Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Published...for the First Time

Not me, obviously. But yesterday's book review of The Last Martin, a YA novel by Jonathan Friesen, marked my son Nate's debut as a published writer. He starts off like I did, as part of a team. We worked separately, then together, to write this review for Crosswalk. He's not exactly an aspiring writer--says it's too hard and he'd rather just read--but he worked hard to contribute his perspective on this fun book.

His teacher showed the article to his class yesterday, on their big screen, then let him get up and teach them about the process he went through. She was so tickled for him, and his classmates thought it was really "cool."

He might be persuaded to do this more often if I keep promising to share the proceeds with him...

Whatever it takes!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Christian Fiction Recommendations

I spend a lot of time reading Christian fiction these days. Mostly because it's my job (I'm a book reviewer for crosswalk.com), but also because I love to read fiction. And the Christian fiction world is growing both in quantity and in quality.

Some of my favorite books published within the last year, in no particular order:

The Master's Wall, by Sandi Rog
While We're Far Apart, by Lynn Austin
Petra, by T.L. Higley
Pearl in the Sand, by Tessa Afshar
Claim, by Lisa Bergren
Red Ink, by Kathi Macias
For Time and Eternity, by Allison Pittman
The Seeker, by Ann Gabhart
Hollywood Nobody, by Lisa Samson (pub 2007)
Here Burns My Candle, by Liz Curtis Higgs

Authors to hunt down and find (their books, not them personally!):

Denise Hunter
Ann Gabhart
Liz Curtis Higgs
Allison Pittman
Lynn Austin
Randy Singer
Linda Windsor
Lisa Samson
Deeann Gist
Kristin Billerbeck

Friday, April 01, 2011

The Latest Around Here

If I had to pin down the theme of the past month here in the Mathews family, I'd use the word "growth." It's spring, so i suppose that's appropriate. The most obvious sign of growth is the finch nest tucked into my Mardi Gras wreath. The babies are 2/3 ready to fly. They now have feathers to go with their cute fuzz, their parents constantly feed them, and they are outgrowing that little nest. Sometimes I see one sitting on top of another. According to research, they should begin leaving around day 16, which is this coming Monday, April 4. I will do my best to catalog their every step of development. Here they are today (day 13).

Gabe, my baby boy: Almost 14 months old and he finally decides it's time to walk. Just this week he started taking multiple steps across the room, and his balance improves daily. Look in the dictionary next to the word "toddle" for a picture ;). He is also growing new molars, suffering the congestion and fever that seem to accompany such milestones. What is it with congestion and teething? Why do they always go together?? He's otherwise still our happy little man (with a new haircut) who absolutely loves his siblings.

Maggie, my one and only daughter. She is so done with Pre-K. I mentioned that Kindergarten Roundup was happening at the elementary, and despite my explaining that it only meant papers were being filled out so she could go there NEXT year, she was ready to move in. Now that it's April, she's getting a little mad that kinder isn't starting yet. So funny! She's already starting to read and enjoys playing with her stuffed animals. They are her little friends and family where she can imagine any sort of situation possible. (I'm just thankful she doesn't do dolls like that!) I'm a bit afraid she's got an addictive personality--when she has a favorite anything, she sticks to it for weeks and weeks. The Lion King (she can quote it), puppies (101 Dalmatians??), and now....wait for it.... oh yeah... "Power Rangers." Yep. (Sigh.)

Jack, my blond-haired, brown-eyed, life-of-the-party boy. He is growing vertically--getting so tall. Though, not compared to his classmates. He's still rather average for his age, but he's starting to shoot up. His feet are keeping up, too. He really likes checking on the birdies every day after school. He's doing great in school and was even tested for Gifted/Talented, though he doesn't really know what that test was about. And he's growing spiritually. He's ready for baptism, though we are going slow with that to be sure he knows exactly what it means. With him around the house, there's sure to be action, noise, and laughter.

Nate, my reader/thinker/baseball player. School continues to go extremely well for this kid, but the real "growth" for him has been in his Bible Drill class at church. Words fall short when trying to describe how much he loathes standing in front of a crowd to do anything. Much less perform...with a timer. Last week he agreed to compete in his church drill, which is made up of his classmates. Hubby and I were able to be there, along with quite a crowd of other parents. He rocked it! 20 out of 24 questions, which qualifies him for the next round at the county level. We were so proud of him just for participating. I'm a little shocked that he's willing to compete in the next one!

Hubby, my love. Spring is utter chaos for educators, and it's only going to get worse this month. He's had a few ministry doors close but others open, and he's got choices laid out before him. He's been teaching the book of Hebrews to our young marrieds class. I think the continual reading and studying of scripture plus all the praying he's been doing about these choices have been integral to this period of spiritual growth in him.

 And me...well, it's always hard to see how oneself is growing unless it's drastic. I am reading some good books, working through a challenging bible study, and managing the house as usual. Sometimes it seems like a fruitless effort, since clean clothes always get dirty again, dishes never stay in the cupboard, and kids always need a ride to or from somewhere (you know, like school!). But I know that I'm just in that season of life, and it's all good. My kids are growing and I get to be here to watch it and be part of it. And that's a blessing.