Amish and Englisch Threaded Together

Cindy Woodsmall has written the third book in her series The Amish of Summer Grove and she has not disappointed her readers!  Gathering the Threads finishes the story of Ariana and Skylar, young women switched at birth, one Amish and one Englisch.  However it is more than that.  It is the story of the love of parents who raise a child, even a child who is not biologically theirs.  It is the story of parents who get to know the child who is biologically theirs but resents these circumstances.  It the story of an innocent Amish girl who suddenly gleans knowledge outside of her close-knit community and begins to question the old ways.  It is the story of a world-wise girl who comes to love the simplicity of the Amish ways.  It is also the story of the love of an Amish man who is intertwined in all of their lives and hides his love for the Amish girl.

Cindy has such a special way of drawing her readers into the lives of her characters.  You can almost imagine yourself being their neighbors.  In Summer Grove, the Brennemans found out that the night their twins, Abram and Ariana, were born the midwife had switched their daughter with an Englischer’s daughter.  The Englischer was now demanding that his biological daughter come live with him and the daughter that he had raised, who was spoiled and drug-addicted, go live with her Amish parents.  As Ariana returns to the Old Order Amish community, you can feel her angst and confusion as she struggles with the new information she as learned and the Old Ways of her community.  You can empathize with her as she is disciplined by the bishops and her Daed in front of the whole community.  You understand her need to turn to her biological father for some fatherly advice.  Your heart pains as she turns to her fiancé for support and he supports the bishops.  Your heart might even feel torn as she is told to cut off all communication with the one friend who has helped her navigate both worlds.

On the other hand, Skylar, has schemed to keep Ariana out of “her” parents lives and the café that Ariana started.  She contributed to the troubles that Ariana experienced out of jealousy that Ariana was able to get so close to her biological parents but also because she was shipped off to live in this community away from her access to drugs.  As Skylar comes to view Ariana in a clearer light, she comes to not only love her, but the rest of her family.

There is so much more to the story…….but I can’t tell you everything!  Get a cup of coffee, buy the trilogy, and settle into your easy chair and move into Summer Grove!  Maybe you will be neighbors with the Brennemans or the Schlabachs or one of the other families but whoever you choose to be neighbors with, it will be well worth it!  I received this book free for review from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing.

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Saying Yes When No Is Easier

Joni Eareckson Tada is no stranger to pain and difficulty.  Following a diving accident, she became a quadriplegic.  She did not let that stop her and founded Joni and Friends, an organization that accelerates  Christian outreach in the disability community.  This organization provides practical and spiritual support to special needs families worldwide.  Tada is also a world renowned author of numerous books including a Gold Medallion Award winner.

One such book is A Spectacle of Glory: God’s Light Shining Through Me Every Day a devotional that to help you “embrace your eternal purpose.”  Tada uses both simple and beautiful language to connect with the reader.  Her daily selections help the reader to both discover how to show God’s glory and how to say “yes” even in the face of difficulties when you want to say “no.”  I loved reading the encouragement that she and her fellow author, Larry Libby, used in the daily selections.  Each day also includes a short prayer and Scripture so you can use this book in your quiet time with God.  You will not only grow closer to God, but increase your own faith as you read and journal each day’s entry.

I received this book free for review from Handlebar Marketing.  I receive no compensation for a positive review.

Joni and Friends

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Inquiring Minds Will Ask!

Children can ask some of the hardest questions.  They can also rapid fire questions that leave even a genius a little stumped!  So to find a book that helps a parent or even a Sunday School teacher that can help out is a bonus.  Alex McFarland, author of the 21 toughest questions your kids will ask about Christianity & how to answer them confidently, fits that bill.  The book is separated into six sections: Questions about God, the Father, Questions about Jesus, the Son, Questions about the Trinity and the Holy Spirit, Questions about the Bible, Questions about the Church, and Questions Parents Ask and My Question to You and also includes easy to replicate activities, recap questions, and illustration boxes.  This book would also be great for a new Christian who does not want to get steeped in theology but wants to investigate this thing called faith.

Sneak Peak – Chapter 1

McFarland has spoken in hundreds of venues worldwide and has appeared on Fox News and CNN. He is also the cohost of Exploring the Word, a daily radio talk show. In addition, he is the founder of Truth for a New Generation.

I received this book free as part of a giveaway from Tyndale House Publishers.

Touches of Tenderness

Books are words linked into sentences that make up a paragraph which form pages but they are also the thoughts, experiences, and lessons of the author. Sometimes a book is hard to get interested in making it difficult to truly become a book that you can embrace. Other times, a book is interesting but not one you would recommend to friends or family. Then there are the books that grab you and become the impetus to change you. Every Waking Moment by Chris Fabry is such a book! I am not going to give a spoiler alert but I will tell you that this book is about the ways that others can effect you and affect changes. Treha is the unassuming main character that soon fills up your mind and heart as you want to stand in defense for her as well as cheer her on in her search for her mother along with the answers to her past. Miriam is her greatest cheerleader and protector but there are other great characters who intersect in the lives of both of them that shape the story into an outstanding book!

Chris Fabry, a West Virginia native, has written several books, of which two won Christy Awards and an ECPA Christian Book Award, and he hosts the daily program Chris Fabry Live! on Moody Radio. His style of writing draws you in and invites you to drop whatever you are doing for a long visit amidst the pages of his books. I have never read his other books, but I was very impressed with this one which makes me excited to find others. I encourage you to pick up a copy today! I received this book free for review from Tyndale House Publishers.

Author Q & A

Sneak Peak – Chapter 1

Author’s Web Site

Faithgateway Devotional

Freedom: Remember His Marvelous Works by Dr. Richard Lee

Remember His marvelous works which He has done. — Psalm 105:5

On July 3, 1776, following the signing of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams reflected on that important day:

“The second day of July 1776 will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever.

You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration and support and defend these States.Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means; that posterity will triumph in that day’s transaction, even though we [may regret] it, which I trust in God we shall not.”

* * Patriot’s Prayer * *

Thank You, Lord, for the men and women who gave their lives for the freedom of the republic in which we live today. Help me to be as bold and brave as they were when it is my turn to protect this land.

* * Patriot’s Promise * *

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. — Psalm 34:17

Your Turn

As Americans celebrate our freedom and our nation’s birthday, we are reminded that Jesus came to set us free that we may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). Thank You, Lord! What freedom has God brought that you are celebrating today? Please share a comment on our blog! Happy Independence Day to our readers in the U.S.A.!

CELEBRATE AMERICA SALE! Save 30% on Patriotic Titles now through July 10!

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Recopied from faithgateway.com.

A Letter From God – Inspired Devotional

Friday, June 21, 2013
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “If Christians lived according to their faith, there would be no more Hindus left in India.” This great leader was fascinated at the thought of knowing Christ. But when he met Christians, he felt let down. The world is filled with people who feel the same. They are intrigued by the claims of Christ, but they shrink back because of disappointment with His offspring.

“Don’t look at people,” we might protest. “Look at Jesus.” But while that may be true, the sobering truth remains: Whether we like it or not, we’re the only Jesus some will ever see. Dwight L. Moody put it this way: “Of one hundred men, one will read the Bible; the ninety-nine will read the Christian.”

“You are a letter from Christ…,” Paul reminded the Christians at Corinth, “written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stones but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:3 NIV 1984)

The same is true of us today. We are God’s love letter to the world. We were set apart for a purpose—to communicate his glory to a lost and dying world.

Excerpted from Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver

Daily Reflection: How have you been communicating God’s love lately?

Reprinted from the Inspired Devotional by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Always There – Inspired Devotional

Thursday, June 20, 2013
“Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place. For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.”—2 Chronicles 7:15-16

God promised, “My name will be there.”

The name above all names; the name that makes seas to boil and the skies to fall; the name that causes every knee to bow and every tongue to confess—that name and all it represents would be there for the people of God. God himself swore that all his character and all his essence would surely be there for his children.

But what does this mean for us?

It means we can count on the One who parted the ocean and calmed the seas to be there for us when the opposition bears down at full speed or the storms of life toss us around like plastic cups caught in the surf. The very essence of the One who lifted up the mountains and raised up the dead will be there to lift us up to new heights and to raise us up with his Son on the last day. The sum of all God’s character and power and authority and holiness—100 percent of everything about him—will be there for
you and me.

Excerpted from Be There by John Trent

Daily Reflection: What does God’s name and the assurance of His presence mean to you?

Reprinted from Inspired from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Daily Devotional – Inspired

Who Are You?

If somebody asked me, “Who are you?” I could say lots of things. I could say, “I am Jud. I am married to Lori. We have two kids and a slobbery bulldog named Roxy. And I am horrible at Guitar Hero for Xbox.”

These are aspects of who I am, but my identity is not found in them. According to the Bible, my identity is found in God. He chooses me. I’m His possession. And that is who you are too.

It doesn’t matter what your employer says, what your parents say, what your ex says, or what your friends say. God says that as His follower you are chosen. You are loved just as you are, and your identity is complete in that. You can’t earn it, and you can’t undo it; there is nothing you can do to achieve it. What could be more awesome?

Excerpted from Eyes Wide Open by Jud Wilhite

Daily Reflection: What keeps you from realizing or accepting your identity as a child of God?

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Meaning Follows Surrender

“Meaning follows surrender,” that is what Rebekah Lyons discovered when she faced a kink in her preplanned life path.  That kink was debilitating panic attacks and anxiety.  Here is how Rebekah describes one such attack, “The anxiety reached a crescendo on Thanksgiving Day.  How I wish I had anticipated this scenario….we were taking the kids to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade…we had big expectations, and even the craziest throngs of people would not stop us…These veteran Macy’s paraders were not going to let me and my three tykes push through to Daddy.  Cell service was gone.  The crowds even suppressed text messages.  I had no way to communicate as I helplessly stood two hundred feet away.  Finally my call to Gabe went through, and my frantic voice screamed above the noise, ‘I can’t do it!  If you want the kids to see this, you will have to come get them!’  Tears fell as my kids bore witness to my weakness once more. I didn’t have what it took to push through.  Not the strength.  Not the ability.  Not the will.  Who was I becoming?  The Rebekah I once knew was fearless and aggressive….Gabe wormed his way to us and grabbed Pierce and Kennedy’s hands.  I tugged Cade to the back of the crowd – he’d be no match for this moment.  I hailed a taxi to head home to baste my turkey and lick my wounds.  I’d watch the parade from the comfort of my living room like every other sensible American.”  Anyone who has suffered from panic attacks and anxiety understands completely what she was describing.  You might even be shaking your head while reading this excerpt.  However, Rebekah did not stop there in her book.  That is the beginning of her journey that she calls Freefall to Fly A Breathtaking Journey Toward a Life of Meaning.

Lyons’s book is poignant and revealing. Readers can understand where she started and where she eventually ended up as she began to understand the meaning behind surrendering to God. The freefall does no lead to a devastating ending but rather an ability to fly and soar above the storm clouds. In another excerpt, she writes, “For seven months, I’d been consumed by panic attacks and letdowns, loneliness and change. But I saw it now. God was telling a story. A specific kind of story. A daunting, frightful story. He was revealing meaning to me. In the midst of my own blizzard, light was shining through. I needed only to open my eyes to His tinkering and intervention. I was searching desperately to find meaning in my life, unaware that God had been leading me the entire time. I was in an uncontrollable freefall, but God wanted me to learn to fly. Perhaps this painful season of transition was closing for me.”

I received this book free for review from Handlebar Marketing and would highly recommend this book for your bookshelf!

Rebekah Lyons website


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