Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Everyone is being thankful this week so I will tell you what I am thankful for EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR: My son and my daughter -- the two best babies a mama could have and all their progeny -- the best grandbabies a grandma could have. No matter what other things have happened in my life God blessed me so big with these offspring that I feel overwhelmed by His care for me. And of course God has blessed me with provision, protection and a whole slew of special people he has put in my life and most of all His PRESENCE. I don't have room for anything else because I am overflowing with these blessings in my life.

I don't understand how anyone could deny God's existence. He is with me always. We are in constant relationship. I would not be able to face all the uncertainties of this life if I didn't have Him there as a constant reminder that He is the reality, the controller of circumstances, and He is El Shaddai -- The God that is more than enough!

And I am thankful for His grace because I fall short every single day and He loves me anyway and His forgiveness is there ready and waiting for my repentance. I wish I could be everything He wants me to be but I know that I cannot do any of this by myself. I keep leaning on Him more and more because it is only through Him that I have or am anything at all.

I wish I could somehow explain to every person in the world how much He loves us, how much He wants to be in relationship with us, and how essential He is to our very existence and well-being. I don't think there are even descriptive enough terms in any earthly language to describe how wonderful He is.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

At Home in Drayton Valley by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Tarsie Raines, alone in the world now and living in New York City in 1880 yearns for a better life somewhere with grass and trees. She has befriended a woman name Mary Brubacher with two small children and a hard-working husband, Joss. Her friend is ill and Tarsie wants to get her out of the city, too. Using money Tarsie has saved, they leave New York on the train and meet up with a wagon train going to Kansas. On the way tragedy strikes and arriving in KS, it is just Tarsie, Joss and the children and Tarsie’s promise to Mary to take care of her family. With all of them mourning the loss of Mary, times are hard but Joss finds work and they find friends that help them adjust to life there. All kinds of troubles ensue, including racial tensions, the enacting of prohibition and other changes in their lives. Kim Vogel Sawyer never disappoints. Each book is better than the one before and each one keeps the reader enthralled throughout the whole experience. These are not formula romances. These are stories of people that grip the heart and make the reader want more. They are stories of faith in real life. I am glad Ms. Sawyer stays at her writing every day because even as it is, it is way too long between her newest book and the next one! If you have time to read only one book for pleasure this month, buy this one! You will not be disappointed.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House to review. I did not receive any compensation for completing this review. All opinions are my own.

A Hidden Truth by Judith Miller

Dovie Cates comes to the Amana Colonies in Iowa in 1892 hoping to visit some relatives and solve the mystery of why her deceased mother left the Colonies in the first place. Having grown up in Cincinnati, OH, life in the Colonies is different than the way she grew up. But since her mother spent her early years in the Colonies, her mother had raised her with many of the stories and traditions of the Amana family. On arriving in the Colonies, she lives with her mother's cousin Louise, her husband George and daughter Karlina. Dovie works in the Kitchen House with Louise and Karlina works with her father with the sheep. Since Karlina's father is in poor health, a new shepherd, Anton, is sent to help with the sheep. Karlina and Anton find working together difficult at first. Dovie becomes friends with the man who delivers bread to the Kitchen House from the Bakery every day. As Dovie struggles to get information from anyone at all about her mother (no one wants to help), she discovers just enough clues to jump to some disturbing conclusions. This is a wonderful story and one wants to keep reading till all is solved. It also provides interesting insight into how this small group of Amana Colonies functioned in the late 1800s and the background for the way they lived. It makes me long for a simpler time when God was viewed with reverence and people genuinely tried to do what was right in all things. I will definitely look forward to more books by Judith Miller about the Amana Colonies and its people.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House to review. I did not receive any compensation for completing this review. All opinions are my own.