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Thankful for Home and Family by Laura V. Hilton

Thankful for Home and Family by Laura V. Hilton

I signed up to write a Thanksgiving post, and then life hit. This went wrong, then that went wrong and I’m still reeling from the blows when I get an email notice—oh, I need to write a blog post. And it’s due yesterday. Guess I’d better do it.

So I’m sitting here in my living room looking around. My youngest daughter is looking up something on the desktop computer, my middle daughter is sitting on the loveseat a few feet away from me reading a book, the dog hanging out with the youngest girl. A homemade pepperoni pizza is in the oven.

My husband is downstairs in his “study” working on the sermon for one of the messages tomorrow. My youngest son has just had facetime with me. Encouraging me, discussing Christmas plans with me, and discussing his plans for Thanksgiving since we’ll be apart.

I haven’t talked to my oldest daughter today, but she plans to come home for Thanksgiving and I can’t wait to hug her. My oldest son plans to be home too, but his future is iffy. I don’t know on a daily basis where he is or what he’s doing.

My computer is open to my manuscript, due to the publisher in a little over a month, and I wonder, what am I thankful for? So much. What do I capitalize on?

The big thing is home and family. Most of my children will be home for one holiday or the other. And they have a home to come to. A wood stove for heat, chairs to sit and catch up on, a table and food.

We are blessed.

May your family and loved ones be with you (at least in spirit) this Thankgiving, and may you have plenty to give thanks to God for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

***

Gingerbread Wishes

As Thanksgiving approaches, Becca Troyer finds herself overwhelmed with an abundance of winter squash and pumpkins that she isn’t a bit thankful for. Desperately trying to sell them at a farmer’s market so she won’t have mountains to can, she’s surprised when a mime drops to his knee in front of her and proposes marriage.

Yost Miller is helping the volunteer firefighter raise funds at the city park when he notices his long-time crush Becca selling vegetables. Drawn across the grass, he spontaneously proposes marriage. But afterward, Yost isn’t sure how to proceed to show her that his feelings are real.

Just as he begins to find solid footing, confidence is yanked away, leaving him floundering. Will he lose Becca to another man? Or will this Thanksgiving be a season of blessings and wishes come true?

Thanksgiving Strangers

 Faithe Beiler believes God wants her to feed the poor at her family’s restaurant, but when she mistakes Crist Petersheim for a homeless man and gives him a free breakfast, he’s offended. Yet he can’t help being intrigued by this pretty waitress with a giving heart.

Crist blames God for the tragedies in his life, so the last thing he wants is to get involved with an Amish girl, who trusts God in all circumstances. He fears for Faithe’s safety, though, when she invites every homeless person in the neighborhood, including drug dealers and criminals, to a free Thanksgiving dinner. Street savvy, Crist risks his life to protect her from danger.

As Crist’s heart softens toward God, Faithe finds herself falling him. Then she discovers his deception, and her world is shattered. Can she ever trust him again?

The Thanksgiving Frolic

Monroe has the prettiest girl and the fastest horse— but pride goes before a fall.

Monroe’s girlfriend, Rosemary, and her family organize the Thanksgiving Frolic, a service project to help Amish folks who have fallen on hard times. Monroe wants to go along but his dad won’t let him. Furthermore, Monroe’s dad thinks Rosemary’s family should clean up their own messy farm before they try to help others. Will the contrast between Monroe’s and Rosemary’s families end their relationship for good? Rosemary’s grandpa tries to offer words of wisdom, but people don’t take him seriously. The Thanksgiving Frolic heats up to a fever pitch, before a moment of silence changes everything.

Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with almost twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write and Putting on the New.

Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children.

When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Laura-V.-Hilton/e/B004IRSM5Q 

visit my blogs: 

http://lighthouse-academy.blogspot.com/  & http://lauravhilton.blogspot.com/ 

twitter:

@Laura_V_Hilton

Facebook: 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Laura-V-Hilton/161478847242512

Pinterest: 

http://www.pinterest.com/vernetlh/

 

Purchase my books:

 Amazon   http://www.amazon.com/Laura-V.-Hilton/e/B004IRSM5Q 

CBD: http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/easy_find?Ntt=laura+hilton&N=0&Ntk=keywords&action=Search&Ne=0&event=ESRCG&nav_search=1&cms=1

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/laura-hilton?store=allproducts&keyword=laura+hilton

Deeper Shopping http://www.deepershopping.com/index.php?query=laura+hilton&x=0&y=0&module=productsearch&_logmode=Y&querymodule=SPX

 

 

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Movie Review: The Star Movie by Deanna Evans

Posted by Julie on November 20, 2017 in Book Review, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

THE STAR MOVIE REVIEW: A FILM FOR EVERY MEMBER OF THE FAMILY

Julie’s note: This review from Deanna Evans can be found here.

I was asked recently if I’d like to review THE STAR movie, based off of the very first Christmas, from the animal’s perspective surrounding Christ’s birth. This was something I had never done before but was excited about doing.

Wow and Wow! This film has it all from start to finish you will be mesmerized by its characters, colors and the story surrounding the Nativity. When I finished screening the movie, I was loving it! The story of Bo the Donkey along with Mary and Joseph flooded my heart with all kinds of emotion. I watched the film three times with the same reaction after each viewing! Bring in the amazing music and singing of Mariah Carey’s title track song for The Star, you have a new playlist and movie for Christmas!

In Sony Pictures Animation’s The Star, a small but brave donkey named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a lovable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations.

Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become unlikely heroes in the greatest story ever told – the first Christmas.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

The voices of the beloved characters are like no other. Steven Yeun, Gina Rodriquez, Zachary Levi, Keegan-Michael Key, Kelly Clarkson, Anthony Anderson, Aidy Bryant, Ving Rhames, Gabriel Iglesias, Patricia Heaton, Kristin Chenoweth, Christopher Plummer, Tracy Morgan, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey.

If you’re like me try and figure out who is who in the film. Some may be easy to figure out but others you may have to think about or look up.

One of the goals of director Timothy Reckart was to make these animated characters feel life-like, so that we, the audience, would be drawn into the story and be able to relate to the way they thought and acted. During the interview with director Reckart, he stressed this importance when he said, “the goal was to create characters that were based on clues we have in the Bible that also gives each character an opportunity to have an arc.” I was thankful the director took this approach and was cognitive of the actual biblical story. Animated films need to take some creative liberties when retelling a biblical story, which often includes adding humorous (and fictitious) elements. But I felt director Reckart stayed within the bounds of reasonable storytelling. There are many examples throughout the movie but one example is when the donkey named Bo interacts with a sheep by the name of Ruth. These characters take our minds back to the Old Testament narrative of the story and book of the Bible Ruth.

A MOVIE FOR EVERY MEMBER OF THE FAMILY

The take away from this movie will leave you feeling ready to enjoy the Christmas season ahead. Reminding us of the true meaning of Christmas. This will be a welcomed addition to the Christmas Classics seen year after year. I know it will be in our home!

 

THE STAR OPENS IN THEATERS NOVEMBER 17, 2017

Check out some of the online interactive activities:

Interactive Animated Coloring Book

Activities

Meet the Characters

 

 


By DEANNA EVANS
Deanna Evans is a freelance writer for Flyby Promotions, a Blogging Network and contributing writer for Telling Ministries.  She is a busy Pastor’s wife and mother to a young son, who keeps her days filled with adventure.
Image credit © 2017 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Looking for Rays of Sunshine by Melanie D. Snitker

Looking for the Rays of Sunshine

By Melanie D. Snitker

 

I’m not going to lie: The last couple of months have been rough in my household. We’ve had a lot of challenges that, in combination with lack of sleep, made the day-to-day things seem a lot harder than they should have been.

When we go through rough patches in life, it’s easy to complain and only see the rain clouds in the sky. But, if we look hard, we can often spot rays of sunshine that manage to push their way through the darkness. Those rays remind us that better weather is coming, and that it’s not going to be like this forever.

I’d like to share some of those rays of light that managed to shine through the darkness of the last couple of months.

I’m thankful for a wonderful husband who was willing to carry water, bucket by bucket, from the large tub our washing machine drained into to the kitchen sink. Because of his sacrifice and kindness, I didn’t have to do laundry at the laundromat for a month while the utility room drain was being fixed.

I’m thankful for the support system our family has in each other, extended family, and friends as we go through a challenging period in our son’s life. He has autism, and it’s been rough lately. But God continually reminds us that we’re not in this alone.

I’m thankful for the blessing of being a stay-at-home mom to our two kids as well as the opportunity to home school them. There’s a lot of satisfaction in watching our daughter gain confidence as a reader and our son grasp new concepts in math. I’m so glad that I can be right there to witness it all.

I’m thankful that I get to do what I’ve always dreamed of doing: Write and publish fiction. I’m completing the editing process for Finding Grace, the sixth and final chapter of the Love’s Compass series. When I published the first book in January of 2015, I had no idea that God would use that book to reach so many readers. Since then, it’s been amazing to watch the characters in this series grow and change.

I’m also thankful that the darkness of the last couple of months appears to be lifting. Praise God for new beginnings!

If you haven’t read the Love’s Compass series, now is a great time to start. The first book, Finding Peace, is on sale for only $0.99!

 

Available on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00R8KKV86

 

Police Officer Tuck Chandler is good at his job. He’s also good at holding women at arm’s length. Jilted by his fiancée for his dedication to his job, he’s not about to open himself up to hurt like that again.

Laurie Blake is a struggling photographer. After growing up in a wealthy family, she’s determined to make it on her own, even if it means doing it the hard way.

When Tuck is assigned to a puzzling burglary involving Laurie’s fledgling photography business, he goes into it with his usual perseverance. He wants to help her – if she’ll let him. As the case unfolds and the mystery deepens, another question arises.

Will the past get in the way of their future?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you love small towns full of colorful characters and lovable animals, you’ll enjoy the Fall Into Romance series of novellas. Finding Forever in Romance is available at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iTunes, and Google.

Finding Forever:

From the time he was a child, Brent Todd has helped lost pets find healing and homes. Now, he runs Romance’s Finding Forever Animal Rescue. Amid the dogs, cats, donkeys, goats, and exotic animals in his care, he convinces himself he has everything he needs. Then a beautiful woman and her son volunteer to help at the shelter. Brent soon realizes he needs more than the rescue animals to fill the empty spaces in his heart and home.

Dedicated to raising her son, Nicole Crawford views romance as a lovely idea. But between being a single mom and the pain of her past, she refuses to dwell on something so out of reach. To teach her son about helping others, they volunteer at Finding Forever on a temporary basis. But the more time she spends with Brent, the more she realizes it’ll be impossible to walk away from him and the shelter with her heart intact.

 

Together, maybe Brent and Nicole will discover a forever family of their own.

 

Buy Link: books2read.com/u/bPJNax

 

Author Info:

Melanie D. Snitker has enjoyed writing fiction for as long as she can remember. She started out creating episodes of cartoon shows she wanted to see as a child, and her love of writing grew from there. She and her husband live in Texas with their two children, who keep their lives full of adventure, and two dogs, who add a dash of mischief to the family dynamics. In her spare time, Melanie enjoys photography, reading, crocheting, baking, and hanging out with family and friends.

 

www.melaniedsnitker.com

https://twitter.com/MelanieDSnitker

www.facebook.com/melaniedsnitker

www.instagram.com/melaniedsnitker/

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I’m Thankful by Linda Hoover

I’M THANKFUL

I try to be thankful every day, but this month of Thanksgiving provides a time to truly focus on what we’ve been given. I can never thank God enough for his saving grace and all the benefits that come with being his child. Family, church, friends and God’s provision for our daily needs are something I never want to take for granted. I’m also thankful for the imagination he’s given me and the opportunity to share the stories that want to be told. I hope readers will be entertained, while seeing God in all of life’s situations.

 

LIGHTER THAN AIR

Lighter Than Air by Linda Hoover: Coming Soon

When Elena Bishop lost her mother at age twelve, her father lost his purpose for living. Now they’ll lose their home unless he can pay his gambling debts by the end of the summer. After praying, Elena believes God has given her the idea to have a family camp on the grounds of their estate.

Justin Ramsay, Elena’s neighbor, dreams of going to America to write a book. His older brother believes Justin should join the military, but offers him a deal. If Justin can keep Elena and the neighborhood safe until he returns with his American bride, he’ll pay for the trip. Elena might be impulsive and accident-prone, but Justin believes she’s nothing he can’t handle.

Elena and Justin disagree over the camp, even as an attraction ignites between them. Within the first two weeks a little boy falls into the cold-water spring, and problems escalate to vandalism and threatening letters. As more money is needed, Elena goes to Brighton to see a man who gives gas balloon rides. What she finds lands both her and Justin in a situation beyond their control. With the deadline for the debt looming, will their insistence on doing things their way give them both a happy ending, or destroy everything they’ve hoped for?

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linda Hoover lives in west-central Ohio with her husband, son, and grandson. She earned a degree in psychology at Anderson University where she learned the voices in her head were actually characters from stories waiting to be told.

By day, Linda works as a library assistant at a branch of the county’s public library system where two of her duties include choosing books for the young adult and Christian fiction areas. As a result, she has a very long “To Read” list. In her spare time she writes the stories her voices tell her.

You can find her at:

https://www.Facebook.com/lindahooverauthor

https://www.LindaHooverBooks.com 

 

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Unexpected Blessings by Rachel J. Good

Unexpected Blessings

By Rachel J. Good

 

Last Thanksgiving was a stressful one for me because I was dealing with some family and financial struggles. I’d just heard that my publisher planned to close their fiction line, so the book series I’d recently finished writing had been cancelled. I had no idea how I’d support myself over the coming year.

After I prayed about my concerns last Thanksgiving, I gave thanks for all the good things I had—my health, good friends, supportive family members, awesome readers, a career I loved, and darling grandchildren. Most of all, I was grateful for God’s presence in my life.

One week after I prayed, my agent called (she’s one of my many blessings this year!) to tell me we had an offer for a 3-book Amish series from a major publisher. She wanted to wait until the New Year to see if any other offers came in. Meanwhile, a sweet fellow author (another blessing!) recommended me to one of her publishers, and they contracted me for 2 books in an Amish series they were developing. In January, my agent had more good news. Another publisher had made an offer on the 3-book series. After some negotiations, we went with the second offer. I’m thrilled to have the first book in that Love & Promises Amish series, THE AMISH TEACHER’S GIFT, coming out in April 2018 with Hachette/Grand Central, to be followed by two more books.

Two anthology offers soon followed from Celebrate Lit (SPRINGS OF LOVE and LOVE’S THANKFUL HEART). And we recently agreed to two more anthologies for 2018.

Then a publisher contacted me about writing 2 books in the Second Chance Ranch series for middle graders (under a pen name). TAKING CHANCES and WILD MIDNIGHT will come out in January 2018.

The second book in my Sisters & Friends Amish series, BURIED SECRETS, released in April. And then, out of the blue, another publisher contacted me, wanting to publish the books that had been dropped by my previous publisher. Within several months, I’d gone from having no book contracts to having 12 books under contract.

Yet, the blessings kept rolling in. An African friend who runs a mission in Kenya asked me about writing a picture book about her father. The story of his courage and faith touched my heart, so I’m writing this post from Kenya, where I’m researching for that book as well as helping her with mission work. If anyone had told me last Thanksgiving that I’d be returning from Africa one year later, I’m not sure I would have believed them.

 

This November I look back on all the blessings I’ve received this past year and marvel at God’s provision. I found that trusting Him, even when the situation looked bleak, led to wonderful surprises and some unexpected changes in direction.

What unexpected blessings have you received in your life?

 

Love’s Thankful Heart

Because it’s almost Thanksgiving, I thought this anthology would be fun to share. It also includes stories by Laura V. Hilton and Tom Nye. My story in the anthology is a suspense novella, THANKSGIVING STRANGERS.

Blurb for Thanksgiving Strangers

Faithe Beiler believes God wants her to feed the poor at her family’s restaurant, but when she mistakes Crist Petersheim for a homeless man and gives him a free breakfast, he’s offended. Yet he can’t help being intrigued by this pretty waitress with a giving heart.

Crist blames God for the tragedies in his life, so the last thing he wants is to get involved with an Amish girl, who trusts God in all circumstances. He fears for Faithe’s safety, though, when she invites every homeless person in the neighborhood, including drug dealers and criminals, to a free Thanksgiving dinner. Street savvy, Crist risks his life to protect her from danger.

As Crist’s heart softens toward God, Faithe finds herself falling him. Then she discovers he’s deceived her, shattering her hopes and dreams. Can she ever trust him again?

 

Biography

Inspirational author Rachel J. Good writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. She is the author of several Amish series in print or forthcoming – Sisters & Friends series, Love & Promises series, and two books in the Hearts of Amish Country series – as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Books and the contemporary novella, Angels Unaware, part of the Hope Chapel series. Rachel also juggles freelance editing and illustration careers. She loves reading (of course!), traveling, and spending time with her five children and three grandchildren. Visit her at her website, Facebook, author page, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads. You also can sign up for her quarterly newsletter here.

 

 

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Flood Gates by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Posted by Julie on November 10, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

A Child’s Life of Christ: FLOOD GATES

Storybook #5 in Series THEY MET JESUS

 

In storybook 5, your children meet….

 

*Deaf, Mute & Blind where they learn about the alphabet in sign language.

*Moses & Elijah where they learn they can hear God’s voice in the Bible.

*James & John where they learn to be polite and not yell.

*72 Helpers where they learn to tell a friend Jesus loves them.

*Religious Leaders where they learn about forgiveness.

*A Healed Blind Man where they learn they can be Jesus’ friend.

*Blind Man’s Parents where they learn to visit a blind person and read or sing to them.

*Martha where they learn to not show off, but tell their friends how good they are at something.

*Lazarus where they learn they can go to heaven some day.

*Chief Priests where they learn to be good around everyone, not just their family.

 

 

Here is part of a sample chapter:

 

BLIND MAN

 

Elam was a blind man. He had been blind all his life. Some people would be mad because they were blind. Elam was not.

 

Elam said he could “see” things through his hands. He knew vegetables were crispy, so he decided green was a crispy color. He knew the sun was warm, so he decided yellow was a warm color. He also felt the shape of things. So, he didn’t need to see.

 

He had a friend who didn’t believe in God because he couldn’t see God. Elam told his friend that was silly. He could see the world around him and know someone at some time made it.

 

He knew wind existed, even though no one can see wind. And he knew his friend existed, even though he couldn’t see his friend.

 

Since Elam could not earn money for himself, he sat at the gate of the Temple and asked people to share some of their money. They felt sorry for him, so they helped him.

 

One day Jesus came to the Temple and stopped to talk to Elam. He told Elam that he had lived his whole life blind so he could find out just how powerful God was.

 

Then Jesus healed the man. Elam could see! He was so excited. He ran home and told his neighbors and parents and everyone.

 

When the Temple leaders found out, they called Elam to a meeting. They tried to get him to say he wasn’t really ever blind. Elam would not change what he was telling people. He kept saying Jesus performed the miracle….

Katheryn Haddad was born in the cold north, but now lives in Arizona where she does not have to shovel sunshine. She enjoys hot weather, palm trees and cacti in her yard, and a computer with the letters worn off.
With a bachelor’s degree in English, Bible and social science from Harding University and part of a master’s degree in Bible, including Greek, from the Harding Graduate School of Theology, she also has a master’s degree in management and human relations from Abilene University.
Her newspaper column appeared for several years in newspapers in Texas and North Carolina ~ Little Known Facts About the Bible ~ and she has written for numerous Christian publications.
Currently she teaches English over the internet every morning, using the Bible as a text book. Most of her students are Muslims. She has taught some 6000 thus far, and has former students, now Christians, in hiding in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Jordan, Uzbekistan, and Palestine. “They are my heroes” she declares.
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers of the West, and is also an energetic public speaker who can touch the heart of audiences.

Website: http://inspirationsbykatheryn.com

Purchase Flood Gates HERE



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