Tag Archive | friendship

Spatzle Speaks: Bratwurst & Bridges (Book Review)

My mom loves to write books and she write the rough draft of this one two years ago. She even asked for prayer for when she wrote it. I had to bark to get her attention so make sure I could get outside. Bratwurst & Bridges was a consuming story.

What surprises me is how much of my mom is in this story – her heart. I don’t think she even realized just how much of her is in there. But as her dog, I know.

Pastor Dan’s wife died, and along with losing his best friend, and partner in life, he lost his chance to be a father. His wife had and he had lost several babies due to miscarriages and they had just begun to consider adoption. But now she was gone. A year later, he still grieved but had buried himself in ministry. Finally his boss, Senior Pastor Andrew, forced Dan on a leave of absence to get help and focus on his grief.

It’s not easy for a helper to get help. It takes courage. Could Dan do this? Or would he quit and walk away from ministry?

He’d sold his house and associated memories and moved into a new apartment. A single mom with two rambunctious children lives across the hall. Skye knows about God but doesn’t believe He would be interested in her, but since the handsome pastor has moved across the hall, she finds that her art has changed and she starts to ask him questions.

Zumba, skiing and true love? Can a single mom help a grieving pastor heal? Guess you’ll have to read it to find out! I give it five bones because it’s an awesome story and the way she weaves grief and new life and love together is wonderful. Not that I’m biased because the author is my mom…

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

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Spatzle Speaks: Alone (Book Review)

aloneAn exciting futuristic novel just released from Edie Melson. Alone is her debut novel although she has written non-fiction.

Bethany is a slave and is fortunate to be alive as Seekers are considered lowly for their belief in God. Her family was murdered and her planet is dying. She is about to be at the end of her rope when the planet is invaded. They claim to be there to save Seekers, but can she believe it’s true? Does she trust these people who teach her about faith and give her every comfort? When an old friend tries to help her escape she becomes even more confused.

What few understand, is that she alone has the key to save the planet’s ecosystem. Josiah saved her life at the start of the invasion and when push comes to shove she sacrifices herself to save the invaders she’s come to care for. But can they save her before it’s too late?

Edie writes with passion and her characters and the world she creates jumps off the page for the reader to embrace. This was an excellent novel and my mom really enjoyed reading it. Because of that and how cool this story is I give it five bones, because I’m a dog. That’s what I do.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that's how we roll.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

 

5 bones for blog

Spatzle Speaks: Sparks of Love (Book Review)

sparks-of-loveSpatzle the Maltese here (in case you’re new to my reviews). Sparks of Love is a novel of love and faith by Mary Ball.

Once upon a time, a young adult was accused of a crime. She left her past and her faith behind when her small town continued to judge her in spite of her innocence. Her father calls to let her know he found proof that would clear her name. He’s interrupted before he can share the news.

Her father dies before he can do so and Lynette Cunningham is forced to return to settle the estate and decide what to do next in her life. An old friendship is resurrected and a local pastor has his sights set on her. She’s determined to get through all the stuff her father saved and hopefully find the proof of her innocence her father mentioned. A series of accidents begin to make the process difficult.

The handsome young pastor also challenges her buried faith as she digs up memories. As love grows danger increases. Lynette is challenged to rethink much of what she thought she knew about her old life.

This is a book of grief and broken trust that is restored through faith and friendship. A compelling journey and a worthy read. I give it five bones because I’m a dog. I don’t do stars.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that's how we roll.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

 

5 bones for blog

Spatzle Speaks: A Haven in the Woods (Book Review)

a-haven-in-the-woodsNancy Bolton’s recent novella, A Haven in the Woods is another story as part of the Love is . . . series of novellas by Prism Book Group. Finally, a story that has a dog in it! I don’t mind the cat either. I’m particularly fond of cats but mom won’t let me have one because of something she calls allergies. Anyway, on to the book.

Ellen is our leading lady and she got herself in some trouble. An unexpected and unwanted pregnancy has led her to make a choice to hide away in the woods, give birth and then give the baby up for adoption.

Things don’t go as planned. Her isolation is destroyed by Robert who lives nearby and comes to her rescue. As her home falls apart and a terrible winter storm descends, he takes her and her cat into his home with him and his dog. The potential makings of a love story.

But Ellen isn’t in the mood to be loved or trust a man and she keeps Robert at arms length. He, however, falls for the unborn baby and tries everything he can to help Ellen as she nears delivery. I don’t want to give away the story but lets just say he really has to work for this and is an example of love that protects, no matter what.

I’ll give this story five bones. A dog, a cat and a baby? I love babies. And I’m a dog, I don’t give stars.

5 bones for blog

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that's how we roll.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

 

 

Spatzle Speaks: Through Raging Waters (Book Review)

RagingWaters copyRenee Blare has done it again with a fast paced romantic suspense that will be hard to put down. The last we left the Snowy Range Chronicles, in To Soar on Eagle Wings, Steve Mitchell had married Rachel Fitzgerald. Now a new adventure hits the area featuring Rachel’s best friend as her brother who his also Steve’s best friend. And life is going to get rough in Through Raging Waters.

Mother nature is doing her best to wash out the town of  Timber Springs and Ranger Steve Mitchell is going to do everything he  can to prevent that. Obstacles continue to rise and when his father-in-law suffers a heart attack in the middle of he storm he calls on his best friend, and son of the pastor, Paul Fitzgerald to assist. Unfortunately Paul is going to be need for even more than saving his dad’s life.

As the flood continues to escalate wiping out everything in its path and the storms keep coming, Steve calls on Paul and others to a rescue mission in the mountains. Paul hasn’t done any of that since a disaster traumatized him in his past but he steps up and his controlled life is slowly eroded in the process. He’s only just started to open his heart to love again with Melissa but is forced to set that aside to do the head into danger. Getting injured and relying on his annoying brother wasn’t part of his plan, but maybe that’s just what God needed to use to get through to his heart and faith locked away deep inside.

Melissa Hampton has been battling on several fronts: her mysterious beginnings being discovered in her mother’s keepsakes, her budding affection for the enigmatic pharmacist, brother to her best friend, Paul and the challenges of working for BJ Parker. When BJ is in danger she tries to find him only to realize the one who is really in trouble is Paul. She realizes she has more courage than she expected when forced into challenging circumstances to save the man she loves.

The best part of the story is that Paul has a dog. Yup. A great dog. They call it a therapy dog but hey, aren’t all dogs therapeutic? I think that’s what I am to my mom. So because it’s a non-stop action-packed novel filled with faith and love, I’ll give it five bones. I’m a dog. I don’t do stars.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that's how we roll.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

 

 

5 bones for blog

 

Spatzle Speaks: Dumpster Dicing

Julie Cosgrove has written some compelling romantic suspense novels about human trafficking (Hush in the Storm, Legitimate Lies, Freed to Forgive) as well as some delightful novellas (Greener Grass, Navy Blues), but she breaks new ground in her writing with a new series called Bunco Biddies Mysteries.

bunco biddies

 

The core of the group consists of Betsy Ann who used to be a news reporter. Janie is the widow of a police detective and her daughter is married to the current detective of their fair town. Ethyl adores cozy mysteries and catalogues all the who-dunnits she has read and how the murders were committed.

dumpster dicingThe first in this series is Dumpster Dicing and it is a delightful cozy mystery. SO much so my mom snuggled up to me while she read it.

While on their morning walk they spy a dead body parts dropping out of a dumpster being picked up by the garbage truck. Apparently it was a new grouchy neighbor to their community, Edwin Newman. Now they are determined to uncover the truth about just who murdered the poor man and why.  Although he was mean to a dog so that’s reason enough for me to have done it, but I’m a dog and am not capable of that kind of harm. Along the way they get into all kinds of trouble with someone trying to stop them, along with Janie’s son-in-law who, while appreciative of the help, really does care for his mother-in-law and wants her safe.

Dumpster Dicing is filled with colorful characters, sweet moments and a dash of humor as a group of older women in a retirement community seek to help out Janie’s son-in-law who is overworked and she beleives needs to spend more time with his family. I give this five bones. I don’t do stars. I’m a dog.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that's how we roll.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

 

5 bones for blog

When Joy Takes Over

I’ve meBird in cagentioned on this blog before that I struggle with depression. I learned early on to put a good face on my inner darkness because I was told that to tell anyone I was depressed was manipulative and a lie.

Way to validate my reality, huh?

And I fought the first therapist who insisted this was my struggle. So I charted my emotions, and I was shocked at what I saw. I really was depressed.  Since then I’ve taken medications on and off over the years and have one that works well for me now. I tried the natural methods to no avail. I defeated Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (an autoimmune disease of the thyroid for which depression is a side effect). Having been educated and worked in the mental health field I’m very aware of my symptomatology and the kinds of things I need to do to stop myself from sinking further into the pit of despair.

That’s why sometimes when joy breaks through it is a remarkable thing for me to take note of, to savor and to hold on to-because it’s rare.

Some of my circumstances do limit my expression of the good in my life because not everyone in my world appreciates all the aspects of who God created me to be. Not everyone supports or cheers me on in my writing and publishing pursuits. Because of this I’ve had to develop a more extended circle of support. So my cheerleaders are not physically close but they are there when I need them.

Flying Dog

But joy. It breaks through like a dog let off his leash, gate open and free to run in wide open spaces, ears flapping and tail wagging. Unhindered by expectations. Free to be fully who he is.

The filters come off, the darkness slips away and bright light shines from inside as I let loose to live more fully who God created me to be. That’s a high energy thing though and can’t be sustained for long. It happens in places were my gifts and calling are validated and my wacky weird personality is appreciated and not condemned.

A place where I can set aside any thoughts of how overweight I am or be self-conscious about my appearance.

It’s a place where people around me appreciate and love me for being – me. Imperfections and all.

That sometimes happens at church and I’m blessed to have people there who love me like that. But there are still some barriers because there have been those who have condemned me for my high spirits and effusive personality when it’s been expressed. Not everyone likes the bubbly, silly, sassy, “high-spirited” side of Susan.  Or maybe it threatens them. Joy at fully living one’s purpose can make others jealous.

Dee Dee and Lori laughingA few weeks ago I had several moments of uninhibited joy. I was in the beautiful Rocky Mountains at a YMCA at Estes Park for the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference where I served as faculty. I enjoyed my entire time there. It was work. I taught classes which I enjoy and encouraged writers. I willingly poured out love and encouragement to others and was glad to be able to do so.

Dee Dee and I met last year and a friendship was born. The picture above is of Dee Dee and another new friend, Lori at dinner in town. I love the expression on their faces and only wish I could have caught Megan in there too as she sat next to me. A dinner filled with deep conversation, belly laughs and love.

A writer’s conference is about writing, but more than that, it is about relationships and that night at that restaurant is a treasured memory of joy. It was later that Dee Dee and I sat and talked in the lobby and our relationship grew deeper. Dee Dee hasn’t led a perfectly wonderful life and has suffered her own share of struggles too. But together we laughed and cried and out of that is born joy.

Why? Because Dee Dee accepts and loves me just as I am. Wild, silly, weird, authentic, wounded and seeking to follow God imperfectly in my own circumstances. And I love her that way too. There will be many wonderful reasons to return to Colorado – but Dee Dee would top the list. And I’m grateful that with computers and phones the distance doesn’t have to be a barrier to our friendship.

Today as I write this, it’s raining and gloomy. Even as I type, tears roll down my cheeks, not out of sadness, but gratitude for those brief moments when the sun shines through the cloud and God has given me the opportunity to live more fully as “me”and be loved and accepted for that.

Praying you find safe places for joy to break through too.