This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every moring: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion saith my soul: therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3: 21-26

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Favorite Ingredients Friday

Sandwich Edition
Sloppy Joes

Oh I know, everyone has a family recipe for Sloppy Joe's and I'm sure ours aren't all that unusual, but they are a favorite here and considering that we always are pressed for time these are also easy! Makes them a huge hit in my book.

Also, I cook up the ground beef ahead of time and put it in the freezer all I need to do is thaw in the microwave and add the rest to make the sauce. If I was really smart, I'd just freeze the Sloppy Joes. You'd think so...anyway, the recipe:

11/2 lb ground beef
1 can of Campbell's Beef, Barley & Vegetable soup
1 can of Campbell's Chicken Gumbo
Worchestershire sauce (about 2 tablespoons)
Ketchup and mustard to taste

Mix & serve on buns with shredded Cheddar or Colby Jack cheese.

Visit Overwhelmed With Joy for some real sandwich recipes at Favorite Ingredients Friday. She also hosts the Pay It Forward Book Exchange. I will be participating next Tuesday, giving away The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

What's cooking at your house?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Books On My List for Fall into Reading 2007

Katrina's Fall into Reading 2007 challenge begins on September 23rd and ends December 23rd. For the Spring Reading Thing I may have gotten a little carried away. I put sixteen books on my list and then went around and visited many other readers and got a few too many ideas. I thought for this fall a baker's dozen would be manageable, giving me room to add a few tempting reads along the way.

My books will include:

1. Nutcracker Nation by Jennifer Fisher
2. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
3. Sandworms of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
4. Guardian of the Veil by Gregory Spencer
5. Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
6. Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
7. The Shunning by Beverly Lewis (Book 1 in the Heritage of Lancaster County Series)
8. A Hideous Beauty by Jack Cavenaugh
9. Brink of Death by Brandilyn Collins (sent to me by my friend Coach Jenny)
10. The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory
11. The Divine Appointment by Jerome Teel
12. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin (Book 1 in the Earthsea Cycle)
13. The Reckoning by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles (Book 15 of a series of 30 books that comprise the Morland Dynasty)

I will be joining Overwhelmed With Joy's Pay It Forward Book Exchange next week. On Tuesday I will have a post giving details on how to win The Road by Cormac McCarthy which I won from Overwhelmed a little while back. Stop back to enter.

Through the course of the reading challenge I will have other books to give away, so if you don't win one, stop back and see what else is on the giveaway list.

THE PURPOSE BEHIND THE THURSDAY THIRTEEN:The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. What do you do? Write Thirteen things about yourself, summarize your week in one entry, make it easy for other bloggers to get to know you on a weekly basis. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged!

A Hideous Beauty

I received a copy of A Hideous Beauty today in the mail from Glass Road Public Relations today. It has some really nice reviews and looks to be an exciting read. I am putting it on my Fall into Reading list and will give my opinion after I read it. For now here is the publishers promotion and an interview with the author.

Award-winning Jack Cavanaugh engages readers in his latest release, A Hideous Beauty, a riveting supernatural thriller that is first in The Kingdom Wars series. This project is the ultimate fusion of suspense, politics, and the supernatural.

Imagine America’s borders have been breached—but not by something you can see. Homeland Security doesn’t even acknowledge this terrorist group exists. Yet hundreds, possibly thousands of spies are crossing our borders every day.

They are renegade angels, agents of destruction from a supernatural realm.

They move among us virtually undetected.

For millennia they have acted as sleeper agents, influencing human history. All the wars in the world pale in comparison to the havoc they can wreak.

And now, one man is about to be sucked in to the battle.

Pulitzer Prize winner Grant Austin returns to his old high school to flaunt his accomplishments in the face of his childhood nemesis, Miles Shepherd. But he discovers a conspiracy of cosmic proportions involving a plot to assassinate the president and implicate Grant as a conspirator.

In an effort to unmask the assailants and salvage his own reputation, Grant enlists the aid of a wheelchair-bound professor of theology, a high-powered Washington insider, and an investigative reporter who just happens to be his old flame.

As Grant peels away the layers of conspiracy, the truth takes on a hideous beauty— for nothing is what it seems to be. Not even Grant Austin.

Jack Cavanaugh is an award-winning author of twenty-three novels, including the eight-novel series The AmericanFamily Portrait. Nearly half a million copies of his novels are in print and have been translated into six languages.
He is the recipient of the coveted Christy Award and Silver Medallion. Cavanaugh also teemed with the late Bill Bright to produce a four volume historical fiction series set during times of revival in America. (Proof, Fire, Storm, and Fury).

Q&A with Jack Cavanaugh, author of Kingdom Wars #1: A Hideous Beauty

Q. How did you get the inspiration to mix genres like you did in this book: suspense, political fiction, and the supernatural? How do you even classify the book when describing it to others?
A. Kingdom Wars is supernatural suspense, the everyday world colliding with the inhabitants of heaven. In A Hideous Beauty, the point of collision is the political arena when a plot to assassinate the president is uncovered. In the second book, Tartarus, the conflict erupts after a newly discovered ancient manuscript leads archeologists to long-lost New Testament treasures.

Q. Where did you birth the idea for this book? When? How did it come about?
A. As a student of the Bible I have developed a fascination with the way it describes the supernatural and natural worlds overlapping. It assumes the overlapping is obvious to everyone. The book of Hebrews tells us that we might at times find ourselves entertaining angels and not be aware of it. But it never says whether the angels we encounter will be friendly. After all, Lucifer is an angel. That’s all it took to get my imagination jump-started. I dove into the Bible looking for instances of encounters with the supernatural and developed my stories from there.

Q. What sort of research was necessary for writing Kingdom Wars?
A. Extensive. I have used the same approach writing these contemporary novels that I used while writing historical fiction. Instead of tracking down historical documents, I have researched the Bible (translating from the original languages), read numerous theological books on angels and the supernatural, and read popular and literary works, such as Milton’s, Paradise Lost and Dante’s Divine Comedy. I want to introduce the modern reader to the supernatural through stories just as these men did for their readers in their day.

Q. Which one of your characters is most like you, and why do you say that?
A. Grant Austin. His personality is more me than any other character I have written. I even went so far as to set the story largely in El Cajon and San Diego where I grew up using places I frequented, such as the high school, though I changed the name.

Q. What takeaway points do you hope the reader pulls from this book?
A. Angels are real. They are here. They are active. And some of them are not friendly. In the front of each of the novels I included quotations from other Christian scholars like C. S. Lewis and Francis Schaeffer, who have said essentially the same thing I’m saying, only I’m saying it in the form of a story.

Q. What other books are in the series, and when will they release?
A. At present, there will be a second Kingdom Wars book. The working title is Tartarus and it is scheduled for release Spring 2008. The concept for this book is the advantage rebel angels have over humans in terms of life span. Their lives span millennia. We have less than a century to learn about them, adapt our way of thinking to their presence, and engage them in battle. They can use this disparity to give them a tactical advantage. Think of it as time-released terrorism. The story begins when a fraudulent First Century manusript is unearthed two thousand years after it was created.

Q. For the writers out there, what’s your favorite writer’s block trick?
A. You’re not going to like my answer to this question. I don’t believe in writer’s block. Writing is hard work. When the going gets tough, by calling it writers block we make ourselves victims and waste time searching for a cure to make writing easy. Serious writers show up every day. They rejoice in the serendipitous times and put their heads down and work through the tough times. Their passion drives them.

Q. Writers say they either neglect something or someone, or rely on caffeine or cravings during hectic deadlines. What do you catch yourself doing when you are down to the wire with your works-in-progress?
A. I do my best to keep my perspective. No book is worth sacrificing my relationship to God, my wife, or family. I work hard, usually ten to twelve hours a day, six days a week. Neither will I sacrifice quality for a deadline. Years from now, no one will remember whether or not you made the deadline, but everyone will know if you wrote an inferior book. That’s not to say that deadlines are irrelevant. Missing a deadline puts pressure on a lot of good people. Publishing is a partnership. I do my best to fulfill my contracts and write to the best of my ability, and I hope my publisher will contribute to the best of their ability.

Q. Can you share something with our readers about what God has been teaching you lately?
A. Not surprisingly as I search the Bible for supernatural encounters, the lessons I have been learning are in the area of living a spiritual life. The book of Ephesians has been particularly helpful. I have been learning that intangibles such as courage, confidence, truth, humility, and patience are not simply characteristics of a spiritual person, they are that person’s offensive and defensive weapons. When the adversary attacks with doubt, lies, and intimidation, we fight back by choosing to live confidently, by choosing to tell the truth, and by choosing to take a courageous stand.

Q. What else would you like your readers to know about you, or about Hideous Beauty?
A. Grant Austin’s use of humor in the face of adversity is a Cavanaugh family trait. We laugh a lot. Our family gatherings are marked by levity and laughter. We laugh during difficult times. Sometimes we laugh at the wrong times. (I once laughed myself out of $800 during a negotiation for a speaking engagement.) I have standing instructions for kazoos to be passed out at my funeral. My family will know what to do with them. I want them to laugh in the face of death and not to mourn as those who have no hope.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Wordless Wednesday


Beating the heat.

Lots of fun with a backyard waterslide.

For more WW.

Works for Me Wednesday

works for me wednesdayPicky eaters can be a pain. My kids aren't really fond of Oriental cooking, but can be persuaded to try different tastes and textures if given chopsticks!!

chopsticksWhat other ways can you think of to make the menu interesting that doesn't have to do with the actual food? Good china? Have a picnic? Candle light? I'd love to hear some of your suggestions.

For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Children's Book Monday

Prairie School by Avi

Prairie School by AviRecently Boo read Prairie School by Avi for his Silent Sustained Reading (assigned reading), but this would also make a wonderful read aloud book.

Nine year old Noah has come with his parents to the Colorado prairie. Noah loves his life, his work and his freedom on the prairie, but his parents want more for him. His mother’s sister travels by train from the east coast to teach Noah to read. The problem is—Noah doesn’t want to learn! He sees no use in “schooling.”

Follow Noah and his Aunt Dora through days and nights on the prairie as they struggle to see if Noah will come to see the need to learn.

With Bill Farnsworth’s well done color illustrations, Prairie School paints a captivating portrait of a boy in the 1880s out on the prairie.

Visit Elise who hosts Children’s Book Monday at her blog A Path Made Straight.

Menu Plan Monday

Fall is around the corner and the race is on. There is no way I can "land" at home near 7 each night and just "throw something together" (my favorite method). The seat of my pants is going to get a rest and I am going to start planning menus again. With all the activity we will need to have balanced menus to stay healthy. So I am picking up again with Menu Plan Monday with the help of Laura and I will save the b'guess and b'golly for the weekend.

This week we will be having:
Monday--Steak sandwiches & raw baby carrots (The boys have their PSR class this night and we will get home really late so Dad is cooking. The food is always good when he's in the kitchen.)
Tuesday--Baked chicken, broccoli, and steamed rice (We will get home about 6:30 so if the chicken is ready to go it will take about 40 minutes.)
Wednesday--Meatloaf in the crockpot, potatoes & gravy and green beans (This is another night we don't arrive home until about 8 so it can be waiting for us!)
Thursday--Frozen pizza doctored up with extra cheese, turkey pepperoni and some garlic bread & salad. (A 6:30 night so supper can be on the table by 7)
Friday--Stir fry & we will be using the chopsticks!! Don't forget the fortune cookies!

Eat well this week & visit Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie to get some wonderful ideas for menus and recipes from the other Menu Plan Monday participants.

Grains of Gratitude

The calendar says it is still summer, but the weather this week said, “FALL!” And I love fall. The forecast predicts we will be returning to warmer weathers, but I am grateful for this little break. Sometimes the weather can readjust our attitudes and focus us forward to the upcoming season. I am grateful to live where the season changes are so obvious and most often dramatic. I complain about being out of the house too much for my hermit tastes, but one thing I do love is driving and observing the daily changes of the trees. I think the last few years I have been more mindful of how fast our days fly by and have tried to savor them.

This week I had supper with a very dear friend. She and I have known each other for a long time. She is the person who, sixteen years ago, gave me our cat we still have—Sid otherwise known as “the Ferocious One.” Sid is slowing down, but our friendship isn’t we have both gone through huge life changes together. She has been instrumental in introducing my children to some important people and it was at her house that I was married. Friends like that are something to be grateful for.

I am grateful for a trip to the Half Price Books bookstore, yielding several books for $1, an algebra book that will do nicely for us and lots of ideas. Books are just such an obsession of mine and finding inexpensive ones is even more wonderful.

We found new tennis shoes for the boys on sale!! How good is that? And my husband (who used to sell shoes back in another life) actually came along to help me and did all the fitting and the boys like what they got. And he (hubs) offered to buy me a pair of shoes!! Which I actually turned down because I need to go through the closet and see what fits and what I “need” shoes for. If I get a new pair I want them to go with as much as possible! So the offer stands and I can go back. How cool is that?

And finally I am grateful for all the leftovers in the fridge. That means I don’t have to cook today!! My sweet husband is grilling for supper and handling the sides too. All I have to do is some cleaning this morning and then my duty is done!! I think I even have tomorrow’s dinner ready for the crockpot. My life is luxury and ease!

Grains of Gratitude began with Christine at Brady's Bunch.

Have a beautiful week. What are you grateful for?