Friday, April 29, 2011

TOS Review: Hey Andrew Teach Me Some Greek

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Who Is My Shelter

In Jackson's fourth Yada Yada House of Hope Christian evangelical novel, Gabby Fairbanks is now settled in her new apartment at the House of Hope. But she is being pulled in several directions at once and has some hard decisions to make.

Philip, her estranged husband, is in a lot of trouble with a rogue cop from whom he borrowed money and also with his partner at the commercial development firm after he takes company money to cover his gambling losses. Lee Boyer, the Legal Aid lawyer who has become a friend to Gabby, now wants to be more. Gabby must decide whether to give Philip another chance, as their sons, Paul and PJ, hope, and she turns to the folks at Manna House, where she works, and the Yada Yada Prayer Group to help her discern God's plan for her.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Who is My Shelter, go HERE

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Out With The Old In With The New

The boys have been working on taking down our old fence.    It is really in need of repair.     We are pretty sure it was put in when the house was built which was a long time ago. 

A few years ago, we entertained the idea of just putting up another fence like the one you see here; however, we are going with something that gives us a little more privacy.    We have new neighbors in the house you see.    She is fond of drinking coffee, mowing the lawn, reading books, etc... in little to no clothing.    It has become quite an issue.     The boys have quit going outside because they never know what they are going to be "exposed " to.     One day Big Guy went out and set up his archery equipment to get some practice in and immediately took it all down and came inside because of the display next door.

We are saving our fence wood for Dr. Wifey.   She is going to reuse it to make birdhouses out of.   She is crafty and talented like that!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Head Slap

Why did I forget to take pics of my sweet boys before or after church on Easter Sunday?   I guess it was because we had house guests and I have to be there early to sing for choir, but STILL!   My guys looked so handsome.

I do have these pics that were taken at my sister's house during our Easter lunch that afternoon.     They are handsome no matter what they are wearing.

And this pic of our family after Easter lunch.   Yes, Big Guy is officially taller than I am.

Abigail's New Hope

As an Amish midwife, Abigail Graber loves bringing babies into the world. But when a difficult delivery takes a devastating turn, Abigail is faced with some hard choices. Despite her best efforts, the young mother dies—but the baby is saved.

When a heartless judge confines Abigail to the county jail for her mistakes, her sister Catherine comes to care for her children while Daniel works his fields. Catherine meets Daniel’s reclusive cousin, Isaiah, who’s deaf and thought to be simple minded by his community. She endeavors to teach him to communicate and discovers he possesses unexpected gifts and talents.

While Abigail searches for forgiveness, Catherine changes lives and, in return, finds love, something long elusive in her life. And Isaiah discovers God, who cares nothing about our handicaps or limitations in His sustaining love.

An inspirational tale of overcoming grief, maintaining faith, and finding hope in an ever-changing world.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Abigail's New Hope, go HERE.

Watch the book trailer:

Book Review

Finding an Amish person in jail was quite an unexpected story line, but very believable as you read the story of Abigail.   She works as the community midwife and struggles to save the life of a new mother who is in labor, but refuses to go to the hospital.    After ignoring her protests she calls 911 anyway and does everything she can for the mother.     The baby lives, but the mother loses her life.      Abigail lands in jail for an extended period of time.

This means her husband has to ask Abigail's sister to come and stay to help take care of their children so he can maintain their farm.     

I loved how the relationship between Abigail's sister, Catherine and Isaiah are explored.    It was a beautiful expression of seeing beyond someone's supposed "handicap" to the beautiful person that God created each of us to be.

This is the first in a series of books by Mary Ellis.   I can't wait to read the next one!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cade Brigade

Many of you who read my blog know that Big Guy's best friend is fighting Stage 4 cancer.     He was diagnosed last June.      If you want to know more about his story and his battle you can visit his Caring Bridge site.

Each year our church holds a 5K race called Race For His Glory.   This year the proceeds from the 5K went directly to help Cade and his family.  

Here are some of our kids hanging out at the golf carts they had decorated for Cade.    His parents brought Cade right at the start of the race so he could ride along the 5K route waving and encouraging racers.     Talk about amazing!      So many people haven't seen Cade in a long time and a lot haven't seen him since he got diagnosed.    

Speaking of racers... there were over 500 people who raced in this 5K.    Pretty amazing.    The streets around our church were congested with people running, laughing and talking.     What a way to spend the day before Easter!    I love that second picture hubs took of the crowd because it shows our church steeple in the background.

They named those golf carts the "Cade Brigade", but if you want to meet the REAL Cade Brigade you are seeing them in these pics below.    They are the teen boys who play xBox online with Cade.   They are the ones who give Cade the fun and normalcy he needs in the midst of chemotherapy, radiation and side effects from medicine.     They are the ones who don't ask "How are you feeling?", but ask "Dude, how do you get to the next level in this game?" or "Did you see that?"     They are the ones that Cade talks to when he won't talk to his own mom.    Sometimes sharing things that he SHOULD tell his Mom.     They are his friends.    

When I see these pics below I laugh because I know that they probably aren't talking about anything to do with the race.    They are probably talking some video game strategy.     My son is in that picture and I know before he left that morning he was playing a new game and his one track mind was probably talking non stop about that!

Big Guy picked a friend to be his race buddy.    He is a high school student who plays base in our worship services.     They enjoyed just talking and making their way around the 5K track.    

I appreciate my sweet hubs taking pics for me.    There isn't much that would have prevented me from being at this 5K supporting our friends.    However, I was with my family remembering the life of my uncle which is where my friends would have wanted me to be.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

An Eye For Glory

Michael Palmer is a good man, a family man. But honor and duty push him to leave his comfortable life and answer the call from Abraham Lincoln to fight for his country. This 'citizen soldier' learns quickly that war is more than the battle on the field. Long marches under extreme conditions, illness, and disillusionment challenge at every turn. Faith seems lost in a blur of smoke and blood...and death.

Michael's only desire is to kill as many Confederate soldiers as he can so he can go home. He coldly counts off the rebels that fall to his bullets. Until he is brought up short by a dying man holding up his Bible. It's in the heat of battle at Gettysburg and the solemn aftermath that Michael begins to understand the grave cost of the war upon his soul. Here the journey really begins as he searches for the man he was and the faith he once held so dearly. With the help of his beloved wife, Jesse Ann, he takes the final steps towards redemption and reconciliation.

Using first-hand accounts of the 14th Connecticut Infantry, Karl Bacon has crafted a detailed, genuine and compelling novel on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Intensely personal and accurate to the times, culture, and tragedy of the Civil War, An Eye for Glory may change you in ways you could have never imagined as well.

If you would like to read the first chapter of An Eye For Glory, go HERE.

Watch book video trailer:

Book Review

I love historical fiction, but often times historical fiction is written within the context of a romance.     An Eye for Glory is not romance or even a romanticized look at war.    It is honest and often times raw look through the eye of a soldier.  

Karl Bacon's thorough research showed in this book.    The main character, Michael, gave us glimpses of living as a soldier that I would never have considered.      Dealing with the effects of war during, after and even while at home.    You can sense his discomfort and sometimes even comfort after settling into the routine of living life amongst the battlefield.

This will most definitely be going on both of my boy's required reading list.    

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Abstain From the Appearance of Evil

Making decisions for your kids is pretty tough.    Being sure of those decisions and sticking with them is really tough.    Now that we have entered the teen years we have found more and more antagonism regarding some of our decisions for our boys.   

as he thinketh, so he is” (Prov. 23:7) was one of the first verses that I started teaching the boys when they were little.    Our concept motto was "garbage in... garbage out"!      As silly as it sounds, our first "garbage in... garbage out" decision came over a toddler television show where the child was whiny and sometimes disrespectful to his parents.    We limited their television time so I didn't want them watching that plus I didn't want my boys to start mocking that behavior.

It didn't take long to discover that this "garbage in... garbage out" motto was going to be a life long battle.    When the boys entered public school, they were offered movies to watch that we would never allow.    Soon the Harry Potter book rage began.      We sat down and explained to our boys why we would not allow them to read these books.

There are so many verses in the Bible regarding all the things which are part of the Harry Potter books that it didn't take long to explain to them.    Those who practice witchcraft (sorcery) will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:20-21)    and  “When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire [an ancient occult practice], or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination [detestable] to the LORD…”-Deuteronomy 18:9-12a   

Now, of course, we have advanced to video games.     Big Guy is a teen and developed a love of video games.    We have been training him to read the reviews so he can be active in picking his games.     Recently he came to me with a video game review.     Among the review statements were the facts that characters danced around a stripper pole, grotesque violence, explicit horror and mutilation.     He couldn't believe it only received a "M" rating.   Even more he couldn't believe his friends that were allowed to play it!   

Like I said, we have received so much antagonism for our stance.    People say "it's only a game!" or "I am just so glad my child will read they can read anything they want."   

Ephesians 6:12 says "we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."     

Let me make this clear.    Every parent has to make decisions for their own children.     I am not saying that the decisions I have made for my boys are the ones that you should make for your children.   Not. at. all.  

What I am saying is that sometimes when I am reading the Bible and his explicit commands regarding how to live our life as Christians and how to train up our children, how must He feel about the garbage we are allowing in to our children's lives? 

The older the boys get the more they are exposed to the world around them and more we are aware of the Bible's command to "Avoid every kind of evil."  1 Thessalonians 5:22

Being a parent is not easy, but nothing worth doing ever is.

Monday, April 18, 2011

He Said, She Said

He Said, She Said: A Devotional Guide to Cultivating a Life of Passion, or How Newlyweds, Couples and Singles Can Draw Closer to God and Their Mate Through Daily Devotions

Do you sense something vital missing from you relationship with your spouse, children and God? Are you easily distracted by the busyness of life and left feeling drained, bored, and discouraged? Do you sense you were meant to enjoy the richness of life, but spend your days feasting on crumbs? This heart-warming collection of stories (54 in all) will inspire you to reach for the true source of joy: a life lived for and through God.

These deeply personal (and sometimes humorous) devotions offer biblical insights and spiritual truths from the unique perspective of one man and one woman. Learn to cultivate a life of passion. Perfect for your quiet time, these moments of meditative reflection illustrate the importance of allowing God to work within you and speak through you. No matter if you are newlyweds or newly retired, this book of devotions will help you put the spark back into your love life and explore the precious relationships God desires for you. He Said, She Said touches the heart, tickles the funny bone and brings you to your knees in worship.

If you would like to read an excerpt from He Said, She Said, go HERE.

Watch the book video:

Cindy and Eddie are not only good friends of mine, but a regular source of my spiritual renewal. It's a great idea, the he-said/she-said concept and I always enjoy their devotionals. Both are not only grounded spiritually, and super nice people but they both keep me laughing. It's that humor and heart that makes the spiritual more relatable in the most practical sense.

~Gina Holmes, author of Crossing Oceans~
I've know Eddie Jones and Cindy Sproles for a few years. Each has a way of tickling my funny bone, so I wondered what a devotional book by them would be. I can heartily recommend it. The humor is there, but it's coupled with deep truths that go straight to the heart of the problem. You'll find a path that winds closer to God through He Said, She Said.

~Ane Mulligan, Editor of Novel Journey~

Book Review

Loved this concept for a devotional before I received it, but loved it even more after I started reading it.    Each devotion takes a Scripture and then the husband and wife each wrote their perspective on that verse.

Their chapter titles are just as quirky as their writing....

Puppy Love -- Sealed with a Kiss
We Deserved More Time -- "Time To..."
Making Love -- Bosom Buddies
Stinky Feet -- A Mom's Angst
She Won't Shut Up -- He Won't Open Up
My Weaker Vessel Leaks -- Weaker Vessel My Keel!
Can't Get Enough of Her, Ah...Cooking -- Keep Your Hands Off My Cookies
She's Still the One -- Mr. "Not Right Now"
What's Not to Like? -- Yes (X) or No ( )
Cry Baby -- Whine, Wine, Wean
What A Heifer -- Walk this Way
In Sickness & Wealth -- In Joy & Borrow

Prodigal Dad -- Radical Mom
Dissing Dad -- Dismissing Mom
Throw 'em Out -- Dust 'em Off
G.I. Joe -- "Oh! My God"
Joseph Stepped Up -- He Should've Called Ahead

Have Work Your Way at Bigger King -- I Forgot
From Pit to Prominence -- Down in the Hole
Take a Chance... Advance! -- Wake Up!
Passing Grades -- Landing in "Grace"-land
"Hey, Dad, Someone's Calling for You" -- Jump

Building Permit -- My Homework Is Not in Vain
High Anxiety -- Keep Back a Dollar
We're Broke -- We're Blessed
Making a Dollar Go a Long Way -- A Little Goes a Long Way!
Church of the Doubting Saint Thomas -- Church, It's Habit Forming    

I received my copy as an ebook that I read on my Kindle.     I loved receiving it that way because it was easy to hand it off to hubs for him to read as well.

Both Eddie and Cindy write very honestly.   At some moments you will be laughing and at others you will find your eyes filling with tears.     You will find yourself relating to them on so many levels.

As much as I admired their raw honesty, there was one area of honesty that I kind of struggled with in the book.     Eddie obviously struggles with lust of the eyes.    He talks many times about looking at other women.    Is this something that men deal with?   Definitely.    Is it something that they can have victory over?  Definitely.    God says in Galatians 5:16 that "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh."     My concern is that this couple is one that is still fighting this battle, but quite possibly not using all the tools available to them.    

There's victory in the cross.   Break free and all your chains will be gone!   

How To Be God's Little Princess - Kindle Giveaway and Facebook Princess Tea Party

A fun guide book for God's little princesses 
 Hardcover, Thomas Nelson

What does it take to be a princess? Sheila Walsh has some important answers to share for every little girl. This trendy design features black and white line art and a two-color pink and black interior. The art will tie to each how-to topic in the book-how to make the best pink cookies, how to wear a tiara, how to earn money at home, how to care for a royal dog, how to be respectful, how to use good manners, how to help Mom, how to follow Jesus, how to act like a princess when things go terribly wrong, and many more.

Book Review

I can see this precious book in every little girl's Easter basket!    With a pink cover  and a bright silver tiara, it has instant "curb" appeal for any little girl.      Thumbing through the pages shows that the inside is just as attractive with lots of cute illustrations and deep pink wording.      Just past the table of contents, Song of Solomon 6:10 is printed.

"Who is that young woman?
She shines out like the dawn.
She's as pretty as the moon.
She's as bright as the sun..."

Sheila Walsh shares with our precious girls how to be "God's Little Princess" in their every day lives.    Her chapters include the following titles...

  • How to Dress Like A Princess
  • How To Wear A Tiara (And Other Princess Necessities)
  • How A Princess Perfects Her Poise
  • How To Be Friends Princess Style
  • How To Dine With Royal Success
  • How To Sparkle Like A Princess
  • How To Have A Rockin' Royal Party
  • How To Be Media Wise
  • How To Be A Perfectly Polite Princess
  • How To Be A Princess At Home
  • How A Princess Sports A Good Attitude
  • How A Princess Knows She Needs An Inner Beauty Makeover
Each chapter is written in a fun way.    Quizzes to get your little girl thinking about each aspect of her life as a princess of God.    Crafts are included for your little princess to do.   Internet do's and don'ts are addressed.  There is even a great section on how to write the perfect thank you note!

This book would make a great book for a mini-course on etiquette in your church or even a summer mini-camp.     I highly recommend this for all the girls in your life:  daughters, nieces, cousins, friends, etc...    We owe it to the girls in our life to let them know how valued they are in God's eyes.

Sheila Walsh is celebrating the release of How to Be God’s Little Princess with a KINDLE giveaway and Facebook Princess Tea Party!

“In How to Be God’s Little Princess, it’s my prayer that young girls will learn important life skills and discover for themselves how to navigate the do’s and don’ts of life. I want them to see that making wise decisions about clothes, friends, family, make-up, and more can be FUN! – Sheila Walsh

Read what people are saying here.

Sheila has put together a Princess prize package worth over $200!

One lucky winner will receive:

    * A brand new KINDLE with Wi-Fi & New Pearl Screen
    * How to Be God’s Little Princess (autographed copy)
    * A Princess Tea Kit (includes princess backpack, tiara, book, jewelry making kit, & mug)

To enter click on entry ports below, then tell your friends! Hurry, giveaway ends 4/30! But wait! There’s more … On May 4th join Sheila at her Author Page on Facebook for the Princess Tea Party! She will announce the winner of the KINDLE, connect with readers and give away a ton of fun products from the Gigi and God’s Little Princess line! Tweens invited! Don’t miss the fun! She is looking forward to connecting and learning more about you – so be sure to stop by on May 4th at 5:00 PM PST (6 PM MST, 7 PM CST, & 8 PM EST).

Enter Via:
Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter 

Disclaimer:  As part of LitFuse Publisity Group, I did receive this book for free.  The fact that I received complimentary products does not guarantee a favorable review.  It does guarantee a review. A fair review. But I am not going to praise something unless I think it deserves the praise.  If I don't like it, you'll hear that.  And hopefully with enough detail as to why so you can decide for yourself if what I hate about it makes it perfect for your family.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Our Week In Review

In my life this week...
I'm ready for our summer! Is it here yet?   Of course, our calendar is already filling up with VBS, camps, and things that the boys want to do.   

In our homeschool this week...
Little Guy only has one more week of his Anatomy and Physiology class.    I can't believe we are winding down our school year.    

Places we're going and people we're seeing...
Busy week with baseball, shooting sports, archery, church and school!   

My favorite thing this week was...
So maybe this wasn't my favorite thing, but it definitely was the funniest thing.     I went for my yearly "squish" test (ladies know what I am talking about).     The technician came in and said, "I want you to change.    If you are wearing deodorant, please remove it."   IF?  IF?   This is Mississippi.  What woman wouldn't be wearing deodorant?   

What's working/not working for us...
Our nighttime schedule is crazy right now.    We haven't been home at night for weeks.     Baseball games and practice, shooting sports practice, my working, church, etc.... I am ready for some of this to settle down.   

With all the rain recently, the baseball league is rescheduling our games.   The day they have decided to reschedule them for?   Sunday.    We told our coach that we don't allow our boys to play sports or participate in outside activities on Sundays.     We wrote a letter to the commissioner and asked him to reconsider, but he said that all other days of the week were already booked.     We asked him if they had ever putting makeup games into the schedule since rain is always going to be a factory with spring ball.     He never answered that question.     

When Little Guy went to his ball game, one of the guys on his team yelled at him for not coming to the Sunday game.    He told him that he should tell his parents that baseball is most important.     Little Guy said, "It is not most important."     

Most everyone knows the Scripture, "Honor the Sabbath Day and keep it holy." but we have also tried to teach our boys that there are so many other Scriptures that teach us about honoring the Sabbath.   I love this one in Isaiah.

"If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy day honorable...then you will find joy in the LORD." Isaiah 58:13
Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...
This is the time of year to start thinking about curriculum for next year.    I sat down with Big Guy the other day to ask him if he has put any thought into what foreign language he might want to study in high school.    He immediately answered German.    Out of all the languages that was not the one I expected to hear so I asked him "why?".     He said, "If I learned German then I could understand what all those military guys were saying on my video games."     The rationale of boys!  

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...

My pics come from Little Guy's baseball game.     Because of his 4H competition, the Natchez Trace Bicycle Race and then rain, this was his first baseball game.   He was very excited about playing and the coach had been asking if he would be willing to play catcher.    That is his favorite position to play!

I hope you can see Coach's hair above.   He let the boys spray paint his hair orange for winning the game.   We have a fun coach this season!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Birthday Cake Tradition

My boys make me cakes every year for my birthday.    It is my favorite tradition.    They ban me from the kitchen.    I love listening to them bake, create and then announce it is time to come see.     I love my precious boys.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Natchez Trace Century Ride

Hubs and Little Guy rode in the Natchez Trace Century Ride last Saturday.    When they went out to load their bikes at 6:30 in the morning it was already 60 degrees.     That is quite a warm start to race day!   

Since Big Guy had to be at church at 7:30 to meet his mission team to leave to go paint a local high school and I had our final choir rehearsal for our worship experience, neither of us could go to the start line to cheer them off.   We were kind of bummed.     

Thankfully, hubs took a few pics so we could see how it was going.     This is the best pic ever...

Hubs and Little Guy rode 30 miles for this race.     This is Little Guy's personal best.    So proud of him!   

Blood of the Prodigal

For Jonah Miller, shunned by his Old Order sect and cast into the wider world, the summer begins with his decision to kidnap his ten-year-old son from the home of the bishop who had exiled Miller a decade earlier. In his desperation to retrieve the boy, the bishop appeals for help to the only "English" men the sect would ever approve.

Professor Michael Branden and Pastor Caleb Troyer had been looking forward to the kind of sleepy rural summer they had enjoyed as boyhood friends growing up in the small college town of Millersburg. Instead, they plunge into the normally closed Amish culture to find the boy. When the kidnapping leads to murder, they can no longer keep the case from the law. Working sometimes at cross purposes with his friend Sheriff Bruce Robertson, Professor Branden digs through the past to uncover truths that many would prefer to leave undisturbed. Little does he suspect that even the anguished bishop, torn by an insoluble moral dilemma, tragically does not tell everything he knows about the case. Suddenly the vast tangle of Amish and Mennonite settlements that sprawl among several thousand small farms and homesteads seems less bucolic than unknowable and impenetrable.

As they inquire delicately among the peaceful ones, Branden and Troyer learn that the troubles of Jonah Miller began far earlier than the kidnapping, with his Rumschpringe - the customary wild year before taking Amish vows. But his grand Rumschpringe had exploded into a decade of drugs, whiskey, and women, in the company of people no Amish person should meet.

In the tradition of Tony Hillerman, P. L. Gaus depicts a culture that successfully stands outside the mainstream yet interacts with it in complex and fascinating ways, a culture that is every bit as susceptible to the undertow of the human spirit as any we might know.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Blood of the Prodigal, go HERE.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Big Guy's Father Son Weekend

Hubs and Big Guy recently went on their annual Father/Son weekend.      I am so blessed to have a husband which makes it a priority to take our boys away one weekend a year to spend with our boys.    It is a time for them to bond and a time for hubs to share with them about the important issues that they will face.  

One of the things that hubs challenges the boys to do in the weekend is to budget.    It is something that he strives to do every day, but it is something that is part of their weekend.   He sets a spending limit for their weekend and then they squeeze as much fun out of the weekend as possible.      

When Groupon had a weekend offer for a cabin at Jellystone Park they snatched that right up.     Look at the view from their front porch.    

They both love to fish so they woke up early the first morning there to do just that.    Big Guy caught quite a few big ones.    They cleaned and cooked up these fish for supper along with hush puppies and other yummies.     As you can see, Little Guy is not the only chef in our family!

They also enjoyed a little putt putt, frisbee golf, playing games and just sitting on the front porch talking.

Both my hubs and Big Guy came back so relaxed and talking about the fun they had that Little Guy can't wait for his Father Son weekend.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Time With Our Beauties

If we get a chance to spend a few days with my sweet nieces, we jump!    My sister was away on a business trip which means my parents had the girls by themselves for several days.   Also, my Dad was fighting an injury to his leg so that meant keeping up with two year olds was quite a challenge.     The boys and I decided to go over and hopefully help my parents out by playing with the twins.

We had the best time playing with them.    The girls wanted to do anything the boys were doing.   When Little Guy was doing his school work, they both wanted to sit at the table with him doing their own school work.    When Big Guy was on the computer, they both wanted to sit in his lap and "do it too".    

We love spending time with our sweet little beauties.    My sweet boys make great big "brother" cousins.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tea for Two

Zack Cooper tries his best to raise his children, but he's losing his grip on them in their teen years. They've both had scrapes with the local law.

Tea Shop owner Milly Jewel has the perfect woman in mind to help Zack. Counselor Tina Milano meets weekly at the tea shop with her women's group. Milly encourages Zack and Tina to work together to draw the teens back before they get in even hotter water. Milly never thought things might heat up between Zack and Tina. Or did she?

Tina's connections with the Middleburg police department prove a mixed blessing for Zack and his kids. Both her best friend and old boyfriend are officers on the force.

And when Tina's women's group gets wind of her personal pursuits and clashes, they want to help. The group's meetings at the tea shop take on a slightly different flavor. Tina wonders who, exactly, is counseling whom.

Although heroine Tina Milano and her women's group are mentioned in The Perfect Blend (the first book in this series), Tea for Two is where we meet her and hero Zack Cooper. I knew I would write this book while I wrote the first, so it was fun to plant a passing mention of Zack and Tina while I wrote Steph's story in The Perfect Blend. By the time I was able to write Tina and Zack's story, I was eager to unfold their lives, conflicts, and love. I hope readers will be eager to experience what happens to them!

If you would like to read the first chapter of , go HERE.

Watch the Book Video:

Book Review

I wished many times for a Tea Shop in my neighborhood just like the one that was the center of this story line.     Relaxing with this book was just as refreshing as eating one of Milly's delicious pastries and drinking a hot cup of tea.


Terri Blackstock spoke at our Ladies Night Out Thursday night.   She ended the night by reading this poem by Russell Kelfer.    I loved it so much I thought I would share it with you.

Russell Kelfer

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried:
Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
I pled and wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said,
“Child you must wait.”
“Wait? You say, wait!” my indignant reply.
“Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!”
“Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?”
“By faith, I have asked, and am claiming Your Word.”
“My future and all to which I can relate”
“Hangs in the balance, and You tell me to WAIT?”
“I’m needing a ‘Yes,’ a go-ahead sign,”
“Or even a ‘No’ to which I can resign.”
“And Lord, You promised that if we believe”
“We need but to ask, and we shall receive.”
“And Lord, I’ve been asking, and this is my cry:”
“’I’m weary of asking! I need a reply!’”
Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again, “You must wait.”
So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut
And grumbled to God, “So, I’m waiting…for what?”
He seemed then, to kneel
And His eyes wept with mine,
And He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign
I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.”
“All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want-
But you wouldn’t know Me.
You’d not know the depth of My love for each saint;
You’d not know the power I give to the faint;”
“You’d not learn to see through the clouds of despair;
You’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there;
You’d not know the joy of resting in Me;
When darkness and silence were all you could see.”
“You’d never experience that fullness of love
As the peace of my spirit descends like a dove;
You’d know that I give and I save, for a start,
But you’d not know the depth of the beat of My heart.”
“The glow of My comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight,
The depth that’s beyond getting just what you asked
Of an infinite God, who makes what you have last.”
“You’d never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee.’
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true
But, oh, the loss, if you missed what I’m doing in you.”
"So, be silent, My child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still . . . Wait."

Friday, April 8, 2011

Our Week In Review

In my life this week...
This week has gone by so quickly.    It started off with my boys spoiling me rotten for my birthday.    They gave me sweet cards and let me go eat sushi for lunch.     Sushi isn't in their vocabulary so that was truly an act of love for them.   

In our homeschool this week...
We have been on a snatch and grab schedule this week.    We snatch some time in random spots and grab some school work to do.       Little Guy has been studying the integumentary system in his anatomy and physiology class.    After his online lecture he asked me if I was albino since I sunburned so easily.    I thought that was pretty funny.    

Places we're going and people we're seeing...
We took a trip home to Vicksburg on Tuesday and Wednesday.  My sister was gone on a business trip which means my parents had the twins by themselves for three full days.    That takes a lot of energy.   So we went over to help play and entertain.    

My favorite thing this week was...
Again it is a tie...
1.   Wednesday we had our next to last choir rehearsal for the Victory worship service this Sunday morning.     I can't begin to express what a time of worship this was.    It was amazing.    I love the fact that all of our choir rehearsals are times of worship, but this one was overwhelmingly so.   I can't wait for this Sunday morning's service.
2.  I went to see Terri Black speak last night at our church.    I love her books so much.     She is such a good writer and I was pleased to find out she speaks as well as she writes.      Her most recent book series is based on something that happened in her life with her own daughter, Michelle.     If you haven't read her latest book, Vicious Cycle.   Check it out!

What's working/not working for us...
The total lack of groceries right now.     I seriously have to take care of that problem today.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...
It feels like we still have so much school work left to do before the end of this school year.   I am debating whether to "cram" or just keep working into the summer.    We usually try to do summer bridge work anyway so what is the difference with just continuing on with our regular curriculum?

Random photo, quote or thought...

 My Big Guy... Just sitting quietly in the cool morning air.
Right after this photo he looked up at me and said, "I love you, Mom."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

4H Invitational Competition

Last Saturday was a gorgeous day for the boys first 4H invitational shooting competition.     The competition was held at the FBI shooting range which is a huge deal.    We are the only organization outside of law enforcement who has ever used their shooting range.       It is a beautiful place.      It was a huge turnout because 178 shooters from 8 counties showed up to participate.    They said it was their biggest turnout for this event.

Both boys competed in three separate events throughout the day.     Big Guy's first event was the .22 rifle.     I was amazed at his steady hand.   You shoot three separate rounds:  one lying flat, one kneeling and one standing.

All those hours of practice really showed.     Big Guy was grace under pressure and it showed, because he won first place.

Little Guy and his best friend, J, both competed in 5 meter and 10 meter air pistol.      I sat behind the line with my binoculars watching as they shot their rounds.     Little Guy hit the black on every one of his shots!    He wound up winning the 10 meter air pistol round because of his sharp shooting.

Little Guy got mad at me for having a favorite event, but I really do love the archery most of all.     There is so much skill involved and you can see the results immediately.      Big Guy is lucky that he trains with such an incredible instructor.     The gentlemen who trains him once was in the Olympics in archery.    

Big Guy was just a few points off winning first place in this event.     Right before he went to participate his sighter fell off and it took him the first round to get it reset.    If he hadn't had to do that we feel like he would have had the points to win.     If he keeps practicing between now and state, who knows?

State competition is on April 30th.      Can't wait to cheer my boys on!