Welcome to my little bit of cyber-space. It is my prayer that all who enter here may be richly blessed by the God of all grace. All praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Guestblog by Jennifer Johnson and her new book, A Wedding Song in Lexington, KY

A bit about me:
I've been married to my husband, Albert, for 21 years. Still over-the-top in love with him. Sure, he gets on my nerves. Of course there are days I'm glad to see him go to work, but still, he's my man, and I'm always happy when he comes home. We have three daughters. Brooke, a 20-year-old senior at Western Kentucky University. She's studying to be an elementary teacher. Engaged to a man planning to go into the ministry. Our second daughter, Hayley, is 18 years old. She just graduated high school and will be attending UK in the fall. Allie is 14 years old. She starts high school this year and is an awesome soccer player. I teach 6th grade writing at our local middle school. By the end of this year, I'll have fifteen books in print. Crazy, huh! You can check out my website at http://www.jenniferjohnsonbooks.com/.

A bit about A Wedding Song in Lexington, Kentucky:

First, it was a lot of fun to write! The book has three great main characters. Each is dealing with God and hurts on his/her own level.

Megan was hurt in the past- by a boyfriend and by her parents. As a result, she struggles with trusting people. And she has no intention of dating.

Colt is a terrific Christian- brought up in the church, raising his niece, keeping the farm in great order- and he’s proud of it. He’s always said the right things, made the right choices. As a result, he struggles with showing grace.

Justin is a walking temptation. He’s rich. He’s gorgeous. He’s what every girl wants, and he’s willing to give…until he meets Jesus and gives his life to God.

Another fun thing about the book…it’s a little silly that I love this part, but I can’t help it, I do…anyway, at the beginning of each chapter is a quote that alludes to what is going to happen. I had such a good time picking out these quotes. Some of them still make me giggle. I’ll share one that never fails to make me laugh. It’s from Steven Curtis Chapman, “There’s nothing like a good cheating song that makes me want to run home to be with my wife.”

I’m hoping that after this blog post you’ll want to run out and buy A Wedding Song in Lexington, Kentucky. I know you’ll enjoy it! Here are a couple pictures taken at my booksigning at Joseph-Beth in Lexington, KY! The one above is me signing a book for a friend and fellow writer. The one below is of me and my lovely daughters!

Friday, June 15, 2012

I've been tagged by April Gardner!

My directions were to:

1. Go to page 77 of my manuscript.

2. Go to line 7.

3. Copy the next 7 lines/paragraphs.

4. Tag 7 other writers to do the same.

So, here are the 7 paragraphs of my story from the 77th page of my novella Nick's Christmas Carol in the anthology Christmas Belles of Georgia, Barbour Publishing, Sept. 2011. And below that are the 7 authors I am tagging so check out their sites soon to see a selection from their novels. Enjoy!

...Her eyes were aglow with the excitement of helping others, making him love her more than ever.

He looked deep into those eyes he loved so much. This wasn't the time or place, but he couldn't hide his feelings any longer. "Carol, I didn't plan to do this here, but I can't wait another minute to tell you. I love you. I have for a long time, and I hope you love me, too"

Her gloved hands cupped his cheeks. "Oh, Nick, I love you, too. I mean really love you, not just the attraction we shared as teenagers." She winked. "Although that is part of it, too."

He laughed. "That's good to hear." He leaned forward and kissed her lips, or at least as much of them as he could through two ski masks. "Let's go somewhere we can take off these masks."

"We'd better hurry. It's almost daylight." She stood. "Race you."

They ran to his truck, each touching the hood at the same time."

Carol raced to open her own door. "We've got to make a quick getaway. The neighbors are starting to leave for work."

"Where do you want to go for breakfast, my partner-in-Christmas-crime?"

And my seven friends whom I am tagging are:
Connie Stevens
Kim Sawyer
Cecelia Dowdy
Lisa Lickel
Carole Brown
Lorilyn Roberts
Elaine Marie Cooper

Friday, June 08, 2012

Nicole O"Dell guestblogs on "Hot Buttons"

I am so happy to have Nicole O'Dell visit again with information for teens and parents on how to handle "hot button" topics! Read on for lots of good info. And Nicole has offered to do a giveaway of one of the two books listed below, so leave a comment with your contact info, and we will draw a winner next Friday. And don't forget to check out her other sites listed below, too.

Pressing the "Hot Buttons" By Nicole O'Dell

What are Hot Buttons?

Well, in the broader sense, the phrase Hot Buttons means a lot of different things, anything really, that can get a rise out people. Something that charges them up and receives an intense reaction. For the purposes of Choose NOW Ministries, I've defined hot buttons as those tough issues that teenagers face--the things parents are often more afraid of and most hesitant to talk about.
Some examples include:
  • Drugs

  • Alcohol

  • Sex

  • Friendships

  • Racism

  • Internet Activity

  • Faith Matters

  • Divorce

  • Dating

  • Bullying

  • Occult

  • and more
Why press the Hot Buttons?

Why not just leave it alone and let the kids figure it out? We can pray for them and trust it all to work out in the end. In some ways it does work itself out, true. Circumstances happen, pressure hits, relationships change. . .and your teens gets to figure it all out. In the heat of the moment. On their own. Hopefully they'll make the right choice, but it's really hard to know what will happen when the prep work isn't done.

Take an issue like dating--we talk about the boundaries. We set rules for curfew and other things. We even make sure we apprrove of the date and talk about saying no to sexual advances. Right?

And that's great. It really is. But there's something missing. Our teens need to know what to do and what not to do, and what we expect of them, but they also need to understand why that's going to be difficult for them. How does the body respond in ways that make it tough to say no? What will the feelings be like that make it difficult to leave the room or douse the proverbial flames?

You see, if we don't hit those truths head on before they become an issue, our teens will think it's a secret, it's specific to them, and we really don't know what we're asking them to say no to. But, if we press those hot buttons in advance, if we have the difficult conversations, then our teens will enter those pressure-filled situations armed with understanding and equipped with the words to say to stay true to their commitments.

With every hot button issue, someone is feeding your tweens and teens information--do you really want that someone to be anyone other than you?

How do I press the Hot Buttons?

Now that you've made the decision to be proactive about helping your tweens and teens battle peer pressure, I love to share the principles behind the Hot Buttons book series and the method of communicating with your teens it prescribes.

Hot Buttons, Internet, Nicole O
Each book is topical based on a single Hot Button issues and it's surrounding sub-topics. For example, the Hot Buttons Internet Edition deals with social networking, pornography, predators, cyber bullying, and more. The goal isn't to convince parents to keep their kids off the net, but rather to arm them with the tools they need to navigate it in a safe and healthy way.

Same with the Dating Edition. It covers early relationships, physical boundaries, date rape, and more. Instead of just handing down rules, parents need to walk their teens through the details and equip them with the understanding of what's out and how to rise above the peer pressure.

How does Hot Buttons work?
Each book is designed the same way. The first few chapters discuss the hows and why's of tackling hot buttons early and effectively. Part two dives into the topics with statistics and information that every parent should know. Next are the application portions of the book. This is when you put into practice the principles we discuss early on. Strategic Scenarios (up to 15 per book) allow you to walk your teens through a fictional situation and then offer options, choices, as to how they think they'd respond.

Here's an example of the way a Strategic Scenario works:

The Hot Buttons column gives you a fictional scenario you can use to put your teen in the heat of moment and help him/her figure out what to do when that real life situation happens. You should take this as an opportunity to see where your teenager may need some help or might face a struggle one day.

Now, tell your teen this story as though it’s really happening to him/her:
You’ve had a really hard week. Your best friend moved away, you didn’t make the team, you failed a test, and today you come home to find out your parents are going to be working late. Frozen pizza in the oven, you log on to your computer and visit your favorite chat room hangout. None of your friends are there, but a cute kid who claims he's from a rival school says hello.

What do you do?

Present the following choices to your teenager:
  1. He seems nice, and it’s a good way to pass the time until your food is done. You respond with a icon smile Hot Buttons: Keeping your Teen Safe on the Internet . After all, what could it hurt. He’s bored just like you. You won't give out any personal info.

  2. You say hi, but make up an excuse that you have to leave and then get out of the chat room. You’ll ask around about find out more about him tomorrow.

  3. You say nothing and leave the internet. No way you’re talking to a stranger online!

  4. Why not? People are too uptight about this sort of thing. He’s just a teenager, same as you. You say hello back and hope he continues the chat. Maybe he'll be your next boyfriend.
Now let your teen make a choice between the responses without feeling judged or directed. You want the response to be as honest as possible.

Here are some discussion points you can use to lead the conversation after the choice is made:
  • Internet safety with information and photos.

  • You never actually know who’s on the other end. It could be anyone.

  • Statistically it's a fifty-fifty chance a stranger on the internet is a predator.

  • There are more slaves globally than ever in history. Only now they are kidnapped and trafficked as sex slaves and MANY start as as conversations just as described above.

  • Discuss the family rules and set new ones if necessary.

  • Talk about different safeguards that are in place and ask for suggestions for new ones.

  • Make a better plan for times of boredom and insecurity.

  • Pray together for wisdom and safety.
The final chapters of each Hot Buttons book will lead you and your family through confession and forgiveness and then help you walk into the future with a clean slate, armed with the tools you all need to face those hot buttons.

If you're a parent of teens, or you know one, I hope you'll visit http://www.hotbuttonsite.com/ to read more Hot Buttons posts each week. Also, the first two Hot Buttons books: Dating and Internet, release on 6/1. Following soon after on 10/1 are the Sexuality and Drug editions.
Nicole O'Dell, Choose HER, Choose NOW ministriesNicole O'Dell, founder of Choose NOW Ministries and host of Choose NOW Radio: Parent Talk and Teen Talk, is a youth culture expert who writes and speaks to preteens, teenagers, and parents on preparing for life's tough choices. The mother of six, including toddler triplets, she’s author of YA fiction, including the popular Scenarios for Girls interactive fiction series and the Diamond Estates Series, and non-fiction for teens including Girl Talk, 2/1/12, based on the popular advice column she writes with her two daughters. Hot Buttons, O’Dell’s non-fiction series for parents pre-empts peer pressure by tackling tough issues. Visit www.nicoleodell.com.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Jennifer Slattery's devotional post for the "Beauty for the Broken" tour

When our daughter was young, I was a “Mommy-and-Me-Jamboree” addict. I cherished every moment–every giggle, every story-time, every craft activity. And I loved to turn everything into a party. Why craft alone when I could invite the mom’s club to join us? Why play tea without making it a tea party? (That was the cutest event ever!) Birthday parties? Planned, themed, decorated to the hilt and packed with games. All to see my daughter’s face light up and her eyes squinch up behind a cheeky smile–priceless.

Then one day it hit me. What if I started throwing parties for God? Meaning, what if I found a way to do what I loved, organizing fun and creative events, to reach others and build up the body of Christ? A short time later, I launched a “Family Ministry.”

Our first event was a skating party. Next, a scavenger hunt at a local trail, followed a month later by a pizza pool party. Yep, it was a blast!

I believe this is what it means to do everything for the glory of God. Often we think serving is something we have to do, and we don’t really think in terms of those things we love to do. But I believe God is glorified when we’re on fire, not burned out. When we’re doing what we love, no one has to nudge or guilt us into doing it. The act of service bubbles out of who we are.

Let me give an example. In March, a handful of women and I got together for a make-up party. It was a blast, but it wasn’t just the fabulous lipgloss shades that triggered my excitement. Thanks to an invitation by Mary Kay consultant Sharyline Cochran (http://www.marykay.com/sharilyne/default.aspx), we were invited to participate in a charity contest that could potentially provide $5,500 total for two phenomenal orphan ministries, GoThreads ((http://gothreads.org/) and The Raining Season (http://www.therainingseason.org/). As an added incentive, Sharyline (http://www.marykay.com/sharilyne/default.aspx) is giving away $10 gift certificates and a free make-over (in person or via Skype) to EVERYONE who votes for my not-so-lovely mug shot then comes back her to tell us about it in the comments. What a fun way to help some kiddos in need!

This is where you can go to vote. :)


And remember, it really isn’t about what you do, but about using what you do–whatever you do–to bring glory to God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (NIV)

Jennifer Slattery lives in the Midwest with her husband and daughter. She writes for Christ to the World Ministries, the ACFW Journal, Internet Café Devotions, and Jewels of Encouragement. You can connect with her online at her devotional blog at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com/ or via Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte

Winner of Trish Perry's drawing for The Midwife's Legacy

Megan (inspired by fiction) is the winner of Trish Perry's The Midwife's Legacy. She has been contacted, and the book will be mailed as soon as we receive a mailing address from her. The drawing is still open for a copy of The Ride of Her Life by Lorna Seilstad, so don't forget to leave a comment on any post this month before midnight June 30th.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Another month, another winner, another book review, and another book giveaway!

Since it is June 1st it is time to pick a number for the commenter who wins Dan Walsh's The Discovery. And the winner is...Amanda Stephan.

This next month's giveaway is for a copy of The Ride of Her Life by Lorna Seilstad, the third book in the Lake Manawa Summers series published by Revell. If you care to read the reviews for the first two books in the series, go to my posts on June 1, 2011, and January 26, 2011.

Rose's Review of The Ride of Her Life by Lorna Seilstad

I love to read books in series, so to read about what was going on in the lives of the characters I came to love in Making Waves and A Great Catch was a treat! Lilly Hart who played a major role in the romance between the hero and heroine in the first book, Making Waves, gets to have a romance of her own played out in this one.

In the last few years, Lilly has been widowed and left with a rambunctious six-year old son and some in-laws who are very domineering. She strikes out on her own by getting a job at a local eatery where a handsome stranger, Nick Perrin, who brings his crew of workers there often to eat her great meals, intervenes on her behalf.

Nick is in Lake Manawa to build a roller coaster. Lilly wants to have nothing to do with the ride, but her son is mesmerized by it. They both get in several scrapes, often rescued by Nick.

Lilly finally admits she loves Nick, but can she stand to give up her dreams of a stable home for her and her son to allow herself to be loved again?

You'll have to read it to find out, but I suggest you buy the whole set and read the series in order. And one person will have a chance to win a copy of The Ride of Her Life by leaving an email contact with your comment during the month of June. Winner to be announced on July 1st from all those with a US mailing addy.

This book was given by the publisher and author for review purposes, but the review is my own opinion.