Woe! It’s Wednesday: Gifted to Serve

I gritted my teeth and prayed for patience to get through that Wednesday evening. I also prayed for several other Spirit fruits to invade me.

In an unprepared moment, I’d been asked to serve with the 3rd and 4th grade girls in our church’s mid-week children’s program and I regretted my lack of a handy excuse.

I did survive. Not just that night but the entire school year of Wednesdays. I had no passion for that ministry. I disliked the noise, chaos, confusion, noise, seeming disorganization, and above all, the noise. Two hundred laughing, screeching, chattering children set my teeth on edge.

At the end of the program year, I said goodbye with a great sigh of relief.

Funny though. All summer I kept remembering the fun I’d managed to have, in spite of the noise. By fall, I was ready again. And to my great surprise, that second year I actually enjoyed myself.

I liked interacting with the girls. It was fun to watch the organized chaos of game time and I loved seeing God’s word change lives.

I spent seven years serving. The girls I had in my groups are now grown, many of them with their own children. No one is more amazed than I, what God is able to accomplish when I come to Him on His terms, not leaning on my own strength, but completely dependent on Him.

Gal 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest.

Book Talk Tuesday: WHAT YOU WISH FOR

I discovered Katherine Center about a year ago and have been eagerly reading her books ever since. They are filled with emotion and love and laughter and tears. WHAT YOU WISH FOR has all of the above in abundance.

It also features a minor character from one of Center’s other books in a more prominent role this time. I read that book after this one and I think I recommend that order, if you have a choice. The other book is HAPPINESS FOR BEGINNERS. There’s also a short story, a “bridge” included in WHAT YOU WISH FOR that connects the two books.

In the author’s acknowledgements, she references another book, JOYFUL: THE SURPRISING POWER OF ORDINARY THINGS TO CREATE EXTRAORDINARY HAPPINESS. That was the second time that particular book had crossed my radar, so I bought it. Look for a review of that one in the near future.

In WHAT YOU WISH FOR, private school librarian Samantha Casey is dealing with a lot. When the school gets a new principal, she’s surprised to learn that she’s worked with him before. Duncan Carpenter was the most beloved, most inspiring, most fun teacher at Sam’s previous school. And the reason she left California for Galveston, Texas.

But Duncan is different from the fun and funny man Sam remembers. The man who rented a cotton candy machine and put it in the school cafeteria. He’s turned into a stiff, by-the-book, stern enforcer principal. As the changes he makes affect the school’s morale, Sam resolves to get Duncan to loosen up and become more of the exciting and happy guy she remembers.

I loved this book so much! As Sam and Duncan spend time together, they’re each impacted by the other and by their experiences, both shared and unique. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but this is a special book. I highly recommend it!

Woe! It’s Wednesday … A personal note. Sort of.

I haven’t posted anything but book reviews here in forever. I know, I know. I get busy and other projects are marked Urgent, so blogging gets pushed down the list. I’m trying to be better.

I’m tidying up my office and one of my projects is taking a stack of old (some are really, really old) hardcopies of articles and devotionals I wrote in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and typing them into my computer.

This one only needed a bit of tweaking to make it current and I think it’s still valid.


Mentoring was a buzzword when I was homeschooling, in the last century. In business, education and social science circles, mentoring was extolled as the best way to produce intelligent and upright leaders of the next generation. The Bible speaks of mentoring also, although it’s called by another name.

Disciplining, discipling, or training are Biblical words that mean the same as mentoring.

The dictionary says a mentor is a wise and trusted teacher, guide and friend; an elderly monitor or adviser.

Isn’t that exactly what Paul tells us in Titus to do for our young women and daughters?

A mentor relationship is exactly what a mom has with her children. We’re teaching them that a mother is someone who places a great importance on raising children who will make a difference in this world for Christ. We teach them practical things also, such as running a household.

If my children had left home without knowing how to do their laundry and have it come out the same color it went in, I failed at my mentoring. If my children place greater importance on things than on people, I have failed. If my children don’t know how to prepare a meal or how to vacuum or how to shop, I have failed. If my children believe someone’s contribution to society can be measured in dollars and cents, I have failed.

Mentoring doesn’t need to be an organized program we sign up for to train and encourage young people. No matter if you’re a parent or not, you are a mentor to the young people in your life. You are a wise and trusted teacher, guide, and friend.

Book Talk : The Summer Getaway

It’s my favorite time of year: spring! Which means new life and new summer books!

I received an advance copy of Susan Mallery’s newest release, THE SUMMER GETAWAY and it’s the perfect beach read as well as the perfect book to read in anticipation of summer.

Robyn Caldwell is caught off-guard by her empty nest. Divorced four years, she should have seen it coming and finds herself undecided about what to do next. When her great-aunt Lillian asks her to visit in California, Robyn boards a plane, hoping the distance will give her perspective and help her decide her next steps.

Robyn finds though that not just her problems follow her to California. First her children show up, then everyone else she thought she left behind soon comes along too.

California, Aunt Lillian, her crazy mansion, and Lillian’s long-lost nephew show Robyn that she does have choices, that she’s more than enough, and that she can do whatever she wants.

Mallery has crafted a heartfelt tale of fresh starts and growing up–at any age. I highly recommend it!


I received a free copy of THE SUMMER GETAWAY from the publisher. This did not induce me to review the book, either favorably or not.

Book Talk Tuesday: RIGHT HERE WAITING

Well, it’s a bittersweet day. I’m happy because I get to go back to Deep Haven, but sad because it’s the end of the Sunrise Publishing Season 1, Deep Haven Collection.

Book #6, RIGHT HERE WAITING, by Susan May Warren and Michelle Aleckson released today. I was so happy to see it appear on my e-reader this morning. I had read an advance copy, but I always like to see the final version too. Any day I get to spend in Deep Haven is a good day! The fact that in my little corner of Central California, it finally feels like Fall here, with a bit of rain, a bit of wind, and colors in the trees made it a perfect day for curling up with a book set in the freezing temperatures of Minnesota in November was a bonus.

CRAZY FOR YOU is different and the same as the other Deep Haven books.

It’s the same because it’s in Deep Haven (duh). It features believable characters on the Minnesota North Shore of Lake Superior. There’s a strong thread of romance and faith.

It’s different because our heroine, Jae Washington, is Korean-American. It was nice to get a glimpse of another culture in Deep Haven and how she was welcomed. We also learned about Korean food. I confess, I’m not a fan of kimchee, but I love Korean fried chicken.

I also love the movie, You’ve Got Mail, and RIGHT HERE WAITING gives a strong wink and a nod to Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox.

We met Nick Dahlquist in CRAZY FOR YOU, because he’s Peter’s cousin, that book’s hero. Now Nick gets his own book.

Nick is training his sled dog team for an upcoming race, hoping for sponsors. He needs new sponsors or he might lose not just his dogs, but his home and business.

Jae accepts a job with the new Deep Haven Crisis Response Team as the new helicopter pilot. She knows Nick from his vlog, the one that pulled her from a depression. But he has no idea that Jae is the person he’s been Direct Messaging with.

I loved this book for so many reasons. Nick and Jae felt like real characters and I never questioned their feelings for each other. I enjoyed the plot and the problems each of them faced and overcame.

Susan May Warren is a gifted writing teacher and I follow her principles. This book could be a text for her Story Equation teaching. It has all the elements she teaches. The Dark Moment Story, the Wound, the Lie, the Flaw, the (Wo)Man in the Mirror Moment, etc.

I loved this book and I highly recommend it!


I received a free advance copy of this book from the publisher, but that did not induce me to review it, positively or not.