Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Litfuse Publicity: An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti

About the Book:

Christmas takes a very different turn when the guests of honor break up instead of announcing their engagement. Trapped with his family, they learn that love
looks different than either imagined.

Both in their eighties, Dodie and Wilson Binder celebrate every Christmas as if it were their last. This year, their grandson Micah is planning to ask his girlfriend, Katie, to marry him so they can celebrate with the whole family. But things go very wrong when she says, “no.” Now they are stuck. Too many people, too much snow, and too little room should be a recipe for disaster. But sometimes too much is just enough. Especially when it’s Christmas.

You can purchase your copy here.

About the Author:

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories “hemmed in hope.” She’s the award-winning author of sixteen books and a frequent speaker for women’s ministry events. She serves as the Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, where she helps retailers, libraries, and book clubs connect with the authors and books they love. She lives with her husband in Central Wisconsin.

Connect with Cynthia at her website, on Facebook, and on Twitter.


My Opinion:

I love, love, love Christmas novellas even in the summer and I’ve read other Cynthia Ruchti books and her writing draws you in as you enter the characters lives, and while this is a novella, so it’s short, you feel like you’ve always known the characters. Dodie and Wilson Binder host Christmas at their tiny country house with all the children and grandchildren every year – it’s crowded and Katie, Micah’s girlfriend is relegated to the window seat in the living room. Micah asks Katie the question most young women want to hear, “will you marry me?”, but her answer isn’t one he or his family was expecting – and it’s all because of Katie’s ancestry. She’s scared she’ll repeat the sins of the past, so to speak.

Join the Binder family as they explore Christmas and let go of their regrets from the past year (a neat idea that I think would be fun to add to our family’s traditions) and live each day and each Christmas as it’s their last. I won’t give away all the book but grab your tissues, a hot cup of tea or coffee, and cuddle up on your couch or bed and begin to get engrossed in a book that will leave you wanting to live every day like it’s your last – and not just live but love. A story of healing, redemption and love that runs deep and true – a perfect short book for the Christmas season. I highly recommend this novella to anyone who is looking for a book set during the Christmas season.

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


There’s no getting out of Christmas now, despite Katie rejecting Micah’s marriage proposal. Cozy up this holiday season with Cynthia Ruchti’s new novella, An Endless Christmas. The Binder family celebrates every Christmas as if it were their last. Too many people, too much snow, and too little room should be a recipe for disaster. But sometimes too much is just enough. Especially when it’s Christmas.

Celebrate the holidays with Cynthia and An Endless Christmas by entering her $100 Target gift card giveaway!

endless christmas-400

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy of An Endless Christmas
  • A $100 gift card to Target

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 30th. The winner will be announced December 1st on Cynthia’s blog.

endless christmas-enterbanner

Handlebar Review: Home for Christmas; Stories for Young and Old by various authors

**This review has affiliate links if you click on the linked text and purchase it I will earn a small percentage of the sale which will help me as I raise my three children alone.**

About the Book:

For readers who are tired of Christmas commercialism, or who feel that Santa Claus and reindeer don’t tell the whole story, these classic gems provide a winning alternative. Selected for their insightfulness, spiritual value, and literary quality (nothing moralistic here) they project the spirit of the season in a fresh, compelling manner that will resonate with readers of all ages – from children too young to read to themselves, to parents and grandparents who enjoy reading stories aloud.

Home for Christmas includes time-tested favorites by some of the world’s most beloved children’s authors – Pearl Buck, Selma Lagerlöf, Henry van Dyke, Madeleine L’Engle, Elizabeth Goudge, Rebecca Caudill, and Ruth Sawyer – as well as little-known European stories appearing in English for the first time.

You can purchase Home for Christmas: Stories for Young and Oldon Amazon.

My Opinion:

**I’m late in getting this review done – it was due around the time of my husband’s passing – and I couldn’t bring myself to even read the book until now.**

Christmas……it’s a favorite time of year for me, the mystery of the Lord’s birth, the shepherds, the wise men, stars and all that comes with it. I tire of the commercials that scream, give me, give me, give me and the even less said, thank you. I sat down to read this in the summer and thought it would give me some peace and have me looking forward to the upcoming Christmas season that was so dear to me. With authors like Pearl Buck, Madeleine L’Engle and others one would expect this to be a high caliber reading of Christmas stories that one could indeed read to their children as well as maybe in a Sunday school setting, and some of the stories were that – some were quite good and pulled me in such as “Brother Robber” by Helene Christaller or “The Guest” by Nikolai S. Lesskov but some well, left me disappointed and skipping the entire story.

There were two stories in the book that used the liberal usage of d*** and h*** and I promptly quit reading those, I don’t care to use the language in my speech and therefor do not care to read it either. If you want to read this book to a younger audience I would definitely suggest pre-reading it and marking which stories are appropriate. Also of note for some of my readers there were a couple stories where the ‘bad’ people were drunk and/or drinking. Also, I want to say some do revolve around the Roman Catholic faith in which some ideas are strictly not Biblical (in no way saying Catholics aren’t Christian but there are so theologies I disagree with) such as works based salvation, Jesus showing up in a cottage to play a game of chess and statues of Mary and Jesus bleeding.

While there were a few stories I enjoyed, overall this is not a book I would highly recommend – especially if you’re looking for something as a family read aloud or to read in church – unless you do a lot of heavy editing. I enjoy tales that are almost forgotten and I do enjoy a good European author but this was not what I was expecting for Christmas stories, I wanted a good, theologically sound tale and most didn’t offer that even if a few did.

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Merry Christmas! #grow4christ


May you have a wonderful Christmas and remember the reason for this season.  Merry Christmas from my family and I.

(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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FlyBy Promotions Review: The Nativity Story App #grow4christ

About the App:

Where will baby Jesus be born? At the market? At a restaurant? At the inn? Readers of this book app can follow Joseph and Mary on their search for a place to stay in Bethlehem. Along the way they encounter a variety of colorful local people and animals. This is a fun and engaging way to share the original story of Christmas with the young generation and remind them what Christmas is all about.


The app is geared for ages 2 to 8 year old children, but those younger or older may also enjoy it.  The features of the app are:


  • It looks like a vintage pop-up book – a nod to the past with a hint of the future with an electronic feel
  • Interactive features, children can help Mary and Joseph find a place to stay
  • Choose read by yourself or narration – narration can keep the children busy while you attend to other Christmas activities
  • Music, characters and lots of sound effects appeal to children
  • After the story ends the real Biblical account as told by Luke

The iPad version is available for $3.99 on iTunes.  And the iPod Touch version is available for $1.99 on iTunes.

My Opinion:

I love the old pop-up books from my child hood and I love to view old wood cuts so this app blended new technology with the old feel of a time gone by into one fantastic app.  The app opens with a ‘cover’ of a beautiful book with a flickering candle illumination Mary, Joseph and Jesus at which point you can chose from the English, French or Spanish version, after you chose your language click on the cover of the book which then allows you several other options such as read to me, read by myself, explore the Scriptures, as well as the app credits, other books, etc.

I tried out the read to me first, as I have both non-readers and readers in my house, the voice that did the reading was pleasant and it was easy to follow along, although highlighting the words would have been nice for those beginner readers.  I had a lot of fun making Mary, Joseph and the other characters talk, by clicking on the circles – if you don’t do them in order from left to right though their conversation doesn’t make much sense!  Even the donkey makes noises if you click on him, and by swiping over Mary and Joseph, windows, doors you can make them travel, open and talk – which was quite exciting for my three children ages 11, 9 and 7 years old.

Overall, I think this app is great in introducing children to the Christmas story and my only really issue with it is the fact that Mary more than likely didn’t give birth as soon as they arrived in Bethlehem nor did they stay in an actual barn, as we know it today.  I did appreciate that the wise men weren’t not shown in the story and it ended with the shepherds worshiping Christ and the angels praising God in the highest.  I highly recommend this app, I only had an issue one time with it staying open and the other times it ran through with no issue and my children and I have really enjoyed it and I think it’s going to continue to bring us good memories for years to come.





(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws


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Christmas Memories


I see perfectly decorated Christmas trees when I go to other houses or when I go to the store during the Christmas season and I think that they are gorgeous but what about the memories?  I used to want the perfectly decorated Victorian themed Christmas tree with my mom’s decoupaged and cross stitched ornaments and my store bought Victorian ornaments.  Key word?  wanted…….


That is our tree this year.  It’s not perfectly decorated and the branches are perfectly fluffed – but this isn’t any Christmas tree, it’s a memory Christmas tree.  I let the oldest fluff the tree this year, of course being sick and not being able to get up off the couch played a part – but I digress.  For a 10 year old she did a really good job.  I hate fluffing the tree! LOL!  I could do it all, fluff, light, tinsel, and decorate but all my children would have is memories of mom’s perfect tree vs. the memory of us coming together laughing and enjoying the togetherness that we get from decorating.


Some branches have three or more ornaments on it – I refuse to move them (hubby sometimes makes me though), unless the tree begins to topple over.  The tree has my husband’s and I first Christmas together ornament.


There is the ornament when we found out we were expecting our first baby after our miscarriage.


There are my children’s first Christmas ornaments with their baby pictures.


There are the ornaments my mom made some 20+ years ago.  Some ornaments my children have made.


There are my store bought Victorian ornaments and there is an ornament dated 1978 that was one of my first Christmas ornaments and hung on the Christmas trees in my mom’s and dad’s houses.


When I see our Christmas tree – I don’t see a tree that isn’t perfectly fluffed or decorated.  I see a tree that is filled with many years of memories and I look forward to pulling out the ornaments year after year and telling my children about them and the stories behind them.  I cherish the memories of Christmas’ gone by when my parents were still together, it was one day that we all seemed to love one another.


I can’t wait to one day bequeath these ornaments among my children so that they to will make a Christmas memory tree in their own homes and add many more memories to it – and tell the story of how Grandma wanted a Victorian Christmas tree but instead she got memories 😀


Our 2012 Christmas Card

Well I know it’s not even Thanksgiving but I’m in the mood for Christmas so I ordered our Christmas cards from Wal-mart just a little bit ago and here is what we chose for this year’s card.



Back to the grindstone

Well it looks like it’s time to get back to blogging!  After taking a break to celebrate Christmas I’m back and hoping to schedule some posts for the next few days as we’ll also be getting back into the school thing next week as well.

My children, husband and I were very blessed this Christmas time – I was given a new digital camera from my dad and stepmom, my mom gave me a Kindle, my inlaws gave me the complete Love Saga.  This isn’t a complete list but I’ve been blessed with some things I needed as well as wanted.  I also got some Homestead Blessing DVD’s which are a wonderful addition to my DVD collection.

My children also bought me some very thoughtful gifts, my son gave me a best mom necklace and a melt tart for my warmer.  I got an Annie DVD from one daughter and the Ice Age Christmas special from the other.

Here is our doggie, Sadie:

Here is the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve night after the children were in bed:

Our cookie baking and decorating on Christmas Eve.  That rolling pin?  That is the same one my mom used to roll out our sugar cookies on Christmas Eve when I was a child:

Christmas Eve at my Dad’s and Step-mom’s:

Christmas Eve at my inlaws house:

Christmas morning at our house:

My mom came over in the afternoon on Christmas Day and provided a meal for us, her and my brother to share.  It was a nice time and a great visit.  We gave her a couple handcrafted gifts and I found a DVD copy of Volume I He-Man which he enjoyed when he was a young boy.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to take pictures.

The day after Christmas we went back over to my inlaws since Don’s brother, SIL and nephews were up from their homes out of state.

As we move into the new year I’m reflecting on all the blessings that have been bestowed upon us – both the tangible and intangible gifts.

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Another Christmas gift **No Peeking, especiallyif you are a grandparent!** #Pinterest inspired

My name is Sarah and I’m a pinning addict.


If you don’t know what I’m talking about – Pinterest, the neatest way to bookmark all the stuff you want to do but will never actually have time to do.  Feel free to follow me – you’ll see the Pinterest logo on my right side bar.


I’ve found ideas for gifts, Valentines, Christmas, Apologia science – all kinds of stuff but I love looking for things to do with the children to give as gifts – and we did that for Christmas.


The children wanted to make something for their grandparents and we choose the hand print Christmas tree (we ended up with four canvasses so I also got one!)


My husband painted the star and tree trunk, we both helped the children position their hands and I wrote the year.  I love it!  I’m hoping the three sets of grandparents will too.




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More handmade Christmas **DO NOT look if you are family or my inlaws!**

As I’ve said before we are striving to be as debt free this Christmas and we’ve done that by making more presents.  So far my SIL’s and my 7 year old have a homemade gift under the tree.  We had to figure out something for my dad and step-mom, my mom, my BIL and his wife and my brother and SIL.

I know you’re dying to know……but first if you don’t like wine, the mention of wine, hillbillies please stop reading as I don’t need any nasty comments.  Thank you!

My brother and SIL and my BIL and his wife will be getting………

a beautiful set of handmade hillbilly wine glasses complete with a classy marble in the stem – we also threw in a sparkling wild berry juice.

Now what will my dad and step-mom and my MIL and FIL be getting – we actually have something else but I haven’t take a picture yet so that will be another post!

These are glass blocks that light up with the OSU logo.  My husband, being the talented man he is, did the bows!  (He told me to make sure I give him credit for the bows)

So that is what we’ve done so far.  I’ll be posting on another gift that the children made for the grandparents and was Pinterest inspired!


Christmas tree art, Christmas party, Gingerbread houses

Bethanne and Christian made some cute Christmas trees at Awana, using glitter glue, M&M’s and cardstock.

We had our Christmas party at my friend’s house along with her three children and exchanged gifts and made gingerbread houses.  Lots of fun!

Hannah’s gingerbread house:



And because I can’t forget Sadie:

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