Friday, December 31, 2021

Psalm 3: Hold Us Up

A psalm of David. When he fled from his son Absalom.

Lord, how many are my foes!

    How many rise up against me!

Many are saying of me,

    “God will not deliver him."

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,

    my glory, the One who lifts my head high.

I call out to the Lord,

    and he answers me from his holy mountain.

I lie down and sleep;

    I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.

I will not fear though tens of thousands

    assail me on every side.

Arise, Lord!

    Deliver me, my God!

Strike all my enemies on the jaw;

    break the teeth of the wicked.

From the Lord comes deliverance.

    May your blessing be on your people.


Lord, in the midst of his sorrow and struggle, David knew he woke up because you sustained him. Remind us, no matter what we face, you give us the strength to get up each morning. 

Friday, December 24, 2021

The Gift of Christmas

Fully God and Fully man

John 1:14: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.


A never to be matched love

John 3:16-17: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.


The gift to walk beside us and help

Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”


A promise for comfort and healing

Psalms 147:3: He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.


He Stands with us through our weakness

Matthew 12:20 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory.


A Joyful Promise

John 8:12: Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”


The constant gift of our forgiveness

Hebrews 7:25: Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. 

Friday, December 17, 2021

Sweet Memories, Who Can Argue With These Guys?

November 6, 1998: Sarah went on a field trip to see Hansel and Gretel yesterday. She said the characters put on their jewelry. Murray asked if the characters were real people (as opposed to puppets), but Rebecca had different interests: "Was their jewelry real?"


We talked to the kids some about Mark McGuire (of the St. Louis Cardinals) and his record home-running while it was going on. One day Rebecca asked, "Does he get money for doing that?"


Murray picks Caleb up from school on Thursdays, so they won't be late for piano lessons. One Thursday afternoon I came downstairs, not expecting them home yet. I heard a child's voice, and asked, "Who is that?" "Caleb," he replied. For some reason, I assumed he'd come home on the bus. "I thought Daddy was going to pick you up at school," I said. Thoughtfully, Caleb answered, "I think he did."


One night we went to dinner at Denny's. As the lady came up to show us to our table, Sarah said, "I want to go to Shoney's."


One day Sarah told me about a bad dream she'd had. She said a wolf was trying to get in and attack us, so we all moved into the bathroom for safety. We had food and blankets in there, and, she said, "When we needed to go to the bathroom, it was easy."


One day when Rebecca didn't feel well, Murray told her that if she needed medicine in the middle of the night, he'd get it for her. She replied, "If you needed clown make-up at five in the afternoon, I'd get it for you."


Murray bought me a new rocking chair for Labor Day. When Rebecca was helping to take some of the parts out of the box, she accidentally poked a hole in the plastic bag. She showed Murray the hole she'd made, but assured him, "I did no harm."


We were eating animal crackers one day, and Rebecca named some of the animals she was eating. Then she said, "This one is somebody's bad idea of art."


November 7, 1998: The other day Murray was out with the kids and they told him, "You're older than Mommy, but she's smarter than you.”


Murray was having a slight gas problem, and Sarah ran out of the room and told Kathy, "It smells like those disgusting pizza rolls."


Tonight Caleb got a haircut, and Sarah told him, "Caleb, you look like a different boy with that big ol' haircut."


November 15, 1998: Yesterday all the kids were helping Murray put together a new bookcase. Caleb said, "Aren't we good helpers for Daddy? He needs lots of help."


November 15, 1998: We have all been sick over the last 4 or5 days, except Caleb. We asked Rebecca, Do you want doughnuts for breakfast? "No, I don't like doughnuts." Later: Do you want pizza? "No, I don't like pizza. I never want to eat again."


November 18, 1998: School days, Kathy sits with the kids by the door and reads to them while they wait for the buses. This morning, though, there was no new book to read. Rebecca asked, "Can we have free time this morning?"


At supper Caleb was talking about his friend who had muscular dystrophy and who died recently, and we said that now that he has gone to heaven, his new body works perfectly. Rebecca said, "And he can get both ears pierced." Murray said that is his idea of heaven, also.


November 20, 1998: A woman at our dentist's office said she had a daughter who rode the bus with both our girls, so we had asked Rebecca to try to find out who that was. Murray was talking to her while she was reading, and she said, "I asked Claudia where her mother worked, and Claudia said, ‘Rent A Cyclops' or something."


Recently Rebecca was looking at Kathy's mother's-ring, and said, "I want us to adopt more kids. I want you to have stones all around the ring." 

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Guest Author, Penny Zeller

Thank you, Penny, for visiting with us today. This sounds like a fun story.



She builds websites. He builds houses. Together, can they build a family for two orphans?

Irelynn agreed two years ago to help raise her best friend’s twins should anything happen. When she is called upon to fulfill that agreement, there is only one problem—Irelynn must share the responsibility with the arrogant but handsome Quinton Gregory.

Quinton takes the role of raising his niece and nephew with all seriousness. He will do anything for the twins, even if it means putting up with the beautiful but stubborn Irelynn Brady.

When forced to be in each other’s presence far more often than is comfortable, things slowly begin to change. Will the unexpected attraction between Irelynn and Quinton become a love under construction?

Available for purchase:


Penny Zeller is known for her heartfelt stories of faith and her passion to impact lives for Christ through fiction. While she has had a love for writing since childhood, she began her adult writing career penning articles for national and regional publications on a wide variety of topics. Today Penny is a multi-published author of several inspirational books. She is also a homeschool mom and a fitness instructor.

When Penny is not dreaming up new characters, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, camping, hiking, canoeing, reading, running, cycling, gardening, and playing volleyball.

She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and loves to hear from her readers at her www. and her blog, random thoughts from a day in the life of a wife, mom, and author, at

Find Penny at:







Amazon Author Central:



Love Under Construction Mini Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 6:

Blog Tour Kickoff/Sneak Peek/Meet the Characters | Penny Zeller

Author Interview | Kristina Hall

Tuesday. December 7:

Book Spotlight | Joy Hannabass

Book Spotlight | Penny McGinness


Wednesday, December 8:

Author Interview | Vanessa Hall

Thursday, December 9:

Book Spotlight and Guest Post| June Foster

Friday, December 10:

Book Spotlight and Giveaway| Chat with Vera

Book Spotlight and Review | Madi’s Musings

Book Spotlight and Guest Post | Kathy McKinsey

Saturday, December 11:

Ebook Giveaway | Patti’s Porch

Blog Tour Wrap-up/Love Under Construction Quotables | Penny Zeller 

Friday, December 3, 2021

A Thoughtful Book

Let justice roll down by John Perkins.

This is the story of a Black man who grew up in Mississippi in the 30s and 40s. It begins when he was 16 and his older brother was killed by a white police officer.


After that John moved to California to look for a better life, and at 27, he became a Christian. He began to meet and work with white Christians. A few years later, his family moved back to Mississippi to try to help Blacks there have a better life, by teaching them about the Bible and Jesus.


As the Civil Rights Movement grew, Perkins searched how he could work social justice and the true gospel together to both Blacks and whites. Blacks needed to learn their true worth; hundreds of years of slavery and racist treatment had left them with a feeling of low self-worth.


In the 60s, he and his ministry worked with voter education and registration, then he began working for better housing and economics for Blacks. He felt this was all part of his Christian ministry.


Perkins talked of his peaceful boycotting and protesting in the early 70s, then of his and those with him being arrested and beaten by police officers. He told of his journey through the court system with appeals. He got to the point, due to injustice for Blacks, of wanting to turn away from the white Christians he had fellowshipped with and worked with. As he lay in bed with severe illness, he knew that hate could destroy him too. He found hope when he remembered Jesus, on the cross, asked God to forgive those who were crucifying him.


This book was originally published in 1976. When it was published as a classic many years later, John Perkins’s daughter added a post script, telling some of the things her father had done since then, including making friends with a white Mississippi policeman as they worked together for their neighborhood. 

Friday, November 26, 2021

Thank You, Father

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of being able to call you Father.


Thank you for my incredible family:

My husband Murray, who treasures me;

Five exciting children;

My sweet mother;

My three squirrelly brothers;


Books that make me smile;


This wonderful house which keeps us warm and dry;


Our new, sweet kitty;


Music that touches my heart;


Jesus, my Savior






The abundant way you meet my needs;


Being able to call Jesus friend;


Remind me all year, Lord, to share the wealth you have entrusted to me. 

Friday, November 19, 2021

Two Sweet Christmas Stories

I recently found a fun Christmas book, The wish book Christmas by Lynn Austin. In 1951, two five-year-old boys have a lot of gifts they want to ask Santa for, after they see the Sears Christmas Catalog. Plus, they want to ask him for new daddies.


Their mothers work to teach them about Christmas as Jesus’ birthday, and the joy there is in giving gifts to others. God has a few lessons for the mothers, too, about the gifts he’s given them.


My children’s Christmas book, Millie’s Christmas, is available on Amazon again.


When my first publisher, Mantle Rock Publishing, closed down earlier this year, my two adult books, All my Tears and Gifts of Grace, went to Scrivenings Press, and Millie’s Christmas came to me to be republished independently.


My poor family put up with my grumbling and pressure and helped me get my sweet Christmas story out again. The process only made me appreciate my publishers more than I already did.


Millie’s Christmas was a precious gift to me from God. It can be shared with children four to eight, but adults enjoy it too.


Ruthie says Millie will love Christmas. Ruthie is Millie’s best friend, so she’s sure Ruthie’s right, but why does Millie keep finding Ruthie and her brother Jake crying?


Millie, an orange kitten, shares about her first Christmas. Her best friend Ruthie, six years old, teaches Millie about Christmas—food, decorations, music, presents, and Jesus!

Millie’s friend Bruce, the family dog, also helps her celebrate Christmas, and sometimes gets her in trouble.

When Ruthie’s big brother Jake breaks his ankle, Millie learns about sad things, like divorce, when Jake can’t visit his mommy for Christmas. Millie watches Ruthie’s family love each other through the sadness, and find joy in Christmas.


These are both great books. 

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Guest Author, Jodie Wolfe

Thank you, Jodie, for the encouragement of coming back to writing after a dry spell. And, I love quirky.


Writing in the Midst of Chaos

By Jodie Wolfe

I often have a hard time coming up with a blog topic, especially when it’s been a while since I’ve done much creative writing. While I have a book releasing today, I wrote it many years ago. I know, I’m a writer, so don’t I write a lot? It’s been several years since I’ve written a new book. I’ve had times where I’ve tried to start one, but I haven’t gotten any farther than a few chapters.


So, what happened to make me stop writing? I had an extremely stressful situation I went through that challenged me to the core of my being. My reaction was to close up and to do what was safe…not write. The longer I stayed away from it, the harder it was to get started again.


In 2020 I planned to get back up on the writing horse again, but then Covid hit. My husband started working from home and our lives became chaotic. I had gotten a book to read called Chaos Can’t by Allen Arnold, but I didn’t read it. I kept thinking that when things calm down, I’ll start writing again, and I’ll read that book. You guessed it; things didn’t settle down. In fact, 2021 has been more chaotic than 2020. Things I never imagined my husband and I would be facing.


In September, I kept thinking about my chaotic life. It had been a LONG time since I had any creative thoughts or words. I felt God was encouraging me to not fight against the chaos, but instead look to Him for strength and direction in the midst of it. I finally gave in and said, “Okay, Lord. Help me to write even when all I can see is the chaos around me.”


It wasn’t long after that prayer that I started having ideas for book three in the Burrton Springs Brides series. While the first two books were written many years ago, I now had an idea for the next installment. One morning I was awakened in the wee hours and was praying for our son who is going through a very difficult time in his life. In the midst of those prayers, God gave me an idea for the plot of the next book. Then a couple days later when I was walking and praying, He gave me the opening scene. I came home and started writing. The words flowed…the way they used to when writing a new story.


My question for you is this…is your life in chaos? What is God calling you to do in spite of it?



After twenty years of living along the trail as a deputy U.S. Marshal, Joshua Walker takes a job as sheriff in Burrton Springs, Kansas so he can be closer to his sister. Only problem, she no longer requires his protecting so he's unsure of his next step.


Annie McPherson needs a change after the death of her father. She accepts a position as schoolmarm, hoping her past won't catch up with her. Life is good, except for the pesky sheriff who continues to question her ability to adjust to life in the west and creates confrontations at every turn.


When the irritating schoolteacher's past and present collide, dragging him into the turmoil, Josh has to decide who he's willing to defend.



Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Faith, Hope & Love Christian Writers, and COMPEL Training. She's been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. A former columnist for Home School Enrichment magazine, her articles can be found online at: Crosswalk, Christian Devotions, and Heirloom Audio. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at


Social Media Links:











Amazon Author Page:




Purchase Links



Friday, November 5, 2021

Sweet Memories and Fun Thoughts

July 30, 1998: The other night the kids took invitations to a 5-day Bible club at our house to our neighbors. Rebecca said one neighbor boy handed it back to her and said they don't read the Bible. Ping-Hwei didn't understand that. He kept asking over and over, "Why some people no love Jesus?"


August 11, 1998: Benjamin drinks whole milk, which is sometimes called homogenized on the jug. This morning I asked Rebecca which milk I had, Benjamin's or the low-fat milk which the rest of us drink. She said, "That's hypnotized, or whatever."


Murray and the kids were in the car this afternoon, and Rebecca said that animals had to be the kind of animals that their parents were. Murray said, no, there were animals not quite like their parents. Rebecca said, "Yeah, aren't camels and donkeys the parents of llamas?" (we're pretty sure she was thinking of mules).


August 15, 1998: Murray and the kids were on the way to Branson, and Murray said, "We're almost there -- soon we'll see grandma and Morgan and Myles and maybe Dylan." Sarah said, "Don't get me so excited."


On the trip, there was some violin music on the radio, and Murray asked what kind of instrument that was. Sarah answered, "I think accordion."


We have decided that Caleb is the strangest person we know. Since he's had chicken pox, he's been taking baths in this oatmeal bath stuff. This morning we were talking about how you use oatmeal for itchiness, and tomato juice for skunk smell, and he asked, "But what if you went outside and ten million horses sneezed on you?"


August 27, 1998: Rebecca is showing Sarah a book about body parts, and she just showed her a picture of the brain, and excitedly, Sarah said, "Daddy's right! It does look like lettuce!" "Cabbage," Rebecca corrected.


Friday, October 29, 2021

Psalm 2, Be Wise

Psalm 2

Why do the nations conspire

    and the peoples plot in vain?

The kings of the earth rise up

    and the rulers band together

    against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,

“Let us break their chains

    and throw off their shackles.”

The One enthroned in heaven laughs;

    the Lord scoffs at them.

He rebukes them in his anger

    and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,

“I have installed my king

    on Zion, my holy mountain.”

7 I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:

He said to me, “You are my son;

    today I have become your father.

Ask me,

    and I will make the nations your inheritance,

    the ends of the earth your possession.

You will break them with a rod of iron[b];

    you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”


Therefore, you kings, be wise;

    be warned, you rulers of the earth.


Serve the Lord with fear

    and celebrate his rule with trembling.


Kiss his son, or he will be angry

    and your way will lead to your destruction,

for his wrath can flare up in a moment.

    Blessed are all who take refuge in him.



Father God, help me to understand you better. You have great wrath against evil, and against those who mistreat other people. Frightening wrath. And yet, the end of the passage says, “Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” This is how you want us to relate to you, Father.


Friday, October 22, 2021

Thoughts on a Few Books

I love books. Many different kinds of books. Here are a few I’ve read recently.


Grace will lead us home: the Charleston church massacre and the hard, inspiring journey to forgiveness by Jennifer Hawes. This tells of the June, 2015 mass shooting at a Black church in Charleston, South Carolina. Besides an account of the tragedy, it is a respectful story of the survivors and families of the victims, and what came after, for the families, the community and around the world. We read about the trial for the killer. This is not an easy book to read, but I believe it is important. A great picture of sharing God’s grace.


The Legend of Storey County by Brock Thoene. The story of a run-away slave during the Civil War, with a surprising friend. They travel to Nevada territory to work the silver mines, and win a victory against Rebels who plot and make an attack in Nevada.


Harvest of Rubies; Pearl in the Sand; Harvest of Gold; by Tessa Afshar. stories taking place during Old Testament times, in Canaan, Persia, and Jerusalem. Showing through Scripture and beautiful writing, the grace, forgiveness, and closeness to God that people of that time could have.


Wild Montana Skies, Wait for me, rescue Me, by Susan May Warren. Suspense, rescues, forgiveness and romance in Montana.


River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart. This book is based on a true story about a man who was a slave in Kentucky in 1833. Instead of taking the opportunity to run away, he stayed and helped a town through a cholera epidemic.


Deadly pursuit: Guardians of justice, book 2 by Irene Hannon. Suspense in St. Louis and rural Missouri.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Grace and Truth John 12:1-11:

Verses 1-11: Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.


Jesus was close to this family, good friends. In John 11:5, it says he loved them.


A feast was being given to honor Jesus, sometime after he raised Lazarus from the dead. They may already have known that Lazarus was in danger from the leaders, too, but Lazarus was willing to dine with Jesus to honor him.


Martha served Jesus, the best way she knew to honor him.


Mary anointed him with the costly perfume which she would have used to bury him. She wanted him to enjoy this honor while he was still alive.


When Judas objected to this, Jesus told him to leave Mary alone. When this story is mentioned in Mark 14, VERSE 9, Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”


What a lovely picture of Jesus, that even though his crucifixion was coming soon, he took the time and thought to honor his friend.


Friday, October 8, 2021

Kathy's Kitchen, Smashed Potatoes

From the Carroll Times Herald, where my daughter Rebecca is editor. This is definitely a keeper.



These smashed, seasoned potatoes make a jazzy side dish

By Jane LawsonSep 17, 2021


Smashed potatoes have it all — crisp edges and soft insides topped with a blend of garlic and smoked paprika.

When plain potatoes just won’t do, jazz up meatloaf, pork chops or chicken breasts with these fancy yet easy-to-prepare potatoes.

Smashed Potatoes

These potatoes require an extra step, but the effort is worth it. This side dish is a fun addition to any dinner.

1 1/2 pounds small yellow potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons melted butter

Parmesan cheese, grated

Fill a large pot with water. Add potatoes. Heat water on high until boiling, then reduce heat to medium. Cook potatoes until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes in a strainer.

In a small bowl mix together salt, pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika.

Brush 1 tablespoon of olive oil onto baking sheet (with sides). Place potatoes onto baking sheet and use the bottom of a glass to smash each potato carefully. Be careful not to smash too hard; you want to retain the round shape. Continue with each potato, allowing for space between each one.

Drizzle each potato with melted butter. Sprinkle with seasoning mixture and Parmesan cheese.

Preheat oven and bake for 22 minutes or until potatoes are crispy around the edges and golden brown. Remove from oven and serve hot.

Note: Reserve any leftover seasoning mixture for future use on meat, potatoes or vegetables.     

Friday, October 1, 2021

Psalm 1, Delight In the Law of the Lord

Psalm 1

Blessed is the one

    who does not walk in step with the wicked

or stand in the way that sinners take

    or sit in the company of mockers,

but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,

    and who meditates on his law day and night.

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,

    which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither—

    whatever they do prospers.

Not so the wicked!

    They are like chaff

    that the wind blows away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

    nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,

    but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.


Father, I look forward to a closer look at these precious Psalms. Thank you for your clear explanations. Thank you for the picture of those who delight to study your word—trees planted by streams of water, yielding fruit, not withering, continuing to prosper. Lord, I want this to be a picture of me.         

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Guest Author, Denise Weimer

Author Denise Weimer gives us a glimpse into her new story, A Harvest Heart, and lets us in on a deal. Thank you, Denise.


A Harvest Heart

#16 in The Georgia Peaches Series


Back Cover:

Hope Richardson is good at just that—hoping. Problem is, she’s often disappointed—by fathers who die, boyfriends who ghost her, and promotion at her event planning firm. It’s her twin sister, Faith, for whom things work out. When Faith’s fiancĂ© lands an out-of-town job, Hope is called home to plan a wedding in the Georgia foothills … and jumpstart the tea room Faith was supposed to run with their mother.

Of all the people to make the first reservation for his family farm’s new event barn, Tucker Bradshaw least expects Hope Richardson. She might’ve rebound-dated him their senior year of high school, but she was all too eager to run back to the star football player in college. Always wanting something bigger and better than their hometown of Clarkesville. Than him.

Her sister’s wedding plans land Hope in the midst of the opening season for Tucker’s corn maze. When a harvest romance reignites, Hope searches for the faith to finally live up to her name.



Denise Weimer writes historical and contemporary romance and romantic suspense mostly set in her home state of Georgia. The author of a dozen traditionally published novels and a number of novellas, she's also an editor  independently and through Iron Stream Media Fiction, a wife, and a mother of two daughters. She always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses.



Tucker Bradshaw was pounding the last nail into the kitchen window frame of his family farm’s new event barn when voices made him pause. Female voices, coming from the main room on the other side of the open slider door.

“Oh, look at the woodwork. I love how they left the beams exposed, with those fancy metal brackets.”

“I do love the stone fireplace. But it’s very rustic. A far cry from the Charm House.”

“We can’t afford the Charm House.” The first speaker again, her airy voice growing tight. “And see, we could put the band up in that loft.”

Tucker laid his hammer next to the window he was about to insert. Apparently, he’d forgotten to bolt the main doors when he’d started work this morning. That’s what you got for being in a hurry … nosy women comparing his post-and-beam Gambrel barn to a Greek Revival mansion in the nearby historic town of Clarkesville. He ought to be out working the summer harvest with his dad and brother, but the rain had put his local contractor behind. And this place needed to be brochure-photo-ready this month if they hoped to pay back the massive loans they’d taken out this year.

So despite the fact that these women weren’t supposed to be in here, he put a smile on his face as he ambled into the main room. “Can I help you ladies?”

And there he stopped short, for not one, but two petite redheads turned toward him. He’d seen Faith Richardson a couple times in the last several years, whenever he’d been home from college. Each time, he’d done a painful double-take before his heart rate slowed down. But she must not have expected him to be back home, for she spoke with surprised emphasis.

“Tucker Bradshaw.”

And no need to double-take today, for her sister was right there beside her, unmistakable and in the flesh. Every fiber in Tucker’s body went into some sort of instant freeze-dry as Hope’s dark eyes swept him from the top of his tousled blond hair to the tips of his scuffed work boots.

“Faith. Hope.” Her name stuck on his tongue like the honey they sold in the open-air market across the parking lot.

“Hey, Tucker.” She seemed to pump enthusiasm into the greeting with the breath she drew, lifting her shoulders under the straps of her silky, red tank top. The only ginger he’d ever seen pull off wearing the color stood before him. The only girl who’d crushed his heart like a Ritz cracker.

Faith took a step forward. “I should’ve known you’d be here today.” Was that an apologetic glance she tossed at her sister? “I told Hope you’ve been behind the changes at Bradshaw Farms, even while you were still in school in Tifton.”

“Griffin,” he corrected. “ABAC is in Tifton.”

“Oh, right. Of course. And you went to UGA. I forgot that you and Hope started together in Athens before you went to … Griffin.” Faith faltered as her gaze again drifted to Hope, who shifted her purse on her shoulder and focused on the concrete floor. “Anyway, I love your new barn. Did you do it all yourself?”

He hooked a thumb in the pocket of his jeans, trying hard for casual. “It’s a kit barn. The company we bought it from came to lift the bents and drop the ridge in place. Basically, they raised the shell. We finish the inside. That’s why, as you can see, it’s not done.”

“Looks pretty close.”

Tucker jerked his thumb behind him. “You wouldn’t say that if you saw behind the slider. I’m finishing window installation, then I’ve got to frame out the kitchen and bathrooms so the plumber can come in.”

“Well, I’d love to see behind the curtain, so to speak.” Faith gave him a wink. She seemed perkier than he remembered. She’d hardly spoken to him in the past. “You see, I got engaged. We’re shopping for a reception venue.” She thrust her left hand toward him, bringing his attention to a shiny diamond.

Perkiness explained. She was a blooming bride. “Very nice. Congratulations. Neal Watkins?”

She nodded and smiled, catching her lower lip between her teeth.

“Lucky guy. When’s the date?”


Hope brushed a strand of hair back. It fell just past her shoulders now, shorter than it had been in high school. “I told Faith you might not be ready for bookings. She doesn’t realize how much goes into planning big events.” She definitely sounded hopeful.

“And I guess you’re the maid of honor?”

“And the wedding planner, basically.”

The Richardson-Watkins wedding on Bradshaw property would mean Hope Richardson shoved back into his sphere. Again. But it would also snag one of the biggest events of the season. Even though Neal’s parents had moved to Chattanooga, his extended tribe remained in Habersham County—the reason he’d attended their local college. And they were one of the most influential families in the area, benefactors of said college.

“Then let me show you around. We’ll be ready in plenty of time for a mid-October wedding.” Did that sound confident enough?

Tucker walked them into the rear portion of the building, his back burning. He could just feel Hope studying him. His t-shirt might catch on fire from the intensity of her perusal. Sure enough, when he pivoted to face them, she whisked her gaze back to his face, giving a startled blink. He almost laughed. That moment of unguarded attention gave him confidence. At least he wasn’t the only one affected by proximity, even four years later.


** Want to read more? Today through the end of the month, you can pre-order an e-book of A Harvest Heart for .99!**


Friday, September 17, 2021

Kathy's Kitchen, Recipes From Friends

When I mentioned making potato salad a while back, and asked for favorite recipes, I received these yummy replies from three friends. Thanks, guys.


From Nina:


I found the recipe for pulled mushrooms in the Washington Post. I won’t be using any fancy varieties- I can’t locate them here (Arizona), so I think I will try this with regular, large white mushrooms. It’s a vegetarian recipe and I look for those as my daughter doesn’t eat meat, so if we find a good recipe, we all can enjoy it.


You’ll think of dozens of ways to use these fork-shredded mushrooms, which soak up their marinade and turn juicy and succulent in the pan. They were designed by Miyoko Schinner of Miyoko’s Creamery to look like pulled pork, but their texture is more delicate. Still, they would be at home in tacos, enchiladas or sandwiches, or tossed with pasta or rice. Note that king trumpets go by many names, including royal trumpet, king oyster and French horn mushroom.

Total time: 30 mins

Storage Notes: The mushrooms can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Reheat in a hot skillet.



Tested size: 4 servings


1 pound king trumpet mushrooms (a.k.a. king oyster, royal trumpet or French horn)

3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or tamari

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Pinch fine sea salt (optional)



Pull the tines of a fork down the length of each mushroom to shred it, breaking up the head with your fingers, if needed.

In a large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the maple syrup and smoked paprika. Add the mushrooms and toss well to coat. 

In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until they release their liquid, it evaporates and they start to brown and stick, 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve hot or at room temperature.


From Erma:


Funny what we get known for! Mine is indoor smores. I had to bring two batches of this Golden Graham cereal mixture to my in-laws or there was no living it down!! They were inhaled in no time. Now my daughters make them so I'm duty-free!!! I've never added nuts - just seems wrong to me!!!


Printed from COOKS.COM


2/3 c. light Karo syrup

2 tbsp. butter

1 pkg. (11 1/2 oz.) Nestles Real milk chocolate morsels

1 tsp. vanilla

1 pkg. (10 oz.) Golden Graham cereal (about 8 cups)

3 c. miniature marshmallows

1 c. chopped nuts, optional

Butter a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan. Heat corn syrup, butter and chocolate morsels just to boiling in a 3-quart saucepan, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Pour over cereal in a large mixing bowl. Toss quickly until completely coated with chocolate. Fold in marshmallows, 1 cup at a time, fold in nuts. Press mixture into prepared pan with a buttered back of spoon. Let stand 1 hour. Cut into 1-1/2-inch squares.


From Patti:


Pasta Salad: There's nothing special to it, believe me. 


Slice one-and-one-half cucumbers, then cut each slice into quarters and set aside

Chop up 6-8 radishes, a half cup of hamburger dill pickles, and two large slices of onion and set aside

Cook 32 oz of macaroni (don't overcook!) drain and let cool.

Combine cucumber, radishes, pickles, and onion

Place macaroni in large mixing bowl, then stir in the above combined ingredients

Add two tablespoons of mayonnaise and mix in well (when I say two tablespoons, I'm actually thinking of two large soup spoons, not the really big ones that you serve with, but the ones you eat with)

Salt and pepper to taste

Decorate with tomato slices


Okay, so I've never written out this recipe before. LOL! Take into consideration the amount you want to make and scale accordingly. Also, you can cut the cucumber slices in half if you have a skinny cucumber and cut the radishes in small pieces instead of chopping them in a chopper. I've just kind of made adjustments over the years. 


As you can see, there is absolutely nothing special about this recipe. However, when I mentioned that to one of my nieces, she said, "Yes there is, Aunt Pat. We know you make it with love!" I guess maybe that's the key! 

Friday, September 10, 2021

Grace and Truth, John 11

This is another well-known Bible story, when Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.


Questions have been asked many times—why did Jesus Cry? Lazarus and his sisters were Jesus’ friends. Why didn’t he go to them immediately?


I’ve heard possible answers, and I have my own ideas, but truthfully, we only know what the Scripture verses tell us.


Lazarus, Jesus’ friend, was sick, and his sisters asked Jesus to come heal him. Jesus didn’t go until after Lazarus died.


Jesus would have known from the beginning that Lazarus was going to die, and that he was going to raise him from the dead.


In the meantime, he had to deal with his disciples’ questions, the sisters’ disappointment, the mourners’ speculations.


In the end, Jesus had his goals, and he explained this to his disciples.


Verses 14-15: So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”


He spoke to his Father and explained to all of us what the whole event was about.


Verses 40-42: Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”


He wept. Certainly he was upset. For the suffering of his friends? For the confusion of his disciples? For the lack of faith toward his Father? For the horror yet to come for all of them?


Maybe. Jesus was human with human feelings.


And he was God, completing his work, moving, with purpose, toward the finish. 

Friday, September 3, 2021

Guest Host, David Parks

The Boy Who Closed the Sky by David Parks, one of my critique partners, is the best book I’ve read in a long time. Thanks for joining us, Dave.


Family in Fiction

Birdie—my one remaining sibling—phoned. She had read to page eight of The Boy Who Closed the Sky, A Novel of Elijah the Prophet

“I’m disappointed my baby brother didn’t give credit to our mother. Sunday afternoons she read Egermeier's Bible stories to us and would be proud her little boy published a Bible story.”

Mother read to us of David and his five smooth stones? Sorry. I only remembered Oliver Twist and Chuchundra, the muskrat, who never came out into the middle of the floor, but always crept round by the wall.

Birdie forgave my poor memory, and I told her to keep reading.

She’ll find family in a line I dug from the archives of 1946. With my spoon standing in the oatmeal, I leaned across our porcelain-top kitchen table and asked Dad, “Why doesn’t God just kill the devil?”

A few chapters later Birdie will phone again when Elijah says, “Small matter, pal.”—a phrase our dad used so often people called his business Pal’s Place.

Two lines, though, I’ll have to show her.

The first comes from Oboth, the desert spot where Moses lived in 1293 BC. When my wife, Delphine, and I lived there in 1984 AD, one night she looked up at the Lord’s brilliant star show. “The sun goes down and the sky is ours.”

The second line comes from a custom of my mother-in-law.

Elijah turned to his brother, Nathan, “Remember how mother takes your cheeks in both her hands?”

“Mm-hm. To help you listen. She holds your face and looks into your heart.”

So, bits from my family did work their way into the Elijah novel. Hmm… Had Mother’s Bible stories been the thumb in my back which nudged me to complete this book?

Elijah faced the king then glanced at the open gate.

Vendors and shoppers blocked his escape.

Lord, you’ve gotta get me out of here.

He leaned toward the king. “As the Lord lives—the God of Israel whom I stand and serve—for these next years we will have neither dew nor rain unless I say so.”

Guards lunged.

Elijah sprang for the gate and smacked into a donkey loaded with onions. “Uhh!” The air left his lungs.

“Grab that kid!”

The Elijah story for purchase:

Or -

The first chapter’s free. Click on “Look inside.”