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Showing posts from 2012

Read a Latte in 2013

Goal: Cappuccino level of 100 books.
Books read in 2013 are: Ashton Park - Murray PuraZora and Nicky - Claudia Mair BurneyAustentatious - Alyssa GoodnightThe Calling of Emily Evans - Janette OkeSleeping in Eden - Nicole Baart (netgalley){manuscript by Sara Horn}Moon Over Tokyo - Siri MitchellHelp Thanks Wow - Anne LamottThe Snow Child - Eowyn IveyThe Do What You Can Plan - Holley GerthThe Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen ChboskyBread & Wine - Shauna NiequistReinventing Claire - Darian WilkHoliday Buzz - Cleo CoyleGreat-Aunt Sophia's Lessons for Bombshells - Lisa CachThe Good Daughter - Jane PorterHome Front - Kristin HannahStalker in the Shadows - Camy TangThe House at Riverton - Kate MortonJennifer: An O'Malley Love Story - Dee HendersonA Royal Pain - Megan MulryRumor Has It - Jill MansellThe Memoir Project - Marion Roach Smith

Reading Challenges 2013

I completely failed at this year's reading this year I'm hosting my own! I plan to read 12 year-long memoirs as a part of my Year-Long Memoir Reading Challenge (which can be found here).

I generally read a minimum of 100 books per year, and of course I wish to read at least 100 this next year. (Currently for 2012 I'm at 105!)

That said, here are my reading challenges for 2013:

The 2013 Year-Long Memoir Reading Challenge

Kimberly's Read a Latte Challenge (books+coffee=awesome)

Goal: Cappuccino level :)

Up for a Reading Challenge?

If you like to read and like to be challenged to read memoir, perhaps this is for you? I'm beginning a reading project in 2013 to read year-long memoirs..... join us?

Reading Challenge in 2013

My first challenge to host and to do: The Year-Long Memoir Reading Challenge

Let me know if you would like to join us!


For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end. ~Isaiah 9:6-7a, New King James Version~

Fall Into Reading 2012 Wrap-Up

Year six--complete.

Thoughts: I still read fiction really quickly. I still read nonfiction really slowly. In some cases with books I know will be convicting, my inner procrastinator takes over and I don't get to them. For evidence:

My original list:
Seven by Jen Hatmaker

I really, really do want to read this book. I just need the motivation to do so.
I have read the intro about three times now.Letting Go of Perfect by Amy Spiegel

Sometimes, I cling to my perfectionism and use it to beat myself up. This is a pattern I can't seem to break out of. Perhaps in the new year.Bittersweetby Shauna Niequist

I am about 2/3 of the way through. Most of Shauna Niequist's essays are so poignant, I can only read one or two before needing a break---then I get distracted by one or three fiction books and soon I'm off and reading something else. But I have loved this book a lot. I *will* finish it.Happier at Home by Gretchen RubinWings of Glory trilogy by Sarah Sundin {need to reread the firs…

Yes, it's true...I connect people

My friend Angela was known on the now-closed Women at Home board as AGK, and she began a photography business a few years back. It's grown and changed along with her, and it's been a joy to watch from afar (because it can't be from a-near!).

I saw this morning that she posted some photos of my other online friend Kristen, whom I met through the (in)Courage blog as well as through my college friend Teri Lynne (if we'd had sororities in college, we'd have been sorority sisters--as it is, we shared a dorm and are two of many lovely Leslie ladies!).

So yes, I am in the business of connecting people. It's what I do, and it's fun.

Day 1: Scripture

Good morning! Time to start the Wives of Faith 12 Days of Christmas Blog Carnival.
Today's topic: What is your favorite verse of scripture at Christmastime and why?
My favorite Christmas scripture passage is Luke 2. I think it hearkens back to Linus on the Charlie Brown Christmas special. You know the part I mean, don't you?

Anyway, this is my favorite. It's the gospel in a manger-sized package, with love that cannot be contained even by a stable, or a town, or even the earthly heavens.

5 Minute Friday: WONDER


Each year at our house, we move further away from the childlike wonder of Christmas. Not for lack of trying...oh no. It's because the children are growing up.

This will be our first Christmas with two teenagers in the house. Our youngest turns 13 tomorrow (technically just past noon Central time, so about the time we'll be leaving for dance class here in Alaska). My baby is a teenager, with all that this milestone accompanies. My older baby is driving herself to school and to Walmart for "something I need, Mom."

I wonder, Where did the years go? Where are my tiny girls? Where are the matching outfits? The little tights and red velvet dresses? The ringlet curls and the innocent smiles?

I love my girls so much. I loved them as babies, as toddlers, as lisping preschoolers, as school-agers, and now, yes, I adore them as teens. They are so much more beautiful and comfortable in their own skin than I ever dreamed of being at their ages.

I hope and pray, as I gaze u…

Space for Creativity

I've been thinking a lot about creativity. I'm reading Madeleine L'Engle's book A Circle of Quiet and she grapples with this concept quite a bit in the first section. Creativity, the Holy Spirit, all of that.

I came across this link to a free book, but it was no longer free (thanks to Facebook, it showed up late and I still don't understand all of the Facebook nuances after this most recent update...but that's neither here nor there). However, for 99 cents, it seemed like a good purchase and a nice way to round out the end of my birthday gift card from my friend S.

You can find the book here: Creating Space. It's recommended by my friend Ann, whom I trust on all things writerly. The author's website is here.

Book Review: At Every Turn by Anne Mateer

AT EVERY TURN by Anne Mateer
About the Book:
Caught up in a whirlwind of religious fervor when two missionaries speak at her church, Alyce Benson impetuously pledges three thousand dollars to mission work in Africa. She’s certain her wealthy father will simply hand her the money. But when he refuses, she must either stand up in front of the congregation and admit failure, or raise the money herself.

Alyce harbors a secret passion for speed and automobiles. It’s 1916, and the latest advancements in car engines allow some to post speeds upwards of seventy miles per hour! When she discovers her father’s company has sponsored a racing car that will compete in several upcoming events–races in which the driver will be paid and could win as much as five thousand dollars in prize money–she conspires with her father’s mechanic, Webster, to secretly train and compete.

But as Alyce comes across needs in her own community, money slips through her fingers faster than she can earn it. And when her …

It's here!

Preparing Mt. TBR 2013

I have given myself all of 2013 to read books I already own, to purge from my four bookshelves the books I own that no longer interest me, and to either trade for credit (thank you, Title Wave Books and!), pass along to friends, or donate to the library, books I have finished or no longer wish to read.

In about 15 months, we'll know more about our future in terms of both Alaska and the military, so I am giving myself that time for downsizing my vast collection of books.

I would not call myself a minimalist in any real sense, but the household weight of books, coupled with a desire to purge what no longer interests me, weighs me down occasionally.

It's coming...


Back in August 2009 I began a new journaling project, based on something I saw on Ann Voskamp's blog. You can click on the link if you want to read about it. Mostly it was for me, as I had been in a time of dryness, a time of not knowing where I was going in my spiritual walk.
In the intervening time, I've lived in three states, held two different jobs, read through the entire Bible, done several Bible studies with myself and groups, and touched upon four life-themes: brave, grace, focus, and listen.
This is what my journal looked like then: August 18, 2009, and the passage was Psalm 1.

And this is today's final entry, 1173 days later, from James 5:
This is a journey I certainly plan to continue. As I head into a time of being away from home, and surgery, and - let's face it - upheaval, I will not begin my next volume until the new year. What will my theme be next year? I have no idea. But this is the next volume in the spiritual journal story of my walk with God, giv…

Roots and Wings

5 Minute Friday on . . . ROOTS

I don't know who said this, but someone once said that the two greatest things we can give our children are roots and wings.

Unlike my two best friends, my family does not have deep roots like other families do. As a military family, we've moved around every few years, and we don't have one particular place we call home (well, we each do, but it's different for each!).

One of my best friends lives across the yard from her grandparents' house where she lived for much of her life. Her neighbors' parents knew her grandparents. Her kids' friends' parents are her friends. She knows the town and its people, and her roots run as deep as the huge tree out back with the tire swing.

Another of my best friends is single, but she has roots that run deep and long in her church. Her parents were charter members (I think) and helped run the church, Sunday school and treasury, for over thirty years. Only for health reasons have they step…

A Thankful Heart is a Happy Heart

November, the month of my birthday, the month of Thanksgiving, the start of Advent.

I won't be able to post every day in November, but I WILL be journaling through my thankfulness.

Busy by the numbers...

Two girls. One teen, one tween-soon-to-be-thirteen.Two shows: one high school musical, one ballet.Two towns: Eagle River and Anchorage.Two weekends full of performances: first ballet, then musical. Three shows each.Two parent-teacher conference sessions on one day: Wednesday.Twenty-one research essays will be turned in to me tomorrow night. {One student emailed me this morning to tell me he's not doing the assignment and he thinks he can pass without it. We'll see.}Three MUST be graded every day to make the deadline I set, which is in eight days.One final exam still needs some new questions, and I have seven days to get that completed.One husband who is working crazy hours for the next week.One upcoming ear surgery to prepare for.One TIRED woman I am!

You Don't Know Me Review

You Don't Know Me by Susan May Warren

About the Book:

Sometimes the secrets we keep to protect ourselves can be our undoing.

To all who know her, Annalise Decker is a model wife and mother. She’s a permanent member of the PTA, never misses a sporting event, and is constantly campaigning for her husband’s mayoral race.

No one knows that Annalise was once Deidre O’Reilly, a troubled young woman whose testimony put a dangerous criminal behind bars. Relocated through the Witness Security Program to the quaint harbor town of Deep Haven, Deidre received a new identity and a fresh start, which began when she fell in love with local real estate agent Nathan Decker.

Twenty years later, Annalise couldn’t be more unprepared for her past to catch up with her. When Agent Frank Harrison arrives with news that the man she testified against is out on parole and out for revenge, Annalise is forced to face the consequences of her secrets. Will she run again, or will she finally find the courage to t…

Thoughts about Writing

from Shauna Niequist, one of my new favorite writers, ever.

...[L]ife as a writer sometimes means telling even the stories you don’t want to tell, the ones you didn’t want to live through, and don’t want to re-live on the page. But re-living is a writer’s responsibility, and more than that, honesty is a writer’s responsibility.

Full Disclosure: Latest from Dee Henderson

My review is at the end. Enjoy!

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingFull Disclosure Bethany House Publishers (October 2, 2012) byDee Henderson


Dee Henderson is the bestselling, award-winning author of 15 previous novels, including the acclaimed O'MALLEY series and UNCOMMON HEROES series. She is a lifelong resident of Illinois.


Ann Silver is a cop's cop. As the Midwest Homicide Investigator, she is called in to help local law enforcement on the worst of cases, looking for answers to murder. Hers is one of the region's most trusted investigative positions.

Paul Falcon is the FBI's top murder cop in the Midwest. If the victim carried a federal badge or had a security clearance, odds are good Paul and his team see the case file or work the murder.

Their lives intersect when Ann arrives to pass a case off her desk and onto his. A car wreck and a suspicious death offer a lead on a hired shooter he is tracking. Paul is…



To visit this week's post link-up and the rules, click here.



I'm so glad you're here!
This blog, Fresh-Brewed Writer, began as my writing and book blog. I had a general topic, personal blog over at Xanga back in 2003 when I started writing "in public" for the internet. It was a scary thing, writing in the open. I started gradually moving things over here, sometimes deleting, so the only reason I know I've been over here as long as I have is because Blogger tells me I joined in 2005!
Over time, this has been the book review blog. I joined too many organizations with too many books to review, and while I do enjoy reading books as they come out, I may be scaling that part of my life back soon.
I am a writer. {deep breath}
It took me a long, long time to admit that to everyone around me. I remember once feeling brave enough to admit it during a pastoral interview (yes, the wife was intervi…

5 Minute Friday: Grasp



How can I grasp onto time? How can I grasp the moments as they pass, to prolong those happy, wonderful, fleeting moments?

I cannot.

That's the truth of it.

There are precious few things we can grasp. Tiny hands grow into bigger hands, and soon those hands are holding a steering wheel, or a cell phone, or even someday, a boy's hand.

All we can do is appreciate each moment, enjoy it while we have it, and perhaps, if we're able, write it down for future memory.

Heavenly Father, help me to grasp the gravity of the moments I have with my girls while they're still in my care. In my home. Help me to grasp their hands and help turn their hearts towards Yours. I love you, and I thank you for the privilege of raising Your daughters in a home that loves and serves You. Make me equal to the task. Help me to overlook my own shortcomings and focus on You. Help me to grasp Your love for me, so that I can communicate that same Love to them. Amen.

Friday Felicities

Go to Becky's site if you would like to learn more.

It's been awhile since I did this...but I wanted to add my voice to the chorus today.

COFFEE--on tap today: French roastoatmeal for breakfast on this fall morningmy Seattle: Starbucks Hometown mug that I got on our trip to Seattle/Tacoma last year for my ear surgery. It's huge. It's a reminder that we had a good Christmas away in spite of everything--and I had a surgery that potentially saved my youngest girl brought in her Student Council notecards for her campaign speech. I'm one very proud mama! She has her bullet points all ready and is not making crazy promises. I am so happy! Even if she doesn't make it, she already has "mad skillz" that will last her a lifetime.gummy vitamin Ds. If I have to take Vitamin D, and I DO in this climate, may it be chewy and fun.

How Wide

WIDE Ephesians 3: 17b-19

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

How wide is His love? Wide and long and high and deep.

How often do I think about this? Not often enough, apparently. Every time I read this verse, I'm bewildered and baffled. I look in the mirror and think, "How can anyone love this face? This body? This bruised and battered and selfish heart of mine?"

But He does. Oh, He does. And I will be forever grateful.

He loves me so much. Jesus died on the cross for me--and you--and my children--and my friends. Everyone. He loves us all this much.

I am a do-er, so I tend to focus on doing enough and getting things done, in order to be worthy of this wide and long and high and deep love of my Savior. What I'm re-learning…

Fall Into Reading 2012

Year six!

For information about this wonderful challenge, click here.

Fall Into Reading Challenge History: 20072008200920102011

My fall book list to read and/or finish:
Seven by Jen Hatmaker {begun, but set aside}Letting Go of Perfect by Amy Spiegel {begun}Bittersweetby Shauna Niequist {This book is not one I can read quickly--it must be read in small doses, an essay or two at a time.}Happier at Home by Gretchen RubinWings of Glory trilogy by Sarah Sundin {need to reread the first two to make sense of the third}: A Distant Melody, A Memory Between Us, and Blue Skies Tomorrow My list of other books I read but which are not on the original list--obviously, I have a problem committing to my list:

A Brew to a Kill - Cleo Coyle {I had about half of it finished before Saturday}Full Disclosure - Dee HendersonVivaldi's Virgins - Barbara QuickThe Heart Remembers - Irene Hannon (for review)Prom and Prejudice - Elizabeth EulbergAlaskan Hearts - Teri WilsonMemoirs of an Imaginary Friend - Matt…

Autumn Checklist

I had a summer checklist, mostly to keep myself accountable while my military husband was away on the shortest deployment ever (make no mistake, it was still a deployment--complete with angst, tears, and reintegration issues--and all that was ME!).

If you click on over, you'll see that my summer checklist remains unfinished. There are a few things that turned out to be too ambitious to complete. While I still believe in listmaking and goal-setting in general, sometimes if I get too specific with certain areas of my life, I feel nothing but failure when I do not succeed. This is why I am not blogging the 31 days in October, because my October calendar is already filling up at an alarming rate with my girls' show practices and performances. This is also why I'm not committing to NaNoWriMo 2012 until I have my follow-up ear surgery on the calendar.

All that to say, these are the things I would like to accomplish before December 21st, the day of the winter solstice.

Get myself …

Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund

Today's post is a part of the CFBA blog tour for Unending Devotion, the latest by novelist Jody Hedlund.......

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingUnending Devotion Bethany House Publishers (September 1, 2012) byJody Hedlund


Jody has written novels for the last 20 years (with a hiatus when her children were young). After many years of writing and honing her skills, she finally garnered national attention with her double final in the Genesis Contest, a fiction-writing contest for unpublished writers through ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers).

Her first published book, The Preacher’s Bride (2010 Bethany House Publishers), became a best seller and has won multiple awards.

Her second book, The Doctor’s Lady, released in September of 2011, and her third book, Unending Devotion, is out now. She’s currently busy researching and writing another book!

Jody has been married for twenty years to her college sweetheart. Jody has five children ran…

Join me on a 5 Minute Friday

"Join the club."

How many times do we use that phrase?

"I'm tired."
"Join the club."

"I don't have money to go out today."
"Join the club."

"I don't see how we can fit one more thing into our schedule."
"Join the club."

You see what I mean? We're so quick to try to identify with people's problems or issues, we are like, "Yeah, join the club...I'm there too, let's be together."

The problem is, it seems so negative. It's not an understanding of "I understand your feelings" or even a sympathetic "I've been there and survived, and so will you."  No, it's a cynical little "suck it up" kind of response.

"Join the club."

I've had enough of "suck it up" kind of responses from people. I get that a lot in the military world (interestingly, more online than in person). We need less of that and more of a sense of belongin…

Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble

Welcome to the LitFuse book blog tour for Colleen Coble's latest novel Tidewater Inn.
About the book:

Welcome to Hope Beach. A place of intoxicating beauty . . . where trouble hits with the force of a hurricane.

Inheriting a beautiful old hotel on the Outer Banks could be a dream come true for Libby. The inn cries out for her restorer’s talent and love of history. She’s delighted to learn of the family she never knew she had. And the handsome Coast Guard lieutenant she’s met there on the island could definitely be the man of her dreams.

But Libby soon realizes that the only way she can afford the upkeep on the inn is to sell it to developers who are stalking the island. The father who willed her the inn has died before she could meet him, and her newfound brother and sister are convinced she’s there to steal their birthright. Worst of all, her best friend and business partner has been kidnapped before her eyes, and Libby’s under suspicion for the crime.

Libby’s dream come true is b…

5 Minute Friday: Connect

Connections are so important.

I see my ministry as one of connection--connecting with women, connecting women with each other, and making sure that as far as it lies with me, no one is ever alone.

I think it's one of my ministries---especially on Facebook. Say what you will about that social networking site, but I've seen time and again how connections are made within my small but growing circle of acquaintance.

I'm not bragging, I'm just saying.

I have also made an effort this year to connect--really connect--with my girls. My goal is to look each of them in the eye at least once per day, tell them I love them, and give them a hug.

Sometimes this is not as easy as it might seem, and as both of them are in the throes of adolescent hormones and growing and learning about people and relationships and gaining and losing friends in this transient military life we live. I often feel like life is lived just like the previous run-on sentence: full speed ahead, act bef…

Failing Forward?

I know someone out there in cyberspace will read this and think, Get over yourself, already. And maybe I do need to get over myself. But I also need somewhere to be real, and this would be that place.

I've had this blog for several years now, and for the past few months it's really been about writing exercises and book reviews. But I also tried a couple of challenges: photo a day through July, and Bible in 90 (ok, really 99) Days. I quit the photos about July 8th, and I'm still weeks behind in the B90Days challenge.

Instead of concentrating on all that I've accomplished this summer, I look at those failed attempts (as well as the uncompleted list of summer tasks) as well as all my weak moments of the deployment, and all I see is a big fat F for failure.

My friend Sara said she'd been reading a book by John Maxwell called Failing Forward, and on a whim I looked through my husband's books and found it. (He had to move offices right before his deployment as his as…

Blog Tour: Love Finds You in Mackinac Island

Welcome to the blog tour for  Love Finds You in Mackinac Island, Michigan by Melanie Dobson

About the novel:

As the Gilded Age comes to a close, Elena Bissette's once-wealthy family has nearly lost its fortune. The Bissettes still own a home on fashionable Mackinac Island, where they will spend one last summer in the hope of introducing Elena to a wealthy suitor. But Elena is repulsed by the idea of marrying for money. 

Quickly tiring of the extravagant balls, Elena spends most evenings escaping back into Mackinac's rugged forest. There she meets Chase, a handsome laborer who shares her love for the night sky. The two begin to meet in secret at an abandoned lighthouse, where they work together to solve a mystery buried in the pages of a tattered diary.

 As Elena falls in love with Chase, her mother relentlessly contrives to introduce her to Chester Darrington, the island's most eligible bachelor. Marriage to the elusive millionaire would solve the Bissettes' financial …

Where are you?

I'm over at Wives of Faith today talking about being directionally challenged and God, who is most certainly not!

Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green

My review is at the end. away the paperback review copy of this book! Look for instructions after my review.
**Winner: Kim, comment #5!** Thank you!

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingWedded to War • River North; New Edition edition (July 1, 2012)
byJocelyn Green


Jocelyn Green is a child of God, wife and mom living in Cedar Falls, Iowa. She is also an award-winning journalist, author, editor and blogger. Though she has written nonfiction on a variety of topics, her name is most widely recognized for her ministry to military wives: Faith Deployed. Her passion for the military family was fueled by her own experience as a military wife, and by the dozens of interviews she has conducted with members of the military for her articles and books, Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives and its sequel, Faith Deployed...Again: More Daily Encouragement for Military Wives. She is also co-author of both Stories of Faith and Courag…



The first thing that came to mind was the praise song:

All of You is more than enough for 
All of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with your Love
And all I have in You
Is more than enough...

Talking about God being more than enough to meet our need, satisfy the longings of our hearts.

I often feel like I don't do enough, am not woman enough or strong enough, to DO this thing called life. To live my life, to be who I am--military ministry wife, mother, teacher, friend, ministry team leader for more than one team. Writer, editor, maybe even a speaker someday.

I don't measure up to whatever ideal is in my head. And that's enough to drive me crazy.

When will I be enough?

I won't. I can't.

Not alone.

But with God, I am. He made me to be enough, but only if I allow Him access to my heart and life and the vessel I am in Him.

What an amazing thought. Revolutionary.

Now, to let it be enough to satisfy that longing in my heart to do more, be more, s…

Treasure in Jars of Clay

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7   Not too long ago, my girls and I needed something fun to do on another dreary day in this cooler-than-usual Alaskan July. I had just injured myself {a story for another day!}, so anything related to walking around was a bad idea. I'd gotten a Groupon for a local paint-your-own-pottery shop, so we took the coupon to the store, got instructions from the lady in the shop, chose our items, and began working on painting our unfinished pieces. ...

Come read the rest of what I wrote over at the Wives of Faith blog today.

Almost Amish

My review is at the end. Enjoy!

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingAlmost AmishBethany House Publishers (July 1, 2012)byKathryn Cushman


Kathryn Cushman is a graduate of Samford University with a degree in pharmacy, but all her life she knew that she wanted to write a novel “some day”. For her, “some day” came in 2003, when she started writing and never looked back.

Her first two manuscripts remain firmly ensconced in the back of her closet (the dust bunnies tell her they really are terrific!). Her third attempt became her first published novel.

A Promise to Remember and Leaving Yesterday were both finalists for the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award, and Waiting for Daybreak was a finalist in Women’s Fiction for the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award.

On the homefront, she has been married to the wonderful and handsome Lee for nearly twenty-five years now, and their two daughters are currently braving the worlds of high school and c…

Photo a Day 8-12

Day 8: Lunch
"The Elvis" sandwich with fries at the City Diner in Anchorage - Peanut Butter, Banana, and Bacon
Day 9: Big

Our "big" snow this winter
Day 10: Favorite Color

Blue sky!
Day 11: Letter

My "letter" to deployed spouses--we can be God Strong!
(Photo of the book God Strong by Sara Horn, Zondervan 2010)
Day 12: Texture
Cotton Candy at the USO concert with Gary Sinise and the Lieutenant Dan Band