Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Authors in Bloom Blog Hop with Giveaway: The Joy of Gardening Plans

This is the 7th Annual Authors in Bloom Blog Hop and we are thrilled to be part of it. Today I am going to talk about how much easier life becomes when you discover garden plans.

When we first moved into our newly constructed home nineteen years ago, it was a blank slate. This girl with one of the brownest thumbs ever had to figure out what to plant and where. There was lots of trial and error. I planted shady plants on the sunny side of the house. Plants that needed sun on the shady part of the house. I walked through Home Depot looking at bushes and plants and thought they would look nice in my yard while giving no thought to how large they would get or how they would look best.

Then I stumbled upon Better Homes & Gardens list of garden plans on their website. Using a plan, I planted a mailbox garden. Then used similar plants to decorate the opposite side to hide the utility boxes. Found a great plan for the shady side of the house and made that side beautiful. While the yard is still a work in progress--the voles ate most of my hostas last year--there is enough beauty to make this gardener in training happy.

What are some sites you use for garden plans? Any tips for this gardener in training?


I am giving away a $25 Amazon gift card open to any follower of the blog hop. 

  1. Must be 18 years or older to participate.
  2. To have a chance to win you must leave a comment with a valid email address.
  3. Extra point if you follow @ccmalandrinos on Twitter. Leave a comment to let me know you followed. 
  4. Tweet "I entered to #win in the Annual Authors in Bloom Blog Hop #giveaway #AuthorsinBloom" for 5 extra points. Leave a comment to let me know you followed.
  5. Prize will be emailed to winner. 
  6. Giveaway ends April 27, 2018 at 11:59 pm (EST).
  7. Host not responsible once prize has been emailed. 
  8. Void where prohibited.
In addition to this prize, other hosts are giving away prizes and the GRAND PRIZE is a Kindle Fire and a second prize of a $25 gift card. Only those visitors who visit EACH and EVERY stop are eligible for the grand prize ereader and gift card. Eligibility will be verified by hop’s end.

Visit more hosts for more chances to win. Good luck!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Book Spotlight: Prayer, Marriage and the Leadership Roles of Husband and Wife by Bishop Ken and Pastor Sheila Giles

This book communicates how God has created, through the covenant relationship of marriage, leadership roles that are established in spiritual unity.

Marriage is an institution established by God. God ordains a man and a woman to be husband and wife to fulfill his purpose of expanding His likeness and kingdom through their rule and dominion over His creation. Within the institution of marriage, the man is responsible for carrying out and communicating God’s vision. The woman enables, strengthens and encourages her husband to carry out God's vision for himself, the marriage and family. The husband and wife become one flesh. No other human relationship, including that of parents and children, is to have priority or greater importance than that of the husband and wife to one another. The Leadership roles of the husband and wife are paramount to God's plan of blessings in the marriage, family, generations and broader society. Therefore, obedience to God and His word establishes God's order and facilitates the proper working and functioning of the marriage and family. Thus, establishing the peace, joy and increase the Lord has purposed in and through the marriage and family.

Prayer will become the highest priority in the lives of those who read this book. Especially, to those considering marriage, currently married and responsible for children.

If more believers prayed about whether, or not, to get into marriage, there would be far fewer looking to get out of marriage. Furthermore, when the marriage is conceived in prayer; there is a greater likelihood that the marriage will continue in prayer and the blessings that go along with obedience to the Lord.

Bishop Ken Giles and his wife Pastor Sheila Giles have decades of combined experience in Ministry and Christian Counseling. They both did undergraduate work at Prairie View A&M University Texas and were active in evangelistic work. Pastor Sheila Giles has served in church leadership for over two decades. She has a Master of Divinity from Houston Graduate School of Theology.

Bishop Ken Giles began full-time ministry in 1993 as an inner-city Missions Leader in Dallas, Texas, while at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship under Dr. Tony Evans. He later served there as Assistant Executive Director of their nonprofit corporation. In 1998, he returned to his hometown of Beaumont, Texas, and served as Pastor of Outreach at Cathedral of Faith Baptist Church and Executive Director of their nonprofit corporation. In 2000, Lincoln Bible Church was planted in the Beaumont/Port Arthur area and is now located in the Greater Houston Texas area where Bishop Ken Giles and his wife, Pastor Sheila Giles provide servant leadership. Bishop Giles has a Master of Education Administration from Prairie View A&M University and a Master of Theology from Southeast Texas Theological Seminary.

Purchase here!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Mailbox Monday - April 16

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

I know it's supposed to be spring, but someone should tell Mother Nature. My friend in Wisconsin woke up to a foot of snow on April 14. Sunday night we got pelted with freezing rain and today it is supposed to be a nasty morning. How wonderful that I need to drive from one end of the earth to the other today.

No books in my mailbox this week. Maybe I can read some of The Pirate Bride before I break off to read Hot Mess

Did you receive any good books? What are your plans for the day? 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Blogging at Christian Children's Authors

I am a founding member of the Christian Children's Authors blog. We discuss topics important to  families and offer activities and book reviews. Today is my day to share and I decided to address the topic of spiritual warfare and praying when it's hard. Hope you'll check it out at

Monday, April 9, 2018

Mailbox Monday - April 9

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Who is ready for spring? I am. Though technically the calendar says it's spring, this New England winter is still hanging on. We are due for some snow showers tomorrow. Looks like nice weather might finally break through next weekend. Good thing too. I have three new listings coming up.

I received a nice little surprise in my mailbox last week.

A War-Torn Countryside Is No Place for a Lady

Mercy Lytton is a lady like none other. Raised amongst the Mohawks, she straddles two cultures, yet each are united in one cause. . .to defeat the French. Born with a rare gift of unusually keen eyesight, she is chosen as a scout to accompany a team of men on a dangerous mission. Yet it is not her life that is threatened. It is her heart. Condemned as a traitor, Elias Dubois faces the gallows. At the last minute, he is offered his freedom if he consents to accompany a stolen shipment of French gold to a nearby fort—but he is the one they stole it from in the first place. It turns out that the real thief is the beguiling woman, Mercy Lytton, for she steals his every waking thought. Can love survive divided loyalties in a backcountry wilderness?

This is the third book in the Daughters of the Mayflower series. I am reading the second one now.

What arrived in your mailbox? Hope you'll share. Wishing you a blessed week.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Book Review: How to Love the Empty Air by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz

How to Love the Empty Air by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz is a powerful and touching look into grief.

As Aptowicz grabs hold of the success she has worked so hard for, her world is rocked by the sudden death of her mother. In the year that follows, the author battles the overwhelming grief through her writing, sharing these intimate glimpses into her life with readers.

Having lost my mother when I was just a teenager, I was drawn to How to Love the Empty Air. While grief is a very personal thing, there is comfort in the understanding of someone else who has experienced the same tragedy. Apotowicz holds nothing back in this collection. She shares her joys, her sorrows, and her pain in all its rawness. You laugh. You cry. You want to hug her because she feels so close as she stumbles around searching for that new normal that may never feel normal at all. Then she reaches that major milestone--one year after the death of her mother. Not enough time has passed to eliminate the heaviness of the loss, but by the end we can see some joy, a glimmer of happiness and new beginnings.

This is definitely one of my favorite collections. It is the seventh by Aptowicz. I'll be searching out more. If you want deep, meaningful, poetry that tugs at your heartstrings, How to Love the Empty Air is a collection worth reading.

Paperback: 100 pages
Publisher: Write Bloody Publishing (March 20, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1938912802
ISBN-13: 978-1938912801

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts - April 4

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts is hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. This is a chance for book bloggers to dabble in areas besides books (but those are welcome too). Share your plans for the weekend, a rant on people not using their turn signals in parking lots, or your love of Sunday morning mimosas.

Things I am tired of....

Mean people
Rule breakers
School shootings
Domestic violence

Things I need to pray about...