Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Big Day!

Happy Birthday Jesus!!!  Merry Christmas!!

Last night, I was up wrapping presents until 1:30 this morning.  Before last night, I only had one present wrapped.  So, after the kids went to bed and went to sleep, I started on the gifts.  God answered prayers last night because I ran out of wrapping paper and bags.  God stretched everything to where I had just enough to cover everything I needed!!!  Mike had to wrap my gifts with paper bags but, hey, it worked!!!

About 6:55 this morning, Hannah came into our room excited about what Santa brought her.  She asked if she could play with her toys.  When I asked her to go back to bed because Mike and I had a late night, she very sweetly said okay then crawled into bed with me.  She then jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom.  Mike was in there and I told Hannah to use our other one.  She said she would wait then suddenly changed her mind and darted out of the room.  When she did, Hannah pulled the cord to our space heater out of the socket.  She started apologizing like crazy.  She was so funny and sweet!!  Will got up shortly afterward and let Andrew sleep so we went up and looked at what Santa left.  Andrew woke up about 30 minutes to an hour later (he was up late last night).

The kids racked up!!  Hannah was most excited about her Barbie Jet; Will, his Hot Wheels Criss Cross Crash.  Andrew loved the Hot Wheels cars, Thomas the Train set, and Will's Hot Wheels city pieces. 

Mom, Dad, Joan, Melanie and Nathan all came over.  We opened presents and had a huge lunch.  Joan cooked a ham and made Ambrosia (some without coconut for me).  Melanie brought broccoli and cheese and a cinnamon butter braid.  Mom made dressing.  I made green bean casserole, corn pudding, rolls, and a breakfast casserole. 

While everyone was coming in and while we were opening presents, it started snowing!!!   It is the first Christmas in 93 years that we have had snow fall on Christmas Day.  A couple of times in the past we have had snow on the ground Christmas Day but it was already there.  It didn't stick because the ground was too warm but it was beautiful!!

The kids are playing one of their new Wii games.  I am getting ready to look at some of my new crochet books.  Mom bought me one on edgings and trims and other on stitches.  I am so excited!!

Hope everyone had a great Christmas!!  Remember the Reason for the Season - JESUS!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball Blog Tour

SUMMARY:  Mischievous matchmakers, two special tickets, one unlikely couple.  An evening for romance at the annual Christmas Ball.
     In a sleepy, snow-covered city, Cora Crowder is busy preparing for the holiday season.  As she searches for a perfect gift, a fortiutous trip to Warrer, Werner, and Wizbotterdad's (a most unusual bookshop) leads to an unexpected encounter with co-worker Simon Derick.  And the surprise discovery of a ticket for a truly one-of-a-kind Christmas Ball.
     Every year, the matchmaking booksellers of the Sage Street bookshop host an enchanting, old-fashioned Christmas Ball for the romantic matches they've decided to bring together.
     This year, will Simon and Cora discover a perfect chemistry in their opposite personalities and shared faith?  Or will the matchmaker's best laid plans end up ruining everything this holiday?

REVIEW:  This was a cute book.  The author weaves together a modern tale with old world charm.  I liked how Simon loved his unconventional family and included them instead of excluding them in his decisions and pursuits.  I also loved how he looked out for his sister Sandy, who has Down's Syndrome, and wanted to take her to the Christmas Ball just because he knew it would be something she would love.  Even though Cora had a rough childhood and her family was not close, she loved to have Sandy tag along with her and Simon.  Both Simon and Cora had strong Christian faiths and let it guide their decisions and life.

     I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone.  It was great!

This book was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah for review without compensation.

     Expertly weaving together fantasy, romance, and biblical truths, Donita K. Paul penned the best-selling, fan-favorite Dragon-Keeper Chronicles series.  After retiring early from teaching, she began a second career as an award-winning author and loves interaction with old and new writers.  In between books, Donita has plenty to do in her Colorado Springs home.  She enjoys spending time with her grandsons, cooking, beading, stamping, and knitting.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Clouds Roll Away Blog Tour

Summary:  Raleigh Harmon's life seems as impossible to solve as the high-profile case she's pursuing.
     Closing her assignment with the FBI's Seattle office, forensic geologist Raleigh Harmon returns to her hometown of Richmond, Virginia, expecting a warm welcome.  Instead she finds herself investigating an ugly cross burning at a celebrity's mansion and standing in the crosshairs of her boss at the Bureau.  And the deeper Raleigh digs into the case, the murkier the water becomes . . . until she's left wondering who the real victims might be.
     To make matters worse, Raleigh's personal life offers almost zero clarity.  Her former confidant is suddenly remote while her former boyfriend keeps popping up wherever she goes.  And then there's her mother.  Raleigh's move home was supposed to improve Nadine's fragile sanity, but instead seems to be making things worse.
     As the threads of the case begin crossing and double-crossing, Raleigh is forced to rely on her forensic skills, her faith, and the fervent hope that a breakthrough will come, bringing with it that singular moment when the clouds roll away and everything finally makes sense.
Review:  The Clouds Roll Away is the second Raleigh Harmon novel.  Having not read the first one, The Rivers Run Dry, I had difficulty understanding some of the relationships between Raleigh and her former beau DeMott, her renter/friend Wally, and her mother Nadine.  Not knowing their histories together made Raleigh's personal life really murky and hard to grasp the depth of problems she had at home. For example, why did she have a problem with Nadine celebrating Christmas like she did before her husband's death five or six years earlier?  I also didn't see the connection between Raleigh and Wally as friends and confidants as mentioned in the summary.
     The case Raleigh works on was interesting. I liked trying to figure out who the culprit(s) were and why.  I thought I had the end figured out but Mrs. Giorello threw a couple of curveballs and kept the story from being predictable.
     The story was well-written and interesting.  I loved the way the author showed Raleigh's faith and how important it was to her.  I would recommend this book to anyone wanting a good crime story and mystery.

Litfuse Publicity Group provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review.

Sibella Giorello began her writing career as a journalist.  Her stories have won awards, including two nominations for the Pulitzer.  Her novel The Stones Cry Out won a Christy Award.  She lives in Washington State with her husband and family.  You can visit her website at

Sibella’s celebrating the release of The Clouds Roll Away by giving away a KINDLE prize pack worth over $150.00!

One Grand Prize winner will receive:
  • Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi
  • $25 gift certificate to
To enter simply click on one of the icons below! Then tell your friends! Winner will be announced January 3, 2011 on Sibella's blog:

About The Clouds Roll Away - "Beautifully written with exquisite descriptions, Giorello's mystery also features well-developed characters..."
—Booklist, starred review

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dwelling on the Positive

Dwelling on the positive things in life is hard. I tend to want to think about the bad, hard, and negative things that are going on and that have happened instead of focusing on the wonderful things God has provided.

For example, yesterday was my birthday. I love celebrate birthdays and I'm proud to tell people I am 43 years old. But something happened last night that I allowed to put a damper on my festivities. Instead of cooking my own birthday dinner, I asked my husband if we could go out instead. Where I wanted to go eat (Carraba's) was too far of a drive so I thought about all the options available near our house. I decided on On The Border, a place I haven' been to in a while but love. So, Mike and I loaded up the kids and headed off. When the kids were told where we were going, they started in with the whining and complaining. It didn't stop until we were on our way home. At the restaurant, they fought with each other. One didn't like the choices on the kid's menus and drink options. Another wanted to stand up and jump on the seat (we were sitting in a corner booth) or sit on the corner edge of the back of the seat. When the food came out, they weren't happy with the cheese on the nachos they ordered (it was melted instead of the nacho cheese). It went on and on. I know we bothered the people around us even though they didn't say anything.

What I should focus on (and need to remind myself to do regularly) is that I have a family that cares about me. My husband is awesome, loves me a lot and treats me like a queen. He still has a great job and we can afford to go out to eat. (I have two different friends that have just gone through job losses and don't know what to do.) My kids are healthy and love each other, even though they don't like each other some of the time. I have a house that I love to share with others any time of the year (as long as they don't mind the mess ;-)). Most important of all, I have a Savior who loves me, died for me and forgives me of all I've done wrong even though I will never be able to repay Him.

Life isn't going to go the way I expect or want it to. I just have to remember to focus on the blessings God has given me and trust Him to get me through the rough patches. He will ALWAYS be there for me.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Topkapi Secret Blog Tour

A 1,400-year-old secret...
Those who threaten this secret die...
Two people risk their lives to uncover the truth...
Cultures clash and emotions soar as Arab researcher Mohammed Atareek and American professor Angela Hall team up to solve one of history's greatest cover-ups.  Time is running out.  Opponents who will stop at nothing are dedicated to maintaining the secret.  Will Mohammed and Angela finish their whirlwind journey of discovery or will it cost them their lives?

On display at Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul lies the Topkapi Codex, an ancient manuscript of the Koran.  Its secrets are just out of reach, sealed behind impenetrable glass.  Is its text the key to exploding a centuries-old myth about the Koran?  Are its pages stained with the blood of one of the Prophet Mohammed's mortally wounded followers?  No one knows, because the Topkapi Codex is off-limits.

Mohammed Atareek is committed to gaining access to the museum's forbidden manuscript.  His research leads him to believe that the Koran hides within it an extraordinary secret - a truth that would turn the Muslim world upside down.  Evidence lies within the Topkapi Codex, but the risks involved increase as other Koranic scholars start turning up dead.

Angela had lost just about everything except her money and her job.  On a study trip to the Middle East, her research on women's issues gets sidetracked when her path crosses Mohammed's.  His overconfident, impulsive behiavior is strangely refreshing, but when he tries to engage Angela in his quest, he finds she has an agenda of our own.  Death awaits at every turn, and sparks of romance fly in this compelling adventure that reaches from the United States, across Europe, and through exotic settings of North Africa and the Middle East.

Based on solid historical research, The Topkapi Secret is a captivating debut novel of romance and mystery that sizzles like the desert heat with vivid characters, a page-turning plot, colorful locales, and eye-opening facts about the Muslim holy book.

This book was a huge disappointment.  The two main characters didn't even meet until about halfway into the book.  The chapters were disjointed.  Instead of one chapter covering an entire setting or event, the author broke it up and had three or four chapters covering the same thing (i.e., seven chapters cover the couples overnight stay in Cappadocia, Turkey).   There are 131 chapters in 400 pages!  The book jacket says Mohammed tries to engage Angela in his quest but she has a different agenda.  As of page 261, I still don't see where he does this or what her agenda is.  There is also too much other information that doesn't seem relative to the story but just seems to add fluff.

After reading the synopsis that was sent out about this book, I thought it would be very interesting.  But, I am struggling to finish the book and do not see what all the hype was about.  I am sorry to say but I would not recommend this book to anyone.

Glass Road Public Relations provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review.

Terry Kelhawk is an award-winning writer, speaker, and teacher. She holds a doctorate degree and has considerable personal and professional experience with the Middle East and Islam.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Devil Don't Knock Blog Tour

Susan Sims Moody, the author of the book The Devil Don't Knock, is a friend from school.  Recently on Facebook, she asked for people to review one of her three books and post something on their blog, Facebook, Amazon and/or Barnes & Noble.  Since I love to do book reviews, I volunteered my services.

The Devil Don't Knock is the third in the Jennifer Martin series but it can stand alone on its own merit.  At first, I wasn't sure what to expect.  When I hear about local authors, I tend to look at their work and judge it different from one I might find on the Best Sellers List.  I really enjoyed this book.  As I read it, I felt myself drawn into the characters and the situations in which they found themselves.  Susan had twists and turns in the right places and it wasn't predictable (at least to me - hehe).  As I began to develop my own ideas as to what might happen, I was pleasantly surprised when it didn't work out the way I thought it would.  I'm afraid if I write more about the book, I will give important information away and spoil it for you.  Let me say this, I loved this book!!

There were two problems I had towards the end (and these are just personal preferences).  The first problem was with two of the minor characters who spoke Spanish.  A translation noting what was said would have been really helpful.  The website I used to translate the lines was really rough and made it a little difficult trying to figure out what they were talking about.  The second was with Arcana.  Her character seemed important in the beginning and throughout the development of the story but seemed underutilized in the end.  Granted, she is in a very important scene at the end but her character just seems anti-climatic.  Other than that, I love this book!  I would highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to read southern fiction or just something different.

Susan Sims Moody is a native Mississippian and graduate of Mississippi State University.  She is married to Tom and has two children.  They currently live in Wisconsin.

The author provided a free copy of this book for review.  I was not compensated in any way.

**At the time this post was written, the final cover had not been completely decided.  I will try to add it later.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving Celebration and Fun

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year.  Mike and I load up the kids and drive for two days to visit Mike's aunts, uncles and cousins.  We always have a great time and hate to see it end.  Every year after we eat Thanksgiving Dinner, the guys like to play in the Turkey Bowl.  It is a touch football game that gets more serious every year.  This year, a couple of the guys went and lined the field and set up cones to mark the end zones and the sides of the field.  I even found t-shirts at Old Navy that were perfect for the game.  Later that evening, Mike's cousin Andrew took a picture of the whole family on the staircase and a video that he is going to send in to Good Morning America for their "Three Words" segment.  We hope it will be picked.  If it is, I will try to post something here.

Here are some pictures from the weekend of the Turkey Bowl and a few of the kids.

Isn't this a handsome group of men?

Hannah and Ashtyn were the cheerleaders

 Andrew and Will playing in the sand
Some action shots

Mike has the ball!

Hannah and Ashtyn enjoying their time together

Aren't these some beautiful ladies?

Will being silly

The Grissom, Frazier, Edenfield, Jinnette, Chitwood, Hoyle and Nowiski  Families

Mike and Andrew were on their way back from the restroom when this picture was taken. (LaNell, Will, and Isabelle were looking at them.) I think another one was taken with them in it but I do not have a copy.  They were in the video which was done next.

I just love this family!!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Beneath the Night Tree Blog Tour

Julia DeSmit knew she would face the question eventually, but she didn't expect it now that she is finally content with the way her life has unfolded.  A single mother to her son and younger brother, she cherishes living with her beloved grandmother and is hoping to be engaged to Michael Vermeer - the man of her dreams - by year's end.

Then a cryptic e-mail from her son's father spins her world off axis.  She hasn't heard from Parker since he left her in a college parking lot without a backward glance.  But one look at her son - the spitting image of his father - is enough to convince her that, for better or worse, Parker is a part of their story.

Faced with this new reality and the potential unraveling of her unorthodox family, Julia begins a tightrope walk between what was, what is, and what she hopes will be.

I like Julia.  She does not expect a hand-out because she is a single mom.  She does not want a pity party because she had a rough childhood with a dead-beat mom and a dad who did his best but died when she was young.  Julia is raising her younger brother Simon and her son Daniel, taking care of her aging grandmother, working a full-time job and taking classes at the local community college.  Michael, her boyfriend of five years, is studying to be a doctor in Iowa City, six hours away, so she only gets to see him occasionally.  Julia also struggles with Parker, Daniel's dad, and how to respond to his request to get to know his son.  The last time Julia saw Parker was when he told her to get rid of the child she was carrying then drove off.

This is the third book in a series.  Not having read the first two, I was a little lost when it came to some of the back story.  This book can stand on it's own;  I would have preferred more information about Parker than what was given in the book.  You aren't given a reason as to why Parker is suddenly interested in finding out if he has a child then wanting to get to know him.  Late in the book, Parker mentions to Julia that he has a sister and two nieces so I wonder if that is why but the author never says.

This is a good book and was really enjoyable.

Tyndale House provided me with a complimentary copy of this Advanced Reader Copy.

NICOLE BAART was born and raised in a small town in Iowa.  She wrote and published her first complete novel, After the Leaves Fall, while taking a break from teaching to be a full-time mom.  Summer Snow and Beneath the Night Tree complete the series.  Nicole is also the author of The Moment Between.

She has three sons and is the wife of a pastor.  One of her sons was adopted from Ethiopian so she is passionate about global issues and is a founding member of One Body One Hope, a non-profit organization that works with an orphanage in Monrovia, Liberia.  Nicole and her family live in Iowa.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mercy Blog Tour

MERCY, set in the small Mississippi town of the same name, weaves a tale of past and present and reveals what can happen to three generations of family when money and secrets collide.

Davis Sanford, contemptuously dismissed by his family almost a decade ago, is a recovering alcoholic and the grandchild of local timber baron and pillar of the community, Frank Sanford.  An early-morning phone call from his old haunt of Mercy draws Davis home one more time for the impending death of the family patriarch.  Jennifer Martin returns to the scene as Davis's girlfriend, and the two embark on a weekend journey through his past.

As the prodigal son copes with his grandfather's mortality, he must also face his disapproving father and a wealth of personal history he has tried for years to leave behind.  Together with Jennifer, Davis uncovers one family secret after another, at last discovering the sin that has shaped, conflicted, and ultimately driven them all to the tragic existences they lead.

Mercy is Susan Sims Moody's second novel.  It is different from her other two novels in that it includes little vignettes of the past and that it is darker towards the end of the story.  In the vignettes, you see the secrets that affected the three generations come about.  You also see what can happen to person when keeping a secret becomes unbearable.  Davis faces his family members and his past as he works to figure out what happened to a letter his grandfather wrote to his wife, Cora.  He also shows how a tragic past does not have to be your future.

Mercy is a good story with a lot of twists and turns.  The ending is dark and caught me a little by surprise.  I kind of thought it might happened but was astonished that it actually did occur in the story.

The author provided a free copy of this book for review.  I was not compensated in any way.

Susan Sims Moody is a native Mississippian and graduate of Mississippi State University.  She is married to Tom and has two children.  They currently live in Wisconsin.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Flatlands Blog Tour

Jennifer Martin hated the idea of returning to Mississippi.  She hated the heat, the boredom, and the flat land that sprawled for miles and miles.  Jennifer never imagined that Bedford had anything exciting or worthwhle to offer her.  But within a day of returning to her hometown, she finds a job, a friend, and a mystery that could cost her life.

Flatlands is the first book written by Mississippi native Susan Sims Moody.  Her story revolves around Jennifer Martin, a young college graduate who returns home reluctantly.  Longing for a job as a reporter at a big city newspaper, she instead gets a job at the three-person weekly paper in her hometown, located in the Mississippi Delta.  As she gets settled into her small rental house, Jennifer finds a small film canister in the wall while helping her friend Davis do some small maintenance work.  Little does she know, the house contains items that its former occupant wants back desperately, no matter the cost.  Susan weaves her story together in a seamless fashion, leaving her reader turning the pages wanting more.  It is a fairly quick read.  I finished all 135 pages in just a few hours.  It was a great book and very enjoyable.  I would suggest it to anyone looking for a great read.

Susan Sims Moody is a native Mississippian and graduate of Mississippi State University.  She is married to Tom and has two children.  They currently live in Wisconsin.

The author provided a free copy of this book for review.  I was not compensated in any way.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Everything Christmas Blog Tour

Everything Christmas brings all the best ideas for the holiday season together in one volume.  In this book, you'll find your favorite classic Christmas stories and a few new ones destined to join them.  You'll discover the most delectable holiday recipes, enjoy the words to treasured hymns and carols, and be encouraged by inspirational Christmas poems and the joy of the Nativity.

Organized by the days of Advent, Everything Christmas includes everything you need to make the holiday bright.  From decoration ideas to Christmas trivia and humor - it's all here!

This book does have it all.  The stories included show the true meaning of Christmas.  Words to favorite Christmas carols, along with some carols I've never heard of, had me singing in my head (if not out loud).  There are crafts to do with kids and some you can do by yourself.  It even has gift ideas for grandparents, the love of your life, and the top ten favorites for him, her, boys and girls.  One of my favorite things is the different Christmas dinners and traditions observed in different countries.  I also liked the trivia about Christmas traditions: how they got started and how they may (or may have not) changed over the centuries and continents.  There are also all kinds of recipes to try.  Scripture is used all throughout, pointing our thoughts back to the real Meaning of Christmas - the birth of Jesus Christ.

Everything Christmas is divided up into twenty-four sections so you can use it as an Advent calendar or as a supplement to what you currently use to count down the days.  It has a topical index to help you find what you are looking for.  It is an awesome book!!

This book was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah for review without compensation.

David Bordon and Tom Winters are partners in Bordon-Winters, LLC, a book concept and packaging company that produces successful books and gift products.  their previous titles include the 101 Things You Should Do series, especially the popular 101 Things You Should Do Before Going to Heaven.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Uncertain Heart Blog Tour

Sarah McCabe knows exactly what she wants...but what does God want for her?

The year is 1866, and Sarah McCabe has wanderlust.  In an effort to become independent of her family back in Missouri, she accepts a governess position in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, giving her a firsthand taste of the life she has always desired - a life of luxury, culture, and social privilege.

Richard Navis is a man determined to finish his indentureship to Captain Brian Sinclair and take over his family's farm.  But when he falls inlove with Sarah, his homesteading goals blur.  She doesn't seem interested in settling down.  What's more, Richard fears she's fallen victim to the captain's charm and persuasion.

When Sarah's reputation is questioned, Richard devises a bold plan in hopes of protecting her.  But is he too late?  Has Sarah already made her choice?

In Uncertain Heart, Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar continues the dramatic saga of the McCabe family that she began in Unwilling Warrior.

I really enjoyed this book.  Sarah struggles to be independent from her family but turns to them when situations go beyond her control.  She also struggles with her feelings towards both Richard and the Captain when both show her attention.  Richard acts like a gentleman around Sarah while Captain Sinclair is a complete rogue.  Sarah's love of the captain's children complicates matters when her reputation is questioned.  She has to choose between staying with them and risking her reputation more or going back home to her family and leaving everything and everyone behind.  Even though this is the second book in this saga, I followed the characters and story very easily.  Book Three, Unexpected Love, is due out in January 2011.  I am looking forward to reading it and hope to read the first one too.  This is a wonderful book!!!

Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar is a certified Christian life coach; a popular speaker at writers' conferences, workshops, and women's groups; and the author of more than thirty published novels and novellas, including Unwilling Warrior.

This book was provided by Glass Road Public Relations for review without compensation.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Almost Heaven Blog Tour

Some people say Billy Allman has a heart of gold.  Others say he's a bit odd.  The truth is, they're all right.  He's a hillbilly genius - a collector, a radio whiz - and he can make the mandolin sing.  Though he dreams of making an impact on the world beyond the hills and hollers of Dogwood, West Virginia, things just always seem to go wrong.

But however insignificant Billy's life seems, it has not gone unnoticed.  Malachi is an angel sent to observe and protect Billy.  Though it's not his dream assignment, Malachi always follows orders.  And as Billy's story unfolds, Malachi slowly begins to see the bigger picture - that each step Billy takes is a note added to a beautiful song that will forever change the lives of those who hear it.

It took me a little bit to get into Almost Heaven once I started reading it.  The story seemed to drag in places.  But once I got about halfway through, I started enjoying it more.  The story took some twists and turns I wasn't expecting, especially when it involved Heather, Callie and Natalie but they were very interesting.   I found myself wondering how different situations would work out and Chris Fabry did not disappoint.  This was a good book.

Chris Fabry is a Christy Award-winning author and radio personality who hosts the daily program Chris Fabry Live! on Moody Radio.  He is the author of 70 books for children and adults, including Dogwood and June Bug.  Chris and his wife, Andrea, are the parents of nine children and live in Arizona.  Visit his website at

This book was provided by Glass Road Public Relations for review without compensation. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Heaven is for Real Blog Tour

When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous surgery.  What they weren't expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed -- a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy's trip to heaven and back.

When I first saw the notice about this book, I was skeptical.  I thought, "Not ANOTHER book about Heaven."  Don't get me wrong.  I am excited that one day I will do go Heaven and see my Savior.  My concern was that the book would be a "feel good" book that catered to all religions and faiths.  Also, since it was written about a child's trip, I was concerned about how I would react to the circumstances that enabled him to make the trip to Heaven.

Once I got the book and started reading it, I was hooked.  The details Colton gives are amazing.  He was almost four years old when he had his surgery.  He was Andrew's age and was talking about things that four year olds don't know and aren't concerned with.  He gave detailed descriptions of Heaven that exactly matched scriptures in the bible (he didn't know how to read at the time).  He talked with people who had died before he was born. One of these was his sister that had been miscarried at two months gestation.  Another was his great-grandfather who died when Todd, Colton's dad, was a boy.  Colton was also concerned that people knew how much God loved them and that they knew Jesus as their Savior.

This book is awesome and I highly recommend it to everyone.  It is an easy read with short chapters and interesting details.

Todd Burpo is a pastor of Crossroads Wesleyan, a wrestling coach, a volunteer fireman, and he operates a garage door company with his wife, Sonja, who is also a children's minister, busy pastor's wife, and mom.  Colton, now an active 11-year old, has an older sister Cassie and a younger brother Colby.  The family lives in Imperial, Nebraska.

Lynn Vincent is the New Your Times bestselling writer of Same King of Different as Me and Going Rogue: An American Life.  The author or co-author of nine books, Vincent is a senior writer for WORLD magazine and a lecturer in writing at the King's College in New York City.  She lives in San Diego, California.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson Publisher for review without compensation.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened At The Birthday Party

Demetria, Hannah's friend from school, celebrated her birthday party at Cici's Pizza today, along with her sister and brother who also celebrate birthdays this month.  Everyone was having a great time eating pizza and talking.  When the cakes were brought out, Shan, Demetria's mom, put candles on both cakes.  Little did she know, they were magic candles.  You know, the ones that light back up after being blown out.  She has some for Demetria and Miracle on one cake and more on RJ's cake.  As you well know, when the kids tried to blow them out, the candles wouldn't stay out.  The kids kept blowing and blowing to no avail.  Brian, Demetria's dad, was trying to put them out with condensation on his glass.  Some would go out but others would light up.  It was so funny!!  The room was getting smoky, the kids and adults were laughing and we tried everything we could think of to keep the candles out.  Finally, Brian took his cup and just sat it on top of the different candles, pushing them into the cake.  FINALLY they went out for good.  The manager had to open the door to let the smoke out.  When she walked by, she said the sprinklers had been ready to go off when she opened the door.  That bit of news set the parents to laughing again.  After it was all over, I remembered from parties past that you need to drop the candles in water for them to stay out.  Maybe next time we will remember.  It was a great, and very memorable, party for all!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Movies and Memories Giveaway!!

Sarah Sundin presents The Movies and Memories Giveaway in honor of book 2 in the Wings of Glory series. A Memory Between Us is available for purchase wherever fine books are sold. From the English countryside to the perilous skies over France, A Memory Between Us takes you on a journey through love, forgiveness, and sacrifice.


To celebrate Sarah is giving one lucky winner A Movie and Memory Prize Package! One grand prize winner will receive:

* Make-your-own-photo book from (Capture your own Memories)

* Netflix Subscription (New or Nostalgic Movies delivered right to your house)

* Starbucks gift card (To keep your engine revvin’)

*Gourmet chocolate (A favorite in the 1940’s and now)

* British specialty teas in carved wooden box (Timeless tradition)

* Miniature model of a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber & C-47 cargo plane (Everyone needs a few toy planes)

*Big Band music CD (Break out your dancing shoes)

* WWII authentic poster playing cards (Cards – a perfect game for two)

* Keep Calm and Carry On (Uplifting sayings WWII, a boost for troubled times)

To enter simple click on the icons below (contest runs 9/27 - 10/17!)

The Waiting Contest!!

Suzanne Woods Fisher is thrilled to announce the release of The Waiting, book two in The Lancaster Secrets Collection. In The Waiting Jorie finds herself caught be two loves and two lives in this compelling page turner about complex people living the simple life.

The Waiting is the next stand alone story in The Lancaster Secrets Collection and follows in the footsteps of the best-selling, The Choice. The Waiting is in stores now and to celebrate Suzanne is hosting The Waiting KINDLE Giveaway.

One Grand Prize winner will receive a Kindle preloaded with Suzanne Woods Fisher titles and a gift certificate! The Prize Pack (valued at over $185.00) includes:

* A brand new KINDLE, Free 3G, 6", Latest Generation

* The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher

* The Waiting by Suzanne Woods Fisher

* A $15 dollar Gift Certificate

To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form, then tell 5 or more friends about the contest. Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on October 28th at Suzanne's Lancaster Secrets Book Club Party.

Join Suzanne for the Lancaster Secrets Book Club Party on October 28th! She’ll be announcing the winner of the The Waiting KINDLE Giveaway, hosting a book club discussion of The Waiting and The Choice, and giving away copies of both books and HEAPs of readerly prizes! Be sure to join us on Thursday, October 28th at 5:00 PM PST (6:00 MST, 7:00 CST & 8 EST) at Suzanne’s Author Page. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Small Victory

When it comes to potty training, I am by no way an expert.  Hannah was 3 years and 2 months old when she was fully potty trained.  Will decided he wanted to go all the time just after his 4th birthday party.  Andrew has shown very little interest.  On occasion he might humor Mike and me but, instead of doing anything, he decides to play.

Things started changing a little one day at the end of last week.  Just before getting in the tub, Andrew decided he wanted to try to go potty (without any prompting from Mom or Dad).  He actually peed in the potty and was really excited.  The next evening I was getting the boys in the tub to get the dirt off them when Andrew decided to try using the potty again (without prompting).  He did it again.  Yesterday (Sunday), the boys were outside playing and decided to run around sans clothes.  When Andrew was ready to come inside, he got himself dressed in his pajamas.  Mike and I both told him to put on a Pull-Up before he had an accident.  Instead, he decided to put on underwear.  He did really good and even took himself potty a couple of times.  This morning, instead of putting a Pull-Up on, I put him in underwear.  He did awesome!!  Mom said he even took himself to the bathroom three or four times.  After the kids and I got to the ball fields to watch Mike play softball, I noticed that Andrew had had an accident.  I took him to the bathroom and got him cleaned up and he was ready to go.  He stayed dry the whole time.  I put a diaper on him before putting him to bed because he usually has a full diaper in the morning.  (This is one of the two areas we haven't worked on.  The other is doing #2 in the potty - that was the accident at the park).

Mike and I are so proud of him.  We are also cautious because we don't want him to feel pressured.  I will be SO glad to get him out of diapers.  January will bring in ten years of changing diapers with no breaks between kids.  You can see why we are excited but cautious.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fall-ing For Jesus

The Children's Ministry at our church had an event called "Fall-ing for Jesus" for 1-3 graders and their families today after our second service.  Hot dogs, popcorn, and drinks were available to eat.  There were also games such as a cupcake walk, sack race and a doughnut game (you had 30 seconds to eat a doughnut hanging on a string without using your hands).  There was even a hayride and face painting! 

Will, Andrew and I did the cupcake walk.  Andrew and I won on our first trip around.  Poor Will walked around for about 15 minutes.  He was persistent and it paid off.  He won a chocolate cupcake.  Hannah got her face painted.  Andrew participated in the sack race.  He was the last one to cross the finish line but he did it all by himself.  All of us rode on the hayride before heading home.  It was a nice ending to a fun event.

We all had fun being outside, playing games and visiting with friends.  Thanks Missi, Angie, and Anne for heading it up and putting on the event.  It was fun!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hannah's MAP scores

Tonight during Open House at Hannah's school, her teacher Mrs. Stiles gave me Hannah's scores and ranking on her recent MAP test.  In Language, she is testing at a Beginning 6th grade level.  In Math and Reading, she is testing in both at a Mid 5th grade level.  (She's currently in the 4th grade.)  YEA HANNAH!!  Way to go!!!

Fuming Over New Tax Increase

Tuesday, voters in my city voted whether or not to add a 1% tax to restaurant food purchases.  Sixty-seven percent of voters said yes.  Doesn't sound like a big deal, does it?  It's only a penny.  What the media and mayor's office didn't tell people was that the total tax on restaurant food purchases would now be 10% with this new tax.  TEN PERCENT!!!!

State tax here is seven percent.  Not too bad when you compare it to the state just north of us.  A few years ago, the county added a 2% tourism (restaurant and hotel) tax to help pay off and upkeep a local arena.  Then a few months ago, our mayor decided to seek a 1% additional tax on food to help finance upgrades to the park system, add new ball fields and other amenities.  The total bill for all the projects is around $35 million.  Part of the cost of this improvement plan will be covered by a federal grant of $6 million to go towards building two storm shelters.  The rest of the remaining $29 million will come from the new tax.

According to the mayor and city officials, the bulk of this new tax (and the tourism tax) is not suppose to be carried by the residents of this city but by the tourists who come for the different tournaments hosted here each year.  Their reasoning that the people who come to these tournaments and events are going to pay the bulk of the cost doesn't make sense to me.  The Dizzy Dean World Series does bring in $3-6 million dollars of revenue every year.  Softball, baseball and soccer tournaments also bring in money spent in our restaurants and hotels.  I can't see all of these events bringing in enough money to where the residents of our fair city are relieved of most of the tax burden.  Some maybe, but not most.

Now, after all the extra softball, baseball, and soccer fields, tennis courts, dog park, spray park, skate park and $5 million senior citizen center are completed and paid for, do you think this tax will be taken off the books?  NO!!  It will be used to pay for maintenance and other improvements of the parks system and take "the burden off of property taxes."
I understand the need for upgrades to the parks.  One of the concerns is building new ball fields to help accommodate all the kids who have signed up for softball and baseball.  Right now, some of the T-ball players are having to start games at 9 p.m. because of the lack of available fields.  We had that problem with Will when he played baseball but, thanks to the good Lord, we didn't have that problem this year with either of the boys.  Officials have tossed around the idea of limiting the number of sign-ups but then decided that wasn't going to work. 

The city also wants to stay competitive by continuing to host regional tournaments.  Cities like Oxford, MS and Jackson, TN are expanding their parks so our leaders want to make sure we can compete on a level playing field with them and others.  I understand all this.  If it was a temporary tax, I may not mind as much.  I just don't like having to keep paying and paying with no end in sight.  When my family and I decide to eat out, I guess we will have to choose a neighboring city, one where it won't cost us a fortune in taxes.

It still has to pass the legislature in January.  If it does, it should go into affect sometime in July, 2011.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Will's First Lost Tooth

Can't believe I am just now posting this...Will lost his first tooth Friday morning, September 24th before school.  It was his front tooth on the top right.  He was sitting at the table eating breakfast and playing with his tooth.  Mike told him to twist it and it popped out!!  We all were surprised.  I was just glad he didn't loose it at soccer practice the night before or while he was eating.  Will was so excited that he even brushed his tooth to make sure it was clean before putting it under his pillow.  The Tooth Fairy brought him $2 for it.  His permanent tooth is already coming in.  His other front tooth is loose.  Mike and I both told him (along with my sister Melanie) that if he looses it soon, he could be singing  "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Code Triage Book Tour

Dr. Leigh Stathos likes her ER shifts fast, furious, and adrenaline-infused -- "Treat 'em and street 'em" -- with no emotional complications.  Life's taught her a soul-rending lesson:  nothing lasts forever, including marriage.  And the clock is ticking toward the end of hers.  Then an unwelcome confrontation with "the other woman" begins a whole new set of lessons.

San Francisco police officer Nick Stathos never gives up, whether protecting his patrol neighborhood, holding fast to faith, or trying to save his marriage.  Seven days is all he has to reach Leigh's heart.  But when a desperate act of violence slams Golden Gate Mercy Hospital into lockdown, it starts a chain of events that will change lives forever.

Code Triage is the third book in the Mercy Hospital series but it stands on its own easily.  At first, the story line was hard for me to get into.  I don't know if it was because you are introduced to a lot of key characters right off or what.  About a quarter of the way into it, everything started to fall into place and the book became a lot more interesting.  I liked the way the characters developed and how the storyline evolved.  For a while, I wondered how they story would play out in the end and was pleasantly surprised.  At the end of the book, the author ties this book in with the first two in the series.  I wished I had read them because then the end would have been more meaningful.  Without them, the story still ended in a wonderful way.  I would recommend this book to anyone.  It is a great read.

Mrs. Calvert could easily add another book in the series with how she left Riley Hale's character.  If so, I would love to read it.

This book was provided by Tyndale House for review without compensation.  

Candace Calvert is a former ER nurse who believes love, laughter, and faith are the best medicines.  She wrote several humorous mysteries before penning the Mercy Hospital series.  Wife, mother, and very proud grandmother, Candace makes her home in northern California.  Visit her website at

Monday, September 20, 2010

Awesome Kids!

I have to brag on Hannah and Will!!  Hannah was selected to be in the National Elementary Honor Society at her school!!!  Will was selected to be in Spotlight at his school!!!

Not long after school started, Hannah brought home a note saying that she was a candidate for the NEHS at her school because of her grades.  We had to complete a form that listed all of her accomplishments over the last year.  Some of the things they were looking for were if she did volunteer work around the house and for family members; if she participated in community projects; if she was a member of any teams, groups, or organizations; and if she had received any type of rewards.  They only wanted information for Third, Fourth and Fifth grades.  We included her helping around here with the chores and the boys and helping Mom out this summer by cleaning her house. For community projects, we listed the Operation Christmas Child box we made last year.  As for the teams, we listed her softball, basketball, and soccer teams and noted how long she had played on each (this is her sixth year to play soccer).  For awards, I noted how Hannah had the most AR points in her class and in the whole Second grade.  Even though the award for AR wasn't in the parameters they asked for, I felt it was important.  The counsel met and discussed all the candidates and Hannah was selected.  She is to be inducted on 30 September.  YEAH HANNAH!!

At the end of the school year last year, Will brought home a note that he was being tested for Spotlight and that he did exceptionally well.  He was suppose to be tested again over the summer but, due to a large number of students that also did well, his testing didn't occur until well after school started.  This afternoon I received a call from the Spotlight teacher saying Will had been selected and should start this Wednesday.  From what I understand about this group, they are students that are smart who also benefit from additional instruction.  I think it is like an Advanced Placement group.  Anyway, it is exciting!!  WAY TO GO WILL!!

Hannah asked me which was better: Spotlight or the Honor Society.  (She tested for Spotlight but never made it in even though her grades have been really good.)  I told her they both were high honors and were equally awesome!! 

Needless to say, Mike and I both are very proud of our children!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What is it about September?

Thinking over the last few years, I've noticed a pattern.  For the last four years, something happens to me during the month of September.  See if you notice a pattern:

*  September 2006 - while pregnant with Andrew, I tripped on my flip-flops and fell, skinning my knee and foot pretty bad.  About a week later, while walking back to the car after picking Nathan up from school, I stepped on a stick with one foot and jammed it into the other foot.

*  September 2007 - My right thumb and wrist hurt every time I tried to pick up Andrew (he was eight months old and HEAVY!).  Also, my joints hurt, starting with my wrist and working its way down the right side of my body.  Part of it (if not all) was from taking a multi-vitamin with iron.  The mystery pains finally ended over a year and a half later.

*  September 2009 - My feet started giving me trouble, especially when I started working out.  Come to find out, I had heel spurs in both heels.  They finally went away sometime in the Spring of 2010.

*  September 2010 - For the last few months, I noticed that my right knee hurt whenever I bent down on the floor to give the boys a bath.  I didn't think much about it because it didn't both me any other time. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed my knee seemed to hurt every time I bent it whether it was to sit down on the couch, getting up and down to get something from my lower cabinets, getting down onto the floor or getting up off the floor to play with the kids.  I haven't had it checked out yet (I'm kind of afraid) but wonder if it is an old injury acting up.  I'll go when it really starts bothering me. 

When I was 18, my friend Mark and I were involved in a car accident.  The car we were in started skidding on a wet street when Mark tried to stop at a red light.  I didn't have a seat belt on so I hit the dashboard with my knees, turning it inside out.  My family doctor at the time said I had a twisted knee cap.  It was fine but would probably give me trouble when I was older.  I'm wondering if that is what is going on.  

After the last few years, I am hesitant to see what the next few Septembers have to bring.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mike's Birthday

Today is Mike's birthday!!  He opened his presents this morning at breakfast.  The kids and I got him a pair of sandals, a red patriotic t-shirt, the newest Newsboys cd and Casting Crowns' "Altar and the Door" cd.  For dinner, I made his favorites: salmon with asparagus and carrots.  For dessert, I made him a strawberry pizza.  He really enjoyed everything, especially dessert.

For the salmon, I combined a couple of recipes.  I cut up a lime and lemon and squeezed the juice over the fish.  I seasoned it with salt and pepper and topped it with lime slices, lemon slices and onion slices.  Wrapping it in foil, I baked it for 25 minutes at 400 degrees.  Mike and the kids gobbled it up.

Hannah did the asparagus for me.  After she rinsed and snapped off the ends, I sprayed a pan covered in aluminum foil with cooking spray and laid out the asparagus.  Hannah sprinkled it with salt and pepper after I sprayed it with cooking spray.  We then broiled it for 10 minutes on 400 degrees.  The kids also ate it up.  It was rather good.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

1, 2, & 3 John Bible Study Book Review

This is the first time I have reviewed a bible study so please bear with me.  When Tyndale sent the notice out for this review, I was intrigued.  I love the books of 1, 2 and 3 John and was interested to see what this bible study would cover.  This study is really neat in what all it has with it.  The book is in two parts: the text used with all kinds of study notes and the study itself.

The first part includes:
*  complete text of 1, 2, and 3 John in the New Living Translation
*  study notes that cover background, history, geography, and culture that are easy to understand
*  application notes to help you apply God's word to your life
*  Charts, maps, and profiles of Bible people that present biblical truths in unique and helpful ways.  These are taken from the Life Application Study Bible.

The second part of the study has:
*  thirteen lessons to stimulate thought, discussion, and practical life application
*  study questions arranged for group or individual use
*  lots of space to write your answers
*  special application questions at the end of each lesson to help you map out your personal action plan.

I loved having the text, notes and study guide all in one place.  There have been studies I've done in the past that used a different bible translation than the one I use all the time.  Having the translation the study used right at my fingertips was nice.  I also liked the fact that I didn't have to carry a separate study bible with me when I wanted to work in it.  It was so nice grabbing one small book instead of two (one being my very thick study bible) to work on in the school car line.  The questions were thought provoking and helped me understand the text and what John was trying to convey to his readers.  When you were told to read a certain portion of scripture that covered the next set of questions, it also showed you what notes to read and refer to when they were used.  The personal questions showed me how my life has often gotten off track and my focus off God and His love for others.  It also gave me inspiration to make necessary changed to get my life and focus back where it should be: on God and His purposes.

There were a few downsides that I encountered with this study.  When I first started using it, the portion with the scripture was a little confusing.  It is set up like a study bible, with the notes for a particular verse at the bottom of the page and other references at the beginning to the book.  Quite often, there were more notes and references on the page than scripture.  But, after using it a couple of times, I was able to use it with ease and find my place.  Also, the print was smaller than I am used to in a bible study book.  Sometimes I had to read the section I was working on a couple of times because I kept losing my place.  The book is only 75 pages total.  The study would still be awesome if they made the script a little bigger and added a few pages to compensate. 

All in all, I loved this study and look forward to reviewing more in the future.

This book was provided by Tyndale House Publishers for review.  The thoughts here are all my own and I was not compensated for them or asked to provide a positive review.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Our beloved dog Baron passed away sometime during the night last night.  Yesterday afternoon, Mike got off work early.  We went together to pick up the kids from school and take them to Mom's.  She watched them while we went to the vet to see Baron.  Dr. Chandler said he wasn't responding to them but hoped we would recognize us.  We loved on him, cried, scratched his belly and chest, rubbed his nose and spend some wonderful time with him.  At first, he didn't respond, but after a little bit, he seemed to know who we were.  A couple of times he raised his head up when Mike would talk to him.  He also made a sound when he wanted us to rub on him.  Dr. Chandler let us spend about an hour with him.  After talking to an Internal Specialist earlier in the day, they both came to the conclusion that Baron had a stroke sometime after the surgery.  His breathing was abnormal, like with a Pulmonary Embolism.  He also wasn't moving or responding like normal, which lead us and the doctors to believe he also had a stroke to the brain.  He also wasn't wagging his tail (which he ALWAYS did) and he didn't "nose *" us when he wanted rubbed (which he also did when he whimpered).
*Nosed is when he would take his nose and use it to bump your hand to get your attention.

He will be greatly missed.  Baron was the end of an era.  Mike and I got him and Gracy for each other as wedding gifts.  They were with us our entire married life.  We got home from our honeymoon on Saturday and picked them up on Sunday.  Now that they both are gone, I don't know what I will do with myself during the day.  I expect Baron to meet us at the backdoor when we come home.  He loved to go outside with the kids and I expect him to come running from the back when the backdoor opens.  I look for him in the kitchen lying under the windows on the linoleum.  I go to ask the kids to feed him and get him fresh water when we eat then realize he's not there.  Tomorrow after church, I will want to rush home to let him outside.  I know I will eventually stop thinking these things but, for now, it hurts. 

God, please take care of my babies.  Let them know they are sorely missed and that they will ALWAYS be in our hearts.  Hug and kiss them for me.  We love you Baron and Gracy!!!

Baron eating a rawhide bone 1/2010

Baron enjoying the snow 1/2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Baron's surgery

The last two months have been really hard.  It seems like we are getting hit from all sides.  We've had problems with our air conditioner, the van, deaths in the family, and now our dog Baron.  For those who aren't familiar with our pet, Baron is our black Lab.  When Mike and I got married, we gave each other Labs as wedding presents: Gracy was mine; Baron was Mike's.  We lost Gracy last year to cancer.  Before Gracy's cancer diagnosis, we noticed a lump on Baron's side.  The vet said it looked like a fatty tumor.  It should come off but was fine to leave for a while.  Last week, I took Baron in to have some bloodwork done and had a small lump on his chest looked at.  The lump had adnormal cells so I took him in yesterday to have it removed as well as the lump on his side (over time, it had grown quite large).  The doctor was able to remove the small lump quickly but the large lump proved to be more difficult.  It had started taking on a life of it's own, with veins all over it.  Dr. Hooker said the veins were close to rupturing.  If they had ruptured, Baron would have died. 

A few hours after surgery, Dr. Hooker said Baron was doing great.  He was walking around and did very well while in surgery.  Last night, around 8:30, Dr. Hooker called and said that Baron was having some problems and wasn't doing so well.  He was having trouble breathing so she gave him some more pain medication to help him sleep.  She thought he would have a 50-50 chance of making it through the night.  As you can expect, I didn't take the news so well.  I cried and prayed all night long, trusting God to take care of him.  Mike called this morning around 7 and was told Baron made it through the night and seemed to be okay.  The other vet who helped with the surgery, Dr. Chandler, is suppose to call Mike in a little bit to let us know what it going on.  I do not like to wait, especially in cases like this.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Two New Residents in Heaven

In the last five days, Heaven received two new residents.  My Aunt Orpha passed from this life to the next on Sunday; my Aunt Sybil joined her family in Heaven early this morning.  Orpha and Sybil were my grandmother's sisters.  Aunt Sybil and Grandma Gladys were best friends growing up and as adults.  Many times, they lived near each other and their children grew up together.  Aunt Orpha moved out west long before I was born so I didn't get to know her as well.  My knowledge of her is through comments made by her children and other family members.  She, along with all the other Findleys, loved to laugh and talk.  Oh, what a reunion Heaven is having tonight!!  I'm sure God is loving seeing His children meeting again on the other side.  Out of the fifteen children my great-grandmother had, only four are still here.  My thoughts and prayers go out to them: Opal, Helen, Margie and Ted; along with Aunt Orpha and Aunt Sybil's families.  Your sweet spirits and laughter will be missed for a time but we WILL see you again on the other side.  LOVE YOU!!!

Carol, Aunt Sybil, Mom and Jim

Aunt Sybil on her 87th birthday