Sunday, April 30, 2023

Leaving the Weeds by Sharon Musgrove #devotional #Sundaythoughts

Leaving The Weeds

 

Spring is in a full-on vault, in my neighborhood, and the weeds are as excited to pop up as the intended plantings.  When I look out the back window, a sea of grape hyacinth runs the full border of the lawn.  Here and there tulips breakthrough the violet expanse with their complementary pinks, yellows and snowy whites.  From a distance the garden is idyllic, but when I go out in it, I see the uninvited and noxious growths in amongst my delightful flowers.

 

Pulling up the weeds, the soft soil gives way, but the roots are entangled with the flowers and the wanted comes out with the unwanted.

 

This reminds me of a parable Jesus told to talk about life with God.  In Matthew 13:24-30 (GNT) Jesus says this: 

 

The Kingdom of heaven is like this. A man sowed good seed in his field.  One night, when everyone was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.  When the plants grew and the heads of grain began to form, then the weeds showed up.

The man's servants came to him and said, “Sir, it was good seed you sowed in your field; where did the weeds come from?”

"It was some enemy who did this,” he answered. "Do you want us to go and pull up the weeds?” they asked him.

"No,” he answered, "because as you gather the weeds you might pull up some of the wheat along with them.  Let the wheat and the weeds both grow together until harvest. Then I will tell the harvest workers to pull up the weeds first, tie them in bundles and burn them, and then to gather in the wheat and put it in my barn.”

 

This passage is a favorite of mine because it reminds me to remain in a place of humility when it comes to how I interact with others.  I don’t need to destroy people who plant themselves in my space and become invasive.  Doing so might pull up the sweet tendrils of my own spirit, backfiring against God’s good intent for my life.  Anger and revenge do that kind of thing.

 

We have a God who has promised to fairly treat all people via His perfect judgement and in His right time.  And because of that, we can relax in His hands while we enjoy His creation.

 

  

Author Bio:

 

Sharon has been writing and teaching biblically based curriculum, Bible studies, and devotionals since 2007.    

 

She has had the unique position of writing curriculum and teaching for two private, Christ-based, residential recovery programs. Both programs primarily served women in the homeless community.

 

Sharon has traveled multiple times to Kenya, serving on medical teams and teaching in the rural Maasai communities. She’s been privileged to speak in Leadership camps intended on encouraging and empowering the impoverished, underprivileged, and often abused young women.

 

Within these ministries, Sharon has witnessed the transformative power of loving words spoken to the broken-hearted. Sharing God’s love and witnessing its transformative power has become her passion.

 

Sharon and her husband, divide their time between Oregon and Hawaii. They have two grown children. 

 

Currently, Sharon is encouraging others via her inspirational blog, but prefers sharing face to face. Additionally, she is working towards a degree in Ministry. 

 

~*~

Connect with Sharon:

Website: Sharonmusgrove.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Sharon-Musgrove-Untethered-102208978041060

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sharonmusgrove_untethered/

 

 


Saturday, April 29, 2023

Expired Refuge (Last Chance County)

 


Expired Refuge 

(Last Chance County)

February 26, 2020

Friday, April 28, 2023

Rise Up Postcard Book: 24 Inspirational Cards to Color and Send Cards


Rise Up Postcard Book: 24 Inspirational Cards to Color and Send 

Cards 

May 16, 2023

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Welcome to the A Brighter Dawn Celebration Tour! #Giveaway! #Amish #historical


 

About the Book

Book: A Brighter Dawn

Author: Leslie Gould

Genre: Amish Romance

Release date: March 28, 2023

Ivy Zimmerman is successfully navigating her life as a young Mennonite woman, one generation removed from her parents’ Old Order Amish upbringing. But when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, Ivy’s way of life is upended. As she deals with her grief, her younger sisters’ needs, the relationship with her boyfriend, and her Dawdi and Mammi’s strict rules, Ivy finds solace in both an upcoming trip to Germany for an international Mennonite youth gathering and in her great-great-aunt’s story about Clare Simons, another young woman who visited Germany in the late 1930s.

As Ivy grows suspicious that her parents’ deaths weren’t, in fact, an accident, she gains courage from what she learns of Clare’s time in pre-World War II Germany. With the encouragement and inspiration of the women who have gone before her, Ivy seeks justice for her parents, her sisters, and herself.

 Marilyn's thoughts:   

A Brighter Dawn is an intriguing fact based historical prior to WWII with a modern day family difficulty. The characters are dimensional with strengths and flaws that gave way to their purpose to care for family while seeking answers about events surrounding them. The story is penned with heartfelt emotions and historical facts that were interesting throughout. The losses, victories with plenty of twists and turns in both timeline gave way to deep family love, forgiveness and faith despite their past hurts. I look forward to reading the next book in Amish Memories series by Leslie Gould.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit and Bethany House without any obligation to write a positive review. I have expressed my own thoughts.

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Leslie Gould (www.lesliegould.com) is a Christy Award-winning and #1 bestselling author of over 35 novels, including four Lancaster County Amish series. She holds an MFA in creative writing and enjoys studying church history, research trips, and hiking in the Pacific Northwest. She and her husband live in Portland, Oregon, and are the parents of four adult children.

 

More from Leslie

The historical thread of my dual-time novel A Brighter Dawn is set in Nazi Germany from 1937 to 1939. During that period of time, Germany incorporated Austria, mandatory registration of all Jewish property began, and concentration camps opened. Then came the Night of Broken Glass—the anti-Jewish pogrom in Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland. Soon following was the German occupation of Czechoslovakia before the Nazis invaded Poland in September 1939.

My main character, Clare Simons, is a Mennonite young woman from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, who is staying with her uncle and cousins in Frankfurt, Germany. She doesn’t follow current events much and struggles to balance the Nazi propaganda her uncle and oldest cousin believe with the events unfolding around her. Slowly, she begins to see the truth behind the Nazi lies.

One thing that broke up the narrative of the heavy events I researched and wrote about? The food.

When I traveled in Germany with my husband (who had lived there during his Army service years ago), I marveled over the scenery, became engrossed in the history, and definitely enjoyed the food. My background is Swiss, so it wasn’t that the food was unfamiliar. It was just at a level I hadn’t experienced before!

As I researched what Clare would fix for meals, I pored through cookbooks. For added inspiration, hubby and I ate at German restaurants. Jägerschnitzel (seared pork with gravy). Rinderbraten (paprika and caraway spiced beef roasted in red wine gravy). Wienerschnitzel (breaded and fried pork loin with warm potato salad and a vegetable remoulade.)

I noted food in research books, documentaries, and films. The entrees became focal points in the stories, including rabbit stew, a Christmas goose, and Sauerbraten with Spätzle and red cabbage. So did the desserts, including trifle and Black Forest cake.

When I visited Germany with my hubby, one of the things I really loved was stopping in a café for Apfelkuchen (apple cake) and coffee in the afternoon. In one scene in A Brighter Dawn, when Clare and her cousin Lena stop for coffee, they order apple cake too. Then, in another scene, Clare bakes an apple cake for the family of the nearby Jewish grocer who will soon lose their property.

Below is a recipe for a simple and dense German apple cake (which may have originated in Poland and been influenced by a Jewish apple cake recipe).

The food in A Brighter Dawn doesn’t take away from the narrative, but it is a reminder that a nurturing soul, such as my character Clare, can stand against the lies of an evil regime.

 

German Apple Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup salted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ to 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 5 cups apples—peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (to soften apple slices before baking, place in a microwavable dish with a lid and microwave them with a Tablespoon of water for 3–4 minutes)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13 cake pan.
  2. Beat butter and eggs with an electric mixer until creamy. Add sugar and vanilla; beat well.
  3. Stir together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Slowly add flour mixture to egg mixture; mix until combined. The batter will be very thick. Fold in apples and walnuts by hand using a wooden spoon. Spread batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 45–50 minutes. After 30 minutes, put a sheet of foil over the top of the cake to keep it from burning. Cool cake on a wire rack.

Possible Toppings

Before baking:

Crumble: ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup white sugar, ½ cup flour, 4–6 Tablespoons softened butter. Combine ingredients and evenly spread over the top of cake.

Butterscotch: Sprinkle a package of butterscotch chips over the top of the cake.

Almonds: Sprinkle almond slivers over the top of the cake.

After baking:

Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Drizzle with caramel sauce.

Sprinkle with white sparkling sugar.

            Top with whipped cream.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 23

Lakesidelivingsite, April 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 24

Cover Lover Book Review, April 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 26

Lighthouse Academy Blog, April 27 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Connie’s History Classroom, April 27

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 28

Vicky Sluiter, April 28

She Lives To Read, April 29

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, April 30 (Author Interview)

Christina’s Corner, April 30

Texas Book-aholic, May 1

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 2

Mornings at Character Cafe, May 2

Bigreadersite, May 3

Bliss, Books & Jewels, May 3

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 4

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, May 5

For Him and My Family, May 5

Splashes of Joy, May 6

Pause for Tales, May 6

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Leslie is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback copy of A Brighter Dawn and one $15 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/258b9/a-brighter-dawn-celebration-tour-giveaway



Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Crime Scene Witness (Amish Country Justice, 15)

 


Crime Scene Witness 

(Amish Country Justice, 15) 

April 25, 2023






Monday, April 24, 2023

Her Amish Patchwork Family (Hope's Haven, 3)

 


Her Amish Patchwork Family

 (Hope's Haven, 3) 

September 6, 2023




In this heartwarming Amish romance, a former schoolteacher and a single father discover a second chance at friendship, family, and love--perfect for fans of Laura V. Hilton and Marta Perry.

Former Hope's Haven schoolteacher, Martha Eicher, has always been the responsible one, putting her family first and caring for her widowed father and two younger sisters. But now they're all happily married, and Martha isn't sure where she fits in anymore . . . until she hears that Asher Lantz needs a nanny. Even though her childhood friendship with Asher ended abruptly years ago, when a misunderstanding drove a wedge between them, Martha offers her assistance.

Asher is also feeling adrift. As a single father to his niece and nephews, he struggles to balance his new family responsibilities with those on the farm and in his workshop. He's grateful for Martha's help, but worries things will always feel awkward with her. Yet before long, Asher realizes Martha is exactly what his family needs, and he can't imagine his home without her. Martha and Asher thought they were lost, but could they be right where they belong . . . together?


My thoughts: HER AMISH PATCHWORK FAMILY  is the perfect title for this patchwork family.  Martha is very much like her biblical namesake and both she and Asher are fixated on the past, but despite that they develop a tentative friendship of sorts.  This is another love comes softly type story where the characters don't even seem to realize they are friends, let alone that they are in love.  The four children and the grandmother are sweet additions to the story, and even though I wanted to knock a few heads together, I couldn't help but root for Asher and Martha.  If you like sweet, clean romances you will love HER AMISH PATCHWORK FAMILY. Make sure you grab a copy for yourself and a friend. This is book you'll want to read.  I was given a copy free and all opinions are my own.




While the City Sleeps (Women of Midtown)

  While the City Sleeps  (Women of Midtown)  February 13, 2024 by  Elizabeth Camden   (Author) Amid the hushed city, two hearts must navigat...