I do not read every book/author I spotlight or book tour I host!
Readers, Please research and use wisdom before buying

Saturday, December 30, 2017

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Russell Williams & Carbon-14 The Shroud of Turin

Good Morning and Welcome to the LAST Saturday Spotlight in 2017!

I'm rethinking my blog schedule for 2018 but one thing that will remain as long as possible is Saturday Spotlight.

Today's guest, Russell Williams visited with us on Thanksgiving Day, so please welcome him back with a peek into his novel, Carbon - 14 the Shroud of Turin.....

 The Shroud of Turin is the most studied relic in history. More than 99 percent of the evidence suggests the Shroud is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus Christ. Only one test says otherwise—the carbon date performed in 1988.

In 1988, a serial killer with a fetish for fire targets the faithful of Tucson, Arizona. Homicide detective, Pete Johnston, works to catch the killer before more clergy are killed, before more churches are burned.

His daughter, Amari Johnston, is a criminal justice major at the University of Arizona. When the Shroud of Turin is carbon dated at her university, the results reveal that the relic is a medieval forgery. Amari investigates this ancient cold case file for a class project and makes a shocking discovery that could alter the fate of Christianity.
She teams up with Dr. Kevin Brenner, a brilliant young experimental physicist, and together they gather evidence so they can plead their case to the Vatican. When Amari appears on the national news, she draws the attention of the serial killer. Her father desperately tries to protect her and catch the killer before she becomes his next victim.

“We should have taken Interstate 10,” Amari said. “We are literally in the middle of nowhere.”
“It’s scenic nowhere, ain’t it?” Kevin replied.
“The mountains were pretty, but past Show Low there’s nothing. All I see is brown grass and scrubby little trees.”
“Live and learn. We’ll take Interstate 10 on the way back to tomorrow.”
“That’s a good idea. I don’t like this. We’re like the only car on the road.”
“Not the only one. There’s an 18-wheeler coming toward us. And then there’s that idiot on my tail. He’s been on my bumper for the last five miles. I’m going sixty-five now. That’s ten miles over the limit,” he said, his eyes narrowed in anger at the rear-view mirror. “As soon as that truck goes by, I’ll slow down so he can pass.”
She turned her head to look. It was an older model, navy-blue, Lincoln Town car. And it was right on their bumper. “That’s an old man’s car. They don’t usually speed,” she said and turned back to face the road.
“Maybe they’re trying to get to the hospital. I’ll slow down so he can pass right after this truck goes by.”
A blue object caught her eye. She snapped her head around. “That guy’s in the emergency lane. He’s right next to us!”
“It that guy crazy?” he said and slowed down so he could pass.
The Lincoln Town car slowed down too and stayed next to them. Her pulse hammered hard and she recalled the guy from the library. Could that be him? She strained to see the driver. The window was tinted. All she saw was black glass.
The car suddenly lunged left. It crashed into Kevin’s car, knocking it into the path of the fast approaching truck.
“Kevin!” she screamed.
White smoke billowed from the truck’s tires.
He jerked the wheel left. The car swerved into the emergency lane and just missed the truck. He lost control. The car fishtailed in the dirt and came to a rest, a cloud of dust blocking their view.
“You okay?” he asked in a panic. “That guy was trying to kill us!”
“I think he was!” she cried back at him.
The dust settled. They found themselves catty-corner to the road, the front of the car facing the highway. A dark car sat in the emergency lane. The 18-wheeler pulled over down the road.
“Get behind the car!” Kevin demanded. He pulled a black revolver from under his seat.
“You’ve got a gun!”
“Don’t argue, just get behind the car!”
She yanked open the door and clambered out. Kevin got out and ran around to meet her.
“Get down!” he yelled. Using the car for cover, he crouched and cocked the revolver, aiming for the dark car.
She stooped down behind the car. “I can’t believe you brought a gun!”
“I’m from Tennessee!”
“And I’m a Republican!”
She peered over the edge of the car to get a view. “Kevin, that’s not the car.”
“What do you mean, it’s not the car?”
“The car that hit us was a Lincoln Town car. I know my cars, and that’s not it.” She cautiously stood and inspected the car more closely. Recognition dawned. It was the black Mercedes. Two men sat unmoving inside.
“Then why are they just sitting there.” He tensed his grip on the gun. “Why don’t they come see if we need help?”
“Maybe it’s because you have a gun pointed at them!”
“I’m sorry, but when someone tries to turn us into road pizza, I get a little tense.”
She noticed the truck driver walking toward them. Suddenly, the Mercedes spat dirt from its tires and sped away.
He finally lowered his gun. “What was that about?”
“I’ve seen that car before. I think they’ve been tailing us.”
“That can’t be good.”
“They’re not the ones that ran us off the road,” she reminded him.
“No, but maybe they were about to finish the job.”

Oh Wow, Russell...sounds like a great read! Good luck and God's blessings with it.

R.A. Williams writes suspenseful Christian fiction that reveals not just the characters’ actions, but the psychological motives behind those actions. He pulls the reader through a full spectrum of emotion while at the same time injecting humor as comic relief. He holds a degree in psychology and sociology, and his published works include the novels Carbon-14: The Shroud of Turin, The Class of 86, and The Gospel According to Todd. His shorter works have appeared in The Christian Communicator, Encounters With God, and Dreams and Visions. His interests include psychology, Biblical history, finger-style guitar, and religious relics such as The Shroud of Turin. He lives in Tennessee with his wife, daughter, and beagle. To learn some “behind the scenes” trivia about the writing of Carbon-14: The Shroud of Turin, visit Russell's website. Carbon-14: The Shroud of Turin is available on Amazon in ebook, Kindle Unlimited, and print.

Hope you enjoyed today's spotlight and that you drop by each week to discover another great author and his/her book(s)!

Until next time take care and God bless.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

#SaturdaySpotlight is on William Burt & The Lake Lights!

Good Morning and Merry Christmas Weekend!

As you set about this weekend for travel, food, fun and family, please be safe and keep in mind the real reason for Christmas.

Over the last couple of months, today's guest has shared treasures and thoughts with us but today William Burt is giving us a peek into his novel, The Lake Lights. Take it away, William....

What are the mysterious lights flitting above Oswego Lake on moonlit nights? Marsh gas? Ball lightning? Or holdovers from the dawn of Creation?

When Jonathan Oliver makes it his homeschool project to track down the source of the Lake Lights, his search leads him to Iron Mountain’s abandoned Prosser Mine and its age-old secrets. After his physicist father goes missing in the wilds of Afghanistan, Jon is left to decode a cryptic message leading to yet more mysteries and a remarkable, game-changing invention.

With his grandfather’s help, Jon matches wits with an unscrupulous scientist who will stop at nothing to steal the device and sell it to a shadowy criminal organization. Jon’s dual discoveries not only help him to deliver his city from total annihilation but also ultimately rock the scientific world to its very foundations.


Gliding silently through the night, the huntress skimmed the lake’s moon-silvered waters, her own reflection moon-like. Lured by the light, a trout swam to the surface, where the she-beast scooped it up and devoured it whole. Her offspring joined in the frenzied fish-fest. Voracious predators, taloned yet toothless, nameless yet having many names, they ruled the lake.
The natives who arrived later knew the beasts as the Skookum-kallakala. No one—especially children—ventured out at night when the Skookum-kallakala were hunting. Fish were not all they ate.
Out of the east the creatures had come. Winging upon the prevailing winds, they skirted the jagged young mountains and reeking volcanoes thrown up during the Great Flood. Harsh winters drove them across uncharted oceans and seas. In their quest for warmth, shelter and prey, they traversed wastelands of freshly laid stone where others of their kind lay entombed in their final agonies.
At length, the Skookum-kallakala reached the coast of a vast continent teeming with wildlife. Enjoying the land’s abundant food and mild climate, the newcomers lacked only a suitable place to breed.
Above an inland lake valley, alternating flows of basaltic magma and an iron-rich slurry had invaded a mountain of flood-borne sediment, forming thick beds of a heavy brown ore. Much of the molten basalt spewed out of the mountain, leaving behind lava tubes and caverns—a perfect refuge from ice and snow, fire and flood.
The Skookum-kallakala had found their ideal home.

 Author Bio: William D. Burt is the award-winning author of the seven-title Christian allegorical “King of the Trees” series. Two of his titles (out of three submitted) were finalists in the 2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest: “The King of the Trees” and “The Golden Wood.”

“The King of the Trees” subsequently won the 2014 Silver Medal in the category of “Christian Fantasy.”

All seven of Burt’s series titles have been awarded five stars by Readers’ Favorite reviewers. He was also a 2013 finalist in The Authors Show.com "50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading" competition.

Volume I in his new Creation Seekers series, “The Lake Lights” is William Burt’s first foray into the realm of science fiction. The plot deals with the investigation of an unusual lake phenomenon in Oregon as well as the discovery of a world-changing invention that helps prevent a nuclear disaster.
As an Assistant Professor in the Special Education Department at Western Oregon University, Burt served as a successful grant-writer and program coordinator. He holds a B.S. in English from Lewis and Clark College and an M.S. from Western Oregon University in Deaf Education. Burt has been an RID-certified sign-language interpreter with over forty years’ experience. His interests include reading, foreign languages and mycology. He is married with two grown children and two grandchildren.

Find out more about William and his books at his Website. The Lakelights is available at Amazon in Print and for Kindle!

Hope you enjoyed today's post, friends and that you'll drop by each week for Tuesday Treasures, Thursday Thoughts and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time, take care and God bless.

Friday, December 22, 2017

#ThursdayThoughts on Friday!

Good Morning!

I normally don't do this but there's a reason I'm posting Thursday Thoughts on Friday Morning...Read on and you'll find out!

It's getting REAL now....Christmas is days away. If you did not receive my newsletter, you're missing out on a great deal of fun. Never fear though, I'm sharing it with you here......


As I was pondering on what to write, these thoughts came to mind....

The Gift of Life

I know and understand the holiday season can be painful for those whose loved ones have transitioned from this life, so I wanted to take a moment, and, hopefully, be an encouragement to YOU–dear family, friends and loved ones.

This is the time of year many people take a moment and reflect on days/weeks/months past. We look forward to ringing in the new, but many times we don’t actually “ring out” the old.

Life is progressive. Always moving forward. Always evolving. Ever changing.

And so should we.

When we look at our pasts and make plans for our future, we should consider what old beliefs and/or mindsets need eradicating from our consciousness and with what to replace them.

Limiting beliefs about love, relationships, jobs, money, etc.,  are best left behind. While thoughts of happiness, joy and abundance are best experienced when allowed to run rampant through our hearts, minds, souls and bodies.

Our entire lives can take a turn for the better, miraculously even, when we choose to focus on the gift of life with which we’ve been blessed.

Therefore, when you take a moment to breathe deeply the crisp, fall air, or to draw in the sights and sounds of the holiday season, enjoy the moment, say a prayer of gratitude for your blessings and remember the old cliché … Yesterday is the past, Tomorrow the future, Today is a gift – that’s why it’s called the Present.  

I have created a Christmas Word Find Puzzle for your fun and entertainment. It even has a misspelled word!

Download it HERE.

Those who find and respond with the misspelled word will be entered into a drawing for a Starbucks OR Amazon gift card. Winner will be announced in the January newsletter. 

ALSO: If you signed up for my newsletter but did not get a welcome email to access your FREE short story, you can read it HERE (password: FREE).

I hope your Holidays are Blessed, Happy and Miraculous and that you'll join me in 2018 for another wonder-filled year.

Until next time, take care and God Bless.

                                                                    * * * * *

Folks seem to be having a LOT of fun with the word find puzzle, I hope you'll play along. If you'd like to sign up to receive my newsletter you can do so in the sidebar, from my website or simply click HERE.

Now for the reason I'm posting my Thursday Thoughts on Friday....  Santa's Book Shop is a feature fellow author Joan Reeves does annually on her blog for Christmas. Also on the 26th, she features boxed sets for 'Boxing Day' (I'll post something about that on the 26th). Meanwhile, be sure and visit Santa's Bookk Shop and choose a book or two for someone on your Christmas list or even for yourself!

Hope you enjoyed today's post and that you'll join me each week for Tuesday Treasures, Thursday Thoughts and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time, take care, God Bless & MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

#TuesdayTreasures with E.A. West!

Happy Tuesday!

Back in 2014 E.A. West shared treasures and the spotlight with us so it is with great pleasure I bring her back for another visit.

When Pam asked me to write about something I treasure, my thoughts immediately went to my youngest dog. I adopted Cody in July of 2014 when he was about eight weeks old. He came from a backyard “oops” litter, and I was assured he was the sweetest puppy of the bunch.

From the moment I met him, I knew he was different. This large, mixed breed pup seemed so confused by everything. He acted like a much younger puppy and was more insecure than he should have been when confronted with anything new. Cody spent most of his first three days at my house hiding behind or under a chair in the living room. Then he came out and started getting to know the other animals and people in the family.

He gained more confidence as he got older, but he continued to get confused easily. His sweet
personality shone through brightly, and he craved touch. It didn’t matter whether he was being petted, cuddled, or just leaning against someone, he constantly wanted physical contact. Mentally, he continued developing slowly. I joked that he was developmentally delayed...until he couldn’t find his way out from under a blanket, even if it was only over his head. I would throw a ball, but he didn’t understand that he was supposed to chase it. That’s when I realized he isn’t developmentally delayed. He has a low IQ.

Fast forward to today. Cody has the maturity level of a six to nine-month-old puppy most of the time and still gets confused, but I couldn’t ask for a sweeter, more intuitive dog. He picks up on the slightest change in my mood and does his best to make me feel better. He’s figured out blankets are fun to play with and no longer gets stuck under them. Fetch is beyond him, but now he’ll chase the ball, touch it with his nose, and stare at me as if to say, “What am I supposed to do now?” He still craves hugs, cuddles, and any physical contact he can get.

It’s been challenging at times to raise this special needs pup. The amount of patience and creativity needed to train him and build his confidence have been astronomical. Yet I will always treasure what I’ve learned along the way and the dog who taught it to me. He’s the most loyal, well-behaved dog I’ve ever owned, and I believe a lot of it can be attributed to his special needs.

Awww...how sweet! Cody reminds me of my own German Shepherd - Cassie! Now tell us about your latest book, Crash Course.

Parties, dirt bikes, boyfriends… Angie has it all, but everything changes when her father kicks her out. Gone are the freedom and parties she thrived on. Now she has to survive a conservative mother with strict rules and a stepfather who may or may not like her. Then she meets freestyle motocross rider Brady Scott. He’s gorgeous, talented, and shows her respect at every turn. There’s only one problem — his opinions of life are opposite hers. The more time she spends with him, however, the more she’s drawn to him.

As Angie struggles to find her place in two conflicting worlds, she gets a crash course in life lessons and has to make a difficult decision — give up the partying life to hang out with Brady and his youth group friends or continue down a dangerous path that could destroy her.

E.A. West, award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, knitting, and crocheting. She lives in Indiana with her family and a small zoo of pets. 

You can find, follow and Like EA at the following locations:

Crash Course can be found at Amazon, B&N, iTunes & Kobo.

Thanks EA! We certainly with you the best of luck and God's blessings with your new book.

Hope you enjoyed today's post and that you'll join me each week for Tuesday Treasures, Thursday Thoughts and Saturday Spotlight.

Meanwhile, I am the guest on Maureen Bonatch & Alina K Field's blog so if you get a moment, please stop by - THANKS!

ALSO: don't forget Mistletoe, Snow and Suspense is still available (for a limited time!) AND some author friends of mine are giving away a Kindle Fire, enter the Rafflecopter giveaway HERE.

That's it for today! Until next time, take care and God Bless.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Mike Befeler & Death of a Scam Artist!

Good Morning Friends!

Over the last three months, Mike Befeler has shared thoughts with us on a new genre of novels categorized as "GeezerLit." Today we get a sneak peek into his novel, Death of a Scam Artist.

 In Death of a Scam Artist, a financial hatchet man who dislikes old people, accepts the job of turning around a failing retirement home and undergoes a life-transforming experience in the world of geezers and geezerettes. He must deal with a suspicious death, a scam, a hit man, an unexpected romance and retired magician Jerry Rhine and his five whacky sidekicks known as the Jerry-atrics. He faces the most important decision of his life when he uncovers the secret behind an unusual murder.

Excerpt: Reginald Bentley sank into a swivel chair previously compressed by a much larger derriere than his. As the new executive director of the peeling white behemoth known as Sunny Crest Retirement Community, he realized the challenge ahead. After detecting a musty smell emanating from the bottom drawer of the worn, wooden desk, he spent thirty minutes removing a grimy coffee mug, disposing of Jolly Rancher wrappers, throwing away a half-eaten, moldy Twinkie, filing poorly written reports and discarding gnawed pencils. 

The framed photograph on the wall of a snow-covered mountain pass would have been the one item of quality here, except for what looked like a bullet hole in the lower left corner and a knife slash on the right side. Below the picture, the once white walls displayed charming brown handprints, possibly the remnants of the previous executive director trying to escape the barely livable workspace. Reginald hoped it was mud or chocolate, and nothing worse. 

He shook his head, wondering what he had gotten himself into. Perhaps he should call in Special Forces with a flame thrower to torch the office. He eyed a bent paper clip that appeared to have a dollop of earwax attached and pitched it into the wastebasket.

A woman who resembled a large red gummy bear in a white nurse’s uniform burst into the office, dragging a tiny, twitching woman by the arm.

Ms. Gummy Bear skidded to a stop in front of his desk. She reminded him of a tank sliding through slime. “We have a dire emergency!” she said.

Mike Befeler is author of fourteen books including six books in the Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mystery Series: Nursing Homes Are Murder; Care Homes Are Murder;Cruising in Your Eighties Is Murder, a finalist for The Lefty Award for best humorous mystery of 2012; Senior Moments Are MurderLiving with Your Kids Is Murder, a finalist for The Lefty Award for best humorous mystery of 2009; and Retirement Homes Are Murder. He has two published paranormal mysteries: The V V Agency and The Back Wing; a theater mystery titled, Mystery of the Dinner Playhouse; a historical mystery, Murder on the Switzerland Trail ; a sports mystery, Court Trouble: A Platform Tennis Mystery; an international thriller, The Tesla Legacy; and his most recent novel is Death of a Scam Artist. 

He also has a non-fiction book titled, For Liberty: A World War II Soldier’s Inspiring Life Story of Courage, Sacrifice, Survival and Resilience (The Best Chicken Thief in All of Europe). 

Mike is past-president of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. After a thirty-nine year business career, he retired into writing. He grew up in Hawaii, spent many years in Boulder, Colorado, and currently lives in Lakewood, California, with his wife Wendy. If you are interested in having the author speak to your book club, contact him at. mikebef@aol.com   His website is http://www.mikebefeler.com and blog is: http://mikebefeler.blogspot.com   Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Wow, thanks Mike! We certainly wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with your books.

Well, Friends, I hope you've enjoyed Mike's visit today. Read his other blog posts Here, Here & Here and be sure to stop by each week for more Tuesday Treasures, Thursday Thoughts and of course, Saturday Spotlight!

Until next time, take care and God Bless.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

#ThursdayThoughts with Gail Nordskog

Good Morning!

As with most of you I'm sure, we're really getting into the "busy" of the busiest season of the year. Except for 1 gift and wrapping, I've finished my Christmas shopping. Now it's just time to get the fun going and over with LOL!

Today's guest visited with us back in September, so please welcome Gail Nordskog back to our blog to share some thoughts with us.

Take it away, Gail.....

Why writing is a form of personal Therapy: 

My writing as a form of personal therapy began over 30 years ago. Sometime during the Jesus Movement in the late 1970’s I gave my life to Jesus.  I was given a gospel track called The Four Spiritual Laws.  God used that little track to open the eyes of my understanding and for me to surrender my life to Him.  I have never looked back.

Just because you become a Christian and partner with the Creator of the Universe, it does not mean you will begin to live an easy life.  In fact, it may be that all hell will break out against you to try to cause you to renounce your faith.   Or just simple, subtle temptations come to entice you to compromise your faith.

I learned quickly that prayer and praise are very powerful weapons in our arsenal as Christians.

2 Corinthians 10: 3-5: For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

I joined a group of women who had a weekly prayer meeting.  Believers who pray God’s word fervently and faithfully are sometimes called Prayer Warriors.  These women were Prayer Warriors!

Do you remember the movie WAR ROOM, Miss Clara, played by actress Karen Abercrombie was a “simple” woman but a mighty woman of faith and prayer, A Prayer Warrior! 

I felt like Elizabeth (played by actress Priscilla Shirer) whose marriage and life in general was falling apart but God led her to Miss Clara who taught her how to pray.

I remembered receiving journals for Christmas and birthday gifts as a little girl.  They were usually pastel in color with a little key probably used to keep your little sister from reading all your hidden thoughts and telling your Mother.  I hadn’t had one in years but remembered while in a Christian book store they had a wide selection of prayer journals.

I wanted to begin to write down my prayers, the cries of my heart as well as the blessings received.  I wanted to be able to remember all the mighty works of God in my life and those I’ve prayed with and for over the years.
I have thousands of pages of journal writings over the years. Prayer Journaling IS my therapy.

If you have never tried journaling especially while praying, try it you’ll grow to love it, resulting in a more intimate relationship with our Lord.

Oh wow, Gail, you are so right! Writing has been a form of therapy for me and countless others. Thanks for sharing your story!

Gail Grace Nordskog has established the “Gail Grace Nordskog Collection” to embolden readers to live their lives with a “heart of purpose” for God’s glory.

Gail has been involved in media for over two decades. She presently produces and hosts a program called Hearts of Purpose, that can be seen on her website, heartsofpurpose.comHer book, Hearts of Purpose Volume 1: The Call brings you ten real-life stories about ten ordinary women doing extraordinary things for the Glory of God. As you read of how God called these women to service, you will be motivated to explore His call in your own life. Let this reading experience be an invitation for you to take a step closer to fulfilling your God given calling in Christ Jesus and can be found at Amazon.

Gail and Jerry Nordskog live in Ventura, California, where they have raised six children, four of whom were adopted from China.

Thank you so much Gail for visiting with us today.

I hope you enjoyed our guest as much as I did, Friends and that you'll drop by each week for Tuesday Treasures, Thursday Thoughts and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time, take care and God bless.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

#TuesdayTreasures with Me!

Good Morning Friends,

It's been a while since I've shared something I treasure but this past weekend we had SNOW!

Some of you may think I'm nuts for treasuring snow but, it's a real rarity in SW Louisiana. Only comes around about every 10 years or so. Therefore, we treasure it when we can (although I REALLY would NOT want to have it every year...well, maybe that would be OK as long as it's only a day or two and not weeks or months at a time LOL!).

Anyway....here are a couple of photos for you to enjoy....

If you followed my West Coast Vacation this past summer, you would have seen a lot of photos and memories from that wonderful trip. Well, while getting items together for my grandson in WA's Christmas gift, I finally bought a dry erase board and put magnets from the places I've been over the last couple of years.

Once I hung this up, I realized I'm missing one from Cherokee, NC but as soon as I find it, I will add it to my collection. 

Oh and one more thing I treasure....CHRISTMAS...and this year I decided to decorate my room....

Notice the "It ain't over till the last cowboy leaves" plaque - that was a gift from the sweet 99 year old lady I lived with at the Silver Spur Guest Ranch. Below is the last picture I took with her....

There are so many ways for us to remember and treasure the people, places and things in our lives. 

Let's take some extra time this holiday season and remember to do so. In fact, that might be a good New Year's resolution....To take time and reflect on the things we treasure.

Something to think about.
Inspirational with an Edge! ™

Hope you enjoyed today's post and that you'll drop by each week for Tuesday Treasures, Thursday Thoughts and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time, take care and God Bless.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Dave Biebel & Away in a Manger

Good Morning!

Yesterday we woke up to a winter wonderland here in SW Louisiana. There was snow everywhere! Since it's a rarity of course we had to get pictures. Here are a couple for you to enjoy.....

Over the last couple of months we've met Dr. David Biebel and he's shared thoughts and treasures with us and introduced us to his Christmas book, Away in a Manger. Today Dave is sharing an excerpt with us.

Take it away Dave.....

Away in a Manger:
The Christmas Story from a Nativity Scene Lamb’s Point of View

(Excerpted from Chapter 4: “Angelic Visitations”)

by Dr. David Biebel

This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became preg­nant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the en­gagement quietly.
As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David," the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."
All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
“Look! The virgin will conceive a child!


She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’
When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have . . . relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.”
“To me, one amazing part of this passage is the message of the angel in Joseph’s dream," the pastor [narrator] said. “Joseph knew that Mary, to whom he was engaged, was pregnant, and that he was not the father. But he was a just man and he loved Mary, so he was going to divorce her secretly.
“Have you ever wondered how the angel knew what Joseph was thinking? The point is that God knows us through and through—our thoughts before we have them; our words before we say them; our deeds before we do them. That is definitely a sobering truth, and one that should motivate us to keep our mind stayed on him, for when we do that, we are so much more likely to live a life that honors him.
“But of course there’s another side to this story, and that is presented by Dr. Luke, who must have interviewed Mary in order to obtain the details that are included. Reading from Luke 1, in the New Living Translation:
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a vil­lage in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid,
Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin”
The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For the word of God will never fail.”
Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant.
May everything you have said about me come true” And then the angel left her.
        “So Mary went to visit Elizabeth and this is what hap­pened next," the pastor said:
She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s
child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said."
Mary responded,
“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
He shows mercy from generation to generation
to all who fear him.
His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones
and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has helped his servant Israel
and remembered to be merciful.
For he made this promise to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever."

As if on signal, someone started playing a guitar and singing “Away in a Manger,” while the adults and teens joined in loudly, and the children ran forward to pet the animals. Many of them headed right for Ransom [the lamb] who was watching intently for [his new friend] Jenny, but she was nowhere to be seen. His countenance fell, well it fell as much as any lamb’s countenance can fall, but he knew he had to pay attention to the other children, whose caresses took away his sadness in a very short time.

On the way back to the ranch, Ransom asked, “Mommy, what is ‘lineage’? Do I have one of those?”
“Everyone does, dear,” she replied. “It means your parentage or family tree. This helps place a person like Jesus in history, and shows how his lineage could be traced back to King David, which was one element of the prophecies about him.”
“Is a family tree like a spruce or an oak?” he asked.
“Well now, I’ve never thought about it that way. An oak loses its leaves each year, but it also grows a little bit with each new spring, and it branches out so if you look up from the trunk, you can see branches in all directions, some of them with their own branches off the main branch. Since the phrase ‘family tree’ is using the idea of a tree that branches out, I’d say it’s more like an oak than a spruce.”
“So where am I on our family tree?”
“You’re like a bud at the very end of one of the branches. And if you become a father someday, you’ll then become part of a branch that has grown even longer.”
“And you are part of the same branch, only a little closer to the main trunk. I think I understand. . . .” Ransom stopped mid-sentence. “But I must also have a father. You’ve never mentioned him.”
“His name was Virgil, and for many years he was the master ram of our herd. But this spring, just after you were born, and I was not strong enough to defend you, he gave his life to save us from a mountain lion. He won the battle, but the lion wounded him so badly that there was nothing that could be done to save him.”
“Oh,” Ransom replied, not knowing if he should be sad he’d never gotten to know his father, or proud that his father had laid down his life to save the herd.
And for the first time in a long time, he couldn’t think of anything else to say.

NOTE: This article is adapted from Away in a Manger: The Christmas Story from a Live Nativity Scene Lamb’s Point of View, published (2017) by Healthy Life Press, all rights reserved. No part of this book, including its segments or its illustrations, may be copied, printed, or redistributed without the express, written consent of the author. Original artwork is © Marina Calin.

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from The Holy Bible, New Living Translation Copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Dr. David B. Biebel is a minister, author, editor, and publisher. He holds the Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He invested 25 of his 40-year ministry career in editing two national magazines for Christian doctors: Physician magazine for Focus on the Family, followed by Today’s Christian Doctor for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations.

Dr. Biebel has authored or co-authored twenty books, including one bestseller: If God Is So Good, Why Do I Hurt So Bad? and the Gold Medallion winner, New Light on Depression. His recent releases include Making God Visible and his latest, Away in a Manger. 

This full-color book is available in two sizes, 6.5x6.5 and 8xl0 (Large Print). The ISBN for the 8xl0 (Large Print) version is: 978-1-939267-85-6, $15.99. The ISBN for the 6.5x6.5 version is: 978-1939267399, $12.99. It is also available for $6.99 as an eBook in various formats, at Amazon.com or HealthyLifePress.com.

What a lovely way of presenting this story, Dave! We wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with it!

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Until next time take care and God bless.