Saturday, January 31, 2009

TSMSS - A Classic Song and a Wonderful Promise!

I think I say this about almost every song I post: This is one of my favorites!

But every time I hear (and watch!) Sandi Patty sing this song, it absolutely gives me chills. In 1983 (I know, some of you were in elementary or middle school or - gasp! - just being born!!) I had just graduated from college, and a wonderful, revolutionary new invention called a VCR had just come out. Sandi Patti, as she was known in those days due to a typo on her first album that "stuck", put out a video and I used to watch this song over and over trying to learn the sign language, which adds so much expression and meaning to this incredible song.

Here is a version of Sandi singing it a few years ago. For those of you who are not familiar with gospel music hisotry, the woman with the gigantinormous earrings who they keep showing is Dottie Rambo; she wrote the song and is now beholding Him, face to face in all of His glory!

There are more songs waiting to bless you over at Amy's blog! Better yet, why don't you join in the fun and worship and share one of your favorites as well?


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Friday, January 30, 2009

It Was A Hard Day's Nightline

The things our moms do to us.

If you went to get a 2nd Cup of Coffee this morning, you read that she has continued to enjoy "paroxysms of laughter" from reading a comment months ago from a reader who was told in her 20's by her mom that she looked like Ted Koppel.

C'est moi. Yep. And I N.E.V.E.R. let my mom forget it.

Of course she tried to backpedal and say she didn't exactly mean it and give me some nonsense about high cheekbones, like that was supposed to make me feel better. I mean, what young gal wants to be told that any aspect of her reminds her mother, the woman who birthed her and (supposedly) loves her more than anyone else on earth does, of an aging man who gets almost as much attention for his hair as his news stories?

Gee, wonder why I've struggled with self-image problems for so many years?!

As I look across the room at my sweet girl who is home from school today with the respiratory crud, fever, and probable ear infections, I cringe as I wonder what she'll write on her blog one day about something horrendous I say to her?!

Lid, I'll be sure to send her your way so you'll have some entertainment in the nursing home!


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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Glaring Omission

A relationship I have held dear is teetering on the brink due to questionable judgment by the other party.

While in a certain coffee shop tonight for my weekly hour of reading and sipping while my kids were at youth group, I picked up (as in looked at, not bought) the mug showing the skyline of the city.

In case you can't read what it says at the very bottom, it says "Capital of the Lone Star State."

Um, notice anything missing?

This view hides one of the oldest, most beloved, and most definitive landmarks in the downtown sector. The capitol building itself.

For years the capitol was the tallest building downtown. As the city grew and the downtown area literally began growing up(ward), much debate ensued over the capitol. As a result, there are protected view corridors where the view of the capitol may not be blocked. Apparently, those responsible for the image on the mug didn't deem it important enough to incorporate one of those views.

What a shame they didn't involve someone with an appreciation for history and some Texas pride when developing the mug.

In the words of the old salsa commercial, "Get a rope!"


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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Great Resource for Writers

I know that many of you are are actively pursuing the goal of writing beyond your blog, with the desire and aim to be published. A resource recently appeared in my inbox that will be invaluable to you in your quest.

Billed as "The Essential Reference Tool for the Christian Writer", the Christian Writers' Market Guide 2009 is chock-full of information on a plethora of resources - Book Publishers, Periodicals, E-zines, Contests, Specialty Markets, Area Writers' Clubs, Writers' Helps, and more. A CD-ROM provides additional information and references, including Freelancing, Promotion, Web Page Development, and Tax Help, as well as a code to obtain updated information throughout the year from the author's website. It is truly mind-boggling the amount of information that is packed into this 500-page book.

Here's the info from the back of the book:
For 24 years running, the Christian Writers’ Market Guide has remained the most comprehensive, complete, essential, and highly-recommended resource for beginning and veteran Christian writers, agents, editors, publishers, publicists, and those teaching writing classes.

This year’s Guide is even handier with a CD-Rom included that features the full text of the book for easy searches of topics, publishers, and markets, as well as 100 pages of exclusive content including indexes and writing resource listings.

This is the resource you need to get noticed—and published.

Completely updated and revised to feature the latest on. . .
  • more than 1,200 markets for the written word
  • 416 book publishers (32 new)
  • 654 periodicals (52 new)
  • 96 literary agents
  • 100 new listings in Resources for Writers
  • 226 poetry markets
  • 316 photography markets
  • 25 African-American markets
  • 166 contests (29 new)

Author Bio:
Sally E. Stuart is the author of thirty-six books and has sold more than one thousand articles and columns. Her long-term involvement with the Christian Writers’ Market Guide as well as her marketing columns for the Christian Communicator, Oregon Christian Writers, and The Advanced Christian Writer, make her a sought-after speaker and a leading authority on Christian markets and the business of writing. Stuart is the mother of three and grandmother of eight and lives near Portland, Oregon.

This fantastic resource can be purchased at Amazon or

Whether you are an experienced writer, a new or fledgling writer, or one for whom writing is still a dream or goal that seems out of reach, this book is a must!


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Book Review - The Red Siren

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Red Siren

Barbour Publishing, Inc (January 2009)


M.L. Tyndall


M. L. (MARYLU) TYNDALL grew up on the beaches of South Florida loving the sea and the warm tropics. But despite the beauty around her, she always felt an ache in her soul--a longing for something more.

After college, she married and moved to California where she had two children and settled into a job at a local computer company. Although she had done everything the world expected, she was still miserable. She hated her job and her marriage was falling apart.

Still searching for purpose, adventure and true love, she spent her late twenties and early thirties doing all the things the world told her would make her happy, and after years, her children suffered, her second marriage suffered, and she was still miserable.

One day, she picked up her old Bible, dusted it off, and began to read. Somewhere in the middle, God opened her hardened heart to see that He was real, that He still loved her, and that He had a purpose for her life, if she'd only give her heart to Him completely.

Her current releases in the Legacy of The Kings Pirates series include:The Restitution, The Reliance, and The Redemption and The Falcon And The Sparrow


Lady Faith Westcott has turned her back on God and on man. Having witnessed the hypocrisy in the Church of England, her older sister's abuse at the hand of her husband, and her own mother's untimely death in childbirth, Faith has determined never to marry and to gain enough wealth so she and her two sisters will never have to depend on man or God again.

To that end, though a lady by day, she becomes a pirate by night and begins her sordid career off Portsmouth when she attacks and plunders a merchant ship commanded by the young Dajon Waite. Humiliated at being defeated by a pirate and a woman no less, Dajon returns home without cargo and ship, and his father expels him from the family merchant business.

After a brief sojourn into debased society, Dajon rejoins the Royal Navy, where he finds comfort in the strict rules and redemption through his service to others. Three years later, he is sent to the frontier outpost of Charles Town, South Carolina to deal with the pirate problem. There, he connects with his mentor and old friend, Admiral Westcott, who has just arrived with his three daughters.

Much to Dajon's utter dismay, Admiral Westcott, who is being called away to Spain, asks Dajon to be temporary guardian of his three lovely daughters. One of the ladies seems familiar to him, a striking redhead who immediately sends his heart thumping.

Faith recognizes Captain Waite as the buffoon whose ship she plundered off Portsmouth. Yet, he appears no longer the fool, but instead a tall, handsome and commanding naval officer. Despite her immediate attraction to him, she labels him the enemy, but sparks are guaranteed to fly during the next few months when independent, headstrong and rebellious Faith falls in love with God-fearing honorable, rule-following Dajon-especially when Faith continues her pirating off the Carolina coast while her father is away.

Will Dajon catch her? And what will this man of honor and duty do when he does?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Red Siren, go HERE

I discovered M.L. Tyndall last year and have really enjoyed her books. Some I've had the opportunity to review, and some I've picked up on my own and read as a result of the other ones. This one did not disappoint. It's a clever novel of adventure as Faith lives the genteel Southern lady by day. . . .but becomes a pirate at night in a desperate effort to rescue herself and her sisters from being essentially sold by their father into arranged marriages. The plot thickens, so to speak, when she has to not only dodge Dajon's careful supervision but his growing suspicions about her clandestine activities. Yet observing Dajon's steadfast faith, when she considers what life will be like in the distasteful marriage to the wicked man to which she is unwillingly betrothed, she must decide whether life or death holds more fear. I highly recommend this book. And as much as I enjoy reading historical fiction, I am grateful that I no longer live in a society where women's lives are bartered to the highest or most devious bidder!

Happy Reading!


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Monday, January 26, 2009

Spectacular Sins - Chapter 1

If it's Monday, then it's time to join Lisa & Missy over at The Preacher's Wife to discuss John Piper's spectacular book Spectacular Sins. This week we're on Chapter 1. Good stuff in ths book - encouraging, mind-stretching, and thought-provoking. Missy leads this week. As I did last week, I list the questions followed by my answers.

1. We'll start with an easy one. What are the four reasons that John Piper gives for writing the book? Which do you look most forward to hearing Piper answer?
  1. Why does God want us to know His Sovereignty over sin?
  2. Why does God not restrain sin more often?
  3. How can we have faith and joy during the severity of the Last Days?
  4. How is Christ glorified in a world of sin?

I think I'd have to say the 3rd one grabs me the most. I think this is crucial for believers today. It very much concerns me the distress that believers express over current world and political events and the sense that "we" have to make things better. While it is certainly important to take action in whatever direction God is leading us, it is clearly spelled out in Scripture that things are just going to deterorate more and more as time gets closer to the end. The early church also lived in a time of persecution, corrupt government, and slavery. Nowhere in the New Testament have I read a charge to change the world system. Rather, as Peter says after he describes events leading up to Christ's return and the destruction of the earth:

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. . . II Peter 3:11-12

Repeatedly, both Paul & Peter tell slaves, wives, and citizens to be submissive to the unbelieving masters, husbands, and government officials as an example and as a witness which is much more likely to win them over than words of condemnation. Much, much easier said than done, but something I think we as believers need to consider in these turbulent times.

Here comes the hard part. I hope you read the footnote on page 24. If you are like me, you read it several times, then out loud, then needed to discuss it with someone. We're loving the Lord with all our minds! Answer these as best you can (it's okay if you are fuzzy - we're only in chapter one):

2. What is God's role in sin:
a. Does he allow you to sin?
Yes. He has given me free will.
b. Does he cause you to sin? No. I can certainly manage to do that on my own!
c. Does he allow temptation to come before you? Yes, in the general sense. The potential for sin is all around us. However, in a specific area that we struggle with, God does not lure us and dangle it in front of us or taunt us with it to see if we will resist. Satan is the one who does that.
d. What resources does he give you to resist it? (quote scripture if possible.)
Prayer. Support of friends. And most importantly, Scripture, which is both offensive and defensive:

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. I Corinthians 10:13

"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." Matthew 26:41

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Ephesians 6:10-18

3. Are God's purposes sometimes accomplished through the sinful actions of man? Aside from the Crucifixion, can you think of another biblical example?

If it were required that man's actions be sinless in order for God's purposes to be accomplished, we would be in a sorry state indeed. Many times in the Bible folks either "ran ahead" of God in their attempt to grasp what He had promised them or they just "messed up" and in His grace and mercy He forgave them and used them in spite of. . .and even because of. . .their sins. I think of Jacob cheating Esau out of his birthright, even though it was intended for him. Joseph's brothers selling him into slavery. David, whose sin with Bathsheba cost his first son's life - yet Solomon is listed in the lineage of Jesus. The exile of the Jews to Babylon - to the world it looked as if they had been overtaken by an evil ruler, but this was part of God's plan and purpose. Even in the New Testament, evil such as the persecution of the early Christians and even the disagreement between Paul & Barnabas resulted in the spread of Christianity throughout the world.

4. Piper states that his primary goal is to magnify Christ. What are some ways that a Christian might do that, even under intense suffering? What are some ways that we might do that, during our day-to-day frustrations and disappointments? Have you personally witnessed any examples of either?

First of all, just by acknowledging that this world is not the end game and that God has a greater purpose. Praise Him in the storm. Having an eternal perspective and praying that God will use each situation to glorify Himself rather than just being concerned with our short-term comfort. Remembering past times when the way was dark and He brought us through - and worked things out beyond our comprehension. And yes, I have seen several friends living through unimaginable heartache who brought glory and honor to God even as their hearts were shattered.

5. On page 29 he writes, "We are pushing our way through a blood-spattered life that makes us feel connected to the world yet disconnected at the same time. We are here but not here. Love binds us to the tragic earth, and love binds us to the treasure in heaven." What thoughts does this provoke in you?

God is Love and spreads His love in our hearts to enable to love others, minister to others, and live life abundantly. And yet there is so much more.

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. I Corinthians 15:19

These are all just my thoughts, beliefs, and opinions on what I have read and studied. I urge you to delve into the book and, most importantly, the Bible, and glean the promises of God for yourself. And head over to the Book Club to see what others have to say!


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It's A Muggy Day

Power Blogger (n.) 1. a blogger who has scads of people visit them daily to see what wit or wisdom they will dispense. 2. one who has the unmitigated gall ability to force convince people to do what they would never consider doing otherwise.
Synonym: 2nd Cup of Coffee

Sigh. The things she gets me to do.

I like my mugs. They are cute mugs. Collected from various trips and picked out specifically to remember that event. Such as my mug from the original Starbucks in Seattle. And others, given as gifts that show personality, many of which are a tribute to chocolate in some form.

But are any of those good enough my fellow Lid? Noooooo.

She deems that I need to find an ugly mug for her contest. Hideous. One that would taint the pleasure of my morning mocha as I sip and work my way through blogdom.

So I did the only thing that could be done.

Went to my man's backpack of Scouting paraphenalia.

Because, in spite of the plethora of "cute" camping gear at various stores aimed for those who think it adventurous to go for days without showers and sleep in the wilds of nature, he and the other men in the troop chose mugs made of some kind of seemingly petrified styrofoam. And then they oh-so-carefully decorated and engraved monogrammed labeled them with their group's moniker. With a Sharpie. And some beads.

Lest you are unable to read what it says and grasp the full essence of it's mug-ness, in spite of pictures from two different angles, the mug (and group) is titled:

PLEASE! Vote for me so I can escape to Starbucks and my cute mugs once again!!

UPDATE: BTW, just so you know, this mug is dishwasher safe. Guess that's the (questionable) advantage of the "petrified" part!


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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Too Bad Mocha Doesn't Start with N!

Sara had a fun meme on her blog. If you participate, the one whose blog you comment on assigns you a letter and you list your 10 favorite things that begin with that letter.

I'm such a word geek that I thought it would be really easy. I was smugly thinking of things I would come up with even if she gave me the "dreaded" Q or some other obtuse letter.

That noise you just heard? That would be my pride shattering on the floor.

Who knew this would be such a hard letter? But it's a letter that is more comfortable hidden inside a word than out in front.

Aside from the tiny little detail that they are not among my favorites, I decided it was better not to list Narcotics. Or Nudity. Or Narcissism. And even though my background is Nursing and I gave great shots, Needles didn't seem a real clever thing to list either.

But I was able to find some favorites that start with this Nettlesome letter:
  1. Naps. Especially on Sunday afternoons.
  2. Novels. I'm sure this comes as a huge surprise! But I do indeed like to curl up with a good one. I like many types, but one of my favorite genres is. . .
  3. Nineteenth-century fiction. Maybe it's a holdover from my childhood when I fell in love with the Little House series, but anything set in the 1800's absolutely intrigues me.
  4. No-iron clothes. 'Nuff said..
  5. Nabisco. As in Oreos. Also Nilla Wafers, Graham Crackers, Nutter Butter, Ritz. . . .
  6. Notecards. Love finding cute ones. I like sending them. And as much as I like email, there's nothing like getting a note in the mail from a friend!
  7. Nativities. I especially love wooden ones. I have one made of wood from Bethlehem that I love.
  8. Nuts. As in food, not people! Especially pecans - raw, baked, you name it. Cashews and mixed nuts are good too.
  9. Newsboys, Nicol Sponberg, & Nichole Nordeman. These gifted musicians have some great songs.
  10. Nestle Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips. Straight out of the bag, in cookies, melted with fruit, or as an IV drip - I'm not picky.

Now. I know None of you are Nitwits or Nincompoops or Numbskulls. N-deed, you're just Naturally N-telligent and Nimble-minded. So if you wanna play along, let me know in the comments and I'll randomly pick a letter and send it to you!


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    Saturday, January 24, 2009

    Girls Night Out. . .and the Morning After

    "Wow" is an understatement for the whirlwind trip I took to Houston Thursday and Friday. If I didn't have pictures, I'd wonder if I dreamed the whole thing!

    Xandra and I had a wonderful lunch together. I'm sure you will be relieved to know we settled all the current political, social, and spiritual issues swirling through our society. All while enjoying The Olive Garden's soup and salad. And it did not go unnoticed by me that Xandra steered clear of the breadsticks while I could not resist their soft, buttery goodness. Maybe that's why Xandra is looking really good in her diet & exerciese quest and I'm looking pleasingly particularly plump in the pictures.

    After I took her back to work, I had 3 wonderful hours to do a little shopping, read awhile at Barnes & Noble, and enjoy the wonderful spring winter day in Houston (sunny & 76 degrees!) before I went to the airport to pick up none other than Lisa, The Preacher's Wife! What a blast to have the opportunity to just hang out together. We had a fantastic Mexican food dinner at Gringo's, and I was able to educate Lisa that in Texas we eat queso, not cheese dip!

    When we got to the church we met up with Missy, who was volunteering at the event. (Be sure to read her post about the event, which she writes in her trademark style and details how I finagled staying at her house as well as her wardrobe malfunction!)

    Girls Night Out itself was great. Lysa TerKeurst and Renee Swope were incredible, as always. Kate Gosselin's testimony was touching and God-honoring. Ayiesha Woods, whose CD I got to give away last fall, and Jason Catron, provided fantastic music. We were sitting near Melanie and Amanda and enjoyed chatting with them and Missy during the intermission.

    And for the record, Amanda, who like every other 8+ month pregnant woman, thinks she's huge, is darling and tiny. In fact, I decided when I saw some of the pictures that maybe I shouldn't have bought that cute purple shirt at Kohl's. I guess the style is called baby doll for a reason! (Not that breadsticks, queso, or flautas have contributed at all. . . !)

    Afterwards, we waited for the book-signing line to dissipate and then had some fun talking with Lysa and Renee, Lysa's assistant (Holly - who is so sweet!), and some other new bloggy friends. Renee and Lysa are just as precious up close and personal as they seem in blogland and on stage. Lots of hugs and laughter. Of course Missy's wardrobe malfunction contriibuted to the fun. . . .! (And she's just as much fun inside out as right side in!)

    And there were other bloggy friends to meet and chat with: Paula from Wrinkled Shirts, Sandy from God Speaks Today, Shelly from My Life on the Wild Side, Lindsey from A New Life (she's only been blogging a few months, so go encourage her!), Vern from Inspired Looks. What great gals they all are! I don't have near enough to do (hah!) and look forward to hanging out at their blogs.

    Our visions of slumber party fun vanished as we staggered back to Missy's barely able to keep our eyes open. I knew I was too old for this when I began to wonder if I was going to be taking my bedtime pills at the same time as my getting-up pills!

    I took Lisa back to the airport dark and early for her 7:00 AM flight. Then I headed for the hotel where Lysa had invited the bloggy bunch to join her for breakfast. Which (yawn!) wasn't for 2 hours.

    I have never ever rented a hotel room by the hour in my life, but I was sorely tempted after less than 3 hours of sleep! I settled for reading on a couch in the lobby. I might have dozed off once. Or twice.

    But it was so worth the exhaustion. Breakfast was a wonderful blessing. (And I got to hug Renee as she left for the airport to head home before the breakfsat. And I saw Lysa's beautiful teen-age daughter, who also was traveling home with Renee.) Lysa is down-to-earth and as real as can be. It's so easy to feel intimidated by Women Who Are In Ministry And Speak To Audiences and feel insignificant compared to them. But there was no sense of superiority or condescension from Lysa. She is delightful and encouraging and just plain fun!

    Here are my pictures:

    I managed to make it back to my MIL's and conked out for a bit so I could safely make the 3 hour drive home and avoid Melanie's fate.

    Oh, and that little caffeine fast I was on? That soooo went by the wayside while I was down there! A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!


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    TSMSS - Empty Me

    I had another song I was planning for this weekend, but this song is so powerful. I just love it, and it has really spoken to me anew the last couple of days.

    Be sure to go by Amy's blog for more songs to bless your weekend!


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    Friday, January 23, 2009

    Book Review - The Centurion'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

    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.


    Janette Oke has dreamed for years of retelling a story in a biblical time frame from a female protagonist's perspective, and Davis Bunn is elated to be working with her again on this sweeping saga of the dramatic events surrounding the birth of Christianity...and the very personal story of Leah, a young Jewess of mixed heritage trapped in a vortex of competing political agendas and private trauma.

    Caught up in the maelstrom following the death of an obscure rabbi in the Roman backwater of first-century Palestine, Leah finds herself also engulfed in her own turmoil--facing the prospect of an arranged marriage to a Roman soldier, Alban, who seems to care for nothing but his own ambitions.

    Head of the garrison near Galilee, he has been assigned by Palestine's governor to ferret out the truth behind rumors of a political execution gone awry. Leah's mistress, the governor's wife, secretly commissions Leah also to discover what really has become of this man whose death--and missing body--is causing such furor.

    This epic drama is threaded with the tale of an unlikely romance and framed with dangers and betrayals from unexpected sources. At its core, the story unfolds the testing of loyalties--between two young people whose inner searchings they cannot express, between their irreconcilable heritages, and ultimately between their humanity and the Divine they yearn to encounter.

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

    This was a fascinating and absorbing book set in the time period between the crucifixion and Pentecost. The confusion and tension is gripping as Leah and Alban attempt to find answers to the questions swirling through Palestine and Pilate's household about what really happened to the body in the tomb. . . .and weigh the risks of accepting the most incredible answer as Truth.


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    Thursday, January 22, 2009

    An Unexpected Pleasure

    On Monday morning, my week looked to be normal and uneventful. But that suddenly changed! I am beyond excited! God has dropped a major blessing on me.

    This morning I am on my way to Houston. I will be having lunch with her. Woohoo! I can't wait! (I guess they'll probably notice if she doesn't go back to work this afternoon. Sigh.)

    And tonight I will be here. You'll have to wait to see who else I'll be with. It is going to be stupendous.

    My camera battery is charged and ready!

    Have I mentioned that I am excited?!


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    Wednesday, January 21, 2009

    Just a Quick Hello

    It's really hard to dress comfortably when you walk out the door and it's 36 degrees, but the high is supposed to be around 80.

    I'm feeling like a total misfit this morning because apparently I am the only person in America - or at least blogland - who doesn't watch AI. Or Lost. Or Office. Or 24. I thought I was happy!

    Today is our second week fo Esther (well, the first week after the intro) - I'm loving the study and I didn't even save all the homework until last night! (Don't act like you haven't ever done that!)

    Time to go! Have a great day!


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    Tuesday, January 20, 2009

    As The Baton is Passed

    He changes times and seasons;
    He sets up kings and deposes them.
    He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to the discerning.
    Daniel 2:21

    ". . .until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone He wishes."
    Daniel 4:32

    (to Cyrus, King of Persia)
    For the sake of Jacob My servant,
    of Israel My chosen,
    I summon you by name
    and bestow on you a title of honor,
    though you do not acknowledge Me.

    I am the LORD, and there is no other;
    apart from Me there is no God.
    I will strengthen you,
    though you have not acknowledged Me,

    so that from the rising of the sun
    to the place of its setting
    men may know there is none besides Me.
    I am the LORD, and there is no other.
    Isaiah 45:4-6

    I know that You can do all things; no plan of Yours can be thwarted.
    Job 42:2

    For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
    Colossians 1:16-17

    I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior.
    1 Timothy 2:1-3

    Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.
    Titus 3:1-2

    "He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat."

    God reigns over the nations;
    God is seated on His holy throne.
    Psalm 47:8


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    Finally finished!
    When my boy saw it, I suggested he might want to glue it and hang it on his wall, because we will not EVER be doing that one again!

    And then my girl & I immediately did this one Sunday afternoon, also 500 pieces:

    After the other one, it was a piece of cake! You could actually tell where the pieces were supposed to go. This puzzle is from the Look Alikes books, where the pictures are constructed from every day objects. Fun books.

    Although, our all-time favorites are the I Spy series of books with their brightly colored pictures, poems, and hidden objects. I even got the calendar every year and hung it by the pantry until they discontinued it. Unfortunately, all their puzzles are less than 100 pieces.

    So if you are looking for a great activity to spend some time with your teen, I recommend collaborating on a puzzle. Just be prepared to learn all your own idiosyncrasies while you're at it!


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    Monday, January 19, 2009

    CFBA Tour - Stand-In Groom

    This week, the

    Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

    is introducing

    Stand-In Groom

    Barbour Publishing, Inc (January 2009)


    Kaye Dacus


    Kaye Dacus is an author and editor who has been writing fiction for more than twenty years. A former Vice President of American Christian Fiction Writers, Kaye enjoys being an active ACFW member and the fellowship and community of hundreds of other writers from across the country and around the world that she finds there.

    She currently serves as President of Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, which she co-founded in 2003 with three other writers. Each month, she teaches a two-hour workshop on an aspect of the craft of writing at the MTCW monthly meeting. But her greatest joy comes from mentoring new writers through her website and seeing them experience those “aha” moments when a tricky concept becomes clear.


    When wedding planner Anne Hawthorne meets George Laurence, she thinks she's found the man of her dreams. But when he turns out to be a client, her "dream" quickly turns into a nightmare. Will Anne risk her heart and career on this engaging Englishman?

    George came to Louisiana to plan his employer's wedding and pose as the groom. But how can he feign affection for a supposed fiancee when he's so achingly attracted to the wedding planner? And what will happen when Anne discovers his role has been Stand-In Groom only? Will she ever trust George again? Can God help these two believers find a happy ending?

    If you would like to read the first chapter of Stand-In Groom, go HERE

    What they're saying about it:

    “Dacus pulls off a delightful story that places readers in the heart of the South with the debut of the Brides of Bonneterre series. Readers will enjoy this look at how lives are transformed through devastating events and how forgiveness is the key to a promising future. Nothing is as it seems in this heartwarming story.”
    Romantic Times, 4-Star Review

    “Absolutely delightful! I enjoyed Stand-In Groom from cover to cover! Ms. Dacus’s clever story and wonderful prose will draw you away to a place deep in the heart of Louisiana, surrounding you with the scents, sounds, and sights of the deep south. A story filled with romance and intrigue, betrayal and forgiveness, I found myself laughing, crying and rejoicing right along with the characters.”
    M.L. Tyndall, author of The Falcon and the Sparrow and the award-winning Legacy of the King’s Pirates series

    Stand-In Groom is as sweet, beautiful, and chaotic as a perfectly planned wedding. Anne is a bright and wounded heroine you’re going to care about for a long time. George is a hero to capture your heart. Kaye Dacus will take you along for a fun, poignent ride in Stand-In Groom.”
    Mary Connealy, author of the Lassoed in Texas series and Of Mice...and Murder

    Not much can be added to the above comments. This was a thoroughly enjoyable book!


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    Food for Thought

    Today's the day! The Preacher's Wife is kicking off the Spectacular Sins Book Club.

    All I can say is Wow! This book has some great stuff in it. And what great timing as we look at the events going on in our world and wonder what God's part is in all this.

    Lisa & Missy will be leading the Book Club each Monday, and while our discussions are taking place at Lisa's site, like Xandra, I wanted to post my answers here so that I will have them for my own record. And maybe it might pique your interest if you haven't gotten the book.

    And don't be overwhelmed by thinking this is a massive theological tome - it's a mere 112 pages. But it is packed with meaty truth!

    So here are this week's discussion questions and my answers:

    1. Let's ease into this. I'm a huge quote girl so tell us, what is your favorite quote from the Introduction? What about it resonated with you? (Try to keep the quote to two sentences. I only say that because I find myself quoting entire paragraphs!)

    God is weightless in our lives...His sovereignty is secondary (at best) to his sensitivity. What is missing is the Bible. I mean the whole Bible. . .and all of it under the massive hand of God. . .Knowing great things about God will make us ready not to collapse under cataclysmic conflict and personal catastrophe.

    2. Piper opens the book by describing the most spectacular sin ever committed - that of the murder of Jesus Christ. What does he say the commission of this sin actually accomplished? (p.12, paragraph 2) How do you interpret the phrase, "He made evil commit suicide in doing its worse evil"?

    He made evil commit suicide in doing its worse evil. While evil was trying to destroy God, it really succeeded only in destroying itself.

    3. How is evil defined? (p.12, paragraph 3) How does the understanding that "the apex of evil achieved the apex of the glory of Christ" impact your thinking? How will you allow this truth to shape your thinking when you are tempted to ask 'why' in the midst of calamity?

    It brings to mind the words of Joseph to his brothers "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good" Not to mention Romans 8:28. God's hand is on everything. Even that which we deem evil.

    4. I was stopped cold when I read, "The coddled Western world will sooner or later give way to great affliction. And when it does, whose vision of God will hold? And also, "Christians in the West are weakened by wimpy worldviews. And wimpy worldviews make wimpy Christians." (p. 13 paragraph 4). Continuing along that line of thought, what false teachings do you recognize as being popular but unable to prepare us for catastrophe? In what ways have you discovered you've been influenced by those those lies?

    The prosperity gospel. The idea that God wants our comfort and happiness in this world. Cheap grace. The world has made God in its image. And even though I may disagree with it, just the inundation that is constantly out there makes it hard for it not to seep in.

    5. Piper states that the purpose of Spectacular Sins is not "to meet felt needs, but to awaken needs that will soon be felt, and then to save your faith and strengthen your courage when evil prevails." (p. 16) If you feel compelled, share a time when evil prevailed in your own life. Refer back to Question Two and give God praise if He has revealed how that evil served His glory. Also feel free to note any relevant Scripture God used for your healing. I know this will be a difficult exercise for many. Please know we will be so tender with your responses and will pray with you if you are in a place of suffering.

    In my younger years, I was easily frightened by world events and evil that manifest itself in the world. After going through an inductive study of Daniel, that changed my whole view. Fortunately, that was shortly before 9/11. Although I was obviously disturbed by the events of that day, I had a complete peace that it was all under His Sovereign control.

    So grab a copy of the book and join us as we stretch our brains!


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