Monday, November 30, 2009

A Lemon Fresh tour with humorist and author James (Jim) Watkins




Sour circumstances left you feeling down? Unemployment, foreclosures, divorce, bankruptcy and cancer don't even begin to peel the skin off all the bad news in our world today. At a time in history when the evening news contains more bad than good, people wonder if sweeter days will ever come. In steps James (Jim) Watkins. With a fresh perspective on life, love and the pursuit of happiness, Watkins serves readers a refreshing cup of encouragement and hope.
Written from his own experiences with cancer, unemployment and other life-puckering crises, Jim prompts readers to look at the cup of suffering with eyes focused on the true thirst quencher--Jesus Christ. Readers will be pleasantly surprised at the balance of readability and deep wisdom offered within the pages of Squeezing Good Out Of Bad. With scripture references, humor-filled lists, and a creative manuscript, Watkins brings the bitterness of hard times and blends it with the sweetness of God's presence. He's been there. His transparency is as refreshing as, you guessed it, a tall, cool glass of lemonade.

A book that will make you laugh, think, and start looking at
those sour places of life in a whole new way.
I really enjoyed reading it. ~ Martha Bolton





James N. Watkins is the author of sixteen books and over two thousand articles. He is the acquisition editor for Wesleyan Publishing House, an editorial advisor for ACW Press, instructor at Taylor University and a sought-after conference speaker. He’s won Campus Life’s Book of the Year award and various other awards for writing and editing. He’s married to Lois. They have two children and four grandchildren. His family is the lemonade in his life.


Author Interview:
1. You've been in the literary world for a while, give us a quick recap of how you got started to where you are today.
By second grade, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I felt the suspension of disbelief was stretched too thin when the real-live puppet Pinocchio became a real live boy. So I rewrote the ending having the wooden puppet die a painful, prolonged death of Dutch elm disease. (At that point, I'm sure my parents and teachers weren't sure if I'd become a writer or a life-long patient at a psychiatric hospital.) I later went on to become the editor of my high school paper, worked at a Christian publishing house as an editor during college, and then dabbled in writing while holding down a real job. Since 1988 I've been writing and speaking full-time.

2. In Squeezing Good Out Of Bad you give many insightful tips on how to turn around sour circumstances. Share a practical way we can be encouraged during tough times.
My "top ten list" of chapter titles 10-4 provide practical steps for dealing with lemons, but the real secrets are found in chapters 3-1. (Yes, like a true top ten list, the chapters are numbered backward.) Romans 8:28 promises that that God is working all things out for our good to accomplish His purpose in our lives. But we have to read on to verse 29 to find that purpose: "to be conformed to the image of His Son."

3. No life is perfect. Can you give us an example of how you got through a challenging situation and were able to use these principles to see the good in it?
I think it's so important that we take our faith seriously, but I certainly don't want to take my situation or myself too seriously. So I create a mental "top ten" list of what good can come about in this situation. For instance, last year I had radiation for cancer and it totally depleted me physically and mentally. My family dubbed it "radiation retardation." Because of that, I was fired from a wonderful part-time job because I just couldn't do it. So, "Top Ten Great Things about Losing My Job": 10. I'll be paying less taxes next year. 9. I've got twenty hours a week of free time. 8. . . .

Our family is going through something right now that is far worse than cancer, and I can't see a single good thing that can come out of it. So, at those times, you just keep hanging on--with white knuckles--to the fact that God loves you and the Romans 8:28 is still in effect.


4. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Spare time? What's that? I'm a firm believer in "redeeming the time" so I try to keep busy doing things that matter for the Kingdom. But after my little brain is worn out--usually around 7 pm--nothing beats a session of "Freecell."

5. What's the last book you read and why?
Strength to Love by Martin Luther King, Jr. Unfortunately, the only real reading for pleasure is on airline flights. The King book is research for a book I'm proposing as we approach the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.

6. What do you hope readers will gain by reading your book?
I wrote the first draft nine years ago, and even though I have a great agent, we just couldn't find a publisher. That was before cancer, family crisis, unemployment. . . . So it's a much more comforting, honest book. And it forced me to not be so flippant and casual about the serious issues people are dealing with. Henri Nouwen talks about "wounded healers." I think, because of the lemons that have piled up in my life, I can more compassionately offer comfort to those buried under a pile of lemons.




When life gives you lemons . . .

10. Don't confuse them with hand grenades (Identify the problem)

9. Check the delivery slip (Determine if it's your problem)

8. Sell them on eBay (Profit from the problem)

7. Paint smiley faces on them (Laugh at the problem)

6. Join a citrus support group (Share your problem)

5. Use as an all-natural, organic astringent (Grow from the problem)
4. Don't shoot the delivery driver (Forgive the problem-maker)

3. Graft to a lime tree for a refreshing, low-calorie soft drink (Take the problem to a higher level)

2. Grow your own orchard (Live a fruitful life despite—or because of—the problem)

1. Give off a refreshing fragrance (Live a lemon-fresh life)






Blog Tour Giveaway:
The blog host with the most comments will have the opportunity to send in one commentor's name for the grand prize giveaway. Here's what they'll win:
First prize: Jim will stop by your house with fresh-baked lemon cake and hot lemon tea. (Disclaimer: Offer available only to residents of Corn Borer, Indiana. Alternate prize includes a copy of Sqeezing Good Out Of Bad, mixes for lemon tea, lemon cake, lemonade and assorted lemon candies. Not available where taxed or licensed. Winner responsible for safe and proper use of products.)


For your first comment tell me. Have you faced a challenging situation in your life and how did you get through it (OR) maybe you are facing one right now; what are you doing to get through?

Be sure to leave me a way of contact in case you are the winner. Drawing will be on Dec. 18th.

Since I'm in the holiday spirit, I'll give you a bonus try if you tell me your favorite fruit flavor. Be sure to leave this in a separate comment for your bonus.





Shining the Light on
Edna Tollison






NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of Squeezing Good Out Of Bad via Kathy Carlton Willis Communications, gifted to all participants in this blog tour.

This blog tour is through:



books

God gave us...

My Review:
What little one wouldn't fall in love with Little Cub as he tries to learn the meaning of Love and Christmas in these two featured books.

In God gave us love, Little Cub learns that there are different types of love: Love between a daddy and mommy with kissy, huggy stuff. There is love between friends and family and also God's love. Little Cub learns that we must choose to love even when we don't feel like loving, and that love brings out the best in us.

In God gave us Christmas, Little Cub learns what Christmas is all about. The true meaning of Christmas is more than Santa. Little Cub learns that Jesus is the best present for everyone.

Many of illustrations in each of these books have a watercolor effect. They are very nicely done. Any child will love meeting Little Cub along with Little Cub's family and friends. These would be two wonderful books to find under the Christmas tree. Books can be read over and over again.

God Gave Us Christmas: As Little Cub and her family prepare to celebrate the most special day of the year, the curious young polar bear begins to wonder… “Who invented Christmas?” Mama’s answer only leads to more questions like “Is God more important than Santa?” So she and Little Cub head off on a polar expedition to find God and to see how he gave them Christmas. Along the way, they find signs that God is at work all around them. Through Mama’s gentle guidance, Little Cub learns about the very first Christmas and discovers that… Jesus is the best present of all.
This enchanting tale provides the perfect opportunity to help young children celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and to discover how very much God loves them. Get more information about this book here.


God Gave Us Love: As Little Cub and Grampa Bear’s fishing adventure is interrupted by mischievous otters, the young polar bear begins to question why we must love others… even the seemingly unlovable.

In answering her questions, Grampa Bear gives tender explanations that teach Little Cub about the different kinds of love that is shared between families, friends, and mamas and papas. Grampa explains that all these kinds of love come from God and that it is important to love others because…
“Any time we show love, Little Cub, we’re sharing a bit of his love.”
This sweet tale will warm the hearts of young children as they learn about all the different sorts of love, while the gentle explanations of each provide a valuable opportunity to encourage children to share with others a “God-sized love.” Get more information about this book here.





Lisa Tawn Bergren is the award-winning author of nearly thirty titles, totaling more than 1.5 million books in print. She writes in a broad range of genres, from adult fiction to devotional. God Gave Us Love follows in Lisa’s classic tradition of the best-selling God Gave Us You. She lives in Colorado, with her husband, Tim, and their children, Olivia, Emma, and Jack.




These books were provided for review by













books

Friday, November 27, 2009

My Review of the Winter of Candy Canes


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Well so it is as the seasons change in this wonderful sweet season novel series by Debbie Viguie. This is book #3 in Debbie's Young Adult series and Debbie has done a wonderful job with it. My teen daughter has totally enjoyed reading this series. I have finally gotten around to reading this fun book in the series.

The Zone is now changed from Scare Zone to Holiday Zone. What kids won't do to talk to Santa and injury one of his holiday elves. Candace, who doesn't like the lime lights always seems to find herself in it. Again this book is no different, she has applied for a job at the Zones Holiday festival and she is now working as one of Santa's elves. This position is known to returning referees as a hazard paying job. What that means no one will tell Candace, but she's about to find out. How hard can it be to pass out Candy Canes after someone has visited with Santa? and give out a present every now and again. Can it really be that stressful and intense of a job? Candace loves working at the Zone and the Christmas "Holly Daze" event is about to start. Why not pick up a copy of the book and follow Candace in this eventful Holiday Zone adventure.

Read more about this book here.

Other books in this series are:
Book # 1
The Summer of the Cotton Candy here
My review here
Author interview here

Book #2
The Fall of the Candy Corn my review here

Book #4
Spring of the Candy Apple here


books

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Twas the Night of Thanksgiving


TWAS THE NIGHT OF THANKSGIVING,
BUT I JUST COULDN'T SLEEP.
I TRIED COUNTING BACKWARDS,
I TRIED COUNTING SHEEP.

THE LEFTOVERS BECKONED -
THE DARK MEAT AND WHITE,
BUT I FOUGHT THE TEMPTATION
WITH ALL OF MY MIGHT.



TOSSING AND TURNING WITH ANTICIPATION,
THE THOUGHT OF A SNACK BECAME INFATUATION.

SO, I RACED TO THE KITCHEN, FLUNG OPEN THE DOOR,
AND GAZED AT THE FRIDGE, FULL OF GOODIES GALORE.
GOBBLED UP TURKEY AND BUTTERED POTATOES,
PICKLES AND CARROTS, BEANS AND TOMATOES.

I FELT MYSELF SWELLING SO PLUMP AND SO ROUND,
'TIL ALL OF A SUDDEN, I ROSE OFF THE GROUND.
I CRASHED THROUGH THE CEILING, FLOATING INTO THE SKY,
WITH A MOUTHFUL OF PUDDING AND A HANDFUL OF PIE.

BUT, I MANAGED TO YELL AS I SOARED PAST THE TREES....
HAPPY EATING TO ALL - PASS THE CRANBERRIES, PLEASE.



MAY YOUR STUFFING BE TASTY,
MAY YOUR TURKEY BE PLUMP.
MAY YOUR POTATOES 'N GRAVY HAVE NARY A LUMP.
MAY YOUR YAMS BE DELICIOUS.
MAY YOUR PIES TAKE THE PRIZE,
MAY YOUR THANKSGIVING DINNER STAY OFF OF YOUR THIGHS!!



books

Happy Thanksgiving

zwani.com myspace graphic comments

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Colonel Trash Truck by Kathleen Crawley







Kids love trucks and are most familiar with the truck that visits their house every week – the garbage truck. So, there is no better way to teach them to respect the environment than to introduce them to Colonel Trash Truck - a likable, fun-loving hero who is extremely focused about his mission to win the garbage war. He sees the world and nature as a beautiful gift that we all need to appreciate and protect. Colonel Trash Truck believes cleaning up trash and recycling is something we all must do and he wants nothing more than to have kids join him in his quest. Now’s the time to become a member of his Clean and Green Team! KARUNCH!




Kathleen Crawley has been an advertising executive for over fifteen years. She resides with her husband Ronald Thomson in Redondo Beach, California. She is a native Californian having graduated from UCLA with a B.A in sociology. Colonel Trash Truck is her first book. About writing for children, Kathy says, “I have a number of books I want to write for kids because I think children are fascinating. They are open, creative, and interested in everything; they bring out the kid in me.”

You can visit Kathleen online at www.coloneltrashtruck.com






“From street to street, he sweeps and sweeps to keep our neighborhood clean. From dawn to dusk, clean up he must to make our world stay green.”



Now for the giveaway. Visit Kathleen's site and then come back and tell me something you found over there. She has a flip book of all kinds of goodies.

You can visit Kathleen online at www.coloneltrashtruck.com

Want bonus entires? How about these.


The first rule must be followed before you can get extra entries below.

FOR EXTRA ENTRIES: see the following and be sure to leave a separate comment for each (These can only be done if you've done initial entry above):

1. Become a Follower of my Blog - left sidebar (let me know if you already do) ~ 1 entry


2. Subscribe to my Blog - left sidebar (let me know if you already do) ~1 entry


3. Blog about this giveaway, with a link to my blog and come back and leave the link to your blog post. (Post 3 separate comments) ~ 3 entries


4. No Blog - No Worries - email 4 friends CC me (ABreading4fun[at]gmail[dot]com).
(please post separate comments for each entry) ~ 4 entries

5. Add 4 the LOVE of BOOKS to your blogroll or favorite sites to visit, using my URL which links back to me! ~ 3 entries (be sure to post 3 separate comments)


Please US residents only. Be sure to leave a way for contact if you are the winner. Drawing will be held on Dec. 9th.






To winner Edna






A copy of this book was provided for review by Virtual Book tours
Visit Virtual tours here





books

Twas the Month before Christmas

Twas the month before Christmas,
When all through our land,

Not a Christian was praying,
Nor taking a stand.


See the PC Police had taken away,

The reason for Christmas - no one could say.
The children were told by their schools not to sing,
About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.

It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say

December 25th is just a ' Holiday '.


Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit

Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!
CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod

Something was changing, something quite odd!


Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa

In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.

As Targets were hanging their trees upside down

At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.

At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears

You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.

Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty
Are words that were used to intimidate me.


Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen

On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton!

At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter

To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.


And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith

Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace

The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded

The reason for the season, stopped before it started.


So as you celebrate 'Winter Break' under your 'Dream Tree'
Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.
Choose your words carefully, choose what you say

Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS, not Happy Holiday!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Congrats to....



To Charity winner of
One Holy Night by
Joan Hochstetler




books

Teaser Tuesday ~ Treasured



Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along, so I thought I would play for fun! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"No nice words can accurately describe the livelihood of Rahab. This resident of Jericho made her living satisfying the lusts of men. Her business was trading skin for money."

~ p. 109, Treasured by Leigh McLeroy

Just a note: I'll have my review posted on Dec. 3rd with the book tour.


books

My Christmas challenge reading list



The Christmas Lamp by Lori Copeland
The winter of candy cane by Debbie Viguie
(read my review here)
The Great Christmas Bowl by Susan May Warren
One Imperfect Christmas by Myra Johnson

A Blue & Gray Christmas (4-in-1 book)

A Bride by Christmas (4-in-1 book)

New Books added to list
A Month of Miracles (6 different authors) (read my review here)
Pursuing the Christ by Jennifer Kennedy Dean (read my review here)
The Christmas Glass by Marci Alborghetti (read my review here)




What's On Your Nightstand

Last month's nightstand list here with links to my reviews


books