Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sing: A Novel of Colorado (The Homeward Trilogy) by Lisa Bergren

Tour Date: May 1st

When the tour date arrives, copy and paste the HTML Provided in the box. Don't forget to add your honest review if you wish! PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST WHEN THE TOUR COMES AROUND!

Grab the HTML for the entire post (will look like the post below):


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:

Sing: A Novel of Colorado (The Homeward Trilogy)

David C. Cook; New edition (April 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings - Senior Media Specialist - The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Lisa T. Bergren is an author who offers a wide array of reading opportunities ranging from children’s books (God Gave Us Love and God Found Us You) and women’s nonfiction (Life on Planet Mom), to suspense-filled intrigue (The Gifted Trilogy) and historical drama. With more than thirty titles among her published works and a deep faith that has weathered dramatic career and personal challenges, Bergren is excited to add the Homeward Trilogy to her resume as she follows God’s direction in her writing career. Bergren lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband Tim (a graphic design artist and musician) and their three children.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (April 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434767078
ISBN-13: 978-1434767073


15 March 1887


Surely she hadn't heard him right. Moira stared with disbelief at the ledger the bank manager turned toward her. “What do you mean I cannot withdraw this much? I have thousands of francs here.”

“You did, Mademoiselle. Until this morning, when Monsieur Foster came and extracted all but the last thousand.”

“Max? Mr. Max Foster came and withdrew these funds?”

“Oui. It was his biggest withdrawal yet. But as you know, he has full access to your bank account. He makes withdrawals all the time. I assumed this was no, as you say … different.”

“Different?” The word emerged from her mouth in a high-pitched squeak. She swallowed hard and looked above that final ledger entry--10,000 francs--to other withdrawals. A thousand. Fifteen hundred. Sometimes twice a week. Her mind raced. Max, her manager of almost three years, paid her servants, the landlord. He paid for the groceries delivered each day. The oilman for the oil that filled her lamps. It took money, a lot of money to pay for all those things. But this much?

“Mademoiselle,” the bank manager said carefully, peering over tiny spectacles at her, “has something transpired here that causes you alarm?”

“Non, non,” she said, gathering herself. “Monsieur Foster and I merely need to converse. I am certain there is good reason for him to withdraw funds today. I simply have forgotten. Forgive me, Monsieur. My run at the Opera Comiqué has left me a bit … weary.”

“I understand,” he said, rising with her. “And may I say that your performance has been unparalleled in this city for some time? Paris is fortunate to have you, Mademoiselle St. Clair.”

“You are too kind,” she said. “Bon jour.” “Bon jour,” he said with a nod. But his dark eyes still held the same concern that flooded Moira's heart.

Max Foster would be at Madame Toissette's tea later today--she would speak with him then. But before he took a sip of her fine Earl Gray, he would explain to Moira where her money had gone.


15 March 1887

Hoarfrost covers every branch and every bit of every tree within sight. It is beautiful, a sight I always favor, but in this instance, it makes me more fearful than ever. For below it is more snow than I've ever seen. More snow than Bryce or Tabito have ever seen. And while it has ceased for the moment, leaving behind a brilliant blue sky that showcases mountains in bridal white, Tabito believes more is on the way. Tonight? Tomorrow? It would take weeks to melt the snow already here. The men--

Samuel's cry brought Odessa's head up, and she set her pen aside and went to the babe in the next room. Now seven months old, the child quieted when he spotted his mother, gurgling a pleased coo and wiggling his arms and legs in vigorous excitement. She lifted him and cradled him close for a moment, running her lips over his sweet, soft cheek. She reached for another blanket, frowning at the chill in the room, and returned to the window over her desk, one of only two in the house that were not either frosted or sealed over by the vast snowbanks.

Her eyes traced the channel the men had dug from the bunkhouse to the main house and then over the hill to where the stables and shelters stood. She'd watched them taking turns with the digging until the bank on either side was shoulder high. Against the house, where the wind had driven into drifts, the white piles had been as high as the second-story windows on the western side and not much lower to the south and north. The men had dug them out each day, but each night as they slept through the high, dry wail of the wind, the drifts returned.

“Never, ever, have I seen this much snow,” Bryce had said, staring out a whitewashed window as if he could somehow bore through it and see his horses. That had been yesterday, when they wondered if the snow would ever stop. And then this morning it had.

The men were immediately at it, attempting to get to the hundred horses that had been left to battle the elements on their own. Only fifty could be in the stables at a time or sheltered in the corrals that lined it. They had found food and water throughout the storm. But the others? Those who had naught but the small snow breaks that dotted the fields? Odessa shook her head. Judging from the house, they might have all long been buried. Please, God, please … please let them be all right.

The passageway through which the men had disappeared remained silent and empty, a yawning chasm of doubt and fear. After a couple brutal years of drought, much of Odessa's inheritance had gone into an extension of acreage that gained the Circle M increased water rights. Could the horses out there even get to water? Were they pawing and digging their way down to streams that were frozen solid?

Odessa blinked twice and turned, deciding to do something rather than stand there and fret. Bread, six loaves, she'd bake. A thick and hearty beef stew the men would love after their bone-chilling, hard work. An apple cobbler from her stash of summer preserves. “Come, Samuel,” she whispered, drawing comfort from the weight of him in her arms. She carried him down the stairs and into the kitchen, then set him on the floor atop a thick blanket, near the stove, which she blocked off by turning a chair on its side. It was so dark with the snow that embalmed the windows--despite the bright sun outside--she lit a couple of lamps, stoked the fire, handed Samuel a tin cup to play with, and turned to pull out flour and sugar.

Later, with the bread rising by the stove, she fed Samuel while she sat in her rocker, wondering how much longer it would take for Bryce, anyone, to return to her. She was desperate for word. By now they had surely made it to the snow breaks, assessed the losses--

It was then that she heard the stomping on the front porch, the low murmur of voices. She hurriedly pulled Samuel from her breast. She ignored his indignant cry, her eyes only on the front door as she rushed to meet her husband. He turned to her, and she could see the men walking away with stooped shoulders. But it was Bryce, her dear, sweet Bryce, who captured her whole attention. It was as if he had aged a decade, or suffered from consumption again, so weary and ill did he appear.

“Bryce,” she said.

He stepped forward and slowly closed the door behind him, then gradually raised his eyes to meet hers. Tears welled and threatened to roll down his cheeks.

“Oh!” she said, clamping her lips shut, feeling tears clench her throat. “All of them, Bryce? Are they all dead?” She moved forward to wrap one arm around him. Samuel wailed louder than ever, infuriated by the crush of his parents. But the two adults remained there as each gave way to the tremors of sobs.

Her husband wiped his cheeks with the palms and then the backs of his hands, trying to regain control. “Best we can tell, the storm took many of them.” He took another deep breath. “Some might have made it to the far side, instinctively heading for the shelter of the trees. But we'll need a week of melt before we can make it across to see. And we can't--” his voice broke and he wept for a moment--“we can't even be sure how many are there, by the snow breaks. They're buried, Dess. Buried. Stood there, waiting for us to save them.”

She moved back in to hold him, crying with him again. Dear God … Please. Please. The mere idea of it, the overwhelming vision of a hundred horses now dead.… No, no, no. Savior, please! What would become of them? The ranch depended on the income of the sale of a hundred and fifty horses each summer. One hundred already dead? And with more snow coming? Her eyes went to the front parlor window, a dark bank of dense snow. Show us, Lord. Show us what to do. We need You. We need You!

15 March 1887

Rio de Janeiro

“Come, Son, we have need of your services,” said a man gruffly, hauling Dominic to his feet.

Nic winced, both at the rapid motion and the bright light of morning. His stomach roiled and his head spun. Whatever they were pouring last night at the bar was hard on a man's gut, even one used to liquor. He squinted, trying to see the men who were on either side of him as they rushed him down the stairs, out the door, and through a crowded market plaza. “Stop!” he yelled. “Unhand me! What's this about?”

The two men paused, tightening their grip on his arms as he fought back. Two others arrived and lifted his feet from the cobblestones. “Wait! Where are you taking me?” Nic cried, battling both fear and fury now. He writhed and pulled, but to no avail. By the look of them, these four men were hardened seamen.

The leader motioned for the others to halt, and he was once again on his feet. A crowd of curious onlookers gathered, staring at them, but Nic was struggling to steady his eyes on the man. “Where are you taking me?” he repeated. The first relinquished Nic's arm to another's care and turned to face him. “You cost my cap'n a large sum of money last night with your poor fighting.”

“The man was twice my size!” Nic snarled, feeling the man's complaint as if it were a sucker punch.

“Yes, well, the cap'n had high hopes for you. Your reputation, up to last night, was … unequaled. He put a fair sum down on you.”

“That's a gambler's risk.” He pulled again, hoping to get free, but the men still held stubbornly to his arms. If he could get even one fist free.…

The leader grinned, showing a mouthful of decaying teeth. “Too bad you didn't win last night. He believes you owe him the money he lost.”

“That's preposterous!” The man shrugged and smiled again. “Be that as it may, we are only obliged to follow our cap'n's orders. And our cap'n is now yours as well.”

Nic paused and swallowed hard. So that was it. These men intended to shanghai him--force him to serve aboard their ship. “You're nothing but a crimp! There are laws against--”

“For American ships, sailing under American laws,” said the man. He motioned to the others and turned to walk toward the docks, the others following behind, dragging Nic along. “We lost a dozen men here in port to the fever,” he said, turning partially toward Nic to speak while they walked. “Now the cap'n is not only cantankerous over losin' them, but also losin' his heavy purse over you. It's your bum luck. Best to accept it and embrace it, man. Six months from now, you'll be set free, in whatever port you wish.”

“If I'm not already dead.”

The man laughed, a slow, deep guffaw that eventually built into laughter that spread among the others. “Aye, that's the risk of any sailor's life, especially in the waters where we are headed.” He looked over his shoulder at his prisoner. “Come along, St. Clair. Cease your struggle. It is of no use. You'll take to the water, you'll see. Yes'sir, gamblers and fighters--they make the best of seamen. You might find you love it as much as the ring.”

Cañon City, Colorado

Reid Bannock straightened, groaning at the ache in the small of his back and between his shoulders. He set the pickax against his leg and gestured to the water boy to come his way. He casually met the gaze of the deputy, who watched over the prison chain gang with an armed shotgun resting across his arms. The man gave him a slight nod. They got on, the two of them. Reid fancied the idea that the younger man felt sorry for him even, though the two had never shared more than a few words. Undoubtedly, Deputy Johnson knew Reid's story, passed along more from lawman to lawman than within his files.

The blue-lipped, shivering water boy finally reached him and offered up a grubby ladle full of water. The boy's hand trembled violently, not out of fear but from exposure. In the cold, the top of his bucket kept frosting over and encased the whole thing in ice. He had to break through the top to fetch Reid the water, and it was so cold, it made Reid's teeth hurt as he drank.

It stayed cold, even within him, making him feel as if he swallowed a chunk of ice rather than liquid. He coughed, thumped his chest, and gazed up at the mountains, finally clear after the blizzard. It mattered little, this trial. In a few months he'd be free. Regardless of the sentence, he'd be free. Every morning, he was up and dressed, awaiting the deputy who would chain him to others for the work on the new prison building, whatever the weather. Only the blizzard had allowed them a few days' respite. Each mornin', he greeted the deputy with a friendly word, knowing that consistent good behavior could knock months off a man's sentence.

By his calculations, the county was drawing too many new people, and therefore too many new criminals. The general's propaganda was doing its good work, and Colorado Springs, Pueblo, even Cañon City were seeing pioneers arrive by the thousands, all hoping to make a new life for themselves. After a winter like they'd had, many of them were liable to be desperate, driven to desperate decisions, not all of them on the right side of the law. Already, Reid shared his tiny cell with five other men. Word had it that a sixth would be brought in soon, left to sleep on the narrow space that was currently the only flooring between the two bunks, each with three levels. How long until a seventh arrived? Yes, when number seven arrived, tough decisions would have to be made; the prison warden would have to speak with judges, finding a means to alleviate the pressure before the prisoners exploded.

“Get back to work, Bannock,” the deputy barked.

“Yes sir, right away, sir,” Reid called back, immediately picking up his ax. He lifted it up over his left shoulder and then let it arc down toward the boulder in front of him, imagining faces upon it, as he had every day on every rock he had destroyed over the last three years.

Moira St. Clair. The woman who had stolen his heart, and then crushed it.

Dominic St. Clair. The man who had stood between Moira and him.

Odessa and Bryce McAllan, the people who refused to give up what was destined to be his.

A chunk of granite fell away with his next strike, revealing a tiny, crooked line of gold that glittered in the sun, too small to warrant the work of extraction, but tantalizing. It was common, these tiny remnants, teasing their discoverers with the idea about where the rock had once stood and what vein had once connected to this small one.… In spite of himself, he leaned forward and traced the line with his finger. Gold. Silver. Treasure untold. Sam O'Toole or his parents had discovered something, up near his mine. Something beyond the few sweet silver nuggets he'd brought out to Westcliffe and sold. Had the McAllans discovered it yet? Had they squired it away for a rainy day?

“The Spaniards, they came up this way, ya know,” said an old man, chained to his right leg. He was a chatty fellow, and Reid glanced at him before striking with the pickax again.

“That so?” he said casually.

“Yep. My great-granddaddy, he was a trapper. Ran with Kit Carson and the like for a time. Knew a lot of Injuns.”

“And the Spaniards?” Reid asked lowly.

“My great-granddaddy, he was chased right up into the Sangres by the Ute who didn't take kindly to him being--”

“You two!” barked the deputy, frowning in their direction. “Less talking, more work!”

Reid frowned too and doubled his efforts against the boulder. But with each strike, he wondered more about what the old man had to say. A few minutes later, he dared to glance at the old man.

I'll tell you later, his eyes said.

©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. Sing by Lisa Bergren. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Just Like You: Beautiful Babies Around the World by Marla Stewart Konrad

Tour Date: APRIL 30, 2010

When the tour date arrives, copy and paste the HTML Provided in the box. Don't forget to add your honest review if you wish! PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST WHEN THE TOUR COMES AROUND!

Grab the HTML for the entire post (will look like the post below):


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:

Just Like You: Beautiful Babies Around the World

Zonderkidz (March 9, 2010)

***Special thanks to Pam Mettler, Associate Director of Public Relations, ZonderKidz for sending me a review copy.***


Marla Stewart Konrad is keenly interested in global issues and has a special concern for the well-being of children. Her career as a speechwriter and communications professional has taken her to numerous countries in Asia and Africa. She lives near Toronto, Canada, with her family, and is the author of several books for children.

Product Details:

List Price: $15.99
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Zonderkidz (March 9, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310714788
ISBN-13: 978-0310714781

Please Click the Button to Browse Inside the Book:

Monday, April 26, 2010

Glaen by Fred Lybrand

Tour Date: April 29

When the tour date arrives, copy and paste the HTML Provided in the box. Don't forget to add your honest review if you wish! PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST WHEN THE TOUR COMES AROUND!

Grab the HTML for the entire post (will look like the post below):


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:


The Barnabas Agency (February 14, 2010)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings - Senior Media Specialist - The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Maybe it’s because his dad was a lawyer and state legislator, or maybe it’s because he grew up in Alabama with something to prove, or maybe he just found a good use for his self-proclaimed ADHD, but whatever the cause, Fred Lybrand has become a careful thinker in a number of disciplines. If you are looking at a topic with Dr. Lybrand, then you are guaranteed to see things like you never have before. “I finally discovered that I’m one of those unfocused students that just likes to learn everything. I guess God made me to be a knowledge broker—I learn some hopefully useful information and then give it to others who need it,” Lybrand describes of his own love for learning and teaching.

Lybrand attended the University of Alabama and majored in English Literature, with a double-minor emphasis in speech communication and fiction writing. He went on to teach the introductory speech communications class while also attending law school at Alabama. A hunger to understand the Word of God, however, led him to withdraw in order to pursue theological studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. Lybrand graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary in 1989 and received a doctorate from Phoenix Seminary, 2007.

In January 2010, Dr. Lybrand retired from a 24-year career as a pastor of two churches in Texas. At Midland Bible Church he helped build a church which has launched ministries in several continents (including successful church-planting efforts in Uganda), as well as serving as a founding board (and faculty) member for Midland Classical Academy, a Socratic-method based high school. The school provides a “classical education” focused on teaching students through the Socratic Method using classical books, interactive science and math, logic, fine arts, and the creative process—all built on the foundation of the Bible. At Northeast Bible Church (Evangelical Free Church) in the San Antonio area, Dr. Lybrand helped redesign the church to grow as a disciple-making center for promoting the grace of God. Teaching and counseling in the church context has been a long-term focus of Lybrand’s labors.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: The Barnabas Agency (February 14, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0578046520
ISBN-13: 978-0578046525


Mother called the week before I met Glaen Breuch.

“So, that's it?” I said with a tinge of anger.

“I'm afraid it is, dear,” a soft and matter-of-fact voice responded.

“Mom, you just want a divorce? You don't want to work at it or get some counseling or something?” I pleaded.

“No Annie, it's over. I've tried and tried, but your father just isn't what I want for the rest of my life. Can't you just be happy for me?” Mother asked.

Suddenly Annie found herself floating, feather-like, away from the phone and experiencing what most people think a drowning person experiences; a life full of joy and promise, in the last moments of gasping for air, she sees a replay of that life. Annie saw the day her baby sister came home from the hospital. Mom and Dad were so happy, and Annie as a little girl couldn't find her sister's feet; she kept looking under the baby-carrier instead of under the blanket. They all laughed for days.

Next, Annie remembered her granddaddy's death and how her mother was so kind to her dad, and how her dad praised mother to everyone in the small town where he grew up. Other memories flooded her mind, moving from ancient black-and-white scenes to vivid full-color images. Most recently she had been in church, seated between her parents, and basking in the wonder of family; hoping for a marriage like theirs. But Annie snapped awake.

“Be happy for you?” I said with amazement. “How can I be happy for you? You are running away to ruin your relationship with Dad and mess up our family forever. You seem happy enough. I don't think you need my help.”

“Annie, my relationship with your dad is already ruined. Honey, the one way I've failed you was to not really help you understand about love. You were always your Daddy's girl anyway, so I never could really tell you how I felt. I don't think I understand relationships, but I'm going to learn about them. Honey, I know you don't understand relationships; just look at what's happened with your boyfriends.”

“Boyfriends?” Annie thought to herself. There were just two; one in high school and one in college. Both of the boys were nice guys who doted, and spent, on Annie. She just wanted to have fun, and she did, for a while. In the same six month period with each guy, Rodney and Pierre, they both turned to the same serious conversation with her about “dating just each other.” Annie could still feel the panic as her stomach tightened and her lungs closed off from the air in the room. She had mysteriously decided she didn't like either of them; and in time she believed it deeply. The only hint she had that perhaps a mistake lived on, was that she saved the letter from Pierre in her dresser drawer back home. Both guys were married now, at least she had heard about their engagements. But now the thought of her past brought Annie back to the room, and to the moment. “Mother, what about your relationship with God? What about your marriage vow before Him?” I asked as a sincere question.

“God wants us happy, dear. I've been miserable for years. I love you children, and now that you're grown, I can follow my dreams. I felt dead, but now I feel alive. Annie, I know it is hard to understand, but I just know God is in this because I'm so wonderfully happy now.”

“Mom…I love you, but what you're doing can't be right. I'm not going to do this to my family,” I said.

“Well, good luck, Honey. I'm going out to dinner and I haven't finished dressing,” she said in a mother-knows-best way.

“Could I give you one piece of advice that would have changed all of this for me?”

“Sure Mom,” I said.

“Annie dear, be sure you marry the right person; don't stand in your wedding dress with doubts in your bouquet.”

We hung up, and I cried for a long time before I could pray. “God, my mother says she doesn't understand relationships, and she's my mom! Then she says I don't understand them either. Please help me to understand.”

Back then I had no idea that prayer was the sort of thing God took seriously.


Glaen Breuch was unusual, even for a college professor.

It was only two weeks before that I had signed up for his Masters class called, “Original Non-Fiction.” Jennah and I had been sitting at Polmier's Coffee Shoppe, a little place with hardwood floors full of serious students and a few silly girls. “What are you going to take for your last class?” Jennah asked. I was irritated. “Gee, Jennah, I just decided now to take classes at all.” She knew how upset I was about Mom and Dad's sudden divorce announcement, so she ignored it and asked again.

“I've prayed all week about it. I wish I could take a class on how relationships really work, but nothing in school is ever practical.” I still remember saying those words when Glaen walked in the Shoppe. He had striking white hair that made a great wave until it crashed above his right eye. Wire-rimmed glasses, herringbone jacket, too many books; all these made Glaen look like the ideal professor. He insisted on being called Glaen rather than “professor” or “mister,” but I didn't know why until months later.

Exactly fifteen years ago I saw Glaen in the Shoppe. Now I am about to see him again. I bet he hasn't changed a bit, but of course how could he?

That day in Polmier's, Glaen walked up to us as an answer to prayer. “Hi ladies,” he said. “I couldn't help overhearing your conversation about classes. I'm a new instructor here at St. Michael's, but I'm a bit late in arriving.” Suddenly his awkward grasp gave way and all of his books and papers clamored to the wood floor. Only one pink sheet remained in his hand. “Oh, here it is,” ignoring the pile at his feet. “I'm teaching this class over the next two semesters. If you're interested, just show up as it says here.” With that Glaen gathered his books and left the Shoppe, cluttered but unembarrassed. From that moment on, all I could think about was how curious both the class and the professor seemed. I was in!

“Welcome class. My name is Glaen, pronounced with a long 'a' as in 'gain.'” He started the Original Non-Fiction class, ONF101 as the flier labeled it, right on time. Without skipping a beat he handed out the syllabus and asked with eyes that swept the room, “Are there any questions before we begin?”

I looked around totally bewildered as I raised my hand. “Yes, and your name is Anne?” he asked. “Well, they call me Annie, but I do have a question,” I said.

“OK Annie, what's your question?” I was still in a self-absorbed mood, so I put a little “dumb blonde” in my voice. “Like…ah…I'm the only student in the room…and, ah…is the class going to make or something?” I wanted to ask why in heaven's name he was acting like the room was full, but it seemed like a dumb move on the first day.

“Well Annie, since it's a new class the powers-that-be have given me permission to teach it even if you're the only one. Ready to start?” he asked, taking my silence for a “yes.”

Glaen wrote the following on the board and asked, “What do you think?”


- Emmons

“Who's Emmons?” I said.

“Does it matter? What if I said it was written by Poe, or Shelley, or Whitman? Would it make a difference? Is it what is said or who said it?” suddenly Glaen had me thinking.

“I guess it doesn't matter,” I said.

“Then what do you think?” he returned.

“I think it sounds reasonable,” I admitted.

“Great!” Glaen took off with a quick lecture on the importance of words and their meanings. He finally got to the point.

“Annie, I've watched conflict for a long time. Seldom is there a conflict that can withstand agreed-to definitions. The reason is pretty simple: Truth still wins out. It's bad enough when two people disagree about what is expected in a relationship. It's even worse when they aren't using the same language. A dictionary or the question, 'What do you mean?' can do more to end conflict than almost anything else on the planet. One of my favorite authors once wrote, 'Truth is the lifeblood of real relationships.'”

“Why?” I asked.

“Well, let me ask you a question. If you change your behavior from how you really are to what they want; is it you relating, or is it the character you're playing?”

With that Glaen started to put his books in a much-needed satchel.

“Is that it?” I asked.

“There's nothing else to know for today,” he said.

“Nothing else to know! What about non-fiction? What about writing? What's the assignment?” I said with a little contempt.

“Oh, that,” he said flatly.

“Well, you need to write an original work of non-fiction, offering original insights on a useful topic. It doesn't matter what the topic is, but I would suggest you write about something you care about, something you'd like to understand. I'll be in this room every week at this same moment. I'm available to help you when you want it.”

Glaen looked at me for a long time, staring right through me with his steady blue eyes, framed by his white hair and white button-down shirt.

“Annie,” he added. “Decide on your topic by next week and I'll show you the secret of good non-fiction. There's a book in your future, and I want to show it to you.” Glaen turned and moved out of the room with the grace of a ballet dancer. I just sat there for a long time before I left. The Coffee Shoppe was finally calling.


Truth is the lifeblood of real relationships.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fear to Freedom: Victim to Victory - What if you did not have to be so afraid? by Rosemary Trible

Tour Date: April 28

When the tour date arrives, copy and paste the HTML Provided in the box. Don't forget to add your honest review if you wish! PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST WHEN THE TOUR COMES AROUND!

Grab the HTML for the entire post (will look like the post below):


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:

Fear to Freedom: Victim to Victory - What if you did not have to be so afraid?

VMI Publishers (February 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Paula Krapf - Chief Operating Officer - Author Marketing Experts, Inc. for sending me a review copy.***


Rosemary Trible’s experiences as the wife of former United States Congressman and Senator Paul Trible provide fascinating insights into the challenges and opportunities of public life. During their twelve years in Congress, Rosemary’s involvement in the inner city of Washington gave her a fresh perspective of the need for reconciliation and the importance of the “power of love” over the “love of power.” Rosemary’s compassion for the poor led her to travel widely hosting mission trips around the world to places such as Cuba, Cambodia, Vietnam, China and India. While in Calcutta she was greatly impacted by the opportunity to work with The Sisters of Charity. Mother Teresa challenged Rosemary to “be a woman of prayer,” which continues to inspire her today.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: VMI Publishers (February 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1935265091
ISBN-13: 978-1935265092


Chapter 18

Abiding In God’s Presence

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13). These words invited me to draw near to God in my everyday life. I had felt such an incredible closeness to the Lord during my near-life experience and now my passion for living in God’s presence is greater than ever.

Jesus certainly knew the importance of dwelling in God’s presence. For him, prayer was a priority. Jesus taught, healed, preached, and then went away to spend time with his Father. Here he received the guidance, strength, and comfort he needed for each day. Likewise prayer strengthens our faith, helps us appreciate the joys of life, and brings us into the delightful presence of God.

St Augustine said, “For you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”1 What a difference prayer can make in our lives! Only here can our hearts find the true rest we long for.

I want to know God’s purpose for me and my family. To do this, I need to spend time with Jesus in the Word and in prayer. After all, the most strategic person I need to reach with the love of God is me. I have called my time of prayer an Appointment with the King since I heard Becky Tiarabassi use that expression at a woman’s retreat years ago. The pace of life today is full speed ahead, and the noise of life is so loud it can distract us from God, who is wooing us—inviting us to slow down, to sit and be still. What if we made an Appointment with the King for twenty minutes each day? We would still have twenty-three hours and forty minutes of our day left! We are so busy running and doing that we have lost what it means to just be still—to know that God is holy, faithful, and unfailing.

Elijah on the mountaintop did not find God in the storm or the wind or the fire but in a small whisper. God often whispers his love to us: “Come to me. Enter into my presence, and find rest for your soul. Come with no agenda but to be with me for you are my heart’s delight.”

I have come to believe that Jesus plus nothing equals everything. God is not concerned about our past except for the grace he gives to cover it. Today we can have a relationship through his son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. I am the way, the truth and the life, I am the good shepherd.” This is true for us today not in the past tense. I want to know Jesus now—I want to learn to walk like him, and forgive like him, and love like him.

Jesus is alive today. He is healing, forgiving, restoring, and loving today. I believe he wants us to be part of his transforming work, but this flows out of our time with him. Instead of being with Jesus to develop this intimacy, and seek his vision, we seem often to focus on the doing instead of being. If what we do is who we are, then who are we when we stop doing it?

I am comforted that Jesus did not run through Jerusalem! If we are always running throughout every day, checking off our to-do lists and responding to our e-mail and text messages, we become exhausted. We must find balance by spending time alone with the Lord. On my calendar there are many entries for every day, but my prayer time, my Appointment with the King, is my highest priority.

Find a time of prayer that works for you. After I went back to work, it was difficult to continue my regular morning time of prayer. God let me know, “That’s no problem. We’ll just meet in the middle of the night when we can be quiet together.” For the past eight years I am awakened sometime between three and four o’clock and have found this time to be the most precious part of the day. I enter into God’s presence when my mind is not already focusing on the days’ activities. If your heart’s desire is to be with God, you can find a time that is best for you.

A revelation from my near-life experience is the importance of living in his presence now. Jesus’ spirit lives in us and therefore we are never alone. Moment by moment, step by step, day by day, we can be one in Jesus as we open our lives to this transforming relationship. We are the ones who must open our hearts to the fullness of this love.

Billy Graham once said, “Heaven is full of answers to prayers for which no one ever bothered to ask.”2 Sometimes we do not know how to ask, what to seek, and how to begin to knock. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be open to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matt. 7:7–8). So keep knocking!

Moments With Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa is a great example of this kind of radical devotion to love and prayer. Her life epitomized love, for she reached out to everyone who crossed her path—the rich and the poor, the powerful and those who were dying in poverty and filth. When people asked her how they could make a difference, she would often suggest to them, “Simply respond to what is right before you—love the person in front of you. You are called not to be successful but to be faithful.”

I first had an opportunity to meet Mother Teresa in February of 1994 when she was the speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast. Because I was helping with logistics that year, I visited with Susan Mendies, who traveled with Mother Teresa and helped make her arrangements. She indicated Mother Teresa would rather not sit at the head table, but have a simple chair placed for her behind the dignitaries.

While others were eating their breakfast, President Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, and his wife, Tipper, came behind the curtain to spend time with Mother Teresa. I watched from the wings of the stage as Mother Teresa reached her arms around these two couples while she prayed for them. The program was about to begin, but the most important event seemed to be the scene I was witnessing. Five people sitting in folding chairs as this humble woman prayed for them—the leaders of our nation and the world.

Mother Teresa was so small that we placed a box behind the podium so she could be seen when it was time for her keynote address. When she spoke, however, the authority of God seemed to come through her, and you could hear a pin drop in this crowd of five thousand who listened intently. She challenged the audience that represented some 146 nations to “Love until it hurts.” She said:

And so it is very important for us to realize that love, to be true, has to hurt. I must be willing to give whatever it takes not to harm other people and, in fact, to do good to them. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is no true love in me and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me.

You too must bring that presence of God into your family, for the family that prays together, stays together. There is so much hatred, so much misery, and we with our prayer, with our sacrifice, are beginning at home. Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put into what we do.

We can keep the joy of loving Jesus in our hearts, and share that joy with all we come in contact with. If we remember that God loves us, and that we can love others as He loves us, then America can become a sign of peace for the world.

If you become a burning light of justice and peace in the world, then really you will be true to what the founders of this country stood for. God bless you!3

I had another wonderful opportunity to be with Mother Teresa in the spring before her death September 5, 1997, when I traveled to Calcutta to work in the House of the Dying and the Orphanage of the Missionaries of Charity along with Susan Mendies. There I experienced Jesus as never before among the poorest of the poor.

Morning worship was in the Mother House at 6:00 a.m. Mother Teresa was in her wheelchair, and beside her was Sister Agnes in her wheelchair in the back of the crowded room. Sister Agnes was the first nun to join Mother Teresa in Calcutta. She was the contemplative nun who prayed while Mother Teresa was out serving. They were devoted friends who were paired in their lives in Christ. As Mother Teresa worked in the streets, her friend for forty-two years, Sister Agnes, kept a prayer vigil. Every morning the sisters repeated this prayer called “Radiating Jesus”:

Dear Jesus, help us to spread

Your fragrance everywhere we go.

Flood our souls with your spirit and life.

Penetrate and possess our whole being, so utterly,

That our lives may only be a radiance of Yours.

Shine through us, and be so in us,

That every soul we come in contact with

May feel Your presence in our soul. . . .4

After morning prayer, I knelt by Mother Teresa’s wheelchair and felt I was beholding Jesus face-to-face. Her dancing eyes twinkled with joy as her warm wrinkled hands, leathered from years of serving and loving, held mine. It was if I were looking into the eyes of unconditional love. Her challenge has stayed with me ever since: “Rosemary, be a woman of prayer.”

I love what she said about prayer: “Perfect prayer does not consist in many words, but the fervor of the desire which raises the heart to Jesus. Love to pray. Feel the need to pray often during the day. Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God’s gift of Himself. Ask and seek and your heart will grow big enough to receive Him and keep Him as your own.” Another of her favorite sayings I have engraved on a rock by my bed: “Do no great things, only small things with great love.”5

I thought often of Mother Teresa’s words as I worked in the House of the Dying. I saw all around me great love and felt blessed, in a small way, to care for those on the threshold of death. The hurt and pain was evident, but God’s peace and love was even more present.

On this weekend nuns from across the world had gathered to determine who would follow Mother Teresa as head of the Missionaries of Charity. To help with the daily jobs, teenage novices had come from another province to work that weekend. That made me the oldest person serving in the House of the Dying. The doctor asked if I would give out the medications to each woman. He paired me with one of the novices, who checked the name on the individual cups of pills and bottles of liquid to determine the medicine was going to the right woman.

My mother had recently died, so my heart was particularly tender when I was with these women in their last days. I held each woman in my arms and spoke softly about my own mother’s dying and how she had said, “Jesus is coming. He is coming for me.” I will never know if any of these dying women could understand what I was saying, but I felt a deep peace in the midst of this the dying. As I told them about my own experience in the vision of heaven, I looked into their eyes and felt somehow they at least knew they were loved and cared for.

I asked one of the nuns later, “How is this unusual peace possible?” She replied, “The peace comes from love. These women, many who have been picked up out of the gutters, now know they are loved. God loves them. They have been forgiven and may soon be free from their pain. She told me how one person had said, “I lived my life in filth, but I will die as an angel.”

The next day I was not expecting to see Mother Teresa. Then I heard tiny footsteps coming from behind me and there she was. Her eyes sparkled as she asked, “Do you have one of my business cards?” “No, I’d love to have one!” I replied in total surprise. I told her about my time at the House of the Dying and how the next day I was going to spend time in the orphanage. She asked, “Do you love children?” I replied, “Oh yes, I have two children who I adore.” “I’ll give you one!” Mother Teresa exclaimed!

My jaw must have dropped open. But before I could speak, the nuns had come for Mother Teresa and whisked her away. Her business card read:

The fruit of Silence is prayer.

The fruit of Prayer is faith,

The fruit of Faith is love,

The fruit of Love is service,

And the fruit of Service is peace.

Mother Teresa changed the world through her life of loving everyone. Whether a leper everyone despised, an abandoned baby, the pope or the president, each person was special to her and to God. She is buried, as was her request, in a simple pine box. This tireless and compassionate woman was loved by the poor and powerful alike. She lies in the Mother House where her last simple message reads, “From Mother—Love one another as I have loved you.”