Merry Christmas!

Isaiah 9:6: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Our family: standing – Gary, Me with Gracie, Lindsay and Chloe, Josh Valerio, sitting Kamie Tierce, and Evan

 

Peace out. See you in 2013!

 

 

Looking for a Hero?

Today my guest is Naty Matos with her Christmas novella.

In life we all are in need of a hero. As we face the difficulties we look for a way out. We want a path that will set our journey in a better direction. So we look around for someone to guide that journey. We don’t want empty words of someone who has not been in our situations. We don’t want the counsel of those who speak out of their minds and not their experiences. We want someone who has been in our shoes and has been able to overcome.
But one thing I’ve noticed is that most of our heroes fail. They overcome dire situations and we think we can look up to them. All of the sudden something happens where they do something that we didn’t expect and they disappoint us. The word of God alert us of placing our faith in humans that will fail us in Psalm 146:3 when he tells us “Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.”

In the direst moment of my life I found a hero. A hero who could I relate to. Who was able to show me a new way of life. See, when I heard about salvation I used to ask, why do I need a savior? What do I need to be saved from? I discovered that I had to be saved from a life of sin, from living life the wrong way. I needed to learn to live the right way to stop the pain that I thought it was normal to live. And sometimes I needed to be saved from myself.

After years of banging my head against the wall without results and decided that maybe I should try something else, something different. I found a hero that had lived the things I had lived. He was lied to, mistreated and abused. He was rejected and taken advantage of. The difference between him and I was that I had brought some of those things upon myself. He had done nothing to deserve that treatment. He was sinless as it states in 2 Corinthians 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” He even loved me to the point of teaching me how to lead a different path in life. Now that’s a hero, I can believe in and follow.

By now you probably have figured out that Jesus is my hero. Since I’ve followed his path he’s never let me down. He has made my life worth living and given me a better quality one. So, have you been struggling? Have you been trying all sorts of things and nothing seems to work? Then maybe is time to try one last time. Try the one who loves you no matter what you’ve done. The one who will satisfy your life. Remember that it’s worth making this decision. The bible tells us in Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” How great it is that he is able to do for us way more than we can imagine, way more than we deserve.

It’s time to try the way of Jesus Christ!

Check out my new novella “Season’s Greetings from Amelia” available now on Kindle, Smashwords and Nook. This great novella brings mystery, suspense and the best stocking stuffer for your favorite e-reader. You can get your copy for just 0.99 cents only during the month of December.

Book Description
Daisy has the perfect life, beautiful children and a wonderful husband. And Christmas is right around the corner. Tis the season to be jolly… Or is it?
Daisy’s life is flipped upside down by strange letters that are sent to her by her best friend, Amelia. And as her life continues to quickly spiral out of control, she realizes that something BIG is about to happen. Can she put aside her confusion, hurt, and anger in order to solve a mystery that may have a horrific ending????
Can Daisy’s life ever return to normal regardless to whether she does or doesn’t?

Author Bio
Naty Matos was born in the city of New York. She grew up in the beautiful Island of Puerto Rico and now lives in the city of Atlanta.
She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology with a Minor in Mass Media Communications and a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling.
Naty writes Christian fiction and non-fiction. She maintains a blog on Christian Living Topics atwww.therisingmuse.com

Copyright © The Rising Muse 2012

Christmas Bells, free on Kindle!

Christmas Bells will be free on Kindle from December 13-15th!

A Christmas Eve blizzard strands dozens of tourists like a bad episode of Survivor:Cherryvale on Grace’s wedding anniversary no less. Instead of directing the Christmas pageant, and hibernating to spend an evening alone with her husband, Grace must scramble to feed and house the multitudes. When she challenges a troubled young soldier fleeing mistakes she’s made with her own family, Grace is reminded of the real meaning of Christmas.
What are reviewers saying?
From Amazon:
  • “I can not tell you enough that you MUST read this story! It is just the thing to bring you up if you’re down, to warm your heart in a cold world, and to brighten your Christmas!”
  • “I loved the Cherryvale characters and holiday moments!”
  • “I loved how the book ended…literally gave me chills. A heart warming and inspirational read. Recommended!”
From Goodreads:
  • “Some quirky, but realistic characters, and some heartfelt issues make this a sweet book in a Christmas themed spirit!”
Merry Christmas!
Main Street Cherryvale – before its blanket of snow

 

An unplanned pregnancy?

Today I’m honored to host Deborah Heal with a poignant, thought-provoking story that will touch your heart.

*****

Writing Real Good

by Deborah Heal

Christian fiction writers sometimes think their stories are less important than the sermons, essays, and treatises of the “serious” non-fiction writer. But imaginative writing has tremendous power to teach deep truths. For example, many, many people have come to know God through C. S. Lewis’ Narnia stories.

Storytelling is even an effective tool for fund raising. One Christmas, when it was time to send out the monthly newsletter for our crisis pregnancy center, I decided to use a story to help readers understand the problems families faced. Here is the letter I sent out:

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger.” Luke 2:7

Every parent wants the best for their precious little ones. But for some couples like, Carl and Brenda…

June, 1955. Carl was just out of the service and couldn’t find a job. And he had a wife and two kids—Brenda, three-year-old Stevie, and two-month-old Patty. So Carl packed up the family and moved, but with the recession there were no jobs. For a while Brenda worked at the dime store, and Carl stayed home to watch the kids. With no gas for the car, he walked across town when he heard the Shell station was hiring. Sure enough, the sign in the window said, HELP WANTED, but the man inside told him the job had just been filled. It was a long walk back home. “The Air Force will take me back,” he told Brenda. But the Air Force was not taking men with two children.

The approaching Christmas season just highlighted their misery. “Well,” Brenda said, “at least Patty is too little to know about Christmas presents.” Or maybe she did and that’s why she cried so much. She seemed hungry all the time, no matter how often she nursed, and Brenda began to wonder if she had enough milk.

Brenda cried in the doctor’s office when he explained that, “yes, you can get pregnant even while you’re nursing.” And when baby Mikey came, he slept in a dresser drawer because Patty still needed the crib.

This Christmas season I am asking you to consider a very special gift so that we can continue to help families like Carl and Brenda’s resist the pressure to abort their baby “Mikey’s.” Your gift will allow us to help with baby supplies—like a crib for the baby to sleep in.

Apparently, my little story helped to put a face on the problems associated with unplanned pregnancies, because donations poured into the center. 

Does the story seem too overly sentimental? The “Patty” in the story is me. I’m grateful to be able to use my family’s ordeal to write “real good.”

 

Deborah Heal is the author of the young adult novels Time and Again and Unclaimed Legacy She lives in Waterloo, Illinois, where she enjoys reading, gardening, and learning about southern Illinois history. She is married and has three grown children, three grandchildren, and a canine buddy named Scout (a.k.a. Dr. Bob). Currently, she is working on book three in the Time and Again trilogy.

Visit Deborah at her website: http://www.deborahheal.com/, her  Facebook Fan Page, and Goodreads. Her books may be purchased on Amazon.com

A new Christmas novella, a good friend, and not one, but TWO recipes

To celebrate the release of CHRISTMAS BELLS, I’m combining the two things that always receive the most visits and comments:

A visit from my friend, Luann, with one two of her delicious recipes, and the announcement of my latest Cherryvale book.

Win-win!! 

Luann’s got the chops in the kitchen, and she’s a hoot as well. If you haven’t subscribed to her blog, Mudpuddle, hurry and do so, then come right back.

I guess you’ve noticed cooking with exotic salts is trending! so always on top of the latest, Lu’s showing us how to make  Salted Lemon Caramel Sauce. Good on any.thing.

So snuggle in with a cup of hot tea, a sample of Lu’s drop dead delish dessert, and take a trip to Cherryvale, where a Christmas eve blizzard’s got the town scrambling to find enough room in the Inn. And food to fill hungry bellies of dozens of stranded, grumpy travelers. Lu, Grace could really use your help!

And now, here’s Lu!

*******

When Better Than Good is Just Right

Well, I’m sure you know what I mean.
Sometimes things are good.

Like Weegie soaking up the morning sun with his squeaky toy.

 

Or a piece of The Fresh Apple Cake made with Honeycrisps. (pictured at the top of this post)

 

 

The Fresh Apple Cake 

1.  Chop and toast 1 1/2 cup pecans (or walnuts).  The toasting is SO important.  Let them cool completely.

2.  Peel and chop 3 cups Honeycrisp apples.  Pour 1/4 c. fresh-squeezed lemon juice over the apples.  Set aside.

3.  With a mixer, combine 2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 c. vegetable oil, 2 tsp. vanilla, 2 eggs, and 1 tsp. salt.  Just mix until well combined.

4.  In a separate large bowl combine 3 c. flour, 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg.

5.  With a wooden spoon, mix together the sugar mixture and the flour mixture.

6.  Stir in the apples and pecans.

7.  Bake in a well-greased and floured tube pan at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

8.  Allow to cool in pan for about 5 minutes.  Run a sharp knife all around the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan.

9.  Invert onto plate.  Glaze with a mix of powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice.

But. As good as those things are… this is better

A piece of  Fresh Apple Cake with a little Salted Lemon Caramel Sauce.

See. I told you.

This sauce is something you don’t want to miss. I promise.
I can think of all kinds of things you could drizzle it over.

Pecan Pie
Brownies
Pound Cake
Ice Cream

Your finger.

A carrot.

It makes anything better than it was before.

(Except Weegie, of course. He can’t be improved upon!)

Try it. You’ll love me more than Friday!

Luann’s Salted Lemon Caramel Sauce

 2 cups light brown sugar
½ c. heavy cream
½ c. milk
1 stick butter
¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 ½ T. vanilla paste (or vanilla)
The juice of one lemon
Combine the brown sugar, cream, milk, and butter in a medium saucepan and cook while stirring over medium heat. You don’t really ever want to see it boil…
Cook and stir until it begins to thicken. (about 8-10 minutes) Stir in the salt. Cook for about 5 more minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla paste and the lemon juice. Stir very well.
Let cool slightly but serve while warm.
This makes a lot and can be reheated in microwave!
 ****
Thanks, Lu! Keep ’em coming, and give Weegie a cuddle for me!