Thursday, October 30, 2008

God Instances

Some days God has to use a 2x4 to get through my thick skull. Today must be one of those days.

I've found lots of great resources for Bible study lately, so I use two devotionals, a book on prayer, and an older Henry Blackaby Bible study text on the mornings when I have quiet time. I want to have quiet time every day, but unfortunately I let the world get in my way sometimes. So instead of being on-time with lessons that are designed to be done Monday through Friday, sometimes I'm off schedule.

Today it was fascinating to see how each of these four books linked together to give me direction.

I use Stormie Omartian's book, The Power of a Praying Wife, to pray for my husband. It has thirty short chapters, each ending with specific scriptures rewritten into a prayer, so I try to read the chapter that coincides with each days' date. The prayer in chapter 30 is about a vision for the future. One of the verses is Luke 18:27 "the things which are impossible with men are possible with God."

Next I read the October 30th devotion from My Utmost For His Highest, by Oswald Chambers. Today's verse is "Without faith it is impossible to please Him..." (Hebrews 11:6). The devotion focuses on how God reveals truth in ways that seem impossible for us. Chambers says that "the life of faith says,'Lord, You have said it, it appears to be irrational, but I'm going to step out boldly, trusing in Your Word.' " He mentions that stepping out if faith is always a fight, not just sometimes.

After that I opened a devotional that I'm reviewing for my blog called Jesus Take the Wheel by Stuart Migdon. I'm starting a new weekly segment about living a selfless life. It tells the story of Moses -- his birth and adoption, the murder of an Egyptian, and his flight to Midian. Migdon shows how Moses was self inspired, not God inspired, in his actions in Egypt. He believed that his own way was more rational than God's way and it took forty years as a shepherd for Moses to reframe his perspective. He could not be used by God until he had the faith to step out and take actions that would glorify God, not himself.

Finally, I worked on the next day's study of Henry Blackaby and Claude King's Experiencing God. It tells the exact same story of Moses, and asks the question, "Why do we not realize that it is always best to do things God's way?" It leads you to realize that understanding what God is about to do where you are is more important than telling God what you want to do for Him. If we don't cling closely to God and His way, he will leave us to our own devices (Hebrews 3:7-19), and then we will never experience what God wants to accomplish through us.

The message that I got from these lessons is that I am relying too much on my own 'logic' and not on God's plan. It addresses my life over the past few years (trying to define how I would work for the kingdom through writing, teaching, consulting, or coaching) and especially over the past week or so with things we are experiencing as we deal with the last days of my father-in-law's life.

God, please help me to put myself aside and focus totally on you. You know the situations we are facing and how to resolve them for your glory. Please make your desired actions clear so all involved will trust your way instead of our own. I believe there is something big you are trying to do...please don't let me get in the way!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dangerous Heart

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Dangerous Heart

Avon Inspire (October 14, 2008)


Tracey Bateman

Tracey Bateman published her first novel in 2000 and has been busy ever since. There are two other books in the Westward Hearts Series, Defiant Heart (#1) and Distant Heart (#2)

She learned to write by writing, and improved by listening to critique partners and editors. She has sold over 30 books in six years.
She became a member of American Christian Fiction Writers in the early months of its inception in 2000 and served as president for a year.

Tracey loves Sci-fi, Lifetime movies, and Days of Our Lives (this is out of a 21 year habit of watching, rather than enjoyment of current storylines).

She has been married to her husband Rusty for 18 years, has four kids, and lives in Lebanon, Missouri.


For the past seven years, Ginger Freeman has had one goal: find Grant Kelley and make him pay for allowing her brother to die. Growing up motherless with a father who leads an outlaw gang, Ginger isn’t exactly peaches and cream. So when she finally tracks down Grant on a wagon train headed west, she figured providence had stepped in and given her the chance she’s been waiting for.

On the wagon train, finally surrounded by a sense of family and under the nurturing eye of Toni Rodde, Ginger begins to lose her rough edges. She’s made friends for the first time and has become part of something bigger than revenge. Not only has her heart softened toward people in general, but God has become a reality she never understood before. And watching Grant doctor the pioneers, she’s realized she can’t just kill him and leave the train without medical care. Putting her anger aside, before long, Ginger’s a functioning part of the group.

But when the outlaw gang, headed by her pa, shows up and infiltrates the wagon train, she is forced to question her decision. Only self-sacrifice and her new relationship with God can make things right. But it might also means she loses everything she’s begun to hold dear.

If you would like to read from the first chapter of Dangerous Heart, go HERE

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I've Won A New Title!

I am scum mom of the century today.

Chris only has one pair of pants that 'fit'...all the other pairs (which are the exact same type and size) don't fit. Other than the grass stain on the knee, I can't tell which are which and I am evil when I recommend that he wears a different pair. So I let him wear the dirty pair from yesterday.

Kevin has all of a sudden become Mr. Neat. His new pants (which we bought a week or so ago because the others were too tight) collect hair. His new coat collects hair. Even if I clean him before he leaves the house, the clothes apparently collect things on the way to school (yesterday he came running back home so I could get more stuff off of his coat). I told him we could give him a roll of masking tape so he could clean them when he gets to school...that helped a little, but he still broke into tears when I left the room. In addition, the new pants aren't quite tight enough, so all of a sudden he wants to wear his belt (which he refused to wear any other day this year). Of course it isn't where I put it and we can't find it. So I let him wear the dirty pants from yesterday (for some reason he doesn't mind that THESE aren't pristine).

So the boys are happy (well, not unhappy) but the teachers think I'm a scum mom because I send them to school in dirty clothes.

Some days you just can't win!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Less Than Dead

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Less Than Dead

Thomas Nelson (September 9, 2008)


Tim Downs


Tim Downs is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Indiana University. After graduation in 1976 he created a comic strip, Downstown, which was syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate until 1986. His cartooning has appeared in more than a hundred major newspapers worldwide.

His first book, a work of non-fiction, was awarded the Gold Medallion Award in 2000. His first novel, Shoofly Pie, was awarded the Angel Award in 2004, and his third novel, PlagueMaker, was awarded the Christy Award for best suspense novel of 2007. First The Dead, the third book in this Bug Man series came out earlier this year.

Tim lives in Cary, North Carolina, with his wife Joy.


Some secrets just won't stay buried.
When strange bones surface on a U.S. senator's property, the FBI enlists forensic entomologist Nick Polchak to investigate the forgotten graveyard. Polchak's orders are simple: figure out the mess.

But Polchak, known as the "Bug Man" because of his knowledge of insects and their interaction with the dead, senses darker secrets buried beneath the soil.

Secrets that could derail the senator's presidential bid.

Secrets buried in the history of a quaint Virginia town.

Secrets someone is willing to kill to protect.

With the help of a mysterious local woman named Alena and her uncanny cadaver dogs, Polchak sets out to dig up the truth.

But with a desperate killer hot on his trail, he'll be lucky to wind up anything less than dead.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Less Than Dead, go HERE

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Murder on the Old Bunions

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Murder on The Ol' Bunions

Barbour Publishing, Inc (2008)


S. Dionne Moore


SAndra has been writing for years with historicals being her main focus. By the time she had a polished manuscript in hand, historicals were unpopular. She didn't give up though and decided to try her hand at writing a mystery. A cozy mystery.

Her first book, Murder on The Ol' Bunions , released in April of 2008. Book two of the LaTisha Barnhart Mystery series, Polly Dent Loses Grip, and book three, Eat, Drink and Be Buried will follow in April 2009 and 2010, respectively.

She's almost always running a contest, so drop by her Website, you just might win a free gift!


LaTisha Barnhart’s bunions tell her something’s afoot as she delves deeper into the murder of her former employee, Marion Peters. When LaTisha becomes a suspect, the ante is upped, and she is determined to clear her name and find the culprit.

She’s burping Mark Hamm’s bad cooking to investigate his beef with Marion. . .getting her hair styled at a high falutin’ beauty parlor to see what has Regina Rogane in a snarl. . .playing self-appointed matchmaker between the local chief and a prime suspect. . .and thinking Payton O’Mahney’s music store lease might be the reason he’s singing out of tune when discussion of Marion’s murder arises. LaTisha’s thinking she just might use the reward money to get her bunions surgically removed. But she’s got to catch the crook first.

Small town intrigue, a delightful, vivid cast, and a well-crafted mystery make S. Dionne Moore’s debut novel a must-read! I loved it!~Susan May Warren~Award-winning author of Reclaiming Nick

“S. Dionne Moore has the rare quality of pulling together great characters and compelling plots.”
~Kelly Klepfer~

If you would like to HEAR the first chapter, go HERE and click on the bookcover trailer box!

If you would like to READ, the first chapter of Murder on The Ol' Bunions , go HERE.

Friday, October 17, 2008

What I've Learned in the Past 24 Hours

Philippians 4:3 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (NIV)

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

1. God likes to be sure there is no room for misinterpretation:
- Rejoice ALWAYS
- Be joyful ALWAYS
- Give thanks in ALL circumstances

2. When He says "always" and "in all cirumstances" he even means when you are infested with fruit flies.

3. Fruit flies were created by God to have amazing sensory ability...they can smell food and breeding grounds from a very far distance

4. Fruit flies live for 10 days

5. Fruit flies lay eggs frequently, and the eggs can hatch within just a few hours

6. Most fruit flies can find their way back out of a container covered with plastic wrap if there are very small holes in it.

7. Fruit flies know better than to go into an open oven for food

8. They will fly to the highest point of a container to find their way out (therefore using a cut off soda bottle with the top inverted works pretty well as a trap)

9. A fruit fly within four inches of the end of a vacuum cleaner hose will get sucked in

10. Fruit flies can soon as they hear the sound of the vacuum cleaner they all disappear.

And my personal favorite:
I can be incredibly sadistic when it comes to ridding our home of bugs!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fruit Fly Frenzy

I like bugs. They are fascinating little creatures when in their own environments. However, my home is NOT their natural matter what they think!

Our dear boys, bless their hearts, have been a bit disobedient. I discovered that they have been sneaking sodas, poptarts, and chocolate covered granola bars into the basement to drink/eat while they play wii. They've been told not to eat in the basement, so, crafty as they are, they hid their half empty soda cans along with poptart crumbs, wrappers, and half eaten granola bars in the bathroom trash can.

Please understand that the basement bathroom doesn't get used often, and therefore I don't clean it often -- it's on my once a month rotation unless we are having company. I may have missed my rotation last month for some it's been a while.

Well, I went down there yesterday. I should have been prepared for the worst when I saw that the door to the bathroom was closed, but I can be a bit naiive. I opened the door and was absolutely swarmed by fruit flies -- I don't think I'm exaggerating much to say that there were a million of them in there. I held my breath so I wouldn't breath any in!

I do have to give the boys credit...their trash actually made it into a trash can! But the smell of rotten soda and crumbs was pretty overwhelming. And every move I made just sent waves of flies out into the other room! I ran out, slammed the door, and went to get a big trash bag. I put it over the trash can and literally ran it up the stairs and out the door....I'm not sure how many flies actually left the house. I grabbed the bug spray and fumigated the bathroom. (WARNING: You really should read the warning on the bottle and not spray it into the air then breath the fumes....).

This morning I went to the kitchen and most of the fruit flies had relocated to the kitchen. They had landed on the cabinet doors, stove top, sink...almost any surface that was flat. I found this great site on the internet that has a ton of labor intensive ways to get rid of them. We are experimenting with the inverted soda bottle, glass container, and several metal containers covered with plastic wrap and filled with either apples or balsamic vinegar. Yes, the kitchen smells...unusual.

I really couldn't wait for the traps to do their dirty work, so I decided to attack with the vacuum cleaner. Now, if you are a bit sadistic, this can be rather fun. If a fruitfly gets within four inches of the hose, it is sucked in almost immediately! The boys thought it was really cool.

Well, we'll see how this all works. So far the apples are attracting more than the vinegar...and the vacuum has definitely won with the highest kill count. I'll update tomorrow to see how well it all works.

Any one know the gestation period of fruit flies?????

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Home Another Way

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Home Another Way

Bethany House (October 1, 2008)


Christa Parrish

I am only half way through this book, and I am anxious to finish it. Christa Parrish has an amazing way with words. Each sentence is a masterpiece -- descriptive yet concise. She spins a story like a spider spins a web -- not a movement is wasted, and when viewed all together it is an ingenious work of beauty and function. I want to know what happens at the end of the book, and I want to read this one slowly, speaking the sentences aloud in my head. It is fascinating to read.


After her mother’s death and her father’s abandonment, tiny infant Sarah Graham was left to be raised by her emotionally distant grandmother. As a child she turned to music for solace and even gained entrance to Juilliard. But her potentially brilliant music career ended with an unplanned pregnancy and the stillborn birth of her child.

In an attempt to escape the past, Sarah, now twenty-seven, is living life hard and fast–and she is flat broke. When her estranged father dies, she travels to the tiny mountain hamlet of Jonah, New York to claim her inheritance. Once there, she learns her father’s will stipulates a six-month stay before she can recieve the money. Fueled by hate and desperation, Sarah settles in for the bitter mountain winter, and as the weeks pass, she finds her life intertwining with the lives of the simple, gracious townsfolk. Can these strangers teach Sarah how to forgive and find peace?

A story of grace, of God’s never-ceasing love and the sometimes flawed, faithful people He uses to bring His purpose to pass.

If you would like to see a video book trailer of Home Another Way, go HERE.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Home Another Way, go HERE


Christa Parrish graduated high school at 16, with every intention of becoming a surgeon. After college, however, her love of all things creative led her in another direction, and she worked in both theatre and journalism.

A winner of Associated Press awards for her reporting, Christa gave up her career after the birth of her son, Jacob. She continued to write from home, doing pro bono work for the New York Family Policy Council, where her articles appeared in Focus on the Family’s Citizen magazine. She was also a finalist in World magazine’s WORLDview short story contest, sponsored by WestBow press. She now teaches literature and writing to high school students, is a homeschool mom, and lives with her family in upstate New York, where she is at work on her second novel.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A Book Review -- Hometown Favorite

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Hometown Favorite

Revell (September 1, 2008)


Bill Barton and Henry O. Arnold

NOTE: I havent' had a chance to read this yet, but I'm looking forward to it. I'll post a review when I'm done. I enjoy reading books that take a biblical story, like Job, and put it in a current setting! When you read it, be sure to let me know what you think!


Bill Barton is a business partner with Compass Technologies. An active member and volunteer at his church, Hendersonville Chapel, Barton is a regular speaker at services and other events. He lives in Hendersonville, Tennessee, with his family.

Henry O. Arnold has been a professional actor, writer, and director in theatre, film, and television. He co-wrote and produced the film The Second Chance starring Michael W. Smith and wrote the screenplay for the first authorized film documentary on evangelist Billy Graham, God's Ambassador. Arnold lives in Portland, Tennessee.


Talented, handsome, and personable, Dewayne Jobe rose from humble beginnings in rural Mississippi to play college football in Southern California and beyond. One of the best wide receivers in college ball, Dewayne is assured a promising career in professional football as one of those rare athletes whose exceptional abilities place him in a league of his own.

He easily finds success both on and off the field. Dewayne's got a beautiful, intelligent wife running his lucrative endorsement business and carrying his child and the pristine white picket fence to boot. The only thing lacking is a road sign confirming his address on Easy Street.

But catastrophe looms right around the corner and ultimately strikes with a crushing vengeance. Will Dewayne's faith and character stand the test of such tragedy? Or will he lose everything--including the love of his life?

This modern retelling of the story of Job will capture readers with the age-old question of why bad things happen to good people--and how good people can survive.

Combining realistic sports action and a deadly serious challenge to faith, Hometown Favorite is a story that won't let you up off the turf until the game clock hits zero.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Hometown Favorite, go HERE

"An amazing story of betrayal, forgiveness, redemption and hope. The characters are vibrant and alive. Barton and Arnold have a rare and keen understanding of human nature, making the spiritual truths of this story both profound and compelling."

~Michael W. Smith, recording artist

"Like a close game and a score that just won’t turn around, Dewayne’s true fans and Hometown Favorite readers will appreciate the daunting odds fate doles out and this story’s hard-won outcome."

~Darnell Arnoult, author of Sufficient Grace

Monday, October 06, 2008

That Last Moment of Expectation...

It is 7:05 a.m. on a Monday last few moments of silence before the day (and the week) kicks off. In two minutes the boys alarm will go off. What will that bring?

I will most likely see a sleepy Kevin, hair all tussled, creeping quietly into my room. He often stands behind me watching me work for a minute until I realize he's there, then he either snuggles on my lap or climbs into my bed until he's fully awake.

Christopher, on the other hand, is an unknown morning surprise. On good days he jumps out of bed, gets dressed in about two minutes flat, runs downstairs to eat his breakfast and then plays happily until it's time to go to school. On 'neutral' days he will turn the alarm off, pull the blankets over his head, and stay in bed until the last possible minute (my preferred morning routine personally!). Then there are the 'wild card' days. He may yell at Kevin for turning off the alarm clock. Or he may yell at him because he DIDN'T turn off the alarm clock! He will decide that he absolutely wants the one thing we don't happen to have for breakfast...then get angry because it isn't available. He hates his uniform, and each piece will not fit well for some reason -- or it will be itchy, smell funny, or just look all wrong when he puts it on.

How will I respond? Some days I'm patient and I talk softly, helping him to see his options and trying to tease him into changing his mood. Most often I do start with that approach, but he knows just how to push my buttons. Comments like "Why do you always buy me clothes I don't like" or "Why don't you ever get any food I like" just tend to hit me the wrong way and I get a bit defensive. Things usually go downhill from there.

I'm the grown up here...and he's a child learning his way in the world. The Bible says I should teach him the way he should go...which means I should set a good example for the way they should act when faced with poor attitudes...

Uh's 7:15 and the alarm hasn't gone off yet. I went in to wake them up. Kevin started crying because he woke up too late and he's stomping down the stairs. Chris covered his head. Let's see how the morning goes!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

On Trial

Last week I had the 'honor' of participating on a jury panel for the first time. To be honest, I was kind of excited about it -- I know that lots of folks dread this, but I really wanted to see how the court system operated.

Well, I'm glad I took a good book! I was able to read the third book in Camy Tang's Sushi Series, Single Sashimi, all the way through on the first day! (This is a fabulous book, by the way. I loved the whole series). About 200 people sat in a large room for two hours before anyone was called to be on a panel of jurors. I was called in the third panel, and for some reason I was chosen to be on the jury.

We heard a felony robbery case. In case you wondered, it was definitely not like anything on tv. The defendant was charged with reaching over the top of a jewelry case in a pawn shop, opening the cabinet and taking out trays of jewelry. No one even checked for fingerprints! The only evidence against him was the memory of the pawn shop owner (somewhat faulty), identification in a line up a month later, and the fact that he sold a piece of the stolen jewelry the next day about three blocks away in another pawn shop (no one said he was smart...).

It was interesting to see the different approaches taken by the lawyers. Actually, the way the defendant's lawyer approached the case made me more convinced that the defendant was guilty than some of the evidence! The jury deliberated for about an hour and we had some good discussions before we finally all agreed -- guilty.

It was two interesting days...and I'm not against doing it again. It was rather fascinating to watch the trial and to see the reactions of twelve different people who all heard the same things. I do have to say that I'm glad I wasn't chosen in the first round of jurors -- those folks 'got' to be sequestered for two weeks!

I also learned that I never want to get a loan from a pawn shop (well, I kind of knew that already...). They charged a slight 283% interest! Amazing.