This Month's Featured Resources...

Ten Days of RoadschoolingWWII Activity PackLego Easter Mardi Gras

Monday, May 22

Books from the Future!

We've been watching the Back to the Future trilogy in the evenings, and I just thought the graphic above was cute!!

Our featured book....

A Day at the Beach (Jedd & Todd Hafer)
Do you yearn for a day at the beach where your mind and soul can wander away from life’s troubles? Do you gaze up at the sun or the nighttime stars and wonder if God is really on your side? Do you long to hear his quiet voice in the roll of a gentle wave? In A Day at the Beach, brothers Todd and Jedd Hafer don’t have the answers to all of life’s troubles, but they’ll help you see that the God who built the universe also wants to help you build a great life. Let these encouraging words bring a ray of warm sunshine to your doorstep as Todd and Jedd offer their joy-filled perspectives on life and faith. So take a deep breath, unplug from life’s daily grind, and follow the call of your heart to Jesus, the ultimate source of life.

As you're packing flip flops, sunscreen, and that floppy hat, don't forget to throw in a good book - like this one!  Hailed as a devotional, this is really more of a book of everyday stories that led to extraordinary moments in life.  (Not like "everyone will remember this" extraordinary, but like "this is a peak experience that I'll look back on fondly" extraordinary.)  The stories are short, and they will help you to remember to find joy in the small moments.  Each page has a different message and a Bible verse.  They're the perfect length for reading a couple, and then laying back in your dark glasses to ponder the messages as you drift off to sleep against a backdrop of continuous waves....
Adult Fiction

Trusting Grace (Maggie Brendan)
All of her life, Grace Bidwell has longed for a loving husband and children, but now the chances of her dreams coming true are looking slim. Widowed and caring for her elderly father, she struggles to maintain her late husband's ranch, until she places an ad for a hired hand.  Robert Frasier arrives in town with three pitiful, bedraggled children who have nothing but the tattered clothes on their backs and a load of hurt, pride, and anger. Believing this is divine intervention in her life, Grace welcomes them with open arms. As feelings grow between her and Robert, Grace will have to convince him that she is a woman who can be trusted with his heart.  Readers will be swept away into 1860s Montana's lush Gallatin Valley, nestled among towering mountains and proud pines, in this emotional conclusion to the Virtues and Vices of the Old West series.

This is the third in a series, following 'The Trouble with Patience' and 'A Sweet Misfortune.'  As I have not read the first two, there was a bit of catching up to do with the backstory, but it did not impede from my being able to follow along with the main story line.  As the title would indicate, the main theme of this book is learning to overcome fears and build trusting relationships with others - be it family, friends, or love.  There are three main characters : Grace, her father Owen, and the love interest Robert.  How these characters interact, and the development and changing dynamics of their relationships unfolds against an Old West setting.  It was one of those books that's easy to get caught up in, especially on a lazy Saturday.  If you like historical westerns, this will be one that you will enjoy!

True to You (Becky Wade)
After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.  Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he's diagnosed with an inherited condition, he's forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother.  The more time they spend together, the more this pair of opposites suspects they just might be a perfect match. However, John's already dating someone and Nora's not sure she's ready to trade her crushes on fictional heroes for the risks of a real relationship. Finding the answers they're seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.

I must admit that it was the cute dress on the front that drew me into this one...  It was the story, though, that kept me reading.  It's got everything....your love triangle, your opposites who attract, your troubled past, your crazy family in the background, and your moral at the end of the story.  It's easy to relate to the main character, Nora - at least, it was for this bookish girl.  I will say that there's a huge twist at the end - which sets it up for the next book in the trilogy - but it's ok, because you'll want to keep reading the family story and find out how it all plays out.  Speaking of the family story, there's also a prequel (it's free at Amazon) called 'Then Came You,' which will give you the family's backstory.  Although the story does drag in spots, overall it's a really well-written read that left me wanting to know more!

The Divide (Jolina Petersheim)

In this gripping conclusion to The Alliance, nearly six months have passed since Leora Ebersole’s Old Order Mennonite community fled to the mountains for refuge after an attack destroyed the power grid and altered life as they knew it. Since then, Leora has watched and waited for news of Moses Hughes, the young Englischer pilot who held off invading looters long enough for everyone to escape. Unsure Moses even survived, Leora has begun to warm to the affections of Jabil Snyder, who has courted her patiently. But she struggles to see herself as the bishop’s wife, especially when she learns that Moses is alive and has now joined a local militia.  An unexpected encounter in the woods deepens Leora’s crisis, as does a terrifying new threat that brings Moses’ militia into the community’s shaky alliance with the few Englischers left among them. When long-held beliefs are once again put to the test, Leora wrestles with the divide between having faith and taking action. Just how much will her shifting landscape change her?

I read The Alliance a while ago, and when it just dropped off at the end, I was really hoping to get to read the next part soon.  (Read that review here.)  The Divide is that sequel, so now I can breathe a sigh of relief.  It picks right up where the gangs have invaded the Mennonite / Amish community, and they are leaving for safer ground.  There is a lot of violence, especially for this kind of community, but each character must find out what they're made of and how far they'll go in the name of survival.  This is a fast-paced read, and one you'll not want to put down until the very last page as you watch the community reckon their actions with their commitment to a peaceful way of life...

Peace in the Valley (Ruth Logan Herne)
Last month, we told you about Home on the Range - and now this is book 3 of the series.

In spite of their differences, Trey Walker Stafford knows he owes his life to cowboy and legendary rancher Sam Stafford—the uncle who rescued him after his parents’ death. Trey had left the Double S Ranch to pursue music against Sam’s wishes, but returns to central Washington when he learns he’s the best match for a procedure that could save Sam’s life. Although Trey’s found country music fame and success, he’s also endured the tragic loss of his wife. He croons about love, but struggles with a yawning emptiness he can’t explain.  Overwhelmed by a growing list of challenges, but mistrustful of Stafford men, single mother Lucy Carlton reluctantly accepts Trey’s help to revive her crumbling farm when Sam instructs him to repay the overdue debt to her family.  As the two grow closer, Trey slowly begins to open his heart to this beautiful woman and strives to let go of the grief he’s held for years. Lucy has a complicated history of her own. Can Trey accept her as she is, learn to forgive the past, and find the elusive peace he's sought for so long?

In the final episode of the Double S Ranch trilogy, the author neatly ties up loose ends and leaves you wishing for the 'happily ever after' for the characters!  We see some previous main characters as the supports to our new mains, Trey and Lucy.  They each carry their own burdens, and a chance meeting turns out to be fortuitous for their futures.  Both characters must learn forgiveness, and how to forgive self, to move forward.  If you're a fan of western romance, this is a lovely, one-sitting read.  It is the third of the trilogy, but completely capable of being a stand alone read as well.

Children's Books

It Started with Goodbye (Christina June)
Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she's stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF's gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client).  When Tatum discovers she's not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela/fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.  A modern play on the Cinderella story arc, IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE shows us that sometimes going after what you want means breaking the rules. 

It seems that modern-day fairy tales are pretty popular right now, and this one falls into that category.  It's not religious, per se, but is definitely a nice, clean fiction book with good morals.  The characters are believable and realistic, and the scenarios are ones that many teens face at some point.  (Although I'm not sure how many teens have OCD about valedictorians...)  There is a lot of parent-teen struggling going on (heaven help us all!), but the author does a good job of presenting both points of view in these situations.  This is a fast-paced read, where the main characters grows through her struggles to become a young lady.  I don't think there will be a sequel, because the author wrapped it up with a big bow at the end - which, let's be honest, is nothing like real life, but may appeal to the short attention span of a teenaged girl.  

5-Minute Inspirational Stories (Stan & Jan Berenstain)
The Berenstain Bears 5-Minute Read-Along Stories is the perfect companion for young readers at bedtime or anytime. With classic stories from the Berenstain Bears Living Lights series, join the Bear family and all their friends in Bear Country as they learn how to be good friends, how to play fairly, where to find courage, and much more. This oversize padded storybook is sure to become a lap time favorite for Berenstain fans, both young and old, as they read these stories in 5 minutes.  Stories included are:  The Berenstain Bears and the Forgiving Tree, The Berenstain Bears God Loves You, The Berenstain Bears Say Their Prayers, The Berenstain Bears Love Their Neighbors, The Berenstain Bears’ Faithful Friends, The Berenstain Bears’ Biggest Brag, The Berenstain Bears and the Gift of Courage, The Berenstain Bears Blessed are the Peacemakers, The Berenstain Bears Get Involved, The Berenstain Bears’ Gossip Gang, The Berenstain Bears God Bless Our Home, and The Berenstain Bears Here’s the Church, Here’s the Steeple.
First off - if your family already collects the Berenstain Bears books, you'll want to check the table of contents before purchasing this one.  It is a compilation of twelve stories that have previously been released as singles.  Then again, maybe you'd rather have just one book with all the stories in it...  These are short stories that each have a separate faith-based message delivered within them.  (If you've never read Berenstain Bears, think modern day Aesop's fables - or that's what my kids say.)  There are issues with bullies, badmouthing, fighting, friendship, family struggles, and pretty much the basic character issues that children encounter on a regular basis.  The Bear Family helps them to see the issue from the outside, understand it, and learn a way to overcome it through good character and life choices.  The stories took longer than five minutes each, by the time we threw in some conversation, but it's still a good collection!

Adult Non-Fiction
Friends, Partners & Lovers (Kevin A. Thomspon)
Great marriages don't just happen--they're made, intentionally, day by day. Yet most of us enter the covenant of marriage thinking that the role of spouse will be easy, natural, effortless. Rarely is this true. In fact, the number one cause of divorce isn't adultery or finances or disagreements. It's apathy--a lack of intentional emotional, physical, and mental investment in the relationship.  With engaging stories and clear, simple language, pastor Kevin A. Thompson explains the three critical roles of a spouse--friend, partner, and lover--and shows how to nurture those roles in order to keep a marriage healthy and strong. Using solid biblical principles, he helps couples understand how to grow their friendship, be a supportive partner through the good times and the bad, and develop a healthy and satisfying sex life.  Friends, Partners, and Lovers offers essential insight for couples at any stage of marriage but will be especially helpful to those who are struggling and those who are engaged or newly married and looking to start their marriage on strong footing.

It's true - we've reviewed a lot of marriage books lately.  No, don't worry, there's nothing wrong.  Actually, I think that married couples should read marriage books, and continue to work on their marriages, because just like your garden, your marriage needs attention, too!  The books that Kevin Thompson writes are some of the ones we pick up often, for a few simple reasons :  they're practical, they're applicable, and there's no fluff to wade through.  We're busy people - 'ain't nobody got time for' wading through fluff.  This book did not disappoint - he breaks marriage down into three distinct roles, and talks about how all three roles must be filled for a marriage to be healthy and reach its full potential.  People change as they grow, and as life throws new things at you, and your marriage has to change, too.  At some point, if you don't remember to put the focus back on your marriage, you just become business partners living together.  And sometimes, even if you do work on your marriage, you can fall into that routine...but admitting you need to work on it is the first step....and this book isn't condemning, condescending, or anything along those lines - it offers straightforward advice, like your friend might give you.

The Book of Greens (Jenn Louis)
For any home cook who is stuck in a “three-green rut”—who wants to cook healthy, delicious, vegetable-focused meals, but is tired of predictable salads with kale, lettuce, cabbage, and the other usual suspects—The Book of Greens has the solution. Chef Jenn Louis has compiled more than 175 recipes for simple, show-stopping fare, from snacks to soups to mains (and even breakfast and dessert) that will inspire you to reach for new greens at the farmers’ market, or use your old standbys in totally fresh ways. Organized alphabetically by green, each entry features information on seasonality, nutrition, and prep and storage tips, along with recipes like Grilled Cabbage with Miso and Lime, Radish Greens and Mango Smoothie, and Pasta Dough with Tomato Leaves.

There are a few things that I really love about this book - first off, the ingredients are not that hard to find.  The vast majority of the greens used are common ones.  There are a few unusual ones (or at least ones I'd never seen), but they look interesting!  Also, unlike most 'greens' books, this one doesn't assume a vegetarian diet.  This is a big source of contention in our home, so it's nice to see the greens worked in with meats and other main dishes for a nice, healthy meal that everyone will at least try.  There is 'scrap cooking' information, such as using carrot tops in a dish, which is good information to have when you're trying to stretch your food.  There are charts and tables to help you visually understand and compartmentalize the information, and there are full-color-page pictures of the various greens and most of the recipes offered.  This is a good one to add to your collection!

Radical Spirit (Joan Chittister)
Feeling burnt-out from life, strung-out from social media, and put out by a society that always wants more from you? Beloved nun and social activist Joan Chittister, who appeared on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday, offers a practical, character-building, and inspirational guide to help you take control of your emotional life and redirect your spiritual destiny. Joan Chittister, whom Publishers Weekly calls "one of the most well-known and trusted contemporary spiritual authors," is a rabble-rousing force of nature for social justice, and a passionate proponent of personal faith and spiritual fulfillment. Drawing on little known, ancient teachings of the saints, Sister Joan offers a practical program to help transform our thinking and rebel against our fears, judgments and insecurities. "Freedom from anxiety, worry, and tensions at home and work, comes when we give ourselves to something greater," she argues. "We need to seek wisdom rather than simply facts, to think before speaking, and in turn create respectful communities." With a series of twelve simple rules for healthy spiritual living, Chittister not only reminds us, but pleads with us, to develop enduring values by shifting our attention to how God wants us to live. This book will teach you how to accomplish this.

This isn't your average spirituality and inspirational read. The author is funny and anecdotal, and downright snarky at times. There is a lot of focus on the digital revolution, and how the internet, though intended for good, has fostered a lot of negative communication and dangerous relationships. The 'twelve degrees of humility' are offered up as a way to navigate through the digital world (remembering to keep yourself in focus and in check) and the snapshots that this world offers. There were things that I didn't like about this book, and it definitely comes from a liberal stance, but I think that the author's heart is in the right place.

Shattered (Jonathan Allen)

It was never supposed to be this close. And of course she was supposed to win. How Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election to Donald Trump is the tragic story of a sure thing gone off the rails. For every Comey revelation or hindsight acknowledgment about the electorate, no explanation of defeat can begin with anything other than the core problem of Hillary's campaign--the candidate herself.  Through deep access to insiders from the top to the bottom of the campaign, political writers Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes have reconstructed the key decisions and unseized opportunities, the well-intentioned misfires and the hidden thorns that turned a winnable contest into a devastating loss. Drawing on the authors' deep knowledge of Hillary from their previous book, the acclaimed biography HRCShattered will offer an object lesson in how Hillary herself made victory an uphill battle, how her difficulty articulating a vision irreparably hobbled her impact with voters, and how the campaign failed to internalize the lessons of populist fury from the hard-fought primary against Bernie Sanders.  Moving blow-by-blow from the campaign's difficult birth through the bewildering terror of election night, Shattered tells an unforgettable story with urgent lessons both political and personal, filled with revelations that will change the way readers understand just what happened to America on November 8, 2016.

I've made no bones about the fact that I've never been an HRC fan...not even in the 90s...but this book intrigued me, if only for the sheer fact that she did seem like a shoo-in for the presidency.  The book is written by folks who were close to the campaign and seem to really love the candidate.  The authors try to keep it unbiased and present purely factual information, though it's clear where their politics fall.  They present the DNC and HRC as a bunch of entitled, arrogant princesses who thought that the presidency should simply be handed to them for (her gender / her history / she wasn't Trump / pick your favorite reason here).  We all know by now that there was a clusterf*ck going on behind the scenes - from potentially rigged elections (coin flip, anyone?) to the robbing of Sanders, to the strained relationship as she tried to both include and exclude her husband, past-president, from the campaign.  I honestly feel that the authors went a little easy on her, but maybe just losing what should have been an easy win was punishment enough.  And God willing, we won't have to see her run again in a few years...please.

**I received some of these books in exchange for an honest review.**

Friday, May 19

Mandisa : Out of the Dark (Giveaway)

Mandisa wrote her song “Overcomer” in 2013 to encourage her close friend, Kisha, who was battling breast cancer.  Mandisa really believed and prayed that God was going to heal her, but when Kisha went to be with Jesus in 2014, Mandia's foundation was shaken in a way she never expected.  She fell into a deep pit of depression for close to three years, shutting out her friends, family, and the rest of the world.  

Mandisa believes if she had kept going down the road she was on, she would not be here today...but God stepped in and lifted her out of that pit by using her close friends to communicate their love for her and God's love for her.  This album is Mandisa's way of letting her fans into her story -- it's called "Out of the Dark" because that is exactly where God lifted her out of!

I really enjoyed listening to this album.  It's a musical journey through the darkness and then back into the light again - and the overall feel of the album is very uplifting.  I like upbeat, soulful music, and that's exactly what Mandisa delivers in these eighteen tracks!  My favorite song was "Bleed the Same," with Toby Mac, because I felt like the lyrics were very relevant to today's society - and it addressed anxieties that many are feeling these days, but left you bouncing along with it at the same time.  Check out the teaser tracks at Amazon - which one do you think will be your favorite song?

Get Social ::   Website  ::  Facebook   ::  Twitter  ::  Get the Album  ::  YouTube

See Mandisa's story :

Giveaway :  WIN a copy of Mandisa's new album!  Check out the teaser tracks at Amazon.  Leave a blog comment telling which one you think will be your favorite song.  One comment will be randomly selected on Wednesday, May 24th to win a copy of the CD.  Good luck!

Listen to the first single off the album :

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Thursday, May 18

Gold Dust Woman (Fleetwood Mac)

Colorado Gold Rush Unit
In the tiny town of Silver Plume, Colorado, we stumbled upon a wonderful family day trip!  We started the morning at the train station, and then took a long train ride through the mountains...
While waiting to board the train, we made commemorative pennies with some coins found between the tracks.  We also walked over and spent some time checking out the adjoining historical museum.
The initial train ride over to the old mining site was fairly lengthy, but that gave us plenty of time to take in the crisp, fresh mountain air and all of the beautiful scenery laid out before us!
Upon arrival at the mining site, we de-boarded the train, along with other families, and made our way over to the trails.  It was still cool way up here, and we had to keep the kids away from the edge of camp, as it immediately dropped off into a raging river.
It took a few minutes for the staff to get all of the passengers sorted into their various groups.  We opted for both a mine tour and panning for gold.  If you're going to take the day trip, go ahead and spring for the lunch.  It's not much, but it's all provided and you won't have to pack everything in and out of camp yourself.
There were so many picturesque scenes....every way that you turned!  We loved all of the trestle bridges built through the mountains and across the rivers.
Our group leader was incredibly perky...and she knew a lot about panning!  She helped everyone sort through their gold, and every single person in our group found gold, except for one.  I, naturally, came home with a vial of copper.  Go figure!
The mine tour was a great way for the kids to get hands-on with their history lesson for the day.  The staff turned the lights all the way out, discussed the various tools miners would use, and we even learned some chemistry lessons!
After finishing up our gold panning, mine tour, and lunch, we hopped back on the train for another gorgeous ride through the Rockies.
All in all, a beautiful, wonderful, memorable day!!

Tuesday, May 16

Mix it Up in May!

Consider adding some new moves to your weekly exercise routine.  If you’re not already weight training, begin adding some strength moves.  You can also add some new cardio exercises, such as swimming and aerobics classes.  Now that many of the New Year’s Resolution folks have left the gym, there will be more machines, smaller classes, and fewer crowds than back in January.  Try something new!

Aerobic exercise :
  • improves stamina and energy levels during the day 
  • helps you sleep soundly at night 
  • helps to manage stress
  • improves your mood
  • helps with weight maintenance
  • helps to ward off disease
But, you know, aerobics doesn't have to mean 1980's workouts in the gym.  Pick a second aerobic activity that you enjoy - anything, as long as it gets your heart pumping.  If it's convenient, you're going to be more likely to keep it up.  Personally, I pick running.  It requires minimal equipment (good shoes & socks) and can be done anywhere!

Start slow, and keep an eye on your heart rate.  You could do this with a heart monitor, but the talk test is easier and cheaper.  If you're too out of breath to speak, then you're overexerting yourself.  If you can converse without any change in breathing, you're not working hard enough.  Easy!

If you're running alone, feel free to talk to the air around you, if you want to do the talk test.  Staying motivated when you're alone, however, can be a different story.  A music player is probably your best bet...  Can't get out of the house, or just want something different?  There are dozens of dvd-directed exercise programs.  We found five of our favorite ones - all with very different styles!  Find one that you like - having fun will keep you motivated!

Finally, if you need more convincing :  due to its ability to improve body image, energy, self-esteem and overall fitness, regular exercise is linked to better sex...    While you think that over, try some wine aerobics for a moment!

Pick Your Poison!

Swimming : Getting Started...the How
  • Start with the freestyle stroke and swim for as long as you can, then rest for as much time as you need. Repeat for a minimum of 20 minutes.   Don’t get discouraged if the guy in the next lane over is cranking out laps two-at-a-time, and you’re winded after 30 seconds.  Rest.  Repeat.  Stamina will come.
  • Good stamina will come with good form.  While swimming, you want your head, hips and feet to form one long line. If your middle sags or your feet ride low, you increase drag, which slows you down and wastes energy. Try pushing your head down a bit if your feet are dragging, or do core work when on land if your midsection is slumping.
  • One common mistake that new swimmers make is to kick too much.  The kick provides little propulsion, but sucks up huge amounts of energy and sends your heart rate skyrocketing because you’re moving big muscle groups like the quads. You want to kick just enough to keep the legs ups. 

Monday, May 15

A Day at the Office Author

1. Hi Sarah, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I enjoy writing novels set during World War II, and my ninth novel was just published. My husband and I live in northern California, and we just became empty-nesters this past summer when our youngest son joined the US Navy! I work one day a week as a hospital pharmacist, teach Sunday school and women’s Bible studies, and I enjoy speaking to church and community groups.

2. How did you first get involved with storytelling?
Although I grew up in a reading household, I only briefly flirted with the idea of becoming a writer—right along with my ballerina dreams. I majored in chemistry and became a pharmacist. Then in 2000, I woke up one morning from a dream that I just knew was a novel. I was terrified at the prospect of writing a novel, but I wrote the whole thing in a fever pitch. Since then, I haven’t stopped writing.

3. Every artist has their own story, their unique approach and blend that works for them. Which artists would you say have influenced you the most?
I can’t really say. Being an avid reader all my life, I’ve been influenced by dozens of authors. More recently, I’ve been blessed to be taught by dozens more. I’ve picked up bits and pieces from so many, cobbling together the approach that works best for me.

4. Which question about your books do you get most often from other folks, and how do you answer it?
Other than “What are your books about?” the most common question is “Where do you get your ideas?” They come from all sorts of places—history, newspaper articles, movies, dreams, and “what if?” questions—and sometimes they just materialize.

5. Describe your typical day on book tour? What is your favorite part about tour?
I’ve never been on a book tour—few authors do nowadays. We “visit” via social media. I’ve met so many readers through Facebook and Twitter and blogs and email.

6. Describe your typical day at home / in the office? What is your favorite part about your job?
I’m at my desk at seven o’clock. Since I’m in California and my publisher and editor are on Eastern Time, I need to get moving early. Since I’m not a morning person, I take care of emails and social media first thing in the morning. In the late morning, I usually work on some publicity or other non-writing projects. In the afternoon when my brain works best is when I outline my stories, write, and edit. In the evening, my husband watches TV, and I sit beside him and work on things like my Today in WWII History blog posts, author interviews, and more emails and social media. My favorite part is the actual writing part—in its entirety. I love the outlining process, the manic glee of the rough draft, and even the editing.

7. What sort of training and education did you complete?
I have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from UCLA and a doctorate in pharmacy from UC San Francisco. As with most novelists, I learned writing from conferences, books on craft, and practice.

8. If you had to give a single piece of advice to a young person looking toward writing as a career option, what would it be?
In all seriousness…major in something other than English and get a day job. On the practical level, writing pays poorly and it’s hard to support yourself—most of us either have day jobs or have a “patron of the arts,” a spouse with a job. On the more eloquent level, novels bubble up from life experience. Those day jobs teach us about the human condition and build up the unique perspective on the world that each author needs. My scientific education and my experiences in health and in teaching women’s Bible studies have a direct bearing on the types of stories I write—and I couldn’t have written those stories if I’d taken a different path.

9. Where do you see yourself / your family in 10 years?
Only the Lord knows! I’d like to think I’m still writing and teaching and speaking—I love these roles so much. Our three children are all on the perfect career paths for them—one in engineering, one in business, and on in the Navy specializing in meteorology and oceanography—and I can’t wait to see how those paths continue to develop. Our daughter is married to a wonderful man, and I hope our two sons find wonderful women to marry. And yes, I’d love to have at least one grandchild in ten years.

10. What makes you happy?
My kids, especially when they’re all together. After all the bickering years, it’s such a joy watching them truly enjoying each other’s company, having fun together, but also supporting and encouraging each other. Also, my husband, our cat and dog, going on hikes, reading, a crisp autumn day—so many things.

11. Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself, your writing, or how to pursue a career in the publishing world?
Writers’ conferences are the best way to pursue publishing. Learning about the craft and the industry, meeting editors and agents, and perhaps most important—meeting other writers. Publishing is a strange and solitary profession, and it’s vital to have other people who understand you and what you’re doing. I’ve made some of my absolute best friends in the world at conferences.

Check out Sarah Sundin's latest World War II series....Waves of Freedom

Waves of Freedom series blurb:
During the early years of World War II, three naval officers based in Boston find adventure in the Battle of the Atlantic and are captivated by three lovely women—a shipyard worker, a pharmacist, and a WAVE. Battles erupt on the high seas. Mysteries arise on the Home Front. Family ties and friendships are tested. And love is found where least expected.

(Yvie's Note : I've read these, and they're really good!!)

When Tides Turn blurb (Waves of Freedom #3, Revell, March 14, 2017)
When Quintessa Beaumont learns the US Navy has established the WAVES program for women, she enlists, eager to throw off her frivolous ways and contribute to the war effort. Lt. Dan Avery employs his skills in antisubmarine warfare to fight U-boats at the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic, but the last thing he wants to see on his radar is fun-loving Tess. As Dan and Tess work together in Boston, the changes in Tess challenge his notions—and his heart.

Get your copy of When Tides Turn!

Other series : 

Friday, May 12

Slow Cook May

May : Sweet Mother's Day Delights
My kids know that the way to my heart is paved with chocolate!!

Learn the Crockpot Basics!!

  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/4 c dutch cocoa
  • 1/4 c veggie oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 oz melted bakers chocolate
  • 1 tsp powdered sugar (optional)
  1. Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt.
  2. Stir in oil, vanilla, eggs, and egg whites.
  3. Stir in melted chocolate.
  4. Cover and cook on low 2-3 hours.  Turn off crockpot and let stand 30 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, to dress up.

  • 3 c chopped milk chocolate
  • 7 oz marshmallow cream
  • 1 c whipping cream
  • various sliced dippers
    • cut fruit
    • cut brownies / cookies
    • angel food cake
  1. Mix together chocolate, cream, and marshmallow cream.
  2. Cover and cook on low 1-2 hours, stirring.
  3. Serve immediately, with dippers.