Saturday, March 24, 2012

Savor the Beauty

Over thirty years ago, right after we were married, my husband and I hunted morel mushrooms. Until I met my little dumpling, I didn’t even know they existed.

We spent hours combing the woods, gingerly bagging each one, and then we lugged the sacks home. After giving them a good soak in saltwater, we fried them in butter. 

Talk about savor.

Now we live on acreage of our own, but we haven't hunted mushrooms for the past several years. 

Love my trees.
A few days ago, just as we'd finished our morning coffee, I nudged my husband's arm. “Want to see if the mushrooms are up, honey?”  

He grinned. "Yeah." 

Well, I didn't have to ask him twice.

Like a speeding train, he bolted out the front door. Still in my pajamas, and like the young woman I used to be, I followed him.

My husband searched the edge of the woods, while I circled a hickory tree. Empty nut casings lay sprinkled throughout the grass. Thank you, Mr. Squirrel.

A gust of wind blew in, and my pajama bottoms flapped against my legs. I smiled. Felt like God himself was breathing on me.

I moved to the next tree, admiring the purple violets, dandelions, and black walnut shells on the ground. I marveled at the brilliant splashes of color, wondering if it didn’t hack God off when we failed to appreciate the beauty He’d created. 

Why do people poison dandelions? Look at that color.
A rustle in the leaves caught my attention, and I flinched, thinking my old friend Mr. Copperhead had returned. (I can honestly say I don’t savor snakes, not boiled, fried, or otherwise, thank you very much.)

“It’s just a garter snake,” my husband said.

I stared at my open-toed house shoes. Although I had thick white socks on, I knew those wouldn’t protect me from a snakebite. Thanks, honey. I feel so much better now.

Maybe Mr. Squirrel lingered nearby. The thieving critter could at least cough up an extra hickory nut for Mr. Copperhead.

But snakes don’t eat nuts, do they?

After poring over the ground a bit longer, and still not finding any mushrooms, we went back inside the house.

Later in the evening, as I sat in my rocker, I pondered the morning’s events. “Honey,” I said, “what do you think God’s favorite color is?”

“Well, it's probably blue or green. He used a lot of both of them.”

I smiled at the mention of my two favorite colors. “Good point.”

Yep, blue must be one of God's favorite colors.
Eying my husband, I thought about all we’d done together, how much I loved this man—how much I loved God.

Leaning back in my chair, I closed my eyes, savoring the beauty of the moment—the day—my life.

I was grateful.

Note: Today's post is part of the CW blog chain. The topic is "Savor". Please check out my sidebar, further down on the right, to see some great posts by other writers.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Gypsy's Game

I have another good book  for your review. Gypsy's Game, a novel written by Delia Latham, is out of this world (pun intended). It is the third in the Solomon's Gate series. 

Twenty-nine-plus-year-old Gypsy Lovell needs to find a husband—fast—but there’s just one problem.

Gypsy doesn’t believe in love.

Thanks to her father, who abandoned her mother, and her, when Gypsy was four, she is perfectly free from any illusions about romance in general, and certainly about happily ever after.

When she receives word of her father's death, she is also informed that her runaway father left her a large sum of money. But before Gypsy can receive the inheritance, she has to marry—remain in holy matrimony for six months—before she turns thirty.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

She decides to look for a mate at a Christian dating agency. Though she doesn’t attend church, she’s sure Christian men, especially those who wear their Christianity like some kind of badge, are one of two things: honest to a fault . . . or complete wimps, both traits which will suit her purposes just fine.

Gypsy goes to Solomon’s Gate, where she meets the owner of the dating service, Destiny Gallagher. During the interview, Destiny bombards her with brochures, flyers, and heartwarming testimonials, all touting the success rate of the dating service. When Destiny asks her if she’s a Christian, though, Gypsy tells her she’s not, confessing her true intentions.

Destiny refuses to approve the application.

Just as Gypsy’ getting ready to leave, a man’s voice calls out, “I’ll do it. I’ll marry the lady.”

Startled, Gypsy whirls around. A stranger's dark eyes rake her face with a piercing gaze. His appearance leaves “mediocre” miles behind. His dark brown hair, five o’clock shadow, and beautiful smile take her breath away.

Although she's not fond of men, she's not blind, either.  

Maybe there is a God.

Jal Garridan believes in angels, especially now that he’s had his first experience with Solomon.

Every night for a week, the angel comes to him. When Solomon points out Gypsy to him for the first time, Jal is overcome at her beauty. Her long black hair, olive complexion, and gray eyes hypnotize him. 

After he arrives at Solomon’s Gate, he tells Gypsy that he'll marry her, but Destiny attempts to talk him out of it. She says Gypsy isn’t a Christian, that she wouldn’t be the right match for him.

Jal refuses to listen. Convinced of what he's seen, and also what he knows in his heart, he tells Destiny to approve the application.

She does.

Jal is one happy man. He knows God sent Gypsy to him. But her response unnerves him.

“I have no intention of tying myself—and my fortune—to any man. Ever. The marriage will be temporary, Mr. Garridan.”

Well, he's not going to take that.

Jal, not caring about the money at all, tells her the permanence of their marriage is not negotiable. “I don’t believe in divorce,” he says. “It’s all or nothing. I want to marry you, but it’ll be for life.”

She's shocked. This Christian is no wimp. He’s unshakable.

Gypsy considers telling the insufferable man to forget it, but she doesn’t think she’ll be able to find another replacement in time.

She reluctantly agrees, but what does it matter? By the time the six months are over, she's sure she'll have Jal Garridan begging her for a divorce.

Solomon sure has his work cut out for him.

This is the first time I've read Ms. Latham's work. I must say, this book left me pleasantly surprised. For those of you who know moi, well, that's not always easy to do.

About the author:

Born and raised in Weedpatch, California, Delia Latham moved to Oklahoma in '08, making her a self-proclaimed California Okie. She loves to read and write in her country home, and gets a kick out of watching her husband play Farmer John. She's a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, but especially loves being a princess daughter to the King of Kings.

Delia writes inspirational romance and women's fiction, and is currently contracted through White Rose Publishing and Vinspire Publishing.

She loves Dr. Pepper...and hearing from her readers.

Contact her through her website or e-mail, follow her on Twitter (@DeliaLatham), and "Like" her on Facebook.