Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Breaking Cover by Michele Rigby Assad – Fascinating, Intense & It May Keep You Up Late

I love a good mystery filled with suspense and intrigue.  That’s why I wanted to read author Michele Rigby Assad’s new book Breaking Cover – My Secret Life In The CIA and What It Taught Me About What’s Worth Fighting For

Have you ever wondered how in the world someone ends up working for the CIA as spy?  It’s not like you take a class in school or get a degree in spying.  What type of person is well suited to become a spy?  As a Christian, how do you reconcile the deceptive practices that are necessary for spying with your Christian values?  Those are just a few topics that Michele talks about in her book Breaking Cover.

It was sobering to learn about what Michele and her husband Joseph experienced when they were in field.  They endured a lot, from the bureaucracy within the CIA, the transitory secretive life that being a spy necessitates and the ever-present perils that surrounded them.  Not just once and a while, but every day their lives were on the line.

Reading about what Michele endured, because she is a woman, gave me a greater respect for the work that she did and the sacrifices she and Joseph made to help protect our Country from those who sought to do us harm.  I couldn’t have done what she did, I would have quit!  There was one scene in the book that left a lasting impression on me.  Michele was driving to work in Iraq, not exactly a safe and friendly place for women.  She was at a stop light when all of a sudden some very evil men took notice of her.  Not good…not good at all.  How in the world was she going to get out this situation alive, much less unharmed?  That was just one of the many stories that gripped me and kept me up late at night to find out how things were going to turn out.

As intriguing as their ten-year careers were, it was interesting to see how they transitioned out of the CIA into regular life.  It’s not like you can fill out a resume and list your jobs and give references.  Michele shared that there is a high recidivism rate for CIA agents.  They end up coming back to work for the CIA because the transition can be too hard.

What I appreciated most about Michele and Joseph Assad’s story was how God had gone before them and was using the incredibly trying and difficult circumstances they lived in for ten years to prepare them for a greater mission.  They learned and honed their skills, talents, abilities and discernment.  One day, they would be called upon to employ all they had learned and much more to help bring to 150 Christians from war torn Iraq to safety. 

I came away from reading Breaking Cover more grateful for the Country we live in and freedoms we have.  I have a greater appreciation for the work that people in the intelligence community do to keep our Country safe. 

Breaking Cover by Michele Rigby Assad is fascinating, especially from the unique perspective of a woman being a CIA officer and a counterterrorism expert in the Middle East.  I highly recommend this book, but be forewarned, you may be staying up late at night because it’s too intense to put down.

I would like to thank Tyndale House Publishers for the opportunity to read a complimentary copy of Breaking Cover in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.



Sunday, February 11, 2018

This Broken World


It’s times like this Lord
I’m reminded of the brokenness of this world

It’s hard to know what to pray
Or how to pray
What can I do
Being so very far away

Let them be aware of Your nearness
Your presences guiding them through each day
Give them strength when they grow weary
In unseen ways, You help them to carry their heavy burdens

In ways, both big and small
Reveal Your tender mercies
Bring to remembrance a hymn or Scripture verse
That stokes the fires of faith within

A timely phone call from family or friends
Just to listen so they know someone cares
Bring to mind Christ Jesus the Lord
At the right hand of the Father interceding for them

When grief and sadness overwhelm them
Holy Spirit translate their groaning into prayer
Their tears are precious to You
You note each one that falls and hold them in a bottle

For the mind that is failing
Allow moments of clarity each day
Though they may forget everything else
Let them never, no never, forget their God

Their suffering is great
I can’t help but ask how long O Lord
I find assurance in knowing You have numbered our days
You know our end from the beginning

You have promised when this life is over
Your saints will be welcomed home in the loving arms of their Savior
In heaven there will be no more tears, sorrow, sickness or death
Until then Lord, bring them through this broken world


Susan Wachtel
February 11, 2018


Thursday, February 01, 2018

Picture a Day - Upside Down


Something I've been wanting to try is photography 
using a crystal ball to capture images.

Still learning to use this tool and I have lots to learn.
The crystal ball picks up the reflections of everything in range.

So far...I like it.



Thursday, January 18, 2018

Picture a Day - Peaceful Place



When staying at the Back Bay Inn you may find some peace and quiet.  Just looking at this picture brings me back to that peaceful place.

Picture a Day - Favorite Drive - California's Central Coast


Driving up the coast on Highway 1 in central California is one of my favorite drives.  The fresh air, colors and beauty of God's creation is awe inspiring.  

Picture a Day - Favorite Places - Back Bay Inn


When I think of favorite things...I think of some of the places we've been blessed to visit.  The Back Bay Inn, located in Los Osos CA, is at the top of my list of favorite places.  

Friday, January 12, 2018

A Severe Mercy


When adversity tempts me ask why
Lord, may I instead ask what
What work are You doing in and through these trials

Hard circumstances and difficulties abound
The Lord has allowed, designed and purposed each one
He is using them to accomplish His good work

You help me to see my weakness
Profound needs that only God can meet
I recognize the foolishness in what I once thought was wise

You’ve exposed lies so cleverly disguised as truth
Revealed the brokenness of my heart, mind and soul
The utter depravity of my heart and desperate need for a Savior

All these and more drive me to You, O Lord
The world may be out of my control
But it’s firmly in control in the hands the LORD God

Lord, help me to trust You
To trust Your character
Believe what You’ve revealed about Yourself in Scripture

May I not doubt You O Lord
For You alone are truth and grace
Righteous and just in administering a severe mercy


Susan Wachtel
January 12, 2018


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

If I Live by Terri Blackstock – You Won’t Want to Put It Down

I love reading Christian mysteries and suspense novels and Terri Blackstock is one of my favorite writers.  That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to read her newest book, If I Live, which is being released March 6, 2018.

This is the third book, in the If I Run series, which tells the story of Casey Cox who has been on the lamb since her friend Brent Pace was found brutally murdered.  She is the chief suspect because her DNA was found all over the crime scene.  Dylan Roberts, who was hired by Pace family to bring Casey to justice, now believes she is innocent.  So much so that he has been working with Casey to compile evidence that will break open this case wide open and allow the guilty to be exposed.

From the opening chapters of If I Live, the reader had better be strapped in because it takes off and doesn’t let up until the very end.  Each chapter in the storyline is told from a different character’s perspective.  It’s a different technique and almost makes you feel like you are in the character’s head and seeing things from their point of view. 

I really liked If I Live, it’s full of suspense and intrigue.  It’s fast paced.  I appreciate how the Christian faith has been woven in to several characters.  Casey become a Christian during the course of this book and it’s interesting to see all that happens to her from the point of view of a new believer.  I especially liked how Casey recognized that though it was tempting to be angry and unforgiving towards those who had done evil, the Holy Spirit was showing her that a Christian doesn’t respond the same way as the world does.  I liked the developing relationship between Casey and Dylan.

As a Christian, I appreciate how author Terri Blackstock tells a good story without including sexually explicit scenes, filthy language and shows the Christian faith in the lives of characters. 

After everything that Casey has been through, will it all be for naught?  Will she make it out of this alive?  Will she be free or spend the rest of her life in jail?  Just how much evil can one person get away with?  How widespread is this corruption and how many lives have been affected?  Who is clean, who is dirty and most importantly who can be trusted?   

Well to find out the answers to those questions and more, you’ll need to read Terri Blackstock’s newest book, If I Live, which I highly recommend. 

I would like to thank NetGalley and Zondervan Publishers for the opportunity to read If I Live in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 


Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables by Catherine Reid – A Treasure That Will Make You Fall in Love All Over Again

Words fail me to describe how much I loved reading Catherine Reid’s newest book, The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables.  I felt like I was opening a treasure each time I read from this book and gazed at the beautiful pictures of the breathtakingly beautiful Prince Edward Island. 

I first read Anne of Green Gables as a young adult and loved Lucy Maud Montgomery’s writing so much so that I read all her books.  What a gifted writer!  Her poetic lyrical writing captured character’s thoughts and emotions and enabled readers to imagine the beautiful landscapes of God’s creation. 

Who could not fall in love with Price Edward Island when reading Anne of Green Gables or seeing the wonderful TV mini-series by Sullivan Entertainment?  With each page you turn in this book you will be entranced by the beauty of this island.

Catherine Reed does a wonderful job in telling about Maud Montgomery’s wonderful, yet hard life.  She achieved success, but was not immune to tragedy.  Catherine intertwines thoughts and experiences from Maud’s life and shows how they were reflected in the lives of characters she wrote about.  The landscapes that inspired and moved Maud, where an integral part of her books and her life.  Included in the book are numerous quotes from Maud’s writing, not only her personal journals, but also her beloved fiction books.

I forewarn you, after reading The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables, you may want to reread all of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s books.  This book is a treasure; I wanted to savor each page.  It will help you to see the beauty in nature in a new and fresh way.  You may even be inspired to visit Prince Edward Island and behold it for yourself.

If you know someone, young or old, who loves Anne of Green Gables, or is enchanted by gardens and nature, you may want to get them a copy of The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables by Catherine Reid.  I would like to thank NetGalley and Timber Press for the opportunity to read this book.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 

Even though I got to read this book for free, I liked it so much that I may go ahead and purchase it.  It’s a keeper that I would like to go back to again and again.

This book will be available for purchase on April 18, 2018.


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christ Jesus - A to Z

 

 Advocate
 Bread of Life
 Chief Cornerstone
 David’s Son
 Everlasting Father
 Friend of sinners
 Great High Priest
 Holy One
 Immanuel…God with us
 Jesus Christ
 King of the Jews
 Lamb of God
 Messiah
 Nazarene
 Only Begotten of the Father
 Prince of Peace
 Quickening Spirit
 Redeemer
 Savior
 Truth
 Upholder of all things
 Victorious One
 Wonderful Counselor
EXact Representation of His nature
 Yahweh
 Zion’s Hope

Try as I might to find a name of Christ Jesus that begins with X in English, Hebrew or Greek…I didn’t find any.  So, I had to get creative.

This was a great way to think about Christ and who He is and what He did in His life, death and resurrection, and what He is doing seated at the right hand of the Father.  There were a number of letters that it was easy to come up with multiple names or titles. 

If you have a chance, give it a try.  Post a link to it in the comments section.  

#EverThineHome
#HisSaviorNames




Breaking Cover by Michele Rigby Assad – Fascinating, Intense & It May Keep You Up Late

I love a good mystery filled with suspense and intrigue.  That’s why I wanted to read author Michele Rigby Assad’s new book Breaking Co...