Saturday, February 28, 2009

Flashback Friday--Saturday Night


http://christis-blahblahblog.blogspot.com






Since I didn't make it getting this up on Friday, what better song to remember than this?! I remember watching the Bay City Rollers on Saturday morning TV and thinking how cute they were in their plaid! Years later, I had a student whose mom helped him learn how to spell Saturday by teaching him the chant from this song!



I apologize for this being late, but I know you sweethearts understand completely how things with family take have to come first. I love ya'll and appreciate your faithfulness to my blog even when I'm not so great at reciprocating!!

ANYWAY, if ya wanna come back and link up, here ya go!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Dad update

I'm awake at 3:33 am, so I might not get a Flashback Friday up very quickly! Dad continues to improve! They've taken the breathing apparatus that was down his throat out, which makes it easier to communicate and has to make him more comfortable! He's responding to questions, moving all 4 limbs, knows his name, etc. He is still in CICU at this point, but that's okay if that is where he needs to be! Please continue to pray as we still have a ways to go!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday--Thank You, God, for Family



I am so blessed with a loving family that I enjoy being around. I'm even more thankful for my beloved Daddy coming through surgery successfully!! God is SOOOO good, and He deserves ALL the praise!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Surgery went well!

Thank you, dear Lord!!!! God is so good, and has been with us through this terribly long day. I will try to share more tomorrow, but just wanted to say that surgery was successful and he is recovering right as he should. Please pray for his continued recovery and pain, as well as for Mom--she's worn out, understandably. We were blessed with many friends stopping by and calling to check on us. Surgery took about 6 hours. I went on to class after seeing him for about 5 minutes, and somehow (not somehow, with God's help!) managed to make 100 on my quiz, too! I even had the opportunity to speak to one of my favorite undergrad professors and catch up with him a bit.

My sweet husband has dvr'd a documentary that I had wanted to watch and that he happened to see coming on tonight. He's also done lots of laundry. He's such a blessing!! His Mamaw may get to come home tomorrow. They're still not exactly sure what caused her severe pain, and we pray that something does show up in tests so we can figure it out. So far, nothing much has. So please continue to pray for her, too.

I pray that you have a blessed night and sleep...I think I will, out of pure relief!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Crazy past few days...

...and then next ones look to be more of the same!

On Saturday afternoon, Chris' almost 84 year old grandmother had to be rushed to the ER with chest pains. Initially they thought it was a heart attack, then yesterday they said no, it is double pneumonia. Then today HER doctor said that he didn't see any pneumonia, but it might be an aneurysm or blood clot. They had her out of her room for tests for 6 hours today, so hopefully they got something in that time to see what is actually going on! Either way, it scared us to death, and I've been on pins and needles worrying not only about her but dad's upcoming surgery.

Both Isaac and I slept poorly last night. We ended up on separate couches watching Twister at 2 am! I'm sure that didn't help with my anxiousness either.

We went to see Mamaw after school this evening, and then went by to see my parents for a while. I'm finding myself being right on the verge of tears quite often....I know that it is fruitless for me to worry, but you know how that goes.....

So many people are lifting up prayers and giving us Spiritual support through prayer, it is truly amazing. Mom had a list of people who had called them over the past 24 hours on a notepad....people from all over the place. People that they went to school with, former church members, other preachers, friends....and then add to that all of mine and my sisters' families and friends...many, many prayers are going up. I am strengthened by that, and humbled as well. I know that I am very blessed to be surrounded by such love and support. I don't know how many people have told me to be sure to let them know how things go, both online and in real life. Even my principal asked me to call school and let them know.

I'm supposed to have class tomorrow evening, and I emailed my professor to let her know about surgery and she also said she's praying and that if I miss class, she will understand. That is a real blessing in itself, to know that if things are NOT going perfectly, that I can stay with my family where I want to be instead of worrying while driving to class.

Well, mountains of laundry don't wait or care what family emergencies are taking place. I better go climb 'em or else my husband is going to rebel, I fear.

I know the Lord is with me...He is also with you. Blessings upon us all tonight.

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Age Before Beauty

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:


Age before Beauty, book 2 in the Sister-to-Sister Series

Revell (February 1, 2009)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Virginia Smith is the author of eight novels, including Age before Beauty, Stuck in the Middle, and A Taste of Murder. In 2008 she was named Writer of the Year at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A popular retreat speaker, Ginny keeps audiences enthralled with her high-energy presentations. She and her husband, Ted, divide their time between Kentucky and Utah, and escape as often as they can for diving trips to the Caribbean.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Revell (February 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0800732332
ISBN-13: 978-0800732332

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


The mirror had to be warped. That was the only explanation for the image staring back at Allie from its treacherous surface. Her thighs couldn’t be that wide, her belly that flabby. Could glass warp? Of course not. But the weather so far this fall had been wetter than normal, following a horribly humid Kentucky summer. All that dampness wreaked havoc on the wooden front door at Gram’s house. And this mirror had a wood frame. That had to be it.

But the warping seemed only to be in the middle, like one of those fun-house mirrors. She squinted down at her pink toenails. Her feet looked normal. Her face looked okay. Pretty good, even. This was the first time she’d put on makeup in weeks, and a little color worked wonders. She could use a haircut, though the dark blonde layers falling in waves to rest on her shoulders managed to hold the extra length well.

She blew her bangs out of her eyes. Actually, the long hair made her face look fuller, and that offset some of the width of her hips. Which needed the help, especially now that she got a good look at them wearing only a nursing bra and panties. If she cut some of the volume out of her hair, she’d look like one of those toys she and Joan and Tori played with as kids. What were they called? Weebles. She’d look like Mother Weeble.

She swayed from side to side, eyeing her oversized bottom half as she sang the toy’s jingle. “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down.”

“Did you say something?”

Allie whirled to find Eric standing in the bedroom doorway, a grin twitching at his mouth. She felt a blush creep up her neck. Though he was the world’s most awesome husband and devoted new daddy, she still felt awkward parading her postmaternity body around in front of him. A flabby belly covered in stretch marks was soooo sexy.

“How long have you been standing there?”

His voice dropped an octave as his smile deepened. “Long enough to admire my beautiful wife.”

No mistaking that husky tone. She snatched her jeans off the bed. “Don’t get frisky, lover boy. My sister will be here any minute.”

Eric’s lips twisted. “Story of my life lately.”

Allie crossed the room and placed a tender kiss on his cheek. “I’m sorry my family is here so often. They just don’t want to miss a day with the baby. She’s growing so fast.”

“I know, I know.” He grinned. “But tonight I get Joanie all to myself. Our first father-daughter date.”

Allie sat on the edge of the bed and slipped her feet into the jeans, avoiding Eric’s eyes. He had been looking forward to this evening for a full week, ever since Joan invited her to go to a stupid party where some fanatical woman would try to force her to buy something she didn’t want and for which she had no use. If only Joan hadn’t asked in front of Eric, she would have turned the invitation down without a second thought. But he had insisted it was time she took her first outing without the baby.

Pulling the waistband up around her knees, she gave Eric a worried look. “Are you sure you’ll be okay? She’s only taken a bottle a few times, you know. She might cry.”

“I’ll deal with it.”

“But—”

He held up a finger. “No buts. She’s five weeks old. In three weeks she’ll be taking a bottle at the daycare center when you go back to work. She needs to get used to it.”

Tears stung Allie’s eyes, and she looked away so Eric wouldn’t see. “I guess you’re right.”

“Of course I am. Now finish getting dressed while I go wind the baby swing again.”

He left, and Allie sat staring at the handwoven rug in front of their bed. Three weeks. Then she’d have to leave her precious little Joanie in the hands of a total stranger.

If only . . .

She jerked the shirt over her head. No. One of the things she and Eric had talked about before they got married was how they’d handle life after they started having children. She’d insisted on laying it all out, because Eric’s mother had been a stay-at-home mom, and Allie wanted to make absolutely sure he didn’t have the same expectations. Her toenail caught the edge of her sock as she tugged it up, and she hissed with pain. No way would she become one of those women relegated to a dull life of child rearing. She was a career woman—the second sock followed the first—with a college degree and plans for her professional future. She liked her job, liked the independence it gave her. Besides, they agreed on having two incomes so they could afford things like nice clothes and good cars and vacations at the beach.

But that was before she’d had a baby.

If only there was some way she could pursue her career and keep her daughter at home. She had quietly investigated every work-from-home scheme she could find lately, but all of them sounded more like scams than jobs.

Banishing the tears, she stood. No sense crying about it. She had no option. In three weeks she’d return to her job as a team leader at the social services office. She might even be able to recapture some of the excitement and ambition she’d felt before she got pregnant. At the moment, though, it sounded like a life sentence with no chance of parole.

She pulled her jeans up over her knees. This was the first pair of zippered pants she’d tried to wear since Joanie’s birth, having lived in sweats and oversized T-shirts once she put away the maternity clothes. Wiggling her hips back and forth, she inched them upward. Come on, come on, they had to fit. They were her biggest jeans, stretchy and so loose that she’d worn them all the way up to her fifth month of pregnancy. Just a little farther . . .

Ugh. She panted from the effort. But at least she’d managed to get them pulled all the way up.

Now the zipper. Suck that gut in. Pull hard. Harder. She hopped up and down, tugging at the waistband. Okay, if the zipper wouldn’t go all the way to the top, it didn’t matter. She’d just wear her shirttail out. Everybody did these days. As long as she could get the button fastened.

There! They fit! She was wearing pre-baby Levis! Well, sort of.

She stepped up to the mirror and bit back a gasp.

The stupid thing had to be warped.


***


“Hey, look at you all dressed up.” Joan stood on the doorstep, car keys clutched in one hand. “You look great.”

Allie scowled and tried not to think of the jeans she could almost wear shoved in the back of her bottom drawer. “These are maternity pants. Nothing else fits.”

“Oh.” Joan’s smile drooped a fraction, then brightened again. “But that’s not a maternity shirt. And turquoise is totally your color.”

Her eyes shifted to a point inside the room, then she practically bowled Allie over as she rushed toward the swing to snatch up the baby. Sighing, Allie closed the door. So much for Joanie’s nap.

Allie tried to ignore a wave of insecurity as she admired her sister’s slim frame, the way her jeans fit without a single bulge. Straight dark hair fell forward to tickle the baby’s face as Joan cooed at her slumbering namesake while she unfastened the safety strap. Soft baby noises answered as little Joanie’s eyelids fluttered open. Allie clasped her hands together to keep from taking the infant from her middle sister’s arms. She was so sweet when she first woke. Tiny fists rose above her head and she kicked her legs out to their full length and arched her back to stretch.

“Look at her! I swear she’s grown an inch since the last time I saw her.”

Allie answered dryly. “I doubt that, since you came over yesterday.” She held her hands out. “Here, let me change her.”

Joan clutched the baby closer. “I’ll do it.”

With a sigh, Allie followed her sister into the nursery. Bright pink daisies on fields of green bordered the white walls and also decorated lacy curtains and crib bedding. Joan laid Joanie on a daisy-covered pad atop the changing table. While she unsnapped the pink onesie, Allie took a diaper from the stacker and popped open the plastic cap on the wipes. The sweet smell of baby powder was quickly replaced with a less pleasant odor when Joan peeled the tape off the dirty diaper.

Eric stuck his head through the doorway as Allie pulled out a wipe and handed it to Joan. “Whew, I’m glad you girls got that out of the way before you left. Of course, the way this little piggie eats, I probably have at least one unpleasant surprise in store tonight.”

“Don’t worry.” Allie dropped the soiled bundle into the Diaper Genie and twisted the knob. “We won’t be gone very long. I’m sure we’ll be back for the next dirty diaper.”

“I’m kidding, Allie. You know I don’t mind taking care of my girl.” He leaned over and buried a kiss in Joanie’s chubby neck, eliciting a gurgle and an excited waving of arms and legs.

Joan snapped the onesie back in place over the fresh diaper and picked up the squirming infant. Allie stepped forward to take her, but instead Joan thrust her into Eric’s arms.

“It’s time to go. I don’t want to be late.” With a meaningful glance in Allie’s direction, she marched out of the room, Eric right behind her with Joanie hugged tightly to his chest.

Left alone in the nursery, Allie fought a wave of panic that caused her throat to tighten with unshed tears. Cheerful daisies mocked her. She knew this feeling, had sensed the edges of it creeping toward her all day. The moment had come. After five weeks of constantly being in Joanie’s presence, she was about to leave her in someone else’s care.

Don’t be ridiculous. She scrubbed at her eyes with the back of her hand. Joanie wasn’t staying with a stranger. She was staying with her daddy! He’d watched her many times while Allie enjoyed a long bath or a nap.

But what if she cries? What if she misses me?

She started toward the living room, and then stopped short as an even more distressing thought struck her. What if she doesn’t even notice I’m gone?

“Allie, are you coming?”

Joan’s voice propelled her feet into motion. She would not think about that.

“I’m ready.”

One step took her from the hallway into their tiny living room, where Eric had deposited Joanie on the mat beneath her baby gym. Allie fought to suppress a wave of regret when chubby infant hands waved with erratic enthusiasm at the dangling toys, and happy coos filled the room. It had only been in the past few days that she’d started noticing the toys. She was growing so fast, changing every day. What if she did something really cool for the first time tonight, while Allie wasn’t here to see it? She dropped to her knees and showered Joanie’s face with goodbye kisses.

“There are a couple of bottles all ready to go in the fridge,” she told Eric. “Run hot water over them to warm them. Don’t use the microwave.”

Eric stood and pulled her up with him. “I won’t.” He planted a kiss on her cheek.

“She ate two hours ago, so she’ll probably be hungry around eight. If she gets fussy before—”

Joan grabbed her arm and steered her forcefully toward the front door. “Come along, Mother. It’s time to go.”

Thoughts of all the terrible things that could happen pummeled her mind like giant hailstones. She pulled away and whirled toward Eric. “Don’t give her a bath until I get home. You know how slippery she is when she’s soapy.”

He put his hands on her shoulders and turned her to face the door. “Stop worrying. We’ll be fine. Now go have a good time.” A gentle shove pushed her forward.

From the porch, Joan seized her and jerked her through the doorway. Allie shook her off and spun around to remind Eric to put the baby’s sweater on because the house would cool when the sun went down, but the front door slammed shut in her face. Tears welled in her eyes.

“You’re pathetic.” Joan folded her arms across her chest and leveled an unsympathetic look on her.

Allie sniffled. “It’s the first time we’ve been apart in five weeks.”

“Then it’s about time you gave the poor kid some breathing room.” She shook her head. “You’re becoming one of those hovering mothers. I can totally see you stalking her on the kindergarten playground during recess.”

Actually, Allie didn’t see a problem with dropping by to check on your kids during the day, but in the face of Joan’s sardonic expression, she didn’t dare mention it. Instead she lifted a chin. “I will not be a hovering mother.”

A snort blasted from her sister’s nose. “I know my big sister. You’ll hover like a helicopter.”

Her head held high, Allie marched past Joan toward the driveway. “I thought you didn’t want to be late.”

She rubbed her hands on her arms. It was a chilly fifty degrees, and the orange October sun was rapidly dropping toward the horizon. They’d shoved her out the door without a jacket, but she didn’t dare go back inside now or she’d never hear the end of it. Serve them both right if she caught pneumonia and died.






For more information about Age before Beauty, visit www.VirginiaSmith.org




Used by permission of Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, copyright ©2009. All rights to this material are reserved. Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Baker Publishing Group. www.BakerPublishingGroup.com



I really enjoyed this book! It was a lighter-hearted read than some I've been doing lately, so that was a welcome change. I liked it enough that I'd love to read the others in the series as well!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dad will have surgery Tuesday!

We finally got a date! We found out yesterday that he'll have the open heart surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm in the thoracic region. Dad is anxious now, understandably. I was thrilled yesterday to finally have a WHEN, but now the nervousness is sinking in. I'm trying to get things together so that I'll be 'ready' for Tuesday. I've contacted my professor to let her know why I may not be in class that night. My sisters and I are both taking the day off to stay with Mom. My student teacher will be assisted by a retired teacher as a substitute that day, so I'm sure things will be just fine!

Please pray for Dad, and for his surgeon to have steady hands!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Flashback Friday--Nicety


http://christis-blahblahblog.blogspot.com






This song takes me back to 16! Living outside Chattanooga, listening to R&B and old school hip hop/rap all the time...and I LOVED to dance! There was a club we'd go to sometimes on Friday nights called Cracker Jacks on Brainerd Road. There are some good memories connected to high school, contrary to what I thought while going through it! LOL

I'd say many people don't know the song, so here it is:



Now you share! I showed you mine, show me yours! LOL

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Extremely frustrated

And I know in the long run, this is nothing, but man....it seems like it now!

We've been told multiple stories about whether or not we would be taking classes this summer. Well, today I emailed our professor and asked what the deal is. We ARE having summer classes, and they'll be held daily until the hour requirements have been met.

So what does this mean?

No vacation for Mama!

Yes, in hindsight, we should have made sure I wasn't gonna be in school before agreeing to go to the beach with my in-laws. Dumb move on our part. But now it is out there, and I'm not sure what we're gonna do.

The thought of my boys and husband gone for a week at the beach without me makes me want to start bawling all over again.

And hubby? Was not what I would call understanding. Or empathetic.

So I'm currently holed up in the cold den in the basement just being ALONE. I'm heartbroken. And not only no beach trip, this means no annual trip with my side of the family to North Carolina, which I look forward to all year and enjoy immensely.

I know that something will work out, and that if I have to sit here for a week alone, I'll survive, but I'm not looking forward to it. Expect many many blog entries about how much I miss them and how miserable I am, if it goes down like that!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

...now THAT is devotion!

I got two very sweet notes today from two different first grade students.

The first said,"I love you more than a guinea pig!"

The second said,"If you were a butterfly, I would not step on you!"

Those are the things I want to remember and cherish about my job, not the test scores, the reports, the meetings...my precious students and the love they show me each day!

Wordless Wednesday--me & THE MANN!



Thanks to Mishi at Secret Agent Mama for this lovely pic!! (And thanks to Colleen from Mommy Always Wins for cluing me in!)

If you haven't checked him out yet, do at chrismannmusic.com! He's awesome!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Can someone explain a couple of things to me?

First of all, why in the world do I need a textbook that I totally don't understand? It might as well be written in Greek for what I get out of it. And I'm not the only one at all. Our professor has to explain it all to us. Like, pretty much put it into English for us. If that is the case, then why have a textbook? It is driving me insane!

While I'm at it, how about explaining this one to me: according to my school system, federal law mandates that we not be allowed to access web-based email from school. Now, mind you, I have friends in other school system who apparently don't have this federal law affecting their internet access, but we do?! How is that?! And how do I get kicked off the internet---actually, have my internet disabled for 5 minutes because I've done some kind of illegal searching or something---when all I'm doing is looking for pictures for a timeline of George Washington's life, yet People.com and Eonline.com can be accessed at any time from school? What is so educational about that? How come some of the educational game sites out there are blocked, as are ANY site with the word weblog included in it, yet we can see celebrity news all we want? It drives me crazy!! I don't get it at. all!

Is there anything you need explained? Maybe we can help each other out!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Flashback Friday--Thriller


http://christis-blahblahblog.blogspot.com






Do you remember where you were when you first saw this video?? I sure do! I was in the basement of a girl who went to my church! Mandy always had things first, and the BEST, mind you! So I knew of the album, knew the song, but the video....this was something like we had NEVER seen!

Now, my son Isaac is doing a dance to it as part of our school's talent show! I LOVE IT! They are just so precious doing the little zombie moves. I can't wait to see them on stage!!

Unfortunately the video can't be embedded, but you MUST go watch it! You'll be amazed by it all over again!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOj5H5W9zYo

Now! I've had a long week, ladies, and it hasn't been the greatest one having lost an angel I knew here on Earth. I am heading to see her family at the funeral home this evening, and am sad about it. Make my day, and play along, will ya?! And tell your friends! Twitter this! Anything! Any effort you make today will make my day a little brighter!



Have a great weekend, gals, and a lovely Valentine's Day with your sweeties!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

FIRST Wild Card Tour: A Lever Long Enough

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 Lever Long Enough

Taegais Publishing, LLC (January 12, 2009)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:






Amy Deardon is a skeptic who came to faith through study of the historic circumstances surrounding the death of Jesus. This is her first book.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $15.95
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Taegais Publishing, LLC (January 12, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0981899722
ISBN-13: 978-0981899725

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


“Give me a lever long enough, and a place to stand, and single-handed I can move the world.”

—Archimedes of Syracuse

287-212 B.C.E.


●1●


The ancient Qumran Mountains were hard and dusty, fists of rock pushing upwards to strike the face of the sky. As the helicopter trailing the two paragliders banked to the left, Benjamin watched the lead figure closely. Sara soared between two peaks, smooth, so smooth, as she dodged a cliff and spun another turn in her ascent.

Benjamin shook his head. “She flies that thing like it was a part of her.” He saw his pilot, Caleb Mendel, glance over at him.

“They’re looking good,” Mendel said. The earphone in Benjamin’s helmet crackled, the voice tinny and mechanical from the transmitter.

“I’m pleased.”

The two paragliders dangled about twenty feet below the arched cloth wings, the fanned lines passing in a spread to their hands, but Sara flew far ahead—silhouetted against the next cliff now, too close to it. Even as he watched, she executed another sharp turn and dove down, circling out of it and up again as the giant fan strapped to her back pushed the wing’s edge forward. Benjamin let out his breath.

“She sure likes to cut it fine,” Mendel said. “That gust of wind almost knocked her against the rock.”

“She’s all right,” Benjamin replied.

There were three and a half days until FlashBack.

The pilot touched the controls, and Benjamin felt the slight dip as the helicopter rolled to the right on a longer trajectory to keep from staying ahead of the gliders. Thumpa thumpa thumpa…he felt the vibration as the rotors of the helicopter shook the pod. They were going around the turn now and the waters of the Dead Sea spread out before them, glinting red in the late sun. Several small boats floated near a trawler—Benjamin knew they were searching for the weak signal of a nuclear battery.

He was thinking of FlashBack, and the time machine.

Mendel glanced over at the trawler. “It doesn’t look like they’re wrapping up yet. Can they continue to search in the dark?”

“Not as well, but they will. If they find the data now, it will let some pressure off.”

He shifted in his seat. The men on the boats were searching for the data capsule that he wouldn’t deposit in the Dead Sea for another week, yet it may have been there since before the Roman conquest of Jerusalem. It was unclear how the time strands worked.

“If it’s there, it could have corroded through,” the pilot said.

Benjamin shook his head. “Unlikely.” The titanium capsule was sixteen inches in diameter with extraordinarily tight seals. More probable that it was masked from detection by a two-thousand-year-old coating of deposited salt.

He turned his attention back to the soldiers riding on the air currents. How different would it be when they went back?

“Let’s finish up,” he said. The sky was bruising dark as the sun fell, and the gliders still had a good ten minutes to go before they landed.

Rebecca Sharett, behind Sara, was having trouble keeping to a smooth course. Benjamin knew that she wasn’t confident in the air, but really, it wasn’t critical, since they would use the paraglider only as a desperate measure to deliver the information capsule so that it could be carbon-dated. It was treacherous, that was for sure.

Sara cornered another turn, and Benjamin smiled despite himself. She was so smooth. Not just this, but everything to which she touched her hand, or her mind. Lately she seemed to be in his awareness more and more—

Don’t think about her.

The helicopter turned course, following the gliders through the hard range. There were long shadows over the terrain.

“One more line of mountains,” Mendel said.

“Excellent time,” Benjamin replied. “Sara would be running under three and a half hours if she weren’t turning back all the time to wait for Rebecca.”

From the top of his helmet, the pilot pulled down infrared goggles against the growing dark. Full sunset now, deep shadows merged to black on the ground. Benjamin reached for his own set.

They flew on.

To the west the city lights of Jerusalem scattered the infrared image to a green shadow on the periphery of his vision. As they topped the last ring of mountains, he watched Sara glide several hundred feet farther, turn off the fan’s engine on her back, and begin her landing cone of intention. He shook his head. Despite the darkness, Sara barely slowed. She was going to get herself killed.

The new Israeli military complex loomed ahead: multiple buildings guarded by a wickedly sharp perimeter fence and towers. It had been locked down for the past week in preparation for FlashBack. He watched the pilot flip on the microphone to receive clearance for landing in the restricted airspace.

“We’re set,” Mendel said after a moment. “They’re putting on the lights now.”

The helicopter jostled in the air current, and Mendel pulled up on the controls. “Wind’s picking up.”

Benjamin glanced at the lights of the complex, then back at his soldiers. Sara touched down, the cloth wing collapsing behind her like a giant blanket. The two men on the transport vehicle ran forward and began pulling out the wing before she’d even unclipped the harness. Rebecca began to circle. The helicopter whipped through one last circuit as Mendel began their own landing sequence.

Then the pilot made a sudden move.

Benjamin looked over. “What is it?”

The pilot stared hard at the residential building through his infrared goggles, as if trying to see the afterimage of something fleeting. Benjamin hadn’t seen anything himself.

“I’m not sure,” Mendel said slowly.



I really enjoyed this book! I'm not a huge Science Fiction fan, but I do love Biblical fiction. This book kept me enthralled! I would highly recommend it to any fiction reader at all. It made me think about how I would feel if, in my country, it was a crime to show my allegiance to Christ.

In fact, I've already recommended the book to people by word of mouth! I hope that Amy Deardon writes more, because I will definitely be buying her books!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I lost a friend yesterday

This was too raw to even be able to share until now, and even now as I write this, I am crying. I have had to hold it together as well as I could in front of my students, and couldn't very well bawl while driving up the interstate to class. I went straight to bed last night when I got home. And now I am getting ready to go to choir practice, where I know I am going to cry for the hour and a half I'll be there.

She was a wonderful lady. I've never seen her upset in the 10+ years I've known her. She was always kind and gracious, and friendly to all. She was so loved by her family members, by we her church family, by the nurses who worked under her in our county...by so many people.

I can't believe she's gone. How could she be thanking me for adding her as my friend on Facebook only months ago, now to be gone? I know she is pain free and is looking down on us hurting only because she knows our pain, not because she was afraid of where she would go. She so wanted to be able to see her precious granddaughter who is set to arrive here in June. I have to think that maybe she's holding her in Heaven in some way....because with God, all things are possible.

I worry about her devastated husband. I worry about both her sons who adored their mother. And I worry about her daughter in law who also loved her so well, and how hard it is to be going through this pain while carrying her daughter. I worry about the nurses who she led so faithfully for years. It is just hitting me today that she is gone. I know when I get to Heaven she will be there waiting and ready to give me another sweet hug. And I will look to the Lord and he will show me why she went in the manner she did.

Please pray for Debbie's family and friends in this difficult time. She was truly an angel on Earth.

FIRST Wild Card Tour: John's Quest

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:


John's Quest (Maryland Wedding Series #1)

Barbour Publishing, Inc (2008)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Cecelia Dowdy is a world traveler who has been an avid reader for as long as she can remember. When she first read Christian fiction, she felt called to write for the genre.She loves to read, write, and bake desserts in her spare time. Currently she resides with her husband and young son in Maryland.

Don't miss the second book in the Maryland Wedding Series, Milk Money!

Visit the author's website and blog.

Product Details:

Mass Market Paperback: 170 pages
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc (2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602600066
ISBN-13: 978-1602600065

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


The loud banging at Monica Crawford’s front door awakened her. Forcing herself out of bed, she glanced at the clock and saw it was two in the morning.

“I’m coming!”

She ran to the door. Looking through the peephole, Monica saw her little sister Gina smiling at her.

Her heart pounded as she opened the door, gripping the knob. “What are you doing here?” Playing an internal game of tug-of-war, she wondered if she should hug her sister or slam the door in her face. Humid heat rushed into the air-conditioned living room. She stared at Gina, still awaiting her response.

“It’s nice to see you too, sister.” Gina pursed her full, red-painted lips and motioned at the child standing beside her. “Go on in, Scotty.”

Gina had brought her seven-year-old son with her. Dark shades hid his sightless eyes. “Aunt Monica!” he called.

Monica released a small cry as she dropped to her knees and embraced him. “I’m here, Scotty.” Tears slid down her cheeks as she hugged the child. Since Gina had cut herself off from immediate family for the last two years, Monica had wondered when she would see Scotty again. “You remember me?” Her heart continued to pound as she stared at her nephew. His light, coffee-colored skin glowed.

“Yeah, I remember you. When mom said I was going to live here, I wanted to come so we could go to the beach in Ocean City.”

Shocked, Monica stared at Gina who was rummaging through her purse. Gina pulled out a cigarette and lighter. Seconds later she was puffing away, gazing into the living room. “You got an ashtray?”

Monica silently prayed, hoping she wouldn’t lose her temper. “Gina, you know I don’t allow smoking in this house.”

Gina shrugged. After a bit of coaxing, she dropped the cigarette on the top step and ground it beneath the heel of her shoe. “I need to talk to you about something.”

Scotty entered the house and wandered through the room, ignoring the adults as he touched objects with his fingers. After Monica fed Scotty a snack and let him fall asleep in the guest bedroom, she confronted Gina.

“Where have you been for the last two years?”

Gina strutted around the living room in her tight jeans, her high heels making small imprints in the plush carpet. “I’ve been around. I was mad because Mom and Dad tried to get custody of Scotty, tried to take me to court and say I was an unfit mother.”

Groaning, Monica plopped onto the couch, holding her head in her hands. “That’s why you haven’t been speaking to me or Mom and Dad for two years?” When Gina sat beside her, Monica took her sister’s chin into her hand and looked into her eyes. “You know you were wrong. Mom and Dad tried to find you. They were worried about Scotty.”

Jerking away, Gina placed a few inches between herself and Monica. “They might have cared about Scotty, but they didn’t care about me.” Gina swore under her breath and rummaged in her purse. Removing a mint, she popped it into her mouth.

“They were worried about you and Scotty,” Monica explained. “You were living with that terrible man. He didn’t work, and he was high on drugs. We didn’t want anything to happen to the two of you.”

Gina’s lips curled into a bitter smirk. “Humph. Me and Scotty are just fine.” She glanced up the stairs. “You saw him. Does he look neglected to you?”

She continued to stare at Gina, still not believing she was here to visit in the middle of the night. “What do you want? What did Scotty mean when he said he was coming here to live?”

Gina frowned as she toyed with the strap of her purse. “I want you to keep Scotty for me. Will you?”

Monica jerked back. “What? Why can’t you take care of your own son? Did that crackhead you were living with finally go off the deep end?”

Gina shook her head. “No, we’re not even together anymore. It’s just that. . .” She paused, staring at the crystal vase of red roses adorning the coffee table. “I’m getting married.”

Monica’s heart skipped a beat. “Married?”

Gina nodded, her long minibraids moving with the motion of her head. “Yeah, his name is Randy, and he’s outside now, waiting for me in the car.”

Monica raised her eyebrows, suddenly suspicious. “Why didn’t you bring him inside? Are you ashamed of him?”

Gina shook her head. “No. But we’re in a hurry tonight, and I didn’t want to waste time with formalities.”

“You still haven’t told me why you can’t keep Scotty. Does your fiancĂ© have a problem with having a blind child in his house?”

Gina scowled as she clutched her purse, her dark eyes darting around the room. “No, that’s not it at all.”

“Uh-huh, whatever you say.” She could always sense when Gina was lying. Her body language said it all.

“Really, it’s not Scotty’s blindness that bothers Randy. It’s just that—he’s a trapeze artist in the National African-American Circus and they’re traveling around constantly.” Her dark eyes lit up as she talked about her fiancĂ©. “This year they’ll be going international. Can you imagine me traveling around the globe with Randy? We’ll be going to Paris, London, Rome—all those fancy European places!” She grabbed Monica’s arm. “We’d love to take Scotty, but we can’t afford to hire a tutor for him to travel with us.”

“You’re going to marry some man and travel with a circus?!” Monica shook her head, wondering when her sister would grow up. At twenty-seven, she acted as if she were still a teenager. Since Monica was ten years older, she’d always been the responsible sibling, making sure Gina behaved herself.

Gina grabbed Monica’s shoulder. “But I’m in love with him!” Her eyes slid over Monica as if assessing her. “You’ve never been in love? I think it’s odd that you’re thirty-seven and you never got married.”

Monica closed her eyes for a brief second as thoughts of her single life filled her mind. Since her breakup with her serious boyfriend two years ago, she’d accepted that God wanted her to remain single, and she spent her free time at church in various ministries. She filled her time praising God and serving Him, and she had no regrets for the life she led. But whenever one of the church sisters announced an engagement, she couldn’t stop the pang of envy that sliced through her.

Forcing the thoughts from her mind, she focused on Gina again. “This discussion is not about me. It’s about you. You can’t abandon Scotty. He loves you.”

Gina turned away, as if ashamed of her actions. “I know he does, and I love him, too. But I really want things to work out with Randy, and it won’t work with Scotty on the road with us. He needs special education since he’s blind.”

Her heart immediately went out to Scotty. She touched Gina’s shoulder. “Scotty knows you’re getting married?”

Gina nodded. “I didn’t tell him how long I would be gone, but I told him I’d call and visit. Please do this for me.” Her sister touched her arm, and her dark eyes pleaded with her. She opened her purse and gave Monica some papers. “I’ve already had the power of attorney papers signed and notarized so that you can take care of him.” She pressed the papers into Monica’s hand.

“How long will you be gone?” asked Monica.

“The power of attorney lasts for six months. Hopefully by then me and Randy will be more settled. I’m hoping after the world tour he’ll leave the circus and find a regular job.”
Monica frowned, still clutching the legal documents.

“Please do this for me, Monica,” she pleaded again.

She reluctantly nodded. If she didn’t take care of Scotty, she didn’t know who would.

Wordless Wednesday--Best birthday song ever!



ahhhhhh.....yes, at Blissdom! Thanks to Rebecca for sharing this pic with me as my camera had gone wonky at the time!

I know I need to post my whole Blissdom recap, but I haven't had a chance yet! I promise it is coming!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

FIRST Wild Card Tour: The Husband Project

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 Husband Project

Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2009)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker, currently speaking more than 45 times each year to thousands of women. Lipp is also a contributing author to two bestselling books: Humor for a Woman’s Heart 2 and Lists to Live By: The Christian Collection. She also has had articles published in several magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman and Discipleship Journal. Kathi and her husband, Roger, are the parents of four teenagers and live in California.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736925228
ISBN-13: 978-0736925228

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Why the Husband Project?


“Kathi, a couple of us need to quit the project.”

I couldn’t believe what Angela was saying. Quit the Husband Project? We’d just started that weekend.

“Ang, are you kidding me? Why do you want to quit already?” There was no way things could be going downhill so quickly.

“I was talking to some of the other girls, and because we’re being so nice, our husbands are becoming suspicious. They think we’re all having affairs!”

Apparently, there’s a bigger need for the Husband Project than even I could have expected.


The Beginning of the Husband Project

At my busy church in San Jose, California, I serve in a variety of roles. Some of the roles I have played have been on the programming team with my husband, Roger, who is the director of the Worship Arts Ministry, leading Bible studies and small groups and taking meals to people who are sick or having babies. But my favorite role by far is mentoring women.

The girls I mentor are smart, funny, and committed to serving God. They really are amazing. However, like most wives I know, they have a tendency to “share” about their husbands.

“He’s never home. I feel like I’m single – but with an extra person to clean up after.”

“Why is it when he’s watching our kids it’s babysitting?”

“We used to be romantic, but now our idea of romance is reading take-out menus together.”

The “sharing” started to concern me. I wasn’t judging these girls; trust me. I found myself slipping every once in a while – saying something “endearing” about my husband while rolling my eyes.


A Change in Perspective

I know the importance of loving and honoring my husband, and like every other lesson in my life, I learned it the hard way. (Why can’t I ever learn things while eating chocolates and shopping…?)

I married in my early twenties’ with two babies came along shortly after the marriage vows. In retrospect, I can see that as soon as discovered the wonders of a Diaper Genie, my concentration shifted from my husband to the day-to-day care of my kids. With a full-time job thrown in, the goal of making my husband feel special dropped way down on my priority list.

After a very painful marriage and divorce, I am now remarried to an amazing guy. When new friends meet him they say, “Oh, so this is Prince Charming!” He’s a great father and step dad, and loves me and his God and indulges my passion for fat-free coconut yogurt on a regular basis. I really couldn’t ask for a better guy.

And, yet, like a great pair of comfortable flip flops, he’s sometimes easy to take him for granted. He’s always there - not demanding anything of me. He can fix his own frozen pizza when I am too busy to cook and can even wash his own socks in a pinch. When work deadlines loom and kids have dozens of activities, I sometimes let my relationship with Rog fall to sixth or seventh on my “Hey, pay attention to me!” list.

Have you noticed our culture has a one-way expectation that men should give women what they “need” (sending flowers to work, doing his share of the dirty work around the house, being a great dad, remembering and celebrating anniversaries) without asking for anything in return? But, as we know, this fantasy man isn’t real a husband, it’s a character in a dime store romance novel.

The kind of marriage I want is one in which we’re both doing all we can to honor and love each other, putting each other’s needs above our own.

Philippians 2:3-4 says it best: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

I want this for both of us. The reality is, however, I only have control over my own actions.


Enter the Husband Project

I tried different ideas with some of my friends at church – a variety of “husband encouragement programs.” Most seemed like a lot of work and not much fun. You see, I have the attention span of a third-grader who’s just spent six straight hours on X-Box. So I needed something short, doable and exciting. We, as stressed-out and over-worked wives and moms, don’t need to feel burdened by another line on our to-do lists.

So I started thinking and praying about what would truly make my husband feel loved (and maybe even lucky to be married to me.) I made up a list and began practicing on Roger. Some of the ideas (buying him a gift card to his favorite restaurant and surprising him with an impromptu date) were big hits. Others (like opening mystery clues for an all day adventure) were, let’s say, less than successful.

After several flops (hey, I thought the guys at his work would think that his lunch sack covered in hearts was adorable…) I finally got desperate. I asked him, “Okay, what would make you feel loved?” (And yes, I felt pretty pathetic to be asking.) After showing him the list, he gave me thumbs up or down on several of the items. I now had a much clearer plan in place. No, cookies in the shapes of bunnies were not necessary. Homemade raw cookie dough, however, was a big thumbs up. Yes, I asked the questions. I have gone where women fear to tread. I am in possession of the knowledge of what men (or at least my man) like.


This is how The Husband Project was born.

The premise is simple:

You, and two other friends (your accountability partners) commit to bless your husbands everyday for three weeks, in secret.

That’s it. Pretty simple, granted. But not always easy.


No Cookie-Cutter Marriages

While working on the Projects, I talked with friends of all ages, in very different marital situations.

Some of my friends were in the oh-so-romantic stage of marriage. You’re just done in by how beautifully he shaves. As you pick up his clothes from the bedroom floor, you just can’t help but giggle at how adorable it is that he never puts anything away.

On the other side of the spectrum, I have girlfriends who cannot stand to be in the same room with their husbands while they’re breathing. The “inhale, exhale” is enough to make them want to take up residence at a nice studio apartment in town.

And then, there are the other 94% of us.

We’re the ones who love our husbands but have fallen into a comfortable routine. (Comfortable often meaning, you don’t bug me and I won’t bug you.) We’re partners in parenting and contributors to financial matters. We’ve negotiated the household chores (I’ll do the dishes if you keep the car from making funny noises,) and keep each other on schedule for the dentist and the occasional oil change.

We like our husbands, for the most part. And they like us, for the most part. While this is okay, it’s definitely not what we were anticipating as we planned our weddings and dreamed about our happily-ever-after lives.

I have to admit, I’m writing this book for me and my friends – the 94% who want better relationships with our men and are willing to be creative, thoughtful, and possibly daring enough to break out some lingerie to get it.


“But He Doesn’t Even Notice”

Some women who have tried the Projects for a few days wondered if it’s even worth it. After doing several of the Projects, they complained that their husbands have barely noticed.

So, if you’re wearing your cute jeans to meet your husband in the evenings, leaving bags of gummi bears for him in his car, and wearing shorter and shorter lingerie to bed each night without comment from your man, don’t be discouraged.

Working The Husband Project is a lot like working on your prayer life. For example, I recently committed to setting aside a chunk of time daily to pray. As I devote more time to prayer and meditation, I’m realizing that my requests are less about asking God to make things go my way, and more about asking God to change my heart to follow Him and His plans for me.

This project is as much about changing our attitudes as it is about blessing our husbands. It’s great to get positive reinforcement, and when you do, write it down so you can remember it and tailor the way that you show your love in the future.

But even when your husband says nothing, you have the knowledge that you have actively shown him love and support. That’s the true gift of The Husband Project.

If you still need some affirmation (and who doesn’t?) look for it in other healthy places. In my case I have a friend, Lynn, who sends me a small gift whenever I complete a goal for writing. Even if I don’t sell an article, I still have the hope of some great Snoopy stickers in the mail.

Ask your accountability partners to celebrate your successes with you. Perhaps, if each of you does your daily project for seven days, you give each other a $5 Starbucks card, or if you do all 21 days, you all spend an afternoon together at the spa. Be creative, as it says in Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” A grande latte could be an excellent way to start.

Suffering some serious Blissdom letdown

We got home this afternoon, and I begged off children's ministries this evening because I basically just wasn't ready to leave my bubble of bliss! Tomorrow will come soon enough, with its own schedule and struggles! I've got a meeting after school and Chris has to take his vehicle BACK in to have some warranty covered work done, so hopefully my dad can help him out.

I had a great time, and I missed my family, but it is almost like coming home from Resurrection (a youth retreat I attended as a youth and a youth worker)....you've been on the mountain top and now you have to go back to the level ground.

*sigh* Anyone else feeling this?? I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one!!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Blissdom is unbelievable!

im_going_yall Badges


Oh, ya'll. I can tell you lots of stories, but I have to tell you! I got to go in front of this entire room of women and got sung Happy Birthday to with another blogger from 2 opera stars who worked with Yanni! I'm so overwhelmed by this conference, but I will share more later, including pics, I promise!

THIS IS WONDERFUL!!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Flashback Friday--I'm at Blissdom!

I'm on my way out the door to drive half-way! I'll try to get one up tomorrow!! Party on, and I'll get a 'real' one up by late Friday!

Here's the Mr. Linky 'til I get to it.....

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday--me and my boy



He's going to be 8 next month. Tonight we were reading about Isaac for our devotion, and I teared up reading about it...I said something about me being blessed like Abraham and Sarah by MY Isaac, and he asked,"Why?" I tearfully answered,"Because you made me a mommy!" I don't know if I'm weepy because I know I'm gonna be away from them while I'm at Blissdom or what, but I cried about both of 'em today!

OK, so this wasn't wordless....sorry 'bout that!

Monday, February 2, 2009

What tv shows did you love?

I got to thinking about this today while watching an episode on Little House on the Prairie. The show apparently made an impression on me early on, cause when I was very little I named a doll Carrie after the character on the show. I remember even then my parents saying that they didn't realize I was even paying attention to the show! I did love it dearly, though. The only shows I remember watching in early childhood (that is, up to age 5) were Happy Days, The Brady Bunch, The Carol Burnette Show, Little House, and The Waltons. I have vague recollections of other shows being on past my bedtime, but didn't watch them enough to know much about them.

So what about you? What do you remember from days of old?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I can't believe it is happening THIS WEEK!

im_going_yall Badges


I'm so excited! I've bought a new pair of boots, am working on getting my wardrobe choices, and am washing clothes like a madwoman in anticipation of the mountain of laundry I'll face when I get back home to my boys.

Still hating that I'll miss a b-ball game of Isaac's, but he's pretty understanding. Ooh, note to self: get him to call my daddy and ask he and mom to come see him play in my stead! He'll come if Isaac asks!

I'm triply excited. Here's why: This is the first overnight trip Robin and I have taken since we graduated from college in '95. Can you say nonstop laughter and fun?! Second, we're spending Thursday evening halfway there with another friend from college, Katye! We've been meaning for years to go see her, so now we're making it happen! And then of course the EVENT itself!

I'd be absolutely unable to contain myself this week was it not for 2 things:

1. Bus duty. Need I say more?? An extra hour of duty each day

2. First week of a student teacher. So I gotta be on my game!!

OK, Adam has done something with one of the Dish Network tvs, so I gotta get off here and help fix it!