Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday ~ Senior Photos

Ber N Bint

One of my daughter’s senior photos w/ her horse Binty.

Mac N Ber 3

Smooch and her BFF at the photo shoot

Make sure you check out these other Wordless Wednesday participants: A Beautiful Mess, J. Leigh Designz, and 5 Minutes for Mom.

In The Midst Of Insanity

In the midst of all my insanity this past week comes an amazing moment for my 2nd daughter.

India Team 2010

2010 India Team

She came home and there was a letter here for her from Royal Servants. Royal Servants is who she went with for her 1st mission trip this past summer to India.

Turns out they’ve invited her to be part of the Nehemiah Team. The Nehemiah team is handpicked for this trip.

She had been hoping to be picked for the team, but I thought, eh, it’s a long shot. Not because of my daughter, but because there are so many people to choose from.

The people chosen for the Nehemiah Team are all from this past summer’s mission trips. All of them. This past summer the teams went to:

(Sierra Leone), China, Costa Rica, India, Ireland, Nepal, and Western Europe (EuroQuest)

The Nehemiah Team went to Israel and Slovakia. Here’s what Reign Ministries says about the Nehemiah Team:

“The Nehemiah team is a special invitational, leadership-development, mission trip for Royal Servants alumni.  It is led by Reign Ministries' founder, Louie Inks.  It has a three-fold purpose:

  1. World evangelism
  2. Help students develop a deeper walk with Christ
  3. Leadership training”

The 2011 Nehemiah Team will be going to Israel and Italy to minister. What an amazing experience she will have.


During the flooding in India: sopping wet! Smooch is on right

The only “down” side to this trip is that this is Smooch’s senior year. She was going to have her grad party with her BFF and another friend. That is now out of the question. She will have to go down to Training Camp for 3 weeks at the beginning of June.

Her entire summer, 8 weeks, will be spent elsewhere. While everyone else is getting ready to leave home for college, Smooch will be sharing Jesus with others! Is that crazy or what?

Now, we only have to come up with nearly $7000. That’s doable, right? LOL

Monday, September 27, 2010

Who Have I Become?

*I know very few people are going to care about this journey I’m on, but it’s one I have to travel. Since I don’t journal this will probably be cathartic for me. Hopefully I will come out the other side in a better place than I am right now.

This week has really been an emotional week.

After my meeting with my estranged husband on Wednesday I pretty much spent all of Thursday having anxiety attacks at work. I hadn’t dealt with those since we first separated 4 yrs ago.

Today at work I made a mistake and it could’ve become a big issue, but thankfully the store manager decided to let it slide this time.

It was an honest mistake, and it wasn’t even a big deal, but I took it really hard.

I couldn’t shake it. For hours.

I just mulled it around in my head over and over. I could’ve done this, I could’ve done that. How long is my manager going to be pissed, because I did piss him off.

I came up with all of my defenses in case he brought it up at a different time. I had a lot of “reasons” why I did what I did. They seemed logical to me, and still do. I was ready to defend my choice if it came down to it.

Then as we were closing the store, the manager I’d managed to avoid for the rest of the night walked by the aisle I was in and just smiled at me and kept walking. Not one of those snotty smiles. Just a good ol’ smile like nothing was wrong.

What in the world? Had he not thought about this for the rest of the night, too? Did he just let the situation go? Over and done?

I nearly burst into tears at the amount of time I’d spent trying to come up with my defense to protect myself.

All of a sudden I realized why I had wasted so much time emotionally and mentally.

This is what I’d spent my entire marriage doing. Defending myself. I never seemed to do anything right. Every time I was “wrong” I had to defend myself. Then I would defend and defend and defend until I couldn’t come up with one more thing or reword it in a different way.

Eight years of always having to justify a thought, an action, or whatever. I guess it won’t be easy to stop reacting to certain situations easily.

Since my husband has been out of my home, I haven’t really been in a position of having to “defend” myself. After tonight I realize I have a lot of years to unravel.

There is a lot to recover of the person I used to be. I’ll be forever changed by these past 12 yrs and won’t be the same person I was before I met him. I will have to figure out how to get rid of this, and other, bad habits. If not, I won’t ever be “me” again.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Today Was Not Easy

I knew today was coming. I had a couple weeks notice. I had no idea how it was going to go.

My husband and I have been separated nearly 4yrs. Boy, I don’t really know where to go with the story now. There’s so much that’s happened in those 4yrs.

We live in the same town. We have 2 boys together. I have 2 daughters from my previous marriage. Yes, I’ve been married twice.

Anyhow, today I had a meeting with my husband and his counselor. They wanted to discuss what was happening with our marriage. I wasn’t sure what I was going to say.

I wanted him to go first. Kinda feel him out. Were we on the same page or was a battle about to break out?

Neither of us wanted to talk. Take the first step. Thank goodness his counselor had an idea. We each had a pad of paper and wrote down our thoughts about our marriage and where we saw it in 2 yrs.

I sat. I stared. A blank page. Nothing. I was empty.

I was scared.

What if he said all he wanted to do was work on the marriage? I had a feeling that wasn’t the case, but who knew?

I started to write. I knew he was writing.

When we finished she took our pads of paper. We turned our chairs back to back and read what each other wrote. We were pretty much on the same page.

I couldn’t see us married 2 yrs down the road. I didn’t see us still married yet separated. I wouldn’t be able to do it. I couldn’t.

I felt so bad. There were some tears over not having more than “friend” feelings towards him. He had tears over the choices that brought us to this point.

So much hurt. So much lost time. So much of our lives wasted.

There will be more pain as the days, weeks and months go by. We will have our highs and lows. I will bear the burden of telling our boys.

It’s so funny. I didn’t realize that even during this long term separation that I still felt “safe” and “sheltered”. I was married. I wasn’t truly alone. I still had a husband.

Now, with the direction we are now taking, there will be nothing.

I thought there’d be a sense of relief. A {sigh}. But tonight, all of a sudden there was a {gasp}! A realization. I am getting divorced. I will be divorced.

Today was not easy!

Mama’s Song by Carrie Underwood

I was flipping around stations the other day on my way to work and grabbed part of the radio hosts conversation. The hosts are actually married and I can’t even remember which station it was.

The husband was saying that his wife had been crying at work because it made her sad to think of their child going to school…next year. It was very sweet. Then they played this song.

I cried on the way to work.

I was thinking of my oldest daughter. I have no idea which of my girls will get married first. They’re only 19 and 17 for heaven’s sake. But the thought of it makes me sob. It’s just one more step in my little girl growing up.

My prayer, one I’ve prayed since my girls were little is that they will find a man who loves my daughter deeply. That “he is good, so good.”

I hope this song resonates with you, especially if you are a mom with a daughter.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dog Sitting K.D.

Rugby has a friend over. I'd call her his girlfriend, but I don’t want to embarrass either of them.

There’s a back story to why we’re dog sitting.

IMG_3573 Two years ago I was given Rugby by my estranged husband. I really felt like we needed a dog for safety reasons. So along came Rugby.

Then I thought it might be good to have 2 dogs. You know, for them to grow up together and be buddies. Miracle of miracles, my in-laws were all up north and a stray female black lab was at the cabin.

They called around and no one claimed her. The only issue, she was preggers. Hmmm, maybe lots of puppies would be fun around the house! (that is a nightmare story for another time)

So, up north I went to retrieve my boys and new dog. She was a sweetie. Not overly big, but a lab nevertheless. And yes, she was pregnant.

On our way home I noticed something. Um, she’d just lost her plug. She was going to have puppies!!!


IMG_3579 It was a family affair. Abby, our new black lab, started popping out puppies. This was a completely new experience for me. She did a great job of pushing those babies out. Out of 8 puppies, only two were chocolate. The others were all black.

One of these puppies was K.D. My BFF ended up taking her, much to the chagrin of her husband! Ah, my life is good when I’m torturing him.

So now, when LK and family go off on a trip, K.D. comes to visit. Rugby is in heaven and I feel like the 2nd mama getting to see her long lost daughter on special weekends.

♪♪Rugby has a girlfriend, ♫Rugby has a girlfriend. I couldn’t resist!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

My Son’s Tic

Back in January of this year, my youngest son Doodle started having throat problems. At first it wasn’t noticeable. I realized he was coughing/clearing his throat a lot, but it didn’t stand out to me.

Then it started happening almost constantly. It was driving us all crazy. To me, when he cleared his throat, it sounded phlegmy. In between the clearing of his throat he would do a bit of coughing.

Of course I took him to the doctor because I thought he might have allergies, but in January? In Minnesota? And non-stop for mIMG_1264onths?

We didn’t see his regular doctor because I figured if were allergies this other doc could diagnose it. I told him what signs I saw and what I thought was going on. He basically repeated back to me what I had said. Um, I’m not the one with the degree pal. He was worthless.

I decided to have him see the Elementary school counselor. We’ve used her before and she’s fantastic with kids and families. Why had it taken me so long to think of this?

I would say within a week of seeing her, the tic had decreased significantly. I was shocked. I wasn’t sure if it was a tic, but once we saw this amazing improvement, I was convinced.

I looked back to January and don’t see a catalyst for his tic. He did have tubes put in his ears but that was his 3rd surgery in his life and he didn’t seem concerned about it whatsoever. Nothing “bad” had happened that I know of.

When he would have it at home, it seemed to follow no course or happen during specific times. It was just there.

By the end of school I saw no signs of the tic anymore.

During the summer, it cropped up a couple of times and I would ask Doodle if something had happened or if he was upset about something. The answer was always, “no”, but I still asked. It would only last a little while and not show up again.

I know that if this or some other tic comes up, we’ll be visiting the school counselor. She really is awesome. Hey, maybe she could do some adult counseling. If so, make me an appointment!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Dear Sons,

I love you. Let’s start there.

We currently share a bathroom. A mom and 2 boys.

The girls were lucky and got to have the bathroom upstairs to themselves.

I don’t particularly mind sharing the bathroom with you but…

IMG_3564 Would you mind thinking about your mom after you go potty?

Mom doesn’t care to sit down on the toilet and realize the back of her legs are now wet. Thanks!

Would you mind hitting the target? I realize if you wake up late at night it’s hard to see and the light is blinding. But during the day, I figure you should be able to make it INTO the bowl.

I’d also like you to get in the habit now of putting the seat down after you go to the bathroom. I don’t care for falling into the water because you’ve left the seat up.

Your future wife will appreciate you learning this now so she doesn’t have to have this same discussion with you down the road.

And one last thing, this mom of yours would appreciate it if you would flush when you get done going potty. I like not finding surprises when it’s my turn to use the bathroom.


Your Mom

Stilettos and Integrity? How about Sneakers? By Rosemary Flaaten

Sneakers at Work By the fifth block I was done. Although my four-inch stilettos made my legs look long and lanky, they also made my previously innocuous little toe scream with pulsating pain. Walking to and from my business luncheon in fancy high heels had been my biggest mistake of the day. Where were my sneakers when I really needed them?

The craze started over 20 years ago when women, following the lead of the Silver Screen, started donning their sneakers in place of stilettos. The wise woman prized comfort over fashion, elevating her “right” to wear sneakers from her front door to her desk without anyone giving a second glance. It didn’t matter how matronly she looked or how disjointed her business appearance, functionality was given prominence.

sneakers at work heels So why have my sneakers been collecting dust in my front closet while my stilettos need new heels?

As I pondered this question, I realized that my choice between stilettos or sneakers is indicative of a greater question regarding my integrity at my workplace. Sneakers are stable, no nonsense, functional and take-me-as-I-am footwear. Stilettos are representative of my desire to fit the business mold and improve my appearance. In essence, I hope to portray a version of myself that looks better than reality. Likewise, how often are the choices I make around telling the truth or shading the truth based on my desire to fit in, to make myself look better or to prop up my lagging competency?

It has become socially acceptable to fudge the truth (even just ever so slightly) in order to increase our likeability.  Robert Feldman, in his book The Liar in Your Life, quoted a study indicating that the average person lies three times every ten minutes in a conversation. The intention of these lies is not to manipulate. Rather, people lie so that they come across more interesting, likable and desirable.  Sounds a little like stilettos.

Our propensity to shade or embellish the truth has strong ramifications in our workplace. When the boss calls to see if we’ve done the big project and we respond “Yep, just about” when we know that we’re only about 25% finished, we may find ourselves in a situation where we must continue to shade the truth in order to save our skin. One lie is seldom enough. When (not if) our untruthfulness is discovered, we will have a much more difficult task rebuilding the eroded trust.

If deception is telling and living a life of lies, then living honest is conveying truth no matter the consequences. Living honestly means we live authentically; but integrity takes this a step further. Unlike children who lie to get themselves out of sticky situations, integrity calls out greatness and gives evidence of maturity. In the workplace, we start with honesty, add authenticity, and then our character culminates with integrity.

In defense of all stiletto-loving working women, please don’t interpret my use of this metaphor to suggest that stilettos are wrong and sneakers are better. Rather, on this “sneakers at work" day, may it be a reminder that being a person of integrity will always be better than trying to make yourself look better. In the long run, sneakers will take you further than stilettos. Not just my feet will attest to that truth!

A woman and her Workplace

Paperback: 192 pages
Retail: $14.99
Publisher: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City
Released: September 1, 2010
ISBN-10: 0834125234
ISBN-13: 978-0834125230

rosemary flaaten

ROSEMARY FLAATEN’S successful book, A Woman and Her Relationships won The Word Guild Award, which is Canada's top Christian literary honor. Now she writes A Woman and Her Workplace to help women process their  9-5 relationships. A dynamic speaker—Rosemary challenges women of all professions to view their work as a calling and their workplaces as opportunities to live out Christ’s love. Rosemary lives with her husband and three children in Calgary, Canada.

I’d like to thank Kathy Carlton Willis Communications for sharing this information.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Petra: City in Stone by T.L. Higley | 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:

B&H Books (September 15, 2010)

***Special thanks to T.L. Higley for sending me a review copy.***


Tracy started her first novel at the age of eight and has been hooked on writing ever since. After attending Philadelphia Biblical University, she earned a B.A. in English Literature at Rowan University. She then spent ten years writing drama presentations for church ministry. A lifelong interest in history and mythology has led Tracy to extensive research into ancient Greece, Egypt and Rome, and shaped her desire to shine the light of the gospel into the cultures of the past. She has traveled through Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Italy to research her novels, and looks forward to more travel as the series continues.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $ 14.99
Paperback: 344 pages
Publisher: B&H Books (September 15, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1433668564
ISBN-13: 978-1433668562


The streets of Rome lay barren and empty, sucked dry by the colossal Flavian Amphitheatre that had swallowed seventy-five thousand Roman citizens in a single gulp, and would hold each one captive until they had enjoyed the horrors that Julian now raced to prevent.

More time. He needed more time. Already the crowd inside the four-story rim of stone cheered for the first event.

Julian’s sandals smacked the black basalt road that led toward the amphitheatre. The blistering Roman sun pounded the moisture from his skin and left him panting. He had run most of way, since an old servant in Vita’s house had pointed a gnarled finger toward the east, toward the Forum, toward the arena of death.

Eighty arches ringed the outside of the theatre on each of its first three stories. The bottom arches provided access to the public, and the second story’s niches held statues of the gods and emperors, who now looked down on Julian as he sprinted across the large travertine slabs that paved the arena’s edge.

He ran toward one of the four main entrances and fumbled for the tessera, the stone tile he wore around his neck. The designatores at the entrance would insist on examining it, to see the sector, row and seat to which he was assigned.

Indeed, the usher at this entrance was full of his own importance, and held a palm to Julian’s oncoming rush as though he could stop him with only the force of his arm.

“Too long in your bed this morning, eh?” His smug smile took in Julian’s hastily-wrapped toga and sweat-dampened hair.

Julian thrust the tessera before the man’s eyes. “Here, here, look at it.”

Still the amused smile. The usher opened his mouth to speak again.

“Look at it!”

Daunted, the man let his eyes travel over the tile, then took a tiny breath and stepped back. His grin faded to a look of regret over his own impudence, and he bowed his head. As if that were not enough, he bowed at the waist and extended a hand to invite Julian to enter.

Julian did not wait for an apology. He pushed past the usher and under the vaulted entrance, then straight through the arena’s outer corridor and up a ramp that led to the cavea, the wedge-shaped sections of marble seats. This main entrance led directly to the central boxes reserved for the elite.

He exploded from the dimly lit ramp onto the terrace. The morning sun slashed across half the seats, the height of the amphitheatre leaving the other half in shade. The red canvas velarium, the awning used to shade the spectators, would be raised before it got much hotter, but for now, thousands of bleached togas on white marble blinded the eye and the smell of the masses assaulted the nose.

Julian crossed the terrace in two strides, slammed against the waist-high wall that separated him from the arena, and saw a figure dash at him from the shadows.

His mother’s hands were on his arms in an instant. “Julian, what are you doing?” Her words were frantic, as clipped and terror-filled as his every movement.

“They have Vita, Mother!”

She wrenched his body fiercely to face her. Julian stood nearly a cubit taller than his mother, but Ariella had retained all the strength of her youth, along with the beauty. “There is nothing that can be done, my son.”

He yanked his arms from her grasp. “Do not say that!” Julian searched the cavea behind him, full to overflowing with the purple-edged togas of senators. “Where is Father? Is he here?”

“Julian, think! You must think.” Ariella’s voice was urgent and low and her clutching fingers again slowed Julian’s restlessness. “You will bring more harm – “

“I do not care!” His voice snagged with emotion, and he fought to harden the feelings into action. “I must end this.”

“You cannot, son.”

He turned flashing eyes on Ariella. “It is my fault! Do you not understand? I should be down in those cages.”

Ariella’s eyes misted. “I would not lose both my son and his betrothed on the same day.”

Betrothed. The word washed more guilt over Julian’s stricken soul.

A senator, one of his father’s friends, walked past and paused to hold out an arm in greeting to Julian. “Fine day for the games, is it not?”

Julian straightened at once, resuming the noble bearing trained into him since childhood, and returned the man’s grip. He nodded once in agreement, but did not speak. The senator moved on, and Julian dropped his shoulders, ashamed that he had not made a statement.

Ariella seemed to read his thoughts. Her dark eyes held his own. “It will take more than a day to change the Empire.”

Julian looked out over the yellow sand of the arena. “But this day, Mother, this day we must!” He slapped a hand against the top of the marble wall. “I am going to find Father.”

“Julian, you know that he can do nothing – “

He spun on her. “No. I am tired of both of you, always moving about your circles quietly, behind closed doors, the truth spoken only in whispers.” He lifted his own voice as an example. “There is a time to speak!”

Ariella’s nostrils flared, but she said nothing. Turning from her, Julian stalked to the nearest break in the seating and ascended the tiers alongside his father’s section. Here, the nobility did not sit on wooden planks as the rest of the citizens, but were given cushions or even chairs for comfort. He scanned the rows of seats for his father’s graying head, and instead met his dark gray eyes.

Julian shook his head and opened his mouth to shout across the intervening seats, but his father held up a hand, then stood and excused himself from his colleagues. He slid along in front of a dozen other senators, and emerged at the end of the row beside Julian.

Quietly, he spoke into his son’s ear. “I have just now heard. It is outrageous.”

Julian’s hands balled into fists at his side. “You must do something.”

“What can I do, Julian? The emperor has ruled, and Trajan is not a man to be defied.”

Across the arena, Julian watched as a trapdoor slid upward and a huddled band of men and women were prodded onto the sand at the end of Roman spears. Julian’s heart pounded with the shortness of the time left and he turned on his father with the frenzy of desperation. “She is out there, Father!”

But his father’s eyes held only grief, not anger. Not the fiery anger that could change the future, even now.

Julian pushed past him, down the steps. If his parents would do nothing from their positions of influence, then he would stop this madness from a position of strength.

It had been his fault, all of it. Trajan had made his stance clear. As long as they kept to themselves, did not flaunt their disagreement with imperial policy, did not take a public stand, they would be left alone. But that had not been enough for Julian. Passionate about the truth, eager to show himself a leader and foolish enough to believe himself invincible, he had spoken too loudly, in too many places.

And now this. Vita and the others arrested, convicted, and sentenced without his knowledge. Julian had brought this on them all, but he had escaped their fate.

At the terrace level he circled the arena toward the imperial box. The amphitheatre was one of the few places where the public had access to the divine emperor. Julian grasped at the thin hope that he could get near enough to plead for Vita’s life.

He had not loved her. Not like he should, though he had tried. He had never known a more virtuous woman. The arranged match between them was a good one. But Julian had never felt more than the flame of admiration and respect for her, and he saw nothing but the same in her eyes. Still, they would have been married.

We will be married.

The foot-stomps of the crowd rose around him like a hundred thousand drumbeats. The cadence resonated in his chest and pushed him forward. He knew that sound. It was the sound of a mob hungry for blood.

Terror drove his footsteps. He could not look to the arena. Not even when he heard more trapdoors rise and the low growl of beasts begin.

The crowd screamed as one, and their shouts lifted to the pale blue sky like a puff of evil smoke from the underworld. Julian’s bones seemed to turn to water. He raced on. The emperor’s raised box was in sight.

But then they were beside him again, both his parents this time, grasping at his arms, pulling him backward.

“It is too late, son.” His mother’s voice held the grief of both the present and the past, for she had seen much sorrow in the arena in her day.

His father turned him to the wall to face the sand. “You must say goodbye, Julian. You must say goodbye.”

He let his parents hold him there at the marble wall. He scraped his hands across the top, then gripped the white stone.

Lions. Six of them. Circling, circling the knot of friends in the center of the bright yellow sand that had been brought from one of the hills of Rome and spread on wooden planking to soak up the blood of gladiator, beast, and the condemned.

The lions charged at once, but for Julian, the moment stretched out, like a thread of silk spun from a slow-turning wheel, and though the crowd still bellowed, in his head all had gone silent and he saw only his group of friends, crumpling in on themselves like sand flowing into a sinkhole.

The lions must have roared before they pounced, though Julian heard nothing, and felt only the relentless scraping of his own hands across the stone wall. He scraped until his hands were torn and bloody, wanting to bleed with her, wanting to bleed with all of them, as he should have.

The sun had risen to pour its rays into the center of the arena, and the yellow sand beneath them turned to molten gold in the light, an oval of liquid gold with Vita and the others drowning in the center of it. He saw her face for a moment, lifted to heaven.

His mind disconnected and drifted strangely, then, to the words at the end of the Apostle John’s Revelation, and his vision of the New Jerusalem with its streets of pure gold.

Would Vita fall asleep in this golden sand and wake to streets of gold?

The beasts did their job well and quickly, and when it was over and the mutilated bodies of his friends lay scattered across the sand, Julian woke from his stupor and felt the guilt of every lost life bear down on him as though the stones around him had collapsed on his head. He tasted bile rising in his throat, and turned away from the wall to retch onto the paving stones.

His parents held his arms as he emptied the contents of his stomach. He heard the jeers directed toward him. When he stood, the tear-streaked faces of both his parents matched his own.

But he found no solace in their shared grief. They did not have to bear the guilt of it as he did. As he always would. He pulled from their embrace and escaped the amphitheatre, running back the way he had come, running like a haunted man.

Days later, when his guilt and grief had hardened into bitter anger, he tried once again to change the minds and policies of the Roman government. But in the end he brought only more disgrace, and more danger, upon his family.

In the cool of the evening three days after Vita’s death, he stood at the terrace wall of his father’s lavish villa in the Roman countryside, looking down into the flowered gardens his mother had commissioned, and listening to the fountain that trickled night and day into the central pool. He inhaled deeply of the night air, dragging in the scent of roses.

His guilt over Vita’s death had not abated, and he had added to it with his actions in the days since. His brazen words in the Senate House, and later the Forum, had identified him as one who should have also met his death in the arena that day.

Perhaps that was his wish. To be arrested himself, to be thrown before the gaping yaw of a dozen lions, to be given what he deserved.

But his family. He had not wanted the same for his family. His only brother, long since stationed in some military outpost, had never embraced the family’s beliefs, but even he could be reached by the long arm of the empire, and brought back to face condemnation with the rest.

Behind him, slaves stirred to prepare the evening meal and lit torches on the veranda. His parents would appear soon and they would all pretend that their privileged life continued.

But Julian had made a decision. His life in Rome was over. To protect his family, he must disappear.

He thought of his brother’s stories of the provinces that lay at the edges of the Empire. Of Britannia, of Judea. But even there the Roman army could search out a man. No, he must go further east than even Judea.

There was a place, a hidden city he had heard tales of since he was a boy. Stories that had sparked his imagination and given him the desire to travel across the desert sand to discover the city tucked between the rock cliffs of Arabia.

Petra. Capital of the Nabatean kingdom, wealthy center of the east-west trade route, and beyond even the Roman Empire’s reach.

Julian rubbed his hands together, palms still raw from being torn open the day Vita died. Yes, it was a good plan.

He would flee to Petra.

T.L. Higley is one of my favorite authors. She takes us to a time that is very rarely covered in Christian fiction. Ancient history has never been that fascinating to me. That is until I read Higley’s novels.

Because of my busy work weeks the last 2 weeks I haven’t had a chance to finish the book yet, but when I do I’ll have a more detailed review! I love what I’ve read so far!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: College Sophomore

The NOT first day of school photoThe “not” first day at college. My girl is in the middle. These are her roomies! I seriously dig them. She knows how much I love 1st day of school photos but forgot to take one then did this one. I’m guessing it was for her dear, sad mom. It’s the 2nd year I haven’t gotten to see her on her first day of school. Waaaaah!

 Brie Abby JaNae Kelsey Marie Sarah Lauren

Life as a college sophomore. Seems I missed out on a lot by not going to college after high school!

41104_456844164975_655474975_6405955_5890819_nThat’s my girl. I’m so proud!

Make sure you check out these Wordless Wednesday participants: 5 Minutes for Mom, J. Leigh Designz, and A Beautiful Mess.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Behold The Lamb of God Christmas Tour


Critically Acclaimed Tour Will Feature Guest Artists: Jason Gray, Jill Phillips, Andy Gullahorn, Ben Shive, Andrew Osenga

Nashville, TN (September 7, 2010) ---- One of the most highly anticipated Christmas concerts of the holiday season, Behold The Lamb Of God, will launch in December for its eleventh annual run.  Christian music’s most prolific singer/songwriter, Andrew Peterson, announced the tour today that will also spotlight this year’s featured guests, singer/songwriters Jason Gray, Jill Phillips, Andy Gullahorn, Ben Shive and Andrew Osenga.  The tour kicks-off December 2nd in Durham, NC and will visit fifteen cities before ending in Corsicana, TX on the 19th.  A complete listing of the tour dates is available below and at www.andrew-peterson.com.  Tickets will be available at local venues and online at www.itickets.com.

Andrew Peterson Peterson launched the Christmas tour in 1999 to present a musical rendition of the Christmas story and to reinforce the true meaning of the season.  It was immediately embraced by fans nationwide because of the powerful performances, entertaining stories and the sense of community between Peterson and his guest artists.  The result was multiple sold-out venues and yearly return engagements, which includes Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium.   In 2004, fan support led Peterson to record his first Christmas album, Behold The Lamb Of God: The True Tall Tale Of The Coming Of Christ, and the project won the 2004 Best Album of the Year, World Christian Music Editor’s Award.  In 2009, Peterson released a 2-disc 10th Anniversary Edition of the project that includes a remastered version of the original CD and a live recording of the Christmas concert from 2008.

It’s been a whirlwind of activity for Peterson with gearing up for the Christmas tour and recently releasing his latest studio project, Counting Stars.  The project is Peterson’s highest selling CD to date, as it entered at #6 on Billboard’s Christian Albums Chart and debuted at #1 on iTunes Christian Albums Chart for three straight days.  The album received rave reviews from Christian and mainstream critics with JesusFreakHideout.com saying, “Counting Stars is another success for Andrew Peterson, and the last five songs prove the artist can stretch beyond his comfort zone.” Blogcritics.org  and Seattle Post-Intelligencer exclaim, “Counting Stars is an all-embracing music any lover of Christian folk gospel and contemporary music would warm to.” The second single from the project, “Dancing In The Minefields,” went for adds at radio last Friday and the video is in heavy rotation on the Gospel Music Channel and has become a YouTube favorite.

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.  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. Last month, Peterson hosted his first annual event with Hutchmoot 2010, a three-day conference for lovers of story, art, and music.  The conference sold out in an incredible three weeks.  For updates about Andrew Peterson please visit www.andrew-peterson.com or www.rabbitroom.com.

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, 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.

Behold The Lamb Of God Tour Dates: (Tentative)

12/2 - Durham, NC
12/3 - Richmond, VA
12/4 - Milford, OH
12/5 - Milford, OH
12/7 - Huntsville, AL
12/8 - Jackson, TN
12/9 - Topeka, KS
12/10 - Lincoln, NE
12/12 - Knoxville, TN
12/14 - Montgomery, AL
12/15 - Charlotte, NC
12/16 - Nashville, TN
12/17 - Houston, TX
12/18 - Wichita Falls, TX
12/19 - Corsicana, TX

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11, 2001 Remembered

5030790_blog I remember the morning of 9/11/01. I was sleeping. My kids had been back in school for about a week. My husband came into the bedroom to wake me up because he was watching the Today show and something crazy was happening.

In my morning fog I had no idea what he was talking about. I headed out to the living room to see what he was babbling about. Being Central time my kids hadn’t left for school yet. The girls were pretty concerned about what was happening. They didn’t understand it and neither did we.

My husband had woken me up just after the 2nd plane had hit.

I have to admit, it was all so overwhelming, I don’t remember the towers coming down. I just remember the horror of it all. Seeing all the people crying out for help above the impact. We had no idea what was to come.

I can’t even remember if the kids went to school that day.

I remember the plane crashing into the Pentagon because my mom works right by it and it was freaking me out. I had to get hold of my mom!

When I finally got hold of her she told me my grandma had been at the towers the day before having lunch. The DAY before.

What sticks out in my mind the day after this tragedy is the lack of planes in the air. I kept looking up, still in shock at the lack of anything flying in the sky. It was eerily quiet. It was a strange sensation that sticks with me even today.

I also remember the Canadians that took care of so many airline passengers who were stuck with no where to go and no way to get home. In the midst of so much evil, there were those doing good.

Today, remember what hate can do. It can literally kill. Observe a moment of silence for those innocent people who lost their lives. Keep the families who lost loved ones on September 11th in your thoughts and prayers!

Friday, September 10, 2010

For Time and Eternity by Allison Pittman

for time and eternity FOR TIME AND ETERNITY

by Allison Pittman
Tyndale House Publishers
ISBN-13: 978-1414335964

About the book:

All Camilla Deardon knows of the Mormons camping nearby is the songs she hears floating on the breeze. Then she meets one of them—a young man named Nathan Fox. Never did she imagine he would be so handsome, so charming, especially after Mama and Papa’s warnings to stay away. Though she knows she should obey her parents, Camilla can’t refuse her heart. But even Nathan’s promises cannot prepare her for what she will face in Utah.

My Review:

This was such a powerful story. The beginning so detailed and emotional, it drew me into the life of Camilla.

You can see how her mom and father set her up to be influenced by Nathan and his Mormon beliefs. I wanted to fling myself into the story and tell her not to believe what he was saying to her. To not go with him.

It’s that powerful. I could tell what would come because of my own hindsights. I could relate in some ways to Camilla. She just wanted to be loved and Nathan was there to provide it for her.

I believe that Nathan loved Camilla, but his desire to please the prophets (not God) outweighed anything else in his life.

I wasn’t sure as I was reading For Time & Eternity if Allison would make Mormonism in line with the same beliefs as Pentecostal Christians. With her writing, I could see how people would be drawn into being part of their society. Of course, as we got further into the story, we start to see the differences between what main stream Christians believe and Mormonism.

Allison does a fantastic job not blasting the Mormon church. Towards the end, through Camilla and the others in her community, Allison shows where the differences are in our beliefs and how those differences line up with scripture.

I would absolutely recommend this novel! It is powerful and holds your attention from beginning to end.

allison_candid_185px About the Author:

In 2005, Allison Pittman left a teaching career to follow the Lord’s calling into the world of Christian fiction, and God continues to bless her step of faith. Since then she has published 6 novels and one nonfiction work. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, Mike, and their three sons. Visit her website at www.allisonpittman.com

Thursday, September 9, 2010

D•I•V•A•S of the Divine Giveaway

diva tour 4D•I•V•A•S of the Divine

Hensley Publishing
8.5" x 11" Workbook
ISBN 10: 1-56322-108-X
ISBN 13: 978-156322-108-8
Retail: $19.99


DIVAS' Top 10 Necessities for a Fulfilled Life

  1. A Great Bra! (Prayer Foundation)  – Even though many women don’t enjoy wearing this undergarment, it is the most critical aspect of any DIVA’S outfit! Why? It is the foundation—just like a relationship with God that offers support and is always uplifting.
  2. Mirror (Real Beauty) – A DIVA looks into the mirror to check hair and lipstick but more importantly to make sure what she sees is real—to make sure her beauty is reflected from within, transparent and authentic.
  3. Shoes (God’s Purpose) – The perfect designer shoes guide her daily walk with Christ. Must fit her style as an individual and accentuate the relationship that is uniquely hers in order to make every step count. Little steps help her go the distance.
  4. Sunglasses (Priorities) – Oh, how important to filter the harmful rays and the worldly view of the sunlight so she is only exposed to the pure Son and all of His benefits!
  5. Chocolate (Time Out) – Every DIVA’S little piece of heaven! It may be small but it’s sweetness, it’s creamy comfort, and its AHHHH factor, is enough to sustain her until she gets to experience the wonder of heaven. It’s the little pick-me-up that will remind her to sustain her eternal perspective no matter the circumstance.
  6. Wrinkle Cream (Forgiveness) – It is the hottest thing on the market for any DIVA who wants to remove lines and wrinkles. The Spirit-inspired ingredients are key to erasing the fine lines of stress, worry, and bitterness to help her let go of the past. This cream is full of the healing power of forgiveness, grace, and unconditional love.
  7. Watch (Commitment) – Every DIVA has a favorite watch. This piece of bling pulls every outfit together. She feels lost when she forgets to wear it. Time! Time requires commitment and every DIVA chooses wisely how she spends it.
  8. Girlfriend (Accountability)- The most important necessity for all true DIVAS. She’s caring and fun to be with. She is the “speak the truth in love” kind of friend that will hold the DIVA accountable to being the true Designer Original she was created to be.
  9. Purse (Balance) - Whether it’s top-of-the-line or a bargain-deal, the DIVA’S purse must be perfect to keep all her most important things close—flexible to bend when in tight spots but sturdy enough to withstand day-to day-use. Her purse contains the necessary items to stay balanced and “keep it all together.”
  10. Lipstick (Positive Words & Attitude) – Positive words and a polished tone flow from her lips in pretty colors and a high-gloss shine. Her words inspire others.

About the Authors:

diva tour 3 From high top basketball shoes to high heels, each step of Donna’s life has equipped her for a Life Coaching career. She is a challenging facilitator whose “tell it like it is” approach always incorporates a call to action from her participants.

Donna draws from her background as a recreational therapist to create dynamic outcome-oriented keynotes, retreats, and curriculums. Her greatest passion and deepest joy is to “coach” women in realizing God’s plan for their lives and in discovering for themselves the source of genuine joy.

Donna is a wife, mother of two, and beloved friend. Donna’s hobbies include hiking, vacationing at the beach, and trying projects from popular HGTV home improvement shows... much to her husband’s dismay!

diva tour 2 Sherri invested many years with companies such as Biltmore Estate, Chick-fil-A, and Chimney Rock Park in developing new and creative programs to excel these corporations to higher levels of success.

Sherri is founder and CEO of Power-Up!, a coaching company whose mission is to take individuals and corporations to the next level of success. She works as a coach, facilitator, and speaker for a variety of clients ranging from corporate executives to stay-at-home moms. Sherri’s passion is unlocking the untapped potential within others to help them gain fresh perspectives, develop clear vision, and establish action steps that will make their dreams reality.

Sherri is a wife, aunt, and friend to many. She has a self-proclaimed addiction to shoes, purses, and Starbuck’s coffee. One of her life goals is to be on Survivor (her favorite TV reality show!).

Giveaway Opportunity: I will choose one commenter to send to the giveaway drawing from KCWC who will choose the winner from all the blog participants.


• Silver flip-flops
• Purse and shoe picture frames
• Box of Godiva truffles
• DIVAS of the Divine book & journal


Sherri: If life for you is like driving 100 mph in a convertible, make sure you have a map to your dream destination and a friend to keep you focused on the plan so you don’t get sucked into the tourist traps along the way. Don’t be Thelma and Louise!  Allow your passion to drive you to the mountain top of success instead of driving you off the cliff with no purpose.

Donna: The shopping mall is full of new shoes but they can only be enjoyed if you take off the old,
try on the new, and then commit to pay the price.

For more information visit the DIVAS website: www.walkofpurpose.com
or view their information at Docstoc or Google Docs.

I want to thank Kathy Carlton Willis Communications for setting up the blog tour and for my copy of the study. The information above was provided by KCWC.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Hope for Hannah ~ FIRST WildCard 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:

A Hope for Hannah

Harvest House Publishers (June 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Karri James of Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


As a boy, Jerry Eicher spent eight years in Honduras where his grandfather helped found an Amish community outreach. As an adult, Jerry taught for two terms in parochial Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. He has been involved in church renewal for 14 years and has preached in churches and conducted weekend meetings of in-depth Bible teaching. Jerry lives with his wife, Tina, and their four children in Virginia.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $11.99
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (June 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736930442
ISBN-13: 978-0736930444


Hannah Byler awoke with a start. She sat up in bed and listened. The wind outside the small cabin stirred in the pine trees. The moon, already high in the sky when she and Jake went to bed, shone brightly through the log cabin window.

Beside her she heard Jake’s deep, even breathing. She had grown accustomed to the comforting sound in the few short months since they’d been married. She laid back down on the pillow. Perhaps it was just her imagination. There was no sound—nothing to indicate something might be wrong.

But her heart beat faster—and fearfully. Something was wrong—but what?

“Jake,” she whispered, her hand gently shaking his shoulder. “Jake, vagh uff.”

“What is it?” he asked groggily. He spoke louder than she wished he would at the moment.

“I don’t know,” she whispered again and hoped he would get the hint. “I think there’s something outside.”

Jake listened and sat up in bed with his arms braced on the mattress.

“I don’t hear anything,” he said, a little quieter this time. “There are all kinds of noises in the mountains at night.”

“I think something is outside,” she insisted.

They both were silent a moment, waiting and listening. Hannah half expected Jake to lower his head back to his pillow, tell her the fears were a bad dream, and go back to sleep. Instead he pushed back the covers and set his feet on the floor.

Just then a loud snuff outside the log wall stopped him. They both froze. Hannah didn’t recognize the sound. No animal she knew ever made such a noise.

“It sounds like a pig,” Jake said, his voice low. “What are pigs doing out here at nighttime?”

“It’s not a pig,” Hannah whispered back. No stray pig, even in the nighttime, could create such tension. “It’s something else.”

“But what?” Jake asked, the sound coming again, seemingly right against the log wall.

Hannah lay rigid, filled with an overpowering sense that something large and fierce stood outside.

“I’m going to go see what’s out there.” Jake had made up his mind, and Hannah made no objection.

Jake felt under the bed for his flashlight and then moved toward the door. Somehow Hannah found the courage to follow but stayed close to Jake.

Their steps made the wooden floor creak, the only sound to be heard.

Jake slowly pulled open the wooden front door, his flashlight piercing the darkness as he moved it slowly left and then right.

“Nothing here,” he said quietly and then stepped outside.

Hannah looked around Jake toward the edge of the porch. “It was around the corner,” she whispered.

Jake walked slowly toward the corner of the house, but Hannah stayed on the porch near the front door.

Jake stopped momentarily and then stepped around the corner of the house. Hannah could only see a low glow from the flashlight. In the distance by the light of the moon, the misty line of the Cabinet Mountains accented the utter ruggedness of this country. During the day, the sight still thrilled her, but now that same view loomed dangerously.

For the first time since they’d moved into the cabin after their wedding, Hannah wondered whether this place was a little too much for the two of them. Was a remote cabin, a mile off the main road and up this dirt path into the foothills of the Cabinet Mountains, really what she wanted?

“It’s a bear!” Jake’s voice came from around the corner. “Come take a look—quick—before it’s gone.”

“Gone,” she whispered.

“Come see!” Jake’s urgent voice came again.

Again Hannah found courage from somewhere. She stepped around the corner of the house and let her gaze follow the beam of Jake’s flashlight, which now pierced the edge of the clearing around their cabin. At the end of the beam, a furry long-haired bear—as large as the one she’d seen once at the zoo—stood looking back at them, its head raised and sniffing the air.

“It’s a grizzly,” Jake said, excitement in his voice. “See its hump?”

“Then why are we out here?” Hannah asked, nearly overcome with the urge to run and desperate for solid walls between her and this huge creature.

“The men at the lumberyard said there aren’t many around,” Jake said in her ear. “Mostly black bears down in this area.”

“Shouldn’t we be inside?” she asked the question another way, pulling on his arm. “It’s not going away.”

“It will leave sooner if we stay in sight rather than go inside,” he told her, his light playing on the creature whose head was still in the air and turned in their direction.

“Well, I’m going inside,” she said, her courage now wholly depleted.

“It’s going,” Jake announced, and so she paused. They watched, fascinated, as the great creature bobbed its head and disappeared into the woods.

“It’s gone,” Jake said, a bit disappointed. “That was a grizzly.”

They turned back to the cabin, Hannah following Jake’s lead. As they stepped onto the porch, Hannah considered their front door. Suddenly the solid slat door—so bulky before—now looked thin, an unlikely protection against the hulk that had just disappeared into the dark tree line.

“What if it comes back?” she asked.

“It won’t. It’s just passing through,” he assured her. “They don’t like humans. They’re wanderers anyway. It’ll probably not come this way again—ever.”

Not reassured, Hannah shut the door tightly behind them and pushed the latch firmly into place.

“Bears hang around,” she told him. “This one could come back.”

“Then we’ll deal with it. Maybe the game warden can help. I doubt it will return, though.” Jake was fast losing interest and ready for his bed again.

Jake snuggled under the covers, pulling them tight up to his chin. “These are cold nights,” he commented. “Winter’s just around the corner. I have to get some sleep.”

Hannah agreed and pulled her own covers up tight. Jake’s job on the logging crew involved hard manual labor that required a good night’s sleep. She didn’t begrudge him his desire for sleep.

“I sure hope it doesn’t come back,” she said finally.

“I doubt it will,” he muttered, but Hannah could tell he was already nearly asleep.

To the sounds of Jake’s breathing, she lay awake and unable to stop her thoughts. Home, where she had grown up in Indiana, now seemed far away, a hazy blur against the fast pace of the past few months.

What is Mom doing? she wondered. No doubt she’s comfortably asleep in their white two-story home, secure another night just like the night before and ready to face another day just like the day before.

Thoughts of her earlier summers in Montana—tending to Aunt Betty’s riding stable—pushed into her mind. This country had seemed so glorious then, and she had dreamed of her return.

The wedding had come first. She smiled in the darkness while she remembered the special day. After a flurry of letters and Jake’s visits as often as he could, Betty got her wish for a wedding in Montana. Hannah’s mother realized it was for the best. Because the plans for Hannah’s wedding to Sam Knepp ended in a disaster back home in Indiana, Roy and Kathy decided they couldn’t have the wedding there and possibly face that embarrassment again. Even Jake was in favor of the wedding in Montana—here where they had met.

Their hearts were in Montana now—close to the land and the small Amish community in the shadow of the Cabinet Mountains. But lately Hannah asked herself if living out here in the middle of nowhere was really for their best. Then she was thankful that at least she was with Jake—better here with Jake than anywhere else without him.

But as she lay in the darkness unable to sleep, she found herself wishing for close neighbors. She wished she could get up now and walk to the front door, knowing that someone else lived within calling distance—or at least within running distance if it came to that. Now, with a bear around, a night wanderer with mischief on his mind, there was nowhere to go. She shuddered.

She wondered if she could outrun a bear and reach a neighbor’s house. She pictured herself lifting her skirt for greater speed. How fast can bears run? Can they see well at night to scout out their prey?

Hannah shivered in the darkness and listened to Jake’s even breathing, wondering how he could sleep after what they had just seen. A grizzly! Jake had been sure it was a grizzly they’d heard sniffing around their cabin just outside their bedroom wall. Why was Jake not more alarmed? He had even seemed fascinated, as if it didn’t bother him at all.

She had always thought she was the courageous one, the one who wanted adventure. After all, she had come out to Montana on her own that first summer. The mountains had fascinated her, drawn her in, and given her strength. But tonight those same mountains had turned on her and given her a bear for a gift—a grizzly. Even the stately pine trees, with their whispers that soothed her before, now seemed to talk of dark things she knew nothing about, things too awful to say out loud.

She turned in the bed, hoping she wouldn’t disturb Jake. She thought of his job on the logging crew, really a job of last resort. Yes, at first it was a blessing because they needed the income, but now it had become more and more of a burden. Jake didn’t complain, but the burden was apparent in the stoop of his shoulders when he came home at night. It revealed itself in his descriptions of how he operated the cutter, navigated the steep slopes, and worked with logs that rolled down the sides of the mountains. She also heard it in his descriptions of Mr. Wesley, his boss. She had met Mr. Wesley once when he had stopped by the house to interview Jake for the job. He operated the largest timber company in Libby, and his huge, burly form matched his position, nearly filling their cabin door that day. She had been too glad Jake had gotten the job to worry much about Mr. Wesley, but after he left she was glad she wouldn’t see him every day.

Hannah shivered again, feeling the sharp chill that seeped into the log house—the same one that seemed so wonderful in summer. Winter would come soon to this strange land, and neither she nor Jake had ever been through one here.

Hannah willed herself to stop thinking. Now she knew for certain. There had been something she wanted to tell Jake but had wanted to wait until she was sure. Now on this night—the night the bear came—she was certain. The strangeness puzzled her. How could a bear’s unexpected visit and this wonderful news have anything to do with each other?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Customers In Training

Went shopping with my friend LP after we ate dinner at Smashburger (review & giveaway to come). At Lunds LP’s daughter and niece wanted their own carts. I ran back out to the car and grabbed my camera! The little girls are growing up!


Be sure to check out these Wordless Wednesday participants as well: 5 Minutes for Mom, J. Leigh Designz, and A Beautiful Mess

A Dream for Hannah by Jerry Eicher ~ FIRST WildCard 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:

A Dream for Hannah

Harvest House Publishers (June 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Karri James of Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


As a boy, Jerry Eicher spent eight years in Honduras where his grandfather helped found an Amish community outreach. As an adult, Jerry taught for two terms in parochial Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. He has been involved in church renewal for 14 years and has preached in churches and conducted weekend meetings of in-depth Bible teaching. Jerry lives with his wife, Tina, and their four children in Virginia.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $11.99
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (June 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736930450
ISBN-13: 978-0736930451


Outside Hannah Miller’s upstairs window, springtime had come. The earth was finally awakening from what had been a worse than normal northern Indiana winter.

Breakfast was finished, and her mother would soon call from downstairs for help. Her cousins were coming to visit this evening, and there was a lot of work to do.

As she secured her dark hair beneath the head covering she wore for work, Hannah glanced down at the paper on which she had scribbled the words of the poem. Surely she had time for another quick read, and that would have to do. Her almost seventeen-year-old hands trembled as she held the writing in front of her.

The words of the poem by E.S. White, written in 1908, gripped her again.

A Ballad of Spring

It’s Spring, my Love.

Bowed down with care,

Your branches are stripped and bare.

Old Winter’s past.

Its snow and cold

Have melted long and lost their hold.

The earth it waited

With bated breath for something more,

For life renewed called from its core.

It opens wide its arms.

For strength, for vigor, for its best,

It stirs its creatures to their nests.

All around it lies the warmth

Because the sun has drawn near,

Touching, caressing, there and here.

Arise, it calls.

The pomegranates bloom.

They yell that life has room.

Will you come, my Dear,

Hold my hand, touch what I bring?

Because, my Love, it’s Spring.

Hannah paused as thoughts raced through her head. Can this be true? Is there really such a feeling? Is this something I could really feel…this thing called love?

Then, from downstairs she heard the urgent sound of her mother’s voice, “Hannah, time to start the day.”

“Yes, I’m coming,” she called as she quickly placed the poem on the dresser, smoothed the last wrinkles out of the bed covers, and then rushed out of her room and down the stairs.

“The wash needs to be started right away,” her mom said as she busied herself with the dishes in the kitchen sink.

“Yes, right away,” Hannah said. After making one last check for dirty clothes in the bedrooms, she made her way down to the basement. The sparse room seemed dingy and damp, in stark contrast to the fresh spring day she had seen from her upstairs window. She’d much rather be outside, but the laundry must be done.

Hannah ran the water into the tub from the attached hose. When the water reached the fill line, she turned off the water and tossed in the first load of dirty clothes. With a jerk on the starter rope, the old tub started vibrating. The motor changed its speed and sound as the center tumbler turned, dragging the load of pants and shirts through the water.

As Hannah reached inside the washer to check the progress, the memory of the poem returned to her. Then she thought of James back in seventh grade. His grin had been lopsided but cute. He was a sweet boy—his eyes always lit up whenever Hannah looked at him. Was that the first stirrings of whatever this thing called “love” was?

Surely not. Such ideas! If someone could read my thoughts… “A dumm-kopf, that’s what they’d say,” she spoke aloud, smiling at her youthful memory.

Her hand dodged the tumbler’s wrath, but still the tumbler caught a piece of cloth and whipped water in her direction.

Then her memory moved up to eighth grade. Sam Knepp. A thirteen-year-old girl just had to have someone to like. The other girls would have thought her a true dummkopf if she had no one. And so she had picked Sam at random. What other choice had there been? Sam sat across the aisle from her. He was sort of cute. He had freckles, red hair, and a good smile. But there was that horrible habit he had of opening his mouth when he was puzzled or surprised.

When Hannah told the other girls she liked Sam, they reacted with admiration. So she had made the right choice. Maybe she was not a dummkopf. Her friend Mary stuck up for her choice. Mary was blonde and sweet on Laverne, who was truly a wonder in the world of Amish eighth graders. He was easily the best-looking boy in the district. In fact Hannah would have picked Laverne had he not already been taken by Mary. For some reason, it didn’t bother her that Annie, who was in the sixth grade, had her attention on Sam; blushing every time he walked by, but saying nothing.

No, Hannah decided, Sam didn’t fit for her. Not really. Maybe Laverne would have been a good choice, but not as long as he was Mary’s choice. Hannah supposed even now that Laverne and Mary would soon be dating.

“Hannah,” her mother called from upstairs, “are you done yet?”

“Coming,” Hannah called out. “This old washer is going as fast as it can.”

“Well, hurry up. The clothing needs to be on the line soon. The sun is already well up.”

“Yes,” Hannah called out again, “I’ll get it out as soon as I can.”

Minutes later the cycle was finished, and Hannah quickly loaded the basket with the heavy wet laundry and made her way up the steps and out to the clothesline.

Outside, the glorious spring day greeted her brightly. Hannah turned her face skyward and almost lost her grip on the basket as she soaked in the warm sunshine. What a glorious spring it was going to be! It felt so good to be young and alive.

Hannah began pinning the wet clothes onto the line till they stretched out, heavy in the still morning air. Later the breeze would pick up and dry the clothes as they flapped in the wind. It was a beautiful sight to behold. Hannah hoped the wind would stay gentle until the last piece was fully dry, but with spring days, one was never sure. The wind could have a mind of its own.

She stood back and watched with approval the first of the wash begin to move slightly in the breeze. Yes, this is going to be a wonderful spring, she decided as she picked up the basket and turned to go back inside.

The sun was still out when the first buggies arrived for the evening’s family gathering. Two buggies came in, one right after the other, and then two more arrived fifteen minutes later. Among the guests were Ben and Susan Yoder—Susan was Hannah’s mom’s cousin. Also in attendance were Leroy and John, brothers on her dad’s side, and Mose, Leroy’s brother-in-law. Other people who were in some way connected to the Millers had also been invited. Having a few outside guests allowed for some spontaneity while maintaining some of the structures formed by the natural family. Sam Knepp came that night because one of the cousins had taken the notion to invite him.

It amused Hannah to see Sam again, having just thought of him that morning. She noticed that he still had that habit of occasionally allowing his mouth to drop open almost randomly.

After a hearty supper, all the young people went outside to play. Since so many younger children were involved, they had to choose a simple game. The game they chose was Wolf, which caused Hannah to consider whether or not she might be too old to join in. The game involved races run at full speed in the darkness. When all of the cousins and Sam announced they would play, Hannah decided to join in. After all, Sam and she were the same age. If he could play, so could she.

With that decided, the game was called to order, and the first “wolf”—her cousin Micah—was chosen. He picked the big tree beside the house for his home base, hollered loudly that the game had begun, and began to count. The children scattered to find hiding places before he counted to one hundred. Hannah decided to try to bluff the wolf by hiding just around the corner of the house.

At the count of a hundred, the wolf silently moved to the edge of the house, stuck his head around the corner, spotted Hannah, and howled with glee. He easily beat her back to the tree trunk.

“That was stupid of me,” Hannah muttered as she joined Micah at the tree.

“They try that on me all the time,” the wolf crowed in triumph. “Now let’s get the rest of them. You go around the house that way, and I’ll take the side you hid on.”

Hannah imitated the wolf’s trick, now that she was one herself, but the corner of the house produced no hidden sheep. The moon had already set by now, and the only light came from the stars. This corner of the house was particularly dark, absent of any light beams from the gas lanterns in the living room and kitchen.

Hannah felt her way along the house and, hearing a noise, she turned toward the front porch where she flushed someone out of the bush and found herself in a race back to the tree trunk. Hannah wasn’t sure who she was chasing, but that didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was who got to the tree first.

Just as she passed the corner of the house, Hannah’s world exploded into a deeper darkness than the evening around her. Sam, the one she had flushed from the bush, somehow collided with Hannah. He flew backward, and Hannah flew off into complete darkness in the other direction. Two other racers just missed her fallen body and dodged Sam who had now crawled slowly to a sitting position.

Young cousin Jonas, one of the children who had to jump to avoid Hannah’s body, immediately ran to the kitchen door, stuck his head in, and yelled in his loudest little-boy voice, “Someone bring a light! There’s been a hurt!”

Roy Miller, Hannah’s father, reacted first. He grabbed the kitchen lantern from its hook and ran outside.

“What’s going on?” he called from the porch, holding his lantern aloft, the light reaching out in a great circle.

“She’s hurt! Over here!” Sam called. He now rested on his left elbow and pointed toward Hannah’s still body.

As Roy approached, Sam slowly huddled closer to Hannah, both hands wrapped around his head. “Hannah,” he whispered, “are you hurt?”

By the light of Roy’s approaching lantern, Sam saw that Hannah was not moving. He took his hands off his head and gently pushed her arm but got no response. “You okay?” he asked again, tilting his head sideways to look down at her.

“Oh no, I hurt her!” Sam yelled as he jumped to his feet. He then stood speechless, his mouth wide open.

With the lantern in hand, Roy was now standing over the two young people. Glancing briefly at Sam, Roy reached for Hannah’s hand and then focused his attention on Hannah’s head, which had obviously taken the brunt of the hit as evidenced by a deep gash and wound to her left eye. Roy gently gathered Hannah in his arms and spoke to his brother, Leroy, standing beside him.

“Better take a look at Sam,” Roy said with a motion of his head toward the boy, and then he headed to the kitchen with Hannah.

Hannah’s mom met them at the door. “How bad is she hurt?” she asked, holding the kitchen door open.

“I don’t know,” Roy told her. “Let’s get her to the couch.”

Roy placed Hannah down gently and then stepped aside as Kathy got her first good look at Hannah’s head.

“We have to take her to the doctor—now,” Kathy said. “This looks serious.”

“Are you sure?” Roy said. “Is it that bad?”

“Roy, just look at her eye and that cut on her head!”

Roy, for the first time, carefully studied his daughter’s injury and then nodded. “Can someone run down to Mr. Bowen’s place and call for a driver?” he asked.

“I’ll go,” Ben said as he headed for the door.

Hannah had become alert enough to barely moan but nothing more.

Ben returned minutes later, a little breathless but with news. “Mr. Bowen said it wasn’t necessary to call for a ride. He’ll take her himself.”

“Da Hah be praised,” Roy said, worried about his daughter.

Old Mr. Bowen drove his car up to the front porch. Roy helped the groggy Hannah into the backseat.

“Why don’t you ride in the back with her?” Roy suggested to Kathy.

Kathy nodded, slid in next to Hannah, and held her upright against her own shoulder. With Roy in the front seat, Mr. Bowen pulled out of the driveway.

“Is she hurt badly?” Mr. Bowen asked.

“I can’t tell,” Roy said. “Her head seems to have…quite a gash in it. And her left eye doesn’t look normal.”

“I’ll get you there as fast as I can.” Mr. Bowen accelerated slowly on the gravel road and hung tightly onto the steering wheel. Once they reached the blacktop, he sped up considerably.

They reached Elkhart without incident, and Mr. Bowen pulled into the hospital parking lot. Roy quickly got out, opened the back door, and helped Hannah out of the car. He and Kathy took Hannah’s arms and made their way into the emergency room reception area.

The attending nurse took one look at Hannah, brought a wheelchair for her, and then took her to an examining room to wait for the doctor.

An hour later Roy and Kathy were seated in the waiting room.

“Did they say how bad she is?” Roy asked again.

“The nurse said she’ll be fine. That’s all she said,” Kathy repeated.

“Will she lose the eye?”

“No, surely not,” Kathy said, though with some uncertainty.

“We’ll just have to trust,” he said, attempting a smile and squeezing her hand.

“I’ll wait for you folks. Whatever time this takes,” Mr. Bowen assured them.

“That awful nice of you,” Kathy said. “We can call when we’re done. This could take much of the night.”

“The Mrs. understands,” Mr. Bowen said. “I don’t need much sleep myself anyway.”

“It’s still nice of you,” Kathy said with a smile as she took a seat beside Roy.

A few minutes later, the attending doctor walked into the waiting room and motioned for Hannah’s parents to follow him.

“I’m Dr. Benson,” he announced to the couple as they walked down the hall. “Your daughter is resting now. There isn’t much more we can do other than keep her under observation. We can’t let her sleep for a while, of course.”

“What happened?” Kathy asked.

“A bad concussion, that’s all, from what I can tell. The bone structure of her skull has actually been damaged where the impact occurred. That’s also what caused her left eye to protrude. We patched her up as best we could. Now nature will have to take its course. The eye, I believe, will return to normal now that we have taken the worst of the pressure off. We’d like to keep her here under observation for a day or two just to be sure.”

“Yes, of course,” Roy said. “I appreciate the prompt attention. She had us really worried. Will we be able to see her now?”

“Yes, the nurse will take you back. Do you have any questions?”

Roy and Kathy looked at each other, and Kathy said, “No, doctor, I don’t think so. Thank you for all you’ve done.”

The couple then followed the nurse into the elevator and two floors up.

Hannah lay in the bed, covered with white sheets and kept awake by a watchful nurse. The bed beside Hannah was occupied by another girl whose face was turned away from them. She moved slightly when they walked in but didn’t turn in their direction.

“You’re in good hands,” Kathy whispered and squeezed Hannah’s hand.

Hannah blinked slowly but made no other response.

“A little groggy,” the nurse said and smiled. “We gave her something for the pain.”

“We’d better leave, then, I suppose,” Kathy whispered. “They’ll take good care of you, Hannah. I’ll come back tomorrow first thing.”

Hannah nodded, and Kathy brushed her hand across her cheek.

At the doorway, Kathy glanced back quickly before she followed Roy out.

“She looked okay,” Roy assured her.

“But here—all night by herself.”

“They’ll watch her. You can come back in the morning. Half the night’s gone already the way it is.”

“I suppose so,” Kathy agreed.

Roy pushed the elevator button. They stepped inside when the doors opened and arrived at the waiting room to find Mr. Bowen had nodded off, his chin on his chest.

“We’re back,” Roy whispered into his ear.

He awoke with a start, grinned, and promptly bounced to his feet.

“How is she?” he asked as they walked outside.

“She’ll be okay,” Roy said, “but she’s staying for a day or two.”

“Sounds good for how she looked,” Mr. Bowen commented. “So let me get you folks home. I suppose you’re ready?”

“That we are,” Roy agreed.

Mr. Bowen drove slowly on the way home, taking his time around the curves. When he pulled into the Miller’s graveled driveway, he turned to Kathy in the backseat. “What’s your driver situation for tomorrow?”

“I have no one,” Kathy said, “and I have to go first thing in the morning, but I’ll call around from the pay phone.”

“No, just count on me as your driver until this is over,” Mr. Bowen said.

“That’s awfully nice of you,” Kathy said, “but we don’t to want to take advantage.”

“Think nothing of it,” Mr. Bowen assured her. “I’m more than glad to help out.”

A Dream For Hannah was a very easy read. I was able to read it in a couple hours.

Hannah is a nice 16 yr old Amish girl wondering how and if she will ever fall in love. A poem starts her out on her journey to find that heart pounding love. Hannah tries to picture the boys in her community, but can't picture any of them being the "one".

Sam is the boy that wants to capture Hannah's heart and believes she is the girl God has for him. He's a hard worker and well liked in the Amish community.

Then there's Jake, another Amish young man who is running from his own painful past and not interested in finding love any time soon.

I love Amish novels, but this one seemed to try too hard to be Amish. I felt like the adults in the story tried to hard to be the strict parents you typically find in this genre.

The beginning happened really fast and to a degree felt like it was too unbelievable. I know, it's fiction, but the first few chapters had a lot packed into it and just didn't flow so well for me. I thought Hannah's aunt was really a busybody and not as caring about Hannah as I'd have liked. Mostly that's in regards to when Hannah is being friendly to Jake.

I like Jake and Hannah, especially Jake. He's the character I found most believable. Sam seemed starry eyed and not really aware that Hannah's "just not that into him".

In the end, it's a nice novel, and a nice way to pass an afternoon.

Book 2 review will come tomorrow.

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