Saturday, February 27, 2010

Book review - All Things Hidden by Tricia Goyer


The past is brought to light...
Charlotte is cleaning out the basement of Bedford Community Church when she comes across a tattered and yellowed newspaper article. The clipping, published more than a century ago, implicates her great-great-grandfather in the loss of funds intended to help finish building the church. Charlotte has heard stories about the incident through the years, but now it seems the past has come back to haunt her. Is it just her imagination or are people treating her differently now that they think she's descended from a crook? Will Charlotte be able to clear her family's name once and for all?
Meanwhile, Sam is spending time with a new girl in town-and is keeping secrets from his grandparents about where they go. Christopher is trying to get an article published in the local paper, and Emily reluctantly partners with a foreign exchange student on a class project and eventually comes to see that they're not that different after all. As old secrets are brought to light, the whole family is reminded that the truth is often more complicated than it seems.
Come home to Heather Creek. Get to know Charlotte Stevenson, who is raising her grandchildren on the family farm after a tragic accident changes all of their lives forever. With the help of her husband Bob and a close-knit circle of friends, she will do whatever it takes to keep this fragile family together. See how God, who makes the sun rise and the crops grow, watches over our lives too.
Charlotte Stevenson's world is turned upside down when her daughter, Denise, dies in a tragic car accident. She ran away at eighteen and Charlotte has never forgiven herself. Now, Denise's children, abandoned by their father, are coming from California to live on Heather Creek Farm in Bedford, Nebraska.
Tricia's first book in the Home to Heather Creek series was Sweet September (book two) followed by  Every Sunrise (book seven) last spring and Sunflower Serenade this summer. All Things Hidden is book eighteen in the continuing story of the Stephensen family!


My thoughts:

I hate to admit that this is not my favorite Tricia Goyer book but it is still a good book.  I just didn’t relate as well to the characters, maybe because the main character is a grandmother and the other three main characters are teens.

Tricia Goyer is the author of several books, including Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights, both past winners of the ACFW's Book of the Year Award for Long Historical Romance. Goyer lives with her family in Montana. To find out more visit her website:
BUY THE BOOK! or you can call 1.800.431.2344


To read what others are saying about this book you can go HERE.

Life Lessons From a Horse Whisperer


While I have always liked horses, I wasn’t the horse-y one in my family. My sister was more into horses than I was, and she still is. So when I saw this book I was thinking about her.


But I really enjoyed it myself.


Dr. Lew Sterrett has written a fascinating and insightful book about what he learned about human relationships from training horses.  It is more similar than you might think.

He talks about

  • getting a horse’s “want to” going and I know that is something I need to work on with my children, especially with school work.
  • if a horse (or a person) is struggling “getting” a task, then break it down into smaller steps and if needed then go back to basics
  • the importance of gaining trust, without trust the task is much harder – if not impossible.

Horse lovers will adore this book but you don’t have to love horses to enjoy it. Unless you are a hermit who avoids people and animals, you can learn something from Life Lessons From a Horse Whisperer. Dr. Sterrett style is engaging without being “preachy,” he shares what he has learned but doesn’t tell you what to do.


I highly recommend this book. You can read what others are saying about this book here.


A champion trainer and true horse whisperer, Dr. Lew Sterrett has used patience and a firm but gentle hand to earn the trust of more than 3,500 horses. Dr. Lew Sterrett (Ph. D) had little idea that his boyhood interest in horses would open doors internationally for speaking and training. During his years in 4-H, he savored many opportunities to train and show horses and earn national recognition. As a student leader at Penn State University he benefited from many mentoring relationships from which he received valuable training, experience and honors. This foundation provided a basis for an extensive horse career with a unique emphasis on training youth and community leaders.
Lew has served as the Executive Director of Miracle Mountain Ranch Missions, Inc. (MMRM) since 1977. MMRM, located in northwestern Pennsylvania, is home for a summer youth camp, and a leadership training center for youth, adult, and family groups. He has also promoted safety in public riding programs, serving as President of the Certified Horse Association for 7 years. A licensed pastor, certified Youth, Marriage and Family Counselor, he earned his PhD from North Tennessee Seminary in 2007.
Find out more about Dr. Lew Sterrett on his website:


I was provided with this book, free for purpose of review by LitFuse Publicity. I am not compensated in any other way.

Friday, February 26, 2010

House Rules

One of the house rules that makes life simpler is the “No candy before lunch” rule. This typically cuts down on a lot of the begging and pleading. Of course the rule has been ammended to include the provision that lunch can’t be before noon – otherwise lunch would be eaten at 8 am.


So yesterday Junior, who is 6, stated that he was going to have marshmallows with his cereal – the giant strawberry marshmallows not those little mar-bits. And told him he was not, so he said he would “try” just one.


No, remember no candy before lunch.


“Mom” he pleaded “I just want to try one.”


So I asked if he planned on chewing it up and then spitting it into the trash can.


He looked at me and said “Would that work for you?”


Ummm, no but good try.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Figure Skating

I am not very into winter sports, I don’t like being cold in addition to not being athletic, but I enjoy watching figure skating. Much to my families disgust and dismay. hehehehe.


I know very little about it, I couldn’t tell a lutz  from toe jump from a salchow (I always thought they were saying sow-cow). But I enjoy watching the grace (or lack of grace when they fall.)


Tuesday night though, I saw something that brought tears to my eyes.


I don’t know if you have been following the Olympics, especially figure skating, but you may have heard about Joannie Rochette of Canada. She was expecting a normal Olympics (is there really such a thing?)  and her parents had arrived to watch the weekend before her first skate.  Her mom unexpectedly had a massive heart attack on Saturday and died Sunday morning (news article here). And still she skated on Tuesday night.


She skated heart-breakingly, beautifully and as the last notes faded she had a brief expression of “this is for you mom.” Then it seemed as though a wave of grief swept over her as her face crumbled up.


As a mom, I would want my child to take the opportunity and skate because that had been the goal for so many years.


As a daughter, I would want to be curled up in the fetal position and crying. 


The sad part to me (beyond the loss of her mother) is that the Olympics will always be a painful memory for her. Whether she wins or not, every time she thinks of the Olympics, she will also have the association of her mom’s death. Even getting the gold metal would be bittersweet.  If she doesn’t place, she might wonder if she would have done better without the added burden. 


It is just sad.

You can watch her skating the short program here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I cry in church

I am very, very blessed in my church home. It feels like home, it is comfortable and safe there. I try not to cry in front of my kids but they are frequently busy somewhere else at church or they are busy singing along with the music.


It is partly the music’s fault. As I sing How Great is Our God my heart and head are praising God for his greatness – even when things are dark. I am reminded that even in the midst of sorrow God is there, His hand is there.


His hand shows up in little ways, “coincidences”  that He engineers. Reminders that He is there and cares. Friday someone sent me a message on Facebook, something seemingly random but I am convinced that God had a hand in it. She probably didn’t really know what was going on when she sent me the message.


It is these sort of things that I remember when singing praise songs or hymns. It is when I am praising Him that I most feel like I am curled up in my Abba Daddy’s lap and can’t help but have tears stream down my cheeks.


On those days that I am feeling emotionally bruised, I grab a few kleenexes and keep them ready to dab the tears out of my eyes. Because I will probably end up crying in church.

Friday, February 19, 2010

my expensive drying rack

Our dishwasher is old, I think 13 years old. It is also one of the lower end models. While it technically runs it actually makes the clean dishes dirty.


I don’t know exactly how. All I know is that stuff is dirtier when I get it out than when I put it in.




So for now, it is a drying rack. A large expensive drying rack. So I can wash my dishes by hand. And then put them in the dishwasher to dry.


Meanwhile I wait until we can go get a new one. We have the income tax refund. I know which model I like but this is one of those things I prefer taking Hubby along with me for.


Now excuse me, I need to go do some dishes.

Hear No Evil

If you’ve ever had the opening bars of a song transport you back in time or remind you of a pivotal spiritual moment, Matthew Paul Turner’s honest—and frequently hilarious—musings will strike a chord. Straightforward and amusing, Hear No Evil is Turner’s “life soundtrack,” a compilation of engaging personal stories about how music—and music’s ability to transform—has played a key role in his spiritual life.
Groove along on his journey as young evangelical Turner attends forbidden contemporary Christian concerts, moves to “ Music City ” Nashville , and dreams of becoming the Michael Jackson of Christian music.
Cosmic and compelling, keen and funny, every page is a new encounter with the people, places, and experiences that have taught the music-editor-turned-author some new things about God, forced him out of his comfort zone, and introduced him to a fresh view of grace along the way.

I was excited about being asked to review this book;  I could live without TV sooner than I could without music. I also love books so a book about music seems to combine the best of both worlds.


I did not love this book though.


Snarky doesn’t bother me.  I have even been known to make fun of people on occasion. But I believe “in all things moderation” and this book was not moderately snarky.


Maybe it is just me but it seemed that the majority of people in this book were criticized. Maybe I am oversensitive but I just don’t find that sort of humor funny – at least not in large quantities.


In fairness, Matthew Paul Turner also made fun of himself – or the self he used to be back when he was young and naive.  And yes, now I am being snarky because he is only in his mid-thirties - barely.


Would I recommend this book? Well, I know others have said that is is funny and others have liked it. I also don’t see the humor in Seinfeld or The Office so it could just be me. I would have to say, no I don’t really recommend it.


This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Once An Arafat Man

Some books are just confrontational. You know how some books make you realize that assumptions you have had are not correct or that they are wounding to people? Some books confront ideas that you have long had or make you see the other side of the issue.

Once An Arafat Man has been one of those books for me. It is subtitled the True Story of How a PLO Sniper Found a New Life – yep, not exactly light reading.

However it is a fascinating book. Because of Tass Saada, I no longer see things the way I did before. I mentioned Tea With Hezbollah before and how it changed my view of things in the Middle East, I have to say though that Once An Arafat Man left me feeling more hopeful at the end. Tea with Hezbollah showed me what  confusing mess it is, and Once an Arafat Man did that as well but it also showed me that God is working in that mess.

Born in the Gaza Strip, Tass's family was forced to move and as a result he gre up a very angry young man. In his youth, he found a way to channel that rage by directing it at Jews. He was a member of Fatah and worked as a sniper as well as training other recruits. Decades later he met a Jew named Jesus and what followed is inspirational.

God worked a miracle in Tass Saada’s heart and now God is using Tass to do more work.

About the Authors:
Tass Saada is a former Muslim and is cofounder of Hope For Ishmael, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to reconcile Arabs and Jews to Got and each other through the gospel of Christ. Saada was born in 1951 in the Gaza Strip, and he grew up in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. He was a PLO sniper and militant fighter. He worked directly for Arafat. In America, he became a Christian.

Dean Merrill has been published in over 40 magazine articles and has coauthored more than 26 books. Some well-known titles are To Fly Again and In the Presence of My Enemies, both with Philippine missionary survivor Gracia Burnham. In the Presence of My Enemies was a New York Times best seller.
This book was provided by Tyndale for purpose of review. I received no form of compensation other than a free book and all opinions expressed in this review are mine.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Its been a long couple of weeks at our house. We have been sick with just colds.

Or colds until Junior decided to get bronchitis.

And then Daisy caught a stomach bug that I am waiting for it to take the rest of the family down.

And there are some other things I haven’t felt comfortable blogging about.

And now my blog background is driving me crazy again so I <i>HAVE</i> to change it.

And that is all for now.