Tuesday, January 31, 2012

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Threads of Hope by Andrea Boeshaar

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:

Realms (January 3, 2012)
***Special thanks to Jon Wooten of Charisma House for sending me a review copy.***


Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar is a certified Christian life coach; a popular speaker at writers’ conferences, workshops, and women’s groups; and the author of numerous published books, including the Seasons of Redemption series: Unwilling Warrior, Uncertain Heart, Unexpected Love, and Undaunted Faith.

Visit the author's website.

Kristin Eikaas has her hopes set on a new life in America.

The year is 1848, and Kristin Eikaas has traveled from Norway to Wisconsin with dreams of a new life. But when she arrives, she finds one disappointment after another. Worse, her superstitious uncle now believes that his neighbor’s Oneida Indian wife has put a curse on Kristin. Everyone knows the Sundbergs put spells on people…

Everyone except Kristin. Her run-ins with Sam Sundberg only prove that he is a good man from a Christian family. But when her uncle discovers she’s been associating with Sam, his temper flares. To escape his wrath, Kristin gratefully accepts a job as the Sundbergs’ house girl, finding solace at the family’s spinning wheel.

In the time Sam and Kristin spend together, their friendship develops into much more, and Sam prays about a match between them. But opposition threatens to derail their newfound love. Will they have the courage to stand up for what is right—even against their own families?

Product Details:

  • List Price: $13.99
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Realms (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616384972
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616384975


September 1848

It looks like Norway.

The thought flittered across nineteen-year-old Kristin Eikaas’s mind as Uncle Lars’s wagon bumped along the dirt road. The docks of Green Bay, Wisconsin, were behind them, and now they rode through a wooded area that looked just as enchanting as the forests she’d left in Norway. Tall pine trees and giant firs caused the sunshine to dapple on the road. Kristin breathed in the sweet, fresh air. How refreshing it felt in her lungs after being at sea for nearly three months and breathing in only salty sea air or the stale air in her dark, crowded cabin.

A clearing suddenly came into view, and a minute or so later, Kristin eyed the farm fields stretched before her. The sight caused an ache of homesickness. Her poppa had farmed . . .

“Your trip to America was good, ja?” Uncle Lars asked in Norwegian, giving Kristin a sideways glance.

He resembled her father so much that her heart twisted painfully with renewed grief. Except she’d heard about Onkel—about his temper—how he had to leave Norway when he was barely of age, because, Poppa had said, trouble followed him.

But surely he’d grown past all of that. His letters held words of promise, and there was little doubt that her uncle had made a new life for himself here in America.

Just as she would.

Visions of a storefront scampered across her mind’s eye—a shop in which she could sell her finely crocheted and knitted items. A shop in which she could work the spinning wheel, just as Mor had . . .

Uncle Lars arched a brow. “You are tired, liten niese?”

Ja. It was a long journey.” Kristin sent him a sideways glance.

“I am grateful I did not come alone. The Olstads made good traveling companions.”

Her uncle cleared his throat and lowered his voice. “But you have brought my inheritance, ja?” He arched a brow.

Ja.” Kristin thought of the priceless possession she’d brought from Norway.

“And you would not hold out on your onkel, would you?”

Prickles of unease caused Kristin to shift in her seat. She resisted the urge to touch the tiny gold and silver cross pendent suspended from a dainty chain that hung around her neck. Her dress concealed it. She couldn’t give it up, even though it wasn’t legal for a woman to inherit anything in Norway. But the necklace had been her last gift from Mor. A gift from one’s mother wasn’t an inheritance . . . was it? “No, Onkel.”

She turned and peered down from her perch into the back of the wooden wagon bed. Peder Olstad smiled at her, and Kristin relaxed some. Just a year older, he was the brother of Kristin’s very best friend who had remained in Norway with their mother. She and Peder had grown up together, and while he could be annoying and bad tempered at times, he was the closest thing to a brother that she had. And Sylvia—Sylvia was closer than a sister ever could be. It wouldn’t be long, and she and Mrs. Olstad would come to America too. That would be a

happy day!

“You were right,” John Olstad called to Uncle Lars in their native tongue. “Lots of fertile land in this part of the country. I hope to purchase some acres soon.”

“And after you are a landowner for five years, you can be a citizen of America and you can vote.” The Olstad men smiled broadly and replied in unison. “Oh, jaja . . . ”

Uncle Lars grinned, causing dozens of wrinkles to appear around his blue eyes. His face was tanned from farming beneath the hot sun, and his tattered leather hat barely concealed the abundance of platinum curls growing out of his large head. “Oh, ja, this is very good land. I am glad I persuaded Esther to leave the Muskego settlement and move northeast. But, as you will soon see, we are still getting settled.”

Ja, how’s that, Lars?”

Kristin heard the note of curiosity in Mr. Olstad’s voice.

“I purchased the land and built a barn and a cabin.” He paused and gave a derisive snort. “Well, a fine home takes time and money.”

“Oh, ja, that way.” Mr. Olstad seemed to understand.

And Kristin did too. One couldn’t expect enormous comforts out in the Wisconsin wilderness.

Just then they passed a stately home situated on the Fox River. Two quaint dormers peered from the angled roof, which appeared to be supported by a pair of white pillars.

“That is Mr. Morgan Martin’s home. He is a lawyer in town.”

Uncle Lars delivered the rest of his explanation with a sneer. “And an Indian agent.”

“Indians?” Kristin’s hand flew to her throat.

“Do not fret. The soldiers across the river at Fort Howard protect the area.”

Kristin forced her taut muscles to relax.

“Out here the deer are plentiful and fishing is good. Fine lumber up here too. But the Norwegian population is small. Nevertheless, we have our own church, and the reverend speaks our language.”

“A good thing,” Mr. Olstad remarked.

“I cannot wait for the day when Far owns land,” Peder said, glancing at Mr. Olstad. “Lots of land.” The warm wind blew his auburn hair outward from his narrow face, and his hazel eyes sparked with enthusiasm, giving the young man a somewhat wild appearance. “But no farming for me. I want to be rich someday.”

“As do we all!” exclaimed Mr. Olstad, whose appearance was an older, worn-out version of his son’s.

Kristin’s mind had parked on land ownership. “And once you are settled, Sylvia will come to America. I cannot wait. I miss her so much.”

She grappled with a fresh onset of tears. Not only was Sylvia her best friend, but she and the entire Olstad clan had also become like family to her ever since a smallpox epidemic ravaged their little village two years ago, claiming the lives of Kristin’s parents and two younger brothers. When Uncle Lars had learned of the tragic news, he offered her a place to stay in his home if she came to America. Onkel wrote that she should be with her family, so Kristin had agreed to make the voyage. Her plans to leave Norway had encouraged the Olstads to do

the same. But raising the funds to travel took time and much hard work. While the Olstads scrimped and saved up their crop earnings, Kristin did spinning, weaving, knitting, and sewing for those with money to spare. By God’s grace, they were finally here.

Uncle Lars steered the wagon around a sharp bend in the rutty road. He drove to the top of a small hill, and Kristin could see the blue Lake Michigan to her left and farm fields to her right.

Then a lovely white wood-framed house came into view. It didn’t look all that different from the home they’d just past, with dormers, a covered front porch, and stately pillars bearing the load of a wide overhang. She marveled at the homestead’s large, well-maintained barn and several outbuildings. American homes looked like this? Then no wonder Mr. Olstad couldn’t wait to own his own farm!

Up ahead Kristin spied a lone figure of a man. She could just barely make out his faded blue cambric shirt, tan trousers, and the hoe in his hands as he worked the edge of the field. Closer still, she saw his light brown hair springing out from beneath his hat. As the wagon rolled past him, the man ceased his labor and turned their way. Although she couldn’t see his eyes as he squinted into the sunshine, Kristin did catch sight of his tanned face. She guessed his age to be not too much more than hers and decided he was really quite handsome.

“Do not even acknowledge the likes of him,” Uncle Lars spat derisively. “Good Christians do not associate with Sam Sundberg or any members of his family.”

Oh, dear, too late! Kristin had already given him a little smile out of sheer politeness. She had assumed he was a friend or neighbor. But at her uncle’s warning she quickly lowered her gaze.

Kristin’s ever-inquiring nature got the best of her. “What is so bad about that family?”

“They are evil—like the Martins. Even worse, Karl Sundberg is married to a heathen Indian woman who casts spells on the good people of this community.”

“Spells?” Peder’s eyes widened.

Ja, spells. Why else would some folks’ crops fail while Karl’s flourish? He gets richer and richer with his farming in the summer, his logging camps in the winter, and his fur trading with heathens, while good folks like me fall on hard times.”

“Hard times?” Peder echoed the words.

Ja, same seed. Same fertile ground. Same golden opportunity.”

Uncle Lars swiveled to face the Olstads. “I will tell you why that happens. The Sundbergs have hexed good Christians like me.” He wagged his head. “Oh, they are an evil lot, those Sundbergs and Martins. Same as the Indians.”

Indians? Curiosity got the better of her, and Kristin swung around in the wagon to get one last glimpse of Sam Sundberg. She could hardly believe he was as awful as her uncle described. Why, he even removed his hat just now and gave her a cordial nod.

“Turn around, niese, and mind your manners!” Uncle Lars’s large hand gripped her upper arm and he gave her a mild shake.

“I . . . I am sorry, Onkel,” Kristin stammered. “But I have never seen an Indian.”

“Sam Sundberg is not an Indian. It is his father’s second wife and their children. Oneida half-breeds is what we call them.”

“Half-breed, eh?”

Kristin glanced over her shoulder and saw Peder stroke his chin.

“Interesting,” he added.

“How very interesting.” Kristin couldn’t deny her interest was piqued. “Are there many Indians living in the Wisconsin Territory?”

Ja, they trespass on my land, but I show my gun and they leave without incident. Sundberg brings his Indian wife to church.” He wagged his head. “Such a disgrace.”

“And the Territory officials do nothing?” Mr. Olstad asked.

Uncle Lars puffed out his chest. “As of three months ago, we are the State of Wisconsin—no longer a territory.” Uncle Lars stated the latter with as much enthusiasm as a stern schoolmaster. “Now the government will get rid of those savages once and for all.” He sent Kristin a scowl. “And you, my liten niese, will do well to stay away from Indians. All of them, including our neighbors, the Sundbergs. You hear, lest you get yourself scalped.”

Ja, Onkel.”

With a measure of alarm, Kristin touched her braided hair and chanced a look at Peder and Mr. Olstad. Both pairs of wide eyes seemed to warn her to heed Uncle Lars’s instructions. She would, of course. But somehow she couldn’t imagine the man they’d just passed doing her any harm. Would he?

Sam Sundberg wiped the beads of perspiration off his brow before dropping his hat back on his head. Who was the little blonde riding next to Lars Eikaas? Sam hadn’t seen her before. And the men in the wagon bed . . . he’d never seen them either.

After a moment’s deliberation he concluded they were the expected arrivals from the “Old Country.”  Months ago Sam recalled hearing talk in town about Lars’s orphaned niece sailing to America with friends of the family, so he assumed the two red-haired men and the young lady were the topics of that particular conversation. But wouldn’t it just serve Mr. Eikaas right if that blonde angel turned his household upside down—or, maybe, right-side up?

He smirked at the very idea. Sam didn’t have to meet that young lady to guess Mr. Eikaas would likely have his hands full. Her second backward glance said all Sam needed to know.

The word plucky sprang into his mind. He chuckled. Plucky she

seemed, indeed.

But was she wise enough not to believe everything her uncle said?

Sam thought it a real shame. Years ago Pa and Lars Eikaas had been friends. But then Pa’s silver went missing, insults were traded, and the Eikaases’ prejudice against Ma, Jackson, and Mary kept the feud alive.

The Eikaas wagon rolled out of sight, leaving brown clouds of dust in its wake. A grin threatened as Sam thought again of that plucky blonde’s curious expression. Maybe she did have a mind of her own. Now wouldn’t that be something? Sam thanked God that not everyone around here was as intolerant of Wisconsin Natives as the Eikaas family. There were those who actually befriended the Indians and stood up to government officials in their stead. Like Pa, for instance. Like Sam himself.

The blistering sun beat down on him. Removing his hat once more, he wiped the sweat from his forehead. He started pondering the latest government proposal to remove the Indians from their land. First the Oneida tribe had been forced out, and soon the Menominee band would be “removed” and “civilized.” As bad as that was, it irked Sam more to think about how the government figured it knew best for the Indians. Government plans hadn’t succeeded in the past, so why would they now? Something else had to be done. Relocating the Menominee would cause those people nothing but misery. They’d stated as much themselves. Furthermore, the Indians, led by Chief Oshkosh, were determined not to give up their last tract of land. Sam predicted this current government proposal would only serve to stir up more violence between Indians and whites.

But not if he and Pa could help it.

In the distance he heard the clang of the dinner bell. Ma didn’t like him to tarry when food was on the table. Across the beet field, Sam saw his younger brother run on ahead of him. He wagged his head at the twelve-year-old and his voracious appetite.

With one calloused hand gripping the hoe and the other holding the bushel basket, Sam trudged toward their white clapboard home. Its two dormers protruded proudly from the second floor.

Entering the mudroom, he fetched cold water from the inside well, peeled off his hat, and quickly washed up. Next he donned a fresh shirt. Ma insisted upon cleanliness at the supper table. Finally presentable, he made his way into the basement where the summer kitchen and a small eating area were located. The cool air met his sun-stoked skin and Sam sighed, appreciating the noonday respite.

Next he noticed a cake in the middle of the table.

“That looks good enough to eat,” he teased, resisting the urge to steal a finger-full of white frosting.

Ma gave him a smile, and her nut-brown eyes darkened as she set the wooden tureen of turkey and wild rice onto the table. “Since it’s Rachel’s last day with us, I thought I would prepare an extra special dessert.”

Sam glanced across the table at the glowing bride-to-be. In less than twenty-four hours Rachel Decker would become Mrs. Luke Smith. But for the remainder of today she’d fulfill her duties as Ma’s hired house girl who helped with the cooking, cleaning, sewing, washing, and ironing whenever Ma came down with one of her episodes, which were sometimes so intensely painful that Ma couldn’t get out of bed without help. Rachel had been both a comfort and an efficient assistant to Ma.

“I helped bake the cake, Sam.”

He grinned at his ten-year-old sister, Mary. “Good job.”

They all sat down, Mary taking her seat beside Rachel. Sam helped his mother into her place at the head of the table then lowered himself into his chair next to Jackson, who’d been named after Major General Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of this great country.

“Sam, since your father is away,” Ma began, “will you please ask God’s blessing on our food?”

“Be glad to.” He bowed his head. “Dearest Lord, we thank Thee for Thy provisions. Strengthen and nourish us with this meal so we may glorify Thee with our labors. In Jesus’s name, amen.”

Action ensued all around the table. The women served themselves and then between Sam and Jack, they scraped the bowl clean.

“Good thing Pa’s not home from his meetings in town,” Jack muttered with a crooked grin.

“If your father were home,” Ma retorted, “I would have made more food.”

“Should have made more anyhow.” Jack gave her a teasing grin. “No seconds.” He clanged the bowl and spoon together as if to prove his point.

“You have seconds on your plate already,” Ma said. “Why, I have never seen anyone consume as much food as you do, Jackson.”

His smile broadened. “I’m growing. Soon I’ll be taller than Sam.”

“Brotherly competition.” Sam had to chuckle. But in the next moment, he wondered if his family behaved oddly. Didn’t all families enjoy meals together? Tease and laugh together? Tell stories once the sun went down? According to Rachel, they didn’t. The ebony-haired, dark-eyed young woman had grown up without a mother and had a drunkard for a father . . . until Ma got wind of the situation and took her in. She invited Rachel to stay in the small room adjacent to the kitchen and offered her a job. Rachel had accepted. And now, years later, Rachel would soon marry a fine man, Luke Smith, a friend of Sam’s. 

Taking a bite of his meal, he chewed and looked across the table at Mary. Both she and Jack resembled their mother, dark brown hair, dark brown eyes, and graceful, willowy frames, while Sam took after his father, blue eyes and stocky build, measuring just under six feet. Yet, in spite of the outward dissimilarities, the five Sundbergs were a closely knit family, and Sam felt grateful that he’d known nothing but happiness throughout

his childhood. He had no recollection whatsoever of his biological mother who had taken ill and died during the voyage from Norway to America.

Sam had been but a toddler when she went home to be with the Lord, and soon after disembarking in New York, his father met another Norwegian couple. They helped care for Sam and eventually persuaded Pa to take his young son and move with them to Wisconsin, known back then as part of the “Michigan Territory.” Pa seized the opportunity, believing the promises that westward expansion touted, and he was not disappointed.

He learned to plant, trap, and trade with the Indians, and he became a successful businessman. In time, he saved enough funds to make his dreams of owning land and farming a reality.

Then, when Sam was a boy of eight years, his father met and married Mariah, an Oneida. Like her, many Oneida were Christians and fairly well educated due to the missionaries who had lived among them. In time Sam took to his new mother, and she to him. Through the years Ma cherished and admonished him as though he were her own son. She learned the Norwegian language and could speak it fluently. As far as Sam was concerned, he was her own son—and Mariah, his own mother.

They were a family.

“Was that the Eikaas wagon driving by not long ago?” Mary asked.

Sam snapped from his musing. “Sure was. It appears they have relatives in town.”

“Mr. Eikaas didn’t stop and visit, did he?” Mary’s eyes were as round as gingersnaps.

Sam chuckled. “No, of course not. I can’t recall the last time Lars Eikaas spoke to me . . . or any of the Sundbergs, for that matter.”

“Erik is nice to me at school.” Mary took a bite of her meal.

“Glad to hear it.”

“I can’t wait to begin school next week.”

Sam grinned at his sister’s enthusiasm. He’d felt the same way as a boy.

“Sam, what made you assume Mr. Eikaas transported relatives in his wagon today?”

He glanced at Ma. “A while back I’d heard that Lars’s niece was coming to America, accompanied by friends, and since I didn’t recognize the three passengers in the wagon this morning, I drew my own conclusions.”

“Is she pretty?” Jackson’s cheeks bulged with food.

“Is who pretty?”

“Mr. Eikaas’s niece . . . is she pretty?”

Sam recalled the plucky blonde whose large, cornflower-blue eyes looked back at him with interest from beneath her bonnet. And pretty? As much as Sam hated to admit it, she was about the prettiest young lady he’d ever set eyes on.

Jackson elbowed him. “Hey, I asked you a question.”

Sam gave his younger brother an annoyed look. “Yeah, I s’pose she’s pretty. But don’t go getting any big ideas about me courting her. She’s an Eikaas.”

“You’re awful old to not be married yet.” Jack rolled his dark eyes.

“What do you know about it? I’m only twenty-one.” Sam grinned. “Hush up and eat.” It’s what the boy did best. “So . . . did everyone have a pleasant morning?” He forked another bite of food into his mouth, wondering why he tried so hard to shift the subject off of Lars Eikaas’s niece.

Kristin looked around the one-room shanty with its unhewn walls and narrow, bowed loft. Cotton squares of material covered the windows, making the heat inside nearly unbearable. 

Disappointment riddled her being like buckshot. Although she knew she should feel grateful for journeying safely this far, and now to have a roof over her head, she couldn’t seem to shake her displeasure at seeing her relatives’ living quarters. It looked nothing like her uncle had described in his letters nor the homes she’d glimpsed on the way.

“Here is your trunk of belongings,” Uncle Lars said, carrying the wooden chest in on one of his broad shoulders. With a grunt, he set it down in the far corner of the cabin. “Where is my inheritance? Let me have a look at it.”

“Right now, Onkel?”

Ja, ja . . .” Impatience filled his tone.

Pulling open the drawstring of her leather purse, she reached inside and extracted the key. She unlocked the trunk and opened its curved lid. Getting onto her knees, Kristin moved aside her clothes and extra shoes until she found what she searched for. Poppa’s gold watch. She held the black velvet-covered box reverently in her hands for one last, long moment before she stood and presented it to her uncle.

“This belonged to my poppa.”

“Ah . . .” Uncle Lars’s face lit up with delight as he opened the box. Looking to Aunt Esther, he nodded. “This will bring a fair price, do you think?”

Disbelief poured over her. “But . . . you would not sell Poppa’s watch, would you?”

“None of your business!”

Kristin jumped back at the biting reply. Her opinion of her uncle dropped like a rock into a cavern.

“Anything more?” Her uncle bent over the wooden chest and quickly rummaged through it, spilling clothes onto the unswept floor.

Onkel, please, stop. My garments . . .”

“Does not seem to be anything else.” Uncle Lars narrowed his gaze. “Is there?”

“No.” The necklace Mor had given her burned against her already perspiring skin. Still, Kristin refused to part with the gift. “Nothing more. As you know, Poppa was a farmer. He supplemented his income by working at the post office, but no money was ever saved. After my parents died, I sold everything to help pay for a portion of my passage to America. I earned the rest myself.”

“Any money left?”

Kristin shook her head as she picked up the last of her belongings, careful not to meet her uncle’s stare. A little money remained in the special pocket she’d sewn into her petticoat. For safety, she’d kept her funds on her person throughout the entire voyage. The last of her coinage would purchase muchneeded undergarments. She’d managed to save it throughout the journey for the specific purpose of buying new foundations when she reached America. It wasn’t inherited. She’d worked hard for it.

With a grunt Uncle Lars turned and sauntered out of the cabin.

“You will sleep in the loft with your cousins.” Aunt Esther’s tone left no room for questions or argument. Wearing a plain, brown dress with a tan apron pinned to its front, and with her dark brown hair tightly pinned into a bun, the older woman looked as drab as her surroundings. “Your uncle and I sleep on a pallet by the hearth.”

“Yes, Tante. I am sure I will be very comfortable.” Another lie.

“Come, let us eat.” Aunt Esther walked toward the hearth where a heavy black kettle sat on top of a low-burning fire. “There is venison stew for our meal.”

“It sounds delicious.” Kristin’s stomach growled in anticipation. She’d eaten very little on the ship this morning. Excitement plus the waves on Lake Michigan made eating impossible. But after disembarking in Green Bay, her stomach began to settle, and now she was famished.

Aunt Esther called everyone to the table, which occupied an entire corner of the cabin. Her three children, two girls and one boy, ranging in ages from seven to sixteen, came in from outside, as did the Olstads. After a wooden bowl filled with stew was set before each person, the family clasped hands and recited a standard Norwegian prayer . . .

I Jesu navn gar vi til bords,—We sit down in the name of Jesus,

Spise drikke pa ditt ord,—To eat and drink according to Your


Deg Gud til are, oss til gavn,—To Your honor, Oh Lord, and

for our benefit,

Sa far vi mat i Jesu navn.—We receive food in the name of



Having said grace, hands were released, and everyone picked up a spoon and began to eat. Kristin noticed her cousins, Inga and Anna, eyeing her with interest. They resembled their father, blonde curls and blue eyes.

“What do you like to do on sunny afternoons such as this one?” she asked cheerfully, hoping to start conversation. After all, Inga’s age was close to hers. Perhaps her cousin would help her meet friends.

“We do not talk at the table,” Aunt Esther informed her. “We eat, not talk.”

“Yes, Tante.” Kristin glanced at Peder and Mr. Olstad who replied with noncommittal shrugs and kept eating.

Silently, Kristin did the same. The Olstads always had lively discussions around their table.

When the meal ended, the girls cleared the table and the men took young Erik and ambled outside.

“May I help with cleaning up?” Kristin asked her aunt.

“No. You rest today and regain your strength. Tomorrow we are invited to a wedding, the day after is the Sabbath. Then beginning on Monday, you will labor from sunup to sunset like everyone else in this place.”

“Except for one,” Inga quipped. No one but Kristin heard.

“Who?” Her lips moved, although she didn’t utter a sound.

Far, that is who.” Disrespect seeped from Inga’s tone, which was loud and clear.

Hadn’t Aunt Esther overheard it?

Tante suddenly whirled around and glared at Kristin. “Do something with yourself. We are working here.”

With a frown, Kristin backed away. Her aunt’s brusque manner caused her to feel weary and more homesick than

ever. She missed her parents and her little brothers. Why did God take them, leaving her to live life without them? And Sylvia . . . how she longed for her best friend!

Kristin knelt by the trunk and carefully lifted out a soft, knitted shawl that had once belonged to her mother, Lydia Eikaas. Mor had been an excellent seamstress, expert in spinning wool into yarn and thread, as well as in weaving and sewing garments. She’d taught Kristin everything she knew about the craft. Surely Kristin could now put her skills to good use in this new country, this land of opportunity.

She sighed and glanced over to where her aunt and two cousins continued straightening up after the meal. Inga and Anna barely smiled, and her aunt’s expression seemed permanently frozen into a frown. Is that what this country really afforded . . . misery?

Allowing her gaze to wander around the dismal cabin once more, Kristin began to wish she had not come to America.

Blogaholic Designs”=

Monday, January 30, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (January 30)

What I read in the last two weeks:
On April 15, 1912, Lydia Beaumont is on her way to a new life with a boundless hope in love and faith. Her new friendship with Caroline Chadwick is bonded even more as they plan Lydia’s wedding on board the “grandest ship ever built.” Then both women suffer tragic losses when the “unsinkable” Titanic goes down. Can each survive the scars the disaster left on their lives?

Decades later, Alan Morris feels like a failure until he discovers he is the descendant of an acclaimed, successful, heroic novelist who went down with the Titanic. Will he find his identity with the past, or will he listen to Joanna Bettencourt, Caroline’s granddaughter, who says inner peace and success come only with a personal relationship with the Lord?

Will those who survived and their descendants be able to find a love more powerful than their pain?

Travel along with Elise Finster and her British mistress, Lady Anne Stone, as they search for the new but missing earl of Stoneford. Determined to follow David Stone’s somewhat cold trail leading to Oregon, greenhorns Elise and Anne secure livestock and supplies to join a wagon train. Will the ladies succeed in their quest or succumb to the malfeasance of the mysterious man dogging their heels? Scout Eb Bentley’s initial disgust with these ill-prepared women eventually turns into admiration for one lady in particular. Can he protect her long enough to win her over, or will prairie dreams turn into a Wild West nightmare?

The year is 1803, and Darcy and Elizabeth have been married for six years. There are now two handsome and healthy sons in the nursery, Elizabeth's beloved sister Jane and her husband Bingley live nearby and the orderly world of Pemberley seems unassailable. But all this is threatened when, on the eve of the annual autumn ball, the guests are preparing to retire for the night when a chaise appears, rocking down the path from Pemberley's wild woodland. As it pulls up, Lydia Wickham – Elizabeth's younger, unreliable sister – stumbles out screaming that her husband has been murdered. Inspired by a lifelong passion for the work of Jane Austen, PD James masterfully recreates the world of Pride and Prejudice, and combines it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly-crafted crime story.Death Comes to Pemberley is a distinguished work of fiction, from one of the best-loved, most- read writers of our time.

A romantic new book from bestselling author Lori Copeland that portrays God's miraculous provision even when none seems possible.

1892?Mae Wilkey's sweet next-door neighbor, Pauline, is suffering from old age and dementia and desperately needs family to come help her. But Pauline can't recall having kin remaining. Mae searches through her desk and finds a name—Tom Curtis, who may just be the answer to their prayers.

Tom can't remember an old aunt named Pauline, but if she thinks he's a long-lost nephew, he very well may be. After two desperate letters from Mae, he decides to pay a visit. An engagement, a runaway train, and a town of quirky, loveable people make for more of an adventure than Tom is expecting. But it is amazing what can bloom in winter when God is in charge of things.

Etienne de Brabant is brokenhearted. His wife has died in childbirth, leaving him alone with an infant daughter he cannot bear to name. But before he abandons her for king and court, he brings a second child to be raised alongside her, a boy whose identity he does not reveal.

The girl, La Cendrillon, and the boy, Raoul, pass sixteen years in the servants' care until one day a very fine lady arrives with her two daughters. The lady has married La Cendrillon's father, and her arrival changes their lives.

When an invitation to a great ball reaches the family, La Cendrillon's new stepmother will make a decision with far-reaching effects. Her choice will lead La Cendrillon and Raoul toward their destiny -- a choice that will challenge their understanding of family, test their loyalty and courage, and, ultimately, teach them who they are.

April 15th, 2012, will be the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

People have an endless fascination with the Titanic, yet much of what they know today is a mixture of fact and fiction. In one hundred and one brief and engaging chapters, Tim Maltin, one of the foremost experts on the Titanic, reveals the truth behind the most common beliefs about the ship and the night it sank. From physics to photographs, lawsuits to love stories, Maltin doesn't miss one tidbit surrounding its history. Heavily researched and filled with detailed descriptions, quotes from survivors, and excerpts from the official inquiries, this book is guaranteed to make readers rethink everything they thought they knew about the legendary ship and its tragic fate.

It's always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.
Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.

Rebecca Gunderson's fresh start in High Plains, Kansas, is destroyed when a deadly tornado wrecks the immigrant's new home—and her reputation. Everyone knows Rebecca rode out the storm with the town's blacksmith, and no one believes her time with Pete Benjamin was totally innocent. To protect her, Pete offers Rebecca his hand in marriage…but the grieving widower can't give her his heart. Is Rebecca trusting her happiness to a man trapped in the past? Or will faith and trust finally bring them through the storm to a brighter future?

A young widow trying to keep her business and hopes afloat...
Life is far from a breeze for Olivia Beckman, owner of Livvie's Kitchen, a favorite of locals in Wabash, Indiana. The widowed mother of two is struggling to make ends meet–no simple feat, especially when her cook turns in his resignation. Yet she's determined to pull through on her own, just as she did when God failed to save her beloved Frank.

An ex-convict ready to make a fresh start...
Newly released from a ten–year prison sentence, Will Taylor is ready for a fresh start. With harmonica in hand–the only possession he values, aside from his Bible–he makes his way to Wabash, where a late–night meal at Livvie's Kitchen turns into a job opportunity when the outgoing cook learns about his restaurant experience. What he doesn't know is that the "restaurant" was a prison cafeteria.

An unlikely recipe for romance...
But Will became a new man behind bars, thanks to a Christian friend, and he credits God's providence with landing him a job he loves. Soon, he cooks and bakes his way into the stomachs of his customers–and the heart of his employer. Both are hesitant, though, still healing from past hurts. A recipe for love between them will require sharing secrets, braving dangers, and believing God for a bright future.

What I am currently reading:
A courageous young woman seeking refuge...
Ellie Booth was never the type to run away. But she'd witnessed her stepfather commit a heartless crime, and, knowing he'll stop at nothing to keep her quiet, she has no choice but to flee. Soon, she finds herself in Wabash, Indiana, scrambling for a cover identity to evade her stepfather. For lack of a better option, she answers an ad for a wife/housekeeper/nanny, praying that her lack of experience won't be obvious.

A widowed father with no domestic skills to speak of...
Gage Cooper is reaching the end of his rope. With four children between the ages of three and ten, he needs a reliable nanny, yet each one he's hired has thrown up her hands and deserted her post. When an attractive, spirited young woman applies for the "job," he knows he should pray about the matter, but his desperation for help propels him headlong into a marriage of convenience.

A trial by fire of their wedding vows...
Ellie immediately falls in love with the Cooper children, and, not long after, with their father. Soon, the "marriage of convenience" becomes less of a business arrangement as husband and wife yield to an attraction neither one had expected. When secrets of the past and dangers of the present arise in their lives, their marriage is put to the test, and God alone knows what will become of their union.

What I hope to read this week:
When Anne broke off her engagement seven years ago, she thought she'd never see Neil Wentworth again. But when Neil's brother buys the house she grew up in, it seems fate has other plans in store, and Anne is woefully unprepared for the roller coaster of emotions that accompanies Neil's return. Fans of Persuasion will love this fast-paced, modern retelling of Jane Austen's most romantic novel.

Against all expectations, Samantha Ruiz has survived attacks by two of Helmann’s deadliest assassins. She’s alive, but she’s far from safe. Helmann is planning a second Holocaust and wants Sam to play a starring role. Will, meanwhile, separated from Sam by an ocean, seeks a way to prevent Helmann’s apocalypse. Along with Sir Walter and Mickie, Will plays a deadly game sneaking into Geneses’ facilities, discovering unsettling clues as to Helmann’s plans. The clock ticks down as Will and Sam discover just how much they must be willing to sacrifice to stop Helmann. UNFURL, the powerful conclusion to The Ripple Series, will leave fans breathless.

Sadie Wagner has always been devoted to her family. So when her stepfather is injured and can't work, she decides to leave home and accept a position as a clerk at the mercantile in Goldtree, Kansas. Goldtree also offers the opportunity to use her God-given singing talent—though the promised opera house is far different from what she imagined. With her family needing every cent she can provide, Sadie will do anything to keep her job.

Thad McKane comes to Goldtree at the request of the town council. The town has been plagued by bootlegging operations, and Thad believes he can find the culprit. After he earns enough money doing sheriff work, he wants to use it to pay for his training to become a minister.

Thad is immediately attracted to the beautiful singer who performs in Asa Baxter's unusual opera house, but when he hears her practicing bawdy tunes, he begins to wonder if she's far less innocent than she seems. And when Sadie appears to be part of the very crimes he's come to investigate, is there any hope the love blossoming between them will survive?

Heather Hampton returns to Moses Lake, Texas, to help facilitate the sale of a family farm as part of a planned industrial plant that will provide the area with much-needed jobs. Heather's future fiance has brokered the deal, and Heather is in line to do her first large-scale architectural design--if the deal goes through.

But the currents of Moses Lake have a way of taking visitors on unexpected journeys. What was intended to be a quick trip suddenly morphs into Valentine's week--with Blaine Underhill, the handsome banker who just happens to be opposing Heather's project. Spending the holiday in an ex-funeral parlor seems like a nightmare, but Heather slowly finds herself being drawn into the area's history, hope, and heart.

Blogaholic Designs”=

Friday, January 27, 2012

CFBA Tour: Love Blooms in Winter by Lori Copeland

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Love Blooms in Winter
Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2012)
Lori Copeland

Lori lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband Lance. Lance and Lori have three sons, three daughter-in-laws, and six wonderful grandchildren, and two great-granddaughters. Lance and Lori are very involved in their church, and active in supporting mission work in Mali, West Africa.

Lori began her writing career in 1982, writing for the secular book market. In 1995, after many years of writing, Lori sensed that God was calling her to use her gift of writing to honor Him. It was at that time that Lori began writing for the Christian book market. To date, she has had over 100 books published.

A romantic new book from bestselling author Lori Copeland that portrays God’s miraculous provision even when none seems possible.

1892—Mae Wilkey’s sweet next-door neighbor, Pauline, is suffering from old age and dementia and desperately needs family to come help her. But Pauline can’t recall having kin remaining. Mae searches through her desk and finds a name—Tom Curtis, who may just be the answer to their prayers.

Tom can’t remember an old aunt named Pauline, but if she thinks he’s a long-lost nephew, he very well may be. After two desperate letters from Mae, he decides to pay a visit. An engagement, a runaway train, and a town of quirky, loveable people make for more of an adventure than Tom is expecting. But it is amazing what can bloom in winter when God is in charge of things.

I GIVE THIS BOOK: 1 star1 star1 star

I usually LOVE Lori Copeland's books, but Love Blooms in Winter was disappointing to me. While I enjoyed reading Love Blooms in Winter, so much of it seemed dull and felt like a rehash of another story.

The only character I liked at all was Tom and at times even he was annoying.

Jake has been Mae's beau for SIX YEARS and seems to be in no hurry to make a commitment with her. I couldn't believe how accepting Mae was of this and of how Jake treated her when she did something of which he didn't approve. My dislike of him steadily grew until when near the end of the book he did something I thought was horrible. Then to my surprise barely ten pages later his whole personality seemed to change and I wondered who this person was. I thought it was too out of character for him to be SO different than he was throughout the whole book.

I had an inkling immediately who Tom was going to be in relationship to Pauline - and I was right! I was actually surprised that it took everybody so long to figure it out.

Overall, I found Love Blooms in Winter to be a mediocre story, enjoyable, but mediocre. If you have a lot of books on your TBR pile, this is not one I would read first.

***I received a complimentary copy of this book to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of the book - which I have done.***

If you would like to read the first chapter of Love Blooms in Winter, go HERE.

Product Details
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0736930191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0736930192
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Available to purchase at Amazon

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Mornings with Jesus 2012

"Be still and know that I am God.” is one of the most beautiful verses from the Bible, but it’s not easy to practice in this busy world. Mornings with Jesus will help you do just that—“be still” in Jesus’ beautiful and powerful presence. For those who are seeking a deeper experience in their relationship with Christ, Mornings with Jesus offers a fresh perspective of who Jesus is (the Healer, the Son of God, the Comforter, the Good Shepherd) and what that means for day-to-day life. With a warm and friendly voice, 365 short devotional writings on the character and teachings of Jesus encourage readers to greet each day by drawing near to Him and inviting His presence into their day. Spend time with Jesus at the beginning of each day and experience His nearness and peace in a new way throughout the year.

Each day’s selection includes: 
• a Bible verse
• an entry based on Jesus: His words, miracles, and parables; His wisdom, compassion, and comfort; His mystery, power, divinity, and humanity
• a “faith step” that will inspire and challenge readers to apply the day’s message to their lives

I GIVE THIS BOOK: 1 star1 star1 star1 star

I had a hard time deciding on a rating for this book. I have only read about one month's worth of entries and usually like to read a book in it's entirety before I review it - though I am enjoying this book so far.

Because every day's reading only takes 2-5 minutes to read, it is obviously not an in-depth devotional. I can see for people who don't have a lot of time in the mornings how this can be a nice way to make sure you start your day off right.

Each day's reading starts with a Bible verse, then has a story from one of the authors and a "faith step" that helps you apply that day's message to your life. I personally don't like all the different versions that are used, one day it is NIV, the next KJV, then NLT - I like devotionals to use only one version as I think each version has a different view on certain passages.

Overall, I think it is a very good book to read everyday, but I don't think that it should be the only book you use for your daily devotions.

***I received a complimentary copy of this book to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of the book - which I have done.***

Product Details
  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Guideposts (October 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824945042
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824945046
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Available to purchase on Amazon

Blogaholic Designs”=

LINK: Bible Verses About Love

Here is a link to a post with 25 Bible verses about God's love: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-love-25-awesome-scripture-quotes/

Blogaholic Designs”=

Thursday, January 26, 2012

FIRST Wild Card Tour: The Juice Lady's Weekend Weight-Loss Diet by Cherie Calbom, MS

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:

Siloam (December 13, 2011)

***Special thanks to PUBLICIST'S NAME of PUBLICIST'S COMPANY for sending me a review copy.***


Cherie Calbom, MS, is the author of The Juice Lady’s Turbo Diet, The Juice Lady’s Living Foods Revolution, and Juicing for Life, which has nearly two million books in print in the United States. Known as “The Juice Lady” for her work with juicing and health, Cherie has worked as a clinical nutritionist and has a master’s degree in nutrition.

Visit the author's website.


Jump-Start Your Diet…

Detox Your System…

Lose a Dress Size…

Shrink Your Love Handles . . .

…with this two-day diet program that helps you get healthy for life.

Start Friday night with a juice or green smoothie dinner. Then have an all-liquid Saturday and Sunday breakfast and lunch, followed by a raw food dinner Sunday night. It’s easy, delicious, and requires only a weekend commitment!

Look and feel great for a special event

Motivate yourself for continued weight loss

Cleanse your system after a stressful week

Jump-start your living foods lifestyle!

Product Details:

  • List Price: $12.99
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Siloam (December 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616386568
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616386566


Weight Loss on a Mission

The World Health Organization estimates that by 2015, there will be more than 1.5 billion overweight consumers, incurring health costs beyond $117 billion per year in the US alone.It’s obvious that we need to do something differently. We need a new way of life—a revolution in how we eat, one that we adopt for the rest of our lives.

What if you found a weight-loss program that could help you lose weight more effectively than anything you’ve ever tried? And what if that program didn’t involve expensive meals you had to order, pills you had to buy, or anything other than great whole foods you prepare in your kitchen? What if that program helped

you look and feel better than ever? And what if it was such an energizing way of life that you wanted to follow it for the rest of your life? Are you interested?

The Juice Lady’s Weekend Weight-Loss Diet is a fast track to just such a program. This two-day jump start can lead you into a transformative lifestyle that is helping thousands of people lose weight, keep it off for good, and completely revolutionize their health. This is what I call weight loss on a mission—the mission is

to help you become healthy, happy, and filled with life, as well as slim and fit. (You’ll find a complete weight-loss juicing program in my book The Juice Lady’s Turbo Diet.)

Freshly made vegetable juices are at the center of the weekend weight-loss diet. They provide concentrated sources of very absorbable nutrients. They are low in fat and calories, so replacing higher-calorie foods with fresh juice is a shoo-in for weight-loss success.

But the benefits of juicing don’t stop there. Vegetable juices help curb cravings because they satisfy your body’s nutrient needs. They’re alkaline, which is very helpful to balance out a system that’s most probably too acidic. They’re also high in antioxidants that are antiaging and immune enhancing—that means you’re giving your body the things it needs to start looking and feeling younger.

Fresh Juice—a Cornucopia of Nutrients

Every time you pour a glass of juice, picture a cornucopia of nutrients cascading into your body, promoting health, revving up your metabolism, balancing weight, and increasing vitality. This melange of nutrients can change your life—completely change your life—as it completely changed mine! Here’s what every glass of juice provides.

Amino acids

Did you ever consider juice to be a source of protein? Most people would say no. Surprisingly, it does offer more amino acids than you might think. We use amino acids to form muscles, ligaments, tendons, hair, nails, and skin. Protein is needed to create enzymes, which direct chemical reactions, and hormones, which

guide bodily functions. Fruits and vegetables contain lower quantities of protein than animal foods such as muscle meats and dairy products. Therefore they are thought of as poor protein sources. But juices are concentrated forms of vegetables and so provide easily absorbed amino acids, the building blocks that make up protein. For example, 16 ounces of carrot juice (2–3 pounds of carrots) provides about 5 grams of protein (the equivalent of about a chicken wing or 2 ounces of tofu). I don’t recommend drinking that much carrot juice because of the sugar content, but that’s an example.

Vegetable protein is not complete protein, so it does not provide all the amino acids your body needs. In addition to lots of dark leafy greens, when you finish your weekend weight-loss kick start, you’ll want to eat other protein sources, such as sprouts, legumes (beans, lentils, and split peas), nuts, seeds, and whole grains. If you’re not vegan, you can add eggs and free-range, grass-fed muscle meats such as chicken, turkey, lamb, and beef along with wild-caught fish.


Most vegetable juice contains good carbohydrates. The exceptions would be carrots and beets, which have higher sugar content. They should be used in small quantities and diluted with low-sugar vegetable juices such as cucumber and dark leafy greens. Carbs provide fuel for the body, which it uses for energy, heat production, and chemical reactions. The chemical bonds of carbohydrates lock in the energy a plant takes up from the sun and soil, and this energy is released when the body burns plant food as fuel.

There are three categories of carbs: simple (sugars), complex (starches and fiber), and fiber. Choose more complex carbohydrates in your diet than simple carbs. There are more simple sugars in fruit juice than vegetable juice, which is why I recommend you juice primarily vegetables, use low-sugar fruit for flavor and a little sweetness, and in most cases drink no more than 4 ounces of fruit juice a day.

Both insoluble fiber and soluble fiber are found in whole fruits and vegetables—both types are needed for good health. It’s amazing how many people still say juice doesn’t have any fiber. It contains the soluble form—pectin and gums, which are excellent for the digestive tract. Soluble fiber also helps to lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, and improve good bowel bacteria and elimination.

Essential fatty acids

There is very little fat in fruit and vegetable juices, but the fats juice does contain are essential to your health. The essential fatty acids (EFAs)—linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids in particular—found in fresh juice function as components of nerve cells, cellular membranes, and hormonelike substances called prostaglandins. They are also required for energy production.


Fresh juice is replete with vitamins, but heat and processing destroy vitamins. We need these organic substances because they take part, along with minerals and enzymes, in chemical reactions throughout the body. For example, vitamin C participates in the production of collagen, one of the main types of protein found in the body that keeps your skin looking fresh and youthful rather than sagging and aging. Fresh juices are excellent sources of water-soluble vitamins such as C, many of the B vitamins, and some fat-soluble vitamins such as E and K, along with key phytonutrients like beta-carotene (known as pro-vitamin A), lutein, lycopene, and zeaxanthin. They also are coupled with cofactors that increase the effectiveness of each nutrient; for example, vitamin C and bioflavonoids work together synergistically to make each more effective.


There are about two dozen minerals that your body needs to function well, and they’re abundant in fresh juice. They make up part of bones, teeth, and blood, and they help maintain normal cellular function. The major minerals include calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur. Trace

minerals, which include boron, chromium, cobalt, copper, manganese, nickel, selenium, vanadium, and zinc, are those needed in very small amounts.

Minerals occur in inorganic forms in the soil, and plants incorporate them into their tissues. As a part of this process, the minerals are combined with organic molecules into easily absorbable forms, which makes plants an excellent dietary source of minerals. Juicing is believed to provide even better mineral absorption than whole vegetables because the process of juicing releases minerals into a highly absorbable, easily digestible form.


These living molecules are prevalent in raw foods, but heat, such as cooking and pasteurization, destroys them. Enzymes facilitate the biochemical reactions necessary for life. They are complex structures composed predominantly of protein and usually require additional cofactors to function, including vitamins; minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron; and other elements. Fresh juice is chock-full of enzymes. Without them we would not have life.

When you eat and drink enzyme-rich foods, these little molecules help break down food in the digestive tract, thereby sparing the pancreas, liver, and stomach—the body’s enzyme producers—from overwork. This sparing action is known as the “law of adaptive secretion of digestive enzymes,” which asserts that the body will adapt or change the amount of digestive enzymes it produces according to what is needed. According to this law, when a portion of the food you eat is digested by enzymes present in the food, the

body won’t need to secrete as much of its own enzymes. This allows the body’s energy to be shifted from digestion to other functions such as repair and rejuvenation.

Fresh juices require very little energy expenditure to digest. That is one reason why people who start consistently drinking fresh veggie juice often report that their digestion and elimination improve and that they feel better and more energized right away.


Plants contain substances know as phytochemicals that protect them from disease, injury, and pollution. Phyto means plant, and chemical in this context means nutrient. There are tens of thousands of phytochemicals in the foods we eat. For example, the average tomato may contain up to ten thousand different types of these nutrients, with one of the most famous being lycopene. Phytochemicals give plants their color, odor, and flavor. Unlike vitamins and enzymes, they are heat stable and can withstand cooking. Some of them, such as lycopene, appear to be more effective when cooked.


There’s one more substance abundant in raw foods that is more difficult to measure than the others. It’s known as biophotons, which is light energy that is found in the living cells of raw plant foods. These photons have been shown to emit coherent light energy when uniquely photographed (Kirlian photography). This light energy is believed to have many benefits when consumed, such as aiding cellular communication and feeding the mitochondria and the DNA. They are believed to contribute to our energy, vitality, and a feeling of vibrancy and well-being.

Now that you’ve learned about the powerful nutritional punch packed inside each glass of juice you drink, let’s consider how this applies to weight loss.

Power Foods That Give Your Weight Loss a Big Boost

In addition to some of the basic steps you can take to achieve weight loss success, there are specific foods you can add to your weight-loss program that will make a huge difference in assisting your body in burning fat. These super foods can help you succeed and give you super-size health dividends at the same time. Be sure to add them to your weight-loss program.

Green juice: the number one fat cure. In honor of his hundredth show, Dr. Oz served on the set his favorite green juice drink to one hundred people who had lost thirteen thousand pounds combined. This blend of cucumbers, apple, and leafy greens started a new wave of interest in green juices for weight loss. So why do green juices work so well? Dr. Oz cites the fact that they compensate for the fact that most of us are simply not getting sufficient nourishment from standard diets. He says, “We know we have to have at least five fistfuls of leafy green vegetables and fruit every day, so we make a morning green drink.”2

There’s evidence to suggest that even if we took the time to chew up five cups of green veggies each day, we wouldn’t get as much benefit from them as we would from juicing them. The mechanical process of juicing the vegetables breaks apart plant cell walls and makes absorption better than even when the best “chewers” chew their food at least thirty times before swallowing. It has an effect like throwing marbles at a chain-link fence rather than tennis balls; their contents are going to go through in a way that tennis balls can’t.

The juices contain easily absorbed micronutrients that will do more than slim you down—they’ll optimize your overall health and wellness. There’s science behind the green juices transformative powers and a number of reasons why the juices, along with a high intake of living foods, energize your body, fire up your metabolism, speed slimming, and overhaul your health. Here’s the evidence as to why it works.

Green Veggies Help Lower the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Because of their high magnesium content and low glycemic index, green leafy vegetables are also valuable for persons with type 2 diabetes. One study revealed that an increase of just one and onehalf servings a day of green leafy vegetables was associated with a 14 percent lower risk of diabetes.3

Magnesium-rich greens ramp up your energy. A British study comparing the metabolism of female twins found that magnesium intake was the most important dietary variable that determined adiponectin levels.Adiponectin is a fat cell hormone that promotes insulin sensitivity. This hormone has recently gained attention from researchers because of its regulation of glucose and fat metabolism. Elevated levels of adiponectin are associated with increased insulin sensitivity and fat burning. Adiponectin also seems to work closely with leptin—a hormone that helps control the appetite. As you lose weight, this hormone gets a boost. Fresh fruit and vegetables have a positive influence on this hormone, which is made in fat cells. It boosts metabolism and helps regulate inflammation, which, consequently, helps to prevent weight gain, becoming a type 2 diabetic, or developing heart disease.

This new study shows very clearly that adequate magnesium is imperative to maintaining adiponectin levels. This means that a deficiency of magnesium, which is common in America, is a clear contributor to the problems people have with weight management. Magnesium also plays a key role in fighting off stress and anxiety, supporting restful sleep, preventing restless leg syndrome, and boosting energy.

Further, magnesium helps prevent fat storage. When magnesium is low, cells fail to recognize insulin. As a result, glucose accumulates in the blood—and then it gets stored as fat instead of being burned for fuel. Green plants, which are rich in magnesium, are far superior to magnesium supplements because the supplements’ particles are a bit large for the body to entirely absorb. (I’m in favor of taking magnesium supplements, if they are needed, but as an adjunct to a magnesium-rich diet.) Green plants take inorganic minerals from the soil through their tiny roots and incorporate them into their cells. They become organic particles that are much smaller and easier for the body to absorb. It is estimated that more than 90 percent of a plant’s minerals is delivered to the cells when you juice the greens. So juice up those leaves—chard, collards, beet tops, parsley, spinach—the five highest in magnesium, plus kohlrabi leaves, kale, dandelion greens, lettuce, and mustard greens.

Here’s the good news—you’ll increase your energy with this highoctane fuel! That means you’ll get more done and feel more like working out, so you’ll burn more calories and build more muscle.

Enzymes Speed Fat Burning

Our bodies produce enzymes that are used in digesting the food we eat. They can be found in the saliva, small intestine, stomach, liver, and pancreas. These hardworking little catalysts break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into fatty acids, amino acids, and forms of glucose that feed your cells.

Enzymes are responsible for a host of reactions in the body. All the minerals, herbs, vitamins, and hormones we take can’t do their jobs without enzymes. When your diet is deficient in enzymes from live foods (uncooked, not processed), your body has to work harder to produce the enzymes it needs. If you’re deficient, you may experience weight gain, depression, and many other maladies that plague modern society.

Enzymes are truly weight-loss supermen. But these magic bullets start decreasing as we age—by age thirty-five most people see a decline in their enzyme production. Still, we need them for weight loss and good digestion. It’s enzymes that assist in the breakdown and burning of fat.

This is where juices come to the rescue—as I mentioned earlier, they’re packed with enzymes. Eating a high percentage of raw food is important because cooking and processing our food destroys enzymes. When you drink fresh, live juices and eat plenty of living foods, the enzymes they contain kick your metabolism into gear by helping to spare your liver and pancreas from working so hard. Then these organs can focus on their metabolic tasks of burning fat and producing energy. And your digestion will improve. This affects your whole life, your whole being.

Three Super-Hero Enzymes

• Lipase. Lipase is a fat-splitting enzyme that is abundant in raw foods. It assists your body in digestion,

fat distribution, and fat burning. However, few of us eat enough raw foods to get sufficient lipase

to burn even a normal amount of fat, not to mention any excess fat. Without lipase, fat accumulates.

You can see it on your hips, thighs, buttocks, and stomach. Lipase is richest in raw foods that contain

some fat, such as sprouted seeds and nuts, avocado, and fresh coconut meat.

• Protease. As your body burns flab, toxins are released into your system. This can cause water retention and bloating. Protease is a digestive enzyme that helps to break down proteins and eliminate toxins. Eliminating toxins is essential when you’re burning fat. If your body is storing toxins, it’s very difficult to burn fat. But protease comes to the rescue and attacks and eliminates toxins. So, as you can see, it’s crucial to have plenty of protease during weight loss. Protease is richest in the leaves of plants. So juice up those

green leaves and burn fat. Plus, the greens are also rich in antioxidants that bind up toxins and carry them out of your system so they won’t hurt your cells. That means you’ll get double action with green juices.

• Amylase. Amylase is a digestive enzyme that breaks down complex carbohydrates into simple sugars. It’s also present in saliva. So while we chew our food, it goes to work on carbs. That’s why it’s recommended that you chew each mouthful of food about thirty times. The pancreas also makes amylase. And amylase is plentiful in seeds that contain starch. (You can juice most seeds of fruits and vegetables.) Its therapeutic use is in regulation of histamine, which is produced in response to recognized invaders to the body. Histamine is a responder in allergic reactions such as hay fever and is what causes hives, itchy watery eyes, sneezing,

and runny noses. Amylase breaks down the histamine produced by the body in response to allergens like pollen or dust mites. Some health professionals believe it may help the body identity the allergen as not being harmful so it doesn’t produce the histamine in the first place. This is one reason that people on a high raw plant diet often experience improvement in their allergies. For the most effective approach to increasing

enzymes, you may also want to take an enzyme supplement. I especially like an enzyme formula that

is taken between meals—it cleans up any undigested particles of food floating around the system and

greatly improves digestion. A popular side benefit is that your hair gets thicker and your nails grow

stronger. (For more information on these enzymes, see Appendix A.)

Greens Alkalize Your Body and Promote Weight Loss

Many people eat a high-sugar breakfast consisting of foods and drinks such as orange juice, toast, jam, honey, sweetened cereal, sweet rolls, doughnuts, muffins, waffles, or pancakes. All this sugar and simple carbohydrates (which turn to sugar easily) promote acidity and cause yeast and fungus to grow. They also produce a lot of acid. Traditional high-protein breakfast foods such as omelets, cheese, bacon, sausage, and meat promote elevated acid levels in the body as well. Add to that highly acidic drinks such as coffee, black

tea, sodas, alcohol, and sports drinks, and acidic foods for lunch and dinner, and you’re consuming loads of acid-forming foods throughout the day. Keep in mind that acid-forming food does not mean the state of the food when you eat or drink it but the final ash residue after it is metabolized. As a result of this style of eating, along with not eating enough green veggies and other living foods, many people suffer from a condition known as mild acidosis, which is an out-of-balance pH leaning toward acidity. This means that the body is continually fighting to maintain pH balance.

One of the symptoms of acidosis is weight gain and an inability to lose weight. That’s because the body tends to store acid in fat cells and to hang on to those cells to protect your delicate tissues and organs. It will even make more fat cells in which to store acid, if they’re needed. To turn this scenario around, it’s important to alkalize your body. Greens are one of the best choices you could make because they’re very alkaline. And juicing them gives you an easy way to consume a lot more than you could chew up in a day.

To give your body a great start in rebalancing your pH, make 60 percent to 80 percent of your diet alkalizing foods such as green vegetables, raw juices, grasses such as wheatgrass juice, fresh vegetables and fruit, raw seeds, nuts, and sprouts. Greatly limit or avoid your consumption of acid-forming foods such as meat, dairy products, chocolate, sweets, bread and all other yeast products, alcohol, carbonated drinks, sports drinks, coffee, and black tea. When pH balance is achieved, the body should automatically drop to its ideal, healthy weight unless you have other health challenges. (But those should heal too over time.) As the acidic environment is neutralized with mineral-rich alkaline foods, there will be no need for your body to create new fat cells for storage of acid. And since the remaining fat is no longer needed to store acid wastes, it simply melts away.

This is also a great way to restore your health. Many diseases such as cancer thrive in an acidic state. Take away the acid, and they don’t do as well. An alkaline diet also boosts your energy level, improves skin, reduces allergies, sustains the immune system, and enhances mental clarity.

Thermogenic Foods Rev Up Your Metabolism

Thermogenesis means the production of heat, which raises metabolism and burns calories. Thermogenic foods are essentially fat-burning foods and spices that help increase your metabolism. This means that with some of your kitchen staples, you can burn off fat during or right after you eat and increase your fat-burning potential just by eating them. So include these super foods often in your juices and recipes.

Hot peppers. Imagine eating hot peppers and revving up your metabolism enough to lose weight. A study in 2010 found that obesity was caused by a lack of thermogenic response in the body rather than by overeating or lack of exercise. “The animals developed obesity mainly because they didn’t produce enough heat after eating, not because the animals ate more or were less active,” said Dr. Yong Xu, instructor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and co-lead author of the study.Another study found that hot peppers turn up the internal heat, which helps in burning calories.You can add hot peppers or a dash of hot sauce to many juice recipes or almost any dish and make it taste delicious.

Garlic. When it comes to weight loss, garlic appears to be a miracle food. A team of doctors at Israel’s Tel Hashomer Hospital conducted a test on rats to find out how garlic can prevent diabetes and heart attacks, and they found an interesting side effect—none of the rats given allicin (a compound in garlic) gained weight.7

Garlic is a known appetite suppressant. The strong odor of garlic stimulates the satiety center in the brain, thereby reducing feelings of hunger. It also increases the brain’s sensitivity to leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells that controls appetite. Further, garlic stimulates the nervous system to release hormones such as adrenalin, which speed up metabolic rate. This means a greater ability to burn calories. More calories burned means less weight gained—a terrific correlation.

Ginger. Ginger contains a substance that stimulates gastric enzymes, which can boost metabolism. The better your metabolism, the more calories you’ll burn. It has been shown to be an anti-inflammatory—

inflammation is implicated in obesity. Ginger helps improve gastric motility—the spontaneous peristaltic movements of the stomach that aid in moving food through the digestive system. When the digestive system is functioning at its best, you’ll experience less bloating and constipation. It has also been found to

lower cholesterol. And ginger is the top vegan source of zinc, which gives a big boost to your immune system. Top that off with the fact that it tastes delicious in juice recipes, and you have a super spice. I add it to almost every juice recipe I make.

Parsley. This dark green herb offers a great way to make your dishes and juices super healthy. Parsley helps you detox because it’s chock-full of antioxidants, like vitamin C and flavonoids, and it’s loaded with minerals and chlorophyll. It’s also a natural diuretic, which helps you get rid of stored water. That means thinner ankles, feet, and fingers. And it improves digestion and strengthens the spleen as well. You can add a handful of parsley to almost any juice recipe and you won’t even know it’s there.

Cranberries. Studies show that cranberries are loaded with acids that researchers believe are useful in dissolving fat deposits. When fat deposits settle in the body, they are hard to get rid of, so it’s best to get them before they get “hooked on” you. Some studies point out that the enzymes in cranberries can aid metabolism, which gives a boost to weight loss.8This tart little fruit is a natural diuretic, helping you get rid of excess water and bloating. Of all the fruits, cranberries rank number two for antioxidant content, which helps detoxify the body. And they promote healthy teeth and gums, fight urinary track infections, improve heart health, and keep cancer at bay.

Kathy, who was featured in my “Holiday Fat Buster” article in the December 27, 2010, issue of Woman’s World, issue, lost 5 pounds in seventy-two hours drinking a cranberry, pear, cucumber, and ginger

cocktail along with the rest of the Turbo Juice Diet Program. Within a week Kathy’s tummy was down 5.5 inches—she said she had to keep measuring to make sure it was right. Regarding the juice diet program, she said, “Overall, I had a lot of energy and no hunger.”You can add cranberries to many recipes for a delicious enhancer to your juice drinks and a boost to your weight loss at the same time. If you buy these berries when they’re in season, you can freeze a few packages to have on hand for seasons when they aren’t available.

Blueberries. A 2010 study found that blueberries can help you get rid of belly fat, thanks to the high level of phytochemicals (antioxidants) they contain. The study also showed that blueberries are helpful in preventing type 2 diabetes, and the benefits were even greater when the blueberries were combined with a low-fat diet.10 Moreover, blueberries can also help fight hardening of the arteries and improve the memory.

Lemons. Adding just a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to your water, salad, or soup will help ward off cravings, alkalize your body, and keep your insulin levels in check. Hot lemon water with a dash of cayenne pepper is a great way to start your day—it gets the liver, your fat-burning organ, moving in the morning. It’s also a natural diuretic and helps clear out toxins from your system. Further, it aids the digestive process and prevents constipation. It can also help alleviate heartburn—just add a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to water and drink with your meal. Limonene, a compound in lemons, helps short-circuit the production of acid in the stomach—lemons are very alkalizing. Meyer lemons, my favorite, are sweeter and are available in the winter.

The Low-Glycemic Benefits of Juicing

The glycemic index has become a popular weight-loss tool based in part on the fact that high-glycemic foods raise blood sugar levels, cause the body to secrete excess insulin, and lead to the storage of fat. Originally developed to help diabetics manage blood sugar control, the glycemic index has become popular in the weight-loss market largely because it works so well. Researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association that patients who lost weight with a low-glycemic diet kept the weight off longer than patients who lost the same amount of weight with a low-fat diet.11

The glycemic index (GI) diet refers to a system of ranking carbohydrates according to how much a certain amount of each food raises a person’s blood sugar level. It’s determined by measuring how much a 50-gram serving of carbohydrate raises a person’s blood sugar level compared with a control.

Virtually all carbohydrates are digested into glucose and cause a temporary rise in blood glucose levels, called the glycemic response. But some foods raise it more than others. This response is affected by many factors, including the quantity of food, the amount and type of carbohydrate, how it’s cooked or eaten raw, and the degree of processing. Each food is assigned an index number from 1 to 100, with 100 as the reference score for pure glucose. Typically, foods are rated high (greater than 70), moderate (56–69), and low (less than 55). Low-glycemic foods, especially raw carbohydrates, can help control blood sugar, appetite, and weight. Though helpful for everyone, they are especially helpful for people with type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome.

Low-glycemic foods are absorbed more slowly, allowing a person to feel full longer and therefore be less likely to overeat. Raw food experts such as Dr. John Douglass have found that raw carbohydrates such as the raw juices are better tolerated than cooked carbs. They don’t elicit the addictive cravings that cooked foods cause. Douglass believes, as does the Finish expert A. I. Virtanen, that the enzymes in raw food play an important role in the way they stimulate weight loss as they do in the treatment of obesity.12

When you get to chapter 6, “Beyond the Weekend,” you will be encouraged to choose most of your carbohydrate foods from the low-glycemic index and a large percentage of those foods as raw. The foods I recommend eating after you’ve completed your weekend weight-loss diet (see Appendix B) are for the most part low glycemic and are nutrient-rich, not refined, and higher in fiber—like whole vegetables, fruit, and legumes (beans, lentils, split peas).

Not All Carbs Are Created Equal

Different carbohydrates take different pathways in the body after digestion. For example, some starchy foods are bound by an outer layer of very complex starches (fiber) like the legumes (beans, lentils, split peas), which increases the time it takes for them to be digested. So even though legumes are relatively high in carbohydrates, they have a lower glycemic response because of their complex encasing.

There is also the antioxidant potential of foods to consider, meaning the amount of antioxidant nutrients a food contains, such as beta-carotene and vitamin C that are abundant in many fruits and vegetables. In Chinese culture, carrots are often used as cooling medicine. Carrots, beets (both very rich in beta-carotene),

and other brightly colored vegetables are especially important to include in our diet to prevent disease. These days many health professionals suggest we eliminate carrots and beets because of their glycemic rating, but the weekend weight-loss diet does not exclude them because of their high nutrient and fiber content. But I do recommend that you use them in small amounts because they are higher in sugar.

Also, please keep in mind that not all low-glycemic foods are healthy fare. Low-glycemic foods include candy bars and potato chips. These foods are very nutrient depleted, contain sugar or turn to sugar easily,

and lack fiber. You need to get the best nutrition for your choices. With this plan, there’s no obsessing over the glycemic index either, just a basic understanding of the principles. Keep in mind that certain factors can change a score, such as the riper the fruit, the higher the glycemic index score. But always choose ripe fruits and vegetables over unripe; they are healthier by far. Adding good fat to foods can lower the GI score. And keep in mind that the GI response to any given food also varies widely from person to person.

It can even vary within the same person from day to day. So it’s important to listen to your body and determine how the foods you are eating are affecting you.

More Than Weight Loss

Years ago when I was taking prerequisites for my master of science program in whole foods nutrition at Bastyr University, I worked for a weight-loss center part time as a nutrition counselor. I noticed that a number of people who entered the program looked healthy, meaning they had good skin color and tone and vibrancy—they were just overweight. Soon into the program, I noticed that though they were losing weight, they weren’t looking healthier. I observed a loss of skin tone, skin color turning a grayish pallor, and a loss of energy and vitality. I was alarmed. Even as a student I knew that it was not just about  dropping weight; it was about getting healthier. I quit the job, unable to promote something that I felt did harm.

When you embark on a weight-loss program, it should be about getting healthier along with losing weight. Whether you want to lose 10, 20, 50, 100, or even 200 pounds, it isn’t just about getting the weight off any way you can. I know people who have lost weight through drastic means and ruined their health in the process.

Losing weight with vegetable juices and kicking off your program with the Weekend Weight-Loss Diet is the first step in choosing a weight-loss regimen that doesn’t sacrifice your health. That’s why I’m excited about introducing you to the Weekend Weight-Loss Diet. I know what it can do for you. So many people have praised this program and my other juice diets because of the increased health and energy they experienced. And if they can experience these great results, you can too. You’re off to a great start and a

lifetime of fitness!

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