Friday, April 30, 2010


Shawn Lamb just came out with book 1 in a new fantasy series called Allon.

About the Book:
The land of Allon was a paradise until the fall of the Guardians paved the way for the rise of the Dark Way. Evil King Marcellus now controls the land as his forefathers did, with an iron fist and the help of the evil spirit, Dagar. But an ancient prophecy speaks of a time to come when the Guardians will return and Allon will be restored--lead by its rightful heir. All the while, the exiled teenage Promised Prince, Ellis, must prove himself worthy to be king through a series of supernatural trials that test his character, wisdom, courage, and his heart.
The first in the Allon series, this magical tale of adventure, destiny, and faith will test your strength and awaken your spirit of adventure.

About the Author:
Shawn Lamb has written for children's television and has won several screenwriting awards, including a Certificate of Merit from the American Screenwriters Association. She is active in various church ministries and has created her own curriculum based upon Proverbs 31. Shawn lives outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband of 25 years and their college-aged daughter.

This book is geared for 9-12 year olds. It is well written and full of suspense. My oldest daughter is nine, but I think I would wait for her to read the book. There is some torture and the beginning may be a little confusing with the character development.

If you have young adults that enjoy fantasy, I would recommend this book. It is good versus evil that offers suspense to keep you engaged in the book. The book is set up to move on to a book 2.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Last night I picked up my copy of Glaen. I started reading it and I am so glad that I did. This was a fun book to read. The story was light and entertaining. In the midst of the entertainment were some wonderful life lessons on relationships. I wish I would have had a list of these lessons when I was dating. The great thing is there were also lessons that I can still apply to my marriage and other relationships now.

In the story, college student Annie is taking a non-fiction writing class. She is studying relationships, trying to find all of the answers by observing other people. She is also discovering the truth of her faith while she is on this journey.

You can read the first chapter below.

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:


The Barnabas Agency (February 14, 2010)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings - Senior Media Specialist - The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Maybe it’s because his dad was a lawyer and state legislator, or maybe it’s because he grew up in Alabama with something to prove, or maybe he just found a good use for his self-proclaimed ADHD, but whatever the cause, Fred Lybrand has become a careful thinker in a number of disciplines. If you are looking at a topic with Dr. Lybrand, then you are guaranteed to see things like you never have before. “I finally discovered that I’m one of those unfocused students that just likes to learn everything. I guess God made me to be a knowledge broker—I learn some hopefully useful information and then give it to others who need it,” Lybrand describes of his own love for learning and teaching.

Lybrand attended the University of Alabama and majored in English Literature, with a double-minor emphasis in speech communication and fiction writing. He went on to teach the introductory speech communications class while also attending law school at Alabama. A hunger to understand the Word of God, however, led him to withdraw in order to pursue theological studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. Lybrand graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary in 1989 and received a doctorate from Phoenix Seminary, 2007.

In January 2010, Dr. Lybrand retired from a 24-year career as a pastor of two churches in Texas. At Midland Bible Church he helped build a church which has launched ministries in several continents (including successful church-planting efforts in Uganda), as well as serving as a founding board (and faculty) member for Midland Classical Academy, a Socratic-method based high school. The school provides a “classical education” focused on teaching students through the Socratic Method using classical books, interactive science and math, logic, fine arts, and the creative process—all built on the foundation of the Bible. At Northeast Bible Church (Evangelical Free Church) in the San Antonio area, Dr. Lybrand helped redesign the church to grow as a disciple-making center for promoting the grace of God. Teaching and counseling in the church context has been a long-term focus of Lybrand’s labors.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: The Barnabas Agency (February 14, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0578046520
ISBN-13: 978-0578046525


Mother called the week before I met Glaen Breuch.

“So, that's it?” I said with a tinge of anger.

“I'm afraid it is, dear,” a soft and matter-of-fact voice responded.

“Mom, you just want a divorce? You don't want to work at it or get some counseling or something?” I pleaded.

“No Annie, it's over. I've tried and tried, but your father just isn't what I want for the rest of my life. Can't you just be happy for me?” Mother asked.

Suddenly Annie found herself floating, feather-like, away from the phone and experiencing what most people think a drowning person experiences; a life full of joy and promise, in the last moments of gasping for air, she sees a replay of that life. Annie saw the day her baby sister came home from the hospital. Mom and Dad were so happy, and Annie as a little girl couldn't find her sister's feet; she kept looking under the baby-carrier instead of under the blanket. They all laughed for days.

Next, Annie remembered her granddaddy's death and how her mother was so kind to her dad, and how her dad praised mother to everyone in the small town where he grew up. Other memories flooded her mind, moving from ancient black-and-white scenes to vivid full-color images. Most recently she had been in church, seated between her parents, and basking in the wonder of family; hoping for a marriage like theirs. But Annie snapped awake.

“Be happy for you?” I said with amazement. “How can I be happy for you? You are running away to ruin your relationship with Dad and mess up our family forever. You seem happy enough. I don't think you need my help.”

“Annie, my relationship with your dad is already ruined. Honey, the one way I've failed you was to not really help you understand about love. You were always your Daddy's girl anyway, so I never could really tell you how I felt. I don't think I understand relationships, but I'm going to learn about them. Honey, I know you don't understand relationships; just look at what's happened with your boyfriends.”

“Boyfriends?” Annie thought to herself. There were just two; one in high school and one in college. Both of the boys were nice guys who doted, and spent, on Annie. She just wanted to have fun, and she did, for a while. In the same six month period with each guy, Rodney and Pierre, they both turned to the same serious conversation with her about “dating just each other.” Annie could still feel the panic as her stomach tightened and her lungs closed off from the air in the room. She had mysteriously decided she didn't like either of them; and in time she believed it deeply. The only hint she had that perhaps a mistake lived on, was that she saved the letter from Pierre in her dresser drawer back home. Both guys were married now, at least she had heard about their engagements. But now the thought of her past brought Annie back to the room, and to the moment. “Mother, what about your relationship with God? What about your marriage vow before Him?” I asked as a sincere question.

“God wants us happy, dear. I've been miserable for years. I love you children, and now that you're grown, I can follow my dreams. I felt dead, but now I feel alive. Annie, I know it is hard to understand, but I just know God is in this because I'm so wonderfully happy now.”

“Mom…I love you, but what you're doing can't be right. I'm not going to do this to my family,” I said.

“Well, good luck, Honey. I'm going out to dinner and I haven't finished dressing,” she said in a mother-knows-best way.

“Could I give you one piece of advice that would have changed all of this for me?”

“Sure Mom,” I said.

“Annie dear, be sure you marry the right person; don't stand in your wedding dress with doubts in your bouquet.”

We hung up, and I cried for a long time before I could pray. “God, my mother says she doesn't understand relationships, and she's my mom! Then she says I don't understand them either. Please help me to understand.”

Back then I had no idea that prayer was the sort of thing God took seriously.


Glaen Breuch was unusual, even for a college professor.

It was only two weeks before that I had signed up for his Masters class called, “Original Non-Fiction.” Jennah and I had been sitting at Polmier's Coffee Shoppe, a little place with hardwood floors full of serious students and a few silly girls. “What are you going to take for your last class?” Jennah asked. I was irritated. “Gee, Jennah, I just decided now to take classes at all.” She knew how upset I was about Mom and Dad's sudden divorce announcement, so she ignored it and asked again.

“I've prayed all week about it. I wish I could take a class on how relationships really work, but nothing in school is ever practical.” I still remember saying those words when Glaen walked in the Shoppe. He had striking white hair that made a great wave until it crashed above his right eye. Wire-rimmed glasses, herringbone jacket, too many books; all these made Glaen look like the ideal professor. He insisted on being called Glaen rather than “professor” or “mister,” but I didn't know why until months later.

Exactly fifteen years ago I saw Glaen in the Shoppe. Now I am about to see him again. I bet he hasn't changed a bit, but of course how could he?

That day in Polmier's, Glaen walked up to us as an answer to prayer. “Hi ladies,” he said. “I couldn't help overhearing your conversation about classes. I'm a new instructor here at St. Michael's, but I'm a bit late in arriving.” Suddenly his awkward grasp gave way and all of his books and papers clamored to the wood floor. Only one pink sheet remained in his hand. “Oh, here it is,” ignoring the pile at his feet. “I'm teaching this class over the next two semesters. If you're interested, just show up as it says here.” With that Glaen gathered his books and left the Shoppe, cluttered but unembarrassed. From that moment on, all I could think about was how curious both the class and the professor seemed. I was in!

“Welcome class. My name is Glaen, pronounced with a long 'a' as in 'gain.'” He started the Original Non-Fiction class, ONF101 as the flier labeled it, right on time. Without skipping a beat he handed out the syllabus and asked with eyes that swept the room, “Are there any questions before we begin?”

I looked around totally bewildered as I raised my hand. “Yes, and your name is Anne?” he asked. “Well, they call me Annie, but I do have a question,” I said.

“OK Annie, what's your question?” I was still in a self-absorbed mood, so I put a little “dumb blonde” in my voice. “Like…ah…I'm the only student in the room…and, ah…is the class going to make or something?” I wanted to ask why in heaven's name he was acting like the room was full, but it seemed like a dumb move on the first day.

“Well Annie, since it's a new class the powers-that-be have given me permission to teach it even if you're the only one. Ready to start?” he asked, taking my silence for a “yes.”

Glaen wrote the following on the board and asked, “What do you think?”


- Emmons

“Who's Emmons?” I said.

“Does it matter? What if I said it was written by Poe, or Shelley, or Whitman? Would it make a difference? Is it what is said or who said it?” suddenly Glaen had me thinking.

“I guess it doesn't matter,” I said.

“Then what do you think?” he returned.

“I think it sounds reasonable,” I admitted.

“Great!” Glaen took off with a quick lecture on the importance of words and their meanings. He finally got to the point.

“Annie, I've watched conflict for a long time. Seldom is there a conflict that can withstand agreed-to definitions. The reason is pretty simple: Truth still wins out. It's bad enough when two people disagree about what is expected in a relationship. It's even worse when they aren't using the same language. A dictionary or the question, 'What do you mean?' can do more to end conflict than almost anything else on the planet. One of my favorite authors once wrote, 'Truth is the lifeblood of real relationships.'”

“Why?” I asked.

“Well, let me ask you a question. If you change your behavior from how you really are to what they want; is it you relating, or is it the character you're playing?”

With that Glaen started to put his books in a much-needed satchel.

“Is that it?” I asked.

“There's nothing else to know for today,” he said.

“Nothing else to know! What about non-fiction? What about writing? What's the assignment?” I said with a little contempt.

“Oh, that,” he said flatly.

“Well, you need to write an original work of non-fiction, offering original insights on a useful topic. It doesn't matter what the topic is, but I would suggest you write about something you care about, something you'd like to understand. I'll be in this room every week at this same moment. I'm available to help you when you want it.”

Glaen looked at me for a long time, staring right through me with his steady blue eyes, framed by his white hair and white button-down shirt.

“Annie,” he added. “Decide on your topic by next week and I'll show you the secret of good non-fiction. There's a book in your future, and I want to show it to you.” Glaen turned and moved out of the room with the grace of a ballet dancer. I just sat there for a long time before I left. The Coffee Shoppe was finally calling.


Truth is the lifeblood of real relationships.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Teaching My Girls

I had the privilege to see Beth Moore through a simulcast on Saturday morning with over 300,000 other women across the country. She spoke on Insecurity. I am still processing a lot of it. She talked about how as women can make a significant difference in our culture if we can become secure in ourselves.

She spent a lot of time in Ephesians 4. The verse that I keep going back to is Ephesians 4:22-24.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

It has me thinking about how I still have some baggage myself that I need to get rid of to completely become made new. However, I wasn't focusing on myself. I was focusing on the very first part of the verse that says, "You were taught".

I was thinking about my girls, "What am I teaching my girls?"

I am pretty sure that if I asked my own mother she would say it is never easy to raise girls. I think that my sister and I gave her more than a few gray hairs and sleepless nights.

However, I think that society has added even more pressure to raising girls. I think that we need to focus even more on raising them to be pure. From the media they watch to the clothes that they want to wear. I did not have a cell phone until I was married. My nine year old daughter has kids that have had them since they were in first grade.

Today I am concentrating on how I can change the way I am teaching my girls so that someday, when they are making their own decisions, I can be confident that they were taught to live like Christ.

I look at these innocent faces and I know that I need to do whatever it takes. Although I am sure some of my rules will make them crazy, some of my boundaries might seem extreme. But someday, I know they will understand. Someday, they may be teaching their own girls and it will all make sense.

I have been tweeting with a few other Moms with girls and we decided that we need each other. We are the MOD Squad. (Mothers Of Daughters). Are you part of the MOD Squad? Are you struggling with how and what to teach your girls. Check out My Blog Frog Community if you are a Mother Of Daughters and introduce yourself. One thing I know for sure is we need each other.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Motherhood vs Media

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Deuteronomy 6:6-8

Do you ever feel like you are failing your children? Do you ever have one of those mornings that you wish you could rewind and start over?

I had one of those mornings. When my seven year-old left to walk to school she said she was never coming home. Over what you ask? Over a pair of flip-flops. She misplaced them, she blamed everyone in the house for not being able to find them. She just knew that her little sister had hid them from her.

I sent her to school without them so I am the meanest mom in the world (it is supposed to rain today and she should wear tennis shoes anyway).

After she left I went on a mission to find them. After searching in all of the not so obvious places, I found them. Sitting right by the back door. Right where I am sure she took them off.

I have been deeply burdened this week about raising my kids. After reading One Million Arrows and some chatter on twitter yesterday, I realize that I am not alone. There is a cool new group forming online on my friend Erin's Blog Frog community called the Mother Of Boys Society.

As you know, a Mother of Boys is not me, and probably never will be. There are other moms online that have houses full of pink, too. Yesterday we decided that we needed to form a prayer initiative to pray for our daughters. We are moms of girls and our girls need prayer.

Every time I turn on the TV and it is on anything but Nick Jr, PBS or Playhouse Disney I am appalled by the programing. Every show is focusing on relationships. Stuff that my girls at the ages of 4, 7 & 9 don't need to see. Then I listen to their conversations and it is scary. My nine year old and her friends already talk about boys.

I am ready to get rid of cable. I am so thankful that the weather is nice so we spend a majority of our time outside and away from the TV. But I realize that some major changes need to be made in this house. And I realize that I will not be their favorite person when those changes are made.

How do you control the media in your home?

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

One Million Arrows

I posted my thoughts on this amazing book over at Gather Inspirit today. Thank you so much Julie Ferwerda for the opportunity to read this book. If you are a parent, I highly recommend you read this book. Are you raising your children to be arrows for the Almighty? If you are not, what is stopping you? I encourage you to read the first chapter below!

Two books I have read in the last few months that highly impacted me were Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris and Do Hard Things by his brothers Alex and Brett Harris. In this book by Julie Ferwerda I got a glimpse into how the Harris brothers parents impacted their lives for Christ. Amazing stories that glorify an Amazing God!

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

One Million Arrows: Raising Your Children to Change the World

Winepress Publishing (September 1, 2009)

***Special thanks to Julie Ferwerda for sending me a review copy.***


Julie Ferwerda is recognized for making the Bible exciting and relevant to everyday life through her writing and speaking. Her articles are featured in many Christian magazines and websites for both adults and teens, and she frequently volunteers her time and talents to international orphan ministry.

Visit the author's website.
Visit the book's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.95
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Winepress Publishing (September 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1606150111
ISBN-13: 978-1606150115


Chapter 1: Determine Your Course
And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children...Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5–9


Destiny is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. –William Jennings Bryan1


What were you doing on 9/11?

I’d just cranked up the tunes and hopped on my Nordic Track as part of my normal morning routine, when my husband called from work to tell me to turn on the TV. Watching the events unfold, I don’t think I’ve ever felt as helpless or as horrified as I did that day. The world no longer seemed like the safe, secure place I thought it was only one day before. In the worst way, I wanted to keep my two girls, ages seven and ten, out of school that day to protect them and reassure them until the danger had passed.

For the rest of that day, and many more to come, the surreal sights on TV haunted me. The planes striking the buildings; massive explosions; the sudden, momentary collapse—twice—of 110 floors of elaborately constructed concrete, steel, and glass that took years to erect; and the mountains of debris that smoked and smoldered for many days. But nothing shook me as much as the unforgettable images of human bodies spilling out of the buildings like grains of rice. Neither those who lived through it, nor those of us who watched the shocking events unfold on TV will ever forget.

One young man I read about, Cary Sheih, a technical consultant from New York, barely made it out alive. Working on a project for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey at his 72nd floor desk, he’d just finished his usual mid-morning PB&J, when he heard an explosion, followed by tremendous building sways and vibrations. At first, he thought it might be an earthquake, so he dashed to the stairwell, where a quick, but calm, evacuation was underway. As people made their way down, some received messages on their cell phones that an airplane had accidentally crashed into the building, but there was no mention of a terrorist attack.

With the heavy, choking stench of jet fuel, descending the tower proved difficult. But if it was difficult for him, he couldn’t imagine how difficult it was for the rescue crews he passed, huffing their way up an endless corkscrew of stairs and then hurrying back down, carrying badly injured and burned victims. He recalls, “Sometime around the 30th or 40th floor, we passed the first firefighters coming up the stairs. They reassured people that we were safe and that we would all get out fine. By this point, they were absolutely breathless, but still pushing upward, slowly and unyieldingly, one step at a time. I could only imagine how tired they were, carrying their axes, hoses, and heavy outfits, climbing up all those stairs. Young men started offering [to help] the firemen to carry up their gear for a few flights, but they all refused. Each and every one of them.”2

As Cary neared the bottom, the building began to shake and sway again, the lights flickered out, and eerie sounds of buckling steel accompanied screams of people falling down the stairwell. After being assisted by firemen through darkness to a different stairwell, a panicked Cary somehow made it down the last few flights to safety, where his wildest imagination couldn’t have prepared him for what he encountered. The burning trees, wreckage, fireballs, and dust resembled a war zone.

While reading through this and other accounts concerning 9/11, I noticed an inspiring, recurrent theme. While there were many, many heroes and selfless individuals working tirelessly to assist throughout this tragic period, it was the firemen who undoubtedly made some of the greatest sacrifices of all, and whose ultimate acts of bravery impacted lives worldwide. While most everyone else scrambled for the exit signs to save themselves (which I’m positive I would have done, too), these rescue workers fearlessly headed up into the towering infernos that day, many likely aware that they might not make it out alive.

Most kids see firefighters as larger than life heroes, which is probably why many of them want to be one when they grow up. Who wouldn’t want to be thought of as a hero, especially one that saved lives? I came across a touching book report that was written about 9/11 by three kids: “The firefighters of 9/11 are heroes because they have saved the lives of hundreds of people, while they knew the building could collapse. While you go up a burning, 110-story building you would be very scared, because you’ll think of your own life. When you are a firefighter you mustn’t think too much about your own life or you may not be able to save lives. Being a hero means saving lives. That’s the difference between being a celebrity and being a hero. Why would a celebrity be important to you? It is just someone with a well-paying job. You’ll be someone’s hero if you help him with his or her life.”3

As I think about what these insightful kids have so magnificently articulated about the qualities of firemen, particularly the 9/11 firemen, I’m deeply moved with admiration and respect. In an emergency, firemen are:

First responders, well-trained, and ready to save lives, even at the expense of their own.
Purposeful and deliberate, aware that lives are at stake and time is short.
Doggedly determined, knowing that the more lives they can save the better.
Regarded in both life and death as the heroes of this world.
No one involved in 9/11 could disagree with this assessment. Remembering the expressions of both courage and fear etched on rescue workers’ faces as they spoke reassuringly to guide many people to safety, Cary Sheih said, “I am so grateful for the courage of the firemen and policemen who gave up their lives to help us down the burning tower. As I relive this moment over and over in my mind, I can’t help but think that these courageous firemen already knew in their minds that they would not make it out of the building alive, and that they didn’t want to endanger any more civilians or prevent one less person from making it to safety.”4

While they will undoubtedly go down in history as larger than life heroes, we can’t forget how human and vulnerable they were, too. I have looked through their pictures online. Most of them were young family men, with their whole lives ahead of them—men who kissed their own babies goodnight on Monday for the last time so that those they helped to safety could kiss their kids goodnight many more nights to come. They unknowingly said final goodbyes to their own families Tuesday morning so that many others could come home to their families that night.

In the moment of the realization of the grave danger, it had to be a dilemma for the firemen, choosing between lion-hearted courage and paralyzing, self-protective fear. How were they able to do it? Was it because it was their job? Because their buddies were doing it? Because their captain told them to do it? What exactly is it that leads a person to choose a profession where courage must prevail when all pretenses and rewards are stripped away in the face of death?

More than a job identity or a paycheck, more than an obligation or a hope of any kind of recognition, firemen are willing to risk their lives and to face their fears because they are motivated by something far greater than fear.

The Bible refers to this motivating force as love! Authentic, selfless love drives away fear (1 John 4:18). And it was the love—not the duty—of those firemen and emergency workers that truly made them heroes of the day, both the ones who died and the ones who worked doggedly through the wreckage, many suffering permanent damage to their lungs and bodies. And that kind of sacrifice, according to Jesus Christ, is love at its very best. “I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. And here is how to measure it—the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends” (John 15:12–13, emphasis mine).

Firemen of Life

So what does all this talk about 9/11 and firemen have to do with parenting? If you’re a follower of Christ and you want to raise children who are also followers of Christ, quite a lot. And if you want to entertain the possibility of raising children who will change the world around them, and even the world at large, everything!

It’s no secret that every day on this earth, countless lives are at stake. People are dying every day who do not know Jesus, and almost just as bad, people are living every day who do not know Jesus. I don’t know about you, but I cannot imagine struggling through the hardships, losses, disappointments, and sorrows of this world without the comfort and peace of knowing Jesus and His love. And we know that someday soon, this world, with all its carefully planned designs and elaborate structures, along with all the people who have not put their faith in Christ, will collapse in a catastrophic fire (Zephaniah 1:18).

In other words, time is running out.

The seriousness of that reality raises some questions: What is my family here for? As believers, is parenting a more significant and eternity-impacting role than we’ve given it credit for? Are we satisfied with happy, well-adjusted, even ambitious kids who happen to love God, or is there something more? When we consider the possibilities, we find that we’ve been given an invitation into a divine story—into His-story. As this story unfolds throughout the space of our lives, which role will our family accept in this cosmic emergency? Hopefully not the victims. Hopefully not the ones running scared to save ourselves (and I am absolutely not criticizing those who made it out on 9/11—this is for spiritual application only). Hopefully not uninvolved bystanders who are disinterested, unable, or ill equipped to do anything but watch.

I’ve realized that, in the grand scheme of life, more than just raising my kids to “keep the faith,” I want to raise my kids to save lives. I want to raise firemen. Not necessarily the earthly fire-fighting kind, but the heavenly fire-fighting kind. Kids who are well-trained and ready to help save as many lives as possible. Kids who grow up, remembering at the forefront of everything they do, that time is short and lives are at stake, and who will one day be seen as spiritual heroes for helping many to safety.

I want to raise kids who love like Jesus.

Just think what it would be like to have kids who grow up in this self-destructing world with brave faces and hope in their voices, carrying within their hearts the ambition of bringing as many people as possible safely into the Kingdom. I believe that this kind of holy ambition is the secret to life at its best, and I want my kids to experience this kind of life. Jesus said, “If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life” (Matthew 16:25). And therein, we hear the invitation: Will you raise your kids to be firemen? Will you be a fireman for God’s sake? We may never be called to die for Jesus like so many others in our world today, but we are still called to a holy rescue mission—to live sacrificially for God so that others will be led to safety through our loving assistance.

I recently met two brothers, both firemen of the Kingdom variety, who understand about saving lives by choosing to deliberately head into burning buildings. For them, the rescue mission all started with a small idea and a heart to snatch their fellow teens from a dangerous culture.

At age sixteen, twins Alex and Brett Harris decided to start a little blog in their spare time over the summer called, with the intent of starting a teenage rebellion. “The word ‘rebelution’ is a combination of the words ‘rebellion’ and ‘revolution,’” explains Brett. “So it carries a sense of an uprising against social norms. But in this case, it’s not a rebellion against God-established authority, but against the low expectations of our society. It’s a refusal to be defined by our ungodly, rebellious culture.” To their astonishment, within a couple years, their site had received over 14 million hits, becoming the most popular Christian teen blog on the web.

As a follow up, they decided to write a book for teens called Do Hard Things, exhorting young people not to take the easy way out, but to do those things that seem harder now but have a bigger payoff in the end (as in “delayed gratification”). Since then, God has opened doors for them to speak to thousands of teens nationwide through conferences that are planned, organized, and run primarily by youth.

More than just a website, The Rebelution is both a mindset and a movement. “Our goal,” according to the brothers, “is to create a community of young people where thinking deeply is the norm, and where achieving excellence is ‘cool.’ History says young people can be doing big things right now! Don’t let the culture’s expectations toward teenagers dictate what you think is possible. The teen years are not a vacation from responsibility. They are the training ground of future leaders who dare to be responsible now.”5

Whether from media, parents, authority figures, or peers, low expectations have become the rule for this generation, rather than the exception. Not only are kids expected not to possess admirable character or useful competence, but also they are expected to do the opposite. The Rebelution defies this kind of thinking by calling out youth to return to biblical and historical levels of character and competence as exhorted by Paul in 1 Timothy 4:12: “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”

Their message, based on their belief that God is raising up their generation for global change, is a passionate call back to excellence, purpose, and significance for young people. It’s not about doing more things, or inflicting oneself with toilsome chores; it’s about lifestyle choices that will often take you out of your comfort zone and into places where you are focused on using your abilities and resources to encourage and benefit others…ultimately to save lives.

“Brett and I firmly believe we are living in historic times,” Alex says. “We further believe that God is raising up a generation of young people who will one day assume positions of leadership in all spheres of life: social, political, and spiritual. This is not a call for the complacent or the lackadaisical. This is not a call to those who are willing to lower their standards to meet the expectations of their culture. This is a call to the rebelutionary.”

Initially I wondered how two kids could possibly have achieved so many bold and bright accomplishments, not to mention how they’ve acquired more wisdom than many adults. Was it handed to them? Do they harbor a special gene pool (their parents might agree with that notion)? Did they turn out like this by chance?

Actually, Alex and Brett would probably be ordinary kids, except for one thing. They had parents who believed in making the sacrifices necessary to raise their kids to make a difference. Kids who, in turn, learned to make sacrifices in order to serve others. They had parents who devoted themselves to raising firemen. Keeping this at the forefront of their parenting strategy, Mom and Dad Harris raised kids who understood and accepted the fact that it was going to take a lot of hard work for everyone in order to succeed in this goal. As a result of this mentality, these young men have literally started a Rebelution across our nation…and our world.

There are actually two other grown children from the Harris home. One of them, Joshua, became a best-selling author at the age of twenty, with the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye (Multnomah 1997). He went on to write more bestsellers, developed purity seminars for young people, and toured as a national conference speaker in front of hundreds of thousands of young people, calling them out of their culture to a lifestyle of purity. At age twenty-seven, he became the senior pastor of a large church, where he still serves today.

In 2002, another brother, Joel, launched the Northwest Academy of Worship Music to help raise up worship leaders and worship teams for local churches in the Portland area, where over 150 students of all ages have been successfully trained. Since 2007, he’s also been using his music skills to lead worship for The Rebelution Tour.

As I got to know the Harris family, I saw that “chance” and “opportunity” had nothing to do with their parenting success. “If our teen years have been different than most,” says Alex, “it’s not because we are somehow better than other teens, but because we’ve been motivated by that simple but very big idea filtering down from our parents’ example and training: Do hard things.”

With four out of four grown children serving the Lord and significantly impacting their world, it’s obvious that the Harrises are doing something right. And I’ve discovered that this “something” is available to all parents. Throughout this book, we’re going to visit with more parents like these to find out exactly what they are doing to shape godly kids who are ready and able to help save lives, no matter what their limitations or circumstances. Turning out kids like these is not just possible—it’s possible for you and your family with just a few moderate but important lifestyle changes.

Parenting is, really, at the heart of Jesus’ command for discipleship. It’s teaching our kids to live with Jesus and to love like Jesus. It does require a cost, as anything worthwhile does, but that cost will be far outweighed by the benefits and rewards. God has created our kids with unique abilities, gifts, and desires for a very special purpose. All they need now is to be trained and ready, available for divinely appointed opportunities.

So now it’s time to ask: Do we truly want to give our kids the best of everything we have to offer in the short time we have to impact their lives? Do we want our kids to live—and someday die—the spiritual heroes of this world? If we have answered “yes,” then it’s time to learn about a vision for our families that’s so amazing; it will change the course of history.

My discovery all started on a little trip I took to northwest India.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Finding Joy

Last night my husband was writing a letter and he was talking about the verse 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Last night I was laying in bed and I could not fall asleep. This verse just kept running through my head. Actually just the first phrase. Be Joyful Always.

I am having a hard time being joyful right now. My plate is full, my cup is running over, I am bursting at the seams and "with joy" is not the phrase I would use.

I just laid there and prayed and tried to fall asleep. I should have just gotten out of bed to write this post because I couldn't get the words out of my head.

I was struggling with the question, "How do you find joy in the stresses of life?"

I know the answer, the answer is easy. "You find that joy in Christ." So why do I struggle with Joy so much?

I realize even though I know the answer, I often go looking for joy in all the wrong places. Life is full of disappointments and I can't just get stuck on the phrase be joyful always. I won't find that constant joy without praying continually. When the disappointments come, I need to pray about them. I need to find Christ in the center of them.

I have so much to be thankful for and often when I get over the stressful times, I look back and think, "Why was I so worked up over something so silly?"

I am stepping away from the computer for awhile today to spend some time in my Bible, and to spend some time in prayer. I am going to find joy in the day.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Forget Me Not

I stayed up way to late one night this week finishing Vicki Hinze new book Forget Me Not. When I started the book I was a little confused. I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy it. As I got into the book more I couldn't put the book down. It was a mystery, but it really had me intrigued because it was about a Bio-terrorism group and I had never read anything like this before.

I really enjoyed the main character of the book. She lost her memory and it was interesting getting to know the character as her memory started to return.

This book is a mystery that keeps you into the book until the end. The best news about this book is I have one to giveaway to one of you. Just leave a comment and I will pick a winner on Friday, April 23rd.

Thank you Waterbrook Multnomah for providing me a copy of this book and one to giveaway.

Here is more about the book from Waterbrook Multnomah:

A mother who cannot face her future.

Crossroads Crisis Center owner Benjamin Brandt was a content man—in his faith, his work, and his family. Then in a flash, everything he loved was snatched away. His wife and son were murdered, and grief-stricken Ben lost faith. Determination to find their killers keeps him going, but after three years of dead ends and torment, his hope is dying too. Why had he survived? He’d failed to protect his family.

Now, a mysterious woman appears at Crossroads seeking answers and help—a victim who eerily resembles Ben’s deceased wife, Susan. A woman robbed of her identity, her life, of everything except her faith—and Susan’s necklace.

The connections between the two women mount, exceeding coincidence, and to keep the truth hidden, someone is willing to kill. Finding out who and why turns Ben and the mystery woman’s situation from dangerous to deadly. Their only hope for survival is to work together, trust each other, and face whatever they discover head on, no matter how painful. But will that be enough to save their lives and heal their tattered hearts?

Here is a little more about the author:
Vicki Hinze is an award-winning author of twenty-three novels, three nonfiction books, and hundreds of articles. Selected for Who’s Who in America in 2004 as a writer and educator, Hinze is active in Romance Writers of America and serves as a Vice President on the International Thriller Writers Board of Directors. Vicki lives in Florida with her artist husband, a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel. Visit to learn more about Vicki’s books, blogs, and writing programs.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Whom do you serve?

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24

Over the last couple of weeks I have been thinking about this one question, "Whom do you serve?" I like to say that it doesn't really matter what people think about me. I like to think that only God matters. Those statements easily flow from my lips, but most days they are not flowing from my heart.

A couple of days ago I was in one of my "I really do not want to clean this house" today kind of moods, (yes I know this is my attitude pretty much every day). But I knew that I really had a lot to get done. The fun I have been having with my kids creating their Unforgettable Childhood. . .has really been doing a number on my house. Glue, little fingers and string = sticky chairs, table, counters, etc.

I went to my room and I pulled out my Bible and I turned to this verse. I sat and dwelled on it a bit. I read it and reread it. I was thinking to myself, I should clean and that would make my hubby really happy. But I realized I should be thinking of it as serving the Lord.

When my home is in shambles, the last thing I want to do is open it to others. My husband taught me a good lesson on Friday night as we stood in a restaurant. He invited friends over to our home for dessert. I almost had a heart attack right in the restaurant. Thankfully, my house was pretty put together and we got there before they did so I could make one final walk through.

So on this house cleaning day I put on some praise music, grabbed my cleaning supplies and praised God as I put stuff away. It was amazing how much easier it was with a good attitude and a servant's heart.

This may sound silly to you, but for anyone that knows me well, you know, cleaning is a huge struggle for me. I have been married for 10 years and believe me my husband does not love me for my housekeeping abilities.

My husband is always happy and a bit relieved when the house is clean, but a couple of days ago I wasn't doing it for him and the praise I get for doing it. (My top love language is words of affirmation so his words do help :-)

I was doing it for the Lord. Because I know that He wants me to have a clean house, too!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Moments I Almost Missed

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

I was sitting here thinking about what I was going to write about today. What gift could I unwrap? What small things do I have to celebrate?

I decided to flip through my pictures that I recently took. I realized as I went through the pictures that their were moments that were captured that I almost missed.

Last week one day my girls wanted to play a game outside. I had a million things to do, but they wanted me to play. I grabbed my camera and went outside. We played a little game of Hullabaloo. They were so silly. We all laughed and danced.

On Saturday the girls wanted to go to the ball field. I was going to stay home. I decided that I could use the fresh air so I joined them. I am so glad that I did.

Our oldest daughter is only 10 and she was at a friend's house and missed out on the fun. I realize that the older they get they will not want me to grab the camera and join the fun. I need to capture these moments every chance that I get.

I am so glad that Emily hosts Tuesdays Unwrapped. It makes me stop and find joy in everything. What are you unwrapping today?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Always and Forever

Ten years ago I walked down the aisle to become his wife.

Today I wake up every morning and thank God that He placed him in my life.

I thought I would use a few pictures to tell you a little more about this man that I love.

An amazing father. . .

Who works even when we are on vacation (so we can keep going on vacation)

He would climb mountains or plow through corn fields for anyone.

And whenever I need a good laugh, I can always count on him.

I thought about writing a love letter to him in my blog post today. But this post suits him. He entered my life making me laugh. I hope that we never lose the laughter.

Happy Anniversary Chad! I love you!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Home is. . .

Home is...

Sandy the Reluctant Entertainer is hosting a fun Wednesday link up called Home is. . . This week she wants us to focus on an Easter Memory.

This Easter was full of memories for us. I will never forget this wonderful Easter.

Home is. . .

an Easter Memory

It started with Palm Sunday

There was a visit from the Easter Bunny.

Easter Egg hunting.

Fun on Grandma and Grandpa's Farm

And listening to little conversations between 4 year old cousins over a little Easter candy.

I have a lot of pictures to capture the memories shared between our family. The pictures don't capture the most important part. The conversations that were had between three beautiful girls and two parents. The conversations about Christ and His sacrifice for us. The questions about Good Friday and the day Jesus rose. Those are memories that are captured in our hearts.

I posted this picture last week, but it captures my favorite Easter Memory. . .

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Unwrapping the Gift of Family

This weekend we spent time with both my family and my husband's family. We laughed until we cried, we chatted about the anticipation of new life and we spent hours outside enjoying a sunny Easter day.

My husband and I have visited a lot lately about being away from our family. It gets harder every time to leave. I asked him why it seems like I see so much nostalgia in everything lately. He told me I am just getting old. :-)

Today I am unwrapping the amazing gift of family. People that accept us with all of our flaws and failures. I am sharing a few of my favorite pictures from Easter.

My beautiful girls on our way to church Easter morning.

Getting ready to find their Easter eggs. They tried to be patient inside the house waiting for the eggs to be hidden.

Grandma and Great-Grandpa enjoying the day.

Cousins, trying to be sneaky and eat just one more piece of candy.

Grandpa giving rides on the four-wheeler. Another Easter full of memories.

I am joining Emily over at Chatting at the Sky for Tuesdays Unwrapped where we come together to celebrate the small gifts that we receive every day.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Distant Melody

A Distant Melody is the debut novel for Sarah Sundin and I am already hooked. She sets her first novel in WWII with story of love and sacrifice.

The romance in this book tears at your heartstrings. They are being kept apart, but meant to be together. This is a great story that will capture you from the very beginning.

Two people who never feel they will find the love they have always dreamed of end up finding each other. I loved this book!

Here is a little summary of the book:
Never pretty enough to please her gorgeous mother, Allie will do anything to gain her approval--even marry a man she doesn't love.

Lt. Walter Novak--fearless in the cockpit but hopeless with women--takes his last furlough at home in California before being shipped overseas. Walt and Allie meet at a wedding and their love of music draws them together, prompting them to begin a correspondence that will change their lives.

As letters fly between Walt's muddy bomber base in England and Allie's mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart?

A Distant Melody is the first book in the WINGS OF GLORY series, which follows the three Novak brothers, B-17 bomber pilots with the US Eighth Air Force stationed in England during World War II.

Thank you Litfuse for giving me this book to review. I am hooked on this incredible new author!

Check out this awesome giveaway at Litfuse.

Lost on the Highway

Last night we headed home from my mother and father-in-law's home a lot later than usual. We usually try to be home around suppertime, but we stayed late and decided to put the kids in their pjs and let them sleep in the car.

My husband and I were visiting about the fun we had on the weekend when we were travelling along the busy highway that brings us home. We were about 2 miles outside of a small town and we saw someone walking along the busy highway in the dark. We looked at each other and knew that something was not right.

My husband drove a little until he found a place he could turn around and we went back to find out if we could help. He pulled over and got out to talk to this woman. She was elderly, it was very dark, she was dressed in a light sweater and capri pants. I looked at the outside temperature gauge in our vehicle. It was only 34 degrees outside.

When my husband asked this woman what she was doing she said she was walking home. She was very confused. She had to have been on this highway for an hour. Her destination was 50 miles away. She told my husband she was a couple of miles from home.

He called 911 and asked them to have someone come and help this woman. The dispatch called back and said we will send someone, but we can't make her get in the car. . .What?! My husband told them we are not leaving until someone comes to help her.

She would not get into our car, she just kept walking. My husband put on his hazard lights and drove slowly on the highway right behind her to keep other cars from hitting her. I wish I would have counted the amount of cars drove by while we inched along. The speed limit on this highway is 70 mph. This woman had to have been on that road for an hour with no one stopping to help.

The disptach called back and said that this woman was missing from the nursing home at the town we had just drove through. They sent out an employee to pick her up. We followed her for 20 minutes before they arrived to take her home.

My older girls woke up when we pulled over to talk to her. They were so confused as to why we had to stop. We talked to them about the Good Samaritain. We talked about how probably 50 cars drove by this woman and no one stopped to help. They know the story. Now they experienced it in real life.

My husband and I are never on that road this late at night. God knew we needed to be on that road last night.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Lord's Supper

Last night we celebrated the Lord's Supper.

After school the girls helped me make the Unleavened Bread while I read them the story of the widow and Elijah in 1 Kings 17:7-24.

We sat down by candlelight and ate supper as a family.

After we finished eating, I started to read John 13:1-17. Chad got up, wrapped a towel around his waist and washed the girls' feet.

We talked about being servants. We talked about how significant it was the Jesus washed the disciples feet.

Then I read Matthew 26:17-30. Chad broke the bread and gave each of us a piece and he passed the cup. After we shared Communion together we talked about how after the Lord's Supper they got up and went to the Garden of Gethsemane. The girls had acted out the events of Holy week at Church the night before. My middle daughter said, "They told us we had to shout Crucify Him, Crucify Him. We were just acting so that wasn't a sin right?"

It made me smile and broke my heart at the same time. She was just acting and she still did not want to shout, Crucify Him. She understands the significance of Easter way more than I give her credit for.

This is the first time we have celebrated the Lord's Supper in our home. I had no idea the significance it would have on all of us. God is so Good.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Celebrating Easter

A few weeks ago I was sent a Read and Share DVD Bible Book on Easter from Tommy Nelson. The book is set up as separate stories leading up to Jesus going to Heaven. As I was flipping through the book I got an idea. At home this week we were have been following the Easter story.

On Sunday night we celebrated Palm Sunday. On Tuesday night we watched the DVD that came with the Read and Share book. It has six stories from the Life of Jesus. My girls really enjoyed the DVD and they remembered all of the stories.

Tonight we will celebrate the Lord's Supper. We do not let our girls participate in Communion at church so it will be a special time for us to talk about what the meaning behind Communion. My husband will wash their feet and we will talk about what it means to be a servant.

Special times, special memories, and time together as a family celebrating Easter.

Today you can go to Gather Inspirit and enter to win an entire Read & Share Collection! Tommy Nelson is generously sending one commenter this special package. All you need to do is comment on how you share Bible Stories and Scriptures with your kids.

I would love to know how you are celebrating Easter this year with your family.