Thou Shalt Laugh - Dana Daniels

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Christmas All Year Long - Repost

Sometimes things just don't work out the way we plan, do they?  Jason and I have been sick for over a week now.  That means we were sick during our church's Christmas program.  We were sick at the family's Christmas Eve gathering.  We were sick for Christmas day and the celebrations that took place that day.  And we were sick for Jason's two days of vacation time.  Instead of joy and peace, we experienced aches and pains.  Our ho-ho-ho's were replaced with hack-hack-hack's.  The time we had looked forward to spending with family and catching up on some things that needed to be done (hiking with the dogs, splitting firewood, etc.) was spent in bed trying to recover from these horrible head colds.  I don't know what's going around this year, but it's nasty, and it does not want to let go.

Today is the first day that I feel somewhat normal.  My head is still a bit stuffy and my body is a lot achy, but overall, I feel much better than I did.  At least, I did feel better until I started looking around and taking stock of how far behind I am.  I discovered writing projects that are overdue, a house that looks like it has been hit by a hurricane, an overflowing laundry basket and Christmas decorations that are ready to be stored.  Just a quick look around had me searching for a place to sit down and rest.  I was overwhelmed by the tasks awaiting me.

Deciding to pace myself, I determined to tackle the laundry and the putting away of Christmas presents.  Sadly, all of our gifts sat in bags on the dining room table where they had been since we brought them home Christmas day.  As I went through the bags this morning, I was amazed at how many gifts I had forgotten about.  I heard myself making comments like, "Oh yeah, I forgot about that sweater." and "I didn't realize he got a knife set."  I guess I had felt worse than I realized because I had forgotten about one third of my gifts.  In that respect, this morning was almost like Christmas morning all over again.  For the first time, I really got to open and examine my gifts.

As I look back at the re-opening of my gifts, I am reminded of one of my favorite Bible passages, Lamentations 3:22-23:   It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.  When it comes to the Lord's goodness, love and mercy, every day is like Christmas morning.  We awake from our slumber and are privileged to unwrap God's gift of another day.  A day filled with His grace.  A day filled with His peace.  A day filled with His unending love.  His ongoing gift to us.  And to be honest, some days I see that mercy, love and grace in all new ways.  I find the same awe as I did looking back through my gifts this morning.  "Oh yeah, I had forgotten about that."  And yet, God is faithful to give me another day of blessings, another gift of life.

Because of sickness, I may have missed out on this year's Christmas celebrations, but nothing can hinder me from experiencing that "Christmas morning" feeling all year long.  Yes, great is God's faithfulness!

(I hope you don't mind that I pulled this post out from last year.  Fortunately, Jason and I were both healthy this Christmas, and this post was a powerful reminder to me of how much I have for which to be thankful.)

Adriana's Secrets by Cheryl Colwell

A contemporary suspense novel, Adriana's Secrets, Book Two in The Secrets of the Montebellis Series, travels back to Lisa Richardson's great-grandmother's time and fills in the exciting stories alluded to in Book One.

Tragedy strikes the mountain town of Mont Castello, the home of Adriana Montebelli. Orphaned in 1888, Adriana's life is swept along at the whim of forceful men who decide where she will live and who she will marry. Instead of breaking her, their cruel deceptions toughen her resolve to take control. Though she rises to manage the vast Van Buren estate, she wonders if her broken heart will have the strength to love again.

Follow Adriana in this historical novel as she navigates the challenges of woman's suffrage, union violence, and the tragic hardships of love and loss, while managing to cling to her faith.

My Review:

I truly enjoyed the first book in this series, but I believe I enjoyed the second book even more.  From the very beginning, I was pulled into the story, present through all the joys and heartache encountered by Adriana, the main character.  Though parts of the story were quite predictable (especially toward the end), I still found myself unable to put the book down.  The story was well-written, and the plot was well thought-out.  The characters were intriguing and so very life-like.  To be honest, there were a few characters to whom I desired to deliver a few well-deserved slaps, and of course, there were those who were lovable beyond belief.

Probably my favorite thing about this book is that it was clean.  I didn't have to skip around curse words or dance around inappropriate scenes.  In fact, I say that this book serves as proof that a good story does not need all that filth to make it a good story.  A truly good book can stand on its own, and Cheryl's novel certainly qualifies.

I also enjoyed the accounts of Adriana's faith in God.  Despite her difficult circumstances, she knew that God was faithful and just, and she never lost faith in Him, even when she felt she had no other hope to which to cling.  She is a true role model for every believer and a reminder that God never forsakes His children, even when it may seem like He has.

If you enjoy romance, action, adventure and mystery, you'll love this book!  So curl up by the fire, grab a cup of hot chocolate and get your copy of Cheryl Colwell's new book, Adriana's Secrets.