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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Basketball, Books and Isaac

We "weathered" the weather from Isaac pretty well.  He ended up being a non-event for us; just a lot of rain and wind gusts.  The kids got a day off from school, which was nice.  We actually ended up having a really nice and relaxing day at home.
JennaBeth enjoyed painting with her big sister.
Bentley enjoyed playing the Wii with his daddy and getting new Wii controllers so that we can all play some of the games together.  Mike ended up smoking the kiddos in Monopoly while I did some laundry and read a little.  Cecily told him, "Dad, don't you know your are supposed to let your kids win???"  Didn't work out that way, ha, ha!

Speaking of Bentley; he's going to be playing Upwards Basketball this September and October.  A couple of Saturdays ago, he had his skill evaluations and team placement.

He is really excited and we are too!  I appreciate this program so much.  He'll learn some new skills as well as be engaged in some spiritual growth.  His practices will be on Friday evening with games on Saturday mornings.

JennaBeth and I started going to Pre-School Storytime at our library last week.
She was a little shy about going into the room for the story at first (although you couldn't tell it from that silly picture!); however, after another little girl, who was there for the first time as well, pulled an Ariel Little Mermaid doll out of her bag, she was ready to make a new friend! We had a mommy-daughter date at Chick-fil-A afterwards.

Cecily is full force into high school now.  She was recognized in the newspaper as part of an article about the school she went to for Middle School:
I know that picture is a little blurry, so just to clarify (ehemm...) they referred to her as an "exceptionally talented arts student"...yep, that's my girl!  The school is using the calender of events that she designed last year in 8th grade.  
Cecily (first on the left) is also quite enamored with the young man in the Elmo shirt!  I am really glad that a two year old little guy has her heart right now...plenty of time much later for the older fellows!  The little guy's name is Jeshua and his mommy is expecting his little sister any day now.  That picture is from her baby shower a couple of weeks ago.
We are so blessed to have this sweet family as part of our church family!  And we can not wait to welcome sweet girl Moriah hopefully very soon!!!

So, that catches you up with what's been going on around our place...what's happening in your neck of the woods?

Monday, August 20, 2012


I'm not sure I've read a more timely book than Wallace Henley's GlobeQuake:  Living In The Unshakeable Kingdom While The World Falls Apart.  Diane Morrow with the B&B Media Group sent me a complimentary copy for the purpose of this review.

Born just two days prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, author Wallace Henley has spent most of his life learning to deal with a world in crisis. Born to a couple who had survived the Great Depression and were understandably alarmed when their nation was cast into a world war only days after their first son’s birth, Henley learned at an early age that stability could not be found in an unstable world.
By the time Henley reached high school the threat of communism was rampant and the constant threat of a nuclear war made him wonder if his generation might not be the world’s last. A few years later, he was once again called to bear witness to the world in crisis mode when, as a young reporter in Birmingham, Alabama, he was assigned the violence and unrest brought on by the Civil Rights movement. And a few years after that, while working as an aide in the White House, he witnessed the dissolution of the troubled Nixon administration. Returning to journalism following Nixon’s departure from the White House, Henley soon began to feel drawn to the ministry – a career choice he’d once sworn to never make – and within a few months became pastor of his first church.
In the time since, he has traveled the world as a speaker and writer, authored more than a dozen books, served as a Congressional chief of staff and as a leadership consultant and worked in over 20 countries, all the while gaining a keener grasp of scripture and a deeper understanding of human nature.
Today he serves as a senior teaching pastor in the 56,000 member Second Baptist Church of Houston, led by Ed Young and is a columnist for Christian Post. He and his wife of over 50 years, Irene, live in the Houston area. The couple have a grown son and daughter and when not working or traveling, enjoy spending time with their grandchildren.
(Bio information taken from Henley's website found at

I don't think anyone could argue that our world is unstable.  You could surmise that by just a few minutes of news viewing in the evening.  From the economy to the war in Iraq to the neighbor next to you losing his home, this quake of sorts is certainly a global problem.  Fear is in the hearts of many as we feel the shake and uncertainty of the future begin to grip us.

However, for those who are trusting in Christ and His unshakeable Kingdom, fear has to flee.

GlobeQuake is divided into three parts.  In Part 1, Henley paints a clear and concise picture of the quake going on all around us.  No part of our lives are untouched. 
"Ultimately everything that can be shaken will be shaken and brought down.  At the end of the day, all that is left standing is what is established on the eternally immovable."
Even in the midst of writing the dismal state of affairs surrounding us, Henley points his reader to the sure hope that we have:
"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 (Mal. 3:6)...But the foundations of faith don't ride on a soupy base of mud.  'The LORD is my rock!' shouts the psalmist (Ps 18:2).  If the base on which the foundation rests is unshifting, then the foundation is unshakeable, and the structure rising from it is stable."
In Part 2, Henley details ways to stabilize the spheres in which we all live; those spheres are the sphere of Person, Church, Family, Education, Government and Business.  He speaks in each sphere of the need for renewal, reinvention and transformation.  This is accomplished through an evaluation in each sphere of the vision, values and the Kingdom mission for each area.

Part 3 is an excellent summation of the hope that anchors us while all else shakes around us.

Henley presents a lot of information in GlobeQuake.  However, the book is not overwhelming.  I found it to be an easy and extremely encouraging read.  Henley's writing is clear and his ideas are well organized.  The thoughts he shares are spot on for our present times and he points directly and unapologetically to "Christ in you, the hope of glory"  Col. 1:27.
"The joy of people whose worldview is framed by Christ as they ride the rolling tsunamis spurred by the GlobeQuake is not because they live in denial or simply don't know what's going on.  They do know, at a level the rest of the world doesn't.  While many people try to deny the existence o f evil and sin, people whose worldview is set on Christ acknowledge sin's corrosive power in their own lives and world and know Christ has dealt with its penalties in His work of justification, and the Holy Spirit is restructuring the redeemed individual through sanctification."
GlobeQuake:  Living In The Unshadeable Kingdom While The World Falls Apart would be an excellent choice for a small group study or for individual use.  Challenging and encouraging, this book is must read for anyone who wants to make sense of the crazy world in which we are living.

You can order the book from by going HERE.


House of Mercy

Erin Healy is an award-winning fiction editor who has worked with talented novelists such as James Scott BellMelody CarlsonColleen CobleBrandilyn Collins, Traci DePreeL. B. GrahamRene GutteridgeMichelle McKinney HammondRobin Lee HatcherDenise HildrethDenise HunterRandy IngermansonJane Kirkpatrick, Bryan LitfinFrank Peretti,Lisa SamsonRandy SingerRobert Whitlow, and many others.
She began working with Ted Dekker in 2002 and edited twelve of his heart-pounding storiesbefore their collaboration on Kiss, the first novel to seat her on “the other side of the desk.”
Erin is the owner of WordWright Editorial Services, a consulting firm specializing in fiction book development. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Academy of Christian Editors. She lives with her family in Colorado.
Some of her previous novels are The Baker's Wife (which I reviewed HERE), Never Let You Go, and The Promises She Keeps.  

House of Mercy is Erin's latest novel.  Synopsis from the back of the book:

When Beth’s world falls apart, can she ever be whole again?
Beth has a gift of healing—which is why she wants to become a vet and help her family run their fifth-generation cattle ranch. Her father’s dream of helping men in trouble and giving them a second chance is her dream too. But it only takes one foolish decision for Beth to destroy it all.
Beth scrambles to redeem her mistake, pleading with God for help, even as a mystery complicates her life. The repercussions grow more unbearable—a lawsuit, a death, a divided family, and the looming loss of everything she cares about. Beth’s only hope is to find the grandfather she never knew and beg for his help. Confused, grieving, and determined to make amends, she embarks on a horseback journey across the mountains, guided by a wild, unpredictable wolf who may or may not be real.
Set in the stunningly rugged terrain of Southern Colorado, House of Mercy follows Beth through the valley of the shadow of death into the unfathomable miracles of God’s goodness and mercy.

My Thoughts about the book:
House of Mercy is written with a mystical/supernatural flavor.  I have to say that this genre is not my most favorite in fiction novels.  However, Ms Healy does present a clear picture of God's grace and mercy in the lives of fallen human beings.  The mythical wolf imagery can be clearly seen as God's faithful guidance and watch care over His children.  Character development is well written into the overall story.  If you love the supernatural element in novels you read, then you will love Erin's books.  You can learn more about Erin and her novels at her website

The book was sent to me by Rick Robertson with the B&B Media Group for the purpose of review and can be ordered at by going HERE.

Happy Reading,

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Help For The Fractured Soul

Candyce resides in Campbellsville, Kentucky with her husband Ray. Ray is a chiropractor and viticulturist. Candyce is in full time inner healing ministry and an author. Candyce and Ray enjoy sharing life with their three daughters, three son-in-laws and soon to be ten grandchildren.
Candyce has spent the past fifteen years ministering to survivors of extreme abuse leading them into the presence of the Lord to experience healing and wholeness. Abuse survivors are often unable to function in a healthy manner in their relationship with Jesus or other people. This often leads them away from community and into a life of isolation where they create barriers against pastors, counselors, and prayer ministers who desire to help them.
Candyce stresses the importance of community in the transformation process and encourages abuse survivors to engage in a healthy spiritual community in conjunction with prayer ministry. Candyce stresses the importance of broken people developing a life with God and learning to turn to Him for truth.
In addition to being in private practice, Candyce shares helpful ministry tools through her teaching and writing. In her book, Help For The Fractured Soul Candyce shares real-life strategies and effective tools that will encourage those who desire to help abuse survivors. Help For The Fractured Soul addresses the urgent topic of developing a sustainable spiritual life that transforms brokenness into wholeness.
Candyce has a doctorate in Systematic Theology, is a closet artist, enjoys reading and spending time with her grandchildren and has not mastered the art of a consistent exercise program.
(Bio information was taken from Candyce Roberts's website found at

Bethany House Publishers sent me a complimentary copy of Candyce's book Help For The Fractured Soul:  Experiencing Healing and Deliverance From Deep Trauma for the purpose of review.  The book is published by Chosen Books a division of Baker Publishing Group.

In Help For The Fractured Soul, Ms Roberts provides in invaluable ministry tool to not only the abuse survivor, but to the person desiring to help the one suffering from extreme abuses.  Roberts candidly and succinctly deals with a disorder that many may know as multiple personality disorder.  Now the proper psychiatric term is DID or dissociative identity disorder.  To those suffering from DID, the terms fractured or fragmented mind are more comfortable. 

Roberts has provided a well written and clear exposition to help the reader understand how extreme abuse leads often to a fractured mind.  I appreciated how she referred throughout the book to her ministry sessions with victims and how she clearly pointed to Christ as the only true and sure place to turn for healing.  While expounding on scripture and drawing from other experts such as Dan Allender, Neil T. Anderson and Larry Crabb, Roberts gives a thorough and easy to read resource for ministry to those who have suffered from all manner of abuses.  She handles these often misunderstood subjects with compassion and clarity.

Help For The Fractured Soul can be ordered from by going HERE.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Back to School 2012

The school bells are ringing and the buses are's back to school time!  This year we have a 1st grader and a 9th grader!

We attended two open houses this past Saturday.  Cecily (our 9th grader) wouldn't dare let me take a picture at her's.  I'm not sure why, ha! Bentley is still indulging me with the picture taking.  After getting supply lists from his teacher and all of Cecily's, we went on Monday to get the things they needed.  I was able to find everything at Target and Staples.  I'm thankful for the great deals at Staples making the school shopping fairly painless.
Isn't she beautiful?  I am finding it hard to believe that she's 14 and starting high school!  Her dad and I are so very proud of her.  Cecily is developing into a remarkable young woman.
No, Bentley did not go to school barefooted!!  Cecily has to be in her first class at 7:10 a.m. and Bentley doesn't have to be in his class until 8 a.m.  He barely was up in time to see big sister off this morning.

Mike took Cecily and JennaBeth and I took Bentley this first day.  Little sister was a big help getting her "bubba" and all his supplies into his classroom.  Those two played together so well yesterday.  When I asked where all the sweetness was coming from (because it isn't always that way!), Bentley said, "On all those other days we didn't know about missing each other, but we know we gonna miss each other tomorrow since schools starts".

That was her later in the afternoon after a full morning of playing with her bubba!

So on this first day of a new school year, my heart is full with thanksgiving and praise for all the ways God has blessed and is blessing my family and I offer this prayer on behalf of Cecily, Bentley and JennaBeth:
A Mother's Prayer
(originally by Mrs. Mary Steadman Roe)
Oh, Thou who hast been my God, my father's God, my father's father's God,
my mother's God, my mother's mother's God;
I come before Thee now to entreat Thee solemnly to be also my children's God.
 Thou, all-great Jehovah, and Thou alone, knowest the value of my children's souls,
and Thou alone canst save Them.  
Oh, let Thine arms of mercy and love be constantly about them
to preserve them from the follies of childhood, the dangers of youth,
and the sins of maturer years.
 Thou knowest the anxieties of a parent's heart,
and Thou hast more than a parent's love for all whom Thou takest
into Thy care and protection.
Oh, let my beloved children be some of those blessed ones
whom Thou carriest in Thine arms,
whom Thou leadest gently,
whom Thou wilt watch over every moment of their pilgrimage below, 
and of whom at last Thou wilt pronounce,
"Of such is the kingdom of heaven".
Let Thy restraining grace be exercised toward them, to protect them
from evil dispositions, unamiable tempers,
disobedience, and all outward immoralities.
 May they love each other and their parents,
and learn to take pleasure in denying themselves for each other
and for the sake of all who may come within their reach.
Preserve them from carelessness, laziness, wandering habits,
and improper companions.
 And oh, great God, above all things,
let Thy converting grace enlarge their hearts
that their parents may have the unspeakable happiness
of seeing them all follow the dear Savior;
or, if their mother should not be allowed the blessedness of seeing 
this great change wrought upon them while on earth,
may I be called to rejoice over it in the bright regions
of eternal glory.
 Oh, my Savior, 
take my children into Thy care and keeping.
I confess that I am not worthy of the least of all Thy mercies,
much less am I worthy to ask Thee for so great favors,
yet I would not be discouraged,
for Thou hast said,
"Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it",
and I do trust that through the merits of the Savior alone
Thy sovereign mercy may lay hold of my dear children,
and that they may, every one, spend their lives in Thy service.
 And oh,
enable me to labor incessantly for their conversion,
to pray without ceasing for them,
and to endeavor, by all means in my power,
 to impress the truth of the gospel on their minds
and to seek with all earnestness that the Holy Spirit
may impress those truths on their minds while they are yet young.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cruel Harvest

Thomas Nelson Publishers sent me a copy of Cruel Harvest by Fran Elizabeth Grubb for the purpose of review.

Fran Grubb has a passion for helping and encouraging people. She travels across the United States with her husband, Wayne, singing her way into the hearts of her listeners and speaking at churches, tent revivals, prisons, women's shelters, children's homes, drug and rehab clinics and any place there is a need.  D. James Kennedy featured Fran in his "Reclaiming America for Christ" campaign in 2003.  Fran and her husband are founders of Feed The Hungry Children, a non profit working with the hurting in Kenya. She loves good coffee, reading, all dogs and belly laughter. When Fran is not writing she is singing and playing the guitar.  Ms Grubb's website can be found at

In Cruel Harvest Fran shares the horrific details of her childhood.  The book is extremely graphic and difficult to read.  Fran details the emotional, physical and sexual abuse she, her siblings and her mother suffered at the hands of her abusive and alcoholic father.  As far as writing goes, the book is well written.  Ms Grubb tells her story from the vantage point of a reunion with her siblings as adults as they are "thinking back" on their childhood.  She gives the reader an appropriate reprieve from the graphic content with these snapshots of the reunion with some of her siblings.

As far as content goes, I'm not really sure what to say about the book.  I'm not naive.  I know that such abuse happens far more often probably than anyone is aware because most will not have the courage to share their story as Ms Grubb has.  However, I'm not certain how this book can be particularly helpful.  The book is heavy on the details of the horrifying abuse Ms Grubb suffered, but very light on on the good news of the gospel, which is the only hope in such circumstances.  There are a few references to how Fran and her siblings would "pray" and a few references to "gospel" songs her mother would sing and how God's "presence" was helping her survive, but outside of those references there is no real mention of the hope that is found in Christ.  Fran and her husband do talk at the end of the book about the need for forgiveness on Fran's part toward her father. 

This book is very difficult to read and anyone with a tender heart toward children and the abuse some suffer may not be able to make it through.  If I had to "rate" this book as far as the content goes, I would have to give it an "R" rating.  My overall rating of the book as far as readability/usefulness would be a "3" star rating for the reasons listed above.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Chasing The Wind

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Chasing The Wind
B&H Books (August 1, 2012)
Pamela Ewen
 Until recently retiring to write full time, Pamela Binnings Ewen was a partner in the Houston office of the international law firm of BakerBotts, L.L.P., specializing in corporate finance. She now lives just outside New Orleans, Louisiana, with her husband, James Lott.

She has served on the Board of Directors of Inprint, Inc., a non-profit organization supporting the literary arts in Houston, Texas, as well as the Advisory Board for The New Orleans Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Tennessee Williams Festival in New Orleans; Pamela is a co-founder of the Northshore Literary Society in the Greater New Orleans area. She is also a member of the National League of American Pen Women.

Pamela’s first novel, Walk Back The Cat (Broadman & Holman. May, 2006) is the story of an embittered and powerful clergyman who learns an ancient secret, confronting him with truth and a choice that may destroy him.

She is also the best-selling author of the acclaimed non-fiction book Faith On Trial, published by Broadman & Holman in 1999, currently in its third printing.

Although it was written for non-lawyers, Faith On Trial was also chosen as a text for a course on law and religion at Yale Law School in the Spring of 2000, along with The Case For Christ by Lee Stroble. Continuing the apologetics begun in Faith On Trial, Pamela also appears with Gary Habermas, Josh McDowell, Darrell Bock, Lee Stroble, and others in the film Jesus: Fact or Fiction, a Campus Crusade for Christ production.

Pamela is the latest writer to emerge from a Louisiana family recognized for its statistically improbable number of successful authors. A cousin, James Lee Burke, who won the Edgar Award, wrote about the common ancestral grandfathers in his Civil War novel White Dove At Morning.

Among other writers in the family are Andre Dubus (Best Picture Oscar nomination for The Bedroom; his son, Andre Dubus III, author of The House of Sand and Fog, a Best Picture Oscar nomination and an Oprah pick; Elizabeth Nell Dubus (the Cajun trilogy); and Alafair Burke, just starting out with the well received Samantha Kincaid mystery series. 
 Pamela can be reached through the Contact link on her Website
 At 8:47 A.M. on Wednesday, October 12, 1977, new-to-town businessman Bingham Murdock flew his small plane into New Orleans, banking it in such a way that a ray of sunshine shot through the city at light speed.

Amalise Catoir saw the flash from her sixteenth floor law office window. Finally feeling alive after the death of her abusive husband, she imagined seeing the plane was a fate for her eyes only; a special connection between the unknown giver and she, the recipient of light.

But someone else saw it, a six-year-old Cambodian refugee in foster care for whom a sudden burst of brightness reminds him of artillery fire.

Destined to cross paths with the man and the child, Amalise doesn’t yet know the deeper spiritual lesson she will learn: that we are responsible not only for the things we do, but also for the things that we don’t.

If you would like to read an excerpt of Chasing The Wind, go HERE.