Monday, June 8, 2009

Forgetting What Is Important

In my morning devotion, I read the following story:

"Eager patrons surrounded the music hall as the hour for the concert arrived. A married couple was observed coming through the lobby. The husband turned to his wife and said, 'Oh, darling, I do wish our piano were here!' She looke at him nonplused and asked, 'Why would you want our piano here?' He replied, 'Because our tickets are on it.'

My mind then went to Psalm 59:11: Lest my people forget...

Do you realize that we are so blessed by our precious Lord in so many ways, the main thing ofcourse is our eternal salvation. Most of us have reasonable health, jobs that provide needed income, a house, friends, adequate food, vehicles to take us here and there, a great nation with all its liberties--all benefits that millions of people have never had.

And yet we so often complain. Or we envy our neighbors who appear to have even more. Envy, spurred by present-day advertising in various media, often causes us to want more and more, such as a bigger house (or a second one), a fancier car, custom clothes, or whatever. For the most part, we have everything we want for a happy and productive life. We should get down on our knees before God everytime we utter a complaint and beg his forgiveness. The Psalmist called upon us to bless the Lord, not forgetting all the good things He has done in our lives.

I suppose forgetting concert tickets left home on the piano would be an embarrassmet or inconvenience. But nagging God because we want more is a sin. The apostle Paul wrote about being content. May we all be so savvy!

Monday, May 11, 2009

In All Kinds Of Weather

"Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:20

Our Lord is present with us no matter what each day brings. It may be a day of joy or of sadness, of sickness or of health, of success or of failure. No matter what happens to us today, our Lord is walking beside us, strengthening us, loving us, filling us with faith, hope and love. As He envelops us with quiet serenity and security our foes, fears, affictions, and doubts begin to recede.

My father is one of those that does not function well when it's raining and cloudy outside. For over two weeks, the sun has not shown much. I'm sure he needs to be on medication, but refuses to see a doctor regarding his depression. He believes that people who are strong in their faith should not need medication for their nerves.

Then last week, I heard someone say that they have heard that God has healed someone, but it was hard to believe when they never receive their healing. question is: Why does God heal some and then leave others to suffer with their afflictions? Why would a preacher have nerve problems when he knows that God is his Healer? Why does one person still have cancer when they have prayed for their healing? Why does a child go down the wrong road when their mother has prayed over them for years?

I am getting ready to have my 14th surgery and sometimes I wonder if God is looking down on me. But, Matthew 28:20 say "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:20

I'm so thankful that God is my best friend and He walks with me daily. Even when I am in pain, I know He is there to give me strength & courage to face tomorrow. So...when you are down and out, remember God is with you all the time!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Snake In Your House?

Last night, I was working on my computer and out of the corner of my eye I noticed our dog jumping around and acting strange. When I looked up, there was a snake lying under our recliner in the family room. My first response was to yell at the dog and then at my husband. I knew that Larry could solve the problem! Then my thoughts went to: What if I'd been home alone? What if he'd bit my dog? What if I had stepped on it? Wow! Feal immediately came over me.

Even tho the snake was escorted out the door and into the field next door. I could not keep looking over at the chair and expecting to see another snake. Fear is such a terrible thing.

How many times have we let minor things turn our emotions and thoughts into fear? Fear is a tool the devil has over us. If he can get us to fear, he has our mind turned away from God. There is a quote that goes like "wat do we have to fear, except fear itself."

Fear makes us think our sicknesses can be worse than they are. Fear makes our financial situations look worse. Fear makes us worry over situations before they even become a problem.

Does not the Bible say?

The LORD is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear? (Psalm 27:1)

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. (Psalm 56:3)

You of little faith, why are you so afraid? (Matthew 8:26)

Don't be afraid; just believe. (Mark 5:36)

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. (Isaiah 12:2) I command all fear to leave. I do trust in God and I know He is in control of everything that pertains to me. I know He is watching over my husband, our business, our children & our grandchildren. I know that He is God!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Dealing With Pain

To those that follow my blog, you already know that I have not been blogging much. I think everyone that has a blog has times when they are "blogless". By that, I mean you just don't feel like telling the world what is going on in your life. Or, you just have "bloggers block".

My problem has been pain. May of 2008, I started having pain in my left leg. I went to my doctor who put me on muscle relaxers. She said to come back in a month. The muscle relaxers did not help. I went back to doctor and she referred me to a Rheumatologist. It took a month to get into the Rheumatolgist and when I did get in, he looked at me like "what are you doing here?" He decided to run blood tests and requested that I come back in a month. I waited a month, went back and he said everything looked good. Referred me to an Orthopedic doctor.

Of course, it took another month before the Orthopedic doctor had an opening. It was September, 2008. I explained all of my symptoms to the doctor. He decided to do a MRI (another two week wait). I followed up with the doctor to find out the results of MRI and he thought I have a bad knee, as well as a bad back. He gives me an injection in the knee and says to come back in a month.

A month passes, the pain was gettin worse. I see the doctor again and he refers me to another doctor in the same building. Another two week wait. It is now November, 2008.

I see a back doctor and he agrees it is my back and sets up a time for an injection. The injection was scheduled for November 22, 2008. Got the injection and pain was a little less, but still there.

I saw the doctor again in December. He sets up another injection on December 28, 2009. Pain still presisted. I saw the doctor again in January and he refers me to Physical Therapy. I do home therapy and then see the doctor again in March. I was then set up for another injection on March 20th. Absolutely no relief!

Now, I've been referred to a Chiropractor and he told me that I need to take treatments for one month and if I'm not better than we will have to schedule surgery.

Wow - It is been 9 months of pain. To those that have dealt with chronic pain you know how it can work on your nerves. Every step I talk is extreme pain. If I turn my back a certain way, the pain is more than I can bear.

On the way home from the Chiropractor today, I was driving and ran a man off the road. I heard him honk and looked in my rear view mirrow as he went off the road. I instantly pulled over and as he walked to my car I could see that he was mad. I opened my door and he saw that I was crying. I explained that I did not see him & I don't even remember looking to see if I could pull over. I told him that I was in pain and it was all my fault. I asked if his car was hurt and he said no. He asked if I was ok and then said no harm was done. He helped me back in my car and asked if I was able to drive. I said yes, and he wished me well and I left.

I really belive God's angels were with me today protecting me and the man I ran off the road. I knew I should not be driving, but what can you do when you have appointments that are supposed to make you feel better?

The whole point of this blog is to point out that if you are in pain, think twice before you get behind the wheel. Your reactions are not as good as they are when you're feeling well. I'm even sure this blog is Could it be the pain medication?

Hopefully, the next blog wll be more interesting. Blessings!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Miracle of Birth

Words cannot express how proud we are of our new grandson. It is so amazing how much you love them the first time you lay eyes on them. It's an instant love & you know instantly that there is nothing you wouldn't do to protect them.

If you've seen the face of a newborn, I'm sure you are like me in the fact that I cannot figure out how anyone could not believe in God. Everything is perfect the minute the child is born. Ear lobes, eye lids, fingers, toes, etc. Just perfect! A miracle! Just to think this child totally depended on his mother while in the womb, but the minute it takes it's first breath it is able to survive without his mother. Yes, it does need an adult to take care of it...but it is living on it's own effort.

In saying all of this, we are so proud of Ryder Phillip Verspaget. Born March 26, 2009, 6 lbs 6 oz, 18 3/4" long. Thanks to everyone who prayed for a safe delivery & a healthy baby. God is so good!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Where Have You Been?

I was told a joke the other day. It goes like this.....

"Did you hear about the twenty-dollar bill and the one-dollar bill talking to one another? They were telling each other where they had been.

The twenty said he had just been on a whirlwind trip. He had been to the casinos and to the movies. He had been to a baseball game and purchased hotdogs and sodas. He had been passed on to the lottery and then to a drug dealer. His life was full of extravagant travel.

The one-dollar bill responded saying his life was boring. All he had done was travel from one church to another and another."

What a sad story!

I am amazed at how much we spend on luxury items, travel, clothing, etc. Then I think how much have we given God? If we truly love God and believe He is in control of our life, shouldn't our giving be something we want to do? Shouldn't it be more important than vacations? Our purpose on earth is to win the lost. If we do not support our church and missionaires we are not doing our part. My prayer today is "Lord, give me a giving heart."

Baby Verspaget

Just a note to let everyone know that our 3rd grandson will be born in 6 days. It seems like the 9 month have flown by. I know it must seem an eterity for our daughter tho.

I remember being pregnant with our children (many yeas ago) and the pregnancy seemed to last forever. But isn't it amazing how you forget all the pain and hours of lost sleeping when you see that little one's face.

We are praying for a healthy baby & a safe delivery. God you are so good!

The Journey

We are happy to announce that “The Journey: Searching for the Promised Land” is now available at Amazon.

We have all heard the story of the Exodus. But, do we really know what the Exodus story is about?

The Journey is not a story about Moses. It is not a story about a people’s journey through the wilderness to their promised land.

Read The Journey and understand it in the way God wanted you to know it: a story about you and about me; and the problems we face everyday.

The Journey is about your unpaid bills. It is about your struggling business. It is about the pay raise you’ve been wanting. It is about the difficulties you have been having with your family. After reading The Journey you may find yourself with a different viewpoint on life.

Order your copy now at:

Larry & Ginger Tate

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thanks For Your Wonderful Comments

Thank you to all my readers. Here are a few of the comments you've left:

"I enjoyed reading Reaching Up to Heaven, touched my heart. Site loaded quickly and is very attractive. Love to find Christian sites on LR God Bless!."

"Beautiful and inspiring blog!"

"..blogging is a great way to communicate real truths to this fallen world, if you can write. This blogger can not only communicate effectively, she captures your heart with each little story and does so with such grace you find yourself absolutely captivated!."

"This is a good site on spritual life and building family values. Pretty interactive site, with lot of people posting their ideas adn the author runs a nice assignments which have some lessons to be learnt from."

"Very encouraging and inspirational site. Your faith really shines through in your words. God bless and keep blogging for the Lord!"

"I love your bio. I too am a child of a King. The articles are fun to read and make christian life a today thing not from the past or future. You made it easy to find a favorite. I love when this happened."

"Thank you for sharing your story and may your message and passion spread out and touch many lives."

"If you like to read and your tastes are varied, this is the blog for you! Well written and very personal! I enjoyed my visit! Ted"

"Awesome blog!! Love how uplifting and real it is. Really loved reading about the husband projects... I will be following!"

"This one of very friendly blog we ever visit. Simple and good. We love it. Best greeting from Indonesia."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Baby Verspaget

Great news! Our third grandson will be born on March 26th, 2009 in Frisco, Texas. Please pray with us that the baby will be healthy and our daughter, Kristy, will have a safe delivery. Pictures will be posted as soon as he (they haven't decided on a name yet) is born.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What's Love Got To Do With It

Love...What this word means to me is commitment.

Love is not a "feeling". Love is an "action". It is a "choice".

When my husband and I got married 37 years ago, we thought we were "in-love". We did not have a clue. Love came with time, trials, victories and commitment.

The same goes for our relationship with God. When I was saved at the age of 10, I thought I was "in-love" with God. That love then in no way compares to the love I have for God today. If we love someone we are willing to do whatever it takes. We must love without restrictions. I love my children and my husband and I am willing to stand by them no matter what. But my love for God is so much more....I am willing to do whatever he would ask me to do.

Love is the ultimate sacrifice. "For God so loved the world....."

Christian Glitter by

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love Is The Power Charge

My husband and I decided to take the weekend and get away. We made reservations at a hotel approximately 150 miles (Oklahoma City) from our home and hit the road. We arrived at our hotel around 3 pm yesterday, checked into our room, drove by the Asian District, and Stockyard City. We ate dinner went to a movie, and then back to our room. A perfect day!

When we got to the room, I realized we had left the chargers for our cell phones. You have to realize, I'm one of those people who has packing down to an art. Something so simple, frustrated me so much. Everytime I woke up during the night, I would think about our cell phones sitting on the cabinet and losing power. Stupid right? I agree! But it was something I could not get off my mind.

That next morning before we went down for breakfast, I was thinking about the chargers again. When all of a sudden, my mind started thinking about the relationships with our spouses, our parents, our children, our friends, etc. None of those relationships are worth anything if there is not love between you. Then I - Love is the power charge.

I know this year, 2009, I want to see the incredible power of God released through my life. But it just doesn't 'happen'. You have to start putting the love command in action. Start loving those around you.

If you have strife in your heart and you're not living by the love commandment of Jesus, spiritual things are foolishness to you. When you're in that condition, the Name of Jesus won't work. Faith won't work, and none of the gifts of the Spirit will work because the Bible says they all work through love.

Love is the power change. God's power package just won't work without it!

John 15:12-13

Thursday, February 12, 2009

You Are Not Forgotten

On the news this morning was a story about Britain's oldest man when he turned 111. On his birthday, a vintage aircraft did a fly-over and the Band of the Royal Marines played "Happy Birthday." This man's name was Henry Allingham. Henry was amazed by all of the attention. Until six years earlier, he had for 86 years keep secret the horrific memories of what happened in the trenches of World War I. Only when tracked down by the World War I Veteran's Association did this old man, who had been shelled, bombed, and shot, receive honor for what he had endured in behalf of his country.

I thought about the Bible and remembered stories of men who fought in battles and often ended up wounded, imprisoned, and even killed as a result of their service. But Jesus reminds us that everything and anything we have done in faith and love will one day be honored by God. (Hebrews 6:10)

Are you discouraged today? Do you feel insignificant? Do you feel forgotten after trying to serve God? Be assured that God will not forget anything you have done in your service to Him or others. Remember "God remembers the good we forget".

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Deep In the Dish of Texas

If you have not checked out the blog "Deep In The Dish Of Texas" take time to check it out.

What is one food that I refuse to try?

What is the one food that I like to eat, but won't make?
Onion Rings

What is the farthest I've traveled for a meal?
20 miles

What is the most creative/exotic meal I've ever made?

What is the scariest (i.e. hole in the wall) place you've eaten at?
Hank's Hamburgers

To participate in this fun project go to:
deep in the dish of texas: tuesday take 5 -- week #2

Friday, February 6, 2009

Fairies In Your Room

Our grandson, who is now six, has lost his third tooth. When the first one fell out, his mom said they could put it under his pillow and the Tooth Fairy would come, take the tooth, and leave him money. At that time, he said he wanted to wait until he had two to put under the pillow.

When he lost his second tooth, his mom said that it was time to put it under his pillow so that the Tooth Fairy could come, take the teeth, and leave him money. Joey then said, he wanted to wait until he had three to put under his pillow.

Now, he has lost his third tooth. His mom told him that they had to put it under his pillow because the Tooth Fairy would only pay for three teeth at a time. Sitting in his bed, very quietly he said..."I don't want any Fairy in my room when I'm asleep."

So, the truth has come out. He is scared of the Tooth Fairy. She explained that God was in his room every night while he was asleep and he, Joey, could not see him. It was the same with the Tooth Fairy. She would come, take the teeth, leave money, and not bother him at all.

Joey teared up and said "Mom, God loves me and it's ok that he is in my room at night...but I don't want a fairy coming." So, they now have three teeth kept in a small box in the toy room.

I thought how sweet that he knew that God was there with him. There was no fear about God coming and going out of his room. He knew he was safe!

As Christians, I wonder how often we stop and think about God being with us. While we are doing our devotions, we are thinking about Him. But when we are cleaning our homes, driving our cars, working our jobs, do we stop and think "God is here".

My prayer today is to mediate on Him all day. I am so thankful that I do serve a God that is always near. He is our protector, our healer, our saviour. What else could we ever need? We have God in our room!

Reaching Up To Heaven!

At the store the other day, I noticed a small child with both hands raised up to his mom wanting to be picked up. I thought at that sweet!

The next morning, I was doing my morning devotion when I received an e-mail about a friend who had fell and broke her hip. This fall only coming after a couple of months after her husband passed away.

Then, I received another e-mail from a friend who told me about a childhood friend we both knew had passed away. Only two months after she had lost her daughter due to a car wreck. My heart went out to the husband/father.

Then, I had the opporunity to read the book "Parting Waters", by Jeanne Damoff. It was a true story about how their son had drowned, brought back to life by CPR, and told he would never walk, talk, or eat again.

As I was praying, I stopped and asked God how should I pray? Should I pray that they would be delivered from their troubles--or their troubles will go away? Or should I pray for courage to carry on though the difficulties that belabor them?

Romans 8:26: "The Spirit also helps in our weaknesses". God's Spirit is joined to ours when we pray. He intercedes for us "with groanings which cannot be uttered." he is touched by our troubles; He signs often as He prays. He cares for us deeply--more than we care for ourselves. Best part is, He prays 'according to the will of God" (v.27). He knows the right words to say.

Therefore, I needn't worry about getting my request exactly right. I need only to hunger for God and to reach up knowing that He cares!

"O God, too weak and worn for words, I shrink
From trials that deeply wound, and yet to think
Your Holy Spirit helps me as I pray
And gives a voice to what I cannot say! --Gustafson

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Deep In the Dish of Texas

If you have not checked out the blog "Deep In The Dish Of Texas" take time to check it out.

What is my favorite food/cooking website?
This is an easy one to answer.

Do I prefer to watch cooking shows or read cooking magazines?
I prefer cooking magazines. Watching cooking shows are ok, but I like to have the extra time to check out the ingredients, time to cook, supplies needed. Plus I like the printed information in my face.

Am I more adventuresome in what I cook or in what I eat?
I am more adventuresome in what I cook. I'm willing to try new recipes. Eating out and trying something new is not my thing.

What is one ingredient that I have always wanted to cook with, but never have?
I'd have to say the ingredient is artichokes.

What is one thing I cannot cook without:

To participate in this fun project go to:

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Scrapping Plans

Scrapping Plans is a novel about four sisters, each of which have been adopted by Marilyn and Jack Sinclair. Their mother has passed away and as adults they still meet in their late mother’s attic to work on scrapbook projects and work through life together.

Joy is the youngest sister. She was adopted from China and was always known as the quiet one. Her husband is struggling with infertility and when she needs support from her sisters they are busy planning a wedding, learning about dad’s new romance, and a sister that may be pregnant.

In fact, the sisters are so busy they do not even notice Joy is in trouble. With a trip planned to China, Joy wonders if she will understand why her birth mother abandoned her. She faces the question of whether she should adopt a child from her homeland.

This novel, Scrapping Plans, shows the greatest truth comes from realizing God’s plan for her life. Great fun read!
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:

and the book:

Scrapping Plans

B&H Books (February 1, 2009)


Rebeca Seitz, in addition to her own literary work, is founder and president of Glass Road Public Relations, a company dedicated solely to representing novelists who write from a Christian worldview. She has previously worked with authors including Ted Dekker, Frank Peretti, Robin Jones Gunn, and Brandilyn Collins. Seitz lives with her husband and son in Fulton, Kentucky.

In 2007, Rebeca published her first novel, Prints Charming , with Thomas Nelson Publishers. Two thousand eight saw the release of her next two novels, Sister’s Ink and Coming Unglued , from B&H Publishing Group, the publishing division of LifeWay. Just released from B&H is Scrapping Plans. Her next book, Perfect Piece , will release in 2009 from B&H.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $ 14.99

Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: B&H Books (February 1, 2009)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0805446923

ISBN-13: 978-0805446920


I’ve tried to be happy. I try so very hard. Yet the frigid granite beneath my fingertips is a blazing desert compared to the barren iceberg of my womb. What woman could be happy with a monolith of ice blocking her very female essence?

This kitchen is perfectly planned. If Martha Stewart visited, she’d be envious of my exquisite arrangement of pears and apricots, dusted with the slightest coating of glaze and balanced artfully in Mother’s old bowl. She’d gasp at the coordination of stripe to check, plaid to French country print, that draws the eye around the room. Her Tod-slippered feet can sweep across my stone floor and arrive unspecked at their destination.

And, if the Great Martha were to stop there, I would measure up. My life would hold a semblance of value, of worthiness.

Most stop there.

Thank God.

I don’t mean that irreverently. How can I be irreverent? I’m the grateful adoptee of an upright preacher man and his loving wife. I’m the epitome of grateful recipient. All of Stars Hill would tell you that.

They don’t look past my kitchen.

Thank God.

But I don’t have much time to stand here, staring at a House Beautiful workspace. Scott will be home in two hours. And duck l’orange is not an easy dish for even one so seasoned as I.

Is it odd that I love French food yet Chinese blood runs through my veins? Hmm. Perhaps if I’d been raised on the soil my mother trod, I would know more of the cuisine of the Asian world. I might even be privy to which province most suits me.

I should visit China.

Did I just think that?

I can’t visit China. Daddy, that blessed preacher man, would be hurt if I went in search of a mother who was never Momma. Of a woman who took one look at me, then left me bawling on a doorstep in the dead of night.

Then again, Daddy has Zelda these days.

Now, Zelda, there’s a woman who follows every fancy. What a strange little bird she is. Those fiery red spikes in her hair make me think of either a surprised woodpecker or the recipient of an errant lightning bolt. When she smiles, her whole face turns upward. I hear we have that in common. I wish I could remember seeing a smile on my face. But when I’m alone, with a mirror reflecting the mystery of me, it isn’t a smile that comes to bear. Besides, what kind of lady wears spurs on her cowboy boots? Honestly, spurs! Why, one of these days she will rip a gash in Daddy’s ankle while they’re do-si-doing and twirling around the Heartland dance floor.

I assume that’s what happens inside that wretched place. How Kendra and Tandy spend Friday nights there is beyond me. To each her own, I suppose. Though my own will never involve cowboy boots and a twanging fiddle.

Do fiddles twang?

Maybe I meant guitar.

No matter. I have a duck to prepare.

* * *

“Did you see her?” Kendra tripped over the uneven sidewalk and grabbed Tandy’s arm. Cold gusts of wind beat at them, bringing snatches of icy rain below the sidewalk’s covering.

“Hey, watch it, sister!”

“Sorry.” She kept walking, shooting a murderous look back at the beguiling concrete. “We need to bring up sidewalk maintenance at the next town meeting.”

Tandy patted the coffee-colored hand still crooked in her elbow. “Now, Kendra, don’t be getting all drastic on me. Can you imagine what poor Tanner would do if we dared question the maintenance of our fair Stars Hill?”

“Huh.” Kendra huffed and let go of Tandy to stuff her hands in her pockets. “Probably remind us of all he’s done to keep this town in antique replica street lights and ten o’clock curfews.”

“At least the curfews are gone.”

They pulled their hoods up and stepped down from the sidewalk to cross College Street.

“I wonder how many times Daddy would have had to bail us out if they had that curfew when we were in high school?”

Tandy tucked a curl behind her ear and took long strides toward Clay’s Diner. “I seem to recall a certain sister needing bailed out anyway.”

“There was no bail involved. Just a minor misunderstanding.”

“That the whole town talked about for months.” Tandy grinned and pulled open the door of the diner. Heated air billowed out a welcome. “After you, Con Woman.”

“Yeah, keep it up, sis. I can always bring up improper car racing at the next town meeting.” Kendra sailed through the entry, ignoring Tandy’s, “You wouldn’t!” and hung her dripping coat on one of the hooks by the door.

Tandy sloughed off her own navy pea coat and stamped her yellow rain boots. “Would you?”

Kendra spun on a heel and walked off toward “their” booth in the back corner. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

“There’s my darling wife!” Clay Kelner came around the counter toward them.

Kendra rolled her eyes and snatched up a menu. “Oh, spare me. Shouldn’t the newlywed bliss have worn off by now?”

“What are you upset about?” Clay allowed a quick glance for his sister-in-law, then bent and dropped a peck on Tandy’s upturned lips. “Are you and Darin fighting?”


“Yes.” Tandy leveled a gaze at her sister. “Because Kendra is too busy spying on Joy to pay attention to her man and get their wedding planned.”

“Joy? The perfect one? Mrs. Plan-Everything-to-Death?” Clay’s eyebrows rose. “Why are you spying on Joy?”

“Because something’s wrong and I’m the only one in this family paying attention, that’s why.” Kendra slapped the menu on the table top. “And wedding plans are coming along fine, thank you very much.”

“Sure you’re not being your dramatic self?” Clay fast-stepped back before Kendra could swat him. “Lovable dramatic self, I meant!”

“Ha ha. Very funny.” Kendra pointed the menu at Clay, then Tandy. “You laugh now, but something’s up and we need to find out what before it gets so bad we can’t fix it.”

1“Well, can we at least get some food first?” Tandy snatched the menu and put it back in its holder. “I can’t think on an empty stomach.”

“The usual?”

Both girls nodded and Clay turned back toward the kitchen.

When he’d gone, Kendra studied her sister. “Tandy, I know you think I’m nuts. But did you not see her at Darnell’s? I mean, she stood over that display of oranges for at least a full minute, just staring into space!”

“Yeah, I saw her, Ken.” Tandy sighed. “But you know Joy. She’s not going to appreciate us marching up into her house and demanding to know what’s wrong.”

“She wouldn’t care if Meg did it.” Kendra sniffed.

“Yes, she would. And she’s closer to Meg because this is exactly the kind of thing Meg wouldn’t do.”

Kendra huffed and turned away. Rain sluiced down the windows, making the streetlights outside sparkle. Inside, every table was filled with Stars Hill townfolk happily spooning up chili and vegetable soup. If we don’t figure this out soon, they will. And then Joy will be the talk of the town2. She pulled out her cell
“Who are you calling?”

“Meg.” Her faux ruby ring glinted in the light when she held up a finger to stop Tandy’s objection. “Hey, Meg, it’s Kendra. Tandy and I are at the diner and wondered if you could drop by. Call me as soon as you get this.” She snapped the phone closed and dropped it back in her giant suede bag, now splashed with raindrops.

“And what will that accomplish?”

“We’re going to have Meg talk to Joy about this.”

“Since when can we get Meg to do anything? Did you discover some magic wand I don’t know about?”

Kendra pushed her mahogany-colored spirals back into the burgundy headwrap from which they’d escaped. “She’s been wanting me to paint a mural on Hannah’s wall for a month. I think she’ll do just about anything to get it done.”

Tandy leaned back in the seat and whistled low. “Remind me never to underestimate you, sister.”

Kendra stopped fixing her hair and leveled a stare at Tandy. “You better believe it.”

Monday, January 26, 2009

Parting Waters

Parting Waters is a true story about the courage and faith of a family. Their son, Jacob Damoff, was found under water after being missed for approximately 10 minutes. CPR was given and he was taken to a hospital where doctors gave the family the terrible news that their son was in a coma and would never be able to walk or talk again.

Facing such devastating news, the family placed Jacob in God’s hands. Each day was different with many challenges, choices, and tears. The Damoff family turned to each other, as well as to their friends and the community. I was so touched at how the community tied yellow ribbons around the town as a reminder to pray for Jacob.

This is a story that shows the strength one has when they turn to God for all answers. When bad diagnosis was given, the Damoff family prayed for direction. When finances were strained, people gave. When therapy equipment was needed, businesses responded. When help was required, friends stepped up to the plate and signed up to set by Jacob’s bed to give the family some much needed space.

As I started this book, I felt so sorry for Jeanne, the author, & her husband. What a burden to carry! But as I came toward the end, I knew that the strength they needed would come from God and their future was bright.

This is not just a story about their trials, blessings and miracles. It is a story about how us. It is a story that will encourage you and raise your faith level. It is a story that tells us no matter what we face, we can handle it.

As I think, how did Parting Waters change me? I learned that my wimpy complaints about my health are just that. Wimpy. This book also gave me the desire to volunteer at our local hospital. As Christians, we do not do enough for others. We say we don’t have enough time, but by giving a few hours a week…just think what a blessing it would be to another family in need.

Please take the time and read Parting Waters. It will change your life!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

You Can't Say That!

According to a career-building Web site, certain words should be avoided on the job. When someone in authority asks you to do a project, you shouldn't say, "Sure, no problem." If you don't mean it and aren't going to follow though. Otherwise, you'll become known as someone who doesn't keep his word. And don't say, "that's not my job," because you may need that person's help in the future.

And if your boss comes to you with a problem, suggests it's best not to blame someone else and say, "It's not my fault!"

That's the excuse Adam and Eve gave to God. they were told not to eat the fruit on the tree of knowledge of good and evil. When they disobeyed and were confronted by God, Adam blamed God and Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent. They basically said, "It's not my fauth!"

Perhaps there are things we should avoid saying to God about what He's told us to do or not to do. For example, He gives us specific instructions for Christlike behavior in I Corinthians 13, yet we may be tempted to say, "I just don't feel convicted about that," or "That's not really my gift."

What is the Lord asking of you today? How will you respond? How about, "Yes, Lord!"

"Lord, what do You want me to do?" Acts 9:6

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Grace for the Afflicted

Grace for the Afflicted is a much needed book in the Christian community. Having to deal with my mother going through extreme depression there was many times I did not know which way to turn. Christian friends tried to offer advice without any knowledge of what they are talking about. It’s difficult to know how to react until someone you love is diagnosed.

Matthew S Stanford, PhD explains all mental disorders such as: Mood Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Schizophrenia, Dissociative Disorders, Eating Disorders, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders, Substance Use Disorders & Borderline Personality Disorders. Then he covers how we can help those who struggle with these mental problems. This is a great book that is Jesus-centered. I highly recommend this book if you are dealing with any mental disorder, or if you are taking care of or know someone who is. What a wonderful gift to give to someone who is facing these problems and do not know which way to turn.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Laughing Does The Heart Good

How is your laugh meter? Sometimes I laugh out loud just remembering someone else laughing out loud. Sometimes I laugh at our dog, Cody. He is a 8 lb dog wanting to be a golden retriever. It's so funny to see how brave he is until he comes face-to-face with a large dog.

I remember our grandson, Travis, not wanting to go out to eat with us one evening. As we approached the restaurant (he was 3 at this time), he stated "I don't like this place". He had never been here before but he had decided he did not want to eat or enter this establishmemt. We insisted that he get out of the car and as he walked into the restaurant he kept replying "I don't like this place". So whenever we pass this restaurant, 5 years later, we laugh and make the statement "I don't like this place".

Why does it feel so good to make someone laugh? I believe laughing is a selfish and generous action, both at the same time. When a child does something that makes us laugh, you can see how proud they are of themself. It lifts them up as well as ourself.

They say laughter also releases endorphins that ease heartache, sadness or even pain. What a gift! Going around all day with a frown on our face is not encouraging to you or your friends. Put a smile on!

Just think those wonderful crow's feet earned around our eyes are memories of laughter. So "Boycott Botox!" Try saying that three times really fast.

Did I make you laugh? I hope so.

The Red Siren

The Red Siren is a novel that takes you on a trip of faith, action, romance, and trust. As I started reading The Red Siren it started off a little slower than some of M.L. Tyndall’s other books. However, after pushing forward the book grabs your interest and it cannot be put down.

Faith Westcott has watched her sisters married off to womanizing men merely because of their titles. Being of a strong will, she is determined that this will not happen to her. So what does she do? She is a lady by day and a pirate by night. She sets out to obtain her own wealth so that her and her sisters do not have to depend on any man.

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:

and the book:

The Red Siren

Barbour Publishing, Inc (January 2009)


Best-selling author of The Legacy of the King’s Pirates series, MaryLu Tyndall writes full time and makes her home with her husband, six children, and four cats on California’s coast. Her passion is to write page-turning, romantic adventures that not only entertain but expose Christians to their full potential in Christ.

For more information on MaryLu and her upcoming releases, please visit her website.

Product Details:

List Price: $10.97

Paperback: 318 pages

Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc (January 2009)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1602601569

ISBN-13: 978-1602601567


But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.

Matthew 13: 20-21

Chapter 1

August 1713, English Channel off Portsmouth, England

This was Dajon Waite’s last chance. If he didn’t sail his father’s merchant ship and the cargo she held safely into harbor, his future would be tossed to the wind. With his head held high, he marched across the deck of the Lady Em and gazed over the choppy seas of the channel, expecting at any minute to see the lights of Portsmouth pierce the gray shroud of dusk. Another hour and his mission would be completed with success. It had taken two years before his father had trusted him to captain the most prized vessel in his merchant fleet, the Lady Em—named after Dajon’s mother, Emily—especially on a journey that had taken him past hostile France and Spain and then far into the pirate-infested waters off the African coast.

Fisting his hands on his hips, Dajon puffed out his chest and drew a deep breath of salty air and musky earth—the smell of home. Returning with a shipload of ivory, gold, and pepper from the Gold Coast, Dajon could almost see the beaming approval on his father’s sea-weathered face. Finally Dajon would prove himself an equal to his older brother, Theodore—obedient, perfect Theodore—who never let his father down. Dajon, however, had been labeled naught but capricious and unruly, the son who possessed neither the courage for command nor the brains for business.

Fog rolled in from the sea, obscuring the sunset into a dull blend of muted colors as it stole the remaining light of what had been a glorious day. Bowing his head, Dajon thanked God for His blessing and protection on the voyage.

“A sail, a sail!” a coarse voice blared from above.

Plucking the spyglass from his belt, Dajon held it to his eye. “Where away, Mules?”

“Directly off our lee, Captain.”

Dajon swerved the glass to the port and adjusted it as Cudney, his first mate, halted beside him.

“She seems to be foundering, Captain,” Mules shouted.

Through the glass, the dark outline of a ship came into focus, the whites of her sails stark against the encroaching night. Gray smoke spiraled up from her quarterdeck as sailors scrambled across her in a frenzy. The British flag flapped a harried plea from her mainmast.

“Hard to larboard,” he yelled aft, lowering the glass. “Head straight for her, Mr. Nelson.”

“Straight for her, sir.”

“Beggin’ your pardon, Captain.” Cudney gave him a sideways glance. “But didn’t your father give explicit orders never to approach an unknown vessel?”

“My father is not the captain of this ship, and I’ll thank you to obey my orders without question.” Dajon stiffened his lips, tired of having his decisions challenged. True, he had failed on two of his father’s prior ventures—one to the West Indies where a hurricane sunk his ship, and the other where he ran aground on the shoals off Portugal. Neither had been his fault. But this time, things would be different. Perhaps his father would even promote Dajon to head overseer of his affairs.

With a nod, Cudney turned. “Mr. Blake, Mr. Gibes, prepare to luff, if you please.” His bellowing voice echoed over the decks, sending the men up the shrouds.

“Who is she?” Cudney held out his hand for the glass.

“A merchant ship, perhaps.” Dajon handed him the telescope then gripped the railing as the Lady Em veered to larboard, sending a spray of seawater over her decks. “But she’s British, and she’s in trouble.”

The ship lumbered over the agitated waves. Dajon watched Cudney as he steadied the glass on his eye and his boots on the sodden deck. He’d been a good first mate and a trusted friend. A low whistle spilled from his mouth as he twisted the glass for a better look.

“Pray tell, Mr. Cudney, what has caught your eye, one of those new ship’s wheels you’ve been coveting?”

“Nay, Captain. But something nearly as beautiful—a lady.”

Dajon snatched the glass back as the Lady Em climbed a rising swell and then tromped down the other side. Sails snapped in the rising wind above him. Bracing his boots on the deck, he focused the glass on the merchant ship. A woman clung to the foremast, terror distorting her lovely features. She raised a delicate hand to her forehead as if she were going to faint. Red curls fluttered in the wind behind her. Heat flooded Dajon despite the chill of the channel. Lowering the glass, he tapped it into the palm of his hand, loathing himself for his shameless reaction. Hadn’t his weakness for the female gender already caused enough pain?

Yet clearly the vessel was in trouble.

“We shall come along side her,” Dajon ordered.

Cudney glared at the ship. “Something is not right. I can feel it in my gut.”

“Nonsense. Where is your chivalry?” Dajon smiled grimly at his friend, ignoring the hair bristling on the back of his own neck.

Cudney’s dark eyes shot to Dajon. “But your father—”

“Enough!” Dajon snapped. “My father did not intend for me to allow a lady to drown. Besides, pirates would not dare sail so close to England—especially to Portsmouth, where so many of His Majesty’s warships are anchored.” Dajon glanced back at the foundering ship, now only half a knot off their bow. Smoke poured from her waist, curling like a snake into the dark sky. Left to burn, the fire would sink her within an hour. “Surely you do not suspect a woman of piracy?”

Cudney cocked one brow. “Begging your pardon, Captain, but I have seen stranger things on these seas.”


Faith Louise Westcott flung her red curls behind her and held a quivering hand to her breast, nausea rising in her throat at her idiotic display. How did women feign such weakness without losing the contents of their stomachs?

“They ’ave taken the bait, mistress.” A sinister chuckle filled the breeze.

“Oh, thank heavens.” Faith released the mast. Planting a hand on her hip, she gave Lucas a mischievous grin. “Well, what are you waiting for? Ready the men.”

“Aye, aye.” The bulky first mate winked, and then scuttled across the deck, his bald head gleaming in the light from the lantern hanging on the mainmast.

After checking the pistol stuffed in the sash of her gown and the one strapped to her calf, Faith sauntered to the railing to get a better look at her latest victim, a sleek, two-masted brigantine. The orange, white, and blue of the Dutch flag fluttered from her mizzen. A very nice prize indeed. One that would bring her even closer to winning the private war she waged—a war for the survival of her and her sisters.

The oncoming ship sat low in the water, its hold no doubt packed with valuable cargo. Faith grinned. With this ship and the one she had plundered earlier, loaded with precious spices and silks, she was well on her way to amassing the fortune that would provide for her independence and that of her sisters—at least the two of them that were left unfettered by matrimony.

She allowed her thoughts to drift for a moment to Charity, the oldest. Last year their father had forced her into a union with Lord Villement, a vile, perverse man who had oppressed and mistreated her beyond what a woman should endure. Faith feared for her sister’s safety and prayed for God to deliver Charity, but to no avail.

Then, of course, there was the incident with Hope, their younger sister.

That was when Faith had stopped praying.

She would rather die than see her two younger sisters fettered to abusive men, and the only way to avoid that fate was to shield them with their own fortune. Cringing, she stifled the fury bubbling in her stomach. She mustn’t think of it now. She had a ship to plunder, and this was as much for Charity as it was for any of them.

The bowsprit of the brigantine bowed in obedience to her as it plunged over the white-capped swells. Gazing into the hazy mist, Faith longed to get a peek at the ninnies who had been so easily duped by her ruse but dared not raise the spyglass to her eye. Women didn’t know how to use such contraptions, after all.

Putting on her most flirtatious smile, she waved at her prey, beckoning the fools onward, then she scanned the deck as her crew rushed to their stations. Aboard her ship, she was in control; she was master of her life, her future—here and nowhere else. And oh how she loved it!

Lucas’s large frame appeared beside her. “The rest of the men be waitin’ yer command below hatches, mistress.” He smacked his oversized lips together in a sound Faith had become accustomed to before a battle. Nodding, she scanned her ship. Wilson manned the helm, Grayson and Lambert hovered over the fire, pretending to put it out, and Kane and Mac clambered up the ratlines in a pretense of terror. She spotted Morgan pacing the special perch Faith had nailed into the mainmast just for him. She whistled and the red macaw halted, bobbed his head up and down, and squawked, “Man the guns, man the guns!”

Faith chuckled. She had purchased the bird from a trader off Morocco and named him after Captain Henry Morgan, the greatest pirate of all time. The feisty parrot had been a fine addition to her crew.

Bates, her master gunner, hobbled to her side, wringing his thick hands together in anticipation. “Can I just fire one shot at ’em, Cap’n? The guns grow cold from lack of use.” His expression twisted into a pout that reminded her of Hope, her younger sister. “I won’t hurt ’em none, ye have me word.”

“I cannot take that chance, Bates. You know the rules,” Faith said as the gunner’s soot-blackened face fell in disappointment. “No one gets hurt, or we abandon the prize. But I promise we shall test the guns soon enough.”

With a grunt, Bates wobbled away and disappeared below.

Returning her gaze to her unsuspecting prey, Faith inhaled a breath of the crisp air. Smoke bit her throat and nose, but she stifled a cough as the thrill of her impending victory charged through her, setting every nerve aflame. The merchant ship was nigh upon them. She could already make out the worried expressions upon the crew’s faces as they charged to her rescue.

This is for you, Charity, and for you, Mother.

Heavy fog blanketed the two ships in gray that darkened with each passing minute. Faith tugged her shawl tighter against her body, both to ward off the chill and to hide the pistol in her sash. A vision of her mother’s pale face formed in the fog before her, blood marring the sheets on the birthing bed where she lay.

Take care of your sisters, Faith.

A burst of wind chilled Faith’s moist cheeks. A tear splattered onto the deck by her shoes before she brushed the rest from her face. “I will, Mother. I promise.”

“Ahoy there!” A booming voice shattered her memories.

She raised her hand in greeting toward the brigantine as it heaved ten yards off their starboard beam. “Ahoy, kind sir. Thank God you have arrived in time,” she yelled back, sending the sailors scurrying across the deck. Soon, they lowered a cockboat, filled it with men, and shoved off.

A twinge of guilt poked at Faith’s resolve. These men had come to her aid with kind intentions. She swallowed hard, trying to drown her nagging conscience. They were naught but rich merchants, she told herself, and she, merely a Robin Hood of the seas, taking from the rich to feed the poor. She had exhausted all legal means of acquiring the money she needed, and present society offered her no other choice.

The boat thumped against her hull, and she nodded at Kane and Mac, who had jumped down from the shrouds and tossed the rope ladder over the side.

“Permission to come aboard?” The man who appeared to be the captain shouted toward Lucas as he swung his legs over the bulwarks, but his eyes were upon Faith.

By all means. Faith shoved a floppy fisherman’s hat atop her head, obscuring her features from his view, and smiled sweetly.


“Aye, I beg ye, be quick about it afore our ship burns to a cinder,” the massive bald man beckoned to Dajon.

Dajon hesitated. He knew he should obey his father’s instructions, he knew he shouldn’t risk the hoard of goods in his hold, he knew he should pay heed to the foreboding of dread that now sank like a anchor in his stomach, but all he could see was the admiring smile of the red-haired beauty, and he led his men over the bulwarks.

After directing them to assist in putting out the fire, he marched toward the dark, bald man and bowed.

“Captain Dajon Waite at your service.”

When his gaze drifted to the lady, she slunk into the shadows by the foremast, her features lost beneath the cover of her hat. Odd. Somehow he had envisioned a much warmer reception. At the very least, some display of feminine appreciation.

“Give ’em no quarter! Give ’em no quarter!” a shrill voice shrieked, drawing Dajon’s attention behind him to a large red parrot perched on a peg jutting from the mainmast.

A pinprick of fear stabbed him.

“Captain,” one of his crew called from the quarterdeck. “The ship ain’t on fire. It’s just a barrel with flaming rubbish inside it!”

The anchor that had sunk in Dajon’s stomach dropped into his boots with an ominous clank.

He spun back around, hoping for an explanation, but all he received was a sinister grin on the bald man’s mouth.

Tentacles of alarm seized Dajon, sucking away his confidence, his reason, his pride. Surely he could not have been this daft. He glanced back at the Lady Em, bobbing in the sea beside them—the pride of his father’s fleet.

“To battle, men!” The woman roared in a voice belying her gender—a voice that pummeled Dajon’s heart to dust.

Dozens of armed pirates spat from the hatches onto the deck. Brandishing weapons, they hurtled toward his startled crew. One by one, his men dropped their buckets to the wooden planks with hollow thuds and slowly raised their hands. Their anxious gazes shot to Dajon, seeking his command. The pirates chortled. Dajon’s fear exploded into a searing rage. They were surrounded.

The woman drew a pistol from her sash. Dajon could barely make out the tilted lift of her lips. He wiped the sweat from his brow and prayed to God that he would wake up from this nightmare.

“I thank you, Captain, for your chivalrous rescue.” The woman pointed her pistol at him and cocked it with a snap. “But I believe I’ll be taking over your ship.”

Captain Dajon Waite is a responsible, handsome, brave and God-fearing man. The total opposite of Faith Westcott. When Captain Dajon Waite life is destroyed by the infamous pirate known as “The Red Siren”, he vows to bring her to justice. However, this may be very difficult if he falls in love with her.

The Red Siren is one of the wonderful books that will take you away to a far away time and place. You will not want to put it down and till the last page is read. I highly recommend The Red Siren.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Never Say Diet

When I first say the book, Never Say Diet, I thought to myself..”Another Diet Book.” But after reading the first chapter my opinion quickly changed. Author, Chantel Hobbs, explains that in order to lose weight you have to have a “brain change.” In this book, Never say Diet, there are five decisions you must make if you are serious about losing weight. They are: 1) Be Truthful, 2) Be Forgiving, 3) Be Committed, 4) Be Interested, and 5) Surrender.

The thing I liked about this book is that it did not just give you advice. Another Diet Book tells you what you’ll need to have to lose weight, what you’ll need to know to lose weight & what you’ll need to do to lose weight. Another Diet Book also has exercise pictured so there is no question on how to do them. And then the last chapter has answers to questions about weight loss that everyone wants to know but will never ask.

This book, another Diet Book, is a great tool for someone who is ready and committed to losing weight. I highly recommend purchasing this one. I’ve started my weight loss program and anxious to find the new me.

This book is the perfect fitness workbook/journal. It walks you through sixteen weeks and helps you establish new habits that will help you burn off excess weight, increase your strength, and lead you into a new, healthy way of living.
In the book, Never Say Diet Personal Fitness Trainer, each weeks has a scripture, quote, encouragement, suggested exercises, food suggestions, and a place to journal everything you accomplished the week you are on.
This is a great book and should be purchased along with The Never Say Diet by Chantel Hobbs.
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:

and the books:

Never Say Diet

WaterBrook Press; Reprint edition (December 16, 2008)


The Never Say Diet Personal Fitness Trainer

WaterBrook Press (December 16, 2008)


Chantel Hobbs is a personal trainer, certified spinning instructor, and motivational speaker whose no-excuses approach to fitness has won her a grateful following across the country. The author of Never Say Diet, Chantel hosts a weekly fitness program on Reach FM radio and is a regular guest on Way FM. Her “Ditch the Diet, Do the Weekend” bootcamp takes place several times a year in a variety of locations. She has presented her unique approach to lasting fitness in People magazine and on Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox News, The 700 Club, Living the Life, and Paula White Today. Chantel enjoys life with her husband and their four children in South Florida.

Visit the author's website.


Never Say Diet Product Details:

List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 240 pages

Publisher: WaterBrook Press; Reprint edition (December 16, 2008)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0307444937

ISBN-13: 978-0307444936

The Night That

Changed My Life

How to Choose

to Do the Best

Job of Living

It should have been a scene of American family bliss. A Sunday afternoon in our home on a beautiful fall day in South Florida. My husband, Keith, was watching the Dolphins game in the living room with some friends. He’d waited all week for this. Our girls, six-year-old Ashley and four-year-old Kayla, were helping me in the kitchen. Well, kind of. Our six month-old, Jake, was jumping and laughing in his Jolly Jumper. I was baking Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, our favorite, and everybody could smell the cinnamon and butter and couldn’t wait for the cookies to come out of the oven. Especially me. As I worked in the kitchen, I could hear the football game coming from the living room. The announcers were talking about a player who had arrived at training camp completely out of shape. He was six foot four and weighed 320 pounds. “That is a big boy,” they said. “Wow! He is huge.” “Would you look at that guy,” I heard my husband say with disgust. “I can’t believe he got so fat! What a lazy bum.” Those words cut me to the heart. I had created a happy home, with a

happy husband and happy kids. But at that moment I wanted to die, because I outweighed that player by at least 10 pounds. I was bigger than anyone playing for the Miami Dolphins. And I knew I was anything but lazy. I pulled the cookies out of the oven and felt nauseous. I was pathetic. I’d been overweight my entire adult life, but I was bigger than I had ever been. I was miserable but doing an excellent job of faking out everyone who knew me. I was five foot nine and weighed 330 pounds, maybe more. I didn’t know for sure because it had been months since I’d dared to step on a scale. Besides, the only one in the house was a conveniently inaccurate discount-store model with a wheel underneath that calibrated the scale. I had adjusted it to register the lowest weight possible. I was in denial, but I was also without hope. It was the autumn of 2000. I was twenty-eight years old and was starting to believe I would never live a long and fulfilled life. Not this way. If an angel had landed on my shoulder and whispered in my ear that, in less than two years, Oprah Winfrey would have me on her show to tell a feel good weight-loss story, I’d have sent that angel packing and gone back to my cookies. I wasn’t Oprah material. And there was absolutely nothing feel-good about my life. Call me when you want a feel-bad story. That was me. If that angel had whispered that I would one day run a marathon, I’d have checked him in to an insane asylum. I couldn’t run around the block. Even in high school I hadn’t been able to run the required twenty-minute mile. My knees hurt all the time. I was morbidly obese—a term that I knew meant an early death. If one thing was clear about my life in the fall of 2000, it was that

I could never, ever run a marathon. But I did. I finished my first one in 2005 and after that ran four more— in less than a year. I went from weighing nearly 350 pounds to less than 150 pounds. And I have appeared on Oprah and Good Morning America and the cover of People magazine as one of America’s great weight-loss successes. Getting fit wasn’t easy—there was plenty of pain, deprivation, tears, and hungeralong the way. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I won’t try to sugarcoat any of that. But, honestly, I didn’t give myself a choice. Once I made the unconditional decision that I was going to lose weight and get healthy, nothing could stop me. And nothing will stop you if you make the Five Decisions to break the fat habit for good. That’s a guarantee. Here is the secret I learned—the same secret I want to share with you. I realized I had to change my mind before I could change my body, my health, and my life. I discovered the Five Decisions, which brought about an unconditional commitment to getting healthy and fit. Once I started, I treated it like a job so that no matter what else was going on in my life, I did what I had to do to achieve daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals, and eventually the target weight and fitness that I desired. After making the Five Decisions, getting fit was a matter of showing up for work each day. The process developed from the inside out, which was a new concept for me.


People constantly ask me how I lost 200 pounds and started running marathons. When I explain that it took several years to achieve those goals, they wonder how I was able to stick to the plan when so many others can’t. I ask myself the same question. I had failed plenty of times before. I’d tried a few diets and failed, including a bit of foolishness called the chocolate-wafer diet, which I’ll tell you about later. I’d resolved so many times not to eat the entire package of Oreos, without success. So how did I lose all that weight and keep it off reclaiming my health and gaining a new life in the process? Here’s the simple answer: my brain changed. I decided to first become a different person in my mind and then learned patience as my body followed. My success wasn’t measured only by a declining number on a scale; it was much deeper. I had to change on the inside. I needed to change my mind before I could change my body. It will work the same way for you. First you must get to the right place in your head, and then you can create the lifestyle to go along with that. Your body reflects your daily choices, so stop confusing it by the way you think. The mistake so many people make is to focus on weight loss and how long it will take. In fact, the multibillion-dollar diet industry banks on people thinking this way. Don’t get stuck in the weight loss weight gain cycle. What you should focus on is the person you want to be. Set your sights very high, and keep your commitment level even higher. In this book I’ll explain how I did that. I went from being someone who weighed more than a Miami Dolphins lineman to someone who is strong and trim and can run twenty-six miles. I went from a state of hopelessness to a life of incredible confidence. And I want to help you achieve something great in your life. If you change your mind before attempting to change your body, you can do this.


While I was learning how to lose weight and regain my health, I faced setback after setback. My husband lost his job, and my mother was diagnosed with cancer—and those were only two of the crises that came along. Changing your life will never be easy, and that’s why in order to succeed, you first need to be ready to succeed. It’s a choice you make. In the fall of 2000, when I was baking cookies and overhearing my husband’s criticism of an overweight NFL lineman, I fell into despair. I realized my life was out of control and I was headed for an early grave if I didn’t change. But even then, I wasn’t yet ready to make the commitment that was necessary to change my life. The truth is, on that dark day I still wasn’t miserable enough to change. I hit rock bottom about six months later. I was at my heaviest ever—349 pounds, I think. Though I was still mostly in denial, I was starting to see myself clearly, and I hated what I saw. I’d look in the mirror and say, “You are pitiful! How could you have let this happen?” My appearance started to affect my family life. We live in South Florida, where every weekend is a pool party. My daughters were young, but they were being invited to a few parties, and I was horribly uncomfortable in a bathing suit. I knew it wouldn’t be long before my girls would be embarrassed by their mother, and that made me want to cry. It did make me cry. But that was the least of it. I was more worried that their mom would die young. I’d seen fat people, and I’d seen old people, but rarely had I seen fat, old people. If I couldn’t change for myself, maybe I could do it for my kids. One night I was driving home alone from an event at church. I felt trapped in despair. At age twenty-nine, my body felt old. I had recently had an emergency gallbladder operation, and the doctor had told me he was afraid to cut through all my layers of fat because of the risk of infection. Imagine being worried about your diseased gallbladder and experiencing anxiety about surgery. And then you learn that your weight problem makes you more prone to infection. That night in the car I felt like the most pathetic person who had ever lived. I believed that God had made me and put me on earth for a purpose, and I was not living the life He intended for me. I knew I had to change. As I drove, drowning in self-pity, I began to envision what my life would be if I weren’t fat. I thought of all the things I could do—even simple things, such as walking down an airplane aisle without having to turn sideways. I’d be able to board a flight without getting fearful stares from people hoping I wouldn’t sit next to them. And there were deeper things, such as being able to go down a slide at a playground with my kids. And I wanted never again to feel as if I was embarrassing my husband when he introduced me to business associates. I was tired of feeling prejudged by every server in every restaurant for what I ordered. I wanted to be able to shop in the same clothing stores as all my friends. I wanted a normal life. As I drove home from church, I came to the realization that I absolutely could not go on with my life as it was. I pulled over, sobbing. In total despair I cried out to God. I remember every word. “This is it!” I said. “I can’t live like this anymore. I’m done. I give all this pain to You. I surrender this battle. I need You to take over and give me a plan. Otherwise, I don’t want to live anymore.” Almost immediately a sense of inner peace filled me, and I calmed down. I had gone to church all my life and had a relationship with God, but I had certainly never felt anything like that before. The peace was real, and in my mind I heard from God. I clearly heard these words: You are not being the best you can be. It wasn’t a booming voice like in a movie, but it also wasn’t a voice coming from me. The words were a jolt to my soul. And that moment would change my life forever. Again, with crystal clarity, I “heard” a whisper: You are not being the best you can be. And for the first time in my life, I understood that this was a choice. I could choose to be the best I could be or not. We all have the same choice. We can’t choose our natural talents or what opportunities life is going to throw our way, but we can choose to do this one thing: we can do the best job of living that we are capable of. After praying alone in my car, I knew I could do better.


No matter how overweight and out of shape we are, our bodies and minds are capable of much more than we think. No matter what battles we face in life, we can have victory. The amazing thing is that so many of us choose not to. I know this is true because I was as guilty as anyone. For years I’d made poor choices and come up with excuses for why I really didn’t have a choice at all. I was big boned. I let myself overeat because I was pregnant. I skipped exercise because I didn’t have the time. I was too far gone to ever recover. I told myself whatever it took to hide the truth that I was not doing the best job of living. I was also being scammed by the diet industry. We all have been taken in by the hype. “We’ll give you your eating points,” the industry tells us, “and let you spend them on any food you want. And we’ll love you when you get on that scale, whether you’ve lost weight or not. We’ll keep hugging you for the next twenty-three years if need be.” Counting my points was not going to save me. Choosing the right frozen entrĂ©e and having it delivered to my home for the next two years was not going to save me. I didn’t need the unconditional love of strangers; I needed unconditional commitment from myself. I was also scammed by the “fat gene” scientists who insisted that my weight problem was out of my hands. They were wrong; it was in my hands. Chantel, I told myself, this is not cancer. I knew, because my mother had leukemia, and I had spent more tearful nights than I could count praying for her recovery something I couldn’t do anything about. I prayed that chemotherapy would work and that God would heal her. But I realized that I’d been thinking of my obesity in the same way, as an illness. I’d even been told by experts that drastic surgery might be my only option. But that was another lie. The way I lived my life and how I contributed to my health were completely in my hands. Every one of us knows what we should do, but we don’t always do it. Instead, we pretend it’s out of our control. We take the easy way out and let ourselves down. Gaining weight doesn’t come about by accident, and it’s not forced on us. We gain weight through a series of poor choices made on a regular basis over a long period of time.

We gain weight

through a series of poor choices

made on a regular basis

over a long period of time.

The same process holds true for achieving a goal related to your health and fitness. Whether it’s weight loss, athletic accomplishment, or any other personal or business goal, you achieve what you seek by learning to make the right choices and not being scared of self-sacrifice. I began wondering what my life would be like and what I would be capable of if I simply started being the best me I could. It was time to find out. After hearing God tell me, You are not being the best you can be, I made my decision, and I said it out loud: “I can do this. I will do this.” I repeated it, and I meant it. At that moment by the side of Cypress Creek Road, my life turned around.


Having made the commitment, I knew I was going to change my life, but I didn’t have a specific plan. I knew I’d have to start exercising, no matter how much I dreaded it. I knew I would have to change the way I ate, and I would need to learn more about nutrition. And to become a different person, I knew I would have to start thinking like the person I wanted to be and not the person I had allowed myself to become. I didn’t know how I was going to do all this, but I knew I would have God by my side. He might not make it easy, but He’d give me the strength to do everything that was needed. When I got home that night, Keith was already in bed. He had never criticized my weight, for which I was incredibly grateful, but I knew how he must have felt. I looked into my husband’s eyes, told him that God had spoken to me in the car, and announced that the next morning I would begin losing weight and getting healthy. (I even mentioned that one day I would write a book to reach others in my situation.) I made it clear that I was totally committed to being the best I could be. Keith smiled at me and quoted one of his favorite sources of inspiration, the self-made billionaire Art Williams: “Do it, then talk.” He was right. I shut up. Keith fell asleep, but I had a burning passion that kept me awake that night and has kept me up many nights since. Making the unconditional decision to change—the complete commitment with no turning back—had to be followed by action. First you change your mind. But to change your body and your life, you have to get moving. You have to do things and do them differently from the past. Do it. How incredibly simple—yet how long it had taken me to get to a place where I could see that clearly. Getting fit and accomplishing my dreams was simply a matter of choosing to do it, following through every single day, and understanding that failure was not an option. I could do it. I would do it. And I did.


Keep reading, and you’ll find out how to change your life through five crucial decisions. The Five Decisions change your brain, giving you a new way of thinking about yourself, your life, your health, and your future. As long as you keep thinking the same way you always have, you will keep doing the things you have always done—including the unhealthy habits you have developed. Join me in the next chapter as we explore the past—including all the influences that worked together to bring us to where we are today. Understanding the messages that influence our self-perception and the way we respond to obstacles enables us to make the new decisions that are necessary for permanent change.

What Do You Want to Change, and Why?

As you prepare to make the mental changes that will lead to permanent life change, think through the reasons you want to change. What is motivating your desire to lose weight and reclaim your health? Use the questions that follow to think in detail about your life, your goals for the future, and what you’re willing to do to make this happen finally and forever.

1. Beyond losing weight, what do you most want to change about your life?

2. Are you willing to do whatever it takes to see certain areas of your life undergo radical change? If you’re not yet willing, what is holding you back?

3. When in your life have you felt the most hopeless? Are you now ready to move past those scars and never look back?

4. When you gained weight in the past, what factors caused you to lose your focus on health?

5. Identify three reasons or influences from the past that convinced you that you couldn’t achieve permanent life change. After considering these reasons, can you now admit they were merely excuses?

6. Think about the necessity of changing your mind before you attempt to change your body. Do you agree that lasting change begins on the inside? As you consider being the best you can be, are you ready to work from the inside out?

7. A total life change involves your mind, body, and spirit. Think about the spiritual aspect for a moment. Do you accept the role that faith plays in the process of changing your life for good?

8. When have you been held back by a fear of failure? Write down your biggest fears in this regard. As you face your fears, can you decide to let them go and give your all to permanent life change?

Never Say Diet Personal Trainer Product Details:

List Price: $10.99

Paperback: 176 pages

Publisher: WaterBrook Press (December 16, 2008)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0307446425

ISBN-13: 978-0307446428

Week 1 Training Plan

The Perfect Body Type: Yours!

You Are Lovely Today

Scripture for the week: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.… When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.”

—PSALM 139:14–16

Quote for the week: “Faith, as Paul saw it, was a living, flaming thing leading to surrender and obedience to the commandments of Christ.”


As you begin the journey to never say diet, remember that your value is based on who you are in Christ, not what the number on the scale says. God created everything about you, and He knows you better than you know yourself. He knows which foods are your weaknesses, and He is there whenever the temptation to overeat or consume unhealthy food seems overwhelming. The Lord knows the tears you have shed out of desperation. He was there to comfort you when it seemed like no one understood your pain. Trust me, on days when I feel the most flawed, I need the verses from Psalm 139 to remind me of what is true. The living God formed every part of my body, even the parts I would like to change. Although I used to struggle and fail in caring for my body, God always knew it best. When I finally cried out to my Creator and invited Him to help with the repair, I knew I could succeed. He wants you to succeed too. Start this week by thanking the Lord for the gifts of your life and your body. By focusing on making some improvements, you will ultimately be honoring Him more and more each day. Find a recent photo of yourself, or take one, and tape it in the space that follows. This picture will be a powerful reference for you in the coming weeks as you begin your transformation.


In Never Say Diet, I make a big deal about the Five Decisions—and for good reason. You will fail in this new attempt to change your life unless you first change your brain. To succeed, you need to be willing to do whatever it takes—unconditionally. I want to be your cheerleader and your friend. And for us to get going, you need to commit to the five Brain Change decisions found on pages 76–82 of Never Say Diet. Think about how each of the Five Decisions applies to your life. Also, try to memorize them. They will form the backbone you need to stand up to and overcome every area of weakness in your life. Create your personal surrender statement.


This week your first assignment is to start building a foundation of discipline. You will be successful over the next month if you show up for exercise thirty minutes a day, five days in a row, every week—no matter what. There are many choices for your cardiovascular exercise. Below is a list of suggestions. Even if your week gets hectic, finding the time to make this happen is imperative.

Cardio Exercise Suggestions


Bike riding

Cross-country skiing machine


Elliptical machine


Kick boxing


Spinning class

Stair climber

Stair stepper

Stationary bike/recumbent bike

Step aerobics




How to Take Your Measurements

Taking your measurements at the beginning of each month is an important part of the process of losing weight. You will begin to see precisely where you are losing fat. As you start building more muscle, there will be months where your progress is more evident in your measurements than on the scale, because muscle is denser than fat. You will begin by taking six measurements. You should be able to do them by yourself, with the exception of your upper arm. (Ask a friend or your spouse to help you.) For instructions on taking accurate measurements, see pages 97–98 of Never Say Diet. Record your measurements below.

Bust: ______________

Chest: ______________

Waist: ______________

Hips: ______________

Thighs: ______________

Arms: ______________

Be sure that you consistently measure in the same spots each month. I also recommend taking your measurements before your workouts.

Weigh Yourself

Weigh yourself, and record your weight at the beginning of each week.

Week 1 starting weight: ________


Complete your cardio exercise five days in a row, for at least thirty minutes per day. In the space provided, write down the day, the date, the exercise you completed, and the duration of each exercise period. This serves as a reminder that you always found a way to get the exercise done, whether you felt like it or not.

Day 1 date/exercise/duration:


How did it go?


Day 2 date/exercise/duration:


How did it go?


Day 3 date/exercise/duration:


How did it go?


Day 4 date/exercise/duration:


How did it go?


Day 5 date/exercise/duration:


How did it go?




This week you must place your nutritional focus on the most important meal of the day: breakfast. Plan to eat every day within two hours of waking up. Listed below are some fresh food ideas. Each one is about three hundred calories, which is perfect!

• Quaker Weight Control oatmeal, 1 tablespoon of raisins, cinnamon to taste, 2 slices of turkey bacon.

• One slice of whole-wheat toast, light spread of peanut butter (natural is best), and ½ grapefruit.

• Chocolate strawberry shake. Blend the following: 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 10 small frozen strawberries, 1 packet sugar substitute, ½ cup low-fat milk, a few ice cubes.

• Egg white omelet. In a skillet with nonstick spray, cook veggies you like, 3 lightly beaten egg whites, and 1 tablespoon fat-free cheese. Accompany with half an English muffin with a dab of peanut butter.

Each of these breakfast meals provides a good balance of protein, carbs, and fat. This ensures your day gets off to a good start; it is igniting your source of energy. Find a few meals that you enjoy, and keep repeating them. This way you won’t stress out over deciding what to have.

Week 1 Breakfast Log

Using the space provided, record each day’s breakfast menu and the portions.

Day 1 date/time: ___________________________________ ________________________________________________

Day 2 date/time: ___________________________________


Day 3 date/time: ___________________________________


Day 4 date/time: ___________________________________


Day 5 date/time: ___________________________________


Day 6 date/time: ___________________________________


Day 7 date/time: ___________________________________