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Sunday, March 30, 2008

He must become greater. . .

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\ / TODAY'S VERSE from HEARTLIGHT -- http://www.heartlight.org/
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March 30, 2008


VERSE:
He must become greater; I must become less.
-- John 3:30



THOUGHT:
For John the Baptist, this ultimate formula for greatness did
not take many words. What's your formula? Paul told the Galatians
that a similar formula was needed for them (Galatians 4:19). He
told the Colossians that this is what he expended every ounce of
his energy to have happen in the lives of Christians (Colossians
1:28-29). Paul told the Corinthians that this was what the Spirit
was doing in their lives (2 Corinthians 3:18). So, don't you think
that maybe this is the real formula for your life?

PRAYER:
Dear Father in heaven, in my heart and in my life may Jesus
become greater and I become less. In Jesus' name I ask it. Amen.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Verses for Faith and Writing


Gail Gaymer Martin has a great post up today at her blog, "GGM's Thoughts."

Verses That Guides Our Faith

Have you ever felt overwhelmed? Whether we're writers or readers, we often struggle with failure. We feel as if we've been swallowed up by our problems, and it's so easy to forget our successes because our failures loom up like a tsunami and overtake us.

Life can do that, if we let it. When I worked as a counselor for many years, I ran a self-esteem group for teenagers, and one of our activities was to have them take a clean sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. At the top of one side they listed my successes/what I can do well and on the other they wrote my failures/what I can't do at all. You can probably guess what happened. These teenagers had a full sheet of failures while some had nothing on the success side, and those who did could list only one or two things.

You and I have abilities and talents, and we can succeed, but what stands out in our minds is where we fail. When we take on a project that's important to us, we fear that we will not succeed and when the project results seems to take forever, we can easily lose heart.

As writers, this is so common.

Read rest here

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Part of the Fellowship

Author Unknown

"I'm a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I
have stepped over the line. The decision has been made.

I'm a disciple of His and I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away,
or be still.

My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure.

I'm done and finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth
knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and
dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or
popularity.

I don't have to be right, or first, or tops, or recognized, or praised, or
rewarded.

I live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and
labor by Holy Spirit power.

My face is set. My gait is fast. My goal is heaven.

My road may be narrow, my way rough, my companions few, but my guide is
reliable and my mission is clear.

I will not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back,
deluded or delayed.

I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice or hesitate in the presence of
the adversary.

I will not negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of
popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won't give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up,
prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus!

I must give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes.

And when He does come for His own, He'll have no problems recognizing me. My
colors will be clear!"


---thanks to Liveprayer.com for these words

Monday, March 24, 2008

Great New Fiction

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

For Pete's Sake

Book Two of the Piper Cove Chronicles

(Avon Inspire - April 1, 2008)

by

Linda Windsor
Ellen Brittingham isn’t sure true live exists until she contracts to do the landscaping of the estate of the sophisticated widower next door, Adrian Sinclair. Adrian has it all—at least on the surface, He’s engaged to a beautiful woman who helped him build a successful business and he’ll soon have a mom for his troubled son Pete.

Yet, from the moment Ellen rescues a stranded Adrian on her Harley, his well-ordered world turns upside down, cracking his thin façade of happiness and revealing the void of faith and love behind it. Even more, his son seems to have his own sites set on Ellen – as his new mom.

As Ellen’s friendship grows with Pete, she realizes that his father is about to marry the wrong woman for the right reasons. And despite her resolve to remain “neighbors only” with the dad, the precocious boy works his way into her heart, drawing Ellen and Adrian closer. Close enough for heartbreak, for Pete’s sake!

But how can her heart think that Adrian Sinclair is the one when he’s engaged to a sophisticated beauty who is everything Ellen isn’t. When Ellen’s three best friends see she’s been bitten by the love bug, they jump into action and submit her to a makeover that reveals the woman underneath her rough exterior and puts her in contention for Adrian’s love.

But Ellen must ask herself whether she’s ready to risk the heart that she’s always held close. Will Ellen be able to trust that God brought this family into her life for a reason? Or will her fear of getting hurt cause her to turn away from God’s plan and her one true chance at love?

*************

Maryland author Linda Windsor has written some twenty-nine historical and contemporary novels for both the secular and inspirational markets, but she is most noted for delivering “The Lift of Laughter and Spirit” in her modern inspirational romances.

A Christy finalist and winner of numerous industry awards, Linda has written for Multnomah Publishing (historical fiction and contemporary romances), Barbour Publishing (romcom novella), and Westbow Press (the Moonstruck romantic comedy trilogy). Wedding Bell Blues the first book in her new The Piper Cove Chronicles series, is featured on Avon Inspire's launch list.

In addition to writing and doing fiction-writing workshops at conferences across the country, Linda continues a music and lay speaking ministry started by her and her late husband, and she is a part-time financial analyst. She also works on “as desperately needed” home improvement projects on the 18th-century-plus house that she and her husband began restoring in 1986. Wallpaper and paint are definitely in her near future.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

In Time For Easter!!

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this book!!!


Experiencing the Resurrection

by
Henry and Melvin Blackaby



What does the resurrection of Christ really mean for us? What does it reveal about the heart and mind of God? And what real differences can the miracle of the resurrection make in your life today?

Discover answers to those and other questions as you examine God’s Word with this companion study guide to the book Experiencing the Resurrection by Henry Blackaby and Melvin Blackaby.

Packed with practical notes, advice, and questions for reflection, this highly interactive guide—ideal for small group or individual use—shows you how to witness Christ’s resurrection in and through your life. Each chapter of the book is explored in a flexible one-week format with “life change objectives” that arise from applying the truth for each day to your life.

*****

Dr. Henry Blackaby, president emeritus of Blackaby Ministries, is the author of more than a dozen books, including the best-selling classic Experiencing God. He has spent his life in ministry, serving as a music director and as a senior pastor for churches in California and Canada. Today he provides consultative leadership on prayer for revival and spiritual awakening on a global level. He and his wife make their home in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Melvin Blackaby coauthored with his father, Henry Blackaby, the Gold Medallion winner Experiencing God Together. He travels extensively as a conference speaker. He and his wife and their three children live in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada, where he serves as senior pastor of Bow Valley Baptist Church.

It's March 17th Again!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

What Then Is Left of Christianity?

Great post on Randy Alcorn's blog --Eternal Perspectives.

Last month, on the opening day of the World Council of Churches Central Committee meeting in Geneva, someone gave a stirring and controversial speech, with a message that made many squirm. Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev, the Russian Orthodox Bishop of Vienna and Austria, made the following remarkable statements. (I’ve extracted various quotations from this published account):

“I would like to draw your attention to the danger of liberal Christianity. The liberalization of moral standards, initiated by some Protestant and Anglican communities several decades ago and developing with ever-increasing speed, has now brought us to a situation where we can no longer preach one and the same code of moral conduct. We can no longer speak about Christian morality, because moral standards promoted by 'traditional' and 'liberal' Christians are markedly different, and the abyss between these two wings of contemporary Christianity is rapidly growing.”



“...We are being told by some allegedly Christian leaders, who still bear the titles of Reverends and Most Reverends, that marriage between a woman and a man is no longer the only option for creating a Christian family, that there are other patterns, and that the church must be 'inclusive' enough to recognize alternative lifestyles and give them official and solemn blessing.”

“We are being told that human life is no longer an unquestionable value, that it can be summarily aborted in the womb … and that Christian 'traditionalists' should reconsider their standpoints in order to be in tune with modern developments. We are being told that abortion is acceptable … and that the church must accommodate all these 'values' in the name of human rights.”

“…What, then, is left of Christianity? In the confusing and disoriented world in which we live, where is the prophetic voice of Christians? What can we offer, or can we offer anything at all to the secular world, apart from what the secular world will offer to itself as a value system on which society should be built? Do we have our own value system which we should preach, or should we simply applaud every novelty in public morality which becomes fashionable in the secular society?”

“When are we going to stop making Christianity politically correct and all-inclusive? Why do we insist on accommodating every possible alternative to the centuries-old Christian tradition? Where is the limit, or is there no limit at all?”

Read the rest here.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Happy Birthday !!

We've been under the weather at my house, but I wanted to make sure to wish my grandmother Madge a wonderful 91st birthday tomorrow!Photobucket

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Perfect Life

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Perfect Life

Thomas Nelson (February 5, 2008)

by

Robin Lee Hatcher

Robin is one of my favorite authors! I had the pleasure of meeting her at a writer's retreat a few years ago, and she is as sweet as her picture implies. Her new novel is a compelling read of a "perfect" life interrupted--after all, it's something that could happen to any of us.
Katherine Clarkson has the perfect life. Married to Brad, a loving and handsome husband, respected in their church and the community. Two grown daughters on the verge of starting families of their own. A thriving ministry. Good friends. A comfortable life.

She has it all--until the day a reporter appears with shocking allegations. Splashed across the local news are accusations of Brad's financial impropriety at his foundation and worse, an affair with a former employee. Without warning, Katherine's marriage is shattered and her family torn apart. The reassuring words she's spoken to many brokenhearted women over the years offer little comfort now.

Her world spinning, Katherine wonders if she can find the truth in the chaos that consumes her. How can she survive the loss of what she thought was the perfect life?

**********

Robin Lee Hatcher discovered her vocation as a novelist after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Whispers from Yesterday), the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance (Patterns of Love and The Shepherd's Voice), two RT Career Achievement Awards (Americana Romance and Inspirational Fiction), and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over 50 novels, including Catching Katie, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She is passionate about the theater, and several nights every summer, she can be found at the outdoor amphitheater of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, enjoying Shakespeare under the stars. She makes her home outside of Boise, sharing it with Poppet the high-maintenance Papillon.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Enjoying Life?

From Liveprayer.com's Daily Devotional:


"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more
abundantly." (John 10:10 KJV)

Are you enjoying your life?


Seriously, take a moment right now, think, and
honestly answer me, are you enjoying your life? I am not asking you if
everything is perfect in your life, since that will never be the case. We
will always have things that we are facing, battles to fight, challenges to
overcome, that is simply part of living in this sin-filled and fallen world
we are passing through.

But today I want you to take some time and reflect
and tell me whether you are enjoying your life or not.
In my time with the Lord very early this morning, this is the question God
asked me.

As I was praying for the things I had on my list to pray for,
spending some time after that just fellowshipping with the Lord and talking
to Him about different issues,

He stopped me and simply asked, "Bill, are
you enjoying your life?"

Without any hesitation I told the Lord that yes,I
was really enjoying my life. Despite the problems and trials
we all have to face in our life, despite the never-ending challenges of Liveprayer, the bottom line is I look forward to each day and truly enjoy my life.

Afterwards, I was thinking back about this seemingly strange question He had
asked me, but the more I thought about it the less strange it really was.
You see, the Lord wants us to enjoy our life.

After all, the Bible tells us
that He came to give us life and LIFE MORE ABUNDANTLY!

This is a Biblical
truth that we often forget and I am afraid a promise from the Lord we don't
embrace enough.

What happens is we get so caught up in our day-to-day trials
and tribulations we forget that we are supposed to be enjoying our life
along the way.

Here is the key and the message I want you to hear today.


No matter what
your trials may be, no matter what your challenges may be, no matter what
your battles may be, you can still enjoy your life and embrace the promise
that Jesus came to not just give us life, but life more abundantly!

That means despite the hurts and pains you may be experiencing today, you can
still enjoy your life and the abundance Christ promised you.

I already know many of you have stopped reading and are typing emails that
basically are asking me how you can enjoy your life when you are going
through a divorce, or dealing with a major health crisis, or in bondage to
some addiction, or have serious financial problems, or children who are
living in rebellion to God, or need a job, or any number of things that may
be going on in your life today.

The answer is your relationship with Christ!
Because of HIM, you can face all of the problems that are out there and
still enjoy your life.

Jesus told His disciples in the Garden that they would have trials and
tribulations in their life, but He added to "be of good cheer" because He
had overcome this world.


********** with that in mind, Have a Wonderful Week!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Justifying Art

This is from Chuck Colson's blog yesterday-- visit there to read all of it.


So what are the arts and humanities good for? Here is where I think the Christian worldview provides an answer that Fish cannot grasp. They teach that God made humans creative beings, like Himself. The works of art we create—sculpture, literature, drama—reflect the glory and beauty of the Creator of life. This is what gives the arts their intrinsic value. Any beneficial effect that they might have on human thinking—and usually they do have such effects—is a good thing, but it is not why we create, and it does not add or detract from the value of art.

No, the humanities cannot save us, but because their mere existence speaks of and glorifies our Creator, they are more than justified.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Hope for the Journey




Cancer Isn't The Last Word--Hope Is!
Survivor Offers Hope to Cancer Patients & Their Families

Hope for the Journey


(Yorktown, VA) -- Would you go to work wearing a surgical mask and surgical gloves? Yvonne Ortega did during aggressive chemotherapy. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it's important to realize that cancer is a difficult illness to face. Ortega gives a message of hope and encouragement for those who are struggling with the devastating effects of cancer in her book Hope for the Journey through Cancer.

The book offers 60 short inspirational readings, each containing a part of Ortega's own story from diagnosis to recovery. She shares her personal triumphs and setbacks with humor and refreshing candor, with hope builders to remind us that even when it looks like we are alone, God is with us each step of the way. Hope for the Journey through Cancer is written in a caring and compassionate voice from one who has been there.

Ortega says, "Receiving a diagnosis of cancer is a devastating experience. Our lives are never the same. We are not losing our minds. We are frightened, and this is natural. It's okay to cry. If we look around, we will see we are not alone. God would never think of abandoning us." In sharing this experience, Ortega helps readers see that, though cancer is a difficult illness to face, they do not have to face it alone.


Yvonne Ortega
is a licensed professional counselor, a licensed substance abuse treatment practitioner, a clinically certified domestic violence counselor, and a member of the Virginia Board of Counseling. She celebrates her sixth year as a breast cancer survivor. Ortega is an inspirational speaker to groups of all sizes and makes her residence in Yorktown, Virginia.



Interview with Yvonne Ortega



With all the books on cancer survivors already out there, why did you chose to write this book on cancer?



Cancer shattered my world. I wanted a book full of Scripture, prayer, and hope that would assure patients and their families that God would never leave them or forsake them. I also wanted a book that, with honesty and boldness, would address the emotional roller coaster ride that cancer patients, even Christian ones, endure.



Was there anything good that came about through your illness?



Oh, yes. I am a stronger Christian today. I know God loves me and that he is faithful. I no longer doubt his call on my life as a counselor as well as an author and speaker. After going through the trauma of cancer, I counsel with more effectiveness. When clients tell me they are scared, depressed, or angry, I understand because I've experienced those same emotions.



During your illness and now in recovery, have you ever asked God, "Why" or "Why me?"



I didn't ask, but I lashed out in anger at God. I knew he called me to be a counselor. So I spent hundreds of hours studying, writing papers, and completing projects and paid thousands of dollars for my master's degree in counseling. Half-way through my residency, I received my diagnosis of cancer. I thought the timing was outrageous and let God know it.



Is there ever a time when you can laugh about cancer?



I asked God to help me keep my sense of humor. The day my hair started to fall out, I went to work with wet hair. My colleagues thought I had a power outage. I told them I was afraid to blow dry my hair because I might blow it all off and arrive looking like a Buddhist monk. I laugh now about how angry I was with God. I thought he had made a mistake. Now I understand he used the cancer for good in my life and the lives of others. I laugh every time I reminisce about George, my radiation therapist. He entertained me with stories about his childhood adventures.



What is the most important lesson you learned from your experience in having cancer?



In God's economy, nothing is wasted, not even cancer. Romans 8:28 (NIV) says: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." I prayed that God would use cancer for good in my life and the lives of others, that it would be to his honor and glory, and for furthering his kingdom here on earth. I never dreamed he would do that through the publication of my book, much less through TV and radio interviews and speaking engagements.



Was the Bible real to you during treatment?



The Bible filled me with hope and peace. I clung to God's precious promises during treatment and wrote verses with special meaning in my 3x5 notebook. Within days, I memorized those passages and repeated them daily. Terrified after my diagnosis, I slept with the Bible literally over my heart. I took my 3x5 notebook with me daily to radiation and reviewed my Bible memory verses on the way to treatment.



Why do some cancer survivors say cancer is the best thing that ever happened to them?



We say this because God has used cancer as a refining fire for us. He has used it to make us better people, stronger Christians, and more powerful in our careers and outreach.



How do you live differently today as a result of having had cancer?



I've learned to listen to my body. When I get tired, I take a nap. When I'm thirsty, I stop and drink water. Short breaks from my work help me relax. A weekend at the beach revives me. I don't put off my plans and dreams because "next year" may never come. I signed up for a phone package with unlimited long-distance calls. Now I can call my family and friends any time. I appreciate the little things in life--thirty-minute walks to enjoy God's beautiful world, a ride in my friend's convertible, and sunrise and sunset at the beach. I also left teaching to become a full-time counselor because I felt God leading me to do so. I've never looked back.



How did you keep your spirits up while going through the cancer treatments?



I played praise and worship music every day and watched videos and DVDs by Christian comedians. During treatment, I planned the party I would have after completing my residency and obtaining my state license. I selected the music for the dance my friend would choreograph for us to perform. I dreamed about the sheet cake with white icing and hot pink roses with "Yvonne Ortega, LPC" and "To God be the glory" on the cake. I chose the Bible verses for my party invitations. After my diagnosis, I accepted an invitation to present a workshop on writing devotionals at the Maine Christian Writers Fellowship state conference the following August. I listened to tapes and researched the topic to prepare for my workshop and looked forward to the reunion with fellow writers in Maine and snacks of delicious Maine blueberries.



Did you ever think about giving up--that the treatments were too hard?



After my second treatment, my blood counts dropped to 500. Normal is between 4,000 and 11,000. My doctor hospitalized me. She said she would release me when my counts rose to 1,000. My counts dropped two days in a row. I called my parents to come see me, but Dad's heart condition prevented them from doing so. I feared I would die alone in a military hospital more than an hour from my home. After my final chemotherapy treatment, I thought I would never stop vomiting. I experienced a weariness that made my bones ache. I had to keep reminding myself that it would soon pass and in a few months I would travel to Maine for the writers' conference.



What kinds of emotions did you experience during this time?



I experienced denial. If I didn't talk about the cancer, maybe it would go away.I experienced anger at God, the government, the Food & Drug Administration, televangelists who preached health and wealth, and anyone who told me Christians couldn't be angry with God. Fear overwhelmed me after my diagnosis and at times during treatment.Depression forced me to my knees in prayer. When I found out the cancer had traveled to one lymph node and adjacent to another, I became depressed.



Are these emotions typical for every cancer patient?



Not every cancer patient will experience all of them. However, these emotions are typical. Also cancer patients don't experience one feeling, get over it, and then go on to another one. They can go back and forth.



What can people do to help friends who are going through cancer treatments?



Listen without judging them. Expect cancer patients to ride an emotional roller coaster. Send cards, post cards, or e-mail greeting cards, especially humorous ones. Phone and visit them. Prepare a meal for them and take it in a disposable container or help with yard work and house work. Buy groceries and run errands for them. Take cancer patients to their chemotherapy and radiation treatments and pray with them and for them

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Who is Better?

From Cec Murphy--

I spoke with a writer I've known slightly for more than two decades.
Back then he had written two books that sold well. When I read his
material, I decided he was a much better writer and I'd probably
never be as good as he was.

When we talked recently, he said, "I wish I could write as well as
you do."

When I told him about my comparison (and also that I was a little
jealous), we both laughed.

I learned something significant from that interchange. When we
compare ourselves to others, we experience negative feelings, and in
my case, years ago jealousy. Other emotions arise such as insecurity
and a sense of unworthiness. We focus on what we're not instead of
who we are. As long as we feel the need to compare, we can't win.
We'll constantly see someone who is more talented, achieves more,
gets better breaks, or is better qualified. (Some people compare
themselves and feel superior, but that's not my experience.)
A few years ago I decided not to focus on others' achievements but on
my own. I can be only me, and my task is to be the best Cec Murphey I
can. Some people are more gifted than I am; some are less gifted. My
responsibility is to be faithful to who I am and what I can do.

I thought of the words of Jesus to Peter. In the final chapter of
John's Gospel, Jesus tells Peter how he will die. Instead of focusing
on himself, Peter points to John and asks, "What about him?"

"What is that to you? You must follow me," Jesus says. (John 21:22
NIV).

Here's the practical thing I've done. I pray for those of whom I'm
tempted to feel jealous. I ask God to bless them as richly as
possible. Their success has no bearing on my achievements. The more I
champion others, the less I need to compare and the greater my level
of inner peace.


Visit Cec at www.cecilmurphy.com

Monday, March 03, 2008

From One of My Favorite Authors




Leaving November


This story, second of the Clayburn books, really tugged at my emotions.
Daughter of the town drunk, Vienne Kenney has escaped Clayburn for law school in California. But after failing the bar exam—twice—she’s back home with her tail between her legs, managing Latte-dah, the Clayburn café turned upscale coffee shop. Jackson Linder runs the art gallery across the street and Vienne has had her eye on him since she was a skinny seventh grader and he was the hunky high school lifeguard who didn’t know she existed. Now it’s his turn to fall for her and suddenly Clayburn seems like a pretty nice place to be...until Vienne discovers that Jack is fresh out of rehab and still struggling with the same addiction that ultimately killed her father.



DEBORAH RANEY is at work on her seventeenth novel. Her books have won the RITA Award, the HOLT Medallion, National Readers' Choice Award and Silver Angel from Excellence in Media. Deborah's first novel, A Vow to Cherish , inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Deb serves on the advisory board of American Christian Fiction Writers. She and her husband, Ken Raney, have four children and enjoy small-town life in Kansas. Visit Deb on the web at www.deborahraney.com.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

New from the Cop Writer


Someone’s trying to play God…
and he’s turning Palm Bay into hell.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Agent Robbie Sanchez devotes her life to crime prevention, and it shows: She has no personal life and doesn’t know the meaning of a day off. After all, someone has to be around to clean up the mess crime leaves behind.

So when Officer Brad Worthington is brutally murdered, Agent Sanchez is called to the scene along with Brad’s best friend, Detective Eric Casey. The two turn to Lifetex, the genetics lab near the scene, hoping their elaborate security system might have captured the crime outside.

But what’s going on inside the lab is far worse: a renegade scientist is cloning humans! As Robbie and Eric pursue clues–and a growing attraction–they are caught in a deadly battle as the clones begin to act on their own volition…but this battle threatens to claim more than human life; the clones are vying for human souls.

Order here


About the Author

Mark Mynheir is the author of Rolling Thunder and From the Belly of the Dragon and a police detective whose law enforcement career has included serving as a narcotics agent and a S.W.A.T. team member. Mark and his wife, Lori, live with their three children in central Florida.