Thursday, December 2, 2010


Patton (The Generals) by Agostino von Hassell

For those who are interested in learning more about General George S. Patton without getting bogged down with too many facts, Patton: The Pursuit of Destiny is a must read. It is obvious from the beginning of the book that the authors of the book are fans of the 1970 movie that had George C. Scott portray the controversial war hero of WWII. 

While General Omar Bradley is mentioned throughout the book, the authors point out his undue influence upon the movie by his role as a technical adviser.  The authors also delve into Patton's personal life with his wife and family allowing for a wider breadth of understanding of the famous general as a man.  Despite some brokeness of thought, by virture of mutual authorship, there is a general flow of concepts that allow the reader to come to a more wholistic understanding of General Patton.

In all, it was worth the read and I would recommend it.

For more information please see:  or

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Red Ink by Kathi Macias

Questions/Answers from Kathi Macias

Red Ink is the third book in your four-book Extreme Devotion series. Each book is set in a different country, with the theme of first devotion and commitment to Christ above all else running through all four. How is Red Ink different, and who/what inspired you to write this book?

Red Ink is the only one of the four books that actually deals with someone being arrested and suffering specifically for her faith in Christ. The story is loosely based on my own personal heroine, Li Ying, who is currently serving a ten-year sentence in China for printing/distributing Christian materials, particularly to children. I pray for Li Ying daily, and I remind myself how very blessed I am to have the freedom to do what she did—without paying the price she now pays.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of this story?

A young Chinese woman, Zhen-Li—raised to observe the party line, including its one-child-per-family doctrine—falls in love with and marries a Christian, and adopts his faith. Though the couple downplays their Christianity in an effort to survive, Zhen-Li’s family is appalled, and she and her husband are ostracized. When she becomes pregnant for the second time and refuses to have an abortion, the persecution begins in earnest. Zhen-Li’s parents, under pressure from the government, pay to have Zhen-Li kidnapped and the baby aborted.

It is then Zhen-Li decides she must live up to her name—"Truth"—and take a firm stand for her faith, regardless of the consequences, and so she begins to regularly teach children about Zhu Yesu ("Lord Jesus") and to distribute Christian literature every chance she gets.

Based loosely on the life of Christian magazine editor Li Ying, currently serving a ten-year prison sentence in China, the story of Yang Zhen-Li tells the desperate tale of her incarceration and separation from her family, as she continues to minister to other prisoners, and even to her guards.

How did you get into writing? Has it always been your passion, or is it something you came to later in life?

I’ve always wanted to write, for as long as I can remember. I was an avid reader even before I started kindergarten. I wrote a short story in third grade that the teacher liked so much she showed it to the principal, and they decided to turn it into a play for the entire PTA. I was hooked! One day when I was about 13, I was walking home from school with my then boyfriend (now husband), Al, and I told him I’d be a writer some day. He often reminds me how blessed I am to have been able to do what I dreamed of all my life.

I understand you’re running a special contest that has to do with this book. Can you tell us about it?

Actually, I’m running the same contest twice—two chances to win a free Kindle! To be eligible, follow these three steps:
  • You have to read Red Ink and post reviews on Amazon, CBD, etc., and/or your personal blog;
  • You must also be a follower of my Easy Writer blog (address below); and,
  • Let me know via my website contact email: that you have met the requirements and want to be entered.
The first winner will be announced in early November; the second in mid-December, just in time for a last-minute Christmas gift.

In addition to writing, you are a popular speaker at women’s event, writers’ conferences, and various venues around the country. How can people find out more about you, your writing and speaking, sign up for your weekly devotional newsletter (in English or Spanish), and/or just view your many book videos, etc.?

They can find me at my website ( or blog ( There is a “contact” button on my website if they’d like to send me a message. I always respond to all my emails!

About the Author

Kathi is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 30 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and recently won the prestigious 2008 member of the year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) at the annual Golden Scrolls award banquet. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al, where the two of them spend their free time riding their Harley.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided to me as a blog tour host by New Hope Publishers in exchange for posting this interview on my blog. Please visit Christian Speaker Services at for more information about blog tour management services.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Boy Who Changed the World by Andy Andrews

The Boy Who Changed the World is a wonderful tale of 5 different men in history who, by doing one small or simple thing (or by making one small or simple choice/decision), were able to change the world in a big way. 

The book was short enough that my 3 yr old daughter sat on my lap and allowed me to read it to her and it kept her attention.  I doubt that she understood it, but she enjoyed listening to the book while the attractive illustrations kept her focused. 

The Boy Who Changed the World is a wonderful book for children in the second/third grade and up.  I believe my third grader would actually understand that HE could make a difference by one small kindness to a stranger or a friend.  It would be a wonderful gift or book to use in Children's ministry.  It also makes a great companion for a family that is reading The Butterfly Effect.

The Butterfly Effect by Andy Andrews

"By your hand, millions -- billions-- of lives will be altered, caught up in a chain of
events begun by you this day." ~ Andy Andrews in The Butterfly Effect

What!?  That's what I thought upon first reading and begin to digest this book. Then it became clear... it is a true statement.  What you or I might do today has an affect on our families, on our neighbors and friends, but down the line it will affect millions of people.  Amazing isn't it? 

Through this simple little book Andy Andrews lays out a story line that carries from George Washington Carver (and before) and connects all the way up to present day about how one choice, one action changed America and our life forever. 

Pick up this book... share it with your friends and family, and take from it that each little or big thing you do, each decision you make has an everlasting effect, whether it be small or HUGE.  It makes a great gift book for youth and adults alike!

Author Info:

Andy Andrews  is an internationally known speaker and author of The Traveler's Gift and The Noticer.  He teaches life-changing principles and the power they can have in your day-to-day life.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan

The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan is about a young woman, in the 1930s, who leaves the life she has always known on the banks of Bittersweet Creek to find a new life in Bay City. Mercy is the daughter of a traveling preacher and a mother who has visions of Biblibal proportions. The people of Bittersweet are poor, but closely knit as a family can be. It would be easy to get stuck the life that is Bittersweet. Mercy's Aunt Ida pushes her to try life outside of Bittersweet and Mercy becomes "Doc's Girl." As Doc's Girl, Mercy does whatever the publisher and editor of the Bay City newspaper tells her to do. Mercy is content with her life until Doc shares a secret that's big. How will the secret change their lives? What choices will she have to make and how will that affect those she loves?

River Jordan is an AMAZING writer! This is the second of her books that I have read (Saints in Limbo being the first) by River Jordan and her writing just draws me in and paints such pictures in my mind that I can't help continuing to read. It's poetry... and timeless.

Author Bio:
RIVER JORDAN began her writing career as a playwright with the Loblolly Theatre group. She teaches and speaks nationwide on ‘The Power of Story’, is a monthly contributor to the southern authors’ collective A Good Blog is Hard To Find, and produces and hosts the weekly radio program CLEARSTORY with River Jordan, in Nashville, where she and her husband live. She is the author of Saints in Limbo and this is her fourth novel.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Between a Rock and a Grace Place by Carol Kent

Tell us about the Christmas gift you received. How did it help you to find grace in the middle of a seemingly hopeless situation?

Two weeks before Christmas our doorbell rang at 9:15 p.m. It was dark outside and by the time my husband, Gene, joined me at the front door, we were surprised to find no one there. It was already dark, but my eyes fell on a large, exquisitely wrapped gift. The card on top said, “Mom.” Initially, it felt like a bad joke. Nine years earlier our son, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy had been arrested for murdering his wife’s first husband and he was in prison serving a life-without-the-possibility-of-parole sentence.

However, I am a “Mom” and the package was left on my doorstep, so I opened it. The note appeared to be in my son’s unique handwriting. The note expressed his deep love for me and his gratefulness for what I had done to help him since his arrest. He said a “friend” had helped him deliver the surprise. Opening the box, I discovered a gorgeous russet-colored silk jacket—and it fit me perfectly.

That night I discovered something new about God and something I had forgotten about myself. He loves to interject divine surprises into our lives. His timing is always perfect, but it had been a while since I had been surprised by joy, wonder, and grace in the middle of one of the tight spots of life.

What are “grace places,” and how can hurting people in need find them?

All of us experience tight spots when life turns out differently from our dream. When we face the overwhelming obstacles of life, we can experience the last thing we ever expect—the sweet spot of grace. Grace places have a variety of forms, but some include:

•Receiving love when we don’t deserve it
•Finding safety in the middle of a fearful and uncertain experience
•Being comforted by friends and family (people who are extensions of God’s love)
•Experiencing the embrace of God when we have run out of strength and courage
“Grace means the free, unmerited, unexpected love of God, and all the benefits, delights, and comforts which flow from it.” (R.P.C. Hanson)

How important are contentment and gratitude in finding grace and peace?

My son, Jason, is teaching me that I need to choose contentment and thanksgiving in all things. As an inmate in a maximum-security prison, all of his personal items must fit in one small one-foot-high and one-and a half-feet-deep and two-and-a half feet long steel lockbox. He has learned to live comfortably with very little, which brings him a surprising sense of peace.

When I was visiting him one weekend I asked how he holds on to hope in the middle of a life-without-the-possibility-of-parole sentence. He said, “Mom, I have a gratitude list. Whenever the clouds of depression try to discouragement, I get out a piece of paper and write down everything I have to be thankful for. I’m thankful I have two parents who will be my advocates for as long as they live. The average number of years a lifer gets visits is five years and then no one comes anymore. I’m also thankful I can be a missionary on a compound that houses up to 1,700 men.” I’m learning from Jason that I find contentment when I choose to be thankful and when I invest my time in helping other people.

What are some unexpected gestures of kindness you’ve received in the past, and how did they help you through difficult times?

A couple of years ago Jason’s appendix ruptured and he was rushed from the prison to a civilian hospital. Gene and I were not allowed to know where he was and I prayed for someone to care for him as a mother would. He had two armed guards in his room at all times. Nurse Betty was assigned to Jason’s care. She treated him with respect and extraordinary care—and I knew she was a direct answer to my prayers.

A group of people who called themselves our “Stretcher Bearers” received an e-mailed monthly update on how to help with our needs. We were blessed with meals, cards, and financial gifts, often just before we needed extra funds for the next legal payment. These amazing people waited with us for two and a half years through seven postponements of the trial.

How has your definition of adventure changed over the years, and why is it important to retain adventure in your life, despite your situation?

True adventure is seeing the potential of living for things that matter in the middle of your current circumstances. We had the adventure of launching a nonprofit organization that helps to empower our son to facilitate classes by having books and DVD teaching series sent to the prison. We also have the adventure of reaching out to other people who are in crisis, which brings purpose and deep meaning to our lives.

There is a theme of surprise throughout the book. What is one of the greatest surprises you’ve had?

The powerful story of Tammy Wilson and Matthew Ben Rodriguez is in this book. Tammy contacted me after I spoke at an event she attended because my son is incarcerated in the same prison where Matt, the man who killed her mother thirteen years ago is incarcerated. She had been praying for someone to lead Matt to Christ and asked if Jason would try to meet him. It turned out that Jason and Matt were already friends and this amazing story is one of forgiveness, redemption, and restoration that can only be explained in the supernatural dimension.

Between a Rock and a Grace Place releases 10 years after your son, Jason, was sentenced to life in a maximum security prison and includes excerpts from Jason’s letters. Can you tell us how he’s doing now?

He has just taken his 8th group of men through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University Course and he will be facilitating a biblical counseling class on marriage and family this fall. He has a prayer group of twelve inmates who fast and pray for the needs of each other and their families. Prison is a depressing, dark, and sad place, but Jason is living for things that will outlast him.

When you received news about Jason’s clemency hearing being denied, how did you respond?

I wailed like a baby, sobbed, felt angry, hurt, and disappointed in God. Then we saw Jason a day after this devastating news. He was calm and very much at peace. He hugged me as I wept and said, “Mom, this case isn’t about having the best attorney or about having the favor of Florida’s top executive political leaders. If I am ever allowed to walk in freedom in this lifetime, it will be because God miraculously opened a door that was closed.” My son helps me to develop an eternal perspective and that day he comforted me.
What advice do you have for those who are stuck between a rock and a grace place?

In the middle of your own hurt reach out to someone else who needs help worse than you do. When you involve yourself in meeting the needs of others, you discover an unexpected freedom on the inside. Corrie ten Boom once said, “What did you do today that only a Christian would have done?”

As a result of your journey, you and your husband have founded the nonprofit organization Speak Up for Hope. What are the goals of the organization, and how can people get involved?

Our vision: To help inmates and their families adjust to their new normal.

Our mission: We exist to provide hope to inmates and their families through encouragement and resources.

Please go to for a list of practical ways individuals, churches, and organizations can help with specific projects. Our goal is to live out the truth of Prov. 31:8-9: “Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down-and-outers. Speak out for justice. Stand up for the poor and destitute!”

Where may we connect with you further or to purchase a copy of Between a Rock and a Grace Place?

I would love for you to visit my web site at, browse through the various events and other resources available. You may also join me on my Facebook page, please click here.

About the Author

Carol Kent is the bestselling author of When I Lay My Isaac Down and A New Kind of Normal. Carol is an expert on public speaking, writing, and on encouraging people to hold on to hope when life’s circumstances turn out differently from their dreams. She lives in Florida with her husband Gene.

Carol Kent is a popular international public speaker best known for being dynamic, humorous, encouraging, and biblical. She is a former radio show co-host and has often been a guest on Focus on the Family and a featured speaker at Time Out for Women and Heritage Keepers arena events. She has spoken at The Praise Gathering for Believers and at Vision New England’s Congress. She is also a frequent speaker at Women of Virtue events across the country.

Read an excerpt here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Her Daughter's Dream

Her Daughter's Dream by Francine Rivers (Tyndale House Publishers, September 2010)

In the dramatic conclusion to the New York Times best seller Her Mother’s Hope, Francine Rivers delivers a rich and deeply moving story about the silent sorrows that can tear a family apart and the grace and forgiveness that can heal even the deepest wounds.

Growing up isn’t easy for little Carolyn Arundel. With her mother, Hildemara, quarantined to her room with tuberculosis, Carolyn forms a special bond with her oma Marta, who moves in to care for the household. But as tensions between Hildie and Marta escalate, Carolyn believes she is to blame. When Hildie returns to work and Marta leaves, Carolyn and her brother grow up as latchkey kids in a world gripped by the fear of the Cold War.

College offers Carolyn the chance to find herself, but a family tragedy shatters her newfound independence. Rather than return home, she cuts all ties and disappears into the heady counterculture of San Francisco. When she reemerges two years later, more lost than ever, she reluctantly turns to her family to help rebuild a life for her and her own daughter, May Flower Dawn.

Just like Carolyn, May Flower Dawn develops a closer bond with her grandmother, Hildie, than with her mother, causing yet another rift between generations. But as Dawn struggles to avoid the mistakes of those who went before her, she vows that somehow she will be a bridge between the women in her family rather than the wall that separates them forever.

Spanning from the 1950s to present day, Her Daughter’s Dream is the emotional final chapter of an unforgettable family saga about the sacrifices every mother makes for her daughter—and the very nature of unconditional love.

About the Author

Francine Rivers began her literary career at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in English and journalism. From 1976 to 1985, she had a successful writing career in the general market, and her books were highly acclaimed by readers and reviewers. Although raised in a religious home, Francine did not truly encounter Christ until later in life, when she was already a wife, a mother of three, and an established romance novelist.

Shortly after becoming a born-again Christian in 1986, Francine wrote Redeeming Love as her statement of faith. First published by Bantam Books and then rereleased by Multnomah Publishers in the mid-1990s, this retelling of the biblical story of Gomer and Hosea, set during the time of the California Gold Rush, is now considered by many to be a classic work of Christian fiction. Redeeming Love continues to be one of the Christian Booksellers Association's top-selling titles, and it has held a spot on the Christian best-seller list for nearly a decade.

Since Redeeming Love, Francine has published numerous novels with Christian themes—all best sellers—and she has continued to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her Christian novels have been awarded or nominated for numerous honors, including the RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, and the Holt Medallion in Honor of Outstanding Literary Talent. In 1997, after winning her third RITA Award for inspirational fiction, Francine was inducted into the Romance Writers of America's Hall of Fame. Francine's novels have been translated into over 20 different languages, and she enjoys best-seller status in many foreign countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, and South Africa.

Francine and her husband, Rick, live in northern California and enjoy time spent with their three grown children and taking every opportunity to spoil their grandchildren. Francine uses her writing to draw closer to the Lord, and she desires that through her work she might worship and praise Jesus for all He has done and is doing in her life.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Girls' Guide to Life by Katie Meier

I have two teenage girls and one preschool girl... that was why I wanted to read and review this book. I took the time to really read the book and found GREAT information with a positve attitude and God-centered morals. That made me very happy!!

It's a very encouraging and insiteful guide to life's problems all teenagers experience. The topics range from peer pressure, fashion, make-up, beauty (real), self-esteem, prejudice & perception, sex & sexuality, family, religion, disorders and so on.

Meier shares options that are available to teens and then also gives the Biblical response/choice and scripture to back it up. I LOVE this book and am praying that my girls will read it and be open to what she says... and then I'll be passing this on to others!!

For more information please visit Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Escaping the Cauldron

What is the book about?

The book is part testimony of how I went from committed, albeit legalistic, Christian for twenty-nine years to witch, medium, and ghost hunter for eight years before God restored my faith and life. It details my personal struggle with trying to be "the perfect Christian" while being drawn to the Occult from childhood. The book is also a Biblical study that examines the current pop-cultural interest in the occult (in particular ghosts, hauntings, and mediums) and how this interest is affecting Christians as well as their beliefs about the supernatural.

Why call it Escaping the Cauldron?

This is actually the first book in a series, What Christians Need to Know about the Occult. It is a series of collections written from my former experiences as a witch, medium, and ghost hunter. This book is primarily about ghost hunting, mediumship, and the paranormal but I chose "Escaping the Cauldron" as the main title because witchcraft was truly my entry into the arena of occult interest and exploration including such things as divination, psychic ability, spirit guides, mediumship, ghost hunting, etc.

What do you think is the most important chapter of the book?

I think there are many important chapters but "Spiritual Warfare" and "How Should Christians Respond?"are the two which take everything discussed in the previous chapters bringing it all together, helping the reader understand their authority in Jesus Christ and leading the way to a ready defense for any kind of paranormal or supernatural event they may experience in their life as a Christian.

What do you hope to accomplish with this book?

I hope to inform and equip Christians with information about the occult. Additionally I pray the church will begin to acknowledge the presence of the spiritual world around us and listen to people who come forward with stories or claims of paranormal experiences without dismissing them immediately. When the church refuses to listen or offer any Biblical assistance, many people are forced to seek help elsewhere. This generally means seeking out ghost hunters, mediums, and psychics. I also hope to encourage Christians who may be questioning their faith to seek a deeper relationship with God, especially if they are stuck in a form of legalism. Our answers truly can be found in Jesus Christ.

Where is the book currently available to purchase?

The book is available in paperback and Kindle editions at Amazon. The book is also available in paperback and e-book editions at my blog site: Kristine ReMixed at and Lulu Publishing.

How are you available to the Christian community?

I write a daily blog, Kristine ReMixed at, on a variety of topics including faith, marriage, prayer, spiritual gifts, and the occult. I also work with my husband through Big Fish Ministries at, ministering through speaking with him at church and para-church events about marriage, facilitating seven day or special event prayer rooms, helping the homeless, etc. I am also available to speak at any youth, women's, or church events on a variety of Christian topics.

Find Kristine McGuire on Social Media Sites:

Follow on Facebook at:

Follow on Twitter at:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A complimentary copy of this book was provided to me as a blog tour host by the author in exchange for posting this interview on my blog. Please visit Christian Speaker Services at for more information about blog tour management services.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Couponing, Saving, Sweepstakes, Points Programs Revisited....

Since the last time I wrote a post that put all of this stuff in one place, I have moved. I have added some new programs, blogs that I read and get info from, etc. So, I thought I would write another post to put all of these in one place... to share with my friends!! : )

First of all... you may want to set up a FREE HOTMAIL or YAHOO or GMAIL account for all these programs/sweeps. This will be an account you don't mind recieving "junk" in, and it won't mess up your regular email.

Programs that I do for points to trade in for Gift Cards/Cash:

MyPoints: This is my all time fave program. It's easy and does NOT take a lot of time. You can earn points by just reading e-mails or if you shop online, you can earn points for that as well. They also give birthday and anniversary (with them) points. I LOVE it!! I use this program for Chili's GC, Panera, Target/Walmart/Walgreens... it's a great program to earn GC for Bdays and Christmas!!

Swagbucks: This is another easy program. If you search the internet, you can earn points with this one easy. I installed their toolbar, which makes it easy for searching. I use it instead of Google (I believe it powered by Google anyhow). Just for using the toolbar, you get 1 point daily. If you take the poll at their website, you get a point daily. Then you just search for whatever you need ... and earn points. Fridays are MegaPoints days, meaning when you search on Friday, you get even more points (I have seen people get upwards of 50 pts for 1 search). This program I use to earn Amazon GiftCards. One $5 Amazon GC = 450pts. You can also shop through this program and earn more pts, but I've not done that.

InboxDollars: is another e-mail program to earn dollars. I receive e-mails from them (advertisements for stuff), click the link they have... follow that link to it's new open link and click to confirm it's been read. That's it!! From their webpage, you can do more like surveys, games, etc, but I mostly just do their e-mails. I am very close to cashing out with this one ($30 cash out). This is a place to take surveys... sometimes they send samples, but most of all the surveys earn you points and at 1000pts you can cash in for $10 (of course, you can save points up for more) or you can turn points into actual prizes.

Blogs I subscribe to for information on Sweeps/Coupons/Freebies:
Let me say, a few of these are from when I was living in CO, so they are based in CO and not all of the "deals" they share will be applicable to everyone... just a heads up! (obviously-- based in CO Springs)

Programs I do for Samples/freebies/Coupons:

VocalPoint: This site is mostly about trying new stuff. Keep your eyes peeled for coupons, freebies/samples. They send out e-mails with this stuff and post it on FB. Also, some of the Blogs I subscribe to give a shout out when things are available thru them...but you still have to be a member to request the coupon/sample.

KraftFirstTaste: join here to try new stuff first and FREE!! I have tried Oscar Meyer Deli Sandwiches, pizzas, jellos, Cream cheese minis, Oreo Cakesters -- all for free through this program!! Love it! :)

Startsampling : you can pick up all kinds of coupons/samples here. You also get points for referring friends (my user ID is LADETTE) that can eventually be turned in for a "prize." This program used to be a lot better than it is now... I think there are just SOOO many programs out there, this one is struggling.

BzzAgent: As a BzzAgent, you'll get to:

* Discover and try new products and services (often for free!)
* Spread sincere word of mouth about them
* Have your opinions influence some of the biggest companies and brands around

Places to go for printable coupons:

GOOGLE (or Swag Bucks)-- I often search for coupons.... if I use Swag bucks, I can find coupons and possibly earn points at the same time!!

There are also a few "Message Boards" if you are up for surfing them to find the deals/freebies/coupons:

I also subscribe to AllYou Magazine... they have a ton of COUPONS in EVERY issue!! And, I pick up a Sunday paper on my way to church every Sunday.

Remeber to check out manufacturer's websites for coupons and freebies. Also,,,,, and many more stores offer freebies and coupons online. frequently has sweepstakes/games that you can play and win with!!

Okay... that's all I can think of right now. I may have to edit this post later if I can think of more, but this will get you started!! Have fun!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Soleil 100 Days

Soleil 100 Days: "There are thousands of fun, sharable prizes in the BIC® Soleil® 100 Days of Sunshine promotion. Join now!"

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Shades of Morning by Marlo Schalesky

Marnie Wittier seemd to have it all together... she had a perfect life with her little bookstore/coffee shop, she attends the local church and she helps those who need her. But, nobody knows about the little box of regrets, sorrows, and sins she keeps hidden in her closet. Then, her life changes when Emmitt enters her life. Emmitt is her estranged, dead sister's son... who has Down's Syndrome. Emmitt turns Marnie's world outside and brings the past out for Marnie to settle.

Marlo Schalesky wove Shades of Morning into an intricate tapestry of disappointment, heartache, fear turned hope, forgiveness and LOVE!

I really had a hard time getting into this book and the end left me a little confused/surprised, yet happy. So, I won't say that I loved this book, but I didn't hate it either... maybe it's the place I was in [in life] when I read it, or the mood or whatever. Give it a chance, you just might LOVE it!

For more information visit: or

Author Bio:

Marlo Schalesky is the author of several books, including Beyond the Night and Empty Womb, Aching Heart. A graduate of Stanford University, Marlo also has a masters of theology with an emphasis in biblical studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. Married over twenty years, she lives with her husband, Bryan, and their five children in California.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

They Almost Aways Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti

1. How would you describe your book?

The tagline for the book is “She’d leave her husband…if she could find him.”

When Libby’s husband Greg doesn’t return from a two-week canoe trip to the Canadian wilderness, the authorities write off his disappearance as an unhappy husband’s escape from an oatmeal marriage and mind-numbing career. Their marriage might have survived if their daughter Lacey hadn’t died and if Greg hadn’t been responsible. Libby enlists the aid of her wilderness-savvy father-in-law and her faith-walking best friend to help her search for clues to her husband’s disappearance. What the trio discovers in the wilderness search upends Libby’s assumptions about her husband and rearranges her faith.

It’s my prayer that this fictional adventure story and emotional journey will reveal its own hope-laden clues for those struggling to survive or longing to exit what they believe are uninspiring marriages. How can a woman survive a season or a lifetime when she finds it difficult to like the man she loves?

2. How were you different as a writer and as a person when you finished writing They Almost Always Come Home?

This book changed me in a profound way. It forced me to take a more honest look at myself and my reactions to crises so I could write Libby’s character with authenticity. Libby is a composite of many women. I haven’t experienced what she did, but I identify with some of her struggles and longings, as I hope my readers will. I see my friends in her eyes and know that her tears aren’t hers alone. Her shining moments feed my courage. Libby speaks for me and for many others when she discovers that she is stronger than she realized and weaker than she wanted to admit.

Writing her story was a journey for the author as much as for the character.

3. What did you feel the tug on your heart to become a writer?

My journey toward a lifetime of writing began by reading books that stirred me, changed me, convinced me that imagination is a gift from an imaginative Creator. As a child, I read when I should have been sleeping…and still do. I couldn’t wait for the BookMobile (library on wheels) to pull up in front of the post office in our small town and open its arms to me. Somewhere between the pages of a book, my heart warmed to the idea that one day I too might tell stories that made readers stay up past their bedtimes.

4. What books line your bookshelves?

My bookshelves—don’t ask how many!—hold a wide variety of genres. The collection expands faster than a good yeast dough. I’m a mood reader, grabbing a light comedy one day and a literarily rich work the next. Although I appreciate well-written nonfiction, I gravitate toward an emotionally engaging contemporary women’s fiction story.

Somthing Extra From the Author's Heart

Ten years ago, my husband almost didn’t come home. His canoe adventure with our son Matt soured on Day Two when Bill grew violently ill from what we presume was either pancreatitis or a gall bladder attack. He’s an insulin-dependent diabetic, so any grave illness is a threat. One in the middle of the Canadian wilderness is morgue material.

With no satellite phone with which to call for help, Matt took turns caring for his father and watching the shore for other canoeists happening past their hastily constructed campsite. The few other canoes were headed deeper into the remote areas of the park, not on their way out. None had a satellite phone. And none of them were doctors.

As my husband grew sicker, his diabetes went nuclear. He couldn’t eat, yet needed insulin because his liver thought it should help out by dumping vast quantities of sugar into his system. Even in a hospital setting, the situation would have been difficult to control, and the nearest hospital was light years away across vast stretches of water and woodland, through peopleless, roadless wilderness.

Our son stretched a yellow tarp across the rocks on shore and wrote S.O.S. with charcoal from a dead fire. He scratched out countless notes on pieces of notebook paper torn from their trip journal:

Send rescue! My dad is deathly ill.

Read the rest of the story at the KCWC BLOG.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I Am Hutterite By Mary-Ann Kirkby

I Am Hutterite is an amazing story of one family's trials and joys of being part of a very conservative, peaceful religious group in a world that doesn't see things like they do.

I was very interested in reading this book, because I have actually seen/met a few Hutterites. In August of 2007, I caught my first glimpse of them during a mission trip to Canada. They stood out because of their differences, and I wondered exactly why where they different besides their dress. They reminded me a lot of the Mennonites in our part of the continent (CO), but instead of the plain clothes of the Amish and Mennonites, their dresses were colorful and their head coverings were polka-dot.

Here is a picture of the one group we saw while helping at the annual Taber, Alberta Cornfest. This picture was taken in August of 2007.

I digress... I Am Hutterite is Mary-Ann Kirkby's true-life story of being born into the life of a Hutterite and what happened during that time and afterward when her family left the colony and struck out on their own. It's an amazing story of courage and love and the gifts she received from the colony, her family.

It was a great book and an easy read. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in how others live. If you are reading this and you've been to Canada with me... GET THIS BOOK! Read it, enjoy it and remember to continue reaching out to them!

For more information check out Thomas Nelson publishers.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Last Christian by David Gregory

Abigail Caldwell is the 34 year old daughter of missionaries to the Inisi tribe in Papua New Guinea. She has recently emerged from that culture because of a nightmarish ordeal, and has been thrust into the modern culture of the United States in 2088 A.D., where Science is ruler and God is almost nonexistent. Her grandparents left a cryptic message to her, 16 years earlier! Should she tackle the impossible-- reintroducing Christianity to a secular world?

Meanwhile, leading artificial intelligence industry has taken off, creating a technique to download the human brain into a silicon form potentially eliminating physical death. Brain transplants begin, but problems that arise are hidden so the advancement of technology can continue.

Abigail is soon joined by Creighton Daniels, a historian who is concerned about the unexpected death of his father.

You can download the first chapter here: Chapter one.

About the Author:

David Gregory is the coauthor of two nonfiction books and a frequent conference speaker. After a ten-year business career, he returned to school to study religion and communications, earning two master's degrees. David lives in Texas, where he works for a nonprofit organization.

You can check out an interview with the author here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A few cards I've made lately...

I have really been struggling to balance getting the house in order (and all my regular "chores") and being able to craft. I haven't been able to craft much, but I have been able to make a few cards along the way. It just had to happen, ya' know? I HAD to craft!
Anyhow, here are some cards I've made since moving to Savannah:

This card is just a general card... thought it could be used for a graduation, encouragement, whatever. It's the first one I have used my Oval Nestabilities on, so that was fun. The base is a SU! paper, but the black paper came from something I received when I joined MaxPerks at Office Max. I LOVED the paper and knew I had to repurpose it into a card.

This one has already been given away. I used it for a graduation card (since I didn't have any graduation cards made). I think it turned out lovely. Again, the base is a SU! card stock. The designer paper is from an 8X8 Paper Stack by DCWV. The flowers were from a friend who landed a HUGE find at the Salvation Army a few years back and decided to share with me (thanks Cathy!). The ribbon is just some brown grosgrain. The center of the flower is a punch out of brown cardstock (Archiver's), covered in glossy accent and sprinkled with glitter.
This card is one that I made with my daughter Abigail's help. Then we sent it to Nana. Abigail likes to help me "work" on my crafts. Unfortunately, Abigail is only 3 and her work often doubles my work. So, frequently I will give her pieces of paper to play with and punches to use. I had just gotten my new crimper and she thought that was the coolest thing! So, I cut a piece of paper small enough to run through the crimper and let her do the work. Then, I gave her my new Martha Stewart butterfly punch... and she punched right in the middle of the paper. I thought, well, why not!? So, I glued it on the front of the black cardstock, added a flower with a ladybug brad and there you go! Inside, Abigail drew a rainbow for's what it looked like:
Yes, that would be an all BLUE rainbow.

This is my Dad's birthday card... I used a new Tim Holtz stamp set that I bought at Michaels. It's SO hard to find really masculine stuff! The truck is from that set, the trees are from SU!'s Lovely as a Tree set. I am thinking that Tim Holtz has another set I would like to purchase that is masculine.... I'll just have to keep my eyes peeled for them (and a coupon!).

Well, I have looked and looked and can't find any more pics of cards I have made since moving. I know of at least two more (my mom's Mother's Day card-- lovely tri-fold Shutter card, and my sister's bday card-- another one Abigail wanted to help with!).
Hopefully I will continue to make some order out of the chaos that is my craft room... and will be able to have MORE time to craft!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Life, In Spite of Me: Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice by Kristen Jane Anderson w/ Tricia goyer

Life, In Spite of Me is an amazing story of hurt, depression and hopelessness that ends in hope. Kristen was brought up in a home of love and happiness, but a series of events took her to the depth of depression and sadness. She tried several avenues of "help" varying from alcohol/partying to psychiatric help, but none of them kept her from trying to take her own life.

Life is a quick read filled with sadness and HOPE. We've all dealt with depression or know someone who has... this is a great insight into what depression is really like. I believe this book is also a great encouragement to those who think all hope is lost. Buy several copies and pass them around... it will touch who it needs to!

If you are interested, you can download and read the first chapter here: Chapter 1. For more information check out WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing.

About the Author:

Kristen Jane Anderson has been featured on Oprah and is a popular speaker at colleges, women’s and youth events, churches, and suicide prevention outreaches. A graduate of Moody Bible Institute and the founder of Reaching You Ministries, Kristen seeks to help those who are hurting, hopeless, lost, suicidal and depressed.

Tricia Goyer is the author of three hundred articles for national periodicals, as well as fourteen novels and six nonfiction books, including Blue Like Play Dough.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Awesome CRAFT Giveaway!!

Over at Obsessed With Scrapbooking, Joy is giving away:

1) Cricut Summer Vacation cartridge
2) Cricut Summer in Paris cartridge
3) a pack of SEI Happy Paper (12" x 12" size)
4) a package of Tim Holtz grungeboard


A Cricut GYPSY!!

There are lots of ways to enter, so head on over and check it out!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Green, Book Zero: The Beginning and the End by Ted Dekker

It has taken me a while to get through this book. Dekker is an amazing writer, but his writings are deep and require intellect and concentration to take in all that he is saying. Between the time I received the book and now, my husband lost his job, we have moved and my husband has gotten a new job. I had started the book back then and just finished the book yesterday. When I first started, I had a hard time "getting in to the book." I hated that, since I had loved the other three books in this set. Anyhow, I finally got back into the book and it starts off where White ends and it completes the circle.

It is a complex, yet amazing read. To try and give you a summary is beyond me! My reccomendation would be to just pick it up and start reading, it will be an amazing first chapter for this circle. If you love it, then read Black, Red, and White!! If you've already read Black, Red and White, then this will be the amazing last chapter. I am actually thinking about going back and rereading the other books in their order, but now behind Green instead of in front of Green.

For more information on Ted Dekker: or

Ted Dekker
The son of missionaries John and Helen Dekker, whose incredible story of life among headhunters in Indonesia has been told in several books, Ted Dekker learned at a very early age the difference between authentic Christianity and so-called religion. Surrounded by the vivid colors of the jungle and a myriad of cultures, Dekker received a first-class education on human nature and behavior. This, he believes, is the foundation of his writing.

After earning his Bachelor's Degree in Religion and Philosophy from Evangel College, Dekker spent time in the corporate world before turning to writing full-time in 1997. He states that each time he writes, he finds his vision of God just a little clearer and his expression of that vision a little more vivid. Dekker's body of work contains over twenty novels including Thr3e, The Circle Series, and Sinner.

He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife LeeAnn and their four children.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Her Mother's Hope

From the beloved, best-selling author of Redeeming Love comes a powerful epic that spans continents and generations in an unforgettable story about family and faith, dreams and disappointments, and ultimately the resilience and tenacity of love.

Best-selling author Francine Rivers pens a sweeping and lyrical two-book saga that explores the depths of grace and forgiveness in one of life’s fiercest bonds—the love between mother and daughter.

Near the turn of the twentieth century, fiery Marta Schneider is torn between her father’s declaration that she’ll never be more than a servant and her mother’s encouragement to chase her dreams. Determined to fulfill her mother’s hope, Marta leaves home for a better life. Young and alone, she earns her way with a series of housekeeping and cooking jobs that bring her ever closer to her dream of owning an inn.

Heartbreaking news from home strengthens Marta’s resolve as she moves to England and eventually to Canada. There, she meets handsome Niclas Waltert, a man just as committed as she to forging a better life in a new place. But nothing has prepared her for the sacrifices she must make for marriage and motherhood as she travels first to the Canadian wilderness and finally to the dusty Central Valley of California to raise her family.

Marta’s hope is to give her children a better life, but experience has taught her that only the strong survive. Her tough love is often misunderstood, especially by her oldest daughter, Hildemara Rose, who craves her mother’s acceptance. Amid the drama of World War II, Hildie falls in love and begins a family of her own. But unexpected and tragic events force mother and daughter to face their own shortcomings and the ever-widening chasm that threatens to separate them forever.

About the Author:

Francine Rivers began her literary career at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in English and journalism. From 1976 to 1985, she had a successful writing career in the general market, and her books were highly acclaimed by readers and reviewers. Although raised in a religious home, Francine did not truly encounter Christ until later in life, when she was already a wife, a mother of three, and an established romance novelist.

Shortly after becoming a born-again Christian in 1986, Francine wrote Redeeming Love as her statement of faith. First published by Bantam Books and then rereleased by Multnomah Publishers in the mid-1990s, this retelling of the biblical story of Gomer and Hosea, set during the time of the California Gold Rush, is now considered by many to be a classic work of Christian fiction. Redeeming Love continues to be one of the Christian Booksellers Association's top-selling titles, and it has held a spot on the Christian best-seller list for nearly a decade.

Since Redeeming Love, Francine has published numerous novels with Christian themes—all best sellers—and she has continued to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her Christian novels have been awarded or nominated for numerous honors, including the RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, and the Holt Medallion in Honor of Outstanding Literary Talent. In 1997, after winning her third RITA Award for inspirational fiction, Francine was inducted into the Romance Writers of America's Hall of Fame. Francine's novels have been translated into over 20 different languages, and she enjoys best-seller status in many foreign countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, and South Africa.

Francine and her husband, Rick, live in northern California and enjoy time spent with their three grown children and taking every opportunity to spoil their grandchildren. Francine uses her writing to draw closer to the Lord, and she desires that through her work she might worship and praise Jesus for all He has done and is doing in her life

First chapter excerpt at:

PLEASE NOTE: A complimentary copy of this book was provided to the me as a blog tour host by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for posting this interview on my blog. Please visit Christian Speaker Services at for more information about blog tour management services.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter.... Resurrection Day!

Yesterday was Easter... the Resurrection Day, the day we celebrate Christ's rising from the dead to declare victory over death. Yes, Death is defeated! Praise God!!
Growing up, every Easter (or just about every) was spent at my Nanny's house with TONS of family. I have 5 aunts and 2 uncles (plus their spouses) and 11 cousins on that side of the family... not including the extended family that came! Nanny's house was always packed, but it was also filled with love and laughter. For many years, I have not lived near my family.. or extended family... or neccessarily people that I've known very long. Usually, we have lived in places where we didn't know anyone.... at all!

One year in particular, I was very sad... we were very far from family and no one invited us to join them. So, I wallowed in self-pity.... my family went to church (no new Easter outfits), we celebrated at church, and then we went home at ate PB&J sandwiches for lunch. Now, my children didn't really care, but I cried all afternoon. God finally said, "Ladette... you can be bitter or you can make it better!" I decided to make it better. Every year after that, we invited people to join us for Easter. Yes, it was hard... trying to get the pastor... and 3...4...5 children ready for Easter services, be there early, make sure dinner was prepared .. etc. BUT, it was so worth it. The memories we have and the relationships that were built us because we reached out to others will never fade!! And God is/was glorified.

This year, we are once again, away from family. We are living far enough from family that we aren't able to celebrate Easter (or other "Sunday holidays") with our own families... unless they come to us. We've only been here a month, but a week before Easter, we were invited to join a celebration!! I was so excited!!

So, we dressed in our Easter Finery... I thought my children looked like angels (although, my oldest son asked if I could hurry up, 'cause he was "sweatin' like a sinner in church!"-- rofl!).

This dear family invited us and another family to join them and their extended family for Easter dinner-- what chaos, what noise, but what fun!! There were 3 toddlers/preschoolers, 5 elementary aged (all boys!), 5 teens, 2 college aged kids and 11 adults!! What a house full! And the food... there was so much food.... deviled eggs, rolls, fruit, green bean casserole, rice, squash casserole, ham and fried chicken. Oh, and banana pudding and cake for dessert!!

After all the food, we had an Easter Egg Hunt! To make it all fair, the three little ones got to hunt in the front yard (about 30 eggs total) and then, they got to join the BIG kids in the back yard for their hunt!! We had over 200 eggs hidden.... with a grand prize egg that had a $5 bill in it (several of the other eggs also had differing amounts of money in them).

(the littles peeking at the eggs outside)

And the hunt is on....

The big kids joined in!
What a beautiful day!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

An Absence So Great by Jane Kirkpatrick

An Absence So Great is the continuing story of Jessie Ann Gaebele's journey to becoming an independent female photographer and understanding love and it's role in her life.

Her story began in A Flickering Light, and because of the choices she made and some that were made for her, she moved away from her hometown of Winona, Minnesota. In this new novel, Jessie is working as an assistant doing the retouching and helping set up for portraits... so much less than she aspires to do. Will she find love? Will she ever have her own studio?

An Absence So Great is the conclusion to the wonderful story of Kirkpatrick's grandmother! I loved it and reading the real-life struggles of an indepent, smart woman in the early 1900s.

For more information about this book, and others by Jane Kirkpatrick, please visit: WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers.

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.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Enter to Worship - Exit to Serve by Ronald K. Gray

1.Interview with the author:

What is the book about? While the book’s title puts it in the praise and worship section in book stores, the book is more about the total life of the believer. Nehemiah10:39 is the core scripture for the book’s teachings. Nehemiah had gone to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls and also rebuilt the temple, restoring worship to the people. Worship was centered around sacrifice. I use the different groups pictured in Nehemiah to talk about fundamental areas of the believers life. The scripture says they would not forsake the temple of God. We have forsaken the house of God today. We are so busy with our agendas, we have left the true reason for worship. God is looking for something real from our lives, not just our words.

2.Why Enter to Worship and Exit to Serve?

The life of the believer comes from our life in God. We bring to Him a sacrifice of our monies, our gifts, our fruit and lay it at His feet. The premise for most Christians today is what can God do for them instead of how can I worship God with all that is within me. The scriptures teach us that everyone has something to offer. When we worship in the fullness of our lives, God then fills us to be able to affect our world. We then exit to serve God through proclaiming His Word, serving those around us and exalting His name in all the earth. Everything we do in church is to help us fulfill God’s calling on our lives in the world.

3. Why do you talk about money?

The very first thing that was brought into the temple was an offering of grain or corn. This is symbolic of money. I go to Kenya every year and they trade their corn for other items such as meat, oil, etc. God is interested in our money. He speaks of money more than He does either prayer or heaven. I think there has been a lot of negative about money and there has been a lot of error through the years. I hope that what I teach in the book is balanced. Many pastors have said this teaching has helped their churches understand the truth about tithes, first fruits and seed offerings.

4. What do you think is the most important chapter of the book?

In over 35 years of full time ministry, I have never heard anyone else teach about porters. In Nehemiah 10:39 it lists porters between priest and singers. I thought that was very interesting and researched porters. It is basically a janitor. So between priests and porters are janitors. Servants that do the basics. People who do ordinary things to keep ministries going. God wants servants. That is a concept that is lost in the big time world of church ministries today. Jesus came to serve. I believe that we can make a difference in our community, our neighborhoods, and our world if we are willing to lay our lives down to serve God.

5. What do you hope to accomplish with your book?

I hope that ordinary believers will recognize they have something to offer. We can bring our monies and touch the nations. We can bring our gifts and see the power of God touch people and their needs. We can offer our fruit and not wait for the pastors or elders, but be instruments to bring life to those around us who are seeking a relevant relationship with Jesus. The five fold ministries of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher were never supposed to do everything in the church. The church is supposed to be equipped for ministry. Everyone should be able to proclaim the message and everyone should have praise for the God we serve. That should not happen just on Sunday mornings between 10 a.m. and 12 noon. We should be able to give God praise in our homes and throughout the week. I truly believe this can be the church’s finest hour.
6. Where are these resources available to purchase?

You can obtain this book and many other resources on my web site at
7. Are there other available resources connected with this book?

Yes, I taught my book at a conference and had it professionally recorded on video and audio. These sessions are great for small groups and Bible studies. There is a Study Guide to help the leader go through the sessions. The book and the video provide different insights that will help people to grow into maturity.

This book was provided for review by the author.
About the Author
Ronald Gray serves the Kingdom of God through sharing the uncompromised Word of God. He has been faithful to his call since 1974. He is on the board of International Outreach Ministries and Charles Simpson Ministries. He is the Director of Mission Growth for IOM leading short-term teams to various countries in the world. Ronald began his ministry with Gulf Coast Teen Challenge in Pensacola, FL. He has served as an Associate Pastor and Senior Pastor. Ronald and his wife Sharon, have lived in the Mobile, AL area since 1995. He and Sharon have two daughters and four grandchildren. Ronald has traveled extensively in the United States and in over 38 countries, spreading the message of the Kingdom of God. Many people have received salvation, healing, restoration and deliverance in their lives.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Start Here: Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are

This is a book written for teens by twin brothers Alex & Brett Harris, younger brothers of Josh Harris (of I Kissed Dating Goodbye fame). They wrote Do Hard Things, the precursor to Start Here when they were only 18 years old, as a challenge to Christian youth of today to rise above the status quo... do something more, do something different, do something H-A-R-D!

In Start Here, they give guidelines and ideas of how and where to start (hint: right where you are!). They also share stories of those who have started to do the hard things. Some of the stories are AMAZING and some are so every day, that you might wonder if it was really hard... I guess that is between God and the one he's challenged.

I found the book to be inspiring, not just for those that are young and in Christ, but for those who have a passion to do and be more than just a Sunday Christian! I am hoping to share this book (and possibly Do Hard Things) with the youth workers and with my own kids... I want to be one of those that does the hard things and brings glory to God!

For more information go to :

***This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.***