Life is Like a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

by Carole Brownpb n jelly sand free

One of my favorite memories is the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I devoured and that were a part of our growing-up dietary food.

Today, I don’t devour them as much, but truly they are a healthy combination, especially for active children and grownups. Even though the jelly has sugar, they are still nutritious. Here’s a hint of their benefits:

  • the combination of peanut butter and bread provides protein,
  • B vitamins,
  • iron and
  • zinc.
  • Peanut butter is also a good choice for healthy unsaturated fats.

Nice, huh?

They are:

  • a simple food to prepare
  • delicious
  • healthy

Just like the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I contend that simple pleasures in life are still the best.

  • As a child, I climbed the trees, stared into their lofty branches and wondered at the world. Today, I refrain from climbing the trees, but still stroll beneath them and enjoy staring into the tree tops.
  • As a child, I flung myself full bodied into a pile of fallen Autumn leaves. Today, I kick at them and crunch them beneath my feet, enjoying the sights and sounds of October.forest moose fog free
  • Then and now, I allow my imagination full rein as I gave at the fields and valleys soaked with mist and rays of early morning sunshine, and wonder what is and what can be.
  • Then I wondered what was ahead, but mostly enjoyed life as it came. Today, I marvel at what all life holds, the privileges I have, the pleasures that come my way, and the blessing of another day.

With simple pleasures, you don’t have to strain or put forth extraordinary power or strength or ability to create them. They are there for your enjoyment. God created most of them for humans in our world, and to take advantage of them both shows our appreciation of life and earth and all that God has given us and also gives us a few moments of rest, relaxation and peace of mind.

Today, I’m sitting on one of my porches, rocking, enjoying the cool air and reading a devotion. How will you remember this day?

What is the most enjoyable and/or memorable simple pleasure you can remember?

  • Time alone at a secluded cabin?
  • a special vacation with a friend or family?
  • A dinner out that was the highlight of your life?
  • A walk in the woods?

watch- free

 

Today, while there is still time, take a few minutes and enjoy one–or two–simple pleasures in your life.

Introducing…Jerry & Josephine Patterson

by Carole Brown

willow2 free

Coming soon will be the cover reveal of “A Flute in the Willows” the second book in the WWII Spies series. I’ll share a few pictures in this post, too, that remind me of things found in the  book.

I’m really excited over this book, as this series holds a special place in my heart.

Through my years at home I learned so much about the WWII era from my mother: the jobs she held, the clothes worn, the hardships, and much more. It piqued an interest in me that’s still intense and strong.

 

flute dark free

 

Two words in the title give you a hint of what will be mentioned or used as part of the story:

  • * Flute
  • * Willows (trees)

 

How do you think they will play a part in the story?

Here’s the blurb for the story:

Serving as a spy in the middle of Germany, Jerry’s prepared for the risks involved until the sister of a high ranking official falls in love with him. That would be fine except he has a lovely young wife back home that he adores. Besides all he really wants is to find the list of names he came for and if using Vanda to get it is what’s required then he’s willing to pay the price.

Back at home, seeing his wife’s desire to succeed as the world’s greatest female ice skater, Jerry shoves away Josie’s concern and love determined to give her a chance to leave him, a damaged husband. But when her life is threatened by who’s determined to make him pay for his spying activities in Germany, Jerry realizes he can’t stand by and do nothing. Once again, Jerry has to risk all—only this time it’s for the very soul and life of himself—Josie.

Josie Rayner Patterson has two loves—her skating and Jerry, her husband. But when he returns home looking like a skeleton trying to return to life, she’s scared. What happened in Germany to change a man so much? Was he tortured? Has she lost his love? She knows he was injured—the crippled leg proves it, but he refuses to sleep with her, to talk with her, to share with her. He’s a stranger in their home.

Only her skating helps her keep her sanity even though she has her own demons to fight. Always rebellious at the restricted life she’d grown up in, she develops a greater taste for the liquor that dulls her troubled soul and climbs higher and higher to the peak of success she craves–until the night she makes a fatal mistake. Josie is wild with grief and angry at life itself. How could the God her family serves do this to her? She’s lost her two loves and has nothing left to live for.

When she joins her husband in finding and bringing down the person trying to wreck what little they have of life, she’s determined to do all she can. 

These two damaged, rebellious people learn the hard way that leaning on God instead of their own selves and abilities is the only true way to love and happiness. 

A Flute in the Willows is scheduled for release this fall! 

WMITH Bk Cover small-Modified earrings

 

 

No buying link YET for this one, but in the meantime, feel free to check out the first book: With Music in Their Heart:   https://www.amazon.com/Carole-Brown/e/B00EZV4RFY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1492661357&sr=1-1

The SuperStar: Dandelion

by Carole Browndandelion-free

I love dandelions. Many people find them annoying. Most consider them a weed. But they are so much more.

  • Edible. It’s recommended pairing dandelion greens with bacon, goat cheese, nuts and lemon to complement the taste. You can eat every part of the dandelion—roots, stems, leaves and flowers. … People have also incorporated dandelions into several beverages: grinding the roots for a coffee-like drink, or even making dandelion wine.

This innocuous, “weed” is actually one of the most nutrient-dense plants you can eat. It blows superfoods like spinach and kale out of the water. Examples:

  1. one half cup of dandelions contain more calcium than a glass of milk, and more ironvitamin free than spinach.
  2. One cup of dandelion greens contains 19 mg of Vitamin C, and the leaves contain more Vitamin A than carrots.
  3. And if you need some Vitamin K in your life, there’s no better source than dandelion leaves; 55 mg of leaves contain a whopping 535% of your daily value.
  4. Dandelions are also chock full of other essential minerals such as potassium, folic acid, and magnesium. 
  5. Dandelion leaves are a great source of fiber (which helps relieve constipation). The high fiber content also makes you feel full, making it a great food to eat if you’re trying to lose weight. 
  6. They also help stabilize your blood sugar, making it a great food for diabetics.
  7. They are also incredibly high in antioxidants, and because they are a diuretic, they help cleanse your body of toxins.

Here’s a quick recipe to try if you’re brave enough:

  • Raw dandelion root, chopped up
  • Tea kettledandelion tea free
  • Mug
  • Strainer, sieve, or cheesecloth
  • Hot pad
  • Cast iron skillet or other heavy pan
  • Flavoring herbs, milk, and sweeteners
  1.  Roast the dandelion root lightly to bring out the very best in its flavor. (You can use raw root, but roasted root has a complex and earthy flavor that makes the perfect compliment to cool mornings and cold weather nights.)
  2. Bring the water to a full boil.
  3. For each 8 ounces of water, you’ll want to add one heaping teaspoon of roasted dandelion root. Steep for 10 minutes to get a full, robust flavor and color.
  4. Once the steeping has finished, pour through a strainer, sieve, or cheesecloth to separate the root from the water. Flavor, if desired.
  5. When your drink is a safe and comfortable temperature, sip and enjoy!

 

 

butter free

  • Proof! They are a tried-and-true method of proving whether someone loves butter or not. Check it out. Pick the most perfect dandelion blossom you can find, pluck it, and gently but steadily hold it beneath the person’s chin you’re dying to know about their butter likes. IF that said chin shows yellow, well, you’ve got your answer. Butter lover! 🙂

 

little-boy-in-dandelions free

 

 

  • They’re available as bouquets of flowers for the kids to pick. It’s a ritual that many, many kids have used to gain favor from mothers, grandmothers and other influential people to gain a smile!

 

 

 

 

Last of all, they’re FREE! Who could ask for more from a SuperStar! 

stars free

 

 

 

 

Comparing the Characters in…

by Carole Brownmonkey-474147__340

When writing a series (or trilogy or whatever) with different protagonists in each book, how do you keep the characters from becoming the same in looks and actions and personalities?

In my case, these characters and their individual stories were easy to write about because I could see them vividly in my mind, and they were real. Their passions, their dreams and their approach to life might be different, but it also shows they’re family by their loyalty to each other. 

Three of the ways that are similar:

  1. Red hair. 
  2. Independent and strong. 
  3. Longing for the right romance and man.

Three ways they’re different:

  1. Passions: life interests
  2. Dreams: their plans for the future and romance
  3. Approach: the way they attain their dreams

Today I want to talk about the differences in the two protagonists in

  • With Music in Their Hearts (Book 1) and

the two protagonists in my upcoming second book in this series:

  • A Flute in the Willows (Book Two).

and the two in the third, future book:

  • Sing Until You Die (Book Three)

WMITH Bk Cover small-Modified earrings

 

With Music in Their Hearts:

 

  • Emma Jaine Rayner: red hair, hazel “color-changing” eyes, strong-willed, and a bit bossy. She doesn’t think of herself as particularly talented; plays the piano “adequately,” and though she loves her sisters dearly, feels a bit obligated in caring for her two younger sisters and her father too. Wanting to be beneficial during war time, she opened the Rayner Boarding House in her home, and oversees the management of it. She is a bit bossy and a shallow Christian in word only, but soon learns from Tyrell’s ministry the true meaning. She longs for a romance like the other girls her age, but there seems a lack of available men who interest her. 
  • Tyrell Walker: strong, black hair, moss-green colored eyes, confident, civilian spy. Raised by his Christian grandparents after his parents were killed, he and his cousin, Ben Hardy grew up together in plenty of escapades of fun and adventure. Tyrell followed the line of his ancestors and chose ministry as a career, but when WWII broke out, he was chosen to serve as a civilian spy. Disgruntled at not being able to see action, he nevertheless puts all he has in locating the foreign spy in the boarding house.

Their suspicions of each other create the personal tension. Their interest in each other create the romance.

 

A Flute in the Willows (book cover reveal coming soon):

  • Josephine (Josie) Rayner Patterson: Cinnamon brown eyes, wild, curly, chestnut-red hair, tall, willowly thin, active, excellent ice skater, talented flutist, confident in these abilities, but awkward in social atmospheres, blunt and careless w/other’s feelings.

In the first book, she and Jerry eloped much to the consternation of the rest of the family. 

  • Jerry Patterson: dark, almost black hair, sulky attitude, blue eyes, and a devil-may-care attitude. He loathes his overbearing father and has done everything possible to distance himself from him. 

When he fell in love with Josie, she was the best thing that had happened to him. He enlisted in the service, and left soon after his marriage, and his natural abilities advanced him faster than most men would have normally. He’s a super spy with excellent senses and abilities. 

Neither one professes any interest in spiritual things, and shy away from pressure to attend church or the subject of Christianity.

 

Sing Until You Die (book cover ready to go!):

  • Claire Rose Rayner: strawberry blond, amazing blue eyes, confident, a bit snobby, flirty, sings like an angel, determined and pretty much knows her own mind, the closest of the three sisters to a true relationship with God. She despises (in words) Wills Mason because of his and Josie’s antics growing up. When the war starts, she puts her singing training on hold to enlist in entertaining the troops.

She’s not particularly happy when she must turn to Wills for help after hearing a threat to the government.

  • William (Wills) Mason: high-average in height, slim, but well built, sandy-colored hair that is spiky and thick, sports a trim mustache, has a humor that sometimes borders on going-to-far teasing, smart and a highly trained spy. He’s a staunch Christian, and the son of employees of the Rayner Boarding House, and was raised almost like a son to Claire’s father. Best friends with Josie, his heart belongs only to Claire, the haughty sister of the group.

When Claire is forced to ask Wills for help, he’s delighted. Not only that he can help her solve a serious problem for the government, but also because of being able to spend time with her. 

Her supposed dislike of the boy turned man soon turns to respect and more while Wills has a chance to see the depth of spirit from the girl he and Josie used to tease.

 

What do you think? Tell me, how do YOU keep your characters in a series from becoming carbon copies?

Happy writing!

Faith as a Mustard Seed

by Carole Brownmustard-seeds free

How big is a mustard seed?

How big is your faith?

My aunt and cousin had died, and we didn’t find out about it until several weeks later. It was such a horrific and sad situation that I felt absolutely pounded by the event. Depression set in, and the enemy of my soul delighted in taking advantage of my mental and spiritual doubts. On top of that, I was struggling with misunderstandings from dear people I loved. Needless to say, my faith wavered.

  • Yes, I knew God was real.Bible free
  • Yes, I knew he answered prayer
  • Yes, I knew he loved me.

I knew these things, but I didn’t feel them. I cried and prayed. I read scripture and clasped hold on them. I sought council and encouragement from both my hubby and oldest son. I wept with discouragement over not being able to overcome the feelings that kept swarming over me.

But I held on. And on. And on. Gradually, as months passed, I felt the load easing. Healing and spiritual growth came from those extreme feelings of doubt and mstard field freehurt. God patiently and gently loved me into a height of faith I’d never experienced before. I knew that–though I never would claim to be an amazon warrior–I could be a simple and faith-filled soldier for God–if only I would keep my hand in his and hold on tight. Whatever happened in my life, God would see me through. My mustard seed faith had sprouted!

At church recently, the song leader felt led to lead us in some old fashion songs. The words spoke to my heart:person rejoicing free

  • God will Take Care of You
  • Trust and Obey
  • I Need Thee Every Hour

Oh, how true. God will take care of me if I only trust and obey…because I certainly do need him every hour of every day. 

Have you ever felt your faith wavering? How did you overcome those feelings?

Hang on, even if your faith is only mustard seed size!

My Ten Favorite Things About Late Spring

by Carole Brown

Although I still love Autumn, Spring has made hardy leaps and bounds pushing to be my favorite season. This year has been particularly pleasant. Here are a fegrass n dew freew of my thoughts about the season:

  1. Warmer weather. What can I say? Although I use to love winter activities, I’ve moved on and prefer warmer weather ones. The cold is definitely at the bottom of my list!
  2. The joy I feel. Yes, that’s right. The winter is past, and a new beginning is taking place. I enjoy that feeling of renewal starting right around Easter and progressing till the middle of June. Time to let go of the hardship of winter (trials, discouragements, etc.) and move on. Take a brighter look around.
  3. The letree freeafing of trees. Believe it or not, I kept an eye on the trees and watched as they regained life. Leafy trees are a reminder of childhood times spent climbing them and playing imaginary games. Leafy trees remind me of the summers reclining beneath them as a teenager and dreaming teen dreams. 
  4. Release from the indoors. Of course, I go outdoors during winter, but now–during spring–doors and windows are open. The outdoors and indoors meet in a joined effort to give me a enduring satisfaction that life is good.
  5. Gardening! Not that I love the work so much, but I love to see the completed jobs, love the few veggies we grow, love seeing hubby and grandson Jonathan picking the produce, and love the sense of doing a good work. 
  6. little-boy-in-dandelions freeIt’s the time of Picking-the-wildflowers. Is there anything sweeter than seeing a grandson running up to you with a bouquet of dandelions (stems almost too short to stick in a vase or other container)? Or to accept a bouquet of pink apple blossoms or black-eyed Susans from hubby? I think not!
  7. The scents and sights. Is there any better sensation than the sweet, pleasant scent of a rose? The strong, heady scent of lilacs, hyacinths, or lilies? Is there anything lovelier than seeing the lilies of the Valley blooming beneath a pink dogwood tree or the shy purple violets peeking from beneath bolder foliage? What could be cuter than those precious pansy faces?
  8. Repurposing, planning, and projects. It’s the time to change things around. Take that old wood table you don’t want anymore and redo it to make a perfect garden work table to repot flowers, etc. Plan a new garden. Begin new projects you’ve dreamed of all winter. Now’s the time! grill free
  9. The-Firing-of-the-Grill time! Isn’t the first time you do this fantastically fun? All winter the grill has stayed covered or spent its days in a secluded area. Now it’s time for it to shine, to do what it was created for! Look out corn on the cob! Drooling for those chicken breasts, steaks and, the all time favorites: burgers and hotdogs! Yay!
  10. desert island sunset freeFinally, it’s time for vacations. Plan, if you haven’t already. Begin the buying for the necessities, prep the vehicle or buy your tickets. Summer prospects are ahead, and the spring anticipation is as much a part of the fun as experiencing it!

 

There you have it. Ten of my favorite items. I could add holiday celebrations (Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day) with family and friends, old-fashion ministry experiences like camp meetings or church camps or mission trips, camping, shared sporting activities: boating, fishing, water skiing, etc., but these are all a given. 

Whatever your favorites are for this season, stay relaxed, keep the peace within yourself, and enjoy. Thank God for Spring for God gives us all of the seasons to enjoy, and I really don’t think he minds which one is our favorite.

What’s your favorite thing about Spring?

Happy Days!

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