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Christy Catherine Marshall

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October 31, 2006

I’m curious — is trick-or-treating still popular in other parts of the world? Are y’all taking your kids around the block to knock on people’s doors tonight?

It’s waning in popularity here. It just doesn’t seem safe to let kids roam around knocking on people’s doors in costume and asking for candy. I remember we did this alone growing up — just me, my siblings, and friends. We’d come back with huge bags of candy. I remember even going inside a lady’s house where she told us to wait while she went and looked in her kitchen for some apples. It was fun — and she was nice. Now I wouldn’t want my kids doing that.

Churches in our area seem to be filling in the gaps. The new trend is to host huge “Fall Festivals” where the kids can come in costume or not. There are game booths, carnival rides, and cookouts. Our kids’ school had a fabulous petting zoo last weekend with horses, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, rabbits, and even a peacock.

Tonight, several big churches are hosting “Trunk or Treats” from their parking lot. So kids can go from car to car and get candy from people they know.

We’re continuing on with a tradition that just happened to get started a few years ago. My husband’s parents live right off the square in a historic section of town that attracts hundreds of trick-or-treaters. It’s really a safe, well-lit area, and it’s a great place to see people. We have just as much fun answering the door to pass out candy as we do walking around with the kids.

I can’t believe it, but I’m dressing up this year! My girls and I are all wearing Japanese kimonos — they’re really beautiful. I wore mine last weekend, and people stopped and bowed to me, giving me the chance to say, Konnichiwa. Hajimemashite. (Hello, nice to meet you.)

Yesterday, my three-year-old participated in his preschool costume parade — as a Storm Trooper, which he pronounces “Stoom Trooper.” He absolutely loved wearing his costume to school, and my husband even got off work a few minutes to come. While he and I were talking to a friend, we didn’t realize that our 18-month old daughter had escaped from her stroller and had joined in the parade. (It was indoors.) Oh my, she was adorable. We’ve found a hand-me-down cheerleader costume for her to wear tonight. And my oldest son, 10, has insisted on wearing a box, which he designed to look like a circuit board that lights up.

I’m not crazy about all the disgusting, scary things we see this time of year. I went to the grocery store yesterday and they had all these spooky green hands and ghoulish heads placed around the produce section. My youngest daughter looked scared and her eyes got big when some of the hands moved by motion sensors. That stuff is just plain evil to me.

But the costumes are fun. We plan on putting together some kind of play to perform at Christmas for the grandparents. It will be fun to see what we come up with that involves Japanese ladies in kimonos, a storm trooper, cheerleader, and a talking circuit board. Any ideas?

October 30, 2006

My Life in France I picked up the late Julia Child’s new book at the library last week, My Life in France. From the first page of the introduction, I was swept away.

Co-authored by her grand-nephew, Alex Prud ‘homme, the book contains 79 photographs and letters written by Julia and her husband Paul to Alex’s grandfather. It’s a travelogue, a woman’s dreams of youth, a love story, a memoir.

In the introduction, Julia shares her advice for surviving a French dinner party: “Just speak very loudly and quickly, and state your position with utter conviction, as the French do, and you’ll have a marvelous time!”

Julia Child passed away peacefully in her sleep on August 13, 2004, two days before her ninety-second birthday. This book was released only a few months ago.

I checked out My Life in France, hoping my husband would have time to read it — he’s still fluent in French, and we dream of taking our children there someday.

I told him this morning, “What fascinates me about that book — why I simply MUST read it — is that Julia went to France in 1948, not knowing a word of French, yet something happened there. She had some kind of awakening. I want to know what happened! What got her started on her dreams?”

He laughed and said, “You love that topic, don’t you? You need to write a book about that.”

If you’re a foodie or you love French culture, here’s a book to add to your Christmas list. Bon appetit!

By: Heather Ivester in: Books | Permalink | Comments Off on How to Survive a French Dinner Party

October 28, 2006

Is anyone reading here joining in NaNoWriMo? November is National Novel Writing Month, and last year there were 59,000 participants in this crazy month-long writing jamboree.

I’m in, I think. At least I signed up, and I’ve been jotting notes into a couple of computer files the past week. A few people in my online writing group are signed up as well, and they’re all involved in local kick-off parties this weekend.

Instead of attending novel writing parties, I’m helping out at two Fall Carnivals — at my kids’ school and at our church. My husband and I are actually manning the “football booth” at one of the carnivals, so that should be interesting.

But my head is in the clouds a little bit, and I’m still dreaming of writing a novel. I’ve given some thought lately to the genre. I’ve read a lot of great Christian fiction lately and have decided I’m a huge fan of humorous chick-lit and mom-lit — Kristin Billerbeck and Tracey Bateman both whisk me away by making me laugh.

I don’t see how these women do it. Tracey and Kristin are around my age, both have four children, and yet they write CBA-bestselling novels. Tracey’s publicist sent me her Claire Knows Best book, and I felt like I’d just met my new best friend when I met her character, Claire Everett. You’ll love her too, if you like humorous mom-lit. Somehow Tracey has found time to publish 25 books — and did I mention she’s my age?

Both these novelists cut their teeth on writing romance. Did you know half of all fiction sold is romance? It’s a multi-billion-dollar industry. But I don’t want to write adult romance. At least not now. That seems kind of weird to me, like sneaking around to watch another couple kiss. You’ve really got to live with your characters to write about them — and I don’t want to live with another couple.

I’m not a chick-lit writer either because I just don’t know all that much about fashion and shoes — and you’ve really got to if you jump in that genre. Allison Bottke’s character Dee in A Stitch in Time is a fashion aficionado, and all of Kristin’s characters are into shoes, handbags, the works. Unfortunately, I’m not into shoes — can’t be, unless I want to sell a car or maybe our house. My shoes come from Target or wherever else I can find something on sale. I don’t even look at the name brand — just see if it fits and doesn’t hurt to wear.

But writing for kids — now it’s no problem for me to listen to how kids talk, see what they’re interested in, what they’re reading. Why not write stories my kids would want to read? I was praying for inspiration yesterday and took my fivesome to the library after school to replenish our book supply. I wandered through the kids’ stacks and noticed which authors have a shelf full of books.

Judy Blume, of course, still selling books she wrote 30 years ago. Beverly Cleary — what a wonderful writer — didn’t she have fun living with her character, Ramona Quimby, a few years? Betsy Byars has two shelves in our library — I checked out her memoir about three years ago, and so I checked it out again yesterday to see if I could find one of my all-time favorite quotes. (I just visited her website, and she’s still going strong from her home in South Carolina — she’s published over 60 books since 1962, including the Newbery medal-winning Summer of the Swans.)

The Moon and I

Ah … found it. From Betsy Byars, The Moon and I. Betsy tells her readers, “Plenty of good scraps are as important in making a book as in the making of a quilt. I often think of my books as scrapbooks of my life, because I put into them all the neat things that I see and read and hear. I sometimes wonder what people who don’t write do with all their good stuff.”

And here’s another quote that made me laugh. Betsy is a mother of four, and she started writing back in the late 50s when she had two children. There’s a picture of her family in the book, with her husband and two oldest. The caption reads: “Urbana, Illinois, 1956. Behind us are the barracks where I began to write. I really had two choices — write or lose my mind.”

Ha! I can relate. Writing is a good thing to do when you have little kids in the house and you feel like you’ve lost a sense of who you are, but you don’t want to lose your mind.

Novelists Boot Camp: 101 Ways to Take Your Book From Boring to Bestseller

Yesterday, my 18-month-old pulled some books off a bookshelf in our living room, and when I went to put them back up later, I saw this book that I’d forgotten about, Novelist’s Boot Camp: 101 Ways to Take Your Book from Boring to Bestseller.

So that’s what I’m reading through this weekend as I prepare to write next week. My plan is to hold all my email correspondence and take some time away from the blog — and pour all my word count into this novel. It’s a plot I thought of a couple of years ago, and I started writing it, but then our computer crashed for two weeks, and I lost it. That’s when I decided I’d focus on personal essay writing and devotionals for a while. Which I’ve done for two years now.

I’ve also had this character in mind since I was 19. I wrote about her in freshman composition — while everyone else in my class wrote adult short stories, I wrote about Sadie. I wrote about her again in my children’s literature class, and my professor asked me to read my story to the class, and they laughed at the right places. So I think this Sadie character is pretty funny.

My daughter had a friend over a couple of weeks ago, and I couldn’t believe it when her friend started saying, “I’m crazy about Japan. I wish I could learn Japanese. I want to go there someday so bad.” What!! I started speaking some Japanese to her, and I got out my Nihongo dictionary and showed her the characters and how to write her name in katakana. I kept wanting to listen to this little girl talk, and it turns out her big sister is also crazy about Japan, and wants to go live there when she graduates from high school.

So I invited their family for supper, and that night, we got out my Japanese scrapbook, and they were fascinated. This was just more fodder for my imagination. I’ve got all these plot and character seedlings … now I’ve just got to write.

I’ll be blogging light — if at all — during November, though I do have two interviews with outstanding people coming up — and I’m about to die to tell you who I’m interviewing for December Book Buzz — let’s just say she’s a pretty famous novelist, and I can’t believe I get to ask her questions. I love my day job!

Well, I wish you a happy pre-Halloween weekend — if you’re a parent, I’m sure you’ve got parties and carnivals out the wazoo. But if you’re jumping into NaNoWriMo next week, I’d love to know there are at least two of us out there who have decided we’d rather write than lose our mind!

October 27, 2006

Cateye Treadmill

I have a friend who stays in great shape, yet she’s a busy work-at-home mom. Something clicked one day when I talked to her about her workout regimen — maybe this is how it feels when someone hears the Gospel and it finally makes sense.

She said she does three things to stay in shape:

1) She jogs three miles a day on her treadmill in 30 minutes.
2) She lines up nine 16-oz. bottles of water on her counter and drinks them throughout the day.
3) She keeps a food diary to record everything she eats if she ever needs to lose some weight.

I’ve made so many excuses about exercising — and mainly what it comes down to is that it’s VERY hard for me to get out of the house these days without kids. I can walk with a stroller outside, but I can’t run on a good, flat surface where I can maintain a steady pace and speed.

So I dusted off our treadmill and moved it near a window in the basement. I bought a cheap $10 headset, and I keep it tuned to our local Christian radio station, which plays Third Day, Nicole Nordeman, Steven Curtis Chapman, all these fun songs. I’m having a praise concert every time I get on that thing.

I can run first thing in the morning before the kids are up or at night after they’ve gone to bed. It doesn’t matter if it’s cold or dark outside — on my treadmill, I can run.

I got on last night after kissing owies, reading bedtime stories, drying and braiding little girls’ hair, then it was MY time to run. I plugged in my treadmill key, turned on the radio, and heard a well-known pastor give a sermon on his series, “Breaking Free from the Habits that Bind You.” HA! Was that a coincidence or what? I ran for 36 minutes and didn’t even realize it; his message completely captivated me.

I’ve never been a treadmill fan because of the extreme BOREDOM that sets in — but not since that day when it all clicked for me. Three miles a day. Three miles a day. If I want to find out where God is leading me next, I need to keep up this pace. Three miles a day.

If I run when it’s light outside, I look out the window for a while and see our pretty green pasture, mottled with red Georgia dirt — and then after about eight minutes, I’m bored enough to need my mind to transport me somewhere else. I’m not running on a treadmill in my basement; I’m … Mary running through the hills of southern France. Or Mary running through the suburbs of northern California. Or I’m jogging along the snow-white sandy beaches of Florida.

Today I discovered it takes exactly 12 minutes before my mind is clear. Those few minutes of running along my imaginary beach clear my mind so I can start thinking about what’s really important to me, what I want out of life, what my dreams are, what I need to be focusing on. After 13 minutes, I’m praying, God, show me what to do. Show me how to serve you. What do I need to be doing with my days?

One of my favorite verses is I Peter 4:7, which says, “Therefore, be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.” It takes a mile on a treadmill before my mind is decluttered enough to pray! When I was running the other night, I thought for a minute of all the million things I needed to be doing besides exercising. Then I heard God’s voice say to me, “You’re on the right track.” OK, Lord. I’ll keep running.

The Confident Woman: Start Today Living Boldly and Without Fear

While I’m on the subject of staying focused, I recently read a book that helped make a few more things in my life crystal clear. I don’t want to review it because I read it for my own pure pleasure, but let me just tell you, if you’re in desperate need of a spiritual jump-start, get a copy of Joyce Meyer’s The Confident Woman.

This is a powerful book, so far above all the self-help JUNK that lines bookstore shelves. Joyce Meyer bases everything on Truth from scripture, and she doesn’t hold back sharing with you the pain she went through to get there. I don’t care what the critics say, her testimony is awesome. Our confidence comes from the Lord Jesus Christ, and nothing else.

One more thing Joyce Meyer says is that we women who have our hope in Christ are to be JOYFUL. We are also to be bearing much fruit in our life. If we’re not bearing fruit, then something needs to be pruned out. Something is choking the joyful fruit out of our life. Wow. I can’t get away from this thought.

It will take more than one week of 12-minute clear-minded praying to find out the things God wants me to prune from my life so I can bear more fruit. But I anxiously await His voice.

So it’s off to the treadmill I go.

October 26, 2006

Author Dena Dyer visits with us today, a mother of two young sons from Granbury, Texas. Dena’s devotional book for moms, Grace for the Race, was one of the first books I reviewed here a year ago.

Dena has been busy co-authoring a new series of books with her friend, Laurie Copeland, as they’ve become Groovy Chicks taking “road trips” to explore peace, love, and friendship in a growing relationship with God.

Hi Dena! Can you tell us about your Groovy Chicks’ series? What are these books about?

They are “book-i-lations,” anthologies of stories by women from all over the world. My co-author, Laurie Barker Copeland, and I, also contributed stories and sidebars — many as our Groovy alter-egos, “Pepper” and “Starshine.”

The two volumes are lighthearted, but not lightweight, explorations of what it means to live fully in the love and peace of Jesus. I told someone the other day that they’re like “Chicken Soup meets Laugh-in with a Christian message”!

The Groovy Chicks Road Trip to Love

Why did you decide to write these books?

Laurie and I met at a writer’s conference and worked on some magazine pieces together. We knew we wanted to do a book together, but just weren’t sure what it would be. And at the time, I was involved in a local Christian-owned music theater called Granbury Live, where my husband is a partner and full-time performer.

In one of the concerts, I did a segment as a groovy, ditzy 60’s character named “Starshine.” It was so well received, and I had such fun doing it, that my boss — who knew I was anxious to break into the Christian book market — said, “Why don’t you do a Groovy Chicks’ Guide to Life?”

I knew it would work … and I knew Laurie — with her fun personality and great marketing skills, as well as her acting, singing, and speaking background — was the perfect partner for a Groovy Chicks’ book. 🙂

She brought a lot to the table, and really helped round the whole thing out with regards to vision, content and humor. (By the way, our website is Groovy Chicks Road Trip, which Laurie’s fabulous hubby did for us. We even have groovy clothes, t-shirts and mugs now.)

How did you gather the stories for these books?

We sent out calls for submissions to our various speaking and writing networks, and to different writing websites. After the first book, we had about three times as many submissions, because people had started hearing about it.

So the second decision-making process was much more difficult. What’s really neat, though, is how Laurie and I — she is from Florida and I’m from Texas — both read all the submitted stories (300 for the second book!) and agreed without hesitation on the top 40 or so. We only had to compromise on a few. It was really neat — a definite God-thing!

I enjoyed reading your Road Trip to Love book, especially the tips on friendships, love, and mentoring between each chapter. What are some challenges today’s women face in nurturing friendships?

Time. Time. Time …. Ha! We’re so busy, and our friendships get left in the dust. Yet they’re too important to let that happen. I make a real effort (I don’t always succeed, mind you, but I try) to keep pretty close contact with my dearest friends. I just need them, and I know they need me … even if we don’t always realize it.

Do you have any suggestions for us on how we can deepen and strengthen our friendships? Is it worth the effort now, or should we wait until our kids are grown and we have more time?

I think that when we become honest with ourselves about our loneliness and the gaps that only friends can fill, and we share that with people, we’ll be surprised at how other women respond. I’m sometimes afraid to reveal that need — how I feel empty when my friends and I haven’t been able to spend time together.

But when I get real, they totally “get it.” In the Bible, in a book such as Ruth, we’re reminded of the gift of friendship, and how we can’t take it for granted or let it die.

And just let me say, as an Internet/email/blog addict (I can quit anytime I want–really!), I do value those connections, and they have been tremendously helpful, but it’s NOT the same as spending time one-on-one with a girlfriend.

Our generation (Gen X) is very well-connected on the Internet, and we have forged friendships worldwide. It’s a blessing, but it can bring about an artificial intimacy that makes it harder to foster face-to-face relationships. We think we’re connected, but we’re not … not really. It’s TOTALLY worth the effort, I believe, to nurture the friends we have at church, in our neighborhood, and in our moms’ groups. Especially when the kids are young — because we need support, encouragement and a relief from mom-isolation, now more than ever!

One fun thing that several moms and I have done is to have a monthly Bunco (a really easy-to-learn dice game) night. We do it on the third Thursday of each month, and take turns hosting it. The hubbies all know that they have “daddy duty” on that night of the month. We have been doing it for about a year and a half. It keeps us connected without being a huge time commitment.

What other projects are you working on now?

My agent, Wendy Lawton, is shopping two proposals around for me, one for women ages 20-40 on being fearlessly countercultural, and one for moms about dealing with inferiority and insecurity. Since our publisher for the first two books has undergone a bunch of changes, we’re also looking for a publisher for a third Groovy Chicks’ Road Trip volume, on Joy.

Can you tell us about your online writing courses? Do you teach these? How does it work?

I’m glad you asked! I love mentoring other writers, but my time is so limited. I used to lead a local writing group, but it got to be too much. So now I teach through Writers’ Helper and love it.

I have courses on writing for anthologies (which is free, if you go through it on your own!), getting organized to write, and writing short pieces for publication. Each one is a four-session course, and you can go through it by yourself, with others, or with me as a mentor/coach.

The prices range from about $20-$60, and they’re all conducted entirely online. All you need is a computer and email.

Thanks, Dena! You’ve inspired us to work on strengthening our friendships, and maybe some of us will send you a story someday for your next book! Do you have any closing words?

Well, if your readers want to be a Groovy Chick, too — it’s easy. All they have to do is have Christ in them. They don’t have to wear a certain style of clothing, or be a certain age. Any “chick” can be groovy!

As Laurie and I always say, we are just ordinary women — with a Groovy God.

You can learn more about Dena Dyer at her website. She loves to hear from readers and can also be reached at her blog, Amazing Grace-land, as well as by email,

October 24, 2006

On a whim, I checked my TTLB status the other day just to see if I was still a Flappy Bird in the blogosphere, and I was surprised to see that I’m now a Large Mammal. Thanks to you. That means a lot of people are linking here. I really appreciate that!

Just in case you’re wondering what I’m talking about, blogs are ranked by The Truth Laid Bear site by how many other blogs link to them. I don’t know how all this works, but here are the rankings:

Higher Beings
Mortal Humans
Playful Primates
Large Mammals
Marauding Marsupials
Adorable Rodents
Flappy Birds
Slithering Reptiles
Crawly Amphibians
Flippery Fish
Slimy Molluscs
Lowly Insects
Crunchy Crustaceans
Wiggly Worms
Multicellular Microorganisms
Insignificant Microbes

Here’s how the TTLB site describes this weird ecosytem they’ve created:

The Truth Laid Bear began as a humble BlogSpot blog over three years ago, and has since evolved into a fully developed portal to the blogosphere. The TTLB Blogosphere Ecosystem is widely regarded as the definitive weblog ranking system, and TTLB receives an average of 3,197 visits and 7,016 page views per day.

A few months ago, I got stuck in a rut comparing myself to other bloggers, wondering what made some blogs popular, and others not so much. I felt kind of bad that I’m not one of the cool bloggers who sponsor a weekly carnival, meme, or award. But then I let all that go and decided I’m just writing for the one person who might connect with my post for the day. That’s what really matters.

But hey, I’ll enjoy this possibly short-lived status as a Large Mammal. Definitely beats being an Insignificant Microbe. LOL.

If you’ve linked to my blog, thanks!

By: Heather Ivester in: Blogging | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (2)

October 23, 2006

Today, for the first time ever here on Mom 2 Mom Connection, we have a mother/daughter duo visiting with us. I’m thrilled to host author T. Suzanne Eller AND her mom discussing Suzie’s new book, The Mom I Want to Be.

Suzie is a mother of three grown children and lives with her husband of 26 years in Oklahoma. She’s the founder of daretobelieve ministries, author of several Christian books, and is a nationally recognized speaker to teens, parents, and women.

She’s been featured on radio shows such as At Home Live, Aspiring Women, Focus on the Family, Prime Time, and Mid-Day Connection, sharing her zest for life and relevant faith. Suzie has also published hundreds of articles in magazines such as Today’s Christian Woman, Guideposts, and Woman’s World, and she’s a family columnist for

Welcome, Suzie! You’ve got a new book out for women, The Mom I Want to Be. Can you tell us about it?
It’s a practical and spiritual resource for women who were raised in dysfuction or experienced a painful past, and who want to give their children greater memories than they received.

Why did you decide to write it?
I was approached by a publishing team after teaching a workshop titled “Pushing Past Your Past” at the Hearts at Home national conference for moms. I was a little unsure that this was a good topic to share at this conference, but after the workshop, women lined up and down the aisle and out the door to share their stories, and how they connected with what was taught.

The Mom I Want to Be: Rising Above Your Past to Give Your Kids a Great Future

I hesitated when approached because I didn’t want to reach thousands of women, and yet hurt my own mom. She’s not the same person she once was, but at the same time, does any mom want her mistakes held up to the world for review?

I was prepared to put it down, and yet my mom not only said, “yes”, but came on board with me. I asked her to write the intro to each chapter, and to share her story. I didn’t realize at the time how much more powerful that made the story, and the points in the book. As I read the completed chapters I was in awe.

How did your mom feel about your writing this book?
[Suzie’s mom, Karen Morrison, answered this question.]

At first I was very apprehensive. Then I prayed about it and thought if this will bring healing to my children and others, God will give me the courage to face whatever comes my way. Since handing out several of the books to ladies suffering from childhood hurts, I am so very thankful that I did go through with my story in the book.

I can personally tell you that your writing had a big impact on me, and I’m so glad you wrote this book together. It was so meaningful to see what both of you were experiencing at the same time, as mother and daughter, and I think this is what makes your book one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. Did any healing come about as a result of writing this book?

Yes, several things happened during the writing process. One, I realized where my love for writing came from. Mom had her first child really young and wasn’t able to finish school. She’s very smart, but this is something that bothers her. As I read the pages she sent to me, I was impressed with the depth of her writing ability. She was worried about spelling and commas, but what I saw was a woman who could communicate beautifully.

The second thing is that there were stories I had never heard. I didn’t know that my mom was molested at five years old. It certainly broadened my perspective. I saw mom as healed, but I never had seen her fully as the little girl going through her own pain as a child. That brought a much deeper sense of compassion for her, but also admiration for what has taken place in her life in the past 10 years.

What can women do if they don’t get along with their moms now because of things that happened in the past?

It depends, Heather. If a parent is still destructive (say, an abusive alcoholic), she must set boundaries that will help that relationship heal, or at least not be destructive. These aren’t rules to punish a parent, but guidelines to share your needs with a mom or dad who creates havoc in your life, your marriage, or your children’s lives.

But what if a mom has healed? Is she in “time out” forever? Is guilt a tool to make her pay for her past sins? Or are you able to begin new memories? In my family, this was a process and some are still working on it, but I felt so free the day I realized that I could love my mom for what she had become. She also became free. She knew that our relationship was a safe one, and she could be what God called her to be, rather than holding back to pay penance for my childhood.

You wrote a chapter called “The Power of Perspective.” How does that apply specifically to moms today?

When you’ve grown up with abuse, neglect, or addiction, the pain of your childhood can loom large in your life, and everything filters through that perspective.

For example, if a child embarrasses you verbally or throws a fit in Wal-Mart, the person who filters that through the past will say, “Why would you do that to me?” It becomes personal, rather than an opportunity to teach your child how to speak with respect or to handle his anger better.

This “filter” expands to other relationships. You see things through your self-image and the words spoken over you in the past. You struggle with confidence. You might struggle to forgive small infractions by friends or family.

Shifting your perspective means that you change your focus to who you are now, what you have now, and what you are becoming. That allows the past to take its rightful size in your life. It’s there, but it’s not looming over everything.

I share with women that your past is a very small part of who you are. It shaped you, yes; but it doesn’t define you or keep you from becoming all that God intended.

How would we use this book as a resource for teaching a group of women about motherhood?

I’ve created an intimate Bible study where small groups of women can work through this together. I share instructions on how to minister to people with painful pasts, and how to gain trust as friends and beautiful women working toward growth and change and healthy parenting patterns and perspectives.

Thank you so much, Suzie and Mrs. Morrison, for taking the time to share your thoughts here! I really enjoyed The Mom I Want to Be and will treasure it as I strive to become a more joyous mom.

T. Suzanne Eller may be reached at her websites, Dare to Believe and The Mom I Want to Be. She also blogs for teens along with several other Christian authors at Girls, God, and the Good Life.

October 21, 2006

A Wrinkle in Time
A couple of weeks ago, Christianity Today magazine asked dozens of evangelical leaders what their top choices were for books that have helped shape evangelicalism. The editors compiled these nominations into a list of The Top 50 Books That Have Shaped Evangelicals.

How many books on this list have you read? I’ve only read 14 out of the 50, and to be honest, I’ve never even heard of the #1 book! Yet, apparently it had a huge impact on shaping the way we pray. It was written in the 1950s. Hmmmm … I’d like to read it someday to see why it was voted #1.

Several people wrote in to give feedback to the editors, complaining about books that were omitted. I found this interesting as well.


The big surprise for me was discovering that John and Elizabeth Sherrill ghostwrote three bestsellers. Are you ready for this? Here’s what the editors at Christianity Today say about the Sherrills:

John and Elizabeth Sherrill may be the most influential Christian authors you know nothing about. They appear three times on this list — step aside, C. S. Lewis and J. I. Packer—as co-authors of God’s Smuggler, The Cross and the Switchblade, and The Hiding Place.

Ghostwriters extraordinaire, longtime editors of Guideposts, and founders of Chosen Books (now a division of Baker Publishing), the couple also published Charles W. Colson’s Born Again. Their specialty: testimonials to the power of God’s Spirit. And, it seems, bestsellers.

The Hiding Place

How amazing is that! I’m still getting used to the idea that many Christian books I read are written by ghostwriters — who may or may not have their name on the cover of the book. Often, they don’t.

What the ghostwriter does is interview the person and then write his or her story through a first-person point of view. There’s an art to shaping a book like this. Interesting. Some writers I know refuse to do this without having their name on the book — but many do it anonymously for the money. I know several current Christian bestsellers that were ghostwritten, but I won’t spoil it for you! (You would be shocked — I was!)

I do know for a fact that Rick Warren wrote The Purpose-Driven Life! YEA! I heard his agent give a four-day seminar, and so he gave background details to how that incredible book came to be.

How many have you read? What do you think about this list?

By: Heather Ivester in: Books,Faith | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (8)

October 19, 2006

Here’s another radio broadcast you’ve got to listen to if you can find a few minutes during your day. James Dobson is speaking today and tomorrow on Standing for the Family in a Lost Culture. Download this and listen to it while you’re folding clothes or washing dishes. It will inspire you.

He told some funny stories about his son, Ryan, and reminded me I can’t give up on my kids — even when I’m having a hard day! Those stories probably weren’t too funny when they happened — but now that Ryan’s grown, Dr. Dobson and his wife can laugh about the trips to the emergency room and all the difficulties of raising a very ACTIVE boy.

Bringing Up Boys: Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of Men

If you’ve never read James Dobson’s Bringing Up Boys and you’re a mom of boys, this is a book you’ll want to add to your collection — even if you only have time to read a paragraph every now and then. It will keep you sane, knowing what the long-term perspective is on raising a boy to become a godly young man.

Last night at church, I was waiting in the hallway outside the room where my girls were making their Operation Christmas Child boxes. My three-year-old son has entered this babbling brook phase where every single thought of his turns into a “why” question or something he must tell me. I know it won’t last forever, so I’m much more patient now than I was with my oldest.

Another mom looked exasperated with her three-year-old son who was wiggling and chattering while we waited for our sweet little girls to finish their project. Finally, she said, “Why don’t the two of you race each other down the hall?” So they did. Our two boys spent the next ten minutes alternating between running up and down the hall and hopping up and down the hall like frogs saying “Ribbit.” She turned to me and said, “I don’t know about you, but mine just wears me out. Maybe they’ll run off all this energy and go to bed easier.” HA! I agreed.

I just have to tell you that a few days ago, I got an email from a writer at Focus on the Family asking if I had any suggestions for how a mom of a 0-3 year old child can begin inspiring her child’s personal faith. Wow. That was pretty cool to be asked! She needed something right away, so I told her the first things that came to mind, then she wrote back and asked if it was OK to quote me as “Heather Ivester, mother of five and founder of Mom 2 Mom Connection, a popular blog for mothers of all ages.” Um, yeah. That’d be all right.

See, you just never know who is reading your blog! 🙂

But after I sent that, I’ve been more aware of how I try to instill faith in my young children. It really goes way beyond teaching them to say the blessing and pray before bedtime. Since I stay home with my kids, I talk to them about God all day. Really — every chance I get. You never know what’s going to stick.

One thing I try to do is catch my kids being good and tell them, “God likes it when you do that. Do you know God is probably smiling right now because you shared your toy with your sister? Do you know when you read a book to your little brother, you are making God very happy? Oh, I’m so glad you told me that you were lying because God already knew you were lying, and that makes Him so proud of you when He hears you telling the truth.”

My kids are far from perfect, but I hope I’m teaching them what’s right and wrong now, so when they’re grown they can catch themselves being good.

At least that’s the plan.

October 18, 2006

The Hidden
I just received notification from Novel Journey that I’m today’s winner in their Best of Evil contest!

They said I’ve won autographed copies of Kathryn Mackel’s, The Hidden and The Departed. I’ve never read any Christian suspense novels before, yet I’ve heard Kathryn is a talented Hollywood screenwriter. It will be interesting to see how she creates scenes for novels that she probably envisions on the big screen.

The Departed: A Novel

Hey, you can jump in and join the contest too! All you have to do is leave a comment on Novel Journey between now and Halloween. They are GIVING away a ton of books, many of them autographed. (Now wouldn’t that make a nice Christmas present for someone, an autographed copy of a book?)

By: Heather Ivester in: Books,Writing | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)