Friday, April 15, 2016

The Atonement by Beverly Lewis

Book - "The Atonement"

Author - Beverly Lewis

Publisher - Bethany House

Paperback, 325 pages

What I like about Beverly's books is that you get a look into the daily lives of the Amish.  In this book, the main character is Lucy. She has made some very serious mistakes in the past and we see her trying to work through these while living her Amish life with her family. She doesn't think she deserves to be married as her lack of understanding of forgiveness and grace stop her from forgiving herself for past troubles. 

(It is not really a peaceful story, like her book, "The Secret Keeper," which was my favorite.) 

In this story, there are visits to a grief counseling support group, lots of volunteering among the homeless and helping the elderly.  There are not many happy moments of family time, or pleasant church events. There was a lot of stress and worldliness showing us more of the world's pain and the trouble of sin, rather than the joy and happiness in a devout life seeking holiness.

There are two young men interested in Lucy. It is very difficult to guess who she ends up with. But I was happy she ended up married to one of them; The right one, I thought! It made the end of the book satisfying.

Beverly includes an epilogue so we can "see" what happens to Lucy later. The book ends with an author's note, where we get some background information about the story idea and who has helped Beverly in the process.

*  Disclosure - This book was provided for review purposes. *


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Uncommon DVD Review

Movie (DVD) - Uncommon

Running Time - Approx. 100 minutes

This is a dove approved, "faith friendly" movie, recommended for ages 12 and up.

A young man wants to start a Bible Study group at his public school.  He speaks out (and against) falsehood by one of his teachers.  He is a quiet, good student who wants to encourage others in their faith.  Eventually, he helps the drama club put together a play that is considered by authorities to be religious.  A lawyer is called in to help fight the school board, who had shut down the play and Bible studies. Their fight is inspiring and well done.

Throughout the struggles, there is an incredible janitor, played by Erik Estrada, who does an amazing job as a Christian mentor.  His strong religious faith and character (as well as of his wife) are well worth watching.

[Note: One thing that I personally did not like about the movie was the students' intention to write a play based on the Bible itself.  However, we never see the finished play, we only hear the students discussing their options.] 

Overall this is a good and strong message that will encourage teenagers to be "uncommon," or not like the crowd.  It will encourage them to live the Christian life and to help teach it, despite opposition.

 The film is available at Walmart and Christian Stores.

*Disclosure - This item was provided for review purposes.*

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Heart of the Amish by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Book - The Heart of the Amish

Author - Suzanne Woods Fisher

Publisher - Revell

Paperback, 178 pages

The book consists of two parts. One - Everyday Friction and, Two - Turning Points.  Each chapter shares someone's story - an annoyance, a struggle, or some kind of situation where forgiveness is required. 

At the end of each chapter is a small section of "Reflections." This may include thoughtful questions or insights to help the reader in a sort of therapy to help them work through the concept of forgiveness in their own lives.

Next, each chapter ends with a boxed - in section called, "Plain Truth." These are fascinating tidbits of trivia, mostly about the Amish and other similar groups.

While many of the chapters include Amish related stories, some do not.  Also there are chapters about modern, sensitive topics that some may not feel the need to read.

This book would be most helpful to those who are struggling with bitterness and need help working towards of forgiving spirit.

*Disclosure - This book was provided for review purposes.*

The Love Letters by Beverly Lewis

Book - The Love Letters

Author - Beverly Lewis

Publisher - Bethany House

Paperback, 345 pages.

Beverly does a marvelous job creating a story that encourages peacefulness.  An Amish young woman, Marlena, has to leave her parent's home to spend time with her Mennonite grandmother.   Grandma needs help caring for her home and doing chores.  We get to know the neighbors and what the chores are like.  There is a young boy next door who is struggling to help with the work, but his father won't take the time to encourage him.  In the boy's wandering (as he plays in the community) he finds an old letter and meets a stranger.  There are a few different subplots that keep the story interesting.  Marlena's sister gets in an accident and her baby is sent to Grandmother's house for Marlena to tend.   Overall, it is an interesting story with genuine Amish - style dialogue that will entertain.

* Disclosure - This book was provided for review purposes.*

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Review - Debt Proof Living by Mary Hunt

Book - Debt - Proof Living:  How to get out of debt and stay that way

Author - Mary Hunt

Publisher - Revell

Debt - Proof Living was first published in 1999.  This 2014 edition is revised and updated.  It includes the same premise - the same formula for living without debt, but also includes new information based on today's culture.

Mary gives you the tools to understand the thinking of modern consumers to help us realize why people today have accepted debt as normal. This dangerous problem has been slowly fed to us over many years.

Inside this book you will be given a clear formula to get out of debt and then how to "debt - proof" your life. 

There are 18 chapters, some of the titles are:

1. Debt- Proof Living.
2. Two Kinds of Debt.
3. Caught in the Debt Trap.
4. A Plan to Debt - Proof Your Life.
5. Where Does All the Money Go?
6. Step Away from the Edge.
7. Break Out of the Debt Trap.
8. Expect the Unexpected.
. . . .
18. Building Wealth on an Ordinary Income.

Mary does an excellent job teaching readers to get control of their financial lives.  This is her main book and one of the most important.

* Disclosure - I received this book for review purposes.*

Review - Child of Mine by David and Beverly Lewis

Book - Child of Mine

Authors - David and Beverly Lewis

Publisher - Bethany House

The beautiful cover misled me to think the book was about the Amish.  It is, in fact, about a modern family who happens to have a shunned Amish woman working for them.  The story is about an English (non-Amish) woman, Kelly, who is searching for her daughter. 

We meet two families as we go along. We get to know Kelly (the main character) and follow her difficult life.  We also get to know Jack and his family.  Jack is the one who has an Amish woman working for him.

The book is full of modern sayings, which I consider "slang" talk of the young.   It is not a pleasant escape from our current world, as many Amish - based books tend to be.  

However, it is very well written, and will hold your attention to the very end. 

*Disclosure - I received this book for review purposes.

Bake Well with Immaculate Baking

Immaculate Baking Company introduces 4 products for your kitchens:

1. Yellow Cake Mix - This "Scratch Baking Mix" contains a very small number of basic ingredients.

It is listed as "All Natural" and with "NO Artificial Flavors or Preservatives."

2. A Chocolate Cake Mix - with the same great features as the Yellow cake mix.

3. A "Gluten Free" Double Chocolate Cookie Mix.

4. A Brownie Mix.

Baking instructions are very clear and easy to follow.

These look like a great alternative for traditional made- from- scratch baked treats.

* Disclosure - I received these items for review purposes. *

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