Archives For Launch Team

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When you sit around the dinner table, you tell your kids they are important.

When you sit around the dinner table, it’s not easy to hide one’s worries and pain . . . making it easier to share your hearts.

When you sit around the dinner table, you also share your day, your values, and your hopes.

When you sit around the dinner table, you have “face time” to pass on what you believe the most <click to tweet>. As you scoop mashed potatoes, you have your family’s undivided attention to share your faith.

As we say in Whit’s End Mealtime Devotions:

Even God used mealtimes to teach His people—from Moses teaching his people about the Passover to Jesus teaching His disciples at the Last Supper. In both the Passover and the Last Supper, we can see how conversation, and even the food itself, was used to grab everyone’s attention and give the items around the table a deeper eternal meaning.”

“All great change begins at the dinner table,” said President Ronald Reagan. And what is the most important change we want to make in this world? To raise our children to love and serve God.

ron reagan quote

Some nights as you gather it’ll be the perfect time to share a Bible devotion together and to have fun reflecting on the Bible story. Other times it’ll be more important just to listen to your kids’ day and hear their hearts.

Or, sometimes your kids may want to hear from you. Just a few weeks ago at dinner, my daughter Leslie asked my husband, John, to share his testimony. Since he never really strayed from God Leslie wondered how her dad was able to make a “good story” out of it. John was able to speak from his heart and share how even though he was raised in church and had never strayed far from God, he, too, was a sinner in need of grace.

Don’t feel you need to make dinner devotions an item to add to your to-do list. Instead, simply gather, open your heart, and prepare for God to work! Check out the sample of Whit’s End Mealtime Devotions below:

Lost and Found

Thanks to Guest Post-er Tricia Goyer for these great ideas! Continue Reading…

Take a Chance on Me

Renee Ann Smith —  April 28, 2013 — 6 Comments

Jensen crop

I probably shouldn’t have started reading Take a Chance on Me right before bedtime on a school night. Then the next day the book distracted me from grading papers. This became slightly dangerous when my students realized I had a new book by a favorite author. But it was worth the risk. Yes, Take a Chance on Me was that good.

This romantic story is the first in Susan May Warren’s new series about The Christiansens: six adult siblings and their parents. Here’s Susan May Warren’s intro to this fictional family: “They’re a family like you might find next door. Or in your church. Or maybe they’re like your family. Parents trying to figure out the delicate steps of guiding adult children into responsibility, hoping to leave a legacy. When I crafted the Christiansen family, I Iooked close to home, at our family, and the families of our friends. At their challenges, and joys, and their hopes to raise children who embody the values they were raised with. Then I created a family I’d like to get to know and hang out with. To fall in love with. I hope you do too.”

What’s this book about? Best friends, Jensen Atwood and Darek Christiansen, become estranged after a tragic accident—when Darek’s wife is killed and Jensen ends up sentenced to community service for her death. Now years later both men must decide if they can take a chance on God’s forgiveness and the second chance at life He seems to be offering through two smart & savvy ladies named Ivy Madison and Claire Gibson. (I had fun imagining Jensen as a younger Jack Shepherd from Lost vs. Darek as a younger John Reese from Person of Interest!)

I experienced a strong emotional response to Take a Chance on Me. How can you tell if you’ll feel the same?

  • If you’ve ever had that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when you fear you’ve ruined your chance at happiness,
  • Or felt a hole in your heart because you’ve hurt someone you love. And it can never be undone.
  • If life has made you bargain and beg and weep before God
  • Then, after all that, a moment arrived that stole your breath away—when God offered you a second chance
  • And you took it. You grabbed it with both hands
  • And God’s grace and forgiveness filled you until you felt like you could soar,

Then you will love this story.

Two characters quickly worked their way into my heart: Jensen Atwood, a handsome, under-appreciated, intent-on-beating-himself-up secondary hero. Fortunately, Jensen has Gibs. Jack Marshall Gibson, Grandpop or Gibs to his family and friends, Vietnam vet and man of God. Gibs gives Jens exactly what he needs: love, godly counsel, a good checkers game, and a wake up call. Here are some of Gibs’ best lines:

grandpop gibs crop

You can read about the individual members of the Christiansen Family—each to be the subject of an upcoming novel—here.

Tweetables: “You can’t make yourself & your life whole again. God can.” (Click to Tweet)

“So plan A is a bust. God can make a plan B better than plan A ever would have been.” (Click to Tweet)

“He’d settle for Peace.The kind that let you sleep thru’ the night & look at yourself in the morning.” (Click to Tweet)

Need more details? Here’s the back-cover copy: Darek Christiansen is almost a dream bachelor—oldest son in the large Christiansen clan, heir to their historic Evergreen Lake Resort, and doting father. But he’s also wounded and angry since the tragic death of his wife, Felicity. No woman in Deep Haven dares come near.

New assistant county attorney Ivy Madison simply doesn’t know any better when she bids on Darek at the charity auction. Nor does she know that when she crafted a plea bargain three years ago to keep Jensen Atwood out of jail, she was releasing the man responsible for Felicity’s death. All Ivy knows is that the Christiansens feel like the family she’s always longed for. And once she gets past Darek’s tough exterior, she finds a man she could spend the rest of her life with. Which scares her almost as much as Darek learning of her involvement in his wife’s case.

Caught between new love and old grudges, Darek must decide if he can set aside the past for a future with Ivy—a future more and more at risk as an approaching wildfire threatens to wipe out the Christiansen resort and Deep Haven itself.

***Thanks to Susan May Warren, Litfuse, and Tyndale House for providing a copy for me to review. You can purchase Take a Chance on Me at this link. (And remember, the teens in your life will enjoy this book, too!)

About the Author: Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning novelist of over thirty novels. A five-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Carol Award. A seasoned women’s events speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation. She is also the founder of MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice. You can find her online at www.susanmaywarren.com. Continue Reading…

Promise Box Collage 4

If you had stopped by my house this weekend, you would have found me crying over the fictional characters from Tricia Goyer’s latest Amish novel, The Promise Box. This book moved me because the heart of the story is the damaged relationship between a mother and daughter. The mother doesn’t understand her daughter’s choices. The daughter doesn’t appreciate her mother’s sacrifices.

And the healing they need almost comes too late.

I lost my mom in February. Though our circumstances differ from Ada Mae’s and Lydia’s, I could relate to the soul-searching that comes when human love doesn’t seem to be enough to repair a fraying bond.

Watching these characters find the answers in Jesus was a beautiful experience.

And I especially love that a simple wooden box filled with letters and God’s promises became the vehicle that helped them communicate.

So will reading The Promise Box benefit you? Yes!

  • Read this book for your daughter.
  • Or your mother.
  • Read this book with them.
  • Discuss what keeps the characters apart and what ultimately brings them together.
  • Begin a Promise Box of your own.
  • Celebrate the people God gave you to love, mentor, and cherish.

(You can read about how my mom and I experienced bonding in her last weeks here .)

What’s also great about this book is that the author knows well the birth mom/adoption experience that the character Lydia goes through. Tricia Goyer is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries in Northwestern Montana, and she currently leads a Teen MOPS Group in Little Rock, AR.

Tricia is a godly mentor to many young women. You can trust her with the teen girls in your life. Connect with Tricia at triciagoyer.com and read about her service to teen moms, parenting books, marriage advice, homeschooling tips, and much more!

Oh, and did I mention it’s a romance? This is the second book in the Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series. As the book blurb says, “Every year, young Amish men descend on the cozy little town of West Kootenai, Montana, arriving in the spring to live there for six months and receive ‘resident’ status for the hunting season in the fall. They arrive as bachelors, but go home with brides!” This story focuses on Lydia and Gideon as they meet, become friends, and then realize God means for them to be more than friends—another aspect of the book you’ll love.

A third plus: as a teacher, I really enjoyed the classroom scenes as Lydia begins her teaching career in a one-room Amish schoolhouse.

The Promise Box Tricia GoyerYou can purchase your copies of The Promise Box at this link. ***Thanks to Tricia, Litfuse, and Zondervan for providing a copy for me to review.

More About the Author: Tricia Goyer is a busy mom of six, grandmother of one, and wife to John. Somewhere around the hustle and bustle of family life, she manages to find the time to write fictional tales delighting and entertaining readers and non-fiction titles offering encouragement and hope. A bestselling author, Tricia has published thirty-three books to date and has written more than 500 articles. She is a two-time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Nominee. In 2010, she was selected as one of the Top 20 Moms to Follow on Twitter by SheKnows.com. Continue Reading…

 Lead Your Family Like Jesus

Feel free to download & share

I don’t have kids of my own, but after twenty-five years of observing family dynamics from behind my teacher’s desk, I’d have to say that parenting is the hardest job in the world. At our Christian high school, we dedicate ourselves to coming alongside parents as they seek to lead their children to Christ, guide their character development, and prepare them for life. So I’ll be sharing my copy of Lead Your Family Like Jesus with as many parents as possible.

I discovered this book as part of inspirational fiction author Tricia Goyer’s Launch Team. She co-wrote the book with Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges. 

Are you wondering what qualifies Tricia to write a book on parenting?

  • She began motherhood as a teen mom.
  • After she gave her life to the Lord, He led her to marry a godly man.
  • She and her hubs had two more children.
  • Tricia became a working mom (she’s written 30+ books) and homeschooler.
  • She started a Crisis Pregnancy Center.
  • She leads Teen MOPS.
  • Her family teaches children’s church together each Sunday.
  • Now that Tricia has a married son, son in college, and daughter in high school, she and her husband recently adopted 3 young children.
  • She provides a home for her grandmother, and Tricia is a grandmother herself.

Are you catching on that Tricia has much practical wisdom to share with parents in all stages of their journey? You can connect with Tricia here at her website, on Facebook & on Twitter.

How will reading Lead Your Family Like Jesus benefit you? This book will help you “take Christ out of the spare compartment of your private spiritual life and give him free rein in all your daily actions and relationships.”

I’d sum up the main takeaway with these lines:Leading like Jesus as a parent is first a spiritual matter. Whenever you have an opportunity to influence the thinking and behavior of other family members, the first questions you have to answer is, ‘Am I motivated by self-interest or by the betterment of those I’m serving?’”

My favorite chapters discussed the concept of EGO. Initially EGO stands for Edging God Out and allowing Pride and Fear to dictate our choices, actions, and reactions. The authors remind us that “Edging God Out separates us from Him, from others, and from knowing the true selves He designed us to be.” They then encourage us that “when we replace our tendency to Edge God Out with Exalting God Only,” we operate from Humility and Confidence and “influence our kids in a way that points them to Christ.”

Lead Your Family Like Jesus

Feel free to download & share

***Thanks to Tricia and Tyndale House for sending me a copy of Lead Your Family Like Jesus to review. Please, don’t miss picking up a copy of the book here! Both parents and parents-to-be will appreciate this book. And if you are a grandparent, one of the nicest things you can do for your grandkids is to share this book with their parents.

More encouraging quotes from the book:

“By looking at Jesus, you can learn how to build a loving relationship with your children and extended family—no matter how you were raised and no matter what challenges your family faces.” (Click to Tweet)

“When the bills appear bigger than your income, trust in God by acknowledging that He is your Provider. He will supply what you need—not always what you want. He promises to take care of His children.” (Click to Tweet)

“Family members will experience what’s in your heart and head when your motivations and beliefs about parenting affect your hands—your actions.” (Click to Tweet)

 Now for the GIVEAWAY!!! Continue Reading…

As part of author Tricia Goyer’s launch team, I want to let you know about her latest project, a book called Lead Your Family Like Jesus, which she has co-written with best-selling authors Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges.

lead your familyHere’s the book blurb: Whenever you influence the thinking, behavior, or development of another person, you are leading. Nowhere, then, is your impact as a leader felt more dramatically than in your own family—no matter what role you play. What kind of legacy will you leave?

Lead Your Family Like Jesus reveals 12 priceless parenting principles based on the Savior’s life and teachings—from Say Yes to the Best and No to the Rest to Know the Difference Between a Crisis and a Bump in the Road. You’ll discover how your heart, head, hands, and habits can work together as you serve your way to a truly Christ-centered family.

Filled with practical examples and easily applied principles, this book lays out a dynamic H4 framework to help you align your heart, head, hands, and habits to Lead Your Family Like Jesus. When you do, leadership will become a joy—as your entire family benefits from ongoing feelings of safety, security, and satisfaction.

About the Freebies: If you pre-order your copy of Lead Your Family Like Jesus by March 20, you’ll receive FREE parenting resources from Focus on the Family—a $60+ value! Follow this link to pre-order and register.

Tricia3About the author: Using her own experiences as a teen mother and leader of today’s generation, Tricia’s vision is to be a voice of hope and possibility for teenage girls, pregnant teen girls, mothers and wives through her educational and inspirational speaking, workshops and books. Her intention is to serve ordinary women by encouraging extraordinary things with God’s help. Tricia expresses real life, real hope, for real women.

She speaks and conducts workshops for women and teens around the nation, and offers programs to assist teens and teen moms. Tricia has been a workshop speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Convention and Hearts at Home. She is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries in Northwestern Montana.

In 2010, she was selected as one of the Top 20 Moms To Follow on Twitter by SheKnows.com. Tricia is on the blogging team at MomLifeToday.com and HopeforWomenMag.com. You can also find her at her website: www.triciagoyer.com