Wednesday, January 23, 2013

It Happens Every Spring

I have a book to tell you about and right now you can get the e-book version for free!  I've been wanting to tell you about this book for a while.  I actually read the entire series.  And, I have to tell you, I'm sad that they are over.  I really miss the people I met at Deepwater Cove while reading the Four Seasons series.

But, I digress, I want to tell you about the first book in the series It Happens Every Spring by Catherine Palmer and Gary Chapman.  You may recognize that second author.  Yep, it's the non-fiction, marriage and counseling, Gary Chapman.  He and Catherine Palmer built this fiction series based around his four-seasons of marriage.

In It Happens Every Spring, you meet the residents of Deepwater Cove, a small community that live on a lake in Michigan.  This first book introduces us to all the residents, but we spend lots of time with Steve and Brenda, a middle-aged couple who are struggling with an empty nest and how their marriage will look inside this nest.  Their troubles are coupled with the arrival of a stranger named Cody who steps into everyone's lives in one way or another.

I loved this book.  In truth, it took me a few chapters to get "into" it, but once I did, I didn't want it to end.  I quickly ordered the rest of the series when I finished It Happens Every Spring.  I was able to get all of my books from Paperback Swap, but they are readily available at all the booksellers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  

AND right now you can read It Happens Every Spring for FREE.  If you click on that Amazon or Barnes & Noble link above, you can get the Kindle edition or the Nook edition for $0.00.  I learned about this because I get Tyndale's e-book extra newsletter.  They send me a schedule of the e-books they will have available for free over the course of a month.  You can sign up for it here.  And here is a list of all that's free in January.

So, if you're intrigued by my review of It Happens Every Spring, then what are you waiting for?  Go get it for free!  But don't dally.  It's only available free until 1/31/2013.

Monday, January 21, 2013

For a Good Cause

A few weeks ago I was asked to participate in an auction to help a family with their adoption. After learning more about this family, I’m pleased to have been a part of this cause. I’m asking my family friends and fellow readers to hop on over there to check out what we’ve all put together to give “Micah” a loving family.

The auction is starting today, Monday January 21, 2013 to February 1, 2013. You may contribute through a donation or bid on crafted items. All proceeds will be used for the adoption expenses. Click here to contribute the best way you can.

I have two listings in the auction.  One is a hat and scarflette set.  The other is a ruffle scarf.  I've pictured my listings in this post.

In California, an independent adoption costs about $12,000. Of course on a pastors and a preschool teacher’s salary, this amount can be hard to come up with. On top of the adoption costs, they have had to outfit their house to pass the home inspection as well as get all of the essentials needed for Micah. They have raised a couple thousand, but are still in need to make the adoption final.

Here is Tim and Juli Shafer's story...

Dear Family and Friends,

As many of you know, it has been a desire of Tim and mine to have a family. For 11 years we have trusted God to provide that family for us when He saw fit. This August Tim and I had talked about following through with testing and seeing where that would lead us. We also talked about the possibility of adoption.

Then a miracle started to happen. On October 13th we had a lady in our church approach us asking if we knew anyone who could help a young lady she knew who was pregnant. Tim told her to talk to me, as I grew up volunteering for Bethany Christian Services, a Christian adoption agency. I gave her all the information I had and also my phone number. I let her know that I would love to answer any questions this young lady may have.

On October 21st the pregnant young lady came to church and wanted to speak with me. I went over to introduce myself and we went into a room to talk. As I explained about the adoption agency and how the process worked she just sat quietly. After I got done talking she looked at me and said, “I know you two have wanted to have a family and don’t have one yet. I want you to take my baby. I’m due November 9th and it’s a boy.” I just sat there in shock. My only reply was, “I will talk to Tim and we will pray about it. We will see if that is what God is leading us to do. But if I don’t feel led to take the baby I will help you find the perfect home for him.” She looked at me again and said,“I want you to have my baby.”

From then on it has been a whirlwind of emotions and praying. Trusting God to do what He felt was best. I contacted a friend of mine named Bonnie who used to work for Bethany Christian Services. I told her about the conversation that had taken place earlier that day. She agreed to meet with the birth mom on Monday, October 22nd. Bonnie talked to the birth mom for 3 hours and got her background, her emotional stability, health situation, etc. After meeting with her, Bonnie looked at Tim and said, “How serious are you?” We knew at that moment our lives could be changed forever.

Tim and I talked for hours about this new possibility of being parents. We prayed and sought God’s will in the whole situation. We felt God telling us this was His plan for us and the baby. A peace came over us and we knew from that moment on we were going to take this baby.

On Wednesday, October 24th I went with the birth mom to an ultrasound appointment. The doctor performing the ultrasound said that everything looked good. Then he dropped a bombshell on us. He told us that her water had broken and that the baby was coming tonight. I was in complete shock. We were barely ready for a baby coming on the 9th of November; we were not ready for a baby 3 days after meeting this young lady.

I texted Tim that the water had broken and the baby was coming tonight. Needless to say, he freaked out a little. Then he drove down to the hospital and was there waiting with myself and Bonnie.

Well, long story short, Micah Timothy came into the world at 9:40pm October 24th, 2012. He weighed 5 lbs 15oz and was 18” long. Talk about being instant parents. We had nothing for a baby, we thought we had a couple weeks to prepare, but God’s timing is perfect and He knew that we could handle Micah coming that night.

Here is where you come in. We would like to ask two things of you. First, we ask that you partner with us in prayer as we begin this new adventure. Pray that we can raise Micah to be a man who serves God and lives his life for Him. The second thing we ask is for you to consider partnering with us financially. It is going to cost about $10,000 to adopt Micah. With only 3 days’ notice we were not prepared for this financially. So, we are asking that you would consider making a donation to help us legally adopt baby Micah. Tax deductible donations can be made to Palm Canyon Community Church, 25550 Ironwood Ave., Moreno Valley, CA 92557. Please note “Micah” in the memo line.

As we look back over the last few weeks we can see God’s hand in the whole situation. We serve a powerful God who wants His people to have the desires of their hearts. We believe that God has called us to raise this baby and that He will ultimately provide for our needs.
Thanks so much for journeying with us as we start this new phase of life. Please do not feel obligated to give money. Your love and prayers are a great support to us and are much appreciated.


Tim and Juli Shafer

So please, check out the auction and see if there's a way you can help this young couple to adopt their baby boy.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Winter Jam 2013

On Friday, Big Mac and I had a date.  We left T-Bone at home with the Big Dog and drove to State College PA for Winter Jam:  Ten Bands for Ten Dollars.  Last year, Big Mac went to Winter Jam with a youth group and when he got home he announced that he and I were going to go the following year.  We've been planning this trip ever since.  Some of our plans were mislaid because we got stuck in horrible traffic due to an overturned truck.  But we made it to the concert and got good seats in the second level, but still pretty close to the stage.

The bands were:  Royal Tailor, NewSong, Sidewalk Prophets, Jaimie Grace, Red, Capital Kings, Jason Castro, OBB, Matthew West, and Toby Mac.  The speaker was Nick Hall.

The speaker was terrific.  He spoke about to teens about giving up their secret sins to God.  He had trashcans placed all over the arena with slips of paper in a slot on the side.  He encouraged kids to list what they needed to relinquish to the Lord and put it in the trash can, symbolically giving that secret sin to God.  And when we do that, here is what He can do with our lives.  (see the picture to the left, it's one of my favorite effects)  God can make something beautiful out of a mess.

One of the sponsors of the event was WorldVision.  Big Mac and I discussed it and we decided to sponsor a child.  We already sponsor a girl in Haiti.  But at Winter Jam, Big Mac chose a little boy in Mexico that our family will now sponsor.  You don't have to go to Winter Jam if you want to sponsor a child.  Go here for World Vision's website.  It's interesting to me because the little boy that Big Mac chose, looks like he and his brother did when they were 3 or 4 years old.  It will be fun to get to know this boy and watch him grow as we sponsor him.

I think my favorite singer was Jamie Grace.  Her music is so upbeat.  And she is very upbeat too!  I really enjoyed her.

I'm not a heavy metal fan so I didn't enjoy Red.  In truth they were a little too intense for me.  BUT I'm sure they love the Lord and their faith is strong.  It's just not my kind of music.

I posted on FaceBook that I wanted to write the lyrics to every Sidewalk Prophets song on the walls of our home.  Their songs were excellent.

Matthew West had terrific stories that brought me to tears with his songs.  And I could not believe Jason Castro's voice.  Amazing.

Then Toby Mac closed the show.  He puts on a great show.  Recently Big Mac and T-Bone got to attend a Toby Mac concert with their Uncle.  I'm sure it was super-entertaining, because just the partial concert we saw was really terrific.  In the picture to the right you can see the sparks falling down as part of his show.

And then, all too soon, the concert was over.  All the singers came out on stage for the end of one of Toby Mac's songs.  There were confetti bombs.  And then the show was closed in prayer just as it was opened in prayer.
It was an inspiring night.  We came home with three CDs and the desire to hear more of the great music that points us to Jesus that we heard at Winter Jam.

I'll be at Winter Jam 2014, how about you?  If you are reading this and you are not in PA, Winter Jam 2013 MIGHT be coming to a city near you.  Check here for concert details.  They are touring for quite a while yet!  Check 'em out.

If you saw a Winter Jam concert, tell me what you thought!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

What's for supper?

Barbecue bacon swiss chicken from the crock pot; french fries; homemade cold slaw; and a bowl full of grapes. Wait until I tell you about the new crock pot cookbook I got for Christmas.