The Porch Light copyright by Revka (2006-2010). All rights reserved.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Blog Tour: Every Sunrise by Tricia Goyer

I have reviewed a couple of Tricia's books in the past (Generation NeXt Marriage and A Whisper of Freedom), and I have been impressed with her stories and her writing in general. I was absolutely delighted to be invited to review her latest book, Every Sunrise. (You can find links to other bloggers' reviews at the blog tour post.)

From beginning to end, this book did not disappoint. Even though it is the seventh book in the Home to Heather Creek series, you won't be lost if you, like I, haven't read the other six books.

Every Sunrise takes us into the life of the Stevenson family in which three children are being raised by their grandparents. The characters are real, and the plot line is one that true to life. People everywhere are looking for love and wondering how they fit into their family. Every Sunrise shows that love can be unconditional and forgiveness is available for the asking. Every day is a new day and a new chance.

Because this book talks a lot about food (strawberry cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, baked chicken with cornbread, chocolate cake, pancakes with homemade syrup, French onion soup, parmesan crusted chicken - are you hungry yet?!), there is an EVERY FOODIE contest being run in conjunction with this blog tour. Leave a comment on the blog tour post at Tricia’s site with your favorite meal and a recipe. You can earn additional contest entries for posting additional recipes.

Tricia will choose the most tantalizing recipe to receive an entire set of the Home to Heather Creek series (books 1-7). Five runners-up will win a copy of Every Sunrise or another Tricia Goyer book of their choice.

Tricia Goyer is the author of eighteen books including From Dust and Ashes, My Life UnScripted, and the children's book, 10 Minutes to Showtime. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like Today's Christian Woman and Focus on the Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in the mountains of Montana.

Find out more about Tricia at


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Kill 'Em with Kindness (Part 2)

(If you missed it, you need to read Kill 'Em with Kindness Part 1 before you read today's post.)

Yesterday, I left off at the time when I found out that the family was moving, and the mom still had my favorite solo songbook.

I once again asked for my book. This time, she said that she had already returned it to me. I knew very well I had never received the book and tried to convince her of that fact. She searched all her music at home and failed to find my book before she moved. *sigh*

After a few months, Mr. Incredible decided I needed to replace the book. When we finally made the trip to Raleigh, we stopped at Burrage Music (my very favorite music store ever!), and within minutes (and at the expense of $19.99 plus tax), I was once again the happy possessor of Low Voice Classics.

But this saga doesn't end there. Oh, no, sir! This past fall, a couple of months after I re-purchased the songbook, the family moved back to our area. Every time I saw any member of the family, which was often since we attend the same church, I was reminded of the $40 they had cost me - $20 for cards and $20 for the book... my favorite book! (Nah, I don't hold grudges.)

Three weeks ago, I was walking up the aisle to play for Sunday morning service when the mom waved me down. Her face was absolutely lit up with happiness and excitement.

"Mrs. Stearns! You'll never guess what I found!" and she waved my missing book.

This is the part where I become like Judas Iscariot, the part that inspired my title. Here's what she heard me say.

"Oh, I already got another one. Don't worry about it."

With those words, her face lost all happiness and excitement. But I wasn't done.

"You keep it. I don't need two."

"Are you sure?" she asked.

"Yes, I already bought another one."

"How much was it? Let me pay you for it."

"It's whatever the price says on the book - $20 or $25. But don't worry about it."

"Are you sure? I feel so bad now!"

"It's fine. Don't worry about it. You just got yourself a free book." and I gave her a hug.

Ah, how sweet and kind of me, right? WRONG!!! Here's what I was actually thinking - inserted into the previous conversation, bracketed and bold.

"Mrs. Stearns! You'll never guess what I found!" and she waved my missing book.

"Oh, I already got another one. Don't worry about it. [Of course you found it! I told you you had it! Now you can have it; I don't want it.]"

With those words, her face lost all happiness and excitement. But I wasn't done.

"You keep it. I don't need two. [Here, let me force-feed it to you - taste good?]"

"Are you sure?" she asked.

"Yes, I already bought another one. [Did you hear that? Because of you, I wasted money buying another book, and if you had just listened to me when I told you you still had my book, I wouldn't have had to do that!]"

"How much was it? Let me pay you for it."

"It's whatever the price says on the book - $20 or $25. But don't worry about it. [Did you hear that? $20-$25! That I didn't need to spend! BECAUSE OF YOU!!!]"

"Are you sure? I feel so bad now!"

"It's fine. Don't worry about it. You just got yourself a free book. [I hope it bugs you every time you see it. I hope it gags you and makes you choke. I hope it makes you feel TERRIBLE.]" and I gave her a hug.
That's some difference, isn't it? The first conversation makes me seem giving, kind, and forgiving. The second one - the one with my heart revealed - shows that I was none of those things but was something very different instead: hateful, unforgiving, ugly, and vindictive.

Is kindness really kindness when it springs from anything but pure motives? No, I don't believe it is. Oh, it may be cloaked in a disguise of kindness, but it can actually be malice. Kill 'em with kindness? You betcha! Especially the killing part.

Somehow, I don't think that's what Jesus had in mind when He told us to turn the other cheek and to heap coals of fire on our enemy's head.

So once again I have failed. This time, I chose to make that failure public. I made that choice for one reason: to demonstrate that I'm just a sinner saved by grace. I can be as much of a hypocrite as any other person in the world. I can be just as malicious, just as devious, just as vengeful, just as sinful.

It is only by God's help and by a deliberate choosing to die to self that I (or anyone else) can truly exhibit God's kindness and love toward those who have hurt me. And only then can we "kill 'em with kindness" - true kindness that flows from the heart without malice or hypocrisy.

illustration courtesy of


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Kill 'Em with Kindness (Part 1)

I've been thinking about posting this for a couple of weeks now but wasn't sure I wanted to be that transparent in such a public forum. :D

Yesterday, our pastor preached an excellent sermon about Mary anointing Jesus' feet. Many things stuck with me, but the one thing relating to this post is the verse that tells how Judas Iscariot angrily asked why the ointment hadn't been sold and the money given to the poor.

Pastor pointed out that he is so thankful that the Bible is the best commentary on itself. The very next verse states that Judas said this not because he cared anything about the poor but because he was a thief and was the one who was responsible for the group's funds. His words sounded good, even pious, but the motive behind those words was anything but.

Rewind to nearly two years ago. A teenager approached me at church to ask me to buy some cards to help him with his school fundraiser. Being the pushover kind person that I am, I agreed to buy a boxed set of 50 cards for $20 - a pretty good deal, actually. I told him I would pay for the cards after they came in.

The cards arrived, and the kid and I kept missing each other at church. I finally got the money to him, but he didn't have my cards. I hate pestering people, so I patiently waited for several weeks before mentioning my lack of cards to him. He had forgotten that he had not given them to me and promised to do so.

Several more weeks went by. I reminded him again, but this time, he told me that he couldn't find the cards anywhere. Out of patience, I asked his mom about the cards only to be told that all unclaimed merchandise had already been returned to the school. Great! I'm out $20.

The mother did offer to refund my money, but I told her to just keep it for the school. However, I made a mental note not to purchase anything else from them.

A few months later, the mom asked to see my favorite solo songbook I had sung from for my special that morning. I let her borrow it. Several months went by; the book was not returned. Surely, this adult would do better than her teen.

I asked her about the book. She promised to return it. A couple of months went by - no book. I patiently waited for a couple more months. (By this time, it had been nearly a year since the incident with the son.) Then I found out that she and her family were moving to another state in just a few weeks...

Come back tomorrow for the rest of the story.

illustration courtesy of