Wedding Day

Wedding Day
Enjoy EVERY moment in your wedding gown. You can't stay in it forever...SO UNFAIR!!!!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

WINNER of The Love Dare book, Facing the Giants DVD, and Point of Grace CD

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I had such a great time doing my first Bloggy Giveaway! I cannot wait to do one again! Well...since it is quarterly, I guess I will have to just settle for the giveaways I already do here.

I saw some GREAT blogs and had a wonderful time! I hope you did too. The winner of my Bloggy Giveaway of The Love Dare, Facing the Giants and the Point of Grace CD "How You Live" is Krista who said:

Krista said...
I try, try, try to be patient and listen. My husband loves to talk, me not so much. I'm also working on my temper...
Otherwise, I just try to keep in touch with all my friends as best I can. I hope to be an encourager.
Thanks!
teacherkrista at gmail dot com

January 26, 2009 4:05 PM

Krista has been emailed and has four days to respond or I will go to the next person.

Thank you so much for joining in on this giveaway. I'll be posting another one soon. :) I hope you come back! :)

Makes ME Laugh

I was sitting here reading email, and I started thinking about how I wanted a giggle. Do you ever just want a reason to laugh? I get stung by the need for a smile or a giggle, and when I do...I think of kittens (instant smile), babies (like I have to explain that), and one of my favorite commercials. Which is that? The Tide talking stain commercial. I think this came out during a Superbowl either last year or the year before, and to this day...it floors me. It floors me so much I HAD to share it with you, because that is how I am. I'm a giver. Well...I am also a big goof.

Really...watch this. You cannot NOT laugh. Or can you?


Friday, January 30, 2009

Take A Stab At These Giveaways!

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I had to take a breather last night because of a sick child and sick hubby, American Idol, and Lost, but I am sooooo totally ready for more giveaways. Are you? There is still time so come on and check out these giveaways. Bloggy Giveaways has really hooked up a great group of bloggers who are very generous. :)





Rundpinne is giving away a gorgeous (seriously gorgeous) piece of Valentine jewelrey from Twisted Silver, and let me tell you...it is stunning, and I totally want it. So do a lot of people. You might as well through your name in the hat. Go check it out!


Amy at Cutting Coupons in KC has a giveaway for a subscription to all you magazine! I love this magazine. It is loaded with money saving tips and coupons, coupons, coupons! I really think you want to get in on this one!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

FIRST Wild Card -- The Someday List by Stacy Hawkins Adams

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 Someday List

Revell (January 1, 2009)


The Someday List Blog Tour Giveaway
Tell Us One Item on Your Someday List. Leave your answer in the comment section. Participants will be entered into a drawing for The Someday List Blog Giveaway. View the prize package below:

* $50 American Express Gift Card

*Autographed Copies of all of Stacy’s books: Speak to My Heart, Nothing But the Right Thing, and Watercolored Pearls, and the anthologies The Midnight Clear and This Far By Faith.

*20% Discount Coupon from Tywebbin Creations. (May apply to one service)

Join Us for an Hour Long Chat with Stacy on January 30, 2009. We will announce the GRAND PRIZE WINNER of the THE SOMEDAY LIST BLOG TOUR GIVEAWAY during the call.

Phone #: 1-518-825-1400 / Access Code: 15642 / Time: 8:00 pm EST


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Stacy Hawkins Adams is a nationally-published, award-winning author and speaker. Her contemporary women’s fiction novels are filled with social themes and spiritual quests that take readers on journeys into their own souls.

She holds a degree in journalism and served as a newspaper reporter for more than a decade before turning her full attention to penning books, speaking professionally and writing freelance articles.

She is currently writing her sixth novel and her first nonfiction book, an inspirational title that will encourage women in their faith.

Stacy lives in a suburb of Richmond, Virginia with her husband and two young children.


Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Revell (January 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0800732669
ISBN-13: 978-0800732660

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:



Prologue

Rachelle fumbled with the bouquet of yellow roses and locked eyes with him. Her flowers sagged from thirst.

The simple gold band she clutched stuck to her sweaty palm.

Instead of a flowing white gown, she wore the black pencil skirt and short-sleeved white silk blouse that, until today, had served as her choral ensemble uniform.

Her groom was dressed in his standard singing attire too—white collared shirt, black tie, and black slacks. He had removed the diamond earring from his left earlobe, his goatee was freshly cut, and as far as she was concerned, he had never looked finer.

Between the two of them, the worldly goods they possessed amounted to less than what Rev. Prescott likely paid to have his preaching robe cleaned.

And yet, she knew this was right. The right time, the right place, and the right man, even if she had to marry him in secret.

One day they would look back on this elopement with tenderness and pride, telling their children about their union in an empty church sanctuary, not far from the university they would graduate from in six months.

He smiled at her and arched an eyebrow, questioning the delay in her response.

The minister repeated himself.

“Rachelle Marie Mitchell, do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?”

She smiled. Her beloved didn’t have to worry about her having second thoughts—not when she felt this way.

“I do, Reverend Prescott,” she said. “I do.”









1



Rachelle Mitchell Covington felt both giddy and guilty.

In twenty-four hours she would be completely alone and she couldn’t wait.

No worries about temporary empty-nest syndrome—she was happy to let her parents deal with two preadolescent know-it-alls for half of the summer. And no need to feign an interest in her husband’s wants, work, or even his world.

For the first time in their eleven-year marriage, she and Gabe would be away from each other for more than a week.

When he informed her that he had agreed to speak at a medical conference the week before he left for a medical mission trip, she knew he expected her to complain. Rachelle had frowned for his benefit, but also bit her lip to keep from cheering.

Though it was already steamy outside this morning, the temperature inside Houston’s Intercontinental Airport left her longing for her cashmere coat. Rachelle shivered and smiled when Tate and Taryn, looking like they had stepped off the pages of a Children’s Wear Digest catalog, turned to wave one last time before passing through the security gate and approaching a waiting airline employee.

The young woman in the crisp navy and white uniform would escort them to their direct flight to Philadelphia.

The fifth and third graders had been trying to whine their way out of their annual summer visit with Rachelle’s parents for two days, because they would miss their friends, feared boredom, and believed Gram would have way too many rules. Rachelle had reminded them again this morning that, despite those perceived hardships, they had no problem enjoying the regular outings, video games, and other treats they enjoyed during their stay.

When Tate and Taryn disappeared around a bend that led to Terminal A, Gabe turned toward Rachelle and motioned with his head that he was ready to go. He and Rachelle walked briskly toward the parking deck without touching or talking.

Gabe walked a stride or two ahead of her, as if he were on a mission. He tempered his gait as they neared his SUV, and he unlocked the doors with his key chain device.

“I’m not going into the office this morning since I’ll be flying out early tomorrow,” he said without looking toward Rachelle.

“Let’s grab breakfast at Olivette.”

Rachelle scrambled for an excuse, but none presented itself.

She hadn’t mentioned that she soon would be leaving too, for a weekend trip to the West Coast. It didn’t matter that he didn’t know. He wasn’t going to be home anyway.

“That’s fine,” she finally said about breakfast, although he had already steered his Mercedes in the direction of the hotel restaurant.

They rode in silence during the half-hour drive and didn’t speak until the waitress asked for their order.

Rachelle sighed and responded by rote. “He’ll have smoked salmon and a bagel with a side of fresh fruit.”

Gabe nodded and looked up at the waitress. “She got it right.”

“Salmon and bagel with a side of fruit,” the waitress repeated, lodging the order in her memory.

Rachelle leveled her eyes at Gabe. “Order for me.”

He peered at her over the rim of his glasses. “How would I know what to order for you?”

Rachelle didn’t feel like playing along with his public politeness today. She sat back and folded her arms.

“Try.”

The waitress shifted from one foot to the other and turned her gaze to a nearby bank of potted plants.

Gabe’s nostrils flared and he clenched his teeth. “Just order something already.”

“If you can’t do it, I guess I’m not hungry,” Rachelle said.

Gabe opened the leather-encased menu and glared at the offerings.

Seconds later, he pushed it into the waitress’s face. Startled, she grabbed it before it landed on the Oriental rug beneath the table.

“Bring her an omelet with ham, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese.”

The waitress nodded and left quickly, her reddish-brown ponytail swaying with each step. Rachelle knew the young lady had to be wondering how a couple could fight over a breakfast order.

If she had asked, Rachelle would have assured her this skirmish was overdue.

Since she had received Jillian’s unsettling invitation three weeks ago, Rachelle’s tolerance for just about everything had plummeted.

With the kids away for the next month, she didn’t have to contain herself. Gabe should be thankful he was leaving for a business trip tomorrow.

He laid his linen napkin across his lap and stared at her.

Rachelle challenged him with her eyes. She wanted him to care enough to question her, to probe why she was being defiant.

But just as she knew what to order for his meal, she knew he wouldn’t take the bait. He was his usual, detached self—enveloped in skin that was a smooth, savory brown and as self-absorbed as a two-year-old whose favorite words were “no” and “mine.”

In that moment, something welled up inside of her. She looked past Gabe’s glasses, past the perfect white teeth, past the pool of nothingness in his eyes. She wanted to see into his soul. She wanted to know that he had an “I would die for you” kind of love inside of him. For her.

Even if they had been together for what seemed like forever. Even if she didn’t know how she really felt about him. If one of them could summon the emotion, maybe that would make all the difference.

He was leaving tomorrow for New York and would return home for one day before traveling to Uganda. In twenty-four hours, she’d have the entire house to herself. But right now, she realized, she needed to leave to save herself.

Right now, what mattered more than being a good wife was being good to herself. Hearing from Jillian for the first time in a long time was nudging her to stop procrastinating.

Rachelle took a sip of her coffee and rose from her seat. “Stay and enjoy your breakfast. Call a taxi when you’re done. I may or may not be at home by then.”

“What—”

Before he could protest, Rachelle raised her hand to stop him.

Her voice trembled when she addressed him in a whisper.

“Gabe, I’m tired of playing like the happy couple. Our life is strangling me. I want a real marriage and this isn’t it . . . And by the way, I’ve always hated cheddar cheese.”

She grabbed her purse from the back of her chair and strode toward the door, heart pounding as if it would burst through her sleeveless tangerine top.

Had she really done that? Did she just walk away from her well-to-do, handsome husband and leave him stranded in a restaurant?

What would her parents say? Their friends? For the first time that she could recall, those questions wouldn’t determine her actions.

Rachelle slowed her pace when she reached the restaurant’s entrance and nodded farewell to the hostess. She strode through the lobby of the Houstonian Hotel and thanked the bellhop who held open the door for her. While the valet retrieved Gabe’s Mercedes truck, she stood at his booth, tapping her foot and looking over her shoulder.

In the minutes since she had left the table, Gabe hadn’t pursued her. Despite the fact that she had fueled this drama, she was hurt.

She breathed in the humid summer air and exhaled slowly, trying to keep her composure.

For once, she wished she were sweaty enough to mask the moisture on her face. The last thing she wanted to admit was that once again, she had allowed him to make her cry.





©Stacy Hawkins Adams, The Someday List: A Novel, Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, © 2009. Used by permission




Review will be up later today (sick child and husband).

Rachelle really seems to have it all. Well, she does have it all. She has a beautiful family, is married to a surgeon, and life is in all appearances...good. But that is really the look on the outside and not the look from the inside and definitely not the look at the heart. Rachelle's husband, Gabe also has everything going for him. Does he see it?

The Someday List is about revelaltions, changes and growth. Watching an honest search for answers had me on the edge of my seat at times. The Someday List had a smooth flow and few twists and turns. It was good to see Rachelle inspired by her friend Jillian's strength and courage. I myself was inspired by Jillian's frankness and truth. We should all have a friend like Jillian. Truly I believe that. I look forward to reading the next book in this series.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

These Giveaways Are Tops!

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I did tell you that I am basically a Bloggy Giveaway Stalker right? OH YEAH BABY! Well look what I found today!

Some are from browsing Bloggy Giveaways and some are just from linking around. :) So up first.

I found a great giveaway at
The View From My Beach Chair. Do you not just LOVE that title? Totally makes me fill up with dreams and a sprinkle of envy. Got to beat down that fleshy side of me. :) She is offering a Valentine's Fruity Giveaway. The prizes? One bottle of Bath and Body Midnight Pomegranate Shower Gel (10 oz), One bottle of Bath and Body Midnight pomegranate Body Lotion (8oz), One Sweet Cherries Journal and one Valentine Hearts Coffee Mug (It is ADORABLE!). Go pay her a visit!


Just a Mom's Take On Things is giving away a Yummie Tummie. Oh it has been a long time since I have called my tummy yummy!


Thrifty and Chic Mom has a wonderful giveaway for Spring Los Angeles Designer Lunch Totes. This is THE way to brown bag in style!


Monday, January 26, 2009

Giveaways I Could Not Resist!!!!

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Looking for giveaways is hard work, but NOT during the Bloggy Carnival!

As many of you may know, there is a great giveaway going on thanks to Bloggy Giveaways and I just cannot resist a good giveaway. I have enterred a lot, but I really wanted to share what I thought was extra special...kind of "Oh My Goodness!" special.



First is the giveaway by Fashion Fling. They are giving away ROXoxox! We are talking some seriously gorgeous jewelry. It is just my style, and I really, really am crossing my fingers on this one. Go check it out!




Thrifty & Chic Mom is also hosting an Earth Lust bottle giveaway. I am telling you, these bottles are beautiful!!!! You MUST check them out!




Unexpected Bliss is giving away a $100 Visa Gift Card! Is there anything more to say other than go, go now!!!!?


Have Kid Will Travel has a great blog and a great Janine King passport purse up for this Bloggy Giveaway week! Janine King's purses are functional as well as BEAUTIFUL. Go check this one out!


Fab Food Friday is also giving away Janine King! This is a beautiful Janine King Market Tote. I don't know about you...but after looking at Janine King's Esty shop...I am ready to buy!!!!

I have only listed a few here today. There are many, many wonderful giveaways out there, and I am not done yet! I hope you find something fun to try for and some great blogs to get addicted to. So check these out and get on over to Bloggy Giveaways. :)

FIRST Wild Card -- We're in This Boat Together by Dr. Camille Bishop

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:


We’re in This Boat Together

Authentic (August 14, 2008)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


In her thirty-year teaching career, Dr. Camille Bishop’s love for students and her penchant for adventure have taken her to classrooms all over the world. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a degree in math, Dr. Bishop began her career in the trenches as a secondary mathematics instructor in the North Carolina public school system. This first taste of teaching convinced her that she had found her calling, so she enrolled in graduate school, earning a master’s degree in education at North Carolina State University. Since 1988, she has been on the faculty of the University of the Nations, a non-profit educational institution with a global network of locations.

Through her work with the University of the Nations, Dr. Bishop has visited sixty nations of the world, interacting with educators, government officials, and other non-profit agencies. While leading an educational development project in Albania, Dr. Bishop sensed the need for more training. She returned to the U.S. and received her Ph.D. in education from Trinity International University, where she wrote her doctoral dissertation on leadership transition between the generations. This research became the focus of her unique new book, We’re in This Boat Together.


Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Authentic (August 14, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1934068373
ISBN-13: 978-1934068373

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Preface


Raging, white-foamed water surrounded our black rubber craft. The raft seemed like a bathtub toy compared to the expanse of the river. The noise was deafening. My stomach lurched as we sank into another unexpected drop. Menacing boulders poked up through the water. Why had I selected Class IV and Class V rapids for my first white-water experience?


My first white-water rafting expedition was with a group on the New River in West Virginia, with rapids that have special names attached to them. Paddling the tranquil water before the first rapid, I found it hard to believe that we would hit rough waters. But the rafting guide’s instructions kept pounding in my head: “Don’t lose your cookies.” She had informed us that we should navigate that rapid before lunch! I was nervous. Suddenly the raft several hundred feet ahead of me disappeared. It simply dropped out of sight. All my senses came to attention.


Fear seized me. My stomach churned. I clutched the oar tightly, preparing myself for the precipitous drop just ahead of me. There was no turning back. We had miles to go and numerous rapids to ford before the adventure would end. I wondered if I would survive. Hours later, exhausted from all the adrenalin that had pumped through my body, we arrived at the end of our journey. I had lived to tell the tale. And I even had a photo to prove it!


Similar thoughts, feelings, and reactions emerge when people are faced with transition in an organization, especially when the change involves leadership. And let’s face it—in the life of an organization the time to transfer leadership will come if the group hopes to continue. The first question becomes What will the transition look like? Is it possible to prepare for transition in ways that allow for tranquil waters or at least smaller rapids? Does transition have to be tumultuous, wrenching, and as terrifying as Class IV and Class V rapids? How can we pull together to make leadership succession work between generations?


In today’s workforce no one is exempt from the fact that four generations are currently represented. From the worlds of business and education to nonprofit organizations and churches, a similar scenario exists. One might find in the same company a seventy-year-old working alongside a twenty-two year- old. Down the hall, a Gen Xer might be consulting with a Baby Boomer. What are the defining qualities of each of these generations? Many questions come to the surface:


• Are there generational differences in work ethic—and if so, what are they?

• How does each generation relate and respond to authority figures?

• How does each generation perceive women in leadership?

• What are their expectations in the workplace?

• How do they balance the demands of work and home?

• What are their views about money and fiscal responsibility?

• How does each generation view the role of leadership in an organization?


These questions reflect the need to better understand the values and behaviors of each of these four generations. Research indicates that our perception of leadership is linked to the particular generation in which we grew up. Without that knowledge, transitions in leadership can be very messy. Insight and appreciation of generational differences can prepare a workplace for a much smoother changeover.


The Silent Generation consists of those born between 1925 and 1942. They are the children born during the Great Depression and the generation sandwiched between the first and second world wars. Boomers followed the Silent Generation (1943–1960) and were raised in an era of opportunity, progress, and optimism. They also experienced a radically changing society marked by rebellion, shifting social norms, and outward challenges of authority. Growing up in the shadow of the Boomers, Gen Xers were born between 1961 and 1981. They are technologically savvy and were raised in the age of dual-career families. Finally, Millennials, some of the newest members of the workforce, were born between 1982 and twenty years thereafter. A “plugged-in” generation, they have been around technology since birth. The Internet world of blogs, wikis, podcasts, and ever-present e-mail is as natural to them as breathing.


Each of these distinct groups of people see life differently because of the times in which they grew up. Just consider the differences that might exist in financial matters between those who grew up during the Great Depression and those who were raised in the “instant credit, no-payment-until-next year” society.

Might there be a clash between Henry, a member of the Silent Generation who sees leadership as the general who goes to the helm, and Jason, an Xer who is distrustful of leaders and prefers collaboration? You can almost feel the white water forming.


How can we navigate the rapids of transition? The answer to that question is the reason for this book. So grab your oar, don’t forget your life jacket, and push off into the white water. It is going to be quite a ride!



Prologue

Meet the Rafting Team


Rumbling down the dirt path to the launch site, the aging yellow bus that once served public schools came to a creaking halt. Daniella, the guide, stood stoically on the riverbank to meet the latest group, their company having paid good money for a white-water adventure. Medium height, bronzed from the sun, and rippling muscles, she has encountered all types. Nothing would surprise her.


The bus door opened. Only four brave souls stepped off—a small band of rafters today. They are a departmental task force from Handover Corp., (* Handover Corp. and all of its “employees” are fictitious.) a medium-sized company that was founded in the 1950s in the local area. The company rep told her this was a team-building exercise. Daniella, a Swiss-German, sized them up.


Nate, a tall and lean young man in his early twenties, appears to be in his own world. His black special-edition iPod matches his long dark shorts and is blaring tunes into his ears. A plain white tank shirt exposes a solid tan and well-etched muscles. A simple, black, lattice-looking tattoo circles his right bicep. His head is shaved. Nate hung out at Starbucks last night, researching this rafting expedition. The GPS software on his laptop allowed him a virtual tour of the river, with close-ups of each rapid. He Skyped a buddy of his in the Ukraine who had gone white-water rafting a few months ago, and then he eased into a chatroom to get some more input. He can hardly wait to blog the experience. Hired fresh out of college with a degree in computer security, Nate has been with Handover only a year. He blocks the hackers.

Nate has no idea how long he will be with Handover. Maybe he will start his own business in a few years.


Brianna, a blond who just turned thirty-two, looks distracted. She barely made it to the bus on time after dropping off her only child, Abby, at preschool. Her husband, Kyle, owns his own business, and they both work hard, juggling the demands of home and work. At least they share the load equally and have some flextime in their schedules. Handover even allows her to work from home one day a week. She designs webpages and has been with the company for five years. Brianna is short and a little thick in the hips. Too much fast food. But her turquoise-blue tank suit with matching sarong covers most of the overindulgence.

She IM’ed a bunch of friends the day before to talk about this trip and was feeling better about it. A team-building experience would look good on her resume. Who knows how long she will be at Handover? Opportunities abound, and experienced webpage designers are in demand.


Brad is in his late forties and wonders if he can actually do this. Although stocky and athletic, he has suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome and a frozen shoulder in the past year. Besides that, his desk is piled with a backlog of work. He really doesn’t have time for this. He sincerely hopes that extra compensation is coming his way for his participation and that he will survive it unscathed. Brad designs software and works extra hours, trying hard to please. Handover is going through some transitions, and he wants to avoid any downsizing. He has twenty years with the firm; but software design could be outsourced. He would like to retire early, at age fifty-five, with a solid pension and then explore other options—like the local golf course. He is expecting a sizeable inheritance. At least he looks good in his Eddie Bauer rafting outfit and Ray-Ban sunglasses. A Nike baseball cap covers his head.


George, though the oldest member, is spunky. At sixtyeight his wrinkled face reflects his years, but he stands tall and confident. He could stand to lose a few pounds, but they are mostly concentrated in his paunch. A pork-pie hat sits squarely on his balding head. A navy blue T-shirt hangs loosely over his torso, with the white Handover Corp. logo squarely over his chest. He has worked at Handover his entire career and is proud to be part of the organization. He maintains the computer hardware. George wants to keep working as long as he can. Handover hadn’t focused much on team building in the past. But times—they are a-changin’. He can adapt. He is a survivor.


“Good morning,” Daniella said rather flatly to the foursome. How many times have I given this spiel? “Welcome to the Black River Rafting Expedition. Everyone needs a life jacket, oar, and helmet. Please suit up.”


As she observed the foursome rummaging through the bin of life jackets and helmets, a question jogged through her mind: How do these four folks work together in the same department?


A totally different question ran through the minds of the Handover group: Can this tough lady get us safely down the river?


“Where do you want us to sit in the raft?” asked George, his comment dragging her back to the present. “I’d like to sit in the front, if you don’t mind,” he said.


Brad rolled his eyes and shot a quick glance at Brianna, who mouthed, “What’s new?” Nate was just unplugging his iPod.


Daniella rasped, “Just get in. We’ll sort it out in a few minutes. I’ve got the rudder position.”


As the raft slid into the river, George was perched in the front, Brad was on the right side, Brianna was on the left side, and Nate was in the back with Daniella. The inky water was like glass, smooth and tranquil.


“Okay, let’s review a few things,” said Daniella. “First, I’m guiding this raft. If you don’t listen to me, you could put all of us at risk. Until it gets rough, you are free to sit on the sides of the raft. But when I say to get down and sit low, do it. At some places in the rapids we’ll have to pull strongly to one side or the other. And sometimes the roar of the water will be deafening. You’ll have to strain to hear me. Everyone needs to repeat my instructions out loud so we are all on the same page. Questions, anyone?”


“Got it,” replied George. Just follow the directions.


“Sounds logical to me,” said Brad. Let’s get this show on the road; I’ve got work to do. Sure hope my shoulder doesn’t flare up again.


“I’m with the team,” responded Brianna, her voice a little shaky. This could be riskier than I thought. I have Abby to think about.


“Yo, I’m in,” chimed Nate. This looked awesome on the GPS.


“All right, let’s practice a few maneuvers,” commanded Daniella. “Nate, take a position behind Brianna. And George, move back in front of Brad.”


“Okay, we’ve got two on the right and two on the left. When I say ‘Paddle left,’ George and Brad stop paddling; and Brianna and Nate, you guys paddle like your lives depended on it. Reverse it for ‘Paddle right.’”


“Paddle right,” shouted Daniella. “And remember to repeat the command.”


“Paddle right,” Nate, Brad, Brianna, and George said in unison. It was a little anemic.


“Shout it loud!” yelled Daniella from the back of the raft.


“PADDLE RIGHT!” screamed the foursome. George and Brad paddled furiously, moving the rubber raft significantly to the right.


“Low in the boat,” commanded Daniella.


“Low in the boat!” came the reply, and all four of them slid off the sides and sat down.


“Okay, one last maneuver,” said Daniella. “All of you need to be able to get back in the boat if you go overboard. Brianna, let’s start with you. Slide out, and I’ll show you how to get back in.”

Before she could protest, Daniella gave Brianna a little nudge, and over she went with a splash.


“Dang, it’s cold!” Brianna exclaimed, trying to catch her breath from the shock of the chill. Grabbing the side of the raft, she tried to pull herself up; but her legs slid under the boat, and she looked helpless.


Daniella chuckled. “Okay, good try. Grab onto the raft, and put one leg over. The rest of us will help you roll back inside.”


Brianna placed her short, hefty leg on the side of the raft; and, sure enough, it worked—Brad and Nate pulled her in.


George, Brad, and Nate all took turns getting into the water and maneuvering back into the boat. Nate was the only one with enough upper body strength to pull himself in without assistance.


“One final thing,” said Daniella. She reached beneath her life jacket, unsnapped a sheath, and pulled out a menacing six inch hunting knife. “If someone goes overboard and gets trapped under the raft, I have to act quickly. I’ll slash the raft and try to pull the person up. I hope that doesn’t happen, but I’ve had to do it before. Questions, anyone?”


Brianna’s face was ashen. All of this for a team-building exercise?


“All right, let’s go!”


Daniella dug her oar strongly in the water and pushed out to the center of the river. What a motley crew. Oh well, we’re in this boat together. Time to experience the real thing.


Not too far ahead lay the first rapid, “Big Mama,” a steep drop and blazing ride through white water, shifting currents, and a challenging obstacle. The team would soon be tested.

Giveaway - The Love Dare book, Facing the Giants DVD, Point of Grace CD

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button





I have never participated in a Bloggy Giveaway, and I am totally stoked about doing this one! If you want to join in on the fun, get on over to Bloggy Giveaways! There are going to be great lists all over the blogosphere! Here is my giveaway!


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February is around the corner and in honor of the "LOVE" month I am giving away a copy of "The Love Dare." If you have seen the movie "Fireproof" you have an idea of what it is about. Here is a little clip of info from the co-author of "The Love Dare."















The Love Dare from Mike Stecker on Vimeo.



Here is some more detail if you just are not interested in watching all of this detail. :)









In the movie FIREPROOF, a couple dares to rescue their choking marriage from the flames of divorce and temptation using The Love Dare book as a guide. Now you can take the experience of the film one step further with your own copy of The Love Dare book. This daily devotional steers you through the fiery challenge of developing a strong, committed marriage in a world that threatens to burn it to the ground.

The Love Dare personally leads you through daily devotionals, records your thoughts and experiences, and ends each day daring you to perform a simple act of love for your spouse. This 40-Day journey equips you to melt hardened, separated hearts into an enduring love that can withstand the flames of fear, pride and temptation. The Love Dare book will help you reinforce and enrich your marriage, earn back a love you thought was lost, and hear more about the One who not only designed unconditional, sacrificial love—He illustrated it.

In a world that attacks, devalues, and redefines relationships every day, learn how to rescue and protect your marriage from the firestorm. Take The Love Dare and FIREPROOF your relationship.

And in honor of football, since the Superbowl is almost here! YEAH! I am also giving away the DVD "Facing the Giants" Here is a little detail.
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Details:


From the award-winning producers of FLYWHEEL comes a new, action-packed, family-friendly drama about a high school football coach who draws up a new game plan for his team … and himself.
In his six years of coaching, Grant Taylor has never had a winning season. Even the hope of a new season is squelched when the best player on his Shiloh Eagles decides to transfer schools. After losing their first three games of the season, the coach discovers a group of fathers are plotting to have him fired. Combined with pressures at home, Coach Taylor has lost hope in his battle against fear and failure.

However, an unexpected challenge helps him find a purpose bigger than just victories. Daring to trust God to do the impossible, Coach Taylor and the Eagles discover how faith plays out on the field … and off.

With God, all things are possible

This movie is so simple yet so dear and touching.



Lastly I am giving away Point of Grace CD "How You Live" Point of Grace is an amazing Christian singing group who have also become quite popular in the Country music genre. How You Live is absolutely incredible. Great vocals and a superfine mix. You will love it!
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To Win: I know you are going to be enterring a lot of giveaways so I am keeping it simple. Two possible entries. This is for US addresses only. I'm sorry, the giveaway ends after the carnival which runs from January 26 to January 30. I will contact the winner on February 1. The winner will have four days to get back to me or I will move on to the next winner. :) Thanks so much

1. Leave a comment that MUST have your email or if you have a blog with the email attached that is good to. Tell me what you do to make your relationships work. We are talking marriage, family or work. You do not have to be married to answer this. :)

2. Blog about the giveaway or Tweet it, but please give me the link.

That is it. pretty simple. Enjoy this fun giveaway week! I know I will. :)

So there it is! My first Bloggy Giveaway! I hope you like it.

**
Special note: All comments are being moderated, but they will appear. I promise!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I am Marilyn

This is one of those little quizzes you find on the internet. I have to say that after reading the details. They are pretty spot on. Now there is a part at the bottom that Marilyns as children might have been neglected or abused. I wasn't abused but I was a latch-key kid back when that was a new term. Do you think that counts in the...say... the semi neglect department?

You Are a Marilyn!

mm.marilyn_.jpg


You are a Marilyn -- "I am affectionate and skeptical."


Marilyns are responsible, trustworthy, and value loyalty to family, friends, groups, and causes. Their personalities range broadly from reserved and timid to outspoken and confrontative.






How to Get Along with Me

  • * Be direct and clear

  • * Listen to me carefully

  • * Don't judge me for my anxiety

  • * Work things through with me

  • * Reassure me that everything is OK between us

  • * Laugh and make jokes with me

  • * Gently push me toward new experiences

  • * Try not to overreact to my overreacting.




What I Like About Being a Marilyn

  • * being committed and faithful to family and friends

  • * being responsible and hardworking

  • * being compassionate toward others

  • * having intellect and wit

  • * being a nonconformist

  • * confronting danger bravely

  • * being direct and assertive




What's Hard About Being a Marilyn

  • * the constant push and pull involved in trying to make up my mind

  • * procrastinating because of fear of failure; having little confidence in myself

  • * fearing being abandoned or taken advantage of

  • * exhausting myself by worrying and scanning for danger

  • * wishing I had a rule book at work so I could do everything right

  • * being too critical of myself when I haven't lived up to my expectations




Marilyns as Children Often

  • * are friendly, likable, and dependable, and/or sarcastic, bossy, and stubborn

  • * are anxious and hypervigilant; anticipate danger

  • * form a team of "us against them" with a best friend or parent

  • * look to groups or authorities to protect them and/or question authority and rebel

  • * are neglected or abused, come from unpredictable or alcoholic families, and/or take on the fearfulness of an overly anxious parent




Marilyns as Parents

  • * are often loving, nurturing, and have a strong sense of duty

  • * are sometimes reluctant to give their children independence

  • * worry more than most that their children will get hurt

  • * sometimes have trouble saying no and setting boundaries



Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz
at HelloQuizzy

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It is a Giveaway Kind of Night...or Day

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I have been ridiculously busy lately as you might have gathered by my lullish posting. Lullish? Is that even a word? Tonight my husband and I are watching UFC and I thought..."NOW is the best time to do a little giveaway hunting!" And here is what I found!



Bon Bon Boutique is hosting a faboo giveaway from Lauren Nicole gifts. What is she giving away? Oh it is a fabulous accessory! A monogrammed belt. This is a beaut! You have to see it to believe it. Well...I am sure you will believe it, but you have to see it...and YOU will want it! Go to Bon Bon Boutique now and get a peek into this adorable accessory!



This Giveaway Closes January 27. Time is ticking!

Love Esty Feedback is offering a beautiful Sterling Silver Drip necklace from Beads in the Belfry. Go to Love Esty Feedback follow the link to Beads in the Belfry and pick your favorite item.

This giveaway ends on January 30.

Simply Stacie is hosting a giveaway that any Twilight fan would love. You can win four beautiful Twilight Altered Art Charms. Very pretty and very nice for any Twilight lover. :)

This Giveaway ends on February 1.

I found another wonderful review and giveaway for Earth Lust Stainless Steel Water Bottles at Piece of Me. You really do not want to miss out on this chance. The bottles are beautiful, functional, and they are environmentally sound. Go check them out and maybe just pick one up now. I am eyeing one for my hubby. :)

This Giveaway ends January 28.

Lastly but not leastly...get on over to Janna at Cornhusker Academy for an opportunity to win many, many books. For examle "Only Uni" and "Single Sashimi" byCamy Tang! There are also some wonderful giveaways for many more books, but I want to do them justice. You may have noticed my posts about her giveaways before. Go on over now! She has great reviews, great insights and great giveaways!

Awards...and I am Touched

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Seriously, this was so kind and so sweet. Let's face it...pretty darn cute too! Well, this sweet award was given to me by none other than a blogger I would totally pass the same award on to if I could and that it Kaye of Pudgy Penguin Perusals. Great name, great blog, and wow...super duper kind!
This award was created by The Book Zombie. The details are simple. It is for those blogs you can't wait to read everyday, that you look forward to seeing updates on and that have inspired you in your own blogging.


What inspires me abougt
Pudgy Penguin Perusals? Let's browse a couple of posts and I'll show you!


1-- Check out the sidebar and you will find all kinds of great giveaways! And let me tell you, I LOVE GIVEAWAYS! In fact...I should also tell you that Kaye is hosting an incredible James Patterson giveaway for Sundays at Tiffany's. Five more copies are able to be had, my friends...follow this
link! You are going to love this book. I read it in two days and honestly would have read it in one if I didn't have to work. Truly it was out of my husband's need for a dark room that kept me from devouring this novel!

2-- She has RECIPES! Do you like food, fudge, and filliing your tummy? How about all things simple? Well, Kaye has an amazing simple lil fudge recipe. Check it out
HERE!

3-- There is a great little picture tag on her blog, and I for one am going to do it. She has a do it yourself Easter gift set up for all to view and a cute little story too...I didn't even mean to rhyme this but things happen. :) Anyway...really go check this out, and maybe...just maybe get in on this cute tag! It is titled
Easter "Basket"







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I am truly blessed and honored that AndieJ from Radiant Light was given the Premios Dardo Award and kindly blessed my blog as one of her blog choices to award it to. Here are some details about this blog award.

Andie got this from Sally from BookCritiques.

This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his or her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values every day.

Here are the rules:

1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2) Pass the award to 15 other blogs who are worthy of this acknowledgment. Contact the bloggers and let them know that they have been chosen for this award.


Now in my next post, I plan to pass along this award, but again, I really want to show anyone who cares to look, a few nice little "somethings" about Andie's blog. :)

First of all, I appreciate Andie's sweet spirit and candor. Her love of her family and love of Jesus Christ is evident from the first glance at her blog. She is truly a lovely woman, and I hope you get a chance to look about her blog and know her better.

1-- Did I say that Andie has a beautiful heart? Check out her post...My Reason For Blogging.
2-- Andie has a great sense of humor too...check out
My Siter's Dog Howling Taps.
3-- Andie also does some great book reviews with a few blog groups. She gives a little info here on her blog name and the reason behind it as well as her rating system. I would like to get a rating system together one of these days. Anyway check it out here: Blog Name Change, and book rating change.


Now I really need to get on with sharing these awards. That will be in another post. Please take a moment to check out these lovely women and their blogs. I know...KNOW you will not be disappointed. :)

Blessings,

Kelly

Time is Driving Me Crazy! Advice Sought...

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Or is it the lack of time? Really it is probably my scheduling time. I have some blog awards that I want to put up, and actually my intent is to do that today...no...tonight. I also have a ton of blog reading to catch up on. Time is soooooo hard.

Do you have a difficult time with...well...time? I have so many things I want to do, but my priorities have to rest with my son and my husband first. Above all else at home, I want them to always know they come first. The past two weeks have been about that because I have had a cranky few weeks here. :)

The past few weeks have also been fairly chaotic as I have accepted and learned new responsibilities at work. One is I am now running our radio station's Monday Ministry Spotlight which is great. It is a huge part of our programming and can be a huge reference for our listeners in regards to getting involved in the Christian community and getting involved with helping other ministries grow or even just finding a ministry that will help them where they are at right now. So far it is helping me with sleepless nights. I wake up wondering who I am going to find to fill in this date or that date. There are plenty of great organizations out there, but to find the one that fits for the time of the interview can be tough. Then there is just the added issue of scheduling, getting the interviewee to come up with interview questions and a fact sheet. Making sure their interview is focused on their ministry and not on just the person in general. It is enough to give me an ulcer or twenty!

I can't even think about it really.

Then there is my money saving spot. That is not such a rough thing really. I just have to find out some great deals that I can share with our listeners, and it is only once a week. THAT I can do with about two hours of show prep. Still that is two hours every week that I really cannot devote to much else, but I can use it to help out household save money so that is good...right?

Anyway, I guess I really just need to learn how to budget my time. I write down my money budget. Maybe I should do the same with my time. Not that you can schedule family time, but maybe I can at least schedule the other things.

If anyone has some suggestions...I am all ears and eyes! I know a lot of great bloggers out there. How do you guys do it all? How do you keep life in line with your time? How do you priorities?

HUGSSSSSS

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Winner!!!!

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Congrats to Stacey our winner of the All About Us Series by Shelley Adina! I know you are just going to love all of it, Stacey! Congrats!

Stacey said:


stacey @ bookthirty said...
"My first job? I started working at 15yo, and seeing as that was 20 years ago, I'm having a hard time remembering! I think it was the public library - I worked there for two years during high school and - being a lover of books - it was very close to my idea of heaven! "

Pretty nice first job for a book lover! Mine wasn't so exciting. Other than baby sitting as my first paying job, my first job where I actually had taxes taken out was as a jewelry inspector. I spent several hours a day looking for flaws in costume jewelry. It was pretty dull, but I was allowed to keep the occasional pair of earrings. :) Back in the 80s that was like being paid in GOLD. :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

FIRST Wild Card -- Mental Illness by Dr. Michael S. Stanford

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:


Grace for the Afflicted: A Clinical and Biblical Perspective on Mental Illness

Paternoster (September 5, 2008)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Dr. Matthew S. Stanford is professor of psychology, neuroscience, and biomedical studies at Baylor University, where he also serves as the director of the Psychology Doctoral Program. He received his Ph.D. in neuroscience from Baylor in 1992. After graduating from Baylor he completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Prior to returning to Baylor as a member of the staff in 2003, he was a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at the University of New Orleans.

Product Details:

List Price: $19.99
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Paternoster (September 5, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1934068446
ISBN-13: 978-1934068441

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Fearfully and Wonderfully Made


The church we were involved with at the onset of my son’s [mental] illness did not respond to us when we requested that a team come out and pray over him. . . . We were looking for support and comfort, and the churches we encountered were

not equipped to give that to us because they did not seem to have a complete handle on what we were dealing with. We have fallen away from the church, but not from God. —Laurie, mother of a son diagnosed with schizophrenia


“The Scriptures tell us that in Christ we have everything we need for life and godliness, correct? So can you explain to me why Anna’s bipolar disorder and her dependence on medication is not an issue of weak faith or sin?”


Only two of us stayed after the church meeting that morning, talking over coffee. I was a deacon in the church at the time, and the man who asked the question was a friend and respected elder. The question took me by surprise, and initially I was speechless (a condition for which I am, unfortunately, not known). If you have a loved one with a mental illness—or you yourself struggle with the debilitating symptoms—your first reaction to such a question may have been more along the lines of sadness, disgust, or anger.


But in my friend’s defense, he sincerely wanted to understand something he saw as alien and frightening. Was Anna sick, or was she spiritually weak? We know from 2 Peter 1:3 that we do have “everything we need for life and godliness.” Yet, even though Anna professed Christ as Savior, her life was a mixture of family problems, shame, suffering, and strange behavior. How should the church respond?


Science and faith have had a long and tense relationship. A dangerous and damaging battle—a battle between faith and psychiatry/psychology—is being waged daily in churches throughout the world. And lives are being destroyed. Men and women with diagnosed mental illnesses are told they need to pray more and turn from their sin. Mental illness is equated with demon-possession, weak faith, and generational sin. The underlying cause of this stain on the church is a lack of knowledge, both of basic brain function and of scriptural truth.


Mental illness is a frightening experience, not only for the afflicted but also for those who witness an individual struggling with strange thoughts and behaviors. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages eighteen and older (one in four adults) suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.1 Centuries of tension between the church and the scientific community have made pastors and laypeople alike wary of adopting scientific explanations for behaviors and thoughts that, on the surface, may appear sinful (e.g., suicidal ideations).


Again, I believe that the lack of understanding in the church related to mental illness is rooted in spiritual ignorance and fear. So, let’s look first to God’s Holy Word to gain a better understanding of how we were created, what effects the Fall has had on our physical bodies and minds, and who we are in Christ.


How Are We Created?


We have been created in the very image of God (Genesis 1:26). We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). We are complex beings, unlike any other living creature: the union of a physical body with an immaterial mind and spirit. While each aspect is separate, in some sense, they are connected and affect one another. The Scriptures attest to this truth.


You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (Deuteronomy 6:5)


My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. (Psalm 84:2)


And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30)


Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23) (all emphases, author’s)


The Body


At one level we exist in a physical body so that we can interact with the physical world around us. Our heart pumps; our stomach and intestines digest; our muscles relax and contract; our lungs inhale and exhale; our brain cells fire. We are God’s creative masterpiece: a miracle of skin, bone, and blood formed from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7). But at the same time we are so much more. We perceive. We think and reason. We pray.


There is also an immaterial, nonphysical aspect to our being—what some call our mind or soul.


The Mind


What is the mind? This question has baffled philosophers and scientists alike for thousands of years. Are our thoughts and perceptions merely the product of neurochemical changes and electrical discharges in our brain? Or is our mind something more—something immaterial, more than the sum of our parts? I believe the truth is somewhere in the middle. The functioning of our brain is integral to the existence of our mind, but that alone is not sufficient to explain it. Likewise, to imagine our mind as completely separate and unrelated to the physical does not seem correct either. Body and mind are intimately connected, each affecting the other. We retrieve a past memory of a fearful event in our mind, and our physiology reacts. Our sensory receptors are activated by familiar stimuli in the environment, and past thoughts and feelings rush to consciousness.


The Scriptures often speak of the mind. It is here that we . . .


Plan our actions

The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)


Choose to sin

For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so. (Romans 8:6–7)


Pray

What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing

with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. (1 Corinthians 14:15)


Receive revelation and understanding from God

Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:45)


Meditate on the truths of God

Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2)


Are transformed by the indwelling Holy Spirit

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

(all emphases, author’s)


It is with our mind that we think and choose. It is our mind that controls our actions. And it is our mind that God wants to change through the process of sanctification, conforming us ever closer to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). A physical body formed by the hands of the Maker in union with an immaterial mind that controls and plans our behavior is a truly miraculous concept, though a difficult one to grasp. And the Scriptures teach us that we also have a third and even more amazing level of being, a spirit.


The Spirit


It is not uncommon for neuroscientists to talk and debate about the mind. We might use fancier words like consciousness or self-awareness to make it sound more “scientific,” but we are still talking about an immaterial, invisible aspect of our being. Things that can’t be seen make scientists uncomfortable. We don’t like to say that something is beyond our understanding or that it can’t be measured. We may admit that we don’t understand something presently but qualify our admission by saying that with enough study and the continued advancement of science we will one day. So to describe us as having a spirit, in addition to a mind and a body, seems almost heretical from a scientific perspective. But here is where we scientists must understand that Scripture is our ultimate authority and that it precisely describes our created being in the context of our relationship with God and our fellow human beings.


God created us as a unity of three parts, much like Himself. In our inmost being we are spirit, the very breath of God placed into a shell of dust (Genesis 2:7). That is how we differ from the other living creatures: both were created from the ground (Genesis 2:7, 19), but only humanity is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). I like the way Paul Brand and Philip Yancey describe it in their book In His Image:


“And the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being” (2:7).


When I heard that verse as a child, I imagined Adam lying on the ground, perfectly formed but not yet alive, with God leaning over him and performing a sort of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Now I picture that scene differently. I assume that Adam was already biologically alive—the other animals needed no special puff of oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide to start them breathing, so why should man? The breath of God now symbolizes for me a spiritual reality. I see Adam as alive, but possessing only an animal vitality. Then God breathes into him a new spirit, and infills him with His own image. Adam becomes a living soul, not just a living body. God’s image is not an arrangement of skin cells or a physical shape, but rather an inbreathed spirit.2


Our body, while we see it as our true identity, is little more than a container for our true essence, which is spirit (2 Corinthians 5:1). It is in our spirit that we have the opportunity to be in union with the very God of the universe (Proverbs 20:27; Romans 8:16).


Bringing It All Together


So how does all this work together—body, mind, and spirit? Let’s look at a simple visual representation. Figure 1 shows three concentric circles, each separate but interacting with the one above and/or below. The outermost circle represents the body, which is in contact with the earthly environment (outside) and the mind. The middle circle is the mind, which is connected to the body through the functions of the brain and nervous system but also in contact with our immaterial spirit (the innermost circle). The body senses and reacts to the external environment; and the mind uses that information to perceive, understand, and interpret our surroundings. The mind also forms our thoughts and plans our actions. The spirit, when connected to God, works to transform the mind into the very image of Christ, which results in an ever-increasing display of godly behaviors through the body.


We are an amazing creation! The physical (body) interacting with the immaterial (mind/spirit). Physical beings designed to be in an intimate communion with the very Creator of the universe, who is spirit (John 4:24). That is how we were created, and that is how it was supposed to be. But humanity fell (sinned), and the consequences of our disobedience are felt every day, both spiritually and physically.


How Have We Been Affected by the Fall?


After the shock had worn off, I thought for a minute about how to respond to my friend’s question about Anna. I asked him, “Do you know anyone who has heart disease and regularly takes medication?”


He said that he did, but before I could continue, he asked me if I was trying to say that Anna’s bipolar disorder and heart disease were somehow the same. Throughout this book, I will try to answer that question. How are they the same? How do they differ? But first we need to answer a more foundational question: What are the results of man’s sin?


When a follower of Jesus Christ is asked that question, he or she will often quote Romans 6:23: “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Such a response correctly points out that spiritual death, or separation from God, is the result of sin. As children of Adam, we are sinful by nature and therefore spiritually dead and separated from God at birth (Romans 5:12).


I have always thought it strange, however, that the answer to the question rarely goes beyond the spiritual. Clearly, spiritual death resulted from our sin. But what about the other aspects of our being, our mind and body? How were they affected by the Fall? I have suggested that the Scriptures describe us as a three-part being, with each part interacting with and affecting the others. If that is true, then our sin must have also adversely affected our mind and body. I’m not saying that this truth is completely unknown in the church today. Plainly, the Bible teaches us that we are fully defiled by sin (body, mind, and spirit)—caught in what some theologians call “total depravity” (see Romans 3:12). Yet the church emphasizes the spiritual effects of sin while minimizing or disregarding the mental and physical effects. As I stated above, I think this results from a misunderstanding of what the Scriptures teach about how we have been created.


Birth


At birth, we are physically alive but spiritually dead. We are born with an imperfect body, scarred as the result of generations of sin. On the day that Adam and Eve fell, they forfeited their intimate relationship with God, and they became mortal. And we were placed at the mercy of the environment and natural biological processes that wreak havoc on our bodies and minds. But as Jesus teaches in the story of the man born blind, each time we struggle with illness and physical weakness is an opportunity for “the works of God” to be “displayed” (John 9:1–3).


Growth


When Adam and Eve fell, we were forced to fend for ourselves in a hostile and fallen world. Look at figure 2 to get a better idea of how and why we think and act the way we do. As we grow and mature, our body and mind learn to interact with and react to our fallen environment, all the while spiritually separated from God by our sin. The body, physically affected by the Fall, gathers sensations and stimuli from the earthly environment (small black arrows). Our mind, knowing only sin because of our separation from God, chooses to satisfy itself by the “If it feels good, do it” lifestyle, or what we in psychology call the pleasure principle. In doing so, it associates normal physiological reactions and sensations with lustful desires and wants, causing impure thoughts to come to mind almost instantly in common, everyday situations (James 1:14–15). It is in our mind that we choose to sin (2 Corinthians 10:5); and it is with our body (Ephesians 2:3), or “members” (Romans 7:23), that we act out our sinful thoughts (large black arrows). This process is altered only in the individual who comes to a saving faith in Christ Jesus, and even then that believer continues to struggle with a sinfully programmed mind and body (Romans 7:14–25).


In addition to the sinful desires that attempt to control us, another result of sin is physical death and decay.


Physical Death


God told Adam that in the day he ate from the forbidden tree he would surely die (Genesis 2:16–17); and while He certainly meant this in the spiritual sense, He also meant it in the physical sense. The moment that Adam disobeyed he began to age and decay (Genesis 3:19). Physical death came a little closer each day of his life, and so it continues for us. In fact, the Scriptures tell us that the whole of the physical creation was affected by our sin and longs for the day of redemption (Romans 8:19–22). Our bodies are damaged because of sin. We age. We get sick. We suffer physically and die because the physical creation has been affected by the Fall.


However, while we were all born “dead in sin,” which affected our body, mind, and spirit, there is an amazing truth for those who have been “born again”: we are new creations in Christ; the old things have passed away; the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17)!


Our Identity in Christ


Have you ever thought about what it means that you are a “new creation”? It means that you have been fundamentally changed; what you were before becoming a Christian no longer exists. That is not how I used to see myself. I lived Sunday to Sunday, holding on to some kind of faith-based fire insurance that I could turn in at my death in order to get into heaven. I certainly didn’t see myself as Paul describes the believer in Ephesians 1, having every spiritual blessing. I now recognize that as a believer in Jesus Christ I was chosen before the foundation of the world; predestined for adoption as a son of the living God; purchased out of slavery to sin and death; forgiven of all my sins—past, present, and future; given spiritual wisdom and revelation; and marked as such until the day that I stand before Him holy and blameless.


Do you see yourself that way? If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, then that is exactly how God sees you—whether you accept it or not. It doesn’t matter if you are struggling with mental illness. You are a new creation in Christ if you have received Him by faith. And we who minister to those who struggle with mental illness should remember that they are His chosen children, if they are in Christ, and they should be treated as such.


A Transformed Life


We were born with a fallen nature, which we received from our ancestral father Adam. But when a person comes to faith in Jesus Christ, he or she is “crucified”! The “old self” is nailed to the cross with Christ, never to return (Romans 6:6; Galatians 2:20). God gives us His Spirit; Christ’s very life takes up residence in us (Colossians 3:1–3). We have His righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9) and a new, Christlike nature (Ephesians 4:24). Spiritually, we sit at the very right hand of God Almighty (Ephesians 2:6).


So, just like my friend said, as believers we are complete in Christ, having everything we need for life and godliness in Him (2 Peter 1:3). That is true in the spiritual realm, but remember that we are a unity of three parts. What happens to our body and mind after we are transformed in the spirit?


Being Conformed to the Image of Christ


You were born affected by sin, and you lived some period of time before coming to Christ. Consequently, you have habits, thought patterns, and biological predispositions that are the result of your old self. This “sinful flesh” does not disappear because you have been given a new life. But change is now possible, whereas before it was not.


Let’s look at figure 3 to help understand our new life. We now see, in the inner circle, the very life of Christ within us. The Scriptures teach us that we are to submit ourselves to Christ, allowing Him to transform our minds (Romans 12:1–2). In the diagram this is represented by the small white arrowheads. As our minds are transformed and our thoughts are taken captive to Christ, He begins to take control of the “members” of our body (symbolized by the three large, black-and-white arrows), and our behaviors change (Colossians 3:5–10).


Why Write This Book?


At this point you may be saying to yourself, I thought this book was about mental illness and Christianity. When are you going to talk about my son’s disorder? I need to know what to do! Why am I having these thoughts and feelings? I don’t want to be like this!


Those emotional responses, and many more like them, are why this book has been written. But beyond that, I have seen the limitations of psychiatry and psychology firsthand.


As a research scientist studying human aggression, I see the results of the Fall every day—broken men and women who want to behave differently but feel as if they have lost control of themselves, wives who fear their husbands, children who seem destined to repeat the sins of their fathers. In my laboratory, we test the effectiveness of different medications on aggressive behavior. In many instances the treatments are successful: the patient’s aggressive behavior is reduced in intensity and frequency. But is that enough if the person still does not know Christ? The medication treats only the physical effects of the Fall. The mental effects often remain; and if the patient does not know Christ, so does his or her spiritual separation from God.


I hope this chapter has shown you that we have been affected by sin at all three levels of our being. Both believers and nonbelievers carry the physical and mental effects of sinful programming. Fortunately, believers have been transformed in their inner being and are righteous before their Maker. But that does not instantaneously remove the sinful “flesh” we still carry around. Sanctification is a process by which our minds are transformed through submission to Christ. Biological defects and weaknesses do not go away by themselves, no matter how much we want them to or have faith that they will. God can certainly choose to heal us supernaturally, and in some cases He does so. But we should see our weaknesses as an opportunity to grow in our faith (2 Corinthians 12:7–10; James 1:2–4). Like the man born blind, we are flawed so that “the works of God might be displayed” in us (John 9:3).


1. Ronald C. Kessler et al., “Prevalence, Severity, and Comorbidity of Twelve-Month DSM-IV Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R), Archives of General Psychiatry 62 (2005): 617–27.


2. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey, In His Image (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1987), 22.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Review: Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet

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Sundays at Tiffany's
by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publ. Date: January 6, 2009
ISBN: 978-0446199445
336 pages
Trade Paperback
Fiction






First a Summary: As a little girl, Jane has no one. Her mother, the powerful head of a Broadway theater company, has no time for her. She does have one friend-a handsome, comforting, funny man named Michael-but only she can see him.


Years later, Jane is in her thirties and just as alone as ever. Then she meets Michael again-as handsome, smart and perfect as she remembers him to be. But not even Michael knows the reason they've really been reunited.


SUNDAYS AT TIFFANY'S is a love story with an irresistible twist, a novel about the child inside all of us-and the boundary-crossing power of love.




My Review: How can I begin? Sundays at Tiffany's was delightful. It embodied everything I enjoy about reading James Patterson. His stories have such an incredible beat and flow to them. It is like reading a song. You get so caught up in the story that before you even realize it, you are three quarters of the way through. For me, this is when the anxiety hits. This is when I realize that I am almost to the point where I have to wait for another James Patterson story to take me away.



I immediately fell in love with young Jane. Such a sweet child so lost in the world of her glamorous mother. Jane has the fortunate gift of a wonderful friend, Michael. Michael is the utmost in imaginary friends. He is handsome, a great listener, and he is entirely devoted to his Jane. Michael's and Jane's friendship is completely charming and wonderful, and I found myself thinking I should have thought larger when I had my own imaginary friend.



Jane as an adult is equally loveable. You find her likeable from the get go and you desperately want to see this woman happy. I do not want to go into anything that could remotely give the story away, but I will say that this goes above and beyond in good story telling with an ending that is not predictable.



Sundays at Tiffany's is a truly remarkable story, and I am so glad that I was given the opportunity to read it.



My thanks goes to Valerie at Hachette Book Group USA for giving me the opportunity to read and review one of my favorite authors.



PS...If you haven't entered yet, please go check out my giveaway of Sundays at Tiffany's. I am telling you...you will LOVE this book! There is a giveaway link in my side bar! :)






Monday, January 19, 2009

Manic Monday #151






It has been a while since I have done this, and I really missed it. I have been a little over focused on every little thing, but now I can enjoy my Mondays a bit, and I am really looking forward to getting back into Lisa's Manic Monday Meme. If you would like to join in, click above. :)





What do you do to make yourself feel better when you are sick?


When I am feeling sick, I like to kick back with orange juice or some hot Constant Comment Tea by Bigelow and read from a good book. It can be horror or suspense, but either way, I like to escape into it.


What is the most amazing weather you've ever seen?


The most amazing weather I have seen was on a lovely afternoon in mid May when my husband and I were honeymooning in Carmel, California. It was absolutely delightful. The air was warm enough to go without a sweater, but cool enough to feel fresh all day. Of course I was also intoxicated by being a newly wed. Here is a pic of that lovely day.


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Do you listen to music or talk radio in the car?

I listen to a lot of things depending on the time. If it is after 2pm and I am on the way to pick my son up from school, I listen to talk radio and/or a book on CD. If I am on the way to work, I usually listen to my station so I have a heads up on the giveaway for that morning. If I am driving long distance, I definitely listen to a book on CD. If I am off on errands, I often listen to CDs. My husband is always finding new artists for me to listen to. :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Rollin' Through The Giveaways!

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I just had to share a few giveaways with you before my hubby and I settle in with a movie. Check out some chances to win a book, a journal for the young man or young lady in your life, check out the jewelry, apron, fabulously sensational water bottles, and even a gift card to Walgreen's. Go on now...take a look!



Popin's Lair is hosting their first giveaway, and this book looks really good. It is called Doomed Queens and it is by Kris Waldherr. There is also a wonderful interview with Kris which will definitely get you interested in this book!




Stacie has a wonderful giveaway at
Simply Stacie. She has a lovely Bella crystal necklass from Twighlight Shades. Check out all the beautiful jewelry at Twilight Shades while you are there for a chance!


Drop by and see Kailani at
Island Reviews for your chance to win a copy of Journal Buddies. Journals have always been a huge part of my life, and I have shared this with my son and husband. Wouldn't this be great to pass along to the young ones in your life?



STL Mommy is holding a giveaway for a $25 Walgreen's gift card. With so many health and beauty items at Walgreen's, I could totally put this to good use. She also just has an amazing blog. Check it out!

Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls is holding another fabulous Esty giveaway from Joan of Z! It is always fun to see what is going on at this blog!

Nichole's Family and Crafty Blog is having a first giveaway. We are talking about a woman who has a talent for sewing, and she has some cute little aprons that she is making for Valentine's Day. The prices are low and the work is excellent. Go take a peak!

Don't forget to check out
Sandier Pastures and their cool Earth Lust giveaway. Earthlust has these beautiful and highly useable and reuseable stainless steel drinking bottles. My son and I both have stainless steel drinking bottles and I hightly recommend them. Drink your own bottled watter and eliminate waste in a very safe and very attractive way. Go check them out! They have three sizes and are gorgeous!