The MacGregor Legacy - For Love or Loyalty

1760 Scotland - To atone for her father's evil, Lauren Campbell agrees to help Malcolm MacGregor. By the time she realizes she's the bargaining price to free Malcolm's mother from indentured servitude, it's too late.

Path of Freedom, Quilts of Love series

1858 North Carolina - When Quakers Flora Saferight and Bruce Millikan embark on the Underground Railroad, they agree to put their differences aside to save the lives of a pregnant slave couple..

Highland Sanctuary, (Highland series - Book 2)

1477 Scotland - A chieftain heir is hired to restore Briagh Castle and discovers a hidden village of outcasts who have created their own private sanctuary from the world.

Highland Blessings, (Book 1 - Highland series)

1473 Scotland - The story of a highland warrior who kidnaps the daughter of his greatest enemy and clan chief to honor a promise to his dying father.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Guest Post: The Turn of the 20th Century by Sherri Wilson Johnson


Please welcome Author Sherri Wilson Johnson. Her novel, Song of the Meadowlark, releases May 2012. Today she's going to discuss the by-gone days of the early 1900's.
________________________________
The first few decades of the 20th century were grab-on-to-your-chair, hang-on-to-your-hat years! If you blinked, you missed something.

Before 1900, people valued time with family and neighbors and made it the center of their lives. They picnicked and spent leisurely Sunday afternoons after church talking about simple things. In the evenings they sat on the veranda sipping lemonade or warming by the fire nursing a cup of hot tea. Singing songs was often a fun way to pass the time. 

At the turn of the century, folks gathered around the radio to listen to dramas or bands instead of Fathers reading the Bible. Sporting games and horseshoes brought people together for fun. Although they still picnicked, observing a day of rest became less of the norm for some. Horse and buggy rides gave people a chance to tour the country or city, but eventually transformed into Sunday afternoon car rides.

The speed of life quickened with the invention of the automobile (the Model T in 1914). People posed for photographs around their cars instead of backdrops on elaborate furniture or on front porches. They preferred zipping around in their cars, in spite of a 15 mph speed limit in some states, which certainly didn’t prevent young men from showing off their racing talent. 

Ships and trains made it possible for people to see the world. No longer did they have to learn about things from the newspaper—if they had money to spend. When the Wright brothers flew their airplane, I'm sure people's dreams were filled with flying. The Industrial Revolution altered lives forever! For every difficult household or farming chore, a new invention made it easier. Processed foods improved cooking and allowed people to spend time in recreation, like going to the theater for a motion picture.

It seemed there was too much to do in town to stay at home in the country and let life pass by. People moved to the cities to guarantee jobs and excitement. With a growing population in urban areas, came filth and disease. The government had to educate people and improve the sewage and water systems. These issues made the rural population proud to be country folk.

Early 1900s clothing exhibited style and grace, romance and modesty, like the Victorian days. Corsets made the waistlines as slim as possible and accentuated the curved hips. Hemlines shortened and necklines dipped. Comfort and fashion were more important than modesty. Faces were covered with cosmetics and ears were adorned with gaudy jewelry. 

By the 20s, women wore shorter hair and larger hats, often competing in informal fashion contests around town at events. Men still dressed in suits with padded shoulders and wore top hats. Ballroom dancing was in style and couples enjoyed performing their waltzes. Fox Trots and Tangos. Beachwear revealed more than just the ankles and wrists!

Many of the elders still subscribed to the Victorian ways. They shook their heads at young folks. Camp meetings encouraged young people to walk the straight and narrow path of the Christian life. 

Dating was different. No longer were young women betrothed to men they didn’t love or know. They went to universities to find men of their own. They were bolder and not all ladies had a goal of marriage in mind. Some didn’t mind being called a broad, a dame, the cat’s meow, or a doll. A “charity girl” was a girl who didn’t save herself for marriage. Of course, the vast majority held true to traditional family structures.

With all of the freedoms came restrictions and an attempt to bring back the old ways. Prohibition (1919), which prohibited alcohol, brought about the Speakeasies, where people who knew the secret word could come in for a drink—or two, dancing and smoking. Forbidding people to drink alcohol didn’t stop them. In fact, it encouraged them.

The suffrage movement of the mid to late 1800s was paying off and women were finally being recognized as a vital part of society. They had fought for equal rights with men, better education, and a chance to work outside of the home. Of course with more people in the work force, labor unions started as a way to protect the laborer unfair work conditions. Children were hired to work in factories and mines, but eventually a minimum age law was passed.

Education was slowly improving. High Schools were now open, which led to more time in school and a growing literacy rate. Inexpensive magazines made reading an easier pastime for the growing urban population and helped contribute to literacy. People became more college-minded. Around 1917, fiction became more popular than non-fiction. Literature began to focus on women readers, since they were the ones who read mostly fiction. 

Although education for African-Americans was encouraged, segregation still existed in the first part of the 20th century and made life for the minorities a challenge. The KKK was their worst enemy. As the next few decades whizzed by, even the African-Americans saw a change for the better.


My debut novel, To Dance Once More, is a Victorian Inspirational Romance set in Florida in 1886. Lydia Barrington, the heroine, wants to leave her father’s plantation and the humdrum life of a debutante to explore the world. Victorian people and the people before them lived life languorously. I don’t mean they didn’t work hard because they did. But life passed at a slower pace. Lydia dreamed of an escape from this way of life—of adventure far from home with new things to discover. All Lydia needed to do was to step one decade forward and her world would have changed. 

With progress came advantages and disadvantages. Even Lydia would have paused in thought over whether it was worth it. With improvements, life expectancy increased, but so did unemployment. Violence, war and natural disaster changed American lives. People grew illiterate and crimes increased. In 1901, the United States witnessed the assignation of President William McKinley, replaced by Teddy Rosevelt. World War I left no person untouched. Racism raged as immigration climbed. The San Francisco earthquake claimed 700 lives. In 1912, the Titantic sank and more than 1,500 people died. Artists painted more realistic life portrayals, Writers such as Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson wrote to fight the materialism that engulfed America.  


Today, America is the product of progress--both its good side and its bad. We are currently suffering from the consequences of extreme materialism and hopefully will use the example of the past to prevent another depression.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Word of Inspiration: Grace Is Given to the Humble

"Surely He scorns the scornful, but gives grace to the humble." (Proverbs 3:45)

Those who scorn people will be scorned themselves by others. It may not be right away, but there will come a time in every scorner's life when their own actions will come back on them. The only way to prevent this is to repent and change one's ways--to be more humble. The ways of the world believe that humbleness is weak, but in reality it takes more strength to be humble. It's harder to hold oneself in reserve when being scorned. It would be much easier to lash out and defend oneself. God is our defender and vengeance is His. Therefore, if we truly work on having a humble heart in a world that scorns humbleness, God will give us the grace we need to not only endure, but to overcome and be victorious.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

CFBA Blog Tour: "The Hope of Shridula" by Kay Strom

The
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Hope of Shridula
Abingdon Press
by
Kay Strom
#christianfiction

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A word from Kay:
Kay Marshall Strom… who am I? Well, I’m a traveler… a railer against social injustice… a passionate citizen of the world. I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. I’m a 21st century abolitionist who speaks out against slavery of all kinds. I am a beach walker and a gardener and the off-key singer of songs. I’m a wife… a mother… a sister… a daughter… a friend.

Most people, though, know me as a writer and a speaker. So here is a bit more about that part of my life:

Of my 39 published books, seven have been book club selections, 12 have been translated into foreign languages, and one has been optioned for a movie. My writing credits include numerous magazine articles, books for children, short stories, television scripts and two prize-winning screenplays. Along with my husband Dan, I've produced a series of booklets for writers. My writing has appeared in a number of volumes including three versions of the NIV Devotional Bible and the devotional book My Heart—Christ’s Home, Through the Year.

I love to write, and I love to share about topics close to my heart. I speak at seminars, retreats, writer’s conferences, and special events throughout the country. And because I do enjoy travel, I even speak on cruise ships!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

The Blessing in India series is a saga set in India’s heartbreaking history and breathtaking present that points toward a future of hope. Along the way, name-only Christianity collides with Hinduism, and then is confronted by an entirely new understanding of the call to follow Christ.

India: 1946. For forty-eight years, Ashish and his family toiled as slaves in the fields of the high-caste Lal family, and all because of one small debt. At fifty-four, Ashish was old and worn out. Every day was a struggle to survive for his family including his only daughter.  

His wife had named the girl Shridula—Blessings. “Perhaps the name will bring you more fortune than it brought me,” Ashish told his daughter. His words proved to be prophetic in ways he could never have imagined. And when the flames of revolt brought independence to India, they seared change into the family of Ashish.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Hope of Shridula, go HERE.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wild Card Book Tour: The Wings of Morning by Murray Pura





Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Harvest House Publishers
#christianfiction #christianromance

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Murray Pura earned his Master of Divinity degree from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia and his ThM degree in theology and interdisciplinary studies from Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. For more than 25 years, in addition to his writing, he has pastored churches in Nova Scotia, British Columbia and Alberta. Murray’s writings have been shortlisted for the Dartmouth Book Award, the John Spencer Hill Literary Award, the Paraclete Fiction Award, and Toronto's Kobzar Literary Award. Murray pastors and writes in southern Alberta near the Rocky Mountains. He and his wife Linda have a son and a daughter.



Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Lovers of Amish fiction will quickly sign on as fans of award-winning author Murray Pura as they keep turning the pages of this exciting new historical romance set in 1917 during America’s participation in World War I.

Jude Whetstone and Lyyndaya Kurtz, whose families are converts to the Amish faith, are slowly falling in love. Jude has also fallen in love with flying that new-fangled invention, the aeroplane.

The Amish communities have rejected the telephone and have forbidden motorcar ownership but not yet electricity or aeroplanes.


Though exempt from military service on religious grounds, Jude is manipulated by unscrupulous army officers into enlisting in order to protect several Amish men. No one in the community understands Jude’s sudden enlistment and so he is shunned. Lyyndaya’s despair deepens at the reports that Jude has been shot down in France. In her grief, she turns to nursing Spanish flu victims in Philadelphia. After many months of caring for stricken soldiers, Lyyndaya is stunned when an emaciated Jude turns up in her ward.

Lyyndaya’s joy at receiving Jude back from the dead is quickly diminished when the Amish leadership insist the shunning remain in force. How then can they marry without the blessing of their families? Will happiness elude them forever?

Welcome a powerful new voice to the world of Amish fiction!



Product Details:
List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736948775
ISBN-13: 978-0736948777


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:



Lyyndaya Kurtz straightened her back and looked up at the blue and bronze evening sky. It was that strange sound again, like a large swarm of bees at their hive, and it grew louder and louder. She leaned the hoe against the picket fence her father had built around the garden. Her mother, whose hearing was no longer very good, continued to chop at weeds between the rows of radishes and lettuce. She glanced at her daughter as Lyyndaya shielded her eyes from the slowly setting sun.

Was ist los?” she asked, using Pennsylvania Dutch.

“Can’t you hear them, Mama?” Lyyndaya responded. “There are aeroplanes coming.”

Her mother stood up, still holding the hoe in her brown hands, and squinted at the sun and sky. “I don’t see anything. Is it a small one?”

“No, it’s too loud for just one aeroplane. Do you see, Mama?” Lyyndaya pointed. “Coming out of the west. Coming out of the sun.”

Now her mother shielded her eyes. “All I am seeing is spots in front of my eyes from looking into the light.”

“Look higher. There are—three, four, six—there are half a dozen of them.”

The planes were not that far from the ground, Lyyndaya thought, only a thousand feet, not much more. Each with two wings, the top wing longer than the bottom one, each plane painted a yellow that gleamed in the sunlight. As she watched, one of them broke away from the others and dropped toward them. It came so low that the roar of the engine filled the air and children ran from their houses and yards into the dirt road and the hay fields. They were soon followed by their mothers and fathers and older brothers and sisters.

Lyyndaya laughed as the plane flew over their house. A hand waved at her from the plane’s open cockpit and she waved back with all her might. “Can you see the plane now, Mama?” she teased.

Her mother had crouched among the heads of lettuce as the plane flashed past. “Ach,” she exclaimed with a cross look on her face, “this must be your crazy boy, Jude Whetstone.”

“He’s coming back!”

The plane had banked to the left over Jacob Miller’s wheat field and was heading back over the farmhouses while the other five planes carried on to the east. Its yellow wings dipped lower and lower. Lyyndaya’s green eyes widened.

“He’s going to land in Papa’s field!” she cried. “Where the hay was cut on Monday!”

She lifted the hem of her dress in both hands and began to run. The black kaap that covered her hair at the back, left untied, flew off her head.

“Lyyndaya! This is not seemly!” her mother called after her.

But the young woman had reached the old gray fence around the hay field, gathered the bottom of her navy blue dress in one hand, and climbed over, and with strands of sand-colored hair unraveling from their pins, she was racing over the stubble to where the plane’s wheels were just touching the earth. Others were running toward the plane from all directions, jumping the fence if they were spry enough, opening the gate to the field if they were not.

The aeroplane came to a stop in the middle of the field and when the propeller stopped spinning a young man in a brown leather jacket and helmet pushed his goggles from his eyes and jumped from the cockpit to the ground. He was immediately surrounded by the several boys and girls who had outrun the adults in their rush toward the craft. He mussed the hair of two of the boys who came up to him and tugged the pigtail of a red-headed girl.

“Jude!” Lyyndaya exclaimed as she ran up to him, the tan on her face flushed. “What are you doing here?”

“Hello, Lyyndy,” the young man smiled, lifting one of the boys up on his shoulders. “The whole flying club went up and I convinced them to come this way to Paradise. I wanted to see you.”

“To see me? You fly a plane from Philadelphia just to see me?”

“Why not?”

“But you were coming back on the train in a few days.”

“A few days. I couldn’t wait that long.”

Lyyndaya could feel the heat in her face as neighbors looked on. She saw one or two frown, but most of the men and women smiled. A very tall man in a maroon shirt wearing a straw hat laughed. She dropped her eyes.

“Bishop Zook,” she murmured, “how are you?”

Gute, gute,” he responded. “Well, Jude, what is all this? Why has a pigeon dropped out of the sky?”

Bishop Zook was not only tall, at least six-foot-nine, but broad-shouldered and strong. He shook Jude’s hand with a grip like rock. The young man pulled his leather helmet off his head so that his dark brown hair tumbled loose. Lyyndaya fought down an overwhelming urge to take Jude and hug him as she had done so many times when they were nine and ten.

“I wanted the children to see the plane, Bishop Zook,” said Jude.

“Only the children?”

“Well—” Jude stumbled. “I thought perhaps—I might ask Miss Kurtz—”

“Ah,” smiled the bishop. “You want to take her up, as you flying men say?”

“I thought—”

“Are you two courting?”

“Courting?”

“You remember what is courting, my boy—you have not been among the English in Philadelphia that long, eh?”

Everyone laughed, and Lyyndaya thought the heat in her face and hands would make her hair and skin catch on fire.

Bishop Zook put an arm like a plank around Jude’s slender shoulders. “You know when there is the courting here, we let the boy take the girl home in the buggy after the Sunday singing. You remember that much after a week away?”

“Yes—”

“So your horse and buggy are where?” the bishop said.

Jude continued to hunt desperately for his words. “In the barn, but I wanted—” He stopped, his tongue failing him as the whole colony stood watching and listening.

The bishop waited a moment and then walked over and touched the top wing of the plane. He ran his hand over the coated fabric and nodded. “A beautiful buggy. Pulled by horses with wings, eh? How many, Master Whetstone?”

Jude was trying not to look at Lyyndaya for help, but did anyway, and she was making sure she did not look at him or offer any by keeping her eyes on the stubble directly in front of the toes of her boots.

“There are—” Jude stepped away from the crowd pressing in on him and Lyyndaya and turned around to look at the plane behind him as if he were seeing it for the first time—“there are—” He stood utterly still and stared at the engine as if it did not belong there. Then he looked at Bishop Zook’s thick black beard and broad face. “Ninety. Ninety horses.”

The bishop nodded again and kept running his hand over the wing. “More than enough. There is the problem however—if God had meant us to fly, Master Whetstone, wouldn’t he have given us wings, hm?”

He took his hand from the plane and looked at Jude directly. Several of the men and women murmured their agreement with the bishop’s question and nodded their heads. Most remained silent, waiting for Jude’s answer. Jude stared at the bishop, trying to gauge the look in the tall man’s blue eyes. He thought he saw a flash of humor so he went ahead with the answer he had used a hundred times in their own Amish colony as well as in dozens of the ones around it.

“Bishop Zook,” he responded, “if God had meant us to ride a buggy he would have given us wheels and four legs.”

“Ah ha!” shouted the bishop, slapping his huge hand against his leg and making most of the people jump, including Lyyndaya. “You have it, Master Whetstone, you have it.” He clapped his hands lightly in appreciation and a smattering of relieved laughter came from the small crowd. “So now take me up.”

“What?”

“As bishop, I must make sure it is safe for Miss Kurtz, ja? After all, who has ever had such a horse and buggy in our colony, eh?” He gave his hat to one of the men and climbed into the front of the two cockpits.

“I only have a little time before I must head back to Philadelphia—” Jude began, again glancing at Lyyndaya for help, who had gone so far as to raise her gaze to stare fixedly at the bishop and the plane, but still refused to make eye contact with the young man.

“Five minutes,” said the bishop with a gleam in his eye. “That is all I ask. I am not the one you are courting, eh?”

The people laughed again. The thought passed through Jude’s head that the bishop was enjoying a lot of laughter at his expense. Then he shrugged and climbed into the rear cockpit. He saw his father in the crowd and gestured with his hand.

“Papa, will you give the propeller a turn?” he asked.

“Of course, my boy.”

As Jude’s father, a tall, slender man with a short beard and warm brown eyes, walked toward the plane, Bishop Zook leaned his head back and asked, “Now, before the engine noise, tell me, what is the name of this aeroplane and where do they make such things?”

Jude handed the bishop a leather helmet and goggles. “It’s a Curtiss JN-4, the Jenny, and they’re usually made in Buffalo, New York. But our flying club outside of Philadelphia was able to purchase these at a very good price from our Canadian friends just across the border. They are built there by Curtiss’s Canadian associate, the Canadian Aeroplane Company, so we call them the Canuck.”

“But they are the same as the New York ones?”

“Almost. They have one great advantage. I use a stick, a joystick, to control the aeroplane in these. The old American ones have a wheel that is not as good.”

“Why don’t we put the stick in ours then?”

“We will. The next model has the stick, the JN-4D. But they have only brought it out this month. There are not enough of them. Besides, it’s 1917 and they are all going to the army. Civilian clubs will not be able to purchase them while the war is on.”

Jude’s father, in his brown summer shirt and straw hat, was standing in front of the plane and smiling. Jude played with a switch on the control panel in his cockpit. Then he pulled down his goggles and smiled back at his father and made a circle in the air with his hand. His father nodded, put both hands on the top blade of the wooden propeller, and swung it downward. The engine coughed twice and roared. His father’s hat went spinning into the sky with the prop wash.

“Contact,” Jude said loudly. “Please buckle on your harness, Bishop Zook.”

“Ah. So we truly do have something in common with the horses.”

Jude’s father had caught up with his hat. He looked back at his son and pointed east. Jude turned the plane in that direction.

“What is your father telling us?” shouted Bishop Zook.

“The direction the wind or breeze is coming from. We take off into the wind.”

“Why?”

“It gives us lift to help get the aeroplane off the ground.”

The craft moved ahead, slowly bouncing over the field, then gathering speed and rising into the air. Jude took it to a thousand feet and made sure he flew over the entire town of Paradise and especially the bishop’s dairy farm on the west end. The sun was still an hour or two over the horizon and covered the plane in light. The bishop began to laugh and slapped one of his hands against the side of the Jenny.

“Too beautiful, too beautiful,” Jude heard him call out. “Mein Gott, what a gift you have given the birds, such a gift, such a world.”

When they landed again and the propeller had spun down to a stop, Bishop Zook climbed out, pumped Jude’s hand like an excited boy, and then beckoned to Lyyndaya.

“Come, come, my dear,” he smiled, “your buggy awaits.”

Feeling every eye on her, the skin of her face burning, she stepped up to the plane and the bishop helped her into the front cockpit. She used one hand to manage her dress and the other to grab onto parts of the plane. When she was finally in her seat, the bishop gave her the helmet and goggles and showed her how to tighten the buckles of the shoulder harnesses. Then he walked to the front of the plane and bent his head at Jude’s father.

“May I?”

Jude’s father stood back from the propeller. “Of course.”

“I just pull it downward?”

Ja, just a sharp tug and then let it go. Do not hold on.”

“Yes, yes, all right—when?”

“My son will tell you.”

Lyyndaya sat in her cockpit feeling an odd mixture of embarrassment, excitement, and fear. Suddenly Jude’s hand squeezed her left shoulder from behind.

“You will be all right, Lyyndy Lyyndy Lou,” he said.

She could not turn all the way around to see him, but she knew he would be smiling just as his use of the childhood nickname had made her smile as well. Now, ten years later, without having had a chance to discuss it between themselves, the plane ride had become a buggy ride and they were courting, thanks to Bishop Zook. Well, it would give them something to talk about besides the weather and the crops when he came back to Lancaster County from Philadelphia in a few days.

She could not see what Jude was doing, but the bishop all of a sudden nodded, swung down on the propeller with his enormous hands and arms, and the engine burst into life. They began to roll across the ground faster than she had ever traveled in anything before, faster than galloping her mare, Anna, bareback. She felt her heart hammering and her mouth go dry.

“Hang on!” shouted Jude.

The wind was rushing against her face and body. The earth streamed past brown and green. The sky was a streak of blue and silver. Then the plane lifted into the air and her stomach seemed to turn inside out and upside down. She looked down and the men and women and children were like dolls and the wagons like toys and the houses like tiny boxes. Suddenly the plane banked to the right and she felt herself falling out of her seat. The leather flying helmet, unfastened, was torn from her head, her hair exploded in the rush of air, and as her arms dropped over the side into empty space she could not stop herself and started to scream.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Word of Inspiration: Build a Godly Home and be Blessed

"The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, but He blesses the home of the just." (Proverbs 3:33) 

It isn't good enough to try and be on our best behavior when we're out in public and in front of others. We need to be just as conscious about our conduct toward loved ones in the privacy of our home as anywhere else. Even if you've had a hard day at work and don't want to be bothered when you get home and are looking forward to a relaxing evening, be respectful of your spouse and children. Snapping at them and treating them any different than you would in front of a co-worker or an audience is taking advantage of them. Be a just and Godly person inside the home, so you and your family will be blessed.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

CFBA Blog Tour - "Before the Scarlett Dawn" by Rita Gerlach

The
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
 
Before The Scarlet Dawn
Abingdon Press
by
 
Rita Gerlach

#christianfiction

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rita Gerlach lives with her husband and two sons in a historical town nestled along the Catoctin Mountains, amid Civil War battlefields and Revolutionary War outposts in central Maryland.

"Romantic historical fiction that has an inspirational bent, is one way people can escape the cares of life and be transported back to a time of raw courage and ideal love," she says. "The goal of my writing is to give readers a respite, and inspire them to live fully and gratefully."

In many of her stories, she writes about the struggles endured by early colonists, with a sprinkling of both American and English history. Currently she is writing a new historical series for Abingdon Press entitled Daughters of the Potomac.

She was born in Washington D.C. and grew up in a large family in the Maryland suburbs. Her family claims that storytelling is in their blood, handed down from centuries of Irish storytellers. Rita believes there just may be something to that theory.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

In 1775, Hayward Morgan, a young gentleman destined to inherit his father’s estate in Derbyshire, England, captures the heart of the local vicar’s daughter, Eliza Bloome. Her dark beauty and spirited ways are not enough to win him, due to her station in life.  

Circumstances throw Eliza in Hayward’s path, and they flee to America to escape the family conflicts. But as war looms, it's a temporary reprieve. Hayward joins the revolutionary forces and what follows is a struggle for survival, a test of faith, and the quest to find lasting love in an unforgiving wilderness.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Before The Scarlet Dawn, go HERE.

Watch the book video:


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Word of Inspiration: Christ Died for the Ungodly

"For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8)

So many of us don't even want to do favors for people who won't help themselves and who seem to keep throwing themselves into the same path of destruction. While it's true that we must be careful of the fine line between helping someone and enabling them to stay the same, what about mankind as a whole? God knew that we could not save ourselves and that being born into sin, we would continue throwing ourselves into the same path of destruction. This verse demonstrates the POWER of God's love for us. How many of us would sacrifice our lives for someone who seemed to be wasting theirs? Christ died for the ungodly--all of us.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Our Visit to the Holy Land Experience


While I would have much preferred Israel itself, this was actually a day trip to an attraction in Orlando, FL. I figured it might be the next best thing for those of us who can't make it across the Atlantic to the REAL Israel. I only wish I had known about it sooner.

We came to Orlando on vacation to visit Disney World and Sea World. On the last two days of our trip, my husband was surfing the Internet on his ipad and discovered the Holy Land Experience theme park. I'm glad we decided to check it out, because I would have left Florida wondering about it. Since we had never heard about it, and it doesn't seem to be widely publicized, I thought I would blog about my experience and share some photos.

This isn't like a regular theme park where you might expect to find thriller rides or virtual motion simulators. It's set up as an opportunity to walk through the Bible by experiencing stationary displays, watching shows or theater re-enactments of biblical scenes.  Christian music plays throughout the park. The pricing is very reasonable for what they provide. The whole theme park is decorated in vibrant colors with flowers, statues,  and furniture to make it look like ancient Israel or Rome.

There are shops where you can buy gifts, souvenirs, and Christian themed items for your church or home. For lunch, there is a deli where you can pick up sandwiches or snacks, and a coffee shop where you can take a break and visit with friends and family. One shop had a beautiful miniature display of the entire city of Jerusalem. It's very similar to some of the Christmas villages we see in December, with the exception of its vastness.


We liked the prayer garden where people write prayer requests on blue pieces of paper or praise reports on pink paper and attach them to a wooden cross. If they feel led, others can swing by and pray for some of these prayer requests. It's all voluntary. 


What I liked the best is the Scriptorium. This is a 55-minute walk through of how the Bible came to be and survived through time. It's automated by narration and they light up various displays of scenes, as well as historical scripts and texts that are encased in glass for protection. It's really a museum. They had actual pieces from the 1st century AD, ranging from the 11th century to the 19th century. Some were written in Aramaic, Greek, Latin, and Old English. It told about the sacrifices people made to create these Bibles and one actually still had blood stains on it. 


When I went through the Scriptorium, the Holy Spirit touched me and I wanted to weep for these people. It's awe-inspiring and it gave me chills to know I was looking at something that someone had labored so hard to produce, and in some cases, sacrificed their lives to protect. In my opinion, this was the most authentic piece in the entire park. Photos weren't allowed, or I would have been snapping pictures of everything in there. 


I enjoyed the last supper where we were actually able to take communion. While I didn't see it, the play of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection from the tomb looks to be awesome from the online videos. Since we were so short on time, we chose to skip this as we had just seen the Passion of the Christ shortly before our trip.

For children there is Smile of A Child Adventure Land with a rock climbing wall, a few toys and settings with Noah's Ark, Jonah's Whale, the parting of the Red Sea. I realize these are displays for children, but I thought they could have been more authentic and interactive with the advancements of today's technology.  


  
I think the concept of this park is a great idea and has a good start, but I couldn't help feeling that it would be nice for someone to come in and take it to the next level. The theme park targets Christians and it's nice for us to have our own special place. However, as a deep thinker and one with a broad, creative mind, I could literally visualize a section that might appeal to youth groups. I'm thinking of visiting kids who don't know about the Bible, or people who come for the "experience" of a different theme park and might get saved. 

In my mind, I saw log rides going through the ocean and slamming into the whale as if we were with Jonah. I could see another log ride taking us through the parting of the Great Sea. I could feel a motion simulator that would make us feel what it would be like to be in Noah's Ark with all the animals and coming out after it was all over on top of a mountain. I could imagine a roller coaster that could take us on a thrilling ride through the streets of Jerusalem as we make our getaway from the Roman soldiers. 

While the theme park is meant for the whole family, I feel like the small children have their place in the Smile of A Child Adventure Land, and the adults have things such as the Scriptorium, the Last Supper Communion, and the re-enactments, but there seemed to be something lacking for today's tweens and teens who are so used to being "wowed" by the newest technology competing for their attention. 


It's still an adventure I would recommend for you family. Learn more at The Holy Land Experience.


Did you know about this theme park? Have you ever been, and if so, what were your thoughts?

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Word of Inspiration: When Possible, Make Friends, Not Enemies

"Do not devise evil against your neighbor, for he dwells by you for safety's sake." (Proverbs 3:29)

Your neighbor could be the people that live next door, the person in the cube or office beside you, or if you're a business owner, the business next door. Neighbors can be friends or enemies. Don't complain about their annoying habits, instead find something positive and compliment them. Offer to do little favors for them. Make an effort to say "hi" and wave. If you win them over as friends, they will look out for your interest if they see something strange or unusual at your place while you're gone. They will team up with you to fight against neighborhood crime and other things that matter in your area. When possible, make friends, not enemies of your neighbors.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Book Review - "As High As the Heavens" by Kathleen Morgan

Book Description
It is 1568 and Mary, Queen of Scots, is imprisoned in Lochleven Castle. But her supporters, including noblewoman Heather Gordon, are planning a rescue. Heather travels to a cottage in the frigid Highlands to teach a simple man--who just happens to resemble someone with access to Lochleven--how to act the part of a nobleman in order to gain entry to the castle. But in the close quarters of the cottage there is more stirring than political rebellion.

A suspenseful story of deceit and betrayal, love and secrets, As High as the Heavens will capture readers' hearts.

My Review
Anyone who has read my previous reviews of Kathleen Morgan's work, knows that I love her writing style. This book is no exception in drawing you into the story and giving one a bird's eye view of each character. The plot is well-planned and carries through as one might expect, unfolding and revealing the motivations of each character. This isn't the type of book where you will be surprised by hidden twists and turns. The key highlight of betrayal is carefully woven through the story and builds from the beginning and doesn't disappoint.

I do believe that sensuality and attraction are a must in a romance, even a Christian romance. However, I felt like the first quarter of this book concentrated very heavily on the hero and heroine's thoughts about each others bodies a bit more than necessary. Still, this book stays true to Christian romance standards and is a wonderful tale. I'm glad I discovered it and would readily recommend it for anyone who enjoys historical Christian fiction set in bonny Scotland! 


Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Word of Inspiration: Give What You Have

"Do not say to your neighbor, 'Go, and come back and tomorrow I will give it' when you have it with you." (Proverbs 3:28)

I believe this means we shouldn't put people off and hesitate to help them when we have what they need--especially if we have MORE than we need. How much junk do we collect in our closets, spare rooms, garages, attics and basements, thinking we might one day need it? Yet, it sits there untouched year after year. There's an old saying, "one man's junk is another man's treasure." This is so true. Don't withhold things from others when you already have it at your disposal.

Monday, April 02, 2012

"The Quakers of New Garden" Releases this Week!

Join four Quaker women on a journey through the trials of faith and love. Ruth Payne’s bridegroom has cold feet. . .for the second time. Will their third try be the charm? Things get complicated for Underground Railroad worker Deborah Wall when she meets a bounty hunter head-on. Will love have them seeing eye-to-eye? Leah hopes to turn a marriage of convenience into a marriage of love. But will letters be a firm enough foundation? Christian Jaidon Taylor wants to win the heart of Quaker Catherine Wall. But will religion make them as incompatible as night and day?

Today I'm giving away one free copy on the Colonial Quills Blog! Swing by and enter the contest. 

Here's a preview from the video book trailer. 





If you would like to purchase a copy, here are a few places where you will find The Quakers of New Garden.

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million
Cokesbury
Christian Book
LifeWay