Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Ok, so I don’t really know why I titled my post this way, I mean, I am a winner, but there really is no chicken dinner involved and it’s not about casinos and gambling. I may have possibly watched the movie 21 too many times. Whatever.

I did win an award! That makes me a winner! (and Charlie Sheen)

Thank you, Marji Laine, for awarding me the Versatile blogger award. Marji has a cool blog and she blows me away with posting EVERY SINGLE DAY! Wow! 

So here’s how this is supposed to work:

1. List 7 things that folks might not know about you. “Folks” are people, btw.

2. Pass the award on to 7 new bloggers and let them know.

3. Thank the blogger who gave it to you. (Thanks, Marji, again!)

I already have 10 things you may not know about me at the top of my page. You can click the link to read them. But I figured, I’d do 7 more, from the wonder years, just for fun.

1. My first intro to “romance” was in kindergarten. On graduation day, one of my classmates brought me roses.  I never was his girlfriend–his first intro to rejection. I kept the flowers.

2. On trips to the bathroom, in school, I would walk down the halls and slip into the janitor’s closet, pretending that I was in a scary story/film. Later I entered the janitor’s closets for completely different reasons. Get your mind out of the gutter, I needed a mop for the biology teacher.

3. I was asked by our high school principle to organize, choose, and direct the school play. He even gave me my own assembly. During my appeal to artists (lol) my ex-boyfriend spit ice chips at me from the first row of bleachers with a smug grin on his face ( and he wondered why I declined him a second chance…right away…He was after star power, of course). The play flopped and never hit the stage, but I was stellar while it lasted. *Our principal also kept a bottle of Jim Bean in his office drawer, he may have dipped into it before asking me. (And how I know that is another story)

4. I’ve seen New Kids on the Block 4 times. At one outdoor concert, I thought the “mascots” wandering around the fair were actually the New Kids dressed up. I went up to one and told him I knew who he really was and my friend took our picture. It was not a New Kid. But I have the picture anyway. That was the night I hit an owl with my car. Yes, their heads do turn all the way around. 

5. I had a crush on my sixth grade teacher, knowing he wore a toupee. What? You can’t help who you fall in love with! It looked real! 

6. In 8th grade, I tried out for cheerleading. At that time, the students voted. I couldn’t do a back-bend, so I laid on the gym floor and did the the whole push up thing. Somehow, I made the team. When I think of that, my stomach knots. I was too stupid to be embarrassed then. 

7. I rode a dirt bike and was pretty stinking awesome at it. Although, one summer while my friend was on back, I tried to show out in front of guy who was playing basketball in his driveway (he was a freshman in college, we were freshmen in high school) and wrecked in front of his house (stupid loose gravel). His mom was a nurse and made us come inside for bandaids and Neosporin. Never again. But the palms of my hands knees healed nicely. 

The real question is, why don’t I write YA? 

And now, in no particular order, I am sending this award on to bloggers I feel are versatile. They have loads to offer, make me laugh, and write about a variety of things such as parenting, devotions, missionary travels,writing, randomness, and so forth!

Ladies, you don’t have to pay it forward, but I wanted to send the award your way, regardless! 

1. Sheri Salatin at Farming with heart, writing with passion, loving with joy
2. Katie Ganshert on life and writing and the fuzzy line in between
3. Maggie Fechner at Mommy’s Always Write
4. Stacy Green at Turning the page
5. Heather Sunseri at Balance with Purpose
6. Dawn Alexander at Writing in Waiting
7. Jodie Bailey faith and fiction with a touch of southern grace

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Question (or command?): Tell me one thing about your wonder years I don’t know! 

When I’m Not Good, He Still Is

Who is that? Why is she looking at me that way? Her smile says she’s got it all together, but I’m looking in her eyes. She’s a complete flake. A total failure. I’ll bet she’s hanging on by the skin of her teeth.

No, I know she is. 

How could she possibly be as blessed as she is? It makes no sense. I know that little secret about her. I was with her that year she did the, well, you remember, weren’t you there too?

I just don’t get it.

Yep, that’s been me asking those questions and making those comments.

About myself.

There are many days I let my mind wander to my shortcomings, failures, and indiscretions aka big fat daddy sins. And wonder and even ask aloud, “God, why would you be so good to me? Why would you do such wonderful things? I don’t deserve a single one.”

And He reminds me:

“The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you.” Jeremiah 31:3 NKJV


“Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that His kindness is intended to turn you from sin?” Romans 2:4 NLT

Those are the words that keep me humble, help me understand the goodness, grace, mercy, and love God lavishes upon me. Those are the words that draw me closer to Him and make me want to be so much more.

They encourage me, inspire me, and overwhelm me.

Question?? What verses help you understand the blessings in your life when you feel undeserving? (and we all are, thus grace!)

 Come by Living by Grace, our facebook community page! 

Faith Readers Book Club Review: Edge of Grace by Christa Allan

Faith Readers
Book Club
(we were missing some)

First off, let me say a big thank you to Marji Laine for awarding me with the Versatile blogger award Yay! I blame it on my MPD and so do I! Me too!

I’ll follow the rules for it on Friday. Now, on with the show this is it!

I love books! I love talking about books. And that’s why I enjoy Faith Readers! An inspirational fiction, book club. Forming friendships through faith and fiction.

We kicked our first book off with Christa Allan’s the Edge of Grace. A book that will definitely make you talk!

Dunkin Donuts, homemade desserts and coffee, along with our cool Cornerstone Church Cafe made for great food & atmosphere. So many women, all ages, various backgrounds. I wasn’t sure what everyone would think.

After some dessert, we set up skype and had the chance to chat with the lovely Christa Allan. She made us feel at home by telling us up front that there was nothing we couldn’t ask or say to her. 

Her book is controversial and I’ve never read anything like it in the Christian market. (CBA) The big question was: 
“Can you be gay and be a Christian?”
Many answers came to that question!

“Absolutely not.” “It’s rebellion.” “I don’t know.” “Yes.” “I think you can, just like you can have sex outside of marriage and be straight, you still love God, but you struggle.” “We’re not supposed to judge.”

These are just some of the answers among our book club.

I asked, “Would you ladies recommend this book?”

One said, “I already gave mine away. A lady is dealing with an issue like this in her life, and starting a book club at her church. I thought this would be good for her.”

Another said, “No. I didn’t agree with the issue and I didn’t particularly like the main character; I thought she was whiny.”  

A reply came. “Wouldn’t you be whiny if you found out your brother was gay, you lost your husband to death, and you could barely pay bills?”

“I think that was the point, ” another said. “She whined about her brother because how it affected her. Everything revolved around her, but she evolved toward the end. We have a hard time loving people because we’re selfish.”

“I would recommend the book because this kind of issue isn’t going to go away. It needs to be out there for us to discuss.”

“We need these kinds of books! As Christians, we don’t have anguish for the lost, and we need these books to remind us to love.” 

What did you take away from this book?

“I had more compassion for homosexuals than before.”

“I’m still confused.”

What are some things you liked about the book?

“I liked that she didn’t stereotype them. The brother and his partner watched football and didn’t act like we assume they would. They were regular guys.”

Did the question get answered? No. Did we express our opinions and have a great time doing it? Yes!

Bottom line is this, the main character, Caryn, had a choice: Never speak to her brother again, never darken his door or…love him unconditionally. 

Christa said she had to come to terms with the fact that her own brother wasn’t going to stop being gay. He just wasn’t. So she chose to love him anyway. That’s what Caryn, the main character chose to do too. 

In  a controversial, yet touching novel, Christa Allan weaves a story of love, forgiveness, and family. Even if it isn’t the family that the main character asked for. Her wit and humor was exactly what you expect out of her, if you’ve read her debut novel, Walking On Broken Glass. Spot on. 

It’s a book that will make you stop and think, pray, and remind you that people are people and they deserve agape love, no matter what they look like, or which sex they prefer. 

You can analyze it all day long (and we did): Are they born that way? Were they molested? Did they have a bad home life? You think they have too much testosterone or estrogen? And so forth and so on. 

And at the end of all that debate, when answers did not come, it boiled down to one simple word: LOVE.

Christa Allan

Here’s the back cover:
“An early morning call shatters Caryn Becker’s world. Unable to cope with her brother’s news that he is gay,  Caryn rejects him and disappears into her own turbulent life as a young widow and single mom. But when David is attacked and nearly killed, Caryn is forced to make hard choices about family, faith, and her own future; choices that take her to the very edge of grace.”

Care to weigh in with your thoughts, opinions, or experiences? And, have you read the Edge of Grace? 

*We chose The Chair by James Rubart as our October book!