Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Felicities

  • Dark Roast Coffee
  • International Coffee Creamer
  • Journaling in a beautiful book with a great gel pen
  • Brand-new comp books
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • The Library

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Shadow of Your Smile

Welcome to the LitFuse sponsored blog tour of Susan May Warren's The Shadow of Your Smile.

About the book: The Shadow of Your Smile

A beautiful blanket of snow may cover the quaint town of Deep Haven each winter, but it can’t quite hide the wreckage of Noelle and Eli Hueston’s marriage.

After twenty-five years, they’re contemplating divorce . . . just as soon as their youngest son graduates from high school. But then an accident erases part of Noelle's memory. Though her other injuries are minor, she doesn’t remember Eli, their children, or the tragedy that has ripped their family apart. What’s more, Noelle is shocked that her life has turned out nothing like she dreamed it would. As she tries to regain her memory and slowly steps into her role as a wife and mother, Eli helps her readjust to daily life with sometimes-hilarious, sometimes-heartwarming results. But can she fall in love again with a man she can’t remember?

Will their secrets destroy them . . . or has erasing the past given them a chance for a future? Read the story behind the story here:
About Susan:  Susan May Warren is an award-winning, best-selling author of over twenty-five novels, many of which have won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, the ACFW Book of the Year award, the Rita Award, and have been Christy finalists. After serving as a missionary for eight years in Russia, Susan returned home to a small town on Minnesota’s beautiful Lake Superior shore where she, her four children, and her husband are active in their local church.
Susan's larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder of, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.
Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota, where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!)
A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found

Link to buy the book: Click here to purchase The Shadow of Your Smile.

Sometimes love requires a little forgetting ... Come back to Deep Haven and find out what's been happening in your favorite quaint hamlet. If you're new to the Deep Haven series - this is the perfect book to start with - each book in the series is a stand alone story.

Susan is celebrating the release of The Shadow of Your Smile by giving away a prize pack worth over $200 from 1/9-1/28.

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa Gift Card (Use that to rekindle a little romance, treat yourself to a spa day, snap up those shoes you’ve been eyeing, or purchase a few great books!)
  • The entire set of Deep Haven Books
The winner will be announced on 1/30/12 on Susan’s blog, Scribbles! Just click one of the icons below to enter and tell your friends about Susan's giveaway on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.
Blog tour schedule: Click here to visit other reviews for this novel:

Enter 1/9 - 1/28.

Pattie's Review:

I was intrigued by this novel from the beginning, because it has a much different tone than previous Deep Haven novels. Right away I knew the marriage was in trouble, and I was all set to blame Noelle for hiding things. Of course, it is never just one spouse, just as in real life.

There were some tears shed during the course of reading this novel. Most visitors to my blog do not know that I am an adult child of divorce; by this I mean that my parents divorced when I was an adult, after 35 years of marriage. It was a very painful and horrible time for our family. So any story dealing with divorce and infidelity (even just a hint) always touches me very closely. To be honest, I would have slammed this book had it turned out differently than it did--I trust Susan May Warren to deal with things justly and in a Christian spirit.

I would not classify this book with Warren's comedies or heartwarming stories. I'd call this real life fiction, dealing with an interesting premise that is never quite solved to my satisfaction, but is probably more true-to-life than any other Christian fiction novel you'll find out there on the shelves.

Overall, I would say this is a good women's fiction novel, well-written, multi-faceted, with believable characters; a good read for both Christians and non-Christians alike.
***Thank you to LitFuse, NetGalley, and the author for a Kindle copy of this novel.***
**FCC Note: I received a ebook galley copy of this novel
in exchange for my honest opinion.**

Friday, January 13, 2012

Cards Galore!

I entered a contest on this post at (in)Courage, and wow, guess what? I won!!! The FedEx truck just pulled away from my street a few moments ago in the darkness...leaving this on my porch:

I will be blogging about sending cards later this month.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Listening...for joy

Just a few of the Joy Dare items from my journal:

Three lines I overheard that were graces:

"I thought you would have some partial paralysis in your face after surgery."

"I love you."

"I prayed for you."

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Listening and Challenging

Melanie from "Only a Breath" designed this for me:

I found her blog on Twitter, from a link that linked to this post: One Word

What a gift, to be given something (from someone I do not know) that is so lovely that I could never, ever make on my own. This is so special to my heart.

Thank you so much, Melanie!!!!

Just as a quick check-in, I'm doing pretty well, physically and with my listening. It's hard when you're as active and as healthy as I've always been, to force yourself to rest. To relax, to take it easy, to conserve energy. Especially when the simple act of conversation takes a lot more concentrated effort than it used to!

I haven't really done a formal declaration of a Proverbs 31 challenge this year, because I have some other challenges going on (take a look at my January posts and you'll see what I mean). But since I was given the incredible gift of reading my friend Sara's manuscript for My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife (and subsequently reading the published book), I have to admit that it has always been in my mind and heart. It's like, in a weird way, sometimes I step outside myself and watch myself interact with my husband and daughters, and wonder if I could be better, if I could really stop doing what does not work, and start finding out what does work and doing that instead.

In this season of rest and recovery in which I find myself, I am grateful for the extra help I'm receiving around the house from my family. When I'm stronger, I'll do more, but in the meantime, working on my heart and my attitudes this first week of 2012 has been a very, very good thing.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Artist's Way Journey 2012

This is the year I am going to do what I have wanted to do for several years: Go through all of  The Artist's Way series of books by Julia Cameron. 

For a long time, The Artist's Way has been THE go-to book for creativity recovery. Countless writers have gone through this workshop-in-a-book, waxed poetic about the discipline of morning pages, refilled their creative wells with art and music and poetry and photography, and praised the virtues of Cameron's writing exercises.

I went through The Artist's Way in 2006 with an online writer's group, and while I found it helpful, I did not get the breakthrough in my writing vision, dreams, or career that I had hoped to find. In the meantime, I requested the remaining workbooks Cameron had written since TAW on my Paperback Swap wishlist, and over the next four years I received every single one of them. They are: The Vein of Gold, Walking in this World, and Finding Water. I did discover that she has yet another book coming out today, entitled The Prosperous Heart. We have a big Amazon order to make soon, so I think that will be on my list (although with only 52 weeks in a year, that book might lead me into 2013!).

I always wanted to go through all of them in one calendar year. Well, my friends, for the first time in 2 years we know we are NOT moving this year, so THIS IS MY YEAR. My year of Cameron and creativity and writing and discovering things about myself I did not know.

Alongside these books, I will also reread Janice Elsheimer's The Creative Call. This is another book I went through with a group a few years ago, and I honestly don't remember anything except posting the exercises and talking. I don't know that it really changed me any. So, I'm going to give it a whirl as well.

I am learning, as I listen to the words around me, the words from God's word, and the words on the pages I read and write, that this year is going to be a lot more about process than product, about journey rather than destination. About how to become a better, happier, more content woman.

Joy Dare 2012

Ann Voskamp's challenge: Dare to Count the Joys, capture the gifts of 2012, and in so doing, increase the gratitude revolution and the grace and eucharisteo.

I realized in the midst of all of my busy preparations to jump headlong back into regular life after my ear surgery that I had not yet pulled down my gratitude journal from the shelf where I stashed it before our trip.

So today, that changes. I may or may not record them all on my blog, but I will use the guided monthly prompts and begin the list in my old sketchbook with #1 again for 2012.

Are you with us? Let's join the gratitude revolution. Let's join God where He is, appreciate all He does for us, and always, always give Him the glory.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

TBR Reading Challenge 2012

Note: On 31 Dec 2012 I sit here staring at this list and thinking, "Wow, I didn't get very far!" But 2013 is a new year, with new books to read.

I've been doing this TBR challenge since 2007. Last year, I sooooo failed...this year, linking in with my personal goals for 2012 I should do much better! I've made it a habit of reading over 100 books a year the past several years, so it's not for lack of trying that I don't succeed in a reading challenge. No, that would be my lack of "stick-to-it-ive-ness" that is my problem!
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
The Vein of Gold by Julia Cameron
Walking in this World by Julia Cameron
Finding Water by Julia Cameron
Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott
Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott
Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott
Note to Self by Samara O'Shea
Sweater Quest by Adrienne Martini **moving to Year-Long Memoir Challenge for 2013**
Northern Lights by Nora Roberts
Alaska by James Michener--Tried, didn't get through.
Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates**tried to read, could not get into**

Alternate Selections:
Zelda by Nancy Mitford
A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition by Ernest Hemingway

Goals for 2012

Just a random list of goals for the new year. Subject to change, with or without notice, as needed. Void where prohibited by law ;)

  • Read Anne Lamott's spiritual essay trilogy (Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith; Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith ; Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith).
  • Go through Julia Cameron's four books about creativity (The Artist's Way; The Vein of Gold; Walking in this World; Finding Water).
  • Work on streamlining the process and systems I use for teaching composition and rhetoric.
  • Listen.
  • Be more intentional with living a life of gratitude and giving thanks.
  • Be intentional about journaling (not sure if this will translate into blogging yet or not...that month I blogged every day was good, but not sure I can make that commitment all the time!).

Review: The Dinner List

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle My rating: 4 of 5 stars I heard about this novel last month. It sounded great, because who hasn't m...