Book Journeys – Ransom

Creating fictional worlds is one of my favorite things. My 19-year-old, who is also a writer, says that his favorite part of writing is world building and BOY does he love world building. He has documents upon documents about his fantasy worlds, along with languages, cultures, histories, etc.

Now, I’m not too sure I go as in-detail as my son, but I sure do like to know about my fictional places. So instead of taking you on a book journey of a ‘real’ place, today I’d like to introduce you to the town of Ransom from my Mitchell’s Crossroads series.

Ransom.png

Ransom is a small town in the southwestern part of Virginia. Surrounded by the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, it’s located about 2 hours (give or take) any direction from a sizeable ‘city’. Ransom boasts somewhere between 7500-9000 people, depending on which old-timer you ask in the General Store.

Moses Cone House - BR Parkway. Must see to appreciate. Bring your walking shoes for a stroll around the lake. Plus, they have a really nice gift shop with many local products that support this beauty!
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Originally a lumber town, because of the Tali River, the town housed mostly hardy Scot-Irish immigrants and a few Cherokee until about the Civil War when wealthy southerners wanted to get away from their war torn lands and disappear. Businessman, Anthony Everett discovered Ransom when his northbound train broke down halfway to Richmond. With the benefits of the river, the somewhat temperate climate, and the abundance of natural resources and lumber, Everett bought property and built his country home he called Windermere House. The house was sold in the 1930s to the Adderly family, who soon turned it into an inn with a fantastic view of Canopy Falls and the Tali River.

 

these old movie theaters were so fun to go to...
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Another famous person moved into Ransom’s vicinity. Timothy Crescent, an Englishman from a wealthy family, discovered Ransom when he was passing through on a hunting expedition with some of his friends. He immediately fell in love with the location surrounding Ransom and purchased one hundred acres of land from the surrounding Appalachian people to build The Havens, a sprawling estate passed down for generations. Now a tourist’s dream, the late 1900s Gothic Revivalist manor showcases a bygone age with beautiful gardens and a country house as lovely as any in Europe. Owned and operated by family, The Havens provides continued revenue for the town of Ransom and a historical experience for guests around the world.

Keep it simple and thay will come.  Learn what's important in starting your shop at www.darrylsicecreamsolutions.com
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The township of Ransom sits on a level property surrounded by mountains, with the Tali River wrapping around it on two sides. Houses are scattered throughout the mountains and forests surrounding the town, which is where you’ll find Mitchell’s Crossroads. Just take a left at the movie theater and follow the road out through the countryside. 😊

Wytheville, VA
Wytheville – Pinterest

 

In my imagination, Ransom became a combination of two of my favorite towns near where I grew up. Wytheville, VA and Mt. Airy, NC (Mayberry). Ransom has all the modern conveniences, but Main Street keeps a sense of a “place out of time”. You’ll probably find a Wal-Mart back off the main road. A hospital tucked away from the town closer to the highway, and several schools in various locations outside of the downtown, but Main Street keeps its timeless appeal with a movie theater, ice cream shop, bookstore, etc. Tree lined streets and a fountain in the middle of the town make it almost iconic 😉 Hey, I’m the author, I can make it that way, right?

Mount Airy, North Carolina - Wikipedia
Mt. Airy – Pinterest

What do YOU think are some buildings that MUST be on Main Street in a small town?

CharmingtheTroublemaker 500x750
Charming the Troublemaker is available now!
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Check out Ransom in Minecraft! It is hard having only blocks to build with, but this will give you a visual!

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Upcoming: The Man Who Invented Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner, right?

Chestnuts and ornaments and fire’s glow.

Stockings and wisemen and fresh snow.

It also means… MOVIES!

sounf-of-musicAny of you who know me, realize that I’m a big fan of movies, and Christmas movies? Oh YEAH!

There are SO many options and Hallmark usually kicks off the season with a whole host of fun, sweet, magical, and sentimental options. Then, of course, there are the all-time favs, The Holiday, It’s a Wonderful Life, and my brother would add Elf to the list 😉

But there’s one that I’ve watched around Christmas ever since I was a little girl. Music, family, Austria, a few of my favorite things… yep, you guessed it! The Sound of Music.

Julie Andrews, a class act and beautiful lady, paired with the devilishly handsome and charming, Christopher Plummer, bring to life a story of opposites attracting, conflict, hope, finding your dream, and embracing plan Bs.

This holiday season Christopher Plummer is teaming up with another talented (and quite handsome) actor to bring us a new Christmas favorite about one of the most well-known authors of history. Charles Dickens.

Although Mr. Dickens doesn’t have the most glowing personal history, his stories have become classics and one of his classics really brings about the beauty of second chances…and throws a few ‘spirits’ into the mix. A Christmas Carol

christmasBut this year, we get a chance to look behind the scenes of this iconic Christmas film in the movie, The Man Who Invented Christmas.

Here’s a little about the film:

The Man Who Invented Christmas tells the magical journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer), Tiny Tim and other classic characters from A Christmas Carol. Directed by Bharat Nalluri (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day), the film shows how Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) mixed real life inspirations with his vivid imagination to conjure up unforgettable characters and a timeless tale, forever changing the holiday season into the celebration we know today.

THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS releases in theaters on November 22.

 Want a sneak peek? Check out a film featurette here.

LEAVE a comment and you’ll be entered to win 3 Christmas DVDs – The Sound of Music, A Christmas Carol, and Beauty and the Beast (2016)

So…as we start into this holiday season, what is one of your favorite Christmas movies?

A “Charming” Release Day

CharmingtheTroublemaker 500x750It’s release day for my sixth full-length novel, Charming the Troublemaker, and I’m so excited to share this story with you! As the second book in the Mitchell’s Crossroads series, we get to step back into the world of Ransom, Virginia, and watch how the Mitchell family help lost and lonely folks find a place to call home.

To learn more about the book – check it out here!

According to dictionary.com, ‘charming’ means ‘engaging’, ‘winsome’, ‘pleasing’ or ‘delightful’. I like this one “a power of pleasing or attracting, as through personality or beauty.’ So, as one of my characters attempts to charm the other, I hope you’ll find this story a pleasing or delightful addition to your reading time.

At the heart of Charming the Troublemaker is finding where you belong, just as you are.

PreciousmemeAlex struggles with seeing himself as a ‘hero’ because of his messed-up past. He sees himself as a failure and broken.

Rainey struggles with seeing herself as beautiful and confident because of being wounded in the past. She questions her choices and has forgotten how God sees her.

So…what does the Bible say for these two hearts?

They are more valuable than the sparrows. (Matt 10:31)

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Ps 139:14)

You are previous in my eyes…and I love you. (Isaiah 43:4a)

See what manner of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are! (1John 3:1a)

And there are SO many more! Will they learn to see themselves through God’s eyes?

Have you? 🙂

Then There Was You by Kara Isaac

When Rebecca Maney told me I HAD to read Kara Isaac’s newest release, Then There Was You, two things happened:

  1. I knew I needed to listen because I ALWAYS listen to Rebecca Maney 😉
  2. Kara has been on my TBR list for a whole year because I’d heard her writing style was similar to mine (which I take as a BIG compliment), so I looked forward to finding out if that was true.

So, on a recent flight from Texas, I pulled out my purchased copy of Then There Was You and spent the entire flight time reading…and finishing…this fun, poignant, and sweet romance.

A little about the book:

Then There Was You.jpg

Paige McAllister needs to do something drastic. Her boyfriend can’t even commit to living in the same country, her promised promotion is dead on arrival and the simultaneous loss of her brother and her dream of being a concert violinist has kept her playing life safe and predictable for six years.

Things need to change.

A moment of temporary insanity finds her leaving her life in Chicago to move to Sydney, Australia. There she finds herself, against many of her convictions, as a logistics planner for one of Australia’s biggest churches, and on a collision course with her boss’s son. Josh Tyler fronts a top-selling worship band and is in demand all over the world. But, in the past, his failed romantic relationships almost destroyed both his reputation and his family. He’s determined to never risk it happening again. The last thing he needs is some American girl tipping his ordered life upside down. Especially one who despises everything he’s ever worked for and manages to push every button he has.

When Josh and Paige are thrown together to organize his band’s next tour, the sparks fly. But can they find a way to bridge the differences that pull them apart? Or will they choose the safety and security of what they know over taking a chance on something that will require them to risk everything?

My take:

I love to travel, but with a big family and two middle-class salaries, travel isn’t always an option. Thankfully, Kara provides a wonderful journey to a place I’d LOVE to see some day. Australia. (Which we will be visiting on Thursday on our Book Journeys.)

I’ve seen the movie, Australia, but the place? Not yet. There are loads of people I’d love to visit over there. 😊

But – back to the book!

Kara Isaac writes my kind of story!!!

Then there was you.pngHer characters are such fun. They remind me of the novels I love to write, so, of course, I love to READ them!! Paige is completely adorkable – in her clumsy, bumbling, victory-dancing sort of way, she stumbles right into musician, Josh Tyler’s life. Their personalities are opposite in some ways, but perfectly fitted where it matters most. Kara keeps the faith theme organic, but a strong thread in the midst of two people trying to understanding how to move forward when deep, life-altering wounds redirect their futures.

Kara does a beautiful thing we don’t always see in contemporary fiction. She tricks us! By setting this book in a light-hearted tone, she sneaks in some deep-set spiritual truths in a beautifully, digestible way (kind of like trying to feed kids something they don’t’ like by sneaking it into something they do 😉)

 

And we learn. And grieve. And celebrate along with the characters.

Then There Was You 3.pngFilled with heart, humor, hope, and swoony romance, we join in an adventure of love, loss, and second chances. Josh and Paige are two people who’ve been impacted by some deep traumas, both inside the church and out. By placing them together on the page, Kara forces both of them to confront their own hearts and the desires they each hope to find in the other.

Plus…it all takes place in AUSTRALIA! (Wait, did I say that already?)

And both Josh and Paige are muscicians!!!

My music-loving, travel-happy, romance-saturated heart is SOOOOO happy.

If you’re looking for a funny, sweet story with a perfectly-fitted ending (oh my goodness! too much FUN!), then this book is for you!

Amazon| Goodreads

About the Author

Kara Isaac is an award-winning writer who lives in Wellington, New Zealand, where her career highlights include working in tourism as Private Secretary for the Prime Minister. She loves great books almost as much as she loves her husband and two Hobbit-sized children.

More Books by Kara Isaac 

    

Swoony Saturdays – Charlie Lionheart

Welcome! Welcome!

Swoony Saturdays are your opportunity to be introduced to a book hero who fits high quality hero characteristics. (okay, so he just makes us weak in the knees for all kinds of reasons, but you get the point)

The photos involved are chosen as the most representative of the heroes featured, so IF they look like someone you’ve seen before, that’s almost entirely accidental.

Charlie Lionheart

In May, my lovely assistant, Rachel Dixon, posted a Swoony Saturday about Charlie Lionheart, because she LOVED him and because…well…I hadn’t read Joanne Bischof’s book, The Lady and the Lionheart, yet.

Now, with the story fresh in my mind since I finished the book last weekend (much to Rachel Dixon and Carrie Schmidt’s ‘finally’ stares), I’m going to SWOON over Charlie afresh with you guys today 😊

Joanne’s novel has garnered RAVE reviews, awards, and excited fandom-status, including a line of women who often use the hashtag – #mycharlie (you know who you are).  Rt Reviews even named it “Inspirational Romance of 2016”.

From here on out, my comments will be in italics 😉

So….Let’s talk about this tamer of lions and soother of hearts.

Charlie Lionheart: Who? Charlie Lionheart

Where can we find this dreamboat? The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

Personality summary:

Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice. (From the back of the book.)

Charlie is a protector – as fierce as his brotherhood of lions. Yet, amidst the world of the demands, unpredictability, and sometimes horrors of circus life, he breathes a gentleness and uncertainty which is endearing. A bit quirky (in the most adorable of ways), first necessity and then curiosity draw him toward the heroine in a timid dance of two worlds drawing back the curtains on each other. As his protectiveness merges with a sweet love for Ella, a most exquisite and tender romance blooms to outshine any show on the Big Top

LATL 4 : What makes us swoon?

He TAMES LIONS (of course, this would be considered swoony. Seriously??? How many heroes do you know who tame lions??)

He’s a tender daddy
His sacrificial love/Self sacrifice

Strength (works with lions!)I’d add here – his reigned in strength. It’s one thing to be strong (which is swoony, but it’s even more beautiful to curb the power into fierce tenderness and loyalty. That adds a depth that is breathtaking.

Compassion
His bravery (Not just regarding the lions)
His love for those he cares about is not just something to admire, but to learn from.

Another aspect of Charlie that is wonderful is his ability to look beyond external and take a person at face value.

I love his innocence.

And he’s quirky!! Bring on the ADORKABLE!!!

Kissing level of such swooniness: Charlie is definitely a 5 on this scale. I was left in an incoherent puddle for DAYS after reading this book. Make sure you read close to the kitchen, you WILL need your freezer!

THIS IS A KISSING BOOK, if nothing else for ONE kiss alone. Great googley moogley!

The Lady and the LionheartBasic hero type: Charlie is a Darcy. His brooding disposition and assumptions made about the heroine make him out to be harsh and cold. But he is a softy underneath.

Agreed, an unlearned observer might see him as fierce (much like the lions he tames), but closer observation reveals a loyalty, strength of character, and gentleness to remove any doubt of the dedication and swooniness of his character.

How can I meet this swoony mister? 

The Lady and the Lionheart can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Christian Book Distributors.Christian Book Distributors. Don’t forget to add it on Goodreads!

You can find my review HERE.

About the Author

A Carol Award and two-time Christy Award-finalist, Joanne Bischof writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. She was honored to receive the SDCWG Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon Writer’s conference. Her 2014 novella This Quiet Sky broke precedent as the first self-released title to final for the Christy Awards. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children. Website

Kissing Levels & Hero Types

 

The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

About the Book

Two worlds collide when the circus comes to Victorian-era Virginia.

 

Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice.

As the circus tents are raised on the outskirts of Roanoke, country nurse Ella Beckley arrives to tend to this ill Gypsy girl. All under the watchful eye of a guardian who not only bears a striking resemblance to the child, but who protects the baby with a love that wraps around Ella’s own tragic past, awakening a hope that goodness may yet reign. When their forbidden friendship deepens, Charlie dares to ask for her heart, bringing her behind the curtain of his secret world to reveal the sacrifice that gave hope to one little girl—boldly showing Ella that while her tattered faith is deeply scarred, the only marks that need be permanent are his own.

My Thoughts

LATL 4So…I’d heard nothing but praise, praise and more praise for Joanne Bischof’s novel, The Lady and the Lionheart, which meant I HAD to read it, of course. Well, the hype is certainly well-founded and I’ll tell you why I thought so in just a minute.

First, about the book:

From the first paragraph, this story drew me in with its eloquent writing. Vivid detail, word pictures, and beautiful phrasing enticed me further…and then I met Charlie. I love quirky, and Joanne performed the task of creating a lovable and realistic character raised in a very different world. But…more about Charlie in a little bit.

Spiritual truths in fiction can be a tricky balance beam to tread for an author, but Joanne does it beautifully in both of the main characters’ lives. Both are scarred. One by a ruthless act of a selfish man and the other by a forced choice to save the lives of another. These ‘scars’ seamlessly display a beautiful reminder that even in our brokenness we are remarkably beloved.

Aviary Photo_131303863941749795.pngBetween Joanne’s descriptive writing style, the intricate historical detail of a lesser known ‘world’, and the curious and uncertain introduction to romance between Charlie and Ella, this book called for just ONE. MORE. PAGE. There’s something indefinably sweet about it. Maybe it’s because we all want to know we’re loved despite our internal or external scars. Maybe’s it’s because we see two kind and tenderhearted people trying to navigate the unexpected and hurtful wounds of the world to uncover true love. Or Maybe it’s because Charlie Lionheart.

Now I understand why Carrie Schmidt has a book crush on Charlie. He is 1/3 brooding, 1/3 adorkable, and 1/3 exquisitely tender, which makes him 100% top book crush material.

In short, this story was a magical journey of two broken people learning how God mends our shattered lives in sometimes the most unexpected of ways…and about how we are loved far beyond our brokenness.

A beautiful and endearing romance from a beautiful and talented writer.

Find The Lady and the Lionheart on….
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million
Christian Book
Google Books

About the Author

A Carol Award and two-time Christy Award-finalist, Joanne Bischof writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. She was honored to receive the SDCWG Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon Writer’s conference. Her 2014 novella This Quiet Sky broke precedent as the first self-released title to final for the Christy Awards. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children.

 

Pepper

Swoony Saturdays – Noah Mitchell

Welcome! Welcome! Swoony Saturdays are your opportunity to be introduced to a book hero who fits high quality hero characteristics. (okay, so he just makes us weak in the knees for all kinds of reasons, but you get the point)

The photos involved are chosen as the most representative of the heroes featured, so IF they look like someone you’ve seen before, that’s almost entirely accidental.

Noah Mitchell.png

work-boots-889816_1920Who? Noah Mitchell (like another ‘Mitchell’ I know 😉)

Where can we find this dreamboat? Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter (released June 2017)

Personality summary: Noah Mitchell is a wounded soul…and like any wounded creature, he strikes out at the person who caused his wounds, his wife Josephine. But just because he’s hurt by her betrayal doesn’t mean he’s stopped loving her. In fact, one of the things that makes Sweetbriar Cottage so beautiful is the gradual shift from broken to healed as these two are trapped together in a snowstorm and finally uncover the truth about what led to their brokenness.

20495566_10213816949358624_379061350_oWhat makes us swoon?

Though he’s initially a pretty grumpy dude, there is an undercurrent of kindness he shows, even toward Josephine.

He’s strong and a little broody (but he has good reason)

Susan Snodgrass said “Just the way he carries himself and his demeanor”

He was willing to change and grow – that’s definitely swoony

tools-1183374_1920He was willing to FORGIVE! Wow!

Ashley Slate added “sharp angles and muscles” 😊 But also, “His loyalty to Josephine, though subconscious maybe, because he still loves her.”

Rebecca Maney said it best with “I loved his gentle nature, very wounded obviously, but he removed himself from the situation and began a new life. The way he initially built a friendship with his wife…put a foundation under their relationship that would prove valuable in the end. He heroically worked and prayed to save his wife’s life in spite of her mistakes. He had a redeeming kind of love that was willing to forgive, especially after he understood how insecure she really had been.”

INDEED!!

20524172_10213816967959089_832234104_o.jpgKissing level of such swooniness: Noah (great name, right?) is a 3-4 level kisser. Strong and gentle.

Basic hero type: How can I meet this swoony mister? Noah is definitely a Wentworth in faithfulness of heart and a Darcy in broodiness.

What does the author, Denise Hunter, say about her creation? I think what makes Noah so swoony is that he’s head over heels for Josephine—he fell quickly and he fell hard. She may have broken his heart, and he may have gotten angry, but nothing she did or said could change the way he loved her. (Sound familiar?) We all crave unconditional love, don’t we? I think that’s what makes Noah a dreamy hero. 🙂

You can read my review of Sweetbriar Cottage HERE.
And don’t forget to check out my Book Journeys post.

Learn more about the amazing Denise Hunter HERE.😊

Kissing Levels & Hero Types

Book Journeys – Blue Ridge Mountains North Georgia

One of the things I looked forward to most in Denise Hunter’s new series is that it takes place in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the north Georgia section of the Blue Ridge. (You can read my review HERE.) There’s even a town called Blue Ridge!! You can learn more about it through this beautiful video HERE.

20403768_10213793574094257_851745389_n.jpgMuch like other sections of the Blue Ridge Mountains, northern Georgia boasts four seasons and spectacular views. Another interesting fact about the mountains is that the hairpin turns and mountainous terrain can make driving in snowy conditions extremely dangerous, especially if late winter/early spring snow storms show up unannounced. (Which is happens in Sweetbriar Cottage between the unsuspecting and confrontational Noah and Josephine)

One of the best places to visit in northern Georgia is Chattahoochee National Forest, over 700,000 acres of forest land. There’s camping, fishing, swimming, hiking, and of course, taking in the views. You can find out more HERE.

20403736_10213793573494242_2038616108_n.jpgMy family and I visited northern Georgia a few years ago and loved the hikes, some amazing waterfalls, and the adorable town of Dahlonega. Hailed as the site of America’s first ‘gold rush’, Dahlonega is such a quaint place to explore some history, eat good food, and just enjoy the overall ambience of a mountain town. You can learn a little more about Dahlonega HERE.

Blue Ridge Parkway Sunset by Dave Allen. "A stunning sunset overlooking the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from the Blue Ridge Parkway in Western North Carolina on a gorgeous summer evening."
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The Blue Ridge Mountains (a smaller mountain range within the larger Appalachian mountains) start or end, depending on your reference point, near Sawnee Mountain, Georgia and extends all the way into Pennsylvania. Their rounded and smaller peaks are more plentiful than their westerly neighbors  in Colorado, but not as ‘majestic’ in height. They layer each other to the horizon creating variants of blue- so much so, that some of the native Americans referred to the Blue Ridge mountains in Virginia as ‘Shenandoah’. Two possible definitions for this word are Silver Water or River of High Mountains. Appropriately named, since these mountains kind of look like miles and miles of blue-ish and/or silvery ripples as far as the eye can see.

Pepper

Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter

61kabzeSXfL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_I’m an avid Denise Hunter fan with my very favorite book of hers being The Convenient Groom, but in all honesty, almost every book I’ve read by this author has been such a fun, romantic read. What I’ve come to expect in a Denise Hunter novel is solid characters, a sprinkle of humor, a dash of adventure, a peppering of faith, and a good slathering of romance.

So when Denise’s newest book, Sweetbriar Cottage, also added my Blue Ridge Mountains to the list…well, seriously, how could I NOT want to read this book? With Denise’s usual expertise of charming and bittersweet, she also has a knack for showing us God’s unfailing love in the way the hero ends up loving the heroine. (This is one of my favorite tropes, btw)

We get a beautiful picture of this ‘love story’ through the relationship of Josephine and Noah, a couple who used to be married, thought they filed for divorce, and then discover they’re NOT divorced after all.

SweetbriarcottageIn the dazzling way known as Denise-Hunter-writing, we delve into a novel of what love really looks like when hurts are deep and forgiveness is hard. It’s her signature. A hero who shows God’s love in a tangible way to a broken, insecure, and wounded heroine. It’s one of the reasons I love her books so much. Some of the other reasons are…super romance, wonderful kisses, sweet storytelling, and excellent descriptions.

If you’re a fan of stories with a deeper thread of redemption, two people trapped in a cabin during a snowstorm, and a God who mends broken things with his unfathomable love, you’ll probably enjoy Sweetbriar Cottage.

A delightfully sweet read with a poignant core about the healing power of love.

Purchase your copy today: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christian Book

About the Author

Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of 30 contemporary romances. In 2016 two of Denise’s novels, The Convenient Groom and A December Bride, aired as Hallmark Original movies. When Denise isn’t orchestrating love on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, playing drums, and reading as much as humanly possible. After raising 3 boys in Indiana, she and her husband are rapidly approaching an empty nest.
Connect with Denise: WebsiteFacebook, Twitter

Imperfect….and Loved

Journal Entry – 2014

It’s one of those ‘pull your hair out’ kinds of moments. Your nine-year-old, who struggles with math facts, sits beside of you at the table and goes into a complete meltdown over 3 digit numbers. There’s no calling him back from the depths of despair, he’s jumped in with both feet and waded up to his neckline. He’s drowning in fractions and word problems with no hope for a sure foundation.

He’s drowning in fractions and word problems with no hope for a sure foundation..png

No matter what you say, offer to pay, plead or borrow, he’s not coming back from his mental block for a few minutes…maybe a few centuries.

He spends twenty-minutes trying to blame every other person in his life, and the dog, for the fact that he cannot do this homework.

He seeks every distraction known to man and animals to dismiss his inability, but finally has to accept something.

For the first time in his life, he’s realized the terrible, horrible, no-good truth:

He’s not perfect.

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake. Rich, chocolaty and ooey gooey. Ready within 30 minutes! | giverecipe.com | #cake #chocolate
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Oops, maybe I should have whispered that last sentence. It’s easier to bear when said in a whisper. Then maybe no one else will hear.

Tough truths are sometimes easier to bear in a whisper, with chocolate, and usually with a hug following fairly quickly.

So get your chocolate handy!!

We’re not perfect.

Yeah, yeah, I know you would admit to it, but do you believe it? I mean really. When it gets down to the everydayness of it?

Sometimes I don’t.

I either kick myself so hard when I fall that I can’t stand for a week, OR (and more likely) I pretend I wasn’t wrong..png

either kick myself so hard when I fall that I can’t stand for a week, OR (and more likely) I pretend I wasn’t wrong. I never admit to it. I ignore the little gnawing at the base of my heart and push it off as not taking my B-12s, when the truth is…I was wrong.

Pulling shark teeth would be easier than trying to get my 19-year old to admit when he’s wrong. Whew. Pride the size of Jonah’s whale, but…his mom has the same problem. In fact, most of us do.

We blame our day, or our health, our finances, or in-laws…our children or spouses, our education or background…whatever it takes to keep the little finger from pointing backwards and finding our chests. Not me.

It’s hard…I don’t like it – but who does?

Pride.pngWhen we hold onto pride, one of the ugliest things happens. We place ourselves above our humanity and make little idols of our own hearts. Then, we compare our goodness to others’ badness and forget the basic element of grace…

Jesus didn’t come for perfect people. In fact, if we looked at the list of people Jesus hung around with most, we wouldn’t find a perfect person among the entire bunch. Most would have scoffed at the notion of being called ‘perfect’.

A woman caught in adultery, a hotheaded disciple, a traitor-tax collector, a thief…a bunch of cowards and…sinners.

That’s the point!

One thing they all had in common was they were sinners, and they knew it. In fact, when Jesus sat down and ATE with some of those imperfect people, the religious leaders started whispering about him (and not in a nice way either).

The story goes like this in Matthew 9:10-12

Jesus came to save those who know they are broken and can’t be fixed..png

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus came to save those who know they are broken and can’t be fixed.

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Who know they screw up and can’t make things right.

Who know no band aid, no amount of sacrifice or good works can change their histories and mistakes.

He came for the ones who KNOW we are sinners and are searching for Someone to be the bridge between their imperfection and God’s perfectness.

Jesus became that bridge by offering His own perfection, His life for the ungodly. He didn’t come ‘to call the righteous, but sinners.”

If you know you are imperfect…

If you look back on your past, see your shades of gray, and feel ashamed…

If you’re struggling with the depths of hurt, confusion, anger, or sadness…

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There is hope…

Jesus

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” – Hebrews 10:22

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” I John 1:9

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