Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Q & A a Day: 5-year journal by Potter Style (book review)

About the Book:

Do you ever stop to wonder how you got where you are? The Q&A a Day Journal shows you what was going through your head each day—for five years of your life. Simply turn to today’s date, answer the question at the top of the page, and when you finish the journal, start over. As you return to the daily questions again over the years, you’ll notice how your answers change (or don’t)! With questions that are sometimes provocative (“On a scale of one to ten, how happy are you?”), occasionally quirky (“What can you smell right now?”), and inevitably interesting (“If you could travel anywhere tomorrow, where would you go?”), this classically designed journal—embellished with beautiful details—is the perfect gift for anyone embarking on a new phase of life.

You may purchase a copy at Potter Style.

My Opinion:

I usually find it hard to journal, especially on a daily basis but when I saw this cute daily journal I was intrigued by it and wondered would I really journal in it everyday?  I can say, yes, I have been using it every evening before I go to bed and I’ve even gone back and filled in the days prior to me receiving the journal.  Whether you’re a die hard journal-er or one who could care less about chronicling your life – this journal is great for both and all those in between.  It’s small which means it’s easy to pack, take it from me as I packed it when we went on vacation which was the day after I got it in the mail, it is thick but it’s tiny so it could even fit in a larger sized purse.  Each year has four lines with which to answer the question of the day – sample questions are ‘today you lost ________’, ‘write down a problem you solved today’, ‘how many stamps are in your passport’, and many, many more.  Not every question pertains to me, like the passport one – I don’t even own a passport but just answer with a simple none.

The year is blank meaning it says 20__ and they you’ll fill in the ’15, ’16, ’17, ’18, and so on for whichever year you begin this journal, no worries about what day it is although they are numbered for January 1st, 2nd, etc.  There is enough space to accommodate my larger sized writing, which is great because usually the spaces are so small I feel like I’m cramming my words in. The beautiful gold edged pages as well as the high quality paper makes this a beautiful addition to my night stand and makes it fun to write in each night or morning depending on the question of the day.  One question was what phrase did I overuse that day, it was one that I waited till before bed to answer – my answer was “quit fighting” as it just so happened we were driving home from vacation that day.

The only thing I would change for this awesome journal would be an included bookmark – one of those attached satin ones that you often find in Bibles and other journals.  I’m left flipping through the pages to find the current day’s entry and while I can use one of my own bookmarks one that is attached to the journal would be great (it won’t fall out) and also a pretty silk one would add to the overall look and feel of the journal, as it is I’m thinking of an old time book that one might find on Sherlock’s desk as he solves a crime.  I can highly recommend this delightful journal and even my oldest said that she wants one of her own and that it would definitely keep her journaling each day.  There are several other versions as well such as one for moms, college students, for creatives, for kids and even one for two people to do together – not all are released yet and not all are five years long.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Tossed upon the rock(s)


**I began this post before we left on vacation, as of now we are almost to 11 weeks.**

It has been eight weeks.  8 weeks since our lives changed forever.  8 weeks since my husband fell asleep and left us.  8 weeks since we were tossed upon the rocks that is our lives.  While I may not be physically hurtled on the rocks my body and my mind feel battered and beaten.  The wounds are not visible.

I can’t explain all the feelings and all the things that I’ve had to go through these past weeks, and even if I did tell you – everyone is different and so your loss isn’t the same and your feelings won’t be the same.  Having to fight to get the benefits that are due to us has put a huge strain on me and I’m hoping, now that I have the paperwork in hand I’m hoping I can lighten the stress and regain my health.

I’ve been clinging to my verse that I’ve claimed as my life verse before any of this happened – in fact it is engraved on the ring that my hubby bought for me for last mother’s day.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

I don’t know why the Lord gave me that verse, but He rightly knew that there would be something to happen in my life, something HUGE that would rock our world.  Now, don’t get me wrong I still ask Him, “why?” but I also try to rest that He knows what He is doing – I cannot, in my human-ness, in my sinful nature, in my frailty know what that is but I know He understands my questioning, my wondering.

As I’m tossed upon the rocks of the world and let myself be overcome, stressed, sick and tired I need to also realize there is another Rock.  I can cling to for safety, peace, health and rest.  Yes, easier said than done.  As humans we want to solve it all ourselves but when we realize we can’t we can turn to Psalm 18:1-3 (ESV):

I love you, O Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

I’m so glad, so thankful that as I finish this post after vacation that I can rest in the Lord.  My friend gave me rest when we visited her and the rest that comes from the Lord is so much sweeter.  It doesn’t take all the ache away.  It doesn’t stop the questions.  It doesn’t stop the tears.  But I can rest.  I can leave my questions at His feet.  I can put my worries on His shoulders.  He knows the heart ache when one loses a loved one.

While the world is throwing me against the rocks that are life I know I can find my refuge in another Rock.  I can sit on the Rock and give Him my all – all my ache, all my grief, all my worries, my fears, my hopes, my dreams and He will comfort me and the Rock will be my foundation on which I will continue building our new life.  The hard part?  Remembering that, especially on the really hard days.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Litfuse Publicity: Becoming a Spriritually Healthy Family by Dr. Michelle Anthony

About the Book:
No one who starts a family plans on falling into patterns of dysfunction, but between the baggage of the past and the pressures of the world today, developing destructive parenting patterns is all too easy. Family ministry leader Dr. Michelle Anthony has now brought hope and practical help to parents in her new book, Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family: Avoiding the 6 Dysfunctional Parenting Styles.

Things such as good behavior, chore charts, and house rules often govern our families more than honest conversations, prayer, shared values, and faith adventures. Spiritually formed families live in a real world with real pressures, but they are choosing to be on journey together to live for something far greater than merely getting through another day.

You may purchase your own copy of the book at David C. Cook.

About the Author:

Michelle Anthony is the vice president of Learning Resources and Family Ministry Architect at David C Cook and the author of Spiritual Parenting, Dreaming of More for the Next Generation, A Theology of Family Ministry, and The Big God Story. Michelle has graduate degrees in Christian education, theology, and leadership and over twenty-five years of church ministry experience as a children’s and family pastor. She lives in Colorado Springs and loves a good book and a cup of coffee.

You can find out more about Michelle by visiting her website and on Facebook and Twitter.

My Opinion:

The main reason why I chose to review this book is because of the cover, yes, I’ll admit it – the woman in the upper right corner with her two children drew me in.  Why?  I got this book after my husband passed away and now that I’m a single mom to three children the image of the mom with two children pulled me in, then I read the description and knew I needed to read this book.  Most families will not come out and admit they are dysfunctional, because our dysfunction is our normal and so it doesn’t seem strange or weird or not normal, but dysfunction is dysfunction no matter how ‘normal’ it is to us.  The book covers six types of dysfunctional parenting: the double-minded parent, the I-can’t-say-no parent, driver parents, micro-managing parent, the criticizing parent and the absentee parent.  I haven’t quite figured out which one I am yet, even as I think of life before death hit our home I can’t really nail down which one I am, I see myself as a mixture of several.

Each chapter gives examples of the type of dysfunctional parent, hopefully making it easy to figure out which one you are, then goes into how this affects not only our children but our relationships with them and ultimately, Christ.  Filled with Scripture and Biblical thoughts and worldview this book will guide you in how to deal with the dysfunction and deal with it in a Biblical and Christian way.  Each chapter ends with a “reflect and respond” section which has a few questions that help you to reflect on what you just read in light of your family and God’s Word to help you evaluate and maybe even change the way you respond to your family’s situation.  There are extra resources in the back such as how to write a mission statement for your family and why each family should have one – I have done this one yet.  This book doesn’t hold all the answers, none done, but it can help you get started in making your home a more spiritually healthy one and as the author states God has to be in control 100%.

If you’d like to read what other bloggers thought of this book please visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

 (c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Kregel Tour: The First Principle by Marissa Shrock

About the book:

In the not-too-distant future, the United Regions of America has formed. Governors hold territories instead of states, and while Washington, DC, is gone, the government has more control than ever before. For fifteen-year-old Vivica Wilkins, the daughter of a governor, this is life as usual. High school seems pretty much the same–until one day, that controlling power steps right through the door during study hall.

When Vivica speaks out to defend her pregnant friend against the harsh treatment of Population Management Officer Marina Ward, she has no idea she’s sowing the seeds of a revolution in her own life. But it isn’t long before she discovers her own illegal pregnancy. Now she has to decide whether to get the mandatory abortion–or follow her heart, try to keep the baby, and possibly ruin her mother’s chances at becoming president.

A rebel group called the Emancipation Warriors, who are fighting to restore freedoms once held unalienable, offer her asylum. Can Vivica trust these rebels to help her or will they bring everything crashing down around her? Accepting their help may come with consequences she isn’t ready to face.

Marissa Shrock’s debut novel crafts a chilling story of what may be to come if we allow the economic and moral crises currently facing our country to change the foundations on which we built our independence–and of the difference one person can make when they choose to trust God’s lead.

My Opinion:

Imagine the United State of America as we know it is no longer as we know it – divided into regions and there is no such thing as thinking for oneself because the government tells you what to do, how to do it and even when to do it.  Farmers forced to give parts of their crops to the government before they can use anything for their families, forced vaccinations for all diseases and even pregnancy – but that one isn’t working so great.  Teens are becoming pregnant even with the forced vaccine for this – so the Population Management comes and takes away the girls to be forced to undergo an abortion.  Some fight back. This book was a real page turner for me, I read it in two days and it was fast paced and there was much in it that showed how God’s Word and His people will never be silenced even when powers that be desire for it to be so. As Vivica begins to understand that her unborn child is a child and not just a clump of cells she knows she must protect the baby at all costs.

Even as much as I enjoyed it, it’s a young adult novel and dystopian books are quite popular right now so this may be a good one to add to your library if you have a young adult who likes these futuristic books. There were two times that sex was mentioned in how the girls came to be pregnant and I would not mind my oldest daughter reading this book, although she refused as she said, “the cover makes me not interested”, so I won’t force the issue.  I’d definitely read more of this book and I’d love to read more about what Vivica does after she gives birth and makes a choice born out of love and sacrifice and how the ‘rebels’ work to restore the United Regions of America back to the United States of America.  Eerily a lot of the issues in this book have already come to fruition such as forced health care, beginning to see more forced vaccination politicians as well as revising history to make it say what the government wants.  So maybe it’s not all fiction?

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Kregel Tour: The Abbot’s Agreement (Hugh de Singleton chronicles) by Mel Starr

About the Book:

Master Hugh de Singleton is making his way toward Oxford when he discovers the corpse of a young Benedictine not half a mile from the nearby abbey.

The abbey’s novice master confirms the boy’s identity; it is John, one of three novices. He had gone missing four days previous, and yet his corpse is fresh. There has been plague in the area, but this was not the cause of death-the lad has been stabbed in the back. To Hugh’s sinking heart, the abbot has a commission for him.

With realistic medical procedures of the period, droll medieval wit, and a consistent underlying sense of Christian compassion, the seventh in the chronicles of Hugh de Singleton will delight medieval history and crime fiction fans alike.

You may purchase your copy at Kregel’s store.

My Opinion:

As I sit and look at my bookshelves I see all the Bibles that I own, KJV, ESV, NKJV, NIV and so on so when Hugh’s latest chronicle starts it reminds it hasn’t always been so easy or inexpensive to own a Bible – as Hugh is setting out to buy at least a New Testament and if not that, then at least those written by Paul.  Of course, he and Arthur become side tracked with the sighting of birds overhead which tells Hugh that there is something dead, he sets off to find a young novice who has been murdered.  The Abbot makes a deal – find who did the murder and Hugh will get his Bible as payment.  I’ve read the others (not the 1st and 2nd, yet) in this series and I think this has been my favorite so far, it was truly a page turner and kept me up late reading, which kept my mind from other things.  The whodunit isn’t easily figured out, at least it wasn’t for me, and I enjoyed that – just when I thought Hugh and I had figured it out there was another twist to the plot that threw us both off course.

Of course I also enjoy the historical aspect of the story and the medical complexities that met Hugh as he traveled around trying to find a murderer.  Hugh is ahead of his time in things like letting wounds open to the air instead of keeping them covered for best healing.  Of course, there is the descriptions of food, which at times doesn’t add to the plot but I think makes the story much more realistic.The other part of the book I enjoyed was the discussion between the dying Abbot (who knew one could die from a broken hip) and Hugh about purgatory and why would we need that to cleanse us when Christ already completed the work?  This of course has the archdeacon labeling Hugh a heretic and he is arrested.  I won’t give away much more about the book because honestly if you enjoy medieval history, historical or just a good clean (meaning no cussing, s**, etc) mystery then this is a great book.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Random Updates

I thought it might be nice for me to do a post about some things other than being a widow, because that hasn’t been the only thing going on in our lives.  We’ve had several good things happen lately and lest anyone think that all I’m doing is dwelling on my husband’s passing (yes, there are days like that too) we also have been living, or trying to.  I don’t have a lot of pictures to share but some things have been put aside just so I can enjoy my children and one of those is taking a lot of pictures, eventually I’ll take more but not right now.

  • Both my son and middle daughter took their P.R.A.Y. classes, they began last November and ran for several weeks.  My son’s was God and Me and he had to make a G.A.M.E box which stood for God And Me Exploring box.  My middle DD’s class was God and Family and she had to make a pizza.  They both completed their classes and have earned their respective awards – usually awarded at the church where they took the class – we are opting to have our Pastor give them their awards.

The start of her ‘pizza’

  • One thing Don and I discussed before his passing was to become members of the church we’ve been attending for awhile.  Both of us tired of church hopping.  The church is very Bible based in it’s teaching, homeschooling isn’t an issue, they use both hymns and contemporary, among others.  So on the 25th I became an official member of Trinity Missionary Church.  Bittersweet as I had to do it alone but I know that is what Don would have wanted.  Middle daughter will begin baptism classes soon and son is asking to as well.
  • We have started the testing for son – since I’ve been working with him for almost 2 years and still is not grasping the reading thing and since finding out our original optometrist gave him the wrong lenses and made his eyes worse we are doing some testing and seeing another optometrist who is hoping with his new lenses and exercises will make his eyes stronger.
  • The girls had their Let It Shine dance concert on the 25th (it was a busy day!).  Again another bittersweet moment because, my husband believed in always being at the children’s activities, he didn’t get to see their new Company dance, which was beautiful.  This was a fundraiser sort of concert to help get the girls who are going to Project Dance Detroit there.

We have a couple other good things coming up but I can’t post about those right now.  I’m trying to focus on the blessings in our lives.  We are surrounded by family, a great church, many friends and prayer warriors who are making this road a bit more bearable but by looking at our blessings it also helps me focus on what God is doing, even though I still wonder why Don needed to leave us too soon.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Doctor Who: Silhouette by Justin Richards (book review)

About the Book:

“Vastra and Strax and Jenny? Oh no, we don’t need to bother them. Trust me.”

Marlowe Hapworth is found dead in his locked study, killed by an unknown assailant. This is a case for the Great Detective, Madame Vastra.

Rick Bellamy, bare-knuckle boxer, has the life drawn out of him by a figure dressed as an undertaker. This angers Strax the Sontaran.

The Carnival of Curiosities, a collection of bizarre and fascinating sideshows and performers. This is where Jenny Flint looks for answers.

How are these things connected? And what does Orestes Milton, rich industrialist, have to do with it all? This is where the Doctor and Clara come in. The Doctor and his friends find themselves thrust into a world where nothing and no one are what they seem. Can they unravel the truth before the most dangerous weapon ever developed is unleashed on London?

You can purchase a copy at Random House.

About the Author:

JUSTIN RICHARDS has written for stage and screen as well as writing novels and graphic novels. He has also co-written several action thrillers for older children with the acknowledged master of the genre Jack Higgins. Justin acts as Creative Consultant to BBC Books’ range of Doctor Who titles, as well as writing quite a few himself. Married with two children (both boys), Justin lives and works in Warwick, within sight of one of Britain’s best-preserved castles.

My Opinion:

We are Whovians in my house so when this book came up to be reviewed I knew we’d all probably enjoy it, especially my oldest who well is a much bigger Whovian than the other three of us.  We all enjoy the television series, some of us even enjoy the older ones, so reading a book version proved a bit different. Thankfully I know how Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman sounds on the show so it was easy to put their voices to those in the book. Personally, I though the book started somewhat slow but there is more that needs to be added to a book to make it more understandable, one can’t ‘see’ what is going on behind the scenes like one can on the television so all that has to be added to the book. Once I got further in though things picked up and I actually became engaged in it and couldn’t run the pages fast enough to get to the end and figure the whodunit (although it did became clear who did it before the end).

For some of my readers, you’ll be used to me only reading and reviewing Christian fiction and this is a branch out from that, but while this wasn’t a Christian book it was still a nice read and I must say I enjoyed the break from all the romance. Since we do watch the television show I was expecting some cuss words, but I was surprised there were not that many, I think only two D words that I can’t distinctly remember. In the book, as in the show, Madame Vastra (the lizard woman) and Jenny are still gay and Jenny refers to Madame Vastra as her wife one time in the book – if you watch the show you know this but just a head’s up for my readers who don’t know this fact.  I will definitely be letting my oldest read the book, if she chooses too, as it’s quite mild compared to watching the show where everything is depicted but one can’t do that in a book as it relies on the reader’s imagination.  If you’re a fan of Doctor Who or just like to read science fiction then this book will be a great one to read but it might get your blood pumping so best not do it before bed.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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BookLook Review: KJV Note-Taker’s Bible

About the Bible:

Finally, a Bible that has plenty of room for taking notes during public or private worship, small-group fellowships, or any other time or place you feel the need to make comments on the Bible. No more cramped writing in tiny margins—the KJV Note-Taker’s Bible makes it easy to stay organized and neat. Personalize the text of God’s Word to your life as never before, and treasure this record of your spiritual journey. Includes the complete text of the classic King James Version.


Deluxe wide margins for note takers
Complete King James Version text
Double-column text for easy reading
Words of Christ in red letter

You can purchase a copy at Zondervan.

My Opinion:

I’ve always wanted a Bible I could take notes in so when I saw the KJV Note-Taker’s Bible for review I jumped on it but when it arrived I was somewhat disappointed.  This is a no-frills Bible, bare bones really – I’m not saying that I need a fancy Illuminated Bible but it is simply a Bible with the KJV text with a wider margin, that’s it.  While the margins are wider there isn’t really enough room to make a lot of notes, say during a sermon at church or for in-depth Bible study.  The ‘standard size’ print is well small, smaller even than my thin ESV Bible which makes reading somewhat difficult.  I do enjoy having the words of Christ in read, something my favorite Bible doesn’t have.

Even with the drawbacks of this Bible – I would have loved to have a bit bigger sized Bible for wider margins and larger print but also lines to keep the notes orderly, there are several good things as well.  There is a concordance in the back, it may not be as large or complete as say if you had a Strong’s available but it works for sermons and Bible study.  It is surprisingly light weight for a hear cover Bible, it is easy to transport from home to church to Bible study and back again.  It is also thinner than most hard cover Bibles, it could fit in a larger sized purse if you want to and it does fit in a Bible cover.  Overall, I probably would not have bought this version of a note taking Bible but if you desire a simple, and perhaps if your handwriting is smaller than mine then you’ll enjoy it.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

I review for BookLook Bloggers

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The death of our dreams

When one’s spouse passes away one thing that the surviving spouse must do is not just face the death of their loved on but also the death of the dreams that hadn’t come to fruition.  It’s one thing that I’ve been ruminating on lately – all the dreams that have died with my husband.  He and I loved to travel – and when finances allowed we’d find someplace to travel to – that may have been to Sandusky and Kelley’s Island or to Kentucky or to Tennessee.  One place we wanted to go was to Europe, we both wanted to visit Ireland and he wanted to see Greece and I wanted to see Germany.  The land of our ancestors.  We never came up with a ‘bucket’ list because we both thought the idea of that was lame but we had dreams.

  • we both wanted more children – either biologically or adopted – this is a huge one as we both didn’t feel our family was finished.  I do believe though that the Lord was saving me from further heart ache by not allowing me to be pregnant or having an infant or toddler while dealing with the grief and loss of my husband. Of course that doesn’t mean I’m not sad.
  • we wanted to establish a DD transportation company when he retired in just 7 years!  We were going to invest in a bus and transport clients to and from the local workshops in our area.
  • then there are the small dreams – seeing our children perform in their dances, seeing our son progress in his karate and move up in his obi’s, weddings, graduations, father-daughter dances.
  • our dream to grow old together and see our grandchildren and great grandchildren.  Now the future generations won’t know their wonderful, kind-hearted (great) Grandpa.

This is just a short list of the dreams that have died.  There are more like him wanting to see Bob Smiley in April at the homeschool convention.  Wanting to go to concerts and ball games.  While I need to talk about his memory – the good times and even sometimes the bad – I need to remember the dreams.  I need to remember what we aspired to be as a couple.  We met with disagreement from those who didn’t think we took enough time for us, for our marriage.  In the last year we became more focused on us.  I tried to be more aware of his needs and he mine.  No, we didn’t do date nights as they simply weren’t feasible or financially able to be done.  We talked more, held hands more – we simply loved.

Honestly, this is one thing that makes me mad – is the death of our dreams.  I know my hubby no longer has any issues with his heart or his weight – he is free from all that but we had things to finish, we had dreams to carry out.  I know the Lord has some plan in this – but it doesn’t take the ache away, it doesn’t dry the tears – and yes I would like to know His plans.  I know there are dreams for those who lose a sibling, parent, grandparent, but when one loses a spouse especially those who literally became one the dreams seems much more bigger – the loss seems bigger.  There are things that can’t be done without a spouse and so the space can’t be filled by a surviving sibling or parent – unless one re-marries but then there is a chance the new spouse won’t have the same dreams that the spouse who passed did.

As a widow I’m not merely mourning the loss of my husband, I’m also mourning the loss of my protector, my co-dreamer, my protector, the dad to our children, the principal of our school and so much more.  Some say the pain will lessen over time – I don’t think so – maybe, but at this point I don’t see it.  There are so many things that I’ve learned that come with a spouse’s passing – the death of the dreams is just one of them.  Some have said not to dwell on the loss of the dreams but on the other hand our dreams showed what kind of people we were, what kind of couple we were – we were different, we weren’t content to sit at home and watch travel shows, we wanted to be part of them.  We weren’t content to let others serve, we had to serve – whether it was hubby’s coaching the Special Olympics softball team for our County or us as a family serving a meal at Interfaith.  So while our dreams won’t come to fruition I also know I won’t let our dreams dies – even if it only means remembering and talking about them – they show who we were and where we wanted to go.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws


Book Review: An Amish Second Christmas by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Ruth Reid, and Tricia Goyer

About the Book:

Celebrate Second Christmas, a treasured, lighthearted time of community, with four Amish romances.

“When Christmas Comes Again” by Beth Wiseman

Katherine knows the first Christmas without Elias will be hard for her and the children. But when a mysterious Englischer appears with photographs of her late husband, Katherine begins to wonder what other blessings Christmas could have in store.

“Her Christmas Pen Pal” by Ruth Reid

Joy was expecting a wedding proposal from Henry; what she got instead was news of another woman. But when her heartfelt letter to a cousin ends up in the hands of a young cabinetmaker, an unexpected correspondence between two strangers gets interesting fast.

“A Gift for Anne Marie” by Kathleen Fuller

Anne Marie and Nathaniel have been best friends since they were kids. Now things are evolving . . . in ways everyone else predicted long ago. But when her mother suddenly decides to remarry in another state, Anne Marie’s new chapter with Nathaniel looks doomed to end before it begins.

“The Christmas Aprons” by Tricia Goyer

Vanilla crumb pie has been Esther’s mem’s calling card for decades. But when Esther finally gets her hands on the secret recipe, she discovers that vanilla crumb pie is more than just dessert . . . it’s bachelor bait.

About the Authors:

Beth Wiseman

Award-winning, bestselling author Beth Wiseman is best known for her Amish novels, but she has also written several successful contemporary novels, set primarily in her beloved Texas, including Need You Now and The House that Love Built. Both have received glowing reviews. Beth’s The Promise is inspired by a true story. Website, Twitter, Facebook.
Kathleen Fuller

Kathleen Fuller is the author of several bestselling novels, including A Man of His Word and Treasuring Emma, as well as a middle-grade Amish series, The Mysteries of Middlefield. Website, Twitter, Facebook.
Ruth Reid

Ruth Reid is a CBA and ECPA best-selling author of the Heaven on Earth series. She’s a full-time pharmacist who resides in Florida with her husband and three children. Facebook and Twitter.
Tricia Goyer

USA Today best-selling author Tricia Goyer is the author of 35 books, including the three-book Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series. She has written over 500 articles for national publications and blogs for high traffic sites like and Tricia and her husband John live in Little Rock, Arkansas where John works for FamilyLife. They have six children. Twitter and Facebook.

My Opinion:

Please bear with me as I read this back in December before my husband’s passing so while I can say I thoroughly enjoyed these four novellas my memory is a bit rusty with all that has gone on these past few weeks.  I’m a huge fan of all four authors and so I can’t tell you which you novella I enjoyed the most because of liking all of their writing when they work solo. If I were to read this again I know that Katherine’s story in “When Christmas Comes Again” due to the fact that she is a widow, and while she was moving toward a new romance I’m not, but the story now resonates with me as a mom of children without a husband.  These are romance in theme and so that will be the overarching plot in all four of the novellas – finding love, losing it and finding it again – thankfully all the romance is tame and there is no strong physical descriptions of the romance between couples – there may have been a kiss or two but nothing that made me uncomfortable.

Even though Christmas is over this book is a good one that would be fun to read anytime of the year – especially in the heat of summer when we look forward to some cooler weather! Of course there is nothing wrong with keeping the Christmas spirit alive all year round either – so just another excuse to pick up a great book by four very talented authors.  This book also includes a reading group guide and several Old Order Amish recipes for your use and delight – I need to try some of the recipes although I’ll be substituting flax seed for the eggs.  Overall, this was a delightful book and one that made a fast read and was so enjoyable that I would definitely recommend it to others.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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