Where Lilacs Still Bloom, by Jane Kirkpatrick~book review

It is my opinion that Jane Kirkpatrick must be a woman with a very high I.Q. After reading some of her books, I believe she finds writing as an outlet for the restlessness that comes with being highly intelligent.
That being said, Mrs. Kirkpatrick has written a book that is about several people whose lives intersect
at some point, because of the dedication of Hulda Klager towards her lilacs, and her persistence in finding new, stronger varieties of lilacs.

It’s a pity some people might pass this book up, because they’ll miss learning about a German immigrant to America, who had a God-given talent for scientific gardening, and more than that, being a horticulturist, even though she never went past the 8th grade! Where Lilacs Still Bloom offers an abundance of hope, confidence, good life lessons, and a heart-warming look into the family and friends of this non-degreed greenskeeper and plant researcher.
This is a Christian historical fiction book, based on the true story and life of Hulda Klager.


The story starts in 1889, when Hulda was pregnant with their fourth child, and they’re getting ready to move to a farm.
You get to know her, and her husband Frank, who live on a farm in Washington state. She learns, from her dad, about grafting apple shoots onto saplings, and from that, she finds she can actually “invent” a better variety of apple, on that will peel more easily and taste more tart. You meet their children, and the other children who, by God’s wisdom, come to work and live on her farm, and learn about cross-pollination, soil management, and a host of other important details attached to Hulda’s life’s work. 

I can’t say enough good about this book! It’s easy to read, very interesting and full of facts, and written in such a way as to encourage readers to perhaps learn a bit more about the propagation of flowers, or discover and visit arboretums in the USA. There’s plenty of information to get you going, if you’re the least bit curious about learning more. I got really excited about it when Hulda successfully hybridized a new variety of lilac, and when she talked to famous authors such as Luther Burbank, who was a renowned hybridizer at the time.

One more thing, The Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens are now a national historic site!

The Lilac Gardens are located off I-5 exit 21, 30 minutes north of Portland, Oregon or 2.5 hours south of Seattle, Washington at 115 South Pekin Road, Woodland, Washington 98674. (Our mailing address is PO Box 828). The Gardens are open to the public most days of the year from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., with a $3.00 gate fee payable at the gate ($5 during lilac days, children 12 and under free) If you’d like to contact them, here are some
email addresses I got from their website: Contact the Lilac Gardens
HKLGTours@gmail.com Schedule bus/large group tours during Lilac Days
WoodlandLilacGardens@gmail.com Lilac Gardens publicity
HKLGPresident@gmail.com President, Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens Society
HKLGMembership@gmail.com Membership, Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens Society
HKLGGiftShop@gmail.com Gift Shop – open during Lilac Days only
HKLGHistoricHome@gmail.com Hulda’s home – open during Lilac Days only

Get a copy of Where Lilacs Still Bloom, and have a lovely time of reading about this nurturing and dedicated housewife who became famous just from cultivating her own flowers.

Thank you, Jane, for writing this book.  (no more whining from me! LOL)

Romans 10:9-13;  John 3:16-21

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The Lady of Tarpon Springs book review~ highly recommended

Judith Miller is an excellent academic fact finder, and this book really kept my interest.

She researched the history of deep water diving for sponges in Tarpon Springs Florida during the early 1900s, and using that information, she wrote a delightful, suspenseful, insightful story about Zanna, Lucy, and Nicos, 3 people who were involved in the business of sponge diving in 1905, in Florida.

This book was SO good, in fact, that I’m planning on buying as many of her books as I can to add to my personal home library.  I also am hoping to let other Christians know about her books, and that they can rest assured that the book has high moral standards and they’ll enjoy the story to the very end.


Zanna Krykos is a lawyer, and back then, that was almost unheard of. Her traditional Greek family was at first against this career, but eventually accepted it. Her best friend, Lucy Penrose, is a doctor, also very rare back then! Lucy’s dad died unexpectedly, but had made her his designated beneficiary of a sponge diving business he was establishing and developing in order to bring more trade into Tarpon Springs.
The story goes on to describe how the business began, and then grew and grew into a healthy commercial trade in the area.
Within this superb story is the story of several people, including Zanna, Nicos Sevdalis and his experienced Greek sponge divers, the Rochester sisters, Bessie, Eugenia, and Viola, and Adelphos Pappas, who was a businessman, and greedy liar, but very good at hiding those flaws.
I was fascinated by all the information about Greek divers, and the early sponge business in Tarpon Springs. You’re in for a great treat and one of the most enjoyable history lessons of your life, when you read this book.

I highly recommend this book for another reason, and that is, Mrs. Miller kept the romance to a minimum, presented the romance in accordance with good values and common sense, in good taste, and will be totally acceptable to anyone with sound Christian values.

I feel comfortable in giving this book a 5 star rating in the genre of Christian historical fiction. It is suitable for clean reading, and definitely an absorbing and captivating story of business and life in Florida’s Tarpon Springs in 1905. I bought this book and am convinced it was worth every dollar spent.
Go get a copy, and have some fun reading!  Thank you Judith, for writing a wonderful book, using the talents GOD gave you, and making reading fun for us Christians again.  Keep writing this way, it’s perfect!

 

Nathan Ham Photography|www.whataham.com

 

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (July 31, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764231065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764231063
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches

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

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~The Road Home by Beverly Lewis

This is a story of an Amish family torn apart by the death of the parents, and of the long but loving journey back to healing and moving on with life.

Lena Schwartz has 9 siblings, and after their parent’s demise, the Centerville, Michigan Amish community finds suitable homes for the brothers and sisters, and Lena, the oldest, has to relocate to her dad’s cousin’s house in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.   Harley and Mimi open their home and hearts to Lena, and gradually, Lena begins healing from her huge losses.  She is always planning to save enough money and return to her family in Michigan, and keeps working for Mimi.

This book was a very gentle, very CLEAN and CHRISTIAN story, and I was quite pleased at the author’s skill in weaving several stories together so expertly.  There are many interesting characters and plots in The Road Home, and I enjoyed reading it, and finishing it.  What I got out of this book was a look at the everyday life we lead, and how we make changes, adjustments, and why we persevere in the midst of troubles and even anguish and mourning.

There was no tension in this book, which I liked, but some of Mrs. Lewis’s fans might miss.  Many of her previous books had edginess and friction in the story, but this book isn’t like that.  It’s a mature, Christian account of what life is really like for most of us, and how Jesus’s love, protection, and comfort is there if we only follow HIM, and not the deceitfulness of our emotions.  I was spiritually inspired by one of the prayers from Lena, during her frustrating trials with her beau.  It was well said, and I can tell Beverly Lewis has endured similar trials of her faith.  Trusting in God alone, and yielding all of ourselves to Him is the only way to victoriously make it through hard times.

I was given a free copy of this book from Bethany House publishers, in exchange for an honest review.