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Saturday, December 9, 2017

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Dave Biebel & Away in a Manger

Good Morning!

Yesterday we woke up to a winter wonderland here in SW Louisiana. There was snow everywhere! Since it's a rarity of course we had to get pictures. Here are a couple for you to enjoy.....

Over the last couple of months we've met Dr. David Biebel and he's shared thoughts and treasures with us and introduced us to his Christmas book, Away in a Manger. Today Dave is sharing an excerpt with us.

Take it away Dave.....

Away in a Manger:
The Christmas Story from a Nativity Scene Lamb’s Point of View

(Excerpted from Chapter 4: “Angelic Visitations”)

by Dr. David Biebel

This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became preg­nant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the en­gagement quietly.
As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David," the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."
All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
“Look! The virgin will conceive a child!


She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’
When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have . . . relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.”
“To me, one amazing part of this passage is the message of the angel in Joseph’s dream," the pastor [narrator] said. “Joseph knew that Mary, to whom he was engaged, was pregnant, and that he was not the father. But he was a just man and he loved Mary, so he was going to divorce her secretly.
“Have you ever wondered how the angel knew what Joseph was thinking? The point is that God knows us through and through—our thoughts before we have them; our words before we say them; our deeds before we do them. That is definitely a sobering truth, and one that should motivate us to keep our mind stayed on him, for when we do that, we are so much more likely to live a life that honors him.
“But of course there’s another side to this story, and that is presented by Dr. Luke, who must have interviewed Mary in order to obtain the details that are included. Reading from Luke 1, in the New Living Translation:
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a vil­lage in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid,
Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin”
The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For the word of God will never fail.”
Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant.
May everything you have said about me come true” And then the angel left her.
        “So Mary went to visit Elizabeth and this is what hap­pened next," the pastor said:
She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s
child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said."
Mary responded,
“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
He shows mercy from generation to generation
to all who fear him.
His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones
and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has helped his servant Israel
and remembered to be merciful.
For he made this promise to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever."

As if on signal, someone started playing a guitar and singing “Away in a Manger,” while the adults and teens joined in loudly, and the children ran forward to pet the animals. Many of them headed right for Ransom [the lamb] who was watching intently for [his new friend] Jenny, but she was nowhere to be seen. His countenance fell, well it fell as much as any lamb’s countenance can fall, but he knew he had to pay attention to the other children, whose caresses took away his sadness in a very short time.

On the way back to the ranch, Ransom asked, “Mommy, what is ‘lineage’? Do I have one of those?”
“Everyone does, dear,” she replied. “It means your parentage or family tree. This helps place a person like Jesus in history, and shows how his lineage could be traced back to King David, which was one element of the prophecies about him.”
“Is a family tree like a spruce or an oak?” he asked.
“Well now, I’ve never thought about it that way. An oak loses its leaves each year, but it also grows a little bit with each new spring, and it branches out so if you look up from the trunk, you can see branches in all directions, some of them with their own branches off the main branch. Since the phrase ‘family tree’ is using the idea of a tree that branches out, I’d say it’s more like an oak than a spruce.”
“So where am I on our family tree?”
“You’re like a bud at the very end of one of the branches. And if you become a father someday, you’ll then become part of a branch that has grown even longer.”
“And you are part of the same branch, only a little closer to the main trunk. I think I understand. . . .” Ransom stopped mid-sentence. “But I must also have a father. You’ve never mentioned him.”
“His name was Virgil, and for many years he was the master ram of our herd. But this spring, just after you were born, and I was not strong enough to defend you, he gave his life to save us from a mountain lion. He won the battle, but the lion wounded him so badly that there was nothing that could be done to save him.”
“Oh,” Ransom replied, not knowing if he should be sad he’d never gotten to know his father, or proud that his father had laid down his life to save the herd.
And for the first time in a long time, he couldn’t think of anything else to say.

NOTE: This article is adapted from Away in a Manger: The Christmas Story from a Live Nativity Scene Lamb’s Point of View, published (2017) by Healthy Life Press, all rights reserved. No part of this book, including its segments or its illustrations, may be copied, printed, or redistributed without the express, written consent of the author. Original artwork is © Marina Calin.

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from The Holy Bible, New Living Translation Copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Dr. David B. Biebel is a minister, author, editor, and publisher. He holds the Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He invested 25 of his 40-year ministry career in editing two national magazines for Christian doctors: Physician magazine for Focus on the Family, followed by Today’s Christian Doctor for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations.

Dr. Biebel has authored or co-authored twenty books, including one bestseller: If God Is So Good, Why Do I Hurt So Bad? and the Gold Medallion winner, New Light on Depression. His recent releases include Making God Visible and his latest, Away in a Manger. 

This full-color book is available in two sizes, 6.5x6.5 and 8xl0 (Large Print). The ISBN for the 8xl0 (Large Print) version is: 978-1-939267-85-6, $15.99. The ISBN for the 6.5x6.5 version is: 978-1939267399, $12.99. It is also available for $6.99 as an eBook in various formats, at Amazon.com or HealthyLifePress.com.

What a lovely way of presenting this story, Dave! We wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with it!

Well friends, hope you enjoyed today's spotlight and that you'll check back weekly for Tuesday Treasures, Thursday Thoughts and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time take care and God bless.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

#ThursdayThoughts with Linda Maran

Good Morning!

Today's guest is brand new to our blog and a new Pelican Book Group author so please give Linda Maran a great big WELCOME and let's hear what she has to say.

Take it away Linda....

Ironically, I’d never even heard of Amish Inspirational Romance until the late literary agent, Mary Sue Seymour, suggested I write one!
I’ve been writing since I was a young teen, mostly poetry back then.
In my late twenties I became ill and was unable to work at my current job as a secretary for a large firm, so I turned idle time into writing time.
I love to cook and wrote many food articles and even put together a regional cookbook back then. Unfortunately, two such books had already been published, but I had a lot of fun doing it, and learned quite a bit about discipline and organization.
In 2004, I wrote and self-published: Confronting The Bully of OCD. There was a need for such a book and so I put myself out there and outlined the techniques taught to me by a New York City OCD specialist, who graciously allowed me to do that.
I’ve always loved to read good stories with a twist and about ten years ago, tried my hand at fiction and submitted it to literary agent, Mary Sue Seymour. It was she who encouraged me to keep writing (despite the fact that my submission was not up to par.) God rest her soul.
She suggested I join RWA and a Christian critique group and finally, asked me to try to write an Amish romance.
I’d never even heard of Amish Inspirational Romance. But I remembered how I enjoyed and was fascinated by my trip to Lancaster, PA earlier, and so embarked on setting my goals in that direction. I then read my first Amish book called, The Shunning, by Beverly Lewis and was hooked.
Since I don’t believe in coincidences, it happens that there is an Amish community an hour and thirty minutes from our vacation place in upstate, NY. I made several trips there as part of my research on that particular sect of the Amish, gathering as much information as I could. That, plus reading a lot more Amish novels and books, and befriending some ex-Amish on Facebook, all contributed to the culmination of this novel, The Stranger.
I am very grateful for my first published novel and all the people who helped it become a reality, especially my critique group, Scribes 202, who literally taught me the rules for writing fiction and my wonderful agent, Linda S. Glaz.
Find out more by visiting my Facebook Page and get your copy of The Stranger directly from Pelican Book Group or Amazon.

How wonderful for you, Linda, Congratulations!! 

Hope you enjoyed today's post friends and that you'll join me each week for Tuesday Treasures, Thursday Thoughts and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time take care and God Bless.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

#TuesdayTreasure Guest post by Kim Vogel Sawyer!

Good Morning!

Today's guest has shared thoughts with us before, but it has been a while so PLEASE welcome Kim Vogel Sawyer with something she treasures....

There are two shadow boxes hanging on the wall in one of our guests rooms, and those shadow boxes contain some of my most beloved possessions: my maternal grandmother’s wedding dress and a pair of brooches purchased by my paternal grandmother as gifts for my step-grandma. My step-grandma must have treasured these, because she kept them her whole life (you can see the note she wrote inside the box lid).

Both of my grandmothers died when my parents were children, long before I was born, so I never met either of them. Fortunately, I had the privilege of a loving step-grandma who had been a good friend to my grandmother, so she told me stories about Lillian. Family members on my mother’s side told me about Elizabeth.

When writing Bringing Maggie Home, especially when writing the scenes between Hazel (the grandmother) and Meghan (the granddaughter), I often thought about my grandmothers. I gave Hazel some of their characteristics—creativity, compassion, strong faith. Some of the advice Hazel gives to Meghan came from words of wisdom passed to me from my dear step-grandma. Thus, I was able to honor all three women in the story.

Someday I will meet my grandmothers and be reunited with my step-grandma, but for now I’m grateful for the treasures in the shadow boxes.

Oh wow, Kim...definitely something to treasure! Makes me think of the shadow boxes we created after my husband's death.

Kim Vogel Sawyer is a highly acclaimed, best-selling author with more than one million books in print, in several different languages. Her titles have earned numerous accolades including the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Kim lives in central Kansas with her retired military husband Don, where she continues to write gentle stories of hope and redemption. She enjoys spending time with her three daughters and grandchildren.

Find out more about Kim at http://www.kimvogelsawyer.com/

Decades of loss, an unsolved mystery, and a rift spanning three generations

Hazel DeFord is a woman haunted by her past. While berry picking in a blackberry thicket in 1943, ten-year old Hazel momentarily turns her back on her three-year old sister Maggie and the young girl disappears.

Almost seventy years later, the mystery remains unsolved and the secret guilt Hazel carries has alienated her from her daughter Diane, who can’t understand her mother’s overprotectiveness and near paranoia. While Diane resents her mother’s inexplicable eccentricities, her daughter

Meghan—a cold case agent—cherishes her grandmother’s lavish attention and affection.
When a traffic accident forces Meghan to take a six-week leave-of-absence to recover, all three generations of DeFord women find themselves unexpectedly under the same roof. Meghan knows she will have to act as a mediator between the two headstrong and contentious women. But when they uncover Hazel’s painful secret, will Meghan also be able to use her investigative prowess to solve the family mystery and help both women recover all that’s been lost?

Learn more and purchase a copy.

Hope you enjoyed today's guest and that you'll drop by each week for Tuesday Treasures, Thursday Thoughts and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time take care and God Bless.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Leonora Meriel & The Woman Behind the Waterfall

Good Morning!

I'm off to Bayou Writer's Group's annual Christmas Party but as they say ... the show (or in our case Spotlight) must go on. So without too much ado, here's Lenora Meriel, introduced to you last month, with her book The Woman Behind the Waterfall.....

"The Woman Behind the Waterfall" is literary fiction and magical realism

Heartbreak and transformation in the beauty of a Ukrainian village.

For seven-year old Angela, happiness is exploring the lush countryside around her home in western Ukraine. Her wild imagination takes her into birds and flowers, and into the waters of the river.

All that changes when, one morning, she sees her mother crying. As she tries to find out why, she is drawn on an extraordinary journey into the secrets of her family, and her mother's fateful choices.

Can Angela lead her mother back to happiness before her innocence is destroyed by the shadows of a dark past?

Beautiful, poetic and richly sensory, this is a tale that will haunt and lift its readers.

Reviews for The Woman Behind the Waterfall

“Readers looking for a classic tale of love and loss will be rewarded with an intoxicating world” ~~ Kirkus Reviews

“The language is lyrical and poetic and, in places, begs to be read repeatedly for the sheer joy of it… A literary work of art.” ~~ Fiona Adams, The Richmond Magazine

“Rich and poetic in detail, it is an often dreamy, oneiric narrative rooted in an exaltation of nature… A lovely novel.” ~~ IndieReader

Purchase at: Goodreads * Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Leonora Meriel grew up in London and studied literature at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and Queen’s University in Canada. She worked at the United Nations in New York, and then for a multinational law firm.

In 2003 she moved from New York to Kyiv, where she founded and managed Ukraine’s largest Internet company. She studied at Kyiv Mohyla Business School and earned an MBA, which included a study trip around China and Taiwan, and climbing to the top of Hoverla, Ukraine’s highest peak and part of the Carpathian Mountains. She also served as President of the International Women’s Club of Kyiv, a major local charity.

During her years in Ukraine, she learned to speak Ukrainian and Russian, witnessed two revolutions and got to know an extraordinary country at a key period of its development.

In 2008, she decided to return to her dream of being a writer, and to dedicate her career to literature. In 2011, she completed The Woman Behind the Waterfall, set in a village in western Ukraine. While her first novel was with a London agent, Leonora completed her second novel The Unity Game, set in New York City and on a distant planet.

Leonora currently lives in Barcelona and London and has two children. She is working on her third novel.

Find out more by visiting Lenora's Website and connecting with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Hope you enjoyed today's guest and that you'll join me each week for Tuesday Treasures, Thursday Thoughts and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time, take care and God Bless.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

#ThursdayThoughts Random Ramblings

Good Morning!

Well...here we are on the last day of November. I pray your Thanksgiving was blessed and I Thank You for your loyal support by visiting and sharing my blog and guests.

Today is a day for me and frankly I have no clue what to talk with you about. Well, had no clue would be a better thing to say.

Until I discovered The Edge Books.

In their About Us information, The Edge Books says, "THE EDGE is about relationship, not religion. It’s God’s power being stronger and God’s love running deeper than anything people face."

I've been saying and writing this for years!

If you enjoy my books, I encourage you to check out books by these authors.

The Rafflecopter giveaway for Kindle Fire I participated in ended yesterday, but there is always another going on! Check the latest one out HERE.

Mistletoe, Snow and Suspense is still available for only 99cents so get your copy today.

Hope you enjoyed this short random rambling post and that you'll join me each week for Tuesday Treasures, Thursday Thoughts and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time, take care and God bless.