A Note Yet Unsung

This book by Tamera Alexander is the third installment in her Belmont Mansion series. Rebekah Carringtion returns home to Nashville, Tennessee after a ten year stay in Vienna. As a master violinist, she desires to be in an orchestra even though it is rare for women to be allowed in orchestras no matter what their skill. Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb is the new orchestra leader of the Nashville Philharmonic. He is tasked with composing his symphony and training his orchestra before opening day of the new opera hall. His time is split with his rigorous responsibilities and returning to his childhood home to care for his dying father; all while dealing with recurring headaches, buzzing, and dizziness. Even though he recognizes her skill and talent, Tait turns down Rebekah’s request to be in the orchestra due to public opinion. Rebekah takes a job tutoring Adelicia Cheatham’s daughter at the Belmont Mansion and secures room and board there. As Tait’s deadline gets closer, he asks Rebekah to assist him with his symphony.

This is the first book that I have read by this author and I am impressed and anxious to read more from her! I absolutely loved this book! Being that it was the third book in the series, I do not know what connections the storyline and characters have to the previous books. Even so, I easily read it as a stand alone book. I loved the musical content of the book. I have always loved music even though I am not at all talented when it comes to instruments! The author provides a link so that readers can look up and listen to all of the music numbers mentioned in the book. There is some adult content worth mentioning… Rebekah’s stepfather tried to rape her when she was younger which is why she was sent away to Vienna. When she returns, he repeatedly refers to the incident and eventually attempts to do it again. There are mentions of drinking and making moonshine, murder, slaves, and a few other things that may offend some people. The Christian content of trusting God, praying, scripture, etc. was strong throughout the story. It flowed well with the story. I feel that this book was very well written and I will be purchasing the previous two books in the series so that I can read them as well! I recommend it to anyone who loves music, instruments, and historical romance!

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Bethany House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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A Note Yet Unsung #3
By Tamera Alexander / Bethany House

206230: A Beauty So Rare #2

A Beauty So Rare #2

By Tamera Alexander / Bethany House

206221: A Lasting Impression #1

A Lasting Impression #1

By Tamera Alexander / Bethany House

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Christian Book Distributors Affiliate

REMINDER: I am an affiliate with Christian Book Distributors! Anytime someone clicks on any of my affiliate links and purchases from CBD, I get credit for their purchase! This is a great benefit for me because it will help compensate me for my time when I do book reviews for the publishers that I review for! CBD has been my go to website for the past 13 years when I want to purchase Christian books, resources, gifts, music, etc. for great prices!

I have consistently posted links to CBD whenever I do book reviews or mention books, music, movies, etc.  Along with the direct links to the books and other products that I mention, I will also be placing a CBD graphic for you to click on which will send you to the CBD home page.

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It Is Well…

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:11

Every time that there have been valleys in my life, I can think of a song that God used to carry me through those moments. Often it was a song that I had never heard before that specifically applied to the situation I was going through. During these times, I would play the song (or songs) over and over again, for days, weeks, or months. These songs have become life songs and I love listening to them and reflecting on how God has worked in my life over the years.

My all time favorite hymn is: It Is Well With My Soul. It was written by: Horatio G. Spafford while he was experiencing great tragedy. Like Job, he lost his property and his family. Back in 2010, I posted the history behind this great hymn and link to the song sung by 4Him. You can see that post if you click HERE. It is a good reminder that even when things go horribly wrong, we can look to Jesus to comfort us and carry us through the valley.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Keli sang a song at church that I had never heard before. The song was beautiful and powerful but then she sang my all time favorite lyrics… It is well, It is well, with my soul! and my heart leap for joy! I felt the Holy Spirit reassuring my spirit. I have been feeling that I have not really moving in my spirituality but still feeling content with my life. Right now, I am not in a valley. Nor am I on a mountain top. This song reminded me that Through It All… good or bad, mountain or valley, joy or sorrow, moving or not moving… It Is Well With My Soul… because I can trust in Jesus… Through It All!

It Is Well

By: Kristene DiMarco & Bethel Music

Grander earth has quaked before
Moved by the sound of His voice
Seas that are shaken and stirred
Can be calmed and broken for my regard

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
It is well with me

Far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can’t see

And this mountain that’s in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name

It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul

It is well it is well with my soul

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You Lord
Through it all, through it all
It is well with me.

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Disclaimer: By posting this video and song lyrics, I am not endorsing all of Bethel’s songs and/or all of the theology that Bethel teaches at their church.

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I am now an affiliate with Christian Book Distributors! Anytime someone clicks on any of my affiliate links and purchases from CBD, I get credit for their purchase! This is a great benefit for me because it will help compensate me for my time when I do book reviews for the 4 publishers that I review for! CBD has been my go to website for the past 12 years when I want to purchase Christian books, resources, gifts, music, etc. for great prices!

I have consistently posted links to CBD whenever I do book reviews or mention books, music, movies, etc. I am currently in the process of replacing all of the old links with new ones attached to my affiliate information. Along with the direct links to the books and other products that I mention, I will also be placing a CBD graphic for you to click on which will send you to the CBD home page.

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How does my site get credit for referring a customer to Christianbook.com?

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The browsing session will remain active for four (4) hours after the last link is clicked on the Christianbook.com website. If the customer leaves the Christianbook.com website and returns within this four (4) hour period their browsing session will be reset and the customer will still be deemed a referral of Affiliate unless they returned through the links of another Affiliate, co- branded site or other source tracked by The Christianbook Group.

All items placed into the customer’s shopping cart during an active affiliate browsing session will be credited to Affiliate if items are purchased before the expiration of thirty (30) days from the date an item was placed in the shopping cart.

However, if they leave the site for more than 4 hours, do not click on the Christianbook.com site to reactivate the clock, do not order books placed within an active browsing session within their book bag and order within the 30 day limit or leave the site and place the order from another computer, then any order placed will not be credited to your account.”

Sarah E. Brooks: Simply Christmas (Free Preview)

My friend Sarah has incredible talent for playing the piano (and singing… but this post is about her piano music)! She has made a Christmas album of piano music that is now for sale. You can hear the album for free today! I highly recommend that you listen! The music is beautiful, relaxing, and the perfect background for any holiday setting!

Sarah E. Brooks: Simply Christmassarahbrooks1_large

If you miss the free preview, the album is currently available to order for $9.99 on Amazon and iTunes

About Boycotting…

I have spent a week praying about the topic that I am going to blog about today. In the past week, I have also asked several Christian friends their opinions on the subject. I found that most people agreed with me but there were a few who did not. Unfortunately, I was unable to get the opinion of friends who do not believe in the Bible, so I do not presume to know their opinion of the topic except for what I have seen expressed on facebook or in online comments on news articles.

If you have seen the news or have had any presence online in the last week or so, I am sure that you have heard of the conflict between the media and Chick Fil-A. In an interview, the company’s CEO stated that he supports traditional marriage which caused an uproar in the gay and liberal communities. Anyone who knows anything about Chick Fil-A would also know that the company was founded by a Christian man and has been run with Christian based values its entire existence. Despite pressure from communities, Chick Fil-A closes its doors on Sundays so that its employees have the option to go to church if they choose to do so.

(Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post for the New Chick Fil-A song)

What surprises me (well actually it doesn’t really) is that when the company’s CEO was asked his opinion in the interview, and he stated it according to well-known Christian beliefs, the media acted shocked at his response.

Of course, the gay community immediately jumped to the conclusion that Chick Fil-A and its CEO and owners hates all gays. This is something that I do not understand. Why does disagreeing with homosexuality automatically equal hatred towards or afraid of homosexuals? I might disagree with someone on any topic (religion, how to raise kids, what movies or books we like, how we spend our money, etc) but that doesn’t mean I hate them or am afraid of them. In my opinion, only when someone’s actions show that they are hateful or afraid, should that argument be used (such as Westboro church has so frequently demonstrated). Anyway, due to their misguided opinion, a lot of the liberal community has declared a boycott on Chick Fil-A. For some reason, it seems as though gays only seem to have an intolerance toward Christians and Christian companies when Biblically based beliefs are expressed. I wonder if they realize that all Abrahamic religions (Christian, Judaism, Islam) as well as other world religions find homosexuality morally wrong.

Which brings me to the point of my post. Obviously most people tend to support companies either that support their values and/or that provide goods/services that we need or want. (For example, if I need a Christian book I more than likely will purchase it from a Christian book store instead of a large book store chain unless the Christian book store didn’t have the book I needed). But what reason(s) would make someone choose to boycott certain companies? When I asked this question of friends, I received several responses.

One friend says he has a loose boycott of all large corporations.  Whenever possible he shops local and pays slightly more for things but he does so knowing that 100% of the retail markup goes to local people; who then spend it locally. This doesn’t prevent him from shopping at larger corporations if commissions from his purchases will help a personal friend or if a local shop is closed and there is an immediate need for an item or service.

Another friend tries to avoid all companies that he knows are pro-gay.

Yet another friend has a whole list of companies that she boycotts based on the following three reasons “1) open hatred of Christians in general 2) Use of practices that are in direct opposition to God’s will, like using aborted stem cells for flavor enhancement and 3) support of agendas that hurt the morality of the country, abortion, homosexuality, promiscuity etc. “

Another friend points out that “in 1 Corinthians 8, Paul is telling believers that there is no harm in buying and eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols. The issue he was addressing was one of whether eating that meat caused a brother to stumble, but the context of the verse is that in the first-century, pagan temples funded themselves in part by selling the meat that they sacrificed. A Christian, knowing that idols are nothing, could purchase and eat that meat without fear of incurring the wrath of said idol, but apparently, Paul had no problem with money passing into hands of pagan temples from Christian pockets.”

My husband said that according to the Bible, we should fast in private without announcing it to the world which would bring glory to ourselves instead of God. So he feels that if a Christian is going to boycott a company, they should do it quietly so as to not draw attention to themselves so that they do not seem “more holy than thou, preachy, a bully, or intolerant.”

So, what do I think? I think in most cases, when Christians and conservatives boycott non-Christians and liberals then we are all feeding into a vicious cycle. I think more often than not when this happens, both sides are being hypocritical. We Christians want non-Christians to be to tolerant of our religious beliefs. Gays want Christians to be tolerant of their sexual orientation. Yet when both sides boycott every company that may or may not disagree with our beliefs, both sides are in fact being intolerant. Our country was founded on freedom. In this country, I have the right to be a Christian. Someone else has the right to be gay. I also have the right to believe that homosexuality is morally wrong just as someone who is not a Christian has the right to not believe in my God or my Bible. All that being said, if someone (conservative or liberal) truly has a conviction to boycott a company or cause, I believe they should follow their convictions. But they should do it without spouting hate and judgement towards the company they are boycotting. There are companies/organizations that I do not support because they go against my beliefs. There are also plenty of companies that I still shop at or use their services even though they may have some history of disagreeing with my beliefs. We should stick to our convictions with humility and recognize that others have different convictions without being judgemental towards each other.

I love the following song which reminds us that sometimes we as Christians stand in the way of others knowing Jesus.

Jesus, Friend Of Sinners  By: Casting Crowns

Jesus, friend of sinners
We have strayed so far away
We cut down people in Your name
But the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners
The truth’s become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You
But they’re tripping over me

Always looking around but never looking up
I’m so double minded
A plank-eyed saint with dirty hands
And a heart divided

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world
At the end our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Break our hearts for what breaks Yours

Jesus, friend of sinners
The One whose writing in the sand
Made the righteous turn away
And the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember
We are all the least of these
Let the memory of Your mercy
Bring Your people to their knees

Nobody knows what we’re for
Only what we’re against
When we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs
Crossed over the lines
And loved like You did

You love every lost cause
You reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame
They’re the reason that You came
Lord, I was that lost cause
And I was the outcast
But You died for sinners just like me
A grateful leper at Your feet

‘Cause You are good
You are good
And Your love endures forever
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And just for fun, here is the New Chick Fil-A song by Tim Hawkins…

My Thoughts On The Colorado Tragedy

***UPDATE: I have added a link (below) to another article that tells of one survior’s story! God is so Good even in the midst of tragedy.***

I don’t have cable or satellite. And for once in my life I did not log on to my computer to check Facebook for a full 24 hours. After working all day on Saturday, I first heard that something bad had happened as I was listening to the K-Love radio station. They didn’t say what happened, just something along the lines of “join us in praying for the victims of the tragedy in Colorado.” When I returned home, I put my girls in bed and grabbed a snack. Then I sat down at the computer and googled “Colorado News” and immediately I knew what happened.

I found an article that showed photos of several of the victims along with a brief statement about each of them. My heart broke when I saw that a 6-year-old girl did not survive and that her mother was still in critical condition. Does the mother know that her daughter died? I don’t know. I can only imagine the pain that family is suffering. Also striking a cord in my heartstrings was the news of a military man who died… Not on the battle field or in the line of duty but as he was enjoying his free time (which for most military members is a luxury). The last count I saw was 12 dead and 58 injured…Ranking this as one of the most horrific shootings in the US.

Then there is the suspect. What was going through his mind? Obviously he has been making preparations for this for several weeks. By most accounts, until that night, he was an educated and upstanding citizen with no history of violence or crime. Why would he all of a sudden decide to throw his life away along with the lives of his victims?

I don’t know why the suspect did what he did. I don’t know why some people died and some people did not. I do know that God hears the cries of the hurting. Join me in praying for everyone involved with this tragedy.

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I came across the following article today which has an interesting perspective that most people would not initially think about:

The Dark Knight Rises Indeed

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I also read this article written Friday (20th) by a mom who was at the theater during the shooting:

So you STILL think God is a merciful God?!

The same mom also wrote the following blog post Saturday (21st) in response to all of the e-mails and comments she received from her first post:

A Response to the Overwhelming Number of Responses

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Here is an amazing story of one of the survivors! God is so Good!

A Miracle Inside the Aurora Shooting: One Victim’s Story

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I am also reminded of a song… The Reason For The World  by: Matthew West