Friday, November 29, 2013

Christmas in Apple Ridge

"Christmas in Apple Ridge" by Cindy Woodsmall is a collection of three novellas taking place in the Amish community of Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania. All three stories, presented in one volume, could easily be read separately but do flow together as you revisit characters from previous stories.

Each novella tells the story of a young Amish woman suffering from the pain of a past broken relationship. The women depicted in each story try to mask this pain from their families by hiding behind their careers. Eventually each character meets up with a new or old love, faces the reality of their past pains and turns a new leaf.

When I first received this book in the mail I was fairly excited. I love Christmas books, and in the past have enjoyed other works of Amish fiction. But this book proved to be a disappointment to me. Each story followed along the same pattern and the depiction of the Amish characters and their lives seemed rather unbelievable to me. There are Mennonite communities, as well as Amish, in the area where I live. Over the years I have known and worked with Mennonite families. I always thought the Amish were more strict in their lifestyle than Mennonites, but the characters presented in this book were not.

A few of the instances that puzzled me: an Amish girl wearing pants, watching T.V. and comparing life feelings with those depicted in movies, text messaging. All of these things surprised me, as well as the personalities of these young ladies. They were all independent career women, in the last story the main character was disrespectful of her father and grandmother. I found this disappointing, especially when you consider how family oriented the Amish  are.

With all this said, the Christmas Eve climax of each tale was heartwarming and romantic. It is an easy read, perfect for evenings when you aren't in the mood for anything that is too serious.

You can find more information about Cindy Woodsmall as well as "Christmas in Apple Ridge" HERE.

*I was given a copy of "Christmas in Apple Ridge" by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

His Mercy Endures Forever

                                                                                        "Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
                                                                                           For His mercy endures forever. 
                                                                                                              Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!
                                                                                          For His mercy endures forever. 
                                                                                          Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!
                                                                                           For His mercy endures forever:
                                                                                                               To Him who alone does great wonders,
                                                                                           For His mercy endures forever;
                                                                                          To Him who by wisdom made the heavens,
                                                                                            For His mercy endures forever; 
                                                                                                          To Him who laid out the earth above the waters,
                                                                                          For His mercy endures forever; 
                                                                                                              To Him who made great lights,
                                                                                          For His mercy endures forever— 
                                                                                                                The sun to rule by day,
                                                                                          For His mercy endures forever;
                                                                                         The moon and stars to rule by night,
                                                                                         For His mercy endures forever."

                                                                                         Psalm 136: 1-9 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Take Time To Be Holy

"Take Time to Be Holy" by Samuel Logan Brengle is an inspirational 365 day devotional. Each daily devotion begins with a scripture verse followed by an excerpt from one of Brengle's nine books on holiness.

Brengle, born in 1860, spent his life in serving the LORD as a pastor and officer in the Salvation Army. The book begins with a brief biography explaining how Samuel Brengle felt called to live a life totally devoted to serving God and seeking holiness.

Though most of the writings in this volume are over 100 years old, I found the message of this little devotional to be very timely. Once we have accepted Jesus as our LORD and Savior it is so important to seek His will for our lives- to seek a life of holiness, wholly unto to God. A word not often used today is sanctification. Sanctification is the transformation that occurs in our hearts and lives once we have accepted Jesus as Savior, the casting off of the old self and the working of the Holy Spirit within us to make us a new creation.

Sanctification truly is the theme of this book - how to submit our naturally sinful will unto God's better plan of living a life of purity and holiness. The book emphasizes that we should not become discouraged in our quest, as it is only through the power of God's Holy Spirit we can be holy.

I would highly recommend this devotional to anyone seeking to draw closer to Jesus. I have not yet finished reading this book, but already I have been so very blessed and encouraged. I find myself reflecting on the devotion I read in the morning throughout the day, and praying that the LORD would help me to live a life of holiness!

You can find more information about Samuel Logan Brengle as well as "Take Time to Be Holy" HERE.

*I was given a copy of "Take Time To Be Holy" by Tyndale Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." 1 Peter 1:16

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sewing on a Rainy Day

                                          Buttons and patches and the cold wind blowing,
                                          The days pass quickly when I am sewing.
                                          ~Author Unknown


                                        "It rains- what lady loves a rainy day?
                                        She loves a rainy day who sweeps the hearth,
                                        And threads the busy needle, or applies
                                       The scissors to the torn or threadbare sleeve;
                                        And blesses God that she has friends and home."

Hope you are all enjoying a peaceful and cozy Thursday. Today has been rainy and rather chilly, but I am grateful for a warm fire and a hot cup of tea to enjoy while I sew. I must agree, the day does fly while sewing and cleaning! : )