Wednesday, July 27, 2016

“Bringing Up Bates” “Birthdays and Boyfriends” - Thursday, July 28 at 9 p.m. EST

In this new episode, the Bates are back in Florida and are ready to party! It’s the Bates girls’ turn this time to celebrate as Allie Jane and Carlin share a big birthday. The family prepares for the birthday bash, but quickly realize it’s a lot harder to plan a party for both a 1-year-old and an 18-year-old than they originally thought. Then, Kelly Jo and Gil take advantage of their time in Florida when they decide to meet Tori’s boyfriend’s family.

CHECK OUT THE TRAILER HERE!!


“The Great Outdoors?” clip from Episode 109 – “Poof Goes Vacation” - July 27th - 9 p.m EST



Check out the trailer HERE!!!

I was able to preview this episode, and I think these kids will THRIVE in the country!  It's fascinating to watch the kids get introduced to the animals, and it was equally as fun to watch how relaxed the parents were once they were watching the kids enjoy the great outdoors!  This is a family with unique challenges to be sure, but I'm thrilled that they were able to give their kids this fabulous experience!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Silence in the Dark by Patricia Bradley - REVIEWED


About the Book:
Bailey Adams is running for her life . . . again.
When Bailey Adams left Logan Point two years ago she thought she was getting away from her problems. Running into her ex-fiancé Danny Maxwell was not part of the plan--neither was being chased through the city by the local drug cartel, the Calatrava. Now despite her best efforts, Danny is her only chance of escaping the people chasing her and getting back to Logan Point safely. Can Bailey find the strength to face what's coming? And in the midst of the chaos, can she keep herself from falling in love with her rescuer all over again?

With lean, fast-paced prose that will keep you turning the pages, Patricia Bradley pens a superb story of suspense and second chances.
My Thoughts:
The guy we went to see yesterday is dead.  Murdered.”  (p. 227)

I’d hate to live in a world where kidnapping was so common that people actually need kidnap insurance to pay the ransom!  Well, where drug cartels rule, apparently the insurance – or at least the promise of payment – becomes as deadly as the cartel members doing the kidnapping!  It is just wise to steer clear of anything drug related if possible!

Well, that possibility doesn’t exist in Baily Adams world when she commits to accompany a friend’s niece back to the states to see her grandparents. Sounds simple, right?  NOTHING is simple in the plot of Patricia Bradley’s latest Logan Point novel, Silence in the Dark!  The action begins fast and furious from the very first pages, and never lets up!  Just take my advice and stay far away from drug cartels!  Talk about some mean folks!  Evil has seared their conscious completely!

I’d love to know some of the research that had to go into this novel!  It must have been very intense, because the gun battles, the kidnapping, the car chases….everything is filled with believable details that keep readers glued to the pages!  On top of that, the romantic tension gets pretty intense as well!  There has been loss, and the story brings more loss to the characters, but love always finds a way, and the power of the transformation that love brings is written about just as convincingly! 


So, if you like a romantic, suspense novel that is filled with richly developed characters that take up residence in your heart, then you don’t want to miss this series!  The stories can be read as stand-alone novels, but you don’t want to miss the details!  Patricia Bradley!  She will make your heart race!! 

About the Author:
Patricia Bradley is the author of Shadows of the PastA Promise to ProtectGone without a Trace, and Silence in the Dark. Bradley has been a finalist for the Genesis Award, winner of a Daphne du Maurier Award, and winner of a Touched by Love Award. Bradley is cofounder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc., and she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Bradley makes her home in Mississippi. Learn more at www.ptbradley.com.

Monday, July 25, 2016

GROUNDBREAKING SERIES OFFERS AN INTIMATE LOOK AT THE LIVES OF YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN BORN WITH DOWN SYNDROME

      A&E NETWORK’S AWARD-WINNING DOCUSERIES
“BORN THIS WAY” RETURNS FOR A SECOND SEASON WITH
10 ALL-NEW EPISODES
TUESDAY, JULY 26 AT 10 PM ET/PT



NEW YORK, NY – June 21, 2016 – A&E Network’s critically acclaimed and award-winning original docuseries “Born This Way” returns for a second season featuring 10 brand-new episodes on Tuesday, July 26 at 10 PM ET/PT

Produced by Bunim/Murray Productions, the series follows a group of seven young adults born with Down syndrome along with their family and friends in Southern California. In its first season, “Born This Way” grew steadily across all demos, with adults 25-54 up 84%, adults 18-49 up 64% and total viewers up 67%. Recently, the series was chosen as one of six honorees for the 2015 Television Academy Honors, an award that recognizes television programming that inspires, informs and motivates.

“This remarkable and inspiring series exemplifies the quality original programming A&E strives to bring to our viewers,” said Elaine Frontain Bryant, EVP and Head of Programming for A&E Network. “By honoring and embracing diversity on television, ‘Born This Way’ is uniquely redefining the art of honest storytelling and altering the way society views individuals with differences.”

“Born This Way” provides an intimate look at a diverse group of young men and women with Down syndrome as they pursue their passions and lifelong dreams, explore friendships, romantic relationships and work, all while defying society’s expectations. The series also gives voice to the parents, allowing them to talk about the joy their son or daughter brings to their family, and the challenges they face in helping them live as independently as possible. 

This season, the young adults and their families continue to live their lives with a fresh and honest perspective as the series dives deeper into their personal independence and relationships, including new friends within their community who will also be featured on the show. 
“Born This Way” features:
  • Rachel – Rachel is still enjoying her job working for an insurance company but is most looking forward to being the “best person” at her brother’s upcoming wedding.  She is open to new experiences, but after an eye-opening visit with the doctor, Rachel is forced to take action and start adopting a healthier lifestyle.
  • Sean – Sean takes a big leap towards independence when he and buddy Steven move into their own apartment. Sean claims he’s no longer a ladies man and wants a girlfriend, so after a few blind dates he gives one lucky woman a promise ring, hopefully putting an end to his tendency towards romantic entanglements.
  • John – While John continues to pursue his music career, his parents tell him that the clock is running out on how much longer they’ll financially support him. This motivates John to work harder than ever to achieve his dreams before having to look into other career options.
  • Steven –- Steven is hoping to find a girlfriend in the near future, but struggles with the idea of dating someone else with a disability. He’s hoping that since his new roomie, Sean, has a lot of dating experience, he’ll be able to pick up some helpful tips from his “babe magnet” friend.
  • Cristina – Cristina and her fiancĂ©e Angel continue to look forward to their wedding, but have a lot of life skills to master before they are ready to live on their own.  Their relationship is put to the test when Cristina starts taking ballroom dance lessons and spending time away from Angel. 
  • Megan –Megan’s line of clothing, “Megology,” exploded with orders and she is working hard, alongside her mom, to keep up with her successful business. Currently living in Colorado, she is determined to move back to Los Angeles alone but her struggle for independence causes conflict with her closest ally; her mom.
  • Elena – Elena struggles to find her place in life and within the group. After a fight with her mom that shocks her friends, Elena is forced to take responsibility for her actions and learn alternative ways to express her feelings.

A&E continues to partner with celebrated global non-profit organization Best Buddies International in support of promoting opportunities and increasing awareness for people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

According to the U.S. Census, one-in-five Americans have a disability. Currently 70 percent of working-age people with disabilities are not working – even though most of them want jobs and independence.  The numbers are even worse for people with Down syndrome.  There are many studies that show that people with disabilities, including those with Down syndrome, can work successfully and live relatively independently.

“Born This Way” is produced by Bunim/Murray Productions (“I Am Cait,” “The Real World”).  Executive producers for Bunim/Murray are Jonathan Murray, Gil Goldschein and Laura Korkoian. Kasey Barrett serves as Co-executive producer. Executive producers for A&E Network are Elaine Frontain Bryant, Shelly Tatro and Drew Tappon.

About A&E Network
A&E leads the cultural conversation through high-quality, thought provoking original programming with a unique point of view. Whether it’s the network’s distinctive brand of award-winning disruptive reality, groundbreaking documentary, or premium scripted drama, A&E always makes entertainment an art.  The A&E website is located at aetv.com.  Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/aetv and Facebook at facebook.com/AETV.  For more press information and photography please visit us atpress.aenetworks.com.

About Bunim/Murray Productions
Bunim/Murray Productions (BMP) is the leading producer of innovative entertainment content.  The Emmy Award-winning company is widely credited with creating the reality television genre with its hit series The Real World (31 seasons on MTV).  BMP continued to innovate with the first reality game show, Road Rules (MTV), in 1995; the first reality sitcom, The Simple Life (E!), in 2003; and the first reality soap opera, Starting Over, in 2003. BMP’s current programming includes Mariah’s WorldI Am CaitKeeping up with the Kardashians, Rob & Chyna, Total DivasTotal Bellas and Cosmo Life (E!), The Real World and The Challenge (MTV), Project Runway and Project Runway All Stars (Lifetime), Bad Girls Club (Oxygen), Valerie’s Home Cooking (Food Network), Born This Way (A&E), Gary Owen Family (BET) and Earth Live (National Geographic). BMP has also produced films, including They Call Us MonstersValentine Road (HBO), Pedro (MTV) and the Emmy Award-winning Autism: The Musical (HBO). BMP has launched additional entities including BMP Films, BMP Digital and BMP Latin. Based in Van Nuys, CA, the company was founded in 1987 by Jonathan Murray and the late Mary-Ellis Bunim, who were inducted into the Television Academy’s Hall of Fame in 2012. The company joined Banijay Group in 2010.


video


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Will be posting more next week

Spending time with family this week!

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Cantaloupe Thief by Deb Richardson-Moore - REIVEWED

About the Book:

Branigan Powers knows a good story when she sees one—and the ten-year-old cold case of wealthy Alberta Grambling Resnick's murder definitely makes the cut. Resnick was stabbed in her home after she let it slip that she was planning to change her will. There are plenty of suspects in the death of the matriarch of the town's founding family, but the killer has never been caught.


Now Branigan must do some serious digging to get her story. She knows the town's homeless community might have seen something; she also knows that the local cops wouldn't have thought of questioning these often-invisible people. There's a big problem, though: as Branigan starts digging, the homeless start dying. When her twin brother, a long-time addict, gets involved, the consequences of her investigation may hit a little too close to home.

My Thoughts:
The worst thing about being homeless is being looked right through.”  (p. 60)

The invisibility of the homeless proves to be both a blessing and a curse in Deb Richardson-Moore’s debut novel, The Cantaloupe Thief. This is a well-written, perfectly paced mystery that grows in both intensity and depth with every turn of the page!  I have been captured from the first page to the last by the smooth prose and the fully-formed and richly layered characters of this story.  Branigan Powers’ initial assignment was to write a feature article on the ten-year anniversary of the only un-solved murder in Grambling, Georgia’s history.  The fact that the victim was one the wealthiest and well-known matriarch’s of the town only added to the mystery of both the death and the lack of a conviction.  Someone knows the details, but as those details begin to surface, the number of mysterious deaths among Grambling’s homeless population begin to climb.

This novel contains some of the best prose I’ve read in a long time! The author captures the heart -breaking details of addiction and homelessness so clearly that your heart aches with its reality.  Just as poignant and equally heart-wrenching, are the details of the greed and privileged entitlement of the community’s elite.  These are seamlessly tied together with the lives of a family who serve the community with selflessness and sacrificial love every single day.  All of these details come together in a story that thoroughly captivates the reader!  I am so excited to know that this is the first in a series!  I have become attached to these characters on many levels!

I have to be consistent in my blogging and tell readers that this story does contain some mild language.  It is not gratuitous to the story, but rather is in keeping with the characters and situations within which it appears.  That said, this is an amazing story that I am very, very excited to recommend to everyone!

About the Author:
For 27 years, Deb Richardson-Moore was a reporter for "The Greenville (SC) News," winning three national writing awards and routine recognition from the South Carolina Press Association. She was a wife, mother of three, and that suburban cliche, a minivan-driving soccer mom. 

She then took over the religion beat at "The News" and enrolled in a nearby seminary to learn more about it. Her life was never the same. She left the newspaper and earned a master of divinity degree. Because jobs for clergywomen were scarce in her own Baptist denomination, she accepted a job as pastor of the non-denominational Triune Mercy Center, a crumbling, inner-city mission church to the homeless. 
Deb is a graduate of Wake Forest University and Erskine Theological Seminary. She and her husband, Vince, have three grown children. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Lessons from the East by Bob Roberts Jr. - REVIEWED


About the Book:
"What if our Western view of church isn't God's view of church?" That's the disruptive question church planter, Bob Roberts Jr. wrestled with while connecting with top church planters and pastors from around the world. Over time, his global experiences convinced him that Western believers would benefit from:

--taking their faith beyond Sunday to every dimension of life;
--shifting from a Christian worldview to looking at life through a Jesus prism; and
--transforming from religious leaders to disciple leaders.

My Thoughts:
Too often, our emphasis in missions has been more about creating a separate domain than equipping people to enter the existing domains in those communities to shine as lights and love people the way Jesus loved.” (p. 53)

Bob Roberts, Jr. comes back to this foundational truth throughout his book, Lessons from the East.  He has learned valuable lessons from pastors that lead congregations in the Eastern culture who live most of their days willing to live for and die for Christ and His precious gospel.  He  speaks again and again about how our faith and our ministry are present in every part of our lives instead of being only a part of our weekly check list of duties we perform out of obligation.  Roberts talks about relationship and familial ties among ministers of the gospel that serve as a foundation  from which they draw strength and purpose.  He looks at every part of Western “religion” and  highlights the profound differences between disciples and ministers serving in Eastern culture versus their Western counterparts.

I was both encouraged and challenged by every chapter in this book.  I was also excited to find that the church I currently attend – although very large – incorporates most all of the principles Roberts discusses.  It really makes all the difference in the world when we do ministry from the bottom up instead of the top down! 


I encourage everyone who is a believer to examine this book and your heart as it relates to the call of God on your life.  If you belong to Christ, you  have a call to serve Him in every area of your life every day of your life.  Each chapter ends with thought provoking questions that will help you examine your heart before God and to grow in the wisdom and knowledge of His Word as it relates to ministry of every kind! 


About the Author:
Bob Roberts Jr. is the founding pastor of NorthWood Church in the Dallas / Fort Worth area who has been involved in helping plant over 200 churches. His church and the other Western churches Bob has helped start have done global engagement in Australia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt, Vietnam, Belize, Brazil, Kenya, Nigeria, Mexico, and Nepal. He is a graduate of Fuller Seminary (D.Min.). Bob and his wife have two children.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Murder Mezzo Forte by Donn Taylor - REVIEWED


About the Book:
He is a reclusive history professor with musical hallucinations, she a headstrong professor of religion, a converted Wiccan. Earlier, they solved a campus murder, but now police say they formed two-thirds of an illicit love triangle with a newly-murdered female colleague and they're probably guilty of her murder. A leak of the alleged scandal to the college administration threatens their jobs. Their desperate attempt to prove themselves innocent of the triangle and the murder plunges them into a tangle of unsavory corporate relationships among college trustees. And it puts their lives in danger from a mysterious criminal organization that seems to have tentacles everywhere.
Can this ill-matched pair's stumbling efforts succeed against the entrenched forces of the police, the college's incompetent administration, and that powerful but unseen criminal organization? If not, they may end up unemployed, in prison, or suffering a fate much worse . . .

My Thoughts:
 Limited by human understanding , we will never accurately perceive God’s work in the world.”     (p. 289)

Preston Barcklay makes this observation in the aftermath of a harrowing murder mystery, and in the wake of the loss of his wife and another, equally disturbing murder mystery.  This is a unique and odd character to say the least!  His counterpart and colleague, Mara Thorn, is an equally interesting character with a new found faith in Christ – teaching on a small Christian college campus whose leadership has decided to turn their back on the school’s heritage. 

These two apparently worked together to solve another, equally intriguing case, but because I didn’t read the earlier novel, I was unable to reference the context.  Normally, that doesn’t matter so much, but in this instance, it would have given me much needed context.  That being said, Preston Barcklay’s “musical halluciantions” became a nuisance instead of the endearing quality they were intended to be.  I also had a hard time reconciling  a statement found on page 253; “A wave of gratitude swop over me, and I thanked Providence.  Maybe God was working in this world, even if He was a little bit late.”  Barcklay’s faith waxes and wanes precariously throughout the novel.  Again, I think this was somewhat accurate in the wake of the death of his wife, but I can’t reckon the wide arch of his faith if he was able to make a solid stand only 30 pages later.  Maybe he doesn’t deal well with stress.

I can tell you now that the author nailed the personalities found within an academic environment to a TEE!!!  Their behavior at a social event – spot on!!  I work in a liberal arts academic unit myself, and I just shook my head and laughed at some of the bureaucracy he describes!  Anyway, this IS a well-written tale, but the main character sort of got on my nerves!  There is a lot of loss before the mystery is solved, so if you like a good murder mystery, you will love this!  I just had a hard time getting  beyond my own opinion!  So forgive me for that and enjoy the novel!  It is a great tale!

About the Author:
Donn Taylor is a novelist and poet of varied career. He led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he earned a PhD in English literature (Renaissance) and for eighteen years taught literature at two liberal arts colleges. His fiction includes a light-hearted mystery, Rhapsody in Red, a historical, Lightning on a Quiet Night (a finalist for the Selah Awards), and two suspense novels, Deadly Addictive and The Lazarus File. He has also published a book of poetry, Dust and Diamond: Poems of Earth and Beyond. He is a frequent speaker at writers' groups and conferences. He lives near Houston, TX, where he continues to write fiction and poetry, as well as essays on writing, ethical issues, and U.S. foreign policy.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Liberating King by Stephen Miller - REVIEWED


About the Book:
At the moment we believe, Christ delivers us from the prison of sin. But instead of walking out into the clear, brisk air of freedom, we often turn back to the dank, suffocating cell, pull the door closed behind us, and then try to find our way out again by our own power.

This is not how it's supposed to be. We need someone stronger than us to release us from the prison of sin. Enter Jesus, the liberating king.


With passion and purpose, worship pastor Stephen Miller calls us to draw near to Christ in worship, allowing his Word and the Holy Spirit to loose our chains by exposing the lies that imprisoned us in the first place. When we do, we see everything more clearly--from the sinking sand of our man-made security to the solid rock of Jesus's unshakable power. Miller shows that holy living is within our grasp when we keep our eyes and our adoration on the one who was sent not only to save us but also to make us into new creations.

My Thoughts:
Faith is being brave knowing what you know now.”  (p. 51)

What do we know?  That our Creator God loves us, died for us, made a way for us to be redeemed and live with Him eternally – and every day He gives us the opportunity to walk in the freedom of knowing WHO He is and that WE ARE HIS!! 

This book was another God appointment for me.  Leading any type of group in ministry is challenging, and there are times when you come up against unbelief and hurt and disappointment, and that is when believers need to worship the most! We need to remind ourselves that we belong to God and God alone, and that no matter what circumstance tells us, that is a truth that never changes!!

Miller teaches us a lot about worship – that it is not a song or ever a set of songs, but a lifestyle.  Our workplace becomes worship, serving others is worship, everything we do for The Father is worship.  Miller deals with topics such as grief, worry, loving others and many more areas that many believers struggle to believe that worship is even possible.  Each chapter ends with a series of questions that will serve believers to think deeper about the thoughts presented.  This will be an excellent study for both individuals and small groups!  I plan to use it with my small group this Fall! 


I am happy to recommend this book to EVERYONE!!  Come, let us worship together!


About the Author:
Stephen Miller is a pastor and artist who strives to enlarge people’s view of God with the truth of Scripture and artfully provide a vocabulary to express thankfulness and praise to Him. He is a passionate advocate for the local church and he travels all over the world to preach and lead worship with his band for various conferences, concerts, camps and more.

Believing that songs alone are insufficient to express our love for God, and are in fact our smallest expression of worship, Stephen is adamant that worship is a lifestyle expressed through mercy, justice, and compassion. He is a voice for orphan care as well as a Compassionate International artist, who he partners with to help rescue children out of poverty in Jesus’ name."Fain

Stephen has recorded four studio albums, and is the author of Worship Leaders, We Are Not Rock Stars. He serves as the Worship Pastor at Real Life Church in Austin, TX where he resides with his wife, Amanda, and their five children.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Lethal Harvest by William Cutrer and Sandra Glahn - REVIEWED


About the Book:
In order to save the president's life, a brilliant embryologist-- the president's nephew--made a "devil's bargain" with a secret group of federal agents. But Tim Sullivan's illegal genetic manipulations of human embryos place everyone he knows at risk. Before he can finish his work, a freakish accident kills him and leaves only troubling questions behind.


Now his partner, Ben McKay, and Tim's widow, Marnie, must uncover the hidden truth about Tim's research before more lives are swept away. In the process, they're forced to face their feelings for each other and the dark secrets in their own pasts. This story of love, loss, and danger crosses international borders from Mexico to the former Soviet Union in order to answer one searing question: if Tim's research is completed, what form will the strange and dangerous harvest take?


Ambition, jealousy, and the ultimate meaning of love move this riveting story through the dark labyrinth that may lie buried under breakthroughs in genetic research and cloning.

My Thoughts:
All I know is, a phone call goes to the Feds one day, I get nuked the next.  If it was supposed to serve as a message, they certainly got my attention.”  (p. 196)

Since the beginning of time, God’s creation has tried to become the creator.  Lucifer was thrown from Heaven, and any attempts made to usurp God’s power will always fail.  He alone is our Creator.  Yet, the story found within the pages of Lethal Harvest, is founded on reality, and clearly shows that mankind will go to any lengths to protect any opportunity that allows them to act as creator.  Stem cell research remains controversial and deadly in this particular tale, and faith in God alone is the only way anyone survives this brutal onslaught in the name of scientific research.

This is a chilling, suspenseful read that will keep readers up all night to discover who, if anyone, survives this tale!  This is the true definition of medical suspense!  You will grow to care a great deal about the main characters, but you will also be amazed when you discover who is behind all of the mayhem!  This is truly a perfect balance between great characters and a thrill ride of mystery!


I am more than happy to recommend this book to EVERYONE!!

About the Authors:

William Cutrer, M.D., (1951-–2013) was a recognized expert in reproductive technology and medical ethics. A licensed obstetrician/gynecologist who specialized in the treatment of infertility for more than fifteen years, he also held a graduate degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and was an ordained minister. At the time of his death he was a professor at The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Cutrer was the author of a number of pastoral resources including When Empty Arms Become a Heavy Burden (coauthored with Sandra Glahn), and the coauthor of three medical suspense novels.

Sandra Glahn, Th.M., is an adjunct professor at Dallas Seminary, where she edits the award-winning magazine Kindred Spirit. She is the author of the Coffee Cup Bible Studies series for women and the coauthor of seven books about marriage and reproductive issues. Sandra also serves on the board of the Evangelical Press Association and the women's executive committee for Bible.org. She and her husband, Gary, make their home in Dallas, Texas.