Friday, December 9, 2016

Gee, I haven't posted in a while!

Here is a pic of our choir performing the Cantata "Hope is Born Emmanuel" last week. I loved these songs and the way the narrators presented the story so much! I'm the blonde with glasses in the top middle, right behind the lady with white hair. I was NOT sick and coughing for once during the performances! Praise God!


Sunday, September 25, 2016

'The Cedar Chest,' my first novel

Sweet contemporary Christian romance.

Carrie is a firefighter's widow, whose husband Tim died on duty under mysterious circumstances. She struggles with her Christian faith as she goes through her grieving process and copes with her new role as a single mom and library clerk with a 13 year old daughter, a 7 year old son, and extra pounds of curvy 'baby weight.'

Months after her husband's death, she meets with her new friend Judy in a charming, small Wisconsin town 300 miles away.

While stopping in an Amish furniture shop, she meets David Hensel, a widowed dad. He's a handsome, funny-in-a-goofy-way kind of guy who doesn't think of himself as attractive- but he is! The two share a bond of friendship- and an undeniable attraction. Could they find a second chance at love? Will David reveal a moral mistake he made while he and Carrie were separated by long distance? Will teenage Nora accept her mom's new love life? A story of faith, love, and forgiveness.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Book Review- And She Was, by Alison Gaylin


Okay, summer is over, school is back in session, and looking back, I definitely can tell you what my favorite book I've read over the summer of 2016 is.

"And She Was, a Brenna Spector Mystery" by Alison Gaylin is a mystery crime suspense about how Brenna Spector uses her unique gift of recalling her most detailed life memories, to the exact date- to help solve crimes.

It is also a book that takes a look at missing persons, a grim topic in the light of the news of a 27 year old case of an abducted boy from Minnesota being confirmed as murdered- a story I'd followed since I was an 18 year old freshman in college. I wish there had been a happier ending for that. Prayers to his mom and family. :(

There is a connection between the recent disappearance of a suburban wife named Carol Wentz, and a little 6 year old girl named Iris, who went missing several years back. That is what Brenna is fighting to prove to the skeptical authorities. Her only allies are her tech assistant Trent (a fun character! He's kind of like a male, muscle shirt wearing version of Penelope Garcia, lol!) and detective Nick Morasco, who Brenna has a very subtle chemistry with. I do ship them, but I really liked the idea that there were no romances in this book to detract from the suspense and mystery plot. I also like how the author describes the setting, this pristine suburban town founded by a millionaire family, who huddle together with the local police department to protect their dark secrets.

Brenna's backstory is interesting, too. When she was a little girl in the 80's, her big sister Clea was also abducted and remains missing. When I found out there was a sequel, I was so excited. I have all of Gaylin's other books on my 'must read' list.

I was quick to give this book 5 stars on Amazon.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Book Review- 'A Picture Purrfect Christmas (A Klepto-Cat Mystery)'

"A Picture-Purrfect Christmas (A Klepto Cat Mystery Book 13)" by Patricia Fry, is a book in her series that works perfectly fine as a stand-alone novel.

This is a very sweet and heartwarming story! Even though it touches on the dark subject matter of child abduction and abuse, the tone of the book is positive, full of adorable moments with children and animals. Of course, the heroic pet and the title character is the loyal and brilliant cat named Rags, who belongs to the main protagonist, Savannah Ivey.

Savannah and her husband Michael are veterinarians, whose home is filled with love and pets as well their baby daughter Lily. Savannah and her schoolteacher friend Shelly become involved in teaching a photography class to at-risk children. The characterizations of the kids in this group, ages about 10-12- is probably my favorite part of the book, because they seem so REAL. One of the kids in the group is a young girl named Marissa, whose legs were damaged by an early injury and never repaired. Marissa is a half-orphan who is living a nightmare in a squalid and unmonitored foster home. Her older foster sister, Erin, has been the only comfort in her life.

Marissa's life begins to be turned around when she joins the photography class with Shelly and Savannah. Shelly has an acquaintance, a man called Esse, who seems overly eager to come along and teach photography to the children. This is where things get odd and interesting. Rags, Shelly's cat, acts strange around Esse, as he has a 'sixth sense' about people and shows strong preference in which humans he likes and who he doesn't like. Esse is on Rags' 'bad' list, and little Marissa feels uncomfortable about him when he tries to push her wheelchair away from the group to get her alone. Marissa tells Savannah that she feels uncomfortable with the man as well.

Eventually- the concerns Savannah has about Esse, Marissa's foster family, and some shady characters in the community come to pass. Marissa is abducted. Savannah, her husband Michael, and her detective friend Craig join their animal heroes Rags the cat and Peaches the horse on the hunt to find the missing girl. I do think there could have been more background on the 'villain' characters and why they did what they did.

I liked Savannah, but she seemed too judgemental and 'classist' at one point. She judged a whole neighborhood for the way they 'left cars parked on lawns' and 'people lounging on their porches like they have nothing better to do.' It was good to show a little bit of Savannah's flaws though, because she comes off to me as the 'perfect' woman, a career mom with lots of productive hobbies, compassion for kids and animals- but I sensed some snobbiness in her, too.

I enjoyed this story and the sweet moments with all the characters, both human and animal. I hope to read the rest of the series!

I was given a free copy of this Kindle book for an honest review.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Birkebeiner Weekend!

Our son Ben, 9, posing by a car with the Birkebeiner ski race logo.

He's skiing down the 'International Bridge' slope to Hayward's Main Street! He took a tumble on the bottom and his boot came off, but a volunteer helped him get his boot back on and he kept going!

Skiing with hundreds of other kids. Notice the bad weather we had- gloomy with a drizzly, cold rain.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

So true. The amazing thing is, you may never know how much you mean to someone, and how much their kind words, thoughts or prayers meant to them. Just little acts of kindness is all it takes.