Thursday, May 27, 2010

Almost Forever

Apologies for lateness in posting. This was supposed to be posted on our load-the-truck moving day, but I was detained by a car accident (and yes, I'm okay).

From the publicity office:

Deb Raney delivers an emotion-packed, gripping story.

A firefighter's wife, Bryn thinks she knows more than most just how dangerous fire can be. Yet when it takes the life of her husband and four other firefighters, Bryn sees fire for the thief it truly is.

From their mutual despair, Bryn and another firefighter's surviving spouse form a close friendship. As the relationship begins to blossom into more, though, the thief comes again and Bryn must face the question: what caused the fire that stole her husband's life?

About the author:

The award-winning, best-selling author of over twenty novels, Deborah Raney always delivers poignant stories of what it means to wrestle with the realities of a world in chaos...and emerge triumphant.

Her books have received the RITA Award, HOLT Medallion, National Readers' Choice Award, Silver Angel, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. Her novel, A Vow To Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Visit her blog at

Pattie's thoughts:

I enjoyed this book. It's what I've come to expect from Deb Raney: clean, engrossing fiction with strong characters, a good storyline, and realistic faith-grappling issues. In particular, I enjoyed the character of Bryn, because I could really empathize with her struggle.

This book is a little harder to get into, because it begins with a tragedy. Tragic circumstances force Bryn into denial, then acceptance, of a terrible situation, and her circumstances are difficult, to say the least. Does all end well, Perhaps, in a way. The tragedy is still tragic, of course, but Bryn's pain sees the touch of redemption and hope.

I look forward to reading more in this series.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster
and Rebeca from Glass Road PR
for a review copy of this novel.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Different experience for me today

If you follow Wives of Faith, you'll know that our founder and Queen--er, President--Sara Horn was interviewed this past week at the Focus on the Family campus about her book GOD Strong.

True confession: We've been squealing like little girls on the phone with each other about it since she got the news! Yeah, I know, we're grown-ups, but sometimes a girl's gotta squeal with a girlfriend!

Well. Today I was checking email around lunchtime and got a shock. This blog entry caught the eye of a producer from Focus on the Family, who emailed me asking if she could interview me on the phone for the radio show featuring Sara.

More squealing ensued on the phone, I must admit!

So I talked with the gal, who was very nice, for about 15 minutes or so. I was very, very nervous, and I tend to babble when I get nervous; but like one of my other friends pointed out, she's in radio---she can edit.

I don't know yet if they'll use what I had to say, but all I can say is May God be glorified in it all, and help someone who needs encouragement in this crazy military spouse life.


Chalk this one up to a new experience

If you follow Wives of Faith, you'll know that our founder and Queen--er, President--Sara Horn was interviewed this past week at the Focus on the Family campus about her book GOD Strong.

True confession: We've been squealing like little girls on the phone with each other about it since she got the news! Yeah, I know, we're grown-ups, but sometimes a girl's gotta squeal with a girlfriend!

Well. Today I was checking email around lunchtime and got a shock. This blog entry caught the eye of a producer from Focus on the Family, who emailed me asking if she could interview me on the phone for the radio show featuring Sara.

More squealing ensued on the phone, I must admit!

So I talked with the gal, who was very nice, for about 15 minutes or so. I was very, very nervous, and I tend to babble when I get nervous; but like one of my other friends pointed out, she's in radio---she can edit.

I don't know yet if they'll use what I had to say, but all I can say is May God be glorified in it all, and help someone who needs encouragement in this crazy military spouse life.


Menu for Romance

Kaye Dacus follows up her debut novel Stand-In Groom with this lovely new offering in the "Brides of Bonneterre" series, Menu for Romance.

Publisher's Summary:
After eight years of unrequited love, Meredith Guidry decides it’s time to move on, to try to find someone who’ll love her in return. So she makes a prayerful New Year’s resolution to meet someone new and end her single status by year’s end. And when the handsome contractor she hires to finish remodeling her house asks her out, it looks like her prayer may have been answered. But dating the handsome contractor doesn’t seem to do anything to lessen Meredith’s feelings toward a certain chef she works with every day.
Executive Chef Major O’Hara has foresworn relationships, knowing he could never saddle the woman he loves with a family situation like his. When he’s offered the opportunity of a lifetime—to open his own restaurant—he must weigh his family responsibilities and feelings for Meredith with the desire to move forward in his career. Should he leave his comfortable job—and Meredith—for this once in a lifetime chance? And can he create a menu for romance to win Meredith back before he loses her forever? Will God serve up a solution before it’s too late?
Meredith Guidry, caterer extraordinaire, is at war - at war with herself! She is fighting her feelings for her Executive Chef, Major O'Hara; she's fighting her desire for true love. She even fights her own family! But when she decides to do something about it, sparks are flying everywhere.
I love Meredith's character, but there are times she frustrated me. Fortunately, she's a lovable gal and so very spunky! It's nice that she gets her own novel this time around.
Major has his own issues, and for the most part, I can understand why he is motivated to keep his family situation a secret. That doesn't make me any less frustrated with him throughout the novel, however.
And John Wayne. What else can be said about the Duke, except he makes a fine character in this novel.
We get to revisit the Guidry family in all its sibling-rivalry beauty. I enjoyed my second visit to Bonneterre, and I look forward to future offerings from this lovely, enjoyable author.
It's a romance, a Southern family novel, a comedy, a spiritual journey, and an atypical love story.
To read an excerpt from this delightful novel, click here.
To learn more about Kaye, visit her website.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Down to the Wire

Well, it's down to the wire. Crunch time. Only a few days left of having regular internet access at home. Of living half-in and half-out of boxes and suitcases. It's the week of finishing all those tasks I didn't find time to do earlier. Of lasts. Of goodbyes. Of farewells.

I feel badly that I began this blog, accumulated a baker's dozen followers, and now I have to go! I am not closing this blog, however. I'm not sure what God has in mind for me as a writer, yet I'm fairly certain it will have much to do with supporting military and civilian ministry wives.

So for now, I'll say, "See you later," and next time I post I'll be further south!

PS: The party I mentioned last week? It was really good.
Buy One Give One

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Faces in the Crowd

Faces in the Crowd: Reaching Your International Neighbor for Christ
by Donna S. Thomas

Press Release:

America continues to remain a melting pot for various internationals to call home. For hundreds of years we have opened our arms to a population of multicultural religions and spiritual preferences. In spite of our welcoming borders, our churches have struggled to effectively reach many of these groups for Christ.

Donna Thomas, a veteran missionary, writes a practical how-to book on the subject, seasoning the book with anecdotes of personal conversations she has enjoyed with different faces in the crowd. Along with heartwarming stories, each chapter includes things to consider and action steps to help apply each lesson. Donna tackles the tough subject of finding, reaching and effectively sharing Christ's love with international neighbors. These easy-to-implement personal evangelism tools equip readers with the basics and stirs up the desire to share the gospel of Jesus with others.

To learn more about Donna's ministry, click here. You may also purchase her books there.

To purchase the book: Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Thanks to Kathy Carlton Willis Communications for a review copy of this book.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Life in Defiance

Life in Defiance, the third in the Defiance Texas Trilogy by Mary E. DeMuth

The blog tour for this book is not for a few weeks, but I wanted to post my review now while the book is fresh in my mind.

From the back cover:

The killing of Daisy Chance continues to haunt Defiance, Texas, even as Ouisie Pepper wrestles with a defiance of her own. Desperate to become the wife and mother her husband Hap demands, Ouisie pours over a simple book about womanhood. She is sure that if she can just perfect herself, she will calm her husband's rages--and maybe even stop drinking herself.

In the midst of her constant attempts at self-improvement, Ouisie carries a terrible burden: she knows who killed Daisy Chance. And she refuses to tell. As her children inch closer to uncovering the killer's identity and Hap's rages roar louder and become increasingly violent, Ouisie has to make a decision. Will she protect her children by telling her secret? Or will the anger she fears silence them all?

Set on the backdrop of Defiance, Texas, this compelling suspense novel is rich in relationships and soul questions. It is about a choice we will all face sooner or later: whether to reveal the truth or live with the consequences of burying it forever.

Pattie's Thoughts:

It is hard to know what to write in a review of the much-anticipated third book in a trilogy suspense series without violating my own Cardinal Rule: Don't spoil the ending of a book.

As with both of the other books in this series, Life in Defiance is wonderfully crafted and beautifully written. Art. Beauty. Even the title is symbolic.

Mary DeMuth's writing certainly does not disappoint. Once again we can taste the dust, feel the bruises on a chilly winter day, and strongly sympathize with our narrator. In fact, I found Ouisie Pepper to be the character out of this whole series with whom I identify the most strongly.* I identified with Ouisie for her desire to please others. I identified with her never-ending quest for perfecting herself. And I identified with her reluctance to lead the Bible study.

In my other reviews, I mentioned that other book reviewers seemed to throw the word redemption around like confetti when writing about the first two books. I am very happy to say that I found it in this novel, at last. There is a turning point scene at Lake Pisgah marking the beginning of the end of the novel for me, and it made me cry it was so beautiful.

As I read this novel, I kept picturing a scene from Mary's book trailer for Thin Places, of her walking on a Texas road. With Mary's writing, it's all about the journey, not the destination. For those who are anxious to find out who killed Daisy, I know your impatience. I felt the anxious waiting myself! But don't skip the descriptions. Don't forsake the journey for the destination.

Just a note about the mystery at hand. I am happy to report that the mystery is solved well, and it was not who I suspected it was. This makes me happy, because there's nothing worse than an implausible ending to a mystery. Stump me without a red herring or a deus ex machina and I'm a happy reader.

* = (I feel compelled to make this disclaimer for my friends and family who read this: No, I don't drink, and my minister husband is most definitely not abusive.)

Mary is known both for her moving fiction and her nonfiction parenting books. She's one of those rare authors who can write both and write them well.

To purchase on Amazon, please click here.

Here is my review of Daisy Chain (book 1) and my review of A Slow Burn (book 2).

Thanks to Tina at Blog Tour Spot for arranging my review copy
from Zondervan. Thank you also to Zondervan!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Just because I'm me

I'm weird.

I crave words of affirmation, but I'm embarrassed to listen to compliments. I think that makes me weird. Don't you?

Since we're moving in a few short weeks, my husband and I had planned to let our girls throw a goodbye party for their friends, and we chose Sunday the 16th as the best date in our crazy schedule. Then, I talked to one of my friends at chapel, a commander's wife, who said that was the same date she'd chosen for a goodbye social for two ladies leaving: the outgoing deputy commander's wife, and me. I told her she didn't have to do that for me, etc. You know the drill. But she was obviously upset about it, even though her words said, "It's ok."

So I figured it this way: My husband isn't even that unit's chaplain anymore, and this other gal who's also leaving had done a lot for the group! I mean a LOT. She is at every event, always in the kitchen, taking care of details, organizing--whereas at those events, I try to help but get chased out of the kitchen. So it wouldn't matter much if I wasn't there. I didn't deserve it anyway.

On Sunday, I was talking to the group commander (whose wife is the one throwing the party, but I sing with him on the praise team), and he said, "You know, my wife is really disappointed you won't be able to come next week. Is there any way you could come for even part of it?" I expressed to him what I just described in the preceding paragraph. He looked at me straight in the eye and said, "But that doesn't matter. You don't have to do anything. You are Pattie. She wants to have you there because of who you are. Not what you do."


In spite of myself, I began to tear up a little, said thank you, and changed the subject. I grabbed my husband a few minutes later and asked him if he minded if I split my time, by attending part of the party at her house, and then arriving a bit late at the pizza place for the girls' party. He said that was fine with him, no problem, and I should go.

When I saw my friend and told her I could come for the first hour, she was absolutely ecstatic. She was practically bouncing in glee! I was happy to have made her happy, and floored once again that she really wanted to do this for me.

I say this not to brag on myself--far from it. I tell this story because it's a good illustration of grace. Something given to me I absolutely don't deserve, something I did not earn, something I'm humbled to receive, and something given just because I'm me.

That's grace.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Turned it in

I just electronically submitted my short story revision for my creative writing class. I don't feel like it's really done, but when is a piece ever completely done?

However, with this story, my instructor agreed with me that it's a novel-sized idea that I had to shrinkwrap small enough for a short story. This meant I had to really cut a lot of good stuff. That hurts!

I still think this is my novel, the one I need to write. Maybe, finally, I found the format I need to really tell this story that's haunted me, taunted me, since I picked up that journal eight years ago this summer.

Sage without Parsley, Rosemary, or Thyme

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Woman Called Sage
Zondervan (April 1, 2010)

DiAnn Mills


Award-winning author, DiAnn Mills, launched her career in 1998 with the publication of her first book. Currently she has over forty books in print and has sold more than a million copies.

DiAnn believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” DiAnn Mills is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels.

Six of her anthologies have appeared on the CBA Best Seller List. Three of her books have won the distinction of Best Historical of the Year by Heartsong Presents. Five of her books have won placements through American Christian Fiction Writer’s Book of the Year Awards 2003 – 2007, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005 and 2007. She was a Christy Awards finalist in 2008.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope and Love, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also a mentor for Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writer’s Guild.

She lives in sunny Houston, Texas. DiAnn and her husband have four adult sons and are active members of Metropolitan Baptist Church.


They took away everything she, she’s out for revenge.

Sage Morrow had it all: life on a beautiful Colorado ranch, a husband who adored her, and a baby on the way. Until five ruthless gunmen rode up to their ranch and changed her life forever. Now Sage is a bounty hunter bent on retribution.

Accompanied only by her majestic hawk, she travels throughout the Rocky Mountains in search of injustice, determined to stamp it out wherever it’s found. The stakes are raised when two young boys are kidnapped and Sage is forced to work with Marshall Parker Timmons to rescue them. But Sage may ultimately get more than she bargained for.

In this exciting historical romance set in the late 1800s, murder, intrigue, kidnapping, and questions of faith will keep you in suspense until the final pages.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Woman Called Sage, go HERE.

Watch the Video Book Trailer:

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Where My Strength Comes From

Wives of Faith MilSpouses Rock


My strength comes from God first, and from my husband next.

That's pretty much it.

To read what others wrote today, click here.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Happy MilSpouse Appreciation Day!

To all the military wives and husbands out there--thank you for all you do.

Why MilSpouses ROCK

Wives of Faith MilSpouses Rock
Why MilSpouses ROCK
  • We are strong women. Not in our own strength, but in God's.

  • We support each other with word, with deed, with food, with prayer, with laughter.

  • We're married to strong men. Strong of body, of mind, of character, of heart.

  • We do all the normal wife and mom things, but with panache :)

  • We are beautiful!

  • We do it all because we have to keep things going on the homefront, and we do it whether or not there is appreciation.

  • And just a word about my own husband:
    My husband may not carry a gun, but he defends your husband's--and your--right to a free exercise of religion, and he does it by carrying the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.

To read the other responses on this blog tour, click here!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

What's Cookin?

Wives of Faith MilSpouses Rock
What's Cookin'?

I'm not much of a cook, and I don't enjoy being in the kitchen all day long. This recipe is pretty much foolproof.....enjoy!

Crock Pot Chicken

1 package of 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, frozen is fine
2 cans cream of something soup
possible combinations: 1 cheddar cheese + 1 cream of chicken
1 cream of chicken + 1 cream of mushroom
1 cream of chicken + 1 cream of mushroom with roasted garlic
1 cream of mushroom with roasted garlic + 1 cheddar cheese
(you get the idea)

Put chicken and soup in crock pot and cook all day. (I have a temperature gauge on my crock pot so I put it at around 325*. If you have high/low, use low for about 8-10 hrs. If you have less time, use high for 4 hrs. but check to make sure it doesn't get burned)

When it's finished, you can shred the chicken, or not. Up to you. Serve over noodles or rice. Kids love it. Adults love it.

Thanks to my friend Stephanie for the original recipe; modifications and errors are my own.

To read what the other gals wrote today, click here!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Ten Challenges

Wives of Faith MilSpouses Rock

Come on over and see what other military wives are saying. Even if you're a civilian, please read it so you know what it is like for those whose husbands are reservists or National Guard.

10 Tough Things

Wives of Faith MilSpouses Rock

This was a much harder list. I tend to be an optimist and focus on the positive most of the time, or at least TRY to. Coming up with a list of ten tough things was hard. Here it is anyway. I hope if you're a civilian you read this and realize that what not to say or do! :)

10 Tough Things About Being a Military Wife:
  1. TDY=Temporary DutY=time away from us. The week-long TDY's are not any big deal anymore (which is ok for us, but now I have zero sympathy for my friends who have the same thing in the civilian world, and having zero sympathy isn't good--sorry friends, it's true! I've toughened up). The month-long TDYs are harder, but after the second thing on my list, they're still quite do-able.

  2. Deployments=when he's called to long, extended months away from us, in a foreign and dangerous land. I know I'm so blessed that we've only had one, and the next one is not slated until probably the end of 2011/first of 2012 (that's what happens when your military husband has a school assignment). The first one in 2007 was very difficult, but we made it. I know I can do it again.

  3. Weird remarks from people. You know the ones, where people in town call people from the base "basers" and it's not a compliment. Catty comments from some women about how tough it must be and how they don't know how you do it. People who don't want to get to know you because they think you're leaving soon (even if you're not).

  4. OPSEC. Not that I mind keeping things private, or to myself. I don't mind at all. But it irritates the crud out of me to see carelessness on Facebook, on blogs, and on Twitter. C'mon, folks, we're in a war, and it's not a friendly one. See #5.

  5. War. Yes, we're in a war. In a war, there's an enemy. Our enemy wishes harm on us. They use our own words and actions against us to try to win. It is not friendly, nor fair, nor right. But it's reality. Be careful. The figurative walls have ears, and loose lips sink ships. Still true.

  6. The occasional sense of isolation. I know yesterday I praised the military spouse community, and I'm glad to have it now. But back when my husband joined the USAF active duty, it wasn't nearly as prevalent. There were a few posts at AF Crossroads, and SpouseBuzz was there but fairly new. But nothing for Christian military wives to support each other. Wives of Faith came my way in 2008 (or thereabouts; Sara and I connected in 2007). So there are times I have felt isolated, and I hope never to be there again.

  7. Moving. Yes, it's a fabulous opportunity to go to new places, as I mentioned yesterday. But moving over and over again? It gets harder each time I stretch roots into the ground. And no one can ever put our address in their book in anything other than pencil. And we have to find new dentists, and orthodontists, and schools, and stores, and dance studios, and friends . . .

  8. Friends moving away. In the past two years I've "lost" friends to PCS moves all around the globe. Feels like I'm always saying goodbye. Sometimes it's manageable, but when you're at a base that's BRAC-ing, I'm sure it is more frequent than the norm.

  9. Learning a whole new language. It's getting easier, but just as soon as I learn a set of acronyms, the Air Force changes them around! It's hard to learn military-wife-ese, speak it fluently, and have a decent understanding. Fortunately for me, I have had many friendly and open women in my life to explain things to me (because the women my age have been doing this ten years or more longer--ah, the joys of being a chaplain's wife! If you don't already know, chaplains are older than their fellow officer/rank counterparts for several reasons, the first of which is they have to have their master's degree before they even commission, and the second of which is that they remain Captains for years longer than other job areas).

  10. To round out my list, one of the hardest things I had to come to terms with was accepting that our family's mission would change from the church to the military. As I described the other day, I had quite a struggle over this. It might not have been my dream for my family, but it is God's plan for us. And in that I take comfort.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Spring Reading Thing Update

So far, so can see by the hyperlinks on my original list, that I've finished many books so far. I gave up on Becoming Jane Austen and gave the book away to my daughter's friend. I'm still in the Old Testament! The magazine pile has gone from three stacks to two. So, overall, not too bad. I actually took a break from the novels to read a few others from the "TBR" shelf that I was afraid to list here, for fear I'd fail again in my SRT quest. Yeah.

*Plain Jayne by Hillary Manton Lodge (finish)
*Becoming Jane Austen by Jon Spence (finish for April book club) I give up! Jon Spence has made my beloved Jane boring. I can't stand it.

AND...FINISH THE ENTIRE BIBLE!!! **working on**

Seeing Through the Lies

Seeing Through the Lies - Unmasking the Myths Women Believe by Vonda Skelton

From the Publicist:

Seeing Through the Lies - Unmasking the Myths Women Believe humorously addresses the disappointments women experience as they search for truth while believing a lie. This book offers practical steps for peeling away the layers of deceit and finding the joy of living in real truth. Through honesty and humility, Vonda takes women on a hilarious journey through all things female and brings them to a soul-searching point of decision. Readers will identify with both the positive and negative examples of women in the Bible, and will be encouraged by Scripture, as well as quotes from notable men and women. Each chapter opens with amusing anecdotes from real life, unmasks the deceptions, gives five steps for exposing the lies, spotlights five daily Bible readings and ends with devotional thoughts in a section called "In His Own Words." At the end of the book are discussion questions, making Seeing Through the Lies a perfect women's study. It is possible to peel away the masks of deception as readers embrace the truths found in God's Word.

Pattie’s Thoughts:

Vonda Skelton tackles beauty, fear, materialism, humility, choices, and selfishness in her book. Always, she points the reader back to Scripture to find the truths we should believe as women, rather than the lies our culture and experience have taught us.

Thank you to Regal Books and
Kathy Carlton Willis Communications for a review copy of this book.

Ten Good Things

Wives of Faith MilSpouses Rock

Come on over and see some of the best things about being married to a military man!

10 Great Things

Wives of Faith MilSpouses Rock

Pattie's 10 Great Things about being a Military Wife:

  1. Community. Even though I don't live on the base, I am a part of the military community here. I have also found wonderful community with other military wives online. It's been great!

  2. Ministry. I am learning and finding my ministry niche, and it is in music in the chapel. It is in writing about my experiences. It is working with Sara and Wives of Faith. It is in encouraging people, even when it's not easy.

  3. Joy. I feel joy in knowing my husband loves his job. He works hard and is appreciated for it. I hear all the time how much people appreciate him, and that means so much to me.

  4. Peace. Again, peace in knowing my husband is serving where God has called him, and peace in knowing I might not know the future, but I know Who is in charge of it!

  5. People. I have met so many wonderful people and have made friends upon friends. I'm blessed!

  6. Places. OK, so maybe North Dakota holds first place on only a few people's dream sheets. But it's been a great assignment for our family. Since we moved here, we have been to the Badlands of North Dakota; Winnipeg, Manitoba in CANADA!; De Smet, South Dakota; of course the Twin Cities in Minnesota; and my husband has also been to the Minnesota Boundary Waters and Iraq.

  7. Endurance. Hey, who else can say they've endured both 100* and -38* in the same place?!?! It also takes a whole lot of endurance--and a great Lands' End down coat--to survive these long, cold winters here. But the summers are awesome. I'll miss the really long summer days.

  8. The movers. Hey, after having to move ourselves every time we changed jobs before, it has been nice to have professionals do it for us. I guess for those seasoned PCS-ers, I don't have any horror stories. Yet. Hopefully never!

  9. Discounts. I am not going to lie. Yes, it's been nice to have a few military discounts here and there.

  10. My book club. I never had one before, and I joined the GFOSC (specifically for the book club) in 2007. I met fellow bibliophiles, women from many walks of life, all with the common love of the printed word. We don't always agree on our opinions about the books we read, but that's ok. It's why we hash it out every month. I have loved it and I will miss it so much after our last meeting next week.

Learning to Live Financially Free

Learning to Live Financially Free by Marybeth Whalen and Curt Whalen

From the Publicist:

If a family parenting six children can get out of debt and live financially free, anyone can! Marybeth and Curt Whalen share their financial successes and failures in this book. The Whalens readily admit they made their share of mistakes the first ten years of marriage. Becoming more disciplined and intentional in spending and saving helped them learn valuable lessons for better financial stewardship--lessons you'll want to learn too. Learning to Live Financially Free not only focuses on building a stronger financial understanding in the home, but also encourages couples to communicate, thus building better, stronger marriages. The Whalens clearly comprehend the need for careful money management and commitment in marriage. Money-strapped families will find peace of mind as they begin the process of becoming financially responsible and debt-free.

Pattie’s Thoughts:

This book has some great tips for saving money and getting out of debt. What’s even better for me is that they offer Scriptural references to show that their ideas are not just their own; they’re based in the Word of God. Personal anecdotes add to the personality of the book. I think this would be a great book to give as a wedding gift.

Thanks to Kathy Carlton Willis Communications for a review copy of this book.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Garden Spells

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

I really, really liked this book. It's probably the only "magical realism" book I've really liked. Even Allen's second book, The Sugar Queen, didn't come close to matching the delightfulness that is Garden Spells.

I saw several negative reviews on Good Reads and Amazon, and all I can say is, I don't agree. I liked this book both times I read it. The characters made me care about them, and I saw several spiritual parallels in one of the characters in particular, and in the cantankerous, independent apple tree in the garden.

My MilSpouse Bible Verse

Wives of Faith MilSpouses Rock
My MilSpouse Bible Verse

I claimed this verse before we moved from Missouri to North Dakota in 2006. It was a tough move. We were leaving my husband's family, many very good friends, I was leaving a good job I enjoyed, and the girls were leaving their many friends. I also had a good friend who was not supportive of my husband's decision to go active duty and her lack of support for us made life very difficult and painful for me at the time (she is now very supportive of us and is much more optimistic than she used to be, but at the time it was not good).

So my verse comes from a wonderful chapter, Joshua 1. Moses died, leaving leadership of the nation of Israel in the capable hands of Joshua, his chosen successor. Verse 9 is a great summary of his message in the chapter. It reads:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go

God has truly been with me on this journey wherever we've gone, and I know He has gone before us in this move to make things much smoother than they have been in the past . . . and I'm so grateful for His provision!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

My MilSpouse Story

Wives of Faith MilSpouses Rock

Come read my story over at my chaplain's wife blog.

My MilSpouse Story

Wives of Faith MilSpouses Rock
My MilSpouse Story

Unlike many military wives, I didn't marry an airman. I married a preacher.

I began my post-college life as a seminarian's wife; then as he went on to pastor small churches in rural areas, I learned who I was in the context of ministry. I was the pastor's wife. I played the piano sometimes, I sang in the choir, I taught Sunday school when a teacher was needed, I taught Vacation Bible School every summer, and I tried to cook for potlucks.

It wasn't until after my husband graduated with his Doctor of Ministry degree in 2001 that he seriously considered the military. Even then, he had his eye on the Air Force Reserves. He had a pastor friend in our association who was a reserve chaplain, and he recruited my husband for the same job.

Then September 11, 2001 happened.

His initial application was frozen for awhile, then became delayed because of me (I was born overseas, and they were looking for my green card; I didn't have one as I was born on a US Naval Base!). Finally, on Valentine's Day 2002, my husband took his oath and joined the Air Force Reserves, attending COT that summer and BCC the next spring.

Even then, his military service didn't do much more than add some camouflage to our closet and take him "away" twelve miles to the nearby base one weekend a month.

In the summer of 2003, however, things changed again. He was activated reserve, which meant the Air Force became his full-time job for the next nine months. Thankfully my friend stepped in to be a nanny for our girls, as I was still teaching full-time in a town 30 miles away, and he was on-call often for the men and women and families of the 442nd Fighter Wing reserve unit.

He went back to reserve status in 2004, and life went back to its normal level of busy. Until the end of 2005, when he resigned the pastorate and applied for active duty status.

I was in complete and utter denial until spring 2006, when I finally had it out with him and with God. And I realized that the world of ministry had cracked wide open for my husband. No longer was his heart in the rural church alone. Now he was open to ministering to the men and women of the Air Force, and their families, in this time of war. I finally realized that living in the same house for the next twelve years was not God's plan for our family. He was calling all of us to a life of service to those who protect and serve our country.

So we went to the location where God called us: Grand Forks, North Dakota. We've had a great four-year run here, and it's been lovely (albeit cold). Now as we prepare to move south to the next great adventure, I'm so grateful I didn't listen to my selfish heart.