Sunday, July 31, 2011

book review: "branded" by tim sinclair

We're surrounded by commercials and advertisements, wanting us to buy stuff. Companies each argue their product is better and we have to choose. Just as people market material objects, Christians have to "sell" Jesus to the rest of the world. We want others to have what we have but it has to be presented in such a way to appeal to them. "Our mission is the same as it was during Jesus' day, but the time, situation, and cultural expectations are not." We have to be honest with those who don't know Jesus. We can't pretend our life is great and without problems because it's not true. "We have hope in the middle of trying times. We have a Savior who loves us unconditionally. We have the promise of life after death. But we don't have utopia. Not by a long shot." It's all about sharing how Jesus has changed our lives and wanting others to have the same hope we have.

I didn't know what to expect with this book but really liked it. Though the material was deep it was presented as a quick read and I wanted that. I didn't want a book I had to read slowly to absorb it all. Sinclair writes in such a way that I wanted to keep reading. The chapters were short but full of info. When I finished it, I was left with a sense to need to do something with what I'd just read. To share my Jesus with others.

I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group for my honest review.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

book review: "mirror ball" by matt redman

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:

David C. Cook (July 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, The B&B Media Group, for sending me a review copy.***


Matt Redman has been leading worship full-time since the age of 20. His journey has taken him to countries such as South Africa, Japan, India, Australia, Germany, Uganda, Croatia and the Czech Republic. He has worked with many church plants and is currently involved with St Peters, a new church planted out of HTB in London. His early compositions include "The Heart of Worship," "Better Is One Day" and "Once Again." More recent songs have included "Blessed Be Your Name" and "You Never Let Go" (both written with his wife, Beth). Redman is also the author of three books which all center on the theme of worship: The Unquenchable Worshipper, Facedown and Blessed Be Your Name (co-authored with Beth). Plus he has compiled two other books: The Heart of Worship Files and Inside-Out Worship. Redman and his wife currently live on the south coast of England with their five children.

Visit the author's website.


God's Light Shines Through the Smallest Prism

Matt Redman invites readers to reflect God's dazzling radiance.

When God shines upon His church, we become a dazzling testimony to His awesome radiance. You may feel ineffective. You might have lost confidence in your ability to shine. You may think you are too small or inconsequential to ever be of any value in the kingdom of God. But no matter at all—for, in the end, it is all a matter of light. His light. The life of worship never begins with you. It starts and ends with Jesus. In his newest book, Mirror Ball: Living a Life that Reflects God's Radiance, worship leader and songwriter Matt Redman reminds us that even when we feel insufficient to reflect God's glory, God can show through us as light radiates through a prism. Living in this truth will transform how we view our words, our relationships and our daily lives.

Passion is not only that which gets us up in the morning; it helps us see it through to the end of the day. And for anyone who has truly encountered the wonder of the cross, it soon becomes a way of life. If you're looking for a heightened way to tell God you love Him, the very best way has little to do with stringing poetic sentences together. It involves a life laid down in service and adoration. The concrete evidence of whether worship has lived or died in us will always be our lives. We sing our songs with good intent, but in the end our lives must become the evidence.

In and of ourselves we have no light. But in His bright and shining light we are transformed and begin to radiate the glories of our God to the world around us. You may be feeling totally inadequate for that task. But if so, you have simply forgotten the most important part of the equation. It is not about you and your best efforts. It is the light, power and love of Christ illuminating our fragile lives.

Through story, Scripture and practical inspiration, Redman encourages his readers to remember that, however inadequate they may feel to live out this passion, God will work in and through them. After all, the same God who said "let there be light" has made His light to shine in their hearts, illuminating their lives and the lives of those around them.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (July 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0781405785
ISBN-13: 978-0781405782



The Passion of the Christian

It’s New Year’s Eve in downtown Nashville, and things are getting crazy. There’s a mood of fun and festivity everywhere you look. And inside the biggest arena of all, two of the most popular country acts in the nation lead thousands of fans in a celebration of the end of one year and the beginning of the next. The music cranks up loud and the shouts of the audience respond in kind. The truth is, people love to party.

That night in Tennessee, we arrived to prepare for the Passion college gathering. Over the next few evenings the same arena would fill again, and we’d start a party of a different kind. No less volume

or excitement—hopefully more—but a whole different reason for letting out those shouts of joy. If people can get that excited over December becoming January, what on earth does it look like when over twenty thousand college students get their hearts and heads around the glory and grace of God? What does it sound like when we find ourselves caught up in the epic story of the One who came to this earth, endured the cross, and made a way home for us—all in the name of love and rescue? As loud and as fun as those New Year celebrations might be, shouldn’t they become just the faintest whisper when compared with the thunderous shouts and applause that accompany the praise of the King of all heaven? In the words of the old worship hymn, “Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own.”
I once met a man who’d survived a shark attack by screaming so loudly that he burst blood vessels in his neck. His ear-piercing cries gave the shark so much of a headache that it gave up the attack and swam away. Where did such a loud scream come from? It came from deep inside him—from the very depths of who he was, crying out for mercy and survival.
So on the last night of the Passion student gathering that year, my good friend Louie Giglio, the founder of Passion, decided we were going to throw the party to end all parties. No low-key affair with some semiloud music and a halfhearted whoop or two—but a full-on, turn-it-up-loud celebration of the Son of God. The point being that if we truly live in the light of Christ and all that He has accomplished, there’s a time to be a little bit outrageous in our gathered response to Him.
The day of the worship-fueled party arrived, and things were beginning to happen inside the arena. People hung extra lights and prepared song lists, and everything looked good for some extreme celebration. Apart from one thing, that is. Louie had been excitedly talking about a mirror-ball moment, which he’d planned for a while. At just the right time, during a joyful worship song, he planned to lower this thing, shine some lights on it, and give a little extra visually creative expression to these full-on celebrations. The first time I heard about the mirror ball, it sounded like a good idea—until I entered the arena, that is. Hanging above the center of the stage was a tiny spherical object, and as I strained my eyes to see it, I thought the object certainly looked like a mirror ball. But I was sure this couldn’t be Louie’s mirror ball: It was tiny—the kind of thing I’d seen every year from the age of seven at my school disco. Yet—I looked around—there didn’t seem to be any other mirror balls hanging up there. And so I had to conclude that this must be the one he was talking about. Quite frankly, I was worried. I decided that we were headed for the biggest anticlimax in the history of Christian worship gatherings. Louie had told everyone on the team about this great disco-ball moment that would help lead us in our joyful worship celebrations—when, as far as I could tell, it was going to be a moment of laughter for all the wrong reasons. I wanted to be a good friend and warn him—but he was so pumped about his little mirror ball, I just didn’t have the heart.
As it turned out, I needn’t have worried. The evening was wonderful. The thousands of students assembling that night to worship Jesus arrived in silence—as we’d been encouraged to do to prepare our hearts for gathered worship. Through songs and sounds and moments of ancient liturgy, we went to the cross. There we recalled the most amazing act of obedience and sacrifice this world has ever seen. We paused for a while, and I was reminded once again that God makes worshippers out of wonderers. As our hearts breathed in afresh the mystery of grace, we exhaled reverent awe and thanksgiving in response. The soul-gripping mystery of Calvary fueled the fires of our praise, and remembrance led us to rejoicing. Next, we began to turn up the volume a notch or two, with heartfelt songs of devotion resounding intensely around the room. In Scripture, Jesus Himself said that out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks—and as we stood there in amazement at the grace and glory of God, sounds of joyful thanksgiving tried to find a way out of our hearts.
And then the moment arrived. Mirror ball time. Down from the ceiling came the world’s smallest disco ball. I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry … or get my binoculars out to actually see the thing.
However, in one bright, shining moment, all of my fears died. Powerful beams of light hit the face of the ball, and suddenly, in every corner of that massive arena, radiance shone all around. Light filled the room. It seemed to glow on every face and shine on every inch of floor, wall, and ceiling. A huge arena filled with light—by way of a tiny little mirror ball. And people partied. In that moment, focusing on the glory of the Savior and celebrating His victories, we shouted for joy and danced with abandon.

It turns out that in all my doubting and questioning of Louie’s mirror ball, I’d seriously underestimated the most important factor—the power and brilliance of the beams of light that shone upon it.
In the end, it was all a matter of light.

When it comes to a life of worship and mission, the very same rules apply. In and of ourselves we have no light. But in His bright and shining light we are transformed—and begin to radiate the glories of our God to the world around us. You may be feeling totally inadequate, far from ready for that task. But if so, you have forgotten the most important part of the equation. It is not about you and your best efforts. It is about the light, power, and love of Christ illuminating our fragile lives. As Scripture reminds us, the same God who said, “Let there be light,” has made His light to shine in our hearts.

When God shines upon His church, we become a dazzling testimony to His awesome radiance. You may feel ineffective. You might have lost confidence in your ability to shine. You may think you are too small or inconsequential to ever be of any value in the kingdom of God. But no matter at all—for, in the end, it’s all a matter of light. His light. The life of worship never begins with you. It starts and ends with Jesus.
Back to Nashville for a moment. I left the arena that night inspired by the shouts and the songs that had been poured out in that place. But the mirror ball left a really big impression. It reminded me of our ultimate call as we live on this earth—to shine all around for the glory of God.

Then another thought hit me: So often we equate passion with volume and energy, and surely that can play an important part. But when it comes to true passion, ultimately those things are just the tip of the iceberg—the part most on display. However, God looks beneath the surface, searching our hearts. Yes, God does call us to sing. He calls us to sing loudly, boldly, joyfully, and reverently before Him. Just check out the exhortations in so many of the psalms for evidence. God loves a shout of praise or a joyful noise brought in His name. These things are great and important ways of expressing the explosive celebrations happening in our hearts. But to complete the integrity of these offerings, God is looking for a people who will take their passion to the next level and begin to shine His light in their everyday lives. A people who will stand in the light of who He is and reflect His wonders for all the world to see. We see the light. We celebrate the light. And we send the light.

Lives Laid Down

Lives of passion step outside the normal and rational and give all they have gladly and generously. I love this definition of passion being made popular by Louie: “Passion is the degree of difficulty we are willing to endure to achieve the goal.” Defined in this way, passion becomes a life laid down in extravagant surrender—thoughts, words, and deeds thrown wholeheartedly into the mix even when it costs us something. Or indeed, costs us everything.

This definition also brings us right back to the cross. The passion of Jesus shows us the most heightened example we will ever see of “the degree of difficulty we are willing to endure to achieve the goal.” At Calvary we encounter the Savior of the world—who, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross and scorned all of its shame. He underwent agonies we could never imagine. If we were to look at the cross simply through the lens of physical torture it would be grueling enough in and of itself. The cross was one of the most gruesome and painful forms of capital punishment this world has ever seen.

Yet this was no ordinary crucifixion. For here was the Son of God—He who was pure and faultless—becoming stained by our sin and shame. The One so accustomed to the peace and joy of heaven encountered the depths of earthly shame, suffering, and pain. He had no sin and instead became sin for us. He who existed in close communion with the Father felt the cruelty and dark loneliness of Gethsemane and Calvary. Add all of these factors together, and you are left with a cross that is not only physically heavy to carry—but one that is unfathomably heavy to bear in spiritual, emotional, and psychological terms. Yet Christ did so. And, astonishingly, He chose to do so. That is the ultimate display of passion.
Be assured, Jesus was not eager to face the agonies of that place. We do not find Him bubbling over with anticipation—completely the opposite. On the eve of His death, the Savior cries out:

“Abba, Father … everything is possible for you. Take

this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you

will.” (Mark 14:36)

A passionate obedience to the Father and an unwavering commitment to His mission see Jesus through the loneliness of Gethsemane and to the cross. This really is the passion of the Christ. And the passion of the worshipper must take on the very same characteristics.

The Scriptures are full of worship songs and devotional music—and in the right place, music can play such a wonderful and unique role in our worship. It’s part of how we’ve been made and a wonderful way to express our devotion to God together. Eugene Peterson writes:
Song and dance are the result of an excess energy.

When we are normal we talk, when we are dying we

whisper, but when there is more in us than we contain

we sing. When we are healthy we walk, when

we are decrepit we shuffle, but when we are beyond

ourselves with vitality we dance.

But passionate worship is never a matter of merely getting the words and tune right or raising a loud shout. The true test of our passion for God will always be our lives. If I’m looking for a heightened way to tell God I love Him, the very best way has very little to do with stringing poetic sentences together. It involves a life laid down in service and adoration. The concrete evidence of whether our worship has lived or died in us will always be our lives. We may sing our songs with good intentions, but in the end our lives must become the evidence.
Singing is easy. The proof is always in the living. Or even the dying. Will the music in our hearts subside when the going gets tough? Will we be distracted or discouraged from our cause when the conditions aren’t favorable? Will the fireworks of our excited hearts come to nothing more than a momentary spark that fizzles out, never to be seen again? Or could we prove the flames of our passion even in the furnace of difficulty, inconvenience, and endurance?

Passion is not only that which gets us up in the morning—it helps us see it through to the end of the day. Passion finishes what it begins and makes good on its promise of running the race with perseverance and turning good intentions into fulfilled dreams. Passion is always more than a party. It’s a story of guts and glory, pain and purpose. And for anyone who has truly encountered the wonder of the cross, it soon becomes a way of life.

Copyright 2011 Matt Redman. Mirror Ball published by David C Cook. Publisher permission required to reproduce in any way. All rights reserved.

My thoughts: I really like reading books by those in the Christian music industry. Earlier this year I read Delirious by Martin Smith. It was very cool to read about the early years of the band and how God used them to touch many lives. I thought Mirror Ball would be a similar book with Matt Redman talking about his music also but this was a different book. He talks about the art of worship and one part stood out to me. He says: "Love gives itself whether it's convenient or inconvenient. It operates on joyful heights - but also in the valley of the shadows. It overcomes pain and overturns obstacles. It keeps its promises even when it hurts. Love gives imaginatively and outrageously. It surrenders itself generously, never begrudgingly. When there is much at stake, love will give its all." When we worship God, it's not about us. It's not about what we can give Him because He's so much more than that. It's about us surrendering what we want and simply worshipping. Saying all of that to say, I enjoyed this book : )

Saturday, July 23, 2011

book review: "sue ellen's girl ain't fat, she just weighs heavy" by shellie rushing tomlinson

Shellie educates her readers on the way of the Southern Belle. She talks about misconceptions and truths. She gives advice on how to communicate with your "Bubba" and makes many references to The Official Southern Belle Doctrine. For those unfamiliar to Southern-isms, Shellie provides definitions to phrases like "six ways to Sunday," "straight running crazy," and "worn slap-out." All through the book, you're taking a trip through the randomness of Shellie's thoughts. There are times when she gets off track (and then promptly returns from the bunny trail) but it's one hilarious ride! She shares thoughts on big hair and botox. She talks about how her daily diet now consists of three grapes and two peanuts to fight off extra pounds. She also shares the truth about menopause and how husbands can survive that time in a woman's life by using three phrases interchangeably (and sometimes even together): "I'm sorry," "I love you," and "have you lost weight?"

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I've not read her previous book but it's going on my "tbr" list. I definitely plan on trying out some of the recipes that are included at the end of each chapter. Being a Southerner myself, I was instantly able to relate to many of the things she talked about. Though it's a thick book, I kept wanting to read and see what she would talk about next. Informative and funny read!

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group and all opinions are my own.

Friday, July 22, 2011

book review: "true north" by gary & lisa heim

When we go through frustrating times, we have the choice to either go north or south with our emotions. Going south is giving in to our anger and giving in to our fleshly desires. Going north is the opposite; it's thinking about God and seeking Him. "God subjects us to frustration because of our longings, the lies we believe, and his relentless love." By going south and choosing what we want over God, it's an insult to God. "When our hand grasps onto something, it forms into a fist. When we grasp onto the world, we're forming a fist in God's face." We forget all the things He's done for us - all the times He's proven Himself. We need to strive to seek after God and choose to go north in every circumstance.

This was not a book to try to read quickly. It contains so much material that you have to take your time and read it carefully. There were certain points when I felt the authors were simply repeating something I'd read prior but it's through repetition that the points stick. This was a good read - heavy at times but good.

I received a copy of this book from Kregel Publications and all opinions are my own.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

not about me

I'm at a place where all kinds of idea are flying around in my head and I'm trying to sort them out. I have all of these things I want to do but it's a matter of finding the time and then making it happen. Have you ever been there? I guess it all started back in October 2008 when I went on my first mission trip. I went as a youth leader with seven teens, my youth pastor and his wife and two other leaders to spend a week at the Dream Center in L.A. It was one of the most amazing things - we experienced so much in a short amount of time and I would go back in a heartbeat. At the beginning of this year I read the book Radical by David Platt and it stirred me up to do something, anything to make a difference. That need to want to do something has been in the back of my mind ever since.

So I'm having to figure out how to balance that desire to do more while going about my daily routine. I remember while on the mission trip something my youth pastor told us. We had spent the previous day at Disneyland and it was time to start the mission part of the trip. He said "it's not about you. We're here to serve. If you're asked to do something you don't want to do, do it anyway." It's not about me. That phrase has lodged itself into my brain ever since. The whole point of the trip (and even Christianity) was to put ourselves - our needs, wants, etc. - on the backburner while we showed God's love to people who desperately needed it.

I'm in the process of gearing up for youth camp next week. We leave on Sunday and I am beyond ready for what will take place. This week I'm packing, baking (my cabin will need something to sustain them beyond the camp food) and tying up loose ends so I can leave for four days. And that phrase comes back to me. It's not about me. I can plan and prepare all I want but ultimately, what happens is up to God. We're expecting Him to show up and do some incredible things. But the only way that can happen is if we step back and forget about our agenda and what we want. I'm so excited for what's going to happen. This week is a big week for several different reasons and I'll share those after camp. It's gonna be awesome : )

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

voxbox june survey

I'm all about free things and Influenster is a website that will send you a Voxbox full of goodies. All you have to do is fill out a survey on the products and talk about them on your blog.

Here's what came in my box:

Montagne Jeunesse Green Tea Peel Off Face Mask
I really liked this mask. I normally use mask that has to be rinsed off but I prefer a peel. I liked that it smelled good (always important) and it was super easy to apply. I used the whole packet at once but it could probably be divided for two or more uses.

This kit includes:
- Skin Softening Cleanser
- Antioxidant Day Creme
- Anti-Aging Night Creme
- Lifting Eye Creme
- Firming Chest and Neck Creme
- Deep Cleansing Masque
- Wrinkle Smoothing Capsules
- Glowing Serum

I haven't used all of these products yet but I've liked what I've tried. The cleanser is great and leaves my skin feeling clean. The day creme is great for when I don't want to wear foundation but still want sun coverage. The masque is also great. I've used the night creme and firming creme but can't say I've seen a difference as of yet. Overall, I've liked the products.

Pure Silk Raspberry Mist Shaving Cream

I normally use a gel shaving cream but I was impressed with this! It seemed like I could use less of it because it spreads really well. I may stick to creams from now on : )

Diamancel Diamond Foot File

This is amazing! I've used it twice now and am loving the results. I use it, put some lotion on my feet and then put socks on to make my feet silky smooth. Very pleased with this product.

Softsoap Pampered Hands Foaming Hand Soap - Tangerine Treat

I'm not a big fan of foam soap because I always have to use a lot in order for my hands to feel clean. However, I don't have to do that with this product. It smells great and I would definitely purchase this product.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

book review: "summer dream" by martha rogers

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:

Realms (June 7, 2011)
***Special thanks to Anna Coelho Silva | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***


Martha Rogers is the author of Becoming Lucy; Morning for Dove; Finding Becky; Caroline’s Choice; Not on the Menu, a part of a novella collection with DiAnn Mills, Janice Thompson, and Kathleen Y’Barbo; and River Walk Christmas, a novella collection with Beth Goddard, Lynette Sowell, and Kathleen Y’Barbo. A former schoolteacher and English instructor, she has a master’s degree in education and lives with her husband in Houston, Texas.

Visit the author's website.


This is a new series by Martha Rogers.

“Summer Dream is a sweet, heartfelt, and well-written story about faith in action and a love that never fails. I can't wait to read the rest of this series.”—Andrea Boeshaar, author of Unexpected Love and Undaunted Faith

A Heart in Need of Redemption. An Unlikely Love. And a God Who Can Bring Them Together.

As the daughter of a small-town minister in Connecticut, Rachel Winston fears that the only way she’ll ever find a husband is to visit her aunt in Boston for the social season. But when Nathan Reed arrives in town, she can’t help but wonder if he could be the one.

Although attracted to Rachel, Nathan has no desire to become involved with a Christian after experiences with his own family. What’s more, until he resolves his anger with God and his family, he has no chance of courting her.

When Nathan is caught in a devastating blizzard and lies near death in the Winston home, Rachel and her mother give him a lesson in love and forgiveness that leads him back to his home in the South. Will he make peace with his family and return before Rachel chooses a path that takes her away from him?

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Realms (June 7, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616383607
ISBN-13: 978-1616383602


Briar Ridge, Connecticut, February 5, 1888

Why did Papa have to be so stubborn? Rachel Winston stared at the gray clouds outside her window and fought the urge to stomp her foot like a spoiled child. However, young women of twenty years must behave as befitting their age, as Mama so often reminded her. Perhaps she should have shown the letter to her mother first. Too late for that now; Papa would tell Mama as soon as he had the opportunity.

The back door closed with a thud, and Rachel shuddered. Papa had left for the church. His departing meant she needed to finish dressing or she’d be late, and then Papa would be even more upset with her. It wouldn’t do for the preacher’s family to be late for the services.

The paper in her pocket crackled when she moved toward the bed to retrieve her boots. Rachel fingered the crumpled edges of Aunt Mabel’s letter. There was no need to read it again, for she knew the words by heart. Her aunt’s invitation to come to Boston for an extended visit had arrived at a most inopportune time with the winter weather in the northern states at its worst. Even so, she shared the letter with Papa, hoping he might be agreeable to the visit.

A metallic taste soured her mouth, and she swallowed hard in an attempt to squelch it. Papa argued that the unpredictable weather of February made travel from Connecticut to Boston dangerous. If only one of the many Boston trains came to Briar Ridge. Aunt Mabel meant well, but her timing left something to be desired. Papa didn’t even want her going to Hartford or Manchester to board a train. It took over three hours by horseback to make the journey to Hartford—longer in bad weather.

She grasped the wrinkled letter in her hand and pulled it from its resting place. “Oh, Auntie, why did you wait until now to invite me for a visit?” she said to the letter, as if Aunt Mabel could hear her. “Last spring when I graduated from the academy would have been perfect, but you had to travel abroad.” A deep sigh filled her, then escaped in a long breath and a slump of her shoulders.

Aunt Mabel believed that a young woman should go to finishing school before she thought of marriage and had offered to pay for Rachel’s tuition. Papa had frowned on the idea, but her mother finally prevailed. For that, Rachel was most grateful, and she wouldn’t have traded those years at the academy for marriage to anyone. But now that she was twenty, she found that the pool of eligible bachelors in her area was slim to nonexistent.

Going to Boston would have provided the opportunity to meet more young men.

Rachel sat on the bed to ease off her slippers and bent over for the winter boots thatwould protect her feet from the slush. The frozen ground outdoors called for them, but they were not the choice she would have liked to wear to church this morning. Rachel shoved her feet down into the sturdy boots designed for warmth, not attractive appearance.

Of the eligible young men in Briar Ridge, only one came to mind, but then Daniel Monroe didn’t count. His sister had been Rachel’s best friend since Papa came to be pastor of the Briar Ridge church nearly seventeen years ago. Daniel treated her more like his sister anyway. Two years older, and just starting out as a lawyer, he was far more knowledgeable than she, and keeping up a conversation with him took more effort than she deemed it to be worth. Rachel had finished at the seminary with good marks, but Daniel’s conversation interests leaned more toward science and new inventions like electricity and the telephone than things of interest to her.
Rachel’s anger subsided as she pulled on the laces of her boots. As she reflected on her father, she remembered that he loved her and wanted only the best for her. He had promised that when spring came, he’d talk to her about the trip. Until then she would be the obedient daughter he wanted her to be and dream of the trip ahead. The Lord would give her patience, even though that was not one of her virtues.

She smoothed her skirt down over her hips and picked up the letter to place it on the table beside her bed. A response to Aunt Mabel would go out with tomorrow’s mail to express her regrets in not being able to accept the invitation. Papa would probably write to her as well, but Rachel wanted her aunt to know how much she appreciated the invitation.

If Seth were here now, he could give her good counsel. He’d always been the one she’d turned to when things didn’t go well with Mama and Papa. She loved her older brother and missed him, but he’d be home from the seminary in May, and she could talk with him then. Since he studied to be a minister like Papa, he’d most likely leave Briar Ridge if his ministry took him elsewhere after his graduation.

She’d met a few young men while at school, but the strict rules and regulations set forth at Bainbridge Academy for Young Women in Hartford had given her few opportunities to develop a relationship. Not that she would have considered any of them, but she would have appreciated the chance.
Mama called to her, and Rachel hurried to the front hall. She noted the firm set of Mama’s jaw and braced for the scolding that would be in order. “I’m sorry to take so long, Mama.” She grabbed her cloak from its hook.
“You know how your father hates for us to be late to church. It is unseemly for the minister’s family to be the last to arrive.” Mama turned and walked outside, her back ramrod straight.

Rachel breathed a sigh of relief. No time for a scolding now. She set a dark blue bonnet firmly over her hair and fastened the ties. She followed her mother out to the carriage, where the rest of the family waited. As usual, Papa had gone on ahead to open the church and stoke the two stoves to provide heat on this cold winter morning. Rachel climbed up beside her sister, Miriam, and reached for the blanket.

“What delayed you, Rachel? There’s no excuse for not being ready with everyone else.” Mama settled in her seat beside Noah, who had taken over his brother’s responsibilities until his own departure for college next fall.
“Time slipped away from me.” No need to tell her everything now. Rachel tucked a blanket around her legs and glanced at Miriam beside her. Miriam’s eyebrows lifted in question, but Rachel shook her head.

Micah piped up from the front seat. “Did you make Papa angry?”

“Micah! Of course not.” Rachel glanced at her brother Noah and noted the smirk on his face. She frowned to let him know she didn’t approve.
His gaze slid to her now. “Oh, then why did he stomp through the kitchen and ride off without a word to anybody?”

Mama clucked her tongue. “Now, children, it’s the Sabbath. Papa was late and in a hurry to get to the church.” But the look in Mama’s eyes promised she’d speak to Rachel about it later, especially after Mama learned the real reason for the tardiness.

Even though his decision disappointed her, Papa simply wanted to protect her from danger. She should be grateful for his love and concern, not angry because he said no. The promise of a trip to Boston when the weather improved would have to be enough to get her through the remainder of winter.

A recent snowfall still covered the frozen ground. Most of it in the streets had melted into a hodgepodge of brown and black slush caused by carriages and buggies winding their way toward the church. Rachel breathed deeply of the clean, fresh air that seemed to accompany snow in winter and rain in the spring.
If not for the inconveniences caused by ice and snow, she would love this time of year, even when the leafless branches of the trees cracked and creaked with a coating of ice. She gazed toward the gray skies that promised more snow before the day ended. If it would wait until later in the day, she might manage a visit with her best friend Abigail this afternoon.
However, a warm house, a cup of hot tea flavored with mint from Mama’s herb garden, and a good book might entice her to stay home on this cold, winter afternoon. Tomorrow would bring the chores of keeping the woodpile stocked and the laundry cleaned. She enjoyed the winter months, although this year she wished them to hurry by.

Miriam snuggled closer. Rachel smiled at her sister, who had recently turned thirteen. “I see you’re wearing your Christmas dress today. Is there a special occasion?”
Miriam’s cheeks turned a darker shade of red. “Um, not exactly.”

“Then what is it . . . exactly?”
Miriam tilted her head to one side and peered up at Rachel. She whispered, “Jimmy Turner.”
So her little sister had begun to notice boys. “Well now, I think he’s a handsome lad. Has he shown an interest in you?”

Miriam nodded and giggled. Rachel wrapped an arm around her sister as the buggy slowed to enter the churchyard. She stepped down onto the snow-covered ground muddied by all the wagons crossing over it. Now she was thankful for the thick stockings and shoes she wore to protect her toes. She then reached up for Micah while Miriam raced ahead.

The little boy pushed her hands away. “I can get down by myself.”

Rachel couldn’t resist the temptation to laugh. At seven, her younger brother expressed his independence and insisted on doing things for himself. He jumped with his feet square in a pile of snow and looked first at his feet then up to Rachel. She shook her head and grabbed his hand to go inside the building. How that little boy loved the snow. He’d be out in it all day if Mama would let him.

When she entered the foyer with Micah, she spotted Miriam already sitting in their pew with Jimmy Turner in the row behind her. Rachel hastened to sit down beside her sister. Miriam stared straight ahead but twisted her hands together in her lap.

When had Miriam grown up? Even now she showed signs of the beauty she would one day be. Thick, dark lashes framed her brown eyes, and her cheeks held a natural pink glow. Papa would really have to keep an eye out for his younger daughter.
Rachel glanced around the assembly room and once again admired the beauty of the old church built not long after the turn of the century. Instead of the quarry stone and masonry of the churches in Boston and even New Haven, Briar Ridge’s church walls were of white clapboard with large stained-glass windows along the sides. On bright days, sunlight streamed through them to create patterns of color across the congregation.

Brass light fixtures hung from the high vaulted ceilings, and the flames from the gaslights danced in the breeze as the back doors opened to admit worshippers. As much as she loved her church here in Briar Ridge, she remembered the electric lights she’d enjoyed in Hartford, one of the first cities to have its own generating plant. How long before electricity would become as widespread in Briar Ridge as it was in the larger cities? Probably awhile since Briar Ridge wasn’t known for its progress.
When the family first came to town, Rachel had been three years old, so this was the only home and church she could remember before leaving for school. Familiar faces met her everywhere she gazed. A nod and smile greeted each one as she searched for her friend Abigail and the Monroe family.
Unexpectedly a new face came into view a few rows back. A young man with the most incredible brown eyes stared back at her. Rachel’s breath caught in her throat, and the heat rose in her cheeks.

She felt her mother’s hand on her arm. “Turn around, Rachel. It’s not polite to stare.”
With her heart threatening to jump right out of her chest, Rachel tore her gaze away from the stranger seated with the Monroe family. Papa entered from the side door and stepped up to the pulpit. The service began with singing, but Rachel could barely make a sound. Everything in her wanted to turn and gaze again at the mysterious person with the Monroe family, but that behavior would be unseemly for the daughter of the minister.

However, her thoughts refused to obey and skipped to their own rhythm. Rachel decided that whoever he was, he must be a friend of Daniel’s because Abigail had never mentioned any man of interest in her own life. In a town like Briar Ridge, everyone knew everyone’s business. She hadn’t heard any talk of a guest from Daniel or her other friends yesterday.
A prickling sensation crept along her neck as though someone watched her. She blinked her eyes and willed herself to look at Papa and concentrate on his message. However, her mind filled with images of the young man. Who was this stranger who had come to Briar Ridge?

Nathan Reed contemplated the dark curls peeking from beneath the blue bonnet. When she had turned and their eyes met, his heart leaped. He had never expected to see such a beauty in a town like Briar Ridge. His friend Daniel’s sister was attractive, but nothing like this raven-haired girl with blue eyes.
When she turned her head back toward the front, he stared at her back as if to will her to turn his way again. When she didn’t, he turned his sights to gaze around the church, so much like others he’d once attended. He wouldn’t be here this morning except out of politeness for the Monroe family. He’d arrived later than intended last evening and welcomed Mrs. Monroe’s offer to stay the night with them. The least he could do was attend the service today.

Nathan had no use for church or things of God. He believed God existed, but only for people who needed something or someone to lean on. God had forsaken the Reed family years ago, and Nathan had done quite well without any help these four years away from home.

He shook off thoughts of the past and concentrated once more on the blue bonnet several rows ahead. Perhaps Daniel would introduce him. She would be a nice diversion from the business he must attend to while in town. He blocked the words of the minister from his mind and concentrated on the girl’s back.
The little boy seated next to the young woman seemed restless, so she lifted him onto her lap. The child couldn’t be her son. She didn’t look old enough. Then the older woman next to them reached for the boy and settled him in her arms. In a few minutes the boy’s head nodded in sleep.
Nathan resisted the urge to pull his watch from his pocket and check the time. Surely the service would end soon. Potbellied stoves in the front and back of the church provided warmth, and the additional heat of so many bodies caused him to wish he had shed his coat. He fought the urge to nod off himself. Oh, to be like the young lad in his mother’s arms.
Finally the congregation rose, and the organ played the final hymn. It was none too soon for Nathan, for he had grown more uncomfortable by the minute. Long sermons only added to his distaste for affairs of the church. The singing ended and people began their exit, but he kept his eye on the girl in blue until the crowd blocked her from view.

He stayed behind the Monroe family, who stopped to greet the minister. Mrs. Monroe turned to Nathan. “Reverend Winston, this is Nathan Reed, our houseguest from Hartford this week and a friend of Daniel’s.”

The minister smiled in greeting and shook Nathan’s hand. “It’s very nice to have you in our services today, Mr. Reed. I hope you enjoy your stay in Briar Ridge and that we’ll see more of you.”

“Thank you, sir. I look forward to my visit here.” But the minister wouldn’t be seeing any more of him unless they possibly met in town.

When they reached the Monroe carriage, Nathan turned and spotted the girl coming down the steps. He watched as Daniel waved to the young woman and she waved back. Abigail ran to greet her, and the girls hurried over to where Nathan stood with Daniel. Abigail tucked her hand in the girl’s elbow.
“Nathan, this is my best friend, Rachel Winston. Rachel, this is Daniel’s former roommate in college, Nathan Reed.”

Rachel Winston? Nathan’s hopes dashed against the slushy ground on which he stood. Could she be the preacher’s daughter? He didn’t mind a young woman being Christian, but he drew the line at keeping company with one so close to the ministry.
When her blue eyes gazed into his, a spark of interest flamed, and it took him a few seconds before remembering his manners. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Winston.”
Her cheeks flushed red, and she glanced away slightly but still smiled. “Thank you. I’m pleased to meet you too, Mr. Reed. Perhaps we’ll see each other again if you’re in town long.”

Rachel’s smile sent a warmth into his heart that caused him to swallow hard. Although the length of his stay was uncertain, his desire to see the lovely Miss Winston again might just override his pledge to avoid anything or anyone with ties to the church.

My thoughts: I wasn't overly impressed with this book. While I liked the theme, I had a hard time connecting with the characters. I felt Rogers' writing was missing something to really get me hooked. The story had a good ending but I didn't thoroughly enjoy it like I have other in the historical fiction genre.

Friday, July 8, 2011

recipe: oatmeal raisin cookies


I'm currently in the midst of a Daniel Fast and a friend of mine passed this recipe along to me. As usual, I modified it just a tad but was pleasantly surprised at how they turned out.

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup almond flour or oat flour
1 cup creamy cashew butter, almond butter, or peanut butter
1/2 cup applesauce
1/3 cup Date Honey (I didn't realize this was something you had to make and instead bought regular honey which is something you're to avoid on this fast - oops)
1/2 cup raisins
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (I don't like nuts so I left this out)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

"Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix oats, almond flour, cashew butter, applesauce, and Date Honey in a large bowl until well combined. Add raisins, walnuts, and cinnamon. Stir well. Drop by spoonfuls, two inches apart, on an 11 by 17-inch baking sheet. Flatten and shape into circles. Bake 10-12 minutes."
I also threw in some peanut butter chips I had on hand. I added a little over a 1/2 cup of raisins...just because. I baked them for right at 11 minutes - they were a little gooey but apparently when using the right honey that isn't an issue.

book review: "prayerwalk" by janet holm mchenry

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:

WaterBrook Press; 1st edition (March 20, 2001)
***Special thanks to Laura Tucker, WaterBrook Multnomah Publicity for sending me a review copy.***


Janet Holm McHenry is the author of numerous books, including Daily PrayerWalk and PrayerStreaming. A high-school English, journalism, and creative writing teacher, she is the mother of four adult children. Janet has been prayerwalking for more than thirteen years and is the leader of her church’s prayer ministry. Find out more about the author at

Visit the author's website.


Ask any busy, overworked woman what her goals are for this year, and spiritual, mental and physical health are likely to be at the top of her list. Yet physical health and spiritual growth often take a backseat to the urgent demands of grocery shopping and bill paying, time with family and friends and long hours at the office. Thirteen years ago author Janet Holm McHenry suffered from depression, weight gain and exhaustion. Then she began a prayerwalk routine that not only transformed her life but also profoundly impacted the lives of those around her. Learn about the simple practice that changed her life in PrayerWalk: Becoming a Woman of Prayer, Strength & Discipline. This tenth-anniversary edition includes an epilogue letter from the author, a 30-day prayer and fitness challenge, a guide to organizing a community prayerwalk and a Bible study and discussion guide. Perfect for the overwhelmed mom, the business woman on the go, or anyone wanting physical and spiritual renewal, PrayerWalk includes heartfelt, genuine glimpses into the author’s journey as well as practical advice on everything from walking shoes and stretches to how and what to pray and finding a prayerwalk partner.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press; 1st edition (March 20, 2001)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9781578563760
ISBN-13: 978-1578563760
ASIN: 1578563763



“You know I’m an ordinary Christian woman, God. But I’d like to become more disciplined, to have a consistent daily prayer time. I’d like to lose some weight and to be a little more fit. And…and…oh, this sounds crazy after everything I’ve just said, but I’d like to be content with my life.”

This was my prayer two years ago. All of those requests and more have been realized in my life, all because of one thing: prayer-walking. Virtually overnight I changed from a woman who couldn’t get out of bed to—Okay, I’m going to be brutally honest with you, dear reader. I am still an ordinary Christian woman. I probably look like the person in your high school class who was voted Most Likely to Become Your Kids’ English Teacher, thirty years later. That’s because that’s exactly who I am! Let’s just say you won’t find my face and body on the cover of an exercise video. But God has truly changed me, and I am convinced it’s because I now spend an hour or more five days a week praying as I walk. I call it prayerwalking—spending time with God in adoration and intercession as I walk the streets and highways of my community.

Stop right now! I know what you’re thinking: I don’t have a free hour for prayer and exercise. Hey, I don’t either. It’s true. If you were to examine my life, you’d see I don’t have the time. I work fulltime—teaching English, no less, which most secondary teachers agree is the most demanding position because of the mountains of writing assignments to grade. Craig and I have four children, with one still young enough to need Mommy’s nearly constant attention. All have been active in sports, lessons, and other activities. I have a part-time business as a writer, I teach Sunday school, and I have very little housekeeping help. But I am making time for prayerwalking—an hour or more daily—because God has used it to transform me. I wrote this book to tell you, from my heart, how and why I started prayerwalking and the reasons I believe that if you make time for prayerwalking, God will change you as well.

Besides reading my personal story, you’ll learn how you can pray more like Christ—our Personal Trainer in prayerwalking—and how prayerwalking can energize your prayer life. Prayerwalking has changed how I view my time and priorities, and I’ll help you find time in your life for this new discipline. I’ll also show you why walking while you pray is a good idea, and I’ll provide a wealth of walking tips that can help prevent soreness before you head off on your own.

Join me as I share my story.
Chapter One: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It

Oh, that d word: discipline. I’ve never liked it, personally. We have met on occasion—with diets, short runs on exercise programs, and a prayer journal attempt or two. But life interfered with our acquaintance, and routines always fell by the wayside. Discipline implied torture, restriction, sameness. I mean, remember piano scales? Up and down, up and down. You never got anywhere, it appeared to me. Discipline simply stifled my spontaneity. Why, if I were committed to various routines of discipline, I couldn’t visit a friend or take my daughter shopping or watch the ducks flying the wrong way.

I Was a Mess

Just two years ago I was falling apart. I bit my fingernails to their nubs with worry about finances (we had two kids in college). My weight was taxing my back, and my knees were giving way as I walked down stairs. I was force-feeding my soul with a few daily devotionals, but my prayer life was about zilch. Each night I gulped down a couple of St. John’s Wort tablets to combat depression. I ate too much, I was tired all the time, and I felt as if I were a few days behind on every list of my life—from my load of essays at school to my laundry at home. I was an undisciplined mess.

I knew what I needed. I needed to exercise to get my strength back again. Could I exercise in the morning? I didn’t really have time—I usually shut off the alarm around six each morning, exhausted, and turned over for an extra half-hour of rest, then rushed through my morning routine and headed to school an hour later. How could I give up even more sleep for exercise? With kids’ sports schedules and lessons, faculty meetings, and few consistent baby-sitters, regular exercise after I taught school all day was impossible. There had been spells in my life when I was more active—aerobics and weightlifting classes, swimming laps at the pool. But classes always end, and our community pool is only open during the summer months. Besides, I didn’t want to leave my kids once I was home from work.

I also needed to pray—at length—to give over the worries of my life to God. A book I read many years ago that still pierces me is Could You Not Tarry One Hour? by Larry Lea. Tarry an hour? It seemed like a Grand Canyon leap of time in my going-going-gone schedule. However, seeking God, interceding for others, and staying in his presence were becoming the deepest desires of my heart. I truly wanted to strengthen my relationship with the Lord of the universe by spending more alone time with him—without the phone ringing, without the kids interrupting, without the washing machine calling my name.

I’ve read over thirty books on prayer. Every single one recommends praying in the early morning hours. I had tried that over the years—getting up earlier than the family and creating my own prayer closet of sorts. Minutes into the routine, my head was usually flopping. You have probably guessed that I’m not a morning person. Actually, I’m not a night person either. I tell my high school students that most days I have one good hour—lunch hour (which is really only forty minutes for me)—and that afterward I’m ready for a nap. It’s true!

However, I did stick to an early morning routine once. I thought of praying while I exercised, and for several months I propped my Bible on my NordicTrack and prayed through the Bible in the wee hours. That actually worked until my knees began to trouble me. Then the routine and I went our separate ways. My NordicTrack is now a great clothesline and keeps watch (wash?) in my office over my usually messy desk.

Two in One

I needed a workable plan, a resolution. I believe in New Year’s resolutions, but my new year starts in September, when I return to teaching. All summer long I sleep a little later and mosey through my household chores and writing tasks. It’s a leisurely pace. When school starts, I begin living by ringing bells again, so it makes sense to make my resolutions then.

When Labor Day passed that year, I felt pulled to become the woman of discipline I had never been. My past history could not have been a solid résumé for my success: Every day of my life seemingly had begun a new diet or a new exercise routine or a new prayer practice. Somehow my resolve that Sunday night in September felt different. I would do it this time. I would get up an hour earlier and tarry with God. Well, maybe tarry was not quite the right word because I had decided to spend my hour prayer-walking. I would walk for an hour, praying at the same time— meeting two sincere desires of my heart with one activity.

I loved the idea of doing two things at once. As a working mom, I always make multitasking a personal objective. Every morning I read the newspaper literally upside down as I lean over and blow dry my hair. I open my mail on the way home from the post office. I grade papers while listening to my daughter read at night. Although I may not be a model of organization, I love efficiency! Prayerwalking seemed a perfect solution to the two largest missing links in my life.

I had never before considered walking alone in the dark, early morning hours. The problem isn’t that it’s unsafe. In our town of just over a thousand people in a mountain valley in Cal i fornia, many not only leave their homes unlocked but keep their car keys in their ignitions. No, I’d not considered walking on Main Street because it didn’t have sidewalks and because huge logging trucks sweep through on their way to the lumber mill. However, a few days before I made my resolution, brand-new sidewalks sculpted of brick and cement and brand-new lighting made our few blocks of downtown look like a fairy tale town. Elsewhere people walk in their local mall before opening hours. We have no mall in our town, but I decided that our half-dozen blocks of twinkly-lit Main Street would be my mall—my prayerwalking course.

Beating “The List”

At 5:20 the next morning I woke up moments before the alarm, turned it off, and rolled over. The List began speaking to me. “You’re too tired; give yourself a few more minutes in bed.” “It’s probably too cold; why don’t you walk this afternoon when the sun is out?” “Remember all those dogs? They’re waiting for you!” “Bogeymen hide in the bushes!” “Your knee hurts; you’d better wait until you’re in better shape.” The List battered me for a few minutes until I remembered: I had not only made a physical-fitness resolution; I had also made a spiritual-fitness resolution.

Right then I realized that discipline involved another d word: decision. I could decide to be disciplined. I soon discovered that the decision to become disciplined had to be made daily (yet another d word.). Every single day I prayerwalked would be another decision, another step, toward discipline. That first day was no easier, no harder than any other. It was just a decision: Would I be a disciplined woman, for my own benefit, for the benefit of my family, and for the glory of God? I could not fix the physical and emotional pains of my life, but I could decide to meet God each morning while I walked.

After all, he wanted to be my Personal Trainer for becoming a woman of prayer, strength, and discipline. Some people have walking buddies. Others, like Oprah, pay someone to cheer them through a workout. I knew that in this new calling, prayerwalking, the Lord would be waiting at 5:30 on the front steps of my house, ready to hear my praise and petitions and to guide my steps—not only for the next hour but for the whole day ahead. How could I stay in bed when God was waiting for me? I got up! The first victory was won!

During my first months of prayerwalking I was too afraid I’d wimp out and jump back into bed if I undressed, so I pulled on lined nylon pants and a heavy sweatshirt right over my pajamas. As it grew colder, I added a coat, a double-layered knit hat, a woolen scarf, and gloves. Frost is our mountain manna about nine months of the year, and I’ve never liked being cold. I look pretty funny when I walk, but it’s no fashion show at that hour, and I stay warm. Yes, it took a friend of mine several months to realize it was I walking early in the morning—he thought I was a guy with all the heavy clothes on.

I started out slowly. Although my enthusiasm was high, I knew that if I overdid my first days, I could risk injury and discouragement. I strolled down Main Street, then picked up the pace a bit. That first day I walked a mile and a half in a half-hour. I increased the distance over the next weeks until I was consistently walking three miles in an hour. (Now I walk five miles in less than an hour and a half—fives times a week.)


I had thought that I’d be alone with God that early morning hour. At first I devoted the entire hour to prayers for my husband, Craig, and for our four children, Rebekah and Justin, both away at college, and Joshua and Bethany, who are still at home. But one morning a couple of weeks into my prayerwalking changed all that. As I approached Toddler Towers, our local day-care center, two cars drove up from opposite directions and parked, almost in sync. In one I recognized my friend Cheryl, ready to open the home-awayfrom-home for a couple dozen little ones. Emerging from the other, a young father swept up his curly-haired little girl, still in jammies and holding her blankie, and handed his sleepy package to Cheryl. I was okay until the bundle said, “Bye, Daddy. Love you.” When I heard those words, the immenseness of my prayer job hit me. My prayerwalk was not just for my family and myself, but also for the many others I would encounter on Main Street. I began to cry—bawl is a better word. I cried and prayed for all the little children and their mommies and daddies, as well as the day-care workers who would mother and teach the children that day.

On subsequent days my Personal Trainer opened my eyes to other needs along my path, and I added new prayers. As I passed my church, just a half-block off Main Street, I prayed for our board members, who were desperately seeking direction. I prayed for the other two churches in town, which had their own struggles. I prayed for the owners of the businesses I passed each day, the principals and teachers at our three schools, the commuters leaving early for hour-away Reno, and the men heading for the day shift at the lumber mill. I added the city council members and the county supervisors and other government workers. Soon I discovered a sober truth: I didn’t have enough time to pray for all the needs.

The experience was not only sobering but had another effect.

One morning about two months after I began prayerwalking, my younger son, Joshua, then thirteen, came into the kitchen and said, “What are you doing, Mom?”

I looked down at the counter and back at him. Maybe he didn’t have his contacts in. “Making peanut butter sandwiches?”

“No, Mom,” he said accusingly, “you were singing.” He walked away, shaking his head.

He was right. I was singing. I, the one whose usual morning words were only Get up…I said get up…Get up or you’ll be late— and other variations on the same theme—was singing. God had been filling my soul while I prayerwalked, and I couldn’t hold it in anymore. It occurred to me that my entire countenance—in fact, my entire outlook on life—had changed. Prayerwalking an hour each weekday had transformed my life—in just a couple of short months.

On an ordinary morning I made the decision to prayerwalk. On an ordinary morning you could do the same and thus change your life in similarly dramatic ways. Walk with me. Walk with me over city streets, small town paths, and country roads. Let me show you how one daily decision can make a difference for our world. Walk with me through joys and sorrows, through hopes and fears, through laughter and tears. Let me show you how talking with God each day will be better than extra sleep. Decide to seek a healthier lifestyle, and let me prove that “discipline” can actually feel good. Join me and our Personal Trainer…and prayerwalk your way to physical and spiritual strength.




Part 1 Becoming a Woman of Strength and Discipline

1. If I Can Do It, You Can Do It

2. Spiritual Endorphins

3. Making Time

4. Why Walk?

5. Reducing Aches and Pains

6. PrayerWalk Partners
Part 2 Becoming a Woman of Prayer

7. Prayer Tips from My Personal Trainer

8. “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”

9. Take a Walk with Me

10. Eyes Wide Open

11. A Sacrifice of Tears

12. Faces of Answered Prayer
Epilogue: Looking Back, Moving Forward

Study Guide

Resources on Walking

Thirty-Day PrayWalk Challenge

Appendix: How to Organize a Community PrayerWalk Event


Notes Excerpted from PrayerWalk by Janet Holm McHenry, Copyright © 2001 by Janet Holm McHenry. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

in store

I am so excited about this month. There are so many things going on and so many things I'm believing to happen. On Tuesday, I'm headed to the beach for four days. I'm so excited! I bought a bright blue bucket to put seashells in : ) Once we come back, I have a friend's wedding to go to on Saturday (hopefully I'll be sporting a great beach tan). At the end of the month I leave for four days as a youth leader for youth camp with my church. Every year has been better than the one before and I'm believing this year will be no exception. God is going to do some great things while we're there.

Right now I'm in the midst of packing and getting things wrapped in order to leave. I'm hoping to have some special recipes to share at some point this month (details to come). Have you ever just been excited about the future but not entirely sure why? That's how I'm feeling right now. I know some big things are going to happen this month and I'm beyond pumped about it!

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Even though I'm in my mid-twenties, I'll admit I still have moments where I might throw a small tantrum. Nothing like when little, on the ground and arms flailing but still, I'll definitely be in a mood...because I didn't get my way. I was thinking about this last night. I had planned a surprise party for my brother. Friends were going to meet us at a restaurant and then we were going to see the new Transformer movie. All week long he kept asking if we could go to a different theater or a different restaurant. He wouldn't trust that I knew exactly what I was doing and we would have fun. I then started thinking about myself and how I sometimes act with God. I know He has the best plans for me but that doesn't make waiting any easier. I want to keep asking questions, trying to pry information out of Him. I can't just sit back and let Him work things out. I get frustrated and feel like stomping my foot while asking "But God, why?" (said in a pouty voice). When I think about it, I know it doesn't make sense for me to behave like this - I know I can confidently leave everything with God. Sometimes, it just takes a while for that to sink in.

This song is my current favorite. The lyrics are so amazing and what I absolutely love is the line "it's gonna be wild, it's gonna be fun, it's gonna be full of Me." I love how it's God singing to us.

Jesus Culture - Come Away found on Pop

Friday, July 1, 2011

giveaway: "how huge the night" by heather & lydia munn

Congrats to J.P. for winning Young and In Love!

This month I'm giving away a copy of How Huge the Night by Heather and Lydia Munn. I reviewed it in May and won a second copy on Goodreads so I'm passing it along. To enter, leave me a comment along with an email address. For a bonus enter, leave a separate comment telling me how you found out about my blog. Contest ends Sunday, July 31 at midnight.