Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Secretly Smitten



Here is my review of this enjoyable anthology:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt and Denise Hunter and their publisher for sending me a copy of "Secretly Smitten" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.
“Secretly Smitten” is the second anthology of novellas taking place in the romantic destination town of Smitten, Vermont.  In this set of four love stories, a common thread of mystery is woven through the tales of love.  The Grandmother of three of our leading ladies apparently has a past which is exposed in the form of a set of military issue dog tags found in Grandma’s attic that do not belong to their deceased Grandfather.  These entertaining stories come together beautifully and offer hours of heartwarming entertainment.

***“Love Between the Lines” by Colleen Coble.  Tess owns the Smitten bookstore and Ryan is a widowed single Dad who brings his daughter, Sophia, in for story time and to browse the books.  Perhaps Tess and Ryan have a story of their own to write.

****“Make Me a Match” by Kristin Billerbeck.  Zoe is just starting her own business as a matchmaker when William, the new City Manager, walks into a ladder in front of Zoe’s store.  As Michael discovers that Zoe has committed several infractions while trying to open her business, it becomes clear that Zoe is stealing Michael’s heart as well, and this traveling man may be contemplating “staying put” in Smitten.

****“Knit One, Love Two” by Diann Hunt.  Anna Thomas is the Mom of our three other protagonists, and convinced that she has had her chance at love and it left a long time ago with the girls’ father.  But this knitting shop owner may have to reconsider when retired U.S. Marine, Michael, moves to Smitten to care for his ailing mother and winds up needing some help, himself.

****“Love Blooms” by Denise Hunter.  Clare has worked at the local flower nursery since high school and has a real knack for garden design and plant choice which keeps her customers coming back.  Ethan shows up looking for a job and ends up finding a love that he didn’t know his heart was looking for.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Juice Lady's Juices and Smoothies

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:

Siloam (January 8, 2013)

***Special thanks to Althea Thompson for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cherie Calbom, MS, is the author of The Juice Lady’s Turbo Diet, The Juice Lady’s Living Foods Revolution, and Juicing for Life, which has nearly two million books in print in the United States. Known as “The Juice Lady” for her work with juicing and health, Cherie has taped HealthWatch for CNN and scores of TV and radio shows and has appeared in Shape, First for Women, Women’s World, Men’s Journal,Vogue, Quick & Simple, Marie Claire, and Elle Canada. Cherie earned a master’s degree in nutrition from Bastyr University, where she now serves on the Board of Regents, and has practiced as a clinical nutritionist at St. Luke Medical Center in Bellevue, Washington.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Juice and smoothies are sweeping the nation! Why? They’re fruity, delicious, easy to make, and packed with powerful nutrition. It’s no wonder everyone is enjoying the convenience and great taste of these healthy meal and snack alternatives. Bring your blender or juicing machine into the twenty-first century with the most updated versions of Cherie’s recipes to be found anywhere—more than just refreshment, these recipes enhance your energy and boost your mental and physical health.


Product Details:
List Price: $17.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Siloam (January 8, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 162136030X
ISBN-13: 978-1621360308



AND NOW...THE INTRODUCTION AND A FEW GREAT RECIPES! CLICK ON RECIPE PICTURES TO SEE THEM LARGER:



The Juice Lady’s Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies

Introduction

MORE AND MORE celebrities, athletes, and people of all ages and walks of life are turning to juicing and green smoothies to lose weight and to improve their overall health. Why? Because they have found that juicing is changing their lives—giving them more energy, better sleep, stronger immune systems, brighter skin, and a younger appearance. It’s even helping their bodies heal from a variety of ailments. Below is a testimony I received recently from someone who has read my books and come to me for counseling.

It’s been about a month since you last spoke with me. You may not remember me because you talk with so many people. But I will never forget you. I told you about the more than fifty pounds of fluid I had retained. Using both natural and medical prescriptions, I had not been able to get rid of that fluid. I have also not been absorbing my food. You told me not to worry about my diet because I already had a healthy one but to add a green juice drink with every meal. About three weeks before I spoke with you I started drinking pure cranberry juice every day, and that was helping with the fluid. Over the three weeks I lost fifteen pounds, but I would bounce back and forth with my weight. When I added the green juice drinks, it put my body in high gear. I have lost thirty pounds. The water weight is literally just falling off of me.

You have no idea how much better I am feeling. I have energy and can physically work. I have not had energy or felt good since my last baby was born twenty-five years ago. I have not been able to push my body to work for the last five years. Now I am splitting firewood and stacking it. I shoveled rock for our drainage system in our yard. I can clean my own house again. Yesterday I cleaned house and stacked two cords of firewood. If you haven’t stacked firewood, let me tell you, that’s a lot of wood. And I can walk again. For the last two years I have been fighting just to walk up and down my short driveway, feeling totally exhausted and in pain afterward. Now I am easily walking a mile and have energy to burn. I feel great and have no pain when I’m finished. And my fibromyalgia pain is almost gone.
For the last five years I have been fighting to stay alive.
Now for the first time in years I feel alive. I am no longer on Lasix and have cut back most of my nutritional supplements. I was taking over $500 worth of supplements a month, and it was bankrupting us. Last year my doctor told me to apply for disability because my body was dying. I could no longer function. The naturopathic physician I used to work for told me that my husband and I needed to accept the fact that my body was dying. He told us to purchase better health insurance and prepare for the worst. I wish he could see me now.

Long story short, Cherie, I am so grateful to you for taking the time to talk with me. I know you probably hear stories like mine all the time, but for me it’s new and life saving. Thanks for pointing me to the path of life. You have been one of God’s blessings and a lifesaver in the most literal sense of the word.

I hope her story encourages you to juice every day. With more than four hundred delicious recipes, The Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies can help you change your life, just as juicing has changed the lives of thousands of people who have adopted this plan for themselves—people just like me. My life changed years ago when I discovered the healing, vitality-producing power of freshly made juices and raw and whole foods.

Sick, Tired, and Completely Toxic

I sat by the window in my father’s home in Colorado staring at the snow-topped mountains in the distance, imagining that people were enjoying the hiking trails; perhaps someone was climbing the mountain that day. It was early June and a beautiful, sunny Colorado day. I wished I had the strength to just walk around the block. But I was too sick and tired—I could barely walk around the house. I had been sick for a couple of years and just kept getting worse. “Would I ever be well again?” I wondered.

I had to quit my job when I turned thirty. I had chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia that made me so sick I couldn’t work. I felt as though I had a flu that just wouldn’t go away. I was lethargic and constantly feverish with swollen glands. I was also in nonstop pain. My body ached as though I’d been bounced around in a washing machine.

I had moved back to my father’s home in Colorado to try and recover, but not one doctor could tell me what I should do to improve my health. So I browsed around some health food stores, talked with employees, and read a few books. I decided that everything I’d been doing was tearing down my health rather than healing my body. When I read about juicing and whole foods, it made sense. So I bought a juicer and designed a program I could follow.

I began my health program with a five-day vegetable juice fast. On the fifth day my body expelled a tumor the size of a golf ball. I was totally surprised that in five days this amazing result could take place. I never did have the tumor tested because I was too taken back and overwhelmed by the event. I just flushed it away.

I then continued to juice every day and ate a nearly perfect diet of live and whole foods for three months. There were ups and downs throughout. On some days I felt encouraged that I was making some progress, but on other days I felt worse. Those days made me wonder if good health was an elusive dream. I didn’t realize I was experiencing detox reactions—no one had told me about them. I was very toxic, and my body was cleansing away all the stuff that had made me sick.

But one morning I woke up around 8:00 a.m., which was early for me, without an alarm sounding off. I felt like someone had given me a new body in the night. I had so much energy I actually wanted to
exercise. What had happened? This new feeling of good health and vitality had just appeared with the morning sun. Actually, my body had been healing all along; it just had not manifested fully until that day. I felt such a wonderful sense of being alive! I looked and felt completely renewed.

With my juicer in tow and a new lifestyle fully embraced, I returned to Southern California and my friends a couple weeks later to finish writing my first book. For nearly a year it was “ten steps forward” with great health and more energy and stamina than I’d ever remembered. Then all of a sudden I took a giant step back.


The Night I’ll Never Forget

The Fourth of July was a beautiful day like so many others in Southern California. I celebrated the holiday with friends at a backyard barbecue. That evening we put on jackets to insulate against the cool evening air and watched fireworks light up the night sky. I returned just before midnight to the house I was sitting for vacationing friends, who lived in a lovely neighborhood not far from some of my family members. After such a full day I was in bed shortly after I arrived at the house.

I woke up shivering some time later wondering why it was so cold. I rolled over to see the clock. It was 3:00 a.m. That’s when I noticed that the door was open to the backyard. “How did that happen?” I thought as I was about to get up to close and lock the door. That’s when I saw him. Crouched in the shadows of the corner of the room was a shirtless young man in shorts. I blinked twice, trying to deny what I was seeing.

Instead of running out the open door, he leaped off the floor and ran toward me. He pulled a pipe from his shorts and began beating me repeatedly over the head and yelling, “Now you are dead!” We fought, or I should say, I tried to defend myself and grab the pipe.

Finally it flew out of his hands. That’s when he choked me to unconsciousness. I felt all life leaving my body. In those last few seconds I knew I was dying. “This is it, the end of my life,” I thought. I felt sad for the people who loved me. Then I felt my spirit leave. It felt as though it just popped out of my body and floated upward. Suddenly everything was peaceful and still. I sensed I was traveling through black space at what seemed like the speed of light. I saw what looked like lights twinkling in the distance.

But all of a sudden I was back in my body, outside the house, clinging to a fence at the end of the dog run. I don’t know how I got there. I screamed for help with all the energy I had. It was my third scream that took all my strength. I felt it would be my last breath. Each time I screamed, I passed out and landed on the cement. I then had to pull myself up again. But this time a neighbor heard me and sent her husband to help. Before long I was on my way to the hospital.

Lying on a cold gurney at 4:30 a.m., chilled to the bone, in and out of consciousness, I tried to assess my injuries, which was virtually impossible. When I looked at my right hand, I almost passed out again. My ring finger was hanging on by a small piece of skin. My hand was split open, and I could see deep inside. The next thing I knew I was being wheeled off to surgery. Later I learned that I had suffered serious injuries to my head, neck, back, and right hand, with multiple head wounds and part of my scalp torn from my head. I also incurred numerous cracked teeth, which led to several root canals and crowns months later.

My right hand sustained the most severe injuries. Two of my knuckles were crushed to mere bone fragments and had to be held together with three metal pins. Several months after the attack I still couldn’t use my hand. The cast I wore, which had bands holding up the ring finger that had almost been torn from my hand and various odd-shaped molded parts, looked like something from a science fiction movie. I felt and looked worse than hopeless. The top of my head was shaved, and my eyes were totally red and swollen. I had a gash on my face, a weird-looking right hand, terrorizing fear, and barely enough energy to get dressed in the morning.

I was an emotional wreck. I couldn’t sleep at night—not even a minute. It was torturous. I was staying with a cousin and his family, so there was no need to worry about safety from a practical point of view, but that made no difference to me emotionally. I’d lie in bed all night and stare at the ceiling or the bedroom door. I had five lights that I kept on all night. I’d try to read, but my eyes would sting. I could sleep only for a little while during the day.

But the worst part was the pain in my soul that nearly took my breath away. All the emotional pain of the attack joined with the pain and trauma of my past to create an emotional tsunami. My past had been riddled with loss, trauma, and anxiety. My brother died when I was two. My mother died of cancer when I was six. I couldn’t remember much about her death—the memories seemed blocked. But my cousin said I fainted at her funeral. That told me a lot.

I lived for the next three years with my maternal grandparents and father. But Grandpa John, the love of my life, died when I was nine. That loss was very hard. Four years later my father was involved in a very tragic situation that would take far too long to discuss here, but to sum it up—it was horrific. He was no longer in my daily life. I felt terrified about my future. My grandmother was eighty-six. I had no idea how much longer she would live. The next year I moved to Oregon to live with an aunt and uncle until I graduated from high school.

As you can probably imagine, wrapped in my soul was a huge amount of anguish and pain—it felt like gaping holes in my heart. It took every ounce of my will, faith, and trust in God; deep spiritual work; alternative medical help; extra vitamins and minerals; vegetable juicing; emotional release; healing prayer; and numerous detox programs to heal physically, mentally, and emotionally. I met a nutritionally minded physician who had healed his own slow-mending broken bones with lots of vitamin-mineral IVs. He gave me similar IVs. Juicing, cleansing, nutritional supplements, a nearly perfect diet, prayer, and physical therapy helped my bones and other injuries heal.



After following this regimen for about six months, what my hand surgeon said would be impossible became real. My hand was fully restored and fully functional. He had told me I’d never use my right hand again, and that it wasn’t even possible to implant plastic knuckles because of its poor condition. But my knuckles did indeed re-form primarily through prayer, and my hand function returned. A day came when the surgeon told me I was completely healed, and though he admitted he didn’t believe in miracles, he said, “You’re the closest thing I’ve seen to one.”

It was a miracle! I had a useful right hand again, and my career in writing was not over as I thought it would be. In the end it seemed my inner wounds were the most severe and the hardest to heal. Nevertheless, they mended too. I experienced healing from the painful memories and trauma of the attack and the wounds from the past through prayer, laying-on of hands, and deep emotional healing work.

I call them the kitchen angels—the ladies who prayed for me around their kitchen tables week after week until my soul was restored. It seemed I cried endless buckets of tears that had been pent up in my soul. It all needed release. Forgiveness and letting go came in stages and was an integral part of my total healing. I had to be honest about what I really felt and be willing to face the pain and toxic emotions confined inside, and then let them go. Finally, one day after a long, long journey—I felt free. A time came when I could celebrate the Fourth of July without fear.


A New Beginning

When I look back to that first day in the hospital after many hours of surgery, it’s amazing to me that I made it. My hand was resting in a sling hanging above my head. It was wrapped with so much stuff it looked like George Foreman’s boxing glove. My face had a big cut running down the left side, and my eyes were red—very little whites. A maintenance man came into my room for a repair and did a double take. He asked if I’d been hit by a truck! He was serious. I felt like I had. As I lay there alone with tears streaming down my face, I asked God if He could bring something good out of this horror. I needed something to hang on to.

My prayer was answered. Eventually I knew my purpose was to love people to life through my writing, juicing, and nutritional information— to help them find their way to health and healing. If I could recover from all that had happened to me, they could too. No matter what anyone faced, there was hope.


Juice Recipes for Health and Healing

In the pages that follow, you’ll discover a wide variety of juices for every possible need and occasion. I have basic juice recipes for those who are getting started and want something simple. There are yummy fruit juice recipes for those with picky palates who want the sweet taste of fruit. Green juices are my favorite and offer the most nutrition; you’ll find a big selection of green juice recipes to choose from.

Check out the chapter on juice remedies and rejuvenators for juice combos that address what ails you. And I think you’ll really like the gourmet juice chapter that has a lot of unique combinations and delicious drinks. There’s also the green smoothie chapter with one hundred smoothie recipes and great combinations. And I also included my old favorites from The Juice Lady’s Turbo Diet and The Juice Lady’s Living Foods Revolution. Have fun trying some new and unusual combinations. There’s a lot to choose from with more than four hundred recipes.

And if you’re struggling with your health, there is hope for you, no matter what health challenges you face. Never, ever give up. There’s a purpose for your life, just as there was for mine. You need to be healthy and strong to complete your purpose. To that end, The Juice Lady’s Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies can help you live your life to the fullest. My hope is that this book of delicious recipes will truly inspire you to juice each and every day and that you will experience firsthand the healing, rejuvenating power of fresh juice and green smoothies.












Here's my review of this terrific book:


First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Cherie Calbom and her publisher for sending me a copy of "The Juice Lady's Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

“The Juice Lady’s Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies:  More than 400 simple, delicious recipes!” by Cherie Calbom is an incredible recipe book that also educates about the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables.  This is more than a collection of recipes.  It is an educational read that will enable the reader to come up with their own juicing concoctions based on the individual’s desired nutrition.  I can’t wait to try several recipes that I’ve flagged based on desired results.

When I was undergoing cancer treatment a few years ago, this is the book I was looking for.  It is written by a nutritionist who understands the value of receiving nutrition from foods and how those nutrients affect the body.  It’s too bad I didn’t have this book back then.  But I thank God that I have it, now.  This book would be near perfect if it would only clean up my kitchen after I make my juice.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bible Study: Be Strong and Courageous - Joshua Chapter 23

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Joshua, although they are a bit better formatted than former efforts. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses and encourages you through this material. I’m not sure of the condition of the world at the time of this publication. But at the time of its writing, summer 2009, things are looking increasingly bleak with the economy and unemployment, there is a renewal and increase of racism, and godly principles of living being disregarded. Are these the first stages of birth pains? The last? God only knows. And He is very busy these days. Stay strong and very courageous. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming to deliver His people and judge the wicked…

Stacey


Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapter 23 of the Old Testament book of Joshua. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

23:1-5 – A long time passes, Joshua is old and Israel still has enemies to conquer.

23:6-13 – Be very strong. We haven’t heard this in a while. Israel is instructed to love God and He will continue to battle for them.




• The book of Joshua teaches us many things including the fact that we must pursue a relationship with the Lord for ourselves rather than leaning on others’ relationships with Him. Joshua followed Moses as leader of Israel, after all. What have you learned and applied to your life from today’s reading that will help you persevere in your relationship with Christ?
• How do you observe God proving to Israel that He is with Joshua as He was with Moses in today’s text? How does it apply to your own life and relationship with Him?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Crown Financial Bible Study – Week Nine – Perspective


What I learned from the homework – This week, we begin drafting our will.  It was quite interesting to do research to find examples of Christian preambles for inclusion in my will.  I could not find any Christian wills online, but I remember my BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) Teaching Leader mentioning the will of JP Morgan during a lecture last year, so I looked it up again.  Take the time to look it up yourself.  As a Christian, we can include a testimony in our last will and testament that leaves a legacy to our children and has the potential to bless everyone within earshot!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Bible Study: Be Strong and Courageous - Joshua Chapter 22

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Joshua, although they are a bit better formatted than former efforts. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses and encourages you through this material. I’m not sure of the condition of the world at the time of this publication. But at the time of its writing, summer 2009, things are looking increasingly bleak with the economy and unemployment, there is a renewal and increase of racism, and godly principles of living being disregarded. Are these the first stages of birth pains? The last? God only knows. And He is very busy these days. Stay strong and very courageous. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming to deliver His people and judge the wicked…

Stacey


Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapter 22 of the Old Testament book of Joshua. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

22:1-9 – Joshua blesses the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh and sends them home across the river.

22:1-5 – see Deuteronomy 3:18-20; Joshua 1:1-18.

22:10 – The three eastern tribes built an imposing altar by the Jordan.

22:11-12 – When the remaining tribes heard about the altar, they gathered together to go to war against them.

22:13-16 – A delegation was sent to ask why they rebelled against God by building the altar.

22:17 – What was the sin of Peor? See Numbers 25:1-9. This was when Israel was seduced by Moab.

22:19 – the Lord’s land – Shiloh.

22:20 – Achan took things that were devoted to the Lord and he and his family were destroyed. See 7:1-26.

22:24 – The three tribes declare they didn’t build the altar in rebellion, but as a testimony that they are part of the community of the Lord. They didn’t want to be accused of being outsiders because they were located on the other side of the Jordan River.

22:34 – the altar was named “A Witness Between Us that the Lord is God.”




• The book of Joshua teaches us many things including the fact that we must pursue a relationship with the Lord for ourselves rather than leaning on others’ relationships with Him. Joshua followed Moses as leader of Israel, after all. What have you learned and applied to your life from today’s reading that will help you persevere in your relationship with Christ?
• How do you observe God proving to Israel that He is with Joshua as He was with Moses in today’s text? How does it apply to your own life and relationship with Him?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Crown Financial Bible Study – Week Eight – Investing


What I learned from the homework – Ants are wise:  storing up food in times of prosperity for use in leaner seasons.  Just like the story of Joseph and Pharaoh’s dream of fat cows and lean cows…

What I learned from our class discussion – We need to do our homework on our investments and not put all of our eggs in one basket.  We need to diversify our investments.  But, most importantly, we need to trust God more than the investments we choose.  Ultimately, all prosperity comes from Him!

What I learned from watching the video – It was suggested that, once the student reaches Destination 4 on the Money Map, they begin to save and invest regularly.

Changes I have made/need to make – I haven’t been terribly faithful with the saving part, but my investing part more than makes up for it.  However, since my investing is mostly in a work-sponsored 401(k) that can’t be touched until retirement age, I need to increase my habit of saving to my accounts that can be accessed readily.

Memorizing Scripture – Memorizing Proverbs 21:5 brought more to mind than just finances.  In fact, “steady plodding brings prosperity” reminded me of my journey through cancer treatment in 2010.  When I was that frightened, my focus was honed on God so intensely and I gripped Him so tightly that I just let Him lead and kept putting one foot in front of the other until we finished treatment in 2011 and received clean test results.  That steady plodding definitely brought prosperity.  And it was a witness of courageous living to others who were watching me.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Bible Study: Be Strong and Courageous - Joshua Chapter 21

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Joshua, although they are a bit better formatted than former efforts. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses and encourages you through this material. I’m not sure of the condition of the world at the time of this publication. But at the time of its writing, summer 2009, things are looking increasingly bleak with the economy and unemployment, there is a renewal and increase of racism, and godly principles of living being disregarded. Are these the first stages of birth pains? The last? God only knows. And He is very busy these days. Stay strong and very courageous. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming to deliver His people and judge the wicked…

Stacey


Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapter 21 of the Old Testament book of Joshua. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

21:1-3 – The Levites receive towns and pasturelands. Numbers 35:1-8.

21:4-5 – The Kohathites receive land in Judah, Simeon, Benjamin, Ephraim, Dan and Manasseh. The Kohathites were descendants of a man named Kohath. Who was he?

21:6 – The Gershonites receive towns in Issachar, Asher, Naphtali and Manasseh. The Gershonites were descended from a man named Gershon. Who was he?

21:7 – The Merarites receive towns in Reuben, Gad and Zebulun. The Merarites were descended from a man named Merari. Who was he?

21:8 – Why did the Levites receive pasturelands? Did they raise livestock to be used as sacrificial animals? Or to feed themselves? Their meat came from the portion of the sacrifice brought to them by the people. Maybe the pasture fed milking animals?

21:9-26 – These are the cities received by the Kohathites.

21:9-12 – The Kohathites received Kiriath-Arba (Hebron) from Judah, but the fields and villages belonged to Caleb as his special inheritance.

Remember that Hebron is one of the cities of refuge.

21:21 – The Kohathites received Shechem, the city of refuge in Ephraim.

21:27-33 – These are the cities received by the Gershonites.

21:27 – The Gershonites received Golan, the city of refuge in Manasseh.

21:32 – The Gershonites received Kadesh, the city of refuge in Naphtali.

21:34-45 – The towns received by Merari.

21:36 – The Merarites received Bezer, the city of refuge in Reuben.

21:38 – The Merarites received Ramoth, the city of refuge in Gad.

Why do you think the Levites received the cities of refuge? To insure that justice was done? But that would be the job of a judge. To offer counsel? Perhaps. To accept sacrifices of the repentant – especially in the case of accidental manslaughter? Probably. If you have access to maps, try marking these locations.




• The book of Joshua teaches us many things including the fact that we must pursue a relationship with the Lord for ourselves rather than leaning on others’ relationships with Him. Joshua followed Moses as leader of Israel, after all. What have you learned and applied to your life from today’s reading that will help you persevere in your relationship with Christ?
• How do you observe God proving to Israel that He is with Joshua as He was with Moses in today’s text? How does it apply to your own life and relationship with Him?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?

Texas Wildflowers by Anita Higman


First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Anita Higman and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Texas Wildflowers" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.
Anita Higman’s anthology, “Texas Wildflowers” is a touching and engaging collection of four romantic novellas chronicling the lives and loves of the four McBride sisters (Rosy, Lily, Violet and Heather).  This charming book makes for heart-warming reading on a cold winter night.  Just curl up in front of the fireplace with some cocoa and a blanket.  Although each tale felt a bit rushed rather than developed, this got me thinking that this is how the Lord pursues us:  full-throttle and with complete abandon.  Each story is rated individually below.

***After being left at the altar, Rosy McBride returns to Galveston Island to heal in “Everything’s Coming Up Rosy”.  But Rosy’s pity party is interrupted when a long-lost friend declares his feelings of love to this woman who has sworn off romance for good.

***Violet McBride is about to “settle” for a safe love match in “For the Love of Violet”.  Then Morgan Jones shows up on her doorstep – literally.  Is Morgan hiring Violet to teach him how to romance a woman so he can romance her?

****“Forget Me Not Lily” partners therapist Lily McBride with a new patient.  Rubin seeks Lily out when his boss demands that he receive counseling to overcome a past breakup because it is affecting his work.  This novella has several quirky and likable characters that make the pages turn quickly.

*****“Dreaming of Heather” is a beautifully written story about the final McBride sister, Heather, who has just received a rather unique invitation from her neighbor, Evan.  The message of speaking the truth in love is an important lesson for a Christian to learn.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Crown Financial Bible Study – Week Seven – Work


What I learned from the homework – God intended work to be a blessing.  The concept of work was instituted in the Garden of Eden PRIOR to the fall.  So, this should tell us that work wasn’t meant to be a punishment.  Work was made more difficult after the fall, but it was part of God’s plan for man and woman from the beginning.

Re-reading Proverbs 31 has taught me this week that women in the workplace was part of God’s plan.  I have wasted too much time resenting the fact that I have never been able to be a career homemaker.  Now, I can tell you that God has completely orchestrated my career path and every job I’ve ever held.  I have gotten to know Him in unimaginable ways because of work.  And, after experiencing 13 months of unemployment several years ago, I appreciate work so much more.

Changes I have made/need to make – This week significantly impacted our entire class.  Granted, our group is very small, and that lends itself to magnificent discussion.  Personally, I love my job, but sometimes it’s difficult to remember that I work for Christ, and I have to make a point of reminding myself.

Memorizing Scripture – Colossians 3:23-24 teaches us that we serve Christ, not men.  So we should work heartily and passionately and with integrity.  That can be quite challenging at times.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Vanished by Irene Hannon


In her newest romantic-suspense novel, critically-acclaimed author Irene Hannon asks herself what would happen if the victim of a deadly car crash on a secluded country road simply disappeared? Vanished is the gripping first novel in Hannon’s Private Justice series. It opens with a shadowy figure caught in the beam of reporter Moira Harrison’s headlights – followed by a solid thump before she loses control and crashes into a tree. But when Moira regains consciousness, the victim is nowhere to be seen.

The police say the disappearance never happened, but Moira can’t forget the look of sheer terror she saw on the person’s face in the instant it was caught in the glare of her headlights. Now her only hope of discovering the truth is a former police detective turned private eye—and her own investigate skills.

As often happens for Hannon, the genesis of this story came out of the blue, triggered by a simple incident.

Paperback; 336 pages
$14.99; January 2013
978-0-8007-2123-7
“I was driving home from church one rainy night and my headlights fell on a bicyclist on the edge of the narrow road. I swerved to avoid him, thinking what a risk he was taking. Then the wheels in my brain started turning and I began what-iffing. What if a woman was driving alone on a country road and suddenly caught a desperate figure in her headlights? What if she swerved, but hit the figure? What if a stranger appeared out of the darkness to offer assistance before she lost consciousness? What if she woke up and both the stranger and the victim had disappeared? My five-second encounter on that rainy night was the impetus not only for this book, but for my whole Private Justice series, which focuses on situations that have fallen through the cracks of official law enforcement or been dismissed by the police.”


Hannon, a former communications executive for a Fortune 500 company, left the corporate world in 2003 to focus on her growing fiction brand. While continuing to write contemporary romance, she also delved into suspense. From the beginning, her romantic suspense books have garnered rave reviews. Booklist named Deadly Pursuit (Revell, 2011) one of the top ten inspirational fiction titles for 2011. The final book in her Guardians of Justice series, Lethal Legacy (Revell, 2011) received a starred review from Library Journal, which praised the book for its “compelling characters and edge-of-your-seat action.”


Irene Hannon is the author of more than 40 novels, including the bestselling Heroes of Quantico and Guardians of Justice series. Her books have been honored with two coveted RITA awards from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, a HOLT Medallion, a National Readers’ Choice Award, a Daphne du Maurier Award, a Retailers Choice Award and two Reviewers' Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine. She lives in Missouri.

For more information about her and her books, visit her web site at www.irenehannon.com and follow her on Twitter at @IreneHannon.

Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books for everyday life.  For more information, visit www.RevellBooks.com.


First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Irene Hannon and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Vanished" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to m
Irene Hannon’s “Vanished” is both a work of art and a life-changing read.  A solid suspense novel and an entertaining romance, this first novel in the brand new Private Justice Series is a fast-paced and engaging read.  Moira Harrison is not crazy!  She is an intelligent investigative journalist with a Pulitzer Prize nomination under her belt.  But there is no evidence of the young woman Moira hit with her car on that dark and rainy night.  Cal Burke is a former law enforcement officer who is partnered with two other law enforcement pals at Phoenix Inc., the private investigation firm Moira contacts to check out her story.  The plot thickens as the investigation progresses, building to a thrilling conclusion that will keep the reader up way past her bedtime.
I was also intrigued by an idea about prayer presented in the book.  Building off of a quote from Socrates, the idea of praying for blessing in general, relying on the fact that God knows what is best for us has changed my prayer time since reading these passages.  I’ve begun asking God to give me and loved ones what we need to fulfill His purposes for our lives and others’ rather than asking for what I “want”.  I really enjoy a book that entertains me AND changes how I think and act.  I can’t wait for Dev’s story in book two!

Friday, January 04, 2013

Bible Study: Be Strong and Courageous - Joshua Chapter 20

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Joshua, although they are a bit better formatted than former efforts. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses and encourages you through this material. I’m not sure of the condition of the world at the time of this publication. But at the time of its writing, summer 2009, things are looking increasingly bleak with the economy and unemployment, there is a renewal and increase of racism, and godly principles of living being disregarded. Are these the first stages of birth pains? The last? God only knows. And He is very busy these days. Stay strong and very courageous. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming to deliver His people and judge the wicked…

Stacey


Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapter 20 of the Old Testament book of Joshua. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

20:1 – Joshua spent time with the Lord. Good life lesson: know the Lord for yourself. Don’t rely on someone else’s relationship with Him. Joshua didn’t base his relationship with God on Moses’ relationship with Him.

20:2 – The cities of refuge are about to be named. See Numbers 35:9-34.

20:3 – The purpose of the cities of refuge.

20:4 – The offender would plead his case to the elders at the city’s gate.

20:6 – The congregation will judge the manslayer. Who makes up the congregation?

When the high priest dies, the manslayer may return to his hometown. There is only one high priest.

20:7-8 – These aren’t beautiful places of sanctuary. Getting to them would be difficult. I wonder why each tribal land didn’t have a city of refuge. Because God commanded Moses to establish six cities from those given to the Levites in Numbers 35:6-7.

20:7 – The cities of refuge in the hill country are:

Kadesh from Naphtali’s lands.

Shechem (“shoulder, back”) from the lands of Ephraim. This city was built on the shoulder of Mount Ebal.

Kiriath-Arba (Hebron) from Judah’s inheritance.

20:8 – The cities of refuge in the wilderness are:

Bezer (“inaccessible”) from Reuben’s lands.

Ramoth from the lands of Gad.

Golan (“circle”) from Manasseh’s inheritance.

20:9 – the avenger of blood – who is he? Where else have you read about him?




• The book of Joshua teaches us many things including the fact that we must pursue a relationship with the Lord for ourselves rather than leaning on others’ relationships with Him. Joshua followed Moses as leader of Israel, after all. What have you learned and applied to your life from today’s reading that will help you persevere in your relationship with Christ?
• How do you observe God proving to Israel that He is with Joshua as He was with Moses in today’s text? How does it apply to your own life and relationship with Him?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Crown Financial Bible Study – Week Six – Giving


What I learned from the homework – Tithing and giving to the poor are two separate things.  I didn’t have this wisdom previously, but I have been practicing the principles for years.  My husband and I give tithes and offerings regularly to our church and we have been sponsoring children through a Christian charity.  I pray that you will consider doing something similar if you aren’t already.

What I learned from our class discussion – This was the week that I volunteered to lead the group.  I really like that part of the Crown Financial Study that helps to identify future group leaders.  The group gets to experience a variety of leadership styles and the students may consider a ministry that they never thought about before.

Memorizing Scripture – Acts 20:35 reminds us that Jesus said it is better to give than to receive.  Isn’t that the truth?  Even as a child, when I was old enough to have a “Christmas Club” Account at the bank (remember those?) and select and purchase gifts for family members, I was at least equally excited to see the reaction of the recipients of my gifts as I was to open what was given to me.  What a wonderful way to teach this principle to a child!