The Sound of Diamonds (a cover reveal!)

Every once in awhile something really fun takes place… like, seeing a Facebook post by a friend of mine that says, “I signed a book contract!”

Rachelle Rae and I have written for the same publication for some time, so when her news hit I scurried off (can you do that online?) to send her an email begging for information about this upcoming book. It turns out she signed a contract for a 3 book historical fiction series with WhiteFire press. Continue reading


A lifetime of reading books

A lifetime of reading books (a type of memoir)

**this post contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure here.


One of my earliest memories takes place in Jasper, NY at a little log cabin, built by my father. My family is sitting around the living room and Mama is reading. I don’t know the book, just the sound of her voice and the way it rises and falls. She’s falling asleep and her words are drawing out further and further. I’m pressed up close beside her, running my fingers up and down her arm. I stop and tap her. “Mama,” I say, “Mama!” She blinks her eyes at me and one of the boys states, “You were sleeping, Mama.” The book lifts again and she begins reading but we all know it will only last a few minutes.

Some mamas read their babies to sleep, but our demand for books and stories was never sated and it was always Mama who slept first.

Continue reading

Things to Read

This month my writing time has been severely limited, however, I’ve managed to snatch a few great reads from fellow bloggers that I want to share with you:

Things to Read

Devotional: God is love — something I truly needed to be reminded of. A new way to look at I Corinthians 13. 

Parenting: Saying No to Your Kids and Fighting the Dragon — This was so, so good. 

Social: Why Humanism Will Not Heal— this blog has caught me tight and convicted me so many times. And this post? Full of truth. 

Modesty: 7 Reasons Why We Don’t Want to Talk About It— there are a lot of blog posts about modesty circling the web right now. This one is well done.

What I’m reading right now:

Do What Jesus Did — so far, an excellent read. I’m very interested in how it will conclude.
Bonhoeffer— I’m working hard to pace myself through this book, taking time to do research and put thought into each section. I love it though and the “reader” part of me just wants to fly through it!

What about you? Have you read a great blog post lately? A good book? Do share!

The Lighted Path {giveaway!}

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I wanted to share with you a fun resource. Lyn Kirkland has written a delightful book titled, The Lighted Path: 101 Practical Lessons Using God’s Word As Guidance for Parents,  Grandparents, And Anyone Who Loves Children. 

The first part that grabbed me, of course, was the beautiful benediction in the title. Teaching children about the Word of God is not just for parents (though they should!) and not just for grandparents (yet what influence they have!) but it is also for anyone who loves children. (a.k.a. me!)

This beautifully bound book is formatted in convenient devotional-length chapters. It would make a lovely gift for a friend, mother, daughter or grandmother (and that covers just about everyone, eh? 😉 ) this Mother’s Day.

And, yay! Olive Press Publishing has graciously offered a giveaway copy for my readers!


So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. To enter the giveaway:

  • leave a comment on this blog post

Yup, that’s it. Easy-peasy, right? 

The giveaway will end at 11:59pm on May1st and a winner will be drawn on May 2nd.

Take a minute to share this giveaway with your friends?

You can share this graphic on facebook Or click here to send out a tweet.

Thank you so much!


About the Author: Lyn Kirkland is a mother of two and grandmother of two. She and her husband, Jim, reside in theAmish farmland of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. They minister together through Starfish Ministries of PA,and have been especially active in ministering to people who have suffered the pain of betrayal. Her firstbook, Healing For Your Broken Heart was co-written with her husband and published in 2004 and 2012. The Lighted Path is Lyn’s second publication, and she hopes it will be a source of inspiration and Godly wisdom for all who love children.

More Heat, More Butter, More Salt

bread & wine by shaune niequist

This post contains affiliate links.

I’ve always been slightly enthralled by authors who write about food.  I devour books like The Dirty Life or Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and Julie & Julia (although the movie is better than the book for the last one).

I don’t even understand half the French words they use to describe the types or flavors, but I love to watch the way words create lyrics on the page. Now, mind you, I still call white sauce, well, white sauce, but there is something stupendous about the word crème being in the title, complete with the accent mark and the feeling of soft warmth.

Shauna Niequist’s new book Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table is like a beautifully preformed musical. Food, thoughts and faith all swirl together and what is created in a type of community (complete with recipes that I am dying to try).

She entices the reader into the kitchen with recipes that involve creamy goat cheese, bacon, and splashes of wine but her heart goes much deeper than the stomach. She writes to remind us all what the table is for: a place of community, a place of connection.

Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist

Perhaps I felt her heart more clearly because of the chapter about sharing joys and heartache, where she writes through the sorrow of her years of being unable to bear another child. Perhaps it is simply the way her writing voice jumps from subject to subject and then back to food, with an extra dosage of butter and salt.


Either way, I was only half way through before I was texting a friend and saying, “I have a book you need to read!” And at dinner that night, when I was frying up the onions, I turned up the heat, added a little extra salt, some butter and a splash of wine (just for good measure).

It was delightful.

To read more about Shauna, visit her website.
To read more about Bread & Wine: a love letter to life around the table with recipes visit here. 
To order a copy of the book, visit here. 
For the Kindle version, visit here. 

I received a copy of Bread & Wine from Zondervan in exchange for my honest review. 

of book lists and stories.

Perhaps it is not the most, ah, intellectual, to admit my love for fiction, but it is true nonetheless. I like stories. I like writing them, reading them, and talking about them. My friend Meg and I can talk for, ahem, hours about fictional characters.

I love that somewhere in my imagination there lives a girl named Paris, who has brown hair and wears torn jeans and talks with her hands. She has a story of redemption that is pieced together from real stories that I’ve heard and my fingers almost itch to finish writing it out.

And not only that, but I love fairy tales and parables. Ones that whisper and swirl stories from other lands. Places that exist only in my mind, but can be translated onto paper. Places that have castles with 67 stone steps, little girls who have been saved from monsters by a King who loves, and warriors who raise their banners to the only true Ruler of All.

I sometimes joke about the many fiction books that leak into my reading lists. I read many, many nonfiction books to glean information but it is fiction that makes me smile. I don’t read it to critique, I simply read it for pleasure.

So. I’m going to share with you the fiction books I read last year. Some are re-reads, some I disliked, some I loved. And I hope you’ll be inspired to read a few novels this year. This isn’t an all-inclusive list, by any means, but they were the ones that left a lasting memory. 

Books I Read:

Prophet (Books of the Infinite) by R.J. Larson : Fantasy. I loved this book. It was set in an “Old Testament” type world that made the heart of God shine. You can read my review here. 

When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley: Contemporary. The story of a woman caught in an abusive church and her journey to freedom. It contains pieces of romance and a thread of mystery. The writing was lovely. There were some parts that I struggled with but overall, I enjoyed it.

Watching the Tree Limbs by Mary DeMuth: Set in 1979.  A small town, an abused girl, an unlikely friendship, and a God who crawls right into the middle of our darkness to lead us to light. I also reread Wishing on Dandelions, the sequel. They are both favorites of mine.

My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade Contemporary. Regular ole chic-lit novel. Cute. Nothing too exciting. Read my review here. 

Heartless by Anne Elisabeth StengiFantasy. A parable wrapped up in a fairy tale. A princess, a battle for her heart, and the undeniable truth that it is only in death of our sinful nature that we can truly live.

The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie DickersonFairy tale. A retelling of Beauty and the Beast, with a Christian twist. Gotta love Melanie Dickerson.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: Yes. I reread it. (and it’s just as good the 15th time as the first. Maybe better.)

Unending Devotion by Jody HedlundHistorical. Really, really good. Read my review here.

Books I Read Aloud:

The Widow of Larkspur Inn The Courtship of the Vicar’s Daughter, and The Dowry of Miss Lydia Clark: Historical. adorable, funny, light and breezy reads set in a small town in England. My husband got a kick out of them.

Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls WilderChildren’s. Oh, yes, and we loved it. Every single chapter.

The Kincaid Brides Series by Mary ConnealyHistorical. We read them all because they were kind of funny but, to be honest, they weren’t the best books. (She does have some cute ones, by the way, these just weren’t my favorites.)

Short-Straw Bride by Karen WitemeyerHistorical. Very cute. We both liked it. Typical historical romance in some ways but excellent writing and enjoyable twists.

Roses for Mama by Janette OkeHistorical. One of my favorite books. I read it as a teen and I still love it. (so I made my husband listen to it. In my defense, he did say he liked it.)

Redeeming Love by Francine RiversHistorical/Allegorical. Oh. So good. Still. No matter how many times I read it. I know some people struggle through the graphic nature (Angel is an abused child turned prostitute) but I, honestly, think it’s real life and we better face it. (and, oh, the glory of the redemption.) I think my husband might have cried a few places. Shhh! Don’t tell. 

The Grandma’s Attic Storybook by Arleta RichardsonChildren’s. We love Grandma’s Attic. I read stories here and there throughout the year. They were some of my favorite’s as a child and my husband really enjoys them as well.

For more book lists, come over to my friend Mandy’s blog.  (Have a book list on your own blog? Make sure to link up with her!)

What was your favorite novel from last year?

p.s. this post contains affiliate links.

Unending Devotion

There have been stories circulating lately. Stories about modern-day slavery and women who are trapped tight and dying slowly over months and years.

And we see pictures and hear these tales that make us angry and horrified but they seem so far away. We may buy jewelry or bags or donate money with the promise that it will help free someone, but here is the question: what if that someone was your sister?

IMG_7415One reason that I love fiction, is the ability to take a “what-if” situation and make it seem real. Jody Hedlund did some research and found out that it was during the lumber-era (late 1800’s) that white slavery (forced prostitution) was introduced to the state of Michigan. In her novel, Unending Devotionshe takes us on a vivid trip through that time period through the eyes of an idealistic young woman in search of her beloved sister and the son of a lumber-baron who has closed his eyes to the evil in town so as to make a larger profit.

The story is engaging, well-written and historically accurate. The message is for today.  

And the fact that it’s real, and happening right now keeps me startled. Helping provide jobs so these women have something to do when they escape is a huge part of the problem. There are wonderful programs out there  that need our support and, most importantly, our prayers.

I want to do these things. I want to help make a difference.

unchecked evil
I love novels like Unending Devotion because they help me keep the truth in the forefront of my mind. It is a gentle, but firm, reminder that there are more important things in life besides my comfort and there are lost people around me, desperate to be free.

Want to know more about Jody Hedlund? Visit here. 

Want to know more about fighting to end slavery? Visit here. 

I received this novel in exchange
for my honest review 
from Bethany House Publishers