How are you leading your family/ iPad Mini GIVEAWAY from TriciaGoyer & RSVP for a Live Webcast Event

Enter Today – 3/25- 4/16!
LEAD YOUR FAMILY LIKE JESUS BY KEN BLANCHARD, PHIL HODGES & TRICIA GOYER IPAD GIVEAWAY
Moms, mark your calendars. Join Tricia Goyer and Tracey Eyster on April 16 at 8 pm for the Lead, Momma Lead webcast event featuring wisdom from the soon-to-be-released book Lead Your Family Like Jesus (LYFLJ). Tracey and Tricia are both moms with decades of momming experience and a wealth of wisdom to share. Don’t miss out!

And speaking of LYFLJ

Parenting is hard. I make mistakes all the time. The other night Eldest lost her temper with Rachel. Part of me understood. Rachel often insists on having things her way and will fight to keep them that way. Whether it is due to autism or personality, I don’t know, but interactions with Rachel can be stressful.

As the fight progressed, Eldest called for reinforcements, “Mom!”

I had HAD IT. Instead of keeping my ego and temper in check and going to speak to them face to face, I yelled back that I was coming and I was busy and I was sick and tired of the yelling.

Whoops.

Eldest hid in the closet. I wanted to take a field trip to the beach by myself…but, thankfully, my brain rewound the last few minutes. I was the adult and I had modeled the behavior that was driving me crazy. Furthermore, I demanded a behavior (calm and compassion), but refused to be obedient to the same principle. In other words, I’d blown it. I needed to apologize.

When I did apologize, Eldest didn’t want to talk to me. My insides heated up. First she yells and now she rejects me when I’m trying to do the right thing? How dare she not respond to me? I am her mother! She should respect me!

And then I took another thinking break. What is one of the big principles in LYFLJ? Oh, yes. Get rid of ego…

I was a textbook case of letting my ego get in the way of love.

So, I did my best to respond in love. She still rejected me, but I was the adult, so I had to act like it. A few hours later, she came down and apologized from her heart, something that would not have occurred had I demanded it or fussed at her because she was not giving me the honor I felt I deserved.

Obedience is a matter of the heart–the parent’s heart and the child’s. In the Focus on the Family interview about LYFLJ, Phil Hodges stated, “Obedience is wanting to do that which you are required to do because of the one who asked you … That’s building a relationship with God, but it first comes from building a relationship with parents.”

The issue isn’t about forcing compliance, it is more about teaching children internal motivation toward obedience. And part of that is me modeling obedience. In everything I do, I model behavior for my children, whether good or bad. Do I tell the truth or do I lie? Do I obey speeding laws even when I am late, or do I make my own rules? If I want my children to follow God’s rules, I have to follow rules too.

Ken Blanchard added, “Obedience is not about control, it’s about a relationship.”

This goes back to getting my ego out of the way. Instead of coming at issues with a prideful attitude, I have to approach situations with love and wisdom. I have to take the time to put my family ahead of my ego, my self, and my internal selfishness.
Yeah, not easy. But most things that are worthwhile take effort and sacrifice.

How about you? What kind of parenting tips do you have for drawing closer to your family?

For more, listen to the Focus on the Family radio interview with Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodges, and Tricia Goyer. Click here to see the current offer to receive a copy of the LYFLJ book with any donation to Focus.

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Fun vacation family reads/audio books

by Jennifer Dyer

If you are going to spend any length of time in the car this holiday with the kids or even without the kids, I’d recommend Hank the Cowdog stories as a fun way to pass the time.

In the style of radio dramas, author John R. Erickson has a host of voices and songs he uses to share these tails (er, tales) with listeners. Pure family fun. Mr. Erickson is brilliant.

My favorite is still the Case of the One-eyed Killer Stud Horse. I love the first one, too. With 60 books available in book, e-book and audio formats, there are plenty to choose from.

I also posted a book review on Passion Blue by Victoria Strauss here.

What are your favorite ways to pass time in the car? How do you have fun as a family?

Happy reading!

Merry Christmas!

 

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What’s in your YA book?

by Jennifer Dyer

I love to read. As a fledgling writer, I churn through the pages of books, awed and  humbled at the intricate works so many authors pen.

However, I also stare open-mouthed at some of the fiction that crosses my threshold, especially from the Young Adult (YA) shelves of the library and bookstores.

In the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to catch up on some of the New York Times bestsellers in the YA market.

In addition to the all-to-common vampires, werewolves, witches, and various cross-breeds of the traditional paranormal casts, I’ve seen:

  • Explicit and erotic sexuality
  • Casual sex
  • Road trips to hell
  • Reincarnation
  • Characters who find out they are really a god/goddess
  • Murder
  • Wild parties: drinking both of alcohol and blood
  • Characters who call on the “sweet” name of Jesus, but are heavily involved in the occult
  • Blood–lots and lots of it
  • References to watching two teen boys together in a sexual sense as “totally hot”
  • Cheating death by taking part in rituals and/or becoming an evil being
  • Incestuous yearnings and relationships
  • An increase in the use of Nephilim as characters*

Yes, I see from the list that this looks a bit like some of the Greek tragedies I read in college. But those were tragedies, moral plays, and warnings for others. Most of the books I’ve read recently glorify and glamorize evil. Many authors are mixing pieces of Christianity in with mysticism, witchcraft, voodoo, astrology, reincarnation, and blatant Satanic rituals. Sometimes the characters learn to triumph over the bad guy, perhaps, but it is often through use of equally demonic means.

Lest you think I have become squeamish or a prude, I assure you I like speculative and paranormal fiction much more than the average person. (I often review YA and speculative fiction here and on my other blog.) But what I see all too often is a glorification of the demonic realm, something not to be taken lightly.

In Galatians 5:19-21Revelation 9:21 and Revelation 21:8, we are clearly warned to steer clear of sorcery, witchcraft, astrology, summoning demons, and sexual immorality. Yet, these books I’ve been skimming through are bestsellers. Read by children. So, who is buying these books that wrap this evil in a beautiful, glorious package? Libraries and parents, lots and lots of them.

I tell you this not to shame the entire YA genre. There are many, many wonderful books to be found in those shelves. But I urge you to beware of what lies in  between those beautiful covers.

*Nephilim are mentioned in Genesis 6:1-6 in the Bible as the offspring of the sons of God and daughters of men. Many people believe this means the children were fathered by angelic/demonic beings and mothered by human women–hence another superhuman member to our paranormal cast.

In YA fiction, Nephilim descendants often must come to terms with their demonic origins. Sometimes this is played out in a moral sense: choosing between good and evil. I’ve read some authors who have done this very well, beautifully in fact. Sometimes, though, the demonic world is portrayed as fascinating, a place to gain power over regular mortals.

What are some of the shocking subjects you have found in books?

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Betrayal Book review and Giveaway.

by Jennifer Dyer

Three orphans sent to find new lives out west at the turn of the twentieth century. Separated against their will as children, will they find one another again now that they are grown? And will they ever find love and redemption?

Last week I received Robin Lee Hatcher‘s newest release Betrayal in the mail to review. Also included was Belonging, the first novel in this Where the Heart Lives series.

I stared at the books and wondered if they were my type of book–it didn’t look like anything was likely to explode and there probably weren’t any superpowers. But I opened the first book Belonging anyway. And I finished it that same night. I even had difficulty hiding my irritation every time someone interrupted me while trying to finish the book. I was trying to work, after all! Lol.

I loved the redemption in Hugh’s life, the fact that he had a painful past, but wasn’t steeped in anger and bitterness. He had overcome some of his pain already and by his gentle strength he helped others. Hugh, in my eyes, was a true hero. I understood where both main characters were coming from and could identify with their emotions. And I loved the dog. :-)

By the next afternoon I finished both books. I even devoured the preview of the third book Beloved. The first sentence is wonderful. I cracked up. I don’t think I can print it here, so you’ll have to read it for yourself. It is one of the best opening lines I’ve read. Can’t wait to read that one too!

Safe for the whole family, these are great reads. Felicia in Belonging and Hugh in Betrayal, the two older of the orphaned siblings, must both find peace in their circumstances and try to open their hearts to love, something they have never experienced in their lives.

To learn more, see the Where the Heart Lives series story trailer.

Definite good, fun and touching read! Robin Lee Hatcher has a new fan in me.

Zondervan, the publisher, was super generous and gave me copies of the Where the Heart Lives books to giveaway! Leave a comment on this blog or on the link on my Jennifer Dyer Facebook author page to enter to win a copy of Belonging and Betrayal. Giveaway ends midnight December 14, 2012.

What are your favorite types of books? Do you like endings sad or happy? Do you like things to blow up or have a sedate pace? Do tell!

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Book Review–Guardian by Heather Burch

So, I’m taking the advice of a writer friend and splitting up my content a bit. I will be blogging about YA books and other topics related to sci-fi, fantasy, and speculative fun on my new website JenniferDyerBooks.com.

Lord willing, I hope to start unrolling some original content there as well, but that will come with time!

Come join me there, too, friends!

My first blog post is a review of Guardian by Heather Burch.

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Halflings–great YA read.

by Jennifer Dyer
Halflings by Heather Burch

While at the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference last week, I wandered through the book store and a book entitled Halflings immediately caught my eye. I bought it (along with about 30 other books…) and dove right into the pages.

Heather Burch, the author, tells the premise best:

Hunted by men and demons …
Seventeen-year-old Nikki must entrust her life to three half human, half angel young men; the Halflings are sworn to protect her at all costs, but when two fall for Nikki, it puts more than their lives in danger; their very eternal souls hang in the balance.

The book has all the elements I love. Good vs. evil, mystery, romantic twists, action, imminent danger, an attractive bad guy (I’ll explain why in a moment), high stakes, and questions poised by the characters that make me think.

My favorite moment in the book occurs (not a spoiler, BTW) when one of the Halflings talks with Nikki about choices and the eternal battle raging in the supernatural realm between the Throne (God) and evil (demons and Satan). Mace, my fav of the Halflings, explains,

“Everyone is in the middle of this war, Nikki. Humans, Halflings, and angels–both fallen and heavenly. You’ve ignored the battle for seventeen years, but something on the inside of you knows my words are true. You’re in a war and it’s time to choose a side. If you don’t, a side is chosen for you.”

Yes! I love this quote! It’s so true and essential to understand as a human, but it comes out organically in the plot. And this is only one part of the wisdom Heather imparts to the reader during the story.

Another point I love in this book is the way the Halflings deal with their fate. Mace is so loyal to the Throne, such a devoted servant. Even in his struggles between love and serving the Throne he is such a great character, so noble and self-sacrificial. He is what we all should be in many ways, IMHO. (FYI he is also a cutie!)

As for why I like attractive bad guys in fiction… Have you ever noticed how enticing evil is? Even Lucifer is referred to as an angel of light, a creature of beauty. To understand how easily we, as humans, can be lead into evil is to gain wisdom. Thanks again, Heather!

There is some romance in the book, a few kisses, various types of temptation, and some sexual tension. The book is YA, not children’s, so the actions are understandable and correlate to the temptations our daughters and sons face daily. Nikki’s confusion about love is something I so remember feeling at her age.

I would definitely recommend this book. Readers of all ages will enjoy the series. And if you haven’t started the series yet, good news! Guardian, the next installment, comes out October 9th, so you won’t have to wait as long as I have to continue the story. (Ack! While putting in the link, I got distracted by reading the first few pages of Guardian and ordering the book. Check it out!)

There are also some FREE ebooks that go with the series!

11:15 The Making of a Halfling.

A Halfling Rescue.

Happy reading, my friends. Hugs!

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Meet the BE THE MOM mom, Tracey Eyster

by Jennifer Dyer


I recently interviewed Tracey Eyster, writer and mom, about her latest project, Be the Mom, a book of encouragement for moms of all stages.

Here are some interesting facts about Tracey:

Me: How long have you been a mom?
Tracey: 19+ years.

Me: How long have you been writing for moms?
Tracey: 5 years.

Me: Tell me about your family.

Tracey: I have two wonderful kids – both teens. My beautiful daughter is 19, and my bold and courageous son is 16. I’ve been married to my tall, dark and handsome prince charming Bill for 25 years.

Me: Tell me about your MomLife.

Tracey: Because we have moved four times since having kids, I have had ridiculous messes before and after every move…I finally resolved that messes happen. Oh well! I do like to try and keep order…or at least orderly-ish messes! Do not ever ask to see my bedroom if you come visit my home. And YES I know my bedroom is supposed to be an oasis of love – much of it is…but there’s that area over next to the rocking chair and under the red oak desk where things seem to pile and multiply! And of course my mudroom…is aptly named, though it should probably be the mudroom/there’s no place else to store this room! Relax moms…messes are a reality.

Me: Why did you start this project?

Tracey: I wrote the book for my daughter…several years ago. As I contemplated all that she would someday face as a mom I grew increasingly concerned that she was going to think being a mom was too hard. I wanted her to know that yes, it’s hard…but so worth it. God would mold her children through her and in the process He would mold her through her selfless pouring into them! I basically have a joyful attitude, I choose to most times anyway, so I wanted her to realize she needed to make that same choice regardless of her circumstances. I wanted to pass on the good, the bad and ugly of my own momlife hoping she would find hope and encouragement in my momlife stories and through the lessons God has taught me!

Me: What would you like Be The Mom to bring to others moms?

Tracey: My prayer is that moms would understand motherhood is a gift and that God knows them intimately. He has every plan for the future of their child in His hands, and He has entrusted her with her children. Motherhood is a high calling and extremely important! As she molds her children to be image bearers for God, God is conforming her to His image by her selfless serving. And THAT is great preparation for His future calling on her life!

Me: What is coming up for you?

Tracey: I have been amazingly blessed to be a guest on Focus on the Family, In the Market with Janet Parshall, and on August 23rd and 24th I will be on FamilyLife Today. Currently I have various radio stations from across the country doing radio interviews with me and that is great fun! I am receiving requests to speak at various events and will explore those opportunities, careful to keep my family my continued priority, but basically I am open to whatever God blesses in my desire to speak into the lives of moms. Of course you can always find posts from me and other great moms of every age and stage of momlife at www.momlifetoday.com and you can get straight to me on my personal blog www.bethemom.com – I hope you’ll stop by both and be encouraged in your own momlife!

Tracey Eyster is the Creator and Editor of MomLife Today. Tenacity and a passion for momlife has fueled her relentless pursuit of following God’s call to speak wisdom and truth into the lives of moms through writing and speaking. Tracey is the mom of two teens and her home is regularly full of their friends as she intentionally pours into their lives. She delights in doing video interviews and exploring momlife with all types of moms and even a few “famous” ones. Her first book, Be The Mom is available for preorder. Tracey has been a mom for 18 years and she and Bill have been married for 25 years.

Thanks so much – big hugs from Tracey!!!

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Be the Mom.

by Jennifer Dyer

Tracey Eyster’s book Be the Mom details how to overcome some of the common attitude traps moms can fall into.

She states one of “the major frustration[s] for all moms is that the same thankless, unending parade of duties must be done day after day. Even enjoyable activities wear on you when you repeat them often enough.” She goes on to say, “I was beginning to feel that motherhood was unimportant, and in filling that role, I was becoming an overlooked nobody.”

Do you ever feel that way? I do. All the time. For you Star Wars fans: “It’s a Trap!”

There are many important jobs out there, but few offer the rewards of motherhood. True, some of those rewards might not be experienced immediately and some of them will be unseen until Eternity, but that’s okay. In fact, seeing rewards in eternity will be an even greater experience than we can imagine.

From the “Just-a-Mom Trap” to the “Busy Mom Trap” and “Tomorrow Mom Trap,” Tracey gives practical advice and personal illustrations about overcoming these pitfalls that prevent us from enjoying motherhood. Her book also includes the “Me Mom Trap,” “Martyr Mom Trap,” “Busy Mom Trap,” “Mirror Mom Trap,” and the “They Say Mom Trap.”

Full of fun, true confessions, and a candid look at the real life of a mom, Tracey’s book is a great read and will nourish your MomLife soul!

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50 Shades of reluctance.

by Jennifer Dyer

I haven’t wanted to touch this subject, but it keeps coming to mind, so here goes.

Earlier this summer, while walking through my local grocery store, I saw a large display of pretty books. The cover was a simple silver with a masquerade mask. Since it was so lovely, I picked up the book and read the back. Then dropped it.

Later, a friend brought up the books. I still didn’t know what all they entailed, just that it wasn’t my kind of book. As she described it, my mouth went dry. Really?

If you want a description of the book, see the Wikepedia article. Also look at the reviews on Amazon. In short, the book is about a college student choosing to get involved with a man who wants to keep her as his lover, and he has a sadistic/masochistic/bondage-esque view of sexual love. All three books are purported to be very graphic in nature.

Why am I telling you this without telling you much at all? So you can be aware, especially if you are like me and had no idea what the books were about. Since most of you don’t live under rocks like myself, you may be thinking, “Where have you been, Jenn?”

ANYWAY, I know a lot of you are moms and dads. I recently heard a friend relate a story about finding the book on a teen’s nightstand. The poor mother didn’t know what to do. My friend’s advice to her was solid. “Talk to your daughter, please. She needs to talk about it, and she needs you to be brave enough to talk it through with her.”

Yes, talking to your older kids before they read those books to convince them NOT to read it would be better, but my friend made a great point: “Do you want your daughter to think that kind of relationship is normal? Do you want her to get involved with a man like that? Do you want her to think that’s what marriage is?”

Be brave, my friends. Some of your kids will heed your warnings, but some of them might be enticed to read it if they see it around. Communication will help either way.

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