Monday, October 3, 2011

bittersweet, a book, and 2 beautiful blogs

Here's a bouquet of bittersweet for you, one of my favorite fall things. Love how the light is slanting across the table through those big windows and into the woods beyond.

It was a restful weekend and I'm so thankful after the busyness of St. Lou. I wrote a bit on my next novel, went out to dinner with family, and caught up on household chores. We also built our first fire of the season which means autumn is officially here. After church Sunday, Randy and I pressed several gallons of apple cider which is always fun and very Lael-like;) If you've read The Frontiersman's Daughter you'll know what I mean.

In the rush of last week I forgot to mention I'd brought home a book to give one of you. It's Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts. I usually read a book before giving it away but haven't this one. Has anyone else read this and want to say something about it? If you'd like to be included in the drawing, please leave a comment below. I'll draw the winner next Monday, October 10th.

I also wanted to mention two sites I've just discovered. This past Saturday I spent some time soaking up the joy and color over at A Little Loveliness blogspot. It eased my homesickness for southern things just a bit and reminded me of the beauty of home and family and all the little celebrations in life. Thanks so much, Melissa, for your creative heart and for taking time for beloved books! If you'd like a little (a lot!) of southern hospitality, recipes, devotional thoughts and more, please spend some time at A Little Loveliness.

I've also discovered an inspiring, uplifting, writing site that is just a gem ~ Allen Arnold Writes. For the past 3 years I've attended workshops taught by Allen and he is has so much to say about writing and living a Christlike life and more.

So here's a Monday question for you... If you were to share a book or blog today, what would they be? If you've read One Thousand Gifts, what did you like best?


  1. The book I would share would be 'The Tahn' by L.A. Kelly ....I was just looking at books I've loved over time and this was one I pulled from the shelf. And instead of a blog I'd like to suggest INSP tv channel and its offering of the 'Wind at my Back' series. They removed it from scheduling recently and received so many protests from viewers they put it back on. I'm so glad. Its great family entertainment. We look forward to it.

    I've enjoyed your blog post Laura...your kitchen looks so pretty with the bittersweet and sunshine streaming in. I've recommended your wonderful books on my new 'pinterest' page. I've finally given in and created a page myself. Warm wishes for a relaxing day.

  2. Maggie Ann, Love learning about The Tahn by Kelly - you give the best book ideas! And the Wind at my Back series sounds so intriguing. We're always in search of family friendly shows here and often word of mouth is the only way we hear of them. Thanks so much for that.

    I'll be over to see what you're up to these lovely autumn days. And it's an honor to be mentioned on your page! Bless you for that. Hope this lovely fall day is full of His best for you. It's cool and rainy here - perfect for a fire in the woodstove and typing in that next chapter:)

  3. Good morning, Laura! Thank you for sharing the lovely photo, the blog recommendation, and the chance to win a book! I've done a little research on the book, and it certainly looks like one I'd enjoy reading. Thank you for entering me!

    The book I would share is Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P. Freeman. It's a life-changing book! Truly incredible! I could go on and on, but here's a link for more info . . . I also have a review up on my blog.

    Praying for you today, and throughout the week. (((HUGS)))
    scraphappy71 at sbcglobal dot net

  4. One of my favorite books is a book by Tamera Alexander called The Inheiritance. I just think it is such a sweet and wonderful book with such a beautiful message for everyone. It is so hard to chose a book to recommend but I think everyone would find something to love in Tamera's story.

    Another favorite of mine (although it is not a Christian novel) is a book by Audrey Niffenger called The Time Travelers Wife. (They also made it into a movie staring Eric Bana and a favorite of mine, Rachel McAdams!) I absolutely loved this book because it was such a romantic, interesting book which had me on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. Definately a lovely romantic story, although I wish a few of the scenes weren't in the book because then the book would have been even more perfect. I don't recommend it without letting people know there are a few scenes I didn't like or think were necessary.

    Oh so many books, so little time!~

  5. Michelle, Our reading tastes are so alike I know this must be a wonderful read:) Thanks so much for sharing it here. You not only bless me but others who stop and don't comment but do look! Neat that you reviewed the book - I'll take a look. I'm writing a book review myself for a guest blog on Liz Curtis Higg's latest historical and it's not as easy as it looks. I LOVE her books but feel I can't possibly condense all they mean to me in just a few sentences. Sigh!

    Praying for you, too, today, dear friend. We share some of the same concerns/needs right now. Thinking of dear Jules today, too! Have a blessed Monday!

  6. Cassie, I'm loving a look into your reading head and heart! You're the second person who's told me about The Inheritance. I will certainly look it up. I think I know the cover of that one as it pops into mind right away. But all of Tamera's covers are beautiful. I bet you have her upcoming one on your list as well:)

    TTTW has gotten so many great reviews but am glad to know you have to read with caution or skim some scenes, etc. Thanks for the mention on that! There are so many books that would be so much better had they omitted the sensuality and cursing, etc. It just detracts from the story in such a telling way.

    Hope you can sneak some reading time in today! Bless u for your comments!

  7. Thanks again, for stopping by my blog to read my review. If you get the chance to read it, I think you'd love it!

    I know what you mean about writing book reviews, it can be a bit challenging. When will you be a guest on Liz Curtis Higgs blog? I will be sure to check it out. : )

    I've also read The Inheritance by Tamera Alexander -- it's WONDERFUL, and definitely worth the time to read.

  8. I've heard of Ann Voskamp's book because Jeanna Damoff blogged about it, but I haven't read it personally. I actually recommend her blog.
    And for a book... The Book on Leadership by John MacArthur... it's actually good for young men, old ladies, school teachers, teens, etc. It is rich in history and wisdom, and one I just enjoyed.
    The weather is funny in Georgia lately, the mornings start off very cold and the day warms up and the heat of the sun gets pretty intense. But making apple cider vinegar sounds fun.

  9. Laura, thank you so much for your comment today! It really made my day -- especially after a trying weekend with the stomach virus still lingering. The good news on that is that we are almost out of people who can catch it, so within a few days it will have no choice but to leave us.

    Then to stop by here and see that you mentioned my blog here -- what an unexpected blessing!

    Your bittersweet looks lovely! It makes me think of our days in Lexington when my husband was a law student at UK. I will be in Bowling Green in a couple of weeks, so maybe I will find some to bring home.

    Thank you again for your kind words. As far as books I would recommend, you know that I would put Courting Morrow Little on my list of favorite reads.

  10. Michelle, I was so impressed by your review! Makes me want to read right now:) It's so interesting when the Lord leads us to certain books or they get divinely dropped into our lap. He's so creative! The book review I'm doing is at Carrie Pagel's blog next week. I'll try to remember to provide a link that day. Liz C. Higgs doesn't have a blog, sadly. But she's so busy I don't know how she does all she does, including her very active Facebook page! She's getting ready to lead about 40 women on a tour of the Holy Land. That's one trip I'd love to be on, especially with Liz at the helm:)

  11. Melissa, So glad the bug is almost through! The only good thing about is that once it's over you won't be revisited for a while and can relax and enjoy the upcoming holidays hopefully bug free! You kept coming to mind this weekend and hope you all get rested up soon.

    That's so neat your hubby went to UK. I grew up in Lexington and graduated high school there. My uncle was VP at UK (fiscal affairs) for many years and just retired not long ago (Jack Blanton). And Bowling Green is dear to my heart! I lived there as a little girl right before moving to Lexington, only I'm sure it's not the town I remember! I even went to the Jolly Time Preschool there:) Still have those old photos! Enjoy your trip!

    Bless you for mentioning Morrow. Praying your club loves the story. I've said it before and readers are probably tired of hearing it, but I miss those characters even now...

  12. I have heard so much about this book and would love to get a copy and read it for myself!!

  13. Sara, So glad you want to read it! I've heard so much, too, and love the author's blog! Makes me want to farm and raise half a dozen kids:) Bless u!

  14. Adrienne, You snuck in there and I didn't see you:) You've mentioned one of my favorite preachers sans authors - John MacArthur. I tote his Bible around and love it, even though it's big. The commentary is amazing. But the book you mention is new to me. Jeanna's blog sounds good, too, and I always like visiting new blogs to see what people are thinking and reading, especially Christian ones.

    You are so blessed to live in Georgia! I love those southern autumns - cool in the mornings and warm, even hot, in the afternoons. Don't ever move away! You're so blessed to be there! I get homesick just thinking about it:)

  15. Laura, I meant Jeanne Damoff... I guess I was typing too fast. And Georgia can be very lovely. My mother wants us to move toward the northern Georgia area or North Carolina. I think it sounds lovely because we are mainly going for more acreage and wide open spaces, but it also sounds colder... not that I'm complaining... I'll just have to adapt.

  16. Adrienne, I look forward to hearing if you make the move and like it - so hope you do! I'm all about more land and more open spaces. We have 10 acres here and while it's beautiful, it's very wooded and a bit too dark. I love the open pasture feeling with lots of sun coming in. North Carolina is so beautiful no matter what part, at least to me. I have relatives there and in Georgia. Can't make up my mind which I like best:)

  17. Thank you for the bittersweet! Glad you are home safe and sound : ) I do have something to share that I hope you all will enjoy. I discovered a website : "Storey Publishing--Books for Country Living Since 1983" ( ). I fell in love! I reviewed three of their books:

    A deceptively slim little volume, "Taking Time for Tea", by Diana Rosen, is actually brimming over with delightful tea tidbits and tasty treats.

    If you are searching for a book to give a novice cook, or for a new addition to a seasoned cook's collection, "500 Treasured Country Recipes" will delight them both!

    Root vegetables and greens have a hearty earthiness that makes them perfect for the savory dishes that warm us from Fall through Winter. Andrea Chesman's "Recipes From the Root Cellar" makes you want to eat your veggies!

    "The mission of Storey Publishing is to serve our customers by publishing practical information that encourages personal independence in harmony with the environment."

    They offer a truly amazing array of practical, useful, and enjoyable books : )

  18. Laura, I'm so glad you enjoyed such a special and refreshing weekend. The smell of fall is in the air and it is my favorite time of the year. That is a lovely pic of bittersweet!

    I've fairly recently didscovered Kathryn Ross's delightful blog, The Writer's Reverie at
    She's a writer and professional storyteller. It is a charming blog, as is yours with your pretty pics, and thoughtful words that always encourage.

  19. Dear Laura,

    I can't really recommend a blog because I only read a couple(one being yours andof course I recommend you!!) I find the blogging world a strange thing. Being a people person, I know I would like a lot of them but because I am a people person I would get sucked up into so many other people's lives that I would not present in my own! Make Sense?

    I have been reading quite a lot lately!! Like I told you in my last posted comment, I discovered Jody Hedlund. I do recommend her book, "The preacher's wife". I did not realize until the end of the book that is was based on the life of John Bunyan. That even made it more special. I have to tell you that I love my Kindle even more because I get so many Christian Fiction books for free. It really exposes me to so many new authors! That is how I found Jody. I bet you received a lot of new readers when they offered "The Frontiersman's Daughter" for free! I am glad that I found you the old fashioned way!(in the bookstore) It is very appropriate I think. I will always purchase your books because I love seeing them on my bookshelf and of course so I can make cards from them ;)! You are a treasured friend!!

    Love, Stacie

  20. Virginia, You always come bearing a gift of a book or recipe and I so appreciate that! We're all the richer for it. All your books sound wonderful but would you believe I just found your tea book in a historic museum in St. Lou:) And it is so very delightful! I'm a big tea drinker myself, whether iced or hot. I imagine you are, too. I will have to check out Storey Publishing. Am always on the hunt for authentic books that bring history and stories to life.

    Now that autumn is here I can picture you in your kitchen turning out delicious things. I so enjoy the guest blogging you do and appreciate whenever you send me a link. Your recipes are keepers! I'm especially a fan of your root vegetables. We're already starting to plan our Thanksgiving menu as my brother and nephew will be here, including my mom and stepdad. A full house:) Bless you, Virginia, for taking time to share here.

  21. Carla, I'm so thankful for some down time as I know it's about to end when I get edits for this next book. My first two sailed through and I dream of doing that again:) But I do think I'm dreaming!

    I imagine your fall color is so beautiful in Maine! Some of my favorite photos in Country Living magazine are from there. And the scent of autumn is unforgettable - if only we could bottle that divine fragrance!

    I'm already drawn to A Writer's Reverie simply by the name;) There's no getting around a good title! Thanks so much for the heads up! Praying this is a good writing day for you.

  22. Stacie, I was just thinking about you! And here you are:) Hope the hospital work is behaving and you aren't too busy. I was a candy striper way back when in Kentucky. Ever heard of those? I think they're a thing of the past. Then I realized I was better at scribbling stories. But I do have very fond memories of delivering flowers to patients.

    Like you, I do think the free Kindle downloads are a real gift. I have heard from quite a few readers that way and it blesses me. Some are Kentuckians with a history of their own there. They even send me pics of historic sites which I love. I've read Jody's first book but not her second. So many books, so little time! So glad you're picking up new authors that way. I think we'll see more of the CBA authors on there in the days to come as it seems to be a way to bring authors and readers together in a novel way, no pun intended;)

    And I continue to appreciate the cards you made for me so very much! This morning I sent another one out to a reader in Bloomfield, MI - your very backyard! I use them carefully as they're favorites. Even have one sitting on my desk at all times. You sure are a gift to me. And I'm so thankful you found me when you did. Divine timing! I hope you let us know when you find other books on Kindle you like. It blesses all the rest of us here:) Have a wonderful day there.

  23. Stacie, I forgot to say I understand entirely about blog visiting and investing online too much. I have to be very careful of that. Just this morning I was thinking how each day is a gift with time that is never returned. And so we have to use it wisely. Often that means tuning things out. And tuning into Him:) Even though we love people dearly.

  24. I am a couple of days late, but I seem to be having an absolutely insane week with work. It's Wednesday, and I've already worked about 30 hours. Yay for overtime! (Or so I keep telling myself)

    Love the photo of the bittersweet, it's very pretty. I bet your apple cider is very good.

    I would definitely share Susan May Warren's new book Heiress. I finished it a couple of days ago, and it's just amazing.

  25. Hi Michelle, I was thinking of you - thinking you'd been a bit quiet;) Now I know why! 30 hours already. Put your feet up and grab another good book! Guess what? I've had my eye on Heiress for some time now and you provided just the push to send me over to Amazon. Bless you for that. Susan is an amazing author who knows so much about the craft. Can't wait to read (and learn). She is a very popular speaker and was just about mobbed at St. Lou:)

    Thanks for enjoying the bittersweet. I saw some cattails growing along the road but am not sure I can wade through the marshy ditch to reach them. Gotta nab them before they lose all that down. They'd look so pretty in my butter churn with all that wheat I have... Can you tell I'm ready for fall? Make that Christmas. I bought white twinkle lites today:)

    Praying for your transition and that of your teammates. Can't wait to hear good things!

  26. One website that I love is Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Its a HUGE treasure of Christian classics available online.

    Homemade cider, that sounds delightful...what a fun family activity :) You must have a lot of apple trees.

  27. Julia, I've not heard of this online library and it sounds wonderful, like you spend hours there! I will have to take a look. I'm finding I love historical saints and all they teach us today. Thanks so much for the link! Cider-making is so fun but am always amazed at how many apples it takes to make just a few gallons of juice! But it tastes so good it's well worth it:) And it's supposed to be very healthy, too. Hope this is a good day for you, C. and the littles:)

  28. I have yet to read Ann's book, but I heard her speak at a conference over the summer and she's downright ethereal. As is her lovely blog. She has a very poetic style of writing that I think helped launch her to the top of the best seller list.

    As for a blog recommendation, as a wannabe writer I highly recommend Rachelle Gardner's
    Now, a book. It's been out a while, but "Serena" by Ron Rash is one of the best books I've read. Ever.

  29. Sarah, It's you - yay! Happy Sabbath:) Love the "e" word to describe Ann - I've heard she's quite a speaker, too. And I do agree with you about Rachelle's blog. I saw her in St. Lou and she was always surrounded! I read her blog fairly regularly along with the Books&Such blog. I miss Chip MacGregor's blog but understand why he chose a quieter life without one.

    You piqued my interest with Serena, especially by a male author. I'll be whizzing by Amazon in a minute to look that up. I have a few coming - To Die For by Sandra Byrd and some research books, always a happy mail day for me. Hope the writing is going well. Speaking of beautiful blogs, YOU have one! Thanks so much for coming by here.

  30. Sarah, I'm hooked:) The blurb for Serena, plus the author essay and photo, lured me right in. You're like me in that you read quite a bit in the general market. So much fine fiction there. Thanks so much for sharing Serena here. I know I'll not be the only one looking it up!

  31. Wait until you get to the part about the eagle! I heard Ron speak about researching that particular part of his book--fascinating and stunning! He's among my top 10 favorite living authors. His poetry is also fantastic.

  32. Oh, you sure know how to pull a reader in, Sarah;) Knowing he's in your top 10 says a lot. It's a must read for me now. I will try to remember to let you know when I finish!

  33. Dear Laura, Thank you for coming by to visit my blog and leaving me a comment. That you would take the time to come by....blessed my heart.

    I hope you are having a tranquil and cozy fall. It snowed here today, most of the day. I'm thankful for central heating, but the steady heat from a fire or wood-burner is so much nicer. However did they keep warm in the one or two room cabins in prior generations? It had to be very hard to be comfortable in wintertime.

    Wishing you a blessed Sunday! Maggie Ann

  34. Likewise, Maggie Ann! How fun to think we're online at the same time this chilly autumn afternoon:) Thanks so much for your reply here. I was so delighted when it popped up in my inbox and it's been so long since I've posted I had to think a minute about which button to push to move your comment here:) I heard you had snow in your neck of the woods this morning which just delighted me. You see, I have a snow scene in this upcoming novel where it snows in October in Pittsburgh! I thought that might be a stretch! But now I see it's doable...

    I chuckled at your comment about the heating in ye olden days. From all accounts I've read, those pioneers loved the hearth but admitted while they were blazing on their front side, their backside was freezing. I've been sitting by my woodstove today feeling very thankful for that and central heating.

    Bless you for being such a dear reading friend. That warms my heart:)