Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rayovac Powers Your Summer Twitter Event ~ TONIGHT!!

rayovac-summer-logo-300Join Rayovac and 5 Minutes For Mom for a Twitter Event to support the exciting Rayovac Powers Your Summer Promotion.

The evening will feature 20 prizes from Rayovac ranging from a summer supply of Rayovac Batteries to $50 Target Gift Cards.

Date:  Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Time:  7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Central
(5-7 Pacific, 8-10 Eastern)
Location:  #rayovac
Follow: @Rayovac_Battery, @5minutesformom

A total of twenty (20) winners will be selected.

Each of the twenty winners will receive one (1) of the following prizes:
(10) $50 Target Gift Cards
(10) Rayovac Battery Variety Packs ranging from (AAA-12 pack), (AA-12 pack), (C-8 pack), (D-8 pack) (9V-3 pack) approximate total value ($35)

RSVP with your Twitter Handle:

5minutesformom-header-image Click Here to RSVP

To help you connect other tweeps participating in the party, you can add your Twitter Handle to this RSVP list.

(You do not have to leave your handle to participate in the party.)

We will try to follow everyone in this list from our @5minutesformom account and we encourage you to follow each other as well.
Remember to follow @Rayovac_Battery and watch hashtag #rayovac

God Gave Me You by Dave Barnes YouTube

So, it's true that I don't have anyone that I want to share this song with, but I think it's such a spectacularly beautiful love song that I just had to share it.

My hope is that one day a man will feel this way about me. Ugh, I'm a hopeless romantic.

God Gave Me You by Dave Barnes

I’ve been a walking heartache
I’ve made a mess of me
The person that I’ve been lately
Ain’t who I wanna be

But you stay here right beside me
Watch as the storm goes through
And I need you

God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
For when I think I’ve lost my way
There are no words here left to say, its true
God gave me you

There’s more here than what were seeing
A divine conspiracy
That you, an angel lovely
Could somehow fall for me
You’ll always be loves great martyr
I’ll be the flattered fool
and I need you

God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
For when I think I’ve lost my way
There are no words here left to say, its true
God gave me you

On my own I’m only
Half of what I could be
I cant do without you
We are stitched together
And what love has tethered
I could baby, never undo

God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
For when I think I’ve lost my way
There are no words here left to say, its true
God gave me you, gave me you.
Gave me you.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday ~ Paint Balling Birthday Party!

IMG_2925

My son getting blasted!

IMG_2935

Taking out the other team (or hiding)

IMG_2970

After the battle. 6 sweaty boys!

Be sure to visit these awesome Wordless Wednesday sites, too: J. Leigh Designz, 5 Minutes for Mom, and Two of a Kind Working on a Full House

Ali Ali Bo-Bali

I know this may bore some people, but The Bachelorette is so funny. I laugh every time I watch the show. The guys are hysterical. Their commentary during the show can NOT be beat!

I missed the first 30 minutes of the show (I’m slowly rewatching it on the ABC website) so I must’ve missed Justin being tossed. I found out a few weeks ago that he had a girlfriend, actually 2 possibly.

The source of this information is totally out there, but if you’re one of those people who doesn’t want to take the bait to learn more, I’m won’t to tell you where I’ve gotten it (unless you email me). LOL It’s not that mysterious, but some people like me just can’t stand NOT knowing even when we don’t want to know.

9b4e76f9e6d4e45a966379a879b5d983 Tonight's show had 4 guys wrestling Turkish Olive Oil Wrestlers! HAHAHAHA Oh, these men are so fabulous. Chris L., who I kinda like, was saying the only time he uses Olive Oil is when he grills asparagus!

Kirk was especially excited that maybe one day he’d be able to return the favor and smear Olive Oil on Ali. What a guy. I still dig Kirk.

4e6f392b240698d433e5afd60cdcbdab Yes, when the guys all lathered up, it was a site to behold. They were serious. They wanted to win that special one on one time with Ali. Craig, who is nice but hasn’t had ANY alone time with Ali, was focused on winning. The lawyer did it! He took the ripped boys out! You go Craig.

Alright, here’s the thing about Ali. I’m concerned about how this is all going to end. She’s afraid to give any of the men a chance. She’s worried about falling in love. She chose her career last time when it came to Jake. I don’t understand why someone who’s afraid to fall in love would go on a show about falling in love. Doesn’t make sense to me. We’ll see how this all plays out!

SPOILER: Craig did end up going home. He honestly didn’t seem Ali’s type. She’s bubbly and vivacious. He smiles and is sweet, but he doesn’t seem as alive as Ali.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Take A Hike

Right, so my plan is to one day be a good mom. Let’s not fool ourselves here. Some of us just aren’t the greatest moms. No, I’m not okay with that, but it’s a reality.

parkmap I decided last week that on my weekends off, I’d take the boys on a hike somewhere. I wanted to do something with them. I wanted to create memories, other than them always knowing mommy as, “the lady constantly on the computer.”

What happens a couple of Saturdays ago? It rains…morning until night. Maybe this is a sign I shouldn’t bother and there’s nothing wrong with the computer.

Sunday comes around and it’s a decent enough day. We get to church…late as usual. Afterwards we eat lunch and I tell the boys they need to get ready to head out. All they knew was we had to go show one of our apartments. Yah, exciting afternoon ahead for us.

IMG_0001The boys had been arguing ALL day so I thought, oh, this hike is going to be so bonding for us. Yes, stars in my eyes. This is going to be the beginning of a beautiful tradition.

Bill Anderson Memorial Park is the spot I’ve chosen to create these new memories. We spray down with bug spray and head off on our jaunt. We get to the trailhead and each boy wants to go in a different direction. I decide we’ll head to the left and make the large circle because that’s what I remember from the map.

IMG_0006 The boys wanted to race pretty much the first half of the trail. We got to this big drop off and we take a minute or two pause. As I take a couple of photos, all of a sudden I hear Buddy screaming and Doodle apologizing. Sheesh, in the moments it took to take a couple pictures, the tone of our hike changes. Doodle threw a large stick and clocked Buddy on the back of the head! UGH, for real?

We set off again, jimney Christmas, let’s just finish the stupid hike.

A minute or two later, I tell Doodle to run up ahead and apologize to brother. As soon as we got to the Crow River, the boys are getting along again. Little did we know we were right next to the beginning of the trail head.

That 25 minutes hike didn’t go as well, as I had hoped, but we can only go up from here!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rachel Kurtz In Concert

Rachel Kurtz So, today after church we had a potluck. Not sure what happened, but everyone brought something I’ve never had! It was a grand success (IMHO). I love food!
After that was the Rachel Kurtz concert. Had no idea who she was, what she sounded like, but I figured it’d be a great way to spend an hour. Here’s how her site describes her:
Rachel Kurtz is a Minnesota based singer/songwriter whose distinctive voice infuses her organic instrumentation to wash over and through the listener. Her subtle blend of style reveals folk pop sensibilities with a healthy dose of soul. Audiences across the country resonate with Rachel's music. It gets inside of people, calls them friend, and lets them know they are not alone.
Man, am I glad the boys and I went. Her husband went up on stage with her, grabbed his guitar and took a seat. Somehow, he just made the stage more cool by sitting up there. Can’t even explain it.
Rachel opened up the concert with a su-weet bluesy song and her husband, Michael played with her. They were awesome! Be forewarned, I may use that word a lot with this review!
When she started singing, I initially thought of Jewel because of the “folksy-ness” of the songs. Then, THEN, she yodeled! It was sooo cool. Honestly, not kidding. Yodeling is cool.
Our worship pastor, Aaron White,  just released his 2nd CD (yes, from little ol’ Annandale) and he played with them along with Jordon H. and Kevin K. Yah, I know you don’t know these guys, but they play at church all the time. They rock, we know!

View Rachel Kurtz
View Full Album
This whole concert was fun. Rachel was so relaxed and she’s one of those people who exudes happiness for life! Michael, just sat there, playin’ his guitar, being cool. LOL He looks like he belongs in a house of blues down in New Orleans! And Rachel, man, she would sing with the best of them.
She sang this song (takes a couple minutes to load & plays automatically):
http://rachelkurtz.com/There%20is%20Beauty/03%20When%20I%20was%20a%20child.mp3
I just LOVED it!!! It made me smile. It’s about growing up in Cokato, which is about 10 minutes from me. Small little down here in Central MN.
The voice that comes out of this woman is spectacularly strong. She has such control over it. Sheesh, she can belt out the notes. If you are looking for some new music, I would encourage you to give her a chance. You will NOT be disappointed!
I’d love to see her do a CD for kids. Since she’s got 2 little ones maybe that will motivate her to move in that direction! I’d love my boys to have some folksy music in their repertoire.

Christy Award Winners

Last night if you were lucky enough, you were at the 2010 Christy Award ceremony. For the rest of us, we were able to view Tosca Lee doing commentary throughout the ceremony.

She was describing how people were dressed and what everyone was eating. Tosca did a fine job of making us feel like we were there! She has great wit and knows about fashion!

Tyson Wynn of Wynn-Wynn Media was also moderating the event. He did a fine job of keeping up with Tosca!

So, without further ado, here is the list of the winning authors & their respective books:

Breach of Trust, Call of Duty Series #1Contemporary Romance category is: Breach of Trust by DiAnn Mills (Tyndale House Publishers)

 

 

 

Who Do I Talk To? Yada Yada House of Hope Series #2Contemporary Series, Sequels & Novellas category is: Who Do I Talk To? by Neta Jackson (Thomas Nelson)

 

 

 

The Passion of Mary-MargaretContemporary Standalone category is: The Passion of Mary-Margaret by Lisa Samson (Thomas Nelson)

 

 

 

Fireflies in December, Calloway Summers Series #1First Novel category goes to: Fireflies in December by Jennifer Erin Valent (Tyndale House Publishers)

 

 

 

Though Waters RoarHistorical category is: Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin (Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group)

 

 

 

The Silent GovernessHistorical Romance category is: The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen (Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group)

 

 

 

Lost MissionSuspense category is: Lost Mission by Athol Dickson (Howard Books: a Division of Simon & Schuster)

 

 

 

Product DetailsVisionary category is: By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson (Marcher Lord Press)

 

 

 

 

#2: North! or Be Eaten: Wild Escapes, a Desperate Journey, and the Ghastly Fangs of DangYoung Adult category is: North! or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Feel Good Friday ~ Smooch Is Heading To Training Camp




Laura at the girl next door grows up hosts the weekly Feel Good Friday. You are given 5 prompts to use each week. This week I've got lots to smile about! My oldest son, Buddy, turned 11. But the most exciting thing is about my girl.

So my 2nd daughter, Smooch (17, in the black shirt), is heading to Training Camp in S. IL this afternoon.


Training Camp for what you may ask?


Smooch is heading to India this July with Royal Servants, part of Reign Ministries. She will be gone July 5-31.
Training Camp is basically a boot camp for anyone going on a mission trip this summer with Royal Servants. From what I've heard, it's super intense, but amazing. Smooch enjoys taking daily showers. Well, she better enjoy stinking because their hygiene is tossed out the window for the week.

It's all good and very enriching. They will learn about the skits they will do, how to share the Gospel, etc. It really is a camp in every sense of the word! They stay in tents and use porta-potties, and get nice and nasty! Ah, the great outdoors!


When she is in India, they will be working with orphanages and schools. This will be so good for Smooch and the rest of the team. Royal Servants hasn't been to India in 10 yrs!


I'm excited and scared all at the same time.

I know that this is where God wants her to be. It's just not easy as a mom. I've seen the Lord provide through friends & family the over $4000 to take this trip. Those funds were raised in about 4 months. I figured with this recession, there'd be no way. But, He provided and she's going. Even tonight as she was getting packed, a gal down the road that Smooch has babysat for brought her money for the trip! Isn't that spectacular?


Over 4th of July weekend, Baby and I will be heading down to S. IL for Family Day. We'll get to see her one more time before she leaves. We're hoping Smooch's BFF will be going with us, but with work one never knows.


If you are so inclined, I would be more than happy to have you praying for her while she is at training camp and in India. My prayer will be that Smooch comes home with a heart that is healed and ready to be loved.


God's will be done!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Spring Read Thing Wrap Up

Reading, a love of mine! Unfortunately, the past 6 months has seen it head to the back burner. That really bums me out! So, as I get ready to post this Spring Reading Thing Wrap Up, I’m bummed to say that once again I haven’t finished the reading challenge. Sigh…
Katrina at Callapidder Days hosts this great reading challenge twice a year. I have yet to read all the books on my list. You should check out the lists that some people can get through! It’s insane.
In the end I read a measly 16 out of 22 books. All I had was 22 books on my list for 3 months. Very sad.
On of my blogging/reading heroes is Deborah at Books, Movies, and Chinese Food. That girl can read! She read 181 books! LOL Isn’t that almost unimaginable?
I didn’t stick to my goals, and ended up reading 5 books that weren’t on my original list. I read them for reviews.
My favorite book on my original list was The Prophecy by Dawn Miller. Very interesting book and made me think of what it would be like to be aware of the spiritual world in such a way that I’d be able to “see” it! Very cool! I didn’t have a least favorite.
Through this reading challenge, I learned that if I don’t make it a priority to read then it won’t be happening. Life got in the way of my reading and to a degree didn’t care if I was reading or not. Then when I’d crack open a book, I would remember why I love reading so much!
I can’t wait until the Fall for our Fall Reading challenge!!
YOUTH (4 out of 6)
Lets Have a Daddy Day by Karen Kingsbury
Starlighter by Bryan Davis
Lost Island Smugglers by Max Elliot Anderson
Allon by Shawn Lamb
The Prophecy by Dawn Miller
This Little Prayer of Mine by Anthony DeStefano
FICTION (6 out of 10)
Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs
Somewhere to Belong by Judith Miller
In The Midst of It All by Tiffany L. Warren
A Promise Kept by Cara C. Putman
My Name Is Russell Fink by Michael Snyder
A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer
Texas Roads by Cathy Bryant
Finding Jeena by Miralee Ferrell
Morning for Dove by Martha Rogers
Seeds of Summer by Deborah Vogts (currently finishing)
NON-FICTION (1 for 1)
Distrupting Grace by Kristen Richburg
SURPRISE (5 for 5)
Sworn to Protect by DiAnn Mills
Healer by Linda Windsor
Six-Liter Club by Dr. Harry Kraus
Ransome’s Crossing by Kaye Dacus
Hurricanes In Paradise by Denise Hildreth

Good Earth Dinner Kits Review & GIVEAWAY

logo I love trying new food. I personally am a foodie, the rest of my family, not so much. Their loss in my opinion!

Along comes the opportunity to check out the Good Earth dry dinner kit. I was all for it! It sounded yummy.

mediterranean chicken kit My boys were gone the weekend I cooked up my Good Earth Mediterranean Chicken with angel hair pasta dinner kit. I was thrilled that I’d be eating this alone…as long as it tasted good.

Holy cow, this was a fantastic dinner (and lunch, dinner, and lunch again)! Their theme is Stay In and Go All Out! and I can understand why. I could definitely see this being on a menu.

One of the great parts of Good Earth dinner kits is how healthy it is: no artificial flavors, no artificial preservatives, and 100% whole grain pasta! Good stuff Good Earth!

My dinner was ready to eat in just under 20 minutes! The directions were very clear and I loved how they showed to cut the chicken at an angle so that it was thinner. I will do that more often with chicken because I think my boys would eat it better if not so thick.

IMG_2812 The process of creating this Mediterranean Chicken dinner was fast and easy. I was eating it the moment it cooled off. The seasoning on the chicken and creamy sauce on top of the angel hair pasta came together to form a delightful meal.

I guess it would’ve been nice if there’d have been at least one small veggie included in it, but that’s something I could add as a side dish (not that my boys would’ve eaten it). I think a vegetable cooked with the sauce would be even better than prepared separately.

The Restaurant Favorites will be available in grocery stores starting this month (June). I can’t wait to find these! I will be buying them on a regular basis.

winning kitNow it’s your chance to win a Good Earth dinner kit!

Required: Tell me which flavor of Good Earth would you like to try? Mediterranean Chicken with angel hair pasta, Spicy Citrus Glazed Shrimp with angel hair pasta, Herb Crusted Chicken with mushroom risotto and Tuscan Chicken with penne pasta.

Giveaway is open to US Residents 18 yrs and older. Please leave your email or have it available in your profile. Only needs to be included in your required entry. No email/contact = No entry. Giveaway ends 7/8, 10pm CDT. Winner has 48 hours to respond. Can NOT be delivered to Post Office boxes because it's sent via FedEx!

Extra Entries:

Follow Woven by Words (1 entry)

Follow my new PR site Marvelous Mom Reviews (2 entries, comment 2x)

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Tweet this giveaway (1 entry daily) “Win a Good Earth dry dinner kit with Bamboo accessories! Good food & good for you! #giveaway http://bit.ly/clWTyU

Blog SearchI’d like to thank MyBlogSpark and Good Earth for the product, gift pack, information and additional gift pack to give away given to me by them!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Yes, It’s Mimi’s Monday Giggle with The Bachelorette

Cringe. I did that before I giggled at the beginning of tonight’s show. Poems…POEMS! giggle Thank you God for giving us guys who will do dorky things to win a woman’s heart!

8ce91d4e2cc9859f9eec4f8bd0c27114 Bring on the poems boys. Poor Kasey, he needed closed captions because no one could understand what he said. How do the producers handle that without making it obvious he has a speech, possible hearing, issue? “Hey, um Kasey, could ya watch the video for us and tell us what you said?” or did they sit there playing the video slowly, watching his mouth as he spoke, while listening as closely as possible? If he has a hearing problem, then why not admit it? If he doesn’t then I don’t know what to say!

9d8820d7ec5fe86c21928ccfd3a3fee1 For the record, if Kasey really is that sweet and innocent of a guy, then that’s totally awesome. I think he could be or become one of those obsessive guys. Then again, I could be a bit cynical.

Some of the poems did have me cringing. A couple of the others did a great job. So sweet. Be still my heart. I thought Kirk was a great choice, but Frank was a good 2nd.

So Kirk, he came clean to Ali about his health problems and really endeared himself to her. He seems like a remarkable guy. I could see them together. Sigh…

Group dates, ugh, I wouldn’t be able to handle those! Hanging out while each man takes Ali to the side and has a makeout session. No, not every time, but a few times. I’d die! giggle Those boys are jeal~ous and I love watching them struggle. Ty is the rose guy from the group date. He just took care of everyone. He deserved that rose! Hello cowboy! Frank had a wake up call and we’ll see if he steps up to the plate.

080e8e848d8000313c16fe7d5d1734b9I loved Roberto when they got to the Blue Lagoon at the end of the group date. Ali had stripped to her bikini faster than you can say “bikini” and all the boys were left with their jaws hanging open. Roberto said he’d never gotten undressed so fast ever in his life. giggle and raised eyebrows!

Who knew boys could be so emotional? Kasey, dear, sweet, scary Kasey. He’s up against Justin. Those two boys are night and day. Justin’s nickname is Rated R. He is totally messing with Kasey’s mind. The rest of the guys in the “house” want Justin to go and are really trying to boost Kasey’s confidence. Good bye tattooed Kasey it was interesting having you. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about you.

6dd72d1aff2362c250d617a2eb368f3f Ok, Chris N. Who is he? I looked for him at the group date. Didn’t see him at all. No one on one date and he wasn’t on the two and one date. Mole? Could be. Tonight was the first time I’ve heard him talk…throughout the entire show. They’ve never shown them have ANY time together.

f92974c98b00c6eae7d0a93b0ab7ee3dAs Ali was talking to Chris N. She tried to draw him out. He was so bland. He said his ex-girlfriend said he was funny. Insert a loooong awkward pause. The camera goes back and forth between them. giggle She asks him to tell her about that funny side. Back ‘n forth Ugh…he’s so not funny. The guys were watching the conversation between the Mole Chris N. and Ali and were critiquing their body language. Chris N. won’t be getting a rose. Truly, there’s no other reason I can even come up with that she would keep him around. We shall see!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Balance Benders by The Critical Thinking Co.

The Critical Thinking Co

   With school having just finished I am trying to find ways to keep my boys’ minds active academically.

Short of finding a state where they have year-round school a company like The Critical Thinking Co. is a great idea!

Balance BendersHere’s the funny thing about the Balance Bender that Buddy received, I couldn’t figure the problems out! UGH. I didn’t think he’d be able to get it either, but he figured it out no problem.

Here’s what The Critical Thinking Co. says about the Balance Benders:

Move over Sudoku, here come Balance Benders™! You can use these books as quick, fun, logic problems or as stepping-stones to success in algebra. Students develop deductive thinking and pre-algebra skills as they solve balance puzzles that are more fun and addictive than Sudoku puzzles! Students must analyze each balance to identify the clues, and then synthesize the information to solve the puzzle. Try one—then try to stop!

At the back of the book are the Balance Tips that help the kids understand the Algebraic Concepts. They really help the kids understand how to solve the problems.

Then they have my favorite part, the Solutions! With each solution, they direct the kids back to the Tips so they know the reason why the answer is the answer! That’s so fantastic!

Now for some great news! The Critical Thinking Co. will be running a $500 product contest! It’s called the Critical Thinking Moments™ Video Contest. Click the link to learn more about how to enter!

The Critical Thinking Co

This year will be the first annual to nominate someone for the The Critical Thinking Heroes™ Award!

Nominate a hero today.

The Critical Thinking Co.™ annually recognizes individuals who inspire critical-thinking skills and promote a thinking approach to teaching.

The Critical Thinking Heroes™ Award program was developed to thank those who have dedicated their time to advocating and inspiring a love of thinking and problem-solving on a grand scale. These intellectual champions are heroes of cognitive development and improving decision-making skills. Though they make the world a better place through their continued advocacy of critical-thinking skills, these heroes of reasoning rarely receive the recognition they deserve. We invite you to send in your nominations and help us discover worthy candidates.

So where can you find The Critical Thinking Co. in the social sphere?

Twitter

Facebook

MamaBuzz This is a Mama Buzz review. The product was provided by: The Critical Thinking Co. for this review.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Healer by Linda Windsor ~ FIRST Wild Card Tour

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Healer: A Novel (The Brides of Alba Series)

David C. Cook; New edition (June 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings of The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



With an estimated one million books in print, Linda Windsor is an award-winning author of fifteen mainstream historical novels and one contemporary romance. She has also written another thirteen books for CBA publishers, including nine romantic comedies, laced with suspense, and a Celtic Irish trilogy for Multnomah entitled the Fires of Gleannmara series. A former professional musician, Linda speaks often (and sometimes sings) for writing and/or faith seminars. She makes her home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and prays for courage and strength to meet the needs of today's readers with page-turning stories that entertain, teach, and inspire.


Visit the author's website.




Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (June 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434764788
ISBN-13: 978-1434764782

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Glenarden, Manau Gododdin, Britain


Although cold enough to frost one’s breath, the day was as fair as the general mood of the gathering at the keep of Glenarden. The only clouds were those breaking away, fat with snow from the shrouded mountains—and the ever-present one upon the face of the bent old man who stood on the rampart of the gate tower. No longer able to ride much distance, Tarlach O’Byrne watched the procession form beyond.


Clansmen and kin, farmers and craftsmen—all turned out for the annual hunt, but they were more excited over the festivities that awaited their return. In the yard about the keep, gleemen in outlandish

costumes practiced entertaining antics, delighting the children and teasing the kitchen servant or warrior who happened to pass too near. Great pits had been fired. On the spits over them were enough succulent shanks of venison, boar, and beef to feed the multitude of O’Byrnes and the guests from tribes in the kingdom under the old king’s protection.


Below the ramparts, Ronan O’Byrne adjusted the woolen folds of his brat over his shoulders. Woven with the silver, black, and scarlet threads of the clan, it would keep the prince warm on this brisk day. A fine dappled gray snorted in eagerness as Ronan took his reins in hand and started toward the gate. Beyond, the people he would govern upon his father’s death waited.


The youngest of the O’Byrne brothers rode through them, unable to contain his excitement any longer. “By father’s aching bones, Ronan, what matters of great import keep you now?”


Were the pest any other but his youngest brother, Ronan might have scowled, deepening the scar that marked the indent of his cheek—the physical reminder of this travesty that began years ago. Alyn was the pride and joy of Glenarden, and Ronan was no exception to those who admired and loved the precocious youth.


“Only a raid on the mill by our neighbors,” Ronan answered his youngest sibling.


His somber gaze belayed the lightness in his voice. The thieves had made off with Glenarden’s reserve grain stores and the miller’s quern. Ronan had already sent a replacement hand mill to the mistress. But now that the harvest was over and the excess had been sold, replacing the reserves would be harder. It galled Ronan to buy back his own produce at a higher price than he’d received from merchants in Carmelide. This was the hard lot he faced—this farce, or hunting down the scoundrels and taking back what was rightfully his.


Every year on the anniversary of the Gowrys slaughter, Tarlach insisted that the O’Byrne clan search the hills high and low for Llas and Joanna’s heir. But instead of going off on a madman’s goose chase after his imagined enemy—a mountain nymph who was rumored to shape-shift into a wolf at will—the O’Byrnes manpower spent their time ransacking and burning one of the Gowrys mountain settlements in retribution, for they were undoubtedly the culprits. It was the only reasoning the Gowrys thieves understood—burn their ramshackle hovels and take some of their meager stock in payment.


Even so, taking such actions only stalled their mischief for a little while. Then it was the same thing all over again. As it was, Ronan had sent trackers out to mark their escape route, lest the wrong camp be destroyed.


“Can I ride after them on the morrow with you?” Alyn’s deep blue eyes, inherited from their Pictish mother, were alight with the idea of fighting and possible bloodshed—only because he’d never tasted it firsthand. “After the Witch’s End?”


Disgust pulling at his mouth, Ronan mounted the broad and sturdy steed he’d acquired at last spring’s fair. Witch’s End. That’s what Tarlach O’Byrne had dubbed the celebration of the massacre that had made him an invalid and driven him to the brink of insanity. In the old chief ’s demented thought, he’d brought justice to those who had betrayed him and stopped an enchantress forever. Sometimes, as on this particular day, it pushed him beyond reason, for it was a reminder that there was one thing left undone. The heiress of Gowrys still lived to threaten Glenarden … at least in his mind.


“The mill raid is no different from any other raid and will be handled as such,” Ronan answered.


“So I can go?”


“Nay, return to your studies at the university.” The hunt for a nonexistent witch was one thing, but Gowrys were skilled fighters. “’Twould suit a Gowrys naught better than to send a son of Tarlach

earthways with an arrow through your sixteen-year-old heart.”


“So you and Caden will go after the brigands.”


Alyn’s dejection rivaled that of Tarlach’s, except the youth’s would be gone with the next change of the wind. The older O’Byrne’s would not leave until his last breath faded in the air.


Ronan opened his mouth to assuage the lad when a downpour of water, icy as a northern fjord, struck him, soaking him through. “Herth’s fire!” Startled, his gray gelding danced sideways, knocking into the door of the open gate. “Ho, Ballach,” Ronan soothed the beast. “Easy laddie.”


“Take that, you bandy-legged fodere!” a shrill voice sounded from above.


“Crom’s breath, Kella, look what you’ve done,” Alyn blustered, struggling to control his own spooked steed. “Called my brother a bandy-legged deceiver and soaked him through.”


Wiping his hair away from his brow, Ronan spotted the cherub faced perpetrator of the mischief peering over the battlement, eyes spitting fire. Lacking the ripeness of womanhood, Kella’s overall appearance was unremarkable, but she surely lived up to her name with that indomitable warrior spirit, bundled in the innocence of youth. It was an innocence Ronan had never known. The daughter of Glenarden’s champion, Kella O’Toole was like a breath of fresh air. For that Ronan could forgive her more impetuous moments.


“And for what, Milady Kella, do I deserve the title of a bandylegged fool, much less this chilling shower?”


Kella gaped in dismay, speechless, as she took in Ronan’s drenched state. But not for long. “Faith, ’twasn’t meant for you, sir, but for Alyn! ’Tis the likes of him that finds the company of a scullery maid more delicious than mine.”


Ronan cast an amused glance at his youngest brother, who had now turned as scarlet as the banners fluttering overhead.


“Ho, lad, what foolrede have ye been about?” Caden O’Byrne shouted from the midst of the mounted assembly in wait beyond the gate. Fair as the sun with a fiery temperament to match, the second of Tarlach’s sons gave the indignant maid on the rampart a devilish wink.


“’Tis no one’s business but my own,” Alyn protested. “And certainly not that of a demented child.”


“Child, is it?”


Ronan swerved his horse out of range as Kella slung the empty bucket at Alyn. Her aim was hindered by the other girls close at her elbows, and the missile struck the ground an arm’s length away from its intended target.


“I’ll have you know I’m a full thirteen years.”


“Then appeal to me a few years hence when, and if, your Godgiven sense returns,” the youngest O’Byrne replied.


Ronan moved to the cover of the gatehouse and removed his drenched brat. Fortunately, the cloak had caught and shed the main of the attack. Already one of the servants approached with the plain blue one he wore about his business on the estate. Irritating as the mishap was, his lips quirked with humor as his aide helped him don the dry brat. It wasn’t as princely as the O’Byrne colors, but it was more suited to Ronan’s personal taste.


It was no secret that Egan O’Toole’s daughter was smitten with Alyn. With brown hair spun with threads of gold and snapping eyes almost the same incredible shade, she would indeed blossom into a beauty someday. Meanwhile, the champion of Glenarden would do well to pray for maturity to temper Kella’s bellicose manner, so that his daughter might win, rather than frighten, suitors.


Then there was Alyn, who hadn’t sense enough to see a prize in the making. Ronan shook his head. His brother was too involved in living the existence of the carefree youth Ronan had been robbed of the night of the Gowrys bloodfest.


“So, are you now high and dry, Brother?” Caden O’Byrne called to Ronan with impatience.


Ronan’s eyes narrowed. Always coveting what wasn’t his, Caden would like nothing better than to lead the hunt without Ronan. Would God that Ronan could hand over Glenarden and all its responsibilities. But Caden was too rash, a man driven more by passion than thought.


“Have a heart, Beloved,” a golden-haired beauty called down to him from the flock of twittering ladies on the rampart. Caden’s new bride spared Ronan a glance. “Ronan’s had much travail this morning already with the news of the Gowrys raid.”


“Had he as fair and gentle a wife as I, I daresay his humor would be much improved.” Ever the king of hearts, Caden signaled his horse to bow in Lady Rhianon’s direction and blew his wife a kiss.


“No doubt it would, Brother,” Ronan replied.


There was little merit in pointing out that the ambitious Lady Rhianon had first set her sights on him. No loss to Ronan, she seemed to make his more frivolous brother a happy man. The couple enjoyed the same revelry in dance and entertainment, not to mention the bower. Too often, its four walls failed to contain the merriment of their love play. Neither seemed to care that they were the talk of the keep. If anything, they gloried in the gossip and fed it all the more.


Battling down an annoying twinge of envy, Ronan made certain his cloak was fast, then swung up into the saddle again. Alyn’s problems were easier to consider, not to mention more amusing. “Is your wench disarmed, Alyn?” Ronan shouted in jest as he left the cover of the gate once again.


Beyond Lady Kella’s tempestuous reach for the moment, Alyn gave him a grudging nod.


Ronan brought his horse alongside his siblings, facing the gatehouse of the outer walls, where Tarlach O’Byrne would address the gathering. Like Alyn’s, Caden’s countenance was one of eagerness and excitement. How Ronan envied them both for their childhood. He longed to get away from the bitterness that festered within the walls of Glenarden. His had been an apprenticeship to a haunted madness.


Tarlach straightened as much as his gnarled and creaking joints would allow. “Remember the prophecy, shons of mine,” he charged them. He raised his withered left arm as high as it would go. It had never regained its former power since the night he’d tried to attack Lady Joanna of Gowrys. Nor had his speech recovered. He slurred his words from time to time, more so in fatigue.


“The Gowrys sheed shall divide your mighty house … shall divide your mighty housh and bring a peace beyond itch ken.”


Ronan knew the words by heart. They were as indelibly etched in his memory as the bloody travesty he’d witnessed through a six-yearold’s eyes. The quote was close, but whether Tarlach’s failing mind or his guilt was accountable for leaving out “peace beyond the ken of your wicked soul,” only God knew. If He cared … or even existed.


“Search every hill, every glen, every tree and shrub. Find the she-wolf and bring back her skin to hang as a trophy in the hall, and her heart to be devoured by the dogs. Take no nun-day repast. The future of Glenarden depends on the Gowrys whelp’s death.”


At the rousing cry of “O’Byrne!” rising from his fellow huntsmen and kin, Ronan turned the dapple gray with the group and cantered to the front, his rightful place as prince and heir. He didn’t believe the girl child had survived these last twenty years, much less that she’d turned into a she-wolf because of her mother’s sins. Nor did he wallow in hatred like his father.


A shudder ran through him, colder than the water that had drenched him earlier. Ronan looked to the west again, where thick clouds drifted away from the uplands. May he never become so obsessed with a female that his body and soul should waste away from within due to the gnawing of bitterness and fear. Superstitious fear.


On both sides of the winding, rutted road ahead lay rolling fields. Winter’s breath was turning the last vestiges of harvest color to browns and grays. Low, round huts of wattle and daub, limed white and domed with honey-dark thatching, were scattered here and there. Gray smoke circled toward the sky from their peaks. Fat milk cows and chickens made themselves at home, searching for food. Beyond lay the river, teeming with fish enough for all.


Glenarden’s prosperity was enough to satisfy Ronan. Nothing less would do for his clan. The tuath was already his in every manner save the last breath of Tarlach O’Byrne … though Ronan was in no hurry for that. Despite his troublesome tempers, Tarlach had been as good a father as he knew how, breaking the fosterage custom to rear his firstborn son under his own eye. A hard teacher, he’d been, yet fair—equal with praise as with criticism.


“You are the arm I lost, lad,” Tarlach told him again and again, especially when the drink had its way with him. “The hope and strength of Glenarden.”


~~~~~


Ronan humored the old man as much as followed his orders. At midday, instead of stopping as usual for the nun repast, he paused for neither rest nor food for his men. They ate on the move—the fresh bread and cheese in the sacks provided by the keep’s kitchen. The higher into the hills they went, the sharper the wind whipped through the narrow pass leading to the upper lakelands. Ronan was thankful that the former stronghold of the Gowrys wasn’t much farther.


“Faith, ’tis colder than witches’ milk,” Caden swore from the ranks behind Ronan.


“Witches’ milk?” the naive Alyn protested. “What would you know of such things?”


“A good deal more than a pup not yet dry behind the ears. ’Tis a fine drink on a hot summer day.”


“Or for the fever,” Egan O’Toole chimed in.


His poorly disguised snicker raised suspicion in the youth. “They play me false, don’t they, Ronan?”


“Aye, ask our elder brother, lad,” Caden remarked in a dry voice. “He has no sense of humor.”


Somber, Ronan turned in his saddle. “I have one, Brother, but my duties do not afford me much use of it. As for your question, lad,” he said to their younger brother, who rode next to Caden, “there’s no such thing as witches, so there can be no witches’ milk.”


“What about the Lady Joanna?” Alyn asked. “She was a witch.”


“Think, lad,” Ronan replied. “If she’d truly possessed magic, would she or her kin have died? It was love and jealousy that addled Father.”


“But love is magic, little brother,” Caden put in. “Make no mistake.”


“’Tis also loud enough to set tongues wagging all over the keep,” Alyn piped up. He grinned at the round of raucous laughter that rippled around them at Caden’s expense.


But Caden showed no shame. “That’s the rejoicing, lad.” He turned to the others. “Methinks our Lady Kella has little to fret over as yet.” With a loud laugh, he clapped their red-faced little brother on the back.


Rather than allow the banter to prick or lift an already sore humor, Ronan focused on the first few flakes of snow already whirling in and about the pass ahead of them and the nightmare that already had begun. Twenty years before, this very pass had been just as cold and inhospitable. With possible flurries blowing up, Ronan had no inclination to prolong the outing.


The crannog, or stockaded peninsula, was now little more than a pile of rubble rising out of the lake water’s edge. Cradled by overgrown fields and thick forest on three quarters of its periphery, the

lake itself was as gray as the winter sky. On the fourth was the jut of land upon which Llas of Gowrys had restored an ancient broch, bracing it against the rise of the steep crag at its back. With no regard for what had been, yellow spots of gorse had taken root here and there in the tumble of blackened stone.


Ronan could still smell the blaze, hear the shrieks of the dying.Ignoring the curdling in the pit of his stomach, a remnant of the fear and horror a six-year-old dared not show, Ronan dispersed the group. “Egan, you and Alyn take your men and search north of the lake. Caden, take the others and search the south. When I sound the horn, everyone should make haste back here. The sooner we return to warm hearths and full noggins of ale, the better.”


“I want to go with you,” Alyn declared, sidling his brown pony next to Ronan’s gray.


“I intend to stay here in the cover of yon ledge and build a fire,” Ronan informed him, “but you are welcome to join me.”


“I think not.”


Alyn’s expression of disdain almost made Ronan laugh.


“What if a raiding party of Gowrys happens upon you?” Caden spoke up. A rare concern knit his bushy golden brows.


“Then I shall invite them to the fire for a draught of witch’s milk.”


Caden laughed out loud. His square-jawed face, bristling with the golden shadow of his great mane of hair, was handsome by even a man’s standard. “I misjudged you, Brother. I stand corrected on the account of humor but would still hold that you act too old for your twenty-six years.”


“The Gowrys aren’t given to visiting the place where they were so soundly trounced … and I’m no more than a horn’s blow from help, should my sword not suffice,” Ronan pointed out.


He had no taste for this nonsense. What he craved most at the moment was the peace that followed after the others rode off, whooping and beating their shields lest the spirits of the slain accost them.

The hush of the falling snow and the still testimony of the ruins were at least a welcome change from the ribald and oft querulous babble of the hall. Time alone, without demand, was to be savored, even in this ungodly cold and desolate place. All he had to do was keep the memories at bay.


A movement from just above a hawthorn thicket near the base of the cliff caught Ronan’s eye, raising the hackles on the back of his neck. With feigned nonchalance, he brushed away the snow accumulating on his leather-clad thigh and scanned the gray slope of rock as it donned the thickening winter white veil. Nothing.


At least, he’d thought he’d seen something. A flash of white, with a tail—mayhaps a large dog. Beneath him, the gelding shivered. With a whinny, he sidestepped, tossing his black mane as if to confirm that he sensed danger as well. A wolf?


Drawing his sword in one hand, Ronan brought the horse under control with a steadying tone. “Easy, Ballach, easy.”


The speckled horse quieted, his muscles as tense as Ronan’s clenched jaw. The scene before him was still, like that of a tapestry. At his gentle nudge, the horse started around shore toward the high stone cliff. Dog, wolf, or man, Ronan was certain the steel of his blade was all the protection he’d need.

©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. Healer by Linda Windsor. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.




My first Linda Windsor novel and it will NOT be my last. This book was fantastic!

You are thrust into the lives of the Gowrys and O'Byrnes immediately! I love that in this book because it sets up the reader for what's to come. The pace is set from the beginning.

Brenna and her white wolf Faol find a man in the snow and have no idea who he is. All she knows is she is a healer and must do what she is called to do.

Ronan awakens over the course of a number of days in a cave with a woman his father believes can change into a white wolf. He is in and out of consciousness during this time and can't distinguish if a white wolf is licking him or a woman is singing songs to him.

After he heals, Ronan and Brenna learn about each other and begin to have feelings for each other. Ronan knows he has a secret that must be shared at some point, but when. Brenna doesn't believe she'll ever be able to leave her cave as long as the O'Byrne family wants to see her dead.

The "magical" world of King Arthur is brought to life through Healer, although Arthur isn't really part of this story. The characters are so strong and compelling. As a reader I was absolutely sucked into their world.

At first I thought this was going to be a Young Adult novel, maybe because of the cover, but I think the passion level in the book would be more than I would let my teen daughters read. When it comes to my girls, I am a total prude! I have to say, the passion is between married couples and it's not discriptive...much. Not exactly sure how to put it. Maybe for late teens? There was nothing wrong with it, just that I wouldn't consider it YA.

I think the ending was the part that got me the most. I was like, "YES!" I felt like I was being touched by the Spirit! It was sooo cool! I wish more writing was like this. I loved how scripture was used throughout the story.

Linda has questions at the end of the book in case you want to use the book in a book club. David Cook knows how to add to a book with glossaries, explaining who the characters are and how their related, etc.

I can't wait to read the next book in the series!!


 
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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.