Wednesday, April 29, 2009

From Mark Kuyper:

The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) has decided not to repeat its consumer-focused Christian Book Expo (CBE), following the event's failed debut in March.

The group is also going to ask members to help it meet an estimated $250,000 shortfall on the three-day event at the Dallas Convention Center, where total attendance was a tenth of the 15,000 that had been projected. More than 60 publishers and suppliers took part in the March 19-22 program that included workshops, debates and opportunities for visitors--who paid admission--to buy books.

The decisions by the ECPA board were announced yesterday by President and CEO Mark Kuyper at the association's Executive Leadership Summit and Annual Member Meeting at the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif.

Kuyper told Christian Retailing the ECPA was not following up on its provisional booking of the Dallas venue for next year and that if a similar idea were ever to be considered in the future, "it would be a very different looking event."

A review of CBE had found the decision to market the event through Dallas-area churches to be one of the main factors in its "flawed concept," Kuyper added. Many companies that had taken part in CBE had indicated they would "like to give it another go," he said, "but the problem still remains this didn't work."

ECPA member companies will be asked to donate a voluntary assessment of their annual membership dues--which range from $1,512 to $15,000, depending on revenues--to pay outstanding CBE bills.

No one correctly solved Monday's mystery! Better luck next time sleuths...

Thaddeus Twiddle, a bedridden 92 year-old stroke victim, lived in his mansion with his sister, staff and private nurse. Because of his incapacities he could neither talk nor write. So he had no way to tell his sister that he hated his dour, fussy, malicious, sadistic nurse, Miss Prout, and wanted her dismissed at once.

One day, when Miss Prout brought him a cup of bitter tea, which always burned his throat and made him nauseous, he looked for something with which to strike her. Spotting the glass he kept his false teeth in, he smashed the top of it and held the weapon under the covers.

As Miss Prout leaned over to force the bitter brew down his throat, he jabbed the jagged glass into her throat, killing her instantly as she dropped the teacup. Twiddle died in his sleep before he could be prosecuted. As for the late Miss Prout, a little TLC would have prevented her premature RIP.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Max’ism: Stand Watch
Matthew 24:36-44

Max is a great comfort to me. As the wife of a shift-worker, I like having him around on the nights when my husband is gone. His sharp little ears are attentive to every sound, and I know I can rest assured with him standing watch. He warns me whenever a car pulls into the drive. His angry bark alerts us whenever a stranger approaches the door. He’s even started letting us know when the cows have escaped the pasture and are invading our yard.

His vigilance impressed me one day, when his low growl woke me from a sound sleep. I sat up in bed, listening. Nothing, and yet, Max persisted, so I rose to look. Outside, a full moon illuminated the landscape. Our shed stood out in stark relief against the night sky, and beyond it, deep in the woods, flames shot high into the air. I ran out onto the porch, clad only in my robe and slippers. Music and voices drifted to us from the bayou. Now and then, a gunshot pierced the darkness. I hurried inside and dialed the local sheriff’s office. Later, I learned a large group of people had been having a party by the water. One of them brought gun shells, and they took turns throwing them into the fire.

Why, I wondered, had God woken me from a deep slumber to witness such an event? And then I caught sight of Max seated at my heels. He stared up at me, eyes earnest, questioning. Watchful.

Do I watch with the same fervor as Max showed for the coming of the Lord as He commanded? Am I as ready, even in the dead of night, as Max was on this night?

I am learning to be.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Case:

A woman in a white dress is found dead. Near her body is a broken teacup.

The Mystery:

Who was the woman? Who killed her, how, and why?

The Clues:

1. The white dress was not a pretty gown.
2. The woman had an unfortunate personality.

The Answer:

Think you know the answer? Fill in the comment box to submit your guess. Winner receives a free book!

Friday, April 24, 2009


17. "I finished the Oreos"

16. "Not to imply anything, but I don't think the kid weighs 40 pounds."

15. "Y'know, looking at her, you'd never guess that Pamela Lee had a baby!"

14. "I sure hope your thighs aren't gonna stay that flabby forever!"

13. "Well, couldn't they induce labor? The 25th is the Super Bowl"

12. "Darned if you ain't about 5 pounds away from a surprize visit from that Richard Simmons fella."

11. "Fred at the office passed a stone the size of a pea. Boy, that's gotta hurt!"

10. "Whoa! For a minute there, I thought I woke up next to Willard Scott!"

9. "I'm jealous! Why can't men experience the joy of childbirth?"

8. "Are your ankles supposed to look like that?"

7. "Get your *own* ice cream."

6. "Geez, you're awfully puffy looking today!"

5. "Got milk?"

4. "Maybe we should name the baby after my secretary, Tawney."

3. "Man! That rose tattoo on your hip is the size of Madagascar!"

2. "Retaining water? Yeah, like the Hoover Dam retains water."

... and finally ...

1. "You don't have the guts to pull the trigger....."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Max’ism – Choose This Day
Joshua 24:14-18

Having a dog is like having another child. They need food. They need shelter. They need. . .well, they don’t need clothing, but you get the idea.

From his earliest days, I was the one who got out of bed at 3:00 a.m. to take Max outside. I’m still the one who feeds him daily, gives him baths, takes him to the vet, and cleans up his messes. When he runs off, I’m the one who tromps through the woods to go look for him. When he picks a fight with my daughter’s cat (she outweighs him by ten pounds) I’m the one who rushes in to rescue him. I do this because despite all the trouble he gets into, I love him.

Max was in a playful mood one day, and my husband and I took turns tossing a plastic toy for him to fetch. When playtime was over, I called Max to come sit with me on the couch. He refused, and sat staring at the toy clutched in my husband’s hand instead.

“Max, come sit,” I repeated.

He wavered. I could see the hesitation in his eyes as he looked from me to the toy. In the end, he chose the toy.

And then it occurred to me. God cares for me. He feeds and shelters me. He clothes me. When I was lost, He came looking for me. He binds up my hurts and rushes in to protect me. And yet. . .I don’t always choose Him. In my words and deeds, I sometimes turn away from the One who gave me life. Thankfully, God is faithful, and despite all the trouble I get into, I am comforted by this knowledge—my Lord loves me. The decision whether or not to follow Him is mine. I will make it. . .daily.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Case:

Harry is found dead on the grass in Southern California. His murderers are never found.

The Mystery:

Who killed Harry? How did he die, and what became of his murderers?

The Clues:

1. The grass was on a field.
2. The murderers were killed the next morning.

The Answer:

Think you know the answer? Fill in the comment box to submit your guess. Winner receives a free book!

Friday, April 17, 2009


Sign over a gynecologist's office: "Dr. Jones, at your cervix."

On a Plumbers truck: "We repair what your husband fixed."

On the trucks of a local plumbing company in NE Pennsylvania: "Don't sleep with a drip. Call your plumber."

Pizza shop slogan: "7 days without pizza makes one weak."

At a tire shop in Milwaukee: "Invite us to your next blowout."

Door of a plastic surgeon's office: "Hello. Can we pick your nose?"

At a towing company: "We don't charge an arm and a leg. We want tows."

On an electrician's truck: "Let us remove your shorts."

In a nonsmoking area: "If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action."

On a maternity room door: "Push. Push. Push."

At an optometrist's office: "If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place."

On a taxidermist's window: "We really know our stuff."

In a podiatrist's office: "Time wounds all heels."

On a fence: "Salesmen welcome! Dog food is expensive."

At a car dealership: "The best way to get back on your feet - miss a car payment."

Outside a muffler shop: "No appointment necessary. We hear you coming."

In a veterinarian's waiting room: "Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!"

At the electric company: "We would be de-lighted if you send in your bill. However, if you don't, you will be."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Max’ism: Get off the Dock
Matthew 14:25-32

Max isn’t built for swimming. With his long, barrel-like body and short, stumpy legs, he’s like log set adrift on the waves, even when I support him with my hand firm under his belly. But he absolutely cannot stand when we are in the pool and he isn’t. So he sits on the dock and whines, every once in while dipping his paw in the water and drawing it back out.

I tried to get him to jump in one day, when everyone else was splashing around. He came oh, so close, but backed out at the last minute. Frustrated, he laid his head down and just stared at the rest of us, out there having fun without him.

So it is with the Lord. He beckons to us, urging us to join Him where He is. And we sit on the dock, watching as others who have found the courage to trust Him have fun without us. Can it be that we are so foolish as to not believe that the One who created heaven and earth also has the power to keep us from sinking? Is it really that we have not learned to fully trust Him?

If the miracles of God’s love and care are not enough to draw us the Lord, what would it take, I wonder, to get us to finally take the plunge?

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Case:

The drowned body of a young woman is washed up on a foreign shore. She was murdered, but the police think it was an accidental death.

The Mystery:

Who killed her? How and why was she murdered?

The Clues:

1. The woman was wearing a swimsuit.
2. The woman was an excellent swimmer.

The Answer:

Think you know the answer? Fill in the comment box to submit your guess. Winner receives a free book!

Friday, April 10, 2009


1. AQUADEXTROUS (ak wa deks'trus) adj. Possessing the ability to turn the bathtub tap on and off with your toes.

2. CARPERPETUATION (kar'pur pet u a shun) n. The act, when vacuuming, of running over a string or a piece of lint at least a dozen times, reaching over and picking it up, examining it, then putting it back down to give the vacuum one more chance.

3. DISCONFECT (dis kon fekt') v. To sterilize the piece of confection (lolly) you dropped on the floor by blowing on it, assuming this will somehow 'remove' all the germs.

4. ELBONICS (el bon'iks) n. The actions of two people maneuvering for one armrest in a movie theater.

5. FRUST (frust) n. The small line of debris that refuses to be swept onto the dust pan and keeps backing a person across the room until he finally decides to give up and sweep it under the rug.

6. LACTOMANGULATION (lak' to man gyu lay' shun) n. Manhandling the "open here" spout on a milk container so badly that one has to resort to the 'illegal' side.

7. PEPPIER (peph ee ay') n. The waiter at a fancy restaurant whose sole purpose seems to be walking around asking diners if they want fresh ground pepper.

8. PHONESIA (fo nee' zhuh) n. The affliction of dialing a phone number and forgetting whom you were calling just as they answer.

9. PUPKUS (pup'kus) n. The moist residue left on a window after a dog presses its nose to it.

10. TELECRASTINATION (tel e kras tin ay' shun) n. The act of always letting the phone ring at least twice before you pick it up, even when you're only six inches away.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Max’ism: Be Faithful
Deuteronomy 7:8-10

Part of Max’s charm is his absolute, unconditional faithfulness.

He attends me everywhere I go. When I go into the living room, he follows. When I wake in the middle of the night, he wakes, and his eyes remained fixed to me until my head returns to the pillow. When I rise to go into the kitchen to prepare a meal, he sits beside me at the stove. Even when I go into the bathroom, Max lies next to the door and waits until I finish. He’s like a long, low shadow.

It is from watching his display that I understand a little bit of God’s faithfulness toward us…and I understand a little bit of what it means to be faithful to God.

God is so worthy, so deserving of my undying devotion, and yet it is He who is faithful. He goes with me everywhere I go. He watches over me as I sleep, and sits beside me when I wake. I am in His every thought, and it is for me that He sent His Son to die.

What would my life be like were I to live every moment in utter faithfulness to my heavenly Father? Though I have not yet learned it fully, I intend to spend the rest of my finding out.

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Case:

“The cops will never suspect me,” Pat thought as he tiptoed toward the living room, carrying a heavy iron skillet. One whack and his murderous plan would surely pan out! Mike, his brother, would be sitting where he sat every night, in his favorite chair, falling asleep in front of the TV. Killing him would be easy and foolproof.

A week later, alerted by a concerned neighbor, police broke into the apartment and found the bodies. Both men were in the living room: Mike dead in his chair, his head severely dented; Pat in another chair, just as dead. A piece of paper was on the coffee table.

The Mystery:

Why did Pat think he could get away with murder? What really happened that fateful night?

The Clues:

1. Mike had been very depressed lately.
2. Pat couldn’t see the state his brother was in.

The Answer:

Think you know the answer? Fill in the comment box to submit your guess. Winner receives a free book!

Friday, April 03, 2009

You Might Be A High Tech Redneck If...

1. Your e-mail address ends in ""

2. You connect to the World Wide Web via a "Down Home Page."

3. Your laptop has a sticker that says, "Protected by Smith and Wesson."

4. You wire your network with jumper cables.

5. Your wife said either she or the computer had to go, and you still don't miss her.

6. You've ever used a CD-ROM as a coaster to set your drink on.

7. You ever refer to your computer as "Ole Bessy."

8. Three Words: Daisy Duke Screensaver

9. Your spell checker knows words like, "Y'all", "Yonder", and "Reckon."

10. Your yard is full of dead CPUs, printers, modems and monitors.

11. Your belt buckle is made from a dead 3.5" disk drive.

12. You ever felt you had to move your computer desk so it didn't block the velvet picture of Elvis.

13. Yer mouse keeps knocking over yer spitcan.

14. When you order your new pick-up truck with a gun rack and PCMCIA sockets.

15. Your PC Games collection consists of nothing but Bass Fishing tournament games.

16. You only buy from GateWay, 'cause the cow boxes are a hoot.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

I attended the first ever Christian Book Expo last week. Expected attendees were projected in the thousands. As I'm sure you've heard by now, the actual number was far lower, and yet I'm so very grateful that I went. Why? Well, take a look at the pictures that follow. Very rarely do I get to meet and fellowship with friends and other writers on such a scale as this. Pictured here (from left) are Carrie Turansky, Janelle Mowery, me, Susan Downs, Christine Lynxwiler, and Kim Vogel Sawyer.

Added to that, I got to meet one of my all time favorite writers, Max Lucado. When I texted my husband to show him the picture, the dear man asked if Max had asked me to sign a book for him! LOL! Maybe someday?

For those of you who already love Max Lucado, I feel compelled to share a special thing that happened at his book signing. Though a long line had formed of people wanting Mr. Lucado's autograph, he still took the time to speak to people who could not attend the CBE over the telephone! This was not simply a 'hi, how are you' kind of conversation. He was very gracious, exactly as I imagined he would be, and it was an honor to meet him.

Mr. Lucado wasn't the only author signing books at the Expo, however. My own book signing with Janelle was also a success. We handed out several bookmarks, Post-It pads, and other promotional materials to passersby, and even sold a few books. As in events past, Janelle and I held a drawing for a Mystery Basket filled with goodies and cozy mysteries. Congratulations to Blaine... the winner of the basket. Your prize should be arriving soon! When we weren't signing books, we spent some time visiting with friends. Pictured here (from left) is Janelle Mowery, me, Susan Downs and Kim Vogel Sawyer.

Barbour's booth at the Expo was beautiful--relaxed and elegant. I was so proud to be a part of this great team. Pictured here (from left) are Christine Lynxwiler, Carrie Turansky, Susan Downs, Wanda Brunstetter, Janelle Mowery, Rebecca Germany, Kim Vogel Sawyer, Mary Connealy, and me. Mary Connealy's book, Calico Canyon, was nominated for a Christy Award at the Expo. Way to go, Mary!

An unexpected bonus of attending the Expo was the worship times held on Friday and Saturday nights. Sheila Walsh and others hosted the event on Saturday night, and what blessing it was! I was exhausted after three busy days, but I am so glad I didn't skip. Nicole C. Mullen, pictured here to the right, rocked the house with her moving and beautiful performance. For a couple of the songs, she had no track music, just her guitar and her powerful voice. What a blessing!! And what a perfect way to close the Expo.

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