Tuesday, December 30, 2008

An Irishwoman's Tale

Title: AN IRISHWOMAN’S TALE
Author: Patti Lacy
Publisher: Kregel Publications
2008
ISBN: 978-0-8254-2987-3
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Mary Freeman isn’t happy, despite the family farm, her loving husband, and her two beautiful daughters. Instead she is haunted by the voices in her head. Voices from her past, when she was a five-year-old living in Ireland. When a new friend, Sally, forces Mary to face her past after a crisis in Mary’s youngest daughter’s life, Mary travels to Ireland to discover the truth about her past.

When five, Mary was forced to leave her family and was taken on a plane, across the ocean to the United States, where she was raised by an adoptive mother. Mary now cares for her adoptive mother in her home, but she is confused why her mother is cold toward her. What Mary discovers in Ireland will force her face-to-face with God.

AN IRISHWOMAN’S TALE is based on a true story which makes it all the more interesting. There are two stories in one in this book, one of a little girl who tragically gets her heart broken, and one of a grown woman with a life of her own who is bitter, and struggling to understand why. This debut novel is strong and powerfully written and will stay with the reader for a long time to come.

Ms. Lacy’s voice is perfect for this tale, as we travel across the Emerald isle to Ireland—and back again. When you pick up AN IRISHWOMAN’S TALE, make sure you brew yourself a cup of Irish Breakfast tea, and settle in a cozy seat. Once you start this book, you won’t want to put it down. I’m looking forward to reading more by this talented new author. 311 pages. $13.99

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Case of the Bouncing Grandma

Title: THE CASE OF THE BOUNCING GRANDMA
Author: A. K. Arenz
Publisher: Sheaf House
2008
ISBN: 978-0-978-0-9797485
Genre: Inspirational/ Cozy Mystery

Glory Harper is reduced to spending time in a wheelchair, due to a skateboarding accident which caused a three car pile-up, and a broken bone. Now, her amusement seems to be focused on watching her new neighbors move in. She certainly doesn’t expect to see a foot dangling out of the end of a rolled up carpet. The trouble is that no one believes her. Not her sister, Jane, or even the cute detective that was sent out to investigate the case…but seems more interested in Glory than the foot in the carpet.

When Glory learns that the people who moved in next door had won the lottery and had millions of dollars, she was even more confused why they would move themselves, move into her neighborhood, and buy used furniture. And what about the stipulation in her former neighbor’s will that the house could only go to family members?

The more Glory learns, the more she’s convinced that she’s stumbled into something much more complicated than simply getting new neighbors. But how can she convince the police that she really did see a body—well, a foot? And has she made enough enemies in her snooping to put her life in danger?

THE CASE OF THE BOUNCING GRANDMA is the first published novel by talented writer, A. K. Arenz. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Glory and her family, and the mystery had me completely from page one. It certainly is a unique twist, having the heroine confined to a wheelchair and yet stumbling across a mystery simply by watching the neighborhood.

There were some thinly veiled slams in this book toward the home school community, but as Glory was a teacher, it was probably just her opinion. I couldn’t help but root for the gutsy Glory as she attempted to convince her family she really wasn’t insane, ward off romantic advances from the handsome detective, and keep her sense of humor intact. Parts of the book were laugh out loud funny. A sample of Ms. Arenz’s next mystery A Case of the Mystified M.D. is included at the end of the book. $12.99. 261 pages.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Not-So-Simple Life

Title: A NOT-SO-SIMPLE LIFE
Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: Multnomah Books
July 2008
ISBN: 978-1-60142-117-3
Genre: Inpsirational/youth

To the casual observer, Maya Stark would appear to live an enviable life. A mansion in Beverly Hills, a Mom who lets her do whatever, and a Dad who is a star. But appearances are deceiving. The house has been mortgaged so much, it’s unclear who owns it. Maya’s parents are divorced. And money? Well, what little there is funds Maya’s mother’s drug addiction.

Out of self-desperation, Maya goes “green.” She grows her own garden. It beats starving! And she takes a job to pay for the items she must buy. But when Maya’s mother vanishes for several days on end, it paves the way for Maya suddenly finding herself living with relatives. A biracial child, Maya is struggling with identity problems anyway. Will living with relatives help her find the answers she’s desperately seeking?

A NOT-SO-SIMPLE LIFE is book one in the Diary of a Teenage Girl—Maya series. I sympathized entirely with Maya, and grew to know and love her through the pages of her diary. In spite of her lifestyle, Maya is real, someone that any mother with a heart wants to reach out and love on, and a girl that teens and preteens will relate with.

I was a bit irritated at the implication in the pages that only dead-beats would home school their children, but that was Maya’s thoughts, because her mother is a dead-beat and that was a reason Maya was forced out of school. Otherwise, the book is extremely well-written, deals with realistic gritty subjects as only Melody Carlson can, and held my interest. Don’t miss A NOT-SO-SIMPLE LIFE. Perfect for your favorite preteen or teen girl. $12.99. 248 pages.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Sweetwater Gap

Title: SWEETWATER GAP
Author: Denise Hunter
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
December 2008
ISBN: 9781595542595
Genre: Inspirational/romance

Josie Mitchell fled from the memories of her hometown years earlier. Rejected by her father, and feeling guilty over the death of their farm manager’s son, Josie left home at eighteen and never returned. Not even for her father’s funeral. But now, her sister Laurel is about to deliver twins, and Laurel’s husband, Nate, thinks Josie should go home, carry her weight on the farm, and spare Laurel the work. Plus, he hopes Josie will be able to talk Laurel into listing the orchard for sale.

Grady Mackenzie isn’t too thrilled with the arrangements. The last thing he needs is a troublesome woman showing up, telling him how to do his job, and then running back to the city. And Josie is everything he fears. Trouble. But Josie doesn’t try to tell Grady how to do his job, and she helps the migrant workers pick apples—except they are picking circles around her. Is she out of shape, or is it something more? And what will it take to bring Josie home for good?

I was looking forward to reading SWEETWATER GAP so was glad when I received a copy in the mail to review. The book was everything I imagined. I could almost smell the scent of the apples and taste the crispness as I read this book. Grady is a wonderfully delicious hero, the stuff of dreams. Josie had a lot of baggage to work through, but one couldn’t help but cheer for her, relate to her, and even want to throttle her.

The faith message really wasn’t as strong as I would have liked. That was resolved entirely too quickly and really didn’t have the resolution I would have liked. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and every moment spent reading it. Make sure you pick up your own copy of SWEETWATER GAP, and a bag of apples to enjoy with it. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $14.99. 320 pages.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas newsletter...

December 2008

Dear Friends and Family:

Music school, for two weeks in June. Michael took piano, Loundy guitar.

Earned driver’s license gives Michael driving privileges. Stay off the roads!

Rinsing dishes, oh what fun. Michael took a second job as a dishwasher

Realization that hurricanes are really quite violent in Arkansas…sometimes.

Young children celebrated birthdays, Jenna is six and Kaeli is three.


Cancer and chemo touch our life with the diagnosis of breast cancer.

Homeschool goes on, with two Juniors and three in grades below.

Rebuilding the deck was good construction experience for my guys. Nice job!

Irene, my mom’s sister, goes to her eternal reward in May.

Steve earns Team Worker of the Year Award at his job! Bravo!!!

Tire blowout on the way to a pulpit supply church showed God’s still working miracles

Mail – packages, cards, letters and more. What wonderful surprises were in store!

As always, Loundy is the dishwasher at K's Kitchen. Called in for extra shifts.

Saddles may never be the same with Michael working for a Saddle Shop.


With love,

The Hiltons

Steve, Laura, Loundy, Michael, Kristin, Jenna and Kaeli

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

O Little Town

Title: O LITTLE TOWN
Author: Don Reid
Publisher: David C. Cook
October 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4347-9930-2
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary


A small town isn’t exactly picture perfect. Not even in 1958.

Buddy is struggling. His old lover has moved back to town and while he hasn’t engaged in a physical affair, he’s in the midst of an emotional one. His wife and daughter have struggles too, especially when Buddy’s sixteen year old daughter announces she’s pregnant and wants to keep her baby.

Millie, the pastor’s daughter, has been caught shoplifting. While she’s belligerent to the police officer and the store owner, she acts like a wronged angel to her mother, Dove. Dove doesn’t quite know what to think. Is Millie actually being mistreated by the town? Or is it a cry for attention from an angry teen? Dove is unhappy in this town anyway, and is pushing her husband to find a new pastorate.

Walter is dying, but he has his daughter’s and his memories. Are they enough on his last Christmas on earth?

O LITTLE TOWN is written by a famed songwriter, Don Reid, of the Statler Brothers. O LITTLE TOWN is his first novel. I didn’t see much in the story that was inspirational, except for the fact that it contained a pastor’s family, yet it is being promoted as a Christian book. The novel definitely has all the makings of a country song. Illness. Marriage. Bad decisions. Friendship.

Set just two days before Christmas, we go with the three main families through their trials and memories, watching to see how they pan out. We can’t help but cheer for some of the characters, yet at the same time want to throttle them. O LITTLE TOWN is a perfect book for a Christmas read. Available in hardcover, it’s also great for gift-giving. $16.99 hardcover. 256 pages.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

An Uncertain Dream

Title: AN UNCERTAIN DREAM
Author: Judith Miller
Publisher: Bethany House Books
2008
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0278-0
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Olivia Mott is lucky to be employed. Pullman Car Works employees have gone on strike due to unfairly high rent and extremely low wages, and thousands of families are starving when the father isn’t even making enough to pay the rent. Olivia’s friend, Fred DeVault is asked to act as a delegate to the national convention of the American Railway union, but delegates vote for a boycott of the Pullman sleeping cars. How will this affect Olivia’s and Fred’s growing relationship?

Lady Charlotte Spencer is faced with tragedy when traveling to England to reunite with her parents. With no other options open, Lady Charlotte decides to return to Chicago to hopefully restart life. However, interest from reporter Matthew Clayborn makes Lady Charlotte wonder if he’s only interested in her for the information she knows.

AN UNCERTAIN DREAM is book three in the Postcards from Pullman’s series. Readers will want to read the three books in order, and I would recommend, close together. I’ve read the two books prior to this one in the series, but it’s been awhile been books, and I struggled to remember what happened in the earlier books, leaving me feeling rather lost for a while in AN UNCERTAIN DREAM. However, once I got into the story, and it had progressed enough past the previous happenings, I began to enjoy it more.

Ms. Miller has a reputation as a author who does her research, so it was fascinating reading about the strike of the Pullman Car Works. The story is set tin a real town that has a Pullman museum. Yummy sounding recipes are included at the end of the book. Don’t miss AN UNCERTAIN DREAM. It provides a glimpse into America’s history and provides entertainment as well. $13.99. 376 pages.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Beautiful Fall

Title: A BEAUTIFUL FALL
Author: Chris Coppernoll
Publisher: David C Cook
October 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4347-6852-0
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Attorney Emma Madison doesn’t have time to celebrate her latest courtroom victory—instead she gets a phone call from the past—a place she ran from twelve years earlier and hasn’t gone back to since. Emma’s father has had a serious heart attack and may not survive long enough for Emma tot get home.

Emma drops everything and flies from Boston, down to Juneberry, SC, and rushes to her dad’s bedside. Her dad did survive surgery, but he was going to need more than just a weekend trip from Emma.

When Emma sees Michael Evans, the past merges into the present. Michael was the one Emma planned to marry once upon a time—before law school and her big city career took over her dreams. Now Michael is a construction worker in Junesberry, and he’s prepared to pick up his friendship with Emma where they left off. Will Emma chose her successful law career in Boston—or the love she left behind?

A BEAUTIFUL FALL is the first story I’ve read by Chris Coppernoll. I can’t really say that A BEAUTIFUL FALL is a well-written story. It starts out in the narrator’s point of view, and proceeds to “head-hop” all the way through. I also felt that some of the situations seemed a bit contrived.

I didn’t see much of a faith message in A BEAUTIFUL FALL, but it does have plenty of down-home flavor and closeness of family and friends, even if the family hasn’t been “close” in the twelve years separation. There is also some interesting court room scenes. $13.99. 304 pages.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Killing Frost

Title: A KILLING FROST
Author: Hannah Alexander
Publisher: Steeple Hill Books
January 2009
ISBN: 978-0-373-78640-4
Genre: Inspirational/suspense

Dr. Jama Keith is haunted by a terrible secret. She never wanted to return to her hometown of River Dance, Missouri, but now she must, risking exposure. River Dance has financed her dreams of becoming a doctor, now she owes the community a debt of gratitude. If only she could avoid her former boyfriend, Tyrell Mercer.

When Tyrell’s niece, Doriann, is kidnapped by two of the FBI’s most wanted, notorious killers, Jama can’t refuse to help. After all, she’s been closely involved with Terell and his family for years. Will Tyrell and Jama find Doriann before its too late, or will the danger cost Tyrell and Jama the ultimate price—their lives?

A KILLING FROST is the first book in Hannah Alexander’s newest series with Steeple Hill, A River Dance series. Full of medical terms and page turning suspense, Hannah Alexander fans will not be disappointed.

I enjoyed getting to know Jama and the other characters in the book, and getting to know a new community in Missouri. As always, Ms. Alexander’s characters are expertly developed and three dimensional. Don’t miss A KILLING FROST. $13.95. 368 pages.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society

Title: THE SWEETGUM KNIT LIT SOCIETY
Author: Beth Pattillo
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
2008
ISBN: 978-1-4000-7394-8
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Hannah is thirteen years old, and already a problem child. When the town librarian, Eugenie, catches Hannah defacing a knitting book, it doesn’t take long for her to sentence the sullen teenager to community service time at the library after school, and into joining the knit lit club that meets in the basement of the church once a month. Hannah isn’t at all happy about the arrangement, but it beats hanging out at home where her mom doesn’t even know she exists, or making out with some loser in the cemetery.

Each of the members of the knit lit society have their own sets of problems. Esther’s husband is in love with Esther’s sister, Ruthie. Merry is having a baby—and she feels she’s losing herself. Camille’s mother is dying. And Ruthie isn’t sure what to do. Live a life she despise or run.

As Hannah is stitched into their lives, the women discover that they can still be the heroines of their own stories.

I wasn’t real sure what to expect from THE SWEETGUM KNIT LIT SOCIETY, but it wasn’t what I got. I didn’t expect these ladies from a knitting group to reach out and enfold me into their stories, their lives, and their midst. I thoroughly fell in love with each one of the main characters, and couldn’t help but feeling for them. Even Esther’s husband won my heart. I almost wished I knew how to knit so I could join these ladies once a month.

I was real sorry when this book ended. I loved the hint of happiness that the book ended with for some of the characters, but wished I knew for sure what happened in some situations. I loved this story and hope that I can read more about these characters sometime in the future. This book is a heartwarming book that will draw you in and let you snuggle in the warmth of the knitted shawls and friendship. Discussion questions and instructions for a basic shawl are included at the end of the book. $13.99. 335 pages.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Little Girl

Title: MY LITTLE GIRL
Authors: Tim McGraw and Tom Douglas
Illustrator: Julia Davis
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
2008
ISBN: 978-1-4003-1321-1
Genre: Inspirational/childrens

Katie is excited when her daddy promises her a spectacular day out, just the two of them. Katie envisions all kinds of fun things, a trip to the Jungles of Africa, a royal ball, or maybe even the ballet. So, Katie dresses for everything! A tiara and a ball gown, tights and a tutu and jungle boots.

When Daddy announces that they aren’t doing anything special, Katie is stunned. What could be fun about just running boring errands with Daddy. But the co-op has baby bunnies and chickens, and then they spend time cloud gazing and swinging on a tire swing. Katie learns that a day doesn’t have to be spend doing exotic things, when it’s spent with Daddy.

MY LITTLE GIRL is a charming picture book with adorable colored pictures that my little girls, ages three and six, immediately fell in love with. The wording is engaging and the story line is sure to be a winner with any family. At the end of the story are lines available for you to write your own special Daddy/daughter story.

I really think MY LITTLE GIRL is a winner for families with small little girls. They will enjoy hearing about Katie and what she and her daddy do for outings and comparing it to their special times with their dads. This book will make an excellent book to wrap and put under the tree for a special little girl in your life. $16.99 hardcover.

My Little Girl:http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/custom/top20/My_Little_Girl_Tim_McGraw_Tom_Douglas.asp

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Home Another Way

Title: HOME ANOTHER WAY
Author: Christa Parrish
Publisher: Bethany House
2008
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0523-1
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Sarah Graham is broke. She hates her father for killing her mother, and is determined to get his money when he dies, without living out the terms of his will. His will is unfair anyway. He wants her to live in a nowhere town of Jonah, New York, for six months in a cabin that has been boarded up for years.

Sarah’s arrival in town in par for the course. In twenty-four hours, her car is stolen and she wakes up in a stranger’s bed. But the inn keeper and her grown children are accepting of her, and in spite of herself, Sarah begins to have feelings for the town pastor, Jack. A man who will have nothing to do with her.

Will Sarah learn that her memories of the past–and plans for the future–are subject to God’s plans?

HOME ANOTHER WAY is the debut novel by Christa Parrish. Sarah is a rude, obnoxious woman at the beginning of the story and I wasn’t real impressed with her. In fact, I couldn’t relate to her at all, she is everything I am not. The town people on the other hand are expertly developed, Ms. Parrish nailed the small town well.

The story is well written, and the faith message is good. I wanted to find something to like about Sarah, so I kept reading, and hoped that she would become someone nicer and maybe even find a place where she belonged. The ending of the book was a huge disappointment to me. I looked, but couldn’t find any information on a sequel. Ms. Parrish is a talented writer, though, so we will be sure to see more books from her in the future. This book is not your normal perfect story, so if you are looking for a definitely imperfect heroine, then pick up HOME ANOTHER WAY. $13.99. 350 pages.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lying on Sunday

Title: LYING ON SUNDAY
Author: Sharon K. Souza
Publisher: NavPress
2008
ISBN: 978-1-60006-176-9
Genre: Inspirational/Women’s fiction

Abbie Torrington has lacked for nothing. A loving husband, two beautiful, intelligent daughters, a dream house. Her youngest daughter, Becca, is celebrating her eighteenth birthday and leaving in a few days for college, and Abbie is gearing up for the empty nest. And waiting for her husband, Trey, to return from a business trip to Dallas.

But Trey never returns. Instead, Abbie gets a phone call stating that her husband died of a heart attack—in another woman’s arms. And not even a half hour after she receives notice of her husband’s death, she is served with divorce papers. Abbie had no idea that anything was wrong with her marriage. Abbie is desperate to protect her children from news about her husband’s infidelity, and to somehow find healing.

LYING ON SUNDAY is a second novel by new author Sharon K. Souza, and it is a winner. Abbie is a real character, so real that I felt as if I’d stepped into her life and was living the story out right beside her. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Abbie, and the secondary characters, and to fight for survival right along side them.

With Abbie not being a religious person, I wasn’t sure about how the faith message would play out. However, it was expertly woven in and wasn’t preachy. The California setting is expertly woven into the story. I loved Abbie’s best friend, Shawlie, and Abbie’s sweet daughter, Becca. The only thing I didn’t love about this story is that it ended. I wanted to keep reading and find out what happened…with Shawlie, with Abbie’s oldest daughter, Bailey, with Abbie… I hope this author has a sequel in the works. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. 427 pages.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Skid

Title: SKID
Author: Rene Gutteridge
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
2008
ISBN: 978-1-4000-7159-3
Genre: Inspirational/humor

First Officer Danny McSweeney should have realized that the Atlantica Flight 1945 from Atlanta to Amsterdam was going to be anything but normal. After all, he will be co-piloting with an eccentric female captain, and the lead flight attendant has an attitude that exceeds the limits for carry-on baggage.

But that weren’t the only warnings. Add a woman with a disability and a “Seeing-Eye” Pig. A man who apparently has stomach ulcers, and an unexpected airline inspector. If these things aren’t enough, what else could possibly go wrong on a trans-Atlantic flight?

SKID is the third book in The Occupational Hazards series, but it easily stands alone. This book was laugh out loud funny at times. The faith message is expertly woven in and isn’t preachy.

I enjoyed getting to know the different characters, and seeing how they interacted and reacted to different situations. Ms. Gutteridge is an excellent writer who knows how to use the unexpected and turn it into a page-turner. Bravo. You want to read this book—especially before you board a plane into the unfriendly skies. $12.99. 325 pages.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Wiles of Watermelon

Title: THE WILES OF WATERMELON
Author: Lynette Sowell
Publisher: Heartsong Presents Mysteries
2008
ISBN: 978-1-60260-072-0
Genre: Inspirational/cozy mystery

Andi Hartley has married Ben, the man of her dreams, and is ready to settle into life on their newly acquired farmland. Someone had planted watermelons in their field, and when Andi’s cat, Spot, escapes, Andi chases her to the watermelon field and finds a skeletal finger, still attached to the hand…

The bones turn out to belong to Andi’s Aunt Jewel, a woman believed to have run away with her boyfriend over thirty years earlier. The very next day, Ben’s boss turns up dead. Ben is considered a suspect, because he is the one who discovers the body. Andi knows her husband wouldn’t have killed his boss, and she is convinced that the crime was done by someone who holds the secrets to what happened to Aunt Jewel all those years earlier. Is Andi about to unearth a murderer?

THE WILES OF WATERMELON is the second book in Lynette’s A Scents of Murder Mystery series, but it easily stands alone. I enjoyed reconnecting with Andi and getting to know her and the other characters a little better. Usually I have no trouble figuring out who-dun-it early on, but this time I figured out who-dun-it, but not who that person really was. It made for an interesting twist.

The faith message is rather weak, but still present, and I don’t really feel all the strands were neatly tied up at the end of this book. I still have some questions about what happened. However, it was an enjoyable read and I am looking forward to the third and final book in this series. $6.95. 254 pages.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cry in the Night

Title: CRY IN THE NIGHT
Author: Colleen Coble
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
February 2009
ISBN: 9781595542489
Genre: Inspirational/suspense

Bree Matthew doesn’t know what to think when her eight-year-old son, Davy, says he’s seen a Windigo bury a baby in the snow. He swears the Windigo looks exactly like his deceased father, Rob. Bree had hoped that Davy would have gotten past missing his real dad, especially since Kade was trying to adopt Davy.

When several babies in the area go missing, officials worry that a black market ring selling babies is in the area. A couple women in the small northern Michigan community are murdered, and when looking for a missing woman, Bree discovers not only the woman, dead, but also a baby hidden in the snow. The baby is still alive.

Bree takes the baby into her home, hoping that the relatives will never be found and the baby will be hers forever. But as Bree searches for the real parents she uncovers unsettling information that the baby is tied to what happened to her first husband. The shock waves could shatter her marriage to Kade.

CRY IN THE NIGHT is the fourth book in the popular Rock Harbor series set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I loved this series the best of all the books Colleen Coble wrote, so I was excited that the series is being continued.

It was nice to revisit Bree and Kade and the residents in this small Lake Superior town on the Keweenaw Peninsula. The faith message is expertly woven in. The suspense wasn’t really that great, I had figured out what was going on and who was behind it within a few chapters. Don’t miss CRY IN THE NIGHT. It is a book you will not want to miss, especially if you’ve read the others in the series. $14.99. 304 pages.

Friday, December 12, 2008

See You in the Funny Pages

Title: SEE YOU IN THE FUNNY PAGES
Author: Pam Kumpe
Publisher: Smith Street
November 2008
ISBN: 978-0-615-24326-9
Genre: Inspirational/humor

SEE YOU IN THE FUNNY PAGES is a humorous look at life. With humor laced in with the realism, Ms. Kumpe addresses the issues that all of us face in day to day life, whether it is being stuck in traffic with no air conditioning, a car that is spluttering and smells like burnt rubber, or yawning in church.

The chapters each contain one story, and are short and easy to read in short breaks. Using everyday situations, Ms. Kumpe teaches us how to respond as Jesus would.

Chapter titles include:

. Where are the Missionaries?
. The Back-Seat Driver
. Firefly for God
. Lost, but Now I’m Found
. Stealing Baby Jesus
. Plus much more…

I enjoyed reading through this book and highly recommend SEE YOU IN THE FUNNY PAPERS for anyone needing a little bit of humor in their day. This book is sure to spread cheer around. Pick up a copy for yourself and a friend today! $14.99. 202 pages.

IMPORTANT LINKS:
See You in the Funny Papers on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0615243266
Pam Kumpe’s Website: http://pamkumpe.com/
Pam Kumpe’s Blog: http://www.pamkumpe.blogspot.com/
Subscribe to Pam’s Daybreak Devotionals: http://archives.zinester.com/17382
See You in the Funny Papers Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/v/DAT50KRqYU0
Follow Pam on Twitter: http://twitter.com/pamkumpe
List of all participating bloggers: http://blogtourspot.com/Kumpe-blog-tour/Kumpe-blog-tour-stops

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Personality Predicaments


Title: Personality Predicaments: Smore Seed Packet
Enriching the lives of single moms
http://www.smoreforwomen.org/
2008
Author: Gail Cawley Showalter

Parents have always found it difficult to know what they are doing when they find themselves responsible for a new little life, but when you are a single mom, things are suddenly doubly difficult. You see a maze of duties that you must accomplish every day. Time passes, children grow, and you merely exist.

Even though you may not think you have time to find out who you really are, Ms. Showalter maintains that you do have a distinct personality, and you need to decide what type personality you are in order to get the most from your life, your relationships, your work environment, etc. The book rather lightly dips into the Littauer model, to identify the four personality types: Popular Sanguine, Powerful Choleric, Perfect Melancholy, and Peaceful Phlegmatic. It is general agreed that individuals have a dominant personality style with a blend of a secondary style. If you find yourself making choices and then wondering why, your personality profile will reveal the answers.

The booklet doesn’t really go into a lot of detail about the personality types, but does give some interesting examples that some mothers might use to reach their children without spending a lot of money. It also has a lot of real life stories from women who rose above their circumstances to do something outstanding.

Personality Predicaments really doesn’t seem to be written with thought – sometimes the topic shifts are rather disruptive and pulls the reader out. But even if you are not a single mom, but instead either a working married mom, or a stay at home mom, there are a lot of aha moments in the book where you think, what a great idea! This booklet is great as a study guide for women’s groups, MOPS groups, or other discussion groups. Information is included on how to order the booklets in this packet for your group, or what other topics they offer. Visit the website at: http://www.smoreforwomen.org/




Opening
Thank you for the opportunity to share my passion for single mothers. In the United States, alone, there are over ten million mothers raising children alone. Over one third of them live in poverty. After years of being on my own as a mother of three, I came to realize how little is done in our communities and churches for this group of children with absent fathers and women with no husbands. The vast majority does not attend church, but our neighborhoods are filled with single moms.
I’ve created and implemented, along with an eleven member board, a detailed plan for encouraging, inspiring, and blessing single mothers. If you have ever wondered what you could do to make a difference for even one of the moms, this is the answer. It is easy, inexpensive, and exceedingly worthwhile.

Interview Questions

You have established a ministry plan for single mothers. What motivated you to do this?
For sixteen years I was a divorced mother with three children. I was fortunate to have family support and yet the disappointment, emotional pain, and daily difficulties were devastating. I’m happily remarried now for twelve years and my passion for the over the ten million single mothers remain strong.

Why do you think a ministry plan is needed?
Single mothers have a difficult time day-in, day-out. I think churches want to provide supportive programs for them, but –though there are some successful ministries—much still needs to be done to minister to single moms. Often what you see on the outside doesn’t reveal the heartache and fear she is experiencing on the inside. Church leader I’ve spoken with have expressed genuine interest in implementing this plan.

What do you call the ministry?
SMORE for Women. SMORE is an acronym for Spiritual Ministry Offering ReTREATs and Encouragement. Our program assists churches in providing Saturday reTREATs in a home or intimate church environment.

What is the ultimate goal of SMORE for Women?
Our mission is to inspire and encourage women, especially single mothers, to discover and develop their abilities and inner strengths. Ultimately I hope to see churches across the country implement these programs. And in the process develop ongoing programs and activities for single mothers in their communities.

How do you convey this information to church leaders who want to provide a program for single moms?
The plan is laid out in detail in print in a guidebook titled Encouraging Single Moms to Grow Their Strengths and with forms on CD’s. I serve as a facilitator when a church implements their first reTREAT.

Tell us why you prefer that the reTREATs be in homes?
Homes provide an intimate, friendly, and non-intimidating environment. Homes also have the amenities for several of the pampering areas. A reTREAT can also take place in a church or other facility.

What do you mean by pampering areas?
At each reTREAT each mom is treated in several areas. Depending on the home she may use a hot tub or swimming pool. She will receive a brief massage, and even have a quiet private prayer time.

Is there any charge or fee to the church for you as a facilitator?
I am available as a facilitator via long distance conference calls. For as long as I can I only ask for a love offering which helps sustain my expenses. If I must travel a long distance I ask for travel expenses. AND if a reTREAT date is on the 2009 calendar by January I will facilitate (via long distance) free of charge. The guidebooks are $20 and each of the Seed Packet booklets for the moms is $10.

What are the costs of implementing a reTREAT?
There is a nominal budget. It is similar to hosting a dinner party. Usually the volunteer hostesses contribute food. Church members donate gifts and invitations can be printed on a home computer, ordered, or printed at church. The ministry is a collaborative endeavor. Our reTREATs are very small with only six to twelve guests.

Are all reTREATs the same?
A. No. We have eight themes for encouraging moms to discover her inner strengths.
They are
· Personality Predicaments
· Money Matters
· Bonding and Boundaries
· Job Jump Starts
· Dating Do’s
· Nutrition and Manners Matter
· Family Fun
· Grieving a Loss.

Where can we go for more information about the SMORE for Women ministry?
A. We have a web site which is http://www.smoreforwomen.org/ and a blog which is http://www.seeinguthrough.wordpress.com/.

Closing
A Retreat can be hosted by a small group of compassionate women. The guidebook, Encouraging Single Mothers to Grow Their Strengths, includes step-by-step guidance for planning and hosting a reTREAT. Once you’ve experienced one Saturday reTREAT filled with joy you will want to plan another and another. In the process you will get acquainted with some remarkable women and you might inspire them as they see Christ in you. Please visit SMORE for Women at http://www.smoreforwomen.org/.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Bell Messenger

Title: THE BELL MESSENGER
Author: Robert Cornuke with Alton Gansky
Publisher: Howard Books
September 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4165-4981-9
Genre: Inspirational/thriller

Gary Brandon’s uncle gave Gary a strange graduation gift, an old Bible and some trinkets that he allegedly unearthed in a cave in Saudi Arabia. As Gary starts thumbing through the Bible, he discovers that it originally belonged to one Elijah Bell, a young fourteen year old boy who was killed in the Civil War by a Union soldier. A letter in the Bible says that the Bible was given to Jeremiah Tate, the man who killed Elijah.

Jeremiah Tate takes the Bible with him to California after the war, and discovers that the Bible gives live and saves lives. The history of this Bible will take you to the building of the Pacific Railroad, to the holding of Chinese slaves in California, to the trenches of World War I. As Gary Brandon researches the history of the Bible, he will learn of the lives the Bible has saved, the deaths it has caused, and the history it has changed forever.

THE BELL MESSENGER is a fascinating account of a path that one Bible took and the lives it changed. I enjoyed some parts of the book more than others, Jeremiah Tate was a fascinating person to read about, as was a character named Frederick Von Scherling. I enjoyed reading this book and getting to know the characters and as well as the history behind the Bible. The ending kind of disappointed me a little. Parts of it was good, but part of it just seemed wrong.

If you are someone interested in the history of Bibles, then THE BELL MESSENGER is a book you will want to read. I was interested to discover if this was based on a true story or simply the product of the author’s imagination, but I couldn’t find anything out about that when I visited Mr. Gansky’s website. Mr. Cornuke’s website is still being developed. I understand that a second novel by Mr. Cornuke will be coming out sometime some time in 2009, but I couldn’t find any information on that either. Don’t miss THE BELL MESSENGER. It is a fascinating read, but does have considerable violence—and if it were a movie, it would be rated R for violence. 304 pages. $12.99

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Controlling Interest

Title: CONTROLLING INTEREST
Author: Elizabeth White
Publisher: Zondervan
2008
ISBN: 978-0-310-27305-9
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

Matt Hogan thought that having someone invest in his detective agency would be a wise step and keep him from going bankrupt. Instead, the wealthy businessman who invests, as a tax write-off, also sends his daughter in to work as partner in the business. A partner wasn’t what Matt had in mind. Especially not a fresh out of criminal justice school clerk.

Natalie Tubberville knows she can make it in detective work, but the police force won’t give her a chance. So she is thrilled when her father buys a struggling detective agency and puts her in place as a partner. Especially when the first case is a run-away bride case and her groom and family are desperate to find her.

When Natalie and Matt are hot on the bride’s trail, they discover that the case is nothing as simple as pre-wedding nerves. Instead, it is a matter of international importance.

I’ve read all of Ms. White’s books, since her first, and I’ve loved every one so far. CONTROLLING INTEREST is no different. Strong characterization, unique situations, and a setting that is so expertly developed, and so important to the plot that it takes on a life of it’s own.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Natalie and Matt and their distinct personalities, and the case as they chased after the bride. Even the secondary characters were extremely well developed. Don’t miss CONTROLLING INTEREST or any of Ms. White’s books. You won’t be disappointed. $13.99. 324 pages.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Forgotten Gospel

Title: A FORGOTTEN GOSPEL
Author: Mark McGrath with Pat Russo
Publisher: Field’s Pond Publishing
2008
ISBN: 978-0-9790362-0-0
Genre: Inspirational/nonfiction/Evangelism

Does witnessing people make you feel inadequate, unprepared, or nervous? Are you worried about alienating friends and relatives so you avoid mentioning your faith? If so, then A FORGOTTEN GOSPEL is for you.

Mark McGrath maintains that ten percent of people are willing to go out and witness, street evangelism, or whatever means they can. They other ninety percent are scared. Forcing them on the community is usually disastrous to the unbeliever as well as the believer. So how does one who doesn’t have the gift of evangelism reach out to his co-workers, friends, and relatives?

In A FORGOTTEN GOSPEL, Mark McGrath takes the principles he talks about in his seminars and has them in printed form in order to reach a wider audience. You will learn to use an easily remembered, flexible approach to effectively communicate the good news.

Readers of A FORGOTTEN GOSPEL will no longer worry about what to say or how to say it. If they apply what they learn in the pages of this book, they will be ready to clearly and confidently share their faith without worry of alienation. With only 72 pages of easily read text, this book won’t take long to work through. Pick up a copy for you are a loved one today.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Other Side of Darkness

Title: THE OTHER SIDE OF DARKNESS
Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: Multnomah
2008
ISBN: 978-1-4000-7081-7
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Ruth seems to have the perfect life. But in reality she suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and a desperate need to belong. Ruth’s husband is upset that Ruth seems to give so much time, money, and energy to their church and the Christian School, but since Ruth doesn’t want her children to fall into evil, she believes it’s all necessary to protect them.

As the church starts drifting further and further from the truth, Ruth is caught up in the current of cultism. And Ruth’s family ends up threatened to be torn apart by the very thing that should have held it together.

THE OTHER SIDE OF DARKNESS is another powerful read by Melody Carlson. She is known for writing potentially edgy fiction and as such is a hit and miss author for me as some of the edgy stuff is also very depressing.

THE OTHER SIDE OF DARKNESS is an especially difficult one, and as such may be considered one of her most influential ones, since it deals with cultism and OCD. Ms. Carlson definitely has the ability to write realistic characters, settings, and trials, and her books are guaranteed to be a good read – if you can handle the extreme realism in your fiction. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $13.99. 383 pages.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Unpretty

Title: UNPRETTY
Author: Sharon Carter Rogers
Publisher: Howard Books
September 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4165-6649-6
Genre: Inspirational/suspense

Lehigh. West Virginia, is facing the insidious threat of a sadist cult bent on eliminating all “unpretty” things in the world. (from the back cover)

Eight people are killed when a bomb goes off at the Conklin Art Gallery when a Michelangelo exhibit is on display there. Aspiring artist, Hummingbird Collins, is the only witness to see the bomber and now she is receiving threatening cassette recordings fill with the ramblings of a madman.

The madman, known only as Number 26, leads a cult known as the Michelangelus Movement, which has been known to kidnap and torture people for use in their bizarre artistic experiments.

Hummingbird is afraid to speak, but eventually she does share her news with her brother, a police officer, Detective Buck Barnes, and another friend, Ready Robinson. But then Hummingbird is abducted. Will her family and friends have any idea where to look?

UNPRETTY is a rather scary book based in the world of art, and cults. I am not really into books this frightening being a member of the “chicken club” so I really can’t say that I am the best person to review this book. As a quote says in the beginning of the story, “There is a monster at the end of this book. Oh, I am so scared! Please do not turn the page. Please, please, please…” (Jon Stone)

I found the reference of characters by numbers instead of names rather confusing. I also thought the faith message was rather weak. UNPRETTY is not really a book I recommend, but then again, I am not a fan of this genre. Discussion questions and a reading guide are included at the end of the book. 336 pages.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Long Journey Home

Title: LONG JOURNEY HOME
Author: Sharlene MacLaren
Publisher: Whitaker House
2008
ISBN: 978-1-60374-056-2
Genre: Inspirational/romance

Callie May is still recovering from her marriage to an abusive husband. Thomas left her when he learned that she was pregnant, and moved from Illinois to Florida. Callie hopes he’ll never return. Now here daughter, Emily is eighteen months old, but Callie is still skittish around men.

Dan Mattson left his pastorate in East Michigan to move to Chicago and work construction when his wife and young daughter died in a terrible accident. He’s angry at God and has turned to alcohol to dull the pain. But the lovely Callie and her adorable daughter are worming their way into his heart.

When Thomas starts contacting Callie again, demanding money, Callie is worried and not quite sure what to do. She is barely making ends meet with a baby and her expenses and paying all her ex-husband’s debts. Besides, Dan’s anger is a big turn-off. Will Dan come to find God again? And is this enough for them to take a chance on love?

LONG JOURNEY HOME is the first contemporary book I’ve read by Ms. MacLaren, though I have read a few of her historical ones. I enjoyed getting to know Callie and Dan. Their situations are sadly realistic, and I found myself hoping they’d get past their hurts and negative behavior to find God.

The story is well-written with a strong faith message. Readers suffering through the ending of a marriage – either by death or divorce – will identify with these characters and possibly even find healing. Don’t miss LONG JOURNEY HOME. $9.99. 338 pages.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Reconstructing Natalie

Title: RECONSTRUCTING NATALIE
Author: Laura Jensen Walker
Publisher: WestBow
September 2006
ISBN: 1-5955-4067-9
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Natalie Moore thought everything was pretty well perfect—until she discovers a mystery lump in her breast during a routine breast exam. When she visits her doctor, she learns it’s the dreaded C word. Natalie is crushed, and her boyfriend doesn’t want anything to do with her when he learns she has breast cancer. Even one of Natalie’s best friends starts staying away, like breast cancer might be contagious.

Now, Natalie is obsessed with breasts. Her mother’s, her friends’, her co-workers. It doesn’t matter. Especially when she learns that her type of cancer is more aggressive than the doctor originally suspected and Natalie has both breasts removed. Natalie fears that her love life is over before it ever began. What man will ever want to marry her now?

Recovery is more painful than Natalie thought and her parents are coddling her. Not to mention her divorced neighbor Paul who seems to think its his job to babysit her when her parents aren’t around. Will Natalie discover that there are men out there who might still love her anyway?

RECONSTRUCTING NATALIE is a wink and a smile approach to the more serious subject of breast cancer. Laura Jensen Walker is a breast cancer survivor and she approaches this book with almost gut-wrenching honesty, and in parts almost TMI. However, the book is inspiring and entertaining and I learned a lot about what some women with breast cancer experience.

I loved Natalie and her friends, but the character that I really warmed up to was the sixty-year-old Grandma in Natalie’s support group who flashed the gathered crowd with her newly constructed breasts. I totally admired her free-spirit, and her embarrassment when she realized that there was a stranger in the room was so realistic. RECONSTRUCTING NATALIE is a book you won’t want to miss. I also recommend this book for anyone you know who is diagnosed with breast cancer. I read it over the second time when I was diagnosed. $14.99. 320 pages.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Rhapsody in Red

Title: RHAPSODY IN RED
Author: Donn Taylor
Publisher: Moody Press
2008
ISBN: 978-0-8024-5116-3
Genre: Inspirational/suspense

Professor Preston Barclay became reclusive when his beloved wife died. Now he is sort of the University campus weirdo, and content to live a quiet life teaching history and grieving. But when a colleague, Mara Thorn, barges into Press’s office with complaints about a female teacher inappropriately touching her, she begs Press to go with her to talk to this other teacher, Laila. But when Press and Mara go to Laila’s office, instead, they find the teacher murdered. And the local homicide detective, an enemy of Press’s is determined to pin the murder on Press. Or Mara. Or both.

Determined to prove their own innocence if the local police won’t, Press and Mara start questioning the few other suspects hoping that if they find the murderer on their own then they will be found innocent. Instead they find that hit men have them on their hit list, all the other suspects are threatening them, and incriminating emails, allegedly from their computers were sent to Laila shortly before her death.

Will this investigation turn up the real murderer, or will Mara and Press find themselves behind bars—or worse?

RHAPSODY IN RED is the first book in the Preston Barclay Mystery series. I enjoyed getting to know this rather droll professor, and his group of unlikely friends, and even the suspects. The humor was rather dry, but did cause a smile a time or two. Preston is a lovable hero that the reader can’t help but fall in love with.

I am looking forward to reading any other books that might come out in this series. The faith message is rather weak at first as the professor is floundering in his faith, but it does get stronger toward the end of the book. Don’t miss this page-turner. RHAPSODY IN RED is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat as you try to figure out who the real murderer is. $13.99. 364 pages.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Quarter for a Kiss

Title: A QUARTER FOR A KISS
Author: Mindy Starns Clark
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
2004
ISBN: 0-7369-1293-2
Genre: Inspirational/suspense

Callie Webber is stunned when her mentor, Eli Gold, has been shot down by a sniper. Things can’t be as innocent as they seem on the surface, because before Eli lost consciousness, he asks for both Callie and Tom. Soon, Callie finds herself on the way to the beautiful Virgin Islands, trying to figure out exactly what case Eli was working on that caused someone to attempt to murder him.

The woman Eli was surverying seems to be a mystery. Is she a former agent for the USA, a spy for the Russians, and art dealer, or working in the black market? And why would investigating her cause someone to shoot Eli? Callie and Tom jump in to try to figure the story out. But the woman seems to be guarding her secrets well. Getting close will require a miracle of it’s own.

A QUARTER FOR A KISS is the fourth book in The Million Dollar Mysteries series. Unlike in previous books, Callie really isn’t investigating organizations to donate money to, instead she is looking into the attempted murder of her mentor. I enjoyed revisiting Callie and Tom, and getting to know via the pages of a book the beautiful Virgin Islands.

The faith message is strong, the mystery is well done, I had trouble figuring it out, and parts of it caught me totally by surprise. The characters are very well developed. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and the entire series. I read the books mostly in order, but they all stood alone, though the relationship between Tom and Callie were at different places during each book. Don’t miss this exciting series, or A QUARTER FOR A KISS. 333 pages.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Be Sweet

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us! I hope you had opportunity to spend it with family.


Title: BE SWEET
Author: Diann Hunt
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
2007
ISBN: 978-1-59554-194-9
Genre: Inspirational/chick lit

Char Haverford did not want to go back too Tappery, Michigan. The place holds bad memories for her. Her ex-husband, the child that should have been hers, her bitter mother, and her too perfect sister. But her parents’ fifty-years anniversary loomed and if Char and Janni didn’t throw the most perfect party ever, they would never hear the end of it.

So, Char leaves her seaside cottage in Maine and her high-octane job and heads home, just in time for Sugar Bush. With Janni’s family needing help harvesting the maple syrup crop, Char is thrown right into farm life. But when Mom moves into Janni’s house acting paranoid, her dad sneaking around, and sweet Janni suddenly moody, Char isn’t sure where to turn. A local dentist is a welcome diversion. Could Char possibly learn that things aren’t always as they seem?

I loved BE SWEET. I think this is one of my favorites of Ms. Hunt’s books so far. Having lived in Western Michigan, Sugar Bush time is one of my favorite parts of the winter season, especially when the maple sap is running. I enjoyed reminiscing about working on a maple syrup farm.

Char is a bit snappy and bitter at first, but as she settles into the community she sweetens up considerably. I thoroughly loved this book, and couldn’t read it fast enough. A new romance, secrets galore, and an endearing senior citizen makes this book a winner. Don’t miss BE SWEET. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $14.99. 314 pages.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Daring Chloe

Title: DARING CHLOE
Author: Laura Jensen Walker
Publisher: Zondervan
2008
ISBN: 978-0-310-27696-8
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Chloe Adams’ is just hours away from her dream wedding to Chris, when she receives a text message from him—breaking up. Almost virtually dumped at the wedding, Chloe isn’t quite sure how to cope, until her fun-loving Aunt Tess suggests that Chloe goes on the honeymoon, with Tess, and Chloe’s best friend, Becca. After all, Chloe had paid for the romantic cruise. No reason not to take it.

Forced out of her comfort zone on the cruise is just the beginning. Her reading club friends decide that they need to start living adventures from their books instead of just reading about them. One adventure follows another as Chloe’s friends try to force her out of her post-dumping funk, and book-geek Chloe soon finds herself hiking, sailing, river rafting, and trying exotic food. Will this help Chloe to take the biggest step of all?

DARING CHLOE is an adorable story about a girl who lives through the pages of books, being forced to face life head-on, and take risks she would never dream of doing otherwise. Chloe is deliciously real, and her cast of friends is very well developed.

The faith message is expertly woven in, and the settings are almost real enough to be seen. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Chloe, and being a book-aholic myself, I could relate to her in many ways. I hope that Ms. Walker has a sequel planned for this book, because I would love to see how certain things develop. The book wasn’t neatly tied up at the end, so there is no real sense of closure. Don’t miss DARING CHLOE. It will warm your heart. $14.99. 332 pages.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Trespassers Will Be Baptized

Title: TRESPASSERS WILL BE BAPTIZED
Author: Elizabeth Emerson Hancock
Publisher: Center Street
2008
ISBN: 978-1-59995-708-1
Genre: Memoir

Elizabeth grew up Southern and Baptist in Eastern Kentucky. Since her father was a Southern Baptist preacher, her world revolved around church, missions, revivals, and of course, the Kentucky Wildcats.

Being typical kids, Elizabeth and her sister, Meg, managed to get into situations that could embarrass the most easy going of parents. But since her father was a pastor, the misadventures were worse than embarrassing. She was caught stealing Guess jeans from a donation box, and hawking a backyard swimming pool for baptisms during the neighborhood’s annual garage sale.

Some of the stories told in TRESPASSERS WILL BE BAPTIZED are laugh out loud funny. Punctuated with pictures scattered throughout the book, the stories are sure to please even the most serious. If you love to look at the humor in things, you won’t want to miss TRESPASSERS WILL BE BAPTIZED.

This book is a collection of events that really happened, and everyone raised in church who spent time learning Bible verses from felt boards or making Noah’s arks from Popsicle sticks will find things in common. This book is a perfect gift for any Southern Baptist—or any denomination—and is sure to be a hit. Pick up your copy today.
$21.99 hardcover. 276 pages.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Journey to Judah

Title: JOURNEY TO JUDAH
Author: Eileen Hinkle Rife
Publisher: Capstone Fiction
2008
ISBN: 978-1-1-60290-091-2
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

Maggie Osteder’s desire to serve God in India is stronger than even looking for a mate. After all, most men don’t understand her desire to go off to a foreign land and become a career missionary. So, at long last, Maggie boards a plane and flies off.

When she gets there, she is immediately told her ministry would be more effective if she were married. And the perfect man would be the missionary doctor, Gavin Munsfield. But Gavin is engaged to be married to a nurse he met while stateside. Maggie is disappointed to learn this, but resigns herself to remaining single.

When Gavin’s finance breaks up with him, Maggie is there to pick up the pieces. But how can she marry a man who is struggling with his own issues?

JOURNEY TO JUDAH is the first book in the Born for India series. While next exactly the most well-written story, there is a message here that needs to be read. I enjoyed reading about the mission work in India, and about how they served the community as medical personal.

While the story is a bit preachy, it fits in with the theme of the story quite well, so it is not irritating. I enjoyed reading JOURNEY TO JUDAH and hope to be able to read more in this series. Don’t miss this new series by Capstone Fiction. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book, as well as a glossary of Indian terms. $15.98. 180 pages.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hometown Favorite

Title: HOMETOWN FAVORITE
Author: Bill Barton and Henry 0. Arnold
Publisher: Revell
2008
ISBN: 978-0-8007-1914-2
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary

Dewayne Jobe has a whole shoe box full of full-ride college scholarship offers, thanks to his outstanding abilities on the football field. His best friends also have offers, but they are all from different schools, so the boys know that when they head off to college they are saying goodbye. Dewayne hops a bus in his hometown of Springdale, Mississippi, and heads off to the different world of California to play football.

Some years later, Dewayne is a guaranteed Hall of Famer, and a franchise savior. His beautiful wife runs his lucrative business, and they are expecting their first child. Dewayne is on “Easy Street.”

But then troubles blindside him. Will Dewayne summon the faith and character to get through this, or will he lose everything?

I wasn’t real impressed with HOMETOWN FAVORITE. There is a bunch of endorsements on the back of this book, but I couldn’t get into the story at all. The story is supposed to be about Dwayne, but there is a lot of head-hopping in the book. The authors didn’t pay much attention to point-of-view at all. The story is also mostly told, keeping the reader at a distance.

I can’t heartily recommend HOMETOWN FAVORITE, but if you enjoy football, and the lives of the football players then you might enjoy reading this book. There is a romance, a lot of football and talk, and then the crisis that does teach a valuable message. $19.99 hardcover. 363 pages.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Back to Life

Title: BACK TO LIFE
Author: Kristin Billerbeck
Publisher: Avon Inspire
2008
ISBN: 978-0-06-137877-5
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Lindsay Brindle was made to be a trophy wife. She realized that since Ron was so much older than her that he’d see Heaven before she does, but she didn’t expect to be widowed at thirty-five. Now Ron’s been gone a year, and Lindsay can’t seem to get past the pain.

The last thing she expects is for Ron’s first wife, Jane, to show up at Lindsay’s front door with a cat. Ron had made Jane the executor of his will, and she’s been in Mexico and out of reach up until now. But there are other surprises…including a son that Lindsay never knew existed.

Lindsay and Jane have nothing in common except they’ve been married to the same man. Can these two get past the awkwardness, get past mistakes, and form a friendship?

BACK TO LIFE is the second book in Ms. Billerbeck’s The Trophy Wife Club series, and it easily stands alone. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Lindsay and Jane, and the sometimes humorous situations that they found themselves in. Ms. Billerbeck is a stellar story teller.

I loved seeing Jane, used to the mountains and realness of Mexico, struggle to fit into the concrete jungle. Sometimes her thoughts about situations seemed to mirror my own. California is a whole different world than any of the cities/towns I’ve ever lived. The faith message is not preachy. The characters are well developed, even the secondary characters. I especially loved Jane and Lindsay’s neighbor, Cherry. Don’t miss this book. Discussion questions are included at the end. $12.95. 260 pages.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hands of Hope

Give the gift of life this Christmas
Hands of Hope, a charity of Women Helping Women A World Away, is
announcing that their Holiday Gift Cards are available for purchase. These cards provide food,
income and water for impoverished women and children in Zambia , Uganda , and
Southern Sudan. They can be purchased on the Hands of Hope website
www.handsofhopeonline.org for $15.00, $30.00 and $50.00. Purchasing these cards will provide
goats, chickens or wells to help change lives. What could be a more meaningful gift for holiday
giving for family, friends, and customer appreciation?

Hands of Hope helps mobilize communities to respond to the needs of women and children
around the world. With an ever-expanding support base in the Chicago area, Hands of Hope
works to raise community awareness regarding poverty and HIV/AIDS in Africa and its relevance
globally. We are confident in the integrity of the channels we have established so that
contributions provide the highest possible impact for the most critical needs.

A Chicken Card will purchase a gift of twelve chicks and be given to an impoverished family in
Africa. As the flock multiplies, a struggling family will be given the hope to survive. Your gift will
help those in need for generations to come.

A Goat Card represents an actual goat being purchased for a needy family. Beyond providing
much needed milk, a few goats can quickly become a herd, providing sustenance and additional
income that can make the difference between whether a child goes to school or not.


A Well Card will go toward funding a well in the Western Province of Zambia. Statistics show that
nearly half of all people in developing countries suffer from health related problems caused by
unsafe water. In addition, African women and children spend several hours every day collecting
Links: http://www.handsofhopeonline.org
The cards: http://www.handsofhopeonline.org/goat.asp
Purchase cards: http://www.handsofhopeonline.org/goat.asp#purchase
How HOH got their start: http://www.handsofhopeonline.org/history.asp
Current Projects: http://www.handsofhopeonline.org/ourwork.asp
Contact at Hands of Hope:
VickyWauterlek, Hands of Hope
VWAU@aol.com, 847-381-7367

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Moon Shines Down

Title: MOON SHINES DOWN
Author: Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrated by: Linda Bleck
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-1-4003-1299-3
2008
Genre: Inspirational /children’s

We’re all familiar with the old children’s bedtime prayer:

I see the moon
And the moon sees me
God bless the moon
And God bless me.


Ms. Brown, a pioneer of children’s literature, has taken this well-known poem, and expounded on it, making an absolutely charming book for children. The book is expertly illustrated and sure to become a favorite with children and their caregivers alike.

MOON SHINES DOWN was forgotten for decades in a tucked-away trunk, but recently rediscovered, and the unmistakable voice of Margaret Wise Brown. This story book for children is soon to become a new classic, one that parents and grandparents will want to cherish for generations to come.

MOON SHINES DOWN is an excellent book that I fell totally in love with. Hardcover, with a beautifully designed dustcover, it is a book that my three-year-old will be thrilled to find under the tree this Christmas. Make sure you pick up a copy for your favorite young child. This story will thrill both of you, it is that delightful. $16.99.


http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/product_detail.asp?sku=140031299X

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yuletide Treasure

Title: YULETIDE TREASURE
Authors: Lauraine Snelling and Jillian Hart
Publisher: Love Inspired
November 2008
ISBN: 978-0-373-78631-2
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

The Finest Gift by Lauraine Snelling. Arley Hoople doesn’t dream of romance. After all, even if a suitor did come calling, he’d have to get past her overbearing grandmother first. Not many men are that brave. So, when Arley falls and breaks her grandmother’s favorite nutcracker, she goes off to the woodcarver’s shop to see if he could repair it. Little does she know that knock will open the door to her own love.

A Blessed Season by Jillian Hart. A little abandoned girl asks bounty hunter Rafe Jones to find her long-lost mother for Christmas. The only clue she has is a sewing case. It was easy enough to find the woman that the case belongs to, but Cora Sims doesn’t seem to have an unkind bone in her body. While Cora’s the woman that Rafe has been looking for all his life, is she actually the girl’s mother?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading YULETIDE TREASURE. Both of the stories are light-hearted, and joyful, to help get readers into the mood for the holiday season. Both heroines, Arley and Cora, are loving and kind. The heroes varied greatly.

My favorite story in this collection of two was The Finest Gift, but A Blessed Season was just as good, in a different way. Both collections have a faith message, and both have realistic characters. If you are looking for a Holiday novella this season, make sure that YULETIDE TREASURE is on your list. Discussion questions for both novellas are included. $6.99. 272 pages.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Shape of Mercy

Title: THE SHAPE OF MERCY
Author: Susan Meissner
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
2008
ISBN: 978-1-4000-7456-3
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Lauren Durough is tired of living on her family’s laurels. She is privileged with an unlimited credit account, and watching her roommate and friends work their way through school. So, she applies for a part-time job with an eighy-three year old former librarian Abigail Boyles. Ms. Boyles has turned down numerous applicants for this job, and Lauren for some reason believes she is the one Ms. Boyles has been waiting for.

Abigail does hire Lauren, and her job is to transcribe the journal entries of her ancestor, Mercy Hayworth, a victim of the Salem witch trials. Lauren takes an immediate affinity with Mercy, which forces Lauren to take a new look at her own life.

THE SHAPE OF MERCY is a powerfully written story, gripping, haunting, and so well written that the reader simply has to keep turning the pages. Written in both Lauren’s point of view, and then Mercy’s point of view, the reader can’t help but connect with both characters—the ancient one and the modern one.

The faith message is deftly woven in, and isn’t preachy. THE SHAPE OF MERCY is a tale that will stay with the reader for months to come. Don’t miss this story. If you read one book this year, make sure it is THE SHAPE OF MERCY. It will change your life. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $13.99. 304 pages.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Light Across the River

Title: THE LIGHT ACROSS THE RIVER
Author: Stephanie Reed
Publisher: Kregel Publications
2008
ISBN: 978-0-8254-3474-4
Genre: Inspirational/historical

In 1837 the Underground Railroad was very busy. The Rankin home was a beacon of freedom on the Ohio side of the Ohio River. Kentucky slaves would sometimes cross the ice or take a dingy to get to the other side of the river to freedom. Johnny Rankin has never seen a slave, but he knows that his family is a stop on the Underground Railroad. But they never keep the escaped slaves for long, they always sent them quickly on their way north to Canada.

When the ice was beginning to break up that spring, the Rankin family is surprised when a woman carrying a baby crosses over the broken ice. They had no idea how she managed to cross without drowning herself or her baby. Johnny likes to talk, but he has to keep this woman a secret, and this woman’s story is especially hard to keep quiet.

THE LIGHT ACROSS THE RIVER is a true story about the woman who inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe to write her famous story that helped fuel the Civil War. The Rankin family and their house is now a historic landmark in Ohio. It is fascinating to read a book that the characters really existed and the story really happened. It is the sequel to Across the Wide River, but it easily stands alone. I didn’t read the first book, but had no trouble keeping up in this book.

THE LIGHT ACROSS THE RIVER is a great resource for homeschoolers who want to teach their kids about the Underground Railroad and some of the lives it touched. It is also great for church libraries, public and private schools, and your favorite eight to twelve year old. Don’t miss this exciting book. $10.99. 210 pages.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Let Them Eat Fruitcake

Title: LET THEM EAT FRUITCAKE
Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: David C. Cook
September 2008
ISBN: 978-1-5891-9106-8
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

The four young women who moved into 86 Bloomberg Place are feeling a little blue. It’s the holiday season, and not only are they all alone, but they have relationship problems to go along with the loneliness.

Megan is feeling a bit convicted about dating a man she really likes, but he isn’t a Christian. Lelani’s relationship with Gil seems to be causing some problems with Gil’s sister, Anna. Anna’s old boyfriend barges into the picture, ruining her new relationship with a co-worker. And Kendall’s fallen in love with a famous actor—if she can convince him that she’s the woman he really wants.

LET THEM EAT FRUITCAKE is the second book in the 86 Bloomberg Place series. Readers will want to read the first book in the series I Heart Bloomberg first so they can get acquainted with the characters and their situations.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, although I really wanted to reach into the pages and wring some of the characters’ necks. A few of the decisions they made were really bad. But overall, this was a great book, and I am looking forward to reading Spring Broke, the third book in the series available in March 2009.

Don’t miss this series. The characters are completely realistic, their situations griping, and the setting almost as if you are there. Don’t miss this holiday tale about friendship. Discussion questions, an interview with the author, and a chapter of Spring Broke is included at the rear of the book. $14.99. 302 pages.

We are holding a drawing. If you leave a comment on this post or any other post in the tour by 5pm CST on November 21, you will be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift certificate to the Collin Street Bakery. The Collin Street Bakery is world-famous for its - you guessed it - fruitcake and will deliver your baked goods almost anywhere in the world. You can enter multiple times by commenting on more than one post (but only one comment per post will be counted).

IMPORTANT LINKS:
Let Them Eat Fruitcake on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1589191064
Melody Carlson’s Website: http://melodycarlson.com
List of all participating bloggers: http://blogtourspot.com/Carlson-blog-tour/Carlson-blog-tour-stops

Friday, November 14, 2008

Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas

Title: LOVE FINDS YOU IN SNOWBALL, ARKANSAS
Author: Sandra Brinker
Publisher: Summerside Press
2008
ISBN: 978-1-934770-45-0
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

Lucy Binoche falls in love the second she meets gorgeous Justin Gerald at her church in Little Rock, Arkansas. She gets her best friend, Matt, to introduce them, and when Justin signs up for a week-long singles retreat in Snowball, Arkansas, Lucy signs on the line right below him. So what if she can’t hook a worm and Justin is the original outdoors man.

Immediately after signing up, Lucy gets Matt to help her learn how to hook a worm and cast a line, and even how to sit in a canoe. And even though Lucy doesn’t exactly master the tricks in Matt’s living room, she’s convinced the camping trip will be a breeze, even though Lucy’s idea of roughing it is suffering through a long line at Starbucks and staying at a 4-star hotel. How long can Lucy pretend to be someone she’s not? Will the new Lucy snap a boyfriend?

LOVE FINDS YOU IN SNOWBALL, ARKANSAS, is the second book in the Love Finds You series, and it is a winner. I totally loved Lucy, and Matt, and all the other secondary characters. The book is funny and lighthearted, and even better, it is set in my part of the country. I enjoyed watching the characters tour areas that I’m very familiar with.

The faith message is very well down, and not preachy. My only problem with this story is that there were liberties taken with the October weather conditions in Arkansas, but this is fiction. I loved this book and can’t wait to read this author’s next Love Finds You book coming in 2009. Don’t miss this new series by a brand new publishing house. $12.99. 261 pages.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jesus Take the Wheel

About the Book:
The practical biblical instruction found in Stuart Migdon's book, Jesus Take the Wheel takes readers on a two-month journey that will literally transform the way they live their lives. Rich insights from the author's own life mixed with wisdom gleaned from the pages of Scripture combines to make reading this book an adventure that will be looked forward to each day. In the face of life's many uncertainties and struggles, the message of real hope that Jesus Take the Wheel brings, is one that will benefit everyone.
Jesus Take the Wheel is a valuable resource for spiritual growth and discipleship. Through applying the biblical principles and truths contained throughout its pages, readers will begin to discover that what has been impossible alone, is very possible with God at the wheel of their lives. Each day's reading is followed by an application aimed at applying the day's biblical truths and principles to the real circumstances of life.
While many in our world today know that they need and want change, they often fail to allow Jesus to have His rightful place in their lives simply because they don't know where to start. In Jesus Take the Wheel, readers are given an easy and practical plan to follow each day that will teach them what they need to do in order to begin letting Jesus be the One in the driver's seat.





What People Are Saying

Too many people say they have a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ, yet a little probing finds that He is either in the passenger seat, in the back seat, or even in the trunk. Stuart Migdon expounds powerful biblical principles that show that there is only one place for Him to be-at at wheel.
Ray Comfort-Co-Host of The Way Of The Master TV Show-Author of more than 60 Christian Books.

Just like a fast-paced game, our lives are full of events that can quickly steer us off track. Jesus Take the Wheel is the game plan all of us need to get us on the right track with God and keep us there.
Byron Scott- NBA Head Coach- New Orleans Hornets.

About the Stuart Migdon

Stuart Migdon was raised in Reformed Judaism. He married and became a father at the age of 18. With no money and no one to help, he quickly determined he had to take control of his own life. He developed a "don't quit" attitude and set out to beat the odds that were already stacking up against him. While working a full time job to support his family, he also managed to graduate college in four years, and to do it with high honors. That same stubborn persistence propelled him to become a CPA and later a successful insurance agent. With a commitment to hard work and excellence, Stuart continued to achieve every goal that he set for his life. However, all the success in the world could not fill the emptiness that was growing within him.

In 1991, things began to change. He came to know Jesus as His Messiah and felt a strong desire to live a life that would really be pleasing to God. A life that he somehow knew was radically different than the one he had been living. With every ounce of his being, he was now determined to live that life.

Since then, Stuart has become an avid student of the Bible. Over the last five years, his thirst for more has led him into a detailed study of God's Word, and specifically the lives of the Bible's two central figures, Jesus and Moses. During this time he also began to realize that what had been driving him in his own study was more than just a personal quest for knowledge, it was actually a calling from the Lord. As a result, he began a new adventure as an author, and in 2008 published his first book,Jesus Take the Wheel: 7 Keys to a Transformed Life with God.

Today, Stuart is a successful Christian businessman and serves as an elder and biblical counselor at Calvary Chapel Old Bridge in New Jersey. Stuart's growing understanding of his own need to let Jesus take the wheel of his life, has equipped him for the many situations he faces in ministry today. In every area, he challenges those he encounters to begin living a transformed life by letting Jesus have His rightful place behind the wheel of their lives.

Stuart and his wife Jeanne have two adult children, Jennifer and Jason, and one grandson.



FREE CONTENT !

DO YOU DESIRE TO BE KING OF THE HILL?


The key to being used by God for His glory is that we give over control and realize all glory and honor goes to God alone. True Humility. The great love of God allows us to see the changes that need to be made in us through the power of the Holy Spirit. Even the greatest can be humbled.
It's never too late to change as long as He is the one changing us. Most people won't admit that being important matters to them. But if we seek recognition in one way or another, we have revealed through our actions that we desire to be self-important. Here's a five-point test to see just how significant self-importance is to you.
Five Evidences of Desiring Self-Importance
Whenever you do something with the goal of recognition, it's really about your own importance. Let's say you help someone out, and you're looking for acknowledgment of what you've done. Maybe you helped them with general advice, helped them get a job, watched their children, lent them money, bought them a gift, or did some other favor for them. You could even be doing what God instructs all of us to do, comforting the sick, visiting the prisoner, feeding and clothing the poor, or being there for the needy. If you're doing it with the desire to be noticed, even if that's just part of your reason, then you have too much focus on your own importance.
How many times have we heard people talk about a time when they did something for someone else, and the person they did it for wasn't appreciative, didn't say thank you enough, or in some other way didn't show enough gratitude? Doesn't that show that they were doing it for the recognition and not to help someone else? It's hard not to want recognition--we feel like we deserve it. That's the sin nature with which we constantly struggle.
The fight is only won with God at the wheel. In order to do so, you need to follow the direction of the Holy Spirit and relinquish control of your life to Him. When you give to others without looking to feed your own ego but only to see good being done for someone else, your reward is from God, and it far surpasses any reward of recognition you can get from man. Keep in mind that recognition can be good if it comes naturally, but if you do things with the intention or motive of being recognized, you're making yourself too important!
Whenever a good deed is not done because it brings no attention to you, then it is really about your own importance. How about when you assess a certain situation and you decide not to help if you don't get recognition. Perhaps you decide not to give to a good cause because your gift would be anonymous. Or you decide not to help someone unless there are enough people around to see--an audience, so to speak. Some people are notorious for showing up to help at a charitable event only for the recognition, the photo op so to speak. Once the cameras are packed away, they leave. We do the same thing when we choose not to do good deeds when there is no acknowledgement in doing so. If that's your thinking process, it is obvious that recognition is your motivation, and you've put too much significance on your own importance. The recognition may come, but it is your only reward. God will have no part in it.
When you are looking for opportunities to tell people about your accomplishments, it's really all about your own importance. Have you ever been in a situation where you've heard someone telling others about their own accomplishments, their job titles, degrees, money, house, or material possessions, when there's really no need for others to know? Or maybe you've been around someone looking for opportunities to fit these kinds of things into the conversation? It's out of context, and it's a clear sign that they're doing it for recognition, putting too much significance on their own importance.
When you worry about what others think of you, you are too focused on your own importance. If you are constantly worried about what other people think of you and you make decisions based on this concern, you are placing too much significance on your own importance. It could be deciding to go someplace or to be with some people because you think others will look more favorably on you. Or perhaps you stay away from someplace or some people because others would think less of you if you didn't. Self-importance matters to you if you are concerned about the actions you take or the things you say based on what other people might think.
When you admire others based on their possessions or status, then your focus is on your own importance. If it's all about their power or prestige, then you're impressed by the wrong elements--these things do not make a person truly important. If you are impacted by the importance of others, then importance matters way too much to you.
In summary, whenever you attempt to accomplish something with a reason other than for the love of God and the love of others, it is done to demonstrate your own importance, and it gets in the way of God's love. Rather than desiring to be "king of the hill," yield to the King of the Hill. He was victorious over death on a cross on the hill of Mt. Calvary; He will be victorious in transforming our lives as well.





An Interview with Stuart Migdon


According to your bio, you are a Messianic Jew. Tell us your conversion story.

I was raised in Reformed Judaism, made my Bar Mitzvah at age 13 and was even confirmed in my Reformed Temple, playing the role of God in the class play! When I was 18 my girlfriend Jeanne got pregnant and we got married and had our daughter Jennifer a short time later. Suddenly, in addition to going to college full time I was working 50-60 hours a week to support my family. Money was tight, we were very poor and life was a struggle. I had no time for religion in my life and only focused on finishing college in four years, becoming successful and making a lot of money so I would never have to be poor again. My life was consumed with striving for success and eventually I became physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted. In my quest for success I decided to track down the leading salesman for an insurance company I worked with. I hounded Ron for months to meet with me and he finally agreed. During the meeting he told me many things he did for success but the last thing he told me is that he prayed before each sales appointment. I told him I thought that was strange and because of my answer he reached under his desk and handed me "the book" which he told me was the bible written in fourth grade language for anyone to understand, I took the bible and decided that I was going to read the Old Testament which I did just about every day for three years. I was searching for God and I didn't really even know it. Even though the bible Ron gave me had the New Testament in it I never considered opening it; I was Jewish and Jewish people did not read the New Testament. About three years later at the age of 33 I walked into a meeting with a prospect of mine, looking to sell him some disability insurance. As I walked into Sal's office I noticed a bible on his desk and asked him why it was there. He told me that he was going to be leaving his job as the controller of a very successful company to become a full time minister. I told him that I couldn't believe that he would leave such a good job to do this and I also told him that I had been reading the bible for the last three years. Sal asked me some questions and then he asked me if I could ever believe that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah. That was 17 years ago but I can still remember my response word for word. I told Sal that it would be easier to believe that I was a female then to believe that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah! Sal was surprised by my answer and asked me if he could pray for me. I told him no but he insisted. After making him explain exactly what he was going to do and say, I agreed to let him pray for me. Before I left, Sal invited me to his ordination as a minister which was scheduled in a month and to my surprise I agreed to go. I somehow felt drawn to go and I was even looking forward to it. During the service for Sal's ordination, I heard the gospel message for the first time in my life and I felt an irresistible desire to repent of my sins and receive Jesus as my Lord. I left my house that evening to go to the ordination a Jew who knew nothing about Jesus and I came home a Jewish believer in Jesus!


Most people would assume that when you began your relationship with the Messiah that Jesus was automatically in charge of your life. Did you find this to be true, or was it a struggle to keep Jesus in the driver's seat?

In the first few years as a Jewish believer I was fascinated by Messianic prophesy and I studied these prophesies regularly. I really enjoyed reading a prediction about the future coming of the Messiah in the Old Testament and then reading about the fulfillment of this prophesy in the life of Jesus. This study was strengthening my faith which was my daily prayer to God. However, in reading the bible every day I realized that God desired for me to live a certain life for Him and I wanted to learn more about what that life was. Before knowing Jesus I had read many self help books about how to live a successful life but none of the advice made sense to me anymore. Although I was changed by Jesus instantly, I was slowly learning what He required from me, how He wanted me to live for Him. I had lived such a "me" centered life before knowing Jesus, always thinking about how things would affect my life, that there was a lot of changing that needed to take place. I was a control person and so giving Jesus the wheel of my life was a difficult process. Fortunately the bible is filled with examples of how to let Jesus take control of your life and the joy that it brings when you do!


What have you found to be a Christian's biggest obstacle in allowing Jesus to take the wheel?

The biggest obstacle Christians have in letting Jesus take the wheel is pride. We say that we have no pride but our actions speak differently. We think that we can control our lives and when we need God we call out to Him for help. The world around us is so "me" centered that we can easily be indoctrinated into believing the lie that we are good enough and able to be in control. In order to begin to let Jesus take the wheel, we must understand what it means to live in our relationship with God with childlike humility, which is the opposite of pride. That's why the book, Jesus Take The Wheel begins with understanding childlike humility and why it's so important to God and how to live it every day in our relationship with Him.


Are there practical tips you can briefly share that help Christians keep Jesus at the wheel?

The most important thing to do in keeping Jesus at the wheel is to recognize whether He is truly there in the first place. We often think He is at the wheel of our lives but when probed, we find He is either in the back seat or in the trunk. One of the best indications of determining whether Jesus is at the wheel is to take a look at what you worry about. If you are worrying about your children, your job, your finances, your health, your spouse or anything else for that matter, chances are that Jesus is not fully at the wheel. Once you recognize that you need to move over and let Jesus drive, you are ready for the journey necessary to allow Him to remain at the wheel. This comes in changing life patterns and actions to no longer imitate anything of the world around us but instead to imitate Jesus. It's the journey to self denial that leads to total joy in Jesus.


Explain the benefits of trusting God completely.

When a Christian totally trusts the Lord there is a peace in their life that transcends all comprehension. Even through trials and difficulties, through tough times and sorrow there will be an inexplicable joy that only God provides. God never tells us that life will be easy when we truly deny our self, take up our cross daily and follow Him, He instead tells us that it's the best way to live. Why? Because trusting Him provides a childlike dependence on the Creator of the universe and all else seems secondary to a life dedicated to Him. When we live a life totally trusting God, scriptures come alive without doubting and our commitment to God is unwavering. That's why Jesus Take The Wheel focuses on the lives of biblical characters who have trusted God no matter what and what we can learn from them to do the same.


How do you hope to reach Jewish people with the message of this book?

I am a Jewish believer in Jesus. The book, Jesus Take The Wheel is written for the Christian audience who is looking for a closer relationship with God and all the joy that brings. Therefore the book is not specifically designed for Jewish people who do not know the Lord. However my life as a Jew before knowing Jesus is depicted in the book and my new life as a Jewish believer reveals a changed man, only changed by the sacrifice of the Messiah, Jesus Himself. Christians that read this book will be encouraged to tell their Jewish friends about the Jewish Messiah and be able to introduce them to a Jewish believer by recommending they read the book. What's also interesting is that one of the focal biblical characters written about in the book is Moses, the Most revered Jew of all time!


How destructive is pride in the life of a believer? What's the cure?

As I said earlier, pride is the biggest obstacle in letting Jesus take the wheel. Pride is why the Devil rebelled against God and why we do as well. Pride causes us to sin against a holy God. The only cure for pride as a Christian is to live a life of self denial. That's why the book, Jesus Take The Wheel is focused on doing just that. It's easier said than done and Christians need an action plan of how to live their life with no focus on self. It must be a daily plan that uses the scriptures to reveal the ugliness of pride and the beauty of a forgiving God.


How has your experience as a church leader helped to develop the methods used in the book?

As a church leader, I have had many opportunities to listen to the various struggles Christians have in their lives and how they attempt to deal with these struggles. With the responsibility to counsel other Christians comes the obligation to provide the best biblical counseling possible. That comes only as we dig deep into God's Word for the answers of how to live for Him today. I discovered that the only answer of how to do this to learn how to let Jesus take the wheel.


You're a Christian businessman. How do you think other businessmen could benefit from the principles of your book?

I have been a businessman since graduating college. I first started my career as a Certified Public Accountant and then went into the financial planning field, ultimately settling in as an insurance broker. When I first began my career in business I was struggling financially and raising a family. As I faced the many trials and circumstances that businessmen encounter, I started to spiral into striving for success and all that I believed it would bring. The striving ultimately led to physical, emotional, mental and spiritual exhaustion. Many businessmen face the same struggles and will relate to my experiences. After coming to know Jesus, I continued in business but with a different perspective. The more I let Jesus take the wheel the less striving became a part of my life. The book is written from a businessman's perspective and reveals how, as a Christian I deal with the many obstacles that are part of the business world.


So many of us are "control freaks." Does this mean we aren't letting Jesus take charge of our lives?

The short answer is yes. The bible tells us that we must decrease and that Jesus must increase. Jesus must be Lord of our lives and in total control in order for us to truly live as His disciple. Jesus Take The Wheel was written by someone who struggles with wanting to take control of his life but realizes that Jesus must be in full control. So even so called "control freaks" can live a life letting Jesus take the wheel. It takes a commitment to run the race for God but it is well worth it!!!


My thoughts…

I’ve heard Carrie Underwood’s song that inspired this book. Unfortunately for Stuart Migdon, I was more inspired by the song than the book. Christian growth, spiritual growth is a vital subject which is in need of more exposure than it is currently receiving. However, it will only occur as one grows in one’s relationship with the God who was, and is, and is to come. That is only going to occur as one spends time in God’s Word. This “devotional” tends to spend more time recounting the author’s memoirs than delving into God’s Word. While the anecdotes are amusing at time’s (the “christening” of Stuart’s first new car is priceless!), the scriptures seem to be quoted almost as an afterthought, treated superficially, and finished off with a pious platitude. Truth be told, it appears that Stuart Migdon is still seeking SUCCESS; only this time from the Christian marketplace.

The Source of Confidence by Heidi Dru Kortman

Text: Philippians 3:3ff. “For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who...