Book Review

Book Review: I've Seen the End of You

An absolutely fascinating memoir of a neurosurgeon's search for answers about death and hope.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

March 17, 2022

Final Book in the Arranged Marriage Series Available Now for PRE-ORDER

Determined to never marry, Kitty Haddington chooses to assist her father in his parish. After visiting an elderly parishioner outside of town, Kitty is caught in a snowstorm and injured while attempting to return home. Her infuriating rescuer seems oblivious to their precarious situation.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

February 21, 2022

Grief

Grief and Joy, a Podcast

For the first time in my life, I was on a podcast. I'm smiling and shaking my head as I write this because I never imagined doing such a thing. God keeps opening doors and stretching me. I want to submit to His plans.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

December 17, 2021

Grief

Christmas Through Grief-Filled Eyes

All the lights, music, laughter, and good cheer of the season felt like a distant memory never to be recaptured on that first Christmas without my husband. Could this holiday ever delight me again as it had before my loss? Was Christmas ruined forever?

By

Anneliese Dalaba

December 9, 2021

Book Review

Book Review - Walking In My Shoes

I recently finished reading Elizabeth Mittlestaedt's inspiring story in Walking In My Shoes. In a small Hungarian village where her family had lost most of their possessions when a communist party took over their country after World War II, is the setting of her childhood. Her family of eleven lived in near poverty. But Elizabeth had dreams of achieving more and longed to pursue higher education to attain those goals, yet circumstances held her bound. The craving for freedom and a better life had gripped her, and wouldn't let go, so she took matters into her own hands, resulting in devastating consequences.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

November 25, 2021

Grief

Entering the Second Year

I took a break from blogging my journey as I approached the first anniversary of Curt's passing and entered the second year of my grief journey. Before I share more, let me say that everyone's grief journey is not the same. I think a lot has to do with personality, the depth of the relationship you lost, and how vital that person was to your happiness in this life. So, my story might be very different from your story.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

October 21, 2021

Grief

My Birthday, Another First

Unlike most people, I looked forward to turning sixty. I longed for it. I would be that much closer to retirement. Curt and I had such plans. We even hoped to co-author a book. But God, in His wisdom, called Curt home, and I had to face my 59th year alone. So, as my birthday approached, I dreaded the date. Curt wasn't here to celebrate this milestone with me. It now felt anti-climatic.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

August 19, 2021

Grief

Lessons Learned in the Dark

I've heard it said that there's such a thing as widow brain. Have you ever heard of it? The symptoms are forgetfulness, extreme sadness, brain fog, irritability, fatigue or exhaustion, numbness, and nausea. I've had them all at some point since the end of September. When driving home from the grocery store a few months ago, I went right through a four-way stop sign. That's never happened to me. Never. It wasn't until I heard the blast of someone's horn that I realized what I'd done. It wasn't a close call or anything like that. But it could have been. I have thanked God over and over again for helping me not to have injured someone. After that incident, I looked up widow brain, something a friend had mentioned.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

August 2, 2021

Book Review

Heaven...Your Real Home From a Higher Perspective

I finished listening to the audiobook, Heaven...Your Real Home From a Higher Perspective, by Joni Earekson Tada last week. As I've mentioned before, since my husband passed away, I have found comfort in reading about heaven. It gives me a glimpse into what he must be experiencing already—and all that awaits me. The reality of heaven has become more real to me.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

July 25, 2021

Grief

We Aren't Done Yet

Losing my husband has caused me to review my life. This week, I thought back to when I first received the call to ministry. I was twelve years old when I had a strong impression—probably my first time to realize the Lord was speaking to me—that I would be a pastor's wife.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

July 21, 2021

Grief

A Band-Aid for Grief

It's been over nine months now, and quite frankly, I'm tired of grieving and hurting. It's tempting to try to hide from the pain by filling my time with other things, mind-numbing things, anything to take my mind off of my loss. There are so many ways a person can avoid dealing with their heartache, but sooner or later, it all comes tumbling back again. You can't hide forever.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

July 8, 2021

Grief

Dreams for the Future

I pulled weeds yesterday evening from a flower bed that I used to admire without having to labor in it. Of the two of us, Curt was the gardener. Working in the garden was therapeutic for him, especially after a stressful week. While I did the housework inside, Curt worked in the yard. When he finished, he'd call me to look at it. I was always impressed because he did such a praise-worthy job, and I was glad I didn't have to do it. Countless times, I admired the garden from the windows of my house throughout the spring, summer, and even fall.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

June 17, 2021

Grief

We Aren't Home Yet

Isn't it crazy how quickly time flies? I can hardly believe it's been over a month since I last posted a new blog post. In April, I was offered a writing assignment with a tight deadline. Almost all my waking hours were spent on that in May. But I've missed talking to my readers and hearing from you. I will admit that being super busy did help to distract me from my grief, but at times it still broke through. Because when you miss your spouse or someone else who used to be a part of your everyday life and enjoyment of living, the pain of that loss bursts through every barrier you might try to put up. In my personal experience, I'm better off accepting the pain when it comes, feeling it intensely, telling God about it, allowing God to comfort me, and crying my eyes out. If I do that, the heaviness lifts, and I'm able to move forward with my life—until the next wave of loss hits me.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

June 8, 2021

Grief

Grieving With Hope

In a previous blog post, I shared that joy was finally returning. But I realized it's not the joy I once knew. No matter the beauty or enjoyment of the moment, there is always an undercurrent of sadness—a void. Deep joy seems impossible since I lost Curt. I can smile and laugh. I can enjoy so much of life. But if the grandkids do something adorable or reach a new milestone, I long to look into Curt's eyes and share a moment of pride and pleasure. When I'm with my family, and we laugh together about something, I miss hearing Curt's laughter joining ours. It's like I'm living life in a haze of sadness. Everything would be more fun if Curt were here.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

April 28, 2021

Book Review

Book Review: 50 Days of Heaven

I just finished reading 50 Days of Heaven by Randy Alcorn. This book was given to me by my church after my husband passed away. It blessed me in the midst of many tearful days by giving me hope and reminding me that there is so much I have to look forward to. When I take my last breath, life here will end, but I will step into a new beginning that is beyond imagination.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

April 15, 2021

Grief

It's Not the End

My children and I stood together as the nurse bent over Curt. She lifted her head, her gaze met ours, "He's gone." Just two simple words. But the impact was indescribable. A life well-lived that filled our world, directed our lives, embraced, provided, comforted, and loved us so well—Gone. Snuffed out. Many nights, those two words echoed in my mind as I tried to fall asleep.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

April 14, 2021

Grief

Sometimes We Wait

Whenever I heard Romans 8:28 quoted, I believed the Apostle Paul was referring to life here on earth. But now that I've lost my husband, I'm forced to take a closer look at this verse. I know God's Word is true, but how can this verse apply to my life when I've lost the irreplaceable? If a parent loses a child, how can this verse still apply to their lives? Even if they gained ten more children, not one of them could replace what was lost. We read in the book of Job about the terrible loss Job experienced. I'm glad God restored his losses, but I imagine Job could never feel the depth of joy he had before. In the deepest part, there must have remained longing and emotional scars. His children, who he had once raised, loved, and enjoyed, were not returned to him in this life.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

March 31, 2021

Grief

Two Shall Become One

We became one flesh through marriage in September 1987. Then, wrenched apart through death in September 2020. Is it any wonder I feel as though I've received an amputation? No longer a whole person, half of me is missing. That's how I felt as I sat alone at the gate waiting for my first flight as a widow. Curt wasn't there to listen for the call to board. I had to look out for myself. He was no longer there for me to talk to or reminisce with. I looked at all those around me. Everyone a stranger. It was no different than all the times Curt and I traveled, except we had each other. Come what may, we were together. Whenever our eyes met in a crowded airport, a warmth of familiarity and intimacy enveloped us. Now I stood alone. . .and, oh, the loneliness.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

March 24, 2021

Grief

God Provides

Of the many diverse emotions of grief, sadness has been my constant for months, and unreality likes to visit often. But, as I mentioned in my last blog, I've recently had days where I almost feel normal. Strangely, as soon as I realize I'm having a good day, the tears return. It seems wrong to have a good day when Curt is still missing from my life? He deserves at least a year of constant tears. I know how ridiculous that statement is, but knowing it in my head is not the same as feeling it in my heart.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

March 17, 2021

Grief

Faith Intensified

I stood looking at a framed picture I have of Curt that sits in my family room. Sometimes I talk to him as I look at his photo. It helps me process my grief. Today, I told him that if the Lord should tarry, I will grow old while he will remain the same. Curt was six years older than me, but now he's in a place where time doesn't age him. If the Lord should tarry, I'm so thankful that I will be changed before Curt sees me. Ha! 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 NASB said, "Behold, I am telling you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed." Woohoo! My aging body will be changed.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

March 10, 2021

Grief

A Bitter Cup

I went for a walk with a friend a couple of days ago. Once we parted, I walked the short distance home alone. It was then I realized that the last time I strode on that particular sidewalk, I was pushing Curt in his wheelchair. My heart squeezed tight—so many firsts. Every day, I plod along with homesickness and longing that nothing on this earth can fill. A bitter cup was placed on my lips, and I was forced to drink it. Half of me wishes I had died with Curt on September 25th. But then I think of my children and grandchildren, God's calling on my life, and I know my work isn't complete. There are lives I must touch and prayers I must pray. So I join my voice to the Apostle Paul's and say, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sakes." (Philippians 1:21-23 NASB) 

By

Anneliese Dalaba

March 3, 2021

Grief

Greater Reality

When Curt began his battle with cancer last summer, he posted on Facebook about the greater reality. Here are his words from that post:A couple days ago in the morning while waiting for the results from the nuclear scan, I was reminded of my own sermon on the greater reality (faith). In 2 Kings 6, there's a story about Elisha and his servant. They were surrounded by an enemy army. This army was their reality. Elisha was calm. The servant was a nervous wreck. The difference was that the servant could only focus on the reality, but Elisha was aware of the greater reality.Elisha prayed, "Lord, open his eyes to see that there are more with us than there are with them."On the mountain tops were what Elisha saw: chariots of fire!

By

Anneliese Dalaba

February 24, 2021

Grief

The Weight of Grief, the Hope of Glory

On Monday, I had such a great day. It felt like the heaviness of grief had lifted. The sun finally broke through the clouds. I almost felt normal again. This reprieve from sadness lasted into Tuesday morning.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

February 17, 2021

Book Review

Book Review: At Love's Command

I recently finished At Love's Command by Karen Witemeyer. I've read many of her books. Her writing and storytelling ability are phenomenal. This book does not disappoint. It's a Christian western romance. If you love this genre, you will not want to miss it. I listened to it on Audible, and the narrator did a fantastic job.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

February 14, 2021

Grief

Never Alone

I'm twenty weeks into this grief journey now. There are moments when I still feel as though this didn't happen. Perhaps, I'm stuck inside of a nightmare. Maybe I'll wake up and find Curt is with me. He never had cancer at all. But then reality sinks in, and I experience my loss all over again. How is it possible that this happened to us?

By

Anneliese Dalaba

February 10, 2021

Grief

Death Takes More Than A Person

When I wrote my first novel, I had several family members cheering me on, but no one as much as my husband. And I don’t think there was anyone prouder about my accomplishment. Almost immediately, Curt began asking me about my next story. He closely listened as I laid out the plot. His words of affirmation strengthened my fingers to fly over the keyboard on my laptop.

By

February 3, 2021

Grief

Walking Through Grief

I was told that I would be in shock for at least the first month of my grief journey. I didn't understand what it meant until the end of November. The depth of pain and loss I entered into at that time is hard to put into words.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

January 27, 2021

First Line Friday

First Line Friday #113

Tessa would love nothing more than to leave behind this place where her father lost his life at the hands of Indians and where they were threatened to be attacked again at any moment. Her best childhood friend, Keturah, was taken captive by the Lenape tribe years ago when she was still a child, and they never saw her again. Tessa longs to live in a city where none of these threats exist. Of course, people in cities did have to battle disease, but that didn't seem as terrible as the danger she and her family faced every day in the frontier. There wasn't much sense dreaming such things, Tessa told herself, since she doubted she would fit in with the fancy women in civilization. Instead of ball gowns and dainty slippers, Tessa had learned to shoot a gun, swallow fear, and become tough in order to survive.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

January 21, 2021

First Line Friday

First Line Friday #112

I enjoy books that involve children, and especially when these children play an important role in the story, which is the case with The Governess' Debut. Lord Astley is desperate to find a governess for his spoilt daughter. He's lost several governesses who couldn't tolerate the little girl. So when the lovely and too young Felicia Scott arrives for the position, he finds himself in a dilemma. His daughter needs a governess, but he was hoping for someone older and unattractive.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

December 17, 2020

Book Review

Book Review — Imagine Heaven

At the recent loss of my husband, a dear friend sent this book to me as a gift, Imagine Heaven, by John Burke. I can honestly say that it was one of the most helpful gifts I received. I'll tell you why...

By

Anneliese Dalaba

December 9, 2020

First Line Friday

First Line Friday #111

If you've ever read a novel by Mary Connealy, you know that you are in for an adventure whenever you pick up one of her books. Her Secret Song from the Brides of Hope Mountain series is no exception. This is actually the last book in the series. I didn't realize that when I bought it, but I still enjoyed it very much.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

December 3, 2020

Reluctant to Wed

Coming Soon: Audiobook

My first audiobook, Reluctant to Wed, will be released hopefully in December. Unfortunately, Amazon is having a hard time keeping up with demand right now, so it might not be until early 2021. Regardless, I will let you know when it is available. It will only be sold on Audible. 

By

Anneliese Dalaba

November 23, 2020

By

Anneliese Dalaba

October 29, 2020

First Line Friday

First Line Friday #109

Currently, I'm reading books on grief or heaven. Grief helps me to better understand myself and heaven helps me to imagine what Curt might be experiencing now. I know he no longer needs me, but I still need him more than words can say.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

October 15, 2020

Personal

My Son

Psalm 2:7: I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to me, ‘You are My Son. Today I have begotten you.’

By

Anneliese Dalaba

October 9, 2020

First Line Friday

First Line Friday #108

Ashley agrees to marry Tom, a man she met online. After she sells her house in Ohio and arrives in Michigan where he lives, he doesn’t show up at the airport and doesn’t answer his phone. She finds out from his grieving cousin, Russ, that Tom has passed away. It soon becomes apparent that no one in the family was aware that Tom even had a fiancée. At that point, things become complicated. Since Ashley no longer has a home in Ohio, she decides to stay in Tom’s house. But it’s not just Tom’s house. Russ lives there too. Accidentally, Tom also willed the family farm to Ashley. Ashley wants to please everyone, so she suggests a marriage of convenience to Russ. But will Russ agree that this is the answer to their dilemma?

By

Anneliese Dalaba

October 8, 2020

Personal

No Right Time

I have not been keeping up with my blog since receiving the shocking news in July that my husband was diagnosed with Chondrosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, that had already metastasized to other bones and possibly some organs. His only chance for surviving this cancer another year to three years was to have aggressive chemotherapy, which he chose to undergo. In the meantime, hundreds of friends joined us in praying for a miracle. Unfortunately, the first round of chemo did not help at all. A CT scan revealed that the cancer had spread to his lungs with multiple lesions. On September 25th, my dear husband passed away. We shared 33 years of married life, two children, three grandchildren, and many ups and downs of life. I didn't just lose my loving and supportive husband. I lost my very best friend. Life will never be the same again.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

October 8, 2020

Book Review

Book Review—50 Days of Hope

If you or someone you love has received a cancer diagnosis, this is a book you may not want to pass up. 50 Days of Hope by Lynn Eib is a great way to begin your cancer journey.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

September 14, 2020

The Marriage Maneuver

The Story BEFORE the Story

Today, Journeys to Joy is featuring the main character, Lady Selina Kendall, from my novel, The Marriage Maneuver. To read Selina's story BEFORE the story, click HERE.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

August 12, 2020

First Line Friday

First Line Friday #107

My husband and I were gifted with this book since he has just begun his battle with cancer. I want to share it with you. The title is Courage, Hope, and Healing: Finding God's Presence through Life's Toughest Circumstances by Mary Pappas.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

July 23, 2020

First Line Friday

First Line Friday #106

We met Rebecca Switzer in Book One of this historical Amish series. Rebecca was young—too young for romance—in the first novel. However, that didn't stop her from falling in love with Jesse Montgomery. Over the years, she grew into a young woman who secretly held onto her love for Jesse. That is where this book begins. Rebecca decides to go find Jesse and tell him about her love for him. She's certain that Jesse had returned her feelings when she first met him. Once he hears of her undying love, he will return to her community, embrace her Amish beliefs, and they can finally marry.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

July 16, 2020

First Line Friday

First Line Friday #105

The Amish live quiet lives. Separated from the world. And they avoid retaliation. If someone tries to rob them, they won't fight back. They are a peaceful people. But how challenging it must have been to live by those convictions in the Wild West.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

June 25, 2020

Book Review

Book Review: Honor's Wedding

When Honor is told by her parents that they will have to leave Hollybrook, the town her parents and she had grown up in, so her father can get a new job, Honor comes up with a plan. She knew what needed to be done so her parents wouldn't have to move away. She would marry Gabe Chupp. The fact that she doesn't love Gabe doesn't deter her from her plan.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

June 13, 2020

First Line Friday

First Line Friday #104

Gavin Miller moved west to begin a new life but he never forgot the girl, Daisy, he left behind. When his business is up and running, and his house is standing, he decides to write to Daisy to ask for her hand in marriage. Since this is a formal proposal, he chooses to address her by her proper name: Marguerite Chandler. The problem is, he forgot that both Daisy and her cousin, Marge, are named after their grandmother.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

June 11, 2020

First Line Friday

First Line Friday #103

This book is powerful, thought-provoking, and forces you to look deep at the heart of all your thoughts and actions, the things that give you joy and the things that make you sad, the things the cause delight and the things that annoy you.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

June 4, 2020

Book Review

Book Review: Meant for Her

This novel pulls you into the story right from the first sentence. Candi has just been rescued from a horrifying situation: kidnap, rape, as well as physical and emotional abuse. The book doesn’t go into every gory detail of the attack, but rather into the emotional turmoil Candi now finds herself in. The faithful support of a loving, older brother who steadfastly and patiently, without judgment, stands beside her and encourages her helps Candi to feel secure. But he can’t be with her all of the time. Through the friendship of a pastor’s wife and the help of a counselor, things Candi had suppressed come to light and allow her to begin to heal. 

By

Anneliese Dalaba

June 2, 2020

Book Review

Book Review: Where He Leads

After Ami's mother passed away, her wealthy father soon married a woman close to the age of his daughter. This woman wants Ami out of the way. So she influences her husband to marry his daughter off to a man Ami knows has a cruel heart. Ami's disturbing memories of him during their school days make it impossible for her to consider him as a spouse. But her father will only listen to his wife. Ami's mother had not come from wealth and had taught her daughter humility and that there are things more important in life than money. When Ami's father tells her of the arranged marriage he has planned for her, Ami becomes desperate. She decides to join a close friend of her deceased mother on a wagon train to Oregon. But Ami could not have imagined all the hardships and trials she would encounter.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

May 27, 2020

First Line Friday

First Line Friday #102

Today I want to remember Ravi Zacharias, an Indian-born Canadian-American Christian apologist who passed away this week. He will be missed by countless numbers of people. But I'm exceedingly glad he wrote books and created videos so we can continue to learn from him. It was always fascinating listening to him on YouTube. I am currently reading his devotional, The Logic of God. I'm only on chapter two, but it is SO GOOD!

By

Anneliese Dalaba

May 21, 2020

First Line Friday

First Line Friday #101

The Duke of Blackwell’s dream is to win the Gold Cup in the annual horse race, but he has yet to find the right jockey for Beauchamp. The duke is certain he owns the fastest horse. But can he find a jockey who understands the horse and has the ability to bring him first across the finish line? The last thing he wants is to find a wife as his mother unceasingly reminds him he must do.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

May 14, 2020

Reluctant to Wed

Author Interview

I have the distinct honor of being featured on Lena Nelson Dooley's website today in an interview about my award-winning novel, Reluctant to Wed. This is the first book in the Arranged Marriage Series. The setting is Regency England and it's a Historical Christian Romance.

By

Anneliese Dalaba

May 10, 2020

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