Monday, August 29, 2011

Women of Faith Recap

Fun weekend. Lots of highlights to share, but those will wait for another post. This blog is dedicated to the uniqueness of a conference made for women only.

Top 10 Things We Observed at Women of Faith That You'll Never See at a Men's Conference:

1.   Color coordinated lighting and stage decor.
2.   Converted bathrooms.
3.   Colorful group t-shirts proclaiming church or group affiliation.
4.   Mugging for the camera as it pans the audience during breaks.
5.   Random squeals in the audience.
6.   Mentioning menstrual cramps, childbirth and high heels (is there a male equivalent to such topics?).
7.   Sparkly red "Dorothy" shoes, combat boots, and a speaker doing the splits, all on stage.
8.   The camera singling out the rare (and unaware) person of the opposite sex, then encircling his mug shot with a heart and the word "Single!" on screen. Funny at a women's conference, creepy at a men's.
9.   The need for copious amounts of kleenex.
10.  Jewelry and tote bags for sale on the merchandise table.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Women of Faith and SEC Football

Yes, they go together. At least in my little world. Starting tomorrow I have a big week ahead of me. Women of Faith, the organization, invited me to blog about their Dallas conference, Over the Top. Since it's my first time to attend one of these whopping, big events, I should come to it with the fresh eyes of a newbie. Veterans of these events seem to love them--I guess if you keep going back six years in a row you must have found something worthwhile.

But honestly, I'm going in with rather low expectations. Here's what I think I'll get: a great show, fun music, lots of laughs, a few pats on the back and maybe some encouragement in my spiritual walk. Here's what I hope I'll get: all of the above, plus a challenge to get out of my North Dallas-top-10-wealthiest-county-in-America bubble, a call to action for Jesus with tangible resources to help me get started, biblical teaching to back up these challenges and encouragements, and a sense of discomfort with my safe, snug life.

Stay tuned for my blog updates next week. I'll let you know which won out--my expectations, or my hopes.

After those blogs, you might not hear from me for awhile. The following Saturday, September 3, I'll be indulging in a real religious experience--LSU football. Not just a game, but the opening game, in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX (just down the road from me), with an old college buddy and about 40,000 other LSU addicts alumni & fans. My husband and children will be home cheering me on from the living room happy that Mom gets to indulge her addiction without them. (Sigh. Winning them over to the light takes time.) I've been floating a few inches off the floor ever since my friend called to offer the extra ticket.

That game is gonna rock this town!

I'm just glad the game and the conference are happening on two different weekends...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

World War II Novel Salutes the Greatest Generation

 In her third installment of the Wings of Glory series, Sarah Sundin completes the story of the Novak brothers and the U.S. Eighth Air Force as they fight in the European theater of World War II. Pilot instructor Ray Novak, serving stateside, gets reacquainted with war widow Helen Carlisle, an old friend from childhood. Both have secret regrets and demons to face, and the war forces them to confront their fears and step out in faith.

Helen and Ray stand out among the characters for both their complexity and strength of spirit. They go through some rough experiences! Sundin paints realistic pictures of people living under the pressure of others' expectations and their own hidden guilt. She also finds a way to shine the light of redemption on potentially dark situations. You'll cheer for Helen to overcome her past, and for Ray to fight for his heart's desire. This, and the other Wings of Glory books (you'll find my earlier review of A Distant Melody here), are entertaining and challenging reads.

Let's chat with the author a bit! In the following Q&A, Sundin reveals her perspective on the book.

Q. What is the story behind Blue Skies Tomorrow?

A. Blue Skies Tomorrow arose from my need for happy endings. In my first novel, A Distant Melody, one of the side characters, Helen Carlisle, is widowed at only twenty-one, and the hero’s oldest brother, Ray Novak, is dumped by his fiancĂ©e. I mentally introduced them to each other, the mutual attraction was strong, and I just had to write their story. This novel also allows me to complete the story of the US Eighth Air Force victory in Europe.

Q.What draws you to write about the World War II era?
A. Besides the cute clothes and men in uniform? First of all, there are so many dramatic stories and settings—a novelist’s dream. This was a time when ordinary men had to do extraordinary things, and when women first explored non-traditional roles—while remaining ladies. Plus, I’ve always been fond of that generation, my grandparents’ generation. As a pharmacy resident at a VA hospital, I had the honor of caring for many of these men. As a rule, they were cheerful, kind, and chivalrous, with the solid strength of someone who has been tested—and passed. What more could you want in a hero?

Q.What was the most interesting research you had to do for this novel/series?
A. I had already done the background research on B-17s and the US Eighth Air Force for the first two books in the series, but for Blue Skies Tomorrow, I also researched the Port Chicago Explosion. In the largest US Home Front disaster in the war, 320 sailors were killed, most of whom were black. I thought I understood the explosion and the mutiny trial that followed (it happened in my home county), but my research changed my mind. I knew there was a great deal of racism and discrimination at the time, but the details of this disaster really brought it home to me.

Q.Which of your characters particularly resonates with you and why?
A. Both Ray and Helen resonated with me, but perhaps Ray more so. He takes on a role he feels ill-equipped for, and he has to find the courage to forge forward and to turn to God to find the purpose in his adventure. I pushed Ray harder than I did any of the Novak brothers, at a time in my life the Lord was really pushing me. We both had to find courage in the Lord.

Monday, August 08, 2011

I'm headed to the Women of Faith Dallas event later this month. It'll be my first time to attend this "Over the Top" women's conference. Look for a couple of blogs about my experience--I'll post them in late August. Anyone else attending?

Friday, August 05, 2011

My Baby

Happy 18 months old to my baby, Gabe! He is in one of the funniest phases yet. If I'm not yelling "Stop!" or "Nooooo!" than I'm usually laughing at one of his antics. He does appreciate a receptive audience.

A Mommy's Summer

Today on Tapestry, I mused about why this summer has been more successful than past ones. But I need suggestions from you as to how next summer can be even better. Help me out?