"For skillful and godly Wisdom is better than rubies or pearls,
and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared with it." Proverbs 8:11 Amplified

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Downton Abby Withdrawal Cure

Downton Abby is over for the season.
If you are suffering withdrawal symptoms I can recommend some reading material to feed that need to go behind the scenes of the rich and those who serve them.


Olivia Newport has written two delicious, historical books that take place in the United States. Set in Chicago Illinois on the prestigious Prairie Ave. in the 1890’s, pre Downton Abby time frame.


The first in the series is The Pursuit of Lucy Banning.

Lucy Banning may live on the exclusive Prairie Avenue among Chicago’s rich and famous, but her heart lies elsewhere. Expected to marry an up-and-coming banker, the son of family friends, Lucy fears she will be forced to abandon what matters to her most—her work at the orphanage and the classes she is secretly taking at the newly opened University of Chicago.


When she meets Will Edwards, an unconventional young architect working on plans for the 1893 World’s Fair, Lucy imagines a life lived on her own terms. A new young maid brings her own secret to the Banning household, and Lucy must choose between deeply held values.

Can Lucy fine love and live out of her compassionate heart?

The second in the series The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow focuses on the lives of the servants.

The whole world is coming to Chicago.

Charlotte’s whole world is coming down around her.

While the rest of Chicago focuses on the enormous spectacle of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, Charlotte Farrow’s attentions are entirely on one small boy—her boy—whom she has kept a secret from her wealthy employers for nearly a year.


When the woman who has been caring for her son abruptly returns him to the opulent Banning home, Charlotte must decide whether to come clean and face dismissal or keep her secret while the Bannings decide the child’s fate. Can she face the truth of her past and open her heart to a future of her own? Or will life’s struggles determine her path?

This compelling story of courage, strength, and tender romance captures the tension between the glittering wealthy class and the hardworking servants who make their lives comfortable.


These two books come from Olivia’s Avenue of Dreams Series. I thoroughly enjoyed both books and hope that there will be a third in the series.

Olivia is a versatile writer so if historical fiction is not to your taste then you must read her first book in the Valley of Choice series.

Accidentally Amish is the story of Annie Friesen, a software creator, living in Colorado Springs.

Annie makes some huge life changing choices; I’m not going to spoil it for you. You must pick up this book and enter a world were simplicity is not as easy to grasp as you might think.


The second book in this series In Plain View comes out in June 2013 and I’m hungry to read it.
Stop by your local bookstore, pick up these wonderful stories, fix a cup of tea and settle in for a good read.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Enough or Not Enough

When is enough, enough…or not enough?
When I sit reading emails, blogs and Facebook guilt creeps in with statements like, “You should be doing something productive.”

Cleaning the kitchen, getting dinner in the crock pot, doing laundry and straightening up is not enough? Of course not, because there is always something else that shouts,

“This is more important. You should start cleaning out cluttered drawers and closets; you have way too much stuff.”

So if I cleaned out two drawers and a closet today, would that be enough? Of course not because I have a dozen other drawers I haven’t touched and there are nine more closets that need attention.

Should I feel guilt about being on social media or curling up in a chair reading? Not when my calling is to write and those social media sites belong to authors I follow and posts by fellow writers sharing their journey.

No one criticizes me for not having clean closets…except me. Is it because I don’t take this writing life as seriously as I should?

If I were working outside my home I would be giving eight hours to that profession; in the remaining hours of my day I would be cooking, cleaning and doing laundry. Why is it so difficult to allow myself the time to feed my mind with writing tips, do’s and don’ts and words of encouragement about this writing life?

Could it be that since I am not currently working on a novel I do not consider myself a writer?

Am I the only writer who torturers’ herself this way?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cupcakes and Church

Today I stopped at a small bakery to buy myself a treat. I chose a mint chocolate cupcake; mint is one of my favorite flavors. The cupcake was smaller than I expected for $2.50 but it was probably a good thing, I really didn’t need the calories of one the size of a soup bowl.

The cupcake looked so pretty. The frosting was tinted green and it swirled up and up. Mini chocolate chips dotted the mountain of icing.

At home I prepared a large cup of hot chocolate, I added mint extract. I was going to saturate myself in chocolate and mint.

I removed the cupcake from the plastic container and peeled off the liner.

With fork in hand I sliced through the mound of green icing down into the chocolate beneath. I slid the forkful into my mouth, anticipating the burst of flavors and moistness I was sure would be there.

My brain signaled something was wrong. My expectation of a moist, light cupcake was dashed by the denseness of the treat. I tasted something that didn’t seem right, so with my next bite I only took cake and what I was tasting was...bread. That stumped me…how could a sweet treat taste like a loaf of white bread.

The artfully applied frosting was a disappointment too. I couldn’t distinguish what kind of shortening/butter/margarine it was made with but it had a heavy consistency.

I finished the cupcake but found I got more enjoyment from my cup of hot chocolate.

Just as it would be foolish of me to decide to never purchase a cupcake from any bakery ever again because of one disappointment wouldn’t it be foolish for someone to never attend any church again because of a hurt or disappointment experienced in one church. Yet this happens over and over.

If this is you or you know someone who has taken this stand I hope you will share my cupcake story with them. There are many churches, just as there are many bakeries and I’m sure there is at least one bakery that will have cupcakes I will swoon over.

Give God another chance this Sunday, try another church, see if the texture and flavor fits your needs and desires.