Saturday, May 31, 2014

Library etiquette

I never go to the library.

Now, before you decide to flog, tar, and feather me, remember that I am a book hoarder. In my old age, you will find me buried in a stack of books. However, I promise there will not be dead cat skeletons, rotten food, and dirty adult diapers littering the house like an episode of Hoarding: Buried Alive.

The house might be dusty, and I may have dirty dishes in the sink, but my hoard will be new or very gently used paperbacks.

My filth level is not the point of this blog though.

I never go to the library because I have more books than I can read in a decade, possibly longer, within my possession. Now, when my mom retires, she may go through the e-book hoard on her Kindle that I created for her plus my paperbacks.

However, a couple of days ago, I decided to go to the library. I've been running so terribly behind on some things at work and desperately needed a change of scenery to buckle down and focus. I needed a quiet place. While I actually wanted to be disconnected from the world, I needed access to wi-fi in case something came about that I needed a connection for since I was randomly checking emails on my phone.

In this town, there's only so many places with wi-fi. There's Whataburger. I think Dairy Queen does now. Definitely Home Depot - I could have set up at a patio table in middle of the store. There's not a Starbucks in this ridiculous town. There may or may not be wi-fi at the slot machine coffee shop, but I don't hang out there for long given the shady characters that come in to play the slot machines.

The last time I went to the library, I fled rather quickly because there was a rather loud child with a rather loud parent across the building that annoyed me to no end.

Yes, I'm one of those old people who think children shouldn't run around the church building and ought to keep quiet in the library. 

It's called respect.

But, I decided to try it again. I am glad that I took care of syncing some email and making a phone call before I left the house because the Corsicana Public Library does not open until 10:00 AM and the first time I've been early to anything recently was to the opening of the library for the day. I thought surely it would open before then. I was wrong.

When I came in, I picked up the password of the day. It's free wi-fi at a public library. I don't know why they have to have a DAILY password. I could understand a WEEKLY one.

What I really don't understand is the need for the explanation of the password underneath. It's not like it's being read out loud. Besides, if a person isn't bright enough to figure out the letters, they sure as heck won't know what quebec, delta, lima is.

After working a couple of hours, my computer battery was almost out and I had to move from my quiet spot towards the middle of the building. There are literally only two tables in the building close enough to an electrical outlet to have a power strip to plug in your computer. Most people at the library these days who spend any time there have a laptop. Not exactly convenient.

I had to share a table with a grumpy lady working on genealogy. I thought we were going to have to have a third person join the table, but she went to the other table close to a column that had an outlet on the side.

I didn't like this spot because it was closer to the kids' section where a child was playing with a wooden toy that was not the quietest thought it wasn't loud. This little boy also talked to himself. I was distracted. Shhhhhhhhhhhh!

Then the woman who went to the next table did not turn the volume on her phone off. She obviously chose to ignore the signs on the door asking patrons to turn their phones down. And oh my goodness, her phone was so much louder than mine has ever rang. And her text message notifications were so loud. She kept getting texts. I'm sure it disturbed the guy across the table from her. I'd have a really hard time biting my tongue if I were across from her.

Do people just not understand the concept of common courtesy anymore? Oh, that's right, I'm just the old-fashioned, old woman.

I finally left after about three hours because I really did need to send some email and the good 'ole AT&T (you know how I love them) Hot Spot amazingly slow internet connection jammed up my outbox where I wasn't being productive anymore.

Overall, it was a productive morning, but I probably can't/won't go back soon. School is almost out and I can't handle all the parents that won't make their children behave in public. Parents. They're worse than the kids because they don't teach their kids what is and isn't ok. Sometimes, they are worse.

Yes, yes, I am that grouchy old woman.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Emily T. Wierenga talks about her debut novel, A Promise in Pieces

An interview with Emily T. Wierenga,
Author of A Promise in Pieces

 God has a way of piecing together His promises in ways we would never expect. In her debut novel, A Promise in Pieces (Quilts of Love series from Abingdon Press/April 15, 2014/ISBN: 9781426758850/$13.99), Emily T. Wierenga presents the story of two women who met under the worst of circumstances but were able to turn their grief into healing for those they came into contact with.

Q: Most authors draw inspiration in some form from an event or person in their own life. What personal connection do you have with A Promise in Pieces?

I connect with the main character, Clara, who is a very broken person. She’s a pastor’s daughter, like me, who’s disillusioned about religion and desperate to encounter God for herself. As I wrote in my memoir, which is coming out this coming summer, I needed to get away from home in order to realize God had been there the whole time. My relationship with God was also restored upon returning home to care for my mum (who had brain cancer). I’ve also battled infertility and miscarriage and could relate to Clara’s fear of loss.

Q: Up until now, you’ve written non-fiction titles, especially on the topic of motherhood. Has writing a novel always been a dream of yours?

Yes, it has. My bedside table is full of a stack of library novels I never make it through. I love a good literary read where you can dive into the characters’ minds, and it’s always been my dream to write one.

Q: Tell us about the quilt in A Promise in Pieces. What was it about the quilt that brought healing to the hearts of all those associated with it?

The quilt in A Promise in Pieces is filled initially with the names of babies born to women following World War II, as a way to honor their dreams for their children, as well as provide a family (or sorts) for the widow who donated the quilt, Mattie. It also serves as a comfort for Clara’s mother, who lost multiple children through miscarriage. Eventually the squares of the quilt are also filled with names of sons who’ve been lost to war, and it becomes a memorial that is eventually archived in the National World War II Museum.

Q: Were you able to talk with any World War II nurses to gain insight into what life would have been like for your main character, Clara, during the war?

I watched a few interviews online of nurses who had been through World War II, and I also read extensively.

Q: Clara fled from both her pastor father and the church when she left for the war because she tied the two together. Do you think one of the reasons so many young people are leaving the church today is because of something that happened at home? What can parents do differently?

Well, I would hate to blame it on parents, as I myself am a mom now and know how hard it is; parenting is truly the hardest calling, extremely vulnerable and reliant on grace. However, I know my own relationship with the church was greatly affected by my relationship with my father — who was the pastor of the church. I do think God intended for family and marriage to be a representation of the unity of the Trinity and the kind of love that is possible if we lean on one another. When those relationships are broken, it’s hard to continue to have faith in a loving heavenly Father. So yes, the two are interlinked, more than we know, and family and parenting are divine callings that have a holistic effect on our children. Nevertheless, God is bigger than our mistakes and can redeem the most broken of relationships.

Q: Growing up as a pastor’s daughter, Clara remained a “good girl” out of fear. Do you think we tend to live our Christian lives out of fear of God rather than living in His love and a life that serves Him?

Absolutely, yes, I believe one of the greatest tragedies of modern-day Christianity is having the wrong kind of fear. We fear man when we should fear God. Perfect love casts out fear of man, and it creates an “awe” of God that brings us to our knees in humility and worship.

Q: Speaking of fear, the fear of losing someone you love plays a major role in the relationships between several of your characters. Certainly losing someone is something we all must face at a point in time, but how can we overcome that fear so it doesn’t cripple us and keep us from loving relationships?

I would not have been able to answer this question before my recent trip to Uganda and Rwanda where I met countless women, men and children who’d lost loved ones to the war and genocide. Having seen their faith in a God who is beyond time, who holds every lost person in his arms, who promises life everlasting in heaven — a life where there will be no more tears, no more suffering, no more loss — I know now it is possible to continue to live, and believe, and hope, in spite of loss. And all because of heaven.

Q: What is the one thing you hope readers will take away from reading A Promise in Pieces?

I hope readers find the courage to love after reading A Promise in Pieces.

Q: Every Quilts of Love author donates a quilt to an organization. Your donation will be to the World Help Organization. Can you tell us more about your involvement with their ministry and your recent mission trip to Uganda and Rwanda?

Yes, I was a blogger with World Help — a Christian humanitarian organization — on a recent trip to Uganda and Rwanda, where we met with orphans, widows of the genocide and former child soldiers, and saw how God was using World Help to equip them with homes, clean water, churches, skills and a future. We are currently hoping to adopt a little girl through Destiny Villages of Hope in Kampala, Uganda, and I want to donate my quilt to Mama Evah who runs the Villages, so she can continue to blanket the babies she saves from the slums. You can read more about the trip here:

For more information about Emily Wierenga and her books, visit her online home at She is also active on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Keep up with the Quilts of Love series online at:

Thursday, May 29, 2014

New from @RonieKendig | Raptor 6! Enter to win a Kindle HDX.

Don't miss the first book, Raptor 6, in Ronie Kendig's new Quiet Professionals series. Ronie combines a dangerous romance and explosive action for a thrilling and satisfying ride. "Lock and load for this Spec Op, fighting under God’s 'rules of engagement.'"
— Bob Hamer, veteran FBI undercover agent and award-winning author

Ronie is celebrating with a Kindle HDX Giveaway!


One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Raptor 6 by Ronie Kendig
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 15th. Winner will be announced June 16th on Ronie's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Ronie's blog on June 16th to see if you won.

Raptor 6


The Quiet Professionals series 
His team. His mission. A mission that comes at the highest cost!
Captain Dean Watters keeps his mission and his team in the forefront of his laser-like focus. So when Dean’s mission and team are threatened, his Special Forces training kicks into high gear. Failing to stop hackers from stealing national security secrets from the military’s secure computers and networks isn’t an option.
Zahrah Zarrick is a missionary teacher to Afghan children in Mazar-e Sharif. And a target. When Zahrah is captured because of her expertise in quantum cryptology, compromising the U.S. military, Dean is forced to crack the lockbox around his heart—a move that might come at the highest cost.

Ronie Kendig


Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author who grew up an Army brat. She married a veteran, and together their lives are never dull with four children and two dogs–a a Maltese Menace and a retired military working dog, Vvolt N629. Ronie’s degree in psychology has helped her pen novels of intense, raw characters. Since launching onto the publishing scene in 2010, Ronie and her books have hit bestseller lists and garnered awards and critical acclaim.
Find out more about Ronie at

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tricia Goyer shares the process of a movie... becoming a book!

An interview with Tricia Goyer,
author of the Moms’ Night Out novelization

An endearing true-to-life family comedy that celebrates the beautiful mess called parenting, award-winning author Tricia Goyer’s Moms’ Night Out (B&H Publishing Group/April 22, 2014/ISBN: 978-1433684821/$15.99) novelization of the popular film by the same name chronicles how three harried moms, their husbands, a sister-in-law with a misplaced baby, a tattoo parlor owner, a motorcycle gang and a bewildered cabbie become intrinsically intertwined in one another’s lives after one momentous moms’ night out.

Q: This book is a novelization of the new movie Moms’ Night Out, starring Patricia Heaton, Sean Astin and others. We’re used to novels being turned into movies, but not so much movies being turned into novels. How does the novelization of a movie work?

A novelization means a novel inspired by the movie. I was contacted in December asking if I’d be interested in this project. I’d seen the trailer, and (as a mom of six with a hectic household) I immediately said, “Yes!” They sent me the movie, and I watched it a few times just to get an idea of the story. I loved it! It made me laugh and really spoke to my heart. Then with the screenplay in hand, I watched the movie a scene at a time. I’d catch the dialogue, and then I’d go back and bring the characters’ actions to life on the page. So, yes, I can pretty much quote the movie as it plays!

Q: How many times did you have to watch the movie in order to write the book?

I didn’t count, but I’d say I watched each scene 20-50 times, depending on how much action or dialogue there was!

Q: How involved do you get to be with the movie premiere and all the excitement of a theatrical release? 

I was so honored to be able to go to Hollywood to be part of the premiere on April 29. They listed me as “Talent,” and I got to ride to the TCL Chinese Theater in a fancy car, walk the Red Carpet, watch the movie sitting next to Alex Hendrick (an awesome movie star/producer) and then have a wonderful time getting to know all the cast better at the after party. It truly was a magical night!

Q: You’re the mother of six and a best-selling author and speaker. What advice do you have for moms who are trying to juggle their work schedule and their family responsibilities?

Know how much you can say yes to. This year the only extra-curricular activity my children were a part of was Awanas. I only have one weekly commitment other than church and our small group, and that is our Teen MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers Support Group). We spend a lot of time playing with the neighbors and hanging out as a family. I’ve been at the spot where I’ve been running place to place with kids’ activities, and that’s not fun! After raising three kids, I’ve learned having dinners together and family time is a priority. I also balance my work commitments. As a writer my work is steady, and I have to make sure not to take on too many projects. It’s hard for me! Just last week I had to cut out some projects I really like just for the fact that I can’t do it all.

Q: Moms really do sacrifice so much for their families; why is it important for moms to make sure they’re finding rest and encouragement?

I love the well-known phrase, “When Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” When I am exhausted and overwhelmed, my whole family suffers. When I have time for friends and I fuel up on God, then I’m such a better mom. When I’m encouraged, then I pour encouragement out. When I’m rested, I give of myself with patience and love. It’s hard to step away, but so important too!

Q: How often do you get to have a Moms’ Night Out? Do you have a group of mommy-friends you’re able to connect with regularly?

I’m part of a small group of women at our church. They meet monthly, and I’m able to make it about every other month. I also have some girlfriends I’ll meet for lunch. Sometimes it’s hard to justify paying a babysitter to go to lunch, but I always come back refreshed. I also lead a Teen MOPS support group. The attendees and leaders range from age 17–55. We care for one another, love one another and draw support from one another. I get just as much back as I give!

Q: What’s the most comical experience you’ve had on a Moms’ Night Out?

Once a group of writer friends and I had gathered to go to a writers’ conference. We all came to town early to eat dinner at a very expensive restaurant. We dressed up and enjoyed the exquisite gardens as we walked to the front doors, only to discover it was . . . closed! We drove around for a while and finally ended up eating at a hole in the wall barbecue pit with picnic tables (inside), red-checkered, plastic table clothes and plastic forks. Not what we had in mind!

Q: Raising kids can be difficult, but there are some funny moments along the way — share one of your funniest memories involving your kids.

I have one from yesterday. We laughed so hard! Our daughter (six) was riding in the back of the car.

Her: “Mom, Dad!” she called out. “Grandma was sweeping the front porch and a black, wet cat leaped out of nowhere and jumped on her!”

Me: “Sweetie, remember we’ve been working about not lying or not telling stories.”

Her: “I saw a cat.”

It’s just a balance to be creative and to be truthful . . . we try to guide our children in both!

Q: How does your husband help out in those moments when you just have to get a break, like the moms in the film Moms’ Night Out? Are there other people in your life you can turn to?

I have the best husband ever! John and I adopted two children from the foster care system, and they came with a variety of issues. On most evenings, he’d take over the kid duty as soon as he got home from work because he knew I’d had a long day. Then on Saturdays he’d load up the three little ones into his car for an “adventure.” I’d enjoy the peace and write during this time. I also have two wonderful babysitters and some great neighbors who I can reach out to for help. Yes, I am blessed! Having a support system is SO important!

Q: This movie and the novel are both very funny and lighthearted, but the day-to-day tasks of being a mother can become overwhelming. What advice do you have for the mom who is feeling completely overcome by her responsibilities?

Remember that God is there for you. You don’t have to do it alone. One of my favorite Scripture verses is Isaiah 40:11, “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” God wants to be there for you to guide you and assist you. Turn to Him. Even quick prayers, blubbered by an exhausted mom, make a difference.

Q: What advice would you give to dads about ways they can help alleviate some of the pressures moms feel?

I’d say that when it comes to helping, every little thing makes a difference. When my husband loads the dishwasher I’m so grateful! Also remind them often of their importance. Moms need to hear this most of all.

Q: Where can our audience find out more about the movie and book editions of Moms’ Night Out?

For more information about Tricia Goyer, visit her online home at, become a fan on Facebook (authortriciagoyer) or follow her on Twitter (@triciagoyer).  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

MEANT TO BE MINE $200 Visa Card Giveaway & Facebook Party (6/10) with @BeckyWadeWriter!

I wish my to-be-read book wasn't as long as a giraffe's neck. I'd love to read this one right away!

Becky Wade's latest novel, Meant to Be Mine, is a keeper! 

Celebrate with Becky by entering her "Dream Come True" $200 Visa cash card prize pack giveaway and RSVP for her June 10th Facebook party!

  One winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa cash card
  • Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 10th. Winner will be announced at the Meant to Be Mine Facebook author chat party on June 10th. Connect with Becky for a fun evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Becky will also share an exclusive look at her next book and give away books, fun prizes, and gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of Meant to Be Mine and join Becky on the evening of June 10th for a chance to connect 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 10th!



Ty Porter has always been irresistible to Celia Park. All through high school–irresistible. When their paths cross again after college–still irresistible. This time, though, Ty seems to feel exactly the same way about Celia. Their whirlwind romance deposits them at a street-corner Las Vegas wedding chapel.
The next morning they wake to a marriage certificate and a dose of cold reality. Celia’s ready to be Ty’s wife, but Ty’s not ready to be her husband. He’s a professional bull rider, he lives on the road, and he’s long planned to settle down with the hometown girl he’s known since childhood.
Five and a half years pass. Celia’s buried her dreams so that she can afford to raise her daughter. Ty’s achieved all of his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again into the eyes of the woman he couldn’t forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had.
How much will Ty sacrifice to win back Celia’s trust and prove to her that their spontaneous marriage can still become the love of a lifetime?
Becky Wade


Becky makes her home in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and one adoring (and adored) cavalier spaniel. Her CBA debut, “My Stubborn Heart,” was a finalist in both the RITA and INSPY awards. “Undeniably Yours” kicked off her Texas-set Porter Family series. Her newest contemporary romance, “Meant to Be Mine,” has just hit shelves!
Find out more about Becky at

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Bachelorette - Where the drunk people always go swimming

Forgive the typos! I'm finishing this after midnight, and I'm yawning so much that tears are streaming down my face. I'll have to post, then edit in the morning.

This morning I saw a preview for The Bachelorette that was not shown at the end of last week's episode. And it really made me groan.

I believe the show can be entertaining without being raunchy. I can already tell the group date is going to get out of control. I posted on Facebook a few minutes before I started the episode (and it is now after 10 PM since I had softball games to go tonight) that I was about to watch it. I have a side conversation going on about you can't possibly expect to finding lasting love with this kind of behavior. Of course, I'm pretty much convinced that "the right reason" now equates to 15 minutes of fame.

Sadly, I'm not so sure it's all that off from real life away from the reality cameras. It's come to the point that I live my life with the motto "ignorance is bliss." Real life among people I know is practically an episode of Wife Swap. People, in general, don't think anything about the consequences of their actions or the impact it has on their family and friends, and I hate it. That's more a commentary on real life than any TV show.

With that last statement said, I feel pain for the sisters, brothers and parents of the contestants on the show. What must it be like when someone walks up and says, "you're Chris' sister, aren't you?" That's a pretty rhetorical question too.

I know, I know. Enough of my soapbox meanderings. I'll get on with the show.

So, it took waking up the morning after the cocktail party for it to sink in that Andi really is the bachelorette and one of these men could be her husband.

I have to admit, I had to open up my blog window from last week to keep up with who some of these people are. 

The first date card...

"Eric... love is everywhere. < 3 Andi"

What guy says this could be the beginning of his fairy tale? Do men believe in fairy tales?

As a reminder, Eric is the contestant who died in a paragliding accident after the show was filmed. He was a professional traveler/adventure seeker. The everywhere on the date card may have referred to his pursuit of traveling to every country.

When Andi arrives for the date, the men all have to have their chance to hug her and drool. Of course, we have to hear them all confess their jealousies.

I like Eric, but with all his adventures, he had a story to go with EVERYTHING. One of those guys who literally had done everything.

It is cheesy to say they built their first home together after building a sand castle. He can do back flips from a standing still position. Truly, I've always be amazed by a guy that can do that. (In 8th grade, I had a crush on a college cheerleader who could do back flips.) Soon, they fly off in a helicopter.

They land on top of Bear Mountain with snow while still in their swimsuits, and take to walking around barefoot. Snowboarder Louie Vito teaches them how to snowboard. Andi is not very skilled and gets bleeped a good bit while heading down the hill. Eric is evidently good at everything, including snowboarding.

Andi is quite enamored and impressed with Eric, and asks him to name three things he's not good at. I think he has a hard time coming up an answer beyond playing the piano. They talk about his time in Syria which had been one of his more dangerous adventures.

While Eric is (should I say was? I really don't know.) very attractive and interesting, I think he's "too perfect" or "too well-rounded" or too... something. I'm too boring compared to him. I do know that.

Back at the mansion, the next date card arrives.

"Brian, Marquel, Bradley, Craig, Brett, Patrick, Cody, Carl, Tasos, Josh, Ron, Marcus, Nick S., and Dylan - Let's bare our souls... Love, Andi"

So help me, I had to push pause and replay the list like 4 times to get all the names right. Part of it was I just couldn't understand exactly what Tasos was saying. Too many names sound alike.

One of the smarter men asks how "bare" is spelled, to which Tasos says, "b-a-r-e like bare naked." This brings a mix of moans, groans, cheers, and laughter.

Not good.

Craig is excited to get naked. He's drunk with his big glass of beer. Frat boy, as I said last week.

Back to Eric's date... Andi asks about his siblings and their families. He's really ready for kids, but he admits that until a couple of years ago, he wasn't ready for marriage. His rationale was that he finally saw that marriage didn't change his friends that got married.

After giving him the date rose, they make S'mores. The big fat marshmallows make me want to gag. I have a feeling that's only the first urge to do that I will have.

Of course, Eric thinks this may have been his first date with his future wife. How sad to know he left this world without making it to that point.

Group date time. 

Andi has to have two-sided tape keeping her clothes on. They way the women on this show dress for their dates is ridiculous. There is no way they can be comfortable if they are trying to possibly not have a slip of the... well, anyway.

Evidently, everyone should be willing to bare too much of themselves in the name of charity. Once they get inside, the men catch a preview of "male exotic dancing" of which they will soon be taking lessons in.

Andi refers to her experience last season, and tells them it will be ok, to have fun with it. After all, it is for charity. Gag.

The men then go through a fully clothed audition to get their assignments. Nick and Marcus will have special solos (robot and aviator) while the others will be in one of three groups (firefighters, military and cowboys). Evidently, Marcus impressed Andi.

Some of the men are truly hesitant. Carl, the firefighter, is in the firefighter group and is expecting the guys back at the firehouse to give him quite a hard time. At least Brian, the basketball coach, promises his mom he'll be going to church early in the morning. Marcus as a moment similar to Andi last year, as well he should. Just. Say. No. She's not worth it if it's over a line for you.

That's enough said for this portion of the date other than the trashiest man is Nick.

Sharleen and one of the forgettable women (I really don't remember her name) from last season join Andi for the show. Sharleen seems like an odd choice to join in.


For the later half of the date, Andi is wearing a dress reminiscent of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, at least what they show of it at first. Seriously, they wouldn't even show a full frontal shot of her because everything was so out there. It wasn't cut as far down to a point as Elvira's, but it was plenty low, rounded off in a wide way that showed quite a bit. Trashy looking for sure.

Craig starts off the night wanting more to drink, and Andi even says something about it at that point.

When it comes time for some one-on-one conversations, Brian is first up. She was impressed by his confidence earlier in the day. The teacher is growing on her.

Next up is Josh S. There's much more to him than the typical athlete, or so he says. He doesn't want to be stereotyped. He says he hasn't gone out with a girl in about 5 years. Liar, liar, pants on fire. No one believes that. He's the type she usually goes out with. She was kind of stereotyping him, she admits.

The guys sitting around waiting their turn aren't sure what to think of Craig being so obnoxiously drunk since he's hard to take when he's sober.

Meanwhile, four guys back at the mansion are eager to find out if they get the next date...

"Chris... let's get our love on track, love Andi."

So the farmer thinks he's going on a train. Someone else thinks it's a race track. I'm with the other guys. Probably not a train.

Returning to the group date, Bradley, the opera singer is trying to impress. Looking at Andi's face, I'm not so sure she's feeling it.

Craig decides it's his turn for some time. He wanders around looking for her. He finally finds her. An awkward conversation ensues because how else does a conversation with a really drunk person go? "What is the worst thing about your parents?" he asks because she said he could ask anything.

When Brett gets his chance, Craig comes wondering through, but someone calls him inside. In middle of talking to Ron, Andi is finally so distracted my all the noise down below that she has to see what is going on. Craig has ended up in the pool with his clothes on. Somebody better get to him before he drowns because that is how out of it he is by this point.

I'm having a hard time figuring out who is in the pool with him. Finally, the producers try to reign him in and get him off set.

Andi is not pleased. Having fun is one thing, but they are supposed to be here for serious purposes. (Oh, please!) Marcus takes her off to distract her from the drama. He tends to blend into the background, she says, but she sees him in the foreground.

Marcus is the one she picks for the group date rose.

Marquel didn't take any time with her. That's his fault. He tries to blame some of it on the Craig drama, but if he wanted time, he should have taken it.

The next day, the guys are still talking about the ridiculousness of the night before.

Time for the last date!

From the photo gallery at

I'm not just too sure how much farmer boy gets out of Iowa. They spend their day at the horse races. The historic track looks like a pretty cool place. They have a nice time enjoying the scenery and betting on the ponies.

An older couple sitting nearby asks how long they have been together (such a set up if ever I saw one). The couple had been together for 55 years and offer advice.

After last night, this date has been quite refreshing for Andi. Farm boy may not get out of Iowa much, but he's seen the show because he uses the phrase, "here for the right reasons." GAG!

He talks about breaking off an engagement that wasn't with the right person, a story she could actually relate to. She finds him to be encouraging and does get his date rose. However, before the date ends, they have to have the first private concert of the season. Who is this bearded guy?

Is Chris the first kiss of the season? He's the first I have noticed getting kissed, but I have been busy looking at the computer screen while typing.

At the cocktail party...

Not surprisingly, Andi has on another cleavage revealing dress. As she addresses the men, she uses the word "interesting" in the bad way people do when they are trying to be nice about how bad things are to describe some of the events of the week.

The first one-on-one interaction we see is Nick V. giving her a date card of his own creation. "Andi - let's get things popping." They pop open champagne while chatting. Of course, he's all stressed out because he got the first impression rose last week, then, didn't get any time with her this week. He asks her what is supposedly a fourth date question about why she doesn't think she has found someone yet.

She says they are aligned thus far in what they are searching for.

Marquel finally gets his chance to talk to her for the week. He's a little on the awkward side. As is his choice of clothes. I can dig his purple suit - pants and jacket. However, he has on some grey, orange and black stripped socks along with a red plaid shirt and a tie with who knows what pattern. The man cannot dress himself, obviously. She thinks he's hilarious. Those socks are.

Some guy shows up doing sock puppets (can't tell who since it's a mini shot). She throws plates with a Greek guy (again, too short of a snippet to tell who). Josh M., the baseball player, shows his nervousness by rambling on during his time with her. That gets him a kiss.

A seemingly not as drunk Craig, dressed in a three piece suit, I might add, gets his chance to apologize for the hot mess he was the night before. He plays the guitar and serenades her with an original song. He owes her an apology for that terribly sung song.

Rose ceremony time...

Eric, Marcus and Chris have their roses, so there are 13 roses left and 3 go home.

  1. Ron
  2. Dylan (bad hair award, by the way - it just sticks out in the back in a bad way)
  3. J.J. 
  4. Marquel (I still think he is dressed like a clown)
  5. Andrew
  6. Tasos (I don't get that one at all)
  7. Josh
  8. Cody (he can go too - I just don't like him at all - cocky personal trainer that he is)
  9. Nick V. (he gives me the creeps and reminds me of some socially awkward character on a TV show, but I can't my finger on who exactly it is)
  10. Patrick
  11. Brian
  12. Brett (these last two were sweating it for sure)
  13. Bradley (she missed her chance to connect him with his fellow opera singer Sharleen)
That means going home are:
  1. Craig, the drunk - no surprise there
  2. Carl, the fire fighter (where did those jumbo eyeglasses come from?)
  3. Nick S., the pro golfer who seemed a little different, but then again, many of them seem strange
Next week...

TWO NIGHTS! Oh, the torture! Ain't nobody got time for that in one week. (At work, we say "ain't nobody got time for that" all the time.It's our company joke.) Sunday (that conflicts with my church video in a big way) and Monday night. Basketball and Boyz II Men. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

They are losing enthusiasm

This morning, everyone could chose a song about love, to relate back to our lesson from 1 John chapter 4.

I figured based on the verses we talked about, Peyton would want to try "The Greatest Command" aka "Love One Another." Even they knew better than to try four parts together. One for each boy, and one for each of two girls. I have one really quiet girl who I joked would have to lip sync to a part. She smiled really big, so I am pretty sure she thought I was funny.

Our medley is a bit of a hot mess though. It's what's in our hearts that counts though.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

It's your loss!

I tried to beg any friend on Facebook who might be willing to join me for Cracker Barrel and Hobby Lobby today. However, it was to no avail.

I have some weekends were I just really need out of the house (even though I did get out last weekend). Working and living in the same place, by yourself, can cause cabin fever. I always tell people that working from home is better for people with families than for single people. Anyway...

My parents skipped town with their friends, so Mom wasn't around to go with me. I'm so tired of wearing the same stuff around the house, and I seriously thought about wearing a shirt I've had since 2006 today. I took that as a sign to try to find stores having Memorial Day sales. Lane Bryant had a buy one get one free sale. Besides, I can only wait so long to find shoes to wear in Atlanta for ICRS (the International Christian Retail Show), and I leave in less than four weeks. I need shoes that minimize my feet hurting as much walking as there will be in the convention center.

So, between last weekend and this weekend, I bought four pair of shoes to take. (I hit the Sketchers outlet today!) One was more of a "just because I can get them 50% off choice." Granted, they may be a bit casual for the dresses I bought in March on my last shopping spree, but you wear comfy shoes when you go to ICRS.

What do you think, other than stating how bad my phone camera is? I think it's getting worse by the day.

The sales girl at the Sketcher store was HORRIBLE. She told customers she didn't want to work more than she had to. That was stating the obvious. She had to climb a ladder to get shoe boxes because half the shoes were up high. Even if you saw the box on the shelf that you wanted, she would doubt you, and double check before climbing up because she didn't want to exert the effort for nothing.

She was also downing some of the shoes they sell. I said I didn't stand all day everyday since I work from home so I wasn't so worried about only buying the shoes with memory foam. Basically, she was close to talking me out of shoes that I was about to buy. I can wear these shoes places without my feet hurting, memory foam or not. She said she couldn't wait to work from ho me because she was a writer. This is one of those times when you roll your eyes and hear Alanis Morrissette singing "isn't it ironic?" in your head. I dared to say, "I work with authors." I should have kept my mouth shut. This is when she became attentive and decided she was destined to meet me and help me buy shoes.

She writes sci-fi fantasy that is definitely not Christian and is a member of some religious sect that's of a unity variety that sees Jesus as a teacher, but not a savior. Maybe this was a teaching moment, but I just wanted to end the conversation and pay for my shoes. We mutually decided we weren't so destined anymore.

I did go to Cracker Barrel, Hobby Lobby and Starbucks too. (Oh my goodness, the Starbucks in Waxahachie disappointed me with a sub-par Salted Caramel Mocha Frappachino - too much mocha, not enough caramel. I get, though I don't know why, they don't have the salt to sprinkle on top except for in the fall, but why did the barista say he didn't have all the ingredients though he could make it taste the same? It did not taste like it should, and it had no caramel drizzle. I should have gone to the one in Target, but I didn't want to park at Target and go in. They could make it better there.)

It's everyone's loss for not going with me for the day though.

Oh, here's a bonus. We have a family joke about seer sucker suits. It's actually a two family joke. I found this in Lane Bryant today. I DID NOT buy it. I wouldn't dare. But, I had to take a picture of it. Can you imagine how bad I would look in this?

I'll also use it as a lesson... DO NOT wear this pattern on TV. It will vibrate on screen. NO small patterns on TV. No small stripes. Solids only. I have to give this speech when I talk to authors about wardrobe choices on TV. This still may be better than the hounds-tooth suit one author when I picked him up at a hotel for an interview one time.

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Heart’s Pursuit | Enter to win a $200 “Romantic Weekend Getaway” from @RobinLeeHatcher

Robin Lee Hatcher's latest novel, The Heart's Pursuit, is receiving critical praise: "The Old West lives again in this inspirational romantic adventure. . . . Themes of forgiveness, justice and mercy dominate the story and add to the characters' depth. Hatcher treats readers to a rich sensory experience—you can taste the desert dust and smell the smoke and stench of a crowded gambling hall." (Publishers Weekly)

Robin is celebrating the release of her novel by giving away a $200 "Romantic Weekend Getaway."


  One winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa cash card (Get away for the weekend with that special someone!)
  • The Heart's Pursuit by Robin Lee Hatcher
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 8th. Winner will be announced June 9th on Robin's website.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Robin's blog on June 8th to see if you won.

The Heart's Pursuit


A jilted bride desperate to save her family from ruin.
A bounty hunter seeking vengeance for a ravaged past.
An arduous trek toward justice—or redemption.
Silver Mattlock and Jared Newman know traveling together is a bad idea. Bad for Silver’s already tarnished reputation in her small Colorado town. Bad for bounty hunter Jared’s secret, single-minded mission for revenge. But Silver is determined to track down the rogue who left her at the altar and stole the last remnant of her father’s fortune. And Jared’s in a hurry to hunt down the murderer who destroyed his family—even if Silver is too distractingly beautiful for comfort.
The pair takes off over mountain and desert, past bleak homesteads and raw mining towns, hot on the trail of the two villains who took what wasn’t theirs to take. Soon supplies dwindle, secrets emerge, and suspicion leave Silver and Jared at odds when they need each other most. To confront an enemy deadlier than desert rattlesnakes and rocky cliffs, Silver and Jared must learn to forgive and trust and face the question they haven’t dared voice: What happens next?


Best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heart-warming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, two RT Career Achievement Awards, and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over sixty novels.
Find out more about Robin Lee Hatcher at

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Cynthia Ruchti shares from her heart about All My Belongings

The webcast will be hosted on Ruchti’s Facebook page, as well as the Litfuse Publicity Group website for readers without a Facebook account. Leading up to the webcast, readers can RSVP for the event and sign up to receive an email reminder. From May 22 – June 10, fans can also enter the contest for the Grand Prize VISA cash card via the author’s Facebook page or the blog tour landing page.  

An interview with Cynthia Ruchti,
Author of All My Belongings

Some people are raised by doting parents in a loving home where they have a safe place to grow, to belong. Others come from homes broken by an absentee parent, hurtful words, regrets, promises not kept or a myriad of other sins. In All My Belongings (Abingdon Press/May 6, 2014/ISBN: 978-1426749728/$14.99), author Cynthia Ruchti tells the story of a young woman who feels out of place within her own family and must learn to live in the shadow of guilt and shame that haunts her as a result of her father’s crimes. A new life and a new identity can’t free her from a past that refuses to go away.

Q: Your books — both fiction and non-fiction — tend to have a strong personal tie to them. What from your own personal experiences do you bring to All My Belongings?

The heart of the author comes out in everything he or she writes. My books are a blend of emotions or experiences I’ve known and a heightened empathy for friends and family who’ve walked these paths. From those very real challenges, I draw on imagination to create stories that aren’t afraid to tackle tough subjects, but with what I hope is an embracing and bracing tenderness and compassion. That’s definitely true with All My Belongings. While I didn’t have the main character’s embarrassment about her parents and where/who she came from, I’ve known others whose families make their lives miserable.

Where I do connect deeply with the story is caregiving for someone in her final days of life. My mother was what we call “actively dying” for four years and entered a residence hospice for what we all assumed were the final two or three days of her life. She endured another nine months of the dying process before she went Home. All she craved was my time. Her need seemed so familiar. When I was a child, she worked nights and slept days. It took a toll on her, on all of us. Her devotion to nursing was strong, and she was good at it. I didn’t always understand or appreciate her exhaustion or why she couldn’t attend a school function or have the kind of time for me I hoped for. I knew she loved me, but I craved her presence. Then, in the end, that’s all she wanted from me. I know I’m not alone in having had to work through and set aside my past longings in order to give her what her heart needed. Celebrating the tender moments and loving through the ugliness of the natural processes of dying made an indelible impression on me. Dying is an inescapable part of living. Figuring out how to do it well, whether the person leaving the earth or the one left behind, is an intricate dance that is beautiful when mastered, but clumsy when the lessons are ignored.

Q: The lead character, Becca, struggles with feeling like she’s never really belonged anywhere. Isn’t that something we all deal with at some time or another? Is there anything that makes Becca’s situation different than most?

Women make up the majority of my readership. I have a theory that we women never completely leave junior high. We weave in and out of experiences that challenge our sense of belonging. Sometimes we feel disenfranchised, even in a marriage or with our nuclear family. Work situations can throw us into another cauldron of confusion about where we fit. As readers take Becca’s journey with her, they’ll find that our place to belong doesn’t always look like we thought it would. Our assumptions get trumped by the surprises into which we feel our soul settling. “Ahhh. This is it. This is where I belong.”

Sometimes as we gain from what we survive, we discover what we were seeking was ours all along, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. Our life strips away the distractions so we see the One who created a belonging place for us that can’t be taken away by how we feel or what happens to us or where we came from.

We’re all misfits, in some way — at church, at home, in our neighborhood, among our friends, in our extended family. There’s something about us that creates a sense of restlessness on some level, even when life is perking along. We find ways to adjust around our “misfitness.” The word “achieve” is interesting applied to belonging. I think in many ways it isn’t a pursuit as much as it is a discovery. Discovering where we fit in God’s scheme makes the other puzzle pieces fit for all of us.

Q: Have you ever had to separate yourself from a family member or friend because of something that happened in the past?

I’ve known people who have had to, but I haven’t personally been in that position. I come from an exceptional family history. Throughout the years I’ve listened to the heartbreaking stories of others who were abandoned, ignored or neglected, and whose parents acted as if they had no children even though they did.

Q: There are a number of ways you could have written about a young woman trying to escape the sins of her father. What made you choose the crime of euthanasia?

The numbers of novels dealing with physical or sexual abuse are many. But sometimes what makes us ashamed of our past isn’t related to that kind of abuse or takes abuse to yet another despicable level. I wanted the story to explore what it‘s like to have a parent’s reputation taint not just a daughter’s life, but the community’s. I needed the character to wrestle with something different from other books on the market, and yet the emotions are in many ways the same as any kind of barrier between the heart of a child and the heart of a parent.

In this case, her father’s acts had a more far-reaching effect on others, not only in what he did, but the attention on the trial and the press, all of which made it more difficult to escape the spotlight. Her father’s choices went against her own convictions, but how would she respond when those convictions were put to the ultimate test?

Q: For most Christians euthanasia is a very black-and-white issue. Do you personally feel there is ever an area of gray?

We assume we have it all figured out. There’s criminal euthanasia — for personal gain, either financially or for some other twisted reason. There’s involuntary euthanasia — where the perpetrator believes he or she is doing the right thing in ending a tortured life, but against the wishes of the person killed. Then there’s voluntary euthanasia — when the patient is involved in the decision-making.

We may have our feet planted firmly on the side that none of the above is acceptable. I didn’t include this subplot to present an essay on the evils of euthanasia, but to spark conversation about why we believe the way we do. For me, it created a framework against which I could examine what else is involved in decisions like these. What kind of pain presses people to even consider euthanasia? And how can we condemn those who wrestle with the issue, especially those who have sat at the bedside of a terminal loved one in extreme, relentless distress?

Personally, I believe our default option has to be letting God decide the length of our days. I have witnessed such indescribable beauty, even in the hard days at the end of someone’s life, and I wouldn’t want to grieve over the tenderness missed in cutting that time short.

Q: Not only did Becca feel guilt by association due to her father’s actions, but bore the guilt of reporting his crimes to authorities. What are some ways we can deal with the various kinds of guilt we bear in our lives?

Guilt isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it serves as a warning to us that prevents bad choices in the future. Sometimes it presses us to ask forgiveness and re-establish a broken relationship, or make restitution for a wrong we’ve done. That’s a sorrow (or a guilt) that leads to repentance, as the Bible says.

But when guilt is unwarranted or we’re bearing guilt vicariously for someone else’s deeds, then we are carrying around a weight we weren’t meant to carry, and it threatens to bend our emotional spines into permanent disfigurement. Sorting through reasonable versus unreasonable guilt is a first step.

Guilt can become a label. Not only do we have to remove the label intentionally, we need to ensure it doesn’t become a tattoo. Guilt can serve a purpose, but after that purpose is served, there’s no option other than to discard it.

The words come easily. The process can be emotionally taxing.

Q: All My Belongings addresses caregiving and the responsibility of spouses and children. Do you believe caregiving is something inherent or something we learn? Does how we are parented as children affect how compassionate we are toward others?

Personality traits affect our caregiving abilities. Some seem gifted for it. Others are as awkward in caregiving as a kangaroo on stilts. No matter where we are on the spectrum, we can learn a more graceful and grace-filled caregiving. Insecurities can keep us from being a natural caregiver, but we can grow in the practice as we observe someone who is elegant at it. Even if our first attempts are clumsy, we can catch onto the rhythm of it, if our heart’s in the right place and we’re humble students of the process.

Q: In All My Belongings, the strongest victories came from situations that look completely bleak and hopeless, yet the characters press on. How is that a reflection of life outside the pages of a novel?

The most memorable moments and the seasons with the strongest impact on my own character have been the ones that challenged me and called for a depth of courage I didn’t know I had. Losing someone I loved. Dealing with a traumatic diagnosis. Knee-rattling concern over a loved one’s choices. Upheavals in routine.

Some of the characters in All My Belongings adopt the phrase “guacamole!” to underscore the truth that some things in life are even better after they’re pulverized. Tracing back through the years, we can probably all point to times when we discovered a depth of meaning behind that statement. Life can mash us or tenderize us, depending on our response to its challenges.

Q: How does forgiveness impact parent-child relationships even in adulthood?

Sometimes we outgrow or overcome the resentments, embarrassments, and hurts we experience in childhood . . . even those natural to the best of homes. But unforgiveness between parents and their children can utterly poison their adult relationships. What could be more heartbreaking than parents and grown kids unable to connect, harboring old grudges or vindictiveness over old sins? A friend of mine suffered at the hand of an abusive step-father. Because she determined to be generous with forgiveness, throughout the years his heart softened. Those in-between years weren't easy for her, but by God's grace, she kept a firm grip on her commitment to forgive and love whether he deserved it or not. The relationship they have now is the kind of step-father/step-daughter bond others wish they could know. It's almost become a comedy routine to think of holidays and other family gatherings and assume the dysfunctions will create the stories told after the fact. Forgiveness can change those stories to something soul-satisfying and God-pleasing.

Q: What is the one spiritual lesson you hope readers will walk away with after the last chapter of All My Belongings?

Finding where we belong is less about a place or a reputable heritage and more about a faith that forms the foundation of all other belonging.

Learn more about Cynthia Ruchti and her books at Readers can also become a fan on Facebook (cynthiaruchtireaderpage) or follow her on Twitter (@cynthiaruchti).