Guest Blogger – Wholefood for a whole life

Some of you already know a little about me from previous posts sharing stories from our lives or from talking with me in comments. For those of you that aren’t familiar, I’m Robbie’s youngest daughter, Melissa. Mom asked me to “guest blog” today about my health and diet after many of you have shown interest in learning more. While this is the condensed version and I’m going to keep it mostly to my journey, as well as how to get started on a whole food plant-based diet, I suggest getting a beverage of your choice. It’s time to settle in and get comfortable. If there’s a lot of interest I will be happy to do more guest blogs as requested. If you enjoy what I’ve shared with you, be sure to reply, like, and reblog to let mom know you want more!

I’ve always been a very active and health conscious person, yet I struggled like most people, with the misinformation that regularly bombards us. I worked out and ran daily, regularly did calisthenics, ballet, hiking, and ate what I thought was healthy. I would splurge, drinking soda or eating sweets, but never thought it was doing much harm with occasional treats. All of my life I’ve suffered from autoimmune troubles that would cause pain or injuries. I chose to reconcile myself with this and live my life to the fullest anyway, not letting it stop me or slow me down. In my 20s I contracted Lyme disease; regretfully the doctors didn’t realize what it was and took months to treat it appropriately. The long-term damage to my joints and nerves were irreversible. Given I already suffered from autoimmune concerns, this added more complications and frustration to a growing list of health troubles. A few years later I suffered multiple herniated discs with sciatica that caused nerve damage in my foot, with some loss of feeling and weakness. Despite all my efforts with exercise, physical therapy, and staying active, by my mid-twenties arthritis and inflammation was already a problem in several major joints. At this point, not being physically capable of doing my normal activities and exercises, anxiety and depression started sinking in and becoming unbearable. The realization hit me that exercise and an active lifestyle wasn’t enough, I needed to help my body to recover and be strong enough to fight off the decline that was rapidly descending upon me. The thought nagging constantly at me was, “If I’m putting into my body things that cause inflammation every day I’m making it harder for my body to actually recover!” Something had to change.

The first step, I thought, was to remove soda and overly processed sugars entirely from my diet. This was much more difficult than I imagined it would be. Should be simple, just drink or eat something else! The problem is your body becomes accustomed and, essentially, addicted to these sugary bombs of endorphins. I had to gradually wean myself off the sodas and work hard, over several months, to lower my intake of processed sugars. While I started to regain some energy and mental clarity I was still regularly in pain and would often have a multitude of flair-ups. I spoke with my physical therapist and doctor, they would joke, “If you were overweight we’d talk about diet, but you aren’t so let’s focus on your exercises.” The exercises helped, but I was only getting by. I wanted to thrive.

By what I believe to be a gentle nudge from above, I stumbled on to a review of the book, “How not to die” by Dr. Greger. At first, I was skeptical. I study science, mostly behavioral, and with this education and experience, I’ve learned to question everything. Dr. Greger was thorough enough to include information to look up every single study he talks about in his book. This sent me down a deep, twisting rabbit hole of science and information that was not readily available to me prior. I buried myself in research and regularly visited his website while cross-referencing everything back to the studies themselves to read through all of them for any inconsistencies. I desperately wanted to prove it wrong. My doctors never spoke about diet as an option, they totally discounted it. How can any of this be true? Milk causes inflammation? Eggs are not healthy? Meat is a carcinogen?!? Processed meats are listed as Group 1 carcinogen (the same as Tobacco and Asbestos, according to WHO)? Yet time and again the studies and research showed this could be true, everything Dr. Greger said (and everyone else I looked into) was true. To solidify my resolve I watched “Forks over Knives”. While much of it is a bit over the top I felt like I had finally woken up, I had taken the red pill and was no longer in the Matrix. I couldn’t unknow what I had learned.

After a lot of soul-searching, I made the switch. Gradually I cut all animal products out of my life. There were ups and downs, many times I fell back to old habits, but I stuck with it as best I could. I started by removing meat, then eggs, eventually milk and cheese. The cheese was the hardest one to let go. A few months later I eliminated most processed foods in general and sustained a predominately whole food, plant-based diet. After some time of fully plant-based, it became easier to adjust recipes and make meals. Everything was becoming second nature and it wasn’t a daily struggle of, “What on Earth do I make for dinner?!” As time went by something amazing happened, my anxiety was mostly under control and the pain I lived with most of my life was subsiding. I called my mother and said tentatively “I don’t want to jinx it mom, but that constant nagging pain of level seven or eight I’ve always had? I actually forgot about it for several days. I haven’t had pain, sure normal aches, but not MY aches.” As I continued on this path my energy levels increased, mental clarity and sharpness heightened, the pain was minimal, and overall I was thriving. I was once again able to do my workouts and be more active which allowed my body to heal more and continue on a better path to recovery.

Do I believe everyone would have these results? Honestly, I don’t know. Do I believe everyone could benefit from a whole food, plant-based diet? Absolutely! Will it cure all your troubles? I’m not a doctor so I can’t say if that’s possible but I can encourage you to look into it yourself. Listed below are some websites and links to pages that helped me along my journey. I’m listing only Dr. Greger’s pages because he has the science and studies to back the information. If anyone is interested in other suggestions I will happily share those as well. You’re welcome to ask questions here and if there’s interest I’ll return for a Q&A or more guest blogs. The most important information I can give you is to do the best you can for you and to allow yourself to thrive. Don’t fall into a trap of “getting by.” Stay positive and keep striving to be the best version of yourself.

Dr. Greger’s site
https://nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen, which greatly simplified my transition
https://nutritionfacts.org/video/dr-gregers-daily-dozen-checklist/

We will address questions and comments on Tuesday, June 26th.

#Forksoverknives  #Drgreger   #hownottodie   #plantbased

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Book Spotlight-The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck-Celebrate Lit Tour

About the Book

Title: The Love Letter

Author: Rachel Hauck

Release Date: June 12, 2018

Genre: Contemporary

Tour Dates: June 21 – July 4

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Dress comes a story of long-lost love and its redemption in future generations.

Romance has never been actress Chloe Daschle’s forte—in life or on screen. But everyone knows who to call for a convincing death scene . . . and it might be killing her career.

When Chloe is given a peek at the script for an epic love story, she decides to take her destiny into her own hands and request an audition for the lead female role, Esther Kingsley. The compelling tale, inspired by family lore and a one-page letter from the colonial ancestor of scriptwriter Jesse Gates, just might break her out of this career-crippling rut. Jesse would rather write about romance than live through it after his past relationship ended in disaster. But once on-set together, the chemistry between Jesse and his leading lady is hard to deny.

Centuries earlier, in the heart of the Revolutionary War, Hamilton Lightfoot and Esther Longfellow wrote their saga off the silver screen. Esther’s Loyalist father opposes any relationship with Hamilton, but Esther must face her beloved father’s disapproval and the dangers of war in order to convince Hamilton of their future together. Hamilton has loved Esther for years, and on the eve of battle pens the love letter she’s always wanted—something straight from the heart.

Set in stunning upcountry South Carolina, The Love Letter is a beautifully-crafted story of the courage it takes to face down fear and chase after love, even in the darkest of times. And just maybe, all these generations later, love can come home in a way not even Hollywood could imagine.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Rachel Hauck is an award-winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times. She is a double RITA finalist, a Christy and Carol Award Winner.

Rachel sits on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, and is the comical sidekick to Susan May Warren at the amazing My Book Therapy. She is a worship leader and speaker.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, Rachel is a devoted Ohio State football fan. She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.

Guest Post from Rachel Hauck

I’m always looking for story ideas. My husband does a standard disclaimer when I start drilling into a conversation with questions like:

”Really? So why did you do that?”

”Have you sought help?”

”Was it love at first sight?”

Hubster says, “Warning, anything you say can end up in a book.”

Of course, stories abound! Interesting people abound!

Then again, sometimes ideas just hit out of the blue. A few years ago I had the idea of a young, contemporary couple meeting by “accident” only to learn that their great grandparents were in love but time, life, family, war, or society made their love impossible.

I suppose there are a hundred ways to tell such a story but when it came time to write The Love Letter, I was slightly infatuated with the Poldark series on PBS.

Set in 18th century Cornwall, the story and the characters were so dynamic I had to write my own version of Poldark.

But could I write a split time with a 240 year difference? I mean, they didn’t have electricity or phones in 1780! They didn’t even have a postal system. Letters were carried by traveling friends or family.

What possible conflicts could my historical characters face? What event could be so dark and tragic to keep them apart?

The Revolutionary War created a perfect backdrop for my young lovers.

I set the story in upcountry South Carolina not realizing the battle I chose for the back drop, the Battle of Cowpens, was the inspiration for the movie The Patriot. (A fav movie of mine!)

For the contemporary story, I started with shoes. I mean, doesn’t every thing start with shoes?

”Nice outfit but what shoes are you wearing?”

”You’re going on a date? You need new shoes.”

What we “walk in” can either empower or defeat us. There’s a spiritual metaphor I’ll mediate on for awhile.

However, the shoe angle didn’t quite work so the contemporary story ended up in Hollywood with an actor/screenwriter and an actress.

Both worlds—1780 upcountry South Carolina and contemporary Hollywood—were a bit out of my southern bailiwick.

I did a lot of research on the war and the colonial south. Where I couldn’t find details, I filled in with my imagination.

As for Hollywood, I talked with a screenwriter friend, read books, watched interviews, and then, you know, made the rest up. Don’t you know I eventually ended up on a movie set—Once Upon A Prince—four days after I finished reading the galley proofs for The Love Letter!

One of the hardest parts of the story was the actual love letter. What did it say? Who wrote it and why? Was there more than one? No, only one. But why only one?

I must have written and rewritten the letter five different ways to Sunday before I settled on the magical one.

During the course of the book, I realized I’d never written a love letter. Have you?

I’ve written sentiments to my husband on an anniversary or birthday card. I speak my love and affection out loud all the time. But a bonafide love letter?

A love letter is it’s own art form. They range from sickly sweet with a lot of “darlings” and “sweethearts” to Shakespearean sonnets.

There’s a vulnerability that comes with writing a love letter. Putting one’s heart on the page creates a new level of commitment with your affections.

Will the reader receive your words? Will the reader respond in kind?

It’s fascinating to consider the purpose of a love letter. Have we lost something intrinsic to the human heart with our instant texting and email society.

Can you imagine Romeo texting to Juliet in 2018?

Saw you at your window. You looked hot.

Doesn’t quite have the same ring as: “But soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east and Juliet is the sun.”

Scripture is a continuous love letter. “For God so loved the world—”

Whether you write love letters or poems, or quick texts, or put XO’s on cards to loved ones, write a love letter this month.

Write one to yourself, to Jesus, a spouse, child, parent, friend, foe—

See how it will bless your heart! Off to write my love letter…

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, June 21

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 21

The Avid Reader, June 21

Genesis 5020, June 21

ansel book blog, June 22

Blogging With Carol, June 22

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, June 22

Cover to Cover and Everything in Between, June 23

The Power of Words, June 23

Luv’N Lambert Life, June 23

Janices book reviews, June 23

C Jane Read, June 24

Kristin’s Book Reviews, June 24

Reflections From My Bookshelves, June 25

Faithfully Bookish, June 25

By The Book, June 25

Reading Is My SuperPower, June 25

Kat’s Corner Books, June 26

Maureen’s Musings, June 26

Ladybug Chronicles, June 26

Carpe Diem, June 26

Moments Dipped in Ink, June 27

Mommynificent , June 27

Godly Book Reviews, June 27

God’s Little Bookworm, June 28

Radiant Light, June 28

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 28

Have A Wonderful Day, June 28

Novels corner, June 29

Blossoms and Blessings, June 29

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, June 29

Bigreadersite, June 29

Pause for Tales, June 30

Bibliophile Reviews, June 30

Splashes of Joy, June 30

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, July 1

Simple Harvest Reads, July 1

The Christian Fiction Girl, July 1

A Baker’s Perspective, July 1

Remembrancy, July 2

amandainpa, July 2

To Everything A Season, July 2

proud to be an autism mom, July 3

Texas Book-aholic, July 3

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, July 3

Fiction, Faith, and Fun, July 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 4

Jeanette’s Thoughts, July 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away

Grand prize of a Kindle Fire 7
Semi-Grand prize of a book basket
2nd – 4th place prize of a copy of The Love Letter!!

Click below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d071/the-love-letter-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Heart Between Us by Lindsay Harrel

My Review

WOW!!

The Heart Between Us left a profound impact on me. This story is an emotional roller coaster no one can prepare for, but I’m glad I experienced it.

Lindsay Harrel is a new author to me, and I look forward to reading more of her books. She does a wonderful job of drawing you into the story, creating realistic people and scenarios.

I knew the basic premise of the story; a young woman, Megan, who is 32 years old, struggles with heart disease until age 29 when she receives a heart transplant. What I didn’t know or expect was the heartfelt authenticity of the story. I found myself truly feeling for the characters as if I’d known them for years.

I empathized with Crystal, Megan’s sister, who felt she could never be enough because her parents’ focus was always on her twin sister’s physical problems. The problems Crystal and her husband faced within their marriage were true to life. Sometimes it’s easier to revert to autopilot and become a super controller than it is to confront and fix problems, but failing to solve existing issues spawns new ones.

Traveling around the world with Crystal and Megan brings us many delightful and breathtaking moments, along with insightful glimpses into our own humanity.

The story is one of growth and healing, of questioning God, of reconciliation and of anger, with a large dose of jealously. Ultimately, we experience redemption and healing.

Maybe the past didn’t have to be a bitter mark always marring the surface of her heart. Maybe life really could be an amazing adventure, one not of her own making, but the kind that comes from toil and heartache and love.

Especially love. (pg. 281)

“God can handle your questions, Meg. If you want to know, ask. A relationship is about trust, and trust is grown through communication.” (pg. 227)

Some parts of the story are predictable. However, the predictability does not detract from the entirety of the story. Be prepared to laugh, cry and perhaps grow just a little in the process, too.

I received this book from The Fiction Guild. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Megan Jacobs always wished for a different heart. Her entire childhood was spent in and out of hospitals, sitting on the sidelines while her twin sister Crystal played all the sports, got all the guys, and had all the fun. But even a heart transplant three years ago wasn’t enough to propel Megan’s life forward. She’s still working as a library aide and living with her parents in her small Minnesota hometown, dreaming of the adventure she plans to take “once she’s well enough.” Meanwhile, her sister is a successful architect with a handsome husband and the perfect life—or so Megan thinks.

When her heart donor’s parents give Megan their teenage daughter’s journal—complete with an unfulfilled bucket list—Megan connects with the girl she meets between the pages and is inspired to venture out and check off each item. Caleb—a friend from her years in and out of the hospital—reenters her life and pushes her to find the courage to take the leap and begin her journey. She’s thrown for a loop when Crystal offers to join her for reasons of her own, but she welcomes the company and the opportunity to mend their tenuous relationship.

As Megan and Crystal check items off the bucket list, Megan fights the fears that have been instilled in her after a lifetime of illness. She must choose between safety and adventure and learn to embrace the heart she’s been given so that she can finally share it with the people she loves most.

Adventures in Foodland

Our youngest daughter is visiting this week (there will be more on that later).

She is slowly switching over to an entirely plant-based diet in an effort to control pain, inflammation and other problems caused by an auto-immune disorder.

So, last night we broke out my new Instant Pot, a Christmas, birthday and mother’s day present, and made a fantastic, very filling meal.

I’ll be posting photos of our adventures and recipes as the week goes on. Plus, if anyone is curious or has questions, we’ll be glad to answer or attempt to answer them.

To Be Released June 15, 2018-‘Til Dice Do Us Part (Bunco Biddies Mystery Book 4) by Julie B Cosgrove

Publisher’s Summary

As the Bunco Biddies decorate for a wedding shower, Ethel falls from a ladder, is rushed to the ER, and from beyond the curtained divider, overhears a hushed conversation about a crime.

When the Bunco Biddies get the antsy groom involved in their sleuthing, his chances of making it to the church dwindle, and that’s when the way to the altar gets dicey.

Bunco Biddies Mysteries Synopsis 

Clean, fun reads with a Christian flavor

Three widows who live in a Sunset Acres retirement community host Bunco games every Thursday evening. Betsy Ann, a retired reporter for the Alamoville, Texas community newspaper, considers herself a seasoned reporter, due to her column in the Garden and Home section. Janie is the widow of a police detective. Ethel, a cozy mystery aficionado, can recite each episode of Murder She Wrote and Columbo by heart. She meticulously catalogs all the who-dunnits she has read by how the murders were committed. So naturally, when their neighbors start reporting bodies, the three hop into action, despite the fact that Janie’s son-in-law is Alamoville’s very competent homicide detective,

Seasons Series by Robin E. Mason-Blog Tour and Giveaway

Seasons series blog tour 4

Welcome to the Seasons series (by Robin E. Mason) Blog Tour and giveaway, hosted y JustRead Publicity Tours!


Welcome Colonel and Ms. Mason

BRUCE:  Good afternoon, Birdie Girl.

rem:  Good afternoon, Mr. Rochester. So nice to see you again.

BRUCE:   Why don’t you call me Bruce. Leastways for now.

rem:  Well, all right then, Bruce. Welcome. I do enjoy chatting with you.

BRUCE: I know so little about you, and you sit here so mélancolique, mon amie. Please, tell me a little about yourself!

rem:  I’m an oddball in a bunch of oddballs. LOL, I’m 59 and act 12 (no really). I’ve three grown kids and three beautiful granddaughters, and four kitty babies. Besides my writing, I sing and play the piano, I danced and directed the dance team at church for a few years, I paint and draw, and I’m an actress. I love, love, love being on stage, and do a smashingly brilliant British accent!

I also love baking and cooking, and big family gatherings, and I enjoy working in the yard and going for walks.

BRUCE:  Thank you kindly, Birdie Girl.

rem:  Now that Simone is home, can you tell us—

BRUCE:  Now, now, Birdie Girl. I do believe I’ll be asking the questions today. Hmm?

rem:  Yes, quite right…

BRUCE:  Could you explain what you mean when you say you can’t market as Christian Fiction, but you can as Faith Fiction?

rem:  When I first started writing, I would just write. I had no clue of genre, or what specs to follow. And some of my characters, well, not being believers, they, er, um, say things they shouldn’t. The less offensive of “street language,” and on occasion, “Oh my God.” I use that, too, but as a prayer and a plea to Him. And from what I understand of CF, that isn’t allowed.

But my faith is evident in my stories, in subtle ways. A character in my first book surprised me later in the story when they turned out to be a praying force behind my main character’s struggle.

BRUCE:  NODS  Go on, go on.

rem:  Allow me to share the words of my sweet friend, Carrie Schmidt, when she reviewed The Silent Song of Winter recently:

In her novels, Mason wrestles with some of the darkest parts of human nature. But she also wraps each story in the loving arms of Grace… A realization that the words of Scripture are God’s heart written just for her. A new awareness that she is a child of the King who is dearly loved. As this transformation takes place in Pearl’s heart, it touches every area of her life – with some very moving results.”
http://readingismysuperpower.org/2018/03/09/book-review-and-a-giveaway-the-silent-song-of-winter-by-robin-e-mason/

BRUCE:  Where did the idea of using seasons for your books come from, was it your plan to give each season its own book? What is your favorite season, and is it your favorite of the four books?

rem:  Yes and no. There’s another series out there, TOTALLY different to this one, waiting for me to write it. That’s what I thought I was going to be writing with this series! LOL, I’m a panster, and sometimes I get a title or character name, and the story evolves from that “seed.” I knew the titles of each of the four books, but when I started writing—it was so not the story I thought it was going to be! But yes, I knew that each book was its season.

And my favorite season is spring—it’s a robin thing-wink, wink—and yes, perhaps The Whispering Winds of Spring is my favorite. For one thing, it wraps up the series. But Simone’s battle was so characteristic of all of us sometimes; she made great strides in some ways, but still struggled in others.

BRUCE:  Speaking of seasons, it is a little humid out here, perhaps we could go to your lovely library!

rem:  But, of course!

BRUCE:  Here, mon amie, let me assist you!

rem:  Why, thank you, monsieur!

BRUCE:  I thank you kindly, Birdie Girl. TAKES OUT CIGAR  May I?
rem:  You have to ask?

BRUCE:  LAUGHS  Touché, Birdie Girl. Touché. I thank you kindly.

HOLDS CIGAR SUSPENDED TAKES A PUFF  Now, where were we?

Ah, yes… Are any of your characters modeled after you or someone you know?

rem:  Yes. Me. Mostly. All of my main characters have some of me in them. And most of my characters are either my imagination or a composite of people I know, or a combination.

BRUCE:  How did you come to know of our lovely town?

rem:  Oh, well, I suppose Mercedes told me. PAUSES  No, on second thought, I think it was Simone.

BRUCE:  PUFFS SMOKE  Interesting, you didn’t mention Pearl or Scarlett.

rem:  Hmmm… If I know Scarlett, and I think I do, she would have been rather too intimidated to speak out.

BRUCE:  NODS

 rem:  And Pearl, well, you know Pearl. She is a dear, but she can… shall we say, be wrapped up in herself betimes.

BRUCE:  Yes indeed. Now how did Simone tell you?

rem: TILTS HEAD, CONSIDERS  I remember knowing she needed help.

BRUCE:  That she did. That she did, indeed. PUFFS CIGAR  And you surely gave it.

rem:  Well, I’m not sure I did that much, really.

BRUCE:  Oh, Birdie Girl. You told her story. Without you she never would have, well, we can’t tell our secrets now, can we?

rem:  LAUGHS  No, we surely cannot.

BRUCE:  I know there is one person we will all love to hate! Were they a surprise, or did you know how they would be from the beginning?

rem:  Fontaine first comes to mind. Until you get to know his story. Same for Lissette. She was so troubled and tormented. Both of them were vile in their actions, and while interesting to write, and sometimes challenging, I can’t say either of them was fun. I knew both of them were despicable from the beginning; Fontaine, however, I did not discover his past until well into the first book.

BRUCE:  Do you let anyone dictate their story?

rem:  Dictate? I am but the humble scribe whose pleasure and privilege it is to put to pen—or digital form—the stories of my characters. Honestly, I know the general direction the story/series needs to go, but the fabric of it “comes” to me as I write. There are some minor bits that I construct, but mostly I am at their beck and call.

BRUCE:  Now then, you’ve told of the stories, Simone’s story, our story. What of your story?

rem:  My story?

BRUCE:  EXHALES AND CHUCKLES  My dear girl, we all have a story to tell.

rem:  SPUTTERS  I’m not sure…

BRUCE:  Stuff and nonsense! To quote our dear Pearl. PUFFS CIGAR Of course, you have a story. You were married once, were you not?

rem:  SIGHS  I was, yes.

BRUCE:  SHAKES HEAD  My word, Birdie Girl. You are making me work for it, aren’t you?

rem:  MUMBLES  Sorry.

BRUCE:  Tell me, what do you do when your characters behave this way?

rem:  NERVOUS LAUGH

BRUCE:  As I suspected.  PUFFS CIGAR Now. Tell us about your love.  CUTS A GLANCE And, I don’t mean the man you married.

rem:  SIGHS The one that got away.

BRUCE:  Got away? Was that the way of it?

rem:  LOOKS DOWN  No, it wasn’t.

BRUCE:  REACHES HAND OUT TO MY SHOULDER  Can you tell us what happened?

rem:  I sabotaged it.

SILENCE

rem:  He was too good to me, it was too good to be true. At least, that’s what I believed at the time. I didn’t know that’s what I was doing—I certainly didn’t consciously destroy the relationship.  SNIFFS

 BRUCE:  There, there, dear girl. That’s a hard thing to discover.

rem:   NODS

BRUCE:  I know you know the Almighty has your best interest at heart.

rem:  NODS

BRUCE:  WINKS And, He’ll bring you a love when you least expect it.  PUFFS CIGAR Why, look at me and my Trudy.

 rem:  SMILES, SWIPES AT STRAY TEAR  Yes, Col—Bruce, you’re right.

BRUCE:  Of course, I’m right. I’m always right.

BOTH LAUGH

BRUCE:  And what was this dear gentleman’s name?

rem:  BLUSHES  Terry.

BRUCE:  Well I dare say, Terry has suffered a great loss.

rem:  BLUSHES REDDER

 BRUCE:  No, no, it’s true. PUFFS CIGAR  You are a lovely and charming lady. Oh, mon amie, I haven’t upset you, have I?

rem:  No, I just decided to sit at the window. They truly are a remarkable set of books!

BRUCE:  Well, of course, they are!!  Now then, I believe the custom is to ask what’s called Fast Five.

rem:  SMILES

 BRUCE:  Coffee or tea?

rem:  That depends—

BRUCE:  STERN LOOK, THEN SMILES  No, Birdie Girl, Fast Five. SNAPS FINGERS

 rem:  Tea

BRUCE:  That’s more like it. Mountains or shore?

rem:  Easy, mountains.

BRUCE:  Horse or motorcycle?

rem:  Horses—OH!

BRUCE:  WINKS  Cats or dogs?

rem:  Cats, of course.

BRUCE:  Fiction or non?

rem:  Fiction, a thousand times fiction.

BRUCE:  What is the most important thing that you want your readers to take away from your books?

rem:  That God is always with us, and for us. I do not for a minute believe He causes us harm or danger or heartache to “teach us” a lesson. Rather, things happen (fallen world and all) and He is there in the thick of it, whether we see Him—or acknowledge Him—or not.

BRUCE:  Well done, dear girl.  PUFFS CIGAR  And now, dear Birdie Girl, I believe our time is done.

rem:  This has been… interesting.

BRUCE:  Indeed. Reversing roles is always a challenge—and no easy task.

rem:  Bruce, Colonel, I do so enjoy my time with you. I shall miss you.

BRUCE:  Stuff and nonsense.  WINKS  You never know when I might show up.

rem:  Quite true.

BRUCE:  I do thank you for the time. KISSES MY HAND  It has been a delight.

rem:  BLUSHES  And, I do believe the pleasure is all mine, dear Colonel.  WINKS BACK AT HIM


“Mercedes?” I could barely breathe. I didn’t remember this woman. The name only tumbled in my mind, tugging at memories I couldn’t see. I don’t know how but I knew I could trust her. Still…”

“NO!” My throat raw already, my scream was jagged and panicked and desperate. “No!” I didn’t want to see it, I didn’t want to remember… Not this. I didn’t want to remember this.”


About the Seasons series
Goodreads | Amazon

The southern town of Saisons lies at the crossroads between North and South, progressive and genteel antebellum life. Between East and West, between history and heritage, and new frontiers. Downton Abbey meets Gone With the Wind.

It’s 1912, in a world where slavery is dying and women’s rights are rising, and four young women who once shared a bond—and experienced a tragedy—question their own truths.


the long shadows of summerTitle: The Long Shadows of Summer
Author: Robin E. Mason
Publisher: Bird’s Nest Books
Release Date: August 31, 2017
Genre: Inspirational Historical Fiction/Southern Fiction

Mercedes has always been an avid reader and devours each new Sherlock Holmes mystery as soon as she gets her hands on them. When one of her friends comes to her, Mercedes vows to keep Simone’s secrets and uncover the truth.

But as Mercedes plays detective to her friends’ questions, she discovers something far more shocking—she herself is not who she thought she was.

Purchase Links: Goodreads | Amazon


the tilting leaves of autumnTitle: The Tilting Leaves of Autumn
Author: Robin E. Mason
Publisher: Bird’s Nest Books
Release Date: November 22, 2017
Genre: Inspirational Historical Fiction/Southern Fiction

Scarlett was the shrinking violet in the group. Faithful to her friends, and hiding secrets of her own. When Mercedes steps in to rescue her, she unknowingly plucks the thread that unravels Scarlett’s whole world.

But as Scarlett strives to hold fast to what is familiar the fabric of her life continues to come undone and secrets that are best kept hidden are exposed.

Purchase Links: Goodreads | Amazon


The Silent Song of WinterTitle: The Silent Song of Winter
Author: Robin E. Mason
Publisher: Bird’s Nest Books
Release Date: February 20, 2018
Genre: Inspirational Historical Fiction/Southern Fiction

When all the noise has gone silent, all that is left is her song.

Pearl had lived under the impossible taskmaster of perfection. Nothing she does or ever did pleased her mother. And nothing she ever did could disappoint her father.

Caught up in the mystery of her friend’s curious—and secretive—return, Pearl wrestles with her own decisions and flees lest her own secrets are exposed.

Purchase Links: Goodreads | Amazon


The Whispering Winds of SpringTitle: The Whispering Winds of Spring
Author: Robin E. Mason
Publisher: Bird’s Nest Books
Release Date: May 17, 2018
Genre: Inspirational Historical Fiction/Southern Fiction

Amidst the clamor of confusion, can she hear the whisper of her memories?

Simone Dubois’ life was unraveling. All she had known and held dear was gone from her. At ten, all she wanted was to escape beneath the black waters of the Edisto River. She couldn’t know her whole life would be stolen from her.

When she returns to Saisons sixteen years later, she has no memory of ever having been there. Not even that it was her birthplace. Enlisting the help of her childhood friend, Mercedes—whose name stayed with her, if in shadowy dreams only—Simone encounters misty memories, and stirs up more mystery than she started with.

Purchase Links: Goodreads | Amazon


About the Author

robin elizabeth mason

I’ve always had voices—er, stories in my head. I once said I should write them all down so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!

I have been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on my debut novel, Tessa in 2013. Meanwhile, I cranked out a few dozen poems, made countless notes for story ideas, and earned my BFA in Interior Design. I lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; I didn’t want to be who I was and struggled with my own identity for many years. My characters face many of these same demons.

I write stories of identity conflict. My characters encounter situations that force the question, “Who am I really?” For all who have ever wondered who you are or why you’re here, my stories will touch you in a very real—maybe too real—and a very deep way. I know, I write from experience.

CONNECT WITH ROBIN: website | blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Google+ | GoodReadsInstagram | Amazon

seasons series giveaway

Robin E. Mason is offering a Seasons series prize pack for her tour! ONE winner (US only) will receive:

  • a packet of Saisons Plantation tea
  • a Seasons series mug
  • a Seasons bookmark (handmade by the author)
  • Seasons notecards (also handmade by the author)
  • 4 pairs of earrings (one pair to represent each book)
  • AND winner’s choice of (1) signed print copy of Seasons book of choice OR kindle copies of all 4 books!

Giveaway will run from midnight June 11, 2018, through 11:59pm June 18, 2018. It is subject to the policies found here.

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2b09c62e288/?

Click on the banner below for a full tour schedule & more chances to win!

tour schedule

A Place to Call Home (Front Porch Promises Book 1) by Merrillee Whren

Synopsis

STARTING OVER

After serving six years in prison for the false charge of manslaughter in the death of his wife, Kurt Jansen must overcome a world of bitterness if he wants to start a new life. But his first priority is securing a restoration job to pay a private investigator to find the real killer and a lawyer to get his kids back.

Hiring a convicted wife-killer isn’t what kind-hearted Molly Finnerty bargains for as part of the prison ministry she supports. However, she begins to believe Kurt’s claim of innocence and gradually finds a great deal to like about him—perhaps more to like than she should.

Can they overcome the past and find forgiveness and love?

My Review

Imagine being convicted of a crime you didn’t commit. Then to add insult to injury you are ordered to stay away from your children, even after you have served your time. This is Kurt Jansen’s life! My heart ached for him, even as I rejoiced in Molly Finnerty’s kindness in giving him a second chance.

Molly’s life isn’t entirely on the up and up, either. However, her need for Kurt to restore the home she bought and turn it into a bed and breakfast is genuine.

Merrillee Whren’s book, A Place to Call Home, is rich with forgiveness, second chances, and redemption. I enjoyed reading it, not only for the redemptive qualities but also for the renovations aspect-a topic dear to my heart.

I bought A Place to Call Home earlier. However, I also received a copy through Celebrate Lit; I was not obligated to provide a review.

BOOKS IN THE FRONT PORCH PROMISES SERIES

1. A Place to Call Home
2. A Love to Call Mine
3. A Family to Call Ours

Each book stands alone, but the stories are connected through setting or characters.

 Author bio:

Merrillee Whren is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling author who writes inspirational romance. She is the winner of the 2003 Golden Heart Award for best inspirational romance manuscript presented by Romance Writers of America. She has also been the recipient of the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. She is married to her own personal hero, her husband of forty- plus years, and has two grown daughters. She has lived in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Chicago and Florida but now makes her home in the Arizona desert. She spends her free time playing tennis or walking while she does the plotting for her novels. Please visit her Website and signup for her newsletter and connect with her on Facebook.

Social Media links:

Connect with Merrillee:  Website  Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest  Google +

 Amazon Link:

https://amzn.to/2Gwk7zZ  (Not an affiliate link)

Friday Flashback

This is a repeat (of a repeat). However, after Kate Spade died, plus a few other deaths this year from suicide, or possible suicide, I feel prompted to post it again.

This post was a very difficult and painful one to write. I wrote it three days after Robin Williams died.

It is one of the most open, honest posts I’ve ever written. If by sharing my experience, I help someone else, it will have been worth it.

Thursday’s Thoughts

I haven’t had access to the internet for several days now, and though I had heard about Robin Williams’ death, I had not read or seen any reports. I know there have been countless stories, blogs and remembrances almost everywhere, and I know too, that this is late, but I feel led to share my story.

This won’t be easy for me because the memories are painful, but they are invading virtually every thought.

Quite a few years ago, my husband and I were going through some growing pains in our marriage. He was a career soldier, and I worked and cared for our three young children. I was managing a large apartment community at the time that had some pretty significant perks. Things were becoming tenuous at best and indescribable at worst. Due to my very dysfunctional childhood, fear, imprudence and immaturity, I decided I could care for our three children and myself and asked him to leave. He decided to request and received, an overseas tour.

I continued to work for the property management company until several months later when I was offered a job with a great deal more pay in another city. So, I packed up myself and three little ones, and we took off on a grand adventure. Little did I know.

Fortunately, I was able to enroll my little ones in a before and after school care that included evening hours. I began working 10-14 hours a day 6 days a week with little to no time to rest, much less make friends and become part of the community. Initially, I loved my new job, but things started slowly unraveling.

Work became a haven as I could handle what was going on there easier than I could handle home and all its demands, not to mention the loneliness and isolation I felt.

The company I worked for started laying people off and in true last hired fashion, I was laid off. I received a decent severance package, to include continuation of insurance for a short period of time.

Without realizing what was happening, I spiraled into SEVERE depression. As time went on, I was less and less able to handle even the smallest of day-to-day tasks. The kids were still going to before and after school care, and I was just trying to make it through the next 10 seconds without feeling like I was drowning a very slow and excruciating death.

And then one day, I seemed to have clarity of thought and action. I decided life wasn’t worth living and in a bizarre (though typical ideation) I began to systematically prepare everything for my death. Insurance was checked to see if it covered suicide (it did), I found a sweet, older Christian couple to care for the kids long-term, contacted Red Cross to find out what they would need to notify my husband and went to see a friend I made where I had worked.

My friend and I talked for a little while and then, for reasons unknown to me at the time, they asked me to go home and stay there until they came by later that day. I agreed and went home.

I know now that my friend, although not a Christian, was being led by God. This friend had a sister who had committed suicide and was able to recognize in me, through their heartbreaking experience, what I was doing, even though I didn’t. I was saying, “Good-bye.”

Later in the day, my friend came by to see me and was able to talk me into getting help.

I wish I could say this experience worked a miracle. I wish I could say I had not tried to commit suicide before (first time I was 13). I wish I could say I am free of depression. Unfortunately, I can’t. I continued and still continue with debilitating depression. I did learn one thing though-how to recognize when the depression is getting out of hand and to seek help right away.

I also learned, even when fleeing from myself and the Lord, the Lord is still there just waiting for me to return.

I cling to certain verses now.

John 16:33b King James Version (KJV) 33b In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Philippians 4:19 King James Version (KJV) 19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV) 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Romans 15:13 King James Version (KJV) 13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Psalm 31:24 King James Version (KJV) 24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.

Psalm 30:5b King James Version (KJV) 5b  weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

And so many more, I can’t even begin to list them all.

There’s a lot more to my story, but I leave you with this: If you are hurting, lost in sadness, overwhelmed by life, feel like you can’t go on or a million other things that leave you feeling hopeless or helpless-get help. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you-GET HELPI cannot stress this enoughPlease, oh, please GET HELP!

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

http://www.healthcentral.com/depression/c/84292/70431/money-insurance?ic=506011

http://www.healthcentral.com/depression/cf/slideshows/what-to-do-when-you-are-depressed?ic=obnetwork

http://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-referral-resources/#Hotline

National Suicide Hopeline
Phone: 800.784.2433

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Phone: 800.273.8255