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Book Review: “Roundabout” by JoAnn Durgin

If you have read any of my blogs, you  have likely read at least one or more reviews of books written by JoAnn Durgin. Ms. Durgin has her own unique style of writing, as every author should, and it has served her well in every book she has written. Her most recently published book, Roundabout, the latest in the Lewis Legacy Series, falls into the same category of writing, but this time, with a twist.

In the previous books of the Lewis Legacy Series, the hero and heroine meet for the first time in the early pages of each book. But in Roundabout, the hero, Sloan, and the heroine, Jensen, knew each other a number of years prior to the actual beginning of this book. Ms. Durgin skillfully wove their history throughout the book, building on it with each chapter, making it very hard to put the book down.

If you are familiar with the Lewis Legacy series, and all of the TeamWork members, you will be delighted to know that several of the TeamWork families appear in this book. (Although each book in the series can be read as a stand-alone, I encourage you to read all of the books from the beginning. It is a wonderful series that makes you feel good, inspires you and can open your eyes to God’s truth for the first time, or remind you of His truth, as it has done for me on many occasions.)

A beautiful message of love, faith, and forgiveness is shared through the eyes and life of Chloe, the daughter of Joss’ and Winnie’s, whose story was told in Book 3, Twin Hearts. The message Chloe shares with a teenage gang member reminds all of us that no matter what we’ve done and no matter how far we feel from God, He is always waiting for us to turn to Him with His heart full of forgiveness and unconditional love.

It’s February, almost the 14th! What better time to read this beautiful love story than this month?

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Happy Birthday, Aunt Doris!

This past Saturday, my sister, Marie, my cousins, Jeanette, Jeanine, Ann, and a dear family friend, Jewell, celebrated my Aunt Doris’ 91st birthday. We carried cake, balloons and gifts and surprised her. She had no idea we were coming, much less bringing a birthday party!

Aunt Doris is in a nursing home where she has resided for so many years that I’ve lost count. When she first went there, she was well, walked everywhere on the property and was the life of the party. In those days, “assisted living” residences didn’t exist, and even if they had, my guess is that she wouldn’t have been able to pay the astronomical monthly cost to live in one. But she loved where she was then and now. She would visit the other residents who were not able to “get about” like she could, she went to the dining hall for every meal and had her hair and nails done at the in-house salon every week. She went to the church service held there every Sunday, and she played Bingo every Friday. In 2010, she was crowned as Mrs. NRC (initials of the name of the residence) and the sash proclaiming that fact hangs over her bed today. She loves angels, evidenced by the fact that there are angel figurines everywhere in her room, gifts from those who love her. There are cards and pictures of family members and her room is always decorated for the season. A Valentine’s heart is already hanging on her door.

When it got a little more challenging to walk, she used a wheelchair. Every day, she was dressed, hair and nails done and up and down the halls she went, scooting along in her wheelchair, visiting the other residents.

If you asked her, she would probably say she’s had a good life. And in many ways, she has. For as long as I can remember, she’s been a Christian and demonstrated her love for Jesus in everything she did. I can remember when I was a child, she was the Vacation Bible School (VBS) Director. Every morning of VBS week, she would stand outside with her beautiful smile, and she would call all the children to attention by saying, “I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.'”  And we would come to order and follow her inside the church to begin the day’s activities.

She had her beloved husband, Lonnie. She always said, “Lonnie spoils me.” He did and she deserved it.

When we were gathered in her room on Saturday, several of my cousins talked about how she always dressed beautifully and how many of her outfits were by Jonathan Logan (a very well-known dress designer back in the day). Jeanette remembered that she didn’t have a dress to wear to a school dance. Her momma, my Aunt Grace, brought Jeanette to Aunt Doris’ house, and Aunt Doris loaned her one of her Jonathan Logan dresses. Jeanette said she “felt like a princess” at that dance.

When I went to say goodbye to Aunt Doris on Saturday, I reminded her that she and I were the February birthday girls. Many, many years ago, Aunt Doris gave me her birthstone ring. It remains in my jewelry case today. (Unfortunately, it no long fits.)

Aunt Doris’ health is very poor now. In fact, she gave us quite a scare on Saturday when she seemed to lose consciousness. The nurses were able to wake her up and we visited for a few more minutes.

As my sister and I left we both agreed that we were very glad we visited.

From left to right: Me, Jewell, Jeanette, Aunt Doris, Marie, Ann & JeanineAunt Doris is Waving.JPG

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Book Review: Thee Will I Cherish

JoAnn Durgin has done it again! As with all of her previous books, she has written a story that immediately captivates the readers with characters that they love, scenery that almost has one heading for the airport to fly to the location in the book, which in this case, is Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, and her signature trademark – the Gospel message skillfully woven throughout the book.

In Thee Will I Cherish we meet Gabriella Martin and Harley Goodwin. Gabi, as everyone calls her, has returned home to be the interim CFO in her parents’ marriage ministry. She runs into Harley, a friend from childhood, again and again and again. I won’t give the plot away, but suffice it to say, it is a delightful love story.

Thee Will I Cherish is the first in a three-book series and I can’t wait to read books 2 and 3, Thee Will I Honor and Thee Will I Love. All three can be read as stand-alone books but it’s so much more fun to read series about members of the same family. So, grab your copy of Thee Will I Cherish and read it before the next two are released in 2018!

 

I did not receive any goods or services for this review.

(c) Edwina Cowgill 2017

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Day Two: The Gift of Vision

Advent, 2017
Day Two

musings of edwina

 

“Write the vision and make it plain on tablets; that he may run who reads it.” Habakkuk 2:2 (NKJV)

Another translation of this verse says it this way: “Write my answer on a billboard, large and clear, so that anyone can read it at a glance and rush to tell the others.”(The Message)

This verse makes it very plain that God has a vision, not just for the Body of Christ, but also for you and me.  If this verse is not proof enough to persuade you, here’s another one that is more specific in meaning: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11) If there has ever been any doubt in your mind as to whether or not God has a plan…

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Thanksgiving Memory

One of my fondest memories of Thanksgivings past started on Wednesday night before Thanksgiving morning. Members of the church where my family attended would cover shoe boxes in colorful paper and bring them on Wednesday night. After Bible study, the boxes would be filled with fruit, nuts, and perhaps a piece or two of soft peppermint sticks. The name of a elderly member of the church, or a member who was a “shut-in” (the modern term is “homebound”) would be written on a card and tucked inside the box.

Bright and early the next morning, volunteers would go back to the church to pick up the boxes and distribute them. Many boxes were loaded into cars headed for various locations in the county where we lived. My daddy was one of the volunteers that distributed the boxes and every year he would bundle me up in my coat, hat and gloves (this was before global warming) and take me with him. My family and I lived less than a block from the church. In the surrounding two blocks there were at least six, maybe seven, widows living in that neighborhood, including both of my grandmothers. This neighborhood was where my daddy always distributed the Thanksgiving boxes. Even though I was young, I understood what it meant to those senior citizens to receive the basket. Each one of the  “widow women,” as my grandmother called them, was always glad to see us. It wasn’t so much the fruit and nuts, although I’m sure they appreciated that. Rather, it was that someone remembered them. Someone thought about them and cared enough about them that they took the time out of their holiday to come by and visit for just a few minutes. . . to listen to them share about their Thanksgivings past, and about what they were thankful for that year.

All of those “widow women” have been gone for years now, and my parents have been gone for several years, as well. But the lesson I learned every year at Thanksgiving remains today “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

May your Thanksgiving  be filled with blessings from above!

Edwina

 

 

 

Book Reviews, faith, Family, God's love, grace, love

Book Review: Between Heaven and the Real World

“Oh taste and SEE that the Lord is good!” (Ps. 34:8)

This is the theme verse of Between Heaven and the Real World by Steven Curtis Chapman. 

In all my years of reading, whether for pleasure, for school, or for work, I’ve never read a book written with such raw vulnerability, painful hurts, deep faith, total surrender and intense trust. That is, until I read this book.

Between Heaven and the Real World begins when Steven was a young boy and brings the reader through his life up until 2013. He shares of the struggles he had as a young boy, a teenager. He writes of meeting his bride, Mary Beth, of the struggles she experienced, and the struggles they experienced together. He tells the reader of the unwavering commitment he and Mary Beth had to one another and how, through the darkest, bleakest times, that commitment held them together. 

He shares stories of all of his children – biological and adopted. Maria, adopted from China, brought an effervescent joy to the Chapman home. Her happiness, her love of life brightened up the lives of everyone around her. Steven is at his most vulnerable as he writes of life after Maria. All of the family suffered greatly, and yet, through their suffering, the roots of their faith grew deeper and today, around the world, Maria’s legacy can be found everywhere. “Oh, taste and SEE that the Lord is good!”

One of the most interesting aspects of the book is the many times Steven shared how he got the inspiration for the various hit singles he’s had through the years, many of them becoming part of the “48 career number one radio singles.” After reading this book, you will hear one of those songs and remember just where Steven was, who he was with, and how God revealed to him the lyrics to the song. Knowing the background of the song gives the song a deeper meaning and makes the song even more special than when you heard it before.

This is a book that will minister to everyone who reads it. But for those who are in the midst of a crisis of faith, it is a “must” read. Your faith will grow stronger, your heart will be encouraged and your life changed. 

                                                                                 

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Book Review: “Pursuit” by JoAnn Durgin

Pursuit: A Christian Romance Novel (The Lewis Legacy Series Book 8) by [Durgin, JoAnn]

 

Pursuit is JoAnn Durgin’s latest book in the Lewis Legacy Series and is my favorite of all the books in the series.

Pursuit stars Will Lewis, the next to the youngest child of the Lewis clan. As a toddler, Will was fascinated with outer space. As he grew older, he never wanted to be anything else but an astronaut and completely focused on, worked and studied towards that goal and he has finally made it. In just a few short months, he will command his own crew on a thirty-day mission to the International Space Station. Nothing will interfere with this, his ultimate goal. Nothing and no one will distract him.

Enter Dalton Smith. The girl next door with the unusual name. Dalton is a Christian singer/songwriter who has gained popularity among Christian music-lovers. With her wit, charm, beauty, not to mention curiosity about NASA and the space program, she is just the distraction that Will does not need. But distract she does! It was so much fun to read how Dalton helped Will get his head out of the clouds and his feet back on the ground.

Ms. Durgin obviously did her research as Pursuit is filled with interesting facts about NASA and the space program, which in my opinion, made the book all the more captivating.

In Pursuit, there is suspense, a beautiful love story, a reunion with the rest of the Lewis family (which is why I encourage you to read the other books in the series, although each book can be read on its own) and the Christian message that Ms. Durgin includes in each of her books.

If I had to rate this book on a scale of 1-10, I’d give it a 15. It’s well-written, fun to read, and has a wonderful message.