From My Playlist – Winter Star

Do you remember waiting for Christmas to come? When we were young, it seemed to take FOREVER to get here.

You know what I’m talking about. The anticipation builds inside you every day, threatening to bubble and spill over? Christmas just couldn’t get here fast enough!

Now as I’m getting older, the season comes and goes way too fast. Why is that?

Part of it could be because time flies when we age. ;-) However, could the biggest reason be we’re caught up in the busyness of the season that we’ve lost the excitement we once had as children?

Have we forgotten to remember?

Let’s take a step back in time to when we were kids. How about we caught up in the excitement again?

winter star

Most of all…let’s get caught up in the excitement of that first Christmas morn.

The first winter star led the path to the baby Jesus.

The best gift of all!

Matthew 2:1-2 (NIV)

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Winter Star (by J Reid/M Selby/B Ezrin)

This was a new song to me last Christmas. It’s sung by Canadian country star, Johnny Reid. It talks about waiting for Christmas to come. Jeff sang it recently at the Acoustic Café in London, Ontario. I want to share his version. Listen to the words.

 

Ancient Secrets

The Patmos Deception by Davis Bunn

What would you do if you found yourself in a foreign country ready to start your dream job only to find all hopes of it shattered? Would you run home or try and make the best of it?

This is the situation Carey Mathers finds herself in when she travels to Greece to work at the prestigious Athens Institute for Antiquities. With chains wrapped around the gates locking her out, Carey’s dream job is gone. She takes refuge in a nearby restaurant and makes friends with a Greek woman her age also affected by Greece’s rough economy. She was sure God was leading her to Greece. What was He doing?

Nick Hennessy is struggling to find that one story that will put his journalism career on the road to success. He stumbles upon a lead in an antiquities smuggling ring that takes him to Greece and a childhood friend who could help him uncover and expose an ancient secret. The once scrawny girl is now a beautiful woman. Can he control the feelings threatening to surface? Or will he lose her to the mysterious Greek man?

patmos

Dimitri Rubinos lived in Patmos all his life. All he has left is his dying father and grandmother. The family boat business was in jeopardy, so when an outsider offers him a chance to save it, he jumps at the opportunity. What will it cost him? And who is this beautiful American researcher who has turned his life upside down?

This trio encounters struggles separately and together in The Patmos Deception. It’s a cleverly woven tale by Davis Bunn filled with historical backgrounds of Greece and the Apostle John. Bunn is definitely a masterful author and good at creating strong characters. However, I have to admit this book disappointed me. It didn’t hold my interest. While I enjoyed the storyline, it took me about 100 pages to get fully into the story. It lacked both the action and romance I thought it would have.

Bunn sets it up in the end for a sequel, but I felt a bit cheated. I would have to give The Patmos Deception three out of five stars.

Will I read the sequel? Probably. I would like to see where he takes it (I won’t spoil the ending for you!).

Contest!!

I would like to give away my copy of The Patmos Deception. The contest rules are simple—leave a comment on the blog and you will be entered. Bonus entry– if you leave a comment AND share this post on Facebook you will get two entries (tag me on Facebook or let me know in the comments). Contest closes Saturday, Dec 13th at midnight. Enter now! (Open to residents of the USA and Canada only.)

**Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.**

Next week I will continue on with my favourite Christmas songs, but I wanted to leave you with another one by Pentatonix. This group is amazing. Wow!

The Little Drummer Boy (by Katherine K. Davis, Henry Onorati and Harry Simeone)

From My Playlist – Mary, Did You Know?

Can you believe it’s December 1st? Where have the past 11 months gone? Wow….we’re coming into my favourite time of the year already!

I love Christmas. However, what I don’t like is the busyness of the season. Unfortunately, it can bring out the ugliness in us. You know the story. We’re rushing to get things done, trying to find the most sought-after toy your child wants, fitting in all those parties, baking…the list goes on. We forget to stop and remember WHY we celebrate—

The most blessed Gift of all was given to us.

Let’s be still and celebrate our Saviour this Christmas season.

Over the upcoming weeks I’ll be sharing a few of my favourite Christmas songs and some new ones.

I will start with Mary, Did You Know? Many artists have recorded this song written by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene. The lyrics are powerful.

mary

Ladies, put yourself in Mary’s shoes. Can you imagine having the Saviour of the world growing inside you? WOW! And that He would someday walk on water, perform miracle after miracle, and then die a horrific death.

I’m not sure we can imagine that.

This song brings tears to my eyes. I’ve chosen a version by a group called Pentatonix. This is amazing. It will give you chills!

What is your favourite Christmas song? Tell us what it is and why.

Mary, Did You Know? (by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene)

 

 

Craft Break

Sometimes in life you just need to take a step back from what you’re doing and refocus. Know what I’m talking about?

Ever have one of those days when everything is going wrong? Or one of those weeks? You can relate, right?

owl'd friends

Design by Jamie Mills-Price

This past weekend I took some much-needed down time. It had been a crazy week and I felt like I was going to snap. I needed to refocus, so I took out my paintbrush and soon found myself de-stressing as I finished this cute little Owl’d Friends ornament (design by Jamie Mills-Price – you can order the pattern here).

I also baked some maple pumpkin cookies and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins!

Isn’t it nice to know doing the simple things in life can not only give us joy but help us unwind and refocus.

Why don’t we do it more often?

How about you? When was the last time you’ve taken time for yourself? Share with us.

O Happy Day/Oh Happy Day Medley (featuring Sisters)

When I paint I either have a movie going in my DVD player or a music video. Sunday, I put in the Gaither’s Women of Homecoming and this song made me smile and tap my toe! It’s a real southern gospel song. Love the harmony (listen to how low the sister on the far right can go!)!

Stolen Innocence

Stolen by Katariina Rosenblatt, PhD with Cecil Murphey

stolen

“’Sex trafficking doesn’t happen here,’ people often say, especially those from small towns. If it doesn’t happen where they live, they’re not personally affected. “It’s a terrible thing,” they admit, but it’s also removed from them. Or so they want to believe. And yet, sex trafficking happens everywhere, and no city or small town is immune.” –Katariina Rosenblatt

Do we have blinders on when it comes to such a gut-wrenching topic as human trafficking, especially when it comes to children? Do we think it only happens in the movies and on TV?

Think again.

Unfortunately, the sex trade is a multi-billion dollar business. They prey on unsuspecting children—girls and boys. They snatch them at a young age and trap them for a long time with promises of fortune and a love they crave.

Stolen is an eye-opener into this world of deception and lies. This book is not for the faint of heart. It made me angry and at times I wanted to put it down, but it held my interest and I found myself turning page after page! I needed to know how it ended.

Katariina Rosenblatt takes us into this world from her first-hand experience of being lured at the young age of thirteen. It will shock you how her “friend” lets her believe she’s chosen. Katariina was a perfect victim. She was lonely and came from an abusive situation. She craved attention.

She was not only lured once but repeatedly. This book is a story of hope. She’s a survivor and is now using her experience to help others. God rescued her over and over throughout her life. You will see just how powerfully when you read the book. I won’t spoil it for you!

My only negative comment about the book is there are portions that are a bit choppy and don’t seem to flow as nicely as others. However, I give it four out of five stars. Everyone should read this book.

This quote says it all!

Stolen is a warning, a celebration of survival, and a beacon of hope that will inspire you.”

Put this book on your list to read. It will not only open your eyes but move you to want to help others.

**Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.**

From My Playlist – Standing Strong and True (For Tomorrow)

Tomorrow we honour those who fought for our freedom and for those who continue to protect our freedom.

My grandfather fought in WWI and WWII. My uncles served in WWII.

My Uncle Bud shares our family’s story in this article from the Halifax Herald. (The “one girl” referred to in this article is my mom! :-) )

For my King and my country, I would do it again

Our family stood strong and true for their country. They fought for our freedom.

I couldn’t be more proud.

war brothers

Tomorrow, how about we talk to a veteran? Thank them for fighting for us.

Why don’t we thank someone in law enforcement? This past week my husband stopped to talk to a London police officer and thanked him for protecting our city. The officer was surprised because they are rarely acknowledged for what they do.

Why is that?

Why don’t we stand tall with those who serve? With those who have served?

remembrance day

After all…they risk their lives for us.

We need to honour all who serve on Remembrance Day and every day.

 

 

Standing Strong and True (For Tomorrow) by Ron Irving along with Lynda and Tom McKillip

Listen closely to the words of this powerful song!

Lest we forget.

ROTFL laughs

When was the last time you had a good laugh? I’m not talking about just a chuckle? I mean a ROTFL laugh. Do I need to spell that out for you?

Roll On The Floor Laughing laugh. What do I mean by that?

Laughing until your belly hurts.

Laughing so hard you cry.

Laughing until all those around you join in.

Know what I mean?

These days we all need one or more of those.

I remember when my sister and I went to Israel, we went swimming in the Dead Sea. Wait…let me rephrase that. You don’t really “swim” in the dead sea–you float. The salt water gives you buoyancy. So much of it, it’s difficult to get into one position. Believe me we tried. And laughed ourselves silly doing it! I can’t remember a time when I’ve laughed so hard.

It was amazing. (And a good abdominal workout!)

Are we wound so tight we forget to laugh? These days I feel like I am.

I think it’s time for me to have another ROTFL kind of laugh.

Will you join me?

When was the last time you had a ROTFL moment? Share with us so we can laugh too!

sue and dar collage