This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every moring: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion saith my soul: therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3: 21-26

Friday, April 18, 2008

Faith Lift Friday

Romans 12:9-20 (NIV)

9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. 20

On the contrary:
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."

Sheryl at Taking the Challenge is the hostess of Faith Lift Fridays. Visit her and the other bloggers sharing their faith.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Joy is the Flag

Renee at 2 Peas in Pod and Leslie at Do You Weary Like I Do both tagged me for the same meme--to write a six word memoir. Hmmmm...what to say...

Here are the Rules:

1) Write your own six-word memoir about yourself.

2) Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like.

3) Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible, so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere.

4) Tag five more blogs with links.

5) And don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

Well I pondered it and came up with several possibilities. What I finally decided covered it the best was or I wish was the best:

Joy was the flag flown high.

Yes, I "borrowed" it from a song. It's an oldie but a goodie. So in addition to the illustration, I give you the lyrics.

Joy is the flag flown high
From the castle of my heart
From the castle of my heart
From the castle of my heart
Joy is the flag flown high
From the castle of my heart
For the King is in residence there

Let it fly in the sky
Let the whole world know
Let the whole world know
Let the whole world know
Let it fly in the sky
Let the whole world know
That the King is in residence there

What didn't make the cut?

Buried in an avalanche of books.

Too many hobbies, too little time.

In the car, driving to dance.

Pray without ceasing, joy will follow.

In contentment you will find joy.

I'm supposed to tag other bloggers, but I think I will say, if you haven't done this yet and would like to play along and let me know! I like to learn more about you!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Sister's Secret & A Sister's Test--Reviews & Giveaway

Edited to add the contest is closed. We had some the pleasant surprise of unexpected company. I will announce the winner in the morning. Thanks for being patient with me!!

a sister's testI was tickled to receive Wanda E. Brunstetter's book A Sister's Test from Glass Roads PR & Barbour Publishing. I am a fan of books about the "Plain People" or the Amish. Ms. Brunstetter's story did not disappoint.

Actually A Sister's Test is the second in series, "The Sisters of Holmes County." I was off to the library for book one, A Sister's Secret, and was so glad I read this first. While A Sister's Test is a perfectly great stand alone book the series is rich with the story of the Hoestettler sisters and their family.

Book One is about Grace, the oldest, the daughter who disappeared for two years during her rumschpringe. She returns home to marry Cleon, but secrets and memories haunt them. Then a series of pranks escalates into attacks. With her marriage at stake what will Grace do? This was a fast paced book with characters who are easy to relate to. The twists and turns keep surprising up to the end.

I caught my breath for a few minutes and jumped into the next story.

Book Two focuses on Ruth, the second sister. Ruth is a kind, empathetic young woman. She's recently quit courting a man who appears might be a bit of a trouble maker. She's surprised at how quickly quiet Martin Gingerich becomes important to her and their courtship progresses quickly.

Everyone has sighed in relief as the incidents appear to have stopped. But have they? No longer seeming to be pranks attacks again begin getting more and more personal and more and more dangerous. What and who is behind the situation?

A Sister's Test is a super read. Ms. Brunstetter knows her subjects. Her descriptions of the way of life of the Amish makes a reader feel like they are there. I'd bet many of her readers would like to visit and try the slower lifestyle at least for a few days. But even though the lifestyle is "plain" she never lets the story drag even for a moment. I became very attached to these characters that she created.

The only problems I had with Ms. Brunstetter's books was 1) she was very descriptive about the food the Amish are famous for and so I was hungry all through both books!! And 2) the third book isn't out yet...I'm waiting.

Book Three--A Sister's Hope is due out in July of 2008.

For now I have an extra copy of A Sister's Test to give away. To enter leave me a comment letting me know if you've read anything by Wanda Brunstetter previously. If you win I need to be able to contact you to let you know if you won & you need to be willing to give me your snail mail address so I can send you the book. One entry per person will be accepted and the giveaway will end on Monday, April 21st. The winner will have three days to let me know where to send this super book.

Happy Reading!

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A Sister's Test--Blog Book Tour

a sister's testRomance is in bloom once again in Holmes County. Cleon and Grace Schrock are expecting their first child together and are happily settling into married life. And Grace’s younger sister, Ruth, is falling in love with Martin Gingerich. As their love blooms, the attacks on the Hostettler family begin again threatening their peace and security once again.
First, the attacks are just pranks...

A stink bomb in the family barn
The farm gets toilet-papered

Then, they escalate...

Laundry on the line is shredded
Weed spray in the garden kills all their garden plants

Finally, the unthinkable...

A horse and buggy are run off the road, costing the family dearly

Who’s to blame? Footprints lead directly to the Larson homestead and shortly thereafter Ray and Donna Larson make an offer to purchase the Hostettler homestead should they decide to move. But it could also be Luke Frieson, a young man still on rumspringa who hangs around with a rowdy English crowd. Cigarettes at the scene of one attack could point to him. Or they could point to heavy smoker Sheriff Osborn.

wanda brunstetterBestselling Amish fiction author Wanda E. Brunstetter is certain to keep her millions of readers up late into the evening to learn whether all the mischief and mayhem will finally come to an end.About Wanda E. Brunstetter

Fascinated by the Amish people during the years of visiting her husband’s family in Pennsylvania, Wanda E. Brunstetter combined her interest with her writing and now has eleven novels about the Amish in print, along with numerous other stories and ministry booklets. She has also written an Amish cookbook, an Amish devotional and some Amish children’s books. She lives in Washington State, where her husband is a pastor, but takes every opportunity to visit Amish settlements throughout the States.

Q&A with Wanda Brunstetter, author of A Sister's Test

Q. A Sister’s Test is the second installment in the Holmes County Series and deals with mysterious attacks that test the faith, perseverance and forgiveness of the characters. What was the inspiration behind this series and what message(s) should readers take away after they’ve read A Sister’s Test?

A. After reading a newspaper article about some Amish people who’d been attacked by someone with a grudge against them, I decided to write a series addressing this issue and showing how I believe the Amish would respond to a situation such as this. The message I hope my readers will take away from reading A Sister’s Test is the message of forgiveness, forbearance, and trusting in God to bring about something good even in bad situations.

Q. In the past you’ve mentioned having a serious fascination with the Amish people and it’s clear from your writings that you respect their culture. What is it about them and their culture that you admire?

A. I admire their strong faith in God and their commitment to God and family. I also admire the fact that they do not put their emphasis on worldly things and spend more time reflecting on God’s creation and the blessings He bestows.

Q. How can we adopt these principles in today’s society without giving up the ‘modern’ way of life and becoming Amish?

A. We can slow down and take time out to spend with the Lord, as well as our family and friends. Many people are so busy “doing” that they miss a lot of the wonderful things God created for our enjoyment. Realizing that “things” aren’t nearly as important as “people” will help us keep our focus where it should be.

Q. How do you think you’d respond to the attacks in A Sister’s Secret if you were Ruth?

A. I would no doubt be very frightened and concerned for the welfare of my family. I would, of course, notify the authorities, and perhaps do a little investigating on my own. Most of all, however, I would trust God for protection and ask Him to bring the answers that are needed to put a stop to the crimes. I would also ask Him for patience and a sense of peace.

Q. The ability, or inability, to have children whatever the reason can be devastating to a woman. Do you have any advice to women struggling in this area of life?

A. Two of my best friends are not able to have children of their own. One friend chose to adopt, the other friend did not. Both women are loving, nurturing, caring people, and both are living fulfilled lives. While motherhood is a fulfilling responsibility, I don’t believe being a mother is the only way a woman can be fulfilled. There are many other things we can do in this life that bring fulfillment, and if we seek God’s will and ask Him how we can best serve Him, He will fulfill our needs.

Q. Thinking ahead to the big reveal of the attacker in Book Three, would you be able to forgive this person if you were a member of the Hostettler family?

A. True healing can only occur if we are willing to let go of our pain and forgive those who have wronged us. Only in God’s strength are we able to find the kind of forgiveness necessary in situations like the Hostettlers went through. I would hope I would say, just as Christ said when He was crucified, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Q. What was your favorite part of writing and planning this series?

A. My favorite part of planning this series was being able to visit Holmes County and get to know several Amish families who live there

Q. What books are currently on your bookshelf?

A. Fiction: Fair Game by Carol Cox; Nonfiction: Lord, I need Your blessing by Anita Corrine Donihue, and Self Talk, Soul Talk by Jennifer Rothschild. All three are excellent books!

Q. What inspires you as a writer? Is it a particular location? A particular ritual?

A. Anytime I’m visiting my Amish friends, I’m inspired to write about the Amish. I also have many Amish things in several rooms in my house, and just looking at them inspires me to write my Amish stories.

Q. You now have over two-million books in print. Do you have any advice for beginning or aspiring novelists?

A.Keep writing and perfecting your craft, and never, ever give up. God’s timing is always best.

Q. We’re eagerly anticipating Book Three…are you in the process of writing it? When will it be available?

A. Book 3, A Sister’s Hope, will be published in July 2008.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Grains of Gratitude (Belated Edition)

My husband made it home!! I am so grateful. Life seems back to our version of normal. It seems we’ve been busy, but I’ve not much to show (or tell) for it. Do you ever seem like you run around faster and faster and then stop and say, “What did I really do?” Hrumph!! I feel like those Veggie Tale veggies singing, “Busy, busy, dreadfully busy!

I need to thank all of you who left me a comment last week. I am so grateful for the wonderful people who reach out across the internet to share comfort and peace. Bless each one of you.

I’m grateful that the day turned out to be beautiful. Spring is arriving slowly, but it is fascinating to watch the trees and plants change sometimes hourly. I can step out in the morning and see one thing and then go out to get the mail at lunch and there are more buds, leaves and birds!!

For the first time in several months I’ve sat down to craft again. I had squeezed in a few items that were necessities, but it had been since last July that I sat at my desk just for the pleasure of playing with color and paper and glue and…just stuff. There were many reasons why I couldn’t/didn’t/wouldn’t do this before, but I am grateful I am at a place where I can use my creativity again.

Have a great week everyone!

Grains began over at the every busy Christine's blog--Brady's Bunch.

A Bride So Fair--Blog Book Tour

I haven't had the chance to participate in any blog book tours lately and then I received two new books from Glass Road Public Relations & Barbour Press. How exciting. The first book is:

a bride so fairA Bride So Fair by Carol Cox

After growing up in an orphanage, Emily Ralston loves being around children and thoroughly enjoys her job at the Children’s Building at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. As the receptionist she helps check in the children and ensures they are safe and well cared for while their parents view the fair. She could not have known what God had in store for her…

When Columbian Guard, Stephen Bridger, drops off a three-year-old named Adam as a lost child, her life irrevocably changed. While the sparks of attraction are undeniable, Emily tries her best to ignore them as she and her best friend, Lucy, scheme to keep Adam safe and happy, far away from the orphanages they both know too well.

Soon Stephen learns about Adam’s mother while both the mystery and his relationship with Emily deepens. As they learn bits of truth, danger and deception now threaten to undermine their growing relationship. Why is a young woman murdered while surrounded by thousands of fairgoers? What secrets could a sweet, abandoned little boy possibly hold? Can Emily and Stephen solve the deadly mystery before time runs out?

carol coxCAROL COX is a native of Arizona, whose time is devoted to being a pastor's wife, mom to her grown son, and a home-school teacher to her daughter, church pianist, and youth worker. She loves anything that she can do with her family: reading, traveling, historical studies, and outdoor excursions. She is also open to new pursuits on her own, including genealogy research, crafts, and the local historical society. She plans to write more historical inspirational romance, in which her goals are to encourage Christian readers with entertaining and uplifting stories and to pique the interests of non-Christians who might read her novels.

I will follow up tomorrow with book number two--and that will include a giveaway! Check back!

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