GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

CWA Review: Carrie and Bandit (Book 2 Sonrise Stables) by Vicki Watson


ISBN: 978-0984724215
List Price: $9.95
Format: Softcover
Page Count: 149

Carrie and Bandit continues where Rosie and Scamper left off.

Carrie can’t believe it—she has a horse of her own and is only weeks away from being adopted by the most loving family she’s ever known. But Bandit is harder to manage than she first imagined—and the adoption might not go as smoothly as she thought either. When a bad decision jeopardizes everything, Carrie learns what it means to be forgiven and truly loved.

 

My love of horses began when a teenage neighbor offered me my first ride, on the back of her horse. From my 8-year-old perspective, it seemed like the biggest horse in the world. From that moment on, I was addicted. Horses were to become a very important part of my life, although I never could have imagined, at the time, how much God would teach me about Himself and my relationship to Him through these wonderful animals.

The Sonrise Stable series combines my love of God and horses in stories that I hope will help children learn more about both. I have a vision for ten initial books in the series, taking the main characters through one year. Beyond that I’ll see where God leads me.

I have been blessed with three daughters and homeschooled each of them through high school. I enjoy trail riding my Rocky Mountain mare, Nikki, hiking, photography, and playing guitar. I work from home as a and computer programmer and enjoy the variety and flexibility that allows.

 

My Opinion:

 

We have not read the 1st book in the series, Rosie and Scamper, but even with that disadvantage this book was still a delight to read to my children – all of whom enjoyed it, including my 6 year old son.  Even with not reading the first book, it was easily understood what was going on in the book in regards to Carrie’s adoption, their being Christians and homeschoolers.  Although I would very much like to read the first book with my children sometime – and read the other books that follow in the series.

 

My children have never been fascinated by horses – not like I was – to me it was my girl hood dream to own a horse – while my children like horses they’ve never asked for one of their own.  Regardless, the information given about horses comes forth naturally and provides and educational reading experience in a fictional book – great for children who may not otherwise know or get to know horses.  The fact that the girls are homeschooled was also an added bonus, although I’m not sure how Carrie was able to be homeschooled without being officially adopted first – but I chalked that up to it being fiction, but this book isn’t just for homeschoolers, I’m sure that other children regardless of their school situation will enjoy the book.

 

We read the book aloud after we were done with school and spent about a week in reading it.  We probably would have gone faster, as we all were engrossed in the story line, but sometimes life happens and gets in the way.  At this time there are four books in the series and I really hope to get the other three (also available in Kindle and ePub versions as well as physical books) books to read with my children.  There are also illustrations scattered throughout the book which helps to break up some of the longer chapters and provide a good way to picture what is going on with the girls.  You can visit the Sonrise Stables site to get more information, read more reviews or to purchase the books.

 

**Disclaimer:  I’m a part of the CWA Review Crew and I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.

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FIRST Tour: My Amish Childhood by Jerry Eicher


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
Jerry Eicher
and the book:
My Amish Childhood
Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2013)
***Special thanks to Ginger Chen for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jerry Eicher’s bestselling Amish fiction (more than 210,000 in combined sales) includes The Adams County Trilogy, the Hannah’s Heart books, and the Little Valley Series. After a traditional Amish childhood, Jerry taught for two terms in Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. Since then he’s been involved in church renewal, preaching, and teaching Bible studies. Jerry lives with his wife, Tina, and their four children in Virginia.
Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Bestselling fiction author Jerry S. Eicher recounts his childhood in the Amish community of Aylmer, Ontario and his parents’ decision to move to Honduras. Jerry also tells of his eventual conversion to Christ and the reasons for his departure from the childhood faith he knew.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99

Paperback: 256 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736950060

ISBN-13: 978-0736950060

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

I can still see his face. Lean. Determined. Framed by his lengthy beard. I can see him running up the hill toward our house. He was carrying his bag of doctor implements.Mom was having chest spasms, and any real doctor was miles away—across four hours of the broken, rutted, dusty Honduran road we took only as a last resort.

The running man was my Uncle Joe. The smart one of the family. The older brother. The intellectual genius. When Uncle Joe walked by, we stopped talking and listened intently when he spoke. On this day, he rushed by, not paying any attention to us children.

I knew he was coming about Mom, but I recall experiencing no fear for her life. Perhaps I wasn’t old enough to have such a fear. To me, Uncle Joe’s haste seemed more entertainment than emergency. After all, Mom had looked fine to me a few minutes earlier.

When Uncle Joe left the house some time later, he issued a favorable report that I never questioned. Nor did anyone else. The mysteries of the Englisha world of medicine were even further removed from us than the four hours to town. Uncle Joe studied the books, and we trusted him.

Years later, when our little Amish community in Central America was on its last legs and held in the grip of terrible church fights over cape dresses, bicycles, singing in English or Spanish on Sunday mornings, and other horrors that the adults spoke of with bated breath, it was the look on Uncle Joe’s face as he talked with Mom and Dad by the fence on Sunday afternoon that made things clear to me. If Uncle Joe thought something was over, then it was over.

Uncle Joe lived below us, across the fields, in a house smaller than ours even though his family was much larger. How they managed, I never thought to wonder. Their house never looked crowded. It was kept spotless by his wife, Laura, and their oldest daughters Rosanna and Naomi. We didn’t visit often on Sunday afternoons. Mostly we children dropped by on weekdays, sent on some errand by Mom or we wandered past on our meanderings around the countryside.

They kept goats in the yard, all of them tied with long ropes to stakes. One of them was named Christopher. We didn’t have goats. Dad ran a machine shop, and Mom took care of the garden. Goats were foreign to us. Smelly creatures. Mom scorned goat’s milk, even when Uncle Joe said emphatically it was far superior to cow’s milk.

We all lived near each other in those days—part of a grand experiment to see if the Amish faith could survive on foreign soil.

My grandfather, Peter Stoll, an Amish man of   impeccable standing, had taken it upon himself to lead an Amish community to the Central American country of Honduras. He wasn’t an ordained minister, and I don’t remember seeing him speak in public. Still, the integrity of his life and his ideas so affected those around him that they were willing to follow him where few had gone before.

At the height of the experimental community, we ended up being twenty families or so. We all lived on two neighboring ranches purchased in a valley below a mountain. Most of us had come to Honduras from the hot religious fervor of the small Aylmer community along the shores of  Lake Erie in Southern Ontario or from the detached coolness of Amish country spread over Northern Indiana. Plans were for the two to become one in mind and heart. And for awhile we did.

Those were wonderful years. The memories of that time still bring an automatic gathering of hearts among the Amish who were there—and even some of us who are no longer Amish. All these years later, most of us are scattered across the United States and Canada—except for the few of the original group who stayed behind.

Some of the people credit the joy of those days to the weather in our Honduras valley. And lovely weather it was. Balmy. Hardly ever above ninety or below forty. Others credit the culture. Some attribute our happiness to being so far from the States that we only had each other. I don’t know the full reason for our happiness. Perhaps it isn’t possible to know. But I do remember the energy of the place—its vibrancy. I do know the years left their imprints on us all.

This was my childhood. Those hazy years when time drags. When nothing seems to come soon enough. And where everything is greeted as if it had never been before. To me that land—that valley—was home. I absorbed it completely. Its sounds. Its language. The color of the dusty towns. The unpaved streets. The pigs in the doorway of the huts. The open fires over a metal barrel top. The taste of greasy fried beans. The flour tortillas and meat smoked to perfection. In my heart there will always be a deep and abiding love for that country.

Around us were mountains. To the north they rose in a gradual ridge, coming in from the left and the right to meet in the middle, where a distinctive hump rose into the air—officially named Mt. Misoco. But to us it was simply what the locals called it: La Montaña. The Mountain. Our mountain. Which it was in ways we could not explain.

To the south lay the San Marcos Mountains. At least that’s what we called them. Those rugged, jagged peaks lying off in the distance. I never climbed those mountains, but I often roamed our mountain—or rather our side of it—from top to bottom. On its peak, looking over to the other side, you could see lines and lines of ridges running as far as the eye could see.

A party of courageous Amish boys, along with a few visiting Amish youngsters from stateside, once decided to tackle the San Marcos Mountains. They threw their forces together and allowed two days for the trip. I was much too young to go along—and probably wouldn’t have anyway. But I waited for news of their adventure with interest. They came back soon enough— defeated and full of tales of dark jungles and multiple peaks that disoriented the heart. No one even caught sight of the highest point, let alone the other side.

In the summer, around five in the morning, the Southern Cross—that symbol of Christianity—hung over the San Marcos Mountains. Its haunting figure made of stars swung low in the sky. I would stand for long minutes gazing at the sight, caught up in the glory of it.

I was eight when we arrived in Honduras. We were one of the first families there after Grandfather Stoll had purchased and settled on the Sanson ranch. Dad seemed driven to the move by motives other than adventure. He was unhappy with the ordnung rules in the Amish community at Aylmer, and he wanted change. Change that didn’t include the great sin of joining a more liberal Amish church, of course.

In time Dad came to love the land along with the rest of us. And strangely, he came to love what he didn’t expect—the old ways, imperfect though they had been. My most enduring memory of Dad in those days is hearing him sing the old German songs at the top of his voice over the roar of his machine shop motors. And in the end, it came down to that question for all of them. A choice between what they loved and what they loved the most.

I grew up surrounded by men dedicated to an old faith. I saw those men, most of them my uncles, tested to the core. I saw them wrestle with the old and with the new, trying to figure out where everything fit together. I lived among giants of faith. I saw their agony and their sacrifice. I saw their choices, and it affected me deeply. Their faith had been hammered out back in the sixteenth century, in the old town of Zurich, Switzerland. Back during the time Ulrich Zwingli thundered his sermons in the old Grossmunster Church.

But in the days of my childhood, those stories of   long ago were not mine yet. Those gallant tales of deeds done under fire and sword. Of imprisonment in noblemen’s castles. Of narrow escapes into the Swiss countryside from the murderous Berne Anabaptist hunters. Instead, my memories are of men in my own time. Men who believed that life was not worth living if you didn’t believe in something worth dying for. I was surrounded by men of passion. And if someone should make the claim that these men were misguided, I would insist the fault lay not in caring too much about religious matters. For I learned while growing up among them that this is how a person should live. That true believers follow God with all of their hearts and souls.


My Opinion:

 

Still reading – so far very good.

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Hair cuts!


My son was looking shaggy and needed a hair cut and so he decided it’d be easier to wear his sparring gear if he buzzed his hair, my husband told him if he did it then he’d do it too…….so the girls and I went and had a girls day out and the boys went and did this:

 

Isn’t he handsome – I do admit I like this look on him but it makes him look ornery.

 

My other handsome guy – he doesn’t really like it but it’s growing on me and I think it looks nice, although I was surprised when I came through the door on Saturday.

 

The girls and I went out and had our hair done.  I decided I wanted something that while still feminine made me look and feel younger and better about myself – I was tired of the lllloooonnnngggg and limp thick hair that made me look older than I am.  The girls wanted and needed something a bit more manageable – my middle has VERY thick hair like me and it becomes WW3 to brush it.

 

All three with their new do’s.

 

And me – this cut is feminine with lots of layer so now I have some body and it’s not hanging limp down my back. It also makes my face not seem as chubby IMHO and it’s easy to comb and care for. Best of all, my husband likes it but I’ll keep his comments to myself 😀

 

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FIRST Tour: The Emotionally Healthy Woman: Eight Things You Have to Quit to Change Your Life by Geri Scazzero


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
Geri Scazzero
and the book:
The Emotionally Healthy Woman: Eight Things You Have to Quit to Change Your Life
Zondervan (January 2, 2013)
***Special thanks to Rick Roberson for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Geri Scazzero is a teaching pastor and director of Marriage Ministry at New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, New York City, a multiracial, international church with over sixty-five countries represented. She is coauthor of The Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Workbook for small groups and also speaks regularly to pastors, leaders, and their spouses.
Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Geri Scazzero knew something was wrong with her life and her ministry. After having spent 17 years trying unsuccessfully to fit into the traditional mold of “perfect pastor’s wife,” she finally threw in the proverbial towel. Making the painful decision to leave her husband’s thriving church, she stopped pretending everything was “fine” and embarked upon a solitary journey of faith. Her emotional and spiritual trek not only established a revolutionary new paradigm in her life, but it also led her to a beautifully transformed life, marriage and ministry.

Within the pages of her latest book, author and popular conference speaker Scazzero shares deeply out of her own life, offering a seasoned and radical message for Christian women today. According to author Geri Scazzero, becoming an emotionally healthy woman begins by quitting eight unhealthy ways of relating. When you stop pretending everything is fine and summon the courage to quit that which does not belong to Jesus’ kingdom, you will be launched on a powerful journey—one that will bring you true peace and freedom.

.Genre: RELIGION/Christian Living

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99

Reading level: Ages 18 and up

Paperback: 224 pages

Publisher: Zondervan (January 2, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0310320011

ISBN-13: 978-0310320012

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

When You Can’t Take It AnymoreThis is a book about following Jesus and summoning the courage to quit anything that does not belong to his kingdom or fall under his rule.

Traditionally, the Christian community hasn’t placed much value on quitting. In fact, just the opposite is true; it is endurance and perseverance we most esteem .For many of us, the notion of quitting is completely foreign. When I was growing up, quitters were considered weak, bad sports, and babies. I never quit any of the groups or teams I was part of. I do remember briefly quitting the Girl Scouts, but I soon rejoined. Quitting is not a quality we admire— in ourselves or in others.

The kind of quitting I’m talking about isn’t about weakness or giving up in despair . It is about strength and choosing to live in the truth. This requires the death of illusions. It means ceasing to pretend that everything is fine when it is not. Perpetuating illusions is a universal problem in marriages, families, friendships, and work places. Tragically, pretending everything is fine when it’s not also happens at church, the very place where truth and love are meant to shine most brightly.

Biblical quitting goes hand in hand with choosing. When we quit those things that are damaging to our souls or the souls of others, we are freed up to choose other ways of being and relating that are rooted in love and lead to life.

For example . . .

When we quit fear of what others think, we choose freedom .

When we quit lies, we choose truth.

When we quit blaming, we choose to take responsibility.

When we quit faulty thinking, we choose to live in reality.

Quitting is a way of putting off what Scripture calls falsehood and the old self . As the apostle Paul writes, “Put off your old self . . . and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood” (Ephesians 4:22 – 25). When we quit for the right reasons, we are changed. Something breaks inside of us when we finally say, “No more.” The Holy Spirit births a new resolve within us. We rise above our fears and defensiveness. The hard soil of our heart becomes soft and ready to receive new growth and possibilities .

The Bible teaches that there is a time and season for everything under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1). That includes quitting. But it must be done for the right reasons, at the right time, and in the right way. That’s what this book is about.

Cutting the Rope

In 1985, Simon Yates and his climbing partner, Joe Simpson, had just reached the top of a 21,000-foot peak in Peru when disaster struck. Simpson fell and shattered his leg. As the sky grew dark and a blizzard raged, Yates tried to lower his injured friend to safety. At a certain point, however, he accidently lowered Simpson over an ice cliff, where he hung helplessly. Straining to hold his partner’s body in midair, Yates was faced with choosing life or death for his friend.

When he could hang on no longer, Yates had to make a hellish decision: cut the rope and save his own life, sending his partner plummeting down to certain death, or face certain death trying to save him.

Yates later related those painful moments, “There was nothing I could do. I was just there. This went on for an hour and a half. My position was getting desperate . . . I was literally going down the mountain in little jerky stages on this soft sugary snow that collapsed beneath me. Then I remembered I had a penknife. I made the decision pretty quickly really. To me it just seemed like the right thing to do under the circumstances. There was no way I could maintain where I was. Sooner or later I was going to be pulled off the mountain. I pulled the penknife out.”

Yates cut the rope moments before he would have been pulled to his own death.

Certain that his partner was dead, Yates returned to base camp, consumed with grief and guilt over cutting the rope. Miraculously, however, Simpson survived the fall, crawled over the cliffs and canyons, and reached base camp only hours before Yates had planned to leave. In describing his decision to cut the rope, Yates articulates the core inner struggle for each of us in doing I Quit!

I had never felt so wretchedly alone . . . If I hadn’t cut the rope, I would certainly have died. No one cuts the rope! It could never have been that bad! Why didn’t you do this or try that? I could hear the questions, and see the doubts in the eyes of those who accepted my story. It was bizarre and it was cruel . . . However many times I persuaded myself that I had no choice but to cut the rope, a nagging thought said otherwise . It seemed like a blasphemy to have done such a thing. It went against every instinct: even against self-preservation. I could listen to no rational arguments against the feelings of guilt and cowardice . . . I resigned myself to punishment. It seemed right to be punished; to atone for leaving him dead as if simply surviving had been a crime in itself.

Quitting can feel like we are severing a lifeline, that someone, possibly even ourselves, is going to die. For this reason quitting is unthinkable to many, especially in the church. It appears “bizarre” and “cruel.” Who wants to be unpopular and rock the boat or disrupt things? I sure didn’t.

But there comes a point when we cross a threshold and we can’t take it anymore. Like Yates, we know we will die spiritually, emotionally, or otherwise unless we quit and choose to do something differently. We finally step over our fears into the great unknown territory that lies before us.

Yates was criticized by some in the mountain-climbing community for violating a sacred rule of never abandoning one’s partner — even if both died in the process. Joe Simpson himself passionately defended Yates’ choice. Ultimately, Yates’s decision to cut the rope saved both their lives.

The “Unfree” Christian

When I fell in love with Christ, I fell hard. As a nineteen- year-old college student, the enormity of God’s love over- whelmed me. I immediately began a passionate quest to know this living Jesus, and I was willing to do whatever it took to please him.

I eagerly structured my life around key spiritual disciplines such as reading and memorizing Scripture, prayer, fellowship, worship, fasting, giving financially, serving, silence and solitude, and sharing my faith with others. In my pursuit of Christlikeness, I absorbed books about the importance of spiritual disciplines by such authors as Richard Foster, J . I . Packer, and John Stott. They were helpful in broadening my understanding of Christianity and inspiring me to keep Christ at the center of my life. However, I failed to grasp the truth that a healthy spiritual life includes a careful balance between serving other people’s needs and desires and valuing my own needs and desires. Instead, I put most of my efforts into caring for others at the expense of my own soul.

The accumulated pain and resentment of this imbalance led to my first big “quit” at age thirty-seven. After seventeen years of being a committed Christian, I came to realize that excessive self-denial had led me to a joyless, guilt-ridden existence. Jesus invited me into the Christian life to enjoy a rich banquet at his table. Instead, it often felt like I was a galley slave, laboring to serve everyone else at the feast rather than enjoying it myself. In my relation- ship with Jesus, I’d gone from the great joy of feeling over- whelmed by his love to bitter resentment at feeling overwhelmed by his demands.

My identity had been swallowed up in putting others before myself. I constantly thought of the needs of our four small daughters. I worried about Pete’s responsibilities. I filled in wherever needed to help our growing church. These are all potentially good things, but my love had become a “have to,” a “should” rather than a gift freely given. I mistakenly believed I didn’t have a choice.

A renewed understanding of my own dignity and human limits enabled me to place loving boundaries around myself. I soon realized this was central to offering a sincere and genuine gift of love to others. Like God’s love to us, it must be free. And the extent to which I valued and loved myself was the extent to which I was capable of loving others well.

Dying to Live

Quitting is about dying to the things that are not of God. Make no mistake, it is one of the hardest things we do for Christ. But the good news is that quitting itself isn’t just an end; it is also a beginning. Biblical quitting is God’s path for new things to come forth in our lives, for resurrection. And yet, the path that leads to resurrection is never easy.

Internal voices alarm us with fears of quitting.

“What will people think?”

“I’m being selfish and not Christlike.”

“I will mess everything up.”

“People will get hurt.”

“Everything will fall apart around me.”

“I will jeopardize my marriage.”

Everything inside us resists the pain associated with dying — the nonnegotiable prerequisite for resurrection. As a result, we often cave in to our fears as a short-term anxiety-relief strategy. Sadly, this usually leads to painful long-term consequences — ongoing inner turmoil, joyless- ness, and festering resentments. As a result, we become stuck and ineffective in bearing genuine fruit for Christ. In my case, it resulted in a shrinking heart that sought to avoid people rather than love them.

Yet, it is only through dying that we can truly live. In the words of Jesus, “who- ever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it” (Mark 8:35). And that was what happened when I quit — I got my life back. And what followed were even more transformations that not only changed me but also brought new life to Pete, our marriage, our children, our church, and to countless others .

Quitting has purified my heart. It has demanded I admit truths about myself that I preferred to bury and avoid. Facing flaws and shortcomings in my character, my marriage, my parenting, and my relationships has been scary. At times, I felt like I was cutting the rope that kept me safely tethered to the side of a mountain. But God has used each free fall to purge my heart and to give me a more intimate experience of his mercy and grace. Thus, along with a deeper awareness of my sinfulness, I have become increasingly captured by God’s passionate and undeterred love for me.

Quitting has led me to a dream-come-true marriage with Pete. Over time, as we began to eliminate unhealthy ways of relating and practice new emotionally healthy skills, our marriage has become a sign and experience of Christ’s love for his bride, the church. And quitting impacted the rest of our relationships as well, including our relationship with our children, our extended families, and the larger community of New Life Fellowship Church.

Quitting has taught me to be loyal to the right things. Although “I quit” might sound like it’s only about leaving something, I actually gained a renewed commitment to persevere for the right things. I learned how to serve others sincerely rather than begrudgingly. The apostle Paul offers this vivid description of the paradox of quitting:

What happens when we live God’s way [when we quit]? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard — things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. (Galatians 5:22 – 23 MSG, emphasis added)

I never dreamed quitting would lead to this kind of freedom and fruit. I used to try to produce, through my own efforts, the fruit of the Holy Spirit. But I found out that when we do life God’s way, fruit simply appears in the orchard. It is a marvel to behold. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. What I ultimately discovered when I quit was a path into the true purpose of my life — to be transformed by the love of God and, by the Holy Spirit, to slowly become that love for others .

The pages that follow explore eight specific “I Quits.” While they do build on one another and are meant to be read in order, each chapter also stands alone. You may wish to begin with a chapter that speaks most urgently to your present circumstance. Once you’ve read that chapter, I encourage you to return to the beginning and read how that content fits into the larger whole .

We don’t make the decision to quit just once; each “I Quit” is a lifelong journey. One never really finishes with any of them. I wrote I Quit! to prepare you to walk through this new journey for the rest of your life. As you continue your journey of quitting, know that you don’t have to figure out everything by yourself. I encourage you to find and rely on wise, experienced mentors to guide you through the complexities of quitting well. Knowing when and when not to quit are equally important!

Let us now begin to explore the first “I Quit” — quit being afraid of what others think.


My Opinion:

 

When I first started reading this book I thought it’d be the same old rhetoric about what we’re doing wrong and how to change but the changes were too big and not realistic – I have to say I’m always happy when a book surprises me and knocks me off my assumption pedestal.  The Emotionally Healthy Woman is a book not just for a woman who may have past hurts, although it’s for her too, but it’s for all women – women who may not be able to say no, women who over-function, women who blame, women who lie and more.

 

I’d look at this book as a tool kit, and if you look at the above list and think, “oh I don’t lie”, well then you may want to grab this book – because you just lied to yourself.  The book will cover the following areas:

  1. Quit being afraid of what others think
  2. Quit lying
  3. Quit dying to the wrong things
  4. Quit denying anger, sadness, and fear
  5. Quit blaming
  6. Quit overfunctioning
  7. Quit faulty thinking
  8. Quit living someone Else’s life

 

I think that the chapter that really spoke to me was over-functioning – I tend to take on too much and then I become stressed out and then my temper flares.  Then next was the fact that I too often deny myself my true feelings, I bottle things up and instead of telling my husband I’d rather now see such and such, I’ll grin and bear it then keep that anger and misery bottled up.  Geri Scazzero gives a lot of ideas to work through the things you need to quit so that you can be better for yourself, for your family and ultimately for God.

 

Now, don’t think I am going to put this book on a pedestal, there were some things that I didn’t totally agree with but they weren’t major issues and easily over looked.  The one thing I wasn’t sure about was something called the Prayer of Examen which I did go and look up and it’s something that St. Ignatius Loyola came up with to better help Christian’s discern God’s will, find Him in all things and enhance their understanding of His creationI’m not sure how I feel about it, but again it’s not something one has to do in order to make the most out of this book.

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Kregel Tour: David Sticker Book by Karen Williamson


http://store.kregel.com/productdetails.cfm?PC=2835

 

I was provided a wonderful story book from Kregel to read with my children and review – and I have to say my younger two really loved it.  In this book the story of David is told, you know the story, a shepherd boy sent to fight Goliath and killing him and then he ends up becoming a king.  This book makes the story a bit more palatable for young children, which is nice because they don’t need all the ‘gory’ details but stays true to the Word of God and the story of David.

 

The book comes with four pages of stickers so that as you read you can or your children can place the stickers to the story so they feel a part of it.  There are no numbers, and while it’s easy to tell where some of the stickers go, it may have been a good idea to somehow number or separate the stickers according to which page they go on in the book.  Once you are done with the stickers the backing pages can be removed, without harming the book and you will have a beautiful story book that your child helped ‘illustrate’ the book.

 

The illustrations done by Amanda Enright are delightful and whimsical while at the same time lending a realistic air to the book, in this way I think that both younger and older children will enjoy the book.  This would be great for an Easter gift, birthday or just as a way to introduce the story of David, a shepherd boy who eventually became king.  You can find this book for $5.99 at Kregel and  Amazon.

 

Disclaimer:  I was provided a copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for writing a review, no other compensation was provided, nor was a positive review expected.  I’m disclosing this according to FTC regulations.

 

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Crew Review: Classical Academic Press; Song School Spanish


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It’s a brand new review year for me, as part of the TOS Crew, and what a pleasure it is to be back and starting with such an awesome product!  Classical Academic Press’ Song School Spanish – with both the teacher’s book and a student book with an included CD, Classical Academic makes teaching a foreign language fun and exciting as well as easy.  Song School Spanish is geared for grades K through 3rd, however I’m using it with my 1st, 3rd and 5th graders (they will all be moving up a grade level in April).

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Conejo and Turtuga will guide the children through the text as they learn Spanish vocabulary and some simple grammar by a number of activities.  Music, chants, drawing, word searches, word finds, worksheets and more will have them enjoying Spanish.  The children will learn greeting words, family, people, manners, pets, numbers, colors, seasons and more in the 31 lessons in the book – a great Spanish curriculum for an entire year by doing one lesson a week.  Review is built in after every couple or so lessons, this really helps in the child retaining the information as they progress through the book.

In the lesson there are dotted words that are great for the beginner or not so strong writer – I know both my 1st and 3rd grader appreciate these dotted words, as it makes it great for my beginner as well as my large letter writer to keep all the letters where they need to be.  Each chapter includes a song and/or chant or two, which the children enjoy as some of the songs want to make you get up and dance and move – further engaging the mind as they learn their new words (I’ll admit, even I sometimes dance along!).  The chapter lesson is then presented and then there are a variety of activities to do, one such may be to draw a picture of the child’s face and have him complete a sentence such as “Estoy _________________” using his vocabulary words such as bien, triste, and feliz.  The review pages do not contain dotted lines so one thing I allow my 1st grader to do is to dictate his answers to myself or his sisters and we write them in for him.

The softcover, bound student book sells for $24.95 and includes a song/chant CD Rom that includes 44 tracks.  The vocabulary and phrases are all put to song or chants that makes it fun and engaging for both parent and child.  You can listen to some sample tracks at the Classical Academic Press site.  Another nice feature when you purchase Song School Spanish is the extras located on Headventure Land which has online games, videos and readers that will give more interactive instruction and immersion into using their Spanish.

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The softcover, bound teacher’s manual includes the full student text with answers and with more information for you, the parent, in how to teach and explain Spanish.  This is great if you are including, like I am, an older child who may or may not know Spanish – the extra notes will allow you to explain to the older child a little more in depth such as using el, la, los and las.  In the back of the teacher’s text are extra review pages for each chapter, this is great for a child who is loving Spanish or who needs more review but does so by making it fun for the child.  Permission is granted on page 85 of my manual to make copies for your family of the review pages 86 through 126 – as long as it’s not for more than one family, classroom or for resale.  The teacher’s manual sells for $24.95 and will make the job of teaching Spanish easy and enjoyable.

I’m sure you may be wondering how did we use it? How did I implement it for a 5th grader?  Well….. here is how I broke down each week’s chapter:

  1. Monday:  go over the vocabulary/words to learn, listen to the songs or chants, review the words and listen to the songs again if the children desire.
  2. Tuesday: go over the words to learn, listen to the songs/chants, do page 1 of the worksheets, listen to songs again.
  3. Wednesday:  same as Tuesday just doing another worksheet page.
  4. Thursday:  same as Tuesday and Wednesday finish the worksheets and do any review that may be needed.
  5. Friday: we don’t do school on Friday.

As for my oldest, who has had Spanish before I have her help my son do his writing on his worksheets, she sings the songs and participates in the puppet shows as well as helping me teach Spanish.  So while it’s not geared for 5th graders going into 6th, it is possible to have them help with the lessons and participate even though mine finds the worksheets too young.  Overall, all my children really enjoy using Song School Spanish and using Classical Academic Press’ curriculum makes them want to continue learning this language – which is useful as more Spanish speaking peoples arrive in the United States.  You may want to see what others said by visiting the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

 

Disclaimer:  I recieved a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

 

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FIRST Tour: A Home for Lydia by Vannetta Chapman


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
Vannetta Chapman
and the book:
A Home for Lydia
Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2013)
***Special thanks to Ginger Chen for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Vannetta Chapman has published more than 100 articles in Christian family magazines. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace in Albion, Pennsylvania. Vannetta is a multi-award-winning member of Romance Writers of America. She was a teacher for 15 years and currently resides in the Texas Hill country. Her first two inspirational novels—A Simple Amish Christmas and Falling to Pieces—were Christian Book Distributors bestsellers.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A Home for Lydia, the second book in a new romantic series from popular author Vannetta Chapman, centers again on the Plain community of Pebble Creek and the kind, caring people there. As they face challenges to their community from the English world, they come together to reach out to their non-Amish neighbors while still preserving their cherished Plain ways.

Aaron Troyer simply wants to farm like his father and grandfather before him. But instead he finds himself overseeing the family’s small group of guest cabins nestled along the banks of Pebble Creek. That also means he must work with the cabins’ housekeeper, Lydia Fisher.

Lydia is the most outspoken Amish woman Aaron has ever met, and she has strong opinions about how the guest cabins are to be run. She also desperately needs this job. Though sparks fly between boss and employee at first, when the cabins are robbed, nothing is more important to Aaron than making sure Lydia is safe.

Together they work to make the vacation property profitable, but can they find out the identity of the culprit before more damage is done? And is Lydia’s dream of a home of her own more than just a wish and a prayer?

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 352 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736946144

ISBN-13: 978-0736946148

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

• Prologue •Wisconsin

May

Lydia Fisher pulled her sweater around her shoulders and sank down on the top step of the last cabin as the sun set along Pebble Creek. The waters had begun to recede from last week’s rains, but the creek still pushed at its banks—running swiftly past the Plain Cabins and not pausing to consider her worries.

Debris from the flooding reached to the bottom step of cabin twelve. She could have reached out and nudged it with the toe of her shoe. Fortunately, the water hadn’t made it into the small cottages.

Almost, though.

Only two days ago she’d stood at the office window and watched as the waters had crept closer to the picturesque buildings nestled along the creek—watched and prayed.

Now the sun was dropping, and she knew she should harness Tin Star to the buggy and head home. Her mother would be putting dinner on the table. Her brother and sisters would be needing help with schoolwork. Her father would be waiting.

Standing up with a weariness that was unnatural for her twenty-two years, Lydia trudged back toward the front of the property, checking each cabin as she went.

All were locked and secure.

All were vacant.

Perhaps this weekend the Englisch tourists would return and provide some income for the owner, Elizabeth Troyer. Guests would also ensure that Lydia kept her job. If the cabins were to close and she were to lose her employment, she wouldn’t be able to convince her brother to stay in school. Their last conversation on the matter had turned into an argument—one she’d nearly lost.

Pulling their old black gelding from the barn, she tied Tin Star’s lead rope to the hitching post, and then she began to work the collar up and over his ears.

“You’re a gut boy. Are you ready to go home? Ready for some oats? I imagine you are.”

He’d been their buggy horse since she was a child, and Lydia knew his days were numbered. What would her family do when he gave out on them? As she straightened his mane and made sure the collar pad protected his shoulders and neck, she paused to rest her cheek against his side. The horse’s sure steady breathing brought her a measure of comfort.

Reaching into the pocket of her jacket, she brought out a handful of raisins. Tin Star’s lips on her hand were soft and wet. Lydia rubbed his neck as she glanced back once more at the cluster of buildings which had become like a small community to her—a community she was responsible for maintaining.

Squaring her shoulders, she climbed into the buggy and turned toward home.

• Chapter 1 •

Downtown Cashton

Thursday afternoon, two weeks later

Aaron Troyer stepped off the bus, careful to avoid a large puddle of rainwater. Because no one else was exiting at Cashton, he didn’t have to wait long for the driver to remove his single piece of luggage from the storage compartment. He’d thanked the man and shouldered the duffel bag when the buggy coming in the opposite direction hit an even bigger puddle, soaking him.

The bus driver had managed to jump out of the way at the last second. “Good luck to you, son.”

With a nod the man was back on the bus, heading farther west. A part of Aaron wished he were riding with him. Another part longed to take the next bus back east, back where he’d come from, back to Indiana.

Neither was going to happen, so he repositioned his damp duffel bag and surveyed his surroundings.

Not much to Cashton.

According to his uncle and his dad, the town was about the same size as Monroe, but Aaron couldn’t tell it. He supposed new places never did measure up to expectations, especially when a fellow would rather not be there.

The ride had been interesting enough. They had crossed the northern part of Indiana, skirted the southern tip of Lake Michigan, traveled through Chicago and Rockford, and finally entered Wisconsin in the south central portion of the state. Aaron had seen more cities in the last twenty-four hours than he’d visited in his entire life. Those had been oddities to him. Something he would tell his family about once he was home, but nothing he would ever care to see again. But passing through the Hidden Valley region of southwestern Wisconsin—now that had caused him to sit up straighter and gaze out of the bus’s window.

There had been an older Englisch couple sitting behind him. They’d had tourist brochures that they read aloud to each other. He’d caught the highlights as he tried to sleep.

He heard them use the word “driftless.” The term apparently indicated a lack of glacial drift. His dat would laugh at that one. Not that he discounted all aspects of science, but he had his doubts regarding what was and wasn’t proven as far as the Ice Age.

According to the couple’s brochure, Wildcat Mountain to the east of Cashton was teeming with wildlife and good hiking. Any other time he might be interested in that piece of information, but he wasn’t staying, so it didn’t matter much to him.

He also learned that small towns in the Driftless Area were at risk of major flooding every fifty to one hundred years.

Staring down at his damp pants, he wondered how much rain they’d had. How much rain were they expecting? He hoped he wouldn’t be here long enough to find out.

Aaron glanced up and down the street. He saw a town hall, a tavern, a café, a general store, and a feed store. A larger building, probably three stories high, rose in the distance, but he had no desire to walk that far because it could be in the wrong direction. Already the sun was heading west, and he’d rather be at the cabins before dark.

Several streets branched off the main one, but they didn’t look any more promising. Pushing his hat down more firmly on his head, he cinched up the duffel bag and walked resolutely toward the feed store.

Instead of heading toward the front door, he moved down the side of the building to the loading docks, where two pickup trucks and a buggy were parked.

Fortunately, it wasn’t the buggy that had sprayed him with rainwater and mud. He would rather not ask information of that person, though in all likelihood the driver had no idea what he’d done. Folks seldom slowed down enough to look outside their own buggy window—even Amish folk. It appeared some things were the same whether you were in Wisconsin or Indiana.

He approached the loading docks, intending to find the owner of the parked buggy.

“That duffel looks heavy… and wet.”

Turning in surprise, he saw a man leaning against the driver’s side of the buggy. Aaron could tell he was tall, even though he was half sitting, tall and thin. Somber brown eyes studied him, and a full dark beard indicated the man was married. Which was no surprise, because a basket with a baby in it sat on the buggy’s floor. The baby couldn’t have been more than a few months old, based on the size of the basket. He couldn’t see much except for a blanket and two small fists waving in the air.

“Duffel wouldn’t be wet if someone hadn’t been determined to break the speed limit with a sorrel mare.”

The man smiled, reached down, and slipped a pacifier into the baby’s mouth. “That would probably have been one of the Eicher boys. I’m sure he meant no harm, but both of them tend to drive on the far side of fast.”

He placed the walnut bowl he’d been sanding with a piece of fine wool on the seat, dusted his hands on his trousers, and then he stepped forward. “Name’s Gabe Miller.”

“Aaron Troyer.”

“Guess you’re new in town.”

“Ya. Just off the bus.”

“Explains the duffel.”

Aaron glanced again at the sun, headed west. Why did it seem to speed up once it was setting? “I was looking for the Plain Cabins on Pebble Creek. Have you heard of them?”

“If you’re needing a room for the night, we can either find you a place or take you to our bishop. No need for you to rent a cabin.”

Easing the duffel bag off his shoulder and onto the ground, Aaron rested his hands on top of it. “Actually I need to go to the cabins for personal reasons. Could you tell me where they are?”

“Ya. I’d be happy to give you directions, but it’s a fair piece from here if you’re planning on walking.”

Aaron pulled off his hat and ran his hand over his hair. Slowly he replaced it as he considered his options. He’d boarded the bus ten hours earlier. He was used to long days and hard work. Though he was only twenty-three, he’d been working in the fields for nine years—since he’d left the schoolhouse after eighth grade. It was work he enjoyed. What he didn’t like was ten hours on a bus, moving farther away from his home, on a trip that seemed to him like a fool’s mission.

“Sooner I start, sooner I’ll arrive.”

“Plain Cabins are on what we call the west side of Pebble Creek.”

“You mean the west side of Cashton?”

“Well, Cashton is the name of the town, but Plain folks mostly refer to Pebble Creek, the river.”

“The same river going through town?”

“Yes. There are two Plain communities here—one to the east side of town, and one to the west. I live on the east side. The cabins you’re looking for are on the west. The town’s sort of in the middle. You can walk to them from here, but as I said, it’s a good ways. Maybe five miles, and there are quite a few hills in between, not to mention that bag you’re carrying… ”

Instead of answering, Aaron hoisted the duffel to his shoulder.

Throughout the conversation, Gabe’s expression had been pleasant but serious. At the sound of voices, he glanced up and across the street, toward the general store. When he did, Aaron noticed a subtle change in the man, like light shifting across a room. Some of the seriousness left his eyes and contentment spread across his face.

Following his gaze, Aaron saw the reason why—a woman. She was beautiful and had the darkest hair he’d ever seen on an Amish woman. A small amount peeked out from the edges of her prayer kapp. She was holding the hand of a young girl, who was the spitting image of the man before him. Both the woman and the child were carrying shopping bags.

“I was waiting on my family. Looks like they’re done. We’d be happy to take you by the cabins.”

“I don’t want to be a bother,” Aaron mumbled.

Gabe smiled, and now the seriousness was completely gone, as if having his family draw close had vanquished it. As if having his family close had eased all of the places in his heart.

Aaron wondered what that felt like. He wanted to be back with his own parents, brothers, and sisters in Indiana, but even there he felt an itching, a restlessness no amount of work could satisfy.

From what he’d seen of Wisconsin so far, he could tell he wasn’t going to be any happier here. He’d arrived less than thirty minutes ago, and he couldn’t wait to get back home.

Gabe was already moving toward his wife, waving away his protest.

“If it were a bother, I wouldn’t have offered.”


My Opinion:

I’m 1/2 way through and will post my review soon.

 

1 Comment »

Homeschool Mother’s Journal – February 9th


In my life this week:

I’ve worked out all week – I’ve been using Wii Fit Plus which is giving me quite a workout.  I’ve also been trying to come up with a budget so my husband can know what I’ll need in order to go to the Convention in April.  I also signed up to be a Team Leader for Linda Hobar’s Mystery of History booth and a Unit Leader for a new AHG group my girls will be starting next week!

In our homeschool this week:

My printer ran out of ink so we’ve had to skip some things that needed printed like my son’s phonics, so we used this week to review.  Same for history mapping and Spanish pages.  Otherwise, things have gone well and the children seem excited about our Swimming Creatures study.

Places we’re going or people we’re seeing:

My oldest attended her dance class while my middle daughter stayed home and my son attended his twice weekly martial arts classes, he is preparing to test for his yellow white stripe belt.

Things I’m working on:

Staying on track with losing weight, you can read my honesty post to find out more.  The children’s Reach for the Stars reading program started yesterday so we’ll also be doing read alouds each day so they can accrue minutes and earn free books.  Of course, also have reviews that need done.  I’m also trying to sell curriculum so hubby doesn’t have to finance me going to convention all himself while trying to pay other bills.

I’m cooking:

I’m back again to trying to make most of our meals from scratch so I can control calories and carbs that go into the foods as well as so I can control how much processed foods are being used.

I’m praying for:

All those in the East who are or have been affected by the blizzard.  I am glad that we aren’t getting hit but praying for others safety as they dig out.

A photo to share:

A big box that arrived on my porch yesterday – the review will be coming for this product! My children have had fun with it already!!

2 Comments »

FIRST Tour: A Quilt for Jenna by Patrick E. Craig


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
Patrick E. Craig
and the book:
A Quilt for Jenna
Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2013)
***Special thanks to Ginger Chen for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Patrick E. Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career in the music industry to follow Christ in 1984. He spent the next 26 years as a worship leader, seminar speaker, and pastor in churches, and at retreats, seminars and conferences all across the western United States. After ministering for a number of years in music and worship to a circuit of small churches, he is now concentrating on writing and publishing both fiction and non-fiction books. Patrick and his wife Judy make their home in northern California and are the parents of two adult children and have five grandchildren.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Amish + Quilts = readers delight! And in this first book in Patrick Craig’s Apple Creek Dreams series, readers will follow master quilter Jerusha Springer’s journey out of tragic circumstances to a new life of hope. A beautiful story of loss…and redemption.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736951059

ISBN-13: 978-0736951050

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Jerusha Springer reached behind the quilting frame with her left hand and pushed the needle back to the surface of the quilt to complete her final stitch. Wearily she pulled the needle through, quickly knotted the quilting thread, and broke it off.Finished at last. She leaned back and let out a sigh of satisfaction. It had taken months to complete, but here it was—the finest quilt she had ever made.

Thousands of stitches had gone into the work, seventy every ten inches, and now the work was finished. It had been worth it. The quilt was a masterpiece. Her masterpiece…and Jenna’s.

She grabbed a tissue and quickly wiped away an unexpected tear.

If only Jenna were here with me, I could bear this somehow.

But Jenna wasn’t there. Jenna was gone forever.

Jerusha glanced out the window as the November sun shone weakly through a gray overcast of clouds. The pale light made the fabric in the quilt shimmer and glow. A fitful wind shook the bare branches of the maple trees, and the few remaining leaves whirled away into the light snow that drifted down from the gunmetal sky.

Winter had come unannounced to Apple Creek, and Jerusha hadn’t noticed. Her life had been bound up in this quilt for so many months—since Jenna’s death, really—that everything else in her life seemed like a shadow. She stared at the finished quilt on the frame, but there was no joy in her heart, only a dull ache and the knowledge that soon she would be free.

She had searched without success for several months to find just the right fabric to make this quilt, and then she stumbled upon it quite by accident. A neighbor told her of an estate sale at an antique store in Wooster, and she asked Henry, the neighbor boy, to drive her over to see what she could find. The Englisch had access to many things from the outside world, and she had often looked in their stores and catalogs to find just the right materials for her quilting.

On that day in Wooster she had been poking through the piles of clothing and knickknacks scattered around the store when she came upon an old cedar chest. The lid was carved with ornate filigree, and several shipping tags were still attached. The trunk was locked, so she called the proprietor over, and when he opened it, she drew in her breath with a little gasp. There, folded neatly, were two large pieces of fabric. One was blue—the kind of blue that kings might wear—and as she lifted it to the light, she could see that it seemed to change from blue to purple, depending on how she held it. The other piece was deep red…like the blood of Christ or perhaps a rose.

The fabric was light but strong, smooth to the touch and tightly woven.

“I believe that’s genuine silk, ma’am,” the owner said. “I’m afraid it’s going to be expensive.”

Jerusha didn’t argue the price. It was exactly what she was looking for, and she didn’t dare let it slip through her fingers. Normally, the quilts that she and the other women in her community made were from plainer fabric, cotton or sometimes synthetics, but lately she didn’t really care about what the ordnung said.

So, pushing down her fear of the critical comments she knew she would hear from the other women about pride and worldliness, she purchased it and left the store. As she rode home, the design for the quilt began to take form in her mind, and for the first time since Jenna’s death, she felt her spirits lift.

When she arrived home, she searched through her fabric box for the cream-colored cotton backing piece she had reserved for this quilt. She then sketched out a rough design and in the following days cut the hundreds of pieces to make the pattern for the top layer. She sorted and ironed them and then pinned and stitched all the parts into a rectangle measuring approximately eight and a half feet by nine feet. After that she laid the finished top layer out on the floor and traced the entire quilting design on the fabric with tailor’s chalk. The design had unfolded before her eyes as if someone else were directing her hand. This quilt was the easiest she had ever pieced together.

The royal blue pieces made a dark, iridescent backdrop to a beautiful deep red rose-shaped piece in the center. The rose had hundreds of parts, all cut into the flowing shapes of petals instead of the traditional square or diamond-shaped patterns of Amish quilts. Though the pattern was the most complicated she had ever done, she found herself grateful that it served as a way to keep thoughts of Jenna’s absence from overwhelming her.

Next she laid out the cream-colored backing, placed a double layer of batting over it, and added the ironed patchwork piece she had developed over the past month.

On her hands and knees she carefully basted the layers together, starting from the center and working out to the edges. Once she was finished, she called Henry for help. He held the material while she carefully attached one end to the quilting frame, and then they slowly turned the pole until she could attach the other end. After drawing the quilt tight until it was stable enough to stitch on, she started to quilt. Delicate tracks of quilting stitches began to make their trails through the surface of the quilt as Jerusha labored day after day at her work. The quilt was consuming her, and her despair and grief and the anger she felt toward God for taking Jenna were all poured into the fabric spread before her.

Often as she worked she stopped and lifted her face to the sky.

“I hate You,” she would say quietly, “and I’m placing all my hatred into this quilt so I will never forget that when I needed You most, You failed me.” Then she would go back to her work with a fierce determination and a deep and abiding anger in her heart.

And now at last the quilt was finished—her ticket out of her awful life.

“I will take this quilt to the Dalton Fair, and I will win the prize,” she said aloud. “Then I will leave Apple Creek, and I will leave this religion, and I will leave this God who has turned His back on me. I will make a new life among the Englisch, and I will never return to Apple Creek.”

She stared at the quilt. I will call this quilt the Rose of Sharon. Not for You, but for her, my precious girl, my Jenna. The quilt shone in the soft light from the window, and Jerusha felt a great surge of triumph.

I don’t need You—not now, not ever again.

And Jerusha turned off the lamp and went alone to her cold bed.


 

My Opinion:

 

The book by Patrick E. Craig is a wonderful read – it’s not like your typical Amish fiction where there is some young lady or man who has had their heart broke and then it all ends happily ever after – no, this book is about two Amish people – married – who are trying to move on after a tragedy but they are following their own hearts and not listening to God.  He isn’t new to writing however, A Quilt for Jenna is his first in Amish fiction and also the first in his new series called Apple Creek Dreams.

 

The book is written from the perspective of three characters, Jerusha, her estranged husband and the husband’s friend.  It takes place during a blizzard that actually happened in Ohio and leaves all three people contemplating their faith or lack thereof as well as what God truly wants from each of them.  A story that weaves love between married people, love of friends, love of strangers and ultimately redemption and forgiveness.  I’m looking forward to reading more in this series as I appreciated the less mainstream Amish fiction romance and one that many can relate too.

 

1 Comment »

Some honesty


I’ve posted before on losing weight, watching what I eat and usually I just fall flat on my face.  I’m working on things again and I really am working towards my weight loss goal – but not just weight loss but health.  Even though I was never obese in my younger days – I may have carried around a few extra pounds but I wasn’t obese, like I am today.  I don’t hate myself but I do hate looking at pictures of myself – which is a shame because I’ve missed out on plenty of photo ops with my children and husband.

I’m continuing to use my ShapelyGirl DVD’s as well as my Wii Fit – which is a fun way to lose weight but my legs will tell you it’s not all just games!  I also don’t want to see my children go down my path.  I’m using MyFitnessPal to track my calories of which I’m allowing myself to have 1,550 a day – if in a couple weeks I’m not losing I may restrict even more, we’ll see.  If you want to follow me on MyFitnessPal feel free to send me a request.  I also started using Nexercise which seems like fun.

So without further ado – I took a picture of myself (well my 8 year old did) to show you what I look like today:

Me, taken by my 8 year old via my iPod on 2/4/13

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