Thursday, January 31, 2008

Mom Buzz...

"Sometimes, when I want to take on the world, I try to remember that it's just as important to sit down and ask my son how's he's feeling to talk to him about life." --Angeline Jolie, Good Housekeeping, January 2008, p. 45

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Guest Blogger...Cara Putnam

Love Matters. Eric and I just celebrated twelve years of marriage this weekend. Wow! It seems hard to believe, and at the same time many of those years were hard fought for.

But now that we’re 12 years in, each one of those times we fought to make it work is well worth it. Especially now that we have children. I’ve always read that kids need to see their parents acting in love, but man, now I know that those books and pundits are correct.

My children’s security is grounded to some extent in the status of my relationship with Eric. As such, I need to invest the time and prayer in it to make this marriage everything it can be.

I don’t want to settle for good or okay.

Instead, I want a marriage that encourages my kids to look for a spouse. That it’s one they want to emulate rather than an example they run from. My parents had their moments growing up, but I could always rest secure in the fact that they would be together. And next month they’ll celebrate 40 years. Eric’s parents are nearing 50 years. And both sets of my grandparents surpassed 60 years. That’s quite a legacy and a challenge to follow.

I will fight for the rewards of a marriage that lasts the test of time.

Cara C. Putman

Canteen Dreams -- October 2007; Sandhill Dreams -- May 2008 and Captive Dreams -- September 2008 (Heartsong Presents) Deadly Exposure -- May 2008 (LI Suspense)

Craftie Ladies of Suspense

So what are some of your strategies for building a secure marriage with kids?Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends. (Last week's winner was Beth B!)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Want to know about that book your teen is reading?

Check out this great new teen review blog: Teen Lit Review

Here is a little bit about them...
Our mission is to provide Christian-oriented reviews on pre-teen and teen books from all genres in order to aid parents in choosing the most appropriate books for their children. The reviews are centered around the books' content and are rated for suitability.

They have reviewed several books so far.

Interested in reviewing books yourself? Click here to read how.

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Flashback Friday...The Big 80s Quiz

Let's see how much you REALLY know about 80's music.

Leave your answers in the comment section...the person with the most correct answers wins a copy of Generation NeXt Marriage: The Couple's Guide to Keeping It Together! Oh, and no fair searching the Internet for the answers! I'll announce the winner next Friday and tell you where you can find this and other great quiz's! Happy humming...

1 How old was George Michael supposed to have been when he wrote "Careless Whisper"?

2 Who were Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey?
Go West

3 Who was Paula Yate`s famous Father?
Hugh Green
Jess Yates
Richard Burton

4 Who had a hit in 1982 with "John Wayne is Big Leggy"?
Belouis Some
Culture Club
Hayzi Fantayzee

5 What does ZTT Stand for?
Zany Times Two
Zang Tuum Tumb
Zoo Too True

6 Who`s 1st top ten single was "Wishful Thinking"
Prefab Sprout
Samantha Fox
China Crisis

7 What is sade`s Surname

8 What Height is Simon le Bon
5` 10"
6` 2"
5` 6"

9 What do the following have in common - Nick Rhodes, David Sylvian, Linda McCartney
Amateur Photography
Amateur Dramatics
Amateur Golf

10 Who is William Broad
Billy Idol
Billy Mackenzie
Billy Jo Spears

11 Who sang the backing vocals on U2`s " Pride"
Tracy Chapman
Kate Bush
Chrissie Hynde

12 Who Sang These Lyrics - "Eating up the Scum is the hardest thing"
All About Eve
Jesus and Mary Chain

13 What was A-ha`s Pal Waaktarr nickname at school?
Punky Pal

14 Which of the following did Kate Bush NOT appear on?
Simply Red`s " Men and Women"
Big Country`s " The Sheer"
Peter Gabriels " So"

15 How many members are there in UB40

16 Which group was Neil Arthur the lead singer for?
China Crisis
Icicle Works

17 Gary Kemp once said "He`s a completely talentless person" Who was he talking about
Simon Le Bon
Holly Johnson
Marc Almond

18 What was the name of the group Jim Kerr was in before Simply Minds?
Johnny and the Self Abusers
The Regents
The Electric Force

19 Which of the following did not happen in Peter Gabriels "Sledgehammer" Video
His hands turned into large hammers
He was covered in fruit salad
Custard Creams spelt out his name

20 Who sang these lyrics- Taste Forbidden Pleasures, Whatever You Want.
Soft Cell
Pet Shop Boys
Culture Club

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Guest Blogger...Cara Putnam

We're all busy. And the way things keep running, that won't change anytime soon. And the stress in life keeps building. As a result, I'm always looking for a way to cut corners or remove some stress from my life.

Two weeks ago, I used my friend Heather Corbin's sample menus at Simple Family Suppers.
Gut-reaction: I loved it and signed up for three months. Why did I love it?

  1. Shopping was a snap. The grocery list was simple, organized, and easy-to-use. It was easy to go through the list and mark off what I already had. It took the pain out of shopping. And Eric can tell you how much I HATE grocery shopping.
  2. The menus are SIMPLE. Most took fewer than five steps to complete, several even fewer. In most cases prep time was less than ten minutes. My idea of a good time!
  3. Several of the recipes could be cooked in the Crockpot or in the stove. So if I was organized, I could throw it together in the morning or early afternoon, and not think about it again until supper time. LOVE that.
  4. My family ate all of the meals. That's a winner right now. Several of these types of plans that I've looked at before had fish, pork, etc. in each week's menu. I hate fish, and we don't eat a ton of pork. There are a few pork recipes in the January set of menus, but they continue to be recipes we would eat.
  5. I didn't stress -- all week -- about what to make. Usually, it's 5 o'clock and I suddenly start to panic. What do I have in the house? What can I make? What sounds good?
So I signed on. We've already used another week of recipes, and those recipes are getting thumbs up from my family on a routine basis.
So if you're a busy mom like me, I think you'll find this service one that can remove some stress from your life.

Cara C. Putman
Canteen Dreams -- October 2007; Sandhill Dreams -- May 2008 and Captive Dreams -- September 2008 (Heartsong Presents) Deadly Exposure -- May 2008 (LI Suspense) Craftie Ladies of Suspense

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

How to be married!

As a little girl growing up the in the 70s and 80s, I often thought of my future groom. I dreamed about the wedding, but sometimes I forgot about the marriage to follow. There are days I'm awed with the fact that I'm 36-years-old ... and that I've already been married 18 years! At times I feel like the unsure newlywed who felt like I was playing house.

During the 80s, there were lots of songs about love. I clearly remember the episode of Days of Our Lives when Bo and Hope slept together and the song, "Friends and Lovers" played. I thought it was the most romantic thing in the world. Of course, I didn't think much about commitment or years and years of being with just one person. Love was more of a feeling, than something real. And ... like most people in my generation, I followed that feeling and ended up sleeping with my boyfriends. I didn't think much of it, which saddens me now.

Yet, once I found the man I wanted to spend my life with, I grew serious. I'm not alone. For Gen Xers, divorce skyrocketed during our growing-up years. We grew up in families with stepmoms and half-siblings and living every other weekend with a different parent—how could this not affect our marriages? I can relate. That was my life, I didn't want the same for my family. I wanted to do things better.

And you know what? Looking around, I see that there are a lot of people like me. The generation that once bore labels such as ‘slacker’ and ‘grungy’ has gone G-rated. Once we got serious bout life, family now means the most to us. And marriage matters. We don’t want an OK marriage. We want one filled with love, commitment, and care.

When writing my book Generation NeXt Marriage, I wanted to connect with fellow Gen Xers in a medium we would all understand ... 80s music. Here are some chapter titles: White Wedding (sung by Billy Idol, of course), Together Forever (by Rick Astley, remember him?), and I Think We’re Alone Now (the song sung by Tiffany—the teen idol every girl wanted to be). Does that take you back?

In addition to sharing how God has molded me in marriage, I also included comments from other Gen Xers. And you can be sure we don’t dance around the issues, it’s soul-bearing stuff.

Does this sound like a book for you? If so, it may take you a few days to order in your copy from, or to run down to your local bookstore. In the meantime, here are some tips to tide you over until then:

Top tips:

Discover your God-given dreams together. Couples are happiest when we’re following God’s purposes for our lives. Be your spouse’s biggest fan.

Find Balance. Put first things first. Plug in the most important stuff into your calendar first, then fill in around it.

Nix the Unrealistic Expectations. Marriage is different than dating. We cannot change the other person. Look in the mirror first. Love your spouse anyway.

Don’t be afraid to fight. Romans 5:3-4 says, “Let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings.” It’s better to engage than to give up. Author Madeleine L’Engle once said, “There are a lot of marriages today that break up just at the point where they could mature and deepen.” Pain makes us take note at the problem. We are forced to pray and repent and try again.

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Turning the tables.

I usually blog about all sorts of things, but I'd like to turn the tables on you. First is a statistic, and second is a question.

According to a poll by "80% of parents are fed up with the media's influence on kids, and 77% think that children are growing up to fast."

I don't know about you, but that's a huge majority. My question is ... what are we doing about it? More importantly, what are YOU doing about it? How do you deal with the media? How do you make sure your kids don't grow up too fast?" I'd love to hear ... and I'll post my thoughts too at a later day.

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Guest Blogger...Cara Putnam

Some days are filled with kisses from heaven. Those times you can catch the heartbeat of God, feel the breath of His approval, sense the longing of His gentle correction. At our Catlett Christmas, I got a very vivid reminder that this dream of writing is a gift straight from His heart that He has cultivated for almost 20 years.

Almost twenty years ago I was 14 and in love with books. I inhaled books at the rate of one a day, and for a long time I had the spiral bound notebook to prove it! That school year I wrote letters to a stack of Christian writers. It was part of a school "assignment" -- the beauty of homeschooling, anything can become school :-) -- the goal, to see what being an author was really like. I contacted EVERYONE I could think of at the time. Christian fiction was much smaller, so the list isn't long: Frank Peretti, June Masters Bacher, Judith Pella, Madeline L'Engle, Janette Oke, and Michael Phillips. I had absolutely no fear then.

Each of these authors responded, and those letters languished in a window seat until Christmas. My mom discovered them when cleaning out a room and put them in an album for me, reminding me of the roots of this writing dream.

But the absolutely COOLEST part of the gift was that my sister tracked down an author that I corresponded with multiple times:

Sandy Dengler. I'm embarrassed to say that she even read some of those early teenage writings and encouraged me to keep at it. She saw a spark of something or was just an amazingly kind woman. But because of Janna's call, I now have a letter from Sandy from just a couple months ago congratulating me on the release of my first book. From that I was able to reconnect with her via email today. I can't wait to send her a copy of Canteen Dreams.

Through it all God reminded me that while this latest foray into the dream of writing started with Colleen and her incredible encouragement and guidance, He also used people years ago to tell me that this dream could come true. And now it has!

He is so good!!!

Cara C. Putman
Canteen Dreams -- October 2007; Sandhill Dreams -- May 2008 and Captive Dreams -- September 2008 (Heartsong Presents) Deadly Exposure -- May 2008 (LI Suspense) Craftie Ladies of Suspense

Friday, January 18, 2008

We are travelers...

I'm reading a book I HIGHLY recommend. It's called Knit Together by Debbie Macomber. Here is a good quote: "For the woman who has a relationship with God, her confidence comes from the quiet assurance that she is walking according to a divine plan." p. 69

It's funny, because a couple paragraphs below this is a story that I've heard for the second time in less that 12 hours. I'd never heard it before ... and then twice, first from an audiobook by John Maxwell and then in Knit Together. Hmmmm ... that sounds like part of a divine plan to me. Here is the story, via Knit Together.

"A story is told about a young man who traveled to a distant city. As he approached the city gates, he came to a wise man standing there. He stopped and asked the man what kind of people lived in this city.

'What were the people like in the city you just left?' the wise man asked.

'Crooks and swindlers looking to cheat me at every turn,' the young man said.

The wise man sadly shook his head and said that this city was filled with those same kinds of people. Discouraged, the young man turned away.

Soon afterward, the wise man was approached by a second traveler, who asked about the city. Once again, the wise man asked about the people in the city from where the traveler had come. the traveler smiled broadly. 'Generous and kind,' he said. The wise man smiled back and told the second traveler that this city was filled with those very kinds of people. The traveler, pleased and excited, hurried to enter the city gates.'

As this story demonstrates, life is what we make of it. Some many of us are like this traveler. We find exactly what we are looking for in life." p. 69-70

So, I have to ask, what are you looking for?

I'm looking for a deep, intimate relationship with Jesus.
An awesome, happy marriage.
Strong relationships with my teens.
Good interaction with friends and family.
Ways to give hope to the hopeless.
A happy peaceful home.
A loving church.
A successful and exciting career.

Wow, and that's just what I have. It's not that I don't have challenges, but the good stuff outweighs the hard stuff by far!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Kristen's Story

Last week I was in Chicagoland, working on a book with an AMAZING person that is one of my new favorite people: Kristen Anderson. Kristen tried to commit suicide when she was seventeen by laying down in front of a train. God saved her--both physically and spiritually--and now she travels and speaks and has given millions of people hope!!!

Anyway, I couldn't stop talking about Kristen's story when I got home, and I can't wait until we finish the book. Our desire is that God will be glorified and that many millions, millions more will hear about Jesus through Kristen's story.

If you missed Kristen on Oprah, you can watch it by going here:

Just look under BLOG and OPRAH.

And ... remember to keep us in your prayers as we write!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Unexpected Gifts

Ever since my kids were around middle school age, we've had a special ritual. Once a month I take them individually out to lunch for some one-on-one time. Yes, they are home all day for homeschooling, so the "just being together" wasn't the point. Instead, the focus was conversation--what they had on their hearts, what they'd been thinking about, hopes for the future--that sort of stuff.

I remember one time when Leslie and I went to a Chinese buffet. She was around nine-years-old. I can't remember the conversation exactly, but we were talking about God, friends, the Bible, and miracles that God had done in our lives. We'd been sitting there a while after we'd finished eating and I was waiting to pay for the bill. I finally flagged the waiter down and asked about it.

"Oh, ma'am, you don't need to pay, your bill has been paid in full," he said.

I was puzzled. "But who paid it?" I asked.

The waiter pointed to a table near us, now empty. "The man from that table."

I can't say I remember much about that man. He was younger. He was alone. I'd briefly glanced at him and guessed he was a construction worker. He never drew attention to himself. He never told us of his gift. He simply paid our bill and left us to wonder about the kindness of a stranger.

I'd like to think that maybe something we said touched his heart that day. My focus was on blessing my daughter, and maybe he got blessed.

I was reminded of that unexpected gift this morning as I was reading Matthew 20:27-28, "And whoever desires to be first among you must be your slave--Just as the Son of man came not to be waited on but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many [the price paid to set them free] (Amplified).

Jesus' gift is far more precious than a free Chinese buffet, but sometimes I forget that. I forget to marvel at the gift. I forget to thank Him.

Today, it's my goal to thank Jesus throughout the day for His gift. It's also my goal to serve--someone, in some way, without them having a clue. It's something a kind carpenter taught me to do.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

This isn't your mother's marriage!

Generation NeXt Marriage: The Couples Guide to Keeping It Together!

A marriage book for today's couples!

In Generation NeXt Marriage, Tricia talks about our marriage role models, our struggles, and what we're doing right as a generation. The book also offers creative ways to hold our marriages together.

Do you still find yourself humming the love songs of the 80s and 90s?

Do you still believe that every marriage should be between soul mates? you wonder how you can succeed at love and marriage when the generation you grew up in didn't?

Marriage isn't what it used to be–it can be better than ever.

If you are a Gen Xer, your marriage has challenges and potentials that no other generation has known. A Gen Xer herself, Tricia Goyer offers realistic help to achieve the God-honoring marriage you long for. She includes…

•Ways to protect your marriage despite the broken relationships modeled in your youth

•Stories, suggestions, and confessions from fellow Gen Xers facing the "What now?" question of real-life marriage

•Advice from the ultimate marriage survival guide: the Bible

•Stats, quizzes, sidebars, and study questions related to this "relationally challenged" time in history

•Practical helps for negotiating kids, work, sex, money, and dirty laundry–sometimes all in the same evening

If you are part of a generation of adults who don't want to bow to their culture or live and love like their parents did . . . this book is for you.

GX Marriage first chapter


Buy the book here

Monday, January 14, 2008

Generation NeXt Marriage PODCAST

This is from CWAHM's Moment newsletter!

* Interview with Tricia Goyer , discussing her newest book, Generation NeXt Marriage: The Couple's Guide to Keeping It Together.

Jill has a great site and blog. If you're a work-at-home mom (or dad), be sure to check it out!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Pondering Grace...

My teen daughter has a funny quote on her MySpace page that says, "I know God loves you, but He likes me best." When she showed that to me it made me chuckle. And while I know God doesn't love any of us "best," it also made me think ... because while I know God loves me, it's easy to forget that He likes me too. Being so human, and sometimes feeling so lacking in all I want to do or be, it slips from my mind that God--the creator of the universe--looks down upon me with a smile.

Every day I get a Daily Bible Verse from Zondervan. (To sign up to here: )

I don't know how they do it, but those people who pick the verses always seem to find the exact one I need.

This morning's verse was this:

"God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’” Luke 1:26-28

The words of the angel caused me to pause, and the quote on my daughter's page came to mind. It's almost as if I could hear the Lord whisper to me, "You are highly favored, too. The Lord is with you."

Looking back, it's easy to consider Mary highly favored. She was chosen to carry, birth, and raise the son of God. But from recently watching The Nativity Story, the image of the young and completely ordinary teen girl is fresh in my mind. Today, we consider Mary highly favored for what she did, but according to the Word of God she was highly favored before she even took one step in her God-designed mission.

Still pondering all of this, I looked up this verse in my Amplified Bible which includes the meaning of the words in the verse. This is how it reads, "And he came over to her and said, Hail, O favored one [endued with grace]! The Lord is with you! Blessed (favored of God) are you before all other women!" Luke 1:28

Favored one, it seems, means "endued with grace." Again, at the time of the angel's visit, Mary was favored and she hadn't "performed" yet. Her favored status had everything to do with God and God alone. In fact, listen to this:

"But when she saw him, she was greatly troubled and disturbed and confused at what he said and kept revolving in her mind what such a greeting might mean. And the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found grace (free, spontaneous, absolute favor and loving-kindness) with God." Luke 1:29-30 (Amplified)

So how can we soak this in?

Hearing: I am favored.

Knowing: God is with me.

Understanding: Being favored doesn't have anything to do with me.

Grasping: Favored means "endued with Grace"

Believing: The grace given to me is the free, spontaneous, absolute favor and loving-kindness of God.

Living: As one who is loved and liked. As special ... not for anything I’ve done, but for everything He's done.

Walking: With thankfulness and trust.

Today, my goal is to ponder again this idea of grace. I want to let this word, and everything it means, to revolve around my mind just as the angel's words revolved around Mary's. It's a gift given. Free to me, but given with great cost. Spontaneous, which means I don't have to do anything to get it, just understand that it's given. Absolute favor. Absolute? Wow, that's a hard one to grasp, yet it's absolute not because of what I've done, but what God's done. Absolute favor even when I feel so human, so ordinary. Absolute favor AND loving-kindness. What an amazing gift, one worth unwrapping.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Want to Vote?

Here is a message from Chris Well from CCM...

Hey, just launched its first "CMP FanAwards," which includes four BOOK categories -- FICTION* author/book,and NON-FICTION author/book ...

Please tell your readers to click on over and vote for you!

Deadline: January 31

Go here to vote:

Chris Well

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Guest Blogger...Cara Putnam

Over Christmas, it was great to be home again in North Platte, Nebraska. We put almost 2,000 miles on the car between December 22nd and January 2nd. I loved every moment with family, but it was incredibly sweet to watch Grandpa (Willard from Canteen Dreams) give Grandma (Audrey from Canteen Dreams) her first roses from him -- 61 years into their marriage! I guess he didn't give her flowers on her birthday like the Willard in the book did!

I also had the amazing honor of meeting Mrs. Ethel Butolph, one of the ladies who met her husband through the popcorn balls that were distributed at the North Platte Canteen during World War Two. She saw my interview during the 11:30 news show on KNOP
(click the link to read about the book-signing) and came to my book-signing.

While it had been a blast being back at KNOP -- where I worked for two years in college -- Mr. Carlini was there and regaled Eric and me with just a couple of his World War Two stories. I have a sneaking suspicion more than one will find it's way into the future World War Two books I hope to write.

But it was absolutely incredible to meet Mrs. Butolph! Then she invited me to her house to listen to some songs written by Ms. BJ Bjorkman about the North Platte Canteen and her popcorn ball. Such fun!

Walking through her home, sitting down chatting with her, it was incredible!

I guess you'd have to be a history buff to understand how huge this is! One of my regrets is that I didn't get the green light or idea from God five or ten years earlier to write these World War Two stories. Then I could have attended veterans reunions and met more of the people who lived the experiences I try to bring to life in my books.

Yet with each book God has allowed me to connect with at least one person who did live it.
With Canteen Dreams it was a long phone conversation with a veteran who passed through the North Platte Canteen five times during the war and still vividly remembered each 20-40 minute stop. With Sandhill Dreams, it was spending a day with Thomas Bueckner, who while he didn't live the war, he'd invested years of his life talking to the men who did and knew their stories like his own. And now, while I race to deadline for Captive Dreams, I meet Mrs. Butolph.

While her story has nothing to do with Captive Dreams, it reignites that fire of passion that I'll need to make Captive Dreams the absolute best book that I can before I turn it in on January 15th.

So if you think of it, pray that I'll have a burst of creativity, passion, and endurance to finish this race well -- and it will be a race. But it's one I want to run in a way that honors God fully.

Cara C. Putman
Canteen Dreams -- October 2007; Sandhill Dreams -- May 2008 and Captive Dreams -- September 2008 (Heartsong Presents) Deadly Exposure -- May 2008 (LI Suspense)
Craftie Ladies of Suspense

Monday, January 07, 2008


Recently, I wrote a blog about "What if she'd said NO" concerning God's assignment for Mary, which was birthing and raising the Son of God.

You can read that here

One of the people who commented on my blog asked, "If Jesus does have an assignment for each of us and we are truly willing, what should we do when the door never opens to make the assignment a reality in our lives?"

First, I have to thank this person for bringing this up ... because it's something we ALL wonder about. Second, I think we need to ask a few questions to answer these questions, such as:

1. How do we know God's assignments?
2. Are God's assignments always fulfilled?

Of course, the answers aren't easy. There are times (like with Abraham) that God's assignment took a really, really, really long time to come to pass. Yet, looking back we can see that it happened. It became a reality in Abraham's life, even though it wasn't on Abraham's time table. (Abraham's story is told in Genesis 12:1-25:18.)

Then there are those things we THINK are God's assignments. For example, consider Saul (later to become Paul). He was out to destroy this "Christian" sect that believed in a guy named Jesus and was threatening all Saul held dear--the law and the temple and the promised Messiah. Saul was zealous, but for the wrong things. It took a bright light and a personal encounter with Jesus to get Saul/Paul on the right path. (Paul's story is told in Acts 7:58-28:31 and throughout his New Testament letters.)

These are two possibilities for willing followers of God:
1. God's assignment will happen, but it may take longer than we think.
2. God's assignment will happen, but it may be different than what we first thought.

I also want to add something that I learned from the book, "Experiencing God" by Henry Blackaby, which is: God often doesn't give us one big assignment for our lives, but rather He gives us smaller assignments that will benefit His kingdom for His purposes. Because of this, we must daily seek God to see where we're supposed to be and when we're supposed to be there. God doesn't give us a task and then sends us off to be on our merry way. Instead, He speaks to our hearts daily. He calls us TO things. He calls us AWAY from things. And looking back, we see His assignments are fulfilled but often in ways we never dreamed of or planned.

So how does this work in real people's lives today? Here is an example from my life:

In 1998, just when I felt my writing was "taking off," God made it clear I was supposed to launch a Crisis Pregnancy Center in our town. The center started with three of us and quickly grew as we saw God work in miraculous ways. For a while I was the director, a board member, and the coordinator for the teen mother support groups. (Which led to being the NW coordinator for MOPS--Mothers of Preschoolers.) Then, God brought people in. First a director, then lots of volunteers, then a coordinator for the support groups. And as He did, I felt free to step back from my responsibilities for the center and my position at MOPS (even though I LOVE that organization). It was then my writing really did take off ... in ways I couldn't have imagined.

About two years ago, I was still on the board and frustrated. I had started this thing and there were a whole bunch of people with different ideas for where the center should go! :-) They weren't wrong ideas, just different. I went away for a few days to pray and seek God for both my writing and other ventures. I felt a complete release from God, and I resigned from the board. It was a step of obedience ... just as starting the center had been a step of obedience. Then the writing really, really took off.

In the end, I think we don't need to wonder if God's assignment are ever going to come true. Instead, we need to make emancipating decisions that free us to explore God's assignments.

Emancipation can mean two things ... 1. to be free from oppression/servitude or 2. to make ones own way in the world. In my cause the latter became the former. My desire to 'make my own way' was what oppressed me. And once I stopped trying to figure out "my own way" and followed God's, then I found true freedom.

Emancipation to me means tuning into God and listening up. Sometimes it means adding something (even though it makes no sense). Sometimes it means letting go of something (even though I really don't want to). It's also understanding there are seasons, and just because God calls me TO something today, doesn't mean it's forever. And just because God calls me AWAY from something doesn't mean it won't come around again.

Currently, I still mentor young moms, but on a more personal level. The board has asked me to sign on again, and I'm praying about that. And as the seasons in my writing world are shifting, I'm paying attention to where God is leading, because that is where true freedom is found.

All that to say ...

God does have assignments for us, and I think both Abraham and Paul would tell us that sometimes they are far different than we think. But if we are willing to follow God's assignments, and if we are watching and obedient on a daily basis, I have no doubt that their fulfillment will become a reality in our lives.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Oops Britney did it again...

Well, actually Britney has nothing to do with this post... but I just saw that she's in the news again. Poor girl.

Anywho...My friend, Randy Alcorn was quoted last week in the LA Times. You can read it here:,0,7680698.column?track=rss

Anyway, I thought Mr. Stein might want to know my thoughts on how Christians should respond to the news of Jamie Lynn's pregnancy.


Mr. Stein,

Today, I wrote an editorial and submitted it to my local newspaper, The Daily Interlake (30,000 circulation in Kalispell, Montana). I also submitted it to the tiny paper from the town I graduated from--The Weed Press. (Seriously that's its name. It's in Weed, California, population 3,500. Salute!) Who knows if it will be printed, but this is what I had to say about what I feel the Christian's response should be to the news about Jamie Lynn Spear's pregnancy. (It had to be under 300 words. This is 275.) I decided to send it to you because you wrote a recent column that mentions one of my acquaintances Randy Alcorn who wrote the book Heaven. Your column was a good read, and I appreciate you taking the time you took to talk to Randy.

So what should a Christian's response to Jamie Lynn Spears pregnancy be? As a former teen mom, a 36-year-old mother of three teens, and author of fourteen Christian books, this is what I had to say. Also, my book for teens (mentioned below) happens to be from the same Christian publishing house that has "delayed indefinitely" the parenting book by Lynne Spears.

What I had to say:

What would you do if Jamie Lynn Spears lived next door? What would you do if you found out your neighbor, a teen girl, was having a baby? How should Christians, and the church, respond to a pregnant teen?

1. Show her your love. Teen pregnancy is the perfect time to reach out to young women. They are often scared. They know people are talking about them. Showing love to a young woman during this time displays the love of Jesus.

2. Spend time with her. If Jamie Lynn lived next door, I’d invite her to coffee and I’d tell her my story of how I had a baby, yet how I've gone on to have a successful life. Step in and be a support where others have stepped out.

3. Give her hope. Teen pregnancy shows that girls are looking for love … and we can show them where true love is found—through God.

4. Give her a baby shower and celebrate life. Even though we should not celebrate teens having sex before marriage, we SHOULD celebrate life. We should do what we can to support her decision with material items, with educational support, and with physical help--such as rides to the doctor and to school.

5. Advise her on how to make better decisions in her future. A book I wrote, My Life, Unscripted (Thomas Nelson) is a book for all teen girls (pregnant or not), encouraging them to script their lives instead of being caught up in the drama and emotions of the moment.

If we don’t support young mothers what hope do they have for a good future?


Pray that either he'll take notice or that the Daily Interlake or Weed Press will!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Is this you...or someone you know?

Athena Hall (she's our area coordinator for MOPS) sent this to me...I just had to share!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Famous...for now.

Last night, John, the two younger kids, and I went to our friends' house for dinner (homemade pizza, yum) and games. We ended up playing Trivial Pursuit ... the original version from the 1980s. We laughed realizing that we'd played that game twelve years prior with these very friends and it was old back then! We also had to remind ourselves the date of the game and thus answer the questions accordingly--after all the "trivia" of the time was before the fall of the Berlin Wall, pre-Brad Pitt, and at the time of big hair and the Bratt Pack in Hollywood.

One thing that we noticed is that famous people don't stay famous very long. New people take their place. Does anyone today remember that Eddie Fisher was married to both Elizabeth Taylor and Debbie Reynolds (one of the questions)? Sure, it was a big buzz at the time, but today does anyone even care? Fifty years from know will Jolie-Pitt have any meaning to the younger crowd? I doubt it. Will they say, "Britney who?" when you talking about "big stars" during your day. I'm sure they will.

I got to thinking about this again as I was reading the first chapters of Matthew today. At the time of Jesus' birth Herod was at the top of his game. He had it all. He controlled it all. But where did it leave him? His name is recognizable after all these years, and if you were playing Bible Trivia his name might come up for being the guy who ordered the deaths of all the baby boys in Bethlehem. But how much more do we know about the king of Judea at the time of Christ's birth?

Here's a good quote from Alexander Maclaren concerning this idea of "important people":

"Men come and go; leaders, teachers, thinkers speak and work for a season, and then fall silent and impotent. He abides. They die, but He lives. They are lights kindled, and, therefore, sooner or later quenched; but He is the true light from which they draw all their brightness, and He shines for evermore."

People remember Herod a little. Jesus still transforms lives. Herod was worried about this newborn king taking over his throne, but Jesus came to be the king of Herod's life, of my life, of your life.

When I kept reading today, the story in Matthew continued with wise men from the east asking the "reigning" king directions to find the newborn king so they could worship him. Those who are wise still seek and worship Jesus today, not because His name is in the last version of Trivial Pursuit, but for who He is and who He will be for all eternity.

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