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FIRST CHAPTER - WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUNG WOMEN SAY YES TO GOD by LYSA TERKEURST

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card authors are:



and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (March 1, 2013)


ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Lysa TerKeurst is a New York Times bestselling author and a national speaker who helps women live an adventure of faith. She is the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and an author of 15 books, including Unglued, Made to Crave, and What Happens When Women Say Yes to God. Her daily online devotional encourages more than 600,000 women, and her remarkable life story has captivated national audiences on Oprah and Good Morning America. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and five children.

Hope TerKeurst finds fulfillment in serving through missions trips to places like Ethiopia and Nicaragua. During a trip to Nicaragua, Hope led a team that provided shoes for children to enable them to go to school. When she is at home, Hope spends time with her family and friends. She has a passion for building relationships with others and loves to travel. She is currently a college student in North Carolina.

Visit the authors' website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst invites young women on the unforgettable adventure of saying yes to God as she shares real-life illustrations, biblical guidance, humor, and inspiring special sections: “Living Y.E.S.” (Your Extraordinary Story); “YES in Action” stories from Lysa’s teen daughter, Hope, about faith in motion; chapter Bible study questions.







NOTE: I did not sign up for this tour but this is an author that has touched so many women's lives. I thought you might think this was interesting like I did. Check it Out!

Happy Reading!

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
www.bookfun.org

Product Details:
List Price: $11.99
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (March 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736954554
ISBN-13: 978-0736954556

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER: 

As You Set Out on Your

Yes Journey

We are about to discover how God’s love shapes our hearts and our individual paths of purpose. It’s an amazing journey. We won’t want to miss any of the messages He has for us. In this book you will discover the following features. Each is created to make the truths and wonders of faith more three-dimensional in your life.

Yes Factor

The gifts of the yes journey are plentiful. The Yes Factors highlight some of the most amazing treasures you’ll discover along the way. They are ready to tweet so you can share with your friends, classmates, and online communities to encourage them.

You’re Invited

Each chapter has a special invitation to say yes to God in a new way. Take time with these and pray about how you’ll respond to the call to embrace God’s best.

God’s Word for You

God speaks to us through the Bible. Scripture is not a gathering of material meant for people ages ago. It was written for you. This feature includes questions for group or personal study, reflection points, and verse explorations to get God’s Word from the page to your heart.
Living Y.E.S. (Your Extraordinary Story)

Only you can live your extraordinary story. No one else is designed by God to live this moment and all of your tomorrows. These insights and journal questions will help you understand the uniqueness, incredible value, and power of having a yes heart for God.


Yes in Action: A Note from Hope’s Yes Journey

My teenage daughter Hope shares four personal accounts of listening to God and following His lead. My prayer is that these glimpses of another young woman facing the difficulties and delights of obedience will encourage you to put your yes into action daily.

My Yes Journey Notes

At the back of this book are several note pages so you have a convenient place to write down the ideas, challenges, special verses, prayer needs, and discoveries you experience while starting your yes journey.

Ready for Something Better

Most of us long for something better. Different. Special.

Extraordinary.

We desire something more meaningful than day-to-day survival.

And the amazing thing is that even before we can name this desire, God has placed it within us and is drawing us closer to Him through that desire. Our hunger to be special and to do special things is our spiritual hunger to have an extraordinary relationship with God.

But how do we leave normal behind and head toward extraordinary?

We start a journey! It’s the amazing, transforming, anything-but-normal journey you’ll begin the day you say yes to God and to the amazing faith life He has planned for you.

Let’s begin at the starting place—right here, right now. Imagine with me that this is your day.

Beep. Beep. The notification of a text message wakes you up before your alarm. It’s a friend reminding you to bring money for the school fund-raiser and asking if you will make signs during lunch. As you sneak into the kitchen hoping to grab a bagel and glass of cranberry juice without being spoken to, your parents greet you with good-mornings and then insist you walk the dog before school.

You get to school with only a second to wave to friends. You settle into the assigned seat of the first class and do a mental happy dance because you finished your project early. The celebration is squelched because the teacher asks you to help a student who doesn’t understand yesterday’s assignment.

During lunch you finally get a chance to catch up with your best friend, but she still wants to talk through every event leading to her breakup with her boyfriend—five months ago. You listen for a while and pat her on the back for consolation, but you’re thinking, At least you had a boyfriend. My parents won’t even let me date.

The list goes on, right? A regular, ordinary day includes a lot of requests from a lot of people in your life. There are expectations. And even when you know the right thing to do, you don’t have much joy when you follow through. What’s the point? you think. It’s all so ordinary and leading nowhere.

Even if people want good things from you and of you, it’s tempting to say no. Nope. Uh-uh. No, thank you. I helped yesterday. Ask so-and-so. The dog ate my homework and my backpack and my computer.

There are lots of ways to say no.

When God asks you to do something, it can spark the desire to act as if you didn’t hear Him. It’s tempting to rattle off your memorized top five excuses for getting out of something that might be challenging, humbling, or out of your comfort zone.

In fact, sometimes God asks us to do things that seem a bit crazy at the time. We can’t see the big picture the way He does. We can’t imagine how our one yes during an ordinary day can become something extraordinary when He uses it for His purposes.

But, you see, this is where we get confused. When we say yes to God, our days are no longer ordinary or normal. In fact, there is no such thing as a typical day. Once you make the leap of faith to say yes to God, you will discover the power that answer holds in your relationship with Him, others, and yourself. There’s nothing ordinary about what’s ahead for you. Are you nervous? Are you looking around you and thinking, Maybe normal is okay? What is God going to ask of me when I say yes?

Believe me, I understand this as well as anyone. I can be stubborn. I can be resistant to being told what to do. And I’ve had plenty of times when I wanted to do anything but what God was asking me to do. In fact, I was someone who never left home without having my top five excuses list handy. This was me…that is, until God opened my eyes to the incredible, blow-my-socks-off power of saying yes to Him.

It all started the day He told me to give away my Bible.

My ministry as a writer and a speaker gives me the chance to visit churches, women’s groups, and conferences. On this particular day, I was heading home after a long schedule of speaking and I was wiped out. All I wanted was to get to my assigned seat on the plane and settle in for a nap. Imagine my absolute delight at being the only person seated in my row. I was just about to close my eyes when two last-minute passengers made their way to my row and took their seats.

Reluctantly, I decided to skip my nap. The last thing I wanted was to fall asleep and snore, drool, or, worse yet, wake up with my head resting on the guy’s shoulder beside me. I did not need another most embarrassing moment, so I pulled a manuscript out of my bag and started reading.

“What are you working on?” the guy asked. I told him I was a Christian writer. He smiled and said he thought God was a very interesting topic. I agreed and asked him a few questions about his beliefs. Before long I found myself reaching into my bag and pulling out my Bible, walking him through some key verses that dealt with the issues he was facing. He kept asking questions, and I kept praying God would give me answers.

All of a sudden I felt God tugging at my heart to give this man my Bible. Now, this was not just any Bible. This was my everyday, highlighted, underlined, written in, and tearstained Bible. I hesitated, but God’s message was clear. I was to give away my Bible.

I pulled out old church bulletins and other papers I had tucked inside the covers, took a deep breath, sighed, and placed it in the man’s hands. “I’d like for you to have my Bible,” I said.

Astonished, he started to hand it back to me, saying he couldn’t possibly accept such a gift. “God told me to give it to you,” I insisted. “Sometimes the God of the universe pauses in the midst of all His creation to touch the heart of one person. Today, He paused for you.”

The man took my Bible and made two promises. First, he said he would read it, and, second, someday he would pass it on, doing for someone else what I’d done for him.

Before I knew it, the plane landed and we were saying our goodbyes. As I stepped into the aisle preparing to disembark, the women on the other side of the businessman reached out and grabbed my arm. She’d been staring out the window the entire time we were flying, and I thought she’d been ignoring us. But her tearstained face told a different story. In a tone so hushed I could barely hear her, she whispered, “Thank you. What you shared today has changed my life.” I put my hand on hers and whispered back, “You’re welcome.” Then a knot caught in my throat as tears welled up in my eyes. I didn’t have another Bible to give away, so I gave her one of my books and hugged her goodbye. It has been said that we are to tell the whole world about Jesus, using words only if necessary. I saw this powerful truth come to life. Though I never spoke to this lady about Jesus, she saw Him through my obedience. How humbling. How profound.

As I got off the plane that day, I could barely hold back my tears. Three people’s hearts were radically changed. I believe the businessman came to know Jesus as his Lord and Savior. I believe the same is true for the lady. But my heart was changed in a dramatic way as well. I was overjoyed at what God had done, but I was also brokenhearted by the flood of thoughts that came to mind recounting times I’d told God no. How tragic to miss His divine appointments.

Yes Factor

Open your heart to God’s love. Open your life to His calling. Open your mouth to praise Him. I kept wondering, How many times have I told You no, God? How many times have I walked right past an extraordinary moment You had shaped for me because I was too tired, too insecure, too caught up in drama, or too selfish? How often do I miss out on experiencing You? I lifted up my heart to the Lord and whispered, “Please forgive me for all those noes. Right now I say yes, Lord. I say yes to You before I even know what You might ask me to do. I simply want You to see a yes-heart in me.”

Several minutes after exiting the plane, I was heading toward my connecting gate when I spotted the businessman again. He stopped me to tell me he’d been praying and thanking God for what happened on the plane. We swapped business cards, and, though we lived several states apart, I knew we’d stay in touch.

About a month later he called to tell me his life had totally changed. He’d taken a week off from work to read the Bible, and he’d already shared his testimony with numerous people. God was definitely pursuing this man in a serious way! When I asked him what his favorite verse was, he said it was Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” I thought to myself, Wow! Look at how God has already answered that for my new friend.

He also told me that after reading the Bible he knew he needed to get involved in a church, so he’d decided to visit a large church in his town. On his way there he passed another church, and a strong feeling came over him to turn his car around and go back. So he did. When he got to his seat in the sanctuary, he opened up his bulletin and gasped. Inside the bulletin he saw an announcement that I was to be the speaker at an upcoming women’s conference. He said he felt as though, once again, God was confirming His active presence.

That day on the plane, when God impressed on my heart to give this man my Bible, I did not know what would happen. This man might have thrown my Bible into the nearest airport trash can for all I knew. Normally, I would’ve come up with a hundred reasons not to give my Bible away, but that day something changed in me. That day, for the first time, I truly heard the call of a woman who says yes to God: “Live your extraordinary story of faith.”

This journey we are taking together is life changing.

1 An Extraordinary Life Awaits

The amazing adventure of living your life and faith in extraordinary ways is up ahead. Here is the most wonderful truth: God designed it for you. And this journey cannot be lived out by anyone else. God made you as a special, nobody-else-like-you young woman, and He has a plan for your life. Do you feel it? Do you believe it? When you get up in the morning, do you think about how your day can only be lived out by the incredible you? Your family knows you and your quirky habits, and your friends share common interests, but nobody else is taking your steps through your day.

The extraordinary faith journey begins the moment you say yes to God and yes to the story He is creating through your heart, abilities, dreams, and faithfulness. It’s not just a special story—it’s an extraordinary one you and God experience together.

When we feel a tug on our heart and a stirring in our soul for more, we are often afraid to venture past our comfort zone. Outside our comfort zone, however, is where we experience the true awesomeness of God. But you have to take the plunge. How ready are you?

Notice that I didn’t ask “How perfect are you?” Perfection is highly overrated. I think at this point it is important for me to paint an accurate picture of what my life looks like before you imagine me as this super calm, amazingly organized and disciplined person who spends hours on her knees in prayer. Truth? My to-do list rarely gets accomplished. My emotions have been known to run wild, and my patience can run thin. I get pushed to the limit by everyday aggravations, such as a summer’s worth of pictures getting erased from my digital camera. Or a dog who runs away at the most inconvenient times. And I’ve had times when I step outside my comfort zone and fear causes me to second-guess myself and God’s plan.

Can you relate? Great! No matter what your life is like, you’re a young woman made to say yes to God. Even if you’re juggling all the craziness life can throw your way, when you simply whisper yes, you are equipped to start your extraordinary story of following God. “Yes, Lord. I want Your patience to override my desire to fly off the handle.” “Yes, Lord. I want Your strength to keep my emotions in check when my family and friends drive me nuts.” “Yes, Lord. I want Your courage to accept challenges that intimidate me.” “Yes, Lord. I want to see my great value as Your daughter so I don’t worry about what other people think.”

You don’t need perfect circumstances to say yes to God. You don’t need the perfect religious attitude or all the answers to religious questions. You simply have to give to God all of the thoughts, worries, people, drama, and struggles that occupy your attention and your heart. You simply have to speak the answer God is longing to hear spill from your lips. “Yes, God.”

The Daily Yes Prayer

Each day when I wake up, I pray a very simple prayer before my feet even hit the floor. I encourage you to write your own or use this prayer so you can experience your extraordinary God in extraordinary ways.


God, I want to see You.

God, I want to hear You.

God, I want to know You.

God, I want to follow hard after You.

And even before I know what I will face today, I say yes to You.

This simple act of surrender each morning will prepare your eyes to see Him, your ears to hear Him, your mind to perceive Him, and your heart to receive Him. This is how to live expecting to experience God.

You see, we have become so familiar with God and yet still so unaware of Him. We turn the mysterious into something ordinary, even boring. We construct careful reasons for our rules and sensible whys for our behavior. All the while our soul is longing for a richer experience—one that allows us to escape the limits of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell and journey to a place of wild, wonder, and passion.

Young women who say yes to God will see life like few others.

And you will be drawn in and embraced by a love like no other. You don’t have to wait until the next time you’re in church to experience God because you can sense God’s presence all around you, all through your day. Instead of going through the motions of life, you’ll pursue the adventure of the moment-by-moment divine story and lessons God is unfolding.

When you say yes, you can expect to see God, to hear from Him, and to be absolutely filled by His peace and joy.

The Holy and the Ordinary

Embracing a holy God in the middle of life’s everyday activities will change your life. God’s surprises of good and wondrous experiences will take your breath away, but you might not always feel happy about the changes. I can’t let you think that being a young woman who says yes to God means everything is always easy. There will be times when you experience the sting of heartache, frustration, uncertainty, failure, and loss, but now there will be new ways of dealing with those hard times. A holy way.

I had one of those experiences recently. I simply wanted to throw my hands in the air, throw my computer out the window, and cry out to God, “You have hurt my feelings, and I’m just a little unnerved and upset!”

I was at a friend’s lake house to devote three days to a writing project. After the first night of working hard, I had gone to bed excited about all I’d accomplished. I awakened the next morning ready to have the same kind of success. But as I opened up my docu-ment folder with great anticipation, I saw…nothing. Nothing! The project was nowhere to be found.

Refusing to panic, I asked for my friends’ help. After two hours of searching, one of my friends gently looked at me and verbalized the truth we’d all come to know. “It’s gone, Lysa. You are going to have to start over.”



What!Wait a minute, I thought. I have said yes to God today and had a great quiet time. I just know He can and will help me find this. But for whatever reason, my document was gone and God had chosen not to bring it back. Tears filled my eyes as bitterness started to creep in my heart. Why would He allow this? My friend could sense my despair and gently replied, “Lysa, recently when something like this happened to me, someone told me to look at my loss as a sacrifice of praise to God. It is so hard in today’s abundance to give God a true sacrifice, but losing two thousand words and a whole day’s work would qualify. Give this to Him without feeling bitter.”

I resisted slapping my well-meaning friend as she then broke into singing praise songs. By the second stanza, I actually found myself joining in with a lighter heart and a resilient spirit.

Have you ever lost something that had required great effort and care on your part? Sometimes it isn’t a school project or a writing assignment we’ve invested in; rather, it’s a relationship. If you’ve ever said goodbye to a friend because of a move or because you find yourself taking a different path, you’ve experienced what felt like an unfair loss of time, effort, and heart. The loss of “what could’ve been” can be very disappointing. When you care about anything, it makes you more vulnerable. The risk is higher because more of your heart and soul is vested in the outcome. This is exactly why these times can be lifted up as a praise offering.

Yes Factor

Saying yes to God isn’t about perfect performance, but rather perfect surrender to Him.

Being a young woman who says yes to God is about trusting Him even when you can’t understand why He requires some of the things He does. It also means that once you’ve said yes to God, you refuse to turn back, even when things get hard.

This kind of obedience invites you to embrace a bigger vision for your life. When you look at your everyday circumstances with God’s perspective, everything changes. You realize that He uses each circumstance, each person who crosses your path, and each encounter you have with Him as a divine appointment. Each day counts, and every action and reaction matters. God absolutely loves to take ordinary people and do extraordinary things in them, through them, and with them.

It’s a Party

Imagine that you’ve planned a wonderful surprise party for your best friend. The guests have all arrived. You’ve loaded the deco--rated dining room table with her favorite junk food and healthy preferences. Everything is ready for the guest of honor. You can barely wait for the big moment of “Surprise!” because you know your friend will feel so loved and celebrated.

Finally, the time has come. And gone. Your friend is late. Your other friends are whispering in the darkened living room and trying unsuccessfully to hold back waves of laughter. Suddenly, your cell phone rings. Your friend’s image appears on the screen. “Shhh!” you say to the others just before answering the call.

“Hey, where are you?” you ask casually.

Instead of saying she’s on her way, your friend says she’s too tired to come over and has decided to watch the last two episodes of her favorite show online. She’s already in her pajamas and will check out whatever you wanted to show her tomorrow. You try to convince her that tonight is so much better and you really want to share something with her. But with a friendly “See you tomorrow, I promise,” she hangs up.

But by tomorrow the guests will be gone, the leftover food will be stored away, and the party that never started will be over.

How sad for the guest of honor, who missed her own surprise party! And how disappointing for you, the party planner who orchestrated the event with the hope of showing a friend how much she is loved.

God must feel the same way when we miss the “surprise parties” that await us each day. These are the divine appointments sprinkled throughout our day for us to experience when we pay attention to God’s leading. He must be so disappointed when we don’t hear or don’t listen to Him redirecting us to hang up the phone and show up at the event He has planned with great care. It must break His heart when we brush aside something that not only would make us feel special and noticed by God, but also would allow us to join Him in making life a little sweeter for others.

Which Invitation Will You Accept?

How many times have you missed your own surprise party?

God reveals Himself and His activity to all of us, but it takes a desire for the extraordinary to embrace these encounters because they can cause extreme changes in our plans, our perspectives, and our passions. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a huge fan of change.

Yet, when we protect ourselves from change, we’re saying no to God and yes to a life that leaves us unmotivated and directionless. Let’s pause for a second and give that another look. You are accepting an invitation at any given moment, but are you saying yes to whims, desires, and random paths? Or are you accepting God’s invitation to your purposed, powerful faith story?

I can think of several times when I let fear override my faith. I said yes to my insecurities and worries instead of God’s strength and certainty. Has this happened to you? Maybe you felt God leading you to say yes to Him, yet you didn’t go out for a play, you held back from introducing yourself to a new girl at school, or you resisted telling a guy you like about your faith. Every day has chances like these to step forward in God’s leading, but we have to be prepared and ready to notice these opportunities from Him. When we are prepared and we do step out in faith, He will bless our yes!

You’re Invited…

to Attend God’s Surprise Party for You

WHAT:

The party you don’t want to miss! This is a gathering of God’s best for you…love, grace, hope, promises, and the joy of His wonder and will. All the great surprises of faith.

WHEN:

This moment. Forget the excuses. Get ready for something extraordinary.

WHERE:

On the other side of the door. Don’t hesitate. Open the door. God and the incredible surprises of the yes journey are waiting for you.

WHAT TO BRING:

Everything is provided…so leave behind all that is ordinary. You’ll want to be able to receive the extraordinary gifts God has chosen just for you.

How to Make HIStory

I love the word “history” because when we break it down we see that it means “His story.” Your personal history might have times of pain or trouble. There might be moments of sadness or loneliness. And your past might be littered with some mistakes, but God is a God of transformation. He uses each and every part of your history and present to make an extraordinary new story.

As I’ve spoken to a lot of young women from around the country, I’ve been saddened to discover how many miss out on the most exciting part of being a Christian—experiencing God and experiencing their extraordinary story through Him. This is the great gift of being a Christian. The gift isn’t about perfection or becoming the most popular person in school because you are blessed. The gift is being able to live out your extraordinary story with and through God’s amazing love. It’s incredible.

Those who say they want more in their Christian life are often looking outside of their personal relationship with God for the secret. They want their church, their pastor, or someone or something else to be the missing piece. These supports can make your faith stronger, but it is your one-on-one experience with God that changes everything.

You and I are on our way to recognizing and experiencing what that “more” can look like. It’s a relationship with God that allows us to know His voice

live in expectation of His activity embrace a life totally sold out for Him I suspect you desire such closeness with God. This fulfillment of this desire is real and amazing. And this incredible adventure starts with the wild willingness to say yes.

In today’s world, it is radical to obey God’s commands, listen to the Holy Spirit’s convictions, and walk in Jesus’ character. And we’ll experience the amazing blessings God has in store for us when we speak that big, freeing “Yes, Lord.” This response to God’s call, His requests, and His hope for us will lead to a great, unforgettable faith story.

Don’t stumble over the fear you won’t be perfect and you’ll likely mess up. Saying yes to God isn’t about perfect performance, but rather perfect surrender to the Lord day by day. It’s about experiencing the full blessing of God by giving your full attention to God when He asks you to trust Him. It’s having the overwhelming desire to walk in the center of His will at every moment. The life of yes happens when you hear God, feel His nudges, participate in His activity, and experience His blessings in ways few people ever do.

The God of the universe wants to use you in great ways. Are you ready?

There is only one requirement for this adventure. We have to set our rules and agendas aside—our dos and don’ts—and follow God’s command. His one requirement is so simple and yet so profound: Say yes to Me. That’s it. That is the entire Bible, Old Testament and New, hundreds of pages, thousands of verses, all wrapped up in those four words.

God’s Word for You

Psalm 19:7-10 says, The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together. The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road. The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy. The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes. God’s reputation is twenty-four-carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee. The decisions of God are accurate down to the nth degree. God’s Word is better than a diamond, better than a diamond set between emeralds. You’ll like it better than strawberries in spring, better than red, ripe strawberries (msg).

What does this passage tell you about God’s nature?

Which of these promises are ones you really needed to hear right now? Why?

Read Deuteronomy 6:5. What might loving God with your heart, soul, and strength look like in your daily life?

Psalm 16:7-9 says, I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety.

Describe how these verses ease your worries or concerns.

Living Y.E.S. (Your Extraordinary Story)

Have you ever felt God leading you to do something? How did you respond?

What holds you back from going deeper in your relationship with God? Time? Intimidation? Doubt about the Bible’s relevance to life? Worry about what others will say? Fear that God will let you down like people have? Write down which of these or other barriers come between you and an extraordinary faith right now.

How might God’s love counter these obstacles?

Why are you ready now to experience God’s great surprises for you?

In this chapter we read, “Being a young woman who says yes to God is about trusting Him even when you can’t understand why He requires some of the things He does. It also means that once you’ve said yes to God, you refuse to turn back, even when things get hard.”

List two ways you want to trust God by saying yes to Him this week.

1.

2.

What title would you give your extraordinary story?

Yes Prayer

Your extraordinary story unfolds each time you listen to God and follow His leading. Here is a prayer to lead you to each of God’s sweet surprises for you.

Dear God, I am putting away all my excuses so I can fully celebrate who You are and who I am in You. Thank You for adopting me as Your child and loving me unconditionally. I want to grow closer to You as I trust You more completely. I know You will ask me to grow and to move outside of my comfort zone, but with Your strength and help, I’m ready to experience my extraordinary story. I say yes to You with great joy. In Jesus’ name, amen.


FIRST CHAPTER - WHEN MEMORIES FADE by TYORA MOODY

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!




Today's Wild Card author is:




and the book:


Urban Books; 1 edition (March 26, 2013)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tyora Moody is an author and entrepreneur. The second book in the Victory Gospel Series, When Memories Fade, will be released in April 2013. Her debut novel and the first book in the Victory Gospel Series, When Rain Falls, was released March 2012. Deep Fried Trouble, the first book in the Eugeena Patterson Mystery series will be released June 2013.

Tyora has coined her books as Soul-Searching Suspense. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and American Christian Fiction Writers. Tyora served as a judge for the Christy Awards for three years. She can be found online at TyoraMoody.com and Facebook.com/AuthorTyoraMoody.



SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

How do I let go of my past to receive God’s future for me?

Angel Roberts has embraced her new faith, but past memories remain fresh. When her beloved grandmother suffers a stroke, Angel sets out to investigate a mystery that has created family tensions and lingered since she was five years old. What happened to her mother?

She teams up with investigative reporter, Wes Cade, a man obsessed with his Alzheimer stricken grandfather’s remaining memories. As Angel lets her guard down with Wes, his determination to get the story could push her to the edge. Is his interest in her or the story?

Angel must conquer her fears to find the truth. Unknown to her someone close is working feverishly to stop Angel from unlocking the truth of what really happened to her mother. Who will win?



NOTE: I didn't sign up for this tour but this book caught my eye and I thought you might want to know about it too! Read the first chapter and decide for yourself!

Happy Reading!

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
www.bookfun.org

Product Details:
List Price: $14.95
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Urban Books; 1 edition (March 26, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 160162753X
ISBN-13: 978-1601627537

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER: 

PROLOGUE

She gripped the steering wheel in fear as she calculated every move he made. For the last hour, he held the gun in her direction. What if she jerked the car off the road? No. She wanted to live. Still the car accident had to be better than what he would do to her. She had no idea where they were going.

“Pull over, right up here.” He turned his hot breath on her. “Do it now.”

With as much ease as her trembling body allowed, she slowed the car and pulled to the side of the road. There hadn't been another car for miles on this back road. The sun had disappeared as cloudy, dark gray skies loomed ahead.

He cocked the gun towards her chest. “Get out.”

Her hands felt ice-cold as she struggled to grasp the door handle.

“Come on,” he growled.

She yanked the door handle and scrambled out of the car to face her abductor.

The man waved the gun and yelled, “Start walking.”

Sticks and leaves crunched as they walked into the mass of trees. From a distance, she saw lightning streak across the sky. A cool breeze whipped through the trees but it brought no comfort. Her heart raced as if she had just run a marathon. She choked back a sob. He was going to kill her.

To think how much she had trusted him. It never would have crossed her mind that he would hurt her. More lightning split the sky followed by an intense rumble of thunder. The trees shook their limbs as if taunting her for being so naïve.

“Stop.”

She turned and noticed he’d cocked his head like he heard something. Was someone else out here?

He swung the gun an inch from her temple. “Get down.”

“What?”

“Get on your knees,” he snarled.

She fell on her knees, feeling the earth beneath her. Her heart lurched as the thunder roared like an angry lion above their heads. Big drops of rain began to crash around them. She shut her eyes tight not believing this was her fate. “Please, God help me,” she prayed fervently.

When she opened her eyes an answer laid near her, barely covered by leaves. She glanced up at him. His eyes had grown wilder as he paced around her. He seemed to be having a conversation, but she couldn’t understand a word he was saying. The rain was falling harder now, soaking her clothes. She peered down at the ground again. Why not? What did she have to lose? She had to do something.

She scooped the smooth rock from the muddy ground. Her dormant softball skills kicked in as she zoned in on his hand. Not waiting another second, she swung the rock with all her might.

The rock smacked him square on the hand and he dropped the gun. “No, you …”

She leapt forward like a track runner and headed into the trees. As she ran, the oddest memory of a Sunday School lesson entered her mind. The one about Lot’s wife. God told her not to look back, but she did and lost her life.

His voice bellowed behind her.

“Don’t look back,” She told herself as she ran. “Don’t. Look. Back.”









CHAPTER ONE

Charlotte, North Carolina, 2011

“We both know she’s dead.” Angel Roberts tightened her grip around the steering wheel, realizing too late, she’d destroyed a beautiful evening. A harsh silence sucked the air from inside the car.

After a minute, her grandmother responded softly, but firm. “Angel, I can never give up hope.”

Angel took her eyes off the road to peer at her grandmother’s face. A warmth of shame washed over Angel as she witnessed the pain in Fredricka Robert’s eyes. Why now? It was my birthday.

Less than fifteen minutes ago, Angel had driven away from Victory Gospel Church, still grateful for the love shown to her. A year ago, Angel would have never imagined herself regularly attending church, and definitely not Bible study. Tonight, the members of the Overcomers Women’s Ministry presented Angel with a surprise twenty-fifth birthday celebration. Angel had loaded the almost-eaten butter cream cake and birthday gifts into the back seat, not realizing her joy would be short-lived.

Angel slowed the car down as she approached the red light. All was well until her grandmother said, “You look so much like your mother when she was twenty-five.”

Despite confessing her faith in Christ nine months ago at Victory Gospel Church, Angel continued to struggle with resentment. It seemed like every year, Angel’s birthday turned into more of a memorial for her mother. There was this gap between Angel and her grandmother, where her mother should have been. Angel barely remembered the woman who disappeared twenty years ago.

The question that haunted Angel the most was the same one that brought her grandmother hope. What if her mother were alive? To Angel that meant Elisa Roberts had abandoned her daughter. That night after Angel’s fifth birthday party, her mother walked out and never returned. Elisa had provided no clue to where she was going or if she was going to meet someone. Just vanished. Foul play or on purpose. Surely, her grandmother didn’t want to hope in finding the woman who did the latter.

As she drove through the green light, Angel chided herself for getting angry with her grandmother. It was just her and Grams now. She cleared her throat, “Grams, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to blurt out we know my mother’s dead. We don’t really know.”

No response.

She glanced at her grandmother. Fredricka’s face was turned towards the passenger window. Not wanting to upset her grandmother anymore tonight, Angel became engrossed in her own thoughts. What Angel didn’t want was for Grams to find out what she was doing. She was on a mission to find out what or who led to her mother’s disappearance. Five years ago, she’d started working on a documentary of her mother’s life, before various circumstances led her off track. Now she was determined to complete the project. Anything to bring attention to her mother’s short-lived legacy.

Her grandparents had raised her, doing their best to keep memories of her mother alive. Even though she was young, Angel remembered her mother being sad all the time. Angel was born a few months after a devastating break-up between Angel’s mother and father. It didn’t help that her mother, a protégée, struggled to regain her footing in a once promising singing career while trying to raise Angel.

In many ways, Elisa showed signs of desperately wanting a new life or either ending the dismal life she had perceived she had. Reaching her own breaking point four years ago, Angel longed for a connection with her mother.

Angel maneuvered her grandfather’s old Buick into the driveway of the only place she called home. Her grandmother shuffled behind her as they made their way down the cobblestone walkway towards the front door. Once inside, Angel headed toward the kitchen to find a spot for the leftover cake inside the refrigerator. She had an urge to leave the cake out and eat the rest of it, but weariness invaded her body. She slammed the fridge door shut and turned around. “Whoa, Grams-” Her grandmother had managed to sneak up behind her. Angel didn’t remember hearing her walk in the kitchen.

Her grandmother sputtered, “Angel, we should have stopped by the store on the way home.”

Angel frowned. Maybe she had agitated her grandmother too much with her outburst in the car. “I can go back out, Grams. It’s not a problem. What do you need?”

“Aspirin.” Fredricka held her hand to head. “I’m not feeling well.”

Angel placed her hand on her grandmother’s shoulder. “Why don’t you lie down? I will bring you some aspirin. I’m sure we already have a bottle.”

Angel walked across the kitchen to the cabinet where they kept a medicine supply. She searched among the orange and white labeled bottles. There were so many bottles. A lot of the labels bore her deceased grandfather’s name. She really needed to work with Grams to throw away his old medicine. Finally, Angel saw a bottle of aspirin. “Here is the bottle.”Angel flipped the bottle in her hand to check the expiration date.

A forceful thump startled her. Angel turned around. “Grams!” she cried out. She ran over and knelt beside her grandmother on the linoleum floor.

The right side of her grandmother’s face twitched. “Ang…”

Before Angel could stop them, tears sprang to life, blurring her vision. “Grams, hang in there. You are going to be okay.”

Angel sprinted to the phone on the wall and with trembling fingers, she dialed 9-1-1. Oh God, please don’t take Grams yet.


PLANT A TREE, GROW A MEMORY by HALLY FRANZ

National Arbor Day occurs on April 26th

Plant a Tree, Grow a Memory

Road trips and vacations have always been great memory-makers for families, but let’s not overlook the potential to build memories in the simple, everyday activities that occur right at home. Memories are often made on steamy afternoons spent cooling one another with a hose or water balloons, or by building and playing in crunchy, colorful leaf piles. When children finally get that coveted snow day, they love exhausting themselves in the white stuff. And, here’s another thought—make Arbor Day special in your home. It’s a great way to spend quality family time, teach, improve our environment and serve others.

Here’s How 
National Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April; this year that happens to fall on April 26th. The Arbor Day Foundation will send a set of trees at a nominal fee, and your state may have programs through 4-H that provide free trees for planting each spring. Order your seedlings in advance, so that you are ready for the big day.

Gather your gardening tools and assign jobs for each family member; one will dig, another place the tiny sprig, another water and so on. If you order a group of trees, you may find some surprises in the batch, and you may not know exactly what you’ve planted until it begins to grow. That’s all part of the fun.

Make it An Event
Prepare snacks that come only from trees (nuts, fruits, figs and olives), and discuss Bible times and what their diet may have been like. Or stop by a woodshop beforehand, and pick up some wood samples to share with your family. Think about colonial life and how these woods may have been used. The possibilities are endless.   

An Opportunity to Serve
If you don’t have a large yard or if it is already full of shade, offer to plant the trees at your church or for an elderly neighbor or friend. Your family will have an added bonus of making another person’s day.

Watch it Grow
My family’s tree survival rate is approximately 50%, still pretty cheap entertainment at about $1 per tree. It will take some years for your trees to be standing tall, but simple occasions like these may make memories to comfort and sustain you and your children for years to come.   


About the Author:
Hally Franz writes about her observations on family, faith, parenting and people. A former high school guidance counselor turned stay-at-home mom, Hally is a 4-H leader, and she serves as her church secretary and a Bible class teacher. She enjoys traveling with family and monthly book club meetings with pals.




This article content is provided free of charge by the author through
Kathy Carlton Willis Communications. You are welcome to place this article on your site or in your publication as long as: 1) it’s used in its entirety, 2) the full bio is also used, and 3) you previously request permission through KCWC at kathy@kathycarltonwillis.com.
All other standard copyrights apply.

EIGHT GIFTS YOU CAN GIVE TO YOUR YOUNG CHILD'S BRAIN by SANDRA SUNQUIST STANTON


April is the Month of the Young Child

Eight Gifts You can Give to your Young Child's Brain


Nothing brightens my day like a baby’s contagious laugh. We can give them what they need to be happy, without breaking the bank. April celebrates the young child. These tips might help you, parents and caregivers, guide your little ones toward healthy brain development.

1. Security
You create his world. If he feels safe, he will be willing to try new things. If he is fearful, he may withdraw, refuse contact and choose to protect himself.

2. Touch
Loving touch soothes the central nervous system for both you and your child. It communicates safety and love. Enjoy snuggles, massage, and rocking while reading to her. These times are short.

3. Fuel Food
His brain doesn't store the fuel it needs to operate. An infant’s brain uses 70% of his body’s energy. Every day it needs water, fresh fruit, and omega 3 healthy fats. These building blocks create and strengthen connections between his 100 billion brain cells.

4. Music
Both sides of her brain are active when she enjoys music. It's a workout for her brain. She forms stronger memories when many parts of the brain are involved.

5. Movement
Your child's vestibular system coordinates sensory input to send to his brain. Dance, skip, clap, and let him help you in the kitchen and garden. These activities provide the movement that gives each experience depth and dimension. His learning becomes multidimensional, richer and easier for him to remember and build on as he grows.

6. Reading and Language
Talking and reading with your child prepares her for reading and learning. Time with you is the best way to help her learn language patterns and support early social development. Does reading the same book over and over again get old? Remember repetition is exactly what her brain needs to learn.

7. Rest and Sleep
During quiet times his brain gets a chance to process his mountain of experiences. When he’s busy, his neurons are busy taking in sensory information. His brain’s original cells still need to be connected to one another. That happens during these breaks.

8. You!
Enjoy your time together. Give her face-to-face practice matching your expressions and language with everyday activities. Electronic media cannot substitute for time with you. She learns that she matters when you respond to her. Enjoy this together time and make some memories.

Sandra Sunquist Stanton Bio:
Sandra Sunquist Stanton NCC, LPC, BCC, translated, means she is a National and Wisconsin Counselor and Nationally Certified Health/Wellness and Personal/Life Coach. She served as school counselor for 25 years and is nearing delivering her 100th brain coaching program. Her clear descriptions of everyday neuroscience applications help others find their best lives.



This article content is provided free of charge by the author through
Kathy Carlton Willis Communications. You are welcome to place this article on your site or in your publication as long as: 1) it’s used in its entirety, 2) the full bio is also used, and 3) you previously request permission through KCWC at kathy@kathycarltonwillis.com.
All other standard copyrights apply.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT AUTHOR LAURA FORD



THOUGHT FOR TODAY

ABOUT AUTHOR: LAURA FORD was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to a Southern Baptist missionary family. Ford holds a degree in theology with an emphasis in Christian Scriptures from Seattle Pacific University. She currently resides in Sugar Hill, Georgia with her husband and two daughters.





Written April 3, 2013
Kingdom Child

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32

Uncertain, so uncertain, everything I see;
Uncertain, so uncertain, all around, depravity!

Unknown, so unknown, is the future of this life;
Unknown, so unknown, circumstances wrong or right!

Unsteady, so unsteady, the trials that come my way;
Unsteady, so unsteady, are the details of each day!

Though despite the fog that settles, underneath a starry sky,
And despite all that’s unanswered, in such challenging a time;


Certain, I am certain, that my God is for me!
 
Certain, I am certain, by the Cross He’s set me free!

Knowing, I am knowing, that eternity awaits!
Knowing, I am knowing, a glorious outcome is my fate!

Steady, I am steady, on His Word when trials come!
Steady, I am steady, since to the Kingdom I belong!

~L.F.


~Laura Ford~

KAREN KINGSBURY'S BOOK SIGNING APRIL 13th @ LIFE WAY MALL OF GA


Karen Kingsbury and I @ Life Way Book Signing this past weekend

Promoting here newest book at signing
ABOUT BOOK: From #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury comes a heartwarming story about childhood friends, broken lives, and a long-ago promise that just might offer the hope of love for today.

The day before a teenage Ellie moved from Georgia to California, she and her best friend Nolan sat beneath the Spanish moss of an ancient oak tree where they wrote letters to each other and buried them in a rusty old metal box. The plan was to return eleven years later, dig the box up, and read the letters. But now, as that date approaches, much has changed. Ellie has abandoned the faith she grew up with, her days consumed with loving her little girl and trying to make ends meet. Sometimes she watches TV to catch a glimpse of her old friend Nolan, now an NBA star, whose faith is known by the entire nation. But few know that Nolan’s own personal tragedies have fueled both his faith and athletic drive. Despite his success, Nolan is isolated and lonely, plagued by a void in his heart that has remained since that night beneath the old oak tree with Ellie. For both Ellie and Nolan, the coming date is more than just a childhood promise. It’s the chance to make sense of it all—the chance to find out if it’s ever too late to find love again.
Karen Kingsbury weaves a moving tale of heart-wrenching loss, the power of faith, and the wounds that only a forever kind of love can heal. She delves deeply into a theme that resonates within us all: Hope lives for those willing to take a chance.

Karen had funny stories to tell in between questions she answered

Karen answered people's questions before signing

Karen has a heart for book stores it shows in this novel
ABOUT BOOK: Number one New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury delivers an instant classic with this heartwarming Christmas story about a hundred-year flood, lost love, and the beauty of enduring friendships.

Molly Allen lives alone in Portland, but she left her heart back in Tennessee with a man she walked away from five years ago. They had a rare sort of love she hasn’t found since.

Ryan Kelly lives in Nashville after a broken engagement and several years on the road touring with a country music duo. He can still hear Molly’s voice encouraging him to follow his dreams; Molly, whose memory stays with him. At least he can visit The Bridge—the oldest bookstore in historic downtown Franklin—and remember the hours he and Molly once spent there.

For thirty years, Charlie and Donna Barton have run The Bridge, providing the people of middle Tennessee with coffee, conversation, and shelves of good books—even through dismal book sales and the rise of digital books. Then in May, the hundred-year flood swept through Franklin and destroyed nearly every book in the store.

Now the bank is pulling the lease on The Bridge. Despondent and without answers, Charlie considers the unthinkable. Then tragedy strikes, and suddenly, everything changes. In the face of desperate brokenness and lost opportunities, could the miracle of a second chance actually unfold?

The Bridge is a love story set against the struggle of the American bookstore, a love story you will never forget.

Prequel to The Bridge


Everyone gathered to hear Karen Speak before signing
First person to get book signed - Chris taking pictures

Karen's daughter & son on the front cover - Fun story


Karen asked if she could pray with us before she left

Next new release by Karen out later this year
ABOUT BOOK: #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury shows why she is America’s favorite inspirational novelist with this dramatic story about character, compromise, and the cost of having it all.

Zack Dylan has a dream. He wants to sing on the biggest stages, for the biggest crowds, and he’ll do whatever it takes to make it come true. But Zack also made a promise to his college sweetheart when he left Kentucky to compete on the popular TV show Fifteen Minutes: If he made it, nothing would change him or his faith in God.

Overnight, Zack becomes the nation’s most popular contestant, a country singer comparable to a young Tim McGraw. As his star rises, Zack is often asked to compromise and quiet his beliefs. Just as he’s on the verge of winning it all, his choices lead him to the brink of personal disaster. Meanwhile, a formerFifteen Minutes winner is searching for meaning amidst her own private losses. Can she warn Zack about the real price of fame? Or will Zack lose everything he loves for his fifteen minutes of glory?

From the novelist dubbed the “Queen of Christian Fiction” by Time magazine, Fifteen Minutes explores the cost of fame and celebrity set against the backdrop of America’s favorite singing competition.


I'm THRILLED that Karen Kingsbury will be on the front cover of Book Fun Magazine promoting her new book 15 minutes in our October issue!

What a special day! What a special lady! It was so neat to see how the Lord is using her books to minister to women's hearts!

THANK YOU Lord for a beautiful day and a beautiful lady. I pray you continue to inspire her to write the stories you lay on her heart!

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
www.bookfun.org