children can’t understand why she doesn’t know them. David, her husband, finds himself torn between admiration for the “new” version of his wife and missing the woman he’s known for over fifteen years.
    Will Ella ever regain her memory? Why does their pastor suspect it’s one great hoax?
    My Thoughts: "None so Blind" is the first book in the "Sight Unseen" series. I'm not really sure why the book or the series is named that as they deal with memory loss, not loss of sight. This book was unlike any book I've read. I don't know how I'd classify the genre as it isn't a romance, but it has romance in it, it isn't a mystery, but it has mystery in it.... The story is told from the perspective of quite a few characters: Dani Weeks, David Weeks, Ella Weeks, Vince Lanzo, Jared Weeks, Reid Wilcox, Charity Stafford, Lisa Lanzo, and Savannah Weeks. Often, we switch from one person to another and back again in the space of a paragraph. It took getting used to reading this style of book as most books stay with one character for longer before switching to another for a longer period of time. I never doubted Ella's memory loss, but I did wonder if she had done something to cause it in the first place. I was a little disappointed that we didn't have the answers to all the mystery elements, but I'm sure that they will be resolved in later books. I look forward to reading the second book, "Will Not See" later this summer.

    About the Author

    media-headshot-smChautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert with her husbnd and five of her nine children. Through her novels, she hopes to encourage Christians in their walk with Jesus.

    Guest post from Chautona Havig

    “Who are you, again?”
    “I’m Joe’s, daughter. Vyonie.” My sister pointed to me. “This is Chautona.”
    For some odd reason, the niece she spent the least amount of time with, Aunt Doris remembered—somewhat. But she didn’t remember Vyonie from what I could tell. She smiled at me, that amazing, sweet smile I’d never forget. She asked how I was. I always thought that Mrs. Sanderson—mother of John, Alicia, and Carl on the TV show, Little House on the Prairie—looked and sounded like Aunt Doris. Of course, that memory of me didn’t last. A minute or two later, she gave me a big smile and asked if she knew me.
    It gave me a picture of what it must have been like for my character, Ella Weeks—to wake up every day with these children there—children who knew her, but she didn’t remember. The hurt she caused every time she had to struggle to admit she didn’t know something she probably should—again. So, I thought I’d ask her to tell us about it.
    Ella: People often assume that the worst part of losing my memory are the memories that disappeared, too. But it’s not. A much as I’d love to remember my wedding day, my daughter’s first steps, my son’s first words, or that moment I realized I was pregnant with my third, those are blessings that I don’t think about often. No, what hurts most is seeing the pain in my children’s eyes when they need me to remember something and I can’t. For me, not remembering their first day of kindergarten is an inconvenience. For them, it’s a further reminder that if they didn’t tell me, I wouldn’t know them. That without them pushing themselves into my life, I wouldn’t care about them any more than any other human in my path. I do now, of course, but not at first. I hate that they heard David say once, “…she doesn’t know me. She doesn’t trust me. She doesn’t know our children. She tries, but she could walk out of our lives tomorrow and never miss us.”
    Living so close to it every day, I missed those little bits of pain that I inflicted without meaning to, but when I went with our Bible study to a nursing home and visited with the residents, then I saw it. Women with tears running down their cheeks as loved ones patted their hands and tried to comfort. I heard one man offer to find a woman’s father. She squeezed him close and whispered, “It’s okay, Daddy. I love you. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
    The man promised to try to find her father in the meantime.
    Those people there—most of them didn’t realize they didn’t remember someone important. They didn’t struggle to remember this or that. Their dementia had gotten bad enough that their lives had gone from constant frustration to, by comparison, blissful oblivion.
    And their families withered with each forgotten face, name, moment.
    That’s what my “episode” did for my family. It caused them pain that just resurfaced every time something new happened. Pain that I didn’t know I inflicted. And since that visit, I have a greater compassion and awareness of just how amazing and powerful memories are.
    I also have a greater appreciation for those beautiful words in Isaiah when the Lord promised… “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.”
    You see, there’s a lifetime of the sins that Jesus died for buried somewhere in my brain—or, at least at one time there was. I know that those sins were in there, because the ones I committed yesterday are there today. The ones I’ve already confessed and been forgiven for—I beat myself up for the next morning. A week later. A month. But the Lord has wiped them clean. I just keep smearing them back out there again as if to say, “But You don’t get how BAD I was.” Yeah. The arrogance, right? Because an almighty, holy God can’t possibly understand how sinful a sinner that He had to DIE to save from those sins… is. The arrogance? That’s an understatement.
    But all those years before that horrible morning… gone. Maybe I stole something. I don’t know. It was forgiven, wiped clean, and then wiped from my memory. I can’t rehash it with the Lord over and over. I can’t drag it back up like a wife who won’t let her husband forget the one time he forgot her birthday. I can’t use it as a whip to beat myself up with. And I think there’s something beautiful in that.
    Do I wish I could stop hurting my family with my blank past? Of course. But am I also grateful for a living picture of the fresh start the Lord gives His people at salvation? Definitely. I hope I never take it for granted again.

    Blog Stops

    June 15: Genesis 5020
    June 15: Lane Hill House
    June 16: The Scribbler
    June 17: Back Porch Reads
    June 18: Carpe Diem
    June 19: Quiet Quilter
    June 20: Mommynificent
    June 22: Pursuing Stacie
    June 22: Remembrancy
    June 23: Pause for Tales
    June 24: Bigreadersite
    June 25: Lots of Helpers
    June 28: Just Jo’Anne
    June 28: Henry Happens


     bf3041c3-aba6-432d-bade-2a2bc46cd775To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize that includes:
    1 $25 Amazon Gift Card
    1 Paperback Copy of None So Blind
    1 Paperback Copy of Will Not See
    1 Lampwork Necklace
    1 Cool denim mini-backpack (to hold your stuff!)
    1 Custom Travel Mug (with quote from book)
    1 FREE eBook code to share with a friend!
    Check out this cool video from Chautona:
    Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

    "None so Blind" is available in paperback:
    • Series: Sight Unseen
    • Paperback: 308 pages
    • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 15, 2013)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1494492520
    • ISBN-13: 978-1494492526
    • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 3407 KB
    • Print Length: 307 pages
    • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1494492520
    • Publisher: Createspace (September 17, 2013)
    • Publication Date: September 17, 2013
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B00F9UEEXK

    I got a free copy of the book for the tour. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received. 

    Sunday, June 25, 2017

    Temperature Blanket - Week 25

    June 18: 77 Rain midnight - 8:30 am
    June 19: 75
    June 20: 73 Rain 3:30 - 4:30 pm
    June 21: 77
    June 22: 89 Rain 8:00 - 9:00 pm
    June 23: 77 Rain 5:00 - 7:30 am
    June 24: 73

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway: "Springs of Love" by Laura V. Hilton, Rachel J. Good, and Thomas Nye

    About the Book

    Book title: Springs of Love
    Author: Laura V. Hilton, Rachel J. Good, Thomas Nye
    Release date: June 15, 2017
    Genre: Amish
    The Kissing Bridge
    Escaping the past isn’t as easy as it should be…
    Anna thought her bad decisions would fade into nothing after she vanished for a few months. Her motives would be clear, her mistakes erased, and she’d be able to rewrite her future the way she wanted. It didn’t work out the way she’d planned. Instead, she discovered her actions have consequences and they had to be paid.
    Reuben loved Anna for as long as he could remember, but before he could get serious about courting her, his brother, Mark, won her away. But now she’s back and she beginning to pay the steep price for her mistakes. Reuben tries to help her as much as he can, and the decisions he makes will cost them both everything.

    My Thoughts: This story kept my attention right from the start and I didn't want to stop reading. It is a quick read but didn't feel rushed. I seriously wanted to knock some heads to make them see reason!  I liked how she gave the clear message of salvation and the verses for the "Romans Road". I will definitely read more of Laura V. Hilton's books.
    Sold on Love
    When Lavina Fisher takes over the household while Mamm’s away, things go from bad to worse. And her younger brother, Stephen, is mostly to blame. Then an accident forces Lavina to face her fears—and her ex-boyfriend. Can she swallow her pride and accept Aaron’s help with the latest disaster?

    My Thoughts: I enjoyed  reading this story. Just reading about all that Stephen did made me tired (and reminded me a bit of my youngest son). I liked the interactions between Aaron and Stephen. Even with it being a quick read, the characters grew by the end of the story.
    Cowboys and Amish Girls
    Rodeo cowboy, Truman Gunderson, had never met an Amish girl. Amish sisters, Faith, Hope, and Charity had yet to lay eyes on a real, live cowboy. That is until Truman’s galloping horse crosses paths with Charity’s runaway buggy. Truman is not the type to shy away from any challenge, but after he learns something about Faith, Hope, and especially Charity, he realizes that he has met his match.
    My Thoughts: Thomas Nye has a unique writing style. The story starts right off with action and pulls you into wondering what is going on! Truman and Charity help each other grow into who they were meant to be and by the end of the story, they have changed from how they were at the beginning. The story was a bit repetitive with the "everyone got up and did their chores" for several chapters, but it wasn't that big of a deal. 

    About the Authors

    Laura pictureLaura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with almost twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write and Putting on the New.
    Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children.
    When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.
    rachel goodRachel J. Good is the author of several Amish series in print or forthcoming—Sisters & FriendsLove & Promises, and two books in theHearts of Amish Country series—as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Books and the contemporary novella, Angels Unaware, part of the Hope Chapel series. Visit Rachel at her website:

    IMG_0731xThomas Nye writes novels about horses and Amish life, with a touch of romance, and a foundation of faith in Christ. He and his wife, Shari, live on her family farm where they raised five children. Their six grandchildren love to visit Karma and Karla, a team of draft horses which Thomas purchased from an Amish friend.

    Guest post from Laura Hilton

    The story behind The Kissing Bridge
    The Snow Globe was released in November 2014 and almost immediately readers fell in love with Reuben and Anna, the grandparents in the story. They were secondary characters, but readers asked me to write their story – I put it on the back-burner, told God if He opens the doors I would, and didn’t really think of it again until I was asked to write a novella for this collection. I talked to the publisher of my Amish novels, they gave me permission, and a very close friend and I went back and reread The Snow Globe to remember all the important details about Reuben and Anna in that book. Then, with much prayer for God’s leading, I dived in. The Kissing Bridge is the result, and it was so much fun to write! If you are new to my writing, and want to know what happened to the main characters of The Kissing Bridge years down the road, then read The Snow Globe. If you have read The Snow Globe and were one of the many who asked for Reuben and Anna’s story, then read The Kissing Bridge.
    The setting is actually a real covered bridge that I visited long years ago with my parents when we went on a camping trip and visited all the covered bridges and mills in driving distance of our camp-spot. That was before I cared that my family had come from the Amish and I wondered at all these people dressed as they were and driving horses and buggies!
    Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the story!


    To celebrate her tour, Celebrate Lit Publishing is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

    "Springs of Love" is available in paperback:
    • Paperback: 176 pages
    • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 1, 2017)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1547109238
    • ISBN-13: 978-1547109234
    • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 3555 KB
    • Print Length: 227 pages
    • Publication Date: June 7, 2017
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B071F8XZ6H

    I got a free copy of this book for the tour. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received.

    Sunday, June 18, 2017

    Temperature Blanket - Week 24

    June 11: 90
    June 12: 92
    June 13: 85
    June 14: 87 Rain 8:30 - 11:30 pm
    June 15: 85
    June 16: 81 Rain 4:00 - 6:00 am
    June 17: 83 Rain from 5 - 8 am, 12:30-1:30 pm, & 9 - midnight

    Sunday, June 11, 2017

    Temperature Blanket - Week 23

    June 4: 85 Rain from 5:00 - 7:30 am
    June 5: 72
    June 6: 75
    June 7: 75
    June 8: 80 Rain from 8:30 - 9:00 pm
    June 9: 83 Rain from 6:00 - 7:30 am
    June 10: 88

    Tuesday, June 6, 2017

    William's 4th Grade Camping Trip

    I was able to chaperone William's 4th grade camping trip. I had the daughter of Will's chaperone in my group so we became one big group so we could hang out with our kids. (It is an overnight camping trip, so girls are with girls and boys with boys)



    Will ended up getting a little bit of heat exhaustion Friday afternoon, so he and I left when they were waiting for the buses to come back.