Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Chameleon, A Boy, and a Quest

New book captures the voice of forgotten children
Medical missionary to Africa weaves adventure tale
to shine a light on the oppressed and the orphaned

Nearly 80 percent of the world’s population lives on less than $10 a day. For globally-aware parents who want give their children a glimpse of majority-world reality, long-term medical missionary to Africa J.A. Myhre has penned A Chameleon, a Boy, and a Quest (New Growth Press/October 6, 2015/ISBN: 9781942572084/$15.99).

This beautifully-written adventure book for young readers brings to life the African savannah Myhre calls home, inviting readers to explore the country through the eyes of a 10-year-old boy named Mu. Orphaned as a toddler, Mu has served his whole life in his great uncle’s house where he is unloved and ignored. In his drudgery-filled life, Mu has little hope of happiness and doesn’t believe anything will ever change.

On his way to draw the morning water one day, Mu is astonished when a chameleon greets him by name and announces they will embark on a quest together. Mu and his chameleon guide face peril and find unexpected allies as they journey through an ever-changing African landscape. Throughout his adventure Mu learns many things about himself and the nature of good and evil.

Myhre has served alongside her husband as a doctor in East Africa for more than two decades. While living in a very remote area on the Uganda-Congo border, Myhre noticed that although her children were avid readers, none of the books in their hands related to the world in which they lived. So she began to write short novels for them each Christmas, which they would read aloud together. “Most of the kids who hung out at our house every day had lost one or both parents and struggled to stay in school. Our next-door neighbor ended up in a rebel group,” Myhre admits. “This is reality for kids in much of the world. So I wanted a story where kids who live with that kind of challenge had courage and hope, even if they made mistakes.”

A Chameleon, a Boy, and a Quest gives a voice to the millions of children like Mu who must make painful, irrevocable choices along the path of growing up. Dealing with real themes African children face every day, such as forced labor, the duties of child soldiers and the Ebola virus, Myhre hopes A Chameleon, a Boy, and a Quest will captivate young minds and foster in them a new sensitivity toward the forgotten orphans of the world. “I think our kids are the generation that will grasp justice,” says Myhre. “They know we are all responsible to struggle for those who are oppressed. I hope by giving the poor names and stories, kids everywhere will embrace their struggles.”

New Growth Press now brings the powerful message of this story, originally told from one mother to her children, to all bookshelves, drawing families into a tale about hope, happiness and what it means to be human.

Advance Praise

“Written by a true insider, this tale is rich in African texture. This allegory is sure to delight readers both young and old!”
~ Harry Kraus, bestselling author of Could I Have this Dance?

“When Tita the chameleon climbs onto the shoulder of young Mu, he not only sets the African boy on a heart-stopping adventure, but us too. It’s a journey rich in the beauty and wonder of Africa, but it’s also—importantly—a lesson on redemption and sacrifice. Young readers will gravitate to Mu and his animal guardians, but so do the rest of us, too. A Chameleon, A Boy, and A Quest is for all ages a lyrical introduction to the promise and peril of Africa.”
~ Mindy Belz, editor, World Magazine

“The best stories enlarge our understanding of the world, excite our imagination, and make us think of THE story sung by angels in heaven. This book does all of that. It’s a rich adventure full of fantasy, yet all about the truest things in life.”
            ~ Jack Klumpenhower, author of Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids

About the Author

J.A. Myhre serves as a doctor with Serge in East Africa where she has worked alongside her husband, Dr. Scott Myhre, for more than two decades. She earned her medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and completed her pediatric training at Northwestern University’s Children’s Memorial Hospital. She also received a Master’s in Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

Myhre works in the AIC Kijabe Hospital, which provides healthcare in the name of Jesus to the vulnerable people of East Africa. She has given a special focus in her work to HIV prevention and nutrition and has invested heavily in training emerging indigenous leaders. Myhre is currently spending one year living and traveling in the U.S., telling others about her work in Africa. She and her husband have four children, all of whom attend university in the States.

For more about J.A. Myhre, her work in Africa and A Chameleon, a Boy, and a Quest, visit paradoxuganda.blogspot.com.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Is social media stealing your identity?

Is social media stealing your identity? We need an #IdentityRevolution! Take part by reading Jessica Fralin’s debut book, #StolenIn #Stolen, author Jessica Fralin uncovers our deep desire to be affirmed, valued, and loved and then points to the only place where that desire can be filled: in Christ not social media.
Join Jessica and Abingdon Press on Instagram for the chance to win a $100 cash card!
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A $100 cash card
  • A copy of #Stolen
Enter today by following the instructions below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 30th. The winner will be announced November 2nd on the Litfuse blog.
Here’s how to enter the contest:
  1. Take a no-filter selfie of you either holding up a copy of the book (if you have one) or holding up a sign that says, “I will not be #Stolen!”
  2. Caption the photo with the following (just copy/paste this on your mobile device): “I’m participating in an #IdentityRevolution with @JessicaFralin’s new book, #Stolen! Learn how to be affirmed, valued, and loved through Christ, not social media. #contest”
  3. Follow @JessicaFralin on Instagram.
Rules: Open to the U.S. only. Entries will be tracked by using the hashtags #Stolen and #IdentityRevolution. Entries must be submitted by 10/30/15 at 11:59 PDT. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on 11/2.
Per Instagram rules, this promotion is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm that they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s terms of use. Void where prohibited by law.


#Stolen: Is Social Media Stealing Your Identity?(Abingdon, August 2015)
Take back what social media has stolen.
How many hours do we spend scrolling Facebook newsfeeds, retweeting something on Twitter, or posing for the perfect selfie on Instagram, hoping what we post will get likes and comments from our friends and followers? To get those likes, we post what is—according to social media standards—pretty, popular, and acceptable. We hide the messy parts of life, play up the fun times, and even twist the truth a bit so we look a little better, smarter, and funnier. But what happens when people start holding us up to these unrealistic standards? What happens when you realize that who you are on social media isn’t who you really are? Have we let social media steal our identity?
In #Stolen, author Jessica Fralin uncovers our deep desire to be affirmed, valued, and loved and then points to the only place where that desire can be filled: in Christ not social media. She offers creative #FunFact, #GiveItATry, and #WhatDoYouThink callouts containing fun notes, activities, and ideas to discuss with your youth group and friends. As she tackles the issues and insecurities like popularity, body image, and cyberbullying, Jessica shows you how to find your identity in the one voice that really matters, not the million of voices online.
Jessica Fralin


Jessica Fralin is an author & blogger in Nashville, Tennessee. Whether speaking from a platform or typing away on jessicafralin.com, her heart is to convey the message of love, acceptance, and worth that can only be found in the gospel. On any given day, you can find her holding a book or a latte and passionately teaching others who they are―and why it matters―when it comes to social media.
Find out more about Jessica at http://jessicafralin.com.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

We Will Glorify

We Will Glorify

By Twila Paris
Used by permission. CCLI # 1132191

We will glorify the King of kings,
We will glorify the Lamb;
We will glorify the Lord of lords,
Who is the great I Am.

Lord Jehovah reigns in majesty,
We will bow before His throne;
We will worship Him in righteousness,
We will worship Him alone.

He is Lord of Heaven, Lord of earth,
He is Lord of all who live;
He is Lord of all the universe,
All praise to Him we give.

Hallelujah to the King of kings,
Hallelujah to the Lamb;
Hallelujah to the Lord of lords,

Who is the great I Am.

Friday, October 2, 2015

It is getting cooler, slowly, but surely

This week and next is all about stocking up and making as much stuff as possible. Here's some of this week's creations. The weather is finally cooling down this week, so there are hopes of needing these in the future.

The three matching hats were sent off to Nashville for a group of friends to wear to the Predators hockey games.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Sometimes it’s enough to just show up

Two friends share what friendship looks
like in the midst of difficult circumstances

While your heart might be in the right place, it is not unusual to feel uncomfortable or insecure when you’re around loved ones who are in the midst of a trial. The temptation to back away can be strong; after all, couldn’t they use some space? You don’t want to be a burden. Is that ever the right choice though? Is there something both of you can gain from friendship in the midst of suffering?

Bestselling author Kara Tippetts and Jill Lynn Buteyn answer those questions in the new book Just Show Up: the Dance of Walking Through Suffering Together (David C Cook/ October 1, 2015/ISBN: 978-1434709530/$15.99). With grace and practical advice, the friends wrote about what relationships look like in the midst of changing life seasons, loads of laundry and even Tippetts’ battle with cancer, which she tragically lost on March 22, 2015.

As Tippetts walked the road of cancer, learning to receive offers of help from friends — and the vulnerability that comes along with it — was sometimes an uncomfortable journey for everyone involved. Yet, she discovered an astounding depth of relationship with women who wanted to walk with her and her family, including Buteyn, who became one of her closest friends. “We all have tough times, but there’s a beauty that comes in doing the really hard stuff together,” Buteyn reveals. “When I look back on my time with Kara, I see a lot of tears, prayers and pain, but I also see grace and even peace. It was beautiful to walk with her, even though it hurt so much. It still hurts. But I would choose her all over again.”

Buteyn faced her own challenges as she reached out to Tippetts and her family. Maintaining friendships can be difficult even on the best of days, and troubles compound relational challenges. For Buteyn, it was hard at times to know what to say or do, and there were moments when her words sounded awkward and hollow. Along the way, though, Tippetts and Buteyn both discovered ways to meet each other in the “hard.” The book offers insightful chapters full of wisdom about the gift of silence, the art of receiving and the beauty of just showing up.

“Presence is so important in suffering because sometimes that’s really all we have to offer,” Buteyn admits. “We don’t have the right words or there isn’t anything we can do to help. Sometimes it is just about being there.” In addition to sage advice born from experience, Just Show Up offers practical tips, such as what clich├ęs to avoid, why it’s important to be specific in your offers of help and how to avoid making your friend’s pain all about you.

Whether readers want to be present with someone going through a difficult time or find inspiration for pursuing friendship in a new way, this eloquent book reveals the power found in being present during the everyday as well as the terribly hard — and reaching out to others, no matter what.

Advance Praise

“Kara Tippetts changed my life and thousands of others’ lives because she was a rare, singular voice who, when facing the end of her life here, had street cred to speak about what really matters. Open these rich, radical pages and give yourself the gift of friendship like you’ve always wanted and community like you’ve only hoped for — before it’s too late to just show up.”
~ Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

About the Authors

The late Kara Tippetts was the author of The Hardest Peace and blogged faithfully at mundanefaithfulness.com. Cancer was only a part of Tippett’s story. Her real fight was to truly live while facing a crushing reality. Since her death in March 2015, her husband, Jason, is parenting their four children and leading the church they founded in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Learn more about the life of Kara Tippetts at www.mundanefaithfulness.com or follow the site on Facebook (mundanefaithfulness).

Jill Lynn Buteyn is the author of Falling for Texas, an inspirational novel, and a recipient of the ACFW Genesis Award for her fiction work. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Bethel University. Buteyn lives near the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her husband and two children.

Learn more about Jill Lynn Buteyne and Just Show Up at www.jill-lynn.com and on Facebook (JillLynnAuthor), Pinterest (JillLynnAuthor), Instagram (JillLynnAuthor) and Twitter (@JillLynnAuthor).

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

New book addresses sensitive subject in hope of keeping kids safe

Help your family learn to build a first line of defense against sexual abuse with Justin and Lindsey Holcomb’s new book, God Made All of Me. Their simple and relatable story, designed to help children protect their bodies, will be an important resource for every family with young children. It equips parents to talk with both boys and girls about their bodies and to help them understand the difference between the appropriate and inappropriate touch of others.


(New Growth Press, September 2015)
“God made every part of you!”
It’s easy to convey the message to children that their bodies—or particular parts of their bodies—are shameful. This misconception fuels confusion, embarrassment, and secrecy, and often prevents children from recognizing or reporting sexual abuse.
God Made All of Me is a simply-told, beautifully-illustrated story to help families talk about these sensitive issues with two- to eight-year-old children. Because the private parts of our bodies are private, the home is the ideal environment where a child should learn about his or her body and how it should be treated by others.
God Made All of Me starts from the fundamental truth that God created everything and applies that truth—the doctrine of creation—to kids and their bodies. It equips parents to talk with both boys and girls about their bodies and to help them understand the difference between the appropriate and inappropriate touch of others. God Made All of Me allows families to build a first line of defense against sexual abuse in the safety of their own homes.
God Made All of Me is the first children’s book written by Rid of My Disgrace authors Justin and Lindsey Holcomb. Parents of young children themselves, the Holcombs regularly counsel victims of sexual abuse and are profoundly aware of the dangers kids face. Their simple and relatable story, designed to help children protect their bodies, will be an important resource for every family with young children.


Justin and Lindsey Holcomb
Justin Holcomb, PhD, is an Episcopal priest and professor of theology and Christian thought at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary. He is the author of On the Grace of God, Know the Heretics, and Know the Creeds and Councils, as well as the coauthor of “Is It My Fault? and Rid of My Disgrace. He also serves on the boards for REST (Real Escape from the Sex Trade) and GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in Christian Environments).
Lindsey Holcomb, MPH, counsels victims of sexual assault and domestic violence and is the co-founder of REST (Real Escape from the Sex Trade). Lindsey has provided crisis intervention to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence and conducted a variety of training seminars to service providers. She is also the coauthor of Is It My Fault? and Rid of My Disgrace.
Find out more about Justin and Lindsey at www.godmadeallofme.com.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Would you want to live to be as old as Methuselah?

Imagine being held captive for seventy years without aging a day, only to escape into modern-day 2015. Meet WWII hero Roger Greene in Rick Barry’s The Methuselah Project. Katherine Mueller—crack shot, genius, and real Southern Belle—offers to help him find his way home. Can he convince her of the truth of his crazy story? Can he continue to trust her when he finds out she works for the very organization he’s trying to flee?

Methuselah Project


(Kregel, September 2015)
Nazi scientists started many experiments. One never ended.
Roger Greene is a war hero. Raised in an orphanage, the only birthright he knows is the feeling that he was born to fly. Flying against the Axis Powers in World War II is everything he always dreamed—until the day he’s shot down and lands in the hands of the enemy.
When Allied bombs destroy both his prison and the mad genius experimenting on POWs, Roger survives. Within hours, his wounds miraculously heal, thanks to those experiments. The Methuselah Project is a success—but this ace is still not free. Seventy years later, Roger hasn’t aged a day, but he has nearly gone insane. This isn’t Captain America—just a lousy existence only made passable by a newfound faith. The Bible provides the only reliable anchor for Roger’s sanity and his soul. When he finally escapes, there’s no angelic promise or personal prophecy of deliverance, just confusion. It’s 2015—and the world has become an unrecognizable place.
Katherine Mueller—crack shot, genius, and real Southern Belle—offers to help him find his way home. Can he convince her of the truth of his crazy story? Can he continue to trust her when he finds out she works for the very organization he’s trying to flee?
Thrown right into pulse-pounding action from the first page, readers will find themselves transported back in time to a believable, full-colored past, and then catapulted into the present once more. The historical back-and-forth adds a constantly moving element of suspense to keep readers on the edge of their seats.
Rick Barry


Rick Barry is the author of Gunner’s Run, another World War II novel, Kiriath’s Quest, and more than 200 articles and fiction stories. In addition to being a World War II buff, he is the director of church planting ministries at BIEM, a Christian ministry operating in Eastern Europe. He holds a degree in foreign languages, speaks Russian, and has visited Europe more than fifty times. Rick lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Find out more about Rick at http://rickcbarry.com.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Sarah Sundin talks about the launch of new series

An interview with Sarah Sundin,
Author of Through Waters Deep

With the first book in her new Waves of Freedom series, Through Waters Deep (Revell/August 4, 2015/ISBN: 978-0800723422 /$14.99), Sarah Sundin transports readers back to the 1940s — a fascinating time when ordinary men learned they could do extraordinary things, and women explored new roles while still remaining ladies. It’s an era Sundin enjoys living in while she weaves her stories. “When we read of how people in the 1940s prevailed in times of uncertainty, fear and danger, it gives us hope we can prevail today, no matter what we face,” Sundin explains.

Described by Booklist as “an optimal hybrid of 1940s crime and romance,” Through Waters Deep takes readers through the tense months right before the U.S. entered World War II. There they’ll encounter German U-boats and torpedoes, along with the explosive power of true love.

Q: Through Waters Deep is the first book in your new Waves of Freedom series. What’s it like for you to start a new series?

Both exciting and scary. I love getting to know a whole new cast of characters, but it takes time to get to know them. I love the challenge of a new setting, but the research can be daunting. I loved stretching myself by writing a mystery plotline for the first time, but sometimes I felt I’d gotten in over my head. And I never know what my readers will think of the new series . . . kind of like trying a completely new haircut and waiting for your friends’ reactions!

Q: You are known for finding inspiration for elements of your story plots in Scripture. Which verse did you choose for Through Waters Deep?

Ironically, the verse I originally chose didn’t really play into the book after all. However, verses emerged when I wrote the story. For Mary Stirling, who struggles with a fear of attention, her theme verse is Matthew 5:15-16: “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Mary learns that using your gifts isn’t prideful when you do it to call attention to God, not to yourself.

Q: Why do you like setting stories during the World War II period?

It’s a fascinating era filled with drama, action and romance. Ordinary men learned they could do extraordinary things, and women tried new roles while still remaining ladies. When we read of how people in the 1940s prevailed in times of uncertainty and fear and danger, it gives us hope we can prevail today, no matter what we face.

Q: Do you know anyone who served in the Navy during World War II? Did you draw from real stories as you wrote Through Waters Deep?

My grandfather served as a pharmacist’s mate (medic) in the U.S. Navy in World War II. He was quite the storyteller! His wartime stories were medical in nature, and I adapted one of them in my Wings of the Nightingale series. For the Waves of Freedom, I read several accounts by U.S. naval officers who served on destroyers.

Q: What fact did you find most interesting as you did research for this book?

I found something new and interesting almost every day! The novel itself was inspired by the little-known fact that six American ships, including a destroyer, were sunk by German U-boats in 1941 — before Pearl Harbor! Even those sinkings and the deaths of more than 100 sailors and merchant marines didn’t provoke the United States to enter the war.

Q: How does Mary’s fear of attention hold her back? Do you have past or present fears that have held you back? How did you overcome?

Mary’s fear of attention causes her to hold back in many areas of her life. She wears inconspicuous clothes, chooses not to assert herself on the job and refuses to use her gift of singing. Only when she releases that fear can she fully use the gifts God gave her — and she even chooses to wear red!

Personally, I’m a cautious person by nature, so I’ve had to rely on the Lord to help me overcome my fears and do what He asks of me. Whenever I do, it’s such a thrill that over time it’s become easier and easier to step out in faith — and now it’s a joy!

Q: Jim has always floated with the current, and he struggles to be bold when necessary. Do you tend to be bold, or do you “go with the flow”?

Like Jim, I’m a people pleaser who loves peace and lack of conflict, and I usually try to smooth things over between people. However, unlike Jim, I’ve always known where I want to go in life, and I follow that path with determination (although some might call it stubbornness).

Q: How do events that happen in our childhood shape our present character? Is it possible to overcome these past events and forge a new future?

I find it interesting what a powerful effect childhood events can have on our characters, shaping our fears and notions — often subconsciously. To overcome the negative effects, we have to recognize them, find the source, combat lies with truth and choose to live in the truth. Often it needs to be a daily choice. I’m thankful God gives us the wisdom, comfort, truth and power to do this!

Q: Have you ever been on board a WWII-era ship? What did you think?

I have! In the past few years, I’ve explored an aircraft carrier, two battleships, two destroyers, a submarine and a Liberty ship! I’m always impressed by the sparse living and close quarters. No wasted space, no unnecessary equipment or personal items, and everyone had to do their part. As I learned about these ships and what they did, visiting the ships meant even more to me. I got a bit too excited when I had the opportunity to climb inside a 5-inch gunmount, visit an ammunition handling room and see a real Mark 37 fire control computer. I’ve never been normal.

Q: The U.S. was united immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, but earlier that year a different cultural temperature existed. How does this time remind you of today’s world?

While we all look back nostalgically at the unity in America during World War II, the States were anything but united in 1941. Interventionists were alarmed by the situation in Europe and wanted to join the war effort before Britain fell. Meanwhile, the isolationists felt the best way to save America was by staying out of yet another European war. They argued bitterly, with lots of name-calling. The stark division and the angry debate remind me too much of the nation in 2015. I pray it won’t take another Pearl Harbor to bring us back together again.

Q: What significance does the imagery of sailing have in Through Waters Deep?

When I was in the early stages of planning this novel, I was designing Mary’s apartment and decided she’d have a painting of a sailboat on the wall — something a Midwestern girl might buy when moving to New England. It appealed to Mary for the sense of boldness and movement, surging forward despite the wind and the current. I realized this captured the heart of the story: two characters who need to learn to hoist their sails and fly!

Q: This book contains an element of mystery; is it hard to create that kind of suspense?

What challenged me most was the complexity of a mystery plot. About a dozen suspects and investigators, acting, reacting to each other, implicating others, telling the truth, telling lies, planting clues. My head swam. So I made a chart. That’s what I do when I get confused. I had a column for each character and described what they were doing or thinking in each scene and between scenes. It helped me so much.

Q: What message do you hope readers take away from reading Through Waters Deep?

Hoist your sails! Jim Avery is an easygoing, “float with the current” man who learns the hard way that floating can carry him onto the rocks. And Mary Stirling keeps her sails bound tight in false humility, fearful of becoming prideful, fearful of falling. Jim and Mary learn, “We have to hoist our sails. We have to let the Lord fill them. Then we have to resist the current if necessary to stay the course. . . . Then we can fly with the wind.”

However, I’ve learned readers often take away a completely different message than what’s written, and that’s wonderful! I’m in awe of how God can take a simple story and use one element to touch a reader’s heart in a personal and unique way. So I hope readers take away what the Lord wants them to take away.

Q: What can readers anticipate as you continue the Waves of Freedom series?

In the second book, Anchor in the Storm (Revell, summer 2016), plucky pharmacist Lillian Avery and high-society naval officer Arch Vandenberg find danger from U-boats, black market drug rings — and love. I’m currently writing the third novel (Revell, winter 2017). In it, the last thing no-nonsense naval officer Dan Avery wants to see on his radar is fun-loving glamour girl Quintessa Beaumont — even if she has joined the WAVES.

To keep up with Sarah Sundin, visit www.sarahsundin.com, become a fan on Facebook (SarahSundinAuthor) or follow her on Twitter (@sarahsundin) and Pinterest (sarahsundin).

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Lord's Army

Lord’s Army

I may never march in the infantry,
Ride in the cavalry,
Shoot the artillery.
I may never fly o’er the enemy,
But I’m in the Lord’s Army!
Yes, sir!

I’m in the Lord’s Army!
Yes, sir!
I’m in the Lord’s Army!
Yes, sir!

I may never march in the infantry,
Ride in the cavalry,
Shoot the artillery.
I may never fly o’er the enemy,
But I’m in the Lord’s Army!

Yes, sir!