Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fall Into Reading Wrap-Up

This is my fourth Fall into Reading reading challenge here at Fresh-Brewed Writer, and my fourth wrap-up post.

Overall I did not do as well as I'd hoped, but at the same time I also read more books on the side, which seems to be my MO.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Blog Day 7

Hi and welcome to Pattie's milspouse blog.

Today's topic: How does your faith refresh at Christmastime?

I've always felt like my faith gets a huge boost at Christmas. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday season, and I think that it brings a fresh awareness of Christ's presence during this holy time. It's like an energy shot for my spirit.

To help refresh your faith, click here to go to today's WOF prompt post and read what others have written.

I hope you've all had fun with the prompts for the blog carnival this year. I was pretty much the one "in charge" and while of course these prompts were approved by the president, I hope that they've been meaningful for you as they have been for me, both in the writing of the prompt and the reading of the responses.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Blog Day 6

Hi and welcome to Pattie's milspouse blog.

Today's topic: You might be a military spouse at Christmas if . . .

*you rejoice in the size of a TLF when on a mini-trip. (Seriously---our TLF at Laughlin is a duplex and bigger than our duplex at the seminary when we first got married.)

*you rejoice in being with your family and they are traveling to YOU instead of the other way around.

*you stress about wearing the same holiday clothing to multiple parties (this was me the past couple of years, because my chaplain husband was well loved and well known and gives a darn good invocation and leaves when the drinking gets going! ha!). This is not my problem this year, however. His group has one party, and I can't go.

*you get excited about military discounts (well, that's pretty much all the time, but with gift giving it's especially good this time of year).

*you feel guilty, just a little, because your husband is home and so many husbands and wives are not.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball

Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball by Donita K. Paul


Can mysterious matchmaking booksellers bring two lonely hearts together in time for Christmas?

In a sleepy, snow-covered city, Cora Crowder is busy preparing for the holiday season. Searching for a perfect gift, a fortuitous trip to Warner, Werner, and Wizbotterdad’s (a most unusual bookshop) leads to an unexpected encounter with co-worker Simon Derrick. And the surprise discovery of a ticket for a truly one-of-a-kind Christmas Ball.

Every year, the matchmaking booksellers of the Sage Street bookshop host an enchanting, old-fashioned Christmas Ball for the romantic matches they’ve decided to bring together.

This year, will Simon and Cora discover a perfect chemistry in their opposite personalities and shared faith? Or will the matchmakers’ best laid plans end up ruining everything this holiday?


This was a lovely book. Cora and Simon are a delightful couple once they become a couple - because it takes awhile, it is interesting that they "seem" an unlikely match in the first place. To me, they are perfectly suited from the beginning.

I think it's important to note that this is a fantasy book. It is not meant to be a realistic story. It's got a bit of the old Hollywood Christmas magic element--the fun, whimsical kind--with a Christian twist, if you will.

I found this book to be a warm and fuzzy read leading up the Christmas season.

Thanks to Waterbrook/Multnomah Press for a review copy of this novel for the Blogging for Books program.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Christmas Blog Day 4

Hi and welcome to Pattie's milspouse blog. In the interest of full disclosure, I am not in the running for any prizes, since I'm helping run this blog carnival--but I wanted to participate with my own entries too.

Today's topic is for each participant to write her own Grown-Up Christmas List, based in part on the Amy Grant song of that name.

My list:

  1. For all to know the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
  2. For my husband to be able to have a full Air Force career.
  3. To see my children and grandchildren grown, healthy, happy, and safe.
  4. For world peace--no wars, no rumors of wars. I know it's an impossibility, but it's my heart's desire.

Here's the Amy Grant video:

To read everyone else's lists, visit the comments here.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Christmas Blog Day 3

Hi and welcome to Pattie's milspouse blog. In the interest of full disclosure, I am not in the running for any prizes, since I'm helping run this blog carnival--but I wanted to participate with my own entries too.

Today's topic: The Worst Christmas Song Ever (but you must mention one redeeming quality of the song, too!)

For decades I could not stand "The Little Drummer Boy." Really, some kid banging a drum near a baby's head? Even if the baby is Jesus, we know that Jesus was God made flesh. The part of Him that was fully human was an infant. Most babies cry when a drum is rat-a-tat-tatted near their little heads. Can't you hear Mary sigh, and see Joseph shake his head as he escorts the little drummer boy out of the stable? Me too.

However, in recent years I've come to terms with this song. And now I'll give you the redeeming qualities, which are twofold:

1. The boy went to see the Newborn King right away, in the first verse. No waiting around for the Heavenly Host to startle him into going; no sir, he went straightaway.

2. He gave the gift he had: he played his best for the baby Jesus, the Newborn King (who then smiled, if we willfully suspend our disbelief).

The moral of the story: Obey right away the call to go to Jesus, and offer all your best gifts to Him.

To read about the other songs people can't stand, click here to go to today's WOF prompt post.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

This week

I'm over at my other blog for the Wives of Faith Christmas blog carnival.

Christmas Blog Day 2

Hi and welcome to Pattie's milspouse blog. In the interest of full disclosure, I am not in the running for any prizes, since I'm helping run this blog carnival--but I wanted to participate with my own entries too.

"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

(Best opening line ever!)

Seriously, though: What's the one thing that makes Christmas for me?

It's tough nailing down that "one thing." I love Christmas music. I love spending time with my family. I enjoy Christmas programs, Christmas parties, and Advent. Christmas eve services. Singing special music with my friends.

But honestly? The "one thing" is Jesus Christ being our Emmanuel--our God with Us. Our Infant Savior. Just realizing the magnitude of God becoming man, celebrating that during Christmas, is what it's all about for me.

And just for fun, the One Thing clip (warning: a profanity):

To read everyone else's "one thing" posts, click here and read the comments!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Gifts 3

holy experience

Today I continue my list.

3. My gorgeous, sweet, talented, wonderful daughters, M1 and M2. I love them with so much of my heart that it's unfathomable to me that I have heart enough left for everyone else.

4. Grateful for Wives of Faith, a ministry to military wives. I'm so glad to be a small part of it.

Christmas Blog Day 1

Hi and welcome to Pattie's milspouse blog. In the interest of full disclosure, I am not in the running for any prizes, since I'm helping run this puppy--but I wanted to participate with my own entries too.

I wanted to share about my ornament. It's a plastic dove that has sparkles that are mostly worn off now, but it's MY ORNAMENT. The one I HAD to put on the tree when I was little, the one that if it's not on my tree now (and believe me when I tell you my entire family thinks it's ugly with a capital U), it's not Christmas yet. I think I got it when I was about 7 years old.

Here's a picture:

To read everyone else's decorative posts, click here and read the comments!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Emily of Deep Valley

Pattie's Maud Hart Lovelace Memories:

I discovered Betsy Ray and her besties--Tacy and Tib--after moving to Missouri in grade school. I found Heaven to Betsy in the library stacks and I was hooked! I started in the middle and had to work backwards, then forwards, to read Betsy's entire story. I used to have to request Maud Hart Lovelace's books from other library branches, because they were out of print and the entire St. Louis County library system had only one set among all the branches. So I'm thrilled to see them all in print again.

I had forgotten about Emily's story (another one I'd requested via interlibrary loan once upon a time in the 80s) until I received this book for review. I loved it all over again! The new introduction by Mitali Perkins adds perspective and insight into the book, now that I'm reading it again as an adult and mother of daughters.

Highly recommend all the Lovelace books, but for a stand-alone, this one is at the top.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Emily of Deep Valley
Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Reprint edition (October 12, 2010)
Mitali Perkins


A word from Mitali: Who In The World Is Mitali Perkins?

That's a good question. I've been trying to figure it out myself, spending most of my life crossing borders.

I was born Mitali Bose in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, and always tried to live up to my name—which means “friendly” in the Bangla language. I had to! Because my family moved so much, it was the only way I could make new friends.

By the time I was 11, I'd lived in Ghana, Cameroon, London, New York and Mexico before settling in California just in time for middle school. Yep, I was the new kid again, in seventh grade, the year everybody barely makes it through.

My biggest lifeline during those early years was story. Books were my rock, my stability, my safe place as I navigated the border between California suburbia and the Bengali culture of my traditional home.

After studying political science at Stanford and public policy at U.C. Berkeley, I taught in middle school, high school and college. When I began to write fiction, my protagonists were often—not surprisingly—strong female characters trying to bridge different cultures.

Mitali Perkins is the author of several books for young people, including SECRET KEEPER (Random House), MONSOON SUMMER (Random House), RICKSHAW GIRL (Charlesbridge), and the FIRST DAUGHTER books (Dutton).


Often cited as Maud Hart Lovelace’s (of Betsy-Tacy fame) best novel, Emily of Deep Valley is now back in print, with a new foreword by acclaimed young adult author Mitali Perkins and new archival material about the characters’ real lives.

Emily Webster, an orphan living with her grandfather, is not like the other girls her age in Deep Valley, Minnesota. The gulf between Emily and her classmates widens even more when they graduate from Deep Valley High School in 1912. Emily longs to go off to college with everyone else, but she can’t leave her grandfather. Emily resigns herself to facing a “lost winter,” but soon decides to stop feeling sorry for herself. And with a new program of study, a growing interest in the Syrian community, and a handsome new teacher at the high school to fill her days, Emily gains more than she ever dreamed...

In addition to her beloved Betsy-Tacy books, Maud Hart Lovelace wrote three more stories set in the fictional town of Deep Valley: Winona’s Pony Cart, Carney’s House Party and Emily of Deep Valley. Longtime fans and new readers alike will be delighted to find the Deep Valley books available again for the first time in many years.

If you would like to browse inside Emily of Deep Valley, go HERE.

Gifts 2

holy experience

Today I continue my list.

2. I am grateful for my husband. He knows me, he loves me, he sticks beside me, he provides for our family, and I can NOT imagine my life without him.


Susan May Warren's latest novel is entitled Nightingale, and it is an enchanting World War II period novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. Like all of Susan May Warren's fiction, the spiritual element of the story is knitted artfully into the narrative, like a cable stitch in a sweater--it's there, it looks different and stands out, but it's not like a big neon patch that assaults the senses. Rather, it enhances the story, making it beautiful and more artful than it would have been plain.

About Nightingale: Esther Lange doesn’t love her fiancĂ©—she’s trapped in an engagement after a mistaken night of passion.

Still, she grieves him when he’s lost in battle, the letters sent to her by the medic at his side giving her a strange comfort, so much that she strikes up a correspondence with Peter Hess, an Iowa farmboy. Or is he? Peter Hess is not who he seems. Indeed, he’s hiding a secret, something that could cost them both their lives, especially when the past comes back to life. A bittersweet love song of the home front war between duty and the heart...a battle where only one will survive.

Don’t miss book 1 in this stand-alone collection, Sons of Thunder.

About Susan May Warren: Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning author of twenty-four novels with Tyndale, Barbour and Steeple Hill. A four-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Book of the Year.

Susan's larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder of, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.

Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota, where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!) A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found at:

Link to buy the book:

Flip Nightingale Just a couple more days on the contest!

Special thanks to Lit Fuse Group and Susan May Warren and her publisher, Summerside Press, for a review copy of the novel.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lady in Waiting

Susan Meissner's latest novel Lady in Waiting is a wonderful mix of historical and contemporary fiction, centered around a gold ring found in an antique Protestant prayer book.

Susan duplicates the wonderful mix of contemporary and historical that she had in her novel The Shape of Mercy, and I loved how she intertwined the stories, keeping them separate yet equally enthralling.

I loved both Janes in Lady in Waiting. I think Susan does a great job with voice, as always, and with a sense of the characters belonging in their environment. Not so much a sense of place, exactly, but a sense that the characters know who they are, and they are comfortable in their own skin and locale within the novel.

I highly recommend Lady in Waiting for the Christian fiction enthusiast, or even a reader who might not select a Christian book but is curious about Susan's work.

Monday, November 22, 2010


holy experience

Today I begin my list.

1. So very grateful to God for the moment when I was just turned 15, when I made sure I belonged to Him.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I will be attending the Protestant Women of the Chapel International Conference this weekend. Hope to see you there!

Amy Inspired

Review at the end. Thanks!
This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Amy Inspired
Bethany House; Original edition (October 1, 2010)
Bethany Pierce


After completing a master's in Creative Writing and working as a visiting instructor at Miami University in Ohio, Bethany Pierce now lives with her husband in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she is a member of the McGuffey Art Center and continues to write. Her first book, Feeling for Bones, was one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2007.


With rejections piling up, she could use just a little inspiration...

Amy Gallagher is an aspiring writer who, after countless rejections, has settled for a career as an English professor in small-town Ohio just to pay the bills. All her dreams suddenly start to unravel as rejections pile up--both from publishers and her boyfriend.

But just as Amy fears her life is stuck in a holding pattern, she meets the mysterious, attractive, and unavailable Eli. She struggles to walk the fine line between friendship and something more with Eli, even as staying true to her faith becomes unexpectedly complicated.

When secrets, tragedy, and poor decisions cause rifts in Amy's relationships, she must come to terms with who she's become, her unrealized aspirations for her life, and the state of her faith. Can she dare to hope that she will find love and fulfillment despite it all?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Amy Inspired, go HERE.

Pattie's Review:

Amy Inspired is the story of Amy, an English adjunct wannabe writer, who lives with her freespirited roommate Zoe. But Amy feels trapped in her life of jealousy over Zoe's publishing success and her regimen of to-do lists. When Amy begins to feel more for Zoe's friend Eli than she feels like she should, her world falls out of balance. Slowly but surely she learns that life is to be lived, not meticulously planned.

I identified strongly with Amy, in spite of the fact that I'm a full decade ahead in age. I'm exactly with her in terms of realizing life is for living, it's not the end of the world if my writing is never chosen for publication, and matters of faith are best learned not in preaching but in showing love to others to woo them to Christ.

This book is recommended for readers looking for a Christian book that is not preachy or moralistic.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Preacher's Bride

My review is at the end. Enjoy!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Preacher's Bride
Bethany House; Original edition (October 1, 2010)
Jody Hedlund


Jody has written novels for the last 16 years (with a hiatus when her children were young. In May of 2009 she double-finaled in the Genesis contest, a national fiction-writing contest for unpublished writers, sponsored by American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW.Shortly after the final, Jody acquired an agent, Rachelle Gardner of Word Serve Literary. Her agent spent the summer of 2009 working on selling her books. In September of that year, Jody signed a three-book deal with Bethany House Publishers. Jody’s debut novel, The Preacher’s Bride, releases in Oct. 2010. Her next book will release in 2011 and a third in 2012.


In 1650s England, a young Puritan maiden is on a mission to save the baby of her newly widowed preacher--whether her assistance is wanted or not. Always ready to help those in need, Elizabeth ignores John's protests of her aid. She's even willing to risk her lone marriage prospect to help the little family. Yet Elizabeth's new role as nanny takes a dangerous turn when John's boldness from the pulpit makes him a target of political and religious leaders. As the preacher's enemies become desperate to silence him, they draw Elizabeth into a deadly web of deception. Finding herself in more danger than she ever bargained for, she's more determined than ever to save the child--and man--she's come to love.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Preacher's Bride, go HERE.

Pattie's Review

The Preacher's Bride is more than just a romance. It is a fictional retelling of the story of John Bunyan and his second wife, Elizabeth. While the author freely admits to some artistic license (including a surname change), the story's framework is based upon truth.

I was engrossed in the book and found it an interesting and enjoyable read. Expect good things from Jody Hedlund in the future, to besure.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

So I've been scarce

I've been pretty scarce. Seems like I just don't have much to say on this blog lately. It's been interesting, this sitting out from serving year. I've been serving with Wives of Faith, an online support group, and I've been sorting and clearing paperwork at home, and I've been driving a lot more than I used to. I'm not singing on the praise team, or playing the piano, or doing all the things I used to do when my husband was a chaplain serving in a chapel.

Yep. It's been interesting.

I have also been trying to work on my freelance writing career, which has not gone as well as I had hoped, but I'm not giving up...yet.

In the meantime, I'm still here. You can just find me here instead.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fridays are for Starbucks

For the past few weeks, on most Friday evenings you could find me at a Starbucks just a mile up the road from my daughters' dance studio. Free wifi, a latte, and my laptop. It's a night to catch up on Wives of Faith (www.wivesoffaith) post scheduling, and finding writing markets, and just playing on Facebook sometimes.

I've been working on submitting pieces for publication in magazines, both print and online, and it's not going well at all. In fact, I've toyed with quitting my accountability group altogether because I think I'm the only one who hasn't received a "yes." But I don't quit. I stick things out to the bitter end, because I made a commitment.

I won't lie; it's discouraging.

I have cheerleaders who think I am a great writer, but I have evidence to the contrary. Or rather, not much evidence of publishability.

I press on, however.

In the meantime, I've been going through paperwork and sorting recycling from what needs shredded. I've found a lot of memories within my teaching files. I've been mourning a bit, the loss of the teacher I used to be. The teacher I fear I may never be again unless pressed into service out of necessity.

On the plus side, I have a conference I'm attending the weekend of my birthday (and since turning 40 last year was tough and not a little disappointing in the celebration department, I feel like I NEED this trip), and I'm excited and thrilled to go to Dallas! It will be such fun!

So that's the haps here chez Pattie.

Monday, October 18, 2010

While We're Far Apart

My review is at the end. Enjoy!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
While We're Far Apart
Bethany House (October 1, 2010)
Lynn Austin


It was during the long Canadian winters at home with her children that Lynn made progress on her dream to write, carving out a few hours of writing time each day while her children napped. Lynn credits her early experience of learning to write amid the chaos of family life for her ability to be a productive writer while making sure her family remains her top priority.

Along with reading, two of Lynn's lifelong passions are history and archaeology. While researching her Biblical fiction series, Chronicles of the Kings, these two interests led her to pursue graduate studies in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology through Southwestern Theological Seminary. She and her son traveled to Israel during the summer of 1989 to take part in an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Timnah. This experience contributed to the inspiration for her novel Wings of Refuge.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Five of her historical novels, Hidden Places, Candle in the Darkness, Fire by Night, A Proper Pursuit, and Until We Reach Home have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 for excellence in Christian Fiction. Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn's novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film.


In an unassuming apartment building in Brooklyn, New York, three lives intersect as the reality of war invades each aspect of their lives. Young Esther is heartbroken when her father decides to enlist in the army shortly after the death of her mother.

Penny Goodrich has been in love with Eddie Shaffer for as long as she can remember; now that Eddie's wife is dead, Penny feels she has been given a second chance and offers to care for his children in the hope that he will finally notice her and marry her after the war.

And elderly Mr. Mendel, the landlord, waits for the war to end to hear what has happened to his son trapped in war-torn Hungary. But during the long, endless wait for victory overseas, life on the home front will go from bad to worse.

Yet these characters will find themselves growing and changing in ways they never expected--and ultimately discovering truths about God's love...even when He is silent.

If you would like to read the first chapter of While We're Far Apart, go HERE.

Pattie's Review:

This is my first Lynn Austin book, and I am happy to recommend it to you.

The intertwining story arcs in this novel make for a very enjoyable read. I especially loved the Raoul Wallenberg story line. According to the author's note, Wallenberg worked tirelessly and in very creative ways to save 100,000 Jews from Hitler's evil extermination scheme during the latter years of World War II.

I recommend this book if you're a fan of historical Christian fiction. Lynn Austin made this more than a romance. It's a love story between parents and their children, God and His people, and yes, men and women.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Not Like Me

Welcome to the blog tour for the book Not Like Me by Eric Bryant.

About the Book:


We live in a diverse world filled with unprecedented opportunity. According to author Eric Michael Bryant in Not Like Me, formerly titled Peppermint-Filled Pinatas, we can become agents of change creating genuine unity among people from a variety of backgrounds and belief systems through our relationships. Through humorous stories and pointed insights gleaned from Eric's own personal experiences and failures, the experiences of others, and the life and teachings of Jesus, you will discover how to move beyond ethnic, racial, cultural, or ideological barriers towards genuine friendship with others. In our nation, an 'uncivil war' is raging. Liberals call for racial reconciliation and tolerance while conservatives tend to hide from our pluralistic world or fight against it. None of these approaches will last. We need to create a new future that connects to God's heart. We can remove the religious baggage of Christianity to discover the world Jesus intended. Followers of Christ will be inspired to actively engage the world in order to overcome stereotypes placed upon us and influence those who have not been interested in Jesus because of these stereotypes. In addition, spiritual seekers will find that when stripped away from the religion created around him, Jesus' dream for our world is remarkable and refreshing. In this new world, we can discover how to resolve conflict, overcome bitterness, create a better future, develop diverse communities, and enjoy our diverse world. Not Like Me also includes a brief article after each chapter with practical ways to apply the principles presented in that chapter. The contributors include: Ed Stetzer, Amena Brown, Margaret Feinberg, Kevin Harney, Dr. Gerardo Marti, Kim Martinez, Lon Wong, Mark DeYmaz, Princess Zulu, Dan Kimball, and Erwin McManus (Foreword).

Pattie's Thoughts:

I chose to be in this blog tour because the author got his D.Min. from Bethel Seminary, which is where my husband got his D.Min. Also, one of my husband's seminars was taught by Erwin McManus of Mosaic, and he wrote the forward to this book.

I have to be honest, I have not yet finished the book. However, it's really good so far. The main point of the first part of the book is this: To reach others for Jesus, we must love them. We must befriend them and love them and woo them to Christ--not throw tracts at them or speak Christianese at them. This often entails stepping out of our comfort zones.

I will be passing this book on to my husband, and when he's finished, we'll pass it along to other friends.

You can purchase the book from Amazon here, and learn about the author here.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

A Memory Between Us

Welcome to the LitFuse blog tour for A Memory Between Us by Sarah Sundin.

About the Book:

Can they overcome the past to find a brighter future together?

Major Jack Novak has never failed to meet a challenge--until he meets army nurse Lieutenant Ruth Doherty. When Jack lands in the army hospital after a plane crash, he makes winning Ruth's heart a top-priority mission. But he has his work cut out for him. Not only is Ruth focused on her work in order to support her orphaned siblings back home, she also is determined not to give her heart to any man.

As the danger and tension of World War II rise to a fever pitch, Jack and Ruth will need each other more than ever. Can Jack break down her defenses? Or are they destined to go their separate ways?

From the English countryside to the perilous skies over France, A Memory Between Us takes you on a journey through love, forgiveness, and sacrifice.

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

About the Author:

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

Pattie's Thoughts:

The second book in the Wings of Glory series is just as good, if not better than, the first. Jack and Ruth's story is intense and complex, as all wartime romances can be--but certainly not cut and dried and simple. Jack and Ruth each have a very real fear and a past to face--to borrow an image from mythology, a dragon to slay--before they can choose each other for better or for worse. At times it appears things can't get much worse.

Both Jack and Ruth are wonderfully human and complex characters. As a writer myself I'm amazed, really, at how well they're written. This is a nod to the author, Sarah Sundin, who is a truly skillful author.

Wonderfully drawn characters that seem to jump off the pages and snappy dialogue that sings make this World War II tale seem like a contemporary story.

As a nod to the first book, we do get to check in with Walt and Allie from A Distant Melody, which is always nice. In all honesty, however, this book is perfectly capable of standing alone.

I really identified with Jack's struggle--pilot or pastor?--but it's Ruth who tugged at my heartstrings. Wounded, weary, still learning how to trust God in every way.

I absolutely and wholeheartedly recommend Sarah Sundin's books to you. I anxiously await the next book in the series, Blue Skies Tomorrow, in eleven long months (scheduled for publication August 2011).

To read my review of the first book in this series, A Distant Melody, click here.

To purchase the novel, click here.

To enter Sarah's contest with fabulous giveaways, click here.

Special thanks to Revell/Baker Publishing and the gals at Lit Fuse
for a review copy of the novel.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Friday Felicities

Pattie's Felicities for Friday, October 8:

  • Seattle's Best French Roast Coffee, strongly brewed
  • Libraries
  • my Toyota RAV-4
  • Advil, for aches
  • Sheba, my laptop
  • God's Word

Join us?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

I won!
Just found out I won a copy of Jody Hedlund's debut novel! I'm excited!

Thanks to Keli!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Do You Know Who I Am?

Angela Thomas's newest book releases today: Do You Know Who I Am?

About the Book (from

In her book Do You Know Who I Am? Angela Thomas asks God if He knows her—and ultimately does He love her—as she is, right now, today. In each chapter, she names a different identity issue, such as: “I am invisible,” “I am worn out,” “I am undisciplined,” “I am ordinary,” and “I am afraid to dream.” With each honest admission, Angela teaches that God lovingly replies, “Yes, I know your heart. I see your struggle. Now…do you know who I AM?”

Ultimately Angela reveals that the secret to being known and loved lies in an intimate understanding of who God is. Each identity struggle is answered with a short biblical study on the character of God that assures readers that their personal, spiritual, and eternal fulfillment is not dependent on getting themselves together. Rather, God has a purpose for them just as they are—broken, afraid, disappointed, disillusioned.

Through vivid storytelling, biblical teaching, and practical application, readers will find the heartfelt answers they seek.

Pattie's Review:

Do You Know Who I Am? holds nothing back--and that's a good thing. In the transparent yet engaging - and encouraging - style of her previous books Do You Think I'm Beautiful? and A Beautiful Offering, Angela takes us into the Word of God in search of the question "Who am I?" and ends up asking God, "Do You know who I am?" God asks the same of us: "Do you know Who I AM?"

Each chapter examines an attribute of God in light of one of our own weaknesses as women. The answers are not Angela's, however--they are God's. Her Biblical scholarship is easy to follow and to understand, while being solid and thorough.

This book is a nice mix of real-life story and Biblical truth. I always enjoy Angela Thomas's books, and this one is no exception. It is a book to savor and to study. In fact, with questions for discussion in the back, I hope to study this book with a group at some point.

Thanks to Angela Thomas and her publisher, Howard Books/Simon & Schuster,
for a review copy of this book.

Why Are You Working?

As you may remember, I recently partnered up with Making Work at Home Work as a blogger.

By Mary M. Byers

Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who don't know why they are working. Most assume that they are working for money. But when I talk to people about the topic, I hear a lot of different reasons for work. Some work for the mental stimulation. Some to keep their skills up to date. Other work to support their scrapbooking habit or to be able to purchase cosmetics at a discount.

There's a big difference between working to put food on the table vs.working for the "extras" such as summer camp or a vacation. Both are legitimate but it's essential to be honest about your motivation. Knowing what drives you will help you keep your priorities in order. When my children were young, I worked for the extras. However, instead of stopping when I earned enough to help with vacation costs I kept right on going, becoming a workaholic in the process. It didn't serve me or my family. When I recognized my error, I was able to cut back on work in order to create a healthier balance. Now that my children are school-age and I'm working to help cover orthodontia, tuition and retirement, I've increased my hours accordingly.

Understanding why you are working makes it easier to make tough work-related decisions. Will you work on the weekends? Stay up late to get it all done? If you're working to put food on the table, the answer will more likely be yes. But if you're working for the fun of it, you may choose not to compromise family time by late night or weekend work. When you know why you are working, it gets easier to decide what kind of boundaries you'll adhere to.

Mary Byers is the author of Making Work at Home Work: Successfully Growing a Business and a Family Under One Roof. You can learn more about making work at home work by subscribing to Mary’s free blog at Interested in more articles like this? Join the blog ring here.

Monday, October 04, 2010

CFBA presents Within My Heart

My review at the end. Enjoy!
This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Within My Heart
Bethany House; Original edition (September 1, 2010)

Tamera Alexander


Tamera Alexander is the best-selling author of Rekindled, Revealed and Remembered, the critically acclaimed Fountain Creek Chronicles historical series with Bethany House Publishers. Her second historical series, Timber Ridge Reflections (From a Distance, Beyond This Moment, and Within My Heart), penned in her style with deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots, and poignant prose have earned her devoted readers—and multiple industry awards.

These awards include the 2009 and 2008 Christy Award, the 2007 RITA for Best Inspirational Romance, the 2009 and 2007 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, 2007 Bookseller’s Best Award, and Library Journal’s Top Christian Fiction for 2006, among others.

After living in Colorado for seventeen years, Tamera has returned to her Southern roots. She and her husband now make their home in Nashville with Tamera's father, Doug. They enjoy life there with Joe and Tamera's two adult children, and Jack, a precious—and precocious—silky terrier.


Widow Rachel Boyd struggles to keep her ranch afloat and provide for her two young sons, though some days it feels as though her efforts are sabotaged at every turn. When her cattle come down with disease and her sons' lives are endangered, she must turn to Rand Brookston, Timber Ridge's physician and reluctant veterinarian. While Rachel appreciates his help, she squelches any feelings she might have for Rand--her own father was a doctor and his patients always took priority over his family. Rachel refuses to repeat the mistakes her mother made. But when she's courted by a wealthy client of the local resort, she faces a choice: self-sufficiency and security or the risk inherent in the deepest of loves.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Within My Heart, go HERE.

Pattie's Review:

I have not read any of Tamera Alexander's books, and when I requested it I thought I was requesting a historical mystery (turns out I mistakenly thought it was a "Tasha Alexander" book, and I was thrilled she was writing for the Christian market. Oops!).

At any rate, I enjoyed this book. It's a sweet, well-written Christian historical novel. The characters drew me in and captured my interest. I was surprised to see this is the third in a series. I didn't feel the lack of not having read the first two books at all, and I think that speaks for good writing and plot structure. All in all, if you enjoy historical Christian fiction, this is a good book for you.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Daddy's Delight: Embracing Your Divine Design

Welcome to the blog tour for Daddy's Delight by Dr. Karia Bunting.

About the Author:

Meet the author of Daddy’s Delight, Karia Bunting.

Karia Bunting (Dallas Theological Seminary; Louisiana Baptist Theological Seminary; University of Texas) is an expository Bible teacher and the founder of Focused Forward Ministries. She currently serves as an adjunct professor at Dallas Baptist University and teaches a weekly Bible study at her church, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. Karia and her husband, George, live in Dallas and have three children

Learn more about Karia at

About the Book:

In Daddy's Delight, Karia Bunting reminds women that they are God's workmanship, His masterpiece, His "poema". That God has intricately woven together every fiber of their being and created each one special and unique. That God, having completed His work of art, gave her to mankind as a gift.

Evident in this great care God took in fashioning woman is the importance and value of each one. So why do so many women struggle with God's design, wishing they could change just this or that one thing about themselves?

Bunting challenges each reader to accept and embrace the fact that, in whatever season of life, she is God's masterpiece-not her own work of art. When God sees her, He sees His beautiful creation. A creation that yes, has some wrinkles needing to be smoothed out and yet, is one in whom is His delight to love to perfection.

Pattie's Review:

Daddy's Delight is a straightforward, unapologetically Biblical book about the role of women. Bunting addresses each facet of womanhood: single, married, mothers, working/career women, and women in ministry.

Bunting discusses how we can prepare ourselves in service in each of these areas, teaching about the biblical instructions for each category. She includes a few examples from her life and the lives of other women, but the bulk of the book is her own teachings about the roles of women--their divine design, to borrow from the subtitle.

To be honest, I thought this book would be more about finding my divine design, not being told what my biblical role is. I was a little disappointed in that regard.

Nevertheless, the book is easy to understand, well-thought-out and written, and heavily researched with Scripture.


Daddy’s Delight on Amazon

Karia Bunting’s Website

Karia Bunting’s Blog

Karia Bunting’s Facebook Profile

Follow Karia Bunting on Twitter

List of all participating bloggers

Special thanks to Tina of Blog Tour Spot and the folks at Moody Publishers
for a review copy of this book.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall Into Reading 2010

Learn more about the challenge here.

This is my fourth Fall into Reading reading challenge here at Fresh-Brewed Writer. Wow!

Here are the books I will be reading:

Monday, September 20, 2010

Devotionals for Wives of Faith

If you're interested in writing devotionals
for Wives of Faith's new blog feature:

We are looking for a 200-400-word devotional thought: a main Scripture verse, a paragraph or two, and a 2-3 line prayer. While the sample below is a generic one, we'd love for your devotional to be relevant in some way to the military wife life: something that God has shown you in your Bible reading, or a lesson you have learned that you'd love to share.

Email completed devotions to and we’ll give you a byline. We ask that you follow our writing guidelines (except of course for the word length) as outlined on our site (

Devotionals will be featured on the “In Focus” window on the front page of

Thanks for your writing and your willingness to serve!

Generic Sample, 165 words; written by my husband and published in Open Windows:

Listen . . . and Build Trust

Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge. Proverbs 22:17

People often say, “I wish I knew what God wants me to do.” If you have heard or thought those words, you aren’t alone. Sometimes I’ve longed to know which direction to go next. However, I’ve never audibly heard God speak, or tell me exactly the next step to take. Instead, discerning the path God has set requires an ongoing process to clarify God’s leading.

Solomon tells how to discern what God wants: pay attention, listen, and apply wise teachings. We are actively listening for what God has to say. We listen for God’s direction by reading Scripture, praying, attending worship, participating in Bible studies, and engaging in conversation with other believers.

As we listen for God to speak to us through our daily spiritual disciplines, we begin to build confidence and trust in God and value godly counsel.

Father, speak to us so we may be sure to follow Your will for us.
Help us to listen so we learn to confidently trust You.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

CFBA presents Immanuel's Veins by Ted Dekker

There is a fountain, filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel's veins...

My review is at the end. Enjoy!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Immanuel's Veins
Thomas Nelson (September 7, 2010)

Ted Dekker


Ted Dekker is a New York Times best-selling author of more than twenty novels. He is best known for stories which could be broadly described as suspense thrillers with major twists and unforgettable characters, though he has also made a name for himself among fantasy fans.

Early in his career he wrote a number of spiritual thrillers and his novels were lumped in with ‘Christian Fiction’ a surprisingly large category. His later novels are a mix of mainstream novels such as Adam, Thr3e, Skin, Obsessed and BoneMan’s Daughters, and fantasy thrillers that metaphorically explore faith. Best known among these is his Circle Series: Green, Black, Red, White and The Paradise Books: Showdown, Saint, and Sinner.

Dekker was born to missionaries who lived among the headhunter tribes of Indonesia. Because his parents’ work often included extended periods of time away from their children, Dekker describes his early life in a culture to which he was a stranger as both fascinating and lonely. It is this unique upbringing that forced him to rely on his own imagination to create a world in which he belonged.

After leaving Indonesia, Dekker graduated from a multi-cultural high school and took up permanent residence in the United States to study philosophy and religion. Upon earning his Bachelor’s Degree, he entered the corporate world and proceeded to climb the proverbial ladder. But his personal drive left him restless and, after many successful years, he traded corporate life for wide range of entrepreneurial pursuits that included buying and selling businesses, healthcare services, and marketing.

In the early nineties while visiting a friend who had just written a book, Dekker decided to pursue a long held desire to be a novelist. Over the course of two years he wrote two full length novels before starting from scratch and rewriting both. Now fully enamored by the the process and the stories, he realized that storytelling was in his blood and a new obsession to explore truth through story gripped him anew.

He sold his business, moved his family to the mountains of Western Colorado and began writing full-time on his third novel. Two years and three novels later his first novel, Heaven’s Wager, was published.

Now, Dekker’s novels had sold over 3.4 million copies worldwide. Two of his novels, Thr3e and House, have been made into movies with more in production. Dekker resides in Austin, Texas with his wife Lee Ann and two of their daughters.


This story is for everyone--but not everyone is for this story.

It is a dangerous tale of times past. A torrid love story full of deep seduction. A story of terrible longing and bold sacrifice.

Then as now, evil begins its courtship cloaked in light. And the heart embraces what it should flee. Forgetting it once had a truer lover.

With a kiss, evil will ravage body, soul, and mind. Yet there remains hope, because the heart knows no bounds.

Love will prove greater than lust. Sacrifice will overcome seduction. And blood will flow.

Because the battle for the heart is always violently opposed. For those desperate to drink deep from this fountain of life, enter.

But remember, not everyone is for this story.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Immanuel's Veins, go HERE.

Watch the book trailer:

Thomas Nelson asks:

What is sacrificial love?

My answer:

Sacrificial love is just as it says: love that sacrifices. Love that gives without expecting anything in return. Love given freely. Love like the love Jesus Christ exhibited for us on the cross.

I am probably as guilty as the next person of not always loving in a sacrificial way. So often we as human beings get caught up in "what's in it for me" kind of love. Sacrificial love is hard. It's sometimes painful. Often it's exhausting. But it's necessary. Oh, it's necessary to show Christ's love that way.

As part of this blog tour, I was gifted with a t-shirt that says "Share the Love." It's an outline drawing of a human heart, and it's a little startling (and not what I'd usually wear). But it's true. Sacrificial love can feel like it's giving our life's blood out of our own muscley, beating heart.

Read Ted Dekker's post on "Share the Love" here.

Pattie's Book Review:

I was immediately skeptical of this book because of the many pages of endorsements preceding the beginning. After awhile, it was like, "C'mon, how many people do you really need to tell me I should be reading the book I have in my hands right now?" (I think I've become a bit jaded on the endorsement thing at the beginning of novels!)

This is the first Ted Dekker novel I've read, although I've seen his name among discussions between authors online about Christian fiction. I guess that makes me a bit of a voyeur, because instead of reading his work, I was reading about what others said about him and his work.

The reason I chose this book to review was the love story and "not everyone is for this book" tag line. Otherwise I may have passed it up, as intense and/or scary suspense is not always my first choice in pleasure reading.

If I'd known it was a vampire-type book, I may have passed. As it was, by the time I figured out that it truly was (wanting to give the benefit of the doubt in spite of the chalice on the cover), I was engrossed enough in the story to want to finish and find out the end.

I did like how the story drew me in to the world of centuries ago, with the folklore that was not quite Bram Stoker but also not quite like anything else either. I was not really put off by the sensual imagery, although I can see how others might be (leading to the banning of this book in Holland). What I find intriguing is that Dekker said on Facebook, "The book is a passionate tale of God’s love for his bride, perhaps the most Christian book I’ve ever written." To be completely honest, I never thought of Jesus' love being seen in that way. It's certainly food for thought.


To enter and win a t-shirt, all you need to do is comment on my blog here with your name and a way for me to get hold of you, be it through your own blog or your email address. If you are the winner, I'll contact you to get your name, mailing address, and t-shirt size. That's it! So leave a comment and "Share the Love" with me! :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010


We will never forget.

I blogged about 9-11-01 today over at Wives of Faith.

Friday, September 10, 2010

If you'd like a good cry

Please visit the Compassion blog tour stops of Ann Voskamp's visit with Xiomara and Amanda Moore Jones' description of worship.

I'm pretty sure I didn't know about this because I've been spending less time online lately. These blogs just tugged at my heartstrings.

For Time and Eternity

Welcome to the blog tour of Allison Pittman's latest novel For Time and Eternity.

I was recently given the opportunity to review Allison Pittman's latest novel and I'm so glad! It is excellent.

From the press release:

You've probably heard or been told - Mormons are just like Christians. You may even have formed an opinion on the topic or listened to a debate. But there's nothing like the power of a story to show Truth.

Allison Pittman is very familiar with the world of Mormonism. Her husband left it to become a Christian in high school and she grew up in Utah, the center of Mormonism in America. She now lives in San Antonio, the site of a new Mormon temple.

So when Allison writes an emotional story of a woman married to a member of the Mormon church--when she pens a story so gripping you don't even realize you're being shown the stark differences between Mormonism and Christianity, so deep are you within this woman's heart and mind--readers are about to lose a night of sleep.

Pattie's Review:

Well, I didn't have to lose any sleep -I was given the opportunity of a couple of hours at the dance studio one night, followed by a couple of hours at the dance studio the next afternoon, to finish the book.

I enjoyed this novel very much. I think it's the first fiction book I've ever read that really deals with the inherent theological differences between Mormons and evangelical Christians. Allison Pittman's writing style has the ease and readability of a contemporary novel in the framework of history. For Time and Eternity is easy to read, intriguing, and skillfully shows the subtle deceptions of the Mormon faith.

As I read this novel, my enjoyment was coupled with a sadness and heaviness in my spirit at how inadequately I have understood what Mormons (or as they call themselves, Latter-Day Saints) believe, and how I've never been able to adequately witness to my Mormon acquaintances through the years. Maybe, however, as Allison Pittman says in the interview concluding the book, all that we need to do is love them. And I have. And I pray that they will seek and find the true person of Jesus Christ as our Savior, not as our "brother."

(Slight spoiler alert!) Unfortunately for those who like a "happily-ever-after" ending, this book does have a sudden ending without a satisfying (to me, anyway) resolution, which leads smartly into the next book in the series (thank you, Tyndale House, for including Chapter 1 of the next novel, Forsaking All Others).

Another aside: I recently discovered I live in the next town over from Allison Pittman, and I visited the writing group she co-leads a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately due to the aforementioned dance studio time, I won't be able to be an active member of the group. I hope to *really* meet her someday.

Special thanks to Rebeca Seitz of Glass Road Public Relations
for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,
and thanks also to Tyndale House Publishers
for a review copy of the novel.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Fall into Reading

Learn more here.

I believe this is my fourth Fall into Reading reading challenge, at least here at Fresh-Brewed Writer.

I'll be formulating my list and beginning on September 22!

Thursday, September 02, 2010


Today I blogged about obedience, Naaman, and schadenfreude over at Wives of Faith. :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

God Sized Dream

I attended a "Transitions of the Heart" webinar given today, and the speaker was author and blogger Holley Gerth, cofounder of the (in)Courage blog. What an encouraging time for me to listen to her answer questions about how to find our God-sized dreams, how to confirm them, how God affirms them.

It was, in its own way, an affirmation for ME. Because people who know me in real life as well as in my cyber-life know that I love writing, and that my big huge dream is to have a book published.

I'm not naive. I know this is a nearly impossible task. I read author blogs, and I keep up with publishing news. I know how very difficult, long, and hard the road to publication is. How fraught with conflict, littered with discarded pages and flash drives, marked by rejection.

I know. But God will not let me let go of this dream. This is why I believe it's from Him.

A very long time ago, I wrote a note to author Robin Jones Gunn, telling her I loved her books (it was when the Glenbrooke series was first beginning). She told me that I should pursue my dream of writing, and to get Sally Stuart's market guide and start writing.

Well, Robin, if you ever read this, I'm finally taking you up on that. (What can I say, I'm slow. Plus I had a full teaching career and two babies and several churches and hubby's job transitions all in there too.)

My goal is to get 10 articles out there, submitted to the world of publishing, by the end of the year.

Will God hone and refine my dream? Perhaps. Is it from Him? Well, I have to believe it is. It's been independently confirmed for me by many people, and not just my best friends and family--others who know me primarily by my work, not by my person.

Only time will tell, however, if it will ever come to fruition.

God Sized Dream

I attended a "Transitions of the Heart" webinar given today, and the speaker was author and blogger Holley Gerth, cofounder of the (in)Courage blog. What an encouraging time for me to listen to her answer questions about how to find our God-sized dreams, how to confirm them, how God affirms them.

It was, in its own way, an affirmation for ME. Because people who know me in real life as well as in my cyber-life know that I love writing, and that my big huge dream is to have a book published.

I'm not naive. I know this is a nearly impossible task. I read author blogs, and I keep up with publishing news. I know how very difficult, long, and hard the road to publication is. How fraught with conflict, littered with discarded pages and flash drives, marked by rejection.

I know. But God will not let me let go of this dream. This is why I believe it's from Him.

A very long time ago, I wrote a note to author Robin Jones Gunn, telling her I loved her books (it was when the Glenbrooke series was first beginning). She told me that I should pursue my dream of writing, and to get Sally Stuart's market guide and start writing.

Well, Robin, if you ever read this, I'm finally taking you up on that. (What can I say, I'm slow. Plus I had a full teaching career and two babies and several churches and hubby's job transitions all in there too.)

My goal is to get 10 articles out there, submitted to the world of publishing, by the end of the year.

Will God hone and refine my dream? Perhaps. Is it from Him? Well, I have to believe it is. It's been independently confirmed for me by many people, and not just my best friends and family--others who know me primarily by my work, not by my person.

Only time will tell, however, if it will ever come to fruition.

Friday, August 27, 2010


I've been absent from this blog for a bit, and I could claim busyness, but it's been more than that.

I've been adjusting.

It's not easy, adjusting. Being the new girl everywhere I go. Not knowing where to find certain things, or getting lost, or knowing what to do or where to go when your molar crown breaks.

Those of my readers who are military wives, or wives of men who have transitory careers, may understand more than those who are not. When our husbands report for duty, they have a built-in network of people in their new coworkers. Especially in a one-year program like my husband's, team-building is a necessary part of the training, but it also affords him instant friends.

Not so for me, especially since we live off base. It takes a whole lot more work and a whole lot more bravery than I feel most of the time, to make new friends.

I have plenty of friends. Shoot, I have hundreds if my Facebook profile is to be believed. I even have a few friends in this area. I have also met several nice and friendly women since we moved here.

But it's still hard, sometimes, feeling out of sorts, unadjusted, like the new girl whose hair and clothes are out of place in a new school.


What I've been doing is some writing and some exploring of options towards publication. I've also continued working with Wives of Faith. So I'm far from bored.

I'm just adjusting.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad Part 2

Welcome to Day Two of the Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad book blog tour at Fresh-Brewed Writer! Shari Braendel's book is exactly what it says it is: help for the fashion-challenged gal like me!

About the Book:

Read my post from yesterday.

Pattie's Review:

First of all, I really like this book. It's easy to read and easy to understand, because Shari does not talk down to the fashion challenged. Nor does she assume anything. She gives step-by-step instructions about clothing, makeup, how to find your proper sizing for foundational undergarments, jeans and swimsuits, accessorizing for those of us who don't wear many accessories, and on and on.

I highly, highly recommend this book.

Pattie's Story:

I used to be a teacher, and when I was in the classroom I wore simple but nice dressy-casual clothing: slacks and shirts that were neat and clean, that required minimal to no ironing, and comfortable shoes from Payless, usually. I was not expected to be a paragon of fashion, as my teachers were not for me (one of my own English teachers, in fact, was known for her loud 70s-style dresses and tops, and this was in the middle of the big-hair, neon and shoulder-padded 80s).

I left the classroom completely in 2006, and in 2007 was hired at a fitness facility for women. Here I was expected to wear sweatpants and t-shirts and zip-front hoodies. Anything considered fitness wear that was clean, with tennis shoes.

Gradually I whittled my wardrobe down, because the rule of thumb is to get rid of clothing if you haven't worn it for a year, right? Besides which, we were in an extreme northern climate, so much of my summer-ish wardrobe disappeared--and my nice teaching clothes were slowly becoming outdated.

Fast forward to 2010, where we're now in an extremely warm (okay, HOT!) southern climate and I have a wardrobe of sweatpants, many t-shirts with emblems from my former job, a few tops from Old Navy, and very few nice outfits.

What's a mom to do? Well, as I work through Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad, I will work with my body type (I'm a b), skin tone (clear, as best I can figure--go to Shari's site and take the free color e-nalysis), style (pure natural), and once I find a new hairdresser, a better haircut and advice on hair color. And gradually, I'll find more pieces to complement all of the above.

About the Fashion Makeover Contest:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Complete and submit the entry form at, Shari Braendel FaceBook page, Zondervan FaceBook page, Zondervan Twitter account between August 9, 2010 at 9:00 a.m. (EST) and August 28, 2010 at 5:00 p.m (EST). **Only one entry per person, so only choose one entry point!**

First Prize: One Winner will receive . . .
One $500 Visa gift card, one web camera, one-hour fashion consultation with Shari Braendel via Skype, one set of color swatches, and one autographed copy of Good Girls Don’t Have to Dress Bad. Approximate retail value: $600. The fashion consultation will be scheduled at a mutually convenient time for the winner and Ms. Braendel on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday between September 15 and November 15, 2010.

Second Prize: Three Winners will receive . . .
One $100 Visa gift card, one 30-minute fashion consultation with Shari Braendel via telephone, one set of color swatches, and one autographed copy of Good Girls Don’t Have to Dress Bad. Approximate retail value: $450. The fashion consultation will be scheduled at a mutually convenient time for the winner and Ms. Braendel on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday between September 15 and November 15, 2010.

Third Prize: Ten Winners will receive . . .
One autographed copy of Good Girls Don’t Have to Dress Bad. Approximate retail value $150.

For complete details, visit Shari’s website.

Other Details:

You can order the book here. And if you'd like to read other opinions about this book, please stop by here.

and of course the amazing publishing house of Zondervan,
who sent me a review copy of this book.