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Monday, September 24, 2012

Music Monday: {Moonlight Serenade} by The Glenn Miller Orchestra

Hello, and Happy Music Monday!  I'm switching things up from the norm here, and sharing a different type of music today.  Some of you may not know, but I LOVE big band music, and just about all music from the 1940's!  Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, and Judy Garland are some of my favorite "old-time" singers -- love, love, love!!!  :D

Moonlight Serenade is such a beautiful song!  It's so calming, and has a "dreamy" feel to it.  I can imagine myself dancing across the ballroom . . . if only I knew how to dance like that, and only if my husband actually liked to dance, lol.  But hey, a girl can dream!  ;-)

Anyway, I've been on a 40's music kick lately, and I thought I'd share some of that here every now and then.  I hope you'll enjoy it!

Please chime in and let me know if you're a fan of this type of music, as well.  I'd love to know what you think!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Book Preview: {To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander + Video Vignette #4}

In anticipation of Tamera Alexander's October 23rd release of To Whisper Her Name, Zondervan has created a series of six video vignettes relating to this wonderful new Belle Meade Plantation series.  Each one is beautifully done, and gives you some of the fascinating history behind the Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville, Tennessee.  Below you'll find the 4th video, and a link to the book trailer, as well as the three previous videos, in case you've missed them.

Visit Tamera Alexander's website to view the book trailer, and well as the previous Belle Meade video vignettes! 

About the Book:
Olivia Aberdeen, destitute widow of a man shot as a traitor to the South, is shunned by proper society and gratefully accepts an invitation from "Aunt" Elizabeth Harding, mistress of Belle Meade Plantation. Expecting to be the Harding's head housekeeper, Olivia is disillusioned when she learns the real reason Elizabeth's husband, Confederate General William Giles Harding, agreed to her coming. Not finding the safe haven she expects, Olivia is caught off guard by her feelings for Ridley Adam Cooper, a Southern man who seems anything but a Southern gentleman.

Branded a traitor by some, Ridley Cooper, a Southern son who chose to fight for the Union, is a man desperate to end the war still raging inside him. Determined to learn "the gift" that Belle Meade's head horse trainer and former slave, Bob Green, possesses, Ridley harbors secrets that threaten both their lives.

As Ridley seeks to make peace within himself for "betraying" the South he loved, Olivia is determined to never be betrayed again.

Set at Nashville's historic Belle Meade Plantation, the most influential thoroughbred stud farm in America's history, To Whisper Her Name weaves the struggles of real people of the post-war South with the journeys of a man and a woman scarred by betrayal.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Music Monday: {The Struggle} by Tenth Avenue North

Here's a great new song by Tenth Avenue North, from their album, The Struggle.  It's a very easy song to relate to, because we can all identify with struggling.  In this life, we will have struggles.  We will have trials and tribulations.  But it's important to remember that God never promised that we wouldn't struggle.  And what a blessing to know that in those difficult times God is working, even when we don't understand, even when it doesn't seem like anything is changing for the better.  We can rest in His peace.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

We may be weak, fallen, and broken, but we're free! "Free to struggle, we're not struggling to be free."

There's a wreckage,
There's a fire
There's a weakness in my love
There's a hunger I can't control
Lord, I falter and I fall down
Then I hold on to the chains You broke
When You came and saved my soul
Save my soul

We are free to struggle
We're not struggling to be free
Your blood bought and
Makes us children
Children, drop your chains and sing

So why, Lord, do I still fail
Do I wear thin
Why do I still give in to temptation
On my own, I am bankrupt
I don't trust You or take You at Your word
What You've promised


Hallelujah, death is overcome
And we are breathing
Hallelujah, our stone hearts become
Flesh that's beating
Hallelujah, chains have been undone
And we are singing
Hallelujah, the fire has begun
Can you feel it


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

{A Quote to Inpsire You} Charles Spurgeon

Photo Credit:  Found on Pinterest

I thought this quote went along nicely with the book review I posted last week on What a Difference a Mom Makes by Dr. Kevin Leman.  As moms, we have such great influence over our children, and moms especially have great influence over their sons . . . a blessing and a privilege, indeed!

Hope you all are having a great week!  Sweet blessings, my friends!  ~Michelle  : )  

Monday, September 10, 2012

Music Monday: {Don't Give Up} by Calling Glory

Whether we're on the mountain top, or in the valley, we all need encouragement.  As human beings it's something that we crave.  As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us.  Jesus is always with us to provide encouragement, to be that strong place to fall when we're weak.  People may fail us, but He's always there to hold us up, to be our rock when we feel like we can't take another step, and we've lost hope.  He's the reason we don't have to give up, or lose hope.

If you're feeling hopeless, discouraged, broken, weak, or in despair, I pray that this song will encourage you.  I pray that you will find your peace, hope, rest, and strength in Jesus . . . the one true source of all of these things.

Praise the Lord that He is our refuge and our strength!

These walls around you are caving in
And your life seems like it is wearing thin
Your hope is drowning in despair
It looks like you're not going anywhere
Step inside this Heart and then you'll see
Such a love that is so amazing

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Book Review: {What a Difference a Mom Makes: The Indelible Imprint a Mom Leaves on Her Son's Life} by Dr. Kevin Leman -- Revell Blog Tour

About the Book:

Every mom wants the best for her son. She wants him to succeed in life, to be a man of character, to find a good woman, to be a great dad. But sometimes boys are hard for moms to understand. Sometimes they're strange, annoying, and downright disgusting! Yet always they need a mother who is engaged and interested in them, because a mom is the most important person in a boy's life.

In What a Difference a Mom Makes, New York Times bestselling author Dr. Kevin Leman uses his wit and wisdom to show Mom how to lay the groundwork that will allow her son to grow into a good man. Armed with Dr. Leman's expert advice and insight, Mom will gain an understanding of her boy at every stage, from that very first diaper change to the moment he leaves for college. Dr. Leman shows how to discipline a boy, how to command respect, how to let him fight his own battles, how to understand his sexuality, and how to weather the changes in the mother-son relationship as he grows up. Most of all, Leman shows Mom how to lighten up and have some fun along the way with that boy who will always have her heart.

From the Back Cover:

Boys will be boys--always.
And no one has a more powerful impact on them than you, Mom.

Surprise! Your boy wants to please you, and he cares deeply about what you think. Those driving needs will stay with him throughout his lifetime. That gives you, Mom, a lot of influence over your son. You can set him up for success in life.

In What a Difference a Mom Makes, the New York Times bestselling author Dr. Kevin Leman reveals how you can make a positive imprint on your son--from the moment you first hold him in your arms until the moment he leaves for college. And the best news? It's never too late to start, no matter what age your son is now.

Through Dr. Leman's expert advice, you'll understand who your son is on the inside, the truth behind sibling squabbles (and how to handle them), a secret for discipline that works every time, and how to navigate the critical teen years. You'll also discover how your parenting style impacts your relationship with your son and how you can respond in a healthy way to his growing interest in sex and relationships.

Want to capture your boy's heart? Want a man you'll be proud to call your son? You can make a difference, because you are the one who matters most in your boy's world.

Even if he won't admit it.

My Star Rating: 5 Stars

My Review:

I'm the mom of a 9-year-old boy, and he's the apple of my eye! There's no doubt that he holds a special place in my heart.  When I was given the opportunity to review this book, I didn't give it a second thought, and jumped at the chance.  My son and I have a great relationship, but I figured there's always room for improvement, and I could definitely benefit in gaining some insight on the "older boy" stages, since my older children are girls. 

I found this book to be very easy to read, filled with practical advice, and just the right amount of humor.  Dr. Kevin Leman provides moms with just what they need to navigate their son's life from birth to college.  Whether your son is just a baby, or heading off to college, you'll find practical advice that's presented in a clear, easy to understand way.

I appreciate the fact that there's practical advice for every stage of a boy's life, as well as general mom tips, and a chapter that's dedicated to dad and the importance of his role.

Dr. Leman stresses that our relationship with our son is very important.  The time and attention we give our sons makes a difference, and how to make the most of that time at any age.  After reading this book, I feel so encouraged to take the relationship with my son to an even higher level.  I highly recommend this book to every mom who has a son!

**Available September 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.**

**Thank you to Revell for providing me with a review copy, in exchange for my honest opinion.**

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Book Review: {Love's Reckoning} by Laura Frantz -- Revell Blog Tour

About the Book:

On a bitter December day in 1785, Silas Ballantyne arrives at the door of master blacksmith Liege Lee in York, Pennsylvania. Just months from becoming a master blacksmith himself, Silas is determined to finish his apprenticeship and move west. But Liege soon discovers that Silas is a prodigious worker and craftsman and endeavors to keep him in York. Silas becomes interested in both of Liege's daughters, the gentle and faith-filled Eden and the clever and high-spirited Elspeth. When he chooses one, will the other's jealousy destroy their love?

In this sweeping family saga set in western Pennsylvania, one man's choices in love and work, in friends and enemies, set the stage for generations to come. Love's Reckoning is the first entry in The Ballantyne Legacy, a rich, multi-layered historical quartet from talented writer Laura Frantz, beginning in the late 1700s and following the Ballantyne family through the end of the Civil War.

My Star Rating: 5 Stars

My Review:

Oh, how I love a Laura Frantz novel!  This is her fourth novel, and the first in The Ballantyne Legacy series, which will span over four books, and four generations; an epic family saga, indeed!  I only wish we didn't have to wait so long in between books.

Laura has a tremendous talent to craft beautiful novels, and create images in the reader's mind that truly leave a lasting impression.  From unique characters, detailed descriptions, high tension moments of uncertainty, to sweet, tender encounters  . . . I found myself savoring every word, not only for its depth, but its incredible richness.  

Love's Reckoning is not your "run-of-the-mill" novel, and if you're like me, you'll find yourself captivated from beginning to end!  And just when you think you know which direction the story is headed . . . you're in for a surprise that perhaps you weren't expecting!  That was one of the things I appreciated most about the story . . . it took me places that I never saw coming.

I love how the spiritual thread is beautifully incorporated into the story, as we see Eden "thirst" for God and His word, and see her grow in her knowledge of Him. It's endearing how she keeps His word figuratively, and literally, close to her heart.  In addition, I think it's important to note that the novel opens up with Psalm 23.  Even through the dark times and trials, Eden and Silas experience comfort, protection, and leading from the great Shepherd.  He's there with us, even in those dark valleys, and I love how Laura blends this into the story.

If you're an admirer of historical fiction, and you appreciate great literature, this is one you won't want to miss.  It will charm and enchant you, and leave you with great anticipation for the next installment!

**Thank you to Revell, A Division of Baker Publishing Group, for a review copy, in exchange for my honest opinion.**

**Available September 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.**