Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Love To Come Home To: Blog Tour and Giveaway!





I am so excited to announce the release of the third book in Alicia G. Ruggieri's 
 A Time of Grace Trilogy:

A Love To Come Home To

July 22, 2016 in softcover and on Kindle
Purchase: http://bit.ly/1XVezoM


Please read to the end of the post to enter a wonderful giveaway! 


Hardened Ben Picoletti thought he’d turned his back on Depression-era Rhode Island years ago. Nothing remains there for him, except for haunting memories of an abusive childhood. Yet when a criminal accusation shatters his ambitions, Ben has nowhere to flee but back to his stepfather’s home.
There, he finds that redemption yet waits for him… but the sacrifice required to attain it may exceed the limits of his family’s hearts.
Meanwhile, his musical sister Grace continues her studies in New York. She longs to hear a word of affection from her high-school beau… yet only Paulie’s silence greets her. Grace must decide whether she wants to live in the past or move into an unknown future with unexpected love.
Lyrical and sensitive to the aching heart, A Love to Come Home To affirms that God delights in being a stronghold in times of trouble; that He renews His mercy every morning; and that He will work every bitter thing together for the good of His 
children.


My Review of A Love To Come Home To:

This book . . . so, so beautiful. It just captivated me. It brought me back in time, it brought me to tears, it brought me to the cross. The first two books led up to this one so perfectly, and A Love To Come Home To was such a fragrant offering to complete the trilogy.
I love Alicia’s writing. I love her style which is not overtly feminine or frilly, but is also not wooden or stiff. I love the way that she develops her characters, getting inside their mind for a glimpse of what and why they are thinking and doing what they think and do—it adds a depth and a realness to her writing.

I love the character of Ben. I love the way that one can relate to his struggles and fears and sorrows. I love his sensitivity that shyly emerges throughout the story and then blossoms into spiritual life at the end of the book. His character repels the reader and then draws them in at the same time.  And Alicia develops his story so well throughout the book and makes him such a believable character—rough around the edges, but loveable at the same time!

Grace’s story and her romance with Paulie is also beautifully played out throughout this book. The theme of surrender is one which I love and Alicia captures that wonderfully, both in Paulie’s and Grace’s actions and lives. I won’t give the ending away, but it is so, so well done! Anyone looking for a good romance with substance won’t be disappointed in this one!

The conclusion took my breath away and brought me to tears. I won’t give it away here, but as one who has always loved symbolism in stories, the ending was deeply satisfying for me. The way that Alicia tied everything together, using a symbol from the first book, and bringing restoration symbolically and physically to what had been lost through Ben’s father’s sin was really brilliant.

This is a book that the reader will not want to put down. It is deeply spiritual without being preachy. It is gritty and Alicia is not afraid to delve into difficult and ugly situations, but she handles it with thoughtful tact and grace—something that I find as a rarity in modern literature.  Her end motive is always healing and restoration, not “grittiness” for the sake of the “shock” value.

I love the Spirit-filled sense that the book gives me, that the author was relying on the Holy Spirit as she wrote, and the Word of God comes through richly because of this, I think.


I highly recommend this book, and the two before it, read in order.  What a blessing these books have been to me! I pray that the Lord may continue to use Alicia’s writing to show powerfully the grace and redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ. Well done!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Alicia G. Ruggieri writes grace-filled, Christ-centered fiction, including the A Time of Grace Trilogy. She’s a graduate of Rhode Island College, where she studied Communications and History, and her adventures include children’s theatre direction, restaurant management, and small business ownership. Alicia and her husband live in coastal New England, where she may be found drinking far too much coffee and penning stories with her emotionally-disturbed second-hand pug by her side.


AUTHOR LINKS:


RELEASE WEEK SALE INFORMATION FOR A TIME OF GRACE TRILOGY:

·        July 21-25, 2016 – The Fragrance of Geraniums (Book 1) – FREE on Kindle – http://bit.ly/1VXSyDO
·        July 22-28, 2016 – All Our Empty Places (Book 2) - $1.99 on Kindle - http://bit.ly/1UOfV02


A LOVE TO COME HOME TO RELEASE GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

·        July 19 (12 a.m. EST) – July 29 (8 p.m. EST)
·        Wrap-up and winner announced on Saturday morning, July 30, 2016 at www.aliciagruggieri.com.
·        
·        Open to U.S. residents only due to shipping costs.

One winner will receive:
·        A complete set of signed softcovers of the A Time of Grace Trilogy.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Midwest Ministry Update

God, send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. And sever any tie in my heart except the tie that binds my heart to Yours.
~David Livingstone

Many of you who follow my blog know that my husband and I and our two young children recently moved from New England to the Midwest. We came here in a step of faith and obedience to establish a place of rest/refuge for the Lord's people.
Moving here last Fall was not easy for me.  Next to surrendering college, it was one of the most difficult and painful steps that I have taken in my walk with the Lord, but the joy that has sprung from it has been indescribable. 

When I left my home in New England (after living there for nearly 33 years - I celebrated my 33rd birthday in the Midwest) I felt the pain of death. That sounds like an exaggeration, but it is true. And if the Lord had not spoken to me and called me to come here, I would have chosen to stay - in my beloved New England, with my beloved family, near my friends and those dear to me. 

But the Lord did speak to me, through a message that Ravi Zacharias preached, as I was struggling to come to a final decision about whether to go or to stay in New England at that time. In his message, Zacharias spoke about the missionary and pioneer David Livingstone, and he has become one of my newfound spiritual examples since. If anyone is interested in listening to that message, they may find it HERE and HERE. It is a little lengthy (2 parts) but well, well, worth it. 

You may read more about my decision to come to the Midwest HERE and about the ministry that my husband and I have been called to begin HERE

Recently, I listened to Ravi Zacharias' message again. I believe that the Lord speaks to His people, always according to His Word, but that the Holy Spirit is still actively guiding His people through their consciences as they submit to Him in a living love/trust relationship that is not feeling-based, but truth-based. 

I have a tiny basket in our kitchen that I had filled with "remembrances," and reminders to me of the Lord's presence and mercy to me here. Some shells from Robin's eggs that I've found while walking, smooth stones from one of the great lakes that we visited on our way out to the Midwest, a chestnut from a nature preserve (in Chicago, of all places! :-)), and a shriveled crab-apple from my Mama's beautiful crab-apple tree in RI. A few months ago, a Bible verse came to my mind and I wrote it and placed it near my little basket.  The verse was this one (Matthew 28:20) -

And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.




Well, a few weeks ago, I was listening to Ravi Zacharias' message again with my two little ones. Near the end, where Zacharias addresses David Livingstone and his call to Africa, he used the very verse that I had written and placed near my little basket. At the time that I wrote it, I did not realize that this was the verse that David Livingstone believed God had given to him. Only the Lord's hand could have directed me to the very verse that tied in with Livingstone's life and the call upon my own and bid me to write it down and place it near my little basket. The Lord confirmed to me again in this little way, that His hand is upon our coming here and that He will continue to guide us and provide for us here. 

And this truth that has guided my life for many years remains - that if the Lord desires something to go forward, it will go forward. Men or angels cannot stop it from doing so. If something is truly the will of God, He will establish it. I rest in that confidence and the confidence in the truth of these verses that have also  guided my life - Psalm 27:13-14:

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!


So here we are, our little family, waiting upon the Lord in the great Midwest. The corn grows around and all is beauty and stillness and birds and trees and quiet. Through the difficulty of leaving what I have known and loved, the Lord has given me His joy where I thought that there would be barrenness - the kindness of a minister and his wife, a church where the Word is preached uncompromisingly, a little thrift store only about a five minute walk from our home (an unexpected blessing - the Lord knows my great love for thrift stores!! :-) - and I was able to walk to it through the winter when my husband and I were sharing one vehicle), the beauty of His creation all around, and the daily peace of His Presence that passes understanding and that fills loneliness and sorrow with thanksgiving and JOY. 

I praise Him and His strength for all that He has done and continues to do. We are waiting upon Him for further direction, renting a homely little house and praying for his guidance in exactly where and how to establish this ministry that He has placed upon our hearts and directed our lives to undertake - because we know that He will undertake. 

Please lift us up in your prayers as He brings us to your mind; He works through the prayers of His people. 

Blessings and joy to each one of you, beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Monthly Book Giveaway Winner~The Heavenly Man

And the Winner of the Monthly Book Giveaway (for a paperback copy of The Heavenly Man:The Remarkable, True Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun by Paul Hattaway is ). . . 

Kay Walker :-)
(name was randomly drawn). 

Please e-mail me your address through the BLOGGER CONTACT FORM (found on the right -hand side of the blog) so that I may send this book to you! 



Thursday, June 30, 2016

Monthly Book Giveaway~ The Heavenly Man~The Remarkable, True Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun

“There was once a fiddler who played so beautifully that everybody danced. A deaf man who could not hear the music considered them all insane. Those who are with Jesus in suffering hear this music to which other men are deaf. They dance and do not care if they are considered insane.” 
― Richard Wurmbrand

“It is not great men who change the world, but weak men in the hands of a great God.” 
― Brother Yun



For more information about Monthly Book Giveaways, click HERE

One cannot adequately describe the sufferings that the underground Chinese church has endured for the sake of Jesus Christ, nor completely fathom the spiritual life that has sprung from that suffering. Only when we embrace the promises of God through the sharp talons of suffering for His sake, can we know the comfort and joy that follows. 

The Heavenly Man is a testimony of that kind of suffering and of that kind of joy--the joy that sees Jesus Christ and endures hardship and deprivation for the sake of the Gospel. The joy that embraces beauty from ashes and the oil of joy from mourning. The joy that looks beyond what is seen to the unseen. Brother Yun's testimony should be read by every Christian who desires to experience a closer, more intimate walk with the Lord Jesus Christ--because this kind of intimacy is only gained through being identified with our Lord through suffering for His sake. 


For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake . . . 
Philippians 1:29 NKJV

Brief description of The Heavenly Man from CBD (Christian Book Distributors):
You've seen the headlines---government crackdowns on Chinese house churches; mass arrests and human rights violations. . . . Learn how God took a young half-starved boy from Henan Province and enabled him to stand strong on the front lines for Jesus, braving horrific opposition and impossible odds. Life-changing!

To enter the giveaway for a paperback copy of this book, written by Paul Hattaway, please comment below on why you would like to read this book or about one of your favorite examples of a follower of Christ who has endured persecution. A winner will be randomly drawn from the entrants' names one week from today and announced on the blog. 

Other books on this topic that I recommend:
Tortured for Christ, by Richard Wurmbrand
The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom
The Bible or the Axe, by William Levi 
Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan 

China's Book of Martyrs, by Paul Hattaway


You might find me on these link-ups:

Strangers and Pilgrims on EarthInspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomWhat Joy is Mine, A Mama's Story, Mom's the Word, Rich Faith Rising, Time Warp Wife, Cornerstone Confessions, Mom's Morning Coffee, Raising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries, Whole-Hearted Home, Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Women With Intention WednesdaysMessy Marriage,  Graced Simplicity, Children Are A Blessing, Imparting Grace, A Look at the Book, Thought Provoking ThursdayChristian Mommy Blogger,  Soul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridayTell It To Me TuesdaysSHINE Blog HopA Little R&R WednesdaysTGI Saturdays Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Sharing His Beauty Blog Linkup

Monday, June 20, 2016

Surrender~Piano Solo Book Release




Calling all pianists! With a Joyful Noise has released a new piano solo book for late-intermediate to early-advanced pianists. Whether you are your church's pianist or you simply enjoy learning new music for personal enjoyment and reflection, finding new music books is always a joy. Coming from a church pianist who knows the struggle of finding new offertories, Amanda Tero has taken timeless songs and woven advanced techniques into simple, relaxing settings.

The songs in the piano solo book are commonly known as “invitation songs,” and the messages ring true. Have we laid all on the altar for God to control? Have we acknowledge our need for Christ and turned fully to Him? Have we truly surrendered all to Him? Are we daily seeking to be near Him so that we can say in assurance, “It is well with my soul?” Are we eagerly awaiting His eternal plans for us or do we still cling to that which will one day fade away?

Listen to all of the songs on YouTube.



About the Book
Level: Late-intermediate/Early Advanced
Pages: 37

Buy the Book
Visit www.withajoyfulnoise.com or email Amanda at withajoyfulnoise@gmail.com for more information on purchasing your own copy (digital or print).

About the Arranger
Amanda Tero is a born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, currently living and teaching in Mississippi. She has played piano since 1998, studying under Karen Tero, Donna Hopkins, and Shelley Hayes. The Lord has given her opportunities to be involved in accompaniment, congregational playing, hymn-arranging, and recording since 1999.


Connect with Amanda
Facebook: www.facebook.com/withajoyfulnoise


Be sure to hop by the other great blogs that are featuring Surrender on their blogs this month!







Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Sacrifice--A Poem

O Light of Grace
I lift my eyes--
The sacrifice
Lays on the altar stone
Alone
My timid heart 
With trepidation
Kneels before Your love

Remove my doubt
My clinging to
The things of dust
The clay
The heavy things
That weigh--
That weigh me down. 

I raise the knife
And flesh cries NO--

I go
Away and lay it down--the blade
Until my soul hangs heavy
Like a weight  around my neck
Regret will overcome me 
If I turn away 
From this stroke now. 

I place my heart--the dear thing-there upon the stone
The sacrifice lies still 
And in one final movement
Raise the knife and let it fall. 


My eyes are closed
My soul is stripped 
Of breath--

But when 
I tear these orbs away from darkness 
Into the expected sorrow 

I find there
Not the sacrifice I thought
But only grace sufficient
Hushing me with calm 
And offering the balm of hope



What was loss is gain
And in the dying ashes--life--
Not death--
But life
The Lamb of life--
Life fair
Looks back at me 
And laughs with joy. 







You might find me on these link-ups:


Strangers and Pilgrims on EarthInspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomWhat Joy is Mine, A Mama's Story, Mom's the Word, Rich Faith Rising, Time Warp Wife, Cornerstone Confessions, Mom's Morning Coffee, Motivate and Rejuvenate Mondays,, Raising Homemakers, Hope in Every SeasonA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries, Whole-Hearted Home, Testimony TuesdayTell His StoryA Soft Gentle Voice, My Daily Walk in His Grace, Women With Intention WednesdaysMessy Marriage, The Charm of Home, Graced Simplicity, Theology ThursdaysChildren Are A Blessing, Imparting Grace, A Look at the Book, Essential Thing Devotions, Thought Provoking ThursdayCount My Blessings, Christian Mommy Blogger, Renewed Daily, Soul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewBlessing Counters Link PartyThe HomeAcre HopMommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridayTell It To Me TuesdaysSHINE Blog Hop, Faith and  Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate Monday Link-UpA Little R&R WednesdaysTGI Saturdays Blog HopTotally Terrific TuesdayRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdaySo Much At Home Link Up Party


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Monthly Book Giveaway Winner--The Cost of Discipleship

And the Winner of the Monthly Book Giveaway (for a paperback copy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship is ). . . 

Heather (:-)) 

(name was randomly drawn from a coffee mug :-)). 

Please e-mail me your address through the BLOGGER CONTACT FORM (found on the right -hand side of the blog) so that I may send this book to you! 
Winner will be given three days to respond before I randomly select another winner.

Thank you all for participating!  

Blessings in Christ,
Rebekah