Faith Readers Group Review: Mistaken By Karen Barnett

We kicked off the night with all the ingredients to make Chocolate Egg Creams, which by the way have no eggs and no cream. Yeah, I know, crazy right? I played Soda Jerk. Keep your comments to yourself, yah hear!

While we sucked down the delicious drink, root beer floats and homeamade chocolate cobbler, we discussed Karen Barnett’s debut novel, Mistaken.

Here are a few comments made:

I loved her writing style. It was easy and flowed well. I could picture everything going on.

I had no sympathy for the drunk.

I could understand why he drank and I thought it was sad, but it didn’t make what he did right.

I loved the era. The cars, the pharmacy, the clothing. I would have loved to wear that clothing.

Sometimes I wanted to slap the heroine, but I want to slap just about every heroine. (That might be my favorite comment of the night and it wasn’t even mine. 😉  lol ~Jess)

I liked how they discovered God on their own. No one preaching to them.

I didn’t think that there was much of God at all in the book, but it was good.

After we talked with each other, we had the privilege of talking with Karen over Skype! FaithReaders feel so honored to have “broke in” several authors over Skype as the first book clubs ever to chat with them! Karen was warm and lots of fun. She answered all of our questions even sent us some pictures she used for research, including head shots of who she thought would play the characters well. Great job, Karen!

Everyone plans to read her next book so I guess all we have left to say is: Hurry up and release it! 🙂

Here’s a peek at Mistaken:

Connect with Karen on
twitter @karenMbarnett
Since booze and
prohibition have made criminals out of every man in her world, Laurie Burke
resolves to find at least one honorable man to fill her life. Convinced that
handsome newcomer Daniel Shepherd is connected with her brother’s rum-running
gang, Laurie quickly scratches his name off her list. Daniel has mixed feelings
about returning to the dirty mill town of his youth, but grudgingly agrees to
manage his grandfather’s drug store until a replacement can be found. The
moment he meets Laurie on the windswept bluff overlooking the beach, he knows
that if he can earn her love, he might have a reason to stay. But when Laurie
pushes him away–for none other than Federal Agent Samuel Brown–Daniel wonders
if Laurie really is the upstanding woman he thought her to be. The Strait of
Juan de Fuca, just off the beaches of Port Angeles, Washington, was treacherous
water for reckless rum-runners—and the agents who tried to catch them. So when
she realizes her brother is in danger, romance is the last thing on Laurie’s
mind. Yet the people she believes she can trust, may not be so honorable after

A lesson in Trust by Karen Barnett

found the perfect job posting.” My
husband, Steve, smiled—something he hadn’t done in months.
Where is it?” I held my breath. He’d looked for jobs in our hometown. Then in
our region. In our state. Things were scarce. We were now looking nationwide.
stomach sank. Nothing against Iowa. It’s a lovely place. I visited once during
college, so I knew the people were friendly and welcoming, but born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Iowa seemed far.
searched the advertisement for faults. There must be some reason this wouldn’t
work out. God wouldn’t send me to Iowa, would He? No ocean? No mountains? No
extended family? I cried out to Him, Please,
not Iowa. How about Colorado? California? Washington? Michigan?
husband pledged to trust in God’s direction, and he applied for the job.
went by, and Steve sailed through the application process. Sitting in an
evening service at my church, I fumed at God. You
say to trust you, and then you threaten to uproot me from everything I love.
When my toddler fussed, I scooped her up, relieved for an excuse to sneak out.
We took refuge in a preschool room. She grabbed a book and climbed into my lap.
I opened it.
God sent Jonah to Nineveh. But Jonah didn’t trust God. He didn’t want to go to
heart broke. I stared at the scowling cartoon figure on the page. Was that how
I looked?
I did
a 180-degree turn (Well, maybe about 175). Not
my will, God, but Yours.
weight lifted from my chest. I would go. And what’s more, I would rejoice in
this opportunity. I confessed my bad attitude to my husband (as if he weren’t
already aware of it) and over the next few days, God adjusted my attitude. I
discovered our soon-to-be-hometown had an amazing library, an aquatic center,
outdoor ice rinks, and a city park with a stable of Shetland ponies. Before I
knew it, I was dreaming about raising my family in Iowa.
God wasn’t finished.
glanced up from the computer. “Guess what! There’s a job opening down the
I swallowed hard. “But… what about Iowa?”
laughed and shook his head. “I’ll never figure you out.” The job was a perfect
match to my husband’s skills. Pieces fell into place quickly.
I was
a bit confused. Um, God? I don’t mean to
complain… but what about Iowa? I thought you wanted us to go to Iowa?
I felt
a gentle nudging in my heart. It was never
about Iowa. I wanted your trust.
Trust in the Lord with all your
heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:4-5 (NIV).
For I know
the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to
give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and
come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me
and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah
29:11-13 (NIV)

Karen Barnett, author of Mistaken, lives with her husband and two kids
in Oregon (not Iowa). A former park ranger, Karen enjoys playing on the beach
and hiking in the Cascade Mountains. She also drags her family through boring
history museums every chance she gets. She’s been published in Guideposts and other national magazines. Her
next novel, Out of the Ruins, releases
in May of 2014.
Since booze and
prohibition have made criminals out of every man in her world, Laurie Burke
resolves to find at least one honorable man to fill her life. Convinced that
handsome newcomer Daniel Shepherd is connected with her brother’s rum-running
gang, Laurie quickly scratches his name off her list. Daniel has mixed feelings
about returning to the dirty mill town of his youth, but grudgingly agrees to
manage his grandfather’s drug store until a replacement can be found. The
moment he meets Laurie on the windswept bluff overlooking the beach, he knows
that if he can earn her love, he might have a reason to stay. But when Laurie
pushes him away–for none other than Federal Agent Samuel Brown–Daniel wonders
if Laurie really is the upstanding woman he thought her to be. The Strait of
Juan de Fuca, just off the beaches of Port Angeles, Washington, was treacherous
water for reckless rum-runners—and the agents who tried to catch them. So when
she realizes her brother is in danger, romance is the last thing on Laurie’s
mind. Yet the people she believes she can trust, may not be so honorable after

How to Keep It Humble: Part 1

If you’re as old as
I am and have ever been to church camp, I bet you know this song: Humble
yourself in the side of the Lord, and He will lift you up, higher and higher…
It’s scripture, of
course. Sung in a round by the campfire. I now have a sudden urge to slap at
At the moment, I’m
working through a study on the life of David–written by Beth Moore.
Yesterday’s lesson had to do with pride. Beth asked a question, (like how I’m
on first name basis with the woman?)
 “What can you do to stay humble before
the Lord?”
I think it’s a fair
assessment to say that we all battle with pride. It comes in many forms. I also
think it’s fair to say that leaders, teachers, anyone with a position may
struggle even more so.
So how do we stay
humble? The truth is, too-big-for-the-britches thoughts are going to invade our
minds. Accolades and pats on the back for stellar performances are going to
rise like delicious tingles on our skin. No one can escape them. Not me. Not
After reading that
question, I decided to prowl the Word for practical applications. I’d be
willing to guess, they’ll be beneficial to you as well. So I’m going to roll
out a series on How to Stay Humble.
let’s look at 1 Peter 5: 5-11.
How to stay humble
before the Lord:
Let’s look at our
main text first.
humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due
time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
humbles us?
We do.  It won’t come automatically when we accept
Christ as our Savior. It’s a daily process, sometimes minute by minute.
It will come under
the mighty hand of the Lord. Not above. Not beside as in partnership–there are
things the Lord partners with us in. But when it comes to knowing our place…
below. He’s above.
This passage in
Peter is about submission. And boy isn’t being submissive difficult! We live in
a world where we have the opportunity to be our own gods. We live in a
democracy. We have the right to vote, the right to an opinion, the right to
decide, the right to speak freely regardless of what it is that spews out. We
have more outlets to voice and present our rights than ever before.
Yes, our bodies live in a democracy. But if you are a
child of God, your heart resides in a Monarchy. A place where you bow
before your Majesty, and serve Him. A place where you can freely share your
thoughts, but at the end of the day–His will stands. And it is always right.
Always fair. Even when your fleshly tent that dwells in the land of democracy
says, “That is not fair! I. I. I. I.”
The second half of
that verse is typically quoted on its own in relation to giving your anxieties
and issues to God because He loves you. That is true. But it is tied to
humbling yourself.
Because when we do anything less than give what we
can’t control or even things we can to ourselves and not God–it’s exalting
ourselves. It’s pride. Jesus shoulders our cares. When we try to take
that from Him, we come out from under His mighty hand and lift up ourselves.
We fret about jobs,
finances, dreams, sickness, global warming, war, government offices, our kids,
choices, insert worry or anxiety here ______________.
But if we put it in
the mighty hand who has control. Peace. Mercy. Grace. Love. Perfect will for
our lives, we are humbling ourselves. We are acknowledging who is King and who
is not. We are bowing in submissiveness. When we do this, God will lift us up–in
due time. Not necessarily our time because it’s not about us. It’s about Him
and His glory.
Why do we do this?
Let’s skip up a verse. The word “therefore” links this scripture with
the one above.
1 Peter 5:5 (We’re
moving backwards.)
“God resists
the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (This is not saving grace.
Humbleness is not a requirement of salvation. It’s a free gift of grace.)
 I do not want God opposing me and that is what
that word “resists” means. If I don’t submit, He’ll make sure
eventually I do–one way or another. Generally, it isn’t pleasant. 🙂 I’d
rather grasp it now and humble myself with the help of the Holy Spirit. What
about you?
I think it would be
wise to “therefore humble yourselves under…”
Let’s see the
context in which Peter is sharing this verse. “Likewise, you younger
people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one
another, and be clothed with humility, for…”
“God resists
the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
That word
“submit” in the Hebrew means “to arrange under, to obey, to
yield to one’s admonition or advice.”
Peter is talking
about submission in this passage. He even gives elders their does of medicine
to humble them. 1 Peter 5:1-4 “Shepherd the flock…not for dishonest gain
but eagerly, not as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples
to the flock…”
Wise people seek
good counsel. Foolish people think they know it all. The proud believe they
have all the answers. The humble know they need godly advice and direction.
If you can’t even
submit to godly authority, how will you submit to God? I challenge you to
really think about that. “I do what God says, but no person is going to
tell me what to do.” Is that doing what God says based on this verse?
Could there be a root of pride?
To writers: Do we
really think we can write a book all by ourselves, never seeking other writers
who are godly and wise and can offer suggestions, ideas, and help? Does it make
it less of our book? Does it mean we don’t get all the glory because the plot
twist actually came from someone else? Could I suggest if you’re seeking all
the glory, you have a pride issue to begin with? Let us examine ourselves.
Not just writers.
All of us. Whose hand are we under? Are we under anyone’s? Do we buck godly
leaders? Do we try to take on our own worries, anxieties and cares?
The enemy is waiting
for us to puff up just a little. One hurt he can play off of. One tiny sniff of
cockiness and he pounces. He spots pride easily. It’s how he fell in the first
“Be sober, be
vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion,
seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 The very verse after he instructs
us to humble ourselves, to submit.
Peter knew better
than anyone that a scrap of pride caused a feeding frenzy among the enemy. If
you aren’t paying attention, the enemy will have your flesh between his teeth,
shake you about like a rag doll, devour his fill and leave you a bloody, shredded
carcass on the side of the road.
Maybe that’s you
right now. You’re weak. You feel as though you’ve bled out.
“May the God of
all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have
suffered a while, perfect, establish, and settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10
may feel drained. But the blood of Christ never runs out, never runs dry, never
withholds, never weakens, never waters down, never ever loses its power.
You are not alone.
 “Resist him, steadfast in the faith,
knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the
world.” 1 Peter 5: 9 And sisterhood!
Repent if you’ve
been prideful. If you haven’t submitted to the King in all areas. “For if
you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 And that includes pride.
Now that is a King
worth bowing the knee to!
Next week, we’ll
discover another way to keep ourselves humble! Hope you’ll join me. 

you struggle with areas of pride? How do you keep yourself humble?

Break it Down Like David!


I’m fairly certain I’m never shopping at Walmart Grocery again. I say this often, but I mean it.

I’ve watched a grown man beat the pulp out of female security guard, though she did hold her own for the most part.

I’ve been cornered by a man asking how to make sloppy joes in the Manwich aisle. 

I’ve been hit on by a man in the dog food aisle. He literally asked if I was married. I thought, “Dude, you must be desperate for one and two, if you think you’re hitting on an animal person, know that I’m buying regular sized dry dog food for an 8 lb mutt with no teeth. I do not plan to water it down either.” 

And today, I was barracaded in the chip aisle by a random dude asking where I go to church because it’s the last days. If he only knew just how right he was at that moment. I was hot, hungry, and in a hurry.

While going to church means nada in the sense that it won’t save your tail from hell, I appreciate his concern. Okay, not really. Well a little. I suppose he thinks he’s doing what he can to spread the gospel, though, that wasn’t at all what he was doing. I sort of wish I’d have said no to hear what he might have said next. Maybe he would have started with, “Hey random lady, have you broken the 10 commandments because that makes you a sinner going to hell. And it’s the last days. Get saved.”

I don’t know. I suppose I get the “Do something!” mentality. I love that people are in love with Jesus and want others to know about Him, His saving grace, His love and mercy. But scaring the literal hell out them isn’t exactly the right approach in my opinion, or cornering them in a market to ask where they go to church. Church doesn’t save people. Jesus does. Granted, you could meet Jesus at church. 

I believe that God can ask you to do something out of the ordinary concerning Him–like praying for a random stranger in McDonald’s, buying the coffee for the car behind you in a Starbucks line, or even speaking a word to someone in the grocery aisle (if you are most certain it is the Lord and you are supposed to) however, there are things that I think happen out of zealousness but they backfire and sometimes do more harm than good.

A youth pastor (not our rocking youth pastor) once told the kids to be radical in their faith. I agree. Be passionate. Then he told a story about a boy so on fire for God he jumped up on the cafeteria tables and started preaching.


I had to explain to my daughter that the Bible says to obey earthly authority (not if they tell you to go against what you know is biblical authority). Drive the speed limit, etc…Authority at the school says not to jump on cafeteria tables. It will get you detention. Is it right to break the rules God tells us not to, to preach Christ? Why can’t that boy just live his life out loud, love the people he encounters and preach through his daily living? He could. 

Now, I know that boy was excited about his faith. But his still-on-milk-mentality drove him to break rules that ultimately led to detention and not a revival. I explained while the youth pastor had good intentions, he got it wrong. 

Radical faith isn’t preaching from cafeteria tables or cornering folks at the store with pointed questions that ultimately don’t matter. You can die in your sin and go to church every Sunday.

Radical faith is saying, “No, I won’t go to that movie because I know they take the Lord’s name in vain and show nudity.” “No, I won’t go to that party because there is drinking involved.” It takes bigger faith to look peers in the eye and draw a line than it does to stop a stranger and scare them half to death. (There are always exceptions.)

It’s like that commercial from the 70’s. Hey Koolaid. What is up with
that? Remember those commercials? Did I date myself? As a kid, Kool Aid running
through the wall to save the day was pretty kool.


He was passionate
about his drink and helping others. Passionate about the right thing. Kool Aid
had lots of zeal.
However, did he
really need to bust through a wall? Was that really the right way to go about
being passionate? Is impulsiveness the answer?
Look with me at 2
Samuel Chapter 6. David is king and he’s bringing back the ark. The presence of
God! The Philistines had captured it, then they were plagued with rats and
tumors until they sent it away and at this point it was in the home of
Abinadab, and David was ready for it to be back in his city.
He was zealous.
Passionate. And so were the people.
They busted out the
harps, lyres and wooden instruments and played music. It was a joyous occasion.
They loaded the ark
of God, whose name is called by the Name, the LORD of Hosts, who dwells between
the cherubim onto a new cart and Abinadab’s sons pushed the cart. The people and
David went ahead of the cart, rejoicing. Dancing. Singing. Breaking it down.
And the cart hit a
And Uzzah, one of
the sons, reached out to steady it.
And he dropped dead.
That last party horn
gave a sorry “hrrrrngh” and everyone stopped. The singing halted.
That woman near the end carried her note maybe 30 seconds longer than the rest
until it died off in a weak echo.
The Lord had struck
Uzzah down. In his passion. His zeal. Why?
Because though their
motives and passion was pure, they did not follow the proper order.
God was specific
about that ark and how to carry it. He had them make poles that slipped into
the four grooves on the ark. And the sons of Kohath were designated to carry
it. No carts.
This was the very
presence of God. A holy God. As if man could just reach out and touch Him
(then–before Christ came and made a way so we could). 
RC Sproul says, “The presumptous sin of Uzzah was this…He assumed that his hands were less polluted than the dirt.” 
They got caught up
in being passionate that they forgot order. God is God of order.
David was angry. Not
the same Hebrew word for angry that God was. He had no reason to be angry. He’d
disobeyed. But God’s anger was righteous.
David left the ark
at Obed-Edom. Everyone went home, solemn. Probably confused. Some ticked–like
But David was a man
who took his emotions to the Lord. He had a teachable spirit. And three months
later, David did it right.
He went to the Lord in his passion and consulted God. This time (verse 13) those bearing the
ark, with the poles carried it about six paces and no one died so they stopped
to sacrifice an offering to the Lord.
And then they danced
before the Lord and David was in nothing but a linen ephod, making merry. Full
of passion and joy. Not caring what others thought.
He’d done it right.
His wife, however
wasn’t so happy about it. “How dare you dance around like a fool, half
naked. You. Are. King.” (my paraphrase)
And David said,
“In God’s presence I’ll dance all I
want! He chose me over your father and the rest of our family and made me
prince over God’s people, over Israel. Oh
yes, I’ll dance to God’s glory—more
recklessly even than this. And as far as I’m concerned . . .
I’ll gladly look like a fool . . . but among these maids you’re
so worried about, I’ll be honored no end.” 2 Samuel 6:21-22 MSG
Some translations
say, “I’ll be even more undignified than this!”
I love it.
Passion plus order.
Then you can dance recklessly!
It’s important that we go about things God’s
way. We consult Him first with the steps. The fact is, David knew the steps,
but he got so caught up in his excitement, he left the most important part out.
Obedience in all
areas. God wants us to delight in Him and be full of joy. But He also expects
us to follow each step accordingly. And to follow man-made authority that doesn’t directly go against what He says.
Be radical. Be passionate. Be full of zeal. 
But be smart.


What makes you want to dance before the Lord?


Knot Again!

I thought how fun it
would be to title this Christmas in July until I realized, July is behind us.
My kids go back to
school tomorrow. I have a daughter in high school. Do I really even have to ask
you for prayer on that one? I didn’t think so. Thanks for praying for me. And
for her.
I’ve been going to
the gym with my maniac husband six days a week. I’m working into my fifth
week–I think (Remember I thought it was July until a few minutes ago). The
other morning, I grabbed my earbuds and the cord was tangled into this
ridiculous knot.
My first thought
was, “Got a little knot here, Russ. You work on that.” Did you guess
the movie?
Christmas Vacation.
I love those crazy Griswolds.
I was on a time
crunch–had to get out the door and to the gym by five a.m. So I started shaking,
tugging, stretching and you know what I did?
I made the knot
Which irritated the
snot out of me.
I was ready for that
crazy knot to be

untangled so I could move on with my day.

Knots aren’t always
quick fixes. The bigger and tighter the knot, the harder to unwind it–to make
it straight.
It takes several
deep breaths before a close examination.
You pick one strand
to work with. And you use that strand to dip under, through and around until
you can break free. Even if a little.
It takes a few
minutes of concentration, patience, and endurance.
But when the knot is
untangled, you can move on with your day. With your life.
You ever get knots
in your life? You neglect it and becomes entangled with other areas of neglect
or dare I say unconfessed sin?
You may think,
“I ought to just go for the world record of the largest sin and neglect
knot. I could win the Guinness.”
One big knot looks
But one strand…
I thought about
Russ’s father, Clark, leaving him there to untangle that huge knot all by
himself. The look on that boy’s face was utter hopelessness.
God never leaves us
to sort out our own knots. While we’re jerking, shaking, and getting frustrated
trying to do it on our own. He patiently waits for us to bring it to Him.
Sometimes He helps
us in a matter of minutes. And sometimes we have to work that one strand for a
period of time.
But He never leaves
us or disappoints us. Not like Russ’s dad.
Maybe it’s a bundle
of nerves. A knot of despair. A ball of worry. Whatever it is, you can take it
to God and He’ll help you straighten it out.
“Disciples so
often get into trouble; still, God is there every time.”
Psalm 34:9 MSG 




What’s got you in knots today? 
And how can I pray for