The Star Spangled Banner
by Francis Scott Key
O say can you see by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation.
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the Heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
Additional lyrics that were added during the Civil War written by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.:
When our land is illumined with liberty's smile,
If a foe from within strikes a blow at her glory,
Down, down with the traitor that tries to defile
The flag of the stars, and the page of her story!
By the millions unchained,
Who their birthright have gained
We will keep her bright blazon forever unstained;
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave,
While the land of the free is the home of the brave.
Thank you to all the service men and women who have fought so bravely for our freedoms.
A Visit to Pinecraft, Florida
"It's hard to know how much compromise is too much, and what's not a big issue at all. Most of us who aren't Amish could argue all day about what's a compromise to our faith, and how 'separate' from the world we should be. For them, being separate comes from the inside as well as out." -Natalie Bennett
A Season of Change is set in the Plain community of Pinecraft, Florida. Where both Amish and Mennonites vacation, and some live and/or retire there as well. And it is where we meet Jacob Miller and Natalie Bennett.
Natalie Bennett is a former aerial silks artist for the circus and now teaches kids and adults at the local circus school. She also visits the areas hospitals dressed as Bubbles the Clown to entertain sick children and their families. She has recently discovered that her mother had been raised Amish and when she meets Jacob and his family during one of her hospital visits she is drawn to them.
Jacob Miller is a father and recent widower who is feeling pressured by his family to remarry. Only he doesn't feel drawn toward the Amish girl that they are trying to convince him to marry. Although he does feel drawn to Natalie Bennett, mainly because of the way that she has with his children, and how they feel about her; but because she isn't Amish he can't even consider her to be his wife. Or can he...
I enjoyed this story very much, and while the setting was different than in most Amish novels, it worked very well. The characters were realistic, and faced real trials. I also enjoyed the time I spend in Pinecraft, and even though I have never been there the scenes where described so well that I could picture the city as I walked through Pinecraft with the characters. I look forward to visiting Pinecraft again when I read the next book in Seasons in Pinecraft series A Path Made Plain.
About the Book:
Book One in the NEW Seasons of Pinecraft series | A Season of Change
An Amish widower finds love in unexpected places.
Amish widower Jacob Miller believes it was a mistake to visit the Amish village of Pinecraft for winter vacation, especially after his daughter is struck by a car. Stranded in Sarasota until his daughter recovers, Jacob grows increasingly wary of events that unfold in his unfamiliar surroundings—including the strange curiosity of Englischer Natalie Bennett.
Natalie never thought her circus career as an aerial silks artist would end with a blown-out knee at the age of 25. She also never knew her late mother had a secret—that she was once Amish.
When Natalie meets the Millers at the Sarasota hospital, she is attracted to their warm hospitality and simple ways—and soon wonders if they can help her find her mother’s family. As Jacob and Natalie fall in love, their worlds collide. Will their differences tear them apart? Or will their love be strong enough to blend their clashing cultures?
Lynette Sowell was born in western Massachusetts in the shadow of the Berkshire Mountains, raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and now makes her home on the doorstep of the Texas hill country. The award-winning author of more than 15 titles, Lynette loves reading, cooking, watching movies, and is always up for a Texas road trip. When not writing fiction, she works in medical transcription and is a freelance writer and columnist for her local newspaper.
In A Season of Change, book one of Lynette Sowell's new series, Seasons of Pinecraft, readers will discover a different side of the Amish community. A Season of Change follows Natalie and Amish widower Jacob Miller as they each discover the mysterious ways God works. Inspired by the image of a Plain woman sitting on a three-wheeled bicycle by the Pinecraft (an Amish community in Florida) post office, Sowell’s latest is a new take on the popular trend in fiction.
Lynette is celebrating with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway and a Facebook author chat party on June 12th.
Pulling Joy From the Ruins
Out of the Ruins is the first book in The Golden Gate Chronicles which is set in San Francisco in 1905. It was a time when new technology was beginning to replace horses and buggies with automobiles and the telephone was making in-roads into peoples homes. Doctors were gaining new knowledge, and experimented with new medical treatments to help their patients get well.
Abby Fischer was shy and preferred working with plants and trees rather than be around people. She didn't have any friends other than her sister and best friend, Cecelia. But, Cecelia had been diagnosed with leukemia, and was dying. Abby couldn't imagine living without her sister so she made a bargain with God, telling him that if he made her sister well she would serve him; but if he didn't, she wouldn't have anything to do with him. When Dr. Robert King, begins an experimental x-ray treatment on Cecelia, Abby believed that God was using Dr. King to heal her sister. Abby also was beginning to see Robert as a friend. However, the treatment didn't work out the way she thought it should. So, she stopped praying and turned her back on God, letting anger and bitterness take root. Her choice led her into misery, even though she believed it was all God's fault. She even pushed Robert away, blaming him for the failed treatments and her own unhappiness.
Robert King had a belief in God, but he believed that faith and prayer belonged in church on Sunday. During the week he put his faith in medical science. When he met Abby, he longed to be her knight in shining armor. Only God had other plans and he felt that he had failed Abby. He fell in love with her, but she wished that she had never met him.
All too soon San Francisco was struck by a devastating earthquake, and raging fires that destroyed much of what the earthquake left behind. During the subsequent days that followed, homelessness and hunger, separation and loneliness, as well as, danger caused both Abby and Robert to discover they couldn't fix things on their own. Will they see their own need for a savior? Will they turn to God for help, or will they continue to struggle and to face things on their own?
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Out of the Ruins. The plot flowed well and I was drawn into the story. I enjoyed meeting the characters, walking with them through their grief and trials and watching them stretch and grow as they were faced with such hardship. I am looking forward to reading the next book in The Golden Gate Chronicles.
About the Book:
Out of the Ruins -- The Golden Gate Chronicles, Book 1
Abby’s shattered faith in both God and man is challenged when the terrible earthquake hits 1906 San Francisco.
While her sister lies on her deathbed, Abby Fischer prays for a miracle. What Abby doesn’t expect, however, is for God’s answer to come in the form of the handsome Dr. Robert King, whose experimental treatment is risky at best.
As they work together toward a cure, Abby’s feelings for Robert become hopelessly entangled. Separated by the tragedy of the mighty San Francisco earthquake, their relationship suddenly takes a back seat to survival. With fires raging throughout the city, Abby fears for her life as she flees alone through burning streets. Where is God now? Will Robert find Abby, even as the world burns around them? Or has their love fallen with the ruins of the city?
Karen Barnett is the author of “Mistaken” and several articles that have been published by “Guideposts” and other national magazines. She lives in Albany, Oregon, with her husband, two children, and three cats.
Karen talks about Out of the Ruins:
Don't miss the debut book, Out of the Ruins, in Karen Barnett's new series, The Golden Gate Chronicles. Set against the backdrop of early 20th century San Francisco, Out of the Ruins will remind readers that no matter who we are or what we’ve done, God is still as close to us as our next breath.
Karen is celebrating with a fun giveaway and Facebook author chat party.
A Search for What Was Lost
Silver Matlock couldn't seem to do anything right. To her, this thought was most apparent when her fiancé, Ben Cassidy, left her standing alone at the alter. To make matters worse, he had emptied her family's safe. Now, she doesn't know how her father will ever make the mortgage payment to the bank for their store and home. Feeling both guilty and angry because she was the one who had shown Ben the safe; Silver hires a bounty hunter to help her find him. Will Jared help her track Ben down to find what was lost?
Jared Newman has been tracking a murderer for seven years. After his parents and his sister Katrina were brutally killed, he vowed to find the man responsible, no matter the cost or how long it would take. Since he had only one clue to the man's identity it's been a long, hard battle to bring him to justice, but he wasn't about to give up. With his funds low he agreed to track down a thief for a gray-eyed beauty named Silver Matlock for a smaller sum than usual. That was the first clue that he had gone soft. The second clue was agreeing to let her accompany him while he tracked down the criminals. When a misunderstanding caused them to go their separate ways, Jared abandons his search to find Silver. Will he find her? Will they admit to their growing love for each other?
I found the The Heart's Pursuit, which is set in the old west in 1873, to be quite enjoyable. As the plot moved along the characters took on a life of their own, and the scenes were vivid in my mind. I didn't want to put the book down because of all that was happening between its pages.
About the Book:
The Heart’s Pursuit
A jilted bride desperate to save her family from ruin.
A bounty hunter seeking vengeance for a ravaged past.
An arduous trek toward justice–or redemption.
Silver Matlock and Jared Newman know traveling together is a bad idea. Bad for Silver’s already tarnished reputation in her small Colorado town. Bad for bounty hunter Jared’s secret, single-minded mission for revenge. But Silver is determined to track down the rogue who left her at the altar and stole the last remnant of her father’s fortune. And Jared’s in a hurry to hunt down the murderer who destroyed his family–even if Silver is too distractingly beautiful for comfort.
The pair takes off over mountain and desert, past bleak homesteads and raw mining towns, hot on the trail of the two villains who took what wasn’t theirs to take. Soon supplies dwindle, secrets emerge, and suspicion leave Silver and Jared at odds when they need each other most. To confront an enemy deadlier than desert rattlesnakes and rocky cliffs, Silver and Jared must learn to forgive and trust and face the question they haven’t dared voice: What happens next?
Robin introduces her new novel, The Heart's Pursuit
Best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heart-warming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, two RT Career Achievement Awards, and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over sixty novels.
Robin Lee Hatcher's latest novel, The Heart's Pursuit, is receiving critical praise: "The Old West lives again in this inspirational romantic adventure. . . . Themes of forgiveness, justice and mercy dominate the story and add to the characters' depth. Hatcher treats readers to a rich sensory experience—you can taste the desert dust and smell the smoke and stench of a crowded gambling hall." (Publishers Weekly)
Robin is celebrating the release of her novel by giving away a $200 "Romantic Weekend Getaway."
A Place to Call Home
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12 (ESV)
After Jayne Dennagee's father was convicted of murder, Jayne wanted to distance herself from him, her hometown, and the undeserved reputation that had been thrust upon her. To that end she legally changed her name to Becca Morrow. With the help of her friend, Geneva Larkin, she was hired as a caretaker of a lovely lady named Auleria Hughes. In order to take the job, Becca moved halfway across the country to LaVida, California, all the while hoping that her father's reputation wouldn't catch up with her.
I loved the genuineness that flowed through this story. Becca's heart-wrenching sorrow, as well as her love for Geneva and Auleria. It is a story that could have been ripped from the headlines, but offers love and forgiveness. The realness of the characters and the situations drew me in and kept me between the pages until I closed the cover on a well told story.
About the Book:
All My Belongings
A new life and a new identity can’t protect Becca from a past that refuses to go away.
After spending years running from the shame her father put on her family, Jayne is determined not to let him steal her future in the same way he stole her childhood. Changing her name to Becca Morrow, she moves to California and settles into a new life and new job caring for ailing mother of handsome young businessman, Isaac Hughes.
But just as she’s wondering if she and Isaac are headed for a relationship, Becca’s patient passes away under unusual circumstances. Suddenly, her past catches up with her and the unnerving details of her heritage threaten to destroy all sense of home and all hope for love.
Even if she could clear her name, a phone call wraps a suffocating shroud around her heart. Her estranged father needs her help. But can Becca open her new life to the man who ruined her past?
Cynthia Ruchti has more than three decades of radio broadcast experience with "Heartbeat of the Home" radio and currently serves as Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers.
Cynthia Ruchti asks what it takes to overcome your past and become who you were meant to be in her latest novel, All My Belongings. Cynthia has woven a heart-wrenching tale of forgiveness, grace, and learning what it means to truly belong.
Cynthia is celebrating the release of her latest novel with a fun giveaway and a live webcast event!