Saturday, June 30, 2012

Don't expect this from me!

Although I really needed to do some writing for work today, I really wanted a weekend more since no one is going to read what I write this weekend. This blog included, I'm sure.

Rakia and I had a planning session for a couple of hours to get some things planned and reserved for our trip. It's going to be A-W-E-S-O-M-E. As in more and more awesome by the moment. As in beat what went down in Branson by a million times over. That wouldn't take much since it involved me watching Contagion by myself.

Speaking of the movies, I went to the movies with Jenny and Ashley today. That's all I'm going to say about that.

But, on my vacation, I don't plan spending time on the internet, so I won't be doing videos like this. For that, I believe you will be thankful. I'll just post tons and tons of pictures when I get back.

I wish I could paste in a picture of their rafting that I was able to see online. She was so posing for the photographer while rafting through rapids. She's so crazy. I think her writing is actually funnier for some reason though.


Friday, June 29, 2012

We all need to head north for the summer

I'm too hot and tired to blog. This is what I get for getting out of the house. I went walking 30 minutes at the church without the air on, went out to eat, got home and am just hot and unenthusiastic (guess the word my mom always used "unenthused" is not actually a word or just flat out spelled wrong) about blogging.

This is why I'm glad I don't have to get out of the house during the day. Especially since it's over 100.

Evidently the cats my in neighborhood think my house is a cooler locale to be. They've made my backyard their haven the past couple of days. Why? I have no idea. Maybe everyone else ran them off. I wouldn't mind if they wanted to hang out here, but it drives me nuts when they shoot off all scared. Especially the mother cat who is actually Spot (as in Spot in the Pot - the palm tree pot). She's been showing up here off and on for years. Her kittens are much prettier than her. One did let me pet it when I kind of snuck up on it. The other was in the tall grass and weeds of my little courtyard when I came up. It was like hunting Easter eggs to see them.

Anyone that knows me knows that I'm not a cat person, but these kittens are cute. When they get older and make screeching noises outside my window, they won't be.

I peeked out to see this one this afternoon. Boy I need to Windex my window.


Let me also just add that my BlackBerry takes the WORST pictures ever. You can be almost perfectly still and it still blurs. Took me three times to get this one. Lucky I didn't get pounced.


Thank goodness that the week most people in my industry will be gathering in the hot humidity of Orlando to work, I'm going the opposite direct to enjoy 70 degree weather. I know you all are jealous!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Help me plan my Northwest vacation!

Finally, I have the right idea about something. While the population of all of Texas is roasting away in 100+ heat, my friend and I are going on a trip to the northwest where the high will be at least 30 degrees cooler.

Based on this fact alone, Rakia has already decided she may not return to Texas in a few weeks.

This has me worried about being able to fit thicker clothes in my 1 suitcase I plan on taking. But, not that worried.

At first, we were going to completely wing it. Now, we've decided we need to do some planning. But, we're also kind of clueless about the area and how to navigate it.

Here is where I'm looking for advice and feedback:

  • What activities are a must in the following cities?
    • Seattle
    • Portland
    • Vancouver
    • Victoria
    • Any places in between
  • We're flying into Seattle and will most likely get a rental car at some point, especially if we decide to go down to Portland for the day. What's the best ways to get around? What do we have to have a car to do?
  • What's your best tips for getting to Victoria and Vancouver?
  • Are there any things we Texans need to be aware of or plan for?
  • Must do restaurants (I need to lean on my boss at Litfuse, Amy for this one!)
  • Any problems with renting a car in Seattle and taking a rental over the border?
Our two planned activities are:
  • Going to the Rangers-Mariners game
  • Going to see Mary Poppins in Vancouver because it's the Broadway show playing at the time.
Otherwise, we're completely open to ideas and suggestions. Now, comment away!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Lesson in TMI

I don't think that I am going to use Paige's posts all week, but part of the reason why she wanted to make video posts is so that she can share them.

The child needs a lesson in rambling and sharing too much information. You'll get what I'm talking about right off the bat. I really, really wonder about her sometimes.

 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Paige presents...

You are in for a treat! Paige is on another vacation and is doing her daily emails. I had told her to journal about camp every day, but she did part of the first day and quit because she was too busy.

Anyway, I'll post the email I got at midnight last night today. She emailed me right after, and called me today, about how she can do a video because it takes her too long to type. I had to give her my You Tube log-in so that she can upload them. She said I was the only person who would know how to do that.

I informed my parents they are about to go to video. Neither knew how they were ever going to be able to figure out to watch. Dad, Mom, it's a link. You'll click on it.

Dad thinks Paige needs to become a columnist. I wanted to say, some people think I should too, but thank heavens you've never read my blog.

Mom was annoyed, "(huff) I was going to make a book."

"Oh my goodness you sound like Grandmother."

"And you sure are gripe-y."

No doubt. So here's her story from last night. I'm on the phone with her now helping her log-in because YouTube thought I was being hacked from Wyoming.



Intro:
Yet another wonderful trip to Wyoming is ahead of us well, not just us but all of us-Granna, Paw-pawl, Peyton, Steve, Mother, Cade, Frankie, Jeff, Melissa, and me! (I am kind of worried with this group of people. I mean all of us in the same house?) No, I am just kidding I love y'all. I am excited and ready for you to be with us every step of the way.

Steve is in Wyoming
Granna, Peyton, Mom, and Paige- On buddy passes (cross your fingers)
Paw-Pawl- bought tickets
Jeff is coming Wednesday morning
Melissa, Cade, and Frankie- driving across the country to make it to Wyoming Tuesday night

Day 1:

On Sunday night Granna, Paw-pawl, Mom, Peyton, and me loaded up and drove to Dallas to stay the night at a hotel because we had to get up early like 4:00 am early. So we got up and left for the airport. We waited in line a while for check our luggage then went through security only Peyton and Mom had to be pulled to the side to be "checked out". I got a Cinnamon roll and milk. We made it on the first flight to El Paso and Granna split my milk all over me. Then we got took off on the next flight to Phoenix then they put us back on then this friendly black guy spilled his orange juice all over me. He wouldn't stop saying he was sorry. The flight that Paw-Pawl got on to Salt Lake City was full so we sat down for some real breakfast at this restraint were the waiter had a weird personality and would not stop saying "well 50/50". On top of that the food was gross. During our 3 hour wait we played skip-BO, ran around, read books, and rode on this cart thing it was like a Disney World Ride! When we finally got on a flight it was already 2 and Paw-Pawl had been driving around Salt Lake City for a while so when we landed we picked up our bags and Paw-Pawl picked us up and we got on the road. We stopped about an hour on the road at a Wendy's and Granna (from the last flight) had gotten sick and felt like she did when she went to Six Flags. We rode longer and birds tried to kill us and we figured out that granna knows everything. Well Paw-Pawl asked what the altitude was and every one took a guess everyone was wrong but Granna was the closest and she was mad that no one had appreciated her being always right when they were wrong. After a 3 hr. drive we had made it we took a quick tour of the new things in the house and took showers and when night night. 


P.S. my emails will get more interesting but I am half asleep typing this so there you have it!
   


Monday, June 25, 2012

Life Won’t Ever Be Perfect, but It Can Be Good


In Making Sense When Life Doesn’t Cecil Murphey helps readers accept, adapt and flourish when the trials of life throw them off track.

Life is like cleaning the house—no matter how hard you work to clean up the mess, tomorrow the clutter and disorder will reappear, and it will just need cleaning again. In Making Sense When Life Doesn’t: The Secrets of Thriving in Tough Times (Summerside Press, April 2012, ISBN 978-1609362249, $14.99) best-selling author Cecil Murphey writes that while life’s messiness is unavoidable, it’s how a person chooses to respond to the mess that matters.

None of us wants to be an expert on messes, but Murphey has walked through many hard times himself, including the tragic loss of his son-in-law in a fire that destroyed his home and everything in it. In his career as a writer, pastor and missionary, he’s been a witness to what tragedy and change have done in the lives of countless others. Combined, these experiences allow him to share the secrets of thriving in tough times with wisdom and compassion.

Murphey explains that while you don’t get to choose your crisis, the crises will happen.  Companies downsize, relationships end, trauma hits, and illness comes, but there are three ways in which we can respond: decide to live with the mess and comfort yourself with the memories of the past, move on with life and resent the change, or tell yourself that this can be the best time of life and try something new.

One of the most important lessons we can learn is that life will never be perfect, but it can be good. The secret is learning that our lives will be made better because of adversity, not in spite of the hardships we face. “As long as you tell yourself that the chaos and disorder will disappear when an event happens or after some event, you fool yourself—at least for a time,” says Murphey.

In a gentle and encouraging way, Murphey offers simple and profound insights for living a significant life such as:
  • I need the empty spaces in life to learn to accept fullness in life.
  • I need my opponents. They often speak the truth that my friends won’t.
  • To appreciate others’ accomplishments enables me to enjoy my own success.
  • We all have regrets about the things we’ve done. The biggest regrets are about the things we didn’t do.
  • It’s okay to feel sorry for yourself or get angry or depressed—that’s normal and natural. But don’t let those negative emotions control your life.
  • Changes will happen. I can accept them now, or I’ll be forced to accept them later.
  • We all have soft spots, and as long as they remain, we’ll automatically switch into a defensive mode to protect ourselves. 

Making Sense When Life Doesn’t will leave readers viewing life from a new perspective and better equipped the next time they are faced with difficult times.

About the Author

Cecil Murphey has written or co-written more than 125 books, including the bestsellers 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (with Dr. Ben Carson). His books have sold in the millions and have brought hope and encouragement to countless people around the world.

Murphey stays busy as a professional writer and travels extensively to speak on topics such as writing, spiritual growth, caregiving, significant living, sexual abuse, and recovery.
Prior to launching his career as a full-time writer and speaker, he served as pastor of Riverdale Presbyterian Church in Metro Atlanta, as a volunteer hospital chaplain for ten years, and was a missionary in Kenya for six.  For more information, visit www.cecilmurphey.com

Cecil Murphey is available for interviews to promote the release of Making Sense When Life Doesn’t. To request a review copy, schedule an interview or for more information, please contact Audra Jennings, audra@litfusegroup.com.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Running the race

"Running the Race" was our topic in class this morning. In this week's video, the kids end up just getting the summary part of the lesson done. As a class, we tend to be ADD and have a hard time getting everything in, so we had to save the second more entertaining part for next week. They prefer that I script them, but next week will be unscripted. The four that were in class have a full week to decide what they're going to discuss next week.

They do love getting to the video each week and want to know what we're going to do. So, please watch and share. See if you can figure out when I kick someone in the course of the video.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

My Storage Wars Take 2

This morning I broke my 9:00 Saturday rule and was up before 8. I was just awake by then. I guess I had just slept enough. I think I'm finally catching up on some lost sleep or something because I've been getting up before my alarm lately. Strange. Anyway.

When I signed in at the last storage unit auction, I got my name on the mailing list to get information about upcoming auctions, evidently. I received a personal invitation to the auction this morning on four units.

I still enjoy seeing what Alan and Ton find on Auction Hunters, I'm still looking for Storage Wars Texas, but I don't think I'm going to get into the auction thing myself. A) I'm too tight with my money and B) what am I going to do with the JUNK in the unit if I buy it?

More than ever, I'm convinced I'm not going to find a packed unit with trash bags full of stuff with dollar bills scattered throughout. I'm not going to find a gold coin collection in a tackle box, and I'm not going to find antique weapons that will cover a down payment on a house.

Unit number 1 was junk. One of the smallest units with a big plastic bin that said "Please return to Dollar General." There was a blinged out purse buried by some jeans. A) I don't know why people just throw stuff in there. B) Was this just left after you cleaned out the stuff you wanted? C) If this is stuff you planned on keeping at one time, why get a storage unit? I've crammed more than that in a closet.

Unit number 2 had better stuff in it. Other than a mattress (or it may have just been a box spring) and a full size (maybe queen) bed frame and headboard, it had a bathroom cabinet that goes over the toilet. There was a dog gate to go along with the dogs that the woman was trying to get rid of on the radio.

Side note: my dad had on the local radio station and EVERYBODY was trying to get rid of their dogs during Talk Time today.

There were also some buckets of something, two boxes of new energy efficient light bulbs, and a stack of new air conditioner filters of various sizes wrapped in plastic. Dad missed the air conditioner filters.

The last two units were side by side and belonged to the same person. They may/may not have been selling them together. Inside the two unites were a combined 10 old, antique, broken, cob-web filled, did I say old, busted up pianos. And some piano parts, including the lids that cover the keys. A) What is the Average Joe going to do with all those pianos?  B) The money to fix them up would be ridiculous. C) The work to clean them up would be tedious. D) You would just have to rent the units to keep them in as you worked through getting rid of them because where are you going to put them at home? E) Good luck lifting/moving those old things.

If I hadn't left my phone in the truck, I would have taken a picture of the piano graveyard.

We were sort of curious as to if anyone was going to buy the first one, and how all those pianos were going to go for. But instead of waiting around 10 minutes for the auction to start, we left.

I think my venture into checking out storage units may be over.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Why I wouldn't let my kids watch ABC Family

I don't like silence so much. Silence distracts me. I need noise to concentrate most of the time. I know this sounds backwards, but it's true. Anyone that's ever shared an office with me knows that if I'm trying to concentrate the earbuds to the iPod were close by.

It's not unusual for the TV to be on all night long because I fall asleep with it on most nights. If I can't go to sleep, I turn the TV on.

There's really no need when I'm here alone to put the earbuds in. I do turn on iTunes, but am so sick and tired of all the same songs. I am looking forward to the new Maroon 5 release to come out Tuesday for a little variety.

I've tried Spotify, but end up listening to the same thing over and over there too. I'm over it. In fact, I'm kind of getting a little anxious now with nothing playing and listening to the tapping of my keyboard as I type.

Since I've grown tired of music, I have gotten to where I play entire seasons of TV shows while working. Trust me, I'm working. Maybe it's just that I concentrate and function better while doing two things at a time. I remember getting in trouble while our teacher was reading to us in 5th grade because I was reading another book while she was reading. I was following both stories at once. When I sit down at night to watch TV, I have such a hard time not multi-tasking that I end up crocheting, reading or playing on my phone while it's on. I have a hard time just watching. I just need noise.

In the past 6-8 weeks, I've gone through the entire season of Mercy (an NBC cancellation from a couple of years ago), listened to most of the second half of the Grey's Anatomy season again, done a few episodes of Duets (that's the way to do it since watching it is so boring), and ended up landing on a couple of ABC Family shows.

Over a week or two, I did 22 episodes of Switched at Birth which is one show I don't recommend doing while working because one of the main characters is deaf and the show often goes silent when she signs to a friend.

Over the past week or two, I went through all 48 episodes of Make It or Break It. Some of you are probably saying you would be suicidal after either of these. Personally, I'm a strange dichotomy. Sometimes I can be a procrastinator (or maybe just have too much to do and other priorities bump it back until HAS TO be done time). On the other hand, on a "how you work test", I am a "Follow-Thru" and have to finish what I start. Rarely can I stop reading a book, even if I hate it. I MUST finish it, even if I stop reading several times and come back to it.

I know, Audra, get to the point. Stop rambling. Ok, here goes...

So, after watching all this ABC Family, I'm trying to find out what's so "Family" about it. That is, other than the likelihood of all their young characters ending up with their own families.

Of course, I do need to remind myself that ABC Family is ABC's kid sister. You know, ABC that can't have a single show without 1, no make it 3 or 4 gay couples in every show. And those couples seem to make out more than the married characters. Oh wait, is anyone actually married on their shows? Other than on GCB (now canceled) where one of the husbands is gay, so they have an open marriage?

To be owned by Disney (supposedly kid-friendly), I've always been rather confused. And sadly, a few of my favorite shows are on ABC.

On Switched at Birth, really quite unnecessary to the main plot of the show, the boyfriend of one of the girls (and best friend to the other) goes off and sleeps with a random girl he met earlier in the day because he's frustrated about a situation he basically got himself into. Unfortunately, that happens way too much in real life. If you're trying (and maybe they aren't) to have a network for "families", this isn't a good example to portray.

But way worse is Make It or Break It which just aired it's last episode after 2 and a half seasons. The show is about the struggles and determination that elite gymnasts face in order to get to the Olympics. At least it started out that way.

At first, I thought it was going to be ok. Candace Cameron Bure was preaching abstinence. She was trying to be a good example to her future step-daughter. She was resisting temptation herself. Then, to heck in a hand basket.

One major problem I had was the very hate-able character Lauren. She was spoiled, conniving, back-stabbing and always had to have her way. She always cried to her daddy to get her way and never had to pay the consequences. When something wasn't going her way, she would admit part of what she had done, but turn it around on someone else to get in trouble along with her. I'm sure it gave plenty of young girls lots and lots of ideas about how to behave--in the total wrong way. 


Then, at a party where all the teens get drunk, Lauren sleeps with her best friend's secret (or not so secret) boyfriend. Then rubs it in her friend's face any chance that she gets. I don't know why anyone would be her friend. And all she talks about all the time is how she and this guy do it, do it, do it. 


Along the way, the girl that had the secret boyfriend tries to seduce the guy into her room with only one intention, but becomes the wiser just in time.


At first, there is a strict no boys policy in their gym. But the further into the series, they all have boyfriends and spend less and less time in the gym. It got more unrealistic as it went, I think, because I think they really do spend more time training than portrayed. Their focus wasn't there like you hear about gymnasts.


Another girl gets pregnant after her first time, and to the show's credit, at least went off to live with family and have the baby. 


By the end of the second seasons, the one girl who is so devoted to her sport and sometimes has trouble seeing herself as pretty finally has a guy she likes. This is after she has a near career-ending injury that has her out of the gym for a while. Long enough for her hormones to kick in - yeah, in that way - and in her build. She even kisses her coach who she developed a crush on. At least that was handled well (except the snotty girl stealing the video and trying to make it a huge deal). 


Back to the boyfriend of the devoted one... Oh, except this boyfriend turns out to be bi-sexual. They break up because he's kissed three people (including the girl who wants all her friends' boyfriends), and another girl's boyfriend. Thankfully his indecision about what he wants from a relationship wrote him out of the picture, and they moved on without revisiting.


The last season - 8 episodes - has the girls going off and living in the Olympic training center dorms. Evidently the coach there has no rule against boyfriends because the three main characters are always with a boy. I would have thought they would have had less time for anything except training, but I'm clueless. After getting over this guy who isn't sure who he really likes, the one that has been so devoted to gymnastics the whole time finds her a really nice guy on the BMX cycling team. She tells him she's waiting - not necessarily until marriage which he seems respectful of - but until she gets a gold medal. Ah, to heck with that, she decides in the last episode, "I might as well."


Well, yeah, we know what all of you are really devoted to. Great example for aspiring athletes or just young people watching in general. There's no way I would let Paige and Peyton watch this at their ages. At all. And I'm sure that some parents are thinking, "oh, it's ABC Family, surely it's family-friendly." Think again!


Is there anything really clean for any of us to watch? 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Are you under any Glamorous Illusions?

An interview with Lisa T. Bergren,
Author of Glamorous Illusions

Glamorous Illusions, the first release in Lisa Bergren’s new Grand Tour series, is a beautiful exploration of the covenant connection between God the Father and His children. Through the story of Cora Kensington, Bergren takes her audience on a European adventure of forgiveness, spiritual awareness, and self-discovery.


A person often identifies themself by their family, profession, or circumstances. However, as Christians, what would happen if we began to better understand our true identity in Christ? It is this spiritual journey that author Bergren guides readers through in Glamorous Illusions.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Q: Why do you think it is so difficult for us as Christians to remember our first, true identity?

We’re so absorbed in how our contemporary culture identifies us—by looks, career, family, wealth, faith—that we forget that our primary identity is a child of God. That no matter where we work or what we accomplish, no matter what happens and who is in our life (or isn’t), our core identity makes us valuable, treasured, cherished, forgiven, free and mighty. We are stronger than we could ever believe, through him, here to do his good work. But we buy in to the false identities our world gives us—which leaves us feeling consistently weak and wanting and wimpy.

I get it. I really do. But if we could just seize that core identity and hold on to it, I believe we’d be as Catherine of Siena said “If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire.” There’s a whole lot of untapped potential within each of us…and it’s tied to our understanding of our truest identity. Cora Diehl Kensington, my main character, is on an inner journey to discover that just as surely as she is on an outer journey through Europe.

Q: Before you begin a new series, how much time do you devote to research of a time period or location?

I like to be reading and researching a good six months before I begin writing. Research gives me context, as well as potential plot points to incorporate.

Q: Why do you think “Downtown Abbey” is so hot among the American audience? How does your Grand Tour series relate to that craze?

At its core, I think “Downtown Abbey” is a story about community, made up of many different personalities. There are two subsets to that community, obviously, between the servants and their wealthy employers. But those two circles intersect and they’re really all one. And many of their issues are the same—the quest to face sins and errors of the past, seek forgiveness, rise in status (or put it in its proper place), and find true love.  These are all themes that relate to us in America, regardless of where and how we live. They’re universal themes. And they appear in my book too. Add to that the European settings and I think it’s inevitable that there will be some comparisons.

Q: At one time, a world tour was a popular custom for young adults in Europe as a part of their education. Do you think young adults today would benefit from travel and seeing what other cultures are like?

I’m a huge champion for world travel for all. Given our current economic woes, that dream feels pretty distant for many Americans, but you can catch a glimpse of other culture, right here in the US too. Sometimes it only takes a day’s drive to feel something “foreign.” Sometimes it’s only an hour away! But the point is this—we get so absorbed in our little microcosm of life that we begin to think that our world is like everyone else’s. Or we have a hard time caring for anyone outside of our little bubble. Exploration, outside The Bubble, helps us identify differences and commonalities among all of God’s people, and sows seeds of understanding and grace.


Q: We’re introduced to Cora’s travel companions who have struggles of their own. What are some of the inner conflicts they face?

They all have principal vices and sins that they are struggling with. Pride, greed, lust, laziness, anger… I like that at first, Cora uses those sins to dismiss each of them. She uses them as a sort of barrier that she can justify. But as they travel together, she finds she herself struggles with a measure of each of those sins too. She is not immune. She is not perfect. And discovering that allows her to extend grace to each of them, which also encourages growth and healing.

Q: As an author, you have written books in several different genres, including children’s books. What has drawn you to historical women's fiction in your past few series?

I love that it provides such a rich backdrop to my story. It immediately feels like my tale has more depth and intrigue with a historical tapestry behind it. In this time period, the world is on the brink of so much—World War I, the right to vote for women, Prohibition—but at that moment, it’s rather innocent. Full of hope and promise, but with whispers of warning in the air that change was coming…

Learn more about the author and her books at lisatawnbergren.com.

Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T. Bergren
David C Cook ~ June 1, 2012 ~ ISBN: 978-1-4347-6430-0

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Why I'm a terrible, yet wonderful aunt

When Paige was about a year and a half old, I moved back in with my parents for about 6 months. At the time, I lived in a 'hood. Every time my friend Sammy came over to my house, the cops would be making a visit when he left. He used to tell me, "I used to live in the 'hood, so I can tell you you're living in it."

One night, I came home to find the police looking for gun shells in my front yard. The final straw came when my presumably drugged out neighbor came over one night to tell me that her side of the duplex had been broken into during broad daylight (on Halloween). Whatever the circumstances may have actually been, I decided that was enough.

All that really doesn't have anything to with the point of my story other than to explain why I was living with my parents. I felt a need to justify that since I was in my mid-twenties at the time.

Anyway, during that time, little Paigey was over at my parents quite a bit while her mom was in night school classes and her dad was cutting hay, hauling hay, tending to cows, etc. Paigey would come into my room wanting to watch a movie. I had a large selection of Disney movies since I collected for a long time. The one she always wanted to watch though was "Mike" or as most people know it, Monsters Inc.

I had introduced it to her at some point, so I admit this is my fault. And yes, I showed a 1 year-old a movie about monsters jumping out of closets scaring kids while they were asleep. Although it's a kid's movie, her age might have been a little on the young side for such a movie.

Oh, how that child loved "Mike." "Baqbaq watch Mike!"

"Can't we watch something different this time?"

"No! Mike!"

Somewhere along the line, I introduced her to Stitch. He's much scarier than Mike, but we started off the movie where the fish swim around and Lilo dances.

I can't tell you how many times Paige and I watched "Mike."

That year for Christmas, I was so proud of myself. I bought a stuffed Mike for her at The Disney Store and couldn't wait for her to open it.

She was terrified! She didn't want to get near the stuffed Mike. I felt terrible, like I had traumatized her.

Paige and Mike did become friends after a little coaxing. Here the three of us are. I think that's my brother's knee in the picture. Our family hasn't always been the best at taking pictures. And yes, it took me some time to dig this up from 9 1/2 years ago.


Someone else gave her Sully around that time too because they knew she was a little obsessed.She has since shared the joys of watching Mike over and over with her little step-brother Layton. This may be why he wants to sleep in her bed with her, but...

For a while now, Paige has been talking about how there is going to be a Monsters 2 and how I am going to have to take her since that was our movie. Of course, I'm not going to say no to that. In a day not so far in the distant future, I know I am not going to be so awesome to her anymore.

I was so pumped when I saw this teaser for the prequel, Monsters University today. I can't wait to show it to Paige. She was over here last night, and left just a couple of hours before I saw it.

Now, I'm just terribly bummed that it isn't coming out for a whole other YEAR! One year from today, June 20, 2013. Well, at least I know what I'm going to do for her 12th birthday which is 2 days later.

By the way, in case I forget to post it in two days, "Happy 11th Birthday Paigey-beth!"



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Good Morning Corinth!

It took us three takes, one time I stopped and told the kids to stop giving one word answers after I told them their questions ahead of time. They were supposed to read over and study the text.

My coaching of "make the answers more than one word" worked for one certain person. You'll know who was listening when you watch...

Good Morning Corinth!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Introducing Hope Springs - You Could Win a Kindle Fire!

Celebrate the release of Hope Springs with Kim Cash Tate by coming to her Author Chat Party on Facebook.

Find out what readers are saying here.

Grab your copy of Hope Springs and join Kim for an Author Chat Party on July 10th at 7:00 PM CST!

During the evening Kim will be sharing the story behind her new book, posting book club questions, testing your trivia skills, and of course, there will be plenty of chatting and fun giveaways - books, gift certificates and a Kindle Fire! (I wish I could win it!)

But, wait there's more – she’ll also be giving you a sneak peak of her next book too!

RSVP today and then come back on the 10th ... and bring your friends!


About Hope Springs:

Hope Springs is the epitome of small-town life—a place filled with quiet streets where families have been friends for generations, a place where not a lot changes . . . until now.

Janelle Evans hasn’t gone back to Hope Springs for family reunions since losing her husband. But when she arrives for Christmas and learns that her grandmother is gravely ill, she decides to extend the stay. It isn’t long before she runs into her first love, and feelings that have been dormant for more than a decade are reawakened.

Becca Anderson is finally on the trajectory she’s longed for. Having been in the ministry trenches for years, she’s been recruited as the newest speaker of a large Christian women’s conference. But her husband feels called to become the pastor of his late father’s church in Hope Springs. Will small-town living affect her big ministry dreams?

Stephanie London is married to a doctor in St. Louis and living an ideal life. When her cousin Janelle volunteers to stay in Hope Springs and care for their grandmother, she feels compelled to do the same. It’s a decision that will forever change her.

As these women come together, they soon recognize that healing is needed in their hearts, their families, and their churches that have long been divided along racial lines. God's plan for them in Hope Springs—and for Hope Springs itself—is bigger than they ever imagined.

About the author:

Kim Cash Tate is the author of Cherished, Faithful, Heavenly Places, and the memoir More Christian than African American. A former practicing attorney, she is also the founder of Colored in Christ Ministries. She and Her husband have two children. 

Connect with Kim: Twitter @KimCashTate and Facebook.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

My boring crochet project update.


I know you all are just itching to see my latest projects (NOT) since I haven't posted any crocheting pictures lately. After my obsession for a couple of months, I took a break for a few weeks.

I was working on two projects because after I started squares, I wanted to try hexagons and were working on both at once. Then, I started a baby blanket with a specific recipient in mind.

There's not been a lot going on lately, so this is what you get today.

  








Saturday, June 16, 2012

My week in pictures

I actually passed over the city limits of Corsicana twice this week. Once to meet up with an author at a TV interview, and tonight to meet Rakia to talk about our upcoming vacation.

I went to Starbuck's twice. Tonight just because I could. One Coconut Mocha and one Salted Caramel Mocha (without the salt because they didn't have it). They better have the salt in Seattle. (And my dash is always dusty like it blows up through the vents.)


Peyton was over here part of Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Here she is in front of one of the sunflower fields I saw on the way back Monday.



And here she is when she got bored and took a nap on the couch on Thursday.





I saw this field on the way to Dallas and stopped on the way back to get a picture. The flowers were as big as my head and over 5' from ground to top.






This was a larger field, but had smaller flowers. This is the one I took Peyton to see.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The most overrated new talent show

Earlier, I was watching part of Duets from the DVR. I think I'm watching it because I watched the first episode. Honestly, I don't know why. Has anyone else tried to watch it?

The commercials sounded great. The idea sounded ok. Amateurs and superstars singing duets. Well, ok, sure, why not?

What is actually is... B-O-R-I-N-G.

The contestants seem like a bunch of rejects for some reason.

The superstars? Robin Thicke's hair has it's own ego. Kelly Clarkson sounds like the world's biggest hick when she talks (though I usually like her songs), and I say that even though she's from Texas and Texas accents are nothing to me. John Legend is the most mellow judge ever. And Jennifer Nettles wears gold jumpsuits with wrestling belts and is just odd. And the host Quddos. What kind of name is that and have we heard of him before?

If you've watched, what do you think? Hopefully there will be some other shows on soon. Or the Rangers will start playing better again and on our time zone so I can watch them instead.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Reason #7002

There's one person that automatically knows what that means when she sees it and is already laughing. This refers to a friend's list of all the reasons why she does not have children. She has threatened to actually start writing these reasons down.

My own first reason is that I haven't had a date in ## years, but... My second reason is that I don't want the full time responsibility. My third is that I wouldn't want my children to be like me. Children climbing light poles like monkeys comes up on the list somewhere as well.

This is one thing I do know. I would NOT make a good stay-at-home-working-mom. At least during the summer.

I love, love, love, love, love my nieces to death. I'm just not a very effective 8 hour a day worker while   they are in my house. That's all on me, not on them.

There are times I get distracted at home alone in trying to focus. Oh yeah, I need to dry those clothes. I really need to take that trash out. Etc., etc., etc. Then, there comes the, "what can I do's?"

I am really trying to hone in my focus. Today, I feel scattered. Even as I'm trying to figure out what to write so that I can call it a day and turn off the computer. I have great admiration for the moms out there with full time jobs taking care of their kids plus working a job from home (our outside the home) for that matter. I got in the habit of the mucho, mucho, mucho hours at the office and no life for so long that I'm still adjusting to a different approach of my time, making time to routinely schedule time to walk with Rachel every day and have a decent quitting time among other things.

Maybe I should go back to getting up at 7 in the mornings instead of 8. I've been giving myself the hour after wearing myself out for way too long. Then, I can quit waffling on Rachel about what time we go walk.

I had to go to the grocery store at lunch to stock my freezer of each of their favorite Toaster Strudels since this summer there may be a lot of popping in and out. The house and the toaster. At least I have the grocery store trip that I've been putting off taken care of!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lucy Come Home

Today marks the release of Lucy Come Home by Dave and Neta Jackson. If you ever wanted to know more about the back story of Lucy, here's your chance!


Lucy Tucker, the feisty old bag lady we all loved from Neta Jackson's House of Hope series, has confounded everyone. Why won't she come off the streets of Chicago? How did she ever end up there in the first place? Why did she disappear again? We didn't mean to leave you hanging, but now we can tell the whole story.
It all started back in the summer of 1942 when she and a dashing young man from a traveling carnival ran away together to escape a murder charge... Oh, but you'll want to read the whole book yourself about carnivals, migrant camps, the war, and true love lost and found.

{More about Lucy Come Home}


Fifteen-year-old Cindy worked long days beside her migrant worker family in Michigan's sugar beet fields in the early 1940s -- the "war years" -- until she met a dashing young man from a traveling carnival, bringing some joy and fun into her hard-scrabble life. But a tragic twist of fate -- and a dead field boss-- sent the two young people on the run, leaving behind family and everything she'd ever known.
Lucy Tucker, the crotchety old bag lady from the popular Yada Yada House of Hope series, is a veteran of Chicago streets and not about to give up her independence, even as she approaches her 80th birthday. 

Until, that is, a young displaced woman with her gentle aging mother and a dog named Dandy seem to need her -- unsettling the secretive Lucy, who doesn't let anyone get too close. But just when it seems her past is catching up with her to bring her in out of the cold... Lucy disappears again. How these two tales intersect and intertwine between past and present gradually shines light into the dark corners of Lucy's murky past. But... why won't Lucy come home?

{More about Dave and Neta}

Dave and Neta Jackson are award-winning authors living in the Chicago area where their parallel novels from the Yada Yada House of Hope and Harry Bentley series are set.
As a husband/wife writing team, Dave and Neta Jackson are enthusiastic about books, kids, walking with God, gospel music, and each other! Together they are the authors or coauthors of over 100 books.

Visit http://www.daveneta.com for more info.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Enjoy mysteries? You'll enjoy The Corruptible!

I've made the decision to just read books written by men for a while. That's not completely true for a few reasons, but as far as my strictly "for fun" choices, I'm going to stick by that. No ooey-gooey romance. I want my conflict to be more than just "should I go out with this guy or not?" or "should I tell him that I love him?" As horrid as this sounds, I want murder. I want lying. I want mystery. I want crime solving or legal dilemmas. I want the male leads to not be the kind of guys you melt over.

My latest read was The Corruptible by Mark Mynheir, the second in the Ray Quinn mystery series. A book that fit all of those qualities I just mentioned.

Ray Quinn is far from dreamy. He drinks too much. He only watches movies starring John Wayne. He's extremely sarcastic. He pushes the lines and bends the rules. He's an ex-cop turned private detective due to injury from being shot on the job. Think of Dr. House as a cop instead of a doctor. That's Ray Quinn. But, I like him!

The book summary is below, so I won't spend a lot of time going over the details of the story itself. 

There are the moments of humor included along the way. Ray's sidekick is almost always a source of comic relief as he's learning the ropes. The man who hires Ray to find his missing client information is a germ-a-phobe, so to get the upper hand in the mind game the boss seems to be playing, Ray does a few things to kick the fear of germs into high gear.

There's just enough of a tease at possible romance that evidently every book has to have. But it's just enough to give hope that even the most unlovable people can find someone to love them.

I was honestly kept guessing the whole time about who the murderer was even though I figured out one part early on. Actually, I think that might have been set up that way to keep readers on their toes, now that I think about it.

My only problem is that there were a few references to the first book that I couldn't remember much about since it has been three years since I read the first book, The Night Watchman. When I requested the book for review, I didn't realize that this book had already been out for a year or I probably would have gotten it sooner.

Even with the references to his last case, I think you could read The Corruptible without having read the first book.


About the book: 

Ex-homicide detective Ray Quinn never expected life as a private investigator to be glamorous—but being cornered in a bathroom stall by the enraged philandering husband of a client? That’s something he could live without. Retired from homicide and living with a painful disability, Ray’s options are limited. Stick to the job, keep impetuous sidekick Crevis alive, and spend quiet evenings with trusted pal Jim Beam, that’s about the best he can hope for.

As a new client emerges, Ray finds himself in an impossibly large boardroom holding a check with enough zeros to finally lift him from his financial pit. The job seems easy enough: find Logan Ramsey, an ex-cop turned security officer who’s taken off with sensitive corporate information. But few things are easy in Ray’s world, regardless of the amount of zeros in the check.

Ray stumbles across Logan Ramsey in a seedy motel room. Only Ray wasn’t the first to find him. Now Logan’s dead, the client’s information is nowhere to be found, and Ray’s employer is less than forthcoming with the details. Suddenly the line between the good guys and bad guys isn’t so clear. With a foot in both worlds and an illuminating look at an unhappy ending that could well be his own, which will Ray choose?

About the author:


Mark Mynheir is the author of the Christy Award nominated The Night Watchman, the first Ray Quinn mystery. He has worked undercover as a narcotics agent, as a SWAT team member, and now investigates violent crimes as a detective with the Criminal Investigations Unit in central Florida, where he lives with his wife and three children.


Visit Mark Mynheir's website at www.copwriter.com.

Click here to buy the book on Amazon or Christianbook.com.



Also check out the first book in the Ray Quinn series, The Night Watchman. My review is here

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sunday, June 10, 2012

What about Paul?

I know I said this was going to be a Tuesday feature, but the week is a little different this week and I already have the video uploaded.

This week's video from the 5th graders on Corinthians is an introduction to Paul, the writer of Corinthians. We ran out of time to get further into Paul's conversion, but this is a start. I think you'll especially enjoy the performance of one particular student.


I hit stop right before the improv line of "Good deal!" was said. We kind of liked that line though I doubt that's what Paul said.

The kids are not terribly excited about the videos being posted now, but they do want them shown at their senior banquet in 7 years because that would somehow be less embarrassing. I somehow doubt that. However, I'll remember that and make sure they make the video for everyone to see then. Then, they will really hate me!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

We really don't need to talk

Today all of my family gathered for my Grandmother's birthday. On the two and a half hour car trip home from my aunt's house today, I checked my Klout score.

I'm obsessed.

Over the past five days, I have been less influential than I have been. My fractional daily decline has dropped me from 61 to 60. This annoys me greatly.

Have I been less witty?

Have I been anti-social?

Have I been less informative?

For this, I have no answer. I do know people have sort of been paying attention to me.

A couple of days ago, I posted on Facebook about needing to find a Starbucks on the way to Beckville today. My uncle asked today if I found one. We went straight through and did not.

When my cousin and his wife left, I commented that I hadn't even got around to talking to them today. She commented that they kept up with me on Facebook, so it didn't feel like it had been that long since we talked. I'm not sure if that's good or bad.

Should I be more mysterious? Is less really more?

Friday, June 8, 2012

The worst dating shows ever

For lack of anything else on TV paired with just the right teasers, I decided to give Fox's new TV shows a try last night. Surely Take Me Out and The Choice will not last. In a world where shows like The Firm and Harry's Law get cancelled for low ratings I pray that the population of America does not watch such stupidity.

Let's start with Take Me Out. Any show with George Lopez should probably be off my list. Even the gutter-minded contestants of the show didn't seem to get the terribly lame attempts filth-laden innuendo he was trying to tell for laughs.

As for 30 beautiful women, they were all made up with big hair, but some of them were rather strange looking. The idea is that these 30 women are looking for their dream man. They're all lined up with these lit podiums in front of them. When each decides that the guy is not for them, they hit a button and their light goes out.

The guy comes down to the stage from the "Elevator of Love" to a song of his choosing. I guess this proves whether or not he has any taste in music whatsoever. He then struts himself around in front of the women. He then makes his opening statement - a sentence or two giving his name, where he's from and maybe one other fact about himself. The women can then turn out their light based on their first impression.

A video of the guy is then aired, getting into more details of his life. As the video plays, more lights go out. If there are still any lights still on, they play another short video or performance where more lights dim.

If anyone is left after two rounds of video or on stage "entertaining", the guy gets to choose which woman he wants to go out with after asking a question of the women.

Two out of four times, the guy was blacked out with no date. And these were supposed to be some of the most eligible bachelors they could find.

OH help us one and all if that is true! I'd have blacked all the guys out myself. The one was a male body builder who hunted all the time, the guy with the mohawk and major Yankee accent, the short guy who tried to breakdance in a Speedo, and the first black Italian boxing champion who dressed like a gladiator.

It was bad.

It only survived being the worst dating show ever by The Choice which stole the stage set-up and chairs from The Voice. And four celebrity bachelors are supposed to choose their dream date in part by only hearing their voice. UH. Rip-off.

And one of the celebrity bachelors was DJ Pauley D from The Jersey Shore. The only episode of that show I ever saw any of had Pauley D placing dog poop all over the house. Oh, yeah, he's a catch. Then the actor who played Sean Douglas Brady on Days of Our Lives. Not a big star there. I think one guy was on General Hospital so I had no chance of knowing him. Romeo as in Lil' Romeo was the fourth guy.

I feel asleep by the end.

Where's Chuck Woolery? Let's go back to The Love Connection which was hokey enough.

Did anyone else watch?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

When Harry Met No One

I've decided that Rachel has made it to the point where she no longer gets a code name on my blog to protect her in any instance. It's one of the prices you pay of being one of my friends.

Besides, anyone who knows her and reads this blog is not fooled by the "Rebekah" bit.

We're coming back to Rachel in a minute. Back story first.

Paige will be in the 6th grade when school starts back, so that means she gets to start doing things with the youth group at church. Since her schedule is not always regular each week as to where she is, I told her that if she wanted to go to the Summer Youth Series, I would go with her as a chaperon so that she would be able to meet the bus and that she could stay with me on Tuesday nights when we got back home since it would be late. Any time she wants me to stay home, I'm still willing to coordinate with her parents to get her to the church, pick her up and let her stay. I went every summer for years as a what sometimes seemed like the assistant youth minister at the time (because I was friends with the youth minister and I always helped out) and enjoyed going, so I was completely open to going now.

Since I knew I was going this first time, I asked Rachel if she wanted to go with us. As church secretary and having been no stranger to chaperoning herself, she's attended over the years herself.

On the way, the kids and our on youth minister were talking about the guy who usually leads singing at this particular church. Supposedly, this guy looks like a Who from Whoville. Well, this ought to be interesting, I thought. I've never seen a real life Who before.

After having been seated for a few minutes, Rachel and I look up to where a man has gotten up to lead singing. I think to myself, "he doesn't look like a Who." At this same time, Rachel must have been reading my mind because she said something along this line of thinking.

I say, "That guy reminds me of someone."

Practically bouncing in the pew, Rachel says, "Who {but not Who as in Whoville} does he remind you of?"

"Harry ****************." (That is a code name.)

"That's exactly what I was thinking," replies Rachel.

"He's not wearing a ring."

"No, he's not. I'll introduce you."

"No you won't, I'll introduce you."

"No."

The whole time we were singing, I tried to keep my eyes glued to the screen with the words whether I knew them or not. I just couldn't look at Harry's clone. Not after our revelation that we mutually thought he looked like Harry. And Rachel has only encountered Harry twice.

The guy wore glasses like Harry.

The guy have very similar hair to Harry. It wasn't identical in style, but color was very close.

He and Harry could have shared the same wardrobe. He was wearing clothes like Harry would wear right down to his shirt being untucked.

The guy had a similar build to Harry.

Something about him made me think his personality would be very similar to Harry.

What's wrong with Harry you ask? Well? That's kind of hard to explain. Not that I have a type, but I would say he's not mine.

For years, people joked me that I should go out with Harry. Actually, one person was serious, but we're not going there. My brother joked me about it. Never knowing my brother's tackiness on the subject, the youth minister back in the day poked fun along with our friend Sammy. The two of were teasing me one day, and I had enough, turned the car stereo up really loud and blew out a speaker so I didn't have to hear the conversation. Ask Jenny -  true story!

In much the same way that Rachel has ducked Timmy the Fly at church, I have hidden behind clothes racks at stores, tried to escape other stores and avoid Harry at church. He's not there often, but I have to admit I've done it. He's a nice guy, but not a good personality fit.

On the way home, we were talking in the front of the bus with our youth minister's wife Dorcas (I promised you a mention with a special name, so there you go!) and actually with the youth minister as well. Someone on the bus brought up the Who and how he wasn't there. The YM said he was there somewhere but had lost weight and was less Who-ish. This got us mentioning Harry and how Rachel and I were mutually threatening to introduce. Of course, YM says he would make the intro for us.

No thank you!

We told Dorcas that he reminded us of someone, but didn't tell who until later at which time she agreed with us. We did tell her we were naming him Harry though. Rachel admitted to Dorcas she had been looking around, but wasn't sure if this other guy she saw was wearing a ring.

I jokingly said, "yes, this is why Rachel and I are going to summer youth series. To scout the youth ministers for wedding rings."  Ok, only mostly jokingly because we had to admit we kind of were, at least while we were there. I think it's more of what you do in any public space with a lot of people around.

In reality, I'm more concerned with being Paige's transportation because I would bet that the only YM there close to 35 and not married was Harry. There has to be a reason for that, right? I certainly know all the reasons why I'm still single, so I can say that.

Anyway, I really think Rachel should have met Harry and given him a chance. She really needs to find someone to go out with once so that the next time Timmy the Fly texts her, she can reply back, "please stop texting me, I'm seeing someone."

Of course, then it might lead to "what's this guy got that I don't?" A less sissy nickname on Audra's blog, that's what!

It might also buy her some time with her brother who wants her to have children even though it's their sister about to get married and much closer to that possibility. I think she at least think about it, don't you?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

God forgets no one!

Missionary Beth Guckenberger shares

Tales of the Not Forgotten to introduce children to missions


We often forget how fortunate we are, the many blessings in our lives, and the extent of human suffering around the globe. How can we teach our children to grow up with hearts for others and to be mission-minded? With the help of missionary and author Beth Guckenberger, parents and Sunday school teachers can introduce children to the wonderful things that God is accomplishing around the world through Tales of the Not Forgotten (Standard Publishing/May 1, 2012, ISBN 978-0-7847-3528-2).

Written for ages 8 and up, Tales of the Not Forgotten shares a collection of four real-life stories of children from impoverished circumstances and paints a picture of God’s dynamic movement in their lives. The first in the Storyweaver series, Guckenberger inspires readers to trust that God is weaving a story in the lives of each us, writing endings they would never imagine. She takes young readers on a journey to faraway lands, introducing them to faces the world often doesn’t see, but are not forgotten by God.

Guckenberger and her husband are founders of Back2Back Ministries, an international Christian non-profit organization dedicated to being a voice for orphans and existing to love and care for orphans and impoverished children. One of the stories is especially close to Guckenberger and her family–-the story of Joel who lives in an orphanage near Monterrey, Mexico where they have lived and served as missionaries for 15 years. Each of the four stories focuses on a child from one of the countries in which Back2Back ministries has a campus (Mexico, Nigeria, India and Haiti).

Sharing stories of hope from those she has met is not new to Guckenberger, but her two previous books have been written to an adult audience. As a mother, she felt called to turn her attention to a younger audience with this release. “I see my own kids asking questions about the issues they are aware of around the world,” says Guckenberger. “As a missionary, I serve alongside so many families that travel here on a short-term trip. Those experiences provoke good discussions they take back home with them. I wanted a book that would spark those kinds of conversations of substance at the dinner table and in the minivan, but without having to travel. I also wanted a book that addressed what God was doing instead of what man wasn’t as to not sound guilt-driven.”
Tales of the Not Forgotten shrinks the big picture down to approachable, individual stories of real children and teaches about fundamental survival issues. The stories address some of the challenging questions that kids have and weave God's promises to orphans into each one. Preteens will be challenged to answer the questions: How do I pray? What can I give? Where can I go? Who will I serve?

Also available is the Tales of the Not Forgotten Leader’s Guide (ISBN: 978-0-7847-3527-5), a 6-session kids' missions resource that walks adults through an easy-to-follow guide and action plan to help others. The guide is designed for parents to use at home or for Christian schools, VBS settings and Sunday Schools and is filled with fun activities, compelling stories, biblical teaching, and practical applications.  The activities can be customized for 15, 30 or 60 minutes, depending on the setting.

For more information about Beth and Back2Back Ministries, visit www.bethguckenberger.com or www.back2backministries.org.

About the Author:

Beth Guckenberger and her husband, Todd, are the founders of Back2Back Ministries (based in Cincinnati, OH) which communicates a lifestyle of service by sharing the love of Christ and serving God through service to others.  Back2Back Ministries connects willing workers to open hearts through international and local ministry opportunities.  Their ministry is currently caring and providing for orphan children and needy people in Mexico, Nigeria, India and most recently, Haiti. 

Beth travels and speaks regularly at women’s and missions conferences, as well as youth gatherings and church services.  Her topics include orphan care, missions, parenting, marriage/intimacy, and faith.  Her story-telling style captures audiences, and she draws from her field experience as a missionary and parent for illustrations to biblical concepts.

In addition to her latest release, Tales of the Not Forgotten (Standard Publishing 2012), Beth has written Relentless Hope (Standard, 2011) and Reckless Faith (Zondervan, 2008).

The Guckenberger family lives and serves in Monterrey, Mexico where they have hosted thousands of guests on their ministry campus. Between biological, foster, and adopted additions to their family, Beth and Todd are raising nine children.

Beth Guckenberger is available for interviews to promote the release of Tales of the Not Forgotten. To request a review copy, schedule an interview or for more information, please contact Audra Jennings, audra@litfusegroup.com

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New weekly feature - 5th grade lessons in Corinthians

The summer quarter of our 5th grade Sunday school class started this week. One of the ideas in the teacher's book was to do a video with segments each week of the kids talking about what they learned each week from their study of Corinthians.

I'm surprised the material progressed to video because they usually refer to tape recorders, but they were probably thinking the old fashioned video recorders with beta. Anyway, they have mixed feelings about this and the possibility of YouTube, Facebook and my blog. If I can edit it well, maybe it will air after church some Sunday night! ;)

Part of the deal is I had to leave my intro in it, and yes, it was too close to my face. I'll edit that later. Each Tuesday I will post the weekly installment. I'm going to have something going on each Tuesday, and that will let me pre-post. I wouldn't let any of them talk about the fact that Corinthians were stereo-typically drunk and in Greek plays, the part of a Corinthian was played by a drunk man. I told them that drunk people were not entertaining and they should NOT be obsessed. I gave the example of the guy that showed up at my door at 4 AM.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Grand Tour begins


NOW thru Friday - get the e-book for FREE! Click here!


Author Challenges Readers to Face Their Own Identity Crisis


New series from Lisa T. Bergren leads readers through a journey of inner discovery


Glamorous Illusions (David C Cook/June 1, 2012/ISBN: 978-1-4347-6430-0), the first release in Lisa Bergren’s new Grand Tour series, is a beautiful exploration of the covenant connection between God the Father and His children. Through the story of Cora Kensington, Bergren takes her audience on a European adventure of forgiveness, spiritual awareness, and self-discovery.

A person often identifies themself by their family, profession, or circumstances. However, as Christians, what would happen if we began to better understand our true identity in Christ? It is this spiritual journey that author Bergren guides readers through in Glamorous Illusions.

It was the summer of 1913, and Cora Kensington’s life on the family farm has taken a dark turn. Not only are the crops failing, so is her father’s health. Cora is carrying on, helping her mother run their Montana farm until a stranger comes to call, and everything changes. Cora then learns a secret that will radically change her future: she is the illegitimate daughter of a copper king who has come to claim her.

Cora is invited to take the “Grand Tour” of Europe, a journey intended to finish a person’s education, to solidify an understanding of ancient culture and contemporary refinement. As she travels from England to France with half-siblings she’s never known, Cora encounters the blessings of the Kensington family name, as well as the curses. But when an unbidden love begins to form, she realizes the journey is only beginning.

Faced with the challenge of accepting her father, new family, and the identity that comes with it, Cora also struggles to accept that she is also the daughter of the one true King—a Father who is the only One who can truly heal. “Glamorous Illusions is not only Cora’s journey toward understanding true identity in Christ, but it will help every reader understand it better too,” explains Bergren. “It’s an examination of the bond between the Father and his child.”

Each member of the traveling group expects an outer cultural journey of refinement, but each will also wrestle with their own sins and inner conflicts. Ultimately, they explore what truly informs a person’s sense of identity. Readers will be able to join Cora and the other Kensingtons and Morgans as they continue their Grand Tour, discovering new lands, new cultures, and new aspects of themselves, in the upcoming installments Grave Consequences (Spring 2013) and Glittering Promises (Fall 2013).


Praise for Glamorous Illusions:

“A fascinating mix of travel and intrigue, heartache and romance, Glamorous Illusions sweeps you away on the Grand Tour, exploring London and Paris through the eyes of a young woman who longs to find her place in the world. The title captures the story perfectly, as Cora delves beneath all that glitters to discover what is real and true, while not just one man but two vie for her affections...ooh, la la! A grand start to a new series from a seasoned author who writes from the heart.”
~ Liz Curtis Higgs, New York Times best-selling author of Mine Is the Night

About the Author:

Lisa T. Bergren is the award-winning author of over thirty-five books, with more than 2 million copies sold. A former publishing executive, Lisa now divides her time between writing, editing, parenting three children with her husband, Tim, and dreaming of her next trip to Italy. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Lisa Bergren is available for interviews to promote the release of Glamorous Illusions. To request a review copy, schedule an interview or for more information, please contact Audra Jennings, audra@litfusegroup.com.