Picture a Day – Conservatory In Black & White

On our recent road trip, Chris and I went to Minnesota to have my mother’s ashes laid to rest with her parents.  Something long overdue since she had passed away back in 2008.  

The day before the ceremony at Fort Snelling, we had a few hours and went to the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory.  It was a beautiful day and we had some time to relax.

As we walked around the gardens and zoo, I wondered did my mother or grandparent come here.  It was not too far from the home they lived in in St Paul, MN.  

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Veterans Day 2017

This video is to honor our parents, grandparents, cousin, aunt and uncles who have served in the military for our great nation.  We are so very grateful for their service and sacrifice and for the freedoms we have

Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer – A Thought Provoking Interesting Read

I love a good mystery, and that’s what drew me in and want to read, Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer.  This is the first book I’ve read by this author so I didn’t know what to expect.

The story starts out in 1943, when young Hazel is watching her 3- year-old sister Maggie.  She only turned her back for a few seconds, but that’s all it took and little Maggie was gone.  What happened?  Would they ever know?  Hazel and her family were devastated by the loss.  Its impact would ripple down and impact future generations.  Fast forward to present day, Hazel’s granddaughter Meghan is coming for a visit only to be surprised and find her mom Diane there too.  When the long-held secret comes out about Maggie, Meghan has hope, that as a cold case investigator, she may be able to finally bring some closure for her grandmother that she loves so dearly.

Bringing Maggie Home turned out to be a little different than I anticipated.  It focused mostly on the people and their relationships.  Through this story, you can see how one horrible event can impact people far beyond the initial tragedy.  There were times, I felt like the story dragged a bit, because I was wanting to get on to solving the mystery.  When in fact that’s secondary to understanding people.

I struggled with the character, Diane.  She was just downright unpleasant and I wanted to slap her.  She was rude and I didn’t like her.  But as the story went along I came to understand her more.  I really liked the characters Hazel and Meghan and their loving and caring relationship.  Another likeable character was Sean.  I liked how he lived out his Christian faith.  I greatly appreciate it when the Gospel message is woven in to a book by a Christian author.

For those of you who love solving mysteries, don’t worry, you’ll get to the bottom of what happened to Maggie in due time.  That part of the book was interesting too.  I wish it had been a bigger part of the story.

But all in all, I recommend Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer.  There were times reading it was painful because of the bitterness, hurt and anger the characters were dealing with.  But it caused me to reflect on my own life and relationships.  I went through a range of emotions as I read this book.  I found it hopeful in that characters grew and changed overtime and you saw the Lord at work in their lives.

I love finding an author whose work is new to me.  Not only did I get to enjoy Kim Vogel Sawyer’s newest book Bringing Maggie Home, but now I can go back and read her earlier books.

I would like to thank Blogging for Books and WaterBrook Publishers for the opportunity to read Bringing Maggie Home for free.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

 

Healing at the Gate Called Beautiful

Like the lame man
At the gate called Beautiful
I too, have been raised up by Christ Jesus the Nazarene

Unlike the lame man
My healing was not physical
Instead it was far greater, a healing of my soul

I went from being spiritually dead, dead to God
Dead in my trespasses and sins
Unable to even look upon or respond to Him of my own accord

He raised me up and forgave my sins
Now I am alive to God
May I praise and glorify God for His marvelous work

With feet and ankles made strong by the LORD
May I walk just as I was raised
By the power of Christ

May those who recognize me
As the woman dead in her sins at the gate called Beautiful
Be amazement at what Christ can do

By Susan Wachtel
September 28, 2017

For those of us who have family and friends who don’t yet know the LORD, persevere in prayer for their salvation.

 

Rule of Law by Randy Singer – A Fast-Paced Thriller Filled with Intrigue – Be Forewarned This Book Make Keep You Up at Night

Reading the description of the storyline is what drew me in and want to read Rule of Law by Randy Singer. Intrigue, suspense, politics and the news media sounds like a story ripped from today’s headlines.

The story opens with Navy SEAL Team Six ready to deploy on a mission in Yemen, led by Patrick Quillen. Before the reader finds out if the mission will succeed, we are taken back two months earlier and meet Paige Chambers, a young attorney, who is about to come up against famed and unconventional attorney Wyatt Jackson. Little does she know how their futures will converge.

As the story continues the President, Vice President and their staff, military personnel and families, Supreme Court Justices, the news media and Islamic clerics all come into play to make this story, which is full of twists and turns, come alive.

Randy Singer is a writer whose work is new to me. I love it when I find a good author. Not only do I get to enjoy their current work, but now I can go back and read their earlier novels.

What makes an author a great writer verses one that’s so, so? I’m not sure I know the answer to that. But I can tell you from the opening pages of this book, I was hooked. I was interested in the story, I cared about the people, even the bad guys. I wanted to know what would happen next and I wanted to understand what made these people tick and why they did what they did. The pace didn’t let up and it kept me guessing until the end. Be forewarned, Rule of Law may keep you up late at night to find out what happens next.

As I read Rule of Law, I was forced to examine my thoughts on what rights the President of the United States should have to executive privilege and what lengths they can go to, to protect our nation. Should they be allowed the bend or even break the law? It’s one thing when it’s an administration that I trust and respect, but another when it’s one I don’t support.

Rule of Law by Randy Singer is a fast-paced novel filled with intrigue and surprises. It’s thought provoking and a great read. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading Randy Singer’s other novels.

I would like to thank Litfuse Group and Tyndale House Publishers for the opportunity to read Rule of Law by Randy Singer. I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

 

Crisis Shot by Janice Cantore – If you like mysteries and police novels, give it a try.

I had previously read a novel by Janice Cantore and was looking forward to her new book Crisis Shot.

The story starts out with Long Beach Police Commander, Tess O’Rourke answering an emergency call where a fellow officer is imminent danger.  How Tess responds, right or wrong, will affect her future.  The story could be taken out today’s headline news, where every action a police officer takes is scrutinized and condemned, even when there is little merit to critic’s narrative.

When the fallout from Tess’ action doesn’t seem to be winding down, she decides to make a move to a small town in Oregon, with the hope of being able to resume the career she loves in law enforcement.  It a huge change in her life.  As Chief of Police in the small town of Rogue’s Hallow, she will be answering to the mayor and city council.  It might be a small town but even there, evil is at work.

I sort of liked the main character Tess, but didn’t feel like I got to know her well or really care about her like I wanted to.  There was a bit of a disconnect.  At first, I struggled with how Tess continually compared police work and what people were like in the small town compared where she had spent most of her life, in Long Beach, CA.  Then I realized if I had made such a drastic change in my life, I would likely be reflecting back on where I came from and what it was like back then.  The reader will get an understanding of how police work in a big city differs from a small town.  I liked how the relationships with fellow police officers changed as they worked with their new Police Chief.

The overall pace of the novel seemed to drag.  Tess encountered many obstacles and people seemed to be tight lipped and withheld important information.  I didn’t guess who the bad guy was, there weren’t a lot of clues along the way, just lots of suspicious behavior on the part of several towns people.  I didn’t really connect with the characters.  I didn’t come away from reading the book saying, “I can’t wait to find out what happens with Tess next.”  Something was missing, but I’m not sure what it was.

The Christian faith is a small part of the story.  Tess is not a believer, but there are several Christians she encounters along the way.  If there is a sequel I hope that Christian faith is a bigger part of the story.

Crisis Shot is okay.  I would definitely read Janice Cantore’s future books because of my good experience with her earlier novels.  If you like mysteries and police novels, give Crisis Shot by Janice Cantore a try and be sure to read some of her earlier books.

I would like to thank Tyndale House and NetGalley for the opportunity to read Janice Cantore’s newest book Crisis Shot.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

 

 

Psalm 40 – a prayer in my own words

A few years ago, I went through a time during my morning devotionals where I wrote out the Psalms in my own words.  That was one of my favorite times of reading God’s Word.  I saw God in a new and more personal way. 

In my summer Bible study one of the exercises was to write a prayer from Psalm 40.  It brought to mind seasons of trials and troubles when God truly did deliver me. 

May I tell you…God is faithful to all who call upon the name of the Lord.  Don’t delay, not even one minute longer.  Be sure to go to Psalm 40 and read it for yourself, for God’s Word alone is perfect and inerrant and He alone is able to save us.

 

O Lord, help me to wait patiently for You and be confident that You hear my cry.  You have plucked me out of my pit of destruction.  You have put my feet on the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ and Your Word and I can now walk securely.  You have given me a new song to sing.  A song to praise You my God.   May all who hear it see and fear You, O Lord.  May they know that they can put their trust in You.  The man who puts his trust in You is blessed.

Help me to never turn to those who are prideful or foolishly believe another lie, only to be led astray.  You continue to multiply Your wondrous deeds and I stand amazed at Your thoughts towards me.  No one can begin to compare to You.  I will loudly proclaim You, O Lord.  There are so many who need to know You.

I can make sacrifices and offering, but that’s not what You desire or require.  You have opened Your ear to me.  May I delight to open Your Word and read it so that I can know You and do Your will, for You have written Your law on my heart.  I will speak in the congregation and tell of Your great deliverance on my behalf.  May my lips be unrestrained with Your praises.  May I tell of Your great faithfulness, salvation and steadfast love to every sinner.  You have not restrained Your mercies toward me.  You are lavish in Your steadfast love.  You are always faithful and will preserve me.

When evil befalls me and my enemies are too numerous.  When my sin is heaped up so high that I can’t even see.  My sins and inequity are more numerous than all the hairs on my head.  I fear my heart will fail me, so I cry out to You O Lord.  I beseech You to deliver me.  Don’t delay in helping.  Let those who seek to have me put to shame be disappointed.  May they turn back away from me.  May those who seek to dishonor me and delight in my pain, let them be put to shame.

May those who seek You, rejoice in You and be filled with gladness.  All those whom You have saved, may they tell of Your greatness and salvation that they have in Your Son, Jesus Christ.  We cry out, great is the Lord and greatly to be praised.

I know Lord that I am poor and needy in spirit.  I am amazed and comforted to know that You think of me.  You alone are my Help.  You alone are my great Deliverer.  O Lord, do not delay in coming, for I need You my God and Savior.