Monday, December 31, 2012

Fire of the Raging Dragon by Don Brown

In Fire of the Raging Dragon---the second book in bestselling author Don Brown’s Pacific Rim Series---Stephanie Surber is stationed on board a submarine tender in the South China Sea when a naval war breaks out. After a gruesome discovery escalates America’s involvement, Stephanie’s father, U.S. President Douglas Surber, must choose to take a stand against evil … or save the life of his daughter.

My review: Back around 2005, I picked up one of the first, if not the first, military style Christian fiction books I have read. That book was Treason by Don Brown. I devoured that book and couldn't wait for the sequel to come out, and the rest of the books in The Navy Justice Series. Since then, I have eagerly grabbed each book he has written and enjoyed them all. I was delighted when I got an email offering me the chance to review his newest book, Fire of the Raging Dragon.

    This book is fiction, but its a scary look at what could happen if the USA and China got into a skirmish. Not to get too political in a book review, but this book impressed upon me how important it is to have the right man in charge of our country and our defense. Even though the events portrayed are scary, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and once I started, I only put it down long enough to eat, then picked it up again and read until the finish.

    A few things I really appreciated in this book, and all of Don's books: There is no bad language. Yes, you can write a book of this type and have it be realistic without bad language. Also: There is a lot of action going on in different locations. There are several ships from 3 countries, jets and helicopters from 2 countries, plus action going on in the White House, China, and Taiwan. Every time the location changes, it is indicated and that makes it extremely easy to keep up. I have read books where there is a lot of location change and it isn't clearly marked. Lastly: There is a lot of military jargon action, commands, etc used in the book, but Don does a great job of making it easy to understand for we civilians. Knowing his background, it makes me appreciate the story all the more and know it is realistic.

    This is a fiction book, but it still made me come away with a greater appreciation for our military and gave me a little more insight into what life on the sea and in battle is like for them. It also made me realize just how fragile the peace is between we and so many countries, and as I stated before: how important it is to have the right people in power, which we do not at this time.

   This book would be more for men, though women who enjoy military/suspense books would like it also. There is no romance in the book, but there is a lot of suspense and action. I highly recommend it.

   This is the second book in the Pacific Rim Series, but it is not necessary to read the books in order.

About the author:

Don Brown is the author of Thunder in the Morning Calm, The Malacca Conspiracy, The Navy Justice Series and Black Sea Affair, a submarine thriller that predicted the 2008 shooting war between Russia and Georgia. Don served five years in the U.S. Navy as an officer in the Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps, which gave him an exceptional vantage point into both the Navy and the inner workings of 'inside-the-beltway' as an action officer assigned to the pentagon. He left active duty in 1992 to pursue private practice, but remained on inactive status through 1999, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He and his family live in North Carolina,  where he pursues his passion for penning novels about the Navy.

Visit his website at

More about the book here.

Fire of the Raging Dragon is available from Zondervan Publishing.

Thanks to Zondervan for the review copy.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Twelve Months by Steven Manchester

Don DiMarco has a very good life – a family he loves, a comfortable lifestyle, passions and interests that keep him amused. He also thought he had time, but that turned out not to be the case. Faced with news that might have immediately felled most, Don now wonders if he has time enough. Time enough to show his wife the romance he didn’t always lavish on her. Time enough to live out his most ambitious fantasies. Time enough to close the circle on some of his most aching unresolved relationships. Summoning an inner strength he barely realized he possessed, Don sets off to prove that twelve months is time enough to live a life in full.

A glorious celebration of each and every moment that we’re given here on Earth, as well as the eternal bonds that we all share, TWELVE MONTHS is a stirring testament to the power of the human spirit.

My review:
  This book is a fictional account of a man who gets bad news regarding his health. Instead of sitting back and waiting to die, he decides to live it up for his remaining time and make the best of it. He does the things he always wanted to do, spends more time with loved ones, etc.

 A book about someone with a year to live can be depressing, and though the book did have its sad moments, it was more inspirational than sad. I wouldn't label this Christian fiction, but it is inspirational. Anyone who has gotten bad news of this type, or family members of those who have, would do well to read this. The author has done a great job of taking a scary issue like cancer and showing that there is a good way to handle it, and that even if you are dying, you can go out with no regrets.

About the author:

Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 best seller, Twelve Months, as well as A Christmas Wish (Kindle exclusive), the heart-warming prequel to Goodnight, Brian (release date, January 8, 2013). His work has appeared on NBC's Today Show, CBS's The Early Show, CNN's American Morning and BET's Nightly News. Recently, three of Steven's short stories were selected "101 Best" for Chicken Soup for the Soul series. When not spending time with his beautiful wife, Paula, or his four children, this Massachusetts author is promoting his works or writing. Visit:

Thanks to the author for the review copy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Best books of 2012

I read a lot of books this past year, and as I did last year, I have compiled a list of the best ones I read. They are not in order of likability, but in the order I read them. Some made the list because they were an awesome exciting read, and some made the list because of how they impacted me. I gave up on doing a top 10 and tried for the top 20, but did add one more to the list. There are two series listed that had 3 books each. I enjoyed both series, and decided to count them each once, instead of adding 6 books to the list.

1) Firethorn by Ronie Kendig
2) Frantic by Mike Dellosso
3) The Chase by Debra White Smith
4) Kiss the Night by Debbie Viguie
5) Accused by Janice Cantore
6) Injustice For All by Robin Caroll
7) The Halflings by Heather Burch
8) The 13th Tribe by Robert Liparulo
9) The Discovery by Dan Walsh
10) Code of Silence by Tim Shoemaker
11) Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury
12) Race Against Time by Kimberly and Layla Woodhouse
13) Relentless Pursuit by Kathy Herman
14) The Last Disciple Series by Hank Hanegraaff and Sigmund Brouwer
15) Your Own Jesus by Mark Hall
16) Trinity: Military War Dog by Ronie Kendig
17) The End Series by Craig Parshall & Tim LaHaye
18) Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill
19) Soul’s Gate by Jim Rubart
20) If We Survive by Andrew Klavan
21) The 13: Fall by Erik Reed and Robbie Cheuvront

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Guardian by Heather Burch

Vigilance. The mission to safeguard Nikki Youngblood depends on the fragile alliance of two half-angel, half-human guardians, both struggling with intense feelings for the girl who has been assigned to their care. Mace, steadfast and deeply in love, wants to protect Nikki at all costs, while Raven's loyalty to Nikki finds him advocating for her independence and battling his own darker inclinations. At the same time, Nikki finds it harder and harder to choose between the two heavenly beings she may never have. Dangers intensify, and tensions between Mace and Raven flare as the purpose of their mission becomes clear. Can their defenses hold up to master manipulator Damon Vessler and the powerful secret he holds regarding Nikki's heritage? Can anyone protect Nikki from her true purpose and destiny?

My review:

   There are quite a few books out for young adults now that are about half human/half angel beings. I think its a neat idea to explore with fiction, and this series is among the best out there. The author has come up with a term, halfling, to describe such a being, and spins a great story around them.

  This is the second book in the series, and I think its even better than the first. There is a lot of action and drama, and even romance - a combination that will appeal to teenagers. And adults like me who can still enjoy juvenile books. This book has more character development of the main characters, especially Mace, Raven, and Nikki, and there is even more conflict between the three with the two guys vying for Nicki's affections. (By the way, Heather if you read this review: Mace better be the one that gets the girl!)
   I loaned the first book in the series, Halflings, to my then 16 year old niece, and she absolutely loved it and asked when the first one would be out. She hasn't read this one yet, but I am sure she will like it as well or more than the first.

   These books are more than drama and teen romance. They show the battle between evil and good and help reinforce the reality that we do have a spiritual enemy who fights us constantly. I highly recommend this series. It would be great for teenagers, especially girls.

Get two free ebooks:
11:15, The Making of a Halfling

A Halflings Rescue
About the author:

Heather Burch grew up in Branson, Missouri, where she learned to love fiction. She then married into a family of published novelists and quickly learned writing was her heart’s desire. When she’s not working on her latest book, Heather can be found watching a sunset at a beach near her home in Southern Florida, along with her sons Jake and Isaac, and husband, John---who is her hero in every way.
Check out her website at

Go to the halflings website for more information about the books.
Guardian is available from Zondervan Publishing.
Thanks to Zondervan for the review copy.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs

Christmas Eve 1894
All Margaret Campbell wants for Christmas is a safe journey home. When her plans for a festive holiday with her family in Stirling crumble beneath the weight of her brother’s bitterness, the young schoolteacher wants nothing more than to return to the students she loves and the town house she calls home.

Then an unexpected detour places her in the path of Gordon Shaw, a handsome newspaperman from Glasgow, who struggles under a burden of remorse and shame.

When the secret of their shared history is revealed, will it leave them tangled in a knot of regret? Or might their past hold the threads that will bind their future together?

As warm as a woolen scarf on a cold winter’s eve, A Wreath of Snow is a tender story of love and forgiveness, wrapped in a celebration of all things Scottish, all things Victorian, and, especially, all things Christmas.

My review:

I almost let the description of this book as Victorian scare me off. I'm glad I went ahead and requested it. It may be Victorican by the time it is set in, but it isn't a weird gushy type of book like I expected with Victorian. There is romance in the book, but the focal point of the book is Christmas and forgiveness.

Liz Curtis Higgs is well known for her humor, and although she doesn't come through with her humor in this book, it is still a great book to add to your Christmas reading collection. I enjoyed the book. It had a great Christmas message, and a greater message of forgiveness.

About the author:

In her best-selling series of Bad Girls of the Bible books, workbooks, and videos, Liz breathes new life into ancient tales about the most infamous—and intriguing—women in scriptural history, from Jezebel to Mary Magdalene. Biblically sound and cutting-edge fresh, these popular titles have helped more than one million women around the world experience God’s grace anew.

Her best-selling historical novels, which transport the stories of Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, Dinah, Ruth, and Naomi to eighteenth-century Scotland, also have invited readers to view these familiar characters in a new light. Now, with The Girl’s Still Got It, Liz offers a twenty-first century take on the book of Ruth, dishing out meat and milk, substance and style, in a highly readable, always entertaining, and deeply personal journey with one of the Good Girls of the Bible.

Liz is the author of nearly 30 books, with more than 3 million copies in print. Her popular nonfiction books include Bad Girls of the Bible, Really Bad Girls of the Bible, Unveiling Mary Magdalene, Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible, Rise and Shine, and Embrace Grace.

She’s also a best-selling novelist, creating both contemporary and historical fiction, including her latest award-winning novels, Here Burns My Candle and Mine Is the Night. And she’s written five books for young children, including Go Away, Dark Night.

Her children’s Parable Series received a 1998 ECPA Gold Medallion for Excellence, her nonfiction book Embrace Grace won a 2007 Retailers Choice Award, and her novel Whence Came a Prince received a 2006 Christy Award for Best Historical Novel. Here Burns My Candle was named 2010 Best Inspirational Romance by Romantic Times Book Reviews, and her 2011 novel, Mine Is the Night, was a New York Times bestseller.

Liz was also an award-winning columnist for Today’s Christian Woman for ten years. Additional articles by Liz have appeared in Faith&Friends in Canada, WomanAlive in Great Britain, and Enhance in Australia. And more than 4,500 churches nationwide are using her video Bible study series, Loved by God.

A gifted professional speaker, known by her audiences as An Encourager®, Liz has presented more than 1,600 inspirational programs in all fifty United States and fourteen foreign countries, including Israel, Thailand, Portugal, and Indonesia. When the National Speakers Association honored her with their Council of Peers Award for Excellence, Liz became one of only thirty-five women in the world named to their CPAE-Speaker Hall of Fame. Her alma mater, Bellarmine University, presented her with a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2005, and she received an Honorary Doctorate from Georgetown College in 2010.

Feature articles about Liz have appeared in more than 250 major newspapers and magazines, as well as on,,,,, and many other websites. She has been interviewed on more than 600 radio and television stations, including guest appearances on PBS, A&E, MS•NBC, NPR, TBN, CBC Canada, BBC Radio Scotland, Shine TV New Zealand, Radio Pulpit South Africa, Focus on the Family, Life Today, 100 Huntley Street, and Midday Connection on the Moody Network.

On the personal side, Liz is married to Bill Higgs, Ph.D., who serves as Director of Operations for her speaking and writing office. Liz and Bill enjoy their old Kentucky home, a nineteenth-century farmhouse in Louisville, and are the proud (and relieved!) parents of two college grads, Matthew and Lillian. Visit Liz’s Web site:

Monday, December 3, 2012

Book giveaway

enter to win a copy of Cloud Culture, a great book about the Christian and social networking. Drawing on December 12. Comment on the book review.

Resurrect by David E Stevens, with a giveaway

Preventing his burning fighter from crashing into a neighborhood, Navy Commander Josh Logan ejects ... too late.

Critically injured, he's offered a new life and mission exploit highly classified military technology to stop a global cataclysm. The price? He'll be dead to everyone he knows.

He wakes in a city hospital with a genetically enhanced body and no identity. With the help of his brilliant, Neuro ICU nurse, and guided by nothing but a voice, he must infiltrate the military-industrial complex to develop the world's most powerful weapon ... to protect humanity?

My review:

The good:
  Awesome book. Plot, characters, action, suspense, even romance. The author has military experience and it comes through the book. This kind of book would be hard to write with so much realisitc detail without having t his knowledge. It is the kind of book I had a hard time putting down, and I did pretty much read it in one sitting.

  It is also the kind of book that you don't know what is coming next. I got pulled into the story right off the bat, and though it really is never explained in this book how the main character is alive again after being dead, it was still a fantastic plot with great characters. I don't read much secular fiction, but this could be put up against some of the most popular authors of suspense and intrigue.

The bad:
I'm one of those silly old fashioned people who doesn't curse, and still believes Christians shouldn't do it... even in books, and that Christian fiction shouldn't contain certain things - like cursing. This book is the worst in that regard of any book I have read that was classified as Christian fiction.

The curse word for complaining (starts with a b) - at least 2 uses

God's name taken in vain (Oh my...) - at least 4 uses
Ticked off vulgar term  - at least one use
Hell used as an expletive - at least 7 times
the "d word" - once that I caught
"King James donkey" - one use.

In addition, the main character seemed to be ok with evolutionary theories like the bib bang theory, etc.

To me, this book isn't Christian fiction. Its a great story with a great plot, but Christian? No. So if you normally read secular suspense/intrigue, this book is for you. But if you normally read Christian fiction and don't like curse words and vulgarity in Christian fiction, skip this one. By the way, I contacted the publisher about the language and got no response.

About the author:

A Navy fighter pilot with hundreds of aircraft carrier landings, Commander David E Stevens holds degrees from Cornell and the University of Michigan with graduate work in astrophysics. He test piloted new fighters and received an aviation patent. With a Top Secret clearance, Dave served as Strike Operations Officer for the Persian Gulf during Desert Storm and led classified defense programs. He's traveled to over two dozen countries. 

Resurrect is available from Monarch Books, a deivision of Kregel Publishing.

Thanks to Litfuse for the review copy.

Resurrect Kindle Fire Giveaway from David E. Stevens. RSVP for Facebook Party {12/4} To celebrate the release of Resurrect, David E. Stevens has teamed up with his publisher, Kregel Publications, for a Kindle Fire Giveaway and Facebook Author Chat Party {12/4}.

One "thrilling" winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Resurrect by David E. Stevens
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 3rd. Winner will be announced at the "Resurrect" Author Chat Facebook Party on 12/4. Connect with David, get a sneak peek of the next book in the Resurrect Trilogy, try your hand at the trivia contest, and win some great prizes—gift certificates, books and a Book Club Prize Pack (10 copies for your book club or small group)!

So grab your copy of Resurrect and join David on the evening of December 4th for a chance to connect with David and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 4th!

Walking On Water When You Feel Like You're Drowning by Tommy Nelson and Steve Leavitt

Today more people than ever are suffering from emotional distress. Whether they are dealing with depression, anxiety, obsessiveness, fear, worry, or stress, their lives are limited and compromised by the ill-effects. People who suffer from emotional distress often feel isolated and unloved, either by God or by others, and often believe that there is no hope and no way out.

There is good news, however! A truly biblical approach to healing emotional distress focuses on a holistic cure that integrates the mind, body, and spirit. Even when we feel truly alone, God is holding us in His hand. Even when we feel truly hopeless, God offers comfort and purpose. And even when we feel like we will never escape the pit of emotional distress, God sets our feet on firm ground and promises to never let us go. No matter what we have been through or what we are going through now, God can bring critically needed healing and transformation into our lives when we adjust what the authors refer to as “stinkin’ thinkin’.”

My review:
I used to be under the misconeption that Christians didn't suffer from depression until I had to deal with it myself. I have read a few books on the subject since then, and this is one that I would highly recommend to anyone dealing with it or wanting to understand it better.

The authors deal with what causes it, what is happening to your body, the problem with perfectionism, how Biblical thinking is crucial to recovery, when you should consider medication, and more. This isn't a long book. It is only 158 pages, but the authors cover the subject of dealing with depression and anxiety very thoroughly in those pages. It is refreshing to get a Biblical and professional view in the same book. It was a helpful, ye interesting read.

About the authors:

Steve Leavitt is a Christian counselor who understands grief. His compassion for the hurting grew when he lost his first wife to cancer in 1997. With an MA in biblical counseling from Dallas Theological Seminary, he is an ordained minister who has been ministering and counseling for over 25 years. During that time he has written and spoken to thousands of people on the issues of marriage, raising a family, growing strong teens, and grief. Steve hosts a live call-in counseling show on KSLR out of San Antonio, Texas. He has an extensive published teaching CD ministry on the subjects of marriage, parenting, the church, and biblical solutions to depression, anxiety, fear, worry, and obsessive compulsive issue. Steve lives in New Braunfels, Texas, with his wife, Marty, and four growing children.
Since 1977, Tommy Nelson has been the Pastor of Denton Bible Church, located in Denton, Texas. He has been featured on Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, Josh McDowell, For Faith and Family, and other national broadcasts. He has a Master of Arts degree in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary.
Tommy has been married to Teresa Nelson for more than 25 years. They have two adult sons, Benjamin and John.

Walking On Water When You Feel Like You're Drowning is available from Tyndale House Publishers.

Thanks to Tyndale for the review copy.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Greenwood and Archer by Marlene Banks

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Greenwood and Archer
Lift Every Voice; New Edition edition (September 20, 2012)
Marlene Banks


Marlene Banks has worked 30+ years combined in nursing and the business arena. Her goal as a writer is to create inspiring, gripping and realistic stories with an emphasis on African American literature. She believes her gift and desire to write is from God and desires to use it to fulfill His purposes. Marlene lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she is a member of Bethel Deliverance International Church.


Greenwood and Archer: After the Riot continues the stories of Billy Ray Matthias and Benny Freeman and the residents of the Greenwood District after the historical Tulsa Race Riots of 1921. Though a sequel to Son of a Preacherman, Greenwood and Archer can be read as a stand alone book.

The White Glove Society has all but destroyed the Greenwood District, home to the affluent blacks in Tulsa. Now those who have survived are trying to recover what is left including Billy Ray Matthias and Benny Freeman. Billy Ray and Benny are engaged but Benny is hesitant to set a date. Jordan Franks, Benny's ex-fiancee shows up in Tulsa and Benny is confronted with the memories and emotions of the crippling break up she experienced with Jordan. She must decide whether she will stand and face her past or allow it to drive her back into the dark place she'd grown used to before meeting Billy Ray. Billy Ray's attempts to keep Benny from running away are challenged by his own struggles as he wrestles with God's call on his life to preach.

DP Dooley, plagued by a past that prompted him to turn from God and become a government agent, is in a turmoil as he wars against enemies seen and unseen. Internally, he fights against the darkness of his soul as the anger and resentment he has harbored against God for most of his life wears him down. Externally, he continues to fight against the threats of the bigoted White Gloves Society, which is growing and trying to increase its racist activities.

The once hard-edged racial views of Chief Tobias Parnell have noticeably dulled and he no longer enjoys the favor of the White Glove Society. Teaming up with Dooley, Chief Parnell fights against illegal racketeering, bootlegging and racial crimes. A new brotherhood forms in Tulsa, the interdenominational Christian clergyman (ICCA). Braving the social struggles of Tulsa, five clergymen attempt to and bring together God's people, regardless of race, economic status, gender, ethnicity and even doctrine. Their goal, along with the people of Greenwood is to see a new Tulsa rise from the ashes.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Greenwood and Archer, go HERE.

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Wild Goose Chase Christmas by Jennifer AlLee

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Wild Goose Chase Christmas
Abingdon Press (November 2012)
Jennifer AlLee


A Word from Jennifer:

As I look back on my life, it's interesting to see where God's taken me, and where I took myself that God pulled me out of. I finally got back to writing, the dream of my heart. Since 1996, I've published numerous short stories, devotions and plays. I've also been active in church drama ministries, another passion of mine. My first novel, The Love of His Brother (November 2007, Five Star Publishers), was followed by The Pastor's Wife (February 2010, Abingdon Press) and The Mother Road (April 2012). A Wild Goose Chase Christmas is book two in the new Quilts of Love series.

Besides being a writer, I am a wife and mom. Living in Las Vegas, Nevada, my family has learned how to enjoy the fabulous buffets here without severely impacting our waistlines. God is good!


Upon her grandmother's death, Izzy Fontaine finds herself in possession of a Wild Goose Chase pattern quilt that supposedly leads to a great treasure.

Of course, once the rest of the family finds out about the "treasure map," they're determined to have a go at the treasure themselves. And, if that weren't enough, Max Logan, a local museum curator, contacts Izzy and says that Grandma Isabella promised him the quilt.

What is it about this quilt that makes everyone want it? Is Izzy on a wild goose chase of her own, or a journey that will lead her to the treasure her grandmother intended?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Wild Goose Chase Christmas, go HERE.

My review:
This book is pretty much a romance, but I loved it. It is centered around Christmas, which is always a plus for me in a book, and family. Abington Publishers has a series of books that are independent of each other and written by different authors, Quilts of Love. They are all about a quilt. I haven't read any of the others, but enjoyed this one. It was entertaining, funny, and had a great family message in it. I liked how the quilt brought family members closer. Neat book, I recommend it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Gaither Homecoming Bible, NKJV

The Gaither Homecoming Bible will make the Bible come alive for those seeking truth in the twenty-first century, even for those who think they already know it.

For years, Bill and Gloria Gaither have reached millions of people across generations with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Their music of joy, thanksgiving, and praise ushers people into the presence of God so that He can do His wondrous work in their lives. Featuring inspirational and insightful Scripture devotions by the Gaithers and other favorite Homecoming artists; articles on beloved hymns, gospel songs, and Gaither classics and the inspiration behind them; original poetry by Gloria Gaither to enlighten and inspire; and quotes by greats of the faith, reflecting on the importance of music in the life of believers, this beautiful Bible featuring the New King James Version® (NKJV) is one that readers will treasure for years to come

My review:

   I admit when I saw this Bible was coming out that my reaction was "Oh brother!" The Bible section in bookstores do seem to be overflowing with all sorts of specialized Bibles, and do we really need one for we Southern Gospel/Homecoming fans? Maybe not, but it IS a nice Bible.

  My two favorite versions of the Bible are The New Living Translation and The New King James Version, so they made me happy right off the bat using one of my favorites, The New King James Version. So how does this Bible differ from other NKJVs? The Homecoming Bible has devotionals scattered all throughout written by people who appear and have appeared in the Gaither Homecoming videos. People such as Connie Hopper, Dallas Holm, Gordon Mote, Kim Collingsworth, Squire Parsons, and many more.

   There are also several stories of popular hymns in this Bible along with the lyrics to the hymns. Gloria Gaither has written some thoughts on the sides of some passages of Scripture, and also has included some songs they wrote with her thoughts.

   There is some beautiful artwork throughout the Bible used as backgrounds for the hymn stories and other features and along the tops of many pages. There are also quotes by different people and some verses highlighted with color against the white pages.

   This may not be a "must have" Bible, but it is a very nice Bible with some neat features that the average Southern Gospel fan will enjoy.

   The Homecoming Bible is available in hardcover, bonded leather, and leather-look.

  Check out and explore the Bible here.

About the editors:

Bill Gaither
The pages of history have been written by ordinary people who had something extraordinary to say with their lives. Bill Gaither is just such an individual... an Indiana-born kid with an insatiable love for music who grew to become an industry leader who would change the course of gospel music history through the songs he has written and through his influence as a mentor for other artists.

An avid fan of gospel quartets throughout his childhood, Bill founded his first group, The Bill Gaither Trio, in 1956, while he was a college student. He began teaching English in 1959 because his musical aspirations couldn't support him full-time... yet.

In 1962, Bill did one of the best things he has ever done. He married Gloria Sickal, who became the best writing partner Bill could have found anywhere. The couple spent the first five years of their married life juggling full-time teaching jobs, writing, singing, recording and publishing until music became their full-time career in 1967.

The collaborations of Bill and Gloria have resulted in more than 600 popular gospel songs, including the hymnal standard "Because He Lives," "The King Is Coming," "Something Beautiful," "He Touched Me," "It Is Finished," "There's Something About That Name," "Let's Just Praise The Lord," and "Loving God, Loving Each Other." They recorded more than 40 albums, won eight Grammy Awards and more than a dozen nominations and received more than two dozen Dove Awards from The Gospel Music Association, earning the title of Gospel Music Association's "Songwriter of the Year" eight times.

In 1996 Bill and Gloria Gaither were the first musical artists to be inducted into the Christian Booksellers Association's Hall of Honor. Only three people have been previously honored with this distinction: Reverend Billy Graham, Dr. Kenneth Taylor (author of The Living Bible) and Dr. Richard Halverson (former U. S. Senate Chaplain). Their album, Alleluia: A Praise Gathering for Believers was the first inspirational album ever to achieve gold status by the Recording Industry Association of America (R.I.A.A.).

The Indianapolis Star named "He Touched Me" among the Top 10 Songs of the Century written by a Hoosier. Clearly, many others agree because in end-of-the-millennium honors, Bill and Gloria received the surprise of their lives when the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) named them Songwriters of the Century, based on the impact their work has made on American culture in the 20th century. His Spring House Music label was named the top video company of 2000 by Billboard Magazine, placing 20 titles on the chart that year, with Gaither-produced projects spending more than a dozen weeks at the top of the music video chart Bill and Gloria are members of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, as well as the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and they were most recently honored with the Living Legend Award in 2006 by the Indiana Historical Society.

In the early '80s Bill and a few of his friends were harmonizing around the piano and were pleased enough with their sound to try it out on an audience at the next Bill Gaither Trio concert. After the hearing enthusiastic response from the audience at that concert, the Gaither Vocal Band was born. The group's tight four-part harmonies, commanding presence and, of course, great songs has forever raised the bar for gospel groups who would follow them. The Vocal Band has touched audiences all over the world for more than twenty-five years and has never been better. In 2006, as a result of the Gaither Vocal Band's harmonic sound and musical excellence, Bill was presented an honorary membership to the Barbershop Harmony Society. There have been numerous opportunities for the GVB to sing at Billy Graham Crusades and group members past and present often name those crusades among the highlights of the lives.

Throughout his years in the music industry, Bill has had many opportunities to meet artists with a quality he believed audiences needed to hear, so he has eagerly shared his stage with countless fledgling artists who, as a result, became defining influences in their field, including Don Francisco, Mark Lowry, Sandi Patty, Steve Green, Michael English, Cynthia Clawson and a host of others.

In 1991, Bill was in his mid-fifties and was grateful to have had the opportunity to do what he loved, full-time, for so many years. He gathered the Vocal Band together with a few of his gospel music heroes to record a song entitled, "Where Would I Go?" for what he thought would be the Gaither Vocal Band's final album. Something very special happened that day... and someone captured it all on a home video camera. That rough recording marked the birth of the Homecoming video series, which has now sold 18 million copies and has grown to more than 100 titles strong. By Spring of 2006, ninety-nine of the Gaither Homecoming videos had achieved precious metal status, with four certified multi-platinum, 45 certified platinum, and 50 certified gold.

From a little log cabin studio to world-renowned venues such as Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, The Sydney Opera House, and a host of others around the globe, the Homecoming series has taken on a life of its own. The award-winning series now airs weekly on television networks all over North America and Europe, and the Homecoming concert tour celebrates more than 10 years of live events that bring gospel music to major arenas across North America. Now more than 70 years of age, Bill is still going strong touring with the Gaither Vocal Band and the Homecoming artists, releasing new Homecoming video titles each year, and he still has much to say to the loyal multi-generational following of listeners that have latched onto the down-to-earth yet truth-filled songs that have become his trademark.

Bill's first-ever solo recording was released in 2005 when he finally felt there were some things he wanted to say himself, from the perspective of someone who has lived a little and has learned a lot. Another avenue through which Bill shares his unique perspective on life and music is through his autobiographical book published by Warner Faith called, It's More Than The Music.

After decades of unprecedented musical successes, Bill and Gloria still operate their business from Bill's home town of Alexandria, Indiana, and they dwell in the same home in which they raised their family. They live a lifestyle focused on investing all of their resources into eternal things.

"Our calling is not just making music... but communicating the reality of Christ. That might mean birthing a song about Him or simply offering a cup of cold water to someone who needs it. Gloria and I have never claimed to have God figured out, but we do know that if He could use two imperfect people like us to communicate His Truth to the world, He can use everyone sitting in the audience, working on our staff or singing with us. If we have done anything right over the years, I hope we have built bridges where people could connect with God and with each other. That is what started us writing and what will keep us writing for the rest of our lives."

Gloria Gaither
Day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment living is the theme that frames the canvas of Gloria Gaither's life. It is a life lived out of a sincere belief that being available to the wonder of each day's unexpected twists and turns is a gift from God to be responded to with tenacity, joy, and excellence. This value has allowed Gloria to explore a wide spectrum of creative, artistic and academic worlds. Despite a staggering list of awards from her peers in all of these venues, she continues to invite new challenges with open arms, and an insatiable desire to grow and to have influence for God's kingdom. Gloria's commitment to her family is a brush stroke that colors every aspect of her choices and gives definition to every endeavor she has pursued.

Married for more than forty years to her soul-mate and writing partner Bill Gaither, Bill and Gloria's life together has been an adventure. They have shared a mutual commitment to a "larger purpose" and to that which is lasting. As a result of this philosophy, their union has produced over 700 songs, hundreds of recordings, numerous awards, a dozen musicals, a collection of books; and best of all, three children and five grandchildren. In affirmation of Bill and Gloria's vast contribution to the gospel music industry they have been recipients of many Grammies and Dove Awards, the ASCAP Songwriters of the Century Award and have been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Gloria's writing spans a wide range of subjects and genres; from children and family themes to devotional encouragement for women; from social commentary to scripts for video format; from song lyrics to magazine interviews. A lover of words, all of her written offerings grow out of an irrepressible habit of journaling. Gloria has always been a student of literature, with special interest in the works of John Steinbeck, and has contributed papers and reviews on his writing in a variety of academic settings. She has written over 40 books including titles for adults and children and created scripts for over 100 videos. All of these pursuits have won her the respect of the academic community with Honorary Doctorates from six universities. Out of a sincere heart to help young adults pursue excellence in their respective fields through Christian education, she has been a dynamic voice serving on the Board of Directors for both the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and the United Christian College Fund. Gloria maintains an extensive speaking schedule. As an advocate of family preservation, living in the moment and unadulterated discipleship, Gloria has touched the hearts of audiences everywhere with her simple, yet profound message.

Gloria's love for creating moments has been the seed for the creation of Gaither Family Resources, an innovative gathering place and Latte Café that showcases the Homecoming Friend's videos and recordings and includes a wide variety of hand-picked life-issues resources, art, books and gifts for people from every generation. Now in its ninth year, GFR continues to offer stimulating events and experiences to its visitors.

Whether she is writing, speaking, or giving birth to a new idea, those who really know Gloria know that no achievement or work schedule is worth the sacrifice of a relationship. For Gloria nothing is more important than building a history around the things that are priceless, or, as she expresses in Things that Last Forever;

I will give myself away for the things that will never die...the simple joys of living--my family and my friends, relationships that go on after space and time shall end.

The Homecoming Bible is available from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for the review copy.

Cloud Culture by Chuck Giacinto and Bryce Conlan, with a giveaway

The Issue

More than 150 million Americans log on to a social media site every day. Facebook just reached the billion monthly active users mark. Twitter is adding one million accounts every day. And in one day on the Internet, two million blog posts are written, enough posts to fill TIME Magazine for 770 million years. Social media is more than a trend—its redefining communication worldwide. How should Christians respond to this booming trend and what possibilities does it offer for furthering the message of the Gospel?

About the Book

In their new book Cloud Culture: Walking the Walk & Typing the Talk: Christian Living in the Social Media World (Seven Leaf Press, 2012), Chuck Giacinto and Bryce Conlan help believers understand how social media fits into their daily walk with Christ and how it can be a mechanism to serve others.

 In Cloud Culture, Giacinto and Conlan examine social media technologies to see how they fit into a Christian’s life, as they seek to live out Christ’s kingdom on earth, follow Him, and serve others. Less about social media and more about the need to communicate well, Cloud Culture is a book about communication, how to do it better and how Christians can engage the world through the dynamic and ever-evolving world of social media.
My review:
   This is a book that should interest anyone that is on line, as it has to do with something most of us use: social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, blogging, etc.
   It isn't a long book, coming in at just 120 pages, but it is an interesting, informative, and convicting read. The authors have really nailed it in this book. Christians use social networks as much as non-Christians, but how often do we use it for God, and how careful are we in how we use it and what we say.
  The idea of the book is not that we have to constantly evangelize and post Christian things on our blogs, facebook, and other such sites. The authors present a great case though that we need to be doing more than we are, and that we can be reaching people in small ways.
   One thing they talked about that hit me, is how shallow so many of our friendships are on Facebook. How little we really communicate and get to know people. They pointed out how some people's posts can indicate problems, but all too many of us overlook it instead of trying to really be a friend and reach out to them.
  This book isn't a major guilt trip that is going to hit you over the head. The authors don't have that attitude at all. In just 120 pages, they simply present some ideas of how Christians should better use social networking. I enjoyed reading the book, and have to say they have a lot of good things to say that we all need to apply to our on line lives.
About the authors:
Chuck Giacinto and Bryce Conlan are long-time acquaintances who have lived seemingly divergent lives before tag teaming on this collaboration. Both based in Illinois, Giacinto serves as a worship pastor, music producer, husband and father of three, while the Connecticut-bred/Chicago-transplanted Conlan, also married, works with his video production company Big Swell Media servicing celebrities, authors and politicians. Cloud Culture is their first collaboration.
Courtesy of Side Door Communications, I have one copy of Cloud Culture to give away.
To enter, comment on this post with couple of social networks you use, if any.
I will pick a winner 2 weeks from today on December 12 using
Cloud Culture is available from Seven Leaf press.
Thanks to Debbie from Side Door Communications for the review copy and giveaway copy.

Razed by Paula Wiseman

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:

Mindstir Media (July 12, 2012)

***Special thanks to Paula Wiseman for sending me a review copy.***


After working several years as research chemist, Paula Wiseman was blessed with the opportunity to stay home with her children and follow the writer’s path. Her bestselling Covenant of Trust Series, including Contingency, Indemnity and Precedent was recognized by Indie Excellence Awards, a Readers Favorite Gold, and Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and featured on Lifetime Television. When she isn’t working on new projects, Paula blogs on matters of life and faith at

Visit the author's website.


Doug Bolling lost his wife of twenty years just as their stormy marriage was beginning to thrive, and he bitterly blames God. He tries to reconnect with his son, but it seems Mark is only interested if the relationship comes wrapped in religion. Mark claims he's just following God when he moves his family, including Doug's grandsons, further away, first to pastor, then to attend seminary. With frustrated resignation, Doug turns his attention to building a new life and a new home for himself and interior designer, Cassandra Grayson. The conflict erupts as Mark is preparing to leave for the mission field in Kenya. He delivers an ultimatum, cutting off all contact between his kids and their grandfather. God may have ripped away his wife and his son, but Doug draws the line at his grandchildren. Mark's attempt to force him to choose between the woman he loves and the grandkids he adores, drives Doug to one fateful desperate act, even if it means destroying his relationship with his son.

Product Details:
List Price: $15.99
Paperback: 390 pages
Publisher: Mindstir Media (July 12, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0985365099
ISBN-13: 978-0985365097



Thursday, July 29

Doug Bolling clutched the small bag of cookies in his left hand. His right hand rested on the door handle to his wife’s hospital room. No matter how many times he’d done this, it never got any easier.

He took a deep breath, pushed the door open slowly, and stepped inside. Images flickering across the screen of the muted television gave the room its only light. Judy’s eyes fluttered open as he got closer, and she gave him her best smile. “Hey, Babe,” he whispered, and leaned down to kiss her, wishing her cheeks were still full with the almost babyish roundness they used to have.

“You just missed the doctor.” She pulled at the bedrails and managed to prop herself up.

“There was a line at Schnuck’s.” He held the bag up for her to see.

“What’d you bring?” She stretched her arm forward, revealing her narrow wrists. Would she have enough strength to hold the bag?

“Those cookies. The white chocolate and macadamia nut ones.”

“Bless your heart.”

She labored to open the bag, and he fought the urge to do it for her.

She inhaled deeply. “They smell wonderful. I can’t wait to have one.”

“Why can’t you have one now?”

“I’m not hungry yet. I’d rather be hungry.”

“You want me to set them on the table?”

“No, I want them close.” She held out her hand, and he cradled it in his. “Almost as close as I want you.”

“So what’d the doctor say?”

Her smiled faded and she hesitated. Not good. “He’s sending me home, Doug.”

Home. Not “home” home. Home to die. “There’s not anything—?”

She shook her head. “He suggested some, uh, some hospice care providers.”

“How, how much—” He swallowed and tried again. “How much time?”

Her gentle smile returned. “He’s too slippery to give me anything definite. Christmas is probably, I mean, Christmas was his best-case estimate. He said I should think in terms of weeks . . . not months. I’m sorry.”

The grief in her eyes tore at him most of all. “Don’t be sorry.”

“I hate for you to have to go through this.”

“Me? Don’t worry about me. I’m a tough guy.”

“The toughest,” she said, and he felt the slightest squeeze. “I have a request.” She raised her eyes to his. “I want to be the one to tell Mark.”

He nodded. She’d do it better than he would anyway. He hooked his boot around the leg of the bedside chair and dragged it closer without ever letting go of her hand. Home. Hospice. Christmas. They knew it was close. But hearing it, having a doctor pronounce that . . .”Are you afraid?” He hoped she’d say yes, because he was terrified.

“No. I don’t have any pain, really.”

“I mean to die.” He regretted the words as soon as he heard himself say them. He shifted in the chair. “I shouldn’t have said that,” he mumbled.

“It won’t be as frightening if we talk about it.”

Which meant she knew he was terrified, so she would pretend she was, too. “But you’re not scared.”

“You remember when you asked me to marry you?”

“Like it was yesterday. I think it was just yesterday.”

“Seems like it. My parents were so worried. All they could see was this punk who barely graduated high school.”

“They still see that.”

She smiled and squeezed his hand again. “They never heard you say that you’d take care of me, and that you’d never, ever leave me.” She twisted and pulled herself up a little straighter. “I know this makes no sense to you, but God’s made those same promises to me, so I’m not afraid. I trusted you. I trust Him.”

He dropped his head and hoped she couldn’t see his jaw clench in the low light. The God she trusted was a fairy tale, a happy story to help her sleep better at night. A real God, a good God wouldn’t kill a wife and mother in the prime of her life.

“I see that line of discussion is a dead end.”

He smiled at the spark of attitude. “I’m glad your, uh, your faith helps you.”

“I wish it helped you.”

“It does. When I see you optimistic and brave and—” He had to look away again. If he didn’t shut up, he’d lose it in front of her. “So where’s that doctor? I need to get you out of here.”


For Mark Bolling, three-thirty was the best part of the day, and his favorite thing about working for Bolling Developers. He didn’t hate construction work exactly, even though he missed the air conditioning at his grandfather’s car dealership. His dad was rarely on-site and the guys were okay to work with. He liked being able to see progress when he left every day.

His mother smiled with quiet approval any time he mentioned working for his dad. That was the main reason he was doing it. Plus, it was her idea. Right after she got sick last summer, she suggested—no, insisted—he ask his dad for a job. His father said, “So help me, if you pull an attitude and embarrass me, you’ll wish you were shoveling horse barns for a living. Am I clear?”


“You need work boots. Pack your own lunch and be ready to leave by six-thirty in the morning.”

That was his orientation talk.

The first two days she was in the hospital this time around, it looked like this was her last trip, but she rallied once more. He planned to grab a quick shower then spend the evening there with her.

His father’s truck was in the driveway. That meant his parents were home—both of them. They’d sent her home. Great!

The stillness in the house sucked that optimism right out of him. He walked as carefully and quietly as his clunky, steel-toed boots would allow, checking the living room and the kitchen. Outside? He peeked out the back door and saw his dad fussing with the charcoal grill.

Charcoal. The guy was a million-dollar-a-year homebuilder, but he was too cheap for a gas grill. Not only that, they still lived in the same three-bedroom place he built the first year Bolling Developers was in business, and he still drove the pick-up truck he bought that year.

Mark slipped off his boots and left them by the back door, then he took the stairs two at a time, doubly anxious to talk to his mother. He heard the television. Hopefully that meant she was awake. He knocked gently as he pushed the door open. “Mom?”

“Mark? Is it that late already?” Her voice was soft, but her eyes shone. She reached for the remote and clicked off the television set. “Come and sit with me and tell me about your day.”

“I’d rather hear about yours.” He eased himself down onto the edge of the bed.

“Oh, it was about what I expected.” She tugged at the sleeve of her warm-up jacket, pulling it toward her wrist. The sicker she got, the more athletic her preferred attire became. She thought the bulky clothes hid things better. She was mistaken.

Her eyes fluttered, hardly daring to rest on his. “I shouldn’t have to go back.”

“No more treatments?” he asked, knowing exactly what that meant.

She shook her head. “The doctor said . . . well . . . his primary concern from here on out . . . is that I’m comfortable.”

Here on out. The death sentence. The air in the room thickened until it was like trying to breathe syrup. Hot, smothering syrup.

She put a hand on his knee and winked with an impish grin. “I can have all the morphine I want.”

He had to smile at her. “How did . . . ?” Mark swallowed hard and wiped his eyes. “How’s Dad?”

Her smile faded. “That’s what hurts me. Watching him.” She smoothed the comforter. “He’s so lost. He needs you more than he will ever admit, more than he understands even.”

His father didn’t need anyone, least of all him. “Excuse my cynicism.”

She took his hand and spoke with urgency. “I want you to remember this when I—” She shook her head gently. “Your dad, he carries everything inside, and he’s going to need someone he can vent to. Someone who can take it.”

“You mean someone to yell at?”

“Yell at, yell to. It’s all the same to him.”

“Then I’ve been there for him for years.”

“I’m not explaining this right,” she said. “There’s much more to your dad than the blustering guy in the hardhat. Give him a chance. Be patient and he’ll come around. Promise me you will.”

“Have you given him this speech?” he asked, carefully avoiding the promise.

“Not yet. He’s on my schedule.” She smiled. “If only I could have a few more years with him.” She blinked away her own tears. “He just needs someone who will love him.”

She wanted, expected, him to be the one—a worshipful son to take the place of the smitten wife. He was in so much trouble.


Doug sat at the kitchen table sorting through the latest stack of bills. Doctor, doctor, hospital, ambulance, radiology. What a mess. He wrote check after check, stuffed them in the envelopes, and dropped the keep this portion in the box at his feet. He didn’t have time for this. He should be in there with Judy. Christmas. Christmas was only five months away. He couldn’t be ready in five months.

If she didn’t eat any more than she did today, he didn’t see how she could last that long. She used to have this metabolism most people would give anything to have. She could eat whatever she wanted, and still keep a cheerleader’s figure. He teased her about out-eating him.

She was never what anyone would call beautiful. Judy was cute. Petite and youthful, she never seemed to age. She’d never let herself get old, she said. Terminal cancer took care of that for her.

Mark strode into the kitchen and pulled a glass from the cabinet. “She’s asleep.” The teenager got a two-liter bottle from the refrigerator and it hissed loudly when he twisted off the cap. “You want a Coke or something?”

“No.” Doug laid down his pen and pushed his chair back from the table. He’d dreaded this conversation all day, especially the part where he’d ask the center of the universe to relinquish his position. “Listen, I think you need to sit out this semester coming up.”

“Why?” Mark gulped the Coke, then set the glass on the counter, clinking it against the sink.

“Really? I have to explain this to you? Your mother is dying, Mark. It’ll be a miracle if she lives past Christmas. Don’t you think you belong here with her instead of some frat house somewhere?”

“I’m not even gonna respond to that.”

Doug had seen the same condescending sneer on Judy’s face more times than he cared to remember.

“Mom specifically said not to drop out of school. She told me to go on with my life.”

“I bet she did,” Doug muttered.

“Fine! You want me to stay home? I’ll stay.”

“Oh no. I’m not taking the blame for bullying you into dropping out of college.”

“You bully me into everything else.”

“And Mommy always rescues you, doesn’t she?”

“Again, I’m not going to respond. You’re just ranting at me, and I’ve learned not to try to reason with you when you’re like this.”

“I’m unreasonable?”

“Right now, yes.”

Doug jerked himself out of the chair and stood inches away from his son. The boy, the man now, straightened himself until he stood half a head taller than Doug, with a look of annoyed indifference he inherited directly from Judy’s father.

Then Doug stopped himself. He waved his hand and stepped back. Mark couldn’t understand, and he didn’t have the strength or the words to explain it.

“Go ahead and say it, Dad.”

This time it wasn’t a challenge. Mark was inviting him, the way Judy did. Maybe the long talks with his mother were paying off. Maybe he was listening.

“Just . . . you better pray to that God of yours that you never have to stand by and watch your wife . . . watch her go through something like this.”

“He’s your God, too.”

“I have no God.”

“That’s your problem.”


Tuesday, August 3

“What do you think you’re doing?” Doug leaned against the kitchen doorframe, his arms crossed against his chest as he watched his wife rummage through the kitchen cabinets.

“Making your dinner.” Judy hugged a skillet close to her body.

“You have no business—” He gently took the skillet from her hand and set it on the counter.

She huffed like an angry teenager. “Will you please, please, let me do as much as I can for as long as I can?”

“But you shouldn’t be wasting your energy—”

“It’s not wasting it if I’m doing what I enjoy.”

“You enjoy making my dinner? Since when?”

She pulled the skillet toward the stovetop. “All right, all right. There have been times when making dinner was not my favorite thing.”

“Like the first nineteen years of our marriage,” Doug teased.

“Get out the spaghetti, smart aleck.”

“That’s more like it.” He handed her the box of pasta and watched her brown the ground beef. He wasn’t joking, though. She had begrudged everything she did for him until she got sick.

“You know, this reminds me of the time we were at Disney World and Mickey or Goofy or somebody sat down beside Mark and begged for his spaghetti.” She smiled as she stirred. “He wouldn’t walk close to the characters any more after that. Do you remember?”


“Oh, sure you do. Mark was about . . . five . . .”

“Judy, I wasn’t there. You and your parents took Mark. I couldn’t get away.”

“Or wouldn’t.”

“That’s not fair.”

She sighed with a heavy sadness. “Why did we treat each other that way for so long?”

“We were young. We didn’t know what we were doing.”

“I was selfish, Doug.” She struggled to pull a heavy pot from the cabinet, so he steadied it for her. “I married you because it infuriated my father.” She slid the pot into the sink and turned the water on. “You deserved a woman who loved you for you.”

“I have one.”

“But I’m not gonna be around to finish the job.” She turned off the faucet and held out a hand. He slipped in beside her and put an arm around her waist. She was so thin now. “Can you forgive me?”

“For what?”

“For being such a horrible wife.”

“That’s crazy.” He dropped his hand and stepped away. “You were, I mean, are, you are a perfect wife.”

“Now who’s crazy.” She arched an eyebrow at him, and he smiled. “I know better.”

“At least we had the last couple of years when things were good. Some people don’t have that.”

“It has been good, hasn’t it?”

He nodded and lifted the pot from the sink, then set it on the stove for her. “I think we both learned what was really important.”

“I learned what love was. I couldn’t give you what I didn’t have.”

Doug braced himself. He recognized the set-up for another Christianity commercial from her.

She wrinkled her brow at him. “All right. I won’t say anything else.”

“No, say it. I don’t want to leave anything unsaid between us.”

She faced him and spoke with urgency. “You’re a good man, Doug. You’ve made your own way. You work hard, and you have great integrity. I love all those things about you.”

He smiled, trying to diffuse the heaviness in the moment. “Tell me more.”

“Those things aren’t going to be good enough. The only thing, the only thing that scares me is an eternity without you. Mark finally came around, and I pray every day you will, too . . . and I pray I’ll get to see it.”

He saw the tears in her eyes, and guilt washed over him. Why couldn’t he simply say he believed whatever she wanted him to, make her happy, let her have peace these last few months?

Because he couldn’t lie to her.

“Babe, here’s how it looks to me. God . . . I don’t trust Him. He could fix all this and He won’t. He’s holding out.”

“But He’s not like that!”

“Not to you.”

“Let me find somebody who can explain things better than I can—”

“I don’t want to talk about it with somebody else. I only talk about it with you because—”

“Because I’m dying. You’re patronizing me.”

“I’m not patronizing you. I’m trying to be supportive.” He sighed deeply at the hurt in her eyes. “Just save your religion talk for Mark.”

“You hate that, too.”

“I don’t. ” He turned his back to her, paced away, and took a deep breath. If she saw his eyes, she’d know he was lying.

“You resent every minute I spend with him.”

It was a soft declaration, not an accusation, but she still knew how to cut into his very soul. He faced her again. “Can we compromise on this?”

“Can we?” The light in her eyes faded, and her hair seemed to gray before his eyes. She’d spent all her energy on him.

“Talk about your religion, your faith. Tell me all about it, but I don’t want to hear how much I need it. No hard sells, no sob stories, nothing.”

“And you won’t give Mark a hard time?”

“Mark and I will be fine.”


Wednesday, September 22

Mark met his father at the top of the stairs outside his mother’s room, and to his utter surprise, his dad held out a hand. Mark shook it as grieving fear took hold of him. “Is she . . . ?”

“They said it was a matter of days now.” His father glanced back toward the door. “She’s on a lot of medication. She’s kind of in and out.”

Mark nodded. “You tell her I was coming?”

He shook his head. “She didn’t want me to call you. Afraid your schoolwork would suffer.”

As if he had anything more important to do.

“I’m gonna grab her a glass of water and throw a load of her things in the laundry. Did you get the mail on your way in?”

“It’s on the table.”

“Thanks.” His dad stepped around him and headed down the stairs.



“We’ll get through this.”

His father shook his head and shuffled into the kitchen.

Mark pushed the bedroom door open, and his breath caught when he saw his mother, ashen-faced and motionless, propped up against a pillow. “Mom?”

“Mark? It’s not Friday, is it?”

“No, it’s Wednesday.”

“Your dad doesn’t listen.” She managed a smile.

“I’m glad he called me.”

She reached for his hand. “Your dad, he reads my Bible to me. I wish you could hear him.” Her eyelids drooped until they were only half open. “It’s the most beautiful thing. Mark.” She let out a dreamy sigh. “Would you let him read at your wedding?”

“My wedding?”

“You’re still dating the preacher’s daughter, aren’t you?”

“Well, yeah.”

“You love her?”

“I do.”

“See, you’re already practiced up on the ‘I do.’” She smiled again and rolled her eyes to look at him. “Don’t wait, Mark. Don’t wait until you’re older . . . or you’re more settled . . . or you have more money. There are no guarantees.”

“Mom, it’s a little—”

She managed another smile. “Your dad doesn’t know about her, does he?”

“It’s not like I’m trying to keep it a secret. It just never seemed like the right time to bring it up.”

“Practice then. Tell me about her. Tell me what you love about her.” She settled back against her pillow, her eyes drooping shut again.

“Um, well . . . She’s, uh, she’s pretty, of course, and smart. She listens to me.”

His mother nodded slightly. “Mmmm. You need that. Men need that. They need someone who believes in them . . . then they can do anything.”

“Did you believe in Dad?”

“Not like I should have. Look what’s he’s accomplished in spite of it. What if I’d been what he needed? What could he have done?” She reached for his hand and squeezed it gently. Her fingers were soft and cool. “With, uh, tell me her name again.”

“Julie. Julie Hammell.”

“With Julie behind you, there’ll be no stopping you. I wish I could have met her. I’m sure she’s wonderful.”

Mark smiled and nodded. “She is.” Julie Hammell was his ticket to respectability, acceptance, and purpose, and it didn’t hurt that she was crazy about him. “Does Dad know you want him to read?”

“He promised me today.”

“You pick out the passage?”

“First John, chapter four. Where it talks about love, God’s love for us. He read it today.” She sighed and closed her eyes. “‘There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear.’ It was beautiful. He has a beautiful voice . . . and he read it slow so he didn’t stumble.”

“Are you getting tired? I should let you rest.”

“No, stay. I have one for you too.”

“Something to read at my wedding?”

“No, a promise. I want you to make me a promise.” She squeezed his hand weakly again. “Promise me you won’t give up on him. Promise you’ll make sure your dad becomes a believer.”

“Mom, I can’t. He has to make that decision.”

“You have to tell him. You have to. It’s like in Ezekiel. You’re the watchman. If you don’t tell him . . . if he dies in his sins, Mark, we’re accountable. Maybe not responsible, but . . . Please tell me you won’t let that happen. I have nightmares—”

“I won’t, Mom. I’ll take care of it.” How could he not promise?

She relaxed against her pillow, apparently exhausted, and guilt closed off his throat. He couldn’t make his dad become a believer. He’d just lied to his mother on her deathbed.

“Talk to me,” she said without opening her eyes. “I love hearing you. I’m listening.”

Mark talked about his classes, his homework, the drive home, whatever he could think of, but the promise hung in the back of his mind. I’ll take care of it. How?

The more he talked, the more each word came with a keen awareness of every breath she took. If she passed without his father there at her side . . . God help them all.


Friday, September 24

Doug rubbed his eyes and shifted in his chair. In the pale early morning light he squinted, trying to make sure Judy was still breathing. Finally, he reached his hand to her chest. It rose and fell in a slow, shallow rhythm. That reassurance was costly. Now he was afraid to pull his hand away for fear he’d miss the last one.

Ellen and Russell Carson had passed the night with him here, hovering over their only daughter. Of course they belonged here, had a right and a need to be here, but Doug hated it. When Ellen slipped out to get a quick shower, at least Russ left to make coffee, giving Doug these precious few moments alone with Judy.

“You’ve never answered anything I’ve ever asked,” he whispered. “But . . . I’ll do . . . anything. Or take me instead . . . Just . . . Don’t . . . You can fix this. I read those stories to her, I know what You can do . . . I need her. Take anything else of mine . . . Just not—”

Judy drew in two quick breaths and opened her eyes. “Doug?”

“I’m right here.” He slipped his hand around hers. “Right here.”

“I love you.” She labored to draw the corners of her mouth into a smile. “Mark . . . ?”

“He’s down the hall. He’ll be right here.”

“Were Mom and Dad . . . ?”

He nodded. “Your mom’s down in our bathroom getting a shower and your dad’s making a pot of coffee. They’ve been here the whole time.”

She closed her eyes. “You need . . . that.”

“Need what? Coffee?” he asked, daring to tease her in this moment.

She blinked slowly in place of a smile. “I heard . . . you pray.”

He felt himself flush with the shame of desperation. “I don’t think it did any good.”

“I pray . . . for you . . . and Mark. You need . . .”

You, he wanted to say. I need you, Judy.

“You need someone . . . someone who deserves to have you.” She squeezed his hand. “You . . . I love you. We will meet again. I have that peace.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I can let go. You’ll . . .” Her hand relaxed, and everything inside Doug Bolling died.
I wrote down the wrong date for this book and have not had a chance to read it yet. I did read another book by this author recently that was excellent, so I can recommend her without hesitation.