Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Pearl Girls

Moody Publishers (July 1, 2009)

***Special thanks to Amy Lathrop of the Litfuse Publicity Group for sending me a review copy.***


Margaret lives with her husband and two daughters in a Chicago suburb. Her book, A Mother’s Heart Knows was published by Thomas Nelson in 2005. Go Back and Be Happy, a co-authored book will be published by Lion Hudson in July 2008. Margaret has been featured on Greg Wheatly’s “Prime Time America,” TLN’s “Aspiring Women,” and LeSea’s “The Harvest Show.” Margaret writes freelance articles for The Daily Herald, the largest suburban Chicago newspaper. Notable interviews include Wolfgang Puck, Thomas Kinkade, Susan Branch and Dr. John Gottman. Margaret also wrote a feature article for crosswalk.com. With a master’s degree in international business, Margaret became a vice president in the corporate finance division of a New York City bank and worked there from 1986-1993. Supporting charitable causes is important to Margaret. For the past five years, she has served on the board of directors for WINGS, an organization that helps abused women and their children get a new start in life. Margaret would love to meet you too.

Visit the author's website.

Pearl Girls from Michael J Garvey on Vimeo.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Moody Publishers (July 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802458629
ISBN-13: 978-0802458629



By Susan May Warren

Ephesians 4:32: (ESV): Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Angels of Forgiveness

I felt as if I had been slapped. I gaped in horror as I stared at the empty storage room and tried to comprehend my mother-in-law’s words, “ . . . and we even made $200!” She had sold all my worldly possessions without my permission. She was trying to be kind, but in doing so, she plowed a cavernous furrow through the garden of our friendship. I knew it would never bloom again.

Our family had just returned home after serving as missionaries for four years in Russia. We still hadn’t found a place to live, and my mother-in-law wanted to help by clearing out room for us in her unfinished basement—in the space our hundred boxes of lifetime treasures once occupied. She’d sold everything from hand-knit sweaters to homemade

quilts. Only a forlorn crate of John Denver records and a bag of used mittens remained.

The money she handed me from the proceeds of the sale felt like blood money. I had waited for four years to unwrap my wedding china, greet my books and knick-knacks, and slip back into my fine dresses. I couldn’t believe I had put so much value on possessions, but I had, and now I was stripped.

Then I discovered she’d sold my Christmas ornaments. Every year since childhood my mother had given me a special gift at Christmas, a new and unique tree decoration that symbolized my life for that year, as well as her love for me. The box of heirloom ornaments I had so carefully packed had been sold for a dollar; my memories traded for the price of two cheeseburgers.

A ball of anger swelled in my heart. As I curled in my bed, sobbing out my grief, the ball gained momentum and became an avalanche, burying any tendril of love I had left for the mother of my husband.

Christmas loomed close and everywhere I saw beautiful, glittering Christmas trees. My tree was naked, its arms bare against the white lights. Where was the golden star with my name etched on it, or my tiny porcelain piano? How could she have done this? I felt entombed by my anger.

Sometime in January I realized I had missed the joy that came with the advent season. It couldn’t penetrate my icy heart. I could barely look at my mother-in-law, despite the fact she begged my forgiveness. “I didn’t know how much this would hurt you,” she said, weeping. “I was just trying to help.” I turned a stone heart to her plea. Frost laced the edges of our conversations and although I said the words, “I forgive you,” my soul

was an iceberg and I knew I had not.

In the past, my mother-in-law had been my greatest supporter, encouraging me, helping me pack, babysitting, and stuffing thousands of newsletters. She had cried with me, prayed for me, and tolerated me living in her home. I missed her and knew that if I wanted warmth to reenter my heart, I had to forgive her. But nothing could ease the ache of losing my memories. I avoided her and resolved to live with the pain.

When we moved away in February, I slammed the door on our relationship and didn’t talk to her again. Three days before the following Christmas, a parcel arrived at our

front door, my name etched on the front. Mystified, I opened it. Then, surrounded by my family’s astonished gasps, I unwrapped, one by one, a collection of angel ornaments.

From bears with wings and halos to gilded crystal angels holding trumpets, I hung a choir of heavenly hosts on my tree. Finally, I sank into the sofa as my children examined the

decorations, oohing and aahing.

“Who’s it from?” my husband asked. I retrieved the box, dug through the tissue, and unearthed a small card. Merry Christmas—Love, Mom was scrawled out in my mother-in-law’s script. Tears burned my eyes and, as I let them free, my icy tomb of anger began to melt. My mother-in-law was not able to retrieve the past she had so carelessly discarded, but she was hoping to build a future, our future. And it would start with these angels, proclaiming the love and forgiveness that entered our world. If God could forgive me, who stole His Son’s life, certainly I could forgive my mother-in-law for stealing my . . . stuff.

Easter arrived and with it forgiveness finally flowered in my heart. We descended upon the in-laws for a visit and I wrapped my husband’s mother in a teary embrace. I had lost the little stuffed bunnies my grandmother had knit for me, but I had gained something better—the fragrance of forgiveness, and the everlasting hope that love can warm the coldest heart.

This is one of the most encouraging books I've ever read. To read about the challenges these authors have faced, frankly, blew me away. What strength!! And now I can see even more clearly why their writing is so good, so grounded and encouraging. I strongly encourage you to read this book! It will truly bless you! It surely blessed me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


It is raining today. This is not just regular rain. This is Hurricane Ida dumping on us rain. Think buckets. Think Goliath sized buckets of rain. And it's getting cold. I've got one word for this - YUCK!

And although I don't love this weather, it's necessary. The reservoirs need to be replenished. Plants and animals need this water. It's life giving. It may not be great for people with plans to spend time outdoors or those with chronic conditions that react to this type of weather, but it is necessary.

Spiritual rain is needed as well. Sometimes we need that difficulty to wash something away or for cleansing. Those tears may water seeds we are unaware of, planted by God's hand and plan for us. We may not love the rain. Most often we don't. That's normal. We can, however, change our perspective. Instead of focusing on what we do not like about the rain or how we think it is ruining our plans, focus on God.

Imagine Him catching our tears with the hands with a concerned and loving expression on His face. Watch Him carry those tears to a now tiny patch of fresh dirt. He pours out your tears and a tiny sprout appears. Ah! New life. He loving turns His gaze toward you. You can't see Him or that new life because you are blinded by your tears, by the rain causing the tears. But He sees you and smiles, knowing one day soon the rain will cease. The tears will cease. You will open your eyes, lift up your head and be surprised at what has grown because of all this water you now hate. But until that day, He continues to catch your tears, water and offer His peace and love as a comfort to you. He waits patiently for the day of your realization. It causes Him to smile and it brings a ray of sunshine to you. A pause in your watery existence. You briefly wonder where it came from but are quickly distracted by the rain starting again. God smiles and gently says, "One day soon child you will see and know that I am God and I love you."

Watch for your rays of sunshine. Wait for that day of realization when you will see and know that He is God. In the meantime, embrace the rain, cry your tears and know that He's with you always.

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”
Isiah 61:1-3 (NKJV)

As always, be blessed and than you for stopping by!