One Perfect Spring by Irene Hannon – a Perfect Summer Read!


A single mom with a precocious daughter; a workaholic man on the way up the ladder of success; an older woman with a poignant secret; and older man who knows that love and relationships are what matter – mix them all together, shake them up, and what do you get? One Perfect Spring!

Irene says that this book was fun to write because she could explore so many different emotional issues that the adoption experience gives people. She has no personal experience with adoption, but it has always intrigued her. Having a story where she could explore the experience from both angles – that of the one who gave her baby up and that of the person adopted was both fascinating and educational.

Irene has always written – although she relates that she inserts in her bio that her career really started with she won an award in a “Complete the Story” contest when she was 10. She has 45 books to her credit, “pure” romance as well as suspense. She told me that one of her most challenging books to write was her first suspense book, Against All Odds, because she had no background in law enforcement and had to do lots and lots of research to ensure her facts and portrayals were accurate. Like most authors who care about the accuracy of what they write, she may have 10 pages of research on an area and use less than 5% – sometimes only a sentence or two is impacted.

Irene and I share a corporate background – both of us rose in the ranks of a large corporation and are very interested in communication and personal relationships. We both worked for people high up in the company – she for the chairman, I for a group Vice President – and learned how important it is to communicate effectively and how that communication can positively or, all too often, negatively impact a company’s image. Irene and I both prayed about whether we should stay or leave our corporate positions and both left when the management team for whom we worked changed. Irene’s answer to prayer was that shift as well as winning a national award for one of her books (she’d kept writing while working) and being offered a three-book contract.

Something you may not know about Irene is that she is very musical and loves to sing. She sings in her church choir as well as in local musical theater. She loves to travel and has done such fascinating things in her travel as riding a camel in Egypt, participating in a monkey dance in Bali, and flying over the glaciers in a float plane in Alaska.

If you’ve not read Irene Hannon’s books, you’ve missed a real treat – be sure and pick up and read One Perfect Spring – you’ll be so glad you did!

I was given a copy of One Perfect Spring by Baker Publishing Group for my unbiased review.

Team Us by Ashleigh Slater – Tips for Harmony in Marriage

Team Us

When a couple promises ‟I do,” they agree to more than just a shared last name, a joint bank account, and no more dateless nights. This husband and wife duo forms a new team. ‟Life together” becomes their mantra. Nothing can come between them. At least, that’s the plan.

But then real life sets in. With it come disappointments and frustrations. If the couple isn’t intentional in their day-to-day interactions, that once enthusiastic ‟we” can slowly revert to ‟you” and ‟me.” Before long, the couple’s left wondering what happened to their team spirit.

Team Us: Marriage Together offers couples practical ways to cultivate and strengthen unity in their marriages. Ashleigh Slater shares from her own marriage as she presents couples with realistic ideas on how to foster cooperation, deepen commitment, and exercise grace on a daily basis.1

Ashleigh, with dry witty asides by her husband, Ted, tells the whole truth about marriage – the struggle we all face day to day as we try to function with this “new being” in our household. We endeavor to subdue our “me-ness” to be an “us,” yet we forever find ourselves facing the truth that we’ve become self-centered yet again. It takes real effort to put the marriage ahead of our own needs – to consider the marriage more important than what we feel we need at that point in time. We learn to pick our battles – and let the small stuff go.

As Ashleigh so engagingly explains, we need to practice grace and forgiveness on a daily basis. Practicing grace – the concept of doing rather than receiving grace – affected me deeply. So many times I’ve let me take over and forgotten the us. I’ve held onto grudges instead of offering grace and forgiveness. And yet the times when I’ve followed Ashleigh’s advice, our marriage has grown and strengthened.

Ashleigh and Ted Slater are a delightful young couple I had the pleasure of interviewing during ICRS (International Christian Retail Show). Such a young couple writing a marriage “how to” book intrigued me. They related that they wanted to be viewed more as mentors and friends than as “experts.” Ashleigh told me that she learns from stories and wanted to share stories from their marriage that could help others perhaps a couple of years younger to not make some of the same mistakes that they had made – to be able to give practical ideas rather than untried theories.

Ashleigh and Ted have been married for 11 ½ -years and have four girls. Ted relates in the book and told me that he had been engaged twice before he met Ashleigh. Because he felt himself a walking disaster with relationships, they did not hold hands until they were engaged and did not so much as kiss until the minister said, “You may kiss the bride.” Ashleigh says this make her feel like Ted respected her so much more. Ted is 12 years older than Ashleigh – one of her friends told her this (she was only 23 when they were married), but Ted had to have one of his friends ask her in front of him to find out her age – asking her himself seemed to him a bad move – they both chuckle about that.

Ashleigh got her start writing music reviews – her mom was very supportive and sent one of her reviews in when Ashleigh was 16 – and it was published. Ted says she brought 1000s of CDs to their marriage. They both studied communication in college and grad school and know that the ability to communicate is of paramount importance in marriage. They both view life as a narrative empowered by the grace of God. Ted says he is the “wild card” and Ashleigh has told him in return that he’s not allowed to have a mid-life crisis – that she is that crisis. More chuckles from both of them ensued.

I am 31 years married and learned some new things and new tips from Team Us. Regardless of how long you’ve been married, or if you’re planning on being married, you’ll enjoy reading Team Us: Marriage Together

I was given a copy of this book by Moody Publishers for my unbiased review.
1.) Back Cover Copy

Where God Finds You – Have You Been Lost, or Felt Hopeless?

WGFYWhere God finds You by Anita Higman is a good illustration of using historical examples when you’re in a desperate need for hope. Anita had met with an editor from Standard Publishing who came up with the idea of fusing a devotional with a work of fiction. Anita says she’s not a Biblical scholar, but she is a perfectionist. She said no – he said pray about it – God said she should write the book.

Anita did extensive research on culture, scripture, history — she wanted to bless people, but she also wanted to be accurate. She told me she relied heavily on the Holy Spirit. She listened to the Bible all day – doing her makeup, running errands, cooking, relaxing. She even bought a bottle of myrrh to inspire her and spur her on.

The book consists of 40 devotions, each about a different Biblical character. You can use the book as a whole, or jump around as need and the spirit moves you. My favorite was the story of Martha – so many times I find myself so “busy” with life that the most important part of life gets shunted aside by the busy-ness. “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.” Luke 10:40.

The back cover copy puts it perfectly:
“Have you ever longed to crawl into the pages of the Bible? To walk on the Judean hills or feel the spray of the Red Sea? To know what it’s like to confront a king or pour perfume on a Savior’s feet?
In forty devotional tales, Where God Finds You breathes new life into ancient Bible characters. Through reflection on Scripture and prayer, you’ll discover a place in each of these lives of vulnerability, tenderness, truth, and love — a place where you can find God — and where God finds you.

You’ll want to add this book to your collection — and refer to it over and over. You’ll also want to check out Anita’s other books — she’s an extremely talented writer — you can read reviews of a couple of others her on my blog.

I was given a copy of this book by Standard Publishing in exchange for my honest review.