Wednesday, August 30, 2006
CONGRATULATIONS to my baby brother Joel who just got engaged and is getting married next month. Wow! It's really hard to wrap my mind around the fact he's old enough to get married. Sure, he'll be 26 at Christmas, but really should a baby brother be allowed to get married no matter how old he is. Michelle, I've tried to train him well. Now he's all yours :-)
And yesterday I got a copy of Trish Perry's first book, The Guy I'm Not Dating. Now folks, I have not read the entire book yet -- when I have I'll give you the full scoop -- but at 12:30 this morning I finally put it down (on page 78!). It's hilarious, and the characters fresh and fun. Trish's writing is vivid, and if you like chick lit, I really think you'll like this book. Stay tuned for more...and don't you love the cover!
How's that for a pinch of this and that.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
1) only in America would a policy be required to address how many birthday cupcakes is too many for a school child to consume during one school year,
2) My children are still young enough that these issues just make me smile rather than race to come up with an alternative snack, and
3) As long as the ban doesn't cover chocolate cupcakes, I'm okay with it. Though I do need someone to explain how tortilla chips are better for us than cupcakes.
Okay, I've thought of one more, so let's make it four:
4) I now have another great reason Abigail should be glad we're homeschooling her this year (shh, don't tell her that Indiana doesn't have such a policy yet...that I'm aware of). She can eat all the cupcakes she can talk me into baking. "Mommy, let's practice fractions today..."
So if you can't send cupcakes in on your child's birthday, what would you send? Cereal bar, anyone?
Monday, August 28, 2006
Read more here.
Saturday reinforced the importance of community. As we follow God and chase dreams, it is so important to have a community of people who get us. Folks who travel similar paths (though at Saturday's meeting we had fantasy, sci-fi, romance, inspirational, women's fiction, suspense, poetry, and more). If you're looking for a community of Christian writers, American Christian Fiction Writers is the group to join and its conference is the one to attend -- 26 days and counting. And if you're in Indiana, let me know so we can get you connected to the Indiana chapter.
After a meeting like Saturday's, I start pondering what motivates me to spend time writing. I've often thought and said that Christians need to be actively engaging the culture. Rather than saying there isn't anything good to watch, read, listen to, etc., we should produce quality materials that compete head to head with what the world offers. Today I found a post regarding Brewing Culture. Infuze Magazine has an interview up with Erik Lokkesmoe about what constitutes art. I think you'll find it interesting and thought provoking.
Friday, August 25, 2006
It's been one of those weeks. Eric was traveling, work was busy, the kids missed their Daddy. It's been on of those years. Questioning where I'm going and what I'm doing. Who I am and who I want to be. A good year, but challenging, too.
When I picked up Queen Esther and the Second Graders of Doom (I wish I could get the cover to upload because it's great!), I didn't know what to expect. I'd never read anything by Allie Pleiter. What I got was a book that had me laughing from the first page (really -- I was walking down the sidewalk on my way to a lunch meeting giggling like crazy). But at the same time it asked some of the hard questions that all new moms ask. What happened to my life? Do I like who I am now? I love being a mommy, but isn't there more to life? More to me? Those issues were dealt with in such a real way, the laughter turned to tears occasionally. It felt like Allie had somehow crawled into my head and expressed some of my questions.
If you need some time to laugh with a friend about the craziness of life in a new town with a new baby and a Sunday school class full of wild second grade boys, then I think you'll enjoy this book as much as I did.
"Gathering reliable statistics about security breaches is notoriously difficult, since companies are reluctant to reveal this information. Still, the most recent computer crime and security survey, conducted annually by the Computer Security Institute with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, found that the average loss from computer security incidents in 2005 was $167,713 per respondent (based on 313 companies and organizations that answered the question)."
So proceed with caution since you never know who may be looking over your shoulder or surfing for data floating through the air. The law doesn't know how to deal with data grabbed in situations like these.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Monday, August 21, 2006
To check out a review of the book and interview with Jerome, click here.
I didn't expect to be unable to put it down, but that's exactly what happened. From the first chapter, I was sucked into the world of art security and the chaotic life of Desi Jacobs. The story opens with Desi entering a fictious art museum in Boston. What we know, but the museum doesn't, is that she is there to steal a valuable piece of art. The staff learn her true purpose when she returns the painting as a way to illustrate breaches in the museum's security system. She lands the account for her father's company, and it looks like her life is pretty good. Then FBI agent Tony Lucano rings her doorbell. The rest of the book is her attempt to find a way out of the spiral of events his appearance sets in motion while learning who she can trust in a world suddenly out of control. Through all the twists and turns that make it a caper ala The Thomas Crown Affair, I hoped that somehow Desi would find a way out of her impossible situations.
She's surrounded by trouble on all sides, from the FBI that has been bent on exposing Desi and her father for months, to a coworker who may not be what she seems. Who can Desi trust as she tries to make the right decision? The faith elements in this book flow very naturally from each of the twists. And the point of view shifts quickly so you know what each key character is thinking as the action picks up. That alone kept the pace of the book moving. Then add more twists than a tornado slide in Kansas, and I bet you won't be able to put the book down.
If you buy this book, and you like a good mystery with lots of twists, I think you will enjoy it. It's published by Multnomah, which publishes many romantic suspense series including Dee Henderson's O'Malley family series. This book is a great fit for their line-up.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Friday, August 18, 2006
Thursday, August 17, 2006
A third of American teenagers have attended parties where parents were at home while alcohol or illegal drugs were used, according to an annual back-to-school survey on teens' attitudes that paints an overall portrait of a generation of parents clueless about their kids' vices.
The study did not suggest that parents were aware of what was happening when teenagers were partying in their homes. To the contrary, only 12 percent of parents see drugs and alcohol as a problem for their children, while 27 percent of teenagers ranked it their biggest concern. Fifty-eight percent of parents cited social pressure as their child's biggest issue.
Another interesting -- and scary -- finding: for the first time girls are as likely to use drugs and alcohol as boys. I'll be honest, statistics like these scare me as a parent. They make me take a hard look at how I am raising my kids and whether I am equipping them with the tools they need to make the right decisions when they are confronted with choices about drugs and alcohol. They also cause me to think -- for a moment -- about fleeing to the hills. Mary DeMuth, on her blog Pioneer Parenting, addressed this topic last week. You might find her perspective interesting.
There was a splash of good news. Kids that eat supper with their family and attend church regularly are at a much lower risk. I'll take that, run with it, and pray that when the time comes, my children are strong enough to stand.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
First, I found this interesting article When God is in the Lyrics in TIME online. It highlights a case in which a little girl was told she could not sing Awesome God in a after-school talent show. The Alliance Defense Fund and ACLU joined together to fight for her First Amendment right to do just that. I am proud to be an attorney trained by the Alliance Defense Fund and had to smile when I saw the coalition God crafted for this case.
Second, in Michigan a teenage boy is suing his mother for his family history. Right now there is no common law that would require the mother to reveal the identity of the father. In Indiana there isn't statutory law either that I'm aware of. The interesting twist is the boy's stepfather, who DNA tests have shown is not his biological father, is helping him fund the lawsuit. Attorneys fear this would frequently be the case as fathers, who are deemed to be legal fathers if not biological fathers, seek a way to stop paying child support. Depending on how the Michigan court rules, this could create an entirely new area of litigation in the family law arena.
Monday, August 14, 2006
The day has arrived! I'm giving away an autographed copy of Tricia Goyer's latest WWII novel, ARMS OF DELIVERANCE. Here's your chance to win a copy of this book.
All you have to do is leave a comment (you don't have to be a blogger member to post). But in that comment tell me what group of women Tricia focused on in this book. Hint #1 check out the July 11 post which contains an interview with Tricia about how she she developed the idea for this book. Hint #2, it wasn't female pilots this go round. Also, be sure to leave your name, so I can track you down if you win. I'll hold the drawing this weekend. Good luck!
Last Thursday, my friend Gina Conroy tagged me in Meredith Efkin's game of blog tag. You see, Meredith's new to blogging and wanted to try it out. Well, guess what. I didn't read Gina's blog that day. OOPS! But Gina also tagged my friend Tricia Goyer, who tagged another friend, Crystal Miller. Crystal gave me a heads-up, so now I can play. Aren't you glad?!?!?
A Novel Idea:
If I could write a novel about any subject, what would it be?
I've written one set in North Platte, Nebraska during WWII, a suspense set in Lincoln, Nebraska that involves a TV reporter and murder, and am currently working on a legal mystery/suspense set in the fictious town of Cherry Hill, Indiana. But if I could pick, I would write something fresh about WWII and the race to break Enigma. The mix of history, suspense, etc., would be a BLAST to write. And I can't turn down an excuse to return to England.
I'm tagging (hmmm): Joanna (I know you have some great books in you), Sabrina (your turn to be tagged twice), Wayne (your book rocks!), and Michelle (I can't wait to learn more about yours). That's only four, but I've always had a touch of the rebel in me :-).
Now, here's the rules;if you get tagged (or if you just want to play anyway), you should:
Answer one of these questions on your blog
Link back to whoever tagged you (or wherever you found the idea)
Tag 5 (or so) other bloggers.
Plus, check out previous responses, and if you know of a novel that pertains to the subject someone wishes they could write or would like to read about, suggest the novel to them in a comment.
Friday, August 11, 2006
On her blog It's Real Life, my friend Tricia Goyer posted today about books that inspire writers. If you love books, take a moment to pop over and read it. I enjoyed learning which books inspired some of my favorite writers. What books do you return to over and over again?
I love really good historical fiction. By good I mean the author got the setting and details right while keeping the story interesting. I love to learn something. I grew up reading Bodie Thoene's series on the birth of the modern Jewish State (The Zion Chronicles) and then her pre-WWII series set in Europe (The Zion Covenant). I didn't know much about the 1948 War in Palestine, but I loved her books. Then I saw a documentary on PBS and knew before the narrator told us exactly where the events occurred and the details. Now that's GOOD historical fiction! And Tricia Goyer's is of the same caliber. She takes the time to do the research and get it right. Check back next week for a contest for an autographed copy of her latest WWII release, Arms of Deliverance.
There are so many genres and authors that I thoroughly enjoy. Get the details right. Write a tight story with engaging characters. Chances are, if those details are in place, I'll lose some sleep before I finish reading the book.
As a teenager my life verse was I Timothy 4:12: "Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe" (1 Tim. 4:12). I needed the constant encouragment and challenge that it was okay -- regardless of my age -- to set a standard for others. Not always easy with the pressure to follow the crowd, but I loved having that verse in my hip pocket to pull out.
Then I turned twenty-five. Then thirty. And I decided, ya know, I just might need a new life verse. Now mind you I struggle to remember I'm not 16 sometimes. Isn't it funny how our minds get stuck with the vision of us in one age? Then I'll see my kids or nieces and nephews and think "Ack! They cannot be that old, because it means I'm older, too!"
Anyway, my new life verse is found in Joshua 1:6-8: "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."
What a challenge! If I could truly live my life as a strong and courageous person who finds strenth in obeying God's law, my life would have such a sure foundation. And the lawyer in me likes the reminder there is a law that is supreme above the sometimes fickle law of man. Don't ask me about that right now -- I'm a touch jaded after a hearing this morning. But God's law is always the same; it never changes. It is ultimately fair and full of justice. But the good news mercy overshadows it. That is something worth meditating on until I reach heaven.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Two months ago today, Eric and I were in London for a delayed tenth year anniversary celebration. We had a delightful four days to explore the city, and loved every minute. We didn't have any trouble getting in and out of the country (though the customs line was crazy long when we arrived). Today, the situation would be very different.
Flights have been canceled in and out of many of the British airports as Scotland Yard and other security agencies conducted a raid today. It looks like -- though we won't know for sure for awhile -- another 9/11 type event was averted.
That brings a flood of not-so-fun memories back. Leaving work in D.C. almost before the workday had begun. Not being able to reach Eric on my cell phone to let him know I was okay and coming home, because the cell towers had been shut down. Watching the Pentagon burn from our neighborhood. Not being able to get to work for the rest of the week, because I worked at a court that sat within the circle of the White House security perimeter.
At moments like this, it would be very easy to give in to fear. But I won't because I know my God is bigger than anything that is happening in this world. He is bigger than terrorists. He is bigger than any war in the Middle East. He is bigger than any problem in my immediate life. And for that, I am immensely grateful.
So every time fear crops up, I will choose to believe that He is who He says He is. And that He is bigger than circumstances. And I will choose to rest under the shadow of His protective wing.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
I am a child of the 80s. Somedays I don't really feel like one, until I see a headline like this in USA Today.: "Pac-Man" is going digital. I'm really not good at video games. In fact my brothers would tell you I am down right lousy at them. But I love Pac-Man. Could slide all kinds of quarters into the arcade slots to play that game. And now it looks like you can download it for a small fee. Just what I need! Another excuse to procrastinate.
On another light note, Starbucks is adding books! I'm not a big coffee drinker -- shocking, isn't it. I like my caffeine the cold way, in a Dr Pepper. But I do like an occasional mocha cappucino. Starbucks has always been a great place to meet freinds and chat. Now they're making it even more book freindly by selling books. They're starting with a Mitch Albom book.
Finally, if you've been waiting with bated breath to read Brandilyn Collins' new book Violet Dawn, you don't have to wait any longer. It should hit bookshelves any day. Run -- do not walk -- to get your copy. I thorougly enjoyed her seatbelt suspense in this book. You can check out more of my thoughts at e-opinions. I'm the caracp review.
Monday, August 07, 2006
That's why I am so glad I am a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and in particular our wonderful Indiana chapter. I sent out an angst ridden email, a plea for help, and within an hour had wonderful suggestions and encouragement from my friends Colleen Coble and Denise Hunter (If you haven't read any of their books, by the way, run to your nearest Christian bookstore and fix that problem!).
You see in writing we're supposed to show you an emotion, let you live it with the character, rather than just tell you she felt guilty, happy, sad, etc. It takes a lot more work and thought to do that. And sometimes my mind simply won't cooperate. But I now have suggestions and the permission to let my first draft be just that -- a first draft. And someday the perfectionist in me will be okay with that! And until then I'll read and study Colleen and Denise's books. And maybe, just maybe, I'll get it.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Normally, I probably wouldn't, but this year a dear friend (we've celebrated birthdays together off and on since we were two!) is running one of the Congressional candidates campaigns in Colorado Springs. A couple times she's emailed asking for advice or suggestions, and I have to admit. It has felt really good to think about campaigns and get those political juices flowing again. If you're interested, you can click here to learn a little about her candidate USA Today coaches' pre-season poll.
Friday, August 04, 2006
This week I read Divine by Karen Kingsbury. I have enjoyed many of Karen's books, and thought this one would be the same. A nice read with a good story, one I could spread out over several days. Instead, 24 hours after picking it up, the book absorbed me, and I continue to think about its message several days later.
Here's the description from CBD: Mary Madison was a child of unspeakable horrors, a young woman society wanted to forget. Now a divine power has set Mary free to bring life-changing hope and love to battered and abused women living in the shadow of the nation's capital. Mary is educated and redeemed, a powerful voice in Washington D.C. - both to the politically elite and to other women like her. But she also has a past that shamed polite society. Her experiences created in her paralyzing fear, faithlessness, addiction, and promiscuity. At the crossroads of her life, only one power set Mary free and gave her a lifetime of love and hope. A power that could only be divine.
Cara again: This book is a modern retelling of the Mary Magdalene story. Maybe because I've lived in D.C. and because of some women I have helped over the last year, her story resonated on a deeply personal level. In addition, the way Karen approached the healing, loving yet divine power of God struck me deeply. I want Jesus eyes; if you've read the book, you understand.
And the book coincided perfectly with a Bible study I'm participating in right now, Believing God. God is so much bigger than we think He is. He is challenging me to rethink the areas where I have started limiting what He can do. And I love how He used Divine to continue that process.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Parenting is hard work. I think most of us would agree with that statement. But the rewards often exceed the work, even if they don't come consistently.
Yesterday, I ran across this article that ran in the British paper, the Daily Mail, last week. In it the author admits her children bore her to death. The reaction has been quick and varied. USA Today has run several interesting articles about the response to this cry of boredom.
Then, this morning I found this article about courageous parenting. Here are two blind parents who successfully parented three children. Wow! I hope I have a fraction of their gumption and commitment.
As a parent, I take great comfort that even in the boring moments, which do come, that God chose me to parent my children. In the challenging times, I cling to the fact He believes I am the right parent for my children. And in the fun times, I rejoice that He gave them to me.