Echoes of Mercy

By: Kim Vogel Sawywer

Caroline (Carrie) Lang is sent to a Chocolate factory in Sinclair, Kansas to investigate after an accident that kills her co-worker. Carrie ends up befriending the owner’s son unknowingly, Oliver Dinsmore. Ollie is working undercover in the factory to get to know the factory inside and out. With an immediate attraction, they begin wondering how they can do the job they came there for and not become distracted. Distraction soon comes for them though when the child Miss Lang befriended needs help. The child continues to draw them closer together, yet make them realize how different they truly are. Realizing the two are getting close Gordon Hightower suspect something is going on. He can’t risk them digging too much and ruining his future. After the child and her brothers go missing, Carrie and Ollie team up to not only find the children but to find the truth about the happenings of the factory. Will they find the children? Will Gordon Hightower take care of things before his plot is ruined, or will devastation change Carrie forever? Pick up Echoes of Mercy for a read that will have you hooked immediately.

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Uninvited

When I started this book I really wasn’t sure what to expect from it. I’ve read several Christian lifestyle books before but they have been about marriage, family or parenting. I honestly wasn’t sure I’d actually like it much. The first chapter focuses a lot of self rejection and how this behavior opens the door for others to hurt us to our core. This is the first book I’ve actually written in, but I found my self underlining phrases that really spoke to me. The very first being “Rejection steals the best of who I am by reinforcing the worst of what’s been said to me.” It’s so true, often we are so negative towards ourselves that if someone else says something small, not intending to hurt us, they actually hurt the deepest parts of our soul. Which also led to “Broken boards can’t provide stability you cannot expect stability from a broken identity.” This really shook me, I felt like I was reading about my own childhood. I come from a broken home filled with addictions, I somehow lost myself along the way. She states that even if a man is physically there but they are emotionally absent it can leave you feeling hollow, unwanted and helpless. These men are often the ones closest to you, for example your father, husband, close friends, it’s the men you have a relationship with and respect. Yet she reminds us that while others may disappoint and leave us, God never will. If we live from the abundant place that we are loved, you won’t find yourself begging others for scraps of love.
We often find ourselves in a crowded room feeling completely alone. This is a big fear for many people, and a feeling we have felt often. But we need to be full of God’s love, because God’s love will settle those fears, empower us and help bring out the best of who we are. As she says on page 51, The more fully we invite God in, the less we will feel uninvited by others. There are moments when reading this book that you will feel that the words smack you right between the eyes, this happened the moment I read, “Bitterness, resentment and anger have no place in a heart as beautiful as yours.” You truly need to bring the fullness of God into all situations, no matter how hard they are. He will guide you through them.
Lysa shows us that we can actually use our past rejections to help others, and that someone else’s success does not in fact threaten us. If we continue to look at everything negatively it not only affects us, but also affects those around us. As a woman of God you cannot walk in victory and continue live in defeat and rejection. We have a plan for our life, but what God has planned is so much more than we could ever imagine.
Chapter 12 is by far my favorite chapter. She begins telling us that the Devil is vicious but he is not victorious. Explaining the three ways that God says Satan will come after us. That he will strive to distract you from your relationship with God. All we have to do is trust God though, because Satan is no match for God’s promises. As Lysa said, “Promises don’t tame the lion; they shame the lion back to hell.” Through the entire book she is so relatable, you can apply every lesson to your own life. She truly helps you realize that rejection and defeat are not our final destination, because God will always love us. There is a very powerful message in this book, and for you to fully grasp it, you need to pick this book up and spend time really reading it.

New Year, Better you

This time of year I often hear people setting their New Years resolutions, and it has really made me think this year.
Some of the more common I have heard:
*I’m going to lose x amount of weight
* I’m going to eat better
*I’ll go to the gym
*I won’t drink so much
*I’m giving up pop
The list just continues to go on, but one thing I’ve realized is I never hear, I will grow closer to God. I will read my bible everyday, I will pray every day. Most people I’m sure would say they could improve their relationship with the Lord somehow. I’m not saying you should make these your New Years resolutions, lets face it most of those are forgotten about in a week. Instead make a promise. Sit down and pray for guidance, let God lead you to what you need to do to grow closer to him. I personally do have my favorites, and maybe they can help inspire you too.

1. Bible Reading:
I find it relaxing to sit down with a cup of coffee and my Bible. What better way to become closer to the Lord than by reading the book that is here to Guide you through everything in Life! I also prefer to have more than one version with me when reading. I like to read the NIV Bible, but when something sticks out to me I also go and re-read it in my KJV. I mark scripture in both bibles and write little notes. Even if it’s just a few minutes a day, pick up your bible, I bet it makes your day better too.

2. Bible Study:
You can participate in a Bible Study in many ways. There are often groups available at your church, you can order individual studies, or you can participate in online studies. The current Bible Study I’m doing is the book of Ephesians, however next week we will start the Present over Perfect study, this is a dvd/study guide package. If you would like to join us you can go to my home page for the link to purchase this. I try to keep the studies affordable, and will bounce between ordering materials or picking a book in the bible and studying it daily.

3. Reading:
I love to read, which is also why I offer reviews on here. I read a lot of Christian books that are Fiction, Lifestyle books, Parenting, Marriage, and family books. Tony Evans, Pricilla Shirer, and Stormie Omartian  are a few of my favorites when it comes to Christian marriage, parenting and family books. My husband and I have recently started the Kingdom series by Tony Evans. We have the couples devotional, Kingdom Man and Woman, Raising Kingdom Kids and The Resolutions for both Men and Women. I will admit this is also why I haven’t been putting out reviews almost daily, I am currently reading at least 2 books at a time. For those of you that travel for work, I would suggest getting audio books to listen to in the car.

4. Devotionals
A daily devotional is a great way to get the good word and doesn’t take much time. If you are married I would suggest a couples devotional. We really like the Kingdom Marriage, it has a  very short daily passage and then follows up with 3 questions for you and your spouse to answer. Quiet times for couples is another favorite of ours, and we recently received the Love Dare devotional so we are excited to begin that one too. My husband enjoys the Duck Commander devotional and my daughter likes her 3 Minute Devotional for little girls. I personally use the Daily Wisdom for Women everyday in addition to my couples devotionals.

My point is that there isn’t one set way to do a little more. Without my faith I’m not sure how I would have gotten through the holidays. I used to shut down when grieving. I’m not saying that the depression didn’t creep in and make me want to crawl in a hole, it did. But I prayed, over and over, for strength and peace. I knew I needed to be there for others as well and we needed to lean on each other. My husband played a big roll in helping me through it. He dropped everything and stayed with me, he prayed with me, and was there when I needed to just cry.  1 Corinthians 13:2 really stood out to me ( If I have the gift of prophesy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. ) Without love you truly have nothing, and one thing that I realized I am truly blessed with is the ability to love so many people and have so many people who love me. Love and the Lord  is what got me through the holidays this year. If that’s not blessed then I don’t know what is.

God Bless and travel safely home!

Struggles and Prayers

I originally planned on writing about christian families and how you can grow in your faith together. But the last few days have been a struggle for myself and my family. In these moments it is easy to become angry towards God, although I have been angry its more at the situation. I find that at these times it is best to pick up your bible. People often complain there is no guide to life, yet right there in front of us there is. The Bible has the answers, you just need to pick it up. Not sure how to pray? Use the scripture to guide you. Spend time everyday studying your bible. I spend time everyday with my devotional, using both my KJV and NIV Bible to dive a little further into that scripture, a daily scripture study, weekly bible study and reading a christian based book (which you can usually find my reviews for on here also). When life becomes too much to handle, and you feel like you have lost it all, turn to God and pray. He will see you through it, it may not be how you want or expect but he will see you through it, you just need to have faith in him. So today as I pray for comfort and guidance for my family, I will also pray for all of you. I pray that you will find comfort in the Lord, and be open to his guidance, that we fulfill the destiny he has set for us all.

 

*Just a little sidenote on today: I will be receiving the bible study materials for Present over Perfect by tomorrow hopefully and will begin preparing for this study. I truly hope you all are able to join us in this study. There is a link on the homepage that provides a source you can purchase this. I’m excited to start this one!
I also will be receiving an autographed copy of a popular new book that has recently come out, I cannot wait to read it, post a review and it will also possibly be one of our next studies!

*Thank you for joining me today and God Bless*

Crazy little thing called Love

Grab some hot tea and a blanket because Beth K. Vogt captures your heart with this book. Vanessa is a paramedic, engaged to a handsome E.R. Doctor Ted. But ghost of her past soon become reality while planning her wedding. Going back to Florida where her family lived while her father was in the military renews relationships she thought were long forgotten.  After swimming to a kids rescue she comes face to face with Logan, her high school sweetheart, and ex-husband. They were married two short years due to the complications of young romance, storm chasing and different plans. Once she was done planning her wedding with high school friend, and matron of honor, Mindy, things soon become chaos. A hurricane hits the Gulf coast leaving Logan and Vanessa stranded in Florida, and as luck would have it, at the same shelter. Leaving a mess to clean up, they are soon thrown together again helping an elderly couple they both once adored and “for old time sake” soon becomes the question. While reminiscing Vanessa begins to wonder, is there such thing as a second chance? That is until Ted surprises her, finding her on the back of Logan’s motorcycle. Once the man that was always calm and collected suddenly became a man she no longer recognized. Vanessa soon realized it was time to turn to God and ask for help. Does prayer and guidance help her? Will Logan ever leave the storm chasing? Will Ted forgive her and what happens to the wedding in April? Curl up and get comfortable because you won’t want to put this book down. I am excited to read more from Beth.

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A Table by the Window

Hillary Manton Lodge has a wonderful ability of capturing her readers from the very start of this book. She combines food and romance leaving you hungry for more. Food descriptions leaving you salivating while picturing that perfect dish, thankfully she does include those wonderful recipes. Juliette D’Alisa is a thriving food journalist who longs to go back the restaurant career she once had. Her past relationship with her brothers sous-chef leaves her cautious though. Her romance gone wrong ruined the L’uccello Blu, or so she thinks. Everything changes though when she begins going through her grandmothers belongings and finds a mysterious photograph. Noticing familiarity in the man she begins searching for answers. She soon finds a past full of secret love affairs and truths that will change everything. Struggling to keep the mystery from her family, everything becomes much harder when her mother announces she is ill. Juliette finds an unexpected friendship in a Immunologist in Memphis but as she continues to confide in him a romance begins to blossom. Can a long distance relationship work, or does she risk the new restaurant for yet another sous-chef? Would it be worth the risk leaving journalism behind and teaming with her brother to start another restaurant? Who is this mysterious man and why was he so important to her grandmother? Dive into this enchanting book to be swept away with the amazing recipes, nosy siblings and a swoon worthy romance. I know that reading Reservations for Two, the second book in the series simply cannot come soon enough.