If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Monday, May 30, 2011

Thank You



Just saying a great big Thanks to all of our Service men and women! I appreciate all you are doing to protect us and our country. Also a big thanks to all of our veterans and all you did to protect us and our country when you served. I also want to thank all the spouses, parents, children, etc who are missing your loved ones as they are serving in our armed services.  Thank you!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pictures

I always have my camera in my purse and I almost always have my purse with me, but for some reason I haven't been taking many pictures for the past several months. Well, in May I've taken a few more pictures, so I thought I'd show you a few of them. Here's some of what we've been doing in May.


Having breakfast in Burger King early in the morning on the way to FL to pick up her sister.

Even I allowed a picture of myself in a crown!

This peanut is in Georgia on I-75.  The first time we saw it, it was billed as the worlds biggest peanut.  Too funny.

Kerri enjoying an orange in the van.

This is looking out from the front of Kelli's dorm.

Kelli closing up her storage unit that she's sharing with 2 others.

This close to Disney and we didn't get to go to one of the parks.

We did make it to Downtown Disney though.  This dragon is made out of Lego's.  So cool.

One of my most favorite stores anywhere!

Dad and Kelli.  Aren't they cute?

Mom and Kelli.  It was so good to see her after about 4 months apart.

Here's all of us at Downtown Disney

Kelli as the Mad Hatter and Kerri not sure what she thinks.

Kelli picking up Lily from the kennel

We're seeing a lot of roadwork signs in our neighborhood.

Causing us to have some of these delays while driving to and from work.

Hope you enjoyed seeing some of what we've been doing.




Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Three Cheers for the Red, White and Hodgepodge


Click the button above to join Joyce in all the Hodgepodge Fun this week.

1. What is something about living in this country that you value? 'This country' is whatever country you call home.
I love our country's capital city, Washington DC.  

2. What is a favorite something you own that is red, white, and/or blue?
I can't think of anything except the American Flag! Well and I love my Minnie and Mickey who are red and white but no blue.

3. Do you fly a flag at your house on patriotic holidays?
Yes, usually.

4. What ingredients do you think should be included in a great picnic basket?
Hotdogs, potato salad, baked beans and chocolate chip cookies.

5. What is one interesting piece of trivia you know? Interesting is of course a relative term.
I searched the internet to find something for this.  Here's one I found.  You burn 26 calories in a one minute kiss.  I can't think of a more fun way to burn calories, can you?

6. Wednesday, May 24th is National Escargot day...have you ever tried them? Eww or ooh?
No I haven't tried them, but I probably would if given the chance.

7. What is one thing you know for sure?
That I am loved by Jesus and my husband.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Knowing #7 is true is a really cool thing! 


Monday, May 23, 2011

Confession

I am out of shape! I mean, I knew I was out of shape, but I am really out of shape! I went bike riding around the neighborhood with my girls tonight. Big mistake. I really should stick with walking.  I didn't crash or anything like that...this time.  The last time I rode a bike was on my 45th birthday, almost 9 years ago.  That day I crashed.  Well I fell off the bike.  I rode for awhile and did fine and then pulled into the driveway and tried to do one of the moving dismounts I did when I was a kid and it didn't go so well.  Anyway, after that I didn't ride for a long time.

Well, tonight I decided to try it again.  There were no crashes or falling off, thank goodness.  But first of all have you tried sitting on one of the bike seats?  It really hurts...if you know what I mean.  No fun.  I walk this subdivision all the time (well not so much lately...which is why I'm so out of shape) with no problems, but riding a bike up these little hills is a real killer.  Anyway, I got overheated and thought I was going to black out, so I got off and sat by the road for a few minutes.  Got up to try again and decided...no way.  Sent oldest daughter home and she brought the van back and I rode home that way.  Much nicer and easier.

My girls are really good sports and didn't even make too much fun of me.   I really love those girls!  Actually, my youngest sat down beside me for a minute and actually prayed for me.  Shocked me, but I really loved it.  You just never know when they're going to do something really cool like that.  Did I ever tell you?  I really love those girls.
The girls were playing with the boas at Hobby Lobby Saturday

So, that's my confession.  Now you all know how out of shape I am right now.  I've made a decision too.  It's back to walking for me and forget the bike.  At least for now...until I can get in some better shape!

Edit:  Tuesday morning.  I woke up deciding I'm not going to give up on the bike riding yet.  I'm gonna just take it in smaller doses and try to avoid the hills for a few times and see if I can't adjust.  We have so many beautiful bike trails in our area and I really want to ride with my girlfriends that have been riding for the past couple of months and with my daughters too.  So bike, you haven't defeated me yet.  I'm determined to get in better shape.  I've taken the 400 mile challenge (started really late) and I plan to make it. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mine is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs

About This Book:  Found at Waterbrook Multnomah Website.  Publisher of this book.  Click here:

SHE LOST EVERYTHING SHE LOVED.
HE HAD EVERYTHING SHE NEEDED.
BUT COULD SHE FIND THE COURAGE TO TRUST HIM?
Stepping from a battered coach on a rainy April eve, newly widowed Elisabeth Kerr must begin again, without husband or title, property or fortune. She is unafraid of work and gifted with a needle, but how will she stitch together the tattered remnants of her life? And who will mend her heart, torn asunder by betrayal and deception?
   Elisabeth has not come to Selkirk alone. Her mother-in-law, Marjory Kerr, is a woman undone, having buried her husband, her sons, and any promise of grandchildren. Dependent upon a distant cousin with meager resources, Marjory dreads the future almost as much as she regrets the past. Yet joy still comes knocking, and hope is often found in unexpected places.
  Then a worthy hero steps forward, rekindling a spark of hope. Will he risk his reputation to defend two women labeled as traitors to the Crown? Or will a wealthy beauty, untainted by scandal, capture his affections?
   The heartrending journey of the Kerr women comes to a glorious finish in Mine Is the Night, a sparkling gem of redemption and restoration set in eighteenth-century Scotland. 




My Thoughts on this Book:  I loved this book a lot.  This is the second in a series based on the book of Ruth.  Liz Curtis Higgs first book in this series was "Here Burns My Candle" and you'll find my review of that book here.  I actually liked this book even better than the first book.  I think I had a better understanding of the characters and I grew to love them even more. Elisabeth is a sweetheart and I only wish I were that great a christian.  I was not real fond of Marjory in the first book, but she grew so much as a christian and I really loved her in this book.  Lord Jack is awesome and I know you'll love getting to know him.   As I was reading I kept comparing this book to Ruth in the Bible and I loved how Liz carried through with the story.  The characters became so easy to love in this 2nd book.  I enjoyed the way the author used the Scottish language in both of these books.  I enjoyed it in the first, though it was a little hard for me at times, but by the end of this book I was really having fun with it and I found myself actually thinking in that dialect.  Liz Curtis Higgs is an awesome author and I have to say this is my favorite book of hers so far.  If you love historical christian fiction, you will not be disappointed with this book.  Well done, Ms. Higgs, well done!

"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review"

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It Is Well With My Soul

I've been seeing these kids on FB alot recently and just wanted to share this with you all. Is it well with your soul?


Have a great weekend.

Friday, May 20, 2011

2011 Siesta Scripture Memory Team #10


"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help." Psalm 121:1


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge



Click the Hodgepodge button above to visit Joyce and join in the all the fun.

1. What reveals more about a woman-her refrigerator or her purse?
Probably the purse.


2. When was the last time you went to the zoo? Where? What's your favorite zoo animal?
When? - 2 or 3 years ago with my daughter's school class.
Where? - Cincinnati Zoo
Favorite? - Polar Bears 


3. What social issue fires you up?
Probably abortion or child abuse are the biggest ones.


4. Are you a coupon clipper? If so, are you extreme?
Yes, but not as much as I should.  I want to do it more and I have about 5 weeks worth of papers waiting for me to clip now.


5. What is one of your favorite souvenirs brought back from your travels?
Anything with Disney on it of course.  But really my favorite souvenirs are my pictures.


6. Lemon meringue or key lime?
Neither


7. What is the most beautiful word you know in any language?
Grace


8. Insert your own random thought here.
Seems I haven't had much to say lately.  Hopefully I'll get going again soon.  Life just really needs to slow down some.  :)


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Destination Disney


This week’s Destination Disney topic comes from
one of our participants - - -
What is your favorite
summertime treat at Disney?


This is my favorite snack at Disney on a very hot summer's day. I had my first one on our last trip in 2008.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Lightkeeper's Ball by Colleen Coble

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:


The Lightkeeper’s Ball

Thomas Nelson; 1 edition (April 19, 2011)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Colleen Coble’s thirty-five novels and novellas have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA, the Holt Medallion, the ACFW Book of the Year, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, the Booksellers Best, and the 2009 Best Books of Indiana-Fiction award. She writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail and love begin with a happy ending.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Olivia seems to have it all, but her heart yearns for more.

Olivia Stewart's family is one of the Four Hundred—the highest echelon of society in 1910. When her sister dies under mysterious circumstances, Olivia leaves their New York City home for Mercy Falls, California, to determine what befell Eleanor. She suspects Harrison Bennett, the man Eleanor planned to marry. But the more Olivia gets to know him, the more she doubts his guilt—and the more she is drawn to him herself.

When several attempts are made on her life, Olivia turns to Harrison for help. He takes her on a ride in his aeroplane, but then crashes, and they’re forced to spend two days alone together. With her reputation hanging by a thread, Harrison offers to marry her to make the situation right. As a charity ball to rebuild the Mercy Falls lighthouse draws near, she realizes she wants more than a sham engagement—she wants Harrison in her life forever. But her enemy plans to shatter the happiness she is ready to grasp. If Olivia dares to drop her masquerade, she just might see the path to true happiness.



Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson; 1 edition (April 19, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 159554268X
ISBN-13: 978-1595542687

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


The New York brownstone was just half a block down from the Astor mansion on Fifth Avenue, the most prestigious address in the country. The carriage, monogrammed with the Stewart emblem, rattled through the iron gates and came to a halt in front of the ornate doors. Assisted by the doorman, Olivia Stewart descended and rushed for the steps of her home. She was late for tea, and her mother would be furious. Mrs. Astor herself had agreed to join them today.

Olivia handed her hat to the maid, who opened the door. “They’re in the drawing room, Miss Olivia,” Goldia whispered. “Your mama is ready to pace the floor.”

Olivia patted at her hair, straightened her shoulders, and pinned a smile in place as she forced her stride to a ladylike stroll to join the other women. Two women turned to face her as she entered: her mother and Mrs. Astor. They wore identical expressions of disapproval.

“Olivia, there you are,” her mother said. “Sit down before your tea gets cold.”

Olivia pulled off her gloves as she settled into the Queen Anne chair beside Mrs. Astor. “I apologize for my tardiness,” she said. “A lorry filled with tomatoes overturned in the street, and my driver couldn’t get around it.”

Mrs. Astor’s face cleared. “Of course, my dear.” She sipped her tea from the delicate blue-and-white china. “Your dear mother and I were just discussing your prospects. It’s time you married.”

Oh dear. She’d hoped to engage in light conversation that had nothing to do with the fact that she was twenty-five and still unmarried. Her unmarried state distressed her if she let it, but every man her father brought to her wanted only her status. She doubted any of them had ever looked into her soul. “I’m honored you would care about my marital status, Mrs. Astor,” Olivia said.

“Mrs. Astor wants to hold a ball in your honor, Olivia,” her mother gushed. “She has a distant cousin coming to town whom she wants you to meet.”

Mrs. Astor nodded. “I believe you and Matthew would suit. He owns property just down the street.”

Olivia didn’t mistake the reference to the man’s money. Wealth would be sure to impact her mother. She opened her mouth to ask if the man was her age, then closed it at the warning glint in her mother’s eyes.

“He’s been widowed for fifteen years and is long overdue for a suitable wife,” Mrs. Astor said.

Olivia barely suppressed a sigh. So he was another of the decrepit gentlemen who showed up from time to time. “You’re very kind,” she said.

“He’s most suitable,” her mother said. “Most suitable.”

Olivia caught the implication. They spent the next half an hour discussing the date and the location. She tried to enter into the conversation with interest, but all she could do was imagine some gray-whiskered blue blood dancing her around the ballroom. She stifled a sigh of relief when Mrs. Astor took her leave and called for her carriage.

“I’ll be happy when you’re settled, Olivia,” her mother said when they returned to the drawing room. “Mrs. Astor is most kind.”

“She is indeed.” Olivia pleated her skirt with her fingers. “Do you ever wish you could go somewhere incognito, Mother? Where no one has expectations of you because you are a Stewart?”

Her mother put down her saucer with a clatter. “Whatever are you babbling about, my dear?”

“Haven’t you noticed that people look at us differently because we’re Stewarts? How is a man ever to love me for myself when all he sees is what my name can gain him? Men never see inside to the real me. They notice only that I’m a Stewart.”

“Have you been reading those novels again?” Her mother sniffed and narrowed her gaze on Olivia. “Marriage is about making suitable connections. You owe it to your future children to consider the life you give them. Love comes from respect. I would find it quite difficult to respect someone who didn’t have the gumption to make his way in the world. Besides, we need you to marry well. You’re twenty-five years old and I’ve indulged your romantic notions long enough. Heaven knows your sister’s marriage isn’t what I had in mind, essential though it may be. Someone has to keep the family name in good standing.”

Olivia knew what her duty demanded, but she didn’t have to like it. “Do all the suitable men have to be in their dotage?”

Her mother’s eyes sparked fire but before she spoke, Goldia appeared in the doorway. “Mr. Bennett is here, Mrs. Stewart.”

Olivia straightened in her chair. “Show him in. He’ll have news of Eleanor.”

Bennett appeared in the doorway moments later. He shouldn’t have been imposing. He stood only five-foot-three in his shoes, which were always freshly polished. He was slim, nearly gaunt, with a patrician nose and obsidian eyes. He’d always reminded Olivia of a snake about to strike. His expression never betrayed any emotion, and today was no exception. She’d never understood why her father entertained an acquaintance with the man let alone desired their families to be joined.

“Mr. Bennett.” She rose and extended her hand and tried not to flinch as he brushed his lips across it.

“Miss Olivia,” he said, releasing her hand. He moved to her mother’s chair and bowed over her extended hand.

Olivia sank back into her chair. “What do you hear of my sister? I have received no answer to any of my letters.”

He took a seat, steepled his fingers, and leaned forward. “That’s the reason for our meeting today. I fear I have bad news to impart.”

Her pulse thumped erratically against her ribcage. She wetted her lips and drew in a deep breath. “What news of Eleanor?” How bad could it be? Eleanor had gone to marry Harrison, a man she hardly knew. But she was in love with the idea of the Wild West, and therefore more than happy to marry the son of her father’s business partner.

He never blinked. “I shall just have to blurt it out then. I’m sorry to inform you that Eleanor is dead.”

Her mother moaned. Olivia stared at him. “I don’t believe it,” she said.

“I know, it’s a shock.”

There must have been some mistake. She searched his face for some clue that this was a jest. “What happened?”

He didn’t hold her gaze. “She drowned.”

“How?”

“No one knows. I’m sorry.”

Her mother stood and swayed. “What are you saying?” Her voice rose in a shriek. “Eleanor can’t be dead! Are you quite mad?”

He stood and took her arm. “I suggest you lie down, Mrs. Stewart. You’re quite pale.”

Her mother put her hands to her cheeks. “Tell me it isn’t true,” she begged. Then she keeled over in a dead faint.

#
Harrison Bennett tugged on his tie, glanced at his shoes to make sure no speck of dirt marred their perfection, then disembarked from his motorcar in front of the mansion. The cab had rolled up Nob Hill much too quickly for him to gather his courage to face the party. Electric lights pushed back the darkness from the curving brick driveway to the porch with its impressive white pillars. Doormen flanked the double doors at the entry. Through the large windows, he saw the ballroom. Ladies in luxurious gowns and gentlemen in tuxedos danced under glittering chandeliers, and their laughter tinkled on the wind.

His valet, Eugene, exited behind him. “I’ll wait in the kitchen, sir.”

Harrison adjusted his hat and strode with all the confidence he could muster to the front door. “Mr. Harrison Bennett,” he said to the doorman.

The man scanned the paper in his hand. “Welcome, Mr. Bennett. Mr. Rothschild is in the ballroom.”

Harrison thanked him and stepped into the opulent hall papered in gold foil. He went in the direction of the voices with a sense of purpose. This night could change his future. He glanced around the enormous ballroom, and he recognized no one among the glittering gowns and expensive suits. In subtle ways, these nobs would try to keep him in his place. It would take all his gumption not to let them. It was a miracle he’d received an invitation. Only the very wealthy or titled were invited to the Rothschilds’ annual ball in San Francisco. Harrison was determined to do whatever was necessary to secure the contract inside his coat pocket.

A young woman in an evening gown fluttered her lashes at him over the top of her fan. When she lowered it, she approached with a coaxing smile on her lips. “Mr. Bennett, I’d hoped to see you here tonight.”

He struggled to remember her name. Miss Kessler. She’d made her interest in him known at Eleanor’s funeral. Hardly a suitable time. He took her gloved hand and bowed over it. “Miss Kessler. I wasn’t expecting to see you here.”

“I came when I heard you were on the guest list.”

He ignored her brazen remark. “It’s good to see you again. I have some business to attend to. Perhaps later?”

Her eyes darkened and she withdrew her hand. “I shall watch for you,” she said.

And he’d do the same, with the intent to avoid her. “If you’ll excuse me.” He didn’t wait for an answer but strolled through the crowd. He finally spied his host standing in front of a marble fireplace. A flame danced in the eight-foot hearth. Harrison stepped through the crowd to join the four men clustered around the wealthy Rothschild.

The man closest to Harrison was in his fifties and had a curling mustache. “They’ll never get that amendment ratified,” he said. “An income tax! It’s quite ridiculous to expect us to pay something so outrageous.”

A younger man in a gray suit shook his head. “If it means better roads, I’ll gladly write them a check. The potholes outside of town ruined my front axels.”

“We can take care of our own roads,” Rothschild said. “I have no need of the government in my affairs. At least until we’re all using flying machines.” He snickered, then glanced at Harrison. “You look familiar, young man. Have we met?”

Flying machines. Maybe this meeting was something God had arranged. Harrison thrust out his hand. “Harrison Bennett.”

“Claude’s son?”’

Was that distaste in the twist of Rothschild’s mouth? Harrison put confidence into his grip. “Yes, sir.”

“How is your father?”

“Quite well. He’s back in New York by now.”

“I heard about your fiancée’s death. I’m sorry for your loss.”

Harrison managed not to wince. “Thank you.” He pushed away his memories of that terrible day, the day he’d seen Eleanor Stewart for what she really was.

“Your father was most insistent I meet you. He seems to think you have a business proposition I might be interested in.”

Harrison smiled and began to tell the men of the new diamond mines that Bennett and Bennett had found in Africa. A mere week after Mr. Stewart’s passing, Mr. Bennett had renamed the venture to include Harrison. An hour later, he had appointments set up with three of the men as possible investors. His father would be pleased.

Harrison smiled and retraced his steps to toward the front door but was waylaid by four women in brightly colored silk. They swooped around him, and Miss Kessler took him by the hand and led him to a quiet corner.

“Let’s not talk about anything boring like work,” she said, her blue eyes sparkling. “Tell me what you love to do most.”

He glanced at the other women clustered around. “I’m building an aeroplane. I’d like to have it in the air by the time Earth passes through the tail of Halley’s Comet.”

She gasped. “Do you have a death wish, Mr. Bennett? You would be breathing the poisonous fumes directly. No one even knows if the Earth will survive this.”

He’d heard this before. “The scientists I’ve discussed this with believe we shall be just fine,” Harrison said.

“I assume you’ve purchased comet pills?” the blonde closest to him said.

“I have no fear.”

The brunette in red silk smiled. “If man were meant to fly, God would have given him wings. Or so I’ve heard the minister say.”

He finally placed the brunette. Her uncle was Rothschild. No wonder she had such contempt for Harrison’s tone. All the nobs cared for were trains and ships. “It’s just a matter of perfecting the machine,” Harrison said. “Someday aeroplanes will be the main mode of transcontinental transportation.”

The brunette laughed. “Transcontinental? My uncle would call it balderdash.”

He glanced at his pocket watch without replying. “I fear I must leave you lovely ladies. Thank you for the conversation.”

He found Eugene in the kitchen and beckoned to his valet.

Eugene put down his coffee cup and followed. “You didn’t stay long, sir,” he said. “Is everything all right?”

Harrison stalked out the door and toward the car. “Are there no visionaries left in the country?”

Eugene followed a step behind. “You spoke of your flying machine?”

“The world is changing, Eugene, right under their noses—and they don’t see it.”

Eugene opened the door for Harrison. “You will show them the future, sir.”

He set his jaw. “I shall indeed.”

“I have a small savings set aside, Mr. Bennett. I’d like to invest in your company. With your permission, of course.”

Eugene’s trust bolstered Harrison’s determination. “I’d be honored to partner with you, Eugene. We are going to change the world.”


My Thoughts: This was a great book. I could hardly put it down once I started it. The story was very interesting and I have to say I was completely surprised with the outcome of the mystery in the end. I definitely recommend this book if you love great christian fiction with a little bit of mystery.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Shampoo Alert!

Just sharing a funny e-mail I received from a friend today.  Thanks Jan.

Shampoo alert!


As I was conditioning my hair in the shower this morning, I took time to read my shampoo bottle. I am in shock! The shampoo I use in the shower that runs down my entire body says "for extra volume and body"! Seriously, why have I not noticed this before? Now I understand why I am so "full-figured"!


Tomorrow I am going to start using "Dawn" dish soap. It says right on the label "dissolves fat that is otherwise difficult to remove."


It pays to read the warning labels my friends!

Wednesday Hodgepodge



1. How many times in your life have you moved house?
8 times before I was married and 4 times since marriage

2. What subject would you study if you had a year to devote to it?
I would like to play a different instrument.  Maybe mandolin or guitar.

3. What in this world breaks your heart?
Child abuse of any sort.  All children should have the right to be safe.

4. What is one item that symbolizes the times in which we live? Why?
Drive-thru windows.  Why?  Because we are a society that wants what we want and we want it now.  We do not like to wait on anything.  Consider the microwave, high-speed internet, etc.

5. Share a favorite bumper sticker or t-shirt slogan.
I couldn't think of one right off so I went looking and found this:


6. How do you like your spaghetti?
Baked

7. What is one piece of advice you would give a recent, or soon to be recent, graduate?
Get a job!  :)

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Our ladies Bible study (The Patriarchs by Beth Moore) just ended tonight.  I'm gonna miss meeting with these ladies every Tuesday night.  But we'll be back together in August or September!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge


Hey, why don't you click the HodgePodge button and come on and enjoy the fun with Joyce and the rest of us?  You know you want to.

1. Have you ever been served breakfast in bed? Do you enjoy that? If someone were serving you breakfast in bed this coming weekend what would you hope to see on the tray?
No I don't think I've ever been served breakfast in bed.  Don't know if I would enjoy it or not.  See first sentence.  lol  If I were served breakfast, I believe I'd want eggs and bacon and a glass of chocolate milk.  But I think I'd really rather eat it at the table (but they could surely prepare it while I'm in bed and then let me go back to bed while they clean up after I eat).

2. What is one piece of advice you would give a new mother?
Enjoy you're child every day.

3. When was the last time you wanted to scream? Explain.
I have a tendancy to be a yeller, so everyday!  No explanation needed.

4. Can you hula hoop?
Yes.

5. What is something people do in traffic that really bothers you?
Pull out in front of me or cut me off.

6. What do you do when people don't admit they're wrong?
See #3.

7. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word 'fun'?
Disney World, of course!

8. Insert your own random thought here.
On the way to pick up oldest daughter.
And here's a little video I saw on FB and thought I'd share with you, cause we are "In the Muthahood" 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Undaunted Faith by Andrea Boeshaar

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:


Undaunted Faith

Realms (May 3, 2011)

***Special thanks to Anna Coelho Silva | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar is a certified Christian life coach and speaks at writers’ conferences and for women’s groups. She has taught workshops at such conferences as Write-To-Publish, American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Oregon Christian Writers Conference, Mount Hermon Writers Conference, and many local writers conferences. Another of Andrea’s accomplishments is cofounder of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) organization. For many years she served on both its Advisory Board and as its CEO.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

When Pastor Luke McCabe begins paying extra attention to her, Bethany takes his fine-sounding words with a grain of salt. She's heard sweet talk before. This time she is going to keep her mind on the Lord and on her new teaching job in the Arizona Territory. But when her reputation is accidentally soiled by the rakish town sheriff, Luke steps in with a marriage proposal to save Bethany's good name. Luke is certain their marriage is God's will...but Bethany is just as certain God must have someone else in mind to be Luke's wife. Someone sweet and spiritual, who knows the Scriptures better than Bethany does. Someone like Luke's old friend from home.



Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Realms (May 3, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616382058
ISBN-13: 978-1616382056

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Prologue



Journal entry: Monday, April 1, 1867

I, Bethany Leanne Stafford, am writing in a leather-bound journal, which my dear friend Mrs. Valerie McCabe gave me for a going-away gift. She suggested I write my memoirs of my impending journey West and about my new life as a schoolteacher in the wild

Arizona Territory. Valerie said she wished she’d have kept a diary of her escape from New Orleans and a loveless marriage from which her husband Ben had rescued her.

For continuity’s sake, I shall back up from the day I left Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In September of last year, upon leaving the city, I took the train to Jericho Junction, Missouri. My traveling companions were Pastors Luke and Jacob McCabe and Gretchen Schlyterhaus, a German widow. Mrs. Schlyterhaus had worked as a housekeeper for Captain Brian Sinclair, who, at the time of our departure, was declared dead—drowned in a boating accident on Lake Michigan. Mrs. Schlyterhaus felt her livelihood had ended too, until Pastor Luke convinced her to go West with us. Weeks later, the captain was

discovered alive in a Chicago hospital. Mrs. Schlyterhaus had been certain that he would insist upon her returning to her duties in his household; after all, she’d signed a binding contract with him. But to her surprise, the captain allowed her to resign and even sent her a bonus (a tidy sum, I heard). Richard and Sarah brought it with them when they came for the Christmas holiday. Uncharacteristic for the captain, but Sarah said he’s a changed man. He found the Lord—and a good woman, whom he married—and he’s living happily

in Milwaukee where he owns a shipping business and a store. Richard is now his business partner and an equally important man in Milwaukee.


But I digress. After a full day’s train ride, we arrived in Jericho Junction, where I’ve lived for the past seven and a half months and earned my teaching certificate. In that time I’ve gotten to know Sarah’s relatives. How I wish I were part of this family! Pastor Daniel McCabe is a thoughtful, gentle man, unlike my own father who is a hard, insensitive soul. Mrs. McCabe has been more of a mother to me than I’ve ever known. My own mother died when I was eight. My father remarried, and my stepmother is as lazy as she is lovely (and she’s beautiful!). My half brother Tommy was born when I was nine, and nearly every year since my stepmother bore another child for me to look after in addition to my chores on the farm.


Forever, it seemed, I dreamed of escaping the drudgery of my life by marrying Richard, except God had other plans. Richard married Sarah. At first I felt jealous, but seeing how much Richard loved her, I couldn’t begrudge them their happiness. I did fear, however,

that I’d be forever trapped on my father’s farm caring for my brothers and sisters and working my body to the bone. I couldn’t bear the thought of dying as a spinster who’d never accomplished anything meaningful.


So when Luke McCabe offered me this chance to teach in the Arizona Territory, I jumped at it. In spite of my father’s protests, I packed my meager belongings and stayed next door with the Navises until the day of my departure. Needless to say, I left my family on a sour note. My father said he never wanted to see me again. I can’t say as I give a whit. I’m glad to be gone!


And as for the trip itself, we will depart in just a few short hours. We will follow the Santa Fe Trail along with other migrants—most of them families whom we met last night in the hotel’s dining room.


I am ever so excited about my adventure. Still, I’m quite aware that traveling by oxen-drawn, covered wagons may, indeed, prove to be a hardship, but both Mrs. Schlyterhaus and I are ready and eager to face each new challenge. As required by the United States, more than one hundred wagons are signed up to leave this morning. Due to the threat of Indian attack no less than a hundred can travel the trail.


But I must cease my writing now. Luke is knocking at the door. It’s time for breakfast...and then we’ll be on our way!


Journal entry: Wednesday, June 12

There has been no time for me to write. It’s been a long and exhausting journey thus far. During the daytime I walk beside the wagon while Luke and Jake take turns driving and scouting the trail ahead by horseback. After we make camp I prepare dinner, and then we clean up and get some sleep. But this evening by lamplight I simply had to pen what occurred today. I saw, for the first time in my life—a rattlesnake! On the farm in Wisconsin, I never saw anything larger than a pine snake, and even though they can bite, pine snakes are not poisonous. But I happened upon this deadly reptile quite accidentally as I unloaded our wagon this evening. I nearly stepped on the horrid thing and it poised, ready to strike me. In those seconds that passed I was sure I’d be bitten and die. But Luke saw the snake the same time I did. He pulled out his rifle and shot it dead before it attacked me.


Afterward I just stood there, gazing at the creature’s lifeless, beady black eyes. I burst into tears, realizing how frightened I had really been. Luke put his hand on my shoulder and said, “There, now, Beth, that buzzworm’s dead as a doornail. He can’t hurt you anymore.”


Luke saved my very life that day, and I thank God for him.


Journal entry: Friday, June 14

Yesterday a horrible thing happened involving another rattlesnake, but this time it resulted in a tragedy. A five-year-old boy named Justin McMurray got bit. His passing was the saddest thing I ever witnessed. The strike happened during the day, but the McMurrays didn’t want to make the entire wagon train stop because of Justin. By the time several men and one doctor went by the McMurray wagon to see if they could be of help, it was too late. The poison had gotten into the boy’s system, and he had a raging fever. Then Luke and I went over and talked to Justin. Despite the fever and chills, he was coherent and in a tremendous amount of pain. My heart immediately went out to him, but also to Mrs. McMurray. She looked so sad and helpless as she held her child whose life was slipping away with each passing second. Instinctively, I put my arm around the woman’s shoulders in an effort to comfort her while Luke talked to the boy about heaven. Justin listened intently. I choked back a sob and glanced at Mrs. McMurray, who had tears rolling down her cheeks. Luke’s eyes looked misty too, but instead of weeping, he started singing. He knew so many songs about rejoicing in heaven

that Mrs. McMurray actually smiled, and Justin even laughed a couple of times.


Finally the Lord took the boy home, and while I was happy that Justin is in the Savior’s arms, I felt a bit sick inside. I still do.


Journal entry: Sunday, June 30

For the past two weeks since little Justin McMurray’s death, I’ve been having nightmares. Each time I doze, I envision rattlesnakes everywhere—in the wagon, even

in my hair! I awaken with a start, and Mrs. Schlyterhaus hushes me, since we both sleep inside the wagon while Luke and Jake make their beds on the ground below us.


My fear of rattlesnakes grew along with the exhausting desert temperatures to the point where I refused to get down from the wagon and stretch my legs during the day. At night I begged Mrs. Schlyterhaus to start the fire and make supper. I did not have any appetite and would lie down inside the wagon and pray for some peaceful sleep . . . which never seemed to come. Finally last night Luke said, “Bethany Stafford, you climb down off that wagon this minute!” I told him I would do no such thing. He asked me why, but I could

not admit how afraid I was to leave the wagon and have a rattlesnake kill me. However, Luke guessed the trouble. He said, “There’s no snakes around, so come down now or I’ll climb up and get you myself.”


Still, I refused, but I tried to be polite about it. Next thing I knew Luke had his arm around my waist, lifting me out of the wagon. Then he announced we were taking a stroll around the wagon train encampment.


I begged to stay back, but he would not be dissuaded. I went so far as to threaten him, saying if I died of snakebite, it would be all his fault. He said, “I’ll take my chances.”


So I pleaded with him to at least carry along his rifle. Luke replied, “No, ma’am, we’re only taking the Lord with us tonight.”


The fear inside of me increased. My heart pounded and my legs shook with every anxious step. At last Luke said folks were going to get the wrong impression about us if I did not begin to walk in a ladylike fashion. To my shame, I realized I was stepping all over him in order to keep away from the rattlesnakes that I knew lurked beneath the sands of the Cimarron.


Luke’s voice became very soft and gentle. He said, “Beth, God does not give us the spirit of fear, so don’t be afraid. Our heavenly Father was not surprised when Justin McMurray got bit by that snake. That home-going had been planned since the beginning of time.”


I knew he was right, and somehow his straightforwardness caused me to relax. Then he mentioned what a nice evening it was for a stroll, and for the first time I realized the sky looked clear and the air felt cool and clean against my face. Amazingly I even felt hungry then. I loosened the death grip I had around Luke’s elbow. He chuckled as though he was amused. I felt horribly embarrassed, and he laughed again. I like the sound of his laugh, so slow and easy. And it’s a funny thing, but with God and Luke right there with me, I didn’t fret about rattlesnakes the rest of the night.


Journal entry: Sunday, July 21

After walking in oven-hot temperatures for ten to fourteen miles every day, except Sundays, we finally arrived in Santa Fe. I’m not sure what I expected, but I’m ever so disappointed with what has met my weary eyes thus far. Santa Fe is not at all lush and green like Wisconsin during the summer months. Everything is a dismal brown. Most houses are single-story adobe structures with dirt floors. There is a telegraph office, and we learned that Sarah gave birth to a healthy baby boy. His name is Samuel Richard. I must say that Luke and Jake seem quite proud of their youngest sister and newest nephew. I’m genuinely happy for Richard and Sarah.


As for myself, I am bone-thin, and the traveling dresses I made for the journey hang from my shoulders like old potato sacks. Luke is worried about me, and so we will remain here for a couple of weeks while I regain my strength.


On the last leg of our journey we escaped both Indian attack and bad weather. But we did encounter a buffalo stampede, the likes I hope to never witness again! The ground shook so hard my teeth rattled. That same day we saw abandoned wagons and fresh graves, which proved an almost eerie forewarning. Days later, a strange fever made its way around our wagon train, and several people died, including four small children.

Although both Luke and Jake gave encouraging graveside messages, having to leave the little bodies of their children behind, coupled with the fear of animals discovering them, proved more than the three young mothers in our camp could bear. They wept for days,

and my heart broke right along with them.


Luke soon enlisted my services, and I prayed with the mourning women and helped with their daily chores. Luke said I was a blessing to them. Oddly, in assisting them, my own heart began to heal. When Mrs. Schlyterhaus took ill with the fever, I nursed her back to health as well. Both Luke and Jake said they didn’t know what they’d have done without me.


As for Mrs. Schlyterhaus, Jake has decided that, although her health is improving, she will remain here in Santa Fe permanently. He has arranged for her to stay with a missionary family and work as their housekeeper. Mrs. Schlyterhaus is very accepting of this arrangement, although I will miss her. She has softened considerably since leaving Milwaukee and has come to realize how unhappy she has been since her husband’s death. But she said the thought of another four weeks traveling through Indian territory frightens her senseless.



In truth, it frightens me also. But, as Luke is fond of saying, God does not give us the spirit of fear, and from the human standpoint, he and Jake have taken precautions to ensure our safety. He hired a guide— a physician named Frank Bandy, one of the few white men who have made peace with the Apaches. The Indians allow him passage through their territory because he has been able to minister medically to their people.


But, alas, I must stop writing for now as there are numerous tasks I would like to accomplish—although if Luke discovers I am not resting, I may have some explaining to do.


Journal entry: Monday, October 7

I have discovered I keep a poor journal. Truth is, I forgot about my diary these past months as it has been tucked away in my trunk of belongings. However, this morning I shall do my best to bring the events up to date. I fully recovered from my journey and now spend much of my time becoming familiar with my surroundings and the people here. We arrived in Silverstone on August 27, and I had only a few days to prepare the classroom as school began on Monday, the second of September. I have thirteen children in my class, ranging from first to eighth grades. Three of my students are from one family. They lost their mother just a few short months ago in childbirth. I hope to be able to help them deal with their loss as they might prove to be the brightest children under my tutelage this year.


Meanwhile, the Arizona heat has been ghastly. Rain compounded the misery by turning everything to mud. I doubt I shall ever get used to this place. I find myself looking forward to my cool baths every morning at the break of dawn when several of us women go down to the riverbank, as is the custom of the Mexican women here. The muddy water looks red and the river’s current is swift; however, after wilting in the previous day’s heat, it is a welcomed respite. Silverstone itself is located twenty miles north of Arizona City and the Yuma Crossing on the Colorado River. Beyond the town the scenery is breathtakingly beautiful. The majestic mountaintops seem to touch an ever-azure sky, and the swirling red river water flows beneath them. But the town is an eyesore by comparison. It’s a hot, dusty, unpainted freight town. The people here are an odd mix of prospectors, ranchers, freighters, Mexicans, and Indians, and they keep Main Street (if it may be called such a thing) lively with regular brawls, which I abhor.


On one side of the rutted, unpaved road there is an adobe government building, which houses the sheriff and a jail. Ironically, right next door, there is a rickety wooden saloon called Chicago Joe’s and, above it, a house of ill repute. On the other side of Main Street is the Winters’ Boardinghouse, in which I am presently residing. The Winters also operate a dining room and the post office. Beside their place is a dry-goods store and next to it a freight office and a bank. Luke maintains the church at the end of the thoroughfare and delivers the Sunday morning message each week. Jake does carpentry work when he is not riding the circuit and preaching. Beside the church there stands a small one-room schoolhouse, where I teach.


As one might guess, the two sides of Main Street are largely at odds with each other. Mrs. Winters says we are the “good” side, and those across the way (particularly the women in the brothel) are the “bad” side—all save for Sheriff Paden Montaño, of course. Silverstone’s sheriff has been commissioned by the United States Army and oversees the shipping and receiving of government freight landed in Silverstone by river steamers. Then it is transported across the Territory by wagon. Sheriff Montaño’s father was a rugged vaquero (cowboy), and his mother was a genteel woman from back East.


I think the sheriff seems to have inherited traits from both parents; however, he is a sight to behold. He is a darkly handsome man with hair so long it hangs nearly to his waist. One would never see such a man in Milwaukee, Wisconsin!


At first glance, he resembles a fierce Indian, but his actions are polite and refined. Like his vaquero father, he is a capable horseman and masterful with a gun. Like his mother, with whom he was raised, he is well educated. Some say Sheriff Montaño is a Mexican and Indian sympathizer, out to use his status as a United States lawman for his own purposes, but Luke says he’s a fair man. I must admit I have found the sheriff to be charming.


And then there is Ralph Jonas, who is quite the opposite. He claims to be a Christian man, but he can be quite disagreeable. His wife died during childbirth just before we arrived in town, and Mr. Jonas is desperately trying to replace her—just as he might replace a mule. I was insulted when he proposed to me, and I find his philosophy on marriage highly distasteful. Thankfully, Luke had a talk with him. I don’t know what he said, but now Mr. Jonas keeps his distance for the most part.


I must admit that I hate it here in Silverstone. I want to return to Jericho Junction. I’m praying the McCabes will find something for me to do there, but first an opportunity will have to present itself. But worse is the next wagon train won’t depart for Missouri again until next spring.


Six months. Six long months.


Will I be able to survive that long, here in this Godforsaken land?






One



Aknock sounded once. Then again, more insistent this time.


“Coming.” Bethany set down the quill and capped the inkwell. Closing her journal, she stood from where she’d been sitting at the desk Jake had crafted for her use. Then, before she could open the door, Trudy poked her round, cherubic face into Bethany’s bedroom.


“Mama says breakfast is ready.”


“Thank you, Trudy. I’ll be down shortly.”


A grin curved the flaxen-haired girl’s pink mouth. “Reverend Luke and Reverend Jake are already here. Sheriff Montaño is too.”


Bethany wasn’t at all taken aback by the familiar way in which Trudy referred to both Luke and Jake. Because the men shared the same surname, the townspeople called them by their first names.


“I’ll be down shortly.” Walking to the looking glass, Bethany brushed out her long brown hair. It had dried from her earlier bath in the river.


Thirteen-year-old Trudy stepped farther into the room and closed the door behind her. “I’ll bet we’ll hear some lively conversation. Something about cattle stealing. Papa said the Indians have been causing trouble again.”


“Oh, dear.” Bethany tried not to show either her discontent with this town or her unease with the natives of this land.