Sunday, April 24, 2011

Blog Tour: Praying for Your Future Husband (Interview)

Spring is in the air, flowers are blooming and young women everywhere are becoming, well, twitterpated with the thought of love.

But before thoughts can turn to love and marriage, authors Robin Gunn and Tricia Goyer, are releasing s new book designed to give single woman a way to not only pray for, but also prepare their hearts for their future husband.

The work "Praying for your Future Husband is not a "how-to" book for romance, explained Goyer, but rather a guide for things women can pray for, specifically as they prepare for future relationships.

"My co-author and I share stories of our lives--things that we did right and many things that we did wrong," Goyer explained. "We also share stories from other women who prayed for their future husbands and have witnessed the amazing ways God worked in their lives."

Goyer said the stories shared show the different paths the pair took as they met and married their future husbands.

"Robin dedicated her heart to God at a young age and wrote letters to her future husband as a teen," Goyer explained. "I, on the other hand, didn't start praying for my future husband until I was 17-years-old and pregnant.

"It was only then that I started realizing that my way wasn't working and maybe God had a better way."

Through the book, Goyer continued, she and Gunn share topics for young women to pray for, including "Pray for His Heart," "Pray for Patience," "Pray for Understanding," and  "Pray for Trust."

The book also includes prayer guides and discussion questions, so it can be used as a small group study.

Forging a Writing Partnership
Goyer and Gunn have been friends for many years. At different times, they talked about working on a project together - but the thought never progressed beyond the idea stage.

"Then there were a couple of events that happened that made us realize the importance of this topic," Goyer said. "The first was Robin speaking in Brazil. The young women in Brazil had been reading Robin's books and making commitments for purity, but they wanted to know what to do because the young men weren't reading the books or making the same commitments.

"The young women wanted advice, and Robin told them, 'young women, pray for the young men of Brazil.' "

At the same time, Goyer said she was sharing the story of her life through books and speaking engagements.

"I shared about how as a single mom I prayed for a godly Christian husband, and God brought an amazing man into my life," she said. "At one event a young woman was pregnant and had planned on having an abortion. After hearing my talk she made a commitment to have her baby and pray for her future husband.

"Years later, Robin and I were at a lodge after a speaking event and 'just happened' to run into this young woman who shared how God answered her prayers and brought her an amazing, godly man. Her son (who she didn't abort) and her new husband were with her! What a celebration that was!"

As the pair continued to discuss the power of prayer, Goyer said they knew this was a message young women should hear.

"As God continued to use us and our stories this theme would not shake loose," Goyer continued. "A few months later we met our wonderful editor Alice Crider and her teen daughter for dinner and we started sharing these stories.

"As we shared we all felt God was leading us to write this book. It's as if He had a message He unfolded before us!"

Prayer as a Connection to God
Goyer said the most important aspect of prayer, is how it connects individuals with God.

"Through prayer, we take matters out of our hands and put them into His," she said. "As we pray we begin to understand God's heart.

"Also as we pray He changes us. That's an important element of this book. It's not just about praying for a future husband's preparation ... but for the young woman's too."

Goyer said there are many stories in the book which show how prayer works.

"Prayers open the floodgates of heaven," she said. "The young men we're praying for will be change, helped, guided and so much more. And our hearts will be more trusting, believing, obedient and patient for God's perfect will."

While the book is primarily written for single, young women, Goyer said readers of advance copies have indicated it's applicable for older, single women, widows or even those who have been divorced.

"I hope that women--no matter their age--will begin to understand the importance of prayer and grow in their relationship with God," Goyer said. "It's not about getting something from God, it's about building a relationship with Him.

"Our desire is that even if God doesn't bring a husband to our woman readers on earth that they will fall in love with Jesus even more and be prepared to be His heavenly bride."


Goyer said the book is designed to be used in a multitude of ways.

"If you feel this is a book for you, your daughter, your sister, whoever, consider getting multiple copies and reading it together as a group--discussing the topics," Goyer explained. "Praying together and supporting each other is an added benefit!"

Praying for Your Future Husband will be released by Waterbrook Multnomah on Tuesday., May 3, 2011.

About The Authors
Tricia Goyer is the author of 18 books of fiction and nonfiction, including Generation NeXt Parenting and the Gold Medallion finalist Life Interrupted.

Goyer writes for publications such as Today’s Christian Woman and Focus on the Family, and has been a presenter at the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) national convention. She and her husband, John, live with their family in Arkansas. .

Read more about Goyer here: http://triciagoyer.com/
Robin Jones Gunn is the best-selling and award-winning author of more than 70 books, with more than four million copies of her titles sold worldwide.

Best known among them are the Christy Miller, Sierra Jensen, and Christy and Todd: College Years teen series. A Christy Award winner and a two-time finalist for excellence in fiction, Gunn has also been a Gold Medallion finalist. She and her husband have a grown son and daughter and live in Hawaii.

Read more about Gunn here: http://www.robingunn.com/

Online Resources
Find Praying for Your Future Husband at Amazon.com
Read an excerpt online at the publisher.
Download the first chapter of Praying for Your Future Husband here.

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Happy Easter


May your day be filled with joy, happiness and family.
May you remember, in the midst of bunnies and eggs, that Jesus has risen from the dead. He is risen indeed.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Quote of the Day: A New Habit

Just something to think about today, thanks to The Happiness Project.

"If you make it a habit not to blame others, you will feel the growth of the ability to love in your soul, and you will see the growth of goodness in your life."
Leo Tolstoy

Want to receive a "moment of happiness" each day, in your e-mail inbox? Click here to subscribe.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Something Cool

Each year, the church I work for hosts a community "shoebox" party for Operation Christmas Child. We stuff items into shoeboxes, which are then distributed to children around the world through Samaritan's Purse.

This year, we learned (because of tracking a few packages) that a lot of our boxes went to children in Ghana.

Today, Lane McLoud, who has helped spearhead the project for many years, received a note from a boy in Ghana, thanking her/us for the box.

Wow. I was in awe as I held the letter. What an amazing thing to think that one of the boxes we filled more than four months ago, made a difference in the life of this young man.

I wanted to share it, not only here, but I'll go put this on the children's ministry blog. Sometimes since we only see the "input" of our actions (the pile of boxes waiting to be shipped overseas), it's nice to see the "output" or "outcome" of the box who touched the life of a child in another country.

Just a small thing that really made my day better today.
Thanks Lane, I needed the reminder of why we do what we do.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Blog Tour: The Deepest Waters (Review)

In The Deepest Waters, Dan Walsh has once again pulled together a novel which weaves together historical fact, along with themes of love, hope and faith.

With The Deepest Waters, Walsh tells the tale of John and Laura Foster, who become victims of a shipwreck while on their honeymoon.

I found the story interesting - OK, it was a bit predictable a bit at times - to watch the story of Laura and John unfold. Walsh tells the tale from the perspective of his two main characters - Laura, who is rescued with he women (ala the Titanic), and John, as he finds redemption from a certain death in unexpected ways.

I liked the book simply because I enjoy seeing how Walsh pulls historical facts and ideas into his novels. While it's not my favorite - I really liked his first two books - The Deepest Waters is a solid, stand-alone tale that will provide a delightful read for someone wanting to escape reality a bit..

If you are looking for a love story that ranks up there with Nicholas Sparks, but has a solid Christian theme, then look no further - I think The Deepest Waters, will fill that desire.

On a scale of one to five, with five being the highest, I give this book a solid three and a half to four. For historical fact and character development, Walsh does a fabulous job. (I really liked the supporting storyline which develops using a character from the boat and servants in John's family home.)

It will be interesting to see what Walsh creates next, since he retired from the ministry in August 2010 to write full-time.

More About The Book
For John and Laura Foster, what began as a fairytale honeymoon in 1857 aboard the steamship SS Vandervere soon becomes a nightmare. 

A terrible hurricane strikes and the grand ship is lost in the murky depths of the Atlantic. 

Laura finds herself rescued with the other women and children, but how can she feel anything but despondent without her groom? 

Suspecting her John is gone but still daring to hope for a miracle, Laura must face the possibility of life alone.

About The Author
Dan Walsh is the award-winning author of The Unfinished Gift, The Homecoming, and The Deepest Waters.

A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Walsh served as a pastor for 25 years. He lives with his family in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel.

Find him online here: http://www.danwalshbooks.com/

Online Resources
Buy It At Amazon.com
Read an Excerpt of Deepest Waters here
Download a Readers' Group Guide here.

Past Reviews & Interviews with Walsh: 
The Unfinished Gift (Review & Interview)
The Homecoming (Review & Interview) 

About Revell, The Publisher
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life.  They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet. For more information, visit www.RevellBooks.com.

Note: As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of this book by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. This review was not influenced by a free book - just in case you (or the FTC) were worried about this detail.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Blog Tour: Besides Still Waters (Review)

Let me say first, that I am, not a huge fan of Amish fiction. At times, the genre seems well, over populated, with authors jumping on the bandwagon just for sales.

With that said, I know this doesn't reflect the entire line, because at least two authors have mangaed to wiggle a few well-written Amish novels onto my reading list.

Tricia Goyer is one of those authors.

I'll admit, I picked up the novel because I've been very impressed with Goyer's previous works of fiction - especially The Swiss Courier. I like how she crafts her novels, weaves strong story lines into the pages, and sometimes leaves me "thinking" after I put it down for the last time.

I found Besides Still Waters different than other Amish books for a variety of reasons.

First, the setting moves from the midwest and Montana - most Amish novels are set in Pennsylvania, Indiana or even Missouri (which has a growing Amish population). I found Goyer's descriptions of Montana to be vivid and made me want to travel there.

Second, the storyline is different, in that while it takes place chiefly among an Amish family, it could honestly take place among any family. The struggles that Marianna Sommer faces in terms of her faith, family and personal identity, are all to real for most teenage girls (and guys).

This was an interesting first Amish novel for Goyer. I'm not sure where she plans to take the series, but she definitely left me wanting to know more about Marianna and her family.

On a scale of one to five, with five being the highest, I give this novel a solid 3.5 to 4. It's definitely one I could recommend to others.

More About The Book
Raised among the Amish of Indiana, 18-year-old Marianna Sommer plans to get baptized into the church, marry Aaron Zook, and set up life in the only community she has ever known. 

But when her older brother chooses the world’s path following his rumschpringe, and a younger sibling begins showing interest in Englisch ways, Marianna’s parents move the family to Montana. 

Although she is also in her rumschpringe years and not obligated to move, Marianna makes the journey to dutifully help her mother who is expecting another child. 

Surprisingly, from strangers on the cross-country train ride to the less rigid stance of the new Montana community, many Englisch influences awaken within Marianna—and even her father—the desire to pursue a deeper kind of joy and love for God. 

After an accident, Marianna tells her friend Ben a defining story about the Sommer family, and his response further illumines the active relationship God seeks with His followers. 

In due time, she learns the move from Indiana was not about losing anything, but finding out who God really is. Despite all the shake-ups, Marianna feels a sweet peace, like still waters, in her soul.

About The Author
Tricia Goyer is the author of 26 books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003.

Goyer's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Goyer writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family.

Goyer is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Ark., where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife. Visit www.triciagoyer.com for more info.

 Online Resources
Watch the book trailer on YouTube


More from the publisher - B&H Books
Check it out on Tricia Goyer's Blog
Find it online at Amazon.com
Read reviews at Goodreads.com
Follow the blog tour here!

It's A Contest
To celebrate the release of the first book in the Big Sky Amish series Tricia is giving away 10 copies of Beside Still Waters and a pair of super cute antique Amish salt & pepper shakers. (photo attached)

Details at Tricia’s blog, It’s Real Life: http://triciagoyer.blogspot.com/2011/04/beside-still-waters-giveaway.html

BONUS! Each person who enters the giveaway will receive a FABULOUS Montana Amish Calendar. Hurry, it’s only available while supplies last!

Note: As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of this book by Litfuse Publicity Group. This review was not influenced by a free book - just in case you (or the FTC) were worried about this detail. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Blog Tour: Coach Wooden (Review)

Legends aren't born. They're made.

When John Wooden graduated from eighth grade his father gave him a handwritten card and said, "Son, try to live up to this." 

On the card, his father had written seven simple yet profound life principles:
    Be true to yourself
    Help others
    Make friendship a fine art
    Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible
    Make each day your masterpiece
    Build a shelter against a rainy day by the life you live
    Give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day

These principles were the key to Coach Wooden's greatness--and his goodness. Through powerful stories and advice, this book shares the wisdom that made Wooden happy and successful, not just in his career but in life. 

This inspirational and conversational book will encourage, challenge, and motivate you to build these principles into your own life so that you can impact the lives of others.

What I Thought
 OK, I'll admit it. I didn't know who Coach Wooden was when I agreed to read and review this book.At least two guy friends saw me reading it and were like "wow, the most winning-ist coach in history."

So, you could say, that I didn't have much sports knowledge going into this book. But to my surprise, this book is more than a memoir focusing on a retired collegiate coach.

Rather, it's a book that is quite straight forward and focuses on seven life-lessons which can be applied in everyone's life.

Through stories from Wooden (the book was finished before he died in 2010), and from people impacted by the coach, Williams has crafted a book that takes the seven lessons Wooden used to shape his life and turned them into a book which is both easy to read and also enjoyable.

Seven simple, easy to follow lessons. Wooden used these tenants to shape the lives of the students who he came into contact with.

This book, and the lessons within, may ultimately change your life. I'm glad I took time to read it, and look forward to recommending it to others.

More About The Authors
Pat Williams is senior vice president of the NBA's Orlando Magic. He has more than forty years of professional sports experience, has written dozens of books, and is one of America's most sought-after motivational speakers. He lives in Florida.

You can find more about Williams here: http://www.patwilliamsmotivate.com/

Jim Denney is a full-time freelance writer with more than 80 published books to his credit. His collaborative titles include In the Trenches: the Autobiography with Super Bowl champion Reggie White; Undefeated, with father-son Super Bowl/Rose Bowl champs Bob and Brian Griese; A Model for a Better Future with Kim Alexis; and numerous books with Pat Williams, including Go For the Magic.

Online Resources

Read an excerpt from Coach Wooden online
Purchase Coach Wooden at Amazon

About Revell, The Publisher
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life.  They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet. For more information, visit www.RevellBooks.com.

Note: As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of this book by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. This review was not influenced by a free book - just in case you (or the FTC) were worried about this detail.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Blog Tour: Lazarus Awakening (Review)

Have you ever wondered what it was like, to stand outside the grave, listening to Jesus say "Lazarus, Come Out," and watch as Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead?

Imagine the emotions you might feel, as the one Jesus loved, came back to life.

Using the story of Lazarus as a jumping off point (after writing about his siblings Mary and Martha), Joanna Weaver has crafted a book that helps her readers find their place within the heart of God.

This booke, written in an easy, conversational tone, weaves together Biblical facts and personal stories to bring out a variety of themes - including awakening from a spiritual slumber and determining what holds you in a "grave" in life.

I found myself drawn into this book, (I've read other books by Weaver), and I found myself once again, looking at a familiar story in a new way.

I appreciate the message Weaver has included in her book, and would like to dive into it deeper using the included Bible study with a small group.

Written as a "women's" Christian living book, the story - and it's message - is one that everyone needs to know - regardless of gender.

More About The Book
Getting God’s Love from Our Heads to Our Hearts

You believe that God loves the world…but sometimes you wonder if He truly loves you.

For many of us, moving the truth of God’s love from our heads to our hearts is a lifelong process. As we consider our inadequacies or grieve our shattered dreams, we find it difficult to believe that God cares for us personally.

In this life-giving book, Joanna Weaver shows you how to embrace the truth that Jesus loves you apart from anything you accomplish, apart from anything you bring. Just as He called Lazarus forth to new life, Jesus wants to free you to live fully in the light of His love, unbound from the graveclothes of fear, regret, and self-condemnation.

Love is calling your name.
 
About The Author
Joanna Weaver is known the world over for her transparent and life-changing books, Having A Mary Heart in a Martha World and Having a Mary Spirit.

These two books have sold over a million copies and have been translated into several languages including Spanish, French, Dutch, Chinese, German, Korean and more.

Weaver has appeared on a wide variety of nationally syndicated radio and television broadcasts. Past appearances include: The Harvest Show, At Home Live With Chuck & Jenni, Midday Connection, HomeWord, and Janet Parschall’s America.

She is also a highly sought after speaker and shares her message at intimate gatherings and several high profile events each year. But Weaver's greatest joy is found in being a wife and mother and her role as a pastor’s wife. For more information about Weaver, visit her website. www.joannaweaverbooks.com.

Online Resources
Buy Lazarus Awakening @ Amazon.com
Download a Bible Study & Leader's Guide for Lazarus Awakening here.
Follow the Litfuse Blog Tour Here

It's A Contest
Joanna Weaver is celebrating the release of Lazarus Awakening with the Heart of God KINDLE Giveaway!

In Lazarus Awakening Weaver writes about getting God’s love from our heads to our hearts. We all know Jesus loved Mary – look how she worshiped. And we can understand why He loved Martha – after all, look how she served. But what about those of us who don’t know where we fit in the heart of God?

Lazarus Awakening explores the tale of the third follower – Mary and Martha’s brother, Lazarus. We never hear him speak, we never see him serve. The only thing of any significance that Lazarus did was to die. And yet, the Bible is clear. Jesus loved Lazarus. And He loves you and me as well. Lazarus Awakening looks at different aspects of the story we find in John 11.

We learn what it means to be a friend of God and begin recognizing the tombs we spend far too much time in. Find out more here.


 One grand prize winner will receive:

    * A Brand New KINDLE with Wi-Fi
    * Having A Mary Heart in a Martha World
    * Having A Mary Spirit
    * Lazarus Awakening

Weaver will also select two additional contest entrants to receive copies of her trilogy. Enter soon by clicking the icons below and then tell your friends. Hurry the contest ends April 16th. The winner will be announced on Weaver's blog on April 18th.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Note: As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of this book by Litfuse Publicity Group. This review was not influenced by a free book - just in case you (or the FTC) were worried about this detail. 
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