Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Do I Sound Older?

Yesterday my son Nathan turned eight. “I can’t believe it” would be an understatement.

It’s so interesting how differently children respond to birthdays compared to adults. While getting ready to head for school (with cupcakes for his class, of course), Nathan asked, “Mom, do I sound different today than I did last night?”

“Do you mean, do you sound older?”


To be honest, his voice sounded pretty much the same as it had when I tucked him in the night before. But I knew it mean everything to him to hear that he’d matured overnight. So I said, “You know, you did sound awfully grown up while talking to Grandma over the phone this morning. So I’d say yes, you sound eight today for sure!”

He walked out the door a happy boy. He not only was eight but he also sounded eight! He was older!

I, on the other hand, want birthdays to come and go with no reminders or indications that I’m older. I don’t want to sound older. I definitely don’t want to look older! However, my talk with Nathan clued me in to something. Shouldn’t I want to show some signs of growing up as time passes?

If I am growing in my walk with God, learning from mistakes, keeping active physically, mentally, and socially then I will change, and those changes will be good. Maybe I have something to learn from my son’s eagerness to “sound older.” Hopefully, I do too!

Lord, as another birthday approaches for me, may I desire for others to see some signs of maturity. I still don’t want to look older, but I do pray that I sound and act more grown up in You.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Distant Melody

Never pretty enough to please her gorgeous mother, Allie will do anything to gain her approval--even marry a man she doesn't love.

Lt. Walter Novak--fearless in the cockpit but hopeless with women--takes his last furlough at home in California before being shipped overseas. Walt and Allie meet at a wedding and their love of music draws them together, prompting them to begin a correspondence that will change their lives.

As letters fly between Walt's muddy bomber base in England and Allie's mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart?

A Distant Melody is the first book in the WINGS OF GLORY series, which follows the three Novak brothers, B-17 bomber pilots with the US Eighth Air Force stationed in England during World War II.

This debut novel by author Sarah Sundin pulls readers right into everyday life during World War II, when American women awaited the arrival of precious sugar rations, movie-goers were as anxious to see the latest newsreel as they were the new Bing Crosby musical, every man who was able volunteered for service and those at home—including women and kids—busied themselves by supporting “the war effort.”

Allie, who sees herself as “plain” thanks to her mother, is a courageous yet completely relatable heroine. Bored with her wealthy upbringing, which basically consists of sitting around in the parlor and honoring Mom and Dad’s plans regardless of her own desires, longs to contribute to her community and those serving overseas (including Walt, who she continues to love in secret as she plans a marriage arranged by her parents). The more she sees God using her, the more she wants to obey Him over her demanding family and cold fiancé. (Baxter—isn’t that the perfect name for a guy whose only hope for climbing the professional ladder is marrying his boss's daughter?). Seeing Allie grow so far above her shallow roots made me love her even more.

At the same time, the author paints an intriguing picture of Walt’s life as a pilot, fighting in England. I really felt his loneliness, sense of responsibility for those serving with him, and mixed emotions about this amazing woman who is engaged to someone else.

It takes a lot for me to enjoy a novel that is labeled “Romance” and A Distant Melody truly surprised me. Good job Sarah!

And thank you to Revell Publishers for providing me with a review copy.

Here is a little about the author:
Sarah Sundin is an on-call hospital pharmacist and holds a BS in chemistry from UCLA and a doctorate in pharmacy from UC San Francisco. Her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England during WWII. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children. This is her first novel. For more info please visit her website at www.sarahsundin.com!

What others on this blog tour are saying: http://www.litfusegroup.com/Blog-Tours/a-distant-melody-by-sarah-sundin.html

Enter Sarah’s “Netflix® and Nostalgia” contest:

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The Winner of our ‘NETFLIX® & Nostalgia’ giveaway will receive a vintage prize package, including:

*A 6 month NETFLIX® subscription
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*A Big Band music CD
*A Mini B-17 Model airplane
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Monday, April 19, 2010

Tame a Dragon

I finally saw How to Train Your Dragon last week and was pleasantly surprised. I expected a typical kids’ movie—sweet story, fun characters that would also inspire creative Happy Meal toys, great animation, and enough potty humor to make me groan, “Why do they always have to ruin movies? Now, Mom, my sisters, and I will spend the rest of the afternoon correcting the kids, when they start repeating all the butt jokes.”

Instead, I got caught up in the exciting plot, lovable characters, toilet-talk-free humor, and an unexpected messaged about the power of kindness.

In case you haven’t seen the movie yet, I won’t give too much away, other than that the main character, Hiccup, does not seem to have what it takes to be a Viking/Dragon killer. In a village that lives in fear of fire-breathing dragons, he is an embarrassment to his father and a joke among his friends. Hiccup is determined to prove himself by killing his first dragon. When he gets his chance, it becomes clear that he has a much more impressive gift than the ability to run a dragon through with his sword. He spends over half of the storyline trying to hide the evidence. A kind gentle spirit might come in handy when befriending one dragon, but it’ll only make life worse at home and among his fellow Vikings-in-training.

I really related to Hiccup. I have never been bold and was often criticized while growing up for being “too nice.” As an adult some friends called me “too sensitive.” I hated it! Why couldn’t I toughen up? But just as Hiccup discovered the strength that lurked behind his supposed weakness, God continues to teach me that being nice—even too nice—is hardly something to be ashamed of.

Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away rage, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” I have found this to be true many times. When has anger helped solve a conflict? Then again, when have I seen kindness trigger surprising results? When have I been tempted to say “what needs to be said,” only to receive a nudge from God to back off and see Him use my willingness to be kind for good?

Today, I think I'll see what happens if I try taming life’s dragon’s through a gentle approach instead of slaying them. Obviously this doesn’t mean letting people walk all over me or putting up with abuse. But what might happen if I refuse to respond to criticism with a harsh comeback, speak calmly when I'm tempted to snap, or do something nice for someone who hasn’t been so nice to me?

Amazing what a kids' movie can inspire.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Songbird Under a German Moon

The year is 1945. The war is over and 21-year-old Betty Lake has been invited to Europe to sing in a USO tour for American soldiers who now occupy Hitler's Germany. The first nights performance is a hit. Betty becomes enthralled with the applause, the former Nazi-held mansion they're housed in and the attention of Frank Witt, the US Army Signal Corp Photographer. Yet the next night this songbird is ready to fly the coop when Betty's dear friend, Kat, turns up missing. Betty soon realizes Franks photographs could be the key to finding Kat. Betty and Frank team up against post-war Nazi influences and the two lovebirds' hearts may find the answers...in each other.
But will they have a chance for their romance to sing? The truth will be revealed under a German moon.

Songbird Under a German Moon is the latest novel by Tricia Goyer. I so enjoyed the journey through Post World War II Germany, an era rarely explored in fiction. Betty's experience offers an exciting glimps into the life of those who served our military through the USO. This novel is not nearly as intense as Tricia's past books but I liked it just as much. What a great read for those who love historical fiction and savor the talent of Trica Goyer!

About Tricia:Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty books including From Dust and Ashes, My Life UnScripted, and the children's book, 10 Minutes to Showtime. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like Today's Christian Woman and Focus on the Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in the mountains of Montana. Find out more about her and her books at www.TriciaGoyer.com

Want to win a signed copy? Enter the "What Era" Contest!
Leave a comment on Tricia’s blog or send an email through her website CONNECT page and answer this question: What era in history do you wish you'd lived in and why?

Earn extra entries by signing up for Tricia's newsletter, becoming a Fan on Facebook or Tweeting about the contest on Twitter (use hashtag #songbird)!

You’ll be entered to win one of three signed copies of Songbird Under a German Moon.

See what other bloggers have to say about this great book: http://www.litfusegroup.com/Blog-Tours/songbird-under-a-german-moon.html
Thank you to Summerside Press for providing me with a copy of Songbird Under a German Moon for review.