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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Life in Pictures

It has been quite some time since I have had a picture overload post.  I thought it was about time for one!  So, here it goes...

A few weeks ago, Cecily and I kept our church nursery during the worship service.  This is Cecily and an little guy at church that we have just fallen in love with...Jeshua, affectionately known as "Jeshy".
The following week, Bentley had the Flu and Strep.  He ran fever and didn't feel well for about a week.  Poor guy missed his basketball practice and game that week.  On that Saturday, he was still kind of puny and not well and had about enough energy to sit on the skateboard in his pj's on the porch!

He soon recovered.  This was his first day back to school after missing three days due to his sickness.  It was Student-led conference day where he gets to show us around his classroom and show us all they have done the past quarter in school.  Bentley is doing really well in school and we are so proud of him.  He is speeding right along in Accelerated Reading and Accelerated Math.
This past Wednesday night was the annual Fall Festival at our church.  We had around 750 people come through our parking lot for games, inflatables, pony rides, food and candy!!!
Here's Cecily with Jeshy...excuse me, McGyver!  She likes this little guy a whole lot!
Cat Woman enjoyed the pony rides and games.  JennaBeth was so funny...the whole day she kept asking me when she could put her "cat stuff" on...and I kept telling her that she could dress up as Cat Girl "in just a little bit longer".  She adamantly corrected me, "No mama.  Not girl,  it's cat woman!"
Batman enjoyed the games and getting lots of candy as well.
Big sister (Cecily, on the left) helped with one of the games and Cat Girl...sorry cat Woman, enjoyed playing big sister's game.
This is JennaBeth with her BFF Darci from church.  She loves Darci!

And last but not least McGyver and Cat Woman!  Jeshy loves JennaBeth...his mom and dad say that every time they drive into the church parking lot he starts saying, "JennaBeth".  I happen to think she's pretty cute myself.


A Thousand Sleepless Nights

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Thousand Sleepless Nights
Realms (October 16, 2012)
Michael King

When Mike Dellosso won a one-year battle with colon cancer he set out to help readers of his books discover it before they had to go through what he experienced.
“I want others to avoid what I had to go through,” he says. “It was an experience that taught me a lot about myself, others, and God, but one I wouldn’t want to repeat. If I can help even one person battling this disease, it would have been worth it.”
Mike set about writing a novel quite different from what his fan base had come to expect from him. Not a thriller, but a character-driven novel, so he wrote it under a pen name, Michael King, and entitled it A Thousand Sleepless Nights. His publisher, Charisma Media, went for it and the first copies went on sale in October.
Mike’s next step was to determine whether a partnership between him, Charisma Media, and the Colon Cancer Alliance was possible. This month both announced their cooperative fundraising venture, with Charisma Media making a significant contribution to CCA and Mike committing a portion of the proceeds from the book through December to CCA.
Speaking about A Thousand Sleepless Nights Mike says, “I want people to see colon cancer (and all the other cancers) for the monster it is, but also to show it does not need to defeat us. There is hope, there is strength, and there is courage and love. And though cancer may rob us of our physical vitality, it has no power over our spirit.” 
Mike can be reached through the Contact link on his Website.

In the 1970s, escaping a home where he knew nothing but violence and hate, Jim Harding found work, and love, on the largest horse ranch in Virginia. The object of his affections, Nena St. Claire, is the daughter of the owner—a man who ruled his ranch with an iron fist and would do whatever it took to keep Nena and Jim apart.
Against the wishes of her family, Nena marries Jim, and after her father dies, she sacrifices everything—including her family—to keep the ranch alive. Now their three grown children have lives of their own and want nothing to do with Nena. She was never the mother they needed.
When cancer strikes and Nena is given a devastating diagnosis, can Jim reconcile the family before it is too late?
If you would like to read the first chapter of A Thousand Sleepless Nights, go HERE
My Thoughts about the Book:
A Thousand Sleepless Nights was a very raw and emotional story.  The author writes with honesty and characters that are real and seem to jump right out of the story into your world.  Mr. King utilizes the flashback technique and does it very well.  He interjects the flashbacks at opportune times within the story and keeps things moving and you, the reader, keep turning the pages.  Another thing that I really appreciated about Mr. King's writing is that as the reader, you get the story from multiple perspectives.
The only criticism I have of the book has to deal with some editing issues I came across while reading.  The most glaring one is in regards to the name of one of the main characters...Jim.  On the back of the book, in the synopsis, Jim's last name is given as Harding and in the book, his last name is given as Hutching.
Mr. King has written a gripping novel about the ravaging effect of cancer; not only physically, but emotionally as well.  His portrayal of the dynamics in a family, both good and bad, are straight on point.  You will be blessed by taking the time to read this book.
Happy Reading,

Monday, October 29, 2012

Beyond The Storm

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Beyond the Storm
Abingdon Press (October 2012)
Carolyn Zane

Author of 35 books, wife, mother and yes…hot (flasher) lives with her fabulous husband, Matt and their 5 children and 3 dogs in the scenic Willamette Valley in Oregon. When asked to describe her family, Carolyn likens her crowd to the Brangelia Bunch saying modestly, “Only we’re better looking.” Right now,Carolyn is back in the saddle with her new title: Beyond The Storm, coming out in October 2012! In the mean time, be sure to catch her on the critically acclaimed TOOHOTMAMAS Blog where Carolyn and Wendy tackle Marriage, motherhood and menopause: How to do all three and stay out of prison! They are hilarious! You'll wet yourself, guaranteed! Visit them at:
Carolyn can be reached through the Contact link on her Website.

After a tornado rips through her town, store owner Abigail comes across a piece of fabric from a wedding dress among the devastation. Abigail is moved to start collecting other swatches of fabric she finds – her neighbor’s kitchen curtains, a man’s necktie, a dog’s bed – which she stashes in shopping bags. As she pursues her seemingly absurd quest, horrible realities spark the question, “What kind of a God would allow such tragedy?” 
As she struggles to reconcile her right to happiness amidst the destruction, Abigail begins piecing together a patchwork quilt from the salvaged fabric in hopes it will bring some peace. But a new relationship with Justin, a contractor, may require too much of her fragile heart.  Will her pain and questions of faith give way to the courage to love?
If you would like to read the first chapter of Beyond the Storm, go HERE
My Thoughts on the Book:
Beyond the Storm was an amazing story!  Ms Zane does a wonderful job of developing her characters in quick fashion; you immediately are drawn into their lives.  I was pleasantly surprised with the way Zane incorporated rich truths about God and His character into her story.  Not many Christian fiction writers are able to pull this off quite as well as this writer has.  Beyond the Storm is an exceptional picture of the way our God is able to bring beauty out of the ashes.  You'll be blessed by reading this book!
Happy Reading,

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Accidentally Amish

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Accidentally Amish
Barbour Books (October 1, 2012)
Olivia Newport

A Word From The Author:
I’m imagining you. You walk past as I water my front flowerbeds and we wave. You check the time as we both stand in a long line at the grocery store. You sit in front of me in church. I’m at my table in the coffee shop and you’re at yours.
We may smile politely and move on with our separate lives. Or one of us may speak, a simple invitation to conversation, and the words flow between us.
Here the adventure begins. When we meet someone new, we never know where it might lead.
I’ve been married for over thirty years and have two twenty-something kids. We live in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where the day lilies in my back yard grow as tall as I am. (No short jokes, please.)
Not every piece of my life is pretty, though. Some days I want to throw out whole chunks. But I am living each day looking for the grace of God to me, in me, and through me. Having your companionship along the way will help uncover a lot of great stories.
Thanks for stopping by my site, where conversations and adventures begin with a click. I hope we’ll run into each other often.
Olivia can be reached through the Contact link on her Website.

Escape the helter-skelter of the modern culture and join software creator Annie Friesen, hiding at the home of an Amishman. With her high-tech career in jeopardy, Annie runs from fast-paced Colorado Springs—and straight into the hospitality of San Luis Valley’s Amish community. There she meets cabinetmaker Rufus Beiler, and the more time she spends with him, the more attracted she becomes. When Annie finds she shares a common ancestor with Rufus, she feels both cultures colliding within her. But is her love for Rufus strong enough for her to give up the only life she’s ever known?
If you would like to read the first chapter of Accidentally Amish, go HERE.

My Thoughts About the Book:
I enjoyed this book...almost.  I appreciated the author's attempt to combine the historical with the contemporary, but I'm afraid is wasn't done very well in this case.  The historical portions were fantastic and I enjoyed those portions of the story very much.  The writing in the contemporary portions of the book was stilted and just didn't flow very well.  The contemporary story felt forced from the beginning.
There are two other books to come in this series.

Happy Reading,

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Against The Tide

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Against the Tide

Bethany House Publishers (October 1, 2012)


Elizabeth Camden

A Word from Elizabeth:
I am a college librarian in central Florida by day, but by night I can be found pounding out inspirational historical novels the moment the sun goes down. I love writing books about fiercely intelligent people who are confronted with profound challenges. As a rather introverted person, I have found that writing is the best way for me to share my faith and a sense of resilience with others.
I married relatively late in life, which turned out to be an odd kind of blessing. I had gotten very good at leading a solo life, and although I was not particularly content being alone, I had become reconciled to it.  Most importantly, it taught me never to take my husband for granted. I give daily thanks for the blessing of being able to share a life with my favorite person on the planet.
As for who I am? I love old Hitchcock films, the hour before sunset, a long, sweaty run through the Florida countryside, and a glass of good wine. After spending my entire adult life on a college campus (either as a student or a librarian) I have finally been able to pursue my ultimate goal of writing professionally.


Love and Lives are Threatened in Camden's Latest Offering
As a child, Lydia Pallas became all too familiar with uncertainty when it came to the future. Now, she's finally carved out a perfect life for herself--a life of stability and order with no changes, surprises, or chaos of any kind. She adores her apartment overlooking the bustling Boston Harbor, and her skill with languages has landed her a secure position as a translator for the U.S. Navy.
However, it is her talent for translation that brings her into contact with Alexander Banebridge, or "Bane," a man who equally attracts and aggravates her. When Bane hires Lydia to translate a seemingly innocuous collection of European documents, she hesitantly agrees, only to discover she is in over her head.
Just as Bane's charm begins to win her over, Lydia learns he is driven by a secret campaign against some of the most dangerous criminals on the East Coast, compelled by his faith and his past. Bane forbids any involvement on Lydia's part, but when the criminals gain the upper hand, it is Lydia on whom he must depend.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Against the Tide, go HERE.
Elizabeth can be reached through the Contact link on her Website.

My Thoughts About The Book:
I was excited to read another book by an author I'd never read before.  The book was a little slow in the beginning and I had trouble really connecting with the characters and getting into the story.  The "love at first site" between our heroine and Bane seemed a bit quick and forced in the beginning.  I would have liked to have experienced a little more character development and suspense between these two.  About halfway through the book things began to pick up a bit.  I can't say I loved this book, but I didn't hate it either.

Happy Reading,

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Well

"Why are so many still thirsty?"

That's the subtitle to the book, The Well, written by Mark Hall, Pastor and Lead Singer of Casting Crowns.
Mark is a true storyteller and a teacher with a heart for ministry.  He's lead singer and songwriter for the Grammy Award-winning band Casting Crowns, whose albums have sold over five million copies.  mark has been in ministry for twenty years and is youth pastor at Eagle's Landing First Baptist Church in south Atlanta.  Mark admits he would be overwhelmed by life's demands were it not for his wife, Melanie, who also serves as Casting Crowns' road manager.  Even on tour, Mark and Melanie homeschool their four children, John Michael, Reagan, Zoe, and Hope.

Some interesting facts about Mark from the group's website:

What was the first Christian album that you bought or where given?
Mylon Lefevre Trains up in the Sky
What was the most influential person in your life during your High School years?
My Parents: My biggest fans. always encouraged me in whatever i was doing and believed in me when no one else did.

What is the best advice someone has given you about working with youth groups?
Guard your time with God. Ministry only happens when we walk with Jesus. Otherwise it's just human effort and it will dry you out.
If you weren’t in Casting Crowns, what would you be doing now?
I would be an astronaut.

Mark's Testimony:

In The Well, Mark beautifully expounds on the passage of scripture found in John 4:1-45, known to most of us as the story of "the woman at the well".  Over the ten chapters of the book, Mark bears heavily on scripture as well as personal stories to look at many aspects of Jesus' encounter with this Samaritan woman.  He speaks boldly to the thirst in all of us; the thirst for something to satisfy and he unashamedly gives the thirsty ones, you and me, the Source of and endless supply of Living Water:

"We long for Jesus because he has placed that longing in us, and we see what he does in other people's lives.  But our human nature makes us see him as useful to us instead of Lord over us.  WE see him as the fixer and the sprinkler of blessings.  We want him to come join us and bless what we're doing when what he longs to do is transform our hearts and minds.  When we draw on anything or anyone other than Jesus for contentment, hope, security, peace, and life, we trade the only true Well for a meaningless hole.  We're all looking for something new, a new strategy or book that will give us the two new steps to peace with God and happiness on earth.  But there is only one way to arrive at Brand-New, and only one way to stay there.  First, we must repent of our sins and come to God through the grace of Jesus Christ.  Then we must spend time with him to become more like him...Jesus insists on talking about living water rather than our well water.  He insists on being a singular source.  He insists on being the Well.  Is Jesus the Well for you?" (chapter1, pg. 55-56)

The book includes a discussion guide that corresponds with each chapter making this an easy to use resource for Sunday School or small group Bible study, but would be useful for one on one discipleship as well.

You can order the book at by going HERE.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Saving Gideon

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Saving Gideon
B&H Books (October 1, 2012)
Amy Lillard

A Word from Amy:I’m a wife, mother, and bona fide Southern belle. Published author, expert corn bread maker, and Squirrel Princess.
I live in Tulsa, though I was born in Mississippi. I moved to the Sooner State when I was seventeen and met my soul mate and best friend not long after. I’ve retained a little of my Mississippi accent though most people think I’m from Texas. (?) Rob and I have been married for over twenty years and have a son–a mom proclaimed prodigy, of course!
I love homemade tacos, shoes, and romance novels–not necessarily in that order. I’m a big fan of country music, a staunch proponent of saving the Oxford comma, and I’m shamefully obsessed with all things Harry Potter.
I believe that God is love. I guess that’s why I adore romances.
I have always been intrigued with the Amish culture, their gentle ways and slower-paced lifestyle. (And I love, love, love the fact that they stay married for their lifetime.) But until recently I never thought to blend this interest with my penchant for romance. Okay, okay, I’m a bit old-fashioned and even enjoy the gender roles that are present in this culture. I love to cook and take care of my family. Yes, that’s me June Cleaver with a laptop.
I dislike people trying to convince me to read the Twlight series (I’ll get to it or I won’t, either way I’m good with it), gratuitous violence, and strawberry ice cream. (I know I’m alone on this last one, and again, I’m good with it.)
Favorite movies–(besides HP) French Kiss, Maid of Honor, A Lot Like Love, Just Married, and Sweet Home Alabama. Oh, and Miss Congeniality, Sabrina (both versions) and a 1940′s movie called Dear Ruth. If you haven’t seen it, you should! A-dorable. Anything with Doris Day and most all of Marilyn’s and Audrey’s.
Amy can be reached through the Contact link on her Website.

Gideon Fisher wants one thing out of life -- to be left alone. This is not the Amish way, but he’s devastated after the death of his wife and son to the point of losing his faith. He buys a farm on the outskirts of the district and pulls away from his community. But when a freak spring snowstorm brings a beautiful Englisher to his farm, what choice does Gideon have but to let her in?
Dallas socialite Avery Ann Hamilton is intrigued by the Amish farmer who pulls her out of the snow and into his austere lifestyle. Poor little rich girl, Avery has just gone through (yet another) bad breakup. Every man she meets only wants her for her father’s money. All she has ever wanted is to be loved for herself. Avery soon discovers the Oklahoma Amish country is the perfect place to hide out and heal her broken heart.
But she finds a peace in those back roads that she’s never felt before. Now her life has purpose and meaning as she connects with God and those around her. And there’s something more as she begins to care for this man who needs both love and forgiveness.
Gideon never wanted to live again much less fall in love, but Avery finds her way into his heart, showing him the beauty of life and God’s greatness. Yet as the feelings between Avery and Gideon grow, can they overcome their dissimilar lifestyles, or will their sheer differences pull them apart? If you would like to read the first chapter of Saving Gideon, go HERE.

My Thoughts About the Book:

I loved this book and I loved that it was written by a Mississippi girl!!  Saving Gideon was a simple, easy to read story that was uplifting and refreshing.  Ms Lillard writes a beautiful story of a man dealing with the demons of his past and who is seeking forgiveness and a woman who is finding what real joy in life is all about.  The story just kind of happened.  It wasn't forced and you fall in love with the characters right away!  I appreciated the blending of the contemporary and Amish elements.  Saving Gideon is Ms Lillard's first book, but it won't be the last one of her's that I read!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pursuing Peace

Robert D. Jones (DMin, Westminster Theological Seminary) serves as a biblical counseling professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a church elder, certified biblical counselor, a Christian conciliator, an adjunct instructor, and a church reconciliation trainer with Peacemaker Ministries and has served as an adjunct trainer with the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF). Jones is the author of Uprooting Anger and has written numerous ministry booklets and articles. 
He is the author of the Resources for Changing Lives booklets Forgiveness, Angry at God? and Bad Memories, and has written numerous articles and book reviews for the Journal of Biblical Counseling. Jones is a member of the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC).
An experienced conference speaker, Jones presents “The Peacemaker Seminar” at local churches and counseling organizations throughout the United States, and in Spain and Brazil. He presents workshops at conferences for NANC and the Biblical Counseling Institute. Jones live in Raleigh, North Carolina, with his wife and two sons.
Jones has written what I consider the most well-written, most practical and helpful non-fiction biblical books I have read in quite some time.  Don't be mislead by the sub-title:  A Christian Guide To Handling Our Conflicts.  Many times when we see the word "guide" in a book's title, we think, "Just another 'handbook'".

This book is far, far from your drab old handbook or guide.

From the back cover:
You have conflict in your life - we all do.  You encounter it in your home, your workplace, your school, or even in your church.  All around us tensions exist and disputes persist.  Offered here is a step-by-step process for pursuing peace in ALL your relationships and a tool you can use to help others.  This guide is:
  • Biblical - relies on the absolute authority, sufficiency, and life-giving power of God's Spirit-breathed Word
  • Christ-Centered - depends on the forgiving and empowering grace of Jesus
  • Practical - provides concrete action steps, case examples, discussion questions, and suggested language to handle specific situations
  • Proven - offers tried and true methods from a pastor, professor, counselor and certified Christian concilliator who has led couples, churches and Christian schools to make peace for over twenty-five years.
Packed with wisdom and practical techniques, this manageable book on reconciliation will send you on your way to pursuing peace while helping others to do the same.

I really liked everything about this book from the cover design to the organization of the material within the covers.  The book includes the following twelve chapters:
  • Finding Hope in the God of Peace
  • A God's Eye View of Conflict
  • Keeping God Central
  • Getting to the Heart of Our Conflicts
  • Owning Our Sins before God Our Savior
  • Apologizing That Makes a Difference
  • Cultivating Grace Attitudes
  • To Forgive or Not to Forgive
  • Battling Bitterness by Grace
  • Redeeming the Art of Rebuke and Granting Forgiveness
  • Reconciliation in Action
  • When Nothing Works
At the end of each chapter there are questions for personal reflection or group discussion.

I was most impressed first by the solid biblical foundation of the book.  Next, Jones doesn't just give a lot of good information, he gives the reader practical steps to follow to apply the information that has been presented.  For me, that is what sets this book apart from many of the other "how to" books I've read.

Jones' writing is engaging and his thoughts and ideas are presented in a well organized manner.  He utilizes the "list" technique quite often throughout the book making information easy to find and refer back to when needed.

"The Perfect Peacemaker was brutally killed.  Yet Jesus understood that pleasing His Father was His highest aim in life.  Even His supreme display of horizontal love for His people - the cross - was not done apart from this God-pleasing motive:  'Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.'" (Eph. 5:1-2)  *From chapter 12, page 183-183.
Pursuing Peace:  A Christian Guide To Handling Our Conflicts is published by Crossway.  Thank you Crossway for sending me a complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of this review. 

The book can be ordered from Crossway by going HERE.

The book can be ordered from by going HERE.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

All Things New

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
All Things New
Bethany House Publishers (October 1, 2012)
Lynn Austin

For many years, Lynn Austin nurtured a desire to write but frequent travels and the demands of her growing family postponed her career. When her husband's work took Lynn to Bogota, Colombia, for two years, she used the B.A. she'd earned at Southern Connecticut State University to become a teacher. After returning to the U.S., the Austins moved to Anderson, Indiana, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and later to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Five of her historical novels, Hidden Places, Candle in the Darkness, Fire by Night, A Proper Pursuit, and Until We Reach Home have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 for excellence in Christian Fiction. Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn's novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film.  
Lynn can be reached through the Contact link on her Website.

In the aftermath of the Civil War, Josephine Weatherly and her mother, Eugenia, struggle to pick up the pieces of their lives when they return to their Virginia plantation. But the bitter realities of life after the war cannot be denied: their home and land are but shells of their previous grandeur; death has claimed her father and brother; and her remaining brother, Daniel, has returned home bitter and broken. The privileged childhood Josephine enjoyed now seems like a long-ago dream. And the God who failed to answer any of her prayers during the war is lost to her as well.

Josephine soon realizes that life is now a matter of daily survival--and recognizes that Lizzie, as one of the few remaining servants, is the one she must rely on to teach her all she needs to know. Josephine's mother, too, vows to rebuild White Oak...but a bitter hatred fuels her.

With skill and emotion, Lynn Austin brings to life the difficult years of the Reconstruction era by interweaving the stories of three women--daughter, mother, and freed slave--in a riveting tale.

If you would like to read the first chapter of All Things New, go HERE
My Thoughts:
Being a Southern girl, born and raised in MS, I was intrigued by this book.  Parts were hard to read, because Ms Austin doesn't sugar coat the atrocities of  the era of Southern aristocracy and the dehumanizing issue of slavery in the South.  It is a very emotional book.  My only criticism is that in the first half of the book, the story moved painstakingly slow.  With that said, the title All Things New, sums up the story nicely and is a reminder that God is all powerful and is more than able to restore and renew.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Handbook of Family Advice

Have you ever said, "Wow...I wish there was a manual or handbook for that..."?

"That" being...
  • marriage/relationships
  • parenting
  • money
  • sex
  • dating
  • emotions
  • getting older 
and a host of other life issues!

Who else would we expect to provide such a resource other that Dr. James Dobson?  Dr. Dobson has been followed and read by many for years.  He is a licensed psychologist and counselor, host of the daily radio program Family Talk with Dr. James Dobson, author of more than 30 books as well as the founder and chairman emeritus of Focus on the Family.

And now he's given us all that coveted "manual for life" we all have wanted at one time or another.

About the Book:
Families worldwide seek the godly guidance of respected counselor and internationally recognized radio host Dr. James Dobson.  Now in this helpful collection, families young and old have quick access to Dr. Dobson's advice and wisdom to nurture their marriages and children with love, grace, and biblical preparedness.
Through engaging stories and relatable examples (so typical of Dobson's writing) Dr. Dobson helps readers:
  • make family time a priority
  • deal with job and financial pressures
  • forgive and love unconditionally
  • successfully maneuver the tween and teen years
  • share God's love and truths by example
This collection of Dr. Dobson's sought-after expertise and encouraging insights will be referred to many times as families seek leading in vital topics including adolescence, money, marriage, discipline, and much more.

Dr. Dobson from the introduction:
"The commentaries you are about to read were written in a 90-second format, which makes them concise and to the point.  I think you will enjoy them.  Some are practical.  Some are spiritual.  Some are serious.  Some are humorous...In the end, each commentary is designed to make its own small contribution to the relationships that matter most - those that thrive in the home."
While there is nothing "new" or "earth shattering" from Dobson in this book, the sound bites of advice you'll find here are tried and true from Dobson's years of counseling experience and his own experience in his marriage and as a father and grandfather. The shortness of each section makes it an easy "quick reference" resource.

Harves House Publishers sent me a copy of the book for the purpose of review.

You can visit Harvest House Publishers by going HERE. You can find out more about Dr. Dobson and the book Dr. Dobson's Handbook of Family Advice:  Encouragement and Practical Help for Your Home at Harvest House's website by going HERE.  You will also be able to obtain purchasing information by visiting the link provided.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Some days I forget.  
Like yesterday, when this job I have as a mother is hard and exhausting and humbling.

I forget that I only get one shot at this and I don't want to blow it with them.  More importantly, I don't want to miss the gracious sanctification God is working in my life to "grow me up" in Him, bring Him glory and make Him known in the world - in my home.
Being a mother is one of the greatest blessings in my life, but some days it is a challenge and I forget.  

"Beloved one, Jesus has brought you into the grace of highest privilege, and you can be full of joy now, in problems, troubles, and trials, because you confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing His glory. The Greek word translated hope means desiring some good and confidently expecting to obtain it. Your victory is in your Father, in spite of opposition, challenges, or suffering that comes to you. Even when expectation delays, when the waiting gets long without fulfillment, you can have the confidence of your Father that He is working good for you. God-given desire leads somewhere: to learning to endure, to developing strength of character, and to confident expectation of seeing the glory of his love for you. This confidence will never disappoint you because how dearly He loves you will never change. The supernatural power of the Holy Spirit is with you to fill your heart with assurance that your Father loves you. That's why as a Father He can tell you gently and firmly, "Be joyful in hope (Romans 5:2-5)".  Sylvia Gunter and Arthur Burk

Day by day and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause for worry or for fear
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best -
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.
Help me then in ev'ry tribulation
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith's sweet consolation
 Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E'er to take, as from a father's hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the promised land. 
(Carolina Sandell Berg, 1832-1903)

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Sudden Glory

Do you have a "glory ache"?

"You long to feel close to God but sense there's just something lacking, that you've missed the mysterious formula to make it happen.  I call this a 'glory ache' - a persistent longing to experience God's presence on a daily basis.  Perhaps like most women, you've tried desperately to balance the montage of mundane demands and somehow slip God into the white spaces that are few and far between.  You long to spend time in the sacred with God but find the desire crowded out by the responsibilities of the secular - the daily demands that lay claim to your attention.  You yearn to experience God's presence but feel far away from Him a you reach to click off the bedside lamp and collapse exhausted once again.  Maybe tomorrow, you sigh."
(Sharon Jaynes in chapter one of A Sudden Glory:  God's Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More)

Sharon Jaynes has been encouraging women through ministry for over twenty-five years. From the time she met Christ as a teenager, she fell in love with God’s Word and has had a passion to equip women to live fully and free (John 8:32; John 10:10). Her passion is to encourage, and empower women to walk in courage and confidence as they grasp their true identity as a child of God and a co-heir with Christ.
For ten years Sharon served as Vice President of Proverbs 31 Ministries and co-host for their daily radio feature. She is the author of 17 books with Harvest House, Moody, and Multnomah Publishers (see resource page for details). She has also written numerous magazine articles and devotions for publications such as Focus on the Family, Extraordinary Women, Decision, and In Touch. Sharon is a frequent guest on radio and television programs such as Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Family Life Today with Dennis Rainey, and Focus on the Family. 
Besides her own books, she has also been a contributing author in many books such as Chicken Soup for the Sports Fan’s Soul, Stories for the Teens Heart, Stories for the Man’s Heart, and the Women’s Devotional Bible. Her books have been translated into several different languages including Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Korean
Sharon is the co-founder of Girlfriends in God, Inc., a non-denominational ministry that crosses generational, denominational and racial boundaries to bring the Body of Christ together as believers. She, along with her ministry partners, Mary Southerland and Gwen Smith, provide daily on-line devotions read by approximately 400,000 subscribers and turn-key conferences packages.
(Bio taken from Jaynes' website found at You will be blessed to visit her website, where you can find more information about Sharon and her books as well as download excerpts of A Sudden Glory)

I was introduced to Sharon Jaynes and her ministry several years ago when my firstborn (now 14) was just a little girl and I purchased her book Being a Great Mom, Raising Great KidsThat book has been one my absolute most favorite parenting books - it is filled with exhortation from scripture and a "come along beside you" mentoring kind of feel.  When WaterBrook Multnomah offered A Sudden Glory for review as part of their Blogging for Books program, I knew I HAD to get a copy!

A Sudden Glory:  God's Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More DID NOT disappoint!  In the book, Sharon graciously takes the focus off the idea of doing more for God and throws it on living in such a way as to bring glory to God.  Sharon's writing is refreshing - the perfect blend of scriptural support and practical application.  Also included in the book is a Ten Week Bible Study corresponding with each chapter of the book making it a perfect selection for your next women's Bible study or small group (Sunday School, etc.) study.

The book can be ordered at by going HERE.

Take a moment to rank this review and you will be entered for a chance to win a free copy of the book from the publisher:


Red Letter Revolution

"What if Jesus really meant what He said?"

I bet that statement makes you think doesn't it?  Well, if you are intrigued, then you might be interested in the latest book co-authored by Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne. 

Shane Claiborne is a best-selling author, renowned activist, sought-after speaker, and self-proclaimed "recovering sinner".  Shane writes and speaks around the world about peacemaking, social justice, and Jesus.  He is the author of numerous books, including The Irresistible Revolution and Jesus For President.  He is the visionary leader of The Simple Way in Philadelphia, and his work has been featured in Fox News, Esquire, SPIN magazine, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and CNN.  You can learn more about Shane and The Simple Way by visiting

Tony Compolo, best selling author, is professor emeritus of sociology at Eatern University, a former faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania and the founder and president of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education.  Tony speaks three hundred times a year int eh United States and around the globe.  He has been a media commentator for a wide variety of outlets, has written more than thirty-five books, and blogs regularly at one of his websites,

Red Letter Revolution is broken into three parts and covers a wide range of topics:
Part I:  Red Letter Theology
  1. On History
  2. On Community
  3. On the Church
  4. On Liturgy
  5. On Saints
  6. On Hell
  7. On Islam
  8. On Economics
Part II:  Red Letter Living
  1. On Family
  2. On Being Pro-Life
  3. On Environmentalism
  4. On Women
  5. On Racism
  6. On Homosexuality
  7. On Immigration
  8. On Civil Disobedience
  9. On Giving
Part III:  Red Letter World
  1. On Empire
  2. On Politics
  3. On War and Violence
  4. On National Debts
  5. On the Middle East
  6. On the Global Church
  7. On Reconciliation
  8. On Missions
  9. On Resurrection
While there are many points on which I would disagree with the authors, there is much helpful about this book.  Red Letter Revolution is a conversation between two different generations.  And while any given reader might disagree with parts of the conversation, the book is helpful in that the conversation observed within its pages will provoke deep thought about the words and work of Christ and how application to one's life should be made.

What if Jesus really meant what He said? 

*Thomas Nelson sent me a complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of review as part of their BookSneeze program.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Walk With Me

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Walk with Me
River North; New Edition edition (September 1, 2012)
Annie Wald

Along with being the author of Walk With Me (forthcoming September 2012, River North/Moody), my fiction has been published in numerous journals including Image, The Southern Review and The North American Review and included in the anthology series, Not Safe But Good, edited by Bret Lott and published by Thomas Nelson. I’m also the author of a young adult novel, The Counterfeit Collection (Tyndale) and I’ve written feature articles for many publications such as Guideposts, Leadership, and Partnership.
Before writing full-time, I worked in book publishing as an acquisitions editor and then as Editor-in-Chief at Princeton University Press. Since 2000, I’ve lived in Morocco where my husband is the pastor of Rabat International Church. We have two married daughters and four delightful grandchildren.
A Word from Annie:
If you still want to know more about me, you may be interested to learn:
On the Myers-Briggs scale, I’m not an I for introvert. I’m an H for hermit.
But I’ve been known to say, “We’re having a small gathering; only 10 people.”
I love Easter sunrise services in cemeteries.
I live on the west coast — of Africa.
My favorite Moroccan meal: Zahara’s beef couscous with raisin sauce, and tchouchouka.
J’adore le francais.
I once told God I’d marry anyone except the man who became my husband.
I prefer to make things up rather than do research, although I have been described as an ‘infomaniac’. 
Annie can be reached through the Contact link on her Website

Peter and Celeste choose to travel as one on the lifelong journey to the King's City.  They are blissfully in love and bound to each other by the Cords of Commitment. Shortly after visiting the Moon of Honey they discover that the journey proves much more difficult than they expected. When they find themselves laboring through the Swamp of Selfishness, crossing the dismal Plains of Distance, and nearly becoming separated by the River of Unfaithfulness, their love for each other and for the King is challenged. They must choose whether to continue on together, not knowing if they can be warmed again by the Kindling of Affection, or visit the Valley of Cut Cords to journey alone once more.

If you'd like to read a chapter excerpt of Walk with Me, go HERE.
My Thoughts:
If you have ever read John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress then you will have somewhat of an idea of what to expect from Walk With Me.  Ms Wald has done a superb job of providing an allegorical tale of marriage.  As a matter of fact, she is so spot on that you might wonder if she's been peeking through the window panes of your home!  This is an excellent book and well worth your time and effort to read.
Happy Reading,