Wednesday, February 28, 2007

CFBA Tour and Review: Valley of Betrayal

This week's CFBA tour focuses on Valley of Betrayal by my friend Tricia Goyer. I had the privilege of watching this book develop chapter by chapter, and I love it!

“Artist Sophie Grace has one goal: finding her beloved Michael in war-torn Spain. His work as a news photographer has taken him deep into the country wracked by civil war between ragtag Spanish patriots and Nazi-backed Franco forces.

“Secrets abound in ruined Spain. Michael is loving but elusive, especially about beautiful Maria. The American who helped Sophie sneak into Spain turns up in odd places. Michael’s friend Jose knows more than he tells. When reports of Michael’s disappearance reach her, Sophie is devastated What are her feelings for Philip, an American soldier who comes to her rescue? Sophie must sift truth from lies as she becomes more embroiled in the war that threatens her life and breaks her heart.”

This book is a rich trip back in time to the days of the Spanish Civil War. I love history, in particular World War Two, and all I could tell you about the Spanish Civil War before was that it occurred immediately prior to World War Two and that the Russians and Germans prepared for that war on the battlefields in Spain. After reading this book, I know so much more, but all without losing the great entertainment and story I’ve come to expect in Tricia Goyer’s books.

From the first page to the last I was drawn in to this complex story about people living in impossible times. The book contains a rich mixture of characters to tell the story from a wide array of perspectives.

Sophie is the dreamer. An artist, she travels to Spain to be reunited with the love of her life. Once in Spain, she finds much isn’t as she anticipated. The war is real, her fiancĂ© is distracted and often absent, and she finds herself absorbed in the plights of the Spanish people as they try to survive.

Michael is a photographer who disappears after connecting Sophie with friends. He seems less than thrilled to have her in Spain. Add in the story of Spaniards Jose and Father Manuel, German Ritter, and Americans Philip and Deion, and the cast is rich enough to highlight the many sides of the struggles.

As I read this book, I often felt like I’d been transported back in time to Spain. I could see the buildings, smell the acrid air after another talk, and almost touch the colorful clothes. The challenges of the war and politics behind it were disturbing, but provided a backdrop for the faith of the people involved in the story.

I highly recommend this book.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Politics with US Attorneys

If you've read my blog for long, you've probably gathered that I like politics. It wasn't an automatic when I went to law school that I wouldn't look for something on Capital Hill. In fact during my clerkship I landed an appointment to the Department of Justice. Then we moved. I passed the FBI background check with flying colors, but now it languishes somewhere in HR-dom.

I digress. Every day Goggle does a search for me on conservative politics. I usually laugh at the results it pulls up and hit delete. Yesterday, it actually pulled up an interesting article.

Seems like US Attorneys are getting fired -- quite a rash of them. The New York Times has an article that points to all kind of political reasons they're being canned. Maybe to groom attorneys to run for office -- it looks really good on your resume to have served as a US Attorney.

This is one of those situations that could explode as the ousted attorneys say they received good reviews and were given no reason for their removal. It'll be interesting to watch how this one develops.

And on a lighter note... the dancing ban in Gotham was upheld by the NY Supreme Court's Appellate Division. Only in New York City!

Monday, February 26, 2007

We Made It!

Sorry for the late post, but I'm still recovering from a long weekend.

My six-year-old decided that we had to host a birthday party for her daddy this year. Not just any party, mind you, but a surprise party. I would have run out of steam for all the planning before we got started, but it was the desire of her heart to surprise him.

So we schemed, sent invitations though and then gulped as all the RSVPs flooded back. My husband is a loved man.

Then there was the planning. How many adults? How many kids? Where would we put everyone? What would be on the "agenda"? What kind of food to serve? And the kicker: how to get a very smart man out of the house without him suspecting.

Fortunately, a good friend had better strategies than I did. After Eric left at 4:30, Abigail and I flew around the house. Blew up balloons, hung streamers, threw meatballs and little smokies in crockpots while praying they'd heat incredibly fast, made the sweet tea, prepared vegie and fruit trays, and then waited.

Would the guests arrive before Eric? Would we get to say, "Surprise." He called before we were ready, so I sent him on a loosely disguised errand to the grocery store. That gave us plenty of time.

It was a blast to watch our friends interact. Some from college days. Others from church. And a couple from the neighborhood. A full house, that thanks to an ice-storm, turned into a modified slumber party. It was a riot! So now my house is quiet again, Eric is back on the road, and the kids and I are relaxing.

The kicker: Abigail didn't get to scream "surprise!"

Friday, February 23, 2007

Science and Politics

Somewhere someone has said that science and politics shouldn't mix. Well, this is my blog and I can do pretty much whatever I want. Let the mixing begin...

Science: I found this article in our local newspaper about Dr. Francis Collins. He is a geneticist who worked on the human genome project throughout the 90s until DNA was mapped in 2003. I didn't attend his speech at Purdue, but he is quoted in the article as saying he's come to believe in theistic evolution. Science and faith can coexist, because he thinks it's entirely plausible that God started creation then allowed evolution to finish the process.

Hmmm. Interesting. Can't say that's what I believe, but it's interesting to read about how someone mixes faith and science. He's also quoted as saying he believes he gets closer to God with each scientific discovery.

Many, many scientists across time have found this. I love one of Albert Einstein's quotes: "I want to know God's thoughts. The rest are details." George Washington Carver would go into the laboratory and ask God to help him discover new uses for the peanut. There are many other examples... Dr. Collins perspective, though, reminds me of Thomas Jefferson, who believed God had created everything then abandoned it to run on its own much like a watchmaker.

I like my belief in a God who was intimately involved in creating and is still intimately involved in His creation.

2) Politics. Ohhhh, I love politics. And with the presidential campaigns ramping up in the next few months, politics will be pretty interesting. So Mitt Romney's running for president. He's the Governor of Massachusetts. That's not surprising... that he's running for president. What's interesting is that James Bopp has signed on as an advisor. Bopp is a conservative attorney from Indiana who is very involved in pro-life causes and litigation. You can read more about his reasons for supporting Romney here and here. Let me just put it this way, it was NOT expected for a ardent pro-lifer like Bopp to support a candidate like Romney.

Have I mentioned it's going to be a fascinating election cycle?!?!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Interview with John Aubrey Anderson

John Audbrey Anderson, author of Wedgewood Grey, graciously agreed to answer a few questions about his books. I hope you enjoy this interview!

John, thanks for coming by. How did you develop the idea for the Black or White Chronicles? And why the OR in the title?
On the idea: The best answer to that is: "I guess you had to be there."
And while you read the above statement, imagine that I'm standing in
the foreground waving a large banner that says, "GOD DID THIS!!!".
The whole thing goes back to the eighties . . .My first and only effort at fiction was a two thousand word story I did for our girls . . . a little thing about the ramifications of poor choices; that was twenty years ago.
Ten years ago I decided to pull that little story out and wrap it
around the gospel. I had in mind giving it to a friend of ours. I found myself "backstorying" in an effort to "set up" my little scene from the short story. Then, in November of 2002, I woke up to
find myself surrounded by two or three hundred thousand words and questions about how to get a novel published.
I'm confident my methods won't get me a job as an author in residence, but just being on hand to watch how God worked it all out has been a once-in-a-lifetime gift.

And the OR . . .That's something you get to decide for yourself. The responses from readers have been many, varied, and deep. Maybe, in your eyes, it's about race . . . it could refer to the obviousness of some choices . . . it might have to do with good or evil . . . or truth . . .What do you think?

Great way to toss the question back at me! Are these books grounded in any of your experiences growing up?
Without my growing up experiences, I wouldn't be able to "see" the scenes. However, to my knowledge, we never encountered demons when I was growing up, but we ran into everything else. My friends and I lived lives that would cause Tom Sawyer to want to move to Mississippi. The places we went and the things we did set the patterns for the lives of the people in these first two books. As for my characters . . . they're all "juiced up" versions of people I've known all my life.

What do readers seem to enjoy most about your books? It varies. You can read on my website that some folks have warm feelings for my characters. Other people like the suspense. And still others enjoy where the books take them.

Who is your favorite character in Wedgewood Grey and why is that character your favorite?
You won't believe it . . . then again, you might. My favorite character is Dawg. I saw a bumper sticker the other day that read, "I wish I was the kind of man my dog thinks I am."
Dogs are, for the most part, noble creatures. I'd be Dawg.

How did writing this book change you? In a couple of ways. Writing as a whole is making me a more observant person. I'm quieter to the point of being boring . . . listening more and enjoying it. And more importantly . . . WEDGEWOOD GREY made me stop often and consider what Jesus did for us.
Have you ever stopped to consider the worth of a single drop of the blood of God?

Wow! And with that question, I'll leave you to run out and buy this book. Thanks again, John.

CFBA Tour: Wedgewood Grey

This week's book is Wedgewood Grey by John Aubrey Anderson. I've only had time to flip through the book at this point, but I have to tell you it looks interesting. After wandering around his webpage, I'm even more intrigued!

Mississippi cotton country . . . in the spring of 1960.

The War At Cat Lake is fifteen years in the fading past . . . but the demonic beings who launched that first battle, are alive and well at Cat Lake. Waiting.
Late on a Friday night, on a muddy little road a mile east of Cat Lake, a ten-year-old black child is forced to watch while a gang of white men beat his mother to death. Aided by Mose Washington, an old black man, the boy exacts a measure of his own revenge. When the sun comes up on Saturday morning, Mose and the boy are fugitives.

Missy Parker Patterson, who as a child stood at the epicenter of the first war, is married and living in Texas. In the aftermath that follows Mose Washington’s disappearance, she goes back to Cat Lake to discover that the demonic beings have been anticipating her return . . . and so begins the second battle of The War At Cat Lake.

In 1962, an old black man and his grandson move into the country near Pilot Hill, Texas. The people in the local area are told that the old gentleman’s name is Mose Mann—his grandson introduces himself as Bill.

However, the lives of the new arrivals are not as peaceful as they seem. The unassuming old black man and his grandson are being pursued by a triad of formidable and unrelenting adversaries . . . a ruthless political leader, an enduring lie, and an invisible army allied beneath the banner of a hatred for God.

Wedgewood Grey is a story about the impact of choices that real people—people like you and me—are sometimes forced to make.

Deborah is giving away a copy of the book, as are April. Jason's going to have a passage study and interview with the author, and don't forget to check out my interview with the author!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

God's Ways aren't necessarily ours.

Do you ever go through periods in your life when things just don’t go like you’d expected or hoped? Many of you are probably saying, “Of course!”

I’ve always thought of the Christian walk as a series of hills and valleys. Some days I stand on a mountaintop, so near to the heart of God I can feel His presence slip around me, like Moses when God tucked him in the cleft of the mountain. Other days, I’m walking a valley, trudging until I can reach another mountain to climb. I’ve always comforted myself that when you visit the mountains, it’s easy to see growth occurs everywhere but the top.

After the last month, I’m not so sure. I went through a period (one that’s really not over yet) where God did amazing things in one area of my life and seemed to have completely abandoned me in another.

Now I know He didn’t. In fact, I can see His fingerprints all over the one situation even as my heart shattered. And His presence and direction were so evident in the other that there was no doubt He was leading me.

I have never experienced such painful and exhilarating periods simultaneously. And I have to be honest – I really, truly, down-to-the-very-core-of-my-soul don’t ever want to again.

Then I read a quote that is attributed to Rick Warren. You may have seen it too. He talks about thinking life was hills followed by valleys followed by hills. Then he experienced a period of immense pleasure and pain simultaneously. That’s when he realized life is really about learning to live the good and the bad at the same time.

I’m not sure how I feel about that. I liked my charmed Christian life. But I also want the fullness of what God has for me. I don’t have all (or many) answers, but I do know this. I will crawl and dance across the floor to His throne. And sometimes, I may just do both on the same day.
And don't forget to check out this week's post over at Generation NeXt Parenting.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Review: So Dark the Night

Margaret Daley's So Dark the Night was an enjoyable read filled with all the elements I've come to expect from Love Inspired Suspense.

Photographer Emma St. James witnesses the murder of her brother. As she runs from the scene she is shot and then hit be Reverand Colin Fitzpatrick's vehicle. When she wakes up, she has no memory of what happened and can no longer see. She commits to doing everything she can to remember and overcome her disability. She owes it to her brother. What she didn't expect was Colin to become a friend and possibly much more. With Colin's assistance, Emma races to find her brother's murderer before they can come back for her.

The author did a great job making the characters interesting, the conflicts real, and keeping the suspense/murder part of the plot moving. The supporting characters were great and added depth to the book.

I enjoyed this book and recommend it if you like your suspense seasoned with romance. It would be a perfect take along for a spring vacation or other trip.

Monday, February 19, 2007

New debate, different battlefield

As promised, here's a more legal post.

Same-sex marriage and related issues are prevalent in Indiana, like many states right now. Over the last few years I have served as local counsel for two amicus briefs on related cases that have made their way to the Indiana Court of Appeals. It was a fascinating, and nerve-wracking, experience to sit there and listen to the oral arguments.

Now Indiana lawmakers are again trying to pass a constitutional amendment that would ban same sex marriage. In Indiana, a proposed amendment must be passed by two sessions of the legislature. The same sex marriage ban was passed the first time in 2005. It is slowly working it's way through the legislature this session. If it passes, Indiana voters will consider it in 2008.

A recent court of appeals decision from Michigan is catching legislators attention. Click here for more on this case.

Friday, February 16, 2007

It's here!

No, not the hot off the presses copy of my book. Yesterday, in the first mail delivery in three days, I got my first check! Eack, Ack, however you want to spell it! Not only have I gotten to go to CBA Advance, not only do I have my first content edit, I now have part of my advance. Yippee!

Someday maybe I'll actually feel like an author. Hmm, maybe when the book arrives on my doorstep. If I get this excited over a little check, just imagine my excitement then :-)

Anyway, after shoveling snow for more than five hours in two days, being a single mom for a week, and tons of American Christian Fiction Writers' board and publicity work -- oh and that little thing called mini-marathon training, I haven't had much time or energy to scour the web for articles on the law that I could pontificate on. Your stuck with just me.

I promise I'll get legal next week. Maybe about the time God gives me a legal plot. I feel like I've been asking, begging, bugging Him for a long time on this one already. So, it's only been a few weeks. That's a long time right?!?

I started reading The Innocent Man by John Grisham last night for inspiration. It's non-fiction but reads like his fiction. It is absolutely gripping, and I'm only on page 33. Mix that in with Brandt Dodson's latest Colton Parker Mystery The Root of All Evil and reading through the Bible in 90+ Days (I had forgotten how BORING the geneologies are in First Chronicles), and I should have all kinds of fantastic inspiration don't you think? Next on the to be read list are Colleen Coble's latest Midnight Sea and A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis (thanks, Joanna!).

So what are you reading right now? Anything good I should add to my pile? Has anyone read Mary Connealy's Petticoat Ranch yet? It looks good.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Snow Photos

Here they are -- just in case you didn't believe me!

Jonathan and Abigail in the middle of the blizzard Tuesday afternoon. Did I mention that I shovelled twice while it snowed. Only had to deal with six inches at a time that way. Only!

To the right is a picture of our wonderful, anonymous neighbor who used his snowblower to bless many of us -- our car can get from the driveway to the street thanks to him. Now here are pictures of Abigail and Jonathan enjoying the snow on Wednesday. It was a beautiful day: blue sky, no wind, cold but not freezing. The kids got to enjoy all the snow. Mason proved to be quite the digger. Moral: you want her with you if you ever get stranded in a blizzard. See? Here's Jonathan in one of the holes she dug. And Abigail making an ever popular snow angel today. And of course, Eric showing the kids how to make a perfect angel. You should have seen his leaping dive into the drifts. It was perfect snow for that -- though much colder today. We're back around zero degrees minus the wind chill.

Remembering to Forget

One morning changed everything about her life. But could it also set her free?
Graphic Designer Maggie Anderson has lived under her boyfriend’s tyranny for nearly two years…until she’s carjacked in New York. Will this terrifying experience be the end for Maggie – or the beginning of a freedom greater than she dares imagine? To gain that freedom, she’ll have to remember to forget everything about her old life…
Trevor Ashlock is existing, day by day, in the little town of Clayburn, Kansas. Surrounded by too many painful reminders of all he’s lost, he fills his time with work, trying desperately to forget.

So does the back cover copy intrigue you? What really caught my attention was the title. Remember to Forget. It raised all kinds of questions in my mind. What was the heroine trying to forget? Were there other secrets lingering in the background?

While this is the first book of Deb’s that I’ve read, many people have recommended her to me over the last two years. Now I understand why. Remember to Forget is filled with compelling characters thrown into situations that left me wondering how I would respond if faced with similar challenges.

Maggie has the opportunity to reinvent her life thrust on her unexpectedly. She decides to take it, and runs for her life across the country. In the process, she weaves a complicated story to protect herself. Soon it becomes hard to distinguish the truth from fiction. The only problem is she finds herself in a town filled with people she could love if she can just remember to forget her past.

Trevor is running from his own pain. He’s dealt with it, but it’s the kind of pain that hasn’t receded into the background. Instead he exists, desperate to fill each moment with activity until he is too busy to remember or live.

This book is a treat from the words carefully crafted by Deb to the beautiful layout of the book. Each chapter begins with a pull-quote on the face page – a mechanism that pulled me through the book. I kept thinking, I’ll read just one more chapter… and before I knew it another thirty minutes had evaporated. I could hardly put this book down, and when I did I kept wondering about what would happen next with the characters.

A theme that challenged me was the picture of God’s hand extended to Maggie through the people who reached out to help her in her journey. Through their actions she gently becomes aware of Him and that He might be more than a myth. This made me ask the question whether I am doing what I need to on a daily basis to extend His love in an active way in my daily life.

I highly recommend this book if you like romance mixed with women's fiction. It's one you won't easily forget.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Snow, Snow Go Away

Yesterday we had a blizzard here in Lafayette. The amount can be measured in feet. The official count is in at 17 inches!!!!! That's the highest snowfall since 1890 something.

When it first started falling, it was pretty...picturesque...perfect for a photo. Our first real snow of the year was last week, so I'll admit I was ready for snow. I like it. Until it kept falling, and falling, and falling. I shoveled twice yesterday and once today. About four inches each time. Let's just say I have discovered muscles I'd completely forgotten about. They haven't forgotten about all that shoveling!

Today it's a perfect day. Blue sky. Fresh, pristine snow. Trapped in the house while we wait for the roads to be plowed. A perfect snow day. Except for one day. Eric got stranded in Florida. He was supposed to get back last night late, but for some reason, a foot of snow was enough to close the Indianapolis airport.

But he'll get back, and then we can pretend it's a snow day ... and he can play hookie for the couple hours until Purdue opens again.

I took some cute pictures of the kids all bundled up and ready to play in the snow. Of course, I need the cable to connect the camera to the computer. So stay tuned for those.

Hope you're warm and safe wherever you are!

CFBA Tour: Christian Writers' Market Guide 2007

This week we're focusing on the latest edition of Sally Stuart's Christian Writers' Market Guide. This was the first time I have sat down and flipped through a copy of the guide, and I have to tell you it is a goldmine. If you want to become a writer in the Christian market, then you need this book. Here's more.

For more than twenty years, the Christian Writers’ Market Guide has offered indispensable help to Christian writers. This year, for the first time, this valuable resource comes with a CD-ROM of the full text, so you can search with ease for topics, publishers, and other specific names.

The 2007 edition also includes up-to-date listings of more than 1,200 markets for books, articles, stories, poetry, and greeting cards, including information on forty new book publishers, eighty-three new periodicals, and thirty-four new literary agents. Perfect for writers in every phase, this is the resource to get noticed–and get published.

It contains listings for: 695 periodicals, 228 poetry markets, 355 book publishers, 133 online publications, 29 print-on-demand publishers, 1185 markets for the written word, 321 photography markets, 31 e-book publishers, 122 foriegn markets, 112 literary agents,and 59 newspapers.

It also gives you comprehensive lists of contests, writers groups and conferences, search engines, pay rates and submission guidelines, editorial services and websites.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Intersection of Ethics and the Law

Yesterday I was asked to consider taking on a project for a potential client. On the surface it seems like a really interesting project, and it would be a mechanism to help one family.


You knew that was coming didn't you. There's always a but with attorneys...

I'm not sure where it falls ethically. It's not wrong per se. But the Indiana legislature has adopted a law which says this type of agreement would be against the public policy of the state, and therefore, would be unenforceable in court if there was a breakdown between the parties to the contract.

I have no problem helping this particular couple if they understand the full ramifications that it's really just so much paper if the agreement breaks down. But I am concerned about how this could be used in the future.

The law doesn't do a good job of keeping up with technology. There's always a lag. Legislatures and courts don't have crystal balls available to them that let them know what will be the next hot area. Judges and legislators are also rarely eager to charge into uncharted territory...too much potential for hidden dangers to erupt.

So I'm praying and seeking wisdom to know which way to go with this situation.

On a sidenote...if you like the Constitution and law, you should check out the Alliance Defense Fund's blog Constitutionally Correct.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Growing up I had several close friends. One or two, I would classify as Anne/Diana friendships. You know, from Anne of Green Gables. We might be incredibly different, but something just clicked. And I have been blessed to have one of these freindships continue despite living in opposite corners of the country more than we've lived in the same town.

Today she emailed me this. She's the better writer. I keep telling her to sit down and write up some of her experiences. She doens't listen to me...Sigh. For some reason she thinks she knows herself better than I do...Grin.

So here 's her email...

I was looking back through some old writings and found this story. I'm thinking
as I'm reading it, Man, I don't remember this at all, and you think I
would...where are those old pictures anyway? Then at the end I realized why...

June 15, 1996 (Cara here: she must have come to visit us in DC, although the mention of the convention center throws me a bit. But I know she wasn't in San Diego for the '96 Republican Convention with me... Oh I know, she was up for a seminar...)

After lunch, Cara stops at a photo booth. "You want to?" she grins.

"You," I observe, "are crazy."

"Oh, come on; it’ll be fun!"

I climb into the tiny compartment after her. I read the instructions out loud while she attempts to cram a couple of crumpled bills into the money slot: "‘Pick background.’ What background do we want, red or blue?"

"Blue. This one won’t go in there; maybe this one…"

"‘Adjust seat hight until eye level with green light. Insert money…’"

"There! Smile!" The screen ahead of us explodes in a white flash. "We’ve got to do a crazy one!" Cara insists. She sticks her tongue out. I cross my eyes. FLASH. I move my hand with
fingers extended into a V behind her head. She ducks. FLASH. We just plain grin. FLASH. We groan and blindly extricate ourselves from the compartment.

"‘Pictures will be delivered here in five minutes.’"

We wait. I treat Cara to a gumball. Her mouth turns blue. Mine, green. Several minutes later,
the booth spits out four prints. "Here they are! Wait, these aren’t us…"

And they aren’t. There are two photos of a black lady and then two with her and two kids. Not us. We wait four more minutes by my watch I pull out of my pocket to check occasionally. Nothing. Cara is bummed. We walk back to the convention center.

Review: Chocolate Beach

Don't you just love this cover! Give me some strawberries and pretzels to dip in that fondue. Yum.

This book is a fresh breath of air in the mom-lit genre.

It starts with a classic chick-lit scene. Guy meets girl, who is a crazy barista. They fall in love even though they are extreme opposites.

Fast forward about fifteen years to the first chapter. That young man is now an attorney who rarely makes it home, and Bri wonders if it's her. Have their differences finally reached the point where they've driven them apart? Maybe the pressures of being the parents of a teenager are too much for them? Could there be someone else coming between them?

The rest of the book frolics through her attempts to change and recapture her husband's attention. Some of her attempts are more successful than others, which left me groaning even as I knew I’d try the same things. Throughout it's a fun read.

This is the author's first book, and it has a light, fun voice. I don’t read a lot of mom-lit, I guess I’d call it, but I loved the voice! Bri is a fun character and someone that I imagine I’d love as a best friend. The whackiness in her life is fairly true to life but just enough away from mine to make it fun to read.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Renovating Becky Miller

If you are looking for fantastic mom lit, this book is it.

I have the pleasure of being a member of the blog tour for Renovating Becky Miller by Sharon Hinck. I enjoyed the Secret Life of Becky Miller, but Renovating Becky Miller has resonated with me in a way I didn't expect.

In this installment Becky is wrestling with a job that wants to be much more than the 15 hours a week she signed on for, three kids between the ages of nine and two, a mother-in-law who's moved in very reluctantly, the stress of selling a house, buying a dream house that becomes the money pit, her sister has moved in, and her best friend is suddenly distant...add a leg that refuses to cooperate after an accident and her concern about the state of her twelve year old marriage. Her life is chaos and it seems like everything she touches gets worse. And all she wants to do is fix things for people.

Each chapter begins with Becky dreaming that she is in the middle of a movie. For me part of the fun was trying to figure out which movie as quickly as possible. (There is a list of the movies in the back - I got most right) A few I didn't get, but Sharon wove them into the story so that the movie clips didn't interrupt the flow. Instead, they actually helped move the story along and let us know how Becky was feeling.

There were so many times I was laughing and cringing at the same time. Laughing at the situations Becky got herself into by trying to fix everything and be everything everyone seemed to want her to be. And cringing as I realized how often I feel just like her.

Let's face it. The demands on moms today never end. Someone will always tell us we aren't being the right kind of parent. Or that we aren't giving enough to our job ... or too much. Or we aren't serving enough at church ... or we're serving too much. Or our kids aren't behaved the way somebody thinks they should... or don't get enough of our time. Or there's that house project that just doesn't get out of the starting gate. Or the unexpected disasters that leave us reeling.

It felt good to laugh with a friend and then cry as she walked through her struggles. If you are a mom (or just married), I think you will really enjoy this book. If not, it's still a great read.

And since renovating (both inside and out) is a huge part of this book, tell me your renovating stories. The best one wins a book. Maybe this one if I can bring myself to part with it!

I'll start. Ever noticed how you fix up a house right before you move. Just so other people can enjoy the improvements. We did that with our townhouse in Arlington. Beautiful kitchen, just not for us to enjoy. Or remodeling the upstairs bathroom there that took much longer than we anticipated. It was awesome when it was done, but as a direct result of all those projects in a 1940s era house, we bought 2000 vintage here. And now it's time to start with upgrades and repairs here. Sigh. The never-ending saga....

Friday, February 09, 2007

Associates would take less money...

One of the challenges within law firms right now is that Gen Xers want a life, while the older partners want to work associates and young partners to the bone. The American Bar Association conducted a recent unscientific study in which slightly more than 84% of associates (including me) said we'd take less pay to have more time. I'd love to quote huge chunks of this article, but instead urge you to look at the article yourself if it piques your interest.

The legal frontier could be changing. And it will happen at the hands of my generation and those younger because we aren't willing to sacrifice our families on a day-in-day-out basis.

I was fortunate to find a firm that was flexible with me. I worked three days a week -- most weeks. But if a judge or key client needed to see me, I was there regardless of whether it was my day to be at work.

The kids got used to playing games on the computer or watching a video on those days while Mommy ran to court or talked to a client or partner.

There are ways to make a reduced work schedule work without hurting client service.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

State of the Law: Roe v. Wade

One of the things I love about the law is how fluid it is. It's also one of the most frustrating parts of being an attorney. Just when you think you know an area, it changes. So you have to constantly learn and develop.

A colleague and I finished the first drafts of two white papers for a non-profit that has commissioned papers on each of the 50 states. The question: What would be the state of the law IF the US Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

There is always the possibility this could happen, given the new make-up of the court, though I doubt it.

We had two states: Vermont and South Dakota. The states could not be more different in their approach to abortion if they tried.

Vermont has an activist supreme court and a legislature that is unwilling to legislate anything in the area of abortion. Check this post for my take on one of the state legislators who kept trying...despite the likelihood (or lack thereof) of success. If Roe v. Wade were overturned tomorrow, nothing would change in Vermont. Hence, NARAL's grade of an A for the state.

South Dakota is a polar opposite. In South Dakota there is all kinds of legislation on the book limiting abortion. Parental notification, informed consent, healthcare providers ability to say no for conscience reasons, etc., are alive and well.

The legislature has even passed legislation intended to become a test case for the Supreme Court. Only problem is instead of suing for injunctive relief, pro-abortion advocates took it to the streets and the legislation was overturned by the people in the 2006 election. Maybe because the law did not contain exceptions for rape and incest...It would be interesting to know. Even with this, NARAL gives the state a F rating.

So, if the Supreme Court reverses Roe v. Wade and returns abortion to the states, we will have a patchwork quilt of policies in place. And the law will continue to grow and change.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I've been tagged: Weird Things About Me

I don't like to think of myself as weird. Though I'm sure I'm ... unique! But my friend Pam Meyers, over at A Writer's Journey, tagged me so here goes. Six unique things about me. Drum roll, please....

1) My first completed manuscript Pam says that's really a God thing ... and a very long and fun story.

2) I have a town and characters for my legal suspense, but can't find a plot to save my life. Argh! Which comes first the attorney or the crime? Sing with me...

3) I can barely touch Abigail's loose teeth, and leave all pulling to her Daddy. There are reasons I went to law school and not med school.

4) I had made probably millions of onion rings at Runza before I headed off to college.

5) I got an A in an art history course I dreaded taking that was at 8 a.m. Yes, that's in the morning!

6) I don't know. I knew the first week that I met my husband that I would marry him if he ever asked. I was 16 and he was 18. He didn't ask until five years later after we'd both graduated from college and started our careers.

7) That last one was a stretch, so how about I was the first homeschooled student my community college and then department at the University of Nebraska had seen. It's kind of fun being an anomaly. Sort of.

Tag to: Michelle Pendergrass (you'll have great answers), Gina Conroy, Candice Speare (can't wait to see your stories), Tricia Goyer (here's a new series to run on your blogs :-) ), Joanna Nash (you're quirky outlook is always fresh), and Eric (you and the guys can have fun with this on the Bethel blog!).

And if you're looking for a book to read this week, here's the CFBA blog tour of the week: The Longing Season by Christine Schaub. To learn more about it, go to the CFBA blog.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I'm Not Ready for This

First, Isn't she so cute? Let me hear it now....Awwwww.

I’m not ready for this!

Last week, Abigail lost one of her top teeth. Now this isn’t the first tooth she lost. The middle bottom teeth came out months ago, and these top two teeth have taken their precious time to loosen.

So I don’t think it’s the tooth coming out that bothers me.

Ready or not, it was coming. And the way she twisted that tooth, Abigail was eager for the tooth fairy to make a return trip to our house.

No, I think what bothers me is the very conspicuous reminder that my baby isn’t such a baby. She’s beginning to read fluently. She dances all over the house. And her smile – missing tooth and all – could light up a room.But that missing tooth is a constant reminder that she’s six plus some.

Where does the time go? And how can I grab hold of these moments?

Sometime in the last two years I stopped making it a priority to capture these milestones and moments in her journal. So much has happened that I want to make that a priority again.

Because someday I’ll wish I was only in shock over Abigail pulling another tooth out.

The problem is I know boyfriends are coming. And then college. And, yikes, somewhere in there marriage and kids and…I think I need a cafĂ© mocha. Anyone ready to meet me for a cyber cup of coffee?!?!?!

Check out this post and many other great ones (written by smarter people than me) at Generation NeXt Parenting.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Super Bowl Champs!

Last night I got to see Eric as excited as I think I've ever seen him. He was pretty intense for a stoic Norwegian as the game rolled. I have to admit we were a bit worried when the opening kick-off resulted in a Chicago Bears touchdown. Not the way you want the first 20 seconds of a game to unfold. But hey, with Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai, and Bob Sanders playing, there was no need to worry.
And now we get to replace our Colts AFC championship t-shirts with the real deal. Super Bowl Champs. We'll enjoy it for at least a day :-)

Now if you were looking for a serious post today, check out my post at Writer Interrupted:

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Moderation in all things???

Today I saw an article in the Indianapolis Star about the oldest living woman in the United States. She happens to be a farm girl from Indiana. And she's 113. She's also the second oldest person in the world.

What I loved is that she ate all kinds of foods that we're told are bad for us. She loves radio, doesn't watch TV. Ask her how she lived this long and she answers, "I don't know."

My father-in-law tells me regularly that I'll live to be 120. I generally reply that I'm not interested. But if I could have the health she does, I just might reconsider.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Legal Plots

Usually, I see the law at work all around me.

There's nothing like spending time with a doctor to realize just how many different ways lawyers impact our lives. I remember years ago going in for the pre-op consult on my wisdom teeth. What did they do? Plop me in front of a TV and make me watch a video about everything that could go wrong. Let me tell you, I wanted to run for the hills and never come back. I made my mom watch the video. Me, I turned away and tried to pretend I was listening to anything but that litany of evils that could happen if I was one of the unlucky 1 in 10,000 people.

It certainly hasn't gotten better since I was a teenager.

I'm always giving clients advice about how to protect themselves and their businesses. In all kinds of situations. Have to fire an employee? Here's how to protect your business. Landlord getting foreclosed? Here are a few steps to try. Been in a car accident? Talk to this partner? (I just can't stomach all the medical reports...there is a reason I went to law school and not med school, folks. I like to say it wasn't my brain, but my stomach!)

But now that I'm looking for a legal plot, a high concept Meg Ryan said in You've Got'm blank.

Me. The woman who prints all kinds of weird news articles. Have stacks of them just cause I thought they were strange. Maybe I need to dig through them, because with the self-imposed pressure on, I can't find a big plot to save my life.

Sure I've got the characters, the town, the quirks, even the strong subplot -- but I don't think it's high concept enough to carry the whole book.

Any one want to brainstorm :-)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

ADVANCE: I think I just might be an author!

No, I didn't have a book signing (though I helped with a couple friends' signings). Since my book isn't out till October there's really nothing to sign. But I had a badge to get in to ADVANCE, and we markered AUTHOR on the bottom of ours.

In many ways, walking around the floor at ADVANCE was like a kiss from heaven. Isn't that how it feels when you see the beginning fruit to a dream. And I am so on the beginning side of this. The thing that amazes me about the Christian authors I know is how much openess and encouragement there is.

We spent Tuesday night brainstorming the next book for one of my dear friends. It was a hoot! But no one in the room sat there and said, "I want that idea." Instead, it was all about helping this author come up with a fabulous idea and foundation for her next suspense.

And I think I have an agent. Pretty cool! But I'll say for sure after I sign the contract :-) The lawyer in me says nothing counts for sure until there are two signatures. But I am very excited about working with her. I think we'll be a great fit.

And, Joanna, I got to visit with your dad, too. That was awesome!


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