Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Dancing Through Life: Steps of Courage & Conviction by Candace Cameron Bure

Candace Cameron Bure is riding quite the wave these days!  In addition to shooting the Netflix series Fuller House, she began her tenure as a co-host of ABC’s The View on September 8th. I haven’t watched the show in quite a while, but I just had to tune in for this one. As a Christian I’ve taken interest in her, as she shows grace and fortitude while staying true to her beliefs in the public eye.

When I tuned into the show, she didn’t emerge with the rest of the cast at the opening. It was after two commercial breaks before she was introduced, just after they had discussed subjects such as the Pope’s leadership decisions and Christian Kim Davis and her gay marriage controversy.  I thought it was a certainty that they would ask Candace on her take of these recent events, but such was not the case.  Instead, they introduced her, mentioned her new Netflix show Fuller House, and then began discussing how people tend to spend more time watching the streaming network than having sex.  And other dialogue was had over some of the attractive young men that can be found on certain shows. Whoopi Goldberg contributed to the conversation by mentioning (once again) her relationship with her portable vibrator, which suits her more than these young guys on televised/streaming programs. Of course the camera went to Candace more than once in these moments, and while she handled it in an upbeat manner, she showed a perceptible amount of mortification.  As Miss Whoopi said, “Welcome to The View!

You can watch Candace's nine-minute appearance on, while it's still available on

In addition to being known as a sitcom and TV movie actress, recently Candace participated in a season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.  In the wake of this experience, this New York Times best-selling author has penned an inspirational and historical account of her weeks on the show.  Entitled Dancing Through Life: Steps of Courage and Conviction, the book takes her readers through her experience week by week, discussing the highs and lows of her time as a cast member, Christian and woman.  While it was an exhilarating time, she was tested in many ways during those months and came through a stronger person.

Although I was interested, I confess I didn’t watch most of Season 18 of Dancing with the Stars.  Given their excellent lineup that season, I thought I would watch more of it, honestly. But life got in the way, or rather; it was Little League baseball season in my house!  Still, having a chance to review Dancing Through Life seemed like a fun opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at much of what I’d missed.  And boy what a look I got! Candace begins with her previous love of the show, her acceptance into the cast, and the steep learning curve to get on board with her dancing partner, Mark Ballas.  One of the biggest challenges she faced not only at the outset of her time on the show, but throughout her time there was determining how she was to live out her Christian faith in this venue. Ballroom dancing can be known for its elegant performances, but it can also be racy and hyper-sexualized.  Candace wanted to give 100% in her dancing, but she didn’t want to compromise her beliefs either.  It was tough for her, learning how to balance modesty with entertaining choreography and costuming.

I enjoyed the format that Candace used, going through the season week by week, chapter by chapter, sharing Bible-based lessons that she gleaned from her time there. Some of the topics she covered were:
  • What Submission Really Looks Like
  • Female Sexuality
  • What is Modesty Exactly?
  • Letting Faith Shine
  • Attitude is Everything
  • The Power of Joy
  • Discipline is Spelled L-O-V-E
  • Shame vs. Convictions
  • Letting Go of Perfection

Week 3: The Joyful Jive
After reading her description of each broadcast, I would hop on YouTube and view her archived performance.  Reading the book gave me a whole new perspective on what’s going on in the minds of these dancers.  They might look happy and collected on the outside, but inside they might be fighting massive amounts of insecurity, fatigue, or even anger toward their partner.  It re-reminded me that you can’t always believe what you see on camera.  Frequently it’s all smoke and mirrors.  There was one dance in particular that I know I enjoyed more than I would have, had I not known what had happened moments before the lights came up.  Candace had had a major breakthrough with Mark in Week 3, moments before they went on stage to perform the Jive.  You’d never know it from watching the video (she looked about as joyful as ever), but I loved seeing that special look in her eyes, knowing what had just transpired behind the stage doors.

As Candace is a public figure, she frequently has to navigate through social media’s opinions of her, and they aren’t always positive.  On the left she has liberals who find her too conservative.  On the right she has conservatives who find her too liberal.  At times she found her head spinning, trying to make the best decisions based on her beliefs, and those decisions weren’t always clear.  Possibly the biggest lesson I took away from Dancing Through Life is that when all is said and done, you cannot please everyone all of the time.  Your moral decisions will most probably upset someone, somewhere. You cannot base your life’s direction on other people’s opinions.  Ultimately, a Christian should weigh their decisions against God’s word and their relationship with Christ.  Candace came to understand that in reality, she wasn’t just performing for an audience of millions, but for an audience of One, and it was truly only His opinion that mattered.  And I think that’s something all Christ-followers can relate to, whether we’re making choices as artists, parents, authors, or employees.  Life is a dance, and if we have the ultimate Partner leading us in front of a great crowd of witnesses, we’ll certainly end up with more than a mirror ball trophy in the end.

About the Authors

Candace Cameron Bure, actress, producer, New York Times best-selling author, inspirational speaker and Dancing with the Stars Season 18 finalist, is both outspoken and passionate about her family and faith. Known to millions worldwide from her role as "D.J. Tanner" on the iconic family sitcom Full House, Candace continues to flourish in the entertainment industry as a role model to women of all ages. She lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and three children.

Connect with Candace online:

Erin Davis

A popular speaker, author and blogger, Erin Davis has addressed women of all ages nationwide and is passionately committed to sharing God’s Truth with others. She is the author of several books including Beyond Bath Time, Graffiti: Learning to See the Art in Ourselves, True Princess: Embracing Humility in an All About Me World, The Bare Facts with Josh McDowell and Beyond Bath Time: Embracing Motherhood As a Sacred Role. Erin’s quest for the perfect scoop of ice cream is never ending and her family is her constant source of entertainment.


Audio Book

Complimentary copy of book provided for review purposes only.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Book Review: Lady Maybe by Julie Klassen

In the new novel by the three-time Christy Award-winning author of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, a woman’s startling secrets lead her into unexpected danger and romance in Regency England… 

One final cry…“God almighty, help us!” and suddenly her world shifted violently, until a blinding collision scattered her mind and shook her bones. Then, the pain. The freezing water. And as all sensation drifted away, a hand reached for hers, before all faded into darkness…

Now she has awakened as though from some strange, suffocating dream in a warm and welcoming room she has never seen before, and tended to by kind, unfamiliar faces. But not all has been swept away. She recalls fragments of the accident. She remembers a baby. And a ring on her finger reminds her of a lie.

But most of all, there is a secret. And in this house of strangers she can trust no one but herself to keep it.


Julie Klassen’s latest novel, Lady Maybe begins with a dramatic crash, ending the journey of a luxurious equipage. However, for the characters of this Regency tale, their journey through a maze of mystery seems to be just beginning. Lady Marianna Mayfield’s traveling companion, the somewhat doleful Hannah Rogers finds her world quite literally turned upside-down when she manages to survive the horrific crash. Her mind is fuzzy, and things do not seem to be what they once were.

And indeed, much has changed in Miss Rogers’ life. Without giving away specific details, Hannah finds herself in a new social station, and she must determine a way to maneuver within this new labyrinth of fuzzy memories, secrets, lies, love and loyalty. Although she has a good heart and her motivations are pure, her past mistakes leave her frequently confounded as to how to rectify her situation in order to cause the least harm to all. Complicating the matter are the romantic feelings that she ultimately holds for more than one man, so even in that arena she must make a difficult decision. Her life and position are more than a bit complicated, but she does her best to navigate through it all with as much charm and grace as she can muster.

I’ve read a number of Julie Klassen’s novels, and while Lady Maybe does not hold the position of Most Favorite in her repertoire (that would go to The Secret of Pembrooke Park), I found this to be an enjoyable one. Like other titles I reviewed this summer, I splurged and purchased the audio book to supplement my reading, especially during a particularly long road trip out of state that I took on my own. Lady Maybe’s twists and turns held my interest on those long drives, despite the fact that there were numerous plot choices that I found to be very predictable. Julie Klassen’s writing is comfortable and charming, so although I could see where things were headed from time to time, I enjoyed the process, enjoyed the words she chose to lead her readers down the literary path. I can say that there was a plot twist that I did not see coming at all, a relationship that I found very surprising. Looking back on the story it seems evident, but hindsight lends itself to that type of vision. Klassen’s characters are engaging and amusing, even the more despicable ones, and I particularly relished the amiableness that Hannah shared with a local doctor, who becomes somewhat of a father figure to her.

Julie Klassen is a Christian writer, but I would not term this a “Christian novel”. It’s produced by a secular publisher, Berkley Publishing, and as such is written with general audiences in mind. The romance content is fairly chaste, although there is a love scene that is a bit spicy, but it would probably be considered PG in its intensity. As a conservative reader I to not appreciate gratuitous sex scenes in my reading, and I was more than comfortable Lady Maybe’s content. There are adult themes of course, but it’s handled in a manner that is more than appropriate for general adult audiences, conservative or no.

Again, I would not term Lady Maybe to be overly Christian, but I could not avoid noticing the undeniable presence of God’s grace in Hannah’s life. This beleaguered young woman is likeable and sweet, but she has made her fare share of mistakes, ones that could have easily left her destitute or worse for the majority of her life. Yet circumstances begin to work in ways that seemingly go against all logic. Opportunities arise that are partially due to her own persistence, but are also due to forces that she could not have foreseen or controlled. In my mind, God takes her mess of a life, scrambles it up even further, and still manages to make something out of it. Consequences still must be faced and scars will be borne for life, but the level of redemption we see in Hannah’s life is quite remarkable. It speaks to those of us who sometimes find our lives turned upside-down due to our own poor choices or unforeseen events. It can give us a new vision. While our “new normal” might feel as if we are at the beginning of an intricate, impossible maze, the reality is, we were in that maze well before events opened our eyes to it, and He has been leading us through it all along.


Julie Klassen has graciously offered a copy of Lady Maybe for our readers, one paperback for U.S. and one eBook for international participants.  Contest period ends at 12am EST on Monday, September 21, 2015. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter, and thanks for stopping by!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her books have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. She has also been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Learn more about Julie and her books at her website, follow her on Twitter, and visit her on Facebook and Goodreads.


Audio Book


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