Thursday, December 10, 2009

Transforming the Valley of Grief

Transforming the Valley of Grief by Thomas O. Mason

A Review By Shoz:

Can I just say that although I am a single female who has not lost anyone close like a spouse, and I do not pretend to understand the grief and anguish that event brings, I love this book! It is a helpful narrative of a man's journey through this devastating time. It takes guts to be this open and honest and I am thankful that Mason chose to write this and that I had the privilege to read it. This book has helped me understand how to practically help others I may know who are dealing with this terrible "tsunami" of grief.

I appreciated that at the end of the chapters he gives sections of "Note to Self" and "Note to Others" that give helpful hints of how to cope during this time for the one walking through it or those of us trying to walk along side them.

I throughly appreciate his blunt honesty in statements like, "Self pity is a frequent companion of the griever. Get used to it!" p.44.

I genuinely appreciated this book, and can already think of at least one person that I will buy a copy for!

Thanks to the author Thomas Mason for having the courage to write it and share it with the world!

The following are editorials written by a talented publicist and are not my own and copied with my humble apologies as this should have been posted months ago. What can I say but that I am not perfect and have never been accused of being prompt.

Coping with Grief at Christmas

Losing a loved one is always difficult, but so many find the grief devastatingly unbearable during the Christmas season. In his new book Transforming the Valley of Grief, author Tom Mason shares his journey of grief after the loss of his wife. This slim volume is a manual for anyone who is coping with grief and offers practical insight and suggestions to those in “the valley of grief” this Christmas.

Transforming the Valley of Grief follows Mason’s own journey from the moment the tsunami of grief crashed into his life, through the peaceful, solitary moments meeting God in the wilderness, in the times where unexpected memories triggered flash floods of emotion and to the moment when the valley opened up and he was able to fully embrace his changed life. The book includes many specific, practical tips for both grieving men and those who love them and want to support them through the valley. Each chapter concludes with a “notes to self” section with positive suggestions for men to try at different points in their journey of grief and a “notes to others” section. At the back of the book there is a collection of discussion questions perfect for use in a grief support group.

This slim volume is the perfect gift for the friend or loved one who is coping with loss, and it is essential reading for anyone who wants to support a grieving man but doesn’t know what to do or say. Mason offers beautiful spiritual insights, often drawing from the comforting words of the psalmist. But perhaps more important are his detailed directions for surviving single life—everything from how to plan an effective mini-sabbatical and how to find your way as a “pre-married” in the church singles group to what you should do with the leftovers your wife would have made creative use of (toss them and forgive yourself). The loss of a loved one always brings change, and Mason helps readers think through the various decisions they will face as a result (i.e., Should I stay here or move away? Do I want to remarry someday?).

Mason shows readers that, though the journey of grief begins in the darkness of the valley, God will reveal new light, joy and purpose as you “do the work” of grieving and He transforms the valley. “There is hope, even if you can’t believe it right now! There is light at the end of the tunnel,” Mason says. “There is an end to your dark valley, and this book is about getting there and the various steps and stages along the way.”

Tom’s journey of grief is the topic of his book, Transforming the Valley of Grief, a new manual for grieving men which documents his healing process and contains many practical suggestions for others who find themselves (or their friends) dealing with the loss of a loved one. He was compelled to write the book after searching in vain for a book on grief written from the male perspective to guide him through his own journey.

“I am absolutely convinced that men and women process grief differently. Women are from Venus, and men are from Mars, after all,” Mason says. “Women process grief verbally; men retreat to their caves to grieve in isolation, or at least, they are expected to do so.” Tom has written this book so that no man must travel the valley alone.

Transforming the Valley of Grief by Thomas O. Mason
Xulon Press September 2009
ISBN: 978-1-60791-616-1/131 pages/softcover/$14.99

For review copy or interview information, contact:
Tracy McCarter - tmccarter(at) - 800-927-0517 x109

Is God Good

If God Is Good By Randy Alcorn

To be totally honest this book read so much like a theology text book that it was way over my head most of the time. It took me forever to read because I would get so frustrated with being lost and overwhelmed that I would just put it down for long periods at a time.

That being said I do know a thing or two about theology, as I have taken a few classes on the topic, and would agree with this book on the whole. But if you are looking for a quick or easy to understand book that will help you understand or easily explain it, you have the wrong book.

If you are a lover of the type of book that you really have to grapple with and mull over and cross reference with many different sources, then this is the book for you.

Here is what the publisher had to say.

Does God have emotions?

from Business as UNusual
Except taken from the chapter
"Evil and Suffering as Seen in Scripture’s Redemptive Story"
from Randy Alcorn’s new release If God is Good.

Some time ago theologians formulated the doctrine of God’s impassibility. They argued that God was “without passions.” Their motive was to distinguish God from the mood swings and more erratic and unstable aspects of human emotions. Unfortunately, many Christians came to believe that God doesn’t have emotions.

It’s critical that we know the heart of God. He genuinely loves and cares about us. If we believe he has no emotions, then we will never feel his love for us, nor will we experience deep love for him.

An abundance of biblical passages show that God experiences a broad range of emotions. God commands us not to “grieve” the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). God is said to be “angry” (Deuteronomy 1:37), “moved by pity” (Judges 2:18, ESV), “pleased” (1 Kings 3:10), and “to rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). Genesis 6:6 says, “So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart” (NLT).

Some explain these verses as ascribing human emotions to God so that we can relate to him better. But surely God wants us to relate to him as he really is, and passages that don’t describe him as he is would mislead us. God wants us to understand that he can genuinely grieve, his heart full of pain. Surely he didn’t choose these powerful words so we would respond, “Of course, God didn’t really feel moved—he has no emotions.”

Since God made us in his image, we should assume our emotions are reflective of his, even though ours are subject to sin while his are not. Consider a small sampling of verses illustrating God’s emotions:

Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. (Exodus 32:10)

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.
(Psalm 103:13)

“In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD your Redeemer. (Isaiah 54:8)

As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you. (Isaiah 62:5)

Nor does God limit his compassion to his children. He says, “I wail over Moab, for all Moab I cry out” (Jeremiah 48:31).

A passage about God’s goodness and compassion contains a remarkable statement: “In all their distress he too was distressed” (Isaiah 63:9). A form of the same word is used to describe God’s people’s distress as to depict God’s own. Yes, our distress can involve feelings which God doesn’t feel, such as helplessness and uncertainty. But clearly God intends us to see a similarity between our emotional distress and his.

The fact that the second member of the triune God suffered unimaginable torture on the cross should explode any notion that God lacks feelings. In the suffering of Jesus, God himself suffered. No one who grasps this truth can say, “God doesn’t understand my suffering.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in a Nazi prison camp, “Only the suffering God can help.”

Excerpted from If God Is Good by Randy Alcorn Copyright © 2009 by Randy Alcorn. Excerpted by permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

If God Is Good by Randy Alcorn
Multnomah Books/September 15, 2009
ISBN 978-1601421326/Hardcover/512 pages/$24.99

About If God is Good:

Every one of us will experience suffering. Many of us are experiencing it now. As we have seen in recent years, evil is real in our world, present and close to each one of us.

In such difficult times, suffering and evil beg questions about God—Why would an all-good and all-powerful God create a world full of evil and suffering? And then, how can there be a God if suffering and evil exist?

These are ancient questions, but also modern ones as well. Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and even former believers answer the question simply: The existence of suffering and evil proves there is no God.

In this captivating new book, best-selling author Randy Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief, and brings a fresh, realistic, and thoroughly biblical insight to the issues these important questions raise.

Alcorn offers insights from his conversations with men and women whose lives have been torn apart by suffering, and yet whose faith in God burns brighter than ever. He reveals the big picture of who God is and what God is doing in the world–now and forever. And he equips you to share your faith more clearly and genuinely in this world of pain and fear.

Randy Alcorn delves deep into a profound subject, and through compelling stories, provocative questions and answers, and keen biblical understanding, he brings assurance and hope to all.

For radio interview information, contact:
Audra Jennings - 800-927-0517 x 104 - ajennings(at)

Friday, December 4, 2009

What Difference Do It Make? by Ron Hall, Denver Moore and Lynn Vincent

Straight off the top I need to say everyone should read this book and the one that precedes it!

This book is a sequel to the book Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. I had the first book given to me by a friend and I loved it! It tells the stories of Ron and Denver and how Ron's wife Deborah brought them together and the journey they have been on since.

What difference do it make, being the sequel, is still telling the story of Ron and Denver's journey of friendship but also how the first book has changed their lives. You see them rising in social eye and their struggle to make people aware of the plight of the homeless. It is a riveting book. I think that the second book without the first would not make as much sense as if you read them in tandem but I think that What difference do it make could change just as many hearts and lives as the first book apparently did!

Large parts of this book are spent telling how the first book touched the lives of those who read it. This book, much like the first book, has the potential to change people from the inside out. It is my prayer and my own personal goal to make sure as many people as I can reach read these books. The issue of hunger and homelessness in our world is too great to ignore or turn a blind eye toward. We must begin to act!

Book Description

New thoughts and reflections from the authors of the inspirational New York Times bestseller Same Kind of Different as Me.

The more than four hundred thousand readers stirred by the story of Ron Hall and Denver Moore will resonate with the all new, stand-alone true stories of hope and healing offered in this intimate, authentic follow-up to the New York Times bestseller Same Kind of Different as Me.

With new "Denverisms" and reflections from Denver on his personal dealings with homelessness and disrespect from others, additional insights from Ron on what we can learn from people unlike us and from those dealing with a terminal illness, and the stories of readers who have been impacted by the book's central themes, this inspirational reader will generate a host of new fans. Topics include:

* Faith and friendship
* Racial reconciliation
* Community outreach
* Compassion
* Healing

For more information see

The Unfinished Gift by Dan Walsh

This book was brilliant!!! I loved hating Collins the curmudgeon of a man that sweet innocent Patrick had the misfortune of having for a grandfather. The loving next door neighbour Mrs Fortini who it seems is always giving Patrick cookies, easily endures herself to your heart. Miss Katherine Townsend the overly invested social worker that was handling Patrick's case was a joy to get to know. These characters and even the ones that pass through the story if only for a brief visit all became like family to me as I read. It was as if I was being transported into the story myself some how.
The story was so well crafted it captures your heart and mind and does not let go until the end. However, be forewarned, you are going to need a box of tissues near by!
Dan Walsh is a brilliant story teller and I was captivate by this book! I am looking forward to his future endeavour and the sequel to this book, The Homecoming!

Here is an excerpt from The Unfinished Gift to get you started.

Can a gift from the past mend a broken heart?
Ian Collins is an old man without his son. Patrick Collins is a young boy without his father. On his Christmas list are only three items. He wants the army to find his father. He wants to leave his grandfather's house. And he wants the dusty wooden soldier in Grandfather's attic--the one he is forbidden to touch.
Set at Christmastime in 1943, The Unfinished Gift is the engaging story of a family in need of forgiveness. With simple grace, it reminds us of the small things that affect powerful change in our hearts--a young boy's prayers, a shoe box of love letters, and even a half-carved soldier, long forgotten. This nostalgic story of reconciliation will touch your heart.

"The Unfinished Gift is a poignant story about a grieving little boy and the estranged, angry grandfather who takes him in. Make sure you have a tissue nearby, because you're going to need it!"--Terri Blackstock, author of the Restoration and the Cape Refuge series

"The Unfinished Gift is one for the keeper shelf! Dan's book is a fabulous story of redemption and forgiveness. I couldn't put it down and it made me cry, which is hard to do. Loved it!"--Colleen Coble, author of the Rock Harbor and the Lonestar series

The Author

Dan Walsh is the author of The Unfinished Gift and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. He is a pastor and lives with his family in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel.

Available now at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

The Christmas Dog by Melody Carlson

I had mixed feelings about this book. I loved many of the supporting characters but was not fond of the main character which made it difficult to really get into the book. But despite my dislike for the main character I ended up liking the book in the end.
Check out an excerpt from the book here and see what you think.

The first half of the book was tough getting through because you are learning more and more about the main character Betty and I just didn't like her mainly because any negative idea that was even mentioned in passing she took it as truth in her life. She decided to believe the worst in all situations and not the best. This kept me loosing respect for her the whole way through the book so that when she finally does get to the end and starts to have a small change of heart it feels anticlimactic to me.
However, the supporting characters are wonderful like her granddaughter Avery and Jack the neighbour that she mi
sjudges and later finds out that had she just given him a small chance she would have come to realize he was a wonderful person. The dog seems to have a small part in the story but a good one as well.
Overall I don't think I would recomend giving this one as a gift berofe you have read it yourself and have made your own oppinion. I know there are many different types of readers and many oppinions so please read the book and make your own conclusions. But if your ok with taking my word for it, save your money and borrow it from the library or a friend first.

Christmas miracles can come from unlikely sources.

Betty Kowalski isn't looking forward to the holidays. She just can't seem to find Christmas in her heart. Maybe it's because her husband is gone. Maybe it's because she's missing her children. Or maybe it has something to do with her obnoxious new neighbor, who seems to be tearing his house apart and rearranging it on the lawn.

But when a mangy dog appears at her doorstep, the stage is set for Betty to learn what Christmas is really all about.

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books, several of them Christmas novellas from Revell, including her much-loved and bestselling book, The Christmas Bus. She also writes many teen books, including Just Another Girl, Anything but Normal, the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, the TrueColors series, and the Carter House Girls series. Melody was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her books, including the Notes from a Spinning Planet series and Finding Alice, which is in production as a Lifetime Television movie. She and her husband serve on the Young Life adult committee in central Oregon. Visit Melody's website at

Available now at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Christmas is fast approching...

Every year it seems that the celebration of Christmas becomes a little more commercial and a little less of a celebration of Christ. This year there is a Marketing group that has a lofty goal, Graf-Martin has a goal to bring 1 million houses in North America this nicely packaged gift of a small New Testament, a tract from Max Lucado and an invitation asking them to come to your church and learn about the true reason why we celebrate.

This is obviously being targeted at churches or small groups who would see the value in investing in these very economical packs of only $1.20 each. The website is also full of helpful ideas like their coordinating designed invitations and bulletin inserts that you can simply fill in the blanks to come to a function at your church and include them in the packages when delivering them. They can be distributed any way you like as well and the website gives you several ideas of how to do this.

I think that these packs are nicely designed and the New Testament has many helpful hints and indexes for first time or new readers. This coupled with the invite to come join the church service or maybe a phone number offering someone to talk to and ask questions of it may be a very useful tool.

The following is some of the official info put out by Graf-Martin and the website address is:

Looking for a way to help your church effectively reach out to your community?
Join churches around North America in partnership to reach 1 million homes with God’s Word this Christmas.

The Share the Good News of Christmas program is a simple, cost-effective way to help your church bring the gospels to your neighborhood. Rally your family members, church staff, small groups, and Sunday school classes to visit your neighbors and hand out cheerful Christmas bags. Each kit includes:

* 50 cheerful door-hanger bags
* 50 ESV Outreach New Testament Christmas Editions
* 50 customizable invitations to attend a Christmas service at your church
* 50 copies of The Good News of Christmas tract by Max Lucado
* 50 cards announcing a FREE opportunity to explore the ESV Online Study Bible free for 30 days
* 1 Instruction card
* 1 Reproducible church bulletin insert

Each kit will be sold for $59.99. That’s just over $1.20 per home.

This affordable package is a great ministry opportunity for your church family. It’s also a great ministry opportunity to spread the word about children’s programs, choir concerts, Christmas caroling, and more.

God has Never Failed Me, But He has Sure Scared me to Death a Few Times- Stan Toler

God Has Never Failed Me, But He Has Sure Scared Me To Death A Few Times -by Stan Toler

I have to be honest with you, this title kinda put me off. I had the impression that it would be a glib, halfhearted book that would try too hard to be funny and miss the mark at being meaningful.

I was wrong. This is a book about Gods faithfulness and it sees it through the eyes of some really touching stories and some really funny ones. The author Stan Toler uses humor to illustrate his points perfectly. In fact you can quickly tell that he is a firm believer in the authentic Christian life being filled with joy and humor, imagine that!

This was a refreshing book filled with simple practical steps to get closer to God and closer to the understanding that he will never fail us.

I was impressed with this book as a whole an would defiantly recommend it to my friends. In fact I know at least one person in my family that will be getting one for Christmas.

Rediscover Stan Toler’s Endearing Collections of Encouragement

David C Cook introduces new generation of readers to Toler’s gift for finding faith and joy in life’s tough times

Buzzards are Circling front cover for emailGod Has Never Failed Me front cover for emailCelebrated author of over 70 books, Stan Toler has touched countless hurting people with his timeless stories of hope and encouragement. This summer, a whole new audience of readers will have the opportunity to discover Toler’s best-selling books as David C Cook introduces the updated editions of two of Toler’s most beloved collections—The Buzzards Are Circling, But God’s Not Finished With Me Yet and God Has Never Failed Me, But He’s Sure Scared Me to Death a Few Times (David C Cook, August 2009).

On the landscape of life, buzzards are inevitable—those challenging events and situations that encircle us, eyeing us as prey and swooping down to cause hurt and heartache. A late-night phone call delivering bad news. Losing a job. Struggling with bankruptcy. No matter what form these buzzards take, the pain is universal.

In The Buzzards Are Circling, But God’s Not Finished With Me Yet, Stan Toler takes a lighthearted look at some of life’s more serious subjects. Drawing from his own personal struggles, Toler offers a generous dose of encouragement for the troubled heart, helping readers find hope, joy, and peace, even in the most trying of circumstances. In chapters such as “When the Fountain of Youth Has Rusted” and “I Know I’m Lost, but the Scenery Is Spectacular,” readers will find the strength they need to shoo away any buzzards and face life’s difficulties with the security of knowing that God is in control.

In God Has Never Failed Me, But He’s Sure Scared Me to Death a Few Times, Toler gives a humorous twist to the challenges that place us in faith’s waiting room. Though we know that God’s provision is always on time, we’ve all had close calls waiting for His help. For anyone who has ever felt frazzled, stressed, confused, hurt, angry, undone, or any other emotional response to the difficulties and uncertainties of life, Toler serves up a delightful combination of poignant and hilarious reminders that God is still at work in the world.

Filled with heartwarming stories and humorous anecdotes, this charming collection offers hope and peace for the weary, waiting heart. Toler combines a rich blend of spiritual truths with humorous insights as he reminds God’s children of His unfailing love. Through it all, readers will discover a God who is always faithful, worthy of our trust, and never late with His help.

Repackaged with a fresh look and design, both books will be available for purchase in August.

Author Bio

Stan Toler is senior pastor of Trinity Church of the Nazarene in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and for several years taught seminars for Dr. John Maxwell’s INJOY Group, a leadership development institute. He also serves as the executive director of the Toler Leadership Center, located on the campus of Mid-America Christian University, and is the co-founder of BGW Forward in Faith. Toler has written over 70 books, including his bestsellers, God Has Never Failed Me, But He’s Sure Scared Me to Death a Few Times; The Buzzards Are Circling, But God’s Not Finished With Me Yet; God’s Never Late, He’s Seldom Early, He’s Always Right on Time; The Secret Blend; Practical Guide to Pastoral Ministry; Total Quality Life; and his popular Minute Motivator series.

The Buzzards Are Circling, But God’s Not Finished With Me Yet

God Has Never Failed Me, But He’s Sure Scared Me to Death a Few Times

by Stan Toler

David C Cook/August 2009

ISBN: 978-1-434765-94-9/224 pages/softcover/$14.99

ISBN: 978-1-434765-95-6/224 pages/softcover/$14.99

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The King's Legacy by Jim Stovall

This was a totally great little book! It was a quick read and one that I really got into.

You are along for the ride as a good and benevolent king decides what it is he wants to leave his people as a tribute to his time of leadership. He settles on searching for the one piece of wisdom that will be called "the wisdom of the ages". He hears from any and all of his citizens that wish to contribute their wisdom to be considered for this honoured title. Many of them bringing great truths to ponder and leaving the reader with much to contemplate. The king is faced with the difficult decision of what to proclaim, and how it works out in the end was a refreshing and fitting end to the book.

The one thing that I was marginally disappointed in was that of all of the citizens coming to offer wisdom all were men but one woman who came to speak of the legacy of being a good parent. I realize that the author may have been trying to stay true to the time of the story in which most men were in the work force and women stayed home, but it was a bit disappointing none the less. There are always exceptions to the norm and it would have been nice to see that embraced a little by throwing in a couple of strong female characters in addition to all of the men.

That being said, I still thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend it for a quick easy read.

The King’s Legacy: A Story of the Wisdom of the Ages

Best-selling author Jim Stovall’s classic parable returns in an updated gift edition

The Kings Legacy cover for emailFrom the best-selling author of the The Ultimate Gift, now a major motion picture, comes an ageless tale with a profound message: Sometimes wisdom is where you least expect it. This summer, Jim Stovall’s classic parable, The King’s Legacy: A Story of the Wisdom of the Ages (David C Cook, June 2009), will return in an updated, revised gift edition. Featuring an enhanced look and new illustrations, this simple, insightful story is perfect for readers of all ages.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was an enchanted kingdom ruled by a benevolent and much-loved king who, through his uncommon wisdom and insight, led his people through many difficult times to a period of peace, prosperity, and happiness such as the kingdom had never known.

Now, nearing the end of his reign, the king longs to leave a lasting legacy for his people. What would be a fitting memorial to his time on the throne? A monument to rival the pyramids of Egypt? A gold coin bearing his likeness? A colossal statue carved in his image? No, such an enlightened ruler would choose a very different kind of memorial.

But then the king has a remarkable idea: To discover the most profound words of wisdom in the world.

So the king invites citizens from all walks of life and all corners of the realm to share with him the best of their life lessons. Farmers and physicians, hunters and historians, jesters and judges—all come before the monarch. From the wisdom that they share, the king will select the one bit that surpasses all the others, wisdom that will be passed around the world, wisdom that will benefit all people from all lands, forever: the Wisdom of the Ages.

But as the king hears from more and more of his subjects, he becomes worried and restless. From so much profound and wonderful wisdom, how will he discern the Wisdom of the Ages? How will he know when he has found it? The answer comes in a form that no one, from the king to the lowliest peasant, could expect. For the greatest wisdom comes from the most unexpected of places….

Author Bio

Jim Stovall is a national Olympic champion weightlifter, former president of the Emmy Award-winning Narrative Television Network, and a highly sought after author and platform speaker. For his work in making television accessible to our nation’s 13 million blind and visually impaired people, The President’s Committee on Equal Opportunity selected Jim Stovall as the Entrepreneur of the Year. Jim was also honored as the International Humanitarian of the Year, joining previous recipients Mother Teresa and Nancy Reagan. He is the author of the best-selling book The Ultimate Gift, now a major motion picture.

The King’s Legacy: A Story of the Wisdom of the Ages by Jim Stovall

David C Cook/June 2009/ISBN: 978-1-434765-93-2/144 pages/softcover/$12.99

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fearless by Max Lucado

This was a great read. it was short and to the point. What I saw as a theam was to come back to God in prayer as the solution to most of the different adversities that he covers in this book. I think that it may have glossed over some of the harder subjects but those subjects may not have totally fit under the specific umbrella of fear.
All in all this book was a great reminder of the basic premis that if we are faithful in our devotions and prayer life, God will honour that. Fearless was full of reminders to fall back into the arms of our first love and learn to trust him. I was almost set on not appreciating this book as I thought to myself, "how can anyone live with no fear?" I think that if we take thse simple truths to heart it might just be possible.

Book Description

Each sunrise seems to bring fresh reasons for fear.

They're talking layoffs at work, slowdowns in the economy, flare-ups in the Middle East, turnovers at headquarters, downturns in the housing market, upswings in global warming. The plague of our day, terrorism, begins with the word terror. Fear, it seems, has taken up a hundred-year lease on the building next door and set up shop. Oversized and rude, fear herds us into a prison of unlocked doors. Wouldn't it be great to walk out?

Imagine your life, wholly untouched by angst. What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats? If you could hover a fear magnet over your heart and extract every last shaving of dread, insecurity, or doubt, what would remain? Envision a day, just one day, where you could trust more and fear less.

Can you imagine your life without fear?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Scared by Tom Davis

This book is hard hitting and does not hold anything back. It is a harsh reality to read the things that so commonly happen to children in Africa. This story, although a novel, could be the story of any number of children who live in Africa or even Asia. It is often a hard life for children in many countries across this world and if this book doesn't convince you that you need to do something to help, then nothing will!
Tom outlines the life of Adanna, a girl who lives in Swaziland who seems to have wave after wave of terrible things happen around her and to her. It could be her courage or strength or her joy and hope in the face of sorrow that endears this girl to your heart. Whatever the reason you find yourself investing in this girls life. It is much the same with the central character Stuart Daniels. He is a photo journalist who has found himself on this assignment in Africa as a last ditch effort to save his career and maybe even his life. His struggles are laid out brilliantly and you quickly get caught up in this riveting story.
Tom Davis has done a masterful job on writing this book, so much so that it literally transports you into the middle of Africa right alongside the characters. He writes so well that it grips your heart and emotions so thoroughly that it will change who you are and how you look at the world. This book does not inspire guilt but encouragement and passion to get involved with the ongoing fight to help those out there that are not able to fight for themselves, to stand in the gap of justice and do what's right.
This book is a must read for everyone!

Scared: A Novel on the Edge of the World

Author Tom Davis explores today’s most vital social issues in his new international saga

Scared bk cover for emailThe United Nations estimates the world orphan population to be over 143 million children. Poverty, war, disease, and AIDS are the primary enemies of children across the globe, leaving those who are robbed of their parents at-risk for criminal behavior, prostitution, drug abuse, alcoholism, and suicide.

In his debut novel, accomplished author and speaker Tom Davis offers readers a sweeping narrative that explores these most critical social concerns. Scared: A Novel on the Edge of the World (June 2009/David C Cook) delves into the lives of a photojournalist struggling to redeem his past and an African orphan fighting for survival.

Once a celebrated and award-winning photojournalist, Stuart Daniels is reeling from debt, a broken marriage, and crippling depression. The source of Stuart’s grief is his most famous photo, a snapshot of brutality in the dangerous Congo. This haunting image indicts him as a passive witness to gross injustice.

Stuart is given one last chance to redeem his career: A make-or-break assignment covering the AIDS crisis in a small African country. It is here that Stuart meets Adanna, a young orphan fighting for her life in a community ravaged by tragedy and disease. But in the face of overwhelming odds, Adanna finds hope in a special dream, where she is visited by an illuminated man and given a precious gift. Now what seemed like a chance encounter will forever change their lives.

In Scared, Tom Davis, also the author of Red Letters and Fields of the Fatherless, weaves a beautiful story of redemption that takes place in a world far away from our own. Readers will discover, along with Stuart, that, “Sorrow is a part of life, but our tears can leave us with clearer sight, if we look to God.

True “fiction with a conscience,” Davis’ novel is the first in a planned series of three. Narrated in the first person by both Stuart and Adanna, Scared offers a unique perspective on the tragedies taking place in Africa today and encourages readers to step out and help the “least of these.”

Author Bio

Tom Davis is the well-known author of Red Letters and Fields of the Fatherless. He also serves as a trainer in leadership development. He holds a Business and Pastoral Ministry degree from Dallas Baptist University and a Master’s Degree in Theology from The Criswell College. He is the president of Children’s HopeChest (, a Christian-based child advocacy organization helping orphans in Eastern Europe and Africa. Tom and his wife, Emily, have five children.

Scared: A Novel on the Edge of the World by Tom Davis

David C Cook/June 2009/ ISBN 978-1-589191-02-0/288 pages/softcover/$14.99 ~

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Talking to the Dead by Bonnie Grove

I absolutely loved this book. It had some seriously heavy topics that it touched on but Grove covered them well and shone a light into this otherwise dark topic that most people turn a blind eye to.
The story begins with being introduced to the main character of the book, Kate attending her husbands funeral. Shortly after she begins to hear the voice of her dead husband. We follow the story with her thinking that she is going insane and not being able to tell anyone about it. Her story seems to go from bad to worse, but through it all she keeps searching for the answers. Though her mind seems fragile she keeps persevering to find the answers that she knows are lurking somewhere in her mind.
This book sheds a great healthy light on how amazingly intricate our brains are and how when we have been hurt it often takes others helping us to get us through. This book is full of grief and hope, horror and humor. It takes you through the roller coaster ride that Kate is on as if you were right there beside her.
For her first novel, I would say it was a smashing success!
Go check out her web site! Or go buy this amazing, uplifting book from or anywhere else that sells it. Let's hope we can convince this amazing new Canadian first time novelist to keep up the good work!!

Talking to the Dead

In her first novel, author Bonnie Grove offers readers a tender, quirky story about grief—and second chances

Talking to Dead cover for email"Kevin was dead and the people in my house wouldn’t go home. They mingled after the funeral, eating sandwiches, drinking tea, and speaking in muffled tones. I didn’t feel grateful for their presence. I felt exactly nothing,” writes Bonnie Grove in Talking to the Dead (David C Cook, June 2009). “Funerals exist so we can close doors we’d rather leave open. But where did we get the idea that the best approach to facing death is to eat Bundt cake?”

In her first novel, beloved author Bonnie Grove pens a poignantly realistic and uplifting story of hope, grace, and recovery from grief. Grove’s main character, twenty-something Kate Davis, can’t seem to get the grieving widow thing right. She’s supposed to put on a brave face and get on with her life, right? Instead, she’s camped out on her living room floor, unwashed, unkempt, and unable to sleep—because her husband Kevin keeps talking to her.

Is she losing her mind? Kate’s attempts to find the source of the voice she hears are both humorous and humiliating, as she turns first to an “eclectically spiritual” counselor, then a shrink with a bad toupee, an exorcist, and finally group therapy. There she meets Jack, the warmhearted, unconventional pastor of a ramshackle church, and at last the voice subsides. But when she stumbles upon a secret Kevin was keeping, Kate’s fragile hold on the present threatens to implode under the weight of the past…and Kevin begins to shout. Will the voice ever stop?

In this tender, quirky novel about embracing life, Grove patiently walks readers through the depths and mysteries of extreme sorrow after the death of a loved one. As she takes an unflinching look at the mental health industry, Grove’s training in counseling and psychology brings realism and empathy to grief and mental breakdown. While Kate must confront her own loss to find the grace to go on, readers will be led to the God who is always willing and able to comfort hearts in pain.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

more giveaways

OK, so here I go again trying to win free stuff and giving you a chance to enter the same giveaway too. ... which lessens my chances of winning so how smart am I really? But go anyway and have fun looking at pretty colours of nail polish!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns

In his book Stearns tries to get us to see that North American Christians are not doing what God has called us to do, love our neighbors! Millions of people die every year because we have become complacent and comfortable. This book is a wake up call and a plea for us to not be lukewarm any longer, to have our hearts break with the things that break the heart of God. The need is great and if all of us did our part it could be attained!

I will start off by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Don't get me wrong, it was often tough to read about the pain and suffering of my fellow sisters and brothers around the world, but it is all stuff that desperately needs to be said! People need to hear this and read this book! I work in this field of trying to care for the poor, orphaned and widowed, albeit on a much smaller scale than World Vision, but it was a great refresher of what God has called me and all of us to.

In his book "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision USA,
surprised me at how honest and open he was with his own short comings and failure to realize or answer the call of God, and when he did so, it was with fear and trepidation. Seriously, he admits to just crawling in bed a weeping crying out to God before he finally decides to take the job.

Stearns is a great writer. The book is well thought out and seems to follow a logical flow of information. There are five basic parts 1. A Hole in My Gospel-And Maybe Yours 2. The Hole Gets Deeper 3. A Hole in the World 4. A Hole in the Church and 5. Repairing the Hole.

He starts off the book with several stories of people that he has met in his travels, many of them absolutely gut wrenching to read and had me sobbing by the end. All of the stories are woven together making his points and accenting them well.

Then he cautions the reader that he is going to become more statistic oriented and says that this might turn some of them off, and it did me to some extent. It takes away the feeling of connection with the heroes of the stories he is telling and lets you put them in a box with all the other 300,000,000 people who are in that same situation. For me that always makes the situation hopeless and I get overwhelmed with the enormity of it all, but to have a name and a story of one family in the country, that makes it possible for me to think that I can help. I know I cannot save the whole world but I might be able to save a few.

He does not sugar coat the problems and short falls of the church, but the good news is he does not leave us there feeling chastised. He goes on to say that there are ways we can change and if we all just do our part in what God wants and calls us to do, then this is a problem that can be overcome! He tries to motivate us to truly walk the road that God has called us to walk.

I think that this book is amazing and can roughly be summed up in this quote, "Can you also see that God has provided enough resources for all of His churches to thrive? It's just that they are not distributed evenly - that's our task" (pg 188).

Sunday, July 5, 2009

My cup overfloweth

Today I sit here and have had a few days off to relax. Which if you know me, you will understand what a rare occurrence this is. These few days off have come after a short trip to Edmonton for work and QFT. I have been reflecting on how amazing family and friends can be. I am realizing that I have been blessed with a great family. We have had our fair share of ups and downs but for the most part we are pretty tight in our own way.
I have over the past few years begun to have a great respect for my brother, not that I didn't before because he has always been my superhero, but it has been changing and maturing lately. I see him as a man that I respect and love. The only one of his kind, as he is my only brother and no one will ever take that place. With all of the changes in the not so distant future, I am excited to see what God has in store for him.
My relationship with my dad has always been a bit of an effort but even that one has had a few moments over the years that we have shared or connected on a deeper level and I have been pleasantly surprised.
My sister I think will always be an enigma to me. We come from different ends of the spectrum and so we don't get each other. But even she has become softer since her kids have started to grow and have an effect on her life. I love those kids!
My Gran worries me a bit. She will be turning 90 this year and has had an amazing wonderful life, by her own admission. But it makes me sad to think that she won't be around much longer. It makes me sad that I could not find the elusive "man that will take care of you and love you", as that has been her dream and prayer for me for as long as I can remember. She has been a second mom to me all my life. None of my family memories don't have her in them some where, as she has lived with us since I was only six months old. I don't know what life will look like without her. I pray I don't have to find out any time soon.
And my mom... I adore her. She has become one of my very best friends. She is my greatest cheerleader and my measuring stick of all that I want to be. She keeps me in line, or tries to, but does it with love. If I can be half the woman that she is I will be lucky.
Well these are my reflections of my family and where to start with my friends? I have been blessed with many great friends and God has been good. I wish I could gather them all up around me so I could enjoy their company more often. But even the little snippets of time keep me going for long stretches.
Thanks for the love my friends!
And thanks for reading.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Feisty, Frugal and Fabulous giveaways!!

Ok this web site my friend Tara told ma about is so amazing!! They have giveaways for all kinds of stuff!! I am in love.
Check them out they have a giveaway from LUSH one of my favorite stores. There is one that she just listed for Soap Nuts, a product I would love to try as I am allergic to most laundry detergents and all the harsh chemicals they have in them. They also have a cool baby bottle givaway that are made out of stainless steel. So cool looking and made by OrganicKidz!! And a kids clothing line called Squishy Fish, come on with a name like that you know they are cool. One more cool kids clothing line called Redfish kids (what is with kids and fish?) They have amazing clothes and is from right here on my area of the world Vancouver!
HOLY CRAP!!! They have a giveaway on a kids clothing line that the designs are made by tatoo artists like Chris Garver! I have loved this guy for years! Both his art and a bit of a crush on him too if I am being totally honest. I am going to be buying things for all the kids in my life from these guys!!! Ruthless and Toothless is the name of the company and it is amazing!!!
All of these companies are giving stuff away to the readers of this blog so jump on and check it out!!
Seriously!! This is my new favorite giveaway blog!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Shofee free coffee giveaway from funnel full of soup

Being the coffee and tea addict that I am I think this is about the greatest giveaway on earth!! And you should go to the website and see all the amazing different types of coffee and tea that you can get. But the absolute best thing about this is that it makes the coffee as close to instantly as possible without it bieng that horrible nasty substance that some reffer to as "instant coffee". This is necter of the gods at it's finest!! the giveaway is on this site:
and the shofee website is here:

another night of feeding my addiction

I found the cutest baby onsies! It says "just breath, mom" on the front! How funny is that and the little baby is in a Yoga pose. It made me laugh. There is a giveaway on this site
Go check it out!

Loving this new oppertunity!

I realize that I just started blogging and have recently become enamored with all the free give aways. I also love to read and have benefited from my friend who reviews books on her blog. I went to visit her recently and she gave me a STACK of books that she had read and because her bookshelf was so full it was overflowing all over the place. I also work with a bunch of women that love to read and so I will enjoy letting them go through these as well. But today I joined two different publishing groups that are going to let me review for them! That means I get to choose books out of a list available and they will send me a copy and I get to read them and then write a review about it! How cool is that? I am seriously stoked about this (I don't know if you could tell). Well despite the fact that I still only have two followers I am hoping this may bring a few more. I am an instant gratification kinda girl and I would like to have a large base of friends who follow my blog regularly and find it interesting, right now. Is that too much to ask? ;)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

aunt pam's giveaway

Any one else out there ever saw some funky piece of jewlery and thought to themself, "I could do that"? Well now is your chance! Enter this giveaway supplied by House Of Gems and you could win a bracelet kit plus $75 dollars in product! How cool is that?!?!? check it out here

glamorous giveaways!

Being new to this blogging thing I am loving it already. Who knew there was so much free stuff being given away out there? Not me... until recently. check out the Body Shop giveaway on this website! It is a sleep set for all of us who have problems sleeping, or likr me you work shiftwork including night shifts on a regular basis, or if you have kids and could use a good nights sleep. What ever the circumstance I don't know anyone who wouldn't like to get free bodyshop stuff. Go check it out before June 19. Hurry, you only have a couple days.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rare commodities

Today has been a great day! One roommate is off on a holiday and the other one is at work so I am here in my house all by myself. I love the odd occasions where I can just enjoy the silence. I realize what a rare commodity silence is in this day and age, so I cherish it when it comes.
I just finished two night shifts and so was sleeping it off till about one. I rolled out of bed and decided I needed to make some food for lunches for the week. I really like cooking when I have the time to be creative and have fun, but sadly it turns into just another chore most of the time. But not today! I made some coconut jasmine rice to go with the "Peanut Chicken Satay" kabobs that I got from M&M Meat shop the other day, they are to die for!!! Seriously so tasty and so quick and easy. Love them! Then I made a Cucumber Mango salad with the cucumbers that my roommates mom gave me from her garden! So awesome!! I topped it with a little lime juice and a dollop of sweet chili sauce and a little honey, it ROCKED! Then made myself a coconut mango banana smoothie with the leftover coconut milk from the rice and wow it is all amazingly good if I do say so myself.
Then the phone rang. It was my mom. Now it must be said that I love my mom with all my heart. I enjoy our relationship now as adults even more than I did growing up. We have always been pretty close but in the last several years it has gotten even cooler talking with her and getting to know her in a different way. She is just amazing!
However I suck cause yesterday was her birthday... and I forgot!!! This is nothing new in my life cause I have always had a crappy memory and forget almost everything at some point or another. But she was calling to say hi ad gently remind me so that I wouldn't go kicking myself for too long. How great is she! She was not mad or upset but she knew I would be upset with myself so she wanted to call and tell me how crazy busy things were and not to worry. I love her. She gets me! I realize that this is a rare commodity as well so I try to cherish her at every chance I get as well.
As I said before today has been a quiet day and on those days I tend to reflect. I guess I could continue on and on with random bits but before I say too much and scare people off I will close up for today with one last thought.
I live my life at mock speed most of the time, with any number of "things" vying for my attention or time. It is often the rare commodities that bring the most joy to my life whether it is a quite day spent creating fun and fabulous food or talking and spending time with those people in my life that I love so deeply and really "get me" that it is not an effort to communicate and things just flow. Those are the things that fill my heart and soul up to full again and make me realize that this life is all worth living and fighting through. Today was a day where the good outweighed the bad by a long shot! I will sleep well tonight!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


So I am brand new to all this, obviously. But I have a friend who has been telling me I need to start a blog for a long time now, so here we go.
I guess I am not overly sure what to write about but I guess that will come in time. To be honest I am more concerned about how it looks than what I write on it. I want it to reflect me some how and that is no small task. For now I will see if I can shrink and crop this picture to fit just the way I want it and then I will come back and write something more interesting.