Tuesday, December 27, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: The Christmas Singing

The Christmas Singing
By: Cindy Woodsmall
Published by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group 
Copyright 2011

What would you say if the one you loved, the one you intended to marry, suddenly became distant, cold and broke off the relationship with you?  Hurt, betrayed, angry even?  That's what happened to Mattie in the new book called The Christmas Singing by Cindy Woodsmall.  When Mattie learns from Gideon that he no longer loves her, and in fact has betrayed her with other women, her life is shattered and she moves as far away from her Amish community as she can.  She builds a new life for herself in the same town as her brother and his family, setting up a prosperous bakery where her creativity is appreciated and earns a good living.  She even develops a new relationship with Sol, an Amish man who loves to hunt.  Mattie and Sol have the kind of relationship where they do not get into each others' business.  It's a comfortable relationship, a relationship where boundaries and distance is understood, but no deep, passionate love is found.  However, that's exactly the way Mattie wants the relationship to be.  It is understood that she and Sol will one day marry, but neither is in any hurry.

Through an accident possibly brought about by Mattie's absentmindedness, Mattie returns home to live with  her family for a few months.  There she cannot help but run into Gideon, to whom she gives a cold shoulder and does her best to ignore.  Mattie has to learn to let go of hurt and to truly forgive.  And what happens when she does, and when she learns the truth about what happened between herself and Gideon, changes her life forever.

This is a story of forgiveness; of learning to look beyond our own personal ideas and understanding the hearts of others.  Once we look beyond ourselves we often see things much differently, and in the truest light.  By the end of The Christmas Singing my tears were flowing so freely I could hardly read!  I will definitely encourage anyone to read this book and take to heart the lessons taught by Cindy Woodsmall.

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of  WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Company.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

From my family to yours, we are wishing you a joyous and very merry Christmas!

Don’t forget the REASON we celebrate...
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Book Review: For Women Only in the Workplace

For Women Only in the Workplace
By: Shaunti Feldhahn
Published by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group 
Copyright 2011

For Women Only in the Workplace by Shaunti Feldhahn is an in-depth, statistics laden look at how men and women relate at work.  There are so many points that Mrs. Feldhahn brings out, so many differences in how men and women look at work differently. For instance, men think in boxes which they can conveniently close so they can  work out of another box.  Whereas women tend to think out of several boxes at the same time.  These differences can cause strain on the working relationship.  Men are able to open the "work" box after having closed the "personal" box and be all business.  They take nothing personally, or rather their personal relationships are generally not affected by their work relationships.  Which is why, according to Mrs. Feldhahn, men can have a problem working with someone but then can go out and play golf with the same person  (not happening with us women)! However, and this is pretty big, we women do not separate our lives.  What happens in one box can be tossed into another, so that what happens at work gets carried over into our personal life and vice versa.

You will not find For Women Only in the Workplace to be an easy, quick read.  But it is filled with statistics and first hand examples from the man's point of view, all geared to let women know why men act as they do and what they think when we women act as we do. I must admit that my flaws were pointed out to me numerous times while reading this book (take a sneak peek at For Women Only in the Workplace), and there are things I found I can change in my own work life.  If you want to know what's going on in the work world, what you might be doing "wrong" according to men and how to correct it, I would recommend this book.  

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of  WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Company.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Night of the Living Dead Christian

Night of the Living Dead Christian 
By: Matt Mikalatos
Copyright 2011

Do you like monsters?  Vampires, zombies and werewolves?  Then you really have to read Matt Mikalatos' (check out the author interview here) new book called Night of the Living Dead Christian.  This a light hearted, whacky, not-so-way out there telling of a person's search for Christ.  How do we get rid of sin?  How do we truly become a Christian?  In fact, what really is a Christian anyway?

Mr. Mikalatos uses portraits of himself and his family throughout the book.  In fact, he is the narrator and the at-first enemy, soon-to-be friend of the main character Luther Anne Martin (Martin Luther, anyone?), his neighbor.  Mr. Mikalatos, along with a mad scientist and a robot/android, seeks to find the way to rid Luther of his base werewolf ways, all the while fighting off and trying to keep from becoming monsters themselves!!  They run into vampires, a werewolf hunter, a horde of zombies who think of themselves as Christians but are really just puppets of their leader, a half zombie who isn't sure he wants to follow said leader, and eventually face Luther's estranged father who shares a secret about his own past. 

What will happen?  Will Luther ever get rid of his madness?  Will he understand what Christianity is really about?  Will Mr. Mikalatos learn how to share his Christianity so that others can understand and make decisions for themselves?  Will they outsmart the werewolf hunter? 

Check out Matt's website for a link to the first chapter, along with more information on this book and his previous book entitled Imaginary Jesus.  Hope you enjoy the book!  In fact, post a comment for a chance for your own free copy of this very interesting book.  Make sure to check back with me so I can get your mailing information, or you can shoot an e-mail to reesewalley@yahoo.com.

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of Tyndale House Publishers.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Christmas Singing, by Cindy Woodsmall

If you like reading great stories of Amish life like I do, you can get a sneak peak of the new book by Cindy Woodsmall called The Christmas Singing.  You can read the first chapter and decide for yourself if this is a book you would like to pick up for yourself or for Christmas gift giving.  If you are interested in purchasing the book, you can go directly to http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/; when you are ready to check out you can request free shipping on this title or any other by using code CHRISTMAS11 at checkout.  By the way, the code also gives you a 30% discount on the book.  Can't beat that deal!  The Scent of Cherry Blossoms, also by Cindy Woodsmall, is coming out soon.  Check the Waterbrook site frequently for release dates.

Hope you all have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

Merry CHRISTmas!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Life Application Study Bible Giveaway!

Good morning, everyone!  I don't normally promote giveaways, but I just heard about a great one going on for the new Life Application Study Bible on Face Book.  "Like" them and immediately receive a free copy of their Life Application Bible Study on the Book of Luke.  Hurry on over!  Sign up every day for great prizes, including the Life Application Study Bible Family Pack (one random winner daily) and an Apple iPad2 (weekly drawing)!

Don't wait, check it out today.

"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed." II Timothy 2:15

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What Christmas Means to Me…

One of my earliest memories of Christmas happened when we were living in Indiana. One evening my parents went into their room to wrap our Christmas gifts and we kids, all six of us, clustered as close to their door as we could without getting into too much trouble. One or two of us climbed into the rocking armchair, leaning dangerously over the back, and in our excitement it tipped over. There were just so many exciting sounds coming from our parents’ room we could hardly stand it!

Needless to say Mama and Daddy didn’t get much peace on Christmas morning with six kids trying to get them up so we could unwrap our gifts. Finally they came up with the brilliant idea of allowing us to open one, and only one, gift Christmas Eve. That placated us for a while… Eventually even that turned into opening ALL our gifts on Christmas Eve, and we would have a party. Soon certain foods were expected each year. Foods such as Cheerios Nuggets (yes, it was the 70s). Or Christmas cookies with slopped on icing; just how well do you think kids under 12 decorate cookies? Ummm…one year someone got a spanking because I counted the cookies and there weren’t as many as we thought there should be, but I don’t want to talk about that right now. We had ginger ale and lime sherbet punch. No presents could be opened until we were ALL finished eating. Now that was really rotten because the food was great, but the anticipation of opening those presents was almost greater.

There were always loads of presents under the tree! One year my parents bought each of my brothers a tool box -- yep, a REAL tool box -- and filled them with Legos. That was back when you had to use your imagination to create things from Legos. Then one year they bought us Hungry, Hungry Hippo! I don’t know what possessed them to buy that game, it was soooo loud. Back to those Legos. I’ll admit it, I was jealous. I wanted some, too!

Living up North it was expected that there would be snow on the ground, and a lot of it, for Christmas. This meant sledding. There were too many of us to have our own sled, so Daddy made sleds out of paneling and we’d put the slick side down and race around. Boy, was it ever fun to go flying down hills! Dare I tell you the hills I’m talking about were the clover leafs on the highway? We weren’t the only ones using them for sledding, I promise you! We would come home soaked clear through our socks and long johns.

Now that we are grown things aren’t much different, unless you count that there is no snow here in the South for Christmas. We still celebrate on Christmas Eve. Instead of six of us kids, we have grown to twenty-something of us plus whatever extended family might be visiting. There is always fun in the chaos, and believe me there’s a lot of chaos when we all get together!

But in the midst of all our frivolity we remember the most important part of Christmas, the true reason we celebrate. The birth of Jesus Christ the Son of God. Can you imagine what it might have been like to be around when Jesus was born? What about if you could have been one of the shepherds or one of the wise men, or if you could have been like Anna or Simeon who both waited in the temple until they were able to see the Messiah? What if I could have been one of His younger brothers or sisters? Would I have realized Who He is? Would I have chosen to follow Him? Would I have followed Him just because of His miracles, or because I believed He was the Messiah, the sacrificial Lamb, the only One Who could forgive me of my sins? John 3:16 is a verse we all know, “For God so loved the world, that He GAVE His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” I also remember Romans 2:8-9 which says, “For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the GIFT OF GOD, not of works lest any man should boast.” Christmas means…Jesus!