Thursday, March 5, 2015

New Book from Rachel Hauck | ‘How to Catch a Prince’ and Royal Giveaway

An American heiress and a crown prince seem destined to be together. Will the devastation of war keep them apart forever? Find out in Rachel Hauck's new book, How to Catch a Prince. True love has a destiny all its own. With a little heavenly help, Prince Stephen and Corina embark on a journey of truth. But when the secrets are revealed, can they overcome, move forward, and find love again?

Enter to win a "royal" prize pack! 

catchaprince-400

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A royal-themed Brighton charm bracelet
  • 2 tickets to see the new Cinderella movie
  • The Royal Wedding series (Once Upon a Prince, Princess Ever After, and How to Catch a Prince)
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 23rd. Winner will be announced March 24th on Rachel's blog.

catchaprince-enterbanner

{NOT ON FACEBOOK? ENTER HERE.}

HowToCatchAPrince

{MORE ABOUT HOW TO CATCH A PRINCE}


(Zondervan, February 2015)
She caught her prince once. Can she catch him again?
American heiress Corina Del Rey’s life was devastated by war. Every thing she loved was lost. But after five years of grief, she’s shed her grave clothes and started over in the sunshine along the Florida coast.
But some things are not so easily forgotten. When a secret from her past confronts her face to face, she realizes she must follow her heart. Even if it cost her everything.
Prince Stephen of Brighton Kingdom is a former Royal Air Command lieutenant turned star rugby player, trying to make sense of his life after the devastation of war.
When his brother, King Nathaniel, discovers Stephen’s pre war secret, he must deal with an aspect of his life he longed to forget. But how can he do so without exposing the truth and breaching national security?
Yet, true love has a destiny all it’s own. As the cathedral bells peal through Cathedral City, Corina and Stephen must chose to answer the call of love on their hearts.
Or let it be lost forever?
Rachel Hauck

{MORE ABOUT RACHEL HAUCK}


Rachel Hauck is an award-winning, best selling author of critically acclaimed novels such as “The Wedding Dress,” “Love Starts with Elle,” and “Once Upon A Prince.” She also penned the Songbird Novels with multi-platinum recording artist, Sara Evans. Booklist named their novel, “Softly and Tenderly,” one of 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals. She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, and conference speaker. Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pets.
Find out more about Rachel at http://www.rachelhauck.com/.



Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Author found ray of hope in darkest of circumstances


Despite being tested by a terrifying diagnosis,
Helo Matzelle clung to faith

Helo Matzelle thought her relationship with God was as good as it could get. As a busy stay-at-home mom and devoted wife, she would have described her life as beautiful. Then, one Friday afternoon in 2011, her life changed. In her new book, Halo Found Hope: A Memoir (Dog Ear Publishing/December 11, 2014/ISBN:  9781457531330/ $16.95), Matzelle shares how her life went from planning ahead for the weekend to relearning basic skills after being diagnosed with a rare brain tumor. What’s most remarkable is not what she endured physically, but how she grew spiritually.

Matzelle says when she looks back, she should have paid more attention to the physical symptoms: the strange voices in her head, like she was remembering movie lines. The metallic taste in her mouth. The ringing in her ears. But those symptoms were easily chalked up to the stress of life or the effects of spending too much time in a building with freshly painted walls. However, what started as a routine MRI for her ear revealed Matzelle’s symptoms signaled a more serious problem. “After hearing the terrifying news that I had a golf ball-sized tumor on my brain, my mind began to race,” she admits. “I thought, ‘Why me, God?’ I wanted to make this nightmare go away, but God is our refuge and strength and ever-present help in trouble.”

In this personal diary-turned-memoir, Halo Found Hope, Matzelle details how her recovery from surgery was only supposed to entail six days in the hospital, but things took a turn for the worse in the operating room. Matzelle’s brain tumor was one in two million: Because of the way it was structured, the removal caused intense brain swelling, and several hours later, she became unresponsive.  Doctors put her into a drug-induced coma, but life-threatening complications persisted. When she finally awoke after three weeks in the ICU, this mom learned she was facing months of intense rehabilitation, and instead of car-pooling and caring for her family, she would be learning how to function again on the most basic of levels. What would her new normal look like?

Matzelle admits trusting God wasn’t always easy. “Over and over again, Id ask God, ‘Will I walk, talk, eat, and think again? My strength is wearing thin. Im afraid,’” she reveals. “God reached down and asked, ‘Helo, do you trust me? Remember, I promised you Id never leave you.’ Now that is one amazing love.”

Helo doesn’t want her story just to be one of survival; despite her remaining physical challenges, she is passionate about spreading the message that no matter what others are facing and wherever they are, God is right there with them and will equip them to be brave.  

A portion of all author proceeds from Helo Found Hope will go to the National Brain Tumor Society, the largest non-profit organization dedicated to the brain tumor community in the United States.


About the Author

Helouise “Halo” Matzelle was born in the city of Delft, Holland. Three months after her birth, Helo immigrated to the United States with her parents. Helo graduated from the University of Washington where she met her best friend and husband, Rich. Formerly in marketing for a major pharmaceutical company, Helo became a stay-at-home mom after the birth of her daughter, Lauren. Later the Matzelles were blessed with two sons: Jordan and Austin. 

Matzelle led a charmed life until receiving a shocking diagnosis in 2011 of a rare brain tumor sitting over the main artery in her brain. She details her painful diagnosis, risky surgery and miraculous recovery in her memoir, Halo Found Hope.

Matzelle’s passion is helping those who face various challenges and afflictions discover where true hope is found. She resides in Redmond, WA, with her husband and their three children.


Learn more about Helo Matzelle and Halo Found Hope at www.halofoundhope.com and on Facebook (Helo-Matzelle) or Twitter (HaloFoundHope).


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

New from Max Lucado | ‘Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe’ and iPad Giveaway

In Max Lucado's new fiction release, Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe, he asks, If you could ask God anything, what would you ask—and how would he answer? 

When a catastrophe strikes and her ex comes calling, Chelsea begins to wonder if the whole universe is conspiring against her quest to make it on her own. After a shocking discovery opens her eyes to the unseen world around her, Chelsea finds the courage to ask, and heaven answers in a most unexpected way.

Join Max in celebrating the release of his new fiction book by entering his iPad giveaway and RSVPing to his Coffee with Max webcast!

higherground-400


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • An iPad Mini
  • A copy of Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 23rd. Winner will be announced March 24th on the Litfuse blog. Then tune in later on the 24th for his Coffee with Max webcast. RSVP here!

highergrounds-enterbanner


{NOT ON FACEBOOK? ENTER HERE.}


Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe

{MORE ABOUT MIRACLE AT THE HIGHER GROUNDS CAFE}


(Thomas Nelson, February 2015)
What if you could ask God anything? What would you ask? And how would he answer?
Chelsea Chambers is on her own. After a public split from her NFL superstar husband, Chelsea takes a bold step out of the limelight and behind the counter of the Higher Grounds Café, an old-fashioned coffee shop in dire need of reinvention. But when her courage, expert planning, and out-of-this-world cupcakes fail to pay the bills, this newly single mom finds herself desperate for help. Better yet, a miracle.
Then a curious stranger lands at Chelsea’s door, and with him, an even more curious string of events. Soon, customers are flocking to the Higher Grounds Café, and not just for the cupcakes and cappuccino. They’ve come for the internet connection to the divine. Now the café has become the go-to place for people in search of answers to life’s biggest questions.
When a catastrophe strikes and her ex comes calling, Chelsea begins to wonder if the whole universe is conspiring against her quest to make it on her own. After a shocking discovery opens her eyes to the unseen world around her, Chelsea finds the courage to ask, and heaven answers in a most unexpected way.
Max Lucado


{MORE ABOUT MAX LUCADO}


More than 120 million readers have found comfort in the writings of Max Lucado. He ministers at the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Denalyn, and a sweet but misbehaving mutt, Andy.
Find out more about Max at http://teamlucado.com/beforeamen/cbd.html.

Monday, March 2, 2015

It really was the most interesting #WomenTellAll in #TheBachelor history


Here we are... almost at the end of the season of The Bachelor. However, before we get to find out who Chris picked, and if the people on Google+ are right, we have the "Women Tell All" episode. My question is, "do they tell us anything we don't already know?" Even Chris admits that there isn't a lot to tell every season.

Tonight, I am sure the women are really going to rip into Chris. They are a bit of a catty bunch.

Before we get started though, we have to watch clips of Harrison and Prince Farming crashing watching parties. Unless they are crashing at my house, I could not care less about this.

All of the personalities, and oh there were many, are on the show tonight. Even some of the women we forgot about. Except Kelsie won't sit with the rest of the women.

We start off with a showcase of clips, including Jillian's black box butt, crazy Ashley S. showing her insanity, the claims of Ash Kardash non-virgin lips, Keslie and her big words, Britt and her overdone eyebrows, Carly's hand puppets, all the best moments.

Britt gets very emotional watching the clips, and is soon as it is over, she jumps on Carly's case about faking that she was a friend. Carly tries to calmly defend herself after being accused of talking smack about Britt every time the camera was on her.

Instead of keeping her in middle of the crowd, Harrison pulls Britt up to the hot seat. She doesn't think her relationship went bad with Chris until Carly talked to him. Jade admits she too had said something. Jillian jumps on Britt for what she said to Chris in a limo ride.

Evidently Ash Kardash with lashes had said something to Chris that wasn't true about Britt wanting to have children. Evidently, the woman is a self-proclaimed saint, babysitter, nanny, orphanage builder, soccer coach and regular Mother Teresa.

Ash Kardash clarifies that all she did was repeat that Britt said she didn't want kids right now. Carly says she doesn't wish Britt any ill will, and really liked her, but wanted Chris to know what she really did say. Carly pointed out how Britt would always say one thing, then change her mind and say another. Carly liked her until she had a reason not to trust her.

Harrison asks Britt about Arlington and their trip there. Yes, she wondered if they were in the town before the town. However, she would be living in his home in the beautiful countryside with HIM. She believes she could still be with Chris if it weren't for Carly.

Thankfully, Harrison has had enough and we get another commercial and can move on. However, during commercial break, she continues to cry to Harrison.

Next up is Kelsie, who couldn't even sit with the others. We get the highlight reel of her viciousness and holier than attitude mixed with panic attack. She has the most bitter expression on her face watching how everything went down. Now she starts crying as she watches how all the other women celebrated when she went home. "I am feeling betrayed. Like I am grieving all over again."

The women want to jump on her case quickly. However, Harrison extends his handkerchief, and she asks, "are you sure? It's silk." Kelsie thinks the women may not like her for her big words. She wants to assure everyone that the panic attack was authentic as hatred was amassing and coming to a climax. When Harrison asks if she thinks she's better than the others, she does assert that she is different, but how do you measure humanity? No one can speak until she advocates for herself and we have another commercial break.

It's about to get ugly as the women have their chance to rip in. Juelia (who also had a tragic husband death) calls her the fakest person she ever met. Megan's dad dropped dead (her words) too while running, and says her mother was greatly offended.

Kelsie defends her timing in telling Chris when she did (to get the rose) because she felt like she had not been telling him something all the time leading up to that. Samantha blames her exit on Kelsie's dramatic episode passed out on the floor. Ash Kardash said if she was a heap on the floor, the last thing she would have wanted was the guy she liked seeing her like that.

Ash Kardash looks like she's doing "Walk like an Egyptian," when asked if she felt sorry for the "I'm here and she's there" comment. Jillian, of all people, starts defending Kelsie against accusations by Ash Kardash of faking part of the husband dramatics.

Kelsie ends her time in the hot seat defending her comments about her amazing (yet tragic) story.

Next up is crazy Ashley... aka is it an onion or a pomegranate girl. This is the much needed comedy relief the crying, emotional women needed. They all laugh at the clips of what everyone said. Even Carly and Britt can agree on the insanity. It's something Kelsie and Ash Kardash can see eye to eyelash on.

Ashley gives Chris an onion as a present. She really couldn't believe there was fruit growing on the tree. And she has no idea what Mesa Verde was, but she's obsessed about it. Harrison questions her about visiting the accounting department and how she thought they were all taking bets on the women. Oh, and about her talking to cats.

Harrison begs Ashley S. to join them on Bachelor in Paradise. He enjoys her so much. She's so unpredictable. She doesn't seem to know what he's talking about.

Next up is Jade and the discussion of her X-rated secret. Oh, but the two seemed to have a connection. His sisters' choice for a one-on-one date, it really opened his eyes to her. We see Jade recapping how they came from similar backgrounds, but then she told him about her modeling for Playboy. She emotionally watches along, trying not to cry at her own departure.

Jade wants to ask Chris if he was authentic in saying that her modeling had nothing to do with his choice. She was crushed when Chris blogged that how he saw her one way and her family described her as something much different.

Kaitlyn is up next. Harrison talks about how fun-loving she is, yet how they can't retell most of her jokes. She actually does not look miserable as she watches her highlight reel, at least at first. That is until she has to relive the scene of getting sent home. She turns all serious while talking about the last week. Kaitlyn was surprised she was sent home because she thought Chris wouldn't have put her through a rose ceremony. Her guarded heart still hurts. She was crushed and still misses him.

With 20 minutes left in the show... and you know the last 10 are going to highlight the two women left and next week's finale... Chris comes out.

Harrison knows the women have a lot to ask/say, and he goes to Britt first who asks if she can come up there. While Britt gives Chris an awkwardly long hug, Carly rolls her eyes. Britt starts right off saying that she doesn't blame him for believing Carly and what she said.

Chris tells Britt his decision was not based on what Carly did/didn't say, but what he felt at the time. She has to back peddle to say that she didn't think he was so small minded to think he would only go by what someone else said.

Next, Harrison hands the floor to Kaitlyn. "You saw the shock on the face. You saw the raw emotion of being blindsided." After letting her guard down, she felt like she didn't get a real explanation. She wants a genuine answer of what happened. Chris says there wasn't a true explanation, but it was the toughest week of his life since he was falling in love with three women. She wants to know why she didn't get the courtesy of a private conversation vs. a rose ceremony like Becca got or Andi did for him. He admits to still not having a real answer for her.

Jade's turn to talk. She too asks if she can come up to talk to him instead of at him. She confronts him asking to be sure it wasn't her photos that sent her home. Jade asks Chris what he meant by saying that the person he knew (shy) and the person her family described (wild mustang) were two different people. Chris assures Jade that what she showed him online was not what the reason why she went home. Jade says she thought they made a mutual decision to look at the pictures, but on the show said it was awkward. She said if it were awkward they shouldn't have done it.

He explains why it was awkward -- and she probably felt award too.

Enough of the seriousness and on to bloopers. Farting and belching to come, I am sure. Animals and bugs gone wild. Yep. All of that.

Before signing off for the night, Chris Harrison introduces his new book, The Perfect Letter, coming out May 19. Available for pre-order. His publisher should ask me to review it. ;)

Until next week's final decision between Whitney or Becca... Signing off...


Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Judges



The Judges


God set Judges over Israel, 
One brave woman, fourteen men.
They helped Israel fight their battles, 
led them back to God from sin.

Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah,
Gideon, Abimelech, Tola, Jair,
Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon,
Samson, Eli, Samuel.



Saturday, February 28, 2015

It was beautiful for the two hours it lasted

It's been really cold and wet all week. While less than an hour away the roads have been an icy mess, and some places have had inches of snow accumulation, this right here is as much snow as we got here where I live. Wednesday morning, big fluffy flakes beautifully down and coated everything.

Then, two hours later it was all melted away. I was giddy while it lasted. Then, sad it didn't last longer when all that was left was big muddy puddles.





Friday, February 27, 2015

Resetting Your Parenting GPS after Divorce


Book offers encouragement and advice
to dads detoured by the pain of divorce

The saying used to be “father knows best,” but with changing cultural tides, a man’s role in the family has been greatly diminished — especially when it comes to single dads. The divorced father is often portrayed in movies and television as an object of humor, ridicule or pity. Where does that leave real single dads trying to do their best? It can easily make them susceptible to overcompensation or apathy, which is why Tez Brooks has written The Single Dad Detour: Directions for Fathering After Divorce (Kregel/February 27, 2015/ISBN: 978-0825443602/$14.99).

Brooks understands how modern single fathers feel all too well. “Divorce was not something my family did, but you can’t make someone love you, and you can’t make someone stay. So although I didn't want a failed marriage, I found myself single again. It was a lonely time for me, but I ran to the Lord to survive,” he explains.

The Single Dad Detour was born out of the difficult and painful lessons Brooks learned along the way. Using the metaphor of a car accident encountered while on a road trip, the book is interactive, with each chapter offering steps to take, questions to consider and suggested scriptures and prayers.

With an honesty and vulnerability that will appeal to men, Brooks admits divorce is ugly and depressing, totaling families and denting parent-child relationships. Without a strong connection to God, it can leave a dad feeling hopeless. “As I interviewed men in my research for The Single Dad Detour, I ran into guys who said they were tempted to be absent,” Brooks admits. “There’s already an expectation from the world that they are going to fail. Coupled with the normal low self-esteem that comes with a failed marriage, a guy can be left feeling like maybe his child would be better off without him in his or her life.”

Study after study discredits this fear and affirms a dad’s critical role. Without him, children are more likely to be involved in crime, promiscuity and other risky behaviors. Through this practical guidebook for the rocky road of single fatherhood, Brooks extends hope and compassion, instills confidence and addresses difficult challenges.

Brooks says his time as a single dad ultimately made him a better father and husband. “The Lord spent those seven years of singleness re-building me into more of what he wanted me to be. My wife, Christine, has always said she would not have been attracted to the kind of man I was before,” Brooks reveals. “I can’t say I blame her, Thankfully, God’s timing is perfect.”

Offering down-to-earth wisdom from one dad to another, Brooks wants fathers to finish The Single Dad Detour filled with the grace to forgive themselves and the courage to be the dad God is calling them to be.


Advance Praise

“When life doesn’t mirror our dreams, we can respond in anger, denial, depression and escape. Tez speaks from his experience as a single dad with practical help and no-fuss straight talk. With humor, biblical truth and disarming frankness, this easy-to-read book shines a light, providing practical steps to embrace God’s mission for single-again dads.”
~ Bill Hodgson, former national director of Cru Australia

The Single Dad Detour takes us along a journey that too many have traveled and where too few maps exist. Tez’s narrative resonates and his authenticity is liberating. If I were a single parent on this journey, I’d want Tez’s comforting voice on my GPS. It’s a warm and understanding voice that’s traveled the back roads and knows where it’s going.”
~ Rick James, publisher for Cru Press and author of Jesus Without Religion and A Million Ways to Die

“Honest, vulnerable and often hilarious, Tez Brooks reveals the raw sorrows and transcendent joys of fatherhood after divorce. The Single Dad Detour is a graphic roadmap drawn from the personal experiences of single dads. Along this byway, in a comfortably conversational way, Brooks reveals unexpected signposts of scriptural wisdom collected from years of both crashed guardrails and triumphant victory laps.”
~ Dr. Alan Kent Scholes, seminary professor for Cru’s Institute of Biblical Studies and author of Enjoying God

“Single fathers are busy and often emotionally mangled. They need information like The Single Dad Detour that’s easy to read and use. There’s no delusion, only sincere assistance for men on this detour, offering real help to see them through.”
~ Mike Klumpp, solo-parenting expert for Divorce Care Ministries and author of The Single Dad’s Survival Guide



About the author

Tez Brooks has been a writer since 1980. His experience includes serving as editor-in-chief for TODAY magazine, a publication of Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) and as managing editor for The Jesus Film Project. His articles have been published in magazines including Australian Family, Eternity and Wor


ldwide Challenge, among others. Brooks has also authored two other books: Imagine Australia and Somewhere in the Journey.

As a former law enforcement officer, his ability to relate to the everyday man with transparency and humor sets him apart. He is an international speaker and a certified Stephen Minister whose passion is to see husbands and fathers succeed as courageous men of God.

Tez and his wife, Christine, are full-time missionaries who recently returned from living overseas. They have two children together and two adult children from Brooks’ first marriage. They reside in Orlando, where Tez serves as a film writer/producer for The Jesus Film Project.


Learn more about Tez Brooks and The Single Dad Detour at www.everysingledad.com, on Facebook (everysingledad) or on Twitter (tezd63).

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Putting an arm around teen moms


Tricia Goyer fills new book with encouragement

and help based on personal experience


According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more than a quarter of a million babies are born to teen moms in the U.S. each year. Best-selling author Tricia Goyer has written Teen Mom: You’re Stronger than You Think (Zondervan/March 3, 2015/ISBN: 978-0310338871/$15.99) because she doesn’t want one of them to fall through the cracks of the culture.

Everything changes the day these young girls discover they’re going to be moms, and the pressures they’re under can be crushing. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy reports teen moms are more likely to drop out of high school and nearly half of them live below the poverty line.

Tricia Goyer understands. Born to a single mom, Tricia found herself pregnant at 17, and she remembers what it felt like to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders. “My boyfriend was out of the picture, and I faced raising a child alone with little education, no money and maybe, according to the world, little hope for my future,” Goyer admits. “Yet, I am not a statistic. And you know why I’m not a statistic? Because God doesn’t do them.”  

Goyer has gone on to be an award-winning author and popular speaker. She’s also been the coordinator of a teen MOPS group for more than 12 years and has cheered on many young mothers — from all walks of life — through their journeys. “Every moment I’ve spent volunteering in these teen mom support groups is worth it. I remember being the one who needed to hear about Jesus’ love and forgiveness. Somebody talked to me, and it cost them too. There is someone in your community who needs to hear too.”

While most young moms would never trade their children for the world, some days are just hard. Baby-daddy drama, dealing with their parents, and worries about the future slam them. They find their friends can’t relate to their little family, and some girls will begin to wonder if God has turned His back on them. In Teen Mom, Goyer pours out her heart and provides encouragement to these young, single mothers, reminding them they can be the mom their children deserve — not in their own strength, but in the strength God provides.

In addition to encouraging these moms, Goyer says she hopes Teen Mom will equip church leaders, pregnancy crisis centers, counselors and anyone involved in the lives of young mothers to broach challenging topics such as purity, sexual abuse and bad boyfriends. Questions found at the end of every chapter will help them discuss these difficult issues, while giving teens a chance to open up and share their experiences.

Teen Mom ultimately serves to remind us all that every young mom is worthy of the love, forgiveness and hope for the future that can only come from God’s love.


About the Author

Tricia Goyer is a busy mom of six, grandmother of two and wife to John. A best-selling author, Tricia has published 50 books to date and has written more than 500 articles. She is a two-time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Nominee. In 2010, she was selected as one of the Top 20 Moms to Follow on Twitter by SheKnows.com. Tricia is also on the blogging team at MomLifeToday.comTheBetterMom.com and other homeschooling and Christian sites.

In addition to her roles as mom, wife and author, Tricia volunteers around her community and mentors teen moms. She is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries in Northwestern Montana, and she currently leads a Teen MOPS Group in Little Rock, Ark. Tricia, along with a group of friends, shares ideas about simplifying life at www.NotQuiteAmishLiving.com.


Keep up with Tricia Goyer by visiting www.triciagoyer.com, liking her on Facebook (authortriciagoyer) and following her on Twitter (triciagoyer) and Pinterest (triciagoyer).


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Author encourages special needs parents to get their joy back

Part 1 of an interview with Laurie Wallin,
Author of Get Your Joy Back



Some studies report as many as one out of every four families in the U.S. has a child with a special need. Parenting is stressful even when a child doesn’t have a physical, mental or emotional difficulty. One can imagine the stress on special needs families. Laurie Wallin meets these parents right where they are in her new book, Get Your Joy Back: Banishing Resentment and Reclaiming Confidence in Your Special Needs Family (Kregel Publications/January 27, 2015/ISBN: 978-0825443398/$13.99).

Wallin strives every day to live out her message for families: that no matter the challenge, in Jesus they can have joy and confidence. Get Your Joy Back is full of biblical insights and practical strategies to help parents recognize and shed the resentments that leave them spiritually, emotionally and socially drained. Wallin sugar-coats nothing but addresses issues with honesty, humor and — above all — hope.

Q: Get Your Joy Back comes from a very personal place for you. Tell us about your family.

I’ve been married for almost 16 years to a man who’s a tech whiz with a wicked sense of humor and an Asperger’s diagnosis. That keeps us on our toes as parents of special needs kid because their challenges exacerbate his and vice versa. But the loyalty inherent in his wiring has also been an immeasurable gift and stabilizer for me as his partner in our family. We have four daughters, ranging in age from 6 to 13 years old. Two are foster/adopted with a half-dozen medical, developmental and mental health special needs. We daily attempt to balance our pre-teens’ mood disorders (as if pre-teens weren’t already moody), therapeutic appointments, communication with teachers and “normal” family stuff like sports, making meals, doing homework, brushing teeth, wiping up spills and my desire to lock myself in a closet and watch entire seasons of Downton Abbey in a single night.

Like most parents reading my book, we wanted to be parents but never sought to parent high-needs children. When we adopted our older two, the papers said the girls were healthy, rambunctious toddlers. Their special needs became apparent throughout the following two years, as did their resourcefulness, emotional depth and tendencies toward art and living-room tickling matches.

Q: You interviewed more than 70 families when writing Get Your Joy Back. What was the most common theme you heard while talking to them?

The most common response is that they felt misunderstood, by family, friends, church, professionals and even their own spouses. Being misunderstood leaves many feeling hopeless because they don’t feel sharing their needs or struggles will even matter.

Q: While you are very open about your struggles, that wasn’t the case for the majority of the parents you spoke to. Why do you think they had such a difficult time talking about their issues?

I believe it’s because as Christians we’re trained not to feel bad for too long because if we do, we either 1) don’t have enough faith, 2) didn’t pray enough or 3) must be the problem that’s bringing such trouble to our families. Somehow the unspoken doctrine, which many parents mentioned in their survey responses, is that you can struggle in church, just not too loud, too long or in ways we can’t explain away with Christian-isms.

After a while, parents get to a place where they don’t even acknowledge their hard feelings. They convince themselves they’re OK and nothing is too hard because they’ve grown accustomed to making it sound OK (read: Christian/faithful enough) to people they’ve tried to talk to before.

Q: You write about a life-changing moment at a conference. What was the topic, and what was said that pierced your heart?

The conference speaker was talking about forgiveness and the idea of Jesus telling Peter to forgive 70 times seven offenses. I suddenly perked up during that workshop and did the math: 490 offenses wasn’t that big a number for a mom raising two kids with disabilities that required emotional gymnastics on my part. Every week, I had to restrain them, fix items they’d broken, answer judgmental comments at store checkout lines, explain the girls’ backgrounds to offended moms at playgrounds, miss out on church activities because of their disruptive behaviors and face professionals with unrealistic expectations or disappointed demeanors.

Suddenly, 490 times wasn’t much. It made me mad at God, which opened the conversation in which he revealed that 70 times seven meant I needed to forgive COUNTLESS times. No matter what. Because that’s what He’s done for me. My conversation with God about each area of life in which that seemed impossible became the content for this book — a guide for parents like me who want to find freedom from resentment and get their joy back.

Q: You talk in the book about forgiving your child. Have you found that idea to be controversial in any way?

Yes, that’s bothered some people — mostly people who are still struggling with what we were just talking about. But also because the second we let ourselves say what we grieve about our child, we feel guilty for even thinking that. After all, it’s not like our child planned or asked for this or wanted to make our lives hard! We don’t realize that by censoring our emotions, we’re not being more spiritual; we’re being dishonest and short-circuiting the healing God will certainly bring when we take an honest look at the challenges.

Basically, any controversy I’ve encountered thus far hinges on the fact that typically, as westerners, we don’t understand healthy grieving. It feels so uncontrollable and so undefined . . . like a black hole. When it comes to our kids, that translates to “I don’t want to even THINK about my negative feelings about my child or her condition because then Pandora’s box might open and swallow me whole. My family needs me. I can’t take the risk to fall apart.” That kind of thinking robs us as parents of the joy on the other side of healthy grieving.

Q: You recommend parents not necessarily read Get Your Joy Back straight through, cover-to-cover; what’s the best way to approach the book?

The last thing I want is for parents to feel like they “have to” read this book a certain way. There are already plenty of areas of their life that they “have to” do things. This is FOR THEM, to support parents. So I recommend they read it whatever way supports them most. Perhaps straight through. Perhaps a chapter a week, like a devotional. Perhaps going to the table of contents and picking the chapter that speaks most to their current need and use it like a reference book. Whatever supports them in getting their joy back.

Q: What is the number-one thing you hope Get Your Joy Back does for special needs families?

I hope the book breathes joy and confidence into the deepest, weariest places in their hearts and lives and they leave it feeling recharged and hopeful in relationships at home and beyond.


Learn more about Laurie Wallin and Get Your Joy Back at www.lauriewallin.com and on Facebook (LivingPowerLifeCoaching), Pinterest (lauriewallin) or Twitter (mylivingpower).


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New from Debra Clopton | ‘Betting on Hope’ Kindle Giveaway

Saddle up for a new romance from novelist Debra CloptonBetting on HopeIn Wishing Springs, Maggie finds what she has always been looking for: a community and a home. But when her past catches up to her, it threatens everything, even the tender hope that this town holds all of her heart’s desires.

Enter to win a Kindle Fire HD 6 to celebrate the release of Betting on Hope

bettingonhope-400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • A copy of Betting on Hope
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 8th. Winner will be announced March 9th on Debra's blog.

bettingonhope-enterbanner

{NOT ON FACEBOOK? ENTER HERE.}


Betting on Hope

{MORE ABOUT BETTING ON HOPE}


(Thomas Nelson, February 2015)
A bet gone wrong. A small town’s meddling. And a cowboy intent on saving his ranch.
Maggie Hope is an advice columnist whose background leaves her with little advice to give . . . and it’s beginning to show. When Maggie fills in at an interview with champion horse trainer Tru Monahan, the on-camera chemistry between them is undeniable. Maggie’s bosses know this is the opportunity she’s been looking for to launch her career—and their bank accounts. In order to save her column, Maggie takes Tru up on the bet that he can teach her to ride a quick-stepping cutting horse like any cowgirl, despite the fact that she has never been on a horse. And in the meantime, she can get the scoop on the man under the cowboy hat.
Tru has been on the competition circuit for longer than he’d like, but he knows it’s the only way he can afford to keep the Four of Hearts Ranch that means so much to his ailing grandfather. So when his sponsors see the opportunity for Tru’s fans to get to know the star on a more intimate level, he knows he must oblige. To his dismay, Maggie not only invades his small town of Wishing Springs, but she also invades his heart, and that is something he cannot let any woman do—for her own good.
In Wishing Springs, Maggie finds what she has always been looking for: a community and a home. But when her past catches up to her, it threatens everything, even the tender hope that this town holds all of her heart’s desires.
Debra Clopton

{MORE ABOUT DEBRA CLOPTON}


Debra Clopton is a multi-award winning novelist and has written more than 22 novels. Along with writing, Debra helps her husband teach the youth at their local Cowboy Church. Debra’s goal is to shine a light toward God while she entertains readers with her words.
Find out more about Debra at http://debraclopton.com.