Saturday, January 30, 2010

I'm back!!

I have finished books and need to tell you what I think. I LOVE THEM!!

Now why and what books? Good question.

I'll start with this one. The Chic shall inherit the earth by Shelly Adina. It is the sixth book in Shelly's All About Us series. This book is again about Lissa Mansfield, high school senior at the posh Spencer Academy.

I am a long way away from my senior year, but I do remember it. I remember the fears, the insecurities I faced. I have to say while I know Lissa is a work of fiction, I was proud of her. She had insecurities and fears and she faced them.

She realized the leader of the pack of mean girls was desperate for a friend. And she set out to be a friend to this girl in spite of great opposition from her own group of friends.

This is definitely a book I will want my own daughters to read when they are old enough.

The next books...are found here and here. These books are in a brand new series, Camp Club Girls and are for girls ages 9-12. I LOVED these books.

As soon as I finished the first book, I emailed my contact at Barbour Books and gushed over them. Seriously, people the first book kept me awake with giddiness. Finally a book for girls, for MY girls I will gladly let them read. In fact they were both chomping at the bit for me to finish them.

I honestly can't remember the last time I read juvenile fiction that was this good. I really struggle finding age-appropriate books for my two girls, ages 7 and 9.5.

Camp Club Girls tell the story of six girls from across the United States who meet at Camp Discovery and together solve a mystery. They are kind of like a group of modern day Nancy Drews, only younger.

My 9.5 year old has this to say about the books:
They are interesting. They have interesting mixed in with spiritual.

My 7 year old says this about the books.
I like the books because they kind of seem real to me. And I just like them.

Now a note about my 7-year-old, she is a mover. Sitting still and reading for hours is not something that is easy for her to do. She loves to read but has to move around too. (She is her Momma's daughter.) She read both books in about a day and a half.

Please, Momma's and Daddies, do you young girls a favor and get them started on these books.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Be Authentic

I haven't had a chance to read this one yet....so personal review coming. Enjoy the first chapter.

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Be Authentic

David C. Cook; New edition (January 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings – The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


A man who has given his life to a deep examination of the Word of God, Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe is an internationally known Bible teacher, former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago and the author of more than 150 books. For over thirty years, millions have come to rely on the timeless wisdom of Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s “Be” Commentary series. Dr. Wiersbe’s commentary and insights on Scripture have helped readers understand and apply God’s Word with the goal of life transformation. Dubbed by many as the “pastor’s pastor,” Dr. Wiersbe skillfully weaves Scripture with historical explanations and thought-provoking questions, communicating the Word in such a way that the masses grasp its relevance for today.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (January 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434766306
ISBN-13: 978-1434766304

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Like Father , Like Son—Almost

(Genesis 25—26)


Isaac was the son of a famous father (Abraham) and the father of a famous son (Jacob), and for those reasons he is sometimes considered a lightweight among the patriarchs. Compared to the exploits of Abraham and Jacob, Isaac’s life does seem conventional and commonplace. Although he lived longer than either Abraham or Jacob, only six chapters are devoted to Isaac’s life in the Genesis record, and only one verse in Hebrews 11 (v. 9).


Isaac was a quiet, meditative man (Gen. 24:63), who would rather pack up and leave than confront his enemies. During his long life, he didn’t travel far from home. Abraham had made the long journey from Haran to Canaan, and had even visited Egypt, and Jacob went to Haran to get a wife, but Isaac spent his entire adult life moving around in the land of Canaan. If there had been an ancient Middle East equivalent to our contemporary “jet set,” Isaac wouldn’t have joined it.


However, there are more Isaacs in this world than there are Abrahams or Jacobs, and these people make important contributions to society and to the church, even if they don’t see their names in lights or even in the church bulletin. Furthermore, Isaac was a living part of the divine plan that eventually produced the Jewish nation, gave us the Bible, and brought Jesus Christ into the world, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.


Isaac wasn’t a failure; he was just different. After all, the people in each generation have to find themselves and be themselves and not spend their lives slavishly trying to imitate their ancestors. “Men are born equal,” wrote psychiatrist Erich Fromm in Escape from Freedom, “but they are also born different.” Discovering our uniqueness and using it to the glory of God is the challenge that makes life what it is. Why be a cheap imitation when you can be a valuable original?


No generation stands alone, because each new generation is bound to previous generations whether we like it or not. Isaac was bound to Abraham and Sarah by ties that couldn’t be ignored or easily broken. Let’s look at some of those ties and discover what they teach us about our own life of faith today.


HE RECEIVED HIS FATHE R’S INHERITANCE (25:1–18)


Abraham recognized his other children by giving them gifts and sending them away, thereby making sure they couldn’t supplant Isaac as the rightful heir. Along with his father’s immense wealth (13:2; 23:6), Isaac also inherited the covenant blessings that God had given Abraham and Sarah (12:1–3; 13:14–18; 15:1–6). Isaac had parents who believed God and, in spite of occasional mistakes, tried to please Him.


Abraham’s firstborn son, Ishmael (chap. 16), wasn’t chosen to be the child of promise and the heir of the covenant blessings. God promised to bless Ishmael and make him a great nation, and He kept His promise (17:20–21; 25:12–16); “But my covenant will I establish with Isaac” (17:21;

Rom. 9:6–13). Ishmael was on hand for his father’s funeral (Gen. 25:9), but he wasn’t included in the reading of his father’s will.


Ishmael pictures the “natural” or unsaved person (1 Cor. 2:14), who is outside the faith and hostile to the things of God. But Isaac pictures those who have trusted Jesus Christ and experienced the miraculous new birth by the power of God (1 Peter 1:22–23). “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise” (Gal. 4:28). Ishmael was born a slave, but Isaac was born free (4:21–31; 5:1–2); and Ishmael was born poor, but Isaac was born rich. Every believer in Jesus Christ shares all the blessings of the Spirit in Christ (Eph. 1:3) and is part of Christ’s glorious inheritance (vv. 11, 18).


From the moment of birth, we’re all dependent on the older generation to care for us until we can care for ourselves. We’re also indebted to previous generations for guarding and handing down to us the knowledge, skills, traditions, and culture that are extremely important to daily life. Imagine what life would be like if each new generation had to devise the alphabet, invent printing, discover electricity, or design the wheel!


The most important part of Isaac’s legacy wasn’t the great material wealth his father had left him. Isaac’s most important legacy was the spiritual wealth from his father and mother: knowing and trusting the true and living God and being a part of the covenant blessings that God had graciously bestowed upon Abraham and Sarah and their descendants. How tragic it is when the children of devout Christian believers turn their backs on their priceless spiritual heritage and, like Ishmael and Esau, live for the world and the flesh instead of for the Lord!



HE PRAYED TO HIS FATHER’S GOD (25:19–34)


Genesis is a record of ten successive “generations.” Generations come and go, but the Lord remains and never changes. “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations” (Ps. 90:1 NKJV).


A devoted home (vv. 19–20). When Isaac was forty years old, God selected Rebekah to be his wife (chap. 24; 25:20), and we have every reason to believe that they were both devoted to the Lord and to each other. The record indicates that Rebekah was the more aggressive of the two when it came to family matters, but perhaps that’s just the kind of wife Isaac needed. Whatever mistakes Isaac may have made as a husband and father, this much is true: As a young man, he willingly put himself on the altar to obey his father and to please the Lord (chap. 22; Rom. 12:1–2).


A disappointed home (v. 21). Isaac and Rebekah waited twenty years for a family, but no children came. The entire book of Genesis emphasizes the sovereignty of God and the wisdom of His “delays.” Abraham and Sarah had to wait twenty-five years for Isaac to be born; Jacob had to labor fourteen years to obtain his two wives; and Joseph had to wait over twenty years before he was reconciled to his brothers. Our times are in His hands (Ps. 31:15), and His timing is never wrong.


Like Abraham, Isaac was a man of prayer, so he interceded with the Lord on behalf of his barren wife. Isaac had every right to ask God for children because of the covenant promises the Lord had made to his father and mother, promises Isaac had heard repeated in the family circle and that he believed. If Rebekah remained barren, how could Abraham’s seed multiply as the dust of the earth and the stars of the heavens? How could Abraham’s seed become a blessing to the whole world (Gen. 12:1–3; 13:16; 15:5; 17:6)?


It has well been said that the purpose of prayer is not to get our will done in heaven but to get God’s will done on earth. Even though every Jewish couple wanted children, Isaac wasn’t praying selfishly. He was concerned about God’s plan for fulfilling His covenant and blessing the whole world through the promised Messiah (3:15; 12:1–3). True prayer means being concerned about God’s will, not our own wants, and claiming God’s promises in the Word. The Lord answered Isaac’s prayer and enabled Rebekah to conceive.


A distressed home (vv. 22–23). One problem soon led to another, because Rebekah’s pregnancy was a difficult one: The babies in her womb were struggling with each other. The Hebrew word means “to crush or oppress,” suggesting that the fetal movements were not normal. Since Rebekah wondered if the Lord was trying to say something to her, she went to inquire. Isaac was fortunate to have a wife who not only knew how to pray, but who also wanted to understand God’s will for herself and her children.


In salvation history, the conception and birth of children is a divinely ordained event that has significant consequences. This was true of the birth of Isaac (chaps. 18, 21), the twelve sons of Jacob (29:30—30:24), Moses (Ex. 1—2), Samuel (1 Sam. 1—2), David (Ruth 4:17–22), and our Lord Jesus Christ (Gal. 4:4–5). Conception, birth, and death are divine appointments, not human accidents, a part of God’s wise and loving plan for His own people (Ps. 116:15; 139:13–16).


Imagine Rebekah’s surprise when she learned that the two children would struggle with each other all their lives! Each child would produce a nation, and these two nations (Edom and Israel) would compete, but the younger would master the older. Just as God had chosen Isaac, the second-born, and not Ishmael, the firstborn, so He chose Jacob, the second-born, and not Esau, the firstborn. That the younger son should rule the elder was contrary to human tradition and logic, but the sovereign God made the choice (Rom. 9:10–12), and God never makes a mistake.


A divided home (vv. 24–28). Esau probably means “hairy.” He also had the nickname “Edom,” which means “red,” referring to his red hair and the red lentil soup Jacob sold him (vv. 25, 30). The twin boys not only looked different but they also were different in personality. Esau

was a robust outdoorsman, who was a successful hunter, while Jacob was a “home boy.” You would think that Isaac would have favored Jacob, since both of them enjoyed domestic pursuits, but Jacob was Rebekah’s favorite. Rebekah was a hands-on mother who knew what was going on in the home and could contrive ways to get what she thought was best.


It’s unfortunate when homes are divided because parents and children put their own personal desires ahead of the will of God. Isaac enjoyed eating the tasty game that Esau brought home, a fact that would be important in later family history (chap. 27). Isaac, the quiet man, fulfilled his dreams in Esau, the courageous man, and apparently ignored the fact that his elder son was also a worldly man. Did Isaac know that Esau had forfeited his birthright? The record doesn’t tell us. But he did know that God had chosen the younger son over the elder son.


A friend of mine kept a card under the glass on his office desk that read: “Faith is living without scheming.” Jacob could have used that card. Before his birth, he had been divinely chosen to receive the birthright and the blessing; thus there was no need for him to scheme and take advantage of his brother. It’s likely that Jacob had already seen plenty of evidence that Esau didn’t care about spiritual things, an attitude that made Esau unfit to receive the blessing and accomplish God’s will. Perhaps Jacob and his mother had even discussed the matter.


The name “Jacob” comes from a Hebrew word (yaaqob) that means “may God protect,” but because it sounds like the words aqeb (“heel”) and aqab (“watch from behind” or “overtake”), his name became a nickname: “he grasps the heel” or “he deceives.” Before birth, Jacob and Esau had contended, and at birth, Jacob grasped his brother’s heel. This latter action was interpreted to mean that Jacob would trip up his brother and take advantage of him. The prediction proved true.


The fact that God had already determined to give the covenant blessings to Jacob didn’t absolve anybody in the family from their obligations to the Lord. They were all responsible for their actions, because divine sovereignty doesn’t destroy human responsibility. In fact, knowing that we’re the chosen of God means we have a greater responsibility to do His will.



HE FACED HIS FATHER’S TEMPTATIONS (26:1–11)


True faith is always tested, either by temptations within us or trials around us (James 1:1–18), because a faith that can’t be tested can’t be trusted. God tests us to bring out the best in us, but Satan tempts us to bring out the worst in us. In one form or another, each new generation must experience the same tests as previous generations, if only to discover that the enemy doesn’t change and that human nature doesn’t improve. Abraham is mentioned eight times in this chapter, and you find the word “father” six times. Isaac was very much his father’s son. Abraham Lincoln was right: “We can not escape history.”


The temptation to run (vv. 1–6). When Abraham arrived in Canaan, he found a famine in the land and faced his first serious test of faith (12:10—13:4). His solution was to abandon the place God had chosen for him, the place of obedience, and to run to Egypt, thus establishing a bad example for his descendants who were prone to imitate him.5 The safest place in the world is in the will of God, for the will of God will never lead us where His grace can’t provide for us. Unbelief asks, “How can I get out of this,” while faith asks, “What can I get out of this?”


When Isaac faced the problem of a famine, he decided to go to Gerar, the capital city of the Philistines, and get help from Abimelech.6 Isaac and Rebekah were probably living at Beer Lahai Roi at that time (25:11), which means they traveled about seventy-five miles northeast to get to Gerar. Even after arriving in Gerar, Isaac and Rebekah may have been tempted to go south to Egypt, though God had warned them not to consider that possibility.


God permitted Isaac to remain in Philistia and promised to bless him. God had promised Abraham that his descendants would be greatly multiplied and one day would possess all those lands. Thus Isaac had a right to be there as long as God approved (12:2–3; 13:16; 15:5; 17:3–8; 22:15–18). God blessed Isaac for Abraham’s sake (25:5, 24), just as He has blessed believers today for the sake of Jesus Christ.


We can never successfully run away from trials, because God sees to it that His children learn the lessons of faith regardless of where they go. We can never grow in faith by running from difficulty, because “tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character” (Rom.

5:3–4 NKJV). Like David, we may wish we had “wings like a dove” so we could “fly away and be at rest” (Ps. 55:6 NKJV), but if we did, we’d always be doves when God wants us to “mount up with wings as eagles” (Isa. 40:31).


The temptation to lie (vv. 7–11). Isaac could flee from famine, but when he put himself into a situation that offered no escape, he had to turn to deception to protect himself. Abraham committed this same sin twice, once in Egypt (Gen. 12:14–20) and once in Philistia (chap. 20). Remember, faith is living without scheming, and telling lies seems to be one of humanity’s favorite ways to escape responsibility.


Isaac was asked about the woman who was with him and, like his father Abraham before him, he said she was his sister. But when Abimelech saw Isaac caressing Rebekah, he knew she was his wife. Why did Isaac lie? Because he was afraid his pagan host would kill him in order to obtain his beautiful wife. His lie was evidence of his unbelief, for if he had claimed the covenant promise when he prayed for children (25:21), why couldn’t he claim that same covenant promise to protect himself and his wife?


The English poet John Dryden wrote, “Truth is the foundation of all knowledge and the cement of all societies.” When people don’t keep their word, the foundations of society begin to shake and things start to fall apart. Happy homes, lasting friendships, thriving businesses, stable governments, and effective churches all depend on truth for their success. The American preacher Phillips Brooks said, “Truth is always strong, no matter how weak it looks; and falsehood is always weak, no matter how strong it looks.” Truth is cement; falsehood is whitewash.


When he found himself in difficulty, Isaac was tempted to run and to lie, and we face these same temptations today. Isaac succumbed to temptation and was found out. It’s a sad day when unconverted people like Abimelech publicly expose God’s servants for telling lies. What an embarrassment to the cause of truth!


HE DUG AGAIN HIS FATHER’S WELLS (26:12–35)

Isaac inherited flocks and herds from his father, who had lived a nomadic life, but now the wealthy heir settled down and became a farmer, remaining in Gerar “a long time” (v. 8).


The blessing (vv. 12–14). Isaac and his neighbors had access to the same soil, and they depended on the same sunshine and rain, but Isaac’s harvests were greater than theirs, and his flocks and herds multiplied more abundantly. The secret? God kept His promise and blessed Isaac in all that he did (vv. 3–5). God would give a similar blessing to Jacob years later (chap. 31).


But Isaac was a deceiver! How could the Lord bless somebody who claimed to be a believer and yet deliberately lied to his unbelieving neighbors? Because God is always faithful to His covenant and keeps His promises (2 Tim. 2:11–13), and the only condition God attached to His promise of blessing was that Isaac remain in the land and not go to Egypt.


God also blessed Isaac because of Abraham’s life and faith (Gen. 26:5), just as He blesses us for the sake of Jesus Christ. We’ll never know until we get to heaven how many of our blessings have been “dividends” from the spiritual investments made by godly friends and family who have gone before.


The conflict (vv. 14–17). In spite of his material blessings, Isaac still suffered because of his lie, because the blessings he received brought burdens and battles to his life. Seeing his great wealth, the Philistines envied him and decided he was a threat to their safety. (A similar

situation would occur when the Jews multiplied in Egypt. See Ex. 1:8ff.)


“The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it” (Prov. 10:22 NKJV). Had Isaac not lied about his wife, God would not have disciplined him but would have given him peace with his neighbors (Prov. 16:7). Because of his sin, however, Isaac’s material blessings

caused him trouble.


The Philistines tried to get Isaac to leave their land and settle elsewhere, and to encourage this they stopped up Abraham’s wells and deprived Isaac’s flocks and herds of the water they desperately needed. Water was a precious commodity in the Near East, and adequate wells were necessary if you were to succeed in the land. The crisis came when the king commanded Isaac to move away, and Isaac obeyed.


The search (vv. 18–22). No matter where Isaac journeyed, the enemy followed him and confiscated his father’s wells and also the new wells that Isaac’s servants dug. To find a well of “springing water” (v. 19) was a special blessing, for it guaranteed fresh water at all times, but the Philistines took that well, too. The names of the new wells that Isaac’s men dug reveal the

problems that he had with his neighbors, for Esek means “contention,” and Sitnah means “hatred.” But Rehoboth means “enlargement” because Isaac finally found a place where he was left alone and had room enough for his camp and his flocks and herds.


Whenever Abraham had a problem with people, he boldly confronted them and got the matter settled, whether it was his nephew Lot (13:5–18), the invading kings (chap. 14), Hagar and Ishmael (21:9ff.), or the Philistines (vv. 22ff.). But Isaac was a retiring man who wanted to avoid confrontation. Since he was a pilgrim, he could move his camp and be a peacemaker.


In every difficult situation of life, we must use discernment to know whether God wants us to be confronters like Abraham or peacemakers like Isaac, for God can bless and use both approaches. “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Rom. 12:18 NKJV). Sometimes it isn’t possible, but at least we should try, and we must depend on the wisdom from above that is “pure” and “peaceable” (James 3:17).


Looking at Isaac’s experience from a spiritual point of view, we can learn an important lesson. In the Bible, wells sometimes symbolize blessings from the hand of the Lord (Gen. 16:14; 21:19; 49:22; Ex. 15:27; Num. 21:16–18; Prov. 5:15; 16:22; 18:4; Song 4:15; Isa. 12:3; John 4:14).9 The church keeps looking for something new, when all we need is to dig again the old wells of spiritual life that God’s people have depended on from the beginning—the Word of God, prayer, worship, faith, the power of the Spirit, sacrifice, and service—wells that we’ve allowed the enemy to fill up. Whenever there’s been a revival of spiritual power in the history of the church, it’s been because somebody has dug again the old wells so that God’s life-giving Spirit can be free to work.


The assurance (vv. 23–25). Beersheba was a very special place for Isaac, because there his father had entered into a covenant with the Philistine leaders (21:22ff.). Beersheba means “the well of the oath.” The Lord comes to us with His assuring Word just when we need encouragement (Acts 18:9–11; 23:11; 27:23–24; 2 Tim. 2:19). No matter who is against us, God is with us and for us (Gen. 28:15; 31:3; Rom. 8:31–39), and there’s no need for us to be afraid. In response to God’s gracious word of promise, Isaac built an altar and worshipped the Lord. He was ready to meet his adversaries.


Like his father Abraham, Isaac was identified by his tent and altar (Gen. 26:25; see also 12:7–8; 13:3–4, 18). Isaac was wealthy enough to be able to build himself a fine house, but his tent identified him as a pilgrim and stranger in the land (Heb. 11:8–10, 13–16). A fugitive is fleeing from home; a vagabond has no home; a stranger is away from home; but a pilgrim is heading home. The tent identified Isaac as a pilgrim, and the altar announced that he worshipped Jehovah and was heading to the heavenly kingdom.


Like Isaac, all who have trusted Jesus Christ are strangers in this world and pilgrims heading for a better world (1 Peter 1:1; 2:11). The body we live in is our tent; one day it will be taken down and we’ll go to the heavenly city (2 Cor. 5:1–8). Life here is brief and temporary, because this tent is fragile, but our glorified body will be ours for eternity (Phil. 3:20–21; 1 John 3:1–3). While we’re here on earth, let’s be sure we build the altar and give our witness that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.


The agreement (vv. 26–33). Isaac’s strategy paid off, because the Philistine leaders came to him to settle the matter of the property rights (21:22ff.). Fortified by God’s promises, Isaac was much bolder in his approach, and he confronted the Philistines with their misdeeds. It’s worth noting that Isaac’s conduct during this conflict made a great impression on them, and they could tell that the Lord was richly blessing him. More important than possessing his wells was the privilege Isaac had of sharing his witness with his pagan neighbors. (For a contrasting situation, see 1 Cor. 6:1–8.)


Isaac and the leaders were able to reach an agreement. To seal the treaty, Isaac hosted a feast, for in that culture, to eat with others was to forge strong links of friendship and mutual support. That same day, Isaac’s servants found one of Abraham’s wells (Gen. 21:25–31) and opened it, and Isaac gave it the original name, Beersheba. “The well of the oath” now referred to Isaac’s treaty as well as Abraham’s.


More conflict (vv. 34–35). Isaac was at peace with his neighbors, but he had war at home. His worldly son Esau had married two heathen wives who caused grief to Isaac and Rebekah. (Later, just to provoke his parents, he married a third heathen wife. See 28:8–9.) In view of Esau’s sinful lifestyle, we wonder that Isaac wanted to give him the patriarchal blessing (chap. 27).


All of us would like to find our Rehoboth (enlargement) where we have plenty of room and no contention, but Isaac’s Rehoboth was found only after he endured conflict. It’s through difficulties that God enlarges us for the larger places He prepares for us. “Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress” (Ps. 4:1). When the troubles of our hearts are enlarged and we trust God, then the Lord can enlarge us (25:17) and bring us “into a large place” (18:19). If we want room, we have to suffer, because that’s the only way we can grow and feel at home in the larger place God gives us when we’re ready for it.



©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. Be Authentic by Warren Wiersbe. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Too busy reading...

too write much here. But that's not always a bad thing because now I get to tell you about a book I just read.

I just finished "The Choice" by Suzanne Woods Fisher. The Choice is about an Amish girl named Carrie Weaver. Carrie is planning on leaving the Amish community with her secret boyfriend, when her father dies suddenly. She is left to care for her younger brother in a house owned by her step-mother. A very hard and difficult woman.

As a means to escape with her brother, Carrie makes a hard choice and marries a man she doesn't love. Will she grow to love him, or is that relationship doomed from the start?

Suzanne tells a poignant story of love, forgiveness, faith and redemption. Normally stories like this one, are not my preference. I enjoyed this book. At times I thought it would never end and kept going on but it is a good story and is very well written. I recommend it highly! Either click the link above to order it through amazon.com or request it at your local Christian book store.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

FOR TODAY

January 11, 2010

Outside my window… It looks somewhat deceptively warm. The sun is shining brightly promising a nice sunny day.

I am thinking I need to get up and get something done.

I am thankful for… my life.

From the learning rooms… It is so hard to get back in the groove this month. After 5 weeks of no school it is hard to start again.

From the kitchen… I made bread yesterday. Yum!

I am creating… a sweater. I've recently started knitting again. I found a pattern for an easy (HAH) sweater so I'm trying my hand at it.

I am going… to the store later. I hate grocery shopping.

I am reading… The Choice

I am hoping… My headache leaves soon.

I am hearing… Beanie teaching Goober gymnastics.

Around the house… I'm not happy. It seems we keep acquiring things and not getting rid of the excess.

One of my favorite things… peanut butter (yes, this is kind of random… I must be hungry) I especially love Peter Pan creamy peanut butter… a PB & J with Peter Pan, some homemade jam, and nice soft oatmeal bread is the best! I would take that over steak any day…<--I'm keeping Woodstone Prairie's. One would think we were related...;)

A few plans for the rest of the week… Bible study tomorrow, AWANA tomorrow night, Gymnastics Thursday.


Here is picture for thought I am sharing…a picture of my lump of bread dough from yesterday.


Visit Peggy’s blog for more about The Simple Woman’s Daybook

Monday, January 11, 2010

Confession.....

I haven't had a chance to read this book yet as it only arrived last Friday. But I plan on reading it in the next few days and I'll post my own personal review then.

In the past I accidentally said the previous book in this series was the fourth and final book, and well obviously it wasn't. I won't be saying that about this one. :)


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


The Chic Shall Inherit the Earth (All About Us #6)

FaithWords; 1 edition (January 7, 2010)

***Special thanks to Miriam Parker of the Hachette Book Group for sending me a review copy.***

CONTEST! For a chance to win one of two prizes: a Tiffany's Bracelet OR an All About Us T-shirt, go to Camy Tang's Blog and leave a comment on her FIRST Wild Card Tour for The Chic Shall Inherit the Earth, and you will be placed into a drawing for a bracelet or T-shirt that look similar to the pictures below.






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Shelley Adina is a world traveler and pop culture junkie with an incurable addiction to designer handbags. She knows the value of a relationship with a gracious God and loving Christian friends, and she's inviting today's teenage girls to join her in these refreshingly honest books about real life as a Christian teen--with a little extra glitz thrown in for fun! In between books, Adina loves traveling, listening to and making music, and watching all kinds of movies.


Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: FaithWords; 1 edition (January 7, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446179647
ISBN-13: 978-0446179645

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


THE CHIC SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH

© 2010 by Shelley Adina


Chapter 1


LET ME PUT it right out there: I’m no sports fan—unless you count surfing, which is more of an attitude to life than a sport. I used to think that there were some things you just knew. But if God were a major league pitcher, He’d be the kind of guy who threw curveballs just to keep you on your toes. To catch you off guard. To prove you wrong about everything you thought.

Which is essentially what happened to us all during the last term of our senior year at Spencer Academy.

My name is Lissa Evelyn Mansfield—yes, I’m back again. Did you miss me? Because, seriously, this last term of high school before my friends and I graduated was so crazed, so unpredictable, that I had to write it all down to try and make sense of it.

But, hey, let’s take a moment here. The words last term of senior year need some respect, not to mention celebration. They need to be paused over and savored. Excuse me.

Okay, I’m back.

The term began in April, and by the time our first set of midterms (or thirdterms, as my roommate Gillian Chang calls them, since we get three sets of exams every term) rolled around at the beginning of May, it was just beginning to sink in that there were only seven weeks of high school left. Seven weeks until freedom. Adulthood. Summer vacation. Adulthood. Home.

Adulthood.

Eek.

“Sarah Lawrence is stalking me,” Gillian moaned from where she sat on her bed in our dorm room. “Here’s another letter.” She fished an envelope out of the pile of mail in her lap and waved it.

I looked up from my MacBook Air, where I was checking e-mail. “Don’t let Emily Overton hear you. She got turned down and her roommate has had to keep her away from open windows for the last month.”

“But I already told them no twice. What’s it going to take?”

“You could fail some exams.” I’m always willing to offer a helpful suggestion. “They can’t help it if they covet your fearsome brain.”

“So does Harvard. And Princeton. Not to mention Stanford and Columbia and Juilliard.” She threw her hands in the air so that the letter flew over her shoulder and bounced off the headboard. “How am I supposed to pick just one? Can I spend a year at each school? I could be a career transfer student.”

“I’m glad I don’t have your decisions to make,” I told her with absolute honesty. “If all those schools were after me, I’d run away and hide.”

“I’ve got to figure out what I’m doing with my life.” She glanced at me. “Or maybe I should say, what God wants me to do with my life.”

“There’s the kicker.” I nodded sagely. “I understand about waiting on the Lord, but . . . He knows about registration deadlines, doesn’t He?”

“Oh, yeah. He knows. I keep asking Him, and He keeps thinking about it. Maybe He wants me to figure out what I want, first. But that’s the impossible part.”

Poor Gillian. She has the kind of brain schools fight over for their research programs. But she’s also a music prodigy—hence the acceptance from Juilliard. Then, to complicate things even more, she also has quite the talent for drawing, and ever since she met my friend Kaz Griffin, her dream has been to create a graphic novel starring a kick-butt Asian girl with a secret identity. Kaz, in case you haven’t met him, is my best friend from my old high school in Santa Barbara. He’s been trying to get his graphic novel published for, like, years, with no success. But I have to hand it to him. He never gives up.

Anyway. Gillian.

“You could always do pre-med at Harvard and minor in art or music,” I suggested. “You know you’re going to need a release valve from all that scientific pressure. It would be good to have the right-brain kind of classes to turn to.”

Gillian pushed the stack of mail off her lap and leaned back against the mound of colorful silk pillows. The letter from Sarah Lawrence crumpled somewhere underneath. “But then how will I know if I’m any good?”

“Um, your grades? Not to mention, if you got an acceptance from Juilliard, you’re good. Full stop, as Mac would say.”

Lady Lindsay MacPhail, aka Mac, was a student here at Spencer for two terms, and she’s one of our little group of friends. She’s gone back to live in London until the end of term, when she’ll return to her family’s castle in Scotland, and she has none of these questions about her life. She knows exactly what degree she’s going to get, when she’ll get it, and what she’ll be doing after that: making the Strathcairn Hotel and Corporate Retreat Center the go-to place for world-class events in the UK.

I envy people who have their future in a laser sight. I’m still trying to figure out what to wear tomorrow.

“What do teachers know?” Gillian asked. I don’t think she was looking for the answer to that one. “If I’m going to find out whether I’m really any good, I have to try to get into an art program and give it everything I’ve got. Try to get an exhibition. Or a publisher. Live in a garret and try to make it as an artist.”

“That sounds scary.”

“I know.” She sighed. “Medical school is the easy path, grasshopper.”

Only Gillian Chang would say something like that.

I turned back to my notebook and saw that while we’d been talking, a message from Kaz had popped up in my inbox.




*

To: lmansfield@spenceracad.edu

From: kazg@hotmail.com

Date: May 4, 2010

Re: Ow



I am so regretting pushing off physics until senior year. My brain hurts. What was I thinking? Instead of grabbing my board and heading for the beach, I’m stuck down here in my room writing equations I don’t know the answers to.

Does the Jumping Loon tutor over the phone? Can you ask her? I’ll give her anything she wants, including full use of my studly body, if she’ll just say the magic words that will unveil the meaning of x and y, not to mention z.

Life, I’ve got a handle on. X is a mystery.

Kaz




I looked over my shoulder. “Kaz wants to know if you do physics tutoring over the phone. He says you can do what you want with his body if you help him.” I paused when she didn’t look up from a Neiman Marcus catalog. “I didn’t know you were interested in his body. Does Jeremy know about this?”

“That sounds like a jealous remark.” She flipped a page. “Ooh, nice dress. ChloĆ© does summer so well. Which reminds me, if we’re going on a Senior Cotillion dress safari, we’d better start soon.”

I was not to be sidetracked, no matter how tempting the bait. “Is something going on with you and Kaz?”

She put the catalog down and rolled her eyes to the ceiling. “Yes. Yes, there is.”

I sat there as stunned as if someone had upended a bucket of seawater over me.

Kaz and Gillian? What? How is that possible? When did—

What is the matter with you? Kaz is your friend. You aren’t . . . like that. If he’s interested in Gillian, it’s none of your business.

Poor Jeremy.

“Lissa. Lissa, come back to me.” I blinked at her. My face felt frozen. “For crying out loud, get a grip.” She was trying not to laugh and not succeeding very well. “He’s teasing you. He’s helping me with a plaster mold of his hand for my art project, okay? That’s all.”

“A mold. Of his hand. And you don’t have guys’ hands any closer than Santa Barbara?”

“He has interesting hands, which you’d know if you ever paid any attention.”

Of course he did. And of course I did. Pay attention to him, I mean. He was my best friend. We e-mailed each other, like, twenty times a week.

“And Jeremy’s hands aren’t interesting?”

She picked up the catalog and flipped another page. “Write him back and tell him of course I’ll tutor him. We can start tonight if he’s desperate.”

Hm. Poor Jeremy, indeed. What was going on here? “He wants to know the meaning of x.”

“Don’t we all. Some of us wait for the universe to reveal it to us. And some of us wouldn’t know it if the universe dropped it on our heads.”

“What’s your point?”

But my friend, who usually has all the answers, didn’t reply.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Dinosaurs For Kids

Dinosaurs for kids is a delightful book for kid. Ken Ham did a wonderful job! I took this book to a meeting and the son of a friend was enthralled with it. I can't wait to use it in our homeschool curriculum!!


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Dinosaurs for Kids

Master Books (October 15, 2009)

***Special thanks to Robert Parrish of New Leaf Press for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Ken Ham is the founder and executive director of Answers in Genesis in the USA and one of the most sought-after Christian speakers in North America. He is the author or co-author of many books and is heard daily on the radio program, “Answers...with Ken Ham,” on more than 300 stations worldwide. Ken is also featured in various videos including the series, “Answers in Genesis with Dr. Gary Parker,” and the 12-part series of 28-minute videos, “Answers...with Ken Ham.” Ken's teaching is clear, true to the Bible, engaging, and challenging. Many have found salvation and others have been encouraged and equipped to reach others with the gospel through Ken's ministry.


Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

Price: $14.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 64 pages
Publisher: Master Books (October 15, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0890515557
ISBN-13: 978-0890515556

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Dinosaurs for Kids

by

Ken Ham, illustrated by Bill Looney


Dinosaurs can provide a great way to learn about history. You may already be familiar with some of these dinosaurs. These drawings show you what we think they may have looked like. Now, we don’t know for sure, of course, as we usually only find their bones as fossils (and most times, only a few of their bones). Artists use what bones have been found, knowledge about living animals, and some imagination to come up with drawings like these. See if you can pronounce these dinosaur names:


Dilophosaurus (die-LOF-o-SWAR-us), meaning “two-crested lizard.”
Styracosaurus (sty-RAK-o-SAWR-us), meaning “spiked lizard.”
Triceratops (tri-SER-a-tops), meaning “three-horned face.”
Megalosaurus (MEG-a-lo-SAWR-us), meaning “big lizard.”
Iguanodon (i-GWAHN-o-don), meaning “iguana tooth.”
Ceratosaurus (ser-ah-toe-SAWR-us), meaning “horned lizard.”
Deinonychus (die-NON-i-kus), meaning “terrible claws.”
Velociraptor (vee-LOHS-i-RAP-tor), meaning “swift robber.”
Ultrasaurus (UHL-tra-SAWR-us), was so nicknamed because of its enormous size.
Seismosaurus (SEIS-mo-SAWR-us), meaning “earthquake lizard.”


Did you know there are hundreds of dinosaur names? However, there were not hundreds of types of dinosaurs. There were a number of similar ones that should be grouped into categories known by what the Bible describes as “kinds.” Does that sound a little confusing? Well, this book will help to explain this and a lot of other things about dinosaurs you may not know.


(Pictures with names):

Dilophosaurus
Styracosaurus
Triceratops
Iguanodon
Ceratosaurus
Velociraptor
Ultrasaurus
Seismosaurus


Before we begin, I don’t want you to miss out on knowing what my very favorite dinosaur is! In fact, I think he deserves this whole page to himself! It is the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex (ti-RAN-oh-SAWR-us-rex), meaning “tyrant lizard king.” I’ll let you in on a secret – I love T-rex because I like his teeth! I use teeth to teach kids and parents some very interesting things about dinosaurs – things that you may not have heard or really understood before. But it is very important to understand the truth about dinosaurs!


FOUR FAST FACTS

T-rex fossils are found in Canada and the western United States.
The first documented T-rex fossil was discovered in 1902 by Barnum Brown.
Scientists think T-rex skeletons were made up of close to 200 bones.
T-rex had around 60 teeth, which ranged in size based on their placement in the jaw of the skull.


With a strong tail extended for balance, an adult T-rex could be a little over 40 feet in length, 12-13 feet tall at the hips, and weigh between 5 and 7 tons. T-rex’s jagged teeth could be up to 9 inches long, and like sharks, the T-rex was able to replace teeth when one was lost.

What’s in a name? Remember that the T-rex name means “tyrant lizard king.” But secular scientists are still wondering whether T-rexes were active hunters or clever scavengers, or a combination of both. However, creation scientists are able to explain the evidence in a different way using the biblical account of history, as we will soon learn.


FOUR FAST FACTS

The word “fossil” is from the Latin word meaning “dug up.” Scientists often make assumptions about dinosaurs based on a few fossilized bones, bone fragments, or other fossil remains, impressions, etc.
Only a few thousand dinosaur skeletons have been discovered.
The vast majority of fossils discovered are marine invertebrates (creatures that don’t have backbones like clams).


I’m sure you have lots of questions about dinosaurs. I believe I can answer many of those questions for you because dinosaurs are not a mystery at all. I know someone who was there when dinosaurs came into existence, and was also there when they seemed to disappear from the earth. In fact, this “someone” has written a book for us that gives a detailed account of the history of the universe. He tells us when the earth began, as well as when all the living creatures and the first humans appeared.

Now, you may be asking “Who is this someone you say was there to see the dinosaurs?” He is the Creator of all things. He knows everything because He is all powerful and has always been around. And this Creator had a book written for us to give us the details of how time began, and how the universe and all life came into existence. This book also tells us who we are, where we came from, and why we exist. It also gives us information on what is going to happen in the future! There is no other book like this on earth. It is unique, and it is called…the Bible.

When you understand the Bible, you will understand more about dinosaurs. The Bible helps us to answer questions about dinosaurs and about the world around us today.

Bigger. Among the most widely known type of dinosaurs, the sauropods (“lizard foot”) are some of the largest creatures to ever walk the earth. Many of these dinosaurs are known by only a few pieces of bone fragments, and debate continues on just which dinosaur was the largest ever. As discoveries continue, more will be known about these massive giants. Sauroposeidon (“earthquake god lizard”) was considered the largest dinosaur ever to live, until the discovery of Argentinosaurus (“silver lizard”). Though only a few bones of each creature have been found, many scientists estimate that Argentinosaurus was larger, though Sauroposeidon may have been taller.

Smaller. Compsognathus (“elegant jaw”) is among the smallest dinosaurs discovered. A little bigger than a chicken, this dinosaur weighed around 6 pounds. Some scientists have found smaller creatures, like Microraptors, which they try to use to prove dinosaurs were the evolutionary ancestor of birds – real science and the Bible disprove this idea. Archaeopteryx (“ancient wing”) is another example of a creature once thought to prove this link, but that idea has now been proven false.

Did you know that the Bible is really a collection of books written by people specially inspired by God, the Creator, to write down exactly what God wanted us to know? The Bible tells us more about who God is and why we can always trust Him to tell us the truth:

The God of the Bible is the true God: “But the LORD [is] the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King…” (Jeremiah 10:10).
The God of the Bible is infinite – He is all knowing, all powerful: “Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.” (Psalm 147:5).
The God of the Bible lives forever – He lives in eternity – He had no beginning and has no end: “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever…” (1 Timothy 1:17).
The God of the Bible is the only true God – other gods people claim to have are false gods: “Therefore You are great, O LORD GOD. For there is none like You, nor is there any God besides…” (2 Samuel 7:22).
The God of the Bible is all wise and all knowing: “…in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3).
Wow! What an awesome God.


The Only One.

Only God is a witness to the entire history of the world, including the history of dinosaurs. During the creation week, God created dinosaurs and flying reptiles. Pterosaur (“winged lizard”) like this one, could have wing spans of 30 feet. Stegosaurus (“roof lizard”) is easy to recognize with two rows of large plates running along its arched back, and its multi-spiked tail. Corythosaurus (“helmet lizard”) is a great example of dinosaurs with bony crests on their heads. Scientists think these crests were used in making sounds.

Does any human being (including any scientist) know everything? Has any human being always existed? The answer to both questions is, of course, NO. However, who is the only one who knows everything? Who is the only one who has always been there? The answer to both of these questions is, “the Creator God of the Bible.”


True History!

I call the Bible “The History Book of the Universe.” This is because it is a book that tells us how time and the universe began. And in the very first book of the Bible, the Book of Genesis, we are given a detailed account of not only how God created everything to begin with, but also major events of history that happened after creation.

You might be saying, “Wait a minute, haven’t scientists already found out lots of things about dinosaurs – that they lived millions of years before people and that they lived during the dinosaur age 200 million to 65 million years ago, and then they became extinct?”

Well, not all scientists say that! And though the majority of people today might believe that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago, the majority are wrong on this. And more and more people are now finding out the truth because they listen to and understand God’s Word!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Camp Club Girls Part 2

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Sydney’s DC Discovery (Camp Club Girls #2)

Barbour Books (January 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Angie Brillhart of Barbour Books for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Jean Fischer has been writing for children for nearly three decades, and has served as an editor with Golden Books. She has written with Thomas Kinkade, John MacArthur, and “Adventures in Odyssey,” and is one of the authors for Barbour’s Camp Club Girls series. A nature lover, Jean lives in Racine, Wisconsin.

Visit the author's website.
Visit the Camp Club Girl's website.


Product Details:

List Price: $5.97
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (January 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602602689
ISBN-13: 978-1602602687


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


CHAPTER ONE


Splaaaashhh! Whoosh!

“Watch out!” someone called near Sydney’s ear.

But it was too late. The pent up explosion of the water landed square against Sydney’s back, knocking her to the ground.

Dazed, she rolled onto her back and looked up into the hot summer sky. The water swirled around her whole body. From a distance she heard happy shouting and water gushing onto the street.

A fireman’s face appeared above her. “Are you okay, little girl?”

Little girl? Little girl! I’m twelve years old! I’m not a little girl, Mister.

The indignation snapped Sydney out of her dazed condition. She looked up and saw that two firemen were now looking at her anxiously. Carefully they helped her to her feet.

“Are you okay, little girl?” She looked in the fireman’s face. He seemed so worried that her irritation melted.

Sydney looked down at her soaking gray tank top and shorts. “Yes, sir, I’m fine,” she said. “Thank you,” she added, remembering her manners.

Sydney Lincoln had been talking to one of her neighborhood friends. She hadn’t even noticed the firemen at the fire hydrant behind her. And she sure hadn’t realized she was in the direct line of the nozzle the men were releasing.

Still out of breath from the shock of the water, Sydney dropped onto the curb in front of her house. She tore off her running shoes and socks, and stuck her bare feet into the gutter. She watched as the water from the hydrant down the street shot into the air and out the nozzle. The neighborhood kids laughed and splashed in its flow.

As Sydney’s clothes began to dry in the torrid sun, the water rushed along the curb like a river. It streamed between Sydney’s toes and sent goose bumps creeping up to her knees.

Sydney lived in the middle of a row of brick houses. The two-story tall houses were connected so they looked like one long building. The only windows were in the front and the back. The houses were close to the street, and each had a narrow front porch with three steps leading to a tiny front yard and the sidewalk.

The screen door on Sydney’s house swung open, and her mom stepped outside. “Sydney, have you seen your Aunt Dee yet?” Her curly, black hair was pulled back with a blue band to keep it off of her face.

“No, Mom,” Sydney answered. “I ran past the Metro station looking for her, but she wasn’t there.”

“Well, when she gets here, you two come inside. Dinner’s ready.”

Sydney dipped her fingers into the water and splashed some onto her long, thin arms.

“Don’t you want to come in by the air conditioning?” Her mother fanned herself with a magazine. “Aren’t you hot in the sunshine?”

“No, mom,” Sydney answered. She didn’t think it was necessary to tell her mom about her little brush with the explosion of water.

The cell phone in the pocket of her pink shorts buzzed. Sydney took it out and found a text message from one of her best friends, Elizabeth Anderson. It said: Almost packed.

Sydney tapped a reply on her keypad: Can’t w8 til u get here.

Sydney and Elizabeth had met at Discovery Lake Camp, and although Elizabeth lived in Texas, they talked every day. Four other girls had been with Sydney and Elizabeth in Cabin 12B. They were Bailey Chang, Alexis Howell, McKenzie Phillips, and Kate Oliver. When camp ended, Kate set up a web site so the girls could stay in touch. It was password protected, so it was like their own secret cabin in cyberspace. They’d all bought web cams with baby-sitting money, chore payments, and allowances so they could see each other and talk online. The Camp Club Girls—as they liked to be called—made web cam calls, sent IMs, and frequently met in their own private chat rooms.

Sydney continued typing her message: Will pic u up @ d aport @ 4 2MORO.

“Sydney, I really wish you’d come inside.” Sydney’s mother crossed her arms.

“Okay, in a few minutes, Mother!” Sydney said, without looking up.

The screen door slammed shut.

This was the worst heat wave Washington D.C. had seen in twenty-five years. Everyone had air conditioners blasting. The energy load was way too much, and the night before, the power had gone out. Sydney hated being in total darkness. She was relieved that today seemed normal.

Pack shorts, she typed. Really hot here!

While she sat texting, Sydney heard the thump thump thump of music getting closer and closer. A green jeep raced around the corner, and the booming bass from its stereo echoed inside Sydney’s chest. In the passenger seat, Aunt Dee held on to her tan park ranger hat to keep it from flying off of her head. The jeep screeched to a halt in front of Sydney’s house, and her aunt hopped out.

“Thanks for the ride, Ben,” she yelled over the music. “See you tomorrow.”

The young driver waved and drove off.

Gotta go, Liz, Sydney wrote. Ant D’s home.

Sydney stood and wiped her feet on the grass. “You’re late again,” she said. “Mom’s mad.”

“I know,” Aunt Dee apologized. “There was trouble at the Wall.” She took off her ranger hat and perched it on Sydney’s head. Aunt Dee always blamed her lateness on her job at the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial. Sydney didn’t understand how she could be so enthusiastic about a long, black wall with a bunch of names carved onto it.

“So what was the trouble?” Sydney wondered.

“I’ll tell you at dinner,” said Aunt Dee. She linked her arm through Sydney’s. “It’s hot out here, girlfriend. Let’s go inside.”

By the time Sydney washed and sat at her place at the table, Mom and Aunt Dee were already eating. Sydney had learned at camp to pray before every meal. So, she bowed her head and said out loud, “Dear Lord, Make us truly grateful for this meal and for all the blessings of this day.” She noticed that her mom and Aunt Dee stopped eating and bowed their heads, too. “And please keep Dad safe,” she said. Sydney always added a blessing for her dad who was serving in the military overseas.

“Amen!” Mom and Aunt Dee chimed.

Sydney poured iced tea into her tall glass and scooped pasta salad onto her plate. “So, what happened at the Wall?” she asked, reaching for a piece of French bread.

“Someone spray painted the sidewalk last night,” Aunt Dee replied. “Graffiti.”

Sydney’s mom got that look on her face—the one where her forehead turned into wrinkled plastic wrap. “You mean vandalism,” she said. “I think it’s just terrible what kids do these days—”

“How do you know it was kids?” Sydney interrupted. Her mouth was full of creamy macaroni. “Kids aren’t the only ones who do bad stuff.”

“Don’t talk with your mouth full,” said Aunt Dee.

“Most times it is,” her mom argued. “Just look around our neighborhood,” She waved her hand toward the kitchen window. “Vandalism everywhere! Who do you think did all that? Not the adults. The kids don’t care about our community. Do they care that this neighborhood used to be a military camp to help slaves that escaped from the South? No! They just want to mess up the nice things that good folks worked so hard to build.” Sydney’s mother sighed and took a long drink of her iced tea.

Mrs. Lincoln worked at the local historical society, and she was very protective of the neighborhood and its landmarks. She liked to talk about how, in the old days, kids had manners and didn’t do anything wrong. Sydney hated it that her mom blamed everything on the kids in the neighborhood.

“There are good kids, too,” Sydney argued. “You don’t see my friends and me running around spray painting everything. Give us some credit!” She looked at her plate and pushed the rest of her pasta salad into a neat little pile. “We care what happens.”

“We don’t know who did it,” said Aunt Dee, trying to stop the argument. “Someone painted GO 64 in front of panel 30W—in orange paint. Ben and some other volunteers scrubbed it this morning. They’ll work on it again tonight when the air cools off some. They’re having a hard time cleaning it. Pass the bread, please.”

“What does GO 64 mean?” Sydney asked, handing her the basket of bread.

“That’s what we’re trying to figure out,” Aunt Dee answered. “We’re wondering if the number 64 is a clue to who did it. Ben said that in some rap music, 64 means a 1964 Chevrolet Impala. Another volunteer plays chess and said 64 is the number of squares on a chessboard. We don’t know what it means.”

“Maybe it’s Interstate 64,” Sydney’s mom suggested. “There’s construction on that freeway and plenty of orange construction cones. Maybe the orange paint is to protest all that.”

“But if it’s about the freeway, or a car, or a chessboard, why would they complain by painting graffiti at the Vietnam Wall? Besides, Interstate 64 is in Virginia,” Aunt Dee said.

“Yes, but there’s some military bases out that way,” Mother said. Then she added, “It’s probably just kids.”

The air conditioning kicked in again, and a cool draft shot from the air vent making the kitchen curtains flutter.

“The Wall’s lighted at night,” Sydney said. “And the Park Police keep an eye on all the monuments. So, why didn’t anyone see who did it?”

“The lights were out,” Aunt Dee reminded her. “The whole city went dark for a while, and the Park Police were busy with that. That’s when it happened, I’m sure. Anyway, it’s a mess, and we have to clean it up fast. The TV stations are already making a big deal out of it.” She dipped her knife into the butter container and slathered butter onto her French bread. “I had such an awful day at work. Everybody blamed everyone else for letting it happen. Like we would let it happen! People don’t know how hard the Park Service works—“

“May I be excused,” Sydney asked, swallowing her last bite of pasta.

“You may,” her mother answered.

Sydney put her dishes into the dishwasher. Then she went upstairs to her room.

The computer on Sydney’s desk was on, and her screensaver cast an eerie blue glow on her yellow bedroom walls. Syd’s bedroom had no windows, so it was always dark. That was the trouble with living in a row house. If your room was in the middle of the house, you had no windows. She flipped the switch on her desk light and tapped the spacebar on the computer. The monitor lit up, and Sydney noticed that McKenzie Phillips was online. She sent her an IM: Talk to me?

The phone icon on the computer screen jiggled back and forth. Sydney clicked on it, and McKenzie’s freckled face appeared. She was sitting at the work island in her family’s kitchen. “What’s up?” she asked.

Sydney turned on her web cam. “Not much,” she said. “I just finished dinner.”

“Me, too,” McKenzie replied. “Well, almost.” She held a slice of cheese pizza in front of her face so Sydney could see it. “We ate early because Dad and Evan have to drive some cattle to pasture. Then they want to practice for the rodeo this weekend.” She pointed to the blue baseball cap on her head. Its yellow letters said: Sulfur Springs Rodeo.

“I didn’t want to hang out downstairs,” Sydney told her. “Someone spray painted graffiti by the Vietnam Wall last night, and Mom blamed it on kids again.”

McKenzie took a bite out of her pizza. “I saw it on the news. Why did she blame it on kids? I mean, anyone could have done it.”

“She blames everything on kids,” Sydney answered. “I think it’s because a lot of the kids around here get into trouble. I try to tell her that we’re not all like that, but she doesn’t listen. Lately she doesn’t listen to anything I say.”

“My mom’s like that, too,” McKenzie said. “Nothing I do is ever right.” Her face lit up. “Hey, the news said it was orange paint, right?”

“Yeah,” Sydney said, fidgeting with her cornrows. “Orange graffiti that said GO 64. So what?”

“So, maybe it’s some crazy nutcase with Agent Orange.”

“Agent who?” Sydney asked.

“Agent Orange!” said McKenzie. “Agent Orange was a chemical they used in Vietnam. I read about it in school. It made some Vietnam soldiers really sick and some even died. So maybe it wasn’t a kid who wrote it. Maybe it’s a guy who got Agent Orange, who’s mad at the government, and wants to get even. By the way, I can’t see you well.”

“You think too much,” Sydney answered. She pulled her desk light closer to her computer and bent it toward her face. “They’re trying to figure out what GO 64 means. My aunt and mom think it could be about some sort of car, or highway, or maybe even a chessboard—“

“A chessboard!” McKenzie screeched. “A person who plays chess won’t spray paint a national monument.”

“I know,” Sydney said. “Some gang member probably wrote it. Anyhow, I don’t care. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”

“I can see you fine now,” McKenzie said, changing the subject. “So, when is Elizabeth coming?”

“She and her Uncle Dan are flying in from Texas tomorrow,” Sydney answered. “Aunt Dee and I are going pick them up at the airport at four. We’ll take her uncle to his hotel, and then Elizabeth will come here to stay with us.”

“Can Elizabeth’s Uncle Dan get around all by himself?” McKenzie asked. She twisted a strand of her shoulder-length hair around her fingers. “I mean, he’s in a wheelchair and everything.”

“As far as I know, he can,” Sydney answered. “Elizabeth said he plays wheelchair basketball and competes in wheelchair races, so I suppose he gets around just fine by himself. I’m sure once he gets to the hotel, his Vietnam buddies will help him out if he needs help.”

McKenzie reached for a gallon milk container on the kitchen counter. She poured herself a glass. “Well, at least you and Elizabeth don’t have to hang around with him the whole time. He’ll be busy with his reunion stuff, right?”

“Right,” Sydney agreed. “We’ll see him Monday at the Vietnam Wall. Aunt Dee wants to give him the tour, and she thinks that Elizabeth and I should be there. Otherwise, we’re on our own.” Sydney heard strange sounds coming from her computer speakers. “Is that mooing?” she asked.

“Can you hear it?” said McKenzie. “That’s Olivia, our old milk cow. About this time every day, she wanders up to the kitchen window and talks to us. I’ll move the camera, and you can see her.”

McKenzie’s face disappeared from the screen. Sydney watched her friend’s bare feet move across the kitchen floor as she carried the web cam to the window. Then a big, black-and-white cow head appeared. Olivia stood chewing her cud and looking at Sydney with huge, brown eyes.

“Earth to Mac! Earth to Mac!” Sydney called into her computer’s microphone. “Come back Mac!”

Sydney watched McKenzie’s bare feet walk back to the computer. Then her face showed up on the screen.

“Isn’t Olivia awesome?” she said. “You really should come to Montana, Syd. We have tons of animals. I know you’d love it, and we could ride horses and hike, just like we did at camp.”

“Maybe I will some day,” Sydney replied. “But, right now, I’m signing off. I want to clean up my room before Elizabeth gets here from Texas. All of my junk is piled on the other bed. If I don’t move it she won’t have a place to sleep.”

“Okay then,” McKenzie said. “I’ll sign off, too—and eat more pizza.” She picked up the gooey slice from her plate and took another bite. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

“See ya,” Sydney answered, switching off her web cam.

Everything in her room looked neat except for the other twin bed. It was hardly ever used, so that was where Sydney stored most of her stuff. It held boxes filled with colorful papers and art materials, magazines, piles of clothes, posters she planned to put up in her room. Sydney had so much stuff stored there that she didn’t know what to do with it all. Under my bed, I guess, she thought.

Before long, the bed was cleaned. Sydney changed the sheets. Then she went to her closet and pulled out a new black and tan bedspread that matched her own. She threw it on top of the bed and tucked it neatly around the pillow.

“Sydney?” Aunt Dee stood in the doorway. She held a long, white envelope. “This came for you.”

The letter was from Elizabeth. Sydney tore open the flap and found a note taped to an information sheet.


Uncle Dan wanted me to send you this so your mom can keep track of him. Just in case of an emergency. It’s his reunion schedule.


Sydney Lincoln read the heading on the sheet of paper. It said, “Annual Reunion—64th Transportation Company, Vietnam.”



A full personal review is coming!!

Camp Club Girls Part 1

I'll post my review on another day. But you HAVE to get this book!


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Camp Club Girls & the Mystery at Discovery Lake

Barbour Books (January 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Angie Brillhart of Barbour Books for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Renae Brumbaugh lives in Texas with her pastor husband, two noisy children, and two dogs. She's authored four books in Barbour’s Camp Club Girls’ series, and Morning Coffee with James (Chalice Press), and has contributed to several anthologies. Her humor column and articles have appeared in publications across the country.

Visit the Camp Club Girl's website.
Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $5.97
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (January 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602602670
ISBN-13: 978-1602602670

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Chapter One



“Shhhhhhh!” Sydney told Bailey. “What was that noise?”

“What noise?” asked Bailey.

“Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” commanded her new friend.

The two listened with all their focused energy. Then, there it was. Footsteps. Large, heavy footsteps.

The girls stood in terrified uncertainty.

Aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrkkkkk!

Sydney gasped as the eerie shriek filled the air.

Yahahoho ho ho!

Bailey trembled uncontrollably as the crazy, unworldly laugh followed.

“Run!” Sydney screamed. The two dashed as fast as their legs could carry them, back toward the camp. Sydney stopped twice, waiting for Bailey’s shorter legs to catch up.

#

Fourteen-year-old Elizabeth sat in the middle of the dusty road, trying to cram her underwear back into her suitcase before anyone saw. I thought wheels were supposed to make a suitcase easier, she thought. Instead, the rolling blue luggage had tipped over three times before it finally popped open, leaving her belongings strewn in the street.

Suddenly, she was nearly barreled over by two girls running frantically. “Run for your life!” the smaller one cried. “It’s after us!”

“Whoa, calm down,” Elizabeth focused on the terrified girls.

The taller one panted. “Something’s back there!”

Elizabeth looked toward the golf course but saw nothing. She noticed that the smaller girl seemed to struggle for air, and her protective instincts took over. “Calm down. You’ll be okay.”

“Need. . .inhaler,” gasped the girl.

Elizabeth sprang into action, digging through the girl’s backpack until she found a small blue inhaler. Then she helped hold it steady while the slight girl gasped in the medication. The taller girl kept looking toward the miniature golf course they’d just left. “Sorry,” the small girl whispered. “I’m supposed to keep that in my pocket, but I got so excited I forgot.”

“I’m Elizabeth. Why don’t you tell me what happened.”

“I’m Bailey,” said the short, dark-haired girl. “Bailey Chang.”

“And I’m Sydney Lincoln,” said the tall, dark-skinned girl with beaded braids. “We were at the golf course, and. . .and. . .”

“And something came after us!” exclaimed Bailey.

Elizabeth looked skeptical as she tucked a strand of long blond hair into the clip at the base of her neck.

“Is this your first year here? This is my third year here, and the most dangerous thing I’ve seen is a skunk.”

The girls giggled but didn’t look convinced. “Come with us. We’ll show you.” Bailey pulled Elizabeth back toward the golf course.

“I thought you were afraid of whatever it was! Why do you want to go back there?” Elizabeth asked.

The young girl stood to her full height. “Because I am going to be a professional golfer. And I’m not going to let whatever that was bully me. I plan to practice my golf strokes while I’m here.”

“Will you tell me exactly what happened?” Elizabeth asked Sydney.

Sydney looked each girl in the eye and spoke slowly. “Something or someone is in the woods by the golf course. And it wasn’t a friendly.” She paused for dramatic effect. “And. . .it came after us.”

#

Kate Oliver leaned back on her bed and smiled. Yes! I got the bed by the window! she thought. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get good reception for my laptop and cell phone. She tucked a strand of blond hair behind her ear. It was too short to stay there, and just long enough to drive her crazy.

Bam! The cabin’s outer door slammed, and Kate heard voices. Pushing her black-framed glasses up on her nose, she sat up. Two girls entered the room, giggling and talking.

“I can’t believe I’m finally here! This is so cool. And look at this cute little dorm room! It’s just like the cabin in The Parent Trap! Oh, hello!” The fun-looking brunette with piercing blue eyes greeted Kate. “I’m Alex Howell. Alexis, really, but nobody calls me that except my mother. I am so excited! This will be the best two weeks ever!”

Kate smiled and reached to shake the girl’s hand. “Kate Oliver,” she said. “Welcome to cabin 12B.” She looked at the other girl.

The girl’s freckles matched her curly auburn hair, and she offered a friendly smile. “Hi there. I’m McKenzie Phillips.”

#

The two girls looked at Elizabeth stubbornly, as if needing to prove their story to her. Hearing another bus pull up, Elizabeth remembered her belongings, which were still lying in the middle of the road.

“I’ll tell you what. You help me get this awful suitcase to cabin 12B, and then I’ll walk to the golf course with you. Deal?”

Bailey’s mouth dropped open, and Sydney’s eyes widened.

“You’re in cabin 12B?” asked Sydney.

“That’s our cabin!” exclaimed Bailey.

Now it was Elizabeth’s turn to be surprised. “You’re kidding! Wow. It is a small world. Okay, roomies, help me hide my underwear before the entire camp sees, and we’ll be on our way.”

The girls gathered the strewn articles of clothing. Bailey held up one particular article of clothing and giggled. “Tinkerbell? Seriously, you have Tinkerbell on your . . .”

Elizabeth snatched the unmentionables from Bailey, crammed them in her suitcase, and snapped it shut. “Not another word, shorty!” Elizabeth scolded, but with a twinkle in her eye. The three girls chattered all the way to cabin 12B. As they approached the cabin, the two younger girls pulled their luggage out from behind some bushes.

“We sat together on the bus from the airport, and we both wanted to see the golf course before we did anything else. So we stowed our suitcases here until we got back,” explained Sydney.

Elizabeth laughed. With these two as roommates, this year’s camp experience would be far from dull.

The girls entered the cabin and located room B to the right. Three girls were already there, smiling and laughing.

“Hello, I’m Elizabeth. I guess we’ll be roommates!” She tossed her things on the lower bunk closest to the door, and Sydney placed her things on the bunk above that. Bailey took the top bunk next to Sydney. After an awkward pause, McKenzie stepped forward.

“I’m McKenzie Phillips,” she said. “I’m thirteen, and I’m from White Sulphur Springs, Montana.”

Alex bounced forward. “I’m Alexis Howell, Alex for short. I’m twelve, and I’m from Sacramento.”

“Sydney. Twelve. Washington, D.C.”

“Oh, that is so cool. Do you know the president?” asked Bailey, and everyone laughed. “I’m Bailey Chang. I’m nine, and I’m from Peoria, Illinois. And just so you’ll all know, I plan to be the next Tiger Woods. I’ll be glad to sign autographs, if you want. They’ll be worth money some day.”

Elizabeth stepped forward. “I’ll take one, Bailey. I’ll sell it and use the money for college. I’m Elizabeth Anderson, fourteen, from Amarillo, Texas.”

“Well, I guess that leaves me,” said Kate. “Kate Oliver, eleven, Philadelphia.”

Alexis jumped up and down. “Oh, this will be so much fun! Kate brought her laptop with her. I have the coolest roommates ever!”

Everyone’s attention turned to Kate’s bed, which was covered with a laptop and several small gadgets. “What is all that stuff?” asked Sydney. The girls gathered around Kate’s bed and watched her pull items out of a black backpack.

“It’s like a magician’s bag. It has no bottom,” mused McKenzie.

Kate laughed. “My dad teaches robotics at Penn State, so he’s always bringing home little devices to test out. Some of them are really helpful. Some of them are just fun to play with.”

One by one, she pulled the oddly shaped gadgets out of her bag, describing the functions of each.

“This is my cell phone. It can take pictures and short video clips, has a GPS tracker, a satellite map, Internet access, a motion sensor, a voice recorder, and about a zillion other things!” Aiming it at the others, she said, “Say cheese!”

The other girls leaned together and smiled. “Cheeeeeeeeeeeeese!”

Kate saved the picture, then passed the phone to the others and dug through her backpack again. “This digital recorder can record conversations up to thirty feet away.”

Sydney squinted her eyes. “You’re kidding! That thing is the size of a contact lens! Let me see!” Kate handed her the recorder and kept digging.

“This is a reader,” she continued, holding up a small penlike device.

“A what?” asked McKenzie.

“A reader. You run it across words on a page, and it records them to memory. Like a small scanner.”

“That is so cool! I had no idea stuff like this existed!” McKenzie examined the reader.

“Here, I have my Bible. Will you show us how the reader works?” Elizabeth grabbed a worn Bible from her bag and handed it to Kate.

“Sure. You turn it on by pressing this button, and. . .” She ran the pen over a page in Psalms.

Elizabeth giggled. “I’ve heard of hiding God’s Word in your heart, but never in your pen!”

The gadget girl suddenly stopped her display to announce, “Hey, I’m starved. Is anybody else hungry?”

“It’s almost dinnertime,” announced Elizabeth. “But first, we have some business to take care of at the golf course.”

The girls listened as Sydney and Bailey described their experience.

“Whoa, cool!” exclaimed Alex. “We have a mystery on our hands! Why don’t we go right now and check it out?”

“Why don’t we eat first?” called out Kate. “Starving girl here, remember?” The others laughed at the petite girl whose stomach was growling loudly.

Since it was almost dinnertime, the group decided to head to the dining hall first. Bailey led the way, taking over as tour guide.

“Wait for me,” called Alex. “I need to grab my lip gloss!” She shoved strawberry Lip Smackers into her pocket.

The group wandered through the camp, with Bailey pointing out different sites. Suddenly, she stopped. “Well, guys, I hate to tell you this. . .but I have no idea how to get to the dining hall from here.”

“It’s this way,” stated Elizabeth. “You’ll get your bearings. My first year here, it took me the whole time before I could find my way around. But I get lost in a closet.”

McKenzie spoke up. “Come on, girls, let’s go. Remember, Kate’s about to starve. We wouldn’t want her to waste away to nothing.”

Everyone laughed at Kate, who pretended to be nearly fainting. “I need sustenance, and I need it now!”

The group arrived at the dining hall with seven minutes to spare. They stood near the front of the line, and Elizabeth said, “Get ready for a long meal. The camp director will explain all the camp rules, introduce the counselors, and tell us more than we want to know about Camp Discovery Lake.”

“Terrific.” Bailey sighed. “I wanted to visit the golf course before dark.”

“Don’t worry,” said Alex. “After the story you and Sydney told, I think we all want to find out what’s down there.”

“Really?” Bailey said. “You’ll all come?”

“You bet!” said McKenzie. “The girls of cabin 12B stick together!”

#

The sun was dipping behind the horizon by the time the girls left the dining hall.

“Hooray! We can finally go to the golf course!” Bailey called.

“We’d better hurry. It’s getting dark,” said Elizabeth.

“Yeah, and after the story you and Sydney told, I certainly don’t want to be there after dark,” added Kate.

The girls scurried while chattering about the different camp activities they wanted to try. Before they knew it, the sun was gone and they could barely see the road. “Why is the golf course so far away from the main camp?” asked Alex nervously.

Sydney laughed. “So nobody will get hit on the head with a stray golf ball!”

Suddenly, a voice called out from the woods.

“Who? Who? Who?”

“What was that?” whispered Bailey.

“Who?” came the voice again.

McKenzie giggled. “You city girls don’t know much about the country, do you? That was an owl!”

The others burst into laughter as the voice called again, “Who?”

“I’m Sydney! Who are you?” Sydney shouted, and the laughter continued.

“It sure does get dark here, doesn’t it?” said Kate. “It never gets this dark in the city.”

“Are we close to the golf course?” asked Alex.

“It doesn’t seem nearly as far in the daytime,” Elizabeth told her.

They continued, each trying to seem brave. The trees that had seemed friendly and protecting in the daytime now loomed like angry giants. The girls’ steps became slower and slower as they struggled to see where they were stepping.

Finally, Kate stopped and looked at the sky through the trees. “Look, everybody! It’s the Big Dipper!” The other five girls looked to where she pointed.

“Wow, the sky is beautiful. It’s so dark, and the stars are so bright,” whispered Sydney.

“The stars are never this bright in Sacramento,” Alex commented. “The city lights are brighter. Hey, this reminds me of an episode of Charlie’s Angels, where the Angels’ car broke down in the middle of nowhere, and they had to use the stars to find their way home.”

The girls were so focused on the sky that they didn’t notice the image moving toward them. Kate was the first to lower her eyes, and she blinked in confusion. Adjusting her eyeglasses, she whispered, “Uh, guys?”

The girls continued pointing out the brightest stars.

Kate tried to make her voice louder, but terror kept it to a soft squeak. “G–g–guys?” The image moved closer, but still, no one heard her. Finally, Kate grabbed Sydney’s sleeve. “Wh–wh–what is that?” she squeaked.

Sydney looked. “Oh, my word! What in the world is that?”

The girls saw a white stripe in the road, moving slowly, steadily toward them. They were frozen, until Elizabeth yelled, “Skunk!”

Camp Discovery Lake resounded with shrieks and squeals as the girls ran back toward the cabins. McKenzie led the way with Alex close on her heels.

The girls didn’t slow down until they had burst through the door of cabin 12B. Falling onto the beds, they panted, then soon began giggling.

“Can you believe it? A skunk! We were scared of a little bitty skunk!” howled McKenzie.

“I don’t know about you, McKenzie, but I wasn’t about to smell like Pepe Le Pew out there!” retorted Alex, and the girls laughed even harder.

“Hey, Sydney, is that what scared you today? Some forest creature?”

Sydney and Bailey stopped giggling and looked at one another. “No,” they replied.

“Whatever we heard was not small,” said Bailey. “And it wasn’t friendly.”

“And it definitely came after us,” added Sydney.