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A Place to Belong (The Katherine LeVay Saga, Book 3)

I’m excited to announce the launch of my newest novel, A Place to Belong, available now at an affordable Kindle ebook price of $2.99.    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B09JQC38LC

A Place to Belong (4) rezized cover book 3

Katherine LeVay Cunningham has risen from the ashes of her first marriage to become a confident, self-made woman. Then why risk everything by confessing the truth now?

Living an idyllic but nomadic lifestyle, she’s traveled the world but has no idea where she belongs. Kate now follows her second husband, Robert, from London to the States where he’s to produce a British Broadcasting Company series on the American Revolution. This time, their travels will take them throughout the East Coast: New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Charleston.

Unfortunately, all these cities remind her of her first husband, television news anchor, Richard Madison who nearly destroyed her through deceit and his womanizing. She thought she had put those remorseful days behind her. But the guilty secret Kate conceals, now threatens to erode her very soul and peaceful existence.

In reality, can anyone escape a nightmarish past?

Kate struggles with her indecision to confess to her perfect, untraceable crime. However, as she soon discovers, her loved ones harbor secrets of their own.

The saga of Katherine LeVay begins in 1957 with the coming-of-age, Sometimes Marriage is a Real Crime. Followed by Casey’s Journey and Casey Conrad’s sequel Restoring Hope. If you enjoy tales of nostalgia and redemption, I trust you’ll enjoy my novels too.

My Book Launch: “Casey’s Journey”

Casey's Story Cover photo for CanvaEvery author who devotes their entire heart and soul to writing realizes how exciting it is to see a finished work come to life. For me writing will always be a labor of love. Therefore I am pleased to announce that my sequel to Sometimes Marriage is a Real Crime, entitled Casey’s Journey, has debuted.

Isn’t writing a novel similar to birthing a child? At first you’re excited about the prospect, happily announcing it to relatives and friends, then a little nervous wondering if you’ll even be good at parenting (or in this case, writing.)

As you discover your characters coming to life amidst an emerging plot, you can’t wait to see what the finished project will look like! But along the way, perhaps constantly editing, you’re wondering why you ever thought it’d be a good idea and simply want it over with! Did I really think I’d be the next Harper Lee, Sidney Sheldon or Jodi Picoult? (Come on, I’m sure all writers felt the same at one point.)

Casey’s Journey is classified as Women’s Fiction, Christian Fiction, YA and is a perfect beach read! It’s a coming of age, nostalgic story, partly based in Europe, mostly based in the low country of the Carolinas. As in the first novel, this one has a built-in sequel, so while reading, look for hidden clues. I hope you’ll enjoy and publicize it. I’d love to hear from you if you do.  In appreciation, Ellie

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Why does God allow bad things to happen to the innocent? The second novel in the Katherine LeVay series, follows not only Katherine’s life after the death of her philandering husband, but answers the question as to what happened to her abducted child.

When Richard and Katherine LeVay Madison’s five-year-old daughter is kidnapped in New York City on a family outing, we discover that even the evil events in our life can be molded into beauty if God is the Potter.

Katherine’s resentment toward her husband’s indiscretion is but one of several events which ultimately leads to the downfall of her marriage. Years of living with the hopelessness that her daughter will never be found, Katherine leaves the States for a new life in picturesque Sorrento, Italy. But even her flourishing Bed & Breakfast set in a renovated Renaissance Inn won’t quell her heartache and longing to discover what really happened to her beloved daughter.

Casey is told her parents, aunt and uncle are dead and she must remain at the “orphanage” until someone adopts her. A year and a half later the child feels unloved, unwanted and rebellious. There is one couple however who sees the child’s potential and brings her into their gypsy military lifestyle. As we follow Casey’s journey through the twists and turns of life into adulthood, she sees how those who now love and protect her format her thoughts and dreams for a more promising future.

Stationed in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, golf comes calling and Casey exhibits many of her birth parents athletic characteristics. She discovers a talent and a competitive atmosphere she thrives in. That is until a family tragedy occurs, challenging her beliefs and enticing her into a scandalous situation. If it’s true that tribulation builds character, then Casey has an abundance of it.

Throughout the novel we question which shapes us more, our heritage or environment? Will Casey discover the truth regarding her past and is it possible that God meant all these tribulations for good?

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.”  (Proverbs 3:5,6)

Now available on Amazon Kindle:

Casey’s Journey available for $2.99

Sometimes Marriage is a Real Crime reduced to 99 cents.

 

The Capacity To Love Knows No Boundaries


“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.”  (Song of Solomon 8:6)

100_1152A couple of weeks ago, we found a new puppy – or rather the puppy found me. Having two already, we certainly weren’t in the market for another pooch but when I walked into the room and this adorable face smiled up at me, tail wagging while his tongue darted out for kisses, I was hooked.

Strolling toward him, he jumped upon the rim of his enclosure and gazed at me through love-struck eyes. Oh wait . . .  that was my love struck eyes. He’s a Cavashon, a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Bischon. Affectionate, calm and intelligent – a great combination.

My husband and I walked around that flea market for a while, debating the pros and cons of adopting another dog. Our gentle, beautiful Cocker Spaniel was 13 1/2 and sadly, in increasingly ill health. Our Lhasa although loving, was very territorial and we weren’t sure how she’d react. In the end however, love won out.

Our sweet Cocker didn’t know what to think at first but quickly accepted another brother. Our Lhasa was another story. She sulked, pouted and was seemingly angry that we gave attention to some “ruffian from the streets.” She agreed to tolerate this new guy rather than attack him.  To compensate we gave her lots of attention and belly rubs (at least when she wasn’t hiding under the bed.)DSCN2972

I’m sorry she doesn’t understand that, as her master, we certainly have enough love to accept all of them. But just like that little Lhasa Apso, we sometimes sulk when God seemingly gives more treats to others than us!

Is your heart generous enough to love others? Or are we so wrapped up in our own world that we fail to comprehend that the human heart has the capacity to love unselfishly?  There’s a cute line in the movie Charade when Audrey Hepburn remarks to Cary Grant, “Well I have so many friends now that until one dies I can’t possibly know anyone else.” In other words, shut the door, I’ve got enough friends. No one else better apply.

Sometimes we actually do view God that way too. Has the thought of, “God loves that person more than me” ever crossed your mind? That’s a very human response but God loves all and wants us to come to Him. John 3:16.

He is the epitome of LOVE. God doesn’t play favorites. (Romans 2:11)

I am so grateful for the abundant life God has given us! Traveling the world has brought us incredibly relationships and although not wealthy by any means, we have secured a treasury filled with friendships!

GrandCanyon 032 Our Cocker Spaniel has traveled with us six of the twelve times we’ve crossed this country. His welcoming demeanor attracted friendships from all over. We will always be grateful to having known him. You see we lost him to a fast growing cancer several days ago and even though our hearts are breaking as I write this, we wouldn’t have missed the opportunity to have him in our lives in spite of the pain.

God lives outside of time and knew what we needed before we did. He allowed our paths to cross with this transitional, rather than a replacement puppy (because no one could ever replace another) so our hearts will heal more quickly.

We count it all Joy that we had this blessing in our lives. God is Good.

Thank you for the “Sisterhood of the World” Award

How wonderful to discover while on vacation that I’ve been nominated by a lovely new follower, Fashionable Librarian for the Sisterhood of the World Award.  I am honored and thank her so much for thinking of me.  Please check out her fabulous “fashionista” blog at   sisterhood[1] http://conciergelibrarian.com/2015/09/26/sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-award/

I find these type of awards a wonderful way to discover more about our blogging friends. Only wish I could nominate many more. Have fun with this one!

Here are the simple rules for participating:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
2. Put the award logo on your blog.
3. Answer the ten questions sent to you.
4. Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
5. Nominate ten blogs, notify them.

Questions I had to answer:

What is your ideal vacation spot?  

Where do I start? Possibly the coast of Spain, the Highlands of Scotland? The Rhine River of Germany? No, I think my favorite place is a small area high above Innsbrook, Austria called Pertisau. An absolutely breathtaking, peaceful village surrounded by mountains. My husband and I loved cross-country skiing there. Enjoyed stopping at local eateries for gluwein and brats as we progressed.

Where are you from?

Having lived in 14 States, moved over 20 times in my life as a girl, while in the military, golf and on God’s ministry, I’m from “everywhere.” Educated up north, raised mostly in the south.  Best of both worlds!

What is the national dish of your country?

Probably Bar-B-que, wouldn’t you think, USA?

Dark or milk chocolate?

Definitely dark!!! Nutrients you know.

Coffee or tea?

Always preferred coffee until we moved to Ohio where the winters are freezing and spiced teas warm us up!

Do you have a pet?

Had a skunk, raccoon, calf, cats, duck, (until he went to duckie “heaven” my mom said. Can’t eat duck to this day) Now we own two crazy dogs, a Cocker and Lhasa who frequently get mentioned in this blog.

If so how did you decide on a name?

They fit the names they already had, couldn’t change ’em.  Too stubborn . . .  dogs that is, not us.

Reggae or Hip Hop?

I guess Reggae because of it’s happy Caribbean beat, but love all types of music from Jazz to Country.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

Mmm, any place near the ocean. Mykonos, Greece sounds good.

Why would you want to live there?

The warmth of the people, the freedom to write.

Here are my questions:

  1. Would you rather win an Oscar, Pulitzer, Nobel or other award? Why?
  2. What would be your dream job?
  3. What characteristics describe your ideal husband?
  4. What’s your favorite place to vacation?
  5. What’s your greatest skill?
  6. What was your first car?
  7. What were you like in high school?
  8. Have you met a celebrity? Who?
  9. Have you been on television?
  10. What historical person would you invite to dinner?

Have fun!  Here are my Nominees:

  1. https://storyland4.wordpress.com
  2. http://dgkayewriter.comhttp://faithpondering.com
  3. https://saminaiqbal27.wordpress.com
  4. http://lorriebowden.com
  5. http://stormiesteele.com
  6. http://fromtrextotigress.com
  7. https://harmonyspearls.wordpress.com
  8. https://mothergrowfitter.wordpress.com
  9. https://courtingmadness.wordpress.com
  10. http://amydavisart.com

“I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus,”  (1 Corinthians 1:4)

So A Funny Thing Happened On Our Way to Florida . . .

So Goodbye Arizona:

At our age, it seemed no one wanted an enthusiastic but older couple who simply wanted to follow God’s leading into ministry. With 27 years of schooling, a Seminary Master’s degree and two photo of Dave and Ellie 2Doctorate’s, who wouldn’t want my husband as a teaching pastor?  However, sending out resumes and receiving countless rejection letters became discouraging. News Flash: If you’re on a search committee, please don’t send a rejection letter stating you’ve decided to go in a “different direction.”  As Christians, Dave and I are going in the right direction, where is your church going???

So we then contemplated moving to The Villages in Florida, complacent to teaching adult Sunday School.  You know . . .  somewhere, hot , sunny and warm. Nearer our children.

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression,  “Man plans . . .  God laughs?”

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  (Jeremiah 29:11)

“Out of the blue,” we received a call. A small town church in Ohio was looking for a compassionate pastor who would take the helm and grow their church.  After much prayer, many conference calls and a personal visit, we fell in love with the warmth of the congregation, (which more than substituted for the warmth of Florida.)

Arizona is a snow bird location but sadly the economy here hasn’t risen as other areas have. Everyone told us the prospect of selling our home quickly was remote, usually taking an average of eight months to sell. However we had a secret weapon: the Will of God! Faith believes that if God wants a mountain to move, it will move.

“There is no coincidence with God.” 

I’m hardly ever out in my front yard (everyone lives in their gravel-based backyards in Arizona)  but 7:30 that morning I was out sweeping off my walkway, preparing for a large realtor tour in a couple of hours. A man coincidentally drives up to our sign out front and picks up a flyer. He glances over at me and asks enthusiastically if I am the owner? When I confirmed I was, he wondered why his realtor hadn’t shown him this beauty before? Of course I joked it was even prettier inside.

His name was Bob from New Jersey. He was on a mission, here for only three days, searching for a home for his wife and him in a warmer climate. Would it be possible on short notice to view our home? He came by with his realtor immediately after the tour and within three hours we accepted his cash offer. He generously offered to purchase some of our furniture which he didn’t know, I had been praying to sell anyway.

Another coincidence was, that very morning at 6am, (9am Ohio time) we had been notified that our offer on the home we desired in Ohio had been accepted!  And the street name of the new home?  It happened to be my sister’s name who lived 75 miles away.  Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?

So goodbye my beloved Arizona, goodbye cowboy hat and hello new adventure as we follow God’s chosen pathway for us. I want to  especially thank Pastor Sebastian Weaver,  Pastor Joe Quatrone and Storyad for their continuing, encouraging prayers for God’s Will to be done in our lives and the acceptance of whatever that might be!

 “For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”  (Ruth 1:16)

 

 

 

Praising Pathways – Wherever They Lead!

Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

Little did I know, as a teenager, when my mother wrote those precious words in my first Bible, where those pathways would lead.Dave and Ellie Marrandette

Sometimes the paths were winding:

In college, this guy walks into my classroom as I was leaving, and a friend introduced us. He said his name was David, handed me his newspaper and mentioned he had a gerbil named Gina Lollogerbil. I just thought he was the cutest thing on campus. Three days later he asked me to marry him.  But I was stubborn. I had no interest in marriage, I was having too much fun and anyway, another guy had already proposed the day I met Dave. Well, I held out for three weeks.  Next month we celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary. Where did those years go? (I still feel thirty although my bones tell me differently.)

Headed to Australia for a new job, we had Visa’s, passports, shots, airline tickets . . . when life took an abrupt “drafty” turn. “Uncle Sam wants you,” his country declared!  So our path took us down 20 years of military service, with its 12 moves including California, Washington D.C. and Germany. Then it was Dave’s call to seminary which lead to a teaching position at a small Christian school. A tiny $500 per month salary was tough, so he was lured away into the golf industry. More exciting diversity ensued, as well as several more moves. Then it was fulltime motor-homing for 6 years with more adventures while cultivating friendships along the way.

Occasionally the paths became rocky:

One can’t be married without some impediments along the pathways. But with God as our GPS system, He steered us through the rough patches, restoring, growing and refining our love for each other. Believing that marriage is a 50-50 proposition is a myth. Sometimes Dave needed me 70% and sometimes I needed him more. Spouses also get on each other’s nerves and sometimes even being married can be a lonely situation. But through it all, the Lord is faithful and I praise God for always having Him as our solid marital foundation.

Gloriously, there were smooth paths:

When a decision is God’s Will, it has a way of working out. That is what Faith is all about. When we were out of God’s Will, challenges arose, but when He called us out of the desert, (quite literally since we live in the Arizona desert)  we answered that call. As we discover when reading and study Scriptures, it is unwise to rebel against God’s Will. (Jonah, anyone?)

Even if it meant sacrifice, such as giving up a family celebration, we learned to obey and trust Him. The world doesn’t understand and looks at any Christian who must choose between God and family and criticizes that choice, no matter how heartbreaking it was to make.

My husband has answered the call to be a pastor at a loving, praying, small church in Ohio. Although I prayed we would eventually return to the Myrtle Beach or Charleston, SC area, God had other plans. (Good thing I never gave away my winter coat!) Perhaps I always knew in my heart that to make a decision to follow Christ wouldn’t be easy, but it is certainly worth the sacrifice for our LORD who gave up all for me.

So we are moving this week! My next post will confirm that this was the miraculous “coincidental” pathway God wanted us to follow all along! Please stay tuned!

Thank you all while I’ve been away . . .

A peaceful morning

A peaceful morning camping in Tennessee

Thank you readers for being so patient with me as I recycled past post ideas these last three weeks. It wasn’t laziness, it was preoccupation.  My husband and I traveled, via our current small 22′ motor home, to the east coast to visit our son, daughter and five grandchildren. What a blessing that was!

Had a few Christian observations along the way, as we traveled over the vast Arizona and New Mexico deserts, Texas panhandle and Oklahoma countryside (with its sparse radio stations) on to Virginia and Delaware.

I look forward to posting these ideas soon but first here are some observations:

I thank God that He honored me with a patient, Christian husband. Praise God, we still loved each other after being cooped up on a road trip for 3 weeks through 16 states and 5,000+ miles! For the record this was our 11th time criss-crossing the country due to our military requirements and then being full-time motor home travelers. (But it was in a 39′ Class A – that’s a condo!)

1.  I appreciate New Mexico for having the friendliest residents and  Missouri for letting their Christian values proudly shine through!  More Spiritual billboards were observed traveling across Missouri than any other state. Well done!

2.  What a majestic country the Lord has blessed us with! I primarily listen to Christian, Oldies and Country stations, so the beauty of our nation was exemplified through music.  Adam and Eve were told to care for this planet; but man sadly, has really trashed that up! Why??? Is it so hard for some to pick up trash, bottles or their dog’s poop? Bend over, it’s good exercise! If you are a Christian and you disregard this, shame on you. God is watching.

3.  Thank you Tennessee! So grateful that Elvis’s  Graceland mansion was kept as it was and all the souvenir, museums and tourist shops placed across the street.

Graceland

Graceland

Touring his home (bucket list item) reinforced my belief that Elvis, although personally troubled, was a devout Christian and we’ll probably hear him singing in heaven.

Nashville was great, so friendly!

God kept us safe as tornadoes surrounded the area around Knoxville, which I still haven’t seen due to the torrential rains. I know the car in front of me was a Ford Escort though.

4.  One can travel and lose weight. We exercised by walking everywhere we could.  I pre-loaded our coach with drinking water, healthy snacks and pre-cooked meals. When traveling, we ate out some but ate smaller items, shared portions or brought them back for planned-overs. No excuses.

5.  It was so rewarding to discover how a new grandchild can mature a son into the kind, wonderful man we knew he always would be! I praise God that He sent such a lovely woman into my son’s life and I now pray they will raise that boy in the spirit of Proverbs 22:6.   “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”   Children grow up so quickly! Unfortunately, some grow up and hug their technological hardware more then you.

6.  I thank our son/daughter for spoiling us so much time-wise while we visited. And nothing like Atlantic crab cakes, grilling London Broil or Dover’s: Where Pigs Fly BBQ ! I thank my daughter for my generous make-over by her best friend. Also my first manicure EVER!!! (another check off the old bucket list) as well as a great time exploring the town, shopping and visiting flea markets.

Exhibit at the Creation Museum

Exhibit at the Creation Museum

7.  On our way home, had the honor of touring the Creation Museum near Cincinnati. Founder Ken Ham, (Answers in Genesis)  epitomized the truth of Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”  The museum was truly done for the LORD in EXCELLENCE. I urge all Christians to visit this magnificent place! It will strengthen your faith.  I always thought I had a large God, but after experiencing the incredible magnificence of our Creator through their planetarium presentation, I realized my God was still too small!

Well that’s how I spent my summer vacation. I’m happy God kept us safe and to be home in the hot, dry Arizona desert although humidity does plump up the old wrinkles. God is Good either way! Blessings,