Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Heart Most Worthy ~ Book Giveaway

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Three young women from three very different walks of life have one thing in common ~ their employment in Madame Fortier’s dress shop in Boston. Their lives otherwise seem to be completely different.

Julietta is an impetuous flirt who longs to be more American than her Italian heritage allows. Annamarie has resigned herself to serving her family as the oldest daughter. Luciana, the quietest of the three, lives in fear of her life after her father’s assassination.  While their three lives seem worlds apart, they become intricately entwined in ways they cannot fathom, especially as love begins to weave it’s way into their hearts and lives ~ but are they worthy of that love?

My Thoughts

Overall I loved the plot and time of the book A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell. Set in Boston 1918, it gives a look into the lives of immigrant families longing to take their piece of the American dream. Mitchell uses the backdrop of The Great War and the Spanish Influenza to pull the story together.

The variety of characters {having 3 primary characters} was a little difficult to follow at first, and Mitchell makes note of that in her introduction. Once you get into the book a little, the characters begin to fall into place and their stories are easy to figure out.

Find Out More

~ Visit Siri Mitchell’s website

~ Join Siri’s Facebook fan page

The Giveaway

Would you like to win a copy of A Heart Most Worthy? I have one copy to mail to one of my readers! Leave a comment on this post ~ be sure there is a way for me to contact you. The giveaway will be open until Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 8pm.

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy. This book was provided for review by Bethany House. All opinions expressed in this review are solely my own.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I Love You Too…

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Kaleb has been coming up to me lately, snuggling up close and whispering four words that melt my heart in more ways than one.

“I love you too.”

Not just ‘I love you’ ~ it’s that added little ‘too’ that really hit me the other day when I fully stopped to listen and HEAR what he was saying to me.

He doesn’t just love me ~ he KNOWS that I love him.

And that I do. Tremendously. Immensely.

It just makes my eyes well up with tears realizing that he is responding to something that he doesn’t hear with his ears, but knows deep down in his heart.

Not that I’ll ever stop saying it to him, but I love that he is secure in the love that we all have for him. :)

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Story of Our Move…{part 1}

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{alternatively titled: Jolanthe had no intention of moving…}

I’ll preface this entire story by saying that Rick is ALWAYS looking at houses. He constantly comes home with the real estate magazines and flips through them or looks on local real estate sites….dreaming, browsing, and trying to get me to bite.

I typically refuse.

As soon as he puts the magazines down long enough, I collect them and put them in the trash can. Because I really didn’t want to move. Not because I was scared, but really…I was happy where we were living. Sure there were things that I would love to do to our house, but it was in a convenient location, we almost had it paid off and packing a family of six could really be a proverbial nightmare ~ to name just a FEW reasons.

The cycle would be that Rick would suggest going to see a house, we might go and look, but …. yeah, we weren’t moving. There was one house that had been a possibility a little bit prior, but the barking dogs were a HUGE deterrent and pretty well settled me back into the “Nope! Not moving!” category.

And there I sat.

At a Christmas party in December, one of our friends mentioned how much they enjoyed the area they had moved to and told us that we should look in the same area. Almost two weeks later, I did a search on the internet, curious ~ just to see. I apparently did something wrong because only three houses popped up in my search, and I’m sure there were more than three available for sale in that area.

The first two houses were ones that definitely wouldn’t work, but one other house popped up in the search and I clicked on it. That one click began a spiral of events that I didn’t see coming, but all in a good way.

Rick was on the phone with our realtor rather quickly and we set up an appointment to see the house the next night, Monday, December 27th. From the moment we turned into the driveway, Rick was pretty much sold on the house.  We walked through and you could almost see the wheels turning in his mind.  Ironically, we found out that the listing on the house had actually expired ~ it had been on the market for over 200 days and there hadn’t been an offer on it.

Tuesday night, he turned to me and said, “So, are you ready to put an offer on the house?” My response was nothing short of encouraging for him to hear {I’m sure} ~ “Are you kidding? We are NOT moving!”

I then proceeded to list the 300 reasons why moving was not an option, why we were staying put in our current house {thank.you.very.much} and life would go on same as always.

Because I’m grown up like that.

Wednesday morning after Rick went to work, I called my mom and asked if she would want to drive out to the house with me so I could look around {ok, snoop} a bit more since it had been dark when we visited the house. I wasn’t planning to let Rick know because I figured it would just fuel the “we are buying this house” fire. The owner of the house was working, so I pulled in the driveway and began showing my mom the backyard area…when the owner pulled in.

Oops.

After I’d introduced myself, my mom managed to corral the kids in the van and I spent the next half hour talking to him and asking him different questions that we’d had about the house. We exchanged numbers and I immediately called Rick to tell him about the meeting.

But still…I just wasn’t convinced we should go any further with it.

New Year’s Eve we received a call from our realtor that another couple working with another agency had put an offer in on the house. But there was a catch. When the seller heard about their offer, he told his realtor that he had met another couple {umm…that would be the nosy me} and if we were interested, he would like to sell the house to us instead.

And that’s when all the fun began….

{to be continued}

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Girl in the Gatehouse {Book Review}

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Mariah Aubrey has a secret that few know. In a time period when writing novels was considered improper by many, Mariah lives in a secluded gatehouse on a relative’s property doing just that.  Her seclusion came on the heels of a most devastating time in her life, and though she longs to be close to her family, it is impossible.

Soon after she moves to the gatehouse, Captain Matthew Bryant leases the estate and takes interest in the mysterious Mariah. As the scandal that surrounds her slowly begins to surface, Bryant is faced with the choice of walking away or following his heart and risking his new position in society.

My Thoughts

I have loved the other books that I read by Julie Klassen, so I was anxious to read The Girl in the Gatehouse ~ and I was not disappointed! Although I was in the midst of unpacking and moving a house, I had a difficult time putting it down.

The way that Klassen handled the scandal surrounding Mariah and the development of her character was wonderful. I was saddened so often thinking of women during this time period who faced similar scandals and how things would have been handled differently today. The grace that Mariah received and also extended was encouraging and make this book one that I want to keep on my shelf for years to come!

Here are a few more books by Julie Klassen that I have also enjoyed: The Silent Governess, The Apothecary's Daughter, and Lady of Milkweed Manor. If you enjoy period fiction, you will really enjoy her books!

Find Out More

~ Visit Julie Klassen’s website or Facebook fan page

~ Buy Julie’s book at Amazon.

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

This book was provided for review by Bethany House. All opinions expressed in this review are solely my own.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Here a Chick…

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One of the fun things that we get to do now that we’re outside city limits…

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…learn a little more about chickens up close and personal.

Here’s to fresh eggs!

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Reading Thing 2011 ~ My Goals

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I’m MORE than ready to welcome spring with some reading goals. The weather the last few days has more ready to sit on our porch, soak in some sun, enjoy the breeze and many good books!

Over the last few months I feel like I have been reading even more thanks to my lovely Kindle and the many free downloads that I’ve found for it. I’ve found some great authors and series that I wouldn’t normally have read. The list below will grow over the upcoming months too as I add more freebies to my Kindle too! :)

For now though, here are the books that I am planning to read during the course of the Spring Reading Thing 2011. Generally I don’t have the best of success with my non-fiction list, but I’m really enjoying the books I’ve been reading by Sally Clarkson and have been trying to read at least a chapter a day in her books.

Be sure to check back, because most Wednesdays I try to post a book review on the books that I am reading and include a giveaway of the book whenever possible!

Fiction

~ Mine is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs {very excited for the conclusion of this series!}

~ The Art of Romance by Kaye Dacus

~ The Waiting by Suzanne Woods Fisher {thanks to a Kindle freebie, I got hooked on this series!}

~ The Search by Suzanne Woods Fisher

~ An Unlikely Suitor by Nancy Moser

~ and more to come!!!

 

Non-Fiction

~ Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God by Mary Demuth

~ Seasons of a Mother’s Heart by Sally Clarkson

~ Read for the Heart by Sally Clarkson

~ Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson

~ Bringing up Girls by James Dobson

Spring Reading Thing 2011 is hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days and runs from March 20th til June 20th. If you are interested in joining up, or learning more, be sure to stop by and visit!

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Like Father…Like Son

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This was what I spent much of Sunday afternoon watching…

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Too sweet. :)

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring Reading Thing 2011 ~ Coming Soon!

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Mark your calendars and start making your reading lists!! The Spring Reading Thing 2011 hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days is coming soon ~ March 20th to be exact!

I’m making my lists and trying to find some fun new books to read and will be sharing soon.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Socialdish and Moolala Deals

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Usually this isn’t something that I post about, but since I’ve gotten a few great deals {and expect more}, I wanted to share some great new sites that I’ve found recently. If you are familiar with sites like Living Social and Groupon, then you are going to love these two sites also!

Moolala

Moolala offers an online daily deal to members where you get 50-90% off a retail offer. If you see something you like, you can purchase the deal and then share the deal with friends. They have a great rewards program where you can earn 2% of the deal values ~ not bad! Check out the main Moolala page and you can see how the rewards program works!

Mixbook Moolala

The current Moolala deal is from Mixbook ~ for $10, get $50 worth of photo books, stationery, customizable calendars, and more, all from Mixbook. You can purchase up to two deals per person! I took advantage of this one already and can’t wait to get started making a book {since it’s the closest I’ll get to scrapbooking for now!}.

Social Dish - Join the Movement! Save Money + Make Money! 50% to 90% off local deals!
 

Socialdish will be unveiling at some point this month, but you can sign up now and receive an email when the deals start. The site is similar to how Moolala is set up and also has a reward program for members. Best of all, it’s also a free site!

Just wanted to pass along some finds to you all!

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

I am a member of both Moolala and Socialdish and part of their rewards programs. I was not compensated for this post, but would love it if you decide to join by clicking on my links above!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Love on Assignment {Book Review}

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imageCharlotte Hale desperately wants to become a journalist, something generally reserved for the men in the newspaper office. When her boss offers her the opportunity to move up in the office by taking an undercover assignment, she jumps at the opportunity.

She takes a nanny position in the household of the widowed Professor Wilmont, a man who writes a weekly religious column for the newspaper and stirs up quite a bit of trouble calling for equality and fair wages in the workplaces. It is a cause that the workers rally with and one that employers do not wish to hear.

While working as nanny, Charlotte searches to find flaws in the Professor’s character, but only discovers an honest and upright man and a family that she begins to love deeply. Her uneasiness in her assignment grows as she observes her newspaper editor attempting some underhanded tactics to malign the Professor and cause him moral ruin. Will she be able to remain undercover and protect the Professor and his family or will everything fall to pieces around her on assignment?

My Thoughts

Love on Assignment  is the second book in the Ladies of Summerhill series by Cara Lynn James, set in Rhode Island the late 1800’s.

When she first arrives in the Wilmont household, Charlotte knows and understands very little about God and what a relationship with Christ is all about ~ especially in the area of forgiveness. During her time working for the family, she soon learns what a true relationship should look like. As she is convicted of her deceit she is placed in a difficult position because she needs a job to support her sick sister, but no longer wishes to deceive the family she works for.

The story was a great look at the Gilded Age and the dichotomy between the wealthy and the working classes and the responsibility of Christians in that setting. Cara Lynn James isn’t overly preachy in the book, but clearly outlines the message of salvation through the story.

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson via Net Gallery. All opinions expressed in this review are solely my own.

Winner of Surrender the Night

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Congratulations to Linda on winning the copy of Surrender the Night! I’ll be sending you an email.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Being Thrown Under the Bus

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My in-laws visited a few weekends ago to help us move over the last bit of stuff from our old house and clean the house before the upcoming closing. We had a huge bin of nearly empty paint cans that we had to haul over to the new house and figure out where to store before we could discard them.

Since Rick wasn’t back yet, I told my father-in-law to store them in a small closet in our garage. As soon as Rick was home, my father-in-law went with Rick to the garage, showed him where they had put the bin, and added “Jolanthe told us to put them there.”

I jokingly added, “Oh, sure! Throw ME under the bus!”

Kaleb was sitting nearby listening to the entire conversation and raced to the garage after my father-in-law and yelled into the garage ~ “Don’t throw her under the bus!!!”

Head on over to Mary's at Not Before 7 for some more Tiny Talk Tuesday!!
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Monday, March 7, 2011

Finding Joy

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A little something I’m pondering…

“I am more convinced than ever that even in the midst of the mundane, burdensome, and oftentimes frustrating tasks of life allotted to me as a mother, God wants me to find his joy. He wants every single day of my life to be a celebration of his blessings, whether large or small. He wants me to celebrate life ~ the life He has given me.”

~ Sally Clarkson, Seasons of a Mothers Heart

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We Have Winners for Little Leaps of Love!!!

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Emails have been coming in all week with point totals and people commenting to let me know that they participated in Little Leaps of Love this past month. There were two different prize packs to be awarded…

The winner with the most points was Michelle with 830 points!! She sent me the following email…

I had so much fun doing the leaps this month.  Thanks so much for doing this!  I think my kids favorite was building the fort! We have been building forts ever since.  I wanted to let you know my point total was 830 points.  Thanks again for all the fun ideas!

And the random winner was the following comment…

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Congratulations ladies and a HUGE thank you to all of you for making the challenge so much fun to host. I pray that both you and your families were blessed last month as you took little leaps to show them BIG love!

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Settling In…

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Slowly, but surely, we are all beginning to settle into our new house. The entire buying, selling and moving process has been a whirlwind, but is really a neat story that I want to share with you all!

Over the next little bit, I’ll be writing a few posts and sharing pictures of our new home with you all…assuming that you want to hear it. :)

front of house

For now, here’s a little peek at our new place ~ courtesy of the original listing. Although I have the interior pictures from the listing also, it will be more fun to share what it looks like now that we’ve moved in and cluttered it up with our stuff.

To be continued….

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Surrender the Night {Book Giveaway}

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Earlier this year I reviewed the book Surrender the Night by Mary Lu Tyndall ~ and it was one that I absolutely loved! To celebrate the recent release of the book, Barbour sent me a copy to give away to one of my readers!

Surrender the Night continues the Surrender to Destiny series and follows the story of Rose, an American who rescues an enemy British officer during the War of 1812. Rose feels obligated to care for him because he is injured, but also knows that if he is found on her property both she and her family will be tried for treason.

As Lieutenant Reed recovers, both he and Rose begin to develop affections for each other ~ a dangerous venture in the time of war. Even though Rose wishes him to stay, the primary goal is to help him recover and return him to his ship.

Read my full review of Surrender the Night here.

Win a Copy

Would you like to win a copy of Surrender the Night ? I have one copy to mail to one of my readers! Leave a comment on this post ~ be sure there is a way for me to contact you. The giveaway will be open until Tuesday, March 8th at 8pm.

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This giveaway book was provided by Barbour. All opinions expressed in this review are solely my own.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Apparently I’m NOT a Professional…

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It’s been a bit since I’ve participated in Tiny Talk Tuesday, but this little tidbit from McKenna had Rick and I laughing out loud in church.
Laurianna was singing with her Awana group at a church other than our home church and before the service started I was filling out a visitor card from the church. When I was finished, McKenna was reading it over and saw that they had an area to write in prayer requests.
 
McKenna: Mom, can I write a prayer request down?
Me: What do you need prayer for?
McKenna: My knee. I fell off my bike and it hurts.
Me: Sweetie, we can pray for your knee. You don’t need to write it on a card.
McKenna: Well, I think I’d rather have a professional pray for it.
 
Head on over to Mary's at Not Before 7 for some more Tiny Talk Tuesday!!
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