Glass Roads Blog Tour: MISSING MAX

From Karen's Website:
Max, Jane and Kyle Madison’s eight-month-old baby boy, is kidnapped on Mardi Gras Day in New Orleans while in the care of his teenage half-sister, Melanie. Six months later, the family is in deep trouble. Melanie feels responsible and riddled with guilt. Jane, a lawyer, is obsessed with finding Max to the exclusion of her career and almost everything else in her life. Her passion is now directed to her work as a volunteer at Child Search, an organization dedicated to finding missing children. Kyle, also a lawyer, has shut down emotionally in his grief. He accuses Jane of neglecting her family in her zeal to find other people’s children and moves into the spare bedroom saying he isn’t sure their marriage is worth saving.

Meanwhile, Jane is warned that she is in danger of losing her job if she doesn’t shape up at work. Struggling to cope, she’s further stressed by the failure of the police to make any progress on finding Max. Time and again her hopes are raised and then dashed when a child fitting Max’s description is found, but it’s never Max. As she struggles to cope, Melanie shocks both Jane and Kyle with a plan to make everything right by getting pregnant to replace the baby. Reeling with shock and anger, Jane thinks her life can’t get any worse, but it does. Strange things begin to happen. Someone is determined to torture Jane with tantalizing hints that Max is alive.

Jane is a person without faith. She is angry at God for taking her baby. As the horrific events in her life escalate, she rejects the peace and acceptance to be found in faith.

Will her marriage survive? Will life ever be normal again? Will she open her heart to God? What will happen regarding Melanie’s pregnancy? Will Jane and Kyle flush out the person who kidnapped their child? Will Max be found?

My thoughts:

I actually just started this yesterday, and I haven't finished it yet. I am totally engaged though, I didn't want to put it down to write this!! I am attached to the characters, and the storyline is gripping. I cannot wait to see where this leads.

The Author:
Karen Young has sold over 10 million copies of her emotion-filled tales. She has penned romance, romantic suspense, and thrillers, but always keeps romance at the core of her stories.

After a nomadic lifestyle involving 25 moves, Karen has settled in Texas and fallen in love with its culture. To learn more - including how you could win a Kindle! - visit


In my Mailbox Monday: June 28

In my Mailbox Monday originates from two blogs:The Printed Page and The Story Siren. I am using it to highlight any books that come into my house the previous week, whether they are from the library, from a store, from a friend or actually in the mailbox.

This week I got 3 books.
I won The Juice Lady's Turbo Diet by Cherie Calbom

I purchased Cathy Bryant's Texas Roads!!

And, for review, I received Missing Max by Karen Young.


Super Sponsor Sunday GIVEAWAY!!

Win a great new bookmark by Patricia Zilinsky Designs


Choose one of the following books to go with it:

1. Ghostwriter by Travis Thrasher

2. Hunter's Moon by Don Hoesel

3. This Fine Life by Eva Marie Everson

4. Genoa Bay by Bette Nordberg (crease in cover)

5. Never Too Late by Michael Phillips

6. Love Woven True by Tracie Peterson

Most books have been gently used!

To enter, go to Patricia Zilinsky Designs and comment about what you liked:
US residents Only
Contest ends Friday, July 2 11:59pm.


Waiting on Wednesday: June 23

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

There are so many good ones coming out, I couldn't decide which ones to highlight, but here are two. Look for more later!

Angel's Song by Sheila Walsh and Kathryn Cushman:
Releases on July 14, 2010
From Christian Book Distributors: Annie's return to Charleston was supposed to be a happy occasion. Instead, she's mourning the death of her sister, Sarah. As she and carpenter Ethan McKinney get the family homestead ready for sale, Keith, her 12-year-old neighbor with Down syndrome, claims he can see angels. Could he be right---or does he have an overactive imagination?

Nightshade by Ronie Kendig:
Releases July 1, 2010
From CBD: They've championed freedom and risked their lives---but too often, America's veterans are forgotten and discarded. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, former Navy SEAL Max finds himself engaged in a new battle---to save his family. How can he protect his wife from a dangerous enemy when she wants him out of the house?

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Claim by Lisa Bergren

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book spotlight! I just joined the group. 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:

Claim: A Novel of Colorado (The Homeward Trilogy)

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

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


Lisa T. Bergren is a best-selling author who offers a wide array of reading opportunities ranging from children’s books (God Gave Us Love and God Found Us You) and women’s nonfiction (Life on Planet Mom) to suspense-filled intrigue (The Gifted Trilogy) and historical drama. With more than thirty titles among her published works and a deep faith that has weathered dramatic career and personal challenges, Bergren is excited to add the Homeward Trilogy to her resume as she follows God’s direction in her writing career. Bergren lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband Tim (a graphic design artist and musician) and their three children.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (June 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 143476706X
ISBN-13: 978-1434767066


1 August 1888

Gunnison, Colorado

“Keep doing that you’ll get yourself killed,” Nic said to the boy. Panting, Nic paused and wiped his forehead of sweat. For an hour now, as he moved sacks of grain from a wagon to a wheelbarrow and into the warehouse, he’d glimpsed the boy daring fate as he ran across the busy street, narrowly escaping horse hooves and wagon wheels.

“Where’s your mother?”

The brown-haired boy paused. “Don’t have a mother.”

“Well then, where’s your father?”

The boy cast him an impish grin and shrugged one shoulder.


“Is he coming back soon?” Nic persisted.

“Soon enough. You won’t tell ’im, will ya?”

“Tell him what?” Nic tossed back with a small smile. “Long as you stop doing whatever you’re not supposed to be doing.”

The boy wandered closer and climbed up to perch on the wagon’s edge, watching Nic with eyes that were as dark as his hair. Nic relaxed a bit, relieved that the kid wasn’t in imminent danger.

Nic hefted a sack onto his shoulder and carried it to the cart. It felt good to be working again. He liked this sort of heavy labor, the feel of muscles straining, the way he had to suck in his breath to heave a sack, then release it with a long whoosh. A full day of this sort of work allowed him to drop off into dreamless sleep—something he hungered for more than anything else these days.

The boy was silent, but Nic could feel him staring, watching his every move like an artist studying a subject he was about to paint. “How’d you get so strong?” the boy said at last.

“Always been pretty strong,” Nic said, pulling the next sack across the wooden planks of the wagon, positioning it. “How’d you get so fast?”

“Always been pretty fast,” said the boy, in the same measured tone Nic had used.

Nic smiled again, heaved the sack to his shoulder, hauled it five steps to the cart, and then dropped it.

“This your job?” the boy asked.

“For today,” Nic said.

Nic loaded another sack, and the boy was silent for a moment. “My dad’s looking for help. At our mine.”

“Hmm,” Nic said.

“Needs a partner to help haul rock. He’s been asking around here for days.”

“Miner, huh? I don’t care much for mining.”

“Why not? You could be rich.”

“More miners turn out dead than rich.” He winced inwardly, as a shadow crossed the boy’s face. It’d been a while since he’d been around a kid this age. He was maybe ten or eleven max, all wiry muscle and sinew. Reminded him of a boy he knew in Brazil.

Nic carried the next sack over to the wagon, remembering the heat there, so different from what Colorado’s summer held. Here it was bone dry. He was sweating now, after the morning’s work, but not a lot. In Brazil a man soaked his sheets as he slept.

“Listen, kid,” he said, turning back around to the wagon, intending to apologize for upsetting him. But the boy was gone.

Nic sighed and set to finishing his work. As the sun climbed high in the sky, he paused to take a drink from his canteen and eat a hunk of bread and cheese, watching the busy street at the end of the alleyway. He wondered if he’d see the boy again, back to his antics of racing teams of horses. The child was probably letting off steam, just as Nic had done all his life—he’d been about the child’s age when he’d first starting scrapping with others.

But that was in the past. Not since his voyage aboard the Mirabella had Nic indulged the need, succumbed to the desire to enter a fight. Several times now, he’d had the opportunity—and enough cause—to take another man down. But he had walked away. He knew, deep down he knew, that if he was ever to face his sisters, Odessa and Moira, again, if he was to come to them and admit he was penniless, everything would somehow be all right if he was settled inside. If he could come to a place of peace within, the kind of peace Manuel had known. It was the kind of thing that allowed a man to stand

up straight, shoulders back, the kind of thing that gave a man’s gut peace. Regardless of what he accomplished, or had in the past. Thing was, he hadn’t found that place of comfort inside, and he didn’t want what Manuel tried to sell him—God.

There had to be another way, another path. Something like this work. Hard manual labor. That might be what he needed most.

Nic heard a man calling, his voice a loud whisper, and his eyes narrowed as the man came limping around the corner, obviously in pain, his arm in a sling. “You, there!” he called to Nic. “Seen a boy around? About yea big?” he said, gesturing to about chest height.

“Yeah, he was here,” Nic called back. He set his canteen inside the empty wagon and walked to the end of the alleyway.

“Where’d he go?” the man said. Nic could see the same widow’s peak in the man’s brown hair that the boy had, the same curve of the eyes … the boy’s father, clearly.

“Not sure. One minute he was watching me at work, the next he was gone.”

“That’s my boy, all right.”

“I’ll help you find him.”

The man glanced back at him and then gave him a small smile. He stuck out his good arm and offered his hand. “I’d appreciate that. Name’s Vaughn. Peter Vaughn.”

“Dominic St. Clair,” he replied. “You can call me Nic.”

Peter smiled. His dimples were in the exact same spot as the boy’s. “Sure you can leave your work?”

“I’m nearly done. Let’s find your boy.”

“Go on,” Moira’s sister urged, gazing out the window. “He’s been waiting on you for a good bit now.”

“I don’t know what he sees in me,” Moira said, wrapping the veil around her head and across her shoulder again. It left most of her face visible but covered the burns at her neck, ear, and scalp. Did it cover them enough? She nervously patted it, making sure it was in place.

Odessa stepped away from washing dishes and joined her. “He might wonder what you see in him. Do you know what his story is? He seems wary.” Their eyes met and Odessa backtracked. “Daniel’s a

good man, Moira. I think highly of him. But I’d like to know what has burdened him so. Besides you.” She nudged her sister with her hip.

Moira wiped her hands on the dish towel and glanced out at him as he strode across the lawn with Bryce, Odessa’s husband. He was striking in profile, reminding her of the statues of Greek gods the French favored in their lovely tailored gardens. Far too handsome for her—since the fire, anyway. She shook her head a little.


Irritated at being caught in thought, Moira looked at Odessa again.

“Trust him, Moira. He’s a good man. I can sense it.”

She nodded, but inwardly she sighed as she turned away and wrapped a scarf around her veiled head and shoulders. A good man. After Reid and Max and Gavin—could she really trust her choice in men? Odessa was fortunate to have fallen for her husband, Bryce, a good man through and through. Moira’s experiences with men had been less than successful. What made Odessa think this one was trustworthy?

But as Daniel ducked his head through the door and inclined it to one side in silent invitation to walk with him, Moira thought about how he had physically saved her more than once. And how his gentle pursuit both bewildered and calmed her. Daniel had done nothing to deserve her suspicions.

She moved over to the door. He glanced at her, and she noticed how his thick lashes made his brown eyes more pronounced. He shuffled his feet as if he were nervous. “You busy?” he asked.

“No.” Moira felt a nervous tension tighten her stomach muscles.

“Can we, uh …” His gaze shifted to Odessa, who quickly returned to her dishes. “Go for a walk?” he finally finished.

Moira smoothed her skirts and said, “I’d like that.” Then, meeting her sister’s surreptitious gaze, she followed him outside. It was a lovely day on the Circle M. The horses pranced in the distance. She could see her brother-in-law riding out with Tabito, the ranch’s foreman.

“So, you wanted to talk,” she ventured.

“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t want to talk to you, Moira,” he said.

She looked up at him and then, when she saw the ardor in his gaze, she turned with a sigh.

“Don’t look away,” he whispered gently, pulling her to face him. He reached to touch her veil, as if he longed to cradle her cheek instead.

“No, Daniel, don’t,” she said and ran a nervous hand over the cover. He was tall and broad, and she did not feel physically menaced—it was her heart that threatened to pound directly out of her chest. Perhaps she wasn’t ready for this … the intimacies that a courtship brought.

She’d been dreaming about what it would be like to be kissed by him, held by him, but he never made such advances before. Never took the opportunity, leaving her to think that he was repulsed by

her burns, her hair, singed to just a few inches long, her past relationship with Gavin, or her pregnancy—despite what he claimed. Her hand moved to the gentle roundness of her belly, still small yet making itself more and more prominent each day. “I … I’m not even certain why you pursue me at all. Why you consider me worthy. ”

He seemed stunned by her words. “Worthy?” he breathed. He let out a hollow, breathy laugh and then looked to the sky, running a hand through his hair. He shook his head and then slowly brought his brown eyes down to meet hers again. “Moira,” he said, lifting a hand to cradle her cheek and jaw, this time without hesitation. She froze, wondering if he intended to kiss her at last. “I only hesitate because I am afraid,” he whispered.

“Afraid? You think I am not? I come to you scarred in so many ways, when you, you, Daniel, deserve perfection.…”

“No,” he said, shaking his head too. “It is I who carry the scars. You don’t know me. You don’t know who I am. Who I once was. What I’ve done …”

“So tell me,” she pleaded. “Tell me.”

He stared at her a moment longer, as if wondering if she was ready, wondering if she could bear it, and Moira’s heart pounded again. Then, “No. I can’t,” he said with a small shake of his head. He sighed heavily and moved up the hill. “Not yet.”

An hour after they began their search for Everett Vaughn, Peter sat down on the edge of the boardwalk and looked up to the sky. His face was a mask of pain. “That boy was hard to track when I wasn’t hurt.”

“He’ll turn up,” Nic reassured.

Peter nodded and lifted his gaze to the street.

“What happened to you?” Nic said gently, sitting down beside the man. His eyes scanned the crowds for the boy even as he waited for Peter’s response.

“Cave-in, at my mine. That’s why I’m here. Looking for a good man to partner with me. I’m onto a nice vein, but I’m livin’ proof that a man’s a fool to mine alone.” He looked at Nic and waited until he met his gaze. “You lookin’ for work?” He cocked his head to the side. “I’m offering a handsome deal. Fifty fifty.”

Nic let a small smile tug at the corners of his mouth. He glanced at the man, who had to be about his own age. There was an easy way about him that drew Nic, despite the pain evident in the lines of his face. “That is a handsome offer.” He cocked his own head. “But I don’t see you doing half the work, laid up like you are.”

“No, not quite. But I’ve already put a lot of work into it in the past three years, and I’m still good for about a quarter of the labor. To say nothing of the fact that my name’s on the claim.”

Nic paused, thinking about it, feeling drawn to help this man, but then shook his head. “I’m not very fond of small dark spaces.”

“So … make it bigger. Light a lamp.”

Nic shook his head, more firmly this time. “No. I’d rather find another line of work.”

Just then he spotted the boy, running the street again. “There he is,” Nic said, nodding outward. The boy’s father followed his gaze and with a grimace, rose to his feet. As they watched, the boy ran under a wagon that had temporarily pulled to a stop. Then he jumped up on the back of another, riding it for about twenty feet until he was passing by them. His face was a mask of elation.

“Everett! Ev! Come on over here!”

Everett’s eyes widened in surprise. He jumped down and ran over to them, causing a man on horseback to pull back hard on his reins and swear.

“Sorry, friend,” Peter said, raising his good arm up to the rider. The horseman shook his head and then rode on.

Peter grabbed his son’s arm and, limping, hauled him over to the boardwalk. “I’ve told you to stay out of the street.”

“So did I,” Nic said, meeting the boy’s gaze. The child flushed red and glanced away.

“We’d best be on our way,” Peter said. “Thanks for helpin’ me find my boy.” He reached out a hand and Nic rose to shake it. Peter paused. “It’s not often a man has a chance at entering a claim agreement once a miner has found a vein that is guaranteed to pay.”

Nic hesitated as he dropped Peter’s hand. “I’ve narrowly escaped with my life on more than one occasion, friend. I’m aiming to look up my sisters, but not from a casket.”

Peter lifted his chin, but his eyes betrayed his weariness and disappointment. What would it mean for him? For his boy, not to find a willing partner? Would they have to give up the mine just as they were finally on the edge of success? And what of the boy’s mother? His unkempt, too-small clothes told him Everett had been without a mother for some time.

He hesitated again, feeling a pang of compassion for them both. “Should I change my mind … where would I find you?”

A glimmer of hope entered Peter’s eyes. “A couple miles out of St. Elmo. Just ask around for the Vaughn claim up in the Gulch and someone’ll point you in our direction.” He reached out a hand. “I’d be much obliged, Nic. And I’m not half bad at cookin’ either. I’d keep you in grub. Give it some thought. But don’t be too put out if you get there, and I’ve found someone else.”

“Understood,” Nic said with a smile. “Safe journey.”

“And to you.” He turned away, tugging at his boy’s shoulder, but the child looked back at Nic, all big pleading eyes.

Hurriedly, Nic walked away in the opposite direction. He fought the desire to turn and call out to them. Wasn’t he looking for work? Something that would allow him to ride on to Bryce and Odessa’s ranch without his tail tucked between his legs? The man had said the mine was sure to pay.… I’m onto a nice vein.…

Was that a miner’s optimism or the truth?

Not yet?” Moira sputtered, following him. She frowned in confusion. He had been coaxing her forward, outward, steadily healing her with his kind attentions these last two months. But now it was as if they were at some strange impasse. What was he talking about? What had happened to him?

She hurried forward and grabbed his arm, forcing him to stop and turn again to face her. Her veil clung to her face in the early evening breeze. “Daniel.”

He slowly lifted his dark eyes to meet hers.

“This is about me, isn’t it?” she asked. “You attempt to spare my feelings but find me repulsive. I can hardly fault you, but—”

“No,” he said, with another hollow laugh. “Contrary to what you believe, Moira St. Clair, not everything boils down to you. You are braver than you think and more beautiful than you dare to believe. I believe we’re destined to be together.”

Moira held her breath. Then what—

“No,” he went on. “This is about something I need to resolve. Something that needs to be done, or at least settled in my mind, my heart, before I can properly court you.”

“What? What is it, Daniel?” she tried once more.

He only looked at her helplessly, mouth half open, but mute.

She crossed her arms and turned her back to him, staring out across the pristine valley, the land of the Circle M. It hurt her that he felt he couldn’t confide in her as she had with him. She stiffened when he laid his big hands on her shoulders. “I don’t need to be rescued, Daniel,” she said in a monotone. “God has seen me to this place, this time. He’ll see me through to the next … with or without you.”

“You don’t understand.”

“No. I don’t. We’ve been courting all summer, whether you realize it or not. And now you say that there is something else that needs to be resolved? You assume much, Daniel Adams. You think that I’ll wait forever?” She let out a scoffing laugh. “It’s clear you do not fear that any other man might pursue me. Not that I blame you …” She turned partly away and stared into the distance. “Please. Don’t let this linger on. I cannot bear it. Not if you do not intend to claim me as your own.”

He was silent for a long minute. Oh, that he would but turn her and meet her lips at last …

But he didn’t. “We both have a lot to think through, pray through, Moira,” he said quietly.

“Yes, well, let me know when that is accomplished,” she said over her shoulder, walking away as fast as she could, lest he see the tears that were already rolling down her cheeks.

©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. Claim by Lisa Bergren. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.


Great Devotional Guest Post by Cathy Bryant

I Can Do It Myself?
by Cathy Bryant, (c) 2008

When my boys were little, it wasn't uncommon to hear them say, "I can do it myself, Mommy." The older I get, the more I see similarities between things my children did and things I do as a child of the Father.

How many times have I tried to "do it myself," to exert my independence?

I'm not advocating laziness or a lack of personal responsibility, but for the most part, I think we are far too dependant on ourselves and not dependant enough on God.

If you think about it, the whole idea is ludicrous. He's God; we're not. Why would we want to do anything on our own?

"Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain." (Psalm 127:1)

All of our effort is empty, "unless the LORD" is behind it. Nothing we do can be successful and meaningful "unless the LORD" blesses it and brings it to fruition.

Our next heartbeat or breath depends upon God. The Bible says we are like grass or a vapor. We're not guaranteed one moment past the one we are currently experiencing.

God, on the other hand, is eternal and unchanging. He is all-powerful and all-knowing. He is in control.

I want to be more dependant on Him and less dependant upon myself and my efforts. Anything else is foolish vanity.

Dear Father and Creator of the Universe,

Forgive my tendency to do things on my own. How presumptuous I can be! I am a speck of dust; the entire universe cannot contain You. My strengths and abilities are nothing compared with Your awesome power. You only had to speak to create the world. Help me, Lord, to seek You and Your will in all my endeavors. Use this vessel in whatever way You choose.

In Jesus' name,


A Texas gal since birth, Cathy lives in a century-old farmhouse with her husband and a phobia-ridden cat. Her debut novel, TEXAS ROADS, was a 2009 ACFW Genesis finalist and tells the story of a disillusioned widow's quest to find home. The book is available through Amazon.com. For more information, visit www.CatBryant.com.


Teaser Tuesday: Her Mother's Hope

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  1. Grab your current read
  2. Open to a random page
  3. Share 2 "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  4. Share the title and author as well so that other readers can add the book to their wish lists if they are enticed!
***Be Careful Not to include Spoilers!! (Make sure that your teaser doesn't give too much away so that you do not ruin it for future readers!)

From Her Mother's Hope by Francine Rivers, page 222:

Hildie's mouth wobbled and she burst out crying again. "I prayed for her, Papa. I wanted Mrs. Ransom to like me. I prayed and prayed and my prayers never changed anything."
Papa pressed her head gently against his shoulder. "Prayers changed you, Hildemara..."

In My Mailbox Monday: June 21

In my Mailbox Monday originates from two blogs:The Printed Page and The Story Siren. I am using it to highlight any books that come into my house the previous week, whether they are from the library, from a store, from a friend or actually in the mailbox.

I received three books this week:

The Faith Dare by Debbie Alsdorf

A Signed copy of Rooms by James L. Rubart

Disaster Status by Candace Calvert


Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer

Debut novelist Karen Witemeyer makes a strong entrance to the historical Christian fiction scene. A Tailor-Made Bride is a well-written and fun romance. Set in 1881, Hannah Richards moves to Coventry to start her dream dress shop; however, not everyone in town is as thrilled as she about the prospect. Jericho Tucker, otherwise known as J.T., believes that the fashion world leads to vanity. Despite that fact, he is a kind man who helps Hannah in her move. Hannah displays charity, kindness, and love to even the unlovable of Coventry, and J.T.'s beliefs are challenged.

This was a fun book, with a tender and genuine romance. I loved the historical aspects of the novel, including the fashion, the livery, and Hannah's "daily constitution." The storyline contributed to the character growth beautifully. The main plot is entertaining, and the theme is strong. I enjoyed the relationship that developed between Hannah and J.T., and between Hannah and JT's sister, Cordelia. I loved how Hannah used her passion and dream of the dress shop to change the people of Coventry, whether in appearance or outlook. We can learn from her, and from J.T. Though it took some time, when his way of looking at certain things was challenged, he went to the Word and adjusted accordingly. While this is a light-hearted and easy read, there are some lessons to be learned. I am looking forward to what Karen has to share in her next book, Head in the Clouds, scheduled to release in October.

Visit Karen's website to learn more about her, her characters, and her upcoming title. She also has some fun links relating to her research and writing.

Thank you Karen, for sending me a copy of the book for review. I truly enjoyed it!


Author Cathy Bryant Guest Posts...

How To Tame The Internet Monster
by Cathy Bryant, (c) 2009

One thing everyone has in common is limited time. Various activities vie for our time, and life often becomes an exercise in juggling it judiciously.

The internet is one area which can be prone to stealing or wasting time, yet it can also be a useful tool to stay connected, learn new information, and remain current.

So how can we best use our time on the internet? The answer: Goals and Boundaries.

Ask yourself these questions:
  • What is/are my purpose(s) in using the internet? (Entertainment, relaxation, knowledge, self-expression, connecting with friends, exploration, research, other?)
  • Why is it important to me? (Knowing your motivation can be very revealing. Take the time to answer this question.)
  • How important is it in light of my other goals, hobbies and interests? (This will help you determine the amount of time you should spend on the internet.)
  • What amount of time do I realistically have to spend on the internet? (Set a time limit and stick to it. If you don't, you will find yourself meandering through cyberspace, not even aware of what time it is. You know what I'm talking about--we've all been there and done that!)
  • Do I need to divide that time up into smaller time limits? (Example: 30 minutes to blog, 30 minutes to check/answer e-mail, 30 minutes to connect to friends/family on social media sites.)
  • Where do I draw the line? (Knowing ahead of time what to avoid will help you.)

TIPS: Here are a few ideas that have helped me in my internet time.
  • Keep an Internet To-Do List - I keep a sheet of paper beside my computer. As I think of things I want to accomplish online or sites I want to visit, I jot them on this list. After I complete my internet goals, if I still have time left I will complete one or several of the items on this list and mark it off. If you're super-efficient, you can come up with a way to prioritize this list with special coding.
  • E-mail Filtering - This may seem obvious, but it took me a long time of internet usage before I finally was forced to organize my e-mail. I set my spam filter at the highest level. When I log on, the first thing I do is check my spam, to see if anything important inadvertently landed in my spam folder. After moving these items, I delete my spam. Next I move to my inbox. I look to see how much time I have to deal with e-mail, and in my head I already know the mail that I must take care of, what I really don't want to mess with, and what I wouldn't mind taking a look at if there's time. I first of all select anything that looks like spam and move it to the spam folder, so the computer will catch it next time. Then I delete e-mails that aren't necessarily spam, but are ones I just don't have time for. Next I read all of the e-mails I deem important, dealing with them accordingly. If I have time left, I choose a few of the "maybes" and deal with them. Every few weeks, I go through my inbox and remove any leftover e-mails I originally held on to for further reference.
  • Blogging - I keep a list of possible blog topics and materials. I set aside a certain amount of time during the week to write, and I choose from my list, marking items off as I use them. Believe it or not, I try to write my posts on days when I seem to have the least amount of free time. I do this mainly because I can usually write a blog in a short amount of time. By blogging this way, I save my biggest chunks of free time for activities which take more time. I usually write blogs for a week to ten days in advance, so if I come to a particularly busy time or unexpected events, my blog is covered.
  • Social Media Sites - First of all, I set up my accounts on these sites so I get e-mail notification of any activity (messages, events, etc.). I also keep my sites listed in the side bar of my blog, so when I'm through working on WordVessel, I can pop over to a few of these sites. I try to visit them all at least every other day. That may seem like overkill, but my view is "Why have a profile on a SM site, if you're never going to show up?"
The internet monster can be tamed, but it takes a conscious effort on our part to make it happen.


A Texas gal since birth, Cathy lives in a century-old farmhouse with her husband and a phobia-ridden cat. Her debut novel, TEXAS ROADS, was a 2009 ACFW Genesis finalist and tells the story of a disillusioned widow's quest to find home. The book is available through Amazon.com. For more information, visit www.CatBryant.com.


In my Mailbox Monday: June 14

In my Mailbox Monday originates from two blogs:The Printed Page and The Story Siren. I am using it to highlight any books that come into my house the previous week, whether they are from the library, from a store, from a friend or actually in the mailbox.

I had another good week!
I went to Ollie's where I can't resist the book sales, and purchased 3 books.
Double Minds by Terri Blackstock

Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot

Scimitar's Edge by Marvin Olasky

I also received 2 in the mail:

The Cradle by Partrick Somerville

To Darkness Fled by Jill Williamson