Wednesday, March 31, 2010

An Eggs-cellent Random Dozen!

1. How do you feel about the marshmallow Easter Peeps?

Blech. It astounds me that people buy the things!

2. Chickens are notoriously nervous creatures. When you are nervous, what is the best way to calm down?

Pray. Listen to piano music.

3. People say, "April showers bring May flowers." Do you enjoy Spring rains?

Not as much as Spring sunshine. But more than Winter rains.

4. When I was randomly flipping through TV channels this week, I saw a show in which tattoo parlor employees received tattoos of a co-worker's face on their bodies. I can't imagine having a portrait of a colleague tattooed on me. But if someone forced you to receive a portrait tattoo (face only) of anyone, who would it be? Why?

That is just too weird. I guess I'd choose my kids.

5. Would you rather have a tattoo (any kind) or a nose ring?

Neither. But probably a tattoo, since I would put it in an always-covered area. It's kinda hard to hide a nose ring.

6. Do you have any special plans for Easter?

Wrack/rack my brain making clues for our kids' traditional Easter Basket Scavenger Hunt. Yes, they're in high school. Another "great mom" idea that's coming back to haunt me. They'll probably still want this when they're 70 and I'm 104!

And of course, our Good Friday service and church on Sunday.

7. Cadbury Eggs or Reese Eggs?

Neither. Dove Dark.

8. What was the last thing/person you took a picture of?

The roofers and the truck with the conveyor belt sending the shingles up, which was today.

9. What book are you reading now, or what was the last one?

Just started Lis Wiehl's Hand of Fate. It's riveting, as was its predecessor, Face of Betrayal. Review on Monday.

10. What do you think is the most difficult task when it comes to Spring cleaning?

Spring cleaning is mandatory?!

Getting rid of stuff.

11. How many pairs of flip-flops do you own?

One less than I did before a friend's new puppies chewed up my favorite pair. And what separates flip-flops from nicer "sandals" that have no back and have the strap between your first two toes? 'Cause I either have 2 or about 6. You thought this would be an easy question, didn't you?!

12. Which color makes you happiest?

Sunny yellow. Fuchsia. And royal blue.

Don't be a chicken! Lid's a real good egg, so hop on over and link up your answers!

(Sorry--couldn't resist the yolks! I mean the jokes!)


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Her Son

Some of the dearest scriptures to me as a mom are the ones that speak of Mary, the mother of Jesus, treasuring and pondering in her heart events from Jesus' youth. (Luke 2:19, 51) I can't even wrap my mind around what it must have been like to be His mother - during His childhood, throughout His ministry, at His crucifixion, after His resurrection.

We most often associate Mark Lowry's beautiful song Mary, Did You Know? with Christmas. But it is also an incredibly poignant song during this Holy Week. I love hearing it juxtaposed with the images in this video.

And if that didn't stir your heart, I guarantee that this post by Missy will!


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As Young As We Feel

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

As Young As We Feel

David C. Cook; New edition (March 1, 2010)


Melody Carlson

Over the years, Melody Carlson has worn many hats, from pre-school teacher to youth counselor to political activist to senior editor. But most of all, she loves to write! Currently she freelances from her home. In the past eight years, she has published over ninety books for children, teens, and adults--with sales totaling more than two million and many titles appearing on the ECPA Bestsellers List. Several of her books have been finalists for, and winners of, various writing awards. And her "Diary of a Teenage Girl" series has received great reviews and a large box of fan mail.

She has two grown sons and lives in Central Oregon with her husband and chocolate lab retriever. They enjoy skiing, hiking, gardening, camping and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.

Is there room in one little hometown for four very different Lindas to reinvent their lives … together?

Once upon a time in a little town on the Oregon coast lived four Lindas—all in the same first-grade classroom. So they decided to go by their middle names. And form a club. And be friends forever. But that was forty-seven years and four very different lives ago. Now a class reunion has brought them all together in their old hometown—at a crossroads in their lives.

Janie is a high-powered lawyer with a load of grief. Abby is a lonely housewife in a beautiful oceanfront empty nest. Marley is trying to recapture the artistic free spirit she lost in an unhappy marriage. And the beautiful Caroline is scrambling to cope with her mother’s dementia and a Hollywood career that never really happened. Together, they’re about to explore the invigorating reality that even the most eventful life has second acts … and friendship doesn’t come with a statue of limitations.

If you would like to read the first chapter of As Young As We Feel, go HERE.

Watch the Video:

Melody Carlson is a prolific author; I've enjoyed some of her books (and my girl loves the teen books she writes) but I've been underwhelmed with others. As for this one, I'm a bit conflicted. I couldn't resist signing up to review it because it's about four women named Linda, although each has gone by her middle name since they were all together in first grade. I enjoyed the storyline as the four gals met again at their 35th high school reunion and coped with the challenges of their very different lives. Chapter titles and focal emphases alternate between the four women, but because they are all interacting with each other, it didn't seem choppy or difficult to switch my focus from one chapter to the next. Friendship among women is celebrated in this book as they work through some of their lingering (from school days) issues with each other and recognize the value of their friendship.

As much as I enjoyed the story, several aspects bugged me a bit. For one, the faith element is minimal. Prayer was mentioned once or twice, at which the other individuals expressed surprise - not hostility, just indifference. Since this is the beginning of a series, I hope that it is further developed. Additionally, in one scene, Abby's mother, in a discussion with Abby about the sad toll that Alzheimer's has taken on Caroline's mother, indicated that suicide would be her choice if she discovered that she were losing her own mental facilities. While she didn't use the word suicide, her comments still supported the concept of euthanasia. Abby seemed a bit surprised at this but shrugged it off that her mom was always a little quirky. Finally, Marley's son is gay, as is her boss. While that is a current reality in our world today, I wish the issue had been handled differently in the book. There was no indication that anything was amiss with that lifestyle. Marley seemed to view her son's partner as a son-in-law; each time she talked with her son, she would send greetings of love to his partner. I know many parents struggle with how to love a child unconditionally while speaking truth about the choices that child is making; I would have preferred it being portrayed that way rather than the politically correct, tolerant, "anything is fine" viewpoint that those scenes seemed to convey.

The above issues are a relatively small part of the story, but they keep a good book from being great. I am interested in what happens in the sequel and hope that the faith element and the book's social concepts are strengthened. I enjoy edgy fiction containing relevant topics, searching individuals, and non-believers, but it's important to me that a Biblical worldview is at least presented. Otherwise, nothing sets it apart from any other secular book.


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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Calvary Covers It All!

The beauty of the cross is its absolute totality. Whether one is 7 or 70, living in a mansion or on the streets or on death row, a faithful servant of God or a hardened reprobate, when we lay our sin at the foot of the cross, we discover that Calvary Covers It All

I hadn't thought about this song in years, but it popped into my head when I began thinking about what songs to feature this week. I love the quiet reflectful way Dave Boyer sings this.

Calvary covers it all
All my past, with its sin and shame
My guilt and despair
Jesus took on Him there
And Calvary covers it all

Far dearer than all that this world can impart
Is the message came to my heart.
How that Jesus alone for my sin did atone,
And Calvary covers it all.


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An Absence So Great

An Absence So Great by Jane Kirpatrick is the sequel to A Flickering Light. (My review here.) Both books tell the story of Jane's grandmother, Jessie Ann Gaebele, one of the early female photographers of the 20th century.

I enjoyed the historical element in both books which depicted the story of Jessie's photographic endeavours. In spite of this, however, I cannot recommend An Absence So Great. The story picks up where the first book ended, with sixteen-year-old Jessie having left home to establish herself as a photographer independent of Fred Bauer, her instructor and mentor, as well as to put their adulterous attraction behind her. Her emotions and struggles are realistic as she seeks to sever their relationship. Unfortunately, she shows more maturity than Mr. Bauer, as he continues to pine for her and, unbeknownst to her, provide financial backing for her endeavours. While his wife is a piece of work and has a plethora of emotional issues, the reality is that he is a married man and has no business pursuing Jessie. The fact that he is old enough to be her father just underscores his poor judgment.

While I hesitate to write a negative review on a book that, while fictionalized, is based on the life of a real person, I cannot ignore the blatant romanticization of a relationship that is just wrong. Fred had several opportunities to repair his marriage which he ignored. While my heart broke for the rift in their marriage, highly impacted by the accidental death of their son, I felt that the rift was used to justify Fred's behavior and longings. (Spoiler Alert) Fred's eventual divorce and marriage to Jessie thoroughly disappointed me. The end does not justify the means, and their "happily ever after" (which included a peaceful relationship with Fred's ex-wife) does not excuse the wrongness of their actions.

Please hear my heart on this. I know that God can and does redeem the fallen and forgive their sin. One only has to read the story of David and Bathsheba and the birth of their son Solomon to recognize the lavishness of His grace. However, the difference is found in the repentance exhibited by David, which was sorely missing from the novel. When I finished the book, I had a heaviness in my heart and spirit as if I had condoned and excused the relationship between Jessie and Fred. I pray that the author's grandparents, the real Jessie and Fred, came to a point of sorrowful repentance at some point in their lives.

Did photography replace an absence in her life or expose the truth of her heart’s emptiness?

While growing in confidence as a photographer, eighteen-year-old Jessie Ann Gaebele’s personal life is at a crossroads. Hoping she’s put an unfortunate romantic longing behind her as “water under the bridge,” she exiles herself to Milwaukee to operate photographic studios for those owners who have fallen ill with mercury poisoning.

Jessie gains footing in her dream to one day operate her own studio and soon finds herself in other Midwest towns, pursuing her profession. But even a job she loves can’t keep painful memories from seeping into her heart when the shadows of a forbidden love threaten to darken the portrait of her life.

Jane Kirkpatrick is an award-winning author of sixteen historical novels, including A Flickering Light, the first part of Jessie Gaebale’s story, and three nonfiction titles. Known for her unique insights into the exploration of community, family and faith of actual historical women, the Wisconsin native and her husband have called their ranch in Oregon home for the past 25 years.

Visit her website to learn more about her and her books.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Monday, March 29, 2010

CFBA - Love Finds You In Homestead, Iowa

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa

Summerside Press (March 1, 2010)


Melanie Dobson


Melanie Beroth Dobson is the author of the inspirational novels Together for Good (2006), Going for Broke (2007), The Black Cloister (2008), Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana (2009), Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa (2010), Refuge on Crescent Hill (2010), and The Silent Order (2010) as well as the co-author of Latte for One and Loving It! A Single Woman's Guide to Living Life to Its Fullest (2000).

Prior to launching Dobson Media Group in 1999, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family where she was responsible for the publicity of events, products, films, and TV specials. Melanie received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Liberty University and her master's degree in communication from Regent University. She has worked in the fields of publicity and journalism for fifteen years including two years as a publicist for The Family Channel.

Melanie and her husband, Jon, met in Colorado Springs in 1997 at Vanguard Church. Jon works in the field of computer animation. Since they've been married, the Dobsons have relocated numerous times including stints in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Colorado, Berlin, and Southern California. These days they are enjoying their new home in the Pacific Northwest.

Jon and Melanie have adopted their two daughters —Karly (6) and Kinzel (5). When Melanie isn't writing or entertaining their girls, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, traveling, hiking, line dancing, and reading inspirational fiction.

Times are hard in 1894. Desperate for work, former banker Jacob Hirsch rides the rails west from Chicago with his four-year-old daughter, Cassie. When a life-threatening illness strands the pair in Homestead, Iowa, the local Amana villagers welcome the father and daughter into their peaceful society. Liesel, a young Amana woman, nurses Cassie back to health, and the Homestead elders offer Jacob work. But Jacobs growing interest in Liesel complicates his position in the Amanas. Will he fight to stay in the only place that feels like home, even if it means giving up the woman he loves? Or will Liesel leave her beloved community to face the outside world with Jacob and Cassie at her side?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa, go HERE.

I have enjoyed several books in the Love Finds You In. . . series, and this is another good one. I was not familiar with the Amana communities and culture, and that setting provided an interesting backdrop to this sweet story.


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The Wonder of the Cross

I sometimes say that I was born about 30 years too late, because I love hymns. Sometimes, however, it's easy to just sing them by rote - verse, chorus, verse, chorus, etc. - without thinking through the words that are coming from our lips. How much more meaningful it is when we slow down and sing the words from our heart.

I love this arrangement of a wonderful old hymn. Allow it to speak to your heart as you meditate on the cross.

by Isaac Watts, 1707

Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sov’reign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine—
And bathed in its own blood—
While the firm mark of wrath divine,
His soul in anguish stood.

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give myself away,
’Tis all that I can do.


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The Promise of Morning

The Promise of Morning
Life in Beldon Grove, Book 2
Ann Shorey
(Revell Books)
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3333-9
Price: $14.99

Life in Beldon Grove on the Illinois frontier in the 1840s isn't easy. For Ellie Craig, the graves of her three infant children make it unbearably lonely, despite the love of her husband Matthew. When she uncovers a family secret that suggests she may not be as alone as she thought, Ellie is determined to find the truth.

Meanwhile, Matthew Craig faces controversy in the church he pastors when a man arrives in town claiming to be both a minister and the son of the town's founder. Will Matthew find the courage to reclaim his church? Or will he return to itinerant preaching, leaving Ellie even more alone than before?

Book 2 in the At Home in Beldon Grove series, The Promise of Morning will touch your soul with themes of overcoming tragedy, finding strength to meet daunting challenges, and trusting your heart to love again.

Ann Shorey is the author of The Edge of Light and has published selections in the Cup of Comfort series and in Chicken Soup for the Grandma's Soul. Learn more by visiting her website and her blog.

As much as I enjoy reading historical fiction set in the 1800s, I am glad I am a modern girl. Life was difficult; not only did daily life offer its challenges but sickness and death were all-too-frequent occurrences. Ann Shorey's The Promise of Morning clearly depicts this sobering reality. Yet while the circumstances may be unique to the setting of this story, the emotions experienced by Ellie, Matthew, and others in the town are timeless. This multi-faceted story portrays the challenge of trusting God in the midst of tragedy & uncertainty as well as the question of whether hardship will fuse or tear apart a family and a town. Will The Promise of Morning help them endure the darkness of night?

You can find more information and purchase this book here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Books as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Cross

One of the things that has made Easter really special for me in the past few years is time spent reflecting on the cross of Calvary. As believers, we can find ourselves so focused on the resurrection and the joy it brings that we ignore the cross that preceded it. But there can be no resurrection without a death. And the Bible clearly states that Jesus endured horrific suffering and a painful, agonizing death on the cross. Acknowledging and meditating on that makes the wonder of His resurrection that much more glorious. We don't want to get stuck on Good Friday, but we shouldn't skip it either!

About 20 years ago Steve Green recorded this song Embrace the Cross that is a beautiful reminder of the juxtaposed sorrow and beauty of the cross. Reflect on its beautiful message as you worship God today.


I am crucified with Christ
Therefore I no longer live
Jesus Christ now lives in me
(Repeat twice)

Embrace the cross
Where Jesus suffered
Though it will cost
All you claim as yours
Your sacrifice will seem small
Beside the treasure
Eternity can't measure
What Jesus holds in store

Embrace the love
The cross requires
Cling to the one
Whose heart knew every pain
Receive from Jesus
Fountains of compassion
Only He can fashion
Your heart to move as His

Oh, wondrous cross our desires rest in you
Lord Jesus make us bolder
To face with courage the shame and disgrace
You bore upon Your shoulder

Embrace the life
That comes from dying
Come trace the steps
The Savior walked for you
An empty tomb
Concludes Golgotha's sorrow
Endure then till tomorrow
Your cross of suffering
Embrace the cross
Embrace the cross
The cross of Jesus

Words and music by John G. Elliott, 1989


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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Back in Business

The world of the internet and blogging is a wondrous and amazing thing. The other day I posted about my dryer overheating and my frustration that I would have to wait until next Friday before a repairman could come. What a surprise when I received a comment from SearsCares asking me to email them my information. I then received a call from them, and lo & behold, they sent a serviceman yesterday afternoon who replaced the element and the thermostats! I was thrilled. Laundry can be such a hassle - until the machine breaks! It was beautiful music to hear the dryer humming along this morning.

Although Sears didn't ask me to, I felt it only fair to post a follow-up and gratefully acknowledge their response to my need.


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TSMSS - I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked

Reflecting on the life of Jesus. . . . Larnelle Harris sings this beautiful song in Israel.

It was so hard to choose which song to feature today. I may post a song every day this next week as we prepare our hearts to remember Christ's death and resurrection.

Head on over to Amy's for more songs.


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Friday, March 26, 2010

Flashback Friday #3 - Easter Memories

Welcome to the third edition of Flashback Friday! With Easter just a little more than a week away, I thought it would be fun to share how we all celebrated Easter when we were growing up.

What was Easter like when you were little? For example, did you receive a basket with toys and candy? Was the Easter Bunny part of your family's celebration? Did your family integrate both secular and spiritual aspects of the day? Did you dye Easter eggs. . . .and did your family eat them afterwards? Did you usually get a new outfit? (Post a picture if you have one!) Does any Easter stand out particularly? You might also share how your Easter today is similar or different to your childhood.

My parents didn't make a big fuss about Easter. I remember dying eggs a few times. We never ate them - my mom was afraid of the dye, I think. My two big sisters usually hid plastic eggs for me to find. It's funny - I don't think it ever occurred to me that people put candy in those eggs since that didn't happen at our house! I don't know what I thought the purpose of their being hollow was - except I had fun switching them around and putting two different colors together! I also never got an Easter basket with treats in it.

My mom loved the song from the old movie Easter Parade with Judy Garland - there was another version as well with Bing Crosby, who was my mom's favorite! I remember her singing this song around the house every spring:

Easter bonnets hats were still in vogue when I was in early elementary school, and I remember having a white one. I hated it because the elastic that went under the chin drove me crazy! We had a new outfit lots of times, which my mom sewed. I do remember one time - I was either in first or second grade - and my Sunday School teacher gave me a store-bought blue dress for Easter. (Being store-bought was a huge deal because my mom sewed plus I got hand-me-downs from 2 sisters, their 2 friends, and 3 cousins!) I wish I had a picture of it - it had a dropped waist and pleats in the skirt and was a robin's egg shade of blue. And she gave me a long "pearl" necklace. I remember tying a knot in the pearls like grown-ups did and feeling so dressed up! Of course, in the South, Easter ushered in the white shoe season!

We went to church, as we did every week. There was nothing unusual about the service except for the songs and the altar flowers. (I've never been to an Easter sunrise service.) I remember we always sang "Christ Arose." It always made me laugh a bit because we sang the verses really slow and the chorus fast. We sang the chorus after every verse (some folks now sing the 3 verses together before the chorus!), so it was funny to go from the fast "He arose!" chorus back to a slow verse where He was still in the tomb! (If you're not familiar with that hymn, you can hear an organ version here.
Words & Music by Robert Lowry, 1874

Low in the grave He lay,
Jesus my Savior,
Waiting the coming day,
Jesus my Lord!

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Vainly they watch His bed,
Jesus my Savior;
Vainly they seal the dead,
Jesus my Lord!

Death cannot keep its Prey,
Jesus my Savior;
He tore the bars away,
Jesus my Lord!

Sometimes we would drive to see my paternal relatives north of Dallas. Back in the 1960s/early 1970s the trip took a lot longer than it does now! We would get there about 2:00 Saturday afternoon and leave to drive back to Houston as soon as the big family lunch was over.

Since I never had one, it's always been important to me for my kids to get an Easter basket. The biggest tradition is that I create a treasure hunt for them to find their baskets. The clues are always rhyming riddles. We generally do that on Sunday afternoon after lunch. Their baskets containe candy, books, or other small treats. When they were little I would put a nickel or dime in some of the eggs. (One year my sister hid eggs for them out in the yard and forgot where she hid them! The kids found all but one, and finally gave up. We had forgotten all about it until almost a year later when someone inadvertently found it!) We also do the resurrection eggs as a family. We love going to our church's Good Friday service as well as our Sunday service - these are both sweet times of worship.

What about you? Be sure to link up here with your flashback post so we can enjoy your memories!


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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Flashback Friday Prompt

It's almost Easter. It seemed obvious to do this flashback next week, but I thought folks might either be out of pocket . . . or this might bring back some memories that you might want to do again!

What was Easter like when you were little? For example, did you receive a basket with toys and candy? Was the Easter Bunny part of your family's celebration? Did your family integrate both secular and spiritual aspects of the day? Did you dye Easter eggs. . . .and did your family eat them afterwards? Did you usually get a new outfit? (Post a picture if you have one!) Does any Easter stand out particularly? You might also share how your Easter today is similar or different to your childhood?

Post your Easter memories tomorrow and come link up here!


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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hot Under the Collar

If you were my bloggy friend last summer, you may remember my exasperating experience trying to replace my broken washer and dryer. I'm not so sure I'm singing Sears' praises now.

Yesterday I emptied the dryer at the end of the cycle and almost dropped the clothes because they were so hot, in spite of having the dryer set to the "Low - Delicates" cycle. The dryer itself was so hot inside and out that I was thankful it didn't catch on fire. My man checked that the ventilation wasn't blocked and the lint screen was clean; looking up the problem on the web, it appears that it is likely a broken thermostat.

So I called Sears to request a repairman, and after being routed 3 different extensions (and having to give my phone number, name, and other info to each of the folks I talked to, an aggravation in itself!), I was told that the washer is still under warranty and they would schedule a repairman. Next Friday.

As in April 2. TEN days away.

I find it hard to believe they are that booked up. I suspect they only have a few slots each day for warranty repairs , since they don't make money off of those calls. But ten days?!?!

I'm thinking the dryer isn't the only thing full of hot air.

Anybody have a clothesline I can borrow?!


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Random Dozen on Tour

Linda from 2nd Cup of Coffee is spending as much time as she can with a friend under Hospice care, so Random Dozen is on tour and being hosted this week by SouthLakesMom. SouthLakesMom says:

I am privileged to have the Random Dozen in my neck of the woods this week. Thank you to Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee for trusting me with her 'baby'. I had twelve brilliant questions ready to post and then my husband asked if he could close my document when he was on the computer and . . . so these are the twelve that I've either remembered, reconstructed, or made up new!

You know the rules -- copy and paste the questions onto your blog. Answer them TOMORROW (WEDNESDAY) on your blog. Link back with Mr. Linky to this blog, and then go visit at least one dozen random players and make nice comments about their answers! Simple...if you don't have a blog, you can cut and paste your answers into the comments below.

The theme is Spring . . . and any other random questions that crept in.

1. What is your favorite sign of Spring?

Texas Bluebonnets! Pictures don't even do them justice. There is nothing like driving down a highway and seeing a field absolutely bursting with color.

This is supposed to be a banner year because we had such a cold wet winter, and any day now they should be popping up.

2. Did you remember to spring forward on March 14? If not, how did it impact your day?

Yes, I remembered. It made me sleepy!

3. If soil, time, talent and climate were no problem, what vegetable would you plant in a garden this year?

Tomatoes. (Yeah, I know people say it's theoretically a fruit, but I consider it a vegetable!)

4. If soil, time, talent and climate were no problem, what fruit would you plant?

Peaches (I know they grow on a tree and not in a garden. But the question said time was no problem!)

5. What is your least favorite insect?

This question bugs me. Surely she intended insect to be plural! Crickets. Mosquitos. Fire Ants. Roaches. Spiders. Yellowjackets. Etc., ad infinitum. Just thinking about them makes my skin crawl.

6. March 22 was World Water Day. To celebrate, here are some water questions. Do you drink bottled water? If so, what brand?

Rarely. But my girl takes Nestle with her lunch.

(Now if it were Hershey water, I'd guzzle it down!)

7. Have you ever been somewhere that it was not safe to drink the local water? If so, how did you handle that?

Yes. Guatemala 30 years ago. Boiled it. Hated it.

8. How many glasses of water do you drink per day?

Not enough.

9. March 24 is the birthday of Harry Houdini. Have you ever watched a professional magic show? Share.

No. I don't even have to share - you can have them all. Magicians give me the heebie-jeebies and mess with my mind.

10. Have you ever been a participant in a professional magic show (up on stage!)?

No. See #9.

11. March 24 is also the birthday of Steve McQueen and Clyde Barrow. Do you like Westerns or gangster movies? If so, what is your favorite?

Occasionally. Mostly the old westerns, like with John Wayne. And I loved Silverado.

12. (Really random) What U.S. state that you've never visited would you like to visit someday?

California (the northern part). New York for the whole Broadway/dinner/shopping experience. And Washington D.C., even though it isn't a state.

Join the fun and link up at SouthLakesMom's blog!


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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Heart of Stone

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Heart Of Stone
Zondervan (March 1, 2010)


Jill Marie Landis

Jill Marie Landis is the bestselling author of over twenty novels. She has won numerous awards for her sweeping emotional romances, such as Summer Moon and Magnolia Creek. In recent years, as market demands turned to tales of vampires, erotica, and hotter, sexier historical romances, Jill turned to writing Inspirational Western Romances for Steeple Hill Books. She truly feels back in the saddle again, working on stories that are a joy to write. With her toes in the sand and head in the clouds, Jill now lives in Hawaii with her husband, Steve.


Laura Foster, free from the bondage of an unspeakable childhood has struggled to make a new life for herself. Now the owner of an elegant boardinghouse in Glory, Texas, she is known as a wealthy, respectable widow. But Laura never forgets that she is always just one step ahead of her past.

When Reverend Brand McCormick comes calling, Laura does all she can to discourage him as a suitor. She knows that if her past were discovered, Brand’s reputation would be ruined. But it’d not only Laura’s past that threatens to bring Brand down─it’s also his own.

When a stranger in town threatens to reveal too many secrets, Laura is faced with a heartbreaking choice: Should she leave Glory forever and save Brand’s future? Or is it worth risking his name─and her heart─by telling him the truth?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Heart Of Stone, go HERE

This another good books, folks - and not just because it's set in Texas! Oh, how easy it is to judge others for their circumstances, not caring about the wounded heart beneath. God's grace covers the past, but sometimes we all carry a shovel to remind folks what's been buried! This is a beautiful story of forgiveness and new beginnings. I look forward to Heart of Lies, the second book in this Irish Angels series.


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Monday, March 22, 2010

Homeward Bound

Mondays are long enough without becoming a time traveler and repeating the hours you've already lived through once! But that's what my boy and his mission team are doing today.

The group left their hotel in Pattaya, Thailand at 1:30 Monday morning (Thailand time) to drive the 2-3 hours to Bangkok to catch their flight. After a layover in Tokyo, they took off shortly after 5:00 pm Monday afternoon and will arrive on the West Coast at 10:30 am Monday morning. I wonder if they're showing Back to the Future for the airline's movie! Unfortunately, they have a fairly long layover today; they'll finally make it back to Texas tonight around 8:00.

From all the updates we've received, it appears to have been a phenomenal trip. The kids got to call home the middle of the week, and it was great to hear his voice.

I'm praying that their young ages will help them counter the jet lag as they go back to school this week. I don't know how sympathetic the teachers of my boy's AP classes are going to be if he dozes off in class!


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Scattered Petals

From the moment I glimpsed the bluebonnets on the cover, I knew I would enjoy this book set in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Scattered Petals is Amanda Cabot's second novel in the Texas Dreams series, but each novel stands alone. Texas is a young state when Priscilla Morton and her parents make the long journey from Boston to Texas for a wedding. Just as they are nearing their final destination, unspeakable tragedy happens and Priscilla's parents are killed, leaving Priscilla alone with her grief, her emotional scars, her fear, and her determination that no man will ever again touch her. Safely ensconced in the care of her newly married friends, Priscilla discovers that her heart is much more difficult to protect.

Ranch foreman Zach Webster is busy managing two ranches and trying to tamp down the memories of a hurtful and guilt-ridden past. While he's resolved never to give his heart to a woman, he nevertheless finds himself drawn to Priscilla and longing to keep her safe.

When danger arises and intrudes on their world once more, Priscilla and Zach must decide if they can break free from the grasp of their previous trials and if God's redemption and restoration is sufficient.

Amanda Cabot is an accomplished author under various pen names and a popular speaker. The author of Paper Roses, she is also a charter member of Romance Writers of America, the co-founder of its New Jersey chapter, a member of the ACFW, and an avid traveler.

You can learn more and purchase this moving novel at the publisher's website.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Books as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Don't Even Get to Gloat

Oh, the madness! March Madness, that is.

Each year the church staff (and occasionally a few of our family members) "competes" in a bracket challenge during the NCAA Tournament. It's purely done for fun - no prizes, no money, and our little group's challenge is private and password protected.

As a rule, I pay very little attention to sports in general or basketball in particular. However, since my sister is often here during the month of March, I end up hearing and seeing more of the tournament than I would otherwise. But I'm pretty much filling out my bracket "blind" without knowing much about the 64 teams vying for the title. However, I do know that there are always a few upsets and some "Cinderella teams" so I don't pick the winners just according to their seed or seasonal Win/Loss record.

So imagine my delight when I discovered last night that, at the end of the first 3 days of play, I am in FIRST PLACE within our group! This is solely because of the bonus points from the upsets that I correctly picked. I'm sure it won't last, but for one brief shining moment, I'm the leader of the pack.

Unfortunately, my girl came down with a stomach bug during the night, and I didn't even get to go to church this morning. Not that I would have gloated or anything. . . .


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