Friday, November 30, 2012

For this author, it's all about the supernatural

An interview with James L. Rubart,
Author of Soul’s Gate

James L. Rubart’s novels entertain readers while challenging them to reexamine their own lives. Soul’s Gate (Thomas Nelson/November 6, 2012/ISBN: 978-1-4016-8605-5/$15.99)explores healing from our deepest wounds and embracing God’s calling for our lives — challenges that often have a strong hold over us.

Soul’s Gate poses the question: what if you could travel inside another person’s soul? What if you could battle for them and be a part of Jesus healing their deepest wounds? Thirty years ago, that’s exactly what Reece Roth did—until tragedy shattered his life and ripped away his destiny. Now God has drawn Reece out of the shadows to fulfill a decades-old prophecy about four warriors with the potential to change the world. In order to fulfill God’s plan, Reece will have to face his deepest regret in order to train them.

Q: What drew you to write supernatural fiction?

From the moment I read The Chronicles of Narnia in 7th grade I’ve been enthralled by supernatural and fantastic stories. Toni Morrison says, "If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." That’s what I’ve done and why I’m writing supernatural fiction.

I love been swept away by a story that goes beyond ordinary, everyday life, and gives me hope and opens my mind to ideas I’d never dreamed possible, and that’s what I desire to do for readers.

Q: For those who may be asking, “What is supernatural fiction?” how would you explain the genre?

The term “Supernatural fiction” is a huge umbrella covering multiple sub-genres, so let me answer the question for my particular brand of fiction: For me it’s taking ordinary contemporary settings and interjecting the extraordinary into them. If you look at the Bible, it’s full of science fiction, fantasy, and speculative type stories. The difference is the tales in the Bible are true. What I do is take those fantastic things in the Bible and turn them into a story in our modern world.

Q: Where do your ideas come from?

Everywhere and anywhere. From headlines, other books, a line spoken by a friend, movies, and a hundred other ways. And most of the time I’ll hear or read something and the story pops into my head unannounced. I never go looking for an idea, they always seem to find me.

Q: Is Reece a human with special God-given powers or is he an angel?

Great question because he’s neither. At first glance he does seem to have extraordinary powers no one else has, but Reece believes anyone can have these powers, and he’s wants to teach them to others so they can use them too.

Q: What is the main “take away” you hope readers will hold on to after reading Soul’s Gate?

Freedom, freedom, freedom. I think if you look at an author’s work as a whole you’ll see a repeating theme in all their novels. My core theme is seeing people set free. Freedom from their past, freedom from their brokenness, freedom to step into their God designed destiny. I want people to finish Soul’s Gate and be more free than when they picked it up.

Q: What can readers look forward to in the rest of the Well Spring series?

You won’t tell anyone, right? Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free (Isaiah 61:1). And yet we have an enemy that has come to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). In the next two books of the Well Spring series, that battle intensifies as Reece and the others fight to fulfill a prophecy that puts them at the forefront of a war that will either bring incredible freedom, or destroy everything they and everyone around them cares about.

For more information on James L. Rubart and his books, visit www.jimrubart.comClick here to watch the Soul’s Gate book trailer. You can also become a fan on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Elizabeth Ludwig is giving away a Kindle Fire to Celebrate No Safe Harbor

Elizabeth Ludwig is celebrating her new book with a Kindle Fire Giveaway and connecting with readers at a Facebook Author Chat party on 12/6.

One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • No Safe Harbor by Elizabeth Ludwig
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 5th. Winner will be announced at the "No Safe Harbor" Author Chat Facebook Party on 12/6. Connect with Elizabeth, get a sneak peek of the next book in the Edge of Freedom series, try your hand at the trivia contest, and win some great prizes—gift certificates, books and a Book Club Prize Pack (10 copies for your book club or small group)!

So grab your copy of No Safe Harbor and join Elizabeth on the evening of the December 6th for a chance to connect with her and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP today

Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. 

Hope to see you on the 6th!

No Safe Harbor

She came to America searching for her brother. Instead all she’s found is a web of danger.
Cara Hamilton had thought her brother to be dead. Now, clutching his letter, she leaves Ireland for America, desperate to find him. Her search leads her to a houseful of curious strangers, and one man who claims to be a friend–Rourke Walsh. Despite her brother’s warning, Cara trusts Rourke, revealing her purpose in coming to New York.
She’s then thrust into a world of subterfuge, veiled threats, and attempted murder, including political revolutionaries from the homeland out for revenge. Her questions guide her ever nearer to locating her brother–but they also bring her closer to destruction as those who want to kill him track her footsteps.
With her faith in tatters, all hope flees. Will her brother finally surface? Can he save Cara from the truth about Rourke… a man she’s grown to love?

Elizabeth Ludwig is an award-winning author and an accomplished speaker and teacher. Her historical novel Love Finds You in Calico, California earned four stars from Romantic Times. She is the owner and editor of the popular literary blog The Borrowed Book. Along with her husband and two children, Elizabeth makes her home in Orange, Texas.
Learn more at

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It may stay up until St. Patrick's day now

I know you weren't wondering, but I'll act like you were...

In case you were wondering, it took me until Monday night/Tuesday morning at 2 AM to get all my lights and decorations on my big tree. Six hours. I did my lights too thick at the bottom and my back-up strings weren't working to throw more lights on it. And I couldn't have a half lit tree, so I had to unwind and rewind.

As seen from my couch while I was crashing. That's the corner of my love seat.

Normally, I take down the day after Christmas. As much work as it was putting it up, and will be getting it down, I may just leave it up until St. Patrick's Day. (Highly doubtful, but...)

And I got my other little tree up too. I'm having a party for some friends to see it. Otherwise, I'm not decorating like this for my health. I was exhausted yesterday, my back was killing me, and I have bruises all over my legs from getting up and down from standing on chairs.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Win a Kindle in David E. Steven's Resurrect Giveaway!

To celebrate the release of Resurrect, David E. Stevens has teamed up with his publisher, Kregel Publications, for a Kindle Fire Giveaway and Facebook Author Chat Party {12/4}.

One "thrilling" winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Resurrect by David E. Stevens
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 3rd. Winner will be announced at the "Resurrect" Author Chat Facebook Party on 12/4. Connect with David, get a sneak peek of the next book in the Resurrect Trilogy, try your hand at the trivia contest, and win some great prizes—gift certificates, books and a Book Club Prize Pack (10 copies for your book club or small group)!

So grab your copy of Resurrect and join David on the evening of December 4th for a chance to connect with David and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP today.

Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. 

Hope to see you on the 4th!


Book 1 in the Resurrect Trilogy.
Preventing his burning fighter from crashing into a neighborhood, Navy Commander Josh Logan ejects … too late.
Critically injured, he’s offered a new life and mission exploit highly classified military technology to stop a global cataclysm. The price? He’ll be dead to everyone he knows.
He wakes in a city hospital with a genetically enhanced body and no identity. With the help of his brilliant, Neuro ICU nurse, and guided by nothing but a voice, he must infiltrate the military-industrial complex to develop the world’s most powerful weapon … to protect humanity?

David E. Stevens


A Navy fighter pilot with hundreds of aircraft carrier landings, Commander David E Stevens holds degrees from Cornell and the University of Michigan with graduate work in astrophysics. He test piloted new fighters and received an aviation patent. With a Top Secret clearance, Dave served as Strike Operations Officer for the Persian Gulf during Desert Storm and led classified defense programs. He’s traveled to over two dozen countries.
Find out more about David E. at

Monday, November 26, 2012

Retirement isn't in this missionary's vocabulary

An Interview with Rose Marie Miller,
Author of Nothing is Impossible

Nothing is impossible with God. That’s what Rose Marie Miller had always heard, but for a long time it didn’t seem to ring true to her. Even while serving in ministry, she kept God at a distance, building walls of self-protection and self-reliance. She wanted to avoid weakness and vulnerability at all costs. Then, God powerfully transformed her heart. In Nothing is Impossible with God: Reflections on Weakness, Faith, and Power (New Growth Press, October 2012, ISBN 978-1-936768-68-4, $ 15.99, also available in eBook), Miller shares how God revealed his grace and forgiveness, changing her life in ways she never thought were possible and welcoming her into new, missional life of discipleship.

Q: In Nothing Is Impossible, you speak quite candidly about your resistance to actively be a part of some of your husband’s ministry outreaches. Was he aware of how much you were struggling with your faith at that time?

Was Jack aware of my struggles? No, I do not think so. It was hard to be honest with him. I was successful in taking many troubled people into our home that I think he thought I would be happy with everything he wanted me to do. It wasn’t until coming out of Uganda and asking him why I couldn’t cope that he had a sense of my need. The next time I went, it was with such joy that it was a no brainer---then three years later when I told him I wasn’t returning, he was able to accept that. But then, of course, I did when I heard he had a heart attack. This was a watershed for me when I realized that God was with me. And that was all I needed to know.

Q: Tell us about some of the changes that God made in your life over time so that you were able to become a full-time ministry partner with your husband.

It was always God coming into my heart with a big push. In Switzerland showing me my pride and arrogance, in Uganda showing me how helpless I was, and Jack telling me I act like an orphan. Then after his heart attack in Uganda God reminding me he would be with me as he was with Moses. God’s Spirit was always behind me to change my heart. He continues to do that today.

Q: What does it mean to live a lifestyle of forgiveness?

As an old black lady used to say about her sins, “I bunch them.” I believe I used to do that. Now when I say something I shouldn’t say, or think a thought I shouldn’t, or neglect speaking when I should---and of course there is much more—I try to confess them right away.  I realized during the years that sin is against God as David writes in Psalm 51, and this is where I go with my sin. To “bunch” them is to have a heart distant from God.

Q: What are some of the biggest lies that Satan tells us?

Satan’s biggest lie is that God has kept something from you. You deserve more than what you have. He is not creative. This is the same lie he told in the garden to Eve. Following that is the lie that you have no self-worth. This can lead to centering your life on career, relationships, marriage, children—expecting that your worth will come from what you do or what people think of you. 

Q: Many of us struggle with contentment. How can we work towards being truly content?

Contentment? I believe it goes back to the lie of the evil one that your circumstances or people are the cause of your discontent. The struggle is to accept God has sovereign control over your life and over all that is around you. I was a very discontented pastor’s wife, and one day the Spirit showed me that it was rooted in my not accepting God’s right to control my life. A good read through II Kings shows how sovereign God is. It is good to have a heart fixed on the steadfast love of the LORD. Also to know that you are a part of God’s plan to bring life to broken people.

Q: You devote a major portion of your book to learning to pray. Prayer seems like such a simple concept, but what are some of the things we so often misunderstand about praying?

First we miss how helpless we are to know how to pray without the Spirit teaching us (Romans 8). Second, we miss the kingdom aspect of praying. It isn’t about us; it is about God restoring a broken world and people. Third we lack persistence (Luke 11). Forth we forget we are in a battle. Our enemies are not flesh/blood, but principalities, powers, and rulers of this dark world. This is what we learned in praying for our daughter, Barbara. We forget how eager the Spirit is to hear our prayers and we lack the faith that our prayers are stored in heaven in a bowl to be thrown out when it is God’s time. We do not pray with expectancy.

Q: You sometimes tired of life in the mission field, and were ready to stay in the same place for a while when your husband died. What happened when you came home to America where you could stay in one place for a while?

There is no easy way to deal with grief, but in spite of losing a partner, I continued teaching in our Sonship weekends and women’s retreats. It gave focus to my life. At that time, I think I forgot I wanted to be in one place, because the next two to three years there was a lot of traveling. My desire to stay in one place was not thinking of what God wanted; it was about me.

Q: Did you ever think that God would give you your own mission work?

No, it was God’s call that brought me to London, but it was also the care of my sister that kept me from coming full time. Last November (2011), I was granted a full-time visa to stay in London for two years. We will see what will happen at the end of 2013.

Q: Where are you actively involved in ministry today? What groups of people are you reaching out to?

Our target group of people is Asians from India, Kenya, and Uganda. I am involved in teaching, praying, building friendships. I am part of a U.S. team that ministers in these areas.

Q: You share with the women that you minister to about the women of the Bible who faced the impossible. Who were some of those women, and what challenges did they face?

The Spirit has used Eve, Sarah, Hannah, and Mary in my life to teach me about myself and the ways of God.

Eve believed an impossible lie. If I had been the first woman, I would have eaten the fruit.

Sarah believed an impossible promise. I, like Sarah, tried to bring in the kingdom through much self-effort.

Hannah prayed an impossible prayer. Against all hope she prayed for a son and learned about God— truths I am still eager to learn.

Mary was given an impossible task. She was human just like me, and I, too, was given an impossible task—to bring men/women to Christ.

Q: Is there ever a time where we can retire from doing God’s work?

 I do not find retirement in the Bible. We are never off the hook to continue to learn about God, his ways, and his will, and to share with the truth with others.

New Growth Press Christian book store provides Gospel-centered Christian books, small group and kids Bible resources for discipleship, biblical counseling and missional ministry. For more information about Nothing is Impossible with God and other releases from New Growth Press, visit

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I'm still procrastinating

I finally got all the lights unstrung from the garland, hung it up, strung some other lights, and added decorations. The big tree is still not up. There's still time before midnight. Today, a nap took priority. And some computer reconfiguration (as much as I hate messing with that too.)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I hate decorating for Christmas

Each year as I drag out all my ornaments, I say, "this is so not worth it." After procrastinating all day long. This is what I have done. One small tree. It's the orange one I promised for Peyton. The light is wonky, so I need to try another one now that it's dark.

I untangled two strings of garland and started hanging them up, but the lights were out in one string. I've totally unstrung the lights that have been twisted around the garland for years. I'm going to rig different lights with the garland some other way. The garland had shiny holly leaves on it. Soon it won't because so much falls off every year. I'm going to have to vacuum as soon as there's room to vacuum.

I am not looking forward to the big tree. If I hadn't spent so much the past few years on all these purple and orange ornaments, I'd just skip decorating.

Friday, November 23, 2012

What I learned about Black Friday shopping - the stores' dirty little secrets

For all my commentary on not shopping on Black Friday, I did. But I didn't go shopping for yarn. And I sure didn't wake up early.

Mom wanted to get dad an office chair at Office Depot. He's the one with a list this year as opposed to the norm. Their sales circular had $60 worth of iTunes gift cards for $45. All the nieces wanted those for their iPod Touch. You can't beat $15 free. I was also looking for a laptop that was like $300 off so that I wouldn't wear out my nice, large, touch screen computer so quickly because I've gotten some of those scary DOS screens on shut down lately. Plus, I could actually go someplace with Wi-Fi and work from time to time for a change of scenery.

That would mean going to Whataburger because I'm not sure the Slot Machine Coffee Shop has free wi-fi. I can also go out of town and still be able to accomplish work.

I didn't see the computer out there, and I forgot what I saw in the circular because I didn't have it with me. I bought my gift cards, Mom and Dad bought the chair (guess Dad needed an excuse to get out of the house and not hang up Christmas lights).

We decided to go to Waxahachie where we just got in on the Early Bird specials at Belk because the lines were so long at 5 minutes until 1:00 that you could kind of cheat.

We shopped Belk, the Hallmark store, JCPenney, Target, and Office Depot up there.

Here's the secret to Black Friday Shopping...

You have to ask them for what the sales ad has. They keep those behind the counter and sell you the more expensive ones.

Before I went into the store, I looked online this time and saw the computer at the price I wanted. I walked in, said, "I want this."

They looked to see if they had it in stock, went behind the sales counter, picked it up and sold it to me. If I hadn't asked, I would have not gotten the one I wanted. That's rather annoying. But, the manager did say that most of the stuff in those Black Friday ads are things they don't carry regularly, so they aren't out on display.

Now, I can play TV shows on the big screen computer across the room, and have a laptop that I can hook up to dual monitors and more efficiently work with split screens. YEA!!!

So much for not shopping on Black Friday.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am too stuffed to say anything more than Happy Thanksgiving. My cooking, with the exception of a squash casserole I tried (epic fail), was too good for anyone's own good.

Don't my pecan and buttermilk pies look good? Dad messed up the pumpkin one he made for Mom. He put the wrong kind of milk in it, so without sweetened milk, it was not sweet and the crust didn't cook right. It was raw dough that sat out for 20 hours because the rest of the pie looked done. Thankfully only mom tried it before we dumped it all out. At least his coconut one turned out with good looking meringue that didn't weep.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Why is that a Black Friday deal?

Maybe I need to go Black Friday shopping after all.

I was looking at the Walmart ads. Two whole circulars. Event 1 starts at 8 PM on Thanksgiving. Event 2 at 10 PM on Thursday. Each with its own deals.

Event 3 starts at 5 AM on Black Friday. This is a picture of the front page.

Seriously? I mean yeah, it's a good deal on the big skeins of yarn. Yes, unlike serious crocheters, I use Red Heart (like my Nanny did).

But really? They had more yarn on another page. I just found it strange that yarn ranks with 60" TVs as front page deals.

I'm kind of thinking about going to Walmart on Friday after all. That makes me a mega nerd.

Oh and I had to go out there today. My parents' microwave started firing sparks this morning so I went with Dad to get a new one. An exhilarating day off. It was nuts today. I can only imagine the rush for yarn.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Money Saving Mom doesn't get out on Black Friday either!

I'm not much on getting out and shopping on Black Friday. For one thing, I like to sleep in on the holidays. Plus, there's not really any place to go in this town besides Walmart, and you know how I feel about Walmart. Maybe I'm just more into stimulating the economy rather than trying to get a good deal that's not necessarily a good deal. 

Here's what Crystal Paine, aka The Money Saving Mom, has to say about shopping on Black Friday:

Money Saving Mom Says to Stay Home on Black Friday

Are the Black Friday deals really worth getting up at 3 AM for?

I don’t go shopping on Black Friday.

I know, I know. That statement might sound a bit antithetic to my usually frugal, money-saving ways, but it’s true.

Here’s why: The Black Friday deals online are just as good, or even better, than the in-store deals.

Yes, seriously. And I’ve proven this theory throughout the past few years by meticulously comparing the prices online versus the prices in-store. In almost every case, the online prices were better than the in-store prices.

Plus, you don’t have to wait out in the cold for three hours, and you can avoid all the stampeding and shoving crowds at the stores. Instead, you can get up a little early on Friday morning, sit in your PJ’s, sip your cup of coffee, and browse online.

There are other perks to shopping online for Black Friday:

1)  You Have More of a Selection When Shopping Online

Typically, online sites are stocked better and have more variety than you’re going to find in-store. However, do note that the deals still sell out fairly quickly online. So if you see a deal ahead of time you’re particularly interested, you may want to wait up until midnight to go ahead and get it, as it may be sold out by the morning.

2)  You Don’t Have to Drive to Multiple Stores
One of the biggest headaches of Black Friday shopping is strategizing where to be when and how you’re going to be multiple places in time for the great sales. Save gas and time by just clicking your way to savings.

Tip: Set up an account the day before on the sites that have hot sales that might not last long online on Black Friday. That way, when you order, you can just login and go through checkout quickly.

3)  You Can Use Online Coupon Codes

Many online sites will have coupon codes available for free shipping or 15% off that you can stack on top of their fantastic Black Friday sales. Before placing your order, check to see if there’s an online coupon code available for the site you’re ordering from.

4)  You Can Get Cash Back

Set up a free account with Ebates and click through their site and search for the online site you’re shopping with before placing your order. You’ll usually get anywhere between 1% to 15% cash back for each online purchase. While it might only be a few dollars per purchase, these trickles add up to a nice check every three months!

If you love the thrill of the hunt and enjoy long waits and big crowds, be my guest and go out shopping on Black Friday. As for me, I’ll be snuggled up under a blanket with my mug of coffee and my laptop on Black Friday morning getting great deals from the comfort of my living-room couch!

Crystal Paine is a wife, mom of three, and bestselling author. To see the best deals available online on Black Friday, be sure to stop her blog,, where Crystal will be live-blogging the best online Black Friday deals and coupon codes as they become available.

Monday, November 19, 2012

I finally figured out how to make a hat

After a bad start on the cocoon, and a complete start over, I think it turned out pretty well, don't you? Now, we'll have to see once a baby gets put in it... I bought the buttons on Saturday and had to put on the buttons and finish off the hat after getting back from Dallas so I could take it to church for a shower Sunday afternoon. 

I had to pull part of the hat loose and did most of it in one sitting. I was up until 2 AM, but thought the hat ended up so very cute. 

Since I pulled off the cap this time, I guess I need to see if I can make a turtle shell and hat now. Oh, but one more project first. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

This kind of explains a lot of birthday

My dad found this birthday card and mom had some of my old Sunday school kids sign the card. She was only able to catch a few of them, but it was fitting.

Last night my parents and I took Paige and Peyton to Mardel's and Hobby Lobby for what ended up as Christmas shopping for them rather than birthday shopping for me, but that's ok too. We then ate at Cracker Barrel as a pick everyone would like. I was all about including the girls iny plans since they were more concerned with my birthday than I was.

Today my two special fans followed me around church. Morning and evening. One of them put my name into an iPod app for my own special birthday song. When one had a small branch to give me birthday lashes, my Dad surprisingly told him he needed a bigger one which he did find.

The other who is probably reading this right now posted "happy birthday" on 79 of my blog posts. I am impressed with his effort because I woke up from my Sunday nap to 79 emails of comment notifications. Thank you for your many many birthday wishes! 

My day came to a close with some friends who came over to watch SISTER WIVES.

All in all, it was a great day!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Old Story New: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God

An interview with Marty Machowski,
author of Old Story New

Who can resist a story filled with adventure, suspense, drama and mystery? A story with these elements easily captures our attention, no matter how old or young we may be. However, we often forget that the gospel story has all these characteristics, and it’s a true story that has the power to save. Longtime children’s ministry leader Marty Machowski brings the entire family together to rediscover the excitement of the gospel by taking a deep biblical truth and presenting it in an easy-to-understand weekly devotion in his latest release, Old Story New: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God (New Growth Press, October 2012, ISBN 978-1-936768-66-0, $19.99, also available in eBook).

Q: Why do we find it so difficult to get into a devotional routine ourselves, much less for our entire family?

I think there are a couple of reasons it is difficult for us adults to keep a consistent devotional routine.  First, parents have a lot going on.  We’ve got work, bills, the lawn to cut, meals to cook, dishes to wash, the laundry and then there is the care for our children.  By the time we finish all that, we are tired. 

Secondly, we live prosperous lives.  It can be easy to think we can provide for ourselves.  We can forget about God until a trial comes.  That is why spending time in the Bible is so important.  It reminds us of our need and reintroduces us to what is really important.  So, the more time we spend reading the Word, the more we realize how important it is to read.

Q: What is typically the best time for a family to get into the routine of a daily devotional?

Dinner-time is the best time for most families since you are already gathered together.  I tell moms and dads to put their family devotional right next to their dinner plate or on their chair.  Then, as soon as dinner is over, before everyone is excused, take ten minutes and do family devotions.

If your family is comprised of a bunch of early risers, morning can work well but I find that nearly every family has a child who is slow to get up in the morning.  The last thing you need is to create an argument first thing in the morning.  But if morning works for you, family devotions is a great way to start your day.

Q: Tell us about the format of each week.

Each week of five devotions in Old Story New begins with an activity and a creative introduction to the first day’s devotion. Then the devotions for days one through four explore the same New Testament Bible story, connecting the story to the gospel on day three.  It only takes ten minutes a day to complete the devotion and we give you everything you need.  

You read the Bible passage and a short explanatory paragraph followed by a few simple questions (with answers!).  Finally, every day ends with a suggested prayer.  Day five introduces a prophetic passage from the Psalms or Prophets that points forward to Jesus.  There were so many amazing prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament that we wanted to include them in this New Testament devotional. 

Q: How many lessons are included in the book? How long will it take a family to go through Old Story New?

There are 78 weeks of devotions.  That is a year and a half of Bible Study for your family.  When you combine Old Story New with our Old Testament devotional, Long Story Short, you get three years of family devotions, taking you from Genesis all the way through to Revelation.

Q: What makes this devotional different than others available?  Are there many resources out there for entire families?

There simply are not many devotionals out there that help your family study the Bible together. What makes Old Story New special is its gospel emphasis.  Every story is connected to the Gospel every week. 

Q: Can Old Story New be used by families who have children of all different ages? Can everyone really benefit from doing the devotional together in only 10 minutes?

Old Story New simply helps you share the Bible with your family.  The Bible is a book for all ages.  Once your children hit their grade school years, it is time to help them study the scriptures.  If you have older children, get them involved in helping you lead the morning devotions or helping their younger brothers and sisters by feeding them the answers to the questions.  

If you have a younger preschooler, they are not going to get all the theology but remember, the Bible is a book of stories and younger children love stories.  Let them play nearby on a rug or in their high chair. You will be surprised at how much they pick up. 

When you combine, the Old Testament Long Story Short and New Testament Old Story New devotionals, you get three years of family devotions If you had a five year old when you started, they will be eight and ready to begin the books all over again.  Think of the program as a ready-made way to take your family through the Bible again and again. 

Q: What other resources are available in the Gospel Story for Kids series? How does Old Story New coordinate with the companion children’s ministry curriculum you wrote?

Old Story New follows the Gospel Story New Testament curriculum story for story.  That means you get to follow up at home with the lesson your child’s Sunday school teacher presented at church! 

I have found that parents want to teach their children the Bible.  Their biggest problem is that they just don’t know where to begin.  Old Story New gives them the tool they need to make it easy.  And, all the children, no matter what their age, study the same Bible story in the Gospel Story curriculum.   That means parents only need to do one thing.  No more take home sheets to get lost on the floor of your minivan.  Everything you need to follow up for all your children is all together in Old Story New.

Q: Old Story New and the entire Gospel Story for Kids series is great because the products can be used separately, yet how does everything fit together for use at home and in church?

The Gospel Story Bible follows along with the same stories as the devotional and the Sunday School curriculum.   Everything works together to ensure that the life transforming message of the Gospel is presented both at church and home, every week and every Sunday.  There simply is no more comprehensive gospel program available.

Q: A series of stories, devotionals and curriculum to cover the entire Bible in just three years–and adapted for three different age groups–sounds like quite the undertaking. How long did this project take you?

All together it has taken me twelve years to write, rewrite, and go through the editing process for the Gospel Story Curriculum, devotionals, and The Gospel Story Bible.  I didn’t set out to publish a curriculum.  I simply wanted to provide a helpful tool for the families of my church.  But, once other churches discovered we had a gospel focused curriculum that taught all the children the same story and provided five days of devotions for moms and dads at home, they wanted to use it too. 

Long before New Growth Press finished publishing the Gospel Story line of products, we had over one hundred churches using our draft. They were glad to overlook a spelling error or two to get the gospel into the hands of their families.  Today, the Gospel Story Curriculum is far better than the draft version.  We’ve added hundreds of new object lessons, polished the content, restructured the format, and added professionally drawn coloring sheets. 

Visit, for more information about the Gospel Story for Kids series and curriculum. The website is also home to Marty’s blog on family, children’s ministry and more.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Moments that Make Thanksgiving Memorable

Today's blog post is actually over at another blog...

I wrote a special Thanksgiving post over on the Litfuse blog for our Friday Favorite Feature. It's a family story, so be sure to go over there today to check it out. Just click on the picture below to take you over there.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A to-do list never ends - and I just started another one of a different kind

A couple of weeks ago, my boss sent us all packages of new to-do lists. Perhaps that was a subtle sign that we all need to get organized and get it together. I have 6 stapled together.

I have marked a few things off, but have added numerous more back on. Oh, if that only covered all that I need to do.

Before a baby shower this weekend, I really need to go finish a crochet project. I've finished one part, but need to go finish another.

I blame my new addiction to Song Pop on my phone. Really, I do.

Then, I have another project started that I started 4 times trying to see how I was going to do another project I have promised. It may be started yet again by the time it's all over with.

Oh, but with a post on Facebook I made yesterday, I may have a new side job and another to-do list. Isn't this adorable? I asked if anyone wanted me to make this, and a number of people do. I'm not sure how fast I could get it done, if it even turns out right!

I'd give credit, but I snagged it off of someone else's Facebook wall where they had reposted it.

I also have a friend that's asked if I could make this for her little boy.

On principle, I would just like to say that this may be a little too much like this pin from Pinterest that went straight to my "Things That Should Not Exist" board.

A couple of other crochet projects I will not be taking part in:

I just don't understand the deer head. My dad thought it was awesome. I don't understand my dad either.

And I sure won't be making this for Christmas.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I may have my very own stalker

You know the saying, "I think I created a monster?"

I may have created a stalker.

Tonight as I was walking around the church building, I met the Hispanic minister along the way. His name is Mud. Because he is terrible.

Our church building makes a big loop. I would call the halls a circle, but it's not a round shape. Anyway. The halls are ceramic tile and the place echos. And when people like Mud are loud, you are sure to hear it around the entire building.

So, Mud says, "you're boyfriend's behind you."

As a reflex at "behind you," I turn around to see Not-My-Boyfriend-Timmy-the-Fly coming around the corner. I just laugh really loud, then say, "you know that's not true," really, really loud in case anyone thought that might have been true.

What I was really wondering is if a certain someone else was following me after already coming across him elsewhere.

You see, ever since the kids in my 5th grade class have promoted, the boys, especially one in particular, have taken to make sure they speak to me every time they see me. Both have at different times followed me to my car in the parking lot and tried to leave with me. But, one does it more often than the other and is sure to make me smile and laugh.

The past two Wednesday nights, I've been looking for Rachel who's gotten out of the building before me. So, I've gone out the door she would have to see if she's left. My new best friend has been following me out, and walking a good distance across the parking lot (closer to another exit) to my car.

And he's kind of been following me around the building. I find this funny because A) he's not creepy like the fly, B) he's only 11 and doesn't have a driver's licence so C) I don't have to worry that he knows where I live.

What's seriously cool about this kid in particular is that over the last year, I've really seen him come out of his shell and develop a funny personality. That is probably the coolest thing school teachers witness. I can hear some people say, you really should teach. In case any of you forgot, I tried that 11 years ago, and it lasted all of one semester.

I seriously wondered if I was going to get away from the two boys tonight because they were talking my ears off.

I should be completely flattered that two young men want to talk to me, think I'm funny, believe I'm cool, and try to get my attention. They do keep me entertained, even if I was at 24 years old when they were born.

It's moments like this that I kind of miss my teaching my crazy group on Sunday mornings. These two miss getting to be uploaded to You Tube every week. They were ready to make a video tonight. Maybe I should have whipped my phone out so that you could laugh right along with me. I might have to do that next week.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Epic crackpot fail

You know, auto correct is pitifully sad. I was posting from my phone on Facebook yesterday, and auto correct changed crockpot to crackpot. I guess because it's actually crock pot (two words) vs. crackpot (one word). Regardless, my latest cooking experiment was AWFUL.

Next thing I know, Klout will think I'm influential in crackpots.

Let me just say that I will NEVER EVER make potato soup again. At least I have no intentions to.

After pinning a few recipes on Pinterest, I picked one that could cook in the crockpot for a while vs. some others that were more hands on in that you couldn't let it cook on it's own. However, this was a long, drawn out mess.

I picked a recipe and bought all the ingredients a couple of weeks ago. Sunday night, I decided to cut up the 5 pounds of potatoes to make the full recipe figuring it would be good enough to share with my parents. Alright, all good. I spent probably an hour cutting up potatoes after washing and re-rinsing them since I decided they were still dirty. Thankfully, the recipe said to not peel them. Hallelujah.

I also cut up a whole onion that made my entire house smell like onion all night.

And yesterday, while it was in the crock pot, the house smelled like onions all day long. And made my eyes water as the smell drafted into my office. And as the potatoes cooked in chicken broth, I just craved Thanksgiving food.

Ok, I know this part is boring. Here's the part you can just imagine.

So, you're supposed to use an immersion blender to blend cream cheese into the potato mixture to make it creamy. I'll also throw in here that instead of putting garlic into the potatoes, for half of cream cheese you are supposed to put in, I used garlic cooking cream cheese. Possible huge mistake. Thankfully, I just did it with half.

I didn't have an immersion blender, so I used my blender as suggested as an alternative. If you blended half, you could mix it back in. Except I only have like a 2 cup blender to make smoothies. So I had to keep spooning out, burning my hand with hot chicken broth to get it into the blender. Then spoon in some cream cheese and blend. Then pour it into a pitcher so that I could spoon some more and do it all over again. I was making blended mashed potatoes and pouring into a pitcher. I finally threw part of the cream cheese in the crockpot to melt and then poured my pitch of mashed potatoes back into the mix.

Let me add here that my crock pot was probably small for the recipe. Then, the blended mashed potatoes and a greater volume than before they were blended. So, when I poured it all back in, it was practically overflowing the crock pot.

And all the cream cheese wasn't melting, so it was chunky and looked nasty chunky. It looked TERRIBLE. I mean terrible. Well, here, look at it.

And I had a mess. Mashed potatoes running all down the blender. Stuck to the sides of the pitcher. Oozing from the crockpot.

And then, the taste. I don't like garlic mashed potatoes, but I had runny garlic mashed potatoes by the time it all mixed together.

I melted enough cheese in it to make it edible, threw some green onions and bacon on top. Bacon has to make it better right?

Last night, I thought it was ok. Not great, but ok. At least it looks good here, right?

Today at lunch, I made myself eat another bowl. Instead of runny garlic mashed potatoes, because of all the chicken broth that congealed, I had a big nasty mass of greasy garlic mashed potatoes with sickening consistency.

I literally had to choke it down because in my mind, I had to eat more of all this I made as to not go to waste.

So after I forced down my lunch, not 30 minutes later, an author sent me a guest post about making creamed onions. I was semi-sick before, but the thought of creamed onions (no offense to the author at all) on top of my nasty soup almost made me lose my lunch. I've never eaten creamed onions, but it sounds horrible given my creamed potatoes and onions in the crock pot.

I told her I thought the article would work ok, but she asked if I would like another topic. I just couldn't bring myself to tell her how grossed out I was at the moment - the reason behind my less than enthusiastic response - the fact I was just plain out sick. It had nothing to do with her post, it was all to do with my lack of cooking skills.

Now, because I would not force these leftovers on the kids next door, I have to send it down the garbage disposal one ladle at a time so that I don't end up clogging the drain and having a bigger mess.

The next time I want potato soup, which will not be anytime in the near future given what a pain this has been, I will go to Cotton Patch or Chili's. I'll end up cheaper with less mess and better soup.

No joke, I'm getting sick again thinking about it.

Epic fail. I need to submit this to the Pinterest fail website. If I could find it again.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Win a Kindle Paperwhite from Kristen Heitzmann

Kristen Heitzmann is celebrating The Breath of Dawn by giving away one of the new Paperwhite Kindles and hosting a fun Author Chat Party on Facebook. (11/27)

One fortunate winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Paperwhite
  • The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 26th. Winner will be announced at the "The Breath of Dawn" Author Chat Facebook Party on 11/27. Connect with Kristen, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at the trivia contest, and chat with readers just like you. There will also be gift certificates, books and a Book Club Prize Pack to be won (10 copies for your book club or small group)!

So grab your copy of The Breath of Dawn and join Kristen on the evening of the November 27th for a chance to connect with Kristen and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 27th!

About The Breath of Dawn:

Corporate turnaround specialist Morgan Spencer, dubbed the "success guru," has a Midas touch in business. But losing his wife sent him to the brink, and his two-year-old daughter, Livie, is all he's living for--until they encounter a woman whose trouble just might draw him out of his own.

Four years ago Quinn Reilly did the right thing. Now the man her testimony put in jail is getting out. Though she has put up barriers to protect herself and those around her, she has come to care for the Spencer family, especially the winsome Livie and her mercurial father. Unwilling to put them at risk when the threats begin, she requests something she hopes the super-successful Morgan might be able to deliver.

Fixing problems is what Morgan does best, but his counter proposal takes them in a direction neither is equipped to handle. Determined to confront the past, will they survive to build a future?

litfuseAbout Kristen Heitzmann:

Kristen Heitzmann is the bestselling author of over a dozen novels, including Freefall,Halos, A Rush of Wings, and the Christy Award winner Secrets. She and her husband, Jim, and their family live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she serves as worship leader in their church.

Visit Kristen's Web site at