Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Little Wild Flower, book two

Oh, what a sweet sweet book!!   Jane and Elijah have settled into their Amish lifestyle, even though Jane was not raised Amish.   They are blessed with many children (I won't say how many so as not to spoil the book) and so are their family members.   Tragedy strikes in several fashions, with one of their children's lives hanging in the balance and a non-Christian doctor, who urges them to let the child die.   Their faith wins out though!!   Elijah has a chance to witness to the doctor and plant a seed.    When further tragedy strikes, Jane's world is torn apart and she returns to her childhood home to find peace.    She finds several surprises along the way.....remember her childhood friends, Penelope, and Bradley?  God brings them back together in the most miraculous ways.    Jane is able to find hope and plans to rebuild her life.   
Read this book and you won't be disappointed.     It is a precious story of healing and recovery and will ring true for any readers who have also suffered childhood abuse and loss.   
About the Author: 
 Samantha Jillian Bayarr has written many books, both Amish and non-Amish romance.   She founded her own publishing company and is quite an accomplished and successful young woman.   This Little Wild Flower set is currently available in ebook form for $0.99 and $1.99 per book from http://www.amazon.com

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Little Wild Flower, book 1, Review

The Little Wild Flower, book 1, Amish Romance by Samantha Jillian Bayarr

This is my first time to read a book by Samantha Bayarr and I really like it! I would highly recommend it.  This is a very different "Amish Romance" as far as the genre goes.    Jane's English father moves the family to an Amish community and purchases a former Amish farm after his wife returns home from rehab for alcoholism.   Jane has suffered abuse at her mother's hands during the years of battling alcoholism.   Jane is furious to be living in the dull, boring place and especially to have left behind her friends, so she hides away for the summer.  When she finally comes out of her brooding seclusion, her eyes land on one very HOT Amish young man, Elijah.   There are a great many love matches to come in The Little Wild Flower.   

What I love is that the book does deal with alcoholism, abuse, recovery, and forgiveness as well as purity before marriage and waiting. These issues struck real nerves in me as I have lived their truths as well.  The book series seems to offer hope for others who are also dealing with any of these issues.  The author also has more liberal views allowed by the Amish/Mennonite practices among her characters, as in the weddings and dress.  I also love that Samantha incorporates many Bible verses in this book.   She uses the Bible to support what her characters are experiencing and dealing with.    Please read this book as I think you will also be pleasantly surprised by it!!!

About the Author

Samantha Jillian Bayarr founded Livingston Hall Publishers in 2002. Named for her great, great grandfather, Edward Livingston Hall, who owned a publishing house in the late 1800's, until his passing; Samantha resurrected this legacy as a way of honoring him for passing onto her his love for the written word.
Working in the production aspect of publishing has provided her with the expertise needed to produce develop and design books from the inside out. When it came time to publish her own work, her experience in the field lent her the ability to produce several genres, specializing in Christian Historical Romance and Amish Romance.

Friday, March 23, 2012

For a Perfect Mystery, Read A Perfect Square

Review of A Perfect Square by Vannetta Chapman

For a perfect mystery,  mixed up with some Amish living in Shipsewana, Indiana, read a Perfect Square by Vannetta Chapman.   This is the first book of Vannetta's that I have read and I definitely want to read more.   Callie, Deborah, and Esther have been involved in some other "mystery solving", much to the chagrin of the local detective, Shane.  I did not get to read the full details of Falling to Pieces, book one in the Shipsewana Amish Mystery series, but I can not wait to do so as many elusions to it were made in a Perfect Square.  

If you love quilting, Amish things,  and mysteries, you will love this book.  It is a true "nail-biter".   I could not put the book down.  I was constantly trying to figure out exactly what had happened to the young dead Amish girl that Esther and Deborah found in the pond on Reuben and Tobias's farm.   I was just as sure as Callie and Deborah were that Reuben was innocent, but even more twists were added when an elderly man, suffering with demention, sought Callie out and asked her to find his missing daughter.   She had apparently been missing since 1965 at age three when the 1965 Palm Sunday Tornadoes hit the area.    

I will not spoil the book as I hate it when folks do that to me, but I know that I was pleasantly surprised as the pieces of the puzzle began to fit together like a quilt until the perfect square was found.   I also loved that Vannetta used my favorite Bible verse as a focus of the story:   "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you."  God had a purpose for each event and twist of the story, just as He does with our own lives.   This book really touched me right now with things that I am dealing with in my own life and seeking God's purpose and plans for me.   

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 fell in love with the Amish while researching her grandfather's birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania.   Her first novel, A Simple Amish Christmas, quickly became a bestseller.   She lives in Texas with her husband.   
I want to personally thank Vannetta for this delightful book!!  It truly kept me on the edge of my seat and touched my heart at the same time!   :)
To read the first chapter of this book, click on this link:    http://www.scribd.com/doc/82303567/A-Perfect-Square-by-Vannetta-Chapman

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Review of God Loves Broken People

Review of God Loves Broken People (And those Who Pretend They're Not) by Sheila Walsh 

I highly recommend this book to any one who is struggling with pain and discouragement in their lives (and who among us isn't?).    Sheila Walsh uses real-life stories from her own experiences and that of others to reach out to the broken among us.  She uses examples of great people, even Mother Teresa and her own personal struggles with God and His love.    She points out that Mother Teresa had faith AND doubt.  I once had a Presbyterian pastor tell me that without doubt, there is no faith.   
I love these lines in the book:   "Nothing that happens surprises God, so trust Him in the midst of your pain.  God loves you, and nothing can separate you from His love.   God will be with you always, and whatever you have to face, He will go through it with you.   
       Do you believe those things?  If you do, then STAND there. Stand on the Rock.   Stand, when your knees buckle and your tears fall like rain.   Stand when everything else gives way.   You can do that, I know, because Jesus Himself continues to stand with you.  Forever."  
       Wow, those are powerful words.   As I ponder how we will make it with my husband having lost his job as the business folded and went bankrupt (and he had just lost a job he been with for 33 1/2 years to the company going bankrupt), and I have had to go on disability and retire from the teaching job I loved and felt called to by God.  I ponder my purpose and this book gives me some hope.   I also love that this book has a bonus Bible study to accompany the book.    God suffered and died for me.  He loves me.   He loves me in my brokenness.    He loves me just as I am.    
        A few other lines of Sheila's touched me:   "What if brokenness is a divine gift, a mystery we can fully understand and truly appreciate only in eternity?   what if our deepest wounds are the very places through which God's mercy flows to others?   What if instead of trying to fix ourselves, we present ourselves---broken and flawed though we are--to be used as He sees fit, for his glory and our good?"   
       Those lines remind me of the song, Blessings, by Laura Story:   "What if your blessings come through rain drops?  What if your healing comes through tears?  What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're real?"    
        Do read this book if you are also seeking answers to questions.    Read this book if you want to know God is real and that He loves you.  Read this book if you want to experience God's love in a new way.    Embrace Your brokenness.    God is the Good Shepherd and He does love the bummer lambs and the black sheep.  Read the book to hear the story.   

About the author:
Sheila Walsh is a powerful communicator, Bible teacher, and best-selling author with more than 4 million books sold. A featured speaker with Women of Faith®, Sheila has reached more than 3.5 million women by artistically combining honesty, vulnerability, and humor with God's Word.    Author of the best-selling memoir Honestly and the Gold Medallion nominee for The Heartache No One Sees, Sheila's most recent release, The Shelter of God's Promises, has also been turned into a DVD curriculum and in-depth Bible study. The Gigi, God's Little Princess book and video series has won the National Retailer's Choice Award twice and is the most popular Christian brand for young girls in the United States.

I received a free copy of this book from BookSneezeThomas Nelson Publishing for my honest review on my blog.
To read the first chapter of this book:  click this link:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Review of The Harvest of Grace

My Review of The Harvest of Grace, book 3 of Ada's House series by Cindy Woodsmall

           This book was enjoyable for me, but I will admit that I had read book 1 of the Ada's House series several years ago and had never read book 2, so at times, I was a bit lost and confused.  I was able to figure most things out and it did come back to me from book 1.   There were many couples to keep up with in this book:  Sylvia and Elam, then Sylvia and Beckie, Cara and Ephraim, Israel and Ada, Grey and Lena, so it was hard to keep track of things at points in the book for me. 

           I do love that the book spoke a great deal about grace and forgiveness and restoring of broken relationships, thus the title :  The Harvest of Grace.   I was a bit angry with Beckie and Elam in the story, to be honest, as I felt they did wrong to Sylvia in the way they came together.   I don't blame Sylvia for running off.  I also was a bit disturbed by the fact that Sylvia's father would shun HER!  She was actually leaving to try to avoid doing something wrong, and I felt that she got the short end of the stick on this deal! 

            I could relate somewhat to Cara's situation in having to forgive a father who had abandoned her.    I have had some family relationships of my own that I have had to restore and repair thru forgiveness. It is not an easy task, and does require God's help, as the book shows.  I do recommend this book as a great piece of Amish fiction, but you might be advised to read the series of Ada's House in order.  

About the Author
Cindy Woodsmall is the author of When the Heart Cries, When the Morning Comes, and When the Soul Mends.  Her ability to authentically capture the heart of her characters comes from her real-life connection with Amish, Mennonite, and Old Order Amish families.  A mother of three sons and two daughters-in-law, Cindy lives in Georgia with her husband.  
To READ THE FIRST CHAPTER OF The Harvest of Grace:
click this link:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/58119222/The-Harvest-of-Grace-by-Cindy-Woodsmall-ch-1-excerpt

I received a copy of this book free from WaterBrookMultonamah.com for my unbiased review.   

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Meet Cocoa Hall

Meet Cocoa Hall

miniature Pomeranian female, age 20 months and housebroken by previous owners who are having to move due to the husband's disability and we only had to pay for her shots as we took to Cocoa so quickly and he was touched!  She is so sweet and hasn't made a peep yet, but she is making herself right at home.   She and daddy are having a great time going outside repeatedly for a little exercise!  lol She is quite active and paces about and doesn't bother anything though....just paces with her little toenails clicking on the laminated wood floors...so cute!   She and daddy both fell asleep watching tv.   Daddy also paces the floor....adorable!  

she is so cute perched on the loveseat !!!   

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My Inspiration for Projects

Many folks ask me where I get my patterns for my crochet projects.   Well, I have several subscriptions to some popular crochet magazines.   I love the three pictured here:  Crochet Today!, Crochet World, and Interweave Crochet.   I have a large collection of the magazines and mark my favorite patterns with sticky notes.    I also get a lot of free patterns from internet sites, such as: http://www.crochetpatterncentral.com/, http://www.favecrafts.com/, http://www.redheart.com/, http://www.lionbrand.com/, and other crocheters' blogs.    I love experimenting with new stitches.    Back-post and front-post crochet stitches proved to be a challenge at first, but they are my favorite stitches now.    I also love experimenting with new yarns.....love soft ones, ribbons, ones with glitter, beads, etc.   I have even dropped hints to hubby to get some sheep and we'll let them mow the grass in the yard for us and then I can spin my own wool and have fun dying it!!!   He hasn't agreed to THAT idea YET!!   But I am persistent!  LOL :)   and I am spoiled rotten by him.  He is a keeper.....oh, and shhhh!  don't tell, but he untangles my yarn for me and rolls it into balls for me.  I love him!  
I read a fellow blogger say that yarn is delicious and I agree!  Yarn IS delicious!    delightful!  delectable!   I need to take some pics of all my yarn but I'm not ready to confess to that yet.........

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Crocheting & Praying!

Crocheting & Praying!

This is my all time favorite prayer shawl pattern above!! This pattern comes for Quick-to-Stitch Prayer Shawls from Annie's Attic.  I purchased the patterns and downloaded and printed them but as they are copyrighted, I can not share the pattern. The patterns even include suggested prayers and labels/gift tags to give along with the completed prayer shawls. Visit AnniesAttic.com to purchase the patterns.    Love it!!!    I have been busy crocheting and praying as I go.   I pray for the individual as I pray and this is for a very special friend.    I won't say who it's for as it is currently in the mail on the way to her.    It is my wish for her to have peace, love, joy, contentment, financial relief, safety for her and her family, and healing!    

Friday, March 2, 2012

Erica Joy Stratton

Erica Joy Stratton, 3/2/1985

Erica, at age 3 months; we went to JC Penney's in Charlottesville, VA mall for this one....she giggled and laughed!   this is a favorite pic of mine

Erica, at 18 months; went to a Photo Studio in Hampton VA in the mall.  It was super dark in the photo taking area, and she cried and cried.  That is why her eyes are "glistening". Obviously they got her to laugh and smile thru her tears though. 

Erica, today, 2012, complete w/her tattoo arm band.   She is beautiful and truly is a
"joy" to me still!

Notes from Erica's baby book from her birth:
Arrival time:  4:33 a.m.
Date:  Sat., March 2, 1985
Place:  Martha Jefferson Hospital, Charlottesville, VA
Doctor: Dr. Mitzi M. Child
Pediatrician:  Dr. Ray Ford

Parents' First Impressions and Reactions:

"No earthly joys could bring more pleasure than a little child to love and treasure."

I wrote in her baby book the following:
Mom immediately broke into tears of joy when they said "It's your....Erica!"  Daddy watched the doctor lift her out. (c-sec after unprogressed labor and preeclampia) Mom was upset because of all Erica had been through, and because she was cut on the forehead in the cesarean. Daddy went with her to the nursery and fell in love with her immediately.  He came into recovery and told me how Erica was ready to nurse....she was sucking his fingers and hers.  We both kept saying how beautiful she was!   She came to mom and dad in recovery; and nursed ten minutes.  She's a doll!!! 

Comments of friends and relatives:

"Precious"--Aunt Cynthia
"Strong---she is lifting her head. I'd forgotten how tiny they were."---Granny Nash
"Prettiest baby in the nursery.  Looks just like David."--Grandma Stratton
"She is beautiful! so tiny!"--gang at Shenanigan's where I worked
"Precious!  must take after her mom."--Southern States gang where David worked
"Isn't she the cutest thing?"--Susan Ellen, age 13
"She's so dainty and feminine."--Aunt Doris
"Too little for me to hold."--Papa Nash
"I want to take your baby home.   (to Erica):  wanna play with me? --I'm go kiss her hands."--cousin, Michael "Jason" Nash, age 2 1/2 (he was so excited to have a playmate when they met when she was a few weeks old and was upset when she cried and wanted to help her)

I laugh and tell Erica that she was our "experiment", as we really didn't know what we were doing. I was very very serious about parenting and studied every book I could get my hands on.  I watched Dr. Terry B. Brazelton on tv and respected his teaching and style.  I made homemade baby food for Erica.  I fed her cottage cheese or yogurt when she was old enough and they were daily favorites!    I even had a schedule for her toys and play so that she wouldn't become bored.  I read to her every single day, from the day we took her home.  She would listen raptly to me as I read Mother Goose nursery rhymes and other delightful things to her.   She still loves to read.   
I love you, Erica Joy, and I am so glad that God loaned you to us.  I thank God for the opportunity to parent you. I know that I made countless mistakes and I pray you can forgive me for all my errors.   I love you and I always will....unconditionally, no matter what!   You are a lovely young woman and I am so proud of the woman you have become!   XO

Penguins!!! Penguins! Penguins!

So I completed my 2nd ever quilted project for my oldest daughter, Erica Joy's, 27th birthday.  I got the pattern free from Janet Clare of the UK via Internet.  She made a miniature picture with it and so I scanned the pattern and enlarged it and made a 2 ft x 2 ft quilted wall hanging with it.  I used a fusible quilt batting and it was so easy....laid out the muslin backing, then quilt batting, and then quilt top and ironed!  Then I hand quilted the snowflakes which acted as the tacking for quilt, & hand stitched the black binding.  
I was very pleased with the results and so was Erica !!  I think the little one "dancing" in front reminds me of Erica....LOL....I started to embroider her name on that one.   Now my other daughters have placed their "orders"....Lol...Alison wants a sea turtle one and Amanda wants a penguin one too.