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Why in the world did I agree to do this?
Mara Keegan's vision blurred as she stared at the old photo she'd picked from the box for the first block on Cadence's memory quilt. David's arm curled tightly around her pregnant waist, his other balanced a precocious three-year-old Cadence, and one-year-old Toby grinned up into his mommy's eyes. Louie, the new family border collie/lab pup sat at their feet ready to catch Toby's graham cracker.
A smile stole across Mara's lips. Louie nabbed that cracker and Toby wailed, right after the shutter clicked. But the picture captured the split-second happy moment forever. The perfect family with so much promise. A promise broken off prematurely by a whimsical God.
Mara's smile faded. She glanced over at her sleeping fourteen-year-old dog curled up on one of his favorite oversized mutt mats. He'd been with their family since the early days. His black muzzle sported more white around his nose now. Louie seemed like the bridge from past to present as she looked back at the first picture. When would she be ready to try love again? Did she even need it? She broke out in a sweat in spite of the cold wind blowing the last of December past her windows. Not until she could trust God again. How could it have all gone so wrong? The wind gust whooshed against her office door and rattled the inset glass.
A burning sensation started in the center of Mara's chest. She wrapped her ankles around the wooden stool legs and anchored her feet as she rubbed her midsection. This gift was taking more out of her than she had expected. With less than five months to Cadence's graduation, she had to design and create a quilt full of memories. Memories Cadence needed as she left for college. Memories to wrap around her when she felt far from home and family. Memories Mara promised Cadence, and Mara never broke a promise.
Mara dug in her purse for a chewable antacid tablet. They'd become her favorite candy the last few months. Especially today, since the official documents for the new contract were lost when her computer network crashed after the big windstorm tore down power lines last night. No one had had power for the last twelve hours on this side of Bozeman. This government contract could change the future of her business and the community. But her business mentor, Rich, jumped in to help. He'd kept the e-mails. By the time the computers blinked on this afternoon, she'd have his advised changes and be able to print out another set, postmark a hard copy, and fax the acceptance before the close of business back East. Okay, maybe she should eat a little better. She popped a tablet in her mouth, scowled at the mini bottle, and threw it back in her purse.
The box of photos held too many memories. To choose the right ones for Cadence, Mara needed to sort through them one by one. "Why didn't I just buy Cadence a car, huh, Louie?" Something easy that didn't rip her heart out every minute of the planning. The dog opened his eyes and cocked an ear at her. The burn radiated out further. She pressed hard against her stomach to ease the pain. The antacid should help soon.
She should have eaten more than a skim latte for lunch. She needed an early start on all the photos for the T-shirt transfers. Once the photos finished printing out on transfer paper, she could leave them with Tina at the T-shirt shop overnight and pick up the photos pressed onto the poplin tomorrow. Nausea built until it reached the middle of Mara's chest and wallowed there, squeezing the little bits of heart she had left. It figured she'd have the beginnings of an ulcer. Her neck muscles tensed and sent a shooting pain into her jaw. She opened and closed her jaw joint and wiggled the bones of her chin, but the motion didn't soothe the tension.
How long could she go on living with the way things turned out? The stress from carrying the entire business load left her with this constant tension and now the heartburn. Mara rolled her head from shoulder to chest to opposite shoulder. David's snowmobiling accident left her in charge of twenty-five employees, business loans, and a dream built for two. But now there was one. Three years from the moment the snow buried him in the avalanche. Three years since David breathed his last. And she hadn't stopped to breathe since. She hated the week after Christmas since the accident. Sacrilegious or not, she hated it.
Mara shook her head to clear the pity party. So a little more lost sleep, what's new? The sooner she plowed into this promise, the sooner she'd get the sleep she needed. This present would be done on time if it was the last thing she did. Breaking the family tradition, a quilt for graduation, was not an option. It meant too much to Cadence. Maybe Mara should switch out the lavender candle for a citrus scent and wake up her brain. She looked up at it. Maybe later. She inhaled the calm fragrance.
Her head pounded. The caffeine seemed to create more jitters than normal. She pushed away the remaining drink. It'd gone cold anyway. She pulled the hair band out of her high ponytail to loosen the tension on her scalp. Mara massaged tender spots under her thick mane with one hand while she spread out several photo choices on the white work space. Maybe she should consider cutting off several inches. The weight alone might cause these headaches. But David had always loved her hair. She hadn't cut it more than to shape it in longer than she could remember. Had she even done that this year? Her hair was always in an updo for business, so no one saw the condition it was in. She swept up the ends of her hip-length burnished brown locks and grimaced at them. Maybe a little change would do her good. Yeah, right. When was that going to happen? She picked up the family photo again unable to let it go. Change wasn't always good.
Mara's heart twisted, radiating out searing pain. She slapped a hand out for balance and instead flipped the box of photos over as she tumbled off the work stool onto the cold floor. The wooden chair clanged to the rustic clay tiles with her legs tangled in the chair rungs. The box rained down life-moment scenes as if a movie reel unwound in front of her eyes. Her son, Toby, at T-ball, Marisa's Disney Princess birthday party, and Cadence with her younger siblings tackling their daddy. Was she having a heart attack?
Louie barked in surprise and jumped up from his massive plaid dog pillow.
Pictures fluttered and scattered across the floor.
Mara's hand held fast to her family forever frozen in a joyful pose—before God pulled his whimsical trick.
Louie barked again and bounded across the room, sliding on slick paper, to stick his nose into the back of Mara's neck. He lay down with his muzzle across her right shoulder buried in her long brown hair.
Mara blinked. What just happened? Oh, there. She focused on David. His strong face, his tanned muscular arms that held her close, and those sparkling brown eyes grinning with little crinkles she used to trace with her fingers. David, David, I miss you. She closed her eyes.
* * *
Mara Keegan. Joel sighed as he tucked the file under his arm. Would she remember? Would she throw him out? As he rang the doorbell, Joel heard a dog barking inside. Then a pretty teen with unusual golden coloring flung the front door wide.
"Louie, knock it off!" She yelled toward the back of the house. "Sorry, he's kind of protective. Can I help you?"
"Hi, I'm Joel Ryan," he stuck out his hand. "Here to consult with Mara Keegan on the government contract. Is she here?"
"Sure. I'm Cadence, her daughter." She invited him in and shivered as she flicked the ornate door closed. "Cold out there, huh?"
"Well, it's sure not as warm as my last consulting visit in California." Joel smiled. "But I'm used to it. I'm from Colorado."
She had a slight Native American look, but her hair was a reddish-brown and dark freckles dotted her golden cheeks. Her eyes were almost rust and rimmed with long black lashes. She wore very little makeup.
Joel wondered about her mother, the woman he had yet to meet in person. Only a phone call five years ago, but now he hoped Mara didn't remember him. He swallowed. That wasn't one of his finer moments. Better to get it out of the way if she did put two and two together. By God's grace, he was a different person now. Would Mara have the grace to forgive?
Louie barked several more times. "Louie, that's enough!" Cadence yelled again. "I don't know what's up with him. He quits as soon as the doorbell does, but he's usually here all up in your face and checking you out, too." She looked around for the dog. "Weird."
"Nice Christmas tree." Joel nodded at the decorated fake evergreen to be polite. It was a nicer tree than the miniature tree on his coffee table, all designer perfect. The red and green plaid ribbons on his tree looked as if someone had tied each one exactly the same. His tree barely had lights.
Cadence gave the tree a small glance. "Yeah, thanks."
He checked his triple-time-zone watch. His favorite tool never disappointed. Travel and daily contact with clients from Pacific to Mountain to Eastern kept him in a constant chase of the correct time. Clients in any part of the country could count on his prompt call or arrival. Plenty of time to meet the deadline, but there was no sense in delay. "May I meet with Mara?"
"Sure, follow me. She's back in her workroom." A hint of resentment floated in her tone. "Like always."
The TV screen held a frozen Wii game with several cartoon Wii avatars. "Mom" wore a purple shirt and long dark hair. He sidestepped the Wii balance board on the floor and followed.
"There's another entrance for that part of the house, if you want to use it next time." Cadence traipsed off into a long hallway with her braid swinging.
* * *
"Mom!" Cadence rounded the corner.
Mara lay on her left side, stiff and chilled. She opened her eyes at the alarm in her daughter's voice.
Cadence knelt at Mara's feet, gently picked up her mom's top ankle, and unthreaded the wooden stool from Mara's legs.
"I'm okay—" Mara tried to sit up but only made it to her elbow. She didn't have the strength to push up all the way past the sharp pain in her shoulder. The dizziness rushed back. Her whole body didn't feel all that great now either since hitting the floor. But her left shoulder really ached all the way on the inside—wow!
"Cadence, is everything all right?" A man stood in the doorway. He wore a dark blue ski parka over a business suit. Louie growled as the hair along his backbone stood on end. He leaped and stood over Mara. The man jumped back into the hall away from the big dog.
"No, Louie, no!" Cadence kept her voice steady but firm. "Joel, he's not mean," she said without looking away from her mother. She moved around to Mara's back and pulled Louie aside by his collar. "Good boy, now go lie down."
Mara glanced at the stranger near the door. He looked ready to take over, but Louie held him at bay. Her old dog stood on guard, disregarding Cadence's command.
"Here, I'll help you up." With her arm around Mara's back, Cadence tried to lift her.
"I don't think I can stand yet." Mara leaned against the table leg. "Just give me a minute to catch my breath." She shivered at the cold seeping up from the tiles into her legs. The shiver started a new spasm of pain in her shoulder and ankle.
"Sheesh, Mom, what did you do? How'd you end up on the floor?" Cadence still knelt beside Mara and waited.
"I don't know." Mara gasped for air. "One minute I was picking out pictures for your quilt and the next I fell. Maybe I have the flu. I'm a little light-headed." She pressed her stomach and fought for control of the nausea. "I might have twisted my ankle, though. Man, it hurts!" She wanted to reach for her left leg, but the pain in her shoulders held her back.
"Louie." Cadence pointed at the dog bed. "Go!" Louie crept backward an inch at a time fighting his instinct to protect. His long ears stayed flattened back on his gleaming black head and his eyes trained on Joel without a flinch.
Joel eyed Louie and stepped into the room. "May I suggest we get you checked out?"
Mara dragged in another breath. "Who are you?" Her lips trembled and her heart fluttered out of control.
"I'm Joel, your new consultant from Business Mentors, Inc. I'm replacing Rich." He put a file down on her worktable. "I really think we ought to get you to the ER." He moved closer toward Mara and knelt down at her level.
"I don't need—"
"Mom, you don't look good at all. I think he's right. You're like, white as your shirt."
But she could ask the doctor to check her heart. No, that's silly. At thirty-nine, she probably just had a bad case of the flu. Mara's arm throbbed with sharp jabs, her neck and jaw muscles clenched tight. She'd probably sprained her shoulder now, too.
Exhausted she bit out, "Fine, fine. I probably need an antibiotic or something." Another shiver shot through her. "I'm sure it's the flu. I have the chills and I ache all over." Mara rubbed her left arm.
Joel moved in to Mara's side to help her stand. Together both Cadence and Joel lifted Mara from the floor.
"Ow, ow! I can't—" Mara felt herself swing up. Her head lolled back from the motion.
"I've got you. You can trust me." He glanced over at her daughter. "Cadence, would you grab a blanket for her and let's go." Joel tipped his head toward the door. "We'll take my car so you can help your mom if she needs it."
"I don't need—"
"Really?" Joel's blue eyes captured hers again. "Can you walk?"
A shooting pain screeched through her left side.CHAPTER 2
Well, Mrs. Keegan, your blood pressure is up. That's common with pain, though. Your test results don't show any markers for concern beyond taking care of your injuries." The doctor flicked a light in and out of her eyes. "I remember how hard it was for you losing your husband. That was an awful accident." He listened to her chest. "The dizziness you experienced, have you had that before?"
Mara shook her head no. "I skipped lunch and just had a double latte."
The doctor looked at her with disapproval. "That could be the cause of the heart racing you felt. I'm not hearing it now though." He wrapped the stethoscope around his neck. "It appears you're experiencing some stress and panic attacks. We see this kind of thing sometimes around the anniversary of losing loved ones, especially during the holidays. You've got it all going on right now, don't you?"
She didn't want to think about David's time in the hospital. The sight of his mangled body and skin scraped raw seared into her mind. She'd had no appetite then either. Three years and the traumatic scene still affected whether she ate or not. "I should have eaten lunch. I just couldn't handle it today."
"No more skipping lunch. We don't need any more fainting spells." He took another look at her shoulder. "You're going to have a sore left shoulder from your fall for a few days but I think it'll be fine. Just a little bruising. You might consider seeing a chiropractor."
He moved to the counter and picked up her chart. As he made notes he added, "It's good you're building a new life." The doctor gestured at Joel with his pen.
"New life?" Mara realized he meant Joel, who'd carried her into the hospital and never left her side. She let out an involuntary groan.
The doctor didn't acknowledge her question. "You can't keep going at the pace you are and not expect some kickback. I'm going to refer you to a counselor for stress reduction."
"A counselor." Mara gripped the side of the ER bed and willed herself into stillness. He'd said it with nonchalance. She chose not to make eye contact with anyone else in the room, especially not Joel.
The doctor patted her hand. "It's common, don't worry." The doctor finished marking up her chart.
Mara pulled her hand away and rubbed her temple. Counselor, my foot!
"I'm also going to suggest you take a stronger antacid for indigestion in a daily dose. If you'll follow the directions for an acid-reducing diet, I think it'll help your appetite by removing the irritants to your system. You could stand to gain a few pounds for your health." He turned to the laptop on the counter. "Then if you'll take a good hard look at your schedule, you do need to lower your stress before you really have a heart attack." He looked over at Joel, "She needs some rest and TLC."
Excerpted from A Healing Heart by Angela Breidenbach. Copyright © 2013 Angela Breidenbach. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted October 24, 2013
A Healing Heart ~ Angela Breidenbach
I enjoyed this book very much. I had never read anything by this author before so I was not sure what to expect and had no expectations. I will admit that my avid love of quilting did peek my interest a bit. This book will truly touch a Mother’s heart I discovered quickly. How much we desire for our children, we always want the best. To shield and protect them from all hidden dangers life can bring at you. We always want more for our children that we had experienced ourselves.
This novel struck a cord with me, how to I take care of my children when I can’t take care of myself? This is where faith really comes into play. Can you trust the “Big Guy” to really do what is right? Even if it not what we think is the right thing? I enjoyed the examples of personal relationships with God throughout. It was a blessing to be able to put myself in the main characters position and see myself through others eyes.
I received a free copy of this book for my honest review
Posted October 17, 2013
Can this memory quilt heal her heart? Can she reconcile the past and find new love, while creating new memories for the memory quilt?
Angela Breidenbach's new book A Healing Heart tells the story of Mara Keegan - widowed at a young age with 3 children and now has to run the business alone. While preparing to make the traditional memory quilt for her daughter going off to college - life changes for her once again - this time it's her heart.
Angela has created a wonderful story that should be famliar to many. Dealing with tragedy, promises made, turning away from God, never asking for help, Mara sets herself up for disaster. But a family tradition helps to turn things around, slowly healing her heart and helping her to once again reconnect with the important things in life.
This a beautiful story and really feels familiar. Angela's writing makes you feel as thought you are right in the middle of the story and actually a part of it.
I did receive a copy of this book from the Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.
Posted August 12, 2013
A Healing Heart is a charming story of forgiveness, grief and falling in love again. The story captures the heart of a single mom struggling to survive, provide for her kids and overcome the grief of losing her husband. It shows how pride can camouflage itself in regular activities and how it can also blind someone to God’s grace. The reader is given a glimpse into God’s pursuing love and relentless mercy even when we reject Him. A wonderful read! I received this book from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 8, 2013
A HEALING HEART by Angela Breidenbach was my first read by this wonderful new author to me. I was pulled into the lives of Mara, widow still dealing with loss of beloved husband, and her three children, especially the relationship with her older teenage daughter. I smiled, laughed, cried, and felt right along with the different issues the family faced, separately and together. The love story for Mara and her unlikely knight in shining armor, or superman cape as the case may be, will warm your heart.
But the best part of the story for me was the memory quilt the mom and daughter were working on, and all the time, energy, blood, sweat, tears and a few prayers that were thrown in. Loved loved loved the way she pulled Joel in, and as I prepare to make my first quilt, has given me an awesome idea as well.
A great read, that reminds us all that if God isn't part of our every day then He isn't part at all, just an afterthought. So go on, talk to the 'Big Guy' today!
I was given this book in exchange for an honest review. Pick it up today, along with a box of kleenex!
Posted August 6, 2013
A HEALING HEART by Angela Breidenbach is an interesting inspirational romance. #6 of the "Guilts of Love" series, but can be read as a stand alone. This is the story of Mara Keegan,a widow,mother of three, a workalotic,who suffers a heart attack. All chasing the "good life" we miss the little millstones along the way. After Mara's heart attack she feels she must finish her memory quilt for her daughter, Cadence's graduation present. She also struggles with feelings for on Joel Ryan,the man who is keeping her business running smoothly during her absence. A story of second chances, love,faith, healing,life's ups and downs and the power of love. A sweet, tender romance. An enjoyable read! Received for an honest review from the publisher and Wynn-Wynn Media, LLC.
REVIEWED BY: AprilR, Review courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
Posted July 25, 2013
This is the first book I read by this author. She has definitely captured my attention. She has a way of keeping your interest from the very beginning. The book revolves around a widowed mother of three who is trying to balance work and home and parenting. Along comes her "superman" as the kids call him, to help her in keeping the balance. Add a heart attack to the mix and it's recovery and you have a great story. Mara need's to let her type A personality go and allow her superman to help more and allow her faith into the mix.Overall, it was a humorous, loving, joyful, and comforting.I received this book from Abingdon Press through BookFun for an honest review.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 24, 2013
This is an enjoyable story about an overworked mother of three who needs to get her priorities straight! Mara Keegan has been running her company solo since her husband died a few years before and has now promised to make a photo memory quilt for her daughter's graduation present. She feels she must do everything herself, but when she suffers a fall and then a heart attack, she's forced to take some time off. Luckily, her new business coach is able to fill in for her, but can she trust this man who once tried to take over her company with both her business and her heart? Will making the quilt be healing for her or bring up painful memories she'd rather forget?
I really liked this family and the welcoming way they had. Mara is part Crow and part Irish and I liked the focus on her roots and heritage. It was nice to see an ethnicity not featured in books very much. The memory quilt sounded very cool and is actually based on quilts the author's family makes. I liked the struggle Mara had between doing it all or doing what she loved. The story also had its sad and amusing moments along with a sweet romance. This is part of the Quilts of Love series, but each book stands alone. I would recommend this, especially if you like quilting or crafts.
I received this book free from bookfun in exchange for an honest review.
Posted July 22, 2013
I loved this book and highly recommend it.
I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network for my honest opinion.
Mara Keegan is a widowed mother of three teenagers. Her plate is very full as she tries to run the company that she started with her husband by herself. She is also trying to keep up with what is going on in her kid’s lives and make the perfect graduation present for her oldest daughter’s high-school graduation. So much work is involved in creating the photo memory quilt and there is so little time to work on it. How will she get it all done?
When personal medical emergencies knock her off her feet she must stop and take stock of all that she does and really look at what her priorities should be. Are those around her trying to help her in her recovery or are they trying to take over what is hers?
Angela has developed wonderful characters throughout this story. Their personalities are rich and well rounded. I would love to have this family live near me. In fact by the end of the book I felt that I knew them better than many of the people that do live in my neighborhood, and go to the church I attend.
This is an incredible, thought provoking book.
We all make promises to others. Are they all made with the right intent? Can we make a promise to ease someone else’s pain that God never meant for us to make? How do we know that a task we are doing to fulfill a promise is in God’s will for our life?
These are all questions that Angela has intricately woven into the story of this book. As Mara is dealing with them I felt challenged to really think over many aspects of my own life.
Posted July 9, 2013
This book will speak to your heart. It spoke to mine in several ways. As I watch my quilting mother’s health decline, it spoke to me about pouring my love into my family. It spoke to me about not getting so caught up in my circumstances that I forget to enjoy those around me. It spoke to me about never forgetting that God has a grander plan than I could ever think or imagine for myself. It spoke to me about allowing God to heal hurts and wounds that have cut into my inner core.
A Healing Heart will do just that—heal your heart. Sometimes we can see ourselves through a character even when the story is different than ours, and we can learn through their lessons even when the lesson that needs to be learned is a little different. Because truly, the only lesson we need to learn is to allow God to heal us in His time and His way. We may make some bad choices in our quest for healing, and we may need to voice a couple of “I’m sorry” phrases along the way, but God has a master plan for piecing our lives back together and making them beautiful just as Mara pieced together that wonderful quilt.
Mara is a widowed mother of three children who is struggling to balance her family, a business, a quilting project, and an unexpected budding relationship with a business associate. After a heart attack puts her life on pause, Mara must sort through her past and her present to find the emotional healing she so desperately needs. Little did she know that she would find that healing through some of the most unexpected experiences. Angela Breidenbach will keep you turning the pages to see how Mara’s story unfolds.
A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for my honest review.
Posted July 9, 2013
A Healing Heart by Angela Breidenbach
Mara Keegan widow and mother to three, is a stressed business owner with a Type A personality. Because of her grief and a promise made on her husbands death bed she has pushed friends, God and even her children away to hang on to a company they started together that is draining her. She has run herself ragged and is overcommitted. Mara is determined to make the perfect graduation gift for her daughter Cadence. But will she finish in time? Joel Ryan is her new Business Mentors consultant; they met by phone years ago. At the time he had shady business ethics and tried to steal her company away from her and her husband. He has since found Christ and is trying to redeem himself. Right before their first meeting she breaks her ankle and soon after has a heart attack. Joel is the perfect gentleman and does everything in his power to not only help her business but also her family. He is slowly falling in love with Mara and her children, but can she ever learn to trust him? Mara is very artistic and trying to carry on the family tradition of creating a memory quilt but needs help to finish on time. God uses her church friends she has pushed away to help her with the quilt. And in doing so she is able to mend relationships with them. As she heals, she finds faith once again and a possibility of a mended heart. Is Mara strong enough to take a chance on Joel or will she push him away, I would highly recommend you read A healing Heart to find out. If you like Christian fiction this is one book that will pull your heart strings. I want to thank The Book Club Network Inc. for this book. And thanks to the author Angela Breidenbach and Abingdon Press for writing and bring good clean Christian books to readers like me.
Posted July 9, 2013
Mara lost her husband to an avalanche. Now she's trying to cope with running their business, keeping three kids in line, and completing a quilt for her daughter before her graduation. She does not have time for a new business consultant with a bad history and penchant for butting in.
Small pieces of American Indian history as well as snippets about quilting were woven into the story to add depth and beauty. The two main characters were fun, if not a bit exasperating in their stubbornness. But my favorite parts were the interactions with the children and the dog. The author did a great job of weaving a bit of history into the story. Some of it was taken from the town she used for inspiration and some of it was from her family traditions.
I enjoyed the story. It was sweet, sad, and refreshing. There wasn't any major drama or mystery. It was just a simple story of love and healing.
I received this book free of charge from Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.
Posted July 7, 2013
I was so impressed with this book We all have our hot buttons, we all have our stresses
we all need to listen to our Lord, and not take on too much
Mara was a stressed out Type A Doing a job that wasnt good for her Mad at our Lord
She had huge medical issues, huge grief but It helped change her into what she needed to be
She was so talented, her quilt was great.
We all need to learn to be serious about our Lord, really listen to his guidance. Realize he loves us and wants the best for us.
And Let Go and Let God
I was given this book for free for my honest review from TBCN And Abingdon Press
Posted July 3, 2013
A Healing Heart, one of the Quilts of Love series, is a very good read. So many things happen and have already happened to Mara, so it is no surprise that she has trouble keeping her family and her business together. She feels the need to keep total control of the business started with her deceased husband, but feels so much stress from it that her health suffers. Her children feel her lack of time and attention to them. How could she know that her biggest help would come from a former enemy?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 2, 2013
My Favorite Scene:
"Joel picked up the pile of quilt blocks off the couch. He laid one out over his large hand. "Is this Davis?" The man stood next to a yellow and black snowmobile and wore a medal over his yellow and black winter gear. Louie sat at his feet with a yellow and black dog coat.
"Yes." Mara's stomach clenched at the site of the snowmobile. She hated, hated, hated that thing!
"By the look on your face, you didn't approve of his racing?"
She inhaled and closed her eyes. "It wasn't his racing. Although that should have been more enough." She left the next thought unsaid. How could I speak ill of the man I loved? She blew out her breath with careful control. Still she fought for balance on this topic. They'd argued when he bought the dumb thing. He seemed to thrive on pushing more and more adrenaline through his body. He should have been a stuntman. "It was his risk-taking."
"Oh, I see."
"No, you don't. He won a lot of races. But they weren't enough. When extreme sports started getting popular, David took it to the next level. He and his buddies took their snowmobiles into the backcountry of the Bridgers. Then, according to the rescue patrol, they ignored the posted warnings."
She knew her voice took on an icy edge, but she couldn't help it. "He died because he was hill climbing on that machine and ended up racing ahead of an avalanche. But his avalanche beacon malfuctioned. It took a long time to find him. When the guys dug David out, he was barely alive. The snowmobile landed on top of b him and created an air pocket. In fact, David lived almost two days after that. One lung had been crushed, several of his bones were broken, and the doctor said his spine was crushed."
"I can't imagine what you went through."
Tears choked her words, "He asked me to kiss him and let him go. He thought a man who couldn't walk, couldn't feed himself, and couldn't be a husband..." She reached for the glass of tea and sipped to relieve the clogged burning in her throat. "But I'd have rather had him here, walking or not." A tear rolled from her cheek and plopped into the glass. She set it back down, embarrassed. Who cried in her tea?
"Mara, I'm so sorry." Joel took her free hand in both of his. "Why would you put this photo on a quilt block when it causes you so much pain?"
"Cadence chose it. She wanted to remember him as strong and fearless. Not the broken man in the hospital."
"Ah, that makes alot of sense."
"Joel, the nurses worked hard to clean him up enough not to scare the kids. The hard snowpack ripped his helmet right off. He was a mess. Bruises and scraped skin everywhere. His face was so raw I asked the nurses to cover David's face before the kids saw him. They couldn't even cast his arms and legs for all the open wounds.The nurse helped me hold a sheet above him to hide the worst from the kids." She looked at the photo. "I loved him so much. I can't believe he risked everything for a thrill. But he did, Joel. And by doing that, he broke his promise to me. To our family. And God let him."
Joel moved closer to Mara and put his arms around her.
She cried there, safe against his shoulder. "God let him."
Meet The Characters:
Mara Keegan: Mara was determined, driven and desperate to keep her promise to her deceased husband David. She was a loving mother and designer of beautiful quilts. Her crow ancestors taught her the craft and it was a great love of hers. She was at peace when she was designing and crafting quilts.
Joel Ryan: Joel has a past of being hard and unfeeling in his business transactions. I love the new Joel that centers his life around God. Because of it, he has become a loving, kind and generous man that is full of faith and an overwhelming desire to help. He builds a great relationship with Mara's kids.
Cadence, Marisa and Toby Keegan: Mara's kids. Very well behaved and well mannered. Their only problem is missing spending time with their mother.
Mrs. Calder: The quirky next-door neighbor. She was actually pretty cute and adorable and a great help in their time of need.
Louie: The beloved family dog.
Mara Keegan is owner of Bridger Pack and Rescue, a company she started with her husband David before his passing. With the business expanding, her days are filled with attending to the business matters and everything else has pretty much fallen by the wayside, including time with her kids and the quilting she loves so much. Mara is under a great deal of stress and pressure to fulfill the promise she made to David and doesn't realize just what that stress is doing to her... Until that fateful day she has a heart attack. Mara slowly comes to realize she needs help. Her help comes in the form of Joel Ryan.
Joel Ryan has a history with Mara only she doesn't know it yet. When his boss sends him to coach Mara in how to grow her business, he fears she will turn him away for his past mistakes. Joel used to be a fortune hunter and tried to issue a hostile takeover of Mara's company. Although Mara wants nothing more than to send Joel packing, she feels she needs to give him a chance to prove he has changed. When Mara has a heart attack, Joel steps up and takes over the handling of the company until Mara is well. They soon realize they are developing feelings for each but can Mara let go of David's memory and move forward? Can Joel compete with her dead husband's legacy? Like the stitching woven through the quilt Mara is making for her daughter, Cadence, Joel soon becomes woven in each of their lives.
I can't tell you how this book warmed my heart. There were several "scenes" I wanted to share but decided not to because I didn't want to give away any important details. You'll have to read the book and discover them for yourself. There were a few times I cried and continued to cry for several minutes after reading certain scenes. This was a very touching story that dealt with love, friendship, family, healing and a deeper relationship with the"Big Guy". It also dealt with Heart disease, one of the number one killers in America. A Healing Heart was so well written the words just flowed from page to page. Hat's off to Angela Breidenbach for an amazing story.
Posted April 23, 2013
Some people seem to get an unfair share of heartache in their lives and Mara Keegan is one of them in A healing Heart. She has lost her husband and is running the business they started together basically on her own.
I have seen a lot of people like Mara that become so engrossed in their work that they start to miss out on the important things in life. Mara’s children are growing up quickly and she is missing it. When her health fails and she has no option but to give in and let those around her help, will Mara finally see clearly what she has been doing?
Joel Ryan steps in as her knight in shining armor and rescues her and her family. Can this really be the same man that tried to steal her company? Will Mara be able to let go of the past and let Joel in?
I loved the message in this story. The things that matter in life are God, love and family. Sometimes people get so caught up in their grief, their work and just the busyness of life that they completely miss it.
Breidenbach’s characters are fun and unique. I really loved Mara’s three teenage children and their personalities. Mara’s strength and resolve make her admirable, albeit a bit foolish in what she is doing. The quilt she is making for her oldest daughter holds a world of memories and actually helps bring Mara back to what’s important. When she lets in her old friends to help her finish it, priorities start to resurface.
I enjoyed A Healing Heart and am loving the Quilts of Love Series! It’s such a perfectly paced book that you will finish before you know it!