Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Life Ready Woman: Thriving in a Do-It-All World

Recently, I received the Life Ready Woman, in part because I've found Shaunti Feldhahn's other books to be filled with practical information I can use pretty much immediately. The Life Ready Woman tackles the idea that Christian women can balance the many roles they have if we approach the process intentionally. As a woman who teeters on the edge of spinning out of control on any given day, yet passionately desiring to use every moment, I am always looking for new tips and strategies in this area.

I LOVE the concept of this book. It's all about finding the right balance at this season so that we can use our God-given gifts to the maximum potential. I don't know about you, but I don't want to get to heaven and hear that I've missed a purpose that God had me here to accomplish. But one thing that the authors stress in the introduction is that the book can best be used with the companion video series. After reading most of the book, I wonder how much of the video content is required to dive deep into the subject. Now, that may be because I am constantly looking for and reading books in this area. But I would love to do this book with a group in the video setting.

You can watch the video sampler for session one here. I'm eager to dive into that since the handout that accompanies the video looks great.

In celebration of Shaunti Feldhahn’s Life Ready Woman, MomLife Today is giving away 2 Weekend To Remember Gift Packs and much more!

Not only, is MomLife Today helping promote Life Ready Woman, but they are thrilled to announce that Shaunti will be joining MomLife Today as a regular contributor!!!

Weekend To Remember Get-Aways offer marriage-changing principles that you can take home and apply to your daily lives to strengthen your marriage. Whether you are newly engaged or have been married for 50 years, you will find value in the tools provided at the getaway.


Don’t miss this opportunity to receive a conference registration for you and your spouse … and more! MomLife Today will be randomly selecting NINE lucky recipients to receive one of these great gifts:
  1. 2 Weekend To Remember Get Away conference registrations for two. $259 value each pair (Two couples will receive this.)
  2. 2 Life Ready Woman DVD packs. $149 value each (Two different people will receive this gift.)
  3. 5 The Life Ready Woman books. (Book will go to 5 people.)
To enter click one of the icons below then tell your friends. Winner will be announced on March 2nd on the MomLife Today website.
Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

MomLife Today provides encouragement, advice and resources to help YOU with your daily Momlife! Because…every MOMent counts!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Do We Shortchange Christian Youth?

I know...the title isn't typical of what I've posted lately. But it's something I've thought about the last couple weeks. In In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day Mark Batterson mentions almost as a sidenote: Lion chasers refuse to live their lives in a defensive posture. They are actively looking for ways to make a difference." (p. 121)

Then he quotes from Bob Briner's Book Roaring Lambs, where he challenges us to dare to dream that the top director in Hollywood, the Pultizer Prize winning journalist, and the principle dancer for the leading ballet company are all Christians. To quote Batterson again, "We need to stop criticizing culture and start creating it."

I can remember as a teenager telling people (mainly from the church) that I wanted to go into journalism or politics. That's where I felt called from about the age of 14. And I remember the recoiling in horror. "Christians can't go in those areas and remain Christians."

I wanted to ask why not. I might have even done it. And then I had the strength to pursue those fields anyway, despite what people I admired and respected said. Thanks to Mom and Dad for not joining that chorus.

And now I we continue in that same path? Do we tell young people in the church that the only way they can truly serve God is by being a teacher, minister, or missionary? I pray not.  Because as I look at the world, Hollywood needs a lot of tent makers. As does Washington, D.C., New York City, and every other seat of power.

What do you think? Does the church direct youth one place or is it getting better?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Save The Date
Thomas Nelson (February 1, 2011)
Jenny B. Jones
I adore Jenny's books and Jenny, so had to share this since the bio so shows her sense of humor!

I write Christian fiction with a few giggles, quite a bit of sass, and lots of crazy. My novels include the Katie Parker Production series and So Not Happening. I would also like to take credit for Twilight , but somewhere I think I read you’re not supposed to lie.

When I’m not typing my heart out (or checking email), I teach at a super-sized high school in Arkansas.

My students are constantly telling me how my teaching changes their lives and turned them away from drugs, gangs, and C-SPAN.

Okay, that’s not exactly true.

Some facts that are true include:

I've always been refined!

A. I got my camera confiscated by big boys with guns at the American  Embassy in Europe this past summer. O la la!

B. I once worked in a seed mill office and cleaned out mice on a regular basis. Ew.

C. I’m a former drama teacher.

D. I didn’t pass my drivers test the first time. Or the second…

E. I attract stray animals like a magnet.

F. I used to assemble and test paint ball guns for a local factory...

Since my current job leaves me with very little free time, I believe in spending my spare hours in meaningful, intellectual pursuits such as:

-watching E!
-updating my status on Facebook
-catching Will Ferrell on YouTube and
-writing my name in the dust on my furniture

I’d love to hear about you, so drop me a note. Or check me out on Facebook.

ABOUT THE BOOK -- Totally fabulous book!

You’re invited to the engagement of the most unlikely couple of the year.

When the funding for Lucy’s non-profit job is pulled, she is determined to find out why. Enter Alex Sinclair, former professional football star and heir of Sinclair Enterprises—the primary donor to Lucy’s Saving Grace organization. Alex Sinclair has it all . . . except for the votes he needs to win his bid for Congress. Both Lucy and Alex have something the other wants. Despite their mutual dislike, Alex makes Lucy a proposition: pose as his fiancĂ©e in return for the money she desperately needs. Bound to a man who isn’t quite what he seems, Lucy finds her heart – and her future – on the line.

Save the Date is a spunky romance that will have readers laughing out loud as this dubious pair try to save their careers, their dreams . . . and maybe even a date.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Save The Date, go HERE

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Me Project Tour & Guest Article

I love the idea of this book. Kathi's other books that I've seen have been great jumpstarts. And if the article below is any indication, then this book is a great way to discover a dream or put some feet to the dream.

Be sure to leave a comment if you would like to be included in a chance for a Starbucks basket the author is giving away to one person who comments during the tour.

(San Jose, CA) Has that rush to make (and break) New Year’s resolutions already waned? According to Daniel Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, taking small steps every day will not only help you stay committed to your goal, but will also help you ultimately achieve that goal when obstacles come up. Author Kathi Lipp wants you and your friends to live out those dreams—and have some fun along the way.

As women, we forget the goals and dreams of our younger years. The busyness of everyday life gets in the way. To-do lists replace goals. The Me Project provides women with fun and creative ways to bring back the sense of purpose and vitality that comes with living out the plans and dreams God has planted in our hearts. Kathi Lipp’s warm tone and laugh-out-loud humor motivates women to take daily steps toward intentional goals. The end result? We get back our lives and enjoy living in the confidence of a purposeful life in spite of our chaotic schedules.

This handy guide coaches women to do one simple thing toward achieving our goals each day for three weeks. A woman experiencing the exhilaration of a rediscovered life offers more as a wife, mother, friend, volunteer, career woman.

Three Super-Simple Kick Start Living Your Dreams
– in the next 15 minutes
by Kathi Lipp
Is there a dream that God has given you, but you are waiting until the kids are grown and you have money in the bank before you get started?
You may not be able to enroll in a month long pastry making class or take a week off of work to get started on your novel, but today you can take three little baby steps to making your dream a day-to-day reality.

1.     Go Public with It
It’s a little scary to tell the world what you want to do when you grow up—but this is one little step could get you closer to living your dream than almost any other. Plus—it takes very little time and you don’t have to raid your kid’s college fund to make it happen.
When you gather up all your courage and tell your best friend, “I want to learn how to paint,” suddenly she remembers an old art book she has laying around she would love to give you, or her friend from church who teaches art classes. The people you know and love want to be a resource. Give them the privilege of being a part of making your dream happen.

2.     Join an Online Group
This is one of the simplest—and cheapest—ways to start exploring your passion. Find out who else is talking about restoring antiques and listen to their conversation. Start by Googling your interest along with the term “online groups.” You will be amazed with the number of people who want to talk about the proper way to care for 1950’s lunchboxes as much as you do.

3.     Don’t be Afraid to Pray
I remember the first time I put an offer in on a house—I wanted it more than I had wanted almost anything else in my life. While I knew that I had dozens of other people praying on my behalf, I was too scared to pray.

I didn’t want God to tell me no. I was afraid to pray until my co-worker Kim asked me (in a loving, kind way), why I didn’t believe that God wanted His best for me. Don’t be afraid to pray—as with anything amazing in my life, the path is never what I expected, but it has always been obvious that God’s hand has been on it the whole way.

Finding the balance between living day-to-day with purpose while pursuing the passions God has placed in our hearts is a delicate pursuit. In this refreshing, insightful book, Kathi lays out a doable plan that makes sense and helps make our God-given dreams a reality. Never stop dreaming, because women who dare to dream do make the world a better place.
—Jean Blackmer
author of MomSense: A Common Sense Guide to Confident Mothering
Publishing Manager, MOPS International

Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker, currently speaking each year to thousands of women throughout the United States. She is the author of The Husband Project and The Marriage Project, serves as food writer for Nickelodeon, and has had articles published in several magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman and Discipleship Journal. Kathi and her husband, Roger, live in California and are the parents of four teenagers and young adults. For more information visit her website:

Kick Start Living Your Dream -

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Review: Lady in the Mist

Lady in the Mist is the fruition of a dream that was birthed in author Laruie Alice Eakes while she was in grad school. Then one of the things she studied was the role of midwives in history...and she knew she'd someday write books highlighting the contributions of those women. Now she's doing just that.

I've heard a lot about Laurie Alice's books, but this was the first time I've read one of them. Set in coastal Virginia in 1809, it took me the first chapter or two to get into the time period. Once I did, though, this book kept calling me back to its pages. The book is a blend of romance, suspense, and historical. Tabitha Eckles is a midwife, and with that role comes the responsibility of keeping secrets. All alone in the world, she is drawn to an English redemptioner who could be a spy. Either way, he isn't free to marry until his indenture is complete -- and even then, he's titled. What would he want with a woman like her? Then there's the fisherman she'd planned to marry before he disappeared...only to return two years later.

The book is layered with alternating twists of suspense and romance. And the setting grew on me as the town and characters became real.

For those who love the regency time period, this book is an easy one to pick up. And for those of you who haven't tried it before, this is a great one to start with. And being set in a rural American village made for an interesting twist in the genre.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Reviews of Save the Date and A Billion Reasons Why

This morning I want to introduce you to two new books from two of my favorite Christian romance writers. Kristin Billerbeck first sold me on chick lit with her delightful Ashley Stockingdale series. I simply loved those books. She's written other romances since then, and has a new one release this month. And Jenny B Jones is one of my newer discoveries. I adored her first women's romance (she also writes for the young adult market), and have to say this second one lives up to the promise of the first. Here's more.

Save the Date is another great romance from award-winning author Jenny B. Jones. She has a gift for creating characters I want to root for and thrusting them into situations that make me laugh out loud while wondering how they can ever resolve their love life. Save the Date was no exception.

This book is a must read. And I love what the author does with highlighting the outreach to young women who have outgrown foster care and need someone to believe in them while they transition. This book has so much heart! But the was perfect. I LOVED reading the ups and downs between Lucy and Alex. They both need each other...but the last thing either expects is love. The other thing the author does so well is incorporate a spiritual thread that adds to the story without detracting from it. This book really is a perfect blend of romance, laugh out loud moments, and heart. I give it two and a half very enthusiastic thumbs up.

With a Billion Reasons Why, Kristin Billerbeck is back with a light romance that is a fun, quick read. Katie and Luc have a history that has kept them apart but also serves as a magnet attracting them to each other. Instead, Katie is ready to marry a man she met at her church. He's safe and predictable...but is that enough? This book didn't have the zany feel of her Ashley Stockingdale series, but reminded me of the Spa Girls series. It was a fun read, with interesting characters that kept me engaged. A great spring break read especially for those who love romance.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Reader's Theater Resource by Doraine Bennett

I took a reader's theater class in college and really enjoyed it. For someone who has a tough time memorizing, it was a great way to get dramatic experience without the stress of memorizing pages of scripts.

Doraine Bennett, a family friend, has written Reader's Theater for Global Explorers, a resource filled with scripts for those who want to try reader's theater while learning about neat locations. You can check out more on Amazon at the link above.

Here's more from Doraine:

Readers theatre is a little like radio drama. It is an oral reading presentation that is more relaxed and informal than traditional theater. No sets or costumes are needed, and readers hold their scripts as they read. Narration provides a framework for the drama that occurs. Since there is little visible action, readers use their voices to interpret their lines and create the setting, characters, and action in the minds of the audience.

            Students enjoy the opportunity to “become” the character they are reading. With practice and coaching, their reading skills improve. Participation in readers theatre gives students a purpose for repeated reading that translates to fluency.  As students practice their scripts, they improve their communication skills by learning voice projection, intonation, inflection, and pronunciation.
            Readers theatre stimulates the imagination. Readers must imagine the emotions their character experienced in order to decide how to speak their lines. Listeners imagine the scenes spoken before them. Performance is a team effort that helps students to learn to interact creatively with one another. If the script performed is fiction, students often want to read the entire book. If the script is nonfiction, they are drawn to learn more about a character or an event.
            Readers Theatre is a relatively simple activity for teachers. No props or costumes are necessary. If they are used, they are minimal, suggestive elements. A scarf might suggest another culture. If girls are reading male roles, a simple prop can suggest gender, such as a hat or a tie. Students are not required to memorize their parts. The stage may be the front of the classroom. Readers may use music stands for their scripts or hold them. Chairs may be used to group readers according to script directions, but readers may simply stand at the front of the room. Readers theatre can be as simple or as elaborate as you and your students wish to make it. It may be performed for the class or you may decide to invite an audience. If you have a few minutes at the end of a lesson, you may pull out a readers theatre script and have students perform it impromptu.
            The scripts in this book are divided into sections based on the areas of the world where exploration occurred. Many of the explorers visited additional areas of the globe, but I have chosen one aspect of their journeys for each script. Scripts may be used throughout the year as you touch different areas of curriculum.
            At the end of each script, extension exercises incorporate cross-curricular tie-ins for multiple modalities. Extension activities may be assigned to the classroom, to the group of readers, or to an individual.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Looking for Exercise Fun?

Yes, really. I'm serious.

At the beginning of the year, I treated myself to a few new exercise DVDs. I am really enjoying two of them and thought I'd tell you about them in case you're looking for inspiration.

The first one I've been enjoying is Jillian Michael's Yoga Meltdown. This DVD comes with two workouts. The first is a bit easier than the second, but both contain good descriptions of the beginning and advanced forms of the exercises. What I enjoy about this is you get the stretch and training of yoga with a cardio element as she has you rep out the exercises. There's also no of the Eastern religion that I don't want. The extent is melting your heart to the sky -- or stretching. :-)

I've enjoyed it and I've got my pre-baby abs back -- not bad considering he was born eight weeks ago today (as I type this.)

The other video is Denis Austin's Hit the Spot Pilates. Again, this is a great workout for strengthening and stretching your muscles. An element I really like about this one is that there are seven targeted mini-workouts (10-15 minutes each) and then you string them together. So if I want to work abs/core, no problem. Or I can add a butt, thigh or hip element to it. And then there's a combined workout at the end. I really like it, and it emphasizes the beauty and grace of pilates.

So you can get the strength with yoga and the grace with pilates. Neither takes very long -- and you can stop in the middle to answer a baby's cry, wrestle a toddler, or put out the dog :-)

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Remembering the North Platte Canteen

When the "Greatest Generation" passed through North Platte, Nebraska during WWII, they got a hug and a handshake, homemade cakes and cookies, and a moment of respite and prayer provided by thousands of volunteers from the surrounding communities. This spirit of service is vital to America today. You can give something back to our military members and their families. Visit to see how!

In honor of my hometown, I will give away a copy of Canteen Dreams to someone who comments on the blog and one on Facebook. How can we serve the members of the military and their families today?

Monday, February 07, 2011

Lisa Wingate: A new author I love

Lisa Wingate has been writing for awhile, but I've just discovered her. And I have to tell you I am inhaling her Daily, Texas books. The ironic thing is the first in the series literally sat on my TBR shelf for more than a year. When I finally made time for it, I kicked myself for waiting so long. She has an amazing sense of humor that I can only pray to develop -- I'd match her with Jenny B. Jones in the humor category and y'all know how much I adore Jenny's books.

Word Gets Around is on sale at CBD for 2.99. Since the books all stand alone with recurring characters and setting, you could certainly start with it. But if you want to try a new-to-you author who writes delightfully funny romances that go more than skin deep, then please give her Daily, Texas series a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Classic Hollywood Reviews: American Madness

For those of you who are Frank Capra fans, here's a film you probably haven't seen yet. American Madness is a film from 1932 that plays with many ideas that come to fruition in It's a Wonderful Life.

It's the 1930s, the Depression era, and the Board of Directors of Thomas Dickson's bank want Dickson to merge with New York Trust and resign. He refuses. One night, Dickson's bank is robbed of $100,000. The suspect is Matt Brown, an ex-convict whom Dickson hired and appointed Chief Teller. Brown, who's very loyal to Dickson, refuses to say where he was that night. He actually has two witnesses for his alibi, Mrs. Dickson and fellow worker Cyril Cluett, but Brown is protecting Dickson...

Mr. Capra uses the film as a way to speak out against the evils he saw in big banking. He also speaks to the values that become common in his films. The idea that one man can make a difference. That we should believe in the little guy and give him a chance.  I enjoyed the film...and if you like Frank Capra movies, you really should track this one down.

The Stage in August, 1932 gave the following opinion: "Now we have American Madness, produced by Columbia and Frank Capra, showing the scenes of wild panic incident to a run on a big bank. Although it is frankly propaganda urging us to have faith in our poor, dear bank presidents, it is effective and occasionally exciting melodrama. Certainly Mr. Capra's scenes of the rapidly growing mob in the bank are expertly handled and make grand pictures. Perhaps the story is improbable and the happy ending impossible, but whether you agree with President Walter Huston's bank policy ("to stop hoarding and get business running again") or with the depositors hammering on the cages for their cash, you feel that American Madness is a good show, and hokum only part of the time."

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Review: Lady in Waiting

Writing a novel within a novel is a serious challenge. So many times one story line or the other suffers. In Lady In Waiting, Susan Meissner hits the perfect balance -- in a manner similar to her Shape of Mercy.

Jane Lindsay finds a ring inside the binding of an antique prayer book. The ring is beautiful, but when she sees an inscription on the inside with her name, she becomes enthralled with finding out the history of the ring. And when she learns the ring is between 350 and 400 years old, the English Jane's that it could have belonged to seems to narrow. What will she learn from Jane's story that will help her as she tries to navigate the troubled waters of a separation she didn't ask for or want?

Lucy Day finds herself assigned to be the dressmaker for the young Lady Jane Grey. The two become friends as the years unfold and their lives intertwine. A girl caught between power hungry groups, Lady Jane seems to have no choices or voice.

This book is lyrical in writing and pacing. The story is captivating, not in small part because of the way tension heightens when one story pauses so the other can proceed. And the layers add a depth to the story that I've come to expect from Susan Meissner's writing. Beautiful from beginning to end.


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