Interview with Dr. Richard Mabry and Book Giveaway


Hey everyone. I am so excited to have Dr. Richard L.Mabry here with us today. Dr.Mabry’s 3rd book in his series Prescription for Trouble hit the stores in April. If you like christian fiction and suspense, you will love this series. I want to thank Dr. Mabry for taking time out of his busy writing schedule to be with us today. Leave a message about the interview to enter to win a copy of his latest book, Diagnosis Death. You MUST leave a comment to enter to win the book!  Please note that Giveaway Ends…..June 15th.

 Hello Dr. Mabry, it’s great to have you on my blog today. Thank you so much for being here. Tell us a bit about yourself.

 I’m a physician, retired after 26 years in private practice and 10 spent as a medical school professor. I’m a native Texan, and my wife, Kay, and I now live in North Texas. My hobbies are golf, reading mysteries, and spoiling our grandchildren.

Wow, 36 years in the medical field. That is awesome, and I am sure you could write books and books about what you have seen in all of those years in practice and being a professor. No wonder the medical scenes in your books are so accurate and awesome!  You know your stuff!!

 And I know you enjoy your grandchildren, you can spoil them then let mom and dad take them home and  deal with it! They are such a joy to us, and they are so much fun. I always think about my dad with grandchildren. He would get down in the floor and play with them, make them so wild, then send them home with us. He always said that’s what granddaddy’s were suppose to do!

How long have you been writing?

Not counting the textbooks and professional papers I wrote during my years in medicine, I began my non-medical writing career with a non-fiction book, The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse, published in 2006. About the time I started writing that book, James Scott Bell and Alton Gansky encouraged me to try my hand at fiction. Four unpublished novels, forty rejections, and four years later my first novel was published.

Well we are glad your friends talked you into writing fiction. I’ve read the first three books in yourPrescription for Trouble Series and they are awesome. I can’t wait until fall to read the fourth one. It takes a lot of patience, but I know it was worth it when Code Blue was published. And now your forth book will be out in the fall. How amazing. I hope to have you back here for another interview so you can tell us all about it!

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

I’ll have to echo the sentiment of Dorothy Parker, who said, “I hate writing. I like having written.” The most enjoyable part of writing is hitting the “send” key to transmit a completed manuscript to my editor.

And then you can relax and wait patiently. You are such a wonderful writer, even if you don’t like writing.

 What is your favorite Scripture?

Psalm 139:1-5, which reads:
1O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
2You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar
3Youscrutinize my path and my lying down
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
4Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O LORD, You know it all.
5You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.

 What a wonderful passage of scripture to have for a favorite! Every time I read those five verses I am reminded of how the Lord knows us and how much he loves us. Thank you for sharing that with us today.

 How do you find characters for your books? Are the influenced by family and friends?

I hope I’m smart enough never to put family or even acquaintances in my books. No, I make up my characters to suit the needs of my plot, sometimes drawing on characteristics or peculiarities I’ve seen in other people, but never in such a fashion as they can identify themselves. I can’t afford to alienate a single potential reader.

This is always an interesting subject for me. I always want to know how a writer creates the characters they use in their stories. A lot of time researching and even more knowledge goes into the characters and their personalities. You do an awesome job of creating just the right characters. When I read your books, I feel like I am working right along with the medical team. And that is scary, since I know nothing about that field.

What are 4 things about yourself that most people wouldn’t know?

I won the State meet in extemporaneous speech my senior year in high school.

I’ve been an interim minister of music.

I went to college with Pat Boone. (We were in the same English class).

I rode an elephant in Thailand on my honeymoon.

Wow these are interesting things…..Thanks for answering this question. I think it is cool to find out little interesting things about the authors of the books we read. I bet your wife took plenty of pictures of you and the elephant!!  And Pat Boone…..that is way too cool. And I can see the speech since you are in the Medical field, and now writing books, that’s an amazing accomplishment. You are a man of many talents, to also be able to help in being the minister of music. How awesome that you are willing to use your talents for the Lord.

When will your next book be out?

The third book in my Prescription for Trouble series, Diagnosis Death, was officially released on April 1, and I’ve been pleased with both the advance reviews and the early sales. I’m just completing the final edits for my fourth book in that series, Lethal Remedy, which is due out September 1.

  We wish you blessings on the sales of all of your books, and especially Diagnosis Death that is currently out, and Lethal Remedy that will be out in September. I am looking forward to reviewing that one too.

What are you working on now?

After finishing these edits, I’ll be getting back to work on my next novel, with the working title, Stress Test. Here’s a tease:

Dr. Matt Newman thought he was leaving his life in private practice for a better one in academic medicine. His kidnappers have no such plans for him. They just want him dead.

He escapes, but his freedom comes at a price: a serious head injury that almost completes the job his kidnappers started. Matt wakes up in the ICU, charged with murder. His hopes of an academic career are going down the drain, while his freedom and perhaps his life may be next. His only ally is a fiery, redheaded defense lawyer with an itch to see justice done.

 That sounds wonderful, and it is great that you will keep us busy reading!  Oh  and thanks bunches for the teasers…… but now we have to wait how long to read the rest??  LOL  I tend to be impatient when waiting on a book!

Where can our readers find you?

My website is  I blog twice a week at And, like so many people, I’m on Twitter ( and Facebook (

Thank you so much for letting us know where to look for you on the web. And readers, be sure to go to Dr. Muray’s web sites and check out information on his books.

Anything else you want to add?

I appreciate your having me as a guest on your blog. I hope your readers will enjoy Diagnosis Death, as well as trying the other novels in the series, Code Blue and Medical Error.

 And thank you so much for taking out of your busy writing schedule to be with us. It has been exciting for me to have one of my favorite authors here. Your books are at the top of my favorite reads list! And readers, I encourage you to run out and pick up a copy of Dr. Mabry’s books asap! The first in the series is Code Blue, the second one is Medical Error, the third we have been talking about today, and you can enter to win a copy, Diagnosis Death, and the fourth will be out Sept 1st, Lethal Remedy. If you use your local library, encourage them to purchase copies if they don’t have them already. Just keep asking until they do.

 What question do you want to ask our readers?

What is your motivation for writing? If you knew you’d never be published, would you still write? (PS—if the answer to that question is “yes,” congratulations. You’re really a writer).

 That has to be the tough thing about writing, writing books that may never be published. It truly takes a real writer to keep persevering until the spotlight hits you!

 That’s all the time we have now with our guest, Dr Mabry. Lets give him a big thanks for being here by getting a copy of his books and read them. And after you read them, write a review of what you think about them and post it on some of the online bookstores like Amazon, Books A Million, CBD, etc. And if you need help, just let me know and I will be happy to help you. Or if you want to write a review and email it to me, I will post it for you. This will help Dr Mabry very much, and you can brag that you have your reviews online!!  Book Giveaway ends June 15th

Interview with Dr. Richard L. Mabry, M.D. here tomorrow plus book giveaway

I am so excited to have Dr. Richard L. Mabry on my blog tomorrow for an interview. And we will be giving away his latest book in the 

Prescription for Trouble Series, ‘Diagnosis Death’  You dont want to miss this~~


Ransomed by Els Van Hierden Book Review

Ransomed by Els Van Hierden


Book Information
Price: $19.95
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 1579219616
ISBN-13: 9781579219611
Publisher: WinePress Publishing
Year: 2009


Book Recap:

Russia, 2003—with the collapse of communism, hundreds of thousands of orphans reside in orphanages and on the street. In search of purpose after the death of his children, David Valensky has left a successful career in a U.S. firm to establish a street ministry in Perm, Russia. During his outreach to orphanages he meets Karina Svetlana, an introverted, morose orphanage director. David’s attempts to reach her with the Gospel fail as she carefully guards the secrets of her dark past.

Meanwhile, Jared and Vanessa Williams travel from Canada to Russia to adopt a son, only to lose their child to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Disillusioned, they return to home with shattered hopes and damaged faith.

David’s misunderstood outreach to Karina costs him his position, sending him home to face his sick mother and a past he has not made peace with. When he is invited to return to his ministry in Russia, a young boy’s suicide opens up a deadly secret within the shelter. Karina is still desperate for God’s healing. Jared and Vanessa make a second attempt at adoption. Will one four-year-old be the answer to their prayers? And will Karina finally accept the answer to her bitterness—the healing power of God’s love?

 Author Bio:

Els Van Hierden has a message of encouragement for anyone who has ever considered adopting a child internationally or getting involved in missions. She has personal experience in the journeys involved in both. She and her husband Edward adopted their fifth child from Russia in 2006. From this very personal experience, Els has crafted a compelling novel. Els has a heart for suffering children, having been active in the pro-life movement and missions for many years. Her family traveled to Romania for five weeks in April, 2008, to work with an orphanage organization. Els and her husband have been involved with FamilyLife Canada. Els is also involved in her local church, working with the teens as well as teaching Sunday school. She currently owns and operates an equestrian centre in Southern Alberta, where they board about forty horses. A Certified Equine Therapist by profession, Els teaches anatomy and sports therapy. Their children range in ages from six to sixteen. Her first book is especially close to her heart as it deals with the passion of her life; redemption and healing through Jesus Christ.


My Review

After losing his children to an accident and his wife to his best friend, David moves to Prem, Russia and builds a ministry working with the homeless teens and abandoned orphans as a result of the fall of Communism. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to work in a community of hate, alcoholism, drugs, suicide, and so many homeless teens and orphan children there was not room enough for them.


This is my first book with the setting being in Russia, and with the authors quality research and experience in Russian adoptions, reading this book was like taking a trip there. It was very interesting getting to know the Russian lifestyle, know the customs, experience the weather, and even taste the food. But most of all, getting an insite of the poverty and homeless. My heart was breaking as the author told of the different shelters for street kids and the orphanages housing small children after the fall of the Communist Era. And I was saddened reading about the hassles of keeping food for the children, trying to keep the children and babies alive, such sad circumstances.  It is unbelievable this is the debut novel for Els Van Hierden. She created unique characters that blends together wonderfully, their personalities fit perfectly with the characters, complimenting each other. You could feel the love David, Karina, Ina and the others had for the children they worked with. And more importantly, the author so wonderfully wove all of this together with awesome love of our Lord, and confirmed His promises that “Nothing is impossible with God”, no matter how difficult the situations.

I recommend this book to everyone. I urge you to run and buy a copy of this book to read, and see what it is like living in another country. Els Van Hierden captures the heart of the readers because the subjects in this book are very dear to her. Having adopted a number of Russian orphans, she knows firsthand what it is like for these children and teens, as well as those who work with them. For more information on Children’s Camps International go to

A big Thank You to Wine Press Publishing for providing me a copy of Ransomed to read in exchange for a review. I was not expected or requested to write a positive review of this book. The review and opinions are mine only.

You can purchase this book at AMAZON      GOODREADS       CBD      as well as  THE PUBLISHER

When Chicks Hatch by….Heather Randall

When Chicks Hatch by Heather Randall

Book Information
List Price: $14.99
Your Price: $10.94
Savings: $4.05 (27%)
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 141411432X
ISBN-13: 9781414114323
Publisher: WinePress Publishing
Year: 2011
Book Recap:       Nicky Bell is a college student who accidentally uncovers her professor’s infidelity and inadvertently loses her one shot at the internship of her dreams. An unlikely and unexpected request draws Nicky away from the path of selfish ambition. Sidney Flannery finds herself in a web of deceit with married college professor, Peter Marks. Pregnant by their first encounter and unsure of his devotion, she creates a lie to cover her shame. Surrounded by beautiful things, Jennifer Frank is driven by the unquenchable yearning for her own child as infertility and miscarriage have stolen the crown of motherhood from her. An E-ticket for the earliest flight home is Alexis Mark’s ticket out of a life that is crushing her inside. Forced to see the “other woman” as a mom with heartaches of her own, Alexis must decide if Peter is a love worth fighting for. Kristen McGowen is a nurse faced with the uncomfortable task of caring for her brother-in-law’s mistress. Together these women learn the truth of Humpty Dumpty. Shells do break, but the King isn’t just watching a mess on the wall… He’s waiting to see the chick emerge.


Author Bio:
Heather Randall grew up in Livonia, Michigan, graduated in 1997 from Churchill High School, and attended Schoolcraft Community College for two years and William Tyndale College for one year. She and her husband have been married for nine years. Despite being prepared for the probability of infertility early in their marriage, God overruled the doctor’s prognosis and blessed the Randalls with three daughters and a son.

While still in Michigan, the Randalls were commissioned into ministry from United Assembly of God (now Real Life Church) and served at Ypsilanti Assembly of God and Tri-City Christian Center (now Connection Church). Heather often finds herself surrounded by kids and is blessed to make an impact on their lives for Christ. She has also been active in Women’s ministry and she has a special heart for moms. Heather enjoys being a stay at home mom and takes pride in homeschooling her children. She actively writes product reviews for “The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.” She also enjoys reading and writes book reviews on her blog for various publishers. Today, Heather and her family make their home in Coweta, Oklahoma.

Writing has always been a desire of her heart. When Chicks Hatch is Heather’s first published novel. Although taking care of her four children often competed with the challenges of parenting, Heather remained steadfast and completed her manuscript. She knew she had a story God could use and, above anything else, she wanted to be used by God. Ultimately, Heather was desperate for God to fuel her abilities to grow His Kingdom. Heather has seen God take disappointments and shape them into dreams. Heather has watched God use trials and heartbreaks to build some of the strongest and most treasured Christian examples in her life. She knows what God can do and she hopes the reader will be reminded of Him as they read When Chicks Hatch.


My Review

Best friends Jennifer and Nicky, Sidney, Alexis and Kristen all face challenging situations in their lives. As the story unfolds, each of these women have accept and deal with their own personal struggles. Some because of their own choices, some couldn’t be helped. Jennifer and Nicky’s friendship results in a situation that could have cost their longtime relationship. Sidney made very bad choices because of her self-controlled past. Alexis is dealing with grief and rejection as she tries to save her marriage. And Kristen doesn’t know what she wants, she’s lost faith in her future. And the author weaves all of these ladies situations, showing that God can and will take a bad situation and make something good come from it.

This was an interesting book, with 5 ladies dealing with real life situations that women face today. The story of each woman was interesting, and I enjoyed reading about them. But as I read through the book, I really had a tough time keeping up with the characters and the plot. Each chapter, and sometimes within each chapter the author was back and forth from one situation to the other, and I had to keep going back to see where the story line was coming from and who was suppose to be with who. It was just confusing. And I wasn’t happy when in reading, God’s name was taken in vain twice. I feel that could have been avoided. And there was another cuss word in there than could have been avoided too. Like my dad always taught us, you can always say the same things without the bad words. She did refer to faith and hope, and how God can change any situation, no matter how bad it is. I give this book a 3.0 rating.

A big Thank You to Wine Press Publishing for providing me a copy of When Chicks Hatch to read in exchange for a review. I was not expected or requested to write a positive review of this book. The review and opinions are mine only.

To Purchase the book go to Amazon……..or to Goodreads


The Lightkeepers Ball Review

Check out The Lightkeeper’s Ball

My Review

Since Colleen Coble is one of my very favorite authors, I just had to review this book. And she certainly did not disappoint! This story is full of romance and suspense, love and secrets that kept me on the edge of my seat until I finished the book. I really like the way Colleen Coble blends everything together making the story so believable and real. The unique characters were well researched and thought about, they fit very well together, complimenting each other’s personality. I love books with secrets, but after Olivia was around Harrison for a while, I really started wishing she would come clean and tell all. I didn’t figure out the killer in this one, because of the many twist and turns. I would think I knew, and then there is another lead taking you somewhere else. I recommend this book to anyone out there that likes a great romance and suspense, with a little secret thrown in. And oh I forgot the setting of the story. It was really interesting reading a Colleen Coble story set in Historical Fiction. And may I say the cover is just strikingly beautiful!  This book is Colleen Coble at her best!!

I was provided a book from the publisher Thomas Nelson through B&B Media to read and review. The opinions in this review are mine only. I was not required or expected to give a positive review of this book.


Thanks to everyone who participated in today’s tour!

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:
Colleen Coble
and the book:
The Lightkeeper’s Ball
Thomas Nelson; 1 edition (April 19, 2011)

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


Colleen Coble’s thirty-five novels and novellas have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA, the Holt Medallion, the ACFW Book of the Year, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, the Booksellers Best, and the 2009 Best Books of Indiana-Fiction award. She writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail and love begin with a happy ending.

Visit the author’s website.


Olivia seems to have it all, but her heart yearns for more.

Olivia Stewart’s family is one of the Four Hundred—the highest echelon of society in 1910. When her sister dies under mysterious circumstances, Olivia leaves their New York City home for Mercy Falls, California, to determine what befell Eleanor. She suspects Harrison Bennett, the man Eleanor planned to marry. But the more Olivia gets to know him, the more she doubts his guilt—and the more she is drawn to him herself.

When several attempts are made on her life, Olivia turns to Harrison for help. He takes her on a ride in his aeroplane, but then crashes, and they’re forced to spend two days alone together. With her reputation hanging by a thread, Harrison offers to marry her to make the situation right. As a charity ball to rebuild the Mercy Falls lighthouse draws near, she realizes she wants more than a sham engagement—she wants Harrison in her life forever. But her enemy plans to shatter the happiness she is ready to grasp. If Olivia dares to drop her masquerade, she just might see the path to true happiness.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson; 1 edition (April 19, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 159554268X
ISBN-13: 978-1595542687



The New York brownstone was just half a block down from the Astor mansion on Fifth Avenue, the most prestigious address in the country. The carriage, monogrammed with the Stewart emblem, rattled through the iron gates and came to a halt in front of the ornate doors. Assisted by the doorman, Olivia Stewart descended and rushed for the steps of her home. She was late for tea, and her mother would be furious. Mrs. Astor herself had agreed to join them today.

Olivia handed her hat to the maid, who opened the door. “They’re in the drawing room, Miss Olivia,” Goldia whispered. “Your mama is ready to pace the floor.”

Olivia patted at her hair, straightened her shoulders, and pinned a smile in place as she forced her stride to a ladylike stroll to join the other women. Two women turned to face her as she entered: her mother and Mrs. Astor. They wore identical expressions of disapproval.

“Olivia, there you are,” her mother said. “Sit down before your tea gets cold.”

Olivia pulled off her gloves as she settled into the Queen Anne chair beside Mrs. Astor. “I apologize for my tardiness,” she said. “A lorry filled with tomatoes overturned in the street, and my driver couldn’t get around it.”

Mrs. Astor’s face cleared. “Of course, my dear.” She sipped her tea from the delicate blue-and-white china. “Your dear mother and I were just discussing your prospects. It’s time you married.”

Oh dear. She’d hoped to engage in light conversation that had nothing to do with the fact that she was twenty-five and still unmarried. Her unmarried state distressed her if she let it, but every man her father brought to her wanted only her status. She doubted any of them had ever looked into her soul. “I’m honored you would care about my marital status, Mrs. Astor,” Olivia said.

“Mrs. Astor wants to hold a ball in your honor, Olivia,” her mother gushed. “She has a distant cousin coming to town whom she wants you to meet.”

Mrs. Astor nodded. “I believe you and Matthew would suit. He owns property just down the street.”

Olivia didn’t mistake the reference to the man’s money. Wealth would be sure to impact her mother. She opened her mouth to ask if the man was her age, then closed it at the warning glint in her mother’s eyes.

“He’s been widowed for fifteen years and is long overdue for a suitable wife,” Mrs. Astor said.

Olivia barely suppressed a sigh. So he was another of the decrepit gentlemen who showed up from time to time. “You’re very kind,” she said.

“He’s most suitable,” her mother said. “Most suitable.”

Olivia caught the implication. They spent the next half an hour discussing the date and the location. She tried to enter into the conversation with interest, but all she could do was imagine some gray-whiskered blue blood dancing her around the ballroom. She stifled a sigh of relief when Mrs. Astor took her leave and called for her carriage.

“I’ll be happy when you’re settled, Olivia,” her mother said when they returned to the drawing room. “Mrs. Astor is most kind.”

“She is indeed.” Olivia pleated her skirt with her fingers. “Do you ever wish you could go somewhere incognito, Mother? Where no one has expectations of you because you are a Stewart?”

Her mother put down her saucer with a clatter. “Whatever are you babbling about, my dear?”

“Haven’t you noticed that people look at us differently because we’re Stewarts? How is a man ever to love me for myself when all he sees is what my name can gain him? Men never see inside to the real me. They notice only that I’m a Stewart.”

“Have you been reading those novels again?” Her mother sniffed and narrowed her gaze on Olivia. “Marriage is about making suitable connections. You owe it to your future children to consider the life you give them. Love comes from respect. I would find it quite difficult to respect someone who didn’t have the gumption to make his way in the world. Besides, we need you to marry well. You’re twenty-five years old and I’ve indulged your romantic notions long enough. Heaven knows your sister’s marriage isn’t what I had in mind, essential though it may be. Someone has to keep the family name in good standing.”

Olivia knew what her duty demanded, but she didn’t have to like it. “Do all the suitable men have to be in their dotage?”

Her mother’s eyes sparked fire but before she spoke, Goldia appeared in the doorway. “Mr. Bennett is here, Mrs. Stewart.”

Olivia straightened in her chair. “Show him in. He’ll have news of Eleanor.”

Bennett appeared in the doorway moments later. He shouldn’t have been imposing. He stood only five-foot-three in his shoes, which were always freshly polished. He was slim, nearly gaunt, with a patrician nose and obsidian eyes. He’d always reminded Olivia of a snake about to strike. His expression never betrayed any emotion, and today was no exception. She’d never understood why her father entertained an acquaintance with the man let alone desired their families to be joined.

“Mr. Bennett.” She rose and extended her hand and tried not to flinch as he brushed his lips across it.

“Miss Olivia,” he said, releasing her hand. He moved to her mother’s chair and bowed over her extended hand.

Olivia sank back into her chair. “What do you hear of my sister? I have received no answer to any of my letters.”

He took a seat, steepled his fingers, and leaned forward. “That’s the reason for our meeting today. I fear I have bad news to impart.”

Her pulse thumped erratically against her ribcage. She wetted her lips and drew in a deep breath. “What news of Eleanor?” How bad could it be? Eleanor had gone to marry Harrison, a man she hardly knew. But she was in love with the idea of the Wild West, and therefore more than happy to marry the son of her father’s business partner.

He never blinked. “I shall just have to blurt it out then. I’m sorry to inform you that Eleanor is dead.”

Her mother moaned. Olivia stared at him. “I don’t believe it,” she said.

“I know, it’s a shock.”

There must have been some mistake. She searched his face for some clue that this was a jest. “What happened?”

He didn’t hold her gaze. “She drowned.”


“No one knows. I’m sorry.”

Her mother stood and swayed. “What are you saying?” Her voice rose in a shriek. “Eleanor can’t be dead! Are you quite mad?”

He stood and took her arm. “I suggest you lie down, Mrs. Stewart. You’re quite pale.”

Her mother put her hands to her cheeks. “Tell me it isn’t true,” she begged. Then she keeled over in a dead faint.

Harrison Bennett tugged on his tie, glanced at his shoes to make sure no speck of dirt marred their perfection, then disembarked from his motorcar in front of the mansion. The cab had rolled up Nob Hill much too quickly for him to gather his courage to face the party. Electric lights pushed back the darkness from the curving brick driveway to the porch with its impressive white pillars. Doormen flanked the double doors at the entry. Through the large windows, he saw the ballroom. Ladies in luxurious gowns and gentlemen in tuxedos danced under glittering chandeliers, and their laughter tinkled on the wind.

His valet, Eugene, exited behind him. “I’ll wait in the kitchen, sir.”

Harrison adjusted his hat and strode with all the confidence he could muster to the front door. “Mr. Harrison Bennett,” he said to the doorman.

The man scanned the paper in his hand. “Welcome, Mr. Bennett. Mr. Rothschild is in the ballroom.”

Harrison thanked him and stepped into the opulent hall papered in gold foil. He went in the direction of the voices with a sense of purpose. This night could change his future. He glanced around the enormous ballroom, and he recognized no one among the glittering gowns and expensive suits. In subtle ways, these nobs would try to keep him in his place. It would take all his gumption not to let them. It was a miracle he’d received an invitation. Only the very wealthy or titled were invited to the Rothschilds’ annual ball in San Francisco. Harrison was determined to do whatever was necessary to secure the contract inside his coat pocket.

A young woman in an evening gown fluttered her lashes at him over the top of her fan. When she lowered it, she approached with a coaxing smile on her lips. “Mr. Bennett, I’d hoped to see you here tonight.”

He struggled to remember her name. Miss Kessler. She’d made her interest in him known at Eleanor’s funeral. Hardly a suitable time. He took her gloved hand and bowed over it. “Miss Kessler. I wasn’t expecting to see you here.”

“I came when I heard you were on the guest list.”

He ignored her brazen remark. “It’s good to see you again. I have some business to attend to. Perhaps later?”

Her eyes darkened and she withdrew her hand. “I shall watch for you,” she said.

And he’d do the same, with the intent to avoid her. “If you’ll excuse me.” He didn’t wait for an answer but strolled through the crowd. He finally spied his host standing in front of a marble fireplace. A flame danced in the eight-foot hearth. Harrison stepped through the crowd to join the four men clustered around the wealthy Rothschild.

The man closest to Harrison was in his fifties and had a curling mustache. “They’ll never get that amendment ratified,” he said. “An income tax! It’s quite ridiculous to expect us to pay something so outrageous.”

A younger man in a gray suit shook his head. “If it means better roads, I’ll gladly write them a check. The potholes outside of town ruined my front axels.”

“We can take care of our own roads,” Rothschild said. “I have no need of the government in my affairs. At least until we’re all using flying machines.” He snickered, then glanced at Harrison. “You look familiar, young man. Have we met?”

Flying machines. Maybe this meeting was something God had arranged. Harrison thrust out his hand. “Harrison Bennett.”

“Claude’s son?”’

Was that distaste in the twist of Rothschild’s mouth? Harrison put confidence into his grip. “Yes, sir.”

“How is your father?”

“Quite well. He’s back in New York by now.”

“I heard about your fiancée’s death. I’m sorry for your loss.”

Harrison managed not to wince. “Thank you.” He pushed away his memories of that terrible day, the day he’d seen Eleanor Stewart for what she really was.

“Your father was most insistent I meet you. He seems to think you have a business proposition I might be interested in.”

Harrison smiled and began to tell the men of the new diamond mines that Bennett and Bennett had found in Africa. A mere week after Mr. Stewart’s passing, Mr. Bennett had renamed the venture to include Harrison. An hour later, he had appointments set up with three of the men as possible investors. His father would be pleased.

Harrison smiled and retraced his steps to toward the front door but was waylaid by four women in brightly colored silk. They swooped around him, and Miss Kessler took him by the hand and led him to a quiet corner.

“Let’s not talk about anything boring like work,” she said, her blue eyes sparkling. “Tell me what you love to do most.”

He glanced at the other women clustered around. “I’m building an aeroplane. I’d like to have it in the air by the time Earth passes through the tail of Halley’s Comet.”

She gasped. “Do you have a death wish, Mr. Bennett? You would be breathing the poisonous fumes directly. No one even knows if the Earth will survive this.”

He’d heard this before. “The scientists I’ve discussed this with believe we shall be just fine,” Harrison said.

“I assume you’ve purchased comet pills?” the blonde closest to him said.

“I have no fear.”

The brunette in red silk smiled. “If man were meant to fly, God would have given him wings. Or so I’ve heard the minister say.”

He finally placed the brunette. Her uncle was Rothschild. No wonder she had such contempt for Harrison’s tone. All the nobs cared for were trains and ships. “It’s just a matter of perfecting the machine,” Harrison said. “Someday aeroplanes will be the main mode of transcontinental transportation.”

The brunette laughed. “Transcontinental? My uncle would call it balderdash.”

He glanced at his pocket watch without replying. “I fear I must leave you lovely ladies. Thank you for the conversation.”

He found Eugene in the kitchen and beckoned to his valet.

Eugene put down his coffee cup and followed. “You didn’t stay long, sir,” he said. “Is everything all right?”

Harrison stalked out the door and toward the car. “Are there no visionaries left in the country?”

Eugene followed a step behind. “You spoke of your flying machine?”

“The world is changing, Eugene, right under their noses—and they don’t see it.”

Eugene opened the door for Harrison. “You will show them the future, sir.”

He set his jaw. “I shall indeed.”

“I have a small savings set aside, Mr. Bennett. I’d like to invest in your company. With your permission, of course.”

Eugene’s trust bolstered Harrison’s determination. “I’d be honored to partner with you, Eugene. We are going to change the world.”

Welcome to the blog tour for Shellie Rushing Tomlinson’s hilarious new series!

About Sue Ellen’s Girl Ain’t Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy: The bestselling author of Suck Your Stomach In & Put Some Color On! returns with more helpful how-to’s and keen observations from Dixie .


Guided by principles from the ancient Belle Doctrine, the host of radio and television’s All Things Southern offers down-home advice on everything from health and fitness-managing thy caloric calculations without going Straight Running Crazy and surviving the Raging Inferno Syndrome (aka hot flashes)-to the Southern art of handling your man (Bubba Whispering). Whether giving business tips or debunking the Big Boned Theory, making political observations or celebrating the inevitable resurgence of big hair, Shellie is an adviser women can relate to and laugh with regardless of their age or which side of the Mason-Dixon they call home.


Link to buy the book:

My Review

This is my first book by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson and I was in for a surprise. Shellie is the creator of All Things Southern, and strives to give everyone tips and lessons on the southern life. Being a southerner, I appreciated her efforts and could identify with some of her sayings. She just has such a extremely funny way to teaching. I have to say the same as Jeff Foxworthy’s quote on the front of the book, It is truly a Laugh Out Loud book!

Shellie covers many topics in this book including gas(and yes you heard me right!), hot flashes, health and fitness, that huge big hair, weight gain, being big boned, and how to handle bubba with food, and yes she had those recipes right in the book. In fact at the end of each chapter you will find recipes and great tips, and so funny too!

Since this is really a woman’s book, I highly recommend this to all women. We all need laughs in our lives to brighten our mood, and this book will surely do that.

I was provided a copy of this book by LitFuse Publicity Group in exchange for a review. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.



About Shellie:  Shellie Rushing Tomlinson and her husband Phil live and farm in the Louisiana Delta. Shellie is the author of Lessons Learned on Bull Run Road, Twas the Night Before the Very First Christmas, Southern Comfort with Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, and the Penguin Group USA release, Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On, voted Nonfiction Finalist of 2009 by SIBA Independent Booksellers Alliance.

Tomlinson is owner and publisher of All Things Southern and the host of the weekly radio show All Things Southern as well as a weekly video segment by the same name. Listeners also hear Shellie in her All Things Southern radio segments aired across the South. Shellie writes a weekly inspirational feature in Newsstar and a monthly print and online column for Lousiana Road Trips.

When Shellie isn’t writing, speaking, taping her show, answering email or writing content for the next deadline, you can find her playing tennis with Dixie Belle, (the chocolate lab who thinks she is in charge of running Shellie’s life).



About the Facebook Party
To celebrate the Sue Ellen’s release, Shellie is having a Facebook Party!  

  Join Shellie and the gang on June 2nd at 5:00 PM PST (6 MST, 7 CST, 8 EST) for a Southern style shin-dig! She’ll be dishing on Bubba Whispering, debunking the Big Boned Theory, and how to manage going Straight Running Crazy. If you don’t know what any of that is, then be sure to pick up a copy of the book (Not necessary to join the fun! Who knows – you might win a copy!) and join us at 5:00 pm on June 2nd at Shellie’s Facebook page. And tell your friends – she’s giving away copies of her books and some great gift certificates.





Julie at The Surrendered Scribe
Wendy at Wall-to-Wall books
Tarena at Laughing Family

Susie at Scraps of Life
Glenda at Authors Book Corner
Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Heidi at Starts At Eight
Karla at Ramblin’ Roads
Hope at A Little Hope…Amidst the Chaos

Lena at A Christian Writer’s World
Tracye at A Heart Poured Out
at The Book Tree

5/ 23
Kim at Window To My World
Books, Etc…by Bina
Mollie at The Gandy’s Home Base

Danielle at The Happy Wife
Deanna at Domestic Chicky
Vic’s Media Room

Deanna’s Corner
Julie at Book Hooked Blog
April at Pinkie and The Bean

Caroline at Happy Four
Splashes Of Joy
Wendy at Minding Spot

Megan at Homeschoolin’ Mama
Rhiana at A Frugal Life
Theresa at Frugal Experiments

Tina at Mad Hatter Mom
Deb’s Here
Hayley at Hanging Off The Wire

Jenn’s RAQ
Whitney at Rambles of a SAHM
Jamie at Little Blurbs

Prerna at The Mom Writes
Mel’s World with Melissa Mashburn
Margaret at Kitchen Chat
Kim at 2 Kids and a Coupon

Angela at All Grown Up?
Alexia at The Mommy Rambles
Lauren at 5 Minutes for Books
Robin at Scribbles of the Heart

Jennifer at Adventures in Unsell Land
Lisa at Make Your Own Escape
Barb at Rural Mom

The last day of mom’s memorial celebrations winner

is…………..Liz!    You will get the Cindy Woodsmall “When the Heart Cries” And a couple more Amish books I found. Congratulations Liz

And a HUGE thank you to everyone for voting for my reviews, following my friends blog, and everything else!  You are all so special. I am having another great giveaway starting Monday… don’t miss it!!

Blessings to you!  Joy

Shattered, A Heartbreaking Story by Melody Carlson


ISBN-13: 9781600069499

Trim Size: 5 1/2 x 8 1/4

Cover: Paperback

208 Pages

Shattered…..A Daughters Regret by Melody Carlson
Cleo Neilson is 17 years old and thinks she should be responsible enough to drive her dad’s car into the city to attend a Christian concert with a friend. Her mom Karen has a prior commitment and can’t take the two to the concert, but she doesn’t have a good feeling about Cleo driving to the big city alone at night. Cleo is not happy, she says some very rude things to her mom, and she strikes up a plan that will make sure she and Lola makes it to the concert and back home without her mom finding out. Everyone sneaks out of the house at some point, it’s just what people do. Isn’t it? But as the story unfolds, what a horrible and shocking way for Cleo to find out how and when her mom knew the truth. After this night, after this one bad choice Cleo made to disobey her mom, her life would never be the same. Cleo doesn’t want to deal with what is happening, she doesn’t want to exist anymore. But will she find a way to survive this horrible nightmare, will she every be able to admit to everyone what she did wrong? And surely God could never forgive her, if He cared at all, this wouldn’t have happened to her family. Would it?

As I read this story, I could identify with Karen, because as moms, it is always difficult to start letting go of our children as they grow older. Cleo Neilson in this fictional story is no different than teens today. It is true that everyone sneaks out of their house, everyone disobeys their parents, everyone yells and makes rude comments to their parents. And many get by with it, but some do not.  I will have to say this is one of the most heartbreaking books I have ever read. I grieved and cried with Cleo as she struggled with ways to deal with the consequences relating to her disobedience to her mom. I love the way Melody Carlson uses the characters she so awesomely created to show and teach young ladies in their teens the dangers out in the world. To teach them that their moms do love them and want to protect them from harm. I felt as though I was right there in the house with the family, crying with them, loving them, and trying to help them through this.  She blends so many different feelings in the heartbreaking circumstances to teach us that God is with us and will see us through anything, if we let Him. He is the only one that can heal our hurts, and this fact was so strong throughout this book.

Numbers 32:23 says “But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the LORD; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.” I think this would be one of the most heartwrenching ways for that to happen, to have to admit that one bad choice you made hurt so many people. I very highly recommend to everyone with a teenage daughter,  get a copy of this book to her. If you don’t feel comfortable recommending it to her, let someone else.

Thanks to NavPress for the copy of this book review. The opinions are mine alone. I was not expected or required to write a positive review.




Over the years, Melody Carlson has worn many hats, from preschool teacher to youth counselor to political activist to senior editor. But most of all, she loves to write! Currently she freelances from her home. In the past eleven years, she has published more than 150 books for children, teens, and adults, with sales close to three million and many titles appearing on best sellers lists.

Several of her books have been finalists and winners of various writing awards, including The Gold Medallion and The Rita Award. And most recently, she is in the process of optioning some of her books for film rights.

Carlson’s passion for writing has been greatly focused on teens. Informed and aware of the challenges and struggles teens face today, she writes young adult novels that she hopes will change lives. Her popular series Diary of a Teenage Girl (Multnomah) has sold more than 300,000 copies. Her TrueColors series (Nav Press) focuses on hard-hitting issues such as suicide, addiction, and cutting. Her series The Secret Life of Samantha McGregor explores the paranormal from a godly perspective. And her latest series, The Carter House Girls, offers readers a cleaned-up alternative to the popular Gossip Girl books.

She has two grown sons and lives in Central Oregon with her husband and chocolate lab retriever. They enjoy skiing, hiking, gardening, camping and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.

Check out Melody’s Website

Purchase this book at Amazon  and at  Goodreads

More Winners

Ok….Heres another round of winners….and its ONE MORE DAY….if you want to win a Cindy Woodsmall book….plus a couple more that I found lay around as a bonus….go click on the link to enter….

Ok now the winners

Day 6….Springs Renewal……….Diana

Day 7 Winter Awakening…..Carrie

Day 8 Leah’s Choice……..Jo

Day 9 Rachel Garden……Courtney

Day 10 Bygones……..Liz

Day 11 Beginnings……..Nora

Ok and thats it for now….will be back later with tomorrow’s final winner!


A Time to Heal By Barbara Cameron…..Review

A Time to Heal by Barbara Cameron  Book Review

Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: 03/2011
Binding: Paperback
ISBN-13: 9781426707643
Retail Price: $13.99
Author: Cameron, Barbara

What would it be like to walk in your barn and find a handsome Englischer in your barn loft? That’s what happened to Hannah Bontrager, an Amish young lady living in Paradise Pennsylvania. However, when Hannah’s brother Matthew walked in, he was not too happy about the situation.

Chris Matlock, an ex-soldier showed up at the Bontrager farm looking for his friend Jennie. He and Jennie met in a stateside hospital while recovering from injuries while overseas. Chris was hoping Jennie could help him overcome the emotional difficulties he was going through because of his war days. What he didn’t think he would do was lose his heart to a feisty young Amish woman named Hannah.

Hannah was not your normal Amish young woman because most  were quiet and let their husbands have most of the say. Hannah was spirited, headstrong and didn’t mind voicing her opinion, especially to this Englisch stranger. But there was one problem, Hannah found herself attracted to their new visitor. How could this be when she is Amish and he is an Englischer? And as if that isn’t enough, he is an ex-soldier, he fought in the war, and the Amish do not believe in violence. Will Hannah act on her secret feelings for this handsome guy? And will Chris stay around long enough to get to know this difficult but beautiful young woman who is not afraid to tell him about his faults.

As this heartwarming Amish story unfolds, you will be reunited with Matthew and Jenny Bontrager and their three kinder, Jenny’s grandmother Phoebe, Hannah and the small Amish community you fell in love with in the first book of Barbara Cameron’s Quilts of Lancaster County Series. I like the characters created by the author. Each character and their personalities fit the story making it more enjoyable and more lifelike. And  I really like the author’s style of writing, the plot is interesting enough to keep you reading, yet it is an easy flow heartwarming story. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Amish fiction, and if you like Christian fiction, go out and buy this book too. It will be a wonderful read for you, and well worth your time. I am looking forward to Barbara Cameron’s third book in the series “A Time for Peace” coming out in October 2011.

I want say a big Thank You to Abingdon Press for providing me a copy of this book to read and review. The review and opinions in this book are mine only. I was not expected or required to write a positive review of this book.

Read First Chapter Here

 Barbara Cameron is the author of 21 fiction and nonfiction books, three nationally televised movies (HBO-Cinemax), and the winner of the first Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. When a relative took her to visit the Amish community in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, she felt led to write about the spiritual values and simple joys she witnessed there. She currently resides in Edgewater, FL.  Find out more about Barbara at, and

Purchase this book at AMAZON    at  GOODREADS    or at   BOOKS A MILLION

F.I.R.S.T. Wildcard Tour “Fully Engaged”

Not quite finished my review so I will post it later, but here is the tour of this great book!

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:
John Busacker

and the book:

Fully Engaged

Summerside Press (May 1, 2011)

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


John Busacker is president of The Inventure Group, a global leadership-consulting firm, and founder of Life-Worth, LLC, a life planning creative resource. He is a member of the Duke Corporate Education Global Learning Resource Network and is on the faculty of the University of Minnesota Carlson School’s Executive Development Center.

In 2009, Busacker released his first book, 8 Questions God Can’t Answer, which unlocks the profound power of Jesus’ timeless questions. He annually teaches in a variety of emerging faith communities and supports the development needs of leaders in Africa through PLI-International.

John is an avid explorer, occasional marathoner, and novice cyclist. He and his wife, Carol, live in Minneapolis and have two adult sons, Brett and Joshua.

Visit the author’s website.


Doing less is typically equated with laziness in our culture, but on a recent trip to the Serengeti plain, author John Busacker learned that doing less can actually be a very productive strategy for living. As Busacker and his family realized that they were lost in the wilds of Africa, their guide, Moses, stopped and waited for a new course to emerge. Within moments, the family was back on the right path. What John learned that day was the power of what can happen when he stopped DO-ing in order to focus on BE-ing found.

In the same way, says Busacker, we have to allow our internal GPS to stop and recalculate the direction of our life. As we do so, we’ll find greater abundance, contentment, and peace of mind. If you are like most people who feel lost on the road of life, Busacker’s new book, Fully Engaged: How to Do Less and Be More, is perfect for you. Fully Engaged encourages and equips us to move beyond what Busacker calls an “air guitar life”—a life of furious motion and considerable energy, but in the end one with no sound and little lasting impact. In a world filled with noise and fury, Busacker offers a measured and wise strategy for living that is marked by three key components: 1) Awareness, 2) Alignment, and 3) Action.

· Living with Awareness means that, instead of piecing together random moments, you begin to live intentionally. By doing so, you no longer measure your life worth by your pay check, but by your attitude.

· Living with Alignment ensures that what you have and what you do match what you really want out of life. It means that your job is not simply a means to make money, but a calling to be pursued with vigor.

· Living with Action compels you to move in directions that propel you toward an exhilarating future. This means that you’re not afraid to fail and that setbacks are to be celebrated as progressive steps on the journey of success.

John Busacker – Fully Engaged from John Hoel on Vimeo.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Summerside Press (May 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1609361156
ISBN-13: 978-1609361150


Measure Your Worth

Your life is worth so much more than money.

It seemed like a good plan at the time.

Seven years ago, our family decided to spend spring break in Tanzania, East Africa. One night, we stayed in a quaint African lodge on the edge of the Serengeti Plain. The plan was to wake up at dawn, drive out into the vast national park at first light, and see who was eating whom for breakfast. By noon, we were to have made it to the gate of the Ngorongoro Crater, intending to venture down in for additional afternoon wildlife viewing.

Of course, nothing on an African safari goes exactly according to plan. It rained during the night, so what passes for roads quickly transformed to goo-filled ruts. Our guide, Moses, was forced to navigate by feel, having neither a map nor GPS.

It became increasingly clear that we were driving in circles, making no progress toward the Ngorongoro Crater. Not wanting to sound any alarms, as discreetly as I could I leaned forward and quietly inquired, “Moses, are we lost?”

What followed was a rapid-fire conversation between Moses and Ramos, our driver. Having limited Swahili vocabulary but reading the body language and urgency of tone, I was guessing that this was not good news!

After about a minute, Moses leaned back, looked straight at Carol, and delivered the verdict: “We could be.”

Carol, who is an intensive-care nurse by background and who values both having and then executing an orderly plan, began to envision our imminent death at the mouths of the same lions we had just observed eating a Grant’s gazelle for breakfast.

I knew what our older son, Brett, was thinking by the gleam in his eye. He who has never seen a 50-foot cliff he didn’t want to drop on a snowboard and authentically values adventure, especially accompanied by a little danger, was thinking, This is AWESOME! I’m the fastest guy in the car! So what do I have to worry about anyway?
Humans, it is said, are the only animals that speed up when lost. This is especially true of American humans.

Moses, our guide, did the exact opposite. Rather than speed up, he came to a complete stop and waited for someone else to catch up so he could determine where we were in the Serengeti and then chart a new course to our destination.

He stopped DO-ing in order to focus on BE-ing found.
What we needed that day on the Serengeti Plain was a GPS. What an amazing technological device. Using the broad perspective of three coordinates—latitude, longitude, and altitude—a GPS can find your car amongst the millions of cars on the planet, tell you exactly where you are, and then help you navigate to your desired destination…all in a soothing, patient voice too.

Humans, it is said, are the only animals that speed up when lost. This is especially true of American humans.

When you screw up or are too stubborn to heed its advice, it doesn’t bark, “You moron! Why don’t you ever listen?”
No, it simply says “Recalculating” and calmly charts and then gives you a new route. Now that’s grace!

So why don’t we apply the same broad perspective and grace to our own lives? Our tendency is to zero in on only one coordinate—money—and then ratchet up our speed at all costs to get more money or the stuff that more money can buy (like prestige or power).
Let’s be honest. Too often we value our stuff above our health, relationships, spiritual vitality, or life itself, don’t we? If you don’t think so, take a quick peek at your schedule right now…bet you just winced a bit, didn’t you?

It’s so easy for our personal GPS to get messed up— especially if we’re willing to let a single-minded pursuit of financial assets spin us in circles in the wilderness. After all, we believe, assets and liabilities determine our financial health and overall success…don’t they?
Net worth—what you have minus what you owe—has long been the key scorecard of prosperity and progress. Are you successful? on track? Check your net worth statement.

But is that really an accurate measure of a successful, fully engaged life?

An abundant life is that healthy but elusive blend of play, work, friendship, family, money, spiritual growth, and contribution.
Abundance creates contentment. Contentment inspires gratitude. Your peace of mind, sense of fulfillment, and joy are determined by how well you manage many life dimensions, not just your finances. Intimate relationships, deep spiritual life, right work, good health, a vibrant community, interesting hobbies, and active learning all impact your sense of engagement with life.

Life worth is the investment you make into and the return you receive from all of these dimensions. It is both internal (a deep personal sense of engagement and fulfillment) and external (the ability to bring joy and lasting value to others). And, like a GPS, it takes more than one coordinate to determine your location and direction.
You can be fully engaged with little or no net worth. Here’s what I mean.

Net worth: what you have minus what you owe.

Life worth: the investment you make into and the return you receive from all life dimensions.
The first time I visited Tanzania, I was amazed at how content the people seemed to be, even though they had next to nothing in possessions. I wondered, Is it because they are unencumbered by the shackles of “stuff” that they are fully able to connect with their families and friends? Is that why they are happily able to do the work required to live yet another day? Why they are content, even when they’re not sure sometimes where their next meal is coming from?
Upon further reflection, I couldn’t help but add to these thoughts: And why is this sense of joy sorely lacking in our affluent Western world?

The thought was sobering…and enlightening.

As Os Guinness says:

The trouble is that, as modern people, we have too much to live with, and too little to live for. In the midst of material plenty, we have spiritual poverty.1

Simply stated, material wealth is measured by net worth. Spiritual wealth and engagement are summed up by life worth. So let me ask you: What’s your life worth right now?

Many people decide they must build their net worth first in order to fund life worth later.

But putting life on hold for one more business deal, one more project, a pay increase, a hopeful inheritance upon a relative’s death, or an investment return ensnares the unsuspecting in its grip of “not quite enough.” It can slowly form habits of overwork and selfishness. The focal point is always on what’s next instead of what’s first.

Do you find yourself falling into the trap of thinking, Hey, I’ll just hang in there. What’s coming next has got to be better.
If so, you are in danger of driving in endless circles— and exhausting yourself in the process.

Don’t fall for that kind of thinking. Dreams delayed can become a life unlived. As American journalist and best-selling author Po Bronson put it:
It turns out that having the financial independence to walk away rarely triggers people to do just that. The reality is, making money is such hard work that it changes you. It takes twice as long as anyone plans for. It requires more sacrifice than anyone expects. You become so emotionally invested in that world—and psychologically adapted to it—that you don’t really want to ditch it.2
Dreams delayed can become a life unlived.

Always DO-ing more ultimately causes us to BE less— less of a friend, mother, partner, student, or son.
I know. I’ve experienced it firsthand. I spent 14 years in the financial services industry, sitting at the table with countless people as they discussed their life dreams and financial goals.
What moved me were the life stories of the people with whom I met. Embedded in the discussion of money were the hopes, dreams, fears, regrets, beliefs, and biases of each person. Asking the right questions and then listening with both head and heart got right to the core of the matter with most people. And it was always about so much more than money. Inevitably, meaning trumped money. Life worth always outweighed net worth.

Don’t wait until you have your own “lost in the Serengeti” experience—divorce, death, job loss, a failed semester, or a sick child—in order to enlarge your perspective. Choose to take an accurate reading of your life worth now so you can make a balanced investment in each of your key life dimensions.

To do this, you have to practice a “salmon perspective”—swimming upstream against a rushing torrent of marketing and messaging to the contrary. But nothing wonderful is ever gained by taking it easy. It requires commitment on your part. Let me share something with you. It’s worth it. Your life, thinking, and relationships will be transformed.
Jesus knew all about our natural inclination to fret about our finery and stew about our stuff—to live a one-coordinate life. That’s why He cautioned His closest friends:

Don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or if the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your inner life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God. And you count far more.3
Leading a fully engaged life begins with a multi-coordinate focus on your life worth—a realization that

Relationships matter more than anything.

Health determines your quality of life.

Work gives voice to your giftedness.

Hobbies engage your energy beyond work.

Learning animates your imagination.

And Faith gives all of your life purpose.

Nothing wonderful is ever gained by taking it easy. It requires commitment on your part.
To determine your current life worth, use the assessment that begins on the following page. There are 10 dimensions of life worth. Measure each one. Your life is worth so much more than money. Are you living like it?

DO less. BE more.

What Is Your Life Worth?

How satisfied are you with each life dimension listed below? How important are these life dimensions to you? Please rate each on a scale of 1–5 (1=low; 3=medium; 5=high).

Satisfied Important

HEALTH ______ _______

Regular routines that promote healthy energy and vitality
LEARNING ______ _______

People and environments that stimulate growth

FAMILY ______ _______

Interest and involvement in the lives of family members
WORK ______ _______

Work that expresses talents and passion

LOVE RELATIONSHIP ______ _______

Alignment with loved one’s values and dreams

SPIRITUAL LIFE ______ _______

Sense of purpose, relationship with God, and/or service to others

A Time to Love….by Barbara Cameron… Review

A Time To Love by Barbara Cameron Book Review

Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: 10/2010
Binding: Paperback
ISBN-13: 9781426707636
Retail Price: $14.99
Author: Cameron, Barbara

Jennie King is a television reporter reporting on the poverty of children in foreign countries. She was injured in a car bombing while on assignment, restricting her abilities to perform her job duties. While in the hospital, her Amish grandmother sent her a handmade quilt with a note welcoming Jennie to her Amish home for healing.

Matthew Bontrager, and Jennie fell in love as young teenagers one summer Jennie was visiting her grandmother, but unavoidable things happened and they hadn’t seen each other since, so the two went their own ways. Matthews life changed drastically when his wife died leaving him and their three children.

As Matthew and Jennie spend time together, Jennie wonders if God has different plans for her life than a television reporter, but someone has to watch out for the poverty of the children, and she is the only one they depend on. She is not sure she can leave her fast paced life as a traveling reporter to settle down in the Amish community. And there is another problem, Jennie is English and Matthew is Amish. They can’t be together for this reason alone, or can they?

I picked this book to read and review because I really like Amish fiction. This is my first reading of Barbara Cameron’s books, and he writing amazes me. To me, this book is a little different from most of the Amish stories I read. The Amish community in this book seems to me more understanding of the English ways, and not so condemning, even though they are strict in their beliefs. In enjoyed the awesome wisdom of Jennie’s Amish grandmother Phoebe . In every situation they faced, Phoebe’s words of wisdom were just the right advice. She was not bitter about life, though she has reasons to be. She was a fun loving grandmother and friend. I love the book cover, it fits the storyline of the book, and makes the characters look interesting.

This Book One in the Quilts of Lancaster County Series is a must read for those liking Amish fiction. You will fall in love with the heartwarming families, drawing you to the book until the last pages.

My thanks to Abingdon Press for providing me a copy of this book to read and review. The review and views in this review are mine only. I was not required or expected to write a positive review.

GO HERE to read the First Chapter of the book

About the Author
Barbara Cameron is the author of 21 fiction and nonfiction books, three nationally televised movies (HBO-Cinemax), and the winner of the first Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. When a relative took her to visit the Amish community in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, she felt led to write about the spiritual values and simple joys she witnessed there. She currently resides in Edgewater, FL.  Find out more about Barbara at, and

Purchase this awesome book at AMAZON   and   GOODREADS and at BOOKS A MILLION

I Am His by Rita Pratt Book Review

I Am His

Publisher: NavPress

ISBN-13: 9781600063879

Trim Size: 5 1/2 x 8 1/4

Cover: Paperback

128 Pages


Do you ever wonder if God really loves you, even though you know you are forgiven, that He saved you and you will live forever with him? In this 8 week Bible Study, Rita J. Platt explains how we can Experience the Comfort of Abba’s, our Heavenly Father’s love for us. The chapters in this study are: Abba Father; Chosen to Belong; The Father’s Love; In His Arms; Under His Wings; Through Abba’s Eyes; A Generous Father; and A Daughter’s Inheritance.

I chose this book because it was a study of how much God loves us. When going through difficult time, and at other times for no apparent reason, I wonder if God really loves me like the Bible says. It sounds really ungrateful, but these feelings happen to so many people. I was in awe reading and studying through this book as the author gives scripture after scripture, as well as phrases, sentences, and statements concerning Gods real love for His children. I really enjoyed Rita Platt’s study, and you can feel her heart in what she is teaching.

Some of the things that really jumped out at me are:
1.  You are in Christ. You are a daughter of the King. You are crowned with beauty, adorned with praise, and a new creation displaying the amazing love of your Father.
2.  When Abba looks at you. He sees one who is in Christ. He sees potential, uniqueness, treasure, and beauty. His eyes glow with tenderness and love as He fixes His gaze on you.
3.  Ask your Abba Father to be present with you in the midst of each situation, to hold you, and to help you receive His compassion and Comfort.
4.  Our Father knows our deepest need and the fragile nature of our spirits. Regardless of our source of distress, we are restored as we flee to the quiet strength of His loving arms.
5.  What are some new names your Abba Father might have for you? Picture yourself becoming a person who reflects your new name. What might that look like in your daily life?

And this is just a tip of the iceberg ladies, just enough to peak your interest. If you have a Sunday School class or a small or even large ladies study group; this would be an awesome study for you. Regardless of how we feel about God’s love, we can all learn so much from this study. We can never study enough about our Abba Father’s love for each of us.

I want to thank NavPress for providing me a copy of this book to read and review. The review and opinions are mine only. I was not requested or expected to write a positive review of this Bible Study. I wrote what I felt from my heart.

About the Author

Rita Platt is a speaker, writer, and workshop leader who focuses on delighting in and experiencing deeper relationship with God. She is passionate about knowing the Lord with her head and her heart and inspiring others to walk in intimate relationship with him. Currently, she’s pursuing an MA in professional counseling with an emphasis on soul care. Rita holds a BA in communication (graduating magna cum laude) and a certificate in women and evangelism from the Billy Graham Center. She also participated in Leighton Ford’s Evangelism Leadership Conference.

Rita served as counseling coordinator at the Colorado Springs Pregnancy Center. She is a trained Parenting with Love and Logic facilitator and has authored the articles “Silent Release” and “Advice For Parents of Prodigals.” Rita; her husband, Thom; and Schipperke puppy, Lucy, recently relocated to Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Rita loves and is involved in music, performance art, and visual arts. Her hobbies include tracking down and photographing waterfalls, knitting, and reading.

Purchase this book at Amazon   and at  Goodreads  and at NavPress

FIRST Wild Card Tour “False Witness” by Randy Singer

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:
Randy Singer

and the book:

False Witness

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; Reprint edition (April 25, 2011)

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


Randy Singer is a critically acclaimed author and veteran trial attorney. He has penned 10 legal thrillers, including his award-winning debut novel, Directed Verdict. Randy runs his own law practice and has been named to Virginia Business magazine’s select list of “Legal Elite” litigation attorneys. In addition to his law practice and writing, Randy serves as teaching pastor for Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He calls it his “Jekyll and Hyde thing”—part lawyer, part pastor. He also teaches classes in advocacy and civil litigation at Regent Law School and, through his church, is involved with ministry opportunities in India. He and his wife, Rhonda, live in Virginia Beach. They have two grown children.

Visit the author’s website.


Clark Shealy is a bail bondsman with the ultimate bounty on the line: his wife’s life. He has forty-eight hours to find an Indian professor in possession of the Abacus Algorithm—an equation so powerful it could crack all Internet encryption.

Four years later, law student Jamie Brock is working in legal aid when a routine case takes a vicious twist: she and two colleagues learn that their clients, members of the witness protection program, are accused of defrauding the government and have the encrypted algorithm in their possession. After a life-changing trip to the professor’s church in India, the couple also has the key to decode it.

Now they’re on the run from federal agents and the Chinese mafia, who will do anything to get the algorithm. Caught in the middle, Jamie and her friends must protect their clients if they want to survive long enough to graduate.

An adrenaline-laced thrill ride, this retelling of one of Randy Singer’s most critically acclaimed novels takes readers from the streets of Las Vegas to the halls of the American justice system and the inner sanctum of the growing church in India with all the trademark twists, turns, and the legal intrigue his fans have come to expect.

watch on

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; Reprint edition (April 25, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414335695
ISBN-13: 978-1414335698



THE LONGEST THREE DAYS of Clark Shealy’s life began with an expired registration sticker.

That was Clark’s first clue, the reason he followed the jet-black Cadillac Escalade ESV yesterday. The reason he phoned his wife, his partner in both marriage and crime . . . well, not really crime but certainly the dark edge of legality. They were the Bonnie and Clyde of bounty hunters, of repo artists, of anything requiring sham credentials and bold-faced lies. Jessica’s quick search of DMV records, which led to a phone call to the title holder, a Los Angeles credit union, confirmed what Clark had already guessed. The owner wasn’t making payments. The credit union wanted to repo the vehicle but couldn’t find it. They were willing to pay.

“How much?” Clark asked Jessica.

“It’s not worth it,” she replied. “That’s not why you’re there.”
“Sure, honey. But just for grins, how much are we passing up?”
Jessica murmured something.

“You’re breaking up,” Clark said.

“They’d pay a third of Blue Book.”

“Which is?”

“About forty-eight four,” Jessica said softly.

“Love you, babe,” Clark replied, doing the math. Sixteen thousand dollars!
He ended the call. She called back. He hit Ignore.

Sixteen thousand dollars! Sure, it wasn’t the main reason he had come to Vegas. But a little bonus couldn’t hurt.

Unfortunately, the vehicle came equipped with the latest in theft protection devices, an electronically coded key supplied to the owner. The engine transmitted an electronic message that had to match the code programmed into the key, or the car wouldn’t turn over.

Clark learned this the hard way during the dead hours of the desert night, at about two thirty. He had broken into the Cadillac, disabled the standard alarm system, removed the cover of the steering column, and hot-wired the vehicle. But without the right key, the car wouldn’t start. Clark knew immediately that he had triggered a remote alarm. Using his hacksaw, he quickly sawed deep into the steering column, disabling the vehicle, and then sprinted down the drive and across the road


He heard a stream of cursing from the front steps of a nearby condo followed by the blast of a gun. To Clark’s trained ears, it sounded like a .350 Magnum, though he didn’t stay around long enough to confirm the make, model, and ATF serial number.


Six hours later, Clark came back.

He bluffed his way past the security guard at the entrance of the gated community and drove his borrowed tow truck into the elegant brick parking lot rimmed by manicured hedges. He parked sideways, immediately behind the Cadillac. These condos, some of Vegas’s finest, probably went for more than a million bucks each.

The Caddy fit right in, screaming elegance and privilege—custom twenty-inch rims, beautiful leather interior, enough leg room for the Lakers’ starting five, digital readouts on the dash, and an onboard computer that allowed its owner to customize all power functions in the vehicle. The surround-sound system, of course, could rattle the windows on a car three blocks away. Cadillac had pimped this ride out fresh from the factory, making it the vehicle of choice for men like Mortavius Johnson, men who lived on the west side of Vegas and supplied “escorts” for the city’s biggest gamblers.

Clark speed-dialed 1 before he stepped out of the tow truck.
“This is stupid, Clark.”

“Good morning to you, too. Are you ready?”

“All right. Let’s do it.” He slid the still-connected phone into a pocket of his coveralls. They were noticeably short, pulling at the crotch. He had bought the outfit on the spot from a mechanic at North Vegas Auto, the same garage where he borrowed the tow truck from the owner, a friend who had helped Clark in some prior repo schemes. A hundred and fifty bucks for the coveralls, complete with oil and grease stains. Clark had ripped off the name tag and rolled up the sleeves. It felt like junior high all over again, growing so fast the clothes couldn’t keep up with the boy.

He popped open the hood of the wrecker, smeared his fingers on some blackened oil grime, and rubbed a little grease on his forearms, with a dab to his face. He closed the hood and walked confidently to the front door of the condo, checking the paper in his hand as if looking for an address. He rang the bell.

Silence. . . . He rang it again.

Eventually, he heard heavy footsteps inside and then the clicking of a lock before the door slowly opened. Mortavius Johnson, looking like he had barely survived a rough night, filled the doorway. Clark was tall and slender—six-three, about one-ninety. But Mortavius was tall and bulky—a brooding presence who dwarfed Clark. He wore jeans and no shirt, exposing rock-solid pecs but also a good-size gut. He didn’t have a gun.
Clark glanced down at his paper while Mortavius surveyed him with bloodshot eyes.

“Are you Mortavius Johnson?”

“You call for a tow?”

Mortavius’s eyes narrowed suspiciously. The big man glanced at the pocket of Clark’s coveralls—no insignia—then around him at the tow truck. Clark had quickly spray-painted over the logo and wondered if Mortavius could tell.

Clark held his breath and considered his options. If the big man caught on, Clark would have to surprise Mortavius, Pearl Harbor–style, with a knee to the groin or a fist to the solar plexus. Even those blows would probably just stun the big man momentarily. Clark would sprint like a bandit to the tow truck, hoping Mortavius’s gun was more than arm’s length away. Clark might be able to outrun Mortavius, but not the man’s bullet.

“I left a message last night with the Cadillac dealer,” Mortavius said.
The Cadillac dealer. Clark was hoping for something a little more specific. “And the Cadillac dealer called me,” Clark said, loudly enough to be heard on the cell phone in his pocket. “You think they’ve got their own tow trucks at that place? It’s not like Caddies break down very often. If everybody could afford a Caddie, I’d go out of business.”
Clark smiled. Mortavius did not.

“What company you with?” he asked.

“Highway Auto Service,” Clark responded, louder still. He pulled out the cell phone, surreptitiously hit the End button with a thumb, then held it out to Mortavius. “You want to call my office? Speed dial 1.”
Mortavius frowned. He still looked groggy. “I’ll get the keys,” he said.
He disappeared from the doorway, and Clark let out a breath. He speed-dialed Jessica again and put the phone back in his pocket. He glanced over his shoulder, then did a double take.

Give me a break!

Another tow truck was pulling past the security guard and heading toward Mortavius’s condo. Things were getting a little dicey.

“I left some papers in the truck you’ll need to sign,” Clark called into the condo. But as soon as the words left Clark’s mouth, Mortavius reappeared in the doorway, keys in hand.

Unfortunately, he glanced past Clark, and his eyes locked on the other tow truck. A glint of understanding sparked, followed by a flash of anger. “Who sent you?” Mortavius demanded.

“I told you . . . the Cadillac place.”

“The Cadillac place,” Mortavius repeated sarcastically. “What Cadillac place?”

“Don’t remember. The name’s on the papers in my truck.”
Mortavius took a menacing step forward, and Clark felt the fear crawl up his neck. His fake sheriff’s ID was in the tow truck along with his gun. He was running out of options.

“Who sent you?” Mortavius demanded.

Clark stiffened, ready to dodge the big man’s blows. In that instant, Clark thought about the dental work the last incident like this had required. Jessica would shoot him—it wasn’t in the budget.
A hand shot out, and Clark ducked. He lunged forward and brought his knee up with all his might. But the other man was quick, and the knee hit rock-solid thigh, not groin. Clark felt himself being jerked by his collar into the foyer, the way a dog might be yanked inside by an angry owner. Before he could land a blow, Clark was up against the wall, Mortavius in his face, a knife poised against Clark’s stomach.

Where did that come from?

Mortavius kicked the door shut. “Talk fast, con man,” he hissed. “Intruders break into my home, I slice ’em up in self-defense.”
“I’m a deputy sheriff for Orange County, California,” Clark gasped. He tried to sound official, hoping that even Mortavius might think twice before killing a law enforcement officer. “In off hours, I repo vehicles.” He felt the point of the knife pressing against his gut, just below his navel, the perfect spot to start a vivisection.
“But you can keep yours,” Clark continued, talking fast. “I’m only authorized to repo if there’s no breach of the peace. Looks like this situation might not qualify.”

Mortavius inched closer. He shifted his grip from Clark’s collar to his neck, pinning Clark against the wall. “You try to gank my ride at night, then show up the next morning to tow it?”

“Something like that,” Clark admitted. The words came out whispered for lack of air.

“That takes guts,” Mortavius responded. A look that might have passed for admiration flashed across the dark eyes. “But no brains.”
“I’ve got a deal,” Clark whispered, frantic now for breath. His world was starting to cave in, stars and pyrotechnics clouding his vision.
The doorbell rang.

“Let’s hear it,” Mortavius said quietly, relaxing his stranglehold just enough so Clark could breathe.

“They’re paying me six Gs for the car,” Clark explained rapidly. He was thinking just clearly enough to fudge the numbers. “They know where you are now because I called them yesterday. Even if you kill me—” saying the words made Clark shudder a little, especially since Mortavius didn’t flinch—“they’re going to find the car. You let me tow it today and get it fixed. I’ll wire four thousand bucks into your bank account before I leave the Cadillac place. I make two thousand, and you’ve got four thousand for a down payment on your next set of wheels.”
The doorbell rang again, and Mortavius furrowed his brow. “Five Gs,” he said, scowling.

“Forty-five hundred,” Clark countered, “I’ve got a wife and—”
Ughh . . . Clark felt the wind flee his lungs as Mortavius slammed him against the wall. Pain shot from the back of his skull where it bounced off the drywall, probably leaving a dent.

“Five,” Mortavius snarled.

Clark nodded quickly.

The big man released Clark, answered the door, and chased away the other tow truck driver, explaining that there had been a mistake. As Mortavius and Clark finished negotiating deal points, Clark had another brilliant idea.

“Have you got any friends who aren’t making their payments?” he asked. “I could cut them in on the same type of deal. Say . . . fifty-fifty on the repo reward—they could use their cuts as down payments to trade up.”

“Get out of here before I hurt you,” Mortavius said.


Clark glanced at his watch as he left the parking lot. He had less than two hours to return the tow truck and make it to the plastic surgeon’s office. He speed-dialed Jessica.

“Highway Auto Service,” she responded.

“It didn’t work,” Clark said. “I got busted.”
“You okay?”

He loved hearing the concern in her voice. He hesitated a second, then, “Not a scratch on me.”

“I told you it was a dumb idea,” Jessica said, though she sounded more relieved than upset. “You never listen. Clark Shealy knows it all.”
And he wasn’t listening now. Instead, he was doing the math again in his head. Sixteen thousand, minus Mortavius’s cut and the repair bill, would leave about ten. He thought about the logistics of making the wire transfers into accounts that Jessica wouldn’t know about.
Pulling a con on pimps like Mortavius was one thing. Getting one by Jessica was quite another.


False Witness  By Randy Singer  Book Review for F.I.R.S.T.  Blog Tour

Clark Shealy was a Las Vegas bail bondsman, and he was pretty good at his job. His assistant was none other than his wife Jessica, who was a good partner, keeping things in order. When Clark finds out Jessica is kidnapped by the Chinese Mafia and he only has 48 hours to supply them with a professor, and alive not dead, he is devastated. Professor Kumari has the algorithm, an internet code that could break all the encryptions on the internet and the Chinese Mafia would do anything to get their hands on it. This sends Shealy on a dangerous journey of a lifetime for fear of what would happen to his wife. Clark’s journey takes him into dangerous situations, breaking the law, things he normally would never do, for the return of his wife, but it is always a dead end. Finally, he receives the phone call that gives him access to Kumari. This is where the thriller really takes off taking you to through unbelievable twists and turns until the last page!

This was my first Randy Singer book, and I’m hooked! This book is filled with fast paced action from the first pages to the last. The plot is so unpredictable with so many twists and turns throughout the book.  Just when you think you’ve figured something out, the action takes another twist and it’s like, here we go again! The author was a genius in creating the characters, they are just like real! Each character, and their part in the story were just perfect to make it the page turner thriller it is. And an interesting twist was using law students Wellington Farnsworth, Isaiah Haywood and Jamie Brock to represent some of the most vicious criminals in the world, something most wouldn’t think about I am sure.

I really like the way Singer writes this thriller suspense, and also incorporates the Bible and Christ in the story as well. Though it’s not dominated, he clearly gives the gospel and how God can change a life when committing you life to Him. As the tag line in the story says; “The government can give you a new identity, But only Christ can change your life. What an amazing truth this is. If you like Thrillers, I highly recommend this book to you. It is well worth your read.

This book was provided to me by the publisher Tyndale House through B&B Media Group Inc. The opinions in this review are mine only. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. Thank you to B&B Media for allowing me to read and review this book for their F.I.R.S.T. online tour.

Winners and other giveaways.

Hey everyone, We have winners, so sorry I didn’t get these posted each day………

The winner for Monday’s Beverly Lewis’  “The Secret” is………………..Liz

The winner for Tuesday’s Beverly Lewis’  “The Brethern” is……..Charlotte

The winner for Wed’s Beverly Lewis’   “Forbidden” is……………..Anne

The winner for Thurs’  Beverly Lewis’ “The Longing” is………….Courtney

I will email each of you individually……and thanks to all of you for checking out my reviews, reading my blog and honoring my mom!!

Don’t Forget the other giveaways yet to come.

Day six and  seven  giveaway

Days eight and nine giveaway

Days ten and eleven giveaway

Final day…..Day 12 giveaway

First Wild Card Tour….The Hidden Gift of Helping…by Stephen G. Post

I didn’t see this book in time to read and review it for the tour, but wanted to post the tour about the book!!  Hope you enjoy!

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:
Stephen G. Post

and the book:

The Hidden Gifts of Helping: How the Power of Giving, Compassion, and Hope Can Get Us Through Hard Times

Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (February 22, 2011)

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


Stephen G. Post is Professor of Preventive Medicine, Head of the Division of Medicine in Society, and Director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony Brook University. He was previously (1988-2008) Professor of Bioethics, Religion and Philosophy, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, and Senior Research Scholar at the Becket Institute of St. Hugh’s College, Oxford University. Post is a Senior Fellow in the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University.

Since the late 1980s Post has focused on issues surrounding the care of others. He is an elected member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Panel of Alzheimer’s Disease International, and was recognized for “distinguished service” by the Association’s National Board for educational efforts for Association Chapters and families throughout the United States (1998). In 2003 Post was elected a Member of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia for “distinguished contributions to medicine.”

He is equally recognized as a leader in the study of altruism, love, and compassion in the integrative context of scientific research, philosophy, and spirituality. He is President of the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love, with support from philanthropist John Templeton and the Templeton Foundation. Post studied the theology of agape love with the distinguished African-American Rev. John T. Walker, who later became Dean of the National Cathedral. Post is an elected member of the International Society for Science and Religion, and writes
a blog for Psychology Today entitled “The Joy of Giving.”

Visit the author’s website.


The Bible clearly tells us that we are to love one another; it also proclaims we are to bear one another’s burdens. Research has revealed that when we show concern for others—empathizing with a friend who has lost a loved one, mowing the lawn for an elderly neighbor, or volunteering to mentor a school-aged child—we improve our own health and well-being and embrace and give voice to our deeper identity and dignity as human beings.

“Everyone stumbles on hard times. After all, no one gets out of life alive,” writes Stephen G. Post in his latest book, The Hidden Gifts of Helping: How the Power of Giving, Compassion, and Hope Can Get Us Through Hard Times. “Today, even those who had considered themselves protected from hardship are being touched and their lives changed by volatile economic markets, job uncertainty, and the increasing isolation and loneliness of modern life.”

In this moving book, Post helps us discover how we can make “helping” a lifetime activity. The Hidden Gifts of Helping explores the very personal story of Post and his family’s difficult move and their experience with the healing power of helping others, as well as his passion about how this simple activity—expressed in an infinite number of small or large ways—can help you survive and thrive despite the expected and unexpected challenges life presents.

Post’s story is a spiritual journey that we can all relate to at some time in our lives. Intertwined with supporting scientific research and spiritual understanding we see that looking outside of ourselves we gain better well-being and strengthen our faith. This book can become your companion and guide to the power of giving, forgiving, and compassion in hard times.

Product Details:

List Price: $19.95
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (February 22, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780470887813
ISBN-13: 978-0470887813
ASIN: 0470887818


Chapter 2: The Gift of “Giver’s Glow”

About five months after our move to Stony Brook, settling in to my new work but still struggling to deal with feelings of displacement and loss, I ran headlong into the holiday season. I missed our friends back in Cleveland, our church, the small traditions we’d established over the years. Although our Christmas mantel was decorated with many cards from friends who I know truly did wish us a happy new year, I found myself feeling a bit quiet when all I wanted was to enjoy the holidays. Then one of those serendipitous moments came along that refocused me toward what I knew to be true: that the hidden

gifts of helping would far outlast the other gifts these holidays might bring.
During a December train ride on the Long Island Railroad, traveling back to Stony Brook from a meeting in Manhattan, I fell into conversation with my seatmate, Jack, an amiable man some years older than myself. In the sudden intimacy that can arise between strangers who know they will never meet again, Jack told me that his wife of twenty years had divorced him and that he had been fired from a job he’d

held for thirty years, was newly diagnosed with cancer, and was close to running out of his retirement savings because he’d had to spend the money on day-to-day living. The one thing that was holding him together through all this, he said, was a volunteer job he had serving meals at his church’s soup kitchen

in Port Jefferson. “It’s not just that I can’t feel really sorry for myself when I see so many others who have no resources at all,” he explained. “When I put that food on their plate, and I know they’re really hungry—they can’t just run to the fridge, like I can—I can see that I’m really helping someone. Even if

they’re too exhausted to acknowledge me or say thanks, that’s okay. I don’t know,” he shrugged, “it just makes me feel like I can keep going another day, and things might start to get better. It’s odd, but some days I feel better than I ever have.”

“Thank you.” I felt as if I had been jolted awake from a deep sleep.

“Sure,” he said, clearly confused about what I was thanking him for, and why I was smiling. But I felt as though I’d just been handed my first real gift of the season. This man had far more reason than I had to be suffering the holiday blues, yet by sharing his story he had helped me let go of some of my concerns and remember what I already knew: when all else fails, we can still give to others. And doing so will always be our salvation, our reconnection to the world. This phenomenon of “the giver’s glow”! I have learned never to underestimate its power.

You’ve probably seen people waving brightly colored glow sticks at a nighttime event, and you may have had the pleasure of experiencing the magic of snapping the tube and seeing it suddenly light up, creating a soft, colorful glow that lasts for hours and can light your way on a dark night. The principle is simple: the chemicals in the translucent plastic tube mix to create the glow—but only when you break the tiny glass

capsule inside the tube. The brokenness is part of the process, just as the broken parts of our lives can allow us to reach out to others and create radiance, lighting the way not only for those we serve but also for ourselves and everyone we meet. The amazing thing is that with advances in brain scan technology, we can now begin to understand this glow at the physical level and measure it with biological markers. When we help others, we are tapping into a caregiving system that involves the brain as well as hormones.
Mitsuko, Andrew, and I all agree that the lowest point of our lives came a few days after we had left Cleveland and landed on the rocky Long Island shore. We were spending a few nights at a hotel in Stony Brook Village while we waited for the movers to arrive with our worldly goods. We were crammed into a little cottage that felt old and cold because it was. There were two beds, a few old bits of furniture, and a

drab bathroom, and it was thunderstorming and utterly dark outside in the early evening. This was the perfect place for all hell to break loose, and it did. The enormity of this move began to sink in at a really deep level. Andrew started yelling at me, as kids do, and Mitsuko was crying out in tears, “I can’t believe this! What a total disaster!” I was the least popular husband and father on the face of the earth. I said, “Let’s give it some time; things will work out,” but my credibility was at an all-time low. I needed hope, which is wrapped up in faith, because mere optimism was too superficial and was clearly not going to do the trick. I took a drive on my own for a while, and after I returned, Mitsuko and Andrew were asleep.

I tiptoed quietly.
Fortunately, the movers came quickly. A few days after we moved into our new house, Mitsuko went across the street to the local elementary school, where she found a position helping first-graders with behavioral or learning problems. She was assigned a student who was especially cherished, and who presented behavioral issues during the course of the day. Mitsuko spent the next nine months with this little girl, helping her throughout the school day. It was often challenging, and there were more than a few evenings when Mitsuko felt exasperated. But she found great meaning in this way of helping. And in the evenings she would make beautifully creative origami gifts for the children in her class, illustrating for them the characters in stories the students were reading as a group. Mitsuko put so much work into these wonderfully elaborate posters and cards and illustrations that it astounded me. But this was her way of giving, through creativity; her hands were at work crafting things in the spirit of love. More than once, she’s told me, “I cannot imagine how I could have survived without those kids.”

For Andrew, the transition was a jolt, and he let us know it. He wanted so much to start school with his old friends in Shaker Heights, but he couldn’t. The day that middle school started in Cleveland without him was a rough one. And on his first day at the Gelinas School here in Setauket, we couldn’t say a single word to Andrew because it was so hard for him as he reluctantly left the house for the bus. Andrew was the new kid, and he had no friends. He knew no one. “That morning,” Mitsuko remembers, “he looked really sad and was speechless. But that afternoon he came home and said, ‘Mom, I had a very good day. Ten people, including girls, wanted to have lunch with me at the same table.’ ” That was joyous! And a few days later, our son adopted a new name the other kids had started using, “Drew,” and he asked us to start called him that too. He was reinventing himself. Drew is definitely an extrovert, and this allowed him to connect with new friends quickly.

I also began to connect with my new colleagues. Mitsuko began to connect beyond the children, with teachers and parents and the larger community on our little island. The new Drew, with the resiliency of youth, continued to make friends, and began a transformation that continues to amaze us. Together, we helped each other recreate our lives.


Here’s the recipe for living a rich, less stressful, healthier, and more meaningful life than you thought possible—even if your world has been pulled out of midwestern earth and transplanted on an island: give of yourself to someone else. Even the smallest act is healing. In fact, studies show that just thinking about giving seems to have a physiological impact.
In the 1980s, the renowned Harvard behavioral psychologist David McClelland discovered that Harvard students who were asked to watch a film about Mother Teresa’s work tending to orphans in Calcutta showed significant increases in the protective antibody salivary immunoglobulin A (S-IgA) as compared to those watching a neutral film. What’s more, S-IgA levels remained high for an hour after the film in

those subjects who were asked to focus their minds on times when they had loved or been loved. McClelland called this the “Mother Teresa Effect.”1 There may be some alternative explanations, but the idea that tapping into the emotions of caring has an impact on biology is the most plausible and well

These researchers concluded that “dwelling on love” strengthens the immune system. And a growing body of rigorous research shows that generous people who frequently give of themselves to others live healthier, happier, longer lives than people who don’t. Think about it for a minute: How could we humans survive without taking the welfare of at least some others as seriously as we take our own? We require the love and care of others, and we seem to have a profound, deeply evolved need for close, giving relationships. Parents are spontaneously generous and giving to their children, sometimes to the point of sacrificing their deepest desires and even their lives for them. Friends are also frequently generous with their friends, and strangers are often compassionate toward one another—as we’ve all seen happen with those everyday people who dropped everything in their own lives to help the survivors of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and those displaced by the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Something about moving beyond self and looking toward others brings happiness. When we stop expecting others to do things for us, and stumble on the happiness of doing things for other people, we can’t help but realize that whatever happens, we can handle it.

We eat because it keeps us alive, and we help others because it keeps us human. This is what we are born to do, and the benefits are great—not only to those we help but also to our own emotional and spiritual well-being. Science tells us that there appears to be a fundamental human drive toward helping others. We prosper—physically, mentally, emotionally—under the canopy of positive emotions that arise through the simple act of giving.
Evolution suggests that human nature evolved in a manner that confers health benefits to the practice of benevolent love and helping behaviors. Well over a century ago, Charles Darwin, in his great book The Descent of Man, described in simple terms how compassion and generosity could have evolved so deeply into human nature that their inhibition would be disadvantageous: “For those communities, which included the greatest number of the most sympathetic members, would flourish best, and rear the greatest number of offspring.” Darwin, like David Hume and other philosophers who were keen observers of human motive and action, saw compassionate love as a powerful driving force in human nature. It makes perfect sense that if this disposition is selectively advantageous for group survival, there would be a related biological substrate conferring benefits on the giver. Today, a new science connects prosocial and giving activities with happiness and health, and we are learning more all the time.

Not too long ago, we thought of the body as a machine and the brain as some sort of computer that ran the show. But much recent research indicates that the brain is essentially a social organ with its cells and pathways wired for empathy, for experiencing the joys and sufferings of others as if they were our own.

Our brain, our hormones, and our immune system are an intimately related care-connection system. Of course this system can be turned off by fear, vengefulness, anger, and other emotional states, but the care-connection system reasserts itself when these other states subside. The role of spirituality at its best is to gain self-control over the destructive emotions and to displace them in favor of sincere love of others. Spiritualities include sophisticated techniques of prayer, meditation, visualization, and positive affirmation that sway the balance toward living better.

The workings of this care-connection system are perhaps best described by the remarkable researcher Stephanie Brown, a colleague of mine at Stony Brook. According to a new theory that she and her father, psychology professor Michael Brown, reported in Psychological Inquiry, “The same hormones that underlie social bonds and affiliation, such as oxytocin, also stimulate giving behavior under conditions of interdependence.” This action helps link those whose survival depends on one another.

Giving and helping are wired into us, and our brains typically reward us with feelings of joy and satisfaction. How many times have people said that doing things to help others “just feels good,” or that “I get as much out of it as they do.” Researchers at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke have worked with the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Aging on a collaborative project titled “Cognitive and Emotional Health Project—the Healthy Brain.” The goal was to uncover the neurology of unselfish actions that reach out beyond kin to strangers. Nineteen subjects were each given money and a list of causes to which they might contribute. Functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed that making a donation activated the mesolimbic pathway, the brain’s reward

center, which is responsible for dopamine-mediated euphoria. When people do “unto others” in kindness, it lights up the primitive part of the brain that also lets us experience joy. This is good news: even contemplating doing good for others goes with, rather than against, a big portion of the grain of human nature.

This system is deeply integrated into the human brain and human nature. Although we may have learned to think of ourselves as primarily rational and even selfish beings, science tells us that this simply isn’t so. It seems we humans are as much homo empathens as we are homo sapiens! I strongly believe that in the next five years, most of the benefits of selfgiving love and helping behaviors described in this chapter will be understood as a basic biological system. When this system is active, we tap into something vital that allows us to flourish.
Fortunately, activating it is easy: we just have to help someone. In a 2010 survey of forty-five hundred American adults, a good majority of those who had volunteered during the past year—a full 68 percent—reported that volunteering made them feel physically healthier. In addition,
89 percent reported that “Volunteering has improved my sense of well-being.”
73 percent agreed that “Volunteering lowered my stress levels.”
92 percent agreed that volunteering enriched their sense of purpose in life.
72 percent characterized themselves as “optimistic” compared to 60 percent of nonvolunteers.
42 percent of volunteers reported a “very good” sense of meaning in their lives, compared to 28 percent of nonvolunteers.

Service is a key solution to many of the challenges facing this nation—not only new challenges brought on by the volatile economy but also the education, health, and environmental challenges we continue to confront. Fortunately, Americans are responding to these needs. According the Corporation for National and Community Service, key findings on national volunteerism for 2009 include the following heartening

In the midst of a lingering recession, 63.4 million Americans (age sixteen and older) volunteered in 2009, an increase of almost 1.6 million since 2008. This is the largest single year increase in the volunteering rate and the number of volunteers since 2003. In 2009, the volunteering rate went up from 26.4 percent in

2008 to 26.8 percent. In 2009, volunteers dedicated almost 8.1 billion hours to volunteer service.
The challenges we face are bringing out the better side of Americans and slowly centering our attention on the things that matter most. As you will learn in this chapter, scientific investigations tell us that relatively modest activities—a few hours of volunteering once a week, or perhaps a “random act of kindness” a few days a week—help us live longer, healthier lives as they stimulate a shift from anxiety, despair, or anger to tranquility, hope, and warmth.
This feeling of elevation is sometimes described by psychologists as the “helper’s high.” At the psychological level, the helper’s high was first carefully described by Allen Luks, who in 1991 surveyed thousands of volunteers across the United States. He found that people who helped other people reported better health than peers in their age group. This health improvement was set in motion when volunteering began. Helpers reported a distinct positive physical sensation associated with helping: approximately half of the sample said they experienced a “high” feeling, 43 percent felt stronger and more energetic, 28 percent felt warm, 22 percent felt calmer and less depressed, 21 percent experienced greater feelings of self-worth, and 13 percent experienced fewer aches and pains.
Most commentators on the helper’s high believe that prosocial giving to others triggers the brain to release its natural opiates, the endorphins, but there is probably a lot more to this, including the involvement of such hormones as oxytocin, which causes the sense of calm in the helper’s high.

Now, obviously not every helper feels this euphoria, so the glass is only half full. What can we do to fill it up more? Joseph E. Kahne and colleagues completed a survey of five hundred teenagers in the eleventh and twelfth grades and followed them for three years after graduation. Students found volunteering more meaningful and uplifting when they had forums in school that allowed them to talk about the social issues they were grappling with, such as homelessness and illiteracy. Sincerity and good mentoring make a difference in the quality of any volunteer experience. Volunteers need to be well managed in meaningful venues that allow them to use their talents and strengths in order to be more effective, and it is important to let them select their preferred areas for volunteering. There is a lot we do not yet understand about

how best to organize, acknowledge, celebrate, and reward volunteers.

I have spoken with several dozen teen volunteers over the years and conducted one survey. For the most part their experiences are positive and life changing. But there are always those volunteers who have been poorly managed, overwhelmed, frustrated, asked to do things they were uncomfortable with, or given leadership roles that they did not embrace. The more we enhance the organizational aspects of helping others, the more that people will experience elevated meaning and happiness uniformly.
I first heard of something like helper therapy from my Irish mother, Molly Magee Post. When I complained of feeling bored as a child, she told me, “Stevie, why don’t you just go out and do something for someone?” Notice that she did not say, “Stevie, go read a book” or “Stevie, go clean up your room.” I read a lot anyway, and kept an orderly room. So I would head across the street and give old Mr. Muller a hand raking leaves, or help Mr. Lawrence fix his mast. It always felt pretty good.
My mother’s advice, which I have shared with others many times, turned out to be more fundamental to the course of my life than she had probably imagined. In fact, it has been documented that volunteering in adolescence enhances social competence and self-esteem, protects against antisocial behaviors and substance abuse, and protects against teen pregnancies and academic failure. Simple chores—helping

with the dishes, making one’s bed, helping cook meals, doing laundry, and the like—are daily practices that make helping second nature. This kitchen table wisdom is the basis of scouting, Montessori schools, healthy families, and flourishing communities.
And, once again, science supports what we already know to be true. Adolescents who are giving, particularly boys, have a reduced risk of depression and suicide. And giving during the high school years predicts good physical and mental health more than fifty years later, according to an ongoing study that began in the 1920s.

The helper therapy principle can be a big part of the lives of recovering alcoholics. Both Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith, the eventual cofounders of Alcoholics Anonymous in the mid-1930s, emphasized that the principle of alcoholics helping other alcoholics is, along with spirituality, the key to sobriety. The idea that helping others might have special therapeutic value was best articulated three decades later in 1965, in a widely cited article by Frank Riessman, the distinguished social psychologist and founder of Social Policy. Riessman defined helper therapy on the basis of his observations of Alcoholics Anonymous and offshoot self-help groups that adopted AA’s twelve-step program—groups that have involved hundreds of millions worldwide. Riessman observed that the act of helping another often heals the helper more than the recipient. In the early 1970s, discussion of the helper therapy principle appeared in the premier psychiatry journal. Scientists were observing the health benefits to helpers in a variety of contexts—including teens tutoring younger children.
Recovering alcoholics since 1935 have practiced the twelve steps and noted the benefits to their lives. But the first empirical support for the link between helping others and staying sober first appeared only in 2004 in the work of investigator colleague Maria Pagano. Using data from Project MATCH, one of the largest clinical trials in alcohol research, Pagano and her colleagues found that alcoholics who helped others during chemical dependency treatment were more likely to be sober in the following twelve months. Specifically, 40 percent of those who helped other alcoholics avoided taking a drink in the twelve months that followed a three month chemical dependency treatment period, in comparison

to 22 percent of those not helping. In two subsequent investigations, researchers demonstrated that 94 percent of alcoholics who began to help other alcoholics at any point during the fifteen-month study period continued to help16—and they became significantly less depressed.

The use of the AA model by more than three hundred offshoot organizations—such as Al-Anon (for families and friends of alcoholics), Alateen (for children of alcoholics), and Narcotics Anonymous—is one of the great success stories of our modern times. Members use the power of their own experience and of their own wounds to lighten the burdens of others, and heal themselves in the process. They feel redeemed through helping others, move past shame, and accept new self-identities as role models. They are also attacking the narcissistic roots of their alcoholism. The benefits they receive in regard to an elevated recovery rate are most potent when they are helping other alcoholics, but the benefits are nevertheless considerable when they report significant helping outside of AA.

The benefits of helping others who have the same chronic problem as oneself extend to mental illnesses. In 2006, a major report on curing mental illness emphasized the role of helping others through involvement in mutual help groups. The report recommends this activity to people recovering from illnesses as disparate as depression and schizophrenia.

This recommendation is encouraging, but it’s something mental health professionals have long known. In some ways, it is reminiscent of the “moral treatment” era in the American asylums of the 1830s and beyond. Then, individuals suffering from “melancholy” (what we would call depression) and other ailments were directly engaged in helping activities for others in their therapeutic communities. Dr. Thomas Scattergood, a Philadelphia Quaker with a benevolent last name, and his colleague, Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride, understood that contributing prosocially to a community of fellow sufferers would

help the melancholic helper. The concept of helping others was put into practice as a treatment module by Kirkbride and other founders of the American Psychiatric Association, and has a place in the origins of American psychiatry. The idea of the benefits of helping cannot be separated from the Quaker emphasis on benevolence.

Today, the therapeutic treatment of helping others is embodied by many mental health communities, such as the International Center for Clubhouse Development (ICCD) model, founded on the belief that recovery from serious mental illness should not be based on marginalization of the sufferer, but instead “must involve the whole person in a vital and culturally sensitive community. A Clubhouse community

offers respect, hope, mutuality and unlimited opportunity to access the same worlds of friendship, housing, education and employment as the rest of society.” This model originated from the Foundation House in 1948 in New York City, and today there are more than two hundred ICCD clubhouses thriving throughout the nation as well as abroad. Lori D’Angelo, Ph.D., director of Magnolia Clubhouse in

Cleveland, said, “I think that people tend to be more stable and happy if they feel like they are benefiting people more than themselves, or outside themselves. It helps them feel connected to a larger picture, and I would think that of human beings in general.”


A woman named Ilene recently wrote to tell me her story. It seems that she was especially caring and devoted while her husband was slowly dying of Huntington’s disease, during what should have been the prime of his life. It was a crushing amount of stress for anyone to bear.

During that terrible time, “I had two choices,” she says. “Remain miserable or do something good. I consider myself quite an optimist, and chose the latter.” Interestingly, she was inspired by her husband, who had managed to stay positive throughout his prolonged illness, “right down to his last day on this earth. There were days that I would come to him with my own troubles, both out of a need to have this continued ability to share feelings with him to keep the intimacy in our relationship, and also because it really was difficult towards the end. Each time, he’d lift my spirits, even though I was there to lift his. I sensed that giving him the opportunity to comfort me actually helped give him some added sense purpose, as well.”

While he was in the final stages of his illness, she said, “I also gave freely of myself as an alumni volunteer to my alma mater, Hofstra University. This helped counterbalance all that I was experiencing emotionally, giving me something positive to do to help others.”

And after his death, Ilene continued to share her giver’s glow.

Seeing there were no groups around for young widows and widowers in the area, I started one of my own: the Long Island/NYC Metro Area Young Widow/ers Group. This turned out to be one of the best things I have ever done. I’m continually helping others dealing with their situations, which is an uplifting experience for me as well. I’ve made many friends and also, in hearing their stories, I’ve gained a better perspective about my own situation. I realize I have many blessings in my life that others are not as fortunate to share. The amazing thing is, after only a short time since his passing, I find myself one of the most positive people I know, and my goal is to continue helping others around me also achieve this positive attitude.
In June 2010, I addressed Ilene’s group in a restaurant gathering in Farmingdale, New York. They all understood from experience the power of coping with loss through self-giving. There was only one fellow there who disagreed. He said, “I never do something for nothing.” I asked him if he was happy, but got no response. The group chimed in to support the role of self-giving in their own lives, but to no great avail. Some of us get so steeped in the ideologies of individualism that we become caught up in the idea that it is a bad idea to help others freely; this is just “a sucker’s game,” a “do-gooder’s foolishness,” an altruist’s “self-neglect,” or a way of encouraging “irresponsibility” in those whom we assist. This idea that helping others freely is for suckers does great harm to those who think this way, inhibiting the very capacity for self-giving that can bring them inner freedom and joy. I see it influencing the lives of those adolescents who seem to resist any display of kindness and are locked into an image of tough and clench-fisted indifference. These people are missing the best things in life. This crazy dualism of “I” versus “you” makes no sense.

Increasingly, the scientists are catching up with the giver’s glow. The results of a recent bereavement study by my colleague Stephanie Brown and her husband, Dylan Smith, showed that people with a heightened stress response recovered from depressive symptoms more quickly if they helped others. I have seen this often, so I was not surprised by the findings, but it’s always nice when science backs up what you know to be true. It is a privilege to be working alongside these leading researchers. They also are working on research showing that dialysis patients who engage in helping behaviors experience less depression than those who do not.
Giving may be useful in ameliorating depression because it allows positive emotions like concern and compassion to push aside negative ones like hostility and bitterness, which take a toll on health. Science has long known about the connections between Type A personality, hostility, health problems, and early death.23 Many have concluded that hostility is truly a health-damaging personality trait. Most researchers explain the increased mortality in hostile individuals from coronary disease and cancer on elevated levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline (also known as epinephrine), and a related lowering of the immune response, perhaps mediated by lowered serotonin levels. So if you are the kind of person who falls heavily on the horn because the driver in front of you has the audacity to slow down at a yellow light, and you yell out some expletive in the bargain, you have a problem. Multitasking or being fast paced isn’t what does damage; it is the protracted emotional hostility that creates a health issue for the heart. And the best way to turn this hostility around is to engage in doing “unto others” with helpful acts of kindness, reclaiming the heart at its best and for its best.

Although some studies have shown that certain kinds of low-level stressors may be beneficial to human health, the relationship between excessive stress and disease has been well documented. In response to such stressful emotions as rage or anger, the body secretes hormones that prepare it for physical exertion: the heart and lungs work faster, muscles tighten, digestion slows, and blood pressure goes up. These changes are good when we are running away from an attacker, but perpetually negative emotions eat away at us like acid burning metal. Negative feelings even slow down wound healing and are correlated with some forms of cancer. In contrast, positive emotions can promote health and healing. When we

reach out to others, our negative feelings of hostility, rumination, resentment, and fear are displaced by positive feelings of concern and love.


Remember that saying “Only the good die young”? Don’t be fooled into accepting its sad implications. I prefer to think of it this way: whenever we die, however old, we will feel young at heart if we live generous lives. In fact, the good actually die a bit older, generally speaking. People who volunteer tend to

live longer, for instance. Longevity is the most studied physical health benefit derived from helping, and the findings are impressive. In a thirty-year study that began in 1956, Cornell University researchers followed 427 wives and mothers living in upstate New York. Women who volunteered at least once a week were found to live longer and have better physical functioning independent of baseline health status, number of children, marital status, occupation, education, or social class.

But this is far from the only study. In their 2005 analysis of a nationally representative sample of 7,527 older adults from the Longitudinal Study of Aging, researchers Harris and Thoresen from the Center for Health Care Evaluation at Stanford University found that frequent volunteering was linked to longevity, and that giving to others—even if you’re older, without friends and family, and in less than ideal

health—can help you live longer. They built on the work of Marc Musick, a professor of sociology at the University of Texas, and colleagues, who reported in the 1999 Journal of Gerontology that according to his research on elderly volunteers, “simply adding the volunteering role was protective of mortality.”

Doug Oman, a professor in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, studied more than two thousand elderly residents in Marin County, California, over a seven-year period beginning in the early 1990s. He found that those who volunteered for two or more organizations were 63 percent less likely to die during the study period than those who did not volunteer at all. When Oman controlled for various factors—age, gender, number of chronic conditions, physical mobility, exercise, self-rated general health, health habits (such as smoking), social support (including marital status and religious attendance), and psychological status (for example, the presence of depressive symptoms)—he still found that the volunteers were 44 percent less likely to die during the time of the study than nonvolunteers. As

it turns out, the likelihood of death during this period was more affected by helpfulness than it was by physical mobility, regular exercise, or weekly attendance at religious services. “If the present results are sustained,” Oman and his colleagues concluded, “then voluntariness has the potential to add not only quality but also length to the lives of older individuals worldwide.”

An intriguing five-year study found that older adults who provided no instrumental or emotional support to others were more than twice as likely to die during those five years than people who helped spouses, friends, relatives, and neighbors. It seems that it truly is better to give than to receive!

As my family and I made our transition to a new life in a new community, we realized that our choice was clear: giver’s glow or doubter’s darkness. We did a lot of little things every day to reinforce our giving practice, even just remembering to smile at those we met during the day.

Reaching out to help others saved my life, or so it feels. I know Mitsuko feels that way. “Every child is so special. Getting absorbed again in helping other children took my mind off dealing with my own difficulties in this time of adjustment. I had to look outwards, toward these kids, rather than looking inward at my own problems.” I felt the same way, and with the astonishingly high quality of medical students at Stony Brook, this was easy to do.
For most of us, helping means being ready to lend a helping hand, or being willing to have our work interrupted when others need our time to make their lives a bit more manageable. This can occur in the family, in the neighborhood, in the workplace, in school . . . or just about anywhere. Recently, I received an e-mail from a woman who had been compelled to move from her country home to a city apartment better suited to her physical condition. Just before her move, she had some trees trimmed, separating a mother squirrel from her nest and scattering the babies. She gently gathered the babies, placing them near the tree, and watched until the mother returned to carry them one by one to an alternate nest. She wrote, “So, while I moved to another town, I came back to the house twice a week, called, “Momma! Momma!” and she would come to me . . . or, to the handful of walnuts I offered. This has gone on for many months, as I haven’t sold my house. Believe me, I, too, get ample nutrition for my soul.”
When I arrived at Stony Brook University, I was blessed to have a remarkable administrator as my right hand in all things. Elisa Nelson has been synergistic with me in every decision—without her, I would probably have perished grappling with the astounding educational bureaucracy. Elisa is one of the most diligent, generous, and spiritual women I have ever known. She was raised in a very distinguished Cuban family that had to flee during the revolution. Her mother worked menial jobs to raise her daughter, and

she raised her magnificently as an exemplar of self-giving love. I could not have asked for a more perfect colleague for this project on compassionate care. Recently, the Face of America Project included Elisa in a commentary on its Web site. Here are just some of the kind words they had for her:
She is a giver, a helper, a doer of good deeds. In the time we were at the medical center, she helped us find a location for our shoot. She helped us fix a problem with our tripod. She saw to it that we had a quiet place for our interview. She made coffee for us. She introduced us to other staff members. She willingly shared her story with us. She volunteered to stamp our parking ticket. She took us to the cafeteria for a bite to eat, and she walked with us to the parking garage where we exchanged warm farewells.
Elisa is proactive, thoughtful and helpful in all the ways that matter. She is a woman of grace, dignity and humility who has mastered the art of selfless giving to others. Her face of America is one we will never forget.

So here’s the recipe for a better life: enjoy being a generous, giving person and be generous and give often. The helping that goes on in everyday life, in the home, between friends, at work or school, or with a stranger at the food line is not what we would call heroic.

Here in Stony Brook, I kept it simple. I tried to be a consistent helper in small, everyday ways, even with just a bright smile and a hello. I accepted every little unpaid invitation to speak publicly at local libraries or volunteer events, and built up a presence in the local community.

One important practice for me was offering hospitality to my new faculty recruits. Each time we had applicants in, we really concentrated on making their stay an inspiring one. One of the best philosophers of altruism moved here from California, leaving behind many friends, good colleagues, and a developed reputation in the university community there. Three others came from Michigan. They all went through upheavals in relocating, just as I and my family had. Our empathy for each other helped us through the ups and downs of building a new program and rebuilding our lives.
Despite all our efforts as a family, we still had some bad days, some arguments, some sadness, of course. The stresses were unavoidable—that’s the nature of moves. Yet by giving to others, we managed to keep our minds off our own issues (some of the time, at least) and that has helped heal us.

But there can be too much of a good thing: “selfless” giving does not require you to neglect yourself! Giving is worth doing—but not to the point of exhaustion. Good people need to know how to draw boundaries around themselves so they can have time to take in nature, exercise, enjoy friends, and get away. Take the example of clergy members who feel the need to be available to congregants 24/7. Numerous reports indicate high burnout rates, and significant numbers end up leaving ministry because it gets to be too draining. Sometimes, when people feel called by God to do something, it is hard for them to acknowledge their emotional and physical limitations. Yes, we are one human family, and we are connected together in a common good. But we also need to learn to say “enough” and entrust others to take over for a while. I have known some really great doctors and social workers who have given their all to the neediest but did not know how to back off and find balance in their lives.
Please avoid the altruistic treadmill of doing more and more, running faster and faster. And don’t compare yourself to others. Our need to give will vary at times and across circumstances, and we have our own unique physical and psychological limits. We all have certain fundamental needs to be loved and cherished, to be secure and respected. Helping others is not at all about getting rid of these needs, but rather about fulfilling the universal need to give and live better.

Balance is the key. At the right dosage, self-giving is a one-a-day vitamin for the body as well as the soul. We just have to be careful not to give away too much of ourselves in the process. We still have to look after ourselves, get some rest, eat well, and organize our lives to be effective in the long run. The last thing I want is for you to read this book and be inspired to run yourself ragged. Helping provides lots of hidden gifts for the helper, but do not exceed your capacity. Over the course of a lifetime, our giving can light many thousands of candles, but if our own wick gets too short through self-neglect, it can die out. Think long term, not like a sprinter.

One of the best ways to help others is by making it possible for them to step back and take a break. When I was just getting started at Case Western, I spent four years providing respite care one day a week for family caregivers of loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease, just to give a break to people near breaking themselves. And it was certainly the most rewarding activity in that period of my life. But it was just one day a week. All these studies on volunteering and health describe “thresholds” of helping others that seem to create a shift in our emotional lives, but none of this research ever suggests that the more helping we do, the better we will feel. When it comes to cultivating generosity and kindness, however, do it all the time.

Being concerned with the welfare of others simply has every kind of evolutionary advantage. Children do not thrive unless they feel cared for and experience empathy and loyalty. People in a particular group will prosper to the extent that altruistic emotions and behaviors like compassion and cooperation operate effectively. However we look at it, there are big advantages to helping emotions and behaviors. At the same time, it can be difficult to move from concern for our own group to concern for humans as a whole, for the “we” in the sense of a shared humanity. But that’s where we can use spirituality and religion and also the power of the mind to move us away from the very shaky ground of thinking of ourselves as superior and others as inferior.

As a student of world religions and a Christian, I am convinced that when Christianity speaks of being a light to the world, when Buddhism talks about wholeness, and when Hinduism refers to the true self, at least part of what these traditions are talking about involves tapping into the euphoria, calmness, and warmth that scientists describe as an outcome of doing “unto others.” This giver’s glow has healing properties. Inner wholeness and true peace are related to the activity of self-giving love.
In the Jewish tradition, tikkun olam (“repairing the world”) is thought to bring blessing and long life to the giver. It is through giving and helping that we lose our self- centeredness and gain a life energy that bonds us with others and with life itself. In support of this, Judaism also has a religious obligation called tzedakah. More than simple charity, it requires giving anonymously to unknown recipients, regardless of one’s own circumstances. The Old and New Testaments both extol the rewards of giving: “He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25) and “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). And the Dalai Lama distills thousands of years of Buddhist thought into this simple guideline: “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others.” This is old wisdom, yet scientific evidence for its truth allows us to understand its depth better and take it more seriously as a way of life.
Whether we are looking at studies of older adults, middleaged women, or preteens, we see that self-giving behavior casts a halo effect over people’s lives, giving them greater longevity, lower rates of heart disease, and better mental health. This “kindness kickback” occurs partly because focusing on others causes a shift from our unhealthy preoccupation with ourselves and our problems, and it reduces the stressrelated wear and tear on body and soul. It also seems to activate a part of the brain associated with joy, is associated with hormones that are linked to a feeling of inner calm, and even seems to provide a little immune system boost. Add to these biological benefits a more balanced perspective on our own problems and a greater sense of purpose, selfworth, and self-control, and wow! There is a real mind-body

wellness upgrade.
Giving validates our own existence, and we can start right where we are. We do not need to travel far at all. Right here in this place is fine. We do not need to race around doing everything we can for others 24/7, as if the more we do the better we will feel. Helping others should be something about which we are all mindful on a daily basis. If we can hang on to the thread of self-giving over the course of a lifetime, this will create a glow of greater happiness and health over all that we do.

I cannot predict the future of the New York State economy or whether someday my status as a state employee will be threatened by big furloughs or layoffs. Nor can I predict how far housing values will fall, whether this will be a “double dip” recession, or if the burden of taxes will become even heavier. Things may get a lot harder in the United States as national debt goes through the roof and our children have to foot the bill. But come what may, we can all stay in close touch with the better angels of our shared human nature. This is where our strength lies. As Sir John Templeton wrote, “Every act of helping is a way of saying yes to life.”


Giving to others, as should now be quite clear, has remarkable benefits for the giver. But it’s not a cure-all—nothing is. It does not cure cancer, though I have known many cancer survivors who, feeling that they have been given a second lease on life, have devoted themselves to lives of amazing giving. It does not overcome aging and eventual death, though it seems to enhance longevity. It does not cure Alzheimer’s disease, though love provides whatever resurrection-of-a-sort there can be in the lives of family caregivers and affected individuals. And people who are really deeply depressed cannot just “help” their way out of it; they generally need medical treatments first that will allow them to start to reach out to others.

Yet, regardless of condition, we can still give—whether it is a meal to a hungry soul, a hug to crying child, or a walnut to squirrel. You may not be able to trust that the world you have come to love will not shift beneath your feet, but you can trust your own heart always to reach out with love, even if it is just a

matter of intentionally smiling.
Take a few moments now to think about how you can find the hidden gifts of giving in your own life:
Keep a journal about the large and small ways you are giving to people right now. If you are having trouble thinking of any (I hope not!), ask a friend or loved one. You may be surprised to find that a friendly smile, a question about how things have been going, or an offer to pick up groceries helped someone through a rough patch and allowed him or her to keep going. Once a week, write down all the things you thought of, and discover how much you are already giving! Jot down how helping others makes you feel, in terms of meaning, joy, and health. Keep doing this for the rest of your life, whatever else happens.

Think about the ways others have given to you, right now or in the past. You may want to give back to them with a simple, heartfelt thank you, or even a letter letting them know how much they helped you.
Visualize helping. Every morning, take just five minutes to close your eyes and visualize yourself performing positive helping actions with some of the people you know you will encounter during the day—family, friends, coworkers, and strangers. Imagine a few specific interactions, including ones with the negative people you will inevitably meet. Use a little affirmation, such as “My words and actions heal.” In psychology, this is called “priming.” And there are lots of new neuroscience data to tell us why it is so effective in shaping behavior. You do what you envision, and you are what you think you are, all day long. If you do a little positive mental imaging before your day begins, you’ll be more likely to respond helpfully to the world around you, especially in hard times.
Make it a practice to help one person every day. This is an easy and gratifying exercise that with very little practice can become a natural part of your daily routine. It is simple to keep track of. Whether you help by holding the elevator, dropping a dollar into a homeless person’s hand, pitching in to help with a loved one’s chore, accompanying a friend to a doctor’s appointment . . . notice how this makes you feel, and write about it in your journal at the week’s end.

Draw on your own talents in giving. We all have special strengths and talents. You may love music, art, or writing; you may be athletic or mechanical; you may love reading and sharing what you’ve read; you may love cooking or sewing or any of the homely arts; you may be a computer whiz or a math lover. However great or meager your talent, as long as you’re passionate about it, that’s what counts. Research shows that we benefit most when we help others by drawing on our natural gifts—and they benefit too. Use the talents you possess. Develop them as far and as deeply as they will go in the service of others. People tend to stick with helping others when they are doing things that they feel they are good at.

The Corruptible Book Review

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah Books (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601420749
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601420749
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches

About the Author

Mark is a former Marine who’s worked in law enforcement over twenty years. He began his career with the Cocoa Beach Police Department and shortly after that moved to the Palm Bay Police Department, where he currently works as a homicide / violent crimes detective. In his career, Mark has worked as a Patrol Officer, an Undercover Narcotics Agent, a S.W.A.T. team member, as well as a Homicide Detective.

Mark has parlayed his police experiences into a successful speaking and writing career. He has written articles for Focus on the Family’s Breakaway magazine and Lookout magazine and is the also the author of four novels: Rolling Thunder, From the Belly of the Dragon, The Void, and the Christy nominated The Night Watchman. He and his family currently live in central Florida.

The Corruptible  Review 

I knew this book would be interesting when it started out with Ray Quinn, ex-homicide detective in trouble in the bathroom, and its not what you would think! He is trying to hide from a former client’s husband that is not happy with how he handled the former case.  As he stands on the ‘throne’ to keep his feet from being seen, he sends a text message to partner Crevis that he was in trouble. Crevis makes it in there just in time, and just as always, saves Ray’s back. Oh! and they were in a restaurant while all of this was going on. As the story unfolds, Ray is hired by Armon Mayer, a successful businessman to find some missing information stolen by an employee. Ray takes the case, and what seems like would be an easy case, turns out to be anything but that. His journey to finding this information includes an unbelievable manhunt. Being an ex-cop, Ray is able to pull all strings possible to try and pull this case together, but it’s not an easy one. Join Private Detectives Ray Quinn and Crevis, along with the police department as they try to uncover the secrets involved in this unusual case.

I borrowed this book from a friend to read because I  like suspense books, and this one was not a disappointment as far as the story line, but I did think it was a bit too much graphic detail for a book labeled Christian fiction. I had to skim through a lot of the first part of the book because it was just too rough for me. Just not my style. I did like the characters, the author did an excellent job in creating them. They just all fit together well. Ray and Crevis were a hoot a lot of the times, they had me laughing a lot throughout the book.  And even though Crevis was just starting out, he seemed to work well with Ray.

I would recommend this book to all suspense readers, but if all of the gorey stuff makes your stomach grind, then beware of the first part. It goes into deep detail! I hope to read the next book in this series to keep up with Ray Quinn and the troubles that seem to follow him.

Buy this great suspense at Amazon

Bad Girls of the Bible and Embrace Grace book reviews….Liz Curtis Higgs

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Other Formats: eBook
  • On Sale: Sep 19, 2006
  • ISBN: 9781400072187
  • Categories: Religion – Christian Life

Embrace Grace by Liz Curtis Higgs
Do you sometimes feel you just don’t belong anywhere, or always feel like you are missing something? Can God really love us after everything we have done, and just how can we really know that He has forgiven us? Does this all seem so overwhelming to you that you just don’t want to talk about it? Pick up a copy of Embrace Grace and see what Liz Curtis Higgs says about God’s Grace, and what it can do for us.
Liz wants us to grab grace and embrace it with both arms. Grace doesn’t come from our doing good works, or trying to live perfect lives. Grace comes from first repenting of the sins in our lives, and giving our lives totally to the Lord. When we do this, and continue to give ourselves to Him, God can use us whereever we are, but we have to allow Him to.
Embrace Grace is about how we can fully know the Grace of our Wonderful God! It would be a great Bible Study for a Sunday School class or Study Group.  I would recommend it to any woman who wants to fully know God’s Grace.
See Authors Website Here
You can find a copy to purchase here at
Publishers Website

  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Other Formats: eBook, Audiobook
  • On Sale: Aug 17, 1999
  • ISBN: 9781578561254
  • Categories: Religion – Christian Life – Women’s Issues
Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs Book Review

Bad Girls of the Bible is a study dealing with ladies of the Bible who had problems, secrets, and other bad issues in their past. Liz gives us examples of how the actions and bad choices of these ladies ruined their lives, but also how God changed their lives and healed their past through forgiveness when they gave themselves to Him. She also brings out situations in our lives today that are the same as what the Bible girls faced, and helps us understand what we need to do to follow the Lord and leave our problems with Him.  Join bad girls Eve, Rahab, Jezebel, the Women at the well and others as Liz takes a look at the things in their lives that caused their relationship with the Lord to diminish.

Our Sunday School class went through this study several years ago, and I still think about the Bible gals we studied. I really like the way Liz starts each study out with a fictional account in today’s setting. It helped me to understand more when we started the study. Liz is different from a lot of Christian authors.  One thing, she doesn’t hide the fact that she has a past filled with not so good things including drug use and abusive relationships. And she uses her own past life’s situations as illustrations throughout the book. She’s also a funny lady and uses her wit and humor throughout the study as well, helping to keep your attention. This is especially entertaining when watching the DVD that goes along with the study. I highly recommend this study to study groups and Sunday School classes. It can also be used individually, but being in a group was better for me because of the discussions.

You can purchase a copy of Bad Girls of the Bible at Amazon or at the publishers website WaterBrook  Multnomah

Authors Website

Another Great Giveaway

Ok the winner for Sunday May 15th and Beverly Lewis’  book “The Betrayal.” is Charlotte. Congratulations Charlotte and I will email you for your address. Don’t forget to enter for the other 11 giveaways I have here

Click link below for this great giveaway

Children’s Book Red in the Flower Bed Review

Red in the Flower Bed Book Review

 Red in the Flower Bed is a wonderful illustrated children’s story about interracial adoption. It uses the example of a poppy seed falling to the grown and wasn’t wanted, and the wind carrying it away to a place that it was wanted and could grow. And even though this poppy seed would be different, it would grow into a beautiful flower among the other flowers in the garden.

I was very blessed to grow up in a community with as many blacks as whites, and even more blessed to have parents and grandparents that instilled in us to love and respect everyone regardless of their color.  How sad for someone who is not accepted because they are different. This wonderful book shows children that we can be beautiful and useful no matter how different we are. And also be needed, just as this poppy flower was needed to make up the red for the rainbow! I recommend this book for parents to read to their children, even if there are not adopted children in the family. All children at some point in the small lives will come in contact with children that are adopted, or that is different.

A special thank you to Tribute Books for a pdf copy of this book to review.  But even though you can see the pictures and colors in the e-copy, I think the printed copy would be much better!!

Book web site:

Andrea Nepa Facebook:!/profile.php?id=1664060822

Tribute Books website:

Tribute Books Facebook: Archbald-PA/Tribute-Books/ 171628704176

Tribute Books Twitter: TributeBooks

About the Author………Andrea Nepa Bio:
Andrea Nepa is the mother of an adopted Vietnamese daughter named Leah. In 2001, Adoptions from the Heart assisted with the international adoption. Andrea dedicated her book to her daughter: “For my dear Leah, whose journey in her young life has already taken her to far away and unexpected places.” In 2006, Leah was diagnosed with cancer. She is currently in remission. Andrea lives with Leah and her husband, David, in Haddonfield, New Jersey. She is a registered dietitian for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

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