Monday, August 31, 2009


As you know, I've been making a concerted effort to reprioritize my life. This includes less writing, blogging, networking, and more family first, education, and planned meals. It's a shift in thinking, to be sure! To go along with this new phase, I found a quiz! (You just knew I would!)

Here is the kind of 1930's wife I'd make:


As a 1930s wife, I am

Take the test!

Uhhhh.....I'd better stop smoking in bed and start shampooing hubby's hair if I want a higher score. LOL!!! OK, you know I don't do the first and won't do the second. But clearly I have more work to do ;)

Take the quiz, then come back and tell us what kind of lil' wifey you make!

Monday, August 24, 2009


This morning I was totally excited to start school and nothing short of a catastrophe was going to slow us down....

....except my precious, exhausted hubby.

I came home from taking our oldest to school and when I returned found that nothing I'd requested--I mean NOTHING--had been done, and the kidlets were parked in front of the tube. I ranted, stomped, pouted, and said everything just short of $#N#*(@&h#.

Then it came time to start lessons, Bible verse first. I whipped out the coloring sheets I printed off last night, sat down with the kids, and saw the verse. Can you guess what it was? It has to do with fruit:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
~Galatians 5:22-23

{insert humbling gulp}

Funny how the Word can send me a zinger at just the right time. It's a good thing the Spirit is in charge of the fruit since mine is wilted. Conviction settled in, and while I made a pitiful attempt to apologize, I didn't come close to doing a good job of it. I have some work to do when hubby gets home.

Anyhoo, evidently I've got fruit issues to deal with this week. Prayers welcome :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

AS PROMISED.... are my best tips for reducing internet time (but only if you really have to!)

*STOP BLOGGING. LOL!!! OK, I just had to throw that in there since I've stopped being regular. On the serious side, if you find that your purpose for blogging doesn't fit into what's MOST IMPORTANT in your life right now, reduce your weekly posts. Also, set aside a regular time to visit other blogs, which may only be 2-3 times a week instead of daily.

*SWITCH TO DIGEST. For every group I belong to, I've now chosen to receive daily digests instead of individual emails (expect for the ACFW loop, of course!) My in-box breathed a sigh of relief. And really, most of those emails were entirely unnecessary and didn't contribute to what's MOST IMPORTANT in my life.

*SET TIMER. (I believe it was Gina Conroy who first turned me on to this.) If you're anything like me, you think that checking email or hopping to a few blogs will take just a few minutes, when in reality it can turn into an hour or more. If you stick to 10 minutes 2-3 times a day, you've gleaned a few extra hours to do the things in your life that are MOST IMPORTANT.

*REDUCE NETWORKING SITES. First, consider why you're networking and if it really fits into what's MOST IMPORTANT in your life. While I used to enjoy Facebook, it was a time-sucker. Same thing with ShoutLife. In fact, it's the same with Twitter because for some crazy reason I liked hearing what everyone was doing. I've curbed my appetite for the hourly fix. Maybe someday these things will be important, but for now it's time to cut back.

*GROUP LIKE ACTIVITIES. For some reason this just works. Group like things with like. Do all blogging at once. Cluster emails by label (for example, check all business emails at once, then all fun.) Or maybe this just works for a confirmed Type A like myself. I do recommend giving it a try.

Notice a theme here? Figure out what's MOST IMPORTANT in your life, and your internet time should be a reflection of that. Is writing most important? Then your internet time should reflect that. Is marketing most important? Weight loss? For me, the priority during this season is homeschooling, so a greater percentage of my web time is devoted to education.

Of course, if you have an abundance of time, in which case I'd like to know how, then these tips probably don't mean a whole lot, LOL! Your turn to chime in--how to you keep your net time under control??? Or are you in a season of life where you can go willy nilly online???

Monday, August 17, 2009

1st DAY!!!

Welcome to the first day of school. Our books haven't arrived, but we're starting nonetheless. Who needs books? LOL, totally kidding. Don't throw tomatoes.

In order to expand our day to accomodate school work I devised a schedule on a spreadsheet, broken into 15 minute increments for some items. I also built in time for the kids to take turns and set-up/potty break (so we're not really working as long as the schedule shows.) While doing so, I noticed there were a few things that needed to get slashed from the daily routine.

{insert scary music}

cruising the internet

HAHA, two of the least likely activities for me to let go of! But alas, I can't NOT's just one of those things that those around me appreciate. It's not like I'm cutting internet completely, and I certainly can't quit cleaning altogether, but I'm reducing the amount of time devoted to each.

Sooo, for enquiring minds, here's Monday:

7:30-8:00 Memorization (Bible verses, days of the week, months, phone numbers, continents, planets, you name it and we'll memorize it.) I suspect there will be a bit of breakfast during this time too.

8:00-8:45 Math (kidlets take turns. My pre-K-er does NOT want to get left out. Thankfully Math-U-See uses manipulatives that she loves!)

8:45-9:00 Handwriting

9:00-10:00 Reading/Phonics (Still waiting for our "real" program to arrive. In the meantime we'll use Bob books and work on "at" words)

10:00-11:00 PARK! (a.k.a. recess. Bought new balls just for funness)

11:00-11:30 Science experiment (bought a super-cool kit for kids)

12:00-12:45 Free play/lunch

12:45-1:30 Real aloud (still finishing James and the Giant Peach, plus the kids want to read their new Dora books)

1:30-2:30 Quiet time/Mom sanity time

The days I plan to exercise are more structured. We're excited to start our new adventure!!!

Stay tuned later this week when I tell you how I cut down on internet time.....

How are you faring with the start of the school year? Any changes in your routine, or do you get to keep your same schedule?

Friday, August 14, 2009


......Carmen!!! Congratulations, and thanks to all who entered!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Night Watchman

Multnomah Books (May 5, 2009)


Mark Mynheir


Mark Mynheir was born and raised on the east coast of Central Florida. Like most boys growing up, Mark enjoyed sports, mainly football and martial arts.

In 1983, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and went through basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina. After serving four years in the Marines, Mark changed gears and pursued a career in law enforcement.

During his career as a police officer, Mark has worked as a narcotics agent, a S.W.A.T. team member, and a homicide detective.

Over sixteen years ago, during a health crisis involving his oldest son, Mark gave his life to Jesus Christ. Shortly after his conversion, he felt God leading him in a new direction: writing. Now he balances dual careers as a police officer and novelist.

He has authored Rolling Thunder (The Truth Chasers Book One), From the Belly of the Dragon (The Truth Chasers Book Two), and The Void (The Truth Chasers Book Three).

Mark is married to the love of his life and has three fantastic children, and they all currently reside in Central Florida.


When everything is ripped away...

Eleven months ago, Ray Quinn was a tough, quick-witted Orlando homicide detective at the top of his game-until a barrage of bullets ended his career.and his partner's life.

Now medically retired with a painful handicap, Ray battles the haunting guilt for his partner's death. Numbing the pain with alcohol and attitude, Ray takes a job as a night watchman at a swanky Orlando condo community.

But when a pastor and an exotic dancer are found dead in one of the condos in an apparent murder-suicide, Ray can no longer linger in the shadows. The victim’s sister is convinced her brother was framed and begs Ray to take on an impossible case─to challenge the evidence and clear her brother’s name.

Ray reluctantly pulls the thread of this supposedly dead-end case only to unravel a murder investigation so deep that it threatens to turn the Orlando political landscape upside down and transform old friends into new enemies. As Ray chases down leads and interrogates suspects, someone is watching his every move, someone determined to keep him from ever finding out the truth─at any cost.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Night Watchman, go HERE

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I'm SO excited to feature this book! Not only is Stephanie Morrill a great new author, but she's a nice lady and a pleasure to know. Congratulations, Stephanie!

Reading Me, Just Different took me all the way back to high school--not the specific plot points, as I was never popular, but the idea of fitting in vs. staying true to self. The main character, Skylar Hoyt, has it all together on the outside, but has a storm brewing on the inside due to family circumstances and issues she faces while trying to make positive changes in her life. If you have a teen reader in your family, or if you just love a great story, run out and get your copy today!!!

**GREAT NEWS ALERT** Stephanie has graciously offered to give away a copy! Leave your name and email address in the comments section, and I'll draw on Friday :-)

Back Cover:

Skylar Hoyt is a girl who seems to have it all--she's pretty, popular, and has a great-looking boyfriend. Her senior year should be the best one yet. But a horrible experience at a summer party has changed everything. Now she's vowing to make better choices, including going back to church. But as Skylar tries to gain new perspective on life, the world as she knows it begins to fall apart.

Her parents are constantly fighting. Her younger sister has a big secret that Skylar is forced to keep. The guy she's dating is annoyingly jealous. And the new guy down the street is just plain annoying. In the midst of the chaos, Skylar starts to wonder who her real friends are and, even more importantly, who she is.


Stephanie Morrill is a twentysomething living in Kansas with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband and their daughter. She loves writing for teens because her high school years greatly impacted her adult life. That, and it's an excuse to keep playing her music really, really loud.

Just in case you don't win on Friday, CLICK HERE to get your copy!

Monday, August 10, 2009

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Mohamed's Moon

Realms (May 5, 2009)


Keith Clemons


A strong defender of Christian values, noted author and lecturer Keith Clemons is a native of Southern California and graduate of English Literature at California State University, Fullerton. In his former capacity as Vice President of Marketing for Mytec Technologies Inc.

He was a frequent conference speaker, particularly when the forum centered on Electronic Commerce. Today, in addition to writing, he appears on radio and television where he uses his communications skills to explain coming trends that will affect both the church and society at large.

His passion for communication has resulted in the previous publication of more than a hundred articles. To date, Mr. Clemons has completed five novels including Angel in the Alley and the award winning If I Should Die, These Little Ones, and Above The Stars.

He resides with his wife and daughter at their home in Caledon, Ontario, Canada.


Are we enemies...
or brothers?

Two brothers separated at birth grow up worlds apart. Outwardly, they're exactly alike, but inwardly, nothing's the same--one is a devotee of fundamentalist Islam; the other, a Christian. In this modern-day Cain and Abel story, the lines are drawn not just over whose God is right, but also over the fact that they're both in love with the same girl.

It's a conflict with grave repercussions, little hope of resolution--and time is running out. In the background, a plan has been set in motion that will bring the United States government to its knees. Will an unexpected visitation reconcile the brothers in time to save the woman they love--and ultimately, themselves--from the coming devastation?

In his award-winning style, author Keith Clemons delivers a profound comparison between Christianity and Islam, a dichotomy of life versus death, love versus hate, and grace versus legalism. Mohamed's Moon will plunge you into a world where hatred and heinous acts are justified. But if hatred is potent, it pales in comparison to the power of God's love.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Mohamed's Moon, go HERE

Thursday, August 06, 2009


Loved it! Sympathetic characters in situations that challenge their beliefs drew me into The Hope of Refuge. It's not your ordinary Amish book where everyone is nice and sweet as pie, but are human and fallible, doing their best in difficult circumstances. Looking forward to the next in the series!


Raised in foster care and now the widowed mother of a little girl, Cara Moore struggles against poverty, fear, and a relentless stalker. When a trail of memories leads Cara and Lori out of New York City toward an Amish community, she follows every lead, eager for answers and a fresh start. She discovers that long-held secrets about her family history ripple beneath the surface of Dry Lake, Pennsylvania, and it’s no place for an outsider. But one Amish man, Ephraim Mast, dares to fulfill the command he believes that he received from God–“Be me to her”– despite how it threatens his way of life.

Completely opposite of the hard, untrusting Cara, Ephraim’s sister Deborah also finds her dreams crumbling when the man she has pledged to build a life with begins withdrawing from Deborah and his community, including his mother, Ada Stoltzfus. Can the run-down house that Ada envisions transforming unite them toward a common purpose–or push Mahlon away forever? While Ephraim is trying to do what he believes is right, will he be shunned and lose everything–including the guarded single mother who simply longs for a better life?

Author Bio:

Cindy Woodsmallis the author of When the Heart Cries, When the Morning Comes, and The New York Times Best-SellerWhen the Soul Mends. Her ability to authentically capture the heart of her characters comes from her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families. A mother of three sons and two daughters-in-law, Cindy lives in Georgia with her husband of thirty-one years.

CHECK OUT THIS INTERVIEW with the author on ABC Nightline!

CLICK HERE to go to the Random House site to order!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


Thanks for the coffee suggestions last week on Tightwad Wednesday. Folgers it is!

This week I have a new mission:


Amazing and sad how much food we waste, especially knowing that people around the world struggle for food daily (and appreciate every morsel more than those of us with plenty.) At this point I'm planning how much we need in the way of fruits and veggies, and I'm incorporating more organics. Yes, they're a bit more expensive, so all the better not to waste.

In addition to better planning before hitting the grocery store, I'm also finding ways to use the last scraps. An acquaintance "made up" a recipe to help me use what I had on hand. Because I like to share, here it is:

Use-em-or-Lose-em Soup

saute onions, carrots, (any other "hard veggie") in large pot with olive oil
chop spinach and tomatoes and add to the pot
add chicken broth (I used 2 cans)
add 3/4 c rice and bring to a boil, then cover for 5 mins
top with cheese and add croutons as you munch

Truly, this is healthy, tasty, AND kept us from wasting perfectly good food!

Can you eat all the perishables before they perish? Will you eat ALL the leftovers in your fridge rather than tossing them in the trash when you're preparing for another trip to the grocery store? If you have a favorite way to use up leftovers, do share!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


....but surely I don't look this good. LOL! In fact, there is much falling, thumping, and landing on my head.

Before we start school (less than two weeks away!) I'm in the final push to squeeze in as much exercise as possible. Since I decided to get my butt in gear, I've lost nearly 8 pounds--that's 8 on a non-bloated/I-didn't-pig-out-on-the-weekend day.

Here's the plan for this week:

Monday: cardio-weights class (oddly enough, I enjoy pumping iron. No--really!), 2 mile walk after dinner

Tues: power yoga (thankfully it's not the really weird oouuummmm kind of yoga. We're too busy sweating our eyeballs out to do that.)

Wednesday: cardio-weights class, cardio machines (Imagine my displeasure at discovering I outweigh my workout buddy by 60 pounds. Yes, 60. No wonder my heartrate goes willy nilly compared to hers when we battle the treadmill.)

Thurs: power yoga (Did I happen to mention that it is misappropriately named "Gentle Flow"? There's nothing gentle about spending half an hour upside down. Trust me in this.)

Fri: This will be the day I order the Neckline Slimmer, in case all else has failed:

What are YOU doing this week to get healthy? Do share!

Monday, August 03, 2009

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 Sacred Cipher

Kregel Publications (July 1, 2009)


Terry Brennan has had an extensive career in journalism, winning several awards, including the Freedoms Foundation Award for editorial writing. Terry served eleven years as the vice president of operations for The Bowery Mission in New York City and is currently a management consultant.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (July 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0825424267
ISBN-13: 978-0825424267



1889 • Alexandria, Egypt

Only three types of buyers entered the Attarine—the foolish, the fraudulent, and the forewarned. The foolish, who acted on whim instead of wisdom and expected to fleece an ignorant Egyptian native; the fraudulent, expert in identifying wellcrafted forgeries, anxious to pass them on for great profit; and the forewarned, who searched for treasure but were wise enough to employ someone who knew the ways, and the merchants, of the seductive but evil-ridden Attarine.

Spurgeon knew the risk. But treasures awaited in the twisting, narrow stone streets snaking away from the Attarine Mosque.

He had Mohammad, he had a gun, he had money—and he had God.

Peering down the darkened alley, Spurgeon worried that, maybe, he didn’t

have enough.

Mohammad entered the alley and disappeared from view. The alley was gray-on-gray, denied sunlight by overhanging, second-floor balconies adorning almost every building, their shuttered windows barely an arm’s length from each other. Joining with the dark was a riot of refuse; crazed, cadaver-like dogs; and powerfully pungent, unknown odors.

The Attarine District was home to the greatest concentration of antiquities dealers in Alexandria, both the illicit and the honorable. A person could buy almost any historical artifact along the ancient streets of the Attarine. Some were even genuine. And Charles Haddon Spurgeon was on a treasure hunt.

He held his breath; he held his heart; and he stepped into the dark.

At the first fork, Mohammed Isfahan was waiting. Spurgeon’s heart slowed its pounding pace. Mohammed confidently led the way, weaving in and out of the shoppers and the strollers who clogged the tight byways. It was early morning, before the sun began to scorch the stones, and Spurgeon was grateful for the moderate breeze off the Mediterranean. At his size, the heat sapped his strength and soaked his shirt within minutes. Though the morning was warm, Spurgeon hoped to get back into his hotel, under a fan in a shaded corner of the dining room, long before the withering heat began blowing from the Sahara. On one of his regular trips to the Middle East, Spurgeon was trolling for ancient biblical texts and Mohammed, recommended by the hotel’s concierge, promised he knew where to look.

Now fifty-six, he was England’s best-known preacher, and he grudgingly accepted the considerable influence and power he had earned as pastor of London’s famed New Park Street Church for the last thirty years. Spurgeon was the first to admit preaching was his passion.

But Spurgeon was also the first to admit that books were his weakness. He typically devoured six books per week and had written many of his own. Now, scuttling through the twilight of the dusty alley, Spurgeon sought to slake that hunger in the shops of the Attarine.

Rounding a curve in the street, Mohammed paused alongside a curtain covered doorway, pulled aside the curtain, and motioned for Spurgeon to enter. Inside the shop, not only was the atmosphere cooler, but it also carried the rich scent of old leather, soft and smooth like musty butter. Mohammed bowed reverentially as the proprietor emerged from the rear of the shop. He was a small man of an indeterminate age. What defined him were hawk-like, ebony eyes overflowing with wisdom, discerning of character, and surrounded by a brilliant white kaffiyeh. Mohammed spoke rapidly in Arabic, bowed again, and then stepped back as the proprietor approached Spurgeon.

“Salaam aleikum,” he said, bowing his head toward Spurgeon, who was startled when the man continued in perfectly cadenced English, “and peace be with you, my friend. It is an honor for my humble shop to welcome such a famous man under its roof. May I be permitted to share with you some tea and some of our little treasures?”

Wondering about the origin of the shopkeeper’s English, Spurgeon responded with a bow of his own. “Salaam aleikum, my brother. You honor me by using my language in your shop. But I must ask, how have you any knowledge of me?”

“Ah, the name of Spurgeon has found its way down many streets. I am Ibrahim El-Safti, and I am at your service. My friend, Mohammed, tells me you are interested in texts that refer to the stories of your Nazarene prophet, is that correct?”

“I would be honored to review any such texts as may be in your possession,” said Spurgeon. He took the chair and the tea that were offered by El-Safti and waited quietly as the shopkeeper sought and retrieved three books. While Spurgeon studied the books, one in Aramaic, one in Greek, and the last in an unknown language, Mohammed and the shopkeeper retired through the doorway, stepping

outside the curtain.

Spurgeon slipped into a scholar’s zone, focusing intently on the words before him. But the breeze turned, pushing aside the curtain in the door and carrying the words of Mohammed and El-Safti into the shop and up to Spurgeon’s ear—one well-trained in Arabic, among many other languages.

“What of the scroll?” Spurgeon heard Mohammed ask.

“Do not speak of that scroll in front of this infidel,” El-Safti countered, his voice stronger and more virile than it had been earlier. “You know what our tradition holds; this scroll would be of great benefit to the infidels, both the Jews and the Christians. We are to hold it in trust and keep it out of their hands at all costs.”

“You speak like an imam,” Mohammed said. “No one knows what is on that scroll; no one has been able to translate its meaning. How do we know what it contains?”

Spurgeon forgot the books in his lap. He heard a more interesting story floating on the breeze.

“If it can’t be read, is there any difference in whose hands it rests? I believe the English preacher would pay handsomely for the privilege of owning something he doesn’t understand. Ibrahim,” said Mohammed, “look at me. It could pay for your daughter’s wedding.”

“Do not tempt me, Mohammed,” El-Safti said. “That scroll has remained here for two generations, and no one has ever requested to see it. Quiet, now, and let us see what may interest the Englishman.”

Spurgeon attempted to return his attention to the books, but his eyes were pulled back to the men as they entered through the curtain. El Safti reverted to his perfectly subservient composure as he stepped before Spurgeon. The only thing out of place was an amulet — a Coptic cross with a lightning bolt flashing through on the diagonal—that slipped from the neck of his robe as he came

through the doorway.

“Do these books meet with your interest?” El-Safti asked.

Spurgeon rose from the chair and handed the books back to El-Safti. “I am disappointed to tell you, my friend, that you may have been swindled. The book in Aramaic is a fraud, and a poor one at that. The Greek, I have two copies in my library. And the third is in a language I have not seen before, but does not appear to be Semitic. Tell me, do you not possess anything more authentic?”

A moment’s silence passed through the shop. El-Safti’s pitch black eyes flickered with offense.

“My humble apologies,” El-Safti said. “Your reputation as a scholar is well earned, Dr. Spurgeon. But perhaps I do have something that you would find interesting. It is very old, but of indeterminate age.” El-Safti walked to the back of the shop. “It is an infidel’s mezuzah, nicely etched, wrapped in a very colorful piece of Moroccan silk.”

Disappointed in the books, Spurgeon’s interest increased at the mention of silk. His niece’s birthday would be upon him when he returned to England. Perhaps there was a prize here, after all.

El-Safti slipped into a small closet at the rear corner of the shop and could be heard snapping the hasp on a lock and moving a chain. Silence, then a stream of Arabic epithets, as El-Safti recoiled from the closet.

“Forgive me,” he said, his wild eyes looking first at Spurgeon and then at Mohammed. “It is gone. The scroll, it is gone.”

First fear, then unbelief, fought for dominance in El-Safti’s weathered face. His hands trembled as he wrung them together.

“Allah has punished me for my greed,” El-Safti said, slipping back into Arabic. “Mohammad, remove this infidel. And hurry back. We must think. We must find the scroll. We must find it before it is lost forever.”

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