Friday, October 31, 2008


I'm sure you've heard this before, but I've always liked it:

A woman was asked by a co-worker, "What is it like to be a Christian?" She replied,

"It is like being a pumpkin. God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. Then he cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc., and then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see."

You are the light of the world. . . Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16


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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bed Slats & Husbands

My mom's notebook of clippings and poems from the 1940s is full of treasures. And I am full of questions. What caused her to save some of the things that she did?

Way back then the Houston Post newspaper apparently printed a Sunday School lesson each week. (Imagine how that would go over today!) One in particular was deemed worthy by my mom to clip and save. Dated June 13, 1948, the headline alone stopped me short:

What in the world?! The article/lesson was an overview of the entire book of Esther, but right in the middle there is a little discourse on the first chapter where Queen Vashti is deposed for refusing to appear upon command at King Xerxes' banquet. If you are not familiar with the story, you may read it here.

The writer, a prominent U.S. District judge in the area and a man who was instrumental in starting one of the one older churches in Houston, expounded on this as follows (you may need to click on the image to enlarge it enough to read):

And there you have it. Can you just imagine some poor woman wrestling the bed slat out from under the mattress and whacking her husband with it? Were drunks not violent in the 1940's? Did the judge not worry about what might happen to the wife if she did such a thing?

Maybe AA & MADD should research this as a treatment. Or not.

And why in the world did my mom cut this out? Was it for the overview of the book of Esther? Did she think she might need to counsel one of the ladies in her class at some point? My dad never drank anything stronger than instant coffee, and my mom wouldn't even eat a dessert or a gravy if she thought it had been cooked with any alcohol.

It was a whole 'nother world 60 years ago!


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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Monday All Week

Fun times at our house this week.

I'm waiting for the washing machine repairman to come. There's nothing that strikes dread in the heart of a woman like the clunk the washer makes when it quits. I hope it's just a belt. They assured me this morning that I am 3rd on the afternoon route today. Because silly me: I waited all afternoon yesterday for the repairman; who knew that when he told me on Monday, "tomorrow afternoon", he really meant Wednesday afternoon?!

And the washer broke Monday shortly after the propane guy left. That morning's delivery of propane (so we can have heat when it actually gets cold enough!) resulted in the discovery that we have a leak in the line leading from the tank to the house. The line that is 50 feet long and is underground and runs under two sidewalks. My man will be doing some serious digging. But not until the washing machine is fixed and I can wash the clothes he dirties!

And not tomorrow or Friday, either. I just stocked up on Gatorade and made Jell-O for his clear liquid diet tomorrow as he preps for a (hopefully!) routine colonoscopy Friday morning.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)


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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Small World After All

While my girl was at a birthday party one evening, I spent some time in one of my favorite pursuits: browsing at a bookstore. I happened across a title by a new author that looked promising, and I brought it home. But there was a bonus for me hidden in the pages of this book.

Plain Perfect by Beth Wiseman pretty much lives up to its title. I was caught up in the story of Lillian, who fled Houston for her Amish grandparents' farm, seeking the peace that had eluded her in the dysfunctional way in which she was raised. And how like so many of us Lillian is, as we seek peace in "doing" rather than recognizing that heart change must happen first.

Of course, I loved the fact that Lillian was from Texas, and even Houston, where I was born and raised. In the story, Lillian is a high school English teacher before she uproots herself and moves to the Amish community. About halfway through the book, as she is reflecting on her life, it even mentions the name of a high school where she taught. I almost dropped the book when I read the name of the high school I graduated from!

As a friend says, "To make a short story long," I grabbed my laptop and found Beth Wiseman's website and emailed her. Was this a random high school she picked or was there a connection?

Would you believe she graduated from that same high school?! The year after I did!! (Go Ragin' Raiders!)

She is delightful and we enjoyed several emails back and forth that day. I enjoyed the book even more knowing that little tidbit.

This is Beth's first book, and it is already #13 on the CBA Bestseller List; she hangs out on that list with such names as Tracie Peterson, Cindi Woodsmall, Karen Kingsbury, Francine Rivers & Ted Dekker, among others. It is also in the top 20 of CBD's Bestsellers.

Plain Perfect is the first book of the Daughters of the Promise trilogy. Her second, Plain Pursuit, is due out in April, 2009. She is currently writing the 3rd book.

Take a look at Beth's website - she's got some wonderful pictures of the Amish community. She also has a blog, which I immediately subscribed to. I'm looking forward to keeping up with her work!

Here's more about the book:
A search for peace in Amish country proves anything but simple for a woman on the run from life . . . and herself.

On the rolling plains of Lancaster County, PA., Lillian Miller is searching for her grandparents’ house . . . and so much more. After years of neglect and abuse, she’s turning to a lifestyle of simplicity among the Amish to find herself.

As she discards the distractions of her former life, she befriends the young boy working on her family’s farm and his attractive widowed father, Samuel Stoltzfus. Despite Lillian’s best efforts to the contrary, her feelings for Samuel—and his for her—deepen. Will Lillian find her faith in Plain living, or will she be forced to return to her former life?

Plain Perfect is the first in the Daughters of the Promise series . . . a charming story of simple truths and simpler times. Of reconciling the past and restoring hope for what lies ahead.

You never know what treasures you'll find in a book. Happy Reading!


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Monday, October 27, 2008

Book Tour - 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.

I love me a Tracy Bateman novel. And this one did not disappoint. The only problem is that while reading the previous two books of the trilogy is not required to enjoy this book, this book makes me want to go buy the other two!

Happy Reading!


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Fall Into Flavor - Brownie Trifle

It's getting to be the time of year when parties and get-togethers start cluttering filling up the calendar, many of which might require you to take a dessert to share. Here's one to add to your collection. It's simple to make, it's one you make ahead of time, and the result is an absolutely beautiful creation to carry into a party. Martha & Paula won't have a thing on you!

This recipe is from my much used The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook. (Unfortunately, they didn't put it in The All-New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, which is aggravating!)

Yield: 16 Servings

1 (19.8 ounce) package fudge brownie mix (Gasp! I actually buy a mix!)
1/2 c. Kahlua or other coffee-flavored liqueur (optional) (I either skip or use a little espresso)
3 (3.9 ounce) packages chocolate instant pudding mix
1 (12 ounce) container Cool Whip
6 (1.4 ounce) Heath bars, crushed* (or whatever is the nearest size they sell nowadays!)

1. Prepare and bake brownie mix according to package directions in a 13 x 9 inch pan. Prick top of warm brownies at 1-inch intervals with a wooden pick and brush with Kahlua. Cool brownies completely and crumble into small pieces.
2. Prepare 3 packages pudding mix according to package directions, using a total of 4 cups milk instead of 6 cups, and omitting chilling procedure.
3. Place 1/3 of crumbled brownies in a 3-quart trifle bowl; top with 1/3 each of pudding, whipped topping, and crushed candy bars.
4. Repeat layers twice using remaining ingredients, ending with crushed candy bars.
5. Cover and chill trifle at least 8 hours.

*NOTE: It works better and makes a much prettier dessert to actually get candy bars and crush them than to use the Heath baking bits. Crushing them makes larger pieces and they have more chocolate covering them, a prime consideration!

Grab a 2nd Cup of Coffee & join us in Linda's kitchen for more recipes! Bring one of yours and share it here!


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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Then Sings My Soul Saturday

Life can be so cumbersome at times. Are you stressed out? Do you find yourself bowed down with heartache and pain, uncertain and worried about the future, frustrated in temptation, or discouraged in your walk? You can find shelter right next to the heart of God.

Dr. Cleland McAfee was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Chicago. One day "he received word that his brother and sister-in-law had lost both of their daughters to diptheria within twenty-four hours. He was grief-stricken. He was asked to say some words at the funeral and also to sing a solo. He couldn't think of anything to say or to sing. But his mind went to verses in Psalms that brought comfort and rest to those who sought refuge in the Lord. As he meditated further, he wrote the words and music to this simple hymn, Near to the Heart of God.

"At the double funeral, outside the darkened, quarantined house of his brother, Cleland McAfee with a choking voice sang this hymn publicly for the first time. The following Sunday, his church choir sang it from their pastor's handwritten copy."

The Complete Book of Hymns: Inspiring Stories About 600 Hymns and Praise Songs, by William J. Petersen & Ardythe Petersen, Tyndale, 2006

Among the Psalms that possibly gave Dr. McAfee his inspiration are Psalm 46 and Psalm 94:19. Take a moment to click on the links and read these verses.

This is a beautiful rendition of this song, simply sung by a choir in Canada. While professional musicians and videos are wonderful, I don't think anything pleases God more than His people lifting their voices in song in the local church. Or in their homes and in their hearts.


There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God.

O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
Sent from the heart of God,
Hold us who wait before Thee
Near to the heart of God.

There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God.


There is a place of full release,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where all is joy and peace,
Near to the heart of God.


WORDS & MUSIC: Cleland McAffee, 1903

Find more songs to bless your weekend at Amy's!


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Thursday, October 23, 2008


Today's Forecast

High 72°F
Low 49°F

Can I get an Amen? Fall has come to Central Texas! (For a day or so, anyway - by Saturday it's supposed to be back in the mid-80s!)


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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Better Late Than Never!

Please tell me I'm just fashionably late. When the Fall Into Reading '08 challenge began, I couldn't even begin to wrap my brain around organizing a reading list and putting it in a post. September was its own challenge.

But I've realized that there's still plenty of time for me to join in, and it is difficult for me to resist anything to do with books. So without further ado, here is my list. Like any obsessive listmaker, I'm going to cross through those I've read in the past couple of weeks which would have been on the list if I'd gotten it posted quickly enough.

What?! You mean you've never written something on a list after you've already done it and scratched it off immediately just for the sense of accomplishment?

The Face by Angela Hunt - her latest, this one comes out Nov. 1 and I.Can't.Wait.
Healing Waters by Nancy Rue - waiting with baited breath & twitchy fingers for #2 in the Sullivan Crisp series, due out December 9.
Dreamers by Angela Hunt - releases December 1.
Where the River Ends by Charles Martin - love his books!
Plain Perfect by Beth Wiseman - just finished this and have something fun to tell you about it!
Lying on Sunday by Sharon K. Souza
The Cure by Harry M. Kraus MD
let them eat fruitcake by Melody Carson
Whirlwind by Cathy Marie Hake
The Rogue's Redemption by Ruth Axtell Morten
5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter by Vicki Courtney
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Hmmm. We'll see how I do. These are extras besides the ones I do for my reviews. It's a good thing I do lots of waiting at piano lessons and youth group!

Head on over to Callapidder Days and join the fun!


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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday Thoughts

A potpourri, a mish-mash, or to follow Lisa's trendy example, a status report:

Sitting. . . . in my comfy recliner my man gave me for my birthday.

Listening. . . .for the dryer to buzz that the next load is done.

Grieving. . . .for a friend whose mom passed away Sunday night. Our husbands have been good friends since they were in 8th grade, 40+ years ago. Unfortunately, small town in Oklahoma is too far & difficult to reach for us to attend tomorrow's service. We'll see them when they get back in town.

Remembering. . . .some of the fun times we've had with that couple. Since our guys were roommates in college and beyond, it was a very big deal to my friend and she threw a party (years ago) to celebrate finally reaching the milestone "I've lived with (her man's name) longer than you have, (my man's name)!" I gave her a t-shirt with that on it. Oh, and that party? It was just before their 7th anniversary!

Missing. . . .my mom. Ordering the flowers for the service of my friend's mom 5 weeks after my own mom's death was like when you re-injure an already tender, barely healing wound.

Rejoicing. . . .in the hope that we have in Christ that death is not the final goodbye.

Tolerating. . . .the rental car that I'm driving while my van is being fixed. It looks like a hearse. Appropriate, I guess, considering the circumstances of the accident. (Apologies to any of you for whom this is your preferred vehicle. Part of the problem is I am just too tall for it; I can't get the seat to fit me comfortably and the windows are too low and small for me to see out of them well.)

Celebrating. . . .with my girl that she made Region Orchestra this past weekend in viola. And made 3rd Chair, no less, a thrilling surprise for her.

Intimidated. . . .by my lack of creativity. My girl collects rubber duckies and wants to be a duck for a costume party this Friday night. I have no clue where to begin. I thrive on organizing. Creativity gives me hives.

Procrastinating. . . .putting together the Powerpoint for tomorrow's Bible Study. The gal who leads it just emailed me the final draft, so I need to get started.

Wishing. . . .I were having a real cup of mocha with each of you!


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CFBA - Murder on the Ol' 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.

Don't let the word murder fool you; this is a fun & light-hearted read that will make you chuckle. We've likely all known someone like LaTisha, who would drive us crazy if we didn't love her so much! Her bluster covers a heart of gold. And her propensity for cooking up a storm while she's stewing over the mystery just might send you into the kitchen for a snack! The bickering between LaTisha & Hardy, her husband of thirty-eight years, is adorable, for underneath all that scrappin' & fussin' their love runs deep and true. And a few unexpected twists kept me guessing until the end. So give your tired feet a rest, prop 'em up, and happy reading!


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Monday, October 20, 2008

Fall Into Flavor - Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

A few weekends ago we were invited to spend the day with some friends and I needed to take a side dish for our shared dinner. I wanted something ready to go that would not require preparation out there but that would not appear to be "leftovers."

I was so excited to discover this recipe for Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes. It fit the bill perfectly. And oh my goodness, was it delicious! My kids even asked "Why don't you ever cook this at home?"

And don't be counting your calories on this one. It's full of good stuff like cream cheese, butter, & sour cream!

Giving credit where credit is due, this recipe comes from the classic cookbook Necessities & Temptations, the cookbook compiled by the Junior League of Austin.

Serves 10 to 12

8 to 10 potatoes, peeled
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Seasoned salt

1. Boil and drain potatoes.
2. Whip hot potatoes adding cream cheese and sour cream. Continue beating until fluffy and smooth. Add salt and pepper.
3. Place in a buttered 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Dot generously with butter and sprinkle with seasoned salt. Cover with foil and refrigerate. Potatoes can be frozen at this stge and thawed before baking. Bake, covered with foil, 15 minutes at 325. Continue baking, uncovered, 20 minutes.

Join us in the kitchen & share a recipe of yours or find more here!


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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Then Sings My Soul Saturday - Holiness

I've had a song on my mind recently, and then amazingly enough, last weekend at my MIL's church, this very song was played for the offertory. I think God's trying to get my attention. Written in 1882 by William D. Longstaff after hearing a sermon on I Peter 1:16 ("Be holy, because I am holy"), it has a beautiful message.

How easily I get caught up in wanting the end results of holiness without putting in the time to develop it. Living in our instantaneous, microwaveable, drive-through society, it is hard to discipline myself to "Be still and know that I AM God." Yet holiness is not something I can order off the internet or snap my fingers like Mary Poppins and have it happen. May I quiet my heart and my busy-ness and take time to be holy. Ponder the beautiful words with me:

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

WORDS: William D. Longstaff, 1882
MUSIC: George C. Stebbins,

I couldn't find a version of the entire song that I liked, but here's a college choir singing a beautiful rendition of the last verse.

Find more songs to bless your weekend at Amy's!


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Friday, October 17, 2008

Treasures from the Past

Among my mom's things that I've enjoyed perusing are a couple of notebooks filled with poems and clippings she cut out, most of them from way back in the 1940's. Some of them have priceless pearls of wisdom; others are just hilarious. I wish I could ask her why she kept a few of them. I'll be sharing more in the days to come, but here's something for you to aspire to. (You might need to click on the picture to make it big enough to read.) I'd be charming & sing in the mornings if I had that waist!)


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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Giveaway Reminder Winners!

*UPDATE THURSDAY 10/16/08 9:00 p.m. CDT*

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2008-10-17 02:00:32 UTC

Congrats to BP and Kamewh! Send me your addresses, ladies!

* * * * * * * * *

Be sure to leave a comment here by 8:00 p.m. Thursday CDT for a chance to win one of two copies of Susan Meissner's The Shape of Mercy!

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

CFBA Tour - A Beautiful Fall

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Beautiful Fall

David C. Cook (October 2008)


Chris Coppernoll


Chris Coppernoll is the founder of Soul2Soul Ministries, with his interviews with Christian artists airing weekly on 650 radio outlets in thirty countries. He has conducted hundreds of interviews on faith issues with personalities such as Amy Grant, Max Lucado, Michael W. Smith, and Kathie Lee Gifford. He also serves as a Deacon at The People’s Church in Franklin, Tennessee, and is currently working toward a Masters in Ministry Leadership degree through Rockbridge Seminary.

His "Inspirations" column is published monthly in the mid Michigan newspaper, The Jackson Citizen Patriot.

Chris Coppernoll is the author of four other books including Soul2Soul, Secrets of a Faith Well Lived, and God's Calling. Providence, his first novel, is his fourth book.


High-powered Boston attorney Emma Madison is celebrating her latest courtroom victory when she gets a call from a number she doesn't recognize. Area code 803 home. Juneberry, South Carolina eight hundred miles, twelve years, and a lifetime away from Boston. Emma's father has had a serious heart attack. Emma rushes to his bedside, and a weekend trip threatens to become an extended stay. She has to work fast to arrange the affairs of his small-town law practice so she can return to her life and career in Boston.

And then Michael Evans shows up. They'd shared hopes, dreams, and a passionate love as young college students during a long-ago summer. But Emma walked away from Michael and from Juneberry to finish college and start a new life. Michael has never forgotten her.

Enveloped in the warmth of family and small-town life and discovering that she still cares for Michael Emma knows she'll have to make a choice between the career she's worked so hard to build and the love she left behind.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Beautiful Fall, go HERE

I enjoyed this book. While there's nothing earth-shattering about it - it's the basic story of "successful career woman torn between her high-profile job and her small-town roots" - it was a warm and satisfying read. The time frames in which the events occurred did seem a little unrealistic; for example, the amount of work they did while remodeling a room of Emma's dad's house in just a few days was a little hard to swallow, not to mention what was accomplished one particular morning between breakfast and lunch! But such details are relatively minor and the overall story is sweet and tender.

Happy Reading!


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I'm Needing A Cruise!

Today is the last day to enter the contest to win a trip for 2 on CWO Magazine's Girl's Get-A-Way Cruise with Candace Cameron Bure. I couldn't resist entering and having a little fun spoofing the theme from The Love Boat. Corny, I know!

CWO’s Girl’s Get-A-Way Cruise
"Come aboard, we’re expecting you."
To win would be such fun, I’m sure,
And to meet Candace Cameron Bure!

The Get-A-Way Cruise will be making its premier run,
The Get-A-Way Cruise promises something for everyone:
Meet new friends on this special retreat at sea,
It would be such a fabulous treat for me!

With a friend I am longing to get away,
Just relax, be refreshed & renewed and just play!
Great music and speakers would warm my heart;
Let me come! Just tell me when it will depart!

How I need this so – I am looking for some relief
Life’s been hectic, and my mom’s death has caused me grief.
A Premier cruise, such a fabulous vacation!
To win, would define the word “elation.”

CWO, won’t you please call me and say,
“Yes, you’ve won the Girl’s Get-A-Waayyy-aayyy-aayyyy!”


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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Book Tour with Giveaways!

*UPDATE THURSDAY 10/16/08 9:00 p.m. CDT*

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2008-10-17 02:00:32 UTC

Congrats to BP and Kamewh! Send me your addresses, ladies!

* * * * * * * * *

Have you ever observed or been a part of what's commonly referred to today as Groupthink? Some consider that this is what happens when a group of teenagers - especially boys! - gets together. They take actions as a group that would never even cross their minds individually.

As I was reading this book, The Shape of Mercy, it was evident that, while the term groupthink wasn't coined until 1952, the practice of it dates back centuries.

This is a story within a story. Current-day college sophomore Lauren Durough takes a job with an eccentric librarian in her eighties, Abigail Boyles. Abigail has asked Lauren to transcribe and update into modern language the diary of Abigail's ancestor Mercy Hayworth, a victim of the Salem witch trials.

As much as I love historical fiction, this particular time period is not one I have read much The last time I did so was probably when I was studying it in high school (The Crucible, anyone?!) As Mercy's journal writings unfolded, like Lauren I was drawn into the heartbreaking reality that those who lived - and died - during this time period experienced. As Mercy watched the hysteria spread and questioned how previously rational folks could be so easily swayed by popular opinion, her friend John Peter explained, "Because 'tis easier to believe ill of someone than good."

Already dissatisfied with her life of privilege and determined to prove she will not be defined by her station in life, her kinship with Mercy, along with Abigail's cryptic and bitter behavior stemming from her past, causes Lauren to take a sobering look at her own life and relationships. Will Mercy's life (and death) impact Lauren's choices? And will she be able to help Abigail overcome decades of regret?

This was indeed a captivating story. Or rather stories, as Lauren and Abigail's own tales were woven throughout the book.

And now YOU have a chance to read it! I have 2 copies to give away! Just leave a comment on this post by this Thursday at 8:00 p.m. (CDT) and I will draw 2 names. If you do not have a blog, be sure to leave an email address where you may be reached.

You can also buy the book here.

BOOK SUMMARY: Lauren Durough is a college student longing to break free of family expectations when she stumbles into a project for eighty-year-old Abigail Boyles—transcribing the journals of Mercy Hayworth, a seventeenth-century victim of the Massachusetts witch trials. Almost immediately, Lauren finds herself drawn to this girl who lived and died four centuries ago. The strength of her affinity with Mercy forces Lauren to take a startling new look at her own life, including her relationships with the mysterious Abigail, her college roommate, and a young man named Raul. But on the way to discovering the candid truth, Lauren must earnestly ask if she is playing the role of helpless defendant or the misguided judge? Can she break free from her own perceptions and recognize who she really is?

In our high-pressure, success-oriented culture, readers will identify with Lauren’s struggle to forge her own identity separate from the plan her family designed for her. Offering intrigue, romance, and heartbreaking drama, this contemporary novel with a historical twist conveys the intense beauty that emerges when we see how our stories affect the lives of others.


From early school-day projects to becoming editor of a local newspaper in Minnesota, Susan Meissner’s love for writing has been apparent her entire life. The Shape of Mercy is her latest novel in a string of books that delve into the deeper issues of life. She is the author of nine novels and lives with her family in San Diego, California. Find out more about her at her website.

Happy Reading!


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Monday, October 13, 2008

Right On Cue

Today marks the one-month point since my mom passed away. A day noted but not dwelt on for its significance, partly due to a bit of a stomach bug that I've been recovering from.

But somehow I wasn't one bit surprised when the phone rang this morning.

"Good morning, this is _____ at the funeral home. I just wanted to see how you are doing and if there's anything else you need from us.

And have you given any more thought to taking action on your own prearrangement before the window of that 10%
discount closes?"

He can be glad he doesn't know what I've given thought to!


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Fall Into Flavor - A Great Bundt Cake!

The other day at the grocery store I apparently was buying things that made it appear as if I would be baking; right now I don't even remember what it was. But the woman checking me out commented, "It's getting to be that time of year for baking, isn't it?"

Fall & the upcoming holidays draw us all into the kitchen like no other time. I love this meme that Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee has set up for us to share some of our favorite recipes from this time of year.

This recipe is one of my favorites. I suspect it originated in a Southern Living magazine or cookbook, but I have used it so much I have it on one of my own recipe cards now. It is always a hit whenever I take it anywhere.

And don't let the long list of ingredients intimidate you. This is really a simple recipe. Almost everything gets dumped into one bowl at the beginning, you mix it a bit, and then you add the rest. I love to take this up to the church for the staff to nibble on throughout the day. It makes a great dessert or even a breakfast cake. Enjoy!

3 cups flour
1 3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. apple juice
2 tsp. vanilla
3 large eggs
3 med. Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples, peeled & chopped
1 c. walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 c. golden raisins.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease & flour a 10-inch Bundt pan. Place all ingredients except apples, walnuts, & raisins in large bowl. Beat at low speed until well-mixed, constantly scraping bowl with spatula. Increase to medium speed & beat 2 minutes, occasionally scraping bowl. Stir in fruit & nuts. Spoon into pan. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until it tests clean. Cool in pan on wire rack. Remove from pan & cool completely. Sprinkle with pwodered sugar to serve.
[NOTE: Can wrap well & freeze up to 1 month.]

Join us in the kitchen & share a recipe of yours or find more here!


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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Then Sings My Soul Saturday - 10/11/08

Relaxing and visiting my in-laws this weekend in Houston. It feels good just to get away from all that's been going on lately.

Years ago, Sandi Patty & Wayne Watson had a great duet about Heaven. It is a song of much hope and comfort. If you are not familiar with it you can see the video here.

But that's not my choice for this week. As much as I appreciate and have clung to the hope of our eternal home these past weeks, my physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion is making me ready for some laughter.

In recent years, Mark Lowry & Sandi Patty did a spoof of the duet mentioned above. They actually recorded a video of it, but I think this one from one of his live performances is hilarious. Especially the part with the mic stand and then at the end when her part goes on and on and on. Enjoy a smile for your Saturday!
A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a broken spirit dries up the bones.

So, I'm waiting for another time and another place
Where all my hopes and dreams will be captured
With one look at Jesus' face
Oh, my heart's been burnin'
My soul keeps yearnin'
Sometimes I can't hardly wait
For that sweet, sweet someday
When I'll be swept away
To another time and another place

Be sure to visit Amy's for more songs for your Saturday!


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