Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thoughts: Unemployment, New Job, Moving and an 8 wk old baby

Sanity? Seriously?
(I type this as the - "I do not believe in sleep away from Mommy's chest baby is in a front carrier.")

On June 16th (at 8 months preggo) I wrote:
It was about six months ago while eating lunch with my husband that I told him that I could not be any more perfectly happy. We just bought our first house in November. It had been over two years of really wanting to get pregnant and having it just not happen.

And now...

We moved in November 9th a wonderful weekend complete with menses. It was that cycle, and Thanksgiving night that God deemed we deserved my little AppleBlossom. This house is just where we were meant to be for this time in our lives. Apparently this will be the house I spent my pregnancy in, and just about only that...

Early on we got a false reading on an u/s dealing with nucal fold and had to endure several scary expensive specialist visits. All worked out, and as we were starting to relax into this pregnancy, my husband came home one day to tell me he had been laid off. In a division merger, the company that we always thought was fabulous and a dream to work for let go about 90 people in closing a division/merging it into another. With two months to go in my pregnancy, my fairy tell that had been shaken already by medical threats to my baby was just a bit worse.

In attempting to manage the stress... hoping that all will go well at this point... At 27 1/2 wks pregnant, I was diagnosed with
Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. Woohoo. So my ultra sensitive non existent appetite was now even more restrictive. I had to eat when I did not want to eat, I had to carefully observe what I ate and how much and what was in it and basically dissect everything. Just watching the food was not enough, so then I had to take a medicine that would drop my sugar too low and send me into fits that almost put me to fainting with horrible shakes and dizziness. Not to mention pricking my finger every four hours. All this for my last trimester of my first pregnancy. What a dream. (Yes, the end result is worth every drop of blog and sugar plummet).

After getting "notice," DH worked for two more months (mandatory to get the severance) and then has been home for two months. He spent those four months looking and interviewing. Every time we got a little sicker of hearing, "You really fit perfectly, but we're going to hire from within the company." Finally, one day we got two incredible offers on the same day. Our decision is a great company (better than his previous job even!) in Memphis, Tennessee.

Side Note: I love having him around, and having his help at the end of my pregnancy and first almost two months of AppleBlossom's life has been incredible and I would not trade it for the world. God knew what he was doing and I can definitely see the good in something that looked like there would be no good. And even though bits of my pregnancy was stressful and painful, she is perfect and worth it. (And that's not even going into my delivery story, go back to a previous post for that, oh and if you want more details on the u/s fiasco.)

*sigh* (Daddy gracefully removes baby and offers to hold her a while for me. Yay! Wow that's what 10-13lbs lighter feels like...)

So. Now. DH has a new WONDERFUL job! Yay!! It's in Memphis. Um. Okay. Adventure! Both of us were born and lived our whole lives (before college) in the same house in Georgia. Backgrounds fairly similar, but in GA. Now, we will both be moving out of state for a brand new experience that is both exciting and scary. With the idea of moving, what does my husband do? Well he has decided that he hates my cats.

After three years of marriage, and five years of a relationship with nary a word, he now hates the cats and has "no plan to move with them again." What they come with the house to the new owners? Are you kidding? GET OVER IT. *sigh* Am I suppose to give in? Is he being unreasonable? I want to make him happy. Is this one of those compromise issues, which one of us should compromise. HK has been in my life since I was in fifth grade. Yes, that means he was there through the awkward middle school, depressed high school, and roller coast college years. Now you want me to ditch him? He's 13 years old for goodness sake! Patches, she was born on the day we met and given to me as a gift from my friend for my 20th birthday. Yes, sometimes she decides that she would rather use the litter box for urine only and put her feces anywhere else on the carpet, yet she still likes to snuggle. *sigh* Nobody would take them if I tried anyway, (I half heartedly did try). In way of a response, I stopped trying to talk through it and started the preparations for taking them (up to date on vaccines - we were two months overdue due to oh wait, no money - and tranquilizers for the drive). Now he kinda talks about them as if they'll be there too...

Unemployment. It will take a while to trust that the job will be there. Also a month or some to get debts back in order. It's amazing how the only money in money out thing works, yet even when there is no money in, money still has to go out... Stupid Emory. That's another story for another time and a pittance of $19,000 that could have been spent elsewhere. (Did I mention my one semester was more expensive that his five years playing around in college???)

New Job. Very excited. Better benefits and a great salary. Life will be good and get even better.

Moving... I already touched on the stress of moving with the cats. Been there, over that. As mentioned we bought this house in November last year. It is our first house. We really kinda bought it in August, but did not get it until November (go back to previous posts to read about that). That was such an event that we were certain that we would not move again for several years. In the end we ended up with an incredible deal and really paid about 90k less than what the house should have sold for and planned to keep it for years and then one day make some of that money back. Well now it's on the market and our Realtor does not seem hopeful. Fabulous. I'm losing my 28,000 sq ft, 4 bed, 2.5 bath, with HUGE bonus room Craftsman style home. Why?! We cannot buy another house until this one sells and right now that's doubtfully soon. So we're off to rent a house or apartment.

We spent this weekend (Sunday - Tuesday) looking for rentals. We found one in our price. Much smaller but fabulous! It was the first one we looked at. Tuesday morning we called to say we wanted it. Well guess what. Someone who looked at the house a couple hours after we did is going to buy it. Well great. We spent the rest of Tuesday looking at refuse. Anything else in our price range is set at 2 bed 2 bath and previous smokers home. Great. Now it looks like we will have to find an apartment. Awesome. I now have to figure out how to put my almost 3,000 sq ft belongs into a 1,000 sq ft apartment. I no longer will have my mailbox meetings with the mailman. I no longer will have door bell rings from my deliveries. Nope, back to apartment life. You assume that's over once you buy a house, but no, it's back. Back to neighbors encroaching your personally space. Good luck getting that baby to stay asleep.

Now for the fun part. The movers are coming in 12 days. My life is going into multiple boxes in 12 days. I have no idea when I will see my books again. If we're in an apartment, DH said I get one bookshelf. HAVE YOU MET ME? Have you seen my TBR pile? And you're taking it away from me? Oh, and the quilts, the quilts are all going in storage. Well, that will get me to complete them. My UFOs apparently will stay UF (un finished objects).

What about my book reviews? How will I read books that I have no access to? How long will forwarding take? If they are coming UPS/Fedex they won't forward. Will we have time to come back to check for packages?? Are my publicists going to black list me for being late? How long will it take for me to catch up? *sigh*

I have 12 days left with my normalcy. I have 12 days left to figure out what baby clothes/items to keep out. How do I keep them out? How do I survive? Will we be living out of suitcases? Will we remember which boxes we need sooner rather than later? Oh... wait. One more thing... Where are we moving?? That's right, no destination as of yet. Well. Huh. So when the movers get here in 12 days, where are they going to take our stuff? When they called yesterday to set it up, they said, "So all we're missing is the destination address." Well. Huh. Me too.

Oh and for reference. No cloth diaper stores and no quilt shops.

Oh, and btw. AppleBlossom is now screaming her head off. (Yay for inconsolable gasey babies - DH is trying this shift...) Yeah that's right. Read all that remembering, there is an 8 wk old baby involved. Woohoo!!!

#ClothDiapers Fuzzi Bunz Review

After my decision to cloth diaper our daughter AppleBlossom and literally months of research, one of the first choices I knew I wanted to have in my diaper stash were Fuzzi Bunz diapers. About the time that I was making our first purchases, I discovered the new One Size (OS) Fuzzi Bunz (FB) diaper and was able to acquire one of those as well as some Perfect Size (PS) Small and Medium diapers. In comparison to the other diapers we have also obtained in the small size, FB is one of our favorites still.

Fuzzi Bunz is a pocket diaper with guaranteed snaps from Mother of Eden.
The outer layer is made of PUL (polyurethane laminated fabric), which is soft and waterproof and available in a plethora of colors and limited edition prints such as the current daisy print which is just too cute! The inside fabric that is up against baby is made of a fleece that wicks moisture away to the thirsty insert and keeps AppleBlossom feeling dry, which I have found to be fabulous for preventing and healing diaper rash.

Welcome to Mother of Eden... a company that cares

Mother of Eden has been manufacturing reusable and earth-friendly baby products for almost a decade. Our best-selling and award-winning FuzziBunz™ pocket diapers have prevented millions of disposable diapers from entering our landfills and have ensured that babies around the world stay dry, rash-free and happy. We were founded by a mother of three, Tereson Dupuy, who thought her children deserved something better than chemically-imposed disposable diapers and soggy-cotton cloth diapers and plastic pants. Her patented invention has adorned the bottoms of thousands of babies around the world and has set-off a new era in cloth diapering.

Mother of Eden knows that every FuzziBunz™ baby does her part to make this world a better place. By leaving a smaller carbon footprint, these babies are paving the way for a cleaner and better world for us all.

To use a FB diaper you just fill the pocket, preferably with an appropriate FB insert, but you can also use a prefold (PF) instead. When starting my diaper stash, I bought three fabulous Small FB PS in Sage, Lavender, and Baby Pink from my friend Rebecca at The Natural Baby, and borrowed eleven older version ones from my sister in various shades of blue and white. Immediately I could tell a difference. She bought hers as seconds, but they are still good diapers, just not as awesome as the brand new first quality ones.

The difference that I can see is first of all the fleece. The seconds have a cream or off white colored fleece, while my new dipes have pure white and soft soft soft fleece. The fleece of the seconds also appears to be more rough, I would relate that to the material and not from use either. Another difference that I observe between the older ones and the newer ones is the type of snaps used. My new ones have a heavier duty and in my opinion higher quality snap set. (I have been spending some time getting to know snaps, as AppleBlossom's Grandmama has just invested in a snap press and bundles of snaps!) When my sister bought her stash of FB, part of the deal was that they came without inserts. So she just used them with her stash of PF (green edged GMD discontinued now
). Sometimes she stuffed the pocket, sometimes she just put the PF on top and used the FB as a cover, either way worked just fine.

What we have come to experience with the Small FB PS is that we love both the new and the old. However we, especially DH, likes it better when they are stuffed with a FB insert over a PF. They are just so much trimmer then. I have read many a person who seems to think FB and other pocket diapers are a bulky diaper, but I find them to be very slim in my opinion. Right now my darling husband says that the FB diapers + insert are his second favorite only to the Imse Vimse AIO Small sized diapers with snaps, which is a tall order to fill! He likes most the very soft and thin feel. Specifically, he said "Like these a lot, good fit, easy to use and the fleece inside feels super soft. The snaps are easy to use and hold securely." About the alternate of FB diapers + PF he says, "Ok, but like the inserts better than PF. They still work just fine but the PF makes 'em feel thicker. I'm more a fan of the thin feeling diapers." Either way he is a fan!!

The right cloth diaper for your baby....

While a FuzziBunz® One Size diaper will fit your baby from birth to potty training without the added expense of buying the next size up, FuzziBunz® perfect fit selection provides you with trim fitting, highly adjustable diapers that fit snugly without the added bulk a “One Size” diaper may have. So if super great fit and “stuff and go” convenience is important to you – then the FuzziBunz® Perfect Size cloth diaper line is for you.

Did you know that most babies only go through two sizes of FuzziBunz® from birth to potty training – Smalls from 0-6 months and Mediums from 6-36
months. Specialty sizes from XS, Petite and XL
are also available for hard to fit or special needs children.

From Cloth Diapers
From Cloth Diapers
From Cloth Diapers

Now, let me tell you so far our opinions of the FB OS. Same great PUL outer layer, and soft fleece inner layer and pocket. Same fabulous snaps, with the addition of a hip snap for more leg adjustment. The OS diaper has adjustable elastic and should fit sizes 8-35 lbs which for some is their entire diaper lifetime. The elastic for the legs adjust to 8+ settings and the waist adjusts to 4+ settings. What makes this unique from other OS diapers is that the adjust ability is not through extra snaps to snap down the front, but through the adjustable elastic/button system in the waist and legs. At a current 9 lbs and some, AppleBlossom can wear the FB OS diaper without flaw just as easily as the PS. It takes a bit to figure out the right measured settings, but then she's set, at least until the next growth spurt. *grin*

From Cloth Diapers

Over all, we love Fuzzi Bunz diapers and cannot wait to get more for our medium stash once we get there. It appears that from the perfect sized diapers on two size sets will be needed for most babies in the small and medium, although more sizes above and below are available. So while having a stash of OS would seem to be cheaper and you would own less diapers, it is up to the decision of long lasting with less diapers or the trimness and absolutely perfect fit. Really, I do not know what I like better. DH likes both, but probably the PS wins out due to the trimness. For me, I was a little confused by the elastic at first, but can easily master it. I think it is worth the extra dollars to have the better fit. Yet, at least the OS is now available to those who want the full savings and a smaller overall diaper stash.

My suggestions of where to purchase your own FB diapers are The Natural Baby, SoftClothBunz, or Kelly's Closet. The Perfect Size diapers should retail for $17.95, although I have seen the prints listed as $18.95 and the One Size diapers are $18.95 as well. Pretty much all three stores will do bulk discounts. If you do not see the option, just ask!

From Cloth Diapers

In our stash, we have 13 small PS and the one OS in current use with two medium PS to get to as she grows to about 15 lbs. I love these dipes and want more! These are a definite planned investment in the months to come. I plan to have at least 10 or more as part of my overall medium stash.

*NOTE* Pictures: Baby Pink is about 3 wks of age. Lavender and Butter are about 8 wks of age.

Blogoversary Giveaways 1-22 and then some

As the first half of my Blogoversary Giveaways so far, there is an opportunity to win the following books: (The following giveaways all end on October 18th)...

Cowboy Christmas by Mary Connealy
(Christmas Christian Historical Fiction)
A Forever Christmas by Missy Tippens (Christmas Christian Fiction)
The Great Christmas Bowl by Susan May Warren (Christmas Christian Contemporary Fiction)
The Sound of Sleigh Bells by Cindy Woodsmall (Christmas Christian Amish Fiction)

The Hope of Refuge or one of the Sisters of the Quilt Trilogy by Cindy Woodsmall (Christian Amish Fiction)

The Jewel of His Heart by Maggie Brendan (Christian Historical Fiction)
A Passion Denied or another Passion title by Julie Lessman (Christian Historical Fiction)

Wind of the Spirit by J.M. Hochstetler (Christian Historical Fiction)
Copper and Candles and/or Hearts and Harvest by Amber Stockton
(Christian Historical Fiction)

White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner (Christian Contemporary Fiction)
My Son, John by Kathy Macias (Christian Contemporary Fiction)
Rain Dance by Joy DeKok (Christian Contemporary Fiction)

Out of His Hands by Megan DiMaria (Christian Contemporary Fiction)
June Bug by Chris Fabry (Christian Contemporary Fiction)

It's Not About Him by Michelle Sutton (Christian YA Fiction)
The Case of the Mystified M.D. by A.K. Arenz (Christian Cozy Mystery Fiction)
A Silent Fury by Lynette Eason (Christian Contemporary Suspense Fiction)

The Short List by Bill Butterworth (Christian non Fiction)
Can God Be Trusted? by Thomas D. Williams (Christian non Fiction)
A Climate for Change by Katharine Hayhoe & Andrew Farley (Christian non Fiction)
From Blushing Bride to Wedded Wife by Marla Taviano (Christian non Fiction/devo)

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran (Historical Fiction)

Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn (Historical Mystery Fiction)
The Day of Evil Series by Melanie Wells (Christian Suspense Contemporary Fiction)

AND there is plenty MORE to come!!

Blogoversary Giveaway Special Extra #2

Find giveaway information under this brief message...

Be Part of the Solution

“In the U.S., 30 million people over age 16 — 14 percent of the country’s adult population — don’t read well enough to understand a newspaper story written at the eighth grade level or fill out a job application.”
- ProLiteracy

I Told Two Friends is an online campaign led by Dallas author, Melanie Wells, to rally book lovers to help fight adult illiteracy. Readers are invited to join our effort to raise $100,000 for the cause by purchasing Melanie Wells’ novel, My Soul To Keep, and encouraging two friends do the same. 100% of the author’s profits will go to ProLiteracy, an international non-profit whose mission is to end adult illiteracy worldwide.

Tell two friends, and they’ll tell two friends, and so on and so on … and help thousands of eager adults learn to read this sentence. Be part of the solution!

My Soul to Keep (Day of Evil Series #3)

This is how it works:

1) Purchase two of any Melanie Well’s Dylan Foster thriller, My Soul to Keep, at your local bookstore or through any of the online merchants listed on site. Give the books to two friends and tell them about how they can help support adult literacy by each purchasing two books and giving them to two friends….then they tell two friends, and they’ll tell two friends….you get the point by now!

2) Sign up through the e-mail form to the right (on to receive e-mail updates about the campaign. To participate in the contest and earn the glory of raising the most funds for literacy, remember to sign up for the competition as well. Both forms are listed on the right side bar.

3) Make sure you keep track of who you tell and who they tell (this is what we call a “string”) because the people with the longest strings or who have told the most people will get some wicked prizes. This is where your creativity comes in. We don’t care how you show us, but you’ve got to show us! It could be through pictures, video or even a long laundry list. This way we will know who gets bragging rights for raising the most funds for literacy! We’ll post whatever your send us to show which readers are committed to the campaign.

4) Follow us on Twitter for other updates:

5) Tell two more friends and repeat steps 1, 3 & 4!


Here are a few stories from adults who have benefited from ProLiteracy:

Marten Griego
Rosetta Harper
Donnell McCoy

ProLiteracy champions the power of literacy to improve the lives of adults and their families, communities, and societies.

ProLiteracy works with its members, partners, and the adult learners they serve; along with local, national, and international organizations. ProLiteracy helps build the capacity and quality of programs that are teaching adults to read, write, compute, use technology, and learn English as a new language by:

• Advocating for public policies and legislation that benefit adult learners and the people and programs that serve them

• Providing professional development and training, technical assistance, publications, online resources, and credentialing services for program directors, instructors, trainers, and volunteer tutors working with adult learners in the U.S.

• Working internationally with existing non-governmental agencies to create programs that combine native language literacy lessons with community projects related to the environment, economic self-sufficiency, education, health, family literacy, and peace/conflict resolution using a methodology called Literacy for Social Change

• Publishing educational materials that address the learning needs and difficulties of adult learners and of youths in grades 6-10. ProLiteracy produces the only weekly newspaper written in plain English. Proceeds from sales of these materials through New Readers Press, our publishing division, support ProLiteracy’s programs.

• Sponsoring an annual conference that offers workshops, presentations, and special sessions on the most up-to-date research, instruction techniques, and program management skills; provides opportunities for networking among peers; and includes an exhibit hall with the latest products for adult literacy instruction.

In all 50 states and the District of Columbia, ProLiteracy’s network of organizational and individual members offer adults instruction in basic literacy, GED preparation, math, and English as a second language.

For more information on ProLiteracy, please visit or use the button on this page.

Today's extra is for an autographed set of the Day of Evil Series, autographed by author Melanie Wells from my mailbox to yours.

My Soul to Keep - Excerpts
As nasty as I knew Peter Terry to be, I never expected him to start kidnapping kids. Much less a sweet, funny little boy with nothing to protect him but a few knock-kneed women, two rabbits, and a staple gun..."
The Soul Hunter
Second in the spiritual thriller trilogy from Melanie Wells, this preview of Chapter 1 is the first ever released to the public. Wells has joined the ranks of other accomplished novelists such as Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, and Randy Alcorn, all of whom bring fascinating spiritual warfare themes to their masterful fiction writing.
When the Day of Evil Comes
Private practice counselor Melanie Wells has taken the publishing world by storm in her new psychological and spiritual thriller, When the Day of Evil Comes. This first work of the trilogy is available now in bookstores everywhere.

So here's the MANDATORY DEAL. Follow @itoldtwofriends on Twitter, and tell me why you would like to win this series rather than buy a copy for yourself. Click here, to go read my review and tell me what is it from my review that makes you want to buy a copy of the book if you do not win the entire series now.

For extra entries, do all the extra stuff. You know the drill. If not, check back on a previous giveaway to get ideas...

Open to US only. Winner will be chosen on October 18th.

Blogoversary Giveaway #22

Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers, I have a good handful of books to offer to giveaway straight from my mailbox to yours. Have you read those best selling advice books? Well here is another one that I think will end up being even better!

The Short List: In a Life Full of Choices, There Are Only Four That Matter

If you like The Purpose Driven Life or Your Best Life Now, you’ll like The Short List. Endorsed by Lee Strobel and John Townsend, The Short List teaches four lessons (through storytelling and Biblical examples) that will help readers to slow down and focus on what really matters in life. It will inspire readers to leave a legacy of lasting significance. It offers big, life-changing ideas presented in a way that’s relatable and not overwhelming.

When you’re working too hard, seeing your family too little, talking to God almost never . . . you’re living a life that has gotten out of sync with what’s really important. The good news? There are four choices you can make today that will have an overwhelmingly positive impact on you, your loved ones, and the legacy you will leave behind. Popular author and speaker Bill Butterworth uses his trademark blend of humorous stories and Scriptural examples to remind you of God’s plan for you . . . and to challenge you to make the four most important choices of your life.

Chapter 1: The Lesson from Little League (The First Important Thing: Love)
Chapter 2: The Lesson from Fourth Period Chemistry (The Second Important Thing: Honesty)
Chapter 3: The Lesson from Big Buttermobile (The Third Important Thing: Faith)
Chapter 4: The Lesson from Cruising with the Doctor (The Fourth Important Thing: Courage)
Includes an afterword on parenting based on Bill’s personal story of his father’s death and eulogy.

What is the best piece of advice someone has ever given you?

Good luck all! And for the fun of it, after your MANDATORY entry above, any of the following will get you additional entries...

  • Add my blog to your technorati favs (left sidebar)
  • Follow my blog through Google Friend Connect (right sidebar)
  • Follow my blog through Networked Blogs (right sidebar)
  • Subscribe to my blog via Feedburner (right sidebar)
  • Follow me on Twitter (right sidebar)
  • Tweet this giveaway (come back and leave your status link - find this by clicking on your time of tweet)
  • Join my Facebook Fan page
  • Comment on other non-giveaway posts
  • Blog about this giveaway
  • Grab my button and link to my blog (left sidebar)
  • Grab my giveaway button and link to my blog (right sidebar)
Leave an additional comment for each entry.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Blogoversary Giveaway #21

Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers, I have a good handful of books to offer to giveaway straight from my mailbox to yours. Today, I have a copy of The Great Christmas Bowl from Susan May Warren. This is a cute little almost 200 page book that I cannot wait to read! My copy is sitting on my bedside table in a pile calling to me and I hope to have a review to you soon. In two weeks, on September 24th, come back to read the FIRST Chapter. I just love Susie's writing!

The Great Christmas Bowl

Marianne Wallace is focused on two things this holiday season: planning the greatest family Christmas ever and cheering on her youngest son's team in their bid for the state championship. Disaster strikes when the team loses their mascot—the Trout. Is it going too far to ask her to don the costume? So what if her husband has also volunteered her to organize the church Christmas tea. When football playoffs start ramping up, the Christmas tea starts falling apart. Then, one by one her children tell her they can't come home for Christmas. As life starts to unravel, will Marianne remember the true meaning of the holidays?

Have you read anything by Susie yet? Tell me about it.

Good luck all! And for the fun of it, after your MANDATORY entry above, any of the following will get you additional entries...

  • Add my blog to your technorati favs (left sidebar)
  • Follow my blog through Google Friend Connect (right sidebar)
  • Follow my blog through Networked Blogs (right sidebar)
  • Subscribe to my blog via Feedburner (right sidebar)
  • Follow me on Twitter (right sidebar)
  • Tweet this giveaway (come back and leave your status link - find this by clicking on your time of tweet)
  • Join my Facebook Fan page
  • Comment on other non-giveaway posts
  • Blog about this giveaway
  • Grab my button and link to my blog (left sidebar)
  • Grab my giveaway button and link to my blog (right sidebar)
Leave an additional comment for each entry.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Blogoversary Giveaway #20

Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers, I have a good handful of books to offer to giveaway straight from my mailbox to yours. Now this is one I know some people will be excited about... Redemption, book #1 of the Redemption Series of the Baxter Family Drama from Best Selling Author Karen Kingsbury with America's Relationship Doctor Gary Smalley. Over a million copies sold in the series and it is one that you hear about where ever you can find Christian books. Well today is your opportunity to win a copy for yourself! This is a republication from August 2009 with a fresh new look, and I must admit I love the cover. It even feels fabulous.


A fresh new look for the best-selling series from America’s number-one inspirational novelist, Karen Kingsbury. Fans will enjoy a personal note from Karen and Gary Smalley as well as discussion questions for book group use. Revisit the Baxter family in all their life-changing events, or share the series with someone who hasn’t discovered it yet.

The Redemption series won Christian Retailing’s 2005 Retailer’s Choice Award for Best Series!

When Kari Baxter Jacobs finds out that her husband is involved in an adulterous relationship and wants a divorce, she decides she will love him and remain faithful to her marriage at all costs. This book shows how God can redeem seemingly hopeless relationships, and it illustrates one of Gary Smalley’s key messages: Love is a decision.

Redemption is the first book in the five-book Redemption series that Gary and Karen will write about the Baxter family—their fears and desires, their strengths and weaknesses, their losses and victories. Each book explores key relationship themes as well as the larger theme of redemption, both in characters’ spiritual lives and in their relationships.

Have you heard of this series? When was the first time and why have you not read it yet?

Good luck all! And for the fun of it, after your MANDATORY entry above, any of the following will get you additional entries...

  • Add my blog to your technorati favs (left sidebar)
  • Follow my blog through Google Friend Connect (right sidebar)
  • Follow my blog through Networked Blogs (right sidebar)
  • Subscribe to my blog via Feedburner (right sidebar)
  • Follow me on Twitter (right sidebar)
  • Tweet this giveaway (come back and leave your status link - find this by clicking on your time of tweet)
  • Join my Facebook Fan page
  • Comment on other non-giveaway posts
  • Blog about this giveaway
  • Grab my button and link to my blog (left sidebar)
  • Grab my giveaway button and link to my blog (right sidebar)
Leave an additional comment for each entry.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Blogoversary Giveaway #19

Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers, I have a good handful of books to offer to giveaway straight from my mailbox to yours. One of which, I'm jealous that I have to let this go! It's going on my TBR purchase list today so I can get my own copy. Giveaway #19 is June Bug by Chris Fabry. After reading the back cover, I had to peek inside. Now after reading the first few pages, I hate to put it down. But it's your book, brand new, and I'll leave it that way and buy my own. Remember my whole purpose is to influence you to buy books as well!!

June Bug

June Bug believed everything her daddy told her. That is, until she walked into Wal-Mart and saw her face on a list of missing children. The discovery begins a quest for the truth about her father, the mother he rarely speaks about, and ultimately herself. A modern interpretation of Les Miserables, the story follows a dilapidated RV rambling cross-country with June Bug and her father, a man running from a haunted past. Forces beyond their control draw them back to Dogwood, West Virginia, down a winding path that will change their lives forever.

Can you imagine? Tell me one word, the way that you would feel. ONE WORD.

Good luck all! And for the fun of it, after your MANDATORY entry above, any of the following will get you additional entries...

  • Add my blog to your technorati favs (left sidebar)
  • Follow my blog through Google Friend Connect (right sidebar)
  • Follow my blog through Networked Blogs (right sidebar)
  • Subscribe to my blog via Feedburner (right sidebar)
  • Follow me on Twitter (right sidebar)
  • Tweet this giveaway (come back and leave your status link - find this by clicking on your time of tweet)
  • Join my Facebook Fan page
  • Comment on other non-giveaway posts
  • Blog about this giveaway
  • Grab my button and link to my blog (left sidebar)
  • Grab my giveaway button and link to my blog (right sidebar)
Leave an additional comment for each entry.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Blogoversary Giveaway #18

Giveaway #18 is a Love Inspired Suspense novel, A Silent Fury by Lynette Eason. A winner will be announce October 18th for US only.

A Silent Fury (High Stakes Bk #2)(Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense)

Tragedy strikes Palmetto Deaf School—twice. With one student murdered and another missing, it's up to homicide detective Catelyn Clark to find the killer—and probable kidnapper—fast. She'll even work with her ex-boyfriend, FBI agent Joseph Santino, to solve the case…while keeping her distance. Relationships between cops never work; her parents taught her that. They also taught her that the only one she can rely on is herself. But when the killer starts targeting Catelyn, it's only by opening her heart to faith—and love—that she can finally bring the silent fury to an end.
What do you like about suspense with a twist?

Good luck all! And for the fun of it, after your MANDATORY entry above, any of the following will get you additional entries...

  • Add my blog to your technorati favs (left sidebar)
  • Follow my blog through Google Friend Connect (right sidebar)
  • Follow my blog through Networked Blogs (right sidebar)
  • Subscribe to my blog via Feedburner (right sidebar)
  • Follow me on Twitter (right sidebar)
  • Tweet this giveaway (come back and leave your status link - find this by clicking on your time of tweet)
  • Join my Facebook Fan page
  • Comment on other non-giveaway posts
  • Blog about this giveaway
  • Grab my button and link to my blog (left sidebar)
  • Grab my giveaway button and link to my blog (right sidebar)
Leave an additional comment for each entry.

Friday, September 25, 2009

CFBA: Fields of Grace

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Fields Of Grace

Bethany House (October 2009)


Kim Vogel Sawyer


Best-selling, award-winning author Kim Vogel Sawyer is a wife, mother, grandmother, author, speaker, singer of songs and lover of chocolate... but most importantly, she's a born-again child of the King!

A former elementary school teacher, Kim closed her classroom door in 2005 to follow God's call on her heart to write and speak. Now blessed with multiple writing contracts with Bethany House, Barbour, and Zondervan Publishing, Kim enjoys sharing her journey to publication as well as the miraculous story of her healing from a life-long burden of pain and shame.

Kim's gentle yet forthright testimony lends credence to the promise of Ps. 117:2--"Great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever."


Will their Mennonite faith be shaken or strengthened by the journey to a new land?

With their eldest son nearly to the age when he will be drafted into military service, Reinhardt and Lillian Vogt decide to immigrate to America, the land of liberty, with their three sons and Reinhardt's adopted brother, Eli. But when tragedy strikes during the voyage, Lillian and Eli are forced into an agreement neither desires.

Determined to fulfill his obligation to Reinhardt, Eli plans to see Lillian and her sons safely settled on their Kansas homestead--and he's equally determined that the boys will be reared in the Mennonite faith. What he doesn't expect is his growing affection for Lillian--and the deep desire to be part of a family.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Fields Of Grace, go HERE

I am half way through this one and enjoying the writing of Kim Vogel Sawyer, this is my first taste of her writing. Though this book starts in tragedy, I can see hints of light and hope on the horizon and cannot wait to find out what happens next. A full review is to come soon.

Blogoversary Giveaway #17

Blogoversary giveaway #16 is for a fun novel Out of His Hands by Megan DiMaria. Winner will be announced October 18th.

Out Of Her Hands

In this second novel by Megan DiMaria, Linda Revere is back and continuing to struggle with the turmoil of contemporary life. Linda has been praying for her children's future spouses since they were very small. Confident that her prayers will be answered, Linda is not prepared for the young woman her son brings home. But Linda soon learns that while everything she once controlled is out of her hands, God is still in control. Megan uses her trademark humor while dealing with issues to which her readers will relate.

What is your favorite Christian Contemporary novel?

Good luck all! And for the fun of it, after your MANDATORY entry above, any of the following will get you additional entries...

  • Add my blog to your technorati favs (left sidebar)
  • Follow my blog through Google Friend Connect (right sidebar)
  • Follow my blog through Networked Blogs (right sidebar)
  • Subscribe to my blog via Feedburner (right sidebar)
  • Follow me on Twitter (right sidebar)
  • Tweet this giveaway (come back and leave your status link - find this by clicking on your time of tweet)
  • Join my Facebook Fan page
  • Comment on other non-giveaway posts
  • Blog about this giveaway
  • Grab my button and link to my blog (left sidebar)
  • Grab my giveaway button and link to my blog (right sidebar)
Leave an additional comment for each entry.

FIRST Chapter: Cowboy Christmas

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:

A Cowboy Christmas

Barbour Books (September 1, 2009)


As an award-winning author, Mary Connealy lives on a Nebraska farm with her husband and is the mother of four grown daughters. She writes plays and shorts stories, and is the author of two other novels, Petticoat Ranch and Calico Canyon. Also an avid blogger, Mary is a GED instructor by day and an author by night. For more information on Mary Connealy, visit her Web site at .

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $10.97
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (September 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602601453
ISBN-13: 978-1602601451


A mining camp in Missouri, November, 1879

“You’ll wear that dress, Songbird.” Claude Leveque grabbed Annette Talbot’s arm, lifted her to her toes, and shoved her backward.

Annie tripped over a chair and cried out as it toppled. The chair scraped her legs and back. Her head hit the wall of the tiny, windowless shack, and stars exploded in her eyes.

Stunned by the pain, she hit the floor, and an animal instinct sent her scrambling away from Claude. But there was nowhere to go in the twelve-by-twelve-foot cabin.

Her head cleared enough to tell her there was no escape, so she fought with will and faith. “Never.” Propping herself up on her elbows, she faced him and shouted her defiance. “I will never go out in public in that dress.”

“You’ll sing what I tell you to sing.” Claude, in his polished suit and tidily trimmed hair, looked every inch civilized—or he had, until tonight. Now he strode toward her, eyes shooting furious fire, his face twisted into soul-deep rot and sin.

“I sing as a mission.” Annie tried to press her back through the unyielding log wall. “I sing hymns. That’s the only thing—”

A huge fist closed over the front of her blouse, and Claude lifted her like a rag doll to eye level, but he didn’t strike.

He would. He’d proved that several times over since he’d come here with his disgusting demands.

She braced herself. She’d die first. Claude might not believe that, but he’d know before long.

“So, you’re willing to die for your beliefs, heh?” Claude’s fist tightened on her blouse, cutting off Annie’s air.

“Yes!” She could barely speak, but he heard. He knew.

“Are you willing to watch someone else die, Songbird? Maybe your precious friend, Elva?” He shook her and her head snapped back. “I can always find another piano player.”

“No!” Annie had to save Elva. Somehow. Of course Elva would be threatened. Annie hadn’t had time to think that far.

Elva would never stand for this. Elva would die for her beliefs, too.

A wicked laugh escaped from Claude’s twisted mouth. “She’s easily replaced. But I’ll never”—he shook her viciously—“find another singer like you.”

How had it come to this? God help me. Protect Elva and me.

“My answer is no! Elva wouldn’t play the piano for me if I wore that.” Her eyes went to the slattern’s dress hanging, vivid red, near the door. “She would refuse to play the piano for those vulgar songs.”

“We’ll see, Songbird.” Claude laughed again.

Annie saw the evil in him, the hunger to hurt. He wasn’t just hurting Annie to get his way. He was enjoying it. Her vision dimmed and blurred as she clawed at his strangling fist.

“I’ll go have a talk with your frail old friend and then we’ll see.” He shoved Annie backward, slamming her against the wall.

She hit so hard her knees buckled. What little air she still had was knocked away.

Claude charged out, shutting the door behind him.

Annie heard the sound of a padlock snicking shut as she slumped sideways.

She became aware of her surroundings with no idea how much time had passed. In the falling darkness, she could barely make out blood dripping down the front of her dress. Tears diluted the blood and she wept.

“Do something, idiot! You can’t just sit here crying.”

Annie proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was indeed an idiot by burying her face in her hands and sobbing her heart out. The tears burned. She swiped at them and flinched from the pain in her blackened eye.

Shuddering, she lifted her battered face from her hands and looked at the dress. It seemed to glow in the dim light, as if the very fires of the devil gave it light. Indecent, vivid red silk with black fringe. No bodice worth mentioning, the front hem cut up nearly to the knees. The garment was horrible and disgusting, and Annie’s shudders deepened. She shouted at the walls of the tiny, solidly locked cabin, “I won’t do it!”

Claude had known before he’d asked that Annie would never wear that sinful dress and sing those bawdy songs. Touching gingerly her throbbing, swollen cheek, Annie pulled her hand away and saw blood. Her lip was split, her nose bleeding. She knew Claude’s fists had been more for his own cruel pleasure than any attempt at coercion.

“Beat me to death if you want,” she yelled at the door. “I will never again perform onstage for you!” She felt strong, righteous. Ready to die for her faith.

Then she thought of Elva. Annie’s elderly accompanist was maybe, right now, being punished because Annie hadn’t fallen in line.

Claude’s cruel threats rang in her ears even with him gone.

For all her utter commitment to refusing the Leveques and singing only her beloved hymns, how could Annie watch Elva be hurt? Could Annie stand on principle while Elva was beaten?

The welts on Annie’s arm, in the perfect shape of Claude Leveque’s viselike hand, along with Annie’s swollen eye and bleeding lip, proved the hateful man knew how to inflict pain. He’d proved he had no compunction in hurting a helpless woman.

Noise outside her prison brought Annie to her feet. He was coming back! Annie was sick to think what the couple would do to the elderly woman who had spent her older years worshipping God with music.

Sick with fear that they’d force Annie to watch Elva being battered, Annie clenched her fists and prayed. God would never agree that Annie should wear that tart’s dress, sing vile, suggestive songs, and flash her legs for drunken men.

But Elva!

Please, Lord, guide me though this dark valley.

A key rattled in the doorway.

Annie braced herself. If she could get past Claude, she would run, find Elva, and get away. Go somewhere, somehow. Throw herself on the mercy of the men in this logging camp—the very ones Claude said would pay to see that dreadful harlot’s gown.

The wooden door of the secluded, one-room shack swung hard and crashed against the wall. Elva fell onto her knees, clutching her chest. “You have to run!” Elva, eyes wild with terror, lifted her head. Annie saw Elva’s face was battered; a cut on her cheek bled freely.

Expecting Claude and Blanche to be right behind the gray-haired woman, Annie rushed forward and dropped to Elva’s side. “Elva, what did they do to you?”

“I heard. . .I heard Claude making plans, awful plans for you. He caught me eavesdropping. He thought he’d knocked me cold, but I lay still and waited until he left. He’d hung the key on a nail, and I stole it and slipped away to set you free.” Elva staggered to her feet, every breath echoed with pain. She stretched out a shaking hand, and Annie saw Elva’s black velvet reticule. The one the sweet pianist, who made Annie’s voice sound as pretty as a meadowlark, carried always. “There’s money. All I’ve saved.” Elva coughed, cutting off her words. She breathed as if it hurt. “T–Take it and go. There’s a wagon. It’s already left, but run, catch it. Ride to town. Enough.” Coughing broke her voice again and Elva’s knees wobbled. She clung tight to Annie. “Enough for one train ticket.”

Annie realized what Elva was saying. “No, I won’t leave you.”

“It’s my heart.” Elva sagged sideways, clutching her chest. Annie couldn’t hold her dead weight, slight though Elva was. They both lowered to the floor. “When Claude landed his first blow, I felt my heart give out. Oh, Annie, the things he threatened for you. The evil, ugly words from a serpent’s mouth. My precious girl. Run. You must run.”

“I won’t leave you. They’ll kill you, Elva.”

“No. My heart. I’ve felt it coming for months and tonight’s the end. They can’t harm me anymore.”

“Elva, don’t talk like that.” Tears wanted to fall, but Annie had no time for such weakness. “You’re all I have!”

“Your father. Go home.”

“He doesn’t want me. You know that.”

Elva’s hand closed over the already bruised place on Annie’s wrist. Elva clearly saw what Annie had already suffered at Claude’s hands. “Go. There’s no time. What they want from you is a fate worse than death.”

Annie gasped. Those words could mean only one thing. She glanced at the indecent dress. A harlot’s dress.

“God is calling me home, my beautiful girl. He’s taking me b–because He knows you’d never leave me. God in heaven is rescuing us both. I’ll go home and so will you. I believe that.”

Annie looked into Elva’s eyes, and even now they clouded over.

“Go. Please. It’s my fault you’re in this place. I thought we’d bring the Lord to these people with your beautiful singing. I convinced you to stay when the Leveques took over. If you stay I will have died for nothing, Sw–Sweet Annie.”

Elva’s grip tightened until Annie nearly cried out in pain. Then as quickly as the spasm had come, it was gone.

And so was Elva. She sank, lifeless, to the floor.

Annie saw the very moment Elva’s spirit left her body—a heartbreaking, beautiful moment, because now Elva was beyond pain.

But Annie wasn’t.

“If you stay I will have died for nothing.”

A loud snap of a twig jerked Annie’s head around. She gazed into the nearby woods surrounding the sequestered shack she’d been locked in. The Leveques were coming.

“What they want from you is a fate worse than death.”

As if God Himself sent lightning to jolt her, Annie clutched Elva’s reticule, leaped to her feet, and ran.

“There’s a wagon. It’s already left, but run, catch it. Ride to town.”

Annie gained the cover of the woods and, without looking back, began moving with painstaking silence.

She heard Claude’s shout of rage when he discovered the cabin door ajar.

Poor Elva. No one to bury her. No one to make her funeral a testimony to her life of faith.

Annie hated herself for running away. It was cowardly. There had to be some way to stay and pay proper respect, see to a decent Christian burial. Every decent part of herself said, “Go back. Face this.”

She kept moving. Elva had insisted on it. Common sense confirmed it. God whispered it in her heart to move, hurry, be silent.

Silence was her only weapon and Annie used it. She’d learned silence in the mountains growing up, slipping up on a deer or an elk. Slipping away from a bear or a cougar.

As much as Annie had loved her mountain home, she’d never learned to hunt. Pa fed the family. But she loved the woods and was skilled in their use.

Heading for the trail to town, she was careful to get close enough to not lose her way but stay off to the side.

Not long after she’d started out, she saw Claude storming down the trail toward town. He’d catch the wagon Elva spoke of long before she did. And, she hoped, insist on searching it. Once Claude assured himself that Annie wasn’t there, she’d have her chance.

Annie felt the bite of the cool night air. She heard an owl hoot in the darkness. The rustle of the leaves covered tiny sounds she might make as she eased along. She knew the trail. She knew the night. She knew the woods.

All of it was filled with treachery.

Go back to my Blogoversary Giveaway #1 for an opportunity to enter to win a copy of Cowboy Christmas straight from Mary Connealy. And stick around, because in the next month or so, there may be another opportunity to win a copy from my mailbox to yours complements of Barbour Books.

As of yet I have loved everything I have ever read by Mary Connealy. Never fear, I have started this one and a review is coming soon. At ten pages in, I can already tell you I'm dying for AppleBlossom to be settled so I can finish this book that I'm already enthralled with!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Masterpiece: Little Dorrit

Big Win for Little Dorrit

MASTERPIECE was honored with seven Emmy Awards for Little Dorrit and now you can join in the celebration! For a limited time, we're proud to make Little Dorrit available for online viewing. See it again yourself and tell your friends.

In addition to being recognized for outstanding miniseries, MASTERPIECE's Little Dorrit was honored in categories including: writing, directing, costuming, casting, art direction and cinematography.

"We're so pleased that Little Dorrit received all this recognition," says MASTERPIECE executive producer Rebeccca Eaton. "It's a series that does MASTERPIECE, the BBC — and Charles Dickens — proud."

Blog Archive