Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Month in Review: February

  • Wrote 0 words
  • Sculpted 0 babies
  • Tatted 0 crosses
  • Sewed 0 sock monkeys
  • Knit 0 hats, crocheted 1 hat
  • Exercised 15 days (got sick)
  • Read in the Bible 26 days
  • Wrote up 0 backlogged book reviews 
  • Posted 2 old blog posts
  • Sunday, February 26, 2017

    Temperature Blanket - Week 8

    Feb 19: 61
    Feb 20: 58
    Feb 21: 56 Rain from 7:30 am - 10:30 am
    Feb 22: 63
    Feb 23: 57
    Feb 24: 46 Rain all day * "Snow Day" due to power outages*
    Feb 25: 36 Snow off and all day

    Monday, February 20, 2017

    Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway: "The Amish Wanderer" by Laura V. Hilton

    About the Book

    Click to purchase

    Book: Amish Wanderer
    Author: Laura V. Hilton
    Genre: Amish Romance
    Release Date: February 14
    Bethany Weiss is ready to leave town. Tongues haven’t stopped clacking in Jamesport, MO, since her daed, the bishop, was admitted to a mental hospital after hurting their small Amish community. But her sharpest wounds Bethany hides from prying eyes, quietly biding her time until she can take a chance at a new life—away from Jamesport and away from God.
     Silas Beiler was kicked out of his own home. Dogged by a rough childhood and a family who blames him for each new disaster, he begins hitchhiking across the country, sleeping in barns where he can, working for food when possible—headed for Pennsylvania in the hope of some stability.
     When Bethany spies a man asleep in the hayloft, she first fears the return of an unwelcome suitor. But when it is Silas who turns and speaks, the memories flood back: a happy summer six years ago full of lemonade, long walks, and budding courtship. Now, however, those months of bliss seem na├»ve and idyllic. Was their old love strong enough to overcome new pain? Or will hurt and rejection continue to haunt their path?

    My Thoughts

    "The Amish Wanderer" is the "sequel" to "The Amish Firefighter". In order to really understand this book, it would be extremely helpful to read "The Amish Firefighter" first. Some of the references/interactions with some of the secondary characters also made me wonder if they were introduced in one of Laura Hilton's other books (I looked and some of them are). I really liked how plainly the Gospel is presented. I liked watching the characters grow throughout the book. There are some "edgy" topics in this book (rape and abuse), but I thought they were mentioned quite delicately. I don't think I'll let my pre-teen daughters read it, though.  I thought Bethany's reactions were realistic and I ached for her in her struggle to find acceptance and love instead of being forgotten and overlooked.

    About the Author

    laurahilton_icrs2016Laura V. Hilton
    Amish fiction lovers responded positively and immediately to Laura V. Hilton’s debut novel, Patchwork Dreams, when she burst on the scene in 2009 with her unique series, The Amish of Seymour, set in the tiny town of Seymour, in Webster County, Missouri. Fans of the genre immediately recognized Hilton’s insider knowledge, not only of the Webster County community, but Amish culture in general. Her natural speech and writing patterns, she says, are uniquely “Amish,” acquired from her Amish maternal grandparents. The Amish of Seymour, includes Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. Her second series, The Amish of Webster County, is comprised of Healing Love, Surrendered Love, and Awakened Love. A stand-alone title, A White Christmas in Webster County, was released in September 2014. The Amish of Jamesport includes The Snow Globe, The Postcard and The Birdhouse. In spring 2016 she released The Amish Firefighter with the setting in Jamesport, MO, the same as for The Amish Wanderer.
    Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer. Laura and her husband, Steve, have five children, whom Laura homeschools. The family makes their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.
     Guest Post from Laura Hilton
    I didn’t intentionally set out to write an Amish story loosely based on a true story. If fact, when people asked me if I would write my maternal grandparents’ story, I told them no.
     But when time came to write Bethany’s story, all I knew was a short paragraph blurb about it. Bethany and her once-upon-a-time boyfriend Silas who left that particular Amish district and her before their relationship became serious. I didn’t know their backstories, really, and had no idea how the story would proceed. And since I don’t plot, I spend a lot of time praying about the story, because really, I want to write what He says to write. He knows who He wants it to reach.
     So I sat down to pray about it. And God gave me a verse. Which is unusual at the beginning of the story. Usually, for me, it’s at the middle when God reveals His theme for the book. But this time, it was at the beginning. The verse is:
    For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (KJV)
    And the verses caused more prayer. What am I supposed to do with it?
     I was driving to Melbourne (Arkansas, not Australia) to pay property taxes and get my vehicle tags renewed, listening to the radio as we (my three daughters and I) drove down Larkin Road (that’s not the real name, just what everyone calls it—we have a lot of those around here: Day Road, Moko Road, etc—because there are ghost towns on these roads so they are called by the name of the ghost town). A song came on the radio and I don’t remember the name of it, or even who the singer was, but when I arrived in Melbourne, I had the opening line to my story.
     The sky is falling and I’m searching for somewhere to hide.
     I’m sure the people at the county clerk’s office might have been a little concerned about the state of my mental health when they saw the words scribbled at the top of my bill. I did get a strange look. I didn’t offer an explanation. And they didn’t ask.
     When I got home, I started writing and paying close attention to Bethany’s mental clues (and Silas’s) to figure out what their stories were. And how they tied into the verse God had given me.
     And then, without even realizing it until it hit, I knew who’s story I was writing.
     My grandmother’s. My grandfather’s.
     Except they are different. My grandmother wasn’t date raped. It was a member of her own family. And she wasn’t in love with my grandfather. She just discovered he was leaving the Amish and she wanted—needed—to escape.
     Neither were Christians at the time. My grandfather was saved on his death bed. My grandmother’s youngest child was a teenager when she was saved. My mother, her sister, and all their girlfriends went to a tent meeting for a United Brethren Church and my grandmother attended one of the meetings with her daughters and was saved as a result. And their testimonies ultimately led to the salvation of my uncle and my grandfather.
     Both of my grandparents had a lot of issues to work through as to why God allowed the bad things in their lives to happen. That they eventually came to Christ is a miracle but I’m glad they did, as I was raised in a Christian home.
     Why does God allow bad things to happen to people? The short, pat answer is: because sin entered the world. Yes, God could stop them. But what if He uses the bad thing to refine a person’s faith, to draw them closer to Him as a result?
     How a person reacts to the bad things directly ties in to how they affect them. In my story, Silas chose to trust God even though he feared for his life. No, he didn’t like what had happened, but even though he didn’t see how, he trusted God was working behind the scenes to bring Silas to where he needed to be, spiritually and physically. On the other hand, Bethany believed God had rejected her. Pushed her away and didn’t care about her. If He didn’t care for her, why should she care about Him? So she went into a stand-off with God.
     The lessons ultimately learned, for both my grandparents and my characters, brought them to their knees before the living and holy God who was, and is, and is to come. And I trust God will use this story to help a reader out there who might be questioning something terrible that happened in their life.
     You might not see how now and may not know why until eternity, but God has this. Keep praying. Keep trusting. Keep believing.
    For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (KJV)

    Blog Stops

    February 14: inklings and notions
    February 15: A Rup Life
    February 15: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
    February 15: Lane Hill House
    February 16: Daysong Reflections
    February 16: Blogging With Carol
    February 17: Bigreadersite
    February 17: Rockin’ My Mom Jeans
    February 18: Rhonda’s Doings
    February 18: Jeanette’s Thoughts
    February 19: A Greater Yes
    February 19: A Holland Reads
    February 20: Blossoms and Blessings
    February 21: Eat, Read, Teach, Blog
    February 21: Mom Is Forever
    February 22: Splashes of Joy
    February 23: Moments Dipped in Ink
    February 23: Carpe Diem
    February 24: Pause for Tales
    February 24: Quiet Quilter
    February 25: For The Love of Books
    February 25: Donna’s BookShelf
    February 26: Christian Bookaholic
    February 27: Giveaway Lady
    February 27: Autism Mom


    To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away  Amish Wanderer, Patchwork Dreams (Amish of Seymour #1), Snow Globe (Amish of Jamesport #1),
    a 10 x 17” canvas banner: “Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly” (Micah 6:8), and
    Abba Scripture Candle (3” natural, clean-burning wax, scented) – “With God All Things Are Possible”! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b0d8

    "The Amish Wanderer" is available in paperback:
    • Paperback: 240 pages
    • Publisher: Whitaker House (February 14, 2017)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1629117986
    • ISBN-13: 978-1629117980
    • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 2422 KB
    • Print Length: 240 pages
    • Publisher: Whitaker House (February 14, 2017)
    • Publication Date: February 14, 2017
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B01MT1IUYR

    I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and are given voluntarily. No compensation was received.

    Sunday, February 19, 2017

    Temperature Blanket - Week 7

    Feb 12: 40 Snow from ~8:30 - noon
    Feb 13: 42
    Feb 14: 44 Snow from 8:30 pm - 9:30 pm *Valentine's Day*
    Feb 15: 30
    Feb 16: 32
    Feb 17: 49
    Feb 18: 62

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

    Special Music

    The teens at our church occasionally sing a song for special music. Sunday was the first that they've done it since Sarah was in the teen group (technically junior high group, but they are together on Sundays)

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

    Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway: "The Newcomer" by Suzanne Woods Fisher

    About the Book

    Book: The Newcomer
    Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
    Genre: Historical; Amish
    Release Date: January 31
    In 1737, Anna Konig and her fellow church members stagger off a small wooden ship after ten weeks at sea, eager to start a new life in the vibrant but raw Pennsylvania frontier. On the docks of Port Philadelphia waits bishop Jacob Bauer, founder of the settlement and father to ship carpenter Bairn. It’s a time of new beginnings for the reunited Bauer family, and for Anna and Bairn’s shipboard romance to blossom.
    But this perfect moment cannot last. As Bairn grasps the reality of what it means to be Amish in the New World–isolated, rigid with expectations, under the thumb of his domineering father–his enthusiasm evaporates. When a sea captain offers the chance to cross the ocean one more time, Bairn grabs it. Just one more crossing, he promises Anna. But will she wait for him?
    When Henrik Newman joins the church just as it makes its way to the frontier, Anna is torn. He seems to be everything Bairn is not–bold, devoted, and delighted to vie for her heart. And the most dramatic difference? He is here; Bairn is not.
    Far from the frontier, an unexpected turn of events weaves together the lives of Bairn, Anna, and Henrik. When a secret is revealed, which true love will emerge?

    My Thoughts

    "The Newcomer" starts off right after "Anna's Crossing" ends. It does give "fill-in" details about what happened in the first book, but you get a much fuller picture if you read them in order. I'm not that big of a fan of book series where the hero and heroine get their "happy-ever-after" by the end of book one, but then in book two they aren't together anymore, or having troubles. I was worried that was what I was going to run into with this book. I felt like this was more a continuation of the first book because their relationship was still fairly new and not developed much by the end of Anna's Crossing. I liked Bairn's growth in this book and his coming to know what was important and valuable to him. This book was similar to her "Bishop's Family" series where we follow more characters than just the main hero and heroine. We see things from the perspectives of Anna, Bairn, Felix, and Dorothea. Dorothea's transformation during the book was encouraging and I was glad to see her beat the depression that always seemed to hover over her. I wanted to give some of the characters a shake to wake them up to what was going on! I enjoyed the inclusion on actual people (although fictionalized) in the book and the historical accuracy. This book had many different layers to the story and I was glad to continue my journey with the church from Ixheim. I look forward to reading the third book in the series.

    About the Author

    suzanne6Suzanne Woods Fisher
     is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including Anna’s Crossing, The Bishop’s Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

    Guest Post from Suzanne Woods Fisher

    Pennsylvania of 1737, the setting for The Newcomer, is like a foreign country. Parts of it might seem familiar—the same hills and creeks and blue sky, but we’d hardly recognize the settlers. People like Anna, or Bairn, or the mysterious Newcomer. We wouldn’t be able to understand their language, their customs and traditions. Their world was that different from our modern one.
    The first group of Amish immigrants (first written about in Anna’s Crossing and followed up in The Newcomer) settled northwest of Philadelphia, then a vast wilderness, and relied on each other for safety, security, building projects, and church. In nearby Germantown, settlers were tradesmen, so they clustered houses together in small knots. The Amish farmers took out land warrants for sizeable properties and lived considerable distances from each other.
    In The Newcomer, Anna cooked food in a cauldron over a large hearth. One-pot meals can trace their beginnings to open-hearth cooking when ingredients for a meal went into a large kettle suspended over the fire. Traditional dishes—ham and beans, pork and sauerkraut—used sturdy, available, and simple ingredients that improved with long, slow cooking. The dishes could be easily expanded when the need arose to set a few more places at the table. And it did, often. Large families and unannounced company inspired Amish cooks to find ways to “stretch the stew.”
    Noodles (including dumplings and rivvels) could be tossed into a simmering broth to make a meal stretch. Most farms had a flock of chickens, so eggs were easily at hand. Today, homemade noodles are still a favorite dish.
    Another “stew stretcher” was cornmeal mush, originally eaten as a bread substitute. Early German settlers who made their home in eastern Pennsylvania roasted the yellow field corn in a bake oven before it was shelled and ground at the mill. The roasting process gave a nutty rich flavor to the cornmeal. Mush is still part of the diet the Old Order Amish—cooked and fried, baked, added into scrapple, smothered in ketchup. Dress it up and you’ve got polenta.
    Now here’s one thing we do have in common with 1737 Pennsylvania immigrants…a love of good food and a shortage of time! Here’s one of my favorite one-pot recipes—probably not the kind of stew Anna might have made for ship carpenter Bairn or the mysterious Newcomer (ah, which man stole her heart?)…but definitely delicious. Enjoy!
    Lentil Chili
    Here’s one of my favorite “stew stretchers.” You can expand it even more by serving over rice.
    1 onion, diced
    1 clove garlic, minced
    10 c. water
    1 lb. dry lentils
    1 tsp. cumin
    1 tsp. chili powder
    1 tsp. salt (season to your taste)
    ½ tsp. pepper
    2 c. salsa (your favorite variety)
    29 oz. canned tomatoes, crushed

    Blog Stops

    February 7: cherylbbookblog
    February 7: Moments Dipped in Ink
    February 7: inklings and notions
    February 8: Just Commonly
    February 8: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
    February 8: Ashley’s Bookshelf
    February 9: A Reader’s Brain
    February 9: Genesis 5020
    February 10: Lane Hill House
    February 10: Blogging With Carol
    February 10: Eat, Read, Teach, Blog
    February 11: Quiet Quilter
    February 11: Daysong Reflections
    February 12: Christian Bookaholic
    February 12: Jeanette’s Thoughts
    February 13: Karen Sue Hadley
    February 13: Just the Write Escape
    February 14: Rhonda’s Doings
    February 14: Bigreadersite
    February 15: Blossoms and Blessings
    February 16: Bibliophile Reviews
    February 16: Book by Book
    February 17: Pause for Tales
    February 17: A Holland Reads
    February 18: A Greater Yes
    February 18: The Power of Words
    February 19: Lighthouse Academy
    February 20: By The Book
    February 20: Giveaway Lady


    To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a Kindle! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!https://promosimple.com/ps/b0d1
    "The Newcomer" is available in paperback:
    • Series: Amish Beginnings (Book 2)
    • Paperback: 336 pages
    • Publisher: Revell (January 31, 2017)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0800727495
    • ISBN-13: 978-0800727499
    • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 5591 KB
    • Print Length: 336 pages
    • Publisher: Revell (January 31, 2017)
    • Publication Date: January 31, 2017
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B01LZJU8GS

    I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received.

    Tuesday, February 14, 2017

    Happy Valentine's Day

    The kids had their Valentine's Day parties on Friday in conjunction with their Dance-a-thon fundraiser.

    Andrew's box

    The books even have "words"

    William's box.
    It was the one he started a couple years ago before his
    teacher changed her mind about them making their boxes at home.

    Emily's box

    For the Dance-a-thon, they could dress up. Emily's class was 80's fashion

    Emily made this cake from scratch all by herself