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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

Twitter

Pinterest

Goodreads

Tumblr

Google +

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MUSIC REVIEW: All In by Matthew West #Giveaway

Posted by Julie on September 21, 2017 in About Me, Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Music Review: All In by Matthew West

Matthew wrote his new album All In with the goal of encouraging himself and others to get up off the sidelines of their faith and really live it out – to go all in in your time with God, all in with your family, all in with your community, and all in battling your fears that may hold you back from becoming who God made you to be. Along that same theme, Matthew will be launching a 6-week All in Challenge on his social media starting 9/18, and each week Matthew will be challenging his fans to go all in in a different part of their lives. What does it look like when a heart that knows Jesus takes a step and holds nothing back? How can we go All In in the places that mean the most?

Social Corner:
Broken Things Music Video
Broken Things (story behind the song)
All In Lyric Video
All In (Story Behind The Song)

REVIEW:

Matthew West’s music is something I can recognize without a lot of notes or voice. He has a style musically I’ve come to know and certainly appreciate, and ALL IN maintains for the most part the sound you would associate with him.

Lyrically, it is much the same. When I think of his music, I think of songs that will play on K-Love with a pop like feel with lyrics that uplift and challenge. ALL IN keeps that consistency.

One song that felt a little different is “Amen.” The tempo and energy is a little out of the box, but a whole lot of fun. Other than that, “All In” is a positive challenge and “Mercy is a Song” was one of those a-ha moments. It really is true, and it was something I never thought of before. There are also personal songs and those that minister. My favorite is “Broken Things.”

All in all, there isn’t a whole lot outside of the box here, but that’s okay. I like what I’m getting when I hear Matthew West, and his “All In” message is one we all need to hear and live out. Whether he is new to you or not, I believe All In will be a wonderful listen for you.

Guess what? Propeller Consulting, LLC is offering one copy of All In to one US winner. Leave a comment on what Matthew West song has impacted you the most and I will choose a winner via random pick September 24.

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

All In Buy Link

 

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Don’t Miss This: ALL SAINTS Movie Releasing August 25+ #GIVEAWAY

Posted by Julie on July 31, 2017 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

 ALL SAINTS is based on the inspiring true story of salesman-turned-pastor Michael Spurlock (John Corbett), the tiny church he was ordered to shut down, and a group of refugees from Southeast Asia. Together, they risked everything to plant seeds for a future that might just save them all.

This PG rated drama runs 1:48:00 and is recommended for ages 10+. It’s from Sony AFFIRM/Sony Pictures.

I love knowing the story behind a story, so I had fun watching the videos below. The real Michael Spurlock talks about his years as pastor of a small church on the verge of being shut down. it was his first pastorate out of school and he had to decide what to do about the church and the refugees. His answer makes for an interesting movie with John Corbett portraying him.

I also liked hearing what John Corbett thought. He wasn’t so sure about taking the role, and I wondered if the faith aspect was an issue. He admitted it was because he has played so many nice guy parts, he was ready for a challenge more in the villain area. Someone read the script and told him he’d regret not taking the part. Corbett read the script again and saw the merits in taking the part.

I have TWO Fandago tickets to give away to ONE USA winner. Tell me what your favorite John Corbett role has been and why. I’ll pick a winner August 7. Don’t forget to leave your email so I can contact you in case you win.

 

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Watch All Saints trailer here

Behind the Scenes: 

The Heart of the Movie

All Saints: John Corbett Decisions

The Pastors of All Saints

The Miracles of All Saints

Web Url

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Don’t Miss This: Season of Hope by Sara Jane Jacobs

Posted by Julie on July 14, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

 
ABOUT
THE AUTHOR:
I began writing as a hobby while raising my two children. In 2015, I dusted off my stories and my dreams to see if I could turn my hobby into a career. My first story, Season of Hope, was inspired by summer vacations which always included a trip to Franklin, North Carolina, to visit family and explore The Smoky Mountains. When I'm not writing, I enjoy spending time with family. I love most any activity that involves being outdoors, especially camping, hiking and spontaneous excursions to splash in the ocean. I currently live along the Emerald Coast of Florida with my cat Selah and her delightful offspring, Colby, Jack and Tuesday.
AUTHOR CONTACT LINKS:
ABOUT THE BOOK:
 
When Amanda Jarvis prays that a special friend will move into the vacant house near her isolated mountain home, she isn't upset when God sends a boy instead of a girl. But Amanda's not the only one receiving unexpected answers to her prayers. After fleeing with his mother from an abusive father, Tyler Armstrong finds much-needed love and acceptance with Amanda's family over the next ten years. As high school graduation nears, Tyler is shocked when one carefree afternoon with Amanda churns up an inner turmoil he would have never imagined; he's crushing on his best friend. And for the firs time in his life he's hiding a secret from Amanda. Convinced the timing is all wrong, Tyler pushes his feelings aside as he and Amanda prepare for the future. He will soon begin training to pursue his dream of becoming a Navy SEAL, while Amanda makes plans to spend the summer in Manhattan with her aunt and then return home to the community college. When Amanda's summer job catapults her into a modeling career, she readily accepts the much-needed distraction. Tyler's impending deployment is turning her world upside down. Along with the fact that she's falling for her best friend. And, for the first time in her relationship with Tyler, she's hiding a secret, too. Phoebe Garrison, Amanda's controlling aunt, is thrilled when she is given the power to act on behalf of her underage niece. Bored with her Fortune 500 advertising agency, becoming Amanda's manager is just what she's been looking for to rekindle her aspirations. But as Tyler becomes aware of Phoebe's obsession to push Amanda into supermodel status, tensions rise. As the three of them become entangled in a mass of concealed ambition and desire, each will make decisions that will send ripples of turbulence across their futures.
BOOK LINKS:
 
GIVEAWAY:
 
                                           
Enter to win the SEASON OF HOPE giveaway! One person will win the following items…
        Enter below!       
 
 

 

There’s so much going on with characters that we
don’t always get to read about in the book.  Here’s a short excerpt from
Amanda’s journal the night before she left for her summer in New York.
June 1
Tonight, Tyler and I took his truck out into the
pasture for our “anti-prom” and watched the meteor shower. I tried not to think
how the life we have shared here on Nathan’s Mountain for the past ten years is
over. Tomorrow I leave for Knoxville with Mom and Dad so I can catch a flight
to New York.
Our friends crashed our little party. I loved seeing them but I
wanted so much to be alone with Tyler on our last night here. It made for a
bittersweet evening. Shouldn’t I be excited? I mean, isn’t everyone excited
when high school is finally over? I am looking forward to New
York. Phoebe intrigues me, and I want to see what life might be like if I
eventually get accepted at Barnard. This will give me a chance to see what it
would be like living in the city.
But the reality is that at the end of the summer I’ll be coming back here and Tyler will be gone. He’s been my best friend for ten years. I’ve never even let myself imagine what life on this mountain would be like without him here. My heart sinks at the thought of
sitting on the porch at night knowing that he isn’t at the bottom of the
mountain, somewhere behind the soft glow of his porch light. No longer will he
leave here from one of our long talks and signal me with the two flashes of
that light to let me know he’s home and wish me, “sweet dreams.” There will be
no reason to rush inside to send two flashes back to him. Our sweet little
tradition is over forever. How did I not see this coming? Why have I been so
absorbed with the busyness of life that I failed to notice I was about to
experience some of the most routine things for the last time.
I’m exhausted and I need to get some sleep. I’msure the morning light will bring with it a more optimistic perspective.

                                                                                                Amanda






BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:
June 26 – Truth
to Shine
June 27
ASC Book Reviews
June 28
Meagan Davenport
June 30
Barbara
Brutt
July 7
Bookworm
Mama
July 10
Tell the World
July 11
2014
and Beyond
July 12
Tammy
Karasek
July 13
Rebecca DeMarino
July 14 –  Julie Arduini
July 17
Laura
Bennet
July 18
All Betts Are Off
July 21
Leslie L. Mckee
This blog tour was coordinated by A Latte of Literature Blog
Tour Services. Find out more:
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Reading News You Can Use

Posted by Julie on June 13, 2017 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Writing |

There’s a lot going on with ENGAGED releasing this month. I thought I’d share an update with reading news you can use!

  • Patti Shene hosted me last week and time is running out on the giveaway opportunity to receive a copy of ENGAGED. Learn more HERE.

 

  • Sarah Ruut interviewed me yesterday and there’s a giveaway opportunity for ENGAGED as well. Check it out HERE!

 

  • ENGAGED is available for eReader pre-order on Amazon. Don’t have a Kindle? No worries. Amazon has a free Kindle reading app for your electronic device.

 

  • The print version will be out later this month.

 

Reading News You Can Use

About ENGAGED:

Trish Maxwell’s back in Speculator Falls with egg on her face and a lot of apologies to make. She left the mountain town for her dream job in New York City, only to come back unemployed. With no prospects, she works at her mom’s department store and makes amends as she finds a new passion creating window displays for Adirondack businesses. She works hard and tries to convince the people of Speculator Falls she’s changed for the better.

As Trish pitches in with community events, she meets paramedic Wayne Peterson, the one man who doesn’t seem to judge her. She even makes friends with Jenna Regan, who helps Trish when people demand to know what’s next in Trish’s life. Living in New York City has been her goal, but the more she’s around Wayne and the Adirondack area, the more she’s drawn to revising her plans. Just when Trish thinks the plan for her life’s coming together, a second chance comes her way that could give her every career goal she’s ever wanted, but threaten to tear her and Wayne apart. Can Trish surrender fears about her future and discover God’s plan for her?

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CD REVIEW: Out of the Dark by Mandisa #GIVEAWAY

Posted by Julie on May 21, 2017 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Out of the Dark by Mandisa

Mandisa wrote her song “Overcomer” in 2013 to encourage her close friend Kisha, who was battling breast cancer. Mandisa really believed and prayed that God was going to heal her, but when Kisha went to be with Jesus in 2014, Mandisa’s foundation was shaken in a way she never expected. She fell into a deep pit of depression for close to 3 years, shutting out her friends, family and the rest of the world. Mandisa believes if she had kept going down that road she was on, she would not be here today… but God stepped in and lifted her out of that pit by using her close friends to communicate their love for her and God’s love for her. This album is Mandisa’s way of letting her fans into her story – it’s called ‘Out Of The Dark’ because that is exactly where God lifted her out of!
You can watch her talk openly about this on Good Morning America last week here: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/mandisa-opens-overcoming-depression-47020463

The first track on Mandisa’s newest CD, OUT OF THE DARK, is a voicemail collage, and the messages set the tone for the journey Mandisa has been on since her megahit, “Overcomer.” By her own admission, the loss of a dear friend, her inspiration for the song, “Overcomer,” took her to a place so dark she isolated herself. Refused visits and calls. Re gained all the weight she had lost. Fought suicidal thoughts. With God’s love and guidance, Mandisa is back and her music is stronger for it.

Right from “I’m Still Here,” there’s something in her voice that conveys the strength in Him she’s gaining from her depression and grief. I don’t know how to explain it, a literal maturity that emanates, and I’m not saying it was something lacking in her before. There’s just something relatable in her words and voice that sends the message she’s not the same as she was. It wasn’t easy, it still isn’t. But God’s there.

This CD is perfect timing and for anyone fighting grief or questioning God, OUT OF THE DARK is a must listen. There are reflective songs and upbeat ones. Each song has a message, and by the end I realized as Mandisa emerges from the dark, she is now the overcomer.

This was an encouragement and blessing to listen to, and I highly recommend it.

YOU have a chance to win a copy! Leave a comment on this post or on social media on why you would like this CD and I will choose ONE US winner. Please leave a way for me to contact you when you leave a comment or I will choose an alternate.

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Story Behind The Album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df27myDpm1c

Acoustic Video for “Unfinished”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQFpXcvFI0A

To purchase “OUT OF THE DARK,” CLICK HERE.



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