Saturday, 17 March 2018

Today 5 Cozy Mysteries at 99p each

There is an affiliate link in this blog post.

5 Mysteries at 99p each great bargain

Read the quick Amazon blurb here and then click on the pic of the book if you are interested in finding out more.

Note: I am not sure how long these will be at such a good price.

USA Today Best Selling Author.
With free recipes!
After a traumatic life event, Georgie Tanner returns to her hometown to start her life over... at 31 years old. Add sporadic memory loss to the mix and Georgie is a certified hot mess.
Luckily, Aunt Cecelia is there with a job for Georgie. She might not feel able to take on the world, but she's think she's up for taking tourists through Gainesville, Pennsylvania's historic downtown. The place is as American as apple pie, steeped in rich Revolutionary history, Amish settlements, ghost stories, and colonial manors. Georgie knew it was a safe place to go to piece back her memories.

After all, what could go wrong in a sleepy town like this?
First Book in this series.

Tour guide Georgie Tanner has always encouraged her clients to enjoy the realism of an American Revolutionary War reenactment - but today things got a little too real. When one of the actors doesn't get back up after the battle, the crowd is horrified to find out he's really been shot. Patrick Armstrong, local high school teacher, is dead. 

Georgie's old high school friend, Terry Brooks, is arrested for the murder. A man with a young wife and a baby, he seems the least unlikely suspect. But, with hundreds of people as witnesses, there's no denying he was the one who pulled the trigger. 
He begs Georgie for help, and she's determined to do her best. After all, he'd never do something like that, would he? 
Second Book in this series.

Senoia is a quiet little town full of friendly folks, movie moguls, and… foul murder

Six Cozy Mysteries from #1 Best Selling author Susan Harper
Felicity turns her back on her investigative journalism degree to start a business as a party planner. When her friend is accused of murder, her inquisitive nature is rekindled and she quickly becomes Senoia’s premier super sleuth. She quickly finds herself involved in murder mystery after murder mystery. If she is going to save her friends, and herself, she must solve everything from crimes of passion to mass murders. Can Felicity overcome long odds or will it be too much for the young party planner?

Just bought this next box set myself today!
(Well I am in the middle or organising all my crafts so it was very appropriate.)

Six Crafting Cozy Mysteries from #1 Best Selling author Stacey Alabaster.

George is the owner of a craft store in Pottsville. From her first days in town, she has found herself in the middle of trouble. And now that she has expanded her horizons into volunteering at the animal shelter, wedding planning, and blogging, she is faced with even more intrigue. She will have to be at her mystery-solving best if she’s gonna keep six killers from getting away?

This collection of cozy mysteries includes books one through six in the Craft Circle Cozy Mystery series. If you like cozy mysteries with interesting characters, the Craft Circle Cozy Mystery series is for you.

I bought this set of three in December!
(I have other books by Hope Callaghan which I have enjoyed and I'm on her mailing list for advance notice of new titles and price drops.)

The Garden Girls Cozy Mystery Series contains no foul language, sex, or gore...Just clean, cozy mysteries!"

Garden Girls Christian Cozy Mysteries Box Set (Books 1-3)

BOOK 1: Who Murdered Mr. Malone? 
BOOK 2: Grandkids Gone Wild 
BOOK 3: Smoky Mountain Mystery 


If buying through Amazon via the links above I get a little commission but that does not mean any extra expense to you.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

A Good Kind of Fear - A Dose of Encouragement

I have never forgotten that day.

The day when I asked the question and my mother didn't really know how to answer me.

Have you ever been afraid?

I was lying in bed supposed to be going to sleep, younger than 9 years old (but not sure how much younger), when I decided to call her.

In my memory it was not dark in the bedroom because she didn't need to put the light on when she opened the door, so it must have been springtime or summertime when it stays lighter later in the evenings in Northern Ireland even up until 11pm.

So darkness had nothing to do with my fear.

It was a simple question I wanted to ask her but she did not find the answer so simple.

I was the youngest in the family, although in saying that there were only the two siblings, my sister and I, and she was 10 years older than me so I was always referred to as the wee one and often (I felt) not taken too seriously by my parents, sister and grandmother who lived with us.

You see that evening as I lay there I was afraid, there was something I just did not want to happen, something I could not imagine happening but I needed to know more about it.

I was thinking about death,

but it was not "death" that scared me.  

Possibly I wasn't really old enough to consider how people died and that there may be tragic events or illnesses to lead up to their deaths because none of that was on my mind.

The fear I had was not about my body but about that part of me, that part inside, the part I could not imagine ever not being in existence.  You know the part of me that was actually doing this thinking. The part that could experience this fear.  The part that could understand some things but not all things.

When I asked her what would happen to that part of me when I would die she was quiet with no immediate reply. Then she told me not to worry about anything to do with death because I was "too young" to be thinking about it.

Now I don't remember all the details or how much time elapsed from then until the time when I knew I wanted/needed to get saved but I do know that my sister always got bible notes to read each day and she decided to get a children's version so that she could read the bible passage to me and then the notes.  To make sure that I was paying attention she would then ask me questions about the passage.  However even though she was taking care of a need I had to know about Jesus and read God's Word she also declared I was "too young" when I told her I wanted to get saved.

Thankfully I was not overcome by this fear of what would happen to what I felt was the "real me" after death, however it was always there drawing me in to ponder over it.

We need to be thankful for the fear that leads us in the right direction

I may not even have known to pray about this but God knew the "real me" and He was in control and not too long after this He led me to the night when I was not told I was "too young" but instead I was encouraged to pray asking forgiveness and accepting that Jesus had died in my place so that I could live.

Yes me the "real me" could live forever.

I was afraid when I was young, but I didn't remain afraid, God has taken that fear away.

I still do not understand everything about what it will be like after death but I have no need to fear because I know for a certainty that the "real me" will remain and be transformed in the presence of Jesus.  Because I have come to realise that not all fear is bad.

I came to realise that not all fear is bad

We need to be thankful for the fear that leads us in the right direction because it's a good kind of fear.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Everyone's Irish on March 17th

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Who can forget St. Patrick's Day?

I was brought up in Northern Ireland and I wouldn't forget it.

Of course I knew all about St. Patrick!

He was the guy who drove all the snakes out of Ireland so I was happy about that as I absolutely hate snakes.

He was the Patron Saint of Ireland and the missionary responsible for bringing the Gospel to the country so I was also very happy about that.

He was ....., 
                      He was .....,  
                                            He was .............

                  Well to be honest I actually wasn't too well versed on St. Patrick himself.

     I had always heard of him and knew that the shamrock was somehow associated with him, there were cathedrals named after him, and people outside Ireland thought that everyone was called Paddy because of him.

The Shamrock

     I didn't really need to know too much about him when I was young, or maybe I just didn't pay enough attention.

     When I went to University in Belfast in the late 70's I realised that St. Patrick's Day was used by a lot of people as an excuse to go and have a "Good Drink" but that didn't interest me either.

In 1992 we moved to The US to live in the state of Delaware for 3 years due to my husband's work.
All I had known about Delaware before that was the song "What did Del-a-ware Boy" that I had often heard my older sister play when I was a child.  But because we were going to live there we soon learned some other things about the lovely second smallest state in America and its great location between places like Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore and Washington DC. so people would have places to go when they came to visit us.

We loved all the new things we could experience in America, the snowy winters, the hotter summers, and the American accent.  In America our children were always being referred to as the Irish kids but after our return to NI our daughter was referred to as the American girl because she had picked up an American accent.

While we were in America we just couldn't believe the reaction of everyone to us - even strangers in the supermarket who would come up to us and say

"Oh I just love your accent, say something"

what were we supposed to say?

"Hello" ?

                                                                                                           and then what?

People would make all sorts of statements about loving Ireland and wanting to go there,
             or tell us they were half or a quarter or even a sixteenth Irish themselves

                            or ask us if we had been to various Irish pubs yet

While we lived in America we heard about the St. Patrick's Day parades in New York and Boston.
They seemed to be very elaborate and of course our children were hearing all about St. Patrick's Day from the kids at school.  It was rather surprising to us that Americans would be so excited about the day of the Saint of another country.  We also realised that it was much more commercialised than back in Northern Ireland.

There was so much talk about the St. Patrick's Day parades and events in America yet we had never been to a St. Patrick's Day parade but that wasn't surprising as there was not a lot of information or advertising of any parades in Belfast or Dublin before we went to live in America.

When I did some research recently I discovered that there have been parades in 
Boston and New York for many, many years. 

It is believed that the first St. Patrick's Day Parade in Boston was as early as 1737
and the first in New York was is 1762.

St. Patrick's Day Parades old and new in New York

However as far as I have been able to find out St. Patrick's Day Parades have only been held in Belfast since 1998

In Dublin they started in 1931 but they were simple parades 
and the First St. Patrick's Day Festival in Dublin was in 1996.

Please let me know if you have any other information that would indicate earlier parades - I feel that there may have been some smaller ones perhaps not nearly as elaborate as the ones they have now

Belfast (left)     and     Dublin (right)

Since our years in Delaware we lived back home in Northern Ireland for 9 years and then went to live outside Brussels in Belgium for over 6 years.

In Belgium it was almost like being back in the US when it came round to March each year.  Suddenly everyone was telling us about any connections they might have with Ireland and there was lots of talk about St. Patrick's Day, the Irish, and "GREEN BEER"

After Belgium we returned to Northern Ireland but moved to the town of Banbridge in County Down this time.  
Also in County Down is the town of Downpatrick which contains the burial site of St. Patrick.

 Banbridge is not too far from Downpatrick and it is also not far from the city of Armagh where I remember many years ago when I was a child spending a lovely summer's day seeing the two beautiful Cathedrals there named after St. Patrick.  

A few years ago Fred & I finally went to our first  St. Patrick's Day Parade and where better to go than to the one in Downpatrick, although I did not have the opportunity to see his resting place at that time my husband, son and I did drive back one day last year to do just that. 

Downpatrick Parade

So no matter where we go in the world we meet someone who claims to be Irish, 
                   or that their great great great grandmother was Irish 
                                     and also appear to know more about the Irish than the Irish people do themselves.

We always hear others talking a lot about St. Patrick's Day and now everywhere I go on the internet, especially at the moment on Pinterest and hosts of US blogs there are recipes and greeting cards and crafts and printables and clipart all with more than a "Hint" of GREEN  

But there seems to be so much confusion between St. Patrick's Day and some myths about Ireland with lots of rainbows, pots of Gold, and leprechauns appearing in the parades and crafts and printables. 

These things make it more commercially appealing; but at the same time a lot of the St. Patrick's Day things are now omitting the man himself and the reason he is our Patron Saint, he brought the Good News of God's Salvation to the country of Ireland.

See more info on St. Patrick here

 But how can anyone forget 17th March?

Banner Thanks to Free Downloads from

Well not even Commander Chris Hadfield could forget it while up in space taking and tweeting all his great pictures of the world.  He took a great shot of my home town of Londonderry and of course he had the "Touch" of GREEN as well.

Commander Chris Hadfield & Londonderry

I had never seen a greeting card for St. Patrick's Day or buns (cupcakes) with green colouring added to the icing etc. specifically for St. Patrick's Day until I became a blogger and now it is hard to miss them with such a variety of ideas for crafts and recipes.

My husband suggested I add my own St. Patrick's day recipe but really he was just thinking of his favourite "wee green things" which is his name for the Peppermint Chocolate Tray Bakes I make for him.
I have to admit they are so yummy that they are quite addictive even for me and I am not usually keen on mint. 

If you are interested in St. Patrick and would want to learn more you may find some interesting books Here on Amazon

Oh, and just in case you still don't believe me that everyone is Irish on March 17th then what about this

Caption found in A Guinness Storehouse

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Thursday, 22 February 2018

10 Gift Ideas for a Guitar Fanatic

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Well ok my husband is not a guitar fanatic!

But my husband does love to play the guitar and to go to music shops to look at guitars and try out new ones.

Years ago he would be tempted by many a nice-sounding guitar and for a while we had several (and I really do mean several) guitars in our house.  Well you always need a 12 string as well as a 6 string acoustic and of course you need an electric and you can't forget about a bass as well.  Then even when you have a really good guitar that you love, you also need to have another semi-acoustic to always be sitting near at hand to pick up and play or teach someone else the basics on.

As it is coming up to his next birthday Fred chose to get another guitar

Now I know there are many people who often find it hard to buy gifts for people especially guys.
So if the person you are thinking of is a guitar lover then hang on in here and see a few ideas for gifts  for them and if not a guitar lover then you might find some helpful ideas for some "hard to buy for males" over at 10 Gift Ideas for Brothers etc.

#1   Guitar Rack

To help store his guitars I suggested to Fred many years ago that he get a guitar rack which he eventually did but even then there were others sitting around in different rooms because he had so many.  Now he has sold some & given some away so most can go on the rack.

This is also a gift that everyone else in the house can appreciate because it helps to keep the home tidy.

#2   Guitar Stand

Playing the guitar is actually a nice hobby to have and I like to hear Fred sit and play and enjoy seeing him play & lead worship in church which he has done for most of the time I have known him (and that's a very long time).

For anyone playing outside the home then they need to have a good stand to rest the guitar on in between sets (oh listen to me with my music language!!) and Fred has a few of these folding A Frame stands for use in church and elsewhere  -  notice the folding bit of the description because they are then so easy to transport.

He likes the ones that will suit all types of guitars like this one below.

#3   Guitar Picks  &  Strings

He started learning to play the guitar when he was 14 and even though I had started to learn when I was also 14 years old from the time I met him I knew I could never play as well as he could; possibly because I can not play by ear and also because my fingers are short but those were really only two excuses because although I liked the guitar I didn't love it as he did.

So you can imagine that Fred has used many, many guitar picks over all the years he has been playing.  Having just got this new guitar he started to think of what he might need to go along with it and he even thought of picks - his choice is shown here below.

Yes he does have picks in cases of guitars and sitting around near his guitars and in his pockets but he will always say you can never have too many of them.

Any serious guitar player will know the importance of changing the strings on the guitar regularly (depending on how much you play it of course) so that you always get the best sound.

However over time each guitar lover will settle on the type of strings he really likes for each type of guitar so it might be best to make sure you know the type they normally get or ask them what they would like before you buy.

#4   Capo

When I saw him looking around for a new capo to have for this new guitar I was tempted to say "another one?"  but then I realised that he probably likes to keep a capo on the end of each guitar or like the picks, near each guitar (and yes I have even known him to have one in his pocket).

He saw this one and thought the colour would tone in with the new guitar but it is available in more than one colour.

#5   Strap Lock

The new guitar arrived this afternoon.

Out it came straight away - I admired the nice case it came with and then admired the guitar as well - but there was something missing which I assumed was on all guitars until Fred explained that I was wrong.

Apparently the metal thing to which the guitar strap attaches (a strap lock) sometimes has to be bought separately so that was another thing he was looking for today and his choice is below.

#6   Strap 

Of course a new guitar merits a new strap too.
I tend to favour a patterned strap especially in blue because that's my favourite colour but Fred has always liked plain leather straps so that was another thing to start looking for and of course he has one all picked out now.

#7   Guitar Lead

One thing I know for certain we are not short of in this house is a lead for anything (the boxes of them are the proof of this) but although Fred does not need one for his new guitar he did suggest that other people would and so he recommended one with "a silent plug" for those times when our favourite guitarist is on stage and doesn't want to make a horrible noise when they detach their guitar lead.

#8   Guitar Tuner

Some guys are really good at tuning their guitars because they have such a good ear but even those guys will probably want a tuner to get the job done quicker.

As well as buying tuners to keep in their guitar case nowadays they can buy apps for their phones that will act as tuners.

#9   Wall Hook

When our second son was a teenager he was very keen on the guitar and wanted to keep one in his bedroom to play there.  His bedroom was the smallest room in the house so we came up with the idea of hanging the guitar from the wall and that was a great success and he thought it rather "cool" at the time.
So for anyone short of space to store guitars why not get them a wall hook - if it's what the retailers use then why not us.

#10   Kids Guitar

One of the nicest things someone can do for others is to pass on their knowledge and expertise and love for a musical instrument.

If a guitarist has a son or daughter they should be encouraged to instil a love for the guitar in them as well so some ideas for helping the kids become guitar fanatics are my last suggestion.

Many years ago we bought a 1/2 or 3/4 sized guitar so that Fred could teach our 3 kids to play and now even though they are all in their 30's they each enjoy music of all types and play the guitar.

Below are examples of some of these items that can be bought on Amazon but there are also many music websites to order from or shops to buy from.

In fact part of the gift could actually be taking some time to go with your guy to some music shops for him to choose his gift (and have a wee play at some guitars while he's there).

Just one word of advice

Take a book or ipad or something to do with you 
because I remember the times I would go to music shops with Fred 
and I was glad I had taken my book to read!!!


If buying through Amazon I get a little commission but that does not mean any extra expense to you.

Monday, 19 February 2018

I am not Dropping the EASTER! - Coffee & Conversation

Yes it's an Easter Egg - I am not dropping the EASTER!

What is a chocolate egg without Easter?

We would not have had chocolate eggs if it had not been for Easter.

Now the chocolate companies want to drop the Easter in Easter Egg and just have an egg, will it sell more because it will be seen to be more PC?

But it will not be an Easter Egg to many people.

A few years ago I was introduced to "The Real Easter Egg" which is produced 
by Meaningful Chocolate.

I was attracted to the eggs because of the fact that they are fairtrade and because they don't just provide a chocolate treat for children (and the rest of us) but they have a booklet (new one each year) for the children as well which teaches them about The True Meaning of Easter in an interesting way.

We have bought them for the kids at our church and we have enjoyed them at home.

But the main thing about these eggs is the fact that along with the chocolate egg 
is the Real Meaning of Easter.

When many other Eggs are going to be sitting in our shops this year without the word Easter on them, this is an egg that still proclaims the real meaning of Easter which is the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus who is the only Saviour of the world and the only one by which we have a way to God.

You can read my review of The Real Easter Egg Here.

You can also watch this short video about The Real Easter Egg.

Then why not check out the website here for more info and details of  the other eggs they offer and the shops that stock them but because Easter is early this year orders online need to be in through the site before 6th March to have them delivered on time.

As I said at the start of this post "I am not dropping the EASTER" and this applies to Easter as well as to eggs.  Our special times of the year all seem to changing to "seasons" or  "holidays" now but I'm still a Christmas and Easter supporter and I will not be dropping either.

Yes it's an EASTER Egg! - I am not dropping the EASTER!

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Acts Chapter 26 - Paul Comes Before the King

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What would you say if you were to speak to a king?   

In Chapter 25 - The Big Appeal  we were brought to the point where Paul would be allowed to appeal to Caesar and then King Agrippa comes into the story and we were left wondering how this might affect Festus and his decision.

verses 1 - 3     A greeting to King Agrippa.

So the king wants to hear from Paul and Paul doesn't just blurt out "I've been accused ...." and how wrong it is.
Instead Paul greets and recognises the King as an authority in Jewish customs and asks him to listen patiently.

Yes we all (according to scripture) have the right to be heard when we are accused of something but that does not mean we get abusive about it or forget to be respectful to others.

verses 4 - 11     Short Personal story of early life.

Paul explains how he was a devout Jew and that he was well-known among all Jews.

Now the Jews should be well acquainted with the promises of God as they are always exhorted to memorise the scriptures but they do have disagreements among themselves about the resurrection.  Paul believes in the resurrection because of having been a Pharisee  as opposed to the Sadducees who do not.

We found that several times the resurrection is mentioned and disagreements happen as is Chapter 17 - Knowing God

Here he talks about the hope of the Promise that God gave originally to Abraham and all Jews should be in agreement about that.

He then goes on to the part of his life when he persecuted those who followed Jesus because he saw them as going against what Jews believed and even blaspheming.

verses 12 - 18       Conversion Experience.

Yet again Paul has the opportunity to relay the story of his conversion.

In other times when he had an audience of Jews he had bad reactions such as in Chapter 13 - A Specific Job for the Kingdom  but with the difference that there he was invited by the Jewish Leaders to speak and now they don't want him to speak at all.

Another time he had the opportunity to speak to the Jews of Jesus in Chapter 18 - Reactions of People  he found that the Jews were so angry against him that they blasphemed.

What will be the reaction of this King?

verses 19 - 23             New life and Attitude.

Paul tells the King of his new life and what that entailed.

It meant a change in his behaviour from hounding the Christians to

  • obedience to Jesus from the meeting on the Damascus Road  verse 19
  • speaking of repentence first to the Jews and then also to the gentiles  verse 20

It also meant a change in his physical and practical lifestyle

  • arrests and threats of death from his own people  verse 21
  • help and miracles from God  verse 22

It also meant a strong and unwavering stance for God

  • speaking the same as the prophets had about how Jesus would come and die and rise again  verse 22-23

verses 24 - 33            Reaction to Paul.

First Festus is upset and turns on Paul.

Then Paul turns it directly to the King because he knows the King has heard a lot about him already.
He asks Agrippa a very important question in verse 27

King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? 
I know that you do believe.

Paul did what many times we fail to do.

Paul after testifying about Jesus then asked a direct question which demands thoughtful consideration and a response.

Salvation is a personal thing not just something we hear about but something we need to make a decision about and respond to either accepting or rejecting there is no other option.

So what was King Agrippa's response in verse 28?

It was about the saddest one we will ever hear.

Then Agrippa said to Paul, 
“You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”

Almost is not enough, in fact almost is as far away as an outright rejection.

When faced with the Gospel it is a matter of acceptance or rejection, there just is no in-between. 

Paul stood before his earthly king but but some day we will all stand before our heavenly King Jesus and we need to have made our decision now, not waiting until then when it will be too late.

It is acceptance or rejection NOW there just is no in between.

Interested to know more about the Book of Acts?
Then Try these commentaries

Or this Bible Study

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