Friday, May 31, 2013

Serials and Scenarios ~ Robert Liparulo's The Judgment Stone ~ Review

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Judgment Stone

Thomas Nelson (May 14, 2013)


Robert Liparulo


Former journalist Robert Liparulo is the best-selling author of the thrillers Comes a Horseman, Germ, Deadfall, Deadlock, and The 13th Tribe, as well as The Dreamhouse Kings, an action-adventure series for young adults. He contributed a short story to James Patterson’s Thriller, and an essay about Thomas Perry’s The Butcher’s Boy to Thrillers: 100 Must Reads, edited by David Morrell and Hank Wagner. He is currently working on the sequel to The 13th Tribe, as well writing an original screenplay with director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive).

When not writing, Liparulo loves to read, watch (and analyze) movies, scuba dive, swim, hike, and travel. He lives in Monument, Colorado, with his wife Jodi and four children: Melanie, Matthew, Anthony, and Isabella.


What if praying became a curse instead of a blessing?

Former Army Ranger Jagger Baird thought he had his hands full with the Tribe—the band of immortal vigilantes fighting to regain God’s grace by killing those opposed to Him. But that was before he encountered the ruthless group of immortals called the Clan. The Clan is after a prize that would give them unimaginable power—a piece of the Ten Commandments known as the Judgment Stone.

Those who touch the Stone can see into the spiritual world: angelic warriors, treacherous demons, and the blue threads of light that signal the presence of believers in communion with God.

By following the blue beam radiating from those closest to God, the Clan plans to locate His most passionate followers and destroy them.

Jagger quickly realizes his high-tech gadgetry and training are no match for these merciless immortals. But how can he defeat an enemy who hunts believers through their prayers . . . and won’t stop until they’ve annihilated all those close to Him?

In this high-action thriller, best-selling author Robert Liparulo examines the raging battle between good and evil on earth . . . and beyond.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Judgment Stone, go HERE.


If I see a book with Robert Liparulo's name on it, it ends up in my to read pile. His writing is tense, descriptive (chickens take note, this is not always a pleasant thing) and hopeful. Liparulo crafts characters that are flawed and real and pull at your heartstrings and have kept me up past bedtime a night or two.

And his stories. Whew. Always full of what if's and enough truth to keep me thinking and enough speculation and twists to make me wonder what kind of pizza he eats before bed. This particular book is number two in the series. If you haven't read The Thirteenth Tribe, you may want to whip through it first, however, you won't be lost if you don't. The story centers around Immortals and an epic battle of good vs evil. And The Judgment Stone provides some seriously epic battles. And a story line that is haunting.

The Judgment Stone is an excellent choice for a beach read, plane trip or just because. I was home alone a couple nights and I couldn't open it after dark, so chickens and sensitive readers, you have been warned. Keep em coming, Robert, puleeze.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Squeak Update....

I've now been taught the four strings of my violin and finger placements for a total of 16 notes. 

I "know" how to slur, tie, and create a staccato effect (actually this was pretty easy for me because that's how I played until he drove the constant bow concept into my brain. Staccato is a teeny pause between each note. Since I instinctively staccato through life, my teacher was able to gloss over this technique..."play like you did before I told you to STOP stopping between notes" 

This hornpipe hornswoggle of a piece was something he tossed down with a flourish and a snarky smile. "Work on this this week." My heart threw some palpitations. For starters it's a half page of music with a repeat every two lines. And secondly, the brand new notes are mixed in. He even had me play it (attempt - NOT PRETTY) within seconds of giving it to me. I kept getting lost and finally told him that the little black dots were confusing me. (He pretended to be unamused. I so love my teacher's personality!) He also gave me some life advice. I kind of whined (imagine that) that when I had to play for him, it kinda harshed my mellow. He asked me where I'd heard that phrase and I told him it was from a show I watched and that I wanted to use it frequently for amusement purposes. He suggested I be careful where I used it so people didn't think I was a stoner. Word! 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Snippets and Scraps ~ Cilantro Lime Brown Rice and Quinoa

I discovered something pretty fabulous. I think I'll share. 

I make cilantro lime rice whenever we are going to do a feast of sautéed veggies and guacamole etc. etc. 

It's pretty easy. I use the Trader Joe's quick version of organic brown rice. Good enough ehhh?

But I was needing to make a huge batch and noticed that next to my skimpy bag of brown rice lay a bag of quinoa. Hmmm. The cook times and ratios were similar. And the nutritional boost. Win. Win. 

Take equal parts of brown (quick rice) and quinoa. (I used a cup and 1/2 of each)
Liquid you need to make the amount you want. I went a bit shy on the liquid because drier is better than gummy. Ya know. I used veggie broth and the juice of a lime for my liquid (about 6 cups). I dumped in the rice and quinoa and let it simmer up til the liquid was absorbed and the quinoa grew tails (about 20 minutes give or take). I added the juice of another lime and chopped cilantro. And that's it. Easy peasy delish. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles Beautiful Day

Sometimes Iowa looks like the rolling, green hills the pictures of Irish hillsides
.  Today is one of those days!  Sigh!  And see how my garden grows.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Fleeting Thoughts

I've not been a "good" blogger this week. My weekend and Monday were consumed with moving/schlepping/prepping and painting two bedrooms and intentions to paint a sitting area, hallway and bathroom. (Yes. I do have something planned at my house....this weekend...that's how I roll. You wouldn't want to show up one second early, trust me.)

And while I was beautifying my house, people in Oklahoma were losing theirs...or worse, people they loved.

The tragedies feel like waves that just keep crashing, coming closer together. It feels like we can't even mourn or grasp the horror of the things that happened yesterday because something is looming on tomorrow's horizon.

My heart goes out to those in Oklahoma who've lost someone or every shred of their physical definition of home. On a small scale, I've decided to help by sending some helpful Arbonne products to aid the victims and workers over the next few months. So little in the scheme of things and it does feel a lot like the starfish story that so many use to illustrate how one choice, one person can make a difference. A kid walks on the beach as the tide ebbs, throwing one of thousands of beached starfish back into the ocean. An old man scoffs. "Kid, trying to save the starfish is futile...look at them, they line the beach for miles. Why bother, go on with your life, do something that matters?" The kid bends over, grabs a starfish and wings it into the ocean. "It matters to this one."

One choice. One person at a time. Each life is precious and earth-shatteringly important. Regardless of how it begins or ends. One person at a time, I want to do something that matters. A cold drink, a smile, a meal, a kind word, clothing, prayer, those add up, especially if we all set out to consider one step at a time we can make a difference. (If you want to help fling starfish (or provide meal replacement protein drinks for victims and workers in Oklahoma) email me and I'll give you the details and let you help this way if you'd like.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles - Really???

So I thought I might be able to tell you all sorts of funny stories about my wild hair.  Sorry!  I still have it!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Oh, So Not Cool

So I learned something very important today. Apparently, I'm not up and hip and cool after all. 

Here is a text conversation I had with my violin teacher. I offered to postpone my lesson because a) he mentioned being exhausted and b) I've done so little practice this week I knew for a fact that I'd be simply practicing the same old, same old.

So he responded that I should still show and then ended the our conversation with "word". Hmmm. Word? Thinking he may have the cursed autocorrect on his phone, but not 100% sure that our communication was clear I wanted to clarify... "Word???" I said. 

Before he responded I called my mom to chat. And while talking I mentioned the exchange I had with my teacher. I said, "I don't know if his phone autocorrected the word good or what? I'm like what does "Word" means?" My mom. My mom who doesn't really like the idea of cell phones or texting or any such nonsense says. "Word is slang, it's rapper or hip hop or something meaning okay, yes, amen, that's true...something along those lines."

Then I get his response confirming my mom's awesome coolness. "Word Yo"

Really? My mom knows this and I don't. So, of course, I had to share that possibly embellished tidbit with the teach. He responded with a least I know what that means. I think. And today in my lesson, he actually said beautiful...sigh...either a sympathy for the batty old idiot or his exhaustion pushed him into delirium. Word!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Mactacular

I bought a MacBook. My seven/eight/nine year old Sony laptop is about on it's last leg/gig. So, spurred on by my friends and family who are Macfans (do you suppose McDonald's has issues with Mac, it's awfully close, but maybe they just own the Mc combo and the super sized version, too, ) I visited Mac of All Trades and purchased a refurbed MacBook.

But. I don't really know what I'm doing. And I'm not patient enough to read and watch tutorials and so I'm working with two computers. A slow-as-molasses-in-January-Sony that holds all my pictures and documents, and a new one that challenges me and has nada in the form of documents or pictures.

And I'm being a HORRIBLE violin student this week. HORRIBLE. I've only practiced three times. And my lesson is tomorrow. I keep hoping that when I pick up the violin that some how, some way, I'll have gotten rhythm. So far that hasn't happened.

So. There it is. My current reality. Oh, and I just took this picture on Photo Booth so I now have 7 pictures on my MacBook. That's a huge relief. Maybe I can just used the confused and dazed me in all my posts so I think I can now blog from my MacBook. Hopefully, I'll figure out documents soon. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Scrambles and Scribbles ~ Spring Flung

It appears as if Spring has sprung in our locale. It's hard to trust this "fact," though. Last week boasted freezing rain and snow and tomorrow is allegedly going to be in the 90's. I think our spring might possibly have been two days long. Sigh. Spring Sandwich anyone?

And while I'm pondering things such as the weather...let me also ponder things like, how is it possible to be SO tired that you can't sleep? Or why on earth it seems reasonable to cram so many things in in one day that one becomes too tired to sleep? 

Or why leather couches only feel like they've ripped the top two layers of skin off of the back of shorts clad legs but never actually do anything useful like wax the back of thighs so one can avoid that pesky spring ritual? 

"Why do birds suddenly appear every time you are near?" Are you humming that song right now? 

If a wood chuck could chuck wood, how much could he chuck? Where did the word upchuck com from?

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Rosy Nosed ~ A Modern Fairy Tale

Once upon a time there was a middle-aged woman named Rosy Nosed.

As a young maiden Rosy Nosed understood that she had been born into a land of plenty, with resources and raw materials all around her, some at her very fingertips.

Rosy Nosed felt an insatiable curiosity about life and had deep down in her soul the desire to change the world. Even the very good land of plenty needed some tweaking.

Armed with her curiosity, her desire to be a world changer, and an ever growing list of lessons learned and skills accomplished, she set out on a journey to find her story.

Early on in life, Rosy Nosed met a very wise guide who offered to come along. She accepted His terms, with a few unique edits, and would consult Him now and again. However, she would use earplugs if she wanted to veer a direction He wasn't keen on.

And this went on, this journey of discovery. It took Rosy Nosed through education, periods of creativity, passionate pursuits, and into sacrifice as she married her handsome prince and brought children into the world. These paths took Rosy Nosed through some very dark, haunted forests, as well. Her wise guide proved to be Her Savior many times during those dismal, dank, days. Those struggles in the gloom, where she battled inky black shadows, things that bumped and gnashed, groping fingers of trees... yes... those struggles brought Rosy Nosed to a few new understandings, and introduced her to a bravery she never knew she owned.

With a renewed awareness of her need to listen to her Guide and let Him show her the paths to step on, and that her bravery was a gift, she picked up the pace and became very aware that this journey didn't lead to her life, but that it was her life. And when she looked behind she could see places she'd been, and could see evidence that by trodding and trying and struggling and moving forward, that she had made a difference in the land. Not the whole land, not every citizen. But where she had been, she had left a mark.

The middle-aged Rosy Nosed smiles at these thoughts. She knows her journey has really just begun, today is, after all the present...the future is not promised and the past is used up, but the present is now and is indeed, a gift. Today, she decides that where she will walk will become a better place because she will pass through. With a hum and a smile, she moves forward, to change the world.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Lemon Garlic Avocado Tempeh Sandwiches

1 Package Tempeh sliced into strips
1 TBSP garlic infused olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon garlic pepper blend
1 avocado sliced
Thinly sliced onion
Bread/bun of choice

Mix the oil, seasoning and lemon juice together and place the sliced tempeh in it and turn to coat both sides. Place onions on the bread, buns and broil until bread is toasted and onions begin to caramel use. Remove. Brown tempeh. Place tempeh over onions and top with avocado slices.  Serve.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Resonated...

Yesterday's sermon was about role models.

How we need to align ourselves with people who live a life that exemplifies what it is we want to see in our own lives.

A statement my pastor made completely resonated with me, and it's such a simple and profound thought. And I want it to be true of me and surround myself with people who have the same mindset.

He said, "Surround yourself with people who don't define life by what they are against. Instead find people who define life by what they are for."


I am for Jesus via relationship not religion.
I am for dreaming followed by action.
I am for loving, forgiving, encouraging.
I am for laughing, feeling, and moving forward.
I am for health, mental, physical, emotional and relational.
I am for moving forward and not getting stuck and not living in regret.
I am for the ones I love. I am for opening my heart to others. 

I am for Love. I am for Life. I am for Living it to the fullest. I am for Truth. I am for Hope. I am for Joy. I am for Faith becoming Sight.

What are you for???

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles~ Oddities

Snow in May! Last year at this time we'd mown our lawn 4 or 5 times and had already gotten fresh organic produce. This year, snow.

Another oddity. A check in the mail.,.46 mail said check. Check amount. 4 cents. Just sayin.

Scribbles and Scrambles -blather

Thankfully our veggie garden is still in our house because it snowed last night!!!

And that's about all I'm going to say.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Vegas Visual Highlights

Here are some pictures representing the fun sights and moments in Vegas.  And I'm guessing these are safe to share (ya know the whole what happens...stays) since TSA did not confiscate my phone.
Our hotel, the MGM Signature, which has great rooms, btw, also sports a Dr. Seuss tree in the lobby. Totally, totally loved it and clearly took a picture, or six.
Our elevator...oh, the stories I could tell, also had an Elf-worthy panel. (If you've not seen the movie Elf, don't try to figure it out, if you have, let's just say there was a slightly less mature person on board who may or may not have lit up a few extra floors, Buddy style.)
Our view included a huge mirrored building that made for some fun with reflections. I'm so weird. I know. But it made me happy to see lights and other buildings reflected back at me.
The  Wynn casino (VEGAN YUM, we visited just because it has eight restaurants all with a Vegan menu. We chose the country club steakhouse and absolutely loved it.... we were too full to lick our plates but we woulda...bonus...our waiter was sarcastic.) but I digress as usual. The Wynn had a fairyland garden right in the middle of it with inlaid flowers on the tile floor and twinkle lights wrapped around the trees and huge polka dots covered in flowers, oh, and curtain with polka dot fringe. Happy indeed.