Friday, August 3, 2018

The Christmas Singing - Book Review

The Christmas Singing: A Romance from the Heart of Amish Country
Author: Cindy Woodsmall
Date: October 4, 2011
ISBN: 9780307446541, 0307446549
Hardcover, 208 pages
Currently $9.62 at Amazon

About the Book:

Experience the holidays with the Plain folk and discover the power of second chances in this touching story from the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Bridge of Peace.

Gideon Beiler has loved Mattie Eash since they were children. But when faced with unexpected circumstances, he makes up an excuse to end their engagement. He doesn’t want to lie to her, but he believes that telling Mattie the truth will be more hurtful.

Brokenhearted, Mattie moves from Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania to Ohio, where she pursues her longtime dream of becoming a cake decorator. She finds a new beau—a man offering the secure relationship Gideon has denied her.

When Mattie is forced to return to Apple Ridge, she and Gideon must confront the suffering created by his dishonesty--and address the powerful emotions that continue to bind the two childhood friends.

After Gideon coldly broke her heart, can the warmth of the season revive Mattie’s faith in love?

My Thoughts:

The Christmas Singing gives the reader exactly what they would expect - a heart warming story that is perfect for reading during the Christmas season. I needed a heartwarming story to curl up with, and believe me, it didn't disappoint. I found myself both charmed and captivated and was happy with the ending - it turned out exactly the way I wanted it to. If you love Amish or Christmas stories, add this one to your reading list. You won't be disappointed!

About the Author:

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author whose connection with the Amish community has been featured on ABC Nightline and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Her ability to authentically portray her characters comes from her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families. Cindy lives in Georgia with her family. Visit her website at

I received a copy of this ebook from Edelweiss. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A Genesis to Revelation Scripture Memory Guide - Review

A Genesis to Revelation Scripture Memory Guide

A Genesis to Revelation Scripture Memory Guide
Author: Ed Strauss
Publisher: Barbour Books
ISBN: 9781683222453
Paperback: 224 pages

About the Book:

Know your Bible better. . .and get more from your time in it! 

 This powerful and practical guide book is packed with invaluable information on scripture memorization. Not only does it lay out vital, need-to-know scriptures for everyday life; it offers so much more, including an overview of all 66 books of the Bible, helpful hints and tips for retaining scripture, plus a comprehensive list of Bible memory verses in biblical order. You will come to understand and appreciate the value of scripture memorization as you learn that God’s Word offers comfort, inspiration, and guidance for everyday life situations

My Thoughts:

A very helpful guide for helping one to learn scripture memorization. It goes in some good detail about how to learn successfully and why. I was excited to see how it was done and knew it would be easy to put into practice.

Unfortunately, Strauss went on about Bible versions and how one is better over others and why. When he uses his illustration, it's not a good one and shows error between the two - and why the one he has chosen is not the best version. With his views slanted towards one version over the other, there is now room for error. The verses chosen has comments with them and both the KJV and NIV verses are printed for the reader to use.

I like the overview of all the books of the Bible as well as an alphabetical list of verses, but I'm not thrilled with the telling that one version is superior over the other. If that is felt, then only use the preferred version.

Overall, I'm walking away with how to memorize scripture, but will pick the verses and do the research on my own.

Friday, July 20, 2018

United We Stand!!!!

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I have been silent about things for a long time. I am not one to discuss my views or get into arguments when it comes to the subject of politics. I do try to keep somewhat informed, but the topic is so heated, that I'm not sure when the media is telling the truth or when it's swayed.

With that being said, what I saw in the news made me concerned - very concerned. I saw our former president in another country discuss what he considers problems here in the United States with our current president. Honestly, I was stunned and felt betrayed. Not betrayed because he is putting down a man that I may or may not have voted for, but because he has betrayed our country and put us at risk.  He showed the world that we are divided. With division comes weakness and makes us a target.

"And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand." Mark 3:25.  If we are divided, it causes strife in the home, and that marriage will fall apart if unity is not found. I can personally attest to that and what happened to my marriage a few years ago.

Mark 3:24 states,"And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand." From my own personal experience, you can see why I'm concerned. I see so much anger everywhere. I used to enjoy looking at posts from my friends and family on Facebook. Now, it's no longer enjoyable. I see anger and hate and everyone taking the us -vs- them mentality. That not only angers me but saddens me. It's not only Facebook and my family and friends, but it's all over. There really is no place I can go that I don't hear about it: online, TV, papers, magazines, even at the store!

I am amazed. I cannot believe what I'm seeing and hearing from everyone.

I don't care who the president is. He was ELECTED by the people just as other presidents in the past were. Agree with him or not, it is our job as Americans to be united. That is our strength. If we stay divided, we become weak and will allow our enemies to overtake us while our guard is down.

Pray for our President to make good choices. Democrats and Republicans should not be against each other but working as checks and balances as was originally intended. This should not be a competition and the hate and anger level is way out of hand. There have been leaders in the past that were not the best, but we stood united and the United States (notice the word UNITED) was always looked at as a powerful and strong nation. Not so much any more. Even our past president was in another country and ran our leadership down which is undermining our country to others! What is happening here?!!!

We are playing a dangerous game and the last thing we need to do is to break down and become weak and allow our enemies to take advantage of the situation. Pray for our leaders and make America UNITED and STRONG again!!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Hope for Your Marriage - Review

Hope for Your Marriage: Experience God̢۪s Greatest Desires for You and Your Spouse

Hope for Your Marriage: Experience God’s Greatest Desires for You and Your Spouse

Authors: Clayton and Ashlee Hurst with Joel Osteen
Publisher: Emanate Books (Thomas Nelson)
ISBN: 9780785216452
Paperback, 224 pages

About the Book:

Clayton and Ashlee Hurst share the principles and Scripture they have learned to lean on and preach at Lakewood Church. Foreword by Joel Osteen.

Are you willing to do whatever it takes to have the marriage you dreamed of? Interestingly, this is the question Clayton and Ashlee ask young couples before they get married and married couples in crisis. If they answer yes, then there is hope for the couple. If they are willing to commit to the hard work ahead, they have a very good shot.

Hope for Your Marriage is a book designed for couples who desire to have the best marriage possible. Every marriage has the potential to be incredible when God is at the center.

In Hope for Your Marriage, Clayton and Ashlee share personal stories on overcoming fairy-tale pitfalls; keeping Jesus at the center of your marriage; practicing healthy communication on sex, conflict, and forgiveness; declaring life over your marriage; and leaving a God-honoring legacy.

My Thoughts:

Although there are a few good points and pieces of advice in Hope for Your Marriage, I found is pretty much like any other book on marital advice. There is a bit of scripture quoted, but more personal with many stories of other couples and those couples are all counselors or in the ministry at Lakewood Church. I was hoping to find something that would be geared to couples who had been married for quite a period of time, but this seems more geared to those who are seeking marriage or have been married only a short period of time.

I will admit my thinking was swayed a bit when the authors used the illustration of male vs female brain as something of their own concoction instead of giving any reference to where it came from. It was almost word for word as it was presented by Mark Gungor more than 10 years ago on his DVD. Here is an excerpt of that DVD from YouTube that the authors used - especially the boxes and the nothing box:

I ended up wondering what else was not original and with the many discussions about Lakewood Church and Joel Osteen and how wonderful things are there, if it's not more of a plug for the Osteen empire and not so much for really helping couples.

Personally, I felt this book was not as scriptural as it should be, and more filled with "feelings" and human examples. Yes, stories from others" life experiences are great illustrations, but I wanted more about scripture and what the Bible says.

I received a copy of this ebook from NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Book Review - Fairy Cake Fatality

Fairy Cake Fatality 

(Cake Fairy Mysteries #1)

Fairy Cake Fatality (Cake Fairy Mysteries #1)Author: Sabrina Hartford
Kindle Edition, 321 pages
Published May 16th 2017

About the book:

Faye left California to start a new life in England. Things aren’t going well and her new cake shop is close to bankruptcy, but she gets a lucky break when she is chosen to be featured on the town’s popular radio program. Unfortunately, on the day of the recording, a murder occurs and she is the prime suspect! 

She tries to solve the case herself, but each clue she finds only leaves her more confused. To make things worse, she keeps having hallucinations about being a fairy, but these only occur when a certain kitten is around. Or maybe there is something to these visions? Can Faye befriend the kitten and master her fairy past while solving the case? 

My Thoughts:

I'll admit it - I'm a sucker for cats - especially kittens. When I find one that not only mixes kittens with delicious desserts, but makes it the theme of a cozy mystery, it's a must read for me!

"Fairy Cake Fatality" was a fun read with just enough humor, twists and suspense to keep me interested. I enjoyed the main character, Faye, who loves, and I mean LOVES to bake. I'll admit, there were times I wondered if I could actually be smelling those delicious cakes she was baking. Oh the descriptions!  There were times she had a somewhat snarky attitude that I didn't totally appreciate. However, I imagine I would have been as irritated as she was at times if I were in her shoes. I mean - she was questioning things that really weren't making much sense, let alone never being to explain them to anyone else because they'd think she was crazy.

I enjoyed the story line and had flip flopped between who I though was the murderer. Finally, I did figure out who did it, but not much before they were revealed. There was also another character I had a feeling about who they were and did figure that one out - but won't say any more about that. You'll have to read the book to know about that one. I'm not going to give anything away :D

"Fairy Cake Fatality" is a brilliant start to the series. It can be read as a stand alone with a nice wrapped up ending; however, it does have a lead into the next book. And yes - I really want to read the next book because of that lead!

About the Author:

Sabrina Hartford loves solving crimes and baking. So she combines both her passions by writing recipe books and cozy mysteries filled with sweet treats! She lives in SoCal with her darling hubby, her adorable kitten Seamus and her two wonderful children. She has had a variety of jobs in her time, but now, when she's not doing her first love of writing, she enjoys baking, traveling, volunteering and reading books.

I received a copy of this ebook from the author. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Life is Good!

Married life has certainly changed since the last time around. We have grown and I know that I've probably grown the most. Those years on my own gave me a greater perspective on what actually goes on in life. I never was truly on my own before - where I had no safety net. I went from my parents home, to rooming with someone to being married. Flying to another country and being 11,000 miles from home, away from anyone I knew, certainly put a new light on things.

Working, too, as an older person, was a challenge. Trying to find a job after being out of work for 26 years was difficult. No one was interested in hiring someone that "didn't do anything" for all that time. Homeschooling and doing other odds and ends just wasn't of interest to those that interviewed me. Finally, I found something that was not only a job, but a fun job... demoing products at Sam's Club. That got me the experience to get hired at a grocery store and then on to a job at the University.

I loved the job at the University, but after many hours of Bible Study, decided that after we remarried, that I would leave it and return home as a housewife. Both of my decisions were frowned upon by most of my friends. I was questioned over and over about the remarriage and then told I was crazy to leave my job - my source of independence!

You know, as much as I loved my job at the University, I don't miss it. It's funny, really. I do miss the people - they were a great team to work with, but I stay in contact with those that I made good friends with. The same with my past jobs. I may go back to demoing at Sam's a day or so a week, but right now, I just don't have the time! There are so many things I want to do and so many things that keep me busy right now, that I just don't seem to have enough time in the day, let alone adding work to it. I guess you could say I'm living the life of luxury now. I'm doing things I've been wanting to do that I couldn't with living in an apartment and with working all the hours I did.

Now, I am back doing those things I love: gardening, canning, dehydrating, knitting, reviewing, blogging, taking classes, working on making my house a home, trying new recipes, working on making a place for a craft room, etc. Most important, is having time for church, Bible study, family and friends. Those were the things that I missed doing most of all. I couldn't attend church because of my schedule at work and the time spent with visiting and enjoying the company of others was few and far between.

I am so lucky to have a second chance. I learned a very large lesson from all this - what is most important in life. God is soooo good!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Roasted Dandelion Root Coffee

Finally! After a long, dreary winter, spring has arrived! My favorite part about the spring is gathering up the fresh greens and flowers that are packed full of vitamins and minerals and are super tasty. This year I have dried my dandelion leaves, flowers and made the roots into a wonderful roasted "coffee".

The "coffee" is a not actually coffee but makes a wonderful substitute. It has a nice flavor - a somewhat coffee, caramel and chocolate flavor combination. It's hard to describe, but with a little bit of cream and a touch of honey - it's pretty much heaven! The spring crop of roots are much more mild than the fall crop. The fall is more robust and bitter and packed with more vitamins and minerals because the roots are storing all the nutrition required to make a strong plant in the spring. Fall is the best time to harvest for drying roots for their medicinal value and for the most robust coffee, but I love the spring harvest as well! 

I dig up my dandelions whole and try to get as much as the root as possible. They are long and do easily break off. I found it best to try to run a long screwdriver or a dandelion removing down next to the root as closely as possible and break the ground around it by wiggling it back and forth. If difficult to remove, I will do this around the plant. A shovel works, too, but it leaves a lot more mess to deal with and depending where you harvest your plants, you may not want to leave holes behind.

After digging the dandelions, I pre-rinse with a hose to get rid of as much dirt as possible. Then I put the whole plant in a 5 gallon bucket and rinse, drain, rinse, drain, rinse, drain.... until the water looks quite clean. Next, I cut off the top part of the plant and put in two separate piles.

I then put the roots in a bowl and soak for a little bit. Then I rinse a few more times and try to swish off as much of the remaining dirt as possible.

I then use a scrub brush to take off the remaining dirt. I like putting a small cutting board in the bottom of the sink to have something to scrub on. If the roots have a lot of off-shoots, I'll break them apart to get in between them.

Then I put them in my food processor and chop until the pieces resemble brown rice.

Next I pour them on a cookie sheet and put them in a 225 degree oven and let them dry. This can take about an hour. 

I then check to see how they are drying by stirring every 10 to 20 minutes or so. Drying times will depend on the day, your oven, how large the pieces are, etc.

After the pieces are dry, I increase the oven temperature to 325 and continue to bake. Now the roasting process has started. I kept a close eye on it and mixed every 10 minutes. I love this part because when the root is almost ready to remove from the oven, it has the most amazing aroma of baking a chocolate cake or brownies! 

Some people will remove the root as soon as they see small wisps of smoke coming from the root. I put mine back in a bit longer. I like a darker roast. I find it to have a bit more of a robust flavor. 

After removing from the oven, I let it cool and then put it in a jar. The contents in the jar are much more true in color to the actual end product. 

To use:

Put water in a pan and bring to a boil. Add the dandelion root, stir well and boil for 1 minute. Make sure it doesn't boil over because it will produce foam on top. You will need 1 tsp. of Roasted Dandelion Root Coffee per 8 oz of water (adjust to taste). Serve with a little cream and honey if desired.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a qualified/licensed instructor or certified to teach wildcrafting, using herbs or explaining how to identify any plant I use or speak of in these posts. This is only describing what I did and how I use the item described in MY home with MY family. I am not to be held responsible for any misinformation or any mishaps if anyone decides to try this at home. If you decide to try this method - it is at your own risk. Please research and study any plants, methods and side effects of the plant describe in this post.


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