Monday, March 31, 2008

Generation NeXt Marriage by Tricia Goyer - Blog Tour

Do you still find yourself humming the love songs of the 80s and 90s?

Do you still believe that every marriage should be between soul mates?

But -- do you wonder how you can succeed at love and marriage when the generation you grew up in didn't?

Marriage isn't what it used to be-it can be better than ever.

If you are a Gen Xer, your marriage has challenges and potentials that no other generation has known. A Gen Xer herself, Tricia Goyer offers realistic help to achieve the God-honoring marriage you long for. She includes:

·Ways to protect your marriage despite the broken relationships modeled in your youth

·Stories, suggestions, and confessions from fellow Gen Xers facing the "What now?" question of real-life marriage

·Advice from the ultimate marriage survival guide: the Bible

·Stats, quizzes, sidebars, and study questions related to this "relationally challenged" time in history

·Practical helps for negotiating kids, work, sex, money, and dirty laundry-sometimes all in the same evening

If you are part of a generation of adults who don't want to bow to their culture or live and love like their parents did -- this book is for you.

Here are what a few people had to say:

"Where do Gen Xers find the priceless principles to make a marriage work? Most didn't get them in the homes they grew up in, and they didn't get them from the TV or movies they watched or music lyrics they listened to. But Tricia Goyer, an Xer herself, offers real help and real hope for the Gen X marriage and insightful truths for all who work or minister to those in the Gen X age group."
-Pam Farrel, best-selling author of Men Are Like Waffles-Women Are Like Spaghetti, Red-Hot Monogamy, and The First Five Years

"Generation NeXt Marriage is a much-needed marriage manual for a generation ready to make the most of marriage. Thoughtful, interactive, well researched, and exceptionally relevant for couples who want to thrive in their marriages, this book is a must for beginning and continuing young couples."
-Elisa Morgan, CEO, MOPS International and publisher, FullFill magazine

"Tricia Goyer refuses to play the 'blame game.' This extraordinary Gen Xer, raised in a blended family, steps up to the plate and speaks to ALL generations -- but especially to her own. She is gifted and blunt. She shares that it's time to really LIVE and LOVE YOUR HUSBAND GOD'S WAY -- and tells the reader just how to do that. Tricia is young enough to be my daughter and wise enough to be my mentor. This book is GenXcellent!"
-Nancy Cobb, author of How to Get Your Husband to Listen to You

Chapter One!

You Might Think

Before we got married, John and I spent hours and hours talking. We discussed our growing-up years, our hopes and dreams, our likes and dislikes. We literally spent every free moment together. I thought I knew him pretty well. After four months of dating we were engaged, and we married five months later. I'd found the man for me. For life.

Even though I didn't realize it at the time, I had expectations of what life would be like after we were married. Very unrealistic expectations, I soon discovered. For example, I'd visited John's apartment on many occasions, and I could tell he was a neat freak. His bed was always made. The dishes were washed and put away. He did his own laundry and ironed his own clothes. What a guy! I was just the opposite. In fact, one thing my mother repeatedly told me when I was growing up was, "I'd hate to see what your house will be like when I'm not around to pick up after you." Cool, I thought. John will do all the housecleaning -- this will work out perfectly.

Okay, let's stop right here. I'll wait while you finish laughing.

You see, John had his own expectations. Great, John thought. Once we get married Trish will be around, so I won't have to do all the housecleaning.

As you can imagine, we both had unrealistic expectations. And we were both hugely disappointed! Now, if those had been the only expectations we had for each other, then married life would have been fairly manageable. But they weren't. In fact, our expectations were just one drop in the tidal wave. Our differing thoughts on issues like money, child-rearing, sex, and our extended families soon created waves, as deepseated emotions, past experiences, and firm opinions stirred the sandy beaches of our honeymoon paradise.

Ohmigosh! Who is this person I married? I wondered, my chin set and my arms firmly crossed over my chest. When did he get so opinionated and stubborn?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Seeing Through The Lies Blog Tour

Seeing through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believe

We have been seduced by half-truths and whole lies since time began. Remember the garden? In Seeing Through the Lies, author and speaker Vonda Skelton humorously addresses the disappointments women experience as they search for truth while believing a lie. Each chapter opens with amusing anecdotes from real life and ends with answers and guidance straight from God s Word. Exploring topics such as pride, fear, motherhood, and the busyness of life, this book offers practical steps for peeling away the layers of deceit and finding the joy of living in real truth. Through honesty and humility, Vonda takes women on a hilarious journey through all things female and brings them to a soul-searching point of decision. Readers will identify with both the positive and negative examples of women in the Bible, and will be encouraged by Scripture, as well as quotes from notable men and women. Each chapter ends with five steps for exposing the lie and embracing the truth of God s Word.

Are you striving to be a woman of excellence, but feel you're landing somewhere between mediocre and unfit?

Do you want to be your husband's lover, but feel more like his mother?

Are you convinced that busyness is next to godliness?

Are you trying so hard to be everything to everybody that you feel like you're nobody to anybody?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you're not alone--you've simply fallen victim to the lies of Satan! But you don't have to be seduced by his masquerade any longer. Join the fun as we take a hilarious journey through all things female on our search for real truth in a counterfeit world.

From spider veins and webs of deceit to cartoon characters and feminist funnies, Seeing through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believe will help you recognize the lies and take joy in the light of His Truth.The suggested Bible readings, small group discussion questions, and meditations on the very words of Jesus will help you discover not only the lies that bind you, but the keys that set you free.

Listen, girlfriend, it doesn't matter who you are or where you've been or what you've done, God is ready to give you a fresh start on a new life--one that can only come through the acceptance of His unchanging truth.


Vonda Skelton is an entertaining speaker with a heart for women and their families. Her first women's book, Seeing through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believe, "takes a hilarious look at all things female as we search for truth in a counterfeit world." Her first two books are part of the Bitsy Mystery Series for children 8-14 years old. The third book in the series, Bitsy and the Mystery at Hilton Head Island, will be released in the spring of 2008. An RN and freelance writer, Vonda's articles frequently appear in magazines such as HomeLife, Christian Single, Focus on the Family publications, and New Man Magazine. An award-winning playwright and lyricist, her scripts have been performed in churches around the country. She is a frequent instructor at writer's conferences and enjoys mentoring and encouraging new writers.As one who tries--and often fails--to be like Christ, Vonda is thankful God continues to take her messes and use them for His glory!

Why did you write Seeing Through the Lies? Where did you birth the idea for this book? When? How did it come about?

This book was written out of my passion for women's ministry. We--not just women, but all of us --are deceived by so many lies! They are woven throughout today's culture. I wanted to help us get focused, or in some cases, refocused, on the timeless truths of God's Word. I knew I could reach many more women through a book than I ever could reach through my speaking ministry. So, I started with the key points from my Celebrating Womanhood presentation, where we look at the seasons of a woman's life and come to the conclusion that God can use each of us, no matter our age or situation. After several revisions and rethinking the needs of women, Seeing Through the Lies was born.

What takeaway points do you hope the reader pulls from this book?

I hope that after women read my book they'll realize that Satan works hard tomake us believe his lies, but this is what God wants you to know:

Your worth is not dependent on your beauty, your busyness, or your stuff.

A happy marriage is one that endures.

Motherhood is an honorable profession.

God has the power to overcome your fear.

You win when you lose.

Your life won't be perfect until you reach perfection in heaven.

You can't win God's love because of your goodness, and you can't lost His love because of your sin. And that, dear sisters, is the truth.

How do you deal with your other obligations (family, job, church, etc.) when it's crunch time near writing deadlines?

Did you have to ask that question? In all honesty, this is one of my biggest struggles--balancing my time between my husband, my family, my home, my church, and my writing and speaking ministry. The truth is, my husband, Gary, is a dream husband. As I mentioned in the book, his mother made sure he knew how to cook, clean, change diapers, and iron long before we married. And I know you're not going to believe this, but I promise it's true: I never have to ask him to take out the trash, fix the car, or pay the bills. (And no--you CAN'T have him! He's MINE!) So on those days when he comes home from work at 6:30 and there's no dinner on the stove and I'm still at the computer in my pajamas, he doesn't say a word. He simply goes to the frig, pulls out the sandwich makings and asks if I've eaten anything that day. Can you tell I tend to get tunnel vision when it comes to crunch time? Yes, God has to rein me in over and over. I'm kinda like Paul, "I don't know why I do the things I do!" (Now, if somebody out there could just tell me how to go to the potty without having to actually leave the computer--just think how much more I could accomplish in a day!)

What's your favorite worship song, and why?

One of my favorite songs is "Majesty" written by members of Delirious. The line that says, "Your grace has found me just as I am--empty-handed but alive in Your hand" just gets to me. I can see myself standing before Holy God, falling to my knees...empty-handed, with nothing to offer Him. And yet, He takes me just as I am--selfish, self-centered, and proud--and cleans me up to be used by Him. I can't wait to get to heaven, 'cause I know that when I belt out the songs there, it will be beautiful! No off-key notes, no frightened, trembling voice--it'll be loud and clear and powerful! And Jesus will be there, smiling at me. Yep. I can see it now. I'm the lead singer and Hillsong is backing me up. And Jesus is smiling real big. As we say here in the south, it just don't get no better than that!

What do you crave (beverage or food) when you have writer's stress?

Oh, a banana split always works, as long as it's a real one. That means chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream, real fruit, and wet nuts, with whipped cream on top. And anything chocolate, of course. But then you have to balance it with salt, right?

Can you share something with our readers about what God has been teaching you lately?

He's teaching me that I need to trust Him more. I recently had so many things going on that I couldn't prepare for three events as thoroughly as I usually do. I found myself feeling vulnerable, weak, and needy. Not that I don't ask for His help every time I speak, but this was different. I was crying out to God, begging Him to fill me with His words, His message. And you know what? Those three events were the most powerful, most amazing events I've ever had! Instead of working from a well-defined plan, I spoke the words God placed in my heart and mind. As always, I had been praying God would use the week's events to change hearts...and He did. He changed mine. I learned to relinquish my agenda and plans to His; to trust Him in a way I hadn't truly trusted Him before. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That week, God's power was made perfect through my weakness. I never want to work in my strength again.

What are some of the lies or myths women tend to believe? And what are the best ways for women to see through the lies and unmask the myths, in order to live the lives God would have for them?

You mean, besides the one that says we have to be a size 2 and perpetually 23 years old? Besides the lies we're most familiar with--like our worth is based on our beauty, our busyness, or our stuff--we look at nine areas of deceit women tend to struggle with, like the lies inadvertently promoted by the Christian community. How many times have we been told, "Just believe God and everything will be wonderful?" Or "If you have enough faith, you won't be sick." (The truth is, Jesus tells us we will have trouble in this world.) Or what about the lie that says we'll get married and live happily ever after everyday? The only way we can unmask the myths and find the truth is to go to God's Word. Read His instruction. Take to heart the Bible stories of people who lived through similar experiences and then apply the principals to our own lives.

What are the effects of women being sucked in to the lies? What are the benefits of overcoming this temptation to believe what the world and the enemy would want women to believe?

Regardless of where I go, I find that women are disappointed. We're disappointed in ourselves, in our marriages, in our lives in general. The problem is, we're trying to reach some impossible dream the world sets for us. Living in truth frees us to be what God uniquely created us to be. He wants us to live the abundant life. But we can't do that as long as we're falling for the lies.

What is your philosophy about integrating humorous thoughts into writings that have more serious subjects?

Some people believe that Christian women speakers have somehow "arrived." Ha! All you have to do is spend a day at my house and you'll see that's one of the biggest lies of all! Let's face it, we're all in the same boat. We're all struggling along this path called the Christian life. When we laugh at ourselves, we level the playing field and see that we're not alone. That in itself removes a mask. Then we can move ahead to the truth God has for us.

You give great discussion questions at the end of the book that really helps readers assimilate what they have read. Do you have some ideas or suggestions for how churches and other groups can use this book in a group study? How would a group dynamic enhance individual growth?

For a long time, I compared myself to women at church...and always found myself lacking. But when we come together and honestly confess our hardships and celebrate our successes, we encourage each other in the struggle. Isn't it great to have a team of prayer partners who will intercede on our behalf throughout the week? What strength! What love! Oh, just imagine what we can be for Christ when we take off the masks and become real! (By completing either one or two chapters a week, the study can be used as a 6 or 12 week study.)

Vonda is offering a lovely gift basket for a lucky winner. Leave a comment for a chance to win.

The drawing will be held April 2, 2008. The winner will receive:

Designer Gift Box (looks like a piece of luggage with the words "Faith, Family, Friends" on the exterior).

One copy each of three books by the author: Seeing Through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believe, Bitsy and the Mystery at Amelia Island, Bitsy and the Mystery at Tybee Island.

A stretchy bracelet with Sterling Silver Beads, Gold Swarovski Pearls, Turquoise and Blue Zircon Swarovski Crystals and Sterling Silver Masquerade Mask Charm.

Bookmark custom-made with Sterling Silver Beads, Gold Swarovski Pearls, Turquoise, Blue Zircon and Clear Swarovski Crystals and Sterling Silver Masquerade Mask Charm on a 4.75 inch Silver Plated Bookmark.

Gold Tri-fold picture frame.

Pewter-colored oval picture frame.

Jeweled decorated cross.

Peanut caramel clusters.

Caramel Truffles.

Mini-Yankee Candle.

Three-pack sample tea bags.

Sample Columbian Supremo Coffee.

Oh My! Itty Bitty Chai Packet.

Friday, March 7, 2008

A Sister's Test Blog Tour

Romance is in bloom once again in Holmes County. Cleon and Grace Schrock are expecting their first child together and are happily settling into married life. And Grace’s younger sister, Ruth, is falling in love with Martin Gingerich. As their love blooms, the attacks on the Hostettler family begin again threatening their peace and security once again.

First, the attacks are just pranks...

A stink bomb in the family barn

The farm gets toilet-papered

Then, they escalate...

Laundry on the line is shredded

Weed spray in the garden kills all their garden plants

Finally, the unthinkable...

A horse and buggy are run off the road, costing the family dearly

Who’s to blame? Footprints lead directly to the Larson homestead and shortly thereafter Ray and Donna Larson make an offer to purchase the Hostettler homestead should they decide to move. But it could also be Luke Frieson, a young man still on rumspringa who hangs around with a rowdy English crowd. Cigarettes at the scene of one attack could point to him. Or they could point to heavy smoker Sheriff Osborn.

Bestselling Amish fiction author Wanda E. Brunstetter is certain to keep her millions of readers up late into the evening to learn whether all the mischief and mayhem will finally come to an end.

About Wanda E. Brunstetter

Fascinated by the Amish people during the years of visiting her husband’s family in Pennsylvania, Wanda E. Brunstetter combined her interest with her writing and now has eleven novels about the Amish in print, along with numerous other stories and ministry booklets. She has also written an Amish cookbook, an Amish devotional and some Amish children’s books. She lives in Washington State, where her husband is a pastor, but takes every opportunity to visit Amish settlements throughout the States.

A Sister’s Test is the second installment in the Holmes County Series and deals with mysterious attacks that test the faith, perseverance and forgiveness of the characters. What was the inspiration behind this series and what message(s) should readers take away after they’ve read A Sister’s Test?

After reading a newspaper article about some Amish people who’d been attacked by someone with a grudge against them, I decided to write a series addressing this issue and showing how I believe the Amish would respond to a situation such as this. The message I hope my readers will take away from reading A Sister’s Test is the message of forgiveness, forbearance, and trusting in God to bring about something good even in bad situations.

In the past you’ve mentioned having a serious fascination with the Amish people and it’s clear from your writings that you respect their culture. What is it about them and their culture that you admire?

I admire their strong faith in God and their commitment to God and family. I also admire the fact that they do not put their emphasis on worldly things and spend more time reflecting on God’s creation and the blessings He bestows.

How can we adopt these principles in today’s society without giving up the ‘modern’ way of life and becoming Amish?

We can slow down and take time out to spend with the Lord, as well as our family and friends. Many people are so busy “doing” that they miss a lot of the wonderful things God created for our enjoyment. Realizing that “things” aren’t nearly as important as “people” will help us keep our focus where it should be.

How do you think you’d respond to the attacks in A Sister’s Secret if you were Ruth?

I would no doubt be very frightened and concerned for the welfare of my family. I would, of course, notify the authorities, and perhaps do a little investigating on my own. Most of all, however, I would trust God for protection and ask Him to bring the answers that are needed to put a stop to the crimes. I would also ask Him for patience and a sense of peace.

The ability, or inability, to have children whatever the reason can be devastating to a woman. Do you have any advice to women struggling in this area of life?

Two of my best friends are not able to have children of their own. One friend chose to adopt, the other friend did not. Both women are loving, nurturing, caring people, and both are living fulfilled lives. While motherhood is a fulfilling responsibility, I don’t believe being a mother is the only way a woman can be fulfilled. There are many other things we can do in this life that bring fulfillment, and if we seek God’s will and ask Him how we can best serve Him, He will fulfill our needs.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Nana’s Bible Stories Blog Tour

It is truly an honor to have the opportunity to share some of my personal thoughts and experiences as a new author with you, LaShaunda, and the Sormag readers! I am so blessed to see the work you are doing to help and encourage each other!

There are so many gifts lying dormant in the lives of women—just waiting to be discovered or understood. I pray not only that my book, Nana’s Bible Stories will be encouraging to the children in your life—but, also that my personal story will be of encouragement to many of you as you pursue your calling.

Why did you decide to write Nana’s Bible Stories?

ROBERTA: Books are such an important element in a child’s life. Books with stories of the Bible are wonderful, because kids can start at an early age, learning wonderful lessons from this great book. The Bible has more adventure and excitement than any book ever published.

I wanted so much to write stories that were warm, exciting, with the emphasis on how much Jesus loves children, and how He was such a wonderful loving person on this earth, even though He was the Son of God! I wish for children know how important they are in the Kingdom of God. Jesus was passionate about them and I want kids to be passionate about Him!

Bible literacy is so important! The Bible is the most influential text in all of Western culture – in fact, ninety percent of high school teachers in a 2005 study said that Bible knowledge is critical to a good education. Yet, sadly, the rate of Bible illiteracy among teens entering college is alarmingly high and is severely limiting their ability to understand classic and modern literature, art, music and culture.

You are a Jewish believer. Do you think your Jewish heritage played a role in the telling of Nana’s Bible Stories?

ROBERTA: Yes, yes, absolutely yes! I always look on the Bible as a Jewish book to begin with. However, my love for Israel and the Jewish people is a big help. I have been to Israel too many times to count, and am in touch with the people and the culture. The land is exquisite, and when I am writing stories, I can picture the people, and the place in which the story takes place.

I do believe that often, we forget Jesus was Jewish, and many things He said and the content of the stories He told were very Jewish.

I have worked closely with the illustrator, Susan Mitchell, who was wonderful illustrator for my book. It was great fun inspiring her with pictures and describing the people as she brought Israel to life through her illustrations. I think she did a great job, in color and characters!

Why do you believe it is important to introduce our children to the Bible when they are young?

ROBERTA: I do believe, and it is also scripturally true, that if you train up a child in the scripture, and encourage that child to have a personal relationship with God, then when he/she grows up they will truly not depart from it. I have done this, and seen the results. I can truly say that all my children, and their children, know the Lord!

If we can promote the Bible as interesting, exciting, etc. then children will want to know the content. I want my stories to be exciting and truthful, so that my book can serve as an introduction to the Bible, and they will want to read more!

We need to reach kids when they are young, when their minds are open to accepting new concepts, characters etc. Look at how easily young kids can pick up new languages. When I was five years old I went to a Welsh school, where no English was spoken. I could choose to hide in a corner, as I did the first day, or jump in and learn the language. I chose to learn, and learn I did!

The minds of children are so open, and accepting. When kids learn the Bible at an early age, it teaches them great values, and greatly influences the development of their character!

I think it would make such a positive and wonderful difference in children’s lives if they were required to learn Bible stories!

Some of your royalties from Nana’s Bible Stories will be going to children’s charities. Please explain.

ROBERTA: While we were working with Jane Seymour on her narration, we learned about all the wonderful work that she was doing on behalf of various children’s charities. It was touching to see first hand the work that is being done and actually meeting some of the young people who are benefiting from her charity work. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of my book will go to these charities, including City Hearts in Los Angeles.

I am also involved the Children’s Trust in Barbados. They do a marvelous job of helping, sick, and underprivileged children on this island.

It is a great joy to be writing, knowing that the Lord is blessing children both spiritually and financially through Nana’s Bible Stories.

Do you think we ever become too old for God to use us?

ROBERTA: Absolutely not, not, not! As long as we have breath we can be used. As long as our heart is ticking, we can move out of our comfort zone! Even if bad health or accidents get in our way, we can pray, pray, pray!

Thank you for allowing me to share a part of my life and calling with you. If you would like to learn more about me or my book, please go to You may download one of my favorite stories, The Butterfly and the Cross—the story of the crucifixion as told through the gentle and tender eyes of a butterfly. I have also included a special devotional for the story which you may share with your children this Easter season. Cuddle up with a child and enjoy!

Nana’s Bible Stories are narrated by two different readers: Red cover is Jane Seymour, Blue cover is Sheila Walsh.