Wednesday, July 26, 2017

God is at work in the mundane

 

Kari Patterson helps readers find
freedom, purpose and joy in daily life

Many women feel trapped in everyday drudgery and disappointment, in dull domestic duties and jobs that don’t offer fulfillment. The mundane day-in, day-out life seems like a far cry from the abundant, purposeful life they envisioned as Christians. In Sacred Mundane: How to Find Freedom, Purpose, and Joy (Kregel Publications/July 25, 2017/ISBN: 9780825444470/$15.99), author and blogger Kari Patterson helps readers find freedom, purpose and joy in the life they are living right now.

When life seems ordinary and unexciting, it is easy to slip into the mindset of being stuck and in need of a change. Patterson shows the reader the key to change is already in her hand once she realizes what is holding her back. “In 2 Kings, we read, ‘Naaman was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper.’ He had so much going for him, but his leprosy threatened to steal it all,” explains Patterson. “I ask readers to consider their own lives and prayerfully simmer down their own life into a sentence. So often we’re vaguely aware of the areas we want to change, but we don’t take the time to narrow down and identify the one thing hindering us most. We feel overwhelmed or discouraged. Identifying the one thing helps us see more clearly how God wants to use our mundane to make us more like Him.”

Patterson points readers to the truth: In each unremarkable life lies an opportunity to see, know, love and be transformed by God, who meets everyone right where they are. Instead of stepping away from real life to find God, Patterson equips women with a six-step practice to move forward and meet Him in the humdrum moments of everyday existence. When inner change is achieved by the sacred, everything on the outside changes too. Once a decision is made to let Him in, it is time to: 
  1. Look: see the world through the word
  2. Listen: discern His voice in daily life
  3. Engage: enter in
  4. Embrace: love the One
  5. Trust: live the blank
  6. Thank: find fulfillment

“The secret to true transformation, to a life of freedom, purpose and joy, is found in the ordinary life we already live,” Patterson explains. “Our mundane, the daily frustrations and the tedious tasks are working for us, producing supernatural strength in us, if we will let them. As we learn to go through each of the steps, we will find our ordinary transformed to extraordinary and our lives forever changed for the better.”

Through entertaining narrative, candid real-life stories, Bible study and practical instruction, Sacred Mundane leads readers to discover the beautiful sacredness in the lives they already lead. Women can learn to grow in God and make a real difference — big or small — in the world. The book also includes an outline for a nine-week study for individuals or groups.

At the author’s request, all royalties from the sales of the book will be donated to World Vision’s work with women and children in need.


About the Author


Kari Patterson (Kari rhymes with sorry, not scary) is a beloved daughter of God, and her life’s aim is to please her Father. She holds a master’s degree in pastoral studies from Multnomah Seminary and reaches thousands of women worldwide through speaking events and her popular blog, Sacred Mundane.

Patterson is a pastor’s wife, homeschool mom, Bible teacher, mentor and passionate seeker of truth. She and her husband, Jeff, have two children and lead a Christ-centered community called Renew Church in Beavercreek, OR.

Read Patterson’s Sacred Mundane blog at www.karipatterson.com. She is also active on Facebook (sacredmundane) and Twitter (@sacredmundane). 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A story of autism, faith and determined parenting


Karla Akins’ sons, her pair of miracles,
are proof of what is possible through God

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated one in 68 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Although a growing number of parents face similar circumstances, many still feel isolated and alone. In A Pair of Miracles: A Story of Autism, Faith, and Determined Parenting (Kregel Publications/July 25, 2017/ISBN: 9780825444845/$14.99), author Karla Akins, the mother of twin sons with autism, offers encouragement and reassurance.

It was not long after Akins and her husband brought their adopted sons home from the hospital they realized the boys were not behaving and developing as they should. A few months later they learned the boys were on the fetal alcohol disorders spectrum, and by the time they were four, they were diagnosed with autism. Twenty years ago, autism was not as prevalent as it is today, and Akins admits she knew nothing about it.

When she voiced her hopes her autistic sons could learn to read and function independently, doctors warned her those expectations would never be met. Despite those warnings, she set out to prove all things are possible through God.

Laced with humor and compassion, A Pair of Miracles is the heartwarming story of the Akins family’s journey of raising Isaac and Isaiah. However, the book is more than a moving biography from a mom on the front lines. It is a powerful tool, full of practical help for parents, educators and church members working with children who have intellectual disabilities, speech impairments and other limitations on the autism spectrum. It is also a challenge to the church to welcome and celebrate all of its members, no matter their abilities.

“I hope families and caregivers will be encouraged by reading about our journey and might gain a few ideas on how to work with their child,” shares Akins. “I also hope they will feel like they’re not alone in the struggle. I know I like to read books that validate what I’m feeling. It’s always good to know you’re not the only one in the trenches, fighting the good fight of day-to-day survival with autism.”

For parents seeking hope, answers and peace, Akins leads the way to all three down a path she’s already been. In addition to the inspiration, lessons learned and advice for becoming your child’s best advocate in all aspects of life given throughout the book, she includes appendices, offering: therapy and teaching strategies, listings of autism organizations and websites, skills checklists and suggestions for additional reading resources and online apps.

Thanks in large part to Akins’ determination, faith and unconditional love, her adult twins are now able to function independently in many ways, contrary to doctors’ predictions. They help their dad install pools, do carpentry work and serve in the church as ushers, sound engineers and children’s ministry workers. However, she warns, “Autism is different in every person. It’s a spectrum disorder, which means people fall on a wide spectrum. Remember all children are unique, no matter what their ability or diagnosis, and a diagnosis is not who they are. They are children and people first. They just happen to have a label.”


About the Author

Karla Akins is the mother of five, including twin sons with autism. She has a bachelor’s in special education from Western Governors University and a doctorate in Christian education from Kingsway Theological Seminary. She has nearly four decades of teaching experience in homeschooling, private school and public education.

Akins has also served in ministry for more than 30 years and is co-minister at Christian Fellowship Church in North Manchester, Indiana, with her husband, Eddie. She is also a popular speaker at conferences and retreats.  

In addition to A Pair of Miracles: A Story of Autism, Faith, and Determined Parenting, Akins is the author of four other books. Her first novel, The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots, featured a homeschool mom and a child with autism.

Akins enjoys riding her motorcycle, sipping chai lattes and snuggling with her three dogs and two cats.

Akins loves hearing from her readers. Her online home is www.KarlaAkins.com, and she is also on Facebook (KarlaKAkins) and Twitter (@KarlaAkins).  

Monday, July 24, 2017

I don't think it's going to work out with anyone long term on #thebachelorette

We're getting close to the end! The three remaining men will meet Rachel's family this week. Normally this is the week of fantasy suite dates followed by two men meeting the parents, but I'm thankful for this change. They'll probably still have them by the time it's all said and done.

Side note: Something I am not thankful is that Bachelor in Paradise was revived after the scandalous start and postponement. I still say I will not blog about it, but you know what I said about this season of The Bachelorette, and here we are. But, I digress.

Tonight we are in Dallas. The men are staying at the Hilton Anatole. I know where that is. Not the point other than it's a place I could actually one day see in opposition to where they normally are. Rachel explains the change in the plan because her sister is 8 months pregnant and cannot fly to a location like the family normally does. This will still put the final two in some far off place.

Peter goes on the first date. Rachel takes Peter to a children's boutique to find a gift for Constance's soon-to-be-born baby and her almost three-year-old nephew. 

Eric and Bryan are talking back at the hotel. Usually after hometowns, the men don't spend time together, so this is different too. Bryan tells Eric that Peter may not propose at the end because he isn't quite there yet. 

Peter thinks Rachel might have some doubt after last week and saying he may not be quite ready to propose. Before they go in the house, Peter wants to clarify or change what he said last week as they parted ways. He wants to tell her he is falling in love with her, and she reciprocates the "falling in love" part.

The family in attendance is her older sister, her brother-in-law, her mom, her uncle and his wife. Her dad is not going to be meeting any of the men.

Peter tells about his parents who had only known each other a month before getting married. They have been married 36 years now, so see, it can work. Peter moves on to talk about their first meeting and their dates. Peter admits it's still a process, and he's not quite to love yet, but realizes he doesn't want to lose her and how much he missed her after being apart a few days.

Constance takes Rachel off to talk. Rachel admits to being caught by surprise by Peter's admission of not wanting to be without her. Rachel says that while she has said, "I'm falling in love," she has not said, "I love you."

Peter talks to the brother-in-law. He asks Peter that since no one is perfect, what might be of concern. Instead of saying anything about her, Peter answers that he has not jumped in with both feet.

Mom asks Rachel about red flags. The possibility of not proposing. Mom then takes Peter outside. "What is it about Rachel that makes you want to propose?" He admits in two weeks he may not have that certainty, so he will not ask permission to ask for her hand in marriage. Mom kind of likes that, but hopes Peter is serious about the dating part.

I think another sister showed up with the nephew by the end of the date. Another woman was in the kitchen by the end.

Next up is Eric. I don't think the family is going to like him. He just doesn't seem a match to me. Eric hasn't ever been in love and done this kind of thing either, so he's nervous. 

Rachel picks him up at the airport, and off they go! Before they head to the house, Rachel takes Eric to Reunion Tower. Also known as the ball in the sky. They go up to the observation deck where she points out landmarks. It's a little high up for him, and he is evidently shaking.

The guys talk back at the hotel. Bryan asks if Peter asked permission to propose. Bryan mumbles about something confidently which Peter finds arrogant. 

Eric and Rachel go up to the revolving restaurant where they talk about the fact he hasn't met a girl's family in 7 years. Once at high school prom and once in college.

Another side note: I don't think about this as a daytime activity. Sure, there's the observation deck where you can view afar during the day, but the ball lights up at night. It's a fancy thing. You don't do it in the morning.

Oh, it was a cousin that was there at the end of last date. The uncle recognizes Eric as one of the men who was introduced at the end of The Bachelor: After the Final Rose. Rachel is impressed. Eric talks about not bringing a girl home before.

Constance watches their body language and given how Rachel reacts, she doesn't think they're on the same plain. Sister takes Eric outside. Cousin and Rachel talk. Her cousin is like, "he's a nice guy..." She must be thinking what I've been thinking. Rachel's red flag is the fact he's never been in love.

Eric tells Constance he is serious and wants marriage and kids. He's more into it than she thought, but still not sure on the compatibility thing.

Eric tries to convince Mom how serious he is. He's tired of the single life. He wants to share a life with someone and have a family. Eric wants what his parents didn't have. He "axks" for permission to ask Rachel to marry him. Her mom says she feels comfortable with that if it is a direction Rachel goes.

Last man up is Bryan. Again, Rachel picks him up at the hotel. Eric points out Bryan is and Rachel are wearing their matching watches from Switzerland. Eric thinks that means something.

When they leave, Peter comments to Eric on all the fake things that come out of Miami.

Before meeting the family, Bryan has to meet her friends-first-co-workers-second who signed her up for the show and have been with her for the whole process. Bryan shares what he does, his age, how serious he is, everything right off. When her friends comment on Bryan's confidence, Rachel admits she thought he was kind of jerky at first. After saying he was falling in love, Bryan thinks he won the friends over.

Bryan tells about his family. He is his mom's only child. That explains the sister - it was a half-sister. Mom asks who comes first given how close he is to his mother. She pushes on priority after he answers the first time. He wasn't 100% confident as he answered the wife.

They have lunch even though they just had brunch with the friends. The family doesn't seem to warm with Bryan. Mom can tell Rachel didn't like the questions from the other room. Uncle starts grilling a little bit. Constance thinks Bryan is a charmer and is on high-alert. When the questions get serious, Bryan has to take a moment to excuse himself. While he is out of the room, Rachel voices her displeasure at the re-asking of the question from earlier. The brother-in-law defends Mom and calls Rachel's reaction emotional.

After lunch, brother-in-law talks to Rachel. He thinks it was a good sign that she showed an emotional response because it gauged how she felt about them.

Constance reveals her skepticism to Bryan. She thinks he has an answer for everything and it's a lot given the amount of time.

Mom asks Rachel about red flags. She had reservations because of how charming he is, but Bryan has also expressed his feelings more. Mom questions the use of the word love. They talk about definitions of the word love. Rachel has to defend herself about Bryan where she didn't with the other guys.

Mom and Bryan talk. He doesn't seem as confident anymore. Bryan does tell Mom that he loves her daughter and plans to propose if she picks him. He does ask for a blessing. Instead of answering that question immediately, she quizzes him about "love." She does give her blessing based on trusting Rachel's judgment.

At the end of the day, Rachel thinks it went well though.

Rachel isn't sending anyone home quite yet. She's going to take the all back overseas first.

It's off to Spain!

Bryan... there's chemistry, but she realizes something didn't seem right to her family.

Peter... he went on the first date and was the one who made her believe the journey might work.

Eric... he needs to prove something today.

He's not so excited about the helicopter ride when she tells them what they're about to do. After flying over a lot of vineyards, they land along the coast. Extremely scenic. Wish I were there.

They sit down and talk about hometown experiences. Then they go ring a bell at a monastery. #random

Over dinner, Rachel is looking for a reason to invite Eric to the fantasy suite. She quizzes them as he talks about how they had a connection in a hot tub. All it took was him saying he was falling in love to get the card. I don't care what he says, I do not see a connection! (Nor does most of the Twittersphere.) They kiss and head off to the suite. I was looking at my computer and not the TV screen, but their kissy noises made me ill.

Of course, the next morning Eric is professing his love for her.

Time for the most logical and realistic man, Peter.

They meant at a vineyard where Peter tells Rachel her ridiculously short dress isn't appropriate wear for a windy day. They had down to the wine cellars where neither understands the story the man is telling them. Rachel picks up something about 51 years. Oh, and that the vineyard was built on love and commitment. He serenades her with a song about the Americano girl.

The cellar keeper gives them a key to get a bunch of wine. Peter goes on about his key. Whatever.

Rachel asks Peter how the conversations went with her family. He tells her what he talked about with her mother and waiting until later to ask for her parents' permission. He asks how she feels about that. Before they can talk, Rachel is distracted by a cute little girl who comes around the corner. The girl and her mother pull them away to go stomp grapes. There's a whole family that then leaves them alone.

Over dinner, Rachel wants to talk about where their conversation earlier left off. But first, Peter shares a family tradition about saving wine corks and writing something special about the occasion on them.

They talk about how she feels about the proposal. She didn't put her life on hold and sacrifice what she did just to have a boyfriend at the end. To her, a proposal isn't getting married tomorrow or next week. It's about working on building a relationship. Peter respects that, but he, like most people, sees a proposal as engagement and marriage. He only wants to propose once just like he wants to get married once. A proposal means a plan for marriage.

Rachel says she takes a proposal seriously, but someone is going to have to bend. He doesn't know where to go with this from here. She doesn't either. She doesn't know what to say.

And that's it for the week.

Next week is the "Men Tell All."

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Who Did Swallow Jonah?

These guys sure have grown in the past couple of years. I haven't had a big group lately, but I'm going to make them do at least one video before promotion at the end of summer. I'm not sure how the group is going to shift based on how many kids are in which age group. I may have the same problem next school year!

Right now there is only one kid who really likes to sing. Oh, she loves to sing. Loves to sing. Anyone in the auditorium on any given Sunday knows that. She needs a little reigning in though. ;)


Who Did Swallow Jonah?

Who did? Who did? Who did? Who did?
Who did swallow Jo-Jo-Jonah?
Who did? Who did? Who did? Who did?
Who did swallow Jo-Jo-Jonah?
Who did? Who did? Who did? Who did?
Who did swallow Jo-Jo-Jonah?
Who did swallow Jonah? Who did swallow Jonah?
Who did swallow Jonah… Up?

The whale did. The whale did. x2
The whale did swallow Jo-Jo-Jonah
The whale did. The whale did. x2
The whale did swallow Jo-Jo-Jonah
The whale did. The whale did. x2
The whale did swallow Jo-Jo-Jonah
The whale did swallow Jonah x2
The whale did swallow Jonah… Up!

Noah, Noah, Noah, Noah,
Noah in the arky, arky,
Noah, Noah, Noah, Noah,
Noah in the arky, arky,
Noah, Noah, Noah, Noah,
Noah in the arky, arky,
Noah in the arky, Noah in the arky,
Noah in the arky bailed.

Daniel, Daniel, Daniel, Daniel,
Daniel in the li, li, li, li.
Daniel, Daniel, Daniel, Daniel,
Daniel in the li, li, li, li.
Daniel, Daniel, Daniel, Daniel,
Daniel in the li, li, li, li.
Daniel in the lion’s, Daniel in the lion’s,
Daniel in the lion’s den.

Peter, Peter, Peter, Peter,
Peter on the sea, sea, sea, sea.
Peter, Peter, Peter, Peter,
Peter on the sea, sea, sea, sea.
Peter, Peter, Peter, Peter,
Peter on the sea, sea, sea, sea.
Peter walking on the, Peter walking on the,

Peter walking on the sea.


This includes verses I never knew from childhood. I didn't know there was ever more than Daniel and Jonah. 


Saturday, July 22, 2017

No new crafting this weekend

This week I haven't made it out to the craft room. My post yesterday was what I've done over the past couple of weeks. I've had other stuff going on this week.

The only craft-related activity today was unloading the trailer after having it packed last weekend. Actually, some of the stuff had been in there over a month when we were going to do something that got rained out. It all doesn't even fit in the laundry room anymore. Well, actually, I guess it would except for the fact that boxes of books piled up as high as they would have to be piled up would be really hard to lift up and down without a fork lift. I had to stack some in my craft studio. Anyone want to order book initials? Lots and lots of book initials?

I'll tell you how boring my Saturday was though. I've been way, way, way, embarrassingly way behind on reports for work, so I worked on copying and pasting and copying and pasting from spreadsheets into Word documents. That's after having to wrestle my computer into submission because it didn't want to copy and paste.

I live a really exciting life, don't I?

Just wait though, I'm going to finally work on some canvases I bought in January in the coming weeks!

...I've said that for months.

Friday, July 21, 2017

I could handle some fall

Up until the last few weeks, I haven't been out in my art/craft studio lately. I have worked on some Christmas stuff already. In fact, I sold some Christmas stuff among the little that was sold last weekend, so I need to do some more. Yes, in middle of 100* July. 

I have enjoyed doing something different though. It's our first year to do leaves. I like leaves and fall stuff. I've even made some stuff for the pumpkin spice lovers (not me). 

Speaking of fall, I'm booking all our fall events. We sell in the fall, or at least we better. I've got tons and tons and tons of stuff I need to sell because we didn't sell in the spring and our summer event was meh. At least we know what fall events are good, and we're looking for more in our sweet spot. I'll post our schedule soon.







Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Mildred Pride were really hot this week... in more ways than one

Peyton's softball team has been at the TTAS state tournament all week. They lost their second game of the tourney, but worked hard to win their next 5 and play in Thursday's championship. The came up just short, in second place.

They played 8 games total to the other team's 5, including back-to-back games Thursday. Let me tell you 9 AM and 11 AM were plenty hot in July in Texas. They were at a disadvantage having to do that.

While I wasn't able to make my way to Denison for the first three days, I got up bright and early to catch the last two games.

Poor Peyton caught the whole game for 7 games and started the 8th one before her shoulder got the better of her. She was in pain, but I'm super proud!

 


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Secrets: A True Story of Addiction, Infidelity, and Second Chances

A true story of restoration and recovery, Secrets is the account of Jonathan Daugherty’s struggle with sex addiction and how, with God’s help, he overcame it. His secret kept him from contentment, peace, and the possibility of being known and loved for who he truly is. Addiction doesn’t have the final say over Jonathan’s life or in his marriage. The God who finds the lost, heals the sick, and brings life from death has the last, victorious word.

{MORE ABOUT SECRETS}


Secrets: A True Story of Addiction, Infidelity, and Second Chances (New Growth Press, June 2017)
Everyone has a secret or two, a part of their life they would rather not share with the rest of the world.
But for Jonathan Daugherty, his secret was so life-altering and relationship-ending that he fought to keep it hidden at all costs. And it did cost him. His secret kept him from contentment, peace, and the possibility of being known and loved for who he truly is. That’s what any secret addiction can do—but in particular a sex addiction.
After his wife finally discovered his secret, their marriage appeared to be over. In Secrets, Jonathan honestly and courageously shares his story of addiction to pornography and how he lost everything to it.
But that’s not how the story ends. While Jonathan struggled, someone else was at work—his heavenly Father. At the lowest possible moment of his life, God stepped in and brought him hope and healing. This is a story of both loss and redemption that gives hope to anyone who has ever experienced the power and struggle of addiction and its life-destroying effects.
Addiction doesn’t have the final say over Jonathan’s life or in his marriage. The God who finds the lost, heals the sick, and brings life from death has the last, victorious word.
—A courageous, honest and open account of life as a sex addict and how sex addiction destroys marriages.
—A life-affirming and personal story of recovery and redemption that will inspire readers.
—Offers hope to all who struggle with pornography and sex addiction.
—Each chapter includes a “Living in the Light” section designed to equip and help readers find freedom from addiction.
—Suitable as a study for support groups of addicts and those who care about them.
Jonathan Daugherty

{MORE ABOUT JONATHAN DAUGHERTY}


Jonathan Daugherty is the founder of Be Broken Ministries, and founder of Gateway to Freedom workshop for men. He also hosts the weekly radio broadcast, Pure Sex Radio, and is in demand nationally as a speaker on sexual purity and men s issues. He has appeared on multiple radio and television media, both local and national. He has authored Grace-Based Recovery, The 4 Pillars of Purity, and other works. Jonathan lives with his wife and three children in San Antonio, Texas.
Find out more about Jonathan at www.jonathandaugherty.com.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Jeanne M. Dickson’s ‘Grounded Hearts’ Giveaway and Blog Tour

What do you get when you mix World War II, a brave midwife, a wounded pilot, and a risky secret? Jeanne M. Dickson's new historical fiction novel, Grounded Hearts. When midwife Nan O’Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she’s taking a huge risk by letting him in. Still, something compels Nan to take in “flyboy” Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection—and an unbreakable bond.

Join Jeanne in celebrating the release of her new book by entering to win the Celtic Knots Giveaway!

 

One grand prize winner will receive:
 

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on July 31. The winner will be announced August 1 on the Litfuse blog.



{MORE ABOUT GROUNDED HEARTS}


(Waterfall Press, July 2017)
A brave midwife. A wounded pilot. A risky secret.
In the midst of World War II, Ireland has declared herself neutral. Troops found on Irish soil must be reported and interned, no matter which side they are fighting for. When midwife Nan O’Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she’s taking a huge risk by letting him in. Not only is she a widow living alone, but if caught harboring a combatant, she’ll face imprisonment.
Still, something compels Nan to take in “flyboy” Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection—and an unbreakable bond.

But Nan has another secret, one that has racked her with guilt since her husband’s death and made her question ever loving again. As Nan and Dutch plan his escape, can he help restore her faith?
Jeanne M. Dickson

{MORE ABOUT JEANNE M. DICKSON}


Jeanne M. Dickson was born into an Irish American family, the only girl surrounded by four brothers. She credits her mother, her aunts, and her grandmother with her love of storytelling. Perfecting her craft, she attends many writer’s conferences and over the years, she has won and finaled in numerous RWA romance writing awards including the Daphne du Maurier Award, the Maggie Award, The Molly, The Tara, and she was the overall contest winner of Launching A Star. Today she lives in Coastal San Diego with her fabulous husband, her two wonderful girls, and a dozen disobedient rose bushes.
Find out more about Jeanne M. at www.jeannemdickson.com.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Who will #thebachelorette want to be her in-laws?

From the previews alone, I think Rachel needs to flee all four men, their issues and their families. It looks like she's in for a whole lot of crazy on the hometown dates.

First up is Eric in Baltimore. 

Her first trip to Baltimore. His first time to bring a girl home to meet his family. He takes her to the "good part of the city," and warns her this is not where he grew up. She takes him into his family's neighborhood and passes a drug deal going down as they pass by. They go out on the basketball court where she cannot play in the shoes she has on. Eric's friend, Ralph, shows up to visit.

Rachel sees Eric as the kind of guy who can seize the day. She asks Ralph about Eric's self description of being a "cool square." He confirms it pretty much. Once Ralph leaves, Eric talks about all the men in his life who ended up in jail and how he tried to help everyone out. He moves on to talking about how strong his mom is. Then, there's more talk about the fact he hasn't brought any girl home before.

It's time to meet the family. Eric takes Rachel to his aunt's home in a high rise apartment building. I assume it's the most presentable option. In attendance are his parents, lots of aunts and a sister (maybe).

They start telling their story from the beginning. The limo introductions were supposed to be on Thursday night, but he was a part of the "Women Tell All" or "After the Final Rose" where Rachel got to meet a few of the men.

When Rachel sits down with Eric's aunt, Verna, she starts out asking how Rachel is handling being, "the first black bachelorette." Rachel admits to not being prepared for that. She's getting judged by so many people. However, love doesn't have a color. (Let me insert here that it seems kind of like she had to chose one black man to get this far. I don't see a lot of chemistry between the two of them.) Verna thinks that Eric is ready for love though.

Meanwhile, Eric sits down with mom (Karen) to talk. They talk about relationships with various people as he grew up and why Mom didn't show love in certain ways, even though he wanted her too.

Karen and Rachel talk next. Rachel says Eric is smart, funny and deep. They connect on another layer because he challenges her.

Eric talks to Dad. He talks about how structured Rachel's younger years were in contrast to his and how maybe opposites attract. Dad apologizes for all the stuff he did that caused Eric pain.

After dinner with everyone, Rachel tells Eric that his family took away all her nerves. He confesses how much he cares about her and has feelings of love for her. She says she really likes Eric, but I really don't see it.

Next up is Bryan in Miami.

Bryan is nervous about Rachel meeting his mom because she was a factor in his last relationship coming to an end.

Rachel says that Miami screams Brian to her: Hot, steamy, sexy and sometimes speaks in Spanish to her. When they meet up, he takes her to domino park where the professionals go to play. He speaks to the older men in Spanish, and she has no clue what they are saying. From there it is on to Calle Ocho (8th Street) where they experience local music and food.

Before they head to the house, Bryan tells Rachel about his parents. Opposites attracted in their case. Dad is soft-spoken while Mom is a fireball. Bryan is an only child, so she's evidently a mama bear. If all goes well, he plans on professing his love.

Mom lays it on thick with her first toast about the most precious thing in her life. Then she downs her drink straight down.

They detail their first meeting and so forth. Momma Olga takes Bryan off to talk. She tells him that he has had so many chances to meet girls and this whole thing surprises her. "Marriage is a serious commitment!"

Rachel talks to a younger woman - a sister? He said he was an only child, but there's not a caption. Rachel talks to her about the last relationship. It was the other woman's fault because she wanted Bryan all to herself and not share with his mother.

From there, Olga grills Rachel. Rachel talks about how open and aware Bryan was with her. Olga tells Rachel she would be marrying the family because they are very close and he is the love of her life. "If he's happy, I'm happy. If he's not, I'll kill you." Rachel laughs, but I think Olga might have been serious.

All I know about relationships and dating from personal experience: Steer clear of the momma's boys.

Bryan professes his love when they leave.

It's on to Madison, WI where Peter grew up.

She definitely seems more excited to see Peter than she did Eric. However, she does see his walls and that he's guarding his heart. After all, Peter did say he wouldn't propose if he wasn't completely ready.

Peter takes Rachel to a restaurant where his friends gave him a send off party. The friends come to welcome him back. Rachel tells that Peter told her that 8 out of 10 of his best friends are black. Both of his two male friends are black, and the women they are with are white. He asks the guys for some conversation away from the women. He talks about only knowing Rachel in the setting of the show and how he's really scared about proposing because he only wants to propose once in his life. One friend advises not to fear the future. The other says Rachel seems really genuine.

At the house, it's Peter's parents, his brother, sister-in-law (or possibly the flip - I was too busy typing to listen that close), niece and nephew. He's really good with the 3 year old girl. It makes Rachel realize what a great father he will be.

Rachel talks to the sister-in-law first. Rachel's biggest concern is if Peter is ready. The sister-in-law thinks he is ready, but knows there is something that has held him back.

Mom tells Peter she can see the chemistry. Peter talks about the walls he has had up and how he doesn't know when they will come down. He is worried about regretting the loss of an opportunity.

Rachel and Mom talk about where she sees herself in a few years -- married with more than one kid. Rachel asks if Peter is ready for marriage. Mom says he is ready for a family and a commitment, but maybe not a proposal or marriage. So, he's not a marriage kind of guy? I'm not completely sure what that means.

There's a little chit chat before she leaves while sitting on the front steps. He talks about how well she got along with his friends. That's how he knew there really might be a future. He doesn't go near saying, "I love you."

Last, but certainly not least among family visits is Dean in Denver.

To Rachel, Dean is her beautiful surprise. He starts their day out by taking her out on four wheelers. After that, they talk more about his family. She is going to meet his two brothers, one of their girlfriends and his sister. Then, it is on to his dad who is a yogi and his new wife who both have names I cannot spell. This is the first time for the whole family to be together in 6 or 8 years.

Rachel and Dean talk about the strained relationship with his father. She thinks Dean needs to make a step toward reconciling that relationship.

When they arrive at the house, Dean is terrified. He is determined it is going to be awful. As they walk in the door, everyone is sitting cross-legged in the floor.

Dean's father has converted to "some sort of sikh" (Dean's words) and wears a turban. (Dean describes his father as eccentric, but not solely based on his faith. There are other things.) Dad plays the gong as they all lay on the floor and meditate. Dad gives Rachel and Dean feathers which are supposed to be signs of his mother. He's very emotional and talks of how great his kids' mother was (the greatest except his current wife).

Dinner includes some kind of mung bean dish. Dean doesn't eat saying he wish he didn't eat before he came. Dean is much more uncomfortable than Rachel is. Dad asks everyone to leave the room so he can talk to Dean alone. Dad says he is glad he is doing what he loves. Dean asks, "And what is that?" "Hanging out with beautiful women." Dad says Dean is a different person.

Rachel talks to Dean's sister about why Dean and Dad haven't talked in a couple of years. It has to do with Dad's presence, or lack thereof, after Dean's mom died.

Dad thinks he's been a great dad because of how well Dean turned out. Dean holds lots of resentment and holds on to the arguments they had in the past. Dean is trying to talk to his Dad, but he doesn't really engage in helpful conversation with Dean. For as mellow and peaceful as his dad supposedly is, he has to be bleeped a lot.

Dean's dad has issues, plain and simple.

Rachel asks if she can talk to Dad. His answer is, "If I must. I'm kind of done." Rachel tells him about how important Dean is to her and that she wanted to meet him. He starts talking, but decides he is going to end the conversation. He wishes them blessings, but he didn't realize the harsh feelings Dean still has towards him. Rachel walks back in to find Dean laid out on all the pillows in the floor. Dean is a little concerned about what his sister said to Rachel. Rachel changes direction when she sees how frustrated Dean is. He apologizes for how everything has gone down. Dean says he's falling in love with her, and this all makes it all harder. Rachel says she's falling in love with him too. That's the most she has responded to anyone.

Time to talk to Chris Harrison...

When Chris Harrison asks how the week has gone, Rachel says it has been hard.

Eric's hometown was not a disappointment. There was a new energy, but he's never been in love. That's ok, but she needs him to know what she wants.

Bryan was the only one to say, "I love you." They touch briefly on his family.

Peter has been the one to hold back the most. She wants a proposal at the end.

Dean has been the biggest surprise. Not only is he fun, they have gone deeper. His family relationship is strange. He said he is falling in love with her, but she doesn't know if he knows how to process all these feelings.

Rachel starts crying, saying she feels so selfish, but then she knows she has to be to end up with what she's there for ... love.

It's time for Rachel to decide on one to send home. She has feelings for all of them and doesn't want to make the wrong decision. When addressing the men, she has a really hard time getting all of her words out. Before handing out a rose, she apologizes "to the man I have to send home."

The roses...

  1. Bryan
  2. Eric
  3. Peter
Dean has been freaked out the last couple of weeks and that's made him a little iffy, but I did like him best among the group. I don't think he's surprised. Rachel explains she doesn't know if he is ready for the same things she is even though they both said they were falling in love with the other. 

Once he gets in the car, Dean says he is shocked and confused and did not expect it. He doesn't seem to believe what she said about falling in love with him. 

Next week sends everyone to Spain where they will meet her family.