Sunday, October 6, 2019

What a Day May Bring

So, just one day after I wrote the last post, my world was majorly rocked. Without going into detail, let's just say that the Lord chose to do some things in my life that turned a lot of situations upside down and inside out, and my life looks very different now than it did just a few weeks ago.

I hope to resume this blog very soon. But I have several issues to work through and I'm not sure how much time I will be able to devote to reading and reviewing. I stated in the last post that I want to write at least twice a week here. It looks like I will need to reconstruct my schedule and so it depends on the outcome of that as to how much time I will be able to devote to writing.

I know God is faithful and He will direct my ways going forward. Please check back for more developments.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Hi, Everyone! I Have Returned!

Hey, everybody! I am finally back to reading books for review and to post here on my blog. I hope some of you are still out there and that you will continue to follow this blog for book recommendations and book discussions.

I want to make this blog even better than it was before. Please be patient with me as I refine it and get back into the groove of reviewing. I plan on posting here at least twice a week. It may be more depending on my coming schedule.

Thanks to all my followers who have stuck with me. Please comment below (by clicking on the word "comments") to let me know how many of you read this. And please, tell your reading friends about my blog and ask them to follow (by clicking on the blue "follow" button on the lower right side of this page). I would really appreciate your help in getting the word out!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Book Review: After All by Deborah Raney

After All is the third book in the Hanover Falls trilogy by Deborah Raney. I have read and reviewed the second one and, although I didn't give it a five-star rating (I gave it four), I still recommended it. I would do the same with this one. It is a satisfying end to the series and I think most readers of this type of fiction will enjoy it.

I liked how Mrs. Raney wrote about characters who seemed very real and who struggled with real issues, not just things like "should I ask her out?" or "could I ever love again?". There could have been more fullness to the plot (such as background on the characters - it helps if you haven't read the first two books), but I know you can't put in everything and stay within the word count of your book. Perhaps writers should try writing more single ("stand-alone") books so that readers can get the full story at once and not have to wait for all the books of the series to come out. It is rather frustrating!

I give After All 4 out of 5 stars.

Description of the book from the publisher:

"Eighteen months after the tragic Grove Street Fire took the life of her husband, David, and four other heroic firefighters, Susan Marlowe thinks she’s finally beginning to heal.

But then she discovers that David carried a secret to his grave.

A secret that changes everything she thought their marriage had been.

For the sake of their sons, can Susan forgive the unforgivable?

Andrea Morley lost her closest friend in the fire. But she has no right to mourn him. Instead, she must forever grieve in silence—because her dearest friend was someone else’s husband. Peter Brennan carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. As Hanover Falls’ fire chief, he was responsible for the brave firefighters who lost their lives that awful November night.

Can he ever shake the feeling that he should have somehow prevented the tragedy?

As he tries to rebuild the team at Clemens County’s Station 2, it seems he might find comfort in the arms of the woman he least expected."


DEBORAH RANEY is bestselling novelist whose books have garnered multiple industry awards including the RITA Award, HOLT Medallion, National Readers' Choice Award, Silver Angel from Excellence in Media, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. Her first novel, A Vow to Cherish, shed light on the ravages of Alzheimer's disease. The novel inspired the highly acclaimed World Wide Pictures film of the same title and continues to be a tool for Alzheimer's families and caregivers. Deborah is on faculty for several national writers' conferences and serves on the advisory board of the 2500-member American Christian Fiction Writers organization. She has written more than 20 novels, and her recent Hanover Falls Novels series is published by Howard/Simon & Schuster. Deb and her husband, Ken Raney, enjoy small-town life in Kansas.

(I received this book from Glass Road Media for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Book Review: When the Smoke Clears by Lynette Eason

When the Smoke Clears by Lynette Eason

From the publisher's website:

When the Smoke Clears, Lynette Eason, 978-0-8007-2007-0After a brush with death due to equipment failure, smokejumper Alexia Allen is ordered to take time off while the incident is under investigation. She makes a last-minute decision to recuperate at her mother's home and attend her high school reunion. Yet trouble seems to be following her, and within hours of arriving home she is confronted with murder, arson--and a handsome detective.

But the conflicts ahead are nothing compared to the ghosts of her past. As she struggles to accept and forgive her family's past, she must also decide if the secret she's been guarding for the last ten years must finally come to light.

Chock-full of the suspense and romantic tension you've come to expect from Lynette Eason, When the Smoke Clears is the explosive first book in the Deadly Reunions series.

My thoughts: I have loved every book that I have read by Lynette Eason. She really knows how to engage a reader and build suspense throughout her stories. When I get one of her books, I wnat uninterrupted time to read it all the way through (although I never get that chance!).

When the Smoke Clears is a great read for anyone who loves clean, well-written suspense novels that you wouldn't mind your teen reading. I'm sure my copy will find its way into the hands of my 17-year-old daughter soon!

I give When the Smoke Clears 5 out of 5 stars!

(I received this book from Revell for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)

Book Review: Unhallowed Ground by Mel Starr

 Unhallowed Ground by Mel Starr is the fourth book in the chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, medieval surgeon and detective. 

Although this is part of a series, I didn't feel like I missed anything by not having read the first three. However, it did make me want to read the others so I could get more of the story of Hugh and his wife. I am also looking forward to reading the fifth so I can find out what happens next (especially to the baby that Hugh's wife, Kate, is carrying).

Synopsis of the book from the publisher's website:

Thomas atte Bridge, a man no one likes, is found hanging from a tree near Cow-leys Corner. All assume he has taken his own life, but Master Hugh and Kate find evidence that this may not be so. Many of the town had been harmed by Thomas, and Hugh is not eager to send one of them to the gallows. Then he discovers that the priest John Kellet, atte Bridge's partner in crime in A CORPSE AT ST. ANDREW'S CHAPEL, was covertly in Bampton at the time atte Bridge died. Master Hugh is convinced that Kellet has murdered atte Bridge - one rogue slaughtering another. He sets out for Exeter, where Kellet now works. But there he discovers that the priest is an emaciated skeleton of a man, who mourns the folly of his past life. Hugh must return to Bampton and discover which of his friends has murdered his enemy ...

ISBN: 9780857210586
Published: 21st October 2011
Format: Paperback

Unhallowed Ground is a delightful mystery set in 14th century England. The main character, Hugh de Singleton, is a surgeon who is caught up in a murder mystery when the death of a rogue is discovered near Hugh's hometown. I enjoyed learning many medieval terms and the culture of this area during that time. I found the book a little hard to get into at the beginning, but I soon became swept into the story and didn't want to put the book down until I was finished.

I give Unhallowed Ground 4 1/2 out of 5 stars!

(I received this book from Kregel for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Book Review: Far From Here by Nicole Baart

I love to fly. Ever since I flew on a plane for the first time when I was 27, I have wanted to go everywhere by plane. The feeling of soaring above the clouds and the beautiful views of sunrises and sunsets have been such amazing experiences for me. It's funny to think that I am afraid of heights, yet I enjoy flying so much.

That's why I couldn't identify with the main character of this book, Far From Here, when it tells of how she is petrified of flying and doesn't want anything to do with her husband's airplanes or his dream of being a bush pilot in the wilds of Alaska.

After her husband, Etsell, goes on a trip to Alaska, Danica Greene receives a phone call telling her that her husband is missing. His plane disappears shortly after takeoff when he is on his last flight before going back home. For weeks, Danica doesn't know whether she is a widow or a wife abandoned by her husband.

Dani eventually learns that Etsell was not alone when he left the Alaskan airport. A woman had been with him and has also vanished.

The rest of the book is about how Dani struggles with the idea that her husband may have been unfaithful to her. The more she learns about what happened in the Alaskan wilderness, the more she must come to grips with who she really is and what she is going to do with the rest of her life.

The book also portrays her family as highly disfunctional, which adds a lot of color to the tale. I love her mother, even though I would probably want to strangle her even more than Dani does. And her sisters are women you just love to hate, yet at the same time I felt much pity for the whole bunch.

I enjoyed the book, but I felt like it had a weak ending. I would have liked to have a little more detail about what happened to Dani, her family, and her neighbor.

I give Far From Here 4 out of 5 stars!

(I received this book for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Book Review: The Gospel Story Bible by Marty Machowski

I wish I had The Gospel Story Bible when my children were younger. This book is helpful for those parents who want to give their children (and themselves!) a rich reading experience of the stories of God's holy plan of redemption found in the pages of Scripture.

When you read through this book, you will find the accounts of all the major characters of the Bible, including Daniel, Job, Samuel, etc. Each story is only one to two pages long, ideal for young (i.e., short!) attention spans. This book would be great to use for family devotions as well as individual reading pleasure.

The illustrations are vivid and the page backgrounds are comprised of different colors, making it visually appealing to children.

I think the only thing I do not like about this book is that they used the word "Bible" in the title, making it confusing for consumers to understand what this book actually is. It is not a Bible, but a book of Bible stories. The entire text of the Bible is not contained in this book. But that is a minor thing, and can be overlooked.

Over all, I really like this book of biblical stories. They follow the text of the Bible without commentary (which I think is important for young children to learn the truth of God's Word). And best of all, the gospel is mentioned in every one! What a way for the author to tie it all together.

I give The Gospel Story Bible 5 out of 5 stars!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Book Review: Chasing Mona Lisa by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey

Chasing Mona Lisa is a new novel set in the time of the Second World War. It contains interesting history of that period in which the Nazis stole thousands of paintings and other works of art from the countries that they invaded. In order to protect their valuable artwork, the curators of the Louvre packed up many of them and hid them away in chateaux across the country.

An interesting article describes what happened to the Mona Lisa during this time: "On the eve of World War II, curators at the Louvre swathed the museum's most priceless painting — the Mona Lisa— in layers of waterproof paper, boxed it up and spirited it to the French countryside for safekeeping. Leonardo da Vinci's smiling maiden moved another five times during the war before she was brought, safe and sound, back to the Louvre."

The novel picks up in 1942, telling the fictional account of the attempt to steal the Mona Lisa from the chateau where it had been taken. The main characters, Eric Hofstadler and Gabi Mueller, are Swiss citizens who are working as secret agents for the OSS, sent to help the citizens of Paris after the Liberation. They meet Bernard Rousseau, a member of the French Resistance, and Colette Perriard, a curator at the Louvre. After much confusion and danger, together the foursome go to the chateau and recover the Mona Lisa and return it to its rightful place. 
Although that is the basic plot of the book, many other subplots occur and keep Chasing Mona Lisa from becoming stale. On the contrary, this is a fast-paced book which holds the attention of the reader and makes for a very enjoyable read. I didn't want it to end. 
One piece of history that I discovered while reading this book is that much of the artwork "remained sealed in their boxes, but curators worried about the conditions of the Mona Lisa and took the painting out of its box.

'It was stored in a bedroom so that there would always be someone with her," said Fonkenell. "There were people who slept with Mona Lisa in their bedroom.'"

I love to learn history through the reading of fiction! (As long as I know which is which! :))

Authors Goyer and Yorkey are a talented duo. I highly recommend this book.
I give Chasing Mona Lisa 4 1/2 out of 5 stars!
(Available January 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Book Review: Small Space Organizing by Kathryn Bechen

I have struggled for almost 11 years to organize my home here in Tennessee. We have had seven people living in a 1500 sq. ft. house. I know that's a lot of space for many people in this world, but when you are used to having more space per person, it can be difficult finding room for everyone and all their "stuff".

I have been amazed at how some of my friends have managed to live in such small spaces. For example, I visited one of my husband's cousins once and she and her husband and daughter live in an RV. She showed me how she puts a lot of her things in plastic containers and simply doesn't buy much because she doesn't have room for anything "extra". She cannot buy books (YIKES!) and goes to the grocery store almost daily because she can't store much food at one time.

This book, Small Space Organizing, is an extremely helpful one for people like me and my husband's cousin. It is chock full of useful tips for organizing small spaces such as loft and basement apartments, beach cottages and high-rise condos, and even includes tips for those who live in one room. There are ideas for how to use furniture for multiple needs and what to do when you have overnight guests in order to make them feel at home without stressing yourself out. 

I have found many ideas in this book that I can implement right away. I think it will be a good tool to have handy whenever I need more help with my little home. I will be using this book for a long while!

This book is great for people who are downsizing their living spaces as well as those who, like me, simply need to learn to live in the small spaces we already have.
(There are many other tips plus photos at the author's blog.)

I give Small Space Organizing 5 out of 5 stars!

(I received this book from Revell for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)

Kathryn Bechen is an award-winning professional writer whose articles have appeared in popular national and regional magazines and newspapers. She specializes in lifestyle feature articles and has also published several organizing and decorating e-books. The lifestyle companies she founded, Organized with Ease and Kathryn Bechen Designs, have served clients worldwide. Kathryn has organized and decorated 13 personal small space residences together with her husband Steve, and they currently live in their favorite small space ever: a 1,200-square-foot high-rise apartment in beautiful San Diego, California. She blogs about timely lifestyle topics at

Friday, January 13, 2012

Book Review: The Keeper by Suzanne Woods Fisher (and an iPad giveaway!)

This is a new series from Suzanne Woods Fisher. I like how she writes about the Amish people in a way that is believable as well as entertaining. I'm sure the next books in the series will be as good.

About The Keeper:

Can Julia secure the future she’s always dreamed of? Or does God have something else in mind? 4 Stars from Romantic Times, “The Stoney Ridge Season starts off with characters who are trying to make the right choices, but sometimes with unexpected results. Fisher always brings freshness to her Amish novels. The Amish culture is interesting to read and learn about, but there is also a message: God has plans and those plans may vary greatly from the plans you have”.

I can identify with Julia, the main character in this book. When I read how she was rejected by her soon-to-be husband, Paul, I remembered the day I was hurt by an old boyfriend I had one summer many years ago. I, too, began to think of ways I could win him back. I soon realized, however, that I was better off without him. And, as in Julia's case, I learned many lessons about love along the way.

There's more to this book than your usual romance and sweet family life. There's also tragedy, life-changing struggles, and redemption. The plot is a good one because of these many facets. Mrs. Fisher's books keep getting better and better.

I give The Keeper 4 1/2 stars!

(By the way, just like Julia, my story has a happy ending: after accepting the fact that my former boyfriend was not the one for me, I met and eventually married my husband of 30 years!)

(I received this book from Revell for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)

About the author:

Suzanne has a great admiration for the Plain people and believes they provide wonderful examples to the world. In both her fiction and non-fiction books, she has an underlying theme: You don’t have to “go Amish” to incorporate many of their principles—simplicity, living with less, appreciating nature, forgiving others more readily— into your life.

When Suzanne isn’t writing or bragging to her friends about her first new grandbaby (!), she is raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne’s way of thinking, you just can’t take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone’s underwear in its mouth. Suzanne can be found on-line at:


The Keeper is in stores now and to celebrate Suzanne is hosting a “Honey” of a Giveaway and a fabulous FB Party (1/17).

*During the giveaway one Grand Prize Winner will receive a Prize Pack (valued at $600):

* A brand new 16 KB iPad 2 with Wi-Fi
* A $25 gift certificate to iTunes
* A copy of The Keeper

Then on 1/17 join Suzanne for The Keeper FB Party at 5:00 PM PST (6:00 MST, 7:00 CST, 8:00 EST)!

During the party Suzanne will announce the winner of the “Honey” of an iPad Giveaway and host a fun book chat and give away some fun “honey” inspired prizes – It’ll be ’sweet"! RSVP early and tell your friends!

The iPad giveaway:
Running now until January 17th

The Facebook Party:
Party is on January 17th, and the winner of the prize package will be announced there.
Be sure and enter today!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Book Review: What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care? by Ed Welch

I first heard of Ed Welch when I took a counseling course in my church almost two years ago. I picked up a few of his books and when I read them I knew that I had found a wise counselor who knew the Bible well and could communicate its truths in an understandable and enjoyable way. Although much of what he writes is convicting, it is done in a manner that expresses his concern for those in pain and struggling with hard life issues. I have learned a lot from this man.

This book was written primarily for people between the ages of fourteen and twenty-four, but it's theme speaks to all. It mostly sounds like a simplified version of the author's book entitled When People Are Big and God is Small, which I enjoyed much more than this one. But, for those who prefer shorter books that can be read in just a few hours, this one fits.

Mainly a book about gaining freedom from the opinion of others and instead focusing on what God desires, What Do You Think of Me/ Why Do I Care? helps the reader in the "path of change":

1. You start by looking at who God is and what He has done for you.
2. Then, in response, treat others the way you have been treated. Love more than you need love from other people.
3. Then get your eyes right back on to Jesus.

This is the content of the book in a nutshell. Mr. Welch brings God glory by pointing us toward Christ and what He has done and by encouraging us to imitate Him by loving others in the same way we are loved by God.

What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care? is a great resource, especially for young people. And to dig even deeper, I recommend When People are Big and God is Small. These books will challenge you to change!

I give What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care? by Ed Welch 4 stars.

(I received this book from B & B Media Group for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)

Edward T. Welch, M.Div., Ph.D.

Ed is a counselor and faculty member at CCEF. He earned a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Utah and has a Master of Divinity degree from Biblical Theological Seminary. Ed has been counseling for over thirty years and has written extensively on the topics of depression, fear and addictions. His books include: When People Are Big and God is Small; Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave; Blame it on the Brain; Depression—A Stubborn Darkness; Running Scared; Crossroads: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Addiction; and When I am Afraid: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Fear and Anxiety.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

FIRST Wild Card Tour: There's Just Something About a Boy by Jenny Sulpizio

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

There's Just Something About a Boy

Isaac Publishing, Inc. (September 23, 2011)

***Special thanks to Jenny Lee Sulpizio for sending me a review copy.***


Jenny Lee Sulpizio, M.S. is a wife, business owner, and mother of three residing in Boise, Idaho. She is an active member within her church and community, and enjoys tapping into her creative side whenever she gets the chance. There’s Just Something About a Boy is the second picture book released in a series that also includes Mommy Whispers, an ode to mothers and daughters everywhere.

Visit the author's website.


Peg Lozier is an award winning portrait painter and illustrator whose work is known for color, whimsy, and a sense of fun. Raised in Boulder, Colorado, she now lives with a plethora of pets in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Visit the illustrator's website.


There’s Just Something about a Boy is a children’s keepsake picture book celebrating the special bond between a mother and her newborn son as she anticipates the love, laughter, and unparalleled adventure that will surely come from raising a little boy.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.95
Paperback: 30 pages
Publisher: Isaac Publishing, Inc. (September 23, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1609200365
ISBN-13: 978-1609200367

AND NOW...THE FIRST PAGES (click illustrations to enlarge):

Recalling the moment, that special day
Your tiny image took my breath away.
A precious baby with nothing to hide,
My sweet, little son nestled inside.
There’s just something about a boy…

I prepared your nursery
since around month five,
Waiting for the day
you’d finally arrive.
Stuffed animals, blankies,
your daddy’s first glove--
They sat in your room,
awaiting your love.
There’s just something
about a boy…

Book Review: There's Just Something About a Boy by Jenny Sulpizio

I didn't realize that this was a children's book whenever I agreed to review it, but it is a delightful one. I have two boys of my own and I agree: "There's just something about a boy"!

The text of the book is fun to read out loud because it has a certain rhythm to it that I enjoyed. I'm sure it will amuse a little one when read by his/her mother. The author writes on the subject matter (a mother's musings about her newborn son) in a way that helps the reader (and listener) identify with her feelings of being the mother of a boy and the unique ways he touches her life.

There's Something About a Boy is sure to please any mother and her precious son (or daughter!). I would recommend it to be added to every child's bookshelf.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Book Review: Refuge on Crescent Hill by Melanie Dobson

I really enjoy stories of the Civil War and the heroes who stood up for the rights of the black people. Men such as Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and William Lloyd Garrison and women likeSojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Harriet Beecher Stowe were not afraid to voice their opinions and fight for what was right. I have studied the lives of these and others and have been inspired by their examples of courage and honor.

I also love to read fiction that is either set in the time of the Civil War, or present day stories that are about people who are trying to uncover the secrets of the past. It is fascinating to read of the period in our history when people owned people and many times treated them like dirt. It is a shamful time of our history, but one that we can learn from.  

Refuge on Crescent Hill is a modern day story of a family who harbored slaves in their home during the war and helped them find their way to freedom. Her is a description of the book from the publisher's website:

Moving home after a recent job loss was supposed to reassure Camden Bristow but what she finds is an empty mansion 150 years old. What happened to the house she played in as a child, the bedtime stories that told of secret passageways and runaway slaves, and all those family memories?

When antiques start disappearing and footsteps are heard, Camden wonders what really happened here . . . at Crescent Hill? Who still has access to the house? And for what purpose? As she works to uncover the past and present mysteries harbored in her home, Camden also uncovers secrets about her family that could change the town--and her life--forever.

Refuge on Crescent Hill has all the things that make good fiction: mystery, romance and an interesting plot that keeps the reader wanting more. I enjoyed how the writer made the house seem real and how she gave a sense of place that made me feel like I was there in the little town of Etherton, Ohio. The characters are believable; even the protagonists were like people I have known and have been afraid to associate with. I was well entertained.

The spiritual aspect was well written and not too didactic. The refernces to God were woven seamlessly int the plot and not overdone.

I give Refuge on Crscent Hill 4 1/2 out of 5 stars!

Kregel for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)
(I received this book from

Melanie Beroth Dobson's first novel (Together for Good) was published in 2006, and she has now authored nine contemporary and historical novels including Love Finds You in Nazareth, Pennsylvania which releases in November 2011. Melanie and her husband, Jon, met in Colorado Springs in 1997 at Vanguard Church. Since they've been married, the Dobsons have relocated numerous times including stints in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Colorado, Berlin, and Southern California. These days they are enjoying their home in the Pacific Northwest.

Prior to launching her own public relations company in 1999, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family where she was responsible for the publicity of both events and products. Melanie received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Liberty University and her master's degree in communication from Regent University. She worked in the fields of publicity and journalism for more than fifteen years including two years as a publicist for The Family Channel.

Jon and Melanie have two daughters — Karly (8) and Kiki (7). The entire Dobson family loves to travel and hike in both the mountains and along the cliffs above the Pacific. When Melanie isn't writing or playing with her family, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, line dancing, and reading inspirational fiction.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Opposite of Art by Athol Dickson

Since I did not get a chance to read this book yet, I will have to share with you about the book from other sources. Here are some highlights from the author's website and a few other places (book review to come soon):

Book description:

A great artist is cast into the icy Harlem River by a hit-and-run driver.

His heart stops.

He sees something that defies description.

Presumed dead by all who knew him and obsessed with desire to paint the inexpressible, he embarks on a
pilgrimage to seek help from holy men around the globe.

After a quarter of a century, when the world begins to whisper that he may be alive, two people come looking for the artist: the daughter he never knew existed, and the murderer who hit him on the bridge all those years ago.


Melissa Willis, on the blog, Christian Manifesto, says: "Not only did I discover that this book does contain beautiful imagery and remarkable insight, The Opposite of Art is also quite readable to those that do not possess a PHD."

Jonathan Rickard (New York Journal of Books) writes: "This is a novel filled with contrasts: stilted writing vs. elegant prose, existential thought vs. Christian beliefs, selfishness vs. generosity, accuracies vs. inaccuracies."

And, on The Wayfaring Writer, Katherine Bolger Hyde shares: "The Opposite of Art is about art, and it is art. It is proof positive that the highest quality in fiction can bear witness to Christ, even in our decadent age."

About the author:

Athol Dickson’s fiction has been favorably compared to the work of Flannery O’Connor (The New York Times), Octavia Butler (Publisher’s Weekly), and Daphne du Maurier (Cindy Crosby, Christianity Today fiction critic).

Notable works include They Shall See God, and Winter Haven, both Christy Award finalists. River Rising was an Audie Award winner, a Christianity Today Best Novel of 2006 finalist, and one of the Booklist Top Ten Christian Novels of 2006. Both River Rising and The Cure won Christy Awards for best suspense novel of the year.


(I received this book from Glass Road for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Book Review: Reclaiming Lily by Patti Lacy

I reviewed another Patti Lacy book in January. It was an emotional book about human slavery (see my review on this book as well) and one that made quite an impact on me. After reading The Rhythm of Secrets, I was ready to read another by this talented author.

Reclaiming Lily is a story of a girl who is adopted from China at the age of ten. Her sister sees her leave the orphanage with her new family, and vows she will get her back someday. Seven years later, she finds Lily and begins working on a plan to take her back to China. The adoptive parents are reluctant to allow the sister to meet with Lily, but when news of a possible life-threatening disease is revealed, they find that they must in order to save their daughter. Several twists, including a tornado and a period of time in a Texas jail, make this book one that is hard to put down.

I have many times wanted to adopt a child, especially one from another country. I'm sure I don't realize how hard it would be, but I still would love to do it. I can see by reading this book that it is often a rough road for all involved, especially when the adoptee is an older child. My heart goes out to all the families who have adopted older kids. The patience they have is incredible.

I particularly like how the book ends (with unexpected  results). A few surprises in the last chapter give it a satisfying conclusion.

I highly recommend Reclaiming Lily. I give it 5 out of 5 stars!

(I received this book from LitFuse Group for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Book Review: The World-Tilting Gospel by Dan Phillips

I had heard of Dan Phillips a few years ago when I ran across the Pyromaniacs blog. The more I read on this blog, the more I wanted to know about these guys who seemed so "spot on" regarding theological matters. So I was glad to hear about this book and knew I would be in for a treat when I ordered it for review.

The World-Tilting Gospel reminds me of a book I read earlier this year called Dug Down Deep by Josh Harris. Like Harris' book, Mr. Phillips writes about the basics of the Christian faith (sort of a systematic theology) for the common man. Both books are easy to read, but are chock full of deep biblical truths that every Christian should know.

But this is not just a book for Christians. Others would also benefit from reading it because it explains well what we believe and I think would be a help to those who are trying to understand these things.

I recommend this book to anyone who would like something that outlines the Christian faith and does it in a well-structured and interesting way. This is a great resource for any biblical scholar's bookshelf.

I give The World-Tilting Gospel.5 out of 5 stars!

(I received this book from Kregel Books for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)

Dan Phillips (MDiv, Talbot Theological Seminary) has served as pastor in four churches and has taught seminary and college classes in New Testament studies, Hebrew, and Old Testament theology. He has preached and presented seminars on Proverbs and the Sovereignty of God, written biblical newspaper columns and tracts, and hosted a radio talk show. With an ongoing conference and pulpit ministry, Dan is most broadly known for his writing on the Pyromaniacs blog, with Phil Johnson and Frank Turk (, and at his own blog, Biblical Christianity ( Dan lives in Sacramento with his amazing wife, Valerie. They have four children and around six cats.

To learn more about this book and its author, go to the Pyromaniacs blog. There is a link to get the Kindle edition free, a chance to win a hard copy, and more.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Book Review: Deliver Me From Evil by Kathi Macias

Kathi Macias is an author with a unique insight into the human condition. With this new book, Deliver Me From Evil, Mrs. Macias delves deep into the world of human slavery (specifically, sexual trafficking). It is an intriguing and many times hard-hitting look at the evils of this all too common crime that is pervading communities around the world.

In this novel are the stories of two girls who have been taken into the world of sexual perversion by people who were trusted to care for them. Mara was sold by her parents and taken across the border to San Diego to be used as a prostitute by her uncle. And on the other side of the world is another girl named Chanthra who was kidnapped by men who promised to take her to be adopted by a rich family who would take good care of her. Instead, she, too, is sold into sexual slavery.

A family in San Diego finds out about Mara through a chance encounter and, while attempting to rescue her, they also discover a connection their lives have to Chanthra's.

Reading this book has made me even more anxious to help these girls who are being exploited and preyed upon. I am struck by the urgency conveyed through this novel that compels us to action. I pray that many Christians will read this book and ask God what He would have them do to end this evil.

God bless Kathi Macias for writing this book and bringing these issues to our attention. I give Deliver Me From Evil 5 out of 5 stars!

(I received this book from Pump Up Your Book! for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)

Be sure and check out my reviews on other books written by Mrs. Macias by typing in "Kathi Macias" in the search box on the right of this post.

Award-winning author Kathi Macias has written more than 30 books, including the award-winning devotional A Moment a Day and the popular “Matthews” mystery novels.
Kathi has won many awards, including the Angel Award from Excellence in Media, fiction awards from the San Diego Christian Writers Guild, 2008 Member of the Year from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association), and the grand prize in an international writing contest.

With women’s ministry as her primary interest, Kathi is a popular speaker for women’s retreats, conferences, and churches.

A mother and grandmother, Kathi and her husband, Al, call California home.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Raising a Daughter After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Raising a Daughter After God's Own Heart

Harvest House Publishers (September 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karri | Marketing Assistant of Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Elizabeth George, whose books have sold more than 6.5 million copies, is the author of A Woman After God’s Own Heart® (more than 1 million copies sold) and Breaking the Worry Habit Forever! She’s also a popular speaker at Christian women’s events. Elizabeth and her husband, Jim, are parents and grandparents, and have been active in ministry for more than 30 years.

Visit the author's website.


Elizabeth George, bestselling author and mother of two daughters, provides biblical insight and guidance for every mom who wants to lead their daughter to a godly life through example, study, and prayer. Elizabeth includes questions to draw moms and daughter closer as together they pursue spiritual priorities and God’s heart.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (September 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736917721
ISBN-13: 978-0736917728


The Bell Sheep

Part 1  —  Earning Your Bell

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
And these words which I command you today
shall be in your heart.

  —  Deuteronomy 6:5

On a recent Christmas Sunday, my husband, Jim, and I and our family of 14 arrived at a church service extra early to make sure we didn’t end up in the “Standing Room Only” section for this special occasion. With my bulletin in hand and several minutes to spare before the service started, I opened my Bible and looked up the Scripture passage the pastor would focus on during his message. Then I read through some additional teaching notes and commentary in the margin of my Bible. One article was entitled “The Bell Sheep.”

The bell sheep? What in the world is that? I wondered. I read on. The article explained that when a shepherd noticed a sheep who willingly followed him and stayed near him, he hung a bell around the neck of that sheep so the flock would follow the bell sheep…who, in turn, was following the shepherd.

Knowing I would begin writing Raising a Daughter After God’s Own Heart as soon as the Christmas holiday was over, I almost jumped out of my seat when I read this. I was shouting out in my mind, “That’s it! That’s it! A mom should be the bell sheep for her daughter!”

And it’s true! When we as mothers stay close to Jesus—as close as close can be, and when we love Him with all our heart just the way Jesus said to, and when we willingly follow Him and His Word, guess what? We become His bell sheep for our daughters to follow. Our girls observe—and copy—our behavior. They can—and will—follow our example. We become their very own personal walking, living, real flesh and blood, visual example of what it means to be a child, girl, tween, teen, and woman after God’s own heart.

How to Be a Bell Sheep…in Three Verses

Finally Christmas was over, meaning it was D-Day for me—or more accurately, W-Day as in Writing Day. So I sat down to begin and wondered and prayed, “Where does Christian childrearing really begin? And what is Thing 1, Goal 1 for a mom?”

In a few seconds I had the answer! And it came from God’s Word. It was packaged in three verses I had discovered as a young mom, and also as a baby Christian. I flashed back on those early new-believer days of excitement, of newness, of need as I hungered to find out for the first time what God teaches about…everything! And especially “What in the world am I supposed to do with two little toddling girls?”

I’m so glad a wise woman had advised me to read in my new Bible every day. Well, the day arrived when I made it to the book of Deuteronomy. And there I hit gold when my eyes landed on Deuteronomy 6:5-7. I was stunned. Amazed. Thrilled! God was actually showing me His guidelines for raising my own little daughters, then only one-and-a-half and two-and-a-half years old. And in only three verses! How practical is that? Here’s what I read over and over again and finally memorized:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

I adore these verses because they are packed with clear communication to moms. God goes straight to the heart of the matter—the parent’s heart, the mom’s heart. He knows we become what we love. So He is utterly straightforward about where we are to place our love: We are to love Him supremely.

Two Questions to Ask Yourself

Believe me, I thought through this powerful passage—a lot! Then I took it apart word by word and thought by thought. And I came up with two questions I constantly asked my heart during those days with little girls, and still ask even today with two married daughters who are now raising their daughters. (After all, a mom is always a mom!)

Heart Question #1: What—and whom—do I love?

We “love” a lot of things for a lot of different reasons. But God prescribes perimeters and scope for our love. He tells us what not to love: “Do not love the world or the things in the world” (1 John 2:15). And He tells us what we are to love and where our love is to be focused—we are to “love the Lord” (Deuteronomy 6:5).

But hold on. The Lord goes a step further and demands all of our love. He wants us to love Him with every fiber of our being—every breath, every ounce of energy, every thought, every emotion and passion, every choice. He wants us to love Him. He wants us to think first of Him and to desire above all else to please Him. And He wants that love to be intense and total, “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” As writer Matthew Henry summarizes, “He that is our all demands our all.”

Matthew Henry continues on to point out that our love for God is to be a strong one that is lived out with great enthusiasm and fervency of affection. It is to be a love that burns like a sacred fire, a love that causes our every affection to flow toward Him.

Now, apply this information about the strength of this kind of love for God and think about the love you have for your daughter, for your children. I’m sure you’ve heard others say, “There is no love like a mother’s love.” And it’s true! From the split second we know a baby is on the way, all our thoughts, dreams, prayers, and goals are channeled toward that little one. We are completely consumed and preoccupied by this tiny being. As the baby grows within us, our love blossoms and our commitment to it grows right along with our expanding body.

Immediately we begin to prepare physically for his or her arrival by meticulously taking care of our health. Healthy mom equals healthy baby, we’re told. We also prepare physically by setting up a nursery area for the new little addition. A bassinet or crib. A blanket. A mobile. Clothes. Supplies. Loads of diapers! Sometimes we even paint or remodel a room.

Then we moms get to work preparing our schedule. Maybe we have to quit a job or arrange for a leave of absence. Oh, and we have to find a pediatrician, as well as make time for our own doctor appointments. And, if we’re smart, we begin to prepare by gathering wisdom and information from our own moms, other moms, and from classes, books, and the Internet.

But as much as we obsess and focus on an approaching child, God wants us to obsess and focus even more on Him. That’s because the more we love Him, the more we will know about love. And the more we know about love, the more we will know about how to love. And the more we know about how to love, the more we will love our baby, our child, our daughter. I like what C.S. Lewis wrote about his love for God and how it affected his relationship with his wife: “When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now.” Mom, your love for God will prepare you to love your child. The more you love the Lord, the better you shall love your earthly dearest daughter.

So…God’s first assignment to any and every mother is to love Him above all else. If you are a sold-out, on-fire, hot-hearted, committed-to-God woman, you will be infinitely further down the road to being the kind of mom who, by His grace, can raise a daughter after God’s own heart. Because all your love centers upon God, and because you follow Him with all your heart, you will qualify to lead your daughter to follow God too—to be…well…God’s bell sheep for her.

Heart Question #2: What’s in my heart?

I don’t know what’s in your heart, and I’m working on what’s in mine! But God tells both of us what is supposed to be there, what He wants to be there. Here it is: He says, “These words which I command you today shall be in your heart” (verse 6).

And here’s the scene surrounding these words: In Deuteronomy 6, Moses is in the final weeks of his life. It has been 40 years since God’s people left Egypt, 40 years of homeless wanderings in the desert. At last a new generation was poised to enter into the Promised Land. But before they move out, Moses restates the Law one more time to this new generation that had been born in the wilderness. Because this next generation had married and now had—and would have—children, he addresses their spiritual responsibility as parents. As Moses speaks, he doesn’t want these moms and dads to merely hear the words of the Law and the Ten Commandments. No, he wants more, way more! He wants the words of the Law to go beyond their ears and reside in their hearts.

You may want to look again at Deuteronomy 6:6, but it tells us that God’s Word, the Bible, is to be in our hearts. Other passages in the Bible send us this same message:

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night (Joshua 1:8).

Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you (Psalm 119:11).

My son, keep my words, and treasure my commands within you…bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart (Proverbs 7:1,3).

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly (Colossians 3:16).

The message is repeated…and loud, isn’t it? And clear! God’s Word is to be in our heart. He asks this of you and me as moms. Why? Because when truth resides in your heart, then you have something to pass on to your daughter. She benefits! And you benefit too: As a mother you have something to guide you when you need help, strength, wisdom, and perseverance in your role as a mom, as a bell sheep. Don’t get me wrong—having and raising a child is perhaps the greatest earthly blessing you will ever enjoy. But, at the same time, it is the greatest challenge. But take heart, mom! God’s Word will always be there in you, with you, and for you as you guide your daughter in the ways of the Lord.

So…God’s second assignment for you as a mom is to be committed to His Word. You are to do whatever it takes to embed the teachings of the Bible in your heart, soul, and mind. As the saying goes, “You cannot impart what you do not possess.” The same is true of moms. To teach and guide, lead and raise a daughter after God’s own heart presupposes and requires that God’s truth be in your heart first. Then you possess something to impart. Then you have the most important thing to pass on to your precious daughter—the truth about God and the grace He extends through His Son, Jesus.

Becoming the Bell Sheep

I hope your heart is responding fervently to our initial glimpse at this primary role in the life of a mom after God’s own heart—that of being your daughter’s very own bell sheep. But maybe you are feeling like you need a little help. Well, read on to find out how to become the bell sheep. Practical help is on the way!

Part 2  —  Ringing Your Bell

You shall teach them diligently to your children,

and shall talk of them when you sit in your house,

when you walk by the way, when you lie down,

and when you rise up.

  —  Deuteronomy 6:6-7

When my girls were young, I didn’t know about the bell sheep. But if I had, I would have wanted with all my heart to be one. And I would have been praying, “Oh, dear Father! You know how much I desire to be a bell sheep for my daughters. My greatest goal in life is to lead them to Jesus and teach them His ways.” I’m imagining this same heart-cry is being lifted heavenward from your soul’s core too.

As you’ve probably learned, knowing there is something God wants you to do is crucial. And wanting to do what God wants you to do is vital. But if you don’t know how to do what it is God wants you to do, you can become extremely frustrated.

So now we come to the big issue of how do I do this thing God wants—and expects—me to do? Well, here we go!

Yes, but How?

How does a mom help her daughter develop a heart for God? Deuteronomy 6:7 comes to the rescue and answers this question for you and me. God says, “You shall teach them diligently to your children” (verse 7). A mom who wholeheartedly loves the Lord and holds God’s words in her heart is to teach them to her sons and daughters.

—  “To teach”   There are two key ways to teach—by model and by mouth. And there are some basic practices you can follow for teaching effectively. I have a degree in education and have taught preschoolers, students from grades seven through twelve, and adults taking night school classes. Teaching was a job and I took it seriously. I developed my lesson plans for each day, week, month, semester, and school year. And I studied and prepared in advance for each day’s classes.

I also have a daughter who homeschools. I am in constant awe of her commitment. She plans out each year. She searches for materials for five children and their respective grade levels. She orders curriculum to arrive well before back-to-school day so she can preview it. Then she plans in advance the best way to teach, lead, and guide the five of them through each day of study.

Now picture this: I taught subjects that had nothing to do with God or with being a Christian, and so does my daughter. Imagine the effort we both put into teaching information and facts. And here in Deuteronomy 6:7, God is telling both of us—and all moms—to teach our children His Word, His ways, His truth. Now, this is life-changing stuff! The Bible is wisdom that will guide their lives and their choices. It is truth that will pierce a heart and bring a daughter to Christ. So be aware that every time you teach God’s Word you, the bell sheep, are ringing your bell! You are signaling to your daughter the priceless value of the treasure of the Scriptures.

This is exactly what happened in the New Testament to Timothy. As the apostle Paul said of Timothy, his trusted associate in ministry, “from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). God’s Word is dynamite! And Timothy’s mom and grandmom, a mother/daughter tag team after God’s own heart, were faithful to ring their bells! They were faithful to teach him the sacred truths of the Bible, which paved the way for Timothy’s salvation. Mom and grandmom did their part—they fulfilled their mission to teach God’s saving truth. And God certainly did His part!

Time out for a second. I’m thinking as we pause here, shouldn’t a mom after God’s own heart who wants to raise a daughter after God’s own heart take her teaching of Scripture seriously? If you are in this position, shouldn’t you be committed to…

…instructing your daughter in God’s ways?

…planning to some extent how you will accomplish this goal?

…scheduling a time each day for some kind of formal Bible time with her?

…encouraging her to have some time alone with God, a quiet time?

…coaching her in ways to have daily devotions?

…searching for age-appropriate materials and talking with other moms about how they teach their children biblical truth?

…praying daily about this mission from God, this teacher role He has personally given you?

—  “To teach diligently”   Next God tells us in verse 7 to “teach them diligently to your children.” The “them” is what you are to teach—God’s Word and His commands. And “diligently” is how you are to teach—being purposeful and conscientious in a task or duty.

Think about this for a minute: What are you diligent about? Some women diligently floss their teeth. Others are so diligent they would never miss their daily exercise or walk, or be late to work, or fail to pay a bill on time. I know women who are so serious about every bite of food they put into their mouths that they diligently record what they eat in a daily log. On and on goes the list of life instances in which women choose to be diligent instead of careless, or lazy, or negligent.

Now switch your thoughts to doing what God says, to being diligent to teach spiritual truth to your daughter…versus leaving this all-important assignment to someone else, such as a church leader or a Christian school or a grandparent. Don’t get me wrong! These are wonderful and needed resources. But they are to be your partners in imparting truth, not your substitutes. You as a mother are to be the bell sheep who rings the bell of truth like crazy! You, mom, are to be the primary model and teacher of truth to your daughter.

Well, thank the Lord He doesn’t leave moms on their own. This isn’t mission impossible. No, it’s mission possible. God knows most moms don’t have a degree in education or training in teaching. And, whew, God doesn’t expect this or demand it! Aren’t you glad? Instead, He tells us how to teach and what this teaching involves. He says, “You…shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (verse 7).

No matter who you are, or what you do or don’t know about teaching—or how busy you are!—God expects you to pour God’s Word out of your heart and into your daughter’s heart. All you have to do is:

Step 1, love the Lord with all your heart;

Step 2, have God’s Word in your heart; and now

Step 3, teach His truths diligently.

By…what? Talking?! You mean that’s all? That’s it? Yes, that’s it—by talking.

Now I ask you, you’re a woman. How hard can talking be? Why, we girls are the world’s experts when it comes to talking!

And note where all our mother-to-daughter talking and teaching is to take place—at home. Nothing could be easier or more natural or more convenient than home sweet home! You don’t need elaborate plans. You don’t need to dress up or go anywhere. You don’t need to start the car. And you don’t need to spend any money. No. God simply says that “when you sit in your house,” you are to talk about Him.

Whew again—this one’s easy! You sit to relax. You sit to eat. You sit to visit. You sit to read. You sit to work on a craft together. And you sit whenever you’re in the car together. No matter what your daughter’s age is, these natural, low-key, sitting instances provide prime opportunities to talk about the Lord and His love and His promises…and His Son.

And “when you walk by the way” you are to talk about the Lord. From babyhood, to toddler times, to little girl, to schoolgirl, you’ll be walking with your daughter. That’s your special time for talking about the Lord. So…

Got a newborn? You will walk…and walk…and walk each time you calm your crying, ill, or restless baby. And you’ll put in miles pushing her stroller. And you’ll find yourself talking baby talk to her. I laughed out loud when I read this true-to-motherhood quip: “Being a mom means talking to your baby all the time.” So go ahead and talk all you want. It will develop the habit in you—and tune your baby girl’s heart to your voice.

How about a school-age daughter? If you walk your young daughter to school or to and from the school bus stop, you get to talk about the Lord. Tell her how He will help her through her time at school, with her test or report, with making friends. If you walk to the mailbox down the road, take your daughter along and chat about the wonders of the Lord and what it means to know Him. Let her know how she can trust Him and talk to Him anytime, anywhere, and ask for His help. When you walk together through the grocery store or the mall, again, make that an opportunity to talk about God and His provision and blessings. If there’s a breathtaking sunrise, sunset, rainbow, or wonder of nature—a bird’s nest, blooming flowers, even something as small as a dandelion, go outside and marvel at God’s handiwork together. And while you’re at it, do as the psalmist did and “talk” of His doings. “Praise” the Lord for His mighty acts and His greatness. “Declare” His faithfulness.

And then come the teen years. Hopefully you and your daughter have developed the habit of talking to each other about any and every thing, and especially about the Lord. So during her teen years, when things can get a little weird, and she may even see you as a little weird, you can still talk because of your history of talking. Believe me, if you are available, and care, and give her your love and attention, she will spill all!

And if you haven’t developed this early habit of talking, don’t worry and don’t give up. Just be sure you start now. Start talking, even if your daughter doesn’t seem to be listening. She is hearing, and what you say in loving wisdom will be filed away in her mind and heart. And it won’t go away. She won’t be able to shake it or forget it. Draw your strength from the Lord and speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). And if your daughter won’t talk to you, that’s okay. Just know before God that you talked, just like He asked you to do. You faithfully rang your bell. You shared truth from His Word. And take comfort in the fact that God promises His Word will not go forth in vain but will accomplish His purposes (Isaiah 55:11).

And to end each day and start the next, God tells you what to do in Deuteronomy 6:7: “When you lie down, and when you rise up,” talk! Talk about the Lord, and keep on talking about Him. You can help even your tiny young daughter start her days and end them with thoughts of God in her mind. You can greet your waking girl with, “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). Or you can call out, “There you are, my precious blessing from the Lord! Good morning!” And at night, prayer is the perfect way to put a little—and big!—girl to bed. It puts her day and all that happened to rest. It calms all sorrows and soothes every hurt from the day. And it quells her fears. Like David testified, “I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me,” and “I will both lie down in peace and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 3:5 and 4:8).

So…another of God’s assignments to any and every mom is to constantly be teaching and talking to your daughter about the Lord you love. Teaching and talking. And talking and teaching. Or put another way, ringing your bell! I hope you are grasping that being a Christian mom is more than taking your children to church. Home is a sort of church too. Home is the natural 24/7, morning-to-evening place to impress truth upon your daughter. Home is where she gets to see and hear every day how important the Lord is to you. Wherever and whenever the two of you are together is God’s opportunity for you to tell her about Him. So take advantage of the gift of such times. And if they are too few and far between, make it happen. Create the times together. In his book Shepherding a Child’s Heart, author Tedd Tripp gives this challenge to parents:

You shepherd your child in God’s behalf. The task God has given you is not one that can be conveniently scheduled. It is a pervasive task. Training and shepherding are going on whenever you are with your children. Whether waking, walking, talking or resting, you must be involved in helping your child to understand life, himself and his needs from a biblical perspective.

But What If…

I realize this ideal scenario does not happen in every mother/daughter relationship. Maybe the family you grew up in was not a Christian family. God knows that. He knows all about it—all about what you missed, and all about what you know and don’t know about being a Christian family and mom. So know that your mission is to begin where you are to follow the Lord. It’s never too late to receive Christ as Savior, to begin loving the Lord and growing in grace and in the knowledge of Him and His Word. You can choose any day—today, if you haven’t already—to begin diligently teaching the daughter you love, and talking to her about the God you love and who loves her. Point her to God. Encourage her in the Lord. Teach her what you know about Him from experience and from study. Pray for her with your every heartbeat. See her spiritual growth into a daughter after God’s own heart as your calling, your mission assignment from God. Commit to doing your part, and trust God to do His.

Perhaps you are thinking, This woman is crazy! Well, I wouldn’t blame you. But I will tell you I am crazy about God, crazy about my two daughters, and crazy about my four granddaughters. I will also tell you that I am passionate and passionately sold out to my role as a woman, mom, and grandmom after God’s own heart. It’s just so clear what God wants His moms to be and do. Your daughter has no other mother. You are the one He has chosen to teach her. And if you don’t, what if no one does?

Here’s a powerful description of what an all-out, all-or-nothing love for God and our daughters looks like. Let it encourage you today and in the decades of mothering to come:

…my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity…I won’t give up, shut up, let up, or slow up.

You Can Do It!

Each of the following suggestions is something you can do to contribute toward becoming the mom you dream of being. And each one betters your life…and your daughter’s too. Here we go:

Analyze your day.

Think through the rhythm of your day and pinpoint your discretionary time, the time when you have a choice about how it is used, when you can choose how it’s spent. There is always time to do what’s important to you. You’ll need to find the time to get to know God—to put first things first.

Design a quiet time.

Once you’ve carved out a special time to be with God, begin reading your Bible—even for just ten minutes. It’s been calculated that if you simply read your Bible for ten minutes a day, you will read through all of it in one year. That’s a doable task for you as a bell sheep whose life goal is leading your daughter to Jesus. There are scores of activities that fill your day. So steal ten minutes from a nonimportant activity like time on the Internet, time talking on the phone, time watching TV. Make a daily appointment with God and allow Him to speak to your heart from His Word.

Memorize Scripture.

Here’s a statistic for you: People remember about 40 percent of what they read. Wouldn’t it be nice to remember 100 percent? Well, you can if you memorize verses from the Bible. That’s what someone told me as a new Christian, and I followed their advice. As I shared earlier, as soon as I read Deuteronomy 6:5-7, I learned it by heart. I also picked out some verses that would help me with my daily life, including the daily challenge of being a mom after God’s own heart. Like “I can do all things [including be a mom!] through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Once you store up some verses in your heart, you’ll find that wherever you are and whatever is happening, you can remember God’s words to you. And just think—as a bell sheep, you can draw your daughter to Jesus as you speak His words to her.

Read about parenting.

In my mentoring ministry, one of my assignments for the women I meet with and give my time to is that they read five minutes a day on a variety of topics. They can pick the topics and the books. They can buy them, borrow them, or check them out of the church library. I do this because I’ve been reading on my own topics for five minutes a day for decades! For instance, I’ve been reading five minutes a day on marriage and family for what seems like forever. The same goes for time and life management. And health.

If you do this too, you will amaze yourself as you become an expert on your subjects by merely reading five minutes a day on them. You will also be super motivated because the topic and your new knowledge is fresh in your mind. Instead of dreading something, you’ll look forward to approaching it differently and trying some new techniques or methods. Your reading will serve as a reminder and an instructor to pay attention to the areas of your life you targeted for growth. Pray, and then choose your subjects. Just be sure as a mom that childrearing is one of them.

Write a letter to God about your daughter.

Then read the letter to Him as a prayer. Prayer involves God. So now there are two of you taking on the challenge of raising a daughter after God’s own heart. It will seal your commitment to becoming God’s kind of mom so, Lord willing and by His grace, your daughter grows to be God’s kind of girl. File your “My Prayer to Be a Mom After God’s Own Heart” away where it is handy and can be prayed often, even daily. Your prayer is another good reminder each day to keep on keeping on in your goals as a mom and your goals for your daughter. And here’s an idea: Each year on your daughter’s birthday, slip a copy of your prayer into her birthday card. Be sure to tell her where you were and what you were feeling when you wrote it. What a gift!

Mom’s Think Pad

Before you move on to your next Mom Mission, take a minute or two to think about what you can do to track with God as a mom. Make some plans of your own to take a few small steps that make a big difference.

I’m awfully busy, but I want to be the mom God wants me to be! What are several things I can do—or not do—to create some time to get into God’s Word? I want to be a mom after God’s own heart!
I want to set a goal to memorize Deuteronomy 6:5-7. Here’s my checklist:
Write these verses on an index card and carry it with me.

Pick a daily five-minute time slot that works for my schedule, during which I can memorize these verses.

Write out each verse ten times.

Copy these verses on several more index cards and post them on the refrigerator door, bathroom mirror, computer, car dashboard.

Ask my daughter to help me memorize these verses, to listen to me recite them, to be my audience, my checker, my best helper!

What are some ways I can “teach” my daughter about God and His Word by “talking” about Him…
…when we are sitting together?

…when we are walking together?

…when she is going to bed or going down for her nap?

…when she gets up?

What are some ways I can be more faithful and “diligent” in passing on God’s truth to my daughter?
Do I need to be mentored in my own spiritual growth? Who could help me? Or is there a class I can take? A group I can join? A book I can read?