Little Advent Blessings

“Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19

IMG_2999During this Advent Season, I am slowing down and concentrating on preparing for Christ’s birth. I don’t want to be so busy and so stressed that I miss the little blessings all around me. Baby Jesus was not surrounded by all the stuff and the noise that bombard my life. So, I breathe. I want to ponder the small things of my everyday Advent journey. The birth of Jesus, our Savior, was the greatest gift ever, one to never be overlooked even when the Christmas season passes.

I am thankful for many small blessings this month. Here are a few. Perhaps you can make your own list as Advent approaches Christmas Day.

  • a cup of hot tea, cider, or chocolateIMG_3004
  • a favorite ornament
  • an inspiring book
  • a warm blanket
  • Christmas cookies
  • a nativity
  • string of lights
  • wreathes
  • Christmas cards
  • candles
  • Advent wreath
  • shiny bowsIMG_3003
  • Christmas carols
  • the Christmas story
  • Christmas Eve candlelight service
  • Hallmark movies
  • my sleeping cats
  • children’s laughter
  • visits with friends and family
  • cold weather, maybe snow
  • jingle bells

I’m sure I will think of more, for little blessings are everywhere. Let’s concentrate on them this season. They bring me comfort in a crazy, chaotic world.

Merry Christmas!

 

Review and Giveaway–Christmas at Breakers Point

Christmas on breakers point

Tour page on Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book:  Christmas on Breakers Point

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Contemporary Fiction, Christian Romantic Fiction, Christmas

One man’s last Christmas wish might change two lives forever.Christmas on Breakers Point

Mallory Barrows has one last Christmas with her uncle.  She’s determined to make it the best one he’s ever had.

She knows when she asks what he wants as his final gift, it won’t be a tie or a new mug. He won’t need those where he’s going, and he’s quite happy about that.

Mallory just didn’t think he wanted a miracle wrapped in paper and tied with a shiny red bow!

Christmas on Breakers Point is the introductory book to the Independence Islands Series.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Chautona Having has created another wonderful world where characters face lives full of challenges and opportunities of change.  And the awesome thing about this book is that the end is not the end. The series will continue with her vivacious character Mallory Barrows and other authors will add their own characters giving this island series many avenues to inspire readers.

Speaking of inspiration, Chautona allows her characters to be real with questions about faith, Christianity, worldly and spiritual issues, life, death. You name it, she is not shy at confronting what we all struggle with every day, either personally or with someone we know. I’m glad I had the chance to read this series at the beginning, knowing that there are many more books to come.

Thank you for supplying readers with a unique experience on a set of islands where we can feel at home with big-hearted characters.

About the Author

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into Chautonaimaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her on the web and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

More from Chautona

The book opens with a phone call that goes like this:

Her phone buzzed. Without taking her eyes from the page, Mallory Barrows fumbled about until her hand closed around it. The book held her bound in ropes of suspense as the villain slipped into the party unannounced—unseen. While she followed him around the edge of the imaginary room, her thumb swiped, tapped, and answered the call as if on autopilot.

Even as Mallory said, “Hello?” her breath caught. The guy had found his prey.

“Mallory, honey?”

Without a second look, she dropped the book and sat up, feet planted firmly on the floor and all attention on the call.  “Is it time?”

“’Fraid so, darlin’. Doc says it’s a matter of weeks or a month or two. And I promised.”

“I’ll be there Friday afternoon.”

 

Just days after I wrote those lines, I woke up to a message from my sister.  “Call Mom.”

I called.  Mom said, “I need you to come.”  That was Thursday.  I walked into Mom’s house on Saturday evening and our lives changed forever.

I don’t know if God prepared me for this change by having me write that scene just days before, but I have to say it felt like it!  Everything went crazy for over a month as I tried to wrap up my mother’s affairs in Missouri, I had to try to finish three books in a time of upheaval and turmoil.  No, it’s not the same as trying to help a young woman reclaim her True First Love so she could reclaim her first earthy love.  It isn’t the same as starting a whole new life and a new business.  But… oh, how it felt like it.

Another parallel in the story and my life was how Mallory struggles to try to get Uncle Bud to eat. I did the same thing for most of my time in Missouri.  Mom struggled and hard just to swallow and just wanted to eat.  So, while I was writing, I worked hard to come up with a recipe that Mallory might use to convince Uncle Bud to eat something.  The result were these Coconut Lime Cookies. I hope you love them as much as Uncle Bud did.

 

Coconut Lime Cookies

Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups white flour

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 cup shredded coconut

1 cup sugar

3 oz room temp cream cheese—cubed

½ tsp vanilla

Zest of 1 lime (key limes may be preferred)

½ cup (1 stick) melted butter (warm)

1 egg

1 TBS milk (whole is the most delicious… and half & half is even better)

1 TBS lime juice (again, some may prefer key limes)

½ cup powdered sugar  (reserved for rolling cookies in)

 

Directions: (oven preheats to 350)

Stir together the first five ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside

Stir together sugar, cream cheese, and lime zest in a large mixing bowl. Cream butter in. Repeat with egg, milk, and lime juice, one at a time. Make sure your ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

Add dry ingredients slowly. Mix well.

Roll dough into approximately 1” balls.  Roll each ball into powdered sugar and place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.

Bake for approximately 11-12 minutes until lightly golden.

Before you eat, close your eyes and imagine yourself beneath swaying palm trees with warm sand between your toes.  Merry Christmas!

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, December 10

Connect in Fiction, December 10

Lots of Helpers, December 11

My Devotional Thoughts, December 11

Wishful Endings, December 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 12

Stories By Gina, December 12

Quiet Quilter, December 13

Batya’s Bits, December 13

Godly Book Reviews, December 14

Emily Yager, December 14

Blossoms and Blessings, December 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 15

Back Porch Reads, December 15

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize of a 6 Month Kindle Unlimited subscription!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f1b8/christmas-on-breakers-point-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Please leave your thoughts here!

 

Advent Already?

IMG_2977Did anyone else think Advent came about very suddenly? It surprised me to end Thanksgiving and go directly to December 1 and the first Sunday in Advent. I wasn’t ready! I love the season of Advent as I prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth. I’m just a little behind.

IMG_2976Preparing and anticipating the birth of Jesus, always gives me the opportunity to concentrate on the true meaning of this season, something I should be doing in February, June, September, etc… I love the decorations, the lights, the nativities, the carols. All of it.

So, I am going to slowly add the bits to the season that I deem necessary and not fret over my part in not realizing the season began a little earlier thisimg_2982.jpg year. Once I saw the calendar on November 30, I found my advent wreath and one candle for the first Sunday. I have yet to buy the other candles, but I will in time for this Sunday. I pulled out an Advent devotional that I had purchased last year, In the Manger by Max Lucado, and have read it faithfully so far. The Scriptures and the inspirational stories help me focus on what is truly important and amazing about this season.  “For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:37. Not even the birth of His Son.

I spent a few minutes in the attic and found a wreath and some garland. I already had two poinsettia to brighten my hearth and table. Next, I put out a few pieces of my Christmas china. The nativities are ready to see some action as they await the placement of baby Jesus in about 20 days.

You know, by taking things slower, I’m enjoying the process more. I’d like to not stress this season and concentrate on why there is the season of Advent. Join me in the time left to prepare and anticipate the birth of Christ.

What plans do you have for preparing for Christmas and our Savior’s birth? 

NaNoWriMo

IMG_2782 (2)NaNoWriMo is not gibberish. It stands for National Novel Writing Month. Taking place every November, it gives writers a fun environment to write, write, write! I decided I’d join the movement this year. It’s addictive. I write some everyday on my new novel, Wait For Me. I wanted to share my progress with you.

IMG_2781 (2)IMG_2783 (2)I will say that I might not meet the 50,000 words mark due to Thanksgiving, but I am trying and making progress in my novel, which is under a strict deadline. I’ll check back in a few weeks with my word count. Right now it stands at 32,311!

IMG_2779 (2)If you are a writer this would be a great place to commit for a month. Any words are important words.

Happy writing.

Marisol Spanish Rose Review and Giveaway

Marisol FB Banner

Tour page on Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: Marisol Spanish Rose

Author: Elva Cobb Martin

Genre:  Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: November 8, 2019

Escaping to the New World is her only option…Rescuing her Marisol_finalwill wrap the chains of the Inquisition around his neck.

Marisol Valentin flees Spain after murdering the nobleman who molested her. She ends up for sale on the indentured servants’ block at Charles Town harbor—dirty, angry, and with child. Her hopes are shattered, but she must find a refuge for herself and the child she carries. Can this new land offer her the grace, love, and security she craves? Or must she escape again to her only living relative in Cartagena?

Captain Ethan Becket, once a Charles Town minister, now sails the seas as a privateer, grieving his deceased wife. But when he takes captive a ship full of indentured servants, he’s intrigued by the woman whose manners seem much more refined than the average Spanish serving girl. Perfect to become governess for his young son. But when he sets out on a quest to find his captured sister, said to be in Cartagena, little does he expect his new Spanish governess to stow away on his ship with her six-month-old son. Yet her offer of help to free his sister is too tempting to pass up. And her beauty, both inside and out, is too attractive for his heart to protect itself against—until he learns she is a wanted murderess.

As their paths intertwine on a journey filled with danger, intrigue, and romance, only love and the grace of God can overcome the past and ignite a new beginning for Marisol and Ethan.

Click here to get your copy!

My review

I was so excited to read this novel for many reasons. The historical element intrigues me as its set in colonial Charles Town, SC at a time when death is prevalent. Babies, children, and young wives dies from diseases and complications. Because of this the opportunity comes around often for second time love. How would it feel to not have the chance to live to an old age?

I love the Spanish element as Marisol travels from Spain hoping to start a new life in Cartagena. Her life takes a different path though finding herself indentured in Charles Town. I’m such an organized person finding comfort in charting my future. How would I have handled being an indentured servant when I’d been pampered all my life? Not so well, I’m afraid.

As seen by the lives of these characters in the first of the Charleston Brides Series, God has a plan even in the chaos. Life can get crazy and unpredictable. Through this journey with Marisol, I sense the ever-present need to cultivate a close and steady relationship with God. He can and does turn unfortunate situations into purposeful paths to Him.

About the Author

Elva Cobb Martin is a wife, mother, and grandmother Elva Cobb Martinwho lives in South Carolina with her husband and a mini-dachshund. A life-long student of history, her favorite city, Charleston, inspires her stories of romance and adventure. Her love of writing grew out of a desire to share exciting stories of courageous characters and communicate truths of the Christian faith to bring hope and encouragement. Connect with her on her web site at http://www.elvamartin.com.

 

More from Elva

A couple of things inspired me to write Marisol ~ Spanish Rose, in addition to my love of historical romance fiction set in the colonial/pirate era of Charles Town and the Spanish Main.

I ran across a teaching of how people often let the one terrible moment of their lives define them and their future. Know anyone like this?

I envisioned a heroine in the 1700’s who let her “terrible moment”—being molested and accidentally killing the Spanish nobleman who attacks her—define her and her future destiny.

My premise for this idea and novel is: Love, forgiveness, and determination can overcome the most horrifying experiences and poor choices when we invite God into the equation.

Loving horses, particularly the white Lipizzaners, I named my heroine Marisol and set the attack on her father’s Andalusian Stud Farm in Cadiz, Spain in 1740. Andalusians are the Spanish horses in the ancestry of the Lipizzaners. And they can be trained to do dancing steps with a dancing maiden called the Flamenco, which my heroine can do well. Click here for a video of a flamenco dancer. https://youtu.be/lSQWQl0u_Ow

Marisol’s exciting Flamenco plays a pivotal part in the novel.

All this story idea needed now was an exciting, handsome Charles Town privateer—sometimes pirate—who will cross paths with my heroine when she flees Spain after killing the Spanish nobleman who molested her.

Captain Ethan Becket, backslidden former Charles Town minister, has returned to the sea, grieving the loss of his wife and child.

By the time these two get together at the indentured block in Charles Town, Marisol has discovered she is with child.

Thanks for stopping by! May you have an exciting, romantic adventure on the high seas with Captain Ethan and Marisol.

Blog Stops

Connect in Fiction, November 16

Rebecca Tews , November 16

Moments, November 17

For Him and My Family, November 17

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, November 18

Genesis 5020, November 18

For the Love of Literature, November 19

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 19

Betti Mace, November 20

mpbooks, November 20

Back Porch Reads, November 21

Maureen’s Musings, November 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 22

Pause for Tales , November 23

Batya’s Bits, November 23

Reflections From My Bookshelves, November 24

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 25

Godly Book Reviews, November 25

Inklings and notions , November 26

janicesbookreviews, November 26

Texas Book-aholic, November 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 27

A Reader’s Brain, November 28

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Elva is giving away a vintage nautical writing journal and a $20 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/ed79/marisol-spanish-rose-celebration-tour-giveaway

Please leave your comments on my blog. Thank you!