Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas 2012 from Rhonda's Doings !

    Luke 2:1-14
    In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.
    So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
    And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
    Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
    "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." (KJV)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Review of

66 Amish Recipes: Learn To Cook Authentic Amish Bread, Amish Pies, and Other Delicious Amish Foods!

66 Amish Recipes: Learn To Cook Authentic Amish Bread, Amish Pies, and Other Delicious Amish Foods!

Here are some of the Amish Recipes you will get inside this Amish cookbook:

1. Amіѕh Brеаd Stаrtеr 

2. Amіѕh Frіеndѕhір Brеаd 

3. Amіѕh Cоffее Cаkе

My review of 66 Amish Recipes: Learn to Cook Authentic Amish Bread, Amish Pies, and Other Delicious Amish Foods!:   This book has recipes for breads, pies, cookies, cakes, casseroles, main dishes, vegetables, salads, and more.    I have made some recipes that are similar to some here but there were definitely some interesting additions to recipes, such as a green tart apple to chicken-noodle soup!  I want to try that one!   I would have loved to see a few pictures of the foods prepared, but the recipes are all wonderful.   I made Shoofly Pies, Peanut Pie, and Poor Man's Steak from the recipes.    Each of these recipes turned out great and were a big hit with my family!   

Here is my version of "Poor Man's Steak" which takes ground beef and turns it into a meal fit for a king!  Just by adding onion, cracker crumbs, salt, pepper, eggs, and covering with Cream of Mushroom Soup.   I modified this one a bit by grilling the patties in our George Foreman Grill before putting it into the baking dish.   Delicious!!
Shoofly Pie:    So many people seem to think that this is difficult to prepare, but it is actually quite simple and quick to prepare.   
Oh boy, I love love love shoofly pie!!   I have not made this in a number of years, and don't recall that the recipe I used called for cinnamon and nutmeg as this one did in the crumb topping.  Really tasty!    

Who wouldn't love a Peanut Pie, filled with cream cheese, crunchy peanut butter, whipped topping, and powdered sugar and then put in a graham cracker crust??   This is  a special treat and very quick and simple to make.   Try it yourself!  
Luke Wren is the author of  66 Amish Recipes: Learn To Cook Authentic Amish Bread, Amish Pies, and Other Delicious Amish Foods!
Please hop over to Not Quite Amish website at:  http://notquiteamishliving.com/ to see the many wonderful entries in "31 Days of Cookbooks".  My review is featured as the "guest blog" for December 20, 2012 on www.notquiteamishliving.com.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Review of Not Just a Hearer but a Doer

by Yolanda Shanks

We sit in the pews. We sing the songs. We recite Scripture.  Scripture we know by heart. And yet buried in the midst of this routine are commands and requests straight from the Most High that go ignored. We've become so reliant on God fulfilling His end of the bargain that we fail to follow through with ours.

We've Become Hearers.

In 31 days, Yolanda Shanks' devotional study, Not Just a Hearer but a Doer, will help you find calls to action within Scripture... and then act upon them. Starting with small things, like seeing that the Lord is good and working your way up to bigger actions, such as being a bold witness for Christ, you'll soon have the tools, desire and confidence to put Scripture into practice. Just as God intended.

God wants doers.
My review of Not Just a Hearer but a Doer:
I have read many devotionals over the years, and I feel confident that this is one of the best I've encountered!  It is practical, applicable, and easy-to-read.   Yolanda includes devotional lessons for 31 days.  Each devotional includes:  observations, background, interpretations, application, additional memory scriptures and a section for written notes/prayers.   Some examples of titles of daily devotions are:  Surrendering One's Self as a Disciple of Christ, Having Positioned Feet, Stirred and Willing to Give, and Don't Give Up, Hang in There!, and many more.   Reading and studying with this book felt like sitting down for coffee with an old friend.    
About the Author:

Yolanda Shanks is a motivational speaker and author.  She survived a suicide attempt in her teen years and has written a book based on that experience:  Destined to Live, Despite Me.  She makes her home in Houston, Texas.  You can connect with her at:  http://www.yolandashanks.com.
I received a free copy of this book through Christian Women's Affiliate  (CWA Review Crew) in exchange for my honest review.    I am not required or compensated to say positive things.

Review of Forsaken

Shelley Ring

Lara Blake is determined not to fall in love again, but her mother-in-law has other plans.

Naomi Blake used to care about God’s will for her life. Then her son died, and her faith with him. Naomi is on a crash course to take her own life next, but Lara isn’t so cooperative.

Lara loves Naomi desperately. She will not let the older woman go without a fight, and Naomi proves a worthy adversary. Lara believes if Naomi would just go back to church healing would begin.

Fighting the pull of death with the power of life, Lara realizes Naomi isn’t the only one who needs saving. Faith is not easy, but when you throw in a therapy Rottweiler, a knight in spit-shining armor, and a suicidal old woman, it’s downright scary. Lara almost has it figured out when Naomi seems to get her death wish. Have both women been FORSAKEN?

My Review of Forsaken:  
Shelley Ring's first novel involves a modern-day version of the book of Ruth from the Bible which happens to be my favorite book of Bible.   The mother-in-law, Naomi, is not always the easiest character to love so it truly is an act of love for Lara to remain with her after the death of her husband and Naomi's son.  I highly recommend this novel as you will likely laugh, cry, and wonder if you could ever do the same things that the characters are doing.  If you're looking for a good book to read over the holidays, try this one!   It is sure to give you hours of blissful reading!

About the Author:
Shelley Ring is a busy young wife and mother.  She is also a copywriter for several publishing companies and has many short stories which have also been published.  She enjoys reading, crafting, Bible study, and hearing the laughter of her precious children.  She makes her home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.    You can connect with her at:  http://www.shelleyring.wordpress.com.
I received a free pdf copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Review of Secret Santa

by Amanda Tru

It was time for Hailey Rhodes to admit the truth: things were not going well. After losing her job as a teacher, she finds herself broke, unemployed, and tricked into accepting a date from a department store Santa Claus. When new opportunities and new love interests present themselves, will Hailey choose a career and a man she's always admired, or will she wait for the identity of her Secret Santa to be revealed?
My Review of Secret Santa:
Amanda Tru is one of my newly-discovered favorite Christian authors.  Her other books were all suspenses and this one is full of suspense and surprise from the very beginning as well.   Hailey is stuck wearing bells and a cute little elf outfit when she loses her teaching position in economic cuts, and when she begins to be pursued by the resident Santa, she does even know his name or true identity.   This is a true heart-warming story for the holidays or any old time.     I will not spoil the book for potential readers by revealing too much, but I had a terrific time figuring out who the real Santa was--(I was right, by the way!).   "Santa" reminds Hailey often that God does have a plan and a purpose for her life, and I enjoyed seeing that plan and purpose unfold among the pages of Secret Santa.

About the Author:
Amanda Tru is a busy young mother of three active boys and a former school teacher herself.    She blogs about her crafts, activities, and adventures with her children and family as well as writing delightful Christian novels for her eager readers.     

I received a copy of this book from the author in preparation for a book chat in an online group.    

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Review of Buried Treasures by Mary Manners

When Caroline flees Chicago following the brutal murder of her husband, the last thing she expects-or wants-is to fall for Matt Carlson, a builder with strong roots in the small town of Mountainview, Tennessee. She needs to focus on raising her six-year-old daughter and protecting both their hearts from ever being shattered again. Matt is struggling with issues of his own...guilt over the death of his wife and the responsibility of raising a cynical teenaged nephew who is dropped on his doorstep, abandoned by Matt's alcoholic sister. He doesn't have time to fall in love, yet he can't help being drawn to the woman who is ready to defend her home-and her daughter-with nothing more than a feisty attitude and a broom handle. Can Matt's help and friendship convince Caroline to trust again...and when Caroline's daughter goes missing, will Matt be able to find the girl before it's too late and he loses everything he loves...again?

My review of Buried Treasures:
What a delightful story by Mary Manners.  I could just imagine  myself moving into the inherited aunt's home and starting over with a new career as high-school guidance counselor, raising my precious little daughter, Callie, and meeting the most wonderful man, Matt!  They have both experienced such tragedy in their previous marriages and naturally they are reluctant and afraid to love again, but chemistry is there and they must see where it leads or give up and have a loveless existence.   I was so drawn by the sincerity of the characters. I loved the church gatherings and functions the characters attended.  It made me miss the churches where I served as pastor's wife.   I would love to see a second book to tell what does happen next in the lives of Caroline, Callie, Matt, Paul, Andie and the others.   I highly recommend this book to readers.  I think you will be as happy as I am about reading this book by Mary Manners.

About the Author:

Mary Manners lives in the beautiful foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee with her husband, Tim, and  teen-aged daughter, Danni. Also with them are Lucky and Gus - the two cherished cats they rescued from local animal shelters.
Mary is  a member of the Romance Writers of America and Smoky Mountain Romance Writers.
During the school year, Mary teaches middle-schoolers reading and Algebra. When she has free time, she lovex to garden, take long walks with he husband, and read romance novels in a hammock beneath century-old shade trees.
She writes romance novels for White Rose Publishing. If you'd like to visit, she has an author page there, as well. That's where you'll find everything there is to know about her books.
II was given a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.  Thank you, Mary!

Crowned by the King! crowning moment

Crowned by the King--Crowning Moment

Please visit the website for Crowned by the King Ministries at:  http://www.crownedbytheking.com/ for more information and to purchase your own necklaces to "crown" a special woman...young, old, or in-between.
     The Crowned By The King necklace is a tool that reminds women that they are Daughters of the King, beautiful, loved, and purposed to be used by God.   
"I am chosen"--John 15:16
"I am wonderfully made"--Psalm 139:14
"I am dearly loved"--Colossians 3:12
"I am a daughter of the King"--Romans 8:14
The above video will give you a brief introduction to this unique ministry.   
When I was given the opportunity to review the Crowned by the King necklace and share a  crowning moment with another special lady, I was very excited.  I often review books, and I love the Lord, my King, so this was a golden opportunity for me to share a blessing with someone.   
I prayed about the lady that God wanted me to bless by crowning her with the necklace, and I finally felt led to wear it to one of our peer group meetings at a local center and would let a woman "notice and mention" or ask me about the necklace.  Then I would make my move and present her with a necklace.  Sure enough, the meeting started, and ended, and no one mentioned it, but then a special young lady and I were sitting alone and talking and she says "is that a crown?" and points to my necklace.  I told her "yes" and then went on to explain about the ministry I was participating in and I told her that I wanted to "crown her from our King".  She has attended seminary and greatly desires to serve God as a missionary in some capacity in her lifetime.  She was so thrilled with the necklace and its special meaning and related Bible verses.  We got the crown around her neck and clasped it.   We hugged and she was moved to tears, as I was also.   I gave her a special bookmark and leaflet and directed her attention to places where she could find even more information about this exciting ministry and we parted and went our separate ways in a short while.  I walked away, smiling,  and thanking God for her and for her life and  ministry. I am old enough to be her mother and I value our friendship.  I truly enjoy talking and sharing with her and miss seeing her if she does not make it to our group meetings.  I am so glad that God has brought our paths in life together.  I feel that HE destined before we were born for the two of us to meet and to be together on this very day on November 29, 2012 so that I could place the crown around her neck and share its meaning with her.  I thanked Him for bringing her in my path that day as she was in need of some encouragement and uplifting at this time in her life.  

Father, bless this special young woman and lead her in Your will. Show her Your purpose for her.  Let her know that she is loved, chosen by You, wonderfully made, and Your daughter!   Fill her up with Your love. Surround her with angels of mercy, grace, and protection.  Guide  her each day. Fill her with wisdom and understanding.  Thank you for the blessings she has brought to my life just by knowing her.  AMEN

The lovely sterling silver crown necklace makes a wonderful gift and blessing for daughters, mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, nieces, friends, co-workers, waitresses, nurses, female doctors, and more, even complete strangers whom God places in your heart and in your path to bless with being "Crowned by the King".  

I received this product free from Christian Women Affiliate's Review Crew of which I am a member and Crowned by the King Ministry to review.  No other compensation was given to me.  I was to share the necklace and report about my experience in crowning a woman with the necklace for that express purpose.  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

 Review of A Christmas Home

by Greg Kincaid

 Todd McCray, hero of A Dog Named Christmas, is now twenty-four years old and working at a local animal shelter, where he meets and quickly becomes best friends with Laura, a young volunteer. Laura, like Todd, has disabilities of her own, but her struggles are more physical than developmental. Their friendship is sealed when Todd—with the help of his trusted companion, the tenacious Labrador retriever named Christmas—trains a beautiful dog named Gracie to help Laura with the day-to-day life tasks that are difficult for her. 
            Life seems good for Todd, but all is not well in his hometown. Struggling families unable to make ends meet are abandoning more and more dogs, and the shelter is swelling to capacity.  The local government is struggling to meet its obligations too, and in early December, on the cusp of another holiday season, Todd’s boss delivers the bad news.  Due to funding problems, the shelter will close its doors before the end of the year.  But what will happen to all the animals?  
   As the Christmas holiday approaches, Todd has limited time to find homes for all the dogs. Not to mention that he needs to secure a new job and figure out what to do when his friendship with Laura takes an unexpected romantic turn. All this seems overwhelming unless you’ve got a loving family, dedicated friends, and a couple of very special dogs behind you. In which case, nothing is impossible.
My Review:    Greg Kincaid has written a delightful Christmas story for dog lovers of all ages.  I think this book would be suitable for younger readers with a high-reading level.   If you have not read A Dog Named Christmas, I believe you can still enjoy this book as a stand-alone.  I have seen the movie version of it and so that helped with many details.    It was nice to see Todd grown up and able to work and live independently.   He has many challenges in life with his developmental disability and everyone is worried about him when the shelter is set to be closed, but I think he shows everyone in the story just how strong  a man he has become!   He moves forward with great strength and dignity.   His parents are concerned, of course. His mother, in particular, has some difficulty in "cutting the apron strings" but I don't want to spoil the book by telling too much!   You need to read the book to see just how independent Todd has become.   You will likely fall in love with Christmas, the dog, just as I did.   What a wonderful loving pet !  this is a heartwarming tale for the Christmas season.  I was wondering if this one will also be made into a movie, as it would certainly be one I would like to see.   
About the Author:
Greg Kincaid, author of A Dog Named Christmas and Christmas with Tucker, is a practicing lawyer who specializes in family law mediation. He is also an active advocate for literacy and for the humane treatment of animals. He helped to start the Foster a Lonely Pet for the Holidaysprogram that has found homes for tens of thousands of shelter dogs. The father of five children, he lives on a farm in western Johnson County, Kansas, with his wife, two cats and two dogs.  You can visit his website at:  http://www.gregkincaid.com.
I received a copy of this book from Waterbrook Multonamah Publishing in exchange for my honest review.   

Review of Healing Love(The Amish of Webster County)

by Laura V. Hilton 

                           and GIVEAWAY Winner:    

           Karen Schulz is the winner of copy of Healing Love

Congratulations!   You will receive email--please send mailing address!  

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Healing Love, the first in the new series, The Amish of Webster County, by Laura V. Hilton.  To celebrate this tour, Laura is giving away a basket of goodies, on her blog, all comments left on this blog or on her blog during the blog tour (November 1 -22nd) will be entered for the drawing of the Grate-Fall Basket.  Click on the picture below to go to Laura's blog to learn more about the participants and to enter the giveaway.  Don't forget a comment here also will give you an entry.  This book was provided by Whitaker House for review purposes, Blog Tour promoted by LovenGod Promotions. 

Life gets a lot harder for Amish midwife Kristi Lapp when a buggy wreck lands her in the hospital and leaves her with a pronounced limp. Among her biggest concerns is the well-being of her dog, Chinook, as she is no longer able to keep up with the high-energy Siberian husky. Adding insult to injury, she fears she’ll never marry for love, for what man would willingly wed a woman who needs help with even the most basic of household tasks? 
Shane Zimmerman moved to Seymour for a fresh start. The veterinarian is still reeling from the loss of his young wife, who died in childbirth—an aneurysm, the autopsy determined, but he still blames the midwife and the herbal remedies she administered. He meets his next-door neighbor, Kristi, when he discovers her wrecked buggy and takes her to the hospital. Eager to deepen the friendship that forms between them, he offers to take care of exercising her dog. But the harsh words of Kristi’s father discourage him from pursuing a relationship further—for the time being. Shane isn’t Amish, although his grandparents were, and Ira Lapp would rather his daughter marry an aging Amish widower than a young Englischer. 
Despite all the forces that would keep them apart, Kristi and Shane can’t deny the strong attraction between them. So, their on-again, off-again relationship persists, as Kristi submits to physical therapy for her leg and Shane reevaluates his reasons for being Englisch. But will they find a way to stay together? Or are their differences too divisive to resolve?
My Review of Healing Love:
Laura V. Hilton has written a masterful piece of Amish fiction.    I loved this book, but I sure did get mad at her Uncle Timothy and her daed for always butting into her romantic interests!  It seems very unfair that an Amish person can not look to the Englisch for marriage or even friendship among the opposite sex.   I was also surprised that Kristi's injury which left her with a limp and forced to use a cane would be of such concern to Amish men.    They seemed to feel that she could no longer handle the responsibilities of an Amish home.    
It was very interesting to learn of the ways of healing with herbs used by the Amish.  Also I was quite fascinated to learn more of the ways of the Amish midwife.   For those animal lovers, the dog is a beautiful addition to this story as well as Shane's career as an Englisch veterinarian.  It is a challenge for Shane and Kristi to work through his issues with his wife's death during her pregnancy attended by a midwife who used herbs.  Will they be able to sort the negative feelings out between her death and Kristi's healing use of herbs?   The ending proved to be a huge surprise to me and I am anxious for a second book to be published so that I can find out what happens to Shane and Kristi.     I highly recommend this book to readers!   Thank you so much for writing a beautiful story of love and persistence.   

About the Author:
Laura V. Hilton graduated with a business degree from Ozarks Technical College in Melbourne, Arkansas.   A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, she is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with more than a thousand reviews published on the web.  
         Healing Love is the first in Laura's second series with Whitaker House, The Amish of Webster County.   Her fist series, The Amish of Seymour, included Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts,  and Promised to Another. Previously, she published two novels with Treble Heart Books, Hot Chocolate and Shadows of the Past, as well as several devotionals. 
      Laura and her husband, Steve, have five children, whom Laura homeschools.   The family makes their home in Arkansas.   To learn more about Laura, read her reviews, and find out about her upcoming releases, readers may visit her blog at http://lighthouse-academy.blogspot.com.   
 The book was provided by Whitaker House for review purposes, and the Blog Tour is promoted by LovenGod Promotions.
To purchase Healing Love:

 Visit Laura V. Hilton at her blog to enter the giveaway for her Grate-Fall Basket, in celebration for the Blog Tour of her latest book Healing Love, The Amish of Webster County.  http://lauravhilton.blogspot.com 

~Cindy Loven~sponsor of Book Launch Blog Tour:   to see LovenGodPromotions: 
Read Cindy Loven's book reviews at Cindy Reviews
Read Cindy's product review or tips and hints at Cindy's Tips and Hints

Friday, November 16, 2012

Review of An Amish Gift

By Cynthia Keller

From the author of An Amish Christmas and A Plain & Fancy Christmas comes a heartwarming novel of marriage and family, new beginnings and poignant homecomings—just in time for the holidays.
After her husband, Shep, loses his latest job, Jennie Davis is grateful to be in a car en route to beautiful Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Shep has inherited a house from a distant cousin, along with the cousin’s long-established bicycle shop. The move gives Jennie, Shep, and their two children a welcome chance for a fresh start.
While Shep dives into his new venture at the bike shop, Jennie carefully restores their broken-down house. She loves being a stay-at-home mom but yearns to find some fulfillment outside of her family—particularly as they struggle financially. On morning walks, she forges a friendship with her Amish neighbor, Mattie Fisher, who opens up about her modest way of life. Mattie’s unswerving good character in the face of adversity encourages Jennie to seek practical solutions to her own difficulties. A passing remark by Jennie’s son transforms desperation about their finances into inspiration, leading her to embark upon a candy-making enterprise.
Soon, Jennie’s newfound purpose collides with Shep’s growing stress at work and long-simmering tensions between husband and wife rise to the surface. As the holiday season approaches, their family is challenged as never before—until an unexpected visitor arrives to give Jennie the greatest gift of all.
My review:
I really enjoyed this Christmas novel by Cynthia Keller.  Jennie, Shep, and their children are Englisch but find great friendship among the Amish neighbors: the Fisher family.    I must admit to fantasizing as I read that some long lost relative would leave me a home in Amish country.    I could just imagine moving there and starting over in such a peaceful setting.  
  Jennie and Shep have many things to work on in their relationships and home.  This book certainly shows that people can start over and that forgiveness is possible.     I believe that readers will get great satisfaction from this story of hope.    
I received a free digital copy of this book from netgalley and the publishers in exchange for my honest review.   

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Healing Love book giveaway!    

by Laura V. Hilton 
Enter now by leaving a comment with your email.  For extra entries, follow my blog, share on facebook, or twitter.   You can leave one comment telling me what you did to enter.  Good luck!    Contest ends at 12:01 a.m. on November 18, 2012.  Review will follow announcement of winner!!!   
Life gets a lot harder for Amish midwife Kristi Lapp when a buggy wreck lands her in the hospital and leaves her with a pronounced limp. Among her biggest concerns is the well-being of her dog, Chinook, as she is no longer able to keep up with the high-energy Siberian husky. Adding insult to injury, she fears she’ll never marry for love, for what man would willingly wed a woman who needs help with even the most basic of household tasks? 
Shane Zimmerman moved to Seymour for a fresh start. The veterinarian is still reeling from the loss of his young wife, who died in childbirth—an aneurysm, the autopsy determined, but he still blames the midwife and the herbal remedies she administered. He meets his next-door neighbor, Kristi, when he discovers her wrecked buggy and takes her to the hospital. Eager to deepen the friendship that forms between them, he offers to take care of exercising her dog. But the harsh words of Kristi’s father discourage him from pursuing a relationship further—for the time being. Shane isn’t Amish, although his grandparents were, and Ira Lapp would rather his daughter marry an aging Amish widower than a young Englischer. 
Despite all the forces that would keep them apart, Kristi and Shane can’t deny the strong attraction between them. So, their on-again, off-again relationship persists, as Kristi submits to physical therapy for her leg and Shane reevaluates his reasons for being Englisch. But will they find a way to stay together? Or are their differences too divisive to resolve?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Review of The Amish Family Cookbook 

by Jerry & Tina Eicher

From the home of bestselling author Jerry Eicher (more than 350,000 books sold) and his wife, Tina, comes this warm and inviting peek into an Amish kitchen, complete with....

Amish recipes:

Hannah Byler's Pecan Pie

Beat on low speed slightly or with hand beater: 
3 eggs 1/3 cup butter, melted 1 cup light corn syrup 
? t. salt 2/3 cup sugar 
Stir in: 1 cup pecan halves. 
Pour into: 1 pie crust
Bake at 375 for 40-50 minutes.

Amish proverbs: It takes seven to cook for to make a really happy wife.

and Amish humor:

The Englisha visitor suffered through a three-hour Amish wedding service, sitting on the hard backless church bench. 
"Why does it take so long to tie the knot?" he asked afterward.
"Well," the bishop said, stroking his long white beard. "So that it takes ?em a lifetime to untie it."

Readers will laugh, pray, and eat robustly with The Amish Family Cookbook at their side.
My REVIEW:   Jerry & Tina Eicher have put together an amazing collection of tried and true Amish family recipes !   The cookbook also features recipes from many of Jerry Eicher's works of Amish fiction.    There are Amish proverbs and little stories interspersed through out the cookbook.    I have really enjoyed the cookbook and look forward to preparing many more of the recipes.   I decided that I needed to try several of the recipes and feature them here with my review.   
I first made
 "Laura's Rice Custard"  
4 cups milk                                                                     1 cup sugar
2 cups cooked rice (do not pack)                         1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup raisins                                                              1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs                                                                               cinnamon
Heat milk, rice, and raisins in small saucepan until warm.   Set aside.  In separate bowl, beat egg and whisk in sugar and salt.   Add hot milk mixture to eggs along with vanilla.   Pour into 2-quart baking dish.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.  Set in shallow pan of water and bake at 325 degrees for approximately 1 hour.  Stir twice while baking---20 minutes after start of baking time and again about 15 minutes later. (this helps to keep rice and raisins from settling.)
Note: Laura is an older lady in our church and she knew I loved her rice custard.  She often brought it to carry-ins at church.
"The best way to succeed in life is to act on the advice you give others."   

"Laura's Rice Custard" was really creamy and delicious!

I next tried :
"Baked Oatmeal"
3 cups quick-cooking oats                                                   1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar                                                                   2 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder                                                              1 cup milk
1 tsp. salt                                                                                     1/2 cup butter, melted
Combine the dry ingredients.   Whisk together the wet ingredients and add to dry ingredients.  Pour into a greased 9-inch square pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes.   Serve warm with milk.
(I added 1/2 c. raisins)
This was also quite yummy, but I think I would have liked it better if I had baked it a few more minutes.  
Last, I prepared:
"Pineapple Cake"
2 cups flour                                                                 Frosting:  
2 cups sugar                                                                1/2 c. butter, softened
2 tsp. baking soda                                                    1 8-oz. pkg, cream cheese, softened
2 eggs                                                                            2 cups powdered sugar
1 20-oz. can crushed pineapple                        1 tsp. vanilla
Mix first five ingredients.  Pour into greased 13 x 9 inch baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.   For frosting, cream together butter and cream cheese.  Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.   Frost cake immediately while still hot.   
This one is for my mom's 79th birthday celebration......smells so good! moist and delightful!  
"Pineapple Cake"
Awesome cookbook!  check it out!    
I received a free copy of this book from the publishers: Harvest House, in exchange for my honest review.   

Friday, November 9, 2012

Days 7 & 8 NHBPM

Days 7 & 8 of NHBPM 

Day 7:  Redesigning a doctor's office:   wow, could I really redesign the doctor's office?   There should be some really comfy reclining massage chairs in here!   Two of them--one for the patient and one for caretaker.    There should be soothing colors on the walls, lovely paintings or murals.    How about a television or computer to use while waiting?   Let's have videos/shows/computer games that educate us about the illnesses we are here to diagnose, discuss, and treat/cure!   This could alleviate a great deal of stress.  Music! Music! Music!  let's have some great music to choose from  to help us pass the time without stressing and our blood pressure going sky high.    I know you need all the medical things and that's okay.  Let's just have a few goodies in the room to make us less fearful and anxious.   It will make your job so much easier!  

Day 8:  Letter to my health:                                                                                      

Dear Rhonda's Health:

what do I say to you?   there is not one illness to target.  There are so many....the ulcerative colitis, depression, mania, migraines, vertigo, lumbago, fibromyaglia, ulnar neuropathy, sleep apnea, anxiety, panic attacks, agoraphobia, numbness and tingling in arms and legs, psorsiasis, sebhorreic dermatitis, joint pains, knee pain/degeneration, urgent bowel needs, incontinence of bowels, no gall bladder, no small intestine, vitamin deficiencies, anemia, urinary tract infections, reflux, angina, high blood pressure, high cholesterol.........wow, that's a lot!  

It is such a stress and a strain to want to go out and do something or go somewhere and always looking for the bathrooms, carrying extra supplies and clothing, having to stop in the grass and literally go on the streets, having accidents on myself and never making it out of the driveway and having to come back inside the house and get in the bathtub and wash all over AGAIN!  Hurting so much that there is no energy to go anywhere....no desire.....laying my head on the PILLOW causes pain to the back of my head.....can't sleep.....can't wake up......skin rashes, anxiety, scared to go out.....scared to stay in.....lonely....depressed.....isolation....numbness...tingling....am I having a stroke?  a heart attack?  will I live to see my grandchildren?   do I want to live? Is it worth? do I have any worth? any value?  Is there a point to my life? why I am here? I can't work anymore....can't teach....can't fulfill my calling now....who wants me? who needs me?  why do I bother? should I bother?   my heart is racing!  My chest hurts!  am I having a heart attack?  my face is numb! my arm is tingling....stroke?   tests! tests! more tests!  that awful gallon of detestable liquid to clean you out.....and then the colonoscopy where you feel the procedure....you are not sedated enough...ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!! somebody, get me out of here!    Help!   

and yet, all of these things have brought me to this place in my life to the age of 50 and have formed me into the person that I am today.   And that is okay.   I am okay.  I am getting help.  I am getting treatment for all of these ailments as I need them.  I am taking my medications.  I am going to my therapist.   I am praying.  I am studying.  I am filling myself with knowledge and researching ways to get help.  I am reaching out for support and giving support to others through peer groups and support groups.   I am okay.  My health is not perfect.  My health is not good....in fact, it is pretty darn poor, but I am okay.  I will survive this.   I am going to make it.   

Love, Me

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Review of The River                                                                                                  


by Michael Neale

"You were made for The River . . ."

Gabriel Clarke is mysteriously drawn to The River, a ribbon of frothy white water carving its way through steep canyons high in the Colorado Rockies. The rushing waters beckon him to experience freedom and adventure.

But something holds him back-the memory of the terrible event he witnessed on The River when he was just five years old-something no child should ever see.

Chains of fear and resentment imprison Gabriel, keeping him from discovering the treasures of The River. He's remains trapped, afraid to take hold of the life awaiting him.

When he returns to The River after years away, his heart knows he is finally home. His destiny is within reach. Claiming that destiny will be the hardest-and most brave-thing he has ever done.
My Review:
What an absolutely incredible story of discovery, grief, and forgiveness.    Gabriel will likely steal your heart as he did mine.  I fell in love with him just as his teacher did.   He is such a tender-hearted soul and I feel that it touched that part of me that also longs for discovery of my "river". .....that which God has called me to....my purpose here on earth.    
Michael Neale is masterful in his writing. I have had the privilege of doing some rafting and kayaking on rivers and the images he painted with words made me feel that I was actually on the river with the characters as they forged ahead.    The beauty of the Colorado scenery was easy to imagine.    I am ready to get out my camping gear and head there to hit the river!    
Michael Neale:  gifted writer, veteran performer, and masterful storyteller are all phrases used to describe him.  He's currently leading a live, multimedia concert event known as The River Experience, which immerses the audience in breathtaking film imagery and a world-class musical score.   Michael resides in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, with his wife, Leah, and their children, Micah, Maisie, and Wyatt.
You can visit his website:  http://www.michaelneale.com.
I received a free copy of this book from booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Review of A Home for Lydia

by Vannetta Chapman

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

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

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

Together they work to make the vacation property profitable, but can they find out the identity of the culprit before more damage is done? And is Lydia's dream of a home of her own more than just a wish and a prayer?
My review: 
Vannetta Chapman is such a wonderful author and I love her books!!!   This one is another terrific book!   I love camping and the Plain Cabins sound so relaxing and comfortable.  I wish I could go there to camp for a while.  In fact, I'd love to be the caretaker as Lydia and Aaron are.   I love how Vannetta weaves a mystery into the romantic tale.   It is indeed sad that someone would rob from the Amish and from the Plain Cabins, but it is great fun to try to figure out who is doing it and why.   Loyalty to family plays a large part in the theme of this book as well.   Lydia and Aaron both give selflessly to help their families out.   Read this one when it is released to see what happens in their lives as God works to weave his plan for their lives, even as He is doing so for us.   

About the Author:
Vannetta Chapman has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania. Her first novel, A Simple Amish Christmas, quickly became a bestseller. Chapman lives in the Texas hill country with her husband.
you can connect with her at: http://www.VannettaChapman.com.
I received a free electronic copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.