Book Review of Sandi’s Anchor of Hope by Romaine Stauffer

Sandi’s Anchor of Hope
by Romaine Stauffer

This is a true story about a woman who survived years of abuse and neglect growing up in a very dysfunctional home. Sandi struggled almost daily with her mother’s alcoholism, verbal and physical abuse,
neglect, and selfishness. She had understandable fears and insecurities, which manifested themselves in both her childhood through adulthood. No sense of permanance, since her mother would move the family almost every year, from one run-down dwelling to another. Sandi attended many schools, and had no one
to help her with her studies at home, and as a result lagged behind in academics.

This true story may seem too sad and depressing to read, but it’s really not. You get to see how God orchestrates events in Sandi’s life that eventually lead her to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. It is a painful journey to take with this battered child, who ached for love and freedom from threats of danger, but it’s a happy ending indeed. No matter what your situation is, no matter how hopeless it is, how crushing andfrightening, there is an answer and a way out. Read this story of a person who found security, love, and
acceptance in Jesus Christ, who gave her answers and direction in her life.

It really does have a happy ending, and is also an interesting introduction to the Mennonite community. I became interested in finding out more about them, as a result of reading this book.
It would be wonderful, I think, to be in a congregation of conservative believers who reject worldliness and support one another in staying strong in the faith.
I hope you can get a copy of the book, Sandi’s Anchor of Hope, by Romaine Stauffer, and take time to read it. God’s love and mercies are there in our lives,

even before we seek Him. 

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Betteken’s Refuge, by Diane Yoder

This is a moving, beautifully portrayed story of a Dutch Anabaptist martyr’s life, as seen through the eyes of her young daughter, Betteken Wens. The year is 1573, and the historical fiction story takes place in the city of
Antwerp, Belgium, the richest city in Europe at this time. In this story, the persecution of the Anabaptists is becoming more ominous, one reason being because they refused to join the state church, which was the Catholic church. Time after time, Betteken, her parents and family are witnesses to the public humiliation of devout born again Christians by the Catholic’s Spanish soldiers, who march both men and women through the streets, and then burn them alive, all because of their faith in Jesus Christ and the Word of God.

Even though this book was written for a much younger audience, I believe Christians of all ages will benefit greatly from reading Betteken’s Refuge.
Several footnotes document the persecution of the Catholics against the Protestants and the Anabaptists, such as the reference to St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, in 1572.


The reader gets to know Mattheus and Maeyken, the parents of Betteken, and Adrien, and Hans, her brothers. You feel the tension in the air as the father leaves home again, in order to preach the Gospel to others in villages and cities, helping seekers to truly repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way to eternal life and God the Father.
There are incredibly deep moments of faith and truth presented by the author, and many times I paused to think about the profundity of the perseverance of the saints in those times of great difficulty as their faith was tried, literally, by fire. Please take time to read this book, it will profit you greatly, and deepen your resolve to stand firm and remember that no matter what, for the believer, The LORD is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. Jesus will sustain ALL who surrender to Him.

If you have not yet repented of your sins and dedicated your life to God, I urge you to do so now. We know that God hears and answers prayer. Grace and peace be unto you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Read Romans 10:8-13, and be born again.
The back of Diane Yoder’s book has a full 2 pages explaining the way to God and peace. She is a faithful witness, and may her work continue to glorify God the Father, and Jesus Christ His only begotten Son.

Book Review~The Pastor Takes a Wife, by Anna Schmidt

The Pastor Takes a Wife, by Anna Schmidt

Mrs. Schmidt is a gifted author. This book was a “Love Inspired” paperback, which I usually stay FAR away from, but I’m glad I didn’t this time!  It’s published by Steeple Hills, 2010. The book has good discussion questions for book clubs, too.
It is a fresh, unblemished romance, focusing more on the stories of the characters than on some rhapsodic flirtations nonsense.  You can trust this book to actually reflect Christian values and morals.
This clean Christian novel completely outshines any contemporary romance novel I’ve read, for several reasons:
1. There is good character development and relationship development that has a definite Christian focus.
2. Every sentence is important, and adds to the novel. I’m not kidding, every sentence adds something
that builds on the stories.
3. The romance between Megan and Reverend Jeb is so subtle and pure, that you can relax and know
Mrs. Schmidt has no intentions of taking the cheap and easy way out, so to speak, by writing paragraphs
of tripe and fluff that insults the Christian reader.
4. The problems are resolved in a logical, real-life way, the reader can easily believe the solutions are
credible and could happen in real life.

Allow me to digress just a bit here.
So MANY contemporary Christian romance novels, and even modern Christian historical fiction books are pure junk, not worthy of the name of Christian, and not worth your time to read them. Anna Schmidt’s book
is so much above almost all of the Christian fiction available today that you’d be doing yourself a huge favor
by reading it. Satisfying, original, believable, and refreshingly intelligent writing is what this book is all about. This book should have won a RITA award.

The main characters are Megan and Jeb. Megan was an unwed teen mother years ago, and has worked hard to give a good life to her daughter, Faith, and she has, with the help of Reba, the owner of an Inn, and Reba’s husband, now deceased. Jeb is a widower, a former manager of a global company, who became a
pastor after his wife’s death. They all live in a small town, where gossip is rampant, and the pecking order is rarely changed. They slowly begin a relationship with Jeb and Megan as friends, and they become close as events in the community give them new perspectives.

Anna Schmidt is a three-time finalist for the coveted RITA award presented annually by Romance Writers of America (RWA). Her novel A SISTER’S FORGIVENESS gave Anna her fourth finalist honor for the Reviewers’ Choice Awards from Romantic Times magazine. She has won that award twice before. In 2013 she was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by her local Wisconsin chapter of RWA.

Anna Schmidt:  CHECK OUT:
* Anna’s website at www.annaschmidtauthor.com

Book Review~ A Daring Venture by Elizabeth Camden

This book was given to me free, by Bethany House, in exchange for an honest review, so, I  will say the information about the process of water filtration systems for cities and water chlorination’s  history, was well-researched and interesting enough to make me want to find out more about Dr. John Lael.  3 stars for that.  She did a good job of telling about the pioneering efforts of  male scientists in the area of providing clean water for Americans.

I did like learning as much as was available, about Dr. Leal and his work.  God willing, I’m planning to learn more about that.   John Laing Leal was a physician and water treatment expert who, in 1908, was responsible for conceiving and implementing the first disinfection of a U.S. drinking water supply using chlorine. (wikipedia)

1 star for the relationship between Nick and Rosalind.  It was superficial, IMO, and uninteresting to me,  and I found myself skimming past the descriptions of restless, fluttering love between the two, in order to read more about how cities tried several methods of delivering clean water to large cities.  He had a bad temper, she was bland, and the story about her brother Gus and his wife was more interesting than the plot around Rosalind and Nick.

The majority of the book was more like a textbook which was fine with me, but I was hoping for more depth about the lives of the characters.  One of her best novels was The Rose of Winslow Street, I recommend that.

As for mentions of God, Jesus, or the bible, there was very little of that.  I remember one sentence.  One reviewer recalled more mentions, but as for this being a truly CHRISTIAN historical fiction book, I’d say it’s shallow at best.

I’m not interested in reading any follow ups to this book.  I see by the other reviews I’m not alone.

 I received this book mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.

Bead Crafts Do It Yourself

I’ve been making bracelets with beads, and using a neat tool called the Wrap It Loom:

My daughter loves the bracelets, and I’m learning something fun and useful.  To make a bracelet, I use 1mm leather cord, and 8 mm beads, round and smooth.  I also use Nymo thread, and big-eye needles to make the whole thing run smoothly.  For the macrame bracelets, I used 1mm waxed linen thread or cord, and some beads I got off of a thrift store necklace, or I used 6/0 seed beads, toho brand, and decorative buttons from Beadaholique.  There are several places online to buy supplies, so happy hunting!!

Some bracelets I’ve made: 

If you want to make some for yourself, here’s a good tutorial:

Book Review~ William Henry is a Fine Name, by Cathy Gohlke

William Henry is a Fine Name is a book you don’t want to miss reading!  It’s an excellent account of the intricate workings of the underground railroad, slavery, plantation life, and all seen through the eyes of one 13 year old boy named Robert Glover, son of a woman who had grown up pampered, on a Southern plantation, and a man who was God-fearing and compassionate towards his fellow man.

Robert has a best friend, William Henry, who is a slave, but to Robert, he’s just a friend.  They did everything together, until things begin to happen that are a mystery to Robert, but not so to William Henry. 

Cathy Gohlke’s first book, such a great book indeed.  It’s obvious that she put her heart into this story, with the huge amount of information she collected and put together to tell this tale of the north, the south, slavery, and freedom’s price for many. 

The quilt on the clothesline, the pattyrollers, Quakers, Stargazer, Uncle Marcus, Grandfather, Ashland, Pa, Aunt Sassy, the moss on the trees, and the drinking gourd, all are unforgettable pieces of this story that will absorb your attention and keep you reading well into the night. 

I highly recommend this book, both as a history lesson from one person’s perspective, and as a book that will get you thinking.  There’s suspense, drama, politics, insight, and genuine love.   Get yourself a copy and settle in for a great historical fiction read.

Bible Study

I’ve been working through a good bible study course, offered free by  a church in Greenville, MI, called Liberty Baptist Church:  http://www.libertybaptistgreenville.com/

So far I’ve finished a study on Islam, and a study booklet about music, what is Godly, and spiritual, and how to tell if music is appropriate for Christians to listen to.  They talk about content, control, and context of music.

Some quotes from the booklet:  “There is no such thing as neutral music.  All music has an effect upon the listener-without a word ever being spoken.  That is why God stated that all music which Christians listen to must have a melody to it, something with harmony, organized tones, and a sweet and agreeable sound. Very little of today’s contemporary Christian music can pass this test.”

They also bring up the fact that many churches entertain rather than exhort, reprove, and rebuke the members.  The booklet states:  What is true of babies?  They cannot do anything for themselves.  They have to be entertained, or they cry.  …… He cries out…..I cannot understand that old King James bible, so he finds a church that entertains with worldly music and a watered-down translation of the Bible.

If you’re interested in this free Baptist bible study, you can get some booklets mailed to your home or office, free.  Go here:  http://www.libertygospeltracts.com

Here’s the church’s web page:  http://www.libertybaptistgreenville.com/

 

Also, I’m reading another book by Cathy Gohlke, called, “William Henry is a Fine Name“.  It was her debut novel, and it won a well-deserved Christy Award.  The book will appeal to everyone from young adult to senior citizen.  A review is coming soon, God willing.  In the meantime, get yourself a copy, and read it.

Book Review of Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke

Promise Me This~ by Cathy Gohlke
Book Review

Cathy Gohlke truly gives God the glory in this book, by repeatedly referring to our need for Jesus Christ, and His great love for us. This book is a good Christian historical fiction novel for that reason, and for the fact that the romance is very, very subtle, and the history is well-researched. The whole book is profound and penetrating in awareness and understanding of the history of that era, and the heart of man and his important relationship to God.

The story begins with the Titanic, vividly describing the wealth, luxury, and fanfare that went along with the maiden voyage of this vessel.

In Chapter One, you meet Michael Dunnigan, a poor, abused child trying to earn money and doing his best to keep out of the way of his angry, drunken uncle. Then in Chapter Two,you briefly meet Aunt Eleanor, who will become one of the vilest creatures in the story. Her twisted hatred and manipulations of the family will shock you.

Owen is also introduced in Chapter Two, and he has a true Christ-like heart and lives a life that surely pleases the Lord Jesus. The main character, Annie Allen, is the sister of Owen, and she is briefly rescued from the clutches of Aunt Eleanor by him, in hopes of bringing her to America after he has established a gardening business.

This book has so much to offer you, I  hope you read it. Like I said, it begins with the Titanic, and takes the reader on through World War One, powerfully described and unforgettable as Mrs. Gohlke vividly describes the horrors of war. You feel as if you’re on the front lines in Verdun, in Northeastern France, alongside the British Voluntary Aid Detachment nurses. The bombing by the Germans, the horrific casualties of the war, was aptly portrayed in this riveting dramatic story. 

The lovely relationships and blossoming romances (all rated G) are but a glimpse into the love Mrs. Gohlke must have for her Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
I don’t want to give away too much of this story, it’s deep and profound, on so many levels a truly good Christian historical fiction novel. It would be wonderful if a movie was made about this. Simply wonderful!

Thank you, Cathy Gohlke, for using the talents God gave you to write such books that educate, entertain, and make us think about OUR relationship to Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, the ONLY Way into Heaven and eternal life. May God richly bless you. Please keep writing, and never give up.
Jesus loves you.     Romans 10:8-13,  John 3:16-21

Product details

  • File Size: 11475 KB
  • Print Length: 417 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (January 20, 2012)
  • Publication Date: January 20, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00724LJ0W
    Stunning and powerful Christian historical fiction novel by Christian author, Cathy Gohlke.

Book Review~ Troublesome Creek by Jan Watson

I liked everything about this book, even the cover!  I was impressed that this was Jan Watson’s first novel, since she doesn’t write like a novice.  Perhaps it’s her nurse’s training that helped.

This story is set around the 1800s in a coal town in the Appalachian hills of Kentucky.  I got a real feel for life there through Mrs. Watson’s well turned phrases and descriptive words.   This is a clean, Christian historical fiction novel, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a really good book to read.

I enjoyed learning about the simple life of a young girl named Copper, her fairly carefree life in the mountains of Kentucky, living with her dad and her stepmother.  The  author really knows how to pull you into the story, and identify easily with the characters.  I felt the warm summers, the bitter cold winters, I got anxious when one of the family got ill, was happy when good things happened, enjoyed hunting in the woods, and the story about Copper’s background was engrossing, I could not get enough of the rich details and even the heartbreak.  The good relationship she had with her dad was comforting, and the closeness of the family in general was very upbeat and encouraging.  Their Christian faith was solid and enduring.

This is the first of Jan Watson’s books, and I’m already reading the second of the series, called Willow Springs, which is a continuation of Copper’s journey through life, and the many changes and adjustments of new surroundings.

Product details

  • File Size: 20517 KB
  • Print Length: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (December 16, 2010)
  • Publication Date: December 16, 2010
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004GHNLMM