The Osprey and the Fish

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Traffic trickled along US-301, impatient moms in mini-vans and battered utility trucks bracketing the two lanes beside me. It was a quarter to three, and I had to get gas before picking up the boys at 3:15.

Up ahead, the Alafia River crisscrossed 301, a bronze waterway that emptied into Tampa Bay to the west and bled inland to the east. Lightposts stood at attention, skinny towers marking the road’s edge, every third or fourth pole topped with a messy, stick-strewn bird’s nest.

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Ospreys gliding overhead, hugging the river’s edge, were a commom sight on this stretch of 301. The white and brown winged-creatures gained easy access to fish in the river from the tall vantage points.

As I slowed at a red light, a flurry of animal-sized movement caught my attention directly to my left. An enormous bird flew beside my truck, only a few few higher than my driver side window.

A human-eye view of a glorious example of God’s winged creation.

While I admired his wingspan and elegant flight (and tried desperately not to bump into the car slowing in front of me), the reason for his low altitude became clear.

Inside the grasp of his razor-sharp talons, a struggling silver fish glimmered in the sunlight on its way to feed hungry chicks in a nest high above.

But right then, the powerful bird flew low, the burden it carried weighing down its normally-graceful flight. And the Holy Spirit pin-pricked my heart.

“Have you not known? Have you not heard?

The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth,

Neither faints nore is weary.

His understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.

Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall,

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength;

They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary,

They shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)

For our families, for me personally, it’s been a difficult, sad year. There have been blindingly painful losses (my sister-in-law) and shocking goodbyes (the sudden death of our family dog).

Add in a couple writing disappointments, some parenting trials and one 40th birthday, and it’s a recipe for a year I’m eager to put in my rear-view mirror.

God in His mercy and grace carried us through, and we’re grateful for His comfort and the comfort and prayers of others.

Still, the burden of loss and my escalating worry about a recent health issue have made me feel like that Osprey–low-flying through life, burdened with a twenty-pound Snook of worry and fear. Are you feeling that way, too?

But those who wait on the Lord…

As the Osprey finally ascended, curving toward the blue sky and its hungry chicks, God’s gentle peace gripped my heart. I pray it grips yours, too.

…will renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles…

If you’re barely airborne right now, skimming muddy earth because of heavy burdens and slippery fear, look to the Lord. He will renew your strength.

Wait on Him. He is faithful, and His mercy is everlasting.

For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.

(Psalm 100:5)  

 

Book Review & Giveaway ~ The Cautious Maiden, by Dawn Crandall

 

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The Cautious Maiden is the first book I’ve read by author Dawn Crandall, and it will certainly not be my last. I loved this tender, romantic story. This is inspirational historical romance at its *sigh* finest.

A little more about Dawn

71xnmguh8yl-_ux250_1A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education, and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until 2010, when her husband found out about her long-buried dream of writing a book. Without a doubt about someday becoming traditionally published, he encouraged her to quit working in order to focus on writing The Hesitant Heiress. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do. Dawn is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary.

Apart from writing books, Dawn is mom to two precious little boys. She also serves with her husband in a pre-marriage mentor program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter.

The Everstone Chronicles  is Dawn’s first series with Whitaker House. All three books composing the series were semi-finalists in ACFW’s prestigious Genesis Contest, the third book going on to become a finalist in 2013.

About the book

Violet Hawthorne is beyond mortified when her brother Ezra turns their deceased parents’ New England country inn into a brothel to accommodate the nearby lumberjacks, but when Violet’s own reputation is compromised, the inn becomes the least of her worries. In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with a taciturn acquaintance, Vance Everstone.

As she prepares for a society wedding, Violet learns that her brother had staked her hand in marriage in a heated poker game with the unsavory Rowen Steele, and Ezra had lost. Now Rowen is determined to cash in on his IOU.

With danger stalking her and a new fiancé who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust, and who to leave behind.

My Review

The story opens with a surprising and perfectly sweet scene between hero and heroine. Hero Vance, a reformed rake whose actions must speak louder than his words to win over careful, tender-hearted Violet, is both swoon-worthy and realistic.

A glowing mix of tender romance and mysterious intrigue, The Cautious Maiden swept me away immediately with skilled first person point of view and plenty of unique story twists and turns. Lovely, shy Violet and reformed rake Vance have a sweet chemistry that intensified with each page.

The Cautious Maiden is a true gem of a story, reminding readers that grace and forgiveness go hand in hand, and loving someone requires a step of faith. I loved how the characters’ faith was woven so thoroughly into each scene, without bogging down the story.

Bravo Dawn, for a thrilling and touching story I thoroughly enjoyed. Now to get the first three in this series!

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In honor of the release of The Cautious Maiden, Dawn is offering a print copy of the story to one commenter! Please leave a comment with your name, let us know if you’ve read any of Dawn’s stories, and leave your email so I can contact you if your name is drawn.

The drawing begins Saturday, October 15th and ends Saturday, October 22. Please, for continental U.S. residents only. Thank you!

Dawn’s Website

Author Page on Facebook