Thursday, January 30, 2020

New suspense release asks hard questions such as “Is killing ever justified?”

Part 2 of an Interview with Andrew Huff,
Author of A Cross to Kill

In Andrew Huff’s A Cross to Kill (Kregel Publications), John Cross is a small-town pastor, bent on leading his flock to follow God’s calling. He’s not the sort of man one would expect to have a checkered past. But the truth is that the man behind the pulpit preaching to his sheep was once a wolf—an assassin for the CIA. When John decided to follow Christ, he put that work behind him, determined to pay penance for all the lives he took. However, putting away his old life isn’t as easy as he would have liked.

A Cross to Kill is not only a riveting story of suspense, it’s also a deep exploration of the moral quandaries that face those who choose to follow the Prince of Peace in a violent world. One of the biggest questions John must face is whether there is ever any legitimate justification for the taking of another person’s life. Is killing ever justified? “The Scripture could not be clearer that we are not to murder, and Jesus goes further by condemning any hateful thought toward a fellow human. There is much more Scripture to consider on the issue, but the answer to the question is not cut-and-dried,” Huff admits.

(Click here to access the A Cross to Kill press release and Andrew Huff’s author bio.)

Q: Writers usually write what they know. Is there any of you in John Cross?

If there was, I wouldn’t be allowed to tell you. Just kidding! The more exciting aspects of John’s story are nothing like mine, and I only wish I had half of his intuition and skill. It is true, however, that writers usually write what they know, and I’m no exception. The part of me in John Cross is less the man and more the day-to-day experience in local church ministry.

When I wrote A Cross to Kill, I was on staff with a Southern Baptist church in Central Virginia, though it was a much larger church than Rural Grove. So much of what John experiences with the church and its members is based on real experiences from my time on a church staff as well as from growing up as a preacher’s kid in rural Tennessee churches. The congregants we get to know are not based on individuals as much as they are amalgamations of wonderful people I had the opportunity to get to know through the years.

Q: The book description states that A Cross to Kill is not only a riveting story of suspense, it’s also a deep exploration of the moral quandaries that face those who choose to follow the Prince of Peace in a violent world. Can we talk more about the moral quandaries?

A big moral quandary John faces, and I believe many of us wrestle with, is whether there is any legitimate justification for the taking of the life of another person. Is it ever right to kill another person? The Scripture could not be clearer that we are not to murder, and Jesus goes further by condemning any hateful thought toward a fellow human. There is much more Scripture to consider on the issue, but the answer to the question is not cut-and-dried.

The debate always seems to yield the same “yes,” “no,” and “sometimes” answers. I didn’t want to try to provide a rigid response one way or the other in the novel, but I did want the characters to wrestle with the question and answers. Naturally, they probably wouldn’t ultimately agree. But for John in particular, what the characters decide drives the decisions they make when faced with danger. This is what we have to understand about the issue ourselves: if we believe Scripture gives a clear answer, whatever answer that might be, we must be prepared to let that answer influence how we respond to particular situations and issues, regardless of how unconventional and perhaps even countercultural that may be.

Q: Is it possible to truly put our pasts behind us? How should we respond when our previous mistakes and decisions don’t stay in the past?

I don’t believe it’s possible to truly put our pasts behind us, and I don’t think that’s ever been God’s intention. We see many times in the Scriptures how God seeks to remind His people not only of the good they’ve experienced but also bad. The past is not meant to be forgotten but to shape our response today. And that can be both the pleasant memories as well as the painful regrets we carry from before.

When we remember God’s goodness in our past, it is cause for celebration and worship. In much the same way, when our previous mistakes and decisions come back into our present, it is a moment for us to acknowledge how God continues to be good in the midst of a broken world. We see His goodness in the fact that those mistakes are still covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, and there’s nothing we did then or could even do now to change that. When our past mistakes return and remind others of pain we may have caused, it’s important to not only acknowledge God’s grace and mercy but also seek reconciliation and restoration to the best of our ability. Ultimately, when we humble ourselves before the Lord, He is faithful to do a work in us and in others so that even in our shortcomings He can be glorified.

Q: Without giving away too much, what can readers expect as the Shepherd Suspense series continues?

I’m so excited to continue the story with these characters, and I can’t wait for readers to pick up the next books in the series. One thing that is true about the Christian life is that a lifelong pursuit of Christlikeness includes many ups and downs. We won’t find our sanctification complete this side of heaven, and so neither will my characters!

For John, he may have crossed a hurdle with accepting God’s forgiveness for his past, but that doesn’t mean he’s dealt with every decision he’s made leading up to becoming the pastor of Rural Grove Baptist Church. And John’s not the only one with a complicated past. The thing I’m most excited about sharing is the action-packed twists and turns that promise to keep the characters on their heels and the readers up past their bedtimes.

Learn more Andrew Huff and the Shepherd Suspense novels at www.andrewhuffbooks.com. He can also be found on Facebook (@huffwrites), Twitter (@andrewjohnhuff) and Instagram (@andyhuff).


Monday, January 27, 2020

The Bachelor: Peter: Week 4: The producers were definitely to blame for that one


My Monday before blogging tonight:
  • Woke up an hour early because I had a meeting at 8:30 AM and had something I needed to try to do before the meeting.
  • Didn't get into office until 8:15 and could not get everything going to get graphic done that I needed to post.
  • The two hours during the meeting was the most productive I was all day because I was emailing people and getting things done while listening in.
  • Spent a good bit of time wrestling with my laptop before I finally restarted it.
  • Also spent a good bit of time trying to get Adobe Creative Suite updated so I could update Photoshop on my laptop. 
  • Last week my desktop crashed, and I did all my graphics on it, so this is why I am struggling with Photoshop.
  • I had set out some popsicles that were iced over and I needed to throw away. Didn't have time to take them out to the trash can in the garage right that moment, so left them on the counter. I walked into the kitchen later and one (or more) melted. I heard it dripping down the cabinet to the very corner behind the fridge. I have to mop up the mess.
  • By the end of the day, I can't uninstall Creative Suite and Photoshop (which I might as well since I can't update it) because it needs to update to uninstall. True story.
  • I finally had to turn off Google Back-up and Sync because my laptop is acting like it is going to die a horrible death more drawn out that the desktop last week.
  • Canva was running so slow because my computer and the internet were slow.
  • I put a turkey breast in the crockpot to cook somewhere along the way. An hour later, I had gone outside to do something and when I came back in, my crockpot was cold. Though turned to on, it wasn't working. Fortunately, it was the safety plug tripped rather than the crockpot going out. 
  • So due to that whole not on thing, I still have to finish fixing dinner somewhere in middle of posting. 

Onto our show:

So the women pout and moan or at least seem subdued as they talk about Alayah going home. Victoria P. feels a little guilty, but she has to remember they are there for Peter and she told the truth. 

Chris Harrison calls them all in to talk.

 

That day there is not going to be a date. Peter has left town. It's time for them to pack up. It's time to go to Cleveland, OH. They are about as excited as I would be. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame awaits...

Peter makes jokes about Clark Kent and Superman as Clark was born there.


Once the women arrive, Cleveland is nicer than they expected. They enjoy the view from the penthouse of the Hilton. 

The first date card arrives. "Victoria F. - Today our love soars to new heights. - Peter"

The women suggest it's skydiving. Victoria is scared of heights, so she is both excited and nervous. 

Mykenna is whining again. She needed this date with her dream guy. Stop. Whining.


Victoria F. is kicking and screaming, "I can't!" before getting out of the limo at the airport. She's afraid she is going to go skydiving. Peter is going to take her flying in an itty bitty four seater plane. She doesn't like heights, so she is still worried.

He flies them out to Cedar Park. They have the whole amusement park to themselves. Then it dawns on her there are roller coasters. 

She is pulling and holding onto his arm. Hope he doesn't need two hands and arms to fly the plane.

The first thing they do upon arrival is get strapped into the bungee slingshot. They decide they actually want to do it again. 

They do roller coasters of all sorts and twirly rides that would make me sick. In the diner, she toasts beer to their sons having a hot mom. She wants boys. She wants four. He wants two or four so that one child doesn't have to sit by him/herself on a roller coaster. 

Peter has one more surprise for her. Their own private concert (actually you hear a a crowd, so it's not private contrary to what Peter calls it. It's Chase Rice. I don't know who that is, but Victoria does. They used to date. This is what you call producer manipulation of the program.

(And here is where I fixed and ate dinner and got 45 minutes behind which annoys me to no end.)

What follows are the best tidbits on the conversation during and after the concert. What is noted as (VO) is what Victoria is saying off camera, but voiced over the action. While this isn't everything that is said, well, heck, it's pretty much what is said...

Peter: I'm so excited for this date. It's Chase Rice. She's going to love it.

Victoria (VO): Chase is my ex-boyfriend. We dated before I came on the show.

Victoria (VO): This is awkward. It's just weird. 

Chase Rice: Looking all knowingly the whole time they are dancing very awkwardly. 

She's so uncomfortable that Peter has to be blind to not notice. However, there's a reason she knows every word to every song.

Victoria (VO): This thing is so uncomfortable... I don't want to ruin it though.

Peter: This is one of the coolest dates I have ever been on... This couldn't have gone any better. This is a dream.

Afterwards, Chase and Peter talk. Peter tells him how excited he was for the dates like this with the music and all. Chase asks with his arms crossed how far in they are. Peter tells him four weeks. Chase asks questions. Peter tells him they will have dinner. This is their first date alone.

Meanwhile, Victoria is carrying on with the producer, crying about she never would have imagined. Chase didn't want her to come.

Chase and Victoria walk off to talk. 

Victoria: I have to tell him now.

Chase: Yeah.

Victoria: If I did end up with him at the end of this, I can't lie.

Chase: I'm not going to lie. You have to do what's best for you.

Victoria: It wouldn't be fair.

Chase: You have to do what's best for you. 

Chase has the look of a jealous man. 

Peter is a good actor or an idiot. Possibly both. He's waiting for her to arrive at the Cleveland City Hall where a table is set up in middle of a big empty lobby for the lack of a better description.

Peter (VO): Today was an amazing day. I had a ton of fun. It was great kissing her to the music. We're on a really good pace right now. Chase Rice could sing at our wedding.

Victoria (VO): Today was a lot... At the concert we saw my ex-boyfriend. Now I'm freaking out. It's important that Peter knows.


Peter: Here's to an amazing day. I really enjoyed my time with you today. The concert was the icing on the cake. 

Are you ok?


Victoria: I'm not ok. I want to tell you something, but I'm nervous to tell you. The day was amazing. You were amazing. Up until the last part was a little weird for me.

Peter: The concert?

Victoria: Yeah. So, um. Chase and I used to date.

Peter: Like the singer Chase. The guy that was in the concert.

Victoria: Yeah.

Peter: Do what? Noooo. The guy that was singing? I talked to him. What? (He has a very odd expression on his face.)


Victoria: I broke it off because his lifestyle doesn't match up to what I want. Like I knew that I wanted to like give this a try with you. Like I don't know how to explain this. 

Peter: Do you still have still have feelings for him? This is like so weird.

Victoria: NO! That's why I like broke it off. 

Peter: So you like dance and make out to someone else's ex singing to you?

Victoria: I didn't want to ruin the moment because you were so happy. I don't know what to say. 

Then, she walks off. 

Back at the hotel the women talk about if Victoria will get the rose? Why not? She got the last group date rose. There's a knock at the door. The next date card has arrived.

Mykenna thinks she needs the one-on-one worse than anyone and doesn't even want to hear her name if it's on the group card. Of course, they all think that, but she's the one picked to be the most dramatic right now. Two weeks in a row, but whatever. 

"Victoria P., Kiarra, Kelley, Deandra, Madison, Lexi, Shiann, Tammy, Sydney, Hannah Ann, Savannah and Mykenna - Let's tackle love together. - Peter"

Everyone except Kelsey is on the group date card. 



So, the women talk over about 13 is a big group date. I had to back it up. They skipped Natasha's name, but evidently she is going too.

Back on the date, Peter goes looking for Victoria. She's crying. She knew he was going to react like that. He says all he could expect was honesty and respect, and she showed him that. He's not mad about that. All he cares about is if she wants to be there. 

After a hug and kiss, Peter says, "Can't we just laugh about it?"

He walks her back to the cold food they're never going to eat anyway. It's mind-blowingly weird, he wants her to be confident in "us" and gives her the rose. Having the difficult conversation wasn't easy, so he admires what she had to do. 

The next day is the annual obligatory football date.

Joining the ladies are two NFL players I know nothing about.


The women first take catches from the football throwing machine. The women get their pads on for more drills. Victoria P. says she's going to sit out because her back is still a little sore. What did she do last week? I don't even remember. Maybe she fell off of a mechanical bull like Peter did. Maybe it's from bending over backwards to get Alayah out. I'm not sure.

Victoria and Peter take her sitting out as time to cuddle and smooch in front of all the other women.

The women break into two teams and play a game.

 

Shiann impresses, but it's Deandra who ties up the game. That's where the game ends... a tie. That team celebrates while the other team sulks that everyone will go to the cocktail party.

Natasha tells Shiann that since she scored all the "goals" (uh... touchdowns), she should take Peter off first and that she will block for her. Shiann doesn't get the first conversation, and if looks could kill...

...She'd kill Victoria P. She claims she was upset she didn't get to play because of her back since she loves football. She is such a fake.  

Peter could see himself with her.

The women are all annoyed since she sat on the sidelines while the rest of them fought to win. Victoria already had time with him.

Shiann whines to Peter about Victoria P. stealing him. She felt pushed to the side. She wants him to know she is still there. She's not going to be around long. 

The women are waiting for their time when Alayah shows up. She walks past them to go find Peter.

 

She interrupts Shiann. Peter kind of looks happy. Probably just because Shiann was a buzz kill. Shiann asks if Peter wants to talk to her. He confirms that he does, so Shiann leaves.
Alayah has a few things she wanted to talk to him about. She wants to set the record straight about what was said about her. She says Peter was manipulated by asking all the women what they thought. She was thrown off by what Peter told her. Victoria P. claimed to only talk to Alayah three hours before a pageant. Alayah says they planned a trip to Vegas together and were better friends. Peter knows he is being played by someone. He says what Victoria told him.

Peter takes Victoria off. He said, "You told me this..." She admits what she originally said wasn't the whole truth. She tries to justify that by talking about all the rest of the things she spilled her guts about. She starts ugly crying. 

All the women are talking. Some of them say, "Victoria isn't a liar." Savannah disagrees having seen what happened the week before.

Peter makes the two women sit down together and talk it out. It's a bunch of she said/she said. Victoria talks about her "truth in the moment." Alayah talks about how it wasn't right. In a very odd moment, Victoria wipes a tear out of Alayah's eye. I'd be scared she was going to poke my eye out or something. Like, "Hey woman! What are you doing reaching out to get near my eye!"

Alayah says it was obvious that she and Victoria knew each other. Victoria is having to back pedal. Peter now wonders if he shouldn't have sent Alayah home because she has some points about Alayah. 

The women who didn't get time at the pool party because of the Victoria/Alayah drama are ticked it's happening all over again. 

Peter tells Alayah that he is bothered because he let others sway him last week to send her home instead of listening to his own heart. He had no reason to doubt her. He made a mistake. She thought things were good until everyone got involved. Peter asks if she wants to come back. She says she will come back, but only if he promises to get past all this. 

Peter walks Alayah back into where all the women are. Peter knows he wasn't able to chat with a lot of them, but this has been tough. Peter tells them he didn't follow his heart last rose ceremony. He's doing what he feels he needs to do. He gives Alayah the date rose since he didn't give her a rose last week.

The women are not happy. Not a one. He leaves. 

Someone asks, "What just happened?"

Alayah smarts off, "I guess Peter didn't want me to go back home. Guess I'm not going anywhere for a hot minute." 

The women start walking off mad.

Alayah tells Mykenna and Hannah Ann they have to catch her up. However, she already knows all that is going on... Kelsey has a date tomorrow. Victoria F. had a date and used to date Chase Rice. OHHH, the other women didn't know that, but Alayah says the internet knows everything. 

Tammy remarks that drama has risen from the dead.

Honestly, right now, this feels like the longest night after the longest day. If it weren't for the whole crockpot thing, I'd be done by now, but thirty more minutes of drama left.

The next morning, Alayah says that she had plenty of time to think about everything. (A few days passed, not weeks.)

The various women pair up in different conversations. The women are preparing to confront Peter about all of this.

Kelsey meets Peter for their date. Before they get started, he sits her down to tell her Alayah is back. Kelsey responds that it's better for him to explore all of his feelings now instead of later, especially if they were to be together at the end.

They explore the city and find a polka band in the town square. According to Kelsey, Peter is passionate about the polka and shared that passion with her. 

After a stop here and there, they come upon a soapbox derby. They get their turn in a car and cheat to win. 

Later that night, they are on a riverboat cruise. Her honest conversation is that many of her personality traits are a result of her parents' relationship. She knew before her mom that her dad had left because she found his wedding ring and note. She has a protective shell. She'll let some people in, but not everyone. He respects that about her. He shares what his mom and grandma went through coming from Cuba. He knows how hard it is for a single mom through stories that were shared. 

I am so bored right now. I think he would fall for any thing. This guy is so smitten by everyone. Her pouty expression gets her the rose. 

"No man has ever accepted me for me like he has." 

Peter thinks this is exactly what he needed and their relationship is advancing so much.

Meanwhile, the Victorias team up over Alayah spreading the dirt to everyone about Victoria F. and Chase dating because she was on her phone after she was sent home.

Victoria F. confronts Alayah about spreading the word about the leak online about it. None of the girls had their phones to know such things. Alayah says she didn't know that everyone didn't know. She puts on her, eye batting, "Who me?" face. 

All the women are ready to claw Alayah's eyes out. 

Time for the cocktail party. I don't think we're going to get the rose ceremony in unless they are skipping the party. 

Peter just does get out his welcome and that he wants to talk to Victoria P. when Deandra speaks up saying she has something to say. Evidently, she "has never felt so under-recognized by anyone in her life." These women had BRUISES fighting to see him. He ignored all of them, Natasha chimes in. They are angry that Alayah got the rose. He apologizes, but defends himself by saying he should have given her the rose last week. 

Peter goes back to asking Victoria P. if she wants to talk. She had an attitude and says she really doesn't want to, but will. She lays into him about why she is in this position because she was honest with him. She has a stink face as he talks. He doesn't even interrupt when she points a finger and says, "No, let me talk." After chewing him out some more, she says he needs to talk to the other Victoria. He asks what happened. "It's not my story to tell."



My dislike for Victoria P. grew by leaps and bounds throughout the night.

Inside, all the women are after Alayah. She picks up her rose to walk off. Victoria F. calls Alayah a pot-stirrer. She didn't tell anyone about Chase, but Alayah sure did and now she has to explain herself. 

Peter feels bad because upset everyone and made a mistake. 

Sydney is mad that Peter doesn't know her middle name because of the 24/7 Alayah drama. Seriously. She said that.

Peter pulls Alayah off. He doesn't know what he's going to say. He's exasperated. She's crying. He asks why all the women feel this way about her. "At first it was because I had too big of a personality and theatric." And theatric is better than dramatic how?

The women are all mad that all this drama has overshadowed EVERYTHING.

No rose ceremony last week. 

The previews for next week is all drama and screaming and crying. Lovely. 


Sunday, January 26, 2020

I Want to Be Like Daniel, I Want to Be Like Ruth

This used to be a song that was sung all the time on Sunday nights. That was too long ago for these guys, evidently.


I Want to be Like Daniel,
I Want to be Like Ruth

(Boys) I want to be like Daniel…
(Girls) I want to be like Ruth…
(Boys) I want to be like Daniel…
(Girls) I want to be like Ruth…

(Girls) For Ruth was so, so, sweet and kind
(Boys) And Daniel was a mighty man
(Boys) I want to be like Daniel.
(Girls) I want to be like Ruth.


Monday, January 20, 2020

The Bachelor: Peter: Week 3 reveals the fakers

I would say there is something about Mondays and not being able to get my act together to start The Bachelor on time, but that's life every day of the week.

It just is.

So, I'm starting 15 minutes later than I intended. I'll be caught up in no time if I zoom through all the ridiculousness of the recap of the champagne from last week.

The next day, Hannah Ann is distraught over being called a champagne stealer. Alayah figures Peter is so exhausted from dealing with it for two days. I know I am.

Victoria P. is ready for her one-on-one date. We didn't see when her date card arrived.

Peter is going to show him around his hometown, but first she has to look the part. He takes her to the western wear store. he and his friends like to line dance, so he gives her lessons in the store.


I'm too old for this ooey gooeyness from her.

He takes her to the local honky tonk. A group is already there line dancing to a band. They join in. They make out in front of everyone.

Back at the mansion... blah, blah, blah. Kelsey takes Hannah Ann off to talk. Kelsey doesn't think she's a bully. She is not going to tolerate such an accusation. Kelsey does not think that calling Hannah Ann horrible things constitutes bullying. Kelsey says she doesn't even really like champagne. Hannah Ann is bawling about being put in this position.



The other women are wondering why all this is still going on.

The rest of Victoria P.'s date takes place in an airplane hangar. Victoria talks about why she is such a positive person and a caregiver. Of course, there is a sad story. Her dad died when she was really young. Her mom fell into addiction, and they were in and out of shelters a lot. She dreamed a lot of dreams, and one of her dreams was living a healthy and happy life with a family. She didn't always feel deserving of someone like Peter. She was so scared to have this conversation.

She didn't feel worthy of this. Really? You don't feel worthy of being on a reality show that's all fake. Sorry. That's just how I feel at the moment.

Peter mutters about something before giving her the rose. He claims from the bottom of his heart to have never been so inspired by someone in his life. It feels so right, even this early on. She's falling in love with him.

Back at the house a date card arrives. "Kiarra, Sarah, Tammy, Kelley, Shiann, Savannah, Sydney, Alayah... I love surprises. I hope you do too." 

There's about to be another throw down because someone things Alayah is fake. Actually, it seems more than one person thinks that. We'll come back to that later. 

The dateless women for this week... Natasha, Jasmine, and Madison. 

The next morning, Demi (you remember Demi, right) with her "henchwomen" who wakes the women by beating them with pillows and carrying on with a megaphone and siren.

The henchwomen's names are Champagne and Killer. I'm sure it's Cham-pain, actually. They are wrestlers, so... They bring outfits for the women going on the date.

There's some lingerie in the bags. Kiarra either can't read her cue cards to the camera or she's just plain out ignorant because she says, "Ling-er-ree."

Savannah, however, gets something like Amish footie pajamas. They all load up on a party bus in their various forms of sleepwear with Peter and head to a saloon. Cham-pain and Killer are after it with each other in the ring having a pillow fight. It's Demi's Extreme Pillow Fight Club.

Tammy was on the high school wrestling team, so the women better watch out. Fred Willard and Chris Harrison are there for the commentary. Fred is looking especially weak this season.

First round is Tammy vs. Kelley. Tammy is so rough she is disqualified.

Shiann beats the crap out of Savannah.

After two more preliminary rounds, Alayah beats Sydney in the final round.

It's time for the after party. Alayah wears a pageant crown as her reward for winning.

Sydney is not only bitter over not winning, though she clearly (in her mind) won. She thinks Alayah is the princess who puts on for a show.

Alayah does worry about going days without seeing Peter because she has been abandoned by so many friends and relationships. She is smiling through all of this.

Later, Alayah is back with everyone. Since she is a pageant girl, Sydney, asks if she has a job. Alayah says she has three jobs. Alayah talks about having to always to have the answers since she was a title holder for so long. She doesn't necessarily seem to be overly shady to me at the moment, but Sydney sure calls her on it.


Peter is intrigued by Kelly and sure enjoys his time with her. Something about her, maybe the Botox or collagen injections makes me think she's kind of weird.

Tammy entertains Peter too.

Sydney is a buzz kill when she gets her time with Peter. Everyone else tonight has been upbeat. Not her. She says she's the polar opposite of the people he seems to have a connection with. She says this setting makes people put on facades. She talks about some women being two different people if the camera is around. This is a downer because Peter doesn't want a fake, especially after seeing Hannah fall for someone who was there for the wrong reasons.

Peter comes back to the group with something on his mind. He said there were concerns brought up about people not being there for the wrong reasons. He doesn't want to be blindsided or fooled. Peter puts Sydney on the spot saying it was she who brought up that some people are different around the house vs. around Peter.

This is when Sydney brings up Alayah's name. She asks if anyone else feels like Sydney. There is silence from the rest of the women.

He warns everyone to just be real. Peter then walks off.

Alayah calls Sydney out on needing to saying anything. She says her night has been ruined now that Sydney brought something up. Of course, she puts on a little for the cameras. The two go after one another, and everyone else is quiet.

Alayah goes off to talk to Peter because she is confused. She gets her concern on not being blindsided, but she's wondering why she got called out. She turns on tears. Ok. Those do look fake. Peter believes her.

Alayah comes back and asks if she missed anything fun.

Peter comes back again to and out the date rose. He gives her the rose for putting him first and being honest with him.

He dismisses everyone for the night.

The next day is the day of tears. 

Alayah talks to Mykenna about the night before. Not that she's ugly without makeup, but she looks a lot different without makeup. 

The day of the rose ceremony, Peter is going to be there all day for a pool party. This is going to take the place of the cocktail party. 

He was looking forward to today, but he's not feeling his best. Some fear and doubt is creeping in.

First thing, he wants to talk to Sydney and apologizes for putting her in the situation that he did. She tells him today to really look at the inside of everyone, not the outside.

Alayah is talking to Hannah Ann and Mykenna about how no one else expressed concerns.

Kelsey also brings up the camera faces of pageant girls to Peter. She also brings up Alayah.

Shiann brings it up to Peter.

Lexi says Alayah's voice goes up 5 octaves when cameras are around. Then there's a clip where this happens.

Alayah would never go to Peter about his relationship with anyone else. She takes Sydney off to talk. Boy, Alayah works her annunciation.

Moving on, Peter thinks Madison is genuine. They talk about their date meeting his family. Again. That's all they have to talk about.

Alayah blah, blah, blahs to Hannah Ann and Mykenna some more. She then takes Peter off to talk. She had to address a few things first. She is getting on my nerves more as the episode goes on.

Peter really trusts Victoria P.'s opinion and asks her what she thinks about all of this. Victoria was Miss Louisiana and was around her for a collective three hours before. Alayah asked her to not tell producers that they knew each other before. She says Alayah was open to all opportunities after this, even if it didn't work out with Peter. Victoria's a little drama queen to me too.

Peter takes Alayah off to talk again. He hates that he has to keep bringing up this stuff with her. However, he doesn't feel 100% good about it because multiple people have brought stuff up. He wants direct, honest answers from her on some things. He says, "Maybe you've been manipulative..."


"Have you told Victoria not to mention that the two of you knew each other?"

Alayah says she didn't want them to be disqualified because they knew each other. She acts like they had more of a friendship than they did. They chat a bit more, and Peter goes off to think. Alayah cries when he leaves.

Chris Harrison arrives to tell the women that Peter has gone home. The next time they see him will be at the rose ceremony.

Mykenna is upset because some of them didn't get the time they needed.


Alayah is upset someone she trusted and was friends with turned on her. Victoria P. had to tell the truth to the man she's falling in love with.

Peter arrives.

We started the week with 19 women. Victoria F., Victoria P. and Sydney have roses.

  1. Kelsey
  2. Hannah Ann
  3. Natasha
  4. Lexi
  5. Madison
  6. Shiann (I don't care for her... or her tears and whining in the voiceovers.)
  7. Kelley
  8. Kiarra
  9. Tammy
  10. Savannah
  11. Deandra
Peter walks off before handing out any more roses. Chris Harrison asks what he is going to do, but Peter says that he doesn't know. He's debating whether or not to send Alayah home. He thought he would feel some kind of "sureness" being up there, but he's not.

Two roses sit on the table. Chris Harrison comes and plucks one of them off the table.

Mykenna. Her expression when Harrison took one of the roses off the table was best described as stricken. She was freaking in her producer segments. Like freaking about how much she had to give.

So, those going home are: Alayah, Alexa, Jasmine and Sarah. 

Alayah's voice is extremely high as she leaves. She'll always wonder if the rose taken away was for her. 

Sydney needs to go next. 

A producer asks Peter if he is ok. He doesn't feel good sending "her" home. He doesn't know if he wants her to leave. The producer asks why he did it in the first place. He says he's not going to be over it anytime soon. 

In the previews, there's actually some juicy tidbits. Victoria F. dated the singer from next week's private concert. Talk about awkward... We haven't seen the last of Alayah either. 


Sunday, January 19, 2020

I'll Fly Away


I find it a little odd that the kids are so into "I'll Fly Away."
That statement would surprise you based on getting started, but it's true.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Reviewer copies available for Rob Flood's With These Words

For review copy and interview information, contact:
Audra Jennings - audra@newgrowthpress.com - 903-874-8363

 



About the book

Every couple knows they need to talk with each other. Every couple knows they need to pay attention to how they can communicate better.

This practical marriage resource by pastor and author Rob Flood not only explores why couples should grow in communication, but it addresses the “how” of communication.

With These Words offers in-depth, theologically rich tools that will also help flourish relationships outside of your marriage—your relationship with your kids, your friendships, and your coworkers.

In this Scripture-based marriage book, you will learn that God is for you and on your side as you press toward helpful, biblical communication. In the face of many emotions and obstacles, there is a clear purpose and a clear method for words.

But in the midst of this shift toward communication and biblical change, Flood shares how you can retain your unique personality, remaining as God made you while honoring him with your words.

About the author

Rob Flood, MAR serves as a Community and Care Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, PA. Prior to pastoral ministry, Rob served as a writer at FamilyLife, a division of Cru.

He and his wife, Gina, have six children and live in West Chester, PA.

Learn more at https://robfloodauthor.home.blog/.

What others are saying

“Sadly, the kinds of words that often come naturally to us as we navigate our relationship with the most important, most precious person in our lives can be careless, hurtful, and alienating. In this book, Rob Flood applies biblical insight to unhealthy patterns of communication, offering genuine hope to couples who long for a marriage in which words are used to affirm, connect, and bless.”
~ Nancy Guthrie, Author; Bible teacher


“Your words bring life or death to your most important relationships. Healthy communication in marriage is like blood to the body – it is the life giver to every marriage.  Rob's authenticity and biblical approach to communication in marriage and life will be a fresh, life-giving transfusion for all your relationships.”
~ Dennis Rainey, CofounderFamilyLife


“In a Twitter world, most of us have become way too casual about the words we speak every day.  Words have so much power! They can build up a marriage or tear it down. This book will be a turning point for a lot of marriages. It gives us the help we need to know how to use our words wisely and carefully.”
~ Bob Lepine, Cohost, FamilyLife Today

Would you like to write a review?

By signing up to receive this book, you are agreeing to:

1. Post a review on your blog or website within 30 days of receiving the book.
2. Post your review on the New Growth Press website as well as other consumer websites (Amazon, GoodReads, etc.)
3. Share your review via your social media accounts.
4. Email your review link to audra@newgrowthpress.com so that we can share your review via our social media accounts as well. You can also submit your reviews via the link submission form.
5. Since we do keep track reviews that are and are not posted, a failure to post a review on a requested title means you may not be eligible to review future releases.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email Audra Jennings at audra@newgrowthpress.com



Monday, January 13, 2020

The Bachelor: Peter: Week 2 Confirms Whining Will Get You Everywhere

I made stew today so that I would be ready to eat dinner after work and ready to start blogging when the episode started. I sure should have turned it off long before I did (well before I took some to my parents) because I have burned my tongue multiple times and will have to finish during commercial breaks.

Good intentions...

But, typical Monday. That's kind of how the rest of my day has gone too.

Now, onto our show!

Picking up where we left off last week. Peter has asked Hannah Brown if she would say if he asked her back to the house. He can't believe she just thought he wanted to be the Bachelor instead of asking him to try again. Peter points out that Hannah said no to him, and he never said no to her.

She is ugly crying and doesn't know what to do.

Meanwhile, all the girls are growing bored making notes on their sordid dirty stories they are supposed to share. They are all wondering if he and Hannah are off somewhere.

Peter and Hannah are boring me already. After some canoodling, he decides he can't do this with Hannah. Yet, when he walks away, he thinks maybe he made a bad decision.


Peter finally gathers all the women and asks them downstairs to talk. He said the date card was accurate. This is awkward. He says that after talking to Hannah he is not in the right head space to enjoy this. He feels horrible, and it's not fair to them, but he's ending the date now. They will meet again at the after-party part of the date. He loved her and he's not all over her yet.

Natasha makes a snide comment pointing out Hannah will not leave. She's been there every day that she (Natasha) has seen Peter. Peter says that is a fair point.

The women continue to share their disgruntled thoughts as they gather later and wait for Peter. When he arrives he says he wants to put it behind them, but you better be for sure that's not the last we hear about it tonight.

In fact, he talks to Alexa about it when she asks how he is doing.

Natasha is ticked, and Peter can tell it. She tells him that she's upset. He claims that he likes Natasha's directness.

I agree with Kelsey (?) in she is ready for all the talk about Hannah to end.

Sydney brings the Hannah conversation with Peter around to racial profiling. I'm a little fuzzy on retelling how that happened because I was reading a Facebook comment. However, if you watch, you know those one-on-one conversations jump subjects in weird ways.

Actually, that may have been Payton earlier. I think it was Payton that he has some serious makeout time with. Scratch that. It was Mykenna. They aren't putting a lot of name captions on, and I don't know all the blondes yet.


Anyway, when it's rose time, the date rose goes to Sydney.

The next night, the women are waiting for Peter to arrive at the cocktail party before the rose ceremony. Natasha still has a burr under her saddle about yesterday. 

Peter addresses what he knows everyone has talked about. He says it has still been a good week. He apologizes to those who didn't have a date this week, toasts the group and prepares for the speed dating portion of the evening.

First up, he talks with Lexi who did not have a date. He gives her a toy car sort of like the one she arrived in, after he fakes that he didn't remember her arrival.

Kelsey wants to share a bottle of champagne with him he didn't get to share the first night. She was going to make her move when Mykenna snatched him. "She had time yesterday! That's not fair!" Mykenna gets that and accepts that, but said she wasn't being disrespectful, but wanted to do her thing early. "That's disrespect because I had the least time out of everybody the first night." Guess Kelsey had a stopwatch. She calls Mykenna a snake. She doesn't like snakes. They are her least favorite animal.

What must Kelsey think when Madison who has gotten the most time of all has her time with Peter? He has a a surprise for her. It's a gift-wrapped framed picture of her and his family at the vow renewal.

Meanwhile, inside, someone (I just don't know her name) fixes Kelsey's make-up before she finally gets her time with him. OH, snap! Someone else finds the bottle and opens it with Peter. It's Hannah Ann. Kelsey hears it. The women she is sitting with her hear the bottle. They try to tell her it probably wasn't her bottle. She starts to cry, then goes to check. She interrupts, then walks away crying after saying, "Excuse me."

Kelsey goes into full meltdown mode and headed upstairs. Peter heads upstairs to find out what happens. He knocks on the door, but Kelsey won't talk to him.


Tammy explains to Hannah Ann what the deal was. She got this bottle for her birthday and had been holding onto it for a special occasion. Kelsey comes out and explodes on Hannah Ann about it. Peter takes Kelsey off to talk where they find the bottle of champagne that Hannah Ann had intended. They decide to drink from the bottle. When Kelsey takes a sip, the champagne explodes out of the bottle and all over her face. Probably because they knocked it over on the ground when Kelsey knocked the bucket over with her butt.


Kelsey gets all up in Hannah's face. Hannah had planned on champagne too, and they were just set up in two different places. Hannah Ann really was innocent in the matter. It was a mix up. Kelsey is psycho.

Chris Harrison arrives just in time to tell us all it's time for roses. 

To recap... Kelley, Madison and Sydney have date roses. Peter gives the typical spiel about his future wife being in the room. Snooze.

  1. Mykenna
  2. Victoria P.
  3. Natasha
  4. Jasmine
  5. Sarah
  6. Lexi
  7. Hannah Ann (She wasn't sure where she stood and if Peter believed it was a legit mix-up.)
  8. Alexa
  9. Tammy
  10. Alayah
  11. Deandra
  12. Victoria F.
  13. Shiann
  14. Kierra
  15. Savannah
  16. Kesley (Who is a hot mess the whole time.
Going home... Lauren, Courtney and Payton. 

It's a new day in the house, but the talk is all about the night before. A date card arrives to save all of us from more talk of champagne.

"Alexa, Mykenna, Deandra, Lexi, Victoria F., Kelsey, Hannah Ann... Time to let your personality shine. - Peter"

So, the producers worked it out to give us more champagne drama. They board a bus for Hollywood and head to Revolve for shopping. Carson Cresley, Janice Dickinson (the first supermodel who I don't know from Eve, but some women do) and the brand officer for Revolve are there. The women are going to be in the Revolve fashion show. The winner will receive the whole line of Revolve clothing.

The women head out to pick their outfits to wear. Hannah Ann is obsessed with a hat. 

Victoria F. has trouble because she isn't comfortable in her own skin and acts like a fish out of water. She has a meltdown. Kelsey comes to check on her. 

Mykenna is in her element. She's the too, too special one I won't be able to stand. 

It's show time and Victoria F. is being dramatic and having a drink.

Peter does his runway walk before having a seat by the judges. 

First up, Natasha with the attitude. Mykenna with a wink. They think Kelsey needed a belt. Alexa in Daisy Dukes... Lexi... Hannah Ann comes out in a wedding dress and veil. Victroia F. Struts it in her shorts. 

Round two... Kelsey comes out in sexi pajamas with a bottle of champagne. 

Victoria whines over Hannah Ann's confidence. But it's fake. She comes out for round two in lingerie and a leather coat. She gestures Peter up for a kiss.

Two stood out to the panel. Hannah Ann and Victoria. 

Now Victoria feels noticed. 

There's one more round. The final walk-off. The same dress in mirror images. Hannah Ann smacks Victoria with the bottom of her dress and does a better pose. Hannah Ann wins and Victoria skulks off whining that she's done. So. Much. Drama. it's all an act. "I'm never good enough," she cries to Kelsey. "I'm so over it."

More whining about the day is sure to come up during the evening portion of the date. Hannah Ann is feeling good about the day, but nervous about the night with Kelsey after last night. 

Victoria is pouty when she should have been happy while Peter complimented her on her walk. She isn't sure if this is good for her mental health. They are all mental, but... She is not taking advantage of her time. He walks her off for some "privacy," but of course the cameras zoom in and they have microphones on. He tells her she stands out from the other women there. 

Mykenna talks about how this was a dream date. Hannah Ann thinks it was like a dream too. Yet, last night was a nightmare. She will never look at champagne the same again. 

Kelsey and Peter have champagne part two. She feels like she got her validation. Hannah Ann thinks she's a bully though. (She kind of is, but Hannah Ann is playing pitiful.)

Hannah Ann gets her Peter time. She says she was up all last night crying. She tells her what Kelsey did to her, calling her names and crushing her spirit. That's not ok with Peter. He knows Hannah Ann has a beautiful heart and isn't going to let her get bullied. He'll kiss her instead. "I really like you," he says.

Kelsey is glowing. Tonight made everything she went through last night worth it. Until he gives the date rose to Victoria. 

Whining gets you everywhere.

Peter asks to speak to Kelsey before he leaves. He shares everything Hannah Ann told him. Kelsey says Hannah knows what she did. She claims Hannah Ann is playing the victim card. They both know they don't like each other. Kelsey doesn't think Hannah Ann knows what the word "bully" means. 

Peter doesn't know what to do. He doesn't know who to believe. They head back in. When she sits back with the rest of the women, Victoria asks if she is ok. "Evidently, I bully-ing people." Says it right in front of everyone. Then, walks off to bawl in the bathroom. 

The rest of the women sit in awkward silence.

Next week... Hannah Ann crying that she is not a champagne stealer.