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Thankfulness: A Gift from God by Brenda H. Cox

Posted by Julie on November 18, 2017 in Julie Arduini |

 

Thankfulness is a gift from God. Knowing the magnitude of the awesome sacrifice that our Father in heaven made in giving His son Jesus humbles our hearts and makes us grateful.  Jesus was the gift of atonement for our sins of the past, present, and future, and true understanding of the magnitude of that gift makes us grateful for everything in our lives. Our values change when we humble ourselves before God, and He opens our eyes to every little gift, the changing of the seasons, the smile of a child, the warmth of friends.

Just this week I drove my husband Jim home from Duke Hospital where he had undergone his second brain surgery. I found myself being so grateful for the success of the procedure, for his being able to stick out his tongue and roll his eyes in ICU, for the kindness of the attendant who wheeled him to the car, for the parking space near the elevator, for the glorious color of the trees along I-85, for smooth highways, and I could go on and on. That gift of gratitude opened my eyes to God’s providence and calmed my heart.

But I was also mindful that I had also sat in the waiting room throughout the day of the surgery seeing surgeon after surgeon come out to speak to families until 8:15 pm, leaving me as the only person waiting for news. I was grateful for the opportunity my husband had to travel from Greensboro to a world-class facility where he could receive care from the best of the best. I was grateful for safe travel, for the pleasant young woman at the coffee bar, for the sweet lady at the registration desk who spoke so kindly to me knowing I had been there most of the day and had been the only family member left in the waiting room. She could have been impatient knowing I was probably preventing her from going home for dinner. I was also grateful for the comfort and peace that I knew I would have if the surgery did not go well. The knowledge that my husband had followed Christ in his life was assurance that I could persevere even without him if God had chosen to take him home. What a blessing, what a gift to be grateful, not in my own strength, but in the “blessed assurance” that comes only from God through His gift of Jesus Christ!

Jim’s third great grandmother Henrietta Hall Shuck had traveled to China in 1835 as the first American woman missionary to China trusting in God’s providence through disease, poverty, robbers, disagreements with the mission board, and all during the dangers of the First Opium War. On her 200th birthday, her descendants are still strengthened by the gift of perseverance that comes through thankfulness for the blessings of Christ.

 

Tethered begins in 1835 as Henrietta and Jehu Lewis Shuck set off on a 19,000 mile voyage from Virginia to China to establish the first Baptist mission. In Tethered Henrietta must hold a leather strap nailed to the railing of their ship to keep from falling overboard, but her life is also tethered to her husband, to their mission board, and to God. Their relationship is marked by humor and unflinching determination despite illness, poverty, danger, and opposition from the mission board at home in the volatile years of conflict in the First Opium War.  By the end of her story, she has come to a full faith relationship with God and has become an icon in Baptist missions for American and Chinese Christians across two centuries.

Purchase TETHERED HERE

Brenda H. Cox is a life-long English educator at the high school and university levels. She earned a BA at The University of South Carolina, an MAT from The Citadel, and a PhD at The University of Georgia where she served as the Assistant Director of the Freshman English Program. She was affiliated with the National Writing Project site at Clemson University where she led a Writing in the Humanities Institute and is a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. She has taught numerous writing workshops and delivered papers at state and national conferences and directed The Young Writers Conference at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she was an Assistant Professor of English Education. She has published articles in English leadership and in 18th century rhetoric. In addition, she has served as a writing consultant in numerous school systems in the Southeast and in the American and International Schools in Kuwait. She also served as a Reader of Advanced Placement exams for The College Board, and her students have won numerous local, state, and national awards in writing. Brenda lives in Greensboro, NC and is married to Jim Cox.  They have one son and daughter in-law and two perfect grandsons.

 

 

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Thanksgiving & Praise by Brenda B. Taylor +#GIVEAWAY

Thanksgiving and Praise

 

Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and bless His name. Psalm 100:4

 

November is a beautiful month in East Texas. The trees begin to sport their fall colors in full. Autumn comes to our area a month later than in the northern states. Thanksgiving is a colorful time. Many years we have spent Thanksgiving with our family at our camp in the pretty woods near Lake Sam Rayburn. The day holds promises of good food, too much to eat, watching parades on television, and great fellowship. It will be a good day, and I will praise the Lord for His many blessings in my life.

 

The Psalmist said when you praise God, giving thanks to Him for His goodness, you enter His gates and are ushered into His presence. What a wonderful place to be, in the presence of God. He listens to the praise of His people and you bless Him. Blessing means to make happy. Praising God is something you do for Him out of the fullness of your heart, because He has blessed you.

 

Praise is a sacrifice to God. It is a sweet aroma in His holy nostrils. The ancient Jews burned incense on the temple altar daily. The incense was made from a specific formula given to Moses by God. The sweet odor traveled heavenward, reaching the very presence of the Lord. Knowing His children were obediently carrying out His command pleased God. Their obedience meant they were thinking about Him.  God is blessed by your praise, because you are obedient, and He is taking first place in your thoughts and mind. He tells you to praise Him and be thankful in all circumstances.

 

Revelation 5:8 says your prayers are incense offered to God. He keeps them close and is reminded of your petitions, answering each request in His own time and way. Your prayers never leave His presence. They are a sweet aroma that He loves. Praise is a type of prayer we offer to our Lord. Thanksgiving is a type of praise. Be thankful and praise Him in all circumstances of life, because He is there with you, keeping you close and listening to your prayers. Hold tightly.

 

Cornbread Dressing with Chicken

3 packages of cornbread mix, prepared as directed

3 chicken breasts, boiled and chopped

3 cups chicken broth from the boiled breasts or from a can

3 ribs celery, chopped

1 bunch green onion, chopped

½ package Pepperidge Farms Cornbread Stuffing

4 large eggs, boiled and chopped

4 slices of white bread, toasted, cooled, crumbled

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Sage to taste

 

Preheat oven to 350.

Prepare cornbread mix as directed. When cool, crumble in a large pan along with toasted bread. Add seasonings and mix well.

Sauté celery and onions together in a small amount of oil, and then add to mixture.

Add chopped eggs, chopped chicken, and then chicken broth. More broth may be added to make a moist mixture. Mix well.

Spray a 9*12 baking pan or large casserole dish with cooking spray. Put dressing mixture in the pan and bake at 350 until top is brown – about ½ hour.

Dressing may be frozen until needed.

 

May be served with baked turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner, or with a salad and green peas and rolls for another meal.

 

Praise the Lord this Thanksgiving and thank Him for all His blessings.

 

A Highland Emerald

 

I will give away an ebook copy of A Highland Emerald to a commenter.

 

Blurb:

Aine MacLean is forced into an arranged marriage with Sir William, Chief of Clan Munro, yet her heart belongs to a handsome young warrior in her father’s guard. She must leave Durant Castle, the home of her birth on the Isle of Mull, and travel across Scotland in a perilous journey to her husband’s home on Cromarty Firth. William agrees to a year and day of handfasting, giving Aine an opportunity to accept him and his clan. He promises her the protection of Clan Munro, however, Aine experiences kidnapping, pirates, and almost loses her life in the River Moriston. She doubts the sincerity of William’s promises and decides to return to Durant Castle when the handfasting ends. William determines to win Aine’s heart. Will the brave knight triumph in his fight for the bonnie lass?

 

A Highland Emerald is the third book in the award-winning Highland Treasures series. It tells the story of Aine MacLean and William Munro, and is the prequel to A Highland Pearl.

 

Excerpt:

Isle of Mull

Scotland, 1486

 

My father sat in his usual chair in front of the crackling fire, staring at the flame with dim eyes and a fur robe wrapped around his broad shoulders, the deerhound curled at his feet.

“Where are you going, Aine?” he asked with his back turned toward the stone, spiral staircase where I stood. “Come, sit with me for awhile.”

I pushed the arisaid from my shoulders, letting it drop to the floor, then stepped over the wrap. Making my way to the stool where my mother’s embroidery frame stood, I took a seat and watched the flame.

Without turning his head, my father, Lachlan Og MacLean, eighth chief and fourth Laird of Durant Castle, asked, “Where are you going?”

“How did you ken ’twas I?” He never ceased to amaze me with his uncanny knowledge of events  around him although his eyes, so dimmed by injury, saw very little.

“I heard the rustle of your skirts.” He extended his hand for me, so I rose and hugged his neck.

He smiled, embracing my arms. “And I ken your scent, lass. ‘Tis so like your mither’s. You use the same scented soap as she.”

“Aye, but from so far away and with the smell of burning wood and dog in your nostril’s?”

“Your odor is a different pleasantry among the usual burning wood and dog. It stands out in my memory as does the pleasant odor of your mither.” He smiled broadly, showing still straight, white teeth beneath a greying beard. I could almost feel his penetrating gaze upon me as in the days before his sight was taken in battle. He asked, “Where are you going this dreary night?”

“Here, Da. To sit beside you and talk of the feast on the morrow.”

“Don’t try to deceive me, lass. I heard the sound of your arisaid dropping to the floor. You are planning a tryst, I feel certain.” His dimmed gaze pierced through to the depths of my soul. “I could see the turn of your head toward him each time he spoke at the evening meal.” A line formed between his brows and a shadow darkened his face. “You are to marry the Munro.”

“I dinna love William Munro.” My voice began to rise, and I struggled to control the cry climbing from the depths of my heart. “I wanna marry him, Da. You promised I could wed for love, not convenience.” The cry emerged from my lips. I buried my head on his shoulder and sobbed.

 

Book Trailer:  https://youtu.be/5-mYnAJd_Hc

 

Buy Links:

Historical Heartbeats

Amazon

Apple iTunes

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Smashwords

 

Author Bio:

The desire to write historical fiction has long been a passion with Brenda B. Taylor. Since elementary school, she has written stories in her spare time. Brenda earned three degrees: a BSE from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; a MEd from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas; and an EdD from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; then worked as a teacher and administrator in the Texas Public School system. Only after retirement could she fulfill the dream of publication.

Brenda and her husband make their home in beautiful East Texas where they enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and working in Bethabara Faith Ministry, Inc. She crafts stories about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people in her favorite place overlooking bird feeders, bird houses, and a variety of blooming trees and flowers. She sincerely thanks all who purchase and read her books. Her desire is that the message in each book will touch the heart of the reader as it did hers in the writing.

 

Author Contact Information:

Historical Heartbeats

Book Bub Author Page

Amazon Author’s Page

Facebook

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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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I am Thankful by Linda Maran

Posted by Julie on November 14, 2017 in encouragement, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Thankful November guest blogger |
I am thankful for finally having a novel published after many years of
effort and work. I always wanted to have a book published in the traditional
way and am grateful for the blessing.

When Kristen Esh loses her mom in a tragic accident months before her 18th birthday, she suddenly finds herself among Amish relatives she never knew she had. The dramatic change from the Jersey Shore to remote upstate New York is difficult enough, but abiding by the Amish rules and lifestyle is a challenge unlike any other. As she discovers secrets that unravel her true identity, she finds an unlikely ally in John Wagler, the step-son of her aunt. He lessens Kristen’s fears and encourages her faith. Interwoven with gradual revelations is the growing love between Kristen and John. One that encourages forgiveness and helps seal Kristen’s fate.


I am also thankful for the little moments in between stresses and

challenges. Like taking that first sip of warm flavorful tea, noticing the
sunlight dancing on the wall in the morning, the sacred silence in a church or chapel, or the helpful words of a friend or family member. Sometimes it’s just a big smile my way. And always, I am very grateful for the care and financial support of my
husband, and last but not least, for all writers. Because reading a book has often been a remedy, a needed distraction and a wealth of good insight.
  

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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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