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

Friday, July 11, 2008

Faith Lift Friday

I am still on the road, but going to head home today. Looking forward to finding "normal" again if there really is such a thing.

This song was on my heart this morning.

Cares Chorus
by Kelly Willard

I cast all my cares upon You,
I lay all of my burdens down at Your feet.
And any time I don't know just what to do,
I will cast all my cares upon You.

I cast all my cares upon You,
I lay all of my burdens down at Your feet.
And any time I don't know just what to do,
I will cast all my cares upon You.
I will cast all my cares upon you





Visit Sheryl at Taking the Challenge to find some great blessings to take you into the weekend.

Many prayers,

Julie

Selective Vision

It's nice to know to some people I will always be young.

Dad and I were talking and the subject of hair color came up. I told him that I had decided against covering my grey. Bless his heart, he said, "But you don't have any grey hair."

I laughed and leaned over to show him my significant number of greys, visible to many from across a room.

He said, "I still don't see any."

Well it might have been the lighting, but I'm guessing it is Selective Vision.

You think I could get people to see me as having no grey hair AND weighing 135 lbs???

Hey, I can wish!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What Women Want in a Man

Original List:

1. Handsome
2. Charming
3. Financially successful
4. A caring listener
5. Witty
6. In good shape
7. Dresses with style
8. Appreciates finer things
9. Full of thoughtful surprises
10. An imaginative, romantic lover

What Women Want in a Man, Revised List (age 32)

1. Nice looking
2. Opens car doors, holds chairs
3. Has enough money for a nice dinner
4. Listens more than talks
5. Laughs at my jokes
6. Carries bags of groceries with ease
7. Owns at least one tie
8. Appreciates a good home-cooked meal
9. Remembers birthdays and anniversaries
10. Seeks romance at least once a week

What Women Want in a Man, Revised List (age 52)

1. Not too ugly
2. Doesn't drive off until I'm in the car
3. Works steady - splurges on dinner out occasionally
4. Nods head when I'm talking
5. Usually remembers punch lines of jokes
6. Is in good enough shape to rearrange the furniture
7. Wears a shirt that covers his stomach
8. Knows not to buy champagne with screw-top lids
9. Remembers to put the toilet seat down
10. Shaves most weekends

What Women Want in a Man, Revised List (age 62)

1. Keeps hair in nose and ears trimmed
2. Doesn't belch or scratch in public
3. Doesn't borrow money too often
4. Doesn't nod off to sleep when I'm venting
5. Doesn't retell the same joke too many times
6. Is in good enough shape to get off couch on weekends
7. Usually wears matching socks and fresh underwear
8. Appreciates a good TV dinner
9. Remembers your name on occasion
10. Shaves some weekends

What Women Want in a Man, Revised List (age 72)

1. Doesn't scare small children
2. Remembers where bathroom is
3. Doesn't require much money for upkeep
4. Only snores lightly when asleep
5. Remembers why he's laughing
6. Is in good enough shape to stand up by himself
7. Usually wears some clothes
8. Likes soft foods
9. Remembers where he left his teeth
10.Remembers that it's the weekend

What Women Want in a Man, Revised List (age 82)

1. Breathing
2. Doesn't miss the toilet.

Blood Brothers: Blog Book Tour

Blood Brothers by Rick Acker


I received Blood Brothers by Rick Acker not long ago and realized that Dead Man’s Rule had preceded it. I really don’t like starting in the middle with characters so went that night to the library and found Dead Man’s Rule. I was thrilled with the book.

Dead Man’s Rule
—Ben Corbin is a Christian lawyer and has his own law firm, but the income isn’t coming as fast as he needs it to. He has several clients, not all of whom are capable of paying well. He has one big case that could shore up his firm and attract more cases with bigger payoffs. He shares his office with his wife Noelle, an accountant who also acts as his office manager. The last thing Ben needs is a client with a dubious case, not likely to be won. But that is what he gets. Enter former Russian scientist Mikhail Ivanovsky claiming ownership of a safe deposit box but no proof in hand.

Dead Man’s Rule is a lean, fast paced thriller that is based on biological warfare, Russian and Chechen gangs, and a rarely used legal statute that causes Ben and Dr. Ivanovsky’s case to spin out of control. A fantastic, rapid fire read. Part of me breathed a sigh of relief at the finale, part of me wished that it would just keep going. Thankfully the sequel, Blood Brothers was waiting for me.

Blood Brothers
finds Ben Corbin and his wife Noelle expecting a baby, a little bit better off financially and maybe a bit more mature. Rick Acker takes us to the world of pharmaceuticals and board rooms where egos and intrigue meet, where the testing and preparation of new drugs for FDA approval could be miraculous or disastrous.

I would say Dead Man’s Rule had a bit more action (just a bit) but Blood Brothers is possibly more of an intellectual thriller. Oh there is still crime and danger; it just comes in a different package.

Blood Brothers brings back private detective Sergei Spassky and FBI agent Elena Kamenev. They were exciting secondary characters in the first book and we get a closer look at them in the second story.

Acker’s books are well written, appear well researched (to my untrained eye), he certainly has the inside scoop on the courtroom and his perspective is definitely Christian without being legalistic. My opinion is that his work will appeal to suspense and action/mystery lovers, both men and women. I’ve got a few men on my list to give copies of these books to.

Well done!!

From Kregel Publications and Glass Road Public Relations press releases:



Neurostim is a brand new drug that dramatically increases productivity and creativity. Developed from the seeds of a long-extinct Norwegian tree, Neurostim dramatically improves response time by allowing subjects to think and process information more quickly. The implications are staggering. It could help people in all walks of life, but could easily become a lifesaver for policemen, fireman, doctors and other first responders. But initial tests reveal a hiccup—some of the monkeys tested exhibited maniacal, homicidal behaviors. As the lead lab tech was approaching company authorities with the evidence, however, she was killed in a mysterious one-car accident.

Without any reported side-effects, the FDA authorizes human trials of Neurostim and the trials appear to go smoothly. Brothers Karl Bjornsen and Gunnar Bjornsen, however, are deeply embroiled in a bitter legal battle for control of the company—and Neurostim. Gunnar developed Neurostim while working as President of Bjornsen Pharmaceuticals and he’s the only one who knows the secret formula. When Karl ousted Gunnar as President, Gunnar took the formula with him.

What begins as a simple trade secrets case, however, quickly escalates and becomes more complex as Gunnar’s lawyer, Ben Corbin, discovers embezzlement and bribery with Karl as the prime suspect. When Ben and his team travel to Norway to investigate the accounting discrepancies with the company’s Norwegian branch, Bjornsen Norge, their very lives become endangered.

Is Karl Bjornsen behind the Norwegian attacks that endanger Ben and his team? Is Neurostim safe? Can the FDA stop the human trials on Neurostim before its too late?

About Rick Acker

Rick Acker does his best work while traveling, and he pecks out pages every dayon the commuter train to his “real job” as a Deputy Attorney General in the California Department of Justice. Rick’s other books include Dead Man’s Rule and the Davis Detectives series for tweens. He lives in Northern California with his wife, Anette, and their four children.

Q&A with Rick Acker, author of Blood Brothers

Q. Where did you get the idea for Blood Brothers?
A. Blood Brothers really sprang from three different ideas: First, I've had a ringside seat to several fights between former partners, and they were among the most intense and compelling cases I've been involved in. How much more intense and compelling would a case like that be if the partners were also brothers?

Second, the ancient Norse sagas are filled with fascinating stories that took place just before reliable historical records began to be kept in Scandinavia. Some of these tales are undoubtedly true, but which ones? And how might the lost knowledge behind them matter today?

Third, I've long felt challenged by Christ's admonition that it's easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The secular psychologist William James had some surprisingly similar observations. What does it mean to be a "rich man" in modern American society?

So, how do those three pieces fit together into a biotech/legal thriller? Read Blood Brothers and find out.

Q. What is your greatest inspiration as a writer?
A. Deadlines. There are lots of things that inspire me as a storyteller--unusual people I meet, compelling cases I litigate, interesting articles in the news and so on. But what actually inspires me to sit down, focus, and turn the stories running around my head into books? My publisher's deadlines.

Q. If Blood Brothers became a movie – who would you cast in the lead roles?
A. Good question. I have an unlimited budget, right? In that case:

Tom Cruise: Ben Corbin, the handsome but not particularly tall lawyer who tries the case at the heart of the book

Penelope Cruz: Ben's lovely wife--and reluctant forensic accountant--Noelle (This might be a little uncomfortable for Tom, but I get to make the casting decisions, not him.)

Adrien Brody: Russian-American detective Sergei Spassky

Uma Thurman: Elena Kamenev, FBI agent and Sergei's on-and-off love interest

Cilian Murphy: the vile cybercriminal George Kulish

I'm drawing a blank on who should play Gunnar and Karl Bjornsen, the brothers of the title. Know any six-foot-plus actors in their late fifties with weightlifter arms and faces like the Old Man of the Mountain (before he collapsed)?

Q. What was your greatest obstacle to overcome in writing this novel?
A. Self-discipline. This book took a lot longer to write than it should have, mostly because I didn't have a deadline at first due to a little contract mix-up.

Q. How would you suggest that aspiring novelists avoid similar obstacles?
A. Give yourself a deadline. Better yet, have someone else give you a deadline and hold you accountable. If you don't have a publisher (who will generously provide this service for free), have your spouse or a good friend do it and give him/her the right to fine you if you blow your deadline. It works.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Beloved

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Matthew 11:25-30


This morning at Mass during the sermon I was reminded that I was a child of the King of Kings. This morning I was reminded even though a sinner saved by Grace, I am a beloved daughter of the LORD. No matter what Satan says, no matter what anyone else think, no matter if I am poor or rich, famous or insignificant in the eyes of the world, no matter—I am beloved.

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The county fair was one of my mother’s favorite things. I’m not sure why, but she loved the whole thing and wanted to make sure we enjoyed it too.

Thirteen years ago my husband and I moved near my parents. Two years later we had our first son, Roo. Boo followed two and a half years later. Within eight months of that we moved nine hours away from my parents and, with one exception; we’ve not been nearby since then. So for the last six years I brought the boys to my parents’ house for a long visit in the summer.

My mother always took vacation time and the first four of those years created “Camp Gramarama” that included water balloon fights, Dairy Queen trips, a zoo visit, the county fair parade, and subsequent visits to the fair. Somewhere in there my parents got a pop-up camper and parked it next to the cornfield. It became “The Camp Clubhouse.” The adults rotated sleeping in it with the kids.

The fifth year my mom had every intention of doing all of that and made good on most of it, but the chemo was catching up and my sister and I did our best to fill in the gaps. I don’t know who we were trying to do it for, her or the children. Maybe both. It was still a good “Camp.”

Last year, my mom, three years into chemo, spent the first part of the week resting/sleeping; rallying to try to get to see my niece exhibit her cat. Mom made it to the fairgrounds. My dad had obtained permission to use their golf cart to drive her up to the exhibition tent, but even sitting was too difficult and he and I took her home before the show started. She did hear the show (the judge comments during the judging) over the cell phone—one of those “how did we manage before?” moments. She got to hear my niece interviewed on the radio also. A day later she was in the local hospital. She was then moved to a university research hospital. She spent more time the next six weeks in the hospital than at home. And then she really got to go HOME.

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I’ve debated a lot lately about my blog. I’m trying to remember what made me think I could keep up with one. I’ve never been a good journal-er. I had another crisis last year about the same time—actually a couple weeks earlier. But I also had to deal with some intense personalities along with my ventures into the reality of the world outside the walls of my home. And I was dealing with the reality that my mom wasn’t going to be around much longer

This time, between the last month of going against my nature—having to operate as if I were a morning person, having to be out of my home four to seven hours a day; trying to wade through the hormonal upheavals of peri-menopause, making important decisions about our future with my husband and then getting ready to be gone for five days, when what I want to do is be home, I questioned whether there was any point in keeping it open.

And then I started going through my archives.

Some people wear their hearts on their sleeves—or blogs, as the case may be. They give you lots of details on what’s going on. I’m not often one to do so. I try to share about me without sharing too much about others who might not want to be blogged about. I’ve noticed there are others who blog this way too—they blog, but there’s more going on than what is in the post.

Both ways are good. But I wondered if my style of blogging would really help me look back.

It did.

Even though a reader might not get all the details, one post, sometimes one sentence is enough to bring back a flood of memories for me.

Last year we left for my parents’ and the fair almost immediately after Summer Intensives. This year blessedly, I gave myself the weekend to recuperate a little. But it still doesn’t feel like enough. Next year—I don’t see us going for this return to the county fair. I guess I did it for the children—my niece and nephew, as much as for my boys. Maybe I did it most for my mom. We’ve had a trying year and I didn’t feel right changing what’s become a tradition for us. But although I like a day at the fair, I’m not a die-hard fair go-er. But things are changing, things that the children can’t see yet. I’m sure they feel it, but the grown-ups get to make the decisions and that is hopefully because we have more facts.

Hopefully.

Whatever the case may be I think I’ve decided to keep my blog and continue posting. Maybe it’s time to get a private journal too. I definitely think I may need to rearrange some priorities. Usually when someone (or me) has a crisis it is a signal that our approach to life isn’t where it should be. I need to work on that. I've made some really good and significant changes this year--but I think I need to make some more.

The supportive comments and prayers and words of encouragement have meant so much. Bless each of you. I will be on the road, but hopefully have time to get back to visiting and leaving comments and returning e-mails. Thanks for being so patient with me.

Remember that you, too are BELOVED.

Always in HIM,

Julie