Friday, October 31, 2008

I'm here

Writing to meet a deadline. But have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, October 27, 2008

At rachelhauck.com, everyone is a winner!

Thanks so much to all the bloggers of the "Love Starts With Elle" blog tour. Applause, applause.

And a big thanks to all who signed up to win a free copy here at rachelhauck.com.

With so many entering, I just couldn't pick two so I went to Thomas Nelson with an idea and they heartily agreed.

EVERYONE IS A WINNER AT RACHELHAUCK.COM!

They are graciously supplying the needed books for the 63 who sighed up for the drawing!

Please send your name and address with "LSWE Winner" in the subject line to rachelhauck@gmail.com and I'll get those books mailed out to you in the next few weeks.

Congratulations everyone!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

On A Sunday Afternoon

A good Sunday at church. Worship was good. Dave said, "Sorry I kept missing your queues."

And I said, "You did?"

We are sooo in sync.

Tony and I grabbed lunch at Quiznos then stopped by friends, a deaf couple we met in the down town neighborhood. They were able to move to a nicer apartment and we hadn't seen them in awhile. They had a guest who was also deaf but lip read well and also had some hearing, so we were able to talk through translation rather than writing on paper. They are a neat couple.

Then off to Lowes to use a gift certificate given to Tony for Pastor Appreciation month. He wanted to get chairs for the back yard, but he rocks in them so hard, they break. First he breaks his, then mine.

So, we got a swing this time. We had to pay a little extra over what the gift card paid. 

$19.78.

I said, "Hey, the year I was born."

Tony grinned. But the check out dude was hilarious. An older guy, probably our age, but wasn't too comfortable in his job yet. I could tell he didn't want to look right at me, so he rolls his eyes around the check out station, finally passing my face. "No way. She wasn't born in '78."

 "I'm kidding," I said, "I was really born in '75."

He laughed. The nerve!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Jesus is in the Furnace

Most of us are familiar with the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, three Jewish men in the service of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon.

Neb built a big idol and evil men incited him to set a decree that for 30 days at the sound of a flute every one had to bow down to worship the idol. The evil dudes knew Shad, Mesh and Abed would not submit.

As a result, the three were thrown into a fiery furnace so hot it killed the soldiers who threw time in.

When the king looked into the furnace, I guess it had a window or something? He saw four men instead of three.

Jesus joined his beloved in the midst of their trial and protected them. Clearly this is a picture of Jesus being with us in the midst of trial, crisis or persecution.

But what other furnaces are there in our lives? Furnace of passion for justice, for Jesus to be real in our lives.

I'm hearing a lot about "prayer furnaces" being established around the nation and globe. Would not Jesus appear in these furnaces also?

We have a prayer furnace in our city. A small, weak, limping along gathering called Fire Dweller. For six years we've been meeting, a ministry of multiple churches, in response to a call of God. We wanted to be obedient.

But not many have maintained faithfulness. Some moved away. Some had schedule changes. Some became involved with more dynamic, "active" ministries. Others got bored and figured, "nothing happening here."

Yet, those who have stayed are stoking the fire. I'll be honest, when we started Fire Dweller it was a lot more "hot" than it is now. We had many nights with a tangible presence and fragrance of God, thirty people stuffed into our living room.

While we've lost participation over the years, our prayers are more focused and powerful than ever. Six people and a small worship team can keep two hours of prayer flaming well.

Jesus is in the furnace. I'd love to say we started off hot and only grew hotter. But instead, we've grown steady. A small, steady burn. 

Jesus is in the furnace.

What about our own private prayer lives. Do we get bored and frustrated. I do sometimes. I get busy. 

Jesus is in the furnace.

I have to be willing for the small low burn. Be willing for a flame at all to flicker and allow Jesus to dwell in the midst - when and where He chooses.

Jesus is in the furnace.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Jesus said, "Let Your Light Shine."

We're studying the Beatitudes at our down town home church. We're there to reach out to the poor and neighboring "hoods." Some are poor in money and spirit, some just in spirit, some just in money.

But we are there because of God speaking to Tony's heart.

The Beatitudes don't end with Matthew 5:12. Jesus continues to speak for another thirty-six verses. In fact, He explains them further and the opposite of living according to His words.

Jesus says this: "Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

This verse challenges me. Does it you? How do we let our light shine? Does it mean I always smile, never disagree, never share my struggles or successes?

Light exposes things, no? If the light of Jesus in me shines, does it not overcome darkness, or expose what's done in darkness.

Walk into a room and flip on a light. Everything his exposed. If the room is neat, we are happy. "How lovely." If the room is a mess, we moan, "Ew, this is a mess."

We've got to come to a place of maturity Church where we can say, "Hmm, this is a mess, let me help you."

Instead, we often feel bad for exposing sin, shut off the light and leave.

Jesus is saying, "Shine! So God can get the glory!" How does He get the glory? People's lives are changed by Him. They are saved and cleaned up, delivered.

Meanwhile, we should walk in a manner worthy of our Savior. Worthy of the Cross He bore for our sins and redemption.

I'm still trying to figure out how to let my light shine. I ask Jesus for understanding, for insight. I want to be a mature believer. I've been saved 41 years. It's time to grow up. ;)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Jesus Safe Leadership

At the end of it all, I am loved by One who died for me. I can completely trust Him. Nothing is beyond His grasp, His ability, His love for me. For us.

Psalm 116, "I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my supplication. He's inclined His ear to me, and I'll call upon Him as long as I live."

He hears. Our God hears. Isn't that amazing. He's not off and away, distracted, mad or angry. He's near, and inclining His heart toward us.

Song of Solomon 3, "What is this, coming up from the wilderness? Behold, it's the traveling couch of Solomon (Jesus); with sixty mighty men around it, all expert in war and wielders of the sword."

Jesus is a safe leader. In this picture of Solomon traveling over the wilderness with a regiment of warriors is an image of how Jesus is fitted out to protect and defend us, His Beloved.

Sixty men is three times the number normally chosen to escort royalty or a leader. Jesus is taking no risks with our safety and "guarding against the terrors of the night."

Our hearts and minds are safe with Him, even in the midst of crisis and physical peril.

I'm bringing myself back to this. God is good. God is love. He hears my cries. Ah, beloved, He works all things together for good.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Thoughts on this election - from my heart

I normally don't like to be political in the cyber world because I have many good friends who see things differently than I do.

And I respect differing opinions. Debate and reasoning is good. Proverbs tells us "iron sharpens iron." While political dialog can be painful, it sharpens all of us.

Cotton doesn't sharpen cotton. Cloth doesn't sharpen iron. Sharpness comes from learning, listening and debating, hard ideas against hard ideas make us strong and sharp. Speaking the truth in love.

So, I'm a bit vocal this election because I'm extremely concerned about the direction of our country.

I don't want to watch the death of the American constitution in my life time, but fear I am. And I admit it. I'm a patriot. I love my country.

My concern about this election is the very extreme liberal values and socialist ideas of Obama. I am concerned about his social and political associations. I am concerned about his upbringing and education.

I'm concerned he says, "I will not waver on Choice." Meaning, he will not do anything to restrict the murder of the unborn. In fact, at a Planned Parenthood banquet, he stated his first act as president will be to sign the Freedom Of Choice Act.

Many claim not to be a "single issue" voter. I can respect that - we all have our passions. But if you are pro-life leaning at all, or even pro-choice with restrictions, HEAR what Obama pledge Planned Parenthood. "First thing..." Apparently, abortion is a single and important issue with many, including the Democratic presidential candidate.

Obama has said he wants to redistribute wealth. Are you struggling financially? Are you pursing your own dreams? Starting a business, wanting to pursue art or writing?Where will the money come from if not our economy? If not from people with money wanting to spend it on your product?

The poor don't create job. Do you think the gov't in all its corruption is going to help you open a new business and succeed? Write and sell books? Become the next Picasso?

Being equal in this country does not mean we all earn the same paycheck, own the same number of houses and drive the same type of cars.

It means every one has a chance to make it! Work hard, go to school, learn. Education is available, jobs for hard workers are available. There are no social or legal restrictions that keep a person locked in a class/cast system.

Unless you choose to think the gov't is the answer to your problems. Then you imprison yourself.

Obama wants to be our "sugar daddy." A man we don't really know, have no relationship with, who more than likely has his own dreams and goals ahead of ours. For a communist government to work, there can be NO selfishness, no man or woman wanting power or glory or fame.

What an impossible feat for the weak human heart with out God, without the love of Jesus. Even then, our flesh will strive.

I'm vocal this election mostly because it feels different to my spirit. It's not just a Bill Clinton verses George H. Bush. It's not Al Gore or John Kerry against W.

It's not the Dems verses the GOP. It's more than that, I feel it. Winds of change blowing that make me feel uneasy, unsafe.

I guess that's it. I no longer feel safe in my country.

If you are undecided or ambivalent, please, go to God in prayer and ask for revelation. Isaiah 46 God says, "I've not spoken in secret."

Vote how He directs you, but do not be ambivalent. This election signifies a drastic change in our culture and who we are and who we claim to be.

If God is decreeing now is the time for change for His purposes, then so be it. I pledge my allegiance to the Lamb.

At the end of it all, my hope is in the Lord. I've seen what man can do, I want to see what God is and will do!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bon Appetit by Sandra Byrd

Please welcome my friend and fellow author Sandra Byrd who's new book is out, available for you to devour!

Bon Appetit

"In this sequel to Let Them Eat Cake, Byrd again entertains with descriptions of delectable food and, this time, with exquisite details of France as well. Foodies will delight in this novel, and anyone who adores romance will warm to the story. It's easy to identify with Lexi's struggles in life, because they mirror so much of what everyone experiences, no matter what their age." Romantic Times Book Club Review

Lexi Stuart is risking it all. Saying au revoir to the security of home, her job, and could-be boyfriend Dan, Lexi embarks on a culinary adventure in France to fulfill her life dream of becoming a pastry chef.

As she settles into her new home in the village of Presque le Chateau to study and work in a local bakery, her optimism meets resistance in the seemingly crusty nature of the people and culture around her.

Determined to gain her footing, she finds a church, meets a new friend, and makes the acquaintance of a child named Celine–as well as Celine's attractive, widowed father, Philippe. As Lexi lives her dream, the only thing she has to do is choose from the array in life's patisser ie display window. Lexi discovers that as she leans more on God the choices become a little clearer– and making them, well, c'est la vie!

Bon App├ętit is the sequel to this year's Christy Award finalist, Let Them Eat Cake.

Hungry? Enter to win a gourmet baking basket www.sandrabyrd.com

To purchase book, please visit Amazon.com

Merci!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pray!!!

Often we feel we can't pray specifics when it comes to our life, our church or our nation.

We say, "well, we can't know God, really." We say, "God is not a Democrat or Republican." We say, "we can't know God's plan."

God is beyond our understand and comprehension, but it's so very clear in His Word, "I have not spoken in secret." Isaiah 45:19.

Just reading His Word enlightens me. I gain His heart and mind by the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead living in me.

We must learn to discern, friends. With our hearts as well as our minds.

In the past, I've prayed for elections without true faith, without conviction. Because I am truly concerned about the direction of our nation, for us, for Israel, I no longer sit on the sidelines.

Take a football game. Who's the better player? The one who sits on the bench, cheering for the team to win or the one who runs out onto the field and makes the plays?

Ball players become skilled by routine training - we've all seen shots of a football practice field. As believers, we must also recognized we've become skilled in the things of the Spirit by routine training - worship, prayer, the Word, fellowship.

Game time, the coach calls in the plays from the sidelines. Yet, once the play goes into action, the men on the field MUST tap into their skill from training and advance the ball - even if the planned play doesn't work.

As a follower of Jesus, I must trust His truth in me. As I pray and fast, looking out of the landscape of our nation, I know I must pray specifics. How can I know the heart of God? By understanding Him through His Word.

God hates these things: haughty eyes, lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, an one who spreads strife among brothers.

I place this over our political system and my heart grows sick, even more so when I place it over our media. The media is worse than our politicians. They call evil good, and good evil.

But as I compare candidates, knowing that BOTH are weak, imperfect men, I must judge Biblically. I've listened, I've read, I've prayed. I've been for both candidates throughout this election, if not for just a moment. ;)

But we have to want to know truth. Not our truth, but God's truth. And it's is possible for us to know who God wants in power for this season of history. That's what I'm praying.

I pray for a specific man to be in office. No secret here, he first has to be pro life. And I go from there.

Pray, beloved, pray. Specifically. We have not because we ask not.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Waking up to the hour

One of the things we pray a lot in Fire Dweller, in our own lives, is to be aware of the hour in which we live.

All is not simple. All is not as it seems. Tony read two really eye opening books recently, Epicenter by Joel Rosenberg and Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg. 

They are at the top of my pile to read when this latest book is turned in. 

This verse has been impressing me lately:

Isaiah 45:8

Drip down, O, heavens from above, and let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, and righteousness spring up with it. I,the Lord, have created it.

Let the earth open up, salvation bear fruit, righteousness spring up. I love those images, those lyrics of intercession.

Pray for our nation if you are one to pray. Pray.

Here's another great verse out of Isaiah 45:19

"I have not spoke in secret."

While God does not have to tell us anything, He chooses to tell us things. That is what we often cannot comprehend. 

"Speak, O, Lord, and we'll respond."

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Bundle of Joy by Robin Lee Hatcher

This book looks so fun and wonderful! I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but if it's from acclaimed and award winning author Robin Lee Hatcher, it's has to be good!

About Bundle of Joy

Alicia Harris says she's happily married and expecting a baby - but only the last part is true. She can't bear to disappoint her grandfather by telling him she's two months away from single motherhood.

Then Grandpa Roger, still recovering from a heart attack, drops in unexpectedly to spend the holidays with Alicia and her husband, and to protect her beloved grandfather from unnecessary stress, Alicia needs to find a fill-in - fast.

Childhood friend Joe Palmero fits the bill and is willing to play along. Still, the longer they spend playing their parts, the closer Alicia and Joe come to discovering what love, faith and marriage truly mean.

*****************

Robin Lee Hatcher discovered her vocation as a novelist after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles.

The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Whispers from Yesterday), the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance (Patterns of Love and The Shepherd's Voice), two RT Career Achievement Awards (Americana Romance and Inspirational Fiction), and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over 55 novels, including Catching Katie, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

For more information about Robin and her books, visit her web site and her Write Thinking Blog, or find her on Facebook and become a Fan!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A Constant Heart

Please welcome my friend and fab author, Siri Mitchell. Her new release, A Constant Heart is in stores now!

I've started reading it and love it. Siri really captured the ere with her wording, pace and description. Great fall read.

ABOUT THE BOOK

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.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Constant Heart, go HERE


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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.

Siri can be reached through the Contact link on her Website

Monday, October 06, 2008

Love Starts With Elle blog tour!


Hey all!

Elle is going on tour...be sure to stop by the WONDERFUL blogs on her schedule, see what they're saying about Elle and Heath and who knows, you might make a new friend! LOVE IT!

Oh, and leave a comment on this post for your chance to win a copy of Love Starts With Elle! I'll be announcing the winner on Friday 10/24!

Trish at Books for Moms
http://booksformoms.blogspot.com/2008/10/love-starts-with-elle.html
When the publisher sent me this book, my 13 year old daughter, Hannah, stole it from me. Then she read it. Then she gave it to her friend. It was being held hostage because the girls LOVED IT!!! It was that good!

So I am just now starting to read it, and can't wait to get more into the story. I am so impressed with Rachel's writing style and ability to pull readers in is amazing.


10/10
Martha at Our Familys Adventures
http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/Martha/602960/
Take a look at this delightful book! It is a sweet story with some real life struggles in it, but for those of us who like a sweet romance, you will enjoy this book.

Sunny at Life in the Estrogen Ocean
http://estrogen-ocean.blogspot.com/2008/10/love-starts-with-elle-tour-and-giveaway.html

I just have to say that I absolutely adored this book and it's predecessor, Sweet Caroline. I highly recommend both of them! There was so much I loved about this book, but I think the thing I loved most was the message that says by all means, fall in love, but don't fall in love blindly; things aren't always what they seem.

10/11
Deborah at A Cup of Joy
http://acupofjoy.wordpress.com/2008/10/10/love-starts-with-elle-by-rachel-hauck/
Ah…Love! So exciting! Confusing! Frustrating! And WONDERFUL! All at the same time. Finding the One can be heart wrenching, just ask Elle. She’ll tell you. I can identify with her.

Amy at The 160 Acre Woods
http://the160acrewoods.com/?p=1338
Boy oh boy! I was actually starting to feel my body tense up in this book! Will Elle do this? Or will she do that? oooooooh what is that girl thinking??? arghhh she had me biting my nails at a few points in the book!

Can you tell I liked it? Rachel Hauck did a fabulous job of drawing me into the characters and bringing life to her story. I loved that it was realistic, and was still a romantic dreamy kinda thang if that makes sense?

While there are a few parts that some people may not like (because it does portray the realistic sides of life and our slip ups). I have to say I totally loved this book because of it. It showed how God can work in our lives regardless of our situations and our desperation!

So if you’re looking for a fantastic Chick Lit to read you need this book!!! I seriously couldn’t put it down!


10/13
Melody at Kids, Cakes, Dishes, Laundry…In That Order
http://kidscakesdisheslaundry.blogspot.com/2008/10/love-starts-with-elle.html
I mentioned in a previous post that I was reading two books at the same time. One I was reading for my morning quiet time, and this book was my fiction book that I was reading just for fun. I wish I could review them together, because as I was reading them at the same time, they were working together on my heart. As Elle was going through men-issues and learning to sit quietly and hear God's voice all at the same time, I was learning the importance of daily conversations with God. I was learning both to pour out my heart to Him and to sit quietly and listen to His...sounds easy doesn't it? As Elle finds out, it's not that easy, but it is well worth the effort!

Pam at Without Fear
http://withoutfear08.blogspot.com/2008/10/fearless-book-reviews-love-starts-with.html
First off, I loved everything about this book. I had already been privileged to read another of Rachel's novels, Sweet Caroline, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Tasra at Real Women Scrap
http://realwomenscrap.typepad.com/scrapbook_lessons/2008/10/love-starts-witha-great-book-by-rachel-hauck.html
Rachel's writing always has a way of weaving its way into your heart and mind. The characters become my friends and Elle is no different. The characters are people I want to meet and hang out with. They get under my skin and sometimes make me forget that they aren't real!

Margaret at The Cappuccino Life
http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/cappuccinosmom/603881/
Rachel Hauck provides wonderfully for such times with romances that go way beyond mushy feelings and dive into real problems with realistic characters. While I am still stubbornly not a romance fan, I do appreciate that Rachel Hauck’s stories are a far sight more realistic characters than a lot of Christian romance.

Camy at Camy's Loft
http://camys-loft.blogspot.com/2008/10/book-giveaway-love-starts-with-elle-by.html

10/14
Sarah at Real Life
http://reallifereview.blogspot.com/2008/09/book-reviewgiveaway-love-starts-with.html
From the first chapter, I fell in love with Elle, and my heart felt every twirl on the roller coaster of her life in Beaufort South Carolina! I tore through the pages, as I was hoping and cheering for her. And by the end, I was in tears. It's a wonderful story of God's grace and provision for us.

Jamie at Surviving the Chaos
http://survivingthechaos.blogspot.com/2008/10/love-starts-with-elle-by-rachel-hauck.html
Here's a book that really struck a chord with me spiritually. I'm not sure if it was just a matter of the "right thing at the right time" or if it would do it again and again on many a reading, but boy could I relate to Elle. Not in the single-chick-whose-life-is-falling-apart way, but in the how-far-have-I-strayed-from-who-I-really-am-and-what-God-wants-from-me? way.

Miralee at Coming Home
http://miraleesdesk.blogspot.com/2008/10/rachel-haucks-love-starts-with-elle.html
I'm reading this second book in Rachel's series right now and LOVING IT! I thoroughly enjoyed her first book, Sweet Caroline, but I think this one is going to top it.

10/15
Christina at …And Everything Else

http://christina-everythingelse.blogspot.com/2008/10/love-starts-with-elle.html

Amy at Amy’s Random Thoughts
http://amychristopher.blogspot.com/2008/10/book-review-love-starts-with-elle.html
Rachel Hauck is one of my favorite new authors. She is right behind Karen Kingsbury, love her. This is my 2nd book in a series and I am hooked. The first book was Sweet Caroline and these are must reads if you like good Christian Fiction. I want to get to know her characters. I want to live in the towns they do..Good Stuff.

Jill at Christian Work At Home Moms
http://cwahmjill.blogspot.com/2008/10/love-starts-with-elle.html

10/16
Michelle at Edgy Inspirational Author
http://edgyinspirationalauthor.blogspot.com/2008/10/blour-tour-stop-for-love-starts-with.html

Melissa at Breath of Life
http://breathoflifeministries.blogspot.com/2008/10/love-starts-with-elle.html
I've read one of Hauck's previous books, Georgia on Her Mind, and I shared that experience here. Hauck doesn't just write a good love story...she delves deeper into the characters and their struggles with life and faith.

Amy at Sprightly
http://sprightly-amyanne.blogspot.com/2008/10/love-starts-with-elle-blog-tour.html
Loved that this sweet story had such great spiritual depth! A must read!

Kate at A Simple Walk
http://asimplewalk.blogspot.com/2008/10/blog-tour-love-starts-with-elle.html
This is the kind of book that make you sad to turn the last page. Rachel did such a fantastic job with character and plot development that I was 100% invested in the lives of Elle and Heath. I found myself unwilling to say goodbye to them when I saw the end of the book was near.

10/17
Joy at Five J's
http://fivejs.wordpress.com/2008/10/17/love-starts-with-elle/
My interest in Love Starts With Elle was also piqued when I read that the story takes Elle from the Lowcountry, where I used to live, to the Dallas area, where I now live, and back again. In addition, having been in the ministry for many years, I also related to Jeremiah, another of the main characters in the book who serves as a pastor of a very interesting (but unfortunately not very unusual) Dallas-area church. Obviously I felt connected to the book from the start. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Kathie at Strolling
http://takingastroll.blogspot.com/2008/10/love-start-with-elle-blog-tour.html
It really touched my heart. Elle is charming, funny, and way too lacking in self-confidence (just like a lot of us). Her story made me remember that even as Christians it's much too easy to stray away from God, and how lovingly He is waiting for us to return.Read the book. You'll love it! And, hey, keep a watch out for feathers!

Julie at Booking Mama
http://bookingmama.blogspot.com/2008/10/review-love-starts-with-elle.html
I thoroughly enjoyed Elle's story; and I found the basic premise of LOVE STARTS WITH ELLE very interesting. However, what I most liked about this book were the characters in it. I absolutely adored Elle, but there were so many other terrific (and memorable) people in her life that added to this story. Elle was such a down-to-earth and very real woman to me. Despite her setbacks, she still managed to stay true to herself while also keeping a sense of humor. I enjoyed seeing Elle discover the power of prayer and learn to listen for God's word. I guess you could say that I liked being along on her spiritual journey.

Karen at Sky High View
http://sky-highview.blogspot.com/2008_10_01_archive.html#111673622259418461
I picked up Love Starts with Elle, expecting a light romantic read. I got romance, but so much more. Depth, spiritual truth, human frailty, creative gifts, and the power of God to heal and revive the human spirit.

10/18
Pattie at Fresh Brewed Writer
http://freshbrewedwriter.blogspot.com/2008/10/love-starts-with-elle.html
What I love about Rachel Hauck's books is that they're fun with substance. They have fun characters, with funny scenes, yet real-life struggles and faith lessons to learn.

Teresa at Joy in the Journey
http://teresaslack.blogspot.com/2008/10/love-begins-with-elle.html
I am thrilled to be part of Rachel Hauck's blog tour and let you know about her latest release, Love Starts With Elle.

Virginia at Book Reviews
http://www.virginiasmith.typepad.com/bookreviews/

10/20
Revka at Our Family Porch
http://ourfamilyporch.blogspot.com/2008/10/blog-tour-love-starts-with-elle.html

This book captured my interest from the very beginning. Elle is the perfect heroine - spunky and sweet at the same time. All the characters in this story live and breathe. They are not some fluff figures created just to fill space. Their strengths and weaknesses are the same as mine, which enabled me to connect emotionally with the story. I wanted to see Elle respond in a certain way; I despised Jeremiah for his self-centered actions; I cheered for Heath because I saw into his heart. In short, I escaped into a make-believe world that was nearly as real as the reality in which I live.If you can't tell, I highly recommend this book. Inside its covers, you will find an enjoyable story that also contains important life lessons.

Lauren at 5 Minutes for Books
http://www.5minutesforbooks.com/423/love-starts-with-elle/
Love Starts with Elle is an enjoyable read. Because most of us have learned at one time or another that our plans and God's plans aren't always the same, Elle's journey is one that is very relatable.

Beth at The Witing Road
http://thewritingroad.blogspot.com/2008/10/blog-tour-love-starts-with-elle-by.html
I enjoyed reading Love Starts With Elle. Rachel Hauck develops strong characters with believable conflict who don't always make predictable choices. I've come to look forward to my "visits" to the South Carolina low country.

10/21
Kristy at I Need to Read
http://ineedtoread.blogspot.com/2008/10/love-starts-with-elle-by-rachel-hauck.html
From my current view on life, I have to say that I was quite impressed with how Rachel portrayed the grief process in Heath's life. Given that this is obviously fiction and in no way meant to be a manual on grief/bereavement, I didn't expect much in this department. However, for somebody who (as far as I can tell) hasn't lost a spouse, Rachel did a fantastic job in her portrayal of Heath and I found it a very interesting read.

Susan at Scribbles
http://susanmaywarren.typepad.com/scribbles/2008/10/ohmygosh-i-love.html
Deep rich characters, some spiritual a-ha moments, a setting you can almost feel, and a romance to warm your heart.

Patty at Girlfriends in God
http://patty-girlfriendsingod.blogspot.com/2008/10/love-starts-with-elle-blog-tour-and.html
I highly recommend Rachel's book. She is one of my favorite authors.

Mindy at Ponderings of the Heart
http://philippians4verse8.blogspot.com/2008/10/love-starts-with-elle-book-review.html
I want to tell you, though, that is book is more than just a great love story. It spoke some great words from the Lord directly to my heart.

Tricia at Its Real Life
http://triciagoyer.blogspot.com/2008/07/love-starts-with-elle.html

Laura at LightHouse Academy
http://lighthouse-academy.blogspot.com/2008/10/love-starts-with-elle.html
The faith message in this book really reached out and touched me—a strong message from God that I needed to hear. I’m so glad that God brought this book into my life when He did.

Robin at Writing Between Sundays
http://wwwwritingbetweensundays.blogspot.com/2008/10/love-starts-with-elle.html

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Diva NashVegas won the Maggie!

I just got a call that Diva NashVegas won the Maggie Award, the award from Georgia Romance Writers, Moonlight and Magnolia conference!

Yay!! Way to go, Aubrey James!

It's football Saturday and...

... I don't have Direct TV or any TV any more.

We killed the cable.

Sigh, exhale, sigh.

I do miss it today though 'cause I love college football and the Buckeyes play Wisconsin today. But the noise of entertainment was growing too loud in our souls.

Tony said to me, "I think I'm okay watching shows, (he likes Sci Fi) but how do I know it's not desensitizing our hearts in ways we're not aware of."

Notice how he always rains down a holiness point right in the middle of a flesh feast? :)

I'm not against television and movies, or college football, but we want to guard our affections. Bring down the outer noise and see if the still small voice of God isn't whispering something we can't hear because our souls are tuned to entertainment.

And really, is there ANY place more out of touch than Hollywood? I'm tired of them trying to tell me how to feel and believe, claiming to be more than they are to society.

WE ALL CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

It'll take a bit to get used to, but we've lived without a television before. And now there are so many shows on DVD we can just rent them and watch when it's convenient.

Besides, I have a book to write! It's due Nov 1 and I deleted 15K words this week, probably more but I won't admit it to myself for fear of tears and panic.

When that book is turned in, I have to start my own, stand alone book we want to release in the midst of the these other books I'm writing with someone.

So, I don't need television at the push of a button.

In other business, like music, you must get the Alisha Powell CD "Consider." It is AMAZING, fantastic, beautiful, fun, worshipful! She's been a worship leader in the International House of Prayer-KC for about ten years and her internship in humility, leading but not being recognized, learning to wait for her day to record shows in her music. I can't recommend it enough.

So, back to football. I can watch the game at the local Beef O'Brady's. ;D

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A lesson in love from my hubby

Tuesday nights you can find me in down town Melbourne. On the first and third, we have a house church in a local community center and theater.

On the second and fourth, we prayer walk and meet the community surrounding down town, asking how to pray for them. We mention the house church, but really want to be a source of encouragement and strength.

At 9:00, we meet at the coffee house and set up for dream interpretation. Again, we want to reach the community with light. We don't shove Jesus at anyone, but sincerely try to interpret a dream and if there is opportunity, speak of the One who created dreams, we do. Our prayer is Daniel 1:17.

Let me tell you, we've had some whopper dreams. Unbelievable. Guess what. God always gives us insight. You should see the faces of people brighten as we assure them the elements of the dream don't mean what they thought. Or, we move from interpretation to encouragement. Their eyes widen. We can see our words resonating in their hearts.

The coffee house is the typical coffee house - lots of groups meeting to talk, to discuss, dialog. The Wiccans used to meet at this coffee house, but have moved locations. They had their own infighting to deal with. College kids hang out there, people discussing every thing from dreams to politics.

The past two weeks there's been a gathering of people talking politics. Loudly.

Tony was reading a book while sitting next to them, and returned to our dream table and suggested, "Let's ask the Lord how we can meet them and love them."

We prayed, asking the Lord to open a door for us to love them. 

God heard us. He opened the door. Now, it's up to us to hear His heart for her and love her. Who knows if we are not the only ambassador of Christ some of these people will encounter.

Oh, Lord, use me. Us use!

So, I learned a lesson of love and holiness from my hubby last night. He's good that way.