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"THICKER THAN BLOOD" BOOK REVIEW AND GIVE-AWAY!!

SYNOPSIS:

Christy Williams finally has her life back on track. She’s putting her past behind her and working hard to build a career as an antiquarian book buyer. But things begin to unravel when a stolen Hemingway first edition is found in her possession, framing her for a crime she didn’t commit. With no one to turn to, she yearns for her estranged younger sister, May, whom she abandoned after their parents’ untimely deaths. Soon, Christy’s fleeing from her shattered dreams, her ex-boyfriend, and God. Could May’s Triple Cross Ranch be the safe haven she’s searching for? Will the sisters realize that each possesses what the other desperately needs before it’s too late? A stunning debut from the latest Christian Writers Guild winner. (From Tyndale Publishing website)

AUTHOR’S BRIEF BIO:

C. J. Darlington is the winner of the 2008 Jerry. B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest for Thicker Than Blood, which she began writing as a 15 year-old home school student. She has been in the antiquarian bookselling business for over a decade, scouting for stores before cofounding her own online bookstore. She also cofounded the Christian entertainment Web site http://www.TitleTrakk.com. Visit her Web site at http://www.cjdarlington.com.

REVIEWER’S CRITIQUE:

Thicker Than Blood is a captivating look into the lives of two sisters, Christy and May Williams, their estrangement, personal struggles, triumphs and their reunion. But it is also a book of healing and love, mercy and grace, and redemption and restoration.

Ms. Darlington incorporates her own experience as an antiquarian bookseller into Christy’s life as her career. But when accusations are made against Christy by her ex-boyfriend and fellow employee of Dawson’s Book Barn, her career seems to be over and she heads for May, her sister’s, ranch. Upon arrival, Christy soon learns that not all is as it seems at the ranch.

Thicker Than Blood will cause the reader to reflect upon their own relationship(s) with family members and with God. This book is a thought-provoking and enjoyable read and this reviewer highly recommends it to all lovers of suspense novels.
In her unique, individualistic way, Ms. Darlington has proven that love is truly Thicker Than Blood.

***
Ms. Darlington has kindly provided an autographed copy of Thicker Than Blood that I will be giving away in a drawing on Monday, January 4, 2010. Please leave a comment and your email address that I may contact you if you are the winner. This contest is open only to U. S. residents and is void where prohibited.

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BOOK REVIEW: JACK DANIEL’S SPIRIT OF TENNESSEE COOKBOOK

BOOK REVIEW
Jack Daniel’s Spirit of Tennessee Cookbook
Co-authored by
Lynne Tolley and Pat Mitchamore

I love cookbooks and I collect them. There are at least 50 cookbooks in my collection, probably more. So I was thrilled when I saw Jack Daniel’s Spirit of Tennessee Cookbook on the list of Thomas Nelson Books to Review.

If you’re a Jack Daniels’ fan, this cookbook is for you. With over 800 recipes, 200+ (give or take a few) lists Jack Daniel’s as one of the ingredients. From the back cover: “Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey isn’t just a perfect partner for Coca-Cola. Roast pork, sweet potatoes, and wild mushrooms make pretty good companions, too. This collection merges the trademark flavor of Jack Daniel’s with a spread of Southern culinary delights. You’ll discover the secret to perfect pit barbecue, and that adding a splash of whiskey to your French toast is a surefire way to get the morning started right.”
Woven throughout the cookbook are short articles on Lynchburg, Tennessee, the birthplace of Jack Daniel’s Distillery. Articles in the cookbook such as “Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House” and “Mr. Jack Daniel’s Original Silver Comet Band” will give the reader a glimpse into the lives of some of the Lynchburg citizens. “Moore County: Yesterday and Today” and “The Tennessee Hills” describes the region in vivid detail. There are fascinating pictures placed throughout the book dating as far back as 1892 to the current day that will make this cookbook a collector’s item in the future.
Because I don’t drink whiskey or cook with it, I would not have purchased this book, given the opportunity. However, I would have been missing out. There are hundreds of recipes that don’t call for Jack Daniel’s and I will be cooking those dishes in the near future!
(c) December 2009
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While You Were Sleeping

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and you are continuing to enjoy the holidays with your family and friends. I had thought that yesterday’s post would be my last regarding Advent/Christmas, but I have one more. Below are the words to a song sung by Casting Crowns on their CD titled “Peace on Earth.” I hope you will take time to read and ponder on these words. God bless each of you!

Oh little town of Bethlehem
Looks like another silent night
Above your deep and dreamless sleep
A giant star lights up the sky.

And while you’re lying in the dark
There shines an everlasting light
For the King has left His throne.

And is sleeping in a manger tonight
Oh Bethlehem, what have you missed while you
Were sleeping,
For God became a man
And stepped into your world today
Oh Bethlehem, you will go down in history
As a city with no room for its King.

While you were sleeping
While you were sleeping

Mary shivers in the cold
Trying to keep the Savior warm
Born among the animals, wrapped in dirty rags
Because there was no room for Him in the world He came to save

United States of America
Looks like another silent night
As we’re sung to sleep by philosophies
That save the trees and kill the children

And while we’re lying in the dark
There’s a shout heard across the eastern sky
For the Bridegroom has returned
And has carried His bride away in the night

America, what will we miss while we are sleeping?
Will Jesus come again
And leave us slumbering where we lay
America will we go down in history
As a nation with no room for its King

Will we be sleeping?
Will we be sleeping?

United States of America
Looks like another silent night.

2008 My Refuge Music Club Zoo Music/SWECS Music (BMI) All rights admin by EMI CMG Publishing.

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The Gift of Himself

Good Morning and Merry Christmas!

The best gift of all…

Luke 2 (New King James Version)

Christ Born of Mary
1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife,[a] who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Glory in the Highest
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold,[b] an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “ Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”[c]

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely[d] known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Abba Father,
Thank You is a very inadequate expression to show how I feel about the gifts you have given me every day during this Season of Advent. But I am thankful. From the bottom of my heart, I give you thanks. May I always use these gifts to only bring You honor and glory.

I pray your richest blessings on those who have followed these blogs so faithfully this month. May they also use these gifts to bring You honor and glory. In Jesus name, AMEN and AMEN.

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The Gift of Waiting

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Is. 40:31

The above verse is one of my favorites. I use it frequently in my blogs, in counseling and in encouraging myself. Normally, I will mention how some Biblical translations substitute the word “hope” for the word “wait” and that hope is an acronym for Heart Of Peace and Expectation.

More often than not, when we are waiting on the Lord to answer our prayers, to give us wisdom and guidance about a situation we face or just waiting in His presence, there are lessons that God wants us to learn. Perhaps He desires for us to grow in wisdom and knowledge. Maybe He wants us to learn to be more patient. Or He wants our relationship with Him to grow deeper. It could be that the timing is not right for His answer to be manifested. Regardless of the reason why the answer has not come, there is a reason we are waiting.

Advent is a season of busyness. We go to this party and that gathering, we sing Christmas carols, shop till we drop, bake and cook, decorate our homes and wrap gifts until the wee hours of the morning. I think we have lost the fact that Advent is a season of waiting. We are so busy running from one store to another, one party to another, we have forgotten that Advent heralds the coming of Christ. Just as an expectant mother anticipates, prepares and waits for nine months the arrival of her newborn, Advent is a period of anticipating, preparing and waiting for the birth of our Savior.

It is my prayer that in some small way, the blogs I have written during Advent have helped you to slow down for a few minutes each day and remember the Reason for the Season. As we look forward to tomorrow, may the birth of our Savior renew in you a Heart Of Peace and Expectation.

Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.

MARANATHA!

© December 2009

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The Gift of Vision

“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.”

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 even plainer 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 for your life, you can banish that doubt now.

God gave Mary a vision – she was to be the mother of the Savior of the world. When Mary questioned the angel who brought the news, she was not doubting – just curious. “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” (Luke 1:34). The angel explained to Mary that it would be by the Holy Spirit and went on to say, “For with God, nothing is impossible.” (vs. 37). Mary accepted this vision: “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be done unto me according to your word.” (vs. 38) She never doubted, never questioned whether or not the angel had visited the right person. She believed and moved forward in the vision.

God gave Jesus a vision. He was to be the Savior of the world. He was to live on earth as God-made-man for 33 years, die on a cross for the sins of the world and rise again in three days. Jesus didn’t balk, protest or do anything that would have indicated a lack of obedience. He went willingly into cities and countries preaching the gospel of Christ. He went willingly to Gethsemane. He went willingly to Golgotha and to the grave. But God’s vision for Jesus did not end at the grave. Three days later, the vision continued as Jesus rose from the grave, triumphing over death, and the vision was completed as Jesus ascended into heaven.

God has a vision for YOU. If He has shown you that vision, be obedient and walk in it. If He has not shown you His vision for you, ask Him to share it with you. In His time, He will show you and it will be better than anything you could ever ask for or think.

Abba Father, thank you for the vision – the plan – that you had for Mary and for Jesus. Thank you for the vision you have for each one of us. I pray that you will give us courage and help us to walk boldly in that vision with confidence in you and your plan for our lives. Amen!

MARANATHA!

© December, 2009

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The Gift of Reconciliation

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ, and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation; namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not reckoning to them their trespasses, and having committed to us the word of reconciliation.

Acts 7:26 The day following, he appeared to them as they fought, and urged them to be at peace again, saying, ‘Sirs, you are brothers. Why do you wrong one another?

One of the definitions of “reconcile” according to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary is:
1 : to restore to friendship or harmony

Reconciliation comes as a result of forgiveness. If you missed the blog on forgiveness, please go back to December 16 and read that blog. You need to understand what it means to truly forgive someone before you can understand reconciliation.

God takes reconciliation seriously. So much so that he addresses it in Matthew 5:22-24: “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. (emphasis mine).

If there is someone who has something against you, why not go to them as the Bible says and be reconciled? It doesn’t matter who started the argument. It doesn’t matter what the argument was about. It doesn’t matter where the fault lies. It will not matter six months from now. But what will matter is that you are obedient to what God’s Word says. Go back to the top of this blog and read 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 again. God loved us so much that He reconciled us to Him through His Son and does not count our trespasses against us because of that reconciliation. How can we do any less than obey Him by seeking reconciliation with the person who has something against us?

MARANATHA!

© December, 2009