Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday, Monday

The Plan:
Take the kids to school.
Enjoy coffee and breakfast.
Blog a bit.
Do some laundry.

The Reality:
Take the kids to school after the van reluctantly starts with a sputter.
Do not turn the car off - grab breakfast from a drive-thru.
Go straight to the dealer.
Sit and wait.
Get a new battery installed.

While the morning did not go as planned, and it was exasperating that the battery was a mere two months past the "free replacement" warranty period, I am thankful that I was not stranded somewhere having to ask a stranger to for a jump-start.

I'm not the only one, apparently. Shops around town are reporting record numbers of battery replacements due to the incredible heat wave we've been having. Forget about cooking an egg on the sidewalk - the heat is cooking the liquid right out of the batteries.

Of the 76 days from June 13 through August 27, only 9 of them have been below 100 here. And most have been in the 103-106 degree range.

But wonder of wonders, at 2:30 today, it is a mere 88 degrees and we might not even hit 95.

Wonder where our sweaters are. . . .


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Saturday, August 29, 2009

TSMSS - Grace

This song by Larnelle Harris speaks for itself.


Time measured out my days
Life carried me along
In my soul I yearned to follow God
But knew I'd never be so strong
I looked hard at this world
To learn how heaven could be gained
Just to end where I began
Where human effort is all in vain

Were it not for grace
I can tell you where I'd be
Wandering down some pointless road to nowhere
With my salvation up to me
I know how that would go
The battles I would face
Forever running but losing this race
Were it not for grace

So here is all my praise
Expressed with all my heart
Offered to the Friend who took my place
And ran a course I could not start
And when He saw in full
Just how much His would cost
He still went the final mile between me and heaven
So I would not be lost

(Repeat Chorus)

Forever running but losing this race
Were it not for grace

Visit Amy's for more songs to minister to your soul!


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Friday, August 28, 2009

The Cycle of Life

Saw this gem on Angela Hunt's blog this morning and had to share.

For all of us who have been or are parenting our parents, or will be in the not-too-distant future. . . .


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Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Few Words Can Paint a Big Picture!

Yesterday on KLOVE they were challenging folks to share Funny Family Mishaps in Three Statements or Less by calling in or putting them on the Morning Show's Facebook page. I got to my destination before I heard too many of them, but one mom called one in that absolutely cracked me up:

Living room carpet.
A dozen eggs.

I'd say that pretty much communicates a story, along with a visual! At least she could laugh about it!

Here are a couple more:

Dog's tail.

* * * * *

3-year-old boy,
Open window,
2nd-story roof!

* * * * *

Very large hornet's nest
BB gun
9-year-old boy

So, who will give it a try?! Share yours in the comments!


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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

CFBA - The Frontiersman's Daughter

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Frontiersman’s Daughter

Revell (September 1, 2009)


Laura Frantz


I was born and raised in Kentucky and my love of history goes deep - way back to the 18th-century when my family first came into the Bluegrass State. It will always be home to me, even though I now live with my husband, Randy, and my sons, Wyatt and Paul, in the misty woods of northwest Washington. I go back as often as I can to visit family and all the old haunts that I love.

I grew up playing on the original site of Fort Boonesborough and swimming in the Kentucky River and climbing the Pinnacle near Berea and watching the great outdoor dramas of the early settlers. Often my cousins and brother and I would play in my Granny's attic and dress up in the pioneer costumes she made us and pretend to be Daniel Boone, Rebecca, Jemima, or the Shawnee.

As I grew up I began to write stories and they were always historical, filled with the lore I had heard or read about. It's no accident that my first book (which is actually my fifth book - the others were practice!) is about those first Kentucky pioneers.

I feel blessed beyond measure to write books. My prayer is that you are doubly blessed reading them.

Note: Laura Frantz credits her 100-year-old grandmother as being the catalyst for her fascination with Kentucky history. Frantz's family followed Daniel Boone into Kentucky in 1792 and settled in Madison County where her family still resides. Frantz is a former schoolteacher and social worker who currently lives in the misty woods of Washington state with her husband and two sons, whom she homeschools.


Lovely but tough as nails, Lael Click is the daughter of a celebrated frontiersman. Haunted by her father's former captivity with the Shawnee Indians, as well as the secret sins of her family's past, Lael comes of age in the fragile Kentucky settlement her father founded.

Though she faces the loss of a childhood love, a dangerous family feud, and the affection of a Shawnee warrior, Lael draws strength from the rugged land she calls home, and from Ma Horn, a distant relative who shows her the healing ways of herbs and roots found in the hills.

But the arrival of an outlander doctor threatens her view of the world, God, and herself--and the power of grace and redemption. This epic novel gives readers a glimpse into the simple yet daring lives of the pioneers who first crossed the Appalachians, all through the courageous eyes of a determined young woman.

Laura Frantz's debut novel offers a feast for readers of historical fiction and romance lovers alike.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Frontiersman’s Daughter, go HERE


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Back-to-School Fiction Blog Tour

The start of school means kids will be getting reading assignments for homework and research. Grab a book and curl up on the couch next to your child - there's nothing cozier than family reading time! And if you are like me, this time of year also means spending more time in the car waiting - in car line, at piano lessons, at gymnastics or other practices and activities. I always keep a book in the car to ensure that I have something to do while I wait.

Here are three new books from Waterbrook/Multnomah that will make that time fly!

Summary for The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper
The future is clearly mapped out for New York socialite Eugenia “Gennie” Cooper, but she secretly longs to slip into the boots of her favorite dime-novel heroine and experience just one adventure before settling down. When the opportunity arises, Gennie jumps at the chance to experience the Wild West, but her plans go awry when she is drawn into the lives of silver baron Daniel Beck and his daughter and finds herself caring for them more than is prudent–especially as she’s supposed to go back to New York and marry another man.

As Gennie adapts to the rough-and-tumble world of 1880s Colorado, she must decide whether her future lies with the enigmatic Daniel Beck or back home with the life planned for her since birth. The question is whether Daniel’s past–and disgruntled miners bent on revenge–will take that choice away from her.

This is a fun book of life in the Old West, full of sass, adventure, romance and a bit of suspense! And oh my, I'm glad I don't have to stand "trial" before the ladies of that day who, once they got their dander up over a perceived impropriety, could not be dissuaded from dragging the unfortunate souls to either the undertaker or the preacher!

You can purchase this directly from the publisher or here.

Summary for The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love
Once a month, the six women of the Sweetgum Knit Lit Society gather to discuss books and share their knitting projects. Inspired by her recently-wedded bliss, group leader Eugenie chooses “Great Love Stories in Literature” as the theme for the year’s reading list–a risky selection for a group whose members span the spectrum of age and relationship status.

As the Knit Lit ladies read and discuss classic romances like Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, and Pride and Prejudice, each member is confronted with her own perception about love. Camille’s unexpected reunion with an old crush forces her to confront conflicting desires. Newly widowed Esther finds her role in Sweetgum changing and is surprised by two unlikely friends. Hannah isn’t sure she’s ready for the trials of first love. Newcomer Maria finds her life turned upside-down by increasing family obligations and a handsome, arrogant lawyer, and Eugenie and Merry are both asked to make sacrifices for their husbands that challenge their principles.

Even in a sleepy, southern town like Sweetgum, Tennessee, love isn’t easy. The Knit Lit ladies learn they can find strength and guidance in the novels they read, the love of their family, their community–and especially in each other.

I'm not a knitter, but I loved the knitting theme woven throughout the story. I have several friends who are avid knitters, so I may pass this book along to them. My one minor complaint about the book was that it seemed to end a bit abruptly. Occasionally I read a book where I feel as though all of a sudden the author realized she was at the end of her word count and brought it to a screeching halt!

Purchase this book from the publisher or at Amazon.

Summary for Rose House
A vivid story of a private grief, a secret painting, and one woman’s search for hope.
Still mourning the loss of her family in a tragic accident, Lillian Diamon finds herself drawn back to the Rose House, a quiet cottage where four years earlier she had poured out her anguish among its fragrant blossoms.
She returns to the rolling hills and lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley in search of something she can’t quite name. But then Lillian stumbles onto an unexpected discovery: displayed in the La Rosaleda Gallery is a painting that captures every detail of her most private moment of misery, from the sorrow etched across her face to the sandals on her feet.

What kind of artist would dare to intrude on such a personal scene, and how did he happen to witness Lillian’s pain? As the mystery surrounding the portrait becomes entangled with the accident that claimed the lives of her husband and children, Lillian is forced to rethink her assumptions about what really happened that day.
A captivating novel rich with detail, Rose House explores how the brushstrokes of pain can illuminate the true beauty of life.

I haven't read this one yet - it was a victim of our vacation and family crisis!

You may purchase this book directly from the publisher or here.

Kathleen Y’Barbo is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than thirty novels, novellas, and young adult books, with more than a half-million in print. A graduate of Texas A&M University, she is currently a publicist with Books & Such literary agency.

RITA Award-winning Beth Patillo combines her love of knitting and books in her engaging Sweetgum series. Pattillo served churches in Missouri and Tennessee before founding Faith Leader, a spiritual leadership development program.

Tina Ann Forkner is the author of Ruby Among Us. Originally from Oklahoma, she now lives with her husband and three children in Wyoming, where she serves on the Laramie County Library Foundation’s board of directors.


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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What Are They Thinking?!

Schools today have totally gone nuts.

I'm not talking about homework loads, the disproportionate emphasis on state-mandated tests, or summer projects, although those certainly are things I could utilize quite a few soapboxes and expound on.

But the real "wow" moment today?

The high school is letting baby girls become students.

Oh I kid.


Because my girl is indeed 14 and has quite successfully completed kindergarten through 8th grade. So I'm told this is where she's supposed to be. And I don't think a millstone would have been effective in keeping her home. She's been "rarin' to go" since May and her smile got progressively bigger as today approached. And she's (gulp!) looking more and more the part, as this summer she got contacts, a cell phone, and began wearing a small amount of tastefully-applied make-up.

I did really well until we pulled up to the school and she started gathering up her purse and her book bag and viola case. There must've been something in the air that made my eyes start stinging and get all watery. Watching her walk into the school next to her brother with nary a backward glance was a bittersweet moment.

And I'm in total denial that my boy is a JUNIOR. Although the onslaught of mail he gets almost daily from universities around the country should clue me in to his rapidly approaching graduation.

It makes me want to go find some sippy cups!


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CFBA - Surrender the Wind

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Surrender The Wind

Abingdon Press (August 2009)


Rita Gerlach


Rita Gerlach has published three historical novels plus articles in Writers Gazette, Write to Inspire, Will Write 4 Food, and The Christian Communicator.

She also is the editor of Stepping Stones Magazine, an online website focused on writing, marketing, and promotion for writers. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and The Western Maryland Writers Guild.

She currently lives in Frederick, Maryland. You can also visit her at her Blog


Seth Braxton, a patriot of the American Revolution, unexpectedly inherits his loyalist grandfather's estate in England. Seth is torn between the land he fought for and the prospect of reuniting with his sister Caroline, who was a motherless child taken to England at the onset of the war.
With no intention of staying permanently, Seth arrives to find his sister grieving over the death of her young son. In the midst of such tragedy, Seth meets Juleah, the daughter of an eccentric landed gentleman. Her independent spirit and gentle soul steal Seth's heart. After a brief courtship, they marry and she takes her place as the lady of Ten Width Manor, enraging the man who once sought her hand and schemed to make Ten Width his own. From the Virginia wilderness to the dark halls of an isolated English estate, Seth and his beloved Juleah inherit more than an ancestral home. They uncover a sinister plot that leads to murder, abduction, and betrayal--an ominous threat to their new life, love, and faith.

If you would like to read the Prologue of Surrender The Wind, go HERE

Watch the trailer:

I've gotten behind on my reading these last few weeks with all that's happened in our lives, but I did manage (barely!) to get this one read. Intrigue, betrayal, romance, heartache, and steadfastness are all intertwined in this novel set in the post-Revolutionary war period. Curl up at the end of a long day with this satisfying read.


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Saturday, August 22, 2009

TSMSS - Heaven & A Birthday

Thoughts of heaven's joy, which awaits us just beyond the horizon, have been on my mind often during this past week as a result of my FIL's homegoing. As I mentioned Friday, my MIL's comment that "Every time I think about where he is, I smile" summed up the hope that is ours as believers. I told someone last week that if we really and truly had a glimpse of what was on the other side, we wouldn't try so hard to keep our loved ones here!

I just love this song. I don't know which is more fun - listening to these guys or watching them sing! I guarantee it will put a smile on your face! (Especially when Bill Gaither plays the piano and when Ernie Haase's excited energy almost causes him to fall off the stage at about 3:30!)

Words & Music by Vep Ellis

When we leave this lowland,
We will cross the Jordan;
Past the chilly torrent,
Heaven’s joy awaits.

(Heaven is) Just beyond the blue horizon, (is heaven)
Just above the starry sky, (starry blue sky above us)
Far above this land of sorrow (I'll go a-)
Way above each tear and sigh, (every sigh).
Just a few more miles before us, (and there is)
Just a little while to wait, (patiently wait for Jesus)
Soon we’ll sing redemption’s chorus, (I'm going up there where)
Heaven’s joy awaits, Heaven awaits.

Heaven’s breeze is blowing (blowing),
Gently to me calling (calling);
I will soon be going (going)
Through the pearly gates.

* * * * *

Today is my girl's 14th birthday. I couldn't resist pulling out this classic of the late great Victor Borge in her honor. He was a masterful pianist and comedian. And since my girl adores playing piano, I just had to share his oh-so-incredible classical renditions of Happy Birthday. And he even mentions the viola, the other instrument she plays!

Happy Birthday, sweet girl! You are a delight and bring joy to our days. I know God has great things in store for you this year!

Be sure to visit Amy's for more great songs!


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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Clicking the Ruby Slippers Finally Worked!

There's no place like home.

In just a little while I will lay my head on my very own pillow in my very own bed in my very own house. The last time that happened was July 28, which was 23 nights ago.

But then, who's counting?!

I started to take a picture of my pillow for this post, but that sounded like entirely too much work. The kids and I got in this afternoon, dropped our stuff, headed to the high school to get my boy's textbooks and locker which he missed doing earlier, took my girl to the Orchestra Picnic, and then it was back to the high school for her freshman orientation.

Tomorrow I have one day to get ready for her birthday, which is Saturday. And for which I have nada. Zip. Zilch. She seems to have a bit of a problem with that for some strange reason. And then I was reminded on the news that tomorrow starts the Tax-Free Weekend. I absolutely, positively hate strongly loathe Tax-Free Weekend. Quickness & efficiency just flew out the window!

My man stayed to help his mom for a couple more days. So life isn't totally back to normal yet.

Thanks so, so much to so many of you who commented, emailed, and prayed for me and my family during this past week as my FIL went home to be with the Lord. It was an exhausting yet uplifting experience. God was so gracious in the way He orchestrated the details, and we saw evidences of His hand in so many ways throughout the entire week.

One brief example that just gave us chills - my in-laws did not have cemetery plots, and when my MIL went to make the arrangements, the funeral director who just "happened" to be the one to help her just "happened" to know about two plots in the older and most beautiful part of the cemetery which had just become available and had not even been processed yet. (A couple had bought plots for their entire family some years ago, but after the children grew up & moved off, they sold two of the plots back to the cemetery.) My MIL was so pleased to get such beautiful plots and at such a great price.

[Rabbit Trail: The cemetery is in the process of developing 25 additional acres, and the plots in that area will cost up to $500,000. That is HALF A MILLION dollars! For a hole in the ground!]

And the next day? My MIL discovered through a "random" conversation with the funeral director that the relatively new grave next to the newly purchased plots is where my FIL's long-time Sunday School teacher and friend was buried a month ago.

Coincidence? No, a God-incidence!

Quote of the week: Late Wednesday after the funeral, as my MIL was resting in her chair, all of a sudden she said, "Every time I think about where he is, it makes me smile!"

We do not grieve as those who have no hope.
(I Thessalonians 4:13)

Lots more to share from the last few weeks. But now if you'll excuse me, I have an appointment with my pillow.

But first I have to make myself get out of this chair!


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Monday, August 17, 2009

The Believer

What will happen when forbidden feelings of love begin to arise?

The Shakers are remembered today for their minimalist, understated aesthetics. One thing they are not remembered for is their love stories. That’s because the religious values of the Shakers required they practice celibacy so that they could concentrate their energies on work and worship. This devotion sparked the interest of author Ann H. Gabhart, who lives only miles from a restored Shaker village.

As she learned more about the lives and beliefs of Shaker communities, which flourished during the early 1800s, Gabhart began imagining what might happen if feelings of love were awakened within the community. The Believer is Ann H. Gabhart's newest exploration of love and devotion in this quiet Shaker community in 19th century Kentucky:

In The Believer, Elizabeth Duncan has nowhere to turn once her parents die and she is left in charge of her younger brother. When she hears that the Shaker community in the next county takes in orphans, she presents herself and her siblings at Harmony Hill. Despite the hard work and strange new beliefs around her, Elizabeth is relieved to have a roof overhead and food to eat. But when she feels a strong attachment to a handsome young Believer named Ethan, life gets complicated. Ethan has never looked on the opposite sex as anything but sisters, but he can't shake the new feelings that Elizabeth has awakened in him. Will Elizabeth be forced to leave the village to keep Ethan from stumbling? Or will Ethan's love for her change their lives forever?

Well-researched and brilliantly written, The Believer takes readers into the quaint Shaker life, and the difficult decisions that must be made when love and faith are at odds with one another.

“…rings with researched authenticity and will appeal to Amish romance fans.”
—Publishers Weekly

Ann H. Gabhart is the author of the successful Shaker-inspired novel The Outsider. Living just thirty miles from a restored Shaker village in Kentucky, she has walked the same paths that her characters might have walked in generations past. Her thorough research provides a convincing and colorful backdrop for her Shaker novels. You can learn more at her website.

For more information, visit

This was a fascinating book. My only previous frame of reference for the Shaker religion was the simple wooden furniture style that bears their name. The Believer is a wonderful story of love and faith, of wrestling with beliefs that have been handed down through the years, and of determining whether one will follow a religion or follow Christ, as well as the reverse persecution well-meaning but misguided zealots can inflict on those whose beliefs threaten the very core of the religious system.

You may purchase this book from the publisher or from Amazon or


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Saturday, August 15, 2009

A New Body

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.
Psalm 116:15

September 15, 1930 - August 15, 2009

My father-in-law has been freed from the grip of Alzheimer's and every other physical and earthly limitation.

Thanks for your kind words and prayers.


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Friday, August 14, 2009

Going Home - For my FIL

Our vacation ended with a middle-of-the-night call Wed night that my FIL had been admitted to the hospital with a serious colon condition. After consultation with the doctors and a conference call with her 4 children, Mom made the difficult decision not to put Dad through multiple surgeries that he might not even survive. After a long day of driving, we made it to Houston last night. Right now, my MIL & the 4 "kids" are meeting with Hospice and he will be moved to that section of the hospital this afternoon. He is not expected to live more than a couple of days.

However, that is in earthly terms. What a comfort it is to know that he will soon be Going Home and will no longer be limited by Alzheimer's or any other physical difficulties. I love the words here of Gloria Gaither: there's nothing like observing the transition from earth to heaven and seeing the empty shell left behind - it renews my faith every time. I think if we truly had a glimpse of what awaits on the other side, we wouldn't try so hard to keep our loved ones here!

I'd appreciate your prayers over the next few days. In addition to this, one of my husband's brothers is having a malignant melanoma removed and lymph node biopsy done at MD Anderson on Monday. And back at home we have a myriad of school check-ins and textbook pick-ups and appointments next week that will need to be rearranged.

And a girl's birthday that can't be rearranged!

I think I'm going to need another vacation. . . .


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Triple Giveaway Winners

Congrats to the following winners from this week's triple giveaway!

Winner of The Friends We Keep: #5, pragmatic compendium

Winners of 40 Minute Bible Study books:
A Man’s Strategy for Conquering Temptation: #10, Latte with Me
The Essentials of Effective Prayer Bible Study: #8 windycindy.

Email me your addresses, ladies, and I'll get the books to you.


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Monday, August 10, 2009

Triple Giveaway!

I have a book and a Kay Arthur Bible Study series to tell you about, with three giveaways at the end of it all!

During a particularly painful time in her life, Sarah Zacharias Davis learned how delightful–and wounding–women can be in friendship. She saw how some friendships end badly, others die slow deaths, and how a chance acquaintance can become that enduring friend you need.

The Friends We Keep is Sarah’s thoughtful account of her own story and the stories of other women about navigating friendship. Her revealing discoveries tackle the questions every woman asks:

  • Why do we long so for women friends?
  • Do we need friends like we need air or food or water?
  • What causes cattiness, competition, and co-dependency in too many friendships?
  • Why do some friendships last forever and others only a season?
  • How do I foster friendship?
  • When is it time to let a friend go, and how do I do so?

With heartfelt, intelligent writing, Sarah explores these questions and more with personal stories, cultural references and history, faith, and grace. In the process, she delivers wisdom for navigating the challenges, mysteries, and delights of friendship: why we need friendships with other women, what it means to be safe in relationship, and how to embrace what a friend has to offer, whether meager or generous.

Sarah Zacharias Davis is a senior advancement officer at Pepperdine University, having joined the university after working as vice president of marketing and development for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and in strategic marketing for CNN. The daughter of best-selling writer Ravi Zacharias, Davis is the author of the critically-acclaimed Confessions from an Honest Wife and Transparent: Getting Honest About Who We are and Who We Want to Be. She graduated from Covenant College with a degree in education and lives in Los Angeles, California.

The uniqueness of friendships between women has always fascinated me. This book provides some good food for thought and will help you to evaluate your friendships - and yourself.

You can buy this book directly from the publisher or find other retailers listed on their website.

The 40 Minute Bible Study series from beloved Bible teacher Kay Arthur and the teaching staff of Precept Ministries tackles important issues in brief, easy-to-grasp lessons you can use personally or for small-group discussion. Each book in the series includes six 40-minute studies designed to draw you into God’s Word through basic inductive Bible study. There are 16 titles in the series, with topics ranging from fasting and forgiveness to prayer and worship. With no homework required, everyone in the group can work through the lesson together at the same time. Let these respected Bible teachers lead you in a study that will transform your thinking—and your life.

Titles Include:
  • The Essentials of Effective Prayer
  • Being a Disciple: Counting the Cost
  • Building a Marriage That Really Works
  • Discovering What the Future Holds
  • Forgiveness: Breaking the Power of the Past
  • Having a Real Relationship with God
  • How Do You Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk?
  • Living a Life of Real Worship
  • How to Make Choices You Won’t Regret
  • Living Victoriously in Difficult Times
  • Money & Possessions: The Quest for Contentment
  • Rising to the Call of Leadership
  • How Do You Know God’s Your Father?
  • Key Principles of Biblical Fasting
  • A Man’s Strategy for Conquering Temptation
  • What Does the Bible Say About Sex?

Kay Arthur, executive vice president and cofounder of Precept Ministries International has worked with her teaching staff to create the powerful 40-Minute Bible Studies series. Kay is known around the world as a Bible teacher, author, conference speaker, and host of national radio and television programs.

Although I have not done an entire study, I have looked through a couple of these, and these look ideal for the shorter session the description indicates. It grieves me that our instant society is impacting our Bible Studies - "microwave" or "drive-through" Bible Studies will not produce deep roots. But for those seasons of life or other situations when deep study isn't practical, this is a great alternative and is designed to instill a desire and teach them how to study the Bible.

You may purchase these directly from the publisher or from

GIVEAWAY!I have a copy of The Friends We Keep for one of you, as well as single copies of two of the 40 Minute Bible Study tiles for two of you. (One is A Man's Strategy for Conquering Temptation. My apologies, but I didn't get this pre-posted before I left on vacation and I'm blanking on what the second one is!) Just leave a comment on this post by Thursday night at 8:00 p.m. CDT and I'll draw two winners! Continental US residents only, please.


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Saturday, August 8, 2009

TSMSS - Mansion Builder

Wow. This one takes me back a few years to junior high school!! Do any of you remember the sibling group 2nd Chapter of Acts? I loved their harmony - I used to think of them as the "Christian Abba"! This was one of my favorites of theirs.

In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
John 14:2-3

Stop by Amy's for more music! Have a great weekend! (We're still on vacation, so pardon my lack of visiting your blogs!)


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Friday, August 7, 2009

Winner of The Hope of Refuge

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2009-08-08 02:49:57 UTC

Congrats to mez! Email me your address and I'll send you the book!


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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Seven-State Book Tour!

New York Times bestselling author Cindy Woodsmall is on tour, and she may be coming to a city near you! Don’t miss your opportunity to meet Cindy and have her sign her newest title The Hope of Refuge at one of the following events.

Cindy says on her website: "This is my first book tour, and I'd love to meet as many readers as possible. I think I'll get the opportunity to speak for a few minutes at each signing as well as answer some questions. If the economy has taken a hit at your home and you don't wish to buy a book, come on out and let's have some fun anyway. I'll sign the flyer you've printed or a bookmark." You can print a flyer at her website.

Tuesday, August 11 7 – 8:30pm
Barnes & Noble
5141 Peachtree Parkway, The Forum
Norcross, Georgia 30092
(770) 209-4244

Wednesday, August 12 7 – 8pm
Barnes & Noble Opry Mills
515 Opry Mills Drive
Nashville, Tennessee 37214
(615) 514-5000

Thursday, August 13 6 – 8pm
Barnes & Noble
2540 Futura Pkwy. #135
Plainfield, Indiana 46168
(317) 838-7941

Friday, August 14 6 – 8pm
Barnes & Noble
1550 West 75th
Downers Grove, Illinois 60516
(630) 663-0181

Saturday, August 15 1 – 3pm
Baker Books
2768 East Paris Ave SE
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49546-6139
(616) 957-3110

Sunday, August 16 2 – 4pm
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
3700 Rivertown Parkway Ste. 2058
Grandville, Michigan 49418
(616) 531-1825

Monday, August 17 7 – 8:00pm
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
1739 Olentangy River Road
Columbus, Ohio 43212
(614) 298-9516

Tuesday, August 18 7– 8:30pm
Joseph Beth Booksellers
2705 E. Carson Street
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15203
(412) 381-3600

Wednesday, August 19 6 – 8pm
Hackman’s Bible Book Store
1341 Mickley Road
Whitehall, Pennsylvania 18052-4610
(610) 264-8600

Thursday, August 20 1 – 3pm
Rachel’s Country Store (Amish dry goods store)
6352 McClays Mill Road
Newburg, Pennsylvania 17240
(717) 530-9452

Can’t make the tour? You can still follow Cindy’s adventures on Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter. See you there!

Be sure to sign comment on Monday's post by noon CDT tomorrow (Friday, 8/7) for a chance to win a copy of The Hope of Refuge!


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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sometimes Getting Older Having Birthdays is Fun!

Back in the spring we thought we would go to the Grand Canyon on vacation in June. We'd pick up the kids in Taos at the end of our church's youth camp and keep going. Then my man's work schedule didn't cooperate and we weren't sure we were going anywhere. Finally, as July begin to wane it became evident that we could plan a trip.

Only the Grand Canyon didn't sound so appealing at this point in the summer, especially since central Texas had only had about 4 days under 100 degrees since June 13! So we looked east, and remembered the fun and historical sites in Tennessee.

And then it hit me: we would be staying several days in Chattanooga! Which is relatively near three blog friends, two whom I have never met in real life.

So today my man and kids are sight-seeing without me, and I just got back from possibly my most fun birthday lunch ever!

Kelli, Lisa, Lisa, Me

Oh.My.Goodness. What a blast we had! The only one I had met before was Lisa The Preacher's Wife. Lisa Writes & Kelli (Ponderings of a Pastor's Wife) had not met each other before, although they both knew Lisa PW. It was such a wonderful treat, and I couldn't believe this Texas gal made it all the way to Tennessee!

And last night I got a headstart on my birthday. We had gone to Nashville for the day, and before driving back to Chattanooga my family had the delight of having dinner with Nancy Rue! My girl had not seen her in a couple of years so she was especially excited. They discussed the new teen series Nancy is writing and her new blog for teens! The guys were patient and enjoyed themselves - what's not to love about Nancy? - especially when she related her story of attempting Harley-riding lessons!

Sometimes God just absolutely showers blessings upon us! From the time I got up and opened my first birthday email, it has been a day filled with love. And it's not over. Tonight we're having dinner here!

Thanks to all of you for your sweet birthday wishes!

(Don't forget this week's giveaway!)


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We Interrupt This Vacation. . .

Today is my birthday and even if a single sweet doesn't pass my lips, I know that I am going to "have my cake and eat it, too." And not only that but "the icing on the cake" as well.

Hint: I'm not in Texas, but where I am starts with T.

Pictures to come!

(Don't forget this week's giveaway!)


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Monday, August 3, 2009

The Hope of Refuge Review & Giveaway

In late 2006, I stumbled across a book by a brand-new author. I had not read Amish fiction before, but the cover and the summary on the back caught my interest. And then the book captured my heart. Cindy Woodsmall quickly became one of my "must-read" authors. Her Sisters of the Quilt series was delightful; the only thing I didn't like was how long I had to wait between books!

The Amish fiction genre has mushroomed. Books 2 and 3 of the above series landed on the New York Times Bestseller Lists as well as Christian fiction bestseller lists. And ABC Nightline, Time magazine, and other media outlets are exploring the hubbub and trying to determine why millions of copies of novels about the Amish are selling.

In May Cindy was featured on Nightline in a fascinating interview which you can view below. She speaks as eloquently as she writes!

I've been eagerly anticipating her newest book, The Hope of Refuge, and it is now available. The first book in the new Ada's House series did not disapoint. Once again, she has done a masterful job of capturing authentic human emotions, juxtaposing the Amish lifestyle and beliefs against that of an Englischer who appears in their midst. The result is a beautiful story of compassion, grace and redemption interwoven with responsibility, accountability, and commitment. As she mentions in the Nightline interview, the Amish are no more perfect than the rest of us, and in this book the community as a whole learns a lesson about the fine line between separation from the world and ministering to the world. The struggles experienced by the characters, whether interpersonal or within themselves, are portrayed to perfection, and the tension between following a religion and its rules vs. following God's leadership is expertly depicted as well. I could not put it down and turned the last page with regret. I highly recommend this book and look forward to the next one in the series!

Raised in foster care and now the widowed mother of a little girl, Cara Moore struggles against poverty, fear, and a relentless stalker. When a trail of memories leads Cara and Lori out of New York City toward an Amish community, she follows every lead, eager for answers and a fresh start. She discovers that long-held secrets about her family history ripple beneath the surface of Dry Lake, Pennsylvania, and it’s no place for an outsider. But one Amish man, Ephraim Mast, dares to fulfill the command he believes that he received from God–“Be me to her”– despite how it threatens his way of life.

Completely opposite of the hard, untrusting Cara, Ephraim’s sister Deborah also finds her dreams crumbling when the man she has pledged to build a life with begins withdrawing from Deborah and his community, including his mother, Ada Stoltzfus. Can the run-down house that Ada envisions transforming unite them toward a common purpose–or push Mahlon away forever? While Ephraim is trying to do what he believes is right, will he be shunned and lose everything–including the guarded single mother who simply longs for a better life?

Cindy Woodsmall is the author of When the Heart Cries, When the Morning Comes, and The New York Times Best-Seller When the Soul Mends. Her ability to authentically capture the heart of her characters comes from her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families. A mother of three sons and two daughters-in-law, Cindy lives in Georgia with her husband of thirty-one years.

Cindy has a wonderful website - stop by and visit!

I have an extra copy of this book to give away to one of you! To enter, leave a comment on this post by 12:00 noon CDT Friday (8/7/09) and I will choose a winner. Continental US residents only, please.

You can purchase this book directly from the publisher, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.


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Saturday, August 1, 2009

TSMSS - At Calvary

We're on vacation this week, so I won't be able to pop in on most of you, but I couldn't bear to miss my favorite meme! Here's another one of my favorite old hymns from childhood!

William R. Newell was a noted evangelist, Bible teacher, and later assistant superintendent at the Moody Bible Institute. One day on his way to teach a class, he was meditating about Christ's suffering at Calvary and all that meant to him as a lost sinner. These thoughts so impressed themselves on his mind that he stepped into an empty classroom and quickly scribbled down the lines of this hymn on the back of an envelope. A few minutes later he met his friend and colleague, Daniel B. Townder, music director at the institute, and showed him the text he had just written, suggesting that Towner try composing music for it. An hour later as Newell returned from class, Dr. Towner presented him with the melody and they sang their completed hymn together.

SOURCE: Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions by Kenneth W. Osbeck, Kregel Publications, 2002.


Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died
On Calvary.

Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty
At Calvary.

By God’s Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned
To Calvary.

Now I’ve giv’n to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly own Him as my King,
Now my raptured soul can only sing
Of Calvary!

Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span
At Calvary!

WORDS: William R. Newell, 1895
MUSICK: Daniel B. Towner, 1895

Be sure to visit Amy's for more great songs!


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