Sunday, November 29, 2009

This Week's Twitter Blatherings

  • CoverYourHair.com2 FREE Hats #Giveaway @coveryourhair (Ends 11/23) #

  • followed by some1 trying to help ppl get into modeling; seriously? um, might want to look at pix b4 you follow ppl, there. #wrongcategory #

  • finished bethy's pink birthday crocheted blanket tonight; now to start on Meme's white & beige scarf to match a hat she was given #fb #

  • getting excited - delivering 50+ @OCC_shoeboxes tomorrow on behalf of Mineola MOPS & Mineola Seventh-day Adventist Church #fb #

  • Passed front end wreck; pls pray #fb #

  • Wondering if i am just hearing things #fb #

  • final @OCC_shoeboxes count - 66 boxes delivered today! #

  • tired; what else is new? #

  • tonight: crocheting Meme's scarf #yarntherapy #fb #

  • exciting top-secret project under way... #fb #

  • Crystal's Soapbox will be back this week @KidGlue; brace yourself for Indian bubbles... #fb #

  • please pray for my grandfather, Tommy; in the hospital overnight for observation after going in with 160+ heart rate #fb #

  • finished meme's scarf; now to go get yarn to duplicate my mom's scarf for my mil; funny that they like the same colors! #fb #

  • fb says "Your account is currently unavailable due to a site issue." GRR! #

  • think i'm going to go start on mil's scarf soon... #fb #

  • Merlin and crochet = happy mama #fb #

  • well, that's off to bed with meself, then... #fb #

  • home from visiting family in fort worth; Papa is home from hospital on new meds and looking /feeling much better - thanks for praying! #fb #

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide 2009

Holiday shopping season is here again and the Global Influence network has some great gift ideas for you, tried and tested by real moms. Click on the links to check out what our team of reviewers had to say about each of these gift ideas, and then take a moment to enter our fun giveaway and take a chance at winning some of these fabulous products.

Featured Reviews

Pouchees -

Busy moms need all the help they can get to stay organized and keep life as simple as possible. The Pouchee is the perfect solution to keeping all those little things together, putting everything you need, right at your fingertips.

Duck Hunter -

Duck Hunter turns the excitement of the hunt into an activity the whole family can enjoy. Launch the duck in the air and try to hunt it down with the toy shooter as it flies freely in the air. A fun choice for those who love outdoor sporting.

CardStore cards

-Personalized holiday cards are an important item on everyone's to-do list and often a hassle to create and print. has everything from family photo cards to invitations for your big holiday party, simplifying your holiday season.

Great Holiday Gift Ideas

Things Remembered Custom Couture Jewelry

Just Elfin' Around

Card Cubby

Harumika By Bandai

Harumika Runway Showstopper

Harumika Style Starter

Baby Alive Whoopsie Doo

Strawberry Shortcake Playset

Kota Monty Rex

Wall to Wall Basketball

Nerf Pocket Vortex

Busy Ball Popper

Talking Chuck Truck

Leapfrog My Pal Scout

Leapfrog Tag Jr

Leapfrog Scribble and Write

Animal Planet Polar Land Playset

Animal Planet Dinosaur Playmat

Onionhead Adult/Teen Feelings Pack

OnionHead Children's Feelings Pack

Onionhead A-Z Feelings Magnet Set


MeTime Tees

Fun Holiday Giveaway!

For this holiday guide, we want to share the love with the blogosphere! Some of our generous sponsors have donated prizes to be given away to lucky readers! To enter to win one of the following fabulous prizes, simply fill out the form here:

Prizes include:

Things Remembered Custom Couture Jewelry


Elfing Around


Onionhead Feelings Pack

Nerf Wall to Wall Basketball

Baby Alive Whoopsie Doo

MeTime T-shirt

Entries will close on December 6, 2009 at 11:59 PM EST. Winners will be contacted by email after the close of the contest.

Global Influence Member Guides

Need more ideas for this holiday season? Check out the guides that some of our Global Influence members have put together on their own sites!

Thrifty Jinxy,

Happy Healthy Hip ,

And Twins Make Five ,

Because Two People Fell In Love,

Mommy Musings ,

Lipstick to Crayons ,

Bargain Briana ,

Mommy PR ,

Shop With Me Mama,

Santa Picks,

Rave and Review,

Connected 2 Christ ,

3 Boys and a Dog,

The Classy Closet ,

Contest Corner,

Lisa Reviews ,

A Giveaway Every Day,



High Impact Mom,

From Cribs to Car Keys

Lisa Reviews

Mommy Musings

All reviews listed in the Global Influence gift guide were product provided. Featured positions were purchased by sponsors. Member gift guides are not affiliated with Global Influence.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

This Week's Twitter Blatherings

  • RT @tweetmeme Living Smart Girl: Out of the Box Sampler #

  • dinner for 5 at Sonic - $24; happy, full family and no cooking for Mom - priceless; Sonic FTW! #fb #

  • does liking to crochet make me an old fogie grandma or a cool, trendy lady? #fb #

  • what joy, what bliss /
    is found in this: /
    when the earth and the heavens /
    with rain doth kiss! #fb #

  • had to close the door because of the SSS {Stupid, Stinky Skunk}; harrumph & piddle!!! #fb #

  • i'm becoming convinced that there's *not* a hairstyle that looks good on my fat face... *sigh* #fb #

  • cold this morning; brandon being a challange - pray for him, please #fb #

  • and now i shall work on the MOPS newsletter for tomorrow's meeting... any Mineola MOPS moms have stuff to post? #fb #

  • Can stop and sit down yet? #fb #

  • i think i'm about to go chop my hair into long layers... #fb #

  • well, there's a foot gone... #fb #

  • nap or crochet? #hardchoices #fb #

  • didn't like the thinness at the end, so i chopped more off - just a little below my shoulders now. #fb #

  • hey guy in the minivan - do you have any idea how ridiculous you are with the boom-boom going like you're in a lowrider? #

  • oy, i'm tired; going to bed momentarily... #fb #

  • massive headache kicking my butt today; hopefully tomorrow will be better. #fb #

  • finished back-loop potholder today (gave to @marcand since he loved it), then made a couple of 3-ply red & green ones for MOPS #fb #

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

This Week's Twitter Blatherings

  • listening to Crazy Love from Michael Buble' for my review; catch it tomorrow at #fb #

  • come read my live review of Michael Buble's Crazy Love as I update after each song! #

  • Found this interesting. #

  • Done with my review of Michael Buble's Crazy Love - come see what I think: #

  • RT @heymego #CSUN not providing interpret services 4 their #Deaf students <<*totally* unacceptable, #CSUN! #

  • up too late /
    up too early /
    makes my eyes a little swirly #fb #

  • getting ready to go pack 25 boxes for Operation Christmas Child; want to sponsor shipping for a box for $7? #

  • Go to and give $7 to bring Christmas joy to a needy child #fb #

  • wait, i was going to be an hour ago; aw, crap! #fb #

  • seriously considering chopping off about a foot to a foot-and-a-half of my hair... #fb #

  • Win a Chemise or Cardigan from Happy Green Bee!
    #giveaway #

  • sarah's hair was cut to her chin on friday and bethy's had a foot cut off tonight; now what shall we do with mommy's hair? #fb #

  • nerdy fall dessert humor: What do you get if you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter? #

  • gotta rant for @KidGlue; what shall i rant about this week? #

  • Happy Veteran's Day; a huge thank you to @marcand and all the other vets who have served; you are heroes; #thanksvets #

  • new @ My Book Bliss: Christmas Miracles by Cecil Murphey and Marley Gibson:

    Chri.. #

  • RT Happy Veteran's Day; a huge thank you to @marcand and all the other vets who have served; you are heroes; #thanksvets #

  • yeah, i'm still here, but i'm going to bed now... #

  • new @ My Book Bliss: Set Apart by Jennifer Kennedy Dean:

    Set Apart Jennifer Kenne.. #

  • i'm cold this morning #fb #

  • yep, still here... #

  • on today's agenda - pay bills and have a birthday party at the nature preserve for bethy's 4th birthday #fb #

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Set Apart by Jennifer Kennedy Dean

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Jennifer Kennedy Dean
New Hope Publishers
ISBN: 10-1596692634
ISBN: 13-978-1596692633
Release Date: 9/1/09
Retail: $14.99

Because Living IN this World

Doesn't Mean Living LIKE the World

About the Book:

(Marion, Kentucky) - In a world of self-love and materialism it's reassuring to know that God's Word has a better plan for living. Renowned author and speaker, Jennifer Kennedy Dean, provides insight to the life of Christ, specifically the Sermon on the Mount, in her new book, Set Apart: A 6 Week Study of the Beatitudes.

Through careful study of the Hebrew traditions of biblical times, Dean leads participants into a deeper awareness of this early ministry sermon series by Christ.

Jennifer guides readers to a heightened understanding of each beatitude, correlating the Ten Commandments with the Sermon on the Mount to tie these Old and New Testament principles together. Dean shares how living the Set Apart Life is an exciting and life-changing spiritual journey. Participants surrendered to Christ will see a total transformation: outward actions of holiness as well as inward attitudes of joy. Believers following along in this workbook will experience the life God intends. This blessedness comes from seeking and knowing God. Anything outside the realm of Jesus Christ results in emptiness--the ultimate opposite of blessing.

Each chapter includes interactive questions for readers to answer, emphasizing God's desire to reproduce the character and attitudes of Jesus in each Christian's life. Along with the Bible study book, there is a Leader Kit that includes six DVD sessions and a CD with bonus material for small-group leaders. Jennifer's website,, provides opportunities for previewing the Set Apart materials and extra resources for pastors and leaders.

[caption id="attachment_3254" align="aligncenter" width="101" caption="author Jennifer Kennedy Dean"]



Jennifer Kennedy Dean is Executive director of The Praying Life Foundation and a respected author and speaker. She is the author of numerous books, studies, and magazine articles specializing in prayer and spiritual formation. Her book Heart’s Cry has been named National Day of Prayer’s signature book. You’ll find articles and daily quotes from Jennifer at the National Day of Prayer website. Her book, Live a Praying Life, has been called a flagship work on prayer.

Jennifer was widowed in 2005 after 26 years of marriage to Wayne Dean, her partner both in life and ministry. They are the parents of three grown sons. Jennifer makes her home in Marion, KY.

Adapted from Set Apart by Jennifer Kennedy Dean

"I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor 12:9-10).

My weakness is my greatest asset in the Kingdom. My weakness is where God meets me. My weakness is where Christ's power is most clearly displayed in me. Only when I am confronted with my own helplessness can I experience the power of Christ in me.

"Your helplessness is your best prayer. It calls from your heart to the heart of God with greater effect than all your uttered pleas. He hears it from the very moment that you are seized with helplessness, and He becomes actively engaged at once in hearing and answering the prayer of your helplessness." (O. Hallesby, Prayer)

I recently had the tiniest glimpse of how powerfully helplessness speaks. A few years ago, I lost my husband to brain cancer. During the final months of his illness, he became utterly helpless. The man I had leaned on for 26 years, whose strength I counted on, was now dependent upon me for his every need. During those weeks, my ear was tuned to his every sigh, his every restless movement, every change in his breathing pattern. If I had to be out of his room for even a few minutes, I had a monitor with me so I could hear him if he needed me. When he was strong, I was not so attentive. His needs did not fill my waking moments, when he could meet them himself. His helplessness spoke louder than any word he might have spoken. Because of his helplessness--because I knew he could do nothing on his own--I was on watch day and night.

My experience is but a pale shadow of the reality of the Kingdom, but still it helps me understand how my weakness is the opening for His strength. The fact of my helplessness is the only prayer I need. It speaks louder than eloquence.

Let your helplessness and your weakness be the offering you bring to Him. He is not waiting for you to be strong. He is waiting for you to recognize that you are weak.


Please leave a comment to be entered in a drawing to win the following items from Jennifer. If you are a leader (small groups, book club, Bible Study, Women's Ministry), please note that you are--you will automatically be entered in the contest. If you are a member of one of these groups at your church or community, mention that you are a group member.

You will be entered to win:
A Set Apart Leader's Kit (video and leader resources and a student book) retail $79.99
A copy of Fueled by Faith (retail $19.99)
Jennifer will have a live web event just for your group


Christmas Miracles by Cecil Murphey and Marley Gibson

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Foreword: Don Piper

St. Martin’s Press, Oct. 2009

Hardcover, 256 pages

ISBN: 978-0312589837

Retail: $14.99

(Atlanta, GA) Many ordinary people experience Christmas miracles—those special moments during the season of giving and receiving when Christmas becomes more than just a holiday. In Christmas Miracles (St. Martin’s Press, October 2009), Cecil Murphey and Marley Gibson share the stories of those who have recognized the special moments that transcend daily experience and transform their lives.

In these stories, people overcome desperate situations through a miraculous twist of fate—all during the most wonderful time of the year. A young boy sits down to read a Christmas book and discovers that his learning disability has vanished. A woman stranded in a blizzard is rescued by a mysterious stranger who she suspects is an angel. And a woman living far from home gets an answer to her prayer in the form of an unexpected gift.

Bestselling author Cecil Murphey says, “We all face discouraging times, whether it's the lack of money, being stuck on a road in a snowstorm, feeling stress, or being hungry and homeless. But God's help is available. I want readers to see that miracles do happen—sometimes simple, unexpected blessings or those that involve the supernatural. We start by asking, and in strange and wonderful ways God tiptoes into our dark nights; we experience renewed joy in life and witness God in action through people and unexpected events.”

[caption id="attachment_2344" align="aligncenter" width="162" caption="author Cecil Murphey"]



Award-winning writer Cecil Murphey is the author or co-author of 114 published books, including the NY Times bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (with Dr. Ben Carson). He’s also the author of When Someone You Love Has Cancer and When God Turned Off the Lights, both 2009 releases. Murphey’s books have sold millions and have given hope and encouragement to countless readers around the world. For more information, visit


Marley Gibson is a young adult author whose first published books in the Sorority 101 series were released by Penguin Group in 2008 under the pen name of Kate Harmon. She has a new Ghost Huntress series with Houghton Mifflin written under her own name. She can be found online at

Interview with Cecil “Cec” Murphey by Marley Gibson Co-authors of Christmas Miracles, from St. Martin’s Press

I am extremely privileged to have the opportunity today to talk to my friend and co-author, Cecil “Cec” Murphey, and to chat about our upcoming book,Christmas Miracles.

Marley:  Cec, thanks for spending some time with me today.

Cec:    Marley, it's great that you could take time away from important things like making a living to spend a little time with me.

Marley:  I’m so jazzed about our Christmas Miracles book that’s coming out soon. I’ve had a lot of questions from folks wanting to know how we met, what brought us together, etc. So, I thought we’d do a back and forth on how it all came to be. Of course, I have to give props to our amazing agent and friend, Deidre Knight, for bringing us together. For those of you who don’t know, Cec co-authored the runaway New York Times bestselling hit 90 Minutes in Heaven with Don Piper.

Cec: I have to say thanks to Deidre Knight as well. Between Deidre and my assistant, Twila Belk, I've been able to sell quite a few books. 90 Minutes in Heaven has been my big book. I'm also proud of a book I wrote in 1990 calledGifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story. The book has never been out of print and has hit close to four million in sales. Early this year, Cuba Gooding Jr. starred in the made-for-TV film version.

Marley: That’s amazing! You are truly prophetic and definitely “the man behind the words.” Now, people ask how we teamed up. Sadly, there was a personal tragedy that brought Cec and me together as friends.

Cec: True. In early 2007, our house burned and our son-in-law died. Aside from the grief over Alan, we lost everything. Deidre and Jan, my-then-assistant, sent the word out of our tragedy without telling me. I'm immensely grateful for every gift people sent, but I probably wouldn't have admitted I needed help and wouldn't have asked. They taught me how much we need other people.

Marley: Deidre put out a call to other clients of The Knight Agency, to help Cec and his family out in any way in their time of need. At the time, my company was moving and we were cleaning house. We had a ton of office supplies that we were either going to throw away or give to some of the charities the company worked with.  I got my boss’ permission to send a large care package to Cec…full of office supplies for him to re-stock his writer’s office. You name it…post-its, staples, paper clips, pens, pencils, markers, white out, ruler, scissors, paper, notebooks, notepads, envelopes, a laptop case, tape, glue, folders, binder clips…etc. A veritable potpourri of office delights.  I was hoping that it would help Cec have a sense of getting his office back so he could keep working.

Cec: Marley's gift was the most unexpected I received. We hadn't met, although Deidre Knight had spoken of her many times and kept telling me she was wonderful. I wonder if you can imagine what it was like for me to open that box from someone I didn't know. I saw all those practical things for my office and yelled for my wife.  I felt as if I were reading a first-grade book. "Look! Look and see! Oh, look!" I was overwhelmed by the gift and even more to receive it from a stranger. Those supplies were the most practical gift anyone could have given me. I'm still using black paper clips and red folders from Marley.

Marley: Awww…thanks, Cec! I didn’t have to think twice about doing it. Writing is such a solitary “sport,” but the writing community always astounds me with how they help their own.  Not long after that, over plates of spinach and Gouda omelets, Deidre introduced me to Cec in person and I was thrilled to finally meet the man behind the words. Deidre knew we needed to work on a project together and thus began our brainstorming. What did you think of that first meeting, Cec, and cooking up the idea to work together?

Cec: Deidre and I had already spoken about a Christmas book and I had some idea about what it should contain, but nothing had come together. One day Deidre told me that Marley was coming to visit her and she wanted us to work together on a Christmas project. Marley and I talked before we ate and again during the meal. Everything felt right to me. I knew my strengths and Marley knew hers (and Deidre knew both of us). Everything clicked. Marley, a far better networker than I am, immediately sent out the word for submissions. Within days she had almost four times more than we could use. (She read every one of them!)

Marley: I was truly impressed with the submissions we received and it was hard narrowing it down to the ones we chose for the book. We’re fortunate to have such a go-getter agent in Deidre Knight. Cec, can you share how the whole idea of Christmas Miracles came about and what you thought of the project originally?

Cec: For me, it actually started while I was on the rapid-rail train from the Atlanta airport when I listened to teens talk about Christmas and it was mostly about gifts. I had the idea then, but nothing really came together. Months later when Deidre I and had a meeting, she brought up the idea of a compilation and mentioned my working with Marley. I've been Deidre Knight's client since 1997 and I've learned to listen carefully when she comes up with an idea. I said yes before she gave me all the information.

Marley: That’s the truth about Deidre! Getting back to those submissions, I want to say we got more than two hundred submissions for Christmas Miracles. So many wonderful stories to read through and select for the book. It was a challenge to pick and choose which ones were right for the book, but I loved every minute of it. After I chose the entries that would go into the book, Cec toiled long hours editing the works for a unified voice. What was the biggest challenge you found in the editing process, Cec?

Cec: I've been a ghostwriter and collaborator for twenty-plus years and this was a switch to give the book a unified voice—which was mine. It would have been easier to stay with each writer's voice, but the book—like many compilations—would have been uneven in tone and quality. When I discussed this via email with our delightful editor, Rose Hilliard, she was (to my surprise) familiar with my work. She told me she liked the warm tone of my writing and that I don't waste words. "That's the voice we want," she said. It still wasn't easy, but it was an exciting challenge. After Marley and I agreed on the stories and gave them that unified voice, our editor pulled six contributions. Although different, Rose felt they were too similar to other stories.

Marley: Can you give our readers a preview of the book? A favorite story perhaps…or one that moved you to tears?  (I have to say the little boy who wished for nothing but to be able to read a book all the way through because of his stutter had me bawling when I read the submission.)

Cec: That's not fair! I liked them all. The one that touched me most, however, is the last story in the book, "Sean's Question." We had almost finished the book and I was teaching at a conference in Florida. I felt we needed one strong story at the end. Despite all the good ones, I didn't feel fully satisfied to conclude the book. On the last day of the conference, I met a conferee named Sara Zinn for a consultation. As we talked, I mentioned Christmas Miracles and that I still needed one more story. "I have a Christmas story," she said and told me about Sean. As I listened, tears filled my eyes—but, being the macho type I am, I was sure it was an allergy. Sara wrote the story, and it became the one I sought.

Marley: Oh yes…that one is an emotional one all right. It was meant to be in the book because of how you met at the conference. Now, you and I have both had challenges in our lives that others might have found too much to take, but we are both very strong in our faith and our relationship with God. How do you think Christmas Miracles is going to help others feel closer to God and experience His miracles in their own lives?

Cec: Awareness and appreciation are the two things I want readers to grasp. Awareness means for them to realize that they're never totally alone in life. Those unexpected, out-of-the-ordinary events remind us of that. Appreciation means to be thankful for what we already have. Too often, and especially at Christmas, we focus on what we'd like or what is supposed to make us happy. Christmas Miracles gently reminds readers of both.

Marley: In this day and age when our country is fighting two wars, unemployment is high, and a lot of people have a lack of hope and faith for their future, what do you want readers of the book to take away fromChristmas Miracles and how can the stories in our book help provide comfort to those struggling?

Cec: I want readers to see that miracles do happen—sometimes simple, unexpected blessings or those that involve the supernatural (as in one of Marley's stories). I call myself a serious Christian. For me, the world's greatest miracle began with the birth of Jesus. Regardless of a person's religion, this book encourages readers to think about life during the Christmas season and see that life as more than gifts and celebrations. It's also a reminder that God loves us and hears our needy cries.

Marley: Beautifully put, Cec, and I couldn’t agree with you more. Can we share what’s next after Christmas Miracles? J

Cec: Why it's the Cec and Marley show, of course. Because of our go-getter agent and our enthusiastic editor, we've already received thumbs up for The Christmas Spirit. This will be stories of people who express the true spirit of Christmas by acts of love and kindness, for release in the fall of 2011.

Marley: And I can’t wait to start working on that project!  Thank you so much for your time, Cec, and answering my questions. It was a privilege and honor to work with you and I look forward to our future projects together. You’ve helped me along during a trying time and I appreciate your friendship and support.

Cec: I liked this project because Marley had to send out the word, collect submissions, read them, and discard the weaker ones. I get to see only the better-written stories. (Don't tell her that I have the better job.) Although I mentioned only one story, all of those in the book touched me because of the poignancy of their situations and the miraculous answers. I won't say the stories increased my faith, but they increased my appreciation for the delightful mix of human need and divine intervention.

Marley: Thanks again, Cec! God Bless! And to our readers, please be sure to pick up a copy of CHRISTMAS MIRACLES, out October 13, 2009 from St. Martin’s Press. It’s a great stocking stuffer or gift basket filler. We hope you, too, will discover your own Christmas Miracles in your life.


Leave a comment for your chance to win this fabulous gift basket!

Leave a comment for a chance to win the Christmas Miracles gift basket.

Wouldn’t you love to take home this amazing basket filled with Christmas goodies galore? This amazing gift basket contains everything you’ll need to make your Christmas holiday a success. Inside you’ll find a stocking stuffed with hard candies, kitchen towels and oven mitts, seasonal potpourri, holiday-colored candles, stuffed animals that talk, snowman candle, nutcrackers, Christmas ornaments, gift bags, gift tags, gift bows, ornament hangers, Christmas cookie cutters, a Merry Christmas doorstopper, a picture frame, Christmas cards, Santa ear muffs, and not just one, but two copies of Cecil Murphey and Marley Gibson’s Christmas Miracles – one to keep and one to give away to someone special.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sponsor Christmas for a Needy Child for Only Seven Dollars

[caption id="attachment_3107" align="alignleft" width="226" caption="The power of a simple gift."]



Want to make a child's Christmas? Donate just $7 to cover shipping for an Operation Christmas Child shoebox and a needy child will receive a box full of love and fun for Christmas!

Please note: I am not a 501(c)3 organization, so unfortunately, your donation will not be tax-deductible. Thank you so much for your dedication and commitment to bringing Christmas joy to children without thought of monetary benefit.

Album Review: Crazy Love by Michael Bublé

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My only exposure to Michael Bublé thus far has been a snippet of a ringtone with him threatening to scat until the person answers the phone. I liked what I heard of that and I like big band, so when I got the opportunity to review his latest album, Crazy Love, I jumped at the chance. I wasn't sure what to expect, other than a big band sound, but when the first song started, I knew I was in for a surprise. This isn't your run-of-the-mill big band album.

I have to tell you, hearing bass strings and horns in a Bond-esque cadence was not what I was expecting when Cry Me a River started. I like it, though - it reminds me of a marching band music, which is another love (I'm weird and geeky, I know. Get over it.). The notes are crisp and rich. Then the crescendo dies off and Michael starts in with "Now you say you're lonely" and I'm hooked. Michael manages to combine flow with staccato impressively. The action-movie theme continues throughout the piece, which only adds to the dimension and sexiness. I dare you not to moan a little "oooh" when he growls as he sings "now you say you love me" about halfway through the song.

All Of Me starts with the bouncy piano big band lovers love. You can't help but tap something along with it. Michael's voice blends in seamlessly and the bursts of horns are expected, rather than jarring. You can tell he's having fun with this one.

Georgia On My Mind starts with a few flats, which caused me to cock my head warily and really listen for what he was going to do with it. Gladly, Michael doesn't disappoint. He adds a bit of himself, while staying respectful of the classic tune. Michael brings the song into this century while keeping the feel of the original era, but bypasses the seventies camp, which I find many current artists unable to do. Well done. Definite points for Bublé on that one.

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Crazy Love gets the seventies camp that Georgia on My Mind was missing. I'm not sure if I'm turned off by it, or impressed that he can do a range of styles. Technically, he's right on and he's no less feeling in execution, so it may well be the arrangement that I'm not fond of here.

Haven't Met You Yet starts upbeat and suddenly plops me in the nineties. Bublé shows here that his sound stretches across genres and eras and I think I'm finding that's there's a little something on this album for most everyone that appreciates true musicality.

All I Do Is Dream Of You has a fun, fifties feel to it, complete with doo-wap and snapping at the beginning. Then he breaks out in a scat and my breath catches in my smile. A blast of a song that makes you want to sing and dance along. Two-and-a-half minutes of fun.

Hold On brings you back down to earth. This is a great first dance at a wedding song. It kind of makes me want to remarry Michael so we can dance to it. Not like we're a slow dancing type of couple, but the song totally makes me want to do it anyway. Awesome Love Stuff here. Hearing the song before and after it, though, I think it was misplaced in the album queue. The difference in feel is too different between this and the songs surrounding it.

I was so taken aback by the jump in sound, that I spent the first hearing of Heartache Tonight distracted and resentful that it broke the feeling of Hold On. Musically, I could hear that it's a great song, but my heart wasn't in it. After taking a break to cleanse my aural palate, I was able to listen to and appreciate the song for the fun, raucous party song it is. How Bublé manages to merge big band horns and crescendos with blues harmonica and guitar is beyond me, but it works here somehow and it's just a fun, fun song.

You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You has some great piano stylings. The trumpet seems a little off when it comes in, as well as the big band sound. Once it's into it, though, it sounds fine. At first, I thought it was the transition that needed work, but hearing the rest of the song, I'm thinking the beginning of the song was too muted. I like the song overall, but I'd love to hear it sung in the same vein Michael starts it in as well.

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Baby (You've Got What It Takes) is another fun song. The interplay between Michael and Sharon Jones is fun and unforced. Their voices blend well, and I find myself bouncing and bee-bopping along with the song. This is a great, feel-good, jam out while you clean the house song.

At This Moment is a highlight of the album for me. This song showcases Michael's talent for emotive singing. I keep wanting to say without being showy, but it is showy - but it feels sincere. I'm not sure that makes sense, but there you have it. If I weren't typing, I'd be closing my eyes and just enjoying. Great song. Great voice. It's official: I'm a Michael Bublé fan.

I absolutely love how Michael's voice emerges from the harmonious first few bars of Stardust. It's like it just wells up - fabulous. This is the crooning that makes me swoon for this genre. Yeah, I know I got all rhymey there. I don't care. Oh my -- the clarinet bridge! *catches breath* Oh yeah, this one's my favorite. *swoons*

Michael notes on the back cover "I loved this one [Whatever It Takes] so much that I sneaked it onto the CD as a little bonus for you!" I'm glad he did. You can tell he's just really enjoying the song and his talent on this track. It's got a nice, smooth sound. Seventies fans will enjoy it, though for some reason it doesn't feel so campy to me. Go figure.

All in all, a great album, and one I'm glad to have received. As I mentioned in the beginning of the review, I didn't know what to expect other than a big band album. I am corrected. I wouldn't call this a big band album. This is a Michael Bublé album. There are too many genres and styles represented to categorize it that simply. But it is simply enjoyable.

*This is solely the opinion of 3 Stairs. Other people may have different experiences with this product. I received the album free of charge to do this review. *

This Week's Twitter Blatherings

  • been shopping with sarah; splitting headache from desperate need to get my neck adjusted; going to nap and see if it helps #fb #

  • and now i shall crochet simple arm warmers thinking about stitching in front instead of back, though #fb #

  • Join Frigidaire & Jennifer Garner in supporting @SavetheChildren. Pledge your time and $1 goes to the cause #

  • girls both fever-free this morning; taking to dr at 4 to make sure they're well enough for school; sarah's been fussing about her ear #fb #

  • girls eating lunchables; naptime is coming! #fb #

  • starting to feel yucky; need to go to bed... #fb #

  • feeling pooka today, but have a lot to do; prayers appreciated; girls doing better, but staying home one more day to be cautious #fb #

  • bethy got hot again this afternoon; whiny tonight and not sleeping; yep, pray again... #fb #

  • new @ My Book Bliss: Kona with Jonah and Frappe' with Philippians by Sandra Glahn:

    A.. #

  • please scoop out my head like a pumpkin for a jack-o-lantern #thatisall #fb #

  • Matt Wertz just gave me his new live album for FREE! Want it? Click #

  • forget scooping out my head - just kill me now; i feel like utter crap; i hate allergies #fb #

  • it's Guy Fawkes Day; can we detonate my nasal passages? #fb #

  • pls pray for @marcand; he served at Ft Hood and the situation there has him really upset #

  • tired and wondering how God will provide for these OCC babies, 'cause I can't do it myself... #fb #

  • it's just another typical, run-of-the-mill crapfest... #fb #

  • oh, to just go to bed and hide from it all.... #fb #

  • head hurts; heart hurts; want to go hide away for a while... #fb #

  • i need prayers, please; thank you #fb #

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Kona with Jonah and Frappe' with Philippians by Sandra Glahn

AMG Publishers

July 27, 2009

ISBN-10: 0899573967

ISBN-13: 978-0899573960

Retail: $12.99


July 27, 2009

ISBN-10: 0899573959

ISBN-13: 978-0899573953

Retail: $12.99

Sandra Glahn, Th.M., is adjunct professor, Christian Education and Pastoral Ministries, at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), her alma mater. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Aesthetic Studies (Arts and Humanities) at the University of Texas at Dallas. In addition she serves on the board of the Evangelical Press Association, the advisory board of Hannah's Prayer, and the women's executive committee for Sandra is editor in chief of Dallas Seminary's award-winning quarterly magazine, Kindred Spirit.

Her books include The Coffee Cup Bible Study series and the medical suspense thriller, Informed Consent (Cook). Ms. Glahn has also coauthored seven books and she has contributed to several additional works, including Genetic Engineering: A Christian Response (Kregel); and The Making of a Mentor (Authentic). Sandra has appeared on the 700 Club, Ivanhoe Productions' "Smart Woman" television broadcasts, Family Life Today, At Home Live television, Janet Parshall's America, and in other national media. She and her husband, Gary, have been married twenty-nine years and have a daughter who joined their family through adoption.

Good Books and Good Coffee
A Blog Tour Designed with
Coffee Lovers in Mind

About the Books:

(Dallas, Texas)- There's nothing better than curling up with a good book and a cup of coffee--and there's no better book than the Bible. Sandra Glahn continues her series of Coffee Cup Bible Studies, presenting Kona with Jonah and Frappe with Philippians. Using creative teaching resources, including the Internet, art, online study groups and more, Glahn provides a special blend of bold and flavorful experiences that will bring participants back for a second cup of God's Word.

Kona with Jonah begins with a brief history of Jonah and Ninevah. Merging historical event with current modern day practicality, Glahn invites readers to take a walk in Jonah's sandals. Coffee sippers will find it hard to escape the similarities as these two worlds collide. Prayer, mercy, city revival and other strong themes will perk the interest and heart of diligent students.

Frappé with Philippians brews for five weeks of strong, powerful conversation about Paul and the heroes of the Philippian church. With detailed study time spent examining the letters of Paul to the Church, readers will come away feeling like they have met with the man himself. With sections entitled "That God Will Get me Out of Here, and Other Prayer Requests Paul Doesn't Make," Glahn keeps the tone of the study light, without disrespecting the seriousness of the study of God's Word.

A Chat Over Coffee with Sandra

Women who typically feel they don't have the time to do Bible Study find your studies relevant and easy to use. What's the secret to making the study inviting?

I don't know if there's one secret. Different things appeal to different people. But I do know that with my own personal Bible study time, I've been able to stay fairly consistent Monday through Friday when my daughter is at school. But on the weekends everything changes in our household. Sometimes we travel. Or we sleep later on Saturday. And we rise and go to church on Sunday. Result: my routine gets disrupted. For this reason I often have a more difficult time doing Bible study on the weekends. So I designed the series for Monday-through-Friday study with only short devotional readings on the weekends. The weekday time can require twenty minutes or more; the weekend readings take less than five minutes.

I think the studies also appeal to the right-brained person. As an artsy type, I sometimes engage more with the Bible if I can write out a prayer, draw, view a related video, compose a story, sing a song... And I wrote this series with that person in mind. The devotionals are also full of stories, which most of us love to hear.

In addition (and this is probably the main reason), when I was working full-time, I wanted a study I could stash in my purse without having to lug a Bible and a commentary. I wanted to use my lunch break for a quiet time without parading my resources in front of people. And I think it helps that the Coffee Cup series books don't look like typical Bible studies; they're all-inclusive (text, commentary, questions included); they're small enough to throw in a briefcase or diaper bag; and they're both spiral and bound--making it easier to use on a treadmill or fold in the lap and write on while sitting. In short they're designed for the multi-tasker. I heard from an ob-gyn who uses them as she's sitting in the doctors' lounge waiting for babies to arrive.

And one more thing--I also include a prayer at the end. I heard from an eighty-something man who told me how much those prayers meant. All his life he had struggled with prayer, and that guidance helped him respond to God. I'm glad that a series directed to women didn't scare him off!

In Jonah with Kona, what do you hope participants will take away and apply to their own lives?

We tend to like our own causes best; we like our own country best; we like our denomination best; we like our own families best; we prefer the schools we attended, the neighborhoods where we grew up, our own political party or cause, our gender--even our brand of peanut butter. And somewhere along the way we cross the line from preference to prejudice. We pray for our loved ones but rarely, if ever, our enemies. Mention atheists, opposing politicians, humanists, materialists, homosexuals, and radical feminists in most churches today, and the response you'll evoke will sound nothing like, "Let's pray right now for God to pour out his love."

Genesis tells us that humans are fellow creations of one maker. The qualities of God that so angered Jonah are the very qualities we most need: grace, compassion, patience, mercy, abundant love, and truth. And not just for those we love--but for those we hate. For those who have wronged us. For those who want us dead. For those with whom we strongly disagree. The only possible way we can demonstrate such remarkable goodness is through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The focus of Frappé with Philippians is the life of Paul and the early church. What kind of historical research did you do and did you learn any surprising facts as you compiled your information?

I think it's enormously important to understand the world in which Paul was writing. Let's take the view of women, for example. The Jews were the most conservative. The Greeks were better, though greatly influenced by Aristotle's low view of women. And the Roman women had the most freedom--even owning property and supervising gymnasiums. Knowing a city's predominant citizenship helps us understand Paul's letters on such issues.

My PhD work relates a lot to the Greek pantheon and Greek and Roman history. The historical backgrounds for the Bible books are essential, and fortunately they interest me.

I also love getting a sense of the geography, if I can. I had the advantage this summer of taking a clipper to follow the journeys of Paul. Some of our stops included Corinth, Troas, Neapolis, Philippi, and Athens.

One sentence out of the mouth of a guide in Corinth really stuck with me, as she provided a key to understanding the cities we visited. She mentioned that while American visitors seem generally uninterested in talk of gods and goddesses, knowing which member of the Greek pantheon a city worshiped is essential to understanding that city's mentality. The more I thought about this, the more sense it made:

ATHENS. Athena was the goddess of wisdom, so citizens of Athens wanted their city to reflect culture, religion, and philosophy. And sure enough, in Acts 17 we find Stoic and Epicurean philosophers hanging out at the Areopagus (Mars Hill). Paul affirms them for being religious, and rather than dissing their many false gods, he zeroes in on their altar to the unknown God and tells them about this Almighty one who was not made with hands--One who is never far from any of us.

CORINTH. Corinth was the home of Aphrodite, goddess of love (and not the agape version). Behind the city ruins stands a towering hill at the top of which sat Aphrodite's temple. One could not walk down the street without being conscious of its prominence. Might that explain why the Corinthians had so many issues with sexual immorality, and why Paul tells them that it's good for a man not to touch a woman (1 Cor. 7:1)? For the sake of the kingdom, he encourages them to consider embracing sexual abstinence rather than marrying. How fitting that in a city that prides itself on being a center of love, Paul pens the beautiful definition of true love--known to us as the love chapter (1 Cor. 13).

EPHESUS. Ephesus was home to the virgin Artemis who loved her virgin status and was immune to Aphrodite's love arrows. Among other things, Artemis was the goddess of the hunt. If you take a close look at the Artemis statues from the first and second centuries, you find her legs covered with numerous animals and flanked by a couple of deer. Now, usually we think of women as gatherers and men as hunters. And the fact that Artemis was a hunter suggests she had a less-than-feminine persona. In Ephesus we find stone work with the Amazon story (these women were way independent!), and guides tell visitors that the city was founded by an Amazon queen. The Book of Ephesians was probably intended for more than one city (like Laodicea), so we don't find much that points to a specific city's mentality in that book. But we do find 1 Timothy directed to Paul's protégé in Ephesus, and in it we find an emphasis on widows, women teaching false doctrines, and the need to marry and have children.

When reading the New Testament, I think it's important to find out something of its geography and certainly what member of the Greek pantheon each book's readers were up against. How its authors approached the cities' demons can provide insight for us into engaging a culture that's in love with worldly wisdom, immorality, and a low view of family.

Creative Ways to Have

Girlfriend Bible Studies

· Get ripped with Ruth. Meet at the health club and walk side-by-side on the treadmill with your BFF. The study’s spiral binding and modest size lends itself to being stashed in a gym bag. You won’t even have to pack your Bible. The text is included.

· Inhale the aroma of java as you enter your favorite coffee shop. Order yourself a cappuccino, and then hang out around the table with friends discussing Colossians.

· For your friend’s birthday, give her chocolate-covered coffee beans and a Coffee Cup Bible study. Promise her an hour every week of your time for building your friendship on what lasts.

· Invite the person who does your nails to consider the words of Jesus. Provide a copy of Mocha on the Mount, and every time you’re together discuss what you’re both learning as you go through it.

· Schedule an extended “Spiritual Spa Day” together by watching and discussing a movie about Esther as you kick off bi-weekly meetings around your kitchen table. Contemplate what the Hadassah spa—Esther’s year of beauty treatments—must have been like. Then consider the part of her beauty that was deeper than skin.

· You don’t have to sip your cuppa joe in a shop that starts with an “S.” Grab some colleagues and organize a small group study. You can nurse your favorite beverage in the company cafeteria, the hospital coffee shop—even your local McDonald’s.

· Brew a pot of coffee in your church kitchen and meet one evening per week with members of your congregation. Engage in a lively discussion about Deborah, Jael, and Samson’s mother as you go through Java with the Judges.

Thank you to Kathy Carlton Willis and the author for providing a complimentary copy of a book in exchange for this blog tour post.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Children’s Defense Fund Stroller Brigade Kicks Off This Week


From the Children’s Defense ( website:

Join Us In Standing Together for Children: Congress is debating health reform legislation that could leave millions of children worse rather than better off and fails to fix bureaucratic, unfair barriers to care. This must be changed now!

What We Are Demanding: Congress and the President must support changes that provide comprehensive, affordable, accessible care for all children no matter where they live. Changes must build on what works in the system and fix what doesn’t work for children now.

Actions You Can Take: Join children, parents, grandparents and champions for children in a "stroll" to the Nation's Capitol on November 4 or join stroller brigades in cities across the country November 5 through 8 to ensure that our children are not left behind in health care reform. Can't join a stroller brigade in-person? You can also participate in our Virtual Stroller Brigade!

Important Dates and Links:

-Tuesday, November 3rd: You can also join the Twitter Blogger Press Conference Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. EST w/ the hashtag #strollerbrigade, where we'll be chatting with a director from the Children’s Defense fund.

-November 4th: The Stroller Brigade campaign kicks off in the DC and readers in the DC area can sign up here -

-November 5th through 8th: The Stroller Brigade will travel around the country.  Readers can find a location near them here -

-Readers can create a Stroller Brigade in their own neighborhood here:

-Readers who do not want to join a Stroller Brigade can help by contacting their member of Congress, spreading the word about the campaign, and sharing their own story:

-Fact sheets and more:

-The Stroller Brigade in the news:

Make Time for CHANGE with Jennifer Garner and Frigidaire

Jennifer Garner has become known as an involved parent, and further proves with her latest project: the Make Time for CHANGE (Creating Healthy, Active, and Nurturing Growing-up Environments) campaign from Save the Children and Frigidaire. Here's some information from the Make Time for CHANGE website:



For more than 75 years, Save the Children has been helping children survive and thrive by focusing on early childhood education, literacy and physical activity and nutrition programs.

Save the Children created the CHANGE program (Creating Healthy, Active, and Nurturing Growing-up Environments) to promote healthier lifestyles for children living in poverty by providing nutritious snacks and regular opportunities for children to be physically active.

Now, you can help. Raise your hand today to reveal your pledge to make time for a child, and Frigidaire will donate $11 to Save the Children's U.S. Programs.


And you can win a new Frigidaire appliance! Check this out:

New Frigidaire is the first collection of appliances designed with time-saving features for busy Moms. Every day you pledge your time, you'll be entered for a chance to win a new Frigidaire Professional double wall oven.

I pledged to bake cookies with my kids. We just got some Otis Spunkmeyer chocolate chip cookie dough from our local Cub Scouts pack, so we'll be baking up some yum while Mommy wishes for that oven! A double wall oven has always been a must-have on my dream kitchen list, so this would really be a dream come true! But - as much as I want that wall oven - I want you to spend an hour to Make Time for CHANGE more, so go pledge/enter for yourself and a kid you love.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

This Week's Twitter Blatherings

  • had an awesome weekend at a women's weekend in Tyler; God told me what I'm supposed to talk about! #fb #

  • going to my first MOPS steering meeting this morning; i'm filling in for the creative activities coordinator #fb #

  • trying to get time added to my tracfone - keep getting invalid code; lovely Island lady named Sharon is helping me #fb #

  • MOPS mtg done; now lunch and hopefully a nap before 2pm appt #fb #

  • some deep discussions after school with 7yo Sarah about dating, Sabbath, and church attendance; smart kid - worried and prayerful mama #fb #

  • had to clean fuzz from sarah's knee - she really hurts, please pray for poor little one. #fb #

  • working on a blog tour for tomorrow at - something different - fiction! #

  • ooh, look at me, goin' to bed before midnight! #fb #

  • filled out donation form to get 50 boxes donated to fill for Operation Christmas Child; will find out Friday; pray! #fb #

  • wiped out and going to bed... #fb #

  • chilly this morning; gonna work on Mom's purple scarf since I finished mine yesterday #fb #

  • what do you do when you realize you probably should have just worked w/ children instead of actually having them after you've had 3? #fb #

  • need to write a ton of posts for @KidGlue; want to go hid out in bed... #fb #

  • new @ My Book Bliss: The Call of Zulina, by Kay Marshall Strom: Freedom...more than the abs.. #

  • had a great time at 3yo Bethy's playschool fall festival this morning; gotta get my rant for @KidGlue done... #fb #

  • today's soapbox @KidGlue: Celebrating Halloween in School Not Okay with This Mother #

  • and now, ladies and gentlemen, i give you... the afternoon nap #fb #

  • today's soapbox @KidGlue: i don't want holiday celebrations in schools; what do you think? go sound off - #fb #

  • got through praise team practice quickly tonight; awesome prayer season with praise team family; please pray for Edith and for Christine #fb #

  • off to crochet a bit then go to bed #fb #

  • 3yo Bethy and 7yo Sarah have fevers today; prayers appreciated #fb #

  • NEED PRAYERS - 3yo bethy's temp 100-102; alternating tylenol and ibuprofen; pls pray that it will come down & comfort for her #fb #

  • Sarah (7) is fever-free - hallelujah! Bethy (3) is still miserable and running 102 - please keep praying for her. #

  • Bethy is actually out of bed this afternoon and not quite as warm, but still not herself; thanks for your continued prayers #

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