Thursday, May 28, 2009

Amish Love

What’s all the hubbub about Amish fiction? Major media outlets like Time and ABC Nightline are covering it, and authors like Cindy Woodsmall are making the New York Times bestseller list regularly. What makes these books so interesting?

Check out the recent ABC Nightline piece here about Cindy and her titles When the Heart Cries, When the Morning Comes, and When the Soul Mends. It’s an intriguing look at Amish culture and the time Cindy has spent with Amish friends.

And don’t forget that Cindy’s new book The Hope of Refuge hits store shelves August 11, and is available for preorder now.

The Night Watchman

Ready for a quick paced crime drama? How about a book that shows you that even though your life isn't the way you thought it would turn out, God isn't finished with you yet?

Ray Quinn is a tough, quick-witted homicide detective in love with his partner, Trisha Willis. She gives Ray something to live for—something to hope in. Until a barrage of bullets leaves Trisha murdered and Ray crippled.

Struggling with his new physical disability and severe depression, Quinn turns to whiskey, scorn, and a job as a night watchman to numb the pain. But when a pastor and dancer are found dead in an apparent murder-suicide, the pastor’s sister approaches Quinn for help.

Reluctantly, Quinn takes the case and is plunged into the perilous Orlando. Soon he discovers that, not only was the pastor murdered, but the case may be linked to his and Trisha’s ambush. Torn between seeking revenge or responsibility, Quinn is thrust into the case of his life.

Author Mark Mynheir gives readers his most profound police thriller to date with The Night Watchman (first book in The Night Watchman Private Detective Agency Series). Readers of all ages will devour this gripping murder mystery that bristles with tension and intrigue. In a taut cop-style all his own, Mynheir delivers an inside look at the thoughts, feelings, fears, and challenges police officers experience while investigating violent crimes and the lost souls who commit them.

Leave a comment if you are interested in a free copy. I will select a winner from the comments on Friday, June 5th. Or you can buy it here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Everything you (n)ever wanted to know....

Mrs. Nurse Boy over at Poop on Jelly tagged me to share! I've known Mrs. Nurse boy for 11 years (yes dear - that long!) and she is one great person. Go on over to her blog and check her out. Enjoy!

1. What are your current obsessions? What do you mean by current? I think I just continually add to my list. Unfortunately the most recently added are Bejeweled and checking Facebook every time I enter the house.

2. Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often? Jeans, a solid scoop or v-neck tee and a ponytail holder. Flip flops right now too.

3. What's for dinner? Something low fat, low cal, low glycemic value, low carb, sigh.

4. Last thing you bought? A Kindergarten graduation card and present for the boy. Sniff!

5. What are you listening to? The sound of kids playing outside, traffic noise from the nearby highway, and the wind blowing thru the trees.

6. If you were a god/goddess who would you be? A domestic goddess who has it all together and looks put together and not frazzled at the end of the day.

7. Favorite vacation spots? I really like the outdoors, driving vacations, museums, and oddball attractions. I made hubby drive 3 hours out of our way one year so I could see a windmill in Iowa.

8. Reading right now? Saints In Limbo (fiction), Mama's Got a Fake I.D. (second time, non-fiction - great book). And I have a few others started too.

9. Four words to describe yourself. Self-conscious, loyal, compassionate, and kind.

10. Guilty pleasure? Ice Cream and my other was Potato chips (but alas the potato chips suffered the high cholesterol diet cut.) And of course - Chocolate in any size, shape and form.

11. Who or what makes you laugh until you’re weak? Hubs and the boy. They have the same sense of humor. It can also make me angry if I'm in the wrong frame of mind.

12. Favorite thing to do in the summer? Doing stuff with the kids. Zoo, picnics, park, backyard, etc. Although I am fond of sleeping later, staying up later, not ironing school clothes, not making school lunches, etc.

13. Planning to travel to next? We'd love to do a long weekend somewhere close this summer, like St. Louis or Omaha, but we're not sure if it will fit in the budget yet. I am going to San Fran in the fall with hubby for a weekend before one of his business trips. It will be my first time away from the kids for more than one night.

14. Best thing you ate or drank lately? Yikes. Best tasting? Probably Zarda BBQ ribs that we had last Thursday night because I couldn't cook at home because of another plumbing issue. Best for me - ice water.

15. When did you last get tipsy? In college, many years ago, before I knew better. I don't drink anymore because I don't like feeling like I am not in control of myself, and my dad was an alcoholic when I was little (and violent), so the stuff kind of freaks me out.

16. Favorite film? Once again difficult. If you asked me in high school, it would have been "Dirty Dancing". I know I shouldn't admit it. I really enjoyed "The Usual Suspects" several years back and I love the Janette Oke series, and "Enchanted" was super cute.

17. Dream vacation? Hawaii or a tropical cruise with hubby. Although I do want to take all the kiddos to DC.

18. Least favorite thing about driving in the boondocks? The possibility of hitting wildlife. I killed a hummingbird yesterday. It flew right into my dashboard. I am glad the kiddos weren't with me, I never would have lived it down. I also can't stand the fact that there are no landmarks or marked streets. "You know, turn left at the 342nd tree and then drive until the dirt road becomes more gravel and dings up your car..."

19. Least favorite part of your day? The time after the kids get home from school until hubby arrives. Homework, fighting between siblings, dinner prep, ICK!

20. Why do you blog? To complain. Honestly. I hate to admit it, it's like a valve to release the steam. If you don't release it - KABANG! Hubs words are frequently gone by the time he gets home and his ears start burning if I dump it all on him.

21. Major Pet Peeve- Clean laundry being put back in the hampers or thrown on the floor after I have cleaned and folded it.

Rules of the meme: Respond and rework. Answer questions on your own blog. Replace one question. Add one question. Tag 8 people.

I tag:

Heather at Sugar N Spice and Mostly nice
Tracey at Tracey Crafty Scraps
Lisa at Cheerios Underfoot
SturgMOM at Sturgmom, In general

Anyone else who wants to participate. Only do it if you want to, No pressure! If you do, leave me a comment so I can check yours out too!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sleep disrupted....

Have you ever had a dream that seemed very real? I had one last night. I have them occasionally. The one last night woke me up at 4 am with tears coursing down my face. I would have woken hubby to hold me and pray with me, but honestly, he has strep throat and I don't want it!

What was so disturbing you wonder?

Basically this, a group of people close to me confronted me individually and told me that I talked too much, asked too many questions and was generally annoying, and they didn't want me to come around anymore.

Another reason to love blogworld. I can type as much as I want. I can ask questions all I want. I am not hurt if you don't read. (Just don't leave me comments that tell me I am generally annoying and we'll be fine.)

P.S. This is NOT a plea for help. This is NOT an attention-getting action. Please no mercy comments. I imagine this was caused by a lack of sleep because my 23 month old has another ear infection and bronchitis.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Winners, Winners Everywhere!

Winner of Dear Mom by Melody Carlson is SturgMom, who in response to my question about relationships with teen daughters (or your mother when you were a teen) said -

I'm so glad I still have a few years (9? 10? 11?) before I have a daughter with the teen 'tude.

When I was a teenage, my mom was on a "need to know" basis and I rarely figured she needed to know. I was a good kid, I jsut didn't talk to my mom about stuff. I hope my relationship with my daughter is better.

Winner of Enduring Justice by Amy Wallace is Husker Wife, who said -
(I asked what was on your summer reading list).
This book seems so great!!
About the summer reading list, not sure.
Destined to reign-Joseph Prince
The Shack- ,maybe
Drawing closer to God- John Bevere

Who knows, we will have to see how my summer plays out!

Winner of Mama's Got a Fake I.D. by Caryn Dahlstrand Rivadeneira is Heather at Sugar N Spice and Mostly Nice.

Congratulations! I will contact you all to get shipping info.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mama's Got a Fake I.D. (and a giveaway!)

Have you ever read a book and from the beginning, cheered the author for "getting you" right? I started this book and immediately wondered which of my friends had adopted a pen name to write about me....

Before becoming a mom, I had all kinds of dreams, goals and aspirations. And, then I had children! Don't get me wrong, being a mom is a wonderful and blessed role, but do you ever feel like there has to be more in store for you? I admit I do, and often.

For me it all goes back to a need to be TRULY known. Not just the mom of four, the homemaker, the potty-trainer, grocery shopper.... Because while I am those things, I am also a unique individual who wants to discuss MORE than birthing horror stories, potty-training techniques and where to get the best deal on produce.

Being a mom does change us, or as the author more accurately puts it, motherhood refines us.

Take into consideration assumptions about motherhood, demands on our time and energy, and the all too common guilt, and it is no wonder that mothers are grasping at their identities and yelling "MINE!" like toddlers.

For every woman wondering what happened to the unique combination of gifts and abilities she was known for before kids came along, Caryn Dahlstrand Rivedeneira has good news: in Mama’s Got a Fake I.D., Rivedeneira helps moms reclaim their full identity as creative beings, gifted professionals and volunteers, loving friends, children of God—and mothers.

This inspiring and practical guide shows women how to break free from false guilt, learn a new language to express who they really are, and follow God’s lead in sharing their true self with others. After all, motherhood doesn’t have to mean losing one’s identity. Instead, being a mom makes it possible for a woman to discover a more complete identity as the person God made her to be.

This book would be great for a book group and/or bible study group! Buy it here.

And I have a copy to give away! Leave a comment about your thoughts on "identity" for one entry. Get an extra entry for following the blog (leave a separate comment letting me know you are a follower or became one). I'll select a winner on Mother's Day and announce it on Monday, May 11!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Enduring Justice (another giveaway!)

In Enduring Justice, Hanna Kessler’s childhood secret has remained buried for over two decades. But when the dark shadows of her past threaten to destroy those she loves, Hanna must face the summer that changed her life and the man who still haunts her thoughts.

Crimes Against Children FBI Agent, Michael Parker knows what it means to get knocked down. And when the system fails and a white supremacist is set free, Michael’s drive for retribution eclipses all else.

A racist’s well-planned assault forces Hanna and Michael to decide between executing vengeance and pursuing justice. When the attack turns personal, is healing still possible?

This thought-provoking novel deals with healing from sexual abuse, the balance of justice and mercy, and maintaining mixed-race friendships in the midst of racial tension. Readers who enjoy investigative thrillers by Dee Henderson, Colleen Coble, and Catherine Coulter, and who watch crime dramas like Law & Order: SVU, Criminal Minds, and Without a Trace will love this book—and the entire series.

Amy Wallace does not tiptoe around these weighty issues and above all shows the human side of her characters in their struggle to heal, trust others, and trust God.

Amy Wallace is the author of Ransomed Dreams and Healing Promises, a homeschool mom, and self-confessed chocoholic. She is a graduate of the Gwinnett County Citizens Police Academy and a contributing author of several books including God Answers Moms’ Prayers and Chicken Soup for the Soul Healthy Living Series: Diabetes.

Read more here.
Guess what? I have a copy to give away! Leave a comment about your summer reading list for one entry. Get an extra entry for following the blog (leave a separate comment letting me know you are a follower or became one). I'll select a winner on Mother's Day and announce it on Monday, May 11!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dear Mom (and giveaway!)

Being the mom of 3 girls and one boy, I do think ahead to what the next parenting stage will be like. People keep telling me I am in the easiest stage of parenthood and that parenting girls as teens is so much more difficult.

I heard a comedian once describe talking to teenagers this way -

"Where are you going?" "Nowhere"
"Who else is going?" "Noone"
"What are you going to do?" "Nothing"
"Then why are you going?" "Sheesh, I don't know, I'm just bored!"

Enough to drive even the sanest parent crazy. Maybe I am just optimistic, but surely my darlings won't do that? Oh, you say they probably will? Hmm, we'll see...

Every mom knows how communicating with a teenage girl can be difficult, even impossible at times. One-word answers. Defensive conversations. Daily arguments. How typical for teens to put up such barriers. All the while, moms truly long to know what their daughters really think.

Bestselling author Melody Carlson, whose books for women, teens, and children have sold more than three million copies, bridges this chasm with trusted insight. She speaks frankly in the voice of the teen daughters she’s written for and she tells it like it is: struggles with identity, guys, friendship, and even parents—it’s all here. The straight-talk to moms covers such things as “I need you, but you can’t make me admit it,” “I’m not as confident as I appear,” and “I have friends. I need a mother.”

Instead of focusing on outward behaviors, Dear Mom looks at a young woman’s heart and reveals to moms:

· how to talk to teens so they hear,

· how to connect despite the differences of perspective or years and experiences,

· and how strengthen the bond every mom and daughter ultimately wants.

The lively chapters in Dear Mom can be dipped into topically or used as a read-through tool by moms and daughters alike to understand what motivates or deflates, troubles or inspires—and just in time for Mother’s Day and all the Mother’s Days ahead.

Check out more here.

Guess what? I have a copy to give away! Leave a comment about your relationship with your teen daughter or your relationship with your mom when you were a teen. Get an extra entry for following the blog (leave a separate comment letting me know you are a follower or became one). I'll select a winner on Mother's Day and announce it on Monday, May 11!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Five Spice Chicken

This is a new one in our repertoire. I once again adapted a recipe to fit our family tastes. It is yummy!

3 T dry cooking sherry
2 T light soy sauce
1 T brown sugar (I use 1/2 T brown splenda as a substitute)
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
4 boneless , skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp cornstarch
1 T cold water
2 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish

Combine sherry, soy sauce, sugar (or substitute), ginger, garlic and five-spice powder. Add chicken and turn to coat. Allow to marinate for a few hours. Place chicken and marinade in a skillet coated with non-stick spray. Cook until chicken is no longer pink in the center. Remove chicken from skillet. Dissolve cornstarch in water and stir into skillet. Thicken sauce and pour over chicken.

Serve with salad or stir-fried veggies. We doubled the chicken recipe and used the leftovers in stir-fry later in the week.

I imagine it can be cooked in the crock pot too.....

A side note - Five spice powder can be different. The one I used had cinnamon. Check out these sights for more info on five spice powder.


The Spice House

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A tribute to moms giveaways this week!

Just a heads up that starting Monday I will have great book giveaways! Two are related to being a Mom in honor of Mother's Day, there is one fiction, and may even be a surprise or two thrown in, so come on over next week and see what is in store!