Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Devoted - Book Review

Bright, curious, and restless, Ruthie Stoltzfus loves her family 
but is stuck in a sea of indecision about her future: 
Should she stay Amish? 
Or should she leave? 
She's done all she can to prepare to go-
passed the GED, saved her money-
but she can't quite set her journey into motion.

Patrick Kelly is a young man on a journey of his own. 
He's come to Stoney Ridge to convert to the Amish 
and has given himself thirty days to learn the language, 
drive a buggy, and adapt to "everything Plain." 
Time, to Patrick, is of the essence. 
Every moment is to be cherished, 
especially the hours he spends with Ruthie, his Penn Dutch tutor.

Ruthie's next-door neighbor and cunning ex-boyfriend, Luke Schrock, 
is drawn to trouble like a moth to a flame. 
Rebellious, headstrong, defiant, Luke will do anything to win Ruthie back -anything-
and Patrick Kelly is getting in his way.

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites readers back to Stoney Ridge 
for a story of dreams deferred and hopes fulfilled-
complete with Fisher's signature twists that never fail to leave readers delighted.

My Thoughts
The Devoted is the third book in The Bishop's Family series
and while I have found this series to be so-so
this third book charmed my heart - I absolutely loved it!
It starts with a scene that is completely unexpected
and it's sure to capture the readers attention.
From the moment you start reading the first line of the first chapter
you will be swept away into the world of the Amish.

I greatly appreciated the sound doctrine and faith presented in this book.
Reading The Devoted was a great encouragement to my faith and walk with the Lord
as I learned through the lives of several of the characters.
Suzanne Woods Fisher does a phenomenal job of presenting God's Word
with sincere truth and clarity.
I also appreciated the emphasis on how important our time on earth is. . .

" Time.
Time was precious, it was fleeting, it was not in her control.
She had been wasting time, treating it as infinite.
Not valuing the life she'd been given, 
coveting what she didn't have.
Wasting time.
Wasting it!
Time should be cherished.
Every single day."
{The Devoted - pg. 280}

There is tender romance. . .
romance that is not be heart-pounding and over the top,
but rather soft and gentle, pure and sweet.
I also enjoyed the humor.
Jesse, Leroy, and Sammy especially had me smiling more than once. . .

"Jesse reached for a screwdriver and it slipped right out of his hands
and dropped on the ground with a thud.
He picked it up and sniffed it.
Every single tool had been polished with a thick, greasy coating of lard.
"I distinctly remember that you said to polish the tools,"
Leroy said, looking offended, when he and Sammy arrived at the buggy shop for work.
"I distinctly remember it.
Polish them until you can see your reflection in them.
So clean you can comb your hair from it.
That's what you said."
He reflected for a moment.
"We did think it was a peculiar custom."
Sammy nodded.
"We thought it was strange.
But we did what you asked."
"Clean and polish!
With mineral oil.
Not grease them with bacon fat."
"So that's where my can of lard went,"
came a certain voice, sharp as a pinch."
{The Devoted - pg. 86}

The "downside" of this book
{and I have said this with the other two books in this series}
is that there is a lot going on.
There are many characters that the reader needs to keep up with
and while I enjoy them all it can, at times,
be quite the task keeping up with their lives and activities.
During one chapter you will be reading about Ruthie and Patrick,
but then you don't hear from them again until several chapters down the road.
According to the back cover
Ruthie and Patrick come across as they main characters
yet I felt like there were more secondary simply because there are so many characters.
You have David, Birdy, Dok, Jesse, Ruthie, Patrick, Matt, and others
and they all have a story taking place.

The Devoted is a 4-star book in my eyes.

I would recommend reading the first two book in the series
before reading the third one.

** I was given a free copy of this book from Revell Publishers for an honest review.
All thoughts are my own. No other compensation was received. **

About the Author
Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning,
bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including The Imposter, The Quieting, 
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 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Make Your Own Tea Time Napkins

Happy, happy, happy Wednesday, my friends!
Won't you join me for a spot of tea?
But before we have that delicious tea
let's make a few tea time napkins, shall we.

This is what you will need to whip up a few cloth serviettes. . .
My Canadian grandmother always called napkins serviettes.
She was such a proper lady.

As I was saying, you will need. . .

cotton fabric
lace trim {optional}
daisy embellishment {optional}
sewing machine and all that good stuff

Measure and cut a piece of fabric that is 14 x 14-inches.

On the backside of the fabric,
measure down 1-inch on each corner
and draw a line.

Fold each corner with right sides together
and place a pin smack dab in the center of the line.

Once the corners are pinned
take the fabric to the sewing machine
and place your sewing foot right where the pin is
{it should be in the center}.
Begin sewing in the center right on the line
and remember to back stitch.

Trim the corners close to the seam,
but make sure you don't snip your seam!
You will see I have a small opening on the corner
because I did not sew along the entire line.

Turn the corners right side out
and gently push them out with a blunt, but pointy object.

Now iron the fold down
along all four edges.

Take the 1/2-inch fold
and tuck the raw edges under.

Press the fold down with a hot iron.

Once you have done all four edges
this is what you should have. . .

Sew the fold down on all four sides.

And voila!
Beautiful mitered corners.

Sew a strip of lace onto one edge of the napkin
for extra loveliness.

I also sewed on a small daisy embellishment.

And that's it, my friends.
You now have some beautiful cloth napkins. . .
or should I say serviettes.

Pull out your delightful china
and enjoy a tea party with a friend or two.

These sweet little napkins are reusable
because all you need to do is throw them in the washer
after using them during your tea party.

While making the tea napkins
I decided to sew up some dinner napkins as well.
These are larger in size,
but they were made the same way.

There is just something lovely and elegant about a cloth napkin,
wouldn't you agree?

These charming napkins are available in my Etsy shop
which you can find by clicking here.

Happy tea time, sweet friends!
And have a beautiful day!

You will find me at these lovely parties:

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Passion For Thee

Set my heart, O dear Father,
On Thee, and Thee only,
Give me a thirst for Thy presence divine.
Lord, keep my focus on loving Thee wholly,
Purge me from earth;
Turn my heart after Thine.

A passion for Thee; 
O Lord, set a fire in my soul,
and a thirst for my God.
Hear Thou my prayer,
Lord, Thy power impart.
Not just to serve,
but to love Thee with all of my heart.

Father fill with Thy Spirit,
and fit me for service,
Let love for Christ every motive inspire,
Teach me to follow in selfless submission,
Be Thou my joy 
and my soul's one desire.

A passion for Thee; 
O Lord, set a fire in my soul,
and a thirst for my God.
Hear Thou my prayer,
Lord, Thy power impart.
Not just to serve,
but to love Thee with all of my heart.
- Joe Zichterman -

Jesus said unto him, 
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, 
and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
- Matthew 22:37 -

And shall I use these ransomed powers of mine
For things that only minister to me?
Lord, take me tongue, my hands, my heart, my all,
And let me live and love for Thee!
- Unknown -

Blessings and love to you, sweet friends,
on this beautiful Lord's Day.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Love Made New - Book Review

Abigail Schrock knows God can make all things new, 
but does that include her broken heart?

It seems as if everyone is falling in love in Birch Creek, including Abigail Schrock. 
But when heartbreak descends on her already fragile world, 
she can’t help but feel that if she’d only been a little prettier, 
she could be on her way down the aisle. 
To make matters worse, Abigail’s two sisters have found love, 
and all Abigail can seem to find is the chocolate she has stashed away in the pantry.

Asa Bontrager has never had trouble with the ladies in his Amish community—
his good looks have always gotten him far. 
Which is why he’s baffled by the call he’s received from God to pursue Abigail, 
a woman who seems determined to turn him away.

Can Abigail find the peace and joy she so desperately desires? 
Will she allow herself to stop running 
and melt into the embrace of unforeseen comfort? 
If she does, she may discover a love powerful enough 
to restore her hope in a promising future.

My Thoughts
A Love Made New is absolutely precious.
Here is a story that deals with heartache, loss, self-hatred,
love, forgiveness, redemption, and restoration.
Kathleen Fuller takes the reader on a roller coaster ride
that ends with the characters realizing they are indeed made in God's image
and they are loved with an everlasting love.
We can beat ourselves down and convince our minds that we are not worth loving,
that the "greatest sin" we have done against God is not worth forgiving,
but alas, this is not so!
Through the lives or the characters
the author shows this beautiful message to the reader.

Kathleen takes two characters:
one who has suffered heartache and discouragement after the loss of her parents.
Because the heartache is so strong she has fallen into a hole of doubt and pain.
And one who has sinned against God and the community.
He feels his sin is so great that he has a hard time 
accepting the forgiveness of Jesus Christ and those that love him.
The transformation that takes place in these two lives
will bring tears to your eyes and a song to your heart.

A Love Made New is the third and final book in the 
Amish of Birch Creek series.
The series is about three sisters.
Each sister suffered significantly during the tragedy of their parents death
and they each tell their story from a different perspective.
We all deal with things differently 
which is shown in the lives of these young ladies. . .
the healing process is unique for each one.

You can read my reviews for book one and two by clicking on the links below.

 Again, I will say that A Love Made New is a precious book
and one that I would recommend reading.
Out of the three books, I enjoyed this one the most
with the first book coming in as second best.
While this is a series I believe you could read the third book on its own
though I would recommend reading the entire series
since several of the main characters are in all three books.

A solid 4 star read!

 ** I was given a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers
for an honest review. 
All thoughts are my own and no other compensation was received. **

About the Author
Kathleen Fuller is the author of several bestselling novels, 
including A Man of His Word and Treasuring Emma, 
as well as a middle-grade Amish series, the Mysteries of Middlefield. 
Visit her online at

Friday, October 14, 2016

All Is Bright

The busyness of December can easily crowd our contemplation
of the amazing reality of God's coming to live among us as one for us.
I hope that your family will overcome the empty busyness of this season
and that all will be bright with the glory of God.
- Nancy Guthrie -

Hi, sweet friends, and happy weekend!

I have a most delightful 31-day Christmas devotional to share with you.
While it may not be Christmas 
{though it's quickly approaching}
one can never be too early when purchasing gifts for others...or yourself.

So as Nancy Guthrie says,
"Relax and retreat from the chaos of the Christmas season
by reading these short devotions and meditating on Christ as you color."

All Is Bright
Written by Nancy Guthrie
Illustrated by Lizzie Peterson

As December dawns, most families are busy 
putting Christmas programs and parties on the calendar,
making holiday travel plans, and purchasing gifts.
Those are all wonderful things,
but it's important to nurture a longing in our hearts and our homes
for a fresh sense of wonder that God has come to us in Jesus.

All is bright provides a short reading for every day in the month of December,
as well as a beautiful accompanying coloring page,
taking you on a creative journey of identifying with the distant longing of Israel,
listening for the angel's announcement,
and gazing at the Baby in the manger.

In the back of the book,
you'll also find the Family Activities section,
which includes kid-friendly coloring pages and conversation questions 
for the whole family that will help transform the season
into a meaningful time of devotion and discussion 
as you focus together on what God's Word says about the promise of Christ.

 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; 
for he hath visited and redeemed his people,
And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us 
in the house of his servant David.
- Luke 1:68-69 -

All Is Bright is a must-have for your family during the Christmas season.
I fell in love with this wonderful book the moment I took it out of the box.
From its beautiful illustrations that you get to color
to the precious words and promises from the Bible,
you and your family will be blessed, encouraged, and reminded of ALL 
that the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us.

It's the perfect devotional to pull out during the evenings
as you sit by the cozy fire sipping on hot cocoa with your family.
I would encourage you to take a moment to be still. . .
to truly ponder the glorious birth of our Savior. . .
to remember WHY Jesus - our Messiah - came to earth. . .
and to look with great anticipation unto the day when our King will return.

A 10-star book
and one that I highly recommend.

** I was provided a copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers
in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received. **

 And she shall bring forth a son,
and thou shalt call his name Jesus: 
for he shall save his people from their sins.
Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled 
which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, 
and shall bring forth a son, 
and they shall call his name Emmanuel, 
which being interpreted is, God with us.
- Matthew 1: 21 - 23 -

As mentioned, there is a Family Activities section.
While the Advent season is a good time for individual reflection,
it's also a good time to instill in the children we love
a sense of anticipation for the coming of Jesus.

You will find discussion questions
and kid-friendly coloring pages for you and your young ones
to work through as you consider together the significance 
of the coming of Christ into our world.
Some pages were created to be colored and cut out -
bookmarks and ornaments to remind you of the season,
wherever you are.

Thank you for joining me today, lovely friends.
I hope you have an extra beautiful weekend.

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