Sunday, April 29, 2012

Girl's Day Out

 My sisters and my nieces and I went out for the day.    Can I tell you this is one of my favorite things in life?     The first thing we decided to do was go and get manis/pedis.   I decided I would get a pedicure.    The last one I can remember getting was about 5 years ago.    It was such a treat not only to get one, but to go with the girls.

I don't think any of us were as relaxed as MM getting our nails done.   She was so chilled out I thought she was going to fall asleep sitting in the chair.

Kennedy was fascinated with having pretty nails.   She loved getting her nails done and watching all of us get ours done.

They were so proud of their nails...

When we got in the car the girls knew exactly where they wanted to go next.... the toy store!   It was so fun following them around seeing what attracted their attention.   My sister got tickled at them because they seemed to play with all the same things they have at home.     At one point I asked if they were ready to go explore some more and LK said, "My sissy isn't ready yet."   I love how much they love each other and look after each other.  

We walked around the corner to Charming Charlie's.   It is a big jewelry store that is organized by color.    They love all kinds of jewelry so I thought they would like it.   I think it all that choice was a little overwhelming.   They loved anything sparkly and shiny.    Those girls are like their Mama... they love some bling!     My favorite moment was when LK picked up an eyeglass case and said, "This is perfect for holding hot dogs."    Speaking of sunglasses, they had a great time trying on sunglasses.

Right outside Charming Charlie's are the splash fountains.    We told the girls they could play but not to get their clothes wet since we did not have any extra clothes.  Unfortunately when you get two sweet girls running around in water and getting more and more excited, one of them is going to fall down.   MM fell down and her heart was crushed.   We convinced her that it was OK and then told them to put their shoes on so we could head over to the bookstore.    May I mention that my three year old nieces can buckle their shoes by themselves?    That is AMAZING!!   I have substitute taught kindergarten and there are tons of those students who cannot do that.   

We spent the rest of our time in Barnes and Noble looking at books.   Aunt Sheba took MM into the bathroom to see if they had one of those hand dryers to get her clothes dry.    While we were waiting, LK and I browsed books.  

By this time we were all hungry and MM said that chips and sauce sounded good.   You can tell these girls are pros at Mexican restaurants.     While we were all eating our burritos and tacos, MM was eating her tortillas.   Apparently that is one of her food groups these days.    She will eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner.    This night she ate FOUR!   

We are full of Mexican and the girls decided they wanted to go back to my house to jump on the trampoline.    Man I wish I could bottle their energy!    If I had jumped on that trampoline I would have lost my supper, but they jumped and jumped and giggled until my sister they just had to go home for baths and bed.

They didn't want to leave and I didn't want them to leave.     When is our next Girl's Day Out???  I am already ready!!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Sound of Red Returning

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Sound of Red Returning
Kregel Publications (December 9, 2011)
Sue Duffy


Sue Duffy is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in Moody magazine, The Presbyterian Journal, Sunday Digest, and The Christian Reader. She is the author of Mortal Wounds (Barbour, 2001), Fatal Loyalty (Kregel, 2010), and The Sound of Red Returning (Kregel, 2011). Sue has also contributed to Stories for a Woman’s Heart (Multnomah). She and her husband, Mike, have three grown children.


After losing everyone she loves, concert pianist Liesl Bower has nowhere to go but to escape into her music. Searching for the peace she usually finds in her concertos and sonatas, Liesl can't shake the feeling that she is being haunted by her past . . . and by someone following her. When she spots a familiar and eerie face in the audience of a concert she's giving for the president in Washington, DC, the scariest day of her life comes back to her with a flash.

It has been fifteen years since Liesl watched her beloved Harvard music mentor assaulted on a dark night in Moscow and just as long since the CIA disclosed to her that he'd been spying for Russia. She had seen that man-that eerie face-the night Professor Devoe was attacked. And now he's back-and coming for her.


“Sue Duffy has mixed the mayhem of political intrigue with the melody of romance.” —Dick Bohrer, author, editor, and former journalism professor
“Intrigue and suspense come together in an incredible story of love and betrayal, commitment and courage, power and danger . . . and a God who controls it all. Sue Duffy is a wonderfully gifted writer and this book is a must-read.” —Steve Brown, founder and president of Key Life and host of Steve Brown Etc.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Sound of Red Returning, go HERE.

Book Review

Reading this book has prompted me to make a "must read" list on the sidebar of my blog.    I read a LOT of books in a year -- about 400 -- and every year make a pile of books which I know my husband would love to read as well as a "must read" list.    My "must read" list usually consists of less than 20 books which tells you how much I liked this book.   

I love books that I can't "predict" from the first page.   Duffy does an excellent job of weaving a complex story that draws you in from the first page without making it so overwhelming you get confused.   

The characters had depth and feeling.    My friend read this book after me and she got really frustrated with the main character.   She said she got mad at her for not taking her protection seriously.    I understood that point of view, but I have a lot of "artist" friends and trying to put them in a box would have gone about as well as portrayed in this book.    They live in their own world.   

I started this book at 11:00 at night which is bad news when I am reading a book I really like.   It means I can't put it down... which I didn't until I finished.    The alarm came really fast the next morning, but it was SO worth it!     So much so that I am going to be looking for more from this amazing author.

(I apologize for this posting late.   I set it to auto post and accidentally set it for May instead of April.   My apologies to CFBA and Ms. Duffy.)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Take Back the Land

Rick Boyer

"This is a book for young people. It was written because I believe young people are important and that they have a huge part in God’s plan for the future of America and the Church. In fact, you are the future, and a big part of the present, too."
– Rick Boyer, The Learning Parent

God is calling you to greatness. No excuses. Be ready to answer the call.
As a young person, you have the chance to impact the future in a positive, godly way. The question is: "Are you ready for the challenge?"

If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, your calling is to change the world. All you need to get started is the desire to influence your country and church in a positive way. Home schooling and the strength of the Christian family is helping to produce the future leaders of our culture, those with the potential to lead decades of revival and national reformation.

If you ignore the challenge, there is little hope for America. A lot depends on you.  So, here is the challenge: Grow up. Now. Get busy. Take responsibility to change this world for God, because that’s exactly what He expects you to do. Your life matters, and God wants to make your life great.

It won’t be easy, and reading this book, you may feel it’s being a little tough on you. There are high expectations and little allowance for excuses. Life isn’t easy, but strive to make it a worthy one. Pioneer missionary William Carey once said, "Attempt great things for God. Expect great things from God."

Book Review

I have put this book on my son's summer reading list.   It is a 290 page call to action for Christian teens of our country.    More than that, it is a reminder for parents who are raising these young men and women.  

I love the fact the Rick Boyer talks to teens in language they can understand, but yet doesn't talk down to them.   He sets a standard that they can rise up and meet.   He understands that so many of our kids are waiting for someone to recognize their desire to do something for their community, their country and most importantly, their God.    Rick Boyer addresses this by challenging them to take back the land!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Boys Will Be Boys

Walking into the boy's bathroom I see something red spattered all over the wall.   It is also on the towel and along the picture frame.    It is early morning and I am the only one awake so I wait until the boys wake up to start asking questions.

My husband is the first up so I ask him if he knows anything about it.  He goes to look.

Husband:   "It looks like blood!"

Me:  "I thought the same thing at first, but it would be tough to get blood all over like that."

Now we are both curious.   

When both of the boys are up and fully awake we can't take it any longer.   We ask them.

"Boys, do either of you know why there is something on the walls in the bathroom?"

They look at each other sheepishly and start grinning.

Big Guy says, "Do you remember the other day when you bought us lunch because you had that WinShape meeting?"

"Well, we have always wanted to try out this cool prank.   You put a ketchup packet underneath the toilet lid and when someone sits down it squirts ketchup on them.   

We did that except we didn't sit down.  We just stomped on the toilet lid and it shot ketchup everywhere."

At this point Little Guy pipes in... "Most of it shot into the shower!"

Hubs and I looked at each other and just died laughing!  

"Um, will you mind cleaning up what is left behind?"

"Sure thing Mom!"

No doubt about it... boys will be boys.

Her Restless Heart

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Her Restless Heart

Abingdon Press (April 2012)
Barbara Cameron


Barbara Cameron is the author of more than 30 fiction and nonfiction books, three nationally televised movies (HBO-Cinemax), and the winner of the first Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. Her two novellas won the 2nd and 3rd place in the Inspirational Readers Choice Contest from the Faith, Love, and Hope chapter of RWA. Both were finalists for the novella category of the Carol Award of the American Christian Writers Award (ACFW).

When a relative took her to visit the Amish community in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, she felt led to write about the spiritual values and simple joys she witnessed there. She currently resides in Edgewater, FL.


Mary Katherine is caught between the traditions of her faith and the pull of a different life. When Daniel, an Amish man living in Florida, arrives and shares her restlessness, Mary Katherine feels drawn to him and curious about the life he leads away from Lancaster County.

But her longtime friend Jacob has been in love with her for years. He’s discouraged that she’s never viewed him as anything but a friend and despairs that he is about to lose Mary Katherine to this outsider.

Will the conflicted Mary Katherine be lost to the English world, or to Daniel, who might take her away to Florida? Or will she embrace her Amish faith and recognize Jacob as the man she should marry and build a life with?

If you want to read the first chapter of Her Restless Heart, go HERE.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cup Of Joe for a Joe

Listening to Jeffery talk about his recent experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq make my heart hurt.   The things he saw and experienced have affected him and his family in life changing ways.   Hell on earth?   He has walked through it and some days he was not so sure he was going to survive it.

If it were not for Jeffery, I might not think as much about those men and women serving our country every day.  However because I look at him and his haunted eyes and I see the changes in him because of his multiples tours, I realize what a HUGE sacrifice they are making for us.

A Cup of Joe for A Joe is a business which I have grown to love because it is a simple way to support our troops.   It brings them a simple taste of home.   It is also something all of us can afford to do.   Even with my restricted budget, I can always afford the $2 to provide at least one cup of joe each week.  

I like being able to say "thank you" through the simple act of buying someone a cup of fresh coffee.    To go along with it I get to write them a letter of encouragement.    Do they know me?  No, but a letter from "home" means a lot when you are taking cold showers and surrounded by heat and sand.    

Green Bean Cafes are located on the bases of soldiers, sailors, airman, marines and coast guardsman who are serving far from home.    They are in locations such Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Qatar, Kyrgyzstan, Djibouti, Oman, and United Arab Emirates.

Although you cannot specify who you want your cup of joe to go to, you can buy a gift certificate and send it to your favorite soldier.

Here's How Cup Of Joe Works

Step 1 Choose Your Gift

Step 2 Write Your Message

Step 3 Enter Your Payment Information

Step 4 We'll Deliver Your Gift

Green Beans Coffee will deliver your gift and message. We'll also give each Service Member a chance to respond – and most of them do, so watch your email for their letters!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Simple Happiness

Our schedule has been very packed.    

Monday - baseball practice

Tuesday - archery practice and/or baseball game and Metamorphosis

Wednesday - church, music theory class

Thursday - shooting practice, communication class, science class, Crossfit class, biology class

Friday - archery practice

Saturday - baseball

Sunday - church

There is not one day that we do not have some sort of commitment.     Thankfully, this kind of craziness only happens for about nine weeks every spring, but I still do not like it.

I don't know how it worked out, but recently we had an entire day without any commitments.   My husband took the day off work to stay home with us.    During breakfast he asked if there was anything I wanted to do and I told him that the thing that sounded best to me was just sitting outside with a book and reading.    He and Little Guy decided that they would go out and hit a few rounds of golf during the cool morning hours.   

After lunch I looked out the window and the above chair was sitting outside.    My sweet husband had gone out and bought me a chair so I could do exactly what I said -- just sit and read.

Some women want jewelry, flowers, big houses, new cars.... my husband gave me the best gift of all.   It wasn't just the chair.   It was the fact that that he listened to me!  

Simple Happiness.

The Fiddler

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Fiddler
Bethany House Publishers (April 10, 2012)
Beverly Lewis


Beverly's first venture into adult fiction is the best-selling trilogy, The Heritage of Lancaster County, including The Shunning, a suspenseful saga of Katie Lapp, a young Amish woman drawn to the modern world by secrets from her past. The book is loosely based on the author's maternal grandmother, Ada Ranck Buchwalter, who left her Old Order Mennonite upbringing to marry a Bible College student. One Amish-country newspaper claimed Beverly's work to be "a primer on Lancaster County folklore" and offers "an insider's view of Amish life."

Booksellers across the country, and around the world, have spread the word of Beverly's tender tales of Plain country life. A clerk in a Virginia bookstore wrote, "Beverly's books have a compelling freshness and spark. You just don't run across writing like that every day. I hope she'll keep writing stories about the Plain people for a long, long time."

A member of the National League of American Pen Women, as well as a Distinguished Alumnus of Evangel University, Lewis has written over 80 books for children, youth, and adults, many of them award-winning. She and her husband, David, make their home in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, and spending time with their family. They are also avid musicians and fiction "book worms."


Come home to Hickory Hollow, Pennsylvania--the beloved setting where Beverly Lewis's celebrated Amish novels began--with new characters and new stories of drama, romance, and the ties that draw people together.

A wrong turn in a rainstorm leads Englisher Amelia Devries to Michael Hostetler--and the young Amishman's charming Old Order community of Hickory Hollow. Despite their very different backgrounds, Amelia and Michael both feel hemmed in by the expectations of others and struggle with how to find room for their own hopes. And what first seems to be a chance encounter might just change their lives forever.

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

Watch the book video:

Friday, April 13, 2012

Tax Day Freebies

There is noting fun about tax day.   However, some business around are offering tax day freebies to help lighten your mood on such a depressing day.

Arby's -  To provide these tax procrastinators with a little break, and to reward those lucky few who have already completed their returns, Arby’s has declared Friday, April 15 as Free FryDay at locations nationwide.  Just present this coupon. 

Chili's - All day during normal business hours Monday, April 18, Chili’s is offering a free appetizer or dessert with a purchase of an entree, at participating locations nationwide.    Just present this coupon.  

Office Depot - On tax day Office Depot will shred up to 5 pounds of paper for you for free.
You can also get 25 single-sided black and white copies made for free.

Panda Express -  Panda Express is giving away a serving of shanghai steak if you present this coupon. 
Why oh why don't we have a Panda Express here?   Makes me want to drive to Atlanta just to eat there Monday!

Papa John's - From Friday through Monday, April 15-18, 2011 consumers can get relief simply by entering the “1040” promotional code when placing orders at  Papa John’s is delivering relief to the entire nation this weekend – especially tax “pro-crust-inators” – by offering a large, original crust pizza with up to four toppings for just $10.40.

P.F. Chang's - 15% off all dine-in and take out on April 17th

Schlotzsky's - Free Chips & 20 oz. Fountain Drink WYB Any Hand-Carved Sandwich (exp. 4/18)

 Sonic - Sonic is celebrating Tax Day by offering half-priced drinks and slushes all day long on April 17, 2012.     I love Sonic's cherry Diet Coke!   Yumm-O! 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Birthday Eyebombing

My birthday was earlier this week.  I won't tell you how old I am, but my Little Guy gave me a birthday spanking and stopped when he got to 21 licks.   Man I love that kid!!  

My sweet husband had offered to take the day off work, but I had leadership training for the Winshape day camps all day and then praise team practice during the evening.   I had a crazy schedule for my birthday.   That did not stop my boys from spoiling me.    My boys got up at 6:00 a.m. and made homemade chocolate chip muffins.   I am not kidding when I tell you those were the most delicious muffins I have ever eaten.   AMAZING!    My sweet husband went and got me my favorite coffee from Seattle Drip.    Of course, they each had bought me precious cards with notes written inside. 

But the most creative thing they did was eyebomb me.    If you haven't heard of eyebombing, it is a new fad and it just cracks me up.    Here are just a few pics of places they eyebombed me.   They even included my birthday cake.     I. LOVED. IT!

Thank you, my sweet boys.   You know me best and this birthday just proved it again!!    I love you!

The 13th Tribe

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The 13th Tribe
Thomas Nelson (April 3, 2012)
Robert Liparulo


Best-selling novelist Robert Liparulo is a former journalist, with over a thousand articles and multiple writing awards to his name. His first three critically acclaimed thrillers—Comes a Horseman, Germ, and Deadfall—were optioned by Hollywood producers, as well as his Dreamhouse Kings series for young adults. Bestselling author Ted Dekker calls The 13th Tribe, released in April 2012, “a phenomenal story.” Liparulo is currently working with director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, The Guardian) on the novel and screenplay of a political thriller. New York Times best-selling author Steve Berry calls Liparulo’s writing “Inventive, suspenseful, and highly entertaining . . . Robert Liparulo is a storyteller, pure and simple.” Liparulo lives in Colorado with his family.

Visit Robert Liparulo's Facebook Fan page:, or at Twitter @robertliparulo.


Their story didn't start this year . . . or even this millennium.
It began when Moses was on Mt. Sinai. Tired of waiting on the One True God, the twelve tribes of Israel began worshipping a golden calf through pagan revelry. Many received immediate death for their idolatry, but 40 were handed a far worse punishment-endless life on earth with no chance to see the face of God.

This group of immortals became the 13th Tribe, and they've been trying to earn their way into heaven ever since-by killing sinners. Though their logic is twisted, their brilliance is undeniable. Their wrath is unstoppable. And the technology they possess is beyond anything mere humans have ever seen.

Jagger Baird knows nothing about the Tribe when he's hired as head of security for an archaeological dig on Mt. Sinai. The former Army Ranger is still reeling from an accident that claimed the life of his best friend, his arm, and his faith in God.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The 13th Tribe, go HERE.

Book Review

I am going ahead and confess that I was a little nervous about reading this book.    Robert Liparulo is an amazing author; however, he does not typically write books that in the genre which I enjoy reading.  If you are like me, let me HIGHLY ENCOURAGE you to put those thoughts aside and trust me... you will want to read this book.     When I read the description on the back of the book I was intriqued, but I wasn't quite sure how in the world he was going to write a book that wasn't going to be too far fetched to be readable.

Never fear... Liparulo not only wrote a book which pulled me in from the first page, he wrote a book which I could not put down.    I stayed up until 2:30 in the morning reading one night.   That is a BIG no-no with my insane crazy schedule, but I just could not quit reading.    

The teacher side of me has already decided that this would make a great book to read with a high school class.    The discussions we could have on character development... WOW!   

Put this book on your must read list.   It will make you think.   It will remind you what good books really are.   Thanks, Robert!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter Sunday!!

I love this time of year.   With all of the rain everything is green.  The dogwoods are in full bloom.   Flowers have poked through the sleeping dirt and given everything peeks of color.   Signs of spring.  Signs of new life.   Time for Easter!!   

Because I grew up in church, Easter services are a very special part of Easter for me.  However, for some of my friends who did not grow up in church they often consider going to church, but are not sure if they will fit in or feel awkward about going.

I wanted to extend the invitation to join my boys and I for Easter Sunday services this week.    We have a loving church family and walking through the doors you will find...
  • A relaxed atmosphere
  • Friendly people who will help you find your way around
  • A wonderful blend of hymns and today’s music and high-impact media presentations
  • An outstanding children’s programs in a safe and fun environment
  • Relevant messages that you can actually apply to your everyday life
No matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been—you matter to God…and to us. Whether you are single, married, single again, with or without children, we invite you to experience an amazing Easter Sunday with our church family. 

Good Friday, April 6 at 6:30pm
Worship & Communion as we reflect on the cross of Christ

Easter Morning Sunday, April 8 at 9:00am & 10:30am
We will have our normal worship service and small group times as we spend the morning celebrating our Risen Christ.

Easter Evening
We will not have any evening services or activities, please spend this time resting or enjoying family and friends.

Ridgecrest Baptist Church | 7469 Old Canton Rd | Madison, MS | 39110

Visit our website!


Monday, April 2, 2012

Cooking The Books

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Cooking The Books
Abingdon Press (April 2012)
Bonnie S. Calhoun


As the Owner/Director of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance Bonnie has helped use the 220+ blogs of the Alliance to promote many titles on the Christian bestseller list. She also owns and publishes the Christian Fiction Online magazine which is devoted to readers and writers of Christian fiction. She is the Northeast Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). At ACFW she was named the ‘Mentor of the Year,’ for 2011, and she is the current President of (CAN) Christian Authors Network. Bonnie is also the Appointment Coordinator for both the Colorado Christian Writers Conference and the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference.

In her spare time she is an avid social media junkie, and teaches Facebook, Twitter, Blogging and HTML as recreational occupations. She also has a novel coming out in the Abingdon Quilts of Love series. Her novel Pieces of the Heart will publish August of 2013.

Bonnie and her husband Bob live in a log cabin on 15 acres in upstate area of Binghamton, New York with a dog and cat who consider the humans as wait-staff.


After her mother dies from a heart attack, Sloane Templeton goes from Cyber Crimes Unit to bookstore owner before she can blink. She also "inherits" a half-batty store manager; a strange bunch of little old people from the neighborhood who meet at the store once a week, but never read books, called the Granny Oakleys Book Club; and Aunt Verline, who fancies herself an Iron Chef when in reality you need a cast iron stomach to partake of her culinary disasters. And with a group like this you should never ask, “What else can go wrong?”

A lot! Sloane begins to receive cyber threats. While Sloane uses her computer forensic skills to uncover the source of the threats, it is discovered someone is out to kill her. Can her life get more crazy?

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

Watch the book video:

If you'd like to read interviews with Bonnie, try these:
Everbody Needs A Little Romance
A Christian Writers World
Novel Rocket
ACFW - Fiction Finder

Book Review
One minute Sloane is living the life of cyber crimes and then she is thrust into the boring world of dusty books.   Or at least that is what she thinks.    She didn't choose this life.    With her Mom's death came the gift of this bookstore along with a quirky manager and an even quirkier book club.   What kind of book club doesn't read books?   Sloane's life of cyber crimes and book store intertwine when she begins receiving cyber threats. 

I have to say that Sloane's character cracked me up.    She had the craziest sense of humor and she has to learn things the hard way (kind of reminds me of someone -- me!).     One thing we don't have in common is bad judgement in men.   This girl just can't get it right!  

Funny, witty, engaging, thoroughly enjoyable.... Kudos to Bonnie Calhoun for writing a book that will leave you hungry for the next installment of Sloane Templeton mysteries!!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Prom Dinner To Remember

Saturday night was prom night for one of our local high schools.   It is a tradition for our friends to host prom dinner in their home for the students who want to attend.   Eating a delicious dinner with all your closest friends in a beautiful setting... what could be better than that on prom night?    I worked with some of my sweet friends as waitress/waiters for this special evening.   My friends are amazing at putting together a meal like this.   They transform their home into a restaurant.   Beautiful tables are set up in the living room, sunroom, foyer and library and of course, they use their dining room.    I wish I had photos of the food, but we were too busy serving and taking care of the students to take those photos.      The big beautiful white house is where we took the kids in the limousine before supper to take prom photos.   I can't wait to get those back from the photographer.