Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pain Happens in a Broken World



Life Lessons from The Help 
Pain Happens in a Broken World
By Poppy Smith
 
Have you read or seen the movie, THE HELP? If you have, you know it is a story about racism and the treatment of black maids who worked for white people in the South. People’s reactions range from outrage at the humiliation blacks have often received, to charges that it was biased and untrue.
 
I came out of the movie grieving. I not only felt wretched at the pain racism causes, but also at the hurt and suffering that comes when people mistreat others. Pain Happens in a Broken World. Being cruel to others, whether by actions or words, happens in every culture for many reasons: because individuals think they are superior for some reason due to their skin color, gender, position in society, wealth, or education. Whatever the reasons, they all flow from a sinful heart.
 
Have you been hurt?
  • Have you known what it is like to be looked down on, dismissed as unimportant, or made to feel unwanted? Have you experienced cruelty of some kind? How did it make you feel?
  • Have you wrestled with anger, wanting to get revenge, or feeling crushed and of no worth? In The Help, one of the poorly treated maids gets her revenge in a startling way. But revenge is God’s prerogative, and not ours to take (Romans 12:19).
  • Your pain might have come from someone you work with, live next to, or go to school with. Its source could be a relative or close family. Even fellow believers hurt others when operating in the flesh and not the Spirit. But no matter where your pain originated, it is something God wants to heal.
  • God Cares About You. Why should He care? Why does He call you to forgive those who have harmed you? Because He loves you and wants the appalling power of bitterness, hatred, and inner rage to stop poisoning your heart and your life.
  • God’s Path to Healing. How can you and I, followers of the Lord Jesus, indwelt by His Mighty and All-powerful Spirit, find freedom from pain? Only by forgiving the one, or many, who caused our pain.
Three necessary principles for dealing with pain:
  • Reject blame and bitterness. It doesn’t move you forward. It chains you to the past.
  • Pray for willingness to forgive. It is a process that often requires time to work through.
  • Forgive the offender. Be willing to release that person from your desire for revenge, or even for an apology. Realize they most likely have moved on and forgotten the incident. Remembering is only hurting you. Let it go.
 
Remember something else: the Lord is our Healer. He wants you to experience joy, no matter how much pain you have experienced. He wants you to THRIVE in every aspect of your life. And He has provided a way for this to happen! Will you walk in it?


 
Author Bio
Poppy Smith
With her fun personality and passion for communicating life-changing truths, Poppy Smith inspires believers to thrive spiritually and personally. Poppy’s practical how-to messages (in print or in person) uses colorful examples from her own struggles to be more like Jesus. She encourages women (and men, at times) to grow in every kind of situation—whether joyful or painful! Poppy is British, married to an American, and has lived in many countries. She brings an international flair seasoned with humorous honesty as she illustrates Bible truths. A former Bible Study Fellowship Lecturer, Poppy’s teaching challenges women to look at their choices, attitudes and self-talk. As a result, God’s speaks, changing hearts, changing minds, and changing lives.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Meet Christian Author Christy Barritt

Sharon: Please welcome Christy Barritt to our Meet the Author Day. (Wait for applause to die down.)

May I get you a cup of coffee? Tea? A soft drink? Or just plain water

Christy: I’m a Coca-Cola addict. Trying to break the habit, but, just one while we do this interview won’t hurt, right?

Sharon: Here you go. Now I won’t feel guilty sipping on my sweet white coffee.

Is there a particularly difficult set back that you’ve gone through in your writing career you are willing to share?

Christy: When I started writing the Squeaky Clean series, I signed with a great publishing company. They published the first two books, but one day I got an email saying, “Christy, we think you’re a bang-up writer and that your books are great. But we’re not going to be able to publish your third book.” At this time, the economy was going south and mysteries weren’t doing well in CBA. That email definitely knocked the wind out of my sails for awhile. I desperately wanted to finish telling Gabby’s story! Every week I got emails from readers who wanted me to finish telling Gabby’s story also. I knew most publishers wouldn’t want to take on the third book in a series, so what was a writer to do? I finally decided to publish that third book on my own. So I did. That’s how Organized Grime was born.

Sharon: I think you made the right decision of this one. I certainly enjoyed the story.

What makes your writing different than other writers? What is your brand? What can a reader expect every time she picks up one of your books?

Christy: For my Squeaky Clean Mysteries, most readers would probably say the writing is fast-paced, funny, and that the characters are lovable. This series is kind of like a Christian version of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. My tagline used to be “Stories that play havoc on the nerves and the funny bone.” That summarizes it pretty well! I also write romantic-suspense for Love Inspired Suspense, and those books are a brand of their own…

Sharon: What gave you the inspiration for Organized Grime? How was this story placed on your heart?

Christy: The main inspiration for this story was simply the protagonist, Gabby St. Claire, a crime scene cleaner who really wants to be a forensic investigator. She had to drop out of college because of some family problems, and that’s when she started her crime-scene cleaning business. I just feel like I’m visiting with an old friend whenever I sit down to write her story. She’s such a fascinating character to me, and she’s taken on a life of her own on the pages of my books. She’s kind of messed up at times and is often struggling with her career, men and God. She’s funny and witty and honest.

Sharon: Of your own experiences, what influenced the writing of Gabby St. Claire the most? What features became aspects that were Gabby St. Claire’s alone?

Christy: Gabby just kind of grew out of the story. She surprised me at times! J What I really like about Gabby is that she isn’t afraid to question things—including aspects of faith. I’m a big believer in honest dialogue, and Gabby isn’t fearful of asking questions about God. Plus, she’s determined to overcome her circumstances and, though she comes across as tough at times, she has a huge heart.

Sharon: What’s something you wish you’d known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business?

Christy: I think sometimes we can push to make things happen in our time (getting a contract, seeing success with book sales, getting more contracts, more media appearances, etc.). We really just have to wait and let things happen in God’s time—which is always perfect. Wherever I try to take things into my own hands, my plans never succeed. But, when I’m faithful to what God’s called me to do, everything always seems to fall in place. I’ve come to the place where I realize that my success should be determined by my faithfulness to the task set before me.

Sharon: Are you planning another book? If so, what’s the story about?

Christy: I haven’t decided if I’ll do another Squeaky Clean book or not. I’ve thought about doing a short or even telling Sierra’s story. We’ll see! In the meantime, 2012 has shaped up to be a busy year for my writing. I have two Love Inspired Suspense novels releasing (Race Against Time in April, and Ricochet in September). I’m re-releasing an earlier book of mine that went out of print (The Trouble with Perfect in April), and I also have a mystery novel coming out in May (Death of the Couch Potato’s Wife). Oh, yeah, and I wrote a book on writing that I’m releasing—for FREE! It’s called The Novel in Me, and I really just wanted to do something to give back to all the readers and writers out there who were curious about the writing and publishing process.

Sharon: I'll be looking for your books. Especially that one on writing. One can't ever learn too much about the craft.

How can readers find you on the Internet?       

Christy: They can visit my webpage (which will be relaunched in April!). I’m also on Facebook  and Twitter  and I just signed up for Pinterest, though I have no idea what to do with myself there. LOL
                                                                
Sharon: Social Media is a challenge, that’s for sure.

Thank you so much for joining us today, Christy. Do you have any parting words?

Christy: Thanks so much for having me. What a great time! I appreciate you taking the time to do this interview!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Organized Grime

by Christy Barritt


About the author:
Christy Barritt is an author, freelance writer and speaker who lives in Virginia. She's married to her Prince Charming, a man who thinks she's hilarious--but only when she's not trying to be. Christy's a self-proclaimed klutz, an avid music lover who's known for spontaneously bursting into song, and a road trip aficionado. She's only won one contest in her life--and her prize was kissing a pig (okay, okay... actually she did win the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Suspense and Mystery for her book Suspicious Minds also). Her current claim to fame is showing off her mother, who looks just like former First Lady Barbara Bush.

When she's not working or spending time with her family, she enjoys singing, playing the guitar, and exploring small, unsuspecting towns where people have no idea how accident prone she is.

For more information, visit her website 

The Blurb:
Organized Grime
Gabby St. Claire knows how to clean up scum. She can get blood out of carpet, pick shattered bones from plaster, and clean up other less-than-enticing fluids from nearly any surface. St. Claire also knows how to clean up another kind of scum— the scum of the earth.

Crime scene cleaner and wannabe forensic investigator Gabby St. Claire knows her best friend, Sierra, isn’t guilty of killing three people in what appears to be an ecoterrorist attack. But Sierra has disappeared, her only contact a frantic phone call. Crime scene evidence Gabby discovers while cleaning tie seemingly random murders together—and point to Sierra as the guilty party. Just what has her animal-loving friend gotten herself into? If that’s not disturbing enough, who’s the person following Gabby? A federal agent who hopes Gabby will lead him to Sierra? Or someone with more sinister plans? To find Sierra and prove her innocence, Gabby will have to rely on all of her training and abilities, plus the help of a man she loves and the protection of a God she’s only recently begun to believe in.

Excerpt:
Chapter One
   Slam!
   I glanced at the clock above my TV. 11 p.m. Way to late for visitors. The five residents who lived in our converted Victorian apartment complex knew better than to let toe front door slam shut at this hour. Otherwise, they’d face the wrath of Sierra, who hated to be woken from her beauty sleep, which lately had been starting promptly at 9:30.
   The detective in me work up as more noise downstairs caught my ears—literally. Like a magnet being drawn to a refrigerator, my right ear gravitated toward my door and didn’t stop until my skin plastered the grooved wood there.
   Someone entered the apartment building. The front door had a tendency to slam shut with a reverberating thud each time someone entered or left. Who could it be?
   Someone must be visiting. My upstairs neighbor, Mrs. Mystery as I affectionately called her, was taking a rare vacation to the Bahamas. Rare because I don’t think her skin has ever seen the sun except in five-minute increments. My downstairs neighbor, radio-talk show host Bill McCormick, was on a huge tour to promote his show and not due back in town for two more weeks. Sierra had left at four this afternoon and I hadn’t seen her since then. And Riley, who lived across the hall, was up in D.C. visiting his parents for the weekend.


What Others Say:
 By Larry McAdoo (Virginia Beach, VA USA) -This review is from: Organized Grime: Squeaky Clean Mysteries, Book 3 (Paperback)

Organized Grime: Squeaky Clean Mysteries, Book 3 I've known Christy Barritt for a few years and after the first two books in the Squeaky Clean Mysteries left me waiting for the finale I had the opportuniy to discuss the issues I was eager to see play out in the concluding volume.(Christy used to work for the now defunked "Harvest Company Christian Bookstore" where I was working when we met.)

"Organized Grime" thrilled me beyond all my expectations. I knew the ending would be terrific but I was excited as I was drawn into the story that moved at a fast pace with twists at the end of the chapters that kept me turning the pages. I like writers who can give you enough of the background of the earlier novels in a given series so that reading the final volume can be read as a stand-alone while at the same time peaking the reader's interest in the previous volumes: Christy Barritt did just that. I have read other thriller trilogies who have kept me wanting to know how the story plays out and I say, without equivocation, that the story of Gabby St. Claire, Sierra, Riley puts the author in the same league us the other writers. I am so glad she handled the spiritual issues so clearly. It's nice to read about the developing intimate relationships, i.e., Gabby and Riley without sexual explicit references as found in another Tidewater author I picked up when Borders closed. I thought the unexpected visit of Riley's parents during Gabby's recovery after nearly being beaten to death was a hoot.

Christy Barritt deserves a stellar award for her finale "Organized Grime." ~~Larry McAdoo, Virginia Beach, VA employee at Lifeway Christian Stores in Chesapeake, Va.

My Take:
I love to read mystery and suspense titles and this one by Christy Barritt does not disappoint. Once I started reading Organized Grime I could not put it down!

I have not yet read the first two books in this series. Organized Grime is very much a stand alone book. I did not have to read the other two to understand this one. However I really fell in love with the characters and I WANT to read the first two books.


Purchase The Book At:
Amazon:
Barnes and Noble:
Or Ask Your Local Library To Order The Book In For You!

Book Contest:
Christy, bless her heart, sent me a reviewers copy of Organized Grime to read. I'm offering to pass it on to one blessed reader this week.

Book Contest weeks are from Saturday, when the review is posted through Friday. A new book review is posted each week 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. Each comment gives you another chance to win Organized Grime. Posts on facebook do not count. We only check the messages on the blog to pick a winner.

Q4U: When you read a book, what is your favorite genre?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Underground Secrets


I am so grateful for my friend who shared this story and these pictures with me. I in turn want to share this with my blog readers.
Deep underground in Poland lies something remarkable but little known outside Eastern Europe . For centuries, miners have extracted salt there, but left behind things quite startling and unique. Take a look at the most unusual salt mine in the world.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/iks_berto/1370098549/
From the outside, Wieliczka Salt Mine doesn't look extraordinary.  It looks extremely well kept for a place that hasn't mined any salt for over ten years but apart from that it looks ordinary.
However, over two hundred meters below ground it holds an astonishing secret. This is the salt mine that became an art gallery, cathedral and underground lake.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/teachandlearn/3725891203/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/zsoolt/2030464796/
Situated in the Krakow area, Wieliczka is a small town of close to twenty thousand inhabitants. It was founded in the twelfth century by a local Duke to mine the rich deposits of salt that lie beneath. Until 1996 it did just that but the generations of miners did more than just extract. They left behind them a breathtaking record of their time underground in the shape of statues of mythic, historical and religious figures.
They even created their own chapels in which to pray. Perhaps their most astonishing legacy is the huge underground cathedral they left behind for posterity.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/14545665@N04/3153749810/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fakeplasticgirl/1058712971/
It may feel like you are in the middle of a Jules Verne adventure as you descend in to the depths of the world. After a one hundred and fifty meter climb down wooden stairs the visitor to the salt mine will see some amazing sites. About the most astounding in terms of its sheer size and audacity is the Chapel of Saint Kinga. The Polish people have for many centuries been devout Catholics and this was more than just a long term
hobby to relieve the boredom of being underground. This was an act of worship.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ru_boff/5067569070/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/petereed/128046218/
Amazingly, even the chandeliers in the cathedral are made of salt. It was not simply hewn from the ground and then thrown together; however, the process is rather more painstaking for the lighting. After extraction the rock salt was first of all dissolved. It was then reconstituted with the impurities taken out so that it achieved a glass-like
finish. The chandeliers are what many visitors think the rest of the cavernous mine will be like as they have a picture in their minds of salt as they would sprinkle on their meals! However, the rock salt occurs naturally in different shades of grey (something like you would expect granite to look like).
http://www.flickr.com/photos/steve_way/3614361457/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/potrzebie/4908233213/
Still, that doesnt stop well over one million visitors (mainly from Poland and its eastern European neighbors) from visiting the mine to see, amongst other things, how salt was mined in the past.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/teachandlearn/3726737340/in/photostream/
For safety reasons less than one percent of the mine is open to visitors, but even that is still almost four kilometers in length more than enough to weary the average tourist after an hour or two. The mine was closed for two reasons the low price of salt on the world market made it too expensive to extract here. Also, the mine was slowly flooding another reason why visitors are restricted to certain areas only.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/-wit-/89425922/
The religious carvings are, in reality, what draw many to this mine as much for their amazing verisimilitude as for their Christian aesthetics. The above shows Jesus appearing to the apostles after the crucifixion. He shows the doubter, Saint Thomas , the wounds on his wrists.
http://www.flickr..com/photos/zsoolt/2039991392/
Another remarkable carving, this time a take on The Last Supper. The work and patience that must have gone into the creation of these sculptures is extraordinary. One wonders what the miners would have thought of their work going on general display? They came to be quite used to it, in fact, even during the mines busiest period in the nineteenth century. The cream of Europe s thinkers visited the site you can still see many of their names in the old visitors books on display.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/teachandlearn/3726001817/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/iks_berto/869134233/
These reliefs are perhaps among some of the most iconographic works of Christian folk art in the world and really do deserve to be shown. It comes as little surprise to learn that the mine was placed on the original list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites back in 1978.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/iks_berto/857153644/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/iks_berto/1367045421/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/teachandlearn/3726752366/in/photostream/
Not all of the work is relief-based. There are many life sized statues that must have taken a considerable amount of time months, perhaps even years to create. Within the confines of the mine there is also much to be learned about the miners from the machinery and tools that they used many of which are on display and are centuries old. A catastrophic flood in 1992 dealt the last blow to commercial salt mining in the area and now the mine functions purely as a tourist attraction. Brine is, however, still
extracted from the mine and then evaporated to produce some salt, but hardly on the ancient scale. If this was not done, then the mines would soon become flooded once again.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-carden/8885605/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/woodlet/4280526342/
Not all of the statues have a religious or symbolic imagery attached to them. The miners had a sense of humor, after all! Here can be seen their own take on the legend of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. The intricately carved dwarves must have seemed to some of the miners a kind of ironic depiction of their own work.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bannedintheredstates/5012835487/
The miners even threw in a dragon for good measure! Certainly, they may have whistled while they did it but the conditions in the salt mine were far from comfortable and the hours were long the fact that it was subterranean could hardly have added to the excitement of going to work each morning.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/waxorian/4920540929/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/squinza/2879080240/
To cap it all there is even an underground lake, lit by subdued electricity and candles. This is perhaps where the old legends of lakes to the underworld and Catholic imagery of the saints work together to best leave a lasting impression of the mine. How different a few minutes reflection here must have been to the noise and sweat of everyday working life in the mine.
How I would love to visit Poland and experience this site!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February Is Relationship Month, Teach Your Kids A Little Appreciation

Author
Alyice Edrich 

Did you know that the entire month of February is “Relationship Month”? If you have children at home this is the perfect opportunity to work with them on the relationships in their own lives.

Below are four simple tips for showing your kids how to step out of the "me zone" and into the "I appreciate you" zone:


1. Brighten The Life Of An Elderly Person

Small children find the elderly fascinating and wonderful to be around, so capitalize on this. Take a day to design your own Valentine cards, then instead of sending them out on February 14, choose a day that's convenient for your family and hand deliver them to a nearby retirement home.

Going room to room to hand deliver them to the residents can be exciting for small children, but did you know that for some residents, it could be the highlight of their entire year?

Designing your Valentine's Day cards can be:

  • as easy as handing your toddler a red piece of construction paper and crayon,
  • as messy as finger painting, or
  • as elaborate as cutting and gluing different objects onto the card, then folding when dry.
2. Host An Appreciation Party

Gather your teenagers and show them how to give the perfect "Appreciation" party. Ask them to invite friends they appreciate to your home for a homecooked meal and evening of games. Then inform them that, with your help, they'll be preparing the meal based upon the food and drink "likes" of their guests.

For the table setting, create foldable place cards with their friends names on the outside and one thing they appreciate about their friends on the inside of the cards.

And don't forget about setting a few ground rules. Rules like: a parent will be at the party at all times, all lights must remain on, no alcohol or drugs, no one allowed in a bedroom alone, etc.

3. Become A Secret Friend

Bake heart-shaped cookies and play “Secret Friend” to lonely neighbors. And include a little note that says, “Just thinking of you. Have a wonderful day from a friend in the neighborhood.” (You can even include a list of ingredients on the back if you’re worried someone might have allergies.)

While your children will love decorating homemade cookies, they’ll have the most fun running door-to-door as they ring the doorbell, place the treats on the doorstep, and hide behind a tree or car, peeking around the corner just enough to see the door open and the gift received.

4. Surprise A Parent

Conspire with your children to surprise the other parent with an "I Love You" treat.

Your surprise could be as simple as filling the other parent's car with helium-filled balloons, his (or her) favorite non-melting candy, musical CD or movie, and card. Or it could be as elaborate as booking a family get-a-way to his (or her) favorite week-end spot.

By choosing to do one or all of these ideas, you'll be showing your children that it doesn’t matter how you show your appreciation for the relationships in your life, just so long as you take the time to let someone know you care… that they are valued and wanted in your lives.

Byline
Alyice Edrich is a freelance writer and mixed media artist. Stop by www.AlyiceEdrich.net or www.TheDabblingMum.com to read her articles on crafting, parenting, home business, and writing OR to buy art, digital sheets, e-books, and more.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Guest Blogger: Susan Sleeman


A NEW LINE OF MYSTERIES FOR YOUR E-READER

Susan Sleeman here. Do you have an e-reader or maybe an iPad? Then I'd like to tell you about a line of cozy mysteries that has recently released with most books retailing for only .99 for a limited time.

Spyglass Lane Mysteries
are published by a group of cozy mystery authors who have joined together to bring you a new cozy mystery every week. Currently, there are over 25 wonderful mysteries in this line.

Stop by the
website to view all of the available books and while you're there, be sure to sign up for our email newsletter where we announce each new book that releases and our authors
share behind the scenes stories about the books.
I'd also like to share a little bit about my Garden Gate Mystery Series that is releasing as part of this line. The first book, Nipped in the Bud has already released and book two, Read Between the Tines will release in February 23rd. Here's a little bit about both books.


NIPPED IN THE BUD

WHEN YOU FIND YOUR BOSS PUSHING UP DAISIES. . .
Life in full bloom, landscape designer, Paige Turner, scores her first
landscaping contract to spruce up the park, her radio talk show shoots to number one, and her retail shop is simply blossoming. Yes, her life is a bed of roses. Until she finds the city manager served up on the blade of her favorite shovel mere hours after she’s threatened to have his head on a platter, then the thorns come out. And there is none thornier than the local police chief declaring Paige the one and only suspect and
threatening to plow her under.

YOU’VE GOT TO FORMULATE A PLANT OF ATTACK . . .
Paige teams up with dashing attorney, Adam Hayes to weed through the list of suspects, and clear her soiled reputation. And along the way, discovers that Adam just may be the man of her dream



READ BETWEEN THE TINES

IF YOUR LIFE IS A BED OF ROSES. . .

Recovered from her near death at the hand of a killer, landscape designer Paige Turner is certain her life will soon be a bed of roses. That is, until her employee, Daisy Rose Plante, finds a dead body, and the thorny police chief looks no further than Daisy for a suspect. Paige digs in and weeds through the list of potential killers, and before long, her sweet smelling rose of a life is soundly trampled.

YOU’LL HAVE TO SURVIVE THE THORNS. . .

Paige would be much happier working over-thyme on her budding relationship with handsome attorney, Adam Hayes, but it
soon becomes clear she’ll be in a hoe lot of trouble with him if she continues digging for the killer. Does Paige risk all and try to unearth the killer? Or does she settle down in peaceful bliss with the man of her dreams?


SUSAN SLEEMAN is a best-selling author of inspirational romantic suspense and mystery novels. She grew up in a small Wisconsin town where she spent her summers reading Nancy Drew and developing a love of mystery and suspense books. Today, she channels this enthusiasm into writing romantic suspense and mystery novels and hosting the popular internet website TheSuspenseZone.com.

Susan currently lives in Florida, but has had the pleasure of living in nine states. Her husband is a church music director and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law and an adorable grandson.


To learn more about Susan visit: Website, her Facebook page, or on Twitter

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Whisper of Peace

by Kim Vogel Sawyer


About the author:
As an author of inspirational Christian fiction, it is my goal to create stories that will edify God's children and offer evidence of the hope we can all possess when we place our hearts and souls in God's very capable hands.

I've been asked..."Why fiction?" And the answer is simple: Even Jesus told stories to help His followers understand Who He was
and His purpose for coming to earth. A story can draw one in and make an impact. Before I commit words to paper (or computer!), I spend time in God's Word and in prayer. I believe my stories aren't truly "mine," but are a joint effort between myself and the God I serve.

In His love,
Kim

Kim's Website

The Blurb:
A WHISPER OF PEACE -- Ostracized by her tribe because of her white father, Lizzie Dawson lives alone in the mountains of Alaska, practicing the ways of her people even as she resides in the small cabin her father built for her mother.

Clay Selby has always wanted to be like his father, a missionary who holds a great love for the native people and has brought many to God. Clay arrives in Alaska to set up a church and school among the Athabascans. He is totally focused on this goal...until he meets a young, independent Indian woman with the most striking blue eyes he's ever seen. But Lizzie is clearly not part of the tribe. And befriending her might have dire consequences for his mission. Will Clay be forced to choose between his desire to minister to the natives and the nudging of his heart?

Excerpt:


Near Fort Yukon, Alaska
May 1898

   Not once in all of her twenty-one years had Lizzie Dawson seen a moose behind her cabin. The dogs’ noise always kept wild game at bay. Even squirrels—brazen, chattering creatures—avoided her small plot of ground. She couldn’t imagine a timid moose possessing the courage to come near the team of dogs. Yet there one stood, unconcernedly nibbling at the pin cherry shrub a mere twenty feet from her open back door, its proud antlers glowing pionk in the morning light.
   Lizzy hid behind the doorjamb and absorbed the peaceful scene so unexpectedly displayed before her. The soft crunch-crunch of the moose’s teeth on the pin cherry’s tender tips joined the wind’s whisper in the aspens—a delicate melody. Silvery bands of light crept between branches, gilding the moose’s tawny hump. It was a young moose. No evidence of fights marred its hide. She’d seen the damage the animals caused one another with their sharp, slashing hooves and antlers.
   An unblemished hide. . . Lizzie’s heart skipped a beat. Surely this moose had come to her as an offering!


What Others Say:
By Mary Hake This review is from: Whisper of Peace.
“Lizzie Dawson, an Athabascan Alaskan native who had a white father, has survived on her own since her mother died. She gardens, hunts, traps, and cures hides. An outcast from the village and rejected by her grandparents, she finds companionship in her loyal sled dogs. When missionaries Clay Selby and his stepsister, Vivian, arrive to start a church and school, Lizzie thinks teaching white ways will have a negative effect on the community. Yet she feels attracted to the friendly pair, and a relationship is slowly forged. Vivian trades lessons with Lizzie, learning cooking and other skills while teaching Lizzie "to be white" so she can go live with her father in San Francisco.

When the tribal leaders forbid further contact with Lizzie, will Clay and Vivian obey? They long to see all of the people come to the Lord, including Lizzie. Can Lizzie make peace with her grandparents before she goes to find the father she hasn't seen for years? Will Vivian be able to find peace about her father's death and the guilt she's carried since childhood? Can Clay live up to his missionary father's legacy of reaching native peoples? What will happen to the sweet orphaned brother and sister they've befriended? The lives of all are intertwined in this endearing tale from the late 19th century.

Kim Vogel Sawyer brings history to life as she places strong characters in realistic settings and pens their experiences onto the page. Readers feel as if they're living alongside the cast of the novel, experiencing the drama, pain, heartache, thrills, and love. This story will touch your heart.”

My Take:
I like a book that makes me stop and think. How true to life is the work of the Missionary in the story A whisper of Peace.

To travel so far to reach a people for God, surely He will understand if we have to sacrifice the good of one person. What is one against the chance to win so many? For Him? And yet . . . when it comes right down to it . . . God will show us the worth of one sole is more than the whole earth. Every time.

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Book Contest: 
Bethany House Publishers sent me a reviewers copy of A Whisper of Peace. I'm offering to pass it on to one blessed reader this week.

Book Contest weeks are from Saturday, when the review is posted through Friday. A new book review is posted each week 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. Each comment this week gives you one more chance to win A Whisper of Peace. Posts on facebook do not count. We only check the messages on the blog to pick a winner.

Q4U: How many novels to your read in a year. Which genre is your favorite?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

8 Tips For Building a Marriage That Thrives

Why Can't He Be More Like Me
by Poppy Smith
Harvest House Publishers
ISBN-10: 0736943331
ISBN-13: 978-0736943338
Paperback: 224 pages
Release Date: April 1, 2012
Retail Price: $12.99
The mega-millions spent by Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries, and Katy Perry and Russell Brand, on their lavish and exotic weddings failed to guarantee a long and blissful union.  But they are not alone. Recent statistics show a decline in couples getting married and staying married for more than a few months or years. 
Can marriages survive in today’s culture? Long-wedded author, Poppy Smith, says “Yes.” Here are Smith’s tips for building a marriage that not only works, but thrives:
  1. Readjust your expectations. You didn’t marry your clone. Naturally, your partner will view some things differently. Be willing to flex and accept their right to be themselves.
  2. Appreciate your different strengths. Analyze your personalities, your backgrounds, and what’s important to each of you. Identify each other’s strengths and affirm what these add to your relationship.
  3. Learn to communicate so you’re heard. Women tend to explain and expand.  Men tend to edit. To be heard, communicate according to your spouse’s desired style, not yours. 
  4. Understand each other’s feelings about money. Does money signal fun? Symbolize success? Guarantee security? Or ensure power? Knowing what it means to both of you helps in settling money battles.
  5. Practice a conflict resolution style that works for both. Clarify what the conflict is about. Listen to each other’s reasoning and feelings without interrupting. Then decide what best builds your relationship.
  6. Recognize the emotional needs of your mate. Both men and women want to be valued, admired, respected, and listened to. Discover what makes your spouse feel loved and special, then find ways to meet that need. 
  7. Prioritize romance and sexual intimacy. Sex matters. It gives physical and emotional pleasure, strengthens love, and deepens commitment. Make time to play or be silly or sensuous in bed. It pays rich dividends. 
  8. Share your Dreams. What is it each of you longs to achieve? Are there some dreams you want to accomplish together? Be encouragers to each other and discuss steps you can take now toward your goals.
About the Book:

Why Can't He Be More Like Me?
9 Secrets to Understanding Your Husband
“What do you and your husband have in common?”
“We got married on the same day.”
Do you find yourself nodding in agreement with the answer to that question? You want your marriage to be happy and honoring to God, but you wonder how when your husband baffles and sometimes irritates you. You may even wonder if you made a terrible mistake.
Poppy Smith offers you hope in this upbeat, empathetic, and biblically grounded book. Why Can’t He Be More Like Me? will help you better understand areas of conflict in your marriage as you consider your different backgrounds, expectations, needs, and reactions on a variety of topics from communication styles to finances and sex.
Each chapter provides practical tools to help you learn to accept and enjoy your mate. The result will be a stronger, happier marriage as you grow to understand and even find delight in your differences.

Endorsements:
“Poppy Smith cares about relationships! Her astute insights, garnered from time spent living in numerous locations around the globe, brings a wealth of advice packaged with her upbeat warmth and wisdom.”
Pam Farrel, speaker and author of over 30 books, including best-selling Men Are Like Waffles—Women Are Like Spaghetti
 
“This book will help you love your husband even when you don’t understand him.”

Leslie Vernick, counselor, coach, speaker, and author of How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong and The Emotionally Destructive Relationship

Poppy Smith
About Poppy Smith:
With her fun personality and passion for communicating life-changing truths, Poppy Smith inspires believers to thrive spiritually and personally. Poppy’s practical how-to messages (in print or in person) uses colorful examples from her own struggles to be more like Jesus. She encourages others to grow in every kind of situation—whether joyful or painful! Poppy is British, married to an American, and has lived in many countries. She brings an international flair seasoned with humorous honesty as she illustrates Bible truths. A former Bible Study Fellowship lecturer, Poppy’s teaching challenges women to look at their choices, attitudes and self-talk. As a result, God’s speaks, changing hearts, changing minds, and changing lives. Watch for Poppy's upcoming book release, Why Can't He Be More Like Me: 9 Secrets to Understanding Your Husband.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Gerry Wakeland Photo
Gerry Wakeland, President
CLASSEMINARS
February is Library Lovers Month
At Home in the Library
By Gerry Wakeland
If you asked me to describe my dream home, without pause I'd respond, "My dream home would be an old vacant library where I would remove all the fixtures except the bathroom and the bookshelves and then I'd move my bed and desk into the center and start filling the shelves with my books." At which point you would stare at me quizzically.
My love affair with books and the library began as a child and continues to this very day. I remember as an elementary student begging my mother to take me to the library. She'd pull up to the curb in front and let me out, reminding me she would be back in an hour. Every time, I'd race up three sets of steps, fling open the double doors, run inside and stop. I would stand perfectly still and inhale the fragrance of the books. True love.
The library was my refuge. It provided a safe and silent haven from the noise and chaos of my home. But more than that, it opened doors for me, doors to the past, doors to the future, doors of adventure, and doors of romance, most importantly doors of wisdom.
I learned so much at the library. I learned that as a woman I could be brave and bold like Amelia Earhart or save lives like Florence Nightingale or Clara Barton. I could write poetry like Elizabeth Barrett Browning or books like Jane Austen. The library gave me hope!
Over the years I have continued to be a library patron. Sometimes I take my laptop and head to the library to work on a project. With the world at my fingertips, both digitally and in hard copy, I can research any topic to my heart’s content. Hardly a Saturday goes by that you cannot find me at some point in the day at the local library, perusing the new arrivals for the week.
Or sometimes I just sit quietly in one of the easy chairs wishing that the books could talk and wondering what they would say if they could tell the stories behind the stories.
I may never have the unusual, almost bizarre, home of my dreams. But the library is still my refuge, affording me a place that’s safe and silent, where dreams are born and hope exists.
Gerry Wakeland is the President and CEO of CLASSEMINARS, Inc. She loves helping Christian communicators identify their passion, clarify their vision and define their mission so that they can articulate God’s message effectively. Gerry is the mother of two grown daughters and grandmother to three precious grandsons. She makes her home in the land of enchantment, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her favorite pastime is reading and one of her favorite places is the public library. In March, the CLASS website will release news of the 2012 Christian Writers Conference: www.classeminars.org. Come meet Gerry and the rest of the CLASS faculty there!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Inspiration Comes In Many Forms

 by Alyice Edrich 
Throughout my life, I’ve been inspired by many people—people who’ve conquered all odds and survived to tell about it; people who’ve lived ordinary lives, yet stood out from the crowd; and people who’ve dared to step beyond their comfort zones to change lives—one reader, one viewer, one listener at a time. 

It’s those people and those stories that I’ve wanted to capture in my writing and my photographs. But it’s those stories and those people that I continued to let slip away while I pursued things I knew would make money and pay the bills. 

Then I met a woman, through a book I read this past week, who sounded very much like me. So much of what she said could be attributed to my own life and so many of her insights on living a more fulfilled life are how my husband and I try to model our own lives. 

 But what inspired me was the way Tasra Dawson, author of Real Women Scrap, kept nudging me—her reader—to get creative. 

Somewhere, some how, I lost my creativity and while I had longed to get it back, I simply continued to put it on the back burner. 

“One day when things settle down a little more, I’ll get serious about my photography and storytelling ideas,” I’d assure myself. Or, “I just don’t think I have another ounce of energy left to devote to anything else. I already run a magazine, freelance write, and spend my time creatively marketing my business. If it isn’t producing some form of immediate result, I just can’t give it the time of day. If I’m going to spend my time away from kids and hubby, I must make it count,” I’d scold myself. 

Then as I read her words, I suddenly realized that God was speaking directly to me through her. 

“I felt an odd mixture of defeat and relief. The feeling of defeat was expected, too much to do, too little of me to go around. The feeling of relief was that my list confirmed I was indeed stretched too thin and wasn’t inventing my feelings of being overwhelmed and always tired,” thought Tasra as she looked at her completed “to do list”. 

I can’t tell you how many times I ended the day feeling depleted. I knew something was missing in my life, but I just couldn’t pinpoint it. I had a great husband, two wonderful kids, a thriving business, and a relationship with God. 

“What more could I possibly want? Why am I not satisfied?” I’d gripe. 

I’d browse the Christian self-help aisles asking God to direct me to a specific book that would help me understand what was going on with me, but no book appeared. After a half hour, I’d head over to the photography section where I’d browse the pictures and marvel at the artwork. And for awhile I’d escape the stress of my life and dream of doing something spectacular with my time. Sometimes I’d walk out with a book or magazine about photography, scrapbooking, altered art, collage techniques and the like, but most often, I’d put the book down; thinking, “Who am I kidding? I don’t have the extrovert personality to pull that off.” 

But the more I read Real Women Scrap , the more I realized that God hadn’t been directing me to a book. He’d been directing me towards a creative life. 

What kept me from pursuing art and photography was the learning curve—there’d be so much learning to do and so much time to commit that I didn’t think I’d have anything extra to give. But through Tasra’s words, God reminded me that I don’t have to tackle art or photography as another thing on my “to do list”. I simply have to take the time to breathe life into an area he’s calling me to explore and enjoy the process. If a professional photographer or artist comes from the process, great. If not, I’ve wasted nothing but found a hobby that fills my days with joy. 

What about you? Have you slowed down long enough to hear God’s gentle whispers? What’s He trying to tell you? 

Let’s make an impact! 

Byline 
Alyice Edrich is an affordable freelance writer specializing in how-to articles and Q&A interviews for the web. To hire her for your next writing project, to read her free eMagazine, or to purchase one of her e-books on how to work from home or create fun family crafts, visit AlyiceEdrich.net