GIVEAWAY!!!!!

I am now able to use my computer, so I decided to have a giveaway! (Of course, as you can guess, I’ll be spending the next several weeks trying to get caught up with everyone and everything I missed!!!!)

I received an e-book and two paperbacks of To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander, therefore I am giving away one paperback copy!

***********GIVEAWAY***********

I have a copy of To Wager Her Heart to giveaway!

Leave a comment with an email address to enter the drawing.

Drawing will be open September 19th  to September  26th.

One name will be randomly drawn as winner.

Check Wednesday, September 27th  , to see if you won!

GOOD LUCK!

 This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, void where prohibited by law and you must be at least 18 to enter. The odds of winning depend on the number of comments received.

Blessings to everyone~

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We Have A Winner!!

Announcement!

Congratulations to lelandandbecky! You won the random drawing for Victoria Bylin’s book, The Two of Us. I will contact you later today for your information.

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*****************Announcement******************

All my blogging, FB and Twitter friends, family, lovers, haters and fans, I will have extremely limited access to my computer over the next month! There will be family visits, family members going back to college and work projects that will keep the computer busy (and me, too for that matter).

Image result for gif of computer being taken                           (from Batman Lego Movie)

Don’t worry I won’t forget you – I love you all! When things settle down, probably mid to end of September, I’ll have another big announcement. Don’t forget I’ll be announcing my contest winner Monday!

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A Tribute

Today’s blog is a little different in several ways. I don’t usually reblog. However,  Snapshots in Cursive posted one I felt was a nice, though haunting tribute.

NYC’s 9/11 Memorial is Sacred Site

(For some reason, I can’t get it to reblog, so click on the link above.)

 

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Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh

My Review

Lane Kelly is a driven, ambitious and determined woman. She’s also bitter, angry and angst filled. She can’t seem to let go of the past, and it clouds every aspect of her adult life.

The message of Just Look Up is a great one and has a triple meaning. First, the need to take our eyes off our problems and look up to see our blessings. Lane needs to take her eyes off her phone and look up at all that is her life. Finally, we need to look up to God to find our way.

Just Look Up is a good story and has a good message, but I could never really get into it. The idea of the novel is inspirational, and there are times in the story when its meaning comes to life. However, the largest part of the book conveys the relentless anger and angst of Lane, which gets old fast. I quickly began to skip over the parts of the book where she kept replaying her childhood in her mind.

Although I didn’t enjoy Lane’s storyline and couldn’t really connect with her, I did like the other characters and the story itself. Someone else reading the story may very well connect with her and her feelings.

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

Don’t forget, follow this link for the giveaway

Publisher’s Summary

After tirelessly climbing the ranks of her Chicago-based interior design firm, Lane Kelley is about to land her dream promotion when devastating news about her brother draws her back home―a quaint tourist town full of memories she’d just as soon forget. With her cell phone and laptop always within reach, Lane aims to check on her brother while staying focused on work―something her eclectic family doesn’t understand.

Ryan Brooks never expected to settle down in Harbor Pointe, Michigan, but after his final tour of duty, it was the only place that felt like home. Now knee-deep in a renovation project that could boost tourism for the struggling town, he is thrilled to see Lane, the girl he secretly once loved, even if the circumstances of her homecoming aren’t ideal.

Their reunion gets off to a rocky start, however, when Ryan can’t find a trace of the girl he once knew in the woman she is today. As he slowly chips away at the walls Lane has built, secrets from his past collide with a terrible truth even he is reluctant to believe. Facing a crossroads that could define his future with Lane and jeopardize his relationship with the surrogate family he’s found in the Kelleys, Ryan hopes Lane can see that maybe what really matters has been right in front of her all along―if only she’d just look up.

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An Award!!

This post is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay overdue! I was nominated for this award almost a month ago. However, I have been reading so many books and doing so many reviews, I’ve have had time for little else!

Thank you so very much to James of This is My Truth Now. I stumbled across his blog’s 365 Day Challenge and was impressed enough, I’m beginning to think I’ll start my own similar challenge soon.

The Rules

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  3. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  4. Select 10 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  5. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

My Story

My blog started on another site, but I switched to WordPress and brought all my blogs over to WP.

I originally started as sort of a tribute to my Mom, who had recently passed away, and also as a way for out of town family members to catch up with all our relatives that I now lived closer to. However…this happened,  Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball, and not long after, being the avid reader I am, I was hooked. So now almost every blog post is a book review. (What can I say, I’m hooked!)

My Advice

My first piece of advice is to enjoy what you are doing. If you don’t, it will show.

My second piece of advice is to always thank people that follow and/or comment on your blog. I know I have had a few fall through the cracks, so you may, too. However, if someone takes the time to check out your blog and follow, it’s only fair they be told, “Thank you!”

My Nominations

  1. Canuck Carl of The Old Fellow Goes Running. WOW, is he ever an inspiration. I have never cared much for running, but if I were to start, I would hope to have half his determination!
  2. The Ruby Sky at The Sea Calls Us Home. A charming young lady, with a very eclectic blog!
  3. Charity Hope of A Girl and Her Camera. Beautiful pictures!
  4. Writing Your First Novel-Things You Should Know. We-at least a lot of us- aspire to write a book. There are some great tips here.
  5. Old Time Rock and Roll at I Like that Old Time Rock and Roll. What can I say, it’s old time rock ‘n roll (and from a very young lady, too! She’s keeping the history alive!).
  6. Brandon of Chaotic Shapes. He has fascinating pictures created from, you guessed it, chaotic shapes!
  7. Ellie Whyte at Soul Inspirationz. She has an eclectic taste in books and reviews the ones she reads.
  8. Kool Aid Moms of Whats for Dinner Moms. Let’s face it, it’s fun to try new recipes.
  9. Tamera Lynn Kraft and
  10. Carole Brown of Word Sharpeners. (OK, so I cheated a little. They blog together and also write books.) There are some great tips for writing, along with book and movie reviews, plus other fun things! Be sure to check out the side bar for a list of all the fun things. For a trip down memory lane click on TV lists (There’s an interesting tribute to Leonard Nimoy, too).

So there you have it, my nominees!

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!!

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The Promise of Dawn by Lauraine Snelling (Under the Northern Skies Book 1)

My Review

Lauraine Snelling’s newest book, The Promise of Dawn, focuses on the lives of Rune and Signe Carlson and their boys after they move from Norway to America to help relatives Einar and Gerd Strand.

I had a hard time getting into the story. Einar is a tyrant and basically, treats Rune and his sons like they are indentured slaves. Gerd, who is bedridden, treats Signe essentially the same way. Einar is mean and gruff, and Gerd is demanding.

Einar is verbally abusive and unkind. As the story progresses and different situations occur, Signe begins to stand up to him. However, it’s not until an accident occurs that Rune begins to support his wife and children and stand up to Einar, also.

The story could have been better if there was some relief from or explanation of Einar’s attitude, but alas, there was none.

I came to appreciate the hard work everyone did so trees could be felled and shipped, farm animals could be taken care of and a large household maintained. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but there are a few sweet, endearing scenes near the end. Overall, it was an interesting story with a great lesson in persistence and Godly love toward others.

The Promise of Dawn is the first in a new series, Under the Northern Skies. It was not one of my favorites of Lauraine Snelling’s. I do plan to read the next in the series, though, if for no other reason than to see if I can discover what caused Einar to be the way he was toward his relatives.

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

Publisher’s Summary

When Signe, her husband, Rune, and their three boys arrive in Minnesota from Norway to help a relative clear his land of lumber, they dream of owning their own farm and building a life in the New World. But Uncle Einar and Aunt Gird are hard, demanding people, and Signe and her family soon find themselves worked nearly to the bone in order to repay the cost of their voyage. At this rate, they will never have land or a life of their own.

Signe tries to trust God but struggles with anger and bitterness. She has left behind the only life she knew, and while it wasn’t an easy life, it wasn’t as hard as what she now faces. When a new addition to the family arrives, Signe begins to see how God has been watching over them throughout their ordeal. But after all that has happened, can she still believe in the promise of a bright future?

Don’t forget, follow this link for the giveaway!

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The Two of Us by Victoria Bylin And a GIVEAWAY!

Information on a giveaway for the book,The Two of Us, is below the reviews.

My Review

Mia Robinson has decided, after two broken engagements, she is not going to get married. However, she didn’t count on Jake Tanner, the mentor for her little sister Lucy’s fiancé.

I can relate so well to both Mia and Lucy. I am usually a fairly reserved, cautious person and I’m the oldest sibling/sister. However, like Lucy, when it comes to my family (immediate and extended), I am super impulsive. I love surprises (but my immediate family doesn’t), and I like to plan and execute surprises for them, which usually ends up with them frustrated with me (sometimes it ends well, sometimes not!).

The characters of The Two of Us are very real and relatable. The story is gripping, absorbing and thought-provoking. I enjoyed the interwoven messages of faith and how each character faces similar circumstances differently.

Victoria Bylin’s contemporary novel addresses many of today’s issues, including the difficulties associated with caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, a police officer dealing with PTSD and an unmarried woman’s unplanned pregnancy.

Having read and enjoyed several of Victoria Bylin’s books, I think The Two of Us is my favorite. I found the interactions and intricacies of the story and characters to be engrossing and spell-binding. Also, you begin to feel as if the people are your friends, each one seemingly real enough to be someone you know or have known.

I received this book from NetGalley, Bethany House Publishers and the author. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Heartwarming and Touching New Contemporary Romance from Victoria Bylin

After two broken engagements, nurse practitioner Mia Robinson is done with dating. From now on, she only trusts herself and God, and she’s focused on her eighteen-year-old sister, Lucy, and caring for patients. Just as she applies to work for an international aid organization, a phone call from Lucy, who’s pregnant and running off to marry her twenty-one-year-old boyfriend, throws a wrench into all of Mia’s plans.

Jake Tanner may have recovered from the physical injuries he sustained on the job as a police officer, but his heart has yet to heal from losing his former partner in the tragedy. He’s poured himself into starting a camp for the sons of fallen officers and mentoring Sam, the adult son of his deceased partner, who’s asked him to be his best man at his wedding.

Mia is expecting a mess when she arrives to sort out the situation with Lucy, but she wasn’t expecting Jake. And Jake, who can’t help envying Sam and Lucy, doubts he’ll ever experience their happiness for himself. But maybe Jake’s courage and Mia’s caring spirit are just what they need to bring them a lifetime of healing and a forever kind of love. . . .

***********GIVEAWAY***********

I have a copy of The Two of Us to giveaway!

Leave a comment to enter the drawing.

Drawing will be open August 21st to August 27th.

One name will be randomly drawn as winner.

Check back on Monday, August 28th to see if you won!

GOOD LUCK!

 This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, void where prohibited by law and you must be at least 18 to enter. The odds of winning depend on the number of comments received.

Blessings to everyone~

This giveaway has ended.

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Friday Flashback

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

Raw, tender and agonizing are just a few words to describe how I feel right now. For many years, I have suffered from depression and recent news has stirred up innumerable feelings.

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 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 very painful 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

Posted in musings on life | 33 Comments