Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween History and Origin

I have to be honest and say that Halloween is my least favorite holiday of the that I am an adult.  I loved it as a child.  I lived in a neighborhood of loving, safe people who would give us homemade candied apples, homemade cookies, and candy.  We even had a house in our neighborhood that made homemade snow cones, caramel corn, and popped bags of hot salted popcorn for us.  Today, Halloween is not the same.  Most churches and communities in the rural South have Trunk or Treat or Fall Festivals.  This takes a lot of danger out of the holiday itself.  Halloween is the one of the oldest holidays still celebrated today. It's one of the most popular holidays, second only to Christmas. While millions of people celebrate Halloween without knowing its origins and myths, the history and facts of Halloween make the holiday more fascinating.  Some people view Halloween as a time for fun, putting on costumes, trick-or-treating, and having theme parties. Others view it as a time of superstitions, ghosts, goblins and evil spirits that should be avoided at all costs.  As the Christian debate goes on, celebrating Halloween is a preference that is not always viewed as participating in an evil holiday. Halloween is often celebrated with no reference to pagan rituals or the occult.
Halloween History - Halloween is on October 31st, the last day of the Celtic calendar. It was originally a pagan holiday, honoring the dead. Halloween was referred to as All Hallows Eve and dates back to over 2000 years ago.  All Hallows Eve is the evening before All Saints Day, which was created by Christians to convert pagans, and is celebrated on November 1st. The Catholic church honored saints on this designated day.
Origin of Halloween - While there are many versions of the origins and old customs of Halloween, some remain consistent by all accounts. Different cultures view Halloween somewhat differently but traditional Halloween practices remain the same.  Halloween culture can be traced back to the Druids, a Celtic culture in Ireland, Britain and Northern Europe. Roots lay in the feast of Samhain, which was annually on October 31st to honor the dead.  Samhain signifies "summers end" or November. Samhain was a harvest festival with huge sacred bonfires, marking the end of the Celtic year and beginning of a new one. Many of the practices involved in this celebration were fed on superstition.  The Celts believed the souls of the dead roamed the streets and villages at night. Since not all spirits were thought to be friendly, gifts and treats were left out to pacify the evil and ensure next years crops would be plentiful. This custom evolved into trick-or-treating.  So, with all that said...whatever way you choose to celebrate the day I hope you are safe and happy.  I will be celebrating Kruze's first Halloween and Jett's second...along with the Porch People in Rock Mills, AL.  I hope we have loads of trick or treaters.  Just remember....Don't eat too much candy. Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Quilted for Christmas: Quilts of Love Series

quilted by christmas, Jodie Bailey, Quilts of Love

About The Book:  New from Abingdon Press’ Quilts of Love series | Quilted by Christmas
A grandmother’s last wish is to communicate God’s love through an Irish chain quilt.  Taryn McKenna believes she’s easy to forget. Abandoned by her parents and left behind when her high school sweetheart joined the army, she vows to never love again and throws herself into her love for the outdoors and the pursuit of a college degree—something no one else in her family has ever accomplished. Her goal, as a young teacher in the hills of North Carolina, is to leave a legacy in the lives of the middle‑schoolers she teaches.  When Taryn’s grandmother Jemma, the only other person who ever held her close, has a heart attack that reveals a fatal medical condition, Taryn is corralled into helping Grandma work on a final project—an Irish chain quilt that tells the story of her history and the love Jemma knows is out there for Taryn. As the pieces of the quilt come together, Taryn begins to see her value. Can she learn to believe that God will never leave her behind even though others have?
Purchase a copy and learn more at the Quilts of Love website.

About The Author:  Jodie Bailey is Tarheel born and bred. After 15 years as a military spouse, she settled with her family back in North Carolina. She is the author of the military suspense novel “Freefall” and is a contributor to a devotional for military families, “Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home.” While not working on her next novel, she teaches middle‑schoolers to love writing as much as she does.  Find out more about Jodie at

My Thoughts On The Book:  I am a softy when it comes to Christmas and decorating for the holidays.  I am a huge lover of quilts and wish I did some.  I truly believe that every quilt has a story.  I have read all the Quilts of Love books and I proclaim that each one is my favorite, but this one really touched my heart strings.  The characters were very real and you just felt you were sucked into the story as soon as you opened the book to the first page.  Bailey weaves a wonderful story of love, hurts, forgiveness, and God.  If you are a quilter you need to read this book.  If you love Christmas and believe in miracles then you too need to read this book.  This was a great book to kick off the Christmas warm fuzzies.  I loved it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Spooks, Goblins, Ghouls, and Hodgepodge

'Twas the Hodgepodge before Halloween, and all through the web... We are so glad you've joined in this week, October's last Hodgepodge hurrah! Next week we're into November and all things gratitude, turkey and for Joyce a wedding.  If you've answered the questions today, add your link at the end of Joyce's post.  Then go say hi to the blogger who linked before you because everybody loves company.  Here we go-

1. Joyce's hubs spent last weekend pheasant hunting. Are there hunters in your family? If so, what do they hunt? Which of the following have you tasted-pheasant, rabbit, venison, duck, goose? Which of those would you most like to taste or be most willing to taste?  Vegetarians keep calm and Hodgepodge on.
Frank would hunt....I think.  He has never hunted in our married life.  He loves to target practice.  I come from a long line of hunters.  They hunt deer, rabbits, turkey, birds....and we eat them.  I am not a huge duck quail.  I grew up eating wild meat.  Have never eated weird wild possum, coon, squirrel....etc.

2. What high spot have you visited that gave you a wonderful 'bird's eye view' of something below?
I have visited favorite is the Grand Canyon....but there is also Lookout Mtn. in TN, Clingman's Dome in TN/NC, Sleeping Bear Dunes in MI.
3. Do you have any birds in your home? These could be either real live pets or decorative, as in prints, fabrics, knickknacks, or pottery.  I have one tile with a Hummingbird on it.  It has a saying about friends.

4. Tell about a time you killed two birds with one stone.
I had a congregant in the Inn (rehab) and Frank had one in the nursing home next door.  We visited both.

5. Your favorite song with a bird in it's title?
Remember I love I have a bunch.....Yellow Bird, Rocking Robin(I am showing my age huh?), Mockingbird,

6. What most recently gave you goose bumps?  The weather changed abruptly and I was caught at an outside venue without a jacket. 

7. Halloween is this Friday...any plans? Did you trick or treat as a child? Carve pumpkins? Share your most memorable costume.
Halloween  is on Thursday here in our little town....due to high school football games.  Only in the South.  We will be on Marcie's porch with the rest of the Rock Mills Porch People giving out candy....on Thursday and Friday. 

Did I trick or treat as a child? Of course. Just ask my dentist. We'd go in a big group and walk for what felt like miles, but was probably more like blocks. I grew up in a big neighborhood with sidewalks and street lamps and a more innocent world all the way round, so trick or treating was a much anticipated event. My dad always carved the pumpkin and I helped scoop out the guts.  Mom would make something pumpkiny...usually a pie.

I don't have a memorable costume.  We were poor....and  my costumes usually involved my dad's clothes...and I would be a hobo, fisherman, hunter, cowboy.  One year I got a Super Girl costume from Grants.  I hated it because it itched...and the mask was hot.  I never asked for another one.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
My SIL will be celebrating her 60th birthday on Halloween....for real.  Happy Birthday Anne!  (She is the one in the purple top.)  Welcome to the world of the 60 year olds!  Do you have any friends or family who were born on Halloween.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Where Treetops Glisten

About the Book:  The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime.  Siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories, filled with the wonder of Christmas.  Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America's involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.
In Cara Putman's White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements---until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.

Abigail's brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin's I'll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete's friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he's no longer the bully she once knew?
In Tricia Goyer's Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, "Merry" to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that's precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.
The Turner family believes in God's providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ's birth and His plan for a future?
About The Authors: 

TRICIA GOYER is a prolific author of nearly forty books, including Chasing Mona Lisa, and a speaker and blogger. 

CARA PUTMAN is the author of twenty books including Shadowed by Grace. She is the winner of the 2008 Carol Award for historical fiction. 

SARAH SUNDIN is the critically-acclaimed author of the Wings of the Nightingale series, the Wings of Glory series, and the forthcoming Waves of Freedom novels.

My Thoughts On The Book:  I loved them all.  Having grown up with a mother who lived in this era it was like hearing my mother's tales all over again.  All three authors wove wonderful tales of Christmas, love, war, faith, and family.  This was the kind of book you do not want to put down when the stories begin to unfold.  You are drawn back in time and become a member of the family.  Thank you all for this wonderful kickoff of the Christmas season and for the reminder that one of our greatest gifts is freedom.  This book is a 5 star book.  If you get the chance to read it....take it.  

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Beekeeper's Son

About The Book:  A strange, mystical place allows Deborah and Phineas to see themselves and others with new eyes. When Deborah Lantz arrives in Bee County, Texas, she expects to find a great oasis of citrus groves and olive trees. Instead, she finds a tiny Amish district struggling to make ends meet on a barren, drought-stricken land. Deborah longs to go home to the lush, green countryside of Tennessee, but she wants her mother, a widow with six children, to be happy again. Even if that means accepting Stephen as her future stepfather. She can t believe God created such an ugly place filled with strange animals, twisted, stunted trees, and not a drop of rain for months. Then she meets the beekeeper s son. Phineas King s face is disfigured by scars from an accident that killed his mother and destroyed his trust in God. Through their encounters both begin to realize the beauty in all of God s creation. Deborah walks through the strange land of figs, Mexican squash, and wild cucumbers to see Phineas, who finds solace in his work keeping the bee hives and harvesting honey for his father. Both are rarely alone, but always lonely. Deborah begins to see Bee County through Phineas s eyes and Phineas learns to see himself through hers."
 About The Author:  Kelly Irvin's latest book in the New Hope Amish series, A Plain Love Song, releases in July 2014. She is the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Amish Amish series. The first series includes To Love and To Cherish, A Heart Made New, and Love’s Journey Home, published by Harvest House. Love Still Stands, the first book in her spin-off series New Hope Amish, released in September 2013, followed by Love Redeemed in March 2014.  Kelly is now working on a three-book series for Zondervan set in Bee County, Texas. The first book in The Amish of Bee County series, The Beekeeper's Son, is set to release in January 2015.  Kelly has also penned two romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine, published by Five Star Gale in 2010 and 2011.  The Kansas native is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Sisters in Crime. She also serves as secretary of the ACFW San Antonio local chapter Alamo City Christian Fiction Writers.   A graduate of the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism, Kelly has been writing nonfiction professionally for thirty years. She studied for three semesters at the University of Costa Rica, learning the Spanish language. As a journalist, she worked six years in the border towns of Laredo and El Paso.  She has worked in public relations for the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department for 19 years.Kelly has been married to photographer Tim Irvin for twenty-six years, and they have two young adult children. They recently became grandparents for the first time. In her spare time, she likes to write short stories, read books by her favorite authors, and play with her new granddaughter.
My Thoughts On The Book:  This was a wonderful read.  From the moment I started the story until I read the very last page I was drawn into the world of Deborah and Phineas.  My heart bled for the young Plain couple.  Irvin is quite a wordsmith and her characters seemed to pop right off the page.  If you are a fan of Amish fiction then I highly recommend this book for you.   
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley and Zondervan as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A November Bride

About The Book:  Sadie McAllister is fastidious to a fault-but that serves her well as a personal chef to her clients in Denver. But her earliest attempt at managing romance was a bust when Erik Davis declined her invitation to the school's eighth grade Sadie Hawkins Dance.  Having celebrated the big 3-0 by ending a relationship, Sadie is tired of romantic relationships-by-text. The only man she knows willing to put down his iPhone and have face-to-face conversations with her is Erik. It's time to put a 21st-century twist on the Sadie Hawkins' tradition of a woman going after her man. He may not be the hero of her romantic dreams, but she can propose to Erik and achieve some sort of happily ever after with her best friend.  Erik is good at two things: his freelance job and maintaining casual, no-one-gets-hurt relationships with women. What is Sadie thinking, proposing to him? This is marriage-not a middle school dance. Erik decides to show Sadie what romance looks like when the man takes the lead. And while he's at it, he'll prove just how wrong they are for each other. But when he realizes he's fallen for her, can Erik convince Sadie his just-for-fun dates were the prelude to "'til death do us part"? 
About The Author:  Novelist Beth K. Vogt is a nonfiction author and editor who said she'd never write fiction. She's the wife of an Air Force physician (now in solo practice) who said she'd never marry a doctor -- or anyone in the military. She's a mom of four who said she'd never have kids. She's discovered that God's best often waits behind the doors marked "Never." Beth writes inspirational contemporary romance because she believes there's more to the happily ever after than the fairy tales tell us. She lives in Colorado with her husband and their 10-year-old "caboose kiddo." She and her husband enjoy any time their adult children come by for game nights, BBQs or just to hang out. My Thoughts About The Book:  I have been a huge fan of this series since the beginning. I have read and reviewed most of the stories. Some I liked more than others, but this one was spot on.  I have read many things by Beth Vogt and love her writing style.  This novella read like a full length story.  Vogt packed a great deal of living and story into 120 pages.  I loved the story line of two old friends trying to move to the next level....but fear stopping them.   It is a short read so you can finish it in one reading with ease.  I hope you will enjoy it!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NetGalley Publicity Group and Zondervan as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you! 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Homecoming RCHS Style - Decking The Doors

Homecoming at RCHS involves door decorating.  It is wild.  Each classroom/advisement tries to outdo the next one.  Parents voted on the doors during Open House.  Since this game was taking place the week before Halloween I suggested Spook the Generals as our theme and the kids took it and ran.  We didn't win.....but I think we should have.  I was proud of what they came up with.  All I was expecting was a decorated door....what I got was an event. This first one is my room.  What you cannot see is that the door inside my room is a mirror image of the one outside my room.  I LOVED all their artistic style and talents. 

Photo is loading 
These are the rest of the doors.  The Hall of Fame one in Jennifer's room was the first place winner.
Photo is loading
This was the second place winner.  It is Ms Embry's room.
Photo is loading
And third place was Brance's door.
Photo is loading
Here are some of my favorite ones.
Photo is loading
Mr. Oliver actually retired this week.
Photo is loading
Ms. Beverly's room.
I am a Sophomore Advisor and the Sophomore class had a float in Homecoming Parade.  We kept with the theme of my door....and did Bury the Generals.  Our float was housed at the Kelly's house.
Photo is loading
We won the game.....but that is about all we won.  It was one wild and crazy week and I am glad it is over.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Best Friend's Funeral: A Memoir

About The Book:  There’s a certain kind of lost a boy feels in this world without a father. Tim felt it. I felt it. And we realized our only way out would be together.  In an openhearted memoir of faith on the fringe, Roger Thompson meditates on the life and premature death of his best friend and business partner, Tim Garrety, cofounder of Skate Street Ventura. Roger and Tim’s twenty-year friendship was forged in the surf and on the streets of 1980s California. Together they hazarded countless waves and every rite of passage—from guitars to girls to God—and influenced the lives of thousands of skateboarders, musicians, surfers, and otherwise disconnected youth in the process. With unrestrained honesty and a punk-rock soundtrack, My Best Friend’s Funeral is a memoir of friendship, doubt, surfing, and the complex relationships between fathers and sons. If life has ever left you feeling abandoned—or if you simply prefer a rock show to a sermon—My Best Friend’s Funeral is a memoir you won’t want to miss, and a confirmation that you are never alone.
About The Author:  Roger W. Thompson advocates for orphans in Haiti with the Hands and Feet Project, and produces surf movies with Walking on Water Films. When not working, Roger can be found fly-fishing, building furniture, and surfing with his sons near the coastal town of Ventura, California, where he lives with his wife, two young sons, one old dog, and seven productive chickens.
My Thoughts On The Book:  Roger W. Thompson bares his soul for his readers in this Memoir.  This book tears your heart to pieces, leaves you sobbing, then puts you back together again and you feel like a better person.  The book touched places in my soul I did not know existed.  I related to the pain of losing a significant person in your family, and a beloved friend.  This story could have been my could have been any of our lives....but it wasn' was Roger Thompsons.  This is a must read.  If you ever feel you are facing the storms of life alone it is reassurance that you are most definitely not.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Booklook Bloggers, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday Hodge Podge Vol 195

It's that time again. Here are the questions for this week's Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then hop back o Joyce's blog some time today to share answers. See you there!

1. Elizabeth Lawrence is quoted as saying, 'Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn." So have you done just that? And what did you leave undone in order to do so?  I have done this and I left housework undone so I could spend some quality time with my sweet husband.  During the week it is as if we pass in the of us going and the other coming.

2. Since we're talking turning...what's one thing you feel you're doing 'every time you turn around'?  That one is easy....coming and going.  Some mornings I feel as if I just got home and I am headed out again.

 3. How hard is it for you to 'turn the other cheek?'  It depends on the infraction.  Sometimes I can do this with ease.  Other times I struggle with turning the cheek. 

4. When did you last turn a drawer, your car, a room, or your entire house upside down looking for something? Did you find it?  Ummmm....that would have been yesterday.  I turned both my purse and a desk drawer upside down looking for something and I did find the bottom of the purse.

5. 'One good turn deserves another'...were you most recently on the giving or receiving end of that sentiment?  Giving and receiving.  I made copies for the teacher next door to me because she has no printer in her room.  She ran copies for me in the teacher work room.  Mrs. Embry is easy to do things for.  She is always so appreciative.....and so am I.  When you are new to a school it is nice to know someone has your back.

6. Red, yellow, and orange are the colors of fall. Also the colors of fruit. If you were permitted only one color of fruit in your diet, which would you choose? This question isn't as easy as it sounds, at least not for me. green as my second choice. 

The Hunt for Red October, October Sky, Halloween...which 'October' film is your favorite?  October Sky is mine.  I love that movie.  One year when I did volunteer work for ASP we were actually working in the town that this story is about.  There were several signs about the Rocket Boys.  After we got home from ASP I watched the movie again and bought it.  It is a great movie.
8. Insert your own random thought here. Last week was Homecoming week at WHS.  The week was crazy.....and there was no instruction that took place.  The kids were focused on one thing....Homecoming.  I survived....and this week is Homecoming week at RCHS.  I am not sure I will survive a second week of madness.  My senior year our Youth for Christ won first place for our float.  We worked on it for many days.  It is not like that more chicken more papier mache.  So sad....that was half the fun. 
The picture before the homecoming queen  at the bottom middle was our Youth For Christ...award winning float.  Little Miss Muffet says her prayers....the theme for the parade was fairy tales.  What do you remember of your homecoming.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Promise


About The Book: Mallory's search for happiness leads her to a faraway place. There she finds heartache, betrayal---and danger.  Mallory Hammond is determined that no one will stand in the way of her goal---to save a life. She had that chance years ago, and she failed to take it, leaving her adrift and in search of the real meaning of her life. Finally, she meets a man online from a volatile corner of the world who offers her the chance to find that purpose. But she will have to leave everyone she loves behind in order to take it.  Tate Webber has loved Mallory for many years. He understands that Mallory will never be happy with him until her deepest heart's desire is satisfied. When Mallory decides to travel across the world to fulfill her dreams, Tate begs her not to go but tries to give her the space she needs. Mallory embarks on her dangerous journey only to discover how swiftly and easily promises can be broken. And Mallory can only pray that she will make it out alive.  Inspired by actual events, The Promise is a riveting love story that asks the question: how far will we go for love?  Purchase a copy:
About The Author: 

Beth Wiseman is the best-selling author of the Daughters of the Promise series and the Land of Canaan series. Having sold over 1.3 million books, her novels have held spots on multiple Bestseller lists. She was the recipient of the prestigious Carol Award in 2011 and 2013. In 2013 she took home the coveted Holt Medallion. Her first book in the Land of Canaan series--Seek Me With All Your Heart--was selected as the 2011 Women of Faith Book of the Year. Beth lives in Texas with her family.

Find Beth online: website, Facebook, Twitter
My Thoughts About The Book:  All I can say is Wow!  This book was one of those that once you began reading it life ceased to exist.  I did without sleep to finish this book.  It was an amazing story when I thought it was fiction.  When I found out that it was based on a real life event, I was speechless.  My daughter and SIL are missionaries in a third world country where teenage girls are taken as sex slaves every day.  I know things like this happen....sometimes it is just easier to put our heads in the sand.  Mallory Hammond was an amazing character in this book.  It was hard to believe that a young women would leave everything familiar to travel to a country so different from her home...but she did..... and then...nope I am not going to spoil it.  You have to buy this book in order to find out...."The rest of this story."  You won't regret it.  I promise.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!  

An Amish Second Christmas


About The Book:  Celebrate Second Christmas, a treasured, lighthearted time of community, with four Amish romances.
“When Christmas Comes Again” by Beth WisemanKatherine 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 ReidJoy 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 FullerAnne 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 GoyerVanilla 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.
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.
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.
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.
My Thoughts On The Book/Novellas:  I could not seem to review the book as a whole and felt as if each novella deserved comment so I broke it into novella sections.  My favorite part of the end of the book of course was the recipes.
When Christmas Comes Again: There is something about Christmas, forgiveness, and second chances and this book was filled with the true meaning of Christmas in every day life.  I loved the storyline, the mysterious man.  If this novella does not touch your heart then nothing will. This book was well written and heart touching.  
Her Christmas Pen Pal: This novella was my favorite.  I loved the story line about the Christmas cookies and letter that were delivered to the wrong house.  I have had this happen to me before and really loved seeing how this story played out.  It was a fun, sassy little read and I loved the Pen Pal concept.  As a child I had pen pals and looked forward to getting mail from them.  This story will make you smile.
A Gift for Anne Marie: Theme of moving from the familiar to the unknown is a touching one.  I have moved many times, as a pastor's wife, and it is never easy to leave behind family and friends. I was delighted that Anne Marie was able to keep her familiar.  This was a sweet novella and added to the other stories it makes An Amish Second Christmas a delight.
The Christmas Aprons: My heart was immediately attached to Esther Glick.  This amazing baker had so little self-esteem.  In Esther's world she does not see herself as someone who matters.   Watching the friendship/romance bloom between Esther and Ammon was delightful. 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Book Look Bloggers, Blogging for Books group and Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!   

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Do You Give Because You Have To Or Because You Want To?

My Text today is from: Matthew 22:15-21.  Join me as I read it.

The tax inspector brought Mr Gudgeon in for his tax assessment interview: "I’m going to say to you what I say to every taxpayer who sits in that chair: you should realize that it’s a privilege to live in this country and you should pay your taxes with a smile." "Thank goodness," said a visibly relieved Bob, "I thought you were going to ask me for money."  This particular passage from Matthew is unusual in that we are told immediately that the encounter is a plot to trick Our Lord.  The Romans, contrary I think to popular belief these days were not an invading army in Judea. They had been invited into the country to make peace. They decided to stay and it is now a province. Certain parts of the Jewish leadership believed they needed the Romans and should pay taxes and go about their business. Others thought that the Romans could not be tolerated. They were idolaters, and brought their images with them, and they were gentiles and were polluting the holy land by even being there.  So the Pharisees went to Jesus to trap him. They asked him a yes or no question: Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not? If he says yes, they think then that the people will desert him. If he says no, they think they can get him in trouble with the Romans. That’s why the Roman followers of Herod are there also: it is an unholy alliance between two extremes of Jesus’ opposition. But the response is more than a simple yes or no answer. The response is far more complex and more theological: "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s."

This is a difficult answer because it leaves open the question what is Caesar’s and what is God’s? You can’t trust Caesar to tell you what’s Caesar’s. Because Caesar’s answer is always the same: more.   Jesus has been portrayed in recent times as a political subversive and a counter-cultural icon: the first century Che Guevara. In fact, a couple of years ago an advertising campaign to get people across the threshold of a church for Easter showed a picture of Christ modeled upon that of Che, as seen on a thousand Student’s T-Shirts in the sixties. Christ was indeed subversive, radical and counter cultural. But he was not rebellious. The law was authoritative for Christ, and he came not to wipe away a letter of it, but he taught that the letter of the law and its spirit can be quite different: that was indeed subversive, radical and counter-cultural and remains a challenge to us today. We are challenged by this reading to reject the letter of the law and to go with the Spirit.  But which things are Caesar’s and which things are God’s? We can’t let Caesar decide. So how do you determine what things are God’s?

The film Jerry Maguire brought us an immortal phrase which can be applied to greed and avarice the world over: “Show me the money”. In fact “Show me the money” is what Christ says also, but to make an entirely different point.  How do you determine what is God’s? There are some very clear differences:

• Caesar makes it very easy for you to know what you owe.

• Caesar says pay but God says give.

• Caesar says pay or be sorry. God says give and you’ll be glad.

• The call to pay says "you owe."

  • The call to give says "you have an opportunity."

There are not many of us send off our payment to the IRS and say, Whooo "Yes, I feel good about that." We usually say a lot of other things that aren’t repeatable from the pulpit. The call to give is a call to grow, not only in terms of commitment, but in the goodness of your own soul that you are able to do it. It is partly gratitude to God for all he gives us and it is also partly a sense of wanting to be the kind of people who are so free from selfishness and greed that we can give more than most people think is reasonable; so free from addiction to wealth that we can give beyond what most people think is appropriate.

This building isn’t going to just fall away, although I note that despite the very hard work of many in the congregation, raising the money for our essential work proves difficult. The mission of this Church is not going to die, and its investment in youth projects and other forms of outreach are not just ‘nice-to-haves’ but are essential not only for the future, but for the now.  The challenging future of this church, its design and its purpose within this community is not something that we can simply put our heads the sand about and leave to a later generation, for if we fail to act decisively now, there will be no more future generations and the glory of worship will be lost in this area for ever.

"God loves a cheerful giver.” Says the Scripture. He also accepts from a miserable one as well.  When Caesar says pay, it doesn’t matter what kind of people we want to be... we pay. But when God says give, we have to make a decision. It’s hard. It requires thought and feeling. But that offering is one made willingly and a willing offering is one which will reap much reward, not just in this earthly life as we build the Kingdom on Earth, but hereafter, where the gift will be much more bounteous.  Jesus taught them by saying "Show me the money for the tax." And then he held that coin up to them and said "Whose picture is this?" Caesar’s.  "Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God, the things that are God’s."   What has God’s picture on it? What carries God’s likeness? You.   You are that offering. Make it work.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Valley Arts Council Craft Show

What a grand weekend this was.  Frank was in his first ever juried craft show.  It was in Valley, AL and it was so much fun.  We made loads of new friends and saw some of the most amazing arts and crafts.  I have to admit that I am not fond of nudes and there seemed to be quite a few of those.  The rest of the crafters/artists made up for it.  There are so many ways to make stuff from things you have laying around the house.  I met a really neat lady named Karen...who homeschools her 13 children...and a precious young man I taught to do frilly scarves.

 The display boards were given to us by Chuck and Sue.  She had used them for a craft show.  They were white and Frank decided to color them up a bit.

 Frank actually got two blue ribbons.  The second one was for Best Display.  He had that one hands down.  All in all it was an amazing day.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Homecoming Wadley Style

This week was Homecoming at Wadley.  The students and teachers have been busy as bees decorating their boards.  The kids had a blast dressing up this week.  Monday was Back in Time and all the students were dressed up like people from the past.  There were a lot of kids dressed 80's style.  It was a riot.  Tuesday was College Color Day.  Wednesday was Super Hero Day.  My favorite was a substitute that day who did a shirt that said Super Sub.  I loved it.  Thursday was Career/Dress for Success Day.  Friday was Spirit Day. Each class decorated a board that was judged and displayed near the goal posts.  It was so cute.  The week was crazy.  Thursday night at 5 there was a parade through downtown and on Friday the game.  Faithe Turner was crowned Homecoming Queen.  Football Sweetheart was Mahayley Garrett.  Here are some memories of the Week....and I must say.,....Thank Goodness it is over!  Here are pictures of some of the boards and the parade.

The Advent Bride

 About The Book:  New--The 12 Brides of Christmas! You're invited to a Christmas wedding...that is twelve of them! Discover the joy of an old-fashioned Christmas romance with these twelve heart-warming stories. Brand-new stories from renowned inspirational fiction authors that take you into the heartland of historical America will releas each week starting October 6.   #1: The Advent Bride
Melanie Douglas is alone on the Nebraska plains, teaching school to get by. She finds a unique box with hidden drawers to use over the advent season to engage a young boy in his schooling. When Henry O’Keeffe sees a positive change in his son, he has to see for himself what this new teacher is doing.Don't be late! Watch for all 12 stories:
October 6 - #1: The Advent Bride
October 13 - #2: The Nutcraker Bride
October 20 - #3: The Evergreen Bride
October 27 - #4: The Gift-Wrapped Bride
November 3 - #5: The Yuletide Bride
November 10 - #6: The Gingerbread Bride
November 17 - #7: The Nativity Bride
November 24 - #8: The Christmas Tree Bride
December 1 - #9: The Festive Bride
December 8 - #10: The Christmas Star Bride
December 15 - #11: The Snowbound Bride
December 22 - #12: The Fruitcake Bride
About The Author:  Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy about cowboys.  She is a Carol Award winner, and a Rita, christy, and Inspirational Reader's Choice finalist.  She is the bestselling author of the Wild at Heart series, which recently began with book number one, Tried & True.  She is also the author of the Trouble in Texas series, Kincaid Bride series, Lassoed in Texas Trilogy,  Montana Marriages Trilogy, Sophie's Daughters Trilogy, and many other books.  Mary is married to a Nebraska rancher and has four grown daughters, and three spectacular grandchildren.  Find Mary online at
My Thoughts On The Book:  This was a cute, feel good, heart warming Christmas romance story.  I loved it.  teacher Melanie finds a way to keep a precocious  boy on task and interested with a box of many drawers for Advent.  The only problem was that it was too short.  I wanted it to go on forever.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley as part of their Book Review Blogger Programs. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!