Friday, July 31, 2015

Melanie Dobson let's readers in on a few family secrets from Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor

 An interview with Melanie Dobson,
Author of Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor

Every family has secrets they’d prefer to stay hidden, but where is the line between protecting the ones you love and simple self-preservation? The theme of Melanie Dobson’s sweeping new novel, Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor (Howard Books/May 5, 2015/ ISBN: 9781476746142/$14.99) is how the choices of a few can impact generations.

Q: In your latest book, Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, we meet 19-year-old Maggie — innocent in many ways — but she finds herself in an unwed pregnancy during a time period when that was socially unacceptable. What does that situation mean for her and her family?

Maggie lost her biological parents during World War II, and her beloved younger brother died in an orphanage after the war. Heartbroken and scared, Maggie was raised by foster parents near Bristol, England. In the 1950s, British mothers often told their children that a midwife or a stork brought each new baby, so many young women were naïve about the facts of life. Maggie and her foster mother never discussed where babies came from.

Maggie craves love at the beginning of this story, but the father of her baby has sailed away from their coastal village, and she knows this unexpected pregnancy will humiliate her foster family. Since she has no place else to turn, Maggie begins to contemplate suicide, thinking it will be better for her child to be cradled in heaven rather than dying slowly in an orphanage like Maggie’s brother.

Q: Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor spans four generations of women, slipping back and forth between a past and contemporary story. Why do the three older women keep secrets from their daughters? How far are some people willing to go to cover the shame of their past?

Mother-daughter relationships can be complicated. This relationship can be one of the closest a woman might experience, but it can also be one of the most hurtful. In both the past and present parts of the story, the mothers kept secrets from their daughters in order to protect them, but as these secrets are passed down through generations, they almost destroy their family.
While these women believe they are protecting the people they love, they are really protecting themselves. The wounds from shame have been around since Adam and Eve sinned against God and then hid themselves in the perfect garden. Like Adam and Eve, many of us are willing to go a long way to cover up sin or abuse from our past. This makes me even more grateful for the grace of God that has the power to redeem our past and cleanse all our shame.

Q: Why did you choose to weave the theme of butterflies through this story?

Maggie’s daughter, Libby, is a unique young woman who is fascinated by butterflies. She is a beautiful, passionate girl who thrives on wandering among the flowers in Ladenbrooke’s gardens and spilling her heart on the pages of her sketchbook. Even though she struggles socially, Libby is enchanted by the beauty and dance of butterflies. As she grows older, Libby loves creating colorful butterflies — her friends — through painting, and these butterflies ultimately bring new life to her as well.

I chose to use the example of butterflies throughout this story because of their struggle to break free of the cocoon that both shelters and confines them and because of their transformation into elegant, vibrant creatures that rely on the sun for life. Once we allow God to peel back the shame and guilt that bind us, we — like these magical butterflies —are finally free to be exactly who He made us to be.

Q: You’ve said if Libby had been born in modern times, she could have fallen on the autism spectrum. Why did you choose to include that aspect as part of her story?

My oldest daughter has sensory processing issues, and we have journeyed with friends throughout the years who have children on this spectrum as well. Parents of kids on the autism spectrum often experience a lot of guilt and shed many tears on behalf of their son or daughter. Until parents have a diagnosis, there is a lot of confusion as to why their child is different than other kids and why they struggle to do seemingly simple tasks when really they are fighting to survive. There can also be judgment from teachers and other adults who are confused or uneducated about this spectrum.

Children on the autism spectrum often struggle with self-control and relationships, but they can also be incredibly bright, passionate people, such as Libby, who excel at art or science or whatever talents God has given them. In this story, I wanted to celebrate these wonderful kids and encourage moms, in particular, who might feel hopeless and alone.

Q: How were people with autism and their families treated differently 50 years ago?

In the 1950s, the mother of a child with autism was referred to as a “refrigerator mom” because it was thought autism was a result of being parented by a cold, unfeeling mother. Ouch! I can’t imagine how hurtful that must have been to moms of autistic children. In Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, Walter and Maggie debate what would help and what would hurt Libby. Walter wants Libby to face her fears while Maggie wants to protect her daughter from the world and the children who tease her. They both feel helpless at times as they seek to understand Libby’s heart and mind.

When I was in England, I spent time with a woman who had been a special education teacher 50 years ago. She said during this time period, autistic children would have been sent to a separate home, while those with Asperger syndrome or sensory processing issues would most likely have been rejected by other children and adults because their differences.

Q: Do you think sensitivity and understanding for those with autism has increased in modern times? What can individuals do to help change the way society views and interacts with those impacted by autism?

I am incredibly grateful for the advances in understanding the spectrum of autism and all the amazing techniques, exercises and therapies to help kids on this spectrum succeed. Still many children with Sensory Processing Disorder are misdiagnosed. It’s important to continue educating parents and teachers about the range of this spectrum and how children with heightened sensory awareness might react with fear or anger when they feel threatened. It is also helpful when parents of children on the autism spectrum are able to be honest about the successes and failures of their journey. Instead of judging, we should all encourage parents who love their kids but feel discouraged on their quest for answers.

Q: Willow Cottage, the home of the Doyle family, sits in the shadows of the Croft family’s Ladenbrooke Manor. What is the significance of these shadows?

The Crofts are an upper class, noble family in England while Walter and Maggie Doyle are solidly middle class. During the 1950s, there were strict society rules between the British classes, but both Oliver (the son of Lord and Lady Croft) and Libby (the Doyles’ daughter) defy these rules. Like the boundaries of society, a stone wall separated Ladenbrooke Manor and Willow Cottage until tragedy strikes both families and these social boundaries begin to crumble. Ultimately God’s light shines through the shadows on both sides of the wall.

Q: Your favorite characters to write about are everyday heroes and heroines who sacrifice their lives for someone else. Do any of your characters sacrifice their lives in Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor?

I am fascinated by seemingly ordinary people today and throughout history who have done extraordinary things to help others. In Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, Walter chooses to sacrifice his career and his plans for the future to raise a daughter who’s biologically not his. He grows to love Libby, and even though his emotions are tumultuous throughout this story, Walter ultimately decides to accept and care for this girl he believes God has given him. Also, Maggie originally thinks that taking her own life, along with the life of her unborn daughter, is the most loving thing to do for her child, but Walter stops her from killing herself; she ultimately sacrifices herself to fight for Libby and to care for Libby’s daughter.

Q: Despite the fear of disappointing people we love, how can we learn to live our lives in the light of the truth instead of hiding?

One of the verses I cling to regularly as a parent is 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” Christ ripped the veil of our shame in two when He died so we no longer have to hide behind it. I love when women of different generations are honest with one another about their weaknesses and offer each other grace, just as Christ gave freely to each of us.

Q: There seem to be some similarities in time period and setting between the BBC’s surprise hit Call the Midwife and Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor. Why do you think Call the Midwife has become such a popular program in both England and the United States, and what are some of the parallels between this show and your latest novel?

Viewers love Call the Midwife for many reasons, but some of the main reasons are because it’s a show about a character reflecting back on her life during the 1950s with new clarity and because of the rich themes of faith and morality that echo through the generations. Also, the stories take an honest look at both the beauty and sometimes sorrow that happen with each new birth. Each episode is authentic in its display of inner and external conflict while maintaining its focus on the relationship between God and humanity.

The story in Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor is also bound together by the journal entries of a character reflecting back on life in England during a similar era. I hope readers will appreciate the honest perspective of the challenges of an unexpected pregnancy and wrestle through their own emotions alongside the characters. Also similar to Call the Midwife, the themes of faith and grace are integral to this story.

Q: Could you tell us about the trip you took to research this book?

I visit all the main settings of my novels to capture the spirit and culture of each location along with the sights, sounds and even tastes of the area. I spent a week on a “whistle stop” tour of England last spring, exploring Oxford, London, Bristol and the lovely manor homes in the Cotswolds. I thoroughly enjoyed my many pots of English tea, sleeping in homes that were almost 1,000 years old and meandering through cottage gardens around Oxford. I also had the pleasure of meeting with friends and fellow novelists Carrie Turansky and Cathy Gohlke while they researched for their upcoming novels and then spending the day with a lovely British woman named Evelyn who thought my novel should be set in the quaint village called Bibury. Turns out, she was exactly right!

Q: You have said you almost feel a compulsion to write. What do you mean by that?

Someone gave me a red journal when I was seven, and I’ve loved to write and create stories ever since. I enjoy the challenge of researching and writing fiction, and when I’m not working on a new book, I’m either making up stories for my girls or dreaming about ideas for my next novel. I believe we all have talents and abilities that God wants us to use. Writing is life-giving to me, and I get cranky (as my family will confirm!) when I take too long of a break from my pen and paper.

Q: Ultimately, what is the main message of Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor?

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor was my exploration of God’s light shining through the shadows of life, along with the beauty and power of His restoration through generations. The story is ultimately about transformation — how even in the hardest situations God can weave together a story of hope and redemption and create incredible beauty from the ashes of our lives.

To keep up with Melanie Dobson, visit, become a fan on Facebook (Melanie-Dobson) or follow her on Twitter (@MelBDobson).

Thursday, July 30, 2015

What would you say to someone who killed one of your family members?

Part 1 of an interview with Laurie Coombs,
Author of Letters from My Fathers Murderer

Letters from My Fathers Murder (Kregel/June 27, 2015/ISBN:  978-0825442292/$14.99), is an extraordinary true story of grace, mercy, and the redemptive power of God.  When her father was murdered, Laurie Coombs and her family sought justiceand found it. Yet, despite the swift punishment of the killer, Laurie found herself increasingly full of pain, bitterness, and anger she couldnt control. It was the call to love and forgive her father's murderer that set her, the murderer, and several other inmates on the journey that would truly change their lives forever.

This compelling story of transformation will touch the deepest wounds and show how God can redeem what seems unredeemable.

Q: Why did you want to write Letters from My Fathers Murderer, which details such a tragic and painful part of your life?

To be honest, I didn’t initially want to write this book. I wanted to share my story, but I knew writing it in a book would require me to bare all. I knew I’d have to share difficult things, and I didn’t want to. But greater than my resistance was my desire to see people experience freedom and redemption and healing as I had. I wanted God to be glorified for what He had done in and through my life.

I knew God was calling me to write this book. And I knew God well enough to know that if I answered that call I’d most assuredly see lives change as a result of the message He has given me. God allowed me to see something good could come out of the ashes of my past. I could play a small part in the grand story He has been unfolding since the beginning of time. I could participate in what He’s doing in the here and now for the good of many. And so, I chose to say yes, and of course I’m now completely on board.

Q: Tell us about the significance of the few interactions you had with your father just prior to his murder.

About one month before my dad died, he said to me, “Laurie, when I die, I want people to remember me for who I am. I don’t want anyone turning me into something I’m not.” The comment sort of stunned me at first. It came out of absolutely nowhere. My dad continued to tell me people only want to talk about the good parts of a person after they die. “But that’s not who they really are,” he said. “There are good parts and bad parts to every one of us.”

For many years, I didn’t understand why my dad said that to me – obviously, neither one of us knew he was going to die – but as I began to write this book, his words came to mind. I knew then, without a doubt, God had him speak those words to me more than a decade before I needed them to give me the freedom to share my story however God would lead.

Q: Youre very honest in the book about the mistakes your father made and how that affected your teen years and even your choice to reject the faith you had been raised in. Was that difficult for you to do?

Absolutely. I had to do a lot of thinking and praying about how to write what God wanted me to write in this book. But ultimately I knew God was calling me to truth. My dad was an amazing man. A wonderful father. I really was a daddy’s girl. But he wasn’t perfect. And neither am I. It’s my hope that I conveyed my imperfections throughout the book as well.

Q: Before sentencing at trial, what did you tell the jury on the day you stood in the courtroom and came face-to-face with your fathers killer?

I told them about my dad. I tried to make my dad real to them. And then I left them with a challenge. I said,

“Until the day of Anthony’s death, we will have to deal with the fact that there is a man out there who took our dad’s life. How long this murderer will spend in prison is left up to you, and we encourage you to help our family in our pursuit of justice.

This tragedy, which has affected all of our lives, is not over. This will be something we must live with for the rest of our lives; nonetheless, only when justice is served will we be able to move on with our lives and have closure.

Leonardo da Vinci once said, ‘He who does not punish evil commends it to be done. Justice requires power, insight, and will. . . .’ I challenge you to uphold justice and sentence Anthony to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.”

Q: What made you decide to begin corresponding with your fathers killer? What did you hope would come from it?

God had freed me from the anxiety and depression after coming to Jesus, but then He began to show me I was irritable pretty much all the time. It was ugly, and quite honestly, I didn’t like myself very much. I began to pray for God to show me why I was like this. Why cant I just be nice? I wondered. And then He showed me that the root of my irritability was anger, which had ultimately turned into bitterness.

I prayed, asking God to remove the bitterness in my heart, and that’s when I heard His gentle whisper tell me, “It’s time to forgive.” But then He took it a step further. “Love your enemy,” He said. God’s call to forgive and love my enemy resulted in the correspondence between the man who murdered my dad and me. Initially, I wasn’t sure what would come out of our interaction, but I did know where God was taking me. I knew He was leading me toward forgiveness and healing. I didn’t know what that journey would look like along the way, but I did know wherever I ended up would be a good place.

Q: Tell us about the moment you were finally able to forgive.

Forgiveness came when I least expected it. My correspondence with the man who murdered my dad had gotten heated. He was blame-shifting and justifying, and I was obviously not OK with that. All I wanted to do was rebuke him — I almost did — but instead, God said to me, “Laurie, leave him to me. Now forgive.” And I did. But it wasn’t of me. If I had my way, I would have met all the blame-shifting and lies with a rebuke. Instead God called and enabled me to give that which I had already been given. He called me to give grace and love and forgiveness.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that,” and he was right. The moment I extended grace and love and forgiveness, I began to see the man who murdered my dad change before my eyes. 

Q: Your fathers killer wrote, Your testimony may have saved a life, in one of his letters. What did he mean by that?

The man who murdered my dad chose to share what God had done through our journey during a church service with his fellow inmates. He shared an article I had written. He told them nothing is unforgivable. He encouraged them to place God in the center of their most broken relationship and pray. Then he told them I had encouraged him to live his life to the glory of God. I had told him that just because he was in prison doesn’t mean he had wasted his life. I challenged him not to allow his life, nor my dad’s death, to be in vain. The men were crying as he spoke, and after he shared a man came up to him to tell him he had been planning to murder a man when released from prison. He said because of this testimony, he decided to pray and forgive instead. I was stunned. God had used my dad’s death possibly to save another life. It was incredible.

Q: What have you learned from your interaction with him?

Oh boy. A lot. More than I can ever say, really. God used this chapter of my life to teach me just about every aspect of the gospel. I learned what it looks like to follow Jesus. I learned more about who God is. I learned how to let go of control. I learned to press through obstacles. I learned how to calm my fears. I learned to be in complete reliance upon Jesus. I learned how to wait on the Lord. I learned about sin and judgment. I learned I am no better than any other, and my sins are no better than those of the man who murdered my dad. I learned true forgiveness is only accomplished by the grace of God. I learned the Christian life is not a life of passivity. I learned how to lay down my biases and seek God’s perspective. I learned forgiveness frees us from a victim mentality. I learned God is a God of the impossible — and so much more. Now I certainly don’t do all these things perfectly, but I sure did learn a lot through my journey of forgiveness.

Q: What is his status today? Do you maintain regular contact with him?

I do still have contact with him. It’s still ridiculously crazy to me that things have turned out the way they have. God has put a man who was once my enemy in my life. The man I once hated is now someone who works alongside me in my calling. The message he shares in there is the same one I share out here, so we do still write every now and again — but now our letters are centered around how God would have us use our story.

Learn more about Laurie Coombs and Letters From My Fathers Murderer at and on Facebook (lauriecoombs), Twitter (lauriecoombs) and Pinterest (laurieacoombs).

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sarah Ladd launches new series with The Curiousity Keeper

A mysterious stranger, a missing gem, and flying sparks! Don’t miss Sarah Ladd’s new book, The Curiosity KeeperCaught at the intersection of blessings and curses, greed and deceit, these two determined souls must unite to protect what they hold dear. But when a passion that shines far brighter than any gem is ignited, Camille and Jonathan will have to decide how much they are willing to risk for their future, love, and happiness.
Curiosity Keeper


A Treasures of Surrey novel (Thomas Nelson, July 2015)
“It is not just a ruby, as you say. It is large as a quail’s egg, still untouched and unpolished. And it is rumored to either bless or curse whoever possesses it.”
Camille Iverness can take care of herself. She’s done so since the day her mother abandoned the family and left Camille to run their shabby curiosity shop. But when a violent betrayal leaves her injured with no place to hide, Camille must allow a mysterious stranger to come to her aid.
Jonathan Gilchrist never wanted to inherit Kettering Hall. As a second son, he was content to work as the village apothecary. But when his brother’s death made him heir just as his father’s foolish decisions put the estate at risk, only the sale of a priceless possession—a ruby called the Bevoy—can save the family from ruin. But the gem has disappeared. And all trails lead to Iverness Curiosity Shop—and the beautiful shop girl who may be the answer to his many questions.
Caught at the intersection of blessings and curses, greed and deceit, these two determined souls must unite to protect what they hold dear. But when a passion that shines far brighter than any gem is ignited, they will have to decide how much they are willing to risk for their future, love, and happiness.
Sarah Ladd


Sarah E. Ladd received the 2011 Genesis Award in historical romance for The Heiress of Winterwood. She is a graduate of Ball State University and has more than ten years of marketing experience. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing husband, sweet daughter, and spunky Golden Retriever.
Find out more about Sarah at

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Intersect: Where Your Story and God’s Story Converge

 Let your story draw others to Christ
New DVD series enables anyone to share their faith with those they love

Let’s face it: Opening up to the people we love most about the most important issues in life — such as faith — can be tough. Whether it’s embarrassment or misunderstanding, the fear of rejection can keep our lips sealed, thus keeping our unsaved loved ones lost in the dark. This is why Rob Peabody and Cris Rogers created Intersect: Where Your Story and God’s Story Converge (Kregel Publications/July 27, 2015/$15.99), a five-week short film resource designed to help Christians engage their family, friends and neighbors in a meaningful way about their faith. Whether used in a café, a friend’s living room or a more formal church setting, the video series can be tailored to a variety of audiences.

Intersect follows the lives of five people as they examine their struggles and triumphs in light of what God teaches us about life in Scripture. Viewers can relate easily to their stories, which cover issues such as:

·         Rest
·         Control
·         Expectations
·         Disappointment
·         Trust

The power of story plays an important role in Intersects intended impact. “The beauty of each person’s individual journey is that although they are each completely unique, they can also relate and intersect,” Peabody explains. “When that happens, it may bring validation, hope, assurance, comfort and meaning. In a day and age where truth is debated and experience reigns supreme, our stories speak volumes.”

Avoiding “Christianese,” Intersect is specifically designed to appeal to all people, regardless of where they are on their spiritual journey. “We’ve created Intersect in such a way that anyone can play the films and facilitate the conversation from the study guide,” Peabody explains. “We see Intersect as a ‘pre-intro to Christianity,’ entertaining ideas about God and what He might have to say about universal issues we all face.”

In the end, both Peabody and Rogers hope Intersect will help Christians understand that even if they don’t feel like they have anything to offer their searching loved ones, they have a story, and God wants to merge with and use their story to reach the lost.

For more information about Intersect and to watch a preview,

Advance Praise

“Rob brings clear perspectives on what it means to follow Jesus, take risks and live with a unique identity as a citizen of the everlasting Kingdom.”
~ Chris McFarland, Executive Director, PULSE

About the Producers

Rob Peabody left his position as lead campus pastor of a mega-church in Texas in 2011 and moved with his wife, Medea, and their two sons to the U.K. He is now the co-founder and director of Awaken, a non-profit organization that exists to provide resources and creativity to the church and reach Londoners in their 20s and 30s with the Gospel. This work is commissioned by the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and in partnership with the Church of England.

Peabody also currently serves as a missional consultant for multiple church networks. He appears regularly at the Spring Harvest conferences in Great Britain and will be leading a new upcoming national U.K. conference for young adults called The Pursuit.

In addition, Peabody has written a small-group film series entitled Kingdom Rise (2013), as well as the book Citizen: Your Role in the Alternative Kingdom (2014).

Connect with Rob Peabody at his online home at, like the Awaken Movement on Facebook (awakenmovement) or follow Rob on Twitter (@AwakenRob and @awakenmovement).

Cris Rogers is a writer, pastor, speaker and church visionary. In 2010, Rogers planted a church in the poorest area of London with a dream for it to be an explosion of joy within the tower block estate in which he works.

Follow Cris Rogers on Twitter (@RabbiRogers). 

Monday, July 27, 2015

And so concludes another season of #TheBachelorette

Thankfully, this is the last night of Kaitlyn's season. "I'm in love with two guys, and two guys are in love with me."

Kaitlyn doesn't know what she wants in more ways than one. She's on the show to try out relationships, but I don't think she can figure out anything the way she has gone about it.

Both men hope that Kaitlyn's family likes him because their families got along so well with her.

Kaitlyn and her family meet up at a house in Malibu where she admits to being in love with two men. When she tells him that someone shows up from another season, Mom rightfully predicts the guys wanted to punch him out. Mom and Sister don't seem too impressed with Nick being the one back, and they for some reason look shocked that the men left hate each other.

Kaitlyn tells them they have to separate how Nick was on Andi's season with how he is with her. Mom is totally shocked that Nick is here. Kaitlyn admits that she didn't think she would have been physically attracted to Nick, but then face to face, they couldn't keep their hands off of each other. She admits all of it to her Mom.

Nick is the first of the two men they meet. The family (complete with mom, dad, stepmom, stepdad, and sister) jump right in on the quizzing. Sister busts out to the camera the phrase, "I hope he is here for the right reasons."

I zone out anytime Nick opens his mouth. He always seems to slur his words. Mom is the first to take him off alone. Since she was not impressed with him during Andi's season, no telling what's going to be asked.

Mom says she is shocked that he is here because they saw a possessive, jealous, (I don't want to use the word) arrogant man on TV. "I know what you see in Kaitlyn, what does she see in you?" He doesn't answer any quality of his other than how she acts around him.

Nick doesn't answer anything straight. He's in love with her daughter, aside from the physical.

For some reason, when Nick gets emotional, Mom says, "you're good for Kaitlyn." She decides she was totally wrong about her judgment of him.

Dad quickly gives a blessing if he decides to propose.

They go kiss out by the car, and Nick's looking around everywhere while kissing her. It was creepy.


Sister Haley is nervous about how it is going to go down with Shawn after such a great day with Nick. They should have been rougher on Nick.

Mom is kind of nervous because Shawn sounds like a jealous man, and he should have known what to expect going in.

Shawn is definitely nervous to meet the family. (He should be since all the family knows Kaitlyn had to tell him about Nick.) It helps that he brought gifts for everyone in the family, including Haley's kids.

The family falls for Shawn as he tells about first seeing Kaitlyn on the previous season and deciding that he wanted to meet her. Even though Kaitlyn tells them Shawn has a problem expressing himself in words, he's a million times more eloquent than Nick.

Mom is going to quiz Shawn about his feelings on finding out about Shawn and Kaitlyn. Mom asks about jealousy between he and Nick, and how he plans to handle that in the outside world since so many people are attracted to Kaitlyn. Shawn says it's only bothered him because of how he felt for her. He doesn't foresee trust issues or jealousy when they are in an exclusive relationship.

I'm kind of impressed at how well Shawn handled himself.

When Kaitlyn and Haley talk in the house, we learn that Haley has been a Nick fan for a year. However, Haley is Team Shawn. This is surprising to Kailtyn.

Shawn charms Dad too, and he brings Mom out to the conversation too, and asks both of them for their blessing to propose. They both give their approval.


Kaitlyn is trying to figure out how she feels about Nick when she had such a great day with Shawn yesterday. She'll have a chance to try to figure it out as it's time for their last date. They board a boat and promptly open up a bottle of champagne. They talk about her family and how well it went. 

Any time Nick is on screen, I get bored to death. I STILL don't see what the attraction is. Yet, supposedly he gets her, and he's sensitive, and yawn.

The date continues after a costume and set change. As they talk out by the fire, it's still boring, but she tells him how surprised she was to see him in New York. She's impressed that he took a chance to put all his life on hold to give a relationship with her a shot.

Kaitlyn still isn't sure.

Nick has a gift for her. It's in his bedroom. She isn't sure if he is serious or not. They go up to check it out. It's a picture frame with a picture of them from their first one-on-one date, and a poetic note about how he was feeling at the time.

It's increasingly hard for him to not imagine that it will end well. Meanwhile, I think Kaitlyn seems to be getting bored too.

It's great. A part of Kaitlyn can see Nick being her husband.


Kaitlyn woke up with her chest pounding. She's still confused. A nice night with Nick, but she likes how Shawn makes her feel. 

I'm only team Shawn because he is the lesser of two evils. His face still seems weird to me. His hair is too Ken doll. 

Their conversation starts off boring too. She just says she hasn't slept well. Kaitlyn wants to be normal with him. Shawn tries to prod her to talk, but there's an awkward silence. "What's going on in your head?" "Well, what's going on in your head?"

Shawn just says he's just reacting to her awkwardness. What's awkward is Kaitlyn stroking his leg hair. He's getting really nervous from her vibe. He's not so sure about the proposal anymore. 

Oddly enough, I think Shawn's the one she would say "yes" to. 

That night after their wardrobe and venue change, he's still all wound up because her body language was so iffy. He needs some things to be clarified. 

Shawn tells her that he doesn't want it to be awkward tonight like it was earlier in the day. She's more animated in their conversation tonight. Kaitlyn says that while she's always been aware that proposal day would be coming, it's just hitting her that the day is tomorrow. 

She warns him that it is going to be rough for him watching the season back. He says he knows this and may not watch all of the parts. Kaitlyn talks more about the future with Shawn than she does with Nick. 

Shawn also has a gift for her. It's a jar of memories with pictures and notes from their dates. After going through the jar together, he feels better about things and is back on the path to proposal again. 


After the date with Shawn, Kaitlyn knows someone is going to be blindsided. She lets on like she doesn't know who yet. 


It’s the final morning! Shawn has lots of emotions, but he is sure about his decision, even if he realizes another man is there.

He works on writing down his feelings when there is a knock on the door. Neil Lane arrives to show Shawn engagement rings. 


Nick thinks Kaitlyn may have acquired a taste for him and he may go to sleep tonight engaged. If Neil Lane arrives at his door, he's ready to pick out a ring. Knock, knock. He's nervous to find out who is there. He's thankful it's Neil there to look at rings instead of Kaitlyn coming to send him off. 

Nick tells Neil that he's been through this process up to this point before. Before opening up the case, Neil comments on the Claddagh rings they already have. Claddagh rings just reminds me of the Sister Wives


Kaitlyn arrives at the mansion in a limo and is greeted by Chris Harrison. The men are headed that way too.

Kaitlyn THINKS she is going to be happy after this, but it's the goodbye that is so hard.

First up is Nick, which can't be good for him because you know they show is going to close with a happy embrace.

He blathers on about feeling so great about her and how in love he is, and on her face you see pity. Just let him go already. I actually start to feel bad for him. He is about to get down on one knee when she stops him. She looks away. She can't even face him.

Kaitlyn says that although she has always told him that she would let him go if she wasn't feeling it. Nick says, "it's him." She says she really needed all this time with him. Nick stops her, "nothing you can say will help me feel less confused."

She wants to talk to him about it. He doesn't want to or need to keep hearing it. "You took things from me." Kaitlyn tries to tell him it was real in that moment, but he doesn't believe it was because it was more than just a moment to him.

In all seriousness, it must suck to be Nick. This is the second time he's been runner-up. Kaitlyn walks him out.

As he rides away in the limo of shame, he puts the ring back in the box and chunks it across the car. He then pulls off his Claddagh ring and wimpily flings it across the car too. I really thought he was going to thrown the Hope Diamond out the window. The ring was HUGE.

"I'm the world's biggest joke."


After fixing her make-up from all the tears, and blowing her nose, it's time for Shawn. It hurt saying goodbye to Nick, but Kaitlyn thinks it's going to be worth it when she sees Shawn. 

Kaitlyn welcomes Shawn with a kiss. He must take that as a good sign. He proceeds to eloquently propose to her. Before he pulls out a ring, she responds back to him, but pauses dramatically in a way that has him nervous for a second. 

He does get down on one knee and gives her a large diamond. She gives him a rose that is probably already wilted. They ride off in the limo together. 


Now, it's on to "After the Final Rose." I can only imagine how ugly and graphic it will get with Nick. 

The very happy couple is annoyingly giddy on stage. Chris Harrison asks him, "how was it, may not for the first time, being told that you were the one." It's rare, but it does happen that the guy who gets the first impression rose is the one to make it to the end. 

It's not long before we have to invite Nick back on to see how he's doing. Chris points out that this is a deja vu moment having him back in the hot seat. Nick said he really didn't see it coming, but looking back he could have either been cynical or trusting. 

They talk about their pre-existing relationship. They had starting talking about a month before the show started. Nick feels like they got to know each other as well as two people could without ever meeting one another. At some point things clicked. When it started, she did not know she was going to be the Bachelorette. Nick acts like he's trying to downplay things. He's always wording things like I don't want to say this happened, but it happened, but I'm only going to let you think it. And yes, that made about as much sense as anything Nick ever says. 

So now Shawn and Nick get to confront each other. Harrison asks why there was such hatred. Shawn says that he's not a fake person, so he can't be nice to someone he has a bad feeling about. 

Nick said they didn't really have a chance to get to know each other, and he thought he had received a bad rap from being on the show previously. Shawn defends himself saying that wasn't the case and a lot of the jealousy issue part came from editing. 

Now, I am bored again because Nick keeps talking. 

Next up, Nick and Kaitlyn talk. Can we be done with Nick? Please? And the awkward moments continue. "We had said we loved each other. What were you thinking?" I'm telling you any time he opens his mouth, it's like listening to an adult on Peanuts. Wahawhahh ahwawwhh wahhhh. 

Kaitlyn just didn't feel as much for Nick as she did for Shawn.

Chris Harrison asks what went on in the "relationship" before the show. About all she says is that if it had been anyone else, she wouldn't have let them on the show.

We have to bring them back after commercial too because it's so boring, and we have to re-hash EVERYTHING. Nick got kicked off, yet he gets the most airtime. 

Kaitlyn says she wrestled about when she should let Nick go. However, she didn't want to end it the same way at the same time as Andi. When he says, "I know you didn't mean anything by it," there is such animosity in his voice. 

Finally, finally, Chris Harrison cuts them off for a commercial and what I am sure is going to be lots of pimping Bachelor in Paradise

We come back from commercial with the happy COUPLE. They are just looking forward to getting to normal life. He's also looking forward to defending his woman.

And then we do get lots of Bachelor in Paradise clips. I will try to blog on it, but I plan on it being one post per week for both episodes, not two. I'm not looking forward to it.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Wonderful, Wonderful, Jesus is to Me

Wonderful, Wonderful, Jesus is to Me

Wonderful, wonderful, Jesus is to me
Counselor, Prince of Peace,
Mighty God is He.
Saving me, keeping me,
From my sin and shame
Wonderful is my Redeemer,

Praise His name.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

I'm going to have to find some more interesting things to do with my life

It's pretty sad when you go to Home Depot on a Saturday just because you can. Well, given I live in Corsicana, it's kind of the only thing to do, and I hadn't been in a few weeks.

I also went to the post office on back to back days. I keep telling you I need to get out more.

Oh, Dad and I went out to my uncle's house to tell him I shipped a horseshoe cross to Massachusetts and to plan out him making some more items for our booth. I even made him a sign to go on his display.

In addition to putting some hours in the craft room, the past couple of nights, I have gotten everything updated on The Crafty Dad and Daughter. You should go check it out!

Not only am I getting ready for fall craft shows, I'm just ready for fall weather!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Thriving in Babylon by Larry Osborne

Meet a man forced to live in a fast-changing and godless society, where he faced fears about the future, concern for his safety, and the discouragement of world that seemed to be falling apart at warp speed in Larry Osborne’s Thriving in BabylonDaniel, with the power of hope, humility, and wisdom, not only thrived, he changed an empire while he was at it. Though he lived thousands of years ago, he has a much to teach us today.
Thriving in Babylon PR


(David C. Cook, April 2015)
Meet a man forced to live in a fast changing and godless society. He faced fears about the future, concern for his safety, and the discouragement of world that seemed to be falling apart at warp speed.
Sound familiar? His name was Daniel, and with the power of hope, humility, and wisdom, he not only thrived, he changed an empire while he was at it. Though he lived thousands of years ago, he has a much to teach us today.
Even in Babylon, God is in control.
In Thriving in Babylon, Larry Osborne explores the “adult” story of Daniel to help us not only survive – but actually thrive in an increasingly godless culture. Here Pastor Osborne looks at:
—Why panic and despair are never from God
—What true optimism looks like
—How humility disarms even our greatest of enemies
—Why respect causes even those who will have nothing to do with God to listen
—How wisdom can snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat
For those who know Jesus and understand the full implications of the cross, the resurrection, and the promises of Jesus, everything changes—not only in us, but also in our world.

Larry Osborne


Dr. Larry Osborne has served as a senior pastor and teaching pastor at North Coast Church—one of the ten most influential churches in the country—since 1980. Dr. Osborne is the author of numerous books, including “Accidental Pharisees.” He and his wife live in Oceanside, California. They have three grown children.
Find out more about Larry at

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Wedding bells, storm clouds, past mistakes, and long-lost loves collide in Beth Vogt’s new book, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, the first book in Beth’s new series, “A Destination Wedding.” A fast-moving, powerful hurricane throws Vanessa and Logan together as they evacuate to a storm shelter along with other residents of the Florida Gulf Coast. As the pair battles unexpected renewed feelings for each other, Vanessa and Logan are faced with a choice: Should they accept, once and for all, their teenage marital mistake? Or is God offering them a second chance at happily ever after?

Crazy Little Thing Called Love - PK


A Destination Wedding Novel (Howard, June 2015)
Wedding bells and storm clouds collide in the first engaging novel in a brand-new series about destination weddings, the power of love, and the possible mishaps and missteps that happen on a couple’s journey down the aisle to “I do.”
Paramedic Vanessa Hollister has put her adolescence behind her, including the unwanted label of being the new kid in town over and over again, thanks to her father’s military career. She’s overcome what her mother called “the biggest mistake of her life” and is planning an elegant destination wedding in Destin, Florida with her new fiancé. But will the reappearance of her first husband from her what-were-you-thinking teenage elopement disrupt her dream of an idyllic beach wedding?
As a professional storm chaser, Logan Hollister is used to taking risks. However, a reckless decision during the last tornado season has him questioning the future of his team, the Stormmeisters. Coming face to face with his ex-wife eight years after their divorce compels him to confront his greatest regret: losing Vanessa. Does their past give him the right to interfere with her future?
A fast-moving, powerful hurricane throws Vanessa and Logan together as they evacuate to a storm shelter along with other residents of the Florida Gulf Coast. Forced to spend time together, the pair battles unexpected renewed feelings for each other.
Vanessa and Logan are faced with a choice: Should they accept, once and for all, their teenage marital mistake? Or is God offering them a second chance at happily ever after?


Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A 2015 RITA® Finalist and a 2014 Carol Award finalist, Beth is a contemporary romance novelist with Howard Books. Her 2014 novel, “Somebody Like You,” was one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Books of 2014. In 2015 she introduced her destination wedding series with both an e-novella, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” (May) and a novel, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” (June).
Find out more about Beth K. at