Seeing Clearly

As I drove home from church after a worship team rehearsal, the rain pelted the windshield of my car. Without the help of wipers, I would have been blind to the direction the road was taking and could have easily missed a turn, or driven onto a part of the road I had no desire to be on.

A few raindrops on the windshield wouldn’t have hindered my ability to see where I was going. But if those drops were left and more allowed to accumulate, even they would have eventually contributed to a distorted view of the road ahead.

Isn’t that how life is?

A few distractions may not cause us to stray from the path God has chosen for us. But, if we continue to allow more things to become between us and our relationship with Him, we can easily make poor choices. We may take a wrong turn because we’re no longer seeing clearly.

I needed to keep the view clear that evening in order to find my way.

I need to do the same in my life if I want to follow the road God has set before me. After all, at the end of this “life journey,” I’m going home.

How is your vision today?

Dawn

Not to Assume

I need to stop assuming. Anything.

To assume is to accept that something is true without checking or confirming it.

I'll give you recent examples of my own wrong assumptions.

Recently, a local friend and author held a book signing and Q&A at a large Barnes and Noble about thirty minutes away. After a long and tiring work week, I felt confident that my husband would prefer to stay home, have a nice dinner, and relax. He’s not a book reader and he’s never met the author. So, I didn’t even bring it up. Because I assumed he’d not want to go.

Later, when I mentioned it, he hinted that he would have gone with me—had I asked.

My health-conscious daughter and her boyfriend were coming over for dinner. I mentioned to my husband that she’d requested hummus with raw veggies to munch on before the meal.

“What’s hummus?”

He was unaware that a small container with hummus—made with mashed chickpeas, oil, lemon juice, and garlic—had been in the refrigerator for several days. (No, I didn’t make it myself!) But, I’d never offered it to him because I assumed he wouldn’t like it.

Whether he’d like it or not, he wanted the opportunity to try it, or at least say, “no thanks.”

After having breakfast with a friend at a new restaurant near our home, I raved about the food to my husband. So when he took a vacation day, we decided the night before that we’d treat ourselves and go out for a scrumptious and leisurely breakfast. I assumed the place would be open the same hours on weekdays. You can imagine our disappointment when we pulled into the empty parking lot. The restaurant wasn’t open until lunch.

We’re tempted to assume all kinds of things as we go through our lives.

Someone will clean up the mess I leave behind.

The grandparents will be free to babysit on Saturday night.

Certainly the other child is to blame. Mine couldn’t be at fault.

A person doesn’t acknowledge my hello, so she not only doesn’t like me—she’s a snob.

And how about this one . . .

Terrorists created the 911 tragedy. Because those who were involved in that devastating event were Moslems, some Americans assume that all Moslems are bad, hateful people.

What if . . .

Someone doesn’t clean up my mess?

The grandparents have plans for the weekend?

My child instigated the fight?

The woman isn’t a snob—she’s worried about her sick mother?

What if by assuming something that’s untrue, we’re not only losing out on experiences with people—we’re cheating them out of something new, challenging, or fun?

What if by assuming a group of people are all one way—we’re missing out on sharing wonderful friendships and life-changing moments?

What if whenever we're tempted to make an assumption, we took a moment to question it?

Dawn

Book Review - Head in the Clouds by Karen Witemeyer

Before I share my thoughts on Karen Witemeyer's latest release, Head in the Clouds, I’ll let you read the back-cover copy.

About the book . . .

Adelaide Proctor longs to find a real-life storybook hero to claim as her own. But when a husband-hunting debacle leaves her humiliated, she interviews for a governess position on a remote Texas sheep ranch and vows to leave her silly romantic yearning behind.

Gideon Westcott left his privileged life in England to make a name for himself in America’s wool industry, never expecting to end up with a child. To his dismay, five-year-old Isabella hasn’t uttered a word since she lost her mother. The unconventionality of the new governess concerns Gideon—and intrigues him at the same time. But he can’t afford distractions.

When Isabella’s uncle comes to claim the girl—and her inheritance—Gideon and Adelaide must work together to protect Isabella from the man’s evil schemes. Soon neither can deny their growing attraction. But after so many heartbreaks, will Adelaide be willing to get her head out of the clouds and put her heart on the line?


My Review

If I was asked to give one word to describe Head in the Clouds it would be delightful! Karen Witemeyer skillfully writes a story that is not only humorous; it’s touching, suspenseful, and romantic.

The characters in this story are well crafted. Adelaide is a strong woman who at times is a bit stubborn. She has a wealth of love to give, and Gideon and Isabella need it. The author was clever in giving Adelaide an idiosyncrasy regarding her clothing. (You’ll have to read it to see what I’m referring to.) Gideon is protective, honorable, and heroic. What’s there not to love?

This novel may be described as light-hearted, but it also included serious moments. Situations called for the characters to search not only their own hearts, but God’s heart and will. Adelaide wants to understand why things happen—or don’t happen—in her life. God is in control, isn’t He?

Kudos to Karen Witemeyer for fresh prose. She included descriptions I’ve never read before. Kudos to the author for including humor while avoiding “fluff.” And kudos for writing tender, hot, romantic scenes that I can’t imagine would cross the line for anyone.

Do I recommend this book? Yes!
And I'm looking forward to reading more books by this author.




Karen Witemeyer is a deacon's wife who believes the world needs more happily-ever-afters. To that end, she combines her love of bygone eras with her passion for helping women mature in Christ to craft historical romance novels that lift the spirit and nurture the soul.

Karen holds a master's degree in Psychology from Abilene Christian University and is a member of ACFW, RWA, and her local writers' guild. She's an avid cross-stitcher, shower singer, and bakes a mean apple cobbler. Karen makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children.

Gentle Reminders

My environment is extremely important to me. Not only how it affects me, but how family and guests respond to being in our home.

For instance, warm colors like soft yellows and browns (red is used as an accent color) are used in the family room and kitchen. A variety of plants are scattered throughout the house. During cooler months, a fire usually burns in the fireplace, and scented candles add a glow to rooms.

Those who visit, see gentle reminders of who and what is important to me.

Frames display photos of our children, parents, and friends. They remind me that I am greatly blessed by wonderful people in my life.

Spending time in the woods, mountains, or on an ocean beach is a spiritual experience for me. I always feel closer to God when I’m surrounded by nature. So in the front room, you’ll find baskets of pinecones, a tray filled with shiny rocks, photos of fall leaves, and scenes painted in watercolor. They are gentle reminders that I serve an awesome God and creator.

A wall hanging from Africa, brought back by my youngest daughter when she returned from a mission trip, hangs in the family room. It’s a gentle reminder to think of others and reach out to our fellowman.

The word believe is cut from metal and hangs in a prominent place. It reminds me to believe that God is always with us. He provides for our needs, comforts us, and never lets us down. It's also a gentle reminder to believe in myself and my dreams.

What do you enjoy having around you? What are some things that make you feel at home? Comfortable? Secure?

Blog Tour - The House on Malcolm Street by Leisha Kelly

The House on Malcolm Street

It is the autumn of 1920, and Leah Breckenridge is desperate to find a way to provide for her young daughter. After losing her husband and infant son, she is angry at God and fearful about the days ahead. Finding refuge in a boardinghouse run by her late husband’s aunt, Leah begins the slow process of mending her heart.

Is it the people who surround her—or this very house—that reach into her heart with healing? As Leah finds peace tending to an abandoned garden, can she find a way to trust God with her future?

My Review

The House on Malcolm Street is the first novel I’ve read by author Leisha Kelly. The beautiful cover and back-cover copy both drew me in, and I wanted to discover what the pages held inside.

This is a story about two people struggling with deep loss. Leah and her young daughter have nothing and nowhere else to go but to an aunt’s boardinghouse. There, Leah meets Josiah, who has also found refuge in the elderly woman’s care. Although the aunt believes a friendship between Leah and Josiah would be helpful for both, they’re so locked into their pain, they’re not interested in having anything to do with each other.

The author is skilled with sharing the characters' thoughts and feelings. But the story dragged in parts, so I didn’t feel totally engaged in their lives until about two thirds into the book – when some important events began to take place. Both Leah and Josiah faced several fears, but I wish they would have been a bit stronger and more heroic in the process. I do applaud the author for carefully showing that grieving is a process and is worked through in a person's own timing.

The House on Malcom Street is a story about emotional and spiritual healing. By accepting help and love from God, family, and friends, it is possible for a broken heart to mend. And when that begins to happen, hurting people are able to reach out beyond themselves and help others.

I would recommend this novel to someone who enjoys a story that is character driven—not plot driven. Cuddle up with it on a Sunday afternoon, next to a fire, and with a cup of tea.


Available September 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


DISCLOSURE: I was graciously provided a copy of The House on Malcolm Street by Revell Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

Leisha Kelly is the author of several bestselling historical fiction books, including Emma’s Gift, Julia’s Hope, and Katie’s Dream. She has served many years on her local library board, continuing to bring good reads and educational opportunities to her community. Once a waitress, cafĂ© manager, tutor, and EMT, Leisha is now a busy novelist and speaker who is active in the ministries of her church. She lives with her family in Illinois.



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