Wednesday, January 22, 2020

FREE Album-Plus Review of-An Uncommon Woman-Settlers-And-Indians

***Well Written Story of Faith, Pioneers, Indians & Harsh Reality***

Publisher’s Synopsis: Unflinching and plainspoken, Tessa Swan is not your typical 18th-century woman. Born and bred on the western Virginia frontier along with her five brothers, she is a force to be reckoned with.
Quiet and courageous, Clay Tygart is not your typical 18th-century man. Raised by Lenape Indians, he returns a hero from the French and Indian War to the fort that bears his name, bringing with him Tessa's long-lost friend, Keturah, a redeemed Indian captive like himself.
Determined to avoid any romantic entanglements as fort commander, Clay remains aloof whenever he encounters the lovely Tessa. But when she is taken captive by the tribe Clay left, his hand--and heart--are forced, leading to one very private and one very public reckoning.

My Thoughts: This story is a deeply intense reminder of how difficult it was for the settlers to carve out a life for themselves in an often hostile territory where the land was harsh and the natives could be even harsher.  In response to “the white man” encroaching on their lands, native people could be swift in trying to protect their way of life, which often meant brutal results.  I cannot imagine living in that time when both sides gave up so much; “Everyone on the frontier had a chair that sat empty, a place unoccupied. Who would be next?”  This story, for me, has a heaviness to it.  It squeezed my heart acknowledging the ruthless reality of it all.  Good historical details intertwined with faith here, giving me much to think on. I especially found Keturah interesting; captured as a young girl, raised as an Indian, trained in healing and then traded back to the white people as a grown woman. What a complex part of the story.

*Hester served sassafras tea. “Two Swan spinsters are too many.” She began her familiar rant. “Tessa breathed in the beloved scent of sassafras as her own cup was filled, shutting out Hester’s timeworn words. Spring tonic, sassafras. When sweetened with maple sugar, no finer remedy could be had.”
**Closing her eyes, she took a sip of fine English tea from Morris and Willing of Philadelphia. Her childish delight tickled him. She was used to making do with nettles and sassafras, likely. City tea was a luxury.
***Her small part was helping Ma bring the gleaners the noon meal and enough switchel to drink.
****Though they were not given to emotion, their eyes were nonetheless damp. She sat woodenly at the table as Ma poured her a cup of dittany tea.

I researched both Switchel and Dittany: “switchel” is a drink made of water, vinegar and ginger, often sweetened with something like molasses, honey, sugar or maple syrup. It helped keep people from getting sick the way they can if overly heated and drinking cold water. It has been making a comeback in the U.S. and Canada over the last five years. “Compounds of Dittany are powerful antioxidants. The essential oils have also antiseptic and anti-fungal properties and are often used in ointments to treat burns and skin ailments. Tea made from dittany is used to relieve tension headaches and as a relaxant. Dittany is also used to relieve indigestion, colic, stomach cramps and bloating. It is also thought to be a diuretic and to combat fever.”

I received an eCopy from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review with no further compensation or expectation. All opinions expressed are my own.
© 01-07-2020 Revell Publishing

4 stars 

Right Click Here to
Open Free in Separate Window
When I was looking up sassafras tea, I came upon an album by that title by Appaloosas which you can currently listen to for FREE.  And it has that old-timey pioneer sound that pairs nicely with this book if you like that sort of thing.  I enjoyed listening while writing this blog (smile).

Until next time,
Hugs and a cup of tea!

Friday, January 17, 2020


Amazon Link

Link to Pinhurst Pottery
During the Civil War, the confederate
soldiers had to melt down their tin
cups in order to make bullets. The
potters of North Carolina made them
pottery “cups” they could use-
a style that was large enough to
double as a bowl for stew as well as
a coffee mug. Signed with God Bless You.
All Nichols Pottery is hand made and signed.

Lydia ushered her to the kitchen and made her sit, then pressed a cup of something warm into her hands. “Drink this,” she whispered.
Hands shaking, Pearl could hardly lift the cup. She tasted mint and- was that whiskey?...
“I’ve never seen you so upset…” “I just shot a man,” she snapped. “Two, actually.”
After another gulp of her tea, she folded an arm on the tabletop, lay her head upon it, and let the tears come.

The Rebel Bride – Book #10 Daughters of the Mayflower Series by Shannon McNear

•°o•:*:•.Rich, Close-up View of Civil War Era Characters.•:*:• o°•

I found this 1863 historical, faith-filled romance interesting, but for me the topic is a bit heavy.  War is hard. These people did their best to get through it and deal with the matters at hand.  The Civil War was especially hard on our country as family members choose sides or multiple sons did not return.  The lack of medical training and supplies that left men broken – so much to think about here. But, Pearl does her best to do as she is told and house wounded Yankee soldiers in her Rebel home.  With the help of her father, she learns to see the men as humans and not just the enemy.  Likewise, I appreciated how Josh was able to learn the same lesson as Pearl showed him and the others hospitality in nursing, feeding, and caring for them even though they were prisoners forced on her by the military (as were many in the surrounding farm homes). I think my view of the cause of the war has changed.  I thought it was primarily about slavery, but this book gave me a better understanding that it was about the Northern States wanting to be united (Unionists), believing that’s what the forefathers intended and what was best for our country, while the Southern States wanted Secession (Secessionists) – governing themselves freely and that slavery was only a small part of the issue. I learned several tidbits from the beginning and the back of the book.  For example, I always assumed Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was black, not white. The Fifteenth Wisconsin was mostly comprised of Norwegian immigrants, plus some Swedish, Danish and Dutch who were full of pride to fight for their new homeland. The character Berndt Thorsson is a tribute to those men. Both sides used flags and torches to signal each other across battle lines, which was a system created by Albert J. Myer – an assistant surgeon who later became the first Chief Signal Officer.
Quote I enjoyed: “If we have not the comfort of knowing our Savior, Pearl, and doing our best each day to serve and follow Him, what do we have? Are not all equally lost, whether North or South, white or black, without knowledge of Him? We must seek to know God, and Him only. ‘I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.’”
I believe the author has treated the topic with respect and passion.  I would recommend this book as a solid read for those enjoying historical, Christian fiction with a touch of romance.  The Civil War details are not the forefront of the story, but rather the backdrop as we get to know the characters and the challenges they are dealing with.
I received an eCopy from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review with no further compensation or expectation.

So far in this series, twelve books have been written by varied authors so they loosely reference each other’s characters in the family tree, and therefore need not be read together or in order. You can read about them at DaughtersOfTheMayflowerDotCom.

Barbour Publishing 12/2019
4 stars

Until next time, hugs and a "cups" of tea!
Link to Product

Saturday, January 11, 2020


Today is National Hot Tea Day and naturally, I want to celebrate that!  In fact, January is Hot Tea Month. Yippie!!  Here’s a 30-second video I made in the garden to mark the occasion.

Today I'm sharing this lovely wee floral pot, handmade birthday card & Piper and Leaf Artisan Tea Co. Old Fashioned Birthday Cake tea (caffeinated black tea blend featuring Ceylon tea, lavender flowers, bergamot which, luckily I don’t notice since I usually do not like it, vanilla, & cornflowers) gifted to me by my sweet & generous friend Cindy. The tea is not too strong and the vanilla is the star I believe. It is a mild day here in sunny So Cal with gentle breezes and blue skies in the mid-60s. I hope you take the time to celebrate too! You are worth it!

Good books, like good friends are few and chosen;
The more select, the more enjoyable.
-Louisa May Alcott
In 2019 I exceeded my goal and read 63 books according to GoodReads!  Now for my first read this year!

Roseanna White weaves a wonderful tale and starting one of her novels is always dangerous for me as all other responsibilities fly out the window!  I absolutely loved this story (naturally!).  The characters are relatable while the story is exciting.  I loved revisiting Room 40 where the codebreakers work hard to transcribe enemy messages.  The romance between the main characters is one neither had expected and I enjoyed the way it grew, almost out of necessity, but with the Lord’s hand clearly upon it.

London 1918, WWI 
CLICK for more info on this pin
Major Phillip Camden returns from book 1 brooding as ever, as he awaits his fate.  Currently, he has joined Room 40 and the codebreakers as his friend Drake Elton has put in a good word for him.  But he knows justice will catch up to him and it’s only a matter of time until he faces a firing squad. He carries his wing-pin always in his pocket as a reminder of who he’d once been and his lost brothers.

Charing Cross
Hospital 1925
Photo by George
Davison Reid
Arabelle Denler is a nurse at Charing Cross Hospital.  She joins the other nurses on break to stare out the window daily at the handsome, mysterious man the papers have dubbed “Black Heart”; the man responsible for the deaths of his entire squadron of RFC pilots.  She has no business mooning at strangers when she has a fiancĂ©, but the Lord was calling her to pray for him again like she had been for months now.  Besides, no man like him would never be interested in a plain-Jane like her.

Diellza is a harsh reminder of Phillip’s past and not all that she seems.  She adds a twisting layer to the story as the war rages on.
Oh for the day when the
consequences of skipping classes
or putting pepper in the headmaster's
tea were all he had to worry about.
No threats of court-martial or firing squad.
[She] hadn’t imagined praying for this girl at all. 
But helping those who were hurting was what the Lord 
had called her to years ago. If you want to be healed, 
He’d whispered into her heart… then heal others.

For the first time in years, he
considered breaking his silence with God
& saying a prayer for her sake.

Again, I would add, that we are not dragged through the gruesomeness of war which I very much appreciate. I am looking forward to Zivon Marin & Lily Blackwell’s future story.

 I was gifted an advance copy of the book from the publishers. It is my privilege to share my honest opinion without expectation or compensation. (5 stars) 

About the Book: Against Every Warning, She’s Drawn Ever Closer to the Man Known as “Black Heart”. All of England thinks Major Phillip Camden a monster – a man who deliberately caused the deaths of his squadron. But he would have preferred to die that day with his men rather than be recruited to the Admiralty’s codebreaking division. The threats he receives daily are no great surprise and, in his opinion, well deserved.
As nurse Arabelle Denler observes the so-dubbed “Black Heart,” she sees something far different: a hurting man desperate for mercy. And when their families and paths twist together unexpectedly, she realizes she has a role to play in his healing – and some of her own to do as well.
With Camden’s court-martial looming, an old acquaintance shows up, intent on using him in a plot that sends the codebreakers of Room 40 into a frenzy. With their fragile hopes for the future in the cross hairs, Arabelle and Camden must hold on to hope–and to each other–if they want to survive.
-Bethany House Publishers

Click / Places to buy:

SERIES: The Codebreakers -
Click for Amazon Link
*On Wings of Devotion – Book 2 Jan 7, 2020
*A Portrait of Loyalty – tbd 

AUTHOR BIO: Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award-nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at

Until Next Time,
Hugs & A Cuppa Tea!
Heather Elizabeth

Thursday, January 9, 2020


I recently ventured to No. Calif to celebrate my 50th.  I can not believe I am 50, but alas I am.  It seems surreal.  My sister tells me to embrace it, find the joy, yada-yada.  Ok, I get that. I do. But, still.  There are things I had wanted to accomplish by now.  You know? I imagine you feel what I'm saying (smile).  On the other hand, there are positives - like my daycare Littles spiritual growth and carefully cultivated relationships with their families (yesterday I figured out I have had 66 Littles pass through my daycare since 2002!). Seeing my daughter travel as a missionary.  Ministering to friends who call on me for prayer.  Feeling comfortable enough not to wear makeup on most days. Having a core group of friends who have managed to stick around for a good many years now! Even made a few new ones in recent years which is lovely. Reading 63 books last year was pretty cool too.

As always, click on any photo to enlarge it & see it better. :)
Main St., Placerville, CA
My vacation was really nice.  I choose Placerville, CA (1 hr east of Sacramento) because as a little girl my daddy would take us to Apple Hill where various farmers have orchards.  I researched a little and found Placerville to have that small-town Hallmark like feel I would enjoy.  I don't venture out, as I rarely have time.  But, my daughter thought 50 was too big a deal to let slip by without some fanfare. The town did not disappoint.  Main street had several interesting shops and there were many historical plaques on the buildings. 
During the gold rush it used to be known as Hangtown where vigilantes executed many men for various crimes.  
It is also home to the oldest continuously operating hardware store west of the Mississippi. People were super friendly and food was delightful. 
Curry chicken and wild rice soup at
Heyday Cafe
Click here for website
The town was decked out for Christmas including a giant tree at the end of Main Street, just like you'd expect in any good Hallmark movie!  We went to a goat farm and bought goat's milk soaps and lotions, sampled goat's milk cheese, pet the goats & Odie the donkey.
Link to their FB page
They accept Venmo &
they ship products.

Sweet teenaged goats!


view from my AirBnB bedroom
We drank tea every day either in our AirBnb (my first experience) or while out exploring.  
I tried a lavender-tulsi for the first time, which was a bit strong for my liking.  I discovered tulsi is a close relative of basil. 

One of my favorite things was driving over a bridge each day that if you didn't pay attention, you would miss the wonder and beauty next to it.  I asked my daughter to pull over and we found a dilapidated sitting shed, a wonderful babbling stream with a waterfall at the far end, gorgeous moss-covered trees, and the side street's name is appropriately Steambed Ln.  I smiled every time we drove over it!

Apple Hill (Placerville, CA)
We made it to Apple Hill on a crisp, beautiful day, winding along country roads and seeing snow-capped mountains in the distance.  We bought Dutch caramel apple pie and fresh cider which we shared in front of an outdoor fire.  That was heaven. 
We visited the historic town of Coloma along the American River, where the gold rush began!  
Historic Coloma, CA 

We skipped rocks in that river (mostly failing, but having fun anyhow). 

Skipping stones at the
American River

Post Office in Coloma, CA
I mailed postal cards from the teeny post office in Coloma as well as in Placerville. 
Happy Mail!

Coloma's oldest continuous
business, Post Ofc.,  est. 1849
My daughter bought me this sweet ring, as I had long been wanting a bee ring!
There were wild deer and Canadian geese and many types of birds on our trip.
Wild deer in Coloma, CA 
Canadian geese over Coloma, CA
For N.Y. Eve, my daughter's new boyfriend was able to join us.  We laughed all night!  It was great fun and I am so happy she found a Godly man who makes her laugh, feel comfortable and want to continue growing both as a person and in her walk with Christ.
"Love is like infinity: You can't
have more or less infinity and you
can't compare two things to see
if they're 'equally infinite.'
Infinity just is, and that's
the way I think love is, too."
-Fred Rogers

Spending time with my daughter in God's country was the absolute best! 
Me dining & laughing w/my daughter
in Heyday Cafe, Placerville, CA

"There's no point in being
unhappy about growing older.
Just think of the millions who have
been denied the privilege."
-Cary Grant

Ok Cary, I will try to embrace this!
On 1/18/1984 Cary Grant was
80 years old. He grew a beard
for the occasion. An idea he got after
seeing Prince Rainer with one.
When his friends objected,
he shaved it off. -Nancy Nelson,
Evenings with Cary Grant
Until next time, hugs and a cup of tea!

Friday, November 29, 2019

Black Friday And Review of The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen

Hello Friends and Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!

I had a wonderful time visiting with friends and today have ordered some goodies online.  A clever code for one item I ordered was GREENFRIDAY.  That came from which has eco-friendly laundry drops.  I thought I would give those a try since they were 40% off today!  I had some Kohl's cash, coupons, and sale price that brought a blender from $150 down to $28!

Some tea-themed items I ordered which you might also enjoy are:
Kimberly Shaw Graphics cards, stickers and book.  Cards are only $2 through Cyber Monday with her code SaveBig2019 AND INCLUDE a Harney and Sons teabag. 

Sample.  Click here for website.
Aren't these stickers the cutest?
CLICK to enlarge the image.

Click here to view book on Amazon,
but it is also on her website.
I also ordered June Chapko's new book.  She is an avid tea lover so her books always reference tea.  Plus she loves and shares Jesus in her stories. 
Legacy's Path (The Legacy Series Book 2) by [Chapko, June]
Click Here to view at Amazon
And now my review for:
The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen which comes out next week. Click images to enlarge.

1819, London – Thirty-one-year-old Benjamin Booker is an attorney who has risked everything for a female client he fully believes is innocent.  But, when he loses her case, his whole world comes to a crashing halt.
Distraught and frustrated he meets up with his boss at a local pub to discuss the case and his future. As they head out, they discover a scene at the home of Percival Norris, their retired colleague.  Further investigation leads to a dead body that will eventually take Benjamin on a journey to Belle Island, across the Thames and the village of Riverton where his boss has asked him to investigate.  Benjamin will do his best to remain objective and make his boss proud of him again. 
Thirty-year-old Isabelle Wilder is trapped by fear on the island, but has learned to navigate enough to be mistress of the house, despite much of her funds being tied up in a trust.  She is respected by her employees and does her best to create jobs that will help provide for them.  Everything is fairly routine, except for a beloved niece whose upcoming nuptials pull at Isabelle’s heartstrings since the wedding will be off-island.  When a stranger shows up to share the news of the death, everything changes.
Benjamin and Isabelle will have to work together, but neither fully trusts and both have debilitating issues to deal with.  There is a murderer at large and threats move ever closer to the island as the story twists and turns.
Favorite Quote: Psalms leapt out at her. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. Though the waters roar and be troubled.
Lovely Tea Moment: Isabelle and Carlota sat side by side on chaise lounges in the boathouse, the double doors thrown wide to reveal the morning sunshine shimmering on the gently rippling water of the Thames. A tray of tea things sat on the small table between them, along with a plate of muffins. Isabelle had tasted them herself and filled the kettle. …A leisurely morning was a rare luxury on Belle Island … and Isabelle and Lotty were determined to enjoy it.
I enjoyed 98% of this book.  I felt the ending suddenly stretched out in an odd way, but that is perhaps my own preference. Overall, this is a very enjoyable book I would be happy to recommend.

Bethany House Publishing
© 12/3/2019
This is a stand-alone novel.  I received an ARC of this book via the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion with no further compensation or expectation.  
Julie Klassen can be found here:

Wishing you a relaxing weekend and upcoming December filled with all the joys of the Christmas season!