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.
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
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.
“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
Death. That one word brings to mind heartache, lost moments, grief, and questions of why. Death by a bear attack. Those few words bring even more pain and horror as well as a deeper questioning of why. When that death is your parents the pain is buried so deep that it leaves you crying and heaving in the dust while tears stream down your face and your heart feels as if it will disintegrate. How do you cope with that kind of pain and keep living? That is what Shannon Huffman Polson both faces and answers in her memoir North of Hope. Polson combines her path to healing along with the story of her journey to retrace the steps that her father and stepmother took while traversing a river in Alaska. She brings to life the flora and fauna of the wilderness of Alaska which were the sights before her own eyes and the journal entries by her parents. As she travels to the very spot that her parents were killed, she draws closer to healing and acceptance of the event.
Polson’s memoir is one of those books that you will find yourself torn between wanting to voraciously read the pages and desiring to read slowly while mourning with her. It is a wonderfully written story of her grief and healing, her faith, and her acceptance of life and death. I received this book free for review from Handlebar Marketing and find the book to be excellent.
Anyone who has ever read about Nick Vujicic or seen his YouTube videos usually walks away amazed and maybe a little guilty. Amazed at the fact that Vujicic has accomplished so much standing in his faith and guilty because he does all of this without limbs as compared to our own capabilities with limbs. Vujicic’s latest book, Unstoppable, is just as powerful and moving as Life Without Limbs. In this book, Vujicic addresses the adversities that can plague individuals making their life journeys difficult and destructive. He uses his own life story as well as other’s stories to show how circumstances don’t have to derail you.
One of the most profound statements that he made can be found in the first few pages of the book. He says, “To simply say ‘I believe’ in something is not enough. If you want to have an impact in this world, you must put your beliefs and your faith into action.” For many of us, when difficult circumstances enter our lives we believe that God can move mountains but we don’t put that belief and faith into action by praying. Others may sit and bemoan the horrid circumstances without actually reaching out to the One who can change those circumstances. Vujicic has taken what could have stopped him and turned it into an unstoppable life of faith and action. Another life-altering phrase from his book is actually a subtitle in the first chapter – “Custom Made For A Purpose.” Wow! If we all just would believe that each one of us is custom made for a purpose, we could change the world! We may be able to cite the Scripture talking about each of us being “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14), but do we truly believe that we have been made specifically for a purpose? Vujicic does and he lives his life with purpose!
I received this book free for review from WaterBrook Multnomah.
No Liz is not someone from the Bible, but Ruth is. Liz is Liz Curtis Higgs, author of The Girl’s Still Got It, as well as many other books such as Bad Girls of the Bible, More Bad Girls of the Bible, and Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible. The difference between this book and her “Bad Girls” series is that Ruth is not a bad girl. In fact Liz has a rap about Ruth called “Righteous Ruth.” Watch this:
Higgs style of writing draws you in with humor, truth, and “aha” thoughts. For anyone who has read or participated in a Bible study about Ruth (Kelly Minter, for example) knows the story of Ruth. Ruth was the daughter-in-law of Naomi who was a Moabite and refused to return to her homeland after the death of her husband. Instead she moved to Naomi’s homeland and eventually married Boaz, a relative of Naomi. Ruth becomes one of the few women listed in the lineage of Jesus.
The difference in this book and other studies is that Higgs shows you how we are all a little like Ruth. We are all worthy to serve God. We all have still got it! Jump into this book which features a Bible study at the end and re-assess your worth and value! I received this book free for review from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
Study Guide/Discussion Questions:
Author’s Web Site
Men will tell you that “women can be mean and ugly.” Of course the same can be said of them as well, but Liz Curtis Higgs addressed this issue in Bad Girls of the Bible and What We Can Learn From Them. She delineated the lines of women into those girls who were bad for a moment, bad for a season but not forever, and bad to the bone. Higgs uses humor to tell the stories of some of the most well-known women of the Bible. We all know that the Bible was written for teaching and reproof so the lessons that can be learned from these women is monumental.
You will learn about Eve, Potiphar’s wife, Lot’s wife, the woman at the well, Delilah, Sapphira, Rahab, Michal, and the sinful woman. Before you read the book, try to determine what Higgs said about each woman’s label. Was Eve bad for a moment, for a season, or just plain bad to the bone? Why did Higgs place each of these women into the lines that she chose? Can we really learn from women who lived over 2000 years ago? You may be surprised! You will enjoy Higgs humor, wit, and the lessons that she teaches through all of this.
I received this book free for review from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. Rank my review by clicking on the picture and you might win a book for yourself!
WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group is proud to announce the release of Liz Curtis Higgs’ new book Girls Still Got It. Higgs is the author of Bad Girls of the Bible where she use wit and humor to talk about women that she calls bad for the moment, bad for a lifetime, etc. In her new book, she has written about a good girl of the Bible – Ruth. I have not read the book but WaterBrook graciously offered a video from Higgs and the first chapter. Please enjoy!
A good business person begins with a plan. The business starts with a vision; then a purpose and goals are outlined. The same is true for someone who desires a life that filled with passion, purpose and definition. Craig Groeschel, author of Chazown Define Your Vision, Pursue Your Passion, Live Your Life on Purpose, has written a how-to of life planning. He has also explained the “why” and “what” behind the Hebrew word – Chazown. God created each of us with a purpose. However many of us live in a manner similar to bumper cars. We drive fast seemingly with a purpose in view and then someone else’s vision brings his/her path directly into ours resulting in a crash.
Groeschel begins the life plan by exploring your core values, spiritual gifts, and past experiences. He then moves on to naming your chazown and developing action steps in five spokes – your relationship with God, your relationship with people, your finances, your health and fitness, and your work. Chazown is an easy book to read with questions and activities to help you develop your chazown. In addition, there is a website that enhances your experience and journey.
I received this book free for review from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
Chazown Web Site