Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Centurian's Wife

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Centurion's Wife

Bethany House Publishers (January 1, 2009)


Davis Bunn and Janette Oke


This book sets you right in the center of activity in the weeks following the crucifixion of Jesus.

Leah is Pontius Pilate's niece who, due to unfortunate circumstances, has become the handmaiden to his wife. She cares for her aunt who has been suffering from nightmares and terrible headaches caused by the fervor over a prophet named Jesus. Leah's mistress secretly assigns her to infiltrate the followers of Jesus in an attempt to understand her nightmares and the potential influence of this group on the peace in Jerusalem.

In another part of the kingdom, Alban is a successful young Centurian is seeking to improve his political career. He has asked to marry Leah based on her reputation, but before the marriage can be finalized he must investigate the reports that Jesus' body has been stolen.

Leah is terrified by the thought of a forced marriage. She seeks advice from her new friends in the compound of believers in Jesus. As both Leah and Alban watch history unfold, they are thrown into controversy and must each decide the truth for themselves. Was Jesus a man, or is he really the Savior his followers claim?

As an avid fan of historical fiction, this story quickly became a favorite. I can't wait for the sequel!

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Centurion's Wife, go HERE

To purchase the book, go to Amazon.

Davis Bunn is an internationally acclaimed author who has sold more than six million books in fifteen languages. His audiences span reading genres from high drama and action thrillers to heartwarming relationship stories, in both contemporary and historical settings.

Honored with three Christy Awards for excellence in historical and suspense fiction, his bestsellers include My Soul To Keep, and Full Circle. A sought-after lecturer in the art of writing, Bunn was named Novelist in Residence at Regent's Park College, Oxford University.

He and his wife, Isabella, make their home in Florida for some of each year, and spend the rest near Oxford, England, where they each teach and write.

Her first novel, a prairie love story titled Love Comes Softly, was published by Bethany House in 1979. This book was followed by more than 75 others.

After Love Comes Softly was published, Oke found her readers asking for more. That book led to a series of eight others in her Love Comes Softly series. She has written multiple fiction series, including The Canadian West, Seasons of the Heart and Women of the West. Her most recent releases include a beautiful children's picture book, I Wonder...Did Jesus Have a Pet Lamb and The Song of Acadia series, co-written with T. Davis Bunn.

Janette Oke's warm writing style has won the hearts of millions of readers. She has received numerous awards, including the Gold Medallion Award, The Christy Award of Excellence, the 1992 President's Award for her significant contribution to the category of Christian fiction from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, and in 1999 the Life Impact Award from the Christian Booksellers Association International. Beloved worldwide, her books have been translated into fourteen languages.

She and her husband live nearby in Alberta, Canada.

Mission for the Year...More Likely for Life

I've been working through the Experiencing God -- Knowing and Doing the Will of God Bible study by Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King. It is definitely a humbling and eye opening daily study.

Today's lesson was about faithfulness. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Heb 11:1 - NIV). The point of this lesson was what good is our faith if we don't step out and take action based on it?

This led me to journal about the things God is asking me to do and my responses (or lack thereof). Sometimes I think I am clear about what He wants me to do, then I feel like I'm redirected. I end up wondering if I misunderstood or if maybe I got distracted. Why is it such a struggle to understand my purpose? It really should be clear -- to believe, worship, and glorify God -- to be Godly in all I do. It's the 'how' that always trips me up.

So what is a Godly woman? One who knows without a doubt that God is in control and who seeks to know Him and show Him in everything she does.

How about a Godly wife? One who is a helpmeet to her husband, who honors and obeys him and helps him succeed. Then there's that love and respect thing, too :o)

And what does a Godly mom do? Daughter? Employee? Volunteer?

Maybe it all comes back to Know Him and Show Him.

So how do I get to know him better? By reading his word -- not as a story but in an attempt to understand (as much as a mere mortal can) his promises, expectations, and character. I can study with others to understand the intricacies of interpretation and to gain a larger perspective. I can pray, spending time in reverence and thanksgiving, seeking to listen more than talk (and not to fall asleep...). I can watch God in action, looking for his fingerprint in every situation.

Then how will I show Him? This one seems to be two fold -- how do I show God my love, respect, and faith, and how do I demonstrate His love to others?

God wants me to show Him that I 'get it' by praising and worshipping, in whatever way seems appropriate (and those who sit around me in church know this isn't by singing loudly!). It means doing my best in every situation because I know I am ultimately working for Him.

To share Him with others, I need to take action. I can share with words (writing, speaking, counseling) and by serving others in need. Understanding how and where to spend my time is a real struggle here. So many people seem to have a passion in a particular area that allows them to focus their efforts. I struggle to name my passion.

Maybe if I make 'Know Him and Show Him' my mantra, I'll be able to focus the actions I take. And the better I know Him, the easier it is to Show Him! Maybe my passion doesn't have to any more specific than that.

So, if you've read these confused ramblings all the way to the end, what do you think? What works well for you in getting to know God better and demonstrating Him to others? Do you struggle with a sense of purpose too?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Did Jesus Have Pets?

While I haven't done an extensive search, I'm unable to readily find any references to pets in the households of Biblical times. I'm sure that all children who lived in farming situations had some animals that they loved, named, and played with. The shepherds had dogs to help them with the sheep, and I imagine that they often became companions on long lonely days.

When God placed Adam in charge of all animals of the earth, don't you think there were some dogs or cats that liked to lay next to him for warmth and the occasional scratch behind the ears?

Our 13 year-old German Shepherd, Sam, had to be put to sleep on Saturday. He was a 90 pound baby with a ferocious bark (which would stop immediately if you rubbed his head!). Over the past few years his hips started getting stiff and he was pretty hesitant of stairs. Our younger dog, Scamper, decided that Sam was her responsibility. She annoyed him terribly (and us too)telling him it was time to go outside -- even pushing him in the behind with her nose if he didn't go fast enough! The interaction between the two of them was pretty funny. Sam would pretend that he wanted to go outside and Scamper would rush past him to encourage him down the stairs, then Sam would turn around and lay down so we would close Scamper outside. That way he got a little bit of peaceful sleep.

Sam really wasn't much of a playmate for the boys anymore, but he was a strong presence in our house. He would always end up in the room with me during the day, offering a fluffy hunk of quiet companionship. And he left his long, clumpy hair behind regardless of how much we brushed him. He patiently put up with the boys and Scamper, complaining only with pitiful eyes that silently asked if he really had to put up with all the annoyance.

Sam developed a super-ball sized tumor in mid December. It didn't seem to bother him so we figured we'd take him into the vet after our Florida trip. While we were gone, the tumor grew to the size of a lemon and became gooey and smelly as he fussed with it. When he started crying in his sleep, we knew it was time to take action. With his age and other difficulties we made the tough decision not to treat it, but to let him go.

I have to admit that we are sleeping better now that he's gone -- Sam's night noises would enter into our dreams as people or animals being tortured! He also had a pretty major social problem (gas), so we had to close our bedroom doors at night. There is much less hair to clean up, and less of a sense of security (even though I know he'd be hard pressed to hurt anyone).

Scamper is kind of lost. Instead of eating her morning doggy treat, she sets them on the landing as if offering them to Sam if he will just come back. She stays within a few feet of me all day long and questions with her eyes. She barks to go out, then hesitates as if she knows she's forgetting something.

God created all kinds of beasts for use on this earth. I like to think that he has a special spot in his heart for those creatures that bring us a special comfort.

We miss you, Sam.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Kiss, by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Thomas Nelson (January 6, 2009)


Ted Dekker
Erin Healy


Shauna McAllister knows a terrible secret that could have disasterous results on her father's race toward the presidency, but she can't remember it. After almost drowning as her car crashed through the guard rails of a bridge, Shauna has been in a coma and has totally lost the last six months of her memory. She has waken to find that her brother suffered serious brain damage in the accident and that her ambitious father and abusive stepmother blame her for the crash. In addition, drugs were recovered from both the car and Shauna's loft apartment. She has no memory of doing drugs, and she also cannot remember Wayne Spade, the man who is apparently her devoted boyfriend.

As Shauna reconstructs her life while a virtual prisoner at her father's estate, she finds many inconsistencies. There are whispered messages and clandestine meetings that leave her confused and suspicious of everyone. With no one to turn to as she finds a reporter murdered right before their scheduled meeting, Shauna is desperate to reclaim her memories. However, she realizes that the more she remembers, the more dangerous life will become for her and for those around her.

To make matters worse, the designer medications that were given to her during her coma have left her with a powerful, mysterious side effect that could help her discover what she has forgotten.

But is it better to die for the truth than to live with a lie?

Kiss will keep you on the edge of your seat. It is a fascinating, suspenseful mystery that forces you to think about the all powerful love of God and the intricacies of our minds. I can't wait for Ted and Erin's next book, Burn, due out in January 2010!

Ted is the son of missionaries John and Helen Dekker, whose incredible story of life among headhunters in Indonesia has been told in several books. Surrounded by the vivid colors of the jungle and a myriad of cultures, each steeped in their own interpretation of life and faith, Dekker received a first-class education on human nature and behavior. This, he believes, is the foundation of his writing.After graduating from a multi-cultural high school, he took up permanent residence in the United States to study Religion and Philosophy. After earning his Bachelor's Degree, Dekker entered the corporate world in management for a large healthcare company in California. Dekker was quickly recognized as a talent in the field of marketing and was soon promoted to Director of Marketing. This experience gave him a background which enabled him to eventually form his own company and steadily climb the corporate ladder.Since 1997, Dekker has written full-time. He states that each time he writes, he finds his understanding of life and love just a little clearer and his expression of that understanding a little more vivid. Dekker's body of work encompassing seven mysteries, three thrillers and ten fantasies includes Heaven's Wager, When Heaven Weeps, Thunder of Heaven, Blessed Child, A Man Called Blessed, Blink, Thr3e, The Circle Trilogy (Black, Red, White), Obsessed, Renegade, and Chaos.


Erin Healy is an award-winning fiction editor who has worked with talented novelists such as James Scott Bell, Melody Carlson, Colleen Coble, Brandilyn Collins, L. B. Graham, Rene Gutteridge, Michelle McKinney Hammond, Robin Lee Hatcher, Denise Hildreth, Denise Hunter, Randy Ingermanson, Jane Kirkpatrick, Gilbert Morris, Frank Peretti, Lisa Samson, Randy Singer, Robert 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 Colorado-based consulting firm specializing in fiction book development. She and her husband, Tim, are the proud parents of two children

You can purchase the book at Amazon

If you would like to read the first chapter of KISS, go HERE

What people are saying about KISS:

“The human brain could actually be the real final frontier—we know so little about it and yet it drives the world as we know it. So when authors like Erin and Ted bravely explore these mysterious regions, going into complex places like memory and soul and relationships, I become hooked. The creativity of this suspenseful story is sure to hook other readers as well. Very memorable!”
~Melody Carlson, author of Finding Alice and The Other Side of Darkness

“Dekker and Healy prove a winning team in this intriguing, imaginative thriller.”
~James Scott Bell, bestselling author of Try Darkness

“Kiss by Erin Healy and Ted Dekker is a superb thriller that hooked me from the first sentence. The original plot kept me guessing, and I may never look at a kiss the same way again. I’ll be watching for the next book!”
~Colleen Coble, author of Cry in the Night

“The writing team of Erin Healy and Ted Dekker has taken me through a page-turner with Kiss. It’s one of those books that you think about when you’re not reading it. I highly recommend it, especially if you don’t mind staying up late because you can’t put the book down!”
~Rene Gutteridge, author of Skid and My Life As a Doormat

The Power of Who

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

The Power of Who

Center Street (January 6, 2009)


Bob Beaudine is the president and CEO of Eastman & Beaudine and recognized as the top Sports/Entertainment search executive in the U.S. Beaudine also serves as a member of the SMU Cox School of Business Associate Board. Bob and his wife, Cheryl, have been married for 24 years and have three grown daughters.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $19.99

Hardcover: 192 pages

Publisher: Center Street (January 6, 2009)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1599951533

ISBN-13: 978-1599951539


Whatever I’m Doing, It’s Not Working!

“Sixty- nine percent of the country believes that a bad day at the beach is better than a good day at work.”

—Gallup Poll

Just as we aren’t born with all the skills we need, neither are we were born with a strategy for living. We learn about life by living it, by pushing out on life while life pushes back on us. This is how we create our own space. Old sayings are still around because they usually contain an element of truth. “Life begins at 40” is one we’ve all heard. It’s true because the first 20 years of your life is programmed and controlled by others. The next 20 years is often spent working out a lot of the stuff that was put in during the first 20. Somewhere around 40 you begin to take ownership of your life. It’s here that youthful dreams begin to reawaken. It’s also here where you discover that some of your old strategies for living are going to need realignment if you’re to successfully pursue your dreams and goals.

All our lives we’ve been told that if we work hard, keep our head down, and mind our P’s and Q’s, everything will eventually work out. Really? If that were true, then what happened to our dream? What I hear more often in my role as an executive recruiter is something like, “I’m no closer to my dream than I was yesterday. If anything, it feels even further away. I feel stuck—stuck in a rut.”

But there’s the paradox. My life is filled with so many good things already. I’m blessed. Sometimes I may even feel a little guilty about wanting something more. But that’s actually part of the problem. The things I’m blessed with are the very things that crowd out the dream. My life is filled to overflowing. I’m like an aircraft carrier with so much stuff on the deck there’s no room left for anything else to land. I know the dream is still out there, but it’s become a little fuzzy. It’s just not as clear. A lot of this stuff on my deck needs to be moved somewhere else or just tossed overboard. I sometimes find myself wondering, “Can I even get there from here anymore? Can I make enough money in my current job, which I don’t particularly like, so that I can start doing what I always wanted to do?” The short answer is, “Probably not.”

Here’s more bad news. Only a small percentage of people actually end up living their dream. You may have asked yourself on more than one occasion, “Why that person and not me?” I’ve heard that question asked many times over many years in countless interviews. Surprisingly, I’ve discovered that individuals who are willing to make even a few slight course corrections were able to alter the entire trajectory of their lives. At first a lot of these people thought they needed an extreme makeover, but the good news is that just a small change in strategy makes all the difference.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

“Inside each and every one of us is our True Authentic Swing, something we were born with, something that’s ours and ours alone, something that can’t be taught or learned, something that’s got to be remembered.”

—The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield

Hidden somewhere between laws and principles are universal powers that most people not only ignore but are unaware even exist. These silent powers have tremendous influence in our lives every day. For example, love is neither a law nor a principle but no one would deny its force and impact on our lives. “The Power of Love” is so dominant its felt and experienced by all people everywhere. Another universal power is Darkness. It renders us unable to see. The only way to overcome “The Power of Darkness” is with light. Interestingly, light can be measured but not darkness.

But there is yet another unseen power that works with equal or even greater force than love or darkness. It operates below the surface of our conscious awareness but with such profound force that it must be considered one of the supreme concealments of all time. This force is “The Power of Forgetfulness.” It can secretly overtake our thoughts and emotions like a giant glacier silently advancing through a canyon. “The Power of Forgetfulness” can be all-encompassing as in people with Alzheimer’s disease or other kinds of dementia. Or, it can be as benign as not remembering where you left your keys. In its more subtle and dangerous forms, however, it can undermine our dreams and professional lives in often devastating ways.

Imagine you’re in a science fiction movie. You’re on a university campus walking down a large hall on your way to class. But your schedule is so overloaded you’ve become confused and disoriented. You can’t remember where your next class is or even your professor’s name. Suddenly you hear a strange noise coming from behind. You turn to see a huge, black blob rolling toward you overtaking everything in its path. The “Power of Forgetfulness” operates in much the same way. In the midst of our full schedules and demanding priorities it rolls into our minds causing us to forget the truly important things in life. A divorce, loss of a job, death of a loved one and other crises only serve to increase the “Power of Forgetfulness.”

For example, the person who just got laid off after 15 years is experiencing some level of trauma. The degree of this anxiety is exacerbated by the fact that this person just read in today’s newspaper that 6000 other people in the same field also just lost their jobs. Now they’re all going to be out there looking for new employment. The feeling of being threatened is as old as the cave man with his fight or flight reactions. Only today, instead of running from or putting a spear into a saber tooth tiger, our eyes start darting back and forth as our thoughts become flashing questions exploding in our mind’s eye like a 4th of July fireworks display, “What am I going to do now?” “Will I be able to find another job?” “What are people going to think about me?” These are fear questions that tend to paralyze. They all lead to the same emotional place: isolation and fear. But hold it! Wait a minute! The truth is you’re not alone, you’re not isolated.

When we’re feeling threatened it can become very difficult to tell ourselves the truth. The fog rolls in and takes up residence in our minds and we’re not able to think clearly. Hence the term, “I’ve been in a fog.” It’s like you need a red light on the dashboard of your brain that starts flashing whenever you get fearful, fretful or forgetful. This blinking red light is an “anti-blob” device that sends you an instant message that says, “You are about to be overtaken by the “Power of Forgetfulness.” You’re in danger of losing yourself. Stop immediately and call a “Who” friend.”

What is a “Who” friend?

A “Who” friend will call a halt to fearful thinking by insisting we stop listening to our own negative self-talk. In the face of those lies they will start speaking truth, the truth about your value and uniqueness, the truth about your accomplishments, and the truth about the value of your dreams and goals.

A “Who” friend will intercept you on the dark path you’ve taken and redirect your steps back onto the path of light. They know you, care for you and will remind you that you have a future and a hope.

A “Who” friend knows your true identity and won’t let you forget it. When the “Power of Forgetfulness” tries to roll in like a blob – you need your “Who.”

Many of us have gotten sidetracked and forgotten our original dream, spending our lives doing derivative work. This memory lapse has become epidemic. We have less and less time to calmly think about the direction our lives have taken and reflect on our current course.

Like those “black holes” out in space that suck in everything around them, the obligations and busyness of our everyday lives can drain our energy and take up all our time. In the process, our true desires can get diminished and we begin to forget. The “Power of Forgetfulness” has affected too many otherwise successful people. When you forget your “True Authentic Swing,” you can be drawn, inexorably, into an apathetic attitude that breeds cynicism—the tool of the lazy thinker.

Lucy tells the hapless Charlie Brown:

“You know Charlie; life is like a deck chair. Some people place their deck chair so they can see where they’re going. Some turn it around to see where they’ve been. Others, Charlie, place their deck chair right in the middle of the action to see what’s going on all around them.” Charlie sighs and says, “I’m just trying to get mine unfolded!”

Some of us are a lot like Charlie. We’re so busy just dealing with job and life issues that we can forget some of the important things so essential to who we truly are. You’ve probably had the experience of checking your pockets, looking around because you sense you’ve forgotten something. But you just can’t think of what it could be. Perhaps it’s a distant dream that’s still alive, so the sensation keeps popping up, but it’s been so long since you’ve consciously thought about it that you no longer connect the sensation to the dream. Is it possible that you once dreamed of living a different life than the one you’re living now but just can’t remember—something for which you’re uniquely and wonderfully “wired?” As an executive recruiter who has talked with literally thousands of job seekers over the years, I can tell you there are many, many individuals who are seeking something else but missing something more.

A Lesson in Destiny

Perhaps there has been a time in your life when you felt you shouldn’t try to accomplish what you always wanted to do because it looked like the odds of succeeding were against you. Don’t be discouraged when a door is closed. It’s simply a message telling you that this isn’t the right one for you. Stay alert. There’s another one opening that will lead to you to something better.

I met George W. in 1983 while planning a political event for his dad (then vice-president) and President Ronald Reagan. We couldn’t get either of the two fathers to come speak at our event, so we did the next best thing—we invited their kids: George W. and Maureen Reagan. When my wife, Cheryl, and I picked up George W. at Love Field in Dallas, I expected to see Secret Service and an entourage of helper bees swarming the Vice President’s son. But to my surprise, there was no one with him. The future President of The United States came off that Southwest Airlines flight from Midland, Texas, wearing the basic uniform of a Texas oilman: a blue work shirt and jeans. He even carried a backpack. George was down to earth, charismatic and had an engaging smile. It wasn’t long before he made Cheryl and me feel like we were his closest friends, partly by his endearing style of calling me “Bobby” instead of Bob. Nobody had called me a nickname since college. Through the years, this term of affection went from Bobby to “Bobby Boy.” We hosted George throughout the event. Watching him, my wife and I both commented that he seemed naturally gifted with the skills needed for this type of political fund-raising event. He made friends easily and seemed like he cared about those he met. He also had one exceptional skill that cannot be learned. When he first meets you, he has the rare ability to create a special moment just between the two of you. He would put a hand on your shoulder or tell a story or a joke as if it were meant just for you. Had I been more perceptive perhaps I would have recognized some of the clues that indicated greater things to come in George W’s future.

Over the next three to four years I would run into him at the airport as we were both headed to New York on business. He would always say, “Let’s sit together,” and he would share what was going on in his oil business and later the beginnings of his role in his dad’s campaign for the presidency. George W. had been asked to join his dad’s inside tactical team, and he was very passionate about that role. When he talked about it you could sense his energy rising. At that same time I was slowly moving my search practice towards sports. Since sports was one of his passions, he loved hearing about the type of assignments I was handling for the NBA, PGATour, USTA or Major League Baseball. We would share cabs to our respective meetings or hotels and then go our separate ways.

Within three years George W. became managing partner of the Texas Rangers. He loved America’s greatest pastime. He was the one who recruited Nolan Ryan to pitch for the Rangers which, to George, was like getting Billy Graham to join your local church. After several years as owner of the Texas Rangers, he started being encouraged to make a run for governor of Texas. Simultaneously, the announcement hit the papers that I had been selected to handle the search for the commissioner of baseball. Next day, I received a phone call from George W. giving me a hearty “Congratulations, Bobby Boy!” He invited me to come over to his office at the Ballpark in Arlington to talk about the search.

Following a long discussion about the game of baseball, he turned the conversation in a different, more serious direction. He told me he was in a tough predicament and had to make a decision quickly. The decision to be made was whether to begin a run for governor against the very popular incumbent, Anne Richards, or try to land the job as commissioner of baseball. “Bobby-boy,” he said,

“You might as well get me the commissioner’s job because I don’t think I can beat Anne Richards.”

—George W. Bush

Amazing, huh? The man who would become President of the United States for two terms almost made the wrong choice. He was seeking something else but missing something more. After some very detailed research I came back to George W. to report that the timing seemed to be wrong to pursue the job as commissioner. About that same time Karl Rove, his closest aide, had been doing his own research and concluded that the timing was right for a run for the governor’s office.

What if you and I could slip inside a time machine and go back to my meeting with George W. What if when he said that he didn’t think he could win the governorship, we said, “Whoa! George, we’ve seen the future and you’re going to win the governorship not once but twice. Then you’re going to run for President and win that twice!” He probably would have said, “You guys are crazy. I can’t beat Anne let alone win the presidency. Have you forgotten I’m the son of a President? You know the odds of my winning? Besides, I have a past.” Then we would say, “Yes, but none of that matters because you’re destined to become president.”

It’s interesting to look back and see how the patterns woven into the fabric of our circumstances have led us to where we are now. Listen, if the guy who became President almost missed the clues to his destiny, it’s easy to see how we could make the same mistake. The point of this story is: if you’re going to fulfill your destiny in life you’re going to need some wise friends and advisors to help you see a vision of your future that, perhaps, you can’t see yourself.

Setting a Course and Sticking To It

One of the big lies many of us tell ourselves is that our current position in life disqualifies us from achieving our dreams and goals. Some of the common phrases I’ve heard are, “It’s too late for me. I’m too old.” Or, “I’m too young,” or “I’m too…” whatever. Is that true? No! It’s absolutely not true. You’re never too early or too late in life to begin walking on the pathway of your dream. One thing is absolutely certain: the future is on the way. Ready or not, here it comes.

The only really important question you need to answer is:

What am I doing right now to steer my life in the direction of the future I truly desire?

In sailing, when you set a course for a destination, it’s necessary to stay on course until you arrive. Bad weather might blow you off course temporarily but, as soon as possible, you re-establish the correct heading. The same is true of your destiny. Set the course of your desired future and stick to it. Many don’t. They start out with the best of intentions but when the “winds of life” blow them off course they just go with the flow and never get back on track. Because of “forgetfulness,” you can lose your ability to watch carefully, and so end up just taking life as it comes…or worse, crashing on the rocks.

Discernment is the ability to see things deeply—beyond the obvious and below the surface. A hawk soars along hunting for prey hiding in the brush. Because of its extraordinary eyesight the hawk sees what’s hidden just under the ground clutter and gets his reward. Much of life is camouflaged. Discernment is like having the eyes of a hawk. It enables you to see below the surface of things. If you’re going to successfully traverse the unpredictable, often rough and treacherous waters of life you’ll need the ability to read the currents below.

You’re heading somewhere right now. Life is in motion. Do you like your current direction? Who’s steering the ship of your life? Do you have a firm grip on the wheel or have you been on auto-pilot for so long you forgot where you were supposed to be going?

It’s way too depressing and frustrating to have dreams, goals and a vision for where you want to go but no way to get there - or even an inkling of how to get started.

Take hold of the wheel, you’re closer than you think…

Thursday, January 08, 2009

As the Excitement Wanes...

To say that the past few weeks have gone by in a whirlwind would be an understatement. It all feels like a blur. We left home on Dec 19, heading for Jackson, Tennessee, and Alicia's college graduation. The ceremony was very nice, but we were all anxious to get on with packing up her stuff. She moved out of her apartment the next morning and four cars took off for Panama City, Florida.

When our family arrived at the condo we'd reserved, we were shocked to discover that the condo had been foreclosed on in July and we were the victims of a thief/scam artist. Well, maybe that is a strong way to put it...but this man and his family have lost several condo units they had mortgaged and they have been collecting money from unsuspecting tourists ever since. I hope I'm never desperate enough to mess up much deserved holidays of others, but I really just feel sorry for this man. I plan to send him a copy of Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and pray for him as the wheels of justice slowly turn so that maybe we can get our money back. But the condo organization rented us another unit (there are lots of empties in Florida this time of year), and we happily moved in.

We celebrated a surprising white Christmas -- when we opened the curtains Christmas morning there was an extremely heavy blanket of fog covering everything -- we could hardly see the railings on our porch! Alicia's future in-laws lent us a tree with all the trimmings, and we had our traditional cinnamon rolls and tagless unwrapping frenzy. Later that day the fog cleared and we were able to go to the beach and dip our toes in the water.

The kids went to the beach a few times, and to quote our 16 year old, Sammi, the ocean water wasn't too cold once your body went numb (I took her word for it). The day after Christmas Alicia and I went to buy her wedding present -- a tree and basic trimmings, then all the girls went crazy at Pier Park mall spending their Christmas shopping money. We had loads of fun and Doug was worried about how we'd fit all of our new treasures in the car for the trip home.

Wedding preparations quickly took over our lives as we prepared decorations for the reception hall, tried on dresses again hoping they still fit, visited, partied, and fretted over details. The rehearsal dinner was a fabulous event open to all of the out of town guests, and we were quickly out numbered by Clay's relatives. We woke up early on Saturday to jump right into preparations, and before we knew it the music started!

Clay and Alicia looked fabulous, and I was reminded how handsome my husband is in a tux...he should wear one more often! The boys looked so grown up in their tuxes, and the girls were all beautiful. I teared up and started hyperventilating when Sammi walked down the aisle, but I was able to hold on until the prayer. I have to say I didn't pray much, but I got my eyes all dry! The wedding was perfect, as was the reception. We planned for 500 people! It was amazing.

I am so thankful for all the people who helped from Hiland Baptist Church. The members there are amazing -- they handled everything from decorations to clean up. We were able to enjoy ourselves and not worry about a thing. Clay's mother was a key to the perfection of the day -- she had lists and friends to cover anything that came up. I'm confident that Alicia is well loved and in good hands!

They are off honeymooning and we are getting reacquainted with St. Louis winter weather. I'm glad to be home, but I wish we were closer!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Perfect Match

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Perfect Match

(Tyndale House January 1, 2009)


Susan May Warren


Susan grew up in Wayzata, a suburb of Minneapolis, and became an avid camper from an early age. Her favorite fir-lined spot is the north shore of Minnesota is where she met her husband, honeymooned and dreamed of living.

The north woods easily became the foundation for her first series, The Deep Haven series, based on a little tourist town along the shores of Lake Superior. Her first full-length book, Happily Ever After, became a Christy Award Finalist published in 2004 with Tyndale/Heartquest.

As an award winning author, Susan returned home in 2004, to her native Minnesota after serving for eight years with her husband and four children as missionaries with SEND International in Far East Russia. She now writes full time from Minnesota's north woods and the beautiful town that she always dreamed of living in.

You can sample a chapter of each and every one of Susan's novels, on her website, HERE.


Ellie Karlson is new to Deep Haven. As the town’s interim fire chief, she is determined to lead the local macho fire crew in spite of their misconceptions about her. But when someone begins setting deadly fires, Ellie faces the biggest challenge of her life. Especially when sparks fly with one of the volunteers on her crew: Pastor Dan Matthews. As Ellie battles to do her job and win the respect of her crew, she finds that there is one fire she can’t fight—the one Dan has set in her heart.
(This book is the repackaged edition published in 2004)

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Perfect Match, go HERE.


2004 American Christian Fiction Writer's Book of the Year

A Romantic Times Magazine TOP PICK – 4½ stars


Romantic Times Magazine:
Vibrant characters and vivid language zoom this action-packed romance to the top of the charts. This is a one-sitting read –once you pick it up, you won't want to put it down.