Monthly Archives: February 2011

My sons

My boys are growing up! As of tomorrow, I will have a 13 year old and 11 year old…..it seems surreal!
How did that happen?
They are both growing up to be such fine young men….oh, that is not to say they don’t have their problems. But I think often we tend to think if we are praising our children it means we are overlooking their problems. I think that we focus too much on people’s lesser qualities and push them, hound them until they are too beaten down.

About a week ago, the boys were playing ball and it broke a large window in the basement. Of course, I was not too happy, but I was thankful that no one got hurt as a large piece of glass fell out in a place where they were playing.

I realized how important people are, things are things. I want to build character and praise them when they do something right. I don’t want to rehash all the wrongs they have done, but deal with it and move on.

Thank God for giving me sons!

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Filed under Daily Happenings

A Billion Reasons Why by Kristen Billerbeck

My Review:
Luc and Kate were once in a relationship, but he is now her ex and the last thing from her mind. Kate is a special ed teacher, and loves her work. She has no desire to face her past, especially when it includes Luc and his family. When he comes to pressure her about singing in his brother’s wedding and will not take no for answer, she gives in for a price. She needs her ring!
What other secrets will be exposed in the meanwhile?
If you like chick lit, this is a light read. Luc was a bit irritating to me as he kept pressuring Kate, kissing her when she was engaged to another man. I felt uncomfortable with that, I understood he had a plan, but it just did not seem proper! -Martha

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:

A Billion Reasons Why

Thomas Nelson; Original edition (February 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kristin Billerbeck was born in California to an Italian father and a strong Norwegian/German mother. Her mother tried to teach her to do things right, how to cook, clean, sew, and budget accordingly—all the things a proper girl should know in order to be a contributing member of society. Yet Billerbeck said she “failed miserably,” although her grandmother must still hold some hope since she gave her a cookie gun for her 40th birthday.

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

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

There are a billion reasons Kate should marry her current boyfriend.

Will she trade them all to be madly in love?

Katie McKenna leads a perfect life. Or so she thinks. She has a fulfilling job, a cute apartment, and a wedding to plan with her soon-to-be fiance, Dexter.

She can think of a billion reasons why she should marry Dexter…but nowhere on that list is love.

And then in walks Luc DeForges, her bold, breathtaking ex-boyfriend. Only now he’s a millionaire. And he wants her to go home to New Orleans to sing for her childhood friend’s wedding. As his date.

But Katie made up her mind about Luc eight years ago, when she fled their hometown after a very public breakup. Yet there’s a magnetism between them she can’t deny.

Katie thought her predictable relationship with Dexter would be the bedrock of a lasting, Christian marriage. But what if there’s more? What if God’s desire for her is a heart full of life? And what if that’s what Luc has offered all along?

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson; Original edition (February 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595547916
ISBN-13: 978-1595547910

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

A Fine Romance

Katie McKenna had dreamed of this moment at least a thousand times. Luc would walk back into her life filled with remorse. He’d be wearing jeans, a worn T-shirt, and humility. He’d be dripping with humility.

That should have been her first clue that such a scenario had no bearing on reality.

“Katie,” a voice said.

The sound sent a surge of adrenaline through her frame. She’d forgotten the power and the warmth of his baritone. A quick glance around her classroom assured her that she must be imagining things. Everything was in order: the posters of colorful curriculum, the daily schedule of activities printed on the whiteboard, and, of course, the children. All six of them were mentally disabled, most of them on the severe side of the autism spectrum, but three had added handicaps that required sturdy, head-stabilizing wheelchairs. The bulk of the chairs overwhelmed the room and blocked much of the happy yellow walls and part of the large rainbow mural the kids had helped to paint. The room, with its cluttered order, comforted her and reminded her of all she’d accomplished. There was no need to think about the past. That was a waste of time and energy.

Her eyes stopped on her aides, Carrie and Selena. The two women, so boisterous in personality, were usually animated. But at the moment they stood huddled in the corner behind Austin’s wheelchair.

Carrie, the heavyset one in the Ed Hardy T-shirt, motioned at her.

“What?” Katie pulled at her white shirt with the delicate pink flowers embroidered along the hem and surveyed the stains. “I know, I’m a mess. But did you see how wonderfully the kids did on their art projects? It was worth it. Never thought of the oil on the dough staining. Next time I’ll wear an apron.”

Selena and Carrie looked as though there was something more they wanted.

“Maddie, you’re a born artist.” Katie smiled at the little girl sitting behind a mound of colorful clay. Then to the aides: “What is the matter with you two?”

Selena, a slight Latina woman, shook her head and pointed toward the door.

Katie rotated toward the front of the classroom and caught her breath. Luc, so tall and gorgeous, completely out of place in his fine European suit and a wristwatch probably worth more than her annual salary, stood in the doorway. He wore a fedora, his trademark since college, but hardly one he needed to stand out in a crowd.

As she stared across the space between them, suddenly the classroom she took such pride in appeared shabby and soiled. When she inhaled, it reeked of sour milk and baby food. Her muddled brain searched for words.

“Luc?” She blinked several times, as if his film-star good looks might evaporate into the annals of her mind. “What are you doing here?”

“Didn’t you get my brother’s wedding invitation?” he asked coolly, as if they’d only seen each other yesterday.

“I did. I sent my regrets.”

“That’s what I’m doing here. You can’t miss Ryan’s wedding. I thought the problem might be money.”

She watched as his blue eyes came to rest on her stained shirt. Instinctively she crossed her arms in front of her.

“I came to invite you to go back with me next week, on my plane.”

“Ah.” She nodded and waited for something intelligible to come out of her mouth. “It’s not money.”

“Come home with me, Katie.” He reached out his arms, and she moved to the countertop and shuffled some papers together.

If he touches me, I don’t stand a chance. She knew Luc well enough to know if he’d made the trip to her classroom, he didn’t intend to leave without what he came for. “I’m afraid that’s not possible.” She stacked the same papers again.

“Give me one reason.”

She faced him. “I could give you a billion reasons.”

Luc’s chiseled features didn’t wear humility well. The cross-shaped scar beneath his cheekbone added to his severity. If he weren’t so dreaded handsome, he’d make a good spy in a Bond movie. His looks belied his soft Uptown New Orleans upbringing, the kind filled with celebrations and warm family events with backyard tennis and long days in the swimming pool.

He pushed through the swiveled half door that separated them and strode toward her.

“That gate is there for a reason. The classroom is for teachers and students only.”

Luc opened his hand and beckoned to her, and despite herself, she took it. Her heart pounded in her throat, and its roar was so thunderous it blocked her thoughts. He pulled her into a clutch, then pushed her away with all the grace of Astaire. “Will you dance with me?” he asked.

He began to hum a Cole Porter tune clumsily in her ear, and instinctively she followed his lead until everything around them disappeared and they were alone in their personal ballroom. For a moment she dropped her head back and giggled from her stomach; a laugh so genuine and pure, it seemed completely foreign—as if it came from a place within that was no longer a part of her. Then the dance halted suddenly, and his cheek was against hers. She took in the roughness of his face, and the thought flitted through her mind that she could die a happy woman in those arms.

The sound of applause woke her from her reverie.

“You two are amazing!” Carrie said.

The children all murmured their approval, some with screams of delight and others with loud banging.

Luc’s hand clutched her own in the small space between them, and she laughed again.

“Not me,” Luc said. “I have the grace of a bull. It’s Katie. She’s like Ginger Rogers. She makes anybody she dances with look good.” He appealed to the two aides. “Which is why I’m here. She must go to my brother’s wedding with me.”

“I didn’t even know you danced, Katie,” Selena said. “Why don’t you ever come dancing with us on Friday nights?”

“What? Katie dances like a dream. She and my brother were partners onstage in college. They were like a mist, the way they moved together. It’s like her feet don’t touch the ground.”

“That was a long time ago.” She pulled away from him and showed him her shirt. “I’m a mess. I hope I didn’t ruin your suit.”

“It would be worth it,” Luc growled.

“Katie, where’d you learn to dance like that?” Carrie asked.

“Too many old movies, I suppose.” She shrugged.

“You could be on Dancing with the Stars with moves like that.”

“Except I’m not a star or a dancer, but other than that, I guess—” She giggled again. It kept bubbling out of her, and for one blissful moment she remembered what it felt like to be the old Katie McKenna. Not the current version, staid schoolmarm and church soloist in Northern California, but the Katie people in New Orleans knew, the one who danced and sang.

Luc interrupted her thoughts. “She’s being modest. She learned those moves from Ginger and Fred themselves, just by watching them over and over again. This was before YouTube, so she was dedicated.”

Katie shrugged. “I was a weird kid. Only child, you know?” But inside she swelled with pride that Luc remembered her devotion to a craft so woefully out-of-date and useless. “Anyway, I don’t have much use for swing dancing or forties torch songs now. Luc, meet Carrie and Selena. Carrie and Selena, Luc.”

“I don’t have any ‘use’ for salsa dancing,” Selena said. “I do it because it’s part of who I am.”

“Tell her she has to come with me, ladies. My brother is having a 1940s-themed wedding in New Orleans. He’d be crushed if Katie didn’t come, and I’ll look like a hopeless clod without her to dance with.”

Katie watched the two aides. She saw the way Luc’s powerful presence intoxicated them. Were they really naive enough to believe that Luc DeForges could ever appear like a clod, in any circumstance or setting? Luc, with his skilled charm and roguish good looks, made one believe whatever he wanted one to believe. The two women were putty in his hands.

“Katie, you have to go to this wedding!” Selena stepped toward her. “I can’t believe you can dance like that and never told us. You’d let this opportunity slip by? For what?” She looked around the room and frowned. “This place?”

The cacophony of pounding and low groans rose audibly, as if in agreement.

“This may be just a classroom to you, but to me, it’s the hope and future of these kids. I used to dance. I used to sing. It paid my way through college. Now I’m a teacher.”

“You can’t be a teacher and a dancer?” Selena pressed. “It’s like walking and chewing gum. You can do both. The question is, why don’t you?”

“Maybe I should bring more music and dancing into the classroom. Look how the kids are joining in the noise of our voices, not bothered by it. I have to think about ways we could make the most of this.”

But she hadn’t succeeded in changing the subject; everyone’s attention stayed focused on her.

“You should dance for the kids, Katie. You possess all the grace of an artist’s muse. Who knows how you might encourage them?”

Katie laughed. “That’s laying it on a bit thick, Luc, even for you. I do believe if there was a snake in that basket over there, it would be rising to the charmer’s voice at this very minute.”

Luc’s very presence brought her into another time. Maybe it was the fedora or the classic cut of his suit, but it ran deeper than how he looked. He possessed a sense of virility and take-no-prisoners attitude that couldn’t be further from his blue-blood upbringing. He made her, in a word, feel safe . . . but there was nothing safe about Luc and there never had been. She straightened and walked over to her open folder to check her schedule for the day.

Tapping a pencil on the binder, she focused on getting the day back on track. The students were involved in free playtime at the moment. While they were all situated in a circle, they played individually, their own favorite tasks in front of them.

“Carrie, would you get Austin and Maddie ready for lunch?”

“I’ll do it,” Selena said. “And, Katie . . . you really should go to the wedding.”

“I can’t go to the wedding because it’s right in the middle of summer school.”

“You could get a substitute,” Carrie said. “What would you be gone for, a week at most? Jenna could probably fill in. She took the summer off this year.”

“Thanks for the suggestions, ladies,” Katie said through clenched teeth. “But I’ve already told the groom I can’t attend the wedding for professional reasons.”

The women laughed. “I’m sorry, what reasons?” Carrie asked, raising a bedpan to imply that anyone could do Katie’s job.

It was no use. The two women were thoroughly under Luc’s spell, and who could blame them?

“Maybe we should talk privately,” Luc said. He clasped her wrist and led her to the glass doors at the front of the classroom. “It’s beautiful out here. The way you’re nestled in the hills, you’d never know there’s a city nearby.”

She nodded. “That’s Crystal Springs Reservoir on the other side of the freeway. It’s protected property, the drinking water for this entire area, so it’s stayed pristine.”

“I’m not going back to New Orleans without you,” he said.

Apparently the small talk had ended.

“My mother would have a fit if I brought one of the women I’d take to a Hollywood event to a family wedding.”

Katie felt a twinge of jealousy, then a stab of anger for her own weakness. Of course he dated beautiful women. He was a billionaire. A billionaire who looked like Luc DeForges! Granted, he was actually a multimillionaire, but it had been a long-standing joke between the two of them. Did it matter, once you made your first ten million, how much came after that? He may as well be called a gazillionaire. His finances were too foreign for her to contemplate.

“And who you date is my problem, how?”

“If my date tries to swing dance and kicks one of my mother’s friends in the teeth, I’ll be disinherited.”

“So what, would that make you the fifth richest man in the United States, instead of the fourth?”

“Katie, how many times do I have to explain to you I’m nowhere near those kinds of numbers?” He grinned. “Yet.” He touched his finger to her nose lightly. “My fate is much worse than losing status if you don’t come. My mother might set me up to ensure I have a proper date. A chorus line of Southern belles. And I guarantee you at least one will have the proverbial glass slipper and think her idea is so utterly unique, I’ll succumb to the fantasy.”

“Wow! What a terrible life you must lead.” She pulled a Keds slide from her foot and emptied sand out of her shoe. A few grains landed on Luc’s shiny black loafer. “To think, with courtship skills like that, that any woman wouldn’t be swept off her feet—it’s unfathomable.” She patted his arm. “I wish you luck, Luc. I’m sure your mother will have some very nice choices for you, so go enjoy yourself. Perk up, there’re billions

more to be made when you get back.”

“Sarcasm doesn’t suit you, Katie.”

e was right, but she didn’t trust herself around him. She’d taken leave of her senses too many times in that weakened state. Since moving to California, she’d made it her goal to live life logically and for the Lord. She hadn’t fallen victim to her emotions since leaving New Orleans, and she’d invested too much to give into them now.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I only meant that I’m sure there are other nice girls willing to go home and pretend for your mother. I’ve already done that, only you forgot to tell me we were pretending. Remember?”

He flinched. “Below the belt.”

A pencil fell from behind her ear, and she stooped to pick it up, careful not to meet his glance as she rose. “I’m sorry, but I’m busy here. Maybe we could catch up another time? I’d like that and won’t be so sidetracked.” She looked across the room toward Austin, an angelic but severely autistic child in a wheelchair. He pounded against his tray. “The kids are getting hungry. It’s lunchtime.” She pointed to the schedule.

Luc scooped a hand under her chin and forced her to look at him. “Where else am I going to find a gorgeous redhead who knows who Glenn Miller is?”

“Don’t, Luc. Don’t charm me. It’s beneath you. Buy one of your bubble-headed blondes a box of dye and send her to iTunes to do research. Problem solved.”

He didn’t let go. “Ryan wants you to sing at the wedding, Katie. He sent me personally to make sure you’d be there and sing ‘Someone to Watch Over Me.’ I’m not a man who quits because something’s difficult.”

“Anyone worth her salt on Bourbon Street can sing that. Excuse me—”

“Katie-bug.”

“Luc, I asked you kindly. Don’t. I’m not one of your sophisticated girls who knows how to play games. I’m not going to the wedding. That part of my life is over.”

“That part of your life? What about that part of you? Where is she?”

She ignored his question. “I cannot be the only woman you know capable of being your date. You’re not familiar with anyone else who isn’t an actress-slash-waitress?” She cupped his hand in her own and allowed herself to experience the surge of energy. “I have to go.” She dropped his hands and pushed back through the half door. “I’m sure you have a meeting to get to. Am I right?”

“It’s true,” he admitted. “I had business in San Francisco today, a merger. We bought a small chain of health food stores to expand the brand. But I was planning the trip to see you anyway and ask you personally.”

“Uh-huh.”

“We’ll be doing specialty outlets in smaller locations where real estate prices are too high for a full grocery outlet. Having the natural concept already in these locations makes my job that much easier.”

“To take over the free world with organics, you mean?”

That made him smile, and she warmed at the sparkle in his eye. When Luc was in his element, there was nothing like it. His excitement was contagious and spread like a classroom virus, infecting those around him with a false sense of security. She inhaled deeply and reminded herself that the man sold inspiration by the pound. His power over her was universal. It did not make her special.

“Name your price,” he said. “I’m here to end this rift between us, whatever it is, and I’ll do the time. Tell me what it is you want.”

“There is no price, Luc. I don’t want anything from you. I’m not going to Ryan’s wedding. My life is here.”

“Day and night . . . night and day,” he crooned and then his voice was beside her ear. “One last swing dance at my brother’s wedding. One last song and I’ll leave you alone. I promise.”

She crossed the room to the sink against the far wall, but she felt him follow. She hated how he could make every nerve in her body come to life, while he seemingly felt nothing in return. She closed her eyes and searched for inner strength. He didn’t want me. Not in a way that mattered. He wanted her when it suited him to have her at his side.

“Even if I were able to get the time off work, Luc, it wouldn’t be right to go to your brother’s wedding as your date. I’m about to get engaged.”

“Engaged?” He stepped away.

She squeezed hand sanitizer onto her hands and rubbed thoroughly.

“I’ll give a call to your fiancé and let him know the benefits.” He pulled a small leather pad of paper from his coat pocket. “I’ll arrange everything. You get a free trip home, I get a Christian date my mother is proud to know, and then your life goes back to normal. Everyone’s happy.” He took off his fedora as though to plead his case in true gentlemanly fashion. “My mother is still very proud to have led you from

your . . .” He choked back a word. “From your previous life and to Jesus.”

The announcement of her engagement seemed to have had little effect on Luc, and Katie felt as if her heart shattered all over again. “My previous life was you. She was proud to lead me away from her son’s life.” She leaned on the countertop, trying to remember why she’d come to the kitchen area.

“You know what I meant.”

“I wasn’t exactly a streetwalker, Luc. I was a late-night bar singer in the Central District, and the only one who ever led my reputation into question was you. So I’m failing to see the mutual benefit here. Your mother. Your date. And I get a free trip to a place I worked my tail off to get out of.”

She struggled with a giant jar of applesauce, which Luc took from her and opened easily. He passed the jar back to her and let his fingers brush hers.

“My mother would be out of her head to see you. And the entire town could see what they lost when they let their prettiest belle go. Come help me remind them. Don’t you want to show them that you’re thriving? That you didn’t curl up and die after that awful night?”

“I really don’t need to prove anything, Luc.” She pulled her apron, with its child-size handprints in primary colors, over her head. “I’m not your fallback, and I really don’t care if people continue to see me that way. They don’t know me.”

“Which you? The one who lives a colorless existence and calls it holy? Or the one who danced on air and inspired an entire theater troupe to rediscover swing and raise money for a new stage?” Luc bent down, took her out at the knees, and hoisted her up over his shoulder.

“What are you doing? Do you think you’re Tarzan? Put me down.” She pounded on his back, and she could hear the chaos he’d created in the classroom. “These kids need structure. What do you think you’re doing? I demand you put me down!”

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Menu plan

Wednesday: Penne pasta with Roasted Garlic basil sauce with italian sausage cut up in it and spinach with cut up veggies

Thursday: Stir Fry and rice, egg rolls

Friday:  Out to eat- special night. I have a gift certificate for $25, so that will pay for part of it. It is my sons birthday.

Saturday: Lil’ Smokie Pigs in blanket, Pizza, chips and salsa, cookies….ice cream and cake

Sunday: Chili frito casserole, salad
Monday: Steamed dumplings (Mante), cabbage salad, rice and vegetables
Tuesday: Leftover night…..

Kind of alot of junk this week, but two birthdays!

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Filed under Bargain Dinners, Daily Happenings, Recipes

Busy week…..

but we still wanted to have a good Presidents day weekend!
We started off on Friday with our book club! I used my pretty blue dishes for dinner with my crystal pitcher.

Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder….my friend Harmony gave me the recipe.

Also, Spinach Tortellini soup…..which was so, so good!!! I used a recipe that I got from the PW cookbook!

She Walk’s in Beauty was a great book, taken with some books on the history of corsets and my favorite shoes!

Then on Saturday….we went to the Wedding Expo! This is my sister and her fiance here! It was alot of fun, but tiring!!!

We decided to go to Pizza Hut for our Book It’s from December….and everyone was going there it seemed! It was hectic!  But it was fun….we still did school though!

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Passport Through Darkness by Kimberly Smith

My Review:
Do you want to read a missionary story that is not the norm? Pick up this one. In spite of it’s horrific tales, it has a message in there of hope. When I read this tonight, I felt angry. I was angry first at myself for knowing about this and not doing anything. I was angry at the church mentioned in the book and the apathy of the church who felt the subject matter was too depressing and painful to hear about, and would stop coming to church if they had to hear about the horrors in Darfur.
Kimberly Smith and her husband felt like their life was not making enough of a difference. They decided to take a step out of the norm and become missionaries. They left behind a secure lifestyle and made many sacrifices. When Milton’s health prevented him from continuing the work they started, Kimberly was stuck in the battle for women and children and the fight for their lives in war torn, dry Sudan. From human trafficking to unspeakable attacks on women and children, this woman has seen it all. It was almost too much for one person to handle and fight against. Her husband was with her in spirit as she returned to him, broken each time, crushed by the deaths of many African friends that she made. Begging for help and support as she went back again and again to fight and try to help where she could, she paid for it in so many ways.
This story will haunt you and hopefully inspire you to get up and do something. If not in Africa, in your own towns. I hear so many people who do not want to see the suffering around them as they are afraid to poke their nose in, or maybe it is just too depressing.
I see though as servants of Jesus, we are called to help others and be aware of what is happening in the world around us. Ignorance is not bliss. When you are the news, you will be crying for help and do you want people to stand idly by or pretend nothing is happening?

I would encourage everyone to read this book if you can. If you can’t handle the content of this, I would encourage you to just make a impact on someone’s life this week, or even just once a month. It does not have to be something big, but look for someone in pain and reach out. -Martha

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:

Passport Through Darkness

David C. Cook (January 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kimberly L. Smith is the president and cofounder of Make Way Partners, a mission organization committed to ending human trafficking. She is currently leading Make Way Partners to build the only private and indigenously based anti-trafficking network in Africa and Eastern Europe. A devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, Smith lives with her husband, Milton, in Sylacauga, Alabama.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Each one of us longs to know we matter. We hunger to know that we have purpose, our life has meaning, and God dreams great dreams for us. In Passport Through Darkness: A True Story of Danger and Second Chances, Kimberly Smith invites us into her own struggles as an ordinary woman who feels those aches, asks those questions, and stumbles through a quest to find her place in a broken world.

Traveling around the world and deep into the darkness of her own heart, Smith’s worst fears collided with her faith as she and her family discovered the atrocities of human trafficking. But in that broken place a self-centered life was transformed into an international effort to save thousands from modern-day slavery, persecution, disease, and genocide.

As Smith and her husband risk everything for orphans in Eastern Europe and Africa, they see God work again and again in impossible situations, especially in their own lives and marriage. They see God change them—even in their exhaustion, marital struggles, and physical limitations. They see the beauty of living out God’s dreams.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (January 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 143470212X
ISBN-13: 978-1434702128

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

AT THE END OF ME

I stood at a precipice, a crag of rock in a parched, thirsty land that mirrored the condition of my heart. From where I stood, I looked down upon the riverbed that rendered the jagged cut reaching from the left corner of my mouth down to the bottom of my chin, and my right eye purplish black.

I recalled the day these marks came upon me and considered how many of the women I saw laboring in the current below who shared my experience. Fifty percent? Ninety percent? Had any woman been spared the hand-delivered scars of violence birthed in the tomb of this brutal, war-torn land?

Sickly cows wove around and between the women in the river. As the cows did their business in the water, some of the women bathed. Others washed rags they donned as clothing. Still others drew cans of drinking water from the soapy-feculent murkiness.

Taking stock of the last few months spent here at the border of Darfur, Sudan—the cusp of hell—I savored how God had knit these women into the fiber of my soul in ways that I’d never imagined possible back in the day of my corporate-ladder climbing. Love for them had changed my whole world. It had changed me. Now it was time for me to take what I’d been shown here back to my home in America with prayers that it, too, would be transformed.

My soul felt as restless and insecure as my feet did shuffling at the edge of the cliff.

A part of me felt so dark, lonely, and overwhelmed, I wanted to throw myself from the spire and be done with it. That would be the easy way, though, and my life had never seemed to be about finding the easy path. In fact, something in me seemed to like making life as difficult as possible.

A sprig of hope, a mite of faith encouraged me to stand down. Wait. Be expectant, but don’t jump. Pray. Help was surely around the corner.

Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) had promised to send someone to witness the persecution, rape, mutilation, and genocide I was documenting on the southern border of Darfur. Knowing it had taken me months of preparation, followed by endless fieldwork, to find and accurately record this data—information that I was still just beginning to comprehend—I didn’t see how I could possibly help the VOM rep to grasp it in just three days.

Sudan is the tenth-largest country in the world; the region of Darfur is the size of France. The southern half of Sudan has a grand total of about three miles of pavement. Darfur has none. The reality of war, insecurity, violence, and lack of infrastructure, combined with the fact that we had no vehicle to speed up our maneuvers, rendered the task of sufficiently covering the vast territory in such a short time frame all but impossible.

I’d taken it upon myself to take the time and risk of walking from village to village or riding our sole motorbike to the death camps, what I’d come to call the Internally Displaced People’s camps (IDP). I started calling IDPs death camps after my first visit over a year ago. Before that trip, the word camp always conjured an image of security, even if the conditions were rustic. Visiting one stripped me of my penchant for naiveté, showing me thousands of people squatting in the desert with no food, water, or security—just waiting for death. For most, the wait wasn’t long.

I wanted to make sure I would be able to adequately expose the VOM rep to the same kind of reality. To do that, I would need transportation to cover vast amounts of ground more quickly than walking would allow.

Late yesterday a brainstorm hit me. We’d ride donkeys! James Lual Atak, our indigenous director, laughed at my kawaidja (rich white person) notions, calling me a Sudanese wannabe. But he humored me. Since the VOM rep would be here in just a few days, early this morning he’d brought several donkeys to our camp so we could test-ride them before the rep arrived.

Always ready for action, I was the first to climb on. An old man we called Peterdit held the end of the rope tied around the neck of my donkey, which I’d named Blue. The sharp ridge of spine rising from Blue’s bare back cut into me in all the wrong places, and I squirmed to make a seat for myself.

Peterdit kept overenunciating two Arabic words for me, one for stop and one for faster. As Blue reared up, alternately kicking his hind legs and then his front legs high into the air, he let me know he wasn’t happy about my squirming on his backside.

Blue’s outburst jerked the rope from Peterdit’s grasp. Blue set off toward the village, bucking like a horizontal kangaroo.

In my hysteria I could only summon up one of the two words Peterdit taught me. I screamed it as firmly as I could, “Harach! Harach! Harach!” over and over again trying to make Blue obey my limited grasp of the Arabic language: “Stop!”

My head thrashed back and forth, and I flopped to Blue’s side, squeezing my legs around his girth as tightly as I could, while clinging to the frayed rope now burning the palm of my hands as it ripped through my fingers. As I blitzed by, I caught a glimpse of James laughing uproariously from atop his donkey, his long legs conveniently reaching his feet flat to the desert floor. At the time, I found no humor in Blue’s fit, or my condition!

After my whirlwind tour of the village via Blue’s conniption, Peterdit boldly stepped into Blue’s path and grabbed the rope flinging freely in the air as I clung to Blue’s short tuft of mane. He yelled a word I did not recognize in such force that the beast calmed himself, and I fell to the ground. Although my body would yell its trauma to me through deep musculature aches for many days, my only serious injury was to my pride.

Apparently the one Arabic word I had been yelling was not the word “Stop!” but rather “Faster, faster, faster!”

The comedy of my barebacked-donkey ride at this morning’s sunrise seemed a millennium away, and a stark contrast to the bleakness of what followed. As waves of heat swelled from the desert floor, I wrote off the whole donkey deal as another one of my romantic inclinations, and James and I opted to walk, not ride, to the death camp.

While there may be few good days in a death camp, this one was particularly brutal. We’d been out of medicine for a month, out of food for a week, and today, we ran out of water. All of those life giving commodities were gone, except for the private stash we kept at our compound for James and me, the kawaidja.

Although at home in the United States, people often thought of me as a poor missionary, I was coming to understand and grapple with the fact that I was, in reality, wealthy for simple things like never running out of water.

Up to this point in my life, what had I chosen to do with my riches? Standing on that cliff, I painfully acknowledged how I’d squandered so much of what God had given me, most painfully my entire life. Many times throughout this journey, this awakening, I have come perilously close to throwing it all away.

Through God’s grace, I slowly stepped down from the precipice and began to face the end of the me I’d created for myself. I wanted to live the life—be the me—He dreamed of.

I remembered a prayer I’d cried out many years before, begging Him to use me. I wondered, if I’d known where that prayer would lead, would I still have prayed it? Deciding the answer was yes, I uttered a new prayer: “You can have whatever You want from me, but please, God, just show me what difference one person can make in the darkness of this broken world.”

The following is His story, as lived through me to this point.

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A Promise of Forever Love by Vanessa Miller

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:

A Promise of Forever Love, Book Three in the Second Chance at Love Series

Whitaker House (April 5, 2011)

***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling of Whitaker House for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Vanessa Miller is a best-selling author, playwright, and motivational speaker. She started writing as a child, spending countless hours either reading or writing poetry, short stories, stage plays and novels. Vanessa’s creative endeavors took on new meaning in 1994 when she became a Christian. Since then, her writing has been centered on themes of redemption, often focusing on characters facing multi-dimensional struggles. Readers and critics alike have responded with overwhelming affirmation with her work topping several bestsellers lists and receiving numerous awards including “Best Christian Fiction Mahogany Award” and the “Red Rose Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction.” The first two books in her Second Chance at Love Series, Yesterday’s Promise and A Love for Tomorrow, debuted at #1 on the Black Christian News Network’s Bestsellers List.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Since her husband’s death two years ago, Yvonne Milner has been serving as sole pastor of the church they pastored together, but she’s embroiled in a battle with the church board who wants to fire her. Just before a pivotal meeting, her husband’s former best friend Thomas Reed, a handsome and world-renowned motivational speaker, steps back into her life. Thomas is a widower and understands the pain she’s going through on many levels. When a different kind of threat targets both the church and her daughter, Yvonne turns to Thomas and long-buried emotions arise between them. Yvonne is hesitant to get involved, not wanting to break her promise to her husband to love him forever

Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (April 5, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1603742093
ISBN-13: 978-1603742092

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Prologue

On days like this, Yvonne Milner wondered why she even bothered to pray. She had yelled, screamed, begged, and cajoled, yet the doctors still couldn’t make eye contact with her when they came into her husband’s hospital room. There were no more talks of surgery or chemotherapy. They’d told her that nothing more could be done for David. But, as far as Yvonne was concerned, the doctors didn’t know diddly. David Milner was the senior pastor of one of the most notable churches in Detroit. He was the father of two beautiful daughters, and he was her beloved husband. So, she wasn’t just going to throw in the towel and believe the doctors’ doom-and-gloom predictions. She and David had been married for thirty-four years, and he had promised her a fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration. “We’ve got sixteen more years to go, David,” she urged him. “Don’t give up now.”

A vicious cough shook his fragile, cancer-racked body as he attempted to sit up in his hospital bed.

“Don’t, sweetheart. Just lie down.”

“No…I need…to tell you…something.” David labored to get each word out.

It was killing Yvonne to see her husband weak and bedridden like this. He had always been so strong, had always been her hero. She had admired this man, even when they hadn’t seen eye-to-eye about her role in the ministry. Early in their marriage, Yvonne had known that she was destined to preach the gospel. However, David wouldn’t hear of it. They had fought, and Yvonne had prayed for years that God would change her husband’s mind. Finally, David had accepted the fact that his wife had been called by God to be a preacher. Yet, even through those tough years, Yvonne couldn’t have imagined being anywhere else but with the man she loved. “You can say what you need to while lying down, honey. You need your strength to get better.”

David shook his head. “I’m going home, baby.”

“I know that, David. You just need to regain your strength so they will let you out of this hospital.”

He shook his head again and then pointed heavenward. “Home…with Jesus.”

Yvonne’s eyes filled with tears. “Don’t say that, David. You and I have a lot more living to do.”

He patted her hand. “Call Thomas.”

Thomas Reed was David’s best friend. The man traveled the world building churches and ministering to God’s people. He’d recently lost his wife to the same evil disease that was threatening to take David’s life. “Call Thomas right now? Why? What do you want me to tell him?”

“If you need help, call Thomas. He promised me—” A coughing fit cut him off.

Yvonne took the cup from David’s bedside table and filled it with water from the pitcher, then held the glass to his lips for him to drink once the coughing subsided. “Here, baby, drink this.” When he had taken a few sips, she said, “Now, just lie here and rest. Our girls will be here soon, and you need to save your energy for them.” Toya, twenty-nine years old, was their firstborn, a self-assured attorney with political aspirations. Tia was their twenty-six-year-old “baby.” Whereas Toya was analytical and ambitious, Tia’s strength was creativity, yet she was introspective and reserved. She could paint and write poetry from sunup till sundown and be perfectly at peace.

It had been difficult for Yvonne to manage her daughters’ very different personalities while raising them, but David had convinced her to relax and let God work out His perfect plan for each girl’s life. If it hadn’t been for David’s wisdom and prayers, Yvonne was sure that she would have broken Tia’s spirit. She had needed more time than David to understand their daughter’s passion for writing and painting. What was she going to do if he didn’t survive this illness?

No sooner had the thought crossed her mind than Yvonne tried to banish it. But that was also the moment when she noticed that David’s breathing sounded funny. And then she understood why none of the medical professionals who had come into the room today had been able to look her in the eye. They had heard it, too—the death rattle.

“No, baby, no—don’t leave me!” she begged him.

“Remember…Thomas promised…love you.”

Tears were running down Yvonne’s face as she heard her husband’s last words. She put her arms around the man she had loved for a lifetime—and yet not long enough—and whispered, “I love you, too, baby. Always and forever.”

One

Eighteen months later

Yvonne Milner collapsed into her office chair and heaved a sigh. Pastoring Christ-Life Sanctuary by herself was far from easy, and it seemed that her situation was only getting worse. For years, the church had grown and thrived, even reaching megachurch status with more than five thousand members. But since David’s death, two thousand of their “You can count on me” members had left the ministry. The head elder, Ron Thompson, had broken away to start his own ministry, taking another two hundred church members with him. Tithing was down, charity fund expenditures were up, and Yvonne knew that the church’s board of directors blamed it all on her.

Several of the board members had challenged her authority to her face and as good as said that they wouldn’t be having those problems if David were still around or if their senior pastor wasn’t a woman. Yvonne acknowledged that some people could not accept having a female in the highest position of church leadership, but she also knew that not all twenty-two hundred members had left for that reason.

Sighing again, she stood up and stepped over to the bay window to gaze out at the new Family Life Center—or, rather, what was supposed to be the new Family Life Center, the final phase of their latest building project. The Family Life Center had been Yvonne’s vision. After the sanctuary had been expanded to make room for their growing congregation, Yvonne had convinced David that they still needed to do more. She envisioned a brand-new facility that would provide space for recreational activities, especially for the children and young adults, as well as a café and a bookstore. In addition, she intended for one of the rooms to be set up theater-style, with tiered seats and a movie screen, where they could organize movie nights or perform stage plays.

Five years ago, when Yvonne and David had first proposed the building project to the board, they had developed a financial plan based on the church’s finances and projected that they would have more than enough funds to cover each phase of the project. But Yvonne hadn’t foreseen the death of her husband or the annihilation of Detroit’s economy. How could she have known that General Motors and Chrysler would go crying to the government for a bail-out and then lay off thousands upon thousands of workers, many of whom attended church at Christ-Life Sanctuary?

Now Yvonne was stuck staring at a half finished Family Life Center, as it would probably remain. After all, the coffers were empty. She really couldn’t blame the board of directors for asking for her resignation. When her husband was alive, Yvonne stood side by side with him as they built this church from the ground up. She had installed three of their seven board members herself. And she knew that God wasn’t finished with her yet. The work He had begun in her—and in the church through her ministry—was far from over, and she would be dead and buried before anyone took her out of the pulpit permanently. She just needed a plan, needed to pray about knowing the right things to say at the board meeting tomorrow in order to convince the members to give her more time to turn things around.

A knock at her door drew Yvonne’s eyes away from the window. She turned toward the door. “Come in.”

The door opened, and in walked Thomas Reed. Actually, he didn’t walk; he swaggered like a man who had the keys to the kingdom. If she hadn’t known Thomas for almost thirty years, Yvonne would have thought he swaggered so confidently because he was a millionaire several times over. But Thomas had strutted like that even when he had been as poor as a man carrying a “Will work for food” sign.

Thomas had a way about him that caused men and women to stop and stare. He was one of those fine, chocolate, Denzel-Washington-types of brothers, with wavy black hair and heavenly hazel eyes.

David had met Thomas thirty years ago in seminary and had joked about marrying Yvonne to keep her away from pretty boys like Thomas so that he didn’t have to worry about her running off. But David never had reason to worry; he had always been her prince, and she’d never wanted anyone but him.

When Thomas got married, David became less worried about his friend’s captivating charm. The four of them—David and Yvonne, Thomas and Brenda—had settled into their own ministries yet maintained a lasting friendship. David and Yvonne opened Christ-Life Sanctuary a year after David graduated from seminary, and the church had thrived from its inception. Thomas, on the other hand, was forced to close the doors to his church after struggling for five years to make a go of it. He hadn’t let that stop him, though. Thomas became a Christ-centered motivational speaker and took his ministry on the road. He now pulled in fifty thousand dollars per speaking engagement and had written nearly a dozen New York Times best-selling books.

“Thomas!” Yvonne gave him a hug and stepped back to admire his suit. “Look at you, dapper as ever on this hot summer day.”

“You don’t look so bad, yourself,” he said with a grin.

“I can’t believe you came all this way.”

“I wouldn’t miss this board meeting for anything in the world. And besides, I have a promise to make good on.”

Just before David died, he had told Yvonne to call Thomas if ever she needed help. She’d seen Thomas at the funeral, where he had asked if she needed anything. No, she’d said, and for eighteen months, she hadn’t bothered her husband’s best friend for assistance, even though he’d called her from time to time to check in. But today, she was finally calling in a favor. Thomas had been installed as a board member of Christ-Life Sanctuary about ten years ago but rarely showed up for meetings. The board had always been in accord with David, so he’d never needed to rely on his friend for a tie-breaking vote.

Yvonne had no such luck, and so she’d asked for Thomas’s help on this vote. Yet she hadn’t expected him to make an appearance—not when he could have simply phoned in with his vote.

“Please, sit down,” Yvonne said, gesturing to the couch. “Before we talk about church business, I want to know how you’ve been doing.” It had been months since they’d caught up, and she was eager to hear about his speaking ministry and his family.

Thomas unbuttoned his suit jacket and sat down on the couch next to Yvonne. “So, what do you want to know?”

“For starters, you haven’t been traveling as much lately. Has the world received all the motivation it needs?”

Thomas laughed. “I’m still getting more speaking engagements than I can accept, but I guess I’ve kind of lost my wanderlust.”

Yvonne knew that for years, Brenda had asked Thomas to spend less time on the road and more time at home. It seemed strange that now, more than two years after Brenda’s death, he was finally willing to limit his travels. “What brought this on?” she asked.

“Since Brenda died, I’ve spent a lot of time putting things into perspective. I want to spend some time reconnecting with my son, which is going to be hard since he has his own career now.”

Yvonne understood exactly where Thomas was coming from. She and David had spent many years on the preaching circuit, and then, one day, they looked up and saw that Toya and Tia were grown. She wished she could take credit for the woman Toya had become, and she definitely wished that she had spent more time helping Tia mature. If life didn’t turn out right for Tia, Yvonne knew she’d be tempted to blame herself. “I should have spent more time with my girls as they were growing up, too.” She slapped her hand against her thigh as she sat up a bit straighter. “But, hey, I figure I’ll get a second chance when they give me some grandchildren.”

“Speak for yourself, Granny,” Thomas said, nudging her arm. “I’m not trying to become a poppa for at least another five years. We didn’t have Jarrod until I was thirty, so I figure he can at least return the favor and not have his first kid until he’s at least thirty, maybe even thirty-five.”

Yvonne chuckled, then laughed outright, so hard that she doubled over. When she finally regained composure, she sat up again and wiped the tears from her eyes. “Okay, maybe I don’t want to be a granny so soon, either.”

“You certainly don’t look like any granny I know. I mean, look at you. You’re fifty-two, but you don’t look a day over forty.”

Yvonne had been told that her looks were what Olay would want to advertise its facial products. Fifty was definitely the new forty where she was concerned. With her long, coal-black hair, light skin, and eyes that sparkled and danced, she could have passed for a relative of Lena Horne. “We’ve known each other entirely too long. There’s no way you should know my real age.”

Thomas lifted his hands in surrender. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll take your secrets to the grave with me.”

Yvonne felt her droll mood depart. “I don’t want to hear anything about you going to your grave.”

Thomas put an arm around Yvonne’s shoulder and gave her a squeeze. “I shouldn’t have said that. I’m sorry.”

With his arm still wrapped around her, Yvonne took a deep breath to steady her nerves. She had seen two deaths too many in the past two years, and she didn’t know if she could make it through funeral number three so soon. With David and Brenda gone, Yvonne felt that she should have fulfilled her quota of homegoings for a lifetime. “Don’t say stuff like that. I don’t consider it funny.”

“Again, I’m sorry,” Thomas said as he stood up. “Are you ready for the meeting tomorrow morning?”

Yvonne shook her head and leaned back in the couch. “I’ve been in ministry for thirty years, copastored Christ-Life for twenty, and now some board that my husband and I formed wants to vote me out. I don’t know how to get ready for something like that.”

“But I’m here to cast my vote in favor of you staying senior pastor of Christ-Life,” Thomas reminded her. “And I believe several others will vote in your favor, also.”

Yvonne pushed herself to her feet and planted a kiss on Thomas’s cheek. “God love you for what you’re doing, Thomas. But I don’t know how much good it’s going to do. If Deacon Brown has his way, I might need to take on a few of those speaking engagements you’ve cancelled.”

“Don’t worry,” Thomas said. “This meeting is in the Lord’s hands. He knows that you’re meant to pastor this church, and I plan to do everything in my power to make the other board members realize that.”

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Life Ready Woman by Shaunti Feldhahn

<MomLife Today's Weekend To Remember Giveaway

Contest post:

In celebration of Shaunti Feldhahn’s Life Ready Woman, MomLife Today is giving away 2 Weekend To Remember Gift Packs and much more!

Not only, is MomLife Today helping promote Life Ready Woman, but they are thrilled to announce that Shaunti will be joining MomLife Today as a regular contributor!!!

Weekend To Remember Get-Aways offer marriage-changing principles that you can take home and apply to your daily lives to strengthen your marriage. Whether you are newly engaged or have been married for 50 years, you will find value in the tools provided at the getaway.

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Don’t miss this opportunity to receive a conference registration for you and your spouse … and more! MomLife Today will be randomly selecting NINE lucky recipients to receive one of these great gifts:

  1. 2 Weekend To Remember Get Away conference registrations for two. $259 value each pair (Two couples will receive this.)
  2. 2 Life Ready Woman DVD packs. $149 value each (Two different people will receive this gift.)
  3. 5 The Life Ready Woman books. (Book will go to 5 people.)

To enter click one of the icons below then tell your friends. Winner will be announced on March 2nd on the MomLife Today website.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

MomLife Today provides encouragement, advice and resources to help YOU with your daily Momlife! Because…every MOMent counts!

My Review:
This book starts out talking about the changes women have made over time. I found this interesting considering we just discussed the book “She Walks in Beauty” by Siri Mitchell
detailing corsets. Anyhow, when Shaunti describes the Roman world and how the freedom women experienced effected women, I felt sort of a chill. Women seemed to have come “so far” when really we have made a full circle and not a very good one.
This book speaks of the struggle many women in general face. The juggling work, family, goals and friendships. We find that for everything we get, we sacrifice another.
We find in this book good news that we can be ready for a life that leads to peace and enjoyment rather than stress and regret.

I am personally hoping this book gives me some insight on how to deal with the daily pressures of life and see what is important in life biblically as a woman.

I have a copy of this book to giveaway as well! Please enter the giveaway below by leaving a comment on this blog post. Tell me what thing about being a woman overwhelms you sometimes!
Please leave your email address written like Marget(at)yahoo(dot)com

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Menu plan

Wednesday: Fend for yourself night…..

Thursday: Tacos

Friday: Mexican chicken corn chowder and Sausage tortellini soup,   bread, salad and dessert

Saturday: Poor Man’s Stroganoff, noodles, salad

Sunday: Leftovers, Popcorn, muffins

Monday: Asian Chicken Wraps, Cabbage salad

Tuesday: Red Chile Rice and black beans, homemade tortillas, cucumbers

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The Seamstress

The Seamstress

By Sara Tuvel Bernstein, Louise Loots Thornton, Marlene bernst Samuels, and Edgar M. Bronfman

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

Book Description:

A striking Holocaust memoir, posthumously published, by a Romanian Jew with an unusual story to tell. From its opening pages, in which she recounts her own premature birth, triggered by terrifying rumors of an incipient pogrom, Bernstein’s tale is clearly not a typical memoir of the Holocaust. She was born into a large family in rural Romania between the wars and grew up feisty and willing to fight back physically against anti-Semitism from other schoolchildren. She defied her father’s orders to turn down a scholarship that took her to Bucharest, and got herself expelled from that school when she responded to a priest/teacher’s vicious diatribe against the Jews by hurling a bottle of ink at him. Ashamed to return home after her expulsion, she looked for work in Bucharest and discovered a talent for dressmaking. That talent–and her blond hair, blue eyes, and overall Gentile appearance–allowed her entry into the highest reaches of Romanian society, albeit as a dressmaker. Bernstein recounts the growing shadow of the native fascist movement, the Iron Guard, a rising tide of anti-Semitic laws, and finally, the open persecution of Romania’s Jews. After a series of incidents that ranged from dramatic escapes to a year in a forced labor detachment, Sara ended up in Ravensbrck, a women’s concentration camp deep in Germany. Nineteen out of every twenty women transported there died. The author, her sister Esther, and two other friends banded together and, largely due to Sara’s extraordinary street smarts and intuition, managed to survive. Although Bernstein was not a professional writer, she tells this story with style and power. Her daughter Marlene contributes a moving epilogue to close out Sara’s life. One of the best of the recent wave of Holocaust memoirs. (b&w photos, not seen) — Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

My Review:

In the intro of this book you meet Sara Tuval Bernstein, you fall in love with her character, the small dressmaker, who has spunk and yet has suffered so much.

When I was ready to read her story, you read about this bright young woman who made her way as a excellent seamstress. I laughed when I read how she made a dress for her mother and it was full of mistakes, yet her mother wore it anyhow. She spoke so highly of her parents, loved her family devotedly  even when they were not the easiest to get along with.

As I read with horror all of  her experiences, and then at the end when her daughter said she said how she was afraid for a school performance and thought she would just die. She said her mother was very quiet and said  “It is not as easy to die as you would think.”

It was amazing she survived. When she was taken to a hospital at the end and was weighed. She was only 44 pounds. I did not know you could lose that much weight and still survive. She said when the soldier was carrying her into the hospital after that to her bed, she wondered how it could be raining inside and then realized that the soldier was crying that was carrying her.

This memoir of the holocaust is different than many I have read, it is matter of fact and talks about things that I have wondered about, but not in a way where you are horrified at the graphicness of it.

If you have ever wondered how a young Jewish girl could survive marching, starvation and go on with life later, read this story of Sara Bernstein.

The only thing I found sad  that was different than many of the memoirs and recounting of this time, was that she did not have a relationship with God and seemed to have some bitterness against Him. She did not understand how other survivors could thank Him for allowing them to survive, she did not thank Him for it. But then it sounded like maybe at the end of her life, it may have changed.

This book would be a good discussion for your family, with older readers.

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Snow….

We have been getting alot of snow lately! It is alot of fun! I have not left the house since Sunday! Well, I did open the door once! = ) I am loving it!

Tomorrow, I have to venture out to shop…maybe if I want to. If I want to make my menus…I have to shop. We are out of vegetables, except for lettuce and some sweet potatoes. I ate the rest of the cabbage in a salad that was pretty plain…I ate a piece of a brown avocado…well, I scraped off part of it, some beans, lettuce, grated cheese, bottom of the crouton bag and some oil and vinegar. It tasted pretty good for all that.

I was listening to my boys talk after school today and overheard this conversation!

” I am going to have a horse when I grow up.” T. says

“Will you take good care of it?” H. asks

“My son will, it will be his chores.” T. replies
“Who are you going to marry?” H. asks

“I don’t know yet.” T. says
“It is not time for you to be thinking about that yet.” H. replies

I love how boys can switch between a whole bunch of subjects in one conversation!

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