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5.18.2009

Book Review and Free Book Drawing

Looking for a gift for someone for Father's Day? Sign up for a drawing to win Todd Starnes' "They Popped My Hood and Found Gravy on the Dipstick." (see details below)

"They Popped My Hood and Found Gravy on the Dipstick"

In January, Fox News Radio reporter Todd Starnes released his debut book, a personal story of his journey from 300 pounds to 150. But the book is more than a story about weight loss. Starnes begins with the day - at 37 years of age - when he learned of his near-fatal heart valve problem. He walks the reader through his journey from heart surgery to running his first marathon, but the book is less about his physical process and more about his learning process. Readers will enjoy his humorous takes on his experience and they will be inspired by his faith journey as he learns to trust God with difficult circumstances.

Starnes writes, "You know, there are some folks that just need a nudge from the Lord. Others need to be poked and prodded into following His call. And then, there are believers like me - who require a bit more severe persuasion - like ripping open your chest and whacking your heart."

There are 31 chapters in the book, but only 208 pages. The short chapters are perfect for the reader who has only a few minutes here and there. With chapter titles such as "There's a Draft in this Gown!" "Pig or Plastic," and "I Have Ugly Feet," readers are sure to laugh out loud as Starnes packs a punchline into his personal story. Other chapters leave readers with a deep sense of empathy and a feeling that the author has been there and knows their own struggles well. This isn't just a memoir. The author challenges the reader to think about his or her own circumstances and go deeper in faith. It's packed with opportunities to laugh and find hope - something we could use more of these days.

If you would like a chance to win a free copy of "They Popped My Hood and Found Gravy on the Dipstick," send me an e-mail with "Free Book Drawing" in the subject line and your name in the message body. If you win, I'll e-mail you to request your mailing address. Drawing on May 25, 2009.

Send entries to: michelle @ michellerayburn.com (delete spaces from e-mail address)

5.13.2009

Musing About Inspiration

Muse (meeyooz) n.
1.
Greek Mythology Any of the nine daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, each of whom presided over a different art or science.

2.
muse

a. A source of inspiration.

This week, I couldn't find my muse. Figuring she may be under something on my cluttered desk, I decided to have an office organizing day. I tossed stacks of saved papers into the recycling bin and worked through a couple of piles of tasks that needed tending. I filed a heap of importa
nt notes and clipped articles and I even dared to tackle the junk basket of odds and ends that I've avoided for a while.

When I could see the surface of my desk, I assumed I'd be finding my muse soon. So, I sat down at my computer, ready to type. Apparently my muse wasn't lost after all, she was out to lunch with friends. All I managed to type were some e-mails and Facebook posts. My muse doesn't have a cell phone, so I couldn't ask her to return. I simply hoped she'd get tired of her friends and come back eventually.

The next morning, I sat at my desk and waited for her to appear. I opened a blank document. Nothing. Deciding she had taken a short vacation instead of going to lunch the day before, I abandoned the possibility of writing and made some phone calls and did more office work. One of those e-mails was from a writer friend who encouraged her fellow writers to get acquainted with their muse, to give him or her a name and discover character qualities. How timely! I thought about my muse. I've decided it's a girl since I'm a girl. I know, not very creative. She doesn't have a name and I have no idea what she looks like. All I know about her is that she isn't very dependable. She heads out the door without advance warning and shows up when I least expect her.


I spent my afternoon researching possible get-away destinations for my pending 20th wedding anniversary. Satisfied with the deal I found, I turned off the computer and headed for my monthly writers guild meeting www.wwcwg.com. I knew my muse hadn't abandoned me forever, since she hadn't left a resignation letter or packed up her things. Maybe my writer friends would know where to start looking for her.


I enjoyed the meeting. Other writers talked about manuscripts in progress and publishing dreams. We reflected on the past year and dreamed about the next guild season. As the speaker, Mary, started her presentation on writing with humor, my muse slipped into the seat next to me. She handed me a pen and I started jotting notes all over my handout. I drove home with several writing ideas.


Today, as I settled into my office chair and opened a blank screen once again. This time, my muse showed up. I'm so glad she's back!


What's your muse? Where do you find inspiration when inspiration is missing? I'd love to hear, so please share your comments below.

5.06.2009

Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today

I'm just starting to read "Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today" by Kathi Macias, so I'll post a review when I finish. In the meantime, if you are looking for a last-minute Mother's Day gift, here's a great idea.
About the book from the publisher:
(Homeland, CA) - If you've ever wished for a real live interview from an experienced mother found in God's Word, you'll be thrilled with the message of Kathi Macias' new book, Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today. Thankfully the trials, heartaches and transitions mothers face are not new to this generation. Traveling back in time with Eve, Hannah, Sarah, Mary and others, readers will recognize the common struggles that still plague our world today.


This hardback gift book gently calls women to study the lives of biblical moms who were challenged with their own set of circumstances. From fear to insecurities, heartbreak to disappointments -- Kathi's words capture the heart of every woman with hope and encouragement to become the mother God wants them to be. After studying these fifteen biblical mothers, readers will have a solid example of biblical parenting. At the end of each chapter, mothers will find a special place for prayer and application.

About the Author:
Award-winning author Kathi Macias has written almost 30 books, including Beyond Me, How Can I Run a Tight Ship When I'm Surrounded by Loose Cannons?, the best-selling devotional A Moment a Day, and the popular "Matthews" mystery novels. She has written commentary for Thomas Nelson's Spirit-Filled Life Bible (Student Edition) and was part of the devotional writing team for Zondervan's New Women's Devotional Bible. She has ghostwritten for several prominent individuals including Josh McDowell. Kathi has won many awards, including the Angel Award from Excellence in Media, fiction awards from the San Diego Christian Writers Guild, and the grand prize in an international writing contest. A mother and grandmother, Kathi and her husband, Al, call California home.

A Message from Kathi:
"As a wife, mother, grandmother--and yes, even a great-grandmother to two-year-old Isaiah--you'd think I'd have this "mom" thing wired by now, wouldn't you? Surprise! We never get too old to learn, and what I learned in my study of Mothers of the Bible has enriched nearly every area and relationship of my life. God loves mothers. We were His idea, after all! And His purpose for our lives as mothers unfolds in beauty and meaning as we listen to the words of the mothers of the Bible...."~author Kathi Macias

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