Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Becky Wade's 'True to You' Author Chat Party



Raise your hand if you're ready for Becky Wade's new series! Celebrate the release of book one, True to You, with Becky and other readers on Facebook on May 4th during a fun author chat party at 8:00 PM EDT (that's 7:00 Central, 6:00 Mountain, & 5:00 Pacific)! Becky will be chatting about the book and answering your questions about the new series, and of course, there will be plenty of fun giveaways too!

Pre-order your copy of True to You so you're ready for a fun book discussion. Find out more about the book here.

Hope to see you on May 4 for Becky's True to You Facebook Party!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Picture a Day - Steven Curtis Chapman

After reading Steven Curtis Chapman's autobiography, Between Heaven and the Real World, I wanted to share pictures that I took at one of his concerts in 2007.  It was at a church venue, so I was able to take pictures.  An excellent concert...so glad I was able to attend.






Between Heaven and the Real World by Steven Curtis Chapman – Faith Strengthened and Encouraged, Rooted and Grounded in the Truth of Scripture

I am grateful for the opportunity I had to read Steven Curtis Chapman’s autobiography, Between Heaven and The Real World.  Steven’s professional career started in the late 1980’s, which was a few years before I became a Christian.  When I think of the music that influenced me as young Christian and throughout the years, Steven’s music is at the top of that list.  That’s why I wanted to read this book.

I loved and enjoyed Between Heaven and the Real World and want to read it again and share it with others.  I wept as Steven shared in a very humble, open and transparent way the pains and trials he and his wife Mary Beth and their family endured over the years, most notable was the death for their precious daughter Maria Sue. 

When you connect with an artist’s work and feel like he expresses in words some of the thoughts and emotions you’ve experienced, it’s interesting to learn the genesis of the songs and what was going on in his life when they were written.  It was heartening to see the providential hand of God in Steven’s life.  How He had gifted him from a young age to love and write songs that gave a voice to what he was feeling, his faith and capture his reflections about God. 

I appreciated the honesty in which Steven writes.  It’s real, but also reverent towards God.  He so obviously loves, honors and respects God, his parents, brother, wife and children.  Somehow, he manages to do so while being open and real about circumstances, choices and events.  Kind of like his music.  I appreciate Steven and Mary Beth’s deep and abiding faith that they cling to in the face tribulation, never more so than in tragedy.  It was heartening to read about the support of family, friends and professionals that came alongside them when needed most.  I applaud their commitment to their marriage and efforts to recognize that their spouse is not their enemy and that they fought for each other, not against. 

While the hearts of a mother and father longs to see, their child healed and alive, the Chapman’s have allowed God to redeem their losses and impact others for good and for eternity.

If you’ve listened to Steven’s music, you can’t help but come away encouraged, strengthened and your faith built up as he drives a stake in the truth of Scripture.  It’s almost like reading one of David’s psalms.  He may start out low and in the depths of despair, but as he focuses on God, hope is restored and a light is found to illumine the next step.

I highly recommend Between Heaven and the Real World, especially if you are a fan of Steven Curtis Chapman’s music.  It’s encouraging to see someone’s faith proven genuine and real.  Even if you aren’t familiar with his music, I think you will benefit from reading this book. 

I would like to thank NetGalley and Revell/Baker Publishing Group for the opportunity to read Between Heaven and the Real World by Steven Curtis Chapman.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 


Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Little of This, A Little of That

I’ve been checking our bank account almost daily to see if the check had cleared yet.  It’s been over four weeks now, but I figured that it would show up any day now. 

On Monday, I saw the check had finally posted.  I knew that my original birth certificate was on its way.  I would soon see what I’ve wondered about for years.

I was adopted at three months old.  For as long as I could remember I’ve known that I was adopted.  As were my two brothers.  I know who my parents were…they were the mother and father who raised me.  They were there in good times and bad.  They encouraged me and discipline me.  They loved me even when I was unlovable. 

After finishing my Bible study in Genesis this year, I came away with the knowledge and assurance that God gave me just the right family.  It won’t be until I get to heaven that I may know why God chose my mother and father and brothers.  But He did and God had a purpose and plan He was working out in all our lives.

Over the years, off and on, I’ve been curious about who my birth parents were.  What was their story?  And my beginning?  What’s happened in their lives? 

I also found myself reticent about finding them.  I mean, what if they never wanted to see me?  In some respect adoption is the greatest gift.  It’s the gift of life and chance to have what they may not have been able to provide at that time in their lives.  Not sure if other adoptees feel this way, but I’ve got to confess, sometimes it feels like the ultimate rejection. 

But recently, I’ve felt a comfort and freedom in knowing that God has overseen all the details of my life and put me with the family He chose for me.  I think this is a good place to be in if I’m going to try and find my birth parents.

Some of you may have seen the TV show Long Lost Family.  It’s been on a couple of years now.  There’s just something about seeing these people find their birth families and make a connection with them.  Perhaps that’s stirred a longing in me.  I submitted my story and received a confirmation they got my application.  They get a lot of people applying for their help, so the chances of them choosing me may be small.  But, I thought I would give it a try. 

I also realized that I could do some searching on my own.  In the past, I’ve put my information in on adoption websites to no avail.  In my new search, I found out Colorado had recently changed their laws and adoptees and birth parents can get information, including their original birth certificate.  I sent away for it four weeks ago and now it’s on its way.

That will be a beginning.  It will give me the names of my birth mother and possible biological father.  From there, I can do some searches on Ancestry’s website among others to see if I can find them. 

It’s in the Lord’s hands and I need to trust Him with the outcome.  Whether I find them or not.  Or if I do locate them, if they don’t want to meet me or be in contact, I need to be okay with that too.

Along with sending away for my original birth certificate, I’ve been working on our family tree on Ancestry.  It’s pretty cool to flesh things out.  I’m finding some surprises along the way.

In putting information in on my grandparents, I’ve found that my grandmother had two siblings that I didn’t know about.  One was a baby sister, Marie, born about seven years before she was.  It appears that child died young, but I need to do more searching.  Also, she had a brother I had never heard about.  He died in the 1940’s. 

I found a record that looks like one of my Uncles was married twice and was divorced once.  Also, I found that my dad had a second sister that I had never heard of before.  Her name was Mary.  She first appeared on census paperwork. 

I’m sure there will be more surprises to come as I research and add more records.  It’s both exciting and kind of disorienting.  I wish I had done this when my mother still alive and I could ask questions and find out about our family.

I’m grateful for the support and encouragement of my husband, Chris.  I know that at the end of the day genetics and blood relations aren’t the be all and end all.  But something I’ve never really had is looking like my family members.  Or having similar abilities, talents and interests.  So, we shall see what tomorrow will bring and if I’m able to find my birth parents. 

At 58 years old, I’m well aware the clock is ticking.  My chances of finding them dwindles with each passing day.  It’s in the Lord’s hands and I will trust Him. 


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Deep Undercover by Jack Barsky – Filled with Intrigue That May Keep You Up At Night

Some books are a pleasure to read and the review is easy to write.  That holds true for Deep Undercover by Jack Barsky with Cindy Coloma.

If you like intrigue, suspense and mystery look no further than Deep Undercover which tells true story of KGB spy Jack Barsky, or should I say Albrecht Dittrich. 

I found this book fascinating and of particular interest was Albrecht’s early life.  He was born in 1949 in East Germany, following WWII.  As I read about his early years, I was struck by the contrast between growing up in his war-torn country and life here in the United States of America. 

Have you even wondered how someone becomes a spy?  How are you trained to do the job?  What skillsets do you need to be a KGB operative?  What happens if you fail or if you change your mind?  Can a spy have any kind of a real life with a wife, children and friends?  Or is a spy destined to live a life of loneliness where no one really knows him? 

Those questions and much more are answered in Deep Undercover which tells about the intriguing life of Jack Barsky.  While his life started out much different than your typical American, and his career path took some twists and turns, this man came to love this country and the freedoms that regular everyday Americans have.  The freedom and capitalism that he once fought against, he came to embrace, even at the risk of losing his life. 

At the end of the book, Jack explains how he came to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.  I especially liked how he shared about God providentially weaving together the circumstances of his life which resulted in him coming to America and ultimately becoming a Christian.  

Something I would like to clarify, the statement by Jack’s soon to be wife Shawna, “You are already a Christian; you just don’t know it.”, is not Scripturally accurate.  Jack may have been in the process of learning about Christ and she saw that his faith was growing, but accepting Christ is a purposeful decision.   

I highly recommend Deep Undercover by Jack Barsky, it’s a fascinating book.  Be forewarned, this book may keep you up at night so you can find out what happens next.  If you like mysteries and intrigue, biographies, or you just like to know what makes a man tick, pickup Deep Undercover.  You won’t be disappointed. 

I would like to thank Tyndale House Publishers for the opportunity to read Deep Undercover for free.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.


Sunday, April 02, 2017

Brew or Die by Caroline Fardig – Not My Cup of Tea

As a mystery lover, I was excited to read a mystery by an author, Caroline Fardig, who new to me.  After reading the description of her new book, Brew or Die, I decided to give it a try.

One of the descriptions, by USA Today, for this mystery is a “cozy mystery” which is defined as a crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed and it takes place in a small community. 

If Brew or Die lined up with that description, I probably would have liked it.  Unfortunately, it was a lot different than I expected. 

So, what’s not to like about Brew or Die?  The story opens with character Juliet Langley at work in the local coffeehouse, Java Jive.  The reader is introduced to a cast of characters that are in Jules life, including her current boyfriend, Stafford, who is a police officer, longtime friend Pete and her old boyfriend Ryder.  At first I thought this book would be clean. 

But beginning on pages 12 & 13, started a trend of vulgarity which continued on throughout the book.  Profanity was used well over one-hundred times, perhaps much more.  It was to the point of distraction.  I don’t understand why authors resort to the use of profanity.    

If I had picked up this book to read on my own, at the beginning of the profanity, I would have put it down and not finished it.  But because I agreed to read it for a review, I read the entire book and couldn’t wait to be done with it. 

In addition to the excessive use of profanity, Juliet (Jules) seemed to be attracted to any male that had a pulse.  Thus, sexual immorality also included in the book.

Based on the profanity (used excessively), casual sexual and sexual immorality, I do not recommend this book.  Brew or Die by Caroline Fardig was a big disappointment and not my cup of tea. 

I would like to thank NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for the opportunity to read Brew or Die in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 


Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer – A Thought Provoking Interesting Read

I love a good mystery, and that’s what drew me in and want to read, Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer .  This is the first book ...