Click Here For Free Blog Backgrounds!!!
Blogaholic Designs

Thursday, July 26, 2012


"It's not a dead end if it takes you somewhere you needed to go."
Mike and I were privileged to be a part of a VIP screening of a movie produced by Harbinger Media Partners a few weeks ago.  Take a look at the movie trailer:

And this shares the intention and heart of the movie from the producers:

From the promotional materials for Unconditional:
  • "And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them."
  • "God redeemed us with an unfathomable act of love, and because He first loved us, He has gifted us all to love others.  There is life after broken moments.  There is hope even in the darkest of places.  God uses everything for His good.  No matter your age, resources or skills, you can make a difference.  Please pray with us that Unconditional introduces audiences to the God that created and loves us all, and motivates believers and unbelievers alike to pursue God and serve others.  Together, we can make an impact in the name of Jesus."
I was pleasantly surprised by Unconditional.  The production and script of the movie is exceptional and the actors (especially the children) were phenomenal!  What you'll find in Unconditional is real life.  The harsh realities that 24.7 million fatherless children face are not sugar-coated and the life lived by the 16.4 million children living in poverty is shown in living color.  But don't worry...this isn't just another "do-gooder" movie.  It is a movie that will challenge the viewer with the reality of the gospel of Jesus Christ and how He transforms a life with His amazing grace to look and serve beyond him or herself in His strength.

While gripping and emotional, I believe Harbinger has provided believers with a tool for evangelism and life change in Unconditional.  This isn't just another "Christian movie" that you can take your non-believing friends to in hopes that "God will get a hold of them".  It is a movie that will begin discussion centered on the good news of the gospel and will position the viewer to answer one question:  How will I respond?

Mark your calender for September 2.  And plan to take at least one other person with you to see Unconditional!

Visit to learn more.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Living Unshakably

Is "unshakably" even a word?

Yep!  I just checked the Free Online Dictionary and according to them it means "incapable of being shaken".  But we do get shaken sometimes in this world don't we?  Like when we all heard of the horrible and tragic shooting in the theater in Colorado.  We hear things like that and watch the news coverage and we are shaken.

Some of the cinemas in our area are showing free Summer movies during June and July.  The kids and I were in the theater yesterday watching Rio.  I guess every other parent in Lee County Florida had the same idea, because the theaters were full.  Bentley, JennaBeth and I sat on the very first row.  About half way through the movie, I looked over and realized we were sitting on the far left of the theater on the front row right next to the Exit door.  I had a little bit of a panic attack as I recalled in my mind the shooting in Colorado and much of the news coverage.  It didn't last long, but it happened nonetheless.

There are times when we are shaken.

What calmed me down was remembering something from a book I'm currently reading.  The book is GlobeQuake by Wallace Henley and the passage that came to my mind was this one:
"The LORD is in His holy temple; the LORD's throne is in heaven.  (Psalm 11:4)  Here are stability and confidence!  The unshakable kingdom...Its strength is in the Person enthroned in the 'holy temple'.  He is immovable and unchangeable not because He doesn't like change, but because He doesn't need it.  At the core of all reality, and in the midst of the most catastrophic upheavals, there is One who is perfect and complete, dwelling in a temple no magnitude of quake can topple, on a throne from which He cannot be removed by any force or power."
In another place, a few pages from the above passage, Henley says this:
"Foundations are no stronger than the soil in which they are embedded.  God Himself is the rock in which the foundations of faith are laid.  'I, the LORD, do not change', He says (Malachi 3:6)...'The LORD is my rock!' shouts the psalmist (Psalm 18:2).  If the base on which the foundation rests is unshifting, then the foundation is unshakable, and the structure rising from it is stable."
What are you resting on?

Although we are rattled a bit by so many things in this world, we can learn to live unshakably.  We've just got to trust in the Rock of Jesus Christ and make sure our foundation of faith is laid upon Him! He is faithful and unchanging and things like the shooting in Colorado do not take Him by surprise.

Something that always helps me to regain my focus in this area when I get a little "fuzzy sighted" is to count my blessings so to speak - to remember all the ways God has sustained me and been faithful to me.  And to praise Him for these ways He graces me.  One way I'm doing that this week is by praying and praising God for our group of youth and counselors who are experiencing Youth Camp in Black Mountain, N.C.  Mike and Cecily are part of that group from our church.

They are having an amazing time from all reports so far.  The kids are hearing God's Word spoken over them.  Mike reports that the leader preaching is speaking some pretty profound truths and the kids are soaking it up!  I'm so thankful.  One of my prayers for them this week is that hearing God's Word and knowing Him will become the joy and delight of their hearts above anything else in this sometimes shaking world.

Another exciting thing that has happened so far is this:
That is Mike, Jenna Beth and Cecily.  No, our little JennaBeth who is three didn't miraculously transform over night.  That is the young lady, who Mike had in his family group several years ago at camp.  He was struck back then by her sweet spirit and heart for God that we named our JennaBeth after her!  I thought it would be really neat to have this picture to show our little JennaBeth.



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Choice

I have some thoughts about the tragic shooting in Colorado as well as some other things about life in general to share tomorrow, but today I want to introduce you to my new favorite fiction author.  I know, I know...I've said a thousand times before that I've discovered "my new favorite", but...
this gentleman's writing is really something else!

Robert Whitlow is the best-selling author of legal novels set in the South and winner of the prestigious Christy Award for Contemporary Fiction. A Furman University graduate, Whitlow received his J.D. with honors from the University of Georgia School of Law where he served on the staff of the Georgia Law Review. A practicing attorney, Whitlow and his wife, Kathy, have four children. They make their home in North Carolina.

You can learn more about Mr. Whitlow by visiting his website found at

Thomas Nelson sent me a copy of Whitlow's latest book The Choice for the purpose of review.

 One Young Woman. Two Very Different Roads.

The Choice will Change Everything.

Even as a pregnant, unwed teen in 1974, Sandy Lincoln wanted to do the right thing. But when an ancient woman approached her in a convenience store with a mysterious prophecy and a warning, doing the right thing became even more unclear. She made the best choice she could. But now, thirty-four years later, another pregnant, unwed teen has come into her life, and Sandy's long-ago decision has come back to haunt her. The stakes rise quickly, leaving Sandy with split seconds to choose once more. But will her spur-of-the-moment decision bring life . . . or death?

Mr. Whitlow writes with such descriptive detail and emotion that you are not only reading the story, you feel as if you are a part of the see, smell, and feel what is taking place on any given page.  He writes with knowledge of the "pro-choice"/"pro-life" debate and does so with compassion and sensitivity.

Summed up in one word The Choice is about sacrifice.  From "A Note From The Author" at the end of the book:
"My ultimate hope is that readers of this story, regardless of age or gender, will be encouraged to make unselfish, sacrificial choices.  Laying down our lives for others, in big and small ways, is a the heart of Christian living.  Jesus said, 'Greater love has no one than this:  to lay down one's life for one's friends' (John 15:13).  Wouldn't more of that be a good thing?"

I encourage you to pick up a copy of The Choice and meet a woman that made sacrificial choices in her life at the moments that really mattered.

You can order your copy at by going HERE. 

I can't wait to read more from Robert Whitlow!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Explicit Gospel

"Christian Moralistic Therapeutic Deism"...

"the assumed gospel"...

What are these things?
Matt Chandler addresses both in his new book The Explicit Gospel published by Crossway.
Chandler is the Lead Pastor of The Village Church a multi-campus church in the Dallas metroplex of over 10,000 people.  You can read more his story HERE as well as listen to his sermons on the church's website.  According to the church's website, the gospel is defined like this: "The gospel is the story of God reconciling and redeeming a broken creation and fallen creatures to Himself through the life, death, resurrection and future return of Jesus Christ."

Rick Warren states, "If you read only one book this year, make it this one.  It's that important."  I agree.

From the inside jacket cover of the book:
"Even if you go to church, it doesn't mean that you are being exposed to the gospel explicitly.  Sure most people talk about Jesus, and about being good and avoiding bad, but the gospel message simply isn't there...Inspired by the needs of both the over-churched and the unchurched, and bolstered by the common neglect of the explicit gospel within Christianity, popular pastor Matt Chandler writes this punchy treatise to remind us what is of first and utmost importance - the gospel.  Here is a call to true Christianity, to know the gospel explicitly, and to unite the church on the amazing grounds of the good news of Jesus!"

Christian Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is the idea that "we are able to earn favor with God and justify ourselves before God by virtue of our behavior".  The assumed gospel is the "tendency to think that the cross saves us from past sin, but after we are saved, we have to take over and clean ourselves up.  This sort of thinking is devastating to the soul."

Chandler writes with biblical clarity to dispel such faulty thinking; thinking that is robbing God of His glory and creating a man-centered religiosity.  Divided into three parts, The Explicit Gospel, is a clear exhortation to Christ exalting and cross-centered thinking in our personal lives and in the life of the churches where we worship and serve.
"We are saved, sanctified, and sustained by what Jesus did for us on the cross and through the power of his resurrection.  If you add to or subtract from the cross, even if it is to factor in biblically mandated religious practices like prayer and evangelism, you rob God of his glory and Christ of his sufficiency."
What I most appreciated most about the book was the fact that it wasn't just another book of exhortation, but that Chandler peppered the entire work with actual points of application.  The Explicit Gospel would be a great resource for use in a discipleship relationship with a new believer or for study in a small group Bible study or Sunday School class.

Visit CrossWay's page featuring The Explicit Gospel by going HERE where you can read an excerpt or order the book.  The book can also be found on by going HERE.

Thank you CrossWay for the complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of this review.


Friday, July 13, 2012

The Deposit Slip

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Deposit Slip
Bethany House Publishers (July 1, 2012)
Todd M. Johnson
Todd M. Johnson has practiced as an attorney for over 30 years, specializing as a trial lawyer. A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota Law School, he also taught for two years as adjunct professor of International Law and served as a US diplomat in Hong Kong.
The Deposit Slip is his debut novel. He lives outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife Cathy, and children Ian and Libby.
Todd can be reached through the Contact link on his Website
 $10,000,000 Is Missing.

Erin Larson is running out of options. In the wake of her father's death, she found a slim piece of paper--a deposit slip--with an unbelievable amount on it. Only the bank claims they have no record of the money, and trying to hire a lawyer has brought only intimidation and threats. Erin's last chance is Jared Neaton.

How Far Will One Lawyer Go to Find the Money?

When Jared wearied of the shady ethics of his big law firm and started his own, he never expected the wheels to fly off so quickly. One big loss has pushed him to the brink, and it's all he can do to scrape by.

And How Far Will Someone Go to Stop Him?

He's not sure if Erin's case is worth the risk, but if the money is real, all his problems could vanish. When digging deeper unleashes something far more dangerous than just threats, both Jared and Erin must decide the cost they're willing to pay to discover the truth.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Deposit Slip, go HERE.
My Thoughts About The Book:
It is always exciting to discover a new author.  Mr. Johnson has earned himself a standing with Grisham and Singer with this debut novel.  While starting off a bit slow, the story just got better the further I read.  The chapters were short and Johnson keeps the story moving.  The storyline between Jared and his dad added a nice depth to the overall plot.  I'll certainly be looking to read more from Mr. Johnson in this genre!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Now, if that doesn't give you chills...

Eric Blehm is a New York Times bestselling author of nonfiction books.  He is the author of The Only Thing Worth Dying For and The Last Season. 

You can learn more about his writing and connect with him at his website located at and on Facebook.

Eric has written the amazing and inspiring story of Adam Brown, Navy SEAL Team Six Operator in his latest book Fearless published by WaterBrook Multnomah.  Adam's story is one of the most moving accounts I have read in quite some time.  I appreciate that Blehm wrote with such care to riveting detail and held nothing back.  After finishing the book, I felt as if I knew the Brown's personally and as if Adam Brown was a friend.  With so much controversy over the war our nation has been in for several years now, Fearless is a sobering reminder of the ones who are fighting this war;  right or wrong, they are fighting this war.  These courageous and fearless men and women that we sometimes forget about in the midst of our war discussions; they are fighting!

I am challenged to pray more and pray harder for these men and women who sacrifice so much.  Adam was not a perfect man (you'll read about that in the book), but he was a man transformed and carried by God's amazing grace; an unlikely hero and true warrior. 

You can read chapter one of the book by going HERE.

Listen to the song "Fearless" inspired by Adam's story by Mark Dowdy HERE.

Thank you WaterBrook for sending me a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of review.  WaterBrook will enter you for a chance to win a copy of Fearless if you take a moment to rank this review by using the box below:


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mexican Meatloaf

I love coming across versatile recipes and I came across such a recipe on a recent trip back home to MS/AL to visit family.  As I was perusing my mother-in-law's recipes, I stumbled upon one that just sounded yummy to me:  Mexican Meatloaf.  As I read through the ingredients, I knew it was one I wanted to try.  My family loves anything with a Mexican flare.  So here is the recipe:

Mexican Meatloaf
  • 2 1/2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can of water
  • 1 1/2 cups of instant rice (uncooked)
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 8 ounces taco sauce
  • 1 can rotel tomatoes
  • 1 bag Doritos
  • 2 cups of a Mexican blend cheese - grated
Brown the ground beef and onion together.  Drain all the grease from the beef/onion mixture.  Add the cream of chicken, tomato, and mushroom soups along with the one can of water.  I substituted one can of Campbell's Fiesta Cheese soup for the cream of mushroom.  Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and add the instant rice, taco seasoning, taco sauce and the rotel tomatoes.
In 9X13 pan, layer the bag of Doritos (crushed) on the bottom.

Top with the meat mixture.

Bake uncovered in a 425 degree oven for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and top with the grated cheese and bake until cheese is melted and bubbly.
As you can tell by the pictures, this really comes out more like a casserole than a meatloaf.  My family loved this dish!  And as stated before, I like the versatility of this recipe.  You could always spice it up with a can of chopped jalapenos or substitute chicken for the ground beef or even add a can of black beans and/or corn!

What kinds of versatile recipes does your family enjoy?  I'm always looking for a good recipe to play around with!


Monday, July 9, 2012

What's Been Goin' On 'Round Here...

We've been fishing...

and gettin' a make-over by big sister...
and we've been being the "big boy" to the "little guy"...
That's Bentley with Jeshua; he's a little guy from church.  They both had their SpiderMan shirts on!

We've also been helping with Back Yard Bible Clubs...
and hosting "Living Room Bible Clubs" thanks to Hurricane Debby...
And then on the Fourth of July, we just plain acted silly...

Yep, that's what we've been up to!


Friday, July 6, 2012

Hope Springs

In a small Southern community where everyone is holding tight to something, the biggest challenge may be learning to let go.
Hope Springs, North Carolina, is the epitome of small town life—a place filled with quiet streets where families have been friends for generations, a place where there’s not a lot of change. Until three women suddenly find themselves planted there for a season.
Janelle Evans hasn’t gone back to Hope Springs for family reunions since losing her husband. But when she arrives for Christmas and learns that her grandmother is gravely ill, she decides to extend the stay. It isn’t long before she runs into her first love, and feelings that have been dormant for more than a decade are reawakened. And when Janelle proposes a Bible study a the local diner--and invites both African American and Caucasian women she has met--the group quickly forms a spiritual bond . . . and inadvertently adds to underlying tension in the community.
Becca Anderson is finally on the trajectory she’s longed for. Having been in the ministry trenches for years, she’s been recruited as the newest speaker of a large Christian women’s conference. But her husband feels called to become the pastor of his late father’s church in Hope Springs. Will small town living affect her big ministry dreams?
And Stephanie London has the ideal life—married to a doctor in St. Louis with absolutely nothing she has to do. When her cousin Janelle volunteers to stay in Hope Springs and care for their grandmother, she feels strangely compelled to do the same. It’s a decision that will forever change her.
As these women come together, facing disappointments both public and private, they soon recognize that healing is needed in their hearts, their families, and their churches that have long been divided along racial lines. God's plan for them in Hope Springs—and for Hope Springs itself—is bigger than they ever imagined.

Kim Cash Tate is the author of Cherished, Faithful, Heavenly Places, and the memoir More Christian Than African-American.  A former practicing attorney, she is also the founder of Colored in Christ Ministries.  She and her husband have two children.

You can read more about Kim and her ministry as well as her writing at her website found at   You can also connect with her on facebook by going HERE.

My Thoughts About The Book:
As an avid reader and book reviewer, I am always excited to discover a new author.  Especially an author that can write an excellent story with the added faith element.  Tate has accomplished that in Hope Springs.  Having grown up in a small Southern town myself, the story of Hope Springs and Janelle, Becca, Stephanie resonated with me and was very believable.  Tate developed the characters well.  You know you've read a good story when you turn the last page and feel a little sad to let the characters go.  There were many times in the story that I was driven to get my Bible out and look up a certain passage of Scripture being alluded to.  Good Christian fiction doesn't get much better than that!  I'll be looking to read more from Tate.

Hope Springs can be found at by going HERE.

Thank you Thomas Nelson for the complimentary copy for the purpose of this review.

Happy Reading,

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Nothing To Hide

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Nothing to Hide
Bethany House Publishers (July 1, 2012)
J. Mark Bertrand

J. Mark Bertrand lived in Houston, where the series is set, for fifteen years,
earning an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Houston. But after
one hurricane too many he left for South Dakota. Mark has been arrested
for a crime he didn't commit, was the foreman of one hung jury and served
on another that acquitted Vinnie Jones of assault. In 1972, he won an
honorable mention in a child modeling contest, but pursued writing instead.

You will want to visit Bertrand's website, which can be found HERE.

A grisly homicide. An international threat.
The stakes have never been higher for
Detective Roland March.

The victim's head is missing, but what intrigues Detective Roland March
is the hand. The pointing finger must be a clue--but to what? According
to the FBI, the dead man was an undercover asset tracking the flow of
illegal arms to the Mexican cartels. To protect the operation, they want
March to play along with the cover story. With a little digging, though, he
discovers the Feds are lying. And they're not the only ones.

In an upside-down world of paranoia and conspiracy, March finds himself
dogged by injury and haunted by a tragic failure. Forced to take justice into
his own hands, his twisting investigation leads him into the very heart of
darkness, leaving March with nothing to lose--and nothing to hide.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Nothing to Hide, go HERE.

My Thoughts About The Book:
If you were to look up the word brilliant in the dictionary, I have no doubt you'd find J. Mark Bertrand's photo there.  I am so excited about discovering this author.  Nothing to Hide is the third book in the Roland March Mystery series...the previous books are Back on Murder and Pattern of Wounds.  I reviewed Pattern of Wounds and you can read that review HERE.
While any of the books can be read alone, your experience with Bertrand will be richer by reading the series as a whole.  I'm not ready to let go of Roland March (protagonists in this series)!  Bertrand weaves a story full of twists and turns with intrigue and suspense on every page.  He keeps you turning the page until the very last one.  My daughter has started reading the first novel in this series, Back on Murder.  When she picked it up night before last, I told her:  "Don't start that book right before bed, unless you intend on being up all night!"  Once you begin a Bertrand novel, you won't be satisfied until you've finished it!

Happy Reading,