Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Are You Lukewarm?

I absentmindedly grabbed my coffee cup for that one last sip before I finished loading the dishwasher.   Yuck!  That was sip wasn't hot.  It wasn't cold.   It was lukewarm.  

It was yet another reminder from the Lord of what I have been studying.    " I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!  So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth."   Revelation 3:15-16

I have been stuck on this verse for about two weeks now.     As I started reading and studying this I ran across Francis Chan's description of a lukewarm Christian.    Have you ever read it?    After you read this you will know why I have been stuck on this concept and challenge for the past two weeks.


ARE YOU A LUKEWARM CHRISTIAN?
by Francis Chan

1. Lukewarm people attend church fairly regularly. It is what is expected of them, what they believe “good Christians” do, so they go. Isaiah 29:13

2. Lukewarm people give money to charity and to the church as long as it doesn’t impinge on their standard of living. If they have a little extra and it is easy and safe to give, they do so, After all, God loves a cheerful giver, right? 1 Chronicles 21:24, Luke 21:1-4

3. Lukewarm people tend to choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict. They desire to fit in both at church and outside of church; they care more about what people think of their actions (like church attendance and giving) than what God thinks of their hearts and lives. Luke 6:26, Revelation 3:1, Matthew 23:5-7 4.

4: Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin. They don’t genuinely hate sin and aren’t truly sorry for it; they’re merely sorry because God is going to punish them. Lukewarm people don’t really believe that this new life Jesus offers is better than the old sinful one. John 10:10, Romans 6:1-2.

5. Lukewarm people are moved by stories of people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act. They assume such action is for “extreme” Christians, not average ones. Lukewarm people call “radical” what Jesus expected of all His followers. James 1:22, James 4:17, Matthew 21:28-31

6. Lukewarm people rarely share their faith with their neighbors, coworkers, or friends. They do not want to be rejected, nor do they want to make people uncomfortable by talking about private issues like religion. Matthew 10:32-33

7. Lukewarm people gauge their morality or “goodness” by comparing themselves to the secular world. They feel satisfied that while they aren’t as hard-core for Jesus as so-and-so, they are nowhere as horrible as the guy down the street. Luke 18:11-12

8. Lukewarm people say they love Jesus, and He is, indeed, a part of their lives, their money, and their thoughts, but he isn’t allowed to control their lives. Luke 9:57-62

9. Lukewarm people love God, but they do not love Him all their heart, soul, and strength. They would be quick to assure you they try to love God that much, but that sort of total devotion isn’t really possible for the average person; its only for pastors and missionaries and radicals. Matthew 22:37-38

10. Lukewarm people love others but do not seek to love others as much as they love themselves. Their love for others is typically focused on those who love them in return, like family, friends, and other people they know and connect with. There is a little love left over for those who cannot love them back, much less for those who intentionally slight them, who kids are better athletes than theirs, or with whom conversations are awkward or uncomfortable. Their love is highly conditional and very selective, and generally comes with strings attached. Matthew 5:43-47, Luke 14:12-14

11. Lukewarm people will serve God and others, but there are limits to how far they will go or how much time, money, and energy they are willing to give. Luke 18:21-25

12. Lukewarm people think about life on earth much more often than eternity in heaven. Daily life is mostly focused on today’s to-do list, this week’s schedule, and next month’s vacation. Rarely, if ever do they intently consider the life to come. Philippians 3:18-20

13. Lukewarm people are thankful for their luxuries and comforts, and rarely consider trying to give as much as possible to the poor. Matthew 25:34, 40, Isaiah 58:6-7

14. Lukewarm people do whatever is necessary to keep themselves from feeling too guilty. They want to do the bare minimum, to be “good enough” without requiring too much of them. 1 Chronicles 29:14, Matthew 13:44-46

15. Lukewarm people are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control. This focus on safe living keeps them sacrificing and risking for God. Matthew 10:28

16. Lukewarm people feel secure because they attend church, made a profession of faith at age twelve, were baptized, come from a Christian family, vote Republican, or live in America.

17. Luke warm people do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to. They don’t have to trust God if something unexpected happens-they have their savings account. They don’t need God to help them—they have their retirement plan in place. They don’t genuinely seek out what life God would have them live—they have life figured and mapped out. They don’t depend on God on a daily basis-their refrigerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health. The truth is, their lives wouldn’t look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God. Luke 12:16-21

18. Lukewarm people probably drink and swear less than average, but besides that, they really aren’t very different from your typical unbeliever. They equate their partially sanitized lives with holiness, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Matthew 23:25-28, Luke 14:34-35

Monday, May 28, 2012

Spring Hope


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Spring Hope
( Realms (May 15, 2012)
by
Martha Rogers


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Martha Rogers is a freelance author of both fiction and non-fiction and a speaker. Her stories and articles have appeared in a number of compilations and magazines. Her first fiction novella was released in 2007.

Her experiences as a public school teacher, Sunday school teacher, youth leader, First Place leader, Mom and Grandmother give Martha a unique field of ministry.

Martha is am alumni of CLASS and is available to speak at Women's Retreats, conferences, and luncheons on topics of interest to women of all ages.

As an author, she is available to speak at writing conferences and workshops on a variety of topics of interest to writers.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Can runaway Libby Cantrell finally get a new start?

Libby Cantrell’s life has gone from bad to worse since her mother’s death. After working in a brothel to support her abusive father, she sees no hope for her future until one cold winter night when she finds the courage to escape.

When she collapses in Portersfield, Texas, exhausted, ill, and hungry, Sheriff Cory Muldoon finds her and takes her to the doctor. Against Cory’s better judgment, Seth and Erin Winston take her in and offer her a job as a nanny for their young son. As a minister, Seth sees it as his duty to take care of her. As a deputy, Cory needs to know the truth about her even as he is attracted to the waif of a young woman.

As Cory’s feelings for her grow and winter becomes spring, will he be able to accept her as she is now and truly forget and forgive her sordid past?

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

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Nothing Says Summer Like...

... Shoving all the school curriculum onto their appropriate shelves and throwing away all the used workbooks.

... Packing the game drawer.  I don't know what normal families use their end table for, but in our house it is just another place for games.   During the school year I keep logic games for the boys to choose from, but now that school is over I have cleaned all of that out and have restocked.    You can find card games like Phase 10, UNO, Scrabble Slam and Slap.    There are also games like Bananagrams, Rummicube, Dominoes and Rack-O.    After Christmas I pick up daily calendars which feature puzzles.  I keep stacks of these in the drawer too so that the boys can play Hangman or word games.    

... My husband says he knows it is summer when I make his favorite frozen orange salad.  He loves it.   I made one last night and put it in the freezer.   Every night after supper he will pull it out and get a piece until it is gone.  

Donald's Favorite Frozen Orange Salad

Ingredients:
60 Ritz crackers, finely crushed
1/4 lb. margarine, melted
1/4 cup sugar
zest of one orange
1 (6 ounce) can unsweetened frozen orange juice
1 (12 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 (11 ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained
8 ounce carton Cool Whip, thawed

Directions:
Mix together the crushed crackers, margarine, zest of one orange and sugar. Reserve a few crumbs for garnish and press remaining crackers into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan. Blend thawed orange juice with condensed milk. Fold in mandarin oranges and thawed Cool Whip. Pour mixture over crust. top with reserved crumbs. Freeze until serving. Return to freezer to store.

... Sitting outside with the boys at night until we can't stand the mosquitoes anymore.



... The "summer list".   We haven't started the summer list, but we are going to get to it soon!

What says summer to you??

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Summer Reading

I love summer reading.   Nothing takes the fun out of summer more than "required" summer reading.   I hate seeing those stacks and stacks of lists that schools require kids to read over the summer.   I love to read and I have no desire to read some of those.  

There is so much that the boys are required to read during the school year that I just want to encourage them to read for pure love during the summer.    If I can create a lifetime love of reading in them then I will feel like I have accomplished something.

Here are a few summer reading programs which will reward the kids for their reading efforts.... 

Madison County Library System - Our local library system theme is "Dream Big... Read!"   I am not a fan of their reading program because it doesn't reward everyone who reads.  It only gives you a chance at a reward.   The reward is great -- a NOOK, but I prefer rewarding every child who reads instead of just one.

Barnes & Noble - Read any 8 books and record them in the Reading Journal (PDF).Bring the completed Reading Journal to your local B&N store. Choose a FREE BOOK from the selection on the Reading Journal list at the store... Enjoy reading!

Scholastic Summer Reading - Log in your reading minutes to the Scholastic site and your child will be able to participate in a World Record challenge as well as earn digital prizes!

Half Price Books - Read for at least 15 minutes each day for a month. (Grown-ups may read aloud to kids who are still learning.) Add up your minutes and have your parent or guardian initial each week.Once you've read 300 minutes, turn in your completed reading log PDF to earn your $5 HPB Back-to-School Bucks reading reward for the month.  They will award one top reader per age group each month with a TOP READER prize - a $20 HPB Gift Card!*


Happy Reading!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Anniversary Waltz


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Anniversary Waltz
Realms (May 15, 2012)
by
Darrel Nelson


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A Word from the author:

I am a schoolteacher by profession and have taught school for (thir—ahem!) years. I grew up in Raymond, Alberta, and attended the University of Lethbridge after graduating from high school and serving a two-year mission to Japan. During university, I met and married Marsha Smith, and we are the parents of four children, which has grown to include their spouses and our ten grandchildren.

I have always loved to write. I started writing stories before I was old enough to realize I was writing stories. It seemed a natural thing to pick up a pencil and paper and create a world simply by using words—worlds of adventure in steaming jungles (Tarzan was an early influence on me) or realms of adventure in outer space (Buck Rogers). But as I have grown older, I have discovered that the real inspiration for me is exploring the theme of love and how it can make such a difference in the world.

I’ve had an article published in Lethbridge Magazine and have written several dramatic plays, two of which won provincial recognition and were showcased at a drama festival. I won the CJOC radio songwriting contest two years running, and have had one of my songs receive international airplay. I have written four novels intended for the juvenile market. They are unpublished as yet, but I read them annually to my fourth grade students and my students tell me they love them, the darlings.

ABOUT THE BOOK

At their sixtieth anniversary party, Adam Carlson asks his wife, Elizabeth, for their customary waltz. After the dance they gather the family and share their story—a story of love and courage overcoming adversity and thriving in the face of overwhelming odds.

It’s the summer of 1946, and Adam has just returned from the war to his home in Reunion, Montana. At a town festival he meets Elizabeth Baxter, a young woman going steady with his former high school rival and now influential banker, Nathan Roberts.

When Adam and Elizabeth share a waltz in a deserted pavilion one evening, their feelings begin to grow and they embark on a journey, and a dance, that will last a lifetime.

If you'd like to read the first chapter excerpt of The Anniversary Waltz, go HERE.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Annie's Truth


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Annie's Truth
Realms (May 15, 2012)
by
Beth Shriver


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Childhood memories of her grandfather's ranch came alive as Beth wrote her first Amish story. Her parents grew up in the country, so she understands pastoral life and respects those who make a living off the land. She frequents a nearby Amish community just south of Fort-Worth for an occasional church service or brunch with the bishop and his wife. And on the way home she stops at the community store to get some plum jam!

In 2003 Beth began writing her first book. A couple of years later it was published and she has been writing ever since. Beth received a degree in social work from the University of Nebraska and was a case worker before starting a family. Beth followed her passion and has written in a variety of genres in both fiction and non-fiction.

ABOUT THE BOOK

After learning the truth about who she really is, can this prodigal daughter be accepted back into the safety and security of home?

Annie Beiler seems to have it all—a loving family in a tight-knit Amish community and the affections of an attractive and respected young man. But when she learns that she was adopted after being found as an abandoned newborn, she sets out on a journey to find out who she is.

Her father is strongly against her decision to leave, as it could mean Meidung, or excommunication from the community and even her family. But Annie knows she must find “the path that has her heart.”

As Annie’s search brings her into the fast-paced world of modern life, she is confronted with all of the temptations she was warned of. Can she make her way back to the order and security of her family? Or will she remain an outsider—torn between her two worlds?

If you would like to read an excerpt from the first chapter of Annie's Truth, go HERE.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Little Guy: Finished With 5th

Talk about shock.    My Little Guy is finished with his elementary school years and will be entering middle school next year.    One in high school and one in middle school.    Time doesn't just fly fast it flies at warp speed!

His Course Load:

Math - Little Guy has been working through two of the Life of Fred mathematics series.   He completed book the fractions book and the decimals and percentages book.     

Zoology -  Our homeschool co-op offered this class.   He loved taking this with all of his friends.   Just last week they took an end of year field trip to New Orleans.   They visited the Audubon butterfly garden, the Insectarium and the Aquarium.






Writer's Express - A curriculum that introduces writing skills.   It covered everything from poetry, essays, letters, reports, stories, journaling, and note taking.

American History -  Little Guy did a biography study of great men of US history.   

English/Grammar -  We have been using Easy Grammar forever, but this year I added this English Grammar 101.   

Spelling -  Being a part of the spelling bee is the primary focus of our spelling curriculum.   I firmly believe that reading encourages better spelling which is why I insist on daily reading.  

Reading - One of my big goals for Little Guy this year was in reading.  He has an amazing reading level, but he never wanted to read on his reading level.   When he looked at a book, if it looked too big he let it overwhelm him.     My friend in Atlanta made a casual statement about organizing lesson plans that sparked an idea for me with his reading.    I picked a book and gave him two weeks to read it (which is really a long time).   I divided the pages by 14 and listed that on a piece of paper and taped inside the front cover of the book.   Each day he read a section of pages and marked it off.    He could read more than one section if he wanted, but he had to mark it off.   By giving him "bite size" pieces, he realized that it was more doable than he thought.    Now handing him a 350 page book isn't overwhelming to him at all.   He asks when his deadline is and he breaks it down in his head.      He is often done in just a day or two, but he likes knowing that he has a set amount of time if he needs it.

Music Theory - Another class which he took through CurrClick, both boys took this class of basic music concepts.    It gave them basic musical knowledge of notes, clefs, time signatures, notes of the piano, accidentals, half and whole steps, etc... 

Geography - This hasn't been a curriculum as much as a book which Little Guy has worked on to keep working on his geography skills.  

P.E. -   Little Guy also took bowling club and 4H shooting sports.   He also participated in CrossFit.   He LOVES it!   

This is our third year to homeschool and definitely the most challenging for Little Guy and I.   I take full responsibility for that.    Big Guy's learning style comes more naturally to me and it is easier for me to figure out how to give him what he needs academically where as that is not so with Little Guy.     He and I can ask each other the same exact question, but mean two entirely different things.    I have flashbacks to doing Algebra with my Daddy in the 7th grade.  *smile*   The only problem is I am still the dummy in the situation.   Daddy is brilliant and now I have just replaced Little Guy in the equation as the brilliant one!

I am not complaining though.  I am glad he is so smart, but as we all know, school only gets more challenging from here!  

Although it makes me sad to see how fast time is passing, I can't wait to see where God is leading my sweet boys!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Big Guy's Speech

Today was Big Guy's final in his communication class.    He had to prepare two speeches.    I wish you could have seen his teacher's face after he gave this speech.    She is a tough teacher.    She is a retired college professor and she teaches our kids like they are college students.     Her words were, "Big Guy, you have always been one of my quiet students, but your work has been solid.   Whenever you decide to talk the entire class stops to listen because what you have to say is quality.   Today's speech is no exception."


When I was a child, I was taught a song called "The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock".  It says the wise man built his house upon the rock while the foolish man built his house upon the sand.   Although a simple childhood song, it is easy to make the transition to the more complicated topic of creation and evolution, with creation being the solid rock and evolution being the sinking sand.

You don't have to go far for people to tell you that there is no God and that a big bang created our existence.  The big bang alleges that billions of years ago the entire universe was packed in a little ball.   At some random point it exploded.  One of the problems is that scientists have no idea where this ball came from.  Creationism builds its facts starting with the book of Genesis which states the entire earth was created in a six day period.  If you look around you will see animals, trees, the sky and ground.  None of this happened because of two planets colliding or because of some big bang.   All of this happened because it was the will of God.  Thinking that a big bang could produce a mass of earth that just happened to be suitable for life is like thinking a tornado can go through a junkyard and assemble a Transformer.   In order for this to actually happen, the things needed for this to work have to be man made, the process happens an infinite amount of times causing no beginning or end to time and the laws of physics are broken in the process.   It can't happen.

The second challenge in our evolution verses creation discussion comes from the origin of man.  Genesis 1:26 makes the creation foundation clear.    Man was created in the image of God.   The theory of evolution states that man gradually evolved from lower animals.   This is where big bang and evolution start to collide.  It is a proven scientific fact that life comes from life and science has disproved the theory of spontaneous generation.  Then the question is how the first living thing happened like evolution claims.  The creation side to all this is that we were created in God's image.

The last point in our evolution verses creationism discussion and what this all boils down to in this sinking sand solid rock discussion is do you or do you not believe the universe was created by God?  To believe in creation is to believe in the one true God who is the creator.   Believing in the universe means that He must be older than the universe.  Isaiah 40:28 says, "The everlasting God is the creator of the ends of the earth."   If God is the creator then God has created all life.   As we established before, life comes from life which means our creator God must be eternal.

God gave us clear instructions to follow, but we stepped off the Solid Rock in favor of an educated guess.  Christians read the Bible, fell in love with our Creator and believed.   The proof is in the love.   If you love someone in your life, do you believe them?   Of course you do.   It is how we are wired by Him.  The battle between creationism and evolution is not necessarily about facts or the evidence because we are both dealing with the same set of facts.   The difference is in how we interpret them.   This is how these two beliefs began.   We interpreted what we had as something other than what He intended.   In the end we can't make someone believe in something.   They can either choose the solid foundation of creation or they can choose the sinking sand of evolution.    To believe in something you have to have faith and faith is what this is all about.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Big Guy: End of Freshman Year

*sniff sniff*  It was hard for me to type that title and not get a little choked up.    Big Guy's first year of high school is just days away from being finished.   Right now he is in the other room putting the finishing touches on his Communications final which is tomorrow.    At the beginning of this year, I had feelings of sheer terror about whether or not I could homeschool him through high school.   I can say that those feelings have only diminished slightly as this year has reaffirmed to me just how challenging and important these high school years are going to be.

I wanted the chance to sit down and write down some things about this past year.   I know that he and I will both want to look back and remember that we survived this freshman year!

His Course Load:

Algebra 1 - We tackled this at home with a curriculum we purchased called Teaching Textbooks.  

Biology -  This class was taken online with CurrClick.com through a professional teacher, Debbie Mackin, who offered the Apologia Academy Biology course.    He went to online lectures once a week and had to submit all of his assignments to her.   Even his tests were taken online and she graded them.   Loved this!    To complete the lab requirements, he went to Millsaps for a lab class with Dr. Paul.

Communication/Speech - There is no doubt that this is the hardest class that Big Guy has had this year.   It is taught by a retired college professor.   She is TOUGH!    However, she has taught Big Guy a valuable life skills:  "You don't have to like something to do it well."

Latin - Out of all our classes, this is the one I am still trying to figure out.   We chose Visual Latin for this class.    He likes it, but I need to make sure he is progressing correctly.  It has been a LONG time since high school Latin for me.

Mississippi History - We ordered the MS history textbook written by a professor at the University of Mississippi.    It was recommended to us by our pediatrician.    In addition to completing this textbook, Big Guy had to complete a major Mississippi project for this class and take a test which included labeling all the counties of Mississippi.  

Mississippi Literature/Writing - All of Big Guy's literature and English was tied into his Mississippi history.  

Music Theory - Another class which he took through CurrClick, both boys took this class of basic music concepts.    It gave them basic musical knowledge of notes, clefs, time signatures, notes of the piano, accidentals, half and whole steps, etc... 

P.E. -  Between bowling club and 4H shooting sports, it was no problem meeting the PE requirements this year.

I am sitting here looking at him working at his desk and I realize just how much he has grown this past school year in so many ways.   He has changed so much physically.  He is now so much taller than I am and his voice is becoming deeper and deeper.    He has always been a very introspective and shy person; however, I have seen him step out of his shell this year.    Big Guy is the kind of person who would do anything for you if you asked, but he isn't going to jump out there and say, "Hey, I will do it."   I have even seen that change a little.    He has been a part of the audio/visual team at our church for the past three years and recently he has begun asking to go over extra days to help with certain projects.    I like seeing him step out of his comfort zone and do things for others.   

I love being his Mom.   The older he gets the more I love and admire him for the man he is becoming.   I love watching God mold him into who He wants him to be.   I can't wait to see where God takes us next on this amazing journey.

Chameleon


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Chameleon
Realms (May 15, 2012)
by
Jillian Kent


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jillian Kent is a busy writer and the alter ego of Jill Nutter, a full-time counselor.

Jill spent the first semester of her senior year of college at Oxford studying British Literature, where she fell in love with England. During this season, she came to appreciate the written word, the rich imagery of romantic poetry like The Highwayman, and historical novels of many types, including Jane Austen and all things Regency.

Jill received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Bethany College in West Virginia, and her Masters Degree in Social Work from WVU, and she brings her fascination with different cultures and societies into her writing.

Jill has always been a romantic at heart, so readers will find a good dose of romance woven through each of her novels. Jill, her husband Randy, and children Katie and Meghan are animal lovers. They currently own two dogs, Boo-Boo and Bandit and a menagerie of cats, Lucky, Yuma, Snow, and Holden. Critters of all assortments make their appearance in her stories.

ABOUT THE BOOK

How much can you really know about someone?
Lady Victoria Grayson has always considered herself a keen observer of human behavior. After battling a chronic childhood illness that kept her homebound for years, she journeys to London determined to have the adventure of a lifetime.

Jaded by his wartime profession as a spy, Lord Witt understands, more than most, that everyone is not always who they pretend to be. He meets Victoria after the Regent requests an investigation into the activities of her physician brother, Lord Ravensmoore.

Witt and Victoria become increasingly entangled in a plot targeting the lords of Parliament. Victoria is forced to question how well she knows those close to her while challenging Witt’s cynical nature and doubts about God. Together they must confront their pasts in order to solve a mystery that could devastate their future.

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

Monday, May 14, 2012

My Stubborn Heart


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
My Stubborn Heart
• Bethany House Publishers; Original edition (May 1, 2012)
by
Becky Wade


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Becky Wade is a graduate of Baylor University. As a newlywed, she lived for three years in a home overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, as well as in Australia, before returning to the States. A mom of three young children, Becky and her family now live in Dallas, Texas.


ABOUT THE BOOK

A Sensational CBA Debut in Contemporary Romance!

This summer author Becky Wade makes her CBA debut with a fun -- and funny -- contemporary romance. Amidst the light-hearted banter and laugh-out-loud moments is a compelling spiritual journey of one woman's choice to listen to God and wait on him. Filled with humor and authentic romance, My Stubborn Heart is shaping up to be the hit of the summer.

Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When Kate's grandmother asks Kate to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.

Yet, she discovers a different kind of project upon meeting the man hired to renovate the house. ;Matt Jarreau is attractive and clearly wounded -- hiding from people, from God, and from his past. Kate can't help but set her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light... whether he likes it or not.

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

Book Review

Applause!  Applause!  for this book!   I work with girls ranging from middle school to college age and this is one I will not hesitate to put on the bookshelf for them to read.    Books that tell girls that following God's will FIRST is not only hard to find, it is almost impossible.

If you haven't started collecting your summer reading books, you should add this to your beach bag!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Submerged




This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Submerged
• Bethany House Publishers; Original edition (May 1, 2012)
by
Dani Pettrey


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom, and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves--the thrill of adventure, nail biting suspense, the deepening of her characters' faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters.

Just in case you’re curious…The real Dani does love traveling. She’s been to some amazing places (Greece, Hawaii, the Keys) and there are many more she hopes to visit in the future.

And while she’s not quite up to sky-diving, cave diving or heli-skiing (too high, too enclosed, too cold!) she and her family love hiking, canoeing, wave jumping and a ton of other outdoor adventures a little further down on the risk scale.

ABOUT THE BOOK

A sabotaged plane. Two dead deep-water divers.

Yancey, Alaska was a quiet town . . . until the truth of what was hidden in the depths off the coast began to appear.

Bailey Craig vowed never to set foot in Yancey again. She has a past, and a reputation--and Yancey's a small town. She's returned to bury a loved one killed in the plane crash and is determined not to stay even an hour more than necessary. But then dark evidence emerges and Bailey's own expertise becomes invaluable for the case.

Cole McKenna can handle the deep-sea dives and helping the police recover evidence. He can even handle the fact that a murderer
has settled in his town and doesn't appear to be moving on. But dealing with the reality of Bailey's reappearance is a tougher challenge.

She broke his heart, but she is not the same girl who left Yancey. He let her down, but he's not the same guy she left behind. Can they move beyond the hurts of their pasts and find a future together?

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

Book Review

Can I tell you how much I would love to meet Dani Pettrey for coffee to just talk?   She is a homeschooling mom and wife who managed to find time to write this AMAZING book.   I am in awe.    How did she do that?   I am writing this book review in my pajamas and still trying to help my boys finish their schoolwork while in the back of my mind thinking about the fact I have nothing planned for supper.   Writing a book?   Did I say I am in awe yet?

Don't let me fool you into thinking that I am giving Dani too much credit just because I have homeschooling mom/wife in common with her.    As far as I can tell, this is her first book which is even more amazing.     Few freshmen authors write with broad plot lines and characters, like Cole and Bailey, have depth and background you rarely find in a first book.  The realities of diving in Alaskan waters left me feeling claustrophobic and in awe of people who deep-sea dive in situations like this.

I dove into this book right after I received it when I saw the quote from Dee Henderson the cover and did not come up for air until I was done -- three hours later.   

Submerge yourself in this book!

FUN!  This was posted on Lifeway's Fiction blog.  Hope you enjoy this recipe for Gus's Famous Moosetracks Milkshakes!!

Last Frontier Adventures is one of the shops lining Main Street. Nearby is Gus’s Diner. Picture a fifties diner mixed with a quaint modern-day deli and you’ll have Gus’s. A signature, and much sought after, menu item is Gus’s Famous Moosetracks Milkshakes. As a treat, I thought I’d include the recipe:
·         Moose Track Ice cream (Vanilla ice cream with peanut butter cups and famous Moose Tracks® fudge).
  • Milk
  • Additional squirt of chocolate syrup if you really like chocolate J
Fill blender to the 1st line with milk.
Add 2 scoops of ice cream and optional squirt of chocolate syrup.
Mix, first at high speed then low.
Add ice cream or milk to thicken or thin mixture to taste.
Add whipped cream.
Add dark chocolate shavings.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Chocolate Diaries

Ready to Make Some Sweet Changes?
Karen Linamen dishes up a satisfying blend of moxie and mocha, sharing stories from dozens of women who reveal savvy strategies for embracing a sweeter life—even while traveling rocky roads. If you’re hungry for more joy, reasons to laugh again, ideas to help you heal, and reliable hope leading to a sweeter future, this journey will leave you satisfied.

Funny, transparent, and uplifting, The Chocolate Diaries is like taking a road trip with good friends who are wise about life. And while you’re at it, indulge (just a little) in the quirky recipes for concocting chocolate delights out of whatever ingredients you can round up in your kitch. The road may still be bumpy, but you’ll be having too much fun to care.

Read an excerpt from the book!


Book Review


It only seems appropriate to read this book with at least one piece of chocolate.    How could you not with a title like "The Chocolate Diaries"?    Each section has intimate stories which you be able to relate to and bring you comfort much like that piece of chocolate.   

The diaries covers a lot of rocky roads in people's lives:  divorce,  death of a loved one, and even someone  who over comes being blind and does some amazing things such as climb a few different mountains.   The theme of the book is clear... we are all going to hit rocky roads in our life, but we have the tools to a sweeter journey with God!

I have bought several copies of this book along with a box of chocolates for friends who are dealing with different issues.   It makes a great encouragement during times of stress.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Soul Saver


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Soul Saver
• Barbour Books (May 1, 2012)
by
Dineen Miller


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dineen Miller readily admits that one of the greatest lessons she’s learning about life is that there’s purpose in our trials. It’s all about trusting God and putting our hope in Him. Her favorite stories are of the miracles God has wrought in the lives of her family.

Through this lens she also believes her years as a youth counselor, a Stephen Minister, a women’s ministry leader, and a small group leader fuel her desire to ignite the souls of others through words of truth.

In addition to writing for Spiritually Unequal Marriage, Dineen has won several prestigious awards for her fiction, and her devotional writing has been featured in Our Journey and Christian Women Online Magazine. She’s also a C.L.A.S.S. Communicator and has been featured on the Moody Radio Network, Family Life and Focus on the Family Radio.

Married for 24 years to a guy who keeps her young, she lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two adult daughters, who surprise her daily with their own creativity.

She is the co-author of Winning Him Without Words: 10 Keys to Thriving in Your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and the author of The Soul Saver.

ABOUT THE BOOK

When Trusting God Is the Only Way Out

On an average day, God started her missions in her sculpting studio, revealing the face of the person she would meet at the grocery store, bank, or playground. The goal was always the same. Reach the lost, bring someone back to God, restore hope. But then came the tough missions—the ones that sent Lexie Baltimore into real battle. And she had a few battle scars to show for it.

Tormented that she can’t reach the one person she loves the most—staunch atheist and husband Hugh—Lexie finds her own hope waning when the battle comes to her doorstep in the shape of a pastor who represents everything she wants and everything her husband is not—a godly man.

Then false accusations and rumors spin her husband and family into a precarious position, and the only way out is to trust God. But how can she convince her husband when she’s struggling to trust God herself?

This time Lexie is the mission.

ENDORSEMENTS:

“Never before have I felt as if I were seeing someone’s life play out across a page until I read Soul Saver. Dineen Miller's prose had me sighing at the beauty of her word pictures. This is not a book to be missed – Life changing!”
— Robin Caroll, author of the Evil series and Injustice For All

“When you combine stellar writing, intriguing characters, and a fascinating plot the result is a story like Soul Saver. It’s the kind of novel I wish I had written.”
— James L. Rubart, bestselling author of ROOMS, Book of Days, and The Chair

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

Book Review

In a story line reminiscent of Frank Peretti's early books, Dineen Miller has written a book that will truly give you a new appreciation and acknowledgement for the spiritual warfare that goes on around us on a daily basis.  

Miller's characters each have their own views on God.   Some have personal relationships which guide their every move.    Some are atheist.   Some had a relationship, but have turned their back on God.    Some have a craving in their heart for something, but have no idea what it is.    Each of these characters represent us or someone we know.    

The story represents how Satan tries to use our weaknesses to his advantage, but how God's power is so much greater.    How what we consider every day happenings such as problems at work or even childhood problems are things that can be used by God for His good.


Add this to your "must read" list!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Traveler's Rest


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Traveler’s Rest

Bethany House Publishers; Original edition (May 1, 2012)
by
Ann Tatlock


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Ann Tatlock is the author of the Christy Award-winning novel All the Way Home. She has also won the Midwest Independent Publishers Association "Book of the Year" in fiction for both All the Way Home and I'll Watch the Moon. Her novel Things We Once Held Dear received a starred review from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly calls her "one of Christian fiction's better wordsmiths, and her lovely prose reminds readers why it is a joy to savor her stories." Ann lives with her husband and daughter in Asheville, North Carolina.


ABOUT THE BOOK



A YOUNG WOMAN determined to honor her commitment...

AN INJURED SOLDIER convinced life is no longer worth living...

A RETIRED DOCTOR certain it's too late to be forgiven...

Jane Morrow has a dilemma. She's engaged to Seth Ballantine, a member of the National Guard's 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, and he's returned from Iraq severely wounded. Jane hasn't seen him for nearly a year, and with trepidation, she heads to the VA hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, where he is being treated.

Seth isn't happy to see her. He'd asked her not to come. He wants to end the relationship. But Jane loves him, and despite his injury, she's determined to convince him that they can have a life together. Her faith has never been strong, yet she hopes God will answer her prayers and tell her what to do.

Beautifully written, Travelers Rest takes readers on a journey through pain and tragedy to a place of hope and redemption.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Traveler’s Rest, go HERE.

Book Review

Picking up this book touched a raw place in my heart.   Memories of Andy returning injured from Afghanistan flooded my heart.    Too recent thoughts of Jeffery and his struggles with suicide because of his experiences in Afghanistan.    Thoughts of losing Michael in the helicopter crash on Christmas Eve in Fallujah.     No, I just didn't think I could read a book about a wounded soldier who had returned from the war.

But I did.    Each character is painfully believable.   Tatlock's way of writing is so relatable that you find yourself drawn into the pages and becoming very attached to her characters.     When they hurt, you hurt.  When they find joy, you rejoice with them.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Clever Poster


I saw this poster on Facebook this morning.  LOVE IT!!   This article said it was created by a non-profit group called Burning Through the Pages.     This is definitely clever marketing!