Monday, November 30, 2009

So NOT Happening

Jenny B. Jones

About the author:
"I'm a total car soloist. I'm at the point in my life where I just don't care--I will not stop singing just because I'm at a red light. And yes, there are accompanying car dance moves."
-- Jenny B. Jones

Jenny B. Jones is the author of A Katie Parker Production series. Though now an adult, she still relates to the trauma and drama of teen life. She is thrilled to see her writing dreams come true, as her previous claim to fame was singing the Star Spangled Banner at a mule-jumping championship. (The mules were greatly inspired.) Jenny resides in Arkansas, where, as a teacher, she hangs out with teens on a regular basis.

The Blurb:

New York’s social darling Isabella Kirkwood just woke up in a nightmare: Oklahoma.

Isabella Kirkwood had it all: popularity at a prestigious private school in Manhattan, the latest fashions, and a life of privilege and luxury.

Then her father, a plastic surgeon to the stars, decided to trade her mother in for a newer model.

When her mother starts over with her new husband, Bella is forced to pack up and leave all she knows to live with her new family in Oklahoma. Before her mother can even say “I do,” Bella’s life becomes a major “don’t.”

Can Bella survive her crazy new family? Will the school survive Bella? How can a girl go on when her charmed life is gone and God gives her the total smackdown?

What Others Say:

"I'm actually 59. I did recently retire from teaching high school, so the beginning drew me in with the typical high school drama. But this book soon became so much more than just high school drama. I laughed, I cried, I sat on the edge of my chair. I didn't put it down until it was finished. I was surprised at the amount of intrigue in this book, especially since the author is described as a writer of Christian Fiction. The Christian part was present, but you weren't overwhelmed by it. A few personal prayers to help Bella get through some sticky spots, but it wasn't the main focus. I would recommend this to any female regardless of age or religion. It wasn't the bubblegum sweet I thought it might have been. I'm So Sure, the next book by Jenny B. Jones, is supposed to be out November 2009. I look forward to reading about Bella once again.

Edit: I just heard from a 14 year old who read the book. I sent her a copy. She LOVED it and is mad at me because the next book about Bella is 5 months away. My solution was to send her another set of 3 books by Jenny B. Jones." ~Reg Huston

"What do you get when you take Paris Hilton, marry her mom to a small town Oklahoma farmer with a secret regarding spandex, one step brother that is a brilliant, 6 year old, wannabe super hero and another step brother who drives a hearse to school. Mix in some mysterious deaths, some friend issues and the downside of blogging and what do you have? You have Bella Kirkwood, Jenny B. Jones' newest heroine and you have a hit!

I loved this book! I ate it up and can not wait until the next book comes out. This is listed as a YA book and is wonderful for that, but lest you think it is not for adults, let me settle that issue right now - if you love a little humor mixed in with your mystery, drama and comedy then you will love this book. "~~Janna R. Rayan

My Take:

Jenny B. Jones characters are people you enjoy spending time with. Even the spoiled little rich girl who learns how to cope with her new life and doesn't die. How many of us are thrown out of our comfort zone? This hilarious book makes me stop and think about serious things. I like that in a book.

Purchase The Book At:

Book Contest: We are featuring Jenny B. Jones book So NOT Happening  this week.

(Book Contest weeks are from Monday through Sunday. A new book review is posted each Monday which may or may not have a contest connected with it. See the Book contest information on the side bar.

Leave a comment on any of my blog my posts this week along with information how to get hold of you if you are the winner.

God Bless your day and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Mercy in Motion

Mercy in Motion
Adapted from Set Apart by Jennifer Kennedy Dean

The Life Giver

As the leper struggled through the crowd, his bell announced his shame. “Unclean. Unclean.” All the clean ones moved away, avoiding his pain at all costs. The leper worked his way through the religious throng, desperate to find the presence of Jesus.

Jesus looked past his rotting flesh and saw the hope that sloughed away with every rejection, every head that turned away, every face that registered disgust and fear.

Jesus looked past the stench of decaying skin and saw the little spark of life crusted over with loneliness and hurt, almost extinguished. He heard the anguished cry: “If you will, you can make me clean.” He restored the leper’s disease-ravaged body, but more than that, He restored his shame-ravaged soul. The fearless, compassionate touch of the Savior clothed the man in dignity. Jesus gave him more than a reprieve from death. Jesus gave him LIFE. (Matt. 8:1-3)

The Restorer

They hauled her through the streets, her guilt on display for all to see. No place for her to hide, no shelter from accusing glances and condemning words. She was a perfect target for their collective righteous outrage. A perfect target for the stones they itched to throw.

They dragged her into the presence of Jesus. Just how far would He carry His theme of mercy and  compassion? Surely this woman would find mercy’s limits. Surely He would have no choice but to join them in their stone-throwing censure.

In Jesus’ presence, the stone-throwers discovered that His compassion never fails, His mercies never come to an end. He unmasked the surface righteousness of her accusers and set her free—FORGIVEN. (John 8:2-11)

The Heart Cleanser

He was so close, and yet He might as well have been a world away. To reach the presence of Jesus, she would have to wade through the conglomerate of very, very religious ones—the perfectly righteous men—who were His dinner companions today. She would drown in their scorn. Surely she could not keep her head above the waves of their belittling hatred that were sure to swallow her up. So close! So close!

The longing could not be contained. She had seen the mercy in His eyes when they fell on her that day. He didn’t say a word. No one knew but her. When she read the forgiveness in His face, saw the mercy in His glance, she had been born again. A clean slate. A fresh start. A heart flushed out and free of sin’s debris. Healed from wounds that festered in her soul. New.

Whatever it took, she would bring Him her most precious possession. She would break it at His feet and pour out everything she owned as her worship and adoration. She would wash His feet with her tears, as He had washed her heart with His mercy.

Breaking through the rigid righteousness of the religious, she found the gentle mercy of the Savior. At Jesus’ feet, she who had come to lower herself in His presence, found herself lifted up in the presence of her enemies. She left that day, CLEAN.(Luke 7:36-50)

Jennifer Kennedy Dean is Executive director of The Praying Life Foundation and a respected author and speaker. She is the author of numerous books, studies, and magazine articles specializing in prayer and spiritual formation. Jennifer’s most recent book release is Set Apart: A 6-Week Study of the Beatitudes. Her book Heart’s Cry has been named National Day of Prayer’s signature book. You’ll find articles and daily quotes from Jennifer at the National Day of Prayer website. Live a Praying Life, has been called a flagship work on prayer. Jennifer was widowed in 2005 after 26 years of marriage to Wayne Dean, her partner both in life and ministry. They are the parents of three grown sons. Jennifer makes her home in Marion, KY. Media can learn more about Jennifer at:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Blessings At Thanksgiving

Taking time to wish you God's Best on Thanksgiving Day!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Sleep Study

In 2006 I had a sleep study done and learned I quit breathing over 30 times in an hour. I need a c-pap machine and I had no insurance. Because of my husbands heart issues when our insurance company dropped all the people with the type of policy we had, no one else would take us on.

So I was given the use of a used and refurbished c-pap machine. I have been very thankful for it.

However to qualify for the weight loss surgery I needed an update with a sleep specialist. And now I do have insurance since Medicare kicked in October 1st 2009.

So this is the next step in my weight loss journey. November 9th I met with the Respiratory Specialist. Since I am barely in the range to qualify for weight loss surgery, and by eating like the nutritionist said, I was losing some of the weight. For the first time I willingly did not take off my shoes when I got on the scale. That was different!

November 11th I had the sleep study done.

November 13th I had a Pulmonary function Test done to check on my asthma before surgery.

The following week I checked with the surgeons office to see what is the next step. They are still waiting for the results from the sleep specialist. Several days later. Several calls later neither my primary physician nor the surgeon have the results. Grrr for the bad acting fax machine.

After a ten pound loss from chewing and stretching out my meals to let the fullness signal kick in before I was overly full. And not drinking with meals. I still don't like it but it has become a habit.

But the hunger kicked in and while I still eat slowly I do fill my stomach and half the weight has come back on. Grrr for hunger. Grr for the stomach cramps that signal true hunger. I wish I never got hungry.

November 19th the new C-Pap machine is delivered. A modern one with moisture and the correct setting. Now the machine works immediately, and does not dry out my mouth and eyes and does not blow cold air all over my face. Hallelujah.

I do appreciate modern technology, especially in the medical field.

November 23rd  the surgeon's office scheduled my surgery for December 22nd . Now for the pre-operation events and hoops to jump through.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

We Need a Personal Savior

Sometimes I need the reassurance that God does care about women. Lately, I've been using a Women Of Faith study Bible as part of my morning devotions. I'm spending a few days going through Matthew.

Today I was reading about expensive ointment. Yes we women do like nice things, fine things

So Jesus is at the house of a friend, Simon the Leper, hmm I hadn't caught that. This friend used to be a leper before Jesus healed him. You don't have to guess just how close their friendship was. It's a given.

Okay, so He is at his friends house when this woman comes with a beautiful jar, alabaster no less, and pours this expensive perfume on Jesus' head as He sat at the table.

The other men there were up in arms. This frivolous woman was wasting money. Money that could have gone for a good cause. But Jesus calmed the men and praised the woman for the gift she had given Him.

Then my eye caught the little story about this on the side panel. This was extremely expensive perfume, costing the equivalent of a year's wages. Wow. Many think this woman was Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus.

My immediate thought was, "But of course. She knew Him personally."

And then I began to cry. What wouldn't we do for our Savior when we know Him personally. We will give our cares to Him, and rise above our adversities. We will reach out to help others, and He has done for us.

How strong our churches will be when we all know HIM personally.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Book two in the Lige Evans Mystery Series

by Ace Collins

About the author:

Collins began his writing career twenty-five years ago when he teamed with Louise Mandrell for “The Mandrell Family Album.” Since that time he has penned more than fifty books including bios of Evel Knievel, Bette Midler, Pam Tillis, The Dixie Chicks, autobiographies with Lauren Chapin and The Cathedral Quartet, how to books, a historical children series, a book on the star players of the old Negro baseball league and two best sellers with one of the biggest stars in the history of entertainment — the legendary Lassie. During his career Ace has written for a wide variety of publishers including St. Martin's Press, Viking-Penguin, Putnam, Harper-Collins, Thomas Nelson, Word, Zondervan and the Chicago Review Press. In the course of his writing Collins has also penned more than 2,000 magazine features for the likes of People, Us, Texas Monthly, Plus Magazine and Guideposts. For the past twenty years he has also been the editor and graphic designer for WME Magazine. He also hosts the nonprofit charity organization's radio and television broadcasts.

The Blurb:

This is the second in the Lige Evans' Mystery Series. If you are wanting to know more about Lije, Janie and the rest of the people who survived Farraday Road, this book has the answers. As it solves the first novel's mystery, this book takes readers far beyound Swope's Ridge to Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Berlin and Washington D.C. The mystery unravels to reveal not only who killed Kaitlyn Evans, but to also uncover a terrorist plot meant to crippled the U.S. government. Filled with dramatic plot twists, the book has more adventure and thrills than Farraday Road and provides deep development of the men and women who are such a vital part of this book series.

What Others Say:

"Swope's Ridge continues the story Ace Collins began in his riveting debut work of fiction, Farraday Road. Lije Evans and his cast of characters follow the mystery of Swope's Ridge to places none of them could have possibly imagined. What began as the hunt for the murderer of his wife becomes Lije's quest to stop something far bigger than the individual pieces of the mystery. 

The stakes are raised as we realize what happened in a sleepy corner of Arkansas was only the precursor to something much more sinister than first believed. The author expands the story this time to include international terrorism and the last soldier of the most infamous of all terrorists, Adolf Hitler. This time around we are carried from Arkansas, to England, to Germany, to Mexico, to Kansas, and back home again on a wild ride of suspense, mystery, and espionage. 

Though the stage is much bigger than the first novel, Collins still manages to keep us close to the characters; something that is often lost in sequels. Swope's Ridge is not a book for readers looking for stereotypical cut outs of characters. Through all the adventure we are presented a sobering look at racism, betrayal, and misplaced loyalties. Once again the plot is tight and the dialogue, engaging. And the really good news ... there is no "to be continued" at the end of this one. Though Lije Evans may be back another day you will be satisfied with the conclusion of the mystery of Swope's Ride. Very satisfying." ~~ Tim George.

My Take:

Every time we read about a person on death row who declares they are innocent up to and including their last breath we have to wonder. Are they really guilty? Are they innocent? Or are they delusional and believe their own lies?

This kept me riveted to this story to see how the cross and double cross was solved . . . or not.

I like a book that makes me think and ponder and search for truth.

Purchase The Book At:

God Bless your day and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, November 20, 2009

And The Winner Is . . .

The winner of 
Brandilyn Collins book
"Always Watching" 
is Jessica Nelson. 

I'll get the book mailed
to you soon, Jessica!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The First Week

So I come home from the nutritionist pumped. Protein. I will concentrate on that. It takes protein to heal. I have a lot of health issues. Protein. Got it.

We eat out everyday for lunch. But I can make this work. Piece of cake.

The next day I ordered a grilled chicken breast from Bob Evans, affectionately called Uncle Bob's. I could have either potato or bread (according to my new food plan) so I ordered baby carrots and broccoli for my sides and wheat toast.

Protein first, then vegetables then starchy vegetable or grain, if I still have room.

I cut up the chicken breast into dime size pieces. I took a baby spoon along to give me the idea of how small the pieces need to be. I chewed each bite to the consistency of applesauce. I put my fork down between each bite. That wasn't hard because you feel stupid holding an empty fork for the length of time it takes to make that meat into applesauce.

Husband is a slow eater naturally. But he was finished well before I took my first bite of carrots. Cold carrots by this time.

I asked for a box to take home my broccoli and toast. They made a good supper with the addition of Yogurt, which I ate first. Protein first.

I didn't drink water during the meal or for 30 minutes after. (A habit I need to develop before surgery to avoid the pain of dumping syndrome.)

At the end of the first day I was not quite up to eating enough protein, in fact according to my SparkPeople page I had under ate calories, carbs, fat and protein.

Second day calories, fat and protein acceptable levels but carbs a bit low. No drinking with meals or for 30 minutes after.

Keeping notes per Dr. Wilbert's suggestion: Had gall stone pain that night. (Doctor thinks I have a stone that lodged outside the gallbladder - learned this after gallbladder surgery.)

Third day the protein powder arrived. I may have to take a bit of this for the rest of my life so am learning how to tweak it so it tastes acceptable without adding fat or sugar.  Calories low, carbs low, fat low, protein acceptable.

Fourth day went reasonably well except I was really hungry all day.  We had a dinner meeting in our home that evening. We ate late. I have a commitment to eat every 5 hours. No longer between meals. So I had protein and fruit at normal meal time. I can make this work.

By the time we ate around 9:00 I blew it. Not like before I started this new eating plan. But I did not chew my food into applesauce and I knowingly drank coffee and water which is soothing to me.

Sigh . . . this is going to be harder than I first thought but I am committed.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Seeing Things

A Message from the author:

Thank you for taking time from your busy day to stop by. I love company, especially people who love to read.

Speaking of reading, Seeing Things, my newest book, is in stores now!  Birdie (my lead character in this story) sees things others cannot, and I think you’re going to love her.

You can’t write a book about a woman who sees (and chats!) with Huckleberry Finn without explaining yourself. So I’ve recorded a new podcast  to give you the story behind the story. I had so much fun writing this book. I hope you enjoy getting this insider sneak peek.

The Blurb:

Birdie Wainwright isn’t concerned about seeing things others can’t. As a woman with macular degeneration, she considers the clarity and color of her visions a gift from God.

A splash of purple flowers on the sidewalk or mountainsides of edelweiss are welcomed diversions from the fog that covers her central vision. Besides, she has mountains to climb and tangos to dance—until a tumble down the stairs breaks her ankle.

Anxious to reconnect with her son and grandson, she accepts her son’s invitation to convalesce in Denver, miles and worlds away from her mountain home. And then, Huckleberry Finn comes to call. The line between reality and whimsy turns brittle. Faith is tested. And hope is reborn.

What Others Say:

"Who hasn't had an imaginary friend that used to talk to when they were little? Even now, sometimes the characters you create in your head are better company to keep than the real people you have to interact with on a daily basis. That's what life is like for Birdie as she finds that it's easier to communicate with Huckleberry Finn than with her son and his wife. That is a literary character that would be great to have a conversation with. I love how their conversations mostly consist of Birdie being able to confide and share her thoughts with Huck just sitting there listening. It's the best situation ever!

I found the relationship between Birdie and her son and his family to very interesting to the story. I felt that this relationship is the epitome of elderly parents and their children who aren't sure how to take care of them. Their reactions and attitudes towards each other were very realistic and it touches at the heart for those who have been in this situation. What I liked best was how the author portrayed Birdie. She's not shown as a cranky elderly person who thinks that her way is the best way. She loves her grandson very much and wants to make everything right for him. Her relationship with her son is rocky and is even more so with his wife. However she tries to do her best to keep the peace even though it's very difficult for her.

My only complaint is that it's very slow for about halfway through the book. It takes a while to really get into the story. It's not boring, there's just a lot of that you have to see through Birdie's eyes first before delving deeper. This book is not a fast read, but it's one to savor. I feel that it will touch many readers and pull some heartstrings. Perfect for a lazy fall's day." ~~Deborah

"I was drawn into this story as though Birdie were a close family friend! From the very beginning, she captured my heart and I had to stick with her through her struggles and triumphs. I will recommend this book to many and plan to give several as gifts. Macular degeneration is a dreaded condition, and Patti depicted the life with it very well, but also encouraged us all to live life with whatever disabilities we find love as it comes to us! Birdie is my new hero...thank you Pattie for sharing her with us! I do hope we will see more of her :-)" ~~Glenda J. Bell

My Take:

This book fits with my passion "Why We Need Girlfriends." A Bible study book I'll be talking about another day.

The family relationships in the book are great. Healing between family members. Grandmother and grandson bonding.  But the group of women with failing eyesight that band together do more than the doctors or family for Birdie. Girlfriends are friends who stick closer than relatives.

Seeing Things made me laugh out loud, which is common in husband's family, but not in mine.I can't recommend this story high enough.

Purchase The Book At:    

Or Get A Signed Copy:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Psychologist

The next step in my weight loss journey was the psychologist appointment. I had four choices. If I already had a psychologist I was working with, I could have my pre-ope evaluation with that one. Otherwise the surgeons office gave me a paper with three choices of psychologists they work with.

When I Googled them I found that Jeffery R. Wilbert, Ph. D. specializes in weight loss counseling.

I was surprised and pleased that he answered his own phone.  I told him I was holding a paper from Premier Metabolic and Bariatric Associates with his name on it. He made a joke and the ice was broken.

The appointment:

The doctor did not look so jovial when we met for my appointment. So I was glad I had witnessed that side of him earlier and was more at ease with his stern demeanor.

His plan is called Empowered Eating for surgical success:

First the doctor asked me a ton of questions. Then I filled out a questionnaire and then we talked some more.

I signed a ten point Weight Loss Surgery Behavioral Contract, and initialed each point.

Sigh . . . this might be harder than I first thought but I am committed.

Dr. Wilbert sent a recommendation to my surgeon that I was prepared.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lost Mission

Athol Duickson

About the author:

"I'm honored that you're here . . .
. . . because it means you want to know a little bit about me. Let's start with the first thing most people ask: what's up with my first name? It's an old family name, brought to the new world from a little town in Scotland called Blair Atholl, (which is between Pitagowan and Aldclune). My family dropped the second "L" a few generations back, and being Americans
we mispronounce it, saying "eighth-ol" with the accent on the first syllable.

 Please visit my blog, where I write about the things most on my
mind these days. If you want to get in touch, please drop me a line or leave a comment on the blog. I'd love to hear from you!"

The Blurb:

A billionaire driven mad by grief.

A pastor in love with the wrong woman.

An illegal immigrant desperate to feed his family.

Only Lupe de la Garza can save them from the ancient evil lurking in a lost mission’s ruins, but it will take an act of  faith beyond all human power.

What Others Say:

"In the late 1700’s, a Franciscan monk dreams of establishing a Catholic mission in California, to bring the love of Christ to the lost Indians who live there. In modern times, a beautiful Catholic woman from Mexico crosses the U.S. border illegally to bring the love of Christ to the lost people who live in the same area of California. Though they lived hundreds of years apart, their stories are inextricably, powerfully interconnected. Lost Mission is a deeply moving tale of pain and guilt and revenge – but mostly, it’s a tale of love. Just when I think I have this writing thing figured out, along comes a book that blows all my carefully learned “lessons” out of the water. Athol Dickson’s style is all his own, and it’s completely captivating. I was drawn in to Fray Alejandro’s world from the first page. I felt his deep desire, his passion for Christ, his pain when his mission didn’t realize the success he’d hoped for. The way Dickson smoothly transitioned from Alejandro’s time to Lupe’s time was beautiful every time. And Lupe also became larger than life for me, a real person with a deep and overwhelming desire to spread the love of God. In fact, every character in this book drew me in to their individual stories, and I loved the way they intertwined with one another. If you’ve read Athol Dickson’s previous books, you already know you have to read this one. And if you haven’t, Lost Mission is a terrific introduction to this talented author’s work. Buy the book. Read it. You won’t regret it." ~~ Ginny Smith

"Some novels are like freeways. When you need to get somewhere in a hurry, they are the way to go. Dickson’s works are more like an old state highway that passes through every little town along the way. Here you see and experience all the great characters and places you would have missed had you not come this way. Believe me it’s a trip worth the time" ~ Tim George

My Take:

Athol Dickson definitely has his own voice. I was first caught up by his writing style and then a bit perplexed by it as we flowed back and forth between worlds two centuries apart. Persevering is well worth it. As I set the book down I think of what I have learned about the human condition and the wars that are fought in the name of God, by both sides. I think about how everything we do impacts others, even for many generations.

God bless your day and thank you for stopping by.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Last Week's Winner

Our winner for Maureen Lang's book  LOOK TO THE EAST, is Crystal Miller. The book is on it's way.

Book Contest: Just a reminder that we are featuring Brandilyn Collins book  Always Watching. The contest is extended through next week

(Book Contest weeks are from Monday through Sunday. A new book review is posted each Monday which may or may not have a contest connected with it. See the Book contest information on the side bar.

For this week's contest leave a comment on any of my blog my posts this week or next along with information how to get hold of you if you are the winner.

God Bless your day and thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Nutritional Therapy

The visit to the Nutrition Therapist was very informative. Not just a formality for me.

Since I was concentrating on eating vegetables I wasn't getting enough protein. Chewing meat takes so long and has so much fat in it that I am getting more interested in the protein powder that my dietitian talked to me about.

She gave me a sample of UnJury chocolate powder with 20 grams of protein, 0 fat and only 4 grams of carbohydrate. I tried it in a cup of coffee when I got home that day. Doable, but I might need to doctor it up a bit.

I went to and ordered three cans, chocolate, unflavored and chicken soup.

The dietitian taught me how to up the protein content of my food using the unflavored protein and how to survive on trips with the pre-packaged protein as per the sample she gave me.

She went over my medicines, vitamins and other supplements. I was getting too much Vitamin A and not enough calcium and she told me what form I needed. [Calcium Citrate]

Everyone who lives in Ohio needs to take vitamin D in the winter months. And my lifestyle requires more of it. I didn't know that.

Traveling with husband in his plane Charley is part of my life. So is eating out every day for lunch. I am learning acceptable things to order at Bob Evans. And find I have to bring much of it home in a carry-out container.

I am tracking my food on SparkPeople . I can see each day if I have consumed enough protein. And I can see the balance with protein/carbs, and fat.

Now that I can't drink during meals and for 30 min after I have a struggle getting my water consumed. I also track this on SparkPeople.

When the order came from UnJury I started using it as a breakfast replacement as it is considered a liquid and I don't have to quit drinking until lunch time.

After the surgery I will need chewable vitamins so I went shopping for those and will soon start taking them daily.

I may need to order the chewable calcium because so far what I am finding is calcium carbonate which the dietician said is hard to digest and causes constipation. Plus I already get enough of that kind with TUMS. I'm not sure I want to take a power in addition to the powdered protien, but I may not have a choice. Still looking for chewable Citracal or generic.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Servant’s Heart

Guest Blogger:
Alyice Edrich

Do you have a servant’s heart? Has God blessed you with the insight to see the needs of others and reach out in compassion and understanding even when they, themselves, cannot reach out and ask for help?

Four years ago I had the rare opportunity to not only reach out and touch a few lives, but to be blessed in return. I say rare because in my own experience, it’s either been one or the other—not both at the same time. I used to believe that it was because giving and receiving at the same time would take the focus off what God intended for us, or the other party, to learn.

But that year, as I was fulfilling God’s desire for me to serve others, God sent others to act as servants to my family. And you know what I learned? Humbling yourself to receive God’s blessings is just as important as humbling yourself to give God’s blessings to others. Whether you give or you receive, you must first humble yourself before the Lord and let His will take precedence over your circumstances, your emotions, your finances, and your actions.

It doesn’t matter what you own, how much money you have in the bank, how talented or educated you are, or how many people you know. If God calls you to have a servant’s heart, He will make a way for you to accomplish what He has put on your heart to do.

A servant’s heart has more to do with your relationship with God than it has to do with your desire to be recognized for your good deeds. Having a servant’s heart is one the most beautiful expressions of love I know because it’s showing your love to another human being by simply being who God intended you to be. It’s about seeing a need and fulfilling it without any strings attached. It’s about making yourself uncomfortable so that someone else can be comfortable. It’s about showing Christ’s love through your actions and your words. And finally, it’s about touching the lives of those around you with such a gentle kindness that your act will be remembered for years to come.

You might think a check to pay a bill will solve someone’s problem but that might not be what God wants you to do. God may want you to teach that person how to budget his income so that he’s not in the same boat next month. You might think a prayer is all that is needed but God might want you spend some quality time with that person. You might think a having a garage sale to remove clutter from someone’s life will help her get more focused but God might want you to help that person reorganize her life by ministering to her soul while you weed through her material possessions. It’s all a matter of God-perspective, not man-perspective.

Taking the time to listen to what God wants you to do, humbling yourself to do what He has called you to do, and then faithfully following His orders regardless of how uncomfortable it makes you is truly what a servant’s heart is all about. It’s selfless love at its best and God couldn’t ask for a better gift or testimony of your relationship with Him. So pay attention when God calls you to serve others. Listen with your heart, not your mind and ask yourself, “Is this what God wants me to do or is this what I think should be done?”

Alyice Edrich is the author of several highly praised e-books designed to help you work from home. To discover how you can earn $50 in two hours or up to $10K in your spare time visit her store:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Meet Christian Suspense Author Brandilyn Collins

Thanks for joining us today as we chat with Brandilyn Collins.
Sharon: Our first question is when and how did you get interested in writing?
Brandilyn: I was born into a writing family. My mom and dad both wrote books. The culture in our household was reading, literature, and word games from early on in my childhood. I can remember writing stories at the age of eight.
Sharon: I expect your family encouraged on your writing journey?
Brandilyn: Yes, My mom and my husband, Mark. Both remain my biggest fans.
Sharon: Do you still experience self-doubts regarding your work?
Brandilyn: Only every time I turn in a book. I think this is par for the course with novelists. We’re all a little flaky that way.
Sharon: Is there a particularly difficult set back that you’ve gone through in your writing career you are willing to share?
Brandilyn: My journey toward publication in fiction took ten long, excruciating years. But I learned so much during that time—both in the craft itself, and in perseverance. By the way, this whole story is told on my blog, Check the archives for “How I Got Here.” Warning—it’s a lot of posts. But the story is told in a suspenseful style, with hooks and all. I hope the posts are entertaining as well as encouraging to others who are on their own journey.
Sharon: I can recommend your blog. It's wonderfully full of infromation.

What keeps you writing in times of uncertainty? 
Brandilyn: Seriously? A deadline.
Sharon: That would do it.

Where do you write? Do you have a dedicated office or a corner or nook in a room?
Brandilyn: I have dedicated offices in both of our homes. I’m not one who can write with noise around me. I admire my colleagues who can write at the kitchen table surrounded by family and conversation. Not me. I need to go somewhere and close the door.
Sharon: Do you have a word or page goal you set for each day?
Brandilyn: Yes. I set these goals according to how much time I have to write the book. I use a large yearly calendar—the erasable kind. I put weekly word count at the end of each week. If I stay on task—great. If I fall behind, I have all the higher daily word count to do to make up for lost time.
Sharon: What made you decide to write Christian fiction?
Brandilyn: I enjoy the freedom of being able to weave a spiritual thread into my suspense stories. As for my genre—suspense is exciting and dramatic. Keeps paging turning.

Sharon: Are there any themes you weren't expecting? Any that developed as the story Always Watching, progressed?

Brandilyn: The first book in the Rayne Tour series, Always Watching, shows the progression of 16-year-old Shaley O’Connor, daughter of a rock star, as she becomes aware that there is a God who is “always watching.” The suspense plot catapults her into danger—and it’s often when we’re in danger that we turn to God for help, even when we’re not used to praying. Book 2, Last Breath, shows Shaley’s progress in walking with God, and how that involves forgiveness and trust.
Sharon: What gave you the inspiration for the Rayne Tour series? How was this story placed on your heart?
Brandilyn: Last Breath is book #2 in the Rayne Tour series, co-written with my daughter, Amberly. We were given the opportunity to write this series a few years ago when the Zondervan young adult editor asked me to write suspense for the newly launching line. When the editor suggested I write with Amberly, who was 16 at the time—in the age group of the target audience—I couldn’t say no. It’s been a lot of fun to do this project together. We chose to write about the daughter of a rock star because Amberly and I have loved attending rock concerts together over the years. We knew it would be exciting to explore all the events that go on backstage while a popular group tours. The third book in this series, Final Touch, releases next spring.
Sharon: Where can we find you on the web?
Brandilyn: Lots of places. My web site contains information on all my books, including the first chapters. I’m on Facebook at: And on Twitter: And I blog at Forensics and Faith Monday through Friday:
Sharon: Any parting words?
Brandilyn: I enjoy interacting with readers. Do visit me online somewhere so we can connect.

Sharon: Thank you for visiting with us today Brandilyn.

Book Contest: 
(Book Contest weeks are from Monday through Sunday. A new book review is posted each Monday which may or may not have a contest connected with it. See the Book contest information on the side bar.

Leave a comment on any of my blog my posts this week along with information how to get hold of you if you are the winner of Brandilyn's book  Always Watching.

God Bless your day and thanks for stopping by.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Always Watching

by Brandilyn Collins & Amberly Collins

About the author:

Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense®. These harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline "Don't forget to b r e a t h e . . ."®  Brandilyn's first book, A Question of Innocence, was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. 
Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio, including the Phil Donahue and Leeza talk shows. Brandilyn's awards for her novels include the ACFW Book of the Year (three times), Inspirational Readers' Choice, and Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice.

The Blurb:

ALWAYS WATCHING – First in the Rayne Tour Series
Released April '09

This daughter of a rock star has it all—until 
murder crashes her world.
During a concert, sixteen-year-old Shaley O’Connor 
stumbles upon the body of a friend backstage. Is 
Tom Hutchens' death connected to her?

Frightening messages arrive. Paparazzi stalk
Shaley. Her private nightmare is displayed for 
all to see. Where is God at times like this?

As the clock runs out, Shaley must find 
Tom's killer—before he strikes again...

Seatbelt Suspense® for young adults,
co-written with daughter Amberly Collins.

What Others Say:

"Shaley O'Connor has the kind of life most girls would do anything for: A rock star mom, limitless wealth, and the celebrity status to boot. What teenager wouldn't want to tour with one of the world's most famous bands? Unfortunately, the fame soon loses its power and appeal when one of Shaley's closest friends is murdered back stage at the latest concert. As new evidence comes to light she soon realizes her own life is in danger. Not knowing who to trust, Shaley turns to the God who has always seemed so far to help her in her greatest time of need. 

Mother and daughter team Brandilyn and Amberly Collins have stormed onto the YA scene in exhilarating style with this great new series. Always Watching is a fast paced whodunit set against the intriguing backdrop of rock star celebrity. From the opening lines, we are immersed into Shaley's exciting life as a celebrity's daughter. It doesn't take long for us to see that fame is not all its cut out to be. Indeed Shaley's struggle to balance her public status with her true identity is one of the most interesting aspects of this story. 

When you read Brandilyn Collins you expect mystery and thrills, and once again she doesn't disappoint. Her adult fans will find much to rave about here, while new teen readers will love the youthful voice and perspective that Amberly Collins brings to the table. Underlying the tension and dread is a strong spiritual message about trusting in the God who is always watching over us. In the end we are left with the closure we long for and a promise of even more mystery to come. The Rayne Tour is in full swing and you can guarantee that I won't miss a show." ~~ Jake Chism ""

My Take:

Most of Brandilyn's books cannot be read by the BFHCC (Big Fat Honkin Chickin's Club) But this one co-written by her daughter is milder, but still full of suspense. I found it a page turner and could not turn out the light until I had read every last page.

At the end of the book I was a bit disappointed to be left hanging and I am eager to read the next book Last Breath. It was supposed to release in Sept so I will have to search for it.

I look for the family relationships in the books I read. And this one focused on a young woman who lives with a single mother. She yearns for knowledge about her father. This is what motivates her to act as she does throughout the story.

I have daughters, granddaughters and greats. Brandilyn and Amberly have developed a believable character in Shaley.

Book Contest: This week we are featuring Brandilyn Collins book Always Watching..

Leave a comment on any of my blog my posts this week along with information how to get hold of you if you are the winner.