Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

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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What I don’t need…..

I feel like that woman on the bench – alone.  Yes, I am surrounded by my children but I’m still alone.  The world is going on around me whether I want it to or not.  Even on bright, sunny days I feel like I’m walking through a dark, cloudy day where the fog is so thick you feel like you’ll never make it out.

People ask me what I need, what we need.  I so, so appreciate that but I cannot come up with anything that we NEED right now.  They throw out ideas – and again I so appreciate it.  That fog?  It honestly keeps me from thinking what we need – I have a hard enough time remembering that it may be time for lunch or to try to get some sort of dinner to eat.

You may see me with a smile on my face and think I’m doing fine, that my brain is working – but they aren’t.  I’m going through the motions.  I’m learning that people either think I’m doing great because I’m not crying or that I should be crying all the time. What I don’t need is people thinking I’m grieving wrong.

Grieving is so individual to each of us, just because one woman may cry all the time doesn’t mean another will.  I’d love just to stay in bed, pull the covers up and cry all day.  But there are children to raise, a house to clean, activities to run to, reviews to write and well life.  I know my hubby wouldn’t want me to just give up or to spend my days crying over him.

What I don’t need is comparisons.

I have encountered many in this time that think they can compare their loss to mine.  “I lost my brother, father, mom, uncle, etc”, “I’m divorced so I’m sort of a widow”.  Right now my loss, my pain is all I can think about.  I know people are trying to sympathize or empathize with me but right now – I need to know that my loss is all there is – right now, my loss feels bigger than yours.

At the risk of offending someone, please, please what I don’t need is to hear that you’re a divorcee and that you’re “a new kind of widow” or that “you feel like a widow”.  Yes.  That.  Has.  Been.  Said.  To.  Me.  Really?  So you’ll never, ever see the man you married again?  You’re children no longer have a dad that they will never see again, never walk them down the aisle, see them graduate, see their next belt test or watch them perform in their Dance Company?  Please.  Don’t.

I understand and respect that a divorce is a loss, I understand but there will always be a chance of reconciliation, that person is still alive!  My husband is gone – there is no chance I’ll see him on the street.  No chance my children can call him up or visit him on the weekends.  Please don’t try to compare your divorce to my widowhood and don’t ever say you’re a new kind of widow or that you feel like a widow.  You’re not, I am.

I don’t need false promises.

If you tell me you’re going to call, call.  I may not answer the phone – but leave us a voice mail.  Picking up the phone is one of those small things that while it’s not biggie to most people it can completely overwhelm me.  If you say you’re going to send a card whether it’s now or even in the next year, do it.  Let us know you’re thinking of us, that my husband is missed.

I know life happens and phone calls go unmade, cards get lost, and so on – that is fine but I need to know who I can count on and I’m finding out who my real friends are in the midst of our grieving and our loss.  Yes, you can even stop by.  I may be in my PJ’s and my hair may not be done, my breath stinky and the house may not be clean – but you’re there and that is what matters.  Will I carry on a conversation with you?  Maybe, maybe not but just being there is priceless.

I don’t need you to forget my husband.

I may have had times of frustration.  I may have even been mad at him at times.  But I loved him.  For almost 14 years, 14 1/2 if you count our dating time – we knew each other, we loved each other.  Don’t forget him.  Don’t ignore him.  Let me talk about him, let me cry, let me yell.  Let me tell you about our elopement and how we had Boone’s Farm (yes, we had alcohol) and beef jerky for dinner at 1:00a.m.!  Let me tell you how his vast knowledge of music and horror movie facts would drive me bonkers.  Let me tell you how he loved me even when I gave him the silent treatment.  Let me tell you how even though his back went out when I was having our middle daughter he still walked the halls with me as I tried to avoid another c-section.

I don’t need you to tell me I’m at the right or wrong step in the grieving process.

I have a social work degree that means I’ve taken many psych classes and other classes about grieving and loss and all that.  I KNOW the order of the grieving process, I am NOT following it.  Most people don’t.  One day I may be at acceptance.  The next I may still be waiting to hear his car and see him walk through the door.  The next I may even be mad at him (that will be another blog post).  Again it’s that fog – it’s not really letting my mind work as it should – I think in a way that is good, it’s protecting me but at the same time it’s also not moving forward.

So while many are asking what I, what we need maybe the right question to ask me or any widow is what don’t you need?  I can tell you when we are good on meals, when we don’t need visitors, etc.  I can’t tell you what we need because I honestly don’t know.  If you visit the house and see something that needs done – please do it – in my state of confusion and grief I may not notice the dirt on the floor or a light bulb that has gone out or even the sink full of dishes that need to go in the dishwasher.  But don’t ask me if I want it done or if I need something – you’ll more than likely get a blank stare and a “I dunno” response.  If you see us out, and a child has uncombed hair don’t mention it because I more than likely don’t know just give me a hug.  Please, don’t take this post as me not appreciating all that has been done for us so far – I’m grateful beyond words and feel so blessed but just know I can better tell you the things we don’t need than the things we do.

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


Litfuse Publicity: A Stitch in Crime (Quilts of Love series) by Cathy Elliott

About the Series:

Quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. The Quilts of Love series focuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family histories. A new book releases each month and features contemporary and historical romances as well as women’s fiction and the occasional light mystery. You will be drawn into the endearing characters of this series and be touched by their stories.

About the Book:

Thea’s first quilt show is coming apart at the seams!

Thea James has accepted an assignment as co-chairperson for Larkindale’s first quilt show extravaganza. Juggling the new assignment with running her antique business, she’s already feeling frayed when things start to unravel.

Mary-Alice Wentworth, a much-loved town matriarch, respected quilt judge, and Thea’s dear friend, is covertly conked on the head during the kick-off Quilt Show Soiree, throwing suspicion on her guests. It also appears that a valuable diamond brooch has been stolen during the attack. The family is furious. But is it because of their mugged mother or the missing diamonds?

When a renowned textile expert goes MIA and the famous Wentworth heritage quilt disappears, Larkindale’s reputation as a tourist haven is at risk. Thea attempts to piece the mystery together and save the town’s investment in the quilt show before Mary-Alice is attacked again . . . with far worse results.

Learn more about this book and the series at the Quilts of Love website.

About the Author:

Author and speaker Cathy Elliott nourishes her night-owl habit by creating cozy mysteries and more on her trusty laptop in Anderson, California. Like the protagonist in her new mystery, Cathy is an avid quilter. Besides collecting (too much) cool fabric, she also enjoys hunting for antique treasures.  Connect with Cathy on Facebook and her website.

My Opinion:

I wish I could just say that I loved this book and leave it at that but alas I have agreed to give you a longer review than that so I will try to convey with simple words what it is that I loved about this book.  First of all, I loved that it wasn’t an in your face romance with gushy love stuff.  Even though Thea has a boyfriend there is no date nights or passionate kisses, in fact she has a hard time accepting that he likes her and not the pretty mayor of their town.  At this point in my life I’m not up for romance or reading about someone’s romance so this book was the right one at the right time.  The next thing I enjoyed was the whodunit – it really did keep me turning the page to figure out who did the crime and I won’t give spoilers but it was HUGE surprise as to who knocked Mary-Alice over her head and who stole the priceless heirloom quilt!

Unfortunately, while I totally enjoyed this book there were a few things I thought were dull and didn’t add much to the story such as all the details of the clothing that some of the women were troubling themselves over.  Nonetheless, the book was a great mystery and one with a good overall Christian theme, which appeals very much to me as well.  I’ve not read any of Cathy Elliott’s other books before but given the way this one read and flowed I will have to be checking out her other works as I’m sure to find them just as enjoyable, if not more.  If you enjoy a Christian mystery with mayhem but without blood and gore then this book will be one that you’ll want to grab and begin reading right way – and as with all Quilts of Love books it stands alone so you don’t have to read the others one but once you read one you might want to read the rest.

To read what others thought about 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

Don’t miss the newest Quilts of Love book, A Stitch in Crime by Cathy Elliott. Thea’s first quilt show begins to fall apart at the seams. Will she be able to piece the mystery together and save the town’s investment in the quilt show before another attack happens . . . with far worse results.

Enter to win a Kindle HDX!


One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle HDX
  • A Stitch in Crime by Cathy Elliott
  • Masterpiece Marriage by Gina Welborn
  • Swept Away by Laura V. Hilton and Cindy Loven

Enter today by clicking the button below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 8th. Winner will be announced on the Quilts of Love blog February 9th.



Enter today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

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It’s the small things

I’ve been pondering the small things.  The small things that never used to matter or did, but I just didn’t pay attention – taking them for granted.  The small things – of which there are so many more today than there were say two months ago.  I feel like that picture, I’m surrounded by these HUGE mountains, hemmed in on all sides and there’s me – tiny me feeling overwhelmed by the world, by those mountains.

There are good small things:

….cuddling of my children while we watch a movie together

….remembering the things my husband would have said or done (like that OSU game last night that he would have watched)

….forcing myself to get up in the morning, to live

Then there are the small things that break my heart over and over:

….telling our story to yet another person

….seeing those who knew us before treat us differently as if somehow our grief might touch them or death might get transferred

….knowing that my SUV is in the shop and having to drive hubby’s car which still is the way he left it when he got home from work on December 12th before the morning that changed EVERYTHING

….being seen as a widow or surviving spouse, no longer a wife, someone to be pitied

The small things.  They can wound.  They can rip the scab off without a moment’s notice.  They can cause the tears to gush forth.

The small things.  They can heal.  They can bring on laughter or happy tears.  They can lift us up when nothing else seems to be working.

The Bible speaks of us, of widows and children without fathers – the Lord has provided for us – this is no small thing.  I try to take comfort in that knowledge, when the days grow weary, when I’m so depressed and lonely – I try to take comfort that I do have another Groom.  One who loves me, loves me in my brokenness.  Loves my children as their Father.  Of course, as I said in another post that doesn’t warm my bed, my Groom can’t hold my hand in the dark, but I know He loves me.  Tiny me.

When I think of widows of the Bible, the one with no money left but she put in her last mite and Jesus praised her to His disciples.  Oh, how I hope to be like her – so much faith that even knowing that she may be out of money so no food could be bought she chose to honor the Lord and give.

I think of Anna, the prophetess who only had 7 years with her beloved and lived to be a widow of 84 years.  In case you’re not sure that meant she was a widow for 77 years before seeing the Christ child.  77 years without a husband, she spent all her time in the Temple, praying and fasting.  Day and night.

No, I’m not saying the Lord wants me to give all our remaining money to our church, I’m sure He understands that I need to provide for my children.  Yes, our church is there for us too.  My thing is that I can trust in the Lord, to give us the small things and the big things.  When the small things overwhelm me I can be like Anna and turn to the Lord – He will take care of me.  I can wrap the prayer shawl around my shoulders and feel as if the Lord or even my husband is hugging me, giving me comfort.

There are so many small things that some days those small things pile up until they look like those mountains and threaten to fall down and cave in around me.  The small things I’m learning need to be taken individually.  If I can only deal with one small thing a day then that is okay.  Today the small thing will require me to get into his car, turn it on and drive it.

Maybe that is more than small!  I will look at his saline spray, his work badge, his sunglasses and think he’ll be back shortly.  Yep, it’s not so small now.  But I feel small.  I feel so insignificant.  I’m told I’m strong.  I’m not strong.  I’m so weak but through my weakness I know the Lord is being honored.

I ask you, if you know a widow, ask if there is a small thing you can do for them:

  • a meal
  • pray with them, don’t just say I’m praying for you, really, pray with them!
  • run and errand
  • just sit with them

help them with the small things, so that when the big things come they can handle it.  And remember don’t just help with the small things, help in the big things too.  For me, much of everything looks like a big thing – even paying a bill, which is simple to most people can tire me out for a whole day.

It’s the small things.

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


Litfuse Publicity: Masterpiece Marriage (Quilts of Love series) by Gina Welborn

About Quilts of Love:

Quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. The Quilts of Love series focuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family histories. A new book releases each month and features contemporary and historical romances as well as women’s fiction and the occasional light mystery. You will be drawn into the endearing characters of this series and be touched by their stories.


About the book:

He wants to save his business. She wants to be a professor. But are they asking for more than they can really have?

After a flood damages the looms at Zenus Dane’s Philadelphia textile mill and the bank demands loan payment, Zenus turns to his aunt for help repurposing his textiles. Trouble is . . . his aunt has already been hired by the lovely yet secretive Englishwoman Mary Varrs.
Eager to acquire his aunt’s quilt patterns, Zenus attends the summer Quilting Bee, a social event his aunt has uniquely designed with the secret purpose of finding Zenus a wife. However Zenus only has eyes for Mary, but Mary has no such desire for him.

Though his aunt is determined to design a masterpiece marriage, both Zenus and Mary will have to overcome their stubborn ways. Can he realize that love requires stepping out of his routine? And will she recognize that following her heart doesn’t mean sacrificing her ambition?

Learn more about this book and the series at the Quilts of Love website.

About the Author:

Gina Welborn is the author of several novels and novellas, including The Heiress’s Courtship. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers; the president of Faith, Hope and Love; and a founding member of She lives in Cache, Oklahoma, with her pastor husband and their five children. Visit her online at her website.



My Opinion:

I will have to admit this was not my favorite Quilts of Love series book, I found it too hard to try to relate to Mary Varrs who seems to be quite liberated in her day and age.  She’s not seeking marriage and so when handsome Zenus arrives on the scene she isn’t prepared for the feelings that come over her – especially since Zenus’ Aunt wants him paired with another woman.  I found Mary to be so wrapped up in building a career for herself that she forgot to look around her to see what God wanted and I honestly found her to whiny for such an independent woman.  Zenus was the same way though, whiny in a way only men can be – he was brooding over losing the woman he loved to another and then ultimately her death.

I will say I still gave this book a 5 star on Goodreads because I enjoyed the setting, late 1800’s always has appealed to me in regards to settings and historical content.  Even though I couldn’t relate to the characters as much I still enjoyed the characters around them that built up the stories especially Zenus’ Aunt who had a level head and sought to be hospitable to those who entered her home and desired to help those who truly need it – of course she asked that they help in return.  Although this wasn’t my favorite Quilts of Love book I still recommend it because, like for me, it opened me up to a new author, I’ve never read Gina Welborn other books, and it does have a quaint charm like other books set in the late 1800’s.


To see what other bloggers thought about 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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One month….

I debated on how to count the time – go by each Saturday or go by the day, the 13th?  I’ve debated and even asked friends.

I’ve decided to count by Saturdays – each Saturday marking one week – one long, sad, alone week.

Today is the 10th – I’ve been a widow for four weeks – one month.

One month!

Oh my heart aches – I’m trying not to cry as I write this – I’m not at home as I write or I would be crying.

The holidays are over.  The meals are trickling to a stop.

But the reminders are there – his toothbrush still sits in the holder in the bathroom.  His shirts still hang in our closet.  His car is in the garage.  The reminders.

I still can’t see myself as a widow – a widow has gray hair, wears big, clunky shoes, has grandchildren and maybe even great grandchildren.  I’m 36 – I’m young, I have maybe two strands of gray – I am surrounded by our children, not grandchildren.

My hand is empty.  My lips haven’t been kissed in 4 weeks.  I haven’t felt his touch in 4 weeks, the gentle “groping” that at one time annoyed me to no end.

I’m still waiting…..waiting for him to come through the door, to call me, to drive me nuts with another zombie movie, to tell me he loves me, to do something.

Instead – I’m left with an empty bed, an empty hand, a hole where one shouldn’t be.  Along with my husband’s death comes the death of our dreams –

Dreams of more children, vacation dreams, seeing our children graduate, get married and serve the Lord.

Dreams of owning our own DD transportation business, dreams of owning a camper and traveling, dreams to see Greece, Ireland and Germany.

I recently told a couple friends, that if only I hadn’t love him or loved him so much then the loss wouldn’t feel so bad, the hurt would be easier to cure……..

If I hadn’t loved so deeply that I could get back to normal and ignore the space in our family – my night driver, my errand runner, my lover……..

I often wonder did he know how much I loved him?  I could get mad at something small…..did he know?  I pray he knew – I wasn’t the romantic one – oh how I wish I had been more romantic.

Some say things can’t change in the blink of an eye – well my life did – in a matter of hours my whole life changed – I lost my husband, my friend, the dad of my children.  The provider, the defender, my other half.

I can still feel the cold as I touched his hand as I tried to wake him, thinking he was playing some horrible, terrible joke on me.  The stiffness where there once used to be soft, tender skin.  Still I wait thinking think he isn’t really gone, then I get a card in the mail, a call on the phone, or a look from one of my child saying “I miss dad”.  He’s gone.

One month.

One long month has passed and I wonder how I’ll make it to month 2, month 3.  Yes, I know the Lord is there – but I must admit that doesn’t warm my bed at night, that doesn’t kiss my lips or give me a hug when I need it.  Please, don’t think me blasphemous that is not my intent – I’d so much rather have my husband here and while I know I can seek comfort in the Lord it’s not the same as having your spouse next you.

I’m working through much – some days are okay other days are so, so hard.  I try to do something each day – like now we’re getting back into the children’s activities and we’ve gone to a couple stores.  The anxiety when I go to a store is so high I almost can’t stand it.  I want to call Don and ask him if so and so is a good deal.  I NEED to talk to him but alas he isn’t here. I know one day I’ll see him again but until then my heart hurts. My brain is muddled and I’m alone.

One month.

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


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