Wednesday, December 19, 2007
About the Book: In the second book in the Westward Hearts trilogy, will the promise of a new life out west heal the scars of Toni's past?
This series tells the stories of three strong women as they struggle to survive on the rough wagon train and lose their hearts to unlikely heroes along the way/ Thin Little House on the Prairie meets Francine river's Redeeming Love and you begin to get a sense of the riveting historical series that Tracey Bateman has created.
In this second installment, we follow Toni Rodden, a former prostitute who sought to escape her past and build a new life, and a new reputation, when she joined the wagon train. Despite much resentment and distrust from the other women, Toni has finally earned a place on the wagon train and found a surrogate family in Fannie Caldwell and her two siblings. For the first time in her life, Toni actually feels free.
But while Toni once harbored dreams that her new life might include a husband and family, she soon realizes the stigma that comes with her past is difficult to see beyond and that she'll never be truly loved or seen as worthy. As the trip out west begins to teach her to survive on her own, she resolves to make her own living as a seamstress when the train finally reaches Oregon.
But despite Toni's conviction that no man will be able to see beyond her marred past, Sam Two-feathers, the wagon scout and acting preacher for the train seems to know of a love that forgives sins and values much more than outward appearances. Will Sam have the confidence to declare his love? Will Toni be able to trust in a God that can forgive even the darkest past? Faith, love, and courage will be put to the test in Distant Heart.
Meet Tracey: Tracey Bateman is the award-winning author of more than twenty-five books, including Defiant Heart, the First in the Westeard Hearts series. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and recently served on the board as President. She loves in Lebanon, Montana, with her husband and their four children.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
By Mary E. DeMuth
In a world of Halo, iphones, and IM, how do parents strategically engage their tuned-out kids? How can we create the kinds of homes that are irresistible to our children, enticing enough to make them tune out from games, media and texting and tune in to the rhythms of family life? Five ways.
One: Offer ‘em Something Better
The most enticing thing to a kid is community—real, authentic, God-breathed community. To create this, learn to do the following:
Say you’re sorry when you’re wrong and ask forgiveness.
Strive to become the person you want your child to become. Practice reconciliation, open communication, and serving each other.
Listen, really listen to your kids. Give them eye-time. Don’t uh-huh their concerns, but strive to ask great questions to draw them out. Be willing to share your own struggles with your kids.
Plan meal times together. And when you do, talk! One way to foster great communication is to have questions already prepared.
*****To win them, click here: http://relevantblog.blogspot.com/2008/01/win-150-conversation-starters.html
Have an unplug day—no phones, TV, gaming systems, and return to old fashioned board games, taking walks outside, and reading together.
Resist DVDs in the minivan. Try books on tape instead—a wonderful way to engage your child’s mind. Discuss the book afterward.
Welcome others into your home. Be the house all the kids want to congregate in.
Two: If You Can’t Beat ‘em, Join ‘em
Our kids will see movies; they will watch TV shows. Instead of always pushing against that, sit down next to your child and watch shows and movies together. Then use the time afterwards to discuss these questions:
What is the worldview of this movie?
What kind of person is the main character? Is she someone you want to be like?
What lies does this movie perpetuate?
What does this show say about materialism?
What part of this movie showed God’s love?
Strategically engaging alongside our kids in the very thing we’re leery of does two things: It shows our kids we are willing to sacrifice our own desires to spend time with them. And it helps prepare them to better discern the movies and media they watch.
Three: Explore Different Ways to Celebrate Sabbath
Taking time away from the crazy rush-rush of a media saturated world is a counter-cultural move your family can take. Choose a day or afternoon for rest. Limit media that day. Choose to engage in artistic, creative endeavors together:
~If a child loves music, encourage him to write a song or create an unusual soundtrack.
~Supply kids with all sorts of visual arts tools: paint, brushes, magazines, pens, glue, and let them create. If you need focus, think of five families or friends who need to be encouraged, then create cards for each one.
~Let your kids have free reign of the video camera. Encourage them to make a movie. Then watch it together as a family, complete with popcorn.
~Pull out that karaoke machine.
~Do a puzzle or play board games.
Four: Go Outside
We are a disconnected culture, defining ourselves by the great indoors and cyberworlds. To combat that in your family, dare to open the front door and walk on out. Take strolls with your kids. Find a local park or wilderness preserve to poke around in. Hike together. Feed the ducks. Launch rockets. Play Frisbee. Kick the ball around. Ride bikes. Pick up garbage along the road. Skateboard. Make going outside as much of a habit as going outside.
Five: Focus Outward
Computers and movies and TV and phones focus us inward. Instead, seek to find ways to focus your family outward toward the needs of the world. Sponsor a child in a third world country. Go on a mission trip as a family and take a year together to plan it. Find a cause to support—like digging wells in Africa or alleviating AIDS. Volunteer at a nursing home. Muddying our feet and hands in the real needs of the world gives kids a greater picture of the world and pulls them away from the artificial, often narcissistic world they live in.
It is possible to re-engage your disengaged child. It takes effort, creativity and pluck, but it can be done. The reward? A rejuvenated, connected relationship with your child that no gadget can compare to.
One of the questions author Mary DeMuth (Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture) gets asked in radio interviews is this: What can a parent do to help kids filter their media intake? Her answer: Strategically engage. The following is five ways to help re-engage your kids in a media-saturated culture.
Bio: Mary E. DeMuth loves to help folks turn their trials into triumphs. Her books include Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God (Harvest House, 2005), Building the Christian Family You Never Had (WaterBrook, 2006), Watching the Tree Limbs, Wishing on Dandelions (NavPress, 2006), and Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture (Harvest House 2007). A mother of three, Mary lives with her husband Patrick and their three children in Texas. They recently returned from Southern France where they planted a church. Learn more at http://www.marydemuth.com/
Friday, December 07, 2007
This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing Bluegrass Peril (Steeple Hill December 4, 2007) by Virginia Smith
About the book: Who Killed Her Boss? Local police had tagged single mom Becky Dennison as their prime suspect. But she'd only been in the wrong place at the wrong time...admittedly, with her boss's lifeless body. Sure it looked bad, but Becky had no motive for killing...even if she had opportunity.
When the director of the retirement farm for thoroughbred champions is murdered, Becky Dennison teams up with the handsome manager of a neighboring horse farm, Scott Lewis, to find her boss's killer. Soon the amateur detective are hot on the trail of the murderer...even as their feelings for each other deepen.
The amateur sleuths uncover a trail of clues that lead them into the intricate society of Kentucky's elite thoroughbred breeding industry. They soon find themselves surrounded by the mint julep set - jealous southern belles and intensely competitive horse breeders - in a high-stakes game of danger, money, and that famous southern pride.
And for Becky and Scott, this race on the Kentucky tracks has the greatest stakes of all: life or death!
Romantic Times awarded Bluegrass Peril* * * * FOUR STARS! * * * *
About Virginia: Virginia Smith left her job as a corporate director to become a full time writer and speaker in the summer of 2005. Since then she has contracted eight novels and numerous articles and short stories.
She writes contemporary humorous novels for the Christian market, including her debut, Just As I Am (Kregel Publications, March 2006) and her new release, Murder by Mushroom (Steeple Hill, August 2007). Her short fiction has been anthologized, and her articles have been published in a variety of Christian magazines.
An energetic speaker, Virginia loves to exemplify God’s truth by comparing real-life situations to well-known works of fiction, such as her popular talk, “Biblical Truths in Star Trek.”
Buy the book here!
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Last weekend we put out a new nativity set that my Grandma purchased for us for our Christmas gift this year. It's a beautiful set, and I love that it's the centerpiece of my dining room. Of course, I had to pause as I was setting up beautiful Mary. In fact, it made me think, "What if she'd said no?"
This morning this thought came to me again as I was reading Called and Accountable by Henry and Norman Blackaby. Here is what they had to say:
"One of the most significant illustrations of hearing and responding to God is found in the life of Mary, Jesus' mother. God's eternal purpose was to bring a Savior into the world, and through that Savior to bring his His great salvation to every person. He found the one through whom He would choose to work--Mary, a quiet servant girl. An angel from God announced God's purpose through her. Then came her amazing and wonderful response: "'Behold a maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.' And the angel departed from her" (Luke 1:38). And God did what He said He would do! Impossible to man, but possible with God (Luke 1:37)." p. 19
It made me stop to think about how willing I am to follow what God has asked me to do. Do I always respond like Mary. No. Are there things He's asked me to do that I haven't followed through with yet? Yes.
Often, I ask God to lead me to new places so I can reach new people, and sometimes I wonder if He's waiting. Waiting for me to finish the assignments He's giving me. Waiting for me to say yes to all He's already asked.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is touring AURALIA'S COLORS, (WaterBrook Press September 4, 2007) by Jeffrey Overstreet and THE YADA YADA PRAYER GROUP GETS DECKED OUT (Thomas Nelson October 2, 2007) by Neta Jackson
This first book is written by a Jeffrey Overstreet...he lives about 2 miles from my house! Wow-- what a small world! I've just begun reading the book, but it sucked me in right from the start!
About the Book: As a baby, she was found in a footprint.
As a girl, she was raised by thieves in a wilderness where savages lurk.
As a young woman, she will risk her life to save the world with the only secret she knows.
When thieves find an abandoned child lying in a monster’s footprint, they have no idea that their wilderness discovery will change the course of history.
Cloaked in mystery, Auralia grows up among criminals outside the walls of House Abascar, where vicious beastmen lurk in shadow. There, she discovers an unsettling–and forbidden–talent for crafting colors that enchant all who behold them, including Abascar’s hard-hearted king, an exiled wizard, and a prince who keeps dangerous secrets. Auralia’s gift opens doors from the palace to the dungeons, setting the stage for violent and miraculous change in the great houses of the Expanse.
Auralia’s Colors weaves literary fantasy together with poetic prose, a suspenseful plot, adrenaline-rush action, and unpredictable characters sure to enthrall ambitious imaginations.
Visit the Website especially created for the book, Auralia's Colors. On the site, you can read the first chapter and listen to Jeffrey's introduction of the book, plus a lot more!
About Jeffery: Jeffrey Overstreet lives in two worlds. By day, he writes about movies at LookingCloser.org and in notable publications like Christianity Today, Paste, and Image. His adventures in cinema are chronicled in his book Through a Screen Darkly.
By night, he composes new stories found in fictional worlds of his own. Living in Shoreline, Washington, with his wife, Anne, a poet, he is a senior staff writer for Response Magazine at Seattle Pacific University.
Auralia’s Colors is his first novel. He is now hard at work on many new stories, including three more strands of The Auralia Thread.
Praise or Jeffrey's work: "Film critic and author Overstreet (Through a Screen Darkly) offers a powerful myth for his first foray into fiction. Overstreet’s writing is precise and beautiful, and the story is masterfully told. Readers will be hungry for the next installment."--Publishers Weekly
Buy the book here!
And the second CFBA book is a fun read!
Neta Jackson's next in the Yada, Yada Prayer Group series!
About the book: Turkey dinners, tree trimming, and decking the halls--it's that time of year again! And I Jodi Baxter, can't wait to celebrate. My kids are coming home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then all of us Yadas are getting decked out for a big New Year's party.
But God's idea of "decked out" might just change the nature of our party plans. A perplexing encounter with a former student, a crime that literally knocks me off my feet, a hurry-up wedding, and a child who will forever change our family...it's times like these that I really need my prayer sisters.
This holiday season, we Yada Yadas are learning that no one can out celebrate God. So let's get this party started!
THE YADA YADA PRAYER GROUP GETS DECKED OUT is a festive novella featuring America's favorite prayer group, the Yada Yadas! Sometimes dubbed "chick-lit" for their bright covers and catchy titles, this series provides far more depth than witty banter and wacky situations. Inspired by a prayer group of real women, each book will have you laughing, crying, and perhaps praying anew.
In this highly anticipated installment, the Yada Yada sisters-a group of multi-cultural friends-and their families prepare for the event of the season. But yes, eager readers, this novella—which picks up a year and a half after the end of book #6 The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Rolling concludes the series with some twists and turns that will amaze and encourage you. Plus, it sets the stage for Neta’s new series with new characters and new situations but also occasional roles for the beloved Yada Yada sisters in familiar Chicago neighborhoods with all their cultural richness.
About Neta: Neta Jackson's award-winning Yada books have sold more than 350,000 copies and are spawning prayer groups across the country. She and her husband, Dave, are also an award-winning husband/wife writing team, best known for the Trailblazer Books--a 40-volume series of historical fiction about great Christian heroes with 1.8 million in sales--and Hero Tales: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes (vols 1-4).
Dave and Neta live in Evanston, Illinois, where for twenty-seven years they were part of Reba Place Church, a Christian church community. They are now members of the Chicago Tabernacle, a multi-racial congregation that is a daughter church of the well-known Brooklyn Tabernacle.
Buy the book here!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Here is what historians at History.com think might have been on the menu:
~~Seafood: cod, eel, clams, lobster
~~Wild Fowl: wild turkey, goose, duck, crane, swan, partridge, eagles
~~Meat: venison, seal
~~Grain: wheat flour, Indian corn
~~Vegetables: pumpkin, peas, beans, onions, lettuce, radishes, carrots
~~Fruit: plums, grapes
And here are some foods that were NOT on the menu (pretty much everything that will grace my table!):
~~Ham: There is no evidence that the colonists had butchered their pigs though they had brought such animals with them from England.
~~Sweet Potatoes/Potatoes: These were not common.
~~Corn on the Cob: Corn was kept dried out at this time of year.
~~Cranberry Sauce: The colonists had cranberries but no sugar.
~~Pumpkin Pie: Hard to make without sugar, plus the recipe didn't exist at this time. However, the pilgrims had recipes for stewed pumpkin.
~~Chicken/Eggs: We know that the colonists brought hens with them from England, but it's unknown how many they had left at this point or whether the hens were still laying.
~~Milk: No cows had been aboard the Mayflower, though it's possible that the colonists used goat milk to make cheese.
(Hmmm...I didn't see green bean casserole or frozen fruit salad on that list anywhere...weird.)
Well...I have to say that Thanksgiving is by far my favorite meal of the year! I am a comfort food junkie...this meal is the quintessential comfort-y meal!
So in honor of Thanksgiving and thankfulness (so much to be thankful for, Praise-Be-to-God!) I'm going to share my bestest best-friend-in-the-whole-wide-world, Loring's, recipe for Mabel's Ginger Cookies! I'm not sure who Mabel is, but here is Loring! Isn't she beautiful...(I wish I could find the photo of her that I've been saving to mortify her with, but lucky her...I can't find it!)
These yummy cookies make a great and unexpected gift for the holidays (I'm taking some to my mom on Thursday)...they are addictive and delish!
Mabel's Filled Ginger Cookies
3/4 cup butter room temp
1 cup sugar
cream together and add
1/4 cup molasses
Sift together 2 cups flour
1 tsp of baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon
1/2 tsp of salt
3/4 tsp ground cloves
3/4 fresh shredded/grated ginger (or 1/2 tsp dried)
Stir dry ingredients into wet until well mixed.
Roll into balls and refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. They will bake into perfectly round circles.
Or you can also add 1/4 -1/2 cup more flour and roll out and cut into shapes.
Let them cool until next day. Store in ziploc overnight. They will be firm, but chewy.
Cream Cheese Filling
50z. cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
cream together and add
1/2 tsp vanilla
and then add
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar and a pinch of salt. Mix well.
Spread filling between two similarly shaped cookies.
Yum. Then you can eat them...or package them up all pretty in a box with ribbon. Or roll in parchment or wax paper and tie each end with some cool ribbon.
May your Thanksgiving be warm and filling!
Extend mercy and have patience! :)
Monday, November 19, 2007
And if there is a kindred spirit out there (or two)...here's my gift to you -- Christmas Music on the web!
Friday, November 16, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Friday, November 09, 2007
"DEADFALL is drop-dead great!"-In The Library Reviews
Thursday, November 08, 2007
1. You've ever ended a sentence with the word SIKE.
2. You can sing the rap to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and can do the Carlton
3. You know that "WOAH" comes from Joey on Blossom
4. If you ever watched "Fraggle Rock"
5. It was actually worth getting up early on a Saturday to watch cartoons.
6. You wore a ponytail on the side of your head.
7. You got super-excited when it was Oregon Trail day in computer class at school.
8. You made your mom buy one of those clips that would hold your shirt in a knot on the side.
9. You played the game "MASH"(Mansion, Apartment, Shelter, House)
10. You wore stonewashed Jordache jean jackets and were proud of it.
11. You know the profound meaning of " WAX ON , WAX OFF"
12. You wanted to be a Goonie.
13. You ever wore fluorescent clothing. (some of us...head-to-toe)
14. You can remember what Michael Jackson looked like before his nose fell off and his cheeks shifted.
15. You have ever pondered why Smurfette was the only female smurf.
16. You took lunch boxes to school...and traded Garbage Pailkids in the schoolyard.
17. You remember the CRAZE, then the BANNING of slap bracelets.
18. You still get the urge to say "NOT" after every sentence.
19. You thought your childhood friends would never leave because you exchanged handmade friendship bracelets.
20. You remember Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, and My Little Ponies the firsts time around.
21. You ever owned a pair of Jelly-Shoes.
22. After you saw Pee-Wee's Big Adventure you kept saying "I know you are, but what am I?"
23. You remember "I've fallen and I can't get up"
24. You remember going to the skating rink before there were inline skates.
25. You have ever played with a Skip-It.
26. You remember boom boxes and walking around with one on your shoulder like you were all that (and a bag of chips!).
27. You remember watching both Gremlins movies.
28. You thought Doogie Howser/Samantha Micelli was hot.
29. You remember Alf, the lil furry brown alien from Melmac.
30. You remember New Kids on the Block when they were cool...and don't even flinch when people refer to them as "NKOTB"
31. You knew all the characters names and their life stories on "Saved By The Bell," The ORIGINAL class.
32. You know all the words to Bon Jovi - SHOT THROUGH THE HEART.
33. You just sang those words to yourself.
34. You still sing "We are the World"
35. You tight rolled your jeans.
36. You owned a banana clip.
37. You remember "Where's the Beef?"
38. You used to (and probably still do) say "What you talkin' 'bout Willis?"
39. You're still singing shot through the heart in your head, aren't you!