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Monday, May 30, 2011

FIRST Wild Card Review: In Grandma's Attic

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


In Grandma's Attic
AND
More Stories from Grandma's Attic

David C. Cook (April 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karen Davis, Assistant Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Arleta Richardson grew up in a Chicago hotel under her grandmother’s care. As they sat overlooking the shores of Lake Michigan, her grandmother shared memories of her childhood on a Michigan farm. These treasured family stories became the basis for the Grandma’s Attic Series.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Remember when you were a child, when the entire world was new, and the smallest object a thing of wonder? Arleta Richardson remembered: the funny wearable wire contraption hidden in the dusty attic, the century-old schoolchild’s slate that belonged to Grandma, an ancient trunk filled with quilt pieces—each with its own special story—and the button basket, a miracle of mysteries. But best of all she remembered her remarkable grandmother who made magic of all she touched, bringing the past alive as only a born storyteller could.

So step inside the attic of Richardson’s grandmother. These stories will keep you laughing while teaching you valuable lessons. These marvelous tales faithfully recalled for the delight of young and old alike are a touchstone to another day when life was simpler, perhaps richer, and when the treasures of family life and love were passed from generation to generation by a child’s questions and the legends that followed enlarged our faith. These timeless stories were originally released in 1974 and then revised in 1999. They are being re-released with new artwork that will appeal to a new generation of girls.


Product Details:

In Grandma's Attic:

List Price: $6.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (April 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0781403790
ISBN-13: 978-0781403795

More Stories from Grandma's Attic:

List Price: $6.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; 3 edition (April 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780781403801
ISBN-13: 978-0781403801
ASIN: 0781403804


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


In Grandma’s Attic – Chapter 1


Pride Goes Before a Fall

“Grandma, what is this?”


Grandma looked up from her work. “Good lands, child, where did you find that?”


“In the attic,” I replied. “What is it, Grandma?”


Grandma chuckled and answered, “That’s a hoop. The kind that ladies wore under their skirts when I was a little girl.”


“Did you ever wear one, Grandma?” I asked.


Grandma laughed. “Indeed I did,” she said. “In fact, I wore that very one.”


Here, I decided, must be a story. I pulled up the footstool and prepared to listen. Grandma looked at the old hoop fondly.


“I only wore it once,” she began. “But I kept it to remind me how painful pride can be.”


I was about eight years old when that hoop came into my life. For months I had been begging Ma to let me have a hoopskirt like the big girls wore. Of course that was out of the question. What would a little girl, not even out of calicoes, be doing with a hoopskirt? Nevertheless, I could envision myself walking haughtily to school with the hoopskirt and all the girls watching enviously as I took my seat in the front of the room.


This dream was shared by my best friend and seatmate, Sarah Jane. Together we spent many hours picturing ourselves as fashionable young ladies in ruffles and petticoats. But try as we would, we could not come up with a single plan for getting a hoopskirt of our very own.


Finally, one day in early spring, Sarah Jane met me at the school grounds with exciting news. An older cousin had come to their house to visit, and she had two old hoops that she didn’t want any longer. Sarah Jane and I could have them to play with, she said. Play with, indeed! Little did that cousin know that we didn’t want to play with them. Here was the answer to our dreams. All day, under cover of our books, Sarah Jane and I planned how we would wear those hoops to church on Sunday.


There was a small problem: How would I get that hoop into the house without Ma knowing about it? And how could either of us get out of the house with them on without anyone seeing us? It was finally decided that I would stop by Sarah Jane’s house on Sunday morning. We would have some excuse for walking to church, and after her family had left, we would put on our hoops and prepare to make a grand entrance at the church.


“Be sure to wear your fullest skirt,” Sarah Jane reminded me. “And be here early. They’re all sure to look at us this Sunday!”


If we had only known how true that would be! But of course, we were happily unaware of the disaster that lay ahead.


Sunday morning came at last, and I astonished my family by the speed with which I finished my chores and was ready to leave for church.


“I’m going with Sarah Jane this morning,” I announced, and set out quickly before anyone could protest.


All went according to plan. Sarah Jane’s family went on in the buggy, cautioning us to hurry and not be late for service. We did have a bit of trouble fastening the hoops around our waists and getting our skirts pulled down to cover them. But when we were finally ready, we agreed that there could not be two finer-looking young ladies in the county than us.


Quickly we set out for church, our hoopskirts swinging as we walked. Everyone had gone in when we arrived, so we were assured the grand entry we desired. Proudly, with small noses tipped up, we sauntered to the front of the church and took our seats.


Alas! No one had ever told us the hazards of sitting down in a hoopskirt without careful practice! The gasps we heard were not of admiration as we had anticipated—far from it! For when we sat down, those dreadful hoops flew straight up in the air! Our skirts covered our faces, and the startled minister was treated to the sight of two pairs of white pantalets and flying petticoats.


Sarah Jane and I were too startled to know how to disentangle ourselves, but our mothers were not. Ma quickly snatched me from the seat and marched me out the door.


The trip home was a silent one. My dread grew with each step. What terrible punishment would I receive at the hands of an embarrassed and upset parent? Although I didn’t dare look at her, I knew she was upset because she was shaking. It was to be many years before I learned that Ma was shaking from laughter, and not from anger!


Nevertheless, punishment was in order. My Sunday afternoon was spent with the big Bible and Pa’s concordance. My task was to copy each verse I could find that had to do with being proud. That day I was a sorry little girl who learned a lesson about pride going before a fall.


“And you were never proud again, Grandma?” I asked after she finished the story.


Grandma thought soberly for a moment. “Yes,” she replied. “I was proud again. Many times. It was not until I was a young lady and the Lord saved me that I had the pride taken from my heart. But many times when I am tempted to be proud, I remember that horrid hoopskirt and decide that a proud heart is an abomination to the Lord!”


***************************************

More Stories From Grandma’s Attic

Chapter 1


The Nuisance in Ma’s Kitchen

When Grandma called from the backyard, I knew I was in for it. She was using her would-you-look-at-this voice, which usually meant I was responsible for something.


“What, Grandma?” I asked once I reached the spot where she was hanging up the washing.


“Would you look at this?” she asked. “I just went into the kitchen for more clothespins and came back out to find this.”


I looked where she was pointing. One of my kittens had crawled into the clothes basket and lay sound asleep on a clean sheet.


“If you’re going to have kittens around the house, you’ll have to keep an eye on them. Otherwise leave them in the barn where they belong. It’s hard enough to wash sheets once without doing them over again.”


Grandma headed toward the house with the soiled sheet, and I took the kitten back to the barn. But I didn’t agree that it belonged there. I would much rather have had the whole family of kittens in the house with me. Later I mentioned this to Grandma.


“I know,” she said. “I felt the same way when I was your age. If it had been up to me, I would have moved every animal on the place into the house every time it rained or snowed.”


“Didn’t your folks let any pets in the house?” I asked.


“Most of our animals weren’t pets,” Grandma admitted. “But there were a few times when they were allowed in. If an animal needed special care, it stayed in the kitchen. I really enjoyed those times, especially if it was one I could help with.”


“Tell me about one,” I said, encouraging her to tell me another story about her childhood.


“I remember one cold spring,” she began, “when Pa came in from the barn carrying a tiny goat.”


“I’m not sure we can save this one.” Pa held the baby goat up for us to see. “The nanny had twins last night, and she’ll only let one come near her. I’m afraid this one’s almost gone.”


Ma agreed and hurried to find an old blanket and a box for a bed. She opened the oven door, put the box on it, and gently took the little goat and laid it on the blanket. It didn’t move at all. It just lay there, barely breathing.


“Oh, Ma,” I said. “Do you think it will live? Shouldn’t we give it something to eat?”


“It’s too weak to eat right now,” Ma replied. “Let it rest and get warm. Then we’ll try to feed it.”


Fortunately it was Saturday, and I didn’t have to go to school. I sat on the floor next to the oven and watched the goat. Sometimes it seemed as though it had stopped breathing, and I would call Ma to look.


“It’s still alive,” she assured me. “It just isn’t strong enough to move yet. You wait there and watch if you want to, but don’t call me again unless it opens its eyes.”


When Pa and my brothers came in for dinner, Reuben stopped and looked down at the tiny animal. “Doesn’t look like much, does it?”


I burst into tears. “It does so!” I howled. “It looks just fine! Ma says it’s going to open its eyes. Don’t discourage it!”


Reuben backed off in surprise, and Pa came over to comfort me. “Now, Reuben wasn’t trying to harm that goat. He just meant that it doesn’t … look like a whole lot.”


I started to cry again, and Ma tried to soothe me. “Crying isn’t going to help that goat one bit,” she said. “When it gets stronger, it will want something to eat. I’ll put some milk on to heat while we have dinner.”


I couldn’t leave my post long enough to go to the table, so Ma let me hold my plate in my lap. I ate dinner watching the goat. Suddenly it quivered and opened its mouth. “It’s moving, Ma!” I shouted. “You’d better bring the milk!”


Ma soaked a rag in the milk, and I held it while the little goat sucked it greedily. By the time it had fallen asleep again, I was convinced that it would be just fine.


And it was! By evening the little goat was standing on its wobbly legs and began to baa loudly for more to eat. “Pa, maybe you’d better bring its box into my room,” I suggested at bedtime.


“Whatever for?” Pa asked. “It will keep warm right here by the stove. We’ll look after it during the night. Don’t worry.”


“And we aren’t bringing your bed out here,” Ma added, anticipating my next suggestion. “You’ll have enough to do, watching that goat during the day.”


Of course Ma was right. As the goat got stronger, he began to look for things to do. At first he was content to grab anything within reach and pull it. Dish towels, apron strings, and tablecloth corners all fascinated him. I kept busy trying to move things out of his way.


From the beginning the little goat took a special liking to Ma, but she was not flattered. “I can’t move six inches in this kitchen without stumbling over that animal,” she sputtered. “He can be sound asleep in his box one minute and sitting on my feet the next. I don’t know how much longer I can tolerate him in here.”


As it turned out, it wasn’t much longer. The next Monday, Ma prepared to do the washing in the washtub Pa had placed on two chairs near the woodpile. Ma always soaked the clothes in cold water first, then transferred them to the boiler on the stove.


I was in my room when I heard her shouting, “Now you put that down! Come back here!”


I ran to the kitchen door and watched as the goat circled the table with one of Pa’s shirts in his mouth. Ma was right behind him, but he managed to stay a few feet ahead of her.


“Step on the shirt, Ma!” I shouted as I ran into the room. “Then he’ll have to stop!”


I started around the table the other way, hoping to head him off. But the goat seemed to realize that he was outnumbered, for he suddenly turned and ran toward the chairs that held the washtub.


“Oh, no!” Ma cried. “Not that way!”


But it was too late! Tub, water, and clothes splashed to the floor. The goat danced stiff-legged through the soggy mess with a surprised look on his face.


“That’s enough!” Ma said. “I’ve had all I need of that goat. Take him out and tie him in the yard, Mabel. Then bring me the mop, please.”


I knew better than to say anything, but I was worried about what would happen to the goat. If he couldn’t come back in the kitchen, where would he sleep?


Pa had the answer to that. “He’ll go to the barn tonight.”


“But, Pa,” I protested, “he’s too little to sleep in the barn. Besides, he’ll think we don’t like him anymore!”


“He’ll think right,” Ma said. “He’s a menace, and he’s not staying in my kitchen another day.”


“But I like him,” I replied. “I feel sorry for him out there alone. If he has to sleep in the barn, let me go out and sleep with him!”


My two brothers looked at me in amazement.


“You?” Roy exclaimed. “You won’t even walk past the barn after dark, let alone go in!”


Everyone knew he was right. I had never been very brave about going outside after dark. But I was more concerned about the little goat than I was about myself.


“I don’t care,” I said stubbornly. “He’ll be scared out there, and he’s littler than I am.”


Ma didn’t say anything, probably because she thought I’d change my mind before dark. But I didn’t. When Pa started for the barn that evening, I was ready to go with him. Ma saw that I was determined, so she brought me a blanket.


“You’d better wrap up in this,” she said. “The hay is warm, but it’s pretty scratchy.”


I took the blanket and followed Pa and the goat out to the barn. The more I thought about the long, dark night, the less it seemed like a good idea, but I wasn’t going to give in or admit that I was afraid.


Pa found a good place for me to sleep. “This is nice and soft and out of the draft. You’ll be fine here.”


I rolled up in the blanket, hugging the goat close to me as I watched Pa check the animals. The light from the lantern cast long, scary shadows through the barn, and I thought about asking Pa if he would stay with me. I knew better, though, and all too soon he was ready to leave.


“Good night, Mabel. Sleep well,” he said as he closed the barn door behind him. I doubted that I would sleep at all. If it hadn’t been for the goat and my brothers who would laugh at me, I would have returned to the house at once. Instead I closed my eyes tightly and began to say my prayers. In a few moments the barn door opened, and Reuben’s voice called to me.


“Mabel,” he said, “it’s just me.” He came over to where I lay, and I saw that he had a blanket under his arm. “I thought I’d sleep out here tonight too. I haven’t slept in the barn for a long time. You don’t mind, do you?”


“Oh, no. That’s fine.” I turned over and fell asleep at once.


When I awoke in the morning, the goat and Reuben were both gone. Soon I found the goat curled up by his mother.


“Will you be sleeping in the barn again tonight?” Ma asked me at breakfast.


“No, I don’t think so,” I said. “I’ll take care of the goat during the day, but I guess his mother can watch him at night.”


Grandma laughed at the memory. “After I grew up, I told Reuben how grateful I was that he came out to stay with me. I wonder how my family ever put up with all my foolishness.”


Grandma went back into the house, and I wandered out to the barn to see the little kittens. I decided I wouldn’t be brave enough to spend the night there even if I had a big brother to keep me company!



My Review: Way late with this one....this time of year it is so easy to get behind, and I obviously have! I was supposed to post this review quite a while ago! *blush* I really enjoyed these books, and enjoyed/will continue to enjoy sharing them with my sons! These were especially poignant to read to me because all my grandparents passed away before my children were born. They are very blessed to have one great-grandmother still living, and we take them to see her as often as we can! I recommend these books to anyone who values family!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Emory & Henry College - Newsweek - Education

Emory & Henry College - Newsweek - Education

My alma mater, for not only my undergrad, but also for my Master's! VERY proud of this school, and recommend it highly to others! Not only are both my sisters also grads, I have a nephew who is a rising Junior there and another going in as a first year student this fall!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Review: Here, Home, Hope



Thanks to the One2One Network, I recently had the opportunity to review a great new debut novel by author Kaira Rouda called Here, Home, Hope! I really enjoyed this story, and would definitely recommend it to others!

Here is what the author's website says about the book:
"Kelly Mills Johnson becomes restless in her thirty-ninth year. An appetite for more forces her to take stock of her ordinary middle-American existence and her neighbors’ seemingly perfect lives. Her marriage to a successful attorney has settled into a comfortable routine, and being the mother of two adorable sons has been rewarding but exhausting. Meanwhile, Kelly’s own passions lie wasted. She eyes with envy the lives of her two best friends, Kathryn and Charlotte, both beautiful, successful businesswomen who seem to have it all. Kelly takes charge of her life, devising a midlife makeover plan."


This book really spoke to me, as the main character is about the same age as me. Though I'm not a stay at home mom and haven't had some of the life experiences she has had, I still can relate to some of the emotions she feels at this given stage of life. I have been through several bouts of depression, much like Kelly experiences in the book. I really liked the following description that her counselor gives of depression, and the effect medication has on the person in a depressed state:
"I like to explain depression like this. Imagine your brain as a bathtub, and it's unusually filled all the way to the top with endorphins. In a depressed person, the brain alone can fill the bathtub only halfway. With medicine, the brain is then able to fill the bathtub all the way to the top. The medicine will help you continuously fill the tub back up until you can do it yourself."


Rouda has several very well-worded descriptions of the characters to which I could relate, like when she has Kelly reminiscing on herself as the Engergizer Bunny going and going, but perhaps masking underlying unhappiness with constant motion. Another favorite is Kelly questioning why busy wives and mothers don't reach out to their friends in times of emotional pain and distress.

This book would be invaluable to anyone who has a loved one battling an eating disorder similar to that which the character Melanie is undergoing. The advice given and descriptions of Mel's inner struggles feel very real. The only suggestion I might make would be concerning her description of Mel's suicide attempt. However, I realize that this might be because it is one part of the story I can relate to from personal experience. Admittedly, my own experience may be coloring my judgement on this part of the story.

I have overwhelmingly positive feelings about this novel. I had trouble putting this book down, and I don't find many books I can say that about lately! Pleasw do check out the author's website, become her fan on Facebook, or follow her on twitter!

Still not convinced to read the book? Check out this trailer!


I promise you won't be disappointed!

Friday, May 13, 2011

FIRST Wild Card Tour: How to Interpret Dreams and Visions

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


How to Interpret Dreams and Visions

Charisma House (May 3, 2011)

***Special thanks to Anna Coelho Silva | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Perry Stone is the best-selling author of numerous books, including The Meal That Heals and Breaking the Jewish Code. He directs one of America’s fastest-growing ministries, The Voice of Evangelism. An international evangelist, Perry holds a BA in theology from Covenant Life Christian College. He lives in Cleveland, Tennessee, with his wife, Pam, and their two children.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Is God Trying to Tell You Something?
Have you ever had a dream or vision that was so vivid that it remained with you for days? It is possible that your dream had a spiritual connotation and your vision was a message from God.

In How to Interpret Dreams and Visions, best-selling author and evangelist Perry Stone explains the guidance and warnings encrypted in our visions and dreams. With his unique blend of Bible knowledge and spiritual insight he provides answers to questions such as…

Is my dream really from God?How do I distinguish between types of spiritual visions?Why am I having nightmares or unclean dreams?· What do my dreams of a departed loved one mean?





Product Details:

List Price: $15.99
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Charisma House (May 3, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 161638350X
ISBN-13: 978-1616383503

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


The Last Days— Time to Pierce the Veil



But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the

Lord is, there is liberty.


-2 Corinthians 3:14–17



The spirit world is as real as the air we breathe and the water we drink. The natural realm is a reflection of the spirit world. Earthly things are patterned after heavenly things. (See

Hebrews 8:1–5.) Our world consists of trees, rivers, mountains, and cities. The heavenly city, New Jerusalem, has the tree of life, the crystal river of life, and a mountain where God is worshiped called Mount Zion (Rev. 22:1–5). These heavenly realities were the original Creation that was reflected on Earth when God created man. Humanity has struggled to believe in a world that cannot be seen with the eyes, touched with the hands, or smelled when we breathe.


To the skeptic, angels are myths, and demonic spirits are the dark imagination of Hollywood scripts. The prevailing attitude is the Thomas syndrome, which says, “Unless I can see it and touch it, I will never believe it” (John 20:25, author’s paraphrase). The fact is that there is an invisible veil covering both the natural eyes and the spiritual understanding of men and women, and only when the veil is lifted or pierced can the realities of the invisible realm become visible. The Bible is a book written by forty different authors over a period of about fifteen hundred years of time that tells the story of men called prophets who were inspired of the Lord and who pierced this veil and saw marvelous eternal and heavenly images that brought to mankind the revelation of God.

Paul wrote that there is a veil, similar to scales, over the eyes of our understanding that clouds the light of God’s revelation from entering into our minds and enlightening us with life-changing insight. If we live behind this veil, then we will never know or experience God’s best for us. This veil, which at times manifests as a lack of interest in spiritual matters, a dullness in our understanding, or a spirit of unbelief toward the idea of Bible-based spiritual manifestations, must be lifted to experience the unseen. This ability to see the future was the gift that set apart the biblical prophets from their false counterparts in surrounding idolatrous nations. These Hebrew visionaries had a reputation for knowing the unknown behind closed doors.


One such example can be seen when a Syrian general sent his army to capture one of God’s prophets, Elisha. When Elisha’s servant saw the army, fear gripped him. However, after Elisha prayed for the eyes of his servant to be opened, the fear turned to faith as the servant saw horses and chariots of fire encamped round about them both, forming a protective hedge. (See 2 Kings 6:8–17.) There is a covering of some sort on our physical eyes, which prevents us from seeing the activity of the spirit world. However, when we sleep, we are still able to see images through dreams or visions. In Scripture, men like the apostle John recorded these dreams and visions. John was on an island when he suddenly saw a “door in heaven open,” or as we would say, “heaven open,” and this opening projected his mind and spirit into another world, a world just as real as the world we live in. (See Revelation 4:1; 19:11.) These two biblical incidents from Revelation indicate two important facts: something occurs on Earth and something occurs in heaven to cause information to be released and the veil removed. On Earth our eyes must be “opened.” This happens when our inner vision, which creates the images in our brain at night, receives information from the heavenly realm, which “opens,” allowing eternal information to pass from the heavenly realm to the earthly realm.


One question posed by sincere seekers is: “Why would God be concerned about revealing events to us that have not yet occurred?” A simple answer is that He does so to prepare us for something or to cause us to intercede in prayer to prevent or to change a situation.

For example, when King Hezekiah was informed by Isaiah to set his house in order because he would soon die, the king began to earnestly pray, and his death was delayed for fifteen years (Isa. 38:1–5).


Another reason God is concerned is because He knows we need to

understand certain events in the future.


Why is the Spirit World Veiled?


Human eyes cannot see into the spirit world. God is a Spirit (John 4:24). Angels are spirits (Heb. 1:13–14). Satan’s kingdom is organized into four levels of spirit rebels (Eph. 6:12), and every man is a tripartite creation of a body, a soul, and a spirit, or, as some teach, a spirit with a soul living in a body (1 Thess. 5:23).


In the time of Adam and Eve, God entered the Garden of Eden and communicated directly with man by walking through the garden in the cool of the day (Gen. 3:8). Adam and Eve could see and hear God clearly. After they fell into sin, “the eyes of both of them were opened,” and they saw they were naked and felt shame (Gen. 3:7). Although their eyes were opened, at the same time their eyes were veiled. From that moment forward, angelic visitors appeared in the form of a vision, a dream, or would take upon themselves human form, just as the two angelic messengers did when instructed by the Almighty to investigate the sins of Sodom. (See Genesis 19.) Even the writer of Hebrews wrote to be careful when entertaining a stranger because you might not be aware that it is an angel (Heb. 13:2).


If our eyes could be opened and the veil lifted, we would continually see angels, demonic entities, and other forms of spirit beings. While some may wish to see into the invisible realm, the fact is that when great men of God and Hebrew prophets have pierced this veil and seen, for example, angels in their full glory, the reactions have normally been to fall down and be gripped with an overwhelming feeling of fear. Abraham fell into a deep trance (Gen. 15:12) and fell on his face when God talked to him (Gen. 17:3, 17). Ezekiel describes seeing the Almighty upon His throne, with cherubim and amazing heavenly beings appearing like wheels spinning within wheels (Ezek. 1), and he too fell upon his face (v. 28). In several instances when a vision of God or the angelic realm manifested, the prophet fell down upon his face (Ezek. 9:8; 43:3; 44:4). Daniel described an angelic visitor with brass-colored arms and feet, white hair, a gold belt, and eyes like fire. His reaction was so visibly powerful that even the men with him who did not see the vision became overwhelmed and began “quaking” and fled, hiding themselves (Dan. 10:5–7, kjv). Daniel found himself on his face with no strength remaining in his body (vv. 8–9). When John saw the resurrected Christ in heaven, he “fell at His feet as dead” (Rev. 1:17). Even Balaam’s donkey fell down when it saw an angel of the Lord (Num. 22:27)!


When the veil is lifted and a mere mortal taps into not just a vision or dream, but into the actual unseen world of angels, demons, heaven, or hell, the human body is unable to sustain the glory of the heavenly realm without responding in some manner. If we could live with our spiritual eyes continually opened, I suggest we would never get any work done and would be continually disrupted in our sleep.


Scripture instructs believers to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). I cannot physically see God, but I believe in God because of the Bible’s evidence and because I have faith that undergirds my confidence in the Word. With my human eyes I am unable to spot an angel flying through the heavens or a cosmic conflict between warring angels and prince spirits called the “spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). However, because my inner being is also a “spirit,” I can at times sense or feel the presence of the Lord, the warmth and peace of an angel, or the dark oppressive

wicked spirits that are in my earth zone. To pierce the curtain of the unseen, a believer must be in tune to that particular realm of spiritual activity.


When my seventy-seven-year-old father was praying for my twenty year-old son, who was kneeling before him at Dad’s small home in Tennessee, with tears in his eyes my father said to Jonathan, “There is a future.” He was encouraging his grandson not to just live for the moment but to discover, plan, and prevail for his future, which the Lord has already laid out for him and his little sister. At that moment I realized that this is what life is really all about—the future. When God laid out a detailed plan for man’s redemption from sin, He prepared the details long before Adam fell. Jesus is called “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). When Christ was praying before His death, He said that God had loved Him from “before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24). God planned a future for all of mankind before Adam and Eve were created and fell into sin!


Once man sinned, God Himself released the first prophecy by predicting that the seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:15). God spoke this about four thousand years before Mary gave birth to the Messiah (Luke 2). After Cain slew his brother, Abel, God wasted no time in replacing Abel with Adam and Eve’s new addition to the family, a son named Seth who would initiate a nine-generation lineage of righteous men, leading up to tenth man from Adam, Noah. (See Genesis 5.) God continually has your future on His mind and in His purpose


The Almighty’s passion for the future is also witnessed in the fact that God thinks generationally. When God established His covenant through Abraham, He was planning that Abraham’s descendants would become a nation. First God promised Abraham a son and to make a “great nation” from Abraham’s children (Gen. 12:2). Years later God predicted that Abraham would be “a great and mighty nation” (Gen. 18:18). Years passed, and then God visited Abraham’s grandson Jacob, changing his name from Jacob to Israel. God enlarged His promise by saying to Jacob, “A nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you” (Gen. 35:11). After the nation of Israel expanded from seventy souls to more than six hundred thousand men of war (Exod. 1:5; 12:37), the Lord announced that the nation would be “blessed above all peoples” (Deut. 7:14). From one simple individual, Abraham, to seventy souls who went into Egypt under Joseph, in four hundred years the nation grew to six hundred thousand men marching through the Red Sea and on to the millions of Jewish people now in the world. God was beginning the preparations for one large family called the children of Israel when He was making covenant with one man—Abraham! This is why God changed Abram’s name (meaning “father”) to Abraham, meaning “father of many” (Gen. 17:5). Israel began with a dream and a vision!


Securing confidence and boldness for the future is so significant to the Almighty that He allowed men to enter into the dream dimension and receive vital knowledge for themselves, for their leaders, or for the nations in which they were given authority. A few examples of significant dreams that altered situations, set destinies, or brought prophetic knowledge are:


. God warned King Abimelech with the threat of death if he didn’t return Sarah to Abraham (Gen. 20:6–7).

. God confirmed in a dream for Jacob to leave Laban, taking his wives and sons to Canaan (Gen. 31).

. God prepared Joseph’s future by giving him two prophetic dreams when he was a teenager (Gen. 37).

. God allowed Joseph to interpret the dreams of the butler and the baker while in prison (Gen. 40).

. Joseph interpreted both dreams of Pharaoh and prepared for a seven-year famine (Gen. 41).

. It was the “barley cake dream” that gave Gideon confidence to fight the Midianites (Judg. 7).

. God appeared to Solomon in a dream, granting his request for the gift of wisdom (1 Kings 3).

. Daniel was the only man in Babylon capable of interpreting the dream of the metallic image (Dan. 2).

. Daniel later interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s “tree dream,” predicting the downfall of the king (Dan. 4).

. Daniel experienced a major prophetic dream of world empires symbolized by wild beasts (Dan. 7).


Nearly six thousand years of human history have demonstrated that just because God plans a person’s future, it is no guarantee that opposition will not eclipse the light of the revelation. There is a plan by the kingdom of darkness to distract, disrupt, and destroy the future, both God’s prophetic plan and your personal destiny. Each person is said to have a “destiny,” which is simply your future according to God. Just as God revealed to Jeremiah that He foreknew him when he was still in his mother’s womb and that He preordained him to be a prophet (Jer. 1:5), God has a predetermined plan for each person. With all of the clutter and clamor and mixed voices speaking into our lives, our minds can become cloudy and our understanding fogged with numerous possibilities from which we must choose. This is why at times God will permit a believer to pierce the world of the natural and enter the realm of a dream or a vision so that secret strategies of the enemy can be exposed and the hidden plans of God can be revealed. Warnings that are perceived and received can help you avoid potholes and pits in your path to destiny, and understanding God’s plan will empower you to pursue that purpose.


The disrupting of God’s will in our lives can begin at a very early age. During major prophetic cycles and seasons of prophetic fulfillment, children come under severe attack from the adversary. This was seen when Pharaoh ordered the male infants born to the Hebrews to be cast into the Nile River (Exod. 1:22). The time was coming when a deliverer would bring the Hebrews out of Egypt, and the adversary was no doubt attempting to preempt the prophecy by killing the possible male child deliverer before he could become a man! The second assignment of an evil ruler was when Herod commissioned Roman soldiers to encircle the area of Ramah and kill all male children who were under two years of age, attempting to slay the future king of the Jews that the wise men came to worship (Matt. 2).


From a personal perspective, if we survive our birth and live to be teenagers, other battles begin. When he was a teenager (age seventeen), a plot was organized against Joseph by his own brothers (Gen. 37). They were sick of this dreamer, Daddy’s favorite little spoiled boy, running around with an expensive coat! Joseph was doing well until he began to confess his dreams of success that would come to him. At that point his brothers conspired against him, and Joseph ended up in a pit, then in a prison, and spent thirteen years in what seemed negative, dream-killing circumstances.


I was a young teenager when the Lord began to reveal to me His will and I began planning for it. I encountered various types of verbal persecution from my own spiritual brothers in the same denomination of which I was a member. When David—just a

teen—was anointed by Samuel as the next king “in the midst of his brothers,” jealousy arose among certain brothers much older who may have felt they deserved the position more than their kid brother (1 Sam. 16:13; 17:28).


When I was a teenager, the Holy Spirit inspired me to organize a ministry called Voice of Evangelism when I had only preached in three states. Ministers said, “Perry isn’t the voice of anything, much less of evangelism.” They were correct from the natural perspective but wrong in the Spirit. The Lord had a future for me! At age eighteen

I formed a “7-Point Outreach Plan” that included a ministry outreach through books, revival meetings, magazines, and other forms of branching out. Then I began overhearing statements like: “Who does he think he is, Billy Graham or Oral Roberts?” Without sounding arrogant, I knew something these other men did not know. I had a small glimpse into the future. I had both heard and seen in my spirit and through dreams and prayer that I would be used of the Lord to one day have a worldwide ministry Thus, once you see your future, you can learn how to hold off the adversity and know why there is opposition against your destiny!


Watch out for that girl!


When my father, Fred Stone, was a young, black-haired teenage minister, he met a very attractive girl about his age who was gifted in playing the piano and singing. Of course, the common belief was that if you were a minister, your wife needed to be a singer or musician. The girl took a liking to him. However, Dad had a dream in which he saw this girl coming out of a barn embracing a young man. He realized the girl was having relations with this boy. He heard a voice say, “I have warned you; have nothing to do with that girl.” Dad said that after this dream, the girl tried to get close to him in friendship; he would say hello but go no further. Even Dad’s uncle, a noted minister, rebuked Dad for not expressing more interest in such a talented young girl. But three months later the girl’s father told Dad’s uncle he was glad Dad had not formed a relationship with his daughter, because she was pregnant out of wedlock by a fellow she knew.


When I was the same age as my father, a similar situation was repeated in my life. I was eighteen years of age, traveling from church to church conducting weekly revivals. At one location, a family I knew with a daughter about my age wanted me to go out with her to eat. My policy was to only go out with a group of young people and avoid going out alone with the opposite sex. Soon she began to speak to friends that she was serious about me and thought our friendship could lead to eventual marriage. At the same time I dreamed that she was pregnant. In the dream the Lord told me to avoid her. The same week, three noted ministers spoke to me in confidence and said, “You must be careful around this girl. There is something not right about her.” I sent word to her through a friend not to have any contact with me again. One month later it was confirmed that she was pregnant, and she married the father of the child shortly thereafter. Years later she and her mother came to hear me minister in a church and asked to speak with me. Her mother, a very godly woman, required her to apologize to me for plotting to pull me into her situation without my knowledge. The girl said, “I was hoping you would suddenly fall in love with me and marry me before anyone knew I was pregnant with this man’s baby.”


In both cases, more than twenty-six years apart, the same type of snare was laid for Dad and me. By following the same type of dreams and inward warnings, we both avoided missing the will of God and entering into a situation that would have been not only questionable but also embarrassing and detrimental to our early ministries. These


illustrations reveal how strategies are set to disrupt God’s purposes, but God is concerned about the details of our personal lives because circumstances affect our destiny!


Often when we think of a spiritual dream we envision a visitation that warns us of national calamity or an international warning on the same level as what the Old Testament prophets received when warning the priests and the kings of coming calamity. However, God has indicated in Scripture that He is concerned for each individual and not just for the collective population of a nation. Christ revealed that the Father watched a sparrow fall to the ground and saw the lilies in the field grow (Matt. 10:29; Luke 12:28), and if the Almighty is concerned for the smallest in His creation, how much more is His concern manifested toward man, who is made in His image (Gen. 1:26).


The Need to Know


The understanding of the Book of Daniel was sealed “until the time of the end,” when “knowledge shall increase” (Dan. 12:4). Numerous prophecies are assigned to occur in the “time of the end,” a term used in the Book of Daniel five times (Dan. 8:17; 11:35, 40; 12:4, 9). Other predictions will unfold in the “last days,” a phrase coined to identify the time frame prior to the return of the Messiah, listed five times in the New Testament (Acts 2:17; 2 Tim. 3:1; Heb. 1:2; James 5:3; 2 Pet. 3:3). The final outpouring of the Holy Spirit will occur in the “last days” (Acts 2:17) and includes sons and daughters prophesying and experiencing visions and dreams. Among this final generation there is a need-to-know attitude about their future and destiny.


This need to know is obvious when one considers the millions of dollars spent by sincere yet uninformed individuals on fortune-tellers, astrologers, séances, and psychics. According to the Pew Forum for Religion and Public Life, “about 1 in 7 Americans consulted a psychic or fortune teller in 2009.”1 The only reason these false prophets of greed are consulted is to determine the hidden and the unseen and to know in advance the person’s future. Why should the body of Christ sit back and refuse to tell this generation to seek God for His direction, when the adversary will provide a horoscope for that purpose? There is a human need to know, and our knowledge for redemption can be found in the Bible—as well as the guide for practical living found in those inspired Scriptures. However, there are times we are uncertain concerning personal and national decisions that can be seen and understood through visions and dreams.

However, the invisible veil must be pierced in the mind and in the understanding. This begins with the “dream factor.”



My review: I'm behind again! Will get a review up ASAP...May is a crazy month for educators!!

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Lonely Girl, Gracious God

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Lonely Girl, Gracious God

Deep River; Reprint edition (March 15, 2011)

***Special thanks to Arielle Roper of Bring it On! Communications for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Chicken Soup for the Soul contributor Lauri Khodabandehloo has written many stories speaking of the special bond between those who are challenged with a developmental disability and the people who love them. Lauri lives with her husband in Eugene, Oregon and remains active in the autism community.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:





Embrace this mother's deeply personal account of tragedies and triumphs, along with joys and sorrows of raising a child with the devastating disability of autism.






Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 266 pages
Publisher: Deep River; Reprint edition (March 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1935265466
ISBN-13: 978-1935265467

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


A Rough Start

When I found out I was pregnant in July of 1980, it took me completely by surprise. But instead of feeling overjoyed about the news, I dreaded telling my husband. For seven long years, Cody had been working hard to save up enough money to buy his own restaurant, and it looked as if his American dream was finally going to come true. A fourth child would put an additional strain on our finances and might even jeopardize Cody’s plans, which was the last thing I wanted to see happen.

We had also agreed five years earlier, after our daughter Farah was born, that we wouldn’t have any more children. Cody had desperately wanted a son, but he had come to terms with his disappointment and accepted that it wasn’t meant to be. Since then, I had been on birth control and never dreamed I would end up pregnant again.

Now it looked as if Cody might get his boy-child after all, but I wasn’t sure how he’d react, so I decided to put off telling him for a few months—at least until I began to show.

By September, I realized I couldn’t conceal my secret any longer, so I thought up a roundabout way of breaking the news.

After dinner one evening, Cody retreated to the living room and settled into his usual spot on the couch for a little television. I had strategically placed a greeting card on a side table next to the couch so he would be sure to notice it. The card was black and had only one word in gold script across the front: Congratulations! Inside, I had simply written “. . . on number four.”

I watched from the kitchen doorway as Cody checked to see what was on the news and then glanced at the card, just as I’d hoped he would. I held my breath as he reached over and picked it up, read the front, and then opened it to see what was inside.

He stared at the card for a moment and then turned to look at me. I could feel his eyes burning a hole in my head as he waited for me to respond, but I pretended not to notice, fixing my attention on the TV screen.

After a moment, he said in a quiet voice, “For real?”

I nodded silently without looking at him, then turned and retreated to the kitchen to busy myself with cleaning up. I couldn’t bear to see his reaction as the news began to sink in.

Cody didn’t say a word about the pregnancy for several weeks, and I wasn’t about to bring up the subject for discussion. Doing so would only have ignited a conflict I didn’t want to have. It seemed the better part of wisdom to give him plenty of time and space to process things. I knew he’d say something when he was ready.

When Cody finally broke his silence, he told me he wanted to schedule a vasectomy. He seemed just as shocked as I had been that I was pregnant. We couldn’t understand how something like this could have happened when we’d been so careful.

Having another baby was the last thing either of us wanted at this point in our marriage. Cody didn’t want, or need, another mouth to feed as he was preparing to buy his first restaurant, and I had grown weary of the responsibilities of being a mother.

For years I had been longing for a life of my own that would allow me the freedom to experience things I felt I’d missed out on because I had married so young. I had practically been a child when I married my high school sweetheart at eighteen, and by the time I was twenty, I had two baby girls to care for. I wasn’t ready to take on such weighty responsibilities, but ready or not, I had to grow up fast and learn how to meet the needs of the little ones who were depending on me.

At twenty-five, I had gone through a painful divorce and struggled to cope with the demands of caring for two young daughters on my own. Then I met Cody. We both worked at a restaurant in San Jose, he as a busboy and I as a waitress. This handsome, dark-skinned man from Iran had the whitest teeth I’d ever seen and a sparkling personality to match. He spoke very little English, and what he did say was always laced with a thick Middle Eastern accent. He charmed me with his dazzling white smile and wit, and he showered attention on me and my girls.

In just a matter of weeks, I found myself strangely attracted to this man who came from a part of the world I knew nothing about. Even though Cody and I barely knew each other and certainly didn’t love each other, marriage held undeniable benefits for us both. A couple of turbulent years trying to survive as a single mother had taken their toll, and I couldn’t handle the stress anymore. Marrying Cody seemed like the best solution, especially for my girls. Many years later I’d learn that Cody never believed in “falling in love.” In his country, a couple are married first—love and respect come later.

After a whirlwind courtship, Cody and I took a weekend trip to Reno, Nevada, and got married at the county courthouse on June 12, 1972. Before the ceremony, my heart had screamed at me not to go through with it. I even prayed that God would intervene. But the terror of going on alone with two young daughters to care for overpowered common sense, and I ignored any reservations I had.

As Cody and I left the courthouse that day, I told myself that I had married for the sake of my children and would learn to love Cody in time.

Three years later, Farah made her grand entry into the world, and I resigned myself to another long wait before I could spread my wings and fly.

Now, at thirty-three, I was pregnant with my fourth child and knew that I would be stuck in my stay-at-home-mom role for another five or six years. Freedom had been so close, I could taste it. My teenage daughters, Lisa and Lainee, were involved with their own friends and activities, and my six-yearold, Farah, had just started kindergarten. With all of my girls in school, I had been looking forward to time to myself in the mornings to run errands or talk on the phone without interruption, plan a coffee klatch with my girlfriend Randee, or just sit and watch a TV program that didn’t contain the loud and silly antics of colorful cartoon characters. But my wings had been clipped once again, and I was devastated.

Some women in my situation might have considered terminating the pregnancy, but that was never an option for me. I had no right to end a life that God had created. In my heart I knew he had a reason for letting me become pregnant, though I didn’t have a clue what it was. I was also living with the painful memories of a D&C procedure I’d had after Cody and I married. I never knew whether I had actually been pregnant; the doctor said the test was inconclusive but that after seven weeks he’d be unable to proceed with any kind of “remedy.” Though I’d consented to go ahead as planned, I couldn’t bear the thought that I might have naively allowed the doctor to end a life that was a few weeks along. The experience left me devastated and overwhelmed with guilt, nearly plunging me into a breakdown. No, I would never allow that to happen again under any circumstance! Besides, no matter how I felt about having another child, I just couldn’t deprive Cody of one last chance to have a son.

This fourth pregnancy turned out to be the most difficult one I’d ever experienced. Early on, I sensed that something wasn’t right, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then, at around five and a half months, the baby started kicking. I thought it would taper off in time, but instead, the jabbing became relentless, making my days miserable and robbing me of the few precious hours of sleep I so desperately needed.

As the weeks passed, the pain and lack of sleep became unbearable, reducing me to tears at all hours of the day and night. I finally pleaded with my obstetrician to take the baby by C-section, but he just shook his head and looked at me as if I had to be kidding.

I wasn’t.

“It feels like I’m being beat up from the inside!” I pleaded with him, trying to describe the pain. “I can’t take it anymore!”

The doctor responded sympathetically, but I suspected he thought I was overreacting. I also knew that as a devout Catholic, he would never perform a C-section at this stage of the pregnancy if there was even the slightest risk to the baby or me.

When I told him how difficult it was to get even an hour of sleep at night, he showed me how to lie on my side to ease the pain without causing the baby any discomfort. I had already tried that—I had tried everything I could think of to find relief—but I decided it would do no good to argue with him. I had great respect for this man who had taken care of me through all my pregnancies, and I knew he meant well even though he didn’t understand what I was going through. I resigned myself to crying my nights away and coping as best I could until the baby arrived.

At seven months into the pregnancy, I began to feel an overwhelming sense of foreboding. It wasn’t the normal apprehension and fears most women experience during pregnancy as their bodies change and hormone levels fluctuate. It was a deep knowing, an intuition that something was terribly wrong with my unborn child.

One evening at home, I cried out to God, “Please let this baby be okay.” I felt desperately alone as I sobbed and rocked back and forth on the couch. Even though I hadn’t wanted or planned to have another baby, I couldn’t bear the thought that this child might not be normal and healthy.

These ominous feelings hung over me like a storm cloud throughout the rest of my pregnancy. I didn’t understand why I felt this way, but it seemed as if something, or someone, was whispering in my ear, telling me that I needed to accept what was coming.

One afternoon as I was taking a nap, I dreamed that I heard a loud flapping outside the house. When I got up and opened the front door, I saw thousands of angels filling the sky, their white robes shimmering in the sun as they soared heavenward. I stepped out onto the porch, longing to go with them, but an angel with a white beard looked at me and shook his head. I knew immediately that he was telling me I needed to stay put; it wasn’t my time to go.

When I awoke from my nap, the dream seemed so real that I got up and went outside to see if it had actually happened.

Strange dreams are common during pregnancy, but I felt certain that God was speaking to me, telling me that I needed to wait on him no matter how difficult the pregnancy was.

As my delivery date approached, I could hardly wait to be free of the burden I’d been carrying the past nine months. I imagined the relief I would feel when my agony finally came to an end. I mentally ticked off the days, until late in the evening on February 19, I felt my water break and told Cody that it was time to go to the hospital.

We promised our girls that we would call as soon as we had some news, and then we headed for Sacred Heart Hospital. All of my children had been born there, so I knew the baby and I would be in good hands. The familiar surroundings and the kind, upbeat nurses always put me at ease.

Cody and I were lost in our own thoughts on the drive to the hospital. All I could think about was that this war going on inside my belly would be over in a few short hours. I was certain this rambunctious child was a boy and that Cody would be elated. But those thoughts didn’t soften the jarring reality that I would soon be the reluctant mother of four.

When we arrived at the hospital, I waddled into the ER with Cody by my side. The receptionist at the front desk welcomed me with a warm smile and summoned an attendant with a wheelchair. Since I’d already dispensed with the admissions paperwork a few days earlier, I was immediately taken to a large, open room on the maternity floor, where other expectant mothers in various stages of labor were waiting in smaller curtained areas for their turn in the delivery room. I could hear the low hum of private conversations throughout the room, punctuated by loud groans that issued from behind closed curtains.

The attendant wheeled me over to an empty exam area and helped me transfer my big belly onto a rolling gurney that would be whisked down the hall when my time came. As I shifted my weight around to get comfortable, a nurse arrived to examine me and announced that I’d be giving birth in the next few hours. I felt confident that this delivery would be quick and easy since my labors had become shorter with each of my previous deliveries.

After about an hour, I was moved out of the exam area into a private room to wait for my labor to begin. With my other children, labor had started immediately after my water broke, but this time, I felt nothing. Cody kept vigil with me but had trouble staying awake. The long hours he’d been putting in at El Kiosco, his restaurant, were taking their toll, so I convinced him to go home and get some sleep. I assured him I would call as soon as the contractions started.

After Cody left, I decided I might as well get a few precious moments of sleep before the agonies of childbirth began. I had started feeling some intermittent labor pains by this time, but they were so light I could easily ignore them.

I dozed off, grateful for the relative calm and hoping that the rest would give me extra stamina for the work ahead.

All of a sudden, searing jolts of pain in my lower back jarred me awake. I had no idea how long I’d been asleep, but as the pain increased and I struggled to focus on my breathing, I found myself thinking that I was way too old to be doing this again. Somehow I had a feeling that this delivery wasn’t going to be as quick and easy as I’d assumed it would be.

Waves of pain came and went, and I waited for what seemed like hours before a nurse finally appeared and announced, “We’ll take you to the delivery room when we have one available, but for now, we’ll just put you down the hallway. It shouldn’t be too long.”

Before I could ask what she meant, she whisked me out of the room, parked my gurney along the wall, and scurried off to assist a woman who was screaming so loudly I was sure she could be heard for miles. When the nurse finally returned, she examined me right there in the hallway, with hospital personnel and patients passing at will, and wondered aloud whether I could “hold off” until the delivery room was available. By then, my labor pains were so intense, I couldn’t have cared less about privacy. Just get this baby out of me! I silently screamed.

When I heard her say, “Okay, I think we can take you into delivery now!” I breathed a sigh of relief.

Someone grabbed the end of the gurney and sped me through an open door into the delivery room. The doctor immediately positioned himself at my feet, and I heard his familiar urgings, “Okay, now push!”

The nurse placed her hand between my shoulders and helped me raise up enough to give it my all. But nothing happened.

Again I heard the doctor say, “Now, Lauri, give me a good push!” And again my body failed me. I had no strength, no urge to push—nothing.

I could hear the urgency in the nurse’s voice as she came around to the head of the gurney to make sure I understood that I had to help deliver this baby before complications arose. But no matter how hard I tried to force my belly to expel this lingering infant, I had nothing to offer.

Another nurse came over to help out, and as the doctor urged me to try harder, he and both nurses put their hands on my stomach and tried to push the baby out. I kept telling them I didn’t know what was wrong. I couldn’t push. I couldn’t feel anything.

The doctor’s voice betrayed his concern as he firmly instructed his assistants as to what they should do next. I was near panic. Everyone kept assuring me that the baby was coming, but I was alarmed that my body was refusing to respond as it should. This had never happened during my other three births.

Finally the doctor pulled the baby free and quickly placed the newborn in the waiting arms of one of the nurses. As she rushed out of the delivery room, I caught a glimpse of the pale blue form in her hands.

“Is my baby okay?” I called to anyone within earshot. “Do you know if my baby’s okay?”

But no one seemed to hear me. All the attention was focused on the tiny infant, who had been taken to a small window-enclosed area adjoining the delivery room. I lifted my head to see the nurses bustling back and forth in the room and hovering over my newborn. Thankful for the care my little one was receiving, I rested quietly on the gurney, patiently waiting for someone to tell me what had happened. A faint cry reached my ears from the other room. Whatever was wrong, at least my baby was breathing.

Eventually, one of the white-gowned nurses came over and assured me that all was well. Rushing the baby out of the delivery room had been a “precautionary procedure,” she told me. They had just wanted to make sure the baby’s airway was clear so she could get plenty of oxygen.

She? The nurse smiled and announced that I had delivered a little girl—six pounds, five ounces. It really didn’t matter to me whether it was a boy or girl; I was just relieved the baby was all right. Nine months of agony had finally come to a welcome end.

Minutes later, another nurse entered the room carrying my newborn. She lifted the baby into the air so I could get a good look at her and then plopped her down on my chest. While I waited for Cody to arrive, I caressed her feather-soft head and gazed at her tiny body. I was amazed that such a small thing had caused so much turmoil.

When Cody finally entered the room and came over to where I lay, I knew what he was expecting to hear. I had been assuring him for months that he would finally have his boy-child.

“No baby girl ever felt like this!” I had insisted. “I’m positive this one’s a boy!”

I swallowed hard as I glanced at Cody and announced the news with as much enthusiasm as I could muster. I hoped he would give me a smile, a reassuring look, any sign that he was happy I had given him another little girl. But instead, a look of bitter disappointment washed over his face. His final hope of having a son had been crushed.

I knew that Cody would eventually get over his disappointment and embrace his youngest daughter with the same fatherly love he had always shown our other girls. But I was sad that I hadn’t been able to give him the baby boy he had wanted so badly.

Later, when I was settled in my hospital room, the nurse brought my newborn to me so I could breastfeed her.

“So you named her Farina—like the cereal?” she asked as she placed the baby in my waiting arms.

“Actually, it’s Fah-ree-mah,” I corrected, emphasizing the m sound. “My husband is Persian, and this name is popular in his country.”

As I held my little one, I noticed that she was having trouble sucking, but I didn’t think there was any need for concern. She had just gone through a traumatic delivery, so I really wasn’t surprised that she’d be too weak to suckle. With a little practice, she’d soon be nursing as well as any hungry newborn.

Farema looked so perfect as she lay fussing in my arms. All my worst fears of the past nine months melted away as I gazed at her angelic face. A baby this beautiful couldn’t possibly have anything wrong with her.

This fourth and last child of mine was already curling her tiny baby fingers around my heart. There was something extraordinary about her, and I sensed that God had something very special planned for her life.

What I didn’t know was that little Fee would turn my world upside down.



My review: I am loving this book! I'm actually in the middle of it, but having a special place in my heart for anyone on the autism spectrum, this book is right up my alley! I love how we serve a Lord who loves us all where we are and can use us all to serve Him with the gifts that He has given us!

Thanks again to FIRST Wild Card Tours for the opportunity to review this book!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Review: Kymaro Cardi Wrap



Ladies, I have found my new favorite item of clothing, and it is the Kymaro Cardi Wrap! Thanks to the Family Review Network, I was recently given the opportunity to review this remarkable item? accessory? top? It is all of the above! I was amazed at the many different ways that this sweater can be worn!

I had lots of fun trying out my hand at the different configurations, and though I thought sure it might be more difficult to get the arrangements done than they looked in the brochure, it wasn't! I was very pleased with the weight and feel of the fabric, which feels quite silky! It is a very good weight: not too heavy to wear on fall or spring days, but thick enough to keep out a chill in winter. I was also delighted by the included accessory kit, which adds much to the versatility of the Cardi Wrap!

To add to the versatility, quality, and high fashion that this garment offers, the price just makes it a no brainer to purchase!! ALL these lovely styles for less than $50?! At this price, it would even be feasible to purchase it in several colors!

Still not sure? Please be sure to visit the Cardi Wrap website and watch the video on how the garment can cover up problem areas of your body! If I wasn't sold on this product before watching, I would have signed up then!

I am certain that the Cardi Wrap is going to be worn many times over in this household! But don't take my word for it....go check it out yourself!

Disclaimer: This post was written for Family Review Network & Cardi Wrap who provided the complimentary product for review in exchange for my honest opinions.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Winner: Mr. Bo Gets a New Home and a New Name

We have a winner! Dianne, you have a book coming your way soon!! Thanks to those of you who entered, and hope you'll come back around soon! :)