Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Quotes that will go down in family history

That's just a bad could a mummy be? (Kevin, while playing the wii. Guess he hasn't seen the movie!)

That's an ice cream scoop for a tarantula! (Kevin -- about my new cookie scoop)

I bet that's an ant farm (Chris -- about a wrapped poster tube of Sammi's)

We can just dodge the dead bird (they wanted to play volleyball but there's a dead pelican in the middle of the court)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Engaging Father Christmas

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Engaging Father Christmas

FaithWords (October 30, 2008)


Robin Jones Gunn

My Thoughts:

I love books about England, especially when they are set in one of the small villages that dot the countryside. This book is the second in a series. I have not yet read the first book of the series, and I decided about two chapters into Engaging Father Christmas that I really wanted to go back and read the first book, Finding Father Christmas. I just received it yesterday and I can't wait to dive into it and then read straight through Engaging Father Christmas. If you want to get into the Christmas spirit with a few laughs, check these books out!

Robin grew up in Orange County, California and has lived in all kinds of interesting places, including Reno and Hawai’i.

She and her husband currently live near Portland, Oregon and have been married for 30 years. They spent their first 22 years of marriage working together in youth ministry, and enjoying life with their son and daughter who are now both grown.

As a frequent speaker at local and international events, one of Robin’s favorite topics is how God is the Relentless Lover and we are His first love. She delights in telling stories of how God uses fiction to change lives.

Robin is the recipient of the Christy Award, the Mt. Hermon Pacesetter Award, the Sherwood E. Wirt Award and is a Gold Medallion Finalist. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Media Associates International and the Board of Directors for Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writers’ Guild.


Miranda Carson can't wait to return to England for Christmas and to be with her boyfriend, Ian. She has spent a lifetime yearning for a place to call home, and she's sure Carlton Heath will be it, especially when a hinted-at engagement ring slips into the conversation.

But Miranda's high hopes for a jolly Christmas with the small circle of people she has come to love are toppled when Ian's father is hospitalized and the matriarch of the Whitcombe family withholds her blessing from Miranda. Questions run rampant in Miranda's mind about whether she really belongs in this cheery corner of the world. Then, when her true identity threatens all her relationships in unanticipated ways, Miranda is certain all is lost.

And yet...maybe Father Christmas has special gifts in store for her after all.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Engaging Father Christmas, go HERE

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Sad Statement

A sign at a local Walgreen's is really bothering me. It is a sad statement for our whole society. The sign simply reads "Don't forget gifts for your pet."

Maybe in a different year it wouldn't upset me. But this sign is in the middle of the town with the most foreclosures in the whole state. How can we even think about buying trinkets for a pet when our neighbors don't have enough money to put food on their tables?

According to an August 6th 2007 issue of Business Week magazine, we spend 41 billion dollars on our pets annually. Isn't that insane? What part of the American economy would that 'buyout'?

Please don't get me wrong -- we have two dogs and a cat that are part of our family. I've grown up with pets all of my life and I enjoy the companionship and cuddling with them. But I think we've become so pampered in our lives that we seem to forget basic priorities. We've counseled families that are losing their homes but still pay for pet food, grooming, and medical care.

As in years past, our pets aren't receiving anything for Christmas...just call me Scrooge. Please consider donating what you might have spent on your pets to a local homeless shelter or food kitchen!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Dark Pursuit by Brandilyn Collins

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Dark Pursuit

Zondervan (December 1, 2008)


Brandilyn Collins


Brandilyn Collins' books should come with a warning...don't start reading this book unless you have time to finish it! She is a master of suspense and she's faithful about ending each chapter with something that leaves you sitting on the edge of your seat.

In Dark Pursuit, Kaitlan Sering has finally gotten her act together, is recovering from her drug addiction, and she's found a fabulous man. Then she comes home early from work one day to find that a serial killer has left his latest victim in her bed...and that the murderer is her boyfriend. She panics (who wouldn't?) and flees to her estranged grandfather's home. He is a world famous suspense writer who is suffering mentally and physically from an auto accident, and he is unable to maintain his thoughts long enough to create his 100th novel. Can he pull together a plan of action to catch the killer and save his granddaughter?

Follow along as Kaitlan returns to her home and her boyfriend in a plot that could prove his guilt...or get her killed! This is a must read book if you are a fan of nail-biting fiction.


Brandilyn Collins is known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense®. She is currently working on her 20th book. For chances to win free copies of her work, join her Fan Club on Facebook. Here’s what Brandilyn has to say about why she wrote Dark Pursuit:

In John Milton’s Paradise Lost Satan’s followers, kicked out of heaven, boast about storming the gates and reclaiming their territory. Beelzebub scoffs at their boasting as merely “hatching vain empires” and suggests a different revengeful scheme: seduce mankind away from God. So Satan visits the Garden of Eden to teach humans the very thing he and his cohorts have learned to be futile—the dark pursuit of hatching their own vain empires instead of following God. He presented man with this “gift” of death, disguised as life. And man fell for it.

Upon this theme of man’s fall and spiritual blindness, I created the characters and events in Dark Pursuit. The story clips along at a fast pace, with much symbolism running underneath.


Dark Pursuit—A twisting story of murder, betrayal, and eternal choices

Novelist Darell Brooke lived for his title as King of Suspense—until an auto accident left him unable to concentrate. Two years later, reclusive and bitter, he wants one thing: to plot a new novel and regain his reputation.

Kaitlan Sering, his twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, once lived for drugs. After she stole from Darell, he cut her off. Now she’s rebuilding her life. But in Kaitlan’s town two women have been murdered, and she’s about to discover a third. She’s even more shocked to realize the culprit—her boyfriend, Craig, the police chief’s son.

Desperate, Kaitlan flees to her estranged grandfather. For over forty years, Darell Brooke has lived suspense. Surely he’ll devise a plan to trap the cunning Craig.

But can Darell’s muddled mind do it? And—if he tries—with what motivation? For Kaitlan’s plight may be the stunning answer to the elusive plot he seeks...

Read the first chapter of Dark Pursuit, HERE.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

What Does True Love Look Like?

For the past few weeks I've not made time to regularly do my morning devotions and Bible study. I've been really convicted today to question what that means.

If I honestly loved God with all my heart, all my soul, all my strength, and all my mind, I can't imagine that I would EVER miss a day of spending time with him in prayer, praise, and getting to know Him better, would I? Some may say that I'm being too hard on myself and that it isn't realistic, in fact it's even legalistic, to think that I would feel the need to meet with God every single day without fail. Yet I don't forget to eat, to sleep, or to shower...are those things more important to me than God? I'm embarrassed to say that based on the way I live, maybe they are.

I watched my oldest daughter this weekend as she made final plans for her upcoming wedding. There was probably not an hour that passed without her thinking about, missing, mentioning, or talking to her fiancee. They are obviously full of love and excitement about their life together. Anyone who spent more than 5-10 minutes with her could see that. Isn't that what God wants from each of us?

Monday, December 01, 2008

I'm So Thankful...That It's Over!

We had a wonderful, crazy holiday weekend. It was a blast, but I have to say that I'm glad it's over. The older girls got home on Tuesday night, and Wednesday was mostly spent cleaning and baking for Thanksgiving. On Thursday we had the honor of hosting my the meal. Dad brought the turkey (which was amazing), my nephew made his famous rolls, and Doug's mom brought the pumpkin pie. My Granny was released from the rehab facility just in time for the big meal, and we had a wonderful time catching up with each other...but I have to say that I missed Doug's dad. He died recently and we are still getting used to the fact that he's gone.

Friday was our annual Cookie Day (don't have any idea how many this makes, but at least 25!), and we made tons of cookies with lots of friends and family. We had lots of the traditionals...chocolate chip, peanut blossoms, snickerdoodles, lemonade cookies, and sugar cookies. There were some new 'favorites', too...pecan drop cookies, gooey butter cookies, and Becca's creation of orange cranberry oatmeal cookies -- YUM! This year we froze about half of the dough, so we can have fresh, hot cookies for months to come.

Later that day we went to church to prepare for Alicia's shower, which was Saturday morning. We had lots of furniture to move and things to decorate/prepare. The shower was wonderful -- she got lots of nice things to help start her new life, and we got a chance to meet with many special friends.

Sunday Becca and Alicia packed up and headed back to college for three weeks...then we head to Alicia's graduation in Tennessee and her wedding in Florida! Doug and I put our feet up and vegged out...we were exhausted in a happy, productive feeling way.

God has been so good to us this year -- even though there have been some rough times health wise, we are all closer than ever. I love watching my family grow!