Sunday, March 31, 2013

Quarter 1: A look at my 2013 Project 365

So, for the third year in a row, I'm taking a photo per day.

I love how this captures memories, ideas and more - relating to my life.

Year 1: 2011, didn't get fully captured for a variety of reasons.
Year 2: 2012 - I did it, a photo per day!

Year 3: 2013 is starting out with a bang. Having the RethinkChurch Lent Photo a Day filled all of March and part of February.

Here's my photos for January, February and March.

January 2013

February 2013

March 2013

A photo per day. Capturing lots of memories and reminders.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Happy Easter Day 47: Life

Happy Easter Day 47: Life.

Today is a celebration of new life.

For me, part of life means celebrating with family - and friends who are like family.

So today, I celebrate Easter with the kidlets.

I may not be their aunt by "blood" but I am by spirit.

I have other photos from today.

All symbolize life in amazing ways.

Here are a couple of my favorites.

G and her amazing tie-dyed Easter Eggs.

Kat the amazing hoola hooper.

(And from yesterday - the "tween look" I got from my nephew.)

Life is good.
I just have to remember that.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Lent Photo Day 46: Roots

Lent Photo Day 46: Root. Part of what makes me me. #rethinkchurch #40days

This is a photo from my parents farm.

The dairy part of the farm is long gone - thanks to the Great Ice Storm of 2000/2001. (That was a hard storm).

Instead my folks raise horses and cattle.

I truly think that the values I learned and experiences that I had growing up on a farm have given me the roots to face life's challenges.

Roots are needed - without them, a plant withers and dies.

We need roots - because it helps us grow strong.

It keeps us from being blown over by the winds of life.

Roots make us who we are.

So today, I'm grateful for where I got my "start."

I may be "transplanted" to the "city" now, but the farm is forever part of my heritage and life.

Which, honestly, is not a bad thing.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, March 29, 2013

Lent Photo Day 45: Far

Lent Photo Day 45: Far. Four states in three days. With the truck that inspired Mater for Cars. #rethinkchurch #40days #easterroadtrip

Driving around with a friend, I mentioned that I wanted to see Mater from Cars - or at least the truck that inspired Mater for the movie Cars.

He told me it was in Baxter Springs - just a short drive from where we were.

It was fun to have a taste of what's on Route 66. Someday, I'll drive the whole thing.

Until then, I'll settle for this - and the other locations on my Easter Road Trip 2013.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lent Photo Day 44: Cup

Lent Day 44: Cup. Do this in remembrance of me. #rethinkchurch #40days

I love communion.

SItting in a service that offers communion simply restores my soul.

There's something about hearing about the forgiveness that comes thorough Jesus, and then experiencing communion, that well, nourishes a piece of my soul.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lent Photo Day 43: Help

Lent Photo Day 43: Help. Helping kids learn about Holy Week. #rethinkchurch #40day

I loved this picture I took in my friend Cydni's office.

She's a pastor of a rural church, and she has a passion for helping every member of her congregation know more about the events of Good Friday.

So she continues to provide a "kid-friendly" Stations of the Cross for the children (and their parents) who are looking for a spiritual component in Holy Week.

I have another friend, Alicia, who created a family experience for Good Friday.

Both of these women amaze me - because they desire to minister to every generation that walks in to their churches.

Isn't that what we are called to do? We are called to help the children in our lives experience God in a new way.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Lent Photo Day 42: Light

Lent Photo Day 42: Light. G’s laughter brings light to my life. #rethinkchurch #40day

Light can come in many forms. For me, this week, it's come in the form of laughter.

Laughter can truly be the thing that heals a soul.

For me, hanging with G and K - and finding a way to embarrass a tween, is all the laughter I need.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, March 25, 2013

Lent Photo Day 41: Rejoice

Lent Photo Day 41: Rejoice. Ok, confession. I’m a “city gal” at times. But the deer at Mount Eagle made me rejoice in the presence of God. #rethinkchurch #40days

Doesn't this photo make you smile?

It reminded me that God is present everywhere - sometimes you just have to take time to stop and look for the evidence.

Seeing the deer and watching them, made me think of this verse: Taste and see how good the Lord is! The one who takes refuge in him is truly happy! (Psalms 34:8 CEB)

So today, I "tasted" and saw that everything is good.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Lent Photo Day 40: Blessed

Lent Photo Day 40: Blessed. Sometimes the actions of a young child can be a tremendous blessing. #rethinkchurch #40days #catchingup

I was feeling a bit down today.

Then a young boy decided to share his bracelet - made during Sunday School.

He wanted to explain it to me and have me hold it until his mom got there.

He also sat next to me and asked questions about the veggie tale movie we were watching.

It reminded me that regardless of where life takes me, I am blessed by the students God places in my path.

This little boy made me smile. And for that, I'm blessed.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Lent Photo Day 39: Restore

Lent Photo Day 39: Restore. Communion At IHOP to close out spring break mission trip. #rethinkchurch #40days #catchingup

I wanted the mission trip to end with communion.

Due to a lot of factors, we didn't have it at the closing worship on Friday night.

But rather than not have communion, we decided to share two meals on Saturday morning at IHOP - one physical, the other spiritual.

A unique setting for communion - but it seemed fitting that our last meal together as a group not only fill up our bodies, but also our spirit.

God is good. Here's to a non-traditional way to share in the Last Supper.
(And no, we didn't use pancakes and coffee ..... yes, people asked!)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, March 22, 2013

Lent Photo Day 38: Alone

Lent Photo Day 38: Alone. Sometimes life can seem like an empty box. #rethinkchurch #40days #catchingup

I took this photo on the mission trip. The kids had completely emptied a box that was almost as tall as me, at the start of the project.

This photo represented the theme: Alone.

It's empty.



Sometimes life is like this.

But rather than stay empty, we just need to find a way to fill up our "box" with good things - friends, family and more.

What are you filling your box up with today?
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lent Photo Day 37: Home

Lent Photo Day 37: Home. Looking towards a perfect home in heaven. #rethinkchurch ##40days #catchingup source:

"Don't let this throw you. You trust God, don't you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father's home. If that weren't so, would I have told you that I'm on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I'm on my way to get your room ready, I'll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I'm taking." (John 14:1-4 MSG)

I simply know this. My ultimate home will be in heaven.
And for that, I'm simply grateful.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lent Photo Day 36: Beloved

Lent Photo Day 36: Beloved. Hanging out with the mission kids.
#rethinkchurch #40days #catchingup

There's something special about being with students - especially students I work with at church.

This was just a chance to be with the St. James Kidz, one last time - the ones who went on the mission trip.

They came up with the bottom photo while I was in another room. Ultimately, it just made me smile.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lent Photo Day 35: Dream

Lent Photo Day 35: Dream. Writing continues to be my dream. #rethinkchurch.#catchingup (Photo model: Alison Atkins, the inspiration a.k.a. my muse, for this devo. Gave her one of my comp copies!)

Writing, continues to be my dream. Especially in the Christian setting.

I love creating things and seeing it make it into print.

I love knowing that something I've created might help others see God in a new way.

One of my favorite things to write continues to be devotions.

Getting a chance to write this devo for Group has expand me to think beyond writing for youth to writing for women too.


Now I'm finding ways to pursue this dream.

Dreams make life sweet.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Lent Photo Day 34: Rise

Lent Photo Day 34: Rise. #rethinkchurch #40days Photo Credit:
I think today's theme simply reminds me that Easter is coming in less than 13 days. The darkness of Lent will soon be put aside, when the resurrection arrives.

Short, simple and sweet. That's today's theme.

Arise! Shine! Your light has come; the Lord’s glory has shone upon you. (Isaiah 60:1 CEB)
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, March 18, 2013

Lent Photo Day 33: New

Lent Photo Day 33: New. Tasting a new to me worship service.#40days #rethinkchurch

I've found myself with an opportunity to sample a variety of worship service.
Some things are "different", other things, well, just make me laugh (in a good way).

Ultimately, it simply gives me a chance to see worship in a new way. Which is an unexpected gift in this season of life.

Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. (Psalms 100:2 NLT)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Lent Photo Day 32: Surround

Lent Day 32: Surround. Surrounded by Mission Trip supplies. #rethinkchurch #40days

Getting ready for the mission trip.

Organizing supplies, picking out stuff for the Happies, and just doing some "behind the scenes" to make it awesome for the kids who will come this week to Little Rock.

I feel a bit "surrounded" by stuff - in a good way.

I can't wait to see what the kids do with the stuff!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Lent Photo Day 31: Temper

Lent Photo Day 31: Temper. #rethinkchurch #40days Source:

Today's theme simply reminds me of the passage in the Bible that talks about Jesus being angry - and casting out the money changers from the temple.

It makes me wonder what he would be angry about in today's world.

My guess bullying and hate would top his list today, since that seems, in my opinion, to be what hurts people the most.

I guess I base it on this passage:

"Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’" (Matthew 22:37-39 NLT)

Maybe if we all treated each other with love, rather than hate, life would simply be better.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Sunday Prayer

Words of Wisdom for St. Patrick's Day,
from Gary Mueller, Arkansas UMC Conference Bishop.

A Sunday prayer
I try my best, I really do.
But when I’m honest with myself, I see the truth.
It’s not pretty.
In fact, it’s painful.
I hurt you deeply. I hurt others deeply. I hurt myself deeply.
Forgive me, Lord, please forgive me.
But more than that, Lord, transform me.
From the top of my head to the tips of my toes
From the inside out.
Every part of me.
Not because I do it on my own.
But because I am filled by the gift of your love.
Love that accepts me just the way I am.
Love that will never let go of me.
Love that is not content to leave me the way I am.
So today, Lord, let me experience the depth and breadth of your love.
The power of your forgiveness.
And the joy of your new life.
I’m ready, Lord.
I’m so ready.

Follow Him on Facebook @

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Blog Tour: Firefly Island (Review)

A whirlwind romance and the prospect of her husband-to-be's new job has congressional staffer Mallory Hale leaving behind the hustle and bustle of D.C., for a remote Texas ranch.

In Lisa Wingate's newest novel, Firefly Island, romance is in the air - or at least floating around the halls of the Capital when Mallory Hale meets the guy - Daniel - a scientist/engineer/researcher - type guy, who sweeps her off her feet (almost literally when she trips).

Firefly Island is filled with a variety of mishaps and humor as Mallory navigates her new role as step-mom, unexpected blogger "the frontier woman," and even a community activist.

Not only does she uncover a variety of things about herself - and her values - but she ultimately discovers a scandal that threatens her new found home.

This novel wasn't exactly what I expected. It was different, which honestly, makes it quite unique. It's not just a "romance."

It starts out as a "slice of life" book - tracking Mallory from her life as a D.C. career woman, to the changes she experiences once she and Daniel marry and move to Moses Lake. Ultimately, it's just a contemporary novel where faith is just part of life - and not overtly preached.

On the scale of one to five, I give this novel a three. It's different - and that's what sets it apart from the typical "romance" book. It has an air of suspense, but I wouldn't label it as a mystery. It's just a nice work of fiction.

More About Firefly Island:
Sometimes love takes you on an adventure completely off the map. Mallory Hale's life quickly veers off course when she falls hopelessly in love.

After a whirlwind romance, Mallory finds herself leaving the bustle and action of Capitol Hill for the remote town of Moses Lake, Texas-with husband, stepson, and a U-Haul in tow.

A sweet, mishap-filled journey into marriage, motherhood, and ranch living ensues, and Mallory is filled with both the wonderment of love and the insecurities of change. But what she can't shake is the unease she feels around her husband's new boss, Jack West.

Jack's presence-and his mysterious past-set her on edge, and when hints of a scandal emerge, Mallory finds herself seeking answers . . . and comes to realize that the middle-of-nowhere home she wasn't sure she wanted is the very place she'll risk everything to save.

More About The Author
Lisa Wingate is a popular inspirational speaker, magazine columnist, and national bestselling author of several books, including Tending Roses, Talk of the Town, Blue Moon Bay, and Larkspur Cove, which won the 2011 Carol Award for Women's Fiction. Lisa and her family live in central Texas.

Online Resources

It's A Contest
Lisa Wingate is celebrating the release of Firefly Island with an iPad Mini giveaway and a fun Facebook Author Chat Party (March 19th).


One fortunate winner will receive:

  • An iPad Mini

  • The Moses Lake series (Firefly Island, Blue Moon Bay and Larkspur Cove)

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 18th. Winner will be announced at the "Firefly Island Author Chat Party on March 19th. Connect with Lisa, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at the trivia contest, and chat with readers just like you. There will also be many fun giveaways -- gift certificates, books, and more!

So grab your copy of Firefly Island and join Lisa on the evening of the March 19th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 19th!

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.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Blog Tour: Love in a Broken Vessel (Review & Interview)

The story of Hosea and Gomer is probably the most unlikely basis for a romantic novel.

But Mesu Andrews tackles it and more, as she weaves together Love in A Broken Vessel, a novel rooted in scripture and Biblical history.

In Love in a Broken Vessel, Andrews has created a novel that will make you take a second - and probably a third - look at how God spoke to his people through Hosea and Gomer.

This is not an "easy" book to read - and it's definitely not "mind-candy/" The layers are deep. The writing is strong. It's a novel you'll want to read slowly, to savor the words and meaning within the story.

It was a hard book for me to read, because I could truly identify with some of the feelings Gomer had - and how she ran from love because of the brokenness of her past. I could also identify with Hosea as he struggled to remain faithful to God and wait for His direction - even when things changed, and he was no longer a prophet.

Ultimately, the love Hosea poured out on Gomer was only a fraction of the love God poured out on his people - who strayed from faith. That love is amazing and life changing.

This is the third Biblical romance novel Andrews has crafted. Each has challenged me to dive into the primary source - the Bible - to re-read a familiar story with new eyes.

On the scale of one to five, I give this book (and the series) a solid four. I truly enjoy reading Andrews books. I can tell how passionate she is to tell a story that is grounded in scripture.

An Interview With The Author
1) Why tackle the story of Hosea? What drew you to the story?
The truth is…I can’t stand to be confused about Scripture. I NEED to at least get a glimpse of understanding, and when I read the Old Testament prophets, I sometimes just scratch my head and go, “Huh?” 

Hosea seemed a good one to tackle because it had a little bit of story in the first three chapters, and I hoped to find some historical data to fill in the questions left unanswered in Scripture. 

Writing a biblical novel always comes in three stages for me—not necessarily sequential, but I always begin by reading the Scriptures first. For Love in a Broken Vessel, I not only read all of Hosea repeatedly, but I spent lots of time in 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Isaiah, Micah, Amos, and Jonah. 

After soaking in the main idea and emotion of the message of each passage, I turned to historical texts and archaeological data. Whatever I couldn’t fill in with those facts, I added good old-fashioned imagination, and…wallah! A novel is born! 

The story of Hosea was fun because I got to know some of the prophets and their relationships with specific kings in Israel and Judah. Giving these people personalities, quirks, love languages—it makes the Scripture come alive for me…as I hope it does for readers!

2) Which character do you identify with the most? Why?
I identify with Gomer. I was never a prostitute, but I was badly broken. By the time I was nineteen, I had turned my back on God. I was an alcoholic and believed my life was over. Were it not for a dear friend, I wouldn’t be here today (as mentioned in the dedication of this book). 

Brokenness never completely heals on this earth. It’s mended—redeemed by the Blood of Jesus—but the cracks are still there, oftentimes put to good use by our gracious God, who displays His light through the flaws...revealing a unique beauty unknown to a pristine vessel. 

But living with those cracks isn’t always easy. Life is messy, and Gomer reveals those hard feelings of the unredeemed. Righteous Hosea is actually messy too. It’s not always easy to be the “nice guy.” Come to think of it, I’m sort of a “messy” writer! ha! But don’t Bible characters reveal that life is seldom simple? I’m thankful for characters like Gomer to relate to.

3) What was the biggest thing you wanted to get across in this story?
No one is too broken for God to mend, love, and use for His good purpose. I was broken by sin before I was a Christ-follower. I’ve been broken by chronic illness since 1997 even though I’m a faithful Christ-follower. 

My faithful Abba adores me regardless, and He has filled up the cracks and found ways to use me—not just in spite of my brokenness, but because of my brokenness.

4) What message do you think a contemporary reader can learn from this novel?
I hope many messages come through, and I believe it’s a book that may speak differently at different times in a life, depending on what folks are experiencing at the moment. 

There are strong themes of forgiveness, trust, waiting on God, honesty, and friendship. But one of the messages that emerged completely unintentionally was that anyone can hear Yahweh speak—if we will learn to listen. Proverbs 8:17 promises that those who seek the Lord will be found by Him, and I believe it’s true!

5) What surprised you with the story? What did you learn from digging into the story?
The first thing I do when beginning to research any new story is to lay out the timeline of the characters, making a spreadsheet of their birth and death dates as well as the dates of their major life events. I’m always surprised to see whose lives overlap, and who is a child when others are old men/women.

It was fascinating to me that the prophet Jonah might have been alive when Hosea began prophesying in Israel. I was amazed that the profession of midwife was so closely engaged with prostitution in ancient days, but the deeper into herbal medicine I researched, the more I realized why it made sense. 

And frankly, I was surprised to discover that the northern kingdom of Israel didn’t completely shun Yahweh. They simply worshiped other gods in addition to Him—as Judah later did—and that was their downfall. 

With each biblical novel I write, the Lord pierces my heart with new truths, new lessons, new principles to implement into my own life. That’s part of the joy…and the discipline.

6) What else would you like the reader to know?
I love to stay connected to readers! Here are a few ways folks can find me on the internet:
Online: Please stop by my website and order free bookmarks, or download group discussion or Bible study questions for all three of Mesu’s books:
Or visit me on Facebook: Mesu Andrews
Twitter: MesuAndrews
Pinterest: MesuAndrews
Blog posts on Fridays (inside scoop on characters, plots, and new releases!):

More About The Author
Mesu Andrews is the author of Love Amid the Ashes and Love's Sacred Song. She is an active speaker who has devoted herself to passionate and intense study of Scripture. Harnessing her deep understanding and love for God's Word, Andrews brings the biblical world vividly alive for her readers. She lives in Washington.

Online Resources
My Review of Love Amid The Ashes (Job) Book 1
My Review of Love's Sacred Song (King Solomon) - Book 2.
Find Love In a Broken Vessel on Amazon 
Download a Reading Group Guide for Love In a Broken Vessel
Download a Bible Study Guide for Love In a Broken Vessel
Read an Online Excerpt for Love In a Broken Vessel

Note: As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of this book by Revell Books, 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, March 15, 2013

Blog Tour: Picture Perfect (Review)

Need a laugh?

Janice Thompson is back again with a new series - that ties together characters from her previous offerings (Weddings By Bella and Backstage Pass) to create a light-hearted, yet layered romantic comedy.

Picture Perfect tells the story of Hannah McDermott, a photographer who struggles to see the worth that others see in her photography and more. She also finds herself competing with her "arch-rival and photographer extraordinaire" Drew Kincaid.

Through a variety of antics, and even the re-emergence of a high school rival, Hannah realizes that her future is tied more to her faith, rather than how she's views herself from past experiences.There's also a fun dash of love tossed in the mix (of course!), and just enough drama to drive the storyline.

Honestly, Thompson is one of my favorite "light-hearted" writers. She creates characters that you can truly fall in love with. Reading this novel provided a fun way to reconnect with past characters (from her previous series.). However, it truly can be read as a "stand-alone" novel.

On the scale of one to five, I give it a solid three. It's just simply laugh-out-loud fiction at its best.

More About The Author
Janice Thompson is a seasoned romance author and screenwriter. An expert at pulling the humor from the situations we get ourselves into, Thompson offers an inside look at the wedding business, drawing on her own experiences as a wedding planner.

She is the author of the Weddings by Bella series and the Backstage Pass series. She lives in Texas.

Online Resources
Read a resource online
Download a Reading Group Guide
Find it at Amazon

Note: As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of this book by Revell Books, 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. 

Blog Tour: Wounded Warrior, Wounded Home (Review & More)

Sometimes I review books because I love the genre, other times, because I know something about the author.

Other times, something in the book description catches my eye and makes me think "I want to know more."

Such is the case of this book, Wounded Warrior, Wounded Home: Hope and Healing for Families Living with PTSD and TBI by Marshele Carter Waddell, Kelly K. Orr PhD, ABPP.

This book, is designed to to provide help and hope for everyone impacted by a service member's return from combat deployment. it's also written to help those combat veterans who return with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI).

As Waddell explains in the book, every family member experiences the effects-confusion, hurt, anger, guilt, fatigue, and fear when the veteran returns home from conflict.

I could spend lots of time telling you my opinion of the book - which is solid and worthy of my being part of my "referral" library. I could also tell you how I found portions of this book can (and do) apply to people going through any major stress/incident, regardless of military service.

But instead of taking my word, I'd rather you take the word of a college friend, who had the opportunity to read it alongside me. As I read his "review" of the book, I was truly blown away. Frankly, it left me speechless.

Real-Life Impact
I recently read the amazing book called Wounded Warrior, Wounded Home. This book had a huge impact on my life. I’ll get to that in a minute. 

I truly believe that this book should be given to military members who have made a decision to seek help for PTSD. 

I received a unique perspective on the other side of this sensitive issue. I know my wife and kids had rough moments but I never realized all the issues that they had to deal with because of me.

There were a couple of pages that hit me hard. On page 79 it talks about how we need to forgive ourselves. I have had a hard time doing that. I was medically evacuated from Iraq when I was in charge of a Company of 300 soldiers. I never wanted to leave them and to this day I still feel bad about that. The other section that really had an impact on me was, Mile Marker 8 on page 92. 

At the end of February 2013, just last week as I am writing this, I was carried out of my house on a stretcher. I had another migraine which led to complications. I was incoherent. My priest apparently was here and gave me last rites. I had flashbacks from an ambush in Iraq. 

My wife told me a couple days later that I was mumbling “Shoot, fire, stop and Ambush” She said at one point she touched me and I was startled and stared at her with a vacant look. I didn’t recognize my wife of 20 years. She said it scared her. That scared me.

That day this book arrived. I began reading it and before I knew it before I was halfway done. The next day I went and spoke to a chaplain. He immediately left his office and went to the Mental Health clinic on base and was able to get me an appointment. 

This book made me realize that I needed to get help. I needed to fix me and stop fixing others. Stop trying to get back to my soldiers who I left so long ago by having every minute of my day at work or volunteering somewhere.

I was not diagnosed with PTSD, but an anxiety disorder associated with PTSD. I am lucky. If what I am experiencing from my ambush in Iraq isn’t enough to be called PTSD then I am extremely sorry and praying for those that do have it.

Thank you for this book. My wife will be reading it next. Then we will donate it to our Chaplain.

Meet The Authors
Marshele Carter Waddell
Marshele Carter Waddell served with her husband, CDR (ret) Mark Waddell, a career Navy SEAL, for 25 years around the world. Together with their three children, the Waddells have endured many lengthy separations and frequent deployments for combat duty, special operations training and real world conflicts. Today, her husband is a disabled combat veteran with PTSD and multiple TBIs. Her son is currently serving in Afghanistan.

Waddell is the founder of Hope for the Home Front and a frequent media guest on military issues. She has been featured in Time magazine, the BBC, the LA Times, the Washington Post, Fox News, the Armed Forces Radio Network and Focus on the Family's radio broadcast.

When Marshele’s husband retired, they moved to Colorado Springs where she began seeing Kelly Orr, a clinical psychologist and Vietnam veteran, as her therapist. Kelly has his Ph.D. from Biola University and completed a fellowship in Clinical Health Psychology in 1993.

Kelly K. Orr
Kelly K. Orr, PhD, ABPP, has more than 30 years experience in behavioral medicine and pain management. He serves on the advisory council and speaking team of Hope for the Home Front.

Dr. Orr completed his PhD in Clinical Psychology at Biola University, Rosemead School of Psychology in 1978. He reentered military service with the Air Force in 1987 and retired in 2004 with a combined USMC and Air Force career of 25 years.

He now makes his home in Colorado Springs with his wife Kathy, enjoying the mountains, hiking, fishing, and spending time with his eight grandchildren.

Online Resources
Read an Excerpt Online
Buy it at Amazon

Note: As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of this book by Revell Books, 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. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lent Photo Day 30: Go

Lent Photo Day 30: Go. Life is a journey, sometimes the destination is known only to God. #rethinkchurch #40days

Today's theme reminds me of the word "journey".... which made me think of these two verses from Psalms....

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. (Psalms 119:105 NLT)

The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever. (Psalms 121:8 NLT)

Sometimes, you just have to GO and wait for God to show you the destination. We are simply called to trust, wait, and Go.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lent Photo Day 29: Water

Lent Photo Day 29: Water. I take this gift for granted. Wish everyone could say the same thing. #rethinkchurch #firstworldproblem.

Today's theme seems appropriate - I just finished the book about Kenya (yes, here I go again) and I've been reading a novel about Hosea & Gomer.
Both had themes of water in them in two different ways.

This theme challenges me, because water is such a precious gift - and we (first world Americans) take it for granted EVERY DAY.

Somehow even a few generations ago - like less than two - our forefathers knew what other countries know now.... you can't take clean water for granted. (One only has to read about the Dust Bowl era to remember this.)

Water is so important.

I wonder if this is why the Bible has tons of imagery in it about water.

One of my favorite verses comes from an illustration Jesus made, when he talked to the woman at the well....

Jesus said, "Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life." (John 4:13, 14 MSG)

Ah, to fill up on that water - the kind that will quench the thirst of my spirit.

I think this verse, from the Common English Bible, sums up the spiritual longing...

Just like a deer that craves streams of water, my whole being craves you, God. My whole being thirsts for God, for the living God. When will I come and see God’s face? (Psalms 42:1, 2 CEB)

Water...thirst...a desire to be close to God.
Deep thoughts, from a photo theme.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Blog Tour: Shattered (Review)

What would you do, if the brother you love - the long lost prodigal son - comes home, only to be charged with murder.

How far would you go to keep your world from shattering apart?

What would you do to prove his innocence?

That's the questions swirling around the lead in Dani Pettrey's sophomore release, Shattered.

It this novel, Pettrey tackles those questions and more, as Piper McKenna races to help prove her brother's innocence. She's helped by an unlikely source: Deputy Landon Grainger - her brother's best friend.

Along the way to proving her brother's innocence, Piper and Landon realize their relationship is deeper than a (non-related) brother/sister bond.

This is the second book by Pettrey - and it successfully mixes suspense and romance. The intrigue she builds into the book comes in layers. The deeper you go into the story, the more she surprises you.

I'll be honest, I didn't see the end - and the ultimate killer - until Pettrey began to unpack everything surrounding the mystery.

On a scale of one to five, I give this novel (and series) a solid three. It has just the right mix of romance, suspense and more!

(On a side note - Pettrey's descriptions of Alaska makes me want to travel there!)

About The Author
Dani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom, and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves--the thrill of adventure, nail biting suspense, the deepening of her characters' faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters. 

Online Resources
Visit her website at
Buy the book online:       

It's A Contest
Dani Pettrey is celebrating the release of Shattered with a Nook HD giveaway and a Facebook Author Chat Party {3/14}. 

Shattered Pettrey

One winner will receive:

  • A brand new Nook HD
  • Submerged and Shattered by Dani Pettrey {Be caught up in this riveting series.}
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 13th. Winner will be announced at the "Shattered" Author Chat Party on 3/14. Connect with Dani for an evening of book chat, trivia, and a chance to win gift certificates, books, and other fun prizes!

So grab your copy of Shattered and join Dani on the evening of the March 14th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 14th!

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.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lent Photo Day 28: Silence

Lent Photo Day 28: Silence. Sometimes It's hard to be silent and wait. #40days #rethinkchurch (Photo by John Hacker - Comet over Carthage Mo.)

I didn't find much silence today.
Somehow my day was quite loud.
But this verse, posted originally by a friend, spoke volumes to me.

When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don't run from trouble. Take it full-face. The "worst" is never the worst. (Lamentations 3:28-30 MSG).

Somehow it seemed to go perfectly with a photo my friend, John, captured this evening of the comet appearing over Carthage, Mo. He had to stop, and wait - and probably, if he's honest, being silent - as he worked to capture this once in a lifetime moment.

So both remind me that sometimes God tells us to wait.... and even though it's not easy, I truly believe it will be worth it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, March 11, 2013

Lent Photo Day 27: Happy

Lent Photo Day 27: Happy. A few things that made me happy on Monday. #rethinkchurch #40days

Today's theme focused on the word happy - so I tried to capture a few things that simply made me happy today.

1) A Dream So Big by Steve Peifer.
I know I included this book in an earlier theme/photo. I've truly enjoyed reading about Peifer's experience - and continual projects - in Kenya.

Some of his stories have made me cry, others made me laugh hard enough I could have snorted coffee.

Ultimately, Peifer has given me a new picture of service, of how one person can make a difference in the lives of thousands.

(On a side note, I actually brewed pretty good cup of Blond coffee using my k-cup filter!)

2) Music
Listening to the music of The Museum (yes on my "old-school" iPod), makes me happy right now for a couple of reasons.

...The words and music of this group is inspiring. I love how they simply
worship God with their creativity.
...I'm remembering why I love music - and how it can help me "zone" out as I work.

3) Hot tea and Cookies anyone?
Yes, I hang out at Starbucks. Yes, I drink a lot of tea. I'm love how Earl Grey just seems to have a relaxing quality. The cookie - well, everyone needs a bit of chocolate in your life right? (Besides, my "gold" card means I can get tons of free refills on the tea.)

4) Watching E Dance
Tonight (Monday) I went to Canvas Community to experience their unique worship service. One of the blessings - getting to see E dance as the praise band played the last song.

Sometimes, watching a wee one be themselves can bring great joy - and E's expression of praise definitely made me happy!

So here are a few things that made me happy on Monday.

God is good.... all the time!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Lent Photo Day 26: Ate

Lent Photo Day 26: Ate.
Today I simply "ate" ate the feet of Jesus
through worship.
#rethinkchurch #40days

Sometimes, you just need to soak up Jesus' love
during Worship.

Today, two songs helped me do this....
"Holy Is The Lord" by Chris Tomlin
"Blessed Be Your Name" by Matt Redman.

I think these lyrics really spoke to me...

"When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say....
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name" 

 - Matt Redman

Today, I simply "ate" and "drank"
in the presence of the Lord.
And reminded myself of the 
blessings God has given me.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Lent Photo Day 25: Faithful

Lent Photo Day 25: (v1) Faithful. Amazed by Liz's faithfulness to teach Tweens about a tough subject. #rethinkchurch
Lent Photo Day 25: Faithful (v2) I don't know why but the clouds make me think of a Chris Hughes song. #rethinkchurch

What does it mean to be faithful?

Today's theme made me ponder faithfulness, and reminded me of a Chris Hughes and Ed Kilbourne song "From the Rising of the Sun" based on Psalm 113:3. (Found on their Light The Fire CD).

From the rising of the sun
to the going down of the same,
the name of the Lord shall be praised.

From the rising of the sun
to the going down of the same,
the name of the Lord shall be praised.
So praise ye the Lord.
Praise ye the Lord.

From the rising of the sun
to the going down of the same,
the name of the Lord shall be praised.
This song simply reminds me that God is present, faithfully through everything. 
No Ifs, Ands, Or Buts..
All the time.
And frankly, that makes me grateful.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Lent Photo Day 24: Find

Lent Photo Day 24: Find (v.1). Oz had to find his "goodness" not just his greatness. #rethinkchurch

Lent Photo Day 24: Find (v2.0) One of my favorite verses with "find" in it. #rethinkchurch

Lent Photo Day 24: Find (v.3) finding encouragement from the experiences 
and faith of others. #rethinkchurch

You can seek and find God in a variety of ways.
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