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Saturday, December 31, 2011

The End to a Fabulous Year

As I sit alone, the last morning of 2011, I consider the past year and contemplate the new one. I love New Years - as I ponder things about myself I would like to change.

A couple of days ago, I couldn't help but hear a word repeating over and over in my mind - one I didn't want to hear and tried to avoid - because it isn't FUN! But honestly, I think God was speaking it to me - because I need to make changes! Although it is one simple word, it encompasses many aspects of life.

The word - D I S C I P L I N E

I don't like that word! I don't like what it infers (at least to me): responsibility (to myself), commitment and dedication (even when I don't want to!), doing things I NEED to do (but may not WANT to do). I see 2012 as a year of discipline - much needed discipline.

Although I'm fearful, I KNOW God has a lot to teach me! I will be obedient.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Back On-line

OH MY GOSH!!! I am so happy to be on-line again!!!! My computer has been "in the shop"...but now it's PERFECT (Thank you Joe Rose)!!!!

I will be updating numerous book reviews (as promised) and be back on track as soon as I can!

Thought I'd add a few photos of Virginia's fall trees! Enjoy!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Irene Hannon's Deadly Pursuit - second novel in the "Guardians of Justice" series

Deadly Pursuit is the second novel in Irene Hammond's “Guardians of Justice” series, and it's FABULOUS! (Which means I have to go out and purchase Book 1!)

This book not only keeps you on the edge of your seat, but you find yourself completely lost in the characters' world! This book summarizes the reason I love to read fiction - you can totally escape reality!

Let me list a few of the reasons I enjoy this book:

1. The relationship between the romantically blooming couple is adorable! The way they meet is commical and believable-knowing how families want to help each other (But is it really helping if it doesn't work out?).

2. I also like the way the couple's relationship is portrayed. They live their own completely fulfilled lives, sharing moments of joy, without giving themselves away; which is the way a healthy relationship SHOULD be. The youngesters of today need to be reassured that we live WITH one another, not FOR one another. GOD is the only One we should strive to please and live for!

3. The twists and turns of the story keep you engaged! Just when you think it's safe to go outside, you find out it's NOT! (I couldn't help myself on that one!)

Irene Hannon is the author of more than 35 novels, including the CBA bestsellers Against All Odds, An Eye for an Eye, In Harm's Way and Fatal Judgment. Her books have been honored with the coveted RITA Award from Romance Writers of America (she’s a five-time finalist), the HOLT Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier award, and two Reviewer's Choice Awards from Romantic Times Book Reviews magazine. She lives in Missouri. For more information about Irene and her books, visit her website at

Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a
division of Baker Publishing Group.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Book Review - Peace at the Edge of Uncertainty - Author, Neil Hanson

If you have ever experienced the loss of a loved one, you will appreciate this book. I, too, lost my father and was holding him when he passed away. I was eighteen years old at the time, but remember the details as if it were yesterday. I remember being convinced he would beat cancer. Being convinced he would come home. Being convinced I would always have my daddy. However, that wasn't God's plan. Although it has taken me several years to reach this point, I am confident God has used each and every experience I have endured to craft the person He has helped me become. Although I continue to miss my father, I believe we are all here for a season and for a reason - and it's not ALL ABOUT ME! (It took me a very long time to reach that point too-with God's help.)

This book is the first for our author, Neil Hanson. I have always wanted to author a book, so I am extremely envious that he actually did it!

Neil Hanson's Bio:
Neil Hanson lives and works in Colorado. Peace at the Edge of Uncertainty is his first book. He blogs actively and writes articles for periodicals. He is an avid outdoorsman, passionate about hunting and fishing. He spends a great deal of time bicycling the roads and trails of Colorado, and backcountry skiing in winter. His passion for gardening spills over into a joint venture with his oldest son, where they operate a landscaping and construction company in Colorado.

Book Description:
In this story told in the first-person form of a letter from a middle-aged man to his deceased father, Hanson invites us to journey with him through the final days of the father’s life, finding a magical transition waiting at the end of that journey. The story weaves end-of-life reality and spiritual questioning into a sensitive and revealing tapestry of Truth and Wisdom. The tapestry is colored with true stories of mystical experiences that inform the spiritual path of the son.

Most of us will face difficult and painful end-of-life decisions with the most important people in our lives. The threads of this aspect of the story are sensitive, and Hanson reveals the struggles and destinations of the son as he wrestles deeply with the journey that he must walk in making these decisions for his dying father.

Price: $17.95
ISBN: 9780982639108
Pages: 132
Release: May 2010

Paperback buy links:
Amazon ;>
Barnes & Noble <>

Ebook buy links:
Kindle <> - $2.99 Nook <> - $2.99 Smashwords <> - $2.99

I would recommend this book for a book club; although I would only discuss it with close friends. This is a personal topic to explore, especially if you haven't previously dealt with the experience.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Oxbow Report - Book Review

The Oxbow Report
By: Mike Purington
As an author of one book and now with a second book coming out next year and four other manuscripts as you said waiting to see the light of day, what prompted you to start this project, and where can the reader get more information on the series? And I guess a follow up question would be, why do you think you’re qualified to write on such a controversial subject and to undertake such a project?

For information on "The Oxbow Report" and the series they can visit my website at To answer the rest of your question, I think a little background on me would probably help.

From the time I was old enough to read, books became a way of life. I grew up in northern Minnesota, and at that time we had no television or radio, so reading was the only outlet we had. My grandmother who raised me was a huge fan of Zane Grey so I started out reading westerns. From Zane Grey I went to reading books by Louis L’amour. At some point I came across the comic strip Buck Rogers and then found a copy of "Armageddon 2419 AD.," and its sequel, "Airlords of Han,” by Philip Francis Nolan and became hooked on science fiction. As a side note, a lot of my report cards from school had the following comment, ‘if mike would get his nose out of his books long enough to listen he would be a good student.’ So reading came early for me. Later on I discovered H. G. Wells and started reading some of his novels. Some of his books are among the classics of science-fiction, like, “The Time Machine”, “The Invisible Man”, and “The War of the Worlds”. I think it was his writing that influenced me that while still in high school I wrote my first very bad novel, but I think that’s where my love for writing really started. Later on I read George Orwell’s, “Nineteen-Eighty-Four” and “Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World”, “A Space Odyssey” by Arthur C. Clark, and later “Battlefield Earth” by L. Ron Hubbard, just to name a few.

In 1966 came Star Trek, and the list goes on. In all of these sci-fi thrillers evolution is talked about as fact and not what it really is, a theory. I was fortunate in that while reading fantasy I had a Christian Mother and Grandmother that taught me the difference between fantasy, reality and the scriptures. They soon realized that what I was reading could not corrupt me any more than television, hence shortly after leaving the country life and moving into town my mother bought our first television and we entered the age of electronics. That teaching is not happening to day, and that’s one of the reasons for the writing of these novels. Science fiction for me was just an updated western, good guys against the bad guys, cowboys against the Indians, thus I became a John Wayne fan. Today the lines of science, religion, and fantasy are blurred as in the case of the religion of Scientology. With all that being said, it brings us to the answer to the question. For years I had looked and asked the question, why someone doesn’t write a good book in the form of a novel that would use the argument of evolution verses creation as the background for the novel. I had just finished reading the first “Left Behind” book by Jerry Jenkins when the thought struck me. Why don’t you do it? And I did. After eleven years of part time writing the first book hit the stores.

I guess this is a twofold question. Are you writing a series where one book builds on another or just a series of Christian science fiction novels, and if you are what do you hope to accomplish?

For me that question could take a whole book, but I’ll try to answer it in a couple of paragraphs. Mark 16:15 says, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel.’ In some translations it says ‘in your going.’ So I think a better question would be, how does this book or a series of books differ from typical creation and evolution books? Let me answer the question in reverse. There are many Christians who really haven’t given this subject serious thought and accept what is being taught through a theory called theistic evolution, or the blending of science and religion to make scripture fit the science book rather than science fitting scripture. There are also the teachings of young and old earth creation who continue to fight over who’s right and who’s wrong. On the other hand there are those who believe in Darwinian evolution and would not darken the door of a church, because to allow a deity into the evolutionary process, that deity could also show up in other areas, so the question is, how do you, ‘in your going’ let them know the truth? The problem as I see it, is a lot like Count Dracula. You kill him off in one movie and he comes back in another. We have a lot of groups with good intentions, each of these groups are trying to drive the proverbial stake through the heart of evolution. But evolution like Dracula will always be around, so what is the answer? I’ve, as well as those who are hard core Darwinian disciples And the answer is in a book, or a series of books that allows the characters in the story to discuss points of view and the arguments of the day without the reader going on the defensive, and at the same time giving the reader enough good stuff to read and puzzles to figure out that even when they disagree with the theology of the book they will like the substance and continue to read to find out what happens in end. So, to answer your question, it is Christian, and it does include futuristic technology, so in a sense you could call it science fiction. But it also includes the mystery of where did we come from? There are puzzles that need to be solved, and relationships that include people falling in love. An yes it is a series where one book builds off the previous one. My goal is to write a series of books that people will enjoy, and like one person said in their endorsement, "Mike Purington has brought to his readers a gripping novel. The excitement grabs you from the first chapter; the events keep you turning the pages and the characters keep you enthralled in the plot. You will find yourself living between the lines of the text as you identify with the characters." But the goal is also to build the kingdom. For throughout the story ground is plowed up and seed is planted. And in time I or others may plant, water, and harvest. In the end the goal is to place enough doubt in the mind of the reader that they may check the facts for themselves rather than relying on those who teach a theory based on an assumption.

Can you give us an idea of where the series is going and some of the subject mater?

I can give you the lead-in as found on the website. A 100 years ago the greatest mystery was about to unfold, M-Theory was being discussed, reality ... well it just may be an illusion … and parallel universes were possible. In 2040 Oxbow had been discovered and string theory had now become reality. One of the questions confronting science and the Challenger Crew was, which reality were they in? Discover how choices made by the Challenger crew and those they come in contact with not only effect the present, but the past and the future. Can choices made alter not only the present, but the future and the past? Can a statement alter reality?

Find out along with the crew of Challenger as they try to unravel the mystery of oxbow. What does it mean, does the ancient language that oxbow was translated from hold the secrets of creation, will they finally answer the age old question that all have asked? Did we evolve or were we created? Are the ancient scriptures valid in the creation account, or are we just a product of random selection as Darwin suggested? Did the ancients actually know the secrets of creation, or were they lost in time and if so which time? Do the scriptures reference the original creation or was man created in a re-creation? Are the secrets to creation hidden away just waiting to be re-discovered? Are we just the product of an elaborate hoax, or is God who he said is and was? For Paul La Baugh, a seeker of truth and a believer in the scriptures, and now assigned to the Challenger as counselor to the Captain he must use his knowledge of scripture to help solve the puzzle of Oxbow.

At book signings and other events one of the most common questions asked, was one that I covered earlier. How does this book or series differ from typical creation and evolution books? The answer is the series explores the question “what if” through its characters.

What if religion is just that…a way for man to explain what he does not understand?
What if evolution happened as many scientists believe?
What if we are the product of alien intervention?
What if the Bible is indeed true and God does exist?
What if man was created by God and through free will or the right to choose man denies God to the point God honors their decision and ceases to exist?
If indeed God did create and God ceases to exist what happens to the universe He created?
Does this all take place in reality, or does man move from reality to an alternate reality where what man speaks becomes reality?
Does all this take place in our universe or in a parallel universe?
And the ultimate question, if man has moved from reality to an alternate reality or a parallel universe how does he get back to the reality he left?

These questions and more confront the crew of Challenger as they seek to understand and resolve the mystery of Oxbow.

Now that we have covered the book and the series to come, can we get to know a little bit about the author?

As a professional for many years in the technology sector, I have tried to use my ability to make the complex uncomplicated and to create a futuristic technology understandable to my readers. Fifteen years of research and writing allowed me to bring “The Oxbow Report” the first in the series to be published in 2006. It is now 2011 and we are reintroducing the book along with book two “Two Dimensional Man” that should be out sometime early summer of 2012. The series “The curse of the serpent” deals with a subject we are all familiar with. As we are all aware the Evolution vs. Creationism debate has been and will always be in the forefront of discussion.

I was born and grew up for the most part in Northern Minnesota. I spent three years in the military working on the army’s largest nuclear weapon, the Pershing Missile System. After college I spent 17 years in the computer industry working on large computer systems and 17 years working in the medical field on chemistry and hematology instruments. There was a lot of travel and a lot of time spent away from home. It was during that time that the story started to germinate. I retired in 2005 due to a company reorganization and the first book, “The Oxbow Report” was published in 2006. I have a daughter who just finished college and am married to my beautiful wife of 32 years. I enjoy fishing the East Texas lakes and I look forward to deer season every year.

Where can my blog readers find out more about this blog tour and free copies of this book?

For more opportunities for a FREE copy of The Oxbow Report, please follow this CSS Virtual Book Tour on Twitter (@Christianspkrs) or Facebook.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speaker Services (

Saturday, September 24, 2011

God Answered Prayer and Met My Need

God will often do that (answer prayer and meet your needs) - He OFTEN provides even MORE for YOU than what you gave for HIM!
The other week, I don't even remember what I gave, but remember that I was broke as a result (which is pretty much the norm for me). I didn't mind, because it's just "stuff" and I know that doing it provides blessings to others (things I already HAVE and take for granted).
Afterward, I received $42 tickets for an amazing concert for only $10 and FREE front row tickets to the OPERA! You CAN trust HIM! He provides always!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Confident Heart - what I didn't want to share!

Honestly, I didn’t want to write this review. You know how when something hits a little TOO close to home, you want to run? You want to escape? Thinking, if you do, you will be able to FORGET. Well, if you’re like me, God will NEVER let that happen! He will put it (whatever IT happens to be) in your path over and over and over – until you have no choice but DEAL with it. I love AND hate that!

As I attempt to put into words how I felt about this book, I would love to thank the author, Renee Swope, for her honesty and courage. You see, this book is more than just a great book – it’s a journey. It’s a personal journey, if you’re brave enough to make the trip! Renee shares her own life, which resonates with my own in SO many ways (Sorry Renee, I’m not THAT brave yet).

The author shares deeply of the events in her life that led her to Christ. She, like me, KNOWS; we have a never-ending faith due to the constant care of our GREAT God, over less than desiring circumstances! Now, don’t kid yourself into thinking we WANTED to travel this road! We didn’t! As a matter of fact, we DREADED every step! But, that NEVER stops our God from placing us on the journey HE has created for us! Thank GOD we were both obedient in following Him! We were blessed beyond words (Renee explains this much better than I do)!

What I love most about the book is the author’s creative writing and the way she helps YOU through the pain. She shares a little of her embarrassment, and challenges you to ADMIT your own (but I have to tell you Renee, it’s a LOT easier for us – we are all alone in our own homes. You, however, are there for EVERYONE to see – You are truly an inspiration to me). She says things like – go on, you know it’s true. She comforts you by sharing Biblical stories of how our great Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, forgave everyone – and He still does today! WE are all forgiven. For EVERYTHING: doubts, anger, bitterness, behaviors…the list goes on and on. That’s why He came. That’s why He died. For our forgiveness.
WE are ALL truly blessed!

Thank you - Yahoo News - for these photos

Our Country WILL stand! We will fight!! We are AMERICANS!!!
Our great President gets the news while sharing with an elementary school in Florida.
The United States Pentagon in Washington, DC
Is that ANOTHER plane??? Headed straight at the Tower??? It CAN'T BE!
I can't imagine what it must have been like to stand in New York and watch this happen...
Our Brave Fire Fighters in action....thanking God for these courageous men!
Horror and Disbelief....
From the Ground....
Tumbling Down....
From the Air....
What Remains.....

The Tenth Anniversary of 9/11

As I sit quietly in our home this morning, husband at work, oldest daughter at a friend's house, youngest daughter still asleep, I can't help but consider the events of 9/11/01. I, like everyone old enough to remember, can picutre where I was the moment the news hit the airwaves. I remember watching the television screen in disbelief; unable to digest what my eyes were seeing. I also remember going back to my desk and getting back to the work at hand. I did NOT want to think about it. I did NOT what to believe what had just happened to our great country!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

2011-2012 Middle School Year - Day 1

To say I had bitter-sweet emotions about the new school year would be a complete understatement. Last year had to be one of the MOST CHALLENGING years of my entire life (okay, well not really THAT bad...but pretty darned bad!).
After the girls went to Open House last week, I was discouraged. As a mother (part tiger), I HAD to make a couple of calls/send a couple of emails - and as of 3:00 pm this afternoon, everything "appeared" glorious!
We have a few new "home rules" in place, and to be honest, tonight was SWEET! It was peaceful, quiet, educationally stimulating and full of joy!
I am thanking God for His many blessings; mostly His friendship!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Follow up to Sunday Morning's Post....

rethink Group, Inc.

‎"When your parents split and you doubt God cares, where will you let your doubt take you? When your friends leave you out, turn their backs on you and you doubt God hears your hurt, where will you let your doubt take you? When you sit in your science class and hear your teacher rail on your faith, and you start to doubt whether belief in God is relevant at all, where will you let your doubt take you?" Stay tuned....

“This is where we have to learn to embrace the doubt and allow it to lead us to belief.”

We have a choice to make (whether we realize it or not). We can both walk away from our faith/beliefs (as many people do) or stay and persevere. When referring to BOLD Christians that made the choice to stay and persevere, “That is where they are different from a lot of people. Yes, they doubted, just like you, but doubt did not dictate their lives and their actions. Belief did that. Like them, we need to learn how our faith and our doubts can reside together in your relationship with Jesus Christ, and mine.”

As humans, we will always have doubt. “Our doubt can be part of the process in the path towards deeper belief. Life is learning to make as much as possible of the doubt and the faith-knowing that where we choose to put our faith, doubt will appear to some degree.” I don’t know about you, but this provides MUCH comfort for me! I have worried, in times of doubt, if anyone else feels this way too. Rather than feeling ashamed of the feelings, I can take advantage of the opportunity to deepen my faith in Him.

“Doubt is not bad, not even when it comes to Christianity….Doubt can actually deepen our faith. It can test it and try it and ground it in ways that blind acceptance never can.” I don’t know if you have encountered a season of doubt; I know I have. As a matter of fact, my season was LONG (approximately 10 years). I am here to confirm this statement – my doubt became a way for God to confirm His presence in my life. I was given an understanding of life that I never thought possible-I was given peace beyond understanding. Had I not walked the path of doubt, I would not have experienced His deep, abiding, love, and peace.

“We would be misled if we thought God fears and flees from our doubt. And we would be missing out if we let doubt have the final word when it comes to our relationship with Jesus.”
(While searching for a graphic for this post, I came across the most amazing article - please read it here:

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Confident Heart memorable quotes....

"From the time we are kids, we look to people: parents, friends, teachers, bosses, boyfriends, ministry leaders, or whoever else is in a position of importance to us. We long for their approval because it gives us a sense of significance, but then we feel like we are only as valuable as our last accomplishment."

"Our schedules are full, our minds are full, our stomaches are full, our refrigerators are full, our closets are full, our lives are full. Yet we find ourselves with so many empty places."

"Is there pain from your yesterdays or disappointments in your today that have caused you to lose your confidence and hope? When you have been wounded, the risk of getting hurt again seems more costly, and perhaps even more likely, doesn't it? The things that hurt us are as varied as the lies we believe because of them...."

"Worry...... robs us physically, leaving us exhausted; robs us emotionally, leaving us anxious; robs us mentally, leaving us scattered; robs us spiritually, leaving us depleted."

"You are....Emmanuel, El-Channun, El Hanne'eman, El Roi, El ha-Gibbor, El Shaddai, El Sali, El Olam, El Elyon, Elohim, Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Rapha, Jehovah Nissi, Jehovah Shalom, Yahweh Tsuri, Jehovah Rohi, Jehovah Shammah, Abba"
"Remember, God is not looking for a woman who is perfect. He is looking for a woman who wants to walk with Jesus and find her confidence through her daily dependence on Him.
Chapter 12 contains Powerful Promises from God. One example...
When I say, I can't figure things out, God says, I will direct your steps.
Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Book Review - A Confident Heart, How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security in God's Promises

Renee Swope is a popular national women's conference speaker, radio show co-host, and the executive director of radio and devotions at Proverbs 31 Ministries. She's also a contributing author to three additional books, including a Gold Medallion finalist and a People's Choice Award finalist, as well as several online and print magazines. Renee is featured writer for Encouragement for Today online devotions that currently touch over 450,000 lives each day across the world. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and three children.

Step out of the shadows of self-doubt to live with a confident heart

Ever feel like you're not good enough, smart enough, or valuable enough? Renee Swope understands. Even with a great family, a successful career, and a thriving ministry, she still struggled with self-doubt. Sharing her own personal story, Renee shows you how to rely on the power of God's promises to find the security you need and the confidence you long for!

Exchange fear-filled thinking with faith-filled believing
Fail forward when life or sin sets you back
Embrace your God-given purpose, passion, and personality
See beyond who you are to who you are becoming in Christ
Powerful Scripture-based prayers are at the end of each chapter, along with Bible study questions and a chart with thirty-one promises to replace our most common self-doubts.

"You'll never be the same after you read this book!"--Sheri Rose Shepherd, bestselling author of His Princess and His Princess Bride
"I felt like A Confident Heart was written specifically for me. Renee's depth, wisdom, and willingness to be real while sharing the real of Jesus blessed me beyond measure!"--Abby Rike, Biggest Loser, Season 8; author of Working It Out
"A Confident Heart is a captivating, story-driven book that provides real solutions to the real doubts and fears we all face."--Jennifer Rothschild, author of Me, Myself & Lies

Available August 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


And I am extremely grateful!
Funny how you don't know what you've got til it's gone!
Thank you Dominion Virginia Power!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Weather Channel Virginia Information

•State of Emergency: Governor Bob McDonnell has declared for the state ahead of the storm.
•Fatality: A child is dead in Newport News after a tree fell on an apartment building
•Power Outages: The Virginia Department of Emergency Management reports 701,650 people without power as of 6:30 pm.
•Curfew in Effect: The City of Hampton is declaring a curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. No one should be on the roads except emergency personnel, according to local Twitter reports.
•Homes Flooding: A Pinecrest resident reports the Pamlico River is flooding homes in his area, which is 8 feet above the river.
•Road Closures: Virginia Beach police closed Sandbridge Road on Saturday at 7 p.m. due to dangerous conditions in the beach community. Westbound vehicles will be allowed to leave, but no one will be allowed in until further notice.
•Route 258 in Smithfield and surrounding roads are closed due to downed power lines and fallen trees
•Wind Gust: Non-thunderstorm wind gust reached an astounding 66 mph at Chesapeake Bay Bridge tunnel.
•High Tides: Tides are already running 4 feet above normal at Sewells Point, and high tide is now approaching.
•Record Rain Reports: Wallops Island has received 4.4 inches of rain, breaking the old record of 2.83 inches, set in 1971.
•Road Closed: Colonial Parkway in Wakefield is closed due to amount of downed trees.
•Chesapeake Bay Tunnel: Closed until further notice
•Governor Bob McDonnell: Has said that people who defy mandatory evacuation orders can be prosecuted.
•State Level Emergency Responders: FEMA says it has sent incident management assistance teams to staging areas in Virginia, in anticipation of further deployment to potential hurricane impact areas along the coast
•Local State of Emergency: Declared for Virginia Beach, city manager James K. Spore warned residents to prepare for potential flooding and power outages
•Tolls Open: Northbound tolls on the Chesapeake Expressway have been lifted
•Mandatory Evacuations: Ordered for at least 11 localities, among them the Sandbridge section of Virginia Beach, a barrier island dotted with rentals, Accomack on the Eastern Shore, and for low-lying areas of Norfolk, Hampton and Portsmouth.
•Shelters: The cities of Norfolk, Virginia beach and Hampton opened shelters on Friday

Incredibly Thankful!

As I watch iCarly tonight, listening to the final effects of Hurricane Irene outside my window, accompanied by my youngest daughter, Kristina, I am reminded of the many blessings I have been given today alone.
1. The safety of my entire family.
2. The company of a beautiful, sweet daughter.
3. A devoted son on stand-by! (Answering every text message I sent within seconds! Constantly providing support!)
4. A home spared from Hurricane Irene.
(photo posted tonight on the internet - Hurricane Irene - North Carolina)

United States Postal Service

The United States Postal Service has no official creed or motto.

While conducting research for this post, I found this shocking information! I was looking for the "official motto" - but was saddened to discover one doesn't exist (Wikipedia post reference).

Often falsely cited as such, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds" is an inscription on the James Farley Post Office in New York City, derived from a quote from Herodotus' Histories (8.98), referring to the courier service of the ancient Persian Empire:
It is said that as many days as there are in the whole journey, so many are the men and horses that stand along the road, each horse and man at the interval of a day’s journey; and these are stayed neither by snow nor rain nor heat nor darkness from accomplishing their appointed course with all speed. (trans. A.D. Godley 1924)

I do want to send a SHOUT OUT to OUR POST MAN! He brought our mail earlier today! I couldn't believe it, but was extremely excited - as he brought a new Netflix movie! Perfect for hurricane conditions!
Praying the power lasts long enough to watch it!


I MUST share my "miracle" story....
After I wrote my initial hurricane post, earlier this morning, I felt a little sleepy. I decided to take a nap and enjoy the peace. I woke about 9:30 am to COMPLETE silence. I knew I didn't turn off The Weather Channel - because I needed to "be in the know" EVERY MINUTE. OH MY GOSH - the power was out (ALREADY!). The true storm hadn't even gotten close and we were ALREADY without power. My husband was NOT HAPPY (although I had started a 500 page book by Francine Rivers - and was somewhat excited about it)!
However, I must say, when the last hurricane came through, Isabelle, we were without power for 14 days! I was NOT looking forward to a replay of history!!!! But I kept in the front of my mind that God remained in control - it would be okay (no matter what - and that is still the case)!
At approximately 11:30 am - our power was RESTORED!!!!! I still can't believe it, but am grateful to GOD and Dominion Power! Thank you (BOTH) for taking such good care of us!

Irene update

The wind is blowing and the rain is coming down!

I agree with the family in Nags Head (pictured above) - GOOD NIGHT IRENE!!!!


I forgot to share a very strange occurrence....
EVERY SINGLE MORNING, the first moment of my movement, Mandy is on-top of me. She wants to be loved and WALKED! She follows me EVERYWHERE until I take her outside.

This morning, she is laying perfectly still/sleeping, and hasn't approached me AT ALL since 5 am (it's now almost 8 am). I am confident she KNOWS something is going on outside and doesn't even want to consider it!


Hurricane Irene - August 2011

I decided I would write a brief blog (with the pending power outages, this may be the ONLY post) of my personal experience with Irene!

I fell asleep watching The Weather Channel's Hurricane coverage. I awoke to The Weather Channel's Hurricane coverage - and the sound of a home flag, attached to the exterior of our home, blowing ferociously! I believe it was about 5:00 am - and we are anticipating an entire day of the same! I don't think I truly understood how LARGE this storm actually is - and the number of hours we will be plummeted by Irene's strong winds and heavy rain.
I read that a surfer lost his life in Virginia Beach, 22 years old, PRIOR to Irene's arrival (if I understood correctly)!
To be completely honest, I KNOW God is in control - but I'm a tad fearful.
More to come.....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Coach Shef - Part 2 - Staying on Target

The Three Most Redemptive (Therefore Effective) Things I Can Do For Middle Schoolers.

1. Find great people and give them a healthy culture in which to grow and connect with students.

2. Create shared quality experiences built around Biblical truth for the students and the small group leaders.

3. Give parents access to #1 and #2.

Read the complete article here:

Interview with Author of Simple Gifts, Sharen Pearson

By Sharen Pearson

As a mother of five and now grandmother of seven, I’ve planned my share of birthday events. I am a creative person, so my problem is “going over the top.” My expectations supersede those of the birthday child. So, I have to step back and say, “Whose birthday is it anyway?” And, therein lies the key to a successful birthday party.

I recently assisted with my grandson, Waylon’s party. He was reaching that big-boy age of 5 years. He knew what theme he wanted: Herbie the Love Bug. He wanted a backyard campfire and a cake with Herbie on it. Simple—Herbie, campfire, cake. Got it! My daughter complied. She invited a few families from church that Waylon knew well and was comfortable around. Since entire families were represented, parents were there to help with crowd control. Bowls of chips and dip provided a place to gather around as people arrived. Children scattered to play in the back yard, parents grouped to watch and chat. Easy, huh? Daddy lit a small fire in the campfire ring in the yard. More talk, more easy playing. The cake was a simple giant chocolate chip cookie with a frosting “Herbie.” Waylon thought it was wonderful.

Mommy announced that it was gift-opening time and everyone pulled up lawn chairs and sat in family groups. Waylon sat in the middle of the circle on the grass and guests watched as he opened each gift and thanked the giver. He received many nice gifts, but to everyone’s delight, a small, inexpensive VW bug toy car was his favorite. He opened it, raised it above his head as if it were a trophy and yelled in delight. Waylon slept with his “Herbie;” woke up and greeted it; placed it on the edge of the tub so he could see it. He had the birthday he wanted. Simple party, simple gift, simple fun!

Some suggestions to consider when planning your party:
· If your child is old enough to have input, allow it.
· For ages 1-5 years, simple is best. Simple decorations, simple food, simple games.
· Invite only one party guest per age of the child. Young children are very intimidated by
·many children of the same age. Remember, “Whose birthday is it?”
· If guests include family/friends with older children, add activities especially for them.
· Home is the best place for children ages 5 and under. Big party venues are confusing, scary and do not position the “birthday child” as the center of attention as he should be.

Some traps that parents fall into:
· Making the party so complicated that you, as the parent, no longer enjoy it. (Been there,
·done that.)
· Allowing young party guests to get close to and grab for gifts as the birthday child is opening them. (Admit it, you’ve seen this haven’t you?)
· Spending too much money. (Guilty as charged.)
· Preparing food for adults and not age-appropriate to the guests. (The only thing to show off today is your wonderful child)
· Engaging in sleepover parties before the age of 9 years. (Children younger than 9 or 10 years often find sleeping at someone else’s home frightening and uncomfortable.)

Sharen Pearson’s Goof & Giggle classes and materials continue to provide a quality Mom/Tot interaction. Widely popular, Goof & Giggle’s child-focused play plans are offered in various Arizona communities. She’s also created a variety of Goof Juice DVDs and filmed episodes of Baby D.I.Y. and written workbooks for BabyFirstTV. Arizona Midday (NBC) tapes monthly segments with Sharen to provide their audience with a variety of original and creative “easy to do” activities for babies and preschoolers. Sharen’s creativity reaches a combined audience over 200 million viewers worldwide. Goof & Giggle classes and products encourage green living, repurposing materials from around the house into affordable objects for play and learning. Learn more at:

This article content is provided free of charge by the author through Kathy Carlton Willis Communications. You are welcome to place this article on your site or in your publication as long as 1) it’s used in its entirety, 2) the full bio is used, 3) you previously request permission through KCWC at All other standard copyrights apply.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fabulous Youth Blog

I read this blog this morning and have been thinking about it all day! Tune in tomorrow for his response! (or check his blog - link provided below!)

So…How do you stay focused?
If all these ideas are good ideas for good reason…then how do you figure out what to say “yes” to and what to say “NO” to.

Here’s a little exercise to help.

Stop reading this blog for a couple of hours and answer this question.

If I could only do 3 things…What would be the most redemptive things I could do for the people I serve in this ministry?

Nothing more to be said....

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Preparing to Write a Book Review this week....

As I prepare to write a book review blog post, I was encouraged to include some personal reasons I enjoyed the book (which isn't difficult for me - as I usually do that anyway!). However, this book is a little different in that it's about the Amish.

I must admit that I love the lifestyle the Amish have chosen to embrace - the simple life. As I have gotten older, I have grown to realize that life really IS about the simple things - family, nature, intelligence, thankfulness, appreciation,'s not so much about "the stuff". In many ways I envy their ways. I am really looking forward to sharing more of my heart on this topic.

Stay tuned....

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Amazing Interview between James Paterson and his mother, Katherine Paterson

As you may know, Katherine Paterson was named the Library of Congress' National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. She is the Newbery Award-Winning author of Bridge to Terabithia.

The article beings:

In what is surely not the first conversation of its kind, John Paterson sits across the table from his idol and mother, Katherine Paterson. Since the publication of his children's book, Katherine is now more than an idol, more than a mother, she is also a peer. His book, Roberto's Trip to the Top, is co-written with his dad, John Paterson, Sr. And if the time ever comes to adapt it for film, it will surely be produced and/or written by John's brother, David who did the same for Katherine's Newbery Award-winning novel, Bridge to Terabithia. This is a family business.

One of the questions/answers I most enjoyed:

JP: Speaking of books that you love, if you had to name four or five books that you would take to a desert island, what books would you name?

KP: This is such a hard question, because you want to get the most out of the books you have there. So I would take the Bible and the Oxford English Dictionary. Those will keep me occupied for some time. The Master of Hestviken by Sigrid Undset, which is a huge volume and I love it. I can't read it in the original Norwegian, but she was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, as a matter of fact. And she has written Kristin Lavransdatter, but I think I prefer The Master of Hestviken. And then I have to take the collective poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, my favorite poet. And Gilead by my favorite modern writer, Marilynn Robinson.

Read more here:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Amish Values for Your Family - Book Review

When I first saw the title of this book, I was extremely excited to request a copy for review! Although I know very little about the Amish, I know they appreciate the simple things in life. The older (and wiser) I get, the more I agree.

A few years ago (on October 2, 2006) you may have heard about a shooting that took place in an Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. A man by the name of Charles Carl Roberts, IV, shot and killed 10 Amish girls, ages 6-13, and then committed suicide. What impressed me most was the grace extended to the man's family responsible for the shooting. In my opinion, that takes a huge amount of strength and courage; I don't think I would (or could) be as forgiving.

I also enjoy reading a fabulous blog by the name of A Holy Experience; written by Ann Voskamp. She shares the joys (and pains) of living in this fallen world - from the Amish perspective. I always enjoy what she has to share, and am amazed by the fabulous photographs.

In this book, author Suzanne Woods, shares the secrets of Amish family life. She also shares the Amish values: such as community, forgiveness, simple living, obedience, and more - and shares how they can be your family legacy too (without selling your car or changing your wardrobe).

Suzanne Woods Fisher is thrilled to announce the release of Amish Values for Your Family, her latest non-fiction release. "It offers loving ways to bring your fractured home back to life-Amish style. Read it and apply generously! It’s a beautiful book-funny, charming, soulful, and beautiful." -Mary Ann Kirkby

Read the reviews here.

To celebrate the release of Amish Values for Your Family, Suzanne has teamed up her publisher Revell Books to giveaway a Kindle, and with Bill Coleman (the amazing photographer used on Suzanne’s book covers) to give away a signed Bill Coleman original.

One Grand Prize winner will receive an Amish Values Prize Package (valued at over $200) and includes:

* A brand new KINDLE
* A Signed Bill Coleman original
* Amish Values for Your Family (for KINDLE)

Click on one of the icons to enter. Winner will be announced on 9/2 at Suzanne’s blog. Be sure to stop by the blogs on Suzanne’s blog tour – many have copies of Amish Values for Your Family to give away.

But, wait there's more! Suzanne is running a Bill Coleman caption contest during the month of August on her blog. Title one of Bill’s gorgeous photos for a chance to win a print from Bill’s Amish Photo site and/or a copy of Amish Values for Your Family.

Guest blog from Suzanne Woods Fisher for “Amish Values for Your Family” (Revell)

Five More Things I’ve Learned from the Amish that Have Nothing to Do with being Amish and Have Everything to Do with being a Christian:

Live humbly. This is the basis of the Amish life. They don’t waste, they reuse and recycle, they live simply and without luxury, they provide for each other’s needs. Daily life is embroidered with gratitude for all God has given them. Two prayers bookend every meal—a meal begins with thanks to God for the nourishing food, and ends with gratitude for what was received.

Amish proverb: “The blessing of sharing outweighs the blessing of having.”

The Lesson: Choose simplicity over clutter. Economy over luxury. And give thanks!

A task takes as long as it takes. It seems like such a paradox—the Amish are busy, yet unhurried. They have a deliberateness in their actions—one job isn’t more important than the other. And they don’t have televisions or computers or radios or telephones—which gives them more time to cook, fish at the lake, enjoy a good book, and spend with their children and grandchildren. They have time to slow down a bit—to smell the roses along their path.

Amish proverb: “Every day that dawns brings something to do that can never be done as well again.”

The Lesson: Reduce the time where attention is focused on electronics (computer! Cell phone! Television!) and strive to be more emotionally present when with others.

Success and Size are not related. The Amish have rapidly adopted to the demands of the modern business world. Their self-owned businesses are remarkably successful, but not at the cost of everything else. They view money as a tool, not the goal.

Amish proverb: “Love, peace, and happiness in the home is of infinitely more value than honor, fame and wealth.”

The Lesson: Never let ambition destroy life’s better goals.

They teach us not to seek vengeance but to forgive. The Amish take the Lord’s Prayer seriously—if they are asking God to forgive them their sins, they must be willing to forgive others who have sinned against them. Being a forgiving person is an everyday intention.

Amish proverb: “It is far better to forgive and forget than to resent and remember.”

The Lesson: No doubt you’re familiar with the Nickel Mines tragedy. If the Amish can forgive the killer of their children, can’t we forgive a friend for not inviting us to a party? Or a driver who cuts us off? Make forgiveness your default button. A habit. An everyday intention.

God has a plan. To the Amish, everything passes through the hands of God. Everything. Joys and sorrows, both. God is sovereign over all—from weather to illness to births to who’s in the White House. They yield to God’s perfect will, trust Him for what they don’t understand, and thank Him for what they do.

Amish proverb: “God’s hand that holds the ocean’s depth can hold my small affairs. His hand, which guides the universe, can carry all my cares.”

The Lesson: Trusting God isn’t passive—it takes a lot of work! But what peace and joy are available to us when we put our faith in the Almighty God. Everything, ultimately, works out for good.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author of Amish fiction and non-fiction and the host of a weekly radio program called Amish Wisdom. Her most recent book, Amish Values for Your Family released in August. The Waiting is a finalist for a 2011 Christy Award. Amish Peace: Simple and Amish Proverbs were both finalists for the ECPA Book of the Year (2010, 2011). Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised Plain. Suzanne has a great admiration for the Plain people and believes they provide wonderful examples to the world. When Suzanne isn't writing or bragging to her friends about her first new grandbaby (!), she is raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you just can't take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth. Keep up on Suzanne's latest news on Facebook, Twitter and on her blog!

Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman-to-Woman Conversation

I can NEVER get enough of His Word!

I was excited to be given the opportunity to review this DVD/workbook; although, to be honest, I wasn't expecting my usual standards - Beth Moore, Andy Stanley, Francis Chan, Mark Batterson, Heather Zemple, etc.

I was pleasingly surprised! Grace speaks with genuine knowledge and authority - and I have grown tremendously as a result of this study! I am forever changed and grateful!

Interview with Grace Fox

Has fear kept you awake at night? Has it hindered you from saying yes to a new opportunity? Has it caused you to make impulsive choices you later regretted? If so, you’re not alone! Fear is a big deal for many women. If left unchecked, it can prevent us from fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives. So, what’s the answer? How can we move beyond fear into freedom?

Author Grace Fox has partnered with Stonecroft Ministries to write a small group resource titled Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman-to-Woman Conversation. This resource addresses women’s common fears and gives biblical and practical strategies to move beyond them.

Fear seems to be an ever-present theme throughout the Bible. Describe the difference between healthy and unhealthy fear.

Healthy fear steers us toward wise decisions and actions. It promotes self-preservation. For example, we look both ways before crossing the street for fear of getting hit by a car. In contrast, unhealthy fear hinders our ability to fully embrace life because it consumes us with negative thinking and what-ifs. The effects can literally make us sick.

How does destructive fear stunt our emotional or spiritual growth?

Destructive fear—the fear of rejection, for instance—might keep us from admitting to someone that we’ve been physically or sexually abused. Without receiving the help we need to deal with those issues, we never experience freedom. Our struggles might seriously hamper our ability to truly love and receive love in a marital relationship. This is just one example among many of how our emotional growth is affected.

Spiritually, fear can cause us to say no to God-given dreams or assignments because we’re afraid of personal inadequacy or financial insecurity. If we never step out in faith, then we never experience God’s ability to equip and provide in amazing ways. Spiritual growth comes when we say yes to God and “do it afraid.”

You suggest we need to place our focus on God and not on fear. In practical terms, how do we do this?

Several strategies that I’ve found helpful…

Memorize Scripture promises and meditate on them throughout the day and as we fall asleep at night. We are transformed as our mind is renewed.
Fill our homes with praise and worship music.
Spend time in God’s word on a regular basis, not just when we’re in a panic. The more we do so, the more familiar we become with His promises and the better prepared we are to face frightening circumstances when they come.
Talk to the Lord throughout the day. Invite Him into the mundane. Practice His presence. The more we get to know Him, the more we’re able to trust Him in the face of fear.

Most of us feel inadequate at times. You suggest we cannot use our inadequacies as an excuse for not participating with God’s purposes. How do we get past this?

We get past our fear of inadequacy by admitting we have it. Then we need to retrain our thinking to focus on God’s adequacy's rather than our inadequacies.

Tell God how we feel. "Help! I don't think I can do such-and-such."

Tell a trusted friend and ask her to pray for us.

Move forward. Do it afraid and expect God to equip us.

Describe this resource and how participants can receive the greatest benefit as they use it.

It’s a seven-week study filled with biblical teaching and personal anecdotes that can be used easily by either a small group of friends in a private home setting or a large women’s ministry. Each session begins by viewing a 25-30 minute teaching video. When the video ends, participants follow suggested Table Talk questions for about 15 minutes. Then they do the Bible study questions together. Each participant uses her own guide book so she can take notes and write answers. Facilitator’s notes are included. The study covers these topics:

an overview of fear
fear for our loved ones' well-being
fear of personal inadequacy
fear of rejection
fear of facing the ghosts of our past
fear of the storms of life
fear of the unknown future

Where can I buy this study?

It’s available through your local Christian book store, on Amazon,,,,, and of course, on Grace’s website, where group discounts apply. Visit Grace’s website for more information about her other books and speaking ministry.

For more opportunities for a FREE copy of this DVD & Study Guide set of MOVING FROM FEAR TO FREEDOM, please follow this CSS Virtual Book Tour on Twitter (@Christianspkrs) or Facebook (

I was given a complimentary copy of this DVD & Study Guide set from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speaker Services (

Friday, August 12, 2011

Blog Find

I came across a fabulous blog recently! If you're interested in following along, here's the scoop!

Who I am and why I write:

Kendra Golden

I think about thinking. I learn about learning. That's essentially what metacognition means. In this blog I write about a new chapter of the Bible every day. Although I write curriculum at, this blog isn't about that. And although I truly love my husband and three kids, I'm mostly way in love with God. So He's who I'll write about. He's who made me a metacognician.
I LOVE THINKING TOO!!!! Thanks Kendra for sharing your thoughts with us!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Gift of God's Grace

252 Basics - © 2011 The reThink Group * * All rights reserved. Used by permission
I had the joy of sharing the Truth of God's Grace with 5th grade students at Northside Christian Church this morning. What a fabulous reminder that we are forgiven, no matter what we do. We were loved before the creation of the World, and He made a way for us to have fellowship with His Father, even while we were still sinners. Share God's Love with those that don't know Him.