Saturday, May 30, 2015

You Just Graduated High School What Do You Do?

Have an amazing Father/Son weekend in New Orleans!   When husband and son planned their trip to New Oleans to see a concert I don't think either of them really thought about the fact that it was going to land the weekend after graduation.   After a crazy couple of weeks getting ready for graduation weekend plus an overwhelming work schedule for my husband, they both needed this time away.  

I took this picture right before they got in the car to leave.   I didn't tell them, but I had a hard time containing my tears until they drove out the driveway.   The first time they took a Father/Son trip was when Big Guy was in the first grade.  They have gone every year since then.   Now that he has graduated and he is about to go to college I wonder if this will be one of their last?





My husband and son share a love for music.   All kinds of music.   They found out RUSH was going to be doing their 40th anniversary concert tour and decided they wanted to see them.   







New Orleans is not their favorite place, but they decided that a city famous for music would have to have great music stores.   They had printed out a list of stores they wanted to find and that is what they did Saturday.   They explored vinyl record stores.   One store was mostly the private collection of thousands of records that they were trying to sell.   They had so much fun exploring those records.




Of course, you can't go to New Orleans without eating good food.  They chose to eat at Cochon.   Everything at Cochon is about matching flavors.  So each entree and side is paired specifically to bring out the height of flavor.  Todd could not rave enough about what he ordered.   He said it was so good. 
















On the way home they stopped off at Middendorfs to eat.   Everyone we know loves it, but none of us have ever been.  They gave it a try and said they enjoyed it.  

They both arrived relaxed and with big smiles on their faces.   Father/Son Weekend 2015 was a big success!

When Hope Rises

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
When Hope Rises
Pelican Book Group (May 2015)
by
Dora Heirs


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

After a successful auditing career, Dora left the corporate world to be a stay-at-home mom to her two sons. When her youngest son no longer wanted her hanging out at school with him anymore, Dora started writing Heart Racing, God-Gracing romance. She is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and her local chapter, Carolina Romance Writers.

Dora and her real life hero make their home in North Carolina. When she takes a break from cranking out stories, she enjoys reading, family gatherings, and mountain cabin getaways. She despises traffic, bad coffee, technological meltdowns, and a sad ending to a book. Her books always end with a happily-ever-after!



ABOUT THE BOOK

Art teacher Shelby Coltman transforms junk into treasure and longs for a place to showcase her creations. She’s thrilled when her friend volunteers to room with her. Shelby can finally buy a storefront. Unfortunately, Kennedi’s brother can't seem to let go.

Abandoned as a teenager, guidance counselor Tate Malone has become surrogate and over-protective father to his sister. Life is great until Shelby Coltman wheedles his impressionable sister into sharing an apartment. Raised in wealth, the beautiful Shelby could never understand poverty or rejection, and Tate doesn't appreciate her uprooting his sister. When Shelby hands over her savings to a homeless student, will God obliterate Tate's fears and deliver all of Shelby’s dreams...when hope rises?

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

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The End of a Chapter


Sunday after church Big Guy walked out of his bedroom and his arm was empty.   It took my breath away.  I literally gasped and started crying.   All the wrist bands that you see in the picture above?  They were gone from his arm.   This may not seem like a big deal, but he has been wearing some of them for six years.  You read that right.   Six years.   His youth pastor started handing out these wrist bands as part of their youth ministry.   Each one had a different meaning.    Each one represented a different discipleship weekend or mission trip or something special to him.  For some reason, Big Guy made a decision that he wanted to wear them until he graduated high school.   There have been different times that I have asked him to take them off, but he has hidden them under shirts saying, "I really want to keep them until graduation."

Sunday was that day.  After senior recognition at church, graduation was officially over for him so he took them off.  The end of high school.  The end of youth ministry.  The end of that chapter of his life.   

Time for a new beginning.   

Big Guy's Graduation

On Saturday our family and friends joined us at First Baptist Jackson for the graduation of our oldest son.   Even typing it I can't believe it.   I watched him walk across that stage and accept that diploma and it just didn't seem real.  

My sister-in-law came prepared with plenty of tissues, but it was so unreal I didn't cry.   Maybe I was just in denial.   Maybe I just don't want it to be real. 

However, the proof is here in the pictures.  Pictures that I wouldn't even have if it weren't for my sweet S.   She took all the pictures from graduation for me.   Thank heavens for her!

Here is Big Guy walking in with his 43 classmates from our homeschool co-op...









My sweet husband standing in the wings.  He could see our son standing on the other side of the stage as his name was being announced.   He said that he was so immensely proud and happy at that moment.  The look is written all over his face, isn't it?



As they are announcing his name....


It was such a special memory for my husband to be able to give our son his diploma...




Introducing the class of 2015....

Our honors graduate...


Deciding to homeschool was a big deal for all of us.   When we first started I had serious fears that I could get us to this point.  To graduation.   I don't think I did.  I know I didn't.  I know that God got us here.  I know that the intelligence and determination and gifts that God instilled in Todd is what got us to this point.   I am so proud of the man that he is today and so very excited to see where He leads him next.








The Art of Losing Yourself

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Art of Losing Yourself
WaterBrook Press (April 21, 2015)
by
Katie Ganshert


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Award-winning author, Katie Ganshert, graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a degree in education, and worked as a fifth grade teacher for several years before staying home to write full-time. She was born and raised in the Midwest, where she lives with her family. When she’s not busy penning novels or spending time with her people, she enjoys drinking coffee with friends, reading great literature, and eating copious amounts of dark chocolate.



ABOUT THE BOOK

Just like in my dream, I was drowning and nobody even noticed.

Every morning, Carmen Hart pastes on her made-for-TV smile and broadcasts the weather. She’s the Florida panhandle’s favorite meteorologist, married to everyone’s favorite high school football coach. They’re the perfect-looking couple, live in a nice house, and attend church on Sundays. From the outside, she’s a woman who has it all together. But on the inside, Carmen Hart struggles with doubt. She wonders if she made a mistake when she married her husband. She wonders if God is as powerful as she once believed. Sometimes she wonders if He exists at all. After years of secret losses and empty arms, she’s not so sure anymore.

Until Carmen’s sister—seventeen year old runaway, Gracie Fisher—steps in and changes everything. Gracie is caught squatting at a boarded-up motel that belongs to Carmen’s aunt, and their mother is off on another one of her benders, which means Carmen has no other option but to take Gracie in. Is it possible for God to use a broken teenager and an abandoned motel to bring a woman’s faith and marriage back to life? Can two half-sisters make each other whole?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Art of Losing Yourself, go HERE.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Wood's Edge

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Wood's Edge
WaterBrook Press (April 21, 2015)
by
Lori Benton


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lori Benton spent her late teens and early twenties pursuing a career as a wildlife artist, attending the Maryland College of Art & Design before she began painting professionally. When not writing or researching, Lori can be found exploring the mountains of southern Oregon with her husband, Brian. Lori's first novel, Burning Sky was nominated as an ECPA 2014 Christian Book Award Finalist and also received double nominations for 2014 Christy Awards. The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn is her second novel.



ABOUT THE BOOK

At the wood’s edge cultures collide. Can two families survive the impact?

The 1757 New York frontier is home to the Oneida tribe and to British colonists, yet their feet rarely walk the same paths.

On the day Fort William Henry falls, Major Reginald Aubrey is beside himself with grief. His son, born that day, has died in the arms of his sleeping wife. When Reginald comes across an Oneida mother with newborn twins, one white, one brown, he makes a choice that will haunt the lives of all involved. He steals the white baby and leaves his own child behind. Reginald’s wife and foundling daughter, Anna, never suspect the truth about the boy they call William, but Reginald is wracked by regret that only intensifies with time, as his secret spreads its devastating ripples.

When the long buried truth comes to light, can an unlikely friendship forged at the wood’s edge provide a way forward? For a father tormented by fear of judgment, another by lust for vengeance. For a mother still grieving her lost child. For a brother who feels his twin’s absence, another unaware of his twin’s existence. And for Anna, who loves them both—Two Hawks, the mysterious Oneida boy she meets in secret, and William, her brother. As paths long divided collide, how will God direct the feet of those who follow Him?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Wood's Edge, go HERE.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Gathered Waters

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Gathered Waters
WhiteFire Publishing (April 15, 2015)
by
Cara Luecht


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A Word from the Author:

I never planned to be a writer. In fact, it took me a while to finish college. But I did, and here I am. And I now I can’t imagine not being a writer.

By day, I am an English Instructor for a local college, Marketing Manager for Degnan Design Builders, Inc., mother to four amazing children, and wife to an eternally patient and supportive husband.

In the evening, when I can squirrel away some quiet time, I read and write historical fiction.

I have a B.A. in English Lit. from UW Whitewater and an M.F.A in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ.



ABOUT THE BOOK
They want to worship as their hearts demand...but is it something they can give up everything for?

Brianna has only ever been what her life demanded. A wife, a hostess, a mother. But when a stand her husband takes ostracizes them from the Lutheran church that controls so much of life in Sweden, Brianna finds herself needing to find a strength beyond her station...a strength that will see her through prejudice and persecution and to a home she never dreamed she would find.

Based on the true story of the author s family s journey from Sweden to America, this sweeping saga paints the brilliance of new faith, the bravery of a new land...and the beauty of plunging beneath the waters and emerging a new person, capable of what one never thought one could do.

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