A Home in Drayton Valley~book review

Lovely Christian fiction book, really!  One of the best parts in the story was when Reverend Mann said:  God’s ways aren’t our ways, Joss.  Sometimes He uses unexpected means to bring about His will. But I do know this, everything He does is out of love for us.  It’s to make us stronger or draw us closer to Him.  …

This book shows the effects of worldly cares and sins on individuals, both born again and rejectors of Jesus Christ. Kim Vogel Sawyer did a masterful work in giving thoughtful insight into relationships and how what we do, or don’t do, affects many, many people.

It begins in New York city, the 1880s, with the main character, Tarsie Raines, wanting  to move out to Drayton Valley, Kansas, to escape the miseries in New York.
Stuck in New York, in a lower-income apartment, working as a seamstress, and her friends, Joss and
Mary, and their 2 children, are living in low-income tenement apartments, with filthy streets and many troubles in the neighborhoods. Mary worked washing other people’s laundry, and her husband was a dock worker, eking out a living.  They move out to Kansas, riding in a wagon train. 

Other characters, just as interesting and vital to the story, show up later in her book. These are Simon and Ruth Foster, he a vineyard tender on a wealthy businessman’s property. Devout Christians, dependable workers, they truly show faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. His wife was another good example of
trust and faith in God.
What I liked a lot was Tarsie’s self-control in taming her bad temper, and retorts towards Joss.
Ah, if only there were MORE female characters like Tarsie, in today’s Christian fiction. Thank you,
Kim, for Tarsie’s story.
Kim also has a knack for describing scenes, so it’s easy and fun to get involved in the settings and
surroundings. I could almost see the dilapidated wagon tumbling over in the storm. I could see the dingy
interiors of the New York apartments, and the little faces of the children, Emmy and Nattie. 

Kim Vogel Sawyer wrote a lot of bible references into her story, and THE best part was where the reader is told how to be born again.  THAT’S WHAT CHRISTIAN FICTION should ALWAYS INCLUDE!  Amen!

Thanks Kim, write more stories like this one! 


Friday Evening~ Still not asleep!

Almost midnight, still not asleep.

I’m reading Anna Schmidt’s book, “All God’s Children” and will, God willing, write a review on it.

I’m also pretty involved now with Paperback Swap.  Check it out, if you like books, you’ll like PBS.

I’ve also started volunteering again, with our Friends of the Public Library group.  See if you can help them, in YOUR city!

More on that, later.



Missing Isaac ~ book review

This story was set in the 1960s, in a rural area. There was a solid friendship
between a wealthy family, and the people who worked their land, which is uncommon, but
not unheard of. Very well constructed and believable.
They had a lot of employees working in their cotton fields, and treated them with respect.

The characters were interesting, and their Southern way of speech and customs were done very well.
Pete, his family, along with the Picketts, and the town folk were all realistic.
There wasn’t much Christianity in the story, which kind of surprised me, and I hope Valerie
starts talking about Jesus, salvation, and the King James bible in her future books.
She has a real gift from God for telling stories that keep you attention, and that
don’t stress you out reading them.

I recommend this book, because it’s a good, clean read, no trashy romance or
innuendos, and plenty of detailed plots to keep you wanting to read more.
One of the best books I’ve read this year.

A Reluctant Belle book review

A Reluctant Bell, the daughtry house series, was not a book I could stay interested in.  Fans of Beth White will surely like this book, so please, by all means read it.

I found the writing to be on the level of perhaps 8th grade or less.  The characters didn’t appeal to me, nor did the way the story was developing.

In short, I couldn’t finish it.

Sorry, but every book can’t have a wonderfully  rave review.

This book was given to my by Revell, in exchange for an honest review.

Romans 10:8-13;  John 3:16-21



The Hope of Azure Springs ~ Book Review

I’d heard this book was great, and was looking forward to reading it.
In the first couple of chapters, this book was fairly interesting, and it was definitely clean,but around
chapter seven, I found myself wanting to hurry up and finish it.
In the beginning, it had substance, but the story withered away after a while.
Not a lot of history about orphan trains, just a surface examination of the topic. The characters
were underdeveloped, not strong, but I’m thinking a person with a few years yet to mature and experience
life’s ups and downs, will quickly identify with and enjoy this book’s level of intensity, which was
Acceptable in the relationship department, very clean. No heavy breathing, etc.
It could have had a LOT more Christianity and Scripture in it. Not much at all.
I’d say this book will appeal to young women, perhaps seniors in high school.

Book Review~Secrets on the Wind~ by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Secrets on the Wind is the story of how Jesus can use people

to rescue other people from the depths of sin, and how He stays with us, guides and shapes us, through the knowledge of Him that has called us.
Stephanie Whitson wrote a remarkable book, about a young woman who was brought from an awful situation with an awful husband, into a life of healing
and peace.

Throughout the story, Mrs. Whitson skillfully weaves the truths of redemption through
God’s only Son, Jesus Christ. The main character, Laina Gray, becomes the woman the Lord wanted her to be. This is done using relationships with other people, and by her seeking peace and understanding, trying to eradicate her past life and build a
new one, one she didn’t think was possible,

but, as Stephanie Whitson shows the reader,
all things are possible through Christ.
I enjoyed reading every page of this story, because each sentence had substance. Nary a word was written as fluff or filler.

You can tell the author put time and thought and used the
skills and God-given talents to introduce the readers to the One who makes all things new.
Please read this book, you will greatly enjoy it.



Non-Alcoholic Bananas Foster Sauce

Tonight I made bananas foster sauce, with NO alcohol, nor with the rum extract. I just can’t stand the taste of alcohol in my food. (I don’t drink, either, neither did my dad)
After browsing several recipes, I saw that all of them have 4 of the same basic ingredients, so I got out my
saucepan, a banana from Walmart, and the other ingredients.

Before that, I wondered, “What’s the difference between caramel sauce, and non-alkie bananas foster sauce, besides the banana?”
But, I digress.

I made the sauce, using
real salted butter, and plenty of it     

2 tablespoons to caramelize the bananas, and 2 or 3 for the sauce
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon or so of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon or so of regular iodized table salt
a banana, sliced
2 tablespoons of whole milk

First, cut the banana in slices, then melt a couple of tablespoons of
butter and a teaspoon of dark brown sugar in the saucepan. Cook the banana slices, flipping them over once. Pour them onto a plate, and set aside.

Next, start melting a couple of tablespoons more of butter in the saucepan, dump the
brown sugar (3/4 cup packed), cinnamon, about a half teaspoon, and salt (about a half a teaspoon)
and stir that over medium high heat, adding the milk. Stir, stir, stir, until it’s bubbly but not boiling.
Add the bananas, and stir a little while longer, maybe a minute or so, then take it all off the burner.
My banana slices kind of melted, or something, but that added a lot of flavor to the sauce!

Here’s the sauce, using my recipe!

Let it cool a bit, then dip your spoon in, and taste it. Share it with your husband, or a family
member who appreciates this yummy stuff.
I’m telling you, this recipe is DELICIOUS!!

I think I might serve this either over a slice of toast, or an

ice cream sandwich,

or just eat it out of a little bowl.
Let’s be real about sugary sauces, and why we make them, ok?

Here are some of the recipes I looked at, to make my own:


My First Homemade Cherry Cobbler

This is my first time baking home made cherry cobbler, using fresh cherries, and the recipe I used turned out very well!  I didn’t use enough cherries, but all in all, the dessert is very tasty.

I got a bag of fresh cherries from Walmart, and they were in excellent shape.

Here’s the recipe, by Jen Sobjack, from her website, “Baked by an Introvert”.


A couple of tips, remember, when cherries are baking, the juice tends to bubble and expand about twice it’s regular size, so use a pan deep enough to prevent spillover.  Also, I added an extra tablespoon of real butter to the crust mixture, and used just enough whole milk to moisten the flour, sugar, and cinnamon.

When you’re buying fresh cherries, inspect them closely, look for split fruit, or cherries that are turning brown, and if there are too many, look for another bag.  That fruit is too expensive to waste money on bad produce.

My Saturday baking fun:  cherry cobbler


Do you know if you’re going to Heaven when you die?  It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this, the judgement.  Here’s how to be born again, spiritually,

through Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Savior of the world: 


An Amish Reunion ~ Book review

First story:  Their True Home, by Amy Clipston.  Let me say, if this had been the first book I’d ever read by Mrs. Clipston, I wouldn’t have read any more.  Now, with that being out in the open, this short story was barely Christian, in my opinion.  Sexually suggestive phrases were constantly being used.  This story just doesn’t help anyone draw closer to Jesus.   I don’t recommend it.   What I don’t understand is why did Amy Clipston go so far away from decent Christian writing in this story? It’s about 2 young adults, Marlene and Rudy, who develop a friendship that becomes more.  You can tell they are “falling in love” by the increased sexual innuendos.  The characters had no depth.  Not much of a plot, either.

Second story:  A Reunion of Hearts, by Beth Wiseman.

Gideon and Ruth, formerly Amish, have returned to their Amish hometown for a family reunion. Beth Wiseman did a good job of exploring SOME the depths of depression, sadness, anger, and denial, that must go along with the loss of a child.  Yes, it was a serious book, to a point,  but then it rather unraveled when the author decided to talk about the sexual attraction the husband and wife still had for each other.  Kind of a bizarre turn to take from the path I thought she was on in this story. It could have accomplished so much more if she had stayed true to the original storyline.   Most of her story is decent, but I don’t recommend it for anyone but MARRIED adult women, because of the focus on the sexuality between husband and wife, who had been separated but not divorced, for about 5 years.  Mrs. Wiseman  could have taken a cleaner path, but  kept focusing on the fleshly nature, instead of the spiritual nature.  So far, this book has left me feeling cheated out of a good read.    Let’s see if A Chance to Remember, by Kathleen Fuller, is better than these two.

Third story: A Chance to Remember, by Kathleen Fuller

Such a good story, I didn’t want it to end so soon!  Clean Christian fiction about the Amish and an Englishcher.   This is about an 80 year old Amish woman living in Birch Creek, and a man from her past, who comes by for a visit, after not having seen each other for decades. Cevilla and Richard enjoy old memories, and find they have an attraction for each other, after many visits.  Meghan, Richard’s granddaughter, watches over him and drives him to see Cevilla. They are on a little vacation away from California, and Meghan has some issues of her own she needs to settle.  All in all, this novella was highly enjoyable, and the characters had depth, and real personality.  I hope to be able to read more books by Kathleen Fuller. 

Fourth Story in “An Amish Reunion”

Mended Hearts, by Kelly Irvin 

I was very happy to see this story is a continuation of  some of the character’s stories I read in “With Winter’s First Frost”.

So nicely written, and clean!  Kelly Irvin really does a good job of writing Amish fiction.  She did a great job of writing about the struggles of a young unwed mother, who, after going through a bann, repented and was forgiven by most of her community, although as we know, there will always be those who like to keep gossiping about someone, and tearing them up.  Such  was the case in this story too, but it wasn’t the main focus.  The main story is about Hannah, the unwed mother, her friend Philip, and her ex-boyfriend, Thaddeus, the father of her child.  Thaddeus refused to marry Hannah, and he skipped town,  which embittered Hannah towards him.  The story is truly about forgiveness, remembering how Christ forgave us, and about recognizing that we sin, when we refuse to forgive others.  It’s a great story.