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@sprightlyamyanne Instagram photos

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mary's perspective ...

"My “holiness” wasn’t found in the choice to be obedient … but in the walking of the path that was never mine to plan."

"Merry Christmas and be sure to read my blogging friend Bina's post about a monologue she wrote and performed as Mary, mother of Christ.

It’s a funny thing…saying yes to God. We can say yes, fully sincere in our response but only because we hear what we want to hear…we take His directions on how to cross the street and use that to create a world map."


My story has been told so often.

Repeated in churches and storybooks. I have been portrayed as a woman above reproach.
Well I am here to tell you my story…and it all boils down to one word: control.

You have to understand the real me: five minutes before God’s glory showed up before me, I knew where my life was going. I considered myself fully-grown and fully wise. I was engaged to an upright man and was already doing all the same duties as my own mother. My life was laid out before me and I was confident in where it was going.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sibella Giorello's KINDLE Giveaway!

Sibella’s celebrating the release of The Clouds Roll Away by giving away a KINDLE prize pack worth over $150.00!

One Grand Prize winner will receive:
  • Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi
  • $25 gift certificate to Amazon.com
To enter simply click on one of the icons below! Then tell your friends! Winner will be announced January 3, 2011 on Sibella's blog: http://sibellagiorello.blogspot.com/

About The Clouds Roll Away - "Beautifully written with exquisite descriptions, Giorello's mystery also features well-developed characters..."
—Booklist, starred review 
Find out more here!

Monday, December 13, 2010

12 Pearl of Christmas: Pearls of Patience

Hello - I'm thrilled to announce the 2nd Annual 12 Pearls of Christmas! We've lined up several authors to share their Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom"! Please follow along beginning today (Monday the 13th) through Christmas day as Melody Carlson, Lauraine Snelling,  Rachel Hauck, Tricia Goyer, Maureen Lang, and more share their heartfelt stories of how God has touched their life during this most wonderful time of the year.

We are also providing this series as free content for your own blogs (as 12 html posts) - if you'd like to share the 12 Pearls of Christmas with your blog readers email (amy@litfusegroup.com) and she'll send you the content.

AND BEST OF ALL ... there's also a giveaway!!!! Fill out the quick form at the link located at the bottom of this post or any of the following 12 Pearls of Christmas posts (on any of the participating posts) to be entered to win a PEARL NECKLACE, BRACELET AND EARRINGS! You may enter once a day. The winner will be announced on New Year's Day! Pearls - a tangible reminder of God's grace to us all.


Pearls of Patience
by Margaret Mcsweeney

As I write by the light of my Christmas tree on a late winter’s night, I reflect upon the poignancy and purpose of this season.  The tiny white lights look like strands of pearls draped gracefully (perhaps haphazardly is a more honest description) across the evergreen boughs.  Tomorrow I will hang the ornaments and at last place the angel atop the tree   

Angels carry a special meaning this Christmas.  My brother, Randy passed away on December 2nd from a heart attack at age 53.  He was feeding a stray cat on his side porch.  Randy was always like St. Francis of Asissi – animals would find him, sensing a kind soul.  And my brother was a gentle and patient soul.  He loved to fish.  He tried to teach me, but I immediately lost interest when I realized worms were involved. And I could never sit still on the banks of a river and just wait.  However, Randy could do that.  He could wait, and waiting is a true gift.  He put into practice the Scriptures.  “Wait upon the Lord.”  “Be still and know that He is God.”  Patience doesn’t have to be passive.  Wait is still an action verb.  Part of the waiting process for fishing is seeking.  Elaine (Randy’s wife of 31 years) told me that Randy said he could see the fish deep beneath the waters.  He actively waited for the right time to catch them.

During Randy’s last fishing trip on earth – just a week before his death, he felt an urgency to take a picture of the clouds with his cell phone.  When he returned home, he showed the picture to Elaine.  They realized that a face of an angel was looking at Randy from the sky – perhaps waiting for God’s timing to bring Randy home to heaven.  Maybe this “angel in the sky” was part of the heavenly host that appeared to the shepherds over two thousand years ago.  A Christmas Angel.

The Christmas Angels brought tidings of great joy that Jesus, our Lord and Savior was born.  And because of that incredible gift from God that these angels announced, we all have the promise of eternity. As we await Christ’s return, let us actively wait by seeking fish – not the kind you have to catch with worms, but rather with words.  Words, or rather good tidings, can bring hope to the hopeless and faith to the faithless. 

May each of you be blessed this Christmas season by the words you say, the words you hear and the Word you share.   And may the 12 Pearls of Christmas be a blessing to you, too.


About Margaret: Margaret McSweeney lives with her husband, David and two teenage daughters in the Chicago suburbs. After earning a master's degree in international business from the University of South Carolina, Margaret moved to New York City to work at a large bank where she met David. Charity and community involvement are very important to Margaret. She is the founder and director of Pearl Girls. For more information please visit www.pearlgirls.info. Margaret is fast at work on several fiction manuscripts and her book Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace was written to help fund the Pearl Girl Charities. Connect with Margaret on Facebook or Twitter.


A PEARL NECKLACE, BRACELET AND EARRINGS will be given away on New Year's Day. All you need to do to have a chance of winning is {FILL OUT THIS QUICK ENTRY FORM}. The winner will be announced on the Pearl Girls Blog (http://margaretmcsweeney.blogspot.com) on New Years Day!

12 Pearls of Christmas Series and contest sponsored by Pearl Girls®. For more information, please visit www.pearlgirls.info

Follow the rest of the series here!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Win a NOOK!

Rachel Hauck is cooking up something fabulous! 

To celebrate Book 3 in The Lowcountry Romance series, Dining With Joy, author Rachel Hauck is giving away a JOYOUS prize package worth over $185.00! (And see below to find out how you can enter to win a $30 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble!)

Dining With Joy is a fun, yet serious story about a cooking show host who can't cook. (what a nightmare that would be!)

Publisher's Weekly says: A delectable and light tale of finding love amid everything edible, a story that goes down easy. Readers will find themselves hankering for another serving of lowcountry living from Joy's pantry.

Celebrate with Rachel and click on one of the icons below for your chance to win!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A brand new Nook with Wi-Fi
  • Sweet Caroline by Rachel Hauck Nookbook
  • Love Starts With Elle by Rachel Hauck Nookbook
  • A $15 dollar Barnes&Noble.com Gift Certificate
To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form. Be sure to tell your friends about the contest.

    The contest runs from 12/7 - 12/22. Winner announced December 23.

    Want to help Spread the Word for a chance to win an additional $30 BarnesandNoble.com Gift Certificate? Help Spread the Word about Rachel's fun giveaway and we'll put your name into the pot for the gift certificate!

    Share this button on your blog or website (worth 10 entrees!):

    Dining With Joy Nook Giveaway

    Additional entrees can be earned by talking up the Dining With Joy Giveaway on Facebook & Twitter. It's simple. Just use the sample post & tweet below (and be sure to follow the fine-print instructions!).

    SHARE THIS ON FACEBOOK: Enter to win a NOOK eReader (just in time for Christmas) in Rachel Hauck's Dining with Joy Giveaway! Enter here on Facebook at this link http://apps.facebook.com/sweepstakeshq/contests/76734. And don't miss Rachel's latest witty tale about a television cooking show host who CAN'T cook! A MUST read! 
    (then email info@litfusegroup.com to let us know you posted to Facebook - feel free to post once a day for extra entrees. Just let us know how many times you shared! You rock.)

    TWEET THIS: @RachelHauck is giving away a NOOK eReader for the release of Dining With Joy - her latest witty read! http://ow.ly/3jN4p #litfuse
    (must use hashtag #litfuse to be entered. No need to email us about your tweet - we will track those via twitter using the hashtag. And as with Facebook you'll earn extra entrees by tweeting multiple days. You rock.)
    Meet Rachel: Rachel Hauck's stories are filled with twists and turns that leave the reader breathelss and longing for more. She is a fresh fiction voice will stir hearts for rachelGod. ~~Debbie Macomber - #1 NYT bestselling author

    I wrote my first story about a girl and her pony when I was ten. It was handwritten in a spiral notebook. My second story was about a girl who wanted to move away and live in New York City. I was twelve and no one had ever heard of “chick lit.” I laughed when I found that incomplete manuscript in an old box-o-stuff. I told my husband, “I was born to write.” Find out more about Rachel at her website: www.rachelhauck.com
    More about the book: Joy Ballard has a secret: she's a cooking show host who can't really cook. Diningwithjoy

    When her South Carolina-based cooking show, Dining With Joy, is picked up by a major network, Joy Ballard's world heats up like a lowcountry boil.

    Joy needs help. Then she meets chef Luke Davis who moved to Beaufort after losing his Manhattan restaurant. A cook at the Frogmore Cafe, he's paying debts and longing to regain his reputation in the elite foodie world.

    Luke and Joy mix like oil and water…until Joy is exposed on national television. With her career and his reputation both under fire, they'll have to work together to fix the mess. Is it possible that they can learn to feast on God's love and dine with joy?

    Don't miss the other books in this series: Sweet Caroline (buy it here for $5.85) and Love Starts with Elle (buy it here, also $5.85)!

    Friday, December 03, 2010

    Have you read ... ?

    I was tagged by my lovely friend Loring in Uganda (who apparently doesn't have enough missionary type stuff to do :) )

    Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

    • Bold those books you've read in their entirety.
    • Italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read only an excerpt.

    Tag other book nerds. Tag me as well so I can see your responses!

    1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

    2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

    3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

    4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

    5 To Kill a Mockingbird

    6 The Bible

    7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

    8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

    9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

    10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens - On my bookshelf for someday.

    11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

    12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

    13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

    14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

    15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

    16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

    17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk

    18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

    19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger On my bookshelf for someday. The movie was SO stupid. I've been putting off reading it. Should I? Is it good? Anyone?

    20 Middlemarch - George Eliot I've been half finished with this for 15 years!

    21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

    22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

    24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

    25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

    26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

    27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

    29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

    30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

    31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

    32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

    33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis (shhh...don't tell anyone)

    34 Emma -Jane Austen

    35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

    36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis (shhh...don't tell anyone)

    37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

    38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

    39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

    40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne

    41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

    42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

    43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

    45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

    46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

    47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

    48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

    49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

    50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

    51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

    52 Dune - Frank Herbert

    53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

    54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

    55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

    56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

    57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

    58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

    59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

    60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

    62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

    63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

    64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

    65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas On my bookshelf for someday.

    66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

    67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

    68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding

    69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

    70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

    71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

    72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

    73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

    74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

    75 Ulysses - James Joyce

    76 The Inferno - Dante

    77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

    78 Germinal - Emile Zola

    79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

    80 Possession - AS Byatt

    81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

    82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

    83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

    84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

    85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

    86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

    87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White

    88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

    89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

    90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

    91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

    92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

    93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

    94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

    95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole I tried to read this like 5 times. Couldn't get into it.

    96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

    97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

    98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare

    99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

    100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo