Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas from Wyoming!

Christmas Wyoming Style




The Christmas presents are all opened and the critters are lounging under the tree. Dinner is...well, still thawing while snow flies outside the kitchen window. It's Christmas, Wyoming style.

It's a beautiful day  in the Rockies--cold, brisk and white. Welcome to Wyoming!

I'd like to wish all a very Merry Christmas. May this day that we remember the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and all He has done for us be blessed and beautiful.



As we look forward to the future and 2017, I have hope. Is it in this world? No. My hope is in the Almighty. And no matter what I may face I know that I will never have to face it alone or with my own feeble strength. I have a Warrior to help wage the battles of this world...even the ones of my own making as well as a Mediator to trod on holy ground where I cannot...yet.

Christmas is a reminder that God shed His glory to don simple clothes...skin. Not to condemn but to liberate. Not to join mankind but pay for the judgment of all.

So, when you offer gifts to one another on Christmas, think of the amazing gift God gave to all in Jesus Christ.

He paid the price for your sins on a cross on Calvary. Do you know Jesus as your Savior today?

I do and I'd like to wish all from the folds of the Lord a very Merry Christmas.

In Christ,

Renee

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Christmas Cowboy Interview on Inspirational Moments

Cowboys at Christmas


Hey y'all, I'd like to welcome Julie Cosgrove to the blog this week. She's got a special treat for us in the form of a handsome cowboy from her latest release, Hill Country Homecoming. I know you're as anxious to find out more about him as I yield the floor. Take it away, Julie.




Thanks, Renee. Howdy, everyone.. Let me introduce you to a guy I recently met in the Cowboy Christmas novella, Hill Country Homecoming. Welcome Travis Wallace.

I’m Travis Wallace, the manager at the Bar-M, which is one of the largest horse breeding ranches in the Texas Hill Country. My parents died in a tornado when I was knee-high to a jack rabbit, so a nice, Christian couple raised me and my sister. I consider them my mom and dad, even though they’re old enough to be my grandparents. Their failing health worries me.

Sorry to hear that, Travis. How did you end up working at the Bar-M?

I came to work at the Bar-M at the age of sixteen, as recompense for driving recklessly over the property while I’d been drinking and carousing. I did a lot of things wrong back then.  But Mr. Maxwell took me under his wing. I worked every afternoon after school, on weekends and over the holidays. Summer vacation, too. A strict taskmaster, he didn’t cotton to any excuses for slacking off. At first I hated the man, but mucking his stables made more sense than rubbing elbows with the druggie kids in juvenile hall. Not a brand I wanted to carry the rest of my life.

Can’t blame you there. So you owe Mr. Mansfield a lot? He must care about you as well. What about his daughter?

Guess I was the son he never could have being his wife died of cancer after giving him a daughter, Sarah. She’s spoiled rotten, that one. Thinks money pops out of ATMs simply because she snaps her slender fingers or flips her silky, blonde hair over her shoulder. But, he’s farmed her out to posh girl schools and colleges for the last decade, so she only flits in on holidays and over the summer. Sarah stays out of my hair when she’s here. Actually she gives me a wide berth. Funny to see a horse breeder’s daughter wrinkle her nose at the whiff of manure. She spends her days lounging on river rafts and kicking up dust at the rodeo dances where she catches every guy’s attention with her sashaying. Not that I’m totally immune to her feminine ways. No man under eighty with a pulse would be. Guess they teach ‘em how to hook a rich man in those private education establishments. Well, this year, it appears as if she has. Poor schmuck.

Now, now. Don’t judge. What have you learned at the ranch you wish the readers to know?

Anyway, between Mr. Maxwell and my adopted parents, I’ve learned hard work and faith is what it takes to make it in this world. After high school, he took me on full-time. Nine years later, he offered me the manager position. I’ve been in charge of the horses’ care and the breeding process for going on four years now. Every morning I get on my knees and thank God for another day to serve Him and Mr. M. Every night, I return to my knees to thank Him for the day, my adopted parents, and to pray for their health. Keeps me balanced until worship service on Sundays.

Something we all need, my friend. Thanks for dropping by.


Thanks for sharing this awesome interview, Julie! So, what do y'all think of Travis? Sounds like a good guy, don't he? Would you like to find out more about Julie's Cowboy Christmas novella, Hill Country Homecoming? I know I do!

And I've got the info for you!

Here's an excerpt:

     Live rich, marry richer.
That had been Sarah Mansfield’s goal since grade school. Now, after years of plotting and planning, it lay within reach. She angled the two-carat round-cut solitaire, surrounded by a myriad of smaller stones, to catch the light streaming through the car window. The facets glimmered in the warm, winter sun as it bounced off the bare cypress branches swishing overhead.
     Her fiancĂ©, Tucker Simpson, sat next to her in his shiny, new Italian convertible. As he shifted gears and pressed the clutch, his hand-stitched, never-stepped-into-manure boots gave off a soft whiff of saddle-soap. Outside the window, the glistening emerald Guadalupe River wound along the state road like a lazy rattler seeking shade.  “It is the one you wanted. From Harrison’s, right?”
     “Yes. I should have known you’d dare not shop anyplace else.” She gave him a teasing wink.
“Only the best for my girl. As soon as I signed the Henderson account with the firm, it proved my worth.” His diamond-eyed, eighteen-carat gold longhorn tie tack blinked in her direction. Symbol of graduating in the top of his Texas law school class. 
     She grinned.
     He slipped his hand from the gearshift and laced his fingers through hers. “After only six months with Abernathy, Smith and Firth, I am the newest junior partner, at $300K a year. Now, I can almost afford you.”
     “The ring is perfect. Just like you, honey.” She fluttered her mascara-laden eyelashes and pecked his golf-course-bronzed cheek in response.
     His French aftershave, at $129.95 an ounce, swept her into euphoria. Yep, all the effort and waiting had paid off.  Born into one of the wealthiest horse breeding families in Central Texas, Sarah spent her summers galloping across the plains in the morning, lounging on rafts in the river through the afternoons, and kicking up dust at the rodeo dances until midnight, all the while tantalizing the local boys she kept at arm’s length. While they offered a certain amount of fun, they didn’t fit the bill. Too uncouth and prone to spit chewing tobacco.
     The school year, spent in San Antonio, sequestered her in an upscale parochial girl’s school away from the inner city sharks, though a few boldly circled the posh pond trying to lure a socialite with their good looks and slumming charms. Nice playthings on which to practice her femininity, but long ago, she’d set her sights on far larger fish—Dallas or Houstonian guys with daddy’s money bulging from wallets in the back pockets of their too-tight jeans. 
      After she graduated, she attended one of the top private colleges in the state and pledged a sorority—the one of her mother and grandmother. Next, she spent the obligatory year touring Europe with the other debutantes, per time-honored protocol, in order to round out her cultural repertoire and to catch the eyes of rich and eligible cosmopolitan bachelors. The fact she had enough brains to make straight A’s all the way through school hardly mattered. Graceful flirtations, the right haircut and perfume, and a flawlessly tanned body did. 
     Her best friend, Emma Rose, landed a minor British duke, but Sarah’s attention fell on Tucker as he volleyed the beach ball while summering on the Italian Riviera. His rippled abs captured the Mediterranean sunbeams and ricocheted into her heart. She used every feminine wile in her well-bred arsenal to convince him to snare her instead of one of the other girls, and then played a mild hard-to-get to reel him in. She convinced her father to pay for her to get her Master’s in Renaissance English Literature at the university in Dallas so she could keep Tucker wiggling on the hook once he landed employment at the prestigious law firm. It was also where she made her debut into society, accumulating well-established names and addresses for her future wedding invitations.
     Yep, her plans had fallen in place. Sarah laced her arm through Tucker’s and leaned into his shoulder blade. She raised her left hand higher. “Everyone at the Christmas Dance tonight at the Bar-M Ranch will wish they were us. You are going to drool over my dress.”
      “I’d prefer to see you out of it, but I know you are the wait-until-the-honeymoon type.”  She lifted off his chest and protruded her lower lip as she twisted to face him. “Which you’ve agreed to abide by.”
      “Anything for you, angel. You just keep reminding me you’re worth the wait, okay?” He winked. 
      She snickered. “My daddy will, for sure. He’s won awards for his rifle shooting.”
      Tucker cleared his throat. “How many folks are you expecting tonight?”
      “Oh, around two-hundred I guess.” She scrunched her nose and swished back her palomino-blonde hair. “Dad insists on letting the ranch hands and their families join in the holiday festivities. Which, unfortunately, means Mr. Righteous will be in attendance.” She mimed a gag, dipping her finger to the back of her tongue.
      Tucker’s eyes twinkled in response as he draped an arm over her shoulders and pulled her close.
      “You mean your dad’s right hand man, Travis?”
       She snuggled into his ribcage and yawned. “That’s the one. Hope he leaves his Bible in the bunkhouse. I don’t want religion spoiling my Christmas.”
       He reared his head back, revealing a protruding Adam’s apple peeking from his starched and professionally pressed Oxford shirt collar. A laugh exploded from his lips. 
       “Turn down that road up ahead on the right, honey, where you see the large oak and the Texas flag.”
       “Yes’m.” Tucker twisted to face her as she rose off his torso and smoothed her hair back into place. “Sarah. Am I seriously supposed to get on this Travis’ good side? I mean, could he prevent our wedding if he disapproved?”
       She brushed a piece of lint from her French designer jeans. “Daddy always values his opinions about raising horses, so sometimes he gets his nose a bit too high, if you get my meaning. But”—she lifted her gaze and narrowed her blue eyes—“if that cowpoke hisses, you ignore him. He’ll slither back into his hole where he belongs as soon as he realizes Daddy’s happy as long as I’m happy.”
       “Good to know.” His eyes returned to the road winding through the prairie grass ahead of them.


More information about the book:

Sarah has the dollars and cents, Travis the horse sense. When tragedy hits the Bar-M Ranch one Christmas, will they put aside their differences to save it? 


Tags:  Contemporary romance, Christmas novella, Cowboy Christmas, Texas Hill Country, Christian romance



More information about the author:

Julie B Cosgrove has ten contracted novels and novellas published or in the works. She also writes for seven devotional publications and websites and is a professional speaker who leads women’s religious retreats and writers’ workshops. Julie lives in Fort Worth, Texas but her heart is at her family’s property in the Texas Hill Country on the Guadalupe River.

Visit her website www.juliebcosgrove.com, and follow her blog Where Did You Find God Today?



Sunday, December 11, 2016

A Christmas Celebration with Amazing Giveaway

It's Time to Party


The Blare Household loves Christmas. Thanksgiving rolls around and the decorations find their way out of mothballs almost immediately. A trip or two to the store (maybe more) attempt to satisfy the insatiable appetite for glitter and gold.

This year, old combine with new to create a plethora of beauty. Candles framed with holly flicker in the night to remind all what the season is truly about.

The birth of our Lord Jesus Christ is worth celebrating. But is December the only time to do it?

God's gift - His liberating gift - is One that sets people free from pain and judgment. And Christmas reminds us that it's available to all, not just the special or elite. For we all have fallen short of the glory of God and are wretched in the eyes of the Father.

Jesus takes us under his wing, not to shelter us from the trials of life, but to weather the storms. To show us that He loves each and everyone of us. To prove that He will never leave nor forsake us and remain the one Friend when none other will or can be.

_____________________

I can hear the questions now. "Is Jesus Christ real or is he someone more like Santa Claus?" "What if I don't celebrate?" "What if I think nobody should celebrate?"

I'd like to address each one of these if I may.

1. Is Jesus real? Jesus Christ is real. Historians, Christian and non-Christian, have documented this fact. Eye-witness accounts (biblical and non-biblical) support his life, death and resurrection. Our calendar is based on his presence on this earth (A.D., B.C.).  If you have an issue with Jesus, I suggest you research a bit more and use other sources besides the Bible. As for the Christian faith, that is another debate, but Jesus is not Santa Claus. Christmas is not a holiday founded on a man in the North Pole who makes presents for the children of the world, although that is a folktale and is told to almost every child from birth. It's about a man who died on a cross for the sins of the world. And that man is real.

2. What if I don't celebrate? Many people, Christians included, do not celebrate Christmas. Their reasons are varied. The commercialism of the world has influenced the true meaning of Christmas for the Christian community and makes it hard for many to celebrate this holiday. Others do not acknowledge it as a holiday simply because they are not Christians, although the world in general, does not celebrate it for that reason alone. Society has set this day aside as a day of rest and a way to acknowledge and bless one another with gifts.

3. "I don't think anybody should celebrate it." I would say you are a selfish person. Whether you are a Christian or not, this day is a way for the world to honor and love one another in the art of giving. In the United States, our constitution give us the right to practice freedom of religion and our Christian faith is protected. That being said, Christmas has evolved beyond merely a Christian holiday. Through this holiday, Jesus' birthday, God's gift to the world touches a multitude in ways unimaginable whether they realize it or not and I say, let it continue.


_________________________

In honor of the birth of Christ, I'm giving away my entire collection
of publications to
ONE winner!


Enter by going to my
comment on the pinned picture (have a pic of your favorite dessert ready)!

I will pick a winner by random draw on Christmas Day. :)

MERRY CHRISTMAS!




About the Author:

Renee Blare has been buried in a book for as long as she can remember. Raised in Louisiana and Wyoming, she started writing poetry in junior high school and that, as they say, was that. After having her son, a desire to attend pharmacy school sent her small family to the University of Wyoming in Laramie. She’s been counting pills ever since. While writing’s her first love, well, after the Lord and her husband, she also likes to fish and hunt as well as pick away on her classical guitar.
Nestled in the foothills of the Wind River Mountains, she lives in Wyoming with her husband, crazy dogs, and ornery cat. She serves her beautiful small town as a pharmacist while penning her stories about struggling Christians as they travel along the journeys of their lives. She loves to interact with readers and invites you check out her website, blog, and social media.

Website: http://www.reneeblare.com/
Blog: https://reneeblare.blogspot.com/

Group Blog: http://diamondsinfiction.blogspot.com/

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Let Go and Let God

In the Midst of Chaos




The last thirty days has been a bit crazy…well, in most everybody’s world. I’m not kidding or assuming! Ask around. Between politics, weather, and work, life hit hard and turned this big ball upside down.

One nutty night in November, the Presidential election flipped this nation on its ear and lit up the entire planet. People have been reeling ever since. Many are still stomping and crying. As for the impact on my life, well, I’m a conservative Christian at heart but I do live in one of the few liberal towns in Wyoming. Need I say more?

I love this little town, although it is rather cold at the moment. But that’s what winter’s like in the Rockies. Cold and snowy. Speaking of weather, have you seen what the disastrous drought conditions brought to our nation? The beautiful Smoky Mountains are all but destroyed by fire. Again, we watch and weep as the world turns upside down.

Romans 12:2  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

I’m thankful for the Lord’s protection and guidance during this crazy time. I’ll admit it, I haven’t reflected Him recently. I do have a bit of a temper and don't tolerate stupidity well. But without His renewal, I wouldn’t have hope or made it through the last month. I also wouldn't have lasted a day on my two week hunting vacation! (No, I didn't bag a buck. I missed...twice...three times. Sigh. I can't lie. I love to hunt but I'm not the best marksman in the world.)

But let’s forget about the election or the blister I have from my muck boots for a moment. Without His grace, I have no doubt that work woes, two releases in two months, writer’s block, hunting failures, and holiday stress would've brought me to the brink of insanity. But Prism Book Group’s closure definitely would’ve have sent me over the edge without the Lord holding my hand.

Through it all, God showed how good He is and reminded me this world is a lot bigger than I am. A tiny prod here, a gentle shove there, and once again, I was able to let go and let God. I remembered that I’m the vessel and He is the captain. And wow, do my fingers hurt! I didn’t realized how tightly I had a grip on that wheel.

My world may have turned upside down, but I learned that life does go on. And oh, things may not be as crazy as I thought. I just realized I'd been standing on my head the whole time.


Psalm 64:10  The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and trust in Him. And all the upright in heart shall glory. 

P.S. Prism Book Group didn't "close" but joined Pelican Book Group as an imprint! As I say, God is good. All the time!