Circle of Spies is one of the best books I’ve read set in the middle of the war between the states. Roseanne M White successfully showed the hearts of both Union and Confederate characters. As always, she takes unique traits and makes them believable. Her characters’ faith and redemption are so very well written that I must believe they are inspired by the Lord. Love this series and look forward to more. I found Roseanna White by reading books in the Escape Program. Now I buy them in advance. Sarah Zimmerman performed this audio so well that I forgot it was one person. PG
The Color of Heaven Series, Volume 2
By: Julianne MacLean
Narrated by: Julia Motyka, Jennifer O’Donnell, Paul L. Coffey
Overall 3 out of 5 stars Performance 5 out of 5 stars Story 3 out of 5 stars
I searched for an inspirational Audible and this came up. The plot began with promise and even though there was a great deal of time spent in the teenage world with information, I continued. Most information was not needed to move the plot, but the book promised a great twist. Then death. New characters…death. New character’s death. But still, there’s a promise of this amazing twist and then …there wasn’t.
I could handle all of that, for lessons of faith, for lessons in overcoming, for a love that reaches from Heaven. But this book doesn’t give even a vague hope of something more than a cosmic wish. If you think inspirational means a lot of people die and then there’s a happy ending, then you’ll like this book. If you believe Destiny is designed by the Creator, love is a product of God’s Grace you’ll be disappointed. There needs to be a category that classifies books better.
I love choosing a birthday person each year. It keeps me from remembering how old I am and it gives me an opportunity to thank people who have blessed my life. This year, I had two people in the run-off. Then I realized these two people don’t know each other but they are connected.
Thank you to my two birthday people for 2020. You are awesome and kind to put up with me. Pastor Mark Forrest and Diane Munford.
Dr. Forrest is the pastor at Lakeside Baptist and probably one of the best preachers I’ve ever heard. In 2018, I had the joy of helping Mark publish his first book. You can’t imagine how much you learn when editing a book and this book, Soul Beginnings, introduces the first 11 chapters of Genesis. Mark writes as he preaches—for everyday people—those who have questions, make mistakes, and long for God’s grace. And that is me. Even more important than how I’ve grown while sitting in a pew learning from this young man is how Dickey has grown. Yes, there are times my husband is still a grumpy old man, but I watch Dickey take notes during Marks sermons and see the changes in his spirit in the weekdays after services and I’m so grateful. Also, Mark has challenged the Lakeside congregation to have “A One” this year. A One is someone we can be friends with and share God’s love with.
Diane Munford and I met a few years back at the Dulcimer Festival in Glen Rose. Her Mom is the person everyone calls Mom in the Texas and Oklahoma Dulcimer communities and her brother, Dana is co-founder of the Glen Rose festival. Mom Hamilton and Dana asked me to call Diane and play dulcimers with her. I did, thinking Diane could be ‘My One.’ Instead I have become her one. She has lifted me up so often this year, sharing music, laughter, and Pickleball. When I’m down she makes me laugh. With each laugh, I believe we both grew closer to God. God’s joyous laugh is truly a blessing.
See below for more info on why and how I have a birthday person instead of a birthday party.
When I turned thirty-three, I hated my birthday. I found myself in an emotional waiting room, dressed in my party clothes, wondering who would give me a party? Who would bring presents, bake a cake, blow-up balloons? Who would say I’m of value even though I’m getting older?
“Well, what do you want to do?” my husband asked in an exasperated voice.
“I … I want … I don’t know,” I stuttered, “something special.”
“You want to go to the new restaurant?”
“Go out with friends?”
“Something special, so I don’t just feel old.”
“Hmmmm.” He disappeared into the garage. (I’ve always thought garages were built just so men had a place to escape.)
With no party in sight, I decided to give my own. How to celebrate? I couldn’t really think of any event that would turn my depression into joy. I had no idea what I truly wanted or needed.
Down through the years, Christmas time had remained my favorite celebration. I loved to give gifts, especially to those who meant a great deal to me. This is where the idea to select a Birthday Person formed.
Now each year I select someone who has blessed my life. I chose my mom first. I was her eighth child. She gave me life and added a great deal of fun and love to my life along the way. Next was my sister, Ouida. We shared everything. Best of all, she shared her faith in Christ with me and many others. She died a few years after I made her my Birthday Person. We never know how long we have to say “thank you.”
In the months before my birthday, I think of all the people who have blessed me. I search for a small token—a gift. Then I plan what I want to say. After writing my first rough draft, I get a clean sheet of paper that doesn’t have tear stains on it. And then I create the finished product and mail it with a simple present. There have been many tears involved in writing notes to my Birthday Person, tears of joy, tears of healing—tears shared on the giving and the receiving end.
I’ve chosen a Birthday Person each year, all my sisters, brothers, daughters, youth directors, pastors, grandchildren, family, and friends—all have changed my life in amazing ways. Some years it has been more difficult to choose a birthday person and several times I’ve included a group—my Sunday School class, Facebook friends and more. It has blessed me beyond any gift I could have received. By focusing on others, I have eliminated the fear of more wrinkles and gray hair looming in my future. I’m amazed when glancing back over the copies of these letters to see many people on my list have now passed away—my mom, sisters, brothers, and friends. People who changed my life and who gave me so much, people I could never thank enough, now gone. I’m glad I thanked them when I did.
Thankfulness feeds a healthy soul within us. My “Birthday Person” celebration has spread to many of my friends. The healing power of saying “thank you” and praising others can keep you young—that and a box of hair color and really good facial serum.
I now look forward to my birthday. I hope you look forward to yours. Try celebrating with a thank you gift.
Life Lessons: In Psalms100:4 it says: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.” In the culture of that time, the gate was like the courtyard or the entryway of a home, but the court was the living area—the place to be at home with special friends. Taking the time to say thank you. Offer a little praise, not only makes you happy, it can change someone’s life, especially your children. Teaching your kids to say thank you and to praise is a huge gift to them. But the greatest gift is to teach them to be thankful to God and to praise him. Enjoy your birthday.
1865 – Marietta Hughes never wanted to be a spy, but can she protecting a Union agent infiltrating the KGC?
Slade Osborne, an undercover Pinkerton agent, is determined to do whatever is necessary to end the conflict between the North and the South, but the beautiful woman…
Circle of Spies is one of the best books I’ve read sit in the middle of the war between the states. Roseanne M White successfully showed the hearts of both Union and Confederate characters. As always, she takes unique traits and makes them believable. Her characters’ faith and redemption are so very well written that I must believe they are inspired by the Lord. I love this series and look forward to more. I found Roseanna White by reading books in the Escape Program. Now I buy them in advance. Sarah Zimmerman performed this audio so well that I forgot it was one person.
Historically Accurate, Suspenseful, Excellent
Overall 5 of 5 stars Performance 5 of 5 stars Story 5 of 5 stars
If my manuscripts were books, my book tunnel would be an opening to a mile of bookshelves. When I had cancer a few years ago, I realized if I don’t get my greatly loved stories finished, edited and published, they will never be a book. My children will trash them the day after my death. Maybe not the day after, but soon. Therefore I must get ‘er done.
Reading is my entertainment, but it is also a great tool for writing. I review almost every book I read. In planning my goals for 2020, I have decided to use the books I read to make me a better writer, a more productive writer and maybe sell a few books.
Whispers from the Shadows–Roseanna M. White mesmerizes the reader and artfully blends the grace-filled life of a believer with the struggles of war, love, good and evil. She continues to hold my attention, entertains me and encourages my walk of faith without preaching. Even though I didn’t care for such a long chapter on overcoming the dark shadow and wished the author could bring the Light at a faster pace, it’s perhaps more real-life. Can’t wait for the next book.
When I was a girl, I was so broken. Not to say at times now, I still crack a bit. However, I know the Maker can make me new again. No matter how totally I shatter. How did I do that? This might help explain it. My version is probably more emotional. But if you like it in black -and-white-simple, this might help. HOW TO BE UNBROKEN.
If you want to know more, leave a comment.
May 7 is my daughter’s birthday. She began life being the only girl in a nursery of about 10 very loud baby boys. No quite birthing rooms, just loud boys.
Stephanie was always strong, strong in heart, strong in character and strong in her physical body. She could spell our Chaparral in backhand springs. She was a lifeguard at the city pool when she was 17. Below is a story originally published in Chicken Soup for the Soul-Touched by an angel. Happy Birthday to one of my best friends. I love you.
Love Lifted Me
Gut wrenching! The feeling hit me like a fist to the middle section. I grabbed the top rails of the fifteen-foot ladder where I had been painting the exterior of the house. I shut my eyes and gained my balance before I closed the paint can and descended. Step by step, I inched my way down and staggered into the house. Then I began my litany of what might be wrong.
The noonday sun is too hot! I must be hungry. Am I sick? After I washed my face, I fell across the bed to rest. As soon as my head hit the pillow, I knew. Pray! Pray for Stephanie. Our daughter’s on a rafting trip with her church youth group—what could be wrong? She’s a lifeguard. She’s strong. Besides, the Guadalupe River ran languid and narrow through the city of New Braunfels.
The knot in my stomach twisted again and I quickly slipped to my knees.
God, help my daughter. I have no idea what’s wrong, but I know You are looking over her. Please send angels to guard her. Lift her up to receive your blessing. Help her please, Father God! Help my daughter!
Feeling better, I stood and did some house cleaning. It was Friday and my husband would be home early. I decided to stay off the ladder for the rest of the weekend. By Sunday, the incident had slipped from my worry box, all but forgotten.
Sunday, Stephanie came bounding in the door after church. Sunburned, tired and hungry, she dropped her bags, rummaged through the refrigerator and came to sit beside me as I folded clothes. She sat close, her skin radiating heat.
“Wow!” I said. “You better get something on that burn.”
“You know me,” she answered leaning toward me. “It will turn to a tan in a few days.” I leaned in toward her and enjoyed the rare moment of my teenager actually wanting to stay close to me.
“Mom,” she continued. “I almost died.”
“What?” I asked, thinking I didn’t hear her correctly. “How?”
“I fell off my raft at one of the little falls. It was stupid because the water wasn’t very deep and it wasn’t white water or anything.”
“Did you have a cramp or something?”
“No, the raft was on top of me—so I dove under. Then I couldn’t get up. No matter how hard I kicked, I didn’t go anywhere. It was like something kept pulling me back. Then everything turned dark and I knew, I was going to die.”
“How did you get up?” I asked.
“I don’t know.” Stephanie’s eyes, blue as heaven sparkled with emotion. “Something just lifted me.”
My stomach wrenched. “When did that happen?”
“Friday. It was right before lunch.” Her voice faded. “It scared me.”
“I knew!” I said. “I really knew.” Then I told her about the gut-wrenching feeling and told her about my prayers.
The words to the old song, “Love Lifted Me” swirled through my head as we talked.
“That explains why I felt like something lifted me up,” Stephanie said as she hugged me. “I guess an angel lifted me.”
The editor added this quote:
Faith is not without worry or care, but faith is fear that has said a prayer.- author unknown