Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Teenagers still need Object Lessons

So we have been having this ongoing discussion around our house about purity in every thing....in speech, in thought, in deed.  If you have been around this blog for a few weeks then you have read the post where I realized that my family had become comfortable with RoadKill (see that post here).

Well, all of this talking led to our oldest sending me an ad for the TV Guardian...www.tvguardian.com

TV Guardian is a filter for the filthy language that you don't want to hear or want your children to hear.  Supposedly, it will filter sexual innuendos as well.  Not sure exactly how it can mute "tone" but it must have some kind of sensors?  Who knew technology had become so advanced?  (sarcasm totally mine).  But the idea is that you can install this filter and BINGO - no more foul language in your home! Why..it will even substitute the language for you and insert a "more appropriate term" in its place.  



So I posed this analogy back to dear daughter.  

If I made brownies, but mixed in dog poop, would you eat them? No way. But what if I sanitized (like TV Guardian) the dog poop? Would you still eat the brownies? I mean, I sanitized the poop, shouldn't be anything in the brownies that is harmful for you, it won't taste like poop, matter of fact, you wouldn't even know it was in there unless I told you. Would you still eat the brownies? 
 It is sorta the same way I feel about "bleeping" out the offensive part of the show. Why would you watch the other parts? It is made by the same people who had no problem putting the offensive parts in there. You wouldn't trust me ever again to make brownies if I served you brownies made with dog poop, sanitized or not.

Are we not called to more than that?  I mean, really....I guess it just struck me as odd to be asked to just "bleep the offensive parts" and consider that the rest is ok.  But the rest is not okay because what about the intent, the motives, the desires that are not necessarily written in "filthy language" and cannot be bleeped but are there...are filling our hearts and minds with things that are in direct opposition to the Word of God. Why would you want to listen to and/or watch the rest?  

Just like brownies made with dog poop, the poop touches every part of that brownie....you cannot separate the poop from the chocolate.  And I don't know about you, but I prefer pure chocolate!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It Really is a Small World After All...

Apparently, as a starry-eyed newlywed in 1987, I would meet (and work with) someone who would go on to become famous one day.

The place... Euless, Texas.  (That is a city between Dallas and Fort Worth in case you are wondering.)

The setting....Euless First Baptist Church.

I had the privilege while in graduate school to work as staff at Euless First Baptist Church.  I worked as the Assistant Director of the Crisis Pregnancy Center.  While in that position, I was mentored by the Director, a young Godly woman whose husband was a seminary student.  Jane was a delight to be around  and she always kept her sense of humor with her.  She was ministry-focused but business-minded.

We left Euless in 1989 and moved to Shreveport.  Jane and I kept in touch initially but you know how life goes.

We moved to Birmingham in 1999.  Somewhere in the 2000s....maybe 2006, I saw a news article on Jane and her sister in the Birmingham News!  She was here!  So I called her and we had a "catch-up chat" and it was good.  We finally saw each other at a Christmas church event and realized we hadn't changed (nor aged) one bit.  It was a refreshing time of reconnection and to see each other's children.

But how does this connect to meeting someone famous?

Remember when I told you Jane was ministry-focused but business-minded?  Well, you are not going to believe who Jane is.....she is the co-founder and creator of E-mealz.com.  I don't know how many members E-mealz has but it has almost 50,000 fans on Facebook.  That's saying alot.  But the goal of E-mealz is to help you "make time for family".  What a great goal!  You can check out E-mealz by clicking on the banner below.  It truly is a revolutionary concept!  And remember, you never know who you know that will go on to do something revolutionary or become famous!!

Emealz - Easy Meals for Busy People!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

When we grieve the Holy Spirit.....(AKA Roadkill part 2)

Part one can be read here.

When I was wrestling with concept of "grieving the Holy Spirit," I began looking deeper at the "how" we grieve the Holy Spirit, what happens as He is grieved, and how do we alleviate that grief.  This post is about the "how."

It is always a dangerous thing (especially to your pride) to ask the Lord to reveal your sin.  Ask me how I know.   Be honest here....how many times have you thought you have confessed all your sin only for the Lord to reveal more? So you confess more.  And then He  reveals some more.  And you confess. And then there is still more.... until you are broken and the pride you started with is shattered and you realize you are nothing but a sinner saved by grace and the pride your started out with is gone and replace with deep gratitude for what Christ has done for you.  Yep.  Been there.  Lots.

Well, that is where I found myself in talking with the Lord about grieving the Holy Spirit.  I asked Him a simple question and my prayer went something like this:

ME:  "Lord, it must be difficult to grieve the Holy Spirit.  He must be able to bear alot.  I do know that your Word tells us that His job is to convict of sin, reveal  truth, and to comfort. So, I am not really clear on how we can inflict deep sorrow (definition of grieve) on Him.  Really?  Can't He bear it?"  

As I sat and listened and search the Scriptures, I began to write in my journal and below is what I recorded:

"Quite frankly, it is very easy to grieve the Holy Spirit.  It is easier than you think.  His "first name", if you will, is "HOLY" and He cannot tolerate sin anymore than I (God) can."

And I began to weep as I came to understand, yet again for the upteenth time, how the HOLY Spirit dwells within me (us) and EVERY sin causes Him grief.  

Think about these things and see if any hit close to home:

*Inward sin - those no one sees but we know about (our thought life, our hearts)
NOTE:  Anytime our heart is set on anything other than Christ and pursuing Him, we grieve the Holy Spirit because Christ wants us and our affections.  Anytime we set our minds on earthly affections...Col 3..the Holy Spirit knows that worldly affections will damage our souls and He is grieved.

*Outward acts of sin

*Forgetting God/Neglecting God 
- what about when we never pray?  really pray?  (I am not talking about grace at meals but deep prayer.)
- rarely read His Word?
- never seek to do good in His world
- living for ourselves

*Does not the Holy Spirit grieve when we choose novels over Scripture?  Facebook over Prayer? friends over missions? 

* Would you be grieved if you should write letters of great importance to some beloved family members (spouse, parent, children) and they ignored them? 

We can say we have no time for God but the Holy Spirit sees us as our fingers surf the internet.

We say we have little time for Bible Study or reading the Bible but the Holy Spirit sees how many hours we spend in relaxation and amusement.

AND He is grieved.  He knows you and me have chosen the world over the Lord.

What would we be doing with our time if the Almighty God was physically present in the room with us?   

Stay tuned for Part 3....

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Clipston does not disappoint!

A Place of Peace..... Book 3 in the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series.... A Great Read!

Book Description:  Miriam Lapp returns to the Amish community she once belonged to when she hears of her mother's death. Amidst her grief and some painful lies from her past, she is forced to face the people who rejected her. Losing her once fiancĂ© and being shunned by her father becomes an excruciating test of her faith. A Place of Peace is one story you won't soon forget.

My thoughts:  Wow!  I read Books 1 and 2 in this series and I have to say Clipston just gets better with each book.  Read my previous reviews Here and Here  I predicted that she is an author to watch as she developed her style and she has become one of my favs. 

In A Place of Peace, Clipston again gives you enough background that you are not lost if you did not read book 1 & 2.  Her main characters of Timothy and Miriam are believable and you do find yourself tearing up on occasion as you become engrossed in their lives.  Clipston does an excellent job of weaving two main plotlines of Timothy and Miriam's stories with the story of Miriam's niece.  The story keeps you enthralled from page 1 and it is an easy, fast read.  I don't want to spoil the story lines here but I do want to encourage you to read it .  There is a reason this book won all the awards below!

A Place of Peace was a CBA Bestseller, a Christian Book Distributors Bestseller, and received Romantic Times Four Star review!

I give it 4 stars!

I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review.  As always, all opinions are my own!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wage War!

So, I post a few days back about "Serving Roadkill"...the idea that our family has gotten comfortable with  some choices that are just not good choices.  I wouldn't say they were awful...meaning we are not sitting over here, letting our children enjoy the vices of the day.  However, we have allowed the enemy to sneak in our household in small ways....we have let our guard down.

And wouldn't you know it?  what does our pastor preach on this Sunday?  Waging War!

Rather than bore you with my paraphrase, here is a link to the sermon.....
Wage War by David Platt
Listen to it....

Monday, October 24, 2011

Musing Mondays.....

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading

This week's question is....

Do you listen to audiobooks?  Why or why not?  

Yes and no....as a family, we have listened to several audiobooks. Especially when my children were younger.  But I have to clarify...these were usually radio dramas more than unabridged "true" books.

I have found that I don't like audiobooks for myself.  There is something beautiful about holding a "real book" and reading it for myself.  Maybe because I am a visual learner?  I like to READ the words...I have not been able to get use to listening to someone read to me.  But the audio dramas are so different in that there are sound effects and numerous voices and it is similar to a movie just without the picture.

What about you?  Would you like to join in this musing?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Serving up RoadKIll (we do live in Alabama)

It seems our family has been feasting on carrion.

Dead and decaying flesh.  Or something similar to it.  It stinks.

As I studied this earth-shattering revelation, I realized it was just semantics.



By now you are wondering how in the world did I make this discovery?

During our family time, we were reviewing Ephesians 4:29-32 which says:

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (bold emphasis mine) 

We have kinda skipped that part before....always focusing on "the talk" that comes out of our mouths and then v. 31, what you need to "get rid of".  

But this time, the Lord said, "You grieve me."  

What?  What do you mean?  

To grieve is to have deep sorrow.  To grieve someone is to be the one INFLICTING the sorrow.  


How Lord?  How can we grieve the Holy Spirit?  (and what does this have to do with Road Kill?  hang on, you will see)

I began to search the Scriptures to find the answers....How do we grieve the Holy Spirit? 

    *By rebelling against the commands of the Lord (Isa 63:10, Ps 78:40) - that is called SIN.  (just thought I would simplify things) 

    *By resisting the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:31)  (when He leads us and we disobey His promptings/urgings....and that is called SIN...again, simplifying here)

It is easy to grieve the Holy Spirit.  He lives in us and is with us ALL THE TIME.  

And it hit me....Roadkill is in our diet.  Because see, our family has allowed the gross, dead, decaying things of this world to creep into our lives.  And the pure dove of the Holy Spirit is grieved because He does not like Road Kill. 

Matter of fact, can you invision a dove trying to eat RoadKilll?  no, it is usually a  vulture.  

Would you bring Road Kill in your house and put in on your couch?  Sit it next to your children?  stench and all it brings with it?  

Worst, would you actually cook and make a meal from it?  and ingest it?  

But that is what we are doing when we tolerate sin and choose less than God's best for us personally and as families.  We are bringing Roadkill into our homes.  We are eating it, ingesting it, picking maggots & bugs out of teeth.  AND WE MUST LIKE IT because we don't do anything about it.  

And the Holy Spirit is grieved.  Not angry.  Grieved.  Deep sorrow and angst over our hearts and over our choices.  

So, personally, I don't want to eat any more RoadKill.  I want a new diet.  I want to clean out my personal sanctuary and my home.  

Want to join me? 

As a side note, for those of you who don't believe we have been serving up RoadKill here in Alabama, check out these recipes here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A radically different fiction book

Sunrise on the Battery is not your typcial Christian fiction book.  Beth Webb Hart brings a new, fresh perspective to writing and the story line is not one of the classics of "unsaved person(s), tragedy occurs, salvation happens, problem solved."

The story is about the Scovilles, two parents who have centered their lives around "arriving" into the elite society of Charleston, South Carolina.  Mary Lynn and Jack have diligent planned and worked toward every piece of their lives so that their three beautiful children would have a place in society, a place that neither of them had growing up.  However, Mary Lynn discovers something deeper, more meaningful than teas and luncheons.  Jack, on the other hand, is just fine without religion unless it helps them meet their "mission statement".  But something happens on their trip to Europe when all Jack has to read is Mary Lynn's Bible.

I don't want to share the rest of the story here but I do want to add that if you have read Radical by David Platt then you will be able to appreciate how Beth Webb Hart is able to weave the truths in Radical into this fiction story.  Simplified, it is like Radical in fiction-form.  In another way, Sunrise on the Battery will challenge you to consider your own life in how your Christian beliefs match what you live.  The Scovilles can hit close to home in many ways.

I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more by this author.

4 stars

I received a free copy of this e-book in exchange for my fair and honest review.  As always, all opinions are my own.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Can we have a chat?

Recently, I posted an interview here about a book entitled Praying through your Adoption. I have had every intention of revisiting this subject matter because of two reasons - Praying and Adoption.  Both of those topics are very important to me and very personal.

But I have struggled with where to begin.  There is not a simple introduction about our family's journey through prayer or through adoption.  I guess the easiest way to start is to say that without prayer, we probably wouldn't be a family.  I honestly don't think our marriage would have made it those first years had we not found ourselves calling out to God and spending time searching His Word for wisdom, for peace, for comfort.  As a young married couple, we faced a few crises that drove us to our knees.  And honestly, for that I am thankful.  For you see, prayer is the foundation upon which we built our relationship.  So as we faced struggles later, prayer was a natural response.  It is where we find our comfort.  It is where we are at the most peace.

I am sure some of you are curious as how this correlates with adoption.  Let me see if I can simply share how it ties together.

We, like many of you, have an adoption journey.  After 18 months of adoption paperwork and finally being in the position to be matched, it all came to a halt when the rules changed and we were one of three families affected.  Appeals were made but to no avail.  The Lord had shut the doors and our adoption journey ended with the loss of a child.

Prayed?  oh yes.  We had prayed every step of the way.

Our response upon the final denial?  With great trust in our Sovereign God, we were able to say to our agency that we were trusting that God knew what was best and that no, we did not feel any injustice by the governing authorities.

But we were thankful to our God who had said no -  as this was His plan for our family.   At the time, we could not understand it, but oftentimes we are not called upon to understand God's ways.  We are called to obedience and to faith.

God allowed us to see and to know that our journey was not in vain.  You see, while we were taking all the necessary steps to Joy (that was to be her name), there were some friends whose hearts were being stirred to action.  God had already been dealing with them about adopting but they later told us that it was our forward movement that gave them the "umph" to do it.  Every time I hear their daughter say "Momma" or "Daddy" my heart is full of joy at what God did in bringing them together as a forever family!

But God has done more......He has stirred in me a burden for those who are in the adoption journey.

And we have lots of those families around us:).

But I don't mind.....praying is not that hard, really.  Sometimes the Lord wakes me up early in the morning to pray and I might lose a little sleep.  But that isn't a hard price to pay when you have friends on another continent struggling with court issues, food woes, or attachment problems.  Why wouldn't I give up a few minutes of sleep?

But I digress.

Prayer.  Gut-wrenching, in the trenches, "I am going to pray for you and I mean it" kind of praying.

The kind of praying that says "let me bear this burden with you" so much that when you are on another continent, I will set my alarm and rise in the wee hours here, to pray for you there.

Yes, praying through the paperwork stages but what about the other struggles?  the ones many adoptive families carry in silence once they get home?

Adoption is hard.  The journey to get to the child is difficult but the ultimate test is in the parenting once you have them.  They are children, and all children have issues whether they are your biological or adoptive children.  Parenting is hard so why would parenting adoptive children be any easier?

The book, Praying Through your Adoption, is a nice, simple resource....maybe a beginner handbook of sorts.

As one adoptive mother noted about the book, "The stories of individuals/couples who have adopted are inspiring and truly demonstrate God's hand in adoption.  These are great and give great insight into the adoption process.  Having so many testimonies from all different countries really helps to see a global perspective on adoption." 

However, my personal recommendation if you are looking for information on praying while you are in the adoption process would be to study Prayer!  And to find a few serious Prayer Warriors that will commit to praying with you as you walk the journey the Lord has set before you.

Any way a child comes into a family, they are not here until they are here.  Anything can happen and does happen with both domestic and international adoption.  Prayer is our lifeline with our Sovereign God who controls all things........how can you live without it?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Not such a treasure.....

Book Review:  Treasuring Emma by Kathleen Fuller

Emma has put everyone else first in her life. Now at nearly 25, has she missed her chance at marriage?
Emma was Adam's first love but circumstances made them both choose different paths in life. Emma's heart breaks all over again when Adam returns to the Amish community of Middlefield, Ohio, years later.
For the past ten years, Emma has been a care-giver. First for her mother who unsuccessfully battled breast cancer, and now for her grandmother who gets more frail with each passing year. Emma has always put the needs of others above her own. With more time on her hands, she determines to focus on herself and her dream of opening a rescue shelter for stray animals in the community.
With Adam's return come feelings Emma's long buried. They're older and life hasn't turned out the way they thought it would. Adam's feelings for Emma are stronger than ever, but will he be able to convince her to put the past aside and give their love a chance?

I have read several other books by Fuller so I was excited to read Treasuring Emma.  However, I wasn't too far into the book before I realized that this novel was not going to be anything like Fuller's other books. I had to make myself endure to the end.  Major disappointment.

There are several things about Treasuring Emma that are lacking.  First, the intro into the characters and storyline lead you to believe that Emma is going to start a business with animals.  This never happens.  Emma is also described as "frumpy" and "old maid-ish" but really?  she is only in her early 20s?  Fuller could have come up with something better than the typical "frumpy old maidel" Amish character.  That girl gets played more in the Amish genre than anything else.  But what about Adam?  Emma's main love focus.  This should be fully developed and woven in the story but it seems that Fuller spends too much time introducing secondary characters without getting all the main characters in place.

Emma's sister and family are some of those secondary characters.  While her sister is a tad annoying I didn't really mind her in the story.  The dilemma is why is she the kind of character she is because it doesn't add to what is happening.  It seems to just bring chaos vs. climatic tension.

Overall, this book seems like Fuller took a bunch of different characters and plot lines from various stories and tried to weave them all together in one book.  It didn't work.  It is by far the worse book I have read by her.  Very disappointing.
2 stars

I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Booksneeze in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Book Review: A Promise of Hope (Book 2) by Amy Clipston

This is book 2 in a series by a new author.  (Review of Book 1, A Gift of Grace, can be read here.)

While this is book two, Clipston does a good job of providing the reader with enough information that you are not lost if you did not read book one.  She does a great job of character development in both books that it is easy to pick up and join in the story, understanding who everyone is and how they relate.

We find Clipston again magically able to weave numerous conflicts and characters in a way that makes you keep reading and reading.  The story begins with Sarah Troyer mourning the loss of her husband Peter.  She is left to grieve his tragic death while simultaneously discovering several surprises and uncovering a few secrets of her husband's former life.  Her own brother, Timothy, has secrets as well.  What will Sarah do and who can she trust?

The difference in this book than book one is that Clipston does a much better job with the climax and ending!  Hallelujah!  In the first book in this series, Clipston builds and builds and then quickly resolves the conflict in what felt like 1-2 pages and the book was over.  This time, the resolution and ending seems more natural, allowing you as the reader to find closure with the characters.

I definitely will read book 3.  I think Clipston is a writer to watch!

4 stars

I was provided a free review copy of this book by Zondervan in exchange for my honest review.  

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Distractions vs. Deception

We have been busy.

Like everyone else, the end of summer and start of a new school year brings all kinds of transitions to our home.  Add one child traveling to Hawaii with her grandmother for 10 days, another child entering high school, a family business....well, you know the song and dance.  Many of you are singing the same verse or making the same dance steps:).  

This year, though, I have had this nagging thought bouncing around in my head that I couldn't quite get to formulate until the wee hours of this morning.  You see, in all of our busyness, some of our family routines have changed.  Some for the better...some not.  Same for my personal study time with the Lord...it has changed and I haven't quite settled into the routine that fits our new family schedule.  But I digress.  

The thought that finally bounced out this morning, with the help of Ann Voskamp's blog, A Holy Experience, is this......I have THOUGHT I have been distracted but I have been deceived.  

Ann says, "It is my own inflated sense of self-importance, the elevation of my work, of my agenda, that keeps me from prayer communion.  That's called idol worship.  I don't pray enough (or read/study my Bible enough) because I am practicing idol worship."  (italics are mine)



As I got honest with myself and with the Lord, I had to ask myself two questions.  

1.  Do I honestly believe that the longing in my soul can only be filled by Jesus?  Psalm 107:9 tells us He satisfies that longing and hunger within us.  No one or nothing else can.  Why do we try to fill ourselves with other things and other people??

2.  What are the distractions in my life?  or to be gut-wrenching convicting,  what are the idols?  
  • Work
  • Sleep
  • Family obligations (like cooking, cleaning, teaching, etc)
  • Computer, iPads, Mobile devices
  • Texting, FB, Twitter
  • Friends, Social Activities
  • Sports, Hobbies
  • TV, Movies
Ask yourself, what is the first thing on your mind in the morning when you wake up?  If it is not Jesus, then make a choice for it to be.  CHOOSE JESUS over the above distractions/idols.  CHOOSE to commune with Him first.  

Then ask Him how you may serve Him today...or what does He desire you to do today?  He may have you tweetin' and FBing....or watching college football....all for His glory.....or He could call you to an all day Social Media fast.  

Either way...........your soul will be satisfied.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Interview with an Author: Kim Abernethy

Interview with Kim L. Abernety

We understand that you kept rather detailed journals as a young missionary woman in Liberia, West Africa. What prompted you to do that? 

My husband and I, along with our 2 1/2 year old daughter, Michelle, was absorbed deeply into the Liberian jungle (180 miles from the capital city Monrovia) at a time when communicating with the “outside” world was still an anomaly. In the mid 1980’s, our key communication source to our family in America was through ham radio operators and by that means, we usually talked to our families only once a month.

There was never enough time to tell them all the cultural things we were learning or share the cute things about their granddaughter, so I felt the need to supplement with journals. I would handwrite the journals as events happened, but then would use my Selectric II typewriter (during electricity time - you’ll understand that more if you read the book) to type out the journals and mail them off. My mother wisely put the journals into a large manila envelope and saved them. She and my father knew my hankering for writing and prayed that I would one day use those journals to write a book.

How (exactly) did you go about writing the book? Did you take your journal entries and just add more details? 

I wrote the first couple of chapters almost six years ago. Between a busy college ministry and an active family, it was difficult for me to know how to carve out the time I needed to make the writing effective. Of course, I always tried to give myself a self-imposed deadline, but being new at the writing and knowing I was going to self-publish did not help my need for discipline so lacking in the early formation of this book. Two years ago, after constantly reaming myself out for not getting serious and lamenting to my husband and family that I needed to get this book done, they rallied around and helped me carve out more substantial amounts of time for serious writing.

Not having any template on how to write from detailed journals, I just decided to dig into the coffers of the journals, make notes about the stories I wanted to use, and then started writing. There were times I found that I could not improve on how I had said something in my journal so I gave myself permission to quote directly from the journal.

What helped you make the decision of which stories to include and which stories to leave out?

That was not an easy task. Taking the advice of several friends and other writers, I stopped the constant editing and analyzing of what I had already written and just wrote the story. It soon started to weave itself into somewhat of a continuum.

After I had completely written the story, I went back and read the entire book, critically, as through the eyes of those who might read it but not really know me very well. I prayed much that God would give me the grace to know when to “let go” of a story, especially when it seemed that it was completely self-serving. Grant it, I struggled with God over at least two particular stories that I really wanted to keep in there, but no matter how hard I tried, they did not fit the spirit of what the book had become.

Honestly, I do not believe that I could have written this book in as God-honoring of a way ten years ago. While I am no where near what I need to be in Christ, I do know that  He has taken more of the ME out of the story and inserted much more of the HIM in it.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of this story?

In 1985 I, along with my husband, Jeff, followed a call from God to minister in the small West African country of Liberia. From learning how to effectively communicate with the Liberian workers in my jungle home to witnessing the painful death of a young woman in childbirth, I write candidly. I tell stories of every day happenings in the life of jungle living, but also plod through the painful: when one of my daughter’s fell from an 18-foot balcony and when my husband was exposed to Lassa fever. One of my favorite things to write about were the chronicles of my husband's adventures of being a bush pilot in the jungle of Liberia.

Inside this book you will find disbelief, tragedy, fear, anxiety, discontentment, and confusion, but there is also humor, delight, amazement, wonder, surrender, and a deep-seated joy as you watch how God - little by little - chipped away at the walls of pride, unbelief, stubbornness, and independence that had always held me captive to myself. You may find yourself in these stories.

What was your key inspirational force in writing and publishing your first book?

My three daughters were the primary inspirations. Our oldest, Michelle, was 2 1/2 when we first went to Liberia. Stefanie, our second, was born in the middle of the jungle after we had only been in Liberia for ten months. Third daughter Lauren was born during the tumultuous time after our first evacuation from our ministry & home in Liberia. I wanted them to have a written account of their parents’ missionary journey in West Africa and beyond. It is one thing to be a Missionary Kid and live the life in your “home away from home”, but as they are all now young women in their twenties, I wanted them to see God in a bigger way. To always have a reason to keep trusting Him - no matter what.

Another motivation for writing this book were young missionary couples (particularly the women) who may wonder what they can expect as they enter their field of service. Though the country and circumstances may be different, I want the book to be a cultural, spiritual, and practical guide to those who will come behind us.

The third reason was for those that have always been interested in the intrinsic details of foreign missionary lives. I offer this candid missionary memoir as a means to open the door to seeing us as human, exposing struggles and sharing victories.

Where can we find out more about you and your books? 

Please visit my website at www.kimlabernethy.com.

For more opportunities for a FREE copy of this DVD & Study Guide set of MOVING FROM FEAR TO FREEDOM, please follow this CSS Virtual Book Tour on Twitter (@Christianspkrs) or Facebook.  

I was given a complimentary copy of this DVD & Study Guide set from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speaker Services (www.ChristianSpeakerServices.com).

Friday, July 29, 2011


I am going to take a detour from food for our stomachs and post a brief, albeit important, blurb about prayer.  More specifically Prayer for our Children.

A few months ago, I participated in a 21-day challenge to pray for my son.  It was focused, it was specific. It was good.

All I am going to say is if you have boys, I would encourage you to check it out by going to warriorprayers.com.

You won't regret it......

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Praying through your Adoption....an interview with the Author

For all our friends who have journeyed along this path of adoption, some with successful placement, some still waiting, and some who have received the answer of "no", BUT all who have journeyed with grace,  and  to those who have allowed us the privilege of praying with you, bearing the burden as you struggled, I chose this book on purpose.  Watch in the days ahead for more posts related to this topic.  

What can you tell us about yourself, your childhood, and the present?
I grew up as an only child in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Faith was a vital part of our family life, so I believed in God from an early age. About mid-way through college, after heartaches and some poor decisions, I decided to trust Jesus and the plans He has for my life. I graduated, moved to the suburbs, and married my husband, Eric. I worked in the corporate world and Christian ministry before becoming a work-at-home mom through adoption. 

When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer? 
I started writing poems and stories for fun as a child. I even had a poem published in Highlights for Children. Through high school and college I enjoyed researching and writing papers, but I never considered becoming a professional writer until I wrote Praying Through Your Adoption
What inspired you to write Praying Through Your Adoption?
I've been talking to God in prayer for as long as I can remember. I turned to prayer during our infertility, and I had planned to pray through a pregnancy if that had been God's plan. While adopting our son from Russia, we experienced painful delays and obstacles, such as increased fees and additional paperwork. At a particularly low point in the adoption process, I participated in an online prayer vigil that directed me to pray for very specific aspects of adoption – from government officials to waiting children. I realized the power of prayer specifically in adoption and saw the need to help other families pray through their adoptions as well. 
How did you come up with the title?
Becoming an adoptive family is a process. First, you make decisions about the type of adoption and the age of the child you wish to pursue. Then you work to become approved, educated, and prepared for welcoming and parenting this new child. Praying Through Your Adoption shows families how to rely on God and their faith through the entire journey of creating and nurturing their forever family.
What other life experiences shaped you to write this book?
Wow, many life experiences influenced this book. Our infertility is probably the biggest since the longing and waiting for our son is a large portion of our story. But even getting laid-off right before our adoption, experiencing post-adoption depression, and dealing with special needs made me want to encourage others dealing with similar difficulties. 
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Retelling my experience with post-adoption depression was hard. After our difficult time becoming parents, I never imagined I'd feel overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed as a new mom. As much as I wanted to skip over that chapter in my life and in the book, I felt it was important to paint a realistic picture for prospective adoptive families. Thankfully, other adoptive families were willing to share their real-life joys and challenges in the book as well.
What's one of the most important things people need to know about adoption?
One of my favorite quotes in the book is from the late Derek Loux, an adoptive father of and an advocate for orphans. He said,
“My friends, adoption is redemption. It's costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him. And when He redeems us, we can't even really appreciate or comprehend it.”
Derek's words capture so much. There is loss, and, yes, there are sacrifices – financial and otherwise – in adoption. But the rewards for answering God's call to care for orphans are priceless.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
In writing the book, I had the opportunity to feature around 20 families and their unique adoption stories. No matter the circumstances, I could see the special love that ordinary families experience as forever families. I'm grateful for their transparency and support for this project, and I think the readers will be, too.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? 
With over 143 million orphans across the globe, I would love to see more families consider adoption. But I deeply respect the person who reads this interview or picks up this book and, for whatever reason, decides adoption is not right for them. I hope they would at least consider providing prayer support and perhaps even financial support to families pursuing adoption.
Where can readers learn more about you and adoption?
I encourage readers to visit www.PrayLoveAdopt.com, a website I created to provide information, encouragement, and prayer support for families in any stage of the adoption journey. Visitors can read an excerpt from Praying Through Your Adoption and order a paperback or e-book copy if they desire. They can also visit my blog, www.MommyForward.com, and my main website, www.MicheleCScott.com to learn more about me and my other projects.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speaker Services (www.ChristianSpeakerServices.com).

Friday, July 22, 2011

"Well You Won't Starve....."

UPDATE on the Zucchini Fries post.  A wonderful friend actually calculated the calories in these fries to be 4 per stick!  NOT BAD!  So, when you have extra zucchini from the garden, make you some fries!

Now, on to the feature of the day.

NEWBIE RECIPE:  Baked Parmesan Crusted Tilapia
Takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish. 


4 tilapia filets
2 eggs
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp paprika
Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat oven to 450.
Beat eggs and place in shallow bowl.  Combine rest of ingredients in another shallow bowl.
Dip filets in egg wash, then in crumbs until fully coated.  Place on prepared cookie sheet (I use one covered with foil and sprayed with cooking spray.)
Bake 6 minutes on each side.  Viola!

Add a green salad, maybe a roll and Dinner is Done!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What happened to Healthy Living Wednesdays?

I died.....not really (obviously).  But in an effort to LIVE our life, the blog post was shoved far down the list yesterday.  Many apologies....it is still floating in my head but this week has been cr-aaaa-zzyy...so I am going to keep doing what I know to do which is drink water, add some raw nuts (so as to curve my desire for some sweet or carb-loaded snack), and drink more water.

Until next Wednesday..........
(oh...Kathy- I am going to answer your question as to why raw and not roasted but just trust me for another week!)

Happy Living!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Blog Tour: I Called Him Dancer by Eddie Snipes

What made you write I CALLED HIM DANCER? Have you ever danced, taken lessons?

The only dance lesson I’ve received came when I was walking in the woods. A yellow cloud surrounded me and I began swatting yellow jackets like a break-dancer. Upon reflection, I don’t think I had the grace needed to make it big, so I quit after my first lesson. No more bees for me.

The inspiration for I Called Him Dancer came from a song performed by Tralena Walker and co-written by Tom Webster. I attended a meeting at the Atlanta Writers Club. Tralena and Tom were guest speakers. The topic was on how to write a story in lyrics for songs. Not my cup of Formosa Oolong, but at least it was entertaining. After performing the song, "Dancer", either Tom or Tralena said, “We’ve been looking for someone who will turn the song into a novel. We think it would make a great story.”

Until those words were spoken, I was a passive observer. I looked up and words were swarming around me like those yellow jackets. They attacked my head while I lay screaming on the floor. Okay, maybe I didn’t scream – but my mind did. In an instant, the story unfolded in my mind and I knew this was something I was to write.

I knew nothing about dancing (other than what the bees taught me). Tom and Tralena gave me the lyrics and I started researching and writing. I have to admit that I worried about the dancing scenes, but I knew things took shape when people began asking how I became so knowledgeable about dance.  I thought back to the bees and said, “It’s just something that hit me while walking in the woods.”

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

When I was a child, I got my first book. I flipped through the pages, then tore it apart. I didn't know it at the time, but that's exactly what you do when editing a manuscript. 

I hated writing when I was younger. I only did what I had to do, and sometimes not even that. Writers block was more like writers dementia. My mind didn't return to me until after ... hmm. What were we talking about? 

In 1998, I became active in prison ministry. Many of the men I ministered to were eager to learn. Someone asked me if I had my studies or notes on paper. I agreed to write out the next study and then my writing career was born. The problem wasn't that I couldn't write. It was that I didn't have something to say. Or didn't realize I had something to say. Over time writing transformed from a task to a passion.

Is I Called Him Dancer your first fictional story?

My first fictional story was written in high school. It wasn’t supposed to be fiction, but hey, the best fiction looks like the real world, right? I’ll tell you the story.

In high school, I had a class that was dedicated to writing a 30 page research paper. I chose the topic, The Arms race between the US and Russia. It was the 1980s when the Cold War was still on everyone’s mind. We spent weeks in the library researching our topic. I say ‘we’ in the general sense. My research was sports and other useless browsing.  At the halfway point, we had to turn in our research note cards. The teacher graded them and as she returned them, she said, “Some of you aren’t going to pass this class.” She paused in front of my desk as she said this, and then dropped my notecards on my desk. She continued, “You cannot write this paper with less than 70 research cards.”

I counted my cards. Seven. A very weak seven. This information must have shocked my brain, for I didn’t even think about this again until the teacher informed the class that the rough draft was due in the morning. “Holy cow! It’s due tomorrow?” I said.

After school, I visited a few friends, ate dinner, and watched TV. It was now nearly bedtime. No more goofing off. I sat down and began to write. The information flowed. I clearly needed more research sources, so I interviewed military experts born mere minutes ago. But hey, Colonial Imagination was still a source. I wrote thirty pages – somehow. And I got a good grade in the class. After all, no one had more expert sources than I did. 

I should have known then that writing was in my future, but it would be more than two decades before I discovered a passion for writing.

Tell us a little about your book, I Called Him Dancer.

For a moment, Michael danced on top of the world, but one bad choice turned his life upside down. The once promising Broadway star now washes windows for tips and lives among the homeless. When his former dance partner recognizes him behind the fray of whiskers, shame drives him away from her. Angry at God and the world, the Dancer refuses to allow anyone into his life. When everything is stripped away, three things remain: faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love.

I Called Him Dancer is a story about how one woman’s enduring faith and unconditional love drives her to reach out to a homeless friend, who has given up on life.

Who is your favorite character in I Called Him Dancer?

The character that inspired me the most is Kenyon. Many readers have stated the same. He’s human, struggling to do what is right, and lives by a genuine faith. At times he wrestles between what he knows God wants him to do, and what he wants. Kenyon is down to earth, not preachy, yet his life has an impact on others.

In the story I tried to present Christianity in an honest light. Many who claim to be Christians show hypocrisy and drive others (like the Dancer) away from the faith. This is a real problem in the Christian culture. Kenyon shows what sincere faith looks like. He’s far from perfect, but his simple faith impacts those around him. Kenyon’s sincerity is something the Dancer can’t understand and it piques his curiosity. 

What would you like your readers to take away from this novel?

I want people to look at the reality of how faith impacts the world around us. Hypocrisy is being pretentious about faith, and there is a difference between failure and hypocritical behavior. Christians shouldn’t feel dejected when they fail. It’s part of this life of reaching upward.

Also, we all know someone who appears hopeless and hostile toward God, but we don’t know what the Lord is doing behind the scenes. Ultimately, hope is what everyone should take away. Hope that readers are not alone in their struggles. Hope that our lives can make an impact – even with our imperfections. Finally, hope that the people we care about are never out of God’s reach.

How can readers get in touch with you?

You can flash a light on the clouds that says, ‘Free chicken fingers,’ and I’ll play Batman music and come running. Some people prefer the simpler route of connecting with me on Twitter @eddiesnipes. My Facebook username is eddiesnipes. It might seem like a strange coincidence, but my LinkedIn name is also eddiesnipes. Even more crazy is my website: http://www.eddiesnipes.com. On each of these, I just closed my eyes and typed out random keys. I might have peeked on a few letters. You can get the book through online bookstores or your local Christian bookstores. 

 I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speaker Services (www.ChristianSpeakerServices.com).