Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent of Activities

I love Christmas.  It is a time to celebrate Jesus' birthday first and foremost.   I also love spending the month focusing on my boys and spending time as a family.

We have planned an entire countdown calendar of events for this month of Advent (in no special order!)

1 - Making gingerbread houses with our friends in Atlanta.
2 -Skating
3 - Christmas Lights in Canton 
4 - Seeing Peter and the Wolf performed by Czech Puppetry Guild
5 - Our church's Christmas program, "The Gift"
6 - Baking Christmas cookies with my sister's family on Christmas Eve
7 - Christmas caroling
8 - Reading our Advent book, Jotham's Journey, every night before bed
9 - Drinking lots of hot chocolate in front of the fireplace
10 - Having a camp out with s'mores and hot dogs in front of the Christmas tree
11 - Adopting a child from the Angel Tree
12 - Volunteering with Salvation Army Angel Tree
13 - Volunteering with the Christmas Village Cafe du Monde
14 - Watching "Elf"
15 - Buy/make the boys an ornament
16 - Invite college kids over for a Christmas pancake supper
17 - Reading all our old Christmas books from when the boys were little
18 - Buy hot chocolate/coffee for one of the Salvation Army bell ringers
19 - Leave a present in the mailbox for our letter carrier
20 - Give out candy canes with "Christmas notes" taped to them to anyone we see at drive-thru windows.
21 - Deliver special treats to my husband and all his staff at work
23 - Play lots of Christmas music



Christmas Eve - Take special treat to fire fighters down the street because it is no fun to be away from your family on Christmas Eve!
Christmas Day - Go to Christmas services and invite someone over to eat lunch with us who doesn't have family in town.





Monday, November 28, 2011

Lost Melody


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Lost Melody
Zondervan (October 25, 2011)
by
Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith


ABOUT THE AUTHORS:


Lori lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband Lance. Lance and Lori have three sons, three daughter-in-laws, and six wonderful grandchildren, and two great-granddaughters. Lance and Lori are very involved in their church, and active in supporting mission work in Mali, West Africa.

Lori began her writing career in 1982, writing for the secular book market. In 1995, after many years of writing, Lori sensed that God was calling her to use her gift of writing to honor Him. It was at that time that Lori began writing for the Christian book market. To date, she has had over 100 books published.



Virginia Smith is the author of more than a dozen Christian novels and over fifty articles and short stories. Her books have been named finalists in the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, the American Christian Fiction Writer's Book of the Year Award, and ACFW's Carol Award.

A Certified Lay Speaker for the United Methodist Church, Ginny's messages are always well-received by a variety of audiences in conferences, retreats and churches across the country. When she isn't writing or speaking, Ginny and her husband, Ted, enjoy exploring the extremes of nature – snow skiing in the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, motorcycle riding on the curvy roads in central Kentucky, and scuba diving in the warm waters of Mexico and the Caribbean.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The beautiful piano sitting in the corner of Jill King's apartment begs to be played. For over a year, it has sat untouched, ever since a terrible accident shattered Jill's ambition of becoming a concert pianist. The ragged scar on her left hand is a cruel and constant reminder of the death of her dream. But another dream is about to come to life---an unexpected, horrifying dream that will present Jill with a responsibility she never wanted. And choices she never wanted to make. Hundreds of lives depend on Jill's willingness to warn her small, oceanside town in Nova Scotia of a nameless, looming disaster. But doing so could cost Jill her reputation, jeopardize the political career of the man she loves, and ruin their plans for a future together. The fate of an entire community hangs in the balance as Jill wrestles with the cost of heeding one still, small voice.

If you would like to read a chapter excerpt of Lost Melody, go HERE.

A Marriage Carol


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Marriage Carol
Moody Publishers (September 1, 2011)
by
Chris Fabry and Gary Chapman


ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

CHRIS FABRY is a graduate of W. Page Pitt School of Journalism at Marshall University and Moody bible Institute's Advanced Studies Program. Chris can be heard daily on Love Worth Finding, featuring the teaching of the late Dr. Adrian Rogers. He received the 2008 "Talk Personality of the Year" Award from the National Religious Broadcasters. He has published more than 60 books since 1995, many of them fiction for younger readers. Chris collaborated with Jerry B. Jenkins and Dr. Tim LaHaye on the children's series Left Behind: The Kids. His two novels for adults, Dogwood and June Bug, are published by Tyndale House Publishers. Chris is married to his wife Andrea and they have five daughters and four sons.



GARY CHAPMAN is the author of the bestselling Five Love Languages series and the director of Marriage and Family Life Consultants, Inc. Gary travels the world presenting seminars, and his radio program airs on more than 400 stations.


ABOUT THE BOOK

On Christmas Eve twenty years earlier, Marlee and Jacob were married in a snowstorm. This Christmas Eve, they are ready to quit, divorce is imminent. Their relationship is as icy as the road they’re traveling and as blocked with troubles as the piling snow. They take a shortcut to get to the lawyer’s office, on a slippery, no-fault path. She thinks they need to stay on the main road. He disagrees. They fight. Story of their lives and they slam into a bank of snow , spinning, drifting, falling, out of control. Just like their lives. Reluctantly, freezing cold, hungry, scared, she trudges up the hill. Paul is nowhere to be found. Her ears frozen, fingers and hands red, she comes to a house on the hillside, built like a Bed and Breakfast, a green wreath on the red door and the door-knocker is in the shape of a wedding ring.

The red door opens and the first thing she notices is the fire in the room, blazing hot, a warm, inviting, friendly place and the voice of an old man welcomes her in. There are three golden pots on the hearth, shining, glimmering things. The old man claims that they are used to restore marriages. She laughs—and begins a journey through her past, present, and future that will test how she views her lifelong love. There are two futures available. Which will she choose?

If you would like to read the first chapter excerpt of A Marriage Carol, go HERE.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Let Us Come Before Him...


SAT & College Prep Course for the Christian Student

SAT and College Prep Course for the Christian Student

Getting ready for college includes performing well on the SAT. The SAT score helps determine acceptance into college and the acquisition of scholarships. In the new expanded edition of the SAT and College Preparation Course for the Christian Student, Dr. James Stobaugh offers the Christian student a unique opportunity to be well prepared for the test. Also, students will focus on the spiritual disciplines of Bible reading, study, Scripture meditation and memorization, and prayer. A former SAT scorer, Stobaugh reports, “the best SAT scores come from students who have serious, disciplined prayer and devotional lives.” For this reason, the introduction to each lesson includes Scripture reading and a devotional journaling exercise.

Critical thinking and essay writing are major themes within the SAT. Stobaugh coaches the Christian student who might otherwise passionately respond to a leading essay question without hitting the marks that the test is measuring.

Dr. James Stobaugh, is a Merrill Fellow at Harvard University with additional theology degrees from Princeton and Gordon-Conwell. He is a recognized leader in homeschooling and an expert in college preparation education. He and his wife travel to speak on topics including literature, SAT/ACT preparation, and education.

Book Review

The life verse we have chosen for our boys is 3 John 1:4, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in truth."    I never thought a SAT prep book would help in our preparation of our boys in teaching them Truth, but this one does an incredible job.    

I am so impressed with this SAT prep book.   My son is using it using the three year format as he is in 9th grade.   If your student is in the 10th grade they could use the two year format or if in 11th grade the one year format.    

All great disciplines must be established through repetition.   The SAT prep book helps establish the disciplines of Bible reading, journaling on your reading, Scripture memorization and prayer.     Beyond it emphasizes what SAT is strong for which is critical thinking and essay writing.   Those things take a lot of practice to develop.  

This is not your typical SAT prep, however with its strong emphasis on reading, writing and the disciplines it is one that I appreciate.   It is also one that the benefits will be appreciated long after the SAT test.


This book was provided for free for review by New Leaf Publishing.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Why God Won't Go Away

The rise of the new atheism, which includes the manifestos of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, has created a public willingness in today’s marketplace to talk about God and religion. Yet the debate up to this point has focused largely on rebutting the new atheist critique of Christianity. Why God Won't God Away moves into new territory by challenging the new atheism on its own grounds.

Chapters include discussion on:
-What is the new atheism
-The problem of religion
-The problem of human nature
-Believing only what can be proved
-Dealing with imagined worlds and myths
-The new humanism and the new enlightenment
-Violence and dogmatism

This book is written by a theology professor and Christian apologist who not only has a best-selling book rebutting the new atheist critique of Christianity but has debated Richard Dawkins in Oxford, Christopher Hitchens in Washington, and Daniel Dennett in London.

Book Review

Something very important to keep in mind before you start reading this book is to remember that this is not a book written with the purpose to that God is real.   It is not even meant to lead you to God or to find "religion".  This book's purpose is to show the faults and flaws of what are considered the leading authorities of today's New Atheism.   He basically does what a wise person in my life once told me, "Just because you don't want to believe in what God says does not make it not true!"   

In Why God Won't Go Away, Alister challenges the beliefs embraced by four main writers: Richard Dawkins, Daniel C Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hutchins. He refers to them as "The Four Horsemen" , the result of an informal discussion among the four in 2007.

Reading his writing all seemed so rational that I wondered why I get so flustered when talking with a few atheist friends of mine.    It made me realize that I am not as prepared as I need to be.    It also reminded me that it is not my job to convince them.  That is GOD's job and I am so not equipped to stand in His shoes!

I received this resource free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Sneeze book review blogger program. All that was required of me is that I review it, positively or negatively, on my site.

Pieces of Light

Detective Dinah Harris hunts down a serial bomber targeting religious icons and buildings. The bomber is on a mission to rid the city of religion and establish a 'new world order'. Can someone so intent on ridding the world of God experience redemption? What lies behind his hatred of God? Will his darkened soul search for pieces of light?

The first two books of the series, Deadly Disclosures and The Shadowed Mind reveal the amazing grace of God while showcasing a world losing sight of Him. In Pieces of Light, Cave’s continues her compelling storylines using believable characters and realistic situations to:
  • Identify the importance of living under the authority of the Bible
  • Deliver a Biblical worldview perspective to current events
  • Illustrate the power of Jesus’s sacrifice and desire to redeem every life
  • Provide believers a resource easy to share with skeptics
Recently, Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis described The Shadowed Mind (book two) as "another nail-biting mystery with an incredibly powerful message about God’s authoritative Word."

Julie Cave is a Christian Australian author determined to share the authority of the Bible and love of God. By writing fiction, she teaches both the Christian and skeptic the power of God's word and the saving love of Christ.

Book Review

I was really sad to find out this is the final book in the Dinah Harris mystery series.  Julie Cave has really hit her stride in writing these books.    I hope that she will continue to write to mysteries!     Despite being the third book in a series, you really don't need to read the first two although you will want to after reading this one.

As in the previous books, this book centers around Dinah Harris.    She is a former FBI agent who is so well known for her expertise she is brought back to consult on major cases.    There is a reason she isn't an agent anymore and plays a significant role in developing the story, but I won't reveal that here.

The case in this book centers around someone bombing churches.     Their goal is obviously to find the bomber before he strikes again and more people die.    The heart of the "argument" in this book is the separation between church and state.    It is an argument you have probably heard one or twice before.    However, you will definitely have a Biblical worldview perspective after reading this entertaining book!

I was provided a complimentary book of this book to review by New Leaf Publishing.


Promise Brides


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Promise Brides
Barbour Books (November 1, 2011)
by
S. Dionne Moore


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



S. Dionne Moore resides in South Central PA with her family. She is a weekly contributor to The Borrowed Book where she posts tips on the writing life, recipes, and teaches on various writing-related subjects. In addition to writing cozy mysteries, she pens historical romances that bring strong focus to locales within her region of Pennsylvania as a way of indulging her passion for history. In Fall of 2011 her first of three romances set in Wyoming, A Sheepherder's Song, will release.



ABOUT THE BOOK



Love is the same, no matter when, no matter where—it never comes without sacrifice. Theodore risks capture for Ellie, but will their hope for a future together be defeated? Can Marylu trust Chester, or is she asking for another broken heart? Will Alaina and Jack find common ground, or will flood waters destroy any possible future? Enjoy three romances from the historic state of Pennsylvania.

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

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ready to Hit Pause

I should so be in bed asleep.   Sundays are such long days for me.   However, I am sitting here trying to finish all of the boys' school work.    I really want to go into next week without any schoolwork looming over my head.    I want one full week completely school free.   

I am so thankful that I get to homeschool my boys.   I love the time we get to spend together.   I love the flexibility it allows us.   I love that the boys can fly through an entire chapter in one day if they aren't having any problems or spend three days on one lesson if they are struggling.   

However, it is so much work to plan lessons for two different grades for twelve different subjects every day.    My brain is tired.    I'll admit it.    Biology and Latin are killing me!    All this kingdom and phylum and classification.....  oh my!     I took Latin a LONG time ago in high school.     Every time we do a lesson I remember just how long ago that was.     Why didn't I pay more attention the first time?  

It will be nice to have a Thanksgiving break.   I am looking forward to having two days to just bake and play games with the boys before we leave.     I would love for it to get really cold so we could build a fire and roast hot dogs and marshmallows and play games of Uno.   

I guess I should get back at it.    Just a few more Latin lessons and I can finish grading and get the boys' backpacks filled with schoolwork for after Thanksgiving break.    

After that I am ready to hit pause on all things school!



Christmas in Sugarcreek


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Christmas In Sugarcreek
Avon Inspire (October 25, 2011)
by
Shelley Shepard Gray


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Since 2000, Shelley Sabga has sold over thirty novels to numerous publishers, including HarperCollins, Harlequin, and Abingdon Press. She has been interviewed by NPR, and her books have been highlighted in numerous publications, including USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.

Under the name Shelley Shepard Gray, Shelley writes Amish romances for HarperCollins’ inspirational line, Avon Inspire. Her recent novel, The Protector, the final book in her “Families of Honor” series, hit the New York Times List, and her previous novel in the same series, The Survivor, appeared on the USA Today bestseller list. Shelley has won the prestigious Holt Medallion for her books, Forgiven and Grace, and her novels have been chosen as Alternate Selections for the Doubleday/Literary Guild Book Club. Her first novel with Avon Inspire, Hidden, was an Inspirational Reader’s Choice finalist.

Before writing romances, Shelley lived in Texas and Colorado, where she taught school and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. She now lives in southern Ohio and writes full time. Shelley is married, the mother of two children in college, and is an active member of her church. She serves on committees, volunteers in the church office, and currently leads a Bible study group, and she looks forward to the opportunity to continue to write novels that showcase her Christian ideals.

When she’s not writing, Shelley often attends conferences and reader retreats in order to give workshops and publicize her work. She’s attended RWA’s national conference six times, the ACFW conference and Romantic Times Magazine’s annual conference as well as traveled to New Jersey, Birmingham, and Tennessee to attend local conferences.

Check out Shelley's Facebook Fan page


ABOUT THE BOOK


Judith Graber has always been the obedient daughter. When her older brother Josh struggled with his love life, she offered wise counsel. When her younger brother Caleb flirted with the idea of leaving their order, she firmly told him he was wrong. Over the years, she’s watched her younger siblings, helped around the house, and worked in her family’s store during her spare time. Judith feels overworked, overlooked, and underappreciated this holiday season.

But everything changes when her father hires Ben Knox.

Ben Knox is the “bad boy” of Sugarcreek. Though he’s never considered jumping the fence, he’s certainly never tried to be anything close to dutiful. Two years ago he left Sugarcreek under a cloud of shame. Rumors circulated that his rumspringa had been filled with more than the usual harmless explorations.

Now he’s back and working side by side with Judith.
As the chaos of the holiday season threatens to sap all joy, sparks fly between Ben and Judith. But Judith steels herself to ignore her infatuation. The last thing she wants to be is just one more girl who falls under Ben’s spell. Ben, on the other hand, wants Judith to realize there’s more to him than his bad reputation. When he fled Sugarcreek, he was running from a disruptive home life. Now that he’s back, he wants a fresh beginning.
Could this Christmas season bring love and a new life for the unlikeliest pair in Sugarcreek?

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Trying to Get A Christmas Card Photo


The boys have reached the age where they are not fans of taking photos.     When I told them I really needed to get photos for our Christmas cards the looks on their faces were priceless.     After about five pictures they said, "Are we done yet?"   

The cards are done and at the printers.   I am hoping they will get back before we have to leave for Thanksgiving so I can get them addressed and all ready to send out.    Just one more thing checked off my "to do" list.

Long Trail Home



This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Long Trail Home
Moody Publishers; New Edition edition (November 1, 2011)
by
Vickie McDonough


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Vickie McDonough is an award-winning author of twenty-four books and novellas. Her books have won the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, Texas Gold, the ACFW Noble Theme contest, and she has been a multi-year finalist in ACFW’s BOTY/Carol Awards. She was voted Third Favorite Author in the Heartsong Presents Annual Readers Contest in 2009. Vickie is the author of the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series from Barbour Publishing. She has also authored two books in the Texas Trails: A Morgan Family series, in which she partners with Susan Page Davis and Darlene Franklin to write a six-book series that spans fifty years of the Morgan family. Also, next year brings the release of a new series from Guidepost/Summerside: Pioneer Promises, set in 1870s Kansas.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Long Trail Home is third in a six-book series about four generations of the Morgan family living, fighting, and thriving amidst a turbulent Texas history spanning from 1845 to 1896. Although a series, each book can be read on its own.When Riley Morgan returns home after fighting in the War Between the States, he is excited to see his parents and fiancee again. But he soon learns that his parents are dead and the woman he loved is married. He takes a job at the Wilcox School for the blind just to get by. He keeps his heart closed off but a pretty blind woman, Annie, threatens to steal it. When a greedy man tries to close the school, Riley and Annie band together to fight him and fall in love.But when Riley learns the truth about Annie, he packs and prepares to leave the school that has become his home and the woman who has thawed his heart. Will he change his mind and find the love he craves' Or will stubbornness deprive him from the woman he needs' Through painful circumstances, Riley and Annie learn that the loving and sovereign hand of God cannot be thwarted.

If you would like to read the Prologue of Long Trail Home, go HERE.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Just A Little To Do

Deliver canned goods to local food pantry.
Get Big Guy a new pair of tennis shoes.
Cook food for husband's Thanksgiving office dinner.
Cook food for Gatlinburg.
Wash clothes.
Pack clothes.
Pack games and entertainment for trip.
Finish school assignments before Thanksgiving break.
Grade school assignments.
Refill and Pick Rx from Pharmacy.
Attend a wedding.
Choir rehearsal.
Set hold for mail with the post office.
Church Thanksgiving dinner.
Get car into the shop for tune up.
Find someone to take care of cat and fish while we are gone.
Attend last co-op classes.
Purchase tickets online for events we are attending in Gatlinburg.
Return library books.
Finish Christmas cards.
Get the house clean!!



And my husband wonders why I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off these days???


Shadowed in Silk


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Shadowed In Silk
WhiteFire Publishing (September 1, 2011)
by
Christine Lindsay


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Christine Lindsay writes historical Christian inspirational novels with strong love stories. She doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects such as the themes in her debut novel SHADOWED IN SILK which is set in India during a turbulent era. Christine’s long-time fascination with the British Raj was seeded from stories of her ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in India. SHADOWED IN SILK was the Gold winner of the 2009 ACFW Genesis for Historical.

The Pacific coast of Canada, about 200 miles north of Seattle, is Christine’s home. It’s a special time in her life as she and her husband enjoy the empty nest, but also the noise and fun when the kids and grandkids come home. Like a lot of writers, her cat is her chief editor.


ABOUT THE BOOK

She was invisible to those who should have loved her.
After the Great War, Abby Fraser returns to India with her small son, where her husband is stationed with the British army. She has longed to go home to the land of glittering palaces and veiled women...but Nick has become a cruel stranger. It will take more than her American pluck to survive.

Major Geoff Richards, broken over the loss of so many of his men in the trenches of France, returns to his cavalry post in Amritsar. But his faith does little to help him understand the ruthlessness of his British peers toward the Indian people he loves. Nor does it explain how he is to protect Abby Fraser and her child from the husband who mistreats them.

Amid political unrest, inhospitable deserts, and Russian spies, tensions rise in India as the people cry for the freedom espoused by Gandhi. Caught between their own ideals and duty, Geoff and Abby stumble into sinister secrets . . . secrets that will thrust them out of the shadows and straight into the fire of revolution.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Shadowed In Silk, go HERE.

Watch the book video trailer:

Friday, November 11, 2011

We Give Thanks

The social networks have been filled with people listing reasons they are thankful this month.   It is sweet to read the things that everyone is thankful for on their statuses.    However, in reality God desires for us to live a life of thanksgiving and gratitude every day.

Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.    Hebrews 13:15

It is one of my greatest desires and challenges as a Mom.    The only way to teach my boys the attitude of gratitude is to live it myself.     When I see them being less than grateful for something I stop and wonder, "Are they getting that attitude from me?"     It keeps me on my knees.

Each night as we gather as a family for our family prayer time we have made it a goal to focus on the things God has blessed us with.     We have been writing those things on strips of paper and putting them in our thankful jar.    This is what our jar kind of looked like.... before I accidentally broke it.    I was cleaning and knocked it on the floor.   Cleaning -- it just leads to no good!   *smile*  

I borrowed this picture so you could see what I mean.   Our thankful jar was much like this one.


Anyway, with the strips we have been collecting we will make a garland for the boys' Christmas trees.    I love the thought of them being able to look at their tree and see a list of answered prayers and blessings that the Lord has given us this year.    

I hope that this will help all of us remember the real reason for the season and continually cultivate an attitude of gratitude.    God has blessed us so abundantly and is faithful to us every day.     I never want to fail to thank  Him for those blessings!

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.    Colossians 3:17

Big Football Weekend


Last weekend was a big weekend for football.    The 4H organization gave us tickets to the MSU football game and, of course, LSU and Alabama was playing.     Hubs and Little Guy decided that they would go up to Starkville for the Bulldog's game.    Big Guy and I stayed home for the Alabama game.

Hubs sent me the above picture.    I just love it.   My beautiful niece and my adorable son hanging out and tailgating.    How much do I love these two?    My niece is in the colorguard with the MSU band.   She has really enjoyed being a part of the band.   

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Proof of Heaven


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Proof of Heaven
William Morrow Paperbacks (November 1, 2011)
by
Mary Curran Hackett


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mary Curran Hackett is the mother of two children, Brigid Claire and Colm Francis, and is married to Greg Hackett. She received an MA in English Literature from the University of Nebraska and a BA from the University Honors Program at Catholic University in Washington, DC. Born and raised in Danbury, CT, she has traveled extensively and lived in various places throughout the U.S., but her favorite place in the world is home with her kids, husband, and her stacks of books. Like her character Colm Magee, Mary suffers various heart and brain ailments, but thanks in part to her brother, a physician, as well as her own doctors, she now has a pacemaker and a heart that beats on its own at least most of the time. This is her first novel.

ABOUT THE BOOK

A mother’s faith, a child’s courage, a doctor’s dedication—a moving and thought-provoking tale of hope, love, and family.

He might be young, but Colm already recognizes the truth: that he’s sick and not getting better. His mother, Cathleen, fiercely believes her faith will protect her ailing son, but Colm is not so sure. With a wisdom far beyond his years, Colm has come to terms with his probable fate, but he does have one special wish. He wants to meet his father who abandoned his beloved mother before Colm was born.
But the quest to find the dying boy’s missing parent soon becomes a powerful journey of emotional discovery—a test of belief and an anxious search for proof of heaven.

A

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Valley of Dreams


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Valley of Dreams
Bethany House (November 1, 2011)
by
Lauraine Snelling


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Award-winning and best selling author Lauraine Snelling began living her dream to be a writer with her first published book for young adult readers, Tragedy on the Toutle, in 1982. She has since continued writing more horse books for young girls, adding historical and contemporary fiction and nonfiction for adults and young readers to her repertoire. All told, she has up to sixty books published.

Shown in her contemporary romances and women’s fiction, a hallmark of Lauraine’s style is writing about real issues of forgiveness, loss, domestic violence, and cancer within a compelling story. Her work has been translated into Norwegian, Danish, and German, and she has won the Silver Angel Award for An Untamed Land and a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart for Song of Laughter.

As a most sought after speaker, Lauraine encourages others to find their gifts and live their lives with humor and joy. Her readers clamor for more books more often, and Lauraine would like to comply ... if only her paintbrushes and easel didn’t call quite so loudly.

Lauraine and her husband, Wayne, have two grown sons, and live in the Tehachapi Mountains with a cockatiel named Bidley, and a watchdog Basset named Winston. They love to travel, most especially in their forty-foot motor coach, which they affectionately deem “a work in progress”.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Addy Lockwood's mother died when she was little, so Addy traveled with her father's Wild West Show and became an amazingly skillful trick rider, likened by some to the famous Annie Oakley. When her father died, she continued to work with the show, having nowhere else to go.

Now Addy has discovered that "Uncle" Jason, the show's manager, has driven the show into debt, and he's absconded with what little money was left. Devastated, Addy decides to try to find the hidden valley where here father had dreamed of putting down roots. She has only one clue. She needs to find three huge stones that look like fingers raised in a giant hand. With Chief, a Sioux Indian who's been with the show for twenty years, and Micah, the head wrangler, she leaves both the show and a bundle of heartache behind and begins a wild and daring adventure.

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

A Lasting Impression


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Lasting Impression
Bethany House (November 1, 2011)
by
Tamera Alexander


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tamera Alexander is the best-selling author of Rekindled, Revealed and Remembered, the critically acclaimed Fountain Creek Chronicles historical series with Bethany House Publishers. Her second historical series, Timber Ridge Reflections (From a Distance, Beyond This Moment, and Within My Heart) continue her signature style of deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots, and poignant prose which has earned her devoted readers—and multiple industry awards.

These awards include the 2009 and 2008 Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the 2010 and 2007 RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, the 2010 and 2007 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the 2010 HOLT Medallion, the 2007 Bookseller’s Best Award, the 2007 National Reader's Choice Award, and Library Journal’s Top Christian Fiction for 2006, among others.

Tamera's newest novel A Lasting Impression is the first of a brand new three-book Southern historical series, and the first two chapters are available for review. She's at work on her ninth novel which will release in fall 2012.

After living in Colorado for seventeen years, Tamera has returned to her Southern roots. She and her husband now make their home in Nashville, Tennessee, along with Tamera's father, Doug, and with their two adult children who live near by. And don't forget Jack, their precious--and precocious--silky terrier.

ABOUT THE BOOK

To create something that will last is Claire Laurent's most fervent desire as an artist. It's also her greatest weakness. When her fraud of a father deals her an unexpected hand, Claire is forced to flee from New Orleans to Nashville, only a year after the War Between the States has ended. Claire's path collides with that of Sutton Monroe, and she considers him a godsend for not turning her in to the authorities. But when they meet again and he refuses to come to her aid, she realizes she's sorely misjudged the man. Trading an unwanted destiny for an unknown future, Claire finds herself in the middle of Nashville's elite society and believes her dream of creating a lasting impression in the world of art may finally be within reach.

All that Sutton Monroe holds dear lies in ruin. He's determined to reclaim his heritage and to make the men who murdered his father pay. But what he discovers on his quest for vengeance reveals a truth that may cost him more than he ever imagined.

Set at Nashville's historical Belmont Mansion, a stunning antebellum manor built by Mrs. Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America in the 1860s, A Lasting Impression showcases the deep, poignant, unforgettable characters that set Tamera's stories apart and provides an inspiring love story that will capture readers' hearts and leave them eager for more.

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

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Three Cups

Teaching children how to save, spend, and be charitable can be as simple as 1, 2, 3.

All parents want to teach their children good money habits from an early age. Many start by giving them an allowance. But it's equally important to teach children a positive, generous attitude as they learn to use money responsibly.

Filled with warm, memorable illustrations by award-winning painter, April Willy, Three Cups is the story of one family's unique and effective method of teaching personal financial management-and how one boy reaped first the small, then the immeasurably great rewards of the lessons he learned.

Families will be delighted with the heart-warming tale and want to integrate the three-cup system in their own children's lives.


You can see a beautiful sneak peek of the book here.   

GIVEAWAY!!!  Thomas Nelson has generously agreed to give one of my reader's a free copy of this book.   If you would like to enter to win a copy, leave a comment and tell me, does your child receive an allowance??    (If you win, Thomas Nelson will mail the book directly to your home.)

Book Review

With two older boys, it isn't often that we are asked to review children's books.     When Three Cups arrived I just couldn't resist the temptation so I told the boys to gather around for a book.     They looked at me like I was crazy, but with a teen and pre-teen, they look at me a lot like that these days.    I asked them to help me review the book.   

I loved the size of the book.   It would be very easy for small hands to handle and turn the pages.    The illustrations were so warm and beautiful.    

The story is about a little boy who is celebrating his birthday.   His parents give him three cups and tell him he is going to start receiving an allowance.   The three cups are for spending, saving and giving.     They explain they will divide the money up into the cups.   (There is no explanation as to how or how much.   They simply say they will divide the money.)

The little boy eventually takes his saving cup to the bank.   

He also uses his spending cup to buy a new baseball glove.   

His giving cup is used to buy soup for a food drive at his school.

He uses his three cup method until he grows up and passes it into his own little boy.

When we finished reading the book I asked my boys what they thought.    Both my boys liked the book. But they both said the same thing.  "Is this not a Christian book?   Why didn't the little boy not give the money from his giving cup to the church for his tithe?"    

I thought the same thing, but I did discover later in reading the parent's guide at the back of the book that it does mention tithing as an option for the giving cup.   

I do applaud this book and its simple introduction to children in how to save, spend and give.

I was provided a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A MadCAAP Trick or Treat

Although I am not a big fan of Halloween, this year when one of my adopted "kids" said, "Why don't we go trick or treating and collect canned goods for needy people?"    What an amazing idea!    

I told a group of high school students to just meet at my house and we would canvas as many houses as we could in the trick-or-treat hours.   The group you see in the picture above started in our neighborhood.    I drove my van around as they divided up into little groups and went from house to house.      As they gathered cans they would put them into the back of the van.     I loved seeing their faces as they came back from collecting cans.

We started at 6:00 and finished about 8:30.     That seems like a lot of time, but it really isn't when you are walking from house to house knocking on doors and waiting on people to find canned goods for you.    It did not seem like we were able to go a lot of houses; however, we were really excited about the number of cans we were able to collect.   One sweet man didn't have any canned goods but gave us a monetary donation.   So sweet!


We are donating our canned goods to MadCAAP.   MadCAAP is the Madison Countians Allied Against Poverty.    Last year they prepared 750 Thanksgiving meal boxes for needy families in Madison County (where we live).    This year they are planning for at least that many again.    The deadline to have these boxes completed is November 14.    Their needs list to finish these boxes consist of:

  • cans of corn
  • boxes of instant potatoes
  • cans of sweet potatoes
  • boxes of stuffing mix
  • donations to cover the cost of turkey and rolls

Here is the link to MadCAAP    If you live in Madison County, you can make a PayPal donation through their link while you are there.

If you don't live in Madison County, I am sure that there is an organization very much like MadCAAP in your community who is preparing for Thanksgiving and could use your generous donations right now too.