On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness - FREE Giveaway!

I have the privilege of reviewing Andrew Peterson's new book, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness. He is one of my favorite songwriters/bloggers. If you'd like to receive your own copy of this new book, just leave a comment below. I'll pick one random entry and send the winner the book for free!

"In the once-quiet land of Skree, Janner Igiby, little brother Tink, and crippled sister Leeli stumble upon lost jewels of the mysterious King of the Shining Isle Anniera. But Gnag the Nameless seeks the treasure for purely evil ends, so our brave trio, accompanied by their trusty dog Nugget and ex-pirate grandfather, must escape his minion Fangs.

Singer-songwriter Andrew Peterson spins a page-turning tale of redemption peppered with songs, poems, and hilarious asides that follow the Igibys through a fantasical world of wonders, complete with...
*memorable characters like Brimney Stupe, Armulyn the Bard, and the soft-shoe dancing Peet the Sock Man
*fanciful creatures: sea dragons who sing by the light of the moon, spine-tingling toothy cows, snarling horned hounds, and mischievous flabbits
*and dazzling places: from Books & Craines Bookstore and Anklejelly Manor, to Fingfap Falls, and across the Ice Prairies...not to mention the Dark Sea of Darkness.

Sensory descriptions and characters rich in heart, courage and smarts make this a tale children of all ages will cherish, the whole family can read aloud, and book groups will surely discuss for its overarching theme of hope with layers of meaning about the life's tangle of the beautiful and the horrible, the temporal and the eternal, and good and bad.

Andrew Peterson is a critically acclaimed singer-songwriter and recording artist best known for his Dove Award-winning songs of the yeard, "Nothing to Say" and "Family Man." A natural-born storyteller (being a preacher's kid from the south), he wrote and produced the popular Christmas song collection, Behold the Lamb of God. He has recorded seven albums and tours every year. Andrew and his wife, Jamie are the parents of two sons and a daughter and live in Nashville, Tennessee. His website is www.andrew-peterson.com."

If you'd like to order the book yourself, go here.


Out of Focus

When I was in high school, I had a wonderful yearbook advisor. I was one of the editors my senior year, and I spent a lot of time in her classroom. She gave me significant responsibility and treated me like an adult rather than a student. At one point, however, she noticed that things seemed out of balance in my life. (I have a tendency to get, you know, Miss Busy Body. I'm sure that's a surprise to you.) She called me in her office and asked me to take a look at one of the cameras the photographers were using. She said, "Just look through this lens and tell me what you see. I think there's something wrong with this camera." I thought she was nuts to ask me, but I did what she asked (rolling my eyes all the way, I'm sure.) I looked through the camera and saw a blur. I said, "There's nothing wrong with this camera, it's just out of focus." As I gave her the camera back, her eyes said it all. I had been fighting to keep everything in balance, and when it didn't work I assumed something was wrong with me. Yep, like the whole world will stop revolving if I don't get to the 4:00 meeting on time. She taught me that I just needed to re-focus on my priorities. This issue has been a struggle for me for a long time.

So, as I sit here in the wee hours of the morning (having been awakened once again by a 7-month old who is still not sleeping through the night-God's way of reminding me, AGAIN, that I do not have it all together) I realize - through the Lord's leading, I'm sure...that I need to re-focus.

It is at this point that my fellow soldiers in the trenches would resort to a prescription drug to help them get back into alignment. That sounds very nice to me right now. Very nice indeed. But I am going to attempt to make the harder choice and actually plow through the muck. I need to make some difficult sacrifices in order to make room for the necessary things. Good is sometimes the enemy of Best. I cannot do this on my own, as God is reminding me constantly. But, I know there are some things that need to take a back seat. Blogging is one of them.

Blogging is my outlet. Well, one of them. But, it has become a crutch. I use it for "me" time in the mornings, but it can easily turn into an all-day adventure moving from one blog to another until I feel I've had my fill. Meanwhile, there is laundry and errands and a 3 year-old in desperate need of a spanking, uh-hem, I mean, attention.

In an effort to put first things first I am taking a bloggy break to spend time focusing on my God, my family, my body, my children and my home. It may come as a surprise to you, but I cannot do it all (as I've said before, especially not all at the same time.) Baby number 5 has officially catapulted this family into more than I can handle, and I need to look through that camera again and re-focus. Here's a peek at my to-do list which haunts me everynight...

Read Beth Moore study for next week
Re-paint John's room
Move Peter into John's room
Move baby Rachel into Ruth's room
Train Gideon to come when he's called (before I lose him)
Read Andrew Peterson's new book and blog about it
Add BooMama and Half Pint House to sidebar
Plan weekend getaway with hubby (which is coming up in 2 weeks!)
Call baseball parents to see who'll volunteer to be team mom
Train Rachel to sleep through the night (all my tried and true tricks haven't worked)
Organize scrapbook stuff
Vacuum the house
Find a pre-school for Gideon for this fall
Clean trash out of backyard to make spring a little more enjoyable!
Take a nap

Ok, you get the idea. I need a maid.

I'll be back after the dust has settled.


Look at THIS Book!

It's Monday so it's time to exchange book ideas. The last time we talked about your favorite series to read aloud to your children. Thanks so much for the great ideas. Right now we are reading the Jesus Storybook Bible, and that's been fun.

Today, I want to hear about a book that changed your life. No pressure or anything. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers changed me. It changed the way I look at people who were raised differently than I was, it changed the way I read the Bible, it changed the way I think about the Old Testament, it changed the way I look at sin. And, most people I've talked to who have read the book have similar reactions. The friend that recommended it to me told me that the reason she first read it was because her uncle had read it years prior and he was "still learning lessons from it today." I've found that to be true for me as well. I am still learning lessons from Redeeming Love even though I read it in 2002.

Here's a brief synopsis, but I won't spoil it for those of you who haven't read it. Redeeming Love is the fictional retelling of the book of Hosea. It feels like the book was set in the late 1800s where the main character was a child prostitute. Her redeemer is a man of God who follows the Lord's leading to rescue her from a life of sin. If you can get passed the first chapter (it could be rated R) then you can make it through the whole book. Although, if you have abuse in your past, it might take you a while to work through the feelings the book conjures up.

So, what's your story - a book that changed your life?


Connecting through Worship

My sister gave us tickets to the Steven Curtis Chapman concert last week. Since then, I have been on a SCC kick checking his blogs and reading about his adoption ministry. Steven's appeal has evolved from entertaining, contemporary Christian music to passionate ministry outreaches and now into a shining example of how an entire family can join together to serve the Lord through music and ministry. Forgive me for posting another You Tube bit by SCC. But this one features Chris Tomlin - the 2 of them together, now that's WOW Worship!


The Missing Link

This is why I won't be posting in the next few days. You never know how much you use the letter E until it's taken away. And, have I mentioned how much I love 3 year olds?