Monday, February 28, 2011

Book Review: The Upside of Down by Rebecca Talley

"Hmmm," the doctor muttered.
Natalie wrinkled her forehead, almost afraid to ask, and said, "What does that mean?"
"You do know you're pregnant, right?"
Her breath caught in her throat. "Excuse me?"
"You're pregnant."
Her heartbeat thundered in her ears. "I'm what?"

Natalie Drake certainly has her hands full raising a large family, dealing with her difficult mother, and maintaining a relationship with her rebellious teenager. Just when things seem to be going smoothly, she finds out another unexpected surprise--she's going to have a baby. Faced with so many challenges, Natalie must learn to trust in a plan that isn't what she imagined and discover that every situation has an upside.

Rebecca Talley once again carefully crafts together a touching and heartfelt story that is sure to inspire you. With true-to-life characters and situations, The Upside of Down will reignite your faith and remind you of the importance of family.

I enjoyed this book on a number of levels. First, in seeing the daily interactions - and struggles - Natalie has with her children. Oh, I can so relate. I've had similar experiences in my own home where it just seems like every child is into their own brand of trouble and I've wanted to run screaming out the front door. Natalie handles it all better than I would, but she's not perfect, which makes her all the more likeable.

I appreciated watching Natalie's growth as she came to understand that even when we feel strong and capable, we still need to rely on the Lord for everything, and that it's through Him that we gain our real strength.

And I was very touched as Natalie learns of the final challenge she is to encounter in the book, that of learning that her new little child has Down syndrome. This is not the main focus of the book, but it certainly does pack an emotional punch as we read of the medical challenges they go through just in getting the baby diagnosed. The author's own little son has Down syndrome, and she speaks of the topic in a sensitive, knowledgeable way.

In the end, we come away from the story knowing more than we knew before, feeling our hearts touched, and feeling more strongly the power that God has to take our lives and make them something beautiful.

You can purchase The Upside of Down as a paperback or on Kindle. You can also swing by Rebecca Talley's blog and get to know her a little better.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Show Your Love

Ah February—the month of love. Why is it the month of love? Because if it wasn't the month of love, it would be the month of hate. We hate the snow, we hate the lingering holiday bills, and we hate the groundhog for seeing his shadow. So it's a good thing we have Valentine's day, reminding us that all you need is love.

Speaking of Love, the LDStorymakers is once again holding the Show Your Love contest throughout the month of February. The rules are simple, and the prizes are . . . well, let's just say you'll love them.
They are as follows:

On Friday, three lucky winners will receive a reserved seat at the 8th Annual LDStorymakers Writers Conference for Friday night dinner. Also seated at the table will be:

Literary Agent Sarah Crowe

Author Larry Brooks

Senior Editor Marcia Markland

Author James Dashner
 Becca Stumpf

And one lucky grand prize winner will receive a 
30 page manuscript review by Sara Megibow.

So how do you win these fabulous prizes? Like so:
  • Blog about the LDStorymakers Writers Conference and link to the conference site. This is worth 5 entries.
  • Blog about the Show Your Love contest and link back to this post. This is also worth 5 entries.
  • Become a fan of the LDStorymakers Conference Facebook page and invite 5 friends to become fans. This is worth 1 Entry (limit 5 entries).
  • Mention the conference and/or the contest on Twitter. Either post the link in your tweet, or use the hashtag #storymakers. This is worth 1 entry per day, up to 5 per week.
  • Post a conference attendee badge on your blog or website. This is worth 3 entries. The badge code is as follows:

    <a href=""><img src="" alt="LDStorymakers" /></a>
Help spread the word. Tell us in the comments what you've done, and tally your points. We're using the honor system, which means you tell us, and then we double check to make sure you're being honorable.

You can earn points all through the month of February. The contest closes on February 28th, 2011. We'll announce the winner at the beginning of March. You must be a registered attendee of the 2011 LDStorymakers Writers Conference to win. Both Attendees are presenters are eligible. If you're not registered, what are you waiting for? You can do so here.