Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Poem for Writers

A Writer’s Step of Faith
(Matthew 14:28-33)

by Donna J. Shepherd, Author, Speaker, Singer

I step out
Into a sea of words.

Oh, that anointed phrases
And heavenly prose
Would jump onto my page
Like fish jumping into a boat!

But they don’t.

I take each step in faith,
all the while
Catching fish as I walk.

Waves of rejection
Threaten to overcome,
And I’m afraid.

I begin to sink
Into the murky deep.

“Lord, save me.”

Jesus stretches forth His hand.
I keep my eyes on Him,
And grasp Him tight.

He guides me
through every storm
Over contrary seas,
Catching fish
One word at a time
Until we cross
To the other side.

Copyright © 2006 Donna J. Shepherd

Labels: Donna Shepherd, Inspirational, Poetry, Writers

Friday, December 4, 2009

Researching Your Character's World

I wrote a guest post for Word Vessel Blogspot today on how to create the world that your (historical) character lives in.
Click the title to be taken to Cathy Bryant's eye-pleasing and brain stimulating

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What Single Women Should Remember

Ariana Forsythe, the heroine in my first two books, (Before the Season Ends, and, The House in Grosvenor Square) is not the typical regency miss when it comes to the "marriage mart"; Why? Because she is not satisfied to look for a husband who is merely wealthy or titled, attractive or agreeable. Instead, like the authentic young woman of faith that she is, she bases her discrimination of "husband material" on 2 Cor. 6:14.
"Do not be bound together with unbelievers."

This one thing sets her apart from the vast majority of single women, not only then, during the regency, but today.

In the first book, the above verse is recalled numerous times, but I had no opportunity to really delve into the reasoning behind it, the reasons why God instructs his people to be separate, to marry only fellow believers. It is not prejudice, or whim; it is not because God wants to make life difficult for his people: No! Quite the contrary. Note the following reasons, all of which are given in the context of that injunction: Why should Christians only marry fellow Christians?

* Partnership "For what partnership have righeousness and lawlessness?" (2Cor.6:14b)
* Fellowship "Or what fellowship has light with darkness?" (Ibid)
* Harmony "Or what harmony has Christ with Belial? (2Cor.6:15a)
* Commonality "Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?" (2Cor.6:15b)
* Agreement "Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God." (2Cor.6:16)

Wow. Read those words again: Partnership, fellowship, harmony, commonality, and agreement. I don't know about you, but I certainly wouldn't want to enter a marriage that was lacking in any of these areas FROM THE GET GO. In other words, before you even have a chance to disagree on something, you are in disagreement. You are coming from opposite camps, as it were, and the degree of partnership is forever limited, forever handicapped, if your spirits are not both in the Lord.

Christian, you are a temple of God. You have the enormous privilege of being called into the fold of the redeemed. There are many, many differences to face in marriage, differences of temperament, of habits, of viewpoints in many things. What a tragedy if all of the natural differences we bring to marriage are compounded by the irreconcilable difference of SPIRITS!
According to this passage, when a Chrisitan marries, they bring into that marriage the Holy Spirit in them (they are a temple of God); the unbeliever also has a spirit, but it does not contain God. (In fact, according to today's verse, it is the spirit of Belial.)

Some that will argue that the person they are dating is so nice, so "good," even if they are unbelievers, that they must be acceptable partners. However, unless they know Christ, according to GOD, there can be no real partnership. Do you chafe against this? Do you yearn for marriage apart from God's revealed will (the Word)?

Trust him, my sister. He will bring the right mate for you in His time.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Resource Available!

If you've never read one of my monthly e-magazines, they are now archived on my website. Scroll down on this page to click the Archive button and view them:

So what's my e-magazine, anyway?
I write "Regency Reflections," an illustrated, informative peek at the Regency. So far, I have all the issues from this year archived, so you'll get fun and interesting articles, fabulous illustrations, and a good idea of
whether or not you would enjoy getting this (free) in your in-box. If you like what you see, take a few seconds and subscribe--it's FREE--so you won't miss a single issue.

Writers and researchers, as well as Austen fans, (and my readers) will find something of interest. I'll be adding more (past) issues as I finish them
in the proper format, but your best bet to stay informed is to subscribe yourself, if you want to see more.

SO--If you're interested in the early 19th century (and many of us are!) you can
take a peek at the archive (and the rest of my free reader's resources)
on this page:


PS: Leave a comment and let me know what you like best in the e-zine. What don't you like? I can only improve it as I know what you want in it! Thanks much.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


This is a promotion/Contest that I am running. If you write, know a writer, or want to start writing and would like some feedback from a published author, read on:

Anyone who sends me (via email) proof of purchase
for one of my books from Amazon or
(Or B&, etc.) will be entered in a drawing to win an edit/critique of their manuscript, upto 300 pages, by me.

You can send me one chapter or a whole book (up to 300 pages) if you win, and I'll
give you my expertise for writing publishable copy.

The receipt must be dated from today through September 15th to qualify.

If you purchase more than one book, you will be entered more than once.
Each purchase is an entry.

My books are "Inspirational Romance for the Jane Austen Soul,"
and include
Before the Season Ends,
The House in Grosvenor Square,
and the upcoming release, The Country House Courtship,
all published with Harvest House Publishers.

I have attached the links to Amazon, but you may purchase the books
from any online seller and still enter the contest (with receipt).

YOU MAY ALSO ENTER by asking your friends or family
to get a book. If they are not writers, you can enter with their receipt. Just
state that you are doing so, with their permission. Or have THEM send me the
email receipt with your name and email as the entering writer.

You do not need to write romance to enter this contest. I can critique or edit
any manuscript with the following exceptions:
NO gore, no horror, nothing rated R for sexual content. ( I probably don't need
to say this for Christian writers, but better safe than sorry! )

Linore (@) LinoreRoseBurkard (dot) com



Sunday, May 10, 2009


I've been "locked out" of this blog for awhile, but I'm glad to be back.

Since we're all about "She's Got Character," here, I'm giving a nod to Mother's today since it's Mother's Day. Here's the reason why: Mothers have a unique opportunity to develop their character through the raising of children. Mothers help raise kids, yes, but kids also help develop their moms into fully mature people.
If parenthood challenging? You bet. We wouldn't be forced to grow from it if it wasn't.
But is it also rewarding?
Inexpressibly so.

TO BE CONTINUED. I'm going to an orchestral concert for Mother's Day!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The House in Grosvenor Square

This second book in my Regency Series from Harvest House Publishers has been out since April 1, and I'm getting great feedback. Miss Ariana Forsythe, the main character in this story, (and of, Before the Season Ends, the first book in the series)is definitely a feisty female heroine!

But rather than tell you all about it here, I've got more information, including a FREE EXCERPT on my website. Hop over HERE and read more!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Something Different (But Way Cool)

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 Godly Children in an Ungodly World

New Leaf Publishing Group/Master Books (September 2, 2008)


Ken Ham is the founder and executive director of Answers in Genesis in the USA and one of the most sought-after Christian speakers in North America. He is also the author or co-author of many books, including The Lie: Evolution, The Genesis Solution, Genesis and the Decay of the Nations, What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs?, A is for Adam, D is for Dinosaur, Creation Evangelism for the New Millennium (now called Why Won't They Listen?), and One Blood: The Biblical Answer to Racism.

Visit the author's website.

Steve Ham, brother of Ken Ham and the youngest of six Ham children, is the founder and director of Growth Point Financial Ministries, an Australian charitable organization. Steve is married to his wife, Trisha, and is the father of two. He is also coauthor of Answers for Life.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99

Paperback: 240 pages

Publisher: New Leaf Publishing Group/Master Books (September 2, 2008)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0890515425

ISBN-13: 978-0890515426


dead men

do tell tales

with Ken Ham

. . . the righteous shall be in

everlasting remembrance

(Ps. 112:6; NKJV).

legacy (lěg´e-sē) n. Something handed down, by one who has gone before in the past, and left to those in the present and future.

There is a saying, one that we have gathered from the legends of the Wild West, which says “Dead men tell no tales.” The saying implies that the knowledge and influence of the deceased goes with them to the grave, never to be heard from again. I find that not to be the case! Dead men do tell tales. If you ever take a walk around the small English town of Bedford, as I have, you will quickly see what I mean.

Bedford was the hometown of John Bunyan, author of the still very popular Pilgrim’s Progress, now in its 400th year of printing.1 The day I walked around the town, I saw reminders of John Bunyan everywhere — the site of the jail where he spent many years imprisoned, the site of the house in which he was raised, his statue in the town square, the church he preached at in later life with a museum of many of his personal items, and the church where he was baptized in 1628. Bedford even has a pub called “Pilgrim’s Progress Pub!” (I’m sure John Bunyan would love to know he had a pub named after his famous book!)

Something really hit me as I walked around Bedford. As I thought about the life of John Bunyan and how he was persecuted and jailed for preaching the Word of God, I wondered about what happened to those responsible for his persecution and jailing. There was no mention of any of Bunyan’s enemies in Bedford. In fact, in the large graveyard of the church where Bunyan rang the church bell as a child, I saw many very old gravestones. It is certainly possible that some of these gravestones stand on the graves of Bunyan’s persecutors. However, these gravestones were so eroded that the names had disappeared. Whoever these people were, their memory has all but gone. As I looked at these nameless gravestones, Proverbs 10:7 came to mind:

The memory of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wicked will rot.

Certainly, this is the case in Bedford. The man who stood for the authority of the Word of God is remembered. The memory of those who opposed Bunyan has disappeared into oblivion. Bunyan and his books (particularly Pilgrim’s Progress) live on in the memories of people all over the world and in the printed pages that still come off the printing presses today. Yes, “The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.”

A very similar type of situation exists in the town of Worms, Germany. My wife, Mally, and I walked around this town, finding many memorials to the memory of Martin Luther, the great reformer who started the Reformation in 1517.2 There were various statues, plaques, and other markers that told the story of Martin Luther. I even had the awesome opportunity to stand at the very place where it is believed Luther stood when he was purported to have uttered these now famous words:

Here I stand [on Scripture]. I can do no other.

God help me! Amen.

I must admit, tingles went down my spine as I stood there and contemplated the life of a man who started a movement that has affected the world for the Lord to this day.

Again, I didn’t see any memorials to all of those who opposed Luther. They aren’t remembered in Worms; the memory of those who persecuted him is all but lost. Luther — the man who stood for the authority of the Word of God — is remembered, and his legacy continues to have great impact on the world today . . . even among those who don’t know his name. The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance; but unfortunately, the unrighteous can still make an everlasting impact as they forge legacies of an entirely different kind.

If you walk the streets of Shrewsbury, England, you will find memorials to another man of great influence — memorials quite similar to those left for Bunyan and Luther. There is a statue outside his school and a sign outside of the home of his birth, noting the date of February 12, 1809. This is the birthdate of Charles Darwin, who at the age of 50 would publish On the Origin of Species. Throughout the town a similar pride is felt and is reflected in the names of many locations: Darwin Gardens, Darwin Terrace, Darwin Street, and Darwin Shopping Center.

There are similarities in the memorials to these three men, but the legacies they left behind could not be more different. Darwin proposed that “life” can be explained without God. By concluding that a supposed link between ape and man meant that there is no God (as detailed in his subsequent book, The Descent of Man), his ideas left humanity to decide right or wrong on their own, to write their own rules and do their own thing, following whatever seems best in their own eyes.

The implications of Darwin’s legacy are far-reaching. He paved the way for moral relativism, and fueled racism (claiming that blacks, aborigines, and others are inferior, less-evolved races.) His ideas have also fueled the abortion industry, leading to the conclusion that an unborn child is nothing more than a lump of cells (or just an animal) and that a woman has the right to kill it if she so chooses. The ideas of Darwin even paved the way for Hitler, who used them to justify the extermination of those he considered less than ideal — resulting in the mass murder of millions of Jews, gypsies, and others. His ideas have contributed to the erosion of the family, educational institutions, the decay of the legal system, and have led to great compromise in the Church.

To see evolutionary measures and

tribal morality being applied rigorously

to the affairs of a great modern nation

we must turn again to Germany of 1942.

We see Hitler devoutly convinced that

evolution provides the only real

basis for a national policy.3

One of the students involved in the Columbine (Colorado) school shootings wore a T-shirt with “natural selection” written on it. The more students are told they are just animals, and have evolved by natural processes — the more they will begin to act consistently with this view of origins. As generations are trained to believe there is no God, thus no absolute authority, then there is no basis for determining right and wrong — moral relativism will pervade the culture.

The late Dr. Carl Sagan and his wife Ann Druyan wrote an article that appeared in Parade Magazine, April 22, 1990, using the fraudulent idea of emybronic recapitulation popularized by Ernst Haeckel (the false idea that when an embryo develops in its mother’s womb it goes through a fish stage, etc., reflecting its evolutionary history, until it becomes human) to justify abortion. They claimed the embryo wasn’t really human until about the sixth month.

I’ve heard of girls who were told by an abortion clinic that what was in their womb was in the fish stage of evolution, thus they could abort it. A false view of origins leads to terrible consequences.

For example, families are breaking apart due to evolutionary views of unborn children as nothing but animals, and subsequent abortions that result. School shootings such as those at Columbine High School are prevalent among secular schools, because students view other students as animals. The ideas of Darwin are having an effect throughout the culture.

This is the Darwinian legacy: A false idea that has led to the destruction of the authority of the Word of God in our modern age. He popularized a philosophy that has convinced others that the Bible is not true, that everything is the result of random natural process, and that we are little more than animals; free to decide as we are bidden to decide.

Two signs outside of the Shrewsbury Unitarian Church speak for themselves. The first proudly proclaims:

Charles Darwin worshiped here

when he was young.

The second church sign, permanently etched as a motto to be seen by all who pass by, gives a clear indication of the legacy behind which the legacy of Darwin emerged:

No one has the only truth, this we believe.

Not a Question of “If”

Luther, Bunyan, and Darwin; these three men left two entirely different kinds of legacy. Each legacy continues to impact the world in different ways. Let there be no doubt: A legacy is a very, very powerful thing. Let there be no doubt about this either: You too will leave a legacy. Truly, it’s not a question of if you will leave a legacy, it is only a matter of what kind. Long after your body is laid to rest, the impact of your life will continue to spread throughout your community and your world. Never forget that your legacy will be felt most strongly by those closest to you: your family.

Your family desperately needs you to stand up and lead, because the world is drawing them in all the wrong directions. Statistics indicate that around 90 percent4 of the children from church homes attend public schools in America. Sadly, statistics indicate that seven out of ten of such students will walk away from the church after their senior high years.5

America is said to have been the greatest Christian nation on earth. This country has the world’s greatest number of Christian bookshops, Christian radio stations, churches, seminaries, and Christian and Bible colleges. It is inundated with all of the best Christian resources available, yet America is becoming less Christian every day . . . and many Christian parents are heartbroken to see their children move toward the world and away from the church.

Dads and moms are crying out for answers, and teachers are becoming increasingly concerned by the rebellious attitudes, lack of politeness, and vanishing Christian morals they see, even in “church kids.” Barna Research found that only nine percent of teens who call themselves “born-again Christians” believe in absolute moral truth.6 Family breakups, even among those calling themselves Christian, are startlingly common.7

What are the problems? What are the solutions? Are there answers that will deal with the heart of the problems and provide real solutions? Christian and secular books about the family and raising children abound, yet the questions continue. How should children be raised in today’s world? How can a family produce godly offspring dedicated to the Lord? What methods of discipline should be used in bringing up children? Should Christian children be kept in public schools to witness to others, or is Christian or home schooling a necessity? How can Christianity be made relevant to the younger generations?

The list of questions goes on and on, and the Christian family of today is deeply struggling to find answers. I believe there are answers — but I want to warn you that they may challenge your comfort zone, and they may go contrary to what is “acceptable” in your community. The answers may be labeled as “offensive” to those who are more worried about political correctness than righteousness.

Before you can even begin to search out and apply the answers, an even more fundamental question must be answered:

What kind of legacy do you intend to leave?

What type of memorials might be

left in your remembrance?

Can I humbly suggest that you can leave a memorial that can affect the world as Luther and Bunyan did? Many of you reading this might be saying, “Give me a break! They were great and now very famous men. They deserve such memorials, but I’ll never have statues or other memorials built in my memory. I’m not going to be famous like them.”

I disagree with that kind of thinking. You have no idea how God might choose to use you or your children or your children’s children. You must understand that God’s Word gives us the foundation from which we can do our best to build the right structure in our families. God’s Word (not your own wisdom or strength) is the basis of a godly legacy. The Bible alone is living and active, and able to divide and judge correctly, and its principles can lead to astounding results.

If you are going to leave a legacy like Bunyan or Luther, you are going to have to decide to go against the flow, because the flow of the world today is leading to decay, death, and even hell. Each of us has a personal choice to make regarding the future of our family. Will we lead into a legacy of life and freedom based on the Word of God, or will we lead our families into a legacy of relativism and death, as did Darwin?

The question is not rhetorical, but immensely practical, affecting everything that you might do and everything you might be. The type of legacy you choose will most likely have great impact on your community, your world, and, most graphically, your family. Which will it be? Will you lead your family into a legacy of truth, life, and freedom based on the Word of God, or will you lead your family into a legacy of relativism, bondage, and death, as did Darwin? It’s a decision each one of us must make. I know, I had to do it myself and it was a critical decision in my ongoing journey for truth and answers.

When I started high school, I eagerly looked forward to my science lessons. However, I was perplexed when the teacher taught that humans evolved from “ape-men,” and that animals had evolved over millions of years. My textbooks laid out what claimed to be convincing proof that we progressed from molecules to man without any outside influence. I was further taught ideas on how the universe had formed — but they all involved naturalistic processes. God wasn’t involved at all. They claimed that everything somehow exploded out of nothing all by itself, and they made it all sound so “scientific.” Everything I was taught about the origin of matter, life, and man conflicted with what my parents had taught me from the Bible. How was I to resolve this?

I sat down with my father and asked him to help me sort this out. Sadly, at that time there were no books or other resources that we were aware of that dealt with the creation/evolution issue. Certainly, none were readily available to us in Australia at that time. (When I look at all the resources available today, I often think back to this time in my life and realize how blessed people are today.)

From a scientific perspective, my father could not refute the supposed ape-men fossils, or the billions of years of evolution, or the supposed “big-bang” history of the universe. He wasn’t a scientist and he didn’t understand where these ideas had come from. Although my father had lots of answers in many areas where secular ideas contradicted Scripture, in this area of origins, he just didn’t have a defense — he didn’t even know where to start.

I completed high school, rejecting molecules-to-man evolution as a philosophy, but I didn’t have any solid scientific answers to defend my position. I was concerned about this, but my father’s words kept ringing in my ears:

Even if we can’t find an answer to explain why

the secular idea is wrong, we need to continue

to search and wait for the answer.

During my college years while studying for my science degree, I was bombarded with evolutionary ideas in biology, geology, and other subject areas. I still had no scientific response to what I was being taught, so I just lived with the dilemma — though I recognized that sooner or later I had to sort this out in some way. As I studied, however, I did observe that my textbooks and professors did not have convincing evidence for Darwinian evolution or the supposed billions of years for the age of the earth. I recognized there were numerous assumptions behind the various interpretations of fossil bones and the supposed long ages attributed to them, but I really wanted some answers.

Somehow, a little booklet that dealt with the creation/evolution issue from a biblical perspective came into my possession. As I read through this booklet, one particular section stood out from all the others. The author stated that from a biblical perspective, there could not have been death and bloodshed of animals and man before sin, since this would destroy the foundations of the gospel. As I thought about this something really hit me between the eyes: A Christian can’t consistently accept the idea of an earth that is billions of years old (with its supposed millions of years of layers of fossils that we know contain evidence of cancer and other diseases in bones), and accept the statements concerning sin and death in the Bible. Over the years, we have certainly developed such arguments to a much more sophisticated level, but the respect I had for the authority of the Word as instilled in me by my father caused me to recognize the vital importance of this death issue.

This small booklet gave me a number of biblical arguments about why Christians can’t accept molecules-to-man evolution and the Bible’s record of origins at the same time. For example, Darwinian evolution teaches man evolved from ape-like ancestors, but the Bible teaches Adam was created from dust and Eve was created from his side. Thus, there is no way one can consistently reconcile the Genesis account of the creation of man (if one takes it at face value) with the Darwinian account. These explanations sustained me for some time.

As the years progressed, the Lord confirmed in my thinking that it was important to wait for answers, just as my father had trained me. I learned to continue in heartfelt faith, based on what God said in His Word, in spite of a lack of understanding. Passages from Job have helped me considerably in dealing with secular ideas and secular interpretations of evidence when they conflict with what the Word of God says:

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding (Job 38:4).

Then Job answered the Lord and said: “I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:1–6; NKJV).

God aggressively quizzes Job through chapters 38 to 42, asking him questions about various animals and other aspects of the earth and universe that Job cannot possibly answer. “Job, were you there when I made the earth? Do you know this? What about this, Job? Do you understand that? How much do you know about this?” At the end of God’s inquisition, Job falls down in dust and ashes, basically saying, “I give up Lord — compared to You I know nothing.”

Psalm 147:5 reminds us that “Great is our Lord, and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.” It is absolutely impossible that we should understand everything . . . yet God does, and for the time being, He has given us all the answers we need for a big-picture understanding of life and the universe in His holy and perfect Bible.

My father’s words echoed the truth of the Job passages. To this day, I often remember one of the things my father taught me: If the Bible can’t be trusted in one area, how can it be trusted anywhere else? Dad clearly understood the importance of not compromising God’s Word with man’s fallible ideas . . . and he taught me to do the same. Looking back on this time, I can’t help but think of Proverbs 2:3–6:

Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, And find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding (NKJV).

So, as I prayed for answers, I held to my faith in a vacuum of scientific evidence. Still, I felt the conflict between what I thought was “science” and my faith. (I found out later that there is a big difference between “observational science” which we all agree with, and “historical science” which involves the scientist’s beliefs about the past.) I really wanted to honor God’s Word and find the answers that would validate what I believed to be true. I needed some scientific answers to sort this out; but where would I find them? While I didn’t know it at the time, God was working in a special way to provide them for me.

God heard my earnest prayers. In 1974, during my post-graduate year, I mentioned the creation/evolution issue and my dilemma to a friend. He told me about a book that had been published in America which gave lots of scientific answers concerning geology and Noah’s flood. Where would I obtain such a book? I traveled into the city of Brisbane to visit the only Christian bookstore I was aware of. It was on the second floor of an old building — not very easy to find. When I described this book on the Flood to the woman looking after the store, she immediately went and found a copy of The Genesis Flood by Morris and Whitcomb. (I still have this first major creation book that began my creation library.)

As I read the book, I found so many answers to questions about dating methods, rock layers, fossils, and many other aspects of the creation/evolution issue. I was so excited! They were answers that made sense and clearly showed that observational science confirmed the Bible’s account of creation and the Flood. (Even though some of the arguments in this book are now out of date, subsequent research built on this publication has only reinforced the overwhelming evidence that confirms the Bible’s account of history in Genesis.) My eyes were opened and I began to understand the nature of the scientific arguments concerning the origins issue for the first time. I clearly remember smiling and thinking, Once again my father’s stand on the Scripture has been vindicated — and once again God’s infallible Word has judged the pretense of the evolutionists and the compromise of liberal theologians.

Almost 30 years later, while visiting a particular tourist attraction in Brisbane, an elderly lady recognized me and approached me. As we talked, I realized that she and her husband had owned the Christian bookstore where I purchased The Genesis Flood. I explained to her that this was the first major creation book I had obtained, and that it was an integral part of my journey through life. I shared with her that the Lord used that one book to begin a creation ministry in Australia, then Answers in Genesis in the United States, and now many other parts of the world.

She became very excited and told me that her husband had had a real interest in science, the Bible, and the creation/evolution issue. He had such a burden that he made sure he had a copy of The Genesis Flood in his bookshop after he found out about it. That book was there on the shelf waiting for me to purchase it.

Soon, I took the book to my father saying, “Dad, I’ve found many answers to the creation/evolution issue! Observational science does confirm the Genesis account!” To this day, I can still picture that smile on his face as he flipped through the pages. He so loved the Word of God and was so thrilled to have adequate answers to uphold God’s Word in Genesis. If my father had compromised his stand on the Word before he had the evidence to confirm its authority, I don’t believe I would be writing this book or be involved in active ministry today. Thankfully, my father’s faith held, and he chose to act on it. In the process, he began a legacy of worldwide influence that neither of us dreamed possible — not from a no-name bunch of outback Australians at least!


In a public cemetery in the city of Brisbane, Australia, stands a particular gravestone. The marker is not outstanding in any sense; it is not in any prominent place, nor do tourists gather at this spot. Throughout the city of Brisbane there are neither statues nor memorials in memory of the man whose body rests below the marker.

As one among the thousands of other gravestones, this marker is not easy to find. Unless you were specifically looking for it, there would be no reason to even think about searching for it, or to think it should be noteworthy from all the others, but it is noteworthy to me — even more than those of Luther and Bunyan. The words on this gravestone are few and simple:

In loving memory of HAM, Mervyn Alfred

who passed into the presence of the Lord on 9th June, 1995

Aged 66 years

“For me to live is Christ and to die is gain”

Forever Loved

No signs, no statues, no museum. Our dad, together with our precious and godly mother, will be remembered by memorials of a different kind . . . memorials that will stand into eternity, long after the plaques and portraits of others have fallen. Mum and Dad produced six living memorials in their children, and we, in turn, are now creating a godly inheritance to leave to our children. By the grace of God it will be a godly legacy that will teach and remind people for generations to come about the authority of the Word of God and the saving mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.

A rag-tag bunch we are, dented and tainted by our own sin. We all have our struggles and battles with the old nature, but we praise the Lord for the godly parents to whom we were entrusted to be trained for our ministries in this world and the next.

Understanding the sovereignty of God, I know I would not be in this ministry if it wasn’t for the upbringing my parents gave me. They set the example as dedicated and humble Christians who intentionally sought to raise a godly family that would evangelize the lost in an ungodly world. The Answers in Genesis ministry is itself a memorial to my parents and the legacy they began in our lives and in our world.

Please understand that you too will leave a legacy to the generations to follow. They may not build memorials to you and it’s unlikely that they will place signs outside of the place of your birth . . . but what you leave behind will forever impact the hearts and souls of those in your family and beyond. You will leave a legacy; the only question is what kind of legacy will it be. May you recognize from this day forward one certain thing: The foundation of a legacy worth leaving is made up of a faith in God, and a trust in His Holy Word. All we have to build will either stand or fall on this foundation.

Consider this question: What will your children say about you when you die? When your days are done, what kind of legacy will live on in those you touched? Most importantly, will the Lord say “Well done, good and faithful servant”? (Matt. 25:21;NKJV).

Key thoughts from this chapter:

1. Everyone leaves a legacy. The only question is what kind of legacy it will be.

2. A godly legacy is built on the authority and sufficiency of the Bible.

3. A godly legacy begins with a decision, and may require waiting for answers to certain questions.

4. Leaving a legacy is a big deal. Our children, grandchildren, and the world will be eternally impacted by it.

Questions to consider:

1. Has your community been more influenced by legacies like Bunyan’s and Luther’s, or have the people around you been more influenced by legacies like the one left by Darwin?

2. What type of legacy did you inherit from your family?

3. Have you ever made a firm decision to leave a godly legacy for your family and your world? If not, please consider doing so now. Your decision will make an eternal difference.

Resources and tools:

John C. Whitcomb Jr., and Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Flood (Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co., 1961).

Josh McDowell, A Ready Defense (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1993).

Greg Bahnsen, Always Ready (Nacogdoches, TX: Covenant Media Press, 2004).

Brian Edwards, Nothing but the Truth (Darlington, England: Evangelical Press, 2006).


1. The Pilgrim’s Progress was published in 1678.

2. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.

3. Arthur Keith, Evolution and Ethics (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1947), p. 28.

4. Daniel J. Smithwick, “Teachers, Curriculum, Control: A ‘World’ of Difference in Public and Private Schools,” Nehemiah Institute, Inc., Lexington, KY, 1999, p. 11.

5. T.C. Pinckney, “We Are Losing Our Children,” Remarks to Southern Baptists Convention Executive Committee, September 18, 2001.

George Barna, Real Teens (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2001), p. 136, states: “If we apply a ‘correction factor’ to these responses, we would estimate that about one out of three [nearly 30%] teenagers is likely to attend a Christian church after they leave home.”

Barna Research Online, “Teenagers Embrace Religion but Are Not Excited About Christianity,” January 10, 2000, – states: “When asked to estimate the likelihood that they will continue to participate in church life once they are living on their own, levels dip precipitously to only about one of every three teens.”

6. Barna Research Online, “The Year’s Most Intriguing Findings, from Barna Research Studies,” December 12, 2000,

7. Barna Research Online, “The Year’s Most Intriguing Findings, from Barna Research Studies,’ December 12, 2000, “Born-again adults are more likely to experience a divorce than are non-born again adults (27% vs. 24%).”

Friday, March 6, 2009

Long and Short Romance Reviews Agree: She's Got Character

Just came in: a new review of, Before the Season Ends by Long and Short Romance Reviews.
They affirmed that Ariana Forsythe, the feisty heroine of BTSE, has character, alright. "Throughout, the strength and personal devotion of our heroine, as well as the peculiarities of the many characters will surprise and delight readers."
Strength and personal devotion--I like those qualities in a heroine, don't you?
Read on for more snippets of the full review, and you can even vote for my book (or others) by following the link at the end. Voting starts on Saturday 5/7 and only lasts until Sunday 5/8, so vote soon!
(PS: There's also information about a book giveaway and other contests there, so take a peek even if you don't want to vote for any book!)

Before the Season Ends by Linore Rose Burkard
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Genre: Historical; Inspirational
Length: Full (348 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

...Jane Austen fans and readers of historical romance will love Before the Season Ends.

Those who do indeed love to read will saunter through Before the Season Ends by Linore Rose Burkhard and savor all the delights...

Ariana is dropped in the deep end of society quite abruptly, and she is from a provincial if genteel background. She is charming whatever her circumstances and of a stronger will than it first appears. Busy city life and high fashion do not turn her head. A myriad of diverse and interesting perspectives prove valuable to her. She is clever enough to detect subtle differences among the many classes – far from merely the lower and upper crust, London of the time clearly set apart ‘the beau monde,’ ‘the ton,’ – to say nothing of royalty. Distinctions were important, to some. The Aunt Bentley’s of this world are understandable, even if the object of humor, although Burkhard cleverly makes it easy to sympathize with her, too. Indeed, she toys with our emotions throughout.

Suddenly Ariana is in the ‘marriage mart’ but hardly taking it seriously. Instead, she turns up unsuitable friends, climbs trees, and barrels into all the wrong people. She manages to annoy some of the ‘right' people –and among those, there is no want for high-handed old busybodies in society, disagreeable countesses and soft-hearted admirers... There seem to be consequences to her most innocent actions: and even her parents will weigh in again before the end. Readers will revel in the unexpected, so I dare say no more.

Throughout, the strength and personal devotion of our heroine, as well as the peculiarities of the many characters will surprise and delight readers.

Unexpected action – and more unexpected consequences – keep things hopping throughout the 1813 London Season! The consequence of setting off on the first page of Before the Season Ends is to be held enthralled, tickled, and intrigued right to the end. 5 books, and this reader shall certainly remember and look for author Linore Rose Burkhard’s books again.

Thank you, Long and Short Reviews!

Want to vote for the book? (Voting starts tomorrow) Want to vote for a different book? (horrors!) Go here: LASR Weekend Vote

Thanks for your vote!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

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!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

The Fight of Your Life: Why Your Teen Is at Risk and What Only You Can Do About It

Multnomah Books (February 17, 2009)


Jeffrey Dean is the author of Watch This, This Is Me, and the One-Liner Wisdombooks for Multnomah. The founder of Jeffrey Dean Ministries, he speaks to more than 150,000 teens each year about teen issues and culture. He lives in Nashville with his wife and family.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 224 pages

Publisher: Multnomah Books (February 17, 2009)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1601421109

ISBN-13: 978-1601421104



Grappling with the Enemy

Every teen is in a battle. Parent, did you know that? I’ll say it again: every teen is in a battle. Including your teen.

If this “battle” talk sounds like a bit of a stretch to you, let me tell you about Rhys. A few summers ago I spoke at a camp. After an evening session, one of the guy counselors, Rhys, asked if we could talk. A clean-cut nineteen-year-old, Rhys was heading into his sophomore year at a well known Christian college. His eyes reflected sadness that I couldn’t fathom.

He told me he had a lot of nightmares and a lot of guilt.

During his senior year of high school, Rhys and his girlfriend, Emily, were fairly typical Christian kids. They were both active in youth group, had pledged to abstain from sex until marriage, and were known in their circles of friends as “good kids.”

But on the night of their senior prom, everything went crazy. Rhys admitted, “One thing led to another, and we pretty much did it all that night. Fooling around, drinking, drugs…you name it.” Tragically, Emily overdosed on the drugs, went into a coma, and never came out of it. A week later, she died.

This is an extreme story, yes, but it happened. As I speak to highschool-age students around the country, I hear stories you wouldn’t believe. Welcome to the world of today’s teens. It’s a fight, and every teen today is engaged in it.

This fight is about a tsunami of information, communication, anything-goes ethics, and the inevitable moral experimentation that results. It’s a world of light-speed Internet, texting, unlimited access to online porn, oral-sex parties, MySpace, cutting, Wicca, drinking, drugs, and more.

The world of today’s teens moves at a pace you and I would never have dreamed of when we were teens. It’s a world where hooking up has nothing to do with a fishing lure, spam isn’t something you eat, and pharming doesn’t require a tractor. Almost weekly, teens write to me about addictions to types of drugs that weren’t around twenty years ago. At seminars across the country, I meet students who have contracted sexually transmitted diseases.

By the time they graduate from high school, most seniors tell me, they have consumed alcohol and been offered drugs. Most teens I meet say that marijuana is easily accessible. It doesn’t matter whether they attend public schools or Christian schools; students know where drugs are used, kept, and sold. Many tell me they know a friend or classmate who has abused prescription drugs.

Here’s the fact that keeps me awake at night: Rhys and Emily could have been anyone’s teens. They are from a generation of teens bombarded by lies, hungry for help, and desperate for truth. Not every teen will face exactly what Rhys and Emily faced, but war is the daily reality for every teen.

That is why I say that as a parent, you are facing the fight of your life.

Why This Book Is for Every Parent

Maybe you’re thinking this book isn’t for you. Your teen appears to be doing well. And it’s true: there are many Bible-believing, church-attending teens who desire to live lives surrendered to Christ. Your teen may be one of them.

Or maybe you’re at the other end of the spectrum. The choices your teen has made so far have pushed your family to the breaking point. You’re feeling hopeless, ready to throw in the towel.

Wherever your teen is at in his or her journey, this book is for you. No matter what the situation looks like on the surface, every teen faces struggles, temptations, issues, fears, and challenges. Every teen has to navigate the confusing waters of today’s culture. Every teen is only one choice away from hurt, addiction, heartbreak, and more.

The scary thing with teenagers is that often we don’t know exactly what they’re thinking or feeling, even when they live under our own roofs! For the past fifteen years, I’ve been touring the country, speaking—and more important, listening—to teens. Some three hundred fifty thousand teens a year check out my Web site, and more than fifty thousand read and respond to my blog. Teens tell me things they often don’t share with their parents. That’s why I wanted to write this book—not to break their confidences, but to give you the inside scoop on what I’m hearing so you can help your teen in the battle.

In the struggles teens face, they have a common enemy: the devil. And he hates these kids. More specifically, he’s your teen’s number one enemy. His task is to steal, kill, and destroy (see John 10:10), and he wants to lure your teen away from the truth and lead your teen toward destruction. Sure, movement toward destruction is more evident in some teens than in others. But no teen is immune to spiritual warfare. So, as a parent, your call is to grab your weapons, jump into the battlefield on your teen’s side, and be ready to give it all you’ve got.

Playing Offense

The idea of fighting for your teen might almost scare you off. Hey, you’re just trying to pay the electric bill, pick up the kids from soccer practice on time, and serve something for dinner that didn’t come from a drive-through.

But I won’t sugarcoat what’s happening in your teen’s world. As a parent, you are engaged in one of the greatest fights of your life. It’s already on, whether you want it or not. Every day a war is being waged for the soul of your teen. The question isn’t, are you at war? The question is, are you equipped to do battle?

Here’s what the Bible says about it: “Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6:11–12, emphasis added).

“Fight the good fight”—that’s the battle you are in. You are called to faithfully fight for what’s right. Just as Satan is fighting to steal, kill, and destroy your teen, so you must be a fighter, helping your teen to win! Recently a mother talked to me about her teenage son. “Jeffrey,” she said, “my son has never smoked pot, checked out porn, or been sexually active. His grades are good, and his friends are well behaved. He loves going to youth group at church and believes God is calling him into pastoral ministry. I am so glad that God has given us our son.”

I congratulated her on the successes of her son and on her parenting skills, then asked, “What are you doing each day to ensure that your son continues down this good road?”

“What do you mean?” she said, looking perplexed.

“What steps have you put into place to safeguard your son from the Enemy?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “Everything’s going so well—I haven’t

thought about it much.”

Together we discussed a plan for her to pray daily for her son, to keep speaking truths into his life, and to keep the lines of communication open with him about his personal life. Most important, we talked about ways she could continue to help him grow in a daily and intimate

walk with God.

That’s what the fight looks like in action. It’s easy to believe that good parenting means checking off a list of positive accomplishments for a son or daughter:

√ My teen is a Christian.

√ My teen regularly attends youth group.

√ My teen dates a Christian (or doesn’t date at all).

√ My teen doesn’t watch MTV.

√ My teen ___________________ (has this form of observable good behavior).

You may be able to place a check beside any one or all of these statements. But helping your teen through these intense years isn’t simply about completing a checklist. You need to be looking ahead, adapting and strategizing as the flow of the battle changes, and working to both guide and guard your teen through obstacles to victory. It means approaching parenting on the offense as you work toward a goal, rather than sitting back and waiting for the other side to come at you.

Undoubtedly you’ve heard messages about how to deal with personal struggles, how to climb back up after failing, how to overcome addictions, and the like. But what if, rather than living life on cruise control, you lived life on enemy patrol—watching, being prepared, planning, developing a game plan for life, and putting into practice the principles that shape character and truth?

This is the idea behind the warning God gives in 1 Peter 5:8: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

God has not created you to simply survive. He has created you to thrive, to experience the abundant life. When it comes to your teen, 1 Peter 5:8 warns that parents must be found with weapon in hand, ready to fight on behalf of their teens.

A mom recently said to me, “I realized years ago that I can’t sit around assuming that my kids are going to naturally come talk to me about all the stuff in their lives. I have to go to them. I have to initiate conversations. I have to look for moments of opportunity to get them talking. Because if I don’t, I’ll probably never know what they’re up against out there.”

That’s it! This mother is in the war room every day, plotting against the Enemy of her teen. She’s studying the Enemy’s tactics so she can guide and guard her teen as he moves toward a deeper and more intimate walk with God.

The Confidence to Go for It

The idea of fighting can seem daunting. But my goal in this book isn’t to scare you. It’s to help you see that the fight is real, that you’re in it whether you like it or not, and that you can win the war.

This is your moment. When God created you, He created you to be the parent your teen needs you to be. God would never have given you the privilege of being a parent if He didn’t have an awesome plan for you in the process. God has called you to be a fighter—and He has given you everything you need to fight and to win for your teen.

This book will help you go the distance. In the pages ahead, we’ll discuss strategies for going on the offense. We’ll talk about what it means to study your teen’s culture so you can live with your eyes wide open—ready, armed, and alert. We’ll talk about how one of your greatest strategies, prayer, is actually one of the simplest and how the prayer of a righteous parent is an incredibly powerful and effective tool in this fight (see James 5:16). We’ll talk about specific issues your teen is facing (issues that definitely were not around when you were a teen), and we’ll look at how these issues don’t need to surprise you or catch you off guard. We’ll look at specific, detailed battle plans that include the tools and resources you need. We’ll talk about how your role isn’t to prop up your teen or ultimately save him or her, but to teach discernment and provide a solid foundation from which your teen can do battle. We’ll show you how to provide your teen with armor for fighting and wings for flying. And we’ll talk about the incredible privilege you have been given to encourage your teen to live wholeheartedly for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the fighter who is greater than anything this world can throw your teen’s way.

Your Fighting Positions

Right from the get-go, let’s take a look at five main fighting positions necessary for being armed and active in this fight. Keep these fighting positions in mind as you move forward to the following chapters.

The Sweeping Aside Motion

This means, the past is in the past. Helping your teen win the war isn’t about questioning what you could have done yesterday. It is about establishing a battle plan for what you are going to do today, tomorrow, and beyond. It’s never too late to reach out to your teen, to learn to communicate again, to listen, to speak words of wisdom into your teen’s life. Start today.

The Gritting Your Teeth Gesture

This means, whatever it takes is whatever it takes. There will be times when you will be challenged to move out of your comfort zone. Your goal must be to arm yourself for battle and be ready to do whatever is necessary to guide and guard your teen through these entangling years. Be fearless.

The Ultimate Power Stance

This means, pray for your teen every day. The Ultimate Power Stance is kneeling. If you are not praying for your teen every day, start now. If you are, keep it up. Prayer is the key to it all. I can’t reiterate this enough. Praying for your teen is the single most powerful tool you have in this fight.

The Open Book Motion

This means, you are now a student of teen culture. The world moves at an incredibly fast pace today. To keep up with what’s up in your teen’s world takes time, energy, effort, and motivation. What’s current today might not have been current yesterday. From here on out, make it one of your primary ambitions to study and learn about the world your teen lives in.

The Deep Breath Posture

This means, the battle is a fight of endurance. You develop a realistic strategy for success by taking it one step at a time. Remember, winning the fight is not about doing everything today. It’s about being faithful over the long haul.

Power for Your Toughest Job

Parenting is likely the toughest job you will ever have. Don’t assume that your teen is exempt from any issue discussed in the coming pages. At some point, on some level, every teen will encounter every issue described in this book. As a parent, you need to be equipped. It is my hope that this book will be a powerful resource you use to arm yourself and your teen to win the battle being waged for his or her soul. Remember the Ultimate Power Stance? Let’s take a moment to pray right now for your teen, for what we’ll talk about ahead in this book, and for how life may change.

Praying Scripture for Your Teen

Lord, You say in Your Word that if we seek You we’ll be able to

find You. Troubles may come and awful things may happen,

but You listen and You care. You’re a compassionate God. You

will not abandon my family. Please guide me in this fight for

my teen. You are God. You are good. Give me Your strength,

Your wisdom, and Your perspective. I put my trust in You.



Monday, February 23, 2009


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:

Age before Beauty, book 2 in the Sister-to-Sister Series

Revell (February 1, 2009)


Virginia Smith is the author of eight novels, including Age before Beauty, Stuck in the Middle, and A Taste of Murder. In 2008 she was named Writer of the Year at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A popular retreat speaker, Ginny keeps audiences enthralled with her high-energy presentations. She and her husband, Ted, divide their time between Kentucky and Utah, and escape as often as they can for diving trips to the Caribbean.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: Revell (February 1, 2009)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0800732332

ISBN-13: 978-0800732332


The mirror had to be warped. That was the only explanation for the image staring back at Allie from its treacherous surface. Her thighs couldn’t be that wide, her belly that flabby. Could glass warp? Of course not. But the weather so far this fall had been wetter than normal, following a horribly humid Kentucky summer. All that dampness wreaked havoc on the wooden front door at Gram’s house. And this mirror had a wood frame. That had to be it.

But the warping seemed only to be in the middle, like one of those fun-house mirrors. She squinted down at her pink toenails. Her feet looked normal. Her face looked okay. Pretty good, even. This was the first time she’d put on makeup in weeks, and a little color worked wonders. She could use a haircut, though the dark blonde layers falling in waves to rest on her shoulders managed to hold the extra length well.

She blew her bangs out of her eyes. Actually, the long hair made her face look fuller, and that offset some of the width of her hips. Which needed the help, especially now that she got a good look at them wearing only a nursing bra and panties. If she cut some of the volume out of her hair, she’d look like one of those toys she and Joan and Tori played with as kids. What were they called? Weebles. She’d look like Mother Weeble.

She swayed from side to side, eyeing her oversized bottom half as she sang the toy’s jingle. “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down.”

“Did you say something?”

Allie whirled to find Eric standing in the bedroom doorway, a grin twitching at his mouth. She felt a blush creep up her neck. Though he was the world’s most awesome husband and devoted new daddy, she still felt awkward parading her postmaternity body around in front of him. A flabby belly covered in stretch marks was soooo sexy.

“How long have you been standing there?”

His voice dropped an octave as his smile deepened. “Long enough to admire my beautiful wife.”

No mistaking that husky tone. She snatched her jeans off the bed. “Don’t get frisky, lover boy. My sister will be here any minute.”

Eric’s lips twisted. “Story of my life lately.”

Allie crossed the room and placed a tender kiss on his cheek. “I’m sorry my family is here so often. They just don’t want to miss a day with the baby. She’s growing so fast.”

“I know, I know.” He grinned. “But tonight I get Joanie all to myself. Our first father-daughter date.”

Allie sat on the edge of the bed and slipped her feet into the jeans, avoiding Eric’s eyes. He had been looking forward to this evening for a full week, ever since Joan invited her to go to a stupid party where some fanatical woman would try to force her to buy something she didn’t want and for which she had no use. If only Joan hadn’t asked in front of Eric, she would have turned the invitation down without a second thought. But he had insisted it was time she took her first outing without the baby.

Pulling the waistband up around her knees, she gave Eric a worried look. “Are you sure you’ll be okay? She’s only taken a bottle a few times, you know. She might cry.”

“I’ll deal with it.”


He held up a finger. “No buts. She’s five weeks old. In three weeks she’ll be taking a bottle at the daycare center when you go back to work. She needs to get used to it.”

Tears stung Allie’s eyes, and she looked away so Eric wouldn’t see. “I guess you’re right.”

“Of course I am. Now finish getting dressed while I go wind the baby swing again.”

He left, and Allie sat staring at the handwoven rug in front of their bed. Three weeks. Then she’d have to leave her precious little Joanie in the hands of a total stranger.

If only . . .

She jerked the shirt over her head. No. One of the things she and Eric had talked about before they got married was how they’d handle life after they started having children. She’d insisted on laying it all out, because Eric’s mother had been a stay-at-home mom, and Allie wanted to make absolutely sure he didn’t have the same expectations. Her toenail caught the edge of her sock as she tugged it up, and she hissed with pain. No way would she become one of those women relegated to a dull life of child rearing. She was a career woman—the second sock followed the first—with a college degree and plans for her professional future. She liked her job, liked the independence it gave her. Besides, they agreed on having two incomes so they could afford things like nice clothes and good cars and vacations at the beach.

But that was before she’d had a baby.

If only there was some way she could pursue her career and keep her daughter at home. She had quietly investigated every work-from-home scheme she could find lately, but all of them sounded more like scams than jobs.

Banishing the tears, she stood. No sense crying about it. She had no option. In three weeks she’d return to her job as a team leader at the social services office. She might even be able to recapture some of the excitement and ambition she’d felt before she got pregnant. At the moment, though, it sounded like a life sentence with no chance of parole.

She pulled her jeans up over her knees. This was the first pair of zippered pants she’d tried to wear since Joanie’s birth, having lived in sweats and oversized T-shirts once she put away the maternity clothes. Wiggling her hips back and forth, she inched them upward. Come on, come on, they had to fit. They were her biggest jeans, stretchy and so loose that she’d worn them all the way up to her fifth month of pregnancy. Just a little farther . . .

Ugh. She panted from the effort. But at least she’d managed to get them pulled all the way up.

Now the zipper. Suck that gut in. Pull hard. Harder. She hopped up and down, tugging at the waistband. Okay, if the zipper wouldn’t go all the way to the top, it didn’t matter. She’d just wear her shirttail out. Everybody did these days. As long as she could get the button fastened.

There! They fit! She was wearing pre-baby Levis! Well, sort of.

She stepped up to the mirror and bit back a gasp.

The stupid thing had to be warped.


“Hey, look at you all dressed up.” Joan stood on the doorstep, car keys clutched in one hand. “You look great.”

Allie scowled and tried not to think of the jeans she could almost wear shoved in the back of her bottom drawer. “These are maternity pants. Nothing else fits.”

“Oh.” Joan’s smile drooped a fraction, then brightened again. “But that’s not a maternity shirt. And turquoise is totally your color.”

Her eyes shifted to a point inside the room, then she practically bowled Allie over as she rushed toward the swing to snatch up the baby. Sighing, Allie closed the door. So much for Joanie’s nap.

Allie tried to ignore a wave of insecurity as she admired her sister’s slim frame, the way her jeans fit without a single bulge. Straight dark hair fell forward to tickle the baby’s face as Joan cooed at her slumbering namesake while she unfastened the safety strap. Soft baby noises answered as little Joanie’s eyelids fluttered open. Allie clasped her hands together to keep from taking the infant from her middle sister’s arms. She was so sweet when she first woke. Tiny fists rose above her head and she kicked her legs out to their full length and arched her back to stretch.

“Look at her! I swear she’s grown an inch since the last time I saw her.”

Allie answered dryly. “I doubt that, since you came over yesterday.” She held her hands out. “Here, let me change her.”

Joan clutched the baby closer. “I’ll do it.”

With a sigh, Allie followed her sister into the nursery. Bright pink daisies on fields of green bordered the white walls and also decorated lacy curtains and crib bedding. Joan laid Joanie on a daisy-covered pad atop the changing table. While she unsnapped the pink onesie, Allie took a diaper from the stacker and popped open the plastic cap on the wipes. The sweet smell of baby powder was quickly replaced with a less pleasant odor when Joan peeled the tape off the dirty diaper.

Eric stuck his head through the doorway as Allie pulled out a wipe and handed it to Joan. “Whew, I’m glad you girls got that out of the way before you left. Of course, the way this little piggie eats, I probably have at least one unpleasant surprise in store tonight.”

“Don’t worry.” Allie dropped the soiled bundle into the Diaper Genie and twisted the knob. “We won’t be gone very long. I’m sure we’ll be back for the next dirty diaper.”

“I’m kidding, Allie. You know I don’t mind taking care of my girl.” He leaned over and buried a kiss in Joanie’s chubby neck, eliciting a gurgle and an excited waving of arms and legs.

Joan snapped the onesie back in place over the fresh diaper and picked up the squirming infant. Allie stepped forward to take her, but instead Joan thrust her into Eric’s arms.

“It’s time to go. I don’t want to be late.” With a meaningful glance in Allie’s direction, she marched out of the room, Eric right behind her with Joanie hugged tightly to his chest.

Left alone in the nursery, Allie fought a wave of panic that caused her throat to tighten with unshed tears. Cheerful daisies mocked her. She knew this feeling, had sensed the edges of it creeping toward her all day. The moment had come. After five weeks of constantly being in Joanie’s presence, she was about to leave her in someone else’s care.

Don’t be ridiculous. She scrubbed at her eyes with the back of her hand. Joanie wasn’t staying with a stranger. She was staying with her daddy! He’d watched her many times while Allie enjoyed a long bath or a nap.

But what if she cries? What if she misses me?

She started toward the living room, and then stopped short as an even more distressing thought struck her. What if she doesn’t even notice I’m gone?

“Allie, are you coming?”

Joan’s voice propelled her feet into motion. She would not think about that.

“I’m ready.”

One step took her from the hallway into their tiny living room, where Eric had deposited Joanie on the mat beneath her baby gym. Allie fought to suppress a wave of regret when chubby infant hands waved with erratic enthusiasm at the dangling toys, and happy coos filled the room. It had only been in the past few days that she’d started noticing the toys. She was growing so fast, changing every day. What if she did something really cool for the first time tonight, while Allie wasn’t here to see it? She dropped to her knees and showered Joanie’s face with goodbye kisses.

“There are a couple of bottles all ready to go in the fridge,” she told Eric. “Run hot water over them to warm them. Don’t use the microwave.”

Eric stood and pulled her up with him. “I won’t.” He planted a kiss on her cheek.

“She ate two hours ago, so she’ll probably be hungry around eight. If she gets fussy before—”

Joan grabbed her arm and steered her forcefully toward the front door. “Come along, Mother. It’s time to go.”

Thoughts of all the terrible things that could happen pummeled her mind like giant hailstones. She pulled away and whirled toward Eric. “Don’t give her a bath until I get home. You know how slippery she is when she’s soapy.”

He put his hands on her shoulders and turned her to face the door. “Stop worrying. We’ll be fine. Now go have a good time.” A gentle shove pushed her forward.

From the porch, Joan seized her and jerked her through the doorway. Allie shook her off and spun around to remind Eric to put the baby’s sweater on because the house would cool when the sun went down, but the front door slammed shut in her face. Tears welled in her eyes.

“You’re pathetic.” Joan folded her arms across her chest and leveled an unsympathetic look on her.

Allie sniffled. “It’s the first time we’ve been apart in five weeks.”

“Then it’s about time you gave the poor kid some breathing room.” She shook her head. “You’re becoming one of those hovering mothers. I can totally see you stalking her on the kindergarten playground during recess.”

Actually, Allie didn’t see a problem with dropping by to check on your kids during the day, but in the face of Joan’s sardonic expression, she didn’t dare mention it. Instead she lifted a chin. “I will not be a hovering mother.”

A snort blasted from her sister’s nose. “I know my big sister. You’ll hover like a helicopter.”

Her head held high, Allie marched past Joan toward the driveway. “I thought you didn’t want to be late.”

She rubbed her hands on her arms. It was a chilly fifty degrees, and the orange October sun was rapidly dropping toward the horizon. They’d shoved her out the door without a jacket, but she didn’t dare go back inside now or she’d never hear the end of it. Serve them both right if she caught pneumonia and died.

For more information about Age before Beauty, visit

Used by permission of Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, copyright ©2009. All rights to this material are reserved. Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Baker Publishing Group.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Milk Money by Cecelia Dowdy

Milk Money by Cecelia Dowdy
ISBN: 978-1-60260-255-7
Heartsong Presents Title #826
Publication Date: January 2009

Hi, Cecelia! Thanks for stopping by my blog to talk about your latest book from Heartsong Presents, Milk Money. Before we get into the story, please tell us what makes your heroine, Emily Cooper, a feisty female character worthy of being here on the "She's Got Character" blog!

Emily is strong-willed, intelligent, and fights for what she believes in. She wants to keep her family farm and she'll do whatever it takes to keep it, because it's her family's livelihood. Most of all, she has a strong faith in God. She prayerfully takes all of her burdens to the Lord!

Okay, she sounds interesting! So what's Milk Money all about?

Here’s a brief summary of the novel:
Running a dairy farm is a big job, but doing it alone is almost impossible.
When her dad dies, Emily must work hard to save the family farm, but she manages. Until the day the CPA pulls in her drive and announces he’s there to do an audit on the place.
Franklin Reese is appalled at the lack of interest Emily has in the financial end of her livelihood, but he dives in, determined to assess the farm and do his job. But Emily Cooper begins to draw his attention more than he likes. And the further he looks into Mr. Cooper’s dealings, the more uncomfortable he becomes.
Can he uncover the truth of the situation and still earn the love of the amazing Emily Cooper? Will his addiction to alcohol keep them apart, even after the farm is taken care of? Only God can heal hurting hearts and repair broken lives.

Your hero, Franklin, is an unsaved alcoholic and the heroine, Emily, is Christian. What particular challenges did this relationship present?

His being an alcoholic, and not being saved, created a very strong challenge with their relationship. Emily is a Christian and she knows how the Lord feels about being unequally yoked with a non-believer. Frank drinks alcohol to dull the emotional pain he’s suffered since his wife was killed. In spite of this, their attraction continues to grow, yet Emily knows they can’t be together romantically. It creates an interesting conflict in the novel.

Emily is running the family dairy farm alone since her father died. What kind of research did you need to do about dairy farming for this story?

In my novel’s dedication, I mention The Higgins family. I visited their small family dairy farm during their evening milking and it was an…interesting and smelly experience! While Mr. Higgins milked those large black and white Holsteins I asked him a plethora of questions about dairy farming. I also observed what he was doing, comparing his actions to what I’d researched on my own. I also milked a cow! I read some books about dairy farming and wanted to point out that if you know NOTHING about a subject, it’s best to start simple to get a basic understanding of the subject. Reading a lot of children’s books about dairy farming really helped me. I’ve used this method (reading children’s books) to research other occupations, too.

What do you hope people take away when they finish reading Milk Money?
I hope their faith in God is strengthened when they read my story.

What’s next for you in the writing arena?

I have another Heartsong Presents novel being released in June 2009 entitled Bittersweet Memories. Here’s a brief summary of my next release:
Karen Brown is angry at God, and at herself, for falling in love with Lionel Adams, her ex-fiancé. When her beloved suddenly disappears, along with thousands of dollars stolen from their mega-church, she re-locates back to her hometown in Annapolis Maryland to live with her mother, and to heal from her traumatic experience. However, she’s stunned to discover handsome plumber Keith Baxter living next door.
Keith is smitten with Karen, but wonders if she’s still in love with Lionel. He wants Karen to accept him into her life, but he doesn’t know if he’d be a good match for her due to his troubled past. Can Karen forgive Lionel, and let the Lord back into her heart? Can she let herself fall in love with Keith Baxter?

You are very well traveled. Of all the places you’ve visited, which is your favorite?

I love any tropical place with a nice beach with clear blue water! Places like Tahiti, parts of Mexico, and the Cayman Islands are my favorites.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Probably that I used to travel the world by myself! You have to be careful doing that though. When you go to those tropical islands and men see you traveling alone, they’ll try and make a pass at you!

What’s your favorite thing to read for pure enjoyment?
Just about any type of Christian fiction. AlthoughI tend to prefer Christian women’s fiction and Christian romance novels.

Last but not least, how can people keep up with your latest publishing news?
You can find out more news about me through my blog and website: and

Thanks again for being here, Cecelia, it was great to chat with you.

Readers: To get Milk Money at the low price of just $2.97 click HERE

Saturday, February 14, 2009

He's Got Character, Too!

Purity on the Line

Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law.
Proverbs 29:18 NASB

A dear friend, Pat Orton, who once worked closely with me at FamilyLife, wrote me a letter several years ago to tell me about a line her parents had drawn in the sand for her as a teenager.

The waistline.

Pat's mom and dad told her that whenever she was out with a young man, the only place he was allowed to touch her was on her back, from her shoulder to her waist. Anywhere else on her body was totally off-limits. And never--never ever--was he to put his hand on her knee. It was a way for her to know--immediately--that if a boy's hands ever strayed out of bounds, watch out! This was leading to trouble!

Funny what boundaries can do once they are clearly established. Crossing them is still quite possible, of course, but not without knowing you're breaking trust. And for Pat and her boyfriend-turned-fiancé, this simple, clearly defined expectation remained in force throughout their four-year courtship.

Back only. Shoulder to waistline. Nothing further . . . until their wedding day. As they pulled away from the church on their way to their honeymoon, he tenderly reached over and placed his hand on her knee. "I've been waiting four years to do that!" he said with a grin so big it made her smile, too.

Isn't that just delightful? What purity! What innocence! What a testimony to the joy we help our children preserve for themselves when we draw the right boundaries, enforce the right restrictions and keep an eye out for their obedience.

That's how to start a marriage. And Mom and Dad, that's what you're here to help happen.

What kind of boundaries are you challenging your children to keep with the opposite sex?

Pray that God will keep you cautious, even when the last thing in the world you want to do is lay down the law.

Buy Moments with You

Sunday, February 8, 2009

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 Husband Project

Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2009)


Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker, currently speaking more than 45 times each year to thousands of women. Lipp is also a contributing author to two bestselling books: Humor for a Woman’s Heart 2 and Lists to Live By: The Christian Collection. She also has had articles published in several magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman and Discipleship Journal. Kathi and her husband, Roger, are the parents of four teenagers and live in California.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99

Paperback: 208 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2009)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736925228

ISBN-13: 978-0736925228


Why the Husband Project?

“Kathi, a couple of us need to quit the project.”

I couldn’t believe what Angela was saying. Quit the Husband Project? We’d just started that weekend.

“Ang, are you kidding me? Why do you want to quit already?” There was no way things could be going downhill so quickly.

“I was talking to some of the other girls, and because we’re being so nice, our husbands are becoming suspicious. They think we’re all having affairs!”

Apparently, there’s a bigger need for the Husband Project than even I could have expected.

The Beginning of the Husband Project

At my busy church in San Jose, California, I serve in a variety of roles. Some of the roles I have played have been on the programming team with my husband, Roger, who is the director of the Worship Arts Ministry, leading Bible studies and small groups and taking meals to people who are sick or having babies. But my favorite role by far is mentoring women.

The girls I mentor are smart, funny, and committed to serving God. They really are amazing. However, like most wives I know, they have a tendency to “share” about their husbands.

“He’s never home. I feel like I’m single – but with an extra person to clean up after.”

“Why is it when he’s watching our kids it’s babysitting?”

“We used to be romantic, but now our idea of romance is reading take-out menus together.”

The “sharing” started to concern me. I wasn’t judging these girls; trust me. I found myself slipping every once in a while – saying something “endearing” about my husband while rolling my eyes.

A Change in Perspective

I know the importance of loving and honoring my husband, and like every other lesson in my life, I learned it the hard way. (Why can’t I ever learn things while eating chocolates and shopping…?)

I married in my early twenties’ with two babies came along shortly after the marriage vows. In retrospect, I can see that as soon as discovered the wonders of a Diaper Genie, my concentration shifted from my husband to the day-to-day care of my kids. With a full-time job thrown in, the goal of making my husband feel special dropped way down on my priority list.

After a very painful marriage and divorce, I am now remarried to an amazing guy. When new friends meet him they say, “Oh, so this is Prince Charming!” He’s a great father and step dad, and loves me and his God and indulges my passion for fat-free coconut yogurt on a regular basis. I really couldn’t ask for a better guy.

And, yet, like a great pair of comfortable flip flops, he’s sometimes easy to take him for granted. He’s always there - not demanding anything of me. He can fix his own frozen pizza when I am too busy to cook and can even wash his own socks in a pinch. When work deadlines loom and kids have dozens of activities, I sometimes let my relationship with Rog fall to sixth or seventh on my “Hey, pay attention to me!” list.

Have you noticed our culture has a one-way expectation that men should give women what they “need” (sending flowers to work, doing his share of the dirty work around the house, being a great dad, remembering and celebrating anniversaries) without asking for anything in return? But, as we know, this fantasy man isn’t real a husband, it’s a character in a dime store romance novel.

The kind of marriage I want is one in which we’re both doing all we can to honor and love each other, putting each other’s needs above our own.

Philippians 2:3-4 says it best: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

I want this for both of us. The reality is, however, I only have control over my own actions.

Enter the Husband Project

I tried different ideas with some of my friends at church – a variety of “husband encouragement programs.” Most seemed like a lot of work and not much fun. You see, I have the attention span of a third-grader who’s just spent six straight hours on X-Box. So I needed something short, doable and exciting. We, as stressed-out and over-worked wives and moms, don’t need to feel burdened by another line on our to-do lists.

So I started thinking and praying about what would truly make my husband feel loved (and maybe even lucky to be married to me.) I made up a list and began practicing on Roger. Some of the ideas (buying him a gift card to his favorite restaurant and surprising him with an impromptu date) were big hits. Others (like opening mystery clues for an all day adventure) were, let’s say, less than successful.

After several flops (hey, I thought the guys at his work would think that his lunch sack covered in hearts was adorable…) I finally got desperate. I asked him, “Okay, what would make you feel loved?” (And yes, I felt pretty pathetic to be asking.) After showing him the list, he gave me thumbs up or down on several of the items. I now had a much clearer plan in place. No, cookies in the shapes of bunnies were not necessary. Homemade raw cookie dough, however, was a big thumbs up. Yes, I asked the questions. I have gone where women fear to tread. I am in possession of the knowledge of what men (or at least my man) like.

This is how The Husband Project was born.

The premise is simple:

You, and two other friends (your accountability partners) commit to bless your husbands everyday for three weeks, in secret.

That’s it. Pretty simple, granted. But not always easy.

No Cookie-Cutter Marriages

While working on the Projects, I talked with friends of all ages, in very different marital situations.

Some of my friends were in the oh-so-romantic stage of marriage. You’re just done in by how beautifully he shaves. As you pick up his clothes from the bedroom floor, you just can’t help but giggle at how adorable it is that he never puts anything away.

On the other side of the spectrum, I have girlfriends who cannot stand to be in the same room with their husbands while they’re breathing. The “inhale, exhale” is enough to make them want to take up residence at a nice studio apartment in town.

And then, there are the other 94% of us.

We’re the ones who love our husbands but have fallen into a comfortable routine. (Comfortable often meaning, you don’t bug me and I won’t bug you.) We’re partners in parenting and contributors to financial matters. We’ve negotiated the household chores (I’ll do the dishes if you keep the car from making funny noises,) and keep each other on schedule for the dentist and the occasional oil change.

We like our husbands, for the most part. And they like us, for the most part. While this is okay, it’s definitely not what we were anticipating as we planned our weddings and dreamed about our happily-ever-after lives.

I have to admit, I’m writing this book for me and my friends – the 94% who want better relationships with our men and are willing to be creative, thoughtful, and possibly daring enough to break out some lingerie to get it.

“But He Doesn’t Even Notice”

Some women who have tried the Projects for a few days wondered if it’s even worth it. After doing several of the Projects, they complained that their husbands have barely noticed.

So, if you’re wearing your cute jeans to meet your husband in the evenings, leaving bags of gummi bears for him in his car, and wearing shorter and shorter lingerie to bed each night without comment from your man, don’t be discouraged.

Working The Husband Project is a lot like working on your prayer life. For example, I recently committed to setting aside a chunk of time daily to pray. As I devote more time to prayer and meditation, I’m realizing that my requests are less about asking God to make things go my way, and more about asking God to change my heart to follow Him and His plans for me.

This project is as much about changing our attitudes as it is about blessing our husbands. It’s great to get positive reinforcement, and when you do, write it down so you can remember it and tailor the way that you show your love in the future.

But even when your husband says nothing, you have the knowledge that you have actively shown him love and support. That’s the true gift of The Husband Project.

If you still need some affirmation (and who doesn’t?) look for it in other healthy places. In my case I have a friend, Lynn, who sends me a small gift whenever I complete a goal for writing. Even if I don’t sell an article, I still have the hope of some great Snoopy stickers in the mail.

Ask your accountability partners to celebrate your successes with you. Perhaps, if each of you does your daily project for seven days, you give each other a $5 Starbucks card, or if you do all 21 days, you all spend an afternoon together at the spa. Be creative, as it says in Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” A grande latte could be an excellent way to start.