Monday, July 30, 2012

"The Breakthrough", Jenkins Best Novel Yet

Great stories are those that are insightful, engaging and entertaining while awash with lessons. The Breakthrough by Jerry Jenkins fulfills all the above. This novel kept my interest in a way that caused me to rise an hour earlier each morning just to squeeze in a little “Drake” time.

Boone Drake, Chicago’s Major Case Squad Bureau Chief, is finally reclining and enjoying the good things in life. Even though his wife, Haeley, was awarded a substantial amount of money, he doesn’t accredit that for his happiness for one minute. He has a beautiful, loving wife and has just adopted her son, Max. Their future looks promising.

But, of course, all great novels quickly become filled with almost more tension than a reader can stand. An accident at the home of a friend puts Haeley Drake into a fight for her life.

Boone soon finds himself balancing between being there for his wife and saving his new son from a horrifying future.

His annoyance upon discovering Haeley’s ex-husband’s exaggerated penchant for the green stuff, is overshadowed only by the man’s ugly secret that quickly comes to light.

Drake discovers a nasty tentacle of human trafficking that he had yet to fathom.

Jerry Jenkins is at his best plunging you into the world of human trafficking in a way few have tackled. Weaving a masterful plot that takes you from the streets of Chicago to the hovels of the hutong district in Beijing, China to the ancient city of Tianjin.

If you love to read a great crime story and, at the same time, experience the amazing power of God’s hand, do not miss Jenkins' best novel yet!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

What Happens When You Eat an Almond Joy?

It’s amazing the memories that can be resurrected  by eating an almond joy.

As soon as I sunk my teeth into the sweet, chocolate-covered, coconut nougat and crunchy almond I was transported back to a time where my much older sister wore a curly bob, brown suede shoes and a brown and orange outfit from the Lemon Tree in Bremen. My tiny, six-year-old head sported a shag hair cut and I wore homemade jumpers sewn by my Aunt Claudia who lived just a few yards down the dirt road from my house.

A time when we watched Tarzan, Jane and Boy on Saturday afternoons and I was allowed to cut the paper dolls from my sister’s McCall magazine.

We didn’t have smart phones, computers, or even a VCR, and our home was modest, but the simple peace that settled around us as we baked blueberry muffins and Chef Boyardee pizzas was priceless.

Since no female cousins were available in my small country neighborhood, I played with boys on most days. Only when I went into “town” did I play with my female cousins. Of course, then we played with dolls, and made mud pies adorned with the fuffy pink blooms from my Aunt Shirley’s mimosa trees that flanked each side of her drive. The precious antics of my Aunt Shirley could take up an entire blog, so I’ll just simply say she was well known by everyone in my small town of Buchanan, Georgia.

When playing back in my neighborhood, my cousin, Keith, and I would trek through the woods over hill and dale, along creek banks sometimes dodging angry bulls.

I can remember climbing to the top of a steep hill inside the pastures that surrounded our house and then running all the way to the bottom. Our strong, muscled, legs were the only mode of transportation we needed.

We ate fruit straight from the numerous, laden trees that spotted the back and side yards of the handful of houses along Poplar Springs Road. My uncles owned most of those homes, so we filled our little bellies with apples, peaches, pears, cherries, plums, grapes, scupadines and muscadines.

On Sundays we went into town to attend church, and then it was back home to eat homemade fried chicken, fresh beans from the garden, biscuits and fruit cobbler with a scoop of ice cream from the Red Dot Grocery Store which was position in the corner of our town square.

My sister, Hope, kept the dust stirred, zipping up and down the road in our black Chevy 2. She loved horses, riding with friends every chance she got. Eventually, she became the proud owner of Little Boy, a large brown quarter horse. She’s gone now, but I’ll never forget the sparkling light that filled any room she entered.

After a long day of playing, I would sit on my front porch. When I spotted my Aunt Claudia’s car stop at her mailbox as she returned home from working at the Shirt Shop in Buchanan, I would hop on my red, big girl bicycle and throw up some of my own dust, almost beating her to her car shed. She would laugh sounding much like a chicken. She had chickens, so I always assumed they learned how to laugh from her.

I would follow her into the house where she would point to the refrigerator and corner cabinet just to the left inside her country kitchen. An RC Cola and Moon pie would fuel my body in preparation to follow her around the yard as she tended to her garden, and various livestock. I remember my job was to not step on the vegetables and to run from the chickens.

Wow! I think I’ll go buy another almond joy. Until next time, Laura K.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Southern Expressions

These are a few of the southern expressions I grew up hearing. I would love to hear some of your personal favorites.

He couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.
He squeezes a quarter so tight the eagle screams.
He’s about as useful as a pogo stick in quicksand.
She needs some fries to go with that shake.
She’s so clumsy she could trip over a cordless phone!
They’re off like a herd of turtles.
Well that just dills my pickle!
Well, don’t you look prettier than a glob of butter melting on a stack of wheat cakes!
You could start an argument in an empty house.
I am as nervous as a long tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
I’m happier than a tornado in a trailer park.
That’s about as useful as a trap door on a canoe.
If everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane!
He’s so rich; he buys a new boat each time one gets wet.
He was as mad as a mule chewing on bumblebees!
You look about as happy as a tick on a fat dog.

Blessings, Laura K.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Vow - Interview with Kim and Krickett Carpenter

Kim and Krickitt Carpenter: The Vow
By The 700 Club - (click here to watch the interview!)

Laura K.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Yes, I Dreamed of Becoming a Dancer!

A plethora of emotions washed over me, and then bulldozed by heart the first time I laid eyes on this photo. Rarely does a picture incite such a response in me. Yes, I dreamed of becoming a dancer when I was a young girl…
But, I think this overflow of passionate feelings was spurred on by the realization of my own mortality. Followed, with a swoosh, by the hope I have in God and His involvement in my rebirth.
We would all still be stuck in our old man had God not set us free, and made us eternal dancers.
So, today as I dance to some of my favorite songs, I’ll also dream of that dance of forever, when we will all swirl, ballet, two-step, tap, or whatever is best suited to you, down those streets of gold. With our new, perfect bodies, nothing will be impossible.

But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Psalm 103:5

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Who Do You Think You Are?

I stumbled onto a show (new to me) that looks like a lot of fun, so I thought I would share it with all of you. It airs Friday at 8:00 p.m. on NBC.

Check out the link below!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Back Cover Copy

Okay, all you literati, hit me with your best shot. Please! Would you want to read this book? Don't feel bad if you must say no, because I'll just rework the back cover copy until you do. :)

Katie Mylady is a mentally challenged eleven-year-old whose greatest desire is to fit in. Her mother, Leslie, is convinced that Katie’s complete healing is the only solution. And that belief has just been fueled by a promise from God.

But things get very complicated. As Leslie stumbles onto an internet article that offers amazing hope, God begins to prepare Katie.

Each time Katie falls asleep, she wakes in a classroom in Heaven. But is she being prepared for her healing or something far different?

Will Katie accept her reason for being born even if it involves a road to healing littered with unheard of detours? Even looking into the eyes of pure evil?

Yet, her newly discovered determination clears the path, and she begins to realize that certain sacrifices must be made. Not to mention the opportunities that would crumble for her new best friend if she chooses not to follow her dreams.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Katie Mylady and The Cradle of Humankind

Her throat grew tight. Katie Mylady attempted to use a hot, dry tongue to moisten her lips. The sharp pain of rejection stung, causing her to almost lose grip on the pan of dirty dishes she carried. Slithering through the lunchroom, the smell of cinnamon rolls offered no comfort. She couldn’t eat one.
Teacher whistled, waved an arm in the air and pointed to a table needing clean-up. Jugie, one of Katie’s classmates made a bee line for the table, dirty silverware clanking in her dish tub.
Katie stood several feet away from a handful of girls she had known all her life, but she hadn’t spoken over five words to most of them in a couple of years. Her heart thumped hard beneath her red Veggie Tales T-shirt as her attention temporarily held to the disruptive rise and fall of Larry’s eye pulsating right over the beat. She opened her mouth, but as usual the words would not come.
She twisted her head in an attempt to free the tight hairs within the velvet ponytail holder.
“Katie, until you cooperate in learning how to brush your hair, or at least secure it behind your ears, you’ve gotta wear the ponytail,” her mother said each morning just before dropping her off at Leiland Middle School.
Yeah, she could hear her own screams of protest as her mother wielded the brush, even though she could care less how her hair looked. Why was she powerless in getting her mind to cooperate with her mouth?
Could the numbers on the yellow sheets Teacher sent home last year have anything to do with it?
“Canary yellow,” her mother had said before ducking behind the nauseous colored paper in an attempt to hide her tears. Katie saw and felt her mother’s grief, she just didn’t understand it.
Even now, the memory caused Katie to grimace and swallow a tinge of bile.
She hated how much her mommy cried lately. Her daddy said it was because of everything that happened last year.
Like the stab of a hundred needles, the giggling girls pulled her attention back to their squeals of delight.
They were gathered around a table, the four of them, writing on sheets of paper, which they handed one by one to the smiling stranger, elbowing each other, hooking arms, and grinning so largely Katie thought their faces might pop like a bubble.
If only she could have a cinnamon roll. Allergies, allergies… she wanted them to go away. She glanced at the door, and smiled as she imagined her mommy marching through it, grabbing her by the hand and hauling her home. But she had no real hopes of that happening. Not today.
“Katie Mylady! If you don’t come pour this tea, Ms. Melbourne’s going to keel over from thirst.” Ms. Cornpepper spoke with her hand smashed into her cheek beside her mouth. That same hand found the woman’s ample hip as she shifted her weight and popped a piece of cinnamon roll into her mouth.
Katie looked from Ms. Cornpepper back to the girls. One of them, Stella, met her gaze. She sees me. Maybe she’ll walk over and ask if she can come play at my house today. Katie, again, opened her mouth.
Stella turned away, swung smooth, blonde hair over her shoulder and followed the hoopla from the room.
Katie lowered the burden she carried and turned toward the lunchroom stage where the teachers sat at a long table laughing and chatting. Loud boy voices turned her back around.
Kelsey Lee was headed in her direction with two, thickset boys on either side, a mighty evergreen and a couple of shrubs. Abram and Nathaniel were on the football team with Kelsey, and two of the many kids at Leiland that made Katie feel bad. She wasn’t exactly sure why, but she had some ideas.
Kelsey threw his head back and let loose a loud laugh.
She remembered that laugh. That was the sound he made often when at the lake. A long time had passed since his mommy had called her mommy to ask if they could all go to Willow Waterway. The ducks, she remembered the ducks.
Abram threw a fork in her pan as they passed.
“Retard,” Nathaniel said, and elbowed Kelsey.
Abram laughed.
Come on, Katie… say something. “The ducks!” she said and tried to smile at Kelsey.
He didn’t smile either.
Nathaniel doubled over laughing. “The ducks?” He straightened and gave Kelsey’s shoulder a push. “I do believe that’s the dumbest thing ol’ Moron has ever said to you.”
Katie watched as Kelsey smiled at Nathaniel and then glanced back at her, swung hair from his eyes and gave each of his friends a hearty pat on the back.
As she made her way up the steps to the stage, her grip slipped on the dishpan causing gray water to splash the steps. Here, the smell of cinnamon became even stronger. She thought about the nose plugs she wore last summer at the pool.
Teacher soon rushed from the kitchen waving a big, wet towel hollering, “Everyone stay clear of those stairs!”
In one swift movement, her load was snatched away and hurried off to the kitchen by Brandon, a lanky boy whose eager face made the task look exciting.
Katie looked back to the floor, picked up the rag tossed at her and began mopping up the mess.

Monday, January 16, 2012

It's Just That Simple

What does this verse truly mean? Well, let’s read the verses that follow: For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Matthew 7:8-11

Just before Matthew 7:7 Jesus is pretty much giving various pieces of advice. Judge and be not judged, don’t look for sin in others without first looking at your own sin (and ridding yourself of it), do not cast your pearls before swine. Then later in Matthew 7:12, He continues with advice – whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them.

So, I am left to believe that Jesus meant this as a simple statement of advice (a recommendation offered as a guide to action).

He didn’t mean for me to read anything into it, dissect it, attempt to figure out what He considers good. Maybe His definition of good is different from mine? I don’t think so.

As I study the scriptures, I find that God’s “good” pretty much matches my opinion of good. We have the Ten Commandments as well as the following verses in Genesis.

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth. And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth... Then God saw everything that he had made, and indeed it was very good. Genesis 1:27-30

Yes, corruption has entered our world, and it is vastly different than the one our Heavenly Father (The Creator) made for us, but I believe His thoughts on “good” remain the same.

Now, with that said, I believe He expects us to continue to knock, ask and seek for those things we desire as we consider our present corruption. Things are constantly happening in this broken world. Satan is on the prowl, and he fights dirty.

I wholeheartedly believe that God loves each and every one of us passionately.

He wants to see a smile on our face. He wants to see us succeeding in His work. He wants us to talk to Him, spend time with Him, and find out why He sent us here and what He wants us to accomplish.

Sometimes he will only give us a day’s worth at a time, and then sometimes He gives us something bigger than ourselves – with a goal in mind. Yet we must still go to Him daily to strategize our next move. As we do this we learn what we must ask for, what will be required to accomplish our missions. Where we must go to seek and who to ask.

So, find out what He wants you to do, ask for those things you need to accomplish it and trust Him to be faithful. It’s just that simple.

Until Next Time,
Love and Blessings, Laura K.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sometimes on the way to the dream...

Yes! I did.

We’re gonna get a little personal today. I hope that’s okay. As I sit here sipping on my Sugar Plum Tea, I just couldn’t help but think about the fantastical. Pretty much, from as far back as I can remember, I have enjoyed an extraordinary imagination.

Growing up in a single parent household, I had plenty of time to myself. Since my mother worked most of the time, and my sisters were six, thirteen and fourteen years older than me (one already married), I was left to my own devices. One sustaining memory finds me swinging around and around posts on a couple of front porches from my childhood. Pretty much, wherever I found a pole, it immediately became my stage.

I would hang on it like a monkey and simply open my mouth and out would come a plethora of made up scenarios and activities. Most often I made up songs, but a good bit of time was certainly spent on plotting out my future. Since the age of five I had plans for a family that most certainly included a very present daddy. I would be the star in these plays and in every story this daddy adored me as his favorite little girl. He could not hold me enough. He carried me on his shoulders most of the time, since that was my most favorite way to be held.

Every time I saw a little girl riding high atop her daddy, hands plastered on his forehead my heart would skip a beat, and my enthusiastic optimism would kick in as I imagined the day that dream would come true for me.

Of course, time moved on, and that daddy never became a part of my life. So… being the upbeat, optimistic person I was I simply changed gears, and set out to find the perfect husband that would be the daddy to my four perfect children. Then I could watch as my beautiful daughter rode atop her daddy’s shoulders.

I did find a wonderful husband and four years later came my beautiful daughter. Yet, before that sweet girl could take her first high ride, problems arose and my dream was once again lost. You see, my daughter was not developing as she should. She was not meeting any of her milestones, and after years of specialists and therapies I was forced to accept that she was mentally challenged. I fought hard for my perfect dream, but, well…

Back to the beginning of this story. Here’s where the new dream kicks in. Even though that sweet girl was not what I had planned for, and I had to let my dreams for her die, she is exactly what God wants her to be. She is rich in love and untarnished acceptance. She loves unconditionally and brings me more joy than I deserve.

Now that I have walked this less traveled rode of parenthood, I have a new dream. This dream is not for me at all, but for others. Hope. Yep, hope!

Amazingly enough God has decided to use the gift I have had all along. Imagination! When I was that little pigtailed, snaggle-toothed girl swinging around those poles, planning out my future, my Heavenly Father used it to give me hope. And now that I am… um, older, he has taught me to write a fantastical story to help others and give them hope. Thus the story of Katie Mylady.

Please watch the following video:

Please check back for an excerpt coming soon!

Love and Blessings, Laura K.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

For His Good Pleasure

Norwegian photographer, Tommy Eliason, captured this amazing view of the northern lights, the Milky Way, and a meteor streaking across the sky over Ifjord, Norway, on September 25. Evidently, this year has been notable for producing frequent auroral displays.

Goodness, talk about being in the right place at the right time! To me, scoring this kind of shot is a miracle to say the least.

And, of course, this got me thinking. Well, more than just thinking, daydreaming…

Time and time again I become so consumed with my everyday, mundane, monotonous, same old-same old (um, are you sensing a pattern here) life, I deprive myself of thoughts about God and His amazing kingdom.

Okay, let’s daydream for a minute.

Imagine… God standing high above a throne of gold that glows so bright you’d swear it was made of fire. He is beautiful, majestic, loving, in complete control, unafraid, unflinching, unparalleled, benevolent, full of hope, full of peace, full of grace, full of mercy. He turns and looks at you as if you were the only person that mattered.

He then tells you that you have a very important mission. “There will be danger, and opposition.” He says. “But I will be there with you, and we will win!” Your mission, although it seems unattainable, ignites no fear as you stand before the King. You know you can do it. You are certain, as long as HE is there, you can do anything!

Beautiful lights fill the atmosphere around you, stars shooting one after another, as two glowing angels fly to assist you.

God tells them, “Go, assist the princess of the Most High God!” They take the instructions seriously, very seriously. One of them calls for additional assistance. He is your guardian angel and it is his responsibility to make sure nothing goes wrong. That everything goes according to the plan.

Woo Hoo! I do not care who you are, that is happening for you. Yes. God is very interested in you, and He has a very special plan for your life. He is well equipped and you are the benefactor of His goodness, and empowerment. You are his princess. You are a princess of the Most High God. He created the stars, the Milky Way, and the Northern Lights just for you.

He created you, and then He said, “She is good. I can use her for my good pleasure.”

… for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

Um… just one more thing. If you are a male just substitute prince wherever you see the word princess. Okey dokey. I hope you all have a fabulous week!

Love and Blessings, Laura K.