Thursday, July 29, 2010

Doug & Roberta Moore: A Missionary Highlight

Since at this very moment, my 17 yr old daughter is in India right now on a mission trip, I thought it’d be cool to highlight a missionary couple that we are somewhat connected with.
We’re connected because:

  1. Our church helps support them
  2. My youngest son chose them as his missionaries to pray for through AWANA
doug n roberta Doug and Roberta Moore run the River of Life Care Home ministry, in Cornesti, Romania. The following is our interview and I pray that you’d take the time to get to know them!
After reading our discussion, if you’d like to learn more about them you can email them at dougandroberta@gmail.com. Info on how to donate is after the Interview.
Did you or Doug grow up thinking you wanted to be missionaries?
No. I was raised in a family that didn’t believe in God. Doug was 41 when He received Jesus Christ and I was 38. From the time we first received Christ, we felt a call on our lives to missions. (Even though I had no idea whatsoever as to what that meant!) We met when we each started attending a little country community church. We married when I was 41 and Doug was 44.
I married the first time, when I was 18 years old. I didn’t get married in a church because I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. At that time, I didn’t want God in my life or my marriage, and that is exactly what I got: a Godless life and marriage. After 20 years in an emotionally and physically abusive marriage, I felt like I was dying from the inside out and that if I stayed any longer that I would not survive, either from my ex-husband, or from my own hand. It was the darkest point in my life. But God had a plan for my life. He saved me. I finally understood what Christ Jesus did on the cross for me; I understood He forgave my sins.

Then I realized that if He forgave all of my sins, that I also had to forgive myself for having had an abortion when I was 17 years old. That was very difficult, but very healing. And then the Lord put on my heart, that I also had to forgive my ex-husband, or I wouldn’t be able to heal and my kids wouldn’t be able to heal either.

Those were difficult and challenging years, but they taught me how to rely on the Lord, because I really didn’t have anyone else. (How would I have ever imagined then that the Lord would use all of that as my missionary training!?!!) And I learned how to trust the Lord and His word, the Bible, which is a very practical book for living life.

So, when I married Doug, I wanted God in my life and in my marriage- and that is exactly what I have!!! And it is great!!!

How did you get connected with International Messengers?
God’s leading through prayer. I’ve learned not to push to make things happen on my own, but to pray and be sensitive to the Lord’s leading. We spent time in concentrated prayer, and the Lord brought the connections to us. We drove out to Montana to meet Bob Rasmussen, the founder of IM.  Doug and I were the first people accepted to IM’s missionary training center in Libby, Montana. We received our acceptance letter on our first wedding anniversary. We went to the IM training center in January of 1998 and came to Romania in June of that year. We had our second anniversary and each one since in Romania! This summer we will have been married for 14 years.
How many people are living at the home right now or at any given time?
Although it fluctuates, we usually have between 15 and 21 moms and children living here at any given time. Plus Doug and I have an apartment on one end of the care home building, and we usually will have one or two other American volunteers living here as well.

Right now, the only other volunteer we have serving with us here is a young woman in her 20’s, who was born in Romania and was adopted by a family we knew from Montana, when we went to the IM training center. She received Christ and felt led to come back to Romania and serve Him here with us at the care home!

Care Home mom  n kids The moms and children currently living in the care home total 17, plus one of our moms is pregnant and due to have a little girl in the next couple of weeks, so that will bring us up to 18. We have a part time cook, who once was a care home mom till she married a man in the village. When she is working here, she brings her three children with her. They are part of the care home family! 

The River of Life Foundation employs 6 Romanian full time staff people, and 3 part time staff people. (One of the full time staff people is a pastor we hired to live and work in a village church plant we have in another Romanian village) We operate the care home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.

staffWe do many outreaches as well. Every Wednesday, we have an elderly day center, in which we bring elderly from our village here for a day of fellowship, encouragement, sharing in God’s Word, singing, and lunch.

We have Sunday worship services here every Sunday for the Moms and children of the care home, and people of the village. Some Romanian friends come here and teach a Sunday school for the children and teens that come.

We also have special evangelistic events throughout the year that we invite the people in the village to. The week before Easter this past spring, 100 people in the village, (including 25 adults and 75 children) came to a program we had one evening.

Also on the care home property we have a camp facility, which houses about fifty people overnight. Throughout the year we host short term teams, and host youth camps, including one or two evangelistic aviation camps per year.

Where does your support come from: individuals, churches, organizations?
Our donations come primarily from individuals and churches.
Doug Roberta Antonio How often do you get to come back to the States to have a "rest" from the Care Home?
We don’t really see it that way. We don’t go to the States to get a rest from the care home.

God has given us work here in Romania and we feel He has given us family here too. But we also have work in the States and family there, too. When we go to the States, it is very rare that it is just to be with our family. We usually spend the bulk of our time there, traveling and speaking at supporting churches and groups, which is something Doug and I really enjoy doing. We have a life and people we dearly love on both continents. We have learned to pace ourselves as best we can within the context of a very busy life.

Everyone juggles work, family, obligations and responsibilities. That is what every mom has to do, isn’t it? To find time for herself, at times, in the midst of the busyness of the day and pouring herself out for her family, those she loves.

I’m a people orientated person, and so the times I am most at rest, is when I am with my kids (here or in the States), grandkids, husband, and friends, just hanging out together. I’m pressured by tasks that require deadlines, or tasks that pile up faster than I can get to and hang over my head, stressing me out. That puts pressure on me and those are the things I try and delegate! But unfortunately I usually can’t delegate too much of that away!

Care Home How does a ministry such as this handle the recession we're having here in the US?
We were in the states, in 2008 when the economic crisis hit. And the verses the Lord had given us to speak on, before all that went down, was 2 Kings 4:1-7. The creditors were going to take the widows’ sons into slavery to pay her debts. We’ve met a lot of people out of work, or worried about losing their jobs or home, in this economy, but I have yet to hear about creditors taking people’s kids into slavery to pay off their debts. She went to the man of God, Elisha for help, and he told her to gather all the vessels she could then go into a room, her and her sons and start pouring the little bit of oil she had into those jars. By faith, she gathered a lot of jars, and by faith she poured, and poured and poured. The oil stopped flowing when the last vessel was filled. She couldn’t test it out, do a little, see what would happen and go and get some more vessels, if it worked. Then, instead of just doing whatever she wanted to do with the oil, she went again to the man of God, Elisha and inquired as to what to do next. He told her to give the oil to pay off her debts and creditors and for her and her sons to live off the rest.

That is a picture of the kind of faith I learned, after my divorce, when I first received Christ, and was learning what it was to be a Christian, trying to work and raise two teenage boys and heal emotionally. God taught me how to live and walk day to day, trusting in His provision.

I learned that when I was a single mom, and then when Doug and I got married, the Lord called us out of our jobs and into full time ministry. Another step of faith. When we came to Romania we encountered many more steps of faith!! Then when we started the care home work and had workers depending on the wages our ministry provided that was another step of faith. There were many times when we were working on the reconstruction of the care home that we had to tell our workers in the beginning of the week that we had no money to pay them at the end of the week, and they were free to find work elsewhere. But they stayed and kept working anyway, and the Lord always provided their pay. When we would doubt, the Lord seemed to say to us, “do you really think it is too hard for Me to provide for you and these workers, too!??!!!” But it stretched us, and the Lord continues to find new and creative ways to stretch our faith!!!

About the economy, Americans have a very hard time relating with a world view. It is a worldwide recession. I remember when I was a kid, we had a regional economy. If one part of the country the economy was weak, people moved to another area where the economy was stronger. But over the years, we became a global economy, with each country dependant on one another.

I saw a very good DVD the Demographic Bomb, which is a sequel to another DVD called Demographic Winter: Decline of the Human Family. Check out their website at www.DemographicWinter.com it is an amazing documentary about the roll demographics have on the world economy. When we are fruitful and multiply as God commanded us to do, economies grow and are healthy, but over the last 30 to 40 years or so, there has been a global push to limit population control, through pushing contraception, abortion and even forced sterilization in many parts of the world. The result is that many nations now have a seriously declining birthrate. The only reason we haven’t felt the worst effects from that yet is because we have an elderly population that is living longer, but in a few more years, the world will be in a major crisis because never before in the history of the world will there be more older people and so few younger ones taking their place.

Anyway, I don’t think the economy is going to get better in the long run, but that the economy will be one of the main reasons why Americans will agree to go into a One World government.
I’m not a prophet, nor do I pretend to be. And I certainly don’t have all the answers, or hardly any. But I do know Who does!!! And He is who I intend to serve and follow no matter what is going on with the economy! The Lord has a huge harvest to bring in- in good economic times and in bad, and we don’t feel that He is planning to stop His work because of the economy!!!

We think it is time for all of us who are Spirit led Christians to seek more intensely than ever before, the Lord’s will and to be obedient and do His will, instead of our own. Jesus Christ is the head over His church, which is the Body of Christ. We need to make His priorities our own.

Did I tell you Ryan may end up at your Care Home when he's older? *grin*
We had a team here a few years ago that was an AWANA MIT team. (Missionary In Training) Will he be coming with a group like that???
Well, he’s only 7 so I have no idea how he’ll get there! =)
If you would like to donate (tax deductable) funds to this ministry, please send a check made out to International Messengers, but on a separate piece of paper note that you would like your donation to go to the River of Life Care Home's ministry account.
Their mailing address is:
International Messengers
PO Box 618
Clear Lake, IA, 50428-0618
Thank you Doug and Roberta for serving the Lord and loving on these people! I appreciate the time you took out of your busy lives to share with me about your ministry.

Philippians 1:3-6 (New International Version)

Thanksgiving and Prayer
3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday Happy Birthday Baby

Baby1 July 1991

Baby3
July 27, 1992

Baby17
circa 1996

Baby30
circa 1998

Baby46
getting ready for braces 2004?

IMG_3094
2007 time to drive

4687_99914409975_655474975_2743287_6152566_n
high school grad 2009

Brie N turtle
she’s my college girl

I know those are a lot of pictures and I apologize for the load time! I just dig my daughter! Happy 19th birthday Baby! Her birthday was actually on Tuesday when I was creating this post!

Check out these other Wordless Wednesdays links: J. Leigh Designz, 5 Minutes for Mom, and Look What Mom Found...and Dad Too

Counting Stars and North! Or Be Eaten! by Andrew Peterson GIVEAWAY!

At the end of June, the Christy Award for Young Adult Fiction was given to Andrew Peterson for North! Or Be Eaten:Wild escapes. A desperate journey. And the ghastly Fangs of Dang. You can read the first chapter at FIRST.

This is the 2nd book in the Wingfeather Saga. The first book is called On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness: Adventure. Peril. Lost Jewels. And the Fearsome Toothy Cows of Skree. How are those for long book names?
Andrew Peterson Cover Today, July 27th marks the debut of Andrew’s newest album Counting Stars. Andrew's CD is #1 on iTunes Christian Album Charts today!!!
So, how would you like to be the lucky winner of both? Oh yah, you heard me right! You can win the CD and his book!
Required: What kind of music do you usually listen to? Answer that question and it will be your entry.
Giveaway open to US Residents 18 yrs or older. Please leave your email address in your required entry or have it available in your profile. No email/contact = No entry. Giveaway ends 8/14 midnight PDT.
Extra Entries:
Follow Andrew Peterson on Twitter (1 entry)
Follow Andrew on Facebook (1 entry)
Join Andrew’s MySpace (1 entry)
Follow Centricity on Twitter (1 entry)
Leave a comment on Andrew’s YouTube video (1 entry)
Like Centricity on Facebook (1 entry)
Follow me on Twitter (1 entry)
Tweet this giveaway (1 entry daily) “Win “Counting Stars” and “North! Or Be Eaten” by @AndrewPeterson #giveaway @centricity http://bit.ly/b84xE0“
Follow Marvelous Mom Reviews (my product review site) (2 entries, comment 2x)
I’d like to thank Bozeman Media for providing this giveaway. I was not compensated in any way for this giveaway. If you’re a blogger who would like to review their music head to Centricity Music and scroll to the bottom of the homepage.

Andrew Peterson's Counting Stars CD

If you haven’t heard of Andrew Peterson you will over the next several months. Not only is he a recording artist, he’s also an author (North! Or Be Eaten!). His newest release comes out today, July 27, 2010 (also my daughter’s birthday!).
Listening to his new CD Counting Stars, I am reminded of Rich Mullins (who is with the Lord) and Chris Rice, two artist whom I love. If you like music from the 70’s you might compare him to Cat Stevens. He’s a wonderful story teller!
Andrew’s CD is very soothing and meaningful. The lyrics go straight to the heart and leave an imprint of the Lord. Is it wrong to want to go outside and just dance unhindered to this music? I mean, the lyrics make me reflect on this beautiful life and at the same time wish I were a little girl twirling in a field of daisies. Check out this YouTube video of Dancing in the Minefields.

Don't miss our live broadcast with Andrew Peterson tonight at 8/7c on HearItFirst.com/Live!  He'll be playing all the songs from his new album, Counting Stars (which you can hear right now).  See video interviews (and enter to win an Andrew Peterson Prize pack) on HearItFirst.com/AndrewPeterson.
RSVP on Facebook so you don't forget!
Counting Stars by Andrew Peterson
Many Roads
Dancing in the Minefields
Planting Trees
The Magic Hour
World Traveler
Isle of Skye
God of My Fathers
Fool with a Fancy Guitar
In the Night My Hope Lives On
You Came So Close
The Last Frontier (a Lament)
The Reckoning
Andrew Peterson Cover From Centricity:
Nashville, TN (July 21, 2010) ---- Singer/songwriter Andrew Peterson is getting ready to hit the road in support of his latest project, Counting Stars.  Peterson’s second studio release for Centricity Music hits streets July 27, 2010 and that evening at 8 PM EDT Peterson will perform the entire album live exclusively on HearitFirst.com.
Street week will begin on Monday, July 26th, when Peterson will visit radio stations in Knoxville, TN, Chattanooga, TN and Birmingham, AL in support of his new single, “The Reckoning,” before returning to Nashville, TN. Peterson will then head up to Colorado Springs for meetings with Focus On The Family’s  Marriage and Family Formation Department and interviews with Weekend Magazine, podcast interview and written piece for Boundless Webzine and meeting/interview with John Fuller, co-host of Daily Broadcast.  Peterson will then head to Dallas, TX to meet with KLTY and KCBI before flying up to Chicago, where Peterson will appear live on Moody’s This Is The Day and then tape Midday Connection to air at a later date.  The next day Peterson will appear live on LeSea Broadcasting’s Harvest Show and will tape Live From Studio B.  The rest of the tour will take Peterson to radio stations in South Bend, IN, Champaign, IL and Tulsa, OK.
Early media coverage on Counting Stars has been very supportive with Rhapsody listing it in the Hot Summer Releases section, feature on ChristianRetailing.com, CCM Magazine 4-star review and interview, “The Reckoning” listed #2 on Dave Trout’s Top Gourmet Songs for first half of 2010 on UnderTheRadar.com and Charisma magazine review says, Peterson’s mellow voice and laid-back musical style (nothing’s overdone),creates a smooth and enjoyable listening experience. Other upcoming media includes, TBN/1 Music Village (July 13), FOX 17/TN Mornings (July22), JesusFreakHideout.com (July review, listening party, giveaway), Stand Firm Magazine (review), NewReleaseTuesday.com (July review), ChristianMusicToday.com (July review), StereoTruth.net (July review), performing for the Lifeway staff (July 15), interviews with YouthWalk Magazine (December), Christian Manifesto and CornerStonefaith.com.
Andrew Peterson About Andrew Peterson Peterson began his career in 1996 and signed with his first label, Watershed/Essential records in 1999. His first CD, Carried Along made CCM magazine’s list of Top Ten albums of 2000.  In 2004, Peterson received his first Dove nomination for “Family Man” for Country Recorded Song of the Year.  Peterson’s first project for Centricity Music in 2008, Resurrection Letters, Volume II, became the highest Billboard charting album of his career.  Since 2004, Peterson has toured with several Nashville musicians and artists on his annual Christmas tour, Behold the Lamb of God: The True Tall Tale of the Coming of Christ that will launch this year on December 2nd.  Peterson has also authored three children’s books, The Ballad of Matthew's Begats, On the Edge of the Sea of Darkness and the 2010 Christy Award winner for Young Adult Fiction, North! Or Be Eaten. For updates about Andrew Peterson please visit www.andrew-peterson.com or www.rabbitroom.com.
You can also find Andrew:
Twitter
Facebook
MySpace

About Centricity Music
Centricity Music is an independent recording and publishing company based in Bellevue, Washington and Nashville, Tennessee.  The company’s mission is to enable our artists to create life-changing experiences for the world. Centricity Music’s artist roster includes Jaime Jamgochian, Downhere,  Jason Gray, Daniel Kirkley, Lanae’ Hale, Andrew Peterson, High Valley, Matt Papa, Sixteen Cities and Me In Motion. For more information about Centricity Music visit online at www.centricitymusic.com.
I’d like to thank Centricity Music and Bozeman Media for allowing me to share the press release with you!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tips to Keep Young Minds Active During the Summer

School is out and children are so excited that summer is here, but it won't be long until you hear the infamous, "I'm bored" from your little ones.

Primrose Schools, the leader in educational child care, recommends encouraging imaginative play and having a plan in place to keep children's minds engaged during the summer months. Studies show that without stimulation, children can lose up to 60 percent of what they learned during the school year.

That's why Dr. Mary Zurn, Vice President of Education for Primrose, has come up with the list of ideas below as a starting point for summer activities that offer a balance between the freedom of child-initiated play time and more structured activities.
1. Boredom Buster Jar: At the beginning of the summer, sit down with your family and brainstorm a list of activities that can be done alone or that you can enjoy doing together. Encourage your children to share their own ideas and help you decorate and label a simple jar as the family "Boredom Buster Jar."  They'll feel more involved in the project and more likely to think this is a "neat" idea, if they participate in the creation and idea generation. Next, write everyone's ideas down on slips of paper and as a group decide which ones should go in the jar. Anyone in the family can pull any idea out of the jar to fight the summertime boredom blues.

2. Stories Alive: It sounds too simple, but reading is one of the most important ways to keep young minds engaged during the summer.Make reading even more fun by finding ways to bring the stories to life. For example, in the book Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran, children create a make-believe town in the desert out of rocks, boxes, and their imaginations. Read the book with your children and then challenge them to create their own town with materials they find in the backyard.
Art Sponged by fab4chiky.
photo by fab4chiky
3. Art Start Box: You'll need to gather basic art supplies-child safe scissors, glue, markers, tape and construction paper. Put them in a special box along with empty oatmeal boxes and paper towel rolls, colorful magazines and bits of aluminum foil. Occasionally add a special surprise like chalk, stickers, or stamp pads so there's always something new for the children to find. Even if you normally have these supplies around the house, it's fun for children to know that the Art Start Box is just for them. They'll probably have some good ideas of other household items that can be recycled to fuel their creative energies.

4. Family Performances: Break out old clothes or costumes and encourage children to make up characters and create a play to act out.  They are the directors, actors, and producers.  They can also make musical instruments out of pots/pans, wooden spoons, empty canisters and have a parade; or everyone can play along to your family's favorite songs. Record or video the performances, and enjoy the replay.  You'll also be capturing a bit of family history everyone will enjoy for years to come.

5. Family Dance Party: Crank up the music and encourage your entire family to boogie down. Dancing gives children a great outlet for self-expression through their own motion and helps build self-esteem. It also enhances motor and coordination development by incorporating skills like jumping, landing and leaping.  Dancing is a great activity that can involve the whole family and doesn't take very much preparation.
IMG_3236 6. Fort Building: Children love to build all kinds of structures--from small towns to large towers. Constructing forts or tents is an activity that can keep children focused and problem solving for hours. All the items you need can be found around the house- some chairs, cushions, blankets, and of course adult supervision.

7. Cookbook Fun: Have you ever shared your favorite cookbook with your children?  Take it out and ask your children to choose a recipe to try. Measuring can be a fun and easy way to keep math skills fresh.

8. Summer Scrapbook: All you need for this project is a spiral notebook. Encourage everyone in the family to draw pictures of favorite activities and collect mementos from special events throughout the summer.   Children love to go back through scrapbooks and albums and tell about what happened at each occasion.  They will also be building their storytelling skills at the same time.

9. Listening Game: Lie down in the backyard, in the den or at the park and listen.  What do you hear? Do you hear what I hear? Can you imitate the sound? This is similar to watching the clouds and naming the shapes, and it encourages everyone to slow down and focus on listening.

10. Camping Out: Pretend to campout in the backyard. Plan a meal, pack a backpack and set up a campsite.  You might even decide to spend the night!

11. Scavenger Hunt: Make a list or picture cards of common household items and have your children find the items on the list. Invite friends or neighbors to join in the fun to make it a competition.
To find these and other great tips for parents, check out Dr. Zurn's blog at DrZandme.com.  And don't forget to grab Dr. Z's Widget while you're there!

For more information on Primrose Schools, visit www.primroseschools.com.  You can also check them out on Facebook and Twitter!

Disclosure: I was entered for a chance to win a gift card in exchange for this post.  No monetary exchange took place."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Creating a Link Post: Day 7 of 31DBBB

Take the Problogger Challenge with SITS and BlogFrog
The last few days of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog has been good. I’m learning so much. And there is still so much I’m clueless about.
Today we’ve been encouraged to write a post that links to other sites. Now, I’ve done that before. If I’ve written a product review or something along those lines, you’ll find a link.
On the other hand, I’ve never written a post that’s geared toward my life or my kids that has links in it. If I have, it’d be great if someone would remind me what post(s) that was.
To a large degree, as you well know, I’m stumbling around this blog trying to figure it all out. I just do my thing when I post, not concerned about blog etiquette, link posts that are intentional, SEO (huh?), etc. I’m just blogging along in my happy little bubble.

Now ProBlogger & SITS Blog Frog want me to get focused. Um, have they met me? That answer would clearly be NO! I have ADD. I’m lucky if I remember by the end of any given post what the topic was to begin with.

I’m now starting my 7th paragraph and realizing I haven’t put a single link in! Sheesh. I need help! Ah, the brain is kicking in. Once this post goes live, there will be links in the above paragraphs!
Are you hanging on to every word? Hungry for more? Am I boring you yet? If so, I apologize. I’m blogging to learn and learn I will dag nabit (should that be one word?).

I have connected with several bloggers because I want to put what I learn in to action. For example, last night @chickadeeprints was on Twitter more than a little freaked out with all the noises she was hearing in the middle of the night. So I, along with a couple of other #31DBBB ladies amused her and were highly amused by her (until I started hearing things!). I really hope we helped her relax (aside from the coyotes).

Then there’s @AChicMommy who said she’d help me via webcam (which I don’t own) with my “fashion”, or lack there of. I told her I’m a denim & t-shirt girl trying to be more girly. That #31DBBB woman was ready to help *snap* that fast! That’s what this SITS group and #31DBBB is all about. Us helping and encouraging others where and when we can. Too bad Tye is in Hawaii and has no clue how bad of shape I’m in with my wardrobe!

Yes, there are others, but I won’t bore your for now. I’m thinking I’ll do a list post to share some other really great lady bloggers who I’ve had the pleasure of visiting! Trust me, you’ll thank me later!

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Weight of Shadows Giveaway

The weight of shadows Book Summary

In The Weight of Shadows, by Alison Strobel, after a difficult childhood, Kim has built a successful life for herself ... but she'd leave it all if it meant being rid of the guilt she harbors over a tragic mistake she made years ago. When she meets Rick, she finds everything she needs---including a way to pay for her sins every time he hits her. Kim and Rick's new neighbor, Joshua, knows more than Kim realizes about Rick, but Joshua has battles of his own to fight. Soon to intersect Kim's and Rick's lives is Debbie, who has saved countless women from abuse through the shelter she runs, but Debbie might be as desperate for love as the women she serves. Meanwhile, as Rick's wrath extends to their baby, Kim must decide if her penance is more important than protecting that innocent life---and if she should dare leave Rick when he has the power to bring her hidden crime to light.

My Review

This is the first novel I’ve read by Alison Strobel and it was amazing! The Weight of Shadows is not a touchy, feely, life-is-perfect novel. In fact, it’s hard hitting and a stark contrast to most of the Christian novels I read.

Alison tackles topics that you don’t see very often, if at all in Christian fiction and she doesn’t hold back. Abuse and self-cutting are the two topics that are tackled in The Weight of Shadows and you can tell Alison did her homework.

When Kim meets Rick, you think this is a sweet match made in heaven. Unfortunately, heaven doesn’t last long for this couple. Kim learns very quickly that Rick has expectations and they had better be met.

Debbie is struggling after the loss of her sister a number of years before. She deals with the struggle by throwing herself into her job. Her work at the Women’s shelter is becoming more of a weight to bear.

Joshua lost his wife and is beginning to move on with his daughter. His in-laws bring tension into their lives that no one deserves. This was one of the best parts of the story, even though it was a hard one to read. Alison didn’t hold back with the nastiness of the in-laws and Joshua tried to be as kind as possible, but had to draw the line at some point.

The lives of Kim, Rick, Debbie and Joshua begin to intersect as the story unfolds. You don’t lose site of the story lines as you read through the Weight of Shadows. You are more and more drawn in.

Yes, faith is involved in the novel, but Alison doesn’t clobber you over the head with it. Not that there’s anything wrong with being clobbered by the Lord. =)

I have got to say, this will be in the top 5 books that I’ve read this year, if not the best!

More Tour Info:

Alison's blog: http://alisonstrobel.com/alison-blog/2010/6/12/let-the-tour-begin.html

Info on free ebook: http://www.alisonstrobel.com/free-e-book

book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Weight-Shadows-Novel-Alison-Strobel/dp/0310289459/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

book on Christianbook.com: http://www.christianbook.com/the-weight-of-shadows/alison-strobel/9780310289456/pd/289456?item_code=WW&netp_id=636667&event=ESRCN&view=details

If you’d like, you can read an interview along with my original post here.

Required: Tell me your plans for the rest of the summer.

Giveaway open to US residents 18 yrs and older. Please leave me your email in your Required entry or have it available in your profile. No email/contact = No entry! Giveaway ends 7/30 midnight PDT. Winner has 48 hours to respond.

Extra Entries:

Leave a comment on one of the other Tour participant’s review and let me know who’s it was (2 entries, comment 2x)

Visit Alison’s site and leave her a comment U let me know where to find it (2 entries, comment 2x)

I’d like to thank Alison Strobel and Zondervan for my review copy and giveaway copy. The opinions expressed are my own.

Finally, I’d like to share what Alison had to say about the tour:

Hey there! I just wanted to say thanks to my fine blog hostess and to her readers. I have been really excited to see how many people are thinking of picking up the book because of the reviews they read during the blog tour. And thank you to everyone who entered the contest! I'll be drawing a winner on July 18 and posting it on my blog. If you haven't stopped by my blog or website yet, I hope you'll pop over sometime and say hi in the comments or on the guest book. Also, if you're interested in hearing about my next releases and any other exciting news that happens to come up, please sign up to receive my announcements--the sign-up is on my website. I have another novel coming out in September, two more next year, and two children's books that my husband and I wrote (the first of which comes out August 1), so there will be plenty of news coming, and I try to host contests now and then on my blog, too.

Thanks again! And if you do decide to pick up The Weight of Shadows and give it a read, please come tell me what you thought of it. I mean it. :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 4: Analyze a Top Blog in Your Niche

Here’s today’s task that I’m working on:
Key Concepts for Today: Studying successful blogs in your niche will show you what's working well for them as well as topics they might be ignoring which you could satisfy.  Look closer and see how they implement advertisements or promotions and what their readers are asking about.  It's important to note you don't want to copy another blogger.  Be unique, but allow them to inspire you!
Alrighty then. If my blog could speak, it’d tell you it wanted to be just like The Pioneer Woman. I know, everyone is just rolling their eyes because who doesn’t want to have a site like Ree’s?
True, my site isn’t anywhere near what hers is, a rain drop compared to her ocean, but she had to start somewhere, didn’t she? She didn’t start her blog with 10 gazillion readers (or maybe she did).
Here’s what I love about her site.
Photography: That woman has fantastic photos. And many of these photos are captioned with some amusing comment! I mean, Ree knows how to capture the moment with pictures and words! She also has awesome photography assignments. The one she has right now is themed: Water I appreciate that she teaches us what she’s learning as a photographer.
Family: She digs her family. If there were ever a woman in love with her husband and not afraid to let the world know it, it’s Ree Drummond! I mean, she thinks her husband is hot and doesn’t mind pointing it out whenever she has the chance. I became hooked on her site from her story of how she met and married The Marlboro Man. She loves her kids and enjoys bragging about them. They always look perfect in her photos, even with mussed up hair or candid moments. Oh, and we can’t forget Charlie. he has some of the greatest photos and stories!
Food: Ok, so this is NOT my thing. Well, food is, just not talking about recipes and making up new ones. I love to cook and bake ‘n all, but my kids don’t appreciate it or me so I figure, what’s the point. Someday I’ll find someone who loves to try new recipes just like me! Ree however has her own cookbook out and toured this past year. I was so bummed to have missed her visit to the Mall of America.
Homeschooling and Ranching are two things I know nothing about. One I never did: homeschooling, but thought about it. One I haven’t done: Ranching, and still dream of it!
So, like they said in the Key Concept for today, I don’t want to copy her blog. I mean, there’s no way I could anyhow. Our lives are completely different, but I can absolutely learn from her, with stars in my eyes.

  1. She’s funny, and in a really down to earth, I’m from the cities but live in the country kind of way.
  2. The layout is awesome. She changes her header to reflect the seasons or holiday. Her sidebars are informative but not overwhelming visually. Oh my! I just read she’ll be changing her look (#7) and if we don’t like change we may hate it. No, I don’t do change well at all!!!
  3. She shares so much about her life…daily, and everyone wants to keep reading. I heard they’re making a movie of her/her site! I mean, that’s amazing!
  4. Monetizing: well, she is part of a Macys ad so I’d say that’s pretty darn good. She doesn’t really have advertising though. I mean, she has a few scattered here and there, but not a crazy amount.
  5. Promotions: Ok, Ree has some amazing promotions: cameras, kitchen gadgets, etc. She doesn’t give away a stick of gum or an egg of silly putty. She has some insane giveaways that make me stand in awe. She is going through her closet and giving away her clothing. One top had 3881 comments for people trying to win it! For real, has she cast a spell on the blogosphere or what?
  6. Suffice it to say, Ree’s, The Pioneer Woman is well rounded and an all around amazing site! Woven by Words wants to be just like it when it grows up one day!
Let me apologize for not having any photos. The Pioneer Woman doesn’t have a button or photos to share in my post so I’m photoless. Head over to Ree’s site and you will find a plethora of photos!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday ~ How I Spent My Bday

IMG_3185

IMG_3191

IMG_3190

Make sure you check out these other great Wordless Wednesday participants: J. Leigh Designz, 5 Minutes for Mom, and Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House!

Write A List Post: Day 2 For The 31 Day Challenge

Hmm, a list. Would you like to see my grocery list for the week? personal, but not very fun or educational. Ok, I don’t do educational on my site.
I supposed I’ve done lists before. I didn’t define the post as a List Post, but it must be. They have headings and occasionally bullets! Don’t bullets or numbers make something a list automatically?
I think for today, I will give you a list of my favorite inspirational websites. How’s that for a list? Let’s try it on for size!
(in)courage has a great group of women who put their lives and their faith out there for us to relate to and be encouraged by.



Nora has some of the best Christian author interviews! I enjoy reading each one and she doesn’t ask your typical questions! =) She also asks who her characters would be portrayed by if their book was made into a movie. You’ll like who they pick!


Cathy Bryant is such an encouraging woman! You can absolutely tell her heart in each of her posts. She is a debut author, who’s first book, Texas Roads, is probably in my top 5 books this year so far!


Jennifer is the one who told me about Windows Live Writer. I loved how her posts looked, especially her photos. She adores her children and loves her husband. Her faith comes through with shining colors!



Veronica at A Quiet Heart shares her faith no holds barred! She’s a pastor’s wife and God is at the center of her site! She also has great photos.


And lastly, Faithful Feet is a pretty new site. One that I’m connected with. I contribute every other week. It’s so wonderful to be part of a group of believers who have a heart to share their faith!

Inaugural Year of the Carol Awards

Formerly known as the Book of the Year award given by the ACFW here are the nominees in each category (red = I’ve read & blue = TBR pile):
Debut Author
Talking to the Dead - Bonnie Grove (David C. Cook Publishing, Nicci Hubert - Editor)
The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn - Liz Johnson (Steeple Hill, Elizabeth Mazer - Editor)
Eternity Falls - Kirk Outerbridge (Marcher Lord Press, Jeff Gerke - Editor)
Michal - Jill Eileen Smith (Revell, Lonnie Hull DuPont - Editor)
The Unfinished Gift - Dan Walsh (Revell, Andrea Doering - Editor)
Contemporary Novella - 6 Finalists due to a tie
One Child - Barbara Cameron (Thomas Nelson, Natalie Hanemann - Editor)
When Winter Comes - Barbara Cameron (Thomas Nelson, Natalie Hanemann - Editor)
A Mule Hollow Match - Debra Clopton (Steeple Hill, Krista Stroever - Editor)
The Great Christmas Bowl - Susan May Warren (Tyndale House, Karen Watson - Editor)
A Change of Heart - Beth Wiseman (Thomas Nelson, Natalie Hanemann - Editor)
A Choice to Forgive - Beth Wiseman (Thomas Nelson, Natalie Hanemann- Editor)
Historical Novella
Home Again - Victoria Bylin (Steeple Hill, Emily Rodmell - Editor)
A Breed Apart - Vickie McDonough (Heartsong Presents, JoAnne Simmons - Editor)
Beloved Enemy - Vickie McDonough (Heartsong Presents, JoAnne Simmons - Editor)
Christmas Bells for Dry Creek - Janet Tronstad (Steeple Hill, Tina James - Editor)
A Shelter in the Storm - Carrie Turansky (Barbour Publishing, Rebecca Germany - Editor)
Long Contemporary - 6 Finalists due to a tie
The Familiar Stranger - Christina Berry (Moody Publishers, Paul Santhouse - Editor)
A Widow's Hope - Mary Ellis (Harvest House Publishers, Betty Fletcher - Editor)
The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow - Joyce Magnin (Abingdon Press, Barbara Scott - Editor)
White Picket Fences - Susan Meissner (Waterbrook Press, Shannon Marchese - Editor)
If Tomorrow Never Comes - Marlo Schalesky (Multnomah, Julee Schwarzburg - Editor)
Nothing But Trouble - Susan May Warren (Tyndale House, Karen Watson - Editor)
Long Contemporary Romance
Critical Care - Candace Calvert (Tyndale House, Jan Stob/Lorie Popp - Editors)
Seaside Letters - Denise Hunter (Thomas Nelson, Ami McConnell/Jessica Alvarez - Editors)
Just Between You and Me - Jenny B. Jones (Thomas Nelson, Natalie Hanemann/Jamie Chavez - Editors)
Plain Promise - Beth Wiseman (Thomas Nelson, Natalie Hanemann - Editor)
The Hope of Refuge - Cindy Woodsmall (Waterbrook Press, Shannon Marchese - Editor)
Mystery
The Case of the Mystified M.D. - A.K. Arenz (Sheaf House, Joan M. Shoup - Editor)
Under the Cajun Moon - Mindy Starns Clark (Harvest House Publishers, Kim Moore - Editor)
A String of Murders - Darlene Franklin (Heartsong Mysteries, Susan Downs - Editor)
Polly Dent Loses Grip - S. Dionne Moore (Heartsong Mysteries, Susan Downs - Editor)
Pushing up Daisies - Janice Thompson writing as Janice Hanna (Heartsong Mysteries, Susan Downs - Editor)
Long Historical
A Bride in the Bargain - Deeanne Gist (Bethany House, David Long/Julie Klassen - Editors)
Fit To Be Tied - Robin Lee Hatcher (Zondervan, Sue Brower/Leslie Peterson - Editors)
Look to the East - Maureen Lang (Tyndale House, Stephanie Broene - Editor)
Love's Pursuit - Siri Mitchell (Bethany House, Dave & Sarah Long - Editors)
Stealing Home - Allison Pittman (Multnomah, Alice Crider - Editor)
Long Historical Romance - 8 Finalists due to a tie
Paper Roses - Amanda Cabot (Revell, Vicki Crumpton - Editor)
Cowboy Christmas - Mary Connealy (Barbour Publishing, Rebecca Germany - Editor)
Montana Rose - Mary Connealy (Barbour Publishing, Rebecca Germany - Editor)
The Frontiersman's Daughter - Laura Frantz (Revell, Andrea Doering - Editor)
The Believer - Ann Gabhart (Revell, Lonnie Hull DuPont - Editor)
A Passion Denied - Julie Lessman (Revell, Lonnie Hall DuPont - Editor)
Love Finds You in Poetry, Texas - Janice Thompson writing as Janice Hanna (Summerside Press, Rachel Meisel - Editor)
The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper - Kathleen Y’Barbo (Waterbrook Press, Jessica Barnes - Editor)
Short Contemporary
His Cowgirl Bride - Debra Clopton (Steeple Hill, Krista Stroever - Editor)
Autumn Rains - Myra Johnson (Heartsong Presents, JoAnne Simmons - Editor)
A Wagonload of Trouble - Vickie McDonough (Heartsong Presents, JoAnne Simmons - Editor)
A Texas Ranger's Family - Mae Nunn (Steeple Hill, Melissa Endlich - Editor)
Dreaming of Home - Glynna Sirpless writing as Glynna Kaye (Steeple Hill, Melissa Endlich - Editor)
Short Contemporary Suspense - 6 Finalists due to a tie
Evidence of Murder - Jill Elizabeth Nelson (Steeple Hill, Emily Rodmell - Editor)
Final Warning - Sandra Robbins (Steeple Hill, Tina James - Editor)
Murder at Eagle Summit - Virginia Smith (Steeple Hill, Krista Stroever - Editor)
Scent of Murder - Virginia Smith (Steeple Hill, Krista Stroever/Tina James - Editors)
Double Take - Jenness Walker (Steeple Hill, Emily Rodmell - Editor)
Code of Honor - Lenora Worth (Steeple Hill, Patience Smith/Tina James - Editors)
Short Historical
Her Patchwork Family - Lyn Cote (Steeple Hill, Tina James - Editor)
The Glassblower - Laurie Alice Eakes (Heartsong Presents, JoAnne Simmons - Editor)
The Outlaw's Lady - Laurie Kingery (Steeple Hill, Melissa Endlich - Editor)
All That Glitters - Lynette Sowell (Heartsong Presents, JoAnne Simmons - Editor)
The Unfinished Gift - Dan Walsh (Revell, Andrea Doering)
Speculative (includes Science Fiction, Fantasy, Allegory) - 6 Finalists due to a tie
Eternity Falls - Kirk Outerbridge (Marcher Lord Press, Jeff Gerke - Editor)
The Vanishing Sculptor - Donita K. Paul (Waterbrook Press, Shannon Marchese - Editor)
The Word Reclaimed - Steve Rzasa (Marcher Lord Press, Jeff Gerke - Editor)
Starfire - Stuart Vaughn Stockton (Marcher Lord Press, Jeff Gerke - Editor)
The Muse - Fred Warren (Splashdown Books, Grace Bridges - Editor)
By Darkness Hid - Jill Williamson (Marcher Lord Press, Jeff Gerke - Editor)
Suspense/Thriller
Intervention - Terri Blackstock (Zondervan, Sue Brower/Dave Lambert - Editors)
Lonestar Secrets - Colleen Coble (Thomas Nelson, Ami McConnell - Editor)
Exposure - Brandilyn Collins (Zondervan, Rachelle Gardner/Sue Brower - Editors)
Salty Like Blood - Harry Kraus (Howard/Simon & Schuster, David Lambert - Editor)
Breach of Trust - DiAnn Mills (Tyndale House, Karen Watson - Editor)
Women’s Fiction - 7 Finalists due to a tie
Sweet Waters - Julie Carobini (B&H Publishing, Karen Ball - Editor)
Leaving Yesterday - Kathryn Cushman (Bethany House, Dave Long - Editor)
Sweet By and By - Sara Evans & Rachel Hauck (Thomas Nelson, Ami McConnell - Editor)
Never the Bride - Rene Gutteridge & Cheryl McKay (Waterbrook Press, Shannon Marchese - Editor)
Yesterday's Embers - Deborah Raney (Howard/Simon & Schuster, David Lambert - Editor)
Above All Things - Deborah Raney (Steeple Hill, Krista Stroever - Editor)
The Summer Kitchen - Lisa Wingate (New American Library/Penguin, Ellen Edwards - Editor)
Young Adult
Who Made You a Princess? - Shelley Adina (Hachette FaithWords, Anne Goldsmith Horch - Editor)
Always Watching - Brandilyn & Amberly Collins (Zondervan, Barbara Scott - Editor)
I'm So Sure - Jenny B. Jones (Thomas Nelson, Natalie Hanemann/Jamie Chavez - Editors)
So Not Happening - Jenny B. Jones (Thomas Nelson, Amanda Bostic/Jamie Chavez - Editors)
Unsigned Hype - Booker T. Mattison (Revell, Andrea Doering - Editor)

Monday, July 19, 2010

31 Days To A Better Blog by SITS

ProBlogger and the ladies at SITS BlogFrog have encouraged bloggers to do themselves and their readers a favor by making their blogs better! It’s called “31 Days to Build Better Blog (#31DBBB) Summer Challenge”! I’m all for that!

Our first task is to create an Elevator Pitch. I had NO clue what that was. Thankfully, Amy at The Family Trifecta gave a great definition so I’m going with that! I’ll get to the Pitch in a moment. I want to give you the back story on Woven by Words.

Woven by Words didn’t start off as a traditional blog. I started this blog pretty late in the game, February 2008. I created it to do Christian book reviews. I didn’t really expect to talk about my family or add anything else.

Then came Fall of ‘09 and I started seeing all these other sites! I was astonished at what was out in the blogosphere that I was ignorant to. I wanted to add more content to my site, get more personal and do more fun things. As you can see, I’m still feeling my way through.

Going about that task was harder than I expected. I have no idea how people who work outside the home full time manage to keep up their blogs. I work part time and find it nearly impossible and I don’t add as much content as most other sites!

In the past year WbW has definitely evolved (yes, I just used the word “evolve). How to define my site has become somewhat gray to me. It’s become more personal and I’ve already separated out my reviews into Marvelous Mom Reviews.
So for my Woven by Word’s Elevator Pitch I’d have to say the following:

“To share my faith and family life (it’s ups and downs). What life is like as a single parent. To inform you of the latest Christian product releases.”
Ding!

That is my short answer.


Is that what you expect when you visit this site? Is there more you’d like to see?
After discussing why I separated my Product Reviews from my Christian site with Rachael at Empowering Mommy, she said basically, “It’s your blog! You can do whatever YOU want with it. If people don’t want to read about your faith and family, they don’t have to come back.” I agree, but I’m can be a people pleaser. I don’t want to make anyone mad. Silly, I know.
 
What do you think? Any opinions? Come on, everyone has an opinion. Just be nice, k?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Shades of Morning by Marlo Schalesky

Shades of MorningShades of Morning
by Marlo Schalesky
Multnomah Books
ISBN-13: 978-1601420251

Summary:
Marnie Wittier has life just where she wants it. Quiet. Peaceful. No drama. A long way away from her past. In the privacy of her home, she fills a box with slips of paper, scribbled with her regrets, sins, and sorrows. But that’s nobody else’s business. Her bookstore/coffee shop patrons, her employees, her friends from church—they all think she’s the very model of compassion and kindness.

Then Marnie’s past creeps into her present when her estranged sister dies and makes Marnie guardian of her fifteen-year-old son—a boy Marnie never knew existed. And when Emmit arrives, she discovers he has Down syndrome—and that she’s woefully unprepared to care for him. What’s worse, she has to deal with Taylor Cole, her sister’s attorney, a man Marnie once loved—and abandoned. As Emmit (and Taylor) work their way into her heart, Marnie begins to heal. But when pieces of her dismal past surface again, she must at last face the scripts of paper in her box, all the regrets and sorrows. Can she do it? Or will she run again?

My Review

I absolutely love Marlo Schalesky. Each of her books have had a different spin on life and they grab me from the start. Same went with Shades of Morning.

Her characters have depth and are compelling. Marlo’s writing makes us care about the characters and keep us turning each page to learn what will happen to them.

Marnie keeps everyone at arms length and without the insight from the author, we’d never know how life has really treated her. She sees herself as not deserving of anything good.

Taylor has regrets and lost love. Now he has to give up a child that he loves because he doesn’t belong to him. This brings him back into the life of Marnie.

Ok, I don’t want to give anything away, BUT I always forget that Marlo’s books have a twist to them! As I came to the end of the book, it was becoming clear to me that I wasn’t very observant! If you’ve read any of her books, you know what I’m talking about.

In her last book, I “knew” in the middle of the book what was going on. I was so excited when I got to page 207 in Shades of Morning because “knew” once again what the twist was. Yah, no I didn’t!

If you’re looking for a great summer read, Shades of Morning should be one for the TBR pile!

Author Bio:
Marlo Schalesky is the author of several books, including Beyond the Night and Empty Womb, Aching Heart. A graduate of Stanford University, Marlo also has a masters of theology with an emphasis in biblical studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. Married over twenty years, she lives with her husband, Bryan, and their five children in California.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Feel Good Friday ~ 5 Good Things

Feel Good Friday Thank you Erika at The Girl Next Door Grows Up for Feel Good Friday! Click here to learn how it all began and to see her prompts for each Friday.

Wow, I actually have 5 GREAT things to write about this week.

girl in grass 1) Today’s my birthday, it’s my birthday (sing it with me) and I’m going swimming with the boys at a friend’s house. Then later, some very dear friends from out of state will be visiting overnight!

IMG_3088 1 2) I got to meet 6 other bloggers on Wednesday when we participated in Do Good Day.

3) Rachael from Empowering Mommy stayed overnight before our trip to the Science Museum for Do Good Day. Her Gracie was an absolute doll and my boys were so good with her. Gabriel didn’t enjoy the lengthy van rides, but he did really good!

Jake n Ryan 4) My boys came home from Canada safe and sound. You know when you’re not around to take care of your kid and pray that someone is watching out for them? Well, Grandpa Ed really took care of my boys, especially Doodle. I was very thankful and told him so!

5) My Smooch was well taken care of in India by her one of her Team members and the hospital she was at in India. Can’t wait to hear from her to see how the mission trip is going!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Beautiful Bandit by Loree Lough ~ FIRST Wild Card Tour

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Beautiful Bandit (Lone Star Legends V1)

Whitaker House (August 3, 2010)

***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling of Whitaker House for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


At last count, Loree had 73 books (fiction and non-fiction for kids and adults; one novel optioned for a TV movie; and many more slated for release), 63 short stories, and more than 2,500 articles in print. Her stories have earned dozens of industry and "Readers' Choice" awards. A frequent guest speaker for writers’ organizations, book clubs, private and government institutions, corporations, college and high school writing programs and more, Loree has encouraged thousands with her comedic approach to ‘learned-the-hard-way’ lessons about the craft and the industry.


Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (August 3, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1603742255
ISBN-13: 978-1603742252

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


May 1888

San Antonio, Texas

The hot, sticky air in the banker’s cluttered office made it hard to breathe. Josh ran a fingertip under his stiff collar as the image of cows, dropping by the thousand, reminded him of why he’d come to San Antonio. Selling a couple thousand uncontaminated acres from his family’s ranch, the Lazy N, was the only way to protect the land that remained until they were able to get the anthrax infection under control.

He did his best not to glare at the decorous Bostonian, Griffen, sitting beside him. It wasn’t the Swede’s fault, after all, that the disease had killed so many of the Nevilles’ cattle. In his shoes, Josh would have snapped up the land just as quickly. Trouble was, now this la-di-da Easterner would move to Eagle Pass, bringing his never-been-out-of-the-city wife and children with him. Worse yet, Josh had a sneaking suspicion that the former printing press operator would make a regular pest of himself by asking about the Texas climate, irrigation methods, when to plant, and only the good Lord knew what else. If that didn’t earn Josh a seat closer to the Throne, he didn’t know what would.

Few things agitated him more than sitting in one spot. Especially indoors. Confusion at how these fancy gents managed to look so calm and cool only added to his restlessness. He hung his Stetson on his left knee, mostly to occupy his hands in some way. Now, as the banker explained the terms of the agreement, Josh stared hard at the bloodred Persian rug under his boots and searched his mind for something else to focus on, anything other than the wretched document that would transfer ownership of Neville land to this foreigner. Moving his Stetson to his right knee, he remembered the day he’d bought the hat, and how he’d purchased another just like it one year later, when business at the Lazy N had put him back in Garland. One for riding the range, one for his wedding.

Strange, he thought, how Sadie could appear in his mind’s eye from out of nowhere, even after three long years without her. He forced her from his mind. This get-together was more than painful enough without his dwelling on the most agonizing period of his life. Josh exhaled a harsh sigh, hoping the banker and the Swede hadn’t heard the tremor in it. For his agitation, he blamed the oppressive heat. His empty stomach. The ten-day ride from Eagle Pass that had left him so bone-tired, he couldn’t sleep, even on the hotel’s pillow-soft mattress. A body would think that an establishment with Persian rugs and velvet curtains could afford to provide some cold water for its clients, he thought, loosening his string tie as Griffen asked yet another inane question. Father, give me the strength to keep from grabbing those papers and hotfooting it out of here without making the deal! he prayed silently.

Sadly, his thoughts were doing little to distract him from the grim truth.

He had cast the single dissenting vote at the family meeting, and the decision to sell the land had become even more odious to him when it had been decided that, as the only Neville with a law degree, Josh would be responsible for transacting the sale. He groaned inwardly at the sorry state of affairs, leaning forward to hide the tears that burned in his eyes. He loved every blessed acre—especially those acres—that made up the Lazy N. He’d built a small but solid home for Sadie and himself on that section of the ranch, and having to hand it over to someone else hurt almost as much as burying Sadie had.

Griffen, God bless him, had been the one to suggest that Josh hold on to the precious acre where she had been buried, along with their twins, who had died at birth. When Josh had asked permission to visit their graves from time to time, Griffen’s pale eyes had darkened a shade, and he had said, “I’d be a wreck in your position. We will build a fence around the land to make sure your little family is never disturbed.” But Josh had known, even as he’d nodded in agreement, that having to cross Griffen property to reach his family would only heap one misery atop another.

Josh grabbed his Stetson and, with his elbows propped on his knees, spun it round and round as he watched, through the window, three men and a woman dismount sweaty horses. They looked as tense and restless as he felt, and he wondered what unfortunate family business had brought them to the bank today.

“If you’ll just sign here, Mr. Neville,” Thomas Schaeffer said, redirecting Josh’s attention to his own, unfortunate family business.

He accepted the banker’s fountain pen. As its freshly inked nib hovered over the document, a bead of sweat trickled down his spine, and he felt a disturbing kinship with the fat hen his ma had roasted for dinner last Sunday.

Outside, the wind blew steadily, swirling street grit into tiny twisters that skittered up the parched road before bouncing under buggies and scurrying into alleyways. Even the burning breeze would feel better than this choking heat. “Mind if I open the window? I’m sweatin’ like a—”

“I’d much rather you didn’t,” he said, peering over the rims of his gold-trimmed spectacles. “The wind is likely to scatter our paperwork hither and yon.”

Hither and yon, indeed. Josh had read sayings like that in literature, but what kind of person actually used that sort of language in everyday speech? His musings over the annoying situation were interrupted by the sounds of shuffling footsteps and coarse whispers from the other side of the banker’s office door.

The commotion put a stern frown on Schaeffer’s heat-reddened face. “I declare,” he said through clenched teeth, “I can’t take my eyes off that fool assistant of mine for fifteen minutes without some sort of mayhem erupting.” Blotting his forehead with a starched white hanky, he continued grumbling, “Looks like I’ll have no choice but to replace him.” Shoving the eyeglasses higher, he lifted his chin and one bushy gray eyebrow—a not-so-subtle cue for Josh to sign the paper.

So, gritting his teeth, Josh inhaled a sharp breath, scratched his name on the thin, black line, and traded the pen for the banknote Schaeffer handed him.

On his feet now, Griffen grabbed Josh’s hand. “T’ank you,” he said, shaking it, “been a pleasure doing business wit’ you, Neville.”

Unable to make himself say, “Likewise,” Josh forced a stiff smile and pocketed the check. “You bet.” God willing, the worst was behind his family now.

The burnished, brass pendulum of the big clock behind the banker’s desk swayed left with an audible tick as the men prepared to go their separate ways.

It swung right as gunshots rang out in the lobby.

Schaeffer and Griffen ran for the door, but a flurry of activity outside drew Josh’s attention back to the window.

Tick….

It was the foursome he’d seen earlier, now scrambling up into their saddles. A lumpy burlap sack rested on the meaty rump of the biggest man’s mount, and sunlight glinted from his pistol.

Tick….

Now Josh knew why the bunch had looked so nervous before. They’d been just about to rob the bank! He yanked out his sidearm, pulled back the hammer with one hand, and threw open the window with the other, hoping to get off a shot or two before the robbers were swallowed up by the cyclone of grit kicked up by their horses’ hooves.

Tick….

Perched on the sill, Josh took aim at the shoulder of the fattest bandit, just as the woman’s pony veered right, putting her square in the center of his gun sight.

Tick….

She looked back as Josh released the pressure on the sweat-slicked trigger.

Tick….

Quick as you please, she faced front again, her cornflower blue skirt flapping like a tattered sail as she was swallowed up in a thick cloud of dust.







Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday ~ Sister’s Home!

30482_431537924975_655474975_5726009_4845546_n

30482_431537929975_655474975_5726010_1757061_n

My Baby and her brothers! I just dig my kids.

Check out these other Wordless Wednesday participants: 5 Minutes for Mom, J. Leigh Designz, and Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Do Good Day ~ Wednesday July 14th

This coming Wednesday has something exciting coming to the Science Museum of Minnesota!
Do Good77 bloggers (8 in MN) in 11 cities will be getting together to take part in Do Good Day. 77kids is the new division of American Eagle and The Motherhood are putting this together!
Here’s what we came up with as Team Minnesota to Do Good in our “community”:
Hand out wildflower seed packets to participants to encourage families to grow flowers and give them to their neighbors
Color drawings/rubs on recycled flower seed paper that can be torn up and planted in a garden Have families write how they can do good in their own neighborhood for the environment and pin it to a map of Minnesota
Educate families on ways to Do Good in their Neighborhood; picking up litter, saving water, etc.
We’re all so excited for so many reasons! We’re excited to share with the kids who come to the Science Museum about how to Do Good in their communities. Excited to meet other MN bloggers, and a chance to be at the Science Museum.
So, big question for you…How do you do good? Do you visit a shut in? Do you deliver Meals On Wheels? Do you recycle? Share your ideas with the rest of us!
We’d love to meet you if you’re going to be in the area! Here’s where we’ll be from 10am-1pm:
Science Museum of Minnesota
120 Kellogg Blvd. W, St. Paul, MN 55337
Big shout out to Bob at the SMoM! He totally rocked making this all possible for us to be there!
Here are the other MN bloggers participating in Do Good Day:
Anti-Supermom
Empowering Mommy 

Only Parent Chronicles

Button by The Button Box

Where else can you find Do Good Day participants? Check it out:
Team NYC
Team Boston
Team Chicago
Team Danbury, CT
Team D.C.
Team L.A.
Team New Jersey
Team Philadelphia
Team Pittsburg
Team Syracuse
I’d like to thank 77kids.com and The Motherhood for putting this group of bloggers together for Do Good Day!
Where to find 77kids:
Twitter
Website
Facebook
Where to find The Motherhood:
Blog
Facebook

 
Creative Commons License
Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.