Thumbnail Thursday: Barnes, Brandt


Welcome! Today I have some fascinating books for you to check out. If you love fantasy and science fiction, this is the place to be!

The Marked, by Emerald Barnes, is a young adult paranormal fantasy. It’s book one of the Knight’s Academy series. Today’s second book, The Turquoise Bones, is a science fiction fantasy by Steven R. Brandt. Both of these books are by fellow Clean Reads authors. I hope you’ll check them out.

Blurb: Myka Williams has never fit in with her peers, and although her adoptive parents are loving and supportive, she feels most at home alone in the woods.

When she’s offered a full scholarship to Knight’s Academy in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, she takes the opportunity for a fresh start. She soon learns that Knight’s Academy is more than just a school. Within the stone walls of the institution, humans and vampires are mixing, and their offspring are going unnoticed.

As Myka falls prey to the evil plan of the school, she makes a chilling discovery about her own heritage and realizes that she’s at the Academy for more than just an education. Myka must yield to her birthright at the risk of losing everyone she loves or succumb to the fate that Knight’s Academy has in store for her—a fate worse than death.

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2jG7GKB

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2jG9rY0

Nook: http://bit.ly/2kADf7G

iTunes: http://apple.co/2ka1EQM

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2l3GxOD

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2mFiKIh

Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/book/336491027/The-Marked

Ganxy: https://ganxy.com/i/117138

 Paperback links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ouAzay

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2odbkdq

Website: www.emeraldbarnes.us

 

Blurb: Apjay speaks to the dead in dreams, and remembers words of a language forgotten long ago. He believes his gifts come from the invisible stars–lights that once ruled the night sky. The only person in his tribe who understands him, so he believes, is the beautiful Iota.

Iota is gifted healer who, as a child watched her father die of illness. While the messages Apjay brings from the dead comfort her, she has no trust for the stars whom she believes are to blame for her father’s death.

When Apjay decides to go on a spiritual quest, Iota fears the past is repeating and he will suffer her father’s fate. She will stop at nothing to save Apjay from the stars and himself. She’ll even follow him to the dreaded city of the starstealers.

 

Buy Link:

https://www.amazon.com/Steven-R.-Brandt/e/B01LZYPTFM/

Social Media:

https://www.wattpad.com/user/StevenBrandt ( You can find chapter 1 of Turquoise Bones here )

https://www.facebook.com/StevenRBrandtAuthor

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6437015.Steven_R_Brandt ( I’m currently running a giveaway there for another one of my books )

Website:  https://www.amazon.com/Steven-R.-Brandt/e/B01LZYPTFM/

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Thumbnail Thursday: Taylor, Carder, Jones

Welcome! I have some amazing books for you to check out this week. Doubting Thomas, by Stephanie Taylor is a contemporary, inspirational romance that touches on all the romantic elements a reader looks for, and then some. Those blue eyes on the cover can’t help but draw a person in. Kadee Carder is back with Indelible, the third installment of Insurrection, her science fiction/fantasy trilogy. Rounding out today’s picks, is Taking a Chance on Love, by Rachel Jones. This clean romance is about dealing with circumstances life throws at you, and taking a chance on love.

Blurb: He doesn’t remember…but she does.

For five years, Thomas has lived without a past. A motorcycle accident left him with scars, permanent amnesia, and a lot of anger. But the scars aren’t all on the outside. He knows one day he’ll need to figure out who he used to be, but for now, he’s content in his misery and denial. If his family doesn’t care to find him, the feeling is mutual – until the love of a tender-hearted, sassy redhead changes his mind.

Alyssa Morgan vowed to locate her missing husband and has followed every clue, every lead, every hunch, hoping to find him and the reason for his disappearance. But fate has something else in store for her and puts in her path an aloof man who has her husband’s voice and the disfigured face of a stranger.

Torn between his past and their future, can they put their doubts aside and let love in?

Buy Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Doubting-Thomas-Stephanie-Taylor-ebook/dp/B072P2BTVX/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494903527&sr=8-1&keywords=Doubting+Thomas

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/doubting-thomas-stephanie-taylor/1100410514?ean=9781621356646

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/doubting-thomas-12

Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001843667510

Snapchat: CleanReads

Twitter: CleanReads_

Instagram: cleanreadsbooks

Website: www.cleanreads.com

 

Blurb: Beneath the façade of covert laboratories and military exploits, Saylor’s story twists further in this thrilling final installment of the Insurrection trilogy. Concealed identities. Puzzling truths. Cryptic alliances. Amid hasty exits and curious arrivals, Saylor pursues the answers haunting her conscience.

Dealing with the consequences of her decisions, will Saylor find herself invincible, or drawn even closer to her enemy’s conniving promises? And with humanity’s existence at stake, will Saylor advance toward the brimming war, or succumb to the battle bubbling in her blood? Saylor must decide.

​Humanity will always be worth fighting for.

Buy Links:

 Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Indelible-Insurrection-Book-Kadee-Carder-ebook/dp/B07229CDKC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1493220656&sr=1-1&keywords=indelible+kadee+carder

Barnes&Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/indelible-kadee-carder/1126254344?ean=2940157509163

 iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/indelible/id1225486825?mt=11

 

Website: kadeecarder.com

Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kadeecarderink/

Instagram: kadeecarderink

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAkYQcShpWHBua-7VVi9Swg

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kadeecarder/

Twitter: @kadeecarderink

 

BLURB: From childhood, Virginia Manning has planned for a career as a concert clarinetist. Blindsided by family circumstances, her plans are interrupted, taking her down a path she would never have chosen. As a music teacher, Virginia’s relationship with the football coach goes from problematic to romantic. After Blake’s brush with death, a scared Virginia runs away looking for the contentment music has always brought to her life.

Blake Oliver has experienced disappointment and pain, so he opts for a fresh start in a small New England town. Accepting the position of football coach, he isn’t looking for love when it finds him. When Virginia leaves to pursue a performance career, Blake realizes it’s not where you live but having someone to love that matters. His only problem is making her understand that as well.

BUY LINKS:

http://www.amazon.com/Taking-Chance-Love-Rachel-Jones-ebook/dp/B0167GDZF2/ http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/taking-a-chance-on-love-rachel-jones/1122754380?ean=2940150782532

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/taking-a-chance-on-love/id1046742755?mt=11

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/taking-a-chance-on-love-2

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/583191

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

http://racheljonesauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/RachelJonesAuthor/?ref=hl

https://twitter.com/rjonesauthor

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8336834.Rachel_Jones

http://www.amazon.com/Rachel-Jones/e/B00L2HSGZQ/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

https://www.pinterest.com/rjoneswriter/

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Thumbnail Thursday: Nite, Daugherty

Welcome! I have two amazing fantasy books for you to check out today. Aren’t the covers gorgeous?!

Awakened Light by J.J. Nite is a young adult fantasy/romance. It’s book two of the Celestial Guardian Series. Debra Daugherty‘s The Dragon’s Ring is for all you unicorn and romance fans out there.

 

Blurb: All Edie Malakim wanted was to be a regular teenager, but she never had an abundance of luck. Discovering you’re the answer to an ancient prophecy, the one destined to lock Lucifer in Hell, definitely doesn’t qualify as normal either.

As Edie struggles to control her fire-throwing power and not burn everything in her path, she must also be ready for danger appearing around every corner. With the help of Kiah, a fellow Timoreo, and her coyote friend Atlas, she begins to learn a measure of control and a little more of her history.

When an unexpected visitor appears, Edie’s world becomes even more complicated as secrets are revealed and old wounds are opened. As her eighteenth birthday and the possibility of new abilities being bestowed on her approaches, Edie must try to decipher fact from fiction and friend from foe.

Social Media:

Twitter: @jjnite

Instagram: @jjniteauthor

SnapChat: JJNite

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jjnite1

Buy Links:

Amazon: www.amazon.com/Awakened-Light-Celestial-Guardians-Book-ebook/dp/B06ZXXWQPB

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/awakened-light-jj-nite/1126254365?ean=2940157509187

 

Blurb: Sir James Trueblood is determined to capture a unicorn so he can marry Princess Isadora. The knight begins his quest, not realizing the Princess is following him in disguise. On his journey Sir James encounters a witch and a dragon. With the dragon’s ring his mission is a success, but then he learns the unicorn will die if not set free. Now he has a dilemma; marry the Princess or free the unicorn.

 

Social Media Links:

Twitter – https://twitter.com/dmddeb  or @dmddeb

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/DebraDaughertyauthor/

Websites:

http://ddaugherty329.wixsite.com/authordebradaugherty

www.writing-for-children.webnode.com

Buy links:

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01J73OAUG#nav-subnav

B & N  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-dragons-ring-debra-daugherty/1124830909?ean=2940157045517

 

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Thumbnail Thursday: Sloan, Bennett

Welcome! Thanks for stopping by to check out today’s book blurbs. If you like reading young adult, paranormal stories, you’ll love Prophecy Awakened: the first book in Tamar Sloan‘s Prime Prophecy Series. If you lean more towards contemporary, inspirational romance, I’m sure you’ll enjoy Devon’s Choice by Catherine Bennett. I did.

 

Blurb: On the first day of her new school all that shy, wounded Eden wants is to finish her senior year and escape to college. It can’t be too much to ask for, can it?

Noah has spent two years not knowing why he failed to come of age as every one of his ancestors has. Two years drifting aimlessly, searching for direction…

When the two meet the connection is instantaneous and undeniable. A connection that has Eden running and Noah burning to know more.

A connection destined to be the catalyst for a prophecy that neither knew existed.

A prophecy others are willing to kill for.

As families rupture and struggle to realign, as their hearts connect and ignite, Eden learns to trust. But with their love and life on the line, Eden must find the power to believe.

Prophecy Awakened is the first book in Tamar Sloan’s Prime Prophecy Series. If you enjoyed Stephanie Meyer, Lauren Kate or Maggie Stiefvater, then you’ll love a series that captures their best traits in an epic, captivating story of a love that defies boundaries.

 

Amazon USA https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XWCGYLK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1490948333&sr=8-1

iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/isbn9781621356523

 

Back Cover Blurb: Faith, love and a cup of coffee, can change everything.

Life holds no surprises for Devon Murphy. Her life consists of keeping tabs on her aging Irish father, working part time at a coffee shop, and building her online graphics design business. Devon’s only tricky situation is a shallow relationship with the pampered and affluent Michael Turner, who sees her as just another woman to conquer.

Following his father’s death, Brandon’s only goal is to expand the family business and live life on his own terms. That is, until he walks into the coffee shop one snowy evening and meets the enchanting, red-haired barista behind the counter. But can Devon and Brandon’s attraction for each other be strong enough to help erase their deepest disappointments and renew their faith in God?

 

Website: www.catherinebennett.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCatherineBennett

Twitter: www.twitter@author_cbennett

Book Trailer on You Tube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPBc1jGurlQ

I Tunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/devons-choice/id957904945?mt=11

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Thumbnail Thursday: Armstrong – Ulrich

 

Welcome! Today I have two very different inspirational books for you to check out. Brett Armstrong‘s Day Moon is a futuristic fantasy, while my bookFinding Hope, deals with tough family issues, including adoption, trust, and love. I hope you’ll check out both.

Blurb: In A.D. 2039, a prodigious seventeen year old, Elliott, is assigned to work on a global soft-ware initiative his deceased grandfather helped found.

Project Alexandria is intended to provide the entire world secure and equal access to all accumulated human knowledge. All forms of print are destroyed in good faith, to ensure everyone has equal footing, and Elliott knows he must soon part with his final treasure: a book of Shakespeare’s complete works gifted him by his grandfather.

Before it is destroyed, Elliott notices something is amiss with the book, or rather Project Alexandria. The two do not match, including an extra sonnet titled “Day Moon”. When Elliott investigates, he uncovers far more than he bargained for. There are sinister forces backing Project Alexandria who have no intention of using it for its public purpose.

Elliott soon finds himself on the run from federal authorities and facing betrayals and deceit from those closest to him. Following clues left by his grandfather, with agents close at hand, Elliott desperately hopes to find a way to stop Project Alexandria. All of history past and yet to be depend on it.

 

Website:

www.brettarmstrong.net

Social Media:

www.facebook.com/brettarmstrongwv

https://twitter.com/barmstrongwv

Buy Links:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XWDM49Z/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1490973788&sr=8-1&keywords=Day+Moon+brett

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/day-moon-brett-armstrong/1126050533?ean=2940157333393

 

Blurb: Nearly sixteen years after relinquishing the rights to his unborn child, Noah Cooper is stunned to discover his daughter, Hope, wants to meet him. With the love and support of his family, Noah sets off from Elk Flats, Montana to Albany, New York, having no idea what changes are in store for him.

Cancer survivor and widow, Beth Peterson, is more than a little nervous to meet her daughter’s birth father. Their initial meeting goes well, but things decline in a hurry when Noah invites Hope to spend time at the ranch without speaking to Beth about it first.

Determined to meet her new family, a battle of wills ensues between Hope and her mother. While Hope longs for a connection, Beth fears losing her daughter to virtual strangers—strangers who live two thousand miles away.

Struggles and misunderstandings abound between Noah and Beth, despite their growing attraction for one another. Noah is ready to commit, while Beth can’t let go of the memory of her husband and the imperfections cancer has forced her to live with.

Will hope, patience, and prayer be enough to pull this family together?

Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/inspywriter/

https://twitter.com/LucieUlrich

Website: http://lucieulrich.com/

Buy links:

Amazon: http://amazon.com/dp/B071D8LFX6

BN: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/finding-hope-lucie-ulrich/1126230185?ean=2940157307264

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Thumbnail Thursday: Maddrey, Padilla, Rogers

This week I’m spotlighting three book for you to check out. Muffins and Moonbeams by Elizabeth Maddrey is a contemporary, inspirational romance sure to capture your heart. Cathy Padilla‘s new release, A Taste for Love, is a clean, contemporary romance with strong family ties. This week’s third book is One of Forty, a contemporary Inspirational Romance, by Felicia Rogers.

 I want to read all three of these books. Don’t you?

 

Blurb: They met online. Can being offline bring them love?

Malachi Baxter is happy to hide in the background and manage the business-end of the family bakery. He’d much rather live in the online world of computer games where he can explore the galaxy and no one has to know he’s deaf.

Ursula Franks designs websites during the day and spends her evenings battling alien races online where relationships are easy and uncomplicated. When she agrees to design a website for the local Community Supported Bakery, she has no idea that Malachi is the real man behind her online persona’s best friend and her own secret crush.

As the two work together on the website, they uncover an attraction, but will they be able to put aside past hurt and insecurity to find love?

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NCTAW5I

BN: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/muffins-moonbeams-elizabeth-maddrey/1125454205

Social media:

http://www.facebook.com/ElizabethMaddrey

http://www.instagram.com/ElizabethMaddrey

Website: http://www.ElizabethMaddrey.com

 

Blurb:

Sarah Texmara runs The Club, an upscale country club at the Jersey Shore, with the same planned determination she guards her wounded heart. Having made the decision to avoid love at all cost, she finds herself blackmailed into an engagement to save her father and the very thing he has valued more than her mother’s love – the family land that houses the country club. At the moment she finally resigns herself to her fate Sarah is caught off guard by the dashingly handsome Luke Patterson. Sarah needs to choose between her own desires or protecting a long covered family scandal, all while learning that love is sometimes worth the risk.

Luke Patterson is a skilled investigator with his own secret to protect. What started as a favor for a family-friend turns into a race against the clock to save the woman he loves from sacrificing her existence to a man seeking to destroy her family’s legacy and possess her inheritance. He can keep her from danger, he has captured her desire, but will he be able to help her overcome her fear of true love?

Can Sarah and Luke find the answers to their needs together?

BN: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-taste-for-love-cathy-padilla/1126229738?ean=2940157307035

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Taste-Love-Book-ebook/dp/B06ZYM2WL8

Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/4LoveClub-114799721864435/

Twitter: @Cathpadilla

Website: 4Love.Club

 

Blurb: When a missionary visits Joshua Lowe’s church and makes a plea for one more to join the forty-person mission team, Joshua takes notice. He is no longer satisfied with his mundane life. Maybe a deeper commitment is what he’s been searching for. But then something—or someone, that is—pulls him back.

Melody Watkins is damaged. Past sins have paved a difficult road for her and her young daughter. Now she finally has a job and things are starting to look up. At least until her car breaks down. But then again that could be a blessing as well, because it has brought someone new into her life.
Melody’s secret past and Joshua’s potential future holds them back from growing closer. Many prayers will be offered to determine if their roads intersect or if Joshua will be the last of the forty.

Buy link:  Amazon  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NA6TXKT

Social Media links:

http://www.facebook.com/feliciarogersauthor

www,goodreads.com/feliciarogers

Website: www.feliciarogersauthor.weebly.com

 

 

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Thumbnail Thursday: Wendy May Andrews – Elizabeth Celata

Welcome! Take a peek at two completely different book styles today.

Sweet Surrender by Wendy May Andrews is a sweet regency romance, while Grimm Remains by Elizabeth Celata is a young adult paranormal tale.

 

Blurb: When Lady Julianna ended her engagement to Lord Ackerley, Viscount Beaumont, during her first Season, she left London vowing never to return.

Seven years later she returns as chaperone to her niece and unfortunately Lord Ackerley is also in Town for the Season. Moving around the small circle of the ton stirs up feelings she has kept hidden. Embarrassed and ashamed that she made a mistake in ending their previous relationship, she tries to avoid further contact. Ackerley, stunned by her second rejection, pursues her to discover the truth.

Is it ever too late for a second chance at love?

Website:

www.wendymayandrews.com

Social media:

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/WendyMayAndrews

Twitter:  @WendyMayAndrews

Instagram:  WendyMayAndrews

Buy links:

Amazon:  http://amzn.to/2mXUT7q

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sweet-surrender-wendy-may-andrews/1125795147?ean=2940157441562

 

Blurb: Mammon’s summoning turned Rochester into a beacon for the denizens of Hell. As demon activity increases, Jon settles in for a new academic year, and Jordan moves in as the city’s protector. Unfortunately, the young warlock of Rochester might not be around long if the Devil’s marine legion has a say. Havfine, demonic mermaids, don’t often leave deep lakes and ocean waters. They’re better known for drowning mortal sailors than hunting magic users, but something has sent them upstream from Lake Ontario. When three orphans vanish from a magical sanctuary in Toronto, their caretaker – the Wizard Monday – dredges up a part of Jordan’s and Jon’s father’s history that Jordan would have rather forgotten. In this race against the Bane of Hamelin, more than three souls may be on the line.
Social Media:

Twitter: @Celata_E

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EliCelata/

Website: elicelata.wordpress.com

Buy links: Check your local online store. 

 

 

 

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Thumbnail Thursday: Heather Gray and Kadee Carder

I’m starting a new feature that will give you a peek at some new or recently released books. This week it’s Heather Gray with a re-release (and great new cover) of her romantic comedy “Nowhere for Christmas,” and Kadee Carder with “Incomplete” book two her young adult, science fiction series Insurrection.

Blurb:

Two virtual strangers, one teen, and the worst rental car in the history of mankind…

Let the road trip begin.

Avery Weston is a journalist and mom to teenager Eli. Gavin Eastly is an enigmatic photographer.

A botched schedule lands them all in a rental car for Christmas. With everything that goes wrong, it’ll take a miracle to get them anywhere. But miracles come in surprising packages – like a bait shop owner moonlighting as a mechanic and a deputy whose family can’t agree on how to remove a skunk’s stink.

It’s the perfect recipe for romance.

Join Avery, Eli, and Gavin as they learn that reaching the destination doesn’t mean the journey’s over. God has so much more in store for them.

After all—anything can happen on the road to Nowhere.

Social Media: www.facebook.com/heathergraywriting
www.instagram.com/laughdreamwrite

Website: www.heathergraywriting.com

Amazon Link: http://a.co/afyU2cX

 

Book Blurb:

Saylor started out on one adventure and ended up on another.

After finding herself on a Caribbean island filled with strange noises, dazzling beaches, and a secret military base, Saylor must clutch the missing pieces of her fate.

While harnessing her ability to communicate with deadly weapons of mass destruction, attending the annual gala, and fighting her growing feelings for the hunky Australian soldier, Saylor’s instincts become increasingly distressed.

Tempted by greed and independence, she must determine what she stands for and on whose side she belongs. Power within in her. War without.

They wanted a warrior. They got one.

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kadeecarderink/

Instagram: kadeecarderink

Website: kadeecarder.com

 

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Incomplete-Insurrection-Book-Kadee-Carder-ebook/dp/B01MSABMCK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1485896027&sr=8-1&keywords=incomplete+kadee+carder

 

Nook/Barnes&Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/incomplete-kadee-carder/1125528337?ean=2940157351953

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Adventures in retirement: When you’re a traveling family

When my husband and I retired, the idea was to travel as often as possible. A few years ago, we made an epic road trip so we could visit the final three states on our quest to see all fifty.

Our first major road trip. We drove up the east coast and ended up in Maine. Amazing Trip!

The following year, we planned to drive down the coast from Oregon to California. Things got in the way, including my father’s illness and subsequent passing, so that never happened. We did, however, manage a few short trips to the mountains of North Carolina, and as well as trekking to Houston several times. We haven’t given up on our quest to drive US 101, we’re simply not sure when that will happen.

Rick and I aren’t the only ones in our family

Jamie and Josh on the way to Milan–before the plane took a three hour delay.

who enjoy traveling, though we are the only ones who enjoy road trips. My daughter would do nothing but travel—if she could. Well, that and dance. She has been on numerous mission trips around the world, and I don’t see an end to that. One of the many things I love about her is that she always seeks a word from the Lord before the beginning of each year. This year, she felt the Lord telling her this would be a year of adventure—like she hasn’t already been on numerous adventures! This time, however, it’s not just mission trips. She’s an aspiring photographer, and has already done one photo shoot. She has signed up for a mission trip—not knowing where the money will come from, and she just checked something major off her bucket list.

The Colosseum at night.

My adventurous daughter just got back from a trip to Rome. She and her brother—who hasn’t been on a lot of trips—flew standby from New York to Milan, took a train from Milan to Rome, saw everything they could in Rome, and took a side trip to Pompeii. I was so proud of her for doing the research, checking the flights, and booking the hotels.

I’m not discounting my son’s sense of adventure. Though less experienced, he took the lead when it was needed, and made sure his sister was safe. Together, they figured out the money, transportation systems, and mapped out their days. They took care of each other, which made this mama proud.

The best part of their trip was that it mimicked my husband’s and my first big

Pompeii

adventure.We spent our honeymoon in Rome, with a side trip to Capri, and a few unexpected days in Paris—flying standby is an adventure in itself! Needless to say, when we went, there were no cell phones or Internet. We said “goodbye” to our folks, and “hello” nine days later.

The world is a different place than it was forty-one years ago, and I’m grateful we were able to speak to our kids daily. Yes, we prayed, and trusted God to keep them safe, which He did. Still, our daily Face Time was more than appreciated.

I don’t know what other adventures our kids have in store for them in the coming year—or for us, for that matter. All I know that retirement is a daily adventure. Whether it’s a trip to California or a trip to the grocery store, there’s only one guy I want by my side.

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Adventures in retirement: Fashion forward or fashion backward?

The other day, I heard a guest preacher speaking about how he loved being 52. In essence, he commented on how liberating it was to grow older; how one tends to care less about appearance and more about the important things in life. I realize not everyone will agree with him, but I do.  When I was young, I loved to wear trendy clothes and shoes. These days, I prefer comfort to style, and exchanged my heels for flip-flops, sandals and tennis shoes—with the occasional pair of boots thrown in.

I seldom wear makeup anymore—not that I ever wore much to begin with. Since I carry a little more “bulk” than I used to, my face isn’t filled with wrinkles. There have to be some advantages, right? I figure as long as I liberally apply moisturizer, I’m ahead of the game.

The preacher’s mention of getting older got me to thinking about my parents and in-laws.

One of the last pictures of both sets of parents.

One of the last pictures of both sets of parents.

When my folks first retired, Mom spent hours in a bathing suit, tanning by the pool. She and Dad played shuffleboard, delivered meals on wheels, and enjoyed the casual Florida lifestyle. About four or five years before Mom died, she quit wearing shorts and pants (for the most part). She loved her skirts and dresses, and wore a glass bead necklace most days. Mom did her best to look stylish, despite having to wear orthopedic shoes, and wearing some of the ugliest sweaters I’d ever seen. They made her happy and feel good about herself, and that was all that mattered.

necklace

Mom’s beads. I may never wear them, but I’ll always cherish them.

My mother-in-law, on the other hand, seldom wore dresses or skirts. She would dress for church in slacks (an occasional skirt), a blouse or knit top, and a jacket—always a jacket. When not dressed for church, she wore lightweight slacks and a plaid short-sleeved blouse. I know for a fact she wore several of the blouses for a good ten years or so. Her shoe selection was a bit more stylish than my mother’s, but not by much. Mary Ann wore flats or sandals when she dressed up, otherwise it was white or tan tennis shoes—in one particular style. I can still see the glue marks around the rubber lips, as she tried to get as much wear as possible.

My mother allowed her hair to go gray, while my mother-in-law refused to have a single gray strand show. I followed my mother’s example, while my daughter will follow her other grandmother’s lead.

Can you see the glue on the pair on the left?

Can you see the glue on the pair on the left?

I appreciate style and those who always look like a million bucks. I also appreciate those of us who like to look nice, but aren’t concerned whether or not our clothes are the latest fashion trend. I wouldn’t be caught out in public in my pajamas, but have no problem wearing them all day in the privacy of my home. Gives me a good excuse not to answer the door.

In truth, this post is less about fashion and more about originality. We’re all created in God’s image, yet no two are alike. Our clothes don’t define us, our hearts do.  Think about that the next time you’re ready to judge a person by what’s on the outside. Maybe you could take a minute to find out what’s on the inside.

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