Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Christy Awards

 The Christy Awards were handed out last night in St. Louis. Check out these best fiction titles in the Christian market in 2009:

Contemporary Romance category
Breach of Trust by DiAnn Mills (Tyndale House Publishers)

Contemporary Series, Sequels & Novellas category
Who Do I Talk To? by Neta Jackson (Thomas Nelson)

Contemporary Standalone category
The Passion of Mary-Margaret by Lisa Samson (Thomas Nelson)

First Novel category
Fireflies in December by Jennifer Erin Valent (Tyndale House Publishers)

Historical category
Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin (Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Historical Romance category
The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen (Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Suspense category
Lost Mission by Athol Dickson (Howard Books: a Division of Simon & Schuster)

Visionary category
Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson (Marcher Lord Press)

Young Adult category
North! or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Laughing at 20 Years

This weekend I laughed a lot, mostly at myself. A 20-year high school reunion provides the perfect occasion for such self-directed humor.

Seriously, what did my 18-year-old self think a 38-year-old's life would look like? Did I really believe those alumnae were "old"??! That life worth living was about to end? Bah! 38 has never seemed so young. Heck, 60 is starting to look like the prime of life. So my first laugh was directed at my younger, book-smart-but-life-ignorant self. Boy did I have a lot to learn.

Much of the laughter came while visiting with old friends. At the girls' night out event, at least 50 of us--almost half the graduating class--gathered for an informal evening. No background music, no one else in the room...and my ears were ringing when I left at 12:15 that night. Wow, can women talk! Aside from several great talks with old friends, I also enjoyed the sight of women who had not necessarily been close friends in high school visiting animatedly and taking pictures together. I caught up with bunches of old friends, and other classmates as well. There's something very equalizing about life experience and time.

And in the interest of full disclosure, embarrassment also serves as a great equalizer. Two classmates showed up very pregnant, and at least six of us there that night had babies under a year old. Which meant of course that some of us were nursing. And when you spend more than six hours away from your baby, and talk about those babies, certain bodily reactions are impossible to stop. I am forever grateful to Meg and Renee for rescuing me. Although, really Meg, did you have to tell your husband about it the next night while introducing me to him??

See? Laughter! Buckets of it.

Saturday morning many of us, with our families, gathered at the school campus for a tour. Much has changed there, and I for one enjoyed seeing the new renovations and additions. My kids, upon seeing the various statues of St. Joseph holding baby Jesus, Mary stepping on a snake, and nuns playing with school children, were heard asking questions.
"Was this your classroom, Mommy?"
"What's Mary doing?"
"Is that baby Jesus?"

"What's a nun?" (my favorite)

Saturday night hubby and I got all dressed up for the big shin-dig. Yet another reason to laugh at myself. I spent more time and money on my little black dress, cute black shoes, underthings meant to suck in my baby-gut (unsuccessfully, I might add), and pretty toes and fingernails--than I probably spent last Christmas. Not to mention the gas and food costs to get there... I wasn't exactly known in high school as the fashion goddess, to say the least.

Still don't have that title.

But it was fun, and worth it. Especially since hubby got all dressed up with me and actually enjoyed himself at a large gathering of people he'd never met before, wearing a name tag with his name printed next to my high school picture (I wore a similar tag).

More laughter--viewing the slide show featuring horrid 1980s big hair, old cars, and sad fashion. Watching classmates see themselves on the slide show and groan through their giggles. Trying to dance to 1980s music (or watching others try). Double two-stepping to the one country song we heard ("Calling Baton Rouge" by Garth Brooks--how appropriate!) but losing my shoes in the process.

Finally, I laughed in amazement at what God could do in the lives of 113 girls. Through conversations with some, and hearing about others from mutual friends, I learned that more than 10 classmates have given their lives to Jesus since high school. For some, it was a dramatic turnaround. For others it's been a slow but joyful process of learning that Jesus wants to have a relationship with them. I listened to two friends' testimonies and discussed a study of Psalm 119 with another...while sipping beer or wine (depending on the event) and blending in with everyone in their finery. Almost felt like a fraud, but God transcends denominations, careers, looks, and achievements.

Not only was my 20-year reunion a total blast, but God used it to encourage my faith. He's pretty cool like that!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summertime Fun

Gabe's first visit to the pool. I think he liked it.


Friday, June 11, 2010

When God Says "Yes" ... Then, "No"

And it was my turn to blog at Tapestry today. Sometimes God's call is confusing. I admit to having no answers...

Monday, June 07, 2010

Stitches Blog Post

A worship song yesterday at church turned my thoughts to "momma love." I blogged about it at Stitches today.

A Woman Called Sage

Crosswalk has published my latest book review. This one is set in the Wild West. Diann Mills tells a good story!

Friday, June 04, 2010

Bonhoeffer Biography Rocks

As much as I like to read, I'm not a big fan of biographies. So when I was asked to read a 542-page biography of a 20th century theologian and then interview the author, I accepted with an attitude of toleration. As in, "not my preference, but if I must..."

Within one chapter, my attitude turned 180 degrees. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy brought the man, Dietrich, to life again. Eric Metaxas managed to gather loads of original material--love letters, sermons, letters, personal interviews--that tell a flowing story of one man's life and its immeasurable effect on the church.

His message to believers is applicable today, for the relationship between church and state today looks amazingly like 1930s Germany. Not Nazism now, but the reach of the state's influence and how the church does or doesn't respond. Bonhoeffer has something to teach us.

So read my interview with Metaxas. He's a great guy--so gracious when I goofed and had to completely re-do the interview. And funny, too. His website is here.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Swagbucks in the News

If you see me on Facebook, you've probably noticed the occasional post announcing that I've won Swagbucks by searching the web. Some folks have inquired as to what the heck Swagbucks is. Check out this video from a reporter who wondered the same thing.



It's super easy to use. Just download the toolbar and use it when you search the web. If you are interested in earning as you surf, sign up here.