Book Pick–A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander

This is the fourth novel I’ve read by Tamera Alexander. As with the previous three, Alexander weaves a tale which blends authentic historical information with fictional characters who come alive in the story, as though they once lived as well. If you love a story rich in history, and filled with unexpected twists and turns, Tamera Alexander is certain to become one of your favorite authors.

A Beauty So Rare places plain Eleanor Braddock at the Belmont Mansion, home of Adelicia Acklen, Braddock’s aunt and one of America’s richest women. Having served as a nurse in the Civil War, Eleanor carries the dying wish of a soldier with her, hoping to deliver a message to his widow one day. Without resources and natural beauty, Eleanor believes she will never marry, though her aunt is determined to find her a good match, forcing Eleanor to choose between marrying for love or out of necessity.

 A simple act of kindness takes Eleanor down a different path, one which leads to the establishment of a home for Civil War widows and their children. Her adventures pair her with an architect, Marcus Gottfried, who has left Austria and his inheritance to establish his own life’s adventures.  Together they find common ground and a deep, abiding love they didn’t expect. But will it come too late?

Other books to enjoy by Alexander:

A Lasting Impression (first in the Belmont Mansion series)





To Whisper Her Name (Belle Meade Plantation Series)





Your turn: What authors do you enjoy and why? I’d love to hear from you.


A Bicycle Built for Two Baskets


Wrought iron. Knee high. Black. The two-wheeled bicycle plant stand caught my eye as my husband and I shopped the garden center offerings of our local supermarket. No chains. No brakes. Only two basket holders—one over the front wheel and one behind the tiny seat. Space enough for a bouquet of petunias or pansies. Perfect.

“Want one?” My husband examined the two-wheeler, turning it in his hands.

“Let me think about it.” I pointed to the grocery department. “I need a couple of things.”

When we returned to checkout, my husband reminded me again of the bike stand. “There aren’t  many left. If you wait, they may all be gone.”

“I’d love one.”

In many ways, the bicycle built for two baskets represents our marriage. Two people navigating the same path together for nearly forty years. We’ve weathered the storms that have come our way, clinging to each other for strength and purpose. Without chains to pedal or brakes to stop us, we’ve walked through children challenges, family deaths, and financial crises of different proportions, emerging on the other side stronger and more committed to each other than before.

The Bible tells us that God created the world, the sun, moon and stars, the vegetation and the animals. His final creation was man. After each endeavor, God looked upon his handiwork and declared it good. But for man, he said. “ I will make for him a helpmate, for it is not good for man to be alone.”

He didn’t create another animal. Or another moon. He didn’t build another star or add another man. He made woman in man’s image.

God ordained men and women to form relationships together. To battle the circumstances life on this earth brings. “Therefore a man shall leave his mother and his father and cleave to his wife. And the two shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5, and Mark 10:7  All three passages refer to this theme.

 This post comes on our 39th anniversary. God intended for our relationship to grow and change, and it has. Just like sharing the responsibility for our garden has grown, our commitment to each other has followed the same path. I like to think that the blooms we produce every summer reflect  the blossoms of our love. Your New Go-To Site

Have you ever missed a local concert by your favorite Christian group because you discovered it the day after it played?

 Or a book you wanted to buy and were waiting for it to drop in price had a “today only” special and you didn’t know about it?

Faith is the site for you.

Launched earlier this month, is the go-to site for everything related to the faith-based life. You can find blogs related to your life’s challenges, scripture to guide your day, church happenings, and book signings by your favorite authors. All listed by your state and region.

At the time of the launch, regional coordinators for were at work in Portland and Eugene, OR; San Diego, Denver, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Grand Rapids, Birmingham, Orlando, Atlanta, Boston, Minneapolis, and St. Louis. The following cities have just been added: Seattle, Houston, Memphis, Richmond VA, Kansas City.  Area coordinators have been hired to list music venues, special speakers, college events, and local authors book signings.

And the best news?  Membership is free. Just provide your e-mail address and choose a password and you are on your way. Check it out and then check-in.


Because the site is new and growing and changing every day. Tell your friends. By this time next year, you won’t know how you managed without it.

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Author’s note: is the brainchild of Greg Johnson, current head of Word Serve Literary in Denver, Colorado. Greg has been in publishing for nearly twenty-five years. He has written and published twenty works of nonfiction with traditional publishers as well as being a magazine editor for a teenage boys magazine for five years. He has a deep-seated heart for ministry.


Hug A Soldier This Fourth of July

 Check off list for the Fourth:

The barbecue is ready.

The dogs are ready to grill.

The tote is packed for the beach.

The sunscreen and hats are loaded.

All that remains is to hug a soldier.


The soldier is the one to whom you are indebted this Fourth of July.

He carried a gun so you wouldn’t have to.

He faced off the enemy so you could wave a flag at today’s parade.

He walked more miles in the sand than you will ever walk in malls.

He wore battle fatigues in the searing sun so you could sunbathe on your favorite beach.

He slept on a cot in the cold so you could warm up in your pillow top mattress.

He watched friends die in explosions so you could watch fireworks in the sky.

He went to war so you could live in peace. 

On this Fourth of July, 2014, while you are celebrating the independence of our nation, remember the freedoms we enjoy were bought at a terrible price. Men and women have laid their lives down that we might live as we choose. The sanctions, constitutions, and other documents of peace were signed with their blood. 

 If you see a soldier this holiday, shake their hand, thank them for their service, buy them a meal, and give them a hug. 

You owe them. 

Happy Fourth of July