Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spring Formal

It is that time of year.  Proms and dances and dances.   For our homeschooling group, we have Spring Formal.   Isn't it awesome that in homeschooling you have all the options that you have in public school?   I think so too!   For Spring Formal, each senior is given six tickets and they are allowed to invite whomever they would like.  

Big Guy decided he wanted to invite friends who would want to laugh and have a good time.  He knew just who to ask.   First was J.  They have been best friends since elementary school.   They serve on the AV team together at church and there are serious mischief when they are together.  Next was Joey's sweet girlfriend, B.  B is also Big Guy's best friend girl.   J, B and Big Guy spend a lot of time together.  Last, but not least was A.   A is someone that Big Guy adores.  She is witty, beautiful and always fun to be around.   These four had a great night together. 

Big Guy insisted on going to pick out the corsage for A alone.  I think he did a great job. 


Did I get a little teary eyed watching him get ready?   I get teary eyed at EVERYTHING these days.



Here are a few pictures from their night together...















Monday, March 30, 2015

The Tomb

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Tomb
Howard Books (March 17, 2015)
by
Stephanie Landsem


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A word from the author:
I write historical fiction because I love adventure in far-off times and places. I’ve traveled since I was a teenager—backpacking through Germany and Eastern Europe, studying German in Salzburg, eating gelato in Italy, and riding camels in Morocco were some of the highlights. Travel kindles my imagination, fuels my love of history, and introduces me to one-of-a-kind characters. It’s the best kind of research.

When I can’t travel, I read. I love fiction, of course, but I’m often found behind a stack of history books or searching the web for historical tidbits. How people lived together, worked, and what they ate (I love food!) is usually what catches my imagination. No matter where or when we live, people are more alike than they are different. I love to find the similarities between our lives and those of the men and women of the ancient world.

I make my home in Minnesota with my husband of 22 years, four children, three fat cats, and a tortoise named Moe. When I’m not writing Biblical fiction, I’m feeding the ravenous horde of kids and their friends, volunteering at church and school, battling dandelions, and dreaming about my next adventure – whether it be in person or on the page.

ABOUT THE BOOK

In this captivating retelling of a classic biblical story, Jesus shocks the town of Bethany with Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead, leading Martha—a seemingly perfect woman trapped by the secrets of her past—to hope and a new life.

Everyone in Bethany admires Martha—the perfect Jewish woman. She feeds and clothes her loved ones, looks after the family farm, and meticulously follows every precept of the Pharisees’ strict laws. But Martha is hiding a secret. At her sister’s marriage feast, she gave her heart and her innocence to a young musician who promised to return and marry her, but instead betrayed her love and abandoned her.

Seven years later, only two people in Bethany know of Martha’s secret sin: her brother, Lazarus, and Simon, the righteous Pharisee to whom Martha is betrothed. When Lazarus falls ill, Martha is faced with a choice: send for Jesus to save her dying brother—risking the wrath of Simon who threatens to betray her—or deny Jesus’ healing power and remain trapped in her tomb of secrecy and lies.

Meanwhile, on the shores of Galilee, Isa roams the wilderness, tortured by demons and knowing only that someone is waiting for him. When he is healed by Jesus, he finds that seven years have passed since his descent into madness. Isa journeys home to Bethany only to find he is too late to win back Martha’s love.

When Martha risks all to heal Lazarus, will Jesus arrive in time, or will he—like Isa—come too late?

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

Book Review

What an incredible book to read during Lent.  When reading the story of Mary and Martha, I have always identified with Martha.   I am very much the "doer" in most scenarios.   I plan ahead, worry about if everything is going to get done and be ready.   I am not the carefree, let what happen happen person that Mary seemed to be.   Reading "The Tomb" gave me such a new way to think about both of these women.  

What it must have been like to make that decision to see Jesus -- someone they grew up with and loved -- as the Messiah.   Not everyone in their family will accept Jesus as the Messiah.   To be a woman and make such a bold decision is quite a statement.   Bold statements were not culturally accepted in that day.   

I have reread these portions of Scripture again since reading this book.   I do so with greater sympathy and empathy for these special women because of the hint of "what if" that we are given through the book "The Tomb".

Thank you to CFBA for the complimentary copy of this book to read and review. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dauntless

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Dauntless
Bethany House Publishers (March 3, 2015)
by
Dina L. Sleiman


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A word from the author:

Since selling my first book, I have also become an acquisitions editor for the company. I am a member of the Inkwell Inspirations blog, HEWN Marketing, ACFW, and a contributor to Christian Review of Books. I hold publishing credits in poetry and songwriting, and I was the writer and featured teacher in a nationally distributed instructional dance video for children. I have written several songs about the plight of the Islamic people, which have been produced in association with the Christian Broadcast Network. In addition, I have taught college and high school classes in writing and literature, as well as homeschool classes in the fine arts, and now enjoy teaching at writers conferences throughout the nation.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Where Legend and History Collide,
One Young Woman Will Fight for the Innocent


Born a baron's daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is now an enemy of the throne after her father's failed assassination attempt upon the king. Bold and uniquely skilled, she is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village--a group that becomes known as "The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest." Merry finds her charge more difficult as their growing notoriety brings increasing trouble their way.

Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, he's forced to reexamine everything he's known.

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

Spy of Richmond

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Spy of Richmond
River North (March 1, 2015)
by
Jocelyn Green


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jocelyn Green is a child of God, wife and mom living in Cedar Falls, Iowa. She is also an award-winning journalist, author, editor and blogger. Though she has written nonfiction on a variety of topics, her name is most widely recognized for her ministry to military wives: Faith Deployed. Her passion for the military family was fueled by her own experience as a military wife, and by the dozens of interviews she has conducted with members of the military for her articles and books, Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives and its sequel, Faith Deployed...Again: More Daily Encouragement for Military Wives. She is also co-author of both Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan and Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front (forthcoming, May 2012). Her Faith Deployed Web site and Facebook page continue to provide ongoing support, encouragement and resources for military wives worldwide.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Trust none. Risk all. Richmond, Virginia, 1863. Compelled to atone for the sins of her slaveholding father, Union loyalist Sophie Kent risks everything to help end the war from within the Confederate capital and abolish slavery forever. But she can't do it alone. Former slave Bella Jamison sacrifices her freedom to come to Richmond, where her Union soldier husband is imprisoned, and her twin sister still lives in bondage in Sophie's home. Though it may cost them their lives, they work with Sophie to betray Rebel authorities. Harrison Caldwell, a Northern freelance journalist who escorts Bella to Richmond, infiltrates the War Department as a clerk-but is conscripted to defend the city's fortifications.

As Sophie's spy network grows, she walks a tightrope of deception, using her father's position as newspaper editor and a suitor's position in the ordnance bureau for the advantage of the Union. One misstep could land her in prison, or worse. Suspicion hounds her until she barely even trusts herself. When her espionage endangers the people she loves, she makes a life-and-death gamble.

Will she follow her convictions even though it costs her everything-and everyone-she holds dear?

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

Book Review

Growing up in the heart of the south where stories of the Civil War are still retold with deep southern drawl and conviction,  I am very much drawn to books like "Spy of Richmond".   As a young girl I wished so much for books that told of what it must have been like as a young woman being in the midst of this time period.  

This book focuses on the spy circles that women worked in Richmond, the Libby Prison atrocities, slavery and other historical events of that time. 

I appreciated her developing the characters in such a thoughtful way and not relying on historical cliche' stereotypes like so many Civil War books tend to do.  

Now I must go back and read the other books in this "Heroines Behind the Lines" series.

Thank you to CFBA for providing this complimentary book for reading and review. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Moments of Awesome in Atlanta

Now that our kids have gotten to the high school years it is next to impossible to coordinate our schedules.   However, there comes a point and time when my friend and I say "ENOUGH!"  I reached that point a few weeks ago.  I told my boys, "My car is leaving here on this date.  You can go with me or not, but I am out of here!"    I realize that sounds drastic, but there comes a time when you need some time with your best friend to talk, shop and get your sanity back.    Thank goodness when I loaded the car the boys loaded up with me, because let's be honest, the trip wouldn't have been the same without them. 

Here are some tidbits from our time:
  • We keep quite a few question type games in the glove compartment of the car.  Right now we have "Loaded Questions" in there.  There are all type of random questions:  If you could be a character from any novel who would you be?  What do you consider the worst household chore?  What is one invention you wish had never been created?    Love these times when the boys talk for long periods of time because we are playing a game, but I learn SO much about what they are thinking. 

  • It is very easy to embarrass your boys when you are in a car with them for 7 hours.   I was getting tired and restless and starting dancing to keep myself awake.   A car drove by and the driver was dancing with me.  I thought that Little Guy was going to crawl into the floorboard.  Ha! 

  • I filled up my car for $26 and was able to drive all the way from my driveway to my friend's driveway.   Amazing!   
  • While my friend was teaching, Little Guy and I adventured out to find an art store.  There were quite a few to choose from, but they were all so spaced out.  Like 50 miles apart from each other!  He chose Blick Art Store because we have shopped online, but loved the idea of going to their brick and mortar store.   It is good thing there isn't one of these closer to us because we could spend a LOT of money here.
 

 

  • I was able to go see my sweet Karen play Jane in Tarzan.  She is so amazingly talented and has an incredible voice.   Could someone write a play that features JUST her?   See that picture below?  That is ALL the people that came just for opening night to see her.  



  • My best friend's homemade chicken salad.   Seriously.... some of my favorite comfort food right there!
  • Speaking of food.... we stopped at a Firehouse Subs at one point and this adorable little guy climbed up to the table with Big Guy.  It was so cute.   He was in a family with all girls so I am sure that another boy was very appealing to him plus the fact that Big Guy had a cell phone made him extra awesome.  


  • Alex, the wonder pup.   I adore this dog.  I would have stolen him and brought him home with me, but I am pretty sure that he would give our cat a nervous break down.  They would be the real life equivalent of Garfield and Odie. 

  • Like every trip, our time went way too quickly.  We are back home and into the crazy routine we call life.  I am just so glad that we God gave us these friends that are family to us.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Then Sings My Soul

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Then Sings My Soul
David C. Cook (March 1, 2015)
by
Amy Sorrells


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

An Indianapolis native and graduate of DePauw University, Amy lives with her husband, three boys and a gaggle of golden retrievers in central Indiana. After writing and editing for her college newspaper, she combined a nursing degree with journalism and creative writing, which led to publishing and editing a wide array of medical and nursing writing and multimedia projects over the past 21 years, a position as director of communications of her church’s children’s ministry, as well as a weekly column for a local newspaper which ran from 2009-2012. She has been a two-time semi-finalist for the ACFW Genesis awards, and was the winner of the 2011 Women of Faith writing contest.

When she’s not reading or writing, Amy loves spending time with her three sons; spicy lunches and art gallery walks with her husband; digging in her garden sans gloves; walking her dogs; up-cycling old furniture and junk; photography; and friends.


ABOUT THE BOOK

When Nel Stewart returns home due to the sudden death of her mother, she realizes her beloved father, Jakob, is struggling with dementia. With the reappearance of a high-school sweetheart, deliveries from Ukraine addressed to her, and the discovery of a mysterious, vintage aquamarine gemstone, Nel senses God is pulling her into the past to restore their faith and their futures. Told partially through Jakob's flashbacks of fleeing genocide-ridden eastern Europe at the turn of the twentieth century, the novel combines elements of mystery, history, faith and romance to reveal how God redeems the broken years ... and our future.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Then Sings My Soul, go HERE.

Book Review

This book should come with a warning.   Have tissues handy.   I am not one to cry when reading books, but this one made me very emotional.   I cried several times while reading Jakob and Peter's story of escaping Europe.     It was all too easy to visualize my own boys in a situation like that and it tore me apart.  

While I am not generally a fan of flashbacks in writing, the use of this method allowed the story to develop and unfold in a flawless way.  

Thanks to CFBA for providing this book for the purpose of review.