GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Book Crash Review: Thirty Days of Bible Study for Busy Mamas by Pam Forster #grow4christ


About the Book:

It’s not easy, getting into the Word when your house is full of little ones who need you twenty-four hours a day.

But it’s essential.

The goal of this book is to offer special encouragement and help to busy mothers who need the nourishment of God’s Word in their demanding lives. 30 Days of Bible Study for Busy Mamas: Colossians 3 will help you slow down and really study the Bible, even if you can only study for a few minutes at a time.

Here is a simple but deep approach to Bible study, divided into five-minute portions that will leave you encouraged and excited as you discover that you can study the Bible, even when your house is full of children!

So here’s the challenge: Set aside just five to ten minutes a day – even if it’s just one minute at a time – to study the Bible. This book will help!

Includes thirty days of Bible study directions in Colossians 3, plus extra sections like:

  • Ideas for marking in your Bible
  • How to make time for Bible study when you have small children
  • How to study more on your own after you finish the 30 days in Colossians 3
  • This study started as a series of posts on Pam’s Doorposts of Your House blog, where she discovered other busy mamas who were looking for simple but meaningful Bible study. If you aren’t sure where to start, or if you don’t think you have time for Bible study, this booklet will get you started!

You can buy the book (in print or ebook) at Doorposts or on Amazon.

My Opinion:

You may be thinking – I’ve tried it before and Bible studies that are supposed to be for busy moms, usually aren’t and it’ll be the same way with this one.  Put aside your misconceptions because this one study that only takes a few minutes and is truly for busy moms like you and I.  In only 93 pages you’ll be taken on a month long journey into Colossians 3 and read more in depth study of Paul’s letter to the church of Colassae (I hope I didn’t spell that wrong) using the inductive study method and online sources to really dig into the meat of one chapter.  A month?  On one chapter?  You’ll probably think that that sounds like a ridiculous amount of time to spend on just one chapter – but that is what makes it so good for busy moms because it takes 5 minutes or less to complete the days work and learn from Scripture.

The only items you’ll need are the study book, a Bible in your choice of translation (the study quotes the ESV), something to write on, something to write with and a computer with internet access.  If you don’t have have internet access, no worries, just get yourself a concordance and 2 or more Bibles in different translations (my library has a lot of Bibles in different translations).  There are optional items to have as well and since they’re optional I’m not going to spend a lot of time on those but they will aid you study greatly if you can access them like colored pencils or pens, a computer print out of Colossians 3 if you don’t want to mark in your Bible and an audio version of the Bible (some are available for free on the internet).  Next find a time where you can carve out 5 minutes or 1 minute here and there through out the day, gather your supplies in a basket or at least together (I use a cute small tote bag from my favorite company) and get started.

The book is so feminine and beautiful looking inside and out – it makes me want to do the study – so making the time to do it – whether it’s getting up a few minutes early, sneaking a couple minutes while the children are at one of their activities, the book makes it easy.  After the study is complete?  There are plenty of tips in the back for how to continue an inductive study on your own and more, which makes it great for moms who want to find a way to study and this gives us the confidence to do so on our own and really study His Word as we seek Him.

(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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FlyBy Promotions Review: King’s Faith DVD #grow4christ #giveaway


You can enter the giveaway by using the Rafflecopter form or try this link.

About the DVD:

Eighteen foster homes. Nine arrests. One life-changing moment.

After Brendan King’s life spiraled to rock bottom, the teen found hope in a new relationship with Christ while serving time in a juvenile penitentiary. Recently released from prison, Brendan finds solace in the foster home of a couple struggling with suppressed grief.

As the city-bred teen enrolls at a suburban high school, he finds support from a group of believers. Yet the bonds of his old way of life—and the gang that wants to know where he hid their stash on a long-ago night—are strong. In his darkest moment, Brendan found faith. Now he must decide if it’s worth the price to hold on to it.

King’s Faith stars Emmy Award winning actress Lynn Whitfield (The Women of Brewster Place, Madea’s Family Reunion), Crawford Wilson (Judging Amy, Zoey 101), Kayla Compton (Entourage), and James McDaniel (Malcolm X, NYPD Blue).

King’s Faith features the themes of courage, forgiveness and overcoming your past highlighted with the important message of youth in foster care. The film prompts audiences to consider many of the questions they struggle with today: How can I stand firm in my faith when life’s challenges put me to the test? Where do I turn when I feel paralyzed by loss and grief? Can I find true forgiveness from my wrong choices?

My Opinion:

This movie revolves around 18 year old Brendan King who served time in a boy’s reform camp and is trying to get his life on track after giving his life to the Lord at the camp and truly becoming one of the reformed – both inside and out.  Of course, as most Christians know, being Christian isn’t easy even though there are those who believe that being a Christian and putting faith in Christ is for the weak who need a crutch – and so Brendan is about to find out as he re-enters the ‘real’ world.  While this movie will resonate with those who foster children it will also strike a chord with anyone who has a heart for children – like me, I’d love to foster and/or adopt but it’s not possible at this time but I like to see how it wasn’t just the foster parents who make a difference in Brendan’s life – but everyone he comes in contact with, even the cop who tells Brendan he’s one of the 90% who will be a recidivist back to the system.

Brendan struggles as we all do with our faith and how to actively live it – and how to listen to God or to give into our own fleshly desires.  In one scene he literally has to make a life or death decision and he has to remember to listen to God or follow what his mortal mind is telling him – God’s vengeance or Brendan’s vengeance.  A movie that shows how healing begins and it’s not keeping pain all bottled up inside and how only God can give true healing and peace inside and also help in making the decisions that can either make or break life.  Rated PG-13, it deals with a young high school who made a choice to abort a pre-born child and hide it from everyone, gangs, drugs, and some adult situations although there is no ‘adult scenes’ and I’d be totally fine with watching this with my 11 1/2 year old daughter once she’s able to enjoy a movie.  Run time is 108 minutes and it’s a well spent hour and a half or so, even if you watch it on your own like I did.

 

(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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#Scoliosis Surgery – #grow4christ


Well it’s done.  While it may have been a success in straightening her back – it’s been a long road so far in her recovery.  Let me tell you a little story about a girl named Hannah….

If you don’t know the whole story – you can find the posts I’ve done in the past in the right side bar – all posts are linked up on that page, including this one.  So Hannah is 11 (12 in February) and she made an adult decision.  The night before surgery her doctor called and said he doesn’t think he’ll have to fuse the lower curve BUT she’ll have to wear a brace until skeletal maturity (think years more in a brace that hasn’t helped so far) AND there still may be a good chance that she’ll need surgery at a later date.  Well, she decided to have go ahead and have both curves fused and honestly seeing what she’s going through now I know I wouldn’t want her going through it a second time!

So we arrived at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. on Friday the 25th.  The doctors all came, the nurses all came and eventually they came and got her right on time at 7:30 a.m.  After they did that my husband and I went to the cafeteria to get a quick breakfast and then went up to wait, and wait, and wait – did I mention we waited?  At a little before 9 a.m. we got the call from the nurse in the surgery that the doctor had started making the incision – no turning back now!

The nurse was great even coming to the PICU waiting room in person to check on us, give us an update and see if we needed anything (our daughter, please?).  At a little after 2 p.m. we got the call – the doctor had finished closing and she was going back to recovery.  Approximately 7 hours without our daughter knowing that someone (even though we trust him) was cutting into her back.  There was some issue we were told with closing because of her size – confusing since we were told her size works in her favor.  Two hours later we were allowed back to her PICU room and got to see our beautiful, swollen Hannah.   Besides the day she was born I was never so happy to see her – even if she couldn’t really talk to me.

Hubby stayed for a little while after that and then left to go home to get our other two children from his parent’s house where they stayed the night Thursday.  I slept hardly at all and Hannah slept well because of all the medications even though the nurses were coming in every hour to turn her (an excruciating experience) and do vitals and make sure there was no neurological damage – our biggest fear was that she could be paralyzed.  We were only supposed to be in one night but due to her developing a plural (sp?) effusion we got to stay another night as the surgical resident had to put in a chest tube – two rounds of lasix didn’t resolved the issue and her oxygen saturation was horrible.  She was also given her one unit of blood she donated earlier, on the 2nd day.  She lost about a pint and half during surgery and they gave some of that back using cell saver.

She started eating and drinking a little on the 2nd day which was great since she hadn’t had anything since 9:30 p.m. on Thursday.  Since she still can’t sit up – her first several hours were spent lying completely flat and she still isn’t allowed any pillows.  She was vomiting a lot on the first night even with anti-nausea meds.  My mom stayed till 2 a.m. our 2nd night so I could sleep which was so wonderful to get a few mostly uninterrupted hours of sleep.  I hated that she needed the chest tube but they got out almost approx 500 cc’s of fluid and blood in her chest cavity – that doesn’t account for the samples they took for testing – and her oxygen began improving but the pain is bad and she can’t be turned to her right side.

On our 3rd day we got moved to her regular room – the jostling set off a lot of pain so the anesthesiologist gave her 2 doses worth of morphine to get her through the night and they did.  She and I both slept well as this floor is a bit more quiet even though the nurses and respiratory therapists are in and out all night.  She still needs turned every couple hours to keep bed sores and such at bay and so they check her incision and epidural.  Thankfully the surgery stopped at L3 as the doctor was worried he might have to fuse L4 which would have been bad for mobility.   So far we’ve gotten good care and most everyone has been wonderful in making her comfortable – the only exception being that the one anesthesiologist isn’t the most patient and he talks fast so when I didn’t hear his question he waved me off and walked out of the room!

So that is the update for now – if you’re on Facebook you can follow along there – I’m trying to remember everything but in a sleep deprived mind things become fuzzy and since I haven’t left the hospital since Friday I haven’t had much daylight exposure either 😀

Thank you for reading.

 

(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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B&B Media: Our God Comes Worship CD #grow4christ


About the CD:

Antioch Live, the worship band for Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas, has signed with the new record label Clear Day Worship. As the music arm of Clear Day Media Group based in Waco, Texas, Clear Day Worship and Antioch Live debuted the new album OUR GOD COMES at the World Mandate Conference September 20 and the CD hit #2 on iTunes.

“World Mandate 2013 was the perfect venue for launching this new CD. Everyday people were united by a passion for Jesus with a desire to worship God and change the world. That is what we are about,” states Clear Day Media Group president, David Seibert. “OUR GOD COMES is a passionate and thrilling worship release captured at Antioch Community Church in Waco, TX. We look forward to seeing how God uses this worship music to bless the Church.” continues Seibert.

Antioch is home to a worldwide church planting and worship movement, ministering to the needs of thousands internationally. Antioch Community Church currently has 30 church plants in the United States and another 40 in other parts of the world with more than 30,000 people involved with the movement. Antioch Live’s “Forever Sound” CD released last year was #3 on iTunes.

The worship music and lyrics on OUR GOD COMES expresses the heart cry, prayers and joy of the worship team, songwriters and musicians from Antioch, led by James Mark Gulley. From the opening strains of audience approval, joyous praise and worship floods the listeners’ ears and ageless unchanging truths find a new sound for today! The savvy musical arrangements and gifted song writing flow from “Come” to “Our God Comes”, and the glorious experience is documented from the choruses of “Wonderful Counselor”, “How Much More” and “Savior Forever”.

Clear Day Media Groupcreates products to help people see God clearly and impact the world through Christ-centered content.

The 72-minute, live recording was produced by James Mark Gulley and assistant Owen Wible, recorded by Randy Adams and mastered at Marcussen Mastering in Hollywood, CA by Stephen Marcussen. Featuring songwriters James Mark Gulley, Stephen Gulley, Brandon Seibert, Thomas Wilson and Johanna Six, OUR GOD COMES also features worship leaders James Mark Gulley, Stephen Gulley, Johanna Six and Clare Berlinsky.

The full track listing forOUR GOD COMES is as follows:

  1. Come
  2. God And King
  3. Wonderful Counselor
  4. God Who Saves
  5. How Much More
  6. I Will Raise
  7. …Response
  8. Light Me Up
  9. Awaken Us
  10. One Hundred Three
  11. …Return
  12. Savior Forever
  13. …Selah
  14. Our God Comes

You can find more information and how to purchase on Clear Day Media’s website.

My Opinion:

I have to say that I really enjoyed this CD – I played it in the vehicle and all my children were singing along almost instantly with it even though most of the songs were new to us all.  Most of the songs were quiet so perfect for worship as the title indicates – that really just puts you into the mood to just worship the Lord with some great music and lyrics as you come before His presence.   I wish I had brought it with me to the hospital to listen too so I could have some great worship music as my daughter and I face long hours of waiting.  The instruments do not overpower the vocalists and add a lot to the worship experience.  So if you’re looking for a new worship CD then I have to recommend Our God Comes to add to your music collection.  It’s full of beautiful lyrics that makes one feel closer to the Lord and the music complements it perfectly.

 

(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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FIRST Tour: Katie’s Forever Promise by Jerry Eicher #grow4christ


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:
Jerry Eicher
and the book:
Katie’s Forever Promise
Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2013)
***Special thanks to Ginger Chen for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jerry Eicher’s bestselling Amish fiction (more than 210,000 in combined sales) includes The Adams County Trilogy, the Hannah’s Heart books, and the Little Valley Series. After a traditional Amish childhood, Jerry taught for two terms in Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. Since then he’s been involved in church renewal, preaching, and teaching Bible studies. Jerry lives with his wife, Tina, and their four children in Virginia.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

In book 3 of author Jerry Eicher’s Emma Raber’s Daughter series, Katie puts her life together after Ben Stoll’s betrayal of her love. When she is baptized into the church, she receives a surprising offer that will keep her close to her Amish community—much to her mother’s delight.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99

Series: Emma Raber’s Daughter (Book 3)

Paperback: 352 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736952551

ISBN-13: 978-0736952552

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Katie Raber sat on the tall, swivel chair with a smile on her face. She was now mistress and queen of this one-room Amish schoolhouse for the term. Her hiring had been reaffirmed this morning by Enos Kuntz himself, the chairman of the school board. Enos had paid her a special visit, leaving with a friendly nod and a quick comment. “I think you’ll do just fine with your new job, Katie. Let us know if you have any problems.”Katie swept the top of her teacher’s desk clean with a shaky hand, pausing to replace the small plastic pencil holder she’d knocked over. On the other side of the room, pushed up against the window, sat a table loaded with the year’s supply of schoolbooks. She was a little scared, but she told herself there was nothing to worry about. This world of learning called her, just as she was certain it would also beckon eager young students once school began next week. And then, in less than two months, she would be twenty-one, considered an adult in her Amish community. Her wages would be her own to spend how she chose instead of sharing them with her parents—Mamm and her new husband, Jesse Mast. How blessed Katie felt. It was still hard to comprehend all the changes that had occurred in the last few years.Katie stood and looked out the window. Enos was driving away in his buggy, his bearded face still visible through the open door. Calm was flooding over Katie now. There could be only one reason he would take the time to drive all the way over here this morning, the week before school officially begins. And it wasn’t because he harbored any doubts about her teaching abilities. The vote to hire her had been unanimous and given with pleased smiles on the faces of all three school board members.

No, Enos had stopped by to emphasize his approval one last time. Likely he thought she needed it—this being her first year teaching. But it was more than that. Enos knew the details of her past, as did all the Amish community. And they wished her well as she continued to put her life back together after the awful situation with Ben Stoll. Even now Ben was sitting in jail, serving out the last few days of his sentence.

Katie had survived that disastrous time because Da Hah had been with her, just as He’d been with Mamm and her after Katie’s daett died. And just as Da Hah had been with the two while Emma Raber raised Katie alone. Katie’s mamm had an awful reputation for a long time. After a love gone wrong in her teen years, a marriage to a man she learned to love, and then being widowed at an early age, Emma had chosen to remain a single mamm, raising her daughter on the land her husband had left her. She’d gone against usual Amish practice by refusing offers of marriage until, by Da Hah’s grace, she’d accepted a marriage proposal by a local farmer named Jesse Mast. That marriage had created a new atmosphere of change and acceptance, and Katie’s reputation had improved along with her mamm’s. After Katie fell in love with Ben and he’d turned out to be involved in the drug trade, part of her acceptance in the community came from how much she was admired for the way she’d handled herself since Ben Stoll’s arrest and imprisonment.

She’d loved Ben with all of her heart. And he had broken and smashed her trust beyond repair. Now he was no longer part of her life. That had all happened over a year ago, when the news of Ben’s arrest had reached Katie while she was in Europe with her Mennonite friends Margaret Kargel, Sharon Watson, and Nancy Keim. Only Da Hah’s healing touch a few days later had kept her from spending years in bitterness and sorrow. The miracle had happened the morning they’d gone up in a cable car high in the Alps to Schilthorn, where she’d seen the mighty works of Da Hah’s hands displayed in the mountain range around her. The tears had flowed freely that morning, washing the deepest pain from her heart. Afterward, she’d returned home and continued mourning her loss for a time, but without the crushing hopelessness that had first gripped her heart. Then last fall she’d made application to join the instruction class to officially join the Amish church, and this spring the wunderbah day had arrived. She’d been baptized by Bishop Jonas Miller himself! She was now a member of the church.

If anyone had entertained doubts about her, they’d been answered in how Katie had lived her life the past year. She still stayed in touch with her Mennonite friends Margaret and Sharon, but she saw them infrequently. The invitation to Margaret’s wedding had arrived in the mail yesterday, and Katie would certainly attend. Beyond that, Sharon and Margaret understood that Katie had made the best choice for her—to stay within the Amish faith. And it was, Katie told herself. Her heart was settled on the matter. The Amish were her people, and this was her home. She’d seen the land of the church fathers in Switzerland, and now she’d chosen this faith for herself. This community in Delaware was the place where her heart could rest for whatever time Da Hah had for her on this earth.

Enos’s buggy was already a black speck just before disappearing around the curve in the road. In addition to his interest in her success in the classroom, there was the suspicion on Katie’s part that Enos had hopes she would be his next daughter-in-law. She could tell by the light that sprang up in his eyes when he spoke to her of his son Norman.

Norman Kuntz, though, wasn’t like his daett at all. He was shy and withdrawn for the most part. The boy was handsome enough and came from an excellent family, so he ought to bubble with confidence, but he didn’t. So far he’d lacked the courage to take Katie home from the Sunday-night hymn singing—although he did spend considerable time stealing glances at her in the meetings. He’d mustered up enough courage lately to send a few tentative smiles her way.

There was nothing in Norman that set Katie’s heart pounding so far. Not like Ben Stoll had done. That had been another matter entirely. But Katie knew she shouldn’t be comparing Norman with Ben. Her life had changed for the better now, and she wasn’t going back to the past. Ben had been a terrible misjudgment, and she didn’t plan to repeat the error.

This time whoever the man was who drove her home, Katie wanted Mamm’s full support. And hopefully Jesse’s too, although he’d mostly care about whether the young man was a gut church member and knew how to work hard. Norman met both of those standards quite well. It helped, of course, that he would be a gut provider for his family, but that paled in comparison to the really important matter to Katie. Her main concern was that Norman would never do what Ben had done—break her heart.

Katie sighed, pushing the dark thoughts aside. Things were coming together well for her. This offer of a teaching job had been another blessing from Da Hah. One of the many she’d been given since Ben’s betrayal.

Katie sighed again, allowing her mind to wander into the past. For years she’d dreamed of capturing Ben Stoll’s attention. Mamm had warned her that such handsome boys were above her, and she shouldn’t dream that way. And that was long before Ben even knew Katie existed. But Mamm had been drawing from her own experience of rejection, and the young man she’d loved had never even asked her home. So Katie had rejected Mamm’s counsel and hadn’t drawn back when Ben finally noticed her at a Mennonite Youth Gathering. She’d ridden in Ben’s buggy and held his hand. They’d even kissed—often and with great joy. How could she have been so wrong about him? Katie pondered the question and managed a faint smile. Even in this situation she could be thankful. The pain of that question no longer stung as much. She’d given the pain and hard questions over to Da Hah. He knew the answers, and He would forgive her where she’d been wrong.

Now she was being given a wunderbah opportunity by the community. They were entrusting her with the care of their children for a whole school year. This honor had been held by Ruth Troyer for the past few years. After chasing Jesse Mast before he’d married Katie’s mamm, Ruth had finally found a man who asked to wed her—Albert Gingerich. He was an older farmer in the community whose wife had passed away last year.

Ruth had stepped down from consideration as a teacher this summer in preparation for her wedding, although she probably hadn’t imagined in her wildest dreams that Katie Raber would be offered her job. Ruth might have hung on for another year if she’d known that. After all, she’d been rebuffed by Jesse in favor of Katie’s mamm, Emma Raber, and the sting of the rejection and community talk surely still rankled in Ruth’s mind.

Katie smiled at the memory of Mamm and Jesse’s courtship. The two widows—Emma and Ruth—had faced each other down, and Mamm had won! The strange thing was that Mamm hadn’t put up much of a fight—at least not out in the open. But maybe that was the allure that drew Jesse in. Katie decided she needed to allow that Mamm had more wisdom than she let on at times. Ruth had had all of Jesse’s children on her side at first, and she put her best moves on Jesse by baking the pecan pies he loved. Mamm, on the other hand, had turned down Jesse’s advances the first few times he came calling, which seemed to make him all the more determined. And when she finally came around, Emma offered nothing but herself. In the end, all of Jesse’s children except Mabel, the eldest, had come over to Mamm’s side.

Mabel hadn’t been the easiest person to live with after the wedding, but since Katie’s return from Europe they were on decent terms. Mabel’s heart had been softened last year by seeing the great heartache Ben’s betrayal had caused Katie.

A rattle of buggy wheels in the schoolyard interrupted her thoughts. Katie walked to the window again. She gasped as Ruth Troyer climbed out of her buggy. What did she want? Had she forgotten some of her personal possessions? If so, she could have come in the evening after I’d gone home, Katie thought. But, there was no sense avoiding Ruth, so she might as well put on a brave front.

“Gut morning,” Ruth said with a forced smile when Katie opened the door.

“Gut morning,” Katie replied as she held the door and invited Ruth in.

“I thought I might catch you here this morning.”

“Yah,” Katie managed to get out, her smile gone now. “There’s much to do before school starts.”

Ruth pushed past her and bustled inside. “I thought I’d drive over in case you might want some advice, seeing this is your first term and all. And remember, I did teach here for three years so I know many of the students and the material. If you have any questions, I’d be glad to answer them.”

Katie swallowed hard. “Did the school board send you?”

Ruth laughed. “Nee, I’m here on my own. Don’t tell me you’re too high and mighty to accept help? Just because you’re a schoolteacher now doesn’t mean we don’t all remember where you came from, Katie Raber. After all, that man of yours is still sitting in jail.”

“I have no connection with Ben Stoll anymore,” Katie countered. “I haven’t seen him since before he was arrested.”

“Well, that doesn’t matter now.” Ruth breezed around the room, speaking over her shoulder. “I guess we all make our mistakes. But I, for one, would have seen that one coming. And I suspect your mamm did, but she was too busy stealing Jesse from me to warn you.”

Katie turned and watched Ruth. This was after all her schoolhouse now, and she’d better act like it was. Katie kept her voice even. “Mamm did have reservations about Ben—just to set the record straight. And she didn’t steal Jesse from you. Jesse made up his own mind.”

Ruth turned around. “Things do turn out for the best now, don’t they? Thank Da Hah Jesse didn’t decide on me. Then I never would have been available for Albert’s proposal. Did you know he farms more than 100 acres northwest of Dover? Some of the best black soil in the area. It’s worth a fortune. He’ll have a mighty gut heritage to hand down to his children.”

Katie forced a smile. “I’m glad for you, Ruth. And Mamm has fallen deeply in love with Jesse, so everything did turn out for the best.”

“It always does.” Ruth glared at Katie. “And I guess you know gut and well why you got this job. Enos is expecting quite a lot out of his investment, if you ask me.”

“I don’t expect you know what you’re speaking of,” Katie said. She tried to still her pounding heart. How this woman could get under her skin! Enos might hope she’d date his son, but he hadn’t made any requirement or suggestion for her to do so while hiring her.

Ruth laughed. “I don’t think you’re that blind, Katie. Enos is a man of high standards. And your past hasn’t gone away, believe me. He’s just overlooking it right now. But if you turn down the advances of his youngest son, I doubt if things will stay that way for long.”

Katie almost sputtered a denial, but she pressed her lips together instead. Nothing would persuade Ruth’s mind. Not once she’d made it up. And there likely was some truth to the woman’s statements.

Ruth smiled, apparently taking Katie’s silence as victory. “Let me show you the books then, and I’ll get out of here. I have a ton of things that need doing for the wedding preparations, but I told myself this morning that I owe you at least one visit since I was the former teacher. I’m aware you know nothing about teaching. I do hate to see you thrown into this situation and making a total mess out of it—to say nothing about all the decent learning from the past few years that could be lost. Let’s look at the books for this term.”

Katie walked toward the table by the window. Two of the books had fallen to the floor while she’d been going through them, but she hadn’t noticed until Ruth’s criticizing presence entered the room.

Ruth marched over and bent down to pick up the books. “This is no way to treat new books! I always told myself, if I don’t respect the school’s property, how can I expect ‘my’ children to? Because they do, after all, learn more by example than by any lecture. But how would you know such a thing? Your mamm probably never taught you much.”

Katie choked back her response. Ruth was trying to goad her into saying something she might regret. And Enos had just been here, and he’d said nothing about books lying on the floor. Everyone knew such things happened during unpacking. But Katie knew Ruth would only see more of Enos’s scheming and favor in his silence, so she might as well keep quiet about that too.

Ruth’s voice continued in lecture mode. “These are your first-grade reading books, Katie. Be sure to spend plenty of time with that age group. The children need to learn quickly because everything else is at a standstill until they learn how to read.”

Katie nodded, forcing herself to listen. Ruth was telling her some

gut things, and she did have much to learn. She even managed to keep a smile on her face as the former teacher droned on far longer than Katie had hoped. Over an hour later, Katie was more than ready to see Ruth leave. She summoned up her best manners as Ruth finally prepared to go. “Thank you for your time, Ruth. I do appreciate it.”

“It’s gut that you can listen,” Ruth remarked. “I guess your mamm taught you something after all. Now, will you come out and hold my horse for me? He gets a little skittish when I take off. Albert promised me a decent horse when I move into his house after the wedding. Now that’s a decent man, if you ask me.”

Katie held her tongue as she walked outside. She held the bridle of Ruth’s horse as the former teacher climbed inside the buggy.

“I hope you remember everything I told you,” Ruth said as she took off with a slap of the reins.

Grinding her teeth, Katie watched Ruth go. That woman was the limit and then some. But Ruth was also a creature Da Hah had made, and her elder besides. And the woman had given her some useful advice.

My Opinion:

I haven’t had the chance to begin this book – will update with review.

 

(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

Comments Off on FIRST Tour: Katie’s Forever Promise by Jerry Eicher #grow4christ

FIRST Tour: Dark Biology by Bonnie Doran #grow4christ


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:
Bonnie Doran
and the book:
Dark Biology
Harbourlight Books (October 25, 2013)
***Special thanks to Jennifer Taylor for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Bonnie Doran’s debut novel, Dark Biology, released October 25th as a science fiction thriller from Harbourlight of Pelican Book Group. Prior to delving into fiction, she wrote and sold over 60 devotionals. She is represented by Steve Hutson of WordWise Media. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading (mostly science fiction), cooking, Sudoku puzzles, and hanging out with other writers, sci-fi fans, and Mad Scientists. She has a reputation of telling groan-producing puns and volunteers at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. She’s been married 29 years to an electrical engineer and Mad Scientist who owns a 2,300-pound electromagnet and plays with lasers for a living.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Renowned vaccinologist “Hildi” Hildebrandt has set her sights on beating her brother to a Nobel Prize, and the opportunity to conduct experiments on the International Space Station might just provide the means to obtain that goal.

Chet Hildebrandt should have had that opportunity. But now he’ll teach a lesson to them all: his hot-shot astronaut sister, his philandering hypocritical father, and the CDC for not properly appreciating his work. One vial of a virus purloined from the CDC labs and released at his father’s marriage seminar should do the trick, without hurting anybody. After all, it’s only a mild influenza strain…Or is it?

Product Details:

List Price: $15.99

Paperback: 342 pages

Publisher: Harbourlight Books (October 25, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1611162777

ISBN-13: 978-1611162776

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Infection Minus Ten MonthsHildi’s nose itched.She ignored it. While she waited for her lab partner to emerge from the airlock, she checked the seals of her blue biocontainment suit again. Good habits could save her life.Hildi pulled a coiled yellow air hose suspended from the ceiling and plugged it into a socket near her waist. The deflated suit expanded as air roared past her face. The familiar ballooning sensation saddened her for a moment. She’d miss her work here.

Then she grinned. She’d be wearing a pressure suit in her new job and performing similar cutting-edge work in an even stranger environment.

Her practiced eyes appraised Biosafety Level 4, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most dangerous lab. Everything “down and cold.” But an adjoining room held liquid-nitrogen freezers filled with hot agents, the deadliest diseases known to man. Francine stepped from the airlock. Hildi’s college friend had never worked in Level 4, but she moved with confidence. Hildi stared into Francine’s faceplate and noted her calm expression. She’d do fine.

Hildi maneuvered past the stainless-steel tables dominating the room. She pulled two-inch test tubes, a push-button micropipette, and other tools from drawers and placed them in the biosafety cabinet, a glorified box with a fume hood and clear front that rested on the work counter. She detached her hose, inhaling the reserved air in her suit.

Humming to herself, she walked into the adjoining room and attached her suit to another hose. Every time Hildi moved in the lab, she repeated the procedure, a necessary inconvenience if she wanted to continue breathing.

She punched a code into the lock of one of the stainless-steel freezers and extracted a vial of the latest X virus that may or may not have killed John Doe.

Returning to the biosafety hood, she slipped her yellow-gloved hands under the clear protective shield, a sneeze guard at a toxic salad bar. She withdrew a tiny sample of the unknown and released it into one of the tubes. After Hildi repeated the protocol many times, she keyed the information into the computer.

Hildi glanced at Francine just as she straightened from a hunched position over a microscope. Francine turned, her movements jerky like a marionette’s. Her suit’s chest zipper gaped, exposing her blue scrubs underneath. She seemed to shrink as her biosuit deflated.

Hildi froze.

“I’ve got a problem here!” Francine yelled, her voice quavering. The rush of air in their ears turned conversations in Level 4 into a shouting match. Francine fumbled for the zipper with trembling fingers.

Hildi’s heart skipped several beats then she zipped the suit shut in one smooth motion. “Zippers get worn. They can pop open.”

Francine’s white-rimmed, dark-chocolate eyes returned to normal. “How bad was that?” Her voice still quavered.

“Your suit had positive pressure the whole time. A hot agent couldn’t get in. You OK?”

Francine gave a nervous chuckle. “Sure gave me the jumpy jitters.” She turned back to the scope.

Hildi released the breath she’d been holding. Risk was part of the job. Zippers failed. Gloves failed. Usually it wasn’t life threatening.

She placed the rack of tubes in the incubator cabinet, maintainedat the ominous temperature of warm blood, and then returned the original sample of hot agent to the freezer. Her mood descended into a gray chasm. She already missed the challenge of Level 4. But she had a job offer that would take her research to a whole new level. She could smell that Nobel Prize. Her brother Chet would never catch up to her now.

Hildi exhaled a heavy sigh that fogged her faceplate. “Done,” she yelled. “Finally I can get out of here and scratch my nose.”

“Thought you’d be used to it after three years.”

“Never. Right now it’s driving me nuts.”

Francine chuckled and headed for the airlock.

Hildi followed. She inhaled the chemical smell as the decontamination shower sprayed disinfectant over her suit. The two of them scrambled out of their blue suits as soon as they reached the changing room. Hildi scratched her tingling nose with ferocity.

Francine grinned at her and walked to the regular showers which contained detergent for washing and a bath of ultraviolet light.

Hildi hung her short suit next to Francine’s long one. She reached up to caress a sleeve of the guardian that protected her against infection. “Thanks for keeping me safe. I’ll be back.”

Hildi stripped and marched naked to the shower. No modesty in this job. Afterward, she tugged on jeans and a mauve T-shirt.

Her lab partner’s perfect complexion glistened as she toweled off. Hildi’s pale skin and red curls contrasted with Francine’s coffee coloring and corn-rowed black hair. Not exactly twins separated at birth.

“When do you get in to Houston?” Francine pulled on black leggings and a flowered tunic then grabbed her tiny purse.

“Around four.” Hildi grimaced. “Rush hour. My favorite time.” She longed for the feel of the afternoon sun on her face, but she wouldn’t enjoy it today.

“I’m surprised Director Hunt gave you such a long leave of absence.”

“It’s a fantastic opportunity.” Her spirits bounced like an acrobat on a trampoline. “But it’s not like I won’t be working.” She grunted as she wrenched her holds-anything-and-hides-everything handbag from her locker.

Francine smiled. “You know, I might just lock you in one of the labs until after your flight leaves.”

Hildi laughed. “You wouldn’t dare.”

“Don’t try me. I’m missing you already.” Francine hugged her. “I can’t believe you’ll be gone for a whole year.”

Hildi swallowed to keep her voice from cracking. “I will be back for visits, you know.”

“You’d better be.”

They walked through another airlock into a corridor and less-lethal safety levels. The burning, moist smell of giant autoclaves bid a pungent farewell.

“You just don’t want to work with Chet.” Hildi baited her friend.

“Don’t rub it in.” Francine lowered her voice. “Did you hear? Your brother’s in big trouble.” Francine sounded like she relished the thought.

Hildi groaned. “What did he do this time?”

“Chet worked on that new anthrax sample from England without authorization. Director Hunt turned three shades of purple.”

“Hunt’s a bit paranoid about the paperwork, that’s all.”

Francine shook her head. “Your brother has an attitude.”

“I know.” Hildi frowned. “It’s hard to work in the same building with him when he avoids me like—well—the plague.”

“He’s done a good job at alienating everyone around here, so don’t feel special.”

They drove directly to the airport in Francine’s tired green Altima. The Atlanta traffic, abysmal at any time of the day, choked Hildi with exhaust fumes. She turned up the AC. “Sure you don’t mind caring for my cat?”

“Whiskers will be just fine.”

Francine pulled up to departures, opened the trunk, and hefted the bulky suitcases. “What do you have in here, moon rocks?”

Hildi grabbed her carry-on. They chatted until a security officer ordered, “Clear the lane, please.”

Hildi fished in her purse for a tissue and gave Francine one more tight hug. “Thanks for everything.”

“Vaya con Dios.”

Hildi wheeled her suitcases to the nearest door, her stomach fluttering as if she’d just won the lottery. Maybe she had.

****

Hildi deplaned in Houston after an unremarkable flight. She heaved her suitcases onto their wheels and stepped outside. A tanned man in a polo shirt and jeans held a sign. Dr. Hildebra. Someone hadn’t quite fit her name on the cardboard. Situation normal.

“Evangeline?” He smiled.

“Please call me Hildi.”

“Larry Gomez.”

Hildi stifled a gasp and flung her star-struck feelings aside as she wiped sweaty palms on her jeans. Larry’s exploits in space were the stuff of legend. She shook his hand.

He loaded her luggage into the trunk of his silver Jaguar convertible. More diesel exhaust assaulted Hildi as they headed south on I-45. She’d expected oil fields and cowboy hats when she first came here but instead found apartments, shopping centers, and malls. Same humidity as Atlanta, same traffic. He chatterednonstop.

Hildi interrupted. “So tell me about the rest of the team.”

“You’ll like them. Jasper Reingold and Frank Schotenheimer.”

Hildi nearly jolted out of her seat. “Frank?” If she’d known, would she have volunteered for this assignment?

In a heartbeat.

Larry’s face held a puzzled frown. “You know him?”

She hesitated. How had Larry missed knowing about her relationship with Frank? Would it jeopardize her chance to work in space? No way to hide it now. “We were engaged.”

“Well, things are about to get interesting.” Larry’s mouth quirked. “The director moved him up from a later mission when our pilot shattered his leg yesterday.”

She stared at the scenery. Frank? On her team? Scenes flashed in her mind. Their first kiss that had warmed her to her toes. Her growing suspicions. The night she confronted him about his gotta-work-late excuses, and he confessed his affairs. Trampled dreams.

Lord, I could use a little help here.

Larry must have sensed her mood. He didn’t say a word for the rest of the trip.

An hour later, they pulled up to the employee entrance of a sprawling facility, the salty tang of the Gulf of Mexico perceptible even this far from the ocean. Shimmers of heat rose from the pavement. After the security guard examined their badges, he beamed. “Dr. Hildebrandt? Welcome. Let me page Dan Stockton for you. He asked me to notify him when you arrived.”

Hildi’s mind whirled. First Frank and now Dan? Last time they’d talked, Dan had been training in Alabama. Probably his idea of a romantic surprise. She tried to submerge a surfacing smile. She wanted to jump into his arms when Dan arrived. Instead, she forced herself into neutral pose. He wore a periwinkle silk shirt with coordinating tie. Always a tie, as if he could never relax.Larry whispered in Hildi’s ear. “Now you know why he’s earned the nickname Dandy Dan.”

“Hildi.” Dan stepped toward her with an eager grin, glanced at Larry, and stopped in mid-stride.

“You know him, too?” Larry’s glance bounced back and forth between them like a hyperactive tennis ball.

Dan hesitated. “Uh, yes. We’ve met.” An uncomfortable silence descended. Hildi stared at the polished floor, counting the squares. She didn’t want to tell the mission commander about another relationship, especially when she couldn’t explain it herself. An on-again, off-again, long-distance relationship that was going nowhere.Larry cleared his throat and turned to Hildi. “Another fiancé? Have we ever been engaged?”

Hildi laughed, relieved he didn’t ask any more questions.

Dan smiled. “Would you rather go to your quarters first or eat?”

Her stomach rumbled in response.

“Perry’s Steakhouse?” Larry still eyed them with suspicion.

“Yes, sir.” Dan spread his arms and planted his feet on the emblem emblazoned on the floor, like a barker at the circus. “Welcome to the Johnson Space Center and phase two of astronaut training.”


My Opinion:

 

I regret that it’s taken me so long to read and update this tour with a review because this book was fantastic!  It was suspenseful and also filled with faith which can sometimes be hard to do for some writers but Bonnie pulled it off with great success!  Hildi and Chet are brother and sister, one is estranged from the family and the other finds great success in their personal life and their career – much to the chagrin of the other.  Hildi takes on a new position with NASA but Chet wanted the position so sets the stage for a sibling rivalry that will go horribly wrong – and I know a thing or two about sibling rivalries.

 

It’s hard to write a review about this type of book because I’m always afraid of giving away too much of the story and then it makes it pointless for you to read it.  I so wanted to hate Chet, like the human condition, but then I saw him through his family’s eyes as well as how Christ sees a repentant person – with grace and mercy.  Even though it’s a science fiction, it may have some truth in it with regards to a pandemic and needing a cure so that people can live through it, and that is what intrigued me.  It doesn’t get bogged down with all the science terms and such and for that I’m very grateful – but it gives enough detail that both the lay person and the scientific will more than likely enjoy this fast paced book that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

 

(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

Comments Off on FIRST Tour: Dark Biology by Bonnie Doran #grow4christ

FIRST Tour: I, Saul by Jerry B. Jenkins #grow4christ


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:
Jerry B. Jenkins
and the book:
I, Saul
Worthy Publishing (August 27, 2013)
***Special thanks to Leeanna Case for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jerry B. Jenkins is a New York Times best-selling novelist (Left Behind Series) and biographer (Billy Graham, Hank Aaron, Walter Payton, Orel Hershiser, Nolan Ryan, Joe Gibbs and many more), with over 70 million books sold. His writing has appeared in Time, Reader’s Digest, Parade, Guideposts, and he has been featured on the cover of Newsweek.
Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A MURDERER who would change the WORLD

From multi-million copy best-selling novelist Jerry Jenkins comes a compelling international thriller that conveys you from present-day Texas to a dank Roman dungeon in A.D. 67, then down the dusty roads of ancient Israel, Asia, and back to Rome.

A young seminary professor, Augustine Knox, is drawn into a deadly race to save priceless parchments from antiquities thieves and discovers a two- thousand-year old connection with another who faced death for the sake of the truth. I, Saul consists of two riveting adventures in one, transporting you between the stories of Augustine Knox and Saul of Tarsus.

Filled with political intrigue, romance, and rich historical detail, I, Saul is a thrilling tale of loyal friendships tested by life-or-death quests, set two millennia apart, told by a master storyteller.

Product Details:

List Price: $24.99

Hardcover: 400 pages

Publisher: Worthy Publishing (August 27, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1617950068

ISBN-13: 978-1617950063

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Tor nT E x ASW EDNESDAy, M Ay 7“call now. desper8.”The text appeared on Dr. Augie Knox’s phone at 8:55 a.m., seconds before he was to turn it off—protocol for profs entering a classroom at Arlington Theological Seminary.

Augie could have fired off a “give me a minute,” but the message was not signed and the sending number matched nothing in his contacts. The prefix 011-39-06 meant Rome. He’d traveled extensively in his thirty-eight years and enjoyed many visits to the Eternal City, but such a text could easily portend one of those I’ve-been-mugged-and-need- money scams. Whatever this was could wait until he got the Systematic Theology final exam started and could step into the hall with his phone.

Augie had long been fascinated by his students’ nervous chatter before
final exams. One announced, “I looked you up in Who’s Who, Doc, and I

know your full name.”

“Congratulations for discovering something you could have found in your student handbook four years ago.”

“No! That just says Dr. Augustine A. Knox! I found out what the A

stands for.”

“Good for you. Now, a few instructions . . .”

“Aquinas! Augustine Aquinas Knox! Man, what other career choice did you have?”

“Thank you for revealing the thorn in my flesh. If you must know, that moniker was my father’s idea.” Augie mimicked his dad’s monotone basso. “‘Names are important.They can determine a life’s course.’”

Many students chuckled, having sat under the elder Dr. Knox before he fell ill the year before.

“It also says you were adopted. Sorry, but it’s published.” “No secret,” Augie said.

Another hand shot up.“Was that a hint about the exam? Will we be speculating on Paul’s thorn in the flesh?”

“He’s only mentioned that mystery every class,” another said.

Augie held up a hand. “I trust you’re all prepared for any eventual-

ity.”
“So, what’s your dad’s name?”

“Ed!” someone called out. “Everybody knows that.” “Look it up,” Augie said. “You may find it revealing.”

With blue books distributed, Augie slipped out and turned on his

phone.The plea from Rome had already dropped to third on his message list. At the top was a voice mail from Dr. Moore, who had been filling in as acting department chair since Augie’s father had been hospitalized with a stroke.
Augie would have checked that one first, but next was a voice mail from Sofia Trikoupis, his heart. It was eight hours later in Athens, after five in the afternoon. “Call me at the end of your day,” her message said. “I’ll wait up.” It would be midnight her time by then, but she apparently needed his undivided attention. That would bug him all day. How he longed for them to be together.

His phone vibrated. Rome again. “urgent. call now, pls!” Augie pressed his lips together, thumbing in, “who’s this?” “trust me. begging.”

“not w/out knowing who u r.”

Augie waited more than a minute for a response, then snorted. As I

figured. But as he headed back into the classroom, his phone buzzed again. “zionist.”

Augie stopped, heat rising in his neck. He quickly tapped in, “90 minutes OK?”

“now! critical.”

Few people had been more important in Augie’s life than Roger Michaels, the diminutive fifty-year-old South African with a James Earl Jones voice and a gray beard that seemed to double the size of his pale, gnomish face. Augie would never lead a tour of an ancient city without Roger as the guide.

“2 mins,” Augie texted.

He rushed to his father’s old office, which still bore the senior Dr. Knox’s nameplate on the door. Augie knocked and pushed it open.“Les, I need a favor.”

Dr. Moore took his time looking up from his work. “Number one, Dr. Knox, I did not invite you in.”

“Sorry, but—”

“Number two, I have asked that you refer to me as Dr. Moore.”
“My bad again, but listen—”

“And number three,” the acting chair said, making a show of study- ing his watch, “we both know that at this very moment you are to be conducting—”

“Dr. Moore, I have an emergency call to make and I need you to stand in for me for a few minutes.”

Moore sighed and rose, reaching for his suit coat.“I know what that’s about.Take all the time you need.”

Augie followed him down the hall. “You do?” “You didn’t get my message?”

“Oh, no, sorry. I saw one was there, but I—”

“But you assumed other messages were more important. I said we needed to chat after your first exam.”

“Well, sure, I’ll be here.”

“Part of what we need to discuss is your father. Is that what your call is about?”

“What about my father?” “We’ll talk at ten.”

“But is he—”

“There have been developments, Dr. Knox. But he is still with us.” As Dr. Moore headed for the classroom, Augie ducked into a stair-

well, away from the windows and the relentless sun forecasters were saying would push the temperature at least twenty degrees above normal by 2:00 p.m., threatening the 107° record for the month.

Augie wasn’t getting enough signal strength to complete his call, so he hurried back out to the corridor. Cell coverage was still weak, so he stepped outside. It had to be near 90° already. Scalp burning, he listened as the number rang and rang.

Augie moved back inside for a minute, braced by the air condition-
ing, then ventured out to try again. He waited two minutes, tried once more, and felt he had to get back to class.

On a third attempt, as he neared the entrance, it was clear someone had picked up a receiver and hung up. Augie dialed twice more as he walked back to take over for Dr. Moore. Just before he reached the class- room, his phone came alive again with a text.

“sorry. later. trash ur phone. serious.”

Augie couldn’t make it compute. Had his phone been traced? Tapped? If he got a new one, how would Roger know how to reach him?

Dr. Moore stood just inside the classroom door and emerged imme- diately when he saw Augie. “Talk to your mother?” he said.

“No, should I?”

Moore sighed and opened his palms. “You interrupt my work and don’t check on your father?”

Augie reached for his cell again, but hesitated. If he used it, would he be exposing his mother’s phone too?

“Call her after we’ve talked, Dr. Knox. Now I really must get back to my own responsibilities.”

It was all Augie could do to sit still till the end of class. Before get- ting back to Dr. Moore, he dropped off the stack of blue books in his own office and used the landline to call his contact at Dallas Theolog- ical Seminary, just up the road. Arlington Sem sat equidistant between DTS to the east and the massive Southwestern Baptist Seminary to the west. Arlington was like the stepchild no one ever talked about, a single building for a couple of hundred students, struggling to stay alive in the shadows of those two renowned institutions.When Augie needed some- thing fast, he was more likely to get it from the competition. Such as a new phone.

Like his father before him, Augie was the travel department at
Arlington. No auxiliary staff handled logistics as they did at DTS and Southwestern. The head techie at Dallas was Biff Dyer, a string bean of a man a few years older than Augie with an Adam’s apple that could apply for statehood. He could always be counted on to program Augie’s phone, depending on what country he was traveling to.

“Calling from your office phone, I see,” Biff said. “What happened to the cell I got you?”

“It’s been compromised.”

Biff chuckled. “Like you’d know.What makes you think so?” “I need a new one.Trust me.”

“I’ll just switch out the chip.You’re not gonna find a better phone. How soon you need it?”

“Fast as possible.”

“Why doesn’t that surprise me? I’m not deliverin’ it. Can you come by during normal hours?”

There was a knock at Augie’s door and he wrenched around to see

Les Moore’s scowl. “Gotta go, Biff.”

“Sorry, Les. On my way right now. Or do you want to just meet here?” “Here would not be any more appropriate than your insisting on our being on a first-name basis,” Dr. Moore said, scanning the tiny chamber in which the guest chair was folded in a corner and brought out only

when necessary.

“C’mon, Les. You were only a couple years ahead of me. We hung out, didn’t we?”

“Hardly. You spent most of your free time in the gym with the—

what?—six other jocks who happened to enroll here.”

It was true. And everyone knew the library had been where to find

Les Moore.

Augie looked at his watch. Another final at 11. He followed his interim
boss back to his father’s old office. It wasn’t that much bigger than his, but at least the guest chair didn’t block the door.

“Would you start with my dad?” Augie said as he sat.

“I would have thought you’d have already checked in with your mother, but all right. She called this morning, knowing you were in class. Your father has slipped into a coma.”

Augie nodded slowly. “She okay?”

“Your mother? Sure. It’s not like he’s passed. She just thought you might want to visit this afternoon.”

“Appreciate it.”

“Now then, Dr. Knox, I have some paperwork here that I’m going to need you to sign. Frankly, it’s not pleasant, but we’re all expected to be team players and I’m going to assume you’ll accede to the adminis- tration’s wishes.”

“What’s up?”

“You’re scheduled to teach summer-school Homiletics beginning four days after commencement.”

“A week from today, right.”

“And we have contracted with you for this stipend, correct?”

Why Les felt it necessary to pencil the figure on the back of a business card and dramatically slide it across the desk, Augie could not fathom.

“Yep, that’s the fortune that’s going to let me retire by forty.”

“Um-hm. Humorous. It is my sad duty to ask you to agree to under- take the class for two-thirds that amount.”

“You’re serious.” “Always.”

That was for sure.

“Les—Dr. Moore, you know we do these classes pretty much as gifts to the sem. Now they seriously want us to do them for less?”
“This is entirely up to you.” “I can refuse?”

“We’re not going to force you to teach a class when we have to renege on our agreement.”

“Good, because I just don’t think I can do it for that.”

“I’ll report your decision. We’ll be forced to prevail upon a local adjunct instruct—”

“Like that youth pastor at Arlington Bible—” “He’s a graduate, Dr. Knox.”

“I know! I taught him. And he’s a great kid, but he didn’t do all that well in Homiletics, and there’s a reason they let him preach only a couple of times a year over there.”

“He’ll be happy to do it for this figure—probably even for less.” “And the students be hanged.”

Les cocked his head. “Naturally, we would prefer you . . .”

Augie reached for his pen and signaled with his fingers for the doc- ument.

“I’m glad I can count on you, Dr. Knox. Now, while we’re on the subject, I’m afraid there’s more.You were due for a four percent increase beginning with the fall trimester.”

“Let me guess, that’s not going to happen either.” “It’s worse.”

“What, now it’s a four percent decrease?” “I wish.”

“Oh, no.”

“Dr. Knox, we have seen an alarming downturn in admissions, and the administration is predicting a fall enrollment that puts us at less than breakeven, even with massive budget cuts.We’re all being asked to accept twenty percent reductions in pay.”
Augie slumped. “I was hoping to get married this fall, Les. I can barely afford the payments on my little house as it is.”

“This is across the board, Dr. Knox. The president, the deans, the chairs, all of us. Some departments are actually losing personnel. Mainte- nance will be cut in half, and we’ll all be expected to help out.”

Arlington had been staggering along on a shoestring for decades, but this was dire. “Tell me the truth, Dr. Moore. Is this the beginning of the end? Should I entertain the offers I’ve gotten from Dallas over the years?” “Oh, no! The trustees wish us to weather this storm, redouble our efforts to market our distinctives, and then more than make up for the pay cuts as soon as we’re able. Besides, the way your father bad-mouthed Dallas and Southwestern his whole career, you wouldn’t dream of insult-

ing him by going to either, would you?”

“He bad-mouthed everything and everybody, Les.You know that.” “Not a pleasant man. No offense.”

Augie shrugged. “You worked for him. I lived with him.”

“Do you know, I have heard not one word from your father since the day I was asked to temporarily assume his role? No counsel, no guidelines, no encouragement, nothing. I assumed he was angry that you had not been appointed—”

That made Augie laugh.“He still sees me as a high school kid! Forget all my degrees. Anyway, I wouldn’t want his job, or yours. It’s not me.”

“How well I know. I mean, I’m just saying, you’re not the typical prof, let alone department chair.”

“I’m not arguing.”

Augie couldn’t win. Despite having been at the top of his classes in college and seminary, his having been a high school jock and continu- ing to shoot hoops, play touch football, and follow pro sports made him an outsider among real academics.Too many times he had been asked if
he was merely a seminary prof because that was what his father wanted for him.

Dr. Moore slid the new employment agreement across the desk. “Sorry, Les, but this one I’m going to have to think and pray about.” The interim chair seemed to freeze. “Don’t take too long. If they

aren’t sure they can count on you for the fall, they’ll want to consider the many out-of-work professors who would be thrilled, in the current econ- omy, to accept.”

“Yeah, that would help. Stock the faculty with young assistant pas- tors.”

“May I hear from you by the end of the day?”

“Probably not, but you’ll be the first to know what I decide.”

Back in his own office, Augie popped the chip out of his cell phone and put it in a separate pocket. He called his mother from his desk phone to assure her he would see her at the hospital late in the afternoon, then called Biff to tell him he would try to stop by DTS on his way.

“What’s the big emergency?” Biff said.

“Roger Michaels has himself in some kind of trouble.” “Tell me when you get here.”

During his 11:00 a.m. final Augie was summoned to the administra- tive offices for an emergency call. On the way he stopped by to see if Les would stand in for him again, but his office was dark.The final would just have to be unsupervised for a few minutes.

“Do you know who’s calling?” he said to the girl who had fetched him. If it was his mother . . .

“Someone from Greece.”

He finally reached the phone and discovered it was Sofia. “Thought you wanted me to call later, babe.You all right?”

“Roger is frantic to reach you.”
“I know. He—”

“He gave me a new number and needs you to call right now, but not from your cell.” She read it to him.

“Any idea what’s going on, Sof ?” Augie said as he scribbled. “This is not like him.”

“No idea, but, Augie, he sounded petrified.” “That doesn’t sound like him either.”

“You can tell me what it’s about later, but you’d better call him right away.”

Augie rushed to his office and dialed the number in Rome. It rang six times before Roger picked up. “Augie?”

“Yes! What’s—”

“Listen carefully. I’ve got just seconds. I need you in Rome as soon as you can get here.”

“Rog, what’s happening? This is the absolute worst time for me to—” “Give Sofia your new cell number and text me your ETA. I’ll give

you a new number where you can call me from Fiumicino as soon as you get in.”

“I don’t know when I could get there, Rog. I’ve got—” “Augie! You know I wouldn’t ask if it weren’t life or death.”


My Opinion:

I’ve enjoyed other of Jerry B. Jenkins books before, namely the Left Behind series, and this one is no different it was a wonderful read that was quick but very much enjoyable, of course I’ve had time to do a lot of reading since I’m in the hospital with my daughter.  I enjoyed how he wove a modern time mystery together with something that happened in “Bible times” – it couldn’t have been easy, but it was so great to see the the two time periods woven together as Saul’s story comes to life and those who seek to make money off the historical and religious document.  Of course it’s a work of fiction but it is neat to think that Saul/Paul could have written his testimony out and hidden it someone that is yet to be discovered and there are those, today, who would seek to destroy it or make a quick buck off the priceless writing.

If you enjoy a modern mystery but also enjoy a great Christian historical fiction story then this book will have you in it’s grips – I enjoyed reading Saul’s story from young boyhood to the time when he began actively persecuting Christians, because even it it’s fictional, there is still maybe some non-fiction to it  and it also spoke to my heart to read in a modern way about Saul’s conversion.  I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, I, Paul, which comes out in 2014 and should prove to be just as an exciting read as I, Saul is.

 

(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Litfuse Publicity: Return to Me (The Restoration Chronicles) by Lynn Austin #grow4christ


About the Book:

After decades of exile, the prophesies are coming true–King Cyrus has declared the Jews may return to Jerusalem. Iddo, a priest, is sure this is a sign of God’s renewed favor. For too long they’ve remained in Babylon, and many, including Iddo’s sons, are losing the faith that sets them apart. And so only a few choose to leave everything to return–return to their home and their God.

Nothing about their journey to the Promised Land is easy. As hardships mount, even the faithful, like Iddo’s beloved wife, Dinah, question the sacrifice of following God’s leading. Zechariah, Iddo’s oldest grandson, feels torn between his grandfather’s ancient beliefs and the family they left behind. But one life-changing encounter with the Holy One gives him insight that will change Zechariah–and history–forever.

You may purchase a copy of the book on Amazon.

About Lynn:

Bestselling author Lynn Austin has sold more than one million copies of her books worldwide. She is an eight-time Christy Award winner for her historical novels, as well as a popular speaker at retreats and conventions. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and live near Chicago.

You can learn more about Lynn on her website.

 

My Opinion:

I’ll preface this review with a disclaimer that I’m only about 1/2 through the entire book but I want to get this up during the tour schedule so I’m going to tell you what I’ve thought so far.  I will say that writing a Biblical historical fiction book takes a lot of time and patience as one doesn’t want to re-write the history but yet to make the Biblical history more relevant to today one must somewhat expand using what we know today happened in the time before and weaving those two elements together requires a great amount of care so as not to take away or add to the Holy Scriptures.  I’ve read others of Lynn Austin’s books and they never fail to pull me into the story line and it is the same with this book, Return to Me – I felt pulled into the characters lives from the first page.

The reason it’s taking me so long to read through the book, isn’t because it’s terrible, but because it’s so good and I’ve had little free time on my hands this week and at 464 pages it’s a bigger book than I’ve been reading lately.  One character Yael, who is a 10 year old girl, whose mom died before the Jews are freed from their exile/slavery in Babylon and both of who have been secretly studying and worshiping false gods – is driving me a little batty – because she acts just like most 10 year old act, thinking they know everything about everything including whether to worship a false god and mess with sorcery.   However, I know there is going to be something that happens in this child’s life to bring her back to the religion of her people – but as one reads one figures out that she and her father cannot have one foot in the Jewish religion and one foot in the Babylonian/Samaritan religions and follow the Lord.

I would highly recommend this book to those who enjoy Biblical and historical fiction – as I’ve said above Lynn takes great care to not detract from the real history of the Jewish people as they seek to rebuild the Temple and Jerusalem and she also does a wonderful job in showing the hardships they faced upon their return to their homeland with those who stayed behind and the other cultures that surround them.  Struggling to follow what the Lord wants, Iddo, makes others around him uncomfortable and even Dinah wonders if she loves or hates her husband and misses the family and friends who stayed behind in Babylonia.  Overall, so far, this has been an excellent read and a real page turner and one that I would feel safe about turning over to my oldest daughter to read.

You can read what others had to say by visiting the Litfuse Landing Page.

 

(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

 

Lynn Austin is celebrating the release of Return to Me, the first book in her new Biblical fiction series, The Restoration Chronicles, with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway and a Facebook Author Chat party.

returntome-rafflecopter

One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Return to Me by Lynn Austin

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 22nd. Winner will be announced at the “Return To Me” Facebook Author Chat Party on October 22nd. Connect with Lynn and friends for an evening of book chat, biblical trivia, prizes, and get an exclusive look at the next book in Lynn’s Restoration Chronicles series!

 
So grab your copy of Return to Me and join Lynn on the evening of October 22nd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word — tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on the 22nd!

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Advertisements on my blog – disclaimer


I’ve noticed that WordPress has been adding advertisements to my blog, my blog is free, so in order to support that they have highlighted random words in orange – please know I have no control over these advertisements – my hyperlinks are usually in blue NOT orange and double underlined.  Thank you for understanding.  At this time I don’t plan to pay $30 a year for an ad-free blog.

 

Please scroll down to read the most recent post – this is a sticky post.

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Booksneeze Review: The Rainbow Egg by Linda K. Hendricks, M.D. #grow4christ


About the Book:

Hope is a chicken who lives in the woods with friends not typically affiliated with chickens. She is happy there, until she finds herself with an egg. She has no place to rest the egg and is in search of help. A guardian red bird leads her to a chicken house full of chicken families. There she finds challenges and fear, ultimately leading to the most precious gift she could ever hope for. The Rainbow Egg is a colorfully illustrated, fresh look at adoption as a loving gift.

The book can be purchased from WestBow Press (e-book or print) and from Amazon.

My Opinion:

I thought this was a really cute book just choosing from the cover of it and occasionally I enjoy reviewing books that are for my children and as it deals with adoption and they have a couple of friends who are adopted I thought it would be a great way to talk about it with them.  Hope is a chicken who is alone in the forest and has no nest and she knows there is a chicken house nearby (never mind that chickens lay eggs without a male, but I digress) and she wants her egg to have a nest and she knows she’ll never have one so she sets out to find a home for her rainbow egg.  She finds a couple who has been unable to have an egg of their own so their nest remains empty – it just so happens they are rainbow feathered chickens – so the baby will grow to look like them.

I like the overall theme of the adoption, and the love that goes from both sides – the birth parent to want what is best for their baby and the adoptive parents who have struggled, unsuccessfully, to have their own.  However, even my 9 year old wanted to know why Hope had a rainbow egg if she wasn’t a rainbow chicken (all the other chickens have feathers that match their eggs).  I didn’t have an answer for her, but as I think about it – it is strange – most adoptive families do not adopt children who will look like them.  I know American families who adopt Asian children, Mexican children and so on – so their children don’t look like them at all.  Before Hope leaves she says “He will always be special and will grow up to have rainbow feathers just like you…” – to me, this gives the impression that children adopted will look like their adoptive parents when, in most, cases that isn’t what happens.

A cute book that I would suggest is bought as a physical book as the e-book version was quite hard to read at times and the illustrations would have been prettier in a physical copy.  Overall, the book was a great, short read on introducing the topic of adoption to children but as you can see even one of my children thought it odd that the baby was meant to look like it’s adoptive parents.  A good introduction but definitely not the final say so about adoption and there wasn’t any mention of God or Jesus (of course they’re animals, I know) except a little red bird who sang and directed their paths.


I review for BookSneeze®

 

(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

Comments Off on Booksneeze Review: The Rainbow Egg by Linda K. Hendricks, M.D. #grow4christ

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