Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Heart Failure by Dr. Richard Mabry ~ Review

The title and back blurb was the first that caught my attention about this new Thomas Nelson publishers release. Medical drama/mysteries have become a new genre of choice for me and I wanted to know where the story would take me.
   I have to admit I wasn’t as immediately thrilled with this title. Much of the writing felt very “telling” to me and in consequence, I speed read through much of the title, not a lot prompting me to stop and absorb what was happening on the pages.
Now, that isn’t to say I’m trying to be overly harsh or critical of this novel. I thought the overall premise was a commendable one. It had my attention and the plot served to captivate me enough to keep me reading to find out what would happen. Certain twists throughout the story kept the story lively and I wanted to see our two main characters reach their happily ever after.
   Some of the emotions on the part of the characters felt “plastic” to me as though they were merely saying their lines on stage, but the story certainly did not lack its share of mystery or medical drama.
While it’s not a book I would necessarily want to read it again, the title is a good, clean medical mystery with a bit of love story.
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers through Booksneeze for my copy to review.

More about the novel...

Not even Witness Protection could keep him safe . . . but he’ll do anything to keep the woman he loves out of danger.

Dr. Carrie Markham thought Adam Davidson was the perfect fiance. But that was before a drive-by shooting led to his confession that he’s a defector from the witness protection program and is now running for his life. Adam isn’t the man she thought he was, and every moment she spends with him seems to bring her closer to her own death.

Adam must convince Carrie he’s innocent and figure out who’s trying to kill him. She must decide if her love for him is real—and whether he’s worth the risk.

And the clock is ticking.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Giveaway! Paige Rewritten by Erynn Mangum!

My favorite holiday is right around the corner! I LOVE Thanksgiving. It's always been one of my favorite days of the year. A time when we gather as a family and enjoy being together. A time to give thanks to all God has blessed us with in the past year. It's also a time when we make some of my favorite dishes. (but that certainly doesn't usurp my love of thanksgiving and praise to God. ;-) 

Due to the forthcoming holiday and the fact that I'm sitting in a courtroom right now (you can hold the prayers--it's Jury Duty. On second thought...maybe you better keep them coming. ;-), I'm keeping today's post short and sweet and using this as an opportunity to let you know I will not be blogging on Friday. I'll resume normal blogging routines on the 2nd. (Wow, it's hard to believe December is nearly here!!)

Today, I'm eager to introduce you to author Erynn Mangum. Though I've never met her in person, her bio page makes me think we'd get along great--plus her little boy is stinkin' cute. You've got to check out her website for his cutie-patootie grin if nothing else. :)

Her books are pretty cute too and while I haven't had the chance to read one (I think I'll have to remedy that!) the titles alone have me wondering what I might find between the "paiges". ;-)

So be sure and leave a comment below to enter to win "Paige Rewritten" and tell me what you're most thankful for this year. I think one of the best gifts I received from God this year is the prayer anointing I received at ACFW...remind me to tell you all about that someday. :)

Readers, enter to win Erynn's book here!

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.
For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on December 6th
Attn Readers! If you're struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you've failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@) 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Don't Trust My Book Reviews

I'm doing something I haven't done in the four years I've been blogging. In the over 1,000 posts every single one has been original. Welllll, this week it's time for a first. I'm reposting. But it's an older blog. Maybe one you haven't read or don't remember. (I'm counting on that anyway. ;-) Thanks for understanding, it's just been one of those weeks! 

Photo Credit
I probably just gave all the publishers I review for a coronary.

Wait...stop, let me back up and explain. ;-)

I've gotten several emails lately asking me if I would help in the craft of their book reviews. Of course, this thrills me, because I love to help as I have been helped--but it also brings an interesting topic to mind--because, well, that is just where my brain goes. ;-)

When I started exploring the great wide world of blogs, I stumbled across this amazing phenomenon, called "reviewing books". Imagine promising to ONLY write a review and getting a free book. Well, golly, this was just pretty dandy.

I had one reviewer I avidly followed. I religiously studied her reviews, got excited when she did about a new book and my list for the bookstore steadily got longer and longer.

Then one winter, I got a windfall. What better way to spend it?!? I took that list of top recommendations from that reviewer and bought several titles on the list.

Promptly brought them home, very excited...and didn't like a one.

Okay, I shouldn't exaggerate, I liked a couple and the other got the "she thought this was good??" look.

It wasn't that the books were poorly written--they just weren't for me.

I learned that reviewer and I have no reading tastes in common. What I hated, she thought hung the moon and what I loved, she couldn't gag down.

And that's okay. Because there is an audience that likes exactly what that reviewer loves to read.

So I had to reinvent the wheel and eventually found Joy from Edgy Inspirational fiction. I started borrowing the books she recommended from the library. And 9 out of 10 times, I LOVED them. Like go-get-me-more LOVED it. I've bought books based on what Joy loves, knowing there is a huuuuge (like 99.9999%) chance I'll love it too.

Which brings me to my post title today. DON'T go out and buy (or not buy) a book based on my review. If you are new to my reviews, wait around a little bit, see what else I review. Do we share the same love of certain authors?

Does what I review and what I say in my reviews strike a cord with you?

Have you tried a couple titles and see if we agree?

We are not going to agree all the time--frankly I'd be scared if that were the case. ;-) (JK)

You will actually be doing the author a FAVOR if you are new to my reviews or unsure, if you DON'T go out and buy their book--see what others are saying first and then make your final decision. If you don't like it, the negative word of mouth will certainly not be helpful.

So, please don't trust my book reviews. Not, at least, until you've gotten to trust me and see if you and I like the same fiction. ;-)

So...question, do you think we like the same fiction? Have you ever been satisfied with a purchase or borrowing made, based on my recommendation?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Complicated Story and Characters ~ Stones for Bread by Christa Parrish ~ Review

It’s been too long since I’ve picked up a Christa Parrish novel. Her name has become synonymous with that of deep, well thought out women’s fiction and I was not the least bit disappointed in her 2013 release.
“Stones for Bread” is not a light and fluffy read (pun intended), but one much like the sourdough our heroine makes and is known for: thick and more than a bit sour. Leisel is a complicated character and you have to read much of the book before the pieces of her story start to unravel to get a glimpse into who this woman is. I loved how Seamus disrupted her normal routine and nothing was the same. I thought the crafting of these two character’s relationship was absolutely beautiful. It wasn’t rushed or hurried, because that isn’t what Leisel would be able to handle. As the reader, you get to watch her slowly unfurl and rise from the ashes that have too long defined her.
It’s a great question for the reader too: what part of your past do you allow to affect and define who you are right now? This novel would be a fantastic book club read, but there is also so much to enjoy even if read by one’s self.
I’ve loved the previous two titles I’ve read by this author. Her way of seeing the world moves me, while also incredibly thought provoking and deep. Stones for Bread is another fine example of the growth and ability that is rising from this able and worthy talent.

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers through Litfuse and Netgalley for my copy to review. 

More about the novel...

What do you do when the gift you thought was bread turns out to be stones?

Liesl McNamara’s Wild Rise is not only a popular bakehouse and cafĂ© in Vermont, it’s an extension of herself. Liesl is an artisan bread maker, like her mother and grandmother before her. Even though she lost her mother to suicide when she was eleven, she keeps this maternal bond alive as she bakes.

Liesl prides herself on living an uncomplicated, unattached life. But that changes when Seamus walks through the door of Wild Rise, lugging the large bags of whole wheat flour from the local food co-op. He and his daughter Cecelia have recently moved to the country seeking simplicity. Despite her best effort, Liesl becomes attracted to this teddy bear of a man who laughs easily and eats strange sandwich concoctions—on her bread, much to her dismay.

Her simple life is further complicated when a popular cooking show features her bakery. The publicity increases her business and brings several offers from larger businesses, all of which she turns down. But it also brings a completely unexpected phone call, one from a woman claiming to be her half-sister.

Liesl’s sense of identity dissolves as everything about her relationship with her mother—and the bread that held them together—comes into question. Has she been given stones rather than bread? And how can she ever take these crumbs and make them whole again

*~*~*CONTEST INFO!*~*~*

Christa Parrish is celebrating her fourth novel, Stones for Breadwith a KitchenAid Mixer giveaway.
#StonesforBread KitchenAid Mixer Contest #ChristaParrish

Easy steps to enter:

1. Follow Christa Parrish and TNZ Fiction on Pinterest.

2. Then Pin the Stones for Bread book cover (below), the contest graphic (above), or both, and link to this post (using this URL: #StonesforBread KitchenAid Mixer Contest #ChristaParrish

3. Then fill out THIS SHORT FORM to let us know. (There are also some additional ways to earn extra entries, as well as an option for non-Pinterest users. It's true—people like that do exist!)

Questions? Email info @ litfusegroup dot com.

Winner will be announced on 12/9 on Christa's Facebook Page.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Giveaway! A Marriage in Middlebury by Anita Higman!

Good Monday morning, readers!

Last week I had a great time chatting and hearing from my blog readers about what author first started you in reading Christian fiction. 

I think the consensus was pretty easily divided between Lori Wick and Janette Oke, two authors who were strong proponents to bring Christian fiction into the limelight.

Which brings to mind another question, but I'm going to hold off asking for just a minute... ;-) Read to the bottom to answer and be entered to win another book.

Anita Higman grabbed my interest several years ago with a title she wrote for the Summerside Love Finds You line. Love Finds You in Humble, Texas was a thoroughly enjoyable read and since then I've had the chance to read several of her titles including her latest novella A Merry Little Christmas. She has the ability to make memorable and enjoyable characters come to life on the pages while writing a story that might seem normal and cliche, but make it spark. 

Her latest title Winter in Full Bloom is now on my Kindle to-be-read stack (which is really quite the tower!) and I'm excited to share her latest book, A Marriage in Middlebury with you for a chance to win! I'm working with Jeanne Wynn of Wynn-Wynn Media and am very eager to give this title to one fortunate reader! While I haven't read the book yet myself, I have no doubt it's bound to be a good one! I think the perfect fireside read this winter. ;-)

So my question for you?

If you had to pick one author--and no other, mainstream or Christian fiction, that you could only ever read, who would that author be? 

LOL, I'm not even sure I'm able to answer this question, there are so many authors I love! But if I had to try, I'd probably say...Laura Frantz... for the beautiful and fulfilling depth to her stories that always leave me in awe. But boy would I deeply miss my other beloved authors! Thankfully I haven't been faced with this question in real life yet. ;-)

Readers, enter to win Anita's book here!

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.
For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber
For an extra entry:
Rate my review. THANK YOU!

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on November 29th
Attn Readers! If you're struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you've failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@) 

Friday, November 15, 2013

What Defeats You?

The blank screen and the blinking, blinking, blinking cursor defeats me.

Discouragement defeats me.

Lack of energy defeats me.

No joy and laughter defeats me.

Being unable to worship in a fellowship defeats me.

A distant connection with close friends defeats me.

Loss of enthusiasm defeats me.

We get tired of the defeatist attitude after a while don't we? It really doesn't take us anywhere except into the same place we're complaining about: defeat.

The thing is, defeat is a choice. It's an option, not a detestation and too often I see it as the latter instead of the former. How do you get to the edge of the cliff? You walked there. You took one conscious footstep in front of the other until you were looking over the cliff's ledge of defeat.

It's not always that drastic of course, but it can sure seem that way can't it? Right now, I feel as though I'm looking into the face of defeat when it comes to my writing. I've hit a period of "funk" that I'm struggle to crawl out of. I'm in a place where I don't know where to turn from here, so I keep mucking it forward.

Defeat is too often our first option. "Oh, I'm not any good at this, so I guess I'll give it up for right now."

"I don't have any energy for this, so I guess I'll shove it to the back of my mind. Far, far away from any semblance of remembering."

Defeat is the enemy's first attack against your position where God has you. Defeat is not of God. It's not part of His plan for you. Sure, there will be valleys and struggles, but when we hit our lowest, is when God can lift us the highest.

As I was sitting here trying to think of a post for today, I kept feeling defeated by this blinking cursor that only reminded me I didn't have anything to say today. (And I'm still not sure what I have to say is really worth reading).

Should I take a blogging break? Comments and hits are low right now. Maybe readers are ready to move on and I'm ready to throw in the towel. It takes a lot of energy to keep a site like this up and running, is it time to quit? 

I was stepping into the mire of defeat and any second (as I contemplated turning to my archives for any post to fill today's empty slot) the devil was going to pull me face first into the pit. Sure taking a archived post for today would not have been a crime, but for me, it would have been another step toward defeat.

I've surrounded myself with enough of that emotion for this week. Discouragement is sure to come our way. It's natural that we're going to be overwhelmed or unsure of what will happen next, but those are times not to be defeated, but reJOYce in what God is calling every single one of us to do: celebrate every single day in His grace. Because there is NO defeat in that!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Perfect for the Adrenaline Junkie ~ Peril by Jordyn Redwood ~ Review

From the first chapter, I did not want to put “Peril” down. Did. Not. And I was forced to more times than naught. Let me tell you, it’s no fun leaving your lunch break to head back to something so mundane as work when the main character is dangling out the side of a building…literally!

I’m one of those suspense readers that wants to be freaked out. If I’m going to read a genre that I don’t normally consume on a daily basis, I kind of want to be jittery on the edge of my seat (or under the covers) for what happens next. I probably should read the book back through (slower this time) since the first time I was speed reading to find out what would happen next.

At first I wasn’t really sure about the many story lines. I wasn’t sure when we’d get back to that murderer and giving him his dues, but I being the faithful reader than I am, kept going and have to say…that ending is totally worth it. I certainly would not recommend reading this book during any kind of deadline, it’s not good for the health and sanity of the person holding the deadline over your head. *wink*

The characters are great and the storyline even better. The writing is only getting tighter with each new title. 100% recommended.

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.

More about the novel...

Dr. Thomas Reeves is at the pinnacle of his career. The Department of Def
ense has awarded him a lucrative contract for his new research into superior autobiographical memory, which promises the ability to create combat troops able to quickly learn complex battle plans and enact them perfectly under the most demanding battlefield scenarios.

An elite unit has received neural grafts from fetal cadavers of genetically altered brain cells with enhanced NMDA receptors. The results are remarkable . . . until the recipients begin suffering hallucinations, nightmares, paralysis, . . . and death. Dr. Reeves searches for answers, but DOD insiders want him to stop the search.

The situation becomes public when pediatric ICU nurse Morgan Adams, Dr. Reeves’s daughter, is taken hostage by three research subjects in an attempt to force Dr. Reeves into disclosing why they are sick. If answers aren’t revealed within twenty-four hours, patients in the pediatric ICU will be killed.

This spine-tingling conclusion to the Bloodline Trilogy raises spiritual and ethical dilemmas torn directly out of today’s headlines. When does life begin? How far does commitment to family go? And can the sins of the father ever be forgiven?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Giveaway! A Bride for Noah by Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith!

Remember those authors you grew up reading their books?

I bought many of Lori Copeland's books throughout the years and now my sister is able to enjoy the books I laughed and loved. 

In fact, Lori Copeland was one of the first authors I helped my sister contact to let her know just how much she loved her books. :-)

*Switching gears*

A couple years ago I led my first ACFW book club discussion for this awesome, contemporary romance. I laughed. I sighed. I loved every minute I spent reading this title (and to be honest, I wasn't real sure when I first started out what I would think), but pretty soon I was hounding my library system to go back and read the first two books in the series and I loved them just as much. Virginia Smith is one of those writers I would love to see put out another fun contemporary series. I'd be first in line to buy a copy!

Pair these two writers together and you get a dynamic duo. A duo I am very excited to be sharing their latest release here on my blog.

Due to technical difficulties, I'm unable to bring my standard interview to you today, but we're still giving away their book to one fortunate winner.

But first I have one question for you. A question I'd love to see answered before I throw your name into the hat to win Ginny and Lori's latest release: A Bride for Noah. 

What author first introduced you to Christian fiction? For me it was Janette Oke and her books still hold a very dear place in my heart. 

Share your first author here in the might even find a new favorite amongst the suggestions of others. :-)

Readers, enter to win Ginny and Lori's book here!

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.
For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on November 22nd
Attn Readers! If you're struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you've failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@) 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Which Do You Choose?

I'm continually reminded that life is a series of choices. 

Choices to be joyful. 

Choices to be grateful.

Choices to surrender. 

Photo Credit
Last night I was sitting in bed, reading a devotional that asked me a very pointed question: what do I choose over Jesus? Over my relationship with Him? At first, I nearly scoffed, I don't choose anything over Jesus. He's the most important thing in my life. 

Except...He's not a thing. He's my Savior. My Rock. My Salvation. And too often I turn to something or someone else in times of struggle and strife to release my emotions to. And like the book pointed out last night, there is nothing inherently wrong with going to friends and family...God gave us those people for a reason. What becomes wrong is they become my default.

The book asked another question: who comes to mind first when you have a joy or a struggle you want/need to share? I paused. And the answer was incredibly convicting: not Jesus. 

Of course in larger and bigger struggles than what I can handle within my two fists, He is the first one I run too, cry too, weep before. But the day-to-day struggles? The strife at the workplace or the frustration with my writing or even the accomplishment of a simple contest submission or a synopsis finished, who do I turn to first to share all this? 

Jesus isn't my answer as much as I would have liked to say He is. God wants every part of my life. Not just the struggles. Not just the joys. Not just the "God, help me!" or "God, please provide a way" bellows from my soul's deepest caverns, He wants it all

Do I want God in every part of my life? I don't even hesitate in saying: YES. But it starts with me. Too often I like to put the weight on God, that He'll show up when I need Him most and I'll keep muttering a prayer here or there throughout the day. But it's my choice to invite Him in. He's right there, waiting for me, it's my choice to open the door wider. God's not a door-barger or an envelope pusher (yes, I do recognize that I am mixing my metaphors). 

Humans have the glorious decision of free will. 

Human have the weight-filled decision or free will. With that free will we can let God in or push Him away.

I talk a lot about giving God our dreams. Aligning our plans perfectly with His even greater and deeper dreams for our lives. To truly mean what I say, I have to communicate more than just my heart's desires to God, I have to communicate everything within my heart to the Savior of my soul. 

I have to ask (and mean it) every day for God to make me more like Him. 

So which do you choose? Life as you know it? Or a deeper, stronger walk with God, one where everything is your choice.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Lasso Up a Great New Romance! ~Love at Any Cost by Julie Lessman ~ Review

If there were a new literary BFF I would want to make, it would Cassidy McClare. The girl not only personifies spunk, but tells down our cocky and almost bad-boy hero, Jamie, with wit and sass. Plus the girl knows how to twirl a lasso and wrangle a steer which takes her up another notch.

It’s a new series, a new setting, a new family of characters and I have to say I’m eager for more books about these spunky and vivacious clan of McClare’s.  Romantic sparks and plenty of sassy dialogue fills the pages with more pig-headed descriptions of Jamie McKenna than I knew could be invented in one novel.

I love that we really get deep into the characters in “Love at Any Cost”. It’s not just a surface knowledge of these characters and sure there are plenty of romantic sparks, but the reader knows what makes them tick. What motivates their decisions. And really, for all intents and purposes, Jamie McKenna should not be a likeable character, and yet I thoroughly every scene he was in and watching him grow and change.

There is a lovely subplot between Cait and Logan and talk about a TWIST in those last hundred pages. This is the second time I’ve read the book and it still takes me by surprise. I honestly don’t think readers will see this one coming.

Another one for the keeper shelves!

More about the novel...

Jilted by a fortune hunter, cowgirl Cassidy McClare is a spunky Texas oil heiress without a fortune who would just as soon hogtie a man as look at him. Hoping a summer visit with her wealthy cousins in San Francisco will help her forget her heartache, Cassidy travels west. But no sooner is she settled in beautiful California than Jamie McKenna, a handsome pauper looking to marry well, captures her heart. When Jamie discovers the woman he loves is poorer than he is, Cassidy finds herself bucked by love a second time. Will Jamie discover that money can't buy love after all? And can Cassidy ever learn to fully trust her heart to a man? 

With delectable descriptions and a romantic sensibility, bestselling author Julie Lessman brings the Gilded Age to life in this sumptuous new series. Readers will faithfully follow Lessman to the West Coast for more romance, passion, and surprising revelations found in "Love at Any Cost.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Giveaway! Aloha Rose by Lisa Carter!

Welcome to Writing for Christ Lisa Carter, it is great to have you here! Do you have an interesting fact about yourself the average reader probably doesn’t know?

I once worked with the Underground Church in what used to be the Soviet Union. Yes, I just dated myself.

Do you have a favorite genre to read/write?

My favorite genre to read is what I write—romantic suspense.

Do you have a nugget of writing advice that has completely changed how you view writing?

The writing journey is about relationships. Pursue a relationship with God. Pursue a relationship with other writers. Pursue relationships more than contracts.

5 things you love?
  1. God
  2. My family
  3. A tea garden lush with roses in Somerset, England
  4. The saffron yellow, russet red and pumpkin orange leaves of autumn
  5. Reuniting with long-lost friends

What novel have you recently read that has stood out to you that both teens and adults will find enjoyment in?

I just finished Lisa Wingate’s The Prayer Box. It has a strong theme of second chances as well as a secondary subplot involving the protagonist’s teenage daughter.

Places for readers to learn more about you?

I love to hear from readers.

Learn more at
For behind-the-scenes photos, visit the Aloha Rose board on Pinterest at

Thank you for being with us today! 

Readers, enter to win Lisa's book here!

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.
For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on November 15th
Attn Readers! If you're struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you've failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@) 

Friday, November 1, 2013

What One Does When One Travels to Colorado Springs

What does one do when one travels to Colorado Springs, Colorado? Well, first off, I hope you have as wonderful a tour guide as I did in Beth Vogt. I think we laughed more, talked more, stayed up later than probably was expected, but I loved every.single.minute of it and wouldn't have traded the memories we made that week for the world.
But, on to the story you came to see right? Check it out in pictures here below...

A trip to the Vogt household over a weekend would not be complete without a rousing game of football. Yes, I didn't know who the Broncos were until last week and it's a little sad I had to travel all the way to Colorado to learn Oregon doesn't have a pro team, but hey, what can I say?
Sorry to say "our" team didn't win, but it was an education for me nonetheless...actually the whole week proved to be an education in one way or another. ;-)

Ohhhh...can I just say one thing before I show you pictures? Everyone...everyone needs to eat at The Melting Pot at least once in their lifetime. Maybe even twice. It was seriously good. Basically black tie for a little country girl goin' to the big city. ;-)

You'll probably very quickly notice that most of my pictures center around food. Most of the week centered around food. And it was amazing food. 

Speaking of food...don't let your jaw hit the floor too hard (this was seriously the picture that got the most comments during the entire week on Facebook), but CO Springs was my first experience at none other than the great Chick Fil-A. (now before you pass judgement, remember where I live people: in a tiny cow town in Eastern Oregon. ;-)

A trip to the Springs just wouldn't be complete without visiting the Garden of the Gods. It was really the only place (aside from the Air Force, which I was told by friends I had to visit) on my personal agenda of places to see. And boy, do pictures not even TOUCH on its beauty. I stood in awe of the wonder of God's creation every time I turned around. If I lived there I would be spending a lot more time worshiping God out there!

Beth made plenty sure I got the required "tourist" photos as evidence above. ;-)

 This picture here has to be one of my favorites from the trip. The weather that week could not have been better and the fall colors were in full and vibrant glory. So, so peaceful for my soul. Truly beautiful. The picture doesn't even begin to do it justice. 

When I heard Colorado had it's very own castle not fifteen minutes from where I was visiting, there wasn't much that would keep me away from visiting! (even if it was on Beth's agenda. ;-) Oooo...what an amazing place to visit. Notice to my unknown future husband: we're getting married at Glen Eyrie. Family and friends: start saving your pennies, this is the place to be. ;-) 

What happens when you have two photographers and two cameras and a fabulous setting? You get an impromptu photo shoot. Jeanne Takenaka joined Beth and I for the tour of Glen Eyrie and both proceeded to take many, many pictures. I share a couple of my favorites below...

We had a writer's get together with several of the writers from around the CO Springs/Denver area and completely took over the community room at the local Panera. Oh we had fun! Rearranged the room. Ate. Laughed. Talked. It was awesome. But what meeting with a bunch of writers wouldn't be?? :-)

More sights to see? Of course! Beth and I spotted her debut novel at her church's bookstore. 

I saw the Airforce Academy and the beautiful, beautiful chapel with spires the pierced the blue, blue sky that day. 

Another absolute favorite picture from that week. The last day before I had to head back to real life, Beth, two of her daughters, her daughter's friend and I went to one of The Broadmoor's restaurant The Golden Bee. What a quaint place! Decorated in the style of an old English pub, it was a pure delight (even if I did get a bee tossed on me. ;-).

The Broadmoor is one impressive hotel! Oh. My. If I had money to stay there a night...

The grounds are stunning with an English style garden welcoming you and a small lake behind the hotel to serenade you. Swans on the lake, fall colors, ripples on the water. I could live here. ;-)

Beth and I agreed that we didn't think the week had gone by so fast until we needed to get up in the morning and drive to the airport, and no, a freak snowstorm did not shut down the roads and planes...though we both wanted it to! ;-) I was grateful to have the chance to go and look forward to the day when I don't have to leave! (Lord willing)

But now it's time for the bear is settle in for the winter and leave the world-traveling to days behind her. Though I do have grand plans for 2014. :-))

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