Friday, April 30, 2010

TOUR: "Sing" by Lisa Bergren

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:

Sing: A Novel of Colorado (The Homeward Trilogy)

David C. Cook; New edition (April 1, 2010)

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


Lisa T. Bergren is an author who offers a wide array of reading opportunities ranging from children’s books (God Gave Us Love and God Found Us You) and women’s nonfiction (Life on Planet Mom), to suspense-filled intrigue (The Gifted Trilogy) and historical drama. With more than thirty titles among her published works and a deep faith that has weathered dramatic career and personal challenges, Bergren is excited to add the Homeward Trilogy to her resume as she follows God’s direction in her writing career. Bergren lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband Tim (a graphic design artist and musician) and their three children.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (April 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434767078
ISBN-13: 978-1434767073


15 March 1887


Surely she hadn't heard him right. Moira stared with disbelief at the ledger the bank manager turned toward her. “What do you mean I cannot withdraw this much? I have thousands of francs here.”

“You did, Mademoiselle. Until this morning, when Monsieur Foster came and extracted all but the last thousand.”

“Max? Mr. Max Foster came and withdrew these funds?”

“Oui. It was his biggest withdrawal yet. But as you know, he has full access to your bank account. He makes withdrawals all the time. I assumed this was no, as you say … different.”

“Different?” The word emerged from her mouth in a high-pitched squeak. She swallowed hard and looked above that final ledger entry--10,000 francs--to other withdrawals. A thousand. Fifteen hundred. Sometimes twice a week. Her mind raced. Max, her manager of almost three years, paid her servants, the landlord. He paid for the groceries delivered each day. The oilman for the oil that filled her lamps. It took money, a lot of money to pay for all those things. But this much?

“Mademoiselle,” the bank manager said carefully, peering over tiny spectacles at her, “has something transpired here that causes you alarm?”

“Non, non,” she said, gathering herself. “Monsieur Foster and I merely need to converse. I am certain there is good reason for him to withdraw funds today. I simply have forgotten. Forgive me, Monsieur. My run at the Opera Comiqué has left me a bit … weary.”

“I understand,” he said, rising with her. “And may I say that your performance has been unparalleled in this city for some time? Paris is fortunate to have you, Mademoiselle St. Clair.”

“You are too kind,” she said. “Bon jour.” “Bon jour,” he said with a nod. But his dark eyes still held the same concern that flooded Moira's heart.

Max Foster would be at Madame Toissette's tea later today--she would speak with him then. But before he took a sip of her fine Earl Gray, he would explain to Moira where her money had gone.


15 March 1887

Hoarfrost covers every branch and every bit of every tree within sight. It is beautiful, a sight I always favor, but in this instance, it makes me more fearful than ever. For below it is more snow than I've ever seen. More snow than Bryce or Tabito have ever seen. And while it has ceased for the moment, leaving behind a brilliant blue sky that showcases mountains in bridal white, Tabito believes more is on the way. Tonight? Tomorrow? It would take weeks to melt the snow already here. The men--

Samuel's cry brought Odessa's head up, and she set her pen aside and went to the babe in the next room. Now seven months old, the child quieted when he spotted his mother, gurgling a pleased coo and wiggling his arms and legs in vigorous excitement. She lifted him and cradled him close for a moment, running her lips over his sweet, soft cheek. She reached for another blanket, frowning at the chill in the room, and returned to the window over her desk, one of only two in the house that were not either frosted or sealed over by the vast snowbanks.

Her eyes traced the channel the men had dug from the bunkhouse to the main house and then over the hill to where the stables and shelters stood. She'd watched them taking turns with the digging until the bank on either side was shoulder high. Against the house, where the wind had driven into drifts, the white piles had been as high as the second-story windows on the western side and not much lower to the south and north. The men had dug them out each day, but each night as they slept through the high, dry wail of the wind, the drifts returned.

“Never, ever, have I seen this much snow,” Bryce had said, staring out a whitewashed window as if he could somehow bore through it and see his horses. That had been yesterday, when they wondered if the snow would ever stop. And then this morning it had.

The men were immediately at it, attempting to get to the hundred horses that had been left to battle the elements on their own. Only fifty could be in the stables at a time or sheltered in the corrals that lined it. They had found food and water throughout the storm. But the others? Those who had naught but the small snow breaks that dotted the fields? Odessa shook her head. Judging from the house, they might have all long been buried. Please, God, please … please let them be all right.

The passageway through which the men had disappeared remained silent and empty, a yawning chasm of doubt and fear. After a couple brutal years of drought, much of Odessa's inheritance had gone into an extension of acreage that gained the Circle M increased water rights. Could the horses out there even get to water? Were they pawing and digging their way down to streams that were frozen solid?

Odessa blinked twice and turned, deciding to do something rather than stand there and fret. Bread, six loaves, she'd bake. A thick and hearty beef stew the men would love after their bone-chilling, hard work. An apple cobbler from her stash of summer preserves. “Come, Samuel,” she whispered, drawing comfort from the weight of him in her arms. She carried him down the stairs and into the kitchen, then set him on the floor atop a thick blanket, near the stove, which she blocked off by turning a chair on its side. It was so dark with the snow that embalmed the windows--despite the bright sun outside--she lit a couple of lamps, stoked the fire, handed Samuel a tin cup to play with, and turned to pull out flour and sugar.

Later, with the bread rising by the stove, she fed Samuel while she sat in her rocker, wondering how much longer it would take for Bryce, anyone, to return to her. She was desperate for word. By now they had surely made it to the snow breaks, assessed the losses--

It was then that she heard the stomping on the front porch, the low murmur of voices. She hurriedly pulled Samuel from her breast. She ignored his indignant cry, her eyes only on the front door as she rushed to meet her husband. He turned to her, and she could see the men walking away with stooped shoulders. But it was Bryce, her dear, sweet Bryce, who captured her whole attention. It was as if he had aged a decade, or suffered from consumption again, so weary and ill did he appear.

“Bryce,” she said.

He stepped forward and slowly closed the door behind him, then gradually raised his eyes to meet hers. Tears welled and threatened to roll down his cheeks.

“Oh!” she said, clamping her lips shut, feeling tears clench her throat. “All of them, Bryce? Are they all dead?” She moved forward to wrap one arm around him. Samuel wailed louder than ever, infuriated by the crush of his parents. But the two adults remained there as each gave way to the tremors of sobs.

Her husband wiped his cheeks with the palms and then the backs of his hands, trying to regain control. “Best we can tell, the storm took many of them.” He took another deep breath. “Some might have made it to the far side, instinctively heading for the shelter of the trees. But we'll need a week of melt before we can make it across to see. And we can't--” his voice broke and he wept for a moment--“we can't even be sure how many are there, by the snow breaks. They're buried, Dess. Buried. Stood there, waiting for us to save them.”

She moved back in to hold him, crying with him again. Dear God … Please. Please. The mere idea of it, the overwhelming vision of a hundred horses now dead.… No, no, no. Savior, please! What would become of them? The ranch depended on the income of the sale of a hundred and fifty horses each summer. One hundred already dead? And with more snow coming? Her eyes went to the front parlor window, a dark bank of dense snow. Show us, Lord. Show us what to do. We need You. We need You!

15 March 1887

Rio de Janeiro

“Come, Son, we have need of your services,” said a man gruffly, hauling Dominic to his feet.

Nic winced, both at the rapid motion and the bright light of morning. His stomach roiled and his head spun. Whatever they were pouring last night at the bar was hard on a man's gut, even one used to liquor. He squinted, trying to see the men who were on either side of him as they rushed him down the stairs, out the door, and through a crowded market plaza. “Stop!” he yelled. “Unhand me! What's this about?”

The two men paused, tightening their grip on his arms as he fought back. Two others arrived and lifted his feet from the cobblestones. “Wait! Where are you taking me?” Nic cried, battling both fear and fury now. He writhed and pulled, but to no avail. By the look of them, these four men were hardened seamen.

The leader motioned for the others to halt, and he was once again on his feet. A crowd of curious onlookers gathered, staring at them, but Nic was struggling to steady his eyes on the man. “Where are you taking me?” he repeated. The first relinquished Nic's arm to another's care and turned to face him. “You cost my cap'n a large sum of money last night with your poor fighting.”

“The man was twice my size!” Nic snarled, feeling the man's complaint as if it were a sucker punch.

“Yes, well, the cap'n had high hopes for you. Your reputation, up to last night, was … unequaled. He put a fair sum down on you.”

“That's a gambler's risk.” He pulled again, hoping to get free, but the men still held stubbornly to his arms. If he could get even one fist free.…

The leader grinned, showing a mouthful of decaying teeth. “Too bad you didn't win last night. He believes you owe him the money he lost.”

“That's preposterous!” The man shrugged and smiled again. “Be that as it may, we are only obliged to follow our cap'n's orders. And our cap'n is now yours as well.”

Nic paused and swallowed hard. So that was it. These men intended to shanghai him--force him to serve aboard their ship. “You're nothing but a crimp! There are laws against--”

“For American ships, sailing under American laws,” said the man. He motioned to the others and turned to walk toward the docks, the others following behind, dragging Nic along. “We lost a dozen men here in port to the fever,” he said, turning partially toward Nic to speak while they walked. “Now the cap'n is not only cantankerous over losin' them, but also losin' his heavy purse over you. It's your bum luck. Best to accept it and embrace it, man. Six months from now, you'll be set free, in whatever port you wish.”

“If I'm not already dead.”

The man laughed, a slow, deep guffaw that eventually built into laughter that spread among the others. “Aye, that's the risk of any sailor's life, especially in the waters where we are headed.” He looked over his shoulder at his prisoner. “Come along, St. Clair. Cease your struggle. It is of no use. You'll take to the water, you'll see. Yes'sir, gamblers and fighters--they make the best of seamen. You might find you love it as much as the ring.”

Cañon City, Colorado

Reid Bannock straightened, groaning at the ache in the small of his back and between his shoulders. He set the pickax against his leg and gestured to the water boy to come his way. He casually met the gaze of the deputy, who watched over the prison chain gang with an armed shotgun resting across his arms. The man gave him a slight nod. They got on, the two of them. Reid fancied the idea that the younger man felt sorry for him even, though the two had never shared more than a few words. Undoubtedly, Deputy Johnson knew Reid's story, passed along more from lawman to lawman than within his files.

The blue-lipped, shivering water boy finally reached him and offered up a grubby ladle full of water. The boy's hand trembled violently, not out of fear but from exposure. In the cold, the top of his bucket kept frosting over and encased the whole thing in ice. He had to break through the top to fetch Reid the water, and it was so cold, it made Reid's teeth hurt as he drank.

It stayed cold, even within him, making him feel as if he swallowed a chunk of ice rather than liquid. He coughed, thumped his chest, and gazed up at the mountains, finally clear after the blizzard. It mattered little, this trial. In a few months he'd be free. Regardless of the sentence, he'd be free. Every morning, he was up and dressed, awaiting the deputy who would chain him to others for the work on the new prison building, whatever the weather. Only the blizzard had allowed them a few days' respite. Each mornin', he greeted the deputy with a friendly word, knowing that consistent good behavior could knock months off a man's sentence.

By his calculations, the county was drawing too many new people, and therefore too many new criminals. The general's propaganda was doing its good work, and Colorado Springs, Pueblo, even Cañon City were seeing pioneers arrive by the thousands, all hoping to make a new life for themselves. After a winter like they'd had, many of them were liable to be desperate, driven to desperate decisions, not all of them on the right side of the law. Already, Reid shared his tiny cell with five other men. Word had it that a sixth would be brought in soon, left to sleep on the narrow space that was currently the only flooring between the two bunks, each with three levels. How long until a seventh arrived? Yes, when number seven arrived, tough decisions would have to be made; the prison warden would have to speak with judges, finding a means to alleviate the pressure before the prisoners exploded.

“Get back to work, Bannock,” the deputy barked.

“Yes sir, right away, sir,” Reid called back, immediately picking up his ax. He lifted it up over his left shoulder and then let it arc down toward the boulder in front of him, imagining faces upon it, as he had every day on every rock he had destroyed over the last three years.

Moira St. Clair. The woman who had stolen his heart, and then crushed it.

Dominic St. Clair. The man who had stood between Moira and him.

Odessa and Bryce McAllan, the people who refused to give up what was destined to be his.

A chunk of granite fell away with his next strike, revealing a tiny, crooked line of gold that glittered in the sun, too small to warrant the work of extraction, but tantalizing. It was common, these tiny remnants, teasing their discoverers with the idea about where the rock had once stood and what vein had once connected to this small one.… In spite of himself, he leaned forward and traced the line with his finger. Gold. Silver. Treasure untold. Sam O'Toole or his parents had discovered something, up near his mine. Something beyond the few sweet silver nuggets he'd brought out to Westcliffe and sold. Had the McAllans discovered it yet? Had they squired it away for a rainy day?

“The Spaniards, they came up this way, ya know,” said an old man, chained to his right leg. He was a chatty fellow, and Reid glanced at him before striking with the pickax again.

“That so?” he said casually.

“Yep. My great-granddaddy, he was a trapper. Ran with Kit Carson and the like for a time. Knew a lot of Injuns.”

“And the Spaniards?” Reid asked lowly.

“My great-granddaddy, he was chased right up into the Sangres by the Ute who didn't take kindly to him being--”

“You two!” barked the deputy, frowning in their direction. “Less talking, more work!”

Reid frowned too and doubled his efforts against the boulder. But with each strike, he wondered more about what the old man had to say. A few minutes later, he dared to glance at the old man.

I'll tell you later, his eyes said.

©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. Sing by Lisa Bergren. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.

***MY REVIEW:*** Having not read the previous book, "Breathe", I found myself a little lost at times. But not so much that it detracted from the story.

I was drawn right into the story, anxiously flipping pages to see what would happen. I was always left guessing, never having a clue at how things would play out. The characters were well fleshed-out and loveable, the ‘bad guys’ equally dislikable.

One thing I absolutely loved about this book were the ‘edgy’ storylines… one with Moira, and one with Odessa. This book depicted how things often play out in real life, and didn’t pussyfoot around issues — jus the kind of book I enjoy.

Of course, the ending left me frustrated and wanting to know more. But, I suppose that just means I’ll have to read the concluding story, “Claim“, to find out what will happen!

Friday, April 23, 2010

TOUR: "Real World Parents" by Mark Matlock

***NOTE: I will review this book when I receive it ~ I didn't sign up to tour it, but am doing so because I will be getting a copy of this book later. Thanks!***


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:

Real World Parents: Christian Parenting for Families Living in the Real World

Zondervan/Youth Specialties (February 23, 2010)


Mark Matlock has been working with youth pastors, students, and parents for two decades. He speaks to hundreds of thousands of students around the world each year, and presents biblical truths in ways that motivate people to change. Mark is the vice president of event content at Youth Specialties and the founder of WisdomWorks Ministries and PlanetWisdom. He’s the author of several books including The Wisdom On - series, Living a Life That Matters, Don’t Buy The Lie, Freshman, and Smart Faith. Mark lives in Texas with his wife Jade and their two children.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Zondervan/Youth Specialties (February 23, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310669367
ISBN-13: 978-0310669364


What Are Real World Parents?

I have a vivid memory of being a teenager and sitting at the dinner table with my family, rolling my eyes and pretending to gag behind my dad's back.


He was trying to do family devotions with us. But my three younger brothers and I just weren't buying it.

Every four or five months my dad would hear some program on Christian radio about family devotions, and he'd come home with another new idea for making it work with our family. After all, that's what Christian families are supposed to do, right? But it just never worked in our house. It felt completely forced and unnatural.

Still, somehow all four of us Matlock boys ended up in ministry. My youngest brother, Jonathan, helped me start WisdomWorks Ministries, and now we both do pretty much the same kind of youth ministry and youth minister support through Youth Specialties. Our brother Josh is a senior pastor in Southern California, and our brother Jeremy is a missionary in Russia. And still to this day, whenever Dad tries to bring us together for Òfamily devotionsÓ during the holidays, we mock him a little. It's become a kind of tradition because it isn't genuine for who we are as a family.

Now, I'm not saying that having kids who serve in some area of ministry means you're a successful parent. The point I'm making is that all four of my dad's sons grew into men with a real passion and appreciation for God's Word--even though he couldn't get us to sit still and take the reading of the Word seriously during repeated failed attempts at family devotions.

Why? Because we knew he had a real passion and appreciation for God's Word. We saw Dad reading the Bible. We saw him struggle to apply it to his life. We saw both of our parents base their decisions on their understanding of what the Bible teaches.

Ultimately we were convinced of the worldview contained in the pages of Scripture because we saw our parents openly endorsing it, talking about it, learning from it, and living it out day after day, year after year. That was enough for us--despite the failed attempts at family devotions.

That's what this book is about. We're not interested in presenting more artificial techniques and methodology to ÒfixÓ our kids or do what Christian families are Òsupposed to do.Ó Rather we want to help you discover how to live for God in a real way, right in front of your kids, so they can't help but catch the big picture that God and his Word mean the world to us and that living for Jesus really works in the Real World.

Don't get me wrong. Not all families are built to the same specifications. We each have our own family DNA. So if family devotions fit who you are, more power to you! Organized, structured, traditional family devotions are a great tool for some families. Now that my wife, Jade, and I have two kids of our own--our son Dax is in middle school, and our daughter Skye is 10--we've tried to have a family Bible hour around the table. It kind of worked off and on when the kids were younger, but we eventually realized it wasn't a good fit for the natural rhythm of our lives. It's not who we are right now. So instead we've found ways to talk about God's Word that are a better fit for us.

As we work together through the concepts in this book, one thing we'll discover is that Real World Parents are real in the sense that they do what best fits their families, and they genuinely adjust their own lives to fit into God's story.

Is God Happy with My Family?

In the church today, there's some really good teaching on parenting. My wife and I have benefited from writers, conference speakers, and pastors who've opened God's Word and helped us connect with what it means to raise up our children in the way they should go, how to provide godly discipline, and ideas for reinforcing good behavior. But again, that's not what this book is about.

And, honestly, over the years I've been frustrated with some teaching on parenting that's built around making parents feel guilty. These teachers, authors, books, and programs build parenting models based on our common fear that we're going to mess up our kids--or that we've already messed up our kids. That's an easy road that plays on our fears and our guilt over the areas in which we struggle as parents. Then they suggest that their programs or perspectives are our final hope to Òget it rightÓ or, worse, to do it the only way God wants it done.

That's not what this book is about, either. I promise not to use your parenting fears and anxieties against you. And we all have those feelings. I know I have them. If you could spend a little time with my family, you'd quickly see that we have issues, too. Those prone to critiquing parents would have no trouble criticizing my wife and me. So, no, I'm not interested in beating up other parents in order to somehow make them feel better or more motivated in their parenting.

In fact, I'd like to communicate exactly the opposite.

In our Real World Parent seminars, held around the United States, our teachers use a self-diagnostic tool to help attendees identify what they believe God thinks of their families.

It goes something like this:

What do you think God sees when he looks at your family? Do you think God grins or grimaces? (Place an X on the line.)

God Grins God Grimaces

This can be a challenging question if you take it seriously. On one hand, those of us who've grown up in Christian churches understand the idea of God's grace. We understand that our relationship with God isn't based on our performance. God sacrificed his only Son--the Son whom God loves so deeply--to pay for our sins on a cross. And God did this long before we even knew we wanted that gift from God. Thus, we'd always check the box that says God's love is unconditional for those of us in Christ.

Still, we have trouble carrying the idea of God's grace into our parenting. We can talk ourselves into believing that failing our kids is an unforgivable sin, that God could never be pleased with us if we've been guilty of sloppy or harsh or inconsistent or selfish or fearful or overprotective or neglectful parenting.

We may wonder how God could ever look at our families and grin. And the problem is that, as parents, we sometimes forget that we're also children--that our God is our Father, and that God is more lovingly inclined to smile at us than we are to smile at our own kids. Our Father loves us, and he forgives our parenting shortcomings and our family failings.

I will say this more than once: Nothing you read in this book will make God the Father love you and your family any more than he does right now, no matter what's going on with your family today.

I made this statement at one of our Real World Parent seminars, and I noticed that one of the women began to cry. She came up to me later and explained how inferior she's felt as a mother in her local church. Her husband isn't a believer, her kids get into trouble, and she just felt like such a failure--like a second-class parent in a church where most of the other parents were both Christians, still married, and raising such ÒniceÓ children.

I tried to assure her that God's grace applies to us as parents, and that in Christ she is forgiven and fully accepted as a beloved daughter (and mom!). The idea that God loved her family right now--in its present condition--was a reality she wasn't living in. She felt she was ÒunderperformingÓ as a parent and couldn't keep up. So she said the idea that she's forgiven, accepted, and loved as a parent gave her immense comfort.

Ernest Hemingway's short story called ÒThe Capital of the WorldÓ begins with an anecdote about a man in Madrid who put an ad in the newspaper to contact his estranged son. The ad read, PACO, MEET ME AT HOTEL MONTANA NOON TUESDAY. ALL IS FORGIVEN. PAPA. The story then describes how at noon on Tuesday, 800 young men arrived at the hotel to make peace with their fathers.

The joke was that there are lots of guys in Spain named Paco. But the other message is that wanting our dads' approval, specifically, is a universal human experience. Taking nothing away from the indispensable role of our mothers, we all long to have our fathers sign off on who we are and what we're doing.

It's what psychologists call Òfather hunger.Ó

As Christians, followers of Jesus, we have that hunger even in our roles as parents, even if we've made mistakes along the way. Our Father has forgiven us. We live in God's grace. God approves of us in Christ. And, yes, God loves us.

I want to make it perfectly clear--again--that you'll find no directives in this book that will make God love you or your family even a little bit more than he already does. God's unconditional love for your family was established long ago. It is full. It cannot grow. Romans 8:1 declares, ÒTherefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.Ó And that includes Christian parents.

I hope you've heard that. But I also hope you aren't satisfied to leave your family where it is today. Because while I'm convinced that God will never love or accept you any more than he does right now, I'm also convinced that God loves you so much that he won't leave you where you are right now, either.

No matter how good or bad you believe your family is, God has plans for you that will unfold in the Real World. God will continue to move your family along in the journey he has in store for you. Which is why this book is designed to help Real World Parents understand that journey--or story--and communicate it to our kids.

ÒHow Will This Book Fix My Kids?Ó 

As long as we're talking about things this book isn't, I should mention again that in the following pages you won't find any tips or tricks or techniques to fix your children's bad behavior. (We'd probably sell more copies if that's what we were promising, but we're not.)

In my experience, books full of tips, techniques, and tricks succeed at making readers feel good for a while. They make us feel hopeful. They make us feel as though we're doing something about the problem. But they often fail in the long run because we just can't keep it up. We can't change the personalities of our families to fit the models of the new programs on an ongoing basis.

When my kids came along, though, and I started making my way through all the different kinds of Christian parenting books, I noticed that a lot of them focused on helping me raise well-behaved, well-mannered kids. And while that's an important element, there wasn't much focus on raising kids to have hearts that seek after Christ. Of course we can't force that kind of spiritual openness and connectedness with God onto our kids--but in our Real World homes, we can create environments that promote such growth.

In a sense we become gardeners tending the spiritual development of our kids. God places the spark of life in the seed. We can't control that or how the plant eventually matures. But we can make sure the soil is rich, the ground is generously watered, the weeds are kept at bay, and the opportunity for sunlight is freely available. We can raise our children in environments where having a heart for God is the norm and not the exception.

What we don't want to generate are well-behaved kids who mindlessly follow our directions without ever willfully owning the faith in Jesus that they see in us. In the long run, the goal of parenting isn't for our kids to be known for how well-behaved they are, but for how well they know and respond to God.

Part of our challenge is to communicate to our kids a worldview that supports right actions. It's true that we (and they) will be held accountable for our behavior based on God's instructions to us. But whether or not we obey those instructions has a lot to do with whether or not we really believe God's story--a biblical worldview--and whether or not we walk in God's power.

In that way, our children's behavior is kind of like the tip of an iceberg. From countless illustrations we all know that the part of the iceberg that rises above the waterline is just a fraction of its total size. As such, you could conceivably make all kinds of alterations to the exposed part of the iceberg--in other words, the outward stuff (behaviors)--without significantly altering the iceberg itself.

What we've got to get at--in our own lives and in the lives of our kids--is the 80 percent of the berg that's under the waterline. In our illustration that represents one's worldview. We believe our behavior is ultimately driven by our understanding of the way the world works, of what we believe to be true and false about the universe, of our perception of reality.

And that's what we want to focus on as Real World Parents. How can we communicate God's worldview to our kids? What story are we telling them about the universe, both intentionally and--more importantly--in the way we live with and for God over time?

Before you move on to the next chapter, ask yourself these questions: 

1. When you imagine God looking at your family, what do you think God sees? What do you believe God's desire for your family is?

2. When you look at the world your children are living in, do you believe it's better or worse compared to when you were growing up? Why?

3. Which matters more to you--that your children demonstrate good behavior, or that your children understand and believe in a biblical worldview? Why?

4. In your own life, what has mattered more in the long run--your behavior on any given day or your foundational beliefs about God and the world?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

TOUR: "Live Big!" by Katie Brazelton

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:

Live Big! 10 Life Coaching Tips for Living Large, Passionate Dreams

Howard Books; Original edition (February 2, 2010)


Katie Brazelton, Ph.D., M.Div., M.A., is a life coach and bestselling author. She is the founder of Life Purpose Coaching Centers International, which trains Christians worldwide to become Life Purpose Coach professionals and assist others to discover and fulfill God’s plan for their lives. Dr. Brazelton was formerly a licensed minister and director of women’s Bible studies at Saddleback Church and now is a professor at Rockbridge Seminary. She lives in Southern California and has two children and two grandchildren. She is the author of the bestselling series Pathway to Purpose for Women and Character Makeover: 40 Days with a Life Coach to Create the Best You.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Howard Books; Original edition (February 2, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1439135606
ISBN-13: 978-1439135600



Imagine that you and I are being pampered in first class, relaxing comfortably on an afternoon flight to your favorite world-class resort. As we gaze out the airplane window, it seems as though we're floating through an endless sea of marshmallow clouds, soaring together through the heavens. Up here, dreams somehow seem crystal clear. I think it's because we can pretend we've risen above the rough, mountainous terrain of life and can look down on our hills and valleys, seeing events from a fresh perspective.

From this bird's-eye view, glance down at what is below: your daily routine, closest relationships, untapped potential, and countless opportunities. Let this vantage point help you set your sights on a passionate megadream and an inspiring hope for the future!

I would not dare to author a book on such an important topic as Living Big without practicing what I preach. So, as I write this, I am on a flight to Hawaii (I wish it were first class) for an extended stay to consider living there indefinitely. I was raised in Hawaii and the Marshall Islands in a navy family, so the tropical breeze has always been alluring to me. Might this be where I will plant another Life Purpose Coaching Center...or find the time to launch my long-dreamed-of radio show...or finish this book? I don't know the answers to those questions, but I do know that I can't fail, because this is simply an experiment, with memories waiting to be made. I'm not going to rush the process or force a decision, only enjoy the journey to yea or nay. There is no right or wrong way to dream.

Well, actually, I do believe there's one wrong way, and that is to let the dream stagnate without taking any action!

I am embarking on this time of exploration because I am in a new season of my life, formally ending two decades of single parenting. My son recently accepted an out-of-state job promotion, taking his sweet wife and my two young grandsons with him. Shortly thereafter, my daughter announced her engagement, which means she, too, will be moving away from our home area. In the blink of an eye, without my permission, I have been thrust into a new chapter of my life. On one hand, I am sad and fearful. On the other hand, now I have no more excuses for not doing whatever I want, which is another way of saying "whatever I feel God is calling me to do next."

I am operating in a spirit of supersized living right now, and not just because I may soon be draped in large muumuus, walking barefoot to the local market to buy macadamia-nut chocolates, and blatantly enticing my family with extended holiday vacations in paradise.

Dreaming in high definition and surround sound -- and then taking appropriate steps to live those dreams -- is what this book is all about. You may not have a burning desire to move to a distant land, but what do you want out of life? Are you a student anxiously finishing college? A young mom who's busy raising twins? An overseas missionary on a brand-new assignment? A career woman vying for an enviable position? A widow with only a few pressing obligations? Regardless of your role in life, you and I have a few things in common:

- We love to dream.

- God designed us to dream.

- And there's no day like today to start discovering God's best!

I need you to know that I'm not so far up in the clouds that I am unaware of your everyday realities. Life has prepared me well to be your Life Coach. I have a testimony of brokenness, and I'm honored to help you dream. Check out what I call "My 7 Big D's" -- events that shaped me for nearly twenty years.

My 7 Big D's

1982 Barely survived a serious, four-month depression.

1986 Devastated by a totally unexpected divorce.

1988 Confused about having to rewrite my doctoral dissertation.

1990 Deeply saddened by the death of my exhusband.

1991 Angered by a corporate downsizing, which left me laid off just days after buying a home.

1993 Terrified by a dating incident.

2001 Shocked by the death of my dream when my first book contract was canceled due to budget cuts after 9/11.

What does this list tell you, other than that I must have built up a lot of stamina by now? It says that you can trust me to understand what you're going through and to tell it like it is when I coach you -- without skirting around the issues. I care deeply about making sure you don't get stuck in the quagmire of life, as I did too many times.

These chapters will take you on a journey to find what you're really jazzed about -- what makes you smile, laugh, play, sing, and dance. It's time to daydream about the adventure God has in store for you!

Amos 4:13 tells us that God reveals His thoughts to us: "He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mortals, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth -- the Lord God Almighty is his name." We want to do whatever it takes to be ready for that revelation.

As your Life Coach, I will come alongside you like a Barnabas (a name that Acts 4:36 tells us means "son of encouragement"). We will enjoy life-changing chats about you, stealing precious moments within your hectic schedule. I know how hard it is for you to find time for a conversation about your legacy, your destiny, your divine urge. As you are able to sneak away from your daily routine, it will be my job and my joy to sit with you and draw out of you the distinct calling God laid on your heart eons ago, before you were ever born. And then, equally important, we will put baby steps in place to help you live out your exciting, God-designed purpose, which has long been the desire in your soul even if it has lain dormant.

This book is loaded with modern, true stories of everyday saints, Bible character parallels, inspirational quotes, some of my favorite Scripture verses, heartfelt prayers, ten coaching tips, forty action steps, reflection questions, and practical exercises with sample answers from my own life to trigger your thinking. (Don't miss the Web downloads, too, which are my special gift to you!) You will hear from real women -- students, wives, mothers, a widow, career women, church staff members -- who all have tremendous testimonies to share. I urge you to break all of the normal book-reading rules and jump into the chapters in any sequence you please. Did you know that doing the unexpected can change your perspective, which will then cause you to see your world through new eyes?

I've chosen these particular topics for us to explore in detail as we discover what it takes to Live Big!

1. Face Your Fears

2. Learn to Exhale

3. Honor Your Deepest Longings

4. Don't Ever Give Up

5. Use Your Past for Good

6. Expect Miracles

7. Forgive Someone

8. Eat Dessert First

9. Ask Jesus for Vision

10. Capture Your Live Big! Dream

I can't help but think: If only someone had told me that! or Why didn't I learn that in school? Frankly, I feel there ought to be a law mandating that schools teach us to be tenacious, forgiving, and courageous. We need classes at church that help us reach for our dreams, expect miracles, focus forward, and breathe calmly through adversity. But most important, we must learn how to play and to stop taking ourselves so seriously and to start cherishing God's incredibly specific plan for our lives. In this way, we address the habits that help us attract or sabotage God's boldest wishes for us.

Each of the ten coaching tips will give you a broader, richer understanding of how to run and finish the race well.

You probably picked up this book because you want to travel boldly down the path to purpose and fulfillment, yet perhaps you've lost sight of your dreams, hopes, and longings -- possibly because of regrets, exhaustion, stubbornness, fears, sins, and so on. We're all burdened with something. You want to bring glory to God with your life, but you may be carrying such a heavy weight of boredom, loneliness, doubt, pride, and/or hopelessness that you've forgotten how to unleash your creativity. The biblical perspective in this book will help you hear God's promptings more clearly and act on them with pure joy.

I encourage you to dream big dreams during this eyeopening, heart-pounding quest. Let me share with you forty proven, incremental steps that I personally have used for years and have coached my clients through -- action steps that will help you to live a significance-filled life. God will be honored, and you will be blessed. You will find yourself empowered beyond your wildest imagination as you Live Big!

Will you take your first small step today?

NOTE: I have not received this book.

Monday, April 19, 2010

TOUR: "One Million Arrows" by Julie Ferwerda

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

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

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

One Million Arrows: Raising Your Children to Change the World

Winepress Publishing (September 1, 2009)

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


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

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

Product Details:

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


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


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


What were you doing on 9/11?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Firemen of Life

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

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

In other words, time is running out.

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

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

I want to raise kids who love like Jesus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A powerful book about raising up our children to be spiritual "arrows" for God's quiver, ready to make a difference in the world -- or, even just in their sphere of influence!

This inspiring book showcases examples of other Christian parents, and their very devoted Christian children who are already making a difference in the world -- for example, Alex & Brett Harris ( ) and their big brother, Joshua Harris (author of "I Kissed Dating Goodbye"). And, it not only showcases parents, but also teens who've built ministries from the ground up, and caring, compassionate people (like "Papa" in India) who have taken in orphans & abandoned children to raise them up in the hopes that they, too, will spread God's Word throughout their towns & villages.

I definitely recommend this book, especially if you've thought that you can't do anything to change the world around you... even ONE person can make a difference... that's what this book will teach you. ;)

[This book was received through FIRST Wild Card Tours]

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

TOUR: "Power PraiseMoves DVD" by Laurette Willis

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:

Power PraiseMoves™ DVD

December 1, 2009

***Special thanks to David P. Bartlett - Print & Internet Publicist - Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Laurette Willis, the founder of PraiseMoves®, is a Women’s Fitness Specialist and certified personal trainer, as well as a popular keynote speaker and an award-winning actor and playwright. She has produced the videos PraiseMoves™ and 20-Minute PraiseMoves™ and written BASIC Steps to Godly Fitness.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $16.99
Actors: Laurette Willis
Directors: Josh Atkinson
Format: NTSC
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: CT Videography
DVD Release Date: December 1, 2009
Run Time: 120 minutes
ASIN: 0736928456


Laurette Willis has designed a very Scripturally sound yoga workout for Christians. Each and every posture is linked to a related Scripture verse, and the Scriptures are repeated so that you're learning the verses as you're doing the moves.

Laurette, herself, is friendly and engaging.

I didn't like that, in the introduction, the camera kept switching back and forth from front view to side view. This was very distracting, especially since Laurette didn't turn her head when the camera went to a side view.

Also, I found the music and soft-spoken instruction throughout the workout to be almost too relaxing -- it made me sleepy!

The instructions and postures were easy to follow, all of them being slow & steady. The old yoga postures are given new names with Christian symbolism, like "The Flapping Tent" (cat pose), "Little Child" (child's pose), and several others.

Included are also an Abs workout (using the more abs-focused postures), and a Power Sequence (the same overall postures in more rapid succession).

A good workout, especially if you love to learn Scripture!

[This book was received through FIRST Wild Card Tours]