Sunday, February 28, 2010

Do You Lean?

"Lean to the left, Lean to the right; Stand up, Sit down; Fight fight fight"

How much have you loved watching these Olympics? I've been rivited to the tv, especially from 12-3...am. Please tell me I'm not alone in this. When the bobsledders are going around those hairpin turns going who knows how many "G"s don't you find yourself leaning as though you're turning with them? I am so glad that I watch these games on my own and not with a group.

Picture this: We're all sitting around the tv cheering Apolo Ohno as he speed skates his heart out. He's skating, skating, leaning to the left like he's laying on the ice. The I realize everyone is looking at me because I'm nearly laying on my neighbor's lap. Somehow I feel as though I'm skating with him, Apolo not my neighbor. Can you imagine how mortifying this would be?

Does anyone else do this? I can not be the only one. Isn't it a bit natural? Those cameras zip around the corners with the athletes and do it so fast it feels as though we're traveling with them. As the speed skaters are whipping along right arm swaying back and forth, back and forth, I seriously catch myself swaying. Like all of a sudden my mind notices my body is swaying. When someone wipes out, I jerk as though coming out of a trance. It's such a crazy thing.

Is this a phenomenon? If I Google it, will I find that there's a "leaning" condition?

Can I plop in a rant here while I'm at it? Has anyone noticed the Americans never sing the National Anthem? If any have, I've missed it. They take their hats of and stare at the flag as it's raised to honor the gold medal winner. When the US wins the gold medal they stand there mute. Am I that old that this disappoints me? Where's our national pride? Have you seen the Canadians? They sing with so much spirit, "O! Canada". Us, staring at the flag.

I think there should be a requirement, at least some honor, pride and dignity in our countrymen who are representing us to sing if we win gold. Shouldn't they know the words anyhow? Maybe the US Olympic Committee can hire someone to teach them the words and every morning during the Olympics, they get together for a rousing rendition of The Star Spangle Banner by Francis Scott Key:


O! say can you see by the dawn's early light

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,

O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?

And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Am I off here? Is my thinking wrong. Am I just out dated? Just checkin'.

*Shelly, why is my cup 1/2 empty? Am I a negative Nelly? Why can't I see the good in people? You're probably right and they are overcome with emotion. Thanks for that insight!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Recently Received Blogger Awards

Okay, now I realize that some people aren't thrilled with receiving Blog Awards so I want to start off by stating, I'm ok with you NOT participating after you receive the award. Bwahahaha, you can't stop me from acknowledging your awesomeness!! There are 3 blog awards listed below and I'll be contacting each of you that I've nominated. If you choose not to pass the award along, that's fine with me. Blog Awards can be a bit like Forwarded emails. Some people like them, others don't. Honestly, I'm a Forward deleter!

Anyhow, enough of my rambling and on with the Award Ceremony!!




I'd like to thank Lori at Some of My Favorite Things for giving me a blog award (last month which I forgot about)

A Prolific Blogger is one who is intellectually productive… keeping up an active blog that is filled with enjoyable content.

1. Every winner of the Prolific Blogger Award has to pass on this award to at least seven other deserving prolific bloggers. Spread some love!

2. Each Prolific Blogger must link to the blog from which he/she has received the award.

3. Every Prolific Blogger must link back to this post, which explains the origins and motivation for the award.

4. Every Prolific Blogger must visit this post and add his/her name in the Mr. Linky, so that we all can get to know the other winners. (Click
here for the Mr. Linky page.)

My List includes:

  1. Blueviolet's A Nut In A Nutshell
  2. Jennifer's Eighty MPH Mom
  3. Jennifer's J. Leigh Designz
  4. Sarah's Minnesota Mama's Must Haves ( I'm kind of partial to other MN bloggers. *grin*)



I'd also like to thank Heather at I'd Rather Be Changing Diapers for the Beautiful Blogger Award. Today I received this award from Surviving Little People! Here are the rules:

Thank & link to the person that gave you the award.

Pass this award onto 15 bloggers you’ve recently discovered and think are fantastic.

Contact said Blogs and let them know they’ve won

State 7 things about yourself:


1. I have ADD

2. Historical Fiction is my favorite Christian genre

3. I drive a minivan & wish it would turn into Bumblebee from Transformers

4. Living on a working ranch is a dream I'd love to see fulfilled

5. I moved 3 times in one year when I was in 8th grade

6. My oldest kids are girls and my youngest kids are boys

7. I want to be on the Amazing Race

Here are the 15 newest sites I will pass this on to:

  1. LivingforGod Born Again And Blessed

  2. Haelie's To Not Decide Is To Decide

  3. Godsy Girl's Godsy Girl
  4. Lucie's Lucie's Blog
  5. Stacie's Simply Stacie
  6. Christie's My Wish For You
  7. Jessica's So Stylized (she's creating the new design for my upcoming Marvelous Mom Reviews)
  8. Nathan (yes a GUY) Think For A Minute


Casey from Writing for Christ and Lori from Some of My Favorite Books just gave me a new award: Bliss Happy 101 Blog Award! How awesome! So... I have to name 10 things I love and then pass it on to 10 other blogs. Okay here we go...

  1. God, although I don't always keep him as #1
  2. My kids (I know, cliche)
  3. My pets, gotta include the furry ones
  4. Mi familia
  5. The smell outside after it rains
  6. Thick, green grass, especially after it's been mowed
  7. Cars & computers w/out issues
  8. Riding a horse (my Winston)
  9. Gardening...please let it be a good year
  10. My church family...couldn't live this life w/out them

And here are ten blogs that I love...

  1. Cathy's Word Vessel


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Free Cookies From Nabisco!

Free cookie alert! Nabisco has great savings offers for free cookies each Monday in March. Just go to http://www.facebook.com/nabiscocookies and become a fan of Nabisco cookies. Starting March 1, there will be a new savings offer posted every week for a free package of Nabisco Cookies (when you purchase a package of Nabisco cookies and a gallon of milk).Be sure to share this offer with your readers and enjoy some free cookies yourself! Click here to go to the Nabisco Cookies Fan Page




Plain Jayne by Hillary Manton Lodge

Plain Jayne

by Hillary Manton Lodge
Publisher: Harvest House
ISBN: 978-0-7369-2698-0


About Plain Jayne

Jayne Tate is an investigative reporter for a major daily. When her editor demands she take time off to grieve the death of her father and get her writing back up to par, Jayne instead follows her instincts. She's certain there's a story to uncover about the Amish, but where to start?

An initial interview with the intriguing owner of an Amish furniture store opens the door for Jayne to live with the Amish family he left behind. What she doesn't yet know is that her journalistic observations of this sincere, yet conflicted family are destined to cause reflections of her own childhood.

My Review

I really enjoyed this debut novel by Hillary Manton Lodge. I really identify with Jane, at least her sarcasm and self-deprecating thoughts! Plain Jayne isn't plain at all! It's absolutely hysterical. This will end up being on my favorite books list for 2010.

Jayne has left her job as a reporter for an extended, forced vacation after her father dies. Being the great reporter that she is, she's not willing to let this free time go to waste. She knows there must be a story out there and she gets connected with the Amish. How could they live the way they do? Are their lives as perfect as they make it seem? Jayne is ready to find out!

What Jayne isn't prepared for is enjoying the life that the Amish lead. The people that she meets welcome her into their lives and it gives her an entirely new view on her own life. Maybe trying to restore some family relationships are in order. Speaking of relationships, what is it that she wants in the one she has with Shane?

Her experience with the Martha & Gideon's family is pretty amusing at times. Amish boys sneak to a girl's window when they're courting. Not so much in the big city of Jayne's and her reaction to a guy "breaking into the house" is pretty funny.

Some of the best banter is between Jayne and Martha & Gideon's oldest son, Levi, who has been shunned by the family for leaving the Amish way. Here's a short example of them going back and forth when Levi is trying to get Jayne to use a power tool:

Jayne, "What if I suddenly spaz out toward the moving blade? How would you stop that?"

"Why would you?"

"Seizure."

"Do you have a history of seizures?"

I straightened. "Not yet. I might"

"You might develop a history of seizures?"

"You never know."

Somehow that seems like a conversation I could have with someone! Man, I love Hillary's writing. If an author can make me laugh out loud, they have a lifetime reader. Hillary has me! Some of my other reviews on my site have to deal with cleaning and my incredible dislike of it. Well, it seems as if Jayne and I were cut from the same cloth. The Amish are extremely particular about their homes being clean. I can NOT relate! Can you relate to Jayne?

The dinner dishes were washed and put away into locations they had only ever dreamed of. After that, she swept the floor with a broom I didn't know I had before proceeding to hand wash the floor on her hands and knees. She use paper towels because I didn't own rags, a fact that completely amazed her.

I was completely amazed that I had a broom, so we were even.

That is somewhat the tone of Plain Jayne. There is definitely a serious side to the novel, especially when it comes to Jayne's family and her feeling of falling completely short of their expectations.

I'd love to give this book away, to share the talent of this new author, but I just can't do it! Sorry. I know my daughters will absolutely LOVE it! Now to sit back and wait for book 2!!

About the Author

Hillary Manton Lodge writes witty stories about normal people learning to live, laugh, heal, and understand the concept of God in a crazy world. She is a graduate of the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and works as a freelance photographer while chasing her passion for writing fiction. She and her husband live in Oregon. You can find Hillary here: http://www.hillarymantonlodge.com/ and http://hillaryonwriting.blogspot.com/

I'd like thank Rebeca at Glass Road Public Relations for my review copy of Plain Jayne. This review is my own experience with the book.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ecover Review & Giveaway


Cleaning...not a word that's easy for me to put into practice. I'm kind of like the Fonz when he would apologize, "I'm ssss...I'm soooo...I'm sss.sss.sss... You know what I'm saying." You can hear me saying, "I'm going to cle...clea...I'm going to make the bathroom look better than it did."

Thanks to Ecover, cleaning my bathroom was superbly easy! I used their Bathroom Cleaner Spray. What a nice foamer and fragrance. I expected the usual wet spray when it came out, but it actually foamed. Not being sure what to expect, I started to wipe away. Holy Cow!!
My test to see if a cleaner works, how much elbow grease I need to apply, and how long I have to wait is the hardened toothpaste. Now, being the good review I am, I made sure my boys left their dropped toothpaste blobs on the counter. They're so helpful and left them in quite a few spots. It's good to have the support of my family. I digress...

I didn't have to wait at all for the Bathroom Cleaner to work. The toothpaste came up right away. Then I remembered my hairspray spot. There's a spot that typically takes 2-3 attempts from my previous cleaner to get the hairspray layer off. I kid you not, it came off with one just spray shot. And I didn't even let it sit there longer than it took me to get my Skoy Cloth wet and start wiping.

From the bathroom sink, I headed to the huge mirror to see if it'd be a streaky cleaner. Not at all. My mirror came out clean as a whistle. Headed to the toilet, which is so fun to clean with 2 boys whose aim leaves a bit to be desired! I can tell you, the Bathroom Cleaner makes my job so much easier! I don't know if it's because of the foaming or the ingredients in the mix, but it works. That in turn makes my cleaning get done quicker...thank goodness! Not having to spray over and over and getting the cleaning done in one spray makes me a happy cleaner!

Of course, as the name entails, Ecover is eco-friendly and is more than welcome in our home. They have a wide range of products for the home, laundry, dishwashing, personal care, and more. Here are some facts about Ecover products:

  • Based on plant and mineral ingredients.
  • Fast and complete biodegradability.
  • Minimum impact on aquatic life.
  • No animal testing.
  • Suitable for septic tanks.
  • Made at Ecover’s ecological factory.

  • Ecover's Mission Statement is: Our mission is to provide effective, sustainable solutions for the hygienic needs of mankind.
    Would you like to win Ecover Bathroom Cleaner and Reusable bag? Now's the time to enter!
    Requirement: Follow Ecover on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know what your Twitter name is.
    Giveaway open to US Residents 18 yrs and older. Must leave a valid email address or have your contact info available in your profile. No email/contact = No entry. Void where prohibited. Giveaway ends 3/9, 10pm CST. Winner has 1 week to respond to winning notification or a new winner will be chosen.
    Extra Entries:
    ○Visit Ecover and tell me what other product you'd like to try (1 entry)
    ○Follow Woven by Words (2 entries, comment 2x)
    ○Follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway (enter daily)
    ○Grab my button on the right side bar (2 entries, comment 2x)
    ○Sign up for Ecover's Newsletter (2 entries, comment 2x)
    ○Begin following my new Product Review Site: Marvelous Mom Reviews (2 entries, comment 2x)
    Thank you to Kipling for sending me my Ecover Bathroom Cleaner to review. My review is based on my experience and may not be the same for others.
    I would like to give my condolences to the Ecover company and family as the owner passed away on January 18, 2010.

    Tuesday, February 23, 2010

    Becoming Lucy by Martha Rogers GIVEAWAY

    Becoming Lucy
    by Martha Rogers
    ISBN: 978-1-59979-912-4
    Publisher: Realms a Strang Company




    About Becoming Lucy

    Lucinda Bishop (Lucy) has lain both of her parents to rest and now must move West to family members in Oklahoma. But 1896 Oklahoma ranch life is far removed from the culture and society of Boston. Her aunt and uncle do their best to acclimate Lucy to her new life, though Lucy struggles with new found feelings for ranch hand Jake Starnes and longings for her former reality. Between Jake's past and Lucy's future, will she ever be able to live this new life?


    My Review

    Becoming Lucy is the first novel I've ready by Martha Rogers. I found it to be a sweet book. Her characters were very likable and I enjoyed getting to know them. Lucy is uprooted from the city life she's known after her parents die and goes to live with her aunt and uncle in Oklahoma. Not one to just throw her hands up in the air, she dives into country life.

    Of course country life always involves a cowboy. A cowboy with a past no less. Jake has something to hide and when sparks fly between Lucy and himself, he knows he could be in even more trouble!

    Personally for me, I have such a hard time handling the thought of a 17 yr old being in the role of getting married. Lucy wasn't, but I could sense that was the direction the author might go in and it kind of tainted the story for me. This is all a personal opinion mind you. I kept telling myself that this was how it was done way back when. Having an 18 yr old daughter might taint my view on it...just a little.

    Another issue I have in stories is when the 2 main characters fall in love immediately. There's no build up. In this story it seemed like there was an attempt at a build up, but you could tell that the characters were "fighting" their attraction immediately. Again, it alters my view of the story and when that happens very early on, it's hard for me to keep my perspective.

    And lastly, there were definitely some cliches in the story and when they happened it kind of threw me off. One of the biggest examples is when Lucy meets Luke, the "other guy". After talking to him for a few seconds, she's analyzing the fact that there weren't sparks. I was thinking, "yeah? and?"

    I realize that some of these are personal preferences in a story. I understand that readers might love the fact that the main characters find each other so early in the story. That or a girl in the 1800's is marriage material. No, she doesn't get married and she turns 18 in the story. Again, I'm the mom of an 18 yr old, and even though we don't live in the 1800's it tweaks me out.

    Now, on to the good stuff. There is a strong faith that runs throughout the story. Aunt Mellie and Uncle Ben are kind to the Indian family that lives by them when many in the community are rude. They turn the other cheek when they're accused of bad things. I also love that Mellie and Ben take their role as guardian of Lucy seriously. They want to protect her heart and remind Lucy that Jake isn't a believer so there can't be a relationship. They are concerned for her heart and you can see their outpouring of love to her and their children.

    I would definitely read book 2 in the Winds Across the Prairie series. It was easy to like these characters. And besides, I'm a sucker for life on a ranch!

    Would you like to win Becoming Lucy? Tell me how you'd feel if your 18 yr old child came to you and told you they wanted to get married. *grin* I think at first I'd probably flip my lid! I would rant and rave and go on & on. Then after I let off that insanity, I'd probably laugh hysterically. There is NO WAY I'd let my kid get married at 18. Yah, Yah, Yah, they're "adults". They can't even legally drink, why in the world would I want them to enter into a life long commitment? hahahaha Good thing we're not in the 1800's. I'd ship my kid off on the next train. =)

    Giveaway is open to US Residents at least 18 yrs old. Must have an email/profile contact to be entered to win. No email/contact = No entry! Giveaway ends 3/10, 10pm CST. Void where prohibited. Winner has one week to respond to the giveaway or a new winner will be chosen.


    About the Author

    Martha Rogers placed her faith in Jesus Christ 65 years ago. He has seen her through her step-father's sexually abusive behavior toward her sister and brother, her own breast cancer, two mastectomies, two miscarriages, her husband's heart attack, her grandson's cystic fibrosis, and the deaths of her parents. She holds a Master's degree in education and enjoyed a 36-year teaching career. To say she's an inspiration to those of us trying to walk a faithful path is a gross understatement.

    I'd like to thank Rebeca at Glass Road Public Relations for my review copy of Becoming Lucy. As always, the opinions are specifically mine and your experience may differ.

    *I have an update!! So, as part of the giveaway I stated that I would have a hard time with my 18 yr old daughter marrying...no she's not getting married, that's not even funny! A good friend came over today and her daughter, who graduated with mine started dating a boy last June. He proposed on Valentines Day!!! I nearly fell over and immediately thought of this post!! She's 19 and he's 24. He asked her parents permission and they gave it. I guess it still happens today! He proposed to her at the front of the church because he said that's where he fell in love with the Lord! How awesome is that?

    Saturday, February 20, 2010

    OvernightPrints.com Review & GIVEAWAY


    I have to say, it's such a treat when someone contacts me and asks me to review their site, their product or their company. I feel very blessed for the opportunity. I was contacted by Bobbi from OvernightPrints.com and was asked to review their business cards! Ha, me with business cards!! Imagine that?

    Oh, I was thrilled to check this out. I headed over there and started playing around with their business card wizard. There are an amazing amount of options that will fit with your personality, your business, your life. I have to admit, it was not an easy choice. I'm glad I have my other site starting up in April after it has a make-over. Then I can order new business cards with my other favorite card!

    When you head to OvernightPrints.com, you will see that they have much more than business cards! They have options for pretty much anything you can print:

    They have a great option for postcards! The postcard sized range from 4x6 to 8 1/2 x 11! You can select from thousands of designs or customize your own in their Advanced Designer.

    Here are some social media links you can connect with OvernightPrints.com:

    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/overnightprints

    Twitter: http://twitter.com/Overnightprints

    OvernightPrints.com Blog: http://overnightprints.com/blog/

    Would you like to win 500 business cards or 250 postcards? Here's your chance!

    Required: Head to OvernightPrints.com and tell me which business card or postcard design you like.

    You must leave a way to contact you. No email/contact info = No entry! Giveaway open to US residents at least 18 yrs old. Giveaway will end 3/8 at 10pm CST. Void where prohibitted.

    Extra Entries:

    ○Follow Woven by Words (1 entry)

    ○Follow Mimi and OvernightPrints.com on Twitter (1 entry)

    ○Tweet about this giveaway and leave a link to each Tweet (can enter once a day)

    ○Follow OvernightPrints.com on Facebook & leave a comment (2 entries, comment 2x)

    ○Leave a comment at OvernightPrints.com Blog (2 entries, comment 2x)

    ○Visit my BIP (blog in process) Marvelous Mom Reviews and become a Follower. This will be my new PR site in April (3 entries, comment 3x)

    ○Make a purchase at OvernightPrints.com (5 entries, comment 5x) will need to confirm

    *I would like to thank OvernightPrints.com for sending me 500 business cards (which will last my lifetime) to try out! They are fabulous! The review is soley my opinion.

    Faith 'n Fiction Saturday ~ What Keeps You From Recommending A Book


    Faith'n'Fiction Saturday is a weekly event where we discuss faith and fiction. The Christian faith mostly. You are welcome to join in by adding to the discussion in comments or by writing a post on your own blog.

    Today's question is simple:

    What keeps you from recommending a book? Poor writing? Poor theology? Explicit sex? Profanity? Violence? Inappropriate subject matter? Are there any books you love so much you would recommend them to anyone or does each recommendation you make take the person you are recommending the book to into consideration?

    My Answer:

    There could be any number of reasons I wouldn't recommend a book. Since I only read Christian novels, I don't have to deal with profanity! You would think that Christian fiction would never cross a line, but I have read a couple of authors who have done that in my opinion when it comes to sexuality.

    I can tolerate characters kissing and being romantic, but when I start to get visuals from the author, the book is done with in my opinion. Yep, that's all it takes in that category!

    I also don't like it when authors create men characters who are actually the lead man in the story to be a bad example. I have one author who I refuse to read because she allows the men to be degrading, self serving, and full of themselves. I know that this author is loved by many, many readers, but the lack of strength in these characters have caused me to never want another one of her books in my home.

    Poor writing doesn't necessarily make me not recommend a book. Sometimes that might be my opinion and others might like the style. I will give my opinion while at the same time try and find some strengths in the story or writing. I have to keep in mind what others might think.

    There are a few book and/or authors I would recommend to anyone. Francine Rivers (Redeeming Love) and Karen Kingsbury (Redemption series) are two that come to mind. Aside from a select few, I would take into consideration the people I'm recommending to.


    Do they like Westerns? Susan May Warren, Christine Lynxwiler

    Do they like Historicals? Cathy Marie Hake, Tracy Peterson, T.L. Higley
    Do they like Comedy? Trish Perry

    Do they like Romance? Julie Lessman

    Do they like Regency? Julie Klassen or Linore Rose Burkard

    Do they like Suspense? James Scott Bell

    Do they like General Fiction? Kristin Heitzmann

    Do they like Women's Fiction? Sandra Byrd, Virginia Smith, Camy Tang

    Do they like Fantasy? Sharon Hinck

    Do they like Pirates? M.L. Tyndall
    My list could go on and on and is by far not exhaustive! If you look at the right side of my blog, you will see a longer list of links to authors I love. This was made 2 yrs ago and I've got so many more I need to add to it!

    Friday, February 19, 2010

    February is Friendship Month!


    Share a Laugh—Bless a Friend

    In Honor of Celebrating Friendship Month

    By Frankie Sherman


    I live in a sleepy little town in the Deep South. Sometimes after my morning workout I’ll have breakfast at our local restaurant with some of my girlfriends. These women are diverse in age and background, but as southern as sweet tea.

    Over cups of hot coffee, we share things that only women can appreciate, and men would never understand. It’s times like these I am extremely grateful for this wonderful gift of friendship. No wonder our Creator designed us for fellowship.

    In between bites of a wholegrain muffin, my dear friend, Martha, told us about putting her mother in a nursing home and how difficult it had been. Yet in the next breath she reminded us of God’s incredible sense of humor.

    It seems her mother hasn’t a clue that she’s a patient there, but firmly believes she’s on staff as an employee. In addition, she had been complaining to management because they weren’t paying her, and had threatened to walk out. Martha is now bringing her mother money in a bank envelope and telling her that the nursing home is doing a direct deposit, and she’s cashed her check. So far Mrs. Floyd continues to see herself as a valued employee and is very helpful. Martha’s just praying her mother won’t ask for a pay raise!

    We laughed with Martha till our sides hurt as she told that story. Our laughter made the truth of the situation easier. That’s “why we need girlfriends!”

    Anyone who has put a parent in a nursing home realizes how heart wrenching that is. Something precious has ended. Roles have reversed and it hurts like a piercing knife.

    This will be a hard journey for Martha, she’ll certainly need her girlfriends, and we’ll be there for her.

    I am so glad God gave us a sense of humor and laced it with laughter. When utilized for goodness it will restore a hurting soul. Who’s hurting in your circle of friends today? Now, go share some laughter. Both of you will feel better.


    “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy,” Job 8:21 NKJV.


    Frankie Sherman is a national speaker, comedian, and Bible teacher for conferences, retreats, and women's events. She fell in love with Jesus at Vacation Bible School and takes every opportunity to tell others about the joy of being alive in Christ. She is a former choreographer for the Georgia Peach Bowl and the Florida Citrus Bowl Halftime Show. Her specialty is in theater musical/productions. Her first Bible Study, Why We Need Girlfriends is based on the relationship of Mary and Elizabeth, from Luke's gospel. Two women brought together by extraordinary circumstances by an extraordinary God. Frankie is from South Carolina—loves sweet tea, BIG hair and her grand-girls. She believes there will never be another Elvis. And knows that her Jesus will return for her soon.

    Kathy Carlton Willis Communications is now scheduling interviews for Frankie Sherman. Please contact WillisWay@aol.com or KCWComm@rgv.rr.com for more information, or to request permission to use this free content article in your publication or on your site.

    The Country House Courtship by Linore Rose Burkard

    The Country House Courtship
    by Linore Rose Burkard
    Harvest House Publishers
    ISBN: 978-0-7369-2799-4

    ABOUT THE BOOK

    Beatrice, sister of the heroine in The House in Grosvenor Square, is intent upon landing as wealthy a husband as her sister managed. Yet her youthful heart is about to encounter life lessons that will leave her re-aligning priorities and re-considering the individual upon whom she can depend and love.

    MY REVIEW

    As always, I love Linore's writing! She brings regency to life! Getting to know Beatrice better was so much fun. Linore's writing seemed different this time for some reason. As I read, I thought there were more parenthetical phrases throughout the whole story. I don't remember that in the previous two novels so it was an adjustment. I'll have to go back and look.

    Beatrice has become a young lady, at 17 years old. Visiting with her mom at Aspindon, she desires to have her Coming Out in London. Thankfully, those around her can see a bit of her immaturity still and try to disuade her that line of thinking.

    Ariana and Mr. Mornay now have 2 children and at the moment a house full of guests. They have come to learn that their curate will be vacated and are in search of a new man to fill the spot. In comes none other than Mr. O'Brien, the man who stole a kiss from Ariana on her wedding day! Mornay is obliged to let Mr. O'Brien stay with them, but maybe that could be a God send.

    Beatrice is hoping to marry into a rich family just as her sister did and when Mr. Barton and his sister lease the Manor next to the Mornays, she believes she may have found her future. Mr. Barton seems to have the same line of thought. Will they be a match or will Mr. O'Brien be smitten with another Forsythe daughter?

    Linore has several wonderful life lessons in this story, and each gave me pause as I read them. I don't always reflect as I'm reading, but hers struck me very personally. I like when I can connect with a character and what they are going through. Sometimes their realizations or reflections are exactly what I need and it in turn helps me!


    Q & A FROM HARVEST HOUSE PUBLISHERS

    Please tell us a little about yourself and your journey as a writer.

    I often found myself writing since I was very young, from at least the age of nine. (I wrote my first book, chapter breaks and all, using an idea from a book I had read and loved—My Side of the Mountain.) In my teens I was drawn heavily into poetry and short stories, but even in college I never thought of myself as being able to write in a commercially viable sense. But I couldn’t stop writing completely, even when I was determined not to give it another thought, or during my busiest seasons! Now and then I would pray about it, and I even felt the Lord wanted me to keep my focus on my family, so my writing was relegated to when I could squeeze it in, late at night, usually. But after years of that, God has been wonderful in letting me know that writing is, indeed, a calling from Him on my life.

    Will you discuss the ways our society is both similar and different from the society Ariana Forsythe found herself in?

    Ariana lived in a very different world, no mistake about that, but people during the Regency dealt with the same needs and fears and hopes and dreams that we all share to this day. People’s lives were ruled by their birth, their social class, whereas we live in a land where anyone, theoretically, can become a millionaire. While we may worry about nuclear war, they had the same feeling of dread about a possible invasion by Napoleon. So, even though times have changed, the human condition hasn’t.

    As a romance author, I look at the way young men and women have always wanted to find that “right” person, and how this was the same for Regencians as much as for us. (Their standards of the right person may have been different, however.) Also, back then, the celebrities were the landed classes, particularly the nobility. Nowadays, we make celebrities of those who share that dreamy lifestyle that eludes most of us. In other words, our celebrities are still the ones who seem far above us in the way they live, out of our league, and who appear to enjoy a lifestyle most people want. It’s eerily similar. It has nothing to do with good character or merit, in that sense, and it didn’t then, either.

    Have you always been interested in Regency literature?

    I have been for a long time, but in my youth I wasn’t really acquainted with it. I always thought I would write about Marie Antoinette, though, who lived only a little earlier. I read a biography about her at a very young age and was immensely affected. So, I guess that was an early indication that I like historical settings.

    Why do you think people are so fascinated with the Regency period in general?

    For one thing, it was unique—and brief. The actual Regency lasted only nine short years, from 1811–1820. High society was sort of rebounding after a long reign of a conservative monarch (George III), taking full advantage of the “new order” to flex its rebellious muscles. The Regent himself led the way. Then, too, costume and manners were so particular during this period, and such fun to read about. The lives of the rich were extravagant, and there was a great deal of elegance, and balls, and all sorts of things that are descriptive and rich. Lots of fun stuff. Lots of excellent fodder for romance authors, I might add!

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Publishers Weekly acclaimed the work of Burkard in its review of The House in Grosvenor Square, saying, "Ms. Burkard's command of period detail is impressive..On the whole, it's a tasty confection."

    Burkard, a fan of classic romances and graduate of City University of New York, began writing stories when she couldn't find true Regency romance within the inspirational fiction category. "I knew that many women like me want stories that are historically authentic and offer glimpses of God's involvement in our lives," she says.

    Raised in New York, Burkard now lives with her husband and five children in a town full of antique stores and gift shops in southwestern Ohio. To learn more about her, visit http://www.linoreburkard.com/.

    I'd like to thank Rebeca Seitz at Glass Road PR for my copy of The Country House Courtship!

    Thursday, February 18, 2010

    Winter's Awakening by Shelley Shepard Gray GIVEAWAY

    Winter's Awakening

    by Shelley Shepard Gray
    Avon ISPIRE Publishing
    ISBN 978-0-06-18522-0




    About the Book

    Joshua Graber knows his future is set. He′s expected to work at his family business, the Graber Country Store. He′s expected to marry Gretta Hershberger, who he′s been courting for several years. But when a new English family moves next door and their lovely teenage daughter, Lilly Allen, catches his eye, Joshua wonders if all the plans for his future are too set in stone.

    Gretta doesn′t know what′s going on with Joshua. When they argue and later stew in silence, it feels a lot like the frosty atmosphere at her home. After promising herself to never have a marriage like her parents, she wonders if perhaps another man might be a better match. A man such as Roland Schrock. He′s steady and kind and somewhat boring. If she marries him, she won′t ever have to worry about loving him and getting hurt.

    Meanwhile, Lilly is enamored with the Amish way of life, and especially her handsome neighbor Joshua. But despite being drawn to him, she has a secret that will only drive him away. Her family moved to Sugarcreek to hide her pregnancy from their community back home. Once she′s had the baby, they plan to send her off to college without anyone from their old neighborhood knowing the truth. But as Lilly becomes wrapped up in the simplicity and graciousness of the Amish people, she begins to question what′s expected of her, and whether giving up her baby, and leaving Sugarcreek, is what she truly wants.

    As the coldest winter on record blows into Sugarcreek, these three young people must struggle to determine the path of their futures.

    My Review

    This is the first book I've read by Shelley Shepard Gray. I really enjoy Amish novels and was happy to be introduced to a new author of that genre.

    We meet Joshua and Gretta, two Amish teens whom the community believes will be spending their lives together. As it is in their community, it's almost a given as to who will marry whom as the kids grow up together. But is that how it should be? Is that what they truly want? That's exactly what Joshua and Gretta come up against.

    When the new neighbors are introduced to Joshua's family, he isn't sure what to think of their teenage daughter. She brings thoughts into his head that he didn't know existed and starts to look at Gretta differently. In turn, Gretta's life is turned upside down by the new revelation that maybe she and Joshua aren't meant to spend their lives together.

    The new neighbors, Englischers, have their own issues to deal with. Every family has their secrets and they are in Sugarcreek to keep hidden what they know. Of course, with Joshua and his family being neighbors, it's hard not to be neighborly, especially with kids that are the same age!

    I enjoyed the Winter's Awakening. To be honest, it was hard for me to get involved in the story when I kept getting caught up in the Amish words. They are used in every story about the Amish that I've read, but somehow it seemed overdone to me. That is, at the beginning. After a while, I was able to get more involved in the lives of Shelley's characters.

    I liked how Gretta and Joshua grew throughout the story. They were able to come to a place where they could just be who they are. They are able to explore their feelings and options in a way they never had before and I think it's a great example for the rest of us. Does life have to be the way it is just because that's what everyone expects?

    Winter's Awakening was an enjoyable novel. I was able to settle in and enjoy my time at Sugarcreek.

    About the Author

    Before writing for the inspirational market, Shelley wrote several novels as Shelley Galloway. During this time, her books appeared on the Waldenbooks bestseller list, and she also won the prestigious Reviewers’ Choice Award from Romantic Times magazine.

    Before writing professionally, Shelley taught school for 10 years. She taught fifth and sixth grade in Arizona, Texas, and Colorado. When her family was transferred to Ohio, her husband encouraged her to finally give writing a serious try. He even found a local writers meeting for her to attend! After a lot of hard work and a lot of luck, she sold her third manuscript.

    Shelley is an active member of her church. She volunteers on steering committees, helps with rummage sales, and helps out at the welcome center. She and her husband are also part of a small group that has been instrumental in guiding her faith.

    When not writing, Shelley can usually be found with her family. Her two teenagers keep her busy and happy. They all also love to travel.

    Find out more about Shelley Shepard Gray and her books at her website.


    Win Winter's Awakening

    Leave a comment telling me if you've ever bought anything Amish. I haven't bought anything Amish, but my aunt has a Mennonite store by her cabin and I enjoy going there. It's different, and just a small little grocery "store". It's built onto a house, so it's not bigger than a living room.

    Giveaway is open to US residents at least 18 yrs old. You must leave a way to contact you with an email or have it available in your profile. No email/contact = No entry. Void where prohibited. Giveaway ends 3/5 at 10pm CST.

    I'd like to thank Trish at TLC Book Tours for my review copy of Winter's Awakening.

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010

    Wordless Wednesday ~ Rugby's Snowball Catch

    Rugby will catch anything, including snowballs!

    A Kiss For Cade by Lori Copeland GIVEAWAY

    A Kiss for Cade
    by Lori Copeland
    Harvest House Publishers
    ISBN: 978-0-7369-2763-5

    About the Story

    When Cade Kolby rode his horse out of town hot on the trail of a wanted man, he didn't wonder how he would leave the bounty hunter lifestyle behind.Now the deaths of his sister and brother-in-law prompt a return visit and Cade once again sees Zoe, the fiery redhead he left so many years ago. He promised Zoe he'd come back. Seeing the beauty that has grown both inside and out, watching her love the children his sister left behind, Cade wonders anew why he never did return. Yet a bounty hunter cannot form the kind of ties he now desires. Wanted men will only see his loved ones as pawns to hurt Cade.

    So Cade must walk away again, this time from both the woman he loves and his sister's children. There's no other way. Or is there?

    My Review

    I love heading to the Wild West with Lori Copeland. I always enjoy her characters and the story she weaves around their lives. I haven't met a Copeland novel I haven't liked!

    Cade Kolby is headed home after his sisters death. He has his neices and nephews that he has to find a home for and a young lady he'd loved and left for a life as a bounty hunter. It's not astonishing that he will have a lot on his plate when he gets "home".

    Zoe has been taking care of Addy's children since she'd died and desperately wanted to keep them. The only issue would be Cade and she was so mad at him for leaving her 15 yrs prior she had no interest in seeing him other than to get custody of the children. Then Cade could leave and they could all get on with their lives.

    Of course, nothing is as easy as that! Cade comes back and Zoe sees that he's even more handsome than when he left. Cade sees that Zoe has grown into a lovely young woman! The two of them did their best to keep their thoughts only toward the children. The children are smitten with their uncle and love spending every moment with them. Cade didn't realize how quickly he would be come attached to them. Finding a home for them wouldn't be easy.

    It was fun watching the spark between Cade and Zoe. I was frustrated that Cade never truly (even in the end) seemed to accept that he had broken a promise to Zoe and broken her heart. He said he was sorry for not coming back, but still seemed to blame Zoe for marrying while he was gone and not writing to him. Like Zoe had said, she wanted Cade to come back because he wanted to, not because she'd made him. I think every lady here would agree that we'd wonder for the rest of our lives if he came back for us, or out of a sense of obligation. To me, Cade never really got that in his heart.

    Aside from that, I loved the story! The town came together to take care of their own, when people got sick and when bad guys came to town. Zoe was so determined to take care of Addy's children and loved them fiercely. Like Zoe, I kept waiting to see if Cody would actually leave! There some really funny moments throughout A Kiss for Cade. I think Pop was one of my favorite characters.

    If you'd like the opportunity to win A Kiss for Cade, leave a comment letting me know what your favorite historical novel is.

    Giveaway is open to US residents at least 18 yrs of age. Void where prohibited. Giveaway will end 2/25 at 10pm CST.



    About the Author

    Lori Copeland is the author of more than 90 titles, both historical and contemporary fiction. With more than 3 million copies of her books in print, she has developed a loyal following among her rapidly growing fans in the inspirational market. She has been honored with the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award, The Holt Medallion, and Walden Books' Best Seller award. In 2000, Lori was inducted into the Missouri Writers Hall of Fame. She lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband, Lance, and their three children and five grandchildren.

    Sunday, February 14, 2010

    These Are The Things I Love...

    I'm piggybacking off of Ree from The Pioneer Woman who made an amazing list of the things she loves. There are many that I would copy such as: John Denver, The Carpenters, Cat Stevens, the smell of fresh ground coffee, etc.


    Well, here's my non-exhaustive (tho it may exhaust you) list:



    • Baby, Smoochie, Buddy, and my Doodle

    • my horse Winston

    • playing catch with Rugby

    • cuddling with our kitties

    • a long bubbly bath

    • piles of books (especially historical fiction)

    • Big Red

    • Drumsticks

    • Olive Garden

    • The Twins (love going to the games)

    • my friends

    • my family

    • my church

    • puppy breath

    • my camera

    • the Lord

    • Ground Hog Day (with Bill Murray)

    • handmade gifts from my children

    • creme brulee

    • Bath & Body Works

    • eco-friendly products

    • clean sheets

    • jeans that fit (no crack here)

    • So I Married an Axe Murderer (with Mike Meyers)

    • Casting Crowns

    • manly men who love the Lord

    • pick-up trucks that are really tough

    • bras that fit properly

    • winning giveaways

    • visiting family

    • Jeremy Camp

    • a man on horseback

    • sunny days

    • my perennial garden

    • my raspberry bushes

    • surround sound (at my parents house)

    • blogging

    • having the batteries I need when I need them

    • worship music

    • classic cars

    • The Sound of Music

    • a dude in Carharts (wink wink)

    • birthday parties (& doing a surprise party!)

    • any guy (from 3-?) who holds the door for me

    • when my scrapbooking page actually looks good (haven't scrapped for years)

    • when my boys get a long

    What do you love? I would love for you to share this Valentines Day.

    Saturday, February 13, 2010

    Naturale Green Gift Pack Giveaway


    As my followers know, I've decided this is the year to go green in our home. It has been an interesting process. There are so many areas in our lives that we can go green that I never even considered.

    One area that we haven't made much of a change yet is in our personal care products. Everything else we've used so far has been mostly household products. We could really use a change in the personal care products because they affect our health so dramatically.

    With summer coming up, Naturale Green has alternatives to bug repellents and sun screen. The products they have available are from: Kogi and Badger. As for skin products that I'd like to make a change in they have wide variety of options for the entire family! So, I'm looking for a company that has our health in their mind.


    This is where Naturale Green comes in. They have a full line of eco-friendly products. They cover (click on links below to learn more):


    Bath & Body


    Hair Care


    Non-toxic Nail Polish


    Pets


    Home Care


    Outdoors


    Totes


    Fragrance Free


    Sensitive Skin


    And so much more...


    I'm SUPER interested in the natural supplements for ADHD/ADD. One of them for children 12 and under (and NOT on a prescription medication) is Mindsoothe Jr. It's something to consider since I believe my 10 yr old has ADD. I've had it since I was in Middle School and my 16 yr old daughter has had it since 6th-7th grade. Being that it's hereditary, it's entirely possible for him to have it. I would love to start him off on a natural alternative!


    Would you like to win one of Naturale Green's amazing Gift Pack Giveaways? Right now their Giveaway includes:



    * 2 Nature's Paradise Baby Organics Diaper Cream


    * Beautiful Basics French Green Clay Mask


    * All Things Jill Honey Hand Salve


    * All Things Jill Ouch! Shaving Balm


    * Watkins Vanilla Beeswax Lip Balm


    * Beautiful Basics Bug Repellent


    * Nature's Paradise 4 oz Shampoo


    * Rocky Mountain Foot Butter


    * Rocky Mountain Field & Stream Organza (incl. 1 Field & Stream Soap and Bath Crystals)


    Contest draw date: February 28, 2010

    DO NOT ENTER HERE!


    If you are interested in entering this giveaway, head to: http://shop.naturalegreen.ca/Contests-and-Promotions-s/183.htm


    You can learn more about Naturale Green by visiting their site at: http://www.naturalegreen.ca/


    You can also check out the other social media Naturale Green is part of:


    *Disclaimer:I have NOT used any products from Naturale Green and have not been given any products & have NOT been paid for this post. This is my entry into the giveaway.

    Wednesday, February 10, 2010

    Reading Glasses Shopper Review & Giveaway



    I love to read! With that love of reading, and the amount of it I do, I tend to have strained eyes. They get tired, become blurry, and occasionally I get a headache. Hey, what's wrong with reading a good book until 2am? Lets not judge, ok? tee hee hee





    I received a wonderful opportunity from Haley at Reading Glasses Shopper to review a pair of their glasses. Gee, being able to focus on the page in front of me? Go figure. I really hadn't stopped to think about getting reading glasses before Haley contacted me! With the stack of books looming before me to read for February, I was happy to hop on board.

    My first dilemma came in choosing the glasses. I had no idea what style to choose from. There were sooo many that I loved. I'm no fashionista, but there are some nice looking glasses on their site.

    My second dilemma came in choosing whether I wanted sun glasses or regular glasses. (the sun glasses I want are below) I tend to do A LOT of reading outside spring-summer. But, being the middle of winter here in MN wasn't very conducive to me reading outside! So, I went for the regular glasses.
    My third dilemma was not knowing what "strength" to get. Would that be called a "power"? I used common sense and went with the lowest number of +1.00. I finally narrowed down my choices and decided on Brooke in red (photo at top of page). I was happy to hear they were in stock!

    The day my Brooke reading glasses came, they were a big hit in the house. I put them on thinking I would just be able to see everything around me. hahahaha Not so much. My eyes kind of bugged out because they weren't used to glasses. Of course, my boys thought that was awesome and wanted to try them on. They loved it. Ah, my strange, strange boys.

    I contacted Haley to make sure I'd gotten the right strength and she was very helpful. She suggested I ease myself into them and only use them for 10 min at a time and build up from there so I didn't get headaches. That did the trick.

    When I sat down to read my first book, I could NOT believe what a difference these glasses made. I am NOT blowing smoke. Personally, I think I'm seeing everything perfectly, no problem and then I put these glasses on and I'm astonished. I didn't think I was having an issues with seeing the pages of the book, but with my Brooke's on, it was so different. So much better. The words even seemed bigger. =)
    I have loved using these glasses. You never know what you're truly going to get when you order something online and these pass the mustard! They are a strong frame and very solid. I thought that the metal on the sides would be thin and cheap. Not even close! I was more than pleasantly surprised how sturdy they are. Really, you can't compare these to those glasses you get at a drug store or grocery store.

    They recently launched a couple of pages on their site:

    Reading Glasses Glossary

    Eye Health Glossary

    Through Valentines Day they are giving 15% off all glasses! They also have free shipping on orders over $30!! How reasonable is that?

    Would you love to win a $20 Gift Certificate or your choice of glasses? Reading Glasses Shopper is offering that to one of my commenters!

    Required: Head to Reading Glasses Shopper and let me know which glasses you would choose if you win!

    I finally have a giveaway that includes our neighbors to the North!! Must be at least 18 and a resident of the US or CANADA!! Please leave a way to contact you if you win with either your email or have it accessible in your profile. No email/contact = no entry!! Void where prohibited. Giveaway will end 2/24, 10pm CST.

    Extra Entries: After requirement has been fulfilled, you can do the following:

    1) Follow Reading Glasses Shopper on Facebook (1 entry)

    2) Follow Reading Glasses Shopper on Twitter (1 entry)

    3) Leave a comment at the RGS blog (2 entries, comment 2 separate times)

    4) Follow my Blog (2 entries, comment 2 separate times)

    5) Leave a comment on another post here at Woven by Words 1x (1 entry)

    6) Follow me on Twitter and Tweet about this giveaway (1 entry daily)

    Reading Glasses Shopper Giveaway at http://wovenbywords.blogspot.com/2010/02/reading-shopper-glasses-review-giveaway.html @RdgGlassesShopr

    7) Purchase from RGS (5 entries, comment 5 separate times) will need to verify
    ~Winner MUST respond within 48 hours of email notice or I will choose another winner.

    *I would like to thank Haley from Reading Glasses Shopper for sending me my review pair of glasses. The giveaway comes directly from them as well. The opinions expressed here are soley my own and I was not paid for this review.

     
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    Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.