Monday, April 14, 2014

Gratitude....

I sit here this morning thinking about many things.  It's been a while since I've updated Kaufman's Cottage mostly because I'm not sure of what to post.  From the very beginning I've felt strongly about being an encourager of homemakers.  We have a VERY important job to do!  I pray that if you are feeling discouraged about your role in the home that God will lead you to my post.  Don't think for a minute that it's just a coincidence...that's how He works sometimes!

I wanted to do a year end review for 2013.  Better late than never right?  I wholeheartedly believe this:


Are you struggling with discontentment?  Don't feel alone!  From time to time we all do.  I've found the best way to combat that is to simply look for things to be thankful for.  A home?  Someone to love?  Food to eat?  Clothes to wear?  A book to read?  A God to worship?  If you look hard enough, I guarantee you can find something to be thankful for and that my friends is victory over discontentment! 

2013 was a tough year with deaths in the family, broken relationships, unfair expectations and a whole lot more but I've got SO much to be thankful for!  If you are reading this, then you are a part of that as well.  So thank you!  Here are some random highlight's from 2013...


Front Porch Modification...


Garden August 2013...




Random Cards from 2013...



Trunk or Treat October 2013...


A Quick Fall Wreath...


Christmas 2013...


Our Best Friends....


Chris and I December 2013...

What are you most thankful for today?

Many Blessings,
Melissa

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Book Review: For Every Season....

 
 Struggling relationships, secrets and restlessness of the heart continue to plague all of the characters in Cindy Woodsmall's third book in the Amish Vines and Orchards series.   Because I had read the first and second book, I went into this one with high hopes of having some questions about the characters answered! Cindy does an incredible job of describing the Amish day to day life and I find myself wanting to read more and more.  That's a good indication of an excellent writer in my opinion!

To be completely honest, I really had a hard time getting into For Every Season.  But once I forced myself to pick it up, I was pleasantly surprised at how the story unfolded.  Rhoda, Samuel and Jacob continue to struggle until the inevitable happens and Cindy was able to stay true to the kind of people she created them to be from the beginning.

If you are an Amish Fiction fan, I think you'd really enjoy this series!  And stay tuned because book number four is due to come out in April of 2014!

Thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for providing this book to me free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

PS: Book number three also includes a couple of apple recipes! :)



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Book Review: Traces of Mercy....

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Traces of Mercy
David C. Cook (October 1, 2013)
by
Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Michael Landon Jr., son of television legend Michael Landon, is an award-winning storyteller, first in television and film, and now in books. His print works include One More Sunrise co-written with Tracie Peterson. 
****
Cindy Kelley is the co-author of the novel The Silent Gift, and Traces of Mercy. Her career as a screenwriter with long-time writing partner, Michael Landon, Jr., began with the adaptation of Margery Williams’ classic story, The Velveteen Rabbit, which had a theatrical release. Several television movies followed, most notably Love Comes Softly, (based on Janette Oke’s novel) which won a CAMIE Award and the Epiphany Prize for Movie Guide’s most inspirational television movie of 2003. Cindy and her husband, Jim, make their home in the Southwest; have three adorable grandchildren and four big dogs who rule the house.


ABOUT THE BOOK
From Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley, authors of The Silent Gift and creators of the hit television film Love Comes Softly, comes an exciting historical romance set in post-Civil War, and filled with suspense and faith-building values.

At the war’s end, a young woman suffers an accident that leaves her unconscious and alone. Waking with amnesia, she takes the name Mercy and wants more than anything to find out the truth of her past. But then a handsome stranger arrives, who may hold the key to everything she has forgotten. What he knows could devastate her future, and even end her life.

Written by two proven storytellers, Traces of Mercy is perfect for anyone who loves historical fiction, prairie-based tales, or just a good romance.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Traces of Mercy, go HERE


Friday, October 18, 2013

Book Review: A Bride for Keeps....


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Bride for Keeps
Bethany House Publishers (October 1, 2013)
by
Melissa Jagears
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A Word From The Author:

I am a stay at home mother on a tiny little farm with a fixer-upper house. As much as I love writing and reading about homesteaders, I am so glad I’m a homesteader during an era with modern grocery stores to take up for my slack. I am an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher by trade, and I still work occasionally in that field along with being my church’s financial secretary and writing novels.

My husband and I have been married since 2001 and have a daughter and two little boys. My husband shares my fascination with traditional living except for being more hands on. He loves blacksmithing, knife smithing, traditional archery, hunting, etc. Generally whatever a mountain man does, he does it or has or wants to attempt it. He comes in handy for research! And of course, the rest of the family gets involved. I have my own blackpowder rifle, named Calvin, that my husband made for me. And I’m pretty sure my daughter is probably one of very few her age who can instruct adults how to shoot a longbow properly. The boy digs random holes in my yard to make “cement” with dirt and water making our yard a tripping hazard. The baby does what babies do.

ABOUT THE BOOK

A Tender Tale of Love on the Prairie Perfect for CBA Readers!

Although Everett Cline can hardly keep up with the demands of his homestead, he won't humiliate himself by looking for a helpmate ever again--not after being jilted by three mail-order brides. When a well-meaning neighbor goes behind his back to bring yet another mail-order bride to town, he has good reason to doubt it will work, especially after getting a glimpse at the woman in question. She's the prettiest woman he's ever seen, and it's just not possible she's there to marry a simple homesteader like him.

Julia Lockwood has never been anything more than a pretty pawn for her father or a business acquisition for her former fiance. Having finally worked up the courage to leave her life in Massachusetts, she's determined to find a place where people will value her for more than her looks. Having run out of all other options, Julia resorts to a mail-order marriage in far-away Kansas.

Everett is skeptical a cultured woman like Julia could be happy in a life on the plains, while Julia, deeply wounded by a past relationship, is skittish at the idea of marriage at all. When, despite their hesitations, they agree to a marriage in name only, neither one is prepared for the feelings that soon arise to complicate their arrangement. Can two people accustomed to keeping their distance let the barricades around their hearts down long enough to fall in love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Bride for Keeps, go HERE.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Book Reviews: Pretty is as Pretty Does, Bless Her Heart and Tickled Pink....

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Pretty is as Pretty Does (bk 1)
Bless Her Heart (bk 2)
Tickled Pink (bk 3)
Abingdon Press (June 1, 2013)
by
Debby Mayne
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Debby Mayne is a best-selling author who has published more than 25 books and novellas, 400 short stories and articles, and devotions for women. She has also worked as managing editor of a national health magazine, product information writer for HSN, a creative writing instructor, and a copy editor and proofreader. Her novel, Love Finds You in Treasure Island, Florida received 4-1/2 stars from RT Book Review, and was named a Top Pick for the month of July. She and her husband Wally have two grown daughters, and live in Palm Harbor, Florida.

 ABOUT THE BOOKS
Priscilla Slater goes to her ten-year high school reunion with equal parts dread and eager anticipation. Even though she’s a successful owner of a chain of hair salons and no longer has the mousy brown hair, crooked teeth, and discount-store wardrobe, she still feels like the ugly duckling. But when she arrives at the reunion, Priscilla soon realizes that her old classmates aren’t exactly as she remembers them. With humor and a just a touch of sassiness, Priscilla finds herself facing her own truth—and she may be surprised at what she discovers.
As Priscilla Slater’s 15-year class reunion approaches, she decides to attend out of curiosity… and to flaunt her latest achievement—taking her business to a national level with the possibility of a TV show. As if getting ready for the event and putting up with the pranks of her former classmates isn’t enough, Priscilla’s hometown visit is further complicated by her parents’ separation. With the once-solid sanctuary of her home broken at the foundation, there’s only one thing Priscilla’s parents can agree on: no matter what sort of accolades their daughter receives as a hair stylist, she’s not living up to her potential. Eager to escape the painful reality of her childhood home, Priscilla bolts as soon as a call from New York brings good news: her offer to purchase one of the best salons in the country is likely to come through. But returning to New York means returning to Tim, Priscilla’s best friend and business pal who has been impatiently suggesting their relationship should be more than a friendship. Despite her recent achievements, will Priscilla learn that success doesn’t always result in popularity—or love?
Priscilla Slater shows up at her 20-year reunion as a national celebrity. Her hair salon dynasty has skyrocketed, and to top it off, she has her own line of hair products. She has become a huge success with the “Ms. Prissy Big Hair” line that lets women with the thinnest of locks get the coveted “big hair” look so popular in the South. Her classmates have finally come to terms with adulthood, but they’re handling it with the grace of a Southern woman wearing white after Labor Day. It’s just downright awkward! Asserting the maturity that her classmates have often lacked, Priscilla holds her head high. But she can’t ignore everything. When she catches her mother in the arms of her former high school principal, Priscilla can’t get out of town fast enough. Eager to get back to her more comfortable life, Priscilla runs head on into an ultimatum: Tim tells her they’re not getting any younger—as if she has to be reminded.

If you would like to read an excerpt from Pretty is as Pretty Does (bk 1), go HERE
JOIN THE PARTY! Now that all three books have released, let’s party! (Yes, really!) Join our online class reunion the week of October 7, 2013 on Debby Mayne’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/136447929891169/ Stop by to answer questions about the books, respond to fun polls, join in fun activities to help you reminisce your high school days, and win great prizes. Tell your friends and meet us there!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Book Review: Made to Last....

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Made to Last
Bethany House Publishers (September 15, 2013)
by
Melissa Tagg

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A Word From The Author:

I’m a former reporter turned author who loves all things funny and romancey. My debut novel, a romantic comedy titled Made to Last, releases from Bethany House in September 2013. In addition to my nonprofit day job, I’m also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for novelists.

It all started when my dad, at the ripe old age of sixteen, picked up my mom up for their first date. She was thirteen. Thirteen!* Dad drove a cherry red car up the lane to my grandparents big ol’ green house and honked his horn…whereupon Mom jumped out of the apple tree she’d been waiting in and off they went…fishing. True story. (I’d give more details, but I’m saving it for a novella I plan to entitle Two Leaves. Mom, I really hope you read this.)

Four years of college, a few trips abroad and a stint as a reporter later, that dream is soon to be a reality. My debut novel, a romantic comedy titled Made to Last, is now out from Bethany House. Book two, Here to Stay, comes out on May 1, 2014.

In between writing and staring out the window brainstorming, I also work as a grant-writer at one of Iowa’s largest private nonprofits and serve as the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for novelists founded by Susan May Warren.

And I love, love, love talking about finding our purpose and identity in Christ. (And well, okay, food, old movies, boots and scarves, my awesome nephew Ollie, and, fine, Tim Tebow, too.)

ABOUT THE BOOK
Miranda Woodruff has it all. At least, that's how it looks when she's starring in her homebuilding television show, From the Ground Up. So when her network begins to talk about making cuts, she'll do anything to boost ratings and save her show--even if it means pretending to be married to a man who's definitely not the fiance who ran out on her three years ago.

When a handsome reporter starts shadowing Miranda's every move, all his digging into her personal life brings him a little too close to the truth--and to her. Can the girl whose entire identity is wrapped up in her on-screen persona finally find the nerve to set the record straight? And if she does, will the life she's built come crashing down just as she's found a love to last?

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Made to Last, go HERE

Friday, September 6, 2013

Book Review: Threads of Change....

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Threads of Change
River North; New Edition edition (July 1, 2013)
by
Jodi Barrows

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Over the past twenty years, Jodi has remarkably touched thousands of quilters throughout the world with her unique method called Square in a Square®. Her point of view provides the quilter with the freedom to create most any quilt design with speed and accuracy.

Jodi has spoken to quilting audiences throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, Italy and S. Africa. She has appeared as a guest on several quilting shows, including TNN’s Aleene’s Creative Living, TNN’s Your Home Studio, Perfecting Patchwork on Family Net TV and a pbs series with Kaye Wood.

Jodi was raised in southwest Kansas, has two grown sons, and is married to Steve, her high school sweetheart.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Conflict develops in the South,

Four granddaughters travel into uncertainty,

And Grandfather sells their precious home.

In the first book of A Quilting Story series, the four cousins-with social graces, charm, and a love for quilting-will face the anguish of life on the frontier in 1856 with every turn along the wagon trail. Raging storms and adversities hit the small band of travelers. Relieved to finally arrive at the abandoned military post at Fort Worth, Texas, they begin the hard work of establishing a new home. When trials follow them, they must decide to become true warriors of their hearts, minds, and souls or fall to the sufferings of prairie life.

Join the four women on a passage of friendship, love, and self-discovery as lives are mended around the quilting frame.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Threads of Change, go HERE.
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