Dark Glass Ponderings

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. -1 Corinthians 13:12

Care for some Chocolate Lasagna while we wait for everyone to arrive??

Thanks for coming by early!  Would you liks some sugar cubes or wildflower honey for your tea? 

Would you fellow writers care for some peanut butter?  It tastes good with almost everything!  Here are some Utz pretzels for dipping.

Now, I usually don't have stipulations for entering giveaways.  The reason: first of all, my own pride.  Its too easy to get caught up in statistics, it can be for me even though I know it doesn't mean anything.  So I had to stop checking my stats.  I know pride can be a big temptation for me to fall in, especially when it comes to my writing.

Why the requirement for this giveaway?  I wanted to have a giveaway to celebrate my followers.  You've been a wonderful support.  You've had interesting feedback.  And there's a few of you with whom I really feel I've connected at a deeper level. 

Tomorrow, I'm going to be giving away 33 books.  Its my birthday...you get the loot!  And since I'm optimistic, I'm also going to make this a celebration for my followers as I am at 99...but I'm going to make it an early party. 

I'm going to give away 3 sets of 11 books!!

And Shawna Williams will be giving away a copy of  her e-book Orphaned Hearts and a pair of Swarovski crystal Christmas tree earrings!!

That's 4 winners in all!!

Here's the lowdown on what books I'll be including:

Charles Towne Belles Trilogy by M.L. Tyndall (yes, that's right...3-in-1)
Nightingale by Susan May Warren
Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson
Rain Song by Alice Wisler
The Silent Order by Melanie Dobson
Finding Jeena by Miralee Ferrell
Making Waves by Lorna Seilstad
Hatteras Girl by Alice Wisler
Chasing Lilacs by Carla Stewart
Ressurection in May by Lisa Samson
Making a House a Home by Sharon Honeybloom
Her Forever Family by Mae Nunn
The Case of the Mystified MD by A.K. Arenz
A Star Curiously Singing by Kerry Nietz
Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry
The Sister Wife by Diane Noble
A Memory Between Us by Sarah Sundin
Love on a Dime by Cara Lynn James
Eat the Cookie, Buy the Shoes by Joyce Meyer
Then Comes Marriage by Rebecca Janney
Chasing Frances by Justin Cron
Code Blue by Richard Mabry (ARC)
Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico by Lena Nelson Dooley (signed)
One Touch from the Maker by Pat Kirk
The Redemption of Sarah Cain by Beverly Lewis
The Preacher's Daughter by Beverly Lewis
Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs
Finding Alice by Melody Carlson
Song of the Silent Harp by B.J. Hoff
Heart of the Lonely Exiles by B. J. Hoff
Solitary by Travis Thrasher
Wrestling Prayer by Eric Ludy
Dining with Joy by Rachel Hauck

The first winner gets to pick top 7 from the list, the second winner gets to pick top 5 from the remaining choices, and the third winner gets to pick their top 3 from the remaining choices. 

So come on back tomorrow.

Meanwhile since we're celebrating readers and books I would love to hear about your top 5 reads of 2010 so far.  I'll give you an extra entry for sharing!


Nooooo don't make me give you my top five already LOL! I'd have to think about it for a few weeks!

Ok well since I want an extra entry I'll tell you five that I know for sure are making the list in no particular order:
--Head in the Clouds by Karen Witemeyer
--Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz
--A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman
--Code Triage by Candace Calvert
--Wrangler in Petticoats by Mary Connealy

I have SO many more I love and I'm going to be making a list on my blog soon but it's going to be HARD to keep it to 10 books LOL.

Congrats on the blog and on your birthday!

XOXO~ Renee

At the very top of every list of top reads are any books by Karen Kingsbury...There were either 2 or 3 new ones this year that I read. For sure there was Take Four and Unlocked, but I'm thinking there was another as well. I'm on book 3 of a series by DiAnn Mills whis is great too. It's hard to pick my top books, I love love love to read!!

Oh MY Julia! How much fun is this?? What a fun surprise to discover in my blog roll this afternoon. :)

I'm with Renee, it's going to be hard enough putting together my top TEN list at the end of the month, but here are 5 of my favorites of favorites for 2010.

~A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman
~Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes
~Making Waves by Lorna Seilstad
~Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz
~Within My Heart by Tamera Alexander

And that is only the TIP of the iceberg. I certainly do hope my name is drawn, there are several books on that list I want to read. :)

You have a great blog Julia. :)


Yay! I'm so glad I'm a follower--and not just because of a chance at a giveaway! I was recently looking at the book by Budge Wilson. Is it good?

My top reads for 2010:
Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar
Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz
Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry
The Clouds Roll Away by Sibella Giorello
This Fine Life by Eva Marie Everson

I have a list of runners-up also (A Simple Amish Christmas, The Preacher's Bride, etc.) And I've read others that weren't published in 2010 because I'm behind the times!

Wow--choosing 5 was harder than I thought it would be . . . Happy Birthday!

Laura & Julie's books are must-reads!! I've never read Karen or Mary, but from your reviews (and Caseys, and Ambers, and Amandas, and Lauras, etc...) I'm looking forward to them. I haven't gotten around to reading the Candace books I won at your blog, but they look great and she was so sweet!


Karen Kingsbury seems to make the top of an awful lot of lists. I've only read one of hers...I'll have to rectify that someday I'm sure.

I want to start by saying thank you to Cathy Bryant for making me aware of the group...Looking forward to exploring all the new sites and blog spots... So good to become one of your followers.... Right now I am reading "A Time to Dance" by Karen Kingsbury, so enjoyed her "Shades of Blue" earlier and "Take One, Two, Three and Four"... I have also read a bit in Sharlene MacLaren's "Hannah Grace" it and the other two "Maggie Rose" and "Abbie Ann" are my next project. Enjoyed Nicholas Sparks, "The Last Song," "The Lucky One," and "The Choice". I have also enjoyed several of the "Love Finds You...." I could go on and on, but you did mention just five.... I always appreciate the opportunity of participating in a give away... Thank you and "Happy Birthday."



I have a feeling that Susan May Warren book is one of them ;). I loved the three on your list I've read and I think you've almost convinced me to try Crossing Oceans :)

Thanks for coming by and the birthday wishes :)

Renee Ann,

Budge Wilson is a fantastic author. Honestly I thought it was very appropriate to Montgomery. That being said, its it was one I wouldn't have wanted to finish if I didn't know Anne's fate. A bit of a depressing read, but for all that it is well-written.

Choosing 5 is hard. I'm not sure if Chris Fabry would make it, but if not it comes awfully close. What a beautiful book!


Thanks so much for stopping by! I love Cathy's blog. And I'm glad you stopped by now, because I'm going to pick a winner tomorrow morning. I read one Nicholas Sparks years ago and remember crying through the whole thing. A Walk to Remember I think. I'll have to give him another try, I'm a melancholy so I need to make sure I'm in the right mood for that type of book.

Wow! Only five:) Well, here goes..
1.Head in the Clouds by Karen Witemeyer.
2.A Path Less Traveled by Cathy Bryant.
3.Nightshade by Ronie Kendig.
4.A Suitor for Jenny by Margaret Brownley.
5.Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz.
That lasagna up there looks real good:) I can't wait for the giveaway and sure hope I am one of the winners. Thanks so much and Happy Birthday!!!


YES IT IS! :D That and the Sister Wife. :) But nothing saying, whoever wins looks like they are going to have great choices. :)

Thank you so much for your generosity! :D What a super awesome giveaway!!!

It's hard to choose my top 5 of the year, but here's a possible list:

--Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz
--A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer
--Making Waves by Lorna Seilstad
--She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell
--A Hopeful Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer

So hard to choose (which is a good thing, I think!)! ;)

And I know just what you mean about pride. You are a great example to me--I have been struggling with looking at stats and counting followers way too much lately, which has no bearing on how God can use my blog. Thank you for your sweet example of humility!



P.S. Thanks for the chocolate lasagna! ;) Have you had their Black Tie Mousse Cake?! It is TO DIE FOR!!!

Oh, Amber, sadly I've struggled with the temptation far more often and strongly than I should when it comes to my blog. That's why I had to put on the hidden counter. For a while it was still a temptation to look at it...then after a while I forgot about it. One thing I need to be better about now is my book buying.

I love your devotions, often I've been blessed and convicted by them (the two so often go together don't they?). You've been a great example and spurred me on my friend.

Never had the Black Tie Mousse cake! I'm not the biggest cheesecake fan, but cake and cookies on the other hand...

in my top five would be
Finnding Jenna by Miralee Ferrell
Surrender the Heart by Mary Lu Tyndall
Catching Moondrops by Jennifer Erin Valent
A Daughter's Legacy by Virginia Smith
Sisterchicks in wooden shoes by Robin Jones Gunn

Dont enter me
I have only just found your blog but will add it to my list.

Charity I LOVED Nightshade! It's definitely making my Must Reads of 2010 List and Amber SWIB is also a fave...yeah there's no way I'm keeping my list to just ten books. :-P

XOXO~ Renee

I just found your site through my own blog! Glad to meet you! And an early HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

These are the ones I'd love to win the most. There are many other.
What a giveaway!!!

Nightingale by Susan May Warren
Rain Song by Alice Wisler
The Silent Order by Melanie Dobson
The Case of the Mystified MD by A.K. Arenz
Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Hi, Julia, Man this is hard. I've really some really great books this year. I wish you would hvae asked for my top 20!! Since you are making us narrow down to 5 Here is what I've come up with

June Bug by Chris Fabry
A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman
Catching Moondrops by Jennifer Erin Valent
Nightshade by Ronie Kendig.
Listen by Rene Gutteridge
Priceless by Tom Davis
(I just had to squeeze in one more!)

Thanks for having this contest. It's been fun to read everyones responses!

norafindinghhope (at) gmail.com


Happy Birthday!!! Are you 33? Is that the significance of 33 books?

I've been dying to get my hands on that Rachel Hauck book so I'm definitely gonna go for an extra entry here.

Here are five random books from this year's top ten list (not all were published in 2010):

1. Diva Nash Vegas by Rachel Hauck
2. Lost in Nash Vegas by Rachel Hauck
3. Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist
4. Within My Heart by Tamera Alexander
5. A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman


Wow! What a terrific and generous offer! Happy birthday to you - I hope that you are as blessed as you are making others by this giveaway.

Tough choice but, if I had to pick the top five books, I would have to include:

Rooms by James Rubart
Take Three by Karen Kingsbury
Through the Fire by Shawn Grady
Head in the Clouds by Karen Witemeyer and
Predator by Terri Blackstock

Thanks for giving this chance to win so many good books!


Happy birthday, Julia!

My top 5 at this minute would be:

1.The Husband Tree by Mary Connealy
2. On Writing by Stephen King
3. Gods and Kings by Lynn Austin
4. This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti
5. Vanish (forgot the author, gave the book to a friend, pub by Tyndale House)

May God shine His blessings on your writing ministry:)

I don't know that I could pick my top 5 books read this year. I have read so many, that I usually lose track of what I have read and what I haven't read. One of my goals for next year is to start keeping a Books read log. Since I teach high school English I am sure that the list will be a mile long. Trying to keep up with the many books that my students like, plus the books that my own kids are reading and then of course the books that I read for pleasure or professional reasons. Might have to have several lists going.

Wow!! I'm gone for the day and i see you've had a busy day @ your blog!! :) I can't believe you're having such a huge giveaway!! You are such a generous person!

Happy early birthday!!(You and my best friend share the same birthday!! She will be officially welcomed into the 30s) :)

My top 5 that I've read this year.
1. All of Julie Lessman's books. (I still havne't gotten to read A Hope Undaunted) :( SOON, though!!
2. A Tailor-Made Bride
3. Wildwood Dancing
4. Latte Daze
5. The Charlatan's Boy

Not all of those were published in 2010, so I hope they count.

Just found this book group thanks to Cathy Bryant :)

Of Course I LOVE her books! Texas Roads and A Path Less Traveled. Hands down though #1 read for this year was Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes. I also enjoy Terri Blackstock's Predator and Intervention. I could seriously go on and on!

Look forward to visiting again :)

Thank you for your kind words! :) You have been a great example to me, too, and such an encouragement!

I am definitely still struggling with the numbers thing (and the buying thing, as well!). I appreciate your example and I pray that God will give us both the strength to overcome the temptations we face.

I definitely need to take hold of these words from Scripture:

"Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you be to tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it." ~ I Corinthians 10:13

God bless!


P.S. I don't know if I've had regular cheesecake (or much of it), but I love chocolate cheesecake. But believe me--the Black Tie Mousse Cake is WAY BETTER than chocolate cheesecake!!! Have you ever had chocolate mousses? It's like chocolate cake, a bit of cheesecake-type cake, chocolate mousse, chocolate "crust," a couple dollops of chocolate, and chocolate chips! It is absolutely delicious!!!

Top 5 books I read this year:

The Mountain Between Us, Charles Martin
So Over My Head, Jenny B. Jones
Walking on Broken Glass, Christa Allan
Peace Like a River, Leif Enger
A Hope Undaunted, Julie Lessman


It's so early in the morning. Gotta grab that cup of coffee and than list the books. Okay, here goes:
The Other Daughter- Miralee Farrell
Fools Rush In - Janice Thompson
Intervention - Terrie Blackstone
Yada Yada series- Neda Jackson
Dawn's Light - Terrie Blackstone



Yes, another mention for Laura! I can't help but cheer her on as she's so sweet as well as being a fantastic author. And Cathy writes great devotions, too :)


You can enter anyway :). I haven't read most of the books on your list but I loved M.L. Tyndall's and can't wait to read more of her books.

P.S. I think its great that you have suicide prevention information on your blog. I know the holidays can be such a hard time, especially for those grieving a loss.

Thank you and good luck!

You read/review so many I will definitely be looking up those I haven't read at the library. I really loved Chris Fabry and Julie Lessman. Thanks for stopping by.


Yes (gulp). You guessed it. I definitely want to read more of Rachel Hauck in 2011. I've just discovered her, but I love her sense of humor and descriptions!

Jan Marie,

Thank you. I am unbelievably blessed! Terri Blackstock and Jim Rubart are two authors I would really like to try. And it seems a Tailor-Made Bride is making a lot of lists.

I loved Vanish. I was up late reading that one! I think it would be a great witnessing book, too. And anything by Frank Peretti is great. Thanks for coming by!


Oh, yes, I know what you mean about having several lists. I am a homeschool mom and we use lit-based curriculum so we are reading constantly.

Julie, Julie, yes, yes!! I discovered her in August and read all her books in a month! Never heard of Wildwood Days or Charlatan's Boy. Are they YA reads? And they count. Just your favorites that you read this year.


OK, that's it. Must look for Crossing Oceans at the library no matter the subject matter...must give it a try. I agree that Cathy is fantastic, I've been a fan of her devotions, too for quite a while. Thanks for coming by.


I love chocolate mousse, now you've convinced me :)

But chocolate..uh oh, I had better meditate on that verse a bit longer.

My husband brought me an Ultimate Chocolate Cake for my birthday.

I've heard Jenny is just hilarious. She seems it everywhere I've seen her online. Thanks for stopping by.

I so know what you mean. I'm not a morning person either. Terri Blackstock is showing up on a lot of favorites lists. I just love talking books!

Top 5 reads...that's a tough one!

Roseanna White- A Stray Drop of Blood
Margaret Brownley- A Suitor for Jenny
Richard Mabry- Code Blue
Diann Mills- Pursuit of Justice
Trish Perry- The Perfect Blend


A tailor made bride
The Sister Wife by Diane Noble
A Memory Between Us by Sarah Sundin
Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz
~Within My Heart by Tamera Alexander
It was hard to chose. What a neat contest. I am a new follower ;)

Thanks Julie, I think it is an important message as Christmas can be so lonely for people who are alone etc.
its become a stressful time for people out of work or who are already stressed with society making it look like you have to spend alot at this time of year many dont have and add winter for the northern hemisphere it really can be bleak.
Here its we dont have the winter weather but still its an issue. Here such alot is made about family, food etc and in smaller places most places are shut so you cant even go out for a meal and the following day is a holiday so it can be a very lonely time for people. I will be home alone but I am ok with it as I know the reason for the season but I still am feeling a little more alone this year being at home where as the past 2 years I was in the city with so much going on.

Im an aussie and most dont send to australia which is why I wasn't entering. but happy birthday.

I'm a new follower on GFC.

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

Julia M. Reffner

About Me

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Christ-loving bookworm & homeschool mom of 2 stealing the rare quiet moments to pursue that all elusive writing dream. I also write book reviews for Title Trakk and The Historical Novel Society.


Contributor at The Writer's Alley:


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