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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Book Review! Death By Chocolate Lab by Bethany Blake



Death By Chocolate Lab
by Bethany Blake

Death By Chocolate Lab is full of subtle humor, intriguing characters, and dogs with a great deal of personality. Oh – and a really well-plotted mystery with lots of twists and turns.
~Reading is my SuperPower
A great fast paced read that will keep you guessing until the end and even I was taken back by who it was.
~Bab’s Book Bistro
Death by Chocolate Lab (Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
New Series
Kensington (February 28, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496707383
E-Book ASIN: B01GBAG2T0
Pet sitter Daphne Templeton has a soft spot for every stray and misfit who wanders into the quaint, lakeside village of Sylvan Creek. But even Daphne doesn’t like arrogant, womanizing Steve Beamus, the controversial owner of Blue Ribbon K-9 Academy. When Steve turns up dead during a dog agility trial, Daphne can think of a long list of people with motives for homicide, and so can the police. Unfortunately, at the top of the list is Daphne’s sister, Piper—Steve’s latest wronged girlfriend.
Certain that Piper is innocent, in spite of mounting evidence to the contrary, Daphne sets out to clear her sister’s name—and find Axis, Steve’s prize-winning chocolate Labrador, who went missing the night of Steve’s death. Aided by Socrates, her taciturn basset hound, and a hyperactive one-eared Chihuahua named Artie, Daphne quickly runs afoul of Detective Jonathan Black, a handsome and enigmatic newcomer to town, who has no appreciation for Daphne’s unorthodox sleuthing.
Can a free-spirited pet sitter, armed only with a Ph.D. in Philosophy and her two incompatible dogs, find the real killer before she becomes the next victim?
Includes recipes for homemade dog treats!


About The Author

Bethany Blake lives in a small, quaint town in Pennsylvania with her husband and three daughters. When she’s not writing or riding horses, she’s wrangling a menagerie of furry family members that includes a nervous pit bull, a fearsome feline, a blind goldfish, and an attack cardinal named Robert. Like Daphne Templeton, the heroine of her Lucky Paws Mysteries, Bethany holds a Ph.D. and operates a pet sitting business called Barkley’s Premium Pet Care.
Author Links 
Purchase Links
Amazon B&N


MY REVIEW
This is the first in a new cozy mystery series and a must have for any pet lover. The characters are likable. They are real and have flaws. This was a good easy read that was easy to follow and entertained me. There are some good recipes for your own furry members of the family. I just loved the dogs. Daphne’s basset hound, Socrates and Artie, the one -eared Chihuahua are just the best. 
I received a ARC of the book in exchange for my opinion. All opinions are my own. 


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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Book Review! Baseball Faith by Rob Maaddi


I love baseball. I have loved watching my hometown team The Cleveland Indians for as long as I can remember. My dad and I would watch the games together on television, yelling at the seemingly blind umpires that were making bad calls. It's in my blood. 

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the George W. Bush Presidential Library while they were featuring an exhibit on America's favorite past time. (You can see the post here: Play Ball! ) 

Last year my beloved Cleveland Indians fell 1 game short of clinching the World Series Title. 

I was thrilled when I was able to review this book. It featured some of my favorite players. 

About the book:
Baseball Faith will inspire you in your faith journey as 52 MLB players--past and present--share their stories and how they are chasing the success that only comes from being God's man and following His plan. These men are committed to living their lives with eternity in mind. Empowered by God, they are looking beyond the competition to a larger goal: following God's game plan for their lives as team players, as husbands, fathers, sons, and then using their influence to point others toward Him.


About the Author: 
Rob Maaddi has been a Philadelphia sports writer for The Associated Press since 2000. He's covered the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals, and numerous major sporting events throughout his career. Rob has co-authored three children's sports books and has written a biography on Mike Schmidt. A devoted Christian, Rob strives every day to make a difference and be a blessing. Rob is a missionary athlete with the Deacons Prison Ministry softball team. He visits inmates, shares his testimony, and preaches about Jesus Christ. Rob, his wife, Remy, and their twin girls, Alexia and Melina, reside in South Jersey.



My Review:

This is a great, inspirational book that looks at 52 big baseball names and their journey to faith 
Each player has picked out a verse and share their story. If you are a baseball fanatic then this is a great book for you. 

Here is Yankee Pitcher Mariano Rivera: " Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."  Matthew 19:26

While they have made names for themselves as baseball greats and legends - they know where their strength comes from. They share some of their struggles, their ups and downs and most importantly their faith, By telling their stories and sharing their faith they hope to inspire others. 
I loved reading the statistics about the players. 

Who is your favorite baseball team and player? Mine is the Cleveland Indians. My favorite baseball player of all time would have to be Seattle's Randy Johnson 

"I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review."

Buy the Book:

Amazon: Here
Barnes and Noble: Here
Christian Book: Here

Monday, March 6, 2017

Worry: What the Bible tells us about worry

Worry
What the Bible tells us about worry

Have you had times where you have more bills then resources? Have you had a time where you have had the uncertainty what was going to happen next? Have you ever wondered – what could be laying right around the corner?



I have.

Worry is defined by dictionary.com as: to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret.

We all do it. We all wonder if we will have enough money to get through the month.

1 month ago I lost my full time job. I had worked for the company for almost 3 years. It was a comfortable, easy job that I was used to performing. God had revealed that something was about to happen and it led me to start exploring other areas. But when I was let go there was a 20 minute crying and yelling session. I had never been let go from a job before. How was I going to be able to provide for our family? How were we going to afford our bills? It was bad.
But then, a still small voice said: “I have you.”

If I would not have been let go from that job – I would have probably stayed there for a very long time. I know that God will bring us out of our comfort zone to do HIS work. This was one of those times.

Later that day while I was praying, I called out to God. “Lord, I know that you never leave us or forsake us. I am just having trouble seeing what is in front of me. I know that all things are used for your purpose” Then the tears.
Then there was that still small voice again. “Connie, my precious daughter. Philippians 4:19”

I  grabbed by Bible and flipped there:

Philippians 4:19 (NLT)
19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
I also liked this translation too

Philippians 4:19 (NKJV)

19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Then I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. God has us. He had our backs. He knew what our needs were and how things were already going to turn out.
When I shared this with my wonderful husband he looked at me and said “I don’t know why you are worrying about this He always makes sure things are paid”


I recently was hired as a substitute teacher in two local school districts. I was not sure if this was the path that God wanted me to take – and I prayed. It was supposed to take 3 weeks for me to get my substitute teaching license. It took 3 days. I knew that was a sign that I was right where I needed to be.

Our 5 year old son had to have surgery to have his tonsils out recently. Not working allowed me to be able to take care of him. Had I still been working the other position – I would not have been able to take the time off. God is faithful. He works it all out. In his timing.

Life is chaotic with 3 kids still at home. We always seem to be running different directions.
This morning during my quiet time I read Luke 12. I like to read it myself, then have my bible app read it to me and I follow along, then I unpack it using a life application bible. This chapter spoke volumes to me. 

Starting in verse 22:
“Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. 23 For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. 24 Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! 25 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 26 And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?
27 “Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 28 And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
29 “And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. 30 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. 31 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.
32 “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.


This is a lot of information in a few short paragraphs.

I love where he tells us: Worry does not add a single moment to our lives.
Look at how beautiful the lillies and other flowers are. God made them so beautiful. He helps to water them so they can grow. We are FAR more important to God then the flowers.
It actually robs us of those moments. I know that my time on earth I want to live for Jesus, and let HIS light shine so that when I stand before him he tells me “Well done good and faithful servant”
God did not give us a spirit of worry or anxiousness. That comes from the enemy. He wants us to worry, dwell and forget what God’s promises are.
Jesus commands us NOT to worry. Easier said than done right?
FAITH can free us from the anxiousness and the worrying. TRUSTING God completely.


Think about wading out into an ocean.  You slowly go in touching the water with your toes first, then you go in up to your ankles, then your waist, then deeper.
Faith is like when you lay back and float. This is how I picture it. Laying there floating looking up at the sky and trusting that everything will be ok.
Faith in Jesus will help us be able to not swell on everything that can go wrong.
Our Heavenly Father knows what our needs are. He promises to meet all our NEEDS. This does not always mean our desires.

Psalm 62:8 tells us:

O my people, trust in him at all times.
    Pour out your heart to him,
    for God is our refuge. 

God is our refuge and he is our strength. He is ALWAYS there. He never leaves us. He never forsakes us. He is our shelter. He is our provider.

Let’s pray:
Lord, thank you so much for another day. I thank you for loving us. Thank you for always being there for us. Lord I know that you do not give us a spirit of worry or anxiousness but one of peace. You tell us in your word Peace is what I leave you. I know that the world and it’s ways leaves us confused, broken, bound up and anxious. Let your peace shine through us. Let us not worry about what will happen tomorrow. Let us concentrate on the blessings and what you have in store for us. Please help to guide my path and to do your will for my life. It’s in your HOLY name I pray.
Amen.




Thursday, January 19, 2017

One Word in 2017

One Word for 2017



I have been meaning to sit down and write this blog post for over a week. Unfortunately life gets in the way.  The first sermon of this year – our pastor talked about finding one word and one verse to be your year verse.

As I sat there all I could hear was Faith.

Faith I thought? I have faith. I have done a lot of things over the last 7 months that require faith.

Let me rewind a bit.

When I graduated with my Bachelor Degree in History – I was excited to be done. It had been a long road. I was working a job that really mixed with my conscience. I started wondering where I wanted to go in life. I googled: What can I do with my history degree. Lots and Lots of items popped up.

I started looking at colleges and their adjunct position. I would find one, research the area a bit then move on to the next one.

Then I came across Troy University in SE Alabama. I was drawn to the area like a magnet. I could not stop looking and researching the area. SO, I went back to school to get my Master’s Degree.


In January of 2016 I felt God lay on my heart to start wearing skirts. I hate skirts. I hate dressing up, I hate having to do my hair. But I could NOT stop thinking about it. So I prayed. I felt that God was convicting me to wear skirts. Why? Because it was out of my comfort zone and HE wanted to show me something.




So, for the next 5 months I primary wore skirts and dresses (Thank you EBAY) People who knew me asked questions and looked at me funny when I replied “It is something that God wants me to do.”


In May of 2016 – over dinner – I looked at my husband and said: “We need to move south this summer.”
He looked at me – and said Ok.
So, the end of June we took a trip to the area I was so drawn to. We fell in love and were able to rent a nice apartment. Back home to put our house on the market and start packing.
Everyone thought I was crazy. I had never really lived that far away from my family before. I am a very family oriented person. We always do cookouts at my parents house at least 1 time a week, my oldest daughter would walk over with my grandbaby through the week. I just felt like I had to go.
SO, we did. We moved 873mi away. We knew 1 family (who I had met on facebook). I had researched churches and had a list of 5 that I wanted to visit and see if we could find a church home. We had not had a home church in a few years.
We moved on my 34th birthday – July 29. We drove 2 vehicles. I had the little guys with me, and my husband had our 15 year old. We stayed in Nashville overnight.
On July 31, one day after we unloaded the truck we went to Sunday services at one of the churches I had been listening to.
I had no idea what God had instore for me when I walked into that service.
Our lives changed.
We knew we were home.
The people we would get to know have become family. We went through a 13 week intense bible study where my husband and I got rid of a lot of hurt and baggage we still carried at the cross.
It’s 6 months after we moved out of state. Our kids are thriving! It’s been a crazy ride. Our 15 year old has fallen so in love with Jesus that she is a whole new person

And the one sitting on the throne said, "Look, I am making everything new!" And then he said to me, "Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true." Revelation 21:5

We have learned to trust God in ways we did not even know existed.
We have surrendered fully to him.
Our lives have changed.

We laugh about what might have been if we would not have moved. Would we be miserable? Would I have a tense relationship with my 15 year old? Would our boys be happy where they were at?
Then I just smile and laugh. “Faith.” I had to step forward in faith to see what blessings and riches that God lay instore. HE put the desire in our hearts to move south. HE had every step of the plan covered.

“For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  --- Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

I look back at these 6 months and see God’s hand in every situation that we have walked through.


Today, I finally have found my verse for the year.
“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1: 9 NLT

God is with me, no matter how scary a situation may seem. No matter how crazy that it may seem when it’s presented to you. But God is already there. He will direct your steps.


Here is the "Southern Snow" that we drove past a few weeks ago. 


Are you facing something that you feel that God is asking you to do but are terrified to do it? Leave a comment below – or feel free to use the contact me button – and I will be praying for you!



Thursday, December 29, 2016

Book Review: Blueberry Cupcake Mystery - Naomi Miller

I had the opportunity recently to read and review: Blueberry Cupcake Mystery - Naomi Miller. This is the first installment  in the Amish Sweet Shop Mystery series.

I was gifted a Kindle copy of this book by the author - my opinions are my own.

Description: 

In the small town of Abbott Creek, mystery is as much a part of daily life as The Sweet Shop's Sugar Cookies. Katie Chupp spends her days at The Sweet Shop, taking care of customers and baking delicious treats . . . not exactly a profession where one expects to be thrown into the midst of mysteries and mayhem. But when the bakery is broken into, someone has to find the thief . . . besides finding another place to do the baking and get the orders to the customers. Is this a random theft, or is the thief trying to ruin the town's Independence Day celebration?


My Thoughts and Review

This was the first book that I have read by this author. I was very pleased with it. I love books that have great descriptions that make me feel like I am standing there watching the story unfold. The description of the bakery and all the baked goods made me want a whole box of sweets. I love how the characters are - and that the faith is intertwined with them. The way that the owner of the Bakery and Katie handle the break in and theft is a great reminder of God's love and unfailing Grace. I look forward to reading more from Naomi Miller and she continues on with the next installment: Christmas Cookie Mystery. 


About the Author
(Courtesy of Author's page on Amazon) 

Naomi Miller mixes up a batch of intrigue, sprinkled with Amish, Mennonite, & English characters, adding a pinch of mystery - and a dash of romance!

Naomi’s day is spent focusing on her writing, editing, and blogging about her experiences with writing. When she's not working diligently to finish the next book in her Sweet Shop Mystery series. Naomi tries to make time for attending workshops and writers conferences. Naomi is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) organization. 

Naomi also enjoys traveling with her family, singing inspirational/gospel music, taking a daily walk, and witnessing to others of the amazing grace of Jesus Christ.


You can connect with the author on FB here: https://www.facebook.com/NaomiMillerAuthor/?fref=ts

Purchase the Book from Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Blueberry-Cupcake-Mystery-Amish-Sweet/dp/0692701370/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483024160&sr=8-1&keywords=blueberry+cupcake+mystery





Saturday, October 1, 2016

Quick and Easy Dinner

Wow.
It has been a long time since I have written anything for this blog. That was not my intention. I finished grad school, moved out of state and have now had time for the dust to settle and get back to my passion. Writing.

Life with kids always seems to be non-stop. I work full time and our kids are involved in many different activities. We moved out of state to get a fresh start. I hate cold and snow. I have always wanted to live in the South. I felt drawn to this area. It has been in 90 degrees for the last 2 months. Yesterday, it has finally hit 80's. The lack of humidity has been a nice break.

Anyways. So, life with 3 kids under the age of 18 is hectic. My 15 year old has a bible study she goes to on Mondays, Youth Group on Wednesdays, my husband bowls on Tuesday evenings, and we (hubby and I) go to a bible study Sunday evenings.

I love convenient. With the fresh start we also want to get out of debt. Convenient to us in the past has been run and grab fast food. Fast food is not good for your body, nor is it good for your wallet.


I love pinterest. (You can follow me here: https://www.pinterest.com/ctillman729/)

Lot's of quick and easy dinner ideas.

This dish is one that we adapted for our family. (I have some picky eaters)

Spaghetti Bake! (my 5 year old's favorite dish)

You can make this a lot of different ways.

Ingredients:

(I cook for 5 hungry eaters)

2 lbs ground beef (I have also used ground turkey)
1 box of noodles (this time I used Rotini)
2 jars of spaghetti Sauce
Shredded Mozzarella cheese.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Brown the ground beef - drain and set aside

Boil the noodles - drain.

mix the meat and the noodles together - add spaghetti sauce (I like lots of sauce) mix together in the pan.

Spray a Pyrex baking dish and add the mixture and make sure that all the noodles are covered with sauce


Next is the best part. CHEESE!!!! We love cheese - sprinkle cheese on top of the dish.

 Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes (giving all the flavor time to mix together) Take out - let cool for a few minutes. And you have dinner.
This is a yummy meal that my family eats up!!!