Friday, January 29, 2010

Goodbye (online) World

We are moving. Tomorrow. But unfortunately our internet gets shut off today... and we have no idea when we will get it at the house! It could be in a couple weeks, it could be in a couple months!

It's dependent on the weather and when the PUD can get around to running a line to our house...

So, for now, I have a few posts scheduled, and I will be checking in once in a while from random computers, but what this also means is that there won't be any new pictures until I have access to the internet in my house with my computer. Sad! Here's hoping we at least get it before the baby comes!

I'll probably go through withdrawals (who are we kidding, it's going to be serious!), but I have plenty of projects to keep me entertained in the meantime!

Did I mention I got a new sewing machine for Christmas? Well, this house has no curtains or blinds so that's my number one project. I don't plan for my family to be the peep show for all the neighbors!

Number two project will be all the little sewing projects I've been putting off since my old sewing machine didn't work so well. A new purse! My father in law's Christmas vest! Some new pajama pants for my long legged husband (and maybe a matching pair for Cory)! Maybe I'll even get some cross-stitching done, which I haven't touched in over a year.

Oh, and believe me, I have plenty of books, yeah!

So, when I get back you all better leave me a list of your best posts so I can catch up! Adios!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Book: Becca by the Book

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Becca By The Book

Zondervan (January 1, 2010)


Laura Jensen Walker


Laura Jensen Walker is an award-winning writer, popular speaker, and breast-cancer survivor who loves to touch readers and audiences with the healing power of laughter.

Born in Racine, Wisconsin (home of Western Printing and Johnson’s Wax—maker of your favorite floor care products) Laura moved to Phoenix, Arizona when she was in high school. But not being a fan of blazing heat and knowing that Uncle Sam was looking for a few good women, she enlisted in the United States Air Force shortly after graduation and spent the next five years flying a typewriter through Europe.

Her lifelong dream of writing fiction came true in Spring 2005 with the release of her first chick lit novel, Dreaming in Black & White which won the Contemporary Fiction Book of the Year from American Christian Fiction Writers. Her sophomore novel, Dreaming in Technicolor was published in Fall 2005.

Laura’s third novel, Reconstructing Natalie, chosen as the Women of Faith Novel of the Year for 2006, is the funny and poignant story of a young, single woman who gets breast cancer and how her life is reconstructed as a result. This book was born out of Laura’s cancer speaking engagements where she started meeting younger and younger women stricken with this disease—some whose husbands had left them, and others who wondered what breast cancer would do to their dating life. She wanted to write a novel that would give voice to those women. Something real. And honest. And funny.

Because although cancer isn’t funny, humor is healing.

To learn more about Laura’s latest novels, please check out her Books page.

A popular speaker and teacher at writing conferences, Laura has also been a guest on hundreds of radio and TV shows around the country including the ABC Weekend News, The 700 Club, and The Jay Thomas Morning Show.

She lives in Northern California with her Renaissance-man husband Michael, and Gracie, their piano playing dog.


Sales clerk, barista, telemarketer, sign waver...

At twenty-five, free-spirited Becca Daniels is still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. What Becca doesn’t want to be is bored. She craves the rush of a new experience, whether it’s an extreme sport, a shocking hair color, or a new guy. That’s why she quit her bookstore job, used her last bit of credit to go skydiving, and broke her leg.

And that’s why, grounded and grumpy, Becca bristles when teased by friends for being commitment-phobic. In response, Becca issues an outrageous wager—that she can sustain a three-month or twenty-five date relationship with the next guy who asks her out. When the guy turns out to be “churchy” Ben—definitely not Becca’s type—she gamely embarks on a hilarious series of dates that plunge her purple-haired, free-speaking, commitment-phobic self into the alien world of church potlucks and prayer meetings.

This irrepressible Getaway Girl will have you cheering her on as she “suffers” through her dates, gains perspective on her life’s purpose, and ultimately begins her greatest adventure of all.


The book description for this one is a slight bit misleading in my opinion. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. And was pretty surprised at the ending!

One thing to note, while this is a stand alone book, it is part of a collection of stories so there is some history with some of the characters that might have been nice to know.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Becca By The Book, go HERE

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's Ours

We got the key Friday night. We move our stuff on Saturday. We own a house. WOW.

(now, can anyone find me some motivation to pack?)

And if you are so inclined, please hop on over to An Island Life and vote for my house picture with Cory standing in front in the January photo contest. I promise you don't have to sign up for anything to vote! I get $20 to Starbucks or Amazon if I win... something for my hubby for all the work he will now have to do being a homeowner...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Listen Up!

I'm a big fan of hearing. Aren't we all? We need our hearing for a million different things. For me, music is important as I'm a musician. But I like hearing nature as well and sometimes that requires super fine hearing.

In our world today we are constantly bombarded by more and more gadgets that make noise. Some of those we can control the volume on, some we can't. Here's some info on protecting our, and especially our kid's, hearing.


Did you know that when MP3 players are purchased as gifts, the majority of purchasers are moms? That finding emerged at the Mommy Tech summit at the recently concluded Consumer Electronics Show.

But do you know about the potential risks? Kids often don't know how to use audio technology safely and they can harm their hearing as a result. In fact, hearing loss among young people is reported to be on the rise and there are strong concerns that a generation of young people could end up with prevalent hearing loss.

"For some time, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has warned that hearing loss in the United States could rise significantly due to the misuse of personal audio technology," ASHA President Tommie L. Robinson, Jr. explains. "Unfortunately, a report released today by the Kaiser Family Foundation cites some alarming trends about excessive entertainment media consumption among our nation's children, indirectly supporting ASHA's concerns. This should be a warning to parents that they must regulate children's exposure and fully understand the potential health threats associated with misuse and over exposure to such technologies."

"ASHA will continue to bring these issues to the forefront and appreciates the Kaiser Family Foundation's contributions to the national dialogue," Robinson adds.

According to a 2004 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, children were reported as being exposed to 6 hours and 21 minutes of media (TV, music, internet, etc) per day. By 2009, this statistic had increased dramatically to 7 hours and 38 minutes per day. When media multitasking is taken into account, this leaps to 10 hours and 45 minutes per day. This massive consumption of media has led to decreased grades in school and ASHA contends it puts kids at an increased risk of hearing loss.

One thing that is clear from the study is that parents can be very positive influencers on how their children use entertainment media.

How You Can Help

Whether your child received an MP3 player, gaming device, cell phone, laptop, or any other device with headphones, don't overlook the important health threat of hearing loss. Now is the time to reach out to other parents about the importance of hearing loss prevention, the damaging effects of excessive media consumption, and the resources available to them through ASHA.

Here are two simple ways to protect your children's - and your own - hearing.

· Keep the volume down. A good guide is half volume.

· Limit listening time. Give your hearing 'quiet breaks'.

Find more information and statistics at ASHA's website. You can also follow their Twitter feed or fan them on Facebook to get real time updates on their work.

Content of this post is provided by the Global Influence Network.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Book: A Lady Like Sarah

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing

A Lady Like Sarah
Thomas Nelson; Original edition (December 22, 2009)
Margaret Brownley


Thrills, mystery, suspense, romance: Margaret penned it all. Nothing wrong with this, except Margaret happened to be writing for the church newsletter. After making the church picnic read like a Grisham novel, her former pastor took her aside and said, "Maybe God's calling you to write fiction."

It turns out God was and Margaret did. She now has more than 20 novels to her credit. In addition, she's written many Christian articles and a non-fiction book. Still, it took a lot of prodding from God before Margaret tried her hand at writing inspirational fiction which led to her Rocky Creek series. "I love writing about characters at different stages of faith," she says of the new direction her writing career has taken, "and I'm here to stay."

Happily married to her real-life hero, Margaret and her husband live in Southern California.


Sarah Prescott has never known a respectable life; just a hardscrabble childhood and brothers who taught her to shoot straight.

Justin Wells left Boston in disgrace, heading out alone on the dusty trail to Texas. But when the once-respected clergyman encounters a feisty redhead in handcuffs with a dying US Marshall at her side, their journey takes a dramatic turn.

His high society expectations and Sarah's outlaw habits clash from the start. With a price on her head and a sweet orphan in tow, Justin and Sarah make the difficult journey toward Rocky Creek. There justice will be meted out hopefully with a portion of grace.


This book was a decent historical fiction read. I like the way it seemed more realistic in what it was like to live back then, not glossing over the little daily things like not having a bath for days!
It's one of those books where you pretty much know that the guy and girl end up together, but you can't figure out how until the end. I like that kind of book.

However, two things about it really bugged me. First, I hate it when the cover description gives away a detail of the story that doesn't happen until half way through the book. Then I spend that long just waiting for it to happen and looking for it. Cover blurbs should be introductions, not give away half the story!

Second, there was one thing that one of the main characters did towards the end of the story that just so completely doesn't fit with the character of the person that it just messed up the story for me. If you can suspend reality for a bit and just let it be a story where someone's doing something out of love... perhaps, but when the character successfully avoids this area every other time, and the book is kind of focused on that... just pretty much ruined it. I hate it when that happens.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Lady Like Sarah, go HERE

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: The Zoo

Standing Guard - all the other gorillas were sleeping

The zoo in the rain (Seattle rain) means that not a lot of animals are out.
We had fun though!
(notice how much of his pant legs are wet...)

Monday, January 18, 2010

The New Year

Over at An Island Life there's a monthly photo contest going on. January's theme is The New Year, or specifically, what it means to you.

Usually the New Year means looking ahead and planning things for me. This year is some of the same (or actually a lot of the same), but in a totally different direction. Because if everything works out smoothly on Friday this will be our new home!

Cory meets his new house for the first time!

Right now I'm dreaming and planning all the things I will do to make this house a home! Of course I can't forget baby brother who will be joining us in a couple of months. This year will bring a lot of changes, but I'm excited!

If you have your own photo to enter about what the New Year means to you, by all means, join the fun!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Help for Haiti

I know that at the moment I don't think I can even process what is going on in Haiti. I saw the devastation of Katrina first hand months after the fact, when things were relatively cleaned up. I can't imagine living in the middle of that devastation with no water, food, or shelter.

Right now I wish with all my heart there was something physical and tangible I could do, but I can't. If you can, do it! If not, consider donating to help. I know there are many good organizations out there that are helping. Please make sure you do your research and aren't supporting a scam.

One that I know is NOT a scam is Compassion. They already have people living and working in Haiti and some of their employees from the Dominican Republic have come across the border to help. They are using relief funds to provide kits for families that include food, water, and basic supplies necessary for survival.

If you can spare even a few dollars, Compassion meets the highest standards for charities in the US and your money will be used to help those suffering after the Haiti Earthquake.

Thank you for helping.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Oregon Rain

Taken at a friend's house in Portland while we were down for Christmas.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Christmas in Oregon

We were visiting Brian's family for Christmas and it was a very nice day (perhaps I will get around to posting those pictures later...) but the most fun day was Sunday when all of my mother-in-law's parents and siblings and their respective families descended on the house! She is the oldest of 5 so it's quite the large family!

Cory and I stayed home from church since he was still running a bit of a fever and I had my lovely cold. At about 10 minutes to noon someone knocked on the front door. I sent Cory down to open it knowing that the family would love to see him first.

Well, he opened the door and I was surprised when he didn't recognize who was there since he knows most of the family members. I went down after him and opened to find this family standing on the step. It took me a second to register that they weren't actually supposed to be there since this is the one family that lives in MONTANA rather than Oregon!

I wish I could have seen the look on my own face when I realized who they were! They drove all the way to visit us and their other family members in Oregon! It was super fun for me to be there as everyone else arrived and see their surprised faces as well!

In all there were 24 people in the house and (sadly) only 2 missing members of the family. One had to work and his daughter was too sick to come.

Great grandma and great grandpa totally dote on Cory! He loves to play with Grandpa's walker (which is what he's standing on in this picture).

Aunt Priscilla and Uncle Dan

Aunt Cris, John, Mark, Becca, and her boyfriend Cameron

Aunt Cindi, Cassandra, and Brooklyn

Our lovely family! With Grandpa standing on his toes to be as tall as the "boys".

And lest you think that family pictures are all nice and warm fuzzies... these are some of the outtake shots!

Tiel being "hung" between Brian and Joktan
(I love Joktan's shirt! On the back it has a variety of spellings of the university crossed out and at the bottom it just says something about A Great University)

Becca and Uncle Dan - theater people both of them!

Those crazy Montanans... Butch and Shiela, Joktan, Keenan, and Tiel

I'm so glad I married into this fun family since my family was very spread out and we very rarely had large family gatherings.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Book: Love Finds You in Holiday, Florida

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Love Finds You in Holiday, Florida

Summerside Press (November 1, 2009)


Sandra D. Bricker


For more than a decade, Author Sandra D. Bricker lived in Los Angeles. While writing in every spare moment, she worked as a personal assistant and publicist to some of daytime television's hottest stars. When her mother became ill in Florida, she walked away from that segment of her life and moved across the country to take on a new role: Caregiver.

One of Sandie's passions revolves around the rights of animals. She's been involved in fundraising for Lost Angels Animal Rescue for several years now; in fact, a portion of the proceeds of Love Finds You in Holiday, Florida will go to help the non-profit group with their expenses. And Lost Angels paid her back in a big way: They brought a free-spirited Collie named Sophie into her life after the loss of her 15-year companion Caleb.

It was her 8th novel that opened the door to finding her way as a writer.

In Sandie's words: "I guess most people would see my career as a publicist as a sort of dream job. But giving it up turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me!" she declares. "Not only was I given the gift of getting to know my mother as an adult woman before she passed away, but I was also afforded the blessing of being able to focus completely on my dream of a writing career. I'm a Christian woman, first and foremost, so it was a bit of a dream-come-true when Summerside Press chose me as one of two authors to launch their new Love Finds You line."


Lawyer Cassie Constantine has no plans to stay in Florida. She's here just long enough to sell her late husband's vacation house, a tacky bungalow she's always despised, then she'll hightail it back to her gracious Boston brownstone.

But the place needs more work than Cassie bargained for. What's more, her widow status is like a target on her back and the elderly matchmakers around town manage to sidetrack her mission at every turn.

Holiday is a landmine of golf tournaments, ballroom dancing competitions, shuffleboard and day trips. But the biggest obstacle of all? Richard Dillon, the stuffed shirt she's paired with on the dance floor.

Cassie had always considered herself uptight but Richard won't take a walk on the beach without his socks and shoes! There's one little problem he makes her heart beat faster than the rhythm of the quickstep. Can Cassie and Richard let loose long enough to have a little fun?


This was the perfect book to read over Christmas vacation. It's set at Christmas time in Florida, but not really a Christmas book. It was a fun light read with just a bit of a mystery thrown in. The one thing that surprised me though, the main character was at retirement age and somehow I expected a younger "heroine", I guess because it's a love story. It just threw me for a minute, especially since the book starts with a flashback to when she was young and then I couldn't place the first chapter. Other than that, it was a great little escape read!

If you would like to read the prologue and first chapter of Love Finds You in Holiday, Florida, go HERE.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Remembering Lilly

Today I am in Seattle for my great aunt Lilly's funeral. She died unexpectedly on New Year's Eve at the age of 87.

On her 85th birthday - June 2006

I'm not sure I can do justice to who she really was since I didn't live near her for most of my life so only saw her on occasion.

She was my mom's dad's sister and their family came from Sweden around the turn of the century. As the youngest of 6 (and the only girl!) she was born here, but her three oldest brothers were born in Sweden, including my grandfather.

At my wedding in 2005

She spent her married life in Seattle and ran a Scandinavian imports store with her husband, who was Norwegian. I have a wooden plate in my kitchen from her that says (in Swedish) "Give us this day our daily bread". It used to hang in her kitchen and I always remember seeing it when we visited her. She gave it to me when she moved into the retirement home a couple years ago.

Happy 85th Birthday!

For her 85th birthday she wanted to hold a family celebration. We used to have family reunions in Spokane when I was growing up, but they haven't had any for probably 15 years and I think she wanted to have everyone together again. She planned most of it and held it at her church. It was a lot of fun for her and all of us.

These are the children and grandchildren and a few great-grandchildren of Lilly's siblings. Her one remaining brother, Uncle Dick, is in the front row with her and my grandmother, Myrna, her only remaining sister-in-law, is to the right. And there are quite a few family members missing!

In 2003-2004 I lived south of Seattle with a roommate. I only got Christmas day off so I didn't have time to drive home for Christmas and instead spent the day with Aunt Lilly and 2 of her nieces (and one of their granddaughters). It was such a fun girls day with 4 generations of family from different branches of the family tree together. I don't remember what we ate or really what we did, but it was a good day for me even though I didn't get to be with my immediate family.

Even though I didn't see her often Lilly was a favorite great aunt. I hope I'm as sweet and welcoming as she was when I get old!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Book: The Silent Governess

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Silent Governess

Bethany House; Original edition (January 1, 2010)


Julie Klassen


Julie says: My background is in advertising and marketing, but I am blessed with a dream job—working as an editor of Christian fiction. I have been writing since childhood, but Lady of Milkweed Manor was my first novel. It was a finalist for a Christy Award and won second place in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards. My second novel, The Apothecary's Daughter, was a finalist in the ACFW Book of the Year awards. I am currently writing one novel a year.

I graduated from the University of Illinois and enjoy travel, research, BBC period dramas, long hikes, short naps, and coffee with friends.

My husband and I have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minnesota.


Olivia Keene is fleeing her own secret. She never intended to overhear his.

But now that she has, what is Lord Bradley to do with her? He cannot let her go, for were the truth to get out, he would lose everything--his reputation, his inheritance, his very home.

He gives Miss Keene little choice but to accept a post at Brightwell Court, where he can make certain she does not spread what she heard. Keeping an eye on the young woman as she cares for the children, he finds himself drawn to her, even as he struggles against the growing attraction. The clever Miss Keene is definitely hiding something.

Moving, mysterious, and romantic, The Silent Governess takes readers inside the intriguing life of a nineteenth-century governess in an English manor house where all is not as it appears.


I had every intention of reading this book... but you know how it goes! I didn't receive it until we got home from our Christmas break and there's been a million little things to catch up on around the house! It looks good though!

If you would like to read the prologue and first chapter of The Silent Governess, go HERE.

Monday, January 04, 2010

27 Weeks

I looked at my side bar this week and the number on the baby "ticker" was less than 100. It shocked me there for a second! I knew in my head that I was almost 6 months, but thinking about it as 3 months to go... wow, I wasn't ready for that! I have a hundred and one things to do in these next couple months so I guess I'd better start making lists! Thank goodness we don't need much for this little guy considering we have all of Cory's stuff and their birthdays will most likely be just days apart!

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised how far along I am what with how much my belly is sticking out these days... but I guess since this time around I also know how much bigger it's going to get it doesn't feel so big! The little man is kicking up a storm and he really hates to be crowded. Anytime I bend over he lets me know. It helps my posture when I'm sitting since I can't slouch without getting punches to the ribs!

Other than that we're plugging along. Sleeping is going okay now that I'm back in my own bed. I'm hopeful that this will help me get over the cold that I've now had for 3 weeks as well. That was not a fun way to spend Christmas vacation. So I guess that means I should head off to bed now!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Happy New Year... I'm still here!

Wow, I have been neglecting my poor blog and bloggy friends lately! I would say I have plenty of reasons, but I don't want to make this a habit!

To make it short and sweet... after the last post about the crazy house that we saw we did end up making an offer on the "normal" house. They counter offered and so did we, but finally we came to an agreement that wasn't too bad. We had the home inspection, which didn't find too many things wrong, and then we left for Christmas vacation!
Nothing like trying to do everything to buy a house over the phone and email!

So, if everything goes well, we should be closing just after the middle of the month, which will give us some time to do a few things before we move in... like make a laundry room in the back of the garage rather than in the kitchen! Get the ceiling spray painted (it's popcorn ceiling), and a couple other minor things.

I got to pick out new vinyl for the kitchen this week! They had to repair the floor from a leak and we asked to choose the vinyl with their approval. It will be so much nicer than the 80's "country" pattern that's there now and we can match it out into the laundry room too.

Other than thinking about the house... we spent 10 days in Oregon with the grandparents and had a great time. Well, other than being sick and in a house full of people that makes sleeping hard! We even had a Christmas night ER visit with Cory spiking a temperature up to 104. He was fine with lots of Tylenol and Motrin, but oy, not a place we really wanted to visit!

I'll write more about Christmas and New Year's later... hopefully complete with pictures!

How have your vacations been?