Lullaby for the Soul

and Sky Cover - Christie Purifoy

It’s a lullaby for the soul. Soft and soothing, Roots and Sky is a memoir that washes in tranquillity through sunshine-draped celebrations and turbulent, sometimes unsettling storms. In lyrical, poetic style, Christie Purifoy shares the riches of her experience through the first year in their new home. Maplehurst, the farmhouse situated in the hills of Pennsylvania, served as the vantage point for unearthing grounds of joys and sadness, hope and fears, laughter and tears, refuge and daunting challenge. The perfect quiet landing that beckons to slow down, relax and take in the sacredness of ordinary moments in our everyday lives.

It’s a book about “roots and sky” – solidly down earth; dipped in a taste of heaven. It brings to life “pie in the sky” dreams that nourish a burning desire to plant something and appreciate, in a huge way, the gifts and beauty that come up from the earth. And those that sprout roots in our heart and soul.

“We must plant our dreams in real earth. We must dirty our hands. It’s the only way. Whether we dream of planting flower gardens or churches, every dream needs a place in which to take root and grow. Ever dream needs a home.”

Ultimately, it’s about making a home on earth built by love and care and hearing the whispers of our eternal home. Like a mother bird, Christine’s words intertwined into the nest that cradled her vision of “growing roots, cultivating beauty and opening up doors to neighbours, wanderers and pilgrims – near and far. It was a vision of home.”

As you walk alongside the author through the seasonal transitions of life on the farm and the liturgical calendar, be prepared to see life differently as she ties ribbons of faith from page to page. You may even be swept away with a passion to raise livestock or tend to a garden of earthly delights. With God as the source of every good thing that grows. Good things with roots in the earth and eternal blessings that scrape the sky and lift us heavenward to our Maker. That happens when a book like this wraps itself around your heart.

Thank you to Revell Publishing for the invitation to take part in the Roots and Sky Blog Tour and the complimentary copy of the book in exchange for this unbiased review.

I am a hope writer

For the Joy of the Cross

Jesus was born on Christmas Day to bring joy to the world.

For the Joy Cross

On Good Friday He died to make that joy complete. And that gave Him joy, knowing His mission for the people on earth was nailed by way of the cross. He would soon be returning to our heavenly Father with a place reserved for us. The road through Calvary leading us home.

 And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. – Hebrews 12:1-2 

Hebrews 12:1-2 was always a moving passage for me. With joy being my one word for 2016, it means even more. When I think of what my redemption cost Him and how much love was poured out in His suffering, it blows me away that as my savior hung on that cross, gasping for breath, He actually felt joy. For me.  And for you.

So today, at the foot of the cross, I commit anew to run with endurance the race God has set before me. For the joy that ransomed me. His joy rooted in sacrifical love. The joy that set me free. For the joy that awaits when we see Jesus face to face. Home at last in heaven with Him forever.

I never make it through Good Friday without crying. This year, those tears will be mingled with joy as I ponder the joy of the Lord who lived and died for me.

I am a hope writer

 

With joy, I invite you to link-up  with Holley Gerth for a Good Friday and every day cup of encouraging Coffee for your Heart. 

                                              

 

God Will Fight for Us

The Prophetess by Jill Eileen Smith - Cover

Woohoo! Double blessing. A book about one of my favourite bible characters and by a new writer for me to discover and tell you about. The Prophetess delivered an inspiring story crowned with biblical truth accentuated with brilliant jewels sparkling of contemporary relevance.

Deborah was a judge, prophetess, and warrior. A courageous heroine for her time. Wise and strong. A woman used mightily by God to bring victory to her nation. A captivating icon larger than life beckoning to know more about who she was and what it must have been like to be a female leader through troubled times.

Yet the Bible provides few details about the life and times of this influential woman who changed the course of history. Questions like how did she become a judge? What made her stand out as a prophetess? Did she become a mom at some point? What circumstances brought together the supporting actors, like Jael, the woman who cleverly dealt the final fatal blow, into the drama that would restore peace and holy reverence to God’s chosen people? Questions this book rises up to address.

At first, I wrestled with how much the novel leaned towards the author’s imagination. By the time I turned the last page I felt satisfied and came out with a richer understanding of that period in history and the God who never gave up on the very people who turned away from Him.

Main characters, such as Deborah’s children, were completely fictitious, yet purely believable. They may not have truly existed but were fleshed out true to life. Their lives embodied the hopes and dreams, challenges and fears typical of their generation. In fact, Deborah’s made-up daughter, Talya, was my favouite character.

Maybe things didn’t play out exactly as penned by Jill Eilleen Smith but no doubt she painted an accurate, colourful portrayal of the situation under Canaanite oppression and idolatry. I found she did her homeowork and presented a credible storyline that evoked faith and compassion.

When I went back to the biblical text to compare, I got so much more out of it. What happened became real and alive in powerful ways. Jill’s persuasive narrative in sync with the bible account unveiled a clearer vision of Deborah’s role, of what being a judge in those days entailed, the horror of terrorism, and the jealous God who commands our allegiance and is forever faithful.

Ultimately, this book pointed to the God who forgives, redeems and restores. Back then and now. It spoke to my heart reminding me that victory came to Israel after 20 long years of oppression. It may take years for God to work things out for you and me too. In the meantime, He goes before us preparing the way, equipping us with everything we need for success according to His will.

Like the people in Deborah’s time, even in our darkest hour, we can recall how God has never let us down in the past. We can trust Him to keep His word today. No matter what we are up against or the challenges we face, God will fight for us. He will never leave us nor forsake us. Never.

Disclosure: Many thanks to Revell Publishing for the invitation to be part of The Prophetess Blog Tour and the complimentary book in exchange for this unbiased review.

I am a hope writer

It’s going to be a joy-full year!

Oh joy! Can you guess what My One Word for 2016 is?

As you can see, I’m already having fun with it!:) For some reason I’m plum giddy about focusing on joy this year. In the eye of a stormy, challenging season, this girl is choosing to be swept away by the many things that bring joy. Even more, so looking forward to seeking and finding more ways to bring joy to others. Committed to touching hearts with joy every chance I get.

One of the things that has sparked a surge of such joy so far this year is joining the hope*writers community. It’s a brand new adventure initiated by  Emily P. Freeman, Myquillyn Smith, Gary Morland and Brian Dixon– two sisters, their dad and a marketing genius. I have learned so much already and have been over-the-moon overjoyed with all the wondferful people I have come to know and treasure.

The words

I am a hope writer

has joy written all over it!

As always, it is my joy to connect you to Holley Gerth’s weekly link-up where a unique blend of Coffee for Your Heart awaits for your enJOYment and encouragement. See you there!

                                              

Amazing Wild and Crazy Dare!

Come on, I dare you. Double dare you, Triple dare you even.  Actually it’s more like an invitation. I signed up to join Holley Gerth in her wild and crazy dare to make 2016 an amazing year and wanted to tell you all about it! That way you can get in on all the good stuff that awaits. I mean, how could we refuse her free “LifeGrowth with Holley Gerth” newsletter offer which includes encouragent, exclusives like free printables, and life-coaching resources? All kinds of tools to make it happen.

Holley gerth 2016 Amazing Dare

She will also be introducing You’re Already Amazing LifeGrowth Guide an interactive workbook along with videos to empower us to embrace who we are and become all God created us to be. It releases in March but her book You Are Already Amazing is available right now to give us a jump start. I read it and can assure you it’ll be worth it!

So, what do say?  Are you in for making this an amazing year together?

For more details and freshly brewed hope, inspiration, and a generousd measure of encouragement head on over to this week’s link up for the most amazing Coffee for Your Heart!

                                                                

In Your Hands

It all started when I heard the song In Your Hands by Unspoken earlier this year.

That theme has been following me ever since. In so many ways and circumstances. All the things I wish I could change, fix, and make a whole lot better. All the things that are beyond my control and understanding I’ve been prompted to hand over to God. Trusting Him to cover each one in the palm of His care and providence.

Into Your HandsIt’s like God is trying to tell me something. Look at what turned up in this fuzzy photo of the moon from my window. It may be a bit of a stretch, but I see hands formed into a cross. The hand of Christ’s love nailed to a tree. Open hands pinned to outstretched arms and surrendered heart, crying out, ” Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit” as He gave up His will and His life. For us.

Jesus entrusted His heavenly Father with everything. Without fail. To the very end. What a powerful life-message to emulate! And what a liberating relief to acknowledge the fate of the world doesn’t rest on my shoulders but in the almighty hand of God. Every burden that weighs heavy on my heart; all the things that are too big and hefty to grasp, I can confidently lay in the Lord’s hands.

And, you know, I can’t think of a better place for them. Because God is faithful. His love is deep and everlasting. He is good and merciful. He knows what’s best and will deliver it on time.

My beautiful friend Holley Gerth has such a gift for drawing people around the steadfast heart of our trustworthy Creator. So, with huge gratitude and the joy of sharing, I invite you to join in her weekly link up. Come see what I mean and be refreshed by a generous pouring of hope-filled, encouraging Coffee for Your Heart. Together.

 

 

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image

 

Where is God when horrific things happen?

It’s been 10 years since Nikki Boyd’s sister Sarah was abducted. And she blames herself. Still. Now special agent to the Tennessee Missing Persons Task Force the school teacher turned officer throws herself into fighting with everything she’s got to spare others from the devastating trauma her family knew all too well.

The call caVendetta by Lisa Harris Cover me from her boss while rappelling not too far from the cabin where another teenage girl, the daughter of his diseased friend, disappeared. Coincidence? Maybe not. Especially when similarities to her sister’s kidnapper kept surfacing. Mingled with clues conveniently scattered like bread crumbs to taunt and tease while luring her to fall into a lethal trap. Could it be the man dubbed the Angel Abductor is back? Is there hope Sarah is still alive and both girls will be rescued?

If you’re the type like me who loves the challenge of solving a mystery as it unfolds, Vendetta will keep you at the edge of your seat, guessing, second-guessing; surprised and enthralled as the fast-paced, action-packed suspense builds. I got so wrapped up in the story I found myself praying, pleading as if it was all happening in real life.

While my heart was breathlessly racing from the chase to bring justice, my imagination took off in wild awe and reverence for the great Smoky Mountains. Scene after scene of dangerous trails and breathtaking beauty; of nature at its finest and most deadly. Making the spine-chilling plot more intense, captivating, and believable.

There was plenty of drama, twists, turns, head-spinning, and questions begging for answers to keep me riveted from beginning to end. More than that, Lisa Harris’s gift for infusing warmth and humanity, even romance, into a thrilling storyline made for an extraordinary reading experience.

With haunting sensitivity she pinpoints what it feels like to experience loss and the effect it has on people. Without syrupy sentimentalism or in-your-face-religion, she made it easy to empathize with the three-dimensional main characters, plagued with doubt, yet clinging to faith. Battling to stay strong even “when you do everything right and it still isn’t enough.” All the while inviting a huge appreciation and respect for those out there taking risks and making the sacrifices to protect, defend. and rescue. Laying their lives on the line to make the world a better, safer place.

In narrative style she draws out the cost of revenge and the challenge of letting go of the past; of finding your way back home or out of the darkness after tragedy strikes. Her words casting a window to the heart that asks “where is God when horrific things happen?”

Vendetta is the compelling first novel in the Nikki Boyd Files series. And I can’t wait till the next one comes out in the summer of 2016! Especially since the excerpt from Book Two promises to be every bit as exciting. Maybe even more so.

Disclosure: Many thanks to Revell Publishing for the invitation to be part of the Vendetta Blog Tour and the complimentary book in exchange for this unbiased review.

Another author that has made a huge impact on me is Holley Gerth.  Linking y’all with her today to be uplifted by why our lives don’t have to be a perfect performance and share heart-warming Coffee for Your Heart together with other encouragers.

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image