Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Book: An Irishwoman's Tale

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

An Irishwomans' Tale

Kregel Publications (July 8, 2008)


Patti Lacy


Patti Lacy graduated from Baylor University in 1977 with a B.S. in education. She taught at Heartland Community College in Normal, Illinois, until she retired in 2006 to pursue writing full time. She has two grown children with her husband, Alan, and lives in Illinois.


Far away from her Irish home, Mary Freeman begins to adapt to life in Midwest America, but family turmoil and her own haunting memories threaten to ruin her future.

A shattered cup. Cheap tea. Bitter voices asking what's to be done with the "little eejit." Mary, an impetuous Irishwoman, won't face the haunting memories--until her daughter's crisis propels her back to County Clare. There, in a rocky cliffside home, Mary learns from former neighbors why God tore her from Ireland forty-five years earlier. As she begins to glimpse His sovereign plan, Mary is finally able to bury a dysfunctional past and begin to heal. Irish folk songs and sayings add color to the narrative.


This is one of those books where the cover blurb is slightly misleading. It says that Mary will go back to Ireland so I expected that to be a major portion of the book. It's really only the last couple of chapters.

But other than that "expectation" this was a fantastic book! The story is told in flashbacks, but they are in first person. It really deals with how your experiences can color the way you see life and how you deal with certain circumstances. And also how what we may believe (and is not necessarily true) can really affect us negatively when it didn't have to.

The book is based on a true story and I have a suspicion that the author is the friend that Mary is telling her story to in the book.

If you would like to read the first chapter of An Irishwoman's Tale, go HERE

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ze Ballet

Yes, I know I have been absent for a week. Sorry! Cory and I actually went to Arizona (story and pictures coming soon) and when we got back I was just too overwhelmed and tired to want to do anything remotely productive!

And then yesterday we had our late anniversary event! We went to see the Moscow Ballet perform Sleeping Beauty... here in our little town!

There is some back story here. Last year they weren't even scheduled to perform in our town, but couldn't get their visas to get into Canada. So they asked if we would like a show here. One show sold out and they added another, which also sold out (on very short notice). I'm not sure if they did a third, but they were so thrilled by their reception that this year they decided to open their tour here!

It was an... interesting experience. It's been so long since I've been to any ballet other than the Nutcracker that it was hard for me to follow a bit. Sleeping Beauty really only has four scenes so they are very drawn out. I really liked the fairies dancing and the group dances. But the individual dances were not very well choreographed, in my opinion. There was a LOT of repetition. Many short dances after which the prima ballerina would bow (forever) and then she would come right back out to do another one. Also the lead male dancer (what do you call them?) needed a hair cut and some pants!

The end scene with the wedding guests was fun though. Puss in Boots and the White Cat were very much in character and fun to watch. There was also Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf. And the fairies came back as jewels. They were the most "in to" their dancing so it made it more engaging. Also the costumes were amazing (and there were a lot of costume changes!).

I suppose it is also possible that they had to modify their dances since our stage is so small. But overall, I don't think I'd go again for quite a few years!

Afterwards we went to a place called The Wild Huckleberry for dinner with my parents. It was pretty good food for a really good price. And then my parents stopped at Safeway and brought back this amazingly good chocolate cake for us to share!

Cory stayed home with a babysitter and did really well. Hooray! I was a bit crazy on our way out the door, trying to remember all the things to tell her! But she knows him from church and the nursery during mom's Bible study so they were fine!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Summer Recaps: The 100 Degree Wedding

So, yeah, this wedding was at the end of June and somehow I just never got around to posting about it!

This is Sami:
She was one of the crazy people that Brian hung out with while he was in college!

She's the last of the 3 friends he was closest to to get married. Brian was asked to be an usher in the wedding so we were there by 1 and the wedding wasn't until 4.

Showing them how to stand - it was complicated...

I got to hang out with the girls and take some fun pictures! The photographer was a hoot. And he told us some crazy stories about our wedding photographer...

Thankfully my mom came with us and kept Cory at her cousin's house because it was right during his nap time and we would have had a miserable little guy with us for 8 hours.

Because unfortunately the wedding was at this beautiful "home" event place that had NO SHADE! And it was 100 degrees out!

The ceremony itself wasn't too long and was very nice.

Although it was kind of a weird set-up where we were all sitting in 3 very wide rows, but back quite a ways from the wedding party.

Instead of lighting a unity candle they poured colored sand into a vase. I had never seen this before, but they also did it at Alison's wedding that we went to in August.

Sami and Troy

The food was delicious although everyone tried to crowd in under the porch for some shade.

The cake had edible writing in amongst the stripes so when it was laid sideways on your plate you could read it. It was really cool!

First dance!

There was this really neat Irish band playing for the ceremony and reception. They play locally at a bar and that is where they found them. This was a silly song about crocodiles, monkeys, and unicorns... I don't remember much since I'd never heard it before, but it was fun to watch!

See the row of trees in the background of the above picture? Behind them was the ONLY shade. There is a short bank and a pond. Most of the guests ended up sitting on that bank eating and talking for the majority of the reception. It was sad that it was so hot many people left early.

They had bubbles and bowls of dried lavender for you to take a handful and throw...

Of course Brian took the whole bowl and threw it! What are friends for?

He also left his flip flops behind after the ceremony so only had his nice dress shoes (with shorts) for shopping the next day before we headed home!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sponsor a Reader

I'm sure you've heard of walk-a-thons, no? It seems like there's a new one every month for some worthy cause or another.

But have you ever heard of a read-a-thon?

Well, My Friend Amy and her mother are over at The Friendly Book Nook doing a read-a-thon this weekend for 24 hours straight! I would totally join in... if I didn't have a toddler that required me to be awake AND functioning the day after doing something like that!

And what is the cause that they are supporting?

Compassion International!

More specifically the Global Food Crisis Fund.

I was just reading an article in a brochure I got from Compassion this week. The price of basic food staples in Africa has tripled in the past year. I can't even begin to imagine what that would look like for my family budget let alone a family below the poverty level. That is in addition to a drought that has been going on in some parts of Africa for four years now.

This is a desperate situation and Compassion is doing all it can to support children and their families around the world. But the rising price of food is affecting both the supply and the demand. Compassion has to pay more and more families need help.

So Amy is asking for people to sponsor her. She's not picky! You can sponsor her per hour, per book (about 5 books), or simply just make a donation. She'll be updating all day so you can see how her reading is going over at The Friendly Book Nook and let her know that you are supporting Compassion.

Or you can do more than just give a one time gift. Head on over to the Compassion website and look at all the children who are waiting for a sponsor. You can give the gift of hope! That's what daily meals and an education look like for these children and their families. Hope for the future!

What are you waiting for? Go!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Book: A Beautiful Fall

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Beautiful Fall

David C. Cook (October 2008)


Chris Coppernoll


Chris Coppernoll is the founder of Soul2Soul Ministries, with his interviews with Christian artists airing weekly on 650 radio outlets in thirty countries. He has conducted hundreds of interviews on faith issues with personalities such as Amy Grant, Max Lucado, Michael W. Smith, and Kathie Lee Gifford. He also serves as a Deacon at The People’s Church in Franklin, Tennessee, and is currently working toward a Masters in Ministry Leadership degree through Rockbridge Seminary.

His "Inspirations" column is published monthly in the mid Michigan newspaper, The Jackson Citizen Patriot.

Chris Coppernoll is the author of four other books including Soul2Soul, Secrets of a Faith Well Lived, and God's Calling. Providence, his first novel, is his fourth book.


High-powered Boston attorney Emma Madison is celebrating her latest courtroom victory when she gets a call from a number she doesn't recognize. Area code 803 home. Juneberry, South Carolina eight hundred miles, twelve years, and a lifetime away from Boston. Emma's father has had a serious heart attack. Emma rushes to his bedside, and a weekend trip threatens to become an extended stay. She has to work fast to arrange the affairs of his small-town law practice so she can return to her life and career in Boston.

And then Michael Evans shows up. They'd shared hopes, dreams, and a passionate love as young college students during a long-ago summer. But Emma walked away from Michael and from Juneberry to finish college and start a new life. Michael has never forgotten her.

Enveloped in the warmth of family and small-town life and discovering that she still cares for Michael, Emma knows she'll have to make a choice between the career she's worked so hard to build and the love she left behind.


For the second novel from an author this was pretty good. I like the premise, that life needs to slow down so you can enjoy it (and that's our choice). The characters are fun and fairly believable.

However, this was also a very slow read. It reminded me a bit of Anne of Green Gables with ALL.THE.DETAIL. I felt like he was trying to draw too many parallels between the scenery/surroundings and the story line. While I appreciate an author's attempts to help place us in a setting there is a point where it becomes too wordy.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Beautiful Fall, go HERE

Monday, October 13, 2008

Newbery Picks

This week the book carnival over at 5 minutes for books is about the Newbery Award winners.

Children's Classics

I thought I'd just head over to the Newbery site and see which of the listed books I'd read. I started copying them down and... well, you can see the list below!

Needless to say, either my school librarians were really good at keeping these books on the shelf or they are just good books! I prefer to think it's the later since they have won or at least been honorable mentions.

I was surprised to find that this award dates back to 1922 and I have read one from 1929. Many of the more recent ones I've read compliments of my mother - a 5th and 6th grade teacher - either wanting me to preview books for her class or simply having it lying around her house! I'm a sucker for books! (you couldn't tell could you?) I also read a half dozen or so of these while doing my grad school program and student teaching.

Of all these books my favorite by far is 1994's winner - The Giver by Lois Lowry. We read this in my senior English class and it is one of my all time favorite books. I really should just buy myself a copy. It's about a fictional world - still earth - where "Big Brother" has completely taken over. It deals with euthanasia and loss of individuality and choice. I HIGHLY recommend it. Plus, it's a short book so you can read it easily. It would make a great book to read alongside your tween or teen and then discuss current world issues.

Lois Lowry's other book on the list that I've read is called Number the Stars. It's about a Jewish girl during the Holocaust. Also very thought provoking. I read this one as well as The Devil's Arithmetic (by Jane Yolen - and I think should be on the list as well) and The Diary of Anne Frank when there was a traveling exhibit in Portland about the Franks. I read all of these as a pre-teen and I think that was a good age - at least for me - to be aware of these things.

Of course, I have also read many of Madeline L'Engle's books and I highly recommend them, even if they're not all on this list!

I hope you will consider reading some of these you haven't. They're great reads for kids AND adults!

Newbery Award winners and honored books I've read:

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale - 2006 honor

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park - 2002 winner

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis - 2000 winner

Holes by Louis Sachar - 1999 winner

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech - 1995 winner

The Giver by Lois Lowry - 1994 winner

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi - 1991 honor

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry - 1990 winner

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen - 1988 honor

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan - 1986 winner

Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary - 1982 honor

Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson - 1981 winner

A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L'Engle - 1981 honor

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin - 1979 winner

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson - 1978 winner

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor - 1977 winner

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIM by Robert C. O'Brien - 1972 winner

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle - 1963 winner

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell - 1961 winner

The Cricket In Times Square by George Selden, pseud. (George Thompson) - 1961 honor

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George - 1960 honor

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare - 1959 winner

Old Yeller by Fred Gipson - 1957 honor

Charlotte's Web by E. B. White - 1953 honor

King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry - 1949 winner

Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry - 1948 honor

Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder - 1942 honor

On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder - 1938 honor

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink - 1936 winner

The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly - 1929 winner

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Book: Home Another Way

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Home Another Way

Bethany House (October 1, 2008)


Christa Parrish


Christa Parrish graduated high school at 16, with every intention of becoming a surgeon. After college, however, her love of all things creative led her in another direction, and she worked in both theatre and journalism.

A winner of Associated Press awards for her reporting, Christa gave up her career after the birth of her son, Jacob. She continued to write from home, doing pro bono work for the New York Family Policy Council, where her articles appeared in Focus on the Family’s Citizen magazine. She was also a finalist in World magazine’s WORLDview short story contest, sponsored by WestBow press. She now teaches literature and writing to high school students, is a homeschool mom, and lives with her family in upstate New York, where she is at work on her second novel.


After her mother’s death and her father’s abandonment, tiny infant Sarah Graham was left to be raised by her emotionally distant grandmother. As a child she turned to music for solace and even gained entrance to Juilliard. But her potentially brilliant music career ended with an unplanned pregnancy and the stillborn birth of her child.

In an attempt to escape the past, Sarah, now twenty-seven, is living life hard and fast–and she is flat broke. When her estranged father dies, she travels to the tiny mountain hamlet of Jonah, New York to claim her inheritance. Once there, she learns her father’s will stipulates a six-month stay before she can receive the money. Fueled by hate and desperation, Sarah settles in for the bitter mountain winter, and as the weeks pass, she finds her life intertwining with the lives of the simple, gracious townsfolk. Can these strangers teach Sarah how to forgive and find peace?

A story of grace, of God’s never-ceasing love and the sometimes flawed, faithful people He uses to bring His purpose to pass.


This book was not what I expected. It was better! The cover blurb led me to think that I was going to be dealing with a drug or alcohol addict in forced recovery. Rather it's someone who's just made some poor choices and a chance to rediscover what really "living" means rather than just going through the motions.

This is another example of an author trying to show us that all the "things" in life don't really make a life. It's the people in our life that matter. For all Sarah's thoughts that she can do life alone, she really can't. It's up to the people of this small mountain village to show her that she needs them, and they need her.

If you would like to see a video book trailer of Home Another Way, go HERE.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Home Another Way, go HERE

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Aviation Day(s)

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Our local flight school held their annual show this past Saturday. Since Cory has recently discovered what airplanes are we thought it would be fun to take him. We/he was not disappointed!

This was a Chinese fighter trainer that a guy had bought. It was in very good condition and Brian got all the history (I was too busy chasing Cory!).

He let anyone who wanted to climb up on it and look in the cockpit. The stick was moving all around on it's own because it wasn't tied down and the flaps were moving in the wind.

There were plenty of small planes taking off and landing for Cory to watch. The airport fire truck drove by and showed off it's spray. Also the Miss Veedol replica took off - that's the first plane to make a trans-Pacific flight without stopping back in the 30's or something. And they made it as far as us in Eastern Washington.

They were giving rides for $20, which is a pretty good deal. But a guy standing next to us said it wasn't a good day, he'd just come back and it was so windy (and rainy) that you wouldn't enjoy it. So we passed on that opportunity to lose our lunch!

Join in with Photo Story Friday over at Cecily's.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Friendship through blogging?

It's true! I have made some fun friends through my blog. A little peak into their world, sometimes half a world away!

Such is the case today since my friend Grace of Sandier Pastures (from Dubai!) has given me this lovely award.
This award is in Portuguese and translated says, “This blog invests and believes, in proximity” [meaning, that blogging makes us 'close'].

In some ways I have actually become closer through blogging to some friends in real life! So the people I am passing this award on to are mostly them, as well as those who I have developed a relationship with through comments and emails.

You're supposed to pass this on to eight friends... but I'm an over-achiever!

I bestow this award upon: Mama Griffith, Rachel, Katie, Mrs. Chappy, Molly, and Audra - all friends in real life - as well as Blithe, Jenn, Mrs. Mustard, and Dr. Goofy Girl (who created my blog design!)
Honorary awards (those who don't have blogs) go to Lindsay, Jenny, and Leah! (you know who you are!)

You guys are awesome community builder friends!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

My dad's birthday is the last day of September... obviously I'm a bit late with this, but what's new?

My brother started the "spoons hanging from the nose" thing. His girlfriend I'm not sure had ever tried it.

But then he wouldn't let me take a picture of him with a spoon on his nose. Too cool...

Photoshop can fix that!

Cory thinks this is interesting so he's trying...

He thinks Great-Grandma needs a spoon on her nose too!

Dad's favorite cake is pineapple upside down cake so that was my contribution to the evening.

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Notice the little hand reaching for the cake pan? Cory totally knew that what was in there was good stuff and he wanted some!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Book: A Constant Heart

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Constant Heart

(Bethany House October 1, 2008)


Siri Mitchell


Siri Mitchell graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including in Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.

But she is also a member of a strange breed of people called novelists. When they’re listening to a sermon and taking notes, chances are, they’ve just had a great idea for a plot or a dialogue. If they nod in response to a really profound statement, they’re probably thinking, “Yes. Right. That’s exactly what my character needs to hear.” When they edit their manuscripts, they laugh at the funny parts. And cry at the sad parts. Sometimes they even talk to their characters.

Siri wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before signing with a publisher. In the process, she saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry’s than she cares to admit. At various times she has vowed never to write another word again. Ever. She has gone on writing strikes and even stooped to threatening her manuscripts with the shredder.

A Constant Heart is her sixth novel. Two of her novels, Chateau of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door were Christy Award finalists. She has been called one of the clearest, most original voices in the CBA.


In a world of wealth, power, and privilege...love is the only forbidden luxury.

“Trust was a valuable commodity at court. Traded by everyone, but possessed by no one. Its rarity was surpassed only by love. Love implied commitment and how could any of us commit ourselves to any but the Queen? Love implied singularity and how could any of us benefit another if our affections were bound to one in exclusivity? Love was never looked for and rarely found. When it was, it always ended badly.”

In Queen Elizabeth’s court where men and women willingly trade virtue for power, is it possible for Marget to obtain her heart’s desire or is the promise of love only an illusion?

A riveting glimpse into Queen Elizabeth's Court...

Born with the face of an angel, Marget Barnardsen is blessed. Her father is a knight, and now she is to be married to the Earl of Lytham. Her destiny is guaranteed ... at least, it would seem so. But when her introduction to court goes awry and Queen Elizabeth despises her, Marget fears she's lost her husband forever. Desperate to win him back, she'll do whatever it takes to discover how she failed and capture again the love of a man bound to the queen.


To be honest, I got my books mixed up and have read both of the ones to post later this month, but not this one! I didn't realize it until I was halfway through the second one and I really don't like to stop one book in the middle and read another.

So I guess if you want to see if you're interested...
Try reading the first chapter of A Constant Heart, HERE.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

18 Months!

Hi Grandmas and Grandpas! (and aunties!)

Sorry I've been such a slacker lately with the Cory pictures! (as in it's been almost a month since you've had recent pictures and I'm 4 days late with this even) Oops!

So, without further ado... here's what we've been up to this month!

Warning: Unabashed cuteness ahead!

I like to play in water, even when the sprinklers come on unexpectedly in the middle of the day!

I like to play peek-a-boo with Mommy at the park!

This is me on Auntie Wendy's treadmill! We went to visit her in Seattle when Daddy and Grandma had a class there. She has a real live bunny and lots of things to play with at her house!

This is me playing with my sticks in the backyard. Yes, Mommy lets me go outside in my pajamas

(shh, don't tell, we even went to Arby's in our pajamas tonight when we went to pick up Daddy from school!)

This is my monkey face. I LOVE BANANAS!

This is me and Grandpa reading books. I like books, and Grandpas!

This is me checking out the cool toys at Becca's house after she had her baby. I kept myself pretty well occupied while Mommy was busy helping!

I like to go to my friend Anna's house. I know her name and tell Mommy. She has a HUGE yard and fun things to push around and play with!

I surprised Mommy by climbing up and going down the slide all by myself!

Hey, it's my bunny!

We're just chillin'...

It's hard to imagine that the bunny was bigger than me... for a couple months anyway!

I'm standing on the slats for my new bed. Daddy bought it for me at IKEA! You can see it if you click on this link. I got the plain pine one. I'll get to try it soon, but not quite yet.

In other news, I went to the doctor this month and found out that I am still a big boy! I weigh 29 pounds (with a soggy diaper), but that's only 75th percentile. I'm almost 34 inches tall and that's the 95th percentile! My head is in the 95th percentile range too, but Mommy can't remember what the measurement was.

I have 16 teeth now, but I'm starting to be a picky eater. I'm not a huge fan of meat, but I love peas and lots of fruit (like bananas!). I can tell Mommy what I want sometimes.

We got a new mailbox this month with a key and when Mommy asks if I want to get the mail I say "key" because I get to carry it and open the box! I love keys and I'll steal yours so watch out!

I point out lots of things outside like trees and cars and trucks. I know bushes and flowers, too! But sticks and rocks are still my favorite toys.

I also know lots of animals and the sounds they make. Sometimes I get a bit confused with horses, donkeys, and cows and mix them all up. But I know bears and turtles and kitties and doggies and frogs and giraffes and sheep!

I really like Elmo and I'm so excited that Mommy got me a new big boy towel with Elmo on it!!!

I'm getting really good at repeating words (so watch what you say!) and I say what I'm doing/or what I want like "hug" and "outside" or "sad" and "tired" and definitely "up"!

Mommy thinks back to March when I was born... and then she remembers that it was March a whole year and a half ago not just this spring! I have grown up so much, I'm not a baby anymore!