Blessed in Africa

If I had to use one word to describe my recent mission trip to Niger, Africa, it would be blessed.  For weeks I worried about being stranded in Istanbul for two days. We had sixty-five minutes to make our flight connection and if we missed it, the next plane to Niamey would be two days later. We made it to the gate in fifteen minutes. The Istanbul airport is huge, chaotic and bustling with people. I consider this feat a miracle. When will I learn to trust Him completely? “Depend on the Lord; trust Him, and He will take care of you.” Psalm 37:5.

Our plane circled the Niamey airport for an hour due to a thunderstorm and the Muslim man sitting next to my sister asked her to hold his hand and the two prayed together. It’s unusual for a Muslim man to touch a woman not a relative, much less to ask her to hold his hand and pray. “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44.

Attending a church service in a remote village that held fast to the gospel when the missionaries left was one of the highlights of my trip. We don’t know who first visited this tiny village, but a missionary I will call John Smith stumbled upon them and now visits regularly to teach them more. More than fifty people attended the church service and stayed all afternoon for more training while the children learned Bible stores and colored outside. “So then brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions, which you were taught, whether by word of mouth of by letters from us. 2 children_coloringThessalonians 2:15.

girl_workingThe women of Africa always touch my heart. They work from before dawn until dark gathering water, cooking over an open fire, cleaning, and caring for children. A baby is usually strapped to a mother’s back as she works. We are always treated as honored guest and welcomed to sit in the best chair if they own a chair. A mat is also pulled out  for us to sit on. These women and men show respect and listen to our testimonies as we share God’s plan for salvation. Many people fear visiting a Muslim country. The people wandering the aisle of my local Walmart scare me more than the people in Niger.  All the people I met in the villages were kind and generous.  We have many things in common, especially that we want to spend eternity in heaven. Unless something drastic changes, most will die never having heard the name of Jesus. I pray many more will answer the call to go to Niger so that all may be saved. Don’t let fear stop you.

What a blessing to be allowed to travel to Africa again. I am the most pitiful of missionaries and I often wonder why God has allowed me to be a part of his plan when there are so many more qualified. An example that will make you laugh out loud is a picture of my tent. When I purchased an air mattress for camping, I had no idea of what I was buying. The kids in the village got a kick out of seeing the size of my twin mattress grow higher and higher. It wouldn’t fit inside my tent, so I placed the tent on top of it. I might have floated away during the rainstorm. Believe me, if I can travel to Africa, you can probably do it too.

For those of you who prayed for our team, THANK YOU. Everything went smoothly and our team had a spirit of unity and love.

If you ever have the opportunity to join a foreign mission team, I hope you will grasp it with joy. I’m always reluctant and just like Gideon, I ask for signs. God never lets me down. Even though I am inadequate, He supplies me with everything I need. I can’t do anything without God. It is He who will reap a harvest.

BibaThis is a photo of me with one of the best blessings of my life. She is my Sister in Christ who interpreted for me, cared for me and treated me like royalty. I won’t  post her name for fear of persecution. I cannot imagine the number of people who will be in heaven because of the seeds she and her family have sown. Of course it is God who will reap the harvest. Pray for her health and safety and that God will continue to bless her and those she loves.

Maybe the reason God calls me to go to Africa is so more scales will be removed from my eyes.  I pray God will help me bless others as he has so generously blessed me. I am a weakling, but He is strong.   “So that, Just as it is written, Let him who boast, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:31.

 

 

Jealousy—Biggest Obstacle to Friendship among Authors by Mary Ellis

Mary_EllisWriters often create characters with some rather profound lessons to learn. If we’re smart we can learn those lessons along with them. Working in the competitive world of publishing, I often struggle with ego and pride. Authors are as ked to blog and Facebook, tweet and pin, to draw attention to their books and ultimately to themselves. Available slots on publishers’ lists are shrinking and will continue to do so. So what does that bode for authors who are also friends?

Jealousy and envy are deadly pitfalls that every writer must grapple with. Human beings are naturally wired to be envious. We spend much of our lives jealous of something or someone. As children, we yearned for a brand new bicycle or a trademarked Barbie doll if Grandma could only afford a knock-off. As we grew older we turned green if a classmate received a new Mustang for their birthday. Women have often coveted longer, curlier, or straighter hair, or to be taller, shorter, thinner or more voluptuous. Males aren’t immune to those emotions either. My husband envies men who still have thick heads of hair.

When couples get married, they strive for a new set of goals: a house with more bathrooms, a bigger yard, or a better school system so their children will excel. We might think ourselves content until a neighbor starts living the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Then the green monster rears its ugly head.

As I get older, I’m no longer envious of possessions. A larger house means more to clean, while a bigger yard means more lawn to mow. I am content with my current home, car and financial circumstances. But as writers we’re subject to a different type of envy: so-and-so receives a contract with a huge publishing house, a five-book deal, several award nominations, or lands on a bestseller list. Once we attain that list, then there’s the top position to strive for. Does this sound familiar? I battle the monster by not reading reviews and not checking my numerical placement on lists. But I assure you, this is an ongoing battle.

Lately, I’ve been envious of the ability to write faster and thus, have more time for relaxation. I might not covet a mansion in a gated community, but show me an author who breezes through deadlines while maintaining a social life and my vision clouds a greenish hue. I am making progress. I joyously celebrate the accomplishments of my peers, including those I will never achieve. But if a writer turns her book in early, while redecorating her kitchen and learning to speak Mandarin, she had better keep the last two details to herself.
Mary_EllisMary Ellis has written twelve novels set in the Amish community and several historical romances set during the Civil War. Her latest, Magnolia Moonlight, is part of a new mystery series, Secrets of the South, from Harvest House Publishers. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. Mary enjoys traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming, and lives in Ohio with her husband, dog and cat. She can be found on the web at: www.maryellis.net or https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mary-Ellis/126995058236

Magnolia Moonlight3Here’s a little bit about Magnolia Moonlight. When a preacher takes his own life, the congregation is quick to believe rumors, but his widow knows this was no suicide. When Price Investigations scratch beneath the surface, they discover Reverend Dean was a victim, not a thief.  They uncover an elaborate pyramid to bilk millions from non-profits, thousands of miles from where no one is whom they appear to be.

#MagnoliaMoonlight

 

 

Our African Mission Trip Schedule

africa_team_2016It’s hard to believe the African mission trip we penciled on the calendar in March 2014 is days away. This is a picture of everyone on our team except Melanie. My bags are packed, weighed, and stored. Each team member is allowed to check in two 50 lbs. pieces of luggage and carry on the plane one 16 lb. bag.  Any extra luggage space is used to deliver supplies to the missionary families living in Niger. Food takes up the most weight, but it’s a necessity. We’ll be camping for five of the eight nights so I packed an air mattress and folding chair. Bible school supplies also take up space, but we’ve learned that it’s fun to visit an African market to buy cookies and snacks for the children in Africa. market

A trip like this isn’t inexpensive but our church family and community are supportive. We hosted a fish fry fundraiser last week to help pay for our supplies and thanks to my Sunday School class providing deserts and another church member donating ten lbs. of white beans, we cleared over $3,500. The most money we’ve ever raised at a fundraiser is $1800.  I feel this is another affirmation from God that we are to go and not worry.

In case you’re wondering how we’ll spend our time, see below our schedule.

Day 1 and 2: Leave for Atlanta Noon. Flight departs Atlanta 10:00 pm and
arrive 23 hours later.

Day 3: Morning – Breakfast and orientation. Afternoon – Souvenirs & Market Shopping

Day 4: Morning – Pack for village. Afternoon. Travel to village A and set up camp.

camping2Day 5: Morning – Attend Church Service. Afternoon. Evangelism training with adults &
Children’s Day Camp.

Day 6: Morning: Men farming with believers. Women Children’s Day Camp. Afternoon: Return to Niamey.

 

Day 7: Depart 6:00 am for Village B. 10:00 – 4:00 Women/Children’schurch
Malnutrition Clinic. Return to mission compound.

bible_schoolDay 8: Travel to Village C. Evangelism training all day. Show the Jesus film Camp.

 

Day 9: Evangelism in villages(s) 10:00 am travel to Village D. 2:00 Children’s Day
Camp. 5:00 Evangelism Training. Camp.

parachuteDay 10: Children’s Day Camp. Overnight in Village D.

Day 11: Women/Children’s Malnutrition Clinic. Morning. Afternoon depart for Mission
House, Pack and catch midnight flight to USA.

Day 12: Arrive home.

Please keep our team in your prayers. Pray that we will remain healthy, safe, and there will be a sense of unity and love among us as we are tired, hot and dirty. Pray that God will prepare the way. Pray that God will soften the hearts and minds of those who hear the name of Jesus and that His sheep will hear His voice. Pray for a bountiful harvest. We covet your prayers. And so I invite you to travel with us. Please cover us with your prayers and be one of the most important parts of our mission team – a prayer warrior. Thank you.

A Hard Row to Hoe

This summer has been unusual in that it’s rained almost every day in June and July. One afternoon in June, it poured 4 inches in less than an hour, which led to flash flooding and part of our road being swept away.  A new bridge is still under construction. As a result of the excessive rain, I’ve not been unable to weed the garden and I’ve lost the battle.  It reminded me of a time in my childhood when the weeds almost overtook our tobacco crop because of wet weather. Losing the cash crop to weeds was not an option. We called this task, “chopping out tobacco.”AdobeStock_99823358_WM

I remember those long, never-ending rows, filled with thick grass, almost choking the plants. Mama and Daddy both had full-time jobs, plus garden and farm work, so chopping out tobacco usually fell to me and my three siblings.  But on this occasion, the weeds were so fierce it took all of us. Daddy sang as he worked. If one of us got to the end of our row fist, we’d help the next person until everyone finished together and started a new row together.

Daddy would say, “Just keep your head down, don’t give up, and before you know it, you’ll be at the end of your hard row to hoe.” And he was right. There are seasons in life when we all have a “hard row to hoe.” I’ve learned that this is the best time pray. One favorite passage in the Bible comes from Paul, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9.

Lately, I feel as though I’ve had a hard row to hoe. I’ve suffered a minor health issue, signed a contract to write ten devotions with a deadline, had over three-hundred children registered in our summer reading program, and I’m planning a mission trip in a few weeks. With the latest coup in Istanbul, terror attacks in France and Germany, I’ve lost more than one night’s sleep. For a brief instant, I considered cancelling my trip to Africa, but as I prayed about whether to stay or go, a song from my childhood Bible School days played in my head, “Onward Christian Soldiers.” I whined to God. But I don’t want to be a soldier.

Then I remembered Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane. “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done. And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.” Luke 22:42-43. What if Jesus had said, “No” to what God asked of him? None of us would have hope. Surely I can live in difficult  conditions for a week. After all, He suffered and died on the cross to redeem me.

Please keep our missionary families, the national believers and my Africa team in your prayers. We will be travelling to a remote area, camping where temperatures might reach 120 degrees during the day with a low of 90 at night. We’ll be teaching a Bible School for children. These same children might someday be asked to join the terrorists. I believe the best weapon against terrorism is the love of Jesus. We’ll also be training national believers how to evangelize. I feel strongly that the window is closing and someday in the near future, we will not be able to travel to this remote area. But if we teach the national believers how to become fishers of men, then God’s kingdom will continue to grow without the American missionaries’ support. Africa_a Please pray that they will not grow weary. Pray for the missionary families in Niger and the national believers. They are the ones who truly have a hard row to hoe. The national believers are often persecuted, and rejected by their family and friends. Many of the Songhai who we will be seeking have never heard the name of Jesus. Thank God for the missionaries who have left family, friends and the comfort of an easy life to share the ‘Good News.’  Pray that they do not grow weary. We are simply going to support their efforts. I know in due season, God will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Thank you for your prayers and support. #africanmissions

Lila’s Blackberry Cobbler

blackberryBlackberries are in season on our farm and it’s been fun introducing my five-year old grandson to the adventure of berry picking. One of my earliest memories is following my mother with my three siblings into the thicket to pick blackberries.  I’m sure I never collected enough to cover the bottom of my bucket as I ate almost all of my pickings. Somehow, Mama would gather enough berries to make a cobbler and several jars of blackberry preserves.  If I close my eyes, I can remember the taste of her blackberry cobbler filled with gooey sweetness.

Lila3Sadly, I don’t have Mama’s recipes, but my son has always claimed that my sister’s mother-in-law Lila Ray Dodd makes the best blackberry cobbler. It’s his favorite dessert. Lila is a wonderful cook, and she’s generous and kind as she agreed to share her recipe for blackberry cobbler with me and gave me permission to share it with you.

But before you can make this delicious dessert I suggest you make a treasured memory. Grab your child, grandchild, or borrow someone’s little one, and introduce them to the adventure of blackberry picking. I used three cups of berries in my cobbler yesterday and I baked the dessert in a 12 x 6 oblong, clear, three quart glass baking dish.

blackberry_cobblerIngredients

3 cups blackberries
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 stick salted butter
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup milk

Directions

Rinse berries and add 1/3 cup sugar and stir until all berries are covered.
Place berries in the bottom of a clear baking dish and make sure they are spread evenly.
Slice butter into thin slices and cover the top of the berries with the butter.
Mix 1 cup self-rising flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk and stir until the batter is smooth.
Drizzle the batter over the top of the pats of butter/berries.
Gently shake the dish to evenly distribute the batter and berries.
Bake in oven at 350 degree for 45 minutes or until top is brown.
Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes and enjoy!

I like to add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on my cobbler.

The Hometown Bakery & Marketplace

I’m often asked from where my inspiration comes for my stories.  The simple answer is, my life. Dot’s Deluxe Diner (Known as the Triple D to the locals) is a favorite restaurant in the make-believe town of Weldon. I plan to add a new eating establishment in the third book of the series and it’s inspired by the new Hometown Bakery and Marketplace in Scottsville, Ky.  I first met the owner, Dana Moore when she catered the Downton Abbey Tea Party for the Friends of the Library.  Her blueberry scones with clotted cream were divine and her fruit tea will make you beg for the recipe.

I love stopping by the Hometown Bakery and Marketplace on my lunch break.  The tomato basil soup with a grilled smoked Gouda cheese sandwich is my favorite meal. It’s so good, I want to pick up the cup and drink every last drop. When I asked her about the recipe, she said, “I don’t have one.  I just throw in a little of this and a little of that, just like my grandmother taught me.”

Dana2Dana is a southern girl, born in Scottsville, but she has done something very  un-Southern. She’s shared a few of her recipes on her blog at https://southerngalscook.com/.  Visit her recipe box.  https://southerngalscook.com/recipes/.  I can’t wait to try her recipe for cold biscuit pudding, or her Granny Long’s coconut pie recipe. Her recipe for chicken and dumplings is award winning, and she’s had two recipes featured in Taste of Home Cookbooks. She also sells fresh produce. Last week she had crates of homegrown green beans, squash and tomatoes.

If you are in Scottsville, stop by the Hometown Bakery and enjoy a glass of sweet tea with Dana. You’ll be glad you did. Hometown_Bakery

You can also connect with the Hometown Bakery & Marketplace via Facebook. www.facebook.com/hometownbakerymarketplace/

Unexpected Friendships by Rose Allen McCauley

Have you ever had a friend whom you weren’t sure you would get along with when you first met, but you now are best friends? I have, in fact we sat side by side at a funeral service this afternoon and held hands during the prayers! Although we got off to a rocky start years ago, and have differing opinions on many things, we decided a long time ago to like each other and be there for each other regardless of our differences.

My novella “Hidden Dreams” in The Courageous Brides Collection shows the heroine Elinor Peck and her slave girl Shug as lifelong best friends, despite the differences society sees in them. They grew up together, playing on the floor of the cellar kitchen while Shug’s mom cooked and watched them both. Now Shug must walk behind Elinor when they walk in public, but Elinor plans to emancipate Shug when she marries and has a home of her own. Read “Hidden Dreams” to discover other courageous things Elinor does to help slaves on the Underground Railroad as they pass through Kentucky to try to reach the Promised Land.

Since Shelia always has great recipes on her site, I am sharing an old recipe that my daughters loved when they were younger, and I’m sure Shug and Elinor enjoyed as girls, too.

Old-Fashioned Molasses Cookies Recipe

1⁄2 cup butter, softened
,1⁄2 cup lard (or substitute additional butter or margarine), 11⁄2 cups sugar, plus extra for dipping, 
1⁄2 cup molasses,
2 eggs
, 4 cups flour
, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 
1 teaspoon cloves,
11⁄2 teaspoons ginger, 
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and lard (or substitute) with sugar. Beat in molasses and eggs. In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add to creamed sugar mixture and blend. Dough will be stiff. Shape dough into small balls. Dip into small bowl of sugar. Place sugar side up on greased cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 9 minutes. Cool and store. Makes about 4 dozen.

Courageous_Brides_CoverThe Courageous Brides Collection

Ride into adventures alongside nine determined women of yesteryear whose acts of compassion and bravery attract male attention. Marcy helps displaced Indians. Emmy tends wounds at Fort Snelling. Ronnie stows away on a cattle drive. Daisy disguises herself as a Pony Express rider. Elinor becomes an abolitionist. Mae tames wild horses. Hannah gets help for accident victims. Lucy’s curiosity unnerves criminals. Kate nurses soldiers on the battlefield. Will real dangers douse the sparks of love?

About RoseAllen McCauley
Rose has been writing for over a decade and has four books published. She is thrilled for this to be her second novella collection with Barbour. A retired schoolteacher who has been happily married to her college sweetheart for over forty years, they enjoy their growing family of three children and their spouses and five lovely, lively grandkids! She loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her through her website www.rosemccauley.com or twitter @RoseAMcCauley and Facebook http://on.fb.me/1LrXNoS

Books are available in bookstores and on Amazon in print and on Kindle  https://www.amazon.com/Courageous-Brides-Collection-Compassionate-Attracts/dp/1634097777/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1467631271&sr=8-1&keywords=the+courageous+brides+collection

#thecourageousbride, #rosemccauley, #storieswomenfriendships

My Story of Hope by Rebecca Waters

Rebecca“I hope my parents will let me go to the lake with my friends.”
“I hope I get an A in math.”
“I hope Tommy asks me out.”

My teenage definition of “hope” was mere desire without any assurance.

I’ve grown up. A lot. In fact, I think it fair to say that I only truly began to fully understand the true meaning of hope over these past two years. Let me explain.

My life changed on a beautiful, sunny, autumn day. A Wednesday. After lunch, my husband, Tom set out on his bicycle ride. He rode fifteen to twenty-two miles every day for exercise. That day he rode less than a mile. His front tire slid off of the pavement and threw him into a tree. Yes, he was wearing a helmet. In fact, when I arrived at the scene, I could only see scratches on his left arm from the tree. But he was having difficulty breathing. The paramedics rushed him to the hospital. I won’t go into all of the details here, only to say the internal bleeding was extensive. The loss of blood sent him into cardiac arrest.

Two hours. Exactly two hours from the moment I received the phone call until they told me there was nothing more they could do. They stopped CPR. They turned off the machines. They walked in silence around me as I held onto the lifeless body of my precious husband. They quietly cleaned up the area and dismantled the life saving equipment. It hadn’t worked anyway.

My daughters gathered around me. My mother cared for me. Family and friends brought food and comfort. We planned the service. How? I don’t know. For months I lived in a fog. A hope-filled fog.

I came to understand that hope isn’t wishful thinking. Hope is assurance. It is peace. Hope is confidence and trust. Confidence that I will indeed see Tom again and total trust in God. I trust He has my back. In fact I have substantial evidence God is looking out for me at every turn.

Our days are numbered. October 29, 2014 was the day Tom was to leave this earth. The day he was to meet Jesus face-to-face. How cool is that? When I look back at the months…no, when I look back at the years leading up to that date I can see God’s fingerprints all over our lives. The decisions we made, praying all the while for God’s will. The conversations we had and the connections with people even in that last week were all part of the plan. All part of the evidence that God is in control and knows what is going on and what is to come.

Oh, so you want examples? Here are a couple. We put our house on the market. Three months before Tom died he replaced the flooring in our bedroom. He asked me what I wanted.

“If I we were staying here,” I told him, “I would want laminate floors because of my asthma.”

“We’re not staying, so what color carpet do you want?” he asked.

The next week, while I was out of town visiting one of our daughters, Tom installed laminate floors. My oldest daughter asked him about it.

“Well, if for some reason your mother winds up staying here, I want her to be able to breathe,” he said.

Two days before Tom died he gave me the user names and passwords to all of our accounts. It was unusual. “You should have these anyway.”

I can offer you at least a dozen decisions we made the week Tom died that point to God leading us to that day in October. I can share at least a dozen experiences since that day that could only happen with God’s intervention.

I hold these as evidence that God loves us so deeply He prepares the way for us. If we listen. If we trust. If we hold steadfast in our hope. Hope is assurance. And in assurance I find peace and joy.

Yes, I miss my husband like crazy. But I live with this strange and powerful peace; a comfort. I am confident this is part of a plan bigger than me.

And I am not alone. I read about Job’s loss; his suffering. He has that assurance we call hope. I read Paul’s letters in the New Testament and see that same assurance that is beyond our human understanding.

I read God’s words in Hebrews 6: 19. Hope is my anchor.

Did my parents let me go to the lake with my friends? It was long ago. I can’t say.

Did I get an “A” in math? I don’t remember.

Did Tommy ask me out? Oh, yes. I met him when I was sixteen, started dating him when I was seventeen, and married him when I was eighteen. We were married for forty-three years. I now know it was part of the plan.

About Rebecca Waters

BOHO front coverRebecca Waters’ freelance work has resulted in two stories in the popular Chicken Soup for the Soul books, articles in Standard Publishing’s Lookout Magazine, The Christian Communicator, Church Libraries, and Home Health Aide Digest. Breathing on Her Own is Rebecca’s first novel. As a published author, she shares her writing journey in her weekly blog, A Novel Creation. To learn more about Rebecca or to read A Novel Creation, visit her website at http://www.WatersWords.com

To buy Rebecca Water’s Book, Breathing on Her Own, click on this link to snag the book.

Learn more! Visit my site & Read my blog

Let’s connect! Follow me on Twitter & Like me on Facebook

When you want to go on a mission trip so bad, you make up one.

janetprofileBy Janet Ferguson

In my first book, Leaving Oxford, I researched Honduras and Guatemala. A character was impacted by the death of his caretaker from that area of the world due to dengue fever. The disease is a mosquito-borne disease with no current cure or vaccine. When I started writing the novel four years ago, the Zika Virus was unknown to me and probably most of us. Vector-borne diseases were seemingly a thing of the past for the U.S. Now we have more of a reason to care about those diseases as they make their way northward.

From my research alone, I fell in love with the people. I interviewed many friends and relatives about their mission trip experiences. One thing was clear. Mission trips impacted those going on the mission probably as much as they impacted the people they were “ministering” to. Research has shown mission trips to be one of the highest rated events that affect the faith of young people.

That said, I wanted to go on my own trip to Honduras or Guatemala. Really badly. But the timing or finances didn’t seem to be right. Can you relate? So, I sent my characters in Book Two of the Southern Heart Series on a mission trip instead. I figured I could live vicariously through them. And I did, ha!

Guatamala.1Then something amazing happened. Our youth minister announced a trip for our teens to Poptun, Guatemala. I had a senior in high school who wanted to go, and they needed chaperones. But would my eighteen-year-old son want his mom to go? With a huge chunk of maturity, he told me before I even asked that he knew I would want to go, and it was okay!

The trip was amazing. The people we met were amazing and certainly ministered to us, as well. Yes,Janet_Guatamala I added a few tweaks to my novel, but much of the trip was as I’d imagined. I hope you get the opportunity to travel on a mission trip, but while you’re waiting, check out Going Up South.

What’s your mission trip experience? If you haven’t been, would you like to?

About Janet’s New Book. https://www.amazon.com/Going-South-Southern-Hearts-Book-ebook/dp/B01DOREISA

Going_Up_SouthNo one told him he had a son.

Actor Dylan Conner is furious. Not only has he been left out of his child’s life, the baby boy has been given another man’s last name. Determined to be a better father than the sorry guy who’d left him and his mother, Dylan fights to ensure a significant place in his son’s life. Unfortunately, his bad-boy reputation overshadows his good intentions. Only one woman in this small town sees beyond his Hollywood image. And he’s falling for her. Too bad she’s the custody mediator.

After her scandalous divorce in the small town of Oxford, Mississippi, attorney Cassie Brooks has no intentions of practicing law again. The humiliating experience left a bitter taste for love, marriage, and her profession.

Now friends need Cassie’s help in a custody negotiation, and her role demands she remain objective. She never expected to be drawn to Dylan Conner—the actor who everyone warns is bad news. Not only is the mediation at stake, but so is her heart.

You can connect with Janet Ferguson, by clicking on the links below.

 https://www.facebook.com/Janet.Ferguson.author
http://www.janetfergusonauthor.com/
https://www.pinterest.com/janetwferguson/
https://twitter.com/JanetwFerguson
 
Faith, Humor, Romance
 Southern Style
 

A Visit with Michelle Ule

MichelleA hope came true recently and I visited the lovely town of Fairhope, Alabama, set on the eastern banks of Mobile Bay.

I went to visit a friend and enjoyed our travels about town as she pointed out the beauty and pleasure of the small town life.

I’d loved the name ever since Kim first told me where she lived and when I wrote two novellas for The 12 Brides of Christmas and The 12 Brides of Summer, I “borrowed” her town’s name and gave it to a small frontier town in Nebraska circa 1874-1875.Twelve_brides

Fair and hope make such lovely words to describe a young town, don’t they?

The town’s name in the first novella, The Yuletide Bride, is ironic given the story takes place in the fall and winter of 1874. But another meaning of “fair” also works in this story because the love interest’s father gives her would-be suitor a fair deal when Ewan asks for Kate’s hand.

“Ewan, you’ve had a rough go of it, but you’re just a grasshopper of a boy. You’ve no land, no prospects, no money. All you’ve got is your fiddle and a willing heart. It’s not enough to court my daughter.”

But Mr. MacDougall knows the two are devoted to each other, so he softens his stance and gives Ewan just enough hope to be fair:

“I knew your family, good people. I’ve always been sorry for your loss. But unless you can earn seventy dollars by Kate’s Christmas birthday, I cannot agree to a match.”

$70 was a huge sum to earn in three months for a young man without a job, but Ewan applies himself. He also knows MacDougall is being more than fair since Kate has a wealthy suitor in banker Josiah.

When Kate learns of her father’s agreement, she learns to be a good “helpmeet” for the man she loves, all the while trying hard to be fair to Josiah.

Since bagpipes get involved, humor turns up as well.

You can learn how in The 12 Brides of Christmas.

The 12 Brides of Summer includes sequels to the Christmas stories, and in The Sunbonnet Bride, Fairhope once again is an ironic twist when a tornado runs through the neighborhood and upends local farms.

In this case, Kate’s brother Malcolm is a teamster—to whom Ewan gave hope of a future in The Yuletide Bride—with an eye on a seamstress hoping to build a business.

Sally’s dreams are dashed when the family farm is flattened, but through her father’s encouragement and that of Malcolm and Josiah, she learns that all is not lost even when it looks grim.

With two suitors vying for her attention, both with strengths and ways to encourage her hopes, life continues.

The Sunbonnet Bride explores how Sally tries to be fair to both as well as to her future hopes.

Both novella collections are stories full of inspiration, faith and hope for people in challenging circumstances and/or love.

It’s always a fair hope when people allow God to care for them, their lives and their circumstances.

Isn’t it?

MichelleMichelle Ule is the best-selling author of six books. She’s currently writing a biography, Mrs. Oswald Chambers, which is also full of fair and faithful hope. For fun stories of historical research and every day life, check out my blog:  http://www.michelleule.com/

To buy The 12 Brides of Summer Collection, click on the link below.

https://www.amazon.com//1634090292/ref=nav_timeline_asin?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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