Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Top Ten

The girls and I were having a discussion around the table on Christmas night, and we started listing our all time very favorite things. I wasn't able to put mine in any priority order, but these are my favorites. What are yours?

Sharpie markers
Post-it note pads
Lindt Truffles (if you haven't tried these you should ...they are awesome!)
my new copy of the Oxford Dictionary & Thesaurus combination
Potatoes (fried, chips, french fries, baked, scalloped, mashed...mmmmmm)
Peppermint Ice Cream
Big, old trees
Two-sided tape
hardware stores

Monday, December 17, 2007

Back To Original Programming

I realized that I'm mixing too many things on my blog, so I'm going back to the original intent...writing about ways I see God working in our lives. If you are interested in checking out the latest and greatest Christian fiction (and a few non-fiction) books, please go to

I will be posting at least one new book per week there, and often I'll have free books to give away!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

What Lies Within

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing What Lies Within by Karen Ball (published by Multnomah Fiction ,November 20, 2007)

This book is actually the third in a series, so I was a little hesitant to read it before I'd finished the other two. It really didn't matter! I tried to guess what the first two books might have been about, but there really wasn't anything that wasn't well explained in the book so I didn't feel like I missed anything.

The prelude to this book catches your attention immediately, and I had a hard time putting it down until I finished. The mystery and intrigue in the book keep you wondering who the bad guy really is. It is interesting to see some of the ins and outs of the construction business, especially seen from the perspective of a female owner in a male-dominated world.

The book successfully links Marines, gang leaders, construction workers, and clergy in a way that gives you insight into each of these worlds. I can't wait to read the first two books. I'd definitely put this on in my 'must read' column.


Karen Ball , bestselling novelist, is also the editor behind several of today's bestselling Christian novels. Her love for words was passed down through her father and grandfather - both pastors who shared God's truth through sermons and storytelling. Blending humor, poignancy, and honesty, Karen's writing style is a powerful force for revealing God's truth. She lives in Oregon with her husband, Don, and their "kids," Bodhan, a mischief-making Siberian husky, and Dakota, an Aussie-terrier mix who should have been named "Destructo."


Nothing’s going to stop Kyla…

until the ground crumbles beneath her feet.

Kyla Justice has arrived. Her company, Justice Construction, is one of the most critically acclaimed, commercially successful companies in the Pacific Northwest. And yet, something is missing. Not until she’s called on to build a center for inner-city kids does she realize what it is: her sense of purpose. Now nothing can stop her, not the low budget, not supply problems, not gang opposition, not her boyfriend’s suggestion that she sell her business and marry him–and most especially not that disagreeable Rafael Murphy.

Rafe Murphy understands battle. Wounded in action, this Force Recon Marine carries the scars–and the nightmares–to prove it. Though he can’t fight overseas any longer, he’s found his place as a warrior in the civilian world. So he soldiers on, trusting that one of these days, God will reveal to him why Rafe survived the ambush in Iraq. That day has arrived.

Kyla and Rafe both discover that determination alone won’t carry them through danger and challenges. When gang violence threatens their very foundations, there’s only one way to survive: rely on each other, be real–and surrender to God. In other words, risk everything…

You can get a copy of the book here!

Check out more of Karen's books or contact her at her website.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Shadow of Treason

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I have a new favorite author, Tricia Goyer. I just finished reading book two of her Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War series, A Shadow of Treason. This book is fabulous! Throughout the series, Tricia has done a ton of research. Maybe one of the reasons I like this series so much is that I have been to Madrid, and her characterization of the city is very real. I even stayed in one of the hotels she talks about in the book, and she has the layout down pat.

I hadn't really remembered anything about a Spanish Civil War from school, so I wasn't sure how this would play out, but it is really a fascinating story of intrigue, action, and romance. Tricia's characters are very life-like, her style keeps you on the edge of your seat, and the story line makes you forget where you are. I highly recommend it! Read on for a synopsis of the book, an interview with Tricia, and more info on Tricia and her books.

If you would like to win a copy of A Shadow of Treason, leave a comment and I'll draw a name early next week. Please be sure to leave a way for me to contact you or I won't be able to let you know that you won.

Book 2 in the Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War series

Sophie discovers that nothing is as she first imagined. When Walt, the reporter who helped her over the border, shows up again after Guernica is bombed, Sophie is given an impossible mission. She must leave behind the man she's fallen in love with and return to the person who betrayed her. Another layer of the war in Spain is revealed as Sophie is drawn into the international espionage schemes that could turn the tide of the war and help protect the soldiers from the International Brigade ... she must find a way to get a critical piece of information to Walt in time.

Q and A with Tricia!

A Shadow of Treason follows A Valley of Betrayal. This is the first time you've written books as a series instead of stand alone. Which way do you like better?

A: I love writing in series. It was great to continue with the same characters. In my stand-alone books I fell in love with these people and then I had to say good-bye after one book. It was wonderful to be able to continue on.

Q: In A Shadow of Treason Sophie must return to the person who betrayed her in an effort to help the Spanish people. It makes the book hard to put down because the reader has to know how Sophie's heart will deal with it. Why did you decide to make this an element of the book?

A: There are very few of us who go through life without giving away a part of our hearts to someone who didn't deserve it. Even though Sophie had the best intentions, she gave away her heart and she was hurt-not only that she must revisit those emotions.

I wanted to include this element-to delve into the topic that emotions are sometimes as big of a trap as any physical cage. Emotions are real and they guide us -- even when we don't want to admit it. Poor Sophie, not only does she have to deal with a war around her -- she also has to deal with a war within herself. It's something I've battled, and mostly likely others have too.

Q: There is an interesting element that arises in this book and that is Spanish gold. I know you can't tell us what happens in this book, but can you give us a brief history of this gold?

A: Sure. When I was researching I came upon something interesting. The Spaniards, as we know, had taken much Aztec and Inca gold during the time of the conquistadors. Well, at the start of The Spanish Civil War much of this gold was still held in Madrid . In fact Spain had the fourth largest gold reserves in the world at that time. The Republican government was afraid Franco would take the city and the gold. They had to get it out of Madrid and this included transporting priceless artifacts. The element of gold does make its way into my story. It was great to include this little-known (and true!) element into my story.

Q: Another historical fact I learned about was the Nazi involvement during this time. Not only were the Germans active in Spain , but they had spy networks busy around the world. How did you find out about this?

A: I love reading tons of research books. Usually I find one little element that I dig out and turn into a plot line. This is what happened with my plot-line for the Nazi pilot, Ritter. I dug up this bit of research of Nazi involvement in Spain -- and the United States -- because a lot of people aren't aware of the Nazi involvement prior to WWII. The truth is they were busy at work getting the land, information, and resources they needed far before they threatened the nations around them. The Germans knew what they wanted and how to get it. And most of the time they succeeded!

Q: A Shadow of Treason is Book Two. When will Book Three be out? Can you give us a hint of how the story continues?

A: Book Three is A Whisper of Freedom. It will be out February 2008. The characters that we love are all still in the midst of danger at the end of Book Two. Book Three continues their stories as we follow their journeys in -- and (for a few) out -- of Spain . It's an exciting conclusion to the series!

Q: Wow, so we have a least one more fiction book to look forward to in the near future. Are you working on any non-fiction?

A: Yes, I have two non-fiction books that will be out the early part of 2008. Generation NeXt Marriage is a marriage book for today's couples. It talks about our marriage role models, our struggles, and what we're doing right as a generation. It also gives advice for holding it together.

I've also been privileged to work on the teen edition of Max Lucado's book 3:16. It was a great project to work on. What an honor!

Tricia's Bio
Tricia Goyer has published over 300 articles for national publications such as Today's Christian Woman, Guideposts for Kids, and Focus on the Family, and is the co-author of Meal Time Moments (Focus on the Family). She has led numerous Bible Studies, and her study notes appear in the Women of Faith Study Bible (Zondervan).

She has written seven novels for Moody Publishing:
From Dust and Ashes (2003)
Night Song (2004)
Dawn of a Thousand Nights (2005);
Arms of Deliverance (2006)
A Valley of Betrayal (2007)
A Shadow of Treason (Fall 2007)
A Whisper of Freedom (February 2008)
Night Song was awarded American Christian Fiction Writer's 2005 Book of the Year for Best Long Historical. Dawn of a Thousand Nights won the same award in 2006.

Tricia has also written Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Young Mom (Zondervan, 2004), 10 Minutes to Showtime (Thomas Nelson, 2004), and Generation NeXt Parenting (Multnomah, 2006). Life Interrupted was a 2005 Gold Medallion finalist in the Youth Category.

Also, coming out in the next year are: My Life, Unscripted (Thomas Nelson, 2007), Generation NeXt Marriage (Multnomah, Spring 2008), and 3:16-the teen version of the a book by Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson, Spring 2008).

Tricia and her husband John live with their three children in Kalispell , Montana . Tricia's grandmother also lives with them, and Tricia volunteers mentoring teen moms and leading children's church. Although Tricia doesn't live on a farm, she can hit one with a rock by standing on her back porch and giving it a good throw.

Important Links!

First Chapter

Amazon Link

Book 1, A Valley of Betrayal

Tricia's Website

Tricia's blogs:

Friday, December 07, 2007

Status and Other Stuff

Well, it's been an eventful week! Sammi has been in the hospital for five nights now, and we aren't sure when this will end. They have done an MRI and spinal tap, both were normal. Her headache is still hanging in's almost as persistent as she is! I'm pretty tired, so I don't know how coherent this will be, but I know some of you are looking for an update.

They have changed her medication, so hopefully we'll get a breakthrough soon. The hospital has taken on the challenge of beating this thing...Sammi will be there until the headache ends.

Children's hospital is a wonderful place, and it's full of tired parents who stand by helplessly as their children fight for their lives. I almost feel guilty that we are only dealing with a short term issue when they have such huge diseases to fight. We are on the floor with most of the cancer patients.

I've seen a lot of love and patience in the nursing staff. I was passing by a room when I noticed a nurse teaching a young girl (maybe 12) how to tie a scarf over her head to hide the baldness. They were smiling and laughing -- I really appreciate nurses who can help children focus on something positive. I also saw an adorable little girl walking in front of me with her mom. She looked like she was in the final stages of losing her hair. She looked so cute in her little hospital gown and matching bottoms, and when she turned around she had a huge smile on her face and a large red clown ball on her nose! She was giggling and laughing and she was very proud of her nose.

There is a group of doctors who dress up as clowns and visit rooms. They have a comedy routine that even made Sammi laugh (and she doesn't particularly like clowns). I missed their visit, but she chattered away about it with energy and enthusiasm that I hadn't seen during the rest of her stay. God has really blessed the staff here with a true love for their patients.

God has once again reminded me that he is in control. I'm frustrated that we won't be able to get our basement finished before Alicia comes home for the holiday, the house is a mess, and I'm way behind on Christmas shopping. But I am so blessed by this opportunity to spend a lot of time with Sammi. She's such a busy girl that we hardly get a chance to connect anymore. I'm sorry that she is in pain, but I love spending time with her.

Since light hurts her eyes, I'm also learning to just be still. I always want to be doing something...reading, writing, working. It's hard to just sit...and I'm getting better at it! I think I miss out on a lot of valuable prayer time by always being busy, so I've been able to spend a lot more time with God, too!

As the holiday season approaches, I am focusing on the people in my life instead of the trappings of the holiday. God is here every day, and I want to be thankful on a daily basis that he came to earth for us -- not just during a season. God is good, he's always in control, and he wants what is best for each of us. He is holding each one of the children in the hospital in his hands, and regardless of their earthly prognosis, he will take good care of them. We are so blessed!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Life Update

Our youngest daughter, Sammi, has been in the hospital with migraines since Sunday. We are waiting for the medicine to kick seems to be taking a LONG time! Please keep her in your prayers.

I'll be posting two blogs next week about my two new favorite authors...I'm really excited about their books!

And the Winners Are...

Barb Kruse and L.W.

I will contact you to get more info.