Wednesday, December 21, 2016

God's Little Lambs-Bible Stories by Julie Stiegemeyer

God's Little Lambs-Bible Stories by Julie Stiegemeyer is a beautifully illustrated Bible story book for the very young.  This book is arranged like as the Bible is chronologically.  In addition each story is prefaced by the Bible verses that each story comes from in the Bible.  At the end of each 3-4 page story is a thought or moral of each story such as at the end of the story, of Adam and Eve in the Garden is the thought, "We make God sad when we disobey him.  But God still loves us and helps us."  An addition the illustrations has each person is colored appropriately such as Jesus is portrayed as being brown colored as persons in that corner of the world are colored.  The additional people in the story are variously colored to portray the people of the world.  This story has many of the usual children's stories but also included are hard to tell stories such as the killing of Jesus and all are told very simply.  Because of this simplicity this book could be read to any age but the very youngest of toddlers (there are too many words on each page for those but the most patient of babies).  The book is hard bound and padded so it could be carried around and the pictures looked at by the child but the pages while they are good quality thick pages are paper and could be torn by the youngest of children. 

I would recommend this book for use in children's sermons, bedtime stories, and for home teaching the Bible for home prayer time with children.  I would use this book as a first Bible for toddlers to be read to them.  I could see this as a gift Bible for children graduating from the nursery class at church.  There are liberties taken with the Bible stories to make them easier for children and some may not like that it is not precisely as written in a particular version of the Bible so if the reader is a very literal Bible scholar they may want to read it before gifting it.  I found this Bible story book to be well written for a child's introduction to the Bible.
I received this book from BookLook for this review.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Spectacle of Glory by Joni Eareckson Tada with Larry Libby

A Spectacle of Glory by Joni Eareckson Tada is the next  daily devotional by this author. Joni is a well read Christian writer who happens to be a quadriplegic.  This well written devotional is written for the busy Bible reader who wants a little devotion to start their day.  This devotion gives the reader a Bible verse to read in your own favorite version of your Bible then she gives you a page long "thoughts to start or end your day" and follows each with a short prayer.  This would work well for a personal devotion before breakfast, at lunch break, or before bed to quiet your soul for rest.  This devotional is just that, a devotional, it is not to take the place of a Bible study or to be an intensive study.  This devotional is a short daily time set aside to help you to find for yourself God's significance in your life.  Joni gives the reader every day some insight into God's glory in your life. 

Joni Tada is a woman who has live most of her life as a quadriplegic.  She evidently learned early on that God still had a plan for her in His world.  She has not let chronic pain, cancer or lack of ability to move her legs or arms stop her work for God's plan in her life.  She has written books about herself as well as devotionals of which this is one of them.  I have enjoyed this author's work and I enjoyed reading this newest devotional of hers.
I received this book from Handlebar Direction for Publishing for this review.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Cherished Quilt by Amy Clipston

The Cherished Quilt by Amy Clipson is the next novel in Ms. Clipston's Amish heirloom series.  Emily Fisher is working in her father and uncle's harness shop working on the books.  Emily has heard that Uncle Hank's nephew was moving in with them and would soon be also working in the shop.  In addition to harnesses they also sold leather souvenirs such as hand made key chains and coin purses.  Emily was excited to meet the newest member of the work crew but was disappointed to meet the sullen Christopher.  It seemed no matter how kind Emily was to him he never smiled or even spoke nice to her.  What Emily didn't know then was that Christopher had just witnessed his younger brother's death at the hooves of a horse and on top of all that his father blamed Christopher for the horrible accident.  Christopher also blamed himself but was shocked at his father's anger toward him.  Shortly after the funeral Christopher asked his aunt and uncle if he could stay with them for a while and work in the shop.

Christopher it turns out was quite talented with leather and soon business picked up with many coming into the shop and requesting his leather products with free hand horse and buggy on them.  Christopher blossomed under the praise of his uncle and quickly learned to make new products.  Emily noticed the changes in Christopher and both started a friendship.  They told each other secrets that they had never told anyone else.  Emily learned that Christopher had forgotten his prized quilt that his mother made him at home so she thought to make him a lap quilt for a gift for him. But as the friendship deepened and started to approach the look of love Christopher's Uncle Hank reminded him that he had not been baptized and so could not date anyone in the church.  Though Christopher was old enough to join the church he knew that he would have to seek forgiveness from his father who was the bishop of his home church and he knew that he just couldn't not even to date Emily.  He knew he wasn't worthy of forgiveness.

Christopher's brother Paul's house burned and even though everyone escaped the house would have to be repaired. Christopher left without even telling Emily goodbye.  Emily was crushed but continued to work on the quilt for him.  Meanwhile in Ohio Christopher is staying busy working on Paul's house but still is unable to forget his one true love, Emily.  How does this story end? Do they learn to live and love within the confines of the church or?????
I received this book from BookLook for this review. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Angel of Forest Hill by Cindy Woodsmall

The Angel of Forest Hill by Cindy Woodsmall is the next novel from this prolific writer of Amish love stories. 

Rose Kurtz was the oldest of the large Amish family. She had grown up in the family of all boys except herself and her mother.  She had always known that she was a klutzy inept girl because her mother had constantly told her that all of her 21 years.  Rose lived a hard life of constant work feeding, cleaning and clothing for her ll brothers and father's needs alongside of her mother until the day that the bishop of their church arrived during breakfast.  The bishop had a request and that was for her to go to Forest Hill and help care for the children of Joel Dienner and his wife who was not doing well after the birth of their 3rd child.  But when the driver pulled up to the farm house she found it had every window shining with light and the house was surrounded by black Amish buggies.  She soon understood why the house was so people filled when the door was answered by a tearful older Amish woman.  The young mother of the children had died.

Rose had never before cared for a baby girl but she quickly learned to care for both the baby girl and her 2 toddler brothers, and oddly enough whenever she didn't know what to do it seemed like a young woman's voice lead her to do the right thing.  Joel seemed completely lost to the world so deep into his grief that he could barely function.  After a few days however Joel's father came to him and said that the helping women in his house had to go home and he could not allow Rose to remain alone with him to help care for the children--that is unless they agreed to marry.  Joel was in a hard place but he and Rose worked up an agreement that they would marry in name only and Rose would stay and raise the children.  First Joel and Rose grew to like each other as working partners in the children's home and only very slowly did it turn to love but they each stayed in their own bedroom never to consummate their marriage.  It worked fine until Joel in a heated argument with his former Mother in law let slip that he and Rose had never slept together did it become a problem and she took the information to the bishop--Joel's father.  Read the book for the ending to this romance.

I loved this book not only for the love interest but for the way it brought out just what happens to a person's self esteem when a little girl is raised with constant belittling and hatred.  Rose's upbringing continued to effect her adult life since she had no self-esteem. She didn't recognize in herself of her abilities nor was she capable of understanding that someone could love her simply for herself.  She only believed that people would want her around for her work and what she could do for them.  It brings out just how important love and acceptance in for children and how fragile their self esteem is and how important both are to becoming a whole adult.
I received this book from Waterbrook for this review.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Of Stillness and Storm by MichelePhoenix

Of Stillness and Storm by Michele Phoenix is by far the most interesting Christian love story I have read in awhile.  It is a love story between a man and his wife.  It reads so true to life I had to recheck to make sure it was fiction which it most certainly is.  The story is told through the eyes of Lauren, the wife, and her life which is told in flashbacks of  growing up and meeting Sam at a Bible school in Austria when both of them were exploring and deepening their Christian faith.  Sam and Lauren both knew that they wanted to find lifelong spouses who were Christian.  Sam knew that God had something important for him to do and wanted to make sure that Lauren also felt the same way and that they both would do anything that God called them to do.  Lauren knew that in addition that she wanted to most of all be a mother.  Both during this time of study in Austria thought and prayed long and hard about marriage to each other and finally both agreed that they loved each other and God and that they were meant for each other.  They married and then came life.

Lauren and Sam both wanted children but they couldn't get pregnant.  After 2 years of trying they investigated getting medical help but Sam was sure that if they spent that kind of money on getting pregnant that they would never be able to go into the mission field. When Lauren got pregnant nearly 7 years after their marriage they both cried they were so happy.  Ryan was a happy child and Lauren and Sam loved him very much.  Sam though knew he was supposed to go into the mission field and started the process of getting all their bills paid and saving for spending time in a foreign land, wherever God sent him.  Lauren was content to stay in the good old USA and care for her family.  The day that Sam came home excited and through down the brochures for Nepal was not the day that Sam expected.  Lauren was concerned for the safety and care of Ryan first and foremost, agreed to keep an open mind but when they told 6 year old Ryan he was from the beginning against it.  Ryan, over the time it took them to get financial backing and prepare for life in the mission field in Nepal, became more and more withdrawn and sullen from the happy carefree child he had been.  Lauren was concerned but every time she voiced her concerns Sam would talk her out of it and kept planning the trip to Nepal.

Nepal was everything that Lauren and Ryan was afraid it was and more.  For Ryan the only good thing about Nepal was that they played soccer and Ryan loved to play soccer and was quite good at it.  Lauren loved the kind and loving people of Nepal but she hated living there. It was dirty and because Sam felt that they should live close to the way that the Nepali people did and so they had no cellphone or most of the time no electricity.  Ryan started an emotional downward spiral emotionally which concerned Lauren but Sam felt it was only teenage acting out.  Lauren was with Ryan daily and grew more and more concerned but Sam who was in the field for weeks at a time kept brushing it off.  Lauren and Sam both believed that the wife should be dutiful to her husband and though sometimes it took some arguing on Sam's part Lauren always eventually caved in to Sam's plans and wishes.  That is until the weekend of the disaster.

I loved this book.  It is a love story like no other but also shows what can happen when 2 people who very much love each other marry and only one of them has the power in a relationship.  These people never fall out of love for each other and this is the story of what happened.  This book can be read by any aged person who can tolerate the emotions of the book.  The ending is a hard read but this is also a book that is difficult to put down so be prepared.  Don't start reading this book in the evening and think is will relax you to sleep unless you are really sleepy and can go to sleep in about 2 pages.