Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Created to Learn

I've started a new blog focusing on homeschool and book reviews. Visit me at Created to Learn.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Adventures of Rusty and Ginger Fox

Title: Adventures of Rusty and Ginger Fox
Author: Tim Ostermeyer
ISBN-13: 978-0-9845040-0-8
Price: $18.95
Publication Date: September 2010
Genre: Children’s
Page Count: 149
Publisher: Greater Reality Publications

Adventures of Rusty and Ginger Fox by Master Photographer and Author Tim Ostermeyer makes a great asset to any home’s collection of children’s books. Two tiny fox cubs, Rusty and Ginger, set out away from their parents on an adventure into the forest where they live. Along the way, they meet several other woodland creatures, some just as cute and friendly but others very large and scary. Will they outsmart the foes and make it to Treasure Island where a chest full of surprises awaits?

The book’s pages are filled with edge-to-edge real-life photographs of Ginger and Rusty and the animals they encounter. It also has facts about the each new animal introduced. Not only were my five-year-old and one-year-old enamored by the story and pictures but they also learned a several things along with the way without even realizing it. The book is most appropriate for ages 4-8.

For more information about the box and author visit http://rustyandgingerfox.com/.

A Billion Reasons Why

Release Date: Feb. 1, 2011

Practically Perfect

Can God’s best include passion and security?

Katie McKenna had resolved to live a quiet life, marry a practical Christian man, and leave all her “worldly” desires behind. Since moving to California, she’d made it her goal to live life logically and for the Lord. She has the perfect life—a fulfilling job, a cute apartment, and a wedding to plan with her soon-to-be fiancĂ©, Dexter.

But then in walks Luc DeForges, the handsome ex-boyfriend who’d broken her heart. After graduating college and rejecting Katie, Luc cornered the organic food market and became one of the most eligible multi-millionaire bachelors. But now he’s back and asking her to go home to New Orleans to sing at his brother’s wedding. She hasn’t fallen victim to her emotions since leaving New Orleans, and she’s invested too much to give into them now.

When Luc was in his element, there was nothing like it. His excitement was contagious and spread like a classroom virus, infecting those around him with a false sense of security. Katie inhales deeply and reminds herself that the man sold inspiration by the pound. His power over her was universal. It did not make her special.

Katie’s boyfriend, Dexter, is a practical man. As Katie’s roommate Eileen offers, “Katie, no matter how many entries you put in that book, Dexter is not going to be a romantic. I mean, fine, you’re going to marry him. He’s a good man. I just don’t want you to be disappointed. No matter how many junior high school hearts you draw next to his name, Dexter is going to order you what the Internet says is the proper gift for each anniversary. He’ll probably have a program created that does it for him.” But Dexter is safe. He’ll be a good dad. He’s very intellectual. He’s punctual. He’s everything she needs in a husband.

And Dexter will propose as soon as she gets her grandmother’s ring from her mom. And Luc will provide her with a free trip home for just that purpose. Plus, she needs to go home to New Orleans. It’s her last chance to find out why Luc tossed her from his life like a banana peel off the back of her father’s pickup. Love is a decision. A choice. All the leading experts said so, and she’d decided she would love Dexter in a way that honored and respected him. The way she’d loved Luc left her worn out and depleted, like an empty air mattress. Then what use was she? She’d get her ring and closure as well. Then nothing would stand in the way of her life with Dexter.

But what if God has more in store for her? What if God’s desire for her is a heart full of life? Can the passions she had as a young woman, which led to many of her past mistakes, still have a place in her life?

Kristin Billerbeck is a successful novelist from northern California. She has authored more than 30 novels, including the Ashley Stockingdale series and the Spa Girls series. She is a leader in the Chick Lit movement, a Christy Award finalist, and a two-time winner of the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award. She has appeared on The Today Show and has been featured in the New York Times.

A Billion Reasons Why by Kristin Billerbeck

Thomas Nelson/February 2011/ISBN: 978-1-59554-791-0/320 pages/softcover/$14.99

www.thomasnelson.com ~ www.kristinbillerbeck.com

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Interview with Cynthia Ructhi

The Interview with Cynthia Ructhi, author of They Almost Always Come Home. Scroll down for the giveway as well. All you have to do is leave a comment. to enter.

1. How would you describe your book?
The tagline for the book is “She’d leave her husband…if she could find him.”

When Libby’s husband Greg doesn’t return from a two-week canoe trip to the Canadian wilderness, the authorities write off his disappearance as an unhappy husband’s escape from an oatmeal marriage and mind-numbing career. Their marriage might have survived if their daughter Lacey hadn’t died and if Greg hadn’t been responsible. Libby enlists the aid of her wilderness-savvy father-in-law and her faith-walking best friend to help her search for clues to her husband’s disappearance. What the trio discovers in the wilderness search upends Libby’s assumptions about her husband and rearranges her faith.

It’s my prayer that this fictional adventure story and emotional journey will reveal its own hope-laden clues for those struggling to survive or longing to exit what they believe are uninspiring marriages. How can a woman survive a season or a lifetime when she finds it difficult to like the man she loves?

2. How were you different as a writer and as a person when you finished writing They Almost Always Come Home?
This book changed me in a profound way. It forced me to take a more honest look at myself and my reactions to crises so I could write Libby’s character with authenticity. Libby is a composite of many women. I haven’t experienced what she did, but I identify with some of her struggles and longings, as I hope my readers will. I see my friends in her eyes and know that her tears aren’t hers alone. Her shining moments feed my courage. Libby speaks for me and for many others when she discovers that she is stronger than she realized and weaker than she wanted to admit.

Writing her story was a journey for the author as much as for the character.

3. What did you feel the tug on your heart to become a writer?
My journey toward a lifetime of writing began by reading books that stirred me, changed me, convinced me that imagination is a gift from an imaginative Creator. As a child, I read when I should have been sleeping…and still do. I couldn’t wait for the BookMobile (library on wheels) to pull up in front of the post office in our small town and open its arms to me. Somewhere between the pages of a book, my heart warmed to the idea that one day I too might tell stories that made readers stay up past their bedtimes.
4. What books line your bookshelves?
My bookshelves—don’t ask how many!—hold a wide variety of genres. The collection expands faster than a good yeast dough. I’m a mood reader, grabbing a light comedy one day and a literarily rich work the next. Although I appreciate well-written nonfiction, I gravitate toward an emotionally engaging contemporary women’s fiction story.

Somthing Extra From the Author's Heart
Ten years ago, my husband almost didn’t come home. His canoe adventure with our son Matt soured on Day Two when Bill grew violently ill from what we presume was either pancreatitis or a gall bladder attack. He’s an insulin-dependent diabetic, so any grave illness is a threat. One in the middle of the Canadian wilderness is morgue material.

With no satellite phone with which to call for help, Matt took turns caring for his father and watching the shore for other canoeists happening past their hastily constructed campsite. The few other canoes were headed deeper into the remote areas of the park, not on their way out. None had a satellite phone. And none of them were doctors.

As my husband grew sicker, his diabetes went nuclear. He couldn’t eat, yet needed insulin because his liver thought it should help out by dumping vast quantities of sugar into his system. Even in a hospital setting, the situation would have been difficult to control, and the nearest hospital was light years away across vast stretches of water and woodland, through peopleless, roadless wilderness.

Our son stretched a yellow tarp across the rocks on shore and wrote S.O.S. with charcoal from a dead fire. He scratched out countless notes on pieces of notebook paper torn from their trip journal:

Send rescue! My dad is deathly ill.

Read the rest of the story at the KCWC BLOG

Blog Tour Giveaway Includes:

North Pak 20 inch cinch sack (lime)
Day Runner journal
Canoe Brand wild rice
Canada's brand blueberry jam
Coleman 60-piece mini first aid kit
Wood canoe/paddle shelf ornament
Six original photography notecards from video trailer
"Hope" hanging ornament
Mini Coleman "lantern" prayer reminder

Monday, June 07, 2010

They Almost Come Home

A new book I can't wait to read! Come back for tomorrow's post with an Interview with the author and info about a very nice giveaway that includes a Day Runner Journal, a mini Coleman "lantern" prayer reminder and much more!


(Wausau, WI) – At the foundation of each relationship resides the need to know love can survive even when feelings fade. In Cynthia Ruchti’s debut novel, They Almost Always Come Home, readers feel the desperation of this foundational yearning in a marriage clearly pulling loose from its moorings. Compounded by other issues—an unrewarding career and mismatched dreams—it’s enough to drive a man into the arms of the Canadian wilderness. When Greg Holden doesn’t return home from a wilderness canoe trip, his wife Libby wrestles with survivor guilt, a new layer of grief, and the belief that she was supposed to know how to fix her marriage. She planned to leave him—but how can she leave a man who’s no longer there? He was supposed to go fishing, not missing.

Libby has to find him before she can discover how their marriage ends. She plunges into the wilderness on an adventurous and risky manhunt, unsure what she will do if she finds him…or if she doesn’t. She expects to meet hardship, discomfort, and danger in the wilderness. She doesn’t expect to face the stark reality of her spiritual longing and a faint, but steady pulse that promises hope for reviving her marriage. If Greg’s still alive.

They Almost Always Come Home provides a glimpse into common, however uncomfortable, marital conflicts. Cynthia weaves a page-turning story, suspense building scene by scene. Her characters mirror ordinary people, living real-to-life situations, allowing readers to relate and sort through a myriad of emotions and life decisions. If fiction can contain adventure, riveting self-awareness, and romance all between the same covers, this is the book!

Cynthia Ruchti writes stories of “hope that glows in the dark.” She writes and produces The Heartbeat of the Home, a syndicated drama/devotional radio broadcast, and is editor for the ministry’s Backyard Friends magazine. She also serves as current president of American Christian Fiction Writers. Cynthia married her childhood sweetheart, who tells his own tales of wilderness adventures.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lessons in Sneakiness

I've been reading a devotion for little girls with Scamp several days a week. Today's lesson was on being sneaky only in good ways. I wasn't sure if she really understood the concept, so we went on with the rest of our day. I put her down for a nap a couple of hours later and carried Scoodle downstairs with me for a diaper change. Her supplies are in our bedroom, which is right below Scamp's room. I heard what I thought was Scamp getting out of her bed, and I slipped upstairs all prepared to discipline her.

When I opened her bedroom door, I saw a mop of sandy blonde hair making it's way out from under the bed with a golden brown, fuzzy teddy bear. Her eyes met mine, and she knew her well-planned bear rescue wasn't such a good idea after all. She immediately burst into tears, and I had to leave the room to hide my quite inappropriate amusement. I wasn't laughing at Scamp's misfortune of getting into trouble, but just the unexpected situation I caught her in.

She continued to wail as I made my way to Beef's office two rooms away and explained to him what I found. He was quite amused, too. We called a very distraught Scamp over, and I explained to her that her getting out of bed without permission was being sneaky in a bad way. And that next time she would get punished for that behavior. She seemed relieved as she crawled into bed, and now we will have a good example of what being sneaky in a bad way means for tomorrow's lesson.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Kiss by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy is one of Dekker's newest books. I'm reading the hard cover borrowed from a friend. When I hear the name Ted Dekker I often think freaky, supernatural thriller. I've read the first two books of his Circle Trilogy that I've thoroughly enjoyed. But, some of his other books like Adam, taken from the perspective of a serial killer, sounds too horrific to me. But, when I read the back of Kiss at the Christian book store, I wanted to read it right away.

One reason is that the main character is a female and not to mention has an incredible name, Shauna. The cover of the book is a bit misleading to me because it looks like the heroine is a seductress...hardly. I spent the first few chapters wondering when the cover of the book was going to make sense.

Here's the synopsis: Shauna, the daughter of a multi-billion dollar business man and presidential candidate, wakes up from a coma with 6 months of her memory missing. It seems as though everyone around her wants her to forget her past and move on, but the story they've told her about the car accident that caused her coma and her brother's brain damage just doesn't add up. When she decides to search for answers on her own, strange things begin to happen as she discovers a new and scary ability. And, those who say they are her friends just may be the ones she needs to flee.

Kiss was face-paced and exciting, and the plot reminded me somewhat of the Circle Trilogy books by Ted Dekker. If you haven't read a Ted Dekker book, this is a great one to start with.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

We Survived HFMD Part 2

Read Part 1 Here.

The doctor also instructed us to give her children's benadryl, not the most pleasant idea we found out later. At 2:30 pm I returned home from the pharmacy with a chocolate pedisure and the acid-rinse, um, I mean benadryl. The pedisure was a success. Praise God! There would be no trip to the doctor. But, the most heart-wrenching part was to come when I brought the benadryl in the medicine cup to give to Scamp. We coaxed her to drink it, and she let out the most horrific scream and said it burned. Oh no! And she still had over half the dose to drink. After that, we put all her medicines into a spoon to pour it in her mouth in one drink.

That night we allowed Scamp to sleep in our bed. Daddy left the house for an emergency run to the store and both girls were asleep in our room. Oh, now I could have a little relaxation until I heard an alarming sound coming from the bedroom. Scamp awoke in pain and was wailing which in turn awoke 4 month old Scoodle who was screaming. Now, I know what parents of twins feel like when both children are crying. Who do I attend to first? I gave Scoodle her paci and tried to coax Scamp to calm down. She did, but Scoodle spit her paci out and began to scream again causing Scamp to cry. Oh dear! Back and forth the girls played off each other. Finally, I took Scoodle into the other room with a bottle, and daddy arrived home in time to put Scamp back to bed. The house was peaceful again except for my racing heart.

The next morning we were all worn down from lack of consistent sleep. I was feeling quite claustrophobic since I hadn't left the house but for a 30 minute trip to the store, which was cut short by my being needed at home. Carrying Scoodle on my hip, I took her to her daddy and said, "We've got to leave the house today even if it's just a drive in the car. He must have sensed my near panic and took the baby from me. I thought I was holding it together until Scoodle was released from my arms. I began to cry, and Beef immediately called his mother, the girls beloved Meme, and asked her if she could come up. She arrived a couple of hours later and stayed for several more. God bless you, Meme.

Luckily, HFMD has been the worst virus we've experienced because of how long it lasted (6 days) and how much pain it caused Scamp. She lived on pedisure for another couple of days and slowly returned to solid food. Daddy gave up his side of the bed to Scamp during that time. I know Scamp appreciated it. Some of the research showed that she still may be contagious for another few weeks. Baby Scoodle has had no symptoms, and we are very thankful.