Saturday, February 28, 2015

It was beautiful for the two hours it lasted

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

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

Friday, February 27, 2015

Resetting Your Parenting GPS after Divorce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advance Praise

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

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

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

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

About the author

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Putting an arm around teen moms

Tricia Goyer fills new book with encouragement

and help based on personal experience

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

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

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

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Author encourages special needs parents to get their joy back

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

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

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

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


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



Betting on Hope


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


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

Monday, February 23, 2015

#TheBachelor finally makes it to a beautiful place to fall in love

Tonight, we actually arrive in a beautiful place to fall in love. (They would say that about a garbage dump, I think.) Bali.

No desert.

No dirt.

No brown water.

Ocean and palm trees and lush tropical scenery. The most exotic place Farmer Boy has ever been too. The resort is definitely much more elaborate than the hotel back in Des Moines.

It's down to the final three: Kaitlyn, Whitney and Becca. He claims to be falling in love with all three.

I admit: I am team Becca.

I don't get Kaitlyn as a choice.

If it weren't for her voice, I could handle Whitney.

First up on a date: Kaitlyn

Will they be able to have a serious conversation? After greeting one another with a kiss, there will be no more of that once they enter the temple. Hallelujah! Unless you are just looking for the best kisser, we need more than that.

Inside the temple, they try to carry baskets on their heads like the native women. They meditate and make their offerings before heading off to experience the local culture and trying to make friends with the monkeys. One quickly makes friends with Chris and mounts his head at the sight of a banana. Especially after one pees on Chris, Kaitlyn is especially anxious around the monkeys. I can't say that I blame her.

After the monkey experience, they sit down to chat and talk about how last week went with the parents.

Over dinner, Kaitlyn is especially nervous. (I can only imagine the pressure Becca will feel.) Kaitlyn hopes she doesn't have a guard up, and wants Chris to know how she feels about him. He's pretty confident as he whips out the invitation to the Fantasy Suite.

She can't imagine saying no to that. He says they deserve it. I don't know what there is to deserve. She stops shaking once she gets her invite. Sad, sad, sad stuff.

When they go into the suite, she says she's opened up to him more than she's opened up to anyone. She's falling in love with him. He's falling in love with her.

Next up, Whitney.

The question on Chris' mind is given that Whitney loves her job so much, can she see herself in Iowa, even though she has proclaimed her love?

Everyone greets Chris with a run and jump and wrap your legs around Chris' waist greeting. I hope his back holds up.

Today, they are going sailing on the Indian Ocean. While enjoying their view, Whitney lays out how she was annoyed at her sister's attitude towards him, even though their tragic childhood weighed on how Kimberly views the world. Her sister has a point about the whole thing. Chris tells Whitney that he does respect her sister's opinion, but she's not the one that has a say.

I think she jabbers too much. Maybe I just say that because of that voice. Maybe in an effort to stop the chat, they decide to jump ship and go for a swim.

Not one inch of Whitney's soul doubts that she wants to marry Chris. Chris just hopes the evening goes well.

Tonight, Chris plans to talk to her about whether or not she thinks she'll be able to give up her baby making career to move to Arlington. Does she have any concerns about the small town living?

She says she thinks she has a disadvantage because she didn't see the town like the other women did. It's a town of 500. If you want to do anything, you have to get in the car and drive somewhere.

When looking at a map, that's probably not where she wants to be. She's worked so hard to get where she is, but all of her life, she's wanted to be a wife and mom. Her career was kind of her fall back plan.

Well, it's a good thing I have a job since I don't have a husband and kids. 

After she says enough to convince him that she wants to make babies with him rather than in a lab, he hands her the fantasy suite card and she declares, "check please!"

She is more than eager. While Kaitlyn's bathtub was full of roses, this one is full of bubbles. Will Becca's have jello?

Finally, it's Becca's turn.

Some people have been way too excited to see what happens on this date. If Chris can't respect her integrity for being a virgin, then he's not the guy for her. Period. This is why I am team Becca.

Becca is unsure of how the conversation is going to go and expects to get more nervous as the day goes on.

She gets points for not hooking her legs around him when they hug.

Chris is nervous because Becca has never been in love and doesn't know how that bodes for if they can fall in love.

Hi "amazing thing to share" with Becca is seeing how the locals live off the land. They have cute moments with the local children. They too go into a temple and talk to one of the local prophets. The questions sound like ones you would ask a Magic 8 Ball.

When asked what they should do to make the night special, the guru says, "make love." Talk about uncomfortable laughter...

They get along so well, but is she possibly falling in love? This is what Chris wonders. When they sit down to talk, she starts sharing her feelings.

Just because someone has not been in love does not mean she can't fall in love. It doesn't mean that she is incapable. There's a first time for everything. (No pun about that intended.)

She admits she would have to be very, very sure about their relationship before committing the move to Iowa. Becca also admits that while she's never been in love before, she is having feelings now that she has never had before so believes she is falling in love with him. She honestly asks Chris what he thinks about that. He feels like he is falling too.

When he hands her the fantasy suite card, the time comes to get honest.

There was a time on this show where the fantasy suite opened the opportunity for sex, but it didn't mean that everyone was definitely following through. What happened to the days where they at least faked that they were going to talk the night away to get to know each other better? Time to just appreciate the time away from the cameras to get to spend some time together?

I guess those days went by the wayside after Juan Pablo. 

Becca is well aware that this conversation could be a deal breaker. She would love to spend time alone to get to know each other. He agrees so far. {insert kissing here}

They head off to the room. It's been a great day so far, and Chris is looking forward to one on one time without the distractions. She finally gets the nerve to talk more. Becca starts by saying that bringing him home to his family was a big deal. She is starting to fall in love with him. However, she has to tell him something and get his true feelings about. He has to expect this right? He lets out a deep breath to her virginity confession. He says it's never easy to respond to that. He respects it in a lot of ways, he says. (What's that supposed to mean? Seriously? In some way he doesn't?) But, he is surprised.

Becca tells the interview camera that his response was perfect.

The next morning, Chris says their overnight date went well and that he can definitely see himself with her. However, he woke up terrified about where their future stands. 

Chris thinks that Becca has more reservations about moving to Arlington than the others. I think she's just more honest and level headed about it. The decision he's faced with does bring Chris to tears. "I have to make some gut decisions that may be wrong."

The monkeys are curious.

Conflicted time means Chris Harrison has to make an appearance. He tells Harrison how open he thinks Kaitlyn and Whitney are about moving to Iowa. I didn't exactly hear eagerness from either one of them. However, he can't just let go of Becca either. Harrison asks about Becca's news and how he felt about that.

He has to feel something big for Becca to be agonizing like he is. Or it's all scripted and we had to have some kind of drama.

The Chris' are at a sacred temple (no PDAs allowed - think Duggar style with hand holding only) with white suits and fancy silk cummerbunds for the rose ceremony. The women are in native dress waiting for Chris at the bottom of the steps. 

Chris starts off by complimenting the beautiful ladies, takes a deep breath and declares how lucky he is. Yet, it's been heart-wrenching. Then, he asks if he can talk to Becca privately.

Whitney turns to Kaitlyn beaming because she thinks that another one is out of the running.

Becca tells Chris that she is crazy for him and doesn't want them to be over. It's not the show that has her feeling this way. It's him! She's willing to talk more and more about their future if given the chance.

So much for being honest and real. Becca is the most honest. We all know this may not work out, and it's stupid to not realize that. He wants more commitment at this point than anyone should logically be able to make.

Back up the way, Kaitlyn's gut tells her that Chris is telling Becca goodbye which makes her excited too. Aw snap Kaitlyn!

Chris and Becca walk back in hand in hand. Whitney makes her huffy face. Chris is going to have a handful if he does choose her and she doesn't get her way.

Whitney is confused and caught off guard. After all, if Becca is right for him, then she is not. Becca is too young and inexperienced in her opinion.

First rose goes to... Whitney.

Kaitlyn may fall ill any second.

Becca receives the other rose. 

Chris asks Kaitlyn if he can walk her out. I wouldn't hold hands with him during this walk, but what do I know?

Chris tells Kaitlyn that nothing happened, but there are some things he doesn't understand right now. He had no idea it would be this hard, but this is it. His gut decision doesn't make sense, but he has to trust it not knowing if it is the right decision. A rooster crows really loudly. It has to be a sign, right?

Though he thinks the world of her... he's scared... He holds her as she cries. She doesn't want to get in the car.

As she rides away, Kaitlyn decides this is the most humiliating moment of her life. Her mind is blown. She is confused. She does her crying ride of shame.

Next week... The women tell all! I expect cat fights! Rawwwrrr!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Walkin Down Heaven's Road

Walkin’ Down Heaven’s Road

By Norman L. Starks
Used by permission. CCLI # 1132191

Who’s that walking down the road,
Carryin’ such a heavy load?
Sinner lay your burden down,
Cause your walkin’ on Heaven’s road.

Walkin’ down Heaven’s road,
Gonna lay down my heavy load.
Jesus said He’d walk along with me,
Praise God, glory hallelujah.
I’m singing all the way,
I’ve got sunshine in every day.
So won’t you come along and join me
On that Heaven’s road?
Young folks walkin’ hand in hand,
Singin’ with the angel band.
Old folks ain’t so tired no more,
Cause they’re walkin’ on Heaven’s road.


Ain’t no tears no cryin’ there
Ain’t no sadness anywhere
Ain’t got time to shed no tears
‘Cause we’re walkin’ on Heaven’s road


Saturday, February 21, 2015

My house looks like something exploded again

So it looks like the Easter bunny exploded over here! It's not all Easter decorations, but I can't wait until I get some things finished so I can post what I've been working on this weekend! I have so many things started!

Then, I'll have to get posts up over at The Crafty Dad and Daughter

Friday, February 20, 2015

Who’s in charge of your family: you or Jesus?

Part 2 of an interview with Michelle Anthony,
Author of Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family

We all want to guide our children into the abundant life that Jesus offers. But when we pursue the more and better that the world offers above our pursuit of Jesus, we fall into dangerous parenting habits.

In Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family: Avoiding the 6 Dysfunctional Parenting Styles (David C Cook/January 1, 2015/ISBN: 978-0781411394/$15.99), Dr. Michelle Anthony unpacks six common dysfunctional parenting styles that we fall into out of habit, lack of attention, or just oversight due to busyness. If you long to show your children Jesus but don’t know how to do it, you’ll find hope in this practical guide to creating a relentlessly grace-filled home that is focus on God as first in charge.

Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family was made for that “freak-out” moment nearly all parents have when they realize their child’s view of God largely comes from what he or she learns at home. While the task is intimidating, parents can avoid the temptation to ignore, outsource or overcompensate and find balance in letting the Lord become the Director of their family’s story.

Anthony points out that while some dysfunction is simply the reality of living in an imperfect world, truly painful dysfunction comes when we choose to sit in the Director’s chair of our life — pursuing abundant life instead of pursuing Christ. By surrendering the pen and allowing God to write the script as He sees fit, parents can guide their children into the abundant life Jesus offers, even in the midst of day-to-day living. This inspiring guide offers practical ideas to get parents unstuck in their family journey of faith.

Q: What does a spiritually healthy family look like?

A spiritually healthy family is made up of members who, in a relationship with Jesus, seek to understand and live a surrendered life to God’s plan and will. Through God’s Word they learn this plan, are convicted by God’s Spirit to understand sin areas and allow forgiveness and grace to heal broken places in their lives. They understand that without God’s help and power, they will not be able to live in peace or victory.

Q: Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family shares a number of stories from parents trying to make Christ the director of their families — what is the common thread you see in spiritually healthy families?

Spiritually healthy families still make mistakes and have sin in their lives; however they are endeavoring to live in reality, and they own up to their shortcomings and mistakes. They keep short accounts with God and others so a one-time offense does not have to become a habit or character flaw.

Q: You use a picture of the relationship between a director and an actor to illustrate our relationship with God. Why did you choose that analogy?

James Dean once said, “When an actor plays a scene the way the director intended, it isn’t acting, it’s following directions.” I love the idea that our Christian lives are simply waking up every morning and following directions from God. There is security in living our lives “on script,” but in order to do so we must give up our need to be in control. We must give up the entitlement to have it our own way. Submission to Christ is one of the most difficult parts of living a spiritually healthy life.

Q: You talk about living “on script.” What do you mean by that?

“Living on script” is simply a metaphor for surrendering the need to control my own life, to accept the life God has given me and to play out that life, as written, for His glory and my good. It acknowledges I am not God and He knows better. He sees the beginning from the end and is working things together to accomplish His plans. It is His story, not mine. But I do play a part in it. If I don’t play my part, no one else will.

Q: In Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family, you encourage parents to go beyond chore charts and good behavior. What do you mean by that?

Sometimes we are seduced into believing that somehow in the abundance of good deeds and behavior we have achieved spiritual health or faith. However, the Bible is clear that there is a distinct difference between good people and redeemed people. Good people will never be “good enough” to be in a relationship with a holy God. Redeemed people are made right with God because Jesus is good and He took the penalty for sin. When we accept His goodness, He makes us clean. When we try to achieve it on our own we will remain far from God. We want to make sure we are passing on faith to our children, not the counterfeit.

Q: What role does a mission statement serve for a spiritually healthy family?

It serves as a compass. It keeps us focused on the things we declare are most important. Life is full of distractions, and without it we will consistently find ourselves with competing agendas and priorities.

Learn more about Michelle Anthony and Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family at, on Facebook or by following her on Twitter.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sometimes you just have to get out of the house

I need to get out of the house in the worst way. Working and living in the same place will do that to you.

I kid you not, I went to Home Depot after work on Tuesday just to get out of the house. Tonight, I went to the grocery store. I hate going to the grocery store.

Actually, I went to the grocery store because the fridge was empty, and I didn't have any cereal. It's a good thing I got cereal because when I got home, I decided I didn't buy a single thing I cared to fix tonight to eat.

To share more boring details of my life, the bananas were too green to eat tonight. I always buy the the greenest bananas I can find at the store because I can't stand bananas once they start to spot. However, when I bought the bananas, I didn't plan on eating them tonight.

A reason to get out of the house is a big reason why I am addicted to Sonic and Route 44s... just a reason to get out. To drive my car that I'm making payments on that hasn't left its spot in the garage in days.

My mother, the queen of just wanting to stay home and not do anything on Saturday because she's been working all week, is now experiencing this. Now that she is retired.

Dad has gone on and on about buying these antique doorplates for one of our craft projects that we sell. On and on about needing to find some. I bought him 13 off of eBay this week and told him he was not allowed to buy anymore.

So, he calls tonight, "it's a good thing you found those because we've been all over the place looking for them today and couldn't find any."

"I told you that you couldn't buy anymore, but you went out looking all over the place anyway?"

"Well, we wanted to get out."


But, noooooooo. I tried to go somewhere last Saturday, but they wouldn't go because the nieces had basketball games.

This weekend, I am going to be caught between wanting to get some crafty painting done or getting out of my house on my own.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Terri Blackstock | ‘Twisted Innocence’ Nook Giveaway and Author Chat Party

In Terri Blackstock’s third and final book in her Moonlighters series, Twisted Innocence, readers are in for a story of suspense and redemption. Dangers old and new threaten Holly and her baby, and lives are demanded as sacrifices for love. Through a complex web of mistakes and regret, redemption is the one hope Holly has left to hold on to.

Celebrate the series' final release by entering Terri's Nook giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Nook GlowLight
  • The entire Moonlighters series
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 8th. Winner will be announced March 9th on the Litfuse blog.




(Zondervan, February 2015)
Holly Cramer’s past choices have finally caught up to her, but she never expected them to endanger her baby.
Though Holly’s stumbled through most of her adult life as a party girl, she longs to live a more stable life for her daughter. Then police show up to question her about the whereabouts of Creed Kershaw, Lily’s father. She has kept his identity a secret from friends and family—she never even told him about the pregnancy. Now he’s a person of interest in a drug-related murder case.
Determined to keep him out of their lives and turn him over to police, Holly uses her private investigating skills to search for him. But her bravado backfires when he turns the tables and takes her and the baby hostage. As desperate hours tick by, Holly realizes his connection to Leonard Miller—the man who has gunned down several members of her family. Creed claims he’s innocent and that Miller is after him too. His gentleness with Lily moves her, but she can’t trust a man who has held her at gunpoint . . . even if he reminds her so much of herself.
Dangers old and new threaten Holly and her baby, and lives are demanded as sacrifices for love. Through a complex web of mistakes and regret, redemption is the one hope Holly has left to hold on to.


Terri Blackstock has sold over six million books worldwide and is a New York Times bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of “Intervention,” “Vicious Cycle,” and “Downfall,” as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, Restoration, and Moonlighters.
Find out more about Terri at

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bonus post on #thebachelor

Because I got home in middle of "Chris Tells All" on Sunday night, I decided to make a special post tonight over his confessions about his experiences up to this point.

I just didn't get all the blog put together on Sunday, and I might as well use it as more material.

The thing about "Tell Alls" is that there is always a let down. "Lots of never befores" and "ever befores."

First up is a set down with Kelsey. Will we need to get out our dictionaries and thesauruses? Nah, she'll use lots of big word synonyms in the same sentence, so we should be able to figure it out. The show even created a graphic for it.

She plays off being one of the most controversial women in the house. She doesn't think she was condescending. It takes her a minute before she can gather herself enough to say that no, she doesn't think she's smarter than everyone else in the house.

Kelsey is definitely different than everyone else there, and that's not necessarily a good thing. She had no control over her motor movements when she had her fainting spell. As a mental health professional, she knew what panic attacks were although she had never experienced one before. She is so prim in her every gesture.

Kelsey shall ever wonder if the seed was planted by Ash Kardash that rooted doubt in Chris' mind. And she's a little worried about seeing the rest of the women on the Women Tell All.

Next up, Prince Farming himself gets to tell why the Badlands were so bad. He claims he did not expect to hear that Kelsey was fake. He wanted to get straight to the bottom of the story and wasn't thinking about how the two would interact with each other after the revelation. Admittedly, he doesn't know much about female interaction. He was hoping it wouldn't get so dramatic.

Here's the deal -- he knew at least one of them was going home before the two-on-one date started. That's the nature of the date.

Next on the list to talk about is what Chris thought about crazy Ashley. He realized it was full on crazy on the Zombie paintball date. He said it was scary for her to have a weapon.

Behind the scenes, Ashley would wander the grounds at night and was convinced there was a betting ring after seeing the accounting office. Her audition tape was very normal and would not have predicted her craziness on the actual show.

The conversation turns to Tara the Drunk. Then, to Jordan the Drunk. Chris confesses that he didn't expect so much angst when he talked to Jordan upon her return. He just doesn't get much interaction out there on the farm not not realize that was going to be an unpopular choice with the women.

Oh, then there was Jillian. Harrison asked if Chris liked Jillian or the short shorts. As a man, Farmer was not opposed to the revealing clothes, he admits. Harrison talks about the black bar that followed her around. I was so glad for her - and it - to go. Although she started off as one of Chris' top 3, he realized that Jillian was not the one. The inappropriate questions during their one-on-one date proved the chemistry was not there.

Briefly, they talk about how "difficult" it was to let Juelia go after hearing her story about her husband who had committed suicide. I realize now how over used "difficult" is on the show.

Blah, blah, blah, Jimmy Kimmel visit recap. Kaitlyn laughing like a hyena.

The awkwardness of the date with Carly and the love guru. The uncomfortable twists...

The donkey gone wild on Becca's date that we didn't see.

All things Britt and how they were instantly connected with a hot and heavy kiss on the first night. How all the other girls got mad about him kissing Britt so publicly in South Dakota...

What exactly is being told here we didn't already know?

Chris Harrison also sits down with Andi Dorfman. Seems her love story with Josh came to an abrupt end. It was kind of awkward the night of the premiere, you know.

Andi starts crying as soon as Chris asks her the first question about how she is doing. Obviously, as she tries to keep the snot from flowing that obviously she's not doing well.

Andi says there was nothing official regarding the end of their engagement prior to that red carpet appearance. They had been struggling for a while with their relationship.

To rub salt in the wounds even more, Harrison takes her back to the day they got engaged. At the time, Andi was 100% sure of her decision. However, as time went on, they never did set a wedding date.

Andi didn't feel supported and empowered, and at the same time, she doesn't think she provided that for Josh either. She's never experienced love like that -- and her first real heartbreak. I think there's something she's not saying.

All said... not really worth the extra hour of watching time this week. If you missed it, you didn't miss anything.