Friday, November 21, 2008

Top Ten: You Know You Have Sons When...

Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it. Provebs 22:6

I have always been fascinated with 'nature vs. nurture' studies, and at one time (before I had children) I believed that boys and girls were so different because of their upbringing...isn't it fun to see things you were certain of turned upside down?

I learned quickly with our oldest daughter that some girls were going to be 'girly' regardless of what the parents did. Now, as a mother of boys, I know that God is giggling in his throne room as I struggle with the truth that a little 'y' chromosome can make such a huge difference!

So, without further ado, I've learned that you know you are raising a son when:

10. A conversation on any topic can turn into a discussion on animal waste within three sentences.

9. You ask if he has a clean shirt on and he immediately looks down to see if there is any dirt (on the shirt you KNOW he's worn for three days)

8. You walk in his room to collect dirty clothes and find a week's worth of clean underwear in the corner...but no dirty pairs.

7. You have to create rules like 'no dinosaurs at the table'.

6. You decide to raise 'peace-loving' children but they still create guns out of sticks, fingers, and even sandwiches

5. He delightedly shows you that certain body parts 'bounce' when he jumps.

4. Bodily noises create gales of giggles and bragging instead of embarrassment

3. Your son proudly announces that he has discovered eight ways to create those embarrassing bodily noises

2. He chooses to drink root beer because it makes you 'burp better'

And the number one way to know that you are raising a son is....

1. When your family meets your daughter's boss (a minister) for the first time, he proudly announces that he hasn't made any of those embarrassing bodily noises in several days cause he's saving them up for a really big release!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips

FaithWords (November 5, 2008)


Stephen Baldwin
Mark Tabb


This book portrays a story told by a man who is essentially repeating a story told him by his father. It is an interesting perspective -- one not often seen. The story itself is a tale of grace, forgiveness, and absolute trust in God.

I had some difficulty getting through this book. The story seems to take a while to truly unfold and some of the personalities reflect extremes not often seen, which was a little distracting for me. In addition, it has a lot of strong language that isn't typical for Christian fiction.


STEPHEN BALDWIN - actor, family man, born-again Christian - makes his home in upstate New York with his wife and two young daughters.

Equally adept at drama and comedy, Baldwin has appeared in over 60 films and been featured on such top-rated television shows as Fear Factor and Celebrity Mole. He has his own production company that is developing projects for television and the big screen. These days, however, his role as director, co-producer and host of Livin' It - a cutting-edge skate video is bringing out his white hot passion for evangelism.

Writer and communicator Mark Tabb calls himself an “internationally unknown author.” Although his books have been published around the world, he is best known for his collaborative works. His 2008 release, “Mistaken Identity”, written with the Van Ryn and Cerak families, hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list for two weeks, and remained on the list for over two months. He and actor Stephen Baldwin teamed up on their 2005 New York Times bestseller, “The Unusual Suspect,” and with their first work of fiction, “The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips,”


Even years of experience haven't prepared Officer Andy Myers for this case---

When Officer Andy Myers met Loraine Phillips, he had no interest in her son. And he certainly never dreamed he'd respond to a call, finding that same boy in a pool of blood. Even more alarming was the father standing watch over his son's body. Myers had never seen a man respond to death-particularly the death of a child-in such a way. When the father is charged with murder and sentenced to death, he chooses not to fight but embrace it as God's will. Myers becomes consumed with curiosity for these strange beliefs. What follows is the story of the bond these two men share as they come to terms with the tragedy and the difficult choices each one must make.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips, go HERE


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What 'makes' Christmas for you?

I was at a mall last week and I was actually distressed to see Christmas decorations and hear holiday music. It seems our society wants to skip right past the sentiments of Thanksgiving to focus only on giving. I know things are tight for many people this year and the stores are working hard to ensure they are able to make ends meet, too.

Please don't get me wrong -- I absolutely adore Christmas decorations. The lights, the scent of pine, and the joyful sound of Christmas music is a highlight in the year. It just feels wrong to jump into that season without having time to fully appreciate the changing leaves and the crisp fall air.

This year we will be spending the holidays preparing for Alicia's wedding. Our usual activities and traditions will change, and I'm actually excited about that! It gives us a chance to determine the basic things that make the holiday meaningful.

Do we take our nativity set with us? To be honest, it wasn't my first thought. Is that bad? My first thought of Christmas is the tree. I don't think that makes me any less spiritual...I don't need to see a feeding trough to remember that God gave us the greatest gift possible in sending his son to Earth.

So what traditions will we take with us? And what new traditions will begin as a result of this opportunity? I'm excited to discover the answer!

What holiday traditions 'mean' Christmas to you?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Until We Reach Home

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Until We Reach Home

Bethany House (October 1, 2008)


Lynn Austin


When I read the back cover of this book, I thought it would be a typical historical romance-type novel. While I like those, I am getting a little tired of books that seem to be written in a formulaic way.

I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. Lynn Austin has a fresh approach to history, and the key story here is not the romance or the trip to America -- it is the journey of learning about ones' self and family. She draws you into the timeframe and the characters by using raw emotions, difficult but realistic circumstances, and multiple viewpoints. This is not a story where everything runs smoothly!

I'm still working to finish the book (with the funeral, an unexpected trip to Tennessee, and a few other things, life has been rather interesting around here and I haven't had much reading time), but at the moment it's working its way up the list of my favorites!


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. She has published twelve novels. Three of her historical novels, Hidden Places, Candle in the Darkness, and Fire by Night have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, and 2004 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.

Among her lastest books are A Proper Pursuit and A Woman's Place


Life in Sweden seems like an endless winter for three sisters after their mother's and father's suicide. Ellin feels the weight of responsibility for her sisters' welfare and when it circumstances become unbearable, she writes to her relatives in Chicago, pleading for help.

Joining sixteen million other immigrants who left their homelands for America between 1890 and 1920, Ellin, Kirsten, and Sophia begin the long, difficult journey. Enduring the ocean voyage in steerage and detention on Ellis Island, their story is America's story. And in a journey fraught with hardships, each woman will come to understand her secret longings and the meaning of home.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Until We Reach Home, go HERE

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Rain Song

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Rain Song

Bethany House (October 1, 2008)


Alice J. Wisler


This book reminds me of times I spent visiting my great grandparents in Arkansas. While they weren't as prim and proper as Ducee, the grandmother who raised the main character in this book, Nicole, they represented the 'Southern' state of mind. I could easily see myself sitting on a porch drinking sweet tea or lemonade and listening in on the down to earth discussions between Nicole, Ducee, and others in this book.

Alice Wisler's first book examines our need to face our fears and our past so we can become whole. She draws us into the story of Nicole, who can't remember life with her missionary parents in Japan. At a very young age, Nicole survived a fire which killed her mother and left her father in a decades long state of depression. Nicole subsequently spent most of her time in North Carolina with her grandmother. When unwittingly faced with the opportunity to meet a childhood nanny she can't remember, Nicole must make a life-changing choice. Will she overcome her fears to discover her past?

I enjoyed the varied personalities woven through this story -- Monet, the 'wild child' who can't be diagnosed; Iva, the neurotic aunt; Grable, trying to mother Monet appropriately while her marriage disintegrates; and the ultimate Southern Belle, Ducee, a woman of wisdom and tradition.

I imagine this book will cause me to think about life's 'coincidences' and our need to face our fears with God's help for a long time. I am looking forward to the sequel!


Nicole Michelin avoids airplanes, motorcycles, and most of all, Japan, where her parents once were missionaries. Something happened in Japan...something that sent Nicole and her father back to America alone...something of which Nicole knows only bits and pieces. But she is content with life in little Mount Olive, North Carolina, with her quirky relatives, tank of lively fish, and plenty of homemade pineapple chutney. Through her online column for the Pretty Fishy Web site, she meets Harrison Michaels, who, much to her dismay, lives in Japan. She attempts to avoid him, but his emails tug at her heart. Then Harrison reveals that he knew her as a child in Japan. In fact, he knows more about her childhood than she does.

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


Alice sold her first story to David C. Cook for a take-home Sunday School paper called Sprint. The year was 1988, this was her first submission to a paying market, and the check sent to her was for $125.00.

She was on her way!

Since then, Alice has sold articles and devotions to the Upper Room, Alive Now, Standard Publishing, ByLine magazine and others.

In 2006 she sent her novel Rain Songto Bethany House...and the rest is history! She signed a two -book deal and the second, How Sweet It Is will be out in 2009.